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European-American Topics - Cinema - Darshan

Darshan, the embrace (France 2006)

By Caroline Planque

posted August 31, 2006

In this documentary about the power of altruistic love, French director Jan Kouen sets to India where he follows the footsteps of Amma for one year. This inspiring woman, spiritual guide and Mahatma, has dedicated her entire life to acts of love and self-sacrifice. She is mostly known for her embrace, in the literal sense of the word, which she has given so far to roughly 26 million people in the world.  Lining up and waiting for hours, her followers take turn to receive her blessings, one person at a time, for a few fleeting seconds. 

While the documentary is missing an in-depth analysis of her philosophy and teachings, and a detailed exploration of her western disciples’ motivations (among them a French and a British who have left everything behind to follow and serve her), it does a good job at capturing Amma’s persona and her dedication to her ideals. More importantly, it reminds us in a fresh way of the importance and power of compassion and selflessness.









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