Education About Asia: Online Archives

Hinduism: 330 Million Gods

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BY PETER MONTAGNON

FROM THE BBC THE LONG SEARCH SERIES, 1977

52 MINUTES

AMROSE VIDEO PUBLISHING, INC.

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Reviewed by Anne E. Monius

This second episode of the widely acclaimed BBC Long Search series serves as an excellent introduction to the basics of Hindu life dial is suitable for both high school and introductory college courses.

Beautifully filmed in Benares and in a small village in northern Bihar, this video is organized by the vast numhcr of deities in the Hindu pantheon, ultimately arguing that, for most devout Hindus today, each deity represents but a single aspect of the one supreme reality or truth. The bulk of the film focuses on the village and its rich devotional life, paying particular attention to the many ways in which the festival of Sarasvati, the goddess of learning, is celebrated in the village’s four schools. Ronald Eyre, the “ordinary man” who serves as commentator for the entire Long Search series, often seems most fascinated by the villagers’ worship of multiple gods. At one effective juncture, for example, he notes a Vaisnava performer, singing a song in praise of Siva in the context of the festival dedicated to Sarasvati. Also effective is the visual juxtaposition of a stone Siva linga (abstract symbol of Siva) in the relatively lifeless setting of a Western museum alongside a similar linga being worshipped with song, chant, incense, fire and ritual in the village temple.