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Religious Studies

Meditation and Movies

Mitchell Gerrard ('12); Mentors: Darryl Smith, Arthur Horowitz

Abstract: India has a long tradition of ashrams, which have varying functions, but are generally places where people live in religious seclusion, studying various forms of Yoga, meditation, and the arts, among other things. I visited India testing my proposition that the “higher” religious ambitions of an individual striving to actualize themselves through a transcendent being or power are not far removed from the “lower” secular ambitions of tragicomic theatrical performance. I was fortunate to stay in an ashram where Bollywood movies were regularly screened and every night a religious “serial” was shown on TV, providing both religious instruction and theatrical entertainment. I found that though the emergence of Bollywood and other forms of theatre have challenged many of these religious traditions, and vice versa, this challenge from both ends should not be seen in a negative light, but instead as a productive synthesis of the philosophy of religion and theatre.
Funding provided by Pomona College SURP

Research at Pomona