THE LOST SADHU
In Hinduism and Buddhism, Enlightenment is also called “awakening” after all, the name Buddha means “the awakened one.”
A Docu-Film by Raz Degan
A journey of self discovery, “The Lost Sadhu” follows the life of a runaway Rockstar who becomes a Sadhu on his search for Nirvana.
In the 1960s, thousands of young Westerners blazed the 'hippie trail' from Italy to Kathmandu in search of enlightenment and cheap dope. Through a landscape of breathtaking beauty that stretches from Italy, through Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal and India, this film retraces the path of one man’s adventures as he explores a world of extraordinary transformation.
Baba Shiva Das [Lorenzo] is our key character who will share the profound and surreal moments of his spiritual awakening, his fall from grace, and his reconciliation with his sacred center, all the while giving our audience a rare and exclusive inside look into the life of Sadhus.
In Hinduism, a Sadhu is a holy person. A Hindu ascetic who has decided to leave all material attachments and dedicate his life to achieving spiritual liberation, or moksha. They usually wear special clothing as a symbol of their sannyasa, which is a HIndu term for renunciation.
There are different processes of becoming a sadhu within the different Hindu sects. They are usually initiated by a guru, given a new name and their own mantra. The mantra usually remains secret, known only to the master and the sadhu. Although some practices of the sadhus might seem extreme - such as being silent for years, sitting in a cave for a long time, or standing on one leg for many years - others include practices such as Hatha yoga, devotional worship of a deity, or meditation practices.
In the late 60s, Giovanni was a rebel Rock Star in Italy playing in an up and coming band. He’s an atheist and believes in nothing but sex, drugs and rock and roll. To avoid his military service, he escapes on the magic bus: a bus that traveled from London to Katmandu taking hippies and seekers alike toward the mystic east.
When he arrived in India he’s overwhelmed by a sense of freedom and excitement. Here he encountered the Sadhu holy men for the first time. Unaware of the local culture, he simply thought they were the local hippies., but was deeply fascinated by their practices, philosophies, and beliefs. From this point on, his life took an unexpected turn.
Having no money shelter or choice, Giovanni joined a pack of Sadhus who brought him to their temple, dressed him in an orange robe and started him on his spiritual path. As common practice with Sadhu initiation, his guru instructed him to write a letter to his family to cut all ties with them, to renounce attachments to the material world, and to surrender at his feet. Giovanni’s journey toward enlightenment here began, and so he became Baba Shiva Das: one of the few foreign Sadhus to be accepted into the spiritual cast.
The first years he spent studying Hindu and other esoterical teachings while living off of milk and a dollar a month; and begging, meditating, and praying. He was then sent to the jungles of Nagaland to live in total isolation. Here he lived in cave alongside cobras and jaguars, remaining in silence to pursue his burning quest to attain liberation and ultimately reach toward Nirvana.
After several years living as a hermit, feeling he attained a higher level of consciousness, he maked his way back to Varanasi. His encounter with the real world though was not what he expected and his thirst for earthly pleasures was awoken when he crossed paths with his old girlfriend from Italy who has been searching for him throughout India. The two start on a crazy ride throughout southeast Asia stripping his Sadhu life down to his old ways. After nearly dyeing in a Bangkok whore house, distraught with confusion guilt and shame he made his way back to India to ask his guru for forgiveness.
He is accepted back by his Zakara, and quickly gains momentum back into the life of a Sadhu. 36 years after his first initiation, he returns to the Kumbha Mela to accompany his dying guru who unexpectedly sets him free and tells him to return home to Italy.
Shiva Das boards a plane for the first time in his life, makes his way back to his parent’s home and knocks on their door.
THE JOURNEY: ITALY, CENTRAL ASIA, INDIA AND NEPAL
THE KUMBH MELA
The Kumbh Mela is as mesmerizing as it is spiritual. This ancient Indian pilgrimage is a meeting of mystical minds, a place of sacred rituals, of rights of passage, of cycles that start and others that end, and the largest religious gathering in the world.
Hindu holy men and devotees alike come together by the millions for their devotion and salvation. This extraordinary festival will play a key role in our film; offering a unique set, incredible scenery and authentic insight to the Hindu culture and philosophy.
I’ve always been intrigued by the 60s and 70s, a time you could jump on a bus and cross distant lands that today are hostile due to terrorism and political unrest. The world was waiting to be explored, without google maps or Iphones to get you there. Just being free, with the freedom to be. I’ve also been fascinated with Yoga, Hindus, Sadus, and Shamans, and the possibility of reaching enlightenment by liberating oneself from material needs, or self-imposed ego-feeding achievements. Rock and roll played a fundamental role in my upbringing, shaping the rebel in me and the dreamer that gave me the courage to move on.
When I met Shiva Das, I was so fascinated by him because he embodied this world: he lived the 60s, he played rock and roll, he ran off to the mystical east and actually sought out enlightenment like few have dared to. My aim is to capture the spiritual revolution of the 70s, and recreate an amazing journey of self-discovery and adventure toward new worlds.
This is a story of cat and mouse. Of the ego trying to liberate itself from material attachments and desires, of rebelling against one’s true nature in order to find a different meaning to the essence of being human.
This movie will be a thrilling ride through a mystic world of colors smells and shapes, where humans sacrifice all in order to reach some sort of divinity.