Mary D. Fisher Theatre Sat, Jun 27, 2015 7:00 PM
Mary D. Fisher Theatre Fri, Jun 24, 2016 7:00 PM
Mary D. Fisher Theatre Sat, Jun 25, 2016 7:00 PM
Mary D. Fisher Theatre Mon, Jun 27, 2016 4:00 PM
Mary D. Fisher Theatre Wed, Jun 29, 2016 4:00 PM
Film Info
Event Type:Film
Release Year:2014
Run Time:108 minutes
Production Country:Canada/United States
Original Language:English/Tamil/Sanskrit
Cast/Crew Info
Director:Neil Dalal
Jillian Elizabeth


“Gurukulam” is a rare invitation to look, listen, and enter into a contemplative rhythm of life as old as the Bhagavad Gita and as new as present-day India. Set in a remote forest ashram, this poetic sensory immersion reveals the spiritual practices of a group of students and their teacher.

A French businessman, an American psychology professor, a Japanese Yoga teacher, and a young South Indian Brahmin listen to the words of an elder Indian monk dressed in saffron robes. He unfolds the ancient teachings of Advaita Vedanta, the Hindu tradition of non-duality and one of the philosophical roots of the Yoga movement. With a lineage stretching back beyond the 6th century CE, the tradition has survived despite centuries of social change and foreign occupation. Over time, it developed highly refined teaching and study methods, rigorous philosophical work, and is perhaps the most influential religious tradition in the history of India.

“Gurukulam” captures this tradition by following a renowned monk, Swami Dayananda Saraswati, and his community of students. As one of the few remaining traditional teachers of Vedanta, Dayananda is a rarity. He is sought after not only for his command of Hindu texts, such as the Upanisads and the Bhagavad Gita, but for his capacity to communicate ancient teachings into living experience. This long-term residential course would be his last, as Dayananda passed away in September 2015.

Despite being a world-renouncer and an erudite scholar, Dayananda engages wholeheartedly in the lives of people inside and out of the ashram. The shelter of the ashram and the backdrop of the jungle provide a unique self-contained space for the seekers who come there to study.

“Gurukulam” is a journey into their lives, their learning, and the community in which it is carried. The directors take the viewer into the personal sphere of Dayananda and his students at work, at play, and in study, vividly revealing the ways in which a wisdom tradition is passed down from one generation to another, and transformed into living practice.