Simply Ignore the Hollywood Movie The Love Guru and the Controversy

If you had heard about the movie ‘The Love Guru,’ then you must be aware of the controversy surrounding it or it might have been the controversy that introduced the movie to you. Now, if you haven’t heard about the movie, you will hear a lot of it in near future that it lampoons Hindu religion – especially it ridicules the guru-disciple relationship which is held sacred by millions of Hindus – and uses Hindu terms playfully. And people writing against fundamentalists curtailing the freedom of an artist in the name of religion. All this will continue till a better controversy captures the imagination of the people.

Now in the comedy ‘The Love Guru,’ Pitka – the character played by Mike Myers famous for the Austine Powers movie – is an American who was left at the gates of an ashram in India as a child and raised by Gurus.

Under the Gurus in India, Pitka becomes an expert in teaching spirituality, motivation, bliss, and peace. He moves back to the U.S. to seek fame and fortune in the world of self-help and spirituality – His holiness Guru Pitika.

His unorthodox methods are put to the test when he must settle a rift between Toronto Maple Leafs star hockey player Darren Raoanoke and his estranged wife. After the split, Roanoke’s wife starts dating L.A. Kings star Jacques Grande out of revenge, sending her husband into a major professional skid – to the horror of the teams’ owner Jane Bullard and Coach Cherkov. Pitka must return the couple to marital nirvana and get Roanoke back on this game so the team can break the 40-year-old ‘Bullard Curse’ and win the Stanley Cup.

Hindu groups in the US have demanded necessary changes should be made in the film so that it does not hurt sentiments of the Hindu community. Indian American leader Rajan Zed who first came out against the movie said that ‘lampoons Hinduism and Hindus.’

Some Hindus have also come in support of the movie - "I would make fun of them (the Hindu groups). I would say your faith is so weak that a comedy can offend you. I would then tell them, Your faith is not faith; it's a cover up for insecurity. Just because you are vegetarian and you dress like Hindus it doesn't mean you have strong faith." (Deepak Chopra in Rediff).

Till now nobody has seen the entire movie, all reactions are based on the trailer of the movie. The release date of the movie is June 20, 2008.

It is being reported that Parmount Pictures will screen for Hindu leaders before release.

In the movie ‘The Love Guru,’ it is clear that Mike Myers represents the numerous Gurus who have become famous in the West and many of them who have made a fortune.

And those Hindu leaders who are fighting for the movie have benefited from Hinduism. And that those Hindus (like Deepak Chopra) who have come in support of the movie have also benefited from Hinduism.

Cinema is today the most popular medium and any portrayal of major symbolic elements associated with a religion should not be misrepresented. Because when a religion is misunderstood it can create unwanted tensions in mixed communities. Especially, when the misrepresented religion is in minority. And it is for the Government and censor board to make sure that no religion is misrepresented and its followers do not face social problems - here it is the Hindus.

Hindus need protection but not Hinduism.

No religion has faced the kind of attacks that Hinduism has. Hindus have been butchered in millions in the middle ages. Kings of ancient world used all methods to finish it off. In modern times, British monarchy and Christian missionaries tried to wipe it out. Today, Indian politicians are trying hard to destroy it. But Sanatana Dharma (Hindu religion) withstood all onslaughts – because of its internal strength – it teaches the universal truth and gives utmost freedom to an individual to develop his/her spiritual thought.

Love Gurus come and go but Santana Dharma is eternal. We get hurt by Love Gurus when we narrow the scope of Hinduism and degenerate it into a mere religion. Truth cannot be captured in the four corners of a religion. Hinduism teaches to rise above the narrow walls of religion, community, country and realize the Brahman – present in the animate and inanimate and which exists in the born and the unborn and which only remains.

And if we Hindus fail to ignore such Love Gurus, we have to go back to the Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita and start from scratch. Because we have not even understood the basic teachings of Hinduism.