It had been advertised that Srila Prabhupada would give class that night. But
since the program had run so late, it was decided that regular evening classes
would commence from the next day. Madhudvisha suggested that William Kerr
could show his movie In God's Name in Prabhupada's room instead, and
As the last rays of the sun highlighted the multicoloured facets of the stained
glass windows of Prabhupada's room, William nervously threaded the film.
Madhudvisha introduced both William and the film. "I think you remember
William, Srila Prabhupada. He filmed your lectures last year, and also the
Ratha-yatra parade. This film was made about a year and a half ago in early
1974. William got a grant from the government to make it. It was filmed at the
Sydney temple, which was in Double Bay at the time."
William wanted to capture a day in the life of a devotee, and he hopes to be
able to distribute it widely. "It's a full-length colour documentary. I think you'll
enjoy it, Srila Prabhupada." A few more devotees squeezed into the room, and as Prabhupada relaxed on his
chaise longue the lights dimmed. The film opened with a devotee blowing a
conchshell, to wake a room of sleeping brahmacaris at the auspicious brahma
muhurta hour. As they enthusiastically bounded to the shower, the young
brahmacari woke Madhudvisha, who bowed down, rolled up his sleeping bag and
then bowed again.
By an editing quirk, it appeared that Madhudvisha's second offering of obeisances
was to his sleeping bag. Prabhupada laughed along with the devotees at the
inadvertent humour. The film clearly showed with the help of a voice-over
commentary the sadhana, or the regulated daily practices of a devotee. This
included taking bath, applying tilaka, putting on a dhoti, attending kirtana, japa,
Srimad-Bhagavatam class, guru-puja and tulasi puja. The film was interspersed
with footage of Srila Prabhupada at the 1974 Gaura Purnima festival in
The movie also showed street kirtana, book distribution and chanting at the
Sydney Domain, and a Sunday feast program and drama. Prabhupada laughed as
two obese, beer-bellied men in blue Toohey's Lager singlets, appeared on the
screen. Wiggling their hips and chanting, "Ali Baba, Ali Baba," they made unsuccessful attempts to sing and dance along with Lagudi as he danced on one
leg like a whirling firebrand.
Prabhupada joined the devotees in their applause at the end of what had been
an entertaining hour. Most devotees then left the room and went to the temple
for arati. While William was packing up his equipment, Srila Prabhupada asked
him about his plans. William, who had once been a brazen and up-front news
cameraman, nervously explained to Prabhupada that he was hoping to be able
to make films about Krishna using stop-motion animation. He described to
Prabhupada the basic techniques involved.
Prabhupada liked the idea. "Yes! You do a film on each chapter of the Krishna
book. Each chapter is a story by itself.?" After an in-depth discussion about the
art of using one's talents in the service of Krishna, William left feeling encouraged.
But he knew he had a big job ahead.