Published On: Mon, Dec 25th, 2017

How movies embraced Hinduism (without you even noticing) : The Guardian

The idea that propels the plots is that there is a universal super-consciousness that transcends time and space, and in which all human life is connected – has been around for about 3,000 years. It is Vedic.
When the film Interstellar’s astronaut hero (Matthew McConaughey), declares that the mysterious and all-knowing “they” who created a wormhole near Saturn through which he travels to save mankind – dissolving his sense of material reality in the process – are in fact “us”, he is simply repeating the central notion of the Upanishads, India’s oldest philosophical texts. These hold that individual human minds are merely brief reflections within a cosmic one
“Look at the first Matrix movie,” says producer Peter Rader. “It’s a yogic movie. It says that this world is an illusion. It’s about maya – that if we can cut through the illusions and connect with something larger we can do all sorts of things. Neo achieves the abilities of the advanced yogis [Paramahansa] Yogananda described, who can defy the laws of normal reality.”
bBut before Nolan, before the Matrix, before, even, the iPad, there was Star Wars. It was the film, with its cosmic scale and theme of a transcendental “force” that confers superhuman powers on those who can align with it, which opened up mainstream American culture to Indian esotericism more than anything else. George Lucas was influenced by the mythologist Joseph Campbell, whose work A Hero With a Thousand Faces traced the narrative arc common to all mythic heroes that Luke Skywalker would embark upon. Campbell himself lived by his Upanishadic mantra “follow your bliss”, which he derived from the Sanskrit term sat-chit-ananda.
“Spirituality is the open-secret,” says Rader. “A lot of people know that if we quieten down we can tap into a deeper power. And the movies that tap into that, like Star Wars and Interstellar, are hugely popular. Audiences know what the film is telling them, they have a sense that this story is working on a deeper level. It’s telling them that there’s more to life than just the ordinary. That there’s something much bigger, and they’re a part of it.”
A philosophy to which many are keen to subscribe is what makes religions successful. Movies, too.