New animated versions of Krishna, Arjuna


From time to time my readers send me clips of films that have some spiritual message. Here are a few that are directly related to stories from our Vedic heritage.

In general, Srila Prabhupada was interested in any medium that would take the messages of Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam to a greater audience. He was more reserved with regards to animated cartoons however, since he thought that they would not have the effect of the viewers actually understanding the reality of Krishna. ‘Cartoon’ means ‘unfinished painting’ and Srila Prabhupada stated that he wanted the paintings of Krishna and His incarnations to be as realistic as possible so that they would act as ‘windows to the spiritual world.’

Some people have tried hard with these, and apparently extensive research was involved in the Little Krishna that is soon to be shown on the Nickleodeon channel. I think the artwork  is significantly more real than non CGI cartoon images and I also feel that they may promote factual attraction for Krishna within children.

More information on Little Krishna can be had here: LITTLE KRISHNA

The Arjuna clip reveals – to those who’ve read The Mahabharata – that the story has been changed to accomodate greater dramatic effect. Still, people may be stimulated to enquire further and to read the original stories, now translated into almost 100 different languages by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. See what you think:

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2 responses to “New animated versions of Krishna, Arjuna

  1. Akruranatha

    Devotees always talk about when there will be first class presentations of Srila Prabhupada’s books in popular culture that will capture the public’s imagination. Book distributors dream about the day when blockbuster Bhagavad-Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam and Caitanya Caritamrta movies will drive millions of people to seek out and faithfully study Prabhupada’s books.

    A couple of years ago in L.A., Hari Sauri related an incident over lunch (he was talking to a devotee theatre producer) about how some big Bollywood producers came to meet Srila Prabhupada to get his blessings for a proposed Krishna film, based on Srimad Bhagavatam’s Tenth Canto. Hari Sauri’s recollection was that Srila Prabhupada told them they should start with a film on the First Canto.

    [As far as I know, they never tried.]

    The main thing, it seems to me, is that for a film to be really effective it has to present the subject matter purely so that an intelligent audience becomes inspired to read Srila Prabhupada’s books and to sincerely seek out Lord Krishna.

    Most audiences are after action, comedy, love stories, supernatural situations, all in the name of “entertainment”, and unless it entertains and titillates the mass audience it is not economically feasible to produce.

    Of course, Srimad Bhagavatam has all of these elements in greater degree than the mass audience can ever imagine, all in relation to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As such it expresses the highest truth and solves all of the problems of the world (religious, philosophical, ethical, social, economic, aesthetic, etc.), but the people in general are somehow not attracted…yet.

    By Lord Caitanya’s mercy, when the great devotee artists learn how to present it correctly, and when the audience is sufficiently fortunate, all their disqualifications can be sufficiently purified for them to appreciate the books and movies of pure devotees.

    I have not seen enough of “Little Krishna” to judge. It seems to be very high quality animation. However, it seems to be aimed at children and to present Krishna as a kind of super hero or invented legend, rather than as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I hope this “ploy” will be accompanied by enough purity in the presentation that a real taste and desire will be awakened for understanding Krishna as He really is. Otherwise it may just be another ineffective presentation, taken as merely an Indian-flavored child’s entertainment (i.e., cheaply.) I hope it proves much better than that.

    I must say I was not impressed with the Japanese animated Ramayana of 10 or 15 years ago, which did not convey any real mood of Rama bhakti but was basically just another kid’s action cartoon. I will say that the small clips I have seen from “Little Krishna” are higher quality and contain some Maha Mantra chanting at least. I hope it works.

    What I am mostly dying to see is an effective, interesting film about Bhagavad-Gita for adults that can really reach and move people.

    No, I do not mean a 3-hour conversation in Krishna and Arjuna costumes like a transcendental “My Dinner With Andre” with a big psychedelic Virat-rupa FX scene in the middle. I mean somehow an engaging drama or even partial documentary that conveys the importance and real spirit and essential teachings of Bhagavad-Gita.

    And the most essential teachings are that we are not these bodies, we are spirit souls, condemned to a life of repeated birth, old age and death under the influence of the three modes as long as we do not awaken our natural spirit of loving service to Krishna, who is the Supreme Soul and our eternal master, and that this mood of loving service is easily awakened in this age by chanting Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

    We can only approach Him through pure bhakti, and He wants to help us do so, and if we constantly revere His holy names He will make all arrangements and give us all the knowledge and detachment we need for success.

    When a commercially viable movie can convey that, and direct people to the treasure house of Srila Prabhupada’s books for further information and progress, it will be a great blessing to the entire world.

  2. Aryan Krishna

    By Lord Vasudeva’s mercy, I’m going to be a part of mainstream entertainment business in Bollywood. I need blessings of all the vaishnava devotees in this task. It’s difficult to approach materialistic Bollywood/Hollywood folks and expect them to give people a pure version. So I decided, I will enter in the industry myself. I request other devotees to think big & work harder than karmis for Lord Krishna’s mission. We shouldn’t be afraid to work in material fields for Lord Krishna’s service just like Arjuna

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