"Dawn of the Abyss" shows link between Christianity and Hinduism


Henri Le Saux was born in 1910 in a small coastal village in northern France. At an early age he felt Christ calling him, and joined a monastery when he was a teenager. But soon after becoming an ordained priest, something else began calling Le Saux: India. Le Saux followed the call and what ensued was a lifelong journey of spirituality, exploration and teaching that would not only transform him, but the very world around him.

Meditation on Marco is hosting a director’s screening of “Dawn of the Abyss: The Spiritual Birth of Swamiji” Friday at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. The film, directed by Fabrice Blée, explores the life of Henri Le Saux, his journey to India and his eventual metamorphosis into Swami Abhishiktananda.

“There seems to be a growing interest in Eastern spirituality, as I’ve witnessed in the growing popularity of our Mindfulness on Meditation on Marco group, and Henri Le Saux's story reflecting the indigenization of Christian and Hindu cultures is so compelling,” Patty Meyers, leader of Mediation on Marco, said. “Plus we also have the treat of having the film's writer and producer in attendance from Ottawa.”

Blée is a professor of theology at Saint Paul University in Ottawa, where he teaches Christian spirituality and interreligious dialogue. His idea for the film began during a trip to Le Saux’s monastery in India.

“Invited to participate in the symposium marking the centenary of the birth of Le Saux, held in the ashram of Shantivanam in India in January 2010, I shot the first images of the film,” he wrote on the film’s website. “This project required three trips to India, as well as to the Abbey Kergonan in Brittany (where Le Saux was a monk).”

And as it turns out, the senior minister from St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Father John, has also been to Shantivanam during a tour of India's holy sites, Meyers said, and he’ll be at the screening to share stories of his own Indian adventures.

Of course, even those who haven’t been to Shantivanam, or haven’t even heard of Le Saux, will be able to enjoy the film and, hopefully, learn a lesson from it.

“At this time of deep division in our country and world, I believe it's imperative to be open to new ideas and to educate ourselves on other religious traditions,” Meyers said. “By cultivating understanding and expanding awareness, we can better appreciate our commonalities and feel less threatened by our differences.”

Meditation on Marco meets 6:30 to 8 p.m., Thursdays, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.


Director’s screening of “Dawn of the Abyss”

WHERE: St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 1101 N. Collier Blvd

WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Friday

COST: Free

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