Julia Roberts will not shoot in original ashram, where “Eat, Pray, Love” author stayed

Julia Roberts (Public Domain Image by Federal Govt of USA)Oscar winner Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman) will reportedly not shoot “Eat, Pray, Love” in the original ashram (retreat) where author Elizabeth Gilbert stayed for about four months few years back in India, trying to find her spirituality.

Instead Roberts reportedly will be shooting in the third week of September in another ashram on Delhi-Jaipur National Highway 8, very close to Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, while staying at a hotel near airport. Reports say that as Roberts works 12 hours a day, she would like to stay close to the shooting venue.

SALE | Elizabeth Gilbert - Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and IndonesiaHindus are concerned about how their traditions will be depicted in the film. Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, urged its filmmakers to show sacred ashram and Hinduism concepts-beliefs-objects in an authentic manner in order to avoid misrepresenting the already misunderstood religion, which is oldest and third largest in the world.

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Although Gilbert did not disclose the name of the guru or the ashram where she stayed in her book, but it is widely guessed that she stayed at Gurudev Siddha Peeth at Ganeshpuri (Thane district) in Maharashtra and her guru was Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, a Siddha guru and follower of Swami Muktananda (who passed away in 1982). The goal of the Siddha Yoga path which this ashram follows is: “Self-realization -- the unceasing experience of unity with God”. Quoting Swami Muktananda: “Honor your Self, Worship your Self, Meditate on your self, God dwells within you as you.” The Siddha Yoga teachings spring from Kashmir Shaivism, Vedanta, and from the experience of Siddha masters.

Answering “Frequently Asked Questions” on her website, Gilbert says: “The Ashram where I studied is too small these days to accept new applicants…”. She defines God as: “The perfection that absorbs”. One of the great teachings Gilbert learned in India: “stillness”.

Welcoming Roberts to India for the shooting, Rajan Zed, who is president of Universal

Society of Hinduism, urged her to explore Hinduism further and visit some Hindu temples. Deeper study of Hinduism would complement her interest in yoga and other things Indian, Zed added.

Hollywood superstar Roberts sported a “bindi” (vermillion mark on forehead) during her recent trip to India and she has a production company called “Red Om Films”, and “Om” in Hinduism is the mystical syllable containing the universe.

Spirituality memoir “Eat, Pray, Love”, directed by Emmy nominated Ryan Murphy (Nip/Tuck) and produced by Columbia Pictures, Plan B Entertainment and Red Om Films, is aiming at a release in 2011. Besides Roberts, it also stars Oscar winner Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men), Oscar nominated Richard Jenkins (The Visitor), Oscar nominated Viola Davis (Doubt), Golden Globe winner James Franco (Pineapple Express), Billy Crudup (Almost Famous), etc.

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