Prudence Farrow Bruns was first introduced to transcendental meditation in 1968 when she traveled to Rishikesh, India, at the foot of the Himalayas, to study under the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Now she is going back.
Bruns was there at the same time as two of the Beatles — John and George — and became the inspiration for Lennon's writing "Dear Prudence," which was recorded and released later that year and appears on their White Album.
When Bruns speaks of the prompting of the song's writing, she said she took so intensely to the yogic study of TM that Lennon was sent to check on her.
"I would always rush straight back to my room after lectures and meals so I could meditate. They would want to sit around jamming and having a good time and I'd be flying into my room. They were all serious about what they were doing, but they just weren't as fanatical as me,” she said.
Bruns has traveled back to India for TM many times and has taught it all over the United States and Canada, including in her home community of South Walton, where she has resided full time since 2004.
First introduced to South Walton when she honeymooned here in 1969, Bruns and her husband built here in 1975 and returned with their children often before settling on making this home.
"This is Albert's dream spot," she said of her husband.
Prudence now has a dream of her own: to make a documentary film about the Kumbh Mela Pilgrimage in India that will take place Jan. 27 through Feb. 25. She calls it a big festival of spirits who come together to celebrate the spiritual.
"Different types of religious figures and a large gathering of 70 to 90 million people will be there, with more than a million from the West. It's an experience; it's enormous, inspiring, and the largest gathering on earth for peace," she said.
The gathering only happens once every 12 years.
Bruns' dream is to make a documentary film about this event, what she considers to be one of the most profound gatherings of humans in the world, and she will travel there for the event.
To accomplish this end, Bruns draws on a background of growing up around film production as her father was Oscar-winning director John Farrow; her mother was actress Maureen O'Sullivan, and her younger sister is acclaimed actress Mia Farrow. And, while living in New York City, Bruns worked as a film packager.
Bruns established the Dear Prudence Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, in July 2012 to foster awareness about and educate those interested in all facets of the yogic tradition.
The Foundation consists of a few like-minded individuals with limited resources who share the goal of creating a better world through education and by expanding one’s individual awareness to make better personal choices and informed decisions that affect others and the planet positively.
Through her Dear Prudence Foundation, Bruns launched a Kickstarter campaign to film the documentary about the gathering of saints, yogis, and people seeking enlightenment at the festival.
The Foundation sought to raise $5,000 in start-up funds for the film's production and crew of three to capture visuals and original interviews at the festival. By Dec. 18, 46 backers had pledged $5,531. She will use the funds for travel expenses for three photographers, and for an editor, music, and other costs. Her desire is to hire quality people who have worked for The Travel Channel and National Geographic; all Academy Award winners, for a top-notch production. Any money made over expenses will go back into her non-profit foundation and toward TM programs and educational websites.
Bruns believes this is a project worthy of financing as she feels there is a spiritual awakening afoot and people are showing a renewed interest in TM.
"I plan to interview a lot of people in India about yoga, as yoga came out of India. I hope to capture the interest and understanding that is currently developing, and do commentaries and get a lot of footage, and a story comes out. Yoga is about being more peaceful and connected with yourself," she said.
Part of the film will focus on educating people about meditation.
Bruns is also in the process of forming a yoga lifestyle website that will serve as a marketplace of sorts. Her website is www.dearprudencefoundation.org.
For more information about the campaign visit http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1927278492/kumba-mela-documentary. On the site is a video of Bruns, describing the significance of Kumbh Mela.