Awake: The Life of Yogananda



IMDb Rating 7.3 10 1222

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN


Anupam Kher as Narrator

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by philserve 10 / 10

Informative and spiritually powerful documentary

First let explain my bias and offer a YMMV disclaimer. Though I have never been a student of Yogananda, I did a practice very similar to his Kriya yoga for 10 years. And I've always been moved, open and inspired by his book (just like Steve Jobs!).

I thought the movie was well done, but certainly not up to the level of a Ken Burns production. And it did skim over areas that I wished went into more detail that anyone who has read his book will know about (such as the many great yogis that he met on his journey early in life).

But there are so many positive things I could say about the movie. The explanations of meditation from a scientific basis in the movie, just now being validated by neuroscience, shows how ahead of his time was Yogananda. And the struggles he had against racism, fundamental religious intolerance and general western biases were the obvious reactions to someone blazing a new spiritual path in the west. And the few seconds of seeing Ramana Maharshi on film was a nice touch. I was also impressed by the level of popularity that he had - surely the west was ready for something greater than it had.

Great movies leave an deep and lasting impact, often a emotional one, or they inspire you, or expand your understanding of the world, lift you up in some way.

But rare is the movie that can be an authentic spiritual event. The images of Yogananda on the screen, accompanied by his message of inspiration and esoteric discourse, had an effect on me that no other movie has had (or I expect ever will).

About halfway through the movie, the top of my head opened up as if was a large energetic funnel, filling me with an intense ecstasy straight down the central channel of my body. It was as if there was a lightning rod of ecstasy was posited straight down my body, then spreading out to my extremities through all the nerve channels. And my heart was inundated with intense love and joy. Though I expected to be emotionally moved by the film, this was far beyond my expectations.

This movie was essentially a kind of spiritual initiatory experience, or for those familiar with the term, a true Darshan event. And it is having life level impacts. Such is the power of a great spiritual being like Yogananda - even a movie of him can do this. Again: YMMV, but if you see this movie, I believe it can affect you much deeper than you maybe able to feel or recognize.

Reviewed by D-J 10 / 10

An unique human Being gets the visual treatment he deserves

The documentary has many of Yogananda's teachings. That in itself is a good enough reason to go in the first place. It has made me more grounded in my own yoga practices. The filmmakers show the history of this Sad Guru, his lineage, and the love between Guru and disciple. It has filled me with awe and gratitude for how he and his devotees have built up so much in the USA and India. The imagery is as close as one can get to the experience of the divine. The music is appropriate and runs well. The talking heads are all interesting to watch. For a change they actually have something to say. :-)

I'm very happy to be a human being.

Reviewed by shilpa-mankikar 9 / 10


As a South Asian American, Hindu, and person who has recently gone to (what I didn't realize was) Yogananda's center in LA - I found this fascinating! There are so few stories Indian American from this time period. His travel down South was fascinating, as was his "break-up" with his best friend / fellow guru Dhirananda. We still deal with this kind of racism or misunderstood Hinduism, so it was interesting to see how he navigated it at an even earlier & more closed-minded time. It also touches on the Hindu-influenced 60's which still permeates California and Hippie culture. My only note is that I wish they interviewed more women among the "celebs", some of whom have MeToo cases like Bikram Yoga.

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