Awake: The life of Yogananda

Awake: The life of Yogananda is a new documentary about Paramahansa Yogananda, an Indian guru who introduced millions of westerners to the teachings of meditation and a modern form of Yoga called Kriya Yoga. Born in 1893 he arrived in Boston in 1920, and founded the Self-realization fellowship headquarters on Mount Washington, Los Angeles. Yogananda was a tall sweet-faced man with a penetrating gaze. He became a big hit with rich women and men, and we see many archival photos showing Yogananda at conferences, or sitting with members of the high society. In the south in ran into trouble with the Ku Klux Klan. There was also some jealous husbands who did not like Yogananda spending so much time with their wives. He left to return to India, but came back to the United States later. His followers are numerous, among them celebrities like Steve Jobs and George Harrison (interviewed for the film before his death). Awake: The Life Of Yogananda is financed by the Self-realization fellowship, and its purpose seems to be to sell the yogi’s teachings, or at the very least, preach to the converted. The film avoids controversy and the subject of Yogananda’s personal life, if any and why. I would have wanted to know if there was some kind of vows of chastity, but they never approached the topic. As I mentioned, the converted will be pleased, others can learn about his life or simply not care. I am glad I saw it, but found this documentary too conventional.

Rémi-Serge Gratton


 Awake: The life of Yogananda 


Directed by: 
Paola di Florio
Lisa Leeman
87 min.

Rated General


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