Awake: The Life of Yogananda

I just finished viewing the new biographical love letter to the man who set my feet on the path, so to speak – Awake:
the Life of Yogananda
. I had never seen so much video of the man, which was a great delight to me. And it’s beautifully filmed with scenes shot around the globe, for Yogananda’s influence is still felt wherever books, photos, DVDs and kindles are available.

The movie showcases his personal development as a man and Holy Man, complete with the joys and sorrows of anyone who takes on any truly enormous undertaking.

(Namely, introducing the rest of the work to the spiritual riches of India.) But it also skillfully weaves in world history from his birth in 1893 to his death in 1952…and beyond. You see the relationship he had with Mahatma Gandhi, his (at the time in the 1920’s) scandalous inclusion of women and people of color in his teachings….And the fierce debunking attempts by U.S. intelligence agencies which followed.

We meet his guru, Sri Yukteswar and see the transformation in Yogananda following his Master’s death. This lead to an almost 24/7 writing marathon of his famous memoirs, The Autobiography of a Yogi, which was my entre into his world. The movie does not miss the irony that while he was writing a primer of love, the first atomic bomb was being exploded. He wrote many other books and a complete series of instructions into Kriya Yoga meditation.

I was born 5 months before he consciously and publicly left his body in 1952. It may seem irrational to some, but I always felt he hung around long enough to see me into the world. Silly, I know. But, I’ve always appreciated it.

2 thoughts on “Awake: The Life of Yogananda

  1. Richard

    I loved “Awake” ! I read the “Autobiography of a Yogi” decades ago and expected “Awake” to be similar. It is a very beautiful film with lots of old photographs and movie clips, some nearly a century old. But what struck me most was how hard and long Yogananda had to work to achieve his mission.
    Although considered an incarnation of Love, Yogananda experienced a lot of heartbreak and disappointment in his life. This documentary makes you aware that even great spiritual teachers are humans that also need to be shown love, understanding, and gratitude.


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