Paramahansa Yogananda (1893–1952) is known as the ‘Father of Yoga in the West’. In this fascinating documentary, produced by the Self-Realization Fellowship who continues his work, we learn about his extraordinary life.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2015
“Fittingly enlightening, Awake: The Life of Yogananda is a vivid, elegantly assembled portrait of the savvy guru with the cherubic face and penetrating gaze who brought meditation to the West. Although the name Paramahansa Yogananda (1893–1952) may not ring a bell, his teachings had a lifelong influence on the likes of George Harrison and Steve Jobs… Heeding a metaphysical calling to leave India for materialistic America, Yogananda initially landed at Boston Harbor at the dawn of the Roaring 20s but eventually realized that Los Angeles would offer a greater wellspring of disciples… But when Yogananda took his teachings to the South, he experienced a rude spiritual awakening upon discovering orange robe-wearing, long-haired, brown-skinned men weren’t exactly warmly embraced. It wasn’t long before he was smeared as the leader of a love cult preying on married women. Funded by the Self-Realization Fellowship but co-directed by Paola di Florio and Lisa Leeman with an open, inquisitive mind, the film offers an absorbing glimpse into the life and times of the world’s first superstar swami.” — Michael Rechtshaffen, LA Times