Awake: The Life of Yogananda

Synopsis: Unique biopic about Yogananda, author of The Autobiography of a Yogi. In the 1920s, he brought Hindu spirituality to the West. This tells the story of his life and influence on yoga, religion and science, combining re-enactment, interviews, and verité.
Genre: Documentary
Production: PMK BNC Film
 
IMDB:
7.2
Metacritic:
54
Rotten Tomatoes:
67%
PG
Year:
2014
87 min
Website
278 Views


NARRATOR:
I was conscious

in my mother's womb.

Feeling the movements

in her body.

Aware of my own

helpless state.

This body bundle

of bones is not I.

Occasionally,

the darkness of the womb

would be dispelled

and light would visit me.

On one side I wanted

to express myself

as a human being,

yet, on the other side,

I didn't.

Because I felt I was spirit.

(INDISTINCT CHATTERING)

I see behind the scenes.

The visible man is a shadow.

As soon as I change

my consciousness,

I see everything,

just as if it were

a motion picture.

RAVI SHANKAR:

I distinctly remember

the excitement of meeting

Swami Yogananda.

He was straight

from the heart.

He looked strange,

like a woman with long hair.

But I remember

his powerful eyes.

He created such a stir.

KRISHNA DAS:
I remember

the first time I heard

Yogananda's voice.

I got a record,

I think, from SRF.

And I put it on,

and I didn't

know what to expect.

And then, this

booming, powerful

"I, Paramahansa Yogananda,

am singing.

"Sing with me."

I went... (GROANS)

(YOGANANDA SPEAKING)

I, Paramahansa Yogananda,

am praying.

Pray with me.

Bless me that

with the awakening dawn...

I may awaken

all souls with my own...

...and bring them to Thee.

He wasn't trying

to sing prettily,

wasn't trying to

entertain people.

He was singing,

you know, to God.

It was so powerful.

HARRISON:

While I was in India,

I was with Ravi Shankar.

He gave me

Autobiography of a Yogi.

Just looked at the cover,

and he just zapped

me with his eyes.

I mean I can't imagine...

If I hadn't read that,

I probably wouldn't

have a life. Really.

Yeah, I probably would have

kicked the bucket.

Or I'd just be, you know,

some horrible person

with a pointless life.

It just gave meaning to life.

HITENDRA WADHWA:

Steve Jobs apparently had

only one book on his iPad.

Lo and behold,

that book turns out to be

the Autobiography of a Yogi.

(FEMALE INSTRUCTOR

SPEAKING INDISTINCTLY)

MAS VIDAL:
Yoga, for many,

has become something

that you do with your body.

But the yogis

never taught that.

The way that

Yogananda taught yoga,

was use the body,

you have a body,

but it's really

about the mind.

Expanding your consciousness.

Who am I? Who you are?

Why we came to

this Earth as a human?

LI MIAO TSENG:
It's really

very easy to get lost

in the complexity of life.

FRANCIS CLOONEY:
We're

conflicted beings as humans.

One of the deepest

things about us

is that our lives

don't make sense,

except in the mystery.

Yogananda provided us

a vocabulary to talk

about the human spirit

that got away from dogma,

and doctrine, and ritual.

Whether it be a Hindu, Muslim,

Christian, Jewish, whatever

tradition you're part of,

Yogananda charted

a path inward

that connected you

with your own divinity.

NARRATOR:
Buried during

the Dark Ages...

Kriya Yoga was

revived for modern man

by the deathless

yogi Mahavatar Babaji.

Babaji instructed

Lahiri Mahasaya

to teach Kriya Yoga to others.

The transmission of

the ancient science

from guru to disciple.

Unknown to society in general,

a great spiritual renaissance

started in a remote

corner of Banaras.

(INDISTINCT CHATTERING)

(BELLS RINGING)

(SPEAKING INDISTINCTLY)

As the fragrance of flowers

cannot be suppressed,

so devotees from

every part of India

began to seek

the divine nectar

of this liberated master.

Day after day,

the guru initiated

one or two devotees

into Kriya Yoga,

the science of meditation.

Early in their married life,

my parents became disciples.

Lahiri Mahasaya

predicted my birth,

and that through this body

many shall receive

the spiritual

enlightenment of India.

"The message of yoga

will encircle the globe,"

he said.

It will aid in establishing

the brotherhood of man.

But when I heard

the word "guru,"

it frightened me.

For I knew what that

responsibility meant.

VIDAL:
His great burden

is to be the representative

of this 5,000-year-old

tradition.

FELICIA TOMASKO:

This is a man with

intuitive knowledge.

Extraordinary yogic powers.

And he could perceive events

that were decades

in front of him.

But his teachings

caused controversy.

SONI:
He would be

called into question,

and everything he worked for

would unravel.

(INDISTINCT WHISPERINGS)

(INDISTINCT CHATTERING)

BROTHER VISHWANANDA:

Every soul is on a journey.

People are at different levels

in that journey.

I think we all believe

that there's more to life

than what we experience

every day.

DEEPAK CHOPRA:
Yogananda

happens to be what I would

call a spiritual prodigy.

A spiritual genius.

Which means had

access to a domain

of awareness that most people

don't have access to.

Like mathematical geniuses,

he explored

a much larger territory

in the spiritual domain.

NARRATOR:
Sometimes, I used to

lapse into the consciousness

of my true spirit.

Clear recollections came to me

of a distant life,

in which I had been a yogi

amid the Himalayan snows.

STEFANIE SYMAN:
He also had

visions of seeing his guru.

VISHWANANDA:
Throughout

the ages, there have been

mystics who come

with special knowledge

that helps us understand

our place in the universe.

Yogananda was born at the dawn

of the atomic age,

when modern physics

would shatter

our most basic beliefs

about the nature of reality

and pave the way

for an ancient

and hidden teaching

to be received by many.

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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