A Farce With Heart

Last night I watched Kumaré, a mock documentary made by the very talented Vikram Gandhi. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly highly recommend that you do. It is extremely engaging, touching, funny, but most important it drives home a very important point with extraordinary skill.

Vikram Gandhi was born and raised in New Jersey, of Indian decent. His parents immigrated here from India and maintained a lot of their Indian values and traditions, but he was always highly skeptical about organized religion. He actually studied religion at Stanford and got fascinated by modern day gurus, particularly those who were born in the west. After graduating, he became a film maker and started to interview many of these people.

By 2010, a light went off in his head. He realized that an enormous component of the traditional guru-disciple relationship is actually created by projection (isn’t that what we’ve been saying with awakening coaching for the last 20 years?)

So he engaged in an extraordinary, elaborate and courageous experiment. He travelled to India, the country of his ancestral roots, grew his hair halfway down his back and a long beard, and adopted the personality of “Kumaré,” an Indian mystic. He learned the basics of yoga and meditation, enough that he could pull off his plan. When he had fully got the part down, he travelled to Phoenix, AZ with a film crew and two actresses who were to play the part of his devotees. He sets up shop as a guru.

Vikram Gandhi

The film documents a few months in Arizona where he gradually accumulates a following of people who take him extremely seriously. The film is outrageously funny at times, like when he goes to see a psychic reader, and she says she can see a long line of past lives where he has been a spiritual teacher and avatar. Almost everyone takes to him, sees light and wisdom radiating from his eyes, and divulges all their personal problems to him. Which of course, being a film maker from New Jersey, he doesn’t have the first clue how to answer. So he answers them with questions (exactly what we do in awakening coaching!)

This may sound a bit like another Sacha Baron Cohen mischievous adventure, of the likes of Borat or Bruno. But it has a twist. Vikram Gandhi is not just trying to fool people (although he does pull that off magnificently well), he is also trying to make a point. He actually develops a relationship with his  “disciples” and really cares about them. The point that he sets out to make, both to the unwitting participants in his prank as well as us his viewers, is that the answers that we are looking for in spiritual teachers are mostly to be found in our own intelligence if we only trust ourselves enough to look in that direction. 

This is a must see film. It is extremely funny, never gets boring for a second, very touching and inspiring, but also makes a really important point about the times in which we live with great skill and wisdom. 

Like many things these days, this film reminds us of our own natural intelligence which so easily gets diluted by the habit of looking for answers outside of ourselves. The film is about spiritual intelligence: the wisdom we all carry just one flight of steps down below the busy mind.


We also have physical, animal intelligence. The human body knows when it wants to sleep, when it wants to eat, what it wants to eat, when it wants to vomit, or cry, or run. Allowing the body its own intelligence is probably the most important key to good health, high energy and a vehicle that is completely cooperative in giving your gifts. But this intelligence also gets covered over by a mountain of should’s and shouldnt’s which we have accumulated from intellectual understanding, This coming Saturday, March 2nd, we start our Honor The Body 21-day Quantum Intensive. You can read more about it here. I hope you consider joining us.

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One Response to “A Farce With Heart”

  1. Sheryl March 26, 2013 at 7:33 pm // Reply

    I just watched Kumare’ on netflix, all I can say is 🙂 WOW. What a great example of learning to “know thy self” and how responsive the world can be with the human connection.


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