We watch lots of movies, both on the big screen and at home. Just this past weekend we watched “Admissions” with Tina Fey and Paul Rudd (not a fave with the teen boys) and “Olympus has Fallen” with Aaron Eckhart, Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, and Angela Bassett. (Two thumbs up on that one–Morgan makes a great Speaker of the House.) Those were our “big screens.” At home, we watched “Kumare,” which we streamed through my laptop off Gaiam TV. As a writer, I drink up story in all formats. As a student of life, the more the story makes me think and grow in some way, the better.
That’s what this documentary by Vikram Gandhi did. Made me think. It stuck with me in a way the other two commercial films didn’t. As the tagline says, it’s the true story of Vikram, born and raised in New Jersey, who puts on the accent and affect of a guru from India. He pulls together some doctrine out of his core beliefs that he calls Kumare. He makes up some yoga moves and gives names to exercises like the “blue light meditation.” His goal? Upset by all the false prophets he saw in India, then carried over to the USA, he wanted to explore how easy it would be to start a false religion, taking the “act as if” concept to a new level.
While it starts out an experiment, what we witness is Vikram really honing more clearly on his core identity. We watch as he becomes the guru who he is pretending to be, as he connects with his core disciples in a way he isn’t able to do as Vikram. During the course of the film, he becomes his alter ego, so much so that he is unable to unveil his true identity to his followers when he is supposed to. It takes him leaving them, spending some time depressed, then coming back to them later and spilling his experiment. He sets that part up by saying they need not look outside themselves to find the best part of who they are because their true guru is inside them waiting to be discovered.
A few of his followers were not amused and no longer talk to Vikram. The others, however, see the value he gave them under any guise–namely, confidence in their own ability to tap into their inner guru.
Who is your inner guru? What is the message you would share if you only had one? Why are you here on this planet? Thanks, Vikram, for encouraging me to think in a world that really enjoys a good follower.