Fake Guru makes True Movie


Here is an interesting tale of how art imitates life. Kumare is a story about what happened when Vikram Gandhi decided to be a ‘guru’ for a while – and managed to attract a following of sincere devotees. And his friend filmed the whole thing with three cameras.

Vikram is an American of Indian parentage who knew a little about religion, Hinduism and yoga. He wanted to see how readily he would be accepted by spiritual seekers if he adopted the appearance, speech and mannerisms of a ‘guru.’ So he went back to yoga classes, grew his hair and beard for the genuine guru look, created an online identity – then ‘came to America.’

The result is a sad indictment of our times – when the external appearances of a ‘guru’ coupled with the spiritual longings of under-informed and easily-pleased seekers can produce an ardent following of would-be disciples in just a short time.

‘Kumare’ made up his own Sanskrit slogans and chants – even translating the motto of the U.S. Marines: ‘Be all that you can be’ – so that it sounded like an ancient Upanishadic aphorism.

The problem is that most people do not know the symptoms of a guru, his external and internal characteristics. They consequently tend to project their spiritual aspirations onto someone who matches their prior notions of what such a spiritual person should be.

Some have said that even making this film would have destroyed the fledgling faith of those who fell for their ‘guru.’ That once caught out – and caught out on film before the eyes of the world – they would be much less likely to repose their trust in anyone else. I can understand that objection, and I have decades of personal experience of it. However, I feel that the merit of this successful duping of the American public will ultimately be that western culture itself becomes more circumspect about trusting someone because of exotic appearances only. Hopefully people who want to know about gurus will turn to the source literature on the subject and become able to discern genuine manifestations of spirituality from superficial appearances.

Below: Film teaser and interview

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5 Comments

Filed under Guru-Disciple, Hinduism, Journal, Religion

5 responses to “Fake Guru makes True Movie

  1. H.G. Ananta Suci Das

    Reminds one of that old Spanish saying `it takes Juan to know Juan`..lulz.

  2. William L. Purcell

    Excellent ! I really do think that this ..er… ‘ exercise ‘ in mindset was, overall,
    a good thing. I agree that what was said above , namely – ” However, I feel that the merit of this successful duping of the American public will ultimately be that western culture itself becomes more circumspect about trusting someone because of exotic appearances only. Hopefully people who want to know about gurus will turn to the source literature on the subject and become able to discern genuine manifestations of spirituality from superficial appearances.” – is a good
    thing overall.

    But –

    … But it IS the traditional , ancient teaching that God , Himself tests souls through
    false gurus – and that HE, (ie God, the One,True God alone) actually judges a soul
    by what it sincerely believes – To wit : If there is a soul who honestly and sincerely
    takes _ so-an’-so__ to be a truly divine Incarnation , a TRUE guru – then how that
    individual soul reacts to and treats that GURU (even if in fact it is an objectively
    false guru ! ) – the real and one, true God will judge as being done to HIS real and
    true Self – In other words : If the devotee sincerely loves the false guru , then the
    real, one , true God will take that as valid and genuine love for Himself ; if the
    chela of the (even objectively false) guru – honestly and sincerely believing this
    false guru to be a TRUE one – hates and rebels and disobeys this false guru (whom the chela sincerely believes to be real ! ) – the the real God will take that
    as real hatred , rebellion, and disobedience (ie seriously bad karma ) against HIM
    anyway – God will judge the soul on the basis of its individual sincere belief – and
    NOT on the objective fact of the false guru being objectively false. For a real test
    case of this – a really telling historical point : Read the Biography of Jetsun
    Milarepa , Tibet’s greatest Yogi

    http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/ReligionTheology/Buddhism/?view=usa&ci=9780195133134

  3. luis yuan

    The guru of Christians,or the Pope,is also being followed by millions,although he knows nothing about reincarnation[they believe that the dead body will be brought back to life!!],compassion[meat-eating],drinks or allow intoxicating drinks,and pure living…The same for all those leaders who ignore the basics of spirituality…[causelessmercy dt com]

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  5. bhakta raj prabhu Das

    That’s Hollywood! –or Bollywood or Schmollywood–or whatever.
    A great number of people are either incapable of thinking for themselves or too damn lazy to exert the effort. Should it then come as any surprise that any bozo can do a few magic tricks and get a following?

    I’m still reeling over the Heavens’ Gate thing…sheesh!

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