Maybe all you want to know is why the surf break called Swami's near San Diego is called "Swami's." (The waves curl right in front of the headquarters of the Self-Realization Fellowship, founded by Paramahansa Yogananda.) If that's all, you are in for a healthy shock. The man was beyond human.
Using a seamless mix of re-creations and fascinating true footage, this very even-tempered documentary takes its audience all the way through a saint's life, from his first sensations in the womb to that moment in 1952 when, having recited a poem to a large crowd at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, he exited his body just like that. (The cast-off body did not putrefy.) In between those events he changed the Western world—the first yoga master to donate his life to non-Hindu humanity.
His Autobiography has sold more than four million copies in 34 languages. Beatle George Harrison used to hand it out to guests. (George appears often in this film and says that without Yogananda his life would have been a wreck.) The Autobiography was the only book Steve Jobs downloaded onto his iPad2.
It's shocking to see that this holy man came to America in 1920! Street kids mocked his physical appearance, people called him a snake-charmer, and in the racist South, hoo boy….
Talk about "Awake," though—the light in his eyes roused the world from its sleepingbag.
This film is not rated.