“FAITH BEGINS AS AN EXPERIMENT AND ENDS AS AN EXPERIENCE.” - William Ralph Inge
KUMARE: Today is the the unveiling. At the unveiling we are unveil our true self. You see, I am not who you think that I am.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): My name is Vikram Ghandi, and I wasn’t always a guru.
[NEW JERSEY 1984]
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): That’s me. Yup, pretty cool.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): And my brother was pretty cool, too.
VIKRAM GHANDI’S BROTHER: I just called to say I love you from the bottom of my butt.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): I come from a long line of religious Hindus. Like many first-generation immigrants, my parents were determined not to let America’s great melting pot dilute our Indian traditions. So they immersed me in Hindu mythology, Indian philosophy and endless ritual. Most American kids my age worshipped Hulk Hogan. But I was exposed to a whole different set of heroes. At times, these ancient rituals seemed like little more than a source of public embarrassment, and I began to question why we needed a religion in the first place.
INDIAN SPEAKER: Religion is life and life is religion.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): Maybe this was all just a bunch of nonsense somebody made up a long time ago. Despite my growing skepticism, I remember watching my grandmother perform morning prayers and seeing this great sense of calm sweep over her. That feeling must have come from somewhere. I studied religion in college, hoping to find spiritual answers. But it backfired. I only became more of a skeptic. By the time I was an adult and ready to leave my religion behind, America was embracing the very same tradition I was trying to escape. Yoga had become the answer to all of our Western problems
WOMAN: For me it’s, like, the only time when I can kind of, like, shut down my inner voice. [babbles]
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): And a $5 billion a year industry. The messengers of this movement called themselves gurus. They dressed like Indian monks and swamis and drew their credibility from thousands of years of Indian spirituality, whether they had a claim to it or not. I wanted to know if these spiritual leaders were for real or just full of it. So I started to make a documentary about them.
WOMAN: You know, I think he’s right up there in the ranks of the angels. And I’ve been waiting for a teacher like this for so long, Vikram, you know?
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): Many were all too willing to enjoy the fruits of their power
BHAGAVAD DAS, GURU OF DEVOTION: If I was a 20-year-old girl, I would love hanging out with me. Do you follow me? I would just love it.
TWENTY-YEAR-OLD GIRL: He’s the new teacher of this age of this world.
BHAGAVAD DAS, GURU OF DEVOTION: He’s having sex with all the young girls; he cannot be a real guru. Why not?
TWENTY-YEAR-OLD GIRL: He’s the one who has the answer. That’s what I believe.
BHAGAVAD DAS, GURU OF DEVOTION: What could be more fabulous than having sex with a really spiritual, mystical person? Wow.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): These people insisted they were somehow different than everyone else in some inexplicable way, but none of them seemed any different to me.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): So how do you figure out who’s real?
AMRIT DESAI, YOGI MASTER: Only the one who carries that power to transmit it non-verbally. That’s how you know.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): I traveled to India hoping to find a true spiritual teacher that I could believe in, but the Indian gurus were just as phony as the ones I had found in America.
SWAMI CHIDANANDA, HINDU SWAMI: When I was eight I was given this divine touch by the master. One touch. Just he touched me here and...
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): A lot of the gurus I met claimed to be more authentic than other gurus.
BABA RAGU RAM, HINDU ASCETIC: They don’t teach the spiritual, just they get money from them, and they say, “OK, make long beard, make long dreadlock, and live like a bhagwan, dress like a bhagwan.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): I felt like the gurus were trying to out-guru each other.
BABA RAGU RAM, HINDU ASCETIC: To go to God and to live a spiritual is very different. And very difficult to live a spiritual life.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): Even people who said they weren’t gurus were often treated by others as if they were. I guess my problem wasn’t with spirituality; it was just with spiritual leaders. Why did we need them?
WOMAN: Oh, there’s a store. Let’s go shopping.
BHAGAVAD DAS, GURU OF DEVOTION: She’s sexy, huh? Fucking sexy, man. Huh?
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): I wanted to prove to others who were looking for answers that no one is more spiritual than anyone else, that spiritual leaders are just illusions, and we are the ones who decide who and what is real. So I thought, what if I became a spiritual leader? If I could do it, wouldn’t it prove anyone could? With a few cosmetic changes, I could easily look like a guru. So I let my hair grow out, and my beard. I started practicing yoga and meditation every day. I felt the effects almost immediately. Now all I needed was to imitate my grandmother’s voice.
VIKRAM GHANDI: Hello.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): At first it was fun. It was a prank.
VIKRAM GHANDI: Hello.
WOMAN: How are you. Good to meet you, guru.
VIKRAM GHANDI: Nice to meet you.
WOMAN: Is that how you go by, or is there another name we should call you?
VIKRAM GHANDI: What would you like to call me?
WOMAN: I don’t know. I should call you guru.
VIKRAM GHANDI: All right.
VIKRAM GHANDI: Yes. Very good.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): I wanted to try out my disguise in a more formalized setting. So I got my friend to book my guru alter ego as a guest teacher at a local yoga studio.
VIKRAM GHANDI: And you just...
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): I created a series of made up chants.
[“BE ALL THAT YOU CAN BE”]
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): And I taught nonsense rituals and yoga moves. People seemed to like it. I thought of that inner peace I found while sitting with my grandmother. Was that real? Could people find the same peace from a made up religion that they found in a real one? Could I really pull this off?
WOMAN: I felt connected to you right away. Um, something about you. I was, like, I would just follow him anywhere.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): This is the story of the biggest lie I’ve ever told and the greatest truth I’ve ever experienced. It’s about the time I pretended to be a wise guru from the East and started a following of real people in the West. This is the story of Kumare.
[FUTURE BLISS FILMS PRESENTS]
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): It was time to start my experiment living as the guru Kumare. I chose Phoenix, Arizona because I figured people there would be open to the teachings of an Eastern guru, and if I was going to pull this off without getting caught, I needed a place where nobody would recognize me. I was going to need help, so I brought with me Purva to book events and Kristen to help spread Kumare’s teachings to the yoga world. They would be Kumare’s first followers and greatest public supporters. Together we set out to spread the teachings of Sri Kumare. This was our house and our temporary ashram. I moved my bedroom outside so I could sleep like all the gurus and swamis I had met in India. I taught Kristen my fake yoga moves and began writing down the basics of a Kumare philosophy. As a guru, all I would teach people was that I was an illusion. But in order to find students I could teach this to, I needed to establish myself in the community. So Purva began booking classes.
PURVA (on the telephone): OK, see you Sunday for three hours. OK, bye.
PURVA: Booked! So, it’s Inner Vision Studio in, uh, Phoenix. They have, like, three or four locations. And, I mean, it’s such a huge place that I personally think we’ll get, like, 40-50 people in there.
KUMARE: Good job.
KRISTEN: When we talk about Kumare. “Kumare” means “divine child.” It’s more of a title rather than a name like any of us have.
PURVA: This is, uh, from the Kumare Sutra, chapter 3, section 12: “The seeker who finds the teacher feeds himself with the milk of wisdom like a child at a mother’s teat, nurtured by faith in the dream of Pinkaloka.”
KUMARE: Right side, left side, right side, left side.
KRISTEN: This is good for when we’re feeling stuck.
KUMARE: In what part of life you use yoga to help? Life problems sometime heal from yoga?
TOBY: I have a really stressful job.
KUMARE: What your job is?
TOBY: I’m a death penalty attorney.
TOBY: I’m the one who at the last minute tries to call the governor to save the life of my client who’s going to be killed by the government.
KUMARE: OK. You need someone to be that one who calls your governor to save you.
TOBY: Can you teach me?
TOBY: It’s fascinating but it’s very dangerous ‘cause your heart gets bound up with these people.
KUMARE: All people who want to do good, they sometime forget that they also have to do good for themself.
TOBY: Kumare’s more than a teacher, you know. He’s more than just putting you through the asanas and all that.
TOBY: Thank you so much. You were all wonderful.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): Toby was a smart lady, and much to my surprise, she felt a connection to Kumare.
TOBY: As much time as he can spend I would be happy to spend with him.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): In order to find more people like Toby, we needed to spread the word.
PURVA: He holds up the mirror for you, but not literally—metaphorically.
PURVA AND KRISTEN (singing): Kumare, Kumare, Kumare. Jei Sri Kumare.
MAN (singing): Jei Sri Kumare
KRISTEN: We know the answer’s inside. We just need someone to bring it out in us. And that’s what he does.
PURVA: Hold the mirror up.
KRISTEN: So everybody’s truth is going to be different.
KUMARE: I see myself in that people and people I know will look at myself and see what they want to see.
GREG: I met Guruji, and I swear he’s fresh out of the Himalayas. There’s something about him that is truly unique. He’s just a simple man. There’s nothing phony about him.
MAN: Kumare is a being that is open towards everything in a non-judgmental way.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): The more students I met and classes I taught, the more it seemed the Kumare movement could take hold.
WOMAN: I did want to have a little bit of your energy.
MOLLY: The people that feel that connection towards him and they see him and they’re, like, “Teach me, teach me. Bring it in, bring it in.”
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): People were asking for my blessing. So I just started to imagine I had this blue light, this pure love inside me, and I would just shoot it onto them.
KUMARE: Blue light in forehead.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): I didn’t know what I was doing, but people seemed so fascinated by me.
STEWART: He just has this infectious laugh. And you feel like you’ve known him all your life.
MOLLY: For some reason I just know that I’m going to have a little bit more time with this guy.
KUMARE (singing): Kumare, Kumare, Kumare.
YOGA CLASS (singing): Kumare, Kumare, Kumare.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): I kept inventing my own spiritual jargon. And what I was saying often made little sense.
KUMARE: This one you say, like, Om. But because we say that, whole world change.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): My back story was equally convoluted.
KUMARE: Why do I ask, “Where are you from?” I say, “Aali’kash. This one from my mind. You have problem?”
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): Basically I was just telling everybody I was fake.
KUMARE: This whole thing like a show, right? This one, this guy in a dress looking this? All show.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): As Vikram I defined myself as where I lived, who I knew. But as Kumare I was nobody. I was an empty vessel.
KUMARE: They call me Kumare.
KUMARE: Kumare. Kumare.
MAN: Eh, my English isn’t that good.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): And for once, I was capable of anything.
WOMAN: When he would focus on the different chakras, I was just on fire. It’s very powerful.
MAN: It was interesting trying to teach a Himalayan yogi master some magic tricks.
KUMARE: Don’t do that.
MAN: But he pulled it off very well.
KUMARE: Why did everyone love being around Kumare?
WOMAN: I actually felt better in his presence.
ELDERLY WOMAN: It’s the first time I’ve ever had contact with a genuine guru.
KUMARE: I am from family called Aali’kash.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): And why did I love being him?
LITTLE BOY: I like to play games all the time.
KUMARE: I also like to play games.
LITTLE BOY: Oh.
WOMAN: I have intense feelings about [unintelligible].
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): As Kumare I got to be happy all the time. That was my job.
JOHN ROGER: You are aware you are looking intently.
KUMARE: No I’m not.
JOHN ROGERS: Get out of my head.
KUMARE: This symbol is your religion symbol?
WOMAN: No, no. It’s just Mickey Mouse.
WOMAN: I could tell that he was very very special before I even met him.
WOMAN: There’s a white glow in tight against your body. It’s so pure and bright and white. It’s just absolutely beautiful.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): Living as Kumare was starting to rub off on me. It’s like when your mother tells you: “Be careful what face you make because it’ll stay like that.”
PAM, PAST LIFE PSYCHIC: I feel myself getting warmer than normal. I’m sure that’s your energy. And I see behind you the whole sea of other Kumares. They all stand behind you and they just rise behind you. I see almost a “V.” It feels that it is your turn to be here and be the embodiment of that energy now. It’s as if you marinated in it before you came here.
PAM, PAST LIFE PSYCHIC: I would see him in an ascended master status. It just seems a little different than some of the others I experience. I’m sure there’s realms that I’ve never witnessed or experienced.
KUMARE: Can you see a Vikram now?
PAM, PAST LIFE PSYCHIC: I’m not sure what that is. What I see is purple with the red above. And I feel Metatron, Archangel Metatron.
KUMARE: All this coming up. Then you come like this. So like this. You have proper inhale, exhale like that.
KRISTEN: Exhale, inhale, exhale.
KUMARE: What is illusion, what is truth? You don’t know if I am good, I am bad. You don’t know that. All you know is how you see people act.
BOBBY: The religion aspect of it to me was, you know, we create who we are.
BOBBY: Thank you.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): I started noticing the same people returning to class. There was Kimberley, who often sat quietly in the back and never spoke to me. Greg, who was always eager to get a spot in the front. And Stewart, who loved eating free samples at grocery stores.
STEWART: But you can get a lot of little samples, and sometimes when you go there it’s not just for the food, it’s because you know the people giving it to you and you talk to them and it becomes like a little community like you’re talking to...
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): And then there was Emily, who very quickly began to confide in me about her personal life.
EMILY: Remember I have a husband too.
EMILY: He’s a polarity of me. So it’s hard, I mean, it’s hard when you can’t reflect one another.
KUMARE: You have to fake sometime.
EMILY: I don’t know his history. It’s not something that he brings to the table. It’s not the point.
KUMARE: You are not average.
EMILY: Thank you.
EMILY: I would love to know him even more, but I don’t. You know, this is just my impression of, you know, a couple hours here and there.
EMILY: Thank you.
WOMAN: Thank you. See you soon. See you soon.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): Kumare’s presence in Phoenix was taking shape. But the real test would be if people stayed interested even after I left for awhile. So I went to Tuscon where a man named Darrell had invited me to share in his unique spiritual practice.
DARRELL: Greetings. Come in.
DARRELL, ACOUSTIC THEOLOGIST: When he came I didn’t know what to think, to be honest with you. I did look up on the web, you know, and saw some things about him and I was really excited about him coming.
DARRELL: In the Bible, it says, “In the beginning was the word.” “The word” is vibration. Sound, OK? God is sound. The sound that intoxicates. The sound that’s bliss and ecstasy. That’s what I teach people. To find the sound in their body.
KUMARE: My teaching, this is a fake. A fake one. They want Kumare be guru. I say, “OK, come.” But then I say, “No.” You know that.
DARRELL: Yes, yes, yes. Always.
DARRELL: So then we went back to the healing room and I did a session with him.
DARRELL: And hold. Hold. Arm down at your side. Good. Keep holding. Keep holding. Let your body drop. Let everything go through you and just feel yourself getting lighter and lighter.
DARRELL: Keep the breath going. Yeah. That’s good. Good. Pure pleasure. Breathe it up. Joy and divine bliss, which is our birthright.
DARRELL: I had goose bumps coming all over my arms as soon as I would look at him or connect with the energy. It would just go all over me.
DARRELL: Two more. Hold it. Keep holding. Come back. I got you. I got you. Keep holding. Keep holding.
DARRELL And I don’t know what that means, but I just felt like there was some memory, some remembrance coming there because his spirit—so beautiful, and I was just in alignment.
KUMARE: Now with your hand you are throw this sound out to the room like a big ball of blue light inside middle of room. Don’t worry. Make your sound. Say your sound, everyone together, say your sound. When you come up you...
LIFE, PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY: Your blessing gave a blessing to me because I am too often enthralled by the sound of sound instead of the silence of sound. Thank you very much for that blessings, that connected that.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): The power of illusion was greater in Tuscon than I’d ever imagined. I knew I would never see these people again so I wanted to see how far I could push it.
LIFE, PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY: So I have a Western doctoral degree from the university.
KUMARE: You are a doctor of philosophy?
LIFE, PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY: Yes.
KUMARE: This is how I give you symbol of a penis in your mind. Because that is all people wanting. Is hard to find a penis. So you can open eyes and you look. See your feeling. You’ll have to use this image like a mirror. All symbol, just a symbol. Nothing inside.
LIFE, PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY: It felt like experiencing bliss and light and I can feel the energy of him and I connecting in the ritual. He’s someone who I can express my energy through and he could express energy through me.
LIFE, PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY: U-A-E, Kumare. U-A-E, Kumare. U-A-E, Kumare.
[shrine with photos of Obama, Kumare, Osama Bin Laden]
EMILY: The full moon is tomorrow. Do you watch the moon?
KUMARE: Sometime woman have more feeling from moon than men?
EMILY: Than men. It’s pretty incredible. 28-day cycle. I love your house.
KUMARE: You like my bedroom?
EMILY: You’re making me have some inspired...totally inspired.
KUMARE: What you have been thinking for last week about your life?
EMILY: I’m very aware of power versus force, and I feel like I’ve been forcing my marriage to work for a long time, and forcing and fighting.
KUMARE: Do you remember that person you were when you first meeting your husband? Was it someone different, you?
EMILY: I don’t even believe in marriage. He’s not the same. I don’t know. I do not want to be there. I want to go. So...
KUMARE: You feel alone without a man in your life?
EMILY: No, I never did. So, um, I get to do whatever I want now. What do you think? What do you feel?
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): Would a real guru have told her to ditch her husband and become his student? I wanted to tell her to stay with her husband, but I barely knew this woman. Despite this costume, I wasn’t in any place to advise someone I didn’t really know. Within a week Emily had left town for California. The longer I stayed in Phoenix, the more people approached me with deep personal questions, and stories of suffering.
MAN: What do you do when you’re feeling down and depressed?
KUMARE: What is that?
MAN: What do you do when you’re feeling down and depressed? What do you usually do?
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): It wasn’t always easy to hear or respond to.
WOMAN: We had a very mean father. He beat and sexually abused all of us kids. And he would tell us if we told our mom he would kill our mom, so we had to be quiet and not say anything, you know?
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): The truth was that under this beard and this outfit, I was just like them.
KUMARE: OK, so, my family is from this place. It is not your Aali’kash but we don’t advertise that place.
GREG: So when we come to visit you, how do we get a hold of you? Email?
KUMARE: You will find, don’t worry.
GREG: See, I like the way Guruji eats. And that’s the way you’re supposed to eat with raw food. I used to drink a lot. I used to, you know, chase women. I used to do all sorts of things.
GREG: On top of all that, I developed a cocaine habit.
GREG: Cocaine. I used to inject it.
KUMARE: Cocaine in arm, OK.
GREG: My life spiraled down.
GREG: This one night, you know, I’d been up all night smoking crack, and that morning she came back and she said, “Greg, I’m leaving.” And I said, “OK, um, I need to go get help.” And so, six years ago is when I got clean, OK. And so then we had to repair our lives together.
GREG”S WIFE: That took awhile.
GREG: When we got married, the one thing we knew we were going to do was put God first. And helping others became the most important thing. The most important thing. Just what you’re doing right here. By coming here and helping others. The most important thing you can do.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): Was I helping anyone? Was I even capable of helping anyone? Despite my self-doubt, more and more people wanted to meet Kumare. An organic farm near the Mexican border called Avalon Gardens had invited me to teach a yoga class during their annual “Be Aware” festival.
KUMARE: And you bring this pelvis up. Don’t squeeze your buttocks, just bring this one up so.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): After class I took some time to get to know the students.
KUMARE: So how did you know to come to this place?
MAN: When I came and met Gabriel and Niann, I knew that that prophecy of when I was 12 years old, from my Mormon church, had come true, that I’d found a strange new language, The Fifth Epochal Revelation and Continuing.
WOMAN 1: We’re from different planets.
WOMAN 2: We were told we’re spirit lovers.
KUMARE: Spirit lovers?
WOMAN 2: Spirit lovers.
WOMAN 1: We’re from different planets. The same universe. Avalon is the universe.
WOMAN 1: I am from the planet Salano.
WOMAN 1: She’s from the planet Alcyon.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): This place was unique and it all had something to do with a man named Gabriel.
GABRIEL, LEADER OF URANTIA: The Urantia Book, it’s called Urantia because Urantia is the name of our planet according to the inhabited worlds of time and space. But it has to do with allowing beings to take over my body and speak through me. My soul, it has evolved to where they can trust me, hopefully, purity of soul.
GABRIEL: I hope you see. I hope you can see that.
KUMARE: I see.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): NBC’s Dateline had done an hour-long investigation on Gabriel of Urantia. They claimed he’d forced people to give up their belongings and their identities to their “cosmic family.” All I saw was a group of positive and kind-hearted environmentalists who had decided to remove themselves from the capitalist pains of American life for greener, more epic pastures.
KUMARE: Looking like small people.
WOMAN: I know.
KUMARE: Looking like, what is that one that?
KUMARE: Yes, that one.
WOMAN: This is a Hobbit house. Do you watch movies?
KUMARE: I, I watch, I like a movie. Yeah. I am director.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): Over 100 people lived in or around this 80-acre compound, some for nearly 20 years. They grew their own food and had plans to move off the grid
KUMARE: You give some direction, some life direction you give them?
GABRIEL: We have a rehabilitation program for what we call socially disappointed people—young people that can’t deal with the system, that can’t deal with the third dimension, actually. We call our reality the fourth dimension.
KUMARE: Everyone seemed genuinely happy. But is this how cults get people to join them? By showing them how happy they are? Isn’t that what people saw in Kumare? The next morning Gabriel sent me down to tell me what really inspired him to start Urantia.
GABRIEL: I didn’t realize it, but I was physically taken onto a craft, a spacecraft.
WOMAN: But they cut it out of his memory.
GABRIEL: They cut it out of my memory until years later when they brought it back. And they said that I would have what you call the Mandate of the Bright and Morning Star.
KUMARE: These people know that they need you?
GABRIEL: What people?
KUMARE: All these people.
GABRIEL: I think they know?
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): After 20 years Gabriel still insisted he was the community’s only connection to God. He reminded me why I created Kumare in the first place. To show that leaders like him were just illusions. I always planned to unveil my true identity, but first, as Kumare, I had to teach something I believed in. And I would start with my own story.
KUMARE: First teacher of Kumare, his name is Vikram. Basic family. His father is a medicine man. His mother, named Jodhi, which mean a light, but basic family. At that time he is becoming a teacher for many people and he is the only one who did not know that he was a teacher. Why is that because he is feel like a disguise, he is living in a disguise. But all these people they feel good. So, if other people have idea for that story, if that same story they have in themself.
WOMAN: A certain tree bears a certain fruit. Their actions. What they do. Their service to others, how they treat others. That’s what I hear. And then the story you’re telling me, I think you’re talking about yourself.
KUMARE: I was talking about self, yes.
GREG: Thank you for your time.
MOLLY: He is here trying to learn about American culture and this society. Since we’re both learning from each other, I just feel like there’s a kind of harmonious connection going on there.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): In many ways Kumare was an ideal version of myself. So if other people could create an ideal version of themselves, maybe they would become happier too.
KUMARE: So what you are doing now in your life? In your life you are doing what?
MOLLY: I don’t know. I’m like kind of stuck. I don’t want to jump into a career, I don’t want to put on a suit and go to work every day in a office and sit at a computer and type all day. That doesn’t seem fun to me. I want to be able to, you know, go with the flow, change with the wind, you know.
KUMARE: Go with the flow. Change with the wind. If you can imagine yourself as someone else that you feel is more true than your form now, then you can make those two become one. Then you will not have some feeling that I am not doing what I want that you always feel, is it right?
KUMARE: We call this one blue light meditation.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): The blue light was another thing I had made up.
KUMARE: This one good, but you do slow together.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): But now it was becoming something real.
KUMARE: And you look focus other person face into eyes. Until you feel yourself inside other person. OK? Imagine that.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): And for the first time I felt the blue light.
VANEET: There are so many gurus in India. I have seen many of them, they are just fake. They are just fake gurus because they just want attention and maybe money and fame. But meeting Kumare, I thought he had the positive mind and attitude. So I think he’s a real teacher.
KUMARE: Only your reflection, your mind, your blue self, pure self.
TISH, YOGA STUDIO OWNER: His teachings have already affected my teachings. And it just confirms for me how much people want to know more and they don’t know where to start their searching for something, for answers.
KUMARE: You can come like Tish, she looking very comfortable. You can also come like that. In religion they have temple, church, all this idea. But this space like you call sacred space. But you did not need that. Illusion is that this place is somehow better than outside. It is very nice, Tish, I thank you. But you can find yoga center inside. If you can bring yoga center inside, remember yoga center inside you, you’ll get that feeling you have in here—outside.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): Tish insisted on hosting a concert in honor of Sri Kumare. I wanted to understand what she saw in me.
TISH: I feel like there’s these other great teachers that have things to pass on and I don’t know if I do. I feel like I’ve hit a ceiling somewhat to what I can convey.
KUMARE: What do you see in this Kumare lineage that you have some interest in?
TISH: I know exactly what it is, and it was the meditation where you were talking about the blue light and that we all have what we’re searching for within ourselves. And your meditation was more direct than anything I’ve ever read or experienced.
KUMARE: If I teach you this blue light meditation and then you see, all right, I understand this Kumare man, he is not right. I believed in him, then he is not right, I do not like, then will you throw [out] that meditation?
TISH: Would I? Probably not.
KUMARE: It is good. So that is more important.
MONICA: Kirtan is my thing. I love it. And that’s what I could offer and Tish loves it, so we could do that as kind of a thank-you gesture for Sri Kumare. I consider Kumare to be a living embodiment of the divine. So I just want to make sure that I was welcoming him and honoring him in a way that matched who he is. I guess what he’s helped me remember is the illusion that we’re separate from God. And that a guru of, you know, God realization is no more closer to God than we are. So I hope he has listeners because people could benefit from him, and I’m very grateful to him.
TERESA, LAW OF ATTRACTION TEACHER: The three of us, we have Law of Attraction groups, and we teach and we share Law of Attraction with people here in Phoenix. And, we don’t have to worry about the science part, we just need to just know that it’s happening.
KUMARE: You have a faith in this?
SANDY: Just like the law of gravity works.
TERESA: We have our meeting groups, Sandy, Eric and I. We teach people different ways, ‘cause everybody’s different, right, and some people like to have something to look at. So we teach them how to create vision boards. We call them vision boards. I had a desire to go to Africa and to work with the children, so I put a vision board like with the children in Africa here. I wanted to go there and teach them, you know, yoga, teach them all kinds of things. But I didn’t know that the man that I loved was going to be in Africa. It just all showed up together based on my vision, my feelings. That’s law of attraction.
KUMARE: You look in magazine and find your dream.
KUMARE: Then you say, “I want to have this house and this car,” and if you believe that, then you will get this house and this car?
TERESA: Sure, absolutely. Absolutely.
ERIC: Thinking about that, we’re actually going to be having a group meeting on Thursday that we want to invite you to. We’d love for you to come and to meet more people that study law of attraction. It’s going to be a real intimate group. We’re thinking probably about 10-15 people are going to be there. And they’d like to all share their experiences with you and have you learn more about law of attraction.
KUMARE: I will make my vision board and come.
ERIC: Welcome to our law of attraction meeting. Who’s excited to be here tonight? All the way from India, ladies and gentleman, Sri Kumare. Law of attraction is: your mood or feelings or vibration create your reality. Who wants to say “Kabam” for me? Let’s build some energy up. Ready? I’ll say it on the count of three. One, two, three, KABAM! We’re going to talk about lots of things today, but the main goal tonight about our group is to talk about visualization.
WOMAN: To me abundance isn’t all about money, and so I put a certain amount of money down here because sometimes I forget that I need to connect with that, but it’s not what drives me. So it works...
ERIC: Sorry to interrupt you, you have to sit down a second. Who thinks it’s a wonderful evening out tonight, ‘cause we’re going to finish this outside. They’ve asked us to leave. We have to leave the building right now. So, yeah, I know, it isn’t that exciting, is it?
ERIC: I know the next thing I’m going to do. We have a few things to cover, but I really want to see Kumare’s vision boards. Who wants to see Kumare’s vision boards.
KUMARE: OK, this one is myself as student. All time photograph myself student. This one is myself a teacher. So, that is why I want to combine my old self, Vikram, with my current self Kumare. So that I have inside peace with all balance. This one is symbol for a penis. And so that is why I put all these people and I put a smile, a smile. So that this one, all these people they will, after unveiling, they will all have the same happiness that they have when meeting me.
RIAD: That looks great.
TERESA: I loved your vision boards too.
ERIC: Thank you.
KUMARE: We can do Kabam mantra together?
RIAD: You say “Kabam.”
ERIC: One, two, three, KABAM!
TERESA: So this is actually kind of like a vision board, and then, look who’s in my house right now. So that’s kind of like the way law of attraction works.
TERESA: Kumare talks a lot about the illusion.
RIAD: He trick us.
RIAD: He has great knowledge. I believe he’s kind of like prophet.
KUMARE: I am the biggest faker that I know. I fake so much, I forget who I was before.
TERESA: I’ve done other personal development work, but this time I felt like, and I’ve said this to a few people in the group, but it changed my DNA.
TERESA: Two days before I met you, Kumare, I lost my job. We’ve been going through a lot of changes already from him coming here ‘cause he can’t work ‘cause he’s not a resident. So all of this happened just two days, you know, before we met you.
RIAD: And that was good.
TERESA: Guruiji showed up in time to just kind of, like, take us by the hands, so to speak, and just kind of help us find the way to do this big vision.
RIAD: He has this great power to make the others happy.
TERESA: I think it’s very very lazy. I feel very blessed. It’s probably the most amazing thing that ever happened in my life.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): A core group of disciples had emerged. So we invited them into our home.
PURVA: So what was it about him that made you come here?
GREG: Nothing really let me know that this guy is, you know, what I’ve been looking for. But, I went home, and I couldn’t get him out of my mind, and the next day I couldn’t get him out of my mind, you know, I just kept thinking about him, just kept thinking about him. And the thoughts were always good, they were very positive. Everything about him was very positive. It’s like a snowball rolling down a hill. It’s like, “Wow, this guy, I gotta see this guy.” And then I was talking to my wife today. I was saying, I said, you know, you might not like this, honey, but I think I love this man.
RIAD: What he’s bringing is like a science. It’s like law of attraction, right. He’s a doctor, actually. He’s a doctor, right?
TOBY: Kumare came along and said, well, you don’t really need, you know. Here’s the idea. I’ll help you to find whatever’s inside you, but you’re going to have to teach yourself, you know, and I can teach you how to teach yourself that, but I’m not going to be here, you know. Which is true of all teachers. They don’t stick around.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): Kumare was a reflection of everyone’s dreams, not just my own. Kumare was a mirror, a tool that allowed people to look inside themselves.
[written on the board: “MIRROR...1) REFLECT, 2) ENVISION, 3) BUILD A PATH, 4) ENACT...5) UNVEIL”]
KUMARE: Basic idea of mirror philosophy is identity. What I am doing, myself, my life, my student, is creating that dream life and real life together. And whole point is to use this process, this teaching, through myself, to use as a mirror for yourself. You create inside your mind which direction you are go. Easy one. You just use that like this. So that you can calm your energy together and lose some identity. You lose all that feeling in your body. You begin to remove all the inside. Feel your mind become like a pathway. Then begin to feel a blue light. Then offer your hands out to center.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): I’d found my teaching, and it was something I believed in. Now I’d found my students.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): There was Greg, who saw Kumare’s simple lifestyle and wanted it. Stewart, a retired salesman who was looking for a way to connect with people. Molly, who had a lot of people telling her what to do and liked that Kumare didn’t. Teresa and her new husband Riad who saw in Kumare a self-help teacher they could learn from. Toby, who sought an escape from her stressful job. Rachel, a medical student and her boyfriend Bobby, an entrepreneur. And Kimberley, a single mother coping with the reality of an empty nest.
PURVA: Today I embrace illusion to find truth.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): In the time I had left with my students, I wanted to teach them that they could help themselves and that they never needed a guru in the first place.
STEWART: I just can’t believe that he would come and spend this much time with individuals.
KUMARE: So this one here is like your identity. You have to dig long all feeling.
STEWART: The things he’s told me are things that I know I should be doing.
RACHEL: Hello. Good to see you.
BOBBY: Kumare’s impact on our relationship will be positive. I think it’s, it’s already there.
KUMARE: Do you want to know every truth about him?
RACHEL: Probably not.
KUMARE: And do you want to know every truth about her?
BOBBY: I’m going to say probably not.
RIAD: You can feel really the change inside you. That’s very exciting.
RIAD: Kumare number one!
TISH: He has the most peaceful energy and you can feel it around him and it seems to touch the people that he comes in contact with.
TOBY: You could perceive from Kumare all of the wonder and excitement and enthusiasm for everything
KUMARE: Guest toilet? Very beautiful toilet.
KUMARE: We shall sit here?
TOBY: Yes, on the floor. Would you...?
KUMARE: Yes, OK.
TOBY: The kind of law that I practice is really life and death, literally. It’s usually murder plus something especially awful.
KUMARE: Why do you want to help those people?
TOBY: Because nobody else will. You know, they’re people that society has thrown away. Even their own families don’t talk to them most of the time.
TOBY: When somebody else shows interest in what you’re interested in, it makes you want to know them better. It makes you want to learn as much as you can.
KUMARE: Your piece of, like, your heaven is underneath the sea place, yes?
TOBY: I’ve dived a lot. I dive as much as I can.
KUMARE: So you have this one on face and you are going down.
TOBY: Right. You jump in, you’re breathing. Now you’re at 20 feet or so and you’re starting to see some coral and some things. You’re going to kick a little bit and there’s just deep blue water beneath you.
KUMARE: You have very good imagination. Maybe this one good meditation for you. You can imagine the cat is also some catfish happening.
TOBY: Let’s dive a wreck. Let’s go and dive a wreck. And all of a sudden you see two big huge green moray eels. They’re big. Big old sharp head with big old sharp teeth and they have their mouths open. Their little mouths open.
TOBY: You know how when you see someone that you haven’t seen for a very long time and you run hug them and you cry because you’re happy to see them. That’s the only kind of way I can explain it. I felt very much an affinity for Kumare.
TOBY: All right. I think we’re good now.
TOBY: Thank you. We’ll see you on Saturday.
KUMARE: Thank you.
PURVA: So the exercise you will do with Guruji is called identity transference, and what you will do is imagine that you are Guruji and that Guruji is you. Tell him the five commands that you’ve written to yourself as if you are speaking to yourself.
RIAD: You will meditate one hour a day.
TOBY: The first thing you need to do is pay off your bills. Money is a problem.
TERESA: I want you to love yourself.
STEWART: To stop going out to stores all day long and eating free food.
TERESA: And to give yourself a hug every day. And I broke your board.
KUMARE: OK, OK.
RIAD: You will think positive whenever you talk with others.
STEWART: And you will stop taking your neighbor’s newspaper and reading it and putting it back.
GREG: Kind thoughts all the time.
KUMARE: This one is to remember. You are doing action.
KUMARE: This whole thing is a big trick to help people realize that they do not need a guru, that everything they want, all that happiness, is inside themself. That the same good you see inside this man you also have inside yourself. That you did not need a guru to make yourself happy. Because the truth is that I am only the same as everyone here. And everyone here to me has become my greatest gurus in my life.
KUMARE: Look at your tender love light. That is a reflection of your light inside. You can put this light inside the water. This your ideal self is now entering the ocean that have all problem of life. And your ideal self must go inside the water.
KIMBERLEY: Hey, welcome. Sorry, my hands are all wet. How are you?
KIMBERLEY: For many many years I’ve been looking for something to help me look inside myself.
KIMBERLEY: This is my daughter. This is my only one. I have three boys and my daughter. And she’s the baby. She’s just the one that went and started at college this year. That’s my daughter-in-law, her getting ready.
KIMBERLEY: My kids are very blessed. They have great partners.
KUMARE: Same father?
KIMBERLEY: Yes, all of them have the same father.
KIMBERLEY: We divorced about 20 years ago.
KIMBERLEY: He’s not been in their life too much. It was meant to be. I was meant to meet him, have my children. They were the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me. They are actually my success, my children are, I think. So, you know, it happens. It was hard. I worked two or three jobs. Yeah, I was always working. I’d sleep maybe two hours, three hours a day.
KUMARE: How do you give to yourself love?
KIMBERLEY: That’s the hardest thing. I don’t know how. When you’re a person that gives a lot, to return and do it for yourself. I feel selfish. I feel like I’m a bad person because I do, so it’s hard.
KUMARE: Hard to love self as much as children.
KIMBERLEY: It is. I do know what I need to do. I just need somebody to listen. I need somebody to guide me and to help me. Not telling me, “This is what you need to do. Get a trainer. Do this.” If I get a trainer, I’m like, “Forget it.” I’m not gonna do it, because I’m stubborn. I won’t do it.
KUMARE: Can you imagine that you are selfless living? So when you give your teaching, you will tell because you have the answer inside. I am your student, OK?
KIMBERLEY: You are to eat a good diet without too much starch and too much fats and do not take any bad things into your body, as in drinking or food.
KUMARE: There is some temptation in my life.
KIMBERLEY: Yes, stay away from the people that don’t care about you, that don’t love you. And only be with the people that do love you.
KIMBERLEY: Kumare is a real live person and he is always true and real. And in his teachings he’s here to be helping people and it’s just I can feel that. I can feel he’s a good person. It’s nice to be around good people.
[sign on the side of the road: SUPERSTITION FARM]
PURVA: Tomorrow is an interesting and important day. Tomorrow is the great unveiling.
KRISTEN: Today we are focusing on enactments. It’s all about bringing our practice into the world today. So it’s not just about ourselves anymore. We’ve done a lot of visualization, going inside. Now it’s all about going outside and seeing how we’re going to apply the best in ourselves to the world.
MAN: So I need help with today is just clearing out this stuff.
PURVA: You guys are rocking and rolling!
KUMARE: Everyone come back please. And hold please. Look complete different. Only 15 people in one hour do that in 15 hours. One man do it will take 1 week. Not fifteen hours, one week, yes? So, before you look outside for guru, then you look yourself and you have everyone else, because after tomorrow I will not be here.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): The only way to complete the mirror teaching would be to unveil my true identity. But I was struggling to find the right words. Would they understand what I was trying to teach them or would they hate me? I went to visit my friend John Rogers at his New Age bookstore for some inspiration.
KUMARE: Is not all this one like a religious symbol for people? All this one you are selling?
JOHN: Some are symbols and some are tools. Like the crystals, you see, are tools.
JOHN: You follow?
KUMARE: How is it different?
JOHN: A symbol has only meaning. But a tool does stuff.
KUMARE: Do you believe that it is doing or your mind is doing?
JOHN: Depends on what it is.
KUMARE: Because then symbol also can be tool, yes?
JOHN: Yeah, OK, OK.
JOHN: Buddha. I believe Buddha said, or at least he is said to have said, “If you see Buddha on the road, kill him.”
KUMARE: Why did you think he said that?
JOHN: Because you’re not supposed to believe or worship things. And if you’re worshipping a man, you’ve missed it.
KRISTEN: ...begin to come and find our spot.
KUMARE: Today is the unveiling. I am not who you think that I am. My name is Vikram and I am from New Jersey. I am not who you think that I am.
KRISTEN: Place this over your head just to create an external sense of discipline. Ritual creates discipline as well. It makes us take something seriously.
KUMARE: I am not who you think I am.
KRISTEN: Know that it’s your inner teacher that is doing the watching and the greeting and the smiling
KRISTEN: Look into the person’s eyes. Take a deep breath. Get set. Go.
RIAD: I’m becoming the blue light.
RIAD: Greg, what action will it take?
GREG: I will believe that I can become my imagination.
KUMARE: I am not who you think I am. I am really liar. I has fooled you to make you feel like an idiot.
PURVA: So, anywhere you want as long as you can see.
PURVA: OK, so everybody, we’re ready to start. Guruji will be coming out shortly. And before we start, I think somebody would love to lead you all in just a brief...
KRISTEN: ...U-A-E, since we haven’t done it yet today.
KRISTEN: U-A-E, U-A-E, U-A-E.
STUDENTS: U-A-E, U-A-E, U-A-E.
KRISTEN: Kumare, Kumare, Kumare.
STUDENTS: Kumare, Kumare, Kumare.
KRISTEN: U-A-E, U-A-E, U-A-E.
STUDENTS: U-A-E, U-A-E, U-A-E.
KRISTEN: Kumare, Kumare, Kumare.
STUDENTS: Kumare, Kumare, Kumare.
KRISTEN: Tei Sri Kumare.
STUDENTS: Tei Sri Kumare.
KRISTEN: Tei Sri Kumare.
STUDENTS: Tei Sri Kumare.
KUMARE: Today is the unveiling. At the unveiling we are unveil our true self. And, to begin, I will reveal my true self. You see, I don’t know if I am who you think that I am. You see, I am not who you think that I am. But I am only just a very simple man who had a idea, a dream to show every person that I meet that they have some power for self-transformation, for happiness inside. You are all great beings, and you must stop pretending that you are not. So today, you will unveil the guru inside of you.
BOBBY: I’ve learned that there’s fearlessness in all of us.
KIMBERLEY: I know what I need to do. I just need to keep my promises, and to be strong against my temptations.
TERESA: It’s time to get rid of that old identity and embrace the new.
STEWART: I should do less talking and do more doing.
GREG: I’ll make the promise and I’ll do what I’ve promised to do: to change my life.
TOBY: Everything is about commitment to oneself and to others.
MOLLY: More love and joy comes to you when you’ve decided not listening to others but inside of yourself to your purpose.
KUMARE: The world will become very loud when you leave this circle that we have created. All of you will live inside my heart forever.
VIKRAM GHANDI (v.o.): I could not unveil. As I stood in that circle holding everyone’s hands, I realized I had connected more deeply with people as Kumare than I ever had as Vikram.
PHOENIX, ARIZONA 40 DAYS LATER
TISH: The experience with Kumare has affected my life, and I feel like it has changed my teaching. It’s given me the same thing that the students feel: that confidence. And so being a part of a lineage and having the blessing of Kumare has been very helpful.
KIMBERLEY: I will always remember Kumare. I will remember him the day I die. I will tell my kids, my grandkids, my great-grandkids about this wonderful person who came into my life and changed me.
MOLLY: I’m completely in love with him. He basically reflects this love that I have, and he reflects it to me in this way that’s like the most love I’ve ever experienced.
TOBY: Every day when I meditate—because I do meditate every day now—that’s on my list: the five things I have to do—I thank Kumare.
GREG: It’s not familial. It’s not like we’ve been through any difficult times together. It’s just there’s this attachment. And maybe...and that’s that love.
RIAD: I wear this and I feel very good because it’s remind me of...I should be like this and like that. No anger, nothing, just...be the guru who I am.
TISH: Imagining a blue light.
STUDENTS: Blue light.
TISH: Using the blue light meditation will help people to find their own guru within.
TOBY: Practice yoga at least three times a week: yes. Work out elliptical two times a week: yes, I’m doing that. And I also do weight training ‘cause I stuck that in there.
KIMBERLEY: As of September I’ve lost 70 pounds. This is a dress that I couldn’t wear previously. Not bad, huh?
MOLLY: I’m planning on getting my yoga instructor’s certification this next semester, which I’ve wanted to do for years and I’ve never had the courage to do it, cause I’m, like, oh, what will people think of me or this or that, so I decided: I’m doing it.
GREG: Every day if there’s some little thing I can do, I will do it. And I make it a point to keep it in my head that today’s the day that I’m going to do something for my wife. ...tears...because I never used to be this way.
TOBY: He says he doesn’t teach anything, but that’s not true. ‘Cause if you can teach someone how to think, then you really are. You’re a true teacher.
KUMARE: Hello, Bobby. I return your call to Teresa.
KUMARE: Yes, hello, Kimberley.
KUMARE: Hello, Rachel, this is Kumare.
KUMARE: So what do you believe that you should do?
KUMARE: I did not say anything. I said nothing you do. But all this you did yourself.
KUMARE: I am only a strange man that come to visit for one small time.
KUMARE: I also think about you very much. Yes, I think about you and all the disciple, all the students so much.
TERESA: And I was telling Riad that I think that he’s in our life forever. That’s how we feel.
MOLLY: He’s not necessarily like a father figure to me, but I look up to him like he knows more than me.
GREG: I just see him as a guide. And for that I’m truly grateful.
[1 WEEK LATER]
KUMARE: Hello, Gurus. By now you must understand my teaching. That the external guru is an illusion. That they only exist to help you find the truth. That the guru is inside of you. In many ways I am the same as you. I was born here in the USA and grew up in New Jersey. I am a US citizen. But how do these facts define my true self? They don’t. But something inside me does. As a young man I reflected and realized that my identity was an illusion. My curiosity brought me to meet many swamis and sadhus and priests and saints and gurus, but none of them would say one thing that I truly believed. That you don’t need them. You don’t need anyone outside yourself to make you happy. So I said, if I were to become a guru, that I would teach this one thing. That the guru you are looking for is inside of you. So this is the basis of the Kumare teaching, a teaching that I created. I am the first Kumare, but I hope that I am not the last. In each of you there is a guru inside that I can see. It has given me strength. It has given me oneness. This is a teaching that I believe in with all my heart and every cell of my body. So now, I would like to introduce you to the guru inside of me.
VIKRAM GHANDI: Hello, gurus. My name is Vikram. And my ideal self is Kumare.
MOLLY IS A CERTIFIED YOGA INSTRUCTOR.
TISH HAS NOT SPOKEN TO VIKRAM SINCE THE UNVEILING.
RIAD: You have this magic. So I appreciate it. You are a great master.
RIAD ASKED TO HELP VIKRAM ON HIS NEXT ADVENTURE.
HIS WIFE TERESA HAS NOT RESPONDED TO VIKRAM’S EMAILS.
TOBY: I had no idea. No idea. It was like the perfect... It is the ultimate of the teaching. I’m so...
TOBY MEDITATES EVERY DAY AND IS PAYING OFF ALL HER BILLS.
KIMBERLEY: You are my son now, you know that don’t you?
KIMBERLEY HAS KEPT OFF THE 70 POUNDS SHE LOST.
GREG: You missed a spot.
VIKRAM GHANDI: I know. Haven’t shaved in awhile.
GREG: Good job. I gotta say. I think it was a good idea.
GREG AGREES WITH THE TEACHING BUT REMAINS SKEPTICAL OF THE METHOD.
10 OF KUMARE’S 14 DISCIPLES ARE STILL IN CONTACT WITH VIKRAM.
SOME PEOPLE STILL INSIST THAT VIKRAM HAS SUPERNATURAL POWERS.
WOMAN: You do have some psychic abilities.