I was lucky enough to catch a screening of the documentary, Awake: The Life of Yogananda recently. It’s nuts that it’s playing for such a short window, but very inspiring, nonetheless! There are so many magical moments in the book that were not referenced in the movie, but like the director shared in the Q&A after the screening…It was hard to do the book justice, with so many great moments to choose from. As she went on to share, the focus of this movie is to make Yogananada’s life work more accessible to the general public.
I must commend Self-Realization Fellowship for the archive footage they provided for use in the film of both Sri Yukteswar’s passing, along with the audio files of Paramahansa Yogananda giving his now famous address to an international congress of religious leaders convening in Boston, at “The Science of Religion.” (It was that same year that he founded Self-Realization Fellowship to disseminate worldwide his teachings on India’s ancient science and philosophy of Yoga and its time-honored tradition of meditation).
Hearing his voice resonate with such power only helped to deepen my love of this great figure. (Although I’ve been doing the mail order assignments with SRF over the past year, I hadn’t heard Paramahansa Yogananda’s strong voice before — extremely moving)! The movie left me feeling both calm and stirred.
Without giving it away, I was moved to tears from the very first scene. Don’t get me wrong, the movie is far from being sad, rather it is only a confirmation of a beautiful line from the Autobiorgraphy of a Yogi, “Live quietly in the moment and see the beauty of all before you. The future will take care of itself…..” The movie leaves you feeling inspired to live life more fully, all while staying focused on the present. His struggles with building SRF, being discriminated against, leaving it all behind (momentarily) and going to Mexico…only further strengthened my love for this great spirit who gave all to serve humanity.
This documentary takes its audience all the way through Parmahansa Yogananda’s life, from the womb, to his last moments in 1952 when, having just recited a poem to a large audience in Los Angeles, he left his body. If you haven’t seen it, get to it! If you haven’t read the book, no time like the present!