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Awake: The Life of Yogananda (2014)

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Unique biopic about Yogananda, telling the story of his life and influence on yoga, religion and science, combining re-enactment, interviews, and verité.



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Credited cast:
George Harrison ... Himself (archive footage)
Anupam Kher ... Narrator
Reed Rudy ... Additional Voices
Russell Simmons ... Himself


Unique biopic about Yogananda, author of The Autobiography of a Yogi. In the 1920s, he brought Hindu spirituality to the West. This tells the story of his life and influence on yoga, religion and science, combining re-enactment, interviews, and verité. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Reveal Your Self



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements, some violent images and brief smoking | See all certifications »






Release Date:

10 October 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Awake. Despierta: La vida de Yogananda See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,885, 10 October 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,017,328, 9 January 2015
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

CounterPoint Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


In Spain the film was released in 4 theaters (3 provinces), widest release being 5 theaters (5 provinces) in Yelmo Cineplex. The film was projected in both dubbed and subtitled versions. See more »


Narrator: Will is that which changes thought into energy.
See more »


Written by Jai Uttal & Ben Leinbach
Performed by Jai Uttal
See more »

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User Reviews

Informative and spiritually powerful documentary
20 December 2014 | by philserveSee all my reviews

First let explain my bias and offer a YMMV disclaimer. Though I have never been a student of Yogananda, I did a practice very similar to his Kriya yoga for 10 years. And I've always been moved, open and inspired by his book (just like Steve Jobs!).

I thought the movie was well done, but certainly not up to the level of a Ken Burns production. And it did skim over areas that I wished went into more detail that anyone who has read his book will know about (such as the many great yogis that he met on his journey early in life).

But there are so many positive things I could say about the movie. The explanations of meditation from a scientific basis in the movie, just now being validated by neuroscience, shows how ahead of his time was Yogananda. And the struggles he had against racism, fundamental religious intolerance and general western biases were the obvious reactions to someone blazing a new spiritual path in the west. And the few seconds of seeing Ramana Maharshi on film was a nice touch. I was also impressed by the level of popularity that he had - surely the west was ready for something greater than it had.

Great movies leave an deep and lasting impact, often a emotional one, or they inspire you, or expand your understanding of the world, lift you up in some way.

But rare is the movie that can be an authentic spiritual event. The images of Yogananda on the screen, accompanied by his message of inspiration and esoteric discourse, had an effect on me that no other movie has had (or I expect ever will).

About halfway through the movie, the top of my head opened up as if was a large energetic funnel, filling me with an intense ecstasy straight down the central channel of my body. It was as if there was a lightning rod of ecstasy was posited straight down my body, then spreading out to my extremities through all the nerve channels. And my heart was inundated with intense love and joy. Though I expected to be emotionally moved by the film, this was far beyond my expectations.

This movie was essentially a kind of spiritual initiatory experience, or for those familiar with the term, a true Darshan event. And it is having life level impacts. Such is the power of a great spiritual being like Yogananda - even a movie of him can do this. Again: YMMV, but if you see this movie, I believe it can affect you much deeper than you maybe able to feel or recognize.

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