Marking International Yoga Day on 21 June, The Life of Yogananda to release in India


Awake posterThe Life of Yogananda is an unconventional biography about an Indian Swami who brought yoga and meditation to the West in the 1920s. This feature documentary explores the life and teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, who authored the spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi, which has sold millions of copies worldwide and is a go-to book for seekers, philosophers and yoga enthusiasts today. It was the only book that Steve Jobs had on his iPad, and he arranged to give away 800 copies of it to the dignitaries who attended his memorial service. It was also a point of entry into Eastern mysticism for George Harrison, Russell Simmons and countless yogis. Yogananda made ancient teachings accessible to a modern audience, attracting many followers, helped millions of seekers today to turn their attention inwards, bucking the temptations of the material world in pursuit of self-realization.

Paramahansa Yogananda (1893–1952) is considered one of the preeminent spiritual figures of modern times. Author of the best-selling spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi, is widely recognized as the Father of Yoga in the West, he founded Self-Realization Fellowship (1920) and Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (1917), which continues to carry on his spiritual legacy worldwide today under the leadership of Sri Mrinalini Mata, one of his closest disciples.

PY with Mahatma Gandhi 1935

The film has won many awards and accolades at the festivals. This Award Winning biographical documentary on Paramahansa Yogananda, Awake: The Life of Yogananda to release in India on June 17, marking the ‘International Yoga Day’ on June 21. The film featuring George Harrison, lead guitarist of The Beatles, late Ravi Shankar, celebrated Indian musician and Deepak Chopra is narrated by Bollywood actor, Anupam Kher.

Paramahansa Yogananda Encinitas 1947

Yogananda,  author of the best-selling spiritual classic “Autobiography of a Yogi” has also inspired many including the Founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, George Harrison, lead guitarist of The Beatles, the celebrated Indian musician, late Ravi Shankar and Indian Superstar Amitabh Bachchan.

 The film distributed by Muviwale Entertainment Pvt. Ltd in India will be releasing in major cities, Mumbai, New Delhi, Pune, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Noida, Gurgaon, Ranchi and Thane.

 Expressing her joy about the India release, the Academy award nominated director Lisa Leeman says, “I have great reverence for the ancient wisdom teachings of India, and I am absolutely thrilled that Awake will screen across Yogananda’s beloved homeland of India.  I’ve always been a seeker, and while making Awake, I enjoyed the filmic challenge of figuring out how a biography of a meditation master could convey Eastern teachings in a visceral, cinematic way that Western audiences could understand.  I’d like to think that Yogananda, who was born in India in 1893 and came to the United States in 1920, would get a kick out of seeing this film about his life and teachings come full circle, screening across his beloved India in the twenty-first century.”

Paola and Lisa in India - High Res (1)

 The co-director Paola di Florio adds, “India holds a very special place in my heart. I went there for the first time to film Awake: the Life of Yogananda. I was a bit of a skeptic at the time and could not have imagined that the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda would completely change my life.  Following the Guru’s footsteps through Kolkata, Ranchi, Varanasi and the high Himalayas left an indelible mark on my soul. I returned with a thirst for a deeper spiritual connection, which is when I became initiated into Kriya Yoga. This practice has continued for the past five years to be an ever-growing anchor for me in Satchitananda.  The opening of Awake in India marks a seminal moment. It feels like Paramahansaji’s teachings of India’s ancient wisdom have come full circle.” 

Interestingly, the Embassy of India in Washington D.C. will host a special screening of the film on International Yoga Day i.e June 21.