Custom Extra Credit Assignment: "Kumare" essay paper sample
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The documentary “Kumare” shows how people can be easily affected by religious leaders while searching for inner peace. Undoubtedly, the social experiment conducted by Vikram Gandhi is worth to be admired. Even though the initial idea was to investigate the essence of religious beliefs, Gandhi managed to affect people. He changed the lives of people in a positive way. Thus, I believe that Gandhi’s teaching resonated with his disciples, because he chose the concepts of yoga and spiritual enlightenment, which already were popular in the society; he influenced people’s lives by not focusing on his own personality as Guru.
Among various religions, Gandhi chose the concept of yoga and spiritual enlightenment to conduct his experiment. I am convinced that this choice made his teaching successful because yoga was a universal tool for physical and spiritual practices. As a result, people found his teaching relevant to their own problems. It should be noted that when a person seeks for spiritual support, he/she acknowledges certain personal problems. As the movie shows, there were no people who were happy or without deep emotional disturbances (Gandhi & Carmel, 2011). They desperately required enlightenment and the cure for their problems. Moreover, at that time, yoga was highly popular in the United States. Through physical practices, Gandhi managed to deliver his teachings to the people. Moreover, Gandhi chose successful timing for his teaching. It means that he taught people and then left them for a certain amount of time in order to give them an opportunity to experience the power of his words by themselves. Hence, when he came back, his teaching started to resonate with his disciples. They understood that Kumare was not an ordinary spiritual leader, but rather a personalization of “blue light” and wisdom (Gandhi & Carmel, 2011). Eventually, it created the connection with the philosophy of Kumare and not with his personality. Thus, I believe that yoga, good timing, and a well-constructed strategy allowed Kumare to make his teaching popular among his disciples.
One of the most important factors which influenced the lives of people was that Gandhi did not focus on his personality as Guru. He did not tell his disciples that they should treat him as a role model for the achievement of enlightenment. Contrastingly, he constantly repeated that they all were Gurus (Gandhi & Carmel, 2011). Such uncommon approach attracted people to Kumare’s philosophy and eventually became the basis for the changes in their lives. In the majority of various Asian religious trends which exist in America, religious leaders gather people around their personality. It means that Gurus present themselves as those who reached certain divine truth, enlightenment, power, etc. In other words, they propagate the cult of their personalities. In the case of Kumare, he chose a completely opposite way highlighting that he was not better or more spiritually advanced than other people were. As a result, when he revealed his own personality of Vikram Gandhi, his disciples were not disappointed, since they valued his teaching. To many of them, Gandhi remained a teacher that did have spiritual power. Such belief proves that Gandhi’s artificial philosophy continued to influence the lives of his disciples and encouraged them to cope with the problems and reach their goals. Therefore, I am convinced that lack of focus on the personality of Guru became the determinative factor that continued affecting the lives of people after the revelation of Kumare.
To conclude, I believe that Kumare’s teaching resonated with his disciples, because he chose yoga and the concept of enlightenment as the basis for his philosophy. Since at that time yoga was highly popular, Kumare managed to address spiritual needs of people through self-exploration, chanting, and physical exercises. In addition, due to the fact that Kumare did not focus on his personality as Guru, his teaching remained popular and influential after his revelation.