Skeptic News: 'Kumare': Fake Guru Exposes Real, Desperate Desire to Believe

A 33-year-old filmmaker from New Jersey created a fake “yogalebrity” persona for a film project but wound up with a real American following.

Kumare, real name Vikram Gandhi, speaks with a thick Indian accent. His hair is long, his beard is full, his feet are bare. Wrapped in a saffron sarong, Kumare effortlessly became a spiritual beacon for a curious bunch of truth seekers in Phoenix. Gandhi was raised in a Hindu household, the child of Indian immigrants. He watched, slack-jawed, as his fellow Americans embraced the spirituality of his Indian ancestors in search of truth.

About 15 million Americans practice yoga, which has grown into a $6 billion-a-year industry.

Gandhi started making the film about sadhus, or holy men, in India and the U.S. But soon he decided that a deeper truth could be found by becoming a religious leader himself. So he kicked off his shoes, grew out his beard and hair and started speaking in his Indian grandma’s accent.

Gandhi says the point was not to show how gullible those who followed Kumar were but rather to highlight the absurdity of the things we believe.

Skeptic News thinks there is a lesson her for us all in how easy it is to be fooled.

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0 Responses to Skeptic News: 'Kumare': Fake Guru Exposes Real, Desperate Desire to Believe

  1. Paul Braterman says:

    Absolutely. But I still can’t understand the followers of Joseph Smith and the prophet Moroni (was that intended as a joke?), who showed him the sacred tablets that Willard Milton Romney believes in. And unlike the forbidden fruit and talking snake and all that, there’s no way to even take it metaphorically.

    One serious quibble; 15 million Americans practice Yoga. But this tells us noting about credulity; this will cover everything from an exercise regime to subjective exploration of experience to Guru-adoring cults.

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