‘America’s First Guru’: Film on Swami Vivekananda streams on PBS

Monday, 20 May, 2024
(Photo courtesy: pbs.org)

Princeton, NJ: PBS World Channel, the PBS App, and PBS.org have premiered the documentary “America’s First Guru,” directed by award-winning filmmaker Raja Choudhury and produced by A Thousand Suns Academy, a spiritual media production and talent management company. The film explores the story of Swami Vivekananda, the Indian monk who introduced Yoga, Vedanta, and Indian wisdom to America in the late 19th century.  

“America’s First Guru” delves into a pivotal moment in American history: the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago. It was there that Swami Vivekananda, a charismatic but then-unknown figure, captivated audiences with his profound teachings on yoga, Vedanta, Hinduism, and the universal principles of Indian wisdom. His powerful speeches left an indelible mark, sparking a spiritual revolution that continues to shape and influence American culture today, from yoga studios to the “Star Wars” saga. 

Over the next six years, the press release said, he traveled across America, establishing the first Hindu ashram in the country, the Vedanta Society of New York, and sharing the transformative practices of yoga and Vedanta. Today, over 55 million Americans actively practice yoga, and terms like “guru,” “asana,” and “karma” have become part of everyday vocabulary. The gesture of namaste is a familiar sight from the red carpets of award shows to baseball stadiums. Vivekananda taught yoga in America for the first time and introduced the more profound Vedantic concepts of meditation, universalism, tolerance, pluralism and accepting all faiths as ultimately true. He opened the door for American women, creatives and people from diverse backgrounds and traditions to discover their inherent divinity and become spiritually free. In just six short years, he became America’s First Guru. The film is available free online: https://www.pbs.org/video/americas-first-guru-jxt7re/ 

Subscribe to the Newsletter