American Yogi is a movie about Steve Jobs’ Guru, an Indian saint who transformed tens of thousands of young people in the seventies and who shaped Steve’s approach to life and his work.
In 1974, Steve Jobs quit his job at Atari and said to his boss. “I’m going to find my Guru.” Jobs had been impressed by reading about this guru, called Maharaj-ji, in the book “Be Here Now.” He later described the book as “profound” and said it had “transformed him.” He then met Robert Friendland, who had seen Maharaj-ji, and he was very impressed with him. That encounter inspired Jobs to make a spiritual journey to India.
Jobs later said, “For me it was a serious search. I’d been turned on to the idea of enlightenment and trying to figure out who I was and how I fit into things.”
A few months later Jobs arrived at Maharaj-ji’s temple in the foothills of the Himalayas. However when Jobs arrived, Maharaj-ji had passed away a few month earlier. Larry Brilliant, a devotee of Maharaj-ji, who had remained at the temple after this guru had left his body, was the first person there to meet him. He said “Steve was barefoot, wearing robes and head-shaven. He rented a small “Kumoan” hillside cabin and he would come and get tea and food at the ashram.”
Jobs later said “The people in the Indian countryside don’t use their intellect like we do, they use their intuition instead. Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect, in my opinion. That’s had a big impact on my work.”
Evidently Jobs maintained his connection with Maharaj-ji throughout his life. When he died two pictures of Maharajji were found in his room.
So who is this Maharaj-ji? Who is this man who made such an impact on a young Steve Jobs that he traveled all the way to India to see him? The new documentary “American Yogi” answers these questions.