I recently came across Vikram Gandhi’s documentary Kumaré, in which the native New Yorker attempts to pass himself off as a spiritual teacher, his success, and dilemma when the time comes to admit the truth to his followers. I’m intending to use this as part of my Alternative Spiritualities class (starting January 2012), which takes the idea of inventing tradition as its theme. Gandhi’s point seems to be that anyone can become a guru, although logically, it doesn’t necessarily follow that because Gandhi did, anyone can. But does it matter? If the followers he attracted got something out of it, is their experience invalidated because of a lack of supernatural mandate?