'Kumare': Fake Guru Earns Real Following

Filmmaker created a fake "yogalebrity" persona and exposed people's desperate desire to believe.
3:00 | 08/11/12

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Transcript for 'Kumare': Fake Guru Earns Real Following
The boom in the yoga business has led to a bump crop of self-styled spiritual gurus. Well, tonight we meet a young filmmaker who set out to make a movie about the fakes and instead found himself becoming one. Here's nick watt with the story. Reporter: Kumare sounds like a mystical indian guru. A simple man from a farway land. Who effortlessly becomes a spiritual beacon for a curious bunch of truth seekers in phoenix, a. I consider kumare to be a living embodiment of the design. I feel myself getting warmer than normal. I'm sure that's your energy. Reporter: But kumare, well, he's really a hip, young filmmaker from new jersey. Isn't the most traumatic part of the illusion of kumare that the guy they thought was from another country grew up in jersey. Reporter: So far -- kumare. Kumare. Kumare? Kumare. My english isn't that good. Reporter: So "borat." But there is more. It's not about making fun of people here. It's about the general absurdity of what we all believe. Reporter: And our need to believe. Vic ral gandhi was raised in a hindu household and watched slack jawed as fellow americans embraced spirituality of his ancestors in search of truth. 15 million americans practice yo gashgs $6 billion a year industry. Do you read or see "eat, pray, love?" I think in the beginning it's absurd, are you friending to be indian? And I guess what they call now yogalebrities, which is not a sanskrit word. Reporter: He made fame about these guys. He is having sex with young girls. He cannot be a real guru. Reporter: Decided a real truth would come from being a religious leader. I was creating kumare who will he be? Jesus, buddha? I was looking at those, what do they say and do? And the one thing I couldn't get down with, they could, was saying they had authority. Kumare was about saying he didn't have authority. You come lately. Reporter: Kumare's message was simple. The only guru you need is inside of yourself. That's vic ral/kumare's invented mirror philosophy. He holds up aer for you, but not literally. I wanted to tell a carbary tale about spiritual leaders we trick ourselves to we leave them so we can be happier, too. This was trying to unveil the trick. When he said he wasn't real, which he said every class and every encounter that he is an illusion, he's not real, no more a guru than people in front of him, people often thought that was a rild because of the accent and the robe and because of what we are programmed to think of a holy man. I had goosebumps all over my arms. As soon as I would look at him. Reporter: Did anybody try to sleep with you? Something complicated about rolling around with a camera crew. You never get in that intimate of a situation. Reporter: Then the day he had to unveil his true identity. The only way to complete the mirror teaching would be to unveil my true identity. Would they hate me? Reporter: Well, you'll have to watch the movie to find out. But the yoga crowd seemed to love him when he preached the guru inside philosophy at an l.A. Studio. This is my own personal religion in a way. Reporter: Even I got a little caught up in the moment. The problem is not everybody has goodness in themselves, not everybody is their own guru. Some people are sociopaths. It might naive, but i think everybody has similar potential to be wise and good. Reporter: This is an enormous, ambitious challenging movie about those we look to as religious leaders and what they feed us. If we woke up on a deserted island, with no scripture, we could still live perfectly happy lives. Reporter: It's a revolutionary tale told by a man wearing a saffron robe and accent. Your religion symbol? No, just mickey mouse. Reporter: I'm nick watt for "nightline" in los angeles. Oh, thanks to nick watt for

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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