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“If you’re looking to find the key to the universe, I have some bad news and some good news. The bad news is – there is no key to the Universe. The good news is – it’s not locked.” – Swami Beyondananda
Swami Beyondananda is the comic alter ego of writer, performer, and humorist Steve Bhaerman. As Swami Beyondananda, Bhaerman performs in conferences and political events as a spokesperson of “a new non-religion, FUNdamentalism” which is a comical yet practical take on spiritualism. “I got struck by enlightening during a brainstorm,” described Bhaerman when the name “Swami Beyondananda flew into his head in 1979. Back then, he was a teacher and a writer in the Michigan-based publication, “Pathways.” It was only on the following year that Swami became a comic mascot for the said publication, and before long, his feature gained wide readership because of its comical value. Despite Pathways’ end, Bhaerman’s articles continued to reach his audience through national and local publications. Soon after, Bhaerman committed to being a fulltime comedian and had his first public performance as Swami the guru in 1985.
The quote above is one of Swami 10 guidelines to enlightenment, which is an entertaining yet insightful play of puns and paradox. For over 20 years, Bhaerman has used his witty and comical alter ego to promote happiness and peace through laughter and B.Y.O.B. or “Being Your Own Buddha.” He has written and co-written several books and political blogs with a spiritual perspective. Most of Swami’s doctrines are about not taking life seriously and “waking up laughing,” but still being aware of the moment and one’s spiritual condition. As one of his famous quote says, “Either there will be awakening, or we will have a wake.”