26 episodes

Rama was a spiritual teacher in the 80s and 90s who inspired many of his students while helming what many of his detractors would describe as a cult. He defied society’s archetypal vision of a New Age leader, eschewing minimalism for wealth and celebrity. He was also a man ahead of his time, encouraging his students to develop careers in computer science before that was mainstream.

For some, following Rama's lead worked out spiritually, and financially too. But for others, Rama's actions contradicted his cool persona; some eventually came forward with accusations of abuse, others vanished, whistleblowers went to the media, and the group began to shrink and splinter.

In this 10-part investigative series, Jonathan Hirsch explores the life, death and impact of Rama.

Smoke Screen: I Am Rama Neon Hum Media

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.1 • 1K Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

Rama was a spiritual teacher in the 80s and 90s who inspired many of his students while helming what many of his detractors would describe as a cult. He defied society’s archetypal vision of a New Age leader, eschewing minimalism for wealth and celebrity. He was also a man ahead of his time, encouraging his students to develop careers in computer science before that was mainstream.

For some, following Rama's lead worked out spiritually, and financially too. But for others, Rama's actions contradicted his cool persona; some eventually came forward with accusations of abuse, others vanished, whistleblowers went to the media, and the group began to shrink and splinter.

In this 10-part investigative series, Jonathan Hirsch explores the life, death and impact of Rama.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    Introducing Bad Blood: The Final Chapter

    Introducing Bad Blood: The Final Chapter

    She was once the world's youngest self-made female billionaire. Now Elizabeth Holmes, founder of the blood-testing startup Theranos, stands accused of leading a massive fraud, and lying to investors, doctors, and patients about the capabilities of her technology. If convicted, she faces up to 20 years in prison. But Elizabeth may be able to sway a jury with her charisma, highly unusual defense strategy and the fact that key evidence has gone missing. John Carreyrou broke the Theranos scandal. Now he’ll take you into the courtroom as he examines Silicon Valley’s fake it-til-you-make it culture, and the case against Holmes.
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    • 7 min
    Chapter 10: Legacy

    Chapter 10: Legacy

    In this episode, we explore all that Rama left behind: students, a charitable foundation, music, books, and a complicated legacy.

    I Am Rama is a Neon Hum Original podcast.

    Host and Executive Producer: Jonathan Hirsch

    Producer: Kate Mishkin

    Editor: Vikram Patel

    Executive Editor: Catherine Saint Louis

    Sound Designer: Scott Somerville

    Fact Checker: Justin Kloczko

    Production Manager: Sammi Allison

    Special Thanks: Shara Morris, Nick White, Carla Green, Chrystal Genesis, Natalie Rinn, Hayley Fager, and the rest of the team at Neon Hum and Sony Music Podcasts 

    Theme Song: Dolphin Dance, by Tangerine Dream. Other tracks in this episode are from Epidemic Sound and Blue Dot Sessions.

    You can find out more about this series and all the podcasts we produce at Neon Hum by visiting our website: Neonhum.com.

    You can also follow the show (@smokescreenpod) and Jonathan (@jonathanihirsch) on social media.

    For more information on this show and all other Sony Podcast shows, follow @SonyPodcasts.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 36 min
    Chapter 9: Conscience Bay

    Chapter 9: Conscience Bay

    Power trips to paradise and never-before shared knowledge -- were these golden times, or Rama’s way of saying goodbye? This episode explores the final years leading of Rama's life. 

    I Am Rama is a Neon Hum Original podcast.

    Host and Executive Producer: Jonathan Hirsch

    Producer: Kate Mishkin

    Editor: Vikram Patel

    Executive Editor: Catherine Saint Louis

    Sound Designer: Scott Somerville

    Fact Checker: Justin Kloczko

    Production Manager: Sammi Allison

    Theme Song: Dolphin Dance, by Tangerine Dream. Other tracks in this episode are from Epidemic Sound and Blue Dot Sessions.

    You can find out more about this series and all the podcasts we produce at Neon Hum by visiting our website: Neonhum.com.

    You can also follow the show (@smokescreenpod) and Jonathan (@jonathanihirsch) on social media.

    For more information on this show and all other Sony Podcast shows, follow @SonyPodcasts.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 32 min
    Chapter 8: Public Opinion

    Chapter 8: Public Opinion

    As Rama’s image took a hit in the public sphere, his students circled the wagons around their teacher. In something of a last ditch effort to win over the media, Rama accepts an invitation to appear on Dateline. 

    I Am Rama is a Neon Hum Original podcast.

    Host and Executive Producer: Jonathan Hirsch

    Producer: Kate Mishkin

    Editor: Vikram Patel

    Executive Editor: Catherine Saint Louis

    Sound Designer: Scott Somerville

    Fact Checker: Justin Kloczko

    Production Manager: Sammi Allison

    Theme Song: Dolphin Dance, by Tangerine Dream. Other tracks in this episode are from Epidemic Sound and Blue Dot Sessions.

    You can find out more about this series and all the podcasts we produce at Neon Hum by visiting our website: Neonhum.com.

    You can also follow the show (@smokescreenpod) and Jonathan (@jonathanihirsch) on social media.

    For more information on this show and all other Sony Podcast shows, follow @SonyPodcasts.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 31 min
    Chapter 7: Accused

    Chapter 7: Accused

    Multiple women accuse Rama of sexual misconduct and emotional manipulation. Many of Rama’s students defend their teacher. 

    I Am Rama is a Neon Hum Original podcast.

    Host and Executive Producer: Jonathan Hirsch

    Producer: Kate Mishkin

    Editor: Vikram Patel

    Executive Editor: Catherine Saint Louis

    Sound Designer: Scott Somerville

    Fact Checker: Justin Kloczko

    Production Manager: Sammi Allison

    Theme Song: Dolphin Dance, by Tangerine Dream. Other tracks in this episode are from Epidemic Sound and Blue Dot Sessions.

    You can find out more about this series and all the podcasts we produce at Neon Hum by visiting our website: Neonhum.com.

    You can also follow the show (@smokescreenpod) and Jonathan (@jonathanihirsch) on social media.

    For more information on this show and all other Sony Podcast shows, follow @SonyPodcasts.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 28 min
    Chapter 6: Deprogramming

    Chapter 6: Deprogramming

    Rama finds himself in the crosshairs of the Cult Awareness Network, a group dedicated to extricating people from what they consider to be cults by “deprogramming” them. But Rama’s students tell a much different story.

    I Am Rama is a Neon Hum Original podcast.

    Host and Executive Producer: Jonathan Hirsch

    Producer: Kate Mishkin

    Editor: Vikram Patel

    Executive Editor: Catherine Saint Louis

    Sound Designer: Scott Somerville

    Fact Checker: Justin Kloczko

    Production Manager: Sammi Allison

    Theme Song: Dolphin Dance, by Tangerine Dream. Other tracks in this episode are from Epidemic Sound and Blue Dot Sessions.

    You can find out more about this series and all the podcasts we produce at Neon Hum by visiting our website: Neonhum.com.

    You can also follow the show (@smokescreenpod) and Jonathan (@jonathanihirsch) on social media.

    For more information on this show and all other Sony Podcast shows, follow @SonyPodcasts.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 44 min

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5
1K Ratings

1K Ratings

Kathyb527 ,

Excellent!

Fascinating subjects and great telling!! Pretty sure this is in my top 10 of favorite podcasts!

Storify Me ,

Big Fan of Jonathan Hirsch

Found this podcast after listening to Dear Franklin Jones, and I Am Rama did not disappoint! Hirsch seems to really have a balanced and fair approach to all of his reporting, and doesn't push any specific agenda. This story is interesting and well worth the listen!

Autumnlondon ,

Thanks great podcast

I have added this to my current episodes
I am happy I have a new one to follow that I enjoy

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