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I call Gutman Locks the 'Mitzvah Man'. He is blessed with the will and the opportunity to go out and increase mitzvoth (good deeds, the commandments) in the world. But it wasn't always like that for him, which gives us all hope, that we too can turn around our lives to achieve more than we thought we ever could.
Locks has been through the spiritual spectrum. Born a Jew, he was raised in a household which was not religious Jewishly, though he was told to marry a Jewish girl when he got older. He grew up and became a successful businessman in real estate, made the cover of a magazine but after buying bigger and bigger homes, he thought, 'is this all there is to life?'. He soon afterwards dropped out of the 'American dream', becoming a hippie. Wanting more guidance and direction to the meaning of life, he met a yogi who showed him an amazing movie of her guru in India who had millions of followers. The guru purportedly could materialize diamonds out of thin air. Locks was impressed and took off for India. There, he studied under this famous guru and practiced meditation to an extreme, up to 10 hours a day. After witnessing his spiritual mentor's hypocrisy of how he preached and then how he lived his life, he became disillusioned and left back for the States. More spiritual searching brought him to read the Christian Bible, where he subsequently tore out their second half, keeping only the first five books of Moses, the Torah. He then headed off to Israel to find G-d, where, at the Western Wall, he was helped into a yeshiva to learn Torah and thus he returned to his roots. I interviewed him several years ago, and personally, it still stands as one of my most memorable interviews. It was entitled, "From Hippie, to Guru, to Religious Jew".
Now, I left out all the good stuff, the details in his story, in order not to make this blog too long. For instance, I didn't tell you about his courage -or naivety(?), of running into the path of a charging elephant in India, or his walking amongst people in India who thought he was a god because they said he was 'glowing' or eminating a light from his body, or his living on a park bench in Central Park, NY, wearing only a sheet wrapped around him. Or his living in Hawaii and walking on the beach hearing voices or 'demons' raging inside his head.
Today, he is a frum Jew and stands at the Kotel looking for Jews to help don Tefillin. He has hundreds of stories to tell about his experiences pulling people off to the side to help them with Tefillin, and some he pulled in, unbeknownst to him turned out to not even be Jewish. ha ha. His story is colorful, yet educational, funny, yet inspiring, and you can read about in his book, "Coming Back To Earth". I HIGHLY recommend it for all, Jew or Gentile. But take out the kleenex and be prepared for some belly laughs as well. It's a book you will want to loan out afterwards to your friends. I loaned out mine, and now I have no idea where it is. (sigh) - I'll have to get another.
Here are some videos of Gutman Locks that are now up at his website. I got an email today with a link to it, and after viewing them (all are short, under 4 minutes or so), I had to giggle, but also had to wipe a tear or two away from my eyes as well. I hope you enjoy them and are inspired by them as I was.
Get his book, you won't be sorry, and neither will anyone else you might want to buy it for. Click HERE.