Helen Hunt believes an Indian guru helped her realise her dream of becoming a mum after an uplifting experience with him.

United Nations-recognised spiritual master Sri Chinmoy invited the actress to his headquarters in Queens, New York shortly after Hunt won her Best Actress Oscar for her role in As Good As It Gets, and she accepted.

The guru, who passed away in 2007, was famous for showing off mind-over-matter feats of strength, and he celebrates the achievements of people he admires by lifting them above his head.

Hunt explains, “He lifted people that he felt had achieved something, that had contributed something to the world… (Archbishop) Desmond Tutu, Muhammad Ali and me.

“I went with my goddaughter… and we pull into this place and women open the car door and they’re dressed in, like, floral gowns, and they walk me into this garden.

“Then I get on this contraption, walk up four steps and he lifted me up.”

The one-off encounter with Sri Chinmoy may have been a little odd, but The Sessions star Hunt is convinced it helped her conceive.

She tells U.S. chat show host David Letterman, “I wanted to have a baby and he was encouraging me to pray and not give up and I did have a beautiful daughter, so he was right.”