Ram Dass, formerly Dr. Richard Alpert, became a multigenerational spiritual teacher and cultural icon spanning from the 1960s through his peaceful passing at his home on December 22, 2019.
His zeitgeist shifting book Be Here Now sparked a watershed of Eastern spiritual traditions and practices to become accessible to a Western audience.
After a life-altering stroke, Ram Dass spent the remainder of his life on Maui, continuing to write books, share teachings, and hold retreats.
His many books include:
- Walking Each Other Home
- Polishing the Mirror
- Be Here Now
- Be Love Now, Path of the Heart
- Path to God living the Bhagavad Gita
- Still Here, and The Only Dance There Is
Ram Dass devoted his life to service, founding and co-founding:
- the Love Serve Remember Foundation
- the Hanuman Foundation
- the Seva Foundation
- Lama Foundation
- Neem Karoli Baba Ashram in Taos
Ram Dass has served on the faculty at Stanford and Harvard Universities. In the 1960s, he traveled to India, where he met his guru. Since then, he has pursued a variety of spiritual practices, including guru kripa, devotional yoga, karma yoga, many forms of meditation, and Sufi and Jewish studies. Many of his books, including Be Here Now, are international bestsellers and classics of their kind.
RAM DASS BOOKS AND SYNOPSIS
Be Here Now
Beloved guru Ram Dass tells the story of his spiritual awakening and gives you the tools to take control of your life in this “counterculture bible” (The New York Times) featuring powerful guidance on yoga, meditation, and finding your true self.
When Be Here Now was first published in 1971, it filled a deep spiritual emptiness, launched the ongoing mindfulness revolution, and established Ram Dass as perhaps the preeminent seeker of the twentieth century.
Just ten years earlier, he was known as Professor Richard Alpert. He held appointments in four departments at Harvard University. He published books, drove a Mercedes and regularly vacationed in the Caribbean. By most societal standards, he had achieved great success. . . . And yet he couldn’t escape the feeling that something was missing.
Psilocybin and LSD changed that. During a period of experimentation, Alpert peeled away each layer of his identity, disassociating from himself as a professor, a social cosmopolite, and lastly, as a physical being. Fear turned into exaltation upon the realization that at his truest, he was just his inner-self: a luminous being that he could trust indefinitely and love infinitely.
And thus, a spiritual journey commenced. Alpert headed to India where his guru renamed him Baba Ram Dass–“servant of God.” He was introduced to mindful breathing exercises, hatha yoga, and Eastern philosophy. If he found himself reminiscing or planning, he was reminded to “Be Here Now.” He started upon the path of enlightenment, and has been journeying along it ever since.
Be Here Now is a vehicle for sharing the true message, and a guide to self-determination.
Paths to God Living the Baghdad Gita
“Blessed brilliance and luminous heart wisdom–Ram Dass at his best. These lectures were joyous to attend and exquisite to read.” —Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart Read the 1st Chapter Free
“With wisdom, humor, and great compassion, Paths to God illuminates the liberating power of the Gita–a rare gift in these unsettled times.” –Joseph Goldstein, author of One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism
“Through offering a wide variety of approaches to spiritual happiness, Paths to God is one of the most inclusive and inviting books available to us.” –Sharon Salzberg, author of Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience
From the Back Cover
For centuries, readers have turned to the Bhagavad Gita for inspiration and guidance as they chart their own spiritual paths. As profound and powerful as this classic text has been for generations of seekers, integrating its lessons into the ordinary patterns of our lives can ultimately seem beyond our reach. Now, in a fascinating series of reflections, anecdotes, stories, and exercises, Ram Dass gives us a unique and accessible road map for experiencing divinity in everyday life. In the engaging, conversational style that has made his teachings so popular for decades, Ram Dass traces our journey of consciousness as it is reflected in one of Hinduism’s most sacred texts. The Gita teaches a system of yogas, or “paths for coming to union with God.”
In “Paths to God, Ram Dass brings the heart of that system to light for a Western audience and translates the Gita’s principles into the manual for living the yoga of contemporary life.
While being a guide to the wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita, “Paths to God is also a template for expanding our definition of ourselves and allowing us to appreciate a new level of meaning in our lives.
Walking Each Other Home: Conversations on Love and Dying
What would it look like if you could approach your own death with curiosity and love, in service of other beings? Many people resist their own mortality, but Ram Dass says that “Death is an incredible opportunity to awaken.”
In Walking Each Other Home, Ram Dass and Mirabai Bush explore the ways in which we can be present with dying, and help ourselves and others leave this world consciously. Through masterful storytelling and practical guidance, these two teachers offer an intimate, thoughtful, and uplifting exploration of the greatest of human mysteries–and show us how death gives us an unparalleled opening to cultivate gratitude, compassion, mindfulness, and an abiding joy in the simple beauty of living.
Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing, and Dying
Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing, and Dying is Ram Dass’ reflection on the joys, pains, and opportunities that appear as we age. In 1997, Ram Dass suffered a nearly incapacitating stroke that affected his speech and movement. Over the next two years, he worked to regain his damaged capacities. From this experience he has produced a timely and thoughtful book that touches an important contemporary issue – our fears and apprehension about aging.
Polishing The Mirror
Sometimes illumination occurs spontaneously or, as Ram Dass experienced, in a heart-wrenching moment of opening. More commonly, it happens when we polish the mirror of the heart with daily practice―and see beyond the illusion of our transient thoughts and emotions to the vast and luminous landscape of our true nature. For five decades, Ram Dass has explored the depths of consciousness and love and brought them to life as service to others. With Polishing the Mirror, he gathers together his essential teachings for living in the eternal present, here and now. Readers will find within these pages a rich combination of perennial wisdom, humor, teaching stories, and detailed guidance on Ram Dass’ own spiritual practices, including: Bhakti Yoga―opening our hearts to unconditional love • Practices for living, aging, dying, and embracing the natural flow of life • Karma Yoga―how selfless service can profoundly transform us • Working with fear and suffering as a path to grace and freedom • Step-by-step guidance in devotional chant, meditation and mantra practice, and much more For those new to Ram Dass’ teachings, and for those to whom they are old friends, here is this vanguard spiritual explorer’s complete guide to discovering who we are and why we are here, and how to become beacons of unconditional love.
BE LOVE NOW THE PATH Of THE HEART
As one of the most respected spiritual explorers of recent times, Ram Dass sparked a revolution with the publication of his 2-million-copy classic, Be Here Now. Since then, he has been a beacon for spiritual seekers worldwide, challenging us to find new sources of meaning and purpose in our lives.
Be Love Now is a remarkable blend of autobiography and timeless spiritual insights. From his beginnings as a Harvard psychologist and psychedelic adventurer to his profound encounters with his Indian guru, Neem Karoli Baba, and moving beyond the reawakening brought on by his near-fatal illness, Ram Dass strikes a practical, humorous, soul-stirring chord in today’s egotistical and lonely world. While offering us his rich life experiences, he also holds out a timeless, wonderfully universal adventure that will open our hearts and minds.