Ram Dass, author of the groundbreaking classic Be Here Now, is one of America’s most beloved spiritual teachers. Born Richard Alpert, he began teaching at Harvard University in 1958, where his explorations of human consciousness led him to conduct intensive research with LSD and other psychedelic elements in collaboration with Timothy Leary, Aldous Huxley, Allen Ginsberg, and others. Because of the controversial nature of this research, he was eventually dismissed from Harvard in 1963.
Ram Dass’ psychedelic work continued and became a prelude to the mystical country of the spirit and the source of consciousness itself. Mind expansion via chemical substances became a catalyst for spiritual seeking. In 1967, a fateful trip to India led him to his guru, Neem Karoli Baba. Under his guru’s guidance, he studied yoga and meditation and received the name Ram Dass, or “servant of God.” He has since pursued a variety of spiritual practices and has become world-renowned for his dedication to loving service.
Ram Dass is founder of the Hanuman Foundation, which developed the Prison-Ashram Project, designed to help inmates grow spiritually during incarceration, and the Living Dying Project, which provides support for conscious dying. He is also cofounder of the Seva Foundation, an international organization dedicated to relieving suffering in the world.
What People are Saying About Ram Dass
“So many people are desperately searching for love, whether consciously or unconsciously. May Ram Dass’ intimate and heartfelt account inspire others to find their own path of true love, compassion, and joyful service.”
—Thich Nhat Hanh, author of The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching
“If the West even approaches enlightenment in the 21st Century, there’s no way to overestimate the role of Ram Dass in making it happen. He planted seeds that turned into a million trees.”
—Marianne Williamson, author of The Age of Miracles