Be Here Now ~ By Ram Dass



Book Introduction:

Be Here Now is a book on spirituality by the American esoteric and spiritual guru Ram Dass. Ram Dass was born as Richard Alpert. The book was first printed in 1970 as ‘From Bindu to Ojas’. The name of the 1971 edition emerged from a statement of his guru, Bhagavan Das. This statement was given during Ram Dass’s journeys in India. The book cover highlights a mandala including the title, a chair, radial lines, and the word “Remember” recurred four times and “Be Here Now” in a circle.

The book is divided into four parts:

  • “Journey: The Transformation: Dr. Richard Alpert, Ph.D. into Baba Ram Dass”
  • “From Bindu to Ojas: The Core Book”
  • “Cookbook for a Sacred Life: A Manual for Conscious Being”
  • “Painted Cakes (Do Not Satisfy Hunger): Books”

First part

The first part is a concise biography, describing Alpert’s achievements as a psychologist. It focuses more on his investigation with Timothy Leary into psychedelics at Harvard. This followed his anxiety when this analysis did not conclude his spiritual questions. He then describes his initial journey to India. It also portrays the inception of Guru-chela bond with Neem Karoli Baba. Neem Karoli Baba conducted his holy renaming as “Baba Ram Dass”, or “servant of God”. Ram Dass concludes the first part of the book with this passage:

Now, though I am a beginner on the path, I have returned to the West for a time to work out karma or unfulfilled commitment. Part of this commitment is to share what I have learned with those of you who are on a similar journey. One can share a message through telling “our-story” as I have just done, or through the teaching methods of yoga, or singing, or making love. Each of us finds his unique vehicle for sharing with others his bit of wisdom. For me, this story is but a vehicle for sharing with you the true message … the living faith in what is possible. –OM–

Second part

The second part, the most comprehensive, is an informal acquisition of mystical, spiritual, and holy proverbs, supplemented by cases.

Third part

The third part is a text for commencing on a yogic or spiritual track and involves many techniques for yoga, pranayama, and meditation. It also involves quotes from esteemed gurus of many religions and spiritual cultures.

Fourth part

The last part, entitled “Painted Cakes Do Not Satisfy Hunger” (a Zen commentary on liturgy), includes a list of advised books on theology, spirituality, and mindfulness. These books are separated into “Books to hang out with”, “Books to visit with now & then”, and “Books it’s useful to have met”.


Author Introduction:

Ram Dass was born as Richard Alpert. He was born on April 6, 1931. Later on, came to be known as Baba Ram Dass, was an American religious guru, psychologist, and writer. His best-known work, Be Here Now (1971), has been labeled as “seminal”. This book helped spread Eastern spirituality and yoga in the West. He wrote or co-wrote twelve more books on spirituality across the next forty years, consisting of Grist for the Mill (1977), How Can I Help? (1985), and Polishing the Mirror (2013).

Dass was individually and executively associated with Timothy Leary at Harvard University at the beginning of the 1960s. Before known as Richard Alpert, he directed experimentation with Leary on the healing outcomes of experimental drugs. Also, Alpert helped Harvard Divinity School graduate student Walter Pahnke in his 1962 “Good Friday Experiment” with theism pupils.  the original controlled, dual-blind study of drugs and the mystical encounter. Although it was not illegal at that moment, their research was contentious and drove Leary’s and Alpert’s expulsion from Harvard in 1963.

In 1967, Alpert visited India and converted into a follower of Hindu guru Neem Karoli Baba. Neem Karoli Baba was the one who renamed him as Ram Dass, meaning “Servant of Ram”. In the following years, he established the philanthropic institutions Seva Foundation and Hanuman Foundation. He toured broadly delivering speeches and reclusion and organizing philanthropic enterprises for charitable purposes from 1970-1990. In 1997, he had a stroke due to which he was paralyzed. He grew to explain this experience as an act of refinement, acquiring the ability to speak again and resuming to teach and write books. After becoming seriously unhealthy through a trip through India in 2004, he retreated to Maui, Hawaii, where he organized yearly withdrawals with other spiritual gurus until his death.


Excerpts from the book:

Every quote is taken from the book ‘Be Here Now’, quoted from the author Ram Dass himself. We have arranged our records into the following sections. We’ve added bold to some quotes for importance.


At one point I took five people and we locked ourselves in a building for three weeks and we took 400 micrograms of LSD every four hours. That is 2400 micrograms of LSD a day, which sounds fancy, but after your first dose, you build a tolerance; there’s a refractory period. We finally were just drinking out of the bottle, because it didn’t seem to matter anymore. We’d just stay at a plateau. We were very high. What happened in those three weeks in that house, no one would ever believe, including us. And at the end of the three weeks, we walked out of the house and within a few days, we came down!

We had gotten over the feeling that one experience was going to make you enlightened forever. We saw that it wasn’t going to be that simple. And for five years I dealt with the matter of “coming down.” The coming down matter is what led me to the next chapter of this drama. Because after six years, I realized that no matter how ingenious my experimental designs were, and how high I got, I came down.

And it was a terribly frustrating experience as if you came into the kingdom of heaven and you saw how it all was and you felt these new states of awareness, and then you got cast out again.

Ram Dass

Emotions are like waves. Watch them disappear in the distance on the vast calm ocean.

Ram Dass

You may protest if you can love the person you are protesting against as much as you love yourself.

Ram Dass

When your center is firm, when your faith is strong and unwavering, then it will not matter what company you keep.

Ram Dass

I thought inside “I must really be crazy, now — because craziness is where everybody agrees about something — except you!” And yet I felt saner than I had ever felt, so I knew this was a new kind of craziness or perhaps a new kind of saneness.

Ram Dass

It would be best not to impose a model too soon, because the model that exists in the west for these states is pathological, and the model that exists in the primitive cultures is mystical and religious.

Ram Dass

There are three stages in this journey that I have been on. The first. the social science stage; the second, the psychedelic stage; and the third, the yogi stage.

Ram Dass

Which thoughts are useful to repeat? There are different kinds of mantras (phrases). Different mantras take you to different planes. Some seed (beej) mantras resonate within in such a way as to open one of your chakras (energy centers). There are power mantras to strengthen your will, and other mantras to open your heart in such a way as to deepen your compassion.

Ram Dass

To begin we must begin at the beginning. At the beginning is the spirit. Spirit is a Latin word meaning breath. It’s like breathing out and breathing in, NO THING-yup, no thing. And this no thing is basic for our life. Breathe spirit, this spirit which sustains and maintains, without which we die to this form. This no thing is the foundation upon which all must be based. Life must be dedicated to the spirit alone for as it has been laid out . . . seek you first the kingdom of heaven and all else shall be added to you . . . so . . . with the family sadhana as with all sadhana this is where we begin. The family and all it is thru/by/in the extension must be dedicated solely to the spirit.

Ram Dass

Get in the habit of remaining silent for a few hours a day. This is most easily done when one is at home or around people who understand what you are trying to do. (In India if you are silent everyone immediately says, “Ah, Mourn/’ and honors you. In the West, people either interpret silence as a sign of your hostility towards them or as a physical illness about which they feel pity. Either of these reactions makes your work more difficult.) At first, you may want to remain by yourself during these few hours. Later you will be able to be around people comfortably without having to speak.

Ram Dass

I thought at that moment, “Wow, I’ve got it made. I’m just a new beautiful being — I’m just an inner self — all I’ll ever need to do is look inside and I’ll know what to do and I can always trust it, and here I’ll be forever.”

Ram Dass

But two or three days later I was talking about the whole thing in the past tense. I was talking about how I “experienced” this thing, because I was back being that anxiety-neurotic, in a slightly milder form, but still, my old personality was sneaking back up on me.

Ram Dass

Before March 6th, which was the day I took Psilocybin, one of the psychedelics, I felt something was wrong in my world, but I couldn’t label it in any way so as to get hold of it. I felt that the theories I was teaching in psychology didn’t make it, that the psychologists didn’t really have a grasp of the human condition, and that the theories I was teaching, which were theories of achievement and anxiety and defense mechanisms and so on, weren’t getting to the crux of the matter.

Ram Dass

My colleagues and I were 9 to 5 psychologists: we came to work every day and we did our psychology, just like you would do insurance or auto mechanics, and then at 5 we went home and were just as neurotic as we were before we went to work. Somehow, it seemed to me, if all of this theory were right, it should play more intimately into my own life. I understood the requirement of being “objective” for a scientist, but this is a most naive concept in social sciences as we are finding out. Something was wrong. And the something wrong was that I just didn’t know, though I kept feeling all along the way that somebody else must know even though I didn’t. The nature of life was a mystery to me. All the stuff I was teaching was just like little molecular bits of stuff but they didn’t add up to a feeling anything like wisdom. I was just getting more and more knowledgeable.

Ram Dass

Link to get the book:

You can get your copy of ‘Be Here Now’ By Ram Dass from Here: 

Amazon.com and Amazon.in


Reviews of the book:

Be Here Now

by Ram Dass

Describes one man’s transformation upon his acceptance of the principles of Yoga & gives a modern restatement of the importance of the spiritual side of human nature. Illustrated.

The book is divided into four sections:

Journey: The Transformation: Dr Richard Alpert, PhD into Baba Ram Dass

From Bindu to Ojas: The Core Book

Cookbook for a Sacred Life: A Manual for Conscious Being

Painted Cakes (Do Not Satisfy Hunger): Books

This review was taken from Goodreads.com


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