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”
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–
The second part, the most comprehensive, is an informal acquisition of mystical, spiritual, and holy proverbs, supplemented by cases.
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.
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”.
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.
Link to get the book:
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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