Ram Dass: not here now
Yesterday the New Indian Express ran a half page obituary for Baba Ram Dass, who died on December 22. I saw nothing in the online western newspapers that I looked at. Perhaps I looked in the wrong places.
I did find one interesting post online, though, at Heavy.com.
For those of you who have never heard of Ram Dass, the Indian Express explains thus:
Dass was born as Richard Alpert and went on to become a prominent psychologist and psychedelic pioneer at Harvard University along with fellow academician Dr. Timothy Leary. During Dass’s trip to India, which he took in 1967, he met his guru Neem Karoli Baba who named him “Ram Dass”, which translates to “servant of God”. It is believed that when Steve Jobs took a trip to India in 1974, he wanted to meet with Karoli baba, but couldn’t since he had died the previous year.
Before this, in 1961, Dass along with Leary, Ralph Metzner, Aldous Huxley and Allen Ginsberg began researching psilocybin, LSD-25 and other psychedelic chemicals. In 1963, Leary and Dass were fired by Harvard after the faculty found out that they were sharing drugs with some of the students. Following this, Leary and Dass took a trip to Mexico where they ate mushrooms and instead of academicians they started on their journey to become “counter-culture icons”. According to Dass’ website, “For Ram Dass psychedelic work turned out to be a prelude to the mystical country of the spirit and the source of consciousness itself. Mind expansion via chemical substances became a catalyst for the spiritual seeking. This naturally led him eastward to the traditional headwater of mystical rivers, India. Once there, a series of seeming coincidences led him to Neem Karoli Baba and the transformation from Richard Alpert to Ram Dass.”
His first book, “Be Here Now” was published in 1971 and is described as a “counter-culture bible”. According to his website, the book’s work has influenced countless seekers of enlightenment on their “spiritual journeys”. The book, “bridges the gap between Eastern spirituality and Western culture.”
Did Ram Dass have his own website? Of course he did.
You can find it at ramdass.org.