Ram Dass – Here and Now – Episode 2 – Journey to the East

Ram Dass talks about the trials he experienced before traveling to India after he was fired from Harvard and describes his journey to the East to find his Guru.

We learn about his and Tim Leary’s fascination with the Tibetan Book of the Dead and how they re-worked its concepts into a guide for the spiritual use of psychedelics.

Click here to read the transcription of this episode.

Show Notes

The Inside Story (Opening)

Ram Dass describes his return to Harvard after taking psilocybin mushrooms for the first time with Timothy Leary and his efforts to integrate his new perspective through his work while working within the academic system. He shares the lessons about the offerings and limitations of psychedelics that he learned in those early psychonaut years.

“I tried to find ways within the system, within the scientific establishment, to work with these things. To work with the concepts or variables that I was arriving at.” – Ram Dass

The Psychedelic Experience (14:30)

After coming to the conclusion that psychedelics held an unprecedented potential for the exploration of the human consciousness, Ram Dass quickly realized that he and the Western academic community lacked the knowledge to use them properly. He discusses his turn to Eastern philosophy in the search for a better understanding of what the psychedelic experience had to offer.

“We read a number of books had which led us to believe that the information we needed to know to be able to socialize these chemicals and to be able to work with these higher states of consciousness was known in the East… Tim conceived of, and pretty much did on his own, a translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead into a manual for working with the psychedelics. We tried to conceive of the psychedelic experience as a psychological death/rebirth experience since my own experience was such.”- Ram Dass

Journey to the East (20:00)

By 1967, Ram Dass had hit a wall in his search for answers through the resources that were available to him in the West and if there was anything to be found he must go to the source. Ram Dass describes that journey across the East where he met mystics and holy people from many spiritual backgrounds and how he met Bhagavan Das, the wild Westerner who would lead Ram Dass to the answers he was looking for.

7 thoughts on “Ram Dass – Here and Now – Episode 2 – Journey to the East”

  1. I want to let you know how much I have enjoyed these first two podcast. I also want you to know that I am from the mountains of Eastern Ky to give you an idea of how far the message is spreading. I found you through Duncan Trussel who I found through Joe Rogan who I found by randomly listening to the top podcast.

    • Dave, Most of these recordings were done in the late sixties and early seventies – Richard Alpert was Ram Dass’ name before he left for India and met Neem Karoli Baba (Maharaji), his guru who gave him the name “Ram Dass”. Thanks for listening!

  2. I love these podcasts too. I first heard RD’s (tapes) way back – perhaps in the seventies and have been referencing his thoughts and words ever since. My original tapes I have copied and given to many people, all of whom have been delighted to have them. They are very worn now and I’d love to have copies of them – but it seems they are not available in their original form.
    I used RD’s words to my father as he was dying and remember that situation with great gratitude to RD. So I have come to these podcasts. Wonderful to hear his voice again. I began by listening to Podcast 1, but concluded it wasn’t going to be RD at all, but some other guy talking about his experiences with RD. So I gave up.
    Only when I persevered with this no. 2 Podcast did I realize that in fact RD was going to say something. And I’ve enjoyed it hugely. However I don’t understand why we need the long intro. from ? Marcus. I’m sure he’s a wonderful guy and very worthy, but in his intro. I feel ego – which RD, although he’s talking about himself, doesn’t have.
    I think this valuable service would be much improved if each podcast went straight in to RD himself. He doesn’t need explanation. He just is. And his words stand by themselves without need of improvement.

    On my wall – ” The wild geese do not intend to cast their reflections. The water has no mind to receive their image.”

    Thankyou RD.


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