The Origin of “Be Here Now”

With Maharaji’s permission, Ram Dass published the book Be Here Now in America in 1971. He gave instructions to the publisher to print the book and came to India with the first copy to present to Maharaji. Maharaji had not studied English. Yet five months later he drew Ram Dass’ attention to some untruths in two passages of the book and said, “Lies should not be mentioned in this book. They will hurt you. Delete those passages from the book.”

Ram Dass became anxious because a long time had elapsed, and the book might already have been published. He expected that about thirty thousand copies would have been printed. He contacted Steve Durkee and found out that the next thirty thousand copies were, in fact, in print. Explaining the situation to Baba, he said that the changes could only be incorporated into the next edition. It would be a loss of $10,000 to reject the thirty thousand books. Maharaji said, “Money and truth have nothing to do with each other. When you printed it first, you thought it was true, but now that you know it isn’t, you can’t print lies. You will be hurt by it. You must correct it now.”

Ram Dass sent a cable to Steve. After a week he received a reply reporting a strange incident. The book could not be printed because Baba’s photograph, which was to be printed on a full page, was missing. The original was also missing, so a new plate could not be made. The printed had pulled the job off the press to await further instructions.

Excerpt from The Divine Reality of Sri Baba Neeb Karori Ji Maharaj by Ravi Prakash Pande “Rajida”

23 thoughts on “The Origin of “Be Here Now””

  1. ~Be Here Now…sits a top my coffee table…well actually it is a wooden case that once held guns & bullets…how appropriate that the book sits “a top”…It is a lovely box though, now filled with quilts and cozy things…No surprise though about the photo…it’s just how it works…Much <3<3<3 Heidi~

    Reply
  2. Speaking about money, I wonder why you don’t offer your books online for free. Don’t you want to spread your teachings?

    I guess you don’t have to worry about your living expenses for the rest of your life. Why try to profit more at the expense of sharing knowledge freely?

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    • Ram Dass has given away his profits ever since Be Here Now. He’s never kept any money for himself. Every book, every lecture he’s given, has all been given away.
      Even several years ago when he had a health issue come up, he didn’t have any money for the medical expenses because he never kept any money for himself so Wayne Dyer sent an email out to his fans asking for help for ram Dass and people then donated money to help pay his medical costs.
      Ram Dass walks the talk.

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      • Then who’s keeping all the money from the books and the Ram Dass foundation donations, and why?

        And I don’t buy “the foundation needs the money to further spread his teachings”. If that were the case the books would be free (at least the digital versions).

        If I were Ram Dass, I’ll put my books on the Public Domain.

        Reply
          • Sure there are, I’m not complaining about that.

            I just don’t understand why some undisclosed people can make money off of Ram Dass books, and I don’t understand why.

            I don’t understand how can that be in harmony with buddhist teachings.

            I’m just trying to understand.

          • Who would be making money off of the books? The publishers? It cost money to print them and for the people that carry them and sell them.

          • 1) The publisher is not selling the books at cost, it’s selling them with a margin. So yes, they’re making a profit.

            2) You can host electronic versions of Public Domain books for free on Project Gutemberg or on Wikimedia Commons, or on many other free hosting services like MediaFire or Mega.

            So there’s no excuse for not offering *electronic versions* of the books for free other than “somebody is making money off of them and that somebody doesn’t want Ram Dass releasing *electronic versions* of his books into the Public Domain”.

          • So tell me if I’m understanding you correctly.
            You believe that the publisher should work for free? And not only work for free but also use their own money to spend thousands of dollars on all the paper and equipment needed to print these books?
            And that you and everyone else should not have to give anything in exchange for Ram Dass’s teachings?

            Why?

          • No, you are not understanding me correctly. 🙂

            I’ll explain again.

            What I’m saying is that if I was somebody who had some valuable knowledge that I wanted to spread (which I presume Ram Dass is) and whose core philosophy of life were to be “I want to spread my teachings for the greater good of humanity” (which I presume Ram Dass’ is) I’d make all of my teachings (specially my seminal pieces) available as Public Domain works, for free. I’d do this electronically, which has zero cost for me. Nothing to do with the publisher.

            And if that cannot be, I’d make a clearer case as for why I cannot make it so.

            Because otherwise everybody is misunderstanding what Ram Dass, or its foundation, intentions and philosophies regarding monetary profit are.

            “Publishers need to make money” is not a valid excuse, because you as the author can make whatever you want with your (new) works.

            Whether I want to pay or not for these specific books is unrelated.

            I’m asking, how does this agree with buddhism core philosophies (I’m a neophyte and I don’t know much about them). How is not hypocritical that. How can everybody explain and justify buddhism philosophies within a capitalist system? What am I missing?

            It’s fine if Ram Dass (or the people of his choosing, or the publishers of his choosing) want to make money. Everybody’s gotta make a living. But then you cannot say “my core philosophy is to make my teachings available for the greater good of the humanity and because of that I give away my profits”, as people has told me he did.

            Because indirectly, he has not given away his profits, as these books are not in the Public Domain, so some entity is profiting from them.

            Even if his older works are compromised because he has signed a, let’s say, 40 year contract with the publisher,
            he has still released a book in 2013 which presumably was not bound by a contract before he released that. And yet he didn’t release it in the Public Domain.

            Since he says he is forfeiting all his profits: to whom (publisher or person) is he giving away his book profits and why.

            Look here for what “being in the public domain” means: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_domain

            I’m just looking for moral coherence (which in this world of ours we cannot find much); or a rational explanation that helps me understand these apparent contradictions.

    • See Q&A about financials and Buddhism at http://www.buddhanet.net/
      It is considerate and caring to donate something to the institution, guru or ashram for the energy expenditure to retain a cosmic balance.

      On Capitalism, is it okay for other religions to demand donations from their congregations but not okay for any other teacher of humankind to receive donations to be able to bring as many free teachings as they can to us? Just running a website like RD’s are a huge financial outlay (not to mention storage space for audio) – and anyone can go there for free.

      Not one of my own followers have ever asked for a free book, a free download, for they know that I, too, have to survive in this world. I have also found that most people, when taking something for nothing, do not appreciate what they receive and the fundamental of balanced energy exchange is lost.

      Reply
  3. Why shouldn’t ram dass deserve to make money. Everyone should. It is an energetic exchange and when we question why or how much we have to pay is really a reflection on how worthy we feel about ourselves.

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  4. I’m not surprised that Ram Dass doesn’t keep the proceeds from his book(s). I’ll never forget seeing him for the first time in Tucson in the late 80’s. He completely won me over. It came to me to mention a phrase from my most loved teacher Jean Klein. “Spend money graciously.” From there it became obvious that I could do everything gratiously. One more please from Jean! “It is not what you do, it is how you are while you are doing it.” I’m sure Ram Dass will agree.

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  5. I don’t think we’re hearing deeply RS’s need for understanding for how Buddhism philosophy and capitalism work together. I’m hearing judgment sneaking into the answers. I wish someone could just address his question as a neutral question, dropping any triggers it may bring up to defend RD, and just give him some explanation which could help his understanding. I’d do it, but I don’t have the answer either.

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  6. I really thought the point of the story was about how Baba h ad prevented the publication somehow because it had become apparent to Ram Dass that he had written something which wasn’t true. The Guru’s love for his student and the desire for truth. To me this has very little to do with money.

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  7. There’s something fishy with the story- I can’t put my finger on it though. What makes Maharaji so great? that’s the thing. Even if he can guess things with a fair bit of accuracy things about your life it doesn’t mean he has supernatural powers or has a connection to any god or gods. (also, he could have people around India that relay information to him like Mafia boss. not saying he has people whacked like a mafia boss. it’s just an analogy) Is Ram Dass’ account of his adventures in India documented anywhere else? Because if something is actually true it should be verifiable but external sources. And even if all the details of the trip are true, what good has he done in the world? Other than the Prison-Ashram with Bo Lozoff, it is a project which I know has helped a lot of people. But all the supernatural stuff- is it even necessary let alone proven? Some of the stuff he puts out are nice little thoughts, some are seriously flawed logic.

    Reply

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