In this 1992 session, Ram Dass explores patriarchy and the Ramayana, dharmic roles, planes of consciousness, and being a good adversary.
Part of a question and answer session from 1992, Ram Dass answers questions surrounding the topics of patriarchy in religion, dharmic roles, relationships, the value of extended family, karma, planes of consciousness, self-love, mindfulness, personality, politics, and being a good adversary in social justice.
The Ramayana & Patriarchy
Can we reconcile ancient spiritual literature with our definition of liberation and equality in the modern world? Ram Dass answers a question regarding the male-dominated themes in the Ramayana. He shares his efforts to make his teachings more equitable to all genders, talks androgyny within spirituality, and invites us to cultivate a center beyond differences.
“As one cultivates qualities of centeredness, of awareness, of resting in the compassion of the heart; one sees that one does bad acts, one does good acts. One gets caught in things. One is free at other times, but behind it all: here we are.” – Ram Dass
Planes of Consciousness (31:50)
Where do we meet? It’s true that we all meet on a plane of consciousness where we are merged in the space of love together, but we also are connected to other planes where we have bodies, personalities, and karmic predicaments. Each of those situations has its own laws connected with it, which unfold accordingly. This is your karma and it contains attractions, repulsions, fantasies, desires, experiences, past lives, etc. The quality of love, of presence with another human being, is outside of karma.
“What you’re doing as you enter into one plane of love, that doesn’t mean all the other planes don’t exist. They’re all relatively real and they each have their unfolding law, and if you listen, you hear your own karma.” – Ram Dass
A Good Adversary (47:20)
Where is our heart when we are fighting for social justice? Do we externalize and project outward – or can we see the karmic dance of the web of the human condition? When we see an opposing side, can we be a good adversary? Ram Dass asks us to contemplate if we can be an adversary in a way that brings both sides closer together.
“Like in Aikido, when you have somebody you feel is doing the wrong thing, or a negative force, or a dark force, and you want to act against it, there has to be a way to act appreciating their energy in a way so that the result of the interaction is as Gandhi said, ‘I want the British to leave India, but I want them to leave as friends.’” – Ram Dass