Ram Dass (born Richard Alpert) died peacefully at home in Maui on December 22, 2019
For more than 50 years, Ram Dass was a key influence on American spiritual culture. His monumentally influential and seminal work BE HERE NOW–part graphic novel, part introduction to yoga and inner transformation–is an enduring classic that has sold over two million copies. BE HERE NOW still stands as a centerpiece of Western articulation of Eastern philosophy. In the 1970s it was the hippies’ bible; today it continues to be the instruction manual of choice for generations of spiritual seekers.
As a psychologist, Richard Alpert–along with his cohort, Timothy Leary–played a pivotal role in the psychedelic movement of the 1960s, lecturing on the healing effects of psychedelics at college campuses across the country. At the time, Alpert and Leary influenced a generation to“turn on, tune in, and drop out” with psychedelics, providing the inner fuel during a turbulent era of social change, sexual liberation, and political unrest.
In 1967-68, Alpert journeyed to India, where he met the famed Indian saint, Neem Karoli Baba (Maharaj-ji), whose central teaching is to love everyone, serve everyone, and remember God. After learning yoga and meditating in the Himalayas for six months, he returned to the West as Ram Dass, meaning “Servant of God.” For decades, Ram Dass crisscrossed America, lecturing on an eclectic spiritual path. He was a guide for thousands seeking to discover or reclaim their spiritual identity beyond or within institutional religion.
In early 1997, Ram Dass had a hemorrhagic stroke that left him with paralysis and expressive aphasia. He recovered his speech and went on to continue his teachings online, at retreats in Maui, and through film, and music, inspiring the next generation of seekers.
The Love Serve Remember Foundation is planning a worldwide BE HERE NOW moment in celebration of Ram Dass’s extraordinary life. Additional details on this event forthcoming. In the meantime, if anyone would like to share their reflections on Ram Dass, please email [email protected], or post on social media using the hashtag #lovingramdass.
The Love Serve Remember Foundation is dedicated to preserving and continuing the teachings of Neem Karoli Baba and Ram Dass. The foundation facilitates the continuation of these teachings through online courses, blog content, films, podcasts, vast social network channels, and collaborative projects with conscious artists and musicians
Photo by Kathleen “Dassima” Murphy