This article may contain material from Wikipedia
An article on this subject has been redirected
to another page on WP:
Baba Ram Dass
Current versions of the GNU FDL article on Wikipedia may contain information useful to the improvement of this article

Ram Dass (born Richard Alpert; April 6, 1931 – December 22, 2019) is an American contemporary spiritual teacher and the author of the seminal[1][2] 1971 book Be Here Now. He is known for his personal and professional associations with Timothy Leary (WP) at Harvard University in the early 1960s, for his travels to India India and his relationship with the Hindu guru (WP) Neem Karoli Baba, and for founding the charitable organizations Seva Foundation and Hanuman Foundation. He continues to teach via his website.

Baba Ram Dass, right, pictured with Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

Biography[edit | edit source]

Youth and education[edit | edit source]

Alpert was born to a Jewish family in Newton, Massachusetts. His father, George Alpert, was a lawyer in Boston, president of the Wikipedia:New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, one of the founders of Wikipedia:Brandeis University and the Wikipedia:Albert Einstein College of Medicine, as well as a major fundraiser for Jewish causes. While Richard did have a bar mitzvah, he was "disappointed by its essential hollowness".[3] He considered himself an atheist[4] and did not profess any religion during his early life, describing himself as “inured to religion. I didn’t have one whiff of God until I took psychedelics.”[5]

Alpert attended the Wikipedia:Williston Northampton School, graduating in 1948 as a part of the Cum Laude Association.[6] He then went on to receive a Wikipedia:Bachelor of Arts degree from Wikipedia:Tufts University, a Wikipedia:master's degree from Wikipedia:Wesleyan University, and a Wikipedia:doctorate (in psychology) from Wikipedia:Stanford University.

Harvard professorship and the Leary-Alpert research[edit | edit source]

After returning from a visiting professorship at the Wikipedia:University of California, Berkeley, Alpert accepted a permanent position at Harvard, where he worked with the Social Relations Department, the Psychology Department, the Graduate School of Education, and the Health Service, where he was a therapist. Perhaps most notable was the work he did with his close friend and associate Wikipedia:Timothy Leary. Leary and Alpert were formally dismissed from the university in 1963. According to Harvard President Nathan M. Pusey, Leary was dismissed for leaving Cambridge and his classes without permission or notice, and Alpert for allegedly giving Wikipedia:psilocybin to an undergraduate.[7]

Spiritual search and name change[edit | edit source]

In 1967 Alpert traveled to India, where he traveled with the American spiritual seeker Bhagavan Das, and ultimately met the man who would become his guru, Neem Karoli Baba, whom Alpert called "Maharaj-ji". It was Maharaj-ji who gave him the name "Ram Dass", which means "servant of God",[8] referring to the incarnation of God as Ram or Lord Rama. Alpert also corresponded with the Indian spiritual teacher Wikipedia:Meher Baba and mentioned Baba in several of his books.

Later life[edit | edit source]

In February 1997, Ram Dass suffered a Wikipedia:stroke that left him with Wikipedia:expressive aphasia, which he interprets as an act of grace. He no longer travels, but continues to teach through live webcasts[9] and at retreats in Hawaii.[10] When asked if he could sum up his life's message, he replied, "I help people as a way to work on myself, and I work on myself to help people ... to me, that's what the emerging game is all about." Ram Dass was awarded the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award in August 1991.[11]

Ram Dass is a Wikipedia:vegetarian.[12] In the 1990s, he became more forthcoming about his Wikipedia:bisexuality[13] while avoiding labels and asserting that bisexuality "isn't gay, and it's not not-gay, and it's not anything—it's just awareness."[14] At 78, Ram Dass learned that he had fathered a son as a 24-year-old at Stanford, and that he was now a grandfather.[15]

Foundations[edit | edit source]

The Love Serve Remember Foundation was organized to preserve and continue the teachings of Wikipedia:Neem Karoli Baba and Ram Dass, and to work with Ram Dass on his writings and other future plans. The Hanuman Foundation is a nonprofit educational and service organization founded by Ram Dass in 1974, focused on the spiritual well-being of society through education, media and community service programs. The Wikipedia:Seva Foundation is an international health organization founded by Ram Dass in 1978 along with public health leader Wikipedia:Larry Brilliant and humanitarian activist Wikipedia:Wavy Gravy. Ram Dass also serves on the faculty of the Wikipedia:Metta Institute where he provides training on mindful and compassionate care of the dying.

Works[edit | edit source]

Books[edit | edit source]

Recordings[edit | edit source]

Films[edit | edit source]

  • Ram Dass Fierce Grace, a 2001 biographical documentary about Ram Dass directed by Micky Lemle.

Wikipedia:Template:ModernDharmicWriters Wikipedia:Template:New Age Movement

External links[edit | edit source]

Infobox person |name = Ram Dass |birth_date = Template:Birth date and age |birth_place = Boston, Massachusetts, US |nationality = American |occupation = Spiritual teacher |religion = Hindu |ethnicity =Jewish[16]

Persondata |NAME=Ram Dass |ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Baba Ram Dass (honorific); Alpert, Richard (birth name) |SHORT DESCRIPTION=psychologist and spiritual leader |DATE OF BIRTH=April 6, 1931 |PLACE OF BIRTH=Boston, Massachusetts |DATE OF DEATH=living |PLACE OF DEATH=

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Harvey, Andrew; Erickson, Karuna (2010). "Heart Yoga: The Sacred Marriage of Yoga and Mysticism". North Atlantic Books.  isbn 978-1-58394-291-8
  2. Tempo staff (July 19, 2010). "'Be Here Now' turns 40". The Taos News. Retrieved August 5, 2011. 
  3. Starr, Bernard (July 19, 2007). "Rite of passage: Turn-on or turn-off?". Religion and Retrieved November 23, 2011. 
  4. "Baba Ram Dass". 38. "He was, at this time, an atheist, and had difficulty even pronouncing 'spiritual'." 
  5. Davidson, Sara (Fall 2006). "The Ultimate Trip". Retrieved November 23, 2011. 
  6. Private school equivalent of the National Honor Society
  7. Russin, Joseph M.; Weil, Andrew T. (May 28, 1963). "The Crimson takes Leary, Alpert to Task: 'Roles' & 'Games' In William James". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved August 8, 2011. 
  8. "Biography: Richard Alpert/Ram Dass". Ram Dass / Love Remember Serve Foundation. Retrieved August 19, 2011. 
  9. Ram Dass. "Ram Dass Love Serve Remember". Retrieved August 8, 2011. 
  10. "Retreats". Retrieved August 8, 2011. 
  11. "Courage of Conscience Award Recipients". The Peace Abbey. Retrieved August 8, 2011. 
  12. Rosen, Elliott Jay. "An Interview with Ram Dass". The Vegetarian Travel Guide. Retrieved August 8, 2011. 
  13. Davidson, Alan (April 2001). "Holy Man Sighted at Gay Porn House: Ram Dass talks about his life as the leading teacher of Eastern thought in America ... who nobody knew was gay".  Summarized with cover image in Maines, Donalevan (April 1, 2010). "PastOut: 9 Years ago in ‘OutSmart’". OutSmart. Retrieved August 8, 2011. 
  14. Thompson, Mark (September 2, 1997). "Ram Dass: A Life Beyond Labels". Gay Today. Retrieved August 8, 2011. 
  15. Sidon, Rob; Grossman, Carrie (November 2010). "Common Ground Interviews Ram Dass". 46–51. Retrieved August 8, 2011. 
  16. Rifkin, Ira (March 27, 1992). "Ram Dass Exploring Judaism". 
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.