Introduction | Ram Das Books
Ram Dass was a late American spiritual teacher, psychologist, and author. Born Richard Alpert, he came to be known as Baba Ram Dass. At the forefront of research on psychedelic drugs’ potential therapeutic effects, in 1967, Richard went to India after getting fired from his job as a psychologist at Harvard University in 1963. It was there he met his guru, Neem Karoli Baba. His guru then gave him the name “Ram Dass,” which means “Servant of God” After learning all he could from India, Baba Ram Dass then returned with his spiritual knowledge and experience. We will list the best 10 books of Ram Das.
He started spreading the message and educating more and more people. He also worked with foundations to spread his spiritual teachings and teach inmates and visually impaired people with the help of these foundations. In 1997 he had a near-fatal stroke, which led to paralysis throughout his body’s right side, limiting his movement and ability to speak. But armed with his knowledge on aging and death, he was able to live a long life and continue spreading his teachings till he passed away at his home in Maui on 22nd December 2019. During his lifetime, he made sure to write many books so that people who could not learn from him in person would have the ability to learn from him even after he passed away.
His teachings were immortalized in his many books, which each explain certain aspects of spirituality and the importance of being mindful and present at the moment. Here are some of his books, and since every book has different teachings and goals, it is important to choose the book that resonates with you and your goal the most.
1. Be Here Now:
“I can do nothing for you but work on myself…. You can do nothing for me but work on yourself!”
This quote comes from the book “Be Here Now!” This book is the best for beginners and talks about all the different religions. This book is a good introductory-level entry into the world of spirituality and meditation. The teachings in this book are simplified into three parts. The first part contains a biography of the author Ram Dass and how he was attracted to Mumbai after his role as a psychologist at Harvard University was cut short. He was fired for researching the potential use of psychedelics as a treatment for mental conditions and trauma. A couple of years after he got fired, he took a trip to India, the birthplace of yoga and spirituality. Ram Dass talks about India’s life and mentions his guru and how he helped him and taught him everything he knows. His guru Neem Karoli Baba was also the one who gave Richard Alpert the name “Ram Dass” in the first place.
Ram Dass meant Servant of God, and he took that up as a mission and started spreading his spiritual teachings after coming back to the west from the east. The second part is filled with art and illustrations that talk about being in the moment and living life in the present. This section contains strong psychedelic art while stressing the importance of living in the present and being here now. The third part is simple and contains various teachings from various religions and shows the reader how to apply them practically in the modern world. It also gives helpful tips and tricks to stay in the moment more often and tell the reader how to get started trying to live in the present. This book talks about Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, Judaism, and Christianity. This book seeks to connect all the religions and shows how all religions are very similar and are connected in some way or the other.
2. Still Here:
“Wisdom is one of the few things in human life that does not diminish with age.”
Released after Ram Dass had his life-altering stroke in 1997, which paralyzed his right-hand sight of the body, limiting his ability to move and hindering his ability to speak, This book will help the reader deal with the idea of old age, illness, and eventual death. In February 1997, Ram Dass was at his home contemplating how to end the book when he had a sudden massive stroke. Though he was lucky enough to come out of the stroke alive, he had paralyzed his right side and could not speak properly. However, this experience helped him get insight into aging and clarify the concept, which helped him come up with the perfect way to end his book. This book is meant to help people who wish to cope with their illnesses, mental and physical, or even those who are simply afraid or refuse to accept the concept of death and everyone’s limited time on Earth. This book encourages you to accept what you cannot change and control the factors and circumstances that you can influence.
3. Miracle of Love:
“It is better to see God in everything than to try to figure it all out”
Ram Dass learned about spirituality and Buddhism with the help of his guru or master Neem Karoli Baba. Neem Karoli Baba was a mentor and guru to Ram Dass and taught him everything there was to know about the realm of meditation and spirituality. He was the one who gave the author the name Ram Dass which meant A Servant of God. Ram Dass met his guru Neem Karoli Baba in 1967, and this meeting helped him change the course of his life and start to perceive his life in spiritual terms. Ram Dass called his guru Neem Karoli Baba “Maharaj Ji” after Maharaj Ji; Ram Dass went around collecting stories and accounts of Neem Karoli Baba from other locals, Hindu priests, professors, police officials, farmers, industrialists, children, and their mothers and fathers. He ended up gathering thousands of small stories. He combined them in this book, “Miracle of Love” He described his guru Neem Karoli Baba as one who understood what true unconditional love was and as someone who would ooze love when you met him, giving you a warm and comfortable feeling. The book “Miracle of Love’ is filled with many short stories, each of which speaks to and shows the character and passionate love of his guru, Maharaj Ji. This book is a light read, and you can flip to any page and read any short story you choose. This book will help you get an insight into how Ram Dass’ guru enabled you to have a mental image of him, which might be useful when you read other books by Ram Dass since many books contain mentions of his guru while this one is wholly dedicated to him.
4. Polishing the Mirror:
“The art of listening comes from a quiet mind and an open heart.”
This book is supposed to be a tool helping you quiet your mind and open up your heart. The book talks about the concept of oneness and becoming one with your subconscious and your mind enabling you to go wherever you want and do whatever you want without having to use the physical vessel for your consciousness. This book talks about opening your heart and quieting your mind to enter into oneness. This book contains many interesting anecdotes and stories from his life and talks about various things he learned from his life and India’s time with Maharaj Ji. This book is aimed at helping you achieve oneness and live in the eternal present. It contains a summary of his teachings to help you live in the moment and be here now. It also teaches you what true unconditional love is and how to open up your heart to it. It also talks about the natural flow of life and gives techniques to embrace the natural flow and live life. As this book is written in Ram Dass’ later years, it also includes various tips and insights on living, aging, and dying. This book is great for beginners and people who have been introduced to Ram Dass and read a couple of his books since this book talks about a lot of things and gives an introductory understanding at the least of the various concepts.
5. Walking Each Other Home:
“We often vulnerability is a kind of weakness, but there is a kind of vulnerability, that is actually strength and presence.”
Ram Dass, along with his lifelong friend, Mirabai Bush, wrote this book that explores the idea of death and suggests people actually approach death with curiosity and love, in service of other beings. This book puts forth the idea, what if death is nothing but just the ultimate spiritual practice? This book talks about why one should try to create a sacred space for the dead and be a loving presence for the dying. It talks about how one can grieve fully and authentically and get over the fear of death. This book is meant to help people who are afraid of dying or are afraid of death and grieving for the dead. This book aims to change the way people approach death, making it not something that ends the life of a person but as a reward for being in the physical world. This book suggests that death is a release from the physical and an entry into the astral or spiritual world where the consciousness can exist separate from the physical body, and you can choose to enter the physical world when and if you choose to in the form of new life as a newborn. This book shows death in an entirely new light, and if you are someone who struggles with the concept of death or wonder where everything leads to, this book might have some answers for you.
6. Journey of Awakening:
“Meditation Raises the Question: Who are We Really?
Meditation is often described as the best way to train your mind and learn how to be mindful and aware of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Meditation helps you focus and explore your mind and yourself as you learn how your mind works and react to various emotions. Meditation is a great way to reflect, analyze and trace your feelings and emotions to realize where everything actually stems from. Ram Dass stresses the importance of meditation as many people believe psychedelics are the only way to understand spirituality and consciousness so that simple minds can understand and grasp. Meditation is described as an important tool in realizing what it means to live in the present and be here now. That being said, meditation isn’t just about sitting up straight with your legs folded and focusing on your breathing. This book explores the different types of meditations from mantra, prayer, singing, visualizations, and what many people consider “just sitting” to meditational movements such as tai chi. All these practices, while suiting different people, all lead to the same end goal and result. The ability to transcend self-consciousness. In this book, Ram Dass also suggests and guides the reader by finding the most suitable type of meditation to achieve this and gives tips and solutions to help people overcome certain obstacles everyone faces when first starting. This truly is a guidebook to meditation.
7. Be Love Now:
“Once you have drunk from the water of unconditional love. No other well can satisfy your thirst.”
Unconditional Love can heal all wounds and bridge all gaps. Ram Dass says that unconditional love exists in all of us, but most of us cannot identify what unconditional love is in the first place. This book, the third in its series, which starts with Be Here Now, Still Here, and concludes with Be Love Now, contains insights on what unconditional love can look like and how the reader can identify it and experience it in his life. This book is supposed to help you connect really deeply with your heart, realizing what true unconditional love is and how to experience it and love others unconditionally and completely. If anyone is confused about love and what love feels and looks like, this book will be the perfect read helping you understand the value and importance of unconditional love in our lives. Since this book is the third installment in the spiritual trilogy written by Ram Dass, the author also recounts several experiences of his life and talks about his journey and the time he spent in India. He also mentions the importance of his Guru, Neem Karoli Baba, who gave Ram Dass his name and who Ram Dass came to call Maharaj Ji. Ram Dass talks about encounters with his guru Neem Karoli Baba and talks about his mere presence emanating love and making everyone feel loved around him unconditionally. He also talks about his life-altering stroke, which limited his movement on the right side and limited his ability to speak. He talks about how he came up with the ending for Still Hereafter the stroke and what he learned from the stroke itself about life, illnesses, death, and accepting death with both arms, and embracing the idea of physical death and spiritual existence.
8. How Can I Help?
“We’re here to awaken from the illusion of separateness.”
Written by Ram Dass and Paul Gorman, the book “How Can I Help?” seeks to provide information to help people in the health care sector and other helping professions or those who want to help people when they can. This book also seeks to provide support to those who feel like their healthcare profession is too intense and taking a toll on them, causing them to burn out. As the authors state, helping others is a reflex. When someone trips and falls, one naturally tends to stick their arms out to help them stop falling or to break their fall, helping them in one way or the other. However, the authors state that a lot of different factors come up blocking this natural response. It is not the helping others part that can be exhausting and cause burnouts, but instead conflicts that come up while trying to do something natural to humans, such as “Will I have what it takes?” “How much is enough?” “How can I deal with this suffering that I see?” and “what really helps anyway? Is what I do really helping anyone?” This book seeks to teach the reader how to address and put these conflicts to bed, allowing yourself to do what you do most naturally and help out however possible because even the smallest action you wouldn’t consider to be helpful or even really meaningful might mean the world to someone else and help them beyond what you could imagine. Drawing inspiration from various short stories and experiences from both the authors’ lives, the authors reflect on their own experiences and give answers that can help people understand that they matter. If you like to help people or feel burnt out in the healthcare sector, this book will help you out.
9. Paths To God:
“The world is won by those who let it go.”
The Bhagavad Gita is an important holy book of the Hindu religion. It takes spiritual teachings. Instead of leaving the world to live a spiritual life, it shows how you can make your world more spiritual without having to leave humanity and isolate yourself, renouncing worldly pleasures as the monks did. Since people in western cultures tend to focus more on their intellect and what they can do rather than encourage them to turn away from the world like the monks, the Bhagavad Gita shows how to take your spiritual work and make the world around you spiritual. This makes the Bhagavad Gita very suitable for western cultures. Since most westerners cannot understand the Bhagavad Gita’s teachings by simply reading the text, Ram Dass wrote this book to specifically pick up and focus on certain more important and pertinent sections of the Bhagavad Gita that were important in today’s world as well. Path to God explores these sections and talks about what one can learn from these scriptures and how you can implement this in your life to make the world around you more spiritual. This book is written in the context of modern life as well, making it easier for people who are not well informed on spirituality and gain from the wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita.
10. Grist For the Mill:
“When the faith is strong enough, it is sufficient just to be.”
This book is about the experience of being and being present at the moment and living in the presence. This book also talks about the various risks and rewards of walking the spiritual path and the good and the bad that comes with it and how to deal with it effectively and productively that is better for you and the people around you. Originally published in 1976, this book resulted from a series of talks held by Ram Dass in the ’70s. Ram Dass gave these talks to different groups, and this book was written to help one discover their deep spiritual essence and realize what it means to “be” and what it means to grow as a human being. This book explains how to use your mind better and how to make your mind work at its full potential. In the book “Grist for the Mill” Ram Dass also talks about using the mind and its power to go beyond the mind. Readers of this book will also understand the different states of consciousness and identify yourself other than simply through your mind. If you are not sure who you are and wish to examine your identity deeper and experience oneness, this book is for you.
Ram Dass had a lot of knowledge he wanted to teach and spread all around the world. Even though, unfortunately, he is no longer with us, he has immortalized his teachings in his books and made sure that everyone who wants to know has the power and the ability to find out what spirituality truly is. No matter how late you start or how late you finish, what matters is that you go and keep going at your own pace. You can’t rush anything. So start somewhere and then work from there.
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