Be Here Now

With the simple words "There are three stages in this journey that I have been on," Dr. Richard Alpert began the book that would open the door for many spiritual seekers to the East, guru devotion, the riches of Hinduism, and the different paths to God.

Book Review by: Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 With the simple words “There are three stages in this journey that I have been on,” Dr. Richard Alpert began the book that would open the door for many spiritual seekers to the East, guru devotion, the riches of Hinduism, and the different paths to God. Part One covers “The Journey: The Transformation of Dr. Richard Alpert, Ph. D., into Baba Ram Dass.” It covers this Harvard scholar’s dissatisfaction with the intellectual life and his exploration of altered states of consciousness with drugs such as LSD. Something new and different was set in motion inside him when he traveled to India in search of spiritual teachers who might share with him the ways to enlightenment. In the Himalayas, he met and studied with Neem Karoli Baba who gave him the name Ram Dass.

The second section of the paperback is “From Bindu to Ojas: The Core Book.” Here Ram Dass playfully uses large print, psychedelic pictures, and cartoon-like portraits to convey what he sees as a treasure trove of spiritual teachings from Jesus, Krishna, Ramakrishna, Zen masters, Lao Tzu, Buddha, and many others. On this magical carpet ride of consciousness, Dass proclaims the importance of the heart cave, the view that there are no accidents, the meaning of being a totally determined being, the significance of surrender, the calling of every person to be the bliss of the universe, and the joy and liberation of living in the present moment: This Is It! This Is All There Is Right Now!

The final section of the book is a “Cookbook for A Sacred Life: A Manual for Conscious Being,” which consists of spiritual practices for “those who want to get on with it.” Here you will find materials and suggestions on, among other things, renunciation, study, mantra, sexual energy, money and right livelihood, karma yoga, bhakti yoga, the course of sadhana, and dying. Taken together, all these exercises and options are concrete examples of the path of everyday spirituality, which is one of the major emphases and a strong point of Hinduism. This section is also packed with juicy quotations from all the world’s religions.

Be Here Now also includes a glossary and a bibliography.

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