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Better Souls than Roles: An Interview with Ram Dass

Interviews
An Interview with Ram Dass
Ram Dass, which means “servant of God,” was born Richard Alpert into a Jewish family in Newton, Massachusetts, in 1931. He earned a PhD in psychology at Stanford and began his spiritual awakening in the early sixties, using hallucinogens at Harvard with Timothy Leary. In 1967, he traveled to India, where he met his Hindu guru, Neem Karoli Baba, whom he calls Maharaj-ji. His most famous book is the 1971 classic on meditation and yoga, Be Here Now; his latest book is Be Love Now. Recently, Spirituality & Health columnist Paul Sutherland visited Ram Dass’s home on the island of Maui and spoke about giving and the holidays. Paul Sutherland: What meaning does Christmastime have for you? Ram Dass: It’s a celebration, the giving of gifts on one hand and the celebration of Christ Jesus’s birth on the other. I’m Jewish, so we celebrate Hanukkah. At Christmas, we got a tree, which was a bush (laughs). When I was a child, my peers were celebrating wildly, and I sort of didn’t know about Christmas, and so, I fell in love with Christ, fell in love with Jesus — and I am in Christ, and I didn’t know then, but …

Paul Sutherland

Paul Sutherland resides in Michigan with his four youngest kids, ages 5 to 10. He and his wife, Amy, try to be an example of Parenting for a Peaceful world, in which democracy begins at home.


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