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Ram Dass: An Appreciation

Baba Ram Dass, spiritual teacher and leader

Magnus Selander

With the passing of beloved spiritual figure and counterculture icon Ram Dass, we look back on some of the times we spoke with him.

Born as Richard Alpert in 1931, the man who became known as Baba Ram Dass found spiritual enlightenment in India in the 1960s. He went on to share teachings, wisdom, and comfort with millions. The beloved spiritual leader passed away at age 88 on Dec. 22 at his home on Maui. Over the past 20 years, Spirituality & Health has been privileged to feature Ram Dass and his work many times. Here are a few selected excerpts, in his memory.

In “Questions for Ram Dass,” author Rick Chatenever asked him, “Is ‘here’ the same place it was when you first told us to ‘be here now’”?

Be Here Now has much the same resonance today as it did when I first started talking about living in the presence of awareness and love in the late ’60s,” Ram Dass said. “In fact, due to the tremendous stress of our contemporary lives—what with the economy, the wars—training ourselves to become more present in our lives is something that I share a lot these days with the new generation.” Read more

In Better Souls than Roles: An Interview with Ram Dass, contributor Paul Sutherland visited Ram Dass’s home on the island of Maui. The two spoke about giving and the holidays.

“[Christmas is] a celebration, the giving of gifts on one hand and the celebration of Christ Jesus’s birth on the other,” Ram Dass said. “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 I know now what Christmas is all about.” Read more

In “Meds & Consciousness,” Ram Dass and Mirabai Bush have a conversation. Bush writes: 

When Ram Dass talked before about loving everything, he included suffering and pain. I ask, “What do you mean when you say, ‘I love the pain’?”

“Well, if I stay in the witness, in awareness, which is the soul, and the soul loves everything, then everything belongs. It is all lovable,” he tells me.

I wish for him that he is always able to do that.” Read more

For more S&H stories featuring Ram Dass, or written by Ram Dass, click here


By Kathryn Drury Wagner. Click here for more!

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