Spiritual guide, psychedelic pioneer, and massively influential author Ram Dass has died at age 88 in Malibu.
Born as Richard Alpert, Ram Dass‘s seminal book. Be Here Now, turned on generations of people in the Timothy Leary era who looked for ways to expand their minds. The Beatles’ George Harrison was so influenced by him that he wrote and recorded a song called “Be Here Now” for his 1971 album “Living in the Material World.” It’s been covered by dozens of artists. Ram Dass’s influence extended to popular culture right up til his death. The TV series “Lost” even named a character for him. The character was extremely popular, a time traveler who existed in many instances. He never aged.
His foundation issued this statement:
“The Love Serve Remember Foundation is planning a worldwide BE HERE NOW moment in celebration of Ram Dass’s extraordinary life. Additional details on this event forthcoming. In the meantime, if anyone would like to share their reflections on Ram Dass, please email email@example.com, or post on social media using #lovingramdass. For more information on Ram Dass’s life and teachings, please visit www.ramdass.org.”
Here is his official obit:
For more than 50 years, Ram Dass was a key influence on American spiritual culture. His monumentally influential and seminal work BE HERE NOW – part graphic novel, part introduction to yoga and inner transformation – is an enduring classic that has sold over two million copies. BE HERE NOW still stands as a centerpiece of western articulation of eastern philosophy. In the 1970s it was the hippies’ bible; today it continues to be the instruction manual of choice for generations of spiritual seekers.
As a psychologist, Richard Alpert – along with his cohort, Timothy Leary – played a pivotal role in the psychedelic movement of the 1960s, lecturing on the healing effects of psychedelics at college campuses across the country. At the time, Alp
ert and Leary influenced a generation to “turn on, tune in, and drop out” with psychedelics, providing the inner fuel during a turbulent era of social change, sexual liberation, and political unrest.
In 1967-68, Alpert journeyed to India, where he met the famed Indian saint, Neem Karoli Baba (Maharaj-ji), whose central teaching is to love everyone, serve everyone, and remember God.
After learning yoga and meditating in the Himalayas for six months, he returned to the West as Ram Dass, meaning “Servant of God.” For decades, Ram Dass crisscrossed America, lecturing on an eclectic spiritual path. He was a guide for thousands seeking to discover or reclaim their spiritual identity beyond or within institutional religion.
In early 1997, Ram Dass had a hemorrhagic stroke that left him with paralysis and expressive aphasia. He recovered his speech and went on to continue his teachings online, at retreats in Maui, and through film and music, inspiring the next generation of seekers.
The Love Serve Remember Foundation is planning a worldwide BE HERE NOW moment in celebration of Ram Dass’s extraordinary life. Additional details on this event forthcoming.
In the meantime, if anyone would like to share their reflections on Ram Dass, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or post on social media using #lovingramdass. For more information on Ram Dass’s life and teachings, please visit www.ramdass.org.