Be Here Now by Ram Dass discusses elaborately about the basic themes and philosophies of spirituality, meditation, and yoga. The book is divided into four sections and it is narrated from the transformation of Dr Richard Alpert, PhD, up to the painted cakes section, which recommends other books that is related with the same subject.
Dr Richard after years of teaching in Harvard, realised that there is more to psychology than mere theories and justifications. Hence for learning that underlying truth, he travelled to India. He has presented the book in a very creative manner. It has no page numbers, also the text and the pages are mostly in blue, brown, and white colour. The contents are actually a summary of the practical experiments and realisations of spiritualism that he learned from his guru.
The first section of the book tells the story of Dr Richard Alpert. This is mostly an autobiography and his transformation to Baba Ram Dass. He elucidates about his journey to India and how he met his Guru Neem Karoli Baba. In the first section, he also writes about his research with Timothy Leary at Harvard, and his career as a psychologist.
The second and third section of the book is exclusively about spiritualism and various forms of yoga and meditation. It consists of a collection of religious, spiritual, and metaphysical sayings. In the explanation about yoga, pranayama and various quotations of eminent spiritual leaders have been included. Also these sections consist of appropriate illustrations.
The final section offers a list of books that are related with spirituality and these books are categorised under headings Books to hang out with, Books to visit now and then, and Books it’s useful to have met. Be Here Now was published by RHUS in 1971 and it is available in paperback.
- A detailed guide for all interested in spiritualism and yoga.
It’s easy to dismiss Be Here Now as the relic of a whacked-out ’60s acid tripper. Paging through the center section of the book, with its inch-high print and psychedelic drawings, you come across lines like:
For madmen only
price of admission
Then you turn to the first page of the book, and you are suddenly sucked into the story of a Harvard psychiatrist who has reached the pinnacle of success, discovers the mind-expanding powers of acid, and ends up trooping through India with a 23-year-old holy man from Laguna Beach, California. In the story, you see all the trappings of your own life and begin to wonder if India might hold the answers after all. Before booking your ticket, turn to the last section of the Be Here Now, “Cookbook for a Sacred Life.” Ram Dass saves you the trouble by proffering a sober introduction to the basics of Hindu religion. Although he still can’t resist CAPITAL LETTERS, he has done his homework, presenting a whole range of concepts and practices having to do with yoga postures, meditation, renunciation, dying, and sexual energy. So, for the most part, Be Here Now stands the test of time, and if you can entertain the center section in a retro kind of a spirit, it might be just what you’re looking for: “The opposite of craving is saying, baby, this is the way it is, yeah, OK, here and now, this is it. I ACCEPT THE HERE & NOW FULLY.” –Brian Bruya