Baba Ram Dass|
(1931 - living) U.S.A.
Born as Richard Alpert, his father, George, a lawyer, helped to found Brandeis University and was President of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad. Richard studied psychology, specializing in human motivation and personality development. He received an M.A. from Wesleyan and a Ph.D. from Stanford. He then served on the psychology faculties at Stanford and the University of California, and from 1958 to 1963 taught and researched in the Department of Social Relations and the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University.
In 1961, while at Harvard, Richard's explorations of human consciousness led him, in collaboration with Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner, Aldous Huxley, Allen Ginsberg, and others, to pursue intensive research with psilocybin, LSD-25, and other psychedelic chemicals. Out of this research came two books: The Psychedelic Experience, and LSD (with Sidney Cohen and Lawrence Schiller, published by New American Library). Because of the controversial nature of this research, Richard was dismissed from Harvard in 1963.
Ram Dass continued his research under the auspices of a private foundation until 1967. In that year he traveled to India, where he met his Guru (spiritual teacher), Neem Karoli Baba. Richard studied yoga and meditation, and received the name Ram Dass, which means "servant of God." Since 1968, he has pursued a variety of spiritual practices, including guru kripa; devotional yoga focused on the Hindu spiritual figure Hanuman; meditation in the Theravadin, Mahayana Tibetan, and Zen Buddhist schools; karma yoga; and Sufi and Jewish studies.
Baba Ram Dass is a co-founder and advisory board member of the Seva Foundation, an international service organization. He works with the Social Venture Network, an organization of businesses seeking to bring social consciousness to business practices. In February 1997, he experienced a stroke which left him with expressive aphasia and partial paralysis. He continues to teach about the nature of consciousness, and about service as a spiritual path.
Ram Dass is the author of the bestselling 1971 spiritual guidebook Be Here Now, which has sold over 2 million copies; as well as the books Grist for the Mill; Journey of Awakening; How Can I Help?; Compassion in Action: Setting Out on the Path of Service; Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing and Dying, and One-Liners.