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Collected works of Baba Ram Dass, aka Richard Alpert

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Uploading all the text, audio and video I could find on Richard Alpert, aka Ram Dass. There are other works out there but they just didn't come up in my search. Help me to complete the collection and share any files you have that are not here. Note that not all the text are by him, some are more about him but I included them here for completeness. Enigmas are like that: sometimes the best you can do is to be direct by being indirect.

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Born Richard Alpert, he first gained notice as a colleague of Timothy Leary and later became even better known as Ram Dass (means "servant of the lord") and the author of “Be Here Now.”

Prior to 1967 he was a prominent Harvard psychologist working alongside Timothy Leary. Explorations of human consciousness led him, in collaboration with Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner, Aldous Huxley, and Allen Ginsberg, to pursue intensive research with psilocybin, LSD-25, and other psychedelic chemicals. Out of this research came two books: The Psychedelic Experience (co-authored with Leary and Metzner, and based on The Tibetan Book of the Dead, published by University Books); and LSD (with Sidney Cohen and Lawrence Schiller, published by New American Library). Because of the highly controversial nature of their research, Richard Alpert and Timothy Leary became personae non-grata and were dismissed from Harvard in 1963. Tim Leary and Alpert then went to Mexico, ate mushrooms, and went from being academics to counter-culture icons, legends in their own time, and young at that. For Ram Dass psychedelic work turned out to be a prelude to the mystical country of the spirit and the source of consciousness itself. Mind expansion via chemical substances became a catalyst for the spiritual seeking. This naturally led him eastward to the traditional headwater of mystical rivers, India. Once there, a series of seeming coincidences led him to Neem Karoli Baba and the transformation from Richard Alpert to Ram Dass.

From about 1968 on, he pursued a panoramic array of spiritual methods and practices from potent ancient wisdom traditions, including bhakti or devotional yoga focused on the Hindu deity Hanuman; Buddhist meditation in the Theravadin, Mahayana Tibetan, and Zen Buddhist schools, and Sufi and Jewish mystical studies. Perhaps most significantly, his practice of karma yoga or spiritual service has opened up millions of other souls to their deep, yet individuated spiritual practice and path.

He was particularly interested in the dying. He started a foundation to help people use death as a journey of spiritual awakening and spoke of establishing a self-help line, “Dial-a-Death,” for this purpose.

I thought this was interesting: While at Harvard and after only recently obtaining his pilot's license, Alpert flew his private plane to Cuernavaca, Mexico, where Leary first introduced him to teonanácatl, the Magic Mushrooms of Mexico. By the time Alpert made it back to America, Leary had already consulted with Aldous Huxley, who was visiting at M.I.T. Through Huxley and a number of graduate students they were able to get in touch with Sandoz, which had produced a synthetic component of the magic mushrooms called psilocybin. Alpert and Leary brought a test batch back to Harvard, where they conducted the Harvard Psilocybin Project.

Comments

Nice collection. I have noticed advertisements on Facebook for his memoir which was just released last month 'Being Ram Dass'. I can upload the ebook and audiobook later.

They would be wonderful, Many thanks for your help

Propagating drugs, religions and promiscuity, everything which is harmful to other people. Copycat of Aleister Crowley. I never met a person who admire such people, they are stars on the internet, not in reality.

wow, sadly that assessment is off the mark, my friend. Perhaps the photo I uploaded doesn't do him justice.
Though I thank you for the interesting comparison with Crowley. That's kind of funny, cheers

check out the psychedelic experience book based on the Tibetan book of the dead... it is a hugely insightful work on transitioning between conscious states... the idea is that psychedelic trips represent the "death and rebirth" of the ego. Even so, I find it applicable beyond psychedelic trips or physical death ajd suggest that most dreamwork, imagination and indeed fiction follows these same archetypes. pkd knows all about this

I have read the Tibetan book of the dead, it's hard to digest. I didn’t understand it.
People from lower class are more conservative and people from upper class are liberal.
I think that is the reason behind our differences.
Anyway, thank you for allowing opposition to your beliefs.

I might be wrong, but didn't Aleister Crowley want to commit "the most unforgivable sin" to get back at God for some random trauma that happened to him in his childhood and spend the rest of his life devoted to black magic etc? And Ram Dass spent his life helping people mentally, physically and spiritually. Ram Dass was a psychologist and a type of spiritual leader. And Crowley was mostly just a mentally deranged psychopath (like others that followed him like Richard Alan Miller and Michael Aquino etc etc).

We can definitely say that both Ram Dass and Crowley possessed great energy. But the one was compassionate for others while the other was disdainful.

I am certain there are readers/lurkers far more expert than I am on this topic but I'll give it a go:

  • Crowley was a born magician
  • Many remarked that Crowley was a man of power, similar to Gurdjieff who was widely noted to exude tremendous power
  • Crowley realized instinctively that magic is connected with the human will, the deep instinctive will and he turned to magic with an instinct rather than an intellectual impulse
  • What always distinguished Crowley from the disciples who came and went was a remarkable inner strength. It was this strength that preserved him from an explosion at a young age
  • Crowley's problem, rather, was self-discipline
  • Crowley, with his animal instinct and his powerful sexual urge, glimpsed the truth expressed in Nietzsche's phrase, "There is so much that has not yet been said or thought"
  • His "quest" differed from that of any Christian or Eastern mystic only in mere form; he was on the same journey outward. Instead of the Upanishads or The Cloud of Unknowing, he studied the Kabbalah with its notion of the universe as ten spheres connected by twenty-two paths. The sceptic may shrug, but is this more absurd than believing that Jesus died for Adam's sin, or that Mohammed is the prophet of God? The "results" produced by a religion are not based upon the absolute truth of its dogmas, but the dogmas are indispensable to the results, and the results are real
  • Crowley himself attached enormous importance to his work "Do What Thou Wilt...". It was his own Koran, and he was the chosen prophet. All great religions, Crowley said, can be expressed in a single word: in Buddhism, "Anatta"; in Islam, "Allah". In Crowleyanity the word was "Thelema", the name of the abbey ("Do what you will") in Rabelais
  • He had created a fundamentally Nietzschean morality: "We should not protect the weak and vicious from the results of their own inferiority" In other words, the epoch of Gods and demons is over; the new epoch opens in which man must cease to think of himself as a mere creature, and stand firmly on his own feet.
  • This would be humanism, except that humanism, while placing man on his own feet, sees him as "human, all too human". Crowley sees him as a potential god, gradually coming to understand his own powers. It must be admitted that the conception is profound.
  • Even so, there is nothing original about Crowley's book; George Bernard Shaw's "Man and Superman", written at the same time, is a greater work in every way. But it is still Crowley's major achievement, and when he had finished it, he may well have felt that he had at last produced his masterpiece, a work that towered above his plays and poems, and that it was worth devoting his life to making it known.
  • Source for the above: Colin Wilson, The Occult

    Did you know: A Crowley disciple, Jack Parsons (well-known rocket scientist at Caltech), apparently collaborated with Ron Hubbard, founder of Dianetics, in various magical exercises; while Parsons had magical intercourse with a girl, Hubbard described what was happening on the astral plane. Hubbard claims he was actually spying for the Navy.

    When I read about Crowley's travels around the world I am duly impressed by his energy and ambition. We should all aspire to be "something" and he most certainly did not fail at seizing his opportunities! Personally, though, I take issue with the fact he claims the secret of the gnostics was the sexual magic that he performed. His gnostic "mass" is repulsive to me -- not because of the act, which is probably sacred/magical -- but because he or his followers insist on associating that act with the gnostics -- who were ascetes! If anything I would put the gnostics closer to Tantrics than to consumers of ejaculate. So his followers have muddied the waters here, in my opinion.

    You both did a great analysis. I would add some facts:
    Most spiritual/religious leaders act in life differently then their teachings.
    If someone ask you to consume drugs to reach higher consciousness, would you take it?
    The only situation where this is partially justified is in high banking circles - when there is so much business pressure and you can afford to yourself unlimited supply of clean drugs.
    Does Jews teach their children "Do what is your will" or they restrain them with hundreds of laws so they can be successful?
    I read several Crowley’s books and I think it's not literature, it's garbage.
    People he worked for left him to be destroyed when he wasn’t useful to them.
    His Thelema left him to die like a dog.

    Thanks, bro. I am definitely no Crowley-apologist and I am certainly not condoning or even applauding him. I do admire his energy and tenacity for the reasons I explained earlier but, hell no, society couldn't function if everybody did "what they all wilt", haha. Still, I see him as an extreme version of the Jim Morrison syndrome or even Salvador Dali. While they were accomplished artists their lives were the ultimate in terms of self-absorption.

    I personally don't think the Jews have succeeded due to their rules -- I place greater emphases on their respect for the written word. They basically invented the practice of writing history in the West -- long before Herodotus! Only Chinese and Egyptian historical records date back older than the Torah. But the Torah is not like Egypt or China: it is almost like the diary of a clan and it helped to create an identity of a people. This is major in the psychological annals of history. The very identity of what has come to be known as "the individual" in the west (for it is a western notion, afterall) can be traced back to the marriage of Judaic and Greek thought. Not Greco-Roman but Greco-Israelite. This is no small matter for we all on these boards today enjoy the FICTION of thinking we are individuals! That we actually know who we are. And that the ego is that thing that matters the most!

    That's why I love to read about Joseph Campbell's insights into Oriental and Native identities...they are so different and intriguing!

    But we in the west are still so very provincial in our thoughts. WE'RE NUMBER ONE! WE'RE NUMBER ONE! whoot whoot whoot --> and other claptrap that obfuscates the fact that we do not know in the slightest who we are.

    If anything, the western individual today is a distraction. a figment. a fiction. Long live the hologram, eh!

    I agree.