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October 28, 2010 / Jenny Ann Fraser

Book Review: Be Love Now, by Ram Dass

The path Of The Heart
By Ram Dass with Ramishwar Dass

Throughout the past few years as I have delved into the works of many of today’s most popular spiritual writers, one name comes up over and over again and that is the name Ram Dass.
I knew that he had been born Richard Alpert and was one of the group of Harvard Psychology Professors who were fired in the early 60’s for conducting unauthorized research with LSD, and other psychedelic drugs.
Later, he went to India where he found himself spending six months practicing yoga and meditation with a guru who changed his name to Ram Dass which means, Servant of God.
I had also been aware that he had suffered a severe stroke in 1997 and is now confined to a wheelchair at his home in Maui.

When Trish Collins of TLC Book Tours contacted me and asked me to write a review for this book I jumped at the chance to learn more about this man.
Be Love Now, is the third book of a trilogy and focuses on his experiences in India with his guru, Marharj-ji.
He opens the first chapter with the line;
Imagine feeling more love from someone than you have ever known.”
What follows is a detailed account of his relationship with Maharaj-ji and how this meeting changed the course of his life.
I am not very well acquainted with Hinduism, and found much of the book to be confusing. I could not shake the feeling that it might have made more sense had I read the first two books, Be Here Now and Still Here, and I must say, that from that perspective it was a bit disappointing.
However, I was still able to glean some new insight from reading this book.
I always find that reading not only opens me up to new ideas, but also old ideas expressed in someone else’s words can sometimes create shifts in my perspective that broaden my worldview.
It is these shifts in perspective that allow me to open both my mind and heart and I come away from the experience with the feeling that I have grown just a little.
Despite the fact that I did not fall in love with the book as I often do, I obviously wouldn’t claim that it wasn’t worth reading.
Ram Dass’s explanation of his own surrender to Maharaji-ji had little to do with the concept of giving up personal power, which is the way we tend to perceive the idea of surrender in the West. Instead, it is about letting go of what keeps us separate, which fits right in with the concept of letting go and trusting The Universe. This is something that I think about often, and it seems to come up frequently in the various blogs that I read.
Another thing that I took away from this book is Ram Dass’s view on the spiritual journey as entirely personal, as unique to each individual as each individual.
Each individual will take what he or she requires from their guru to further them on their own path and leaves the rest, possibly to find a new guru. In Ram Dass’s case. Maharaj-ji was all he needed.
I think this is a great way to view each other’s journey through life whether we are consciously on a spiritual path or not. Somehow, this book brought that message home to my heart in a new way. I think that it will help me to find more acceptance of the world as it is.
I also enjoyed his story of the serendipitous events that lead to the publication of his first book, Be Here Now.
Ram Dass originally wrote a manuscript about his travels but could not find a publisher who was interested, which was confusing because Maharaji-ji had given his blessing on the book before he ever considered writing one, and Ram Dass considered that to be a prediction.
Later, Ram Dass traveled around The Us lecturing about what he had learned. A woman who worked as a public stenographer, was so deeply moved by some of his talks that she transcribed his words and gave him the transcripts, which later became the core text of the book.
That kind of stuff really lights my fire.
I find it rather interesting that as come to the end of writing this post, I have changed my own mind about the book. Though I found it a bit challenging to read and didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped, it was definitely worth my time. I find it fascinating how often that happens when I take the time to seriously consider something as I have with this.
Finally, there is one concept that Ram Dass shares with his readers that I would love to share with mine. It is the idea of viewing each person we encounter not as a person with a role to play, (or labels to wear) but as a soul. I did feel myself become a bit envious when reading a description of coming to that realization and being able to see absolutely everyone as a soul.
I think I’ll be striving for that from now on.

 

Maharaj-ji

 

 

Ram Dass 1970

 

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8 Comments

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  1. nrhatch / Oct 28 2010 1:54 pm

    “The greatest impediment to discovery is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” ~ Daniel Boorstin

    An open mind learns more in an hour than a closed mind learns in a year.

    I read Be Here Now for the first time in the mid-70’s. Awesome insights into Eastern Spirituality and beliefs.

    Another book worth a look . . . Chop Wood, Carry Water by Rick Fields.

    http://nrhatch.wordpress.com/2010/03/05/good-vibrations/

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Oct 28 2010 2:13 pm

      Thanks NR,
      Sadly, I don’t have as much time to read as I would like to these days. I find I can become way too overstimulated when I keep taking in more information without giving myself a lot of digestion time.
      A co-worker is loaning me his copy of Be Here Now and I’m looking forward to checking it out. I will add the Rick Fields to the list.
      🙂

  2. Patricia / Oct 28 2010 9:43 pm

    I reviewed this book also for TLC and found it personal and interesting….and now the co-author has written a comment on my post….I think I am going to put it aside and then read it again….it is a more difficult read.

    I think your review is excellent and I enjoyed reading it very much. Thank you

  3. Chris Edgar / Oct 29 2010 10:05 pm

    Thanks for this Jenny. I actually didn’t know that Ram Dass was a disciple of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. I would definitely recommend Maharaj’s mind-blowing book I Am That — which, as with many Indian spiritual teachers, is a transcription of his spontaneous conversations with seekers who came to him.

  4. mommylebron / Oct 29 2010 11:08 pm

    Hinduism is an incredibly fascinating religion! Ironically enough I was first introduce to this religion through a book, (though it was fiction). I look forward to learning more! Do you think you’ll go ahead and read the other two? I love how your opinion evolved as you wrote. I often do the same thing. As I put my words down I’m thinking them through and they evolve.

  5. Heather J. @ TLC / Oct 30 2010 8:47 pm

    It IS sometimes difficult to really appreciate a book without having read the previous books in the series. That said, I’m glad to see that you were able to take away some helpful ideas/inspirations from this book.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Nov 1 2010 9:50 am

      Thank you Heather,
      Thank you for allowing me to be a part of the tour and for stopping by the blog!

  6. tobeme / Nov 3 2010 2:03 pm

    I am looking so forward to reading this. I love the wisdom he shares and the way in which he communicates. Thank-you.

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