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Ram Dass biography

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Ram Dass
Photo by Lisa Law

Ram Dass

How to pronounce Ram Dass: Pronuciations vary but most have first name rhyming with arm, last with mass

Ram Dass Biography

Ram Dass was born Richard Alpert in Newton, Massachusetts on April 6, 1931. He studied psychology, specializing in human motivation and personality development, receiving 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, Ram Dass' 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 (co-authored by Leary and Metzner, and based on The Tibetan Book of the Dead); and LSD (with Sidney Cohen and Lawrence Schiller).

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. Ram Dass 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.

In 1974, Ram Dass created the Hanuman Foundation, which developed the Prison Ashram Project, designed to help prison inmates grow spiritually during their incarceration, and the Dying Project, conceived as a spiritual support structure for conscious and dying. These projects are now directed under independent auspices.

Ram Dass' interests include the support of psychedelic research, international development, environmental awareness and political action. He has written a number of spiritual books.

Partially paralyzed from a stroke in 1997, Dass now lives on Maui and continues to teach.

Ram Dass's website

This bio was last updated on 10/11/2017. In a perfect world, we would like to keep all of BookBrowse's biographies up to date, but with many thousands of lives to keep track of it's simply impossible to do. So, if the date of this bio is not recent, you may wish to do an internet search for a more current source, such as the author's website or social media presence. If you are the author or publisher and would like us to update this biography, send the complete text and we will replace the old with the new.

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Books by Ram Dass at BookBrowse
Still Here jacket
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Read-Alikes

All the books below are recommended as read-alikes for Ram Dass but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose read-alikes

  • Mitch Albom

    Mitch Albom

    Mitch Albom is the author of numerous books of fiction and nonfiction, which have collectively sold more than forty million copies in forty-seven languages worldwide. He has written seven number-one New York Times bestsellers... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Still Here

    Try:
    Tuesdays With Morrie
    by Mitch Albom

  • Diana Athill

    Diana Athill

    Diana Athill was born in 1917. She helped Andre Deutsch establish the publishing company that bore his name and worked as an editor for Deutsch for four decades. Athill's distinguished career as an editor is the subject of ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Still Here

    Try:
    Somewhere Towards the End
    by Diana Athill

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