Into the Beyond: Ram Dass

Ram Dass has just moved on from this life. A spiritual pioneer who made Hindu teachings accessible for Westerners, he blasted open new portals for me to understand the universe and my place in it.


How vividly I recall the day I first caught sight of his book Be Here Now on a friend’s coffee table in 1972. The book’s unusual cover drew me in like a moth to flame, and I was transfixed by what I found inside. Profound, accessible and timeless, it gave me a first peek into what was at that time a mysterious unknown realm of spirit.

Over the years the coursing river of my spirituality took a sharp eastward turn. Looking back, I realize Ram Dass was the earliest source of my exposure to these teachings which have since become seamlessly woven into the core of my being.

“What is this place?
Hindus call it the Atman…
It is one without a second.
Pure, self-luminous,
Without attributes,
Free, all-pervading.
It is the eternal witness.
Blessed is he who knows this Atman…
He alone is ever united with me.”

Ram Dass expanded my spiritual vocabulary and my understanding of the nature of reality.

“Into the Void;
into the Beyond…
When you have crossed through all form,
you enter the state of formlessness.
It is eternally quiet…
This is what man’s journey into consciousness is all about.
This is Om (home).
It’s going Om…becoming one with God.”

“As you find the light in you,
You begin to see the light in everyone else.
As you find God in yourself,
There is God everywhere.”

I also was impacted by Ram Dass’ exploration of spirituality and service, both in person and in the book he co-wrote with Paul Gorman, How Can I Help? Stories and Reflections on Service. Ram Dass probed beneath the surface of “good intentions” to inquire more deeply into the nature of the helping relationship:

“The quality of our helping sometimes suffers from the hold our sense of separateness might have on us… The degree to which we believe ourselves to be individual, isolated entities has consequences for how we care for one another.”

Go well great soul! So much gratitude for the blessing he was to me and to the world—and for him staying kind, humble and real along the way.

The quotes included above are from Be Here Now by Ram Dass. An online version of this spiritual classic can be perused here.

In celebration of Ram Dass’ life and contributions, I posted a collection of Ram Dass quotes here.

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