Be Here Now was first published in the 1960’s and spoke to hearts of a whole generation. It is difficult to quantify its impact on the modern American mind. The book was one of the very few books Steve Jobs kept it on his Ipad.
Ram Dass is my spiritual teacher and this book more than any other convinced me that Hindu Philosophy has a profound and important role to play in the world.
The book is divided into four unique sections, the first being his personal transformation from Harvard Professor Dr.Richard Alpert to Baba Ram Dass. It is a fascinating story and perhaps a spiritual transformation that we will all make eventually.
The second section is full of free form imagery inspiring spiritual thoughts. Here is one of them:
The third section is a manual for a spiritual life. It describes how you can live as a Yogi in the world. Some of the difficulties you will encounter, what kind of diet you should have, how to make your home into a mandir, performing puja, and so much more. The way Ram Dass brings ancient Hindu practises into modern understanding is unparalleled.
Here are some nice quotes from the book:
“It’s only when caterpillarness is done that one becomes a butterfly. That again is part of this paradox. You cannot rip away caterpillarness. The whole trip occurs in an unfolding process of which we have no control.”
“Just because you are seeing divine light, experiencing waves of bliss, or conversing with Gods and Goddesses is no reason to not know your zip code.”
“If you think you’re free, there’s no escape possible.”
The fourth section, titled Painted Cakes is about books. It is divided into three parts: Books to hang out with, books to visit now and again, and books nice to have met. I have nearly purchased every book that he recommends in this section, there are some rare ones on the list that you may find difficult to source.
I initially wanted to divide my book reviews category into similar sections and perhaps this is something I may do in the future, This book definitely goes into the section ‘Books to hang out with’. Keep it close to you, read it often, and Be Here Now.