23 December 2019 10:43
Richard Alpert, Harvard professor and LSD researcher turned spiritual guru, lovingly known as Ram Dass by the world, breathed his last on December 22, 2019, in Maui Hawaii. Who was Ram Dass? Ram Dass became the face of the cultural revolution in the 1960s and 70s for the research on Psilocybin, LSD-75 and other psychedelics, along with the help of his Harvard colleague, Timothy Leary. The year 1967 became the turning point in his life as that is when he met his guru, Neem Karoli Baba, also known as Maharaj Ji in India. After being fired from Harvard for giving LSD to an undergraduate student as a part of his research, Ram Dass continued his experiments with his friend Timothy Leary.
But because he was in search of more, Richard Alpert flew to India where he found his Guru. Neem Karoli Baba, wrapped in a blanket, seated on a wooden tucket piqued the interest of Ram Dass. In an attempt to see what effect a psychedelic drug would have over a sadhu, Dass gave him a whopping amount of LSD, but to his surprise, the drug had zero effect on Maharaj Ji. Maharaj Ji was the one who showed Rupert Albert the spiritual path and renamed him as Ram Dass, the servant of God. Ram Dass became a spiritual teacher and humanitarian with love as his path. Ram Dass kept returning to India to his Guru, until Neem Karoli Baba's death in 1973. After which, he resettled in America and started a new life based on a different form of meditation which was devised by him. It was a mix of Hindu, Advaita, Buddhist, Sufi teachings and Jewish mysticism. He also wrote a book, Be Here Now, which became a best seller. The book talks about finding a spiritual path and making a stronger connection to the higher power than what a drop of acid could. He also launched the Hanuman foundation which helped his students get a more practical approach over the teachings of Neem Karoli Baba. Ram Dass was also a part of the Dying Project, based in California. It was a one-of-a-kind residential facility where people came to die consciously. Ram Dass singlehandedly changed the face of an entire generation and some of his students, like Steve Jobs, took to his path and brought a revolution.