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Life, Death and the Space Between

Feb 10, 2022


“The definition of a spiritual path is that we all keep failing until we don’t.”

 -- Ram Dass (1931-2019) as told by biographer Rameshwar Das


“The feeling of an all-embracing consciousness and love filling the space. And being a part of that.” – biographer Rameshwar Das on what it felt like to be with Ram Dass (1931-2019)




Episode Summary:


Curious about Indian spirituality and the magic of Mother India? Wonder what happened when Western spiritual seekers traveled to India in the 1960’s? Talk about a window into 60’s history!


In this episode, we talk with biographer Rameshwar Das, a lifelong collaborator and a friend of beloved guru Ram Dass (1931-2019). Ram Dass, born Richard Alpert, is credited with helping to usher Eastern spirituality into Western consciousness.


Ram Dass and Rameshwar Das (yes, two different people) co-authored the colorful and storied journey of Ram Dass’ life -- being born into white privilege in Boston, through teaching psychology at Harvard as Dr. Richard Alpert, breaking ground on  psychedelic research with Timothy Leary, being kicked out of Harvard, his long spiritual journey with guru and magic man Neem Karoli Baba in India. Rameshwar Das travelled alongside Ram Dass, and was with him as his soul left his physical body.


Their fascinating auto/biography, “Being Ram Dass” is available everywhere books are sold.


Listen in to hear why Amy calls Rameshwar Das a dream guest, and how psychology and spirituality intertwine.



Topics We Discuss:

  • [3:05] Ram Dass’ early family life, including Alpert family pressure to achieve success in the traditional Western sense, and becoming Harvard psychology professor Dr. Richard Alpert.


  • [5:30] Ram Dass’ drive to explore the mind, ultimately breaking ground in the forefront of the psychedelic movement in the 1960’s with Timothy Leary.  Ram Dass and Timothy Leary’s early psychedelic research established the importance of “set and setting” during a psychedelic experience.


  • [8:00] How Dr. Andrew Weil got Ram Dass and Timothy Leary kicked out of Harvard over their psychedelic research. Afterward, Ram Dass went underground with his psychedelic research.


  • [10:00] Ram Dass meeting his guru Neem Karoli Baba aka The Maharaja in India and being instantaneously transformed, or what he called “being cracked open”.


  • [13:20] The change in point of view Rameshwar Das experienced in the presence of what Ram Dass manifested. Feeling pure love and awareness. Feeling pure being.


  • [17:00] Ram Dass’ definition of a spiritual path: “we all keep failing until we don’t.”


  • [18:30] The eclectic methods and tools Ram Dass used to grow spiritually. “Use what you can and lose the rest.”


  • [21:00] Ram Dass’ sharing “enough LSD to put a horse on the moon” with his guru, provided by underground chemist who also happened to be the Grateful Dead’s soundman.


  • [27:00] How Ram Dass approached his own death fearlessly. Rameshwar’s experience watching Ram Dass leave his body.


  • [33:18] Love and power. “Love is the greatest power.”






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