Richard Alpert was born 6 April in 1928, 1931, or 1933, (depending
on whom you believe) in Boston, Massachusetts.
First takes psilocybin in 1961 with
Timothy Leary. Becomes an
integral part in the Harvard Psilocybin Project. Works with Leary
and Ralph Metzner to rewrite the Tibetan Book of the Dead as
Psychedelic Experience. The intention is to provide a manual
which will serve to establish an appropriate "setting" for the
experience of such drugs as LSD, psilocybin, mescaline and
Harvard with Leary in 1963. Involved with the Zihuatanejo Project, the IFIF ( The International Foundation for
Internal Freedom ) and the Castalia Organization at Millbrook,
all of which were attempts to realize a psychedelic utopia as
Aldous Huxley, and
Game by Herman Hesse.
Disillusioned with the failure of these
utopist projects, he
travels to India in 1967 and encounters his spiritual teacher, Neem Karoli Baba. Alpert receives the name
Ram Dass, or "servant
of God". Returns to the United States to pursue his sadhana,
or "spiritual journey".
In 1974, Ram Dass creates the Hanuman Foundation. Co-founds
the Seva Foundation ("service," in Sanskrit) in 1978, an international
organization dedicated to relieving suffering in the world.
On 19 February 1997, Ram Dass suffered a stroke which left him
paralyzed of the right side of his body and limited his ability
to speak. He is still said to have his memory intact and is able
to understand what is said to him. For more information, see the
From the Updates on Ram Dass's condition after the stroke:
The latest issue of "Utne Reader" has a little column
about Ram Dass and tells about him waving his left arm in the
air and saying, "Finally! The Sound of One Hands' Clapping!" Phone
conversations and visits with friends are helping Ram Dass practice
speaking so words are coming much more fluently to him. He's been
getting out more; to the store, to the bank, visiting with friends;
all the little steps in returning to Living.
for current updates.
"I had plenty of LSD, but why take it. I knew what it was going to do, what
it was going to tell me. It was going to show me that garden again and then I
was going to be cast out and that was it. And I never could quite stay."
"When you say, "I can't comprehend it," it's because the thinking mechanism
you have works with time- so time and space are the matrices against which you
think. The predicament of dimensions which are not linear- not linear time or
linear space- where here and now are both here, and now and then are both now-
those are ones we can't think about."
"I don't have a model. All I can see is that I am a teacher and as a teacher
you collect more. You see, the peculiar predicament that I'm in is that I go
back to the feet of this little old man in a blanket and I'm in the relation to
the guru of chela. It's his trip, not mine anymore. I am in the role of