The Place Beyond Words with Ram Dass

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Ram Dass, much beloved spiritual pilgrim, talks candidly about his own journey and the wisdom he has gained from being at the heart of the consciousness movement. He compares life in New York to life in India, being a psychology professor at Harvard to being shunned by many institutions, consciousness in the 1960s to consciousness in the 1990s, and how he dropped out of Western society to explore Eastern mysticism, only to return to a life of social action and service. A man who feels privileged to have a "front row seat right at the edge of mystery" through his work with the dying, Ram Dass has learned that whether we're entering the Age of Aquarius or approaching Armageddon, the best thing to do is "quiet my mind, open my heart and try to relieve the suffering around me". (hosted by Mark Walstrom & Michael Toms)


Richard Alpert, Ph.D. (1931-2019) was a prominent Harvard psychologist and psychedelic pioneer with Dr. Timothy Leary. He continued his psychedelic research until he first went to India in 1967. There he met his guru, Neem Karoli Baba, affectionately known as Maharajji, who gave Ram Dass his name, which means “servant of God.” He then became a pivotal influence on a culture that has reverberated with the words “Be Here Now” ever since. Ram Dass’ spirit has been a guiding light for three generations, carrying along millions on the journey. He has pursued a panoramic array of spiritual methods and practices from potent ancient wisdom traditions, including bhakti or devotional yoga focused on the Hindu deity Hanuman; Buddhist meditation in the Theravadin, Mahayana Tibetan, and Zen Buddhist schools, and Sufi and Jewish mystical studies. Perhaps most significantly, his practice of karma yoga or spiritual service has been his path.

In 1974, Ram Dass created the Hanuman Foundation, a non-profit foundation meant to embody the spirit of service inspired by his Guru. The Hanuman Foundation developed the Prison-Ashram Project, directed by Bo and Sita Lozoff, which helped prison inmates grow spiritually during their incarceration and the Dying Project, conceived with Stephen Levine, which helped many bring awareness and compassion to the encounter with death. The Prison-Ashram Project, now called the Human Kindness Foundation, continues under Sita Lozoff in North Carolina and the Living/Dying Project, now a separate non-profit headed by Dale Borglum in the Bay Area, provides support for transforming the encounter with life-threatening illness into an opportunity for spiritual awakening.

Ram Dass suffered a stroke in 1997 that once again changed his life. It curtailed his travel but he continued to teach through his website, podcasts, and annual retreats on Maui.

Ram Dass is the author of many books including: 

    To learn more about the work of Ram Dass go to

    Topics Explored in This Dialogue

    • How to find your own spiritual path
    • How to help others find their spiritual path
    • How to prepare for death
    • The difference between doing and being
    • How to go from "me and them" to "us"
    • A new way of looking at surrender
    • Treating death as a passage instead of a failure
    • The root cause of pain and suffering
    • Comparing the '60s to the '90s
    • How our belief systems create preconceptions about death
    Host: Mark Walstrom & Michael Toms       Interview Date: 8/1/1996      Program Number: 2651