RamDev returns to “wing it” with Raghu in an India, Maharaj-ji, Ram Dass, Tantra, devotion, and presence steeped episode.
RamDev founded and directed the Hanuman Foundation Dying Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the first residential facility in the United States to support conscious dying. He has been the Executive Director of the Living/Dying Project in Santa Fe and since 1986 in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is the coauthor with Ram Dass, Daniel Goleman and Dwarka Bonner of Journey of Awakening: A Meditator’s Guidebook, Bantam Books and has taught meditation since 1974. Dale lectures and gives workshops on the topics of meditation, healing, spiritual support for those with life threatening illness, and on caregiving as spiritual practice. Learn more about RamDev’s work via the Living/Dying Project and subscribe to Dale’s Healing at the Edge Podcast.
Winging It With Maharajji // Ocean of Bliss
Welcoming satsang friend and fellow BHNN podcaster, RamDev, to the show, Raghu invites him to wing-it with him for an off-the-cuff, free-form, digital dharma discussion. To start, RamDev shares a wisdom story of Neem Karoli Baba (Maharaj-ji) – their mystical Guru whom they met in India in the early 1970s after discovering his omnipresent unconditional love through first meeting Ram Dass. From here, they trade rare India stories involving Ram Dass, Swami Muktananda, & an emaciated RamDev.
“[Maharaj-ji] turned to us and said, ‘How much do you pay for milk in America?’… I’m thinking, ‘Wait a minute, I’ve come all the way from America, I just got my PhD, I wanted to find God and we’re talking about milk!’… All of a sudden there was an explosion in my mind that I knew came from [Maharaj-ji]: ‘We can talk about important things, but that just makes the mind busy. If we’re just talking about bullshit, we can rest in this ocean of bliss.'” – RamDev
Dive deeper into RamDev’s first experiences meeting Ram Dass, Maharaj-ji, & Swami Muktananda, on Ep. 42 of Healing at the Edge
50 Years of Be Here Now // Practice & Presence (15:48)
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of Ram Dass’ culture-transforming book Be Here Now, Raghu and RamDev relay how they’ve come to relate the practice of ‘being here now’ over the years; offering personal insights into the various levels of mindfulness, heart devotion, and presence encased in this simple, yet holographic spiritual practice. From here they talk about awareness, the witness, Ram Dass’ in-India slogan: ‘Faith, no fear. Fear, no faith,’ and trade more Maharaj-ji stories.
“Getting present through not following your mind into the future or into the past is a powerful practice. When that does happen and you’re settled in a moment, then naturally there’s a presence that accompanies being in that moment. [Trungpa] Rinpoche used to talk about ‘the gap’ in meditation; and if that gap enlargens—that moment, the present—so does the presence.” – Raghu Markus
“Maharaj-ji says the best form to worship God is every form; it’s all sacred; all rivers are the Ganges; all mountains are Kailash. So that at a certain level [the practice of] ‘be here now’ is being with the sacred nature, beyond pure and impure.” – RamDev
Raghu & his son Noah dive deep into the pages of Be Here Now, on Ep. 409 of Mindrolling
God, Devotion & Tantra // Maharaj-ji’s Meditation Instructions (33:00)
RamDev and Raghu elucidate the nuances of sometimes difficult spiritual terms like, ‘God,’ ‘Devotion, and ‘Divine Presence.’ Through this lens, the two discuss how to open the heart even when the environment may not be supportive; before bringing the podcast home by talking Dr. Bob Thurman, Tibetan Buddhism, Tantra, and Maharaj-ji’s separate and direct meditation instructions given to both RamDev & Raghu.
“When I talk about devotion or use the word God, it’s not some guy with a beard up in the sky; it is divine presence. The view of Tantra—Tibetan, Buddhist, or Hindu—is that there is one consciousness that flows through us individual filters that’s creating reality. There’s not an objective reality out there that we’re perceiving. Instead of us being individual receiving devices through our sense organs, we’re creating reality.” – RamDev
“When we put a lot of pressure on trying to get where we think we need to go, that just creates even more obstacles for ourselves. That’s why I say, ‘Baby steps’ – which include meditation, mindfulness, and chanting as paths. If you start with satsang; Thích Nhất Hạnh himself said, ‘The coming Maitreya (Buddha) is the sangha.” – Raghu Markus