In this Q&A session from his legendary 1974 Naropa University course, Ram Dass answers questions about the Bhagavad Gita, the pitfalls of meditation, dealing with loneliness, and more.
The Trap of Meditation
Ram Dass begins with questions about the trap of meditation, the dharma of advertising, and seeing one’s self in the face of another. He talks about how there are different kinds of traps in each method of awakening, including meditation, and how we need to bring as much consciousness as possible to whatever it is we do in our lives.
“A conscious being can work with anything and use it in a way to work with other beings because they have no other motive than to liberate. If you are less than conscious then you will find that you use everything in a combination of ways that liberate people, and also entrap them. Certain vehicles are more difficult to use in a liberating fashion than others.” – Ram Dass
Ram Dass illuminates the path of awakening in Here and Now Ep. 164
Aloneness and Loneliness
Ram Dass answers a question about the difference between aloneness and loneliness, talking about how loneliness is part of the melodrama of life. When we are part of a Satsang, we can never be truly lonely. Ram Dass moves on to a question about whether his guru, Maharajji, is an incarnation of the monkey god, Hanuman. He explains how different types of realized beings can manifest in this world.
“When you start to live not on the physical time-space plane, you realize that our coming and going isn’t what it’s about. And when you realize our coming and going is not what it’s about, you could never be lonely again.” – Ram Dass
Krishna Das explores the lineage of Hanuman in Pilgrim Heart Ep. 97
The Ambrosia of the Gods
Ram Dass answers a question about what the Bhagavad Gita says about Soma, an elixir known as the Ambrosia of the Gods that was used to alter consciousness. He tells stories about giving Maharajji LSD on two separate occasions, and about his own personal use of psychedelics after Maharajji gave him some parameters to work with. Ultimately, everyone needs to listen to their own heart about whether psychedelics are right for them.
“And I began to realize that it was inevitable, that as long as I thought I was anybody, I was gonna die.” – Ram Dass