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4.0 out of 5 stars sadomasochistic self contradiction, 4 Mar 2013
If after 4 hours of meditation, the Japanese Zen master hits you on the knuckles with a cane for fidgeting, and later that day, the master tells you to think of a flower and then whacks you across the face, with a blunt instrument, because you are not allowed to think, do you (a) call the masters actions a serious sign of abuse, or do you (b) love and cherish the master even more, whilst scalding your ego and promising to be a good boy?

If at a Californian ashram, the Tibetan master is high on cocaine and drunk on Budweiser, do you (a) doubt that the master is an authentic sage, or do you (b) fall to your knees at the (crazy) wisdom of the master, who is obviously demonstrating to his devotees their weakness by showing them how to go wild so they can see an up-close demonstration of the bankruptcies of the West?

If you see Swami Muktananda eating from solid gold plates and drinking from diamond encrusted gold goblets, do you (a) doubt the authenticity of the Swami, or do you (b), see this as proof that the great Swami is above mere wealth by using a gold plate?

If your father is a multi-millionaire and you take a vow of poverty, do you (a) know that you are a pretend Lady Diana type of wealthy person who has never felt the pain of starvation or the shiver of fuel poverty and is pretending to be a poor beggar, or do you (b) think that you really are a poor person?

If your answer is A then you are an A class thinker. Baba Ram Dass is a B class thinker. This is not to put the man down and I really enjoyed what he says and he is miles more coherent than Leary.
By A class thinkers, I have in mind the Goethe's and the Russells and the Einsteins's and those kind of guys. Unfortunately, A class thinkers will never glance at this subject, so we'll make do with the best of the B class thinkers.

Now I admire Ram Dass, and Dick Alpert, and he is more of a thinker than the gurus we see today. And I wasn't there with these characters from the 1970's and I am not egoistic enough to do a cod psychoanalytical wrap on the Harvard psychologist, Ram Dass. Maybe I am missing something; probably. I still give these lectures 4 stars because Ram Dass is eloquent and very articulate here and he isn't reading off notes and he gives a spellbinding talk on these tapes. There is a video on You Tube with Ram Dass having a dialogue with Terence McKenna and when I watched the video a few years back, I thought McKenna was easily dancing around Baba Ram Dass (I didn't know who Ram Dass was at the time). Now after doing my research, I now know that Ram Dass was just sitting back and letting McKenna speak because he knew the brightest and the best. I mean, this guy knew B.F Skinner, Maslow, John Lennon, Salvador Dali and everyone who's everyone from the 1960's!

However, I listened to the audio of these lectures (they are superb, by the way) and when Ram Dass is describing the beating he received from the Zen master, there is joy in Ram Dass' voice! Apparently, Ram Dass likes to get slapped!

Ram Dass even tells a story about a devotee daring to disagree with his guru and the guru only has to wag his finger and the devotee rushes back to the guru's feet, like a good baby, or a good little dog. The guru then pats the devotee on the head and the devotee kisses the master's feet again. There is joy and ecstasy in Ram Dass' voice when he tells this sort of story. Ram Dass even refers to devotees as little children and the guru as god.

Like I said, all this was before my time and maybe you had to be there. However, because Ram Dass is willing to be a white pet to an Indian, or a white trophy, this sort of thing sets alarm bells ringing in the head of the 21st Century listener and a discredited air hangs above Ram Dass' real and profound insights about LSD.

P.S. The big giveaway to all this enlightenment business is the covering up of hair loss! Ram Dass mentions his hair loss and there is a lump in his throat. Why would an enlightenment guy be so upset at his hair loss? Ram Das didn't wear a turban, and this is good. Though a cynic would point out that a Westerner wearing a turban is too obvious.

Osho lost his hair and he wore a turban and Adi Da Samraj wore a bandanna, like I did when I was 21. Satguru, who is gaining a big following on You Tube, also has no hair (but who would never tell).

So overall, I like Ram Dass but he probably wasn't the real deal. Can I suggest the Gita audio's by Swami Chinmayananda? You can download them from a torrent website and they are priceless. Imagine a proper Swami who is fluent in English and who knew Sanskrit and who wasn't a conman.
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