Be Here Now (book)

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Be Here Now
Remember, Be Here Now.
AuthorRam Dass
SubjectSpirituality, yoga
PublisherLama Foundation,
San Cristobal, New Mexico
Publication date

Be Here Now, or Remember, Be Here Now, is a 1971 book on spirituality, yoga and meditation by the American yogi and spiritual teacher Ram Dass (born Richard Alpert).[1][2][3] The core book was first printed in 1970 as From Bindu to Ojas, while the title of the 1971 publication comes from a statement his guide, Bhagavan Das, made during Ram Dass's journeys in India. The cover features a mandala incorporating the title, a chair, radial lines, and the word "Remember" repeated four times.

Be Here Now has been described by multiple reviewers as "seminal",[2][4][5][6][7] and helped popularize Eastern spirituality and yoga with the baby boomer generation in the West.[8]

Summary of the book[edit]

The book is divided into four sections:

  • "Journey: The Transformation: Dr. Richard Alpert, Ph.D., into Baba Ram Dass"
  • "From Bindu to Ojas: The Core Book"
  • "Cookbook for a Sacred Life: A Manual for Conscious Being"
  • "Painted Cakes (Do Not Satisfy Hunger): Books"

First section[edit]

The first section is a short autobiography, describing Alpert's successes as a psychologist, his research with Timothy Leary into psychedelics at Harvard, and his subsequent anxiety when this research did not resolve his spiritual questions. He then describes his first journey to India and his initiation into a Guru-chela relationship with Neem Karoli Baba, and spiritual renaming as "Baba Ram Dass", or "servant of god". Ram Dass closes the first section of the book with this passage:

Now, though I am a beginner on the path, I have returned to the West for a time to work out karma or unfulfilled commitment. Part of this commitment is to share what I have learned with those of you who are on a similar journey. One can share a message through telling "our-story" as I have just done, or through the teaching methods of yoga, or singing, or making love. Each of us finds his unique vehicle for sharing with others his bit of wisdom. For me, this story is but a vehicle for sharing with you the true message ... the living faith in what is possible. --OM--[9]

Second section[edit]

The second section, the largest, is a free-form collection of metaphysical, spiritual, and religious reflections accompanied by illustrations. The narrative flow, in a form a continuous free-verses poem, addresses directly to the reader with powerful insights related to different spiritual traditions.

Third section[edit]

The third section is a manual for starting on a yogic or spiritual path, and includes various techniques for yoga, pranayama, and meditation, as well as quotations from respected teachers of many religions and spiritual traditions.

Fourth section[edit]

The last section, entitled "Painted Cakes Do Not Satisfy Hunger" (a Zen commentary on liturgy), contains a list of recommended books on religion, spirituality, and consciousness. The book lists are divided into "Books to hang out with", "Books to visit with now & then", and "Books it's useful to have met".

Publishing history[edit]

The book has remained in print since its initial publication in 1971, and has sold over two million copies.[10] The work was originally distributed in pamphlet form by the Lama Foundation, then published as a book in 1971. Its original title was From Bindu to Ojas, with illustrations by Lama community residents.[11] In 1971, when Be Here Now was first published by the Lama Foundation in New Mexico, some preliminary copies were sent to India. That original edition underwent several revisions as noted later by Ram Dass in Be Love Now (2010): "When it was read to Maharaj-ji, he told me to change some of the parts about Baba Hari Dass, who had been my sadhana tutor..."[12] Those changes, introduced after "Hari Dass was no longer involved in the intense physical work and management of the Nainital temples", were presented without a critical revision.

A French version was published in 1975 (Editions Robert Dumas), and is available on the web since 1997.[13]

In 1977, the Lama Foundation gave the copyright and half the proceeds from the book to the Hanuman Foundation in support of its spiritual and humanitarian projects.[2]

The book is currently published by Three Rivers Press, an imprint of Random House.[14]


Ram Dass wrote two sequels to Be Here Now. The first was Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing, and Dying (2000), and the second was Be Love Now: The Path of the Heart (2010).

Cultural influence[edit]

Be Here Now is one of the first guides for those not born Hindu to becoming a yogi. For its influence on the hippie movement and subsequent spiritual movements[15] it has been described as a "countercultural bible" and "seminal" to the era.[2][16][1] In addition to introducing its title phrase into common use, Be Here Now has influenced numerous other writers and yoga practitioners, including the industrialist Steve Jobs,[17] the self-help author Wayne Dyer,[18] and the poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti.[19]

The first section of the book inspired the lyrics to George Harrison's song "Be Here Now", written in 1971 and released on his 1973 album Living in the Material World.[20]


  1. ^ a b Harvey, Andrew; Erickson, Karuna (2010). Heart Yoga: The Sacred Marriage of Yoga and Mysticism. North Atlantic Books. ISBN 978-1-58394-291-8.
  2. ^ a b c d Romancito, Rick (July 19, 2010). "'Be Here Now' turns 40". The Taos News. Retrieved November 19, 2021.
  3. ^ Nickel, Tom (February 8, 2020). "Book Club Guide: BE HERE NOW". Retrieved 2021-11-19.
  4. ^ Nickel, Tom (February 8, 2020). "Book Club Guide: BE HERE NOW". Retrieved 2021-11-19.
  5. ^ Friedman, Roger (December 23, 2019). "Ram Dass, aka Richard Alpert, Psychedelic Pioneer and Spiritual Teacher, Author of "Be Here Now," Dies at Age 88". Showbiz 411. Retrieved 2021-11-19.
  6. ^ Hahn, Rachel (May 29, 2019). "Is Lil Uzi Vert a Ram Dass Devotee?". Vogue. Retrieved 2021-11-19.
  7. ^ Pickering, Lucy. "Time-rich: 1960s counterculture and time as affluence in a dropout community in Hawai'i". Journal of Ethnographic Theory. University of Chicago. 8 (3). Retrieved 2021-11-19.
  8. ^ Harvey, Andrew; Erickson, Karuna (2010). Heart Yoga: The Sacred Marriage of Yoga and Mysticism. North Atlantic Books. ISBN 978-1-58394-291-8.
  9. ^ Ram Dass (1971). Be Here Now. San Cristobal, New Mexico: Lama Foundation. ISBN 0-517-54305-2.
  10. ^ "Hanuman Foundation: A Brief Organizational History". Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  11. ^ "Lama Foundation Oral History Project". Social Networks and Archival Context Cooperative. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  12. ^ Dass, Ram; Dass, Rameshwar (2010). Be Love Now. New York: Harper Collins. pp. 150. ISBN 978-0-06-196138-0.
  13. ^ "Remember Ici & Maintenant".
  14. ^ "Be Here Now".
  15. ^ Davidson, Sara (May 21, 2000). "The Dass Effect". The New York Times Magazine. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved August 5, 2011.
  16. ^ Garner, Dwight (January 8, 2010). "Tune In, Turn On, Turn Page". The New York Times.
  17. ^ Burke, Daniel (November 2, 2011). "Steve Jobs' private spirituality now an open book". USA Today News.
  18. ^ Dyer, Wayne. "BE HERE for him, NOW: Wayne Dyer talks about spiritual teacher and friend Ram Dass". Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved August 5, 2011.
  19. ^ Solomon, Deborah (November 6, 2005). "The Beat Goes On". The New York Times.
  20. ^ Harrison, George (2002). I Me Mine. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. p. 252.