Here is Dr. Redwood's introduction of Ram Dass:
Ram Dass has been one of America's preeminent spiritual teachers for the past 30 years. Born Richard Alpert in Boston in 1931, he received a B.A. from Tufts College, an M.A. in motivation psychology from Wesleyan University, and a Ph.D. in human development from Stanford University. While he was a professor at Harvard University in the early 1960s, his research with psychedelic drugs (at a time when these were still legal), and the firestorm of publicity it generated, led to his ouster along with his colleague, Timothy Leary.
In 1967, he set out on a pilgrimage to India, where he met Neem Karoli Baba (Maharajji) and accepted him as his guru, as recounted in Be Here Now, which is widely considered the great classic of Sixties counterculture literature. In India, he began his study of yoga and meditation, and received the name Ram Dass. In the years following his return to the United States, Ram Dass became a revered teacher, attracting a large and devoted following through his books, talks, and spiritual retreats. In addition to Be Here Now, his books include The Only Dance There Is, Grist for the Mill, How Can I Help?(with Paul Gorman), Compassion in Action (with Mirabai Bush), Miracle of Love, Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing and Dying, and One Liners: A Mini-Manual for a Spiritual Life.
A brilliant and charismatic speaker who was not content to just talk the talk, Ram Dass walked the walk in many ways. In 1974, he created the Hanuman Foundation, which through the Prison-Ashram Project helps inmates grow spiritually during incarceration. With Stephen Levine, he helped develop the Living/Dying Project, which provides support for conscious dying. Ram Dass was a co-founder of the Seva Foundation, which for 25 years has worked in the developing world, with projects in Nepal, India, Africa, and elsewhere to prevent blindness, which in those places is often the result of preventable infectious disease. Other Seva work involves refugee protection and community self-development.
In 1997, Ram Dass suffered a major stroke. The recovery process has been quite demanding, as documented in his book, Still Here, and the recent film, Fierce Grace. His ability to process language (in both directions) has slowed, but his clarity of insight shines on undiminished.
In this interview with Dr. Daniel Redwood, Ram Dass discusses the role of suffering in spiritual development, the struggle between greed and compassion, the contrasting perspectives of the ego and the soul, psychedelics, gurus, conscious dying, and value of the present moment.
Ram Dass' next book, The Yoga of the Bhagavad Gita, will be published in the spring of 2004.
For further information about Ram Dass' teaching schedule, books, and tapes:
Ram Dass Tape Library
Read the interview here: http://www.drredwood.com/interviews/dass.shtml