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Timothy Leary and Ram Dass

Hello My Dear Readers,

Besides my work as a Kundalini Yoga teacher, professor, and contributor to various publications, I am now maintaining two personal blogs, including this one. My new blog pivots around the music and the culture of the 60s (my first published writings were as a music reviewer!). I want to take this moment to thank you for following me here…and at the same time, invite you to follow me there. Not all posts will be about music…some, like today’s entry, on Ram Dass & Timothy Leary, will focus on relevant topics from the era. Below is a taste, followed by the link to the entire post:


… It is one of their last conversations, erupting at the very end of the movie, in which, spawned by a discussion of what happens after death, they wrangle over the existence of the soul, which in Hinduism, is called the atman:

Ram Dass: I’m interested in awareness AFTER the brain gets eaten. I think about the dissolution of conceptual structures.

Timothy Leary: There are neurological and anatomical explanations for hallucinations.

RD: (I’m interested in how death) catapults us into non-conceptual space…my sense of continuity of awareness beyond the brain…is it just my wanting to keep something going?

TL: I don’t have that.

RD: You used the word, “soul”…what do you mean by it?

TL: “Superconsciousness.” And it…she…hangs around the brain.

RD: Well, Ramana Maharshi says, it’s right here (touches heart).

TL: (Rolls eyes)…A wonderful organ to pump blood. These Indian gurus…they’re using the heart as a metaphor? A bad metaphor.

RD: It’s in the lower, right hand corner…the size of your thumb…the atman…

TL: (Aghast) Are you kidding me!?

… Ram Dass had found something that Leary hadn’t, and it has the aroma of divinity….while Leary’s projection carried the unmistakeable flavor of anguish. One of Leary’s five wives offers us some insight, when she explains the disconnect Leary has always had between his mind and his heart… ”the mind was always in charge and the heart got left behind,” she explained…


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