Now I'm getting the chance to read books I didn't have time for before. Think of me whenever you see the slogan "So many books, so little time!" Now I've got the time.  Cheers, Fred.

Be Love Now: The Path of the Heart

Book Number: 
739
Date Fred Read: 
February 2018
Fred's Rating: 
4
Author: 
Ram Dass
Total Pages: 
296
Publisher: 
Harper One
Year: 
2011

This book comes from a mature Ram Dass. Thus it is well organized and has a very good Foreword from one of his long-time students, Ramaeshwar Das. By 2011 Ram Dass has become a highly regarded teacher and guru of the path of Bhakti – the Hindu yoga of devotion (or path of the heart) – of the four main paths within Hindu religion.

I have the paperback edition but give here the Amazon website for the Kindle edition:

https://www.amazon.com/Be-Love-Now-Path-Heart-ebook/dp/B003VIWO3Y/ref=tm...

[None of the ISBN-10, ISBN-13, or ASIN numbers on Amazon’s websites for the three editions (Kindle, hardcover, or paperback) are recognized by Amazon, thus the ‘no image Circle' appears. I think this new change by Amazon is not good. However, you can see the images of this books' covers at the website above.]

The home page has three brief reviews that I recommend reading. The first one is at the beginning of the home page, the second one is the Editorial Review from Booklist, and the third one is the first of the Top Customer Reviews. They are different enough to ‘make’ a longer review, as each one refers to different aspects of this book.

I next recommend using the ‘Look inside’ option in the Kindle edition and read the 17-pp Foreword by Ramaeshwar Das, all of which is included in the Kindle preview. Unfortunately, this preview includes only the first two pages of the 23-pp Chapter One – the path of the heart.

Overall, this book is coherent and organized, unlike the 1978 book (738) Be Here Now by Ram Dass. Also, and this is very important, we have here the 20-pp Chapter 8 – A Family Man. This chapter describes how Ram Dass’ guru Maharaj-ji was also a family man. As a guru he was a wandering ‘sadhu’ (guru or teacher) of Bhakti yoga. His devoted followers accepted his frequent departures (usually for about one-two weeks) from the village or city where he had been teaching them. They used this time to discuss what they had just learned and how it made their spiritual paths better. They knew that they would soon hear from someone else where Maharaj-ji was now (or recently). This answered for me how a highly respected guru with many followers could also be a devoted family man, with a wife and children living in a place that he never told them about. When one of his followers found out where this place was, Maharaj-ji asked for his home site be kept a secret, and they did so. He needed time alone with his family, to be a husband and wise father, thus to see that his children were raised as he and his wife wanted them to be.

For me, this was very important. Until I read this chapter, I had assumed that most Hindu gurus were not married and did not raise a family. I had thought that, like monks or nuns, they devoted themselves completely to their spiritual life and put aside the idea of having a family but were single and also put aside having sex. I had assumed from my childhood years that, like Catholic priests, the Hindu and Buddhist gurus had accepted celibacy. And most of the books I’ve read never mention a guru having a spouse and family, so I extended the acceptance of celibacy to gurus from Asia. But what I have read here by Ram Dass has taught me that, at least for some, gurus of religions in Asia not only need not be celibate but could have a family even though only about almost half of their time they could live as a family man and a home teacher of the spiritual life they had accepted and taught to others. I question how many gurus have a family, but this book doesn’t answer that, for Ch. 8 discusses only Maharaj-ji.

The final chapter, Ch. 9 – entitled ‘one in my heart’ – is 85 pages long. It tells about several other gurus of India, some of whom, as Ran Dass puts it, have left their bodies. But their souls live on, so those on a spiritual path can still learn from them – in part by reading but mostly by deep meditation, where you can’t choose who to meditate about but are chosen, while in a deep meditative state, by a guru or teacher who Ram Dass had known in this manner for the gurus he included in Ch. 9.

Ram Dass doesn’t mention in this book that he had not been married but fathered a child and now has a grandson. I went to Wikipedia to learn this. I especially wonder how many who become students of his know about this. I would have liked this book more if he had included this information. (I also skimmed over other details Wikipedia has about him.) I rate this book at four stars.