What are Ram Dass’s best books (recommendations, ranked)

While many people know the famous Ram Dass book, Be Here Now — which is currently the #1 All-Time Best-Selling book in Spiritualism on Amazon — I’d argue that it’s not necessarily his best book. For example, I knew a few people in Colorado who was struggling with it because of all the art and 1960s “hippie style” stuff — which I personally like — and it was at that time I realized that while Be Here Now is his most famous book, it may not be his best book.

Ram Dass’s best books

IMHO, I think the following books are his best, where I believe best will also depend on a person’s experience with his writings and teachings, and also their own progress on the spiritual path.

NOTE: As you’ll see from the images below, I own each of the books that I’m writing about, and I’ve added dozens of bookmarks to them.

Polishing the Mirror

Back in the years 2014-2019 I had many stays in the hospital, and during this time I discovered his book, Polishing the Mirror, which I would argue is one of the great spiritual books of all time.

If you have a friend who is interested in Ram Dass, spirituality, yoga, and is open to a discussion of different religions and concepts, I personally would start with this book first.

Polishing the Mirror, by Ram Dass

Be Love Now

I like/love Be Love Now, which is also a bit of a spiritual memoir, like the iconic “Be Here Now.” But I think this book is much more accessible to a modern audience than Be Here Now, by which I mean that I would give young people this book before Be Here Now.

As a quick summary, in this book he shares personal experiences and insights gained over decades of spiritual exploration, always focusing on the transformative power of love as a guiding force in one’s spiritual journey.

Ram Dass divides this book into three parts:

  • The Journey of Awakening: Here, Ram Dass recounts his own spiritual journey, from his initial encounters with psychedelics and Eastern spirituality to his transformation under the guidance of his guru, Neem Karoli Baba (Maharaj-ji).
  • The Way of the Heart: Ram Dass delves deeper into the nature of love and its significance in spiritual practice. He reflects on the challenges and rewards of opening the heart and embracing love as the essence of existence, and offers guidance on how to cultivate love in everyday life.
  • Serving the Beloved: In this section, Ram Dass emphasizes the importance of service (seva) as a natural expression of love. He shares stories and insights from his own journey of service, highlighting the profound impact it can have on both the giver and the recipient. He encourages readers to find their own unique ways of serving others.

Be Love Now, by Ram Dass

As you can see from my bookmarks, the book covers yoga (union), meeting Maharaji, cultivating the Witness, loving everyone, All Is One (“Sub Ek”), bhakti, mantras, souls/roles, the ego, Hanuman, karma, and more.

Miracle of Love

If you just want to read stories about Maharaj-ji, aka Neem Karoli Baba or Neeb Karori Baba, the 1979 Ram Dass book Miracle of Love is his best book. It’s over 400 pages in length, and the stories about Maharaj-ji go on and on — in a very good way.

The book contains many stories, anecdotes, and teachings about the impact Maharaj-ji had on Ram Dass’s life, along with the lives of many others who contributed their stories to this great book. As you can see from the bookmarks/tabs I’ve added to this book, it’s easily one of my favorites.

Miracle of Love, by Ram Dass

Be Here Now

To be clear, I do think Be Here Now is a great book, but based on some recent experiences with others, I think the style of that book can make it difficult for people new to Ram Dass to understand.

That being said, if I was going to leave any of his books at a hotel, library, or hospital for others to read, I might be tempted to start with Be Here Now, just because of its artistic nature ... that might draw people in who are either on vacation, or stuck in a hospital, where they might now want to read a book, but maybe just scan a book.

Paths to God: Living the Bhagavad Gita

If you are far enough down the spiritual path that you know about the Bhagavad Gita, Paths to God: Living the Bhagavad Gita, can be a good book also. In this book he talks about the Gita, and as is his usual style, he helps us relate to it using many stories and anecdotes from his past.

I wouldn’t recommend this book as a “Ram Dass starter book,” but as I mentioned, if you’re down the path to the point where you know what the Gita is and you enjoy Ram Dass’s writing and teaching style, it’s also a very good book.

Paths to God: Living the Bhagavad Gita, by Ram Dass

As you can see from this image, I haven’t added nearly as many bookmarks to this book as I have the others. That’s in part because it’s one of my most recent purchases, but maybe also because I have learned a lot from the previous books, so I’m already comfortable with everything Ram Dass writes about, including love, service (seva), Maharaji, kundalini, bhakti, Maya, karma, etc.

Other books by Ram Dass

Ram Dass has also written a few other books I either don’t know as well, or don’t know yet. These include:

  • Grist for the Mill (1977): I do have this small book, and there are a few good nuggets in there, but overall I prefer the other books I mentioned. If I remember it right, this is the first book where I saw his story/metaphor on “channels,” like tv channels or stations, and I thought that was genius.
  • The Only Dance There Is (1974): I don’t have this book, but from what I have seen, it focuses on his primary theme of love.
  • How Can I Help? Stories and Reflections on Service (1985): I also don’t own this book, but I have seen that it talks about the concept of service, and how we can make a positive impact in the world through service and compassionate action.

Summary

In summary, if you’re interested in Ram Dass book recommendations, rankings, and what I think are his best books, I hope this page has been helpful. As you can see from all the bookmarks/tabs that I’ve added to his books, I love his teachings, and I’m always glad to share whatever I know.