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Ram Dass services set for Monday at the Castle Theater

RAM DASS Celebration of life is Monday

The Maui News

A celebration of life for counterculture icon Ram Dass will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Monday at the Castle Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului.

Doors open at 2:30 p.m. with seating until it is full. The program begins at 3 p.m.

The celebration will include music, meditation, reflections, words of wisdom and prayer, according to his Love Serve Remember Foundation. Those appearing include Raghu Markus, Krishna Das, Lei’ohu Ryder and Maydeen ‘Iao, Lama Surya Das, Roshi Joan Halifax, Frank Ostaseski, Jack Kornfield and Trudy Goodman.

Desserts and refreshments will be offered by Maui Kombucha beginning at 2 p.m.

Dass was born Richard Alpert on April 6, 1931, in Boston. He died on Dec. 22 at his home in Haiku. He was 88.

He had a major influence on American spiritual life for more than 50 years. His iconic book “Be Here Now,” published in 1971, focused on spirituality, yoga and meditation and has sold more than 2 million copies, his foundation has said.

Dass conducted LSD experiments as a young psychology professor at Harvard University with colleague Timothy Leary in the 1960s. They were both kicked out of Harvard for their activities.

Still, Alpert and Leary were able to influence a generation to “turn on, tune in and drop out” with psychedelics providing “inner fuel” during a turbulent era of social change, sexual liberation and political unrest, the foundation said.

A 1967 trip to India introduced Alpert to yoga, meditation and spiritualism. He received the name Ram Dass from a guru; it means “Servant of God.” He then crisscrossed America, lecturing and bringing the teachings to the West.

In 1997, he suffered a hemorrhagic stroke that left him with paralysis and expressive aphasia. He recovered to the point where he continued to teach.

Then in 2004, he had a medical emergency on Maui, which put Dass in the hospital for a month. He later made Maui his home, regularly going for swims at Maui’s beaches with followers.

For more information, see www.ramdass.org.

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