Ram Dass, born Richard Alpert, is a contemporary American spiritual teacher and author of the seminal book Be Here Now (over 2 million copies sold). Richard Alpert and Timothy Leary were both Harvard professors at the forefront of the early 1960’s experimentation with LSD. Due to the controversial nature of their research, Leary and Alpert were fired from Harvard in 1963, and went on to become counter culture icons for their continued promotion of LSD as a path to mind expansion. Richard Alpert eventually felt that the chemical substances could only take him so far, and in 1967 journeyed to India in search of a path to lasting spiritual awakening. There he met a little known saint called Neem Karoli Baba, or Maharaji, who gave him the name Ram Dass, and inspired him to live a life based on the spiritual teachings of the Vedas of India. When Ram Dass returned to America he became a pivotal influence on the culture, and was one of the first people to popularize yoga and meditation in the west. For over 40 years Ram Dass has been writing books, teaching, forming charitable organizations, and is one of the most popular teachers of spirituality in America.