Be Love Now

by Ram DassBE LOVE NOW

By Ram Dass

In the West surrender implies giving up power. But surrendering to a guru or the Beloved doesn’t mean giving power to another human being—it’s letting go of the stuff that keeps you separate. Each time you surrender, it leads you further in, deeper into yourself. You surrender to that place in yourself that takes you beyond form.

Renouncing the attachments and desires that are holding you back can be really difficult when you are trying to do it in an achievement-oriented, driven sort of way. On the other hand, giving things up is incredibly easy in the presence of love. They just dissolve. Those of you who have had a really powerful love relationship will recognize what it is like to care more about your beloved than yourself. Your favorite food is on the table, and your main concern is that your lover should have enough of it. You are fulfilled when your lover eats.

That’s what you experience when you have a child. People say, “Aren’t you self-effacing, aren’t you sacrificing for your child?” But it isn’t sacrifice—it’s joy. Austerities done with a dry heart are heavy, but when they’re done with love you’re saying, “Let me give this up for my beloved. It will bring us closer!” When you really want to get close to your beloved, you can’t give things up fast enough. Love lubricates the whole process. You just get more joyful.

Falling in love is a desire to merge with, to be completely immersed in love for, and be loved by the beloved. You want to know your beloved more and more intimately. That yearning has motivated human beings to give up everything, to renounce all forms of gratification, even life itself. Throughout history, people have undergone the greatest sacrifices to consummate their love. To love God or the guru is to let go of everything that separates you from the Beloved. This is the essence of devotional surrender and renunciation.

When they’re misunderstood, the external acts that characterize surrender and renunciation can be motivated by a desire to imitate, by guilt, feelings of unworthiness, self-righteousness, a desire for security in structure, or masochism. But anyone who truly loves knows that to give up one’s own happiness for the beloved is none of those things. It is the purest, most opening and flowing total ecstasy.

True, sometimes you have to prime the pump before your heart is open enough to love that deeply. You begin a process of purification based on how you think it could be. It’s like diving into deep water—first you have to walk to the end of the diving board. You undergo purifications to get into a position to fall in love with God. You become disciplined not out of guilt, shame, or moral responsibility, but out of an incredible yearning to be pure enough to be with God. The actual moment of diving in is the inevitable culmination of your training and preparation.


Ram Dass first travelled to India in 1967 as Dr. Richard Alpert, an eminent Harvard psychologist. There he met his guru, Neem Karoli Baba (affectionately known as Maharaj-ji), who gave Ram Dass his name, which means “servant of God.” Upon his return from India, Ram Dass became a pivotal cultural influence and has served as a guiding light for over forty years, carrying millions along on the journey. He is the co-founder of the Seva Foundation and lives in Maui, Hawaii.

Excerpted from Be Love Now: The Path of the Heart by Ram Dass with Rameshwar Das. Reprinted with Permission of HarperCollins.  Copyright ©2010 by Love Serve Remember Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

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