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Paths to God: Living the Bhagavad Gita
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Paths to God: Living the Bhagavad Gita

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  593 ratings  ·  39 reviews
For centuries, readers have turned to the Bhagavad Gita for inspiration and guidance as they chart their own spiritual paths. As profound and powerful as this classic text has been for generations of seekers, integrating its lessons into the ordinary patterns of our lives can ultimately seem beyond our reach. Now, in a fascinating series of reflections, anecdotes, stories, ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 25th 2005 by Harmony (first published 2004)
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Mar 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: re-reading
This book was incredible. Ram Dass walks you through the Gita without it being a book report. He supplements every chapter with excercises and further readings so you don't just read it, you feel it. The book is also inclusive of most religions. He quotes the Bible to explain attachment in a western light and enriches the meaning with his personal experience and texts from the Vedas.
This book is not a beginners book though. He relies on the reader to have a fundemental understanding of Arjuna a
Jun 05, 2009 added it
I like Ram Dass. He has a sweetness and approachability to his writting that makes my heart float with his company. He makes me a better person, humble, kind, loving, caring, present, filled with curiosity, God, and love for man.
I skimmed this book. It made me want to read the Gita.
I really like what he says about Hatha Yoga and its ability to change a persons perspective towards their body, especially in relation to consumption.
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. An easy read. It presented the Gita in such a easy and natural read. I am very familure with the ideas in this book, and it just solidified them for me. I think its a great book for beginners, and those who have been on the spiritual path for awhile. I really like Ram Dass. The book kind of made me want to take drugs
Sep 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Ram Dass is my number one upaguru. His style and wit speak to my heart like no other. I've found the Bhagavad Gita difficult to understand and apply but RD has a way of making such things more clear. I've learned so much from him but his books are worth reading for his excellent story telling alone. He's a character and beautifully meshuga.
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
THIS BOOK IS STRAIGHT FIRE. LOved it. Essential for your spiritual journey
Nov 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Despite the fact that the author is a total hippy, I really enjoyed this book. I appreciated the perspective of a Westerner converting to Hinduism...I found it very interesting seeing the differences in how Westerners/Easterners think. I learned a lot about the various practices involved in leading an 'enlightened' life. And I enjoyed his interpretation of the Gita. He included quotes from all the great religious leaders (Christ, Buddha, etc), which I appreciated.

I learned to ignore his discussi
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Simply superb! Ram Dass’ exquisite take on the main themes of the Bhagavad Gita is a must read for anyone interested in different approaches to achieve spiritual freedom. The various aspects and techniques of karma yoga (action), bhakti yoga (devotion), jnana yoga (wisdom), sacrifice and mantra, renunciation & purification are discussed in a poetic, humourous and captivating way. At the end of the book are many extra articles explaining the ins and outs of different types of meditation pract ...more
Monica McCarthy
Feb 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Monica by: Yoga peeps
Funny enough, I read this book while home over Christmas. I had tried reading this book months before but I couldn't get into it. Once the right time for me to delve into the ideas however, I became more and more interested in the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, and learning more about the true source of yoga and not just our westernized versions of the practice. I also appreciated Mr. Daas' honesty and candor and immediately recommended and lent my copy to a friend interested in eastern philoso ...more
Rose Fuller
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is awesome! Ram Dass is a great writer, he's lead an interesting life, travelling to India and living without money. The book covers different types of yoga, including Bhakti yoga the devotional service to God. Ram talks about his Jewish background, his family, the death of his mother. Buddhism is covered in detail with regards to his experience of the death of his mother and a close friend, with whom he was with while she was dying. The book covers the authors drug experiences on LSD ...more
Jessica M
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a great companion to the Gita, and has some thoughtful 'homework' readings and exercises at the back of the book. If you are a fan of Ram Dass, you will love it for being full of his anecdotes in his gently comical style. If you are looking for something a little more scholarly and less personal (although that is the point of this book--how to bring the teachings of the Gita into your personal life), you might do better with a different commentary. And of course you should already have r ...more
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The perfect companion to my favorite holy text. The Bhagavad Gita offers something for everyone, but it can be a little obtuse for those not educated in Hindu and Advaita Vedanta philosophy. Enter Ram Dass: spiritual leader, honest as a dog, and an excellent writer who captures concepts in a way sure to bring understanding to both beginners and experts alike. His chapters on karma and reincarnation are both standouts, but the whole book offers so much it's hard to pick favorites. From the sugges ...more
Jul 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A great book. I enjoyed Ram Dass's writing style. He incorporates the Bhagavad Gita into real life situations by using his own life as examples. He does go off on some explanations and seems to get carried away in his stories, but his stories are wonderful, thoughtful and lived. And it is through his living them and in the sharing of them that are able to learn and apply his wisdom in our own life.
Marguerite Bradley
Jun 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great read wonderful insight crossing over to the Eastern religions and meeting with the western. Turns out that if you seek it you will find. Open ur heart and mind. Author is funny down to earth hippie that opened his mind with Timothy Leary in the 70s by magic mushrooms and studied eastern religion to find the answers about God. Crosses both east and west cultures bringing full circle to the one the supreme being and to find it within.
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirituality
This is based off of a course that Ram Dass taught at Naropa University.

It was good, but never inspired me to write any quotations or notes. Still an interesting read. It doesn't so much address the Gita as it talks about concepts that are found within. At the end there is section suggesting many forms of spiritual practice, and I took some mental notes from there that I found helpful.
Nov 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Fascinating book where Ram Dass tries to explain his views of reality, God-ness, and the relationship between western understanding and eastern ideas. I always find his books quite interesting. This book also includes a compendium at the end with a full program for meditation and spritual awakening.
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Hanuman Dass
Jan 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is the closest work we have to a commentary by Ram Dass on the Bhagavad Gita. It is based on an extensive course taught in America in the 1970s. There is also over 12 Hours of excellent audio available free on youtube.

I have placed a link to the first session below.

Valerie Kehoe
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
So much love for Ram Dass. This book was such a beautiful read. I really took time to read it slowly and think about the different teachings. I learned so much and It has affected my life in such a divine way. Very eye opening. Ram Dass has such a loving way of teaching and it was really easy for me to understand. I love this🙏
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ram Dass really knows how to spellbind in his oral raps that then get transcribed. Be advised, however, that this book is not really focused on the Bhagavad-Gita, at least not in a systematic way. But despite its lack of scholarly rigor, or perhaps thanks to that lack, the book is extremely readable, with chapters on Karma Yoga and Jnana Yoga that are remarkable.
Samuel Lewis
Nov 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Ram Dass is the most amazing teacher. His work speaks directly to me and this book serves as an amazing way to connect with his teachings. I found it incredibly valuable that it contains a syllabus for the class!
Duncan Reed
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
Not really about the Gita, it's more about different approaches towards Sadhana, with Ram Dass giving examples of what he has done, stories from India, and detailing various Bhakti approaches.
Dec 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Helen Lehndorf
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good, accessible and pragmatic approach to incorporating the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita into daily life.
Jan 22, 2009 rated it liked it
oh god, i'm supposed to read the bhagavad gita three times to understand this book?!!!! maybe on my next vacation....
At once a superb contextualization of the Gita as well as a deeply honest, insightful, pragmatic, and personal primer on setting out on the path of the dharma.
Preston Bryant
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Ram Dass is not the greatest of writers; but his spiritual lessons and insights are second to none, and his western twist on an eastern practice is extremely valuable. I think the revolution of consciousness is happening at such a rapid rate, and for those who have transcended the intellect, this guide is of the utmost importance.

"The whole world is tormented by words
And there is no one who does without words.
But only insofar as one is free from words
Does one rea
Jan 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Really interesting, and a great way to kind of GET the Gita a bit better. (I mean, I know that book is accessible as hell, hahahahah….) Also LOVED this bc it is from a class at the Naropa Institute (I went to the coolest grad school ever!!!!) and he uses pics of the students (that was the coolest year, the first year of Naropa), real-life stories. My only criticism is once you read Ram Dass, he uses a lot of the same stories over and over again....but good to hear. Great book.
May 22, 2009 is currently reading it
I'm reading this for several reasons -- I've always enjoyed Ram Dass's writing and philosophy, find it meaningful and profound. Plus my new Nepalese friends are all Hindus, so it is giving me some insight into their traditions and provide some interesting points for conversation.
Mar 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
I read this in small doses mixed in with my other reading. It is very deep without being ... very deep. Real life correlations to the ancient sacred text bring the stories to life and I will read this over and over, I am sure.
Rather than being another commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, Paths to God uses this ancient text as a springboard to a wide-ranging, engaging inquiry into the variety of ways people come into a real, dynamic relationship with God.
Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Ram Dass is the shit.
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Ram Dass (Richard Alpert), one of America's most beloved spiritual figures, has made his mark on the world giving teachings and promoting loving service, harmonious business practices, and conscious care for the dying. His spirit has been a guiding light for four generations, carrying millions along on the journey, helping free them from their bonds as he has worked his way through his own. He mak ...more
“The freer I get, the higher I go. The higher I go, the more I see. The more I see, the less I know. The less I know, the more I’m free.” 19 likes
“The world is won by those who let it go.” 13 likes
More quotes…