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Paths to God: Living the Bhagavad Gita

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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, 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, and exercises, Ram Dass gives us a unique and accessible road map for experiencing divinity in everyday life. In the engaging, conversational style that has made his teachings so popular for decades, Ram Dass traces our journey of consciousness as it is reflected in one of Hinduism's most sacred texts. The Gita teaches a system of yogas, or "paths for coming to union with God." In Paths to God, Ram Dass brings the heart of that system to light for a Western audience and translates the Gita's principles into the manual for living the yoga of contemporary life. While being a guide to the wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita, Paths to God is also a template for expanding our definition of ourselves and allowing us to appreciate a new level of meaning in our lives.


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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, 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, and exercises, Ram Dass gives us a unique and accessible road map for experiencing divinity in everyday life. In the engaging, conversational style that has made his teachings so popular for decades, Ram Dass traces our journey of consciousness as it is reflected in one of Hinduism's most sacred texts. The Gita teaches a system of yogas, or "paths for coming to union with God." In Paths to God, Ram Dass brings the heart of that system to light for a Western audience and translates the Gita's principles into the manual for living the yoga of contemporary life. While being a guide to the wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita, Paths to God is also a template for expanding our definition of ourselves and allowing us to appreciate a new level of meaning in our lives.

30 review for Paths to God: Living the Bhagavad Gita

  1. 4 out of 5

    J-russ

    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 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 and his tribulations. Without having read the story and having a grasp on eastern thought and core values as expressed by Jesus one would be left searching for explainations or facts to back up statements the author treats as truthes. The book requires that the reader have some kind of relationship with God but it does not have to be any particular persuastion. Ram Dass would assure you that when you are ready, you will be reading this book!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Grant

    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.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    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 though...lol.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    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 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 suggested exercises to the extended references, Ram Dass nails it, through and through.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    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. 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.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kendall

    THIS BOOK IS STRAIGHT FIRE. LOved it. Essential for your spiritual journey

  7. 5 out of 5

    Leo Walsh

    A solid spiritual classic. Sure, it's dated, suffering from Ram Dass's 60's acidhead syndrome, like Timothy Leary worship and seeing all mystical spiritual practice, from Vedic to Buddhist to shamanic, originating in psychedelics. That's spurious. And I find it hard to accept what Dass says about wealthy "gurus" driving around in Bentleys and eating from golden bowls: that they're so evolved that they're looking "beyond this world." Sure, some may, but in my experience, those people are often con A solid spiritual classic. Sure, it's dated, suffering from Ram Dass's 60's acidhead syndrome, like Timothy Leary worship and seeing all mystical spiritual practice, from Vedic to Buddhist to shamanic, originating in psychedelics. That's spurious. And I find it hard to accept what Dass says about wealthy "gurus" driving around in Bentleys and eating from golden bowls: that they're so evolved that they're looking "beyond this world." Sure, some may, but in my experience, those people are often cons. They're the Billy Grahams of the New Age movement, holding splashy tent revivals and not doing the real, lived-in, day-to-day work that a pastor must do to help their parishioners live a good life in an often cold, cruel world. And I also object to his white-washing of the traditional hindu caste system, a repressive social order writ large and given "religious" justification. However... The book offers a solid look at basic, non-technical practice of an honest-to-God Vedic religious outlook. This is not New Age Hinduism Lite, but the real deal. It forces the reader to examine their life through the Vedic holy book THE BHAGAVADGITA, which argues for radical engagement in the world. What's more, I've always had the sense that Ram Dass believes what he writes. This is not throw away schlock, like THE SECRET. At the time he wrote this, Dass had spent decades living as a yogi, a mendicant monk, ensconced in Vedic teachings and absorbing the spirit of the Hindu deities. Which makes most of his insights at least thought-provoking. And Dass is a harvard-educated social scientist, so his adopted life intrigues. Four stars. It could be five, but the rah-rah for the caste system leaves me cold. It smacks of southerners mythologizing plantation owners as "benevolent overseers" of their slaves instead of the often cruel slave owners they really were. They did, after all, profit off of the misery of people they owned and felt superior to.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Geils

    This book arrived perfectly on time.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    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 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 discussions of drugs and mushrooms (his suggestion that the bread Jesus gave at the Last Supper was really a psychedelic mushroom made me ROFL) and to appreciate him for the insights he had to offer and by the end of the book I really grew to like him.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Countp

    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 practices 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 practices and simple exercises to apply these to your own life. I have thouroughly enjoyed reading this book from the first to the last page and will often be returning to the wisdom contained in it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Monica McCarthy

    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 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 philosophy

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rose Fuller

    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 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 and his temporary lapse of vegetarianism. I will read Rams other books for certain.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jessica M

    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 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 read the Bhagavad Gita a couple times before reading this one.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Marguerite Bradley

    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.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    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. 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.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nate

    Wisdom is the path from knowing to being. We can know knowledge, but only be wise. Understanding is the function of many centers, as opposed to knowing, which occurs in only one center. Intuitive wisdom is a non-conceptual appreciation for something by becoming one with it. Intuition is driven by an understanding of the interconnectedness of everything that is being. Bodies, hearts and minds - an organ for each type of yoga.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Malcolm

    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. Visit my writing website www.authorsden.com/malcolmwatts 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. Visit my writing website www.authorsden.com/malcolmwatts

  18. 4 out of 5

    Hanuman Dass

    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. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYa81H... 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. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYa81H...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Charles

    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.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    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. 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.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Valerie Kehoe

    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🙏

  22. 4 out of 5

    Samuel Lewis

    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!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cyndie

    oh god, i'm supposed to read the bhagavad gita three times to understand this book?!!!! maybe on my next vacation.... oh god, i'm supposed to read the bhagavad gita three times to understand this book?!!!! maybe on my next vacation....

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    This is hands down the best book on spiritual philosophy I've ever read. It changed my life for the better in so many ways. The practices established from my reading of Paths to God are invaluable. This is hands down the best book on spiritual philosophy I've ever read. It changed my life for the better in so many ways. The practices established from my reading of Paths to God are invaluable.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Helen Lehndorf

    Good, accessible and pragmatic approach to incorporating the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita into daily life.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Duncan Reed

    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. 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.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    I adore Ram Dass. Ram Dass makes you feel like everything you know and have been taught is wrong — and you’re better now having discovered that truth. He makes you laugh and he makes you cry. There’s a part where he says he explained to his father that he wasn’t really his father as much as a karmic incarnation, and his dad’s response had me burst out laughing. It’s funny because it’s relatable when I’ve tried to share my views with relatives. Then I also cried when he told the story of his mothe I adore Ram Dass. Ram Dass makes you feel like everything you know and have been taught is wrong — and you’re better now having discovered that truth. He makes you laugh and he makes you cry. There’s a part where he says he explained to his father that he wasn’t really his father as much as a karmic incarnation, and his dad’s response had me burst out laughing. It’s funny because it’s relatable when I’ve tried to share my views with relatives. Then I also cried when he told the story of his mother’s funeral (especially the rose falling at his father’s feet.) This was nearly 5 stars for me but I decided on 4.5 because the first half of the book is his dissection of the Bhagavad Gita. Although his commentary is deeply profound, I felt a disconnect somewhere. I highly recommend this book for someone that’s struggling with facing their own death.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    I read this as I read through my first two readings of The Bhagavad Gita. Soon to do my third reading of the Gita while practicing the exercises at the end. Much like in the book Remember: Be Here Now, this work starts off with the explanations of what it's all about, and it has all it's exercises in the back. When this was compiled, it was done so as a university course. I would recommend that, at the end of each section of this book which you read, take some time to go over the stuff at the en I read this as I read through my first two readings of The Bhagavad Gita. Soon to do my third reading of the Gita while practicing the exercises at the end. Much like in the book Remember: Be Here Now, this work starts off with the explanations of what it's all about, and it has all it's exercises in the back. When this was compiled, it was done so as a university course. I would recommend that, at the end of each section of this book which you read, take some time to go over the stuff at the end and incorporate it into your readings and practices. There's no one to grade you but yourself, no way to fail. If anything, this book gives one great wisdom into their study of the Gita. Highly recommended for those looking to better understand Indian philosophy or deepen their spirit.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    I was a little disappointed with this book - I just don't think it met my expectations about "living the Bhagavad Gita". In fact, in the conclusion Dass says "I think we've found that the relationship between this book and the Gita is a little more subtle than we may at first have anticipated.......It clearly wasn't a scholarly discourse on the text, for example. It wasn't an interpretation of its slokas. I think what would be most accurate is to say that this book is a commentary on the foundati I was a little disappointed with this book - I just don't think it met my expectations about "living the Bhagavad Gita". In fact, in the conclusion Dass says "I think we've found that the relationship between this book and the Gita is a little more subtle than we may at first have anticipated.......It clearly wasn't a scholarly discourse on the text, for example. It wasn't an interpretation of its slokas. I think what would be most accurate is to say that this book is a commentary on the foundation concepts on which the Gita is built, and a reflection on some ways we can bring the Gita's practices into our own spiritual lives." Also wasn't all that interested in the psychelic experiences.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Ram Dass was born Richard Albert April 6, 1931. He could have had an ordinary life having been born in Boston, raised in a affluent home, becoming a Harvard professor and achieving a successful career at a young age. Richard Albert was not an ordinary man. He meets Timothy Leary at Harvard and studies psychedelics which sets him on a path to greater consciousness. After Harvard, Richard will leave for India and meet his guru Maharaji transforming all he knew and his previous aspirations. He retu Ram Dass was born Richard Albert April 6, 1931. He could have had an ordinary life having been born in Boston, raised in a affluent home, becoming a Harvard professor and achieving a successful career at a young age. Richard Albert was not an ordinary man. He meets Timothy Leary at Harvard and studies psychedelics which sets him on a path to greater consciousness. After Harvard, Richard will leave for India and meet his guru Maharaji transforming all he knew and his previous aspirations. He returns to the States to transform many lives and eventually opening his own center in Hawaii hosting spiritual retreats and writing books.

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