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Paths to God: Living the Bhagavad Gita Paperback – October 25, 2005

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Editorial Reviews


“Blessed brilliance and luminous heart wisdom—Ram Dass at his best. These lectures were joyous to attend and exquisite to read.” —Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart

“With wisdom, humor, and great compassion, Paths to God illuminates the liberating power of the Gita—a rare gift in these unsettled times.” —Joseph Goldstein, author of One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism

“Through offering a wide variety of approaches to spiritual happiness, Paths to God is one of the most inclusive and inviting books available to us.” —Sharon Salzberg, author of Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience

From the Inside Flap

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; Reprint edition (October 25, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400054036
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400054039
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #207,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ram Dass, 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 makes his home in Maui.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

96 of 102 people found the following review helpful By Luminous Numinous on December 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
Throughout the ages, some very powerful commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita have been written by some of India's greatest sages: Shankara, Aurobindo, Vivekananda, and even Gandhi himself, the Mahatma, the "great spirit." Be that as it may, the greatest commentary yet written on the Gita is "Paths to God" by Ram Dass.

Now, I grant you, Ram Dass stands on the shoulders of giants, of course. Baba Ram had the nonreciprocal privilege of reading the commentaries of his predecessors. And it's true, Baba Ram had many more advantages over these other giants of Hindu thought: A doctoral education from Stanford, scientific training as a Clinical Psychologist, and hundreds of experiences with tryptamine psychotropics. Nevertheless, Dass deserves credit for his ingenuity and originality in rendering an ancient and esoteric text relevant and lucid.

The great key to spirituality is the same in all exoteric religions and wisdom traditions. Christ says "not my will but Thine be done." Christianity is very much about surrender to the Divine Will. So it is with Islam. The very word Islam means submission or surrender to God. In Judaism, the Torah is full of heroes who put the will of God above their own desires, perhaps the most notable example being Abraham, who is willing to kill his own beloved son, Isaac, at the Lord's command (this bears notable similarity to what is being asked of Arjuna in the Gita.)

Taoism, too, teaches "non action" and "effortless effort." This is quite similar to St. Paul's statement of "I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." In Buddhism, the Buddha is said to have said, "Paradoxical though it may sound: There is a path to walk on, there is walking being done, but there is no traveler. There are deeds being done, but there is no doer.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By B. Noia on February 14, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When (about 40 years ago) I first heard about Ram Dass, I thought, "A nice Jewish boy pretending to be a Hindu sadhu? Come on now!" But I was curious, and open-minded, so I read a couple of his books, and found them--well, at least unobjectionable. Interesting. Now, looking back, I wonder how much of an influence he was on my decision almost 20 years ago to become "a nice Christian girl pretending to be a sadhak," living in an ashram in India. Maybe more than I realized at the time. I don't know. WhatI do know is that now, with many many studies and experiences under my belt, including experimentation with various religious paths (each of which contributed to my own evolution), I have once again read him--in PATHS TO GOD--and now I see he is not pretending at all. So many phonies in the West, both home-grown and imported from the East--but he's not one. He's the real thing. Even though now, unlike 40 years ago, I've studied the Gita and lived in the culture it informs, still I found new depths of understanding--of the Gita, of the universal insights of Hindu thought, and of simply how to live a spiritually serious (but fun) life. It is definitely worth reading. The only fault I find with the Kindle edition of this book is that the formatting suffers--if there's a picture with a caption, you have to sort that out from the on-going text. I hope a better job can be done on this as the art of ebooking matures. But even as it is, the book is well worth getting if you're interested in a clear and engaging presentation of some ancient wisdom.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Theresa Reed on November 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
Written with typical Ram Dass humor and brilliance, Paths To God: Living the Bhagavad Gita helps to bring light and clarity to this classic yogic text. I have always struggled to understand philosophy, and the Bhagavad Gita was a challenge for me to get through. But with this book as a companion, I feel that I can access the wisdom of the Gita a little easier. This book is very accessible for not only Westerners, but for anyone who is looking for a fresh perspective on the Gita.

I especially like the Syllabus at the end that includes exercises which allow one to integrate the lessons of the Gita into daily life. I feel more open to the wisdom that the Gita offers. It truly is a "manual for living a spiritual life".
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Bond on July 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Short reviews are probably more often read, though I have so much to say about this book...

I'll keep it simple: Ram Dass comes from a Western tradition (Harvard, psychiatry) so he knows what our cynical, anxious minds are receptive to--and that's not mumbo jumbo and big promises. He depends on logic to convince his reader that there are practical ways in which to lead a disciplined, happy life using the Gita as a backbone. This book, though, is not really about the Gita, so much as it is about the themes in it, themes that are perennial to all enlightened paths.

If you are willing to step just a little outside your comfort zone to learn ideas that may first rub you wrong, such as how and why to practice renunciation--but who would ever want to give up a habit that affords us comfort? (You'll see.) You also, obviously need to practice what he preaches (or shares, really). This is such a thoughtful and helpful book, but as always, you have to do the work yourself. But the plan is so readily apparent that your only excuse for not incorporating at least *parts* of this text in your life is a sheer lack of will power--a stubborn refusal to transcend doubt and insecurity.

One of the most influential books on my lifestyle and thought process. Highly recommended. Whereas Be Here Now is easily seen a beautifully written, provocative but esoteric coffee table book, Paths to God is simple, honest, straightforward and friendly.
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