have an unusual name. Does it have any special meaning.? Did you
pick the name or was it given to you by someone?
Rama is the name of an enlightened warrior who lived thousands
of years ago in India. I really don't know whether I picked the
name or it was given to me. One day I was meditating on a cliff
overlooking the ocean in Southern California and I was absorbed
in a state of high meditation. As I came out of the meditation
and became aware of the sense world the world around me I knew
that I had a new name. And the name, of course, was Rama.
How did you first become interested in meditation?
Rama: I have been meditating
for many, many lifetimes. But in this lifetime, I first became
consciously interested in meditation when I was about 16 or 17.
I was drawn to books on meditation and tried to practice it from
the advice in books. I had some small success. Later, I studied
with different teachers and they helped, but because I had studied
and taught meditation in other lifetimes, meditation came easily
to me. It was a natural state. In my very early childhood, when
I was only 3 or 4 or 5, I would enter for many hours into meditative
states in which the world would become light and energy and I
would transcend the boundaries of the senses.
All my life I have been moving in and out of meditative states,
but it wasn't until I was 16 or 17 that I was more consciously
drawn to spiritual practice.
I first went into samadhi when I was 19. I was meditating in the
mountains and had been meditating on a daily basis for several
years. Suddenly there was no time or space or life or death or
myself or the Universe. I was absorbed in light. I entered a timeless,
dimensionless consciousness in which everything was one. There
is really no way to describe it. That experience changed my life.
I didn't fully enter into samadhi again for another year or so.
When I was growing up and started to practice meditation, it didn't
dawn on me that the states of awareness I lived in were different
than those of any beginning meditator. It was only after several
years that this became evident. I would be absorbed for many long
hours in states of heightened awareness and meditation. Repeated
absorption in these states caused me to see life in new ways.
My psychic senses developed and I became more conscious of God.
After I had been meditating for a number of years, I began to
go into samadhi, not just occasionally, but every day many times
a day until I reached a point where I could no longer distinguish
between ordinary and non ordinary reality. For me it is all the
same. I am in a state of continuous absorption in the Self. It's
really not so terrible.
Whom did you study with?
Rama: I studied with a number of
different teachers. I spent many years in a monastic community
with an Indian teacher, and I have met many different gurus in
my travels. But most of the real studying I have done has been
within the Self. I have gained knowledge through my own meditations.
During my first 10 or 15 years of meditation, a great deal was
revealed to me. I became aware of multiple dimensions and was
able to enter into them. I began to see that I wasn't just a finite
individual in a body, but rather I was as we all are a series
of awarenesses that are interconnected in time and space yet are
separate beyond time and space.
I can attribute my experiences to teachers, to friends, to people
I have known and loved, to meditation, to visions of higher realities,
to transactions with the Guardian beings on other planes of attention,
and to remembrances from past lives, but as far as I am concerned
it's all the Self, all the ultimate reality.
That Self teaches all of us in a very loving way. I am a most
fortunate being in that I seem to be conscious, or certainly more
conscious than most people, of eternity its tremendous beauty,
its absolute reality. But I cannot attribute what I have learned
to any individual or experience or thing that I have done. I can
only attribute it to the Self that which has guided me, that which
is my substance, that which I am.
The Self has really been my only teacher. The Self has spoken
through the mouths of others. It has been in the poetry I have
read, in the movies I have seen, and in the faces of the people
I've loved, but it's all myself not my personal ego self, but
that which I am and that which you are. The Self transcends all
knowledge and time and space. That is the only thing to which
I owe allegiance. There is nothing else.
You have an unusual reputation for a meditation teacher.
In the article 'Is Rama the Guru
for the Eighties?' that appeared in the Los Angeles Herald Examiner,
you are portrayed as a member of the spiritual jet set who teaches
meditation to celebrities, wears designer clothing, drives a Porsche,
eats in chic restaurants and has an elite staff of attractive
and beautifully dressed women. Your ads are controversial and
you're alleged to perform miracles in the desert. My question
is who are you?
Rama: This may not seem
like an adequate explanation, but let's just say that I am a lot
of different things to a lot of different people. Aren't we all?
I teach meditation to many different types of people, you mentioned
celebrities. I also teach meditation to many people who are not
famous, but are, in my eyes, very important. I am a citizen of
the world and I enjoy that which is of the world.
I don't think of myself as a guru but as a teacher. If one means
'guru' in the original sense a 'dispeller of darkness' then that
certainly is my purpose. But today in the west the word 'guru'
has come to mean someone who leads a cult, someone who deprives
others of their intellectual or spiritual freedom and rips them
I do enjoy wearing Japanese and Italian clothing. I also enjoy
my blue jeans or tennis shorts and running shoes. I like driving
a Porsche because it is an elegant machine and it is a very beautiful
experience to drive it. It's magnificently made. I do have a staff
of what some people would consider to be very attractive, chic
women. They are not on the staff because they are attractive and
chic but because they care about the welfare of others. They happen
to be very powerful women who are concerned about the spiritual
liberation of women, and that has created a tie between us.
Many people say that the type of advertising I do is controversial.
I am not sure what that means. I feel that advertising is a creative
medium and I enjoy it. I try to make each advertising campaign
a little bit different; I write all of the copy myself. I try
to catch the interest of people who might be looking for truth.
Truth occurs in unusual places. Sometimes it's in the frozen food
section of the supermarket, sometimes it appears while you are
waiting for your car to be fixed, sometimes you see it while in
bed with someone you love, sometimes you find it while you're
meditating on a lone mountain. It's everywhere. It's with the
rich, the poor, the trendy and the chic.
I enjoy life, and I find that self realization goes perfectly
with every aspect of life. Whether I am on the road and stopped
at a Denny's for a cheese omelet, or having a five course French
dinner at L'Orangerie, or fasting, it's all the same to me ...
I don't see any difference; I just see the Self expressing itself
in various ways.
As far as miracles are concerned, I'm not aware that I perform
miracles. After many years and lifetimes of meditation, I am able
to use the kundalini energy to alter other people's awareness
and aid them in their search for light and certainty. I try to
make the process of teaching and learning as enjoyable as possible.
I was a university professor for many years, and before that I
was a student in graduate school, college and high school. I definitely
know the difference between a boring teacher and a good teacher
- someone who excites you about the subject material - and I try
to be a good teacher.
I know some teachers say that you shouldn't display the psychic
powers and other powers referred to as the siddhas, but as far
as I'm concerned, it doesn't really matter. There are no absolute
rights or wrongs in spiritual practice. Everything is individual.
Each person is a universe, a unique reality, a God. Christ, Buddha
and others used the siddhas to demonstrate to people that they
had something to offer, to wake people up to the fact that there
was more to life than nine to five. Once people saw the powers,
they were more inclined to hear about how to attain inner peace
I don't think there is a right approach to teaching self discovery.
Every situation is unique. I don't think of the siddhas as miracles.
To take a breath is a miracle, to love someone is a miracle. The
use of the kundalini is simply a scientific application of power
to create structural changes.
Who am I? No one knows. I would never show anyone who I was or
what I am. I have been around the universe too long for that.
Let's just say that I am someone who has come into this world
for a while, like we all have. And while I am here I would like
to experience as many of the beauties of the world as possible
and help others to do the same. I am a teacher.
What do you teach?
Rama: I teach many different things.
Principally, I teach people to become aware, to become conscious.
Not just conscious of the physical world, of matter and energy,
but also of the inner world, the worlds that lie beyond the senses.
I try to teach people to continually search and question the meaning
of everything they are taught and everything they believe in.
My job is not so much to impart a philosophy but to train people
in the methods of self discovery. I show people the techniques
for gaining knowledge, and this inspires them in their search
for truth, freedom and happiness. I also try to show people that
truth exists as much in this world as it does in any other world.
There is no time and space.
These are just ideas. There is no teaching and there is no learning;
there is only one reality.
What would you like me to say? That I am a particular type of
teacher, that I believe in a particular philosophy or a credo?
I don't. I don't believe in anything, yet I believe emphatically
in almost everything. It all depends on what seems appropriate
at the time. I teach Zen, tantric mysticism, jnana yoga, bhakti
yoga, Tibetan mysticism, occultism and psychic development. I
also teach poetry and literature, film and many other different
But what I mostly try to transmit to people is a sense of wonder.
We're only in this world for a little while. There are so many
wonders, we'll never see them all. Rather than get all caught
up in problems and anxieties, why not just step outside and view
the absolute amazingness of existence? I try to teach that sensibility
by living it and being it. Most of the teaching I do is through
energy, not simply through the spoken word.
In a recent article in Newsweek you were characterized
as the spiritual teacher of ‘YUPPIES,' the elite young urbanites.
Newsweek said that there was a waiting list of persons who wish
to study with you. Do you mostly cater to the wealthy?
Rama: I teach many different types of people to meditate.
It is true that the majority of the students I have are in their
20's, 30's and 40's and most of them are fairly successful in
their careers. I also work with college students and retired persons.
I think it would be extremely unfair to say that I cater to the
wealthy. As a matter of fact, many of the persons who have studied
with me for several years were not doing too well financially
when I started to work with them.
Part of our program is related to material success; it's a way
of tightening up your life so that you can move into higher planes
of attention. You should try to do well in every aspect of your
life, because each aspect of your life affects your total being.
As an individual learns and practices higher meditation techniques,
a tremendous volume of energy and creativity flows through them.
If they direct some of that energy towards their career, then
naturally they will become successful. It really doesn't matter
to me whether a person has a lot of money or a little bit of money.
What matters is that they are curious about life, energy, truth,
and themselves and that they haven't sold out to the establishment
powers that tell us what to think, what to wear, how to behave,
what to believe in and what goes beyond the line of rational and
I work with people who are excited about changing their lives.
The people I work with experience radical shifts in their attention
fields and this very often spills over into career success. It's
kind of a fringe benefit, but it's not necessarily something that
I suggest people seek. I don't think people should be primarily
concerned with money or material success. They should be concerned
with doing that which is right and being in harmony with the way
of life. It is my experience that if a person practices self discovery
with intent, they will be successful. Success is an outer sign
that they are channeling energy correctly.
As far as a waiting list is concerned, it's not all that long.
(Laughs.) I am somewhat picky about the people I work with. Money
has nothing to do with whether I work with a person or not. When
people apply to study with me I have no idea what their financial
status is. I don't ask. What I am interested in is their psychic
status how much they love light and whether they have a good sense
I am surprised that you appear to be so American. I thought
all meditation teachers were dressed in robes and wore flowers
around their necks.
Rama: I would have worn flowers if
I had known that you wanted me to. (Laughs.) I don't know where
I could have come up with the robe, though. Personally, I think
flowers look better growing in a garden than around someone's
neck, and, to be honest, I don't think I would be very comfortable
in a robe. I grew up in America and it seems that for me to adopt
an Eastern way of dressing would be kind of absurd. It would simply
make me stand out, and I certainly don't want to do that. I think
that some of the fashions we are seeing now in the West are very
exciting. Men's fashion is finally taking off.
I am Western and I see no need or reason to change that. The Western
lifestyle has many things to offer, as do the Eastern methods
of self discovery. I think blending the two is very desirable.
There are teachers who insist that their students dress as they
do and act as they do. There may be some benefit to this but I
certainly don't see it. I think that the most important thing
is to be yourself, and if you can do that you've accomplished
about all that you need to.
If you dig deeply, you will find that you are not a singular self
but that there are many selves, many voices within you. The more
conscious you are of those selves and the more you let them find
expression through you, the more complete you will be. I feel
most natural in Western clothing, although lately I have been
leaning a little bit towards the Japanese styles.
Would you say that you are the leader of a cult?
Rama: No, I really don't believe
that I am the leader of a cult. It's funny what has happened in
United States. Every new movement or group of people who seek
to explore awareness is considered a cult. It's quite strange
because, actually, the United States was founded by a cult, or
several cults, who felt that they were being restricted. The Puritans,
whose practices were very stringent, left England and came to
the United States because they wanted to set an example for the
world. They felt that Protestantism had become much too lax, so
they came to America and set up a hard line religious cult.
I would say that Jesus Christ and his followers were a cult, Buddha
and his followers were a cult and Mohammed and his followers were
a cult. Every religion starts out as a cult and if it becomes
'box office', it is accepted. As understood in common English,
a cult is an organization in which someone is brainwashed. They
are lured into the organization under false premises. They are
perhaps invited to a weekend away someplace where they are kept
up for long hours and deprived of sleep, at which time the mind
is somewhat suggestible. A particular philosophy is pushed, and
often they are given physical assurance by members of the group
that they are loved and wanted.
The aim of a cult seems to be to induce you to accept a particular
philosophy or belief. Usually, it involves renouncing your family,
your job and your way of life. I have nothing to do with anything
like that. I am a teacher. I hold class for my students every
other week. We get together for several nights a month, nine months
out of the year. A person must apply to study with me. We are
only together for short periods of time. Once in a while we take
a field trip to Hawaii or Disneyland. I really don't think we
qualify as a cult. I teach courses in psychic development, meditation
and self realization. I have set up Lakshmi, the organization
through which I do my teaching, like a university. We operate
on a trimester system.
I remember an article not long ago in a well known Los Angeles
newspaper in which they referred to a small group of gentlemen
who live up on a mountain and practice Zen as 'the Zen cult'.
So journalists do what they do, and they are an exciting group
of people. The cult phenomenon is definitely journalistically
'in'. But if we were to apply for a financial aid grant as a cult
I'm afraid we would be turned down for lack of proper qualifications:
I don't engage in brainwashing, I don't dictate forms of lifestyle,
I don't perform mass marriages or even singular marriages. I don't
tell people what to believe, I don't dictate particular styles
of dress. I do teach classes in self discovery.
I understand that over two thirds of your students are women.
Why is this?
Rama: I don't think that's too hard
to understand. It's because I am very interested in the enlightenment
of women. Very few teachers of advanced self discovery work with
women, and if they do it's usually in a very second handed way.
They treat women as second class citizens. I am very interested
in the enlightenment of women and a large part of the program
at Lakshmi addresses the particular needs of women. Therefore,
it's natural that a majority of my students are women.
Women have been denied access to advanced methods of self discovery
throughout the ages. Many Eastern spiritual groups feel that women
are not capable of enlightenment. They advise women to have sons
and pray to be men in their next incarnations.
This is nonsense. I have a very active and exciting program for
women who are interested in becoming all they are capable of being.
I work as hard as I can in that regard. I feel nothing is of greater
importance. Also, I observe that more evolved souls are now reincarnating
as women. Women find it easier to meditate and easier to develop
the psychic abilities. I don't work with men who are antagonistic
to the liberation of women. I do work with quite a number of men
who are supportive of the enlightenment of women. Such men are
rare. People always say, 'A good man is hard to find.' You've
never heard that about women, have you?
What is your position on women's liberation and abortion?
Rama: My position on women's liberation
is that each individual woman can make a tremendous difference.
I think that each woman has to feel that she represents all women,
and that the way she conducts her life and whether or not she
takes an active interest in her own liberation will affect all
It's unfortunate that we see a great many women settling. They
think that simply because they have gotten the right to vote,
own property and have gained some simple freedoms, that the battle
for women's suffrage is over. The male establishment power structure
has not really changed its attitude towards women. They did not
give these rights to women out of kindness. These rights were
fought for by many highly evolved women who cared about the lives
of their daughters and granddaughters. Women have been sexual
slaves for most of recorded history. I think that more women should
take an active interest in feminism.
In order to really change things, you have to first change yourself.
The place to start is at home, inside your own awareness. I think
that it is the responsibility of each woman to become all she
is capable of being. And I believe the easiest way to do that
is through meditation and self discovery, which make you both
powerful and knowledgeable. The more powerful and knowledgeable
you are, the more you can effect change in this world.
As far as abortion is concerned, I believe it should be the legal
right of any woman who wants to have an abortion to have one.
From the spiritual point of view, I don't see a problem with abortion
in that the soul doesn't usually take incarnation until the last
month before birth, sometimes not even until the moment of birth.
Spiritually, I see nothing wrong with abortion. It's a matter
that everyone has to determine in their own heart. But for someone
to regulate the biological functions of a woman and tell her what
she can and cannot do with her own body is absurd.
I know that many of your students are computer scientists
and that you are a great proponent of computers. Why is this?
Rama: A number of my students are
in the computer field.
I highly recommend the field to people who are interested in meditation
and have not settled on a particular career or don't like the
one they have. A person who meditates will find it very easy to
work with computers because in meditation you develop the mind
and its analytical functions to a high degree. The logical and
extralogical exercises you do in meditation are very similar to
advanced systems analysis and programming. Also, a number of people
who are interested in computers in this lifetime programmed computers
in Atlantis. The computer field is a wonderfully exciting place
to work; it is a high tech industry that offers great material
benefits, good hours, and nice working conditions. Even from an
unspiritual point of view, it makes a heck of a lot of sense.
What are your feelings about sex? Do you suggest, as many
gurus do, that people should avoid having sex?
Rama: I have a lot of different feelings
about sex, and sometimes I feel nothing at all.
Sex is a highly personal matter, yet it seems to get more impersonal
all the time. How do I feel about sex? I suppose it matters with
whom. (Laughs.) Sex is like any other transaction, except that
it is not like any other transaction. I don't know. What should
I say about sex? Hasn't enough been said about it already?
I think that it really doesn't make that much of a difference
in terms of enlightenment whether you have sex or not. I certainly
don't suggest to students that they avoid sex as part of the study,
nor do I suggest that they engage in it wildly.
I think that the most important thing is love, and if you love
then that's enough. How you express yourself physically is not
of that much importance. What matters is the quality of your love
and your caring.
If you are interested in developing some of the higher range occult
powers, then I would suggest you not engage in sex too frequently.
If you really want to channel all of your energy towards higher
mysticism, you should realize that sex does drain a certain amount
of your occult energy. But that really has nothing to do with
The most important thing is sensitivity. Many people have sex
and don't feel anything, and that seems kind of sad to me. The
answer is not necessarily the avoidance of sex, but learning to
be sensitive and to love and to care.
are some people who seem to think that having sex with everyone
is a wonderful way to share their love, and perhaps it is. But
too much sex, like too much of anything, can create problems particularly
for women. When women have sex, they tend to open up their hearts
and their psychic bodies completely to the men they have sex with.
Many men have deep rooted problems regarding the status of women,
and during sex these problems come out. They consciously or unconsciously
project anger and hate towards women they have sex with. This
energy enters a woman's subtle physical body and damages it, making
it difficult for her to meditate. So it is most critical for a
woman, or for a man who is very sensitive and opens up his heart,
to be very selective about the people they have sex with.
a guru will tell his followers not to have sex, then later we
find out that he has been having a great deal of sex. This seems
to me to be rather hypocritical. Sex is a highly personal matter,
and I think you should follow your own heart and your own feelings.
do you base your work in Los Angeles? Aren't you worried about
California dropping into the ocean or earthquakes or other natural
disasters? I would have thought that you would have picked a more
rural atmosphere away from the traffic, smog and crime.
love Los Angeles. I think it's the greatest city in the world.
love Los Angeles for many different reasons. The actual land that
the city is built on is a power spot. In other eras, a very mystically
oriented civilization which engaged in advanced psychic and spiritual
practices existed here. There's a power stored in the earth here.
love the diversity of Los Angeles. It's such a wonderfully weird
place to be. I'm not antagonistic to cities. I think that self
discovery can be practiced anywhere, under any conditions. God
exists everywhere. I see inwardly that there are more evolved
souls in Los Angeles than in any other major city in the world
so naturally I am attracted to Los Angeles. I also love the climate.
I don't spend all my time here, however. I travel extensively
through out the southwestern United States and the world.
feel that there's a certain danger in always being in a lovely
rural setting. You can lose touch. It's certainly easy to meditate
on top of a mountain, but one should be also able to meditate
in the heart of the city. If you want to really do something
for humanity, if you want to help people, if you care, go to the
cities. There aren't too many people to help on the mountaintops.
The city is where the pain is the greatest. And the cities are
a hell of a lot of fun if you like art, movies and plays. The
cultural achievements of humanity are there.
also think it's a good idea to spend some time in the purity of
nature because there's a special refinement there. Some people
find it very easy to feel God in nature. I don't think you need
to deny yourself either experience. I split my time between both.
But I feel very good about Los Angeles. It's an exciting city,
and it's where I am based right now.
reference to the prognosis of doom, I don't really feel that California
is going to sink into the ocean. Geologically, California has
been here for a long time, and I think it's rather presumptuous
to think that in our little lifetime it's going to separate itself
from the mainstream of the continent. We do know that a major earthquake has been predicted
for the L.A. area in the next 50 to 100 years, but I think that
if you're psychic enough you'll know that it's coming and be out
of town that day. Such are the perils of paradise.
Smog is not particularly pleasant, I agree, but it's been my experience
that you don't have all that many smoggy days in L.A. Most of
the time the air is fairly good. I'm more concerned with the consciousness
I'm experiencing than the air I'm breathing, and if I can be of
some help to people here it's much more important than breathing
Part of L.A. life is learning how to deal with traffic. It requires
patience, a good sense of timing, and sometimes not giving in
to the traffic but reshaping your life. So instead of getting
on the freeway for several hours, it might be smarter to go out
and get a bite to eat or go someplace to meditate and wait for
the traffic to calm down. We only have heavy traffic in the city
for a couple hours a day and I think you can structure your life
so you don't have to be on the road at those moments.
To become eternal is what matters, and as far as I'm concerned,
you can become eternal in the country or in the city, wherever
you happen to be. It's up to you to feel what's right. I've chosen
Los Angeles because I love the city. It's adjacent to the Pacific
Ocean, the deserts with their power spots, and the mountains.
There's a little bit of everything here in Southern California,
and I think it's a great place to practice tantric mysticism.
I've heard that your advertising offends the sensibilities
of other spiritual groups. In one ad I believe you listed a resume
of your qualifications, including a list of places you have lived
and taught meditation in your past lives, such as Tibet, Japan
and India, and this list even included the dates of those incarnations.
How do you know you were a teacher in other lives?
Rama: How do you know where you were
before you came to do this interview? Your memory tells you. How
do you know you're even here right now? Perhaps you're not. (Laughs.)
Perhaps you're far, far away and this is just a dream. Life is
a series of dreams, a series of interlocking awarenesses. I don't
necessarily believe in linear time. Everything happens all at
once forever. All incarnations are lived at once, and yet there
does seem to be a linear sense of time when you're in the vortex
of time and space when your consciousness is fixated in a body.
How do I know I've been a teacher in other lives? I remember.
When you merge your consciousness with the supraconscious, when
you practice psychic development, it's not very difficult to remember.
Past lives are not ultimately important. They are when you're
in them, but I think what matters is now.
I like advertising, as I mentioned in response to one of your
earlier questions. I think that advertising is a very creative
medium and I try to use the medium as effectively as I can to
entertain and enlighten. One day I was running on the beach with
a friend, and we were talking about what would make an interesting
advertising campaign. We wanted to break through the stereotypes
that meditation and spiritual groups have created. A great many
gurus came to the West in the 1960's and created a certain image
of what meditation is, what teachers are like and how it all works.
But what they taught as meditation is not what I experience as
meditation. Their methods of teaching are not mine. They became
involved with changing people's lifestyles and teaching them Sanskrit
and making them bow down to the guru as an authority figure. Most
of their followers seemed to suffer spiritual burnout, they didn't
become enlightened and often appeared worse for the study.
Let's say that what you do is genuine and you teach people things
that will improve the quality of their lives. But a number of
teachers have come before you and some of them have not been honest.
Perhaps they have taken advantage of people in different ways.
You have to break through that stereotype. If you use the word
'meditation' in your advertising, people are naturally going to
associate it with what they've experienced - or didn't experience
- from these other persons. It's really unfortunate that so many
people became disenchanted with meditation. It's only because
they never really experienced it, its depth, its intensity and
its remarkable beauty. Rather, they were given formula mantras
to chant and were inculcated into cults of personality and guru
Real self discovery has nothing to do with any of that. It's exciting
and it creates quantum leaps in your awareness. Eventually it
leads, through much silliness and seriousness and beauty and hard
work, to enlightenment. The whole journey is a circle. You end
up back where you started, except that when you get back there,
you're different. I seek ways to bring about or transmit the essence
of this experience, and I use radio and newspaper ads and posters
in order to intrigue people with the possibilities of their own
So we were jogging on the beach and I said to my friend, 'Suppose
I use a resume, as if I were looking for a job, as an ad. I could
list some of the things I've done in this lifetime where I went
to school, where I got my Ph.D., books I've written, things like
that. But suppose I list my other lives too. Suppose I list when
I was the head of a monastery in Tibet, when I was a jnana yoga
master in India or when I was a Zen teacher in Japan. Wouldn't
that be fun? Of course the theme for that particular campaign
was the resume. It said: 'Purpose: looking for students from my
past lives or individuals I've not encountered so far who are
interested in learning the art of meditation and psychic development.'
It was a very successful campaign, so successful that it was even
I like advertising. I know it rocks the boat, but what boat is
there to rock? Life is a strange thing some days. The so called
spiritual groups that object to the type of creative advertising
I do have only been in existence for a few years. Before Alan
Watts and a few pioneers like him began the counterculture spiritual
movement in the late fifties and early sixties, only a few individuals
had heard of meditation. Now all kinds of small and large groups
have sprung up, and they've created a kind of spiritual establishment.
Even though they've only been around for ten or fifteen years,
it seems that they've constructed some kind of moral code of do's
and don't's. I find it rather ironic that there's supposed to
be an established way to advertise or not advertise if you're
trying to bring people closer to an awareness of God and immortality.
It's funny that these individuals are setting themselves up as
paragons and judges. I think if I'm irritating people a little
by the methods or style of my advertising, I must be doing something
right. Self discovery is a creative process, and I try to bring
that creativity into everything I do, all hopefully with a touch
of humor, much of it directed towards myself.
Many people I have talked to attest to the fact that you
perform miracles. You are said to be able to fill the night sky
with lights, walk on air, heal people and more. Is this true?
Rama: I don't claim to do anything.
Let us say that when you move into higher stratas of awareness,
when you go into samadhi, which is a very high state of meditation,
there are certain ripples of energy in the universe around you.
If you watch someone enter into samadhi, and if you're at all
sensitive, you'll see glowing auras of light around that person.
I don't consider this to be a miracle, it's simply a natural phenomenon.
When you drop a pebble into a still pond, ripples will spread
out. I don't find that to be a miracle, it's a natural law of
physics. When you see paintings of some of the saints, or of Christ,
they all have lights around their heads. What the painters are
trying to convey is the psychic light, which is around everyone.
We all have auras. But it's much easier to see the aura of someone
who is in a state of samadhi or other profound state of awareness.
In terms of other phenomena, to be truly candid, I'm not sure
what I do because most of the time when I move into very advanced
states of awareness, I'm having too much fun to care. I become
so absorbed in samadhi that I break consciousness with the world
of time and space. People observe different things and they all
have their ideas and opinions about what I can and cannot do,
but I can honestly say that I am not capable of anything. It's
only the Self that does everything, and the Self reveals itself
in and through us all in different ways.
I don't think that these occurrences that people witness are important.
What really matters is truth and love and being excited about
your life. While I am able to use the kundalini in a variety of
different ways which hopefully benefit and entertain people, I
think the best thing I can do is avoid your question for reasons
of my own. (Extended laughter.)
Why is humor so much a part of your teaching?
Rama: Because I think life is funny
and I find that humor is a natural expression of higher awareness.
I don't think the misfortunes of others are funny. I don't think
it's good to laugh at the painful experiences of others, but there's
a joy to living, and the study of self discovery is the study
of life. Life is difficult and painful sometimes, but humor helps
us create a healthy mental balance within ourselves. Humor, as
Norman Cousins has shown, can even be used to help cure diseases.
I find that it's great to make people laugh. It's very rewarding.
A lot of the material that I have to present is very deep and
humor makes it a little easier. 'A spoonful of sugar helps the
medicine go down.'
I see funny things wherever I go. I think funny thoughts. Sometimes
I'll misread signs on the street in very funny ways. I have a
very funny second attention it sees a lot of joy and fun in life.
So, why do I use humor? Because that's what happens. I don't think
I use humor, I think humor uses me.
I notice that you usually play electronic music during
periods of meditation at your workshops. I would have thought
that you would either meditate in silence or listen to traditional
Indian sitar music. What are the names of some of the musical
groups that you meditate to, and don't some people find the predominant
beat in a lot of this music disturbing?
Rama: Normally, when a person meditates
alone, I suggest that they meditate in silence.
But during a group meditation when hundreds of persons are present,
I like to play music because it creates a synthesis of all the
energies in the room.
Usually I play music by Tangerine Dream, Jarre, or Vangelis. I
find that electronic music - music without words or voices is
easy to meditate to. Some of the new synthesizers that create
this music are capable of creating sounds that have never been
heard before. A new music is evolving and some of the more avante-garde
musicians are learning to use sound to alter awareness.
I play pieces of music during meditation that touch different
stratas of consciousness. I use both the cadence and colors of
the music as a backdrop for the psychic and spiritual energy that
I direct towards the audience. Often I match or amplify the rhythm
of the music with corresponding changes in energy and awareness.
Most people seem to enjoy the music that I select and I constantly
receive requests for the names of the pieces and of the artists
who perform them.
I understand that you teach both self realization and psychic
development. What is the difference?
Rama: Self discovery has many different
branches. Perhaps you could think of it as a university. A university
is composed of many different colleges - a college of agriculture,
a college of engineering, a college of liberal arts and sciences,
a college of nursing and so on. So, self discovery has many different
branches, and two of those branches are self realization and psychic
development. Self realization is essentially the graduate school
of self discovery. That's where a person learns to become saint
like and merge with nirvana.
Psychic development, on the other hand, is something that involves
entering into the psychic spectrum of consciousness. You develop
the intuitive powers such as clairvoyance or clairaudience. These
abilities are developed through specific forms of meditation.
So psychic development is more of a functional practice which
enables you to be more effective in the world.
Spiritual people are often persecuted because of their beliefs.
Christians were fed to the lions. Jews were slaughtered in concentration
camps. Various forms of persecution still exist today throughout
the world. If a spiritually oriented person can learn to use their
natural inner resources to avoid danger or help others avoid danger,
or just to experience more of the beauty of the cosmos, it is
a very positive thing.
How involved do you get in your students' lives?
Rama: I don't get involved in my
students' lives at all. I lecture to my students and meditate
with them and teach them techniques and answer their questions.
I meet with them every other week for several nights in a row.
I'm not a counselor and I'm not a psychiatrist, although I have
counselors and psychiatrists who study with me. I'm a spiritual
teacher. What I do is teach people how to inquire into the nature
of the Self, how to inquire into the nature of God and reality,
and how to have a good time with the world around and within themselves.
Many times people write me letters asking what they should do
in a given situation. I simply don't respond because a person
grows stronger by making their own decisions. I do teach methods
for making decisions, ways to analyze structured events more clearly,
how to see things from different points of view, how to weigh
and evaluate and how to meditate and get an answer from within.
But I don't tell people how to live their lives because that won't
The caterpillar has to break out of the cocoon by itself in order
to become a butterfly. If you open the cocoon, the butterfly will
die in a short time. In the struggle to free itself from its cocoon
it becomes strong enough to survive. In self discovery a certain
amount of self inquiry is necessary. You can't just give someone
answers. That won't help them - you'll interfere with their growth
and development. What I do is show someone advanced psychic methods
for making decisions and give them some feedback on how they're
doing. And, of course, I use the kundalini to help my students
enter into different states of attention. But I don't get involved
in other people's lives. No thank you. (Laughs.)
Do you teach a special method of meditation?
Rama: Actually, I teach dozens of
different methods of meditation. Meditation means the cessation
of thought. What you're trying to do is stop all thought within
the mind so that you can explore higher levels of mind. Thoughts
are like clouds that come across the sky and block the sun. It
can be sunny and beautiful above the clouds, but it may seem grey
and dismal beneath them. So I teach people how to still their
thoughts and become more conscious of eternity and this world,
and how to overcome jealousy and anger and hate and greed and
things that cloud their awareness.
I teach a variety of different meditation methods because I don't
feel there is any single best method. I don't have a favorite.
If it works, it's valid.
What is your academic background?
Rama: I attended the University of
Connecticut. As an undergraduate, I majored in English and minored
in Philosophy. I was admitted to Phi Beta Kappa in my senior year
and graduated with high honors. I received my Master's Degree
and my Doctoral Degree from the State University of New York at
Stony Brook. I have a Ph.D. in English Literature and Poetry.
I received a number of scholarships and fellowships during my
academic career. I have also taught courses in English at Long
Island University, at the State University of New York, and at
City College of New York, and I've taught credit courses in meditation
at the New School for Social Research in New York City.
I've lectured at many universities Harvard, Heidelberg, University
of Zurich, University of California, University of Arkansas to
name a few, on different subjects relating to meditation and psychic
Who are the three persons who have most influenced you?
Rama: The first person who greatly
influenced me was an English professor I had when I was a freshperson,
Dr. Yakira Frank. She excited me about poetry, particularly metaphysical
poetry, and encouraged me to go into the teaching profession.
Another great influence upon my life was a professor I had when
I was a graduate student. Dr. Gerald Nelson opened me up to the
world of Henry David Thoreau, the transcendentalists and contemporary
literature. He was a very funny, very dear gentleman.
I would say the third greatest influence was another professor
I had as an undergraduate at the University of Connecticut, a
Chaucerian, Dr. Charles Owen. He opened me, through Chaucer and
Shakespeare, to new views of the overall unity of life, to being
able to accept, as Chaucer did, that there is beauty in all levels
of life and that a higher power works through us all. Those three
individuals had the greatest effect on my life, but there have
been many others. Every person I've known has had an effect on
me, as have people whom I've not met in the physical in this life,
but whom I've met inwardly, teachers from other eras - Sri Ramana
Maharshi, Sri Ramakrishna and Lao Tse.
I understand you are an avid moviegoer. What value do
you see in film?
Rama: Life is a series of dreams
and movies are dreams.
The film is to this century what the novel was to the 19th century.
The only difference is that we experience it in another way. I
don't think that film will ever displace the novel, I think it's
added a new dimension to it. Films are a wonderful place to learn.
Drama is probably the oldest of the communicative arts. Now instead
of actors having to travel all over the country and do thousands
of performances, they can do it well once on celluloid and many
people can enjoy it.
I think film is far better than television in the sense that commercials
create unnecessary syntactical breaks in the drama. There's a
lot to be learned from film, from cinematography, from camera
angles, from the situations that are presented. You go through
an emotional catharsis when you see a film. You see yourself on
that screen. It is a cleansing process.
What are your three favorite films?
Rama: The Deer Hunter, Dr. Zhivago,
and Being There.
How do you feel about violence? Is it right to defend
yourself if attacked?
Rama: If you are attacked, I believe
that you have the basic human right, as California state law indicates,
to defend yourself. If you don't defend yourself, if you turn
the other cheek, then the individual who attacked you will only
be encouraged to go out and attack again. I think you have to
stand up for the rights of all people and defend yourself. I sympathize
with those individuals who feel that passive resistance is a more
effective measure, but it's a matter of personal choice. Some
of my students practice and teach martial arts, which is a very
exciting way to discipline your consciousness and get a good workout.
The best thing to do is avoid violent confrontations, which can
be done in most instances if you develop your psychic abilities.
You seem to use a Zen methodless method in your teaching.
Can you explain this at all?
Some of your critics say that you should accept everyone
who applies to study with you because a real teacher never turns
anyone away. How do you respond to that?
Rama: I don't know who or what a
real teacher is. I just do what I feel is right. I don't try to
be anyone's image of a teacher. Certain people are not suitable
for the intensive program I offer. While it doesn't demand much
in terms of a person's time, it does create substantial change
in the way they see life.
Some people wish to study with me to gain personal power so that
they can use it in ways that I don't approve of. They want to
manipulate and dominate others. I won't work with people like
that. I also will not work with men or women who are hostile to
the enlightenment of women.
I look at each case individually and if I feel that I can significantly
contribute in any way to a person's advancement, I will work with
them. I am selective, but a person should not assume that they
will not be selected.
In a religion, anyone can join and a catechism is offered. You
visit the church or temple, listen to some nice words, sing some
hymns and you may have an inspirational experience. Then you leave.
But that's not what I do. I work with every one of my students
inwardly. I network with them psychically and there's an energy
transfer between us that goes on 24 hours a day.
I'm concerned with the advancement of the people I do work with.
I don't feel that I'm an answer. I don't feet that I should be
able to fulfill everybody's needs. Actually, I try to create problems
for people that will help them advance.
Why is it that in spite of your flashy advertising, you
seem to avoid publicity and rarely accept interviews?
Rama: I don't think that my advertising
is particularly flashy compared to ads for Ford, Chevrolet, makeup
or deodorant. My advertising is relatively tame.
I don't seek publicity. I reach people through advertising. It's
been my experience that appearances on television or radio talk
shows do not necessarily reach the people I can be of help to,
people who are interested in having fun with meditation. So, up
until this point, I have fairly successfully avoided publicity.
I feel that the way I can most effectively transmit something
is in person, or perhaps through a video or audio tape or book.
What are you trying to accomplish through your teachings?
Rama: Nothing. I'm not trying to
accomplish anything. I just exist as I go along. I find out what
I've done after it's already occurred. My consciousness is no
longer confined to a body. I exist in a limitless awareness that
changes all the time and yet is always the same. I used to have
a purpose. I wanted to save the world. Then I realized that God
does everything perfectly. The world doesn't really need saving;
it's exactly the way God wants it to be at the moment. So I try
to weed the garden that life puts in front of me, and if the garden
gets bigger or smaller it's that much more or less challenging.
I don't really believe in cause and effect. I'm an experience
of eternity, a flash of light in the void.
Why is it so hard for people to see you? Are you a recluse?
Rama: Yes, I am a recluse. I like
to spend most of my time alone because I'm not alone. I love people
dearly, but if there's no one around I'm perfectly happy. I spend
a lot of time with people, so I offset that with periods of solitude.
I enjoy hiking alone in the mountains and deserts.
As a teacher, I work with the awarenesses of hundreds of people,
and it's really not necessary for me to be with them physically
in order to help them. I can transmit energy and light from any
place on the planet to people I work with. I don't need to have
physical contact with them.
I like silence. It's much more eloquent than any of us. I can
talk, certainly, but often I feel no need to use words. I think
I can communicate effectively in other ways, and sometimes it's
easiest to be with people when you're away from them. As far as
people trying to see me, I'm a very private person. I enjoy solitude
- whether I'm alone or in a crowd.
How do you feel about diet? Does it affect a person's
awareness very much?
Rama: What you eat makes a great
deal of difference. Everything you eat has a consciousness or
awareness which, to a certain extent, modifies, extends or limits
your own awareness. I follow a modified vegetarian diet which
includes fish and dairy products. I don't eat any meat or birds.
I find that this diet is very exciting and healthy and I recommend
it to people who meditate. But diet is highly individual. You
have to see what your body wants and what is healthy for it.
I'm not antagonistic to the use of sugar. There are those who
feel that if you eat a candy bar you'll die, or that it will ruin
your consciousness. I think that if your consciousness is that
hypersensitive, you've got a problem. Diet is a matter of personal
preference, but if you're interested in the advanced states of
meditation, eating mammals should be avoided. They have a more
evolved consciousness and can affect your attention field greatly.
Women often seem to find you attractive. Does this make
it difficult to work with them as students?
Rama: I don't think it's really a
physical attraction. Maybe I'm being naive, but I think that women
are fascinated by what I have to say about the enlightenment of
women and the fact that that's my main interest in life. Women
find that the Lakshmi program is helpful to them, and they're
amazed to discover the ways in which they're subtly and grossly
manipulated by men. It's very exciting for a woman to come into
her own power, to understand the unseen forces that are affecting
her and to be able to change everything around.
Women seem to feel comfortable around me because I don't put them
into a typical male female role relationship. I can sit around
with women and be one of the women or sit around with men and
be one of the men. My consciousness is formless and adapts to
every situation. I also think that women are attracted to me because
of the kundalini energy that comes through me.
What do you do in a typical day?
Rama: I don't have a typical day.
Sometimes I get up in the morning, sometimes I get up in the afternoon,
sometimes I get up at night. Sometimes I don't go to sleep. I
travel a great deal. I like to shop. I don't always buy things
when I shop, but I think it's fun to go out and look at the worlds
of colors. I love to roam through supermarkets. I am a great lover
of household products. I particularly like the packaging of cereal
boxes. I'm an observer of life. I like to watch people, and I
like to watch cactus, I like to talk to mountains and communicate
with my friends in the other spheres and dimensions. Every day
is different and wonderful. I experience life and try to accept
it as it comes along. But I don't have a routine. I show up to
teach class, but that's it. Other than that, my life is totally
Are you enlightened?
Rama: It depends what you mean by
enlightened. If your definition is classical yes - I experience
Nirvakalpa samadhi and merge with nirvana. I no longer have a
finite self. But I think this definition can be very misleading.
I don't believe that there's any such thing as enlightenment.
That's like saying, 'Have you got a Ph.D. And you can say, 'Yes, I have a Ph.D.' But
as you may know, getting a Ph.D. simply opens you up to the world
of what you don't know. So being enlightened just means that you're
aware of the endless immortality of light and God. There is no
longer a formatted self and you're constantly spinning through
different fields of attention. You are luminosity and at the same
time, you are finite awareness in a body. Enlightenment means
many different things, but in my estimation, it is nothing special.
It just means that you're a part of everything and conscious of
it. That's all. You've cleared the mind of thought. I don't see
it as an award or as a great accomplishment. It's simply the natural
realization of that which is and that which is not and that which
is beyond both.
I wouldn't say it's something I've achieved because it just came.
The spiritual experiences that were thrust upon me by the universe
were not something I merited - I know of many people who worked
harder than I did. These experiences simply came back from other
lifetimes in which I had experienced enlightenment before. So
I would say yes, sure, why not? Enlightenment, why not?
Can you transmit the experience of enlightenment to others?
Rama: Of course. I'm a technician.
I work with people on varying levels. I prepare them for the experience
of enlightenment and I can transmit that experience. I think of
myself as a kind of auto mechanic. If your car needs to be worked
on, the auto mechanic works on it and gets it running for you.
What I do is work on people's subtle physical and causal bodies.
I work with their karmic and samskaric patterns. It's a multileveled
operation. I can't actually create enlightenment for someone,
but I can help them prepare and pave the way. I can point them
in a certain direction.
Most people aren't aware of how complex they are, so I try to
help them see their own complexity and the utter simplicity of
truth. I can generate and transmit certain experiences, but only
when a person has reached the point of sensitivity to apprehend
that experience. If you put 500 watts through a 50 watt bulb,
it will blow out. Similarly, you can't transmit the experience
of samadhi to someone who is not prepared for it. You can only
give them 50 watts.
I have heard you use the term 'tantric mysticism' in some
of your talks. Can you define it in a few words?
Rama: Tantric mysticism is the analysis
of systems of self discovery. Essentially, it's a study of the
methods of spiritual discovery. In tantric mysticism, you can
use any of the forms of self discovery - Zen methods, devotional
methods, Tibetan methods. At the same time, tantric mysticism
has a particular form, no rules, and quite a bit of spiritual
How do you feel about the gurus that we see in America
Rama I certainly don't feel that
they represent the full range of spiritual teachers. Most of the
gurus we see are individuals who have very strong personalities
and very defined ways of seeing life and self discovery, which
seems to me to be somewhat antithetical to the process of self
discovery. It seems to me that self discovery is a study of the
heart and of love, and it shouldn't be confined to any particular
system. What's important is light, love, the apprehension of truth,
nobility of the soul and selfless giving.
I would not pass judgment on any particular teacher because the
Self works through all of us, and the Self may work through a
teacher whom someone might consider reprehensible. Someone else
might see truth in that teacher. Religion is a personal experience;
that's what makes it wonderful. As long as someone doesn't abrogate
the rights of another, then who are you or I to say?
What is the structure of your organization? How does it
Rama: I believe that the government
that governs best governs least. I have a loosely structured organization.
It's simply a teaching organization through which I hold classes.
It's essentially a volunteer organization, meaning that a few
dozen people put in a few hours every couple of weeks to help
make it work. It's pretty simple. I don't really have a power
structure or hierarchy and I don't want one. I would much rather
be off hiking in the mountains, meditating or seeing a movie.
I've found through experience that the bigger the organization,
the more time it takes to run it and I just don't have the time.
I'm too busy watching butterflies, talking to people about self
discovery and catching waves whether a wave of light or a wave
of water - to limit myself to copies in triplicate. I do a certain
amount of office work, naturally. I have to make the organization
run. We have to pay the bills. But I don't feel that my journey
in this life is to devote myself to constructing a huge spiritual
organization. I admire those who do, but I'd much rather be meditating.
Do you believe in astrology?
Rama Yes, absolutely, though not
necessarily the astrological reports in the daily newspaper. If
your chart is cast properly and interpreted properly, it can tell
you a great deal about your karmas from other lives and your present
possibilities. I don't think you should be limited or bound by
it; it's just a rough blueprint of where you've been. Where you're
going is really up to you, but sometimes it can be very helpful.
I understand that you spend time discussing clothing with
your students. What are your attitudes in this respect?
Rama: I feel that clothing has a
great deal to do with the attitudes and energy that others direct
towards you. I favor the chic, and tend to avoid the trendy. I
think that it's good to be chic when possible because it is more
inaccessible. Clothing is art. It's an expression of how you feel.
I think that it's not so much a question of a certain style or
designer, but of finding the type of clothing that works well
It's particularly important for women to create a personal style
that suggests that they are powerful and capable. Many women's
fashions have arisen from a consciousness of suppression and repression.
They were designed from a man's point of view, basically for ornamentation
or work around the house. Now women are totally changing their
lifestyles and a new type of clothing is needed that expresses
who and what they are. The same is true of men. Men have been
confined to certain types of clothing - specific types of suits
and ties - that are very limiting to their spirits.
The division between male and female has been accentuated by clothing.
Today there are more androgynous styles and a wonderful variety
of designs. But it's not just a question of picking a certain
type of clothing. What you wear is a statement about how you feel,
and whether you're wearing hiking jeans to the desert or you're
wearing a gown to a dinner party, what you wear is important because
people characterize you by it.
Changing the way you dress can make it easier to make deeper changes
in the structure of your personality. If you want to create a
different character, you can do so just by altering your style
of dress and cosmetics. I think clothing is fun. It's an exciting
way to express yourself and deal with the world, and it makes
more of a difference than people realize.
What do you feel is the best way to maintain the physical
body? Some meditation teachers stress ignoring the body and just
concentrating on the spirit. How do you feel?
Rama: I feel that the state of the
body is very important. Without a strong body, it's very hard
to deal with the intensity of the kundalini energy that arises
as you enter into more advanced stages of the enlightenment process.
You should pick a form of physical exercise that you enjoy. I
like to run and swim, but whether it's tennis, hiking, skiing,
bicycling, or just going for a walk, exercise is important and
just plain fun.
Exercise gives you self confidence and clarity of mind. It makes
you feel better and improves the quality of your meditation. But
I don't feel the form of exercise is important. It's up to the
Do you feel responsible for the welfare of the people
who study with you?
Rama: Yes and no. The people I work
with are intelligent and aware and have done well in life so far.
I don't feel the necessity of holding their hand while they cross
the street. But I do feel responsible as a teacher to only provide
correct information that will enable a person to improve the quality
of their life. I will speak out if I think someone is doing something
that is harmful to others, or something that in any way abrogates
the freedom and rights of others. I feel, in other words, responsible
to be a good teacher, and if I've done that, I've done my job.
But other than that I don't feel responsible, because who am I
to be responsible? God is responsible for everyone and everything.
What advice would you give someone who is looking for
Rama: Keep looking. Never settle
for anything else.
How can a person determine who is a teacher to be sought
after and who is a teacher to be avoided?
Rama: Common sense is the necessary
ingredient. It's the same when trying to determine whether to
take flying lessons from a particular teacher. You certainly wouldn't
go up in an airplane with someone whom you didn't first thoroughly
check out. Naturally, it's harder to determine the qualifications
of a spiritual teacher since, for spiritual teachers, there isn't
a degree granting body. You just have to use your own sensitivity.
You can't necessarily rely on the experiences others have had.
Someone can go to a teacher who may work well for them but will
not work for you.
How can you tell a good teacher from a bad teacher? I think you
have to go and see them, listen to what they have to say and try
very hard not to be swayed by your desire for a teacher. You just
have to see if you feel comfortable with them. You must discount
the feelings of other people around you. It's really a lesson
in perception. Most importantly, you have to meditate with them.
And you can't really tell whether a teacher is effective or not
when you're with them. You should watch your consciousness later
that day or the next day. Has your awareness altered significantly?
That's what you're looking for not just someone to give you a
good time, but someone who will teach you something. Remember,
the things that a spiritual teacher has to teach are not like
the things you learn from anyone else. They don't teach you information,
they teach you about awareness how to stretch it, how to change
it. Sometimes the study is pleasant, sometimes it's not particularly
pleasant, but it leads to knowledge. And if that's what you're
after, if that's your intent, then you'll certainly be drawn to
the right teacher.
Every profession has its difficulties and rewards. From
your point of view, what are the difficulties and rewards of your
Rama: As a teacher, you walk a razor's
edge, and the best way to do it is by not thinking about it too
much and being your natural self. If you have actually reached
heightened states of attention, then the infinite will work through
you and help you get through the so called difficult experiences.
You have to realize that you're not going to win any popularity
contests if you're teaching people about truth. If you accept
that fact and accept that you will just do what you can do and
that's all, if you accept that everything is in the hands of the
Self, as it always was, and that none of this is even really happening,
it's just a dream in the eye of God, then it tends to work out.
The rewards are obvious. You have the rare opportunity of helping
someone learn to smile and become more aware of their own infiniteness.
Do you plan to open up other meditation centers?
Rama: I don't have any plans. Each
trimester I make up a schedule of student meetings and public
meditations. Other than that, I don't really make plans. I might
open up ten meditation centers next year or open up none. If I
were in a betting mood, I would say I probably won't start any
new centers because I really don't feel the need. As a matter
of fact, I had three meditation centers that were quite large
and successful and I recently closed two of them because I only
wanted one center. It seemed simpler.
I have heard that within the last year and a half, you
let go of more than half of your students. Why? Will you ever
take them back?
Rama: Not long ago, I had about 800
students and now I have approximately 400. I let go about half
of them because I felt that was the proper thing to do. Each case
I come into a person's life for a period of time. It could be
a year, it could be twenty years, who knows? Each case is different.
When I see that I've done all I can for a person and that they
need other experiences, then we part company. We never totally
part company inwardly. I use the term 'student,' but these are
my friends. They are the most fascinating people I've met. But
for technical reasons in the spiritual teaching process, it's
necessary at times to be with people physically and other times
not be with them. I don't believe that I will be working with
most, if any of them, again in this lifetime because I think that
I taught each person what I could and now what they need to do
is go out and apply those principles in their daily lives. Each
case is individual.
Do you feel, as some psychics and gurus do, that the world
will end soon?
Rama: I think it's already ended.
(Extended laughter.) I think that the world ended a long time
ago and no one realizes it. We're in a dream somewhere in a vortex
of energy that just hasn't realized its nonexistence yet. Seriously,
I think that the world is always ending and always beginning at
every moment. As far as the physical structure of this world is
concerned, I would say it'll be here for a while. Many civilizations
have come and gone upon this earth, yet the earth remains, and
I think the earth will remain, but naturally there will be an
end to this civilization as there was an end to Atlantis and other
civilizations in previous times.
This is the fourth age, the Kali Yuga, and it's a time of great
darkness. At the end of this age, there's supposed to be a cosmic
dissolution and then life begins anew. It's a wonderful cycle
The so called end of the world is the beginning of a new world.
I don't think, however, that I'd want to take out stock in a long
term growth company right now.
Do you feel that people use you and other teachers as
a crutch and that this is an unhealthy dependency?
Rama: Some people do, some people
What is the most important problem for our world to solve?
Rama: The most important problem
for our world to solve is the inequality of men and women. When
women come into their full power, a balance will occur which has
not been seen for so long that no one remembers it. The greatest
pain is suffered by women. And as long as men keep women out of
balance and hold them back, they hold themselves back. That's
their karma. I think the greatest need in this world is the liberation
of women and when that occurs, all will be liberated. There will
be a new world. If that does not occur, then I think you will
see the dissolution of the world we live in.
I understand that you occasionally give private interviews
to members of the cultural and financial 'elite' of America and
Europe. Who are some of the persons who have sought you out and
what have you told them? Why won't you give interviews to anyone?
Rama: I do spend time with some movie
stars and corporate heads. I also spend time with students and
housewives and people of all descriptions.
I think that powerful people tend to seek out spiritual teachers,
as do all types of people. I don't give many private interviews.
Occasionally I do, because I think I can significantly help a
person, but it's very unusual. I would certainly not mention any
names because I believe in confidentiality. The name of anyone
I work with is confidential. Self discovery is a very private
matter. There's certainly nothing to hide, but people like privacy,
as do I.
I have been sought out by a number of people who would have felt
uncomfortable coming to a large public meditation, simply because
they draw a lot of attention wherever they go. They don't want
people to come up and ask for autographs; they'd just like to
sit down and meditate. So there have been times when I've made
special arrangements to meet people in music, film, business or
politics, and I'll continue to do so if the people are sincere.
If they're not sincere, then naturally I'll turn them down. But
if what they want is to gain power and use it for a higher good,
I'll help them. Then they merit some special consideration.
Powerful people affect many others and if I can in some way contribute
to their awareness, then when they perform - when they're in a
movie, when they're on stage in a rock and roll band, when they're
playing a violin in a concert, when they're making a political
decision - if they see more, they'll make a better decision, they'll
give a better performance, they'll put out better energy to millions
and millions of people. I don't deal with millions of people.
My wish is to deal with a very small number of people. But if
I can have an effect on influential women and men, if they seek
me out because they are interested in self knowledge and the fun
of meditating, then I'm glad to help. That's why I'm here. I'm
only here for a while, so I'd like to do what I can.
What is the occult? Would you recommend that people learn
more about it?
Rama: There are various ways to talk
about reality. In the realm of meditation, we talk about reality
as being either the unmanifest, which is the world of spirit devoid
of form, or as being maya, or illusion, which is the world of
form. This is similar to the concept of yin and yang. The unmanifest
is the infinite spirit that pervades all of existence, and the
manifest is what we term 'the world' - the physical worlds, the
subtle physical or astral worlds, the causal worlds anything that
has dimension or exists in any strata of time, energy or space.
There are, however, other systems that divide the cosmos in different
ways. One of the pathways I teach that leads to enlightenment
and heightened awareness is the path of mysticism. In mysticism
we speak of four different levels of attention. The first attention
is the attention of this world. It is very similar to the idea
of the manifest in spiritual and yogic terminology. Then there's
the second attention, which has to do with other planes of consciousness
or awareness. Then there are two higher attentions, which are
literally impossible to discuss in words.
The term 'occultism' can be used synonymously with the word 'mysticism.'
Occultism is the study of energy and power and awareness. There
are two types of occultism. Lower occultism studies the use of
energy and power for what I would call darker purposes. Voodoo
and darker witchcraft are part of the world of lower occultism.
In lower occultism, an individual makes contact with beings that
exist in other planes of reality. The problem is that when a person
gets in touch with these beings, they open an invisible doorway
to other worlds that can be difficult to close. Very often, people
who become involved in lower occultism become possessed by entities
that use them for their own purposes.
Higher occultism, or the study of mysticism, is quite different.
It doesn't have a purpose as such, in the sense that one is aiming
at something beyond definition the full experience of the cosmos.
Mysticism is the study of power. Interestingly, women tend to
do better with the path of mysticism because they can move greater
amounts of the kundalini energy through their subtle physical
bodies than men can. And women represent power - pure, unadulterated
power. The study of mysticism is very well suited to them.
Mysticism involves stopping thought and moving into alternate
planes of attention. You learn to disrupt your routines of thought,
the way you see life, the way you act and, of course, how to increase
your personal power. Mysticism is a school of consciousness in
which you have direct and powerful experiences in other planes
and other levels of attention. It changes your view of who you
are, what you are and what this life is for, and it leads to freedom
Mysticism is a very worthwhile undertaking, but it's not for everyone.
It's for a few people who want the direct experience of reality
and are willing to pay the price. The price is leading a very
balanced life; extremists don't do well on the path of mysticism.
In order to experience the vastness of eternity, your closets
must be clean and uncluttered. Your house, your checkbook, your
career and your relationships must be in perfect order. Everything
is dependent upon the little things in your life the way you dress,
the way you talk. In mysticism, the teacher helps you rearrange
your bands of perception the actual structure of your being by
exposing you to the clear light of reality again and again. These
same processes also occur in higher yoga and advanced meditation,
and in the Tibetan rebirth process, but the methods in each study
Mysticism is particularly well suited for women and some men who
are interested in the total, continual transformation of their
awareness and who are capable of and willing to live in multiple
planes of reality. Mysticism is the path of the warrior.
How long do you meditate each day?
Rama: After many years of meditating
and going in and out of samadhi my consciousness is always in
a meditative state.
In your opinion, what is the meaning of life?
Rama: Life is its own meaning. The
meaning of life changes as you change. It depends what world you're
in. If I'm in Los Angeles, the meaning of life might be seeing
my friends, it might be going to a restaurant, it might be meditating
at the beach. If I'm in Colorado, the meaning of life might be
skiing or communicating with the beings that live on the top of
the Continental Divide. If I'm in Europe, there will be another
meaning. The meaning of life changes as you change dimensional
planes. The way human beings perceive the world is only one simple
method of seeing. There are many ways to see life. Life has many
meanings, and self realization is the understanding of all this.
If you forced me into a corner and said, 'That's all well and
good, but give me a two sentence definition of the meaning of
life,' I would say that the meaning of life is to be aware of
awareness, to be happy and to realize that you are not alone.
You are one with God and eternity.
What can a person who studies with you expect to experience?
Will studying with you help a person in their daily life?
Rama: A person who studies with me
shouldn't expect to experience anything except continual transition
in their awareness. The methods of meditation I teach are very
powerful. After my students become psychically attuned, they not
only learn from me but from each other, and from other dimensions.
There are forces of light that work in concordance with all of
us if we open ourselves to them, and they can accelerate a person's
spiritual growth tremendously.
Will studying with me help a person in their daily life? People
say that it does. That's part of my intention. Most people who
study with me start to make more money. (Laughs.) That isn't really
my intention, but when a person's personal power increases, that
seems to be a natural result.
The letters I receive from individuals who study with me indicate
that their lives, the quality of their love, their relationships,
the clarity of their awareness have improved dramatically. They
seem to be more motivated and excited. It seems that their dull
daily routines are no longer dull and are no longer routines.
I don't attribute this to myself but to the methods that I teach
which, when practiced, generate outstanding results.
I understand that you communicate telepathically with
your students and friends. How do you do this?
Rama: There's really no way to explain
how you communicate telepathically. It's just like talking, only
it's much quicker and more complete. One of the first things that
I teach a person to do is how to develop their second attention
- how to learn to see into other dimensional planes and to develop
methods of communication that are much more ethical and comprehensive.
I wouldn't know how to describe it, but it is certainly not difficult
to teach someone how to do. The point, of course, is that you
can call home from hundreds of miles away without having to pay
the phone company.
What are your favorite books?
Rama: I am a lover of literature
so I have many favorite books. Shakespeare and Chaucer, of course.
Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov is a favorite. Walden by
Henry David Thoreau. The Way of Life by Lao Tse. The I Ching,
The Crest Jewel of Discrimination by Shankara, The Wasteland and
Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot. The poetry of Theodore Roethke is
a favorite, particularly his later poetry. I think the greatest
American playwright is Eugene O'Neill, closely followed by Arthur
Miller and Tenessee Williams. In terms of popular fiction, I like
the spy novels of Le Carre. Joseph Heller has written some very
funny books. The Little Prince by Saint Exupery is a delightful
book. There are so many wonderful books.
I have heard that women enter into higher states of awareness
when they have their menstrual periods. Why?
Rama: It is true that women enter
into a very occult state of consciousness during their menstrual
period. At that time, a great deal of kundalini is generated through
a woman's subtle physical body. Most women misunderstand this
time. It is a time when they are capable of reaching very high
levels of consciousness very easily. But there is so much energy
that unless a woman's consciousness is psychically attuned, it
can be very uncomfortable and cause great emotional upheavals.
When a woman learns to channel this energy, it can be the best
time of the month.
I know that many spiritual teachers refuse to work with
gay people, and you seem to be one of the exceptions. Why?
Rama: I don't know why a number of
gurus do that. Ostensibly, I do know why - they feel that there
is something wrong or sick about being gay. They feel that gay
people are very confused and that there is only one sexual preference
that is spiritually correct, straight sex. They don't even recommend
straight sex; they usually recommend celibacy. I don't feel that
way at all. I think it really doesn't matter what your sexual
preference is; what matters is the quality of your love. Whether
you love a man or a woman is irrelevant as far as I am concerned.
It's why you love and what your love does for you and that individual
I have a number of gay students, and I don't particularly notice
that they are gay. I don't look at a person that way. What I look
at in a person is whether they are interested in doing more to
improve the lives of others, and whether they care about being
funny and having fun with meditation and consciousness instead
of sitting around feeling sorry for themselves. I am not particularly
moral nor am I particularly immoral. I don't look at life in those
terms. As far as I am concerned, the gay issue is not an issue
Who are your favorite film stars?
Rama: That's very difficult because
I have so many. Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson, Sean Connery and
Robert Redford, Mel Gibson - at least in the Road Warrior films
- and Harrison Ford are among my favorite actors. Meryl Streep,
Jane Fonda, Sally Field, Deborah Winger, Jessica Lange, and of
course, Shirley MacLaine, are among the women. There are so many
to pick from that any list that I give you will be inadequate.
There are so many talented people in film today. There seem to
be poor scripts, but the actors and actresses are very talented.
I read somewhere that you have said that this would be
your last incarnation. Is this true? How do you know.?
Rama: This may be my last incarnation
in this particular world. Before I came in, I was told that this
was a vacation world. The brochures were quite attractive and
I was somewhat surprised when I got here. I evidently had read
an outdated brochure.
Actually, to be quite honest, these things are beyond our control.
We are all emblems of the Self, and the Self sends us where it
will. I work for a very ancient company that helps people on their
way to enlightenment, and you just sort of go where the company
sends you. So as far as I know this is my last incarnation on
earth. I have had many and I have enjoyed them all, but there
are other worlds to go to and see and experience. Or maybe it
would be nice not to incarnate at all and just be absorbed. It's
really all the same. How do I know? Because I know. Because I
Aren't there a lot of crackpots and weirdos in the psychic
Rama: There certainly are. I think
most of their intentions are pure, but they get in over their
What is God?
Rama: God is the person who is interviewing
me. God is the interview, God is the one who is giving the interview.
God is the recording device that takes it down and the typewriter
that types it up and the people who read it and the people who
don't read it and all of the things in this world and in every
other world and the things that are beyond all the worlds and
Nirvana. God is everything. What is there that isn't God?
Do you have a soul mate?
Rama: I have a number of soul mates,
but perhaps you and I might define a ‘soul mate' differently.
For most people, a soul mate has some kind of sexual connotation.
But in the classical spiritual definition, a soul mate is someone
that you have reincarnated with many times. You find each other
in many lifetimes. I have a number of soul mates in that there
are a number of people with whom I have had multiple incarnations.
I have only met a couple of them thus far in this lifetime and
it is my feeling that I will be meeting more of them very soon.
A soul mate is not necessarily someone with whom you set up housekeeping.
Your soul and their soul have a multi incarnation attraction.
Why aren't you married?
Rama: No one has asked me lately.
(Laughter.) I'm not married because it is not really suitable
for me. When I was quite young, I was married for about a year
and a half to a very beautiful woman. We learned a lot from each
other, and one of the things I learned was that I am not the sort
of person who should be married. I can't focus that directly on
one person and lead a personal life. I am drawn to helping many
people, and if I focused all my attention on one individual I
simply would not have the time to work with my students or to
be drawn into other dimensional planes. Marriage is a circuit
that I no longer seem to have. But I think marriage is a fine
institution if it works for you, and if you like institutions.
How do you feel about children?
Rama: It depends on the child.
How do you feel about the use of drugs for the expansion
Rama: I do not recommend the use
of drugs to people who wish to expand consciousness. It is true
that LSD and other psychedelic drugs expand awareness and cause
you to experience other fields of attention. There are, however,
certain problems associated with them. The most obvious, of course,
is that the drugs are illegal and if you're caught using them,
you can be arrested. Certain drugs provide brief excursions into
altered states of consciousness. The problem is that the perceptions
and understandings that come from these experiences don't tend
The use of certain drugs can cause damage to the subtle physical
body, the body of energy that surrounds the physical body and
through which consciousness flows. If a person has used drugs,
then clearly it was on their trip tik of existence and they may
have gained some valuable insights from them. But I think that
meditation, psychic development, and the other forms of self discovery
lead to much deeper states of awareness than drugs do, without
the inherent problems that accompany drugs.
You talk about a great change in the psychic energy currents
that will affect the whole world starting in 1985. What are these
Rama: Nineteen eighty five is a year
of tremendous transition for our earth. We are entering into a
30 year cycle of change which will end around 2015. It is a time
of great disruption in the psychic energy fields, and anyone who
is psychically attuned should already be feeling it.
Many people are finding that it is very difficult to make basic
decisions, there seems to be more space between their thoughts,
and it is harder to motivate themselves. We are entering into
a period of spiritual eclipse. This time has been foretold for
thousands of years by many different prophets. It is a time when
we will see great chaos and disorder in the world. It is the time
of Kali and Shiva. I don't think it is necessarily a bad time.
But I think it's a time when persons who seek light and self knowledge
should join together with others of like mind. It's very important.
It is a dark time, and it is much easier to spend the dark time
with other people who love light.
From my point of view, it is an exciting time. A doctor is necessary
in times of great illness; a teacher is necessary in times of
great darkness. When light begins to evaporate in front of people's
eyes, they suddenly realize how important it is.
Why is it that many teachers die so young? Is it because
they take on the karma of others?
Rama: Yes. When you are an enlightened
teacher and you work with people, you enter into their energy
fields and transmute them.
There is a certain amount of residual pick up that occurs in this
process that is deleterious to your physical body. That's why
it is necessary for teachers to spend a great deal of time alone.
They must recycle themselves so they can be more effective and
live longer to do more for people. Ramakrishna and many others
died at an early age simply because their love was so great that
they overdid it. It's an occupational hazard. However, some teachers
balance their energy through periods of solitude and avoid the
teacher burnout syndrome.
What should a person do who really wants to find God?
Rama: They should begin by looking
in the mirror and seeing God.
The question is not finding God - God is everywhere and in everything
- but of being aware of the infinite aspects of God. To do that
it is necessary to practice self discovery, to meditate every
day, to have fun with your life, to look beyond the physical dimensional
planes and come in contact with life. You should try to meet different
teachers or people of high energy who may influence you in a positive
way. You may not need a teacher or you may be drawn to one - everything
is individual. But the main thing you need to do is meditate and
learn to stop your thoughts and enter into the ocean of infinite
awareness. You will be directed from there. Christ said, 'Seek
and ye shall find.' Learn the ways to seek which will expedite
your journey and make it more fun.
... Interview Concluded
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