Bhagavan Das

It’s Here Now (Are You?): Book Review

Too often we underestimate the power of thought. Thoughts manifest. Your life is what you think it is. That’s why meditating and disengaging from the thought process helps free the self’ – It’s Here Now p. 63.

It’s Here Now (Are You?) is one of the best books I have ever read. It was surprisingly very well written, and kept me engaged from start to finish. Even though the book is not a work of fiction, it is definitely out of this world:  `I didn’t know it that night, but we would become close friends for the next six years… our conversation would become telepathic, thought to thought. It was easy to connect with him that way’.

I found out about this book through reading Be Here Now by Ram Dass, which told the story of how Dr Richard Alpert (Harvard psychologist turned LSD guru) had a chance encounter with a 20 year old white kid in India who spoke fluent Hindi and was accepted by all of the Buddhist monks, lamas and travelling yogis, much to Richard’s surprise. Richard ended up following this kid throughout India, and it is through him that he met his guru, Neem Karoli Baba. This resulted in his being sucked into a spiritual transformation and spat out a completely new being, freed from the chains of his ego. The young white kid was called Bhagavan Das and he ended up writing a very honest account of his experiences in India, which is this autobiography that I am reviewing, right now. Bhagavan Das never goes out of his way to make himself look good and actually writes into existence a lot of scenarios that put him in bad light, which is admirable. Bhagavan Das (Michael Riggs) also shares all of his spiritual insights and divine experiences, and doesn’t seem to mind if you believe them or not.

The book is flowing with great advice on how to pursue and embrace a spiritual lifestyle as well: `I think many Westerners are frustrated with meditation because they don’t realize that you can’t just sit down and meditate. First comes the need to learn to concentrate. One must practice being completely absorbed in something without thinking of anything else. You can’t skip this first basic step’. The book is difficult to put down, it’s soaking with Hindu spirituality, but even if you’re not into that sort of thing it’s still interesting to read the story of how some white kid from California escapes to India and becomes a saint pretty much over night, and to top it off there’s a lot of drug use and sex on the side.

Bhagavan Das does it all, and you can’t help but think of him as a spiritual materialist, snatching from every religion and ritual to find the sweet nectar of enlightenment. But this makes for a really interesting read as he allows you a peek at how spirituality is treated in India through all of its diverse religious practices. Throughout his journey Bhagavan tastes from every fruit of every tree, even forbidden fruits as he happens upon witches and demon worshipers and becomes fascinated with their `dark energy’. At one point he witnesses an Indian man meditating in a pit of fire, without so much as a scratch on his body. He also shows that at the end of the day he is still human: `Major Rikki also had a big stack of Playboy magazines, which I eventually gave into reading. I couldn’t resist the temptation. As soon as I was given the opportunity, I gave in to all of it. I was masturbating to pornographic magazines, smoking State Express No. 555, and listening to Major Rikki boast about his Military career’.

It’s Here Now (Are You) is a great companion piece to Ram Dass’ Be Here Now, and is an excellent book on its own as well. It is about a single person’s journey, and this is something we can all relate to. If you are into Indian spirituality, travel books or just need a good escape then this book might just be what you’re searching for!

its here now

Below is an interesting two part interview with Bhagavan Das about the writing of his book, for those of you that are curious.






5 responses to “It’s Here Now (Are You?): Book Review”

  1. […] read and is worth the cost of the book by itself. In this section you will read about Bhagavan Das (whose autobiography I have previously reviewed), the 20 year old white kid who floated through India on spiritual pilgrimages, and how Richard […]

  2. […] the following passage from Bhagavan Das’ book ‘It’s Here Now (Are You?), Bhagavan Das describes his learning of the Ham Sa mantra in his first few weeks living in […]

  3. […] by his fateful trip to India, his meeting of the 20 year old white kid turned yogi Bhagavan Das (whose autobiography I have previously reviewed), and finally how Richard gave Maharaji a huge dose (900 ug!) of LSD, while his inner scientist […]

  4. Rolls Royce Avatar

    It’s Here Now ( Are You? ) By Bhagavan Das who writes an honest, funny and vivid account
    of what it’s like to totally go for it spiritually. It’s not about the dangers of meditation. He’s just telling the story of his experiences. He illustrates the hazards of the spiritual path. Reading
    this book that’s divided into 3 parts is like getting vaccinated – – it let’s your immune system
    recognize the virus and build up defences against it. I encourage you to learn from BD and
    let him help you build up your spiritual immune system.

    The True Guru is inside, like BD says, it’s more of a principle than a person and it can be experienced through anyone or anything when are hearts and minds are open to it.

    Remember that it might be a story about you and me?

  5. Rolls Royce Avatar

    Another Mahabharata:

    I can read Maharabharata for spiritual food – but when my humanness was “stuck” in my fears, it was so easy for me to get ‘stuck’ in the grandeur and antiquity of it. At those times i wish i had the ‘living Maharabharata’ , who is Bhagavan Das. BD is also Arjuna in the Maharabharata.

    To me what’s more Heroic about ‘It’s Here Now (Are You)’ then the great epic is that the epic was seen through Sanjaya’s higher eye (intuition?) and written by Saint Valmiki. No big deal for Arjuna here, even though every truth in it was born through his fears as well as greatness…

    To walk through fears with honesty and having that same honesty to share it with others – that’s a Real human being, Now i understand that there is nothing more spiritual than
    being human. Bhagavan Das is everybody put together -Arjuna, Krishna, Sanjaya,
    Duryodana, Valmiki; an epic as solely himself.

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