I interviewed Ram Das Batchelder for Awakening Together’s August 2015 Satsang. In this interview, Ram Das shares enthusiastically about his early spiritual path and the ego-delusions that accompanied his first experiences of God. He also shares how he found his Satguru, Amma, “the hugging saint.” In the final 30 minutes of the interview, Ram Das discusses his realization of truth through Self-inquiry including how through truth, he sees that everything he believed in before, including his own spiritual path, does not exist … Supreme Truth alone exists.
Ram Das was born in Pennsylvania in 1961, had a spiritual awakening in his early twenties, and has spent most of the last 25 years in India as a devotee of Amma, the “hugging Saint.” He has written four children’s books, which have been translated into several European languages, and also a novel in rhyming verse, three full-length plays, and 40 original songs. In 2012, he and his wife, Tarini Ma, wrote and co-taught a university course on Hinduism in Venezuela. He has given numerous talks and workshops about various aspects of spirituality in many locations around the world. He and his wife are currently offering 5-star tours of the sacred cities of India, to both Spanish and English-speaking groups.
“Rising in Love: My Wild and Crazy Ride to Here and Now, with Amma, the Hugging Saint” tells the story of Ram Das Batchelder’s powerful marijuana-fuelled spiritual awakening in America (which included meeting an angel), his two-year struggle with delusion and addiction, his subsequent renunciation of drugs, and his eventual discovery of Amma (the living Guru known in the West as “the Hugging Saint”). The narrative then covers the 27 amazing years he has spent in quest of Enlightenment as Amma’s devotee, most of that time in India. It is a story of profound healing from drug addiction and despair into a joyfully fulfilled life, and is therefore a ray of hope for all who suffer from addiction or mental illness of one kind or another.
(Rising in Love’s publication was directly approved by Amma, and contains 22 photos of her. All royalties from the sale of Rising in Love are being donated to Amma’s orphanage in Kerala, India, which houses 500 children and consistently turns out some of the most successful high school graduates in the state, one-third of whom go on to earn college degrees.)