This book was a joy to read. With a truly contagious enthusiasm, Ram Das shares with us the story of his life as a spiritual seeker, starting with the wildly unconventional days of his youth, to his blessed meeting with his Guru, Amma and his subsequent life as a renunciate in her Indian ashram, as a wondering monk travelling through India, and finally back at her ashram as a married man, all
throughout with Amma’s infinite Grace accompanying and guiding him. I was touched by the honesty with which Ram Das shares all aspects of himself, as well as by his devotion and sincere perseverance on his path towards God, and I thoroughly enjoyed the wit and humour of his writing style which made me laugh out loud so many times throughout the book! For me this book was an inspiration to persevere on my own path no matter what obstacles come my way, and to always remember to see the humour in it and to laugh at myself! Thank you Ram Das :) Om Namah Shivaya.
I love to read about other people’s spiritual journeys and ‘Rising in Love’ is one of the most interesting accounts of spiritual awakening that I have read to date. This is the true story of how the author Ram
Das was led to Amma, the hugging saint. What struck me most was that a lot of the things that the author experienced happened to me too on my spiritual journey. It was actually quite comforting to realise that I wasn’t the only person to have gone through the ‘I am the Christ’ phase or to have had to deal with some very painful childhood issues.
There were endless moments of ‘yes, that happened to me too’ but there was also lots and lots of laughter. The openness and lack of ego of this author shines through his words. It was an easy and very enjoyable read and I highly recommend ‘Rising in Love’. But there is more to this review than that because of what happened to me as I was reading the book.
I live my life according to synchronicity and the very day that I started reading ‘Rising in Love’ my friend told me that there was a documentary about Amma on TV that night. I watched it and it piqued my interest. Then when I was half way through the book someone posted on their Facebook page that Amma was due to visit London the following week. Her dates coincided with a trip to London that I had already planned. Amma was to be at Alexandra Palace, less than three miles away from where I was staying! Naturally I acted on these synchronicities and spent a wonderful day in the Divine presence of
I couldn’t help feeling that ‘Rising in Love’ was actually imbued with the energy of Amma and that she had reached out to me through the pages of this exceptional book. I wonder whether this will happen to others who read it.
And I would like to add that in true selflessness the author is donating all his royalties to charity. On the spiritual path actions really do speak louder than words....
~ Hilary H. Carter, author of "New Life Stories"
For me, the experience of reading Rising in Love by Ram Das Batchelder was inspiring. It was similar to how I felt when, around fifteen years ago, I read and reread The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. As with Tolle’s book, Rising in Love is powerful and thought provoking. It leaves the reader with a sense of awe and wonder in relation to the concept of higher consciousness and what a personal relationship and connectedness to ‘God’ might mean. Ram Das describes his spiritual awakening with clarity, humility and great humour. At the age of 25, his spiritual quest leads him to meeting Amma an Indian guru known as the Hugging Saint. For many years after this meeting, Ram Das has lived in India as a devotee of Amma. As her disciple he has learned to embrace a higher level of consciousness that transcends what appears to be the ‘reality’ of this world.
This story is a heart-lifting autobiography involving the author’s earlier years as a young American in the 1970s whose experiences with drugs and sex and rock ’n’ roll fails to satisfy a longing for something which he comes to realise is of a spiritual rather than hedonistic nature.
For somebody such as myself, (who recognises a spiritual yearning within) and being open to exploring this yet remaining ‘agnostic’, Rising in Love is a perfect read. For the spiritual seeker who wants
to be convinced that there is a higher power or ‘divine goodness’ existing in the world, and that this essence of love dwells in each of us, then I strongly recommend that you read this book. Thank you Ram Das for writing Rising in Love and for its powerful pointer towards that which is good in the fullest sense of the word. Proceeds from the book are to be donated to an orphanage in India.
~ Dr Doreen Davy, author of Emotional Life
Rising in Love is a wonderfully inspiring, beautiful book, a spiritual journey told with much love, humor and humility. I deeply enjoyed it -- it is truly a book of the heart. When the author’s initial spiritual awakening rapidly spirals into dangerous delusion, drug addiction, and despair, we watch on the edge of our seats as he gradually discovers the healing power of spirituality, regains his sanity, meets his Guru, and finds inner peace and joy out of which creativity flows. There is a beautiful lightness to the narrative of this journey into spiritual awakening framed by some wonderful humor, which is all too rare in spiritual books. Underneath the storyline are a series of profound spiritual teachings, highlighting the pitfalls and difficulties we all face when we choose to awaken from our dysfunctional egos, both individual and the collective into which we are born. It is through his honest and open sharing that Ram Das touches the hearts of his readers. As his remarkable story reveals once we commit to conscious awakening, life sends us the teaching and guidance that we need. For Ram Das this leads to his meeting with Amma, the hugging saint. Through his discovery of the power of meditation, stilling and silencing the mind, comes the realization that all that we need is here now, and that God – the essence of all life, gives us the best conditions and guidance that we need to awaken to the essence of who we are: no person, egoless, the Divine Self. The book contains many beautiful and simple teachings from Amma: “When one really loves, one’s intellect becomes empty. One stops thinking. No thoughts, no mind, nothing. Only love remains.” Ram Das also highlights the humanitarian care and aid, and love for all of creation that flows from Amma, which is intrinsic to the holistic teachings of a true Self-realized spiritual teacher. As Amma says, “The awakened one thus has an attitude of deep reverence and humility towards all of creation, because once you go beyond the ego, you are nothing – you are infinite nothingness, filled with divine Consciousness.”
~Stephen Pope, author of Patterns of Creation
I am grateful to have read this inspiring spiritual memoir. ‘Rising in Love’ is a powerful companion for anyone on the journey of awakening to Self, regardless of how far along the path they believe themselves to be.
Filled with humor and radical authenticity, ‘Rising in Love’ takes readers inside of the mind of Ram Das, a dedicated seeker on the path of enlightenment. Without holding back, he vulnerably shares the depths of the lows he experienced prior to meeting his beloved Guru, Amma, as well as the highs he experienced as he became disciplined in daily spiritual practice and service.
‘Rising in Love’ is a healing story, rich with transformational lessons for the reader, which will challenge all who read its words to look within and re-dedicate themselves to their path of awakening. I absolutely loved every minute of reading this book, and highly recommend it to all – regardless of the path or teacher that most resonates with you!
~Kandace Jones, author of “From Stress to Peace: An Intimate Journal on the Journey from Living in Darkness to Living in the Light”
Ever wondered what makes a person give up everything, move to India and follow a guru? This book lovingly and thoroughly answers that question, making the choice of a life of ascetic devotion entirely understandable and yes, even relatable. With fresh, self-deprecating humor, Ram Das Batchelder unwinds the fascinating story of his own lifelong spiritual journey. Recounting the tales of his very high highs and alarmingly low lows, he writes with appealing candor and a complete lack of self-pity. Although parts of his story are quite unusual and very harrowing indeed, he looks back on them gently, with wisdom and generosity toward all parties involved. With divine grace and a magnificent teacher, this man has managed to achieve something few can lay claim to: against all odds, he moves not only from insanity to sanity, as the world would describe these terms—no mean feat in itself—but takes significant steps beyond ordinary sanity, getting a very long way down the road toward the true Sanity of Self-Realization. We’re privileged to go on that journey with him, via the pages of this book. It’s a wild ride, and definitely one worth taking.
~ Carrie Triffet, author of Long Time No See and The Enlightenment Project
Here is a book that finally demonstrates without a doubt that the divine is the nothing that is everything. Rising in Love is both a heartfelt, soulful memoir and a story of how the awakening process works. People frequently tell us that meditation is a pathway to the divine. They inform us that we should live in a transpersonal way—a way that is beyond the old identifications with the goings and comings of survival, a way to the deepest most essential essence of who we are and what we are REALLY doing here. And that all sounds good, but they rarely tell us how that journey begins or maintains itself. Rising in Love, while not offering the classic “ten steps to ascension,” or “the twelve paths to your life’s purpose,” or some such, clearly offers the way. The story is told in a pace and rhythm that speaks of integrity, a deep humility and simultaneous self-love. What is discovered is that the way is a circuitous path, filled with missteps that are actually guiding us there, because the soul is always in charge. Initially, the author’s path led to drug addiction and all the desperation that goes with it. But that very way led to the next step, which was the discovery of his own spirituality, his own inner peace. You will not be able to stop reading this story because it is filled with such pathos, and simultaneous wonder. The poignancy and simplicity with which the story is told carry you, like a river the stick, to the ultimate conclusion. All throughout the story, we are being given uplifting, and profound secrets that facilitate our own awakening. A heart-binding spell-weaving book of clarity. Put it on your "must-read" list, right now.
~ Andrea Mathews, author of Inhabiting Heaven NOW and other books
This is my favorite kind of book. It follows a determined seeker’s search for Truth up down around and around again – only to see that the path leads to Self with no distance to travel – a lesson for all of us to discover in our own way and our own time. Thank you, Ram Das Batchelder, for your words, your perseverance and your courage. You show us it can be done with heart and with guts. With your book, you become a newly found friend for all of us to know, forever there to cheer us on as we too follow a fearless trail to the Absolute. Yes indeed, Om Amriteshwaryai Namah! Salutations to Amma, the Hugging Saint!
~ Elizabeth Griffin, author of Love's Calling: A Journey to Self
“Rising in Love” is many things - a tribute to the author's guru, Amma, for her world-wide spiritual and humanitarian presence, a lively and accurate first-hand account of Hindu mysticism, and most of all, an autobiography of a fierce and passionate drive for God-Realization. With refreshing candor, zany descriptions, and wonderfully self-depreciating humor - and holding nothing back! - Ram Das describes his youthful roller-coaster ride that had me repeatedly fearing that the book would not end well. His journey is one of power and ecstasy, inflation and self-deception, enlightened realization and ultimate breakthroughs. Ram Das is a born mystic willing to give whatever it takes to come home. This book is both fun and awe-inspiring, taking the reader deep into the author's search for divine love. I kept thinking this must have been a challenging book to write, revealing as it does the 10,000 steps through burning coals and heavenly delights, leading ever deeper into the divine mystery. I ended with great admiration and respect for Ram Das' gift of language and of himself. In the end, you will be neither bored nor disappointed with this autobiography, mirroring as it will your own spiritual journey.
~ John C. Robinson, Ph.D., D.Min., author of The Three Secrets of Aging and other books
To declare “Rising in Love” to be an amazing compilation of light and love would be to minimize the empowerment one gains from Ram Das’ wisdom and spiritual sensitivity. No stone of personal distraction is left unturned by the author’s deft writing and keen story-telling ability. His devotion to Amma is stunningly beautiful, as are the many descriptions of how deeply and profoundly this living saint reaches into his innate being, helping him to see how he (as well as we) sabotage our own spiritual journey. I highly commend this amazing display of most accessible and sensitive writing—his compelling prose and poetic sensitivity—which also serves as a guide to our very own spiritual fulfillment. And his commitment to exercise resources gained from sale of the book to an orphanage in India only adds to his spiritual authenticity. Do dive in, stay with Ram Das to the end, and you are sure to feel the ultimate invitation to celebrate your very own, innate spiritual Wholeness. He has opened the door wide for us. In his own way, he dares us to be on our way.
~ Dr. Jim Young, author of Aware in a World Asleep, Living an Extraordinary Life in an Ordinary World, As If From God, and other books
The author charts a profound journey of awakening, self-realisation and devotion. And the relief is, the reading is both light and funny! Sometimes hilarious. As with many of us on the spiritual path, we're constantly on the look-out for the way in. Having read the book and reinforced the bookshelf, bought the t-shirt and worn it threadbare, that half-open door often still eludes us. In the realms of the spiritual one imagines that an epiphany and its aftermath of 'going through' is a personal, custom-made, untranslatable experience. What this book achieves is the writer's ability to unveil the mystique and welcome us all to the party. Meeting an old person might be an
analogy. Old. Person. It's often hard to fathom that which was once-vital behind the facade of grey hair, loose skin and kindly eyes. It's not until we are invited to peruse photos of said old person's
youthful years that we can begin to build a picture of the hidden gem of who that individual really is. In a similar way, Ram Das, having reached summits of pure awareness that transcend planes of the ordinary, might be either dismissed or revered as 'one of those' who have long forgotten who they once were. Far from it. The writer is great company, thumbing through the old photo album, bringing to life the past, and acquainting the reader with the source material of his transformation. In other words, he hasn't developed a nuanced amnesia of how it used to be simply because of who he has become. The journey into his unravelling, fragmenting, rebirthing consciousness is a
surreal and fascinating ride. He writes with an openness and honesty that enfolds all the contradictions of ego, ignorance, recklessness and desire (not to mention lust) on his path towards being fully realised. What this book has done for me is to bring me closer to Amma's earthly heart whilst taking me beyond the mirage of her human form. As someone who has been hugged by Amma and for whom the ground decisively did not open up, but who has been drawn three times to re-experience the vibrational energy that permeates the huge venues she attends, I am now excited to meet her yet again. This time I intend to leave my thinking head behind and, like the writer, dissolve into the rising of her essence. Thank you Ram Das!
~Carmen Harris, healer, TV scriptwriter and author of “Shit Happens, Magic Follows
Rising in Love takes you on an amazing, personal, spiritual journey and Ram Das Batchelder conveys his experience with passion and candidness to connect with the reader. He starts at the very beginning, with his intriguing first interactions with Amma, and openly shares his realizations of his purpose, along with the doubts and fears that he had along the way. It's refreshing and beautiful when an author can share their experiences with such vulnerability and openness to invite you into their journey first hand. This book connects you with Ram Das in such an intimate way that you feel he is speaking to you.
Ram Das's story is fascinating and offbeat, and along the way I learned so much about Amma, the beautiful hugging saint. His journey towards self-acceptance, enlightenment, and surrender sets an example for all of us to follow our paths to align ourselves with our authentic core and celebrate the good times and challenges along the way. It engaged me to think about my own personal spiritual journey and where I am along this process...very very thought provoking. A wonderful read for any spiritual seeker on their journey, which will inspire, motivate, and bring joy; I highly recommend!
~ Melissa Escaro, author of "In10tions: A Mindset Reset Guide to Happiness"
Stephanie Sorrell’s review of
Rising in Love by Ram Das Batchelder
This is a well written and extremely engaging book. Ram Das abandoned his drug dominated life in his 20s to follow a spiritual teacher, Amma (known as the ‘hugging saint’), and has since spent more than 18 years at her ashram in India, with the view to becoming enlightened and being of genuine service to the world.
Within the title lies an interesting and crucial distinction between falling in love and rising in love which is a thread which runs boldly throughout this unique book. Crucial, because sometimes falling in love with all its passions, heartaches and longings can occlude our spiritual vision. Ram Das, American born, spent much of his youth in the 70s trying to attain that perfect love, but was often disappointed. The journey to the ‘Beloved’ often holds a radical teaching on true love, rather than purely carnal love that has us hopping like a butterfly from bloom to bloom. But his youthful love affairs and drug experiences are the fodder that prepare him for that ‘rising in love’. He experiences true love for the first time when he meets Amma, and this leads him to abandon his earlier lifestyle and become a full-time devotee.
It has been a pleasure getting to know Amma’s teaching through Ram Das, who has a delightful sense of humor. But, as is often found, the spiritual road isn’t an easy path to take, despite its sometimes romanticized allure. He is faced with lesson after lesson, through illnesses such as dysentery, fevers and his raw sexual longing which leave him ragged and drained. Once he has committed to Amma’s path, the tests move in like a lion to its prey. He experiences what could be called withdrawal symptoms from his years of drug abuse, and painful echoes from the various traumas of his childhood. Yet, through his devotion and one-pointedness in following Amma’s teachings, he experiences many powerful glimpses of the enlightened state.
I was touched by hearing about Amma’s proactive involvement in aiding people caught up in natural disasters around the world. She has worked tirelessly to create 40,000 homes for the impoverished, especially in the aftermath of the Tsunami in 2004, which killed 270,000 throughout the area. She has spent millions of dollars in aid for those affected by Hurricane Katrina, the recent Japanese Tsunami, and countless other calamities, and runs a huge network of charities serving the poor.
Ram Das uses his talents to write children’s books, which are sold by Amma’s ashram to raise money for a number of projects; all royalties from “Rising in Love” will be donated to Amma’s orphanage in India. This book provides invaluable insight into the life of Amma, alongside the life of a devotee who has been purged through his life experience in fire and water, again and again.
~ Stephanie Sorrell, author of The Therapist’s Cat and many more titles
Alicia Garey’s review of “Rising in Love”
“Rising in Love” is a beautifully written account of the author's search for spirituality, healing and enlightenment. Ram Das examines the religious beliefs of his childhood, or lack thereof, and begins to passionately delve into Hindu prayer and rituals, which allow him to realize his creativity and true self, leaving behind years of reliance upon drugs and self sabotaging behaviors.
The story is told with great sensitivity, honesty and humor with an endearing appreciation for his own perceived failings. – Without and never feeling too sorry for himself!, wWe see his youthful missteps and antics which are ultimately signs he recognizes as he reaches out for deeper meaning in his life. The signs are sometimes disguised as something completely tangential or coincidental, but this author is well aware of the connections, when life is teaching him something he needs to know. He is open to seeing, learning and evolving especially in the context of spiritual love and Ram Das is not shy about it either! His particular brand of determination, such as mailing audio tapes of songs and spiritual writings - his ode to Amma the Hugging Saint, to 100 of his closest family’s friends, brings him to his mission. He devotes his life to enriching others with the knowledge he holds dear - that there is pure love and peace to be found in the rubble of modern society, if only you would look for it, all around you and within yourself, and see it in all of its spectacular glory.
While looking to Amma for everlasting love and guidance, Ram finds his own truth, which ultimately leads to our truth. As is written in one of Ram Das' children's books, ‘God Is Everywhere’, “But Mom, are you sure God dwells in me?” “Of course!” she replied. “That question is easy!” “God lives in everyone, including you and me." This is indeed a message of deep spiritual love and devotion, and we the reader get to travel right along with Ram in this truly enjoyable journey told with charm and graciousness. While the author may not ultimately consider himself to be enlightened, his story shines brightly, allowing introspection into our own views of ourselves, the world, and our ultimate purpose.
~ Alicia Garey, Author of “What a Blip: A Breast Cancer Journal of Survival and Finding the Wisdom”
This book is truly captivating – be forewarned - once you start reading, you will not be able to put it down! The author details the journey of his spiritual path, following Amma, the living, loving and compassionate Hindu saint, who guides him through the ups and downs, knowings and doubts, of a challenging spiritual path. He always describes his real-life experiences with much humility – and a great sense of humor! I especially loved the last chapters of the book where the author shares his and his wife’s experience of the catastrophic tsunami of 2004, while living in the ashram in India. Amma’s organizations’ work in rebuilding these devastated areas is truly impressive. I have to admit I was not familiar with Amma before reading this book, but his sharing his experiences of her incredible compassionate life led me to explore her websites – and I was even more impressed. As she teaches that love and service to others is essential to the spiritual life, she truly lives the message – an amazing being. In the same way, the author lives a life of love and service – and he has written other books, songs and poems to spread a much-needed message in today’s world. I highly recommend this most inspirational book!
~ Deborah Lloyd, author of “Believe and it is True!”
Once this book is in print I shall be buying copies not only for myself, but also for various friends. As soon as I saw that it was to be sold at profit to an orphanage in India, I thought to myself “This author is my type of person.” And, on top of that, firstly his individualistic, racy style of writing makes the whole thing very readable (it was only eye ache that forced me to take regular breaks from the screen!), and secondly his knowledge of Indian spirituality is not only profound but also very clearly expressed. This will make the book an invaluable introduction for beginners; I hope it will reach many younger people who are wrestling with the difficulties of finding meaning to life in our present conflict-stricken, materialistic world, as well as those who are already familiar with certain aspects of Hindu philosophy and wanting to deepen their knowledge.
An aspect of Ram Das’ story that interested me particularly was his initial struggles with celibacy, working on the apparent assumption that this was an essential pre-requisite to Enlightenment. The fact that his chosen ‘guru’, the avatar Amma, eventually led him to ‘the right woman’ for this (probably his final!) incarnation, and blessed their union, is a clear indication that marriage is not necessarily an impediment on the path to self-realisation (particularly when both partners are in total spiritual harmony). He comments that the marriage is far from being an easy one, but we all know full well that overcoming obstacles is always a stimulus to spiritual growth.
As a writer and therapist who specialises in Deep Memory Process (past life regression), I have a particular interest in karmic relationships, and this is a theme that pervades all my own books. And as someone who has been a follower of Sathya Sai Baba ever since being led to him in 1996, I am also conscious that an individual’s choice of ‘guru’ (I put that word in single quotes since I believe both Amma and Baba to be considerably more than a guru) will also be guided by karmic connections. I therefore naturally liked very much reading this sentence in Ram Das’ book: “At times during my travels I received the strong impression that the Masters are all connected, like lights on a Christmas tree strung on the same wire, and that one energy and one divine mind are flowing through all of them.” I do know that, when Sai Baba was still on Earth, He frequently sent people to Amma and vice versa. Reading this book was also extremely interesting to me because, despite having been once to see her, it is the first book that I have read about Amma, and I was struck very forcibly by the similarities with the many accounts written by people who were close to Sai Baba. The numerous quotations from Amma’s words reveal their teachings to be identical, but I also have to confess to some lamentable ignorance. I was very much aware that both these avatars were tireless in charitable work of all sorts, having founded schools, universities, hospitals and so on, but I did not know that Amma also went in for astounding materialisations. I just loved the story early on in the book when the author was completely stuck in a snowdrift and was rescued by the sudden appearance of an extra jack in his car boot, together with a piece of ‘Amma’s candy’ to indicate that it was a miraculous gift from her. Scientifically minded skeptics (of whom I know many, not least the members of my own family!) will always offer alternative explanations for such ‘miracles’, but those of us who have firsthand experience of the wondrous ways of the Almighty will never cease to be grateful for them. So thank you, Ram Das, for reinforcing my faith in the impossible.
~ Ann Merivale, author of “Delayed Departures” and other books
The book is full of amazing stories of miracles and spiritual wisdom as well as accounts of very funny, entertaining incidents also. It is a real page-turner and once I started reading it, I found it hard to put down.
I found the author to be a very credible witness to the many marvellous happenings he describes. I have spent many years in India myself and have also had many such wonderful experiences so I can vouch that such things really do happen.
Apart from being the author's life-story, the book also focuses very much on the author's guru, Amma, and gives the reader insight into what an incredible being she is. I personally know Amma for 17 years and she is an embodiment of pure love. It is a frequent occurrence for her to hug and offer solace to members of the public continuously for 20 hours plus and all the while there is no sign of weariness from her but rather each person is greeted like her long-lost child with delight and unconditional, pure love. Her role is as the universal mother. I recommend anyone who has not yet met her to seek her out either in India or when she visits your locality as part of the World Tours she conducts every year.
This book also recounts some of the author's wonderful experiences with other Indian spiritual teachers. Thus it documents the spiritual riches of India which have also been recorded in such famous books as 'Autobiography of a Yogi'.
~ Dara Gilroy
"Rising In Love" is a very true and honest memoir of Ram Das Batchelder's journey towards love in its purest form. He bravely bares his soul, sharing with us the darkest of his experiences in a very human and often comical way, leaving no stone unturned in order that we can peek at the various
shadows that kept him from experiencing love and joy for so long.
As we learn more about Ram Das, we quickly learn that his journey from darkness to light was never going to be a dull or half-hearted one! This is a heartwarming tale of awakening and connectedness, and a reminder of the power in our intentions. If we put all of our energy and faith into a lower
form of the self (in Ram Das' case, illegal substances) we will undoubtedly surround ourselves in darkness and situations of helplessness. But if we learn to channel that same amount of energy into the Higher Self (in Ram Das' case, his love for Amma) we become empowered, move towards our truth and our purpose in life. And when we encourage our loving lights to shine, we not only begin to understand the right way forward for ourselves, we also become a channel of love that lights the way for others. Ram Das shares his many experience of seeing everything from a higher perspective, looking at uncomfortable issues as karmic lessons that provide opportunity for transformation, rather than as plain bad luck.
What a colorful life this man has led so far, and I challenge anyone to not be interested or inspired by his true tale of love, faith and complete devotion. It reminds me that only by looking to the bandaged place, and being brave enough to remove the plaster and have a good look at the reality
beneath, can we truly let the light come in. The message I take from this book is that enlightenment or pure love or God or whatever it is you may be seeking, is not a separate entity and it is certainly not beyond our reach.
Enlightenment is our truth, and although we may spend years or even a lifetime in search of it, we simply need to look and listen to the God within. We are already it! No need to worship anyone or anything. Just open our hearts to love in its purest form. However, the human ego means that we
usually need to put our faith in something that we consider to be higher, in order that we answer to it. Amma is, and has been, Ram Das' reminder that, with just a bit of tweaking and dusting off, he is in fact, pure love.
~ Jo Barnard, author of “To the Devil’s Tune”
Funny thing. I never dreamed I'd enjoy reading a book about Gurus and devotees. I'm a Westerner, through and through. And the Guru path has never drawn me in the slightest. I was even asked to co-author a book with Gurudev (Amrit Desai) at Kripalu Institute years ago. And he even said to me one day, "I really like it that you don't enfold yourself in me." I didn't. And it never would have occurred to me to do so.
However. Something in me shifted as I read Ram Das' book and experienced his divine Love for his Guru. I gained a new piece of life. And I learned more about true Love than I'd ever expected to discover from just reading a book. He made his journey through his guru/chela experience so intimately personal -- so humorous, horrendous, passionate, and life-changing in his yearning for God and his whole journey of seeking enlightenment -- that I lost myself in this book, and feel now that I've actually experienced the Guru path.
Rising in Love is a must read for any seeker who enjoys writers who express themselves with audacity, word- wise consciousness, clarity of vision, and amazing insights gained from the writer's direct experience. Truth explodes on every page of this book.
Ram Das expresses his feelings in ways you feel right along with him, and he tells a story that is fascinating as well and educational about the delusions, efforts, drama, struggles, and mood swings that accompany a journey to one's true Self when you really make note of it all in full detail as you travel along. This book is a friendly companion for any of us as we seek to awaken and know ourselves.
~ Jacquelyn Small, author and Founding Director of Eupsychia Institute
Life is hard. And I think that many of us at one time or another have had fantasies about dropping out and joining an Ashram, and spending our days in service and meditation -- just being content, being happy, being whole, floating off to Nirvana. However, as Ram Das says, "Even though Mahatmas have enormous power, it is not God's will for them to prevent all suffering. After all, suffering is one of God's best tools to help us awaken to our true nature. If life wasn't full of suffering, most of us would probably be content with a life of sense pleasures and wouldn't bother to seek anything higher..."
"Rising in Love," is the true story of the life of Ram Das Batchelder's life's journey in service to the Ashram of Amma- The Hugging Saint. This story shows the true nature of what it is to be born human and with ego and drive, libido, free will, desire and how that can come into conflict with the pull to spend one's life in meditation and service. Ram Das' story is so captivating and so honest. He pulls you in with a story telling style that is so chatty and enjoyable that reading his words just feels like you are sitting and listening to the life story of a best friend you've not spoken to in years.
As much as this is a book about Amma, it is about Amma's effect on the author and how he has been filled up with her essence and how that essence has made the world a better place. If you've ever heard of or wondered about Amma- the Guru who heals and enlivens with her hugs you will find this book fascinating. It is an easy and enjoyable read. Highly recommended.
~ Leora Fulvio, author of “Reclaiming Yourself from Binge Eating”
Truly amazing. I have read many spiritual books but none with such humor, sweet devotion, or mind-opening perspectives. The trials and tribulations of the author on the spiritual path were so much easier for me to relate to than the more lofty, serious spiritual books I have read because I also had awakenings that I had no reference for before I met my teacher. But none like Ram Das!! At the same time this book is interwoven with a level of conscious awareness and beauty that is extremely rare in this world. Ram Das’s deep insights and relationship with the Divine Mother showed me possibilities I had never imagined. I am so grateful this book came into my life, and I recommend it to ANYONE who would like an inside view at the path to liberation. An absolute page turner that makes the heart smile. But I slowed down reading it in the last chapters because I didn’t want the ride to end. Oh well, guess I’ll have to start from the beginning again :)
~ Kelly Olsen
I find it difficult to categorize this book: it is all at once about an amazing spiritual journey, an invitation to understand Amma, the Hugging Saint and her wide appeal, a fascinating look at India, an immensely humorous and self deprecating personal story and an insight into mental health. It may sound mad but you won't be able to put it down. I kept going back for more, each time more delighted with what I read.
The author is totally candid about his experiences. He initially comes over as rather bonkers but a good soul. As you follow him on his journey, you begin to see not only the chinks in his armour but also the rays of enlightenment and understanding of consciousness which he puts in a way we can all understand.
Ram Das Batchelder has a sense of humour like no other. He is witty, the book is well written and just a joy! This is also Amma's story , and by seeing the Saint through the author’s eyes and how she teaches him lessons along the way, we see her great wisdom, inner light and brilliant sense of humour. In a weird twist, I felt darshan from the saint as I read this book. Something shines through it. I am better for having read it.
~ Colette Brown, author of “How to Read and Egg” and other titles
Whether you are aware of it or not, we are currently experiencing a profound “Shift” in the nature of human consciousness. Collectively,as a species, we are taking an evolutionary step, a quantum leap even,towards making conscious the One Truth that each of us is an individualized expression of All-That-Is—aka God, Allah, Buddha, Jehovah, Consciousness (with a capital ‘C’), or (as the author reminds us) in Hindu culture, Brahman or Parabrahma.
Rising in Love tells the hilarious story of one individualized expression of Brahman (Ram Das Batchelder) as he went about his own “hero’s journey” to find the enigmatic land of Enlightenment. The culmination of Ram Das’s journey of course has nothing to do with a
tangible place or mental mountaintop. What he achieves is a personal shift in his own consciousness, an understanding and acquiescing to the necessity for each of us to know our “Self” (the vagaries of the ego-self as well as the magical majesty of our spiritual self
[“Essence” or “Atman”]), so that we are better able to live lives guided by the vitality of Divine Love.
For the layperson, this is essentially to be, as much as the ego-self and its fears will allow, living a life of compassion, acceptance, cooperativeness and appreciation—with an emphasis on fostering, as Ram Das calls it, an “attitude of gratitude.” Amma, the saintly incarnation who awakens Ram Das to the vitality of Divine Love is, the author tells us, the living personification of this vital energy that pervades the oneness of Brahman. Read this book and you, as I, will tend to believe him. I definitely want a hearty hug from Amma.
Rising in Love is an autobiography that amuses, saddens, shocks, and ultimately informs the reader. While reading the early part of it I often mused, “There but for the grace of God go I.” It is good to have documentation of probable personal paths played out by someone who
lived to tell the tale with such authenticity and consummate literary skill.
~ Chris W.E. Johnson, author of the It’s About You! trilogy
The book shares the author’s adventures as he follows Amma, the hugging saint, across the US and then to India where he undergoes an intense purification through dysentery…hey, no one ever said the spiritual path was an easy one…and the tests he either fails or passes. Along the journey, Ram Das meets other awakened beings, but none whose love can hold a candle to Amma’s. Throughout his quest for enlightenment and relationship, the beauty of this story is in the honesty…that the spiritual path is not only one full of bliss and bright light, but one of inner thorns and torments as well as outer-world challenges.
Ram Das’s story is honest and courageous, hiding nothing because he’s already learned he can’t hide anyway. For him, this realization came through Amma in all her aspects who repeatedly penetrated his secret thoughts and failings and brought them into his awareness. He never really got away with anything he might have thought he did.
I know that there will be many readers out there who can relate to his fascinating and somewhat dizzying psychological backstory. To be honest, this section was painful for me to read. But it did serve to punctuate Amma’s transformative power in his life all the more. I know it illustrates how lacking our society is in dealing with spiritual awakenings…so often treated as rebellion or worse, mental illness. Contrarily, it also illustrates how insane the mind can be, when we begin to think we understand something and try to grasp a truly unknowable thing and turn it into a concept and make meaning of it for ourselves and end up in trouble. And this trouble can be made all the worse with psychotropic substances, as our author illustrates. Thankfully, as Ram Das writes: “God doesn’t let anyone stay in hell forever.”
I appreciated deeply the story of the author’s Ashram marriage and the challenges he and his wife faced on their path, especially when it seemingly diverged. Again, Amma’s love made it possible for their commitment to one another to endure.
I had heard of Amma before reading this book, but I never encountered her nor knew of the amazingly intuitive and miraculous things she does…other than the hugging. I would love to meet her someday. In many ways, after having read this book, I feel as though I already have.
~ Dielle Ciesco, author of “Your True Voice”
As revealed in his new book, Rising in Love, nestled in the wildly loving and curious heart of its author Ram Das Batchelder, is a tiny seed of angelic insanity wrapped by the loving embrace of deep awareness. Lest we remember, to be a saint requires simultaneous plunges into the light and dark.
Ram Das is not just any conscious saintly being, he has fathomed humanity at its depths and heights through the hardships of personal exploration and experience. He’s danced with the devil, cheated the divine and followed the light into the light in order to become the light. Rising in Love is a tale worth living, telling and reading.
Whether it’s his periods of perfect awareness, his brief stint in an institution, his merging with the spirit of Jesus or the sweet communication he enjoys with his Guru, Ram Das lays out his remarkable experiences for the reader in what feels like a constant stream of ecstasy.
Reading this book on an airplane, every word elevated me further into the clouds that surrounded me. I often laughed out loud and constantly felt the urge to write Ram Das a personal note letting him know that I wholeheartedly relate with and thoroughly enjoyed his epic life adventure. As a spiritual aspirant and part-time naysayer, I found this book to be delicious. It felt like a gentle poke reminding me to remain focused on the light.
Ram Das’ approachable and easily digestible personal narrative is down to earth, frequently confronting and often hilarious, all the while the book invokes a genuine feeling of relief. Not that I’m relieved that this man has been on such a wild inner and outer journey, but I feel relief in knowing that a revealing and transformative spiritual path doesn’t have to be so buttoned up. On the contrary, if we are willing to let it all go so we might un-condition and unlock the source of all life that surrounds and IS us, the most honest of sojourns often leave us face down in our own puke and bile.
As Ram Das seems to suggest, it is freeing to be reminded of the fact that societal structure, our mental functionalities and the nature of traditional reality are meant to be questioned and battled. It is by wrestling these constructs that we might catch a glimpse of the puppeteer, the divine, our true Self as it creates and witnesses and creates and witnesses and more.
If you’ve doubted the nature and potential of your soul as I have, riding aboard Ram Das’ magical mystery tour will bring you back to center, give you a little nudge, remind you that it’s entirely possible that the divine is still within reach. Reading the book might bring to life a loving scream in your ear, “YOU MIGHT ALREADY BE HERE (NOW)!” It is quite possible that you are more than you have imagined, you embody more light than you fathom - and that you are truly on the righteous path - the one that invites you to “join us” to pursue and/or become the all that is. If not, find your one-pointedness and begin again. This seems to be the message of Ram Das’ book. It seems to sing this thought from every page, “YOU ARE DIVINE!”
It’s lovely how Ram Das gives us momentary glimpses of his connection with Amma, known as “the hugging saint”. The book’s message will surely soften the proudest and most protected hearts.
Sprinkled through the book is a romance that brings the narrative into focus. It’s in these chapters that we see and feel Ram Das’ humanity, masculinity and mischievousness. We feel the pounding of his heart, the warmth from a tender kiss and the shrouded sexuality of a loving, vibrant man.
Ram Das’ approach is refreshing, full of insight and chock full of brutal honesty. With a casual, ingestible style, Ram Das invites you to open the door to your spiritual ego and let the air out. But he doesn’t stop there. Aware you might be gasping for air, Ram Das then reminds you just how simple and quenching (non)pursuit of divinity can be.
Let Ram Das take your hand and walk you over the threshold into the bliss of the eternal being with his beautiful, exciting, fresh perspective on the spiritual path. Read Rising in Love. It’s a gem.
~ Paul Wagner, 5-time Emmy winner and author of “The Field Guide to Human Personalities”
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