Book Review: Love Everyone
by Parvati Markus
Millions of readers around the world got their first glimpse of Eastern knowledge in Be Here Now. First published in 1971, the book chronicled the journey of former Harvard psychology professor Richard Alpert, fired for his LSD experiments with fellow faculty member Timothy Leary, who traveled to India and returned to America as Ram Dass, destined to become one of the most influential spiritual authors and teachers of the next half century.
Guiding his transformation was “the old man in the blanket,” a Hindu guru named Neem Karoli Baba, who literally blew the academic’s mind on their first encounter by knowing everything he was thinking.
It turns out Ram Dass was not alone. Parvati Markus’s Love Everyone gathers recollections of scores of other young Westerners who also found their way to India to sit at Maharajji’s feet in the ’60s and ’70s. They were a new generation of vagabonds, ranging from spiritual seekers to would-be drug dealers, who left their educated, privileged family backgrounds to find they felt at “home” for the first time in their lives in faraway, impoverished India.
They were awed by Maharajji’s ability to know their inner thoughts, unleashing in them instant surrender and devotion with a single glance. Synchronicity and inklings of the guru’s playful magic were everywhere. The stories feel as though they are being reexperienced at the moment of recall, decades later.
There are also very human dimensions to their spiritual quests, beginning with jealous cravings for Maharajji’s personal attention. At times the recollections feel heartfelt but insular, like inscriptions in a high school yearbook. The guru himself displays a spectrum of moods, agitated at times, dismissive at others—but always radiating unconditional love.
The concluding Satsang chapter provides “where are they now” bios of the book’s seekers, many of whom went on to powerful professional careers and sweeping achievements. For them, saving the world became a matter of serving it. They all attribute this lesson to their guru, who left his body in 1973, but in these pages, is still here now.