Student: : Do you consider marijuana or tripping a good alternative to the pain of life and the terror of death?
AG: Do I consider marijuana or tripping a good alternative to pain of life, the fear or terror of death? – No, actually, marijuana… If anything, it will augment, or increase, or amplify, the anxiety, the realization, (or at least that’s what I’ve found).
The problem is that.. death is not terror, to be feared – Pain, physical pain, bodily pain, might be scary, you know – or.. painful (but…)
I think, probably, the result of some experiences with psychedelics, (with acid, or peyote, or mescaline, or yage), would be to go beyond that attachment to the body, an attachment to the self, so that it would relieve some of the anxiety and fear of the self disappearing. It would involve a realization of the mortal frailty and meat (sheer) nature of the body, occasionally.. Also, a realization of the phantom..spectral goldenness of the body, too.
(You realize), I don’t mean it as a… It’s not an escape, for the most part, from the awareness of death – “Tripping”, as we call it, is not an escape at all (Actually, it’s a meditation on the subject, and it’s used – and chanted in mantras to Shiva – ganja or cannabis or marijuana, or grass, is used, in India, in the burning grounds – as a meditation (supplement), or path, or exercise, or… Yogis sit in circles and smoke, and chant mantra, and observe burning of bodies in the burning ghat in Babughat in Calcutta (Kolkata), or Manikarnika ghat in Benares (Varanasi). It’s an aid for contemplation of the fix that we’re in, and leads, in a sense, to escape, in that, through contemplation, one realizes that there is nothing to be attached to. I mean, what have I got to lose if I die, Allen Ginsberg! What a relief! What a burden down!………….
Student: Do you think that, ultimately, drugs (and meat), are…
AG: Do I think ultimately drugs..?
Student: … are an impediment.. from ego-dom to samadhi ?
AG: From ego-dom to samadhi? – I don’t know, whether drugs are an impediment.
No, obviously.. My theory.. I think they may be a reminder of a world existing. I think drugs can be catalysts to awakening of consciousness, nowadays , in this particular yuga, or era, or scientific age, drugs can be used as a yoga. They’re obviously abused for kicks-yoga. It’s obvious that people (will) (fall for them) (particularly with speed, which is, I think, is like a big Nazi Mafia-type drag), and.. but, probably.. most followers of (Swami Bhakvedanta), his followers, ISKON (the International Society of Krishna Consciousness), most of the devotees, in all the cities, the (Krishna) devotees)… are people who’ve passed through the Acid Tests, who have gone through that, and so are (totally) looking for some more natural, non-synthetic, way to maintain a high consciousness (offered an approach through the yellow-robed call (sic), he says “No, I don’t want to come down”). But I found that most of the Swamis, and also the disciples of Swami Satchidananda in New York, and also the disciples of Ramakrishna, who originally studied endocrinology and was a yoga teacher in New York City, most of them are people who are turned on to acid, and have then gone to yoga to try and nail down that consciousness and go through some kind of a permanent habit-change by means of yoga.
Or Gary Snyder, who had a long long period of heavy Zen discipline study in Japan, began, I think, like myself, with natural hallucinatory experiences. Also, went on to peyote and American Indian peyote sitting and ritual, and then went into..had both the experiences, Wordsworth-ian-natural transcendental experience and also psychedelic experience. Snyder went on to Japan study zazen, or sitting meditation, in order to accomplish his body, or metabolize himself as a (pure) body So that was my formula, so to speak, Use it as a catalyst.
And there’s formulas by Baba Ram Dass who’s a… which I quoted in a poem – (Baba Ram Das is Richard Alpert, formerly, a friend of (Timothy) Leary’s at Harvard) – who said, after he became converted into Hinduism in India last year… bhakti, devotional Hinduism which involves no meat-eating, and chastity – he had been a very heavy queen before! – wearing (the) robes, singing Hare Krishna, or singing Krishna, or Rama – he said, that his teacher in India [Baba Hari Dass] had said that when asked what acid was, (finally), he said, “Acid is the Christ of the Kali Yuga”, [“LSD is like Christ in America which is awakening the young folk in Kali Yuga..“], acid is the mechanical saviour of the age of mechanical destruction, that is to say, for those who are so sunk in cheap preservation in matter that they will not accept grace and beauty from the immaterial world, or the spiritual world, for those who will not accept the spiritual resolution of the conflict, acid has been produced as a totally imperialistic sacrament to transform subjective consciousness for those that are so attached to matter, that the only way they can transform themselves is by taking a pill.
Student: But, ultimately, I think, it may be possible to stop taking drugs..
AG: It may be possible to stop taking drugs. Richard Alpert stopped taking drugs,
but, it’s not a question of stop or start, in terms of… in relation to, religious spiritual development – and, I think it served as a catalyst for awakening many people in the West
to American-Indian, or Oriental guru, or the Japanese, or a Sufi, or even Hassidic Hebrew, ritual, for elevating consciousness. So here you have the place. It’s like the formal Western catalytic yoga.
Student: (But it’s true, tho’, that if one can meditate (in that space), establish a sincere psychedelic self-education, that you come away with a positive ….)
AG [to audience]: ( … she’s saying that if you meditate on the matter of (what is) the highest form (the) heaven of psychedelics, you realize – [to Student] – what? – that consciousness can go on by itself?, apparently)
Student: (That consciousness can go to those things…)
AG: Yeah well, like I said, Gary Snyder had a natural illuminated experience, and so did I, and (William) Wordsworth did, and (William) Blake did, and most everybody does (and if there’s no ego, who cares anyway?) It’s just that our civilization is so tense and repressed in that area of divine sensitivity that, we’re so surrounded by cheap information, that a catalyst has come along and may be useful.
& then tape ends
[Audio quality is poor on this final tape, so there may be some minor errors in transcription here but…
Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately thirty-three minutes in (in the fifth segment), and concluding at the end of the tape]