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on Drugs and the Path (Darren)

Apr 26, 1998 06:26 AM
by jim meier

To Darren,

It's not really that people on theos-l don't take seriously what you wrote
about Drugs and the Path, but it's a topic that has come up numerous times
over the years.  We've had fervent proponents of drug use, and rabid
denials of HPB as anything less than saint before; we probably will again.

You won't get many people to agree with your position, for a couple of
reasons: first among them, not many people understand what drugs do or the
mechanism of action.  Second, many theosophists (at least those of us over
the age of 40) came through the '60s and '70s and have already made
more-or-less informed decisions on the subject.  Drug use seems to be at
most a short-term experiment among life-long theosophists.  And the
"pro-drug" faction seems to be off-list for the last year or so (except
Chuck: Chuck will be for anything, because he can't accept the idea of
being against anything :)

You wrote,
"If anyone is so naive to think that the induced drug state has any less
merit than the meditative..."  ??!  Naive is a strong word -- is that
really what you meant to write?  Then suffice to say, a lot of "experts"
disagree with you, including Patanjali, the founder of Raja Yoga.  THE
SUTRAS OF PATANJALI is the definitive guide to Yoga, of integration between
the personality and the Soul (Self, Ego, pick your term of choice).  Drugs
have been known for thousands of years, and pretty much dismissed for just
as long as a means of true enlightenment.  Book IV, Sutra I says

  The Siddhis are the result of birth, drugs, mantrams or samadhi.

Which is to say, drugs are definitely one way to experience an alternative
reality.  But is it enlightenment?  That's the rub, and most informed
opinion says not.  In Book III, Sutra 37 Patanjali describes the siddhis as
"obstacles on the Path" -- in other words, it is very easy to get stuck in
the sensual attraction.  Going back to "Reason One" above and the mechanism
of drug action on consciousness: marijuana and mild psychotropics induce a
simple astralism, and that is so far out of the ordinary experience that
most folks who go that route accept it as the "End All, Be All of Reality."
 More potent hallucinogens affect brain chemistry in ways that may involve
the lower mental plane, but that's the upper limit of what can be done
working "from below, upwards."  On the downside, repeated drug use can
affect the etheric web between the centers and that is literally playing
with fire.  Ever read HATHA YOGA PRADIPIKA?  It is the definitive "how to"
on Kundalini Yoga.  And this is the key point between occultists and the
"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" types -- if there is a
law of Cause and Effect, then doing certain things even in ignorance brings
consequences and it is possible to so damage the physical vehicle that the
rest of the incarnation is pretty much wasted, from the higher viewpoint. 
Breathing excercises, Magick -- we've had numerous such discussions on
theos-l, and each "shortcut" has its proponents.  Each such method has
drawbacks that are potentially very serious, also.

There hasn't been a lot written on drug use as a spiritual means. 
Saraydarian wrote "The Fiery Carriage and Drugs" but it is only a
collection of soundbytes from talks on the subject and is not very useful. 
Ram Dass' BE HERE NOW is an autobiography of sorts on drug use leading to
spiritual awakening.  Ram Dass was once Richard Alpert, Harvard
psychologist and companion to Timothy Leary during their early LSD and
psilocybin experiments.  BE HERE NOW is probably the best source on the
subject, and the author points out that certain drugs can be an eye opener,
no doubt, but once that's done there is no real point to the continued use.
 And, the author goes on to categorize the alternatives to drug use in a
"cookbook" of spiritual practices that is very inclusive -- I wish it was
required reading for theosophists (since most of us tend to drop back into
"my way is the best way" at least every now and again).

Mediation, on the other hand, creates the "Rainbow Bridge," the
antahkarana, or link * in substance * between the ajna center and the cells
of the brain and the Higher Self on causal levels.  Drug use coarsens the
web, making this more difficult.  


PS:  Imagine two clairvoyants walking together down the road when one says
to the other, "Wow, look at the beautiful and clear aura on that man over
there.  I bet he takes lots of drugs..."             :)

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