Recently, I came across an interesting piece of news that was both amazing and shocking. It said that the biggest cash crop in the United States is marijuana. They produce only 17 billion dollars worth of corn and 12 billion dollars worth of soybean, but 38 billion dollars worth of marijuana! We always thought Afghanistan produces all the marijuana on the planet. But the United States is producing 38 billion dollars worth of marijuana. So, somewhere people must believe that drugs can deliver them to the Ultimate.
Extensive research was carried out in the West by people like Aldous Huxley, Carl Jung and Ram Dass [Richard Alpert] among others to find a drug that could give the ultimate high. All of them did notice that there seems to be some kind of breakthrough, but they always reached a dead end; they could not go beyond a certain point. They thought there could be some other drug to do this.
So what does a drug do? Most drugs are harsh and destructive to the system. Marijuana is one of the milder ones and LSD [lysergic acid diethylamide] was considered spiritual. In the ’60s, people considered it to be a prasad from heaven.
That wave of the ’60s and ’70s took the lives of so many youth. When the drugs got them high and dropped them, somebody told them you need to go to India. So, a huge exodus of hippies to India took place. But once the Indian police got cracking, all the hippies moved to Nepal because there was no police in Nepal. Even today, remnants of those die-hard hippies, who refused to change, are hanging around in Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Nepal and the borders of the Himalayas and are still peddling and living on drugs.
So what is the spiritual possibility of this chemical, which gives you an experience of explosion of energies within yourself? The explosion of energy caused by a chemical makes you definitely believe that there is a possibility. But can a chemical take you across? It doesn’t matter what kind of chemical it is, it cannot take you across. But could it give you a taste of something? With great hesitation and a deep sense of concern I am saying this, ‘possible.’ It is that possibility, which is dangerous. If a thousand people take to drugs in pursuit of spirituality, one may experience something genuine. The remaining 999 may just go down the drain. To make just that one person have a glimpse of a spiritual possibility, sacrificing so many people, with them ending up dead or totally loose, crime ridden, out of control, diseased, and broken, is not worth it. But that one person may have some genuine experience beyond the limitations of what is considered ‘mind’.
Now getting on to something mild like marijuana, which people keep propagating by saying “it is harmless, it is nice, it keeps you calm”. It does definitely keep you calm; there is no question about that. But it calms you, and calms you, and calms you and after sometime you become too calm. Without any fire in you, without anything, you will see your mental capabilities just slowly shrink.
The very nature of the spiritual experience is such that whenever you explode into a different dimension of energy, the first thing that happens to you is, suddenly you have enhanced capabilities. But the effect of a drug is just the reverse; whenever it gives you some experience, it reduces your mental capability.
Once Ram Dass travelled to India. He visited Neem Karoli Baba, who is a mystic, a worshipper of Hanuman and a tantric of enormous capabilities. Ram Dass was a hard core LSD user then and could pop two or three LSDs in a day. So he came to this yogi and said, “I got some real stuff from heaven. You take this, everything that is worth knowing opens up. Do you know something about this?” Neem Karoli Baba asked, “What is that? Show me.” So Ram Dass gave him a small quantity. Baba said, “How many do you have? Show me.” Ram Dass had enough to last many months. Baba said, “Give it all to me.” So Ram Dass gave a handful of LSD.
Baba just popped and swallowed them and sat there and carried on with whatever he was doing. Ram Dass was sitting there and hoping that the man would explode and die now. But Baba did not show any signs of having taken LSD. He just continued, just to demonstrate to Ram Dass that he was wasting his life on some stupid stuff and it was not going to take him across.
All the stuff that you need to remain calm or peaceful is available in your body. A recent research into the human brain has yielded some incredible results. After 18 years of research, an Israeli scientist has found that there are millions of cannabis receptors in the human brain. Cannabis is another name for marijuana. So why are these receptors there in the brain? The conclusion that lots of people had come to is that it means all of us must be smoking pot. Because we have cannabis receptors, we have to provide for them. But then he discovered that at different times of day, the body develops its own chemical similar to cannabis. When a person goes through a certain level of stress or whatever, the body develops its own chemical to calm the system. So there is a whole marijuana garden inside the body.
There was no name given to this particular chemical yet, which goes towards the cannabis receptors. So this scientist had the freedom to name it and he wanted to give it a truly relevant name. So he really searched through all the scriptures on the planet, but he could not find a suitable name. Then obviously he came down to India and researched the Indian scriptures and to his amazement he found that the Indian scriptures are the only scriptures, which talk about blissfulness. No other religion on the planet talks about bliss.
Religions talk about sin, fear, guilt and punishment but no religion talks about blissfulness. So he called this chemical in the brain, which moves towards the cannabis receptor as ‘Anandamide.’ So all you have to do is produce a little bit of Anandamide.
Now if you cultivate it properly and you keep it on, you can be stoned all the time without harming your system, without shrinking your brain. All that you need to remain calm, to remain in an extreme sense of pleasure all the time is available to every human being. You just have to explore your own system a little more, that is all.
This was first published in the February 2011 issue of Complete Wellbeing.