Are psychedelic drugs helpful in spirituality?

Are psycedelic drugs helpful in spirituality

Question: Recently, I came across an article on psychedelic drugs. I was surprised to know that a large part of spiritual community consumes such psychedelic drugs, and claims that it has helped them immensely to remain in a peaceful state.

I was even more surprised to find that many spiritual teachers encourage their people to take psychedelic drugs, especially LSD etc. He also mentions that Osho has once said, “So, the drug opens up a door and helps you to understand that man’s life and his experience need not be confined to the ordinary, mundane world. He can fly high towards the stars. That he is capable of knowing things which are not ordinarily available. Psychedelics  can open doors, not lead you through them.”

Acharya Prashant: When you want to be intoxicated, there is lot to be intoxicated upon.

First of all understand this: that yes the mind is eager to go beyond the daily, mundane experiences, and that’s why the seeker goes to a teacher. But, if the teacher fails in bringing the seeker to the beyond, then this is the option that the teacher has.

So, recommending the use of psychedelic drugs, in fact, just tells of the inability of the teacher, to take the seeker , beyond usual consciousness, through other means.

It’s like this, that you want samadhi(peace), and instead of that, you are given nidra(sleep). There is at least something in common between samadhi and nidra. Both are removed from your usual state of consciousness.

So, having given you nidra, now the teacher can claim that he has given you something, something that was not, usually, experience-able to you. But, is this what the seeker wanted? Instead of taking him to the higher level of consciousness, you are actually lowering his state of consciousness. You are turning him unconscious.

What will be the result? He  will definitely experience a change. But, is the change for the good? Is it a change that takes you higher? No. It’s a bad change. And if this is the route that many spiritual seekers are seeking, then this route is nothing, but a verdict upon the disciple and the teacher both. Having failed in the mission, now they are using obnoxious, useless, self-deceptive means.

Osho’s statement too here is laden with danger.  Yes, when you are under the influence of drugs, then you certainly know of one thing – that the universe is not confined to, as you see it in your usual consciousness. That is alright. That is true.

See, what do most people feel?

They feel a particular type of universe, just because they live in a particular type of consciousness.

They feel the universe, in a particular way, all the time.

So, they start taking the universe, as Truth.

After all, what is Truth? That which does not change. 

So, this wall remains white and standing, and it has remained white and standing since the last twenty years. And I have been looking at it, and it has remained white and standing since the last twenty years. So, to me, it becomes some kind of a truth, because it does not change. And that which does not change is, Truth.

Now, extend this example to include the entire universe. The Moon and the Sun have not changed in the last twenty years. So, to me, they become – truth. The names of my relationships have hardly changed over the last twenty years, so to me they become – truth. And there are so many things that do not change in my little life-time. And so, it becomes intuitive for me to consider them as the – truth, when actually they are not the truth.

Now, you have taken some drug. And now, the wall, which was till now white and standing, now becomes a rainbow, and is dancing. The standing, white wall has become a dancing rainbow. And you are actually experiencing it. You are experiencing that the wall is a rainbow, that is, dancing, because you are under the influence of LSD.

So, of at least one thing you come to know – that experiences are deceptive. And the wall has no objective reality. The wall is, as you see it. You come to know of that, that the wall is not the truth. 

The whiteness of the wall was in my eyes, was in my mind rather. And my mind changed under the influence of the drugs, and now see that the wall is a rainbow. And the wall appeared stationary and standing, just because my mind appeared it that way.

Now that the mind has changed, because the brain is under the influence of stuff, so the wall has started dancing. So, this much you can infer – that the usual universe that you perceive, is not the Truth.

But, a great danger arises. Now you start thinking that the rainbow is the truth. And if the rainbow is the truth, so you want to be with the truth all the time. So, you want to be with drugs all the time. Because you have an unflinching desire for truth, you see.

The white wall was the truth until now. And if that truth is gone, you quickly want some other truth. The position of Truth cannot remain vacant. The white wall gone, now the rainbow is the truth.

It is not at all a very useful method. You are negating one thing acceptable, right? You have negated the whiteness of the wall, but you have substituted it with something more problematic.

The world is a habit, but drugs are a worst habit. At least when you are free of drugs, then you can look at the facts. Under the influence of drugs, you cannot even know the facts. And I have repeatedly said that – the facts are the door to Truth.

If you do not know even the facts, then you are one step further away from the Truth.

The one who is finding refuge in drugs, is fed up of the usual stuff of consciousness. That is certain. But, he is taking a very wasteful route. It’s like feeling cold in Delhi in the month of December, and wanting to escape away, and so you go to Shimla. That kind of wisdom

“Darling we must go somewhere. It’s freezing cold in Delhi.” So darling books the flight to Srinagar. That’s the kind of wisdom contained in using drugs for spiritual attainment.

Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session: Are psychedelic drugs helpful in spirituality?||Acharya Prashant (2019)

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