July 6 - 27, 1974

High Without Drugs

Talking about the abuse of drugs, many believe that the problem rests totally youth's adventures with marijuana, LSD, amphetamines and heroin. Yet thousands continue to die in car crashes caused by drivers alcoholic stupors and the incidence of mental stability and nervous breakdown increases, prompted by sedatives and tranquillisers which relieve tension only to replace it with depression.

The real addiction is not the drug itself but the desire for satisfaction. Young and old alike are "hooked" on the search for a means to achieve permanent peace and happiness.

When it is realised that the mind is the internal cause of the external unrest, many leave the pursuit of temporary, worldly pleasures to look for stability in a mental restructuring, through psychotherapy, mind control courses or meditation. One example of a radical change in approach to life's problems and social ills is Rennie Davis, former political activist and defendant in the Chicago Seven trials, who received the meditation called Knowledge revealed by Guru Maharaj Ji, and began proclaiming the need for men to harness their minds to the source of peace inside themselves, rather than trying to tear down any ruling system or establishment. Prem Rawat (Maharaji) 1974

At Millenium '73, a festival held in Houston last year by Divine Light Mission, Rennie was asked by a reporter:

Why did you give up dope?

Rennie: Most people give up dope not because Guru Maharaj Ji says, simply because when we take this Knowledge and meditate on it many of the things we did before drop away, quite naturally. For example, after I received Knowledge, after a couple of weeks back in the United States, I was in a room and a pipe was going round, and I thought, well I shouldn't. Then it passed a second time and so I tried just a little bit and it brought me crashing down. It was the first time that it had ever happened to me and the reason I wouldn't smoke dope now is just because this is a higher place to be and it's a better trip. Really it's the ultimate trip and people give up drugs because they're all downers, compared to this Knowledge.

All attempts to cure drug addicts follow a pattern of "withdrawal and replacement". The addict is often fully separated from his source of satisfaction and offered a sense-substitute from his former life which he regarded as unpalatable in the first place. However, meditaton on inner peace, which is independent of external stimulants, offers not only a practical substitute but an enjoyable alternative to addiction.

This drug reform is exemplified in the Centre of Light and Freedom run by French devotees of Guru Maharaj Ji. The drug rehabilitation program includes restriction on cigarettes, drink and other drugs, and participation in activities such as wood-cutting, renovation of farm buildings, drawing, music, jewellery, leatherwork, reading and gardening. The devotees who run the centre do not impose their ideas on the residents but act as constant examples of loving, peaceful people. Once the resident appreciates the clarity of the social workers around him, he becomes interested in receiving Knowledge and exchanging addiction for meditation. The Centre has had about a third of the residents go through the program and then receive and practise Guru Maharaj Ji's Knowledge.

One of Guru Maharaj Ji's Mahatmas, those disciples empowered to reveal this inner experience in a Knowledge Session, explained the nature of addiction and the value of meditation:

The question of drugs is of interest in Western Society because they have become part of daily life. Addiction means that if one is deprived of something, one's credibility as a human being suffers. So we are addicted to many things, television programs, people, places, etc. But when we talk of drugs we especially mean those addictive substances that we voluntarily consume in one form or another, by drinking, inhaling or injecting.

The major drugs consumed by people in materialistic societies are caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, hashish, barbiturates, amphetamines, and other more dangerous drugs such as heroin. The first three of these are legal. Some of the others can be had on prescription. Most Western people are addicted to all of the first three.

In a survey conducted in America, seven out of ten housewives were found to be addicted to coffee which contains caffeine, a stimulant. It is well known that coffee keeps you awake. These housewives had the habit of drinking several cups of coffee a day, and when deprived of it in the experiment, after only a few days they became neurotic and irritable. The more coffee they had been accustomed to consuming, the stronger the symptoms of withdrawal. This is the same principle with all drugs. Addiction to coffee, however, is not so dangerous. After two or three weeks of enforced deprivation, the housewives would be free of their dependence.

Cigarettes are a more clinging addiction. They take a longer time to become habituated to and consequently are more difficult to give up. Also they are more dangerous. Caffeine slightly affects the blood pressure and neurological functions, but it is proved that regular intake of smoke into the lungs causes death-inducing diseases such as asthma, bronchitis and cancer. Death only occurs when the individual's mental and physical system becomes so maladjusted that it can no longer catch the Holy Name, and Name then has to withdraw from the body.

Everybody has life because, subconsciously, they are holding onto Name. When this holding becomes conscious then one knows the reason and source of one's life and contentment and peace ensue. So the voluntary consumption of anything that helps to loosen one's hold on Name will, in spite of short-term pleasure, lead to suffering and death. Meditation on the Holy Name has the opposite effect, so the two are totally incompatible. This is why cigarette smoking is not recommended for premies, the devotees of Guru Maharaj Ji.

The same reasoning applies to the other drugs. Hashish is especially dangerous because, as well as the physical hazards (more dangerous than ordinary cigarettes because the smoke has to be inhaled more deeply and retained for longer in the lungs), a mental entrancement is induced which enhances sensual power but dulls reasoning power. Reason is a higher faculty than sense, it is the cause of our humanity since it potentially can lead us to the Knowledge of ourselves, which the senses never can. Our senses belong to the animal part of our nature, our reason belongs to our human side.

People take drugs because of dissatisfaction with their normal condition. It is the same principle behind a weekend drink and a daily injection. When one achieves serenity and contentment within oneself through natural means and not through introducing external things into one's body, then naturally the need to take drugs disappears. This is why true followers of Guru Maharaj Ji never take drugs.

Maharaj Ji, can you get Knowledge from smoking pot?

There is only one way to receive this Knowledge and that is not by hashish or anything like that. Because hashish is a physical thing. You smoke it into your body and you smoke it our of your body. Its effect is a physical effect. It affects your mind after affecting your body. And any process that must be applied through the body will not take you there. You can't find yourself with hashish, you can only lose yourself.

You don't smoke and you still love? Maybe you're special.

It will be far out when you get this Knowledge, because it will give you a greater experience. It will take you higher than hashish. These plants come from nature, but this Knowledge is nature. By smoking you can experience something, but with this Knowledge you will experience everything, and you don't have to smoke anything.

But Maharaj Ji, I heard that when Shiva came down, He was supposed to hold some hashish in His hand.

So you also do that. Get some hashish and take a parachute. Shiva was perfect. There was a Master once, I think it was Govind Singh, who ate some fishes, so His disciples also started eating fishes. So He asked them, "Why are you eating fishes?" And the disciples said, "Because you are eating them." So the Master took the fishes alive from His body. So please don't ever compare yourself to the Perfect One.

Questions and Answers, Fernbank, London, February 28, 1972.