Drugs and Krsna consciousness

By editor - 14.5 2020

One morning two hippies came to the 26 2nd Avenue temple. They claimed they have just seen Krsna during their "trip" and wanted to become devotees. Srila Prabhupada did not comment on it but gave them some service in the temple. First one soon left, the other one became a devotee.

This example shows how to recognize real from unreal through the test of time. One of main reasons why hippies began to be interested in Krsna consciousness was that they felt something different from ordinary experience. Under the influence of drugs one may have various visions depending on one's focus. Otherwise why would different yogis smoke ganja for thousands of years? They are, however, influenced by rajo and tamo guna and worship Siva and Sakti.

Drugs are used in almost all cultures to create changed states of consciousness. But they are used only by certain individuals (shamans etc.), whose task is a communication with astral beings, astral travel etc. Not ordinary people who are harmed by them. There is also a danger in the form of contact with some not very auspicious subtle beings and consumption of poisons. This confirms that it comes from within three gunas of material world and not from spiritual realm. There is a great problem in the West where even languages do not distinguish among subtle material/astral sphere and real spiritual (immaterial) sphere (soul is identified with mind). For example Bible translators try hard to prevent the Holy Ghost looking in some languages like an evil demon...

If someone claims to have visions of God or other noble being, which will not tell him, however, to stop taking them, they are not real. If that specific vision or realization leads to deep and permanent change in life (like in the case of the second hippie), it is real. Remember the old maxim "phalena pariciyate", judge the tree by its fruits. (Similarly, "You shall know them by their fruits." Matt. 7:16,20)

From the philosophical point of view the use of drugs presents a form of escape from the reality of suffering in this world. No sane person wants to suffer but this way is contrary to the will of the Lord in the form of dharma. According to it we should look for constructive, spiritual means of liberation from this world. Drugs, on the other hand, are destructive and create negative karma.

First we have to learn to know reality theoretically. Later, as we get purified from material coverings and develop qualities characteristic for knowledge, it will become revealed to us. Nothing like that a drug or any other artificial way of manipulation with gross or subtle body can do. We are souls, not bodies. Krsna consciousness operates on the level of suddha-sattva and Krsna wants His devotees to become purified.