According to Baba’s instructions, Robert Dreyfuss had returned to America and begun the work Baba had given him of dissuading young people from taking drugs. One day he received a long distance phone call from the clinical psychologist Dr. Richard Alpert, Allan Cohen’s former professor at Harvard. Dr. Alpert, with Dr. Timothy Leary and Dr. Ralph Metzner, had been experimenting with LSD and other synthesized drugs, and had heard through Cohen that Dreyfuss had recently returned from meeting Baba. Alpert asked what Baba had said about LSD, and Dreyfuss told him word for word in no uncertain terms: “No drugs!”
“Are you sure?” Dr. Alpert asked. Dreyfuss said he was. He found out later that Alpert had been on the point of taking some LSD when he phoned, but upon hearing Baba’s message of “No drugs!” he had put the tablet aside.
Requesting clarification of what Meher Baba had stated, Dr. Alpert then wrote a long letter to Baba as follows:
I am confused and would value your counsel. In 1961, as a professor at Harvard, I had the opportunity to inject a chemical derived from the Mexican mushroom, which has been treated as a sacrament by the Mexican Indians through their recorded history. For my colleague, Timothy Leary, and I it (the experience) appeared to pierce the veil of illusion that our limited reality was indeed the only reality and show us, albeit briefly, the possibility of man’s true identity. Because we were social scientists interested in helping our fellow man, we set about a systematic exploration of psychedelic chemicals, including LSD [lysergic acid diethylamide].
(Footnote: During the 1960s, there were scientific medical experiments with LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) in the treatment of schizophrenia and alcoholism, as well as for mind control by U. S. and U.S.S.R. military government scientists. Although, at that time, considered the most powerful brain and sensory stimulant discovered by man, stimulating heightened sense perceptions (an artificial state of ecstasy), because of the dangers to an individual’s mind, or psychic equilibrium, and nervous system, and the drug’s long-term side effects, linking it with possible chromosome damage, scientific experimentation and research on the use of LSD was eventually given up and has not been pursued again by government scientists. In the 1990s, the synthesized chemical component in marijuana, THC, is considered a more potent stimulant per milligram than LSD.)
Our work was very controversial, yet it felt important. For Western man, almost totally inundated by his cultural interpretation of reality, these chemicals, if wisely employed, seemed to provide a key to unlock the door allowing the sunlight of Reality to shine for a moment. For many of these people the experience supplied hope when previously there was cynicism, it helped people to consider their spiritual work seriously rather than to get lost in atheistic intellectualism.
At first it appeared as if the chemical would do it all – truly and everlastingly bring one to God. With time, however, we realized that the chemicals but showed one a possibility experientially when previously there appeared to be no possibility, or at best only an intellectual one. In America there are literally thousands of people who have experienced through psychedelic chemicals something which led them to undertake their spiritual journey with great seriousness, with or without further use of chemicals. For many of them, including myself, your books and messages have made the most sense, have felt right, have been an affirmation of our own deepest experience. It has seemed to us that man is so spiritually bankrupt in his consciousness that a chemical opening would be better than no opening.
It is true that LSD and other psychedelic chemicals do intensify the senses and indeed do lead at times to hallucinations. It is also true that most people who have used LSD have misused it. Responsibility must go hand-in-hand with its use if it is to serve as key and not crutch, liberator and not jailer.
Recently Allan Cohen, one of my past students from Harvard, visited us. Because you are present in such a real sense in our home, he felt at home with us. Yesterday we received a letter from him reporting the message Bob Dreyfuss was bringing from you – No drugs! We called and spoke with Bob, but I, for one, felt the need for a little additional clarification.
Inside of me I feel that LSD has been a major influence in my own life of a positive nature and that the work I have been doing in the United States is humanly good. I also hear your message and understand that you probably do know.
At first I entertained the possibility that you did not understand that LSD is quite different and, in fact, quite opposite from the opium derivatives. But reflection and communing with you via your written word, has failed to support my initial reaction. Thus, at present, I feel you do understand. I should like to understand also. Can you help me?
Lord Meher, American ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 19, pp. 6411 – 6413.
(Beloved Baba’s response will be posted tomorrow).