"In 1967 when I first came to India, I
brought with me a supply of LSD, hoping to find someone
who might understand more about these substances than
we did in the West. When I had met Maharajji(Neem
Karoli Baba), after some days the thought had crossed
my mind that he would be a perfect person to ask.
The next day after having that thought, I was called
to him and he asked me immediately, "Do you have
Of course, being before him was such a powerful experience
that I had completely forgotten the question I had had
in my mind the night before. So I looked stupid and
said, "No, Maharajji, I have no question."
He appeared irritated and said, "Where
is the medicine?"
I was confused but Bhagavan Dass suggested,
"Maybe he means the LSD."
I asked and Maharajji nodded. The bottle of LSD was
in the car and I was sent to fetch it.
When I returned I emptied the vial of pills into my
In addition to the LSD there were a number of other
pills for this and that--diarrhea, fever, a sleeping
pill, and so forth. He asked about each of these. He
asked if they gave powers. I didn't understand at the
time and thought that by "powers" perhaps
he meant physical strength. I said, "No."
Later, of course, I came to understand that the word
he had used, "siddhis," means psychic powers.
Then he held out his hand for the LSD. I put
one pill on his palm.
Each of these pills was about three hundred micrograms
of very pure LSD-
-a solid dose for an adult. He beckoned for more, so
I put a second pill in his hand--six hundred micrograms.
Again he beckoned and I added yet another, making the
total dosage 900 micrograms--certainly not a dose for
beginners. Then he threw all the
pills into his mouth. My reaction was
one of shock mixed with fascination of a social scientist
eager to see what would happen. He allowed me to stay
for an hour--
and nothing happened.
He just laughed at me.
The whole thing had happened very fast and unexpectedly.
When I returned to the United States in 1968 I told
many people about this acid feat. But there had remained
in me a gnawing doubt that perhaps he had been putting
me on and had thrown the pills over his shoulder or
palmed them, because I hadn't actually seen them go
into his mouth and had thrown the pills over his shoulder
or palmed them, because I hadn't actually seen them
go into his mouth.
Three years later, when I was back in India,
he asked me one day, "Did you give me
medicine when you were in India last time?"
"Did I take it?" he asked. ( Ah, there was
my doubt made manifest!)
"I think you did."
"Oh! Jao!" and he sent me off for the evening.
The next morning I was called over to the porch in front
of his room, where he sat in the mornings on a tucket.
He asked, "Have you
got any more of that medicine?"
It just so happened that I was carrying a small
supply of LSD for "just in case," and this
was obviously it. "Yes." - "Get
it," he said. So I did. In the bottle were five
pills of three hundred micrograms each. One of the pills
was broken. I placed them on my palm and held them out
to him. He took the four unbroken pills. Then,
one by one, very obviously and very deliberately, he
placed each one in his mouth and swallowed it-- another
unspoken thought of mine now answered.
As soon as he had swallowed the last one, he asked,
"Can I take water?"
"Hot or cold?"
"It doesn't matter."
He started yelling for water and drank a cup when it
The he asked," How long will it take to act?"
"Anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour."
He called for an older man, a long -time devotee who
had a watch,
and Maharajji held the man's wrist, often pulling it
up to him to peer at the watch.
Then he asked,"Will
it make me crazy?"
That seemed so bizzare to me that I could only
go along with what seemed to be a gag.
So I said, "Probably." And then we
After some time he pulled the blanket over his
face, and when he came out after a moment his eyes were
rolling and his mouth was ajar and he looked totally
mad. I got upset. What was happening?
Had I misjudged his powers? After all, he was an old
man (though how old I had no idea), and I had let him
take twelve hundred micrograms. Maybe last time he had
thrown them away and then he read my mind and was trying
to prove to me he could do it, not realizing how strong
the "medicine" really was.
Guilt and anxiety poured through me. But when I looked
at him again he was perfectly normal and looking at
the watch. At the end of an hour it was obvious
nothing had happened. His reactions had been a total
put-on. And then he asked,
"Have you got anything stronger?"
I didn't. Then he said, "These
medicines were used in Kulu Valley long ago. But yogis
have lost that knowledge. They were used with fasting.
Nobody knows now. To take them with no effect, your
mind must be firmly fixed on God. Others would would
be afraid to take. Many saints would not take this."
And he left it at that.
When I asked him if I should take LSD again,
"It should not be taken in
a hot climate. If you are in a place that is cool and
peaceful, and you are alone and your mind is turned
toward God, then you may take the yogi medicine."
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