BABA RAM DASS LECTURE AT THE MENNINGER FOUNDATION – The Playboy Interview

28 Mar

BABA RAM DASS LECTURE AT THE
MENNINGER FOUNDATION
This paper (Part 1) is a transcription of a taped lecture given
May 5,1970 under the sponsorship of the Menninger Foundation,
Topeka, Kansas. The text has been edited in such
a way as to preserve its spoken content and flavor. Baba
Ram Dass is the name given to Dr. Richard Alpert by a
teacher of yoga in India. Dr. Alpert was formerly a professor
of psychology at Harvard. Part II is scheduled to appear
in a forthcoming issue-Editor

Audience: What did you imply by that statement, because
I think this was included in that interview in Playboy
also-that God came to the United States in the form of
LSD?

Ram Dass: I didn’t imply anything. I reported the information
I had picked up in India, which is the information that
I have available from people whose consciousnesses I totally
trust. Alright? And the quote I gave was a quote from my
teacher, with whom I lived for six months, who was, as far
as I could see, one of the purest and highest beings I have
met. When I asked him what LSD was he went away and
several weeks later he came back and he wrote, and the quote
is almost exact, “LSD is like a Christ coming to America in
the Kali~Yuga. America is a most materialistic country and
they wanted their Avatar in the form of a material. The
young people wanted their Avatar in the form of a material.
And so they got LSD. If they had not tasted of such things,
how will they know-how they will know?” was his actual
wording. Now, this plus the fact that my guru took 900
micrograms of LSD and nothing happened to him, and I
watched this process happen, were the two bits of new
information I had collected about LSD which I reported
back to the intellectual community. I have no … I am not
at this moment using LSD nor am I not using LSD. Right? I
am doing a type of yoga which is . . . does not require at
this moment the use of LSD. I honor LSD … that LSD
has for me, anyway, made a major change in my perceptual
field, and I feel that under suitable conditions it is a major
breakthrough of technology, allowing man to change his
levels of consciousness. I share Tim’s vision in almost every
way. I think I’m not as attached to certain kinds of polarities
in terms of establishment and good and evil and dropping
out and so on as Timothy is, but I think he is a great vision-
ary and my feelings about LSD are: I honor it. I also think
that it is very quickly becoming an anachronism. I think
it is totally falling out of date because I think that the types
of consciousness that it opened allowed the Maharishi to do
the work he did in the United States and allowed the Beatles
to do the work they’ve done and allowed all of that process
to happen. I think that only took about five years and it
seems to me that the values in the culture shifted dramatically
enough, as a result of the psychedelic movement, to
bring in a . . . another set of cognitive . . . consciousness
possibilities into the Zeitgeist, enough so that they would
become researchable, they would become studyable, and
explorable; and yoga, which was a dirty word seven years
ago, can now become a highly respected and thoughtful
science, as it should be, as it is. It is an entirely different
matter for people who have known of an experience of another
state of consciousness to work on themselves than for
people who have not. If I observe the Gurdjieff students,
a lot of students, those that come into a group in order to get
some kind of group affiliation and are just good, pure people,
can meditate and do the work for long times and very little
happens. However, as my teacher said, “If a person knows
of such things, then…. ” And that’s mainly what all of the
Indian literature says-that once you know, once you have
tasted of this possibility, then your work becomes tremendously
directed toward this . . . then your meditations work
at a much, much faster rate. So that, in terms of the statistics
with the Maharishi Mahesh group, of the numbers of dropouts
from the program, it is clear that a large percentage of
people originaJIy were not able to maintain that degree of
involvement because they didn’t have a frame of reference
which made them able to use the mantra in the spirit in
which it was invested. There is no doubt that the Maharishi
teaches a classical method that works beautifully. It is just
what he says it is. It does just what he says it does. And
when the investment is made in the spirit and received in the
spirit, it has done remarkable things to thousands of people.
If you come into it as an experiment to see if it will work,
or come into it for a lot of other reasons, there is a very,
very high probability you will drop out unless you’re really
ready, unless you’re ready-let’s put it that way.
So now the Playboy interview is very interesting because
that was done four years ago, before I went to India, and in
fact none of those people ever met. See, that was a phony
panel. It was put together by the editors of Playboy to make
a colorful article and we were all asked a series of questions
and I had answered those questions four years ago before
I had ever done any yoga. Then when they sent it to me now,
they said, “You’ve already sold us this article. We have the
right to use it. We’re going to usc it. Are there any changes
you want to make? You have only a day to make them and
they should be minimal.” So all I did was … I added the
new information that I had which was: (a) what my guru
did, (b) what my teacher did, and (c) the fact that I am
not now using LSD. Those all went into the article. And
those clues were the clues that I had to contribute to my
fellow man at this moment. That’s my explanation. Yes?

 

http://atpweb.org/jtparchive/trps-02-70-02-091.pdf

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