Manali and Himalayan Hashish :
blessed by hash in the Himalayas
"My girlfriend and I were on a bus headed south, after which she was to fly back to Canada, and I was to stay on for another ten days in Delhi and continue to write. I was in the midst of a book I had been working on for quite a while, and was in a fever to finish it because I had lost my love-affair with words at the time and was therefore pressed into the uncomfortable position of having to complete what I had begun- a task which I met with the determination and delirium of a runner who knows not when the race which has exhausted him will ever finish.
Luckily the spirit was strong with me, as they say, and must have been feeling a bit of sympathy for my labors, on that journey down from the purified heights to the lowlands, because, although I had relinquished smoking any form of cannabis at that point, our bus was heading through the hash-haven of the Himalayas, the Kullu Valley, where we were planning to stop for a few days and get a room in Vashist before continuing on to Delhi, and I was feeling free from such abstemious mortifications. So I let myself consider revisiting Shiva’s cerebral sanctuary as an open possibility, largely because I was seriously worrying that ten days in the tortured metropolis of Delhi was going to be an endurance test for me, as the last time I had been there, writing for months on end, I had escaped barely intact from that punishing, cataleptic wrestling match with the stubborn muses. And so I got to thinking that a little bit of hash might make my stay a little more comfortable. And yet I decided that I would not actually buy any hash, but instead would scour my hotel room, and if I found any chunks or pieces dropped by stoned travelers in the past, I would take this as a blessing, and consider it God’s gift to allow me little mental holidays over the next week and a half, so as to survive Delhi during my studious endeavors.
Well, as odds had it, I did find a nice little chunk- about half a gram- of the black gold, which was smeared into the jute mat covering the floor of our room, and I took this as the go-ahead from the spirit. The little nugget was no ingot sized monolith, by any means, but plenty enough to trigger my purified insides into the necessary reactions.
After arriving in Delhi a few days later, my girlfriend jumped on a plane, and I booked into a hole-in-the-wall hotel room, in the old part of the city, for the next ten days of writing, reading, typing, editing, and, when each day was finally over, of having a puff of the blessed resin and letting the mind wander away from its prison.
All things come to us, be they good or bad, if we either need or deserve them, for the mirror of the external is always perfectly polished and ever-ready to spontaneously reflect back our internal lives, in manifold ways, so as to symbolically applaud the spirit’s intent within the show.
In this case, about five days into my daily labors and evening flights, I was out for a meal and fell to chatting with an Indian Sanskrit scholar and poet, whose name, interestingly enough, was Ashish Dube, which immediately made me think of hashish doobies. Very odd indeed, because I was smoking the hashish I had considered a gift from the spirit, and this was now mirrored perfectly in my acquaintance’s name, a name which was not only phonetically similar to my manna, but which in Hindi means: blessing.
All is reflected through all. All is all. We may think this is a piecemeal creation, but to be sure, it is as contiguous as the sky. All things shift and pull, in tune and time with our lives, and all events harbor a greater intention.
It is for this reason that at times I accepted circumstance, allowed that the greater will would administer existence better without my interference, and so I gave back what was not really mine anyways, by relinquishing the knowledge of what I could no longer pretend to understand. At times I chose to be blind and stumbling and guided by another, larger vision, than to continue being directed by my own finite sight.
To be sure, in lesser dimensions I could have easily contained a juvenile longing requiring no such sustained appeasement of being’s infinitude, but in higher dimensions I confronted a bewildering apparentness that allowed for no assuaging stimulus, whether harbored or relinquished, simply because I was now obliviously aloft amongst the ubiquitous mystery and its neverending suddenness, and therefore dependent on nothing and interdependent on everything.
For there is nothing on the outside that is not on the inside also. And in the end there are not two worlds clashing at the membrane of the self, but only two aspects of a singular happening, which ebb and flood into each other. And it is we who construct the locks and canals between the two, inhibiting the flow between them, for the finite ego lives at the estuary, while the infinity of God lives at the source.
And so I say that because the God force within us is the same as the God force without, when we harmonize with that singular source, all surrender and rebellion are the same act, and at that point, no matter what goes on, life is divine intervention, though it becomes more apparent when we tune our radios to that hidden song.
And yet all those who do blend in and become one with the greater rhythm still know nothing of its meaning, message, nor means, but only that it cannot be heard with the ears, nor described by the mind, but only felt and followed by spirit joined to the heart levered open.
It’s all in the rhythm. It’s all in the eternal dance dancing to the eternal rhythm in the glory field stretched out ponderously over the soporific veil. It’s the rhythm of stillness and pandemonium, harmonizing in the rapture of now. It’s when meaning and need shatter into the wantless glow flowing through the static poverty. It is the crush and bend and the unbroken laughter married to the neverending sigh. It is a rapture and a longing danced in the sorrow-soaked ecstasy of life’s abandon.
I have danced in that dream where the pentecost and penance rise alongside each other, as two helixes bound in a single strand of awe. As if I came to this realm of flesh for naught but to swim dancing in a medium of love, anger, spirit, pus, urine, milk, flesh, and blood. As if I was born into the entrails of a dying beast, and only in its death did I come to life. As if God’s hyenas tore into the carcass of this realm, and as their jaws came crashing through their game, I was set free from death, decay, and all that spoils the cosmic brew. As if to that death which birthed me I now turn back towards, like an astronaut leaving his own solar system for another. I see where I have been, but not where I am going. I know only that through the death from which I was birthed, I learned how to crawl, to walk, to run, and then …how to fly."