Entheogenic Plants & Photosynthesis of Light
All esoteric traditions born of necessity to make us realize what we already are speak of the same truth, yet not all of them speak the same language or operate with the same symbology.
But, first let us talk about ayahuasca or any hallucinogenic substance used in various spiritual settings to find out its real purpose. No, ayahuasca (bhang, variety of mushrooms, hashish, marihuana, etc) is never used to get a glimpse of the bigger picture or the view of absolute reality, but rather for loosening the grip between the mind and the gross body.
Let us be clear to avoid any speculation on the subject. No drug or plant substance can give one the experience of absolute reality. Nobody has ever claimed that it does anyway. Even those who have experimented with most powerful consciousness altering drugs have never claimed to see the full picture just by popping a pill or getting stoned. Even partaking in a highly elaborate ceremony attended by custodians cannot deliver one into the state of Oneness on a permanent level.
Consciousness altering substances have been used in some traditions for two main purposes and I'm not interested in analyzing the abuse of the modern times performed by various groups, including the custodians who bastardized their tradition by improper use of the sacred ceremony.
The first purpose is to allow the participant a relatively easy and fast access to his own astral body, where the experience can help to brake the boundaries of otherwise perceptual 'reality' born of sensory perception only. In other words, (as mentioned above) for ''loosening the grip of the mind on the gross body'' and allowing the free passage into another realm. Which gives one an opportunity to witness one's physical body, one's thoughts, one's feelings, in an entirely new psychic setting in order to remove the doubts which otherwise might hinder the process of transcendence.
The above was prescribed only as the means to facilitate further progress in addition to one's main set of practices. Not as a systematic practice in itself. Moreover, gurus with the powerful shaktipat never had to resort to the external aid, the Grace bestowed by them often was more than any substance could deliver.
From a physiological point of view soon as the effect of the chemicals subsided one was 'thrown back' to deal with the body still full of (physical, psychological, mental) 'impurities'. A powerful enough shaktipat on the other hand is an act of purification and lasts a lifetime. Thousands of vagabonds smoking pot allover India have little to do with the cult of Shiva.
Second purpose was of much greater significance and was primarily to communicate with the essence of plant and (or) animal kingdom, used in initiation rights and healing ceremonies. The main principle in the action of entheogenic plant was the same - to get one an access to the subtle realm beyond the sensory through to the extra-sensory.
There in a vast space of the astral one could connect to any of the evolutionary stages passed by the human consciousness including animal, plant and mineral kingdoms, where the residual information allowed for the contact between different stages.
These practices where used since the time immemorial, to gain access to the hidden properties of certain plants and to communicate with the spirit of certain animals in order to coexist in predominately wild/natural environment or to heal members of their tribes.
So, yes entheogenic properties of plants were used, but not to the end of attending Nirvana. All hallucinogenic states revolve around the astral realms, that is in the nature of the chemical reaction occurring in the digestive tract or blood and carried into the brain which connects nervous system with the body. When the reaction is strong enough it could trigger major synaptic dissociation which leads to the experience of the altered states of mind.
My understanding of the shared, I have to confess is based on personal experience. In my youth I had few powerful experiences under the effect of some substances, at one point 'flying out' of my body and observing situation and objects, my own body including from above just like one would from a helicopter...
Yet, none of these could compare in its intensity with the experiences followed by awakening and subsequent rising of the Shakti. There was a period, when in my waking and dreaming states I was able to perceive the fluorescence emitted by plants especially large trees. At the time I had no idea of how plants transfer energy of light into chlorophyll through the effect known as photosynthesis and was very puzzled by the whole experience, but it felt as if I was sharing the frequency of light emissions absorbed by plants.
It is known that visible light is a smaller part of the Electromagnetic spectrum, somewhere between the gamma X-ray, UV and IR, macro-wave, radio. What we perceive through an eye is the visible spectrum, where the highest energy is at the shorter waves like blue and ultraviolet and the lowest energy in the longer waves like in red.
(That resonates with the tantric view of the astral body made of the chakras of the spectrum with red emission at the base of the spine and the ultraviolet at the eyebrow level.)
All biological energy comes from sunlight and this energy encompasses the range of the electromagnetic spectrum known as light. All these seems fitting perfectly with our current theme of the Solar versus Lunar in Vedic/Yogic Lore. With Soma as the essence of Plants and that of the Moon.
Sun is the source of Prana, but it is the Moon which imbibes sap of the plants with its subtle energy. Without the plants there would be no conversion of sunlight via photosynthesis into oxygen. These giant act of respiration is reflected in the outer as well as the inner anatomy of the human physiology...
Igor Kufayev La Garita, Costa Rica. Oct 2011