In a recent ayahuasca experience I found myself sitting on the ground in the Ecuadorean jungle and chanting Hare Krishna. It was the first time the medicine presented to me my own personal melody — my own song — my own icaro. The chanting started with long, slow, whispering exhalations. Gradually, my vocal chords kicked into vibratory mode and the sacred syllables began to bloom into a beautiful melody. I was exactly where I needed to be doing exactly what I needed to be doing. Sitting in the jungle and chanting. Bathing my immediate inner and outer space with vibrations of transcendental love. Receiving the euphonious gift of a never-before-heard melody from the source of inspiration. An ecstatic spiritual experience was created with the melodic repetition of ultra-focused vocalized vibrations while in the midst of biologically processing a muddy gulp packed full of neuro-transmitters.
After coming out of the extremely spiritual experience I honestly wondered to myself if the devotees at the ISKCON I attend in Plainfield, New Jersey have ever reached that particular spiritual pinnacle. What would happen if the sober, love-drunk devotees I associate with were to come out to the jungle, drink ayahuasca, and spend their night chanting Hare Krishna? Would it be the same as usual for them? Would that experience be different for them? Would that type of imbibed chanting take them to an even higher level? I seriously wondered that night, as I seriously wonder right now, have the devotees been as high as I? The obvious answer is, "yes." But we would really need to run an experiment of personal experience to honestly answer that question. I have a hunch that there would be a difference, but those differences can't be looked at until something along the lines of this idea take place. I would never deny the pure joy and happiness that chanting and kirtan bring to me, but let's not dismiss the depth, details, and levels of the spiritual experience. Hare Krishna!