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The Crazy Wisdom of Ganesh Baba
Psychedelic Sadhana, Kriya Yoga, Kundalini, and the Cosmic Energy in Man
Table of Contents
About The Book
• Presents the teachings of Ganesh Baba’s “Crea” Yoga, which he derived from the tantric practices of traditional Kriya Yoga
• Explains the basic exercises for following the Crea (creative) Yoga practice
• Includes many anecdotes from the colorful life of this “psychedelic” baba
Shri Mahant Swami Ganeshanand Saraswati Giri (ca. 1895-1987) was known to all who loved and studied with him simply as Ganesh Baba. At the age of four, he was brought back from death through an initiation by Lahiri Mahasaya and through this initiation descends from the same Kriya Yoga lineage as Paramahansa Yogananda. He became a swami under his guru Sivananda and later went on to run the Anandamayi Ma ashram. Drawn to the life of the Naga Babas, he became the head of the Ananda Akhara, Naga followers of Lord Shiva who consider cannabis and other entheogens to be the gift of the gods. The unique set of principles and exercises Ganesh Baba developed from the tantric practices of traditional Kriya Yoga and Shivaism became the core of his personal teachings of Crea (for creative) Yoga. Ganesh Baba’s message of systematic synthesis of the spiritual and secular was carefully developed for and embraced by contemporary students in the 1960s, especially those whose path included the use of entheogens.
This book contains the core of Ganesh Baba’s Crea Yoga teachings, from the beginning stages of conscious control of one’s posture, breath, and attention to finally extending one’s awareness to the farthest reaches of the cosmos. Eve Baumohl Neuhaus shows that the life of this scholar and crazy saint was as instructive as his teachings. She includes many personal reminiscences of this inspirational and challenging teacher from her own life and those of fellow students, which demonstrate that Ganesh Baba’s extraordinary life was in keeping with his own role as the embodiment of Lord Ganesh, the remover of obstacles.
ONCE A PSYCHEDELIC,
ALWAYS A PSYCHEDELIC
Live high and die high!
--Often repeated, Ganeshian aphorism
When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary
comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be . . .
--“Let It Be” by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Ganesh Baba had no reservations about crediting the psychedelic movement with the opening of the Western mind to ideas from the East. He was thrilled to be on the cover of High Times in December 1982 and referred to himself as the Highest Hipster. He sang wild and sentimental hymns to Mother Mary or Mari-juana, or Mary/John--Mary as mother or earth and Juana (John) as man--and delighted in Timothy Leary’s call to “turn on, tune in, and drop out.”
And, of course, he was great fun to be with, laughing uproariously and dancing and singing for hours on end. There were times when he seemed to need no sleep at all for days (and then days when he did nothing but sleep), and there are countless stories about the outrageous amounts of psychedelic substances he could ingest without seeming any higher than usual.
Yet he had no patience for people who took drugs without trying to maintain a straight back or breathing properly, and he told us again and again that it was only necessary to get really high, to take LSD, for example, once. “Once a psychedelic, always a psychedelic.”
Smoking ganja with Ganesh Baba was always about going deeper. We often meditated together when we were very high. Rather than letting us relax into a sleep state, Baba expected us to sit up straight, breathe consciously, and work our brains.
I remember one morning I arrived early at Roxanne and Jayant’s apartment above the New Delhi café in Geneva, New York. I came to write some letters for Baba, a job he gave me periodically, although perhaps a year had passed since I’d last done it in that setting.
We had some tea first, and then a joint or two. At that point I was happy to listen to whatever Baba had to tell me, but he remembered the letters.
“We haven’t heard back from Patrick Menicuci!” he announced. “Did you mail the letter?” The letter to Patrick was the last one we’d written sitting at that table.
“A long time ago,” I answered.
“But he hasn’t answered. Are you sure you mailed it?” I thought I was sure, but marijuana plays with memory.
Baba had me search through his files, but neither the original letter nor a copy (we often made carbon copies of letters in those days) could be found.
We smoked another joint.
“So, you must now remember what we wrote,” he told me.
I remember how the anxiety rose from my stomach to my chest.
“I can’t do that,” I said, trying to keep my voice from shaking. “Not in this state.” Baba showed no sympathy. “Sit up straight. Shoulders up and back and down.” I could feel my center of gravity shift into my spinal column. “Now breathe with me.”
We breathed together, long and loud, slow and deep, until the panic subsided.
“Now, picture the letter. We were sitting right here. It will come.”
I sank into the memory: Jayant rolling the joints and serving us tea, the breeze on the curtains, the pen in my hand, Baba’s voice dictating. And then I could see it: the blue aerogram lying on the table, the carefully drawn OM at the top, my own handwriting, “My dear Patrick . . .”
I read the letter aloud to Baba.
“Ah cha,” he said. “Very good. Now we will write him another.”
Somehow, that experience changed my relationship with marijuana forever. Rather than becoming unfocused when I was high, I became focused. Whether it was Baba’s presence or my own mental work or some combination of the two, it seemed as if new pathways were carved into my brain that day.
“The world will divide between the alpha-betas and psi-deltas (alcoholic beefeaters and psychedelics), you will see.”
From a lecture by Ganesh Baba in 1980:
We psychedelics must become more familiar with the essence and structure of consciousness, because it is out of consciousness we come and to consciousness we return.
Ganja is gyana yoga -- it is an abstraction; you are a little bit abstracted from sensory experience. It gives you room to move your psyche about.
The broad eight categories all operate within the human psyche, but the physical body operates only in the first three dimensions: matter, energy, and space. The fourth dimension, time, we can conceive, but it is like a baby in the womb trying to understand the outside world.
Since time immemorial we have used plant substances to help us recognize the higher frequencies of knowledge.
Corinne Vandewalle remembers psychedelic moments with Baba:
We took a train from Calcutta to Allahabad in January 1977 to attend the Khumb-Mela. The Anand Akhara gave Ganesh Baba a place under a huge bridge to settle his “Ganeshean camp.” Every evening people from all over the world would gather there just to listen to his high talks.
One night, a married couple from Australia, doctors both of them, arrived, very politely, in our psychedelic circle. They sat in front of Baba, who welcomed them and started to tell them about Kriya-Yoga. Chillums were passed and the air was filled with his vibes of love and humorous consciousness: a pure Ganeshean glimpse of time.
Then Baba said that meditation led to “orgasmic consciousness.”
The lady-doctor asked him to repeat.
Baba repeated, “Orgasmic! Orgasmic! You don’t know what is orgasm???”
Then he turned to her husband and said, “Your wife does not know what is an orgasm?”
Too much is too much. The doctors promptly left the scene and never came back!
Baba was laughing so much.
His tantric teaching was kicking our arses and hammering our ego nonstop, shredding our beliefs to pieces, with LOVE!
- Publisher: Inner Traditions (April 26, 2010)
- Length: 160 pages
- ISBN13: 9781594772658
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Raves and Reviews
“True to the wishes of her teacher, Eve Baumohl Neuhaus skillfully offers a glimpse into the life and profound teachings of Ganesh Baba. In so doing, she enriches the spiritual literature of today with the tantric wisdom and wit that transcends culture and healthily disregards political correctness. An entertaining and thought-provoking read.”
– Robert Sachs, author of The Passionate Buddha: Wisdom on Intimacy and Enduring Love
“For those unlucky enough to have missed him in the flesh, this text offers the next best thing: a distillation of Ganesh Baba’s most fundamental teachings, his unique and prophetic synthesis of East and West, science and spirituality, madness and method. Through personal narrative Eve portrays the fun and frustrations of learning from a crazy guru whose profound and mischievous ways blew our minds to infinity!”
– Roxanne Kamayani Gupta, Ph.D., author of A Yoga of Indian Classical Dance
“Add this endearing, wise, and well-named ‘Trickster’ to the list of great teachers. His message was clear: mind can only point to the Truth, to find it you have to live it truly and fully for yourself!”
– Alice O. Howell, author of The Heavens Declare
“In this loving and insightful spiritual memoir, author Eve Baumohl Neuhaus introduces us to her larger-than-life, iconoclastic spiritual teacher and his all-encompassing Cycle of Synthesis. True to his name, Ganesh Baba, he bursts through the barriers of any preconceived Western notions of a guru. She offers a simple yet profound spiritual practice based on his teachings that would delight her teacher and draws together contemporary Western spiritual seekers with the ancient wisdom of the East.”
– Heather Mendel, author of Dancing in the Footsteps of Eve and Towards Freedom
"A treasure chest of Ganeshian Wisdom from the original psychedelic guru, himself."
– Shri Mahant Baba Rampuri, author of Autobiography of a Sadhu
"I love every page. Though Baba was a master of beautiful prose, Eve pulls together, clarity, and makes sense of his teaching in a concise way much more accessible, I think, to a current reader. What a triumph!"
– Deniz Tekiner, Ph.D, author of Modern Art and the Romantic Vision, June 2010
"The Crazy Wisdom of Ganesh Baba is very inspiring and touchingly human. Eve has provided a book full of divine wisdom embodied in Ganesh Baba's radiant presence which shines on every page."
– Mark Dyzckowski, author of The Doctrine of Vibration, June 2010
"Today there is a growing movement, an extension of the spirit of the 1960s in which the specialist is giving way to the generalist and the generalist is yielding to the holistic individual, an amalgam of various ways of knowing and being that allows the body its due in one's spiritual process. Eve Baumohl Neuhaus's The Crazy Wisdom of Ganesh Baba offers an exciting synthesis of this Bengali wise man's practice that encourages unity of body, mind, and spirit. Her creative synthesis of his teachings offers the initiate a superb introduction to another way of pilgrimaging to wholeness."
– Dennis Patrick Slattery, Ph.D., author of Grace in the Desert and co-editor of Reimagining Education
"For Yoga aficionados, the book is a wonderful addition to your library, filled with pearls of wisdom and reminders of how daily practice of the body and the mind lead to living in spirit, beyond the illusion of time."
– Kala Ambrose, examiner.com, June 2010
"This book is laid out to reflect Ganesh Baba's scattered, but repetitive teaching style. Pictures, diagrams, drawings, fonts, quotes, and more have been used to give both authenticity to the complexity of his teachings as well as the multidimensional aspects of life itself."
– Victoria Holmberg, New Age Retailer, October 2010
“. . . has enough to keep the serious seeker as well as those just curious, engrossed. Written by Eve Baumohl Neuhaus, one of Baba’s many students, this unusually candid book throws light on the life and times of Baba . . .”
– The Times of India, August 2011
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