Los Angeles (Cont’d from p. 16)
peace and spiritual search. Kerouac’s "On the Road" beatniks had moved on and their place was taken by hordes of mobile (downwardly mobile?!) youngsters — usually from upper or middle class families with a safety net of a check from home in the back pocket of their jeans, who casually tramped the highways and byways of the United States and abroad. The Hollywood Free Press appeared in L.A. and I promptly placed ads for Meher Baba, offering free literature and information. It turned the key: Baba's beauty beckoned amidst the gritty sex ads and cartoons, and the wave of "new" Baba lovers began. One of the first new-age hippies in all his almost-naked splendour (big Afro, great torso, shorts, surfer's tan) was Billy Gray, demanding to know all about the Avatar of the Age. Billy, though he'd been on 200 acid trips, had one of the most brilliant minds I ever encountered, and his questions about Baba were equal to a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy, which brings up an interesting point. "New age cults" (with which the Meher Baba movement is still classified) have been analyzed from all sorts of points of view — sociological, medical, psychological, theological, etc., but very few writers have touched on one key-note: these youngsters wanted better answers to the age-old questions of whence and whither, i.e. better philosophy, better cosmology. They were really seekers after wisdom, not just counter-culture escapists. And Meher Baba, as we know gives better answers.
Surfing in California creates an up-and-down-the-coast (and into Mexico) fraternity — everyone knows everyone else — and in 1965 the Baba-fuse lit by one or two surfers like Billy Gray and Jimmy Irons sputtered and caught fire among a whole generation. Soon my living room was packed with young people, asking about Baba, feeling drawn to Him and His Divinity. He's the Avatar? Wonderful! Tell us more. Gone were the metaphysical arguments, the theological debates of the 40's and 50's in New York, and even of those older-generation seekers I'd met early on in L.A. It was definitely a nouveau vague of seekers. In rebelling against their parent's goals of success, fame, profits, security and social stratification, they also rebelled against the dry and barren religions, or in many cases, agnosticism, of their parents. Even the pseudo-mystical drug experiences did their part, as Meher Baba has said in "God in a Pill".
Dealing with young people on drugs, though, was sometimes a sad experience. As the San Francisco police reported to Allan Cohen, of those who experimented with LSD, one-third died, one-third went insane, one-third survived. I had to deal with some of these cases; people who had been literally experimented on by psychiatrists or psychologists investigating "super" consciousness (sic! sick!) It was also the heyday of TM, Kriya Yoga, tantric yoga, aura balancing, etc. — a general mishmash of Eastern and Western religious practices. I called it a transfusion of Eastern thought with a dirty needle, into Western minds.
My own psychic experiences came in very handy. The "torn" aura of a drug abuser is pathetic to look at. Then there were those convinced because of their drug high, that they were advanced on the planes or even God-Realized! As Eruch said, "Only in America!" But many biggies made this mistake, Dr. John C. Lilly and Aldous Huxley, for example. Alpert (now Ramdas) himself had to hear the truth from Meher Baba: God is not God if He can be reached by drugs.
The young souls who came to Baba in the 60's struggled to obey His definite NO on drugs. Most succeeded and it amazes me to this day how loyal to Baba they have been right into the 80's. The seeds of love Baba planted then in their hearts have flowered so well — the flowers of love for Him have blossomed in His flower children!! The backbone of most Baba groups around the world is in this age group. Now they're all middle-aged, and some are facing normal mid-life crises! Another factor, that the media were then open to Baba's message on drugs in the 60's,