There must necessarily be a difference between the vital energy of a cultured and well-educated man and of one who is rough and ignorant. If nothing else, a greater refinement and subtlety in the vital substance and therefore in the energy is there. Drinking if excessive affects the substance and quality of the energy—but probably a moderate drinking and smoking would have a less perceptible effect. I don’t think people in ordinary life notice clearly, but they have often a general impression which they cannot explain or particularise.
''Why do tobacco and alcohol destroy the memory and will?''
It is the same thing physically as morally. When you do something you ought not to do and your psychic tells you in its still small voice not to do it, then if you do it in spite of that, after a while it will no longer tell you anything, and you will no longer have any inner reactions at all to your bad actions, because you have refused to listen to the voice when it spoke to you. And then, naturally, you go from bad to worse and tumble into the hole. Well, for tobacco it is the same thing: the first time the body reacts violently, it vomits, it tells you, “I don’t want it at any cost.” You compel it with your mental and vital stupidity, you force it to do so; it doesn’t react any longer and so lets itself be poisoned gradually until it decomposes. The functioning deteriorates; it is the nerves that are affected; they no longer transmit the will because they are affected, they are poisoned. They no longer have the strength to transmit the will. And finally people begins to tremble, they have nervous movements. There are quite a few, one doesn’t need to go very far to find them. And they are like that only because they have committed excesses: they drank and smoked. And when they lift an object, their hands shake (gesture). That’s what one gets by doing this. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/24-march-1954#p4,p5</ref>
Perversion is a human disease, it occurs only very rarely in animals, and then only in animals which have come close to man and therefore have been contaminated by his perversion.
There is a story about some officers in North Africa—in Algeria—who had adopted a monkey. The monkey lived with them and one day at dinner they had a grotesque idea and gave the monkey something to drink. They gave it alcohol. The monkey first saw the others drink, this seemed to it something quite interesting, and it drank a glass, a full glass of wine. Afterwards it was ill, as ill as could be, it rolled under the table with all kinds of pains and was really in a very bad way, that is, it gave the men an example of the spontaneous effect of alcohol when the physical nature is not already perverted. It nearly died of poisoning. It recovered. And some time later it was again allowed to come for dinner as it was all right, and somebody placed a glass of wine in front of it. It picked it up in a terrible rage and flung it at the head of the man who had given the glass to it…. By that it showed that it was much wiser than the men!
Some people believe that smoking, drinking, etc. will form part of the life of tomorrow. That is their business. If they want to go through this experience, let them do it. They will realise that they are imprisoning themselves in their own desires. But anyway, I am not a moralist, not at all, at all, at all. It is their own business. It is their own business. If they want to go through this experience, let them do it. But the Ashram is not the place for it. Thank God, at the Ashram we have learnt that life is something else. True life is not the satisfaction of desires. I can affirm from experience that all the experiencesbrought by drugs, all that contact with the invisible world, can be had in a much better, more conscious and controlled way without drugs. Only, one must control oneself. It is more difficult than swallowing poison. But I am not going to preach. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/13/aspiration-talks#p352</ref>
At least one lakh Americans have had experiences with LSD and mescaline—experiencescalled “psychedelic”, which means “consciousness-expanding”. These drugs may become legalised in America, and a nation-wide campaign is afoot...
No time to say any more on such a futile subject. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/15/admonitions#p43</ref>
It is the habit in the subconscient material that feels an artificial need created by the past and does not care whether it is harmful or disturbing to the nerves or not. That is the nature of all intoxications (wine, tobacco, cocaine etc.), people go on even after the deleterious effects have shown themselves and even after all real pleasure in it has ceased because of this artificial need (it is not real). The will has to get hold of this subconscient persistence and dissolve it. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/31/food#p73</ref>
Smoking is only a morbid craving of physical desire—there is no other reason for people doing it. Smoking is tamasic and prevents control of mind. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/31/food#p74</ref>
This man used to smoke the whole day and drank much more than was necessary, and so he complained, you see, that he was often tired and sometimes could not control himself. I told him, "You know, first of all, you must stop smoking and you must stop drinking." He looked at me with an unbelievable bewilderment and said, "But then, if one doesn't either smoke or drink, it is not worth living!" I told him, "If you are still at that stage, it is no use saying anything more." <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/09/8-may-1957#p5</ref>
And this is much more frequent than one thinks. To us it seems absurd, for we have something else which is of course more interesting than smoking and drinking, but for ordinary men the satisfaction of their desires is the very reason for existence. For them it seems to be an affirmation of their independence and their purpose in life. And it is simply a perversion, a deformation which is a denial of the life-instinct, it is an unhealthy interference of thought and vital impulse in physical life. It is an unhealthy impulse which does not usually exist even in animals. In this case, instinct in animals is infinitely more reasonable than human instinct—which, besides, doesn't exist any more, which has been replaced by a very perverted impulse.