Episode 3 - Eastern Everywhere, sitar psych and raga-rock


Eastern philosophy and religion became highly interlinked with the psychedelic culture in the '60s as comparisons between the psychedelic experience and religious concepts of higher mental states were made. Eastern practices, such as meditation were approached as alternative to psychedelics because the method can lead to similar mental awareness and for reaching higher mind stages. However, as noted by Patrick Lundborg that “the religious model is an interpretation, whereas the psychedelic experience, if registered according to proper phenomenology, is simply a description”* and these organized religions with their explanatory belief systems and traditions is not always the ideal model for the psychedelicists exploring their personal inner cosmos. One of the most famous examples of the merging of Eastern religion and psychedelia is Timothy Leary et al.´s guide-book The Psychedelic Experience where they linked the psychedelic trip to the Tibetan Book of the Dead and similarities were drawn between the effects of psychedelics and the intermediate steps of life and rebirth.

The Eastern influences also made its way into the music and many artists started to incorporate Indian instruments, Eastern melodic structures and scales. For some, this was just a way to ride the hype whereas some had a more original approach to it and here we cherry-picked some of the ones that we think where more genuine in their influences of Eastern culture. 

Spikedrivers (OM 1966)
-Often I Wonder
Orient Express-same (Mainstream 1969)
Bhagavan Das and Amazing Grace-Swaha (1974)
-Just Can't Keep From Crying
New Age-All Around (RD 1967/2007)
-Alone in a Wonderland
Ananda Shankar-Ananda Shankar and His Music (EMI 1975)
-Dancing Drums
13th Floor Elevators-Easter Everywhere (IA 1967)
-Slip Inside This House

* Patrick Lundborg, Psychedlia – An Ancient Culture, A Modern Way of Living (2012), page 360.