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Visions of Brahma

In the hand of Brahma, all is peace, all is connected, death is an illusion.

By John  Townley

Vision #1 – October 1966 – facilitated by DMT (dimethyltriptamine)

I was sitting cross-legged, bent over, and as I straightened up it began. It started as an ascending rocket-like ride past ever-higher landscapes that included pastures with people tending animals, ancient cities, apparently Tibetan scenes, Shangri-La-like vignettes, all passing by too quickly to explore, but at each level I saw my hands go into a different form of mudra, like they were labels identifying the levels I was passing through. The ride then opened into a world-wide division of all knowledge that showed that science and religion were simply two ways of looking at the same reality, two branches of the same tree, something that seems trite now but at the time quite enlightening. It ended with a fearful vision of desperately fighting death, which finally overcame me and was followed, to my total surprise, by the most wonderful experience of total oneness, warmth, and safety in the great hand of Brahma (literally, a huge hand by that specific name). For days afterward I was like a child reborn, realizing death (or at least my older personal concept of it) was an illusion and greater happiness and comfort lay beyond it.

As visionary stages of Shangri-La passed by, mudras sketched every step of the journey...

Vision #2 – November 1966 – also facilitated by DMT

This came all in a sweeping flash, as I looked behind me into the distance of earlier time in human history, where there was a swelling growth, a broadening river of civilization and development that was suddenly sheared off at about 10,000 years B.C.E. (my guess in the swiftness of the experience). At that shear point, civilization was reduced to a trickle which began to expand again, getting ever larger up to the present, after which it suddenly leaped to the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, from where it took off and headed out into space, ever growing, for parts unknown, but definitely leaving Earth behind. The feeling was that the change would be toward the end of my lifetime and that I might be somehow involved in it, though the whole process dwarfed me individually.

Some months later, after having lost some of the radiance of the experience and feeling rather let down by life, I tried to smoke myself under – to death if possible – in impatient hope of getting there for good. The result was an abrupt and non-negotiable “stop” vision from Brahma (again) saying I’d had my taste and it was up to me to live life as it came, until death and its assured joy arrived at the appropriate time – and with a long journey ahead until it did. The message was, you’ve received your allotted talents to invest (as in the parable of the same) and a rare overview of the future landscape, now get to work with them, get on with it. Enjoy, and spread the word.

An old civilization passed, rebuilt itself and then moved off into the galaxy for a future of humankind.


The immediate result of these two visions was my founding of Apostolic Studios (not a specifically Christian reference, but from the word's original meaning of testimony, plus apropos for the first 12-track studio) with its record label, publishing, and management companies. It was an attempt to share and promote these visions through music, which was what I did at the time. After a total of about five years of pharmacological exploration and investigation (I was an LSD guide for some highly-placed psychoanalysts, among other adventures), I gave up psychoactive drugs, having gained as much information as that path was able to provide to me – just in time, as they became illegal, something that has made opening this window to spiritual understanding much more difficult for those who have come after, for a variety of reasons.

Since then, the path expanded inclusively (music always remaining at the heart) to astrology, history and evolution, journalism, Fortean studies (anomalies) and a general attempt to resolve all issues into a single theoretical and practical description of reality (that science and religion thing, so to speak), from Paul Kammerer to chaos and fractal theory. I’m still industriously (though sometimes on sidetracks) pursuing that path, with whatever help the folks upstairs throw my way to help redirect, pulling the pieces together before that final appointment with Brahma.

Chemistry note: DMT is naturally present in the human body, along with many different plants, and is a favorite of South American shamans in various forms. But of all the psychoactive chemicals known, DMT is the most likely to induce a beyond-the-body visionary state. It is possible and even easy (for many) to “stay on top of” and keep control of the effects of most other psychedelics like LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline because of their gradual onset, so most often they will be a prolonged and often revelatory “trip” but seldom a really out-of-body type experience. DMT hits so quickly and powerfully that you can’t put your defenses up, so off you go, perforce. For history, chemistry, and lots more background on DMT, see:,N-Dimethyltryptamine



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