Room Conversation with Allen Ginsberg
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
May 11, 1969, Columbus, Ohio
Allen Ginsberg: Hare Krsna.
Prabhupada: Hare Krsna.
Allen Ginsberg: So, we will sing tomorrow.
Prabhupada: Yes. (laughs)
Allen Ginsberg: Is this your first visit here?
Prabhupada: The first visit, yes.
Allen Ginsberg: You have the whole house.
Prabhupada: Yes. They are doing very nice. (indistinct) We have some meeting in the university, kirtana. Our…, wherever we go kirtana and speaking. You have seen our book, Lord Caitanya’s Teaching?
Allen Ginsberg: No. I haven’t seen that. That’s new.
Allen Ginsberg: Is that…? Er, ISKCON published.
Allen Ginsberg: So, you did… You…, printed where?
Allen Ginsberg: Pardon me?
Allen Ginsberg: Printed in Japan.
Allen Ginsberg: Beautiful. It’s very industrious. It’s marvelous.
Prabhupada: Next book is coming, Nectar of Devotion.
Allen Ginsberg: What will that be, your own writings?
Prabhupada: No, it is the authorized translation of Rupa Gosvami’s book, Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu.
Allen Ginsberg: Whose…?
Prabhupada: Rupa Gosvami, Lord Caitanya’s principal disciple.
Allen Ginsberg: Uhuh.
Prabhupada: Rupa Gosvami. There are six Gosvamis, direct disciples of Lord Caitanya. Er, not, six Gosvamis and three other confidential.
Allen Ginsberg: Yeah.
Prabhupada: So, our… About the six Gosvamis, Rupa Gosvami is the principal.
Allen Ginsberg: Rupa Gos…
Prabhupada: Rupa Gosvami. He was finance minister in the government of Nawab Hussain Shah in Bengal. But when Lord Caitanya started His movement, he was captivated and he resigned his service, government service and joined Him. And he wrote immense literature, Gosvamis. And that Desai was talking that Narottama dasa Thakura, he says, rupa-raghunatha-pade haibe akuti kabe hama bujhaba se yugala-piriti: conjugal love of Radha and Krsna, one can understand when they go through the literatures presented by these Gosvamis. So his first book is Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. Devotion of, Nectar of Devotion. That is very authorized book. Quotation from various Vedic literature about Radha-Krsna and the different stages of relationship with Krsna, santa-rasa, dasya-rasa, admiration. God is Great. This is also one stage, appreciating the greatness of God. Then further development, dasya-rasa, willing to serve. Oh! God is so great, and I must serve service because everyone of us are serving somebody. So why not serve the Supreme? Nobody is free from service because we are constitutionally the servant. Either we become the servant of the Great or maya. Just like in any condition of our lives, we have to abide by the laws of the state. If he says that we don’t abide then come to prisonhouse. You will be forced. Similarly, maya and Krsna. If we don’t abide by Krsna, then come to maya. He cannot be free. That is not our position. Freedom is frustration.
Allen Ginsberg: Do you remember a man named Richard Alpert?
Allen Ginsberg: Do you remember of a man named Richard Alpert? He used to work with Timothy Leary.
Allen Ginsberg: In Harvard many years ago. And then he went to India and found a teacher, and is now a disciple of Hanumanji or a devotee of Hanuman. And he said that, we were talking about maya and the present condition of America…
Prabhupada: Have some fruits?
Allen Ginsberg: In a while. Well, we can talk as…
Allen Ginsberg: Bite your food. I have that question I wanted to asked. Are you tired?
Prabhupada: No, no. I can talk with you whole night. (laughter)
Allen Ginsberg: So he said that his teacher in India told him that LSD was a Christ of the Kali-yuga for Westerners.
Allen Ginsberg: of the Kali-yuga for Westerners in that, as the Kali- yuga got more intense, as attachment got thicker and thicker, that also salvation would have to be easier and easier, and that…
Prabhupada: (aside:) (Bengali)
Allen Ginsberg: Namaste. (to Indian lady)
Prabhupada: She is a Bengali lady recently come from London.
Allen Ginsberg: Ahh!
Prabhupada: Lekha. (Bengali)
Indian Lady: (Bengali)
Allen Ginsberg: So, as the Kali-yuga became more intense and as attachment became deeper and more confusing…
Prabhupada: Attachment for?
Allen Ginsberg: …that salvation would also have to become easier and easier in the Kali-yuga.
Prabhupada: That is very nice statement that in the Kali-yuga salvation is very easier. That is the version of Srimad-Bhagavatam also, but that process is this kirtana, not LSD.
Allen Ginsberg: Well, it was… The reasoning there, was that for those who would only accept salvation in purely material form, in chemical form finally, and completely material form…
Prabhupada: Hmm. So where is the salvation when there is…
Allen Ginsberg: …that Krsna had the humor to emerge as a pill.
Prabhupada: No, the thing is that any of these material forms…
Allen Ginsberg: Yes?
Prabhupada: …then where it is salvation? It is illusion.
Allen Ginsberg: Well the subjective effect is to cut…
Allen Ginsberg: …attachment during the…
Prabhupada: Well, if you have got attachments for something material, then where is the cut-off attachment. LSD is a material chemical.
Allen Ginsberg: Yeah.
Prabhupada: So if you have to take shelter of LSD then you take, I mean to say, help from the matters, so that is… How you can… How you are free from matter?
Allen Ginsberg: Well, the subjective experience is, while in the state of intoxication of LSD, also realizing that LSD is a material pill, and that it does not really matter.
Prabhupada: So that is risky. That is risky.
Allen Ginsberg: Yeah. Now so, if LSD is a material attachment, which it is I think, then is not the sound, sabda, also a material attachment?
Prabhupada: No, sabda is spiritual. Originally just like in Bible there is, “Let there be creation.” This sound, this spiritual sound. Creation. Creation was not there. The sound produced the creation. Therefore, sound is originally spiritual and through the sound; sound—from sound, sky develops; from sky, air develop; from air, fire develop; fire, water develop; from water, land develop.
Allen Ginsberg: Sound is the first element of creation?
Prabhupada: Yes, yes.
Allen Ginsberg: What was the first sound, traditionally?
Prabhupada: Vedic states, Om. So at least we can understand from your Bible, that God said, “Let there be creation.” So this is sound, and there is creation. God and His sound is non-different, absolute. I say, “Mr. Ginsberg,” this sound and I, a little difference, but God is non-different from His energy, nitya… How it is called? Sakti saktimator abhedhah. Sakti, energy and sakti-mat, the energetic. They are non-different. Just like fire and heat, they are non- different, but heat is not fire. You can not differentiate heat from fire, or fire from heat. But fire is not heat.
Allen Ginsberg: Well the sounds, the sound krsna…
Prabhupada: Yes, is non-different from Krsna.
Allen Ginsberg: …is not different from Krsna.
Prabhupada: No. Therefore, this sound krsna…
Allen Ginsberg: Under all circumstances?
Prabhupada: Yes, all, all circumstances, but it is the question of my appreciation, or my realization. That will depend on my purity. Otherwise this Krsna sound and Krsna, non-different. Therefore if we vibrate sound Krsna, then I am immediately in contact with Krsna, and if Krsna is whole spirit, then immediately I become spiritualized. Just like if you touch electricity, immediately you’re electrified. And the more you become electrified, more you become Krsna-ized. Krsna-ized. So when you are fully Krsna-ized, then you are in the Krsna platform. Tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti kaunteya [Bg. 4.9], then fully Krsna-ized, no more comes back to this material existence. He remains with Krsna. The impersonalists shall say merging. That is less intelligence. Merging does not mean losing individuality. Just like a green bird enters a green tree; it appears merging, but the bird has not lost his individuality. There is individuality. Similarly Krsna says in the Fourth Chapter, no, Second Chapter that I, you, adyam(?), I and all these people who have assembled; it is not that they did not exist previously neither it is that they’ll not exist. That means I, you, and all these persons, they were individual in the past. At the present we see it practically, and in future they’ll remain individuals. And individually we are that, in our present existence, everyone of us individual. You have got your individual views, I have got my individual views. We agree on common platform, that is different thing, but we are individual. That is our nature. Therefore there is disagreement sometimes. So the individuality is never lost. But our proposition, bhakti-marga, is to keep individuality and agree with you.
Allen Ginsberg: To keep…?
Prabhupada: And agree with you. Our surrender means we agree with Krsna in everything, although we are individual. If Krsna says you have to die, we die; out of love. But we are individual, I can deny “Why shall I die?” That reality I have got. Just like Arjuna was asked, “Now I have taught you Bhagavad-gita, now whatever you like you do,” yathecchasi tatha kuru, “as you like.” He doesn’t touch the individuality. But Arjuna voluntarily surrendered: “Yes,” karisye vacanam tava [Bg. 18.73], “yes, I shall do whatever You ask.” He changed his decision. He decided not to fight, but he agreed, “Yes,” karisye vacanam tava [Bg. 18.73]. This agreement, this is oneness. Not oneness does not mean mix up homogeneously. No, He keeps his individuality. Krsna keeps his individuality, yathecchasi tatha kuru: “Now whatever you like you do.” He says, “Yes,” karisye vacanam tava [Bg. 18.73], “I shall do what you say.” So this is oneness. Not to lose individuality. Because we cannot lose our individuality. We are individually made originally. Krsna is individual, we are individual, everyone is individual. Merging means merging in that total agreement. That is liberation. Total agreement without any disagreement. And that is the perfection: to keep individuality and agree with God in total agreement. That is perfection. And imperfection so long we are in rebelled condition that is material because one who has a slightest desire of disagreement with Krsna, he cannot live there. There the only predominant figure is Krsna. So one who is trained fully to agree with Krsna, they are accepted as associates. Bhagavad-gita says, bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam pradadyate: [Bg. 7.19] after many, many births of cultivating knowledge in spiritual life, a fully conversant, wise person surrenders unto Me. Bahunam janmanam ante: after many, many births. How he surrenders? Vasudevah sarvam iti: [Bg. 7.19] oh! Krsna is everything. The Vedanta-sutra gives hint, janmady asya yatah [Bhag. 1.1.1], what is Brahma, what is supreme? Athato brahma jijnasa, to inquire about Brahman, the Supreme. The answer is Brahman is that or He who is the original source of everything. We have to find out who is the original source, so that requires wisdom. So when one is perfectly wise after many, many births, cultured, he sees, “Ah, here is the original, Krsna,” vasudevah sarvam iti sa mahatma sudurlabhah [Bg. 7.19], that mahatma, great soul, is very rare to be seen, who has surrendered. So our… We are giving the shortcut process: what one has to attain after many, many births, we are simply saying is surrender to Krsna. This is Krsna consciousness. That’s all. This is the greatest boon or, what is called, greatest reward or contribution to the human society. And if actually one is wise, then he’ll take our word that if one has to come to this point after many, many births, that Krsna is everything, vasudevah sarvam iti [Bg. 7.19], to understand, why not accept it immediately?
Allen Ginsberg: Do you take rebirth in human form literally?
Allen Ginsberg: As a…
Prabhupada: What is the difficulty?
Allen Ginsberg: I just don’t remember having been born before.
Prabhupada: You don’t remember your childhood that does not mean you had no childhood. Do you remember when you were so small boy, what did you did?
Allen Ginsberg: Certain things. Not very small, but there.
Prabhupada: Or when you were in your womb of your mother. Do you remember?
Allen Ginsberg: No.
Prabhupada: Then, does it mean that you are not.
Allen Ginsberg: No, it doesn’t mean that I am not.
Prabhupada: Yes. You do not remember, that is not reason. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita.
Allen Ginsberg: Yeah.
dehino ’smin yatha dehe kaumaram yauvanam jara tatha dehantara-praptir dhiras tatra na muhyati [Bg. 2.13]
Because I do not remember what I did in my mother’s womb, that does not mean that I had no a little body. The body is change, I am there. Therefore, I change this body I will remain. This is common sense business. I am changing my body daily every moment. Your childhood body and this body is not the same. You have changed your body, but that does not mean you have, you are different person.
Allen Ginsberg: Yes, but I have really never seen or heard any, anything but what I see in here now. What I see in here is what I can remember is what I can remember. I don’t, I’ve never heard any reasonable or, or even drawing description of previous incarnations, or previous births.
Prabhupada: You have never heard?
Allen Ginsberg: Of, I’ve never heard anything sensible sounding about it, anything that actually makes me think, “Ah, that must be.”
Prabhupada: Is it not sensible?
Allen Ginsberg: Not really, no. (laughs)
Prabhupada: Why not?
Allen Ginsberg: Sensible, touchable.
Prabhupada: Now, suppose, not suppose, it’s a fact: your body in the mother’s womb in the first day.
Allen Ginsberg: Yeah.
Prabhupada: Of the father, mother sex life, it comes just like the pea many diverse. So from the pea you have come to this point. So body is changing. So what is the astonishment if you change this body, again become, take another pea form. What is the difficulty to understand?
Allen Ginsberg: Well, the difficulty to understand would be any permanent being; to understand that there is any permanent being or any continuity of any form of consciousness from one body to another.
Prabhupada: Then you have to consult. Therefore you have to take, just like when you can not understand something, we consult some great authority. Is it not?
Allen Ginsberg: Not enough to make me dream of it at night, no. Not enough to make me love it. Words are not enough. That authority is not enough to make me love it.
Prabhupada: You don’t accept authority?
Allen Ginsberg: Not enough to love.
Prabhupada: No, love, apart from love.
Allen Ginsberg: Not enough to…
Allen Ginsberg: …going to accept authority. It’s just that…
Prabhupada: Consult, consult.
Allen Ginsberg: I can’t even understand an authority that says that I am there when I don’t feel myself there.
Prabhupada: Well, suppose when you are in some legal trouble, you go to lawyer. You cannot understand. Why do you say you cannot understand? Where you have disease where do you go to a physician. You see? Authority you accept.
Allen Ginsberg: In America we’ve had a great deal of difficulty with authority.
Prabhupada: No that is, that is…
Allen Ginsberg: No, here is a special problem.
Prabhupada: That is, that is, I mean to say, misunderstanding. Authority we have to. The child has to accept authority. Always ask mother what is this father, what is this…? Why? That is the beginning: ask, ask, ask. That is the way of acquiring knowledge. Tad vijnanartham sa… The Vedic injunction is there, if you want to understand that science, you must to go to guru.
Allen Ginsberg: But do you understand your previous lives from the descriptions in authoritative texts, or from any introspective recollection…
Prabhupada: No, we have to corroborate.
Allen Ginsberg: …of your own?
Prabhupada: Corroborate. Just like in the Bhagavad-gita, it is said that sucinam srimatam gehe yoga-bhrasto ’bhijayate. One who could not finish this Krsna consciousness, he gets birth in two places, either in very rich family, or in a very pure brahmana family, brahminical cultured family. So from my life I experience, when I was very little child six or seven years old, I was very much fond of Krsna. And I got the opportunity of this two things. Although my father was not very rich, but he was pure Vaisnava. He was great devotee of Lord Krsna.
Allen Ginsberg: I assume Calcutta.
Prabhupada: In Calcutta, and accidentally, I was born in a very rich family. You have seen that picture in my Calcutta, dancing. In that, there is a Kashi Mallik’s family.
Indian Woman: (Bengali) Kashi Malliker?
Prabhupada: They are very aristocratic family. I do, I did not belong to that family, but I was born in that family, you see? And from the very beginning the Kashi Mallik, they have got nice Radha-Krsna temple. So I was standing before the deity, and I was seeing, “Oh, He is Krsna. Oh, people say He is dead. How he is dead?” Like that I was thinking. And then my, I asked my father, “Oh, I shall worship Krsna, give me.” So my father gave me Radha-Krsna, so I, whatever I was eating, I was offering them. So the statement of the sastra and my practical experience corroborates. So we we have to take instance like that, you see? Sadhu sastra guru vakya. We have to test everything from three positions: the spiritual master, scripture, and holy man. Scripture means, just like Bible. What is Bible? Scripture. Why the scripture? It is fully contains the instruction of sadhu, holy man, or spiritual master, Lord Jesus Christ, therefore is scripture. The scripture means the statement of liberated holy man. That is sadhu. Therefore, scripture should be tested through the holy man and spiritual master. Spiritual master should be tested through scripture and holy man, and holy man should be tested through spiritual master and scripture.
Allen Ginsberg: What is the difference between holy man and spiritual master?
Prabhupada: No difference, but one has to test whether he is holy man. Then you have to, he has to corroborate with the statement of the scripture. Spiritual master is to be tested whether he is holy man, and whether there is corroboration in the statement of the scriptures. Sadhu sastra guru vakya tinete koriya aikya. Just like the law court, the experienced lawyer’s speaking and giving evidence. Sadhu-sastra, and the judge is giving judgement, “Here is a statement, here is this lawbook.” He has (indistinct). He also testing, the judge is also testing how the lawyer is speaking, and how it is corroborates to the lawbook. So similarly everything has to be tested in that way. The scripture should be consulted, and we should have to see whether it is corroborated. So we should not accept any man as spiritual master or holy man if he does not corroborate with the statement of the scripture. So we should not accept any man as spiritual master or holy man if he does not corroborate with the statement of the scripture. He’s at once rejected.
Allen Ginsberg: How shall we sing tomorrow. Have you thought of an arrangement of the program?
Prabhupada: As you like.
Allen Ginsberg: As you like. At what time are we supposed to do it?
Allen Ginsberg: In the hall?
Allen Ginsberg: Is there a stage?
Devotee: The stage has a…, there’s a seat, there’s a floor, and there’s gradually little steps about six, seven steps and then the stage, where the platform, so on the steps people can sit also.
Allen Ginsberg: Yes, the more the merrier. So how long will we go? Did you figure?
Hayagriva: Well, when, we have the auditorium till…
Allen Ginsberg: How long?
Hayagriva: At least two and a half hours.
Allen Ginsberg: Okay, let’s go through the whole two and a half.
Hayagriva: Good, good.
Prabhupada: So, how do you feeling about chanting?
Allen Ginsberg: I have been chanting steadily all along now although I enjoy it more and more.
Prabhupada: That’s all right.
Allen Ginsberg: Lately, Peter and I have been chanting together on stages, and lately we have been singing Raghupati Raghava Rajarama. Is that part of your canon also?
Prabhupada: No. There is no harm, but this chanting of Hare Krsna mantra is recommended in the scripture.
Allen Ginsberg: The Hare Krsna is the most pleasing of the chanting as far as I am concerned. Do we want to do that continuously, for as a complete?
Prabhupada: That’s nice.
Allen Ginsberg: Do you want to do that continuously or do you want any other like Gopala or…
Prabhupada: I think this Hare Krsna mantra should be chanted.
Allen Ginsberg: You see, we have two and a half hours.
Devotee: It’ll be lecturing too though.
Allen Ginsberg: Yes.
Prabhupada: I think in the beginning we should have kirtana.
Allen Ginsberg: Yes.
Prabhupada: And at the end we should have kirtana. And in the middle we can speak, you can speak about Krsna Conciousness.
Allen Ginsberg: I think you’d better speak because you’re more eloquent on it and also you understand in the language…
Prabhupada: I’ll speak and you’ll also speak.
Allen Ginsberg: You might not like what I say. (laughter)
Prabhupada: No you say your experience, how you’re experiencing. That’s all.
Allen Ginsberg: Yes. Okay.
Prabhupada: Yad yad vibhutimat sattvam. You have got Krsna’s blessings upon you. You are not ordinary man.
Allen Ginsberg: I’m not certain that I’m worthy of that, Swamiji.
Prabhupada: That’s all right. But I know that you are not ordinary man.
Allen Ginsberg: Well… I’ve only recently stopped smoking, by the way, finally. With that car crash, I quit smoking. But I haven’t stopped eating meat. So what is the intelligence of meat?
Prabhupada: You remain with us at least for three months and you’ll forget your… You remain with us for three months. (laughter) With your associates, you just come to Vrndavana. We shall live together.
Allen Ginsberg: You have a farm now?
Allen Ginsberg: You have a farm now?
Prabhupada: Yes. And you’ll forget everything. You’ll be fully Krsna conscious.
Allen Ginsberg: We have a farm also now in upstate New York. There we have vegetarian table also in the farm. We have a cow, goats. But…
Prabhupada: From economic point of view, if one man has got a cow and four acres of land, he has no economic problem. That we want to start. He can independently live any part of the world. Simply he must (have) one cow and four acres of land. Let the people be divided with four acres of land and a cow, there will be no economic question. All the factories will be closed.
Allen Ginsberg: Four acres, you think?
Prabhupada: Four acres.
Allen Ginsberg: Maybe.
Prabhupada: That I am instructing Kirtanananda, to show this example in New Vrindaban.
Allen Ginsberg: Are you going to be able to do it on four acres?
Kirtanananda: I hope so.
Prabhupada: Is it very difficult? Four acres of land per head?
Allen Ginsberg: I just this last night was in Minnesota, which is flat, very fertile, very rich land.
Prabhupada: Where it is? Which province?
Allen Ginsberg: Minnesota. Midwest. Further west. Talking with a poet who also is a fellow sadhana, whose family is from that area for many generations, whose brother has a thousand acres of land, and he himself has 160 acres of land. And as farming is done now in America, apparently 160 acres is not enough to support a farm economically because farming is done now in such large scale with machines.
Kirtanananda: You can use those machines if you want. If you want to live in the so-called American style, that is so. But if you’re willing to adopt the Vedic way of minimizing the material needs in order to pursue Krsna consciousness, what does one need? He needs sufficient food to keep the body healthy and a place to lay down. So four acres is plenty.
Allen Ginsberg: Where do you get the… How do you feed the cow, or would you?
Kirtanananda: On four acres you can do it.
Allen Ginsberg: You can get enough hay for a cow, for…?
Prabhupada: Fodder. Yes. We grow.
Guest: On food, it depends on what part of the east?
Allen Ginsberg: He’s a farmer.
Guest: Whereabouts? What part? Cause a cow has to have about three acres for grazing.
Kirtanananda: So at most five acres. It’s in that vicinity.
Allen Ginsberg: See we are interested in this problem of minimizing.
Prabhupada: So let us cooperate.
Allen Ginsberg: And doing organic farming and minimizing the effort and also the material demands.
Kirtanananda: You can grow sufficient vegetables on a fraction of an acre.
Allen Ginsberg: Yes. We had a big vegetable garden this year, too. I’ve been doing farming… Peter has been doing a great deal of farming.
Hayagriva: How are you tilling your land?
Guest: We have a friend who comes out with a plow.
Allen Ginsberg: You’re doing it by hand?
Kirtanananda: We just got a horse.
Hayagriva: We just got a horse. We had bad experience with a rotary tiller. We got rid of it.
Kirtanananda: West Virginia. We gave it away.
Allen Ginsberg: So we’re also going through a coovy(?) asrama for poets. A little farm for poets.
Prabhupada: Yes. Farming, agriculture, that is nice. There is a proverb: agriculture is the noblest profession. Is it not said? Agriculture is noblest, and Krsna was farmer, His father.
Allen Ginsberg: The cow.
Prabhupada: Cow, yes. And in Vedic literature you’ll find, a man is… Richness of a man is estimated by the possession of grains and cows. Dhanyena dhanavan. If he has got sufficient quantity grain, then he’s to be… Formerly, even still in India, when a daughter is offered to a family, they will go and see how many morais(?) there are. Grain stock. If he sees that he has five, six, big, big grain stock, then he can… “Oh, this is nice house.” You see? “They can feed.” So in India still, the arrangement is that every family has got at least two years grain in stock. You see? And cow at least one dozen. No economic problem. And actually, that is the fact. You keep cows and have sufficient grains, whole economic problem solved. Eating. And sleeping, you can take some wood and four pillars. Of course, in your country it is not…
Allen Ginsberg: It’s very cold.
Prabhupada: Very cold. (laughing) India, all the year they are lying on the flat sky.
Kirtanananda: But still, it is very simple. We also experimented with that. You can build a nice shelter very… for ten, fifteen dollars.
Allen Ginsberg: Well, it depends. You see, where we are we’re twenty below.
Kirtanananda: Well, we have pretty near that in West Virginia.
Allen Ginsberg: In Minnesota gets thirty, forty, sometimes, below.
Kirtanananda: There has to have sufficient wood sawed up.
Allen Ginsberg: Yes.
Prabhupada: Formerly, in Europe they were also living.
Allen Ginsberg: Man lived this way for 20,000 years, 30,000 years until the 19th Century.
Prabhupada: So we have to live that. Plain living, high thinking. The necessities of this bodily existence, that should be minimized and not unhealthy. Healthy. To keep oneself fit. But the time should be utilized—develop Krsna consciousness, spiritual life. Then his whole problem is solved. Here is the big man.
Allen Ginsberg: Young devotee.
Prabhupada: How many rounds you chant?
Child: All rounds.
Prabhupada: Only one round?
Child: All round.
Kirtanananda: All the way round.
Woman: All the rounds.
Prabhupada: All the rounds? Oh, very nice. He’s Mr. Dhari(?). Oh, you did not return?
Indian Lady: (Bengali)
Kirtanananda: (introducing:) Mr. Ginsberg.
Allen Ginsberg: I’m saluting you like that. So…
Indian Lady: (Bengali)
Prabhupada: Sucinam srimatam gehe.
Indian Lady: He’s so good, because he was so good last time.
Prabhupada: Children very easily adopt it. So this is the perfect yoga system. No artificial education. Spontaneous response, dancing, Hare Krsna. That’s all. This is the easiest method. So the greatest contribution to the human society. Do it.
Allen Ginsberg: Well, so tomorrow we’ll be doing it. So now, the next question I had in my mind is we’ll be doing kirtana, then language, speech. Then end with kirtana.
Prabhupada: That is also kirtana. Kirtana means kirtayati. Glorifying. That is kirtana. So either you sing musically or you speak devotionally, both of them are kirtana. Just like Sukadeva Gosvami, he continually spoke to Maharaja Pariksit. That is also state, sri visnu… sravane pariksit, abhavad vaiyasakih kirtane. Vaiyasaki, the son of Vyasadeva, Sukadeva Gosvami, he became liberated simply by kirtane. But what is that kirtana? He never played musical way. He simply explained Srimad-Bhagavatam. So this is also kirtana. This is called sankirtana. Bahubhir militva kirtayati. That is sankirtana.
Allen Ginsberg: The chanting is sankirtana.
Prabhupada: Chanting, yes. Sankirtana.
Allen Ginsberg: Well, if we have two and one half hours…
Hayagriva: We have as long as we…
Allen Ginsberg: How long a sankirtana to begin with, do you think?
Hayagriva: The first one would last, what thirty minutes? Forty minutes? Thirty, forty minutes?
Prabhupada: Yes. Forty, forty-five. At least, half an hour beginning.
Allen Ginsberg: Okay. At least half an hour.
Prabhupada: Last also, half an hour. One hour. And? You have got time? Two hours?
Hayagriva: Oh, as long as you want. Nobody’s going to be using that auditorium.
Prabhupada: Then make it one hour speaking and one hour kirtana. Or one half hour kirtana, one hour speaking.
Allen Ginsberg: At least an hour of kirtana, yes.
Hayagriva: I don’t know how long we will keep a big audience there. That is to say, after the first hour they might start milling out. But if we keep half an audience, that would be nice.
Allen Ginsberg: Yeah, well, half will stay. Then the other thing is what tune to use in the kirtanas? I use several tunes.
Prabhupada: That as you like.
Allen Ginsberg: I would like to begin with the one I’ve been using. Is that all right? Or do you want to end with that? Or whatever we want.
Hayagriva: How can we get the people to join in? That’s a big thing. We’d like to have the audience to join us.
Allen Ginsberg: It’s an audience seated out there, huh? Let me see. How many devotees will be there?
Kirtanananda: Everyone here. More from Buffalo.
Allen Ginsberg: What I think might be a good idea is, would it be possible to have the devotees start on the stage, and then if it looks like the audience is not singing vivaciously enough, have the devotees go out and sing… Walk up and down singing?
Prabhupada: When the audience joins, that will be very nice.
Allen Ginsberg: Yes. Do you have a picture of the words written out for the audience? ’Cause if they’ve got that…
Hayagriva: Yes, we have that.
Allen Ginsberg: The question I’m asking basically is, one question I’m asking is, would it be all right to use the tune I’ve been using at one point or another?
Hayagriva: Well, tomorrow night, if we can practice together, we can play together some…
Pradyumna: We have four drums, cymbals, and a tambura.
Hayagriva: We can use yours and we can use ours. When we chant, it’s easier for a large group to follow. It’s very simple. First, we sing a couple of melodies. Then we can practice in a little while and see which one is (indistinct).
Allen Ginsberg: Okay.
Hayagriva: I think once they get into the chanting, your melody might be a little difficult for them to follow. I’m not sure. Because it varies. There’s variation there.
Allen Ginsberg: The problem, though, is that I’ve never been able to swing with it before. That’s why I haven’t used it. So what I would suggest is… Okay. We’ll practice it tomorrow.
Hayagriva: We can swing, I’m sure we can swing something.
Allen Ginsberg: Yes. But whatever we do, we got to swing.
Hayagriva: That’s for sure. But there’ve been… See what you think of various melodies. We play various melodies and see how we can come out. Another thing, do you want to have responsive chanting?
Prabhupada: Responsive chanting must be there.
Allen Ginsberg: That would be interesting, yes.
Prabhupada: Otherwise everyone will become tired and that will be chaotic. Response. That’s nice. Then the audience will respond.
Allen Ginsberg: We got into some responsive chanting last time.
Kirtanananda: Why don’t you lead?
Prabhupada: Huh? I can lead.
Allen Ginsberg: That’s a good idea.
Prabhupada: I can lead.
Allen Ginsberg: That’s a groovy idea.
Hayagriva: I think what we’ll do is you lead the first chant, and then…
Prabhupada: Others will respond.
Hayagriva: And then Mr. Ginsberg can talk a little of his experiences, and then you talk. And then Mr. Ginsberg lead the second.
Prabhupada: That’s all right.
Devotee: Because Prabhupada will be speaking for an hour, maybe Hayagriva you can lead the first chant. You have a very nice voice too. Because he’ll be speaking for an hour.
Prabhupada: If there is time he will also speak.
Hayagriva: Well, if he can lead the first I think that would be… The students would be…
Allen Ginsberg: Yes. If he leads the first, will they be able to have responsive chanting too? Do you want responsive chanting when you lead?
Hayagriva: Oh yes. You’ll lead, then we’ll respond.
Prabhupada: If every one of our devotee will respond, naturally the audience also will respond.
Hayagriva: We’ll have a microphone to make it easier for the audience.
Prabhupada: Then you also one of us.
Allen Ginsberg: Yes.
Prabhupada: Yes. So there is nice microphone?
Hayagriva: There will be one, two, three, four, five microphones on stage. And I have one for around your neck, one for around your neck, and if you don’t like that, there are stands. But the stands can be down here, can be up here.
Allen Ginsberg: Can Peter get near one too? Can Peter get near a microphone?
Allen Ginsberg: Okay. Well, that’s a very good program then. What instrument, stage instruments, do you have? Do you have a harmonium?
Hayagriva: They’re from Buffalo. Oh, we have… We have two harmoniums.
Allen Ginsberg: I think we have our harmonium also.
Hayagriva: We have three harmoniums.
Allen Ginsberg: Same pitch?
Hayagriva: We’ll have to check that tomorrow.
Allen Ginsberg: Yes. Let’s check the pitch of the harmoniums tomorrow. I’ve been learning to write music. My kavi guru was a poet named William Blake. Do you know Blake?
Prabhupada: Oh. Yes, yes, I have heard his name.
Allen Ginsberg: So I’ve been writing music. He’s a lot like Kabir. Yes. Srimata Krsnaji and Bankibehari in Vrndavana. Do you know them at all?
Allen Ginsberg: Srimata Krsnaji in Vrndavana, is a lady in Vrndavana who translates Kabir into English, compared him with Blake.
Prabhupada: No, she is different. I know one Mataji. She came to see me from Vrndavana in Los Angeles. She’s in London.
Allen Ginsberg: So I have been learning to notate music, in…, singing songs by William Blake which I’ve written a little music to. So those are, in a way, my guru’s songs.
Prabhupada: I can give you so many songs. (laughter) Just like he can read it.
Allen Ginsberg: Are there many songs in there?
Prabhupada: Not there. There is diacritic mark. Can you read it?
Allen Ginsberg: No. I don’t think.
Prabhupada: This, Nitai-pada…
Allen Ginsberg: Nitai-pada-kamala koti candra susitala.
Prabhupada: Yes, you are reading.
Allen Ginsberg: Ye chayaya jagata juraya. Hena nitai vine bhai, radha-krsna paite nai…
Prabhupada: Dharo nitai… Drdha kori… You can read it. It is not difficult.
Allen Ginsberg: Se sambandha nahi jar, brtha janma gelo tar. What meter is that in? Da-da-da-da da-da-da, da-da-da-da…
Prabhupada: Yes, yes.
se sambandha nahi jar brtha janma gelo tar sei pasu boro duracar
nitai na bolilo mukhe majilo samsara sukhe vidya kule ki koribe tar
I shall explain to you sometime.
Allen Ginsberg: Ahankare matta hoiya…
ahankare matta hoiya nitai pada pasariya asatyere satya kori mani
nitaiyer koruna habe braje radha-krsna pabe dharo nitai carana du ’khani
Allen Ginsberg: Who wrote this?
Prabhupada: This is Narottama dasa Thakura, a great poet and devotee.
Allen Ginsberg: Who?
Prabhupada: Narottama dasa Thakura.
Allen Ginsberg: You’ve been writing many in… A beautiful notebook.
Prabhupada: This, I was supplied this dummy book, without printing. So I’m using it as notebook. (laughs)
Allen Ginsberg: Would you like to hear one of the Blake songs?
Prabhupada: Blake song?
Allen Ginsberg: Yes.
Prabhupada: Yes, why not.
Allen Ginsberg: (to Peter) Do you want to sing “Tears Up”? (singing:)
Whate’er is born of mortal birth Must be consumed with the earth, To rise from generations free, Then why have I to do with thee?
The sexes sprung from shame and pride, Blow in the morn, in the evening die, But mercy change death into sleep The sexes rose to walk and weep.
The mother of my mortal part With cruelty did’st mould my heart, And with false self-deceiving tears, Did’st bind my nostrils, eyes and ears
Did’st close my tongue in senseless clay And be to mortal life betrayed. The death of Jesus set me free Then what have I to do with thee.
It is raised, a spiritual body.
Prabhupada: He believes in spiritual body. That’s nice. (laughter)
Allen Ginsberg: It’s a,…
Prabhupada: That is Krsna Consciousness.
Allen Ginsberg: …it’s Blake’s version.
Prabhupada: (to Hayagriva) I think you wrote one article about this?
Hayagriva: Enlight… I think in one of the Krsna Consciousness poetry, I mentioned Blake.
Allen Ginsberg: Yes, he apparently fits into, in the West what is called the Gnostic tradition, which has similar ideas and similar bhakti attitudes to the Buddhist and Hindu traditions. Similar cosmography, cosmology. He was my teacher.
Prabhupada: He did not give much stress on this material body.
Allen Ginsberg: No! At the end of his life, he didn’t count on the material body.
Prabhupada: So, there is a spiritual concept of life in his poetry.
Hayagriva: Blake died on chanting. I don’t know what he was chanting but he died singing.
Allen Ginsberg: He died singing.
Hayagriva: He died singing something.
Allen Ginsberg: What of Blake’s would in fit in, I wonder? “The Lamb?” “The Lamb” would fit. Oh, “The Chimneysweeper,” yes, “The Chimneysweeper.” (to Peter) Do you want to try that?
Prabhupada: Chimney sweeper?
Allen Ginsberg: It’s a song by Blake: “When my…” (to Peter) Do you need the words or, you can follow it without the words, yeah:
When my mother died I was very young And my father sold me while yet my tongue Could scarcely cry, weep, weep, weep, weep. So your chimneys I sweep and in soot I sleep.
There’s little Tom Dockreb who dark cried when his head That curled like a lamb’s back were shaved, so I said, “Hush Tom, never mind it for when your head’s bare, You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair.”
And so he was quiet and that very night As Tom was asleeping he has such a sigh That thousands of sweepers Dick, Joe, Ned, and Jack Were all of them locked in coffins of black
And by came an angel who had a bright key And he opened the coffins and set them all free, Then down a green plain, leaping, laughing they ran And wash in a river and shine in the sun.
Then naked and wiped, all their bags left behind They rise upon clouds and sport in the wind And the angel told Tom if he be a good boy He’d have God for his father and never want joy.
And so Tom awoke and we rose in the dark And God with our bags and our brushes to work Though the morning was cold, Tom was happy and warm So if all do their duty, they need not fear harm.
Did you understand the…
Prabhupada: Some of them.
Allen Ginsberg: Well it’s… The chimneysweeper is the little boy who has to go into a chimney to sweep out the soot. And the man who hired the chimneysweeper cut off all his hair, and he had beautiful hair, so his friend told him, “Never mind because when your hair is gone you know that the soot cannot spoil your pretty white hair.” So if you have no hair you don’t have to worry what will happen to your hair, which is a very Vaisnava doctrine also.
Devotee: Excuse me, Prabhupada, it’s five to eleven now.
Allen Ginsberg: Ok. We’d better let everybody retire.
Kirtanananda: Here, there’s a little bit of food coming.
Devotee: Ah, prasadam.
Allen Ginsberg: Oh, it’s a Gnostic doctrine, if it’s not Vaisnava.
Prabhupada: Come on. You come, Mr. Ginsberg, take. First of all, you take. You take.
Allen Ginsberg: Thank you.
Prabhupada: Take more.
Allen Ginsberg: I have something. (end)