690511 - Conversation with Allen Ginsberg - Columbus
Allen Ginsberg: Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Prabhupāda: Hare Kṛṣṇa. (chuckles)
Allen Ginsberg: So, we will sing tomorrow.
Prabhupāda: Yes. (laughs)
Allen Ginsberg: Is this your first visit here?
Prabhupāda: The first visit, yes.
Allen Ginsberg: You have the whole house?
Prabhupāda: Yes. They are doing very nice . . . (indistinct) . . . up. Noon have some meeting in the university, kīrtana. Our . . . wherever we go, kīrtana 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?
Allen Ginsberg: Printed in Japan.
Allen Ginsberg: Beautiful. You are very industrious. It's marvelous. (chuckles)
Prabhupāda: Next book is coming, Nectar of Devotion.
Allen Ginsberg: What will that be? Your own writings?
Prabhupāda: No, it is the authorized translation of Rūpa Gosvāmī's book, Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu.
Allen Ginsberg: Whose . . .?
Prabhupāda: Rūpa Gosvāmī, Lord Caitanya's principal disciple.
Allen Ginsberg: Uh-uh.
Prabhupāda: Rūpa Gosvāmī. There are six Gosvāmīs, direct disciples of Lord Caitanya. Er, not . . . six Gosvāmīs and three other confidential.
Allen Ginsberg: Yeah.
Prabhupāda: So, our . . . amongst the six Gosvāmīs, Rūpa Gosvāmī is the principal.
Allen Ginsberg: Rūpa Gos . . .
Prabhupāda: Rūpa Gosvāmī. He was finance minister in this 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, Gosvāmīs. And that just I was talking that Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, he says,
- rūpa-raghunātha-pade haibe ākuti
- kabe hāma bujhaba (se) yugala-pīriti
- (Prārthanā 1.3–4)
The conjugal love of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, one can understand when they go through the literatures presented by these Gosvāmīs.
So his first book is Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, the ocean of . . . Nectar of Devotion. That is very authorized book. Quotation from various Vedic literature about Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and the different stages of relationship with Kṛṣṇa: śānta-rasa, dāsya-rasa,
(break) admiration, "God is great." This is also one stage, appreciating the greatness of God. Then further development, dāsya-rasa, willing to serve. "Oh! God is so great, and I must serve." Because every one of us serving somebody. So why not serve the Supreme?
Nobody is free from service, because we are constitutionally servant. Either we become servant of the great or māyā. Just like in any condition of our life, we have to abide by the laws of the state. If he says that "We don't abide," then come to prison house. You will be forced. Similarly, māyā and Kṛṣṇa. If we don't abide by Kṛṣṇa, then come to māyā. 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 Hanumānjī, or a devotee of Hanumān. And he said that . . . when we were talking about māyā and the present condition of America . . .
Prabhupāda: 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 ask. Are you tired?
Prabhupāda: No, no. I can talk with you whole night. (laughs)
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 . . .
Prabhupāda: (aside) Eke chenen? Ini hochhen Allen Ginsberg. (Do you know this person? This is Allen Ginsberg.)
Allen Ginsberg: Namaste. (to Indian lady)
Prabhupāda: She is a Bengali lady recently come from London.
Allen Ginsberg: Ah.
Indian lady: London theke eschhen. (He came from London.)
Prabhupāda: Na, uni ei New York a thaken. (No, he lives in New York.)
Allen Ginsberg: So, as the Kali-yuga became more intense and as attachment became deeper and more confusing . . .
Prabhupāda: Attachment for?
Allen Ginsberg: . . . that salvation would also have to become easier and easier in the Kali-yuga.
Prabhupāda: That is very nice statement that in the Kali-yuga salvation is very easier. That is the version of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam also. But that process is this kīrtana, 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 . . .
Prabhupāda: Hmm. So where is the salvation when there is . . .
Allen Ginsberg: . . . that Kṛṣṇa had the humor to emerge as a pill.
Prabhupāda: No, the thing is that when it is material form . . .
Allen Ginsberg: Yes?
Prabhupāda: . . . then where it is salvation? It is illusion.
Allen Ginsberg: Well, the subjective effect is to cut . . .
Allen Ginsberg: . . . attachment during the . . .
Prabhupāda: Well, if you have got attachments for something material, then where is the cut-off of attachment? LSD is a material chemical.
Allen Ginsberg: Yeah.
Prabhupāda: 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 . . .
Prabhupāda: 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, śabda, also a material attachment?
Prabhupāda: No, śabda 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?
Prabhupāda: Yes, yes.
Allen Ginsberg: What was the first sound, traditionally?
Prabhupāda: Vedic states oṁ. Yes. 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 nondifferent, absolute. I say "Mr. Ginsberg," this sound and I, a little difference. But God is nondifferent from His energy.
Nitya . . . what is called? Śakti śaktimator abhedhaḥ. Śakti, energy, and śakti-mat, the energetic, they are nondifferent. Just like fire and heat, they are nondifferent, but heat is not fire. You cannot differentiate heat from fire or fire from heat. But fire is not heat.
Allen Ginsberg: Well, the sounds, the sound kṛṣṇa . . .
Prabhupāda: Yes, is nondifferent from Kṛṣṇa.
Allen Ginsberg: . . . is not different from Kṛṣṇa.
Prabhupāda: No. Therefore, this sound Kṛṣṇa . . .
Allen Ginsberg: Under all circumstances?
Prabhupāda: Yes, all, all circumstances. But it is the question of my appreciation, or my realization. That will depend on my purity. Otherwise, this Kṛṣṇa sound and Kṛṣṇa, non-different. Therefore if we vibrate sound Kṛṣṇa, then I am immediately in contact with Kṛṣṇa, and if Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa-ized. Kṛṣṇa-ized. So when you are fully Kṛṣṇa-ized, then you are in the Kṛṣṇa platform. Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti kaunteya (BG 4.9). Then fully Kṛṣṇa-ized, no more comes back to this material existence. He remains with Kṛṣṇa.
The impersonalists shall say "merging." So that is less intelligence. Merging does not mean losing individuality. Just like a green bird enters a green tree; it appears merging, but that bird has not lost his individuality. There is individuality. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa says in the Fourth Chapter . . . no, Second Chapter that, "I, you, Arjuna, I and all these people who have assembled, it is not that they did not exist previously, neither it is that they will 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 individual.
And individually we are that, in our present existence, every one 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-mārga, is to keep individuality and agree with it.
Allen Ginsberg: To keep . . .?
Prabhupāda: And agree with you. Our surrender means we agree with Kṛṣṇa in everything, although you are individual. If Kṛṣṇa says you have to die, we die—out of love. But we are individual. I can deny it, "Why shall I die?" That prerogative I have got. Just like Arjuna was asked, "Now I have taught you Bhagavad-gītā, now whatever you like, you do," yathecchasi tathā kuru (BG 18.63), "as you like."
He doesn't touch the individuality. But Arjuna voluntarily surrendered: "Yes," kariṣye vacanaṁ tava. "Yes, I shall do whatever You ask." He changed his decision. He decided not to fight, but he agreed, "Yes," kariṣye vacanaṁ tava. This agreement, this is oneness. Not oneness does not mean mix up homogeneously. No. He keeps his individuality. Kṛṣṇa keeps his individuality, yathecchasi tathā kuru: "Now, whatever you like, you do." He says, "Yes," kariṣye vacanaṁ tava, "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. Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa, he cannot live there. There, the only predominant figure is Kṛṣṇa.
So one who is trained fully to agree with Kṛṣṇa, they are accepted as associate. Therefore Bhagavad-gītā says, bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ pradadyate (BG 7.19) "After many, many births of cultivating knowledge in spiritual life, a fully conversant, wise person surrenders unto Me." Bahūnāṁ janmanaṁ ante: after many, many births. How he surrenders? Vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti (BG 7.19): "Oh! Kṛṣṇa is everything."
The Vedānta-sūtra gives hint, janmādy asya yataḥ (SB 1.1.1), what is Brahman, what is supreme. Athāto brahma jijñāsā: 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: Kṛṣṇa." Vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ: that mahātmā, 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 Kṛṣṇa. This is Kṛṣṇa 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 Kṛṣṇa is everything, vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti, to understand, why not accept it immediately?
Allen Ginsberg: Do you take the rebirth literally?
Allen Ginsberg: Do you take rebirth in human form literally?
Allen Ginsberg: As a . . .
Prabhupāda: What is the difficulty?
Allen Ginsberg: I just don't remember having been born before.
Allen Ginsberg: I don't remember having been born before.
Prabhupāda: 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 do?
Allen Ginsberg: Certain things. Not very small, but there.
Prabhupāda: Or when you were in your womb of your mother. Do you remember?
Allen Ginsberg: No.
Prabhupāda: Then? Does it mean that you are not?
Allen Ginsberg: No, it doesn't mean that I am not.
Prabhupāda: Yes. So you do not remember, that is not reason. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā.
Allen Ginsberg: Yeah.
- dehino 'smin yathā dehe
- kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā
- tathā dehāntara-prāptir
- dhīras 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 commonsense reason. 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.
Prabhupāda: 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."
Prabhupāda: Is it not sensible?
Allen Ginsberg: Not really, no. (laughs)
Prabhupāda: Why not?
Allen Ginsberg: Sensible, touchable.
Prabhupāda: Now, suppose—not suppose; it's a fact—your body in the mother's womb in the first day . . .
Allen Ginsberg: Yeah.
Prabhupāda: . . . of the father-mother sex life, it comes just like the pea, like a . . . (indistinct) . . . 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.
Prabhupāda: Then you have to consult. Therefore you have to take, just like when you cannot understand something, we consult some great authority. Is it not?
Allen Ginsberg: Not enough to make me dream of it at night, no.
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.
Prabhupāda: You don't accept authority?
Allen Ginsberg: Not enough to love.
Prabhupāda: No, love, apart from love.
Allen Ginsberg: Not enough to . . .
Allen Ginsberg: . . . going to accept authority. It's just that . . .
Prabhupāda: Consult, consult.
Allen Ginsberg: I can't even understand an authority that says that I am there when I don't feel myself there.
Prabhupāda: 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.
Prabhupāda: No, that is, that is . . .
Allen Ginsberg: No, here is a special problem.
Prabhupāda: 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 vijñānārthaṁ 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 . . .
Prabhupāda: No, we have to corroborate.
Allen Ginsberg: . . . of your own?
Prabhupāda: Corroborate. Just like in the Bhagavad-gītā it is said that śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe yoga-bhraṣṭo 'bhijāyate (BG 6.41). One who could not finish this Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he gets birth in two places—either in very rich family or in a very pure Brahmin 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 Kṛṣṇa. And I got the opportunity of this two things. Although my father was not very rich, but he was pure Vaiṣṇava. He was great devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa.
Allen Ginsberg: I assume in Calcutta.
Prabhupāda: 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 Mullik's family.
Indian woman: Kashi Mulliker? Okhane gechhi. (Went there.)
Prabhupāda: 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 Mullik, they have got nice Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa temple. So I was standing before the Deity, and I was seeing, "Oh, He is Kṛṣṇa. 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 Kṛṣṇa. Give me." So my father gave me Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, so I, whatever I was eating, I was offering Them. So the statement of the śāstra and my practical experience corroborates.
So we have to take instance like that, you see? Sādhu śāstra guru vākya. We have to test everything from three position: the spiritual master, scripture and holy man. Scripture means, just like Bible. What is Bible? Scripture. Why it is scripture? It is fully contains the instruction of sādhu, holy man, or spiritual master, Lord Jesus Christ; therefore is scripture.
The scripture means the statement of liberated holy man. That is sādhu. 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?
Prabhupāda: 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. A spiritual master is to be tested whether he is holy man, and whether there is corroboration in the statement of the scripture. Sādhu śāstra guru vākya tinete koriya aikya (Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura).
Just like the law court, the experienced lawyer's speaking and giving evidence. Sādhu-śāstra. And the judge is giving judgment, "Here is a statement, here is this law book." He has the judgment, you see. So he is also testing. The judge is also testing how the lawyer is speaking, and how it is corroborates to the law book.
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. He's at once rejected.
Allen Ginsberg: How shall we sing tomorrow?
Allen Ginsberg: How shall we sing tomorrow? Have you thought of an arrangement of the program?
Prabhupāda: As you like.
Allen Ginsberg: As you like. (laughs) Well, at what time are we supposed to do it?
Allen Ginsberg: In the hall?
Allen Ginsberg: Is there a stage?
Pradyumna: Hmm. 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?
Hayagrīva: Well, when . . . we have the auditorium till . . .
Allen Ginsberg: How long?
Hayagrīva: At least two and a half hours.
Allen Ginsberg: Okay, let's go through the whole two and a half.
Hayagrīva: Good, good.
Prabhupāda: So, how do you feeling about chanting?
Allen Ginsberg: I have been chanting steadily all along now, and I enjoy it more and more.
Prabhupāda: That's all right.
Allen Ginsberg: Lately, Peter and I have been chanting together on stages, and lately we have been singing Rāghupati-rāghava-rājarāma. Is that part of your canon also?
Prabhupāda: No. There is no harm, but this chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is recommended in the scripture.
Allen Ginsberg: The Hare Kṛṣṇa is the most pleasing of the chanting as far as I am concerned. Do we want to do that continuously, for as a complete?
Prabhupāda: That's nice.
Allen Ginsberg: Do you want to do that continuously, or do you want any other, like Gopāla or . . .
Prabhupāda: I think this Hare Kṛṣṇa 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.
Prabhupāda: I think in the beginning we should have kīrtana.
Allen Ginsberg: Yes.
Prabhupāda: And at the end we should have kīrtana. And in the middle we can speak, you can speak about Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Allen Ginsberg: I think you'd better speak, because you're more eloquent on it, and also you understand in the language . . .
Prabhupāda: I'll speak, you'll also speak.
Allen Ginsberg: You might not like what I say. (laughter)
Prabhupāda: No, you say your experience, how you're experiencing. That's all.
Allen Ginsberg: Yes. Okay.
Prabhupāda: Yes. All right. Yad yad vibhūtimat sattvaṁ. You have got Kṛṣṇa's blessings upon you. You are not ordinary man.
Allen Ginsberg: I'm not certain that I'm worthy of that, Swāmījī.
Prabhupāda: 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?
Prabhupāda: 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 Vṛndāvana. We shall live together.
Allen Ginsberg: You have a farm now?
Allen Ginsberg: You have a farm now?
Prabhupāda: Yes. And you'll forget everything. You'll be fully Kṛṣṇa conscious.
Allen Ginsberg: We have a farm also now in upstate New York. There we have vegetarian table also in the farm. We have cow, goats. But . . .
Prabhupāda: 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?
Prabhupāda: Four acres.
Allen Ginsberg: Maybe.
Prabhupāda: That I am instructing Kīrtanānanda, to show this example in New Vrindaban.
Allen Ginsberg: Are you going to be able to do it on four acres?
Kīrtanānanda: I hope so. Whatever he tells me . . .
Prabhupāda: 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.
Prabhupāda: Where it is? Which province?
Allen Ginsberg: Minnesota. Midwest. Further west. Talking with a poet who also is a fellow sādhana, 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 on such large scale with machines.
Kīrtanānanda: 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness . . . (indistinct) . . . what does one need? He needs sufficient food to keep the body healthy and a place to lay down. So four acres is plenty. My idea is that it's not . . .
Allen Ginsberg: Where do you get the . . . how do you feed the cow, or would you?
Kīrtanānanda: On four acres you can do it.
Allen Ginsberg: You can get enough hay for a cow, for . . .?
Prabhupāda: Fodder. Yes. You 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.
Kīrtanānanda: For grazing.
Allen Ginsberg: Is that what they prescribe?
Kīrtanānanda: So at most five acres. It's in that vicinity.
Allen Ginsberg: So we are interested in this problem of minimizing.
Prabhupāda: So let us cooperate.
Allen Ginsberg: And often doing organic farming and minimizing the effort and also the material demands.
Kīrtanānanda: One person 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.
Hayagrīva: How are you tilling your land?
Peter: We have a friend who comes out with a plow.
Allen Ginsberg: You're doing it by hand?
Kīrtanānanda: We just got a horse.
Devotee: We just got a horse. We had bad experience with a rotary tiller. We got rid of it.
Kīrtanānanda: West Virginia. Near Wheeling.
Allen Ginsberg: So we're also going through a kobi āśrama for poets. A little farm for poets.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Farming, agriculture, that is nice. There is a proverb: agriculture is the noblest profession. Is it not said? Agriculture is noblest, and Kṛṣṇa was farmer, His father.
Allen Ginsberg: The cow.
Prabhupāda: 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 dhanavān. 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.
Prabhupāda: Very cold. (laughing) India, all the year they are lying on the flat sky.
Kīrtanānanda: But still, it is very simple. We've 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.
Kīrtanānanda: Well, we have pretty near that in West Virginia.
Allen Ginsberg: In Minneapolis . . . Minnesota gets thirty, forty, sometimes, below.
Kīrtanānanda: There has to have sufficient wood sawed up.
Allen Ginsberg: Yes.
Prabhupāda: Formerly, in Europe they were also living.
Allen Ginsberg: Man lived this way for 20,000 years, 30,000 years until the nineteenth century.
Prabhupāda: So we have to live like 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 Kṛṣṇa consciousness, spiritual life. Then his whole problem is solved.
(devotee child enters) Here is a big man.
Allen Ginsberg: Young devotee.
Prabhupāda: How many round you chant?
Child: All rounds.
Prabhupāda: Only one round?
Child: All rounds.
Kīrtanānanda: All the way round.
Woman: All the rounds.
Prabhupāda: All the rounds? Oh, very nice. He's Mr. Dhari. Oh, you did not return?
Indian lady: Or koto jonmer ki koto bhalo punno korechhen, tai na bolun oke, o koto jonmer punnoi e rokom jonmo peyechhe chhele. (She has acquired virtue for many births, isn't it so? Tell her by the virtue of many births, she has got such a son.)
Kīrtanānanda: (introducing) Mr. Ginsberg.
Allen Ginsberg: I'm saluting you like that. So . . .
Indian lady: Goto jonmer punno te or ei chhele, tai bolun oke. (By the virtue of her past birth she got such a boy. Tell her that.)
Prabhupāda: Śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe. (BG 6.41).
Indian lady: He's birth so good, because he was so good last time.
Prabhupāda: Children very easily adopt it. So this is the perfect yoga system. No artificial education. Spontaneous response: dancing, Hare Kṛṣṇa. 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 kīrtana, then language, speech. Then end with kīrtana.
Prabhupāda: That is also kīrtana. Kīrtana means kīrtayati, glorifying. That is kīrtana. So either you sing musically or you speak devotionally, both of them are kīrtana. Just like Śukadeva Gosvāmī, he continually spoke to Mahārāja Parīkṣit. That is also state . . . śrī viṣṇu . . . śravaṇe parīkṣit, abhavad vaiyāsakiḥ kīrtane.
Vaiyāsaki, the son of Vyāsadeva, Sukadeva Gosvāmī, he became liberated simply by kīrtane. But what is that kīrtana? He never played musical way. He simply explained Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. So this is also kīrtana. This is called saṅkīrtana. Bahubhir militvā kīrtayati. That is saṅkīrtana.
Allen Ginsberg: The chanting is saṅkīrtana.
Prabhupāda: Chanting, yes. Saṅkīrtana.
Allen Ginsberg: Well, if we have two and one half hours . . .
Hayagrīva: We have as long as we . . .
Allen Ginsberg: How long a saṅkīrtana to begin with, do you think?
Hayagrīva: The first one would last, what, thirty minutes? Forty minutes? Thirty, forty minutes?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Forty, forty-five. No, at least half an hour beginning.
Allen Ginsberg: Okay. At least half an hour.
Prabhupāda: Last also, half an hour. One hour. And? You have got time? Two hours?
Hayagrīva: Oh, Swamiji wants that. Nobody's going to be using that auditorium.
Prabhupāda: Then make it one hour speaking and one hour kīrtana. Or one half hour kīrtana, one hour speaking.
Allen Ginsberg: At least an hour of kīrtana, yes.
Hayagrīva: 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 kīrtanas? I use several tunes.
Prabhupāda: 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.
Hayagrīva: 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, right? Let me see. How many devotees will be there?
Kīrtanānanda: Everyone here. More from Buffalo.
Hayagrīva: Did you check in on . . .
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?
Prabhupāda: When the audience joins, that will be very nice.
Allen Ginsberg: Yes. Do you have sheets with the words written out for the audience? 'Cause if they've got that . . .
Hayagrīva: 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?
Hayagrīva: Well, tomorrow, if we can practice together, we can play together some . . .
Pradyumna: We have four drums, cymbals and a taṁburā.
Hayagrīva: 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.
Hayagrīva: 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 a 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.
Hayagrīva: We can swing. I'm sure we can swing something.
Allen Ginsberg: Yes. But whatever we do, we got to swing.
Hayagrīva: 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?
Prabhupāda: Responsive chanting must be there.
Allen Ginsberg: That would be interesting, yes.
Prabhupāda: 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.
Kīrtanānanda: Why don't you lead?
Prabhupāda: Huh? I can lead.
Allen Ginsberg: That's a good idea.
Prabhupāda: I can lead.
Allen Ginsberg: That's a groovy idea.
Hayagrīva: I think what we'll do is you lead the first chant, and then . . .
Prabhupāda: Others will respond.
Hayagrīva: And then Mr. Ginsberg can talk a little of his experiences, and then you talk. And then Mr. Ginsberg lead the second.
Prabhupāda: That's all right.
Devotee: Because Prabhupāda will be speaking for an hour, maybe Hayagrīva, you can lead the first chant. You have a very nice voice too. Because he'll be speaking for an hour.
Prabhupāda: If there is time he will also speak.
Hayagrīva: 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?
Hayagrīva: Oh, yes. You'll lead, then we'll respond.
Prabhupāda: If every one of our devotee will respond, naturally the audience also will respond.
Hayagrīva: We'll have a microphone to make it easier for the audience.
Prabhupāda: Then you also one of us.
Allen Ginsberg: Yes.
Prabhupāda: Yes. So there is nice microphone?
Hayagrīva: 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, string instruments, do you have? Do you have a harmonium?
Hayagrīva: They're people from Buffalo. Oh, we have . . . we have two harmoniums.
Allen Ginsberg: I think we have our harmonium also.
Hayagrīva: We have three harmoniums.
Allen Ginsberg: Same pitch?
Hayagrīva: 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?
Prabhupāda: Oh. Yes, yes, I have heard his name.
Allen Ginsberg: So I've been writing music. He's a lot like Kabir.
Allen Ginsberg: Yes. Śrīmata Kṛṣṇajī and Bankibehari in Vṛndāvana . . . do you know them at all?
Allen Ginsberg: Śrīmata Kṛṣṇajī in Vṛndāvana is a lady in Vṛndāvana who translates Kabir into English, compared him with Blake.
Prabhupāda: Then she is different. I know one Mātājī, she came to see me from Vṛndāvana in Los Angeles. She's in London. Yes.
Indian lady: I didn't meet her, no.
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.
Prabhupāda: I can give you so many songs. (laughter) Just like he can read it.
Allen Ginsberg: Are there many songs in there?
Prabhupāda: Not there. There is diacritic mark. Can you read it?
Allen Ginsberg: No. I don't . . . (indistinct)
Prabhupāda: This, Nitāi-pada . . .
Allen Ginsberg: Nitāi-pada-kamala koṭi candra suśītala.
Prabhupāda: Yes, you are reading.
Allen Ginsberg: Ye chāyāya jagata jurāya. Hena nitāi vine bhāi, rādhā-kṛṣṇa pāite nāi . . .
Prabhupāda: Dharo nitāi . . . dṛḍha kori . . . you can read it. It is not difficult.
Allen Ginsberg: Se sambandha nāhi jār, bṛthā janma gelo tār. What meter is that in? Da-da-da-da da-da-da, da-da-da-da . . .
Prabhupāda: Yes, yes.
- se sambandha nāhi jār
- bṛthā janma gelo tār
- sei paśu boro durācār
- nitāi nā bolilo mukhe
- majilo saṁsāra sukhe
- vidyā kule ki koribe tār
I shall explain to you sometime.
Allen Ginsberg: Ahaṅkāre matta hoiyā . . .
- ahaṅkāre matta hoiyā
- nitāi pada pāsariyā
- asatyere satya kori māni
- nitāiyer koruṇā habe
- braje rādhā-kṛṣṇa pābe
- dharo nitāi caraṇa du 'khāni
Allen Ginsberg: Who wrote this?
Prabhupāda: This is Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, a great poet and devotee.
Allen Ginsberg: Whom?
Prabhupāda: Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura.
Allen Ginsberg: You've been writing many in . . . a beautiful notebook.
Prabhupāda: 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?
Allen Ginsberg: Would you like to hear one of the songs of Blake?
Prabhupāda: Blake song?
Allen Ginsberg: Yes.
Prabhupāda: Yes, why not?
Allen Ginsberg: (to Peter) Do you want to sing "Tirzah"?
- Whate'er is born of mortal birth
- Must be consumed with the earth,
- To rise from generations free,
- Then what 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 me to mortal life betray.
- The death of Jesus set me free
- Then what have I to do with thee.
- It is raised, a spiritual body.
Prabhupāda: He believes in spiritual body. That's nice. (laughter)
Allen Ginsberg: It's a . . .
Prabhupāda: That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Allen Ginsberg: . . . it's Blake's version.
Prabhupāda: (to Hayagrīva) I think you wrote one article about this?
Hayagrīva: Blake? I think in one of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness poetry, you mentioned Blakes.
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.
Prabhupāda: 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.
Prabhupāda: So, there is a spiritual concept of life in his poetry.
Hayagrīva: Blake died chanting. I don't know what he was chanting, but he died singing.
Allen Ginsberg: He died singing.
Hayagrīva: 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?
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 Dacre who cried when his head
- That curled like a lamb's back was 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 a-sleeping he had such a sight
- That thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, and Jack,
- Were all of them locked up 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 white, all their bags left behind
- They rise upon clouds and sport in the wind
- And the angel told Tom if he'd 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 got 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 . . .
Prabhupāda: Some of them.
Allen Ginsberg: Well it's . . . the chimney sweeper is the little boy who has to go into a chimney to sweep out the soot. And the man who hired the chimney sweeper 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 Vaiṣṇava doctrine also.
Devotee: Excuse me, Prabhupāda, it's five to eleven now.
Allen Ginsberg: Ok. We'd better let everybody retire.
Kīrtanānanda: Here, there's a little food coming.
Devotee: Ah, prasādam.
Allen Ginsberg: Oh, it's a Gnostic doctrine, if it's not Vaiṣṇava.
Prabhupāda: Come on. You come, Mr. Ginsberg. Take.
Allen Ginsberg: Just take?
Prabhupāda: Yes. First of all, you take. You take.
Allen Ginsberg: Thank you.
Prabhupāda: Take more.
Allen Ginsberg: Better have something . . . (break) (end)
- 1969 - Conversations
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