a conversation between HIs Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and a poet Allen Ginsberg
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 Hanumānji or a devotee of Hanumān. And he said that, 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 asked. Are you tired?
Prabhupāda: 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...
Prabhupāda: (aside:) (Bengali)
Allen Ginsberg: Namaste. (to Indian lady)
Prabhupāda: She is a Bengali lady recently come from London.
Allen Ginsberg: Ahh!
Prabhupāda: Lekha. (Bengali)
Indian Lady: (Bengali)
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 any of these material forms...
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 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. 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? Śakti śaktimator abhedhaḥ. Śakti, energy and śakti-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 kṛṣṇa...
Prabhupāda: Yes, is non-different 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 Kṛṣṇized. Kṛṣṇized. So when you are fully Kṛṣṇized, then you are in the Kṛṣṇa platform. Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti kaunteya [Bg. 4.9], then fully Kṛṣṇized, no more comes back to this material existence. He remains with Kṛṣṇa. 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 Kṛṣṇa 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-mārga, is to keep individuality and agree with you.
Allen Ginsberg: To keep...?
Prabhupāda: And agree with you. Our surrender means we agree with Kṛṣṇa in everything, although we are individual. If Kṛṣṇa 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-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 [Bg. 18.73], "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 [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. 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 associates. 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 Brahmā, what is supreme? Athāto brahma jijñāsā, to inquire about Brahmān, 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 [Bg. 7.19], 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 [Bg. 7.19], to understand, why not accept it immediately?
Room Conversation with Allen Ginsberg -- May 11, 1969, Columbus, Ohio