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690514 - Conversation with Allen Ginsberg - Columbus

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

690514R1-COLUMBUS - May 14, 1969 - 33:36 Minutes

Prabhupāda: . . . six or seven years old, my father was worshiping, so I wanted to imitate. I asked him that, "Give me Deity." So he gave me.

Allen Ginsberg: Did you wash Them and play with Them?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Washed, changed dress.

Allen Ginsberg: Fed Them.

Prabhupāda: Yes, everything.

Allen Ginsberg: You still? You still? Do you still wash Them and feed Them and play with Them?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Now my disciples I have. (laughs) At home I was doing that.

Allen Ginsberg: Yes. What are you reading?

Prabhupāda: Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. This is original Sanskrit. There are eight commentaries by big, big stalwart scholars.

Allen Ginsberg: These are the commentaries? And this is the text?

Prabhupāda: This is text.

Allen Ginsberg: What does the Sanskrit sound like? Is that to be . . . is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam to be chanted?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Just like . . . I will read some portion. Tasmai tubhyāṁ bhagavate vāsudevāya vedhase to vāsudevāya śantāya yadunām pataye namaḥ, (SB 10.10.33-36). Like this:

tasmai tubhyaṁ bhagavate
vāsudevāya vedhase
ātma-dyota-guṇaiś channa-
mahimne brahmaṇe namaḥ
(SB 10.10.33)
yasyāvatārā jñāyante
śarīreṣv aśarīriṇaḥ
tais tair atulyātiśayair
vīryair dehiṣv asaṅgataiḥ
sa bhavān sarva-lokasya
bhavāya vibhavāya ca
avatīrṇo 'ṁśa-bhāgena
sāmprataṁ patir āśiṣām
(SB 10.10.34-35)
namaḥ parama-kalyāṇa
namaḥ parama-maṅgala
vāsudevāya śāntāya
yadūnāṁ pataye namaḥ
(SB 10.10.36)

Allen Ginsberg: It's beautiful prosody.

Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. Oh, the Sanskrit poetry writing is very difficult. They have got rhetoric system. So many words should be first, so many words, second. You cannot deviate.

Allen Ginsberg: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Then the analogy and metaphor should be like that. Nothing should be twice repeated. So there is Sāhitya-ratna in Sanskrit. Sāhitya-ratna. Caitanya Mahāprabhu defeated one great scholar simply by little mistake. Yes. Keśava Kāśmīrī. Keśava Kāśmīrī was great scholar, and Sanskrit great scholar means he must fluently speak in Sanskrit verses everything.

Allen Ginsberg: Everything he says must be done in perfect Sanskrit verses?

Prabhupāda: Oh, that is . . . yes. That is Sanskrit scholar. Not in prose. He'll go on composing verses. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu at that time was sixteen-years-old boy, but He was very learned logician. So the Keśava Kāśmīrī, he was traveling all over India by, I mean to say, competing other paṇḍitas, other learned scholars. So he . . . everywhere he was victorious. So he came to Navadvīpa. And in those days Navadvīpa and Benares and Udupi and Kashmir, four, five places, were very scholarly.

Allen Ginsberg: I have been to Birbhum.

Prabhupāda: Birbhum.

Allen Ginsberg: I've been through Birbhum, yes. Navadvīpa also.

Prabhupāda: So when he came to Navadvīpa, that was the . . . in all other places he was victorious. So all the Navadvīpa paṇḍitas, they conferred that, "Nimāi Paṇḍita should be forwarded to talk with him. And if he is defeated by Nimāi Paṇḍita, then we'll become victorious because a boy has defeated him. But if Nimāi Paṇḍita becomes defeated, then we'll get another chance, 'No, you have defeated boy. Let us come.' " In this way they make. So Keśava Kāśmīrī was informed that first of all he'll have to talk with Nimāi Paṇḍita.

So one day Nimāi Paṇḍita, boy Nimāi Paṇḍita, was talking with His disciples, students. And Keśava Kāśmīrī was strolling on the Ganges side. So he heard that this boy is Nimāi Paṇḍita. "Oh, I will have to talk with Him? He is a boy." So he went there, and when He was acquainted that Keśava Kāśmīrī . . . "Oh, please come down, sit." So Nimāi Paṇḍita said that, "I have heard that you are so learned scholar. Now we are on the Ganges side. You can chant the glorification of mother Ganges. She may hear and enjoy." So he was very learned scholar. Immediately he composed hundred verses. One hundred. And fluent, very fluently he went on.

Then, out of that one hundred verses, in the sixty-fourth verse there was some poetic discrepancies. The word was bhavānī-bhārtā. Bhavānī means the wife of Bhava. Lord Śiva is called Bhava. Lord Brahmā is called Aja, and Lord Śiva is called Bhava. Bhava means "from whom everything is born." Lord Śiva is the father of this Bhava. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu said that, "In the sixty-fourth verse you have stated, bhavānī-bhārtā. Bhavānī means the husband of . . . Bhavānī means the wife of Bhava, Lord Śiva. So it is known that she has husband. Then why you say bhārtā, again 'husband'?" He was learned scholar. He could understand, "Yes." Dvir-ukti-dośa. This is called dvir-ukti-dośa, repeating twice one thing. Dvir-ukti-dośa. That is dośa. Dośa means fault.

Allen Ginsberg: Means?

Prabhupāda: Dośa. In Sanskrit word it is called dvir-ukti-dośa. Dvi means two, rukti means utterance, and dośa means fault.

Allen Ginsberg: Fault. Yes.

Prabhupāda: Fault. Yes. So dvir-ukti-dośa. So he was conscious. Then he said: "Well, I understand that You are a student of grammar. How do You detect this, this literary discrepancies?" "No. I am student. I am your student. I do not pose. I am not scholar, but I have heard this is told like that. From other scholars I have heard." "How could You remember? I cited one hundred verses, and how do You remember the sixty-fourth verses?" "Oh, I can repeat the whole verses."

Allen Ginsberg: (laughs) Uh-huh.

Prabhupāda: "How is that, that You can repeat? How is that?" "Oh, that is grace of Mother Sarasvatī. Just like you can compose a hundred verses within a few minutes, I can, whatever you say, I can remember immediately." Formerly that was the system of understanding Vedas: śruti, simply by hearing. Once they hear from the spiritual master, they will remember. The memory was so sharp. Therefore this brahmacārī system is so nice. They can enhance their memorizing power, brahmacārī.

Allen Ginsberg: Did Caitanya . . . did Lord Caitanya worship Sarasvatī? No.

Prabhupāda: No. He was Vaiṣṇava. But every demigod is worshiped. It is not that one should neglect . . .

Allen Ginsberg: Oh, respect. He respected.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Allen Ginsberg: I know one mantra in Bengali to Sarasvatī. Jaya jaya devī jaya jara sari, kuchuku viśori mukta vihārī vīra nandita pulake vihati bhagavati . . .

Prabhupāda: Oh. Yes. Sarasvatī-stotra, yes.

Allen Ginsberg: For poets.

Prabhupāda: Students are supposed to offer stotras, students specially.

Allen Ginsberg: So that's a mantra for students, for Sarasvatī.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Vidya, the goddess of learning, Sarasvatī. In our childhood we used to worship Sarasvatī, "Please, mother, give me pass this examination." That was our prayer.

So other students, they laughed very loudly. They thought that "Caitanya has come out very victorious within a second." He said: "No. Stop." Then He stopped all these talkings, and . . . "So you are so . . . I have to talk with you. You are very learned." Ordinary formalities. Then he went away. And he was also great worshiper of Mother Sarasvatī. Then he began to pray to Sarasvatī, "Mother Sarasvatī, by your grace I have become victorious in so many places. And what is this, that I am defeated by a boy who is a grammar student?"

So he began to pray, and Mother Sarasvatī informed her (him) that, "He is God, my husband. So you speak means I speak. So how can I defeat my husband? That is not . . ."

(knock at door) Come on. Come on. (someone enters) Yes, come. Yes. You can put there. (someone offers obeisances) Hare Kṛṣṇa. Put there. All right. Put there. Very good.

So then he further did not attempt to talk with Him. He went away, and the Mother Sarasvatī advised him that, "You surrender unto Him. That will be your nice role." Yes. So later on, he became a great devotee of Lord Caitanya, Keśava Kāśmīrī.

Allen Ginsberg: Keśav . . .

Prabhupāda: Keśava Kāśmīrī.

Allen Ginsberg: Keśava Kāśmīrī, "Keśava from Kashmir."

Prabhupāda: Yes. His name was Paṇḍita Keśava, and because he belonged to Kasmir province . . . he was Nimbārka-sampradāya Vaiṣṇava. There are four sampradāyas. The Vaiṣṇava devotees, they are coming one from Lord Brahmā, and one from Lakṣmī. They are called Śrī-sampradāya. And those who are coming from Brahmā, they are called Brahma-sampradāya . . . and one from Lord Śiva. Lord Śiva is also great devotee. Out of twelve great authorities, Lord Śiva is one. Lord Śiva, Lord Brahmā and Nārada. Svayaṁbhur nāradaḥ śaṁbhuḥ (SB 6.3.20). Svayaṁbhuḥ means Lord Brahmā.

Allen Ginsberg: Ah, Śaṁbhu.

Prabhupāda: Svayaṁbhuḥ. Svayaṁbhuḥ means "self-born."

Allen Ginsberg: Self?

Prabhupāda: "Self-born." He is not born of ordinary mother and father. There was a lotus from the Viṣṇu, and in that lotus he was born. Therefore he is called Svayaṁbhuḥ, "self-born."

Allen Ginsberg: I knew a Naga sādhu in Menakanika Ghāṭa named Śaṁbhu-bhakti Baba.

Prabhupāda: Śaṁbhu is another name of Lord Śiva, Śaṁbhu. Svayaṁbhur nāradaḥ śaṁbhuḥ (SB 6.3.20). He is called Svayaṁbhuḥ, and Śiva is called Śaṁbhu. Vaiṣṇavānām yathā śaṁbhuḥ. Svayaṁbhur nāradaḥ śaṁbhuḥ kumārāḥ kapilo manuḥ. Kumārāḥ. There is a sampradāya from Kumāra, four Kumāras, brahmacārīs. They were sons of Brahmā. When they were born, Lord Brahmā said that, "You now make . . . marry and produce. We want population."

In the creation, in the beginning. So they refused. "Oh, we are not going to marry. We shall remain brahmacārī, devotee." Then Lord Brahmā was angry, "Oh, you are refusing your father's order?" So from when he was angry, his eyes became red. From that, Śiva was born. Therefore his name is Rudra. Rudra. Rudra means anger. So when Lord Śiva becomes angry, the whole thing is finished.

Allen Ginsberg: Yes.

Prabhupāda: (laughs) Svayaṁbhur nāradaḥ śaṁbhuḥ kumārāḥ kapilaḥ. Kapila, Lord Kapila, the propounder of Sāṅkhya philosophy, He is also accepted as incarnation of God, Kapila. And Manu. Manu, father of mankind, who has given the Manu-saṁhitā, law book. In that law it is stated, na strīyāṁ svatantratam arhati: "Woman does not deserve independence." Manu has given this. Yes. This is Manu-smṛti. So Vedic culture means to follow the regulative principle.

Allen Ginsberg: So from Manu to Keśava Kāśmīrī is . . .

Prabhupāda: No, no. I am speaking the original authorities. So this Kumāra-sampradāya, it belonged, to this Keśava Kāśmīrī, Kumāra-sampradāya. Now they are known as Rāmānuja, Madhvācārya, Viṣṇu Svāmī and Nimbārka. You have been in Vṛndāvana. You have seen the temple of Bankibihārī?

Allen Ginsberg: No. I don't remember. I didn't know the names of the places I saw.

Prabhupāda: But you have seen the temples?

Allen Ginsberg: Yeah, I went through all the temples I could find. But I didn't know enough to know what stories were associated with the temples or what were the names of the temples.

Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. No, worship is the same, Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Only Rāmānuja-sampradāya, they worship Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa, because it is sampradāya from Lakṣmī, so they worship . . .

Allen Ginsberg: Nārāyaṇa is another name for Śiva?

Prabhupāda: No. Nārāyaṇa is Viṣṇu. That is Kṛṣṇa's expansion.

Allen Ginsberg: According to Caitanya, Viṣṇu is an expansion of . . .

Prabhupāda: Of Kṛṣṇa.

Allen Ginsberg: Of Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Rāmādi-mūrtiśu . . . in the Brahma-saṁhitā it is stated, rāmādi-mūrtiṣu kalā-niyamena tiṣṭhan nānāvatāram akarod bhuvaneṣu kintu, kṛṣṇaḥ svayaṁ (Bs. 5.39) Kṛṣṇaḥ svayaṁ. Svayaṁ means the person, Supreme Person. Samabhavat paramaḥ pumān yo. Parama means the Supreme; pumān means the puruṣa, the male. God is male. God is not female. The conception of female God, that is not authorized. Paramaḥ pumān yo. So female is prakṛti, nature. Parasya śaktīr vividhaiva . . . Śaktī. So He has got many energies. The whole thing is manifested by energy, multi-energies.

Viṣṇu-śaktīḥ parā prokta (CC Madhya 6.154). Viṣṇu, the energy of Viṣṇu, is transcendental, spiritual. Kṣetrajñākhya tathā para. As also this kṣetrajñā-śaktī, marginal potency, that is also transcendental, that is the living entities. They are also transcendental. They are not material. Avidyā-karma-saṅga anya tṛtīya-śaktīr iśyate. Another śaktī, another energy, is there. That is avidyā, darkness. This is material energy. So living entity is originally spiritual, transcendental, as good as Kṛṣṇa's personal energy. But now they are covered by this material energy.

Allen Ginsberg: How did the material covering begin?

Prabhupāda: It began.

Allen Ginsberg: As the material shadow. How did we fall into that?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes. That is very natural. Just like . . . (knock on door) Come on. Because jīva, although parā śaktī, he has got independence. So when he wants to imitate Kṛṣṇa . . . in the spiritual world Kṛṣṇa is the enjoyer, and all others, they are enjoyed. Predominator and the predominating. The Lord is the predominating, so there is no disagreement. There they know, "The Lord is predominator. We have to serve." When this service attitude is impaired, "Why not . . . why serve Kṛṣṇa? Why not ourself?" that is māyā. Then he falls down in the material energy.

There is no scope . . . just like in the government system, there is no scope of freedom. You have to act according to government state laws. So long you are agreement, then you are free. If you disagree, then you are placed within the prison house. Similarly, jīva, independent. Not fully independent, but they have got. Because part and part of God, therefore that independence quality is there. So when that independence quality is misused, then his place is in the material world. Kṛṣṇa bhuliya jīva bhoga vāṅchā kare (Prema-vivarta). When we forget Kṛṣṇa and try to lord it over something . . . and Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Lord. When we try to imitate His lordship, then our place is in the material world. We are given freedom, "All right, you lord it over here."

So here every living entity is trying to lord it over, competition. I am trying individualwise, nationwise. Everyone is trying to lord it over. That is material existence. And when he comes to his senses, jñānavān that, "I am falsely trying to lord it over. Rather, I am becoming implicated with material energy," when he comes to that, then he surrenders. Then again his liberated life begins. That is the whole process of spiritual life.

Therefore Kṛṣṇa says, sarva-dharmān parityajya māṁ ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (BG 18.66). Don't manufacture ways and means, falsely trying to lord it over. That will . . . you'll not be happy, because you cannot lord it over the material nature. It is impossible. If we try to violate the government laws, is it possible for me? No. If I am to live as citizen, it is not possible for me. Then I'll be implicate more and more. This is crude example. Similarly, we are part and parcel of the Supreme. Just like there is a story, Udarendriyānām, Hitopadeśa. You heard the name of Hitopadeśa?

Allen Ginsberg: No.

Prabhupāda: Viṣṇu-saha . . . from Hitopadeśa, they say, Aesop's Fables was translated. Aesop's Fable. There are stories like that one dog is speaking to another monkey, monkey is . . . like that. Hitopadeśa.

Allen Ginsberg: Jataka Tales. I know in the Buddhist, Jataka Tales.

Prabhupāda: So there is a story, Udarendriyānām. Udara means this belly, and indriya, the senses, hands, legs, means. So all these senses, they conferred that, "We are working day and night, and this rascal is eating simply. So we shall noncooperate. We shall not work." That's all right. Resolution was passed. So they stopped working. And next meeting they saw that, "We are becoming weak. Why?"

Allen Ginsberg: The hand wasn't bringing food to the mouth.

Prabhupāda: (laughing) Then they come to their senses, "Oh, we have to feed this rascal belly. Otherwise we become weak." Similarly . . . what is this position? These hands, legs are part and parcels of the whole. Similarly, the whole Brahman, Absolute, we are all parts and parcels. So we shall cooperate in satisfying Him. Then automatically we become satisfied. If we noncooperate, then we suffer.

Allen Ginsberg: Well, if you call Brahmā the Absolute, how do you make a distinction between Brahmā and Kṛṣṇa?

Prabhupāda: That I explained the other day, that the sunshine, the sun globe and the sun-god.

Allen Ginsberg: Ah, yes.

Prabhupāda: Apparently the sunshine appears to be very, very big, but it is concentrated in the sun globe. And when you enter the sun globe, it is concentrated in sun-god.

Allen Ginsberg: Where is the origin of this image of the sun? Where is the origin of this image of the sun? Is this a Vedic śāstric explanation?

Prabhupāda: Yes. There is śāstric information. He is incarnation of Nārāyaṇa, Sūrya-nārāyaṇa. He is powerful. He is driving in four horses. He has got chariot of four horses and very powerful. Yac cakṣur eśa savita (Bs. 5.52). Savita, his name is Savita. The Gāyatrī mantra is oṁ bhur bhuvaḥ svāḥ tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi. That is worshiping the sun-god.

Allen Ginsberg: Do you use Gāyatrī mantra also?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Allen Ginsberg: I know some of it. Oṁ bhur . . .

Prabhupāda: Yes. Oṁ bhur bhuvaḥ svaḥ tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt. This Gāyatrī, this is called.

Allen Ginsberg: In Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa says: "Among poetic meters, I am Gāyatrī."

Prabhupāda: Yes. Gāyatrī is the origin of Vedic knowledge. Without Gāyatrī, nobody is accepted as competent to study. That is the beginning, spiritual master, dvija, second birth. First birth by the father and mother, second birth by the spiritual master, father, and mother, Gāyatrī.

Allen Ginsberg: Do you teach Gāyatrī mantra to your disciples also?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Not in the beginning. When they are little advanced.

Śyāma dasi: Prabhupāda, can you tell me what you want for prasādam today?

Prabhupāda: Yes. The same.

Śyāma dasi: Eggplant or string beans?

Prabhupāda: Whatever you like. You give me four capātīs, little rice and little vegetable. That's all. Don't put much butter, ghee. Yes.

Śyāma dasi: Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda: (laughs) Old age, we cannot now digest too much butter. That creates air. Although at night I don't take anything. Once I eat. And in the morning I take little fruits. That's all.

Hayagrīva: Mr. Ginsberg was telling me downstairs that the President is going to come to Ohio State.

Allen Ginsberg: Nixon.

Hayagrīva: Nixon? President Nixon?

Allen Ginsberg: In one month, for the graduation.

Hayagrīva: He told the students to chant . . .

Allen Ginsberg: . . . Hare Kṛṣṇa to Nixon.

Prabhupāda: Very nice.

Hayagrīva: So that he would hear it when he was coming by.

Prabhupāda: Very good.

Allen Ginsberg: Well, I'll tell you, my feeling was I was thinking about it from a lot of different angles. I was thinking about it from a lot of different viewpoints. One is that there is a lot of resentment of the President and of the government here from the young people who are going to be sent to war or who don't like the war. There is likely to be conflict here when the President comes. One reason this place was picked for the President to come was that it is relatively . . . many, many police around here, yes, many police, and very heavy.

Prabhupāda: Police strength is very heavy here.

Allen Ginsberg: Here, this part, police state, very heavy, so that it would be dangerous to show aggression and to show real conflict. But there is all that energy that wants to express itself, and basically peaceful energy. So what I suggested was that they greet him by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa as a way of manifesting . . .

Prabhupāda: Very good. Very good suggestion. Yes.

Allen Ginsberg: I think it will make sense, because now there are a lot of students who know the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. So they might do it.

Prabhupāda: Yes. When he is coming?

Allen Ginsberg: One month from now. May, or is it June?

Hayagrīva: Commencement.

Allen Ginsberg: Commencement. The graduation.

Prabhupāda: In some lecture he said that, "I want to meet some religious heads." And so one of my girl student in San Francisco, she is very educated. She wrote one letter to Nixon. And I have got the copy that, "Swāmījī is spreading this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. It is being appreciated by the younger section. So Swāmījī will be glad to see you if you make some appointment." But he never replied.

Allen Ginsberg: Well, this university he chose because it's supposed to be typical of America. So if in this typical university the young people greet him by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, then he may well invite you.

Prabhupāda: (laughs) No. I came here with this idea, that in America they are in need of these things, and they are wanting something substantial. So if some facility is given . . . of course, I am doing my bit as far as possible. But if some organized things are done like government help or people help, then this movement can be pushed further nicely. Otherwise, slowly it will go on, as Kṛṣṇa desires.

Hayagrīva: Mr. Ginsberg said he also chanted Hare Kṛṣṇa for Robert Kennedy before he died.

Allen Ginsberg: I think I told you about that, didn't I?

Prabhupāda: Yes. You told me in San Francisco. Yes.

Allen Ginsberg: So he heard two rounds of it. Okay. I have to take a plane today to a Catholic college in New York State. I'll be going back to New York at one o'clock, so I have to go back and pack and say good-bye to the students. It was a pleasure to see you here. Lovely. So maybe we'll do it again in New York.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Allen Ginsberg: I'll call. Thank you for your words and thank you for letting me join you.

Prabhupāda: My . . . you are already chanting. But if we do together, it will be very nice.

Allen Ginsberg: So let's do something together in New York City this summer. I'm free all summer, so it's at your convenience this time, 'cause I'll be free. I don't have any dates or appointments. So if you just let me know maybe two weeks . . . or somebody let me know a few weeks in advance, then I can come down from the farm, spend a day with you and then we chant. I'd be happy to do that. Hare Kṛṣṇa. Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Give him that garland. (cut) (end)