Srila Prabhupada’s Program with Allen Ginsberg
By Chintamani dasi ACBSP
What is this? Oh my, Srila Prabhupada appearing with Allen Ginsberg? On the same stage? How is it possible?
It was true. We put these posters all over the Ohio State University campus. I was in the room when Srila Prabhupada was talking to Sriman Allen Ginsberg before the event. I was shocked, quite honestly, at how humble Srila Prabhupada was, how he was asking Ginsberg’s opinion on the venue. It was amazing. Anyway, about 2,000 midwest teenagers from the “All American City” of Columbus, Ohio showed up, mostly to hear from the bohemian Allen. At this time he was a famous poet. At the event he gave a talk, and I only remember one thing he said. It certainly wasn’t exactly parampara.
Then Srila Prabhupada talked, and then the most amazing thing happened that I can never forget. We had the most amazing kirtan I have ever experienced. As the audience gradually started to catch on to the magical maha mantra, they began to chant. Not only chant, they all chanted like enthusiastic devotees. As the devotees stood up on the stage around Srila Prabhupada and started to dance, after having been seated around His Divine Grace, some of the audience also started dancing. Some came up by the stage, some stood up in their seats. Then Srila Prabhupada stood up on his box-like Vyasasana and was dancing and throwing some of his garland flowers to the crowd who was catching them. It was so wild, so blissful. I felt like Srila Prabhupada “opened the storehouse of love of God” and was just passing it out!
THIS is what I love about Srila Prabhupada, all the love he had and showed. Not the cosmic two-by-four on the head, bashing with the philosophy that some people strongly preach about. But that’s just me. Also, Srila Prabhupada had a way of saying things that gave one realization, he was an acharya, we can’t imitate him. He knew what to say to who, but there was love behind it. That’s right, love and we knew it. Only the pure hearted can do that.
Oh, what was the one thing I remember Allen Ginsberg saying? He grabbed his microphone and said “I’ve never seen so many people jumping out of their skins before!” That was during the kirtan. It seemed to go on forever. One could feel and realize that Krishna was His name! I thought I was going to pass out. The whole room was electric.
I just met one devotee whose husband had been in that audience and became a devotee. He recently passed away. She told me he thought Srila Prabhupada was glowing. I was seeing the same thing. This was a drop of nectar right from the spiritual world. I am so grateful to have experienced the real deal.
I just thought I would share and also make a point. We are all individuals. As devotees we are individuals. Some may be more intellectual. Some may be more interested in the love aspect, like me. Srila Prabhupada could attract all of us! He was charming and also a perfect gentleman and knew when to be “heavy” and when to be soft. With me he was soft. He had said about me, “Your wife cries very easily, be kind to her.” That is only an example of one of the things he said. Some people are turned off by the not so nice criticism of other devotees. Maybe there is a little jealousy of others’ success? Just an observation.
Happy New Year everyone! And Hare Krishna!