Allen Ginsberg and India:India turned his attention away from cosmic obsessions.
Allen Ginberg visited India in 1962 with his boyfriend, Peter Orlovsky, and found here “living transmission of spiritual and visionary energy. He took interest in Yogic rituals and practiced Buddhism. Indian Yogic traditions are ancient and in Hindu scripture Vishnu Sahasranamam it is written—“God reveals Himself through Yogis”
Ginsberg visited the burning ghats of varanasi and visited many Hindu temples and Buddhist monasteries, In Varanasi he resided in a beautiful house right above the market place and Dasaswamedh Ghat. Dasaswamedh Ghat is a ghat where pyres keep burning whole day and night. At Manikarnika Ghat he continuously gazed at faces of burning corpses, smelt human flesh, and saw skulls cracked with burst, burning brains bobbing up. Varanasi proved a great revelation to him, and through the beautiful balcony of his house he saw the poignant conditions of beggars. They touched him deeply and turned him away from the cosmic obsessions about which he proclaimed in Howl. India taught him compassion and the importance of the present.
Ginsberg loved to eat Indian cuisine puris. He was taught how to chant “Om” by Shivanand and discussed the effects of LSD on human consciousness with the Dalai Lama in Dharamshala. In Bihar, he spent time on the bank of Ganga, sipping Coffee. Bihar is Hindi word, it means monasteries, a work place of Buddha, He returned to America in 1963 fall,
In his famous anti war poem Wichita Vortex Sutra, he wrote about peoples he met in India.
WICHITA VORTEX SUTRA (1966)
I call all Powers of imagination
to my side in this auto to make Prophecy,
of human kingdoms to come
Shambu Bharti Baba naked covered with ash
Khaki Baba fat-bellied mad with the dogs
Dehorahava Baba who moans Oh how wounded, How wounded
Sitaram Onkar Das Thakur who commands
give up your desire
Satyananda who raises two thumbs in tranquility
Kali Pada Guha Roy whose yoga drops before the void
Shivananda who touches the breast and says OM
Srimata Krishnaji of Brindaban who says take for your guru
William Blake the invisible father of English visions
Sri Ramakrishna master of ecstasy eyes
half closed who only cries for his mother
Chaitanya arms upraised singing & dancing his own praise
merciful Chango judging our bodies
Durga-Ma covered with blood
destroyer of battlefield illusions
million-faced Tathagata gone past suffering
Preserver Harekrishna returning in the age of pain
I love his words about politicians.
Allen’s word on the politicians:—
My poetry is angelical Ravings, & has nothing to do with dull materialistic vagaries about who should shoot who. The secrets of individual imagination—which are trans conceptual & non-verbal—I mean unconditioned spirit—are not for sale to this consciousness, are of no use to this world, except perhaps to make it shut up its trap & listen to the music. of the spheres. Who denies the music of the spheres denies poetry, denies man & spits on Blake, Shelley, Christ & Buddha. Meanwhile, have a ball. The universe is a new flower. America will be discovered.
Dr. Pragya Suman