Allen Ginsberg – Montreal, 1969 (Q & A – (Judaism and Krishna)

AG; Now, about the second part, (sic – “How do you reconcile a return to a traditional Jewish root with an enthusiastic interest in Hare Krishna? Do you think that a rabbinical tradition can, in some way, be reconciled with a Hindu or Hare Krishna tradition?) – (it) was a… I didn’t mean to..

Like, I was saying,.. last night, I heard – (and I’m sitting here in Hillel House, so I don’t mean to make it quite that corny – “Well, folks, I want to announce I am now returning to the Hebrew tradition” – that’s not what I meant– that’s not what I meant). No, that’s not what I meant.

No it was, actually, oddly, I did hear Carlebach, Shlomo Carlebach, who’s a very great cantor and Hassid, modern hip Hassid, last night, and, like, I found that attractive, because I’ve had a lot of experience singing now, and I suddenly recognize a really great heroic spiritualized voice that sounds like it’s on a high note, it sounds like it’s coming out the top of his skull.

The.. well, actually, what I’ve been into (I was explaining it to some students upstairs), my deepest experience, experience of any nature, was a mystical, or illuminative, experience, or religious experience, or a hallucination, whatever you want to call it, that I got once while reading poetry – (William) Blake, specifically, And in going back into that, and doing a study of that, that has led me back to Thomas Taylor, the Neo-Platonist and Taylor’s essays on the Bacchic and Eleusinian mysteries. It’s led me into Dr Hans Jonas’ books on the Gnostic religions. It’s led me to the Mandaean Gnostic System. It’s led me to Manichaeism, and Paracelsus and Jacob Boehme, also to the Kabbalah and the Zohar, as it also relates.. you know, the same thing..what I would say is common in all of them is that the Buddhist void or nirvana or the Buddhist doctrine of the empty single void is very similar, oddly, to the…what I understand.. to the Mandean Gnostic conception of the Abyss of Light which gave birth to a shudder of self-consciousness which gave birth to Sophia” , Wisdom, or The Word. And she gave birth, I believe to Ialdabaoth and Ialdabaoth had a thought and that thought was Io, and now.. Io’s first thought was Elohim and Elohim’s first thought was Jehovah and Jehovah thought us up and we’ve been stuck in Jehovah’s mind-garden ever since. According to the Mandean Gnostic system .

So, according to that same system. Sophia regretting the fact that her hallucination had created all these myriad aeons, guarded over by archons, and guarded over by people who guarded this (harmony) this mind-creation, sent an avion, or messenger, or Caller-of-The-Great-Call, into the garden of Jehovah to tip Adam and Eve off that they were prisoners of Jehovah’s ego. And that messenger was the Serpent, according to that particular, that specific, Gnostic system.

The terminology of that system is not very different ..(of the aeons and the Caller) is not very different from the Buddhist terminology of the many worlds in the ten directions in and out, and the bodhisattva. And the abyss, the original Abyss of Light, or the blissful empty nirvana of the Buddhists, the dharmakaya of the Buddhists, to be precise, is relatively.. well, is an image very similar to the Gnostic “Abyss of Light”, and that’s very similar to what I see in the opening of the Zohar is a description of the original incommunicable void from which a point of light emerged.

Q: In other words..

AG: In other words, obviously, we’re dealing with one consciousness, in a strange universe, and, obviously all of these hieratic or esoteric or Gnostic or hermetic studies, all lead in to the same point of consciousness

Q: The (Aldous) Huxley Perennial Philosophy

AG: Yeah, and what one finds in the Jewish tradition, the Chabadnik, the Chabad, the rabbi songs – Chochma binna deat – Wisdom – what’s Chochma binna deat? – Wisdom.. Does anybody know?

Q: Study and Knowledge..Understanding..

AG: Yeah, the rabbi songs are hypnotically repeated chants, sung at Simchat Torah (at least in Williamsburg where I heard it, which have a very similar physiological and mental ecstatic effect as the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra. In fact, my chanting of the Hare Krishna, or of Buddhist mantra , is, probably, is more cantorial than Oriental – than Indian or Japanese, so I’m told.

Q: You wouldn’t say then that you were hovering between Lubavitch and Buddha or the Lubavich-strain and Buddha or Buddhistic strain…

AG: Well, what I would say is it’s… “Buddha sits in Mary’s belly”,”Shango holds Shiva’s prick” [Allen quotes from his own poem, “Holy Ghost on the Nod over the Body of Bliss”] – (Shango, the African divinity who’s symbolized by a phallus, as is Shiva symbolized by a phallus. And.. I don’t know.. I don’t have my books with me.
Does anybody have a book called Planet News here? Can I have a copy? I’ve got a specific statement to make…

Q: We’re adopted in all this. What can I say?

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately thirty-five-and-a-quarter minutes in, and concluding at approximately forty-one minutes in]

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