The latest continuation of the Science Fiction Time Warp Adventure Story currently Mesmerizing the entire internet: by Michael Dolan
The Quick and the Dead
“But Tim,” said Zen-master Watts. “Isn’t time really just a mental construct that keeps us from losing our egos? After all, as long as we’re addicted to time, we’re stuck in space. The wheel of time is really the wheel of birth and death, isn’t it? But then, the non-linear reality of time is more widely understood outside western culture, don’t you think? I wonder what the Swami would say. Allen?” Watts tipped his wineglass back. Leary leered.
|Alan Watts, Zen-man|
As his coal-black beard waggled, Ginsberg’s eyes rolled in his head: “Why don’t we listen to Hawk? Tell us your story, man. Give us a Kerouackian rhapsadoodle blues on relativistic mobility through the warped waves of temporal sanity. Where did it start?”
Hawk, still disoriented from time travel said, “Well, I think it started at the Paradise Hotel.”
|Allen Ginsberg, mad poet of the 60s|
Ginsberg beamed: “Aha! Paradise Lost, then.” He began wheezing an eccentric tune out of his harmonium. Neal Cassady lit a cigarette and used the match to light the poet up.
A commotion at the back door signaled the entrance of the Grateful Dead. Jerry Garcia sauntered in with guitar man Bob Weir and drummer Pigpen in tow. Janice Joplin, a Mae West style feather boa around her shoulders sashayed in out of nowhere and began smothering Pigpen with kisses. “Golly!” she said, making big eyes at everyone in the green room “Ain’t he cute?”
The sound was interrupted by the thunder of Bhakta Congo and Jay Ram reaching a mirdanga crescendo. Together they shouted: “Nitai Gaura Hari Bol! Hari Bol! Hari Bol! Hari Bol!”
The stage microphone was working fine. Everyone back stage heard the announcement:
It was Chet Helms:
“And now Ladies and Gentlemen, on behalf of the groovy Krishna people of the Radha Krishna Temple, right here in San Francisco, we here at the Avalon Ball Room welcome you to a unique presentation of Mantra Rock. We have a great lineup tonight: Moby Grape!”
A big round of applause, a few catcalls.
“The Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead are here tonight!”
Big applause, screams of joy.
“And the Hare Krishna chanters along with Allen Ginsberg and Swami Bhaktivedanta will rock the mantra and send us into outer space with peace and love for one and all. So thank you very much. What’s purple and swims in the ocean ladies and gentlemen? MOBY GRAPE!”
The guitarist’s screech filled the hall. A witch’s brew of amplified psychedelic country rock blared from the speakers blowing the LSD-soaked minds of the flower children squeezed together in the audience of the Avalon Ball Room with sonic energy. The teenage girls in love-beads went wild with the magic as electric strobe lights flashed with epileptic fury lighting up the dayglo walls. The entranced crowd began dancing in a frenzy of lysergic enthusiasm.
After a few numbers by Moby Grape Helms returned.
“Moby Grape. And now ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls and children of all ages, as the the muse of the beat generation, the madman of the merry pranksters, poet, mystic and gone traveler to way-out worlds, Mister Neal Cassady.”
Hawk remembered him. He was the muscular lumberjack from last night, the guy who offered the two hippie chicks a ride to Japantown. He seemed out of place among the freaks, madmen and outcastes who had gathered in the Ball Room. As the psychedelic band noodled through some modal chord changes and the drummer added percussive rolls, Cassady strolled onstage carrying a ten-pound hammer. Taking the mike, he rapped an incoherent prose-poem as he flipped the hammer in the air and caught it behind his back.
“All is known; all forms are torn
your mind is blown away by storms
of socialist extremist banter,
Pentagon generals pitter patter,
novels are written without grammar.
Existentialist poets war,
blows tens of millions out the door;
all is known and nothing’s new,
civil rights extremists too;
it’s all so different, all the same,
mantras sweeten the holy name,
girls in Denver don’t wear clothes
plus ça change plus c est la même chose...”
And as he uttered his rap Cassady punctuated his poetry by tossing his ten-pound sledge-hammer in the air with glee, a square john real gone 40 year-old lumberjack with crazy eyes dazzling the hippie mob of outcastes and untouchables with circus side show antics and a Jean Paul Sartre rant as the electric Rhodes piano of Moby Grape lurched through weird acid-rock chord changes.
The strobes hit full fury, lighting up the sledgehammer as it ripped through the air ever higher in stop-action frame by frame. The man on stage moved like a brakeman hammering railroad ties in a herky jerky Chaplain movie. The organ hit a crescendo and stopped. Strobes flashed. The house lights went down. The fluorescent paint on the walls glowed green and blue.
A spot hit the stage. Cassady grinned his eyeballs rolling like billiard balls on a pool table. “And now ladies and gentleman and members of the non-establishment social circle of a country in rebellion searching for its lost soul in the gutters of San Francisco, Miss Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company!”
A soft spotlight lit up the diminutive Texan girl with ginger hair in the miniskirt and bangles and ostrich boa around her neck leaned into the microphone and crooned, “Didn’t I make you feel...like you wanna own me?” with a knowing voice that could have come from the gin-soaked throat of blues queen Big Mama Thornton. She held the audience in her grip, toying with the lyrics like a spider with a fly as the band built the sound up. Finally the whole rhythm section with bass and drums were crashing through the chorus as she sang “Hold on Hold on Hold on Hold on! Take another piece of my HEART now baby!” melting the audience down into a pool of warm tears with the white hot emotion of her heartbreak.
The Jefferson Airplane was on next. The light show was subtler now: a spot shot through a lava lamp made gloopy globules of yellow and green slime the walls of the Avalon ball room as Grace Slick went through her trademark:
“One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small, and the ones that mother give you don’t do anything at all.
Hawk and the Krishna followers stood behind the curtains looking out at the crowd. They were going on next. Hawk surveyed the audience. Somehow 5,000 people had packed into a Ball Room that was designed for one hundred couples to dance comfortably. They were dancing, swaying, sweating, and generally in a trance provoked by the drugs they were drinking, shooting, snorting, popping or dropping. Their minds had been expanded and shrunken, time’s proportions expanded and dilated. They were not the Lost Generation or the Beat Generation; they were the Love Generation and they understood the message completely.
Ask Alice, when she’s ten feet tall.
And if you go chasing rabbits, and you know you're going to fall
Tell 'em a hookah-smoking caterpillar has given you the call,
And call Alice, when she was just small.
When the men on the chessboard
Get up and tell you where to go
And you've just had some kind of mushroom
And your mind is moving low
Go ask Alice I think she'll know
When logic and proportion Have fallen sloppy dead
And the White Knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen's off with her head
Remember what the dormouse said:
“Feed your head Feed your head!”
The music combined with the light show combined with psychedelic altered states fused the consciousness of the audience as the merged into the oneness of the Generation of love. Grace Slick blew the crowd a kiss.
With this, Allen Ginsberg appeared with his harmonium. He sat on a folding chair, resting the boxy instrument on his lap with his left hand and pumping it with his right. Its eery off-beat blown sound was slightly out of tune. Ginsberg set up an offpitch drone as he whined a Buddhist mantra. He began quoting a line from his poem Howl: “Everything is holy! everybody's holy! everywhere is holy! everyday is in eternity! Everyman's an angel! When I was in Benares I met an angel who recited the mantra. It is the mantra for peace, the maha-mantra:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, say it with me now.”
And the mob chanted in singsong:
“Hare Krishna Hare Krishna”
Ginsberg continued, “There’s more: Krishna Krishna Hare Hare. Chant with me now.”
And the mob said, “Krishna Krishna Hare Hare.”
And the mob said, “Krishna Krishna Hare Hare.”
“Now the Rama: Hare Rama Hare Rama”
And the crowd repeated. In this way, as he continued to pump the harmonium Ginsberg taught the crazy drug-stoned children of flower power the words of the Hare Krishna mantra.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I saw an angel strolling the Bowery in golden robes. He is among us now. I chant the Mantra. It helps me. It is for world peace, but I can’t explain it. But the Swami can tell you all what it means. Please welcome Swami Bhaktivedanta of the Radha-Krishna temple. Hare Krishna, everyone.”
Ginsberg stood to welcome Swami Bhaktivedanta who rose to the stage with a divine presence. Amid the smoke and the sweat of the Ball Room he appeared in a ray of light as a gentle spot picked out his figure: a robust man with a golden complexion in flowing saffron robes. He strode with great dignity to the center of the stage where a red velvet throne had been erected for him to sit. Moving gracefully, he ascended the throne.
The crowd was hushed. The entired crowd was in half-trance, stunned by drugs or lulled by music. They stood in awe and reverence, the Hare Krisna mantra on their lips.
The Swami leaned forward. A steel tumbler of water had been left for him on a small table next to the throne. He raised it and drank without letting the rim of the steel touch his lips. He looked out at the crowd, adjusted the microphone to his level and smiled a broad grin. His eyes took in the scene. His lips moved in a sacred mantra.
He began, “My dear boys and girls, I thank you very much for joining us this evening for the celebration of Hare Krishna mantra. With your permission I am going to sing the maha-mantra and then I will explain it. Even if you don't understand the language of the song, still, if you kindly hear patiently, the sound vibration will act.”
The Swami took up a pair of small brass hand cymbals and began to ring them together, rhythmically. Below him onstage were seated the Hare Krishna chanters: Krishna John who played a hand drum along with Bhakta Congo and Jay Ram who accompanied him, playing their drums softly with a slow, steady beat. Schwartz Prabhu, Dave Krishna, Hawk Prabhu, sat to one side with hand cymbals.
The Swami began: Jaya Shri Krishna Chaitanya, Prabhu Nityananda, Shri Adwaita Gadadhara, Shrivasadi Gaura Bhakta Vrinda.
The devotees echoed his song in call and response. Then the Swami began to sing with deep gravity, his eyes closed:
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare...
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Krishna John beckoned the audience with a wave of his hand to sing along. A few people in the audience joined in.
The Swami repeated the mantra. This time, Krishna John stood up along with Bhakta Congo and Jay Ram and raised his hands to the sky, clapping along over the drum suspended from his shoulders. Clapping his hands harder as the Kinshasa-mambo combo brought their drums closer to the microphone, Krishna John exhorted the crowd to sing along. The hippies gathered there finally got it. They had learned the mantra. They started chanting along, at first softer but then stronger, until finally the entire audience of 5,000 flower power children of the Love Generation began to roar out the mantra:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
The Grateful Dead appeared from nowhere and where onstage now, their drummer Pigpen picking up on the jungle percussion of Bhakta Congo and the Afro-Cuban beat of Jay Ram. Jerry Garcia found the right chords on his Les Paul Gibson guitar and put a bit of Indian raga into it. The light show played subtle colors on the walls of the Avalon Ball Room. The entire hall swayed with the mantra.
The Swami had suffered great hardship to come to this moment. He had been through poverty in India, a horrific sea voyage tossed by storms across the Atlantic Ocean, life on New York’s Bowery surrounded by winos and madmen. Even repression by suspicious immigration officials and FBI authorities investigating subversive activities.
And now he was surrounded by 5,000 American girls and boys, young people enthusiastically chanting the Hare Krishna mantra. While India had been turning to the materialistic principles of a consumer society, aping the West; here in the West young people were searching for their soul and finding it in the maha-mantra.
He brought the song to a conclusion. Looking out over the crowd again, the Swami spoke:
“So I shall not take much of your time, you are tired. But some of the important things I may inform you, that this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is not a religious type; it is a great culture. It is a great culture for spiritual emancipation. At the present moment, we have concocted so many religious principles, but real religion is that which teaches to surrender to God, to love God. That is real religion. That is what we are teaching. Our Krishna consciousness movement is no sectarian movement. We don't say that this is Christian religion or Hindu religion or Mohammedan religion or Buddhist religion. These religions develop in different parts of the world under different conditions. They give some idea of our relationship with God. But real religion is that which teaches how to love God. If by following certain religious principles you develop your dormant love of God, then that is first-class religion. That development is without any reason. It is not that you love God because He supplies bread: "Oh God, give us our daily bread." No, there is no exchange like that. There is no reason why I should ask. God is great, I am His part and parcel; it is my duty to love Him. When you develop this consciousness, it is called Krishna consciousness. Try to understand this philosophy of Krishna consciousness.
It is not a new thing. Krishna consciousness philosophy was taught 5,000 years ago. Bhagavad Gita is the philosophy of Krishna consciousness. Although it was written down 5,000 years ago in history, within the Bhagavad Gita it is stated that It was spoken some millions of years ago to the Sun-god. Apart from that reference Bhagavad Gita is eternal, because it teaches what is your relationship with God, what is your eternal duty to God, and what is the ultimate end of life. The last instruction of the Bhagavad Gita is that one has to give up all sorts of rascaldom or concocted religion. One simply has to surrender to God. That is religion. We have developed this human form of life after passing through many millions of lower grades of life, and now we have to develop this Krishna consciousness, love of God. Take this Krishna consciousness movement very seriously we have volumes of books to convince you of your relationship with God, and what is your duty, what is your ultimate goal of life these things are all very nicely explained in the Bhagavad Gita. But, unfortunately, so-called scholars and so-called wise men misinterpret the whole thing. That is why the Lord appeared as Lord Chaitanya 500 years ago, to establish the correct principles of Bhagavad Gita. He showed that even if you do not understand the process of religion, then simply chant Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. The results are practical. For example, when we were chanting Hare Krishna, all the members who were assembled here were joining in, but now when I am talking about philosophy, some are leaving. It is very practical, you can see. The Hare Krishna Mantra is so enchanting that anyone can take part in any condition and if he continues to chant, gradually he will develop his dormant love of God. His heart will be cleansed of all dirty things and gradually he will be freed from the material concept of life, and he will be joyful. He will see everyone as sons of God, and then he will begin his loving transcendental service to Krishna. Our only request is that you try to understand this Krishna consciousness movement. It is very simple. We are requesting everyone to chant the Hare Krishna Mantra and take Prasadam. When you are tired of chanting, the Prasadam is ready. You can immediately take Prasadam. And if you dance, then all bodily exercise is Krishnaized; and all of the attempts of the yoga processes are attained by this simple process. So chant, dance, take Prasadam even if you do not at first hear this philosophy, it will act, and you will be elevated to the highest platform of perfection. Thank you very much.”
The Swami stood to go. He raised his hands high as if to shower a benediction and then folded his palms in prayer and bowed his head. The audience burst into applause. A long pencil of light focused over his form like a halo as he left the stage, his long golden robes flowing and reflecting the hazy glow.
Atmaram escorted him off-stage as Krishna John took the microphone.
“So you heard the Swami. We can chant the Hare Krishna mantra and feel the ecstasy and when we’re tired, there is prasadam, transcendental holy food offered to Krishna with love and devotion. If you’ll all just sit in rows on the floor, we’ll distribute the prasadam.”