The Maha-Mantra on Trial
BY: SUN STAFF
Mar 6, CANADA (SUN) Allen Ginsberg and the Maha-mantra on trial with the Chicago Seven.
In 1969 and 1970, America experienced one of the strangest courtroom dramas of its history. The Chicago Seven conspiracy trial featured seven radical young Americans who were accused of conspiring to incite a riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
1968 was one of the most culturally and politically turbulent years in American experience. Casualties in the Vietnam war had passed the 30,000 mark, and students at college campuses across the country were protesting, taking over college administrative buildings, and hitting the streets with placards. Hippies were congregating in parks, Hare Krsna devotees were chanting on street corners, and middle class Americans were struggling to understand what was happening all around them.
In an effort to control these radical American youth, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley pulled strings to convene a grand jury, which indicted eight demonstrators who had been organizing various protest events around the Democratic Convention venue. The eight indicted demonstrators included Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, Lee Weiner, and Bobby Seale. Seale was imprisoned for contempt before the trial began, and the group was thereafter known as the "Chicago Seven".
During the trial, which spanned a two-year period, the court saw a parade of witnesses for the defense that represented a veritable "who's who" of the American counterculture. Defense witnesses included drug culture guru Timothy Leary, radical poet Allen Ginsberg, folk singers Phil Ochs, Arlo Guthrie, "Country Joe" McDonald, Pete Seeger and Judy Collins.
Defense attorneys queried the witnesses in an attempt to portray the Chicago 7 defendants as committed idealists, who were simply reacting spontaneously to escalating police violence.
Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna...
A most interesting exchange took place between defense attorney Leonard Weinglass and Allen Ginsberg, who was called to the stand and queried about, among other things, his interactions with His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, and his practice of chanting the Maha-mantra.
In the testimony transcript below, Ginsberg took several opportunities to demonstrate and explain the potency of the Hare Krsna Maha-mantra (see red text).
This transcript is a fascinating piece of American jurisprudence history, and it will indicate to future generations how the early seeds of Krsna Consciousness were planted in the soil of 1960's America. At the same time, the transcript clearly indicates just how vast the gulf was between the spiritual truths being introduced by Srila Prabhupada and Allen Ginsberg's personal level of realization.
MR. WEINGLASS: Will you please state your full name?
THE WITNESS: Allen Ginsberg.
MR. WEINGLASS: What is your Occupation?
THE WITNESS: Poet.
MR. WEINGLASS: Have you authored any books in the field of poetry?
THE WITNESS: In 1956, Howl and other Poems; in 1960, Kaddish and other poems;
in 1963, Empty Mirror; in 1963, Reality Sandwiches, and in 1969, Planet News.
MR. WEINGLASS: Now, in addition to your writing, Mr. Ginsberg, are you
presently engaged in any other activity?
THE WITNESS: I teach, lecture, and recite poetry at universities.
MR. WEINGLASS: Now, did you ever study abroad?
THE WITNESS: Yes. In India and Japan.
MR. WEINGLASS: Could you indicate for the court and jury what the area of
your studies consisted of?
THE WITNESS: Mantra Yoga, meditation exercises and sitting quietly, breathing
exercises to calm the body and calm the mind, but mainly a branch called Mantra
Yoga, which is yoga which involved prayer and chanting.
MR. WEINGLASS: How long did you study?
THE WITNESS: I was in India for a year and a third, and then in Japan
studying with Gary Snyder, a zen poet, at Dai Tokuji Monastery, D-A-I
T-O-K-U-J-I. I sat there for the zazen exercises for centering the body
and quieting the mind.
MR. WEINGLASS: Are you still studying under any of your former teachers?
THE WITNESS: Yes, Swami Bahkti Vedanti, faith, philosophy; Bahkti Vedanta,
B-A-H-K-T-I V-E-D-A-N-T-A. I have seen him and chanted within the
last few years in different cities, and he has asked me to continue chanting,
especially on public occasions. This involves chanting and praying,
praying out loud and in community.
MR. WEINGLASS: In the course of a Mantra chant, is there any particular
position that the person doing that assumes?
THE WITNESS: Any position which will let the stomach relax and be easy, fall
out, so that aspiration can be deep into the body, to relax the body completely
and calm the mind, based as cross-legged,
MR. WEINGLASS: And is it ---chanting--- to be done privately, or is it in
MR. FORAN: Oh, your Honor, I object. I think we have gone far enough
THE COURT: I think I have a vague idea now of the witness' profession.
It is vague.
MR. FORAN: I think I might also indicate that he is an excellent speller.
THE WITNESS: Sir---
THE COURT: Yes, sir.
THE WITNESS: In India, the profession of' poetry and the profession of
chanting are linked together as one practice.
THE COURT: That's right, I give you credit for that.
MR. WEINGLASS: Mr. Ginsberg, do you know the defendant Jerry Rubin?
THE WITNESS: Yes, I do.
MR. WEINGLASS: Do you recall where it was that you first met him?
THE WITNESS: In Berkeley and San Francisco in 1965 during the time of the
anti-Vietnam war marches in Berkeley. I saw him again at the human be-in
in San Francisco. We shared the stage with many other people.
MR. WEINGLASS: Would you describe for the Court and jury what the be-in in
San Francisco was?
THE WITNESS: A large assembly of younger people who came together to---
MR. FORAN: Objection, your Honor.
THE COURT: Just a minutes I am not sure how you spell the be-in.
MR. WEINGLASS: B-E I-N, I believe, be-in.
THE WITNESS: Human be-in.
THE COURT: I really can't pass on the validity of the objection because I
don't understand the question.
MR. WEINGLASS: I asked him to explain what a be-in was.
MR. FORAN: I would love to know also but I don't think it has anything to do
with this lawsuit.
THE COURT I will over the objection of the Government, tell what a be-in is.
THE WITNESS: A gathering-together of younger people aware of the planetary
fate that we are all sitting in the middle of, imbued with a new consciousness,
a new kind of society involving prayer, music, and spiritual life together
rather than competition, acquisition and war.
MR. WEINGLASS: And was that the activity that was engaged in in San Francisco
at this be-in?
WITNESS: There was what was called a "gathering of the tribes" of all the
different affinity groups, spiritual groups, political group, yoga groups, music
groups and poetry groups that all felt the same crisis of identity crisis of the
planet and political crisis in America, who all came together in the largest
assemblage of such younger people that had taken place since the war in the
presence of the Zen master Sazuki and in the presence of the rock bands and the
presence of Timothy Leary and Mr. Rubin.
MR. WEINGLASS: Now, later on in the year of 1967 did you have occasion to
meet again with the defendant Jerry Rubin?
THE WITNESS: Yes, we met in a cafe in Berkeley and discussed his mayoral race
for the city of Berkeley. He had run for mayor.
M R. WEINGLASS: Did you have any participation in that campaign?
THE WITNESS: I encouraged it, blessed it.
M R. WEINGLASS: Now, do you know the defendant Abbie Hoffman?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
MR. WEINGLASS: Now, calling your attention to the month of February 1968, did
you have any occasion in that month to meet with Abbie Hoffman?
THE WITNESS: Yeah.
MR. WEINGLASS: Do you recall what Mr. Hoffman said in the course of the
THE WITNESS: Yippee--- among other things. He said that politics had
become theater and magic; that it was the manipulation of imagery through mass
media that was confusing and hypnotizing the people in the United States and
making them accept a war which they did not really believe in; that people were
involved in a life style that was intolerable to young folks, which involved
brutality and police violence as well as a larger violence in Vietnam; and that
ourselves might be able to get together in Chicago and invite teachers to
present different ideas of what is wrong with the planet, what we can do to
solve the pollution crisis, what we can do to solve the Vietnam war, to present
different ideas for making the society more sacred and less commercial, less
materialistic; what we could do to uplevel or improve the whole tone of the trap
that we all felt ourselves in as the population grew and as politics became more
and more violent and chaotic.
MR. WEINGLASS: Now, did he ascribe any particular name to that project?
THE WITNESS: Festival of life.
MR. WEINGLASS: After he spoke to you, what, if anything, was your response to
THE WITNESS: I was worried whether or not the whole scene would get
violent. I was worried whether we would be allowed to put on such a
situation allowed to put. I was worried, you know, whether the government
would let us do something that was funnier or prettier or more charming than
what was going to be going on in the Convention hall.
MR. FORAN: I object and ask that it be stricken. It was not responsive.
THE COURT: Yes. I sustain the objection.
THE WITNESS: Sir, that was our conversation,
MR, WEINGLASS: Now, during that same month, February of 1968, did you have
occasion to meet with Jerry Rubin?
THE WITNESS: I spoke with Jerry Rubin on the phone, I believe.
MR. WEINGLASS: Will you relate to the Court and jury what Jerry Rubin said to
THE WITNESS: Jerry told me that he and others were going to Chicago to apply
for permission from the city government for a permit to hold a Festival of Life
and that he was talking with John Sinclair about getting rock and roll bands
together and other musicians and that he would report back to me.
MR. WEINGLASS: Mr. Ginsberg, do you recall anything else that Mr. Rubin said
to you in the course of that telephone conversation?
THE WITNESS: Yes, he said that he thought it would be interesting if we could
get up little schools like ecology schools, music schools, political schools,
schools about the Vietnam war, schools with yogis. He asked if I could
contact Burroughs and ask Burroughs to come to teach nonverbal, nonconceptual
MR. WEINGLASS: Now you indicated a school of ecology. Could you explain
to the Court and jury what that is?
THE WITNESS: Ecology is the interrelation of all the living forms on the
surface of the planet involving the food chain---that is to say, whales eat
plankton: larger fishes eat smaller fish, octopus or squid eat shellfish which
eat plankton; human beings eat the shellfish or squid or smaller fish which eat
the smaller tiny microorganisms
MR. FORAN: That is enough, your Honor.
THE COURT: Yes. We all have a clear idea of what ecology is.
THE WITNESS: Well, the destruction of ecology is what would have been
taught. That is, how it is being destroyed by human intervention and
messing it up with pollution.
MR. WEINGLASS: Now you also indicated that Mr. Rubin mentioned nonverbal
education. Will you explain what that is to the Court and jury?
THE WITNESS: Most of our consciousness, since we are continually looking at
images on television and listening to words, reading newspapers, talking in
courts such as this, most of our consciousness is filled with language, with a
kind of matter babble behind the ear, a continuous yakety-yak that actually
prevents us from breathing deeply in our bodies and sensing more subtly and
sweetly the feelings that we actually do have as persons to each other rather
than as talking machines.
MR. WEINGLASS: Now, Mr. Ginsberg, on March 17, where were you?
THE WITNESS: I took part in a press conference fit the Hotel Americana in New
MR. WEINGLASS: Who else was present fit this press conference?
THE WITNESS: Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin were there as well as Phil Ochs,
the folk singer, Arlo Guthrie, some members of the USA band, some members of the
MR. WEINGLASS: Could you indicate to the Court and jury what Jerry Rubin
THE WITNESS: He said that a lot of younger people in America would come to
Chicago during the Convention and hold a Festival of Life in the parks, and he
announced that they were negotiating with the City Hall to get a permit to have
a life festival in the parks.
MR. WEINGLASS: Do you recall what Abbie Hoffman said?
THE WITNESS: He said that they were going to go to Chicago in groups to
negotiate with representatives of Mayor Daley to get a permit for a large-scale
Gathering of the Tribes and he mentioned the human be-in in San Francisco.
MR. WEINGLASS: Did you yourself participate in that press conference?
THE WITNESS: Yes. I stepped to the microphone also. My statement
was that the planet Earth at the present moment was endangered by violence, overpopulation, pollution, ecological destruction brought about by our own
greed; that our younger children in America and other countries of the world
might not survive the next thirty years; that it was a planetary crisis that had
not been recognized by any government of the world and had not been recognized
by our own government, nor the politicians who were preparing for the elections;
that the younger people of America were aware of that and that precisely was
what was called psychedelic consciousness; that we were going to gather together
as we had before in the San Francisco human be-in to manifest our presence over
and above the presence of the more selfish elder politicians who were not
thinking in terms of what their children would need in future generations, or
even ill the generation immediately coming, or even for themselves in their own
lifetime and were continuing to threaten the planet with violence, with war,
with mass murder, with germ warfare. And since the younger people knew
that in the United States, we are going to invite them there, find that the
central motive would be a presentation of a desire for the preservation of the
planet. The desire for preservation of the planet and the planet's form
was manifested to my mind by the great Mantra from India to the preserver god
Vishnu whose Mantra is the Hare Krishna. And then I chanted the Hare
Krishna for ten minutes to the television cameras, and it goes:
Krishna/Hare Krishna/Krishna Krishna/Hare Hare/Hare Rama/Hare Rama/ Rama Rama/Hare Hare.
MR. WEINGLASS: Now in chanting that did you have all accompaniment of any
particular instrument? Your Honor, I object to the laughter of the Court
on this. I think this is a serious presentation of a religious concept.
THE COURT: I don't understand. I don't understand it because it
was---the language of the United States District Court is English.
M R. KUNSTLER: I know, but you don't laugh at all languages.
THE COURT: I didn't laugh. I didn't laugh.
THE WITNESS: I would be happy to explain it.
THE COURT: I didn't laugh at all. I wish I could tell you how I feel.
Laugh---I didn't even smile.
MR. KUNSTLER: Well, I thought---
THE COURT: All I could tell you is that I didn't understand it because
whatever language the witness is using---
THE WITNESS: Sanskrit, sir.
THE COURT: Well, that is one I don't know. That is the reason I didn't
THE WITNESS: Might we go on to in explanation?
THE COURT: Will you keep quiet, Mr. Witness, while I am talking to the
THE WITNESS: I will be glad to give an explanation.
THE COURT: I never laugh at a witness, sir. I protect witnesses who
come to this court. But I do tell you that the language of the American
court is English unless you have all interpreter. You may use an
interpreter for the remainder of the witness' testimony.
MR. KUNSTLER: No. I have heard, Your Honor, priests explain the mass in Latin
in American courts and I think Mr. Ginsberg is doing exactly the same thing in
Sanskrit for another type of religious experience.
THE COURT: I don't understand Sanskrit. I venture to say the jury members
don't. Perhaps we have some people on the jury who do understand Sanskrit,
I don't know, but I wouldn't even have known it was Sanskrit until he told
me. I can't see that that is material to the issues here, that is all.
MR. WEINGLASS: Let me ask this: Mr. Ginsberg, I show you an object marked 150
for identification, and I ask you to examine that object.
THE WITNESS: Yes.
MR. FORAN: All right. Your Honor, that is enough. I object to it,
your Honor. I think it is outrageous for counsel to---
THE COURT: You asked him to examine it find instead of that he played a tune
on it. I sustain the objection.
THE WITNESS: It adds spirituality to the case, sir.
THE COURT: Will you remain quiet, sir.
'THE WITNESS: I am sorry.
MR. WEINGLASS: Having examined that, could you identify it for the court and
THE WITNESS: It is an instrument known As the harmonium, which I used at the
press conference at the Americana Hotel. It is commonly used in India.
MR. FORAN: I object to that.
THE COURT: I sustain the objection.
MR. WEINGLASS: Will you explain to the Court and to the jury what chant you
were chanting at the press conference?
THE WITNESS: I was chanting a mantra called the "Mala Mantra," the great
mantra of preservation of that aspect of the Indian religion called Vishnu the
Preserver. Every time human evil rises so high that the planet itself is
threatened, and all of its inhabitants and their children are threatened, Vishnu
will preserve a return.
December 12, 1969
MR. WEINGLASS: Directing your attention to the month of April 1965, did you
have occasion during that month to meet with the defendant Jerry Rubin?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
MR. WEINGLASS: What, if anything, did Jerry Rubin say?
THE WITNESS: He said that to insure a peaceful gathering in Chicago, so that
a lot of people would come, encouraged by the peaceful nature of it, that they
were applying as a group to the Chicago mayor's office to get a permit, but that
apparently they were having trouble getting the permit. They would
continue negotiating with the City, with City Hall for that permit. He
said he felt that the only way a lot of people would come is if there were
really good vibrations coming out of us and that he wanted it to be a peaceful
I told him I was scared of getting into a scene where I would get
beaten up or a mob scene because I was not used to that and I didn't want to, I
wis just simply frightened of too large a gathering which would involve conflict
and fighting and getting my head busted in, and so I asked him how he felt about
it, whether he was going to work for an actually peaceful gathering or not,
because I didn't want to participate unless it was going to be organized
peacefully, and he said he wanted it to be peaceful because he wanted a lot of
MR. WEINGLASS: Now, directing your attention to August 13 at approximately
5:30 in the afternoon, where were you in the city of Chicago?
THE WITNESS: I went up to City Hall to the mayor's office. I told Mr.
Stahl that I was afraid of getting into a violent scene. I chanted the
Hare Krishna mantra to Mr. Stahl and Mr. Bush as an example of what was intended
by the Festival of Life and I asked them to please give a permit to avoid
MR. WEINGLASS: Could you chant for the Court and the jury the mantra Hare
Krishna as you did that day?
MR. FORAN: Objection.
THE COURT: I sustain the objection.
MR. WEINGLASS: Could you speak without chanting for the Court and jury the
Mantra Hare Krishna?
THE WITNESS: Hare krishna/hare krishna
MR. FORAN: I object.
THE COURT: I sustain the objection.
MR. WEINGLASS: Directing your attention to the morning of August 24, 1968,
where were you?
THE WITNESS: I was on a plane coming from New York to Chicago.
MR. WEINGLASS: Now, en route to Chicago while you were on the plane, what if
anything, did you do?
THE WITNESS: I wrote poetry, wrote out a statement of what I thought was
going on in Chicago at the time.
MR. WEINGLASS: Could you read to the jury that poem?
THE WITNESS: Gladly. I believe you have the text.
1968/Going to Chicago 22,000 feet over hazed square vegetable plant
floor/Approaching Chicago to die or flying over earth another 40 years to
die/Indifferent and afraid, that the bone shattering bullet be the same/As
the vast evaporation of phenomena cancer come true in an old man's bed/Or the
historic fire heaven descending 22,000 years end the Aeon./The lake's blue
again, sky's the same baby, though papers and noses rumor star/Spread the
natural universe'll make angels' feet sticky./I heard the Angel King's voice a
bodiless timeful teenager/Eternal in my own heart, saying Trust the purest
joy,/Democratic anger is an illusion, democratic Joy is God,/Our father is baby
blue, the original face you see, sees you./How through conventional notice and
revolutionary fury remember/The helpless order the police armed to protect the
helpless freedom to protect, the helpless freedom the revolutionary/Conspired to
honor? I am the Angel King saying the Angel King/As the mobs in the
Ampitheatre, streets, Coliseums, parks and offices/Scream in despair over meat
and metal Microphone.
MR. WEINGLASS: At approximately 10:30, August 24, where were you?
THE WITNESS: I was in Lincoln Park.
MR. WEINGLASS: And what occurred in Lincoln Park approximately 10:30, if you
THE WITNESS: There were several thousand young people gathered, waiting, late
at night. It was dark. There were some bonfires burning in
trashcans. Everybody was standing around not knowing what to do. Suddenly there
was a great deal of consternation and movement and shouting among the crowd in
the park, and I turned, surprised, because it was early. The police were
or had given 11:00 as the date or as the time---
MR. FORAN: Objection, your Honor.
MR. WEINGLASS: What did you do at the time you saw the police do this?
THE WITNESS: I started the chant, O-o-m-m-m-m-m-, O-o-m-m-m-m-m-m.
MR. FORAN: All right, we have had a demonstration.
THE COURT: All right.
MR. WEINGLASS : Did you finish your answer?
THE WITNESS: We walked out of the park. We continued chanting for at
least twenty minutes, slowly gathering other people, chanting, Ed Sanders and I
in the center, until there were a group of maybe fifteen or twenty making a very
solid heavy vibrational change of aim that penetrated the immediate area around
us, and attracted other people, and so we walked out slowly toward the street,
toward Lincoln Park.
MR. WEINGLASS: I now show you what is marked D-153 for identification.
Could you read that to the jury?
THE WITNESS: Magic Password Bulletin. Physic Jujitsu. In case of
hysteria, the magic password is o-m, same as o-h-m-, which cuts through all
emergency illusions. Pronounce o-m from the middle of the body, diaphragm
or solar plexus. Ten people humming o-m can calm down one himself.
One hundred people humming o-m can regulate the metabolism of a thousand.
A thousand bodies vibrating o-m can immobilize an entire downtown Chicago street
full of scared humans, uniformed or naked. Signed, Allen Ginsberg, Ed
Sanders. O-m will be practiced on the beach at sunrise ceremonies with
Allen and Ed.
MR. WEINGLASS: Could you explain to the Court and jury what you meant in that
last statement of your message?
THE WITNESS: By "immobilize" I meant shut down the mental machinery
which repeats over and over again the images of fear which are scaring people in
uniform, that is to say, the police officers or the demonstrators, who I refer
to as naked meaning naked emotionally, and perhaps hopefully naked physically.
MR. WEINGLASS: And what did you intend to create by having that mechanism
THE WITNESS: A completely peaceful realization of the fact that we were all
stuck in the same street, place, terrified of each other, and reacting in panic
and hysteria rather than reacting with awareness of each other as human beings,
as people with bodies that actually feel, can chant and pray and have a certain
sense of' vibration to each other or tenderness to each other which is basically
what everybody wants, rather than fear.
MR. WEINGLASS: Now directing your attention to the next day which is Sunday,
August 25, what, if anything, did you do in the park?
THE WITNESS: First I walked around to the center of the park, where suddenly
a group of policemen appeared in the middle of the younger people. There
was an appearance of a great mass of policemen going through the center of the
park. I was afraid then, thinking they were going to make trouble---
MR. FORAN: Objection to his state of mind.
THE COURT: I sustain the objection.
MR. WEINGLASS: What did you do when you saw the policemen in the center of
THE WITNESS: Adrenalin ran through my body. I sat down on a green
hillside with a group of younger people that were walking with me about 3:30 in
the afternoon, 4:00 o'clock. Sat, crossed my legs, and began chanting
O-o-m---O-o--m-m-m-m, O-o-m-m-m-m, O-o-m-m-m-m-m.
MR. FORAN: I gave him four that time.
THE WITNESS: I continued chanting for several hours.
THE COURT: Did you say you continued chanting seven hours?
THE WITNESS: Seven hours, yes. About six hours I chanted "Om" and for
the seventh hour concluded with the chant Hare krishna/hare krishna/krishna
krishna/hare hare/ hare rima/hare rama/rama rama/hare hare.
MR. WEINGLASS: Now, directing your attention to Monday night, that is August
26, in the evening, where were you?
THE WITNESS: I was by a barricade that was set up, a pile of trash cans and
police barricades, wooden horses, I believe. There were a lot of young
black, some white, shouting and beating on the tin barrels,
making a fearsome noise.
MR. WEINGLASS: What did you do after you got there?
THE WITNESS: Started chanting "Om." For a while I was joined in the chant by
a lot of young people who were there until the chant encompassed most of the
people by the barricade, and we raised a huge loud sustained series of "Oms"
into the air loud enough to include everybody. Just as it reached, like, a
great unison crescendo, all of a sudden a police car came rolling down into the
group, right into the center of the group where I was standing, and with a lot
of crashing and tinkling sound of glass, and broke up the chanting, broke up the
unison and the physical---everybody was holding onto each other
physically--broke up that physical community that had been built and broke up
the sound chant that had been built. I moved back. There was a crash
MR. WEINGLASS: What occurred at that time?
THE WITNESS: I started moving away from the scene. I started moving
away from the scene because there was violence there.
MR. WEINGLASS: Mr. Ginsberg, very early in the morning, about 6:00 A.M. on
Tuesday, where were you?
THE WITNESS: I was on the bench at the lakefront at Lincoln Park, conducting
a mantra chant ceremony, that had been arranged to be performed by Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, and the other people who were planning the weekly
schedule of Yippie activities.
MR. WEINGLASS: What occurred at this
THE WITNESS: We got together to greet the morning with Tibetan Buddhist magic
prayer formulas, mantras, beginning with Om raksa/raksa hum/hum/phat/svaha, the
mantra to purify a site for the ceremony.
MR. WEINGLASS: Now, at approximately 8:00 p.m. where were you?
THE WITNESS: I came with a party of writers to the unbirthday party of
President Johnson at the Coliseum.
MR. WEINGLASS: Who was with you?
THE WITNESS: The French writer, Jean Genet, poet novelist. The American
novelist, William Seward. W. S. Burroughs, the novelist. The
novelist, Terry Southern, who had written Doctor Strangelove.
Myself. We all write together.
MR. WEINGLASS: Now, when you arrived at the Coliseum, did you see any of the
THE WITNESS: Abbie Hoffman. I went down and sat next to him and kissed
him, and then pointed back up at Jean Genet and told Abbie that Genet was there.
MR. WEINGLASS: Where, if anywhere, did you go?
THE WITNESS: The group I was with, Mr. Genet, Mr. Burroughs, and Mr. Seaver,
and Terry Southern, all went back to Lincoln Park.
MR. WEINGLASS: What was occurring at the park as you got there?
THE WITNESS: There was a great crowd lining the outskirts of the park and a
little way into the park on the inner roads, and there was a larger crowd moving
in toward the center. We all moved in toward the center, and at the center
of the park, there was a group of ministers and rabbis who had elevated a great
cross about ten-foot high in the middle of a circle of people who were sitting
around, quietly, listening to the ministers conduct a ceremony.
MR. WEINGLASS: And would you relate to the Court and jury what was being said
and done at the time?
THE WITNESS: Everybody was seated around the cross, which was at the center
of hundreds of people, people right around the very center adjoining the
cross. Everybody was singing, "We Shall Overcome," and "Onward Christian
Soldiers," I believe. They were old hymn times. I was seated with my friends
on a little hillock looking down on the crowd, which had the cross in the
center. And on the other side, there were a lot of glary lights hundreds
of feet away down the field. The ministers lifted up the cross and took it to
the edge of the crowd and set it down facing the lights where the police
were. In other words, they confronted the police lines with the cross of
MR. WEINGLASS: And after the ministers moved the cross, what happened?
THE WITNESS: After, I don't know, a short period of time, there was a burst
of smoke and tear gas around the cross, and the cross was enveloped with tear
gas, and the people who were carrying the cross were enveloped with tear gas
which began slowly drifting over the crowd.
MR. WEINGLASS: And when you saw the persons with the cross and the cross
being gassed. what, if anything, did you do?
THE WITNESS: I turned to Burroughs find said, "They have gassed the cross of
MR. FORAN: Objection, if the Court please.
MR. WEINGLASS: What did you do at that time?
THE WITNESS: I took Bill Burroughs' hand, and took Terry Southern's hand, and
we turned from the cross which was covered with gas in the glary lights, the
police lights that were shining through the tear gas on the cross, and walked
slowly out of the park.
MR. WEINGLASS: On Wednesday, the next day, at approximately 3:45 in the
afternoon, do you recall where you were?
THE WITNESS: Yes. Entering the Grant Park Bandshell area, where there
was a mobilization meeting or rally going on. I was still with the same
group of literary fellows, poets and writers. I walked tip to the
apron or front of the stage, and saw David Dellinger and told him that I was
there, and that Burroughs was there and Jean Genet was there and that they were
all willing to be present and testify to the righteousness of the occasion, and
that we would like to be on the stage.
MR. WEINGLASS: Were you then introduced?
THE WITNESS: Yes. Jean Genet was also introduced.
MR. WEINGLASS: Did you speak?
THE WITNESS: I croaked, yes.
THE COURT: What was that last? You say you what?
THE WITNESS: I croaked. My voice was gone. I chanted or tried to chant.
MR. WEINGLASS: Did you remain for the rest of the rally?
THE WITNESS: Yes. I didn't pay much attention to most of the speakers
that followed. There was one that I heard. Louis Abolafia, whom I
knew from New York.
MR. WEINGLASS: And who is he?
THE WITNESS: Kind of a Bohemian trickster, street theater candidate for
President. He had announced his candidacy for President a number of times,
and his campaign slogan was, "I have nothing to hide," and he showed himself in
a photograph with his hand over his lap, but otherwise naked.
MR. WEINGLASS: Was he introduced?
THE WITNESS: No, he just appeared from nowhere and got up to the microphone
and started yelling into it.
MR. WEINGLASS: Do you recall hearing what he was yelling?
THE WITNESS: "The police out there are armed and violent. You are
walking into a death trap."
MR. WEINGLASS: When you heard him yelling that over the microphone, what, if
anything, did you do?
THE WITNESS: I went over and sat next to him, and grabbed his leg, and
started tickling him, and said, "Hare krishna, Louis."
MR. WEINGLASS: Now, when the rally was over, did you have occasion to talk
with Mr. Dellinger?
THE WITNESS: Yes. He looked me in the eyes, took my arm and said,
"Allen, will you please march in the front line with me?
MR. WEINGLASS: And what did you say to him?
THE WITNESS: I said, "Well, I am here with Burroughs and Genet and Terry
Southern." And he said, "Well, all of you together, can you form a front line
and be sure to stay behind me in the front line, be the first of the group of
MR. WEINGLASS: And did you form such a line?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
MR. WEINGLASS: How were you walking?
THE WITNESS: Our arms were all linked together and we were carrying
flowers. Someone had brought flowers up to the back of the stage, and so
we distributed them around to the front rows of marchers so all the marchers had
MR. WEINGLASS: Mr. Ginsberg, I show you a photograph marked D-158 for
identification, and I ask you if you can identify that photograph.
THE WITNESS: Yes. It is a picture of the front line of marchers as I
described it before, consisting of William Burroughs on the extreme right, Jean
Genet, Richard Seaver, his editor at Grove, myself.
MR. WEINGLASS: Now, Mr. Ginsberg, you have indicated you have known Jerry
Rubin since 1965?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
MR. WEINGLASS: Would you indicate to the Court and jury whether or not you
have ever seen him smoke a cigarette?
THE WITNESS: I don't remember.
MR. WEINGLASS: I mean a tobacco cigarette.
THE WITNESS: Offhand, no.
MR. WEINGLASS: Now, Mr. Ginsberg, you have had extensive training in Zen and
in other religions of the East. Have you acquired an expertise in the area
of peaceful assembly and peaceful intent?
MR. FORAN: I object to that, Your Honor.
THE COURT: I sustain the objection.
MR. WEINGLASS: Did you see during Convention week either the defendant Jerry
Rubin or the defendant Abbie Hoffman or any of the other defendants who are
seated at this table commit an act or make a speech or do anything, do any other
thing to violate the precepts of your own philosophy?
MR. FORAN: Objection.
THE COURT: I sustain the objection.
MR. WEINGLASS: I have no further questions.
MR. FORAN: Your Honor, I have to get some materials to properly carry on my
cross-examination of this witness. It will take some time to go downstairs
to get them.
THE COURT: Are you suggesting we recess?
MR. FORAN: I would think yes, your, Honor.
THE COURT: All right. We will go until two o'clock.
MR. KUNSTLER: Your Honor, we asked for five minutes two days ago in front of
this jury and you refused to give it to us.
THE COURT: You will have to cease that disrespectful tone.
MR. KUNSTLER: That is not disrespect, that is an angry tone, your Honor.
THE COURT: Yes, it is. Yes, it is. I will grant the motion of the
MR. KUNSTLER: You refused us five minutes the other day.
THE COURT: You are shouting at the Court.
MR. KUNSTLER: Oh, your Honor---
THE COURT: I never shouted at you during this trial.
MR. KUNSTLER: Your Honor, your voice has been raised.
THE COURT: You have been disrespectful.
MR. KUNSTLER: It is not disrespectful, your Honor.
THE COURT: And sometimes worse than that.
THE WITNESS: O-o-m-m-m-m-m-m-m.
THE COURT: Will you step off the witness stand?
MR. KUNSTLER: He was trying to calm us both down, your Honor.
THE COURT: Oh, no. I needed no calming down. That will be all....
THE COURT You have finished your direct? You may cross-examine.
MR. FORAN: Mr. Ginsberg, you were named as kind of the Yippie religious
leader. Do you think that is a fair designation of your connection with
the Yippie organization?
THE WITNESS: No, because the word "leader" was one we really tried to get
away from, to get away from that authoritarian thing. It was more like---
MR. FORAN: Religious teacher?
THE WITNESS: ---religious experimenter, or someone who was interested in
experimenting with that, and with moving things in that direction.
MR. FORAN: In the context of the Yippie organization?
THE WITNESS: Yes, and also in the context of our whole political life too.
MR. FORAN: And among the others named are Timothy Leary.
THE WITNESS: Yes
MR. FORAN: And Timothy Leary has a kind of religious concept that he attempts
to articulate, doesn't he?
THE WITNESS: Yes, it is a religious concept that has a very ancient tradition
in Shivite worship and in American Indian worship services or ceremonies.
MR. FORAN: And one of the parts of that religious concept is the religious
experience in the use of hallucinogenic drugs, isn't it, Mr. Ginsberg?
THE WITNESS: In India, in the Shivite sect, they refer to it as gunga or
bhang, which in Latin is cannabis and which in the American language is
marijuana, or pot, or grass.
MR. FORAN: In the course of his teaching, he makes use of those drugs
THE WITNESS: I think he says that they are part of the legitimate religious
meditation and worship exercises.
MR. FORAN: Now when you went out to the Coliseum and you met Abbie Hoffman,
you said when you met him you kissed him?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
MR FORAN: Is he an intimate friend of yours?
THE WITNESS: I felt very intimate with him. I saw he was struggling to
manifest a beautiful thing, and I felt very good towards him.
MR. FORAN: And do you consider him an intimate friend of yours?
THE WITNESS: I don't see him that often, but I do see him often enough and
have worked with him often enough to feel intimate with him, yes.
MR. FORAN: You feel pretty much an intimate friend of Jerry Rubin's too?
THE WITNESS: Over the years, I have learned from them both.
MR. FORAN: By the way, you were asked on direct examination whether you had
seen Jerry Rubin smoke any tobacco.
THE WITNESS: Yes, I said I didn't remember seeing him smoke.
MR. FORAN: Have you seen him smoke anything?
THE WITNESS: No, I don't remember seeing him smoke anything. I don't
remember ever seeing him smoke.
MR. FORAN: Anything?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
MR. FORAN: Now, you testified concerning a number of books of poetry that you
THE WITNESS: Yes.
MR. FORAN: In The Empty Mirror, there is a poem called "The Night Apple"?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
MR. FORAN: Would you recite that for the jury?
The Night Apple.
Last night I dreamed/of one I loved/for
seven long years,/but I saw no face,/only the familiar/presence of the
body;/sweat skin eyes/feces urine sperm/saliva all one/odor and mortal taste,
MR. FORAN: Could you explain to the jury what the religious significance of
that poem is?
THE WITNESS: If you would take a wet dream as a religious experience, I
could. It is a description of a wet dream, sir.
MR. FORAN: Now, I call your attention in that same Government's Exhibit No.
59, to page 14. That has on it the poem, "In Society." Can you recite that
poem to the jury?
WITNESS: Yes, I will read it.
I walked into the cocktail
party/room and found three or four queers/talking together in queer-talk,/I
tried to be friendly but heard/myself talking to one in hiptalk./"I'm glad to
see you," he said, and/looked away, "Hmn," I mused. The room/was small and
had a double-decker/bed in it, and cooking apparatus:/icebox, cabinet, toasters,
stove;/the hosts seemed to live with room/enough only for cooking and
sleeping./My remark on this score was under-/stood but not appreciated, I
was/offered refreshments, which I accepted./ I ate a sandwich of pure meat;
an/enormous sandwich of human flesh,/l noticed, while I was chewing on it,/it
also included a dirty asshole. More company came, including a/fluffy female
who looked like/a princess. She glared at me and/said immediately: "I
don't like you,"Turned her head away, and refused/to be introduced. I said
"What!"/in outrage. "Why you shit-faced fool!"/This got everybody's
attention./"Why you narcissistic bitch! How/can you decide when you don't
even/know me," I continued in a violent/and messianic voice, inspired at/last,
dominating the whole room.
It is a record, a literal record
of a dream, as the other was a literal record of a dream.
MR. FORAN: Can you explain the religious significance of that poetry?
THE WITNESS: Actually, yes.
MR. FORAN: Would you explain it to the jury?
THE WITNESS: Yes. One of the major yogas, or "yoking"---yoga means
yoke---is bringing together the conscious mind with the unconscious mind, and is
an examination of dream-states in an attempt to recollect dream-states, no
matter how difficult they are, no matter how repulsive they are, even if they
include hysteria, sandwiches of human flesh, which include dirty assholes,
because those are universal images that come in everybody's dreams. The
attempt in yoga is to enlarge consciousness, to be conscious that one's own
consciousness will include everything which occurs within the body and the mind.
As part of the practice of poetry, I have always kept records of dreams
whenever I have remembered them, and have tried not to censor them so that I
would have all the evidence to examine in light of day, so that I would find out
who I was unconsciously. Part of the Zen meditation and part of yoga
meditation consists in the objective impersonal examination of the rise and fall
and disappearance of thoughts in the mind, all thoughts, whether they be
thoughts of sleeping with one's mother, which is universal, or sleeping with
one's father, which is also universal thought, or becoming an angel, or flying,
or attending a cocktail party and being afraid of being put down, and then
getting hysterical. In other words, the attempt is to reclaim the
unconscious, to write down in the light of day what is going on in the deepest
meditation of night and dream-state. So it is part of yoga which involves
bridging the difference between public, as in this Courtroom, and private
subjective public, which is conscious, which we can say to each other in family
situations, and private, which is what we know and tell only our deepest
MR. FORAN: Thank you.
You also wrote a book of poems called Reality
Sandwiches, didn't you?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
MR. FORAN: In there, there is a poem called, "Love Poem on Theme by Whitman."
Would you recite that to the jury?
THE WITNESS: "Love Poem on Theme by Whitman," Walt Whitman being one
celebrated bard, national prophet. The poem begins with a quotation of a
line by Walt Whitman. It begins with Walt Whitman's line:
I'll go into
the bedroom silently and lie down between the bridegroom and the bride,/those
bodies fallen from heaven stretched out waiting naked and restless,/arms resting
over their eyes in the darkness,/bury my face in their shoulders and breasts,
breathing their skin,/and stroke and kiss neck and mouth and make back be open
and known,/legs raised up, crook'd to receive, cock in the darkness driven
tormented and attacking/roused up from hole to itching head,/bodies locked
shuddering naked, hot lips and buttocks screwed into each other/and eyes, eyes
glinting and charming, widening into looks and abandon,/and moans of movement,
voices, hands in air, hands between thighs,/hands in moisture on softened lips,
throbbing contraction of bellies/till the white come flow in the swirling
sheets/and the bride cry for forgiveness, and the groom be covered with tears of
passion and compassion,/and I rise up from the bed replenished with last
intimate gestures and kisses of farewell--/all before the mind wakes, behind
shades and closed doors in a darkened house/where the inhabitants roam
unsatisfied in the night,/nude ghosts seeking each other out in the silence.
MR. FORAN: Would you explain the religious significance of that poem?
THE WITNESS: As part of our nature, as part of our human nature, we
have many loves, many of which are denied, many of which we deny to
ourselves. He said that the reclaiming of those loves and the becoming
aware of those loves was the only way that this nation could save itself and
become a democratic and spiritual republic. He said that unless there were
an infusion of feeling, of tenderness, of fearlessness, of spirituality, of
natural sexuality, of natural delight in each other's bodies into the hardened,
materialistic, cynical, life denying, clearly competitive, afraid, scared,
armored bodies, there would be no chance for a spiritual democracy to take place
in America. And he defined that tenderness between the citizens as, in his
words, an adhesiveness, a natural tenderness flowing between all citizens as, in
his words, an adhesiveness, a natural tenderness flowing between all citizens,
not only men and women but also a tenderness between men and men as part of our
democratic heritage, part of the adhesiveness which would make the democracy
function; that men could work together not as competitive beasts but as tender
lovers and fellows. So he projected from his own desire and from his own
unconsciousness a sexual urge he felt was normal to the unconscious of most
people, though forbidden, for the most part, to take part. Walt Whitman is
one of my spiritual teachers and I am following him in this poem taking off from
a line of his own and projecting my own actual unconsciousness feeling of which
I don't have shame, sir, which I feel are basically charming, actually.
THE COURT: I didn't hear that last word.
THE WITNESS: Charming
MR. FORAN: I have no further questions
THE COURT: Redirect examination.
Nothing? You may go sir.
THE WITNESS: Thank you.
THE COURT: Call your next witness.
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