The following conversation between Srila Prabhupada and the poet Allen Ginsberg took place in Columbus, Ohio, on May 11, 1969.
Srila Prabhupada: Nobody is free from service because we are constitutionally servants. Either we become the servant of the Great or maya. Just like in any condition of our lives, we have to abide by the state laws. If you don't abide, then you come to the prison house. You will be forced. Similarly, maya and Krsna. If we don't abide by Krsna, then we come to maya. We cannot be free. That is not our position. Freedom results in frustration.
Allen Ginsberg: Do you remember a man named Richard Alpert? He used to work with Timothy Leary in Harvard many years ago. And then he went to India and found a teacher and is now a disciple of Hanumanji, or a devotee of Hanuman. We were talking about maya and the present condition of America. So he said that his teacher in India told him that LSD was a Christ of the Kali-yuga for Westerners.
Srila Prabhupada: Christ?
Allen Ginsberg: Of the Kali-yuga for Westerners. As the Kali-yuga got more intense, as attachment got thicker and thicker, salvation would also have to get easier and easier.
Srila Prabhupada: That is a very nice statement that in the Kali-yuga salvation becomes much easier. That is the version of Srimad-Bhagavatam also, but that process is this kirtana [chanting the names of God], not LSD.
Allen Ginsberg: Well, the reasoning was that for those who would only accept salvation in a purely material form, in a chemical form finally, Krsna had the humor to emerge as a pill.
Srila Prabhupada: No, the thing is that with any material form, where is there salvation? It is illusion.
Allen Ginsberg: Well, the subjective effect is to cut attachment during…
Srila Prabhupada: No. If you have got attachment for something material, then where is the cut-off of attachment? LSD is a material chemical.
Allen Ginsberg: Yeah.
Srila Prabhupada: So if you have to take shelter of LSD, then you are taking help from matter. So how are you free from matter?
Allen Ginsberg: Well, the subjective experience is, while in the state of intoxication of LSD you also realize that LSD is a material pill, and that it does not really matter.
Srila Prabhupada: So that is risky. That is risky.
Allen Ginsberg: Yeah. Now, so if LSD is a material attachment, which it is, I think, then is not sound, sabda, also a material attachment?
Srila Prabhupada: No, sabda is spiritual. Just like in the Bible it is said, "Let there be creation." This sound is spiritual sound. Creation was not there. The sound produced the creation. Therefore, sound is originally spiritual, and from sound, sky develops; from sky, air develops; from air, fire develops; from fire, water develops; from water, land develops.
Allen Ginsberg: Sound is the first element of creation?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, yes.
Allen Ginsberg: What was the first sound traditionally?
Srila Prabhupada: The Vedic literature states, om. So at least we can understand from your Bible that God said, "Let there be creation." So there is this sound, and then there is creation. God and His sound are nondifferent, absolute. I say, "Mr. Ginsberg," and this sound and I are different. But God is nondifferent from His energy. Sakti saktimator abhedah. Sakti, energy, and saktimat, the energetic. They are nondifferent. Just like fire and heat, they are nondifferent, but heat is not fire. You cannot differentiate heat from fire, or fire from heat. But fire is not heat.
Allen Ginsberg: Well, the sound Krsna…
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, it is nondifferent from Krsna.
Allen Ginsberg: Under all circumstances.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, under all circumstances. But it is a question of my appreciation, or my realization. That will depend on my purity. Otherwise, this Krsna sound and Krsna are nondifferent. Therefore if we vibrate the sound Krsna, then we are immediately in contact with Krsna. And because Krsna is wholly spiritual, then we become spiritualized. Just like if you touch electricity, immediately you're electrified. And the more you become electrified [by vibrating the sound Krsna], the more you become Krsna-ized. So when you are fully Krsna-ized, you are on the Krsna platform. Tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti so 'rjuna. You don't come back to this material existence. You remain with Krsna.