Ganesh Baba talks with Terry Clifford

Ganesh Baba - 01Terry Clifford - 01

A one hour, two part, audio interview (sides A & B – 30 minutes each) digitised from the original audio cassette tape and made into high-quality (320kbps) MP3.

Ganesh Baba, ‘The Psychedelic Guru’ is talking with Terry Clifford, in Kathmandu, Nepal – 20th September 1976.

(Use the built-in players below or download the original files).

A Side – Ganesh Baba talks with Terry Clifford (31:49  – 74,573KB).

[podcast]http://blog.theflowerraj.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Terry-Clifford-Interviews-Ganesh-Baba-A.mp3[/podcast]

B Side – Ganesh Baba talks with Terry Clifford (31:50 – 74,642KB)

[podcast]http://blog.theflowerraj.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Terry-Clifford-Interviews-Ganesh-Baba-B.mp3[/podcast]

Ganesh Baba:

Born around 1890 in Orissa, India, little  is known of his early life; he is said to have married and to have had financial, social, and familial success.  By the 1960s, as an old man,  he had become a renunciate spiritual seeker and he met and interacted with many Westerners over the remainder of his life. Ganesh Baba visited and taught in the USA between 1979 & 1981. He died in Nainital, India, in 1987.

Encyclopaedia Photo Album

Terry Clifford:

Terry was born in New York in 1945, and after gaining a degree in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1967, she worked first as a psychiatric nurse in New York & then headed East to India and Nepal. She became a Buddhist, learnt Tibetan and studied Tibetan Medicine, later being awarded a Ph. D and working on a Tibetan Pharmacopoeia under a grant from the Wellcome Trust.  She died tragically of cancer in 1987 at the early age of forty-two.

Encyclopaedia Photo Album

Credits:

Audio tapes from the collection of Terry Clifford, courtesy Arthur Mandelbaum.

High-quality audio digitisation and editing by Charlie Martin.

Notes:

Excerpts from this were published in High Times as Terry Clifford, “Interview with a Dope Guru … Ganesh Baba,” High Times, Number 29, January 1978, pp. 78-79, 112-113.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share

17 Responses to “Ganesh Baba talks with Terry Clifford”


  • I knew both of these wonderful souls. Ganesh Baba was really a trip and a very funny man. Terry was a bright and beautiful person. Her death at such an early age was a great loss to all who knew her. RIP my brother and sister!
    Monkeybone…. Bb

  • Thanks to everybody for the Ganesh Baba/Terry Clifford offering. GB is really pissed off at Baba Ram Das! Great stuff. Lord knows the origin of cosmic slights that result in these kinds of observations.

    I played the Door’s song The End for Ganesh Baba at the chai shop in Asi Ghat, Benares, in 1970. When it came to the line, “I’ll never look into your eyes again”, Ganesh Baba looked at me and asked “Why not?” He really did. Ganesh Fucking Baba. I carry a picture of the soles of his feet in my travel wallet (which he would be pleased to know is a Bally French travel wallet; he always liked style.) I also discovered listening to Terry’s wonderful interview that I can’t follow Ganesh Baba any better in 2009 than I could when Jasper brought him around in Spring, ’69. I’ve never really know what the fuck he was talking about; maybe that’s why I selected him as my guru.

    Terry Clifford was a great lady. She died the same year as Ganesh Baba, 1987. the only problem was, she got less than half the life he got. Go figure! She had class and balls, I’ll tell you that. I drove a Cadillac convertible driveaway from Chicago to San Francisco, via Santa Fe and LA, with Terry and Keith in January, 72. Without her along, Keith and I would have ended up in a ditch in Nebraska (and when Keith drove, we damned near did every time too).

  • It might be good to add to her bio notes that she was on the first three year retreat in the Dordogne.

    That was such a major decision and achievement. (And I have the sweetest memories of holding her hand as her hair was cut in the elegant 57th Street salon I used to go to, just before retreat … how she didn’t want it all shaved off quite yet, but wanted to kind of get close to very short hair before embarking on that journey … as well as shopping for various ‘red’ clothes with her … EVERYthing had to be red! …).

    It’s an especially poignant memory for me because Terry had such gorgeous, straight, lustrous, long dark hair.

    Terry’s Tibetan Buddhist retreat was in the Nyingma tradition (there are several different traditions in Tibetan Buddhism, this being the oldest). She was one of five Americans who joined and completed that first retreat in the Dordogne.

    To clarify the shopping for red clothes part… they all wore traditional monks robes during the retreat… but Terry searched for and found red or burgundy sheets, pillow cases, down coat, any extra warm or cold weather things from inside out, all in deep red colors.

  • It’s wonderful to hear these these recordings. I posted videos with more fine audio clips of his discourses on my YouTube site: http://www.youtube.com/user/crabbster21 I was privileged to know him, and have more stories about him than I can tell all at once here. I know many more recordings of him were made, and hope some of them will also surface in the course of time.

  • These tapes are wonderful. I posted more audio clips of Ganesh Baba at YouTube. To find them, go to YouTube and write “Ganesh Baba” in the search box.

  • Today I found a post by Eve Neuhaus, ‘Dia de Los Muertos’ (The Day of The Dead) http://www.evolver.net/user/eve/blog/dia_de_los_muertos

    Down in the Comments Eve wrote:
    “I’m connected to her [Shri Anandamayi Ma] because my guru, Ganesh Baba, managed her ashram in Benares in the 1950’s or early 1960’s – he always had her picture on his altar too.

    In the story he told us, she kicked him out because he was sneaking out of the ashram at night to smoke and take bhang with the Naga babas. He became a Naga himself after that.

    He always loved her, regardless of the details of their parting, and I love her too.”

    So I contacted Eve:
    “… suddenly you are talking about Ganesh Baba and I just love the story of him sneaking out at night for his chillums.

    One has to realise that he was then already over 80!

    I never knew he used to manage Sri Anandamayi Ma’s Banaras ashram.

    I’d like to add the GB tale as a Comment on The Flower Raj, should you permit it.

    There are some people who’d really appreciate the story, who were at Sri Anandamayi Ma’s tent at the Kumbha Mela 1966 and who met GB there & returned with him to Banaras, where I first met him.

    So she fired him but they remained friends – how cool is that!”

    & Eve wrote back:
    “You’re welcome to add that story, but, as with all GB stories, I wouldn’t assume it is true, even though he told it to me more than once. He was such a mercurial figure, you know, and he told us stories for a variety of reasons. Literal history often ranked low. Still, I tend to believe he did manage her ashram, and I know for sure he lived at Sivananda’s ashram in Darjeeling for a time.

    It would have been good to connect while I was writing the book on Baba (The Crazy Wisdom of Ganesh Baba: Psychedelic Sadhana) that will be published in June by Inner Traditions. I’m sure you would have had a lot to add. The book is an editing and updating of his manuscript, Crea Sadhana, which he assigned to me to do some 30 years ago, and a smattering of personal anecdotes and biographical material.”

    The book can be pre-ordered at Amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/Crazy-Wisdom-Ganesh-Baba-Psychedelic/dp/1594772657/

    And Eve Neuhaus has another blog at http://mythaca.gaia.com/blog with more on GB.

  • I somehow doubt the veracity of that Anandamayi Ma story. I agree with Eve that GB was not big on history as fact.

    That hardly mattered. What was important was the message he wanted to convey even if he had to twist the story to suit the moment.

  • To my ear the story has the ring of truth; Shri Anandamayi Ma did have an ashram in Banaras; Ganesh Baba did know her & stayed in her Kumbha Mela tent.

    I can really see the old boy getting bored, back in Banaras, having had to be sober & then sneaking conspicuously out for an evening dope hit & getting caught by the ashram mafia as he rolled noisily back in, maybe having to get the door unlocked & probably cussing out the ashram officials, as was his wont.

    That would have been anathema to the general folk at the ashram, though I suspect Anadamayi Ma would not have cared one whit personally.

  • I knew GB in Darjeeling, Calcutta, and Varanasi. Spent hours listening to him, laughing wildly, and hearing him take people apart.

    I was fortunate (or maybe not) in that he never tore me apart even for being part of the Tibetan scene. I did see him destroy some people sometimes for one reason or another.

    The Anandamayi incident was before my time although I did see her once in 1968 as her ashram was just next door to Assi Ghat.

  • Penelope Newsome

    Well, fascinating. It would be nice to hear some comments about what Ganesh is saying. Andy Klein says he never had any idea what Ganesh was talking about . Ganesh always said, I thought, that he was not a guru; and indeed I like his idea that we are all gurus. But he says it’s all about ‘information’. So what about Ganesh’s information? I’m personally interested in his ideas about consciousness. But I consider myself a ‘non-psychedelic’ and I don’t believe in psychedelics as the way to higher consciousness. Still it’s fun to hear about it all and it would indeed have been fun to meet him . Ganesh has a lot of interesting ‘information’. I like his view of ‘alcoholic monsters’ ruling the world- very sadly. I love all you people , and anecdotes fine . But did the flower raj produce any wisdom? any sages? Comments then, pleasae. PN

  • There is now a (partial & ahem, modified) transcript of this interview at:

    Interview with a Dope Guru – Ganesh Baba

    Terry Clifford, “Interview with a Dope Guru — Ganesh Baba,” High Times, Number 29, January, 1978, pp. 78-79,112-13.

    As reported in Orgies of the Hemp Eaters by Hakim Bey & Abel Zug (thanks to Marilyn Stablein for pointing me at this & helping me get it digitised).

  • To any of you who knew and loved Ganesh Baba,

    It occurred to me that it would be good fun to organize a gathering, a cREaUNION, sometime this year.

    Roxanne Gupta has the space for it at her place in upstate New York and would be happy to host it. In the creative spirit of the Ganeshian tradition, those of us so inclined could give talks, classes or workshops (open to the public or not) during the days before and after the weekend of the reunion. The reunion itself, of course, will be Ganeshian in other senses.

    Originally, I thought we might do it in June, when Inner Traditions releases the Baba book, but friends from France are already planning to visit in August, so late August it is.

    What do you think? Would you be interested in coming? In giving or in taking part in workshops related in some way to Baba’s teachings? What dates would work for you?

    Drop me a line at eveneuhaus@gmail.com to say to what extent you might be interested in participating, and please pass this invitation on to others who might be interested.

    love and a happy new year to you all,
    Eve

  • Kathryn Mathieson

    Greetings. I am researching Terry Clifford for a Ph.D dissertation on Tibetan psychiatry, and more importantly, her…What a rock star she was!

    Please, please, if anyone is willing, may I contact you?

    She will not be forgotten.

    Kathryn Mathieson, Psychiatric R.N., Nurse Practitioner, Ph.D. candidate (based in Vermont)

  • Penelope Newsome

    I just read the transcript- partial etc- of the Terry Clifford interview with your Ganesh Baba. Thanks for posting that as it helps a bit to begin to understand the man and his ‘philosophy’. Very interesting . I shall certaily start trying to sit up straight! Maybe my slouching is indeed the cause of all my problems. Jasper used to tell me! and he used to tell me about the 5 cleansing breaths one should take. I don’t think Ganesh would have recommended any of his psychdelics for someone like me!

    All best, people.

    PeN

  • I knew Terry Clifford in NYC and can fill in some details for you, if interested. She was indeed a very special person.

  • Sapan Rinpoche - Ven. Lama Ngawang Kunga Thupten Gyaltsen

    Tashi Delek, Namaste … THIS is especially for Kathryn Mathieson, regarding her work on Terry Clifford. Terry was the LOVE OF MY LIFE. We spent about a year and a half together, at the University of Wisconsin, in 1966 and 1967. I was known as S. Barrett Williams in those days. In 1967-8, I moved from Madison and then to California and, after graduating in 1967, Terry ended up in NYC, etc. We never reconnected again, but I did have, Monterey County, a visit from one of her old roomates. She became a Buddhist, etc. In 1988, seven months after Terry’s transition, I became a Tibetan Buddhist Monk [Ngawang Kunga Thupten Gyaltsen]. In 1991 I received a “Lama” title. In February, 1996 I was recognized by His Holiness Trinly Sakyapa (May 14,1934- Oct 14, 1997) as a “Western Emanation” of Sakya Pandita (1182-1251). Now, at Age 72, I am living in Lyons, Colorado, 14-miles north of Boulder, and Directing the Kunga Tenphel Ling Dharma Center and the Phuntsok Choephel Ling Monastery Project. Terry and Barrett. Buddhist SHIPS passing in the night. I have many stories, including some fast-forward ones to 1989 with Keith Dowman and onward. Simply enough, I can go on for hours about Terry and her UW life and our psychedelic explorations in 1966 as part of the UW Mileau, etc. Again, TC was the love of my life. I shall never ever forget. Sarva Mangalam, Sapan Rinpoche Kunga Gyaltsen 303-823-6477 in Lyons, Colorado, USA, North America.

  • There is now a (partial & ahem, modified) transcript of this interview at:

    Interview with a Dope Guru – Ganesh Baba

    Terry Clifford, “Interview with a Dope Guru — Ganesh Baba,” High Times, Number 29, January, 1978, pp. 78-79,112-13.

    As reported in Orgies of the Hemp Eaters by Hakim Bey & Abel Zug (thanks to Marilyn Stablein for pointing me at this & helping me get it digitised).

Leave a Reply