Jasper on Video – Kumbha Mela 2001

Jasper Newsome, aka Ram Giri Baba –  his last recorded exposition of what being a Baba meant to him; told at the heart of it, the Prayag Raj Kumbha Mela 2001.

Recorded at the Maha Maha Kumbha Mela 2001, held every 144 years, at Prayag, Allahabad, India.  Sixty million people took part, the largest spiritual gathering in the world. Celebrated at the confluence of three great rivers, only two of which are of this world; the third, the mythical Saraswati, joins the Ganga & the Yamuna at the confluence, Triveni Sangam, a sacred place, at a sacred time.

This video was made by Smiljan Šiška, who wrote, in October 2009:

“I met Jasper first at the Allahabad Kumbha Mela 1977, when I came there on autostop with my wife Milena and one year old daughter Jasna. We stayed in the camp of Ganesh Baba and Paagal Baba.”

“Our next meeting was in the year 1988. He came to Slovenia, from where we continued to journey to India and Nepal. We travelled together with Chaitanya, his wife Ludmilla and their two daughters, & with my wife & my son & daughter & some other friends.”

“Next year 1989, was the Maha Kumbha Mela in Allahabad and there we met again. As I remember we also met in 1998 in the Allahabad Kumbha Mela.”

Jasper Newsome/Ram Giri, Kumbha Mela 2001.“The last Mela we were together – it was in the year 2001. During which I also made a documentary video about the rituals, which I am still completing. In my archive I will look for more photo material about Jasper and Kumbha Melas.”

 

Glossary:

baba – (Hindi: बाबा; Urdu: بابا; father; grandfather; old man; sir) renunciate man, usually Hindu but sometimes used of Muslim spiritual seekers & applied in India to supplicants of any religion; a general term of respect for men who pursue the spiritual life; usually, but not invariably, applied to older men; a respectful term of address to an older man.

naga baba – a type of sadhu, often nude and practising extreme asceticisms; a sadhu who consumes Ganja (marijuana) as part of his daily spiritual rituals; devotees of the God Shiva.

triveni sangam – exact riverine point where the brown waters of the Ganga meet the blue waters of the Yamuna at Prayag (Allahabad), India.  The third river is unseen, the mythical Saraswati & the confluence has been considered a holy place for millenia.

dudhnath – (Sanskrit दूध्नाथ literally ‘Lord of Milk’) is both a generic term for a milkman in Hindi and also a personal term of address, “Are Dudhnath, kya Hai? (Hi Dudhnath, what’s up)?”; also a surname in some parts of India.

Links:

* Jasper Newsome – Flower Raj Wiki

* Jasper Newsome – Flower Raj Photos

* Sadhu – Wikipedia

* Kumbha Mela – Wikipedia

* Nudity in Religion – Wikipedia

* Triveni Sangam – Wikipedia

* The Inimitable Allahabad

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3 Responses to “Jasper on Video – Kumbha Mela 2001”


  • Well that was a delight, even if it was sotto voce most of the way through.

    Darshan with Ram Giri; one of the times in life that I am most grateful for is visiting Jasper in Oxford at his Council Flats pad on 12/31/2003 and spending the day with him. Hadn’t seen him since Delhi in ’83, and times were harsh in ’83; me deeply involved in the worst forms of samsara and Jasper kind of coaching me through the madness.

    Anyway, we both survived in spite of ourselves and it was a great visit in Oxford; we trekked over to his grand-pappy’s Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford after a small chillum in the rain. Said goodbye at the London bus-stop and 6 months later I got the call; Jasper was on the other shore. Glad I stayed on the Oxford bus; Jasper was an old world gentleman and it shows in the Kumba Mela video. We won’t see his likes again.

  • Listened to the Jasper talk at Kumbh & all his knowledge was accurate & this was good & sweet to hear.

    He was in his realm there, chillum coughing in the background, never did realize why all this smoking was so important.

    Still don’t, but then I guess reality is for people who can’t handle drugs.

  • I spent about 45 minutes on The Flower Raj site last night – listening to Jasper at the Mela, looking at photos of people past and present, some of whom I know – and somehow I was feeling quite emotional by the end of my tour.

    The last time I saw the magnificent Jasper was when I put him to bed in a sleeping bag at the bottom of the stairs in Tony Jackson’s upstairs space in Hampstead – and he was very drunk – but still so sweet and compliant and like a child with me as I ordered him into his sleeping bag and made sure it was zipped up.

    His eyes were twinkling and dancing despite his state and you could really feel his spirit, that seeker and wanderer and thirster after knowledge. And I felt moved to tears actually, seeing what it is I come out of, the utterly extraordinary people I grew up with, that floated in and out of my life, who make most of the people I meet as an adult somehow quite dull!…

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