Paul Giraud – Memories of Jasper – Part I

Paul Giraud (aka ‘Taxi Paul’ or ‘Babes’)  interviewed by Arthur Mandelbaum in New York City, October 2009 – video length 22m:37s.

[podcast format=”video”][/podcast]

Arthur Mandelbaum wrote:

Paul would like the name Paul Giraud used. His nicknames are Taxi Paul (old days) and Babes (nowadays) as he’s been calling his friends ‘babes’ for years.

He was born in Bombay (Mumbai), Bridge Candy, in 1937, but grew up in Connecticut, USA.  In the early ’60s he met Geshe Wangyal and his student  John Brzostoski in New Jersey.

Paul was driving a taxi for several years in NYC before leaving for India upon John’s suggestion that he study Vipassana meditation with Manindra at the Burmese Vihara in Bodhgaya. He stayed in India from 1965 to 1981. From Gaya  he traveled to Goa and Sri Lanka.

Manindra suggested he go to Kathmandu to meet another Vipassana teacher, but when Paul discovered the Tibetans he connected with them. He met Karmapa XVI and all the great lamas of the day. He knew Princess Zena, Thubten Yeshe and Zopa Rinpoche and was there when Richard Tenzin sold Zena’s thangkas to raise $30,000 to buy Kopan.

Since ’81 he has returned to India every few  years and was with Jasper Newsome at the 2001 Kumbha Mela at Prayag (Allahabad).


Geshe Wangyal

John Brzostoski (no links found – an artist, professor, and one of the first Western students of Geshe Wangyal).



Karmapa XVI

Thubten Yeshe

Zopa Rinpoche

Kopan Monastery

Kumbha Mela

Prayag (Allahabad)


Jasper Newsome

Richard Tenzing Mueller


Zimmer, Heinrich – Philosophies of India



Arthur Mandelbaum

Arthur Mandelbaum

Thanks to Paul Giraud, who delved into his memories at a difficult time and brought a lot of pleasure to us by doing so.

Thanks also to Arthur Mandelbaum for facilitating this so well with his FLIP video camera and laid back interview technique.

There will be more from Paul  from time to time, आलक्नथ बोम शन्कर- ओम नमह शिवाय – हर हर महादेव as we wish him all the best. Alakhnath, bom Shankar .

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

2 Responses to “Paul Giraud – Memories of Jasper – Part I”

  • Penelope Newsome

    Many many thanks for this, Paul, and Arthur. Wonderful stories.

    I am trying now to get to grips with Jasper’s 4 volume ‘Maya’; my plan is to try and Index all the great people he met and the fabulous places he visited- But this will take a long, long time. At present I am just reading it all. It’s a great ramble. Recently, well just before this video appeared( Jasper loved co-incidence and synchronicity ) I happened to be reading a part where Paul reappears in India in September 1969 , having according to Jasper ,been back in NY driving his taxi since he was last in India winter 1967/8 .

    Jasper and Paul then set off travelling together, indeed to Crank’s Ridge, and eventually to Kathmandu where Paul had some business to do.

    Jasper introduces Paul, (“a guy with a droopy Panch Villa moustache and rimless spectacles” as he appeared before him then in Delhi )
    into his text about 1969 : “Paul is a great guy whose fame is wide and high on the Head scene from New York to Marrakesh and clean across to Kathmandu.”

    Later Jasper touches on the discussions of the 84 Siddhas with Lama Govinda. He and Paul were staying in a large hut on the Govardan estate and visiting Lama Govinda. Jasper doesn’t tell of Lama’s view on the hippies and the Siddhas. He writes; “The Siddhas ( men with Siddhi or magic powers) are said to be always with us, migrating from one body to the next, so as to keep alive the secret teachings…… “. He then talks of the “significance of the number 84″: I am abbreviating all this: Finally he writes: Eighty-four=3+3( to the third degree , my keyboard won’t write that) is a most mystical number in any esoteric tradition… It is a mathematical shorthand for the fourth dimension, a cube with perpendicular extensions in every direction.”

    Such are the nuggets of info strewn through Jasper’s manuscript , along with his joyful appreciation of spending time with great people like Paul.

    More anon. Meanwhile go well Paul and Arthur and many thanks again.
    Penelope Newsome.

  • Marilyn Stablein

    Crank’s Ridge was our first monsoon retreat after arriving in the fall of 1966. A season or two earlier our landlady, Mary Oppliger, rented our bungalow to Timothy Leary who composed his Psychedelic Prayers there. I saw my first original Nicholas Roerich Himalayan paintings at her house.

    Lama Govinda’s writings and teachings were very influential. Would have loved the 84 Siddhas teaching. How he visually diagramed complex philosophical concepts encouraged me to begin painting yantras and mandalas. I always admired his wife Li Gotami’s paintings.

    One of the few remaining Crank’s Ridge residents was the Danish mystic Sunyata (Alfred Sorensen) born in 1890. He invited us into his ascetic, humble cottage one day. We drank tea surrounded by his amazing library. He wore Tibetan-like maroon robes and turban. A few of my tales, Monsoon Plumbing, Morsels for the Rat Gods and A Flood in the Bungalow are set in Almora.

    The cave temple (name?) sounds amazing, like an underground Karla or Kanheri cave structure.

    Would love to read Jasper’s writings which I’ve heard a lot about. No doubt his tales and descriptions of India when I first met him in London 1965 helped fuel an early interest to travel there.

Leave a Reply