Jasper Newsome

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Jasper Roderick Neill Newsome (aka Ram Giri Baba, born 3rd November 1944 - died Oxford, UK, 29th May 2004).

Jasper, Bauddh Kaksh, c1969



Jasper first travelled to India during his 19th summer holidays in 1963 as a bird-watcher for the Bombay Natural History Society. He quickly discovered other sides of India, met Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky in Calcutta, and determined to return.

In 1966 he flew back to India, ostensibly to study Sanskrit at the Varanaseya Sanskrit Vishvavidyalaya (aka The Government Sanskrit College, Banaras, later The Sanskrit University, Banaras, now Sampurnanand Sanskrit University) but soon found, once again, that his interests lay elsewhere.

From 1967 he considered himself an partly initiated student (shishya, chela) of guru(s) at the Ananda Akara in Bareilly, where he joined the Naga Babas and took sanyasa as a life aim, an attraction and life-decision that remained with him until he died in Oxford in 2004.

He wrote a book ('MAYA') describing his experiences which is an unvarnished look at the 60s and 70s both in India and London and elsewhere.


Blog Posts


  • Nico Morrison wrote
"I met Jasper in Oxford in 1963 and travelled with him from England in April 1965, we were heading for Kathmandu for Xmas. We separated in Copenhagen in June 1965 and I next encountered Jasper in Banaras, late 1966, when he appeared at my Sanskrit University door with his wild eyes, wild book collection of Beat Poets and Psychedelic Literature & wild descriptions of life at Kingsley Hall as a client of Ronnie Laing.
I last saw him in 2004 at a poetry recital by Ira Cohen at the October Gallery in London. After many difficult times, Jasper had reconciled with himself and was glowing. I was happy to see him. We hugged and later I drove him to Marble Arch for his coach back to Oxford.
"It kind of wrote itself very quickly and then when Jasper died I realised it was for him".
  • Marianna Rydvald wrote to Penelope Newsome (2004):
"Greetings from Hawaii and one of Jasper's old friends from long ago. I had not heard from Jasper for a while and got the sad news from Nancy Hausner."
"I am so sorry that you have to loose your dear, loving and eccentric brother too early, but his spirit was eager to merge with the light that he always aspired. May his ascension be colourful and may he be guided by the many birds that he so loved."
"I knew Jasper in Nepal and India, also in Europe. I invited him to Denmark at a time when his health was endangered and he enjoyed his time there and became strengthened by the cauldrons of the Vikings and the chant of the Reindeer herders."
"I grew up in the north of Scandinavia and my lineage is from the 'Same' clans of Lapland. I am an artist and have painted murals in temples in India, Bodhgaya and in public buildings in Europe and the US."
"Jasper knew my two daughters from they were small since I brought them with me to India. My youngest son Sky, now 18 wishes to be a scientist and will study physics, quantum, at the University of Victoria, BC, Canada."
"Many of my visionary art works are inspired by my journeys to India, Nepal and Tibet. I always felt safe and protected while living and travelling with Jasper due to his vast knowledge of the East, its customs and languages."
"Long ago, Jasper gave me a very large file (in a green cover) filled with hundreds of pages of his hand written memories and contemplations. He wanted me to have them as a sign of his fondness and trust. Since I also travelled a lot and many years later, as I had moved to the US, I had them in a storage in New York State and when I moved to Hawaii, I asked a friend who also knew Jasper to take care of Jaspers compositions until I had found a home base. After I settled in Hawaii, I could not find her on her old address/phone. She lived in Woodstock. This happened in the late 1980s. Her name is Pippi. Her x husband is Paul. They were known as Pippi and Paul. They stayed a lot in Goa. Nancy told me that Pippi is now in Goa. Nancy or Hetti MacLise might know how to contact with her."
"I truly hope that Pippi did caretake this memorandum and in that case I wish that she will give it to you, Jasper's sister for your fond memories and inspiration."
"I will also try to find Pippi and convey this message to her. I wish to send you some wonderful photos of Jasper. What is your address? Some years ago I painted a magical vision of a white owl silently swooping down from an ancient path covered with tea leaves and the golden ginger that scents the air. Here in Hawaii this owl is called "Pueo" and is sacred to the Hawaiian people since the Pueo is an Aumakua, a protective spirit, guiding with wisdom. I will send you a print of the painting in memory of Jasper and his love of life and beauty. The day after Nancy's phone call I had a Tibetan Lama visiting to celebrate Sky's graduation. The window out to the garden was open and all of a sudden a beautiful little bird flew in through the window and stood still in the air inside the room, just like the humming birds fly, and the flew out again. I felt Jaspers loving thoughts conveyed in that visit, as always unexpected and poetic."
  • Kimo Morrison wrote:
"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 poeple I meet as an adult somehow quite dull!..."

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