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Soma and the Gods
WorldPlan Exectutive Council -United States, Maharishi International University, Defendants
Thursday, January 8, 1987
- For the Plaintiff:
- Gerald F. Ragland, Esquire
- For the defendants:
- Dwight James, Esquire
|Gordon A. Slodysko|
Official Court Reporter
4806-A U.S. Courthouse
Washington, D.C. 535-3404
(Jury Not Present)The Deputy Clerk: Civil Action 85-2848, Robert Kropinski versus World Plan Executive Council - United States and Maharishi International University. Mr. Ragland represents the plaintiff; Mr. James represents the defendants.
Mr. James: Your honor, may I address the court?
The Court: Yes.
Mr. James: At the commencement of these proceedings, your honor, or the trial itself, the defendants were given a list of tapes which the plaintiffs wished to have presented. Not until the last couple of days were we advised there was a tape -- a few days -- were we advised that there was a tape plaintiffs wanted called "Soma and the Gods."
The Court: "Soma and the Gods."
Mr. James: "Soma and the Gods." It is anticipated that the plaintiffs wish to produce that tape on their rebuttal. This is not a tape that the plaintiffs had requested earlier. In that regard, your honor, we would either ask that that tape not be allowed in rebuttal or that the defendants be permitted to produce that tape in their case. And we have here a man who was at that conference at which that tape was presented, a Dr. John Farrow, who is able to interpret that tape and comment on what was involved in that particular conference where it was taped. And I believe that would permit the tape to be put in its clearest context.
Since the tape was not one that was requested to be produced during the Plaintiff's case in chief, we would ask that we be permitted to add Dr. Farrow to our list of witnesses and ask him to present that tape to the jury as part of the defendant's case. Apparently it is anticipated that it will go to the jury one way or the other.
The Court: Yes.
Do you have any objection to that procedure?
Mr. Ragland: Only I asked that the tape be produced because of testimony that the defendants produced to the effect that my client was erroneous regarding his testimony regarding "Soma and the Gods." I have asked one of my helpers back here to review that tape this morning to make a final decision as to whether or not we will use it. I was expecting someone to review it this morning and meet with me at lunchtime, and then I would finally decide if in fact we would show that to the jury.
The Court: Mr. James is suggesting that the defense produce it, as he stated, through an additional witness who would interpret it. I think he is entitled to do that if he wishes. I suppose whether or not Mr. James decides to do that would depend on whether you intend to utilize it as part of your case on rebuttal.
Mr. Ragland: Yes. It seems to be we're producing rebuttal to my rebuttal case before I in fact put it on.
The Court: Well, it may be relevant. I don't know. I don't know what it contains or what its relevance is. Apparently you think it's relevant, or you wouldn't want to produce it.
Mr. Ragland: But as I say, I'm having someone review it this morning.
The Court: Well, whether or not you would use it as rebuttal testimony would not seem to collide with Mr. James' right to introduce it at this time as part of his case.
Mr. Ragland: That would seem so.
The Court: Well, in fact, you may --
Mr. Ragland: If it is going to be lengthy, it is going to present scheduling problems for me.
The Court: Well, that seems to be the way this case is going at this time. But we will seek to minimize the difficulty.
How long do you anticipate this would be, Mr. James?
Mr. James: I can find out very quickly.
The Court: All right.
Mr. James: I have one other -- I suppose the time to take up objections to rebuttal witnesses is after I have rested, so I will do that at the appropriate time.
The Court: All right.
Mr. James: And if I might, may I have five minutes to --
The Court: Yes.
Mr. James: Okay. Thank you.
The Court: All right. Recess for five minutes.
(short recess taken)
The Court: Counsel prepared to proceed?
Mr. James: Ready, your honor.
Mr. Ragland: Your honor, I am belatedly concerned as to what kind of record we are making on these tapes, and I would ask that the the court reporter try to get the dialog on the tape on the record. I think in other cases it has not been transcribed.
The Court: Well, we are fortunate in having one of the best reporters with us this morning.
Mr. James: The tape, your honor, takes 15 minutes.
The Court: All right. Bring in the jury.
(the jury returned to the courtroom)
The Court: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
The Jury (en masse): Good morning.
Mr. James: Thank you, your honor. Dr. John Farrow, please.
JOHN FARROWwas called as a witness and, after being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:
DIRECT EXAMINATIONBy Mr. James:
Q: Would you tell the the court and the jury your name, please?
A: My name is John Farrow.
Q: And how old are you?
A: I'm 48 years old.
Q: Where do you live?
A: In San Diego.
Q: What is your occupation there?
A: Currently I am vice president of a corporation in San Diego that deals with computer software.
Q: Would you tell the jury briefly your educational background since high school?
A: I graduated from Yale University in 1963 with a bachelor's degree, and went on to do a Ph.D. at Cornell University in the area of the biochemistry of the nervous system.
Q: And the, from there, what was your experience?
A: From there, I went as a postdoctoral research fellow to Brandeis University, to the biochemistry department there, to pursue research on the biochemistry of the nervous system.
Q: Could you describe to the jury in some way that we can all -- and for me -- so that we can understand what the biochemistry of the nervous system is, what that means?
A: What it has to do with is the question of how does this complex business in our head work on a chemical level so that we think and see and act and are aware, because that's supported by -- those mental things are supported by the biochemistry and the structure of the physical brain, and it's a very interesting and important question as to how the two get tied together, how the mental and the physical get tied together. And that was precisely my area of research.
Q: Now, from the time you left Brandeis in 1972, what did you do then?
A: Immediately after Brandeis -- while I was at Brandeis, I was doing research on the mechanisms of action of various psychotropic or psychoactive compounds.
Now, a psychoactive compound is something like caffeine or nicotine, which changes the way we feel, and the question was: How does it do that? What are the structures in the nervous system that allow that it happen?
Immediately after that research -- I had heard about T.M. while I was at Brandeis and became interested and started meditating, and I went to a teacher training course for prospective teachers of T.M. in Foggia, in Italy.
Q: After that, where did you go?
A: After that, I went to San Diego, where I became director of the Institute for Psychophysiological Research in San Diego.
Q: And for how long were you there?
A: I was there for, as I remember, about three years.
Q: And then where did you go?
A: And then I was in business -- San Diego is the land of real estate, and I was in the real estate business for a while. And then I took a position on the research staff of the Medical School at the University of California at San Diego, a very fine medical school, and continued my research interests there.
Q: What years were you there?
A: Until about a year-and-a-half or two years ago, when I founded this computer company of which I am now vice president for research and development.
Q: Now, when you were in Foggia, Italy, in 1972, did you have some discussions with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi concerning soma?
A: Yes, I did.
Q: Could you tell the jury about the setting of that discussion, or those discussions?
A: In the course of the lectures that Maharishi gave, he mentioned in passing a few times the fact that this substance called soma was responsible for very profound changes in the nervous system and in the way we think and act. And the ideas that he was suggesting seemed to be very closely related to some fascinating questions that had come out of my own research. One of the --
Mr. Ragland: Your honor, may we approach the bench?
The Court: Yes.
(at the bench)
Mr. Ragland: Unfortunately, I left my Federal Rules of Evidence book at home this morning.
The Court: We have a lot of them here.
Mr. Ragland: But it seems that if I offer what Maharishi says through someone, it's an admission, but if the defendants offer the words of their leader through someone else, it's hearsay.
The Court: Generally, that's my understanding.
Mr. Ragland: In other words, I think what they're doing is something that I could do, but if they want to produce Maharishi's words, they should produce writings or, more reasonably, bring him here to the courtroom.
The Court: That's what the book seems to say.
Mr. James: I think in this instance, your honor, it's one of interpretation of some knowledge. And there is no indication that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is an officer or director of --
The Court: He is the institute; he is the movement.
Mr. James: He is the founder of the movement. He is not an officer or director of these organizations.
Mr. Ragland: It also seems that this gentleman is not offering his own expertise, but is a surrogate for the Maharishi. He is going to sit there and say this is what Maharishi said and this is what Maharishi really means.
Mr. James: I think he is setting up, your honor, the dialogue that took place concerning the matter of this issue of soma. The plaintiffs have interjected into this --
The Court: He can state what soma means to him, but I don't think he can quote Maharishi.
Mr. James: Okay.
Mr. Ragland: It also seems that he is offering expertise which would be offered to assist the jury in understanding the evidence. But the item that he is going to help them understand isn't in evidence yet. I know that is not required --
The Court: Well, let the tape be put in evidence.
Mr. James: I will do that.
The Court: And then he can be asked questions about it.
Mr. Ragland: That is what I assumed was going to happen.
The Court: Yes. Let's do it that way.
(in open court)By Mr. James:
Q: Without telling what Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was telling you, would you tell the jury what your questions were and issues were that you were directing to Maharishi concerning the issue of soma?
A: One of the most fascinating questions in my field of interest is why are -- why is the brain structured the way it is; why do these mechanisms exist? After all, caffeine and nicotine are not really part of the way we -- are not part of the body normally; why does the body react to them? In fact, that question is such an important one that the research I was doing was replicated at Yale University and at Johns Hopkins Medical School and led, a few years from the time we are talking about, to the discovery of endorphins, and a Nobel price(sic) was awarded for that discovery. So this is a very, very important question to my field of interest.
And what I was curious about asking Maharishi was did he have any insight, any ideas as to why these structures existed in the human nervous system. Could it be -- could it be that they exist because the human nervous system has the potential to produce substances of its own that will change the way we think and feel and act, which is precisely what was found in the Nobel prize work.
Q: And was that discussion with you followed by this videotape?
A: Well, I had discussions in a small group with him that led to the preparation of a paper which I presented at a [TM movement-sponsored] scientific symposium which was held at the same time in Fuci(sic), and then, following that paper which I presented, which expanded on some of the ideas that I was trying to get across, then Maharishi was moved to comment on what I had presented, and I believe that's what in (sic) the tape.
Q: Would you show the tape, please, and identify it by exhibit number?
The Deputy Clerk: For the record, defendant's exhibit XY has been marked for identification.
(Defendant's Exhibit XY was marked for identification)[ continue on to transcription of Soma and the Gods ]
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