By DANICA COTO
It was 1961, and Allen Ginsberg was in search of life’s meaning.
His quest would lead him to the gurus and ashrams of India, to its streets and heady opium dens. It is a journey that Deborah Baker tells through journals, letters, memoirs and other documents collected for A Blue Hand: The Beats in India (Penguin, 243 pages, $25.95).
Ginsberg’s friends in New York insist that he travel to the East and explore the subcontinent with them, but he does not need much encouragement. Ginsberg had already heard the ancient voice of William Blake reciting poetry inside his Harlem apartment. He had looked outside the window and noticed how everything was created by a ‘‘living hand,’’ how the sky itself was ‘‘the living blue hand.’’
‘‘From that moment, Irwin Allen Ginsberg became a divining rod in the headlong and holy pursuit of God,’’ Baker writes.