By Life Positive
With his volatile reactions to the concept of spirituality, U.G. Krishnamurti attacks the entire foundation of human thought. Yet, he has left a deep impact on many lives. The following are extracts from conversations UG has had with people who sought him out
‘UG is totally gigested in my system’ Vijay Anand, film-maker
If you ask me about UG, I wouldn’t know what to say. Firstly, I am not competent to talk about him and secondly I cannot become a mediator between UG and you.
Most people are likely to misunderstand if you talk about him. UG is totally digested in my system.I don’t miss him and there are times when I want to meet him not as a teacher, but as a human being.
Every time he comes, there is one question I ask. I keep looking for meaning because the question has mingled with my life. Whenever he comes, he spends a lot of time with me.
He wastes his time purposely since he is at a stage where he considers these talks as nonsense.To some people, they are mere entertainment. For me it is a serious a matter. He doesn’t realise how impressionable the human mind is.
I had to go and stop everybody to ask my question: ‘‘There is a contradiction in you. While you say both A and B, they don’t match. Where do you stand?’’
The answer he gave had no relevance to the question asked. But something happened suddenly. The question fell off just like that. I wish he would clarify a lot of mess about religion.
I feel there is a basis to a lot of things that have happened in this country. He has to make fun of them and destroy them before he finds the real meaning.
But he is never going to do it (clarify things), because it is dangerous.
If a man of tradition comes to ask a question and UG’s answer is not in the negative, he sticks to that tradition, which UG dreads.He wants to destroy old traditions. He is the greatest non-teacher teacher of this world.
He doesn’t want to be a teacher and give you everything. Instead he wants to take away everything. He refers to all knowledge as garbage because it is destructive to us.
But the tragedy is that if the garbage is removed out of you, the world too moves out of you. You become garbage to the world and the world starts appearing as garbage.
So the feelings we harbour about ourselves as better human beings, more spiritual, having questions and being seekers are all nonsense and hence fall off. When it falls off, what remains with you is the misery of your own existence.
For 99 per cent of the people, the drive goes away. That kind of a revolution can be brought about by a few people with great understanding.
Our understanding has been torn apart by UG but you can’t see him doing that. His words will haunt you later.
You are not conscious of the fact but somewhere they are working on you. Later, when you pick up the same questions in a UG book, you can read only half a page and throw it off as garbage.
Even UG looks like garbage most of the time. If I never see UG again, I will have no regrets. I think UG has done his work on me.
I have got (rather I have lost) what I should have lost. I am a content man. The greatest fortune in my life was that I met a man called UG. Otherwise, my life would have been a total waste.
Early in his life, US-born Robert Carr was hooked on to questions of life and death and to magical experiences that were to forge his relationship with the ancient and mystical India.
Uninterested in a run-of-the-mill career, the young Carr was: ‘‘On a trajectory that opened doors to a world not part of the social fabric in which I had grown up.’’ Further encounters with unusual people made him walk the ‘road not taken’.
He reflects on his initiation into spirituality: ‘‘After I decided to leave college, I discovered that my mother was fighting a losing battle with cancer. As she hovered close to death, I sighted a whirling bluish light which suddenly appeared as I helped my father gather clothes in the backyard. Surprisingly, the light was not visible to him.’’
His mother passed away that night but the light had ushered in immense tranquillity. Carr left his job at a Swiss-style ski-resort to participate in the spiritual sessions at the Ramakrishna Vedanta Centre and met leaders of the Theosophical Society.
At the Society, he was introduced to the ideas of J. Krishnamurti, which were to lead him to his eventual destination, UG. An impending trip to Switzerland and the knowledge that JK was in Saanen (a town in the French Alps) egged Carr and his friends on their spiritual quest.
Carr describes JK as choosing his words carefully so as to make an impact. He recalls that though he talked about the confusion in the mind and the world being the outcome of that confusion, it was not comforting to the conscience. His subsequent talks on meditation provoked thousands of questions in Carr’s mind.
And it was at this juncture of ambiguity and intense confusion that he met UG. He found UG an unusual Indian. Their various meetings gave Carr insights into facets of his character. UG’s comments about JK revealed the dichotomy in their relationship.
Sometimes JK was described as a ‘generator’, otherwise people were chided with: ‘‘Why do you go and hear him? He can’t help you.’’ While recounting his childhood, UG shed light on the way his thought process had evolved.
The death of his mother while giving birth to him, his belonging to an influential family, being part of the esoteric The White Lotus section, studying yoga under Swami Sivananda, all contributed to the making of UG.
UG’s renunciation of yoga and meditation disturbed Carr. According to UG, the whole thing was merely a projection of the mind. UG debunked the idea of spirituality. UG’s scepticism towards gurus and the Indian traditional approach also left a deep imprint on Carr’s mind, ending the first phase of his interaction with UG in 1967.
Even so, his regard for UG endured: ‘‘He gets into your life, and there is no way you can dismiss him and what he says. At a given moment, he is meek and gentle with a loving expression, and the next moment he is a cyclone that blows everything down, leaving you with nothing to hold on to.’’
After his varied experiences in life, the only thought that sustains Carr is that spiritual masters only make man repeat what he has learnt as answers to his questions. Hoping that a concept will transport one to a different plane of existence is merely an illusion.
What remains at the end is the simple fact that there is no communication. We are left with the awareness that there is no original consciousness either and as Carr puts it: ‘‘The slate is clean.’’ Now 74, Carr has just published a book about his life and experiences, titled Godmen and Conmen, in which connection he was in Delhi recently.
Godmen and Conmen, by Robert Carr, Smriti Books. The book is accompanied by a free VCD of conversations with UG.
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– Susmita Saha
They don’t know if he is a teacher. They don’t know if he is a friend. They sometimes even wonder if he comes close to being an enemy. And yet, people flock to him wherever he goes.
Uppaluri Gopala Krishnamurti defies all ideas of God, enlightenment, soul, religion, mind and even politics. Yet, he is counted among the leading contemporary gurus and thinkers of India.
Although he vehemently denies having anything worthwhile to say, and scarcely offers hope, his candid statements seem to show many the mirror. He has therefore been referred to as ‘the anti guru’, the ‘un-guru’, the ‘seer with no solutions’, ‘the thinker who shuns thought’ and even ‘the anti-Krishnamurti’ (referring to J. Krishnamurti, UG’s better known contemporary).
‘Everything he does is the mirror-image of what a guru does-in reverse. He turns everything upside down. That is part of the attraction for people,’ says Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson in The Courage to Stay Alone (Smriti Books).
Sometimes referred to as a ‘spiritual terrorist’, UG gives no lectures, believes in no methods and does not have a fixed address. He gave up everything in life to embark on a lone quest to seek out the answer to his question: ‘Is there actually anything like freedom, enlightenment or liberation behind all the abstractions that religions have thrown at us?’
He did not get an answer. But at one point something happened, which he calls a ‘calamity’, after which all seeking dropped.
UG: People throw questions at me like they would stones at dogs. Like the dog, my response is also to bark. I am merely barking, which you translate into meaningful language.
Listener: I am sorry, I can’t believe you.
UG: You take my word for this. I won’t mind even if you don’t. The thought of being different from all of you never enters my mind. You and I (living organisms) are functioning in exactly the same way.
Similarly, the eyes of the seer (I am not using the term in the spiritual or metaphysical sense) can see things in exactly the same way, unless there is a problem like cataract in the eyes. They see nothing. So, I sit here, look at the top of the mountain and the sky behind.
It is far for the physical eye and it cannot see the space there. We are bound by frames. The listening mechanism operates in frames. When you are on the phone, you are listening to someone on the other end.
Thus, when I talk, you can’t listen. Everybody is preoccupied. Sight, too, operates in different frames. When you describe something as beautiful, your sight has already framed it. For you, it is only in a frame. The only person who says it is beautiful is UG. For me, everything is beautiful.
Q: How do we concentrate?
UG: You should sit here and try to focus. Detachment is the nature of man. There is no such thing as concentration at all. It is merely like holding your breath a little longer so you can prove to yourself that you can do it. But if you continue doing it for long, you will choke to death. So don’t do it because you can’t do it.
If something has happened with me, it is because of luck. I don’t know what happened or when it happened. You are talking of a happening. Has anything happened at all? I really don’t know.
Questions like ‘You went there, you came, you followed this teacher, you listened to J. Krishnamurti for so many years’ come up repeatedly. But I walk out of them; you are still there. I also know why you are here. You are walking after something.
Given the situation, you will walk somewhere else. What brought you here will definitely take you somewhere else. If you find a more persuasive speaker tomorrow, you will fall for it. I will only be happy for you.
Thus when you ask what happened to me, it springs another question in my mind: ‘Has anything happened?’ I don’t have any answer to that because the question just disappears.
Q: Are you dormant dead?
UG: Yes, I am. Then I cannot say whether I am alive or dead. I am alive because people who claim they know how a living organism functions have told me. I am applying the same knowledge to tell you that I am alive.
But once this description ends, what is left behind can never be experienced by me, or by anybody. So, how can I ever say that I am alive or dead?
The body which can never experience the living thing that you are talking about, cannot experience death either. Death can never be experienced. So all these seminars, retreats and people making a living by teaching near death experiences are hogwash.
Mahesh Bhatt: I was present all through the event (UG’s meeting with a grief- stricken father whose son had died).
He (UG) behaved like an ideal father, an ideal nurse and an ideal lawyer-an ideal figure in the situation and yet, he only chooses to illustrate rather than dominate the event, talking about how unconcerned he remained when his own son had died.
It was his human side, and I asked him the reason for suppressing this facet of his personality.
On the death of his son, he uttered: ‘Why not mine? Why should I want somebody else’s son to die of cancer?’ The man whose son had died came crying to him, saying that God was unfair.
UG: It was during this time when I said, why not my own son? I immediately ordered my son’s dead body to be removed and burnt. Since I was a father, I also had to sign a lot of papers.
I told the girl (the mother of the deceased boy) to pick up another boy and forget about the bastard (term used to refer to her son). The only way to forget was not to cry over the past.
Q: Are we intelligent?
UG: The extraordinary intelligence that the body is born with is unparalleled. Anything that we acquire through our lives is no match for this. The thoughts about yourself being more intelligent, aware of the needs of your body, presuming that it should be taken care of, is absolute rubbish.
Whatever you think is good for your body is the cause of your disease. It is rejecting everything and that is the cause for all suffering. It doesn’t want to accept anything, whether it is from the doctor, psychologist, physiologist or scientist-much less the spiritual man.
Q: Why is the body unable to handle problems?
UG: If it cannot handle problems, how did it survive millions of years of evolution? It does not concern itself with your psychological or spiritual problems, but it can deal with the problem of survival, that being the only thing it is interested in.
Every cell in our body is selfish to the core but at the same time it has to coexist because its existence depends upon the survival of the cell next to it.
It is not universal brotherhood but it lives from moment to moment. This is the only harmony. It is you who have created disharmony in this world by isolating yourself.
Q. Who are you?
UG: To accumulate money and to block the flow of food and other resources because you are greedy, is what the holy man taught me.
What else can I do? How else can I survive in this world?
I am a conman telling everybody that God is on my side. Why should he be on my side?
If there is a God and it is all principles as you proclaim on the podium every Sunday, He should be on the side of a thiefand a conman.
What is the banking system for?
Money is not only for buying food. There is so much there (referring to a tree outside) that I don’t require money.
The tree either belongs to the person who owns this property or to the state. I can satisfy my hunger by eating that fruit.
Why are you denying me that? Why do I have to work?
Mahesh Bhatt: But I love working.
UG: Your love for work is fine but let me have the fruits for myself.
MB: Why are we afraid of you?
UG: The fear that you are talking about does not exist independently. It is always related to something.
There is only the fear of losing what you have and fear of not getting what you want. It is the most natural thing if I get attracted to a beautiful girl.
But what I think about is what she would do. The most important point here is that I am attracted to her.
Being a religious man, I keep thinking what if she slaps me.
In reality, she will probably say: ‘Come on buddy, let’s have some fun. How much money do you have?’
MB: But you are sticking to a frame.
UG: Fear does not exist unless you name it. But it is always related to something you are afraid you want and will not get or of losing what you have.
In fact, you don’t want to be free.
Q: Why is it that we always feel that you are wriggling away from something?
UG: That is because you do not want to face the situation.
Q: Why do people want to hang on to the fear (of death)?
UG: The fear of death is what is protecting you, the reason you go to a psychiatrist who analyses those fears.
Q: You pointed out earlier that the most fundamental thing in this universe is the light force. When some selves come into existence and need the help of other selves, is not there at some stage, the fear of extinction?
UG: The fear of extinction remains with one who is not ready to die. The death of a self is the beginning of life. There is no such thing as death for a living organism. Recycling of the body is all that the nature is interested in.
Q: We base the superstructure on what we call the day-to-day living, which is not the fundamental thing at all. Is it not some sort of a side-show?
UG: That is all that matters. Living from day to day is very simple. There is no point thinking of bringing about a change in you, or in the world. The world is something that cannot be different.
Q: Is this (the discussion) not helping us?
Q: Then why do we come here?
UG: You have to answer that question.
Q: Just float along? Nothing to pursue, just float?
UG: Even that ‘floating’ is not a voluntary thing on your part. You don’t have to do a thing. You are not separate from that.
That’s all I am emphasising. You cannot separate yourself from the thought and say ‘these are my thoughts’.
That is the illusion you have, and you cannot stay without an illusion. You always replace one illusion with another. Always!
Q: I accept that as well.
UG: You accept that you are replacing one illusion with another illusion; so your wanting to be free from illusion is an impossibility. That itself is an illusion.
Why do you want to be free from illusion? That’s the end of you.
Q: Actually as human beings, we are rather fond of thinking. But why is this rather funny animal thinking all the time?
UG: I will ask you a question. You ask me, when do you think, not why do you think. That’s not the question. I am asking you a question, when do you think?
Q: As far as I know, all the time.
UG: All the time, and for what? What responsibility is it of yours to think? When do you think? When you want something, that’s when you think. It is very clear to me.
Q: Not at all.
UG: Of course. You don’t even know that you are thinking. Do you know that you are thinking now? It’s an automatic thing.
Contact: Mahesh Bhatt
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