“There is a strange disposition that can stop the momentum of seeking. It is then that something radical can take place and allow something else to begin – then only.  And what is that? It is attraction, resonance and a gradual unfoldment. The end of the search is the beginning of a new order, a new disposition.”

 

GUHA:  When someone like U.G. Krishnamurti comes along, people are curious about his personality.  They are looking for certain behavioral aspects that match their expectations of a person who has apparently achieved a deeper sense of freedom or emancipation.  The general consensus is that it should be reflected in how the person lives; otherwise he is only paying lip service to his understanding or is at best a philosophical enthusiast.

However, U.G. never indulged in such things. He completely denied the spiritual and religious aspects of culture, yet at the same time everything about him seemed to indicate that he was the outcome of the highest spiritual teachings.  U.G. seemed to generate an unusual interest, buried in the deep unconscious, a living signature of the glorified past, the forgotten old.

Perhaps U.G. was saying something altogether new.  But how can one be sure of that, if he by-passed arguments and denied logic, not to mention the foundation of the arguments?  What evidence do we have to justify his utterances?  We have no biological evidence that he was radically different, yet we recognize that there was something extraordinary about his personality and in the way he touched the lives of people.

My experience with U.G. seems to have brought about an irreversible change in me, yet it is difficult to describe this without creating a myth. Sooner or later I have to ask myself the motivation behind talking about it.  There has to be either some biological advantage or a common mode of expression; the essence of one’s experience has to match conventional expectations.  You can see the difficulty.  These were the things I used to reflect upon when I was experiencing unusual physical effects around U.G.

There is a gnawing conflict in each one of us that emphasizes the eternal struggle between the concept of freedom and surrender to authority.  Until a fragment of my information bank, a particular string that constitutes it, matched my experience and resonated with the value system, there was no comfort.  It was a struggle through and through.

There are two aspects to our existence, theoretical and experiential; in other words, conceptual and functional.  Whether you are a farmer or a physicist, regardless of the level of your knowledge and information, your brain still functions exactly the way biological evolution has brought it to its present state, independent of the nature of your knowledge but dependent on the previous genetic lineage that shaped its functionality.

Q:  Would you say our functionality is new?

GUHA:  No, the functionality comes from the old.  The foundation was laid down by our ancient scriptures such as the Vedas, the Upanishads, Ashtanga Yoga, Tantras, etc. and in all of these there is a fundamental theme.  It is not something you can argue about; to many it was and is a working solution.

If a person has a 20-20 vision and sees things the way they are perfectly cut out for his existential needs, the measurement will be the same now as it would have been ten thousand years ago. There is no argument about the physical clarity of vision.  How our brain functions is a question for philosophers, psychologists and biologists; it is theoretical knowledge which includes the information we have about the world and the body. The problem starts when we gather information with the hope of achieving functionality.

Our value system imposes conditions on us to follow certain ideals and goals.  It projects an ideal and creates a path to reach it.  As a result, we find ourselves like products on an assembly line in a factory.  This value system emphasizes that if you work hard, you will be amply rewarded, if you seek you will find, if you practice from the heart with love and devotion, have faith in god and diligently sustain it, you will function perfectly, and that is the goal of life.  This is the game we play.

U.G. functioned very close to the expectations of these values and exemplified them, but he denied the causal connection.  His functionality had nothing to do with following the do’s and don’ts of the society and gathering information.  He spoke a different language and negated everything.  He emphasized that this is not the way we function. There is no ground on which we can have a common mode of expression.  In that state, there is no source movement that creates fear about the future or desire for pleasure.  How can one communicate such a thing?  His was an extraordinarily functional life in the face of the most complex and suffocating problem.

If you look at a rainbow, you can describe it and everyone can identify with that experience.  But if something extraordinary is happening inside you and you are functioning in a different way, you cannot communicate that to anyone.  This is the problem I face all the time.  In addressing the situation that I find myself in, I upset my friends and family; communication ends because it requires a relationship, and there is no reference point.

For instance, let’s say I have 50,000 dhinra (fictional currency).  To someone who does not know anything about that currency it has no comparative value; therefore he has to establish a relationship between his currency  and dhinra,  only then will it have some value  to him.  This is the kind of relationship needed for measurement. However, to measure is illusory because you take something as a standard, and from that standard you find meaning or value.  Now, if something unfolds inside you, which is unknown even to you, you are frustrated because you have no reference point.  It becomes a serious problem when it comes to communication.  And to give any definition of this condition is an assumption.  For centuries, Indian thinkers have given exhaustive accounts of such topics which are extremely logical and subtle.

If an internal shift happens, it may appear that the person has renounced everything and unburdened himself from the pressures of the value system and others may try to follow his example of renunciation to achieve that kind of functionality.   But that does not work as it is unnatural and generates untold misery.  You want to understand how someone can function outside the realm of ordinary, desire-driven living and thought-induced suffering.  You begin to think that person must have attained an extraordinary state and become a Brahmajnani! You can write verse after verse based on that theme and expound on the state of a Brahmajnani or a Sthitaprajna who is supposed to have transcended pain and sorrow that ravage the ordinary human mind. You try to analyze why such a person functions differently. But if his views don’t resonate with the analysis of the pundit or scholar — who doesn’t function that way himself — it is difficult or almost impossible to tell what is so special about that guy.

Q:  As a westerner with a Catholic background and no familiarity with Hinduism, after meeting U.G. and watching how he functioned and then reading the Hindu scriptures, I found many descriptions of people who seemed to be functioning like that.  There is no description of that as far as I can tell in the western system.  It was coded because it was dangerous to talk that way in the west.  But it does seem like they were describing this state; you can’t come up with those descriptions unless you have interacted with someone like U.G.

GUHA:  It’s difficult to convey this experience.

Q:  Well, just to be contrary, we have these descriptions.

GUHA:  Yes, we have the descriptions, and from these descriptions, suppose a person believes in the existence of an enlightened state by reading the Brahma Sutras, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras or from the definition of a sthitaprajna in The Bhagavad Gita, and then looks for someone who has those qualities, the end product should be someone who talks and lives like that.  There is exhaustive information about the way such a person would function, how he would talk, interact with people, sleep, whether he dreams or not, etc.  But all that is just theoretical knowledge!

In all ancient texts, holy books and scriptures whenever they refer to a natural physical desire, they give the impression that it is a low-level animal state. Hunger, sexual desire, natural pain and pleasure have a negative connotation and have to be overcome.  But these are simply the fundamental aspects of the movement of life and U.G. acknowledged their validity. My doubts are more important than my faith; this is more fundamental than what my culture tries to convince me of. My desires are real and my effort to become desireless has no foundation and forces me to be false. Dealing with doubts and desires can bring about proper discrimination.

The natural state has nothing to do with the so-called enlightened state the religious teachers talk about. This is where the whole problem starts. It has nothing to do with sacchidananda; there is no religious content.  According to U.G., bliss, beatitude, immensity has nothing to do with it; those experiences are described by the ancients as a result of imbibing soma juice (extracted from a creeper for use in Vedic sacrifices) which creates an artificial high.  He totally denied the validity of these descriptions.  If you read those ancient texts you will realize they are referring to something that takes place internally. The way such an individual functions and behaves reminds us that something like that happened to U.G.

It is difficult to describe how U.G. functioned but there is a distinct line between U.G.’s functionality and that of the other so-called enlightened gurus and god men. They all believe that they exemplify the state that has been described in the scriptures.  But U.G. was referring to something altogether new.  Anything that exemplified the value system had no importance for him and had no relevance to what he was referring to. If I exemplify the things that match the society’s expectations and its value system, and suppress the things that I feel they wouldn’t approve of, I would be doing the same thing the holy men in the marketplace are doing – claiming to be something that is not functioning in me.   I myself would be perpetuating the value system.  The so-called holy men are forcing themselves to be something they are not.  What is more important to me, their value system or U.G.’s existence and the way he functioned?  He vehemently denied the value of teaching by emphasizing, “The teacher is important, not the teaching.”

Q:  That is what got displaced.

GUHA:  It has to be talked about. Until U.G. breathed his last, he had to fight against our tendency to create myth and our weakness towards blind faith and useless ritual, and instill in us the courage to see things the way they are.  Putting a picture of U.G. in your shrine and reciting the Vedas every day is easy, but the very thing that settles down out of the demand for security and comfort is bondage.

Q:  It’s harder to kick him in the teeth.  There’s no point in kicking him in the teeth either, you know, but in a way he was saying until you kick me in the teeth, I am not going to be of much use to you.

GUHA:  U.G. was constantly kicking from inside.  Don’t utter his name in vain. It’s not a joke, it’s dead serious.  You use him as a shield for your psychological fear, the very thing he wanted you to resolve once and for all, and you are using his name to keep it going.  You are perpetuating something that he was fighting tooth and nail to obliterate in you.  That is the reason it was so hard to listen to U.G.  When you came to him he orchestrated a serious verbal attack.  You felt the earth would crack and you would go down if you had an investment in any idea.  Or, you could just walk away and ignore him.  He wanted you to observe how he functioned, and then you would begin to see the effect in yourself.  Someday you have to stand alone, by yourself. That’s how nature unfolds in every individual.

Q:  Everything in us is saying we need him.

GUHA:  That is where the problem lingers.  There is a part of your information bank that U.G. referred to as, “Shit, shit, shit.”  You eat more, you shit more, you read more, you dish out more verbal shit.  You don’t give importance to what you already have, to what is most essential and vital.  All your experiences and knowledge have not helped you to resolve your conflicts.  That is the reason you read U.G. in the first place. It made sense and so you wanted to interact with him.  Now you are adding more information about U.G., that’s all.

The image of U.G. is no different from the images you already have and it is not helping you to see anything because those images are irrelevant compared to what functions in you to keep you vibrant and strong.  U.G. never failed to say he didn’t have anything that you don’t.  He would ask, “Why do you want to be a cheap copy of anybody?”

You give importance to the wrong aspects of your existence.  The myth-making tendency of human self-consciousness is never content with what is.  It creates an imaginary self and when, through its peculiar logic, it finds it cannot justify its specialness, it creates a bigger self and aggrandizes the little self.  If these things are not fully sorted out within you, you cannot express yourself as a unique individual.

This is what U.G. said should actually be the meditation — holding one question at a time and get to the bottom of it.  He asked himself, how do I know I am in New York City?  That was his meditation when he came to New York for the first time.  After I began to interact with him, things unfolded in such a way that his personality became my meditation.  I had no doubt that something in him was producing a physical and irreversible effect in me.  My reflection on this made sense to me, not because I had read and practiced, but because he helped me to appreciate the underlying essential qualities and the essence of that information in me.  I realized that because of my interaction with him, something was beginning to take place in me that was impossible to deny.

I did not accept the descriptions of the chakras and the different shapes and colors of the lotuses described in the spiritual texts. To me, those descriptions became meaningless.  U.G. never indulged in such talks; they are a product of our image-making faculty.  The concept that everything is material was important to U.G.  Thought is matter and our concept of time is created by thought; therefore everything is material.  There is nothing spiritual and there is nothing to our images.  The energy that powerfully beats inside the body is the prime mover of life.  If that becomes your meditation, you will be surprised what follows. U.G.’s presence brought about the essence of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras: Ultimately you are alone; that is your fundamental nature.

We believe that when someone is self-realized, the presence of that person can induce in us a similar condition. However, that effect is ephemeral, like seeing a good movie, attending spiritual talks, participating in yoga and meditation retreats or associating with feel-good-New-Age enlightenment peddlers — titillations through new information to fool the senses — all short-lived.  When I began to interact with U.G. what happened to me was not ephemeral.

Q:  Some people say they are in a “thoughtless state”.

GUHA:  A thoughtless state does not exist.  If you think that you can achieve a thoughtless state, you will die with that hope.  To live in this society sanely and intelligently, you have to use the common modes of expression that come to us through thinking.

Q:  So, when U.G. said, “They are all wrong …?”

GUHA:  They are all wrong because they think they have achieved some state like the advaita state or become a Bodhisattva by the blessings of god, spiritual practices or the accumulation of good karma from past lives. They believe Lord Shiva handed over the enlightenment platter from Mount Kailash to some lucky chap.  We just can’t accept the fact of unknowability of the source of life and consciousness.  First, we invented god, now we are inventing something or the other to prove or disprove that invention.

Q:  I remember standing at the back of the church thinking, “This is complete and total bullshit.”  But I know it works for a very good reason.  Even when you think you don’t believe in it, the pattern of behavior is still about obedience and submission.

GUHA:  It works because it temporarily postpones the conflict and brings about a sense of peace and belonging and gives the body a little respite.   How it worked for centuries was a mystery until they coined the term placebo; it is a real physical effect from something imaginary. The capacity to think abstractly means we can imagine a world outside the space of life.  This capacity is a product of the movement of life; the space where we imagine and create can exist in relationship with preordained knowledge.

The concept of identity born out of that capacity, although closely related to the biological proprioception of a particular organism, creates a sense of separation and fear; hence the drive toward belonging and fearlessness. The urge to return to where the identity crisis began is translated into the preordained knowledge of human society in the acceptance of the almighty god or a state of dissolution.  Everything is always in relationship to that definition.

Q:  So the preordained knowledge is god, by which you mean belief; this is a shared belief, which is what god is. 

GUHA:  I want to give you the hang of this: there is the dynamic of thinking.  You need an object to think; sometimes the subject is the object.  It is impossible to have a thought without an object.  The god that is a product of conceptual space only exists in the parallel world, in the space of imagination, never meeting life!

Q:  So this is a parallel world that is totally subjective, it doesn’t exist.  Isn’t it a material concept that has taken root?

GUHA:  No, the parallel world is indirectly a biological necessity.  It has tremendous functional value, but it is an extremely difficult proposition to have any relationship or one-to-one correspondence between the conceptual space and the space of life.  Life is the biological space, which accommodates physical existence. You and I cannot occupy the same space at the same time, but that is not the space where our concepts operate.  Our concept of time is invented by thinking; thought is time.  Our conceptual space is born out of thought.

We have a beautiful but a problematic situation – beautiful because conceptual space gives you the sense of freedom to create and ponder the possibilities, but problematic because the drive to actualize those possibilities creates a burden on the system.  When the burden becomes unbearable the movement turns towards understanding itself, which is impossible, since the nature of its production is divisive, illusive and hidden from introspection.  The question of what maintains that division has no meaning; therefore there is no functional answer.  We are victims of this cyclic process and the momentum keeps growing. There is an unfolding in the biological space to somehow adjust and to be supported by the biological system.  There is nothing outside the biological system.

The demand from the conceptual space is a huge pressure, an illusory demand that causes enormous stress.  The entire system is hardwired to function in life by managing a dynamic balance. Hence, the problems related to self-consciousness and conceptual demands are going to grow out of proportion and will be reflected in the culture of such individuals. Once U.G. stepped completely into this biological space and functioned accordingly, to him ideas and concepts were a mere necessity for social survival, a means to a particular social end.

Q:  Then you have passed through to the other side of the mirror and whatever you say no one can understand.

GUHA:  The other side doesn’t exist!  That is the space we think we live in.

Q:  It makes no sense at all.

GUHA:  Can you eat that and survive?  No.  You do that with exchange, that’s a functional reality. The only thing you need is money, nothing else.  All relationships are in that category.

Q:  U.G. did a really fantastic job there, Guha.  That takes the whole thing out, philosophical and emotional, which are usually held as two very different things — bhakti and jnana and all that crap.

GUHA:  Finding yourself in this space is not in your hands, nor in anyone else’s – it’s not a comfortable idea. This proposition is not acceptable to the sense of self, even if you think through your logic that it is a superior state and you pretend to accept it.  Finding yourself here leads to a denial of all authority, traditions, systems and methodologies. The knowledge and image that creates authority ends in you and you will never again exercise authority over anyone. This seems to have been U.G.’s specialty.  There were people who must have had a sense of it, one of them being J. Krishnamurti — The path is not the mountain, existence of a goal is always in the known, there cannot be a path to the unknown, and so on.  But the hope of a future always seemed to linger.

Q:  It has to be; this is the hardest part, which is like a weed garden.  I could listen to him and I can listen to you, but then I step out and my sense of survival is so powerful. Both U.G. and J.K. acknowledged its momentum.

GUHA:  Why do you think there is a way?  Think about the brain – you don’t know the process that goes on in there.  What comes to you is the end product, the final thought and your response is to that.  Do not underestimate the process, the power of thought and the logic that justifies its agenda.  You have seen in your own life how suddenly the sense of logic crops up and tries to convince you that what U.G. is saying may not be correct.  Perhaps you think there might be some other way to come upon the truth.  You ask yourself why you are reading U.G. and you wonder – could the whole of society, philosophy, and cultural background all be wrong and this guy right?

Q:  Are you saying that everyone is paying lip service until that moment?

GUHA:  There is a qualitative change when the conflict ends. There is no sense of investment and therefore the unknown remains the unknown without a trace of pretension. Repeating ideas protects the continuity of the thought-thinker cycle.  The mechanism that protects the thinker utilizes the same mechanism that protects the body’s organization; that’s why the sense of self is akin to physical fear. Fear is the most important survival instinct of this physical organism.  Without it the body will die.  If you don’t move when you see a cobra about to strike, you will be a dead duck. We have a tremendous amount of information about the world, which causes us to operate according to necessity.  There is a similar principle that we call “psychological fear”, a protective mechanism, which sustains the sense of self.

Q:  Do you mean the social world or the body?

GUHA:  You give the name “fear” to that most important ingredient of the responses that takes care of the body’s survival. The hypothalamus, thalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands are highly evolved and beautifully configured to make the body act.  We have created a parallel world; you have to delve deep to comprehend this.  You have seen the way U.G. functioned.  If people asked him, “Do you have fear?” he would say, “Yes, physical fear.”  And they would say, “That means you have fear to a different degree than we do.”  They didn’t get the point.  The psychological fear that comes through thinking and involves a future time was absent in him.  He would express it by saying he did not believe in the psyche. This parallel world, which functions in conceptual space, has little to do with the way our system works.  It creates a fictitious state through the faculty of imagination and then uses the body’s total chemical repertoire in exactly the same way that the body’s physical survival mechanism uses it.

Q:  This parallel world which functions in a different space has very little to do with the biological reality?

GUHA:  Not exactly, but I am trying to give you the hang of it. The body responds to a physical threat and also to a future psychological fear with the same intensity.  In that conceptual world, the fear of something imaginary can be so real that it may make you feel like committing suicide. If you happen to step into the other side and the structure of conceptual space collapses, you will never create a proposition that would put you in such a situation.  You remember U.G. saying, “If you are not worried about good and bad, you can never do anything bad.”  It is not just a very wise statement; deep down it comes from his functionality.  What was happening there, in my opinion, is that even though his verbal influence was as powerful as his physical presence, they were qualitatively very different.  The process through which our self-consciousness works has a deep reasoning mechanism.  You must have observed that U.G. spent a tremendous amount of time expressing how he functioned.  The hearing and comprehension mechanism of the listener resonated with him in a mysterious way.

Self-consciousness, involved in recognizing, reflecting and recollecting, has a deeper resonance with its functioning than you know or understand.  It creates its own causality, subject specific.  A beautiful aspect is that if a person’s conflict is reduced, conflicting ideas also arise less frequently.  This is difficult to prove because we don’t fully understand the unconscious process, but for me it is a personal empirical observation.  In that sense religion can reduce conflict in some individuals.  Certain practices have been invented to reduce complexity.  Deep faith can bring about a reduction of conflict, and therefore to some extent reduce continuous stress, which is the demand of the self.  If you keep thinking about Jesus, for example, your conflicting and divergent ideas will decrease. The feedback is supplied through one channel, true, but you can get stuck because to defend this idea you have to use your other mental faculties and you are back to square one.  Now you have created a fresh new burden on the physical system.

Q:  Are you talking about somebody like Ramakrishna Paramhamsa?

GUHA:  From what I know about Ramakrishna, it seems he had some kind of a systemic collapse and was on the verge of killing himself – a rupture of some sort.  His system completely broke down.

Q:  His path was total devotion to Kali, the mother goddess.

GUHA:  That is not what did it for him; it was the giving up.  He wanted to commit suicide; giving up is the end of the search.  His endeavor had to culminate there.  In my own case, during those early interactions with U.G., I did not understand what was going on.  There is a cognitive limitation.  If the response to that limitation is honest and not replaced by any dogma or a belief, which strengthen the sense of self, there is a better scope for an individual to become aligned with the rest of life.  There is genuine modesty in that.

The moment you take something for granted, make an assumption or create a belief, the conflict is not going to end.  Life’s outcome will never match your concepts, in which you have an enormous investment and don’t want to lose.  The sense of self will justify anything that makes you suffer, from social injustice to a physical affliction.  Belief is you and you do not want to come to an end.  Your belief tells you that god is punishing you because you have not fulfilled the conditions that satisfy your ideas.

Q:  Is god the total social order?

GUHA:  God is not the social order; believers can’t bring about that internal order, nor can non-believers.  God was and is a concept.  The Hindus claim “It” has no qualities that interact with the human mind and “It” is independent of human will.  That’s the definition of Brahman.  You can’t imbibe this through conceptual understanding; it is beyond the intellect and experience.  If you believe in god, you will never give up your concepts, but if you accept that you don’t know, you don’t blame yourself or praise yourself for whatever happens.

Q:  You may say you don’t believe in god, but you still blame yourself; that means you believe in something that is the equivalent to god, so you are in the same situation.

GUHA:  U.G. was constantly focusing on that subject of justification because that is the way the individual mind operates.  Mind means totality in Hindu or Eastern thought. Here in the West it is the totality of consciousness.  Animals have consciousness, but we have the added element of self-consciousness, the one that is aware of itself, which can create its own understanding.  In that world, the movement in consciousness that creates thinking cannot move easily, therefore it begins to break down the causality, the backbone of the information structure and the apparent center.  It always exists in relation to its content.

Q:  Then what do you do?

GUHA:  Then you don’t do anything.  Your confidence and certainty grow according to the way things unfold.  It is in this regard that U.G. had deep conviction and the certainty came from his experience — an extraordinary experience that he could not pass on to others.  Conviction and functionality go hand in hand, and were fully operating in him.  When the movement of thought slows down sufficiently, the information processing ceases and there is a natural energy balance that tips towards functionality in the space of life.

We can’t really know how something can be biologically triggered that is independent of our knowledge but keeps the demand for knowledge in its proper perspective. Why did my system begin to function differently when the movement of self-consciousness slowed down?  That was my constant research.  U.G. used to say, “You will discover something.”  I would respond, “I discovered you, that’s my discovery!”  I cannot say exactly what happened to U.G., and when I reflect on what happened to me, it’s only a recollection, a conjecture or speculation. It’s an effort to explain my experience and knowledge.

The main purpose of enquiry into the nature of the self is for something to unfold in the system so that one can begin to live in a different way. When you reflect in an effort to understand how life works, the resultant ideas will be empirical, static and lifeless.  What can you discover that is not known?  You may get a few ideas that will help you straighten out certain things or you may find that some odd worries have disappeared with introspection.  That’s what the therapists do – they suggest you think about it this way or that way, but it is only a replacement.

There are certain things that have functional qualities, if the objective is to understand with ruthless integrity the nature of desire and conflict.  If you focus your thought on a single subject, you may acquire the qualities of mind that can help you to function more efficiently; many things demand mental attention and attention reveals the connection of the information that justifies your point of view.  There can be a change in the quality of attention, however, and what emerges will surprise you.

Something happened to me that made my conviction stronger.  I had practiced meditation for years, but nothing caught hold until U.G. came into the picture.  There was a stunning quality about him, a definitive difference in his functionality that was exhibited through his actions.  As soon as I came in contact with him, that quality became my object of meditation.  This was the most mysterious thing that ever happened to me; I tried earnestly to understand. I began to observe the response mechanism of life, how the attention of two animals locks in one with the other; I observed their focus.  The connectivity of life is so complicated that it bypasses much of our intellectual ground and recognition processes that are accessible to self-consciousness.  Our brain’s limbic system is where most of the functions and relay processing take place.  It makes one feel like there is a guy sitting there in the thalamus.  Well, not a guy really, but many nuclei!  It may not make any sense to you, but you can inquire into what was it in U.G. that exemplified the essence of all religious and spiritual literature.

Q:  If you talk about U.G., others will say, “I know that.  My guru is just like that.”

GUHA:  Yes, that’s fine but if someone talks like that and does not function that way, he is living in an illusory world.  The functional aspect is most important; you don’t need to verify anything.  That need for justification will certainly lose its ground in you.  When true m meditation happens there is a subtle hierarchy that is functionally beneficial and addresses the greater harmony.  If meditation is holding on to an idea, it means you are still functioning in that conceptual space.

Our functional reality has increased tremendously.  Necessity has forced the system to modify itself by expanding and layering the circuitry in our neo-cortex, which makes the system respond and take on the challenge with similar baseline activities that deal with the feedback and reentrant mechanism to negate or terminate the demand. Every conflict and continuous stress-related problems can be solved through the information in the circuitry.  This functioning physical system with all its attributes existed long before the thinking process began.  Thought is incapable of addressing the symbiotic equilibrium of the physical system, an equilibrium that has been established through millions of years of evolution.

Our biological space is connected in an intricate way to our conceptual space and supports its functional reality; there is but one energy resource for both which is connected to the dynamic balance of life.  There are certain dynamics in the conceptual or imaginary space that won’t interfere with the programmed activities of this biological space and thus will not disturb the core well-being of the system as a whole.  That equilibrium is what meditation is supposed to be.  Through meditation if you aim to dissolve the self or achieve a thoughtless state, you will fail.  Meditation is a movement in self-consciousness; therefore it will keep self-consciousness dominant.  When you try to meditate, the field of consciousness that produces the sense of self will perpetuate its dominant role.

Q:  So you just tie yourself in a knot …

GUHA:  And keep spinning around that – a real merry-go-round.  If you are honest, the only way to end thinking is to commit suicide. This is what U.G. was trying to tell us. We have heard of cases where saints jumped into the water and drowned.  In West Bengal there was a saint who did exactly that and today we praise his action by saying he took jal samadhi.

Q:  I thought U.G. was kidding about that, but it really wasn’t a joke.

GUHA:  You thought that by meditating you were going to stop thinking but it’s a movement that keeps its dominance intact.  This sums it up – give up!  Give up everything that you are doing to get what you think you want to get.  That’s why U.G.’s favorite Sanskrit verses were:

Nayam atma  pravachanena labhyo, na medhaya, na bahuna srutena,

Na karmana na prajaya, dhane na, tyage naike amrutatva manashuh!

(This soul is not attained through discourse, nor intellect, nor by repeated listening.

Neither through work, nor through progeny nor through money — only through renunciation does the eternal state of mind come into being.)

(From Kathopanishad and Mahanarayana Upanishad)

By listening to someone’s commentary and using your intellect, you are not going to get it.  By listening again and again and doing good works, you aren’t going to get it. Just because your dad or mom or uncle got it, you’re not going to get it. By spending or giving money you’re not going to get it.  The renunciation that U.G. was talking about was renouncing all the methods you and your predecessors discovered and adopted.

Q:  That was his argument against neti neti; it’s a positive approach.

GUHA:  Yes, it is a positive approach because through the process of negation you want to arrive at something positive (Brahman).  The positive outcome is already embedded in the process of negation.  Using negation for a positive goal is a convoluted process.  Indian thinkers — oh my god, they will drive you crazy!

The difference between Indian and Western thinkers and mystics is that the latter, in general, believe that by reasoning and rational thinking one can come to the truth.  Indians understood early on that one cannot end the misery of thinking through reason.  This is the brilliant stroke of advaita Vedanta.  For an intellectual, thinking and knowledge are the greatest pleasures.  Vedanta means the end of knowledge.  The logic that generates knowledge is not the solution for the balanced existence of a living organism.  Most Western thinkers die holding on to the hope that the human mind can know it all, that it can somehow achieve absolute knowledge.

Q:  That was the problem with those guys.  Their ideas were fascinating, but then you read about their lives and it was a nightmare — depression, suicide, madness.

GUHA:  Or, as U.G. used to say, if they’re lucky, they’ll get Alzheimer’s!  According to him, most Indian gurus were like that.  The drive itself is a signature of imbalance; extreme imbalance is narcissism — the end product is I am That or God.  If you say I am That or I am not That, it implies the knowledge of That, and contradicts the definition of That!   Those who claim such things do not find equilibrium!

There were subtle aspects that I observed and liked very much in U.G.  He was extraordinarily profound.  The things he had reflected on and examined deeply operated in him.  You may not understand what is working in your life, but that functionality has more value than understanding.  I always thanked my lucky stars for the movement in U.G. that made him go from place to place; it was there for me to respond to and made him accessible to me!  Had he lived in a cave, in some remote village or was not accessible through the internet, probably I would never have known him or heard about him.

You need food for survival and certain essential things to sustain your well-being.  A lot is available, much of it harmful.  What U.G. addressed is the very thing that has to make sense to you.  Your knowledge mystifies things because it is derived from a partial observation, especially when it comes to your own life; you mystify, even if you don’t want to.  Your effort to acknowledge that you have come to know something you can’t put a finger on creates mystified information and this can be used as a camouflage by convoluted intentions. Even though there are dangerous animals around a waterhole, you still have to find a way to the water.   In social dynamics, there are internal dispositions that address our well-being, but they are often camouflaged.  Some people pretend to possess that disposition in order to exploit others.  They will say, “Yes, this will help you, and I have it to give to you.”  This is the source of the conflict.  There is always a danger of eating poison, but at the same time you can’t survive without eating.

U.G.’s personality and restlessness were beneficial and life abiding.  If you equated that with egomania or narcissism, that was not a problem for U.G. The problem rests in your faculty of discrimination.  Do you see the difference?  Thinking is incapable of detecting what addresses the system’s well-being.  It is not the instrument and there is no other instrument!

I remember a beautiful story once told to me by U.G.:

Once there was a man who came to know about the life and teachings of the Buddha.  He began to read what the Buddha taught and the more he became familiar with his words, the more he wanted to meet him in person.  He started on a journey to find him and finally arrived at a place where many tents had been pitched and where the Buddha was supposed to be staying.  As he was looking around for someone to help him, a stranger appeared and asked him who he was looking for.  Our man replied that he was looking for the Buddha. Instead of showing him to a tent, the stranger asked, “Why do you want to see the Buddha?”  After further discussion, he asked, “If you do not know the Buddha, do you have any way of recognizing him?” This question startled the man and he began to ponder, “Is it possible to detect that special quality in the Buddha and recognize him?”  Perplexed and unable to answer that question, the man returned home.  He had been talking to the Buddha all along!

How can you recognize those qualities in a person?  That is the most important and difficult question.

Q:  Because you can’t see it in him if you can’t see it in yourself?

GUHA:   No, it’s not that.  The moment you see those qualities in him, you have already won the jackpot.  If what you saw in U.G. was unmistakably correct, appropriate action would follow.  We are constantly trying to match and react to the same information bank.  An actor can play the role of a king better than a real king; that is human camouflage.  You are only conditioned to respond to acting.  You have nothing other than that recognition, but unfortunately you will only respond to a wordsmith who will play the game of logic and come out victorious!

Q:  You could see it in his movement.

GUHA:  What exactly was that tremendous attraction we had for U.G.?  All you could do was think about him, while at the same time seeking justification from the cultural value system.  This is the research that will bring what attracted me to U.G. in the first place into vital operation; I realized that aspect of life does not need external support.  What we are seeking is a game that is going on in our intellectual faculty.  You can learn it from a book.  A book or a tape recorder will do a better job.  If only they could do the job!  The Brahma Sutras, Yoga Vasistha and The Bhagavad Gita have been there for centuries in India, and look what happened!

Q:  Not very good evidence in favor of books; we learn like monkeys.

GUHA:  U.G. would say, “Don’t give me that crap about your capacity to repeat the Vedas; the tape recorder will do a much better job of repeating those things. Nothing ever touched you!”  Your brain is no match for the computer when it comes to repeating things. If that repetition worked, there would be a Brahmajnani on every street corner, and if it were beneficial to mankind, it would be seen all over the world.  It does not work that way.  Functionality and the instrument you are using to test the validity of a working solution were the most important aspects of U.G.’s existence.  As he said, “What you are using is not the instrument and there is no other instrument.”

What unfolded in U.G. that made him function the way he did and why did he have such an impact?  If this becomes your meditation, life will touch you; a new order can unfold. Instead, you are trying to figure things out intellectually so you can use that knowledge to solve your problems.

In my case, I sensed a new movement that beat from inside and took a leap.  I saw that the old man left behind something in me and everything around me took on a different dimension. You too must have witnessed this hundreds of times with him — how it suddenly changed everything in your perceptive world, how it electrified your surroundings.

 Q:  What’s crazy is that I watched it, heard it and then went right back and did the same things again. Everything he said sounded like a joke when he was saying it, and only now it feels like it wasn’t a joke, it was the punch line.

GUHA:  In India, many people couldn’t swallow what U.G. was saying.  The living quality of his energy destroyed the cultural input, part of their self-image; Hindu scriptures call it samskaras.   If one could digest what he was saying, all these Brahma Sutras, the gods and goddesses created by our imagination — a burden for the system — would have no value at all.  The thing that was unfolding inside would have given us a powerful balance and the courage to make such an unburdening possible.  There is a peculiar problem:  It is not that there is nothing, there is something. Whatever it is, there is nothing outside the human being.  It is in the space of life, not in the space of concepts and imagination.

U.G. was a perfect testimony to that; we saw how he functioned.  Fear of god was not applicable to him.  To make this point he would say, “I would have put more nails into the cross, so that that fellow could never come back!” If you imbibe U.G., you say things just the way they appear to you.  I once said to him, “If I ever ask you for anything, it will be, give me the strength to say things as they are.” U.G. did not play the social game; he had zero investment in it.  If someone didn’t feel that his presence was important in his or her life, he would just say, “Nice meeting you and goodbye!”

Q:  It’s the tenacity, the weed-like quality of those beliefs.  I remember the first week in Southgate Hotel in New York, joking with him, thinking, “If anything is sacred to that guy it will be wrong.”  Somehow I felt that in my gut, if anything is sacred it means he has something to hide or has something invested and there was absolutely nothing.  He went way further than I did with that.  The beauty of it for me was he was saying, “Right, there’s nothing to any of it.”  I could not even take the degree to which he meant that.

GUHA:  The moment there is recognition of the value system it plays this trick on us.  The trick is its nature.  When you have a particular aspect of your investment, say you want to see him as a divine teacher, the desire grows inside you and lo and behold! along with this you also want to become a divine teacher yourself.  From this root, thoughts and ideas will spring forth.  Everything is going on inside you, and will come to you as an active passionate movement in the thinking world and will drive you to do things; I am not saying good or bad, it is just how thought responds.

Q:  It means you’ve got to lose everything; it’s really true.  You have to lose it all.

GUHA:  There lies the beauty, his life itself.  “Dump my dead body into the garbage, but you can’t because it will stink.”  U.G. was that disrespectful just to show us that whatever we are holding onto is not the living quality of life. It’s not disrespect; his experiences were extraordinary.  For him there was nothing more important, no power, no god compared to his own living body, the greatest temple that ever existed on the planet Earth. Nothing could change his conception of his experience. There was absolutely no space for doubt.  He was playing with fire and he knew it first-hand.

Those parrots, the teachers who are determined to control us, hand over their concepts to us.  U.G. destroyed them, because if they were not finished inside, they would come out as our worst enemy.  We used them to satisfy our desires, protect ourselves from psychological fear and aggrandize the information center, the most illusive high the human being gets!  All the time U.G. vehemently opposed the phoniness in our culture and chipped away at our image-making structure.  We constantly try to gather knowledge, the holy shit, and think that this is life itself.  The human mind is a myth-making machine.

We convince ourselves to exemplify things that do not exist; we may be sentimental about it, but in the long run it is oppression, self-delusion, and a means of controlling others.  Knowledge is power.  I know, you don’t, so you should bow down to me!  This is dangerous to ponder!

 

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