Cochin, Early Morning

Sabyasachi Guha
View from our apartment

Spent another sleepless night tossing and turning. Again got up with a throbbing headache. Too much stress on the system is preventing a good night’s sleep, I guess. I have been without a job for months now plus constantly dwelling on other long-standing problems, my nerves are frayed. Although Guha always gets a good laugh when he talks about my “jobless state”, I remember him telling me a couple of weeks ago, “Your anxiety is based on the knowledge you have about yourself and the future you create or project for yourself. The moment this perceptive universe is replaced with the thought universe, it is all speculation.”

I have a half hour to spare so I retreat into my quiet corner. Wherever I am I create a little hideout for myself where I can be on my own to read, write, meditate, contemplate, reflect, reminisce or just catch up with myself. This morning I am thinking about the powerful energy-field around Guha. Although very subtle, the energy is vibrant and potent and Guha’s impact on those who resonate with that energy is undeniable. For people like me, Guha’s proximity acts as a catalyst in bringing about change, even if it is cataclysmic but ultimately most conducive to the system’s well-being.  In a short span of time, he turned my life topsy-turvy, violently uprooting conflicts enmeshed deeply in my psyche. With all the exit points shuttered, I was forced to address vexatious issues plaguing me since childhood. Although it is extremely stressful and unnerving, I am confident this purge will make me realize my own strength and in the end help the system regain its innate poise and equilibrium. Guha has always stressed, “We have no choice but to address social needs. However, we also have the capacity and talent to address these needs.”

For some, it can play out differently and a kind of unhinging “madness” can take over, as I myself have witnessed. I know of a long-time friend of Guha’s who, in his presence, is prone to act in a manner which others find queer. In Guha’s proximity a kind of frenetic energy takes hold of her making her behave in an uncontrollable and violently possessive manner towards him. Although this lady is otherwise very well-mannered, generous and devoted to Guha, in that burst of energy, she is capable of harming anyone whom she perceives as a threat. In fact, on a couple of such occasions she literally came to blows with a very close friend of Guha’s and even tried to force her to leave the premises.

For others, being close to Nature’s energy can bring to the fore hidden talents or skills, which earlier never got a chance to blossom. In Guha’s own case, his proximity to U.G. brought out the writer and poet in him. He said he had a tremendous amount of energy in those days and barely slept. In the daytime he would be working at the university and the nights were spent in writing. The first time he spent a few days with U.G. he wrote 14 Days with U.G. in Palm Springs. Later, he translated into Bengali, Mahesh Bhatt’s biography U.G. Krishnamurti: A Life as well as A Taste of Death, wrote umpteen poems with catchy titles like “Aham”, “Niyantran” (Control), “’Akal Mrityu” (Untimely Death)’, “Maya”(Illusion), “Bisforon” ( Explosion), “Manush” ( Man), “Nirvana” (Emancipation), etc. and also took vast notes about his own experiences after meeting U.G. Written in his native Bengali, one day, I hope all his works are translated into English. As for me, from the day I met Guha, he encouraged me to write, write, write. In fact, in October 2014, when I travelled with Guha to Kolkata I bought a notebook to jot down important points while profound discussions were going on. I placed the little book in front of him pleading with him to inaugurate it. Here’s what Guha wrote for me and that’s what I’m trying to do ever since:



Lastly, as witnessed in Guha, resonating with Nature’s energy (in his case with U.G. Krishnamurti) can, for the rare lucky one, bring about a radical change in the system, obliterating the old way of thinking and living, freeing them from the game of social dynamics. Again, in Guha’s case, this realignment of the system reverting to its innate programming was a kind of a rebirth.

That was a close call, buddy!

Sabyasachi Guha
Manoj and Guha

Sanjay from New Delhi arrived yesterday. He is a Supreme Court lawyer and is a very busy man but has taken time off to be with Guha, whom he’s meeting for the first time. I imagined him to be a brusque, tough-talking, no nonsense lawyer; instead I find that he is quiet, soft-spoken and looks intelligent and down to earth. Although he has been an avid follower of J Krishnamurti since decades, he was also attracted to U.G. and did meet him a couple of times. Wonder how he finds Guha and his tribe. Forgot to ask Guha what kind of fundamental questions Sanjay asked while Julie and I went shopping last evening.

It is 10 a.m. and we are all gathered in Manoj’s house. We are lazing around, fully satiated after Vidya fed us delicious breakfast of idli-sambhar (steamed rice cakes and vegetable curry) and filter coffee. Vidya is a gracious hostess and takes great pains to ensure we lack nothing. Guha is constantly on the phone, either texting or talking to his friends around the globe. Now Sanjay engages Guha in a full-blown discussion on gurus, meditation and spiritual experiences. Manoj, Bubu, Sanjiv, Kishor, Julie and I are trying to assimilate what he’s saying. But am I even listening? I’m so densely wrapped up in my own thoughts and ideations that nothing else can penetrate that. I give up but catch a gem:

Sanjay: “In meditation what do you see?”

Guha: “You can only see what you know. Feeling vital is very different from feeling a high in meditation.” He adds after a pause, “As long as you depend on anybody else (gurus), you will be taken for a ride.”

Sabyasachi Guha
Kamal and Guha in Cochin

The talk then drifts to Kamal, the Air India pilot who was associated with U.G. from way back in 1989 when he was just 23 years old, till U.G’s death in 2007. He is a close friend of Guha’s too for the last 20 years and will be arriving here tomorrow to spend a few days with him. Before he met U.G. Kamal was a follower of Ramana Maharshi and practiced self-enquiry, like me. In fact, in the mid-eighties he would stay in Tiruvannamalai for weeks together and spend time with Bhagwan’s old devotees like Kunju Swami, Annamalai Swami and Rhoda McIver at Ramanasram. On many occasions, he would accompany these Ramana stalwarts up the Arunachala Hill to visit Virupaksha Cave or Skandasram, where Ramana had lived for many years, and listen to inspiring stories of their lifelong association with Ramana. Little did Kamal know at the time that he would very soon be meeting his own guru, U.G. Krishnamurti, a meeting that would prove pivotal and life-changing for him.

Sabyasachi Guha
Julie and Kamal in California in 1990

Julie has also known Kamal since 1989-1990, as around the same timeframe they both first came to know U.G. She happily narrated this story about Kamal’s visit in 1990 to meet U.G. in California. At that time, Kamal was undergoing training in Los Angeles to get his commercial pilot’s license. That summer U.G. was living in Marin County, north of San Francisco, and Kamal went to visit him flying his own small, single-engine plane from Los Angeles to Marin County Airport in Novato. Julie was there to receive him and Kamal enthusiastically offered to take her for a joy ride in the tiny plane. However, Julie politely refused the offer. She said laughingly, “I hate heights and that thing looked scary. Moreover, Kamal was just a kid training to be a pilot at that time. I would not fly with him then for dear life! But now if he asked me to, probably I would say yes.”

Sabyasachi Guha
Julie posing in front of Kamal’s plane in Novato airport, California, in 1990.

Julie narrates another story: Once U.G. was on an Air India flight from Singapore to Mumbai in which Kamal was the first officer and the captain of that flight was an avid J Krishnamurti follower. In the cockpit Kamal and the captain were having an intense argument about philosophical differences between JK and U.G. Kamal was passionately defending U.G.’s philosophy while the captain was upholding JK’s views. As this discussion was raging the plane was on descent, about to land, when Kamal suddenly noticed that the landing gear had not deployed! He pointed this out to the captain in the nick of time who quickly aborted the landing, took off again and landed safely a little later. The captain did not make any announcement about this near mishap to the passengers. However, when Kamal went to fetch U.G., the latter remarked, “That was a close call, buddy!” Utterly surprised, Kamal asked him, “How did you know? We did not make any announcement.” U.G. retorted, “I have been flying since before you were born!”

I met Kamal for the first time just over a year ago. He was in New York since he had just flown to JFK Airport piloting the Boeing 777 and would be in the city for a couple of days. He was coming to meet Guha at the famed Ansonia building in mid-town Manhattan where Julie has a lovely apartment. We all refer to the apartment as “the office”. Guha was very keen that I meet his “very close friend Kamal” since we both shared the Ramana lineage and would enjoy reminiscing together.

Freedom is to let the system do its job optimally

Sabyasachi Guha
Guha and friends at Cochin Airport


Kamal is arriving this morning. All of us trooped into two cars to receive him at the airport. On way to the airport, Julie told wonderful stories about U.G. I have noticed that whenever Julie talks about U.G. she has a peculiar, faraway look on her face as if she wished she could go back in time and right all the wrongs. And many a time I have seen tears in her eyes when U.G.’s name pops up. Her love for U.G. has not diminished one bit even though it’s been over eight years since U.G’s death.

Once U.G. and Julie were at Penn Station, New York, when a complete stranger walked up to U.G. and said he loved the trousers U.G. was wearing. In response, U.G. told him to stay put and not move from the spot and that he would be right back. He then quickly walked to his hotel, which was close by, changed his trousers, walked back to the station where the stranger was still waiting for him and handed him the trousers that he so liked.

On another occasion, U.G. and Julie were walking in Knightsbridge in London when suddenly U.G. emptied out his pockets and gave all the money he had on him to a panhandler who was begging on the street. The man was utterly surprised, and profusely thanking U.G. for his largesse, told him, “You are a good bloke.” A few days later, they ran into the beggar again who recognized U.G. right away and told him that ever since U.G. had given him money, his fortunes had changed and money had started pouring in! He couldn’t thank U.G. enough. U.G., in his customary way, did not take any credit and quietly walked away.

Now we are at the airport waiting for Kamal’s arrival. His plane has already landed. It’s a small airport so he should be out any minute. Here he comes, with his backpack slung over his shoulders. When he sees us all waiting for him a broad smile lights up his entire face. He has a deep voice and when he laughs, it is spontaneous and loud and seems to come from the core of his being. His whole body shakes with mirth. It is a sight you can’t forget. He seems to be a very happy-go-lucky, warm-hearted and kind man. He gives Guha a big hug, whom he calls his “bada bhaiya” (elder brother). In turn, Guha calls him “Laxman bhaiya”. So sweet! (In the ancient Sanskrit epic Ramayana, Laxman was the younger brother of Prince Rama.) Now he’s getting lots of hugs and handshakes from the rest of the gang. At last, he comes to where I’m standing and I extend my hand for a polite handshake. On our way back home we stop at Kamal’s hotel, where he freshens up while we have some refreshments.

In my quiet corner, poring over notes I had taken some months ago.


  • If life has a purpose it is always fulfilling it. What you want to know is if that is fulfilling the status quo.
  • Freedom is to let the system do its job optimally. Then you begin to sense unburdening and peace.
  • The system is not interested in the acceptance of a belief structure. It is a burden.
  • If you take medications, it increases the frequency of the symptoms.
  • On this planet, those who suffer the most are the ones who have deep beliefs.
  • Real meditation is when you are not interfering in the way your system is producing a solution to your problem.
  • When you are truly concerned about another, THERE IS NO YOU.

I have heard Guha use the term “the system” all the time in his talks and I want a clarification:

I: What exactly do you mean when you refer to “the system”?

Guha: Mind-body.

I: The system is mind-body unit as a whole?

Guha: When I say body it means the entire physical body and the brain is a part of it; some emergent property of the brain is called consciousness. Human mind is related to self-consciousness.

I: The terms body and system are synonymous?

Guha: Yes.

2.30 pm

Manoj and Guha in deep discussion. Manoj is asking a lot of questions on life, death, meditation, etc. Kamal is jet-lagged and fast asleep; the rest are listening closely to the interchange. I catch a few pearls dropping from Guha’s mouth:

  • For you giving up means you are waiting for some positive result. It’s a “sauda” or a bargain. That’s not giving up.
  • To overcome the challenge that you are facing the energy of life has no value. The problem you are facing, to make you face the struggle you only need one thing – MONEY.
  • All thinking is “sapna”. Thinking is future. That has to go.

I am just sitting and listening, trying to “capture” the essence of what Guha is talking about. Meanwhile, the thoughts are churning, churning inside. No let up. As Guha tells me from time to time, “There’s so much junk inside you.” I agree hundred percent. But what can I do? I am afraid to let go; feel such fierce resistance in my core. Again I hear him, “You will never let go because if the junk goes, you go and you don’t want that.”

On another occasion Guha told me, “You really want two things and that is creating pain and stress.” So true, Guha, but I’m helpless! Will I ever be able to overcome my desires and emotional attachments?


Part I: A Big Zero

Part III: A Pilot’s Tale

Part IV: A Collection of Nuclei

Part V: There Is No You 

Part VI: The Tiger Is Out

Part VII: Thoughts Drain Life’s Energy

Part VIII: Caught In A Web of Love

Part IX: Never In Past And Never In Future

Part X: Butterflies Are Free

Part XI: Sun Breaks Through Nimbus Clouds

Part XII: Love Goes Toward Love

2 Responses

  1. Heeru

    Thank you for taking the time to share. Your experiences. Through yours we get some clarification.
    It’s so difficult to be hopeless when we are always so hopefull.

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