This page is a result of my meeting this giant. Pity, we do not see such courage and unique individuality in everyday life. It is an attempt to give a taste of the feeling he left me with.
Raging Sage and Killing the Buddha
Listen! said Roosta urgently, you can kill a man, destroy his body, break his spirit, but only the Total Perspective Vortex can annihilate a man's soul! The treatment lasts seconds, but the effect lasts the rest of your life! - Douglas Adams- Restaurant At the End OF The Universe
Uppaluri Gopala Krishnamurti, better known as U.G. Krishnamurti, or just U.G., is a living example of an Anti-Guru. While his physiological and behavioral characteristics identify him as an "enlightened" or "liberated" being , he refuses to attach any spiritual significance to his state whatsoever, calling it a biological phenomenon prompted by a "lucky" genetic draw.
A part of his appeal to the spiritual crowd comes from the fact that several medical professionals witnessed various unusual manifestations by U. G. usually attributed to Hindu Gods (cobra-like neck growth appearing on certain holiday, geometrical swellings in the "chakra" locations, ring like swellings around the neck and many others). His frankness and de-mystification of both his "spiritual" body functioning as well as his "enlightenment", which he calls a "calamity" made him a formidable opponent to many corrupt guru's of his day.
In his conversations he effectively takes away every belief the aspirant was carrying before without replacing it with anything. Skillfully he is cutting off every exit and gives no quarter to the drowning mind. "No Way Out" could be his middle name. One may compare him to the Total Perspective Vortex of Douglas Adams Hitchhiker Guide To The Galaxy fame. He was quoted saying that his message - if he had any, would be "I cannot help you". Many people have sought him for guidance on spiritual and metaphysical matters, but he has time and again stated that he has no teaching to give and that it is impossible for such a teaching to be transmitted between persons in any case. He writes no books, but instead others record his talks and publish them in book form. He states that "a real guru, if there is one, frees you from himself."
These are his unique characteristics:
- Denies his usefulness to his "students" and refuses to teach
- Denies that anyone can "achieve" his "state" through any "way" or "exercise"
- Denies being different from anyone else
- Does not teach any exercises, systems, meditations
- In his "speeches" relies on no system, culture or concept (e.g. Buddha, Dharma, Enlightenment), except to denounce them.
And, of course, one must mention the U.G.'s version of the GPL license: My teaching, if that is the word you want to use, has no copyright. You are free to reproduce, distribute, interpret, misinterpret, distort, garble, do what you like, even claim authorship, without my consent or the permission of anybody
U. G. - Not Unique After All?
- Followers of the Way, Buddha is not to be attained. There is no real Dharma; it is all but surface manifestations, like printed letters on a sign board to indicate the Way."
- "I have no dharma to give. I only cure diseases and undo knots. Followers of The Way who come from everywhere, try not to depend on anything. ... There is no Buddha, no Dharma, no training and no realization. What are you so hotly chasing? Putting a head on top of your head, you blind fools. Your head is right where it should be."
Particularly this account is interesting:
- Pointing at the unhewn post, the master (Rinzai Gigen) asked: "Is this worldly or is this sacred?" The officers were speechless. The master struck the unhewn post and uttered: "Whatever you can say, it is but a wooden post," and then went within.
It appears that he was the first one to declare open season on Buddhas:
- If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!
- If you meet the patriarchs or the arhats on your way, kill them too...
- Bodhidharma was an old bearded barbarian...
- Nirvana and Bodhi are dead stumps to tie your donkey to.
- The sacred teachings are only lists of ghosts, sheets of paper fit for wiping the pus from your boils.
The militant U. G. sounds almost mild in comparison:
- People call me an 'enlightened man' -- I detest that term -- they can't find any other word to describe the way I am functioning. At the same time, I point out that there is no such thing as enlightenment at all. I say that because all my life I've searched and wanted to be an enlightened man, and I discovered that there is no such thing as enlightenment at all, and so the question whether a particular person is enlightened or not doesn't arise. I don't give a hoot for a sixth-century-BC Buddha, let alone all the other claimants we have in our midst. They are a bunch of exploiters, thriving on the gullibility of the people. There is no power outside of man. Man has created God out of fear. So the problem is fear and not God.
- I discovered for myself and by myself that there is no self to realize -- that's the realization I am talking about. It comes as a shattering blow. It hits you like a thunderbolt. You have invested everything in one basket, self-realization, and, in the end, suddenly you discover that there is no self to discover, no self to realize -- and you say to yourself "What the hell have I been doing all my life?!" That blasts you.
- All kinds of things happened to me -- I went through that, you see. The physical pain was unbearable -- that is why I say you really don't want this. I wish I could give you a glimpse of it, a touch of it -- then you wouldn't want to touch this at all. What you are pursuing doesn't exist; it is a myth. You wouldn't want anything to do with this.
Blessing or A Curse?
Immortal Douglas Adams coined the phrase "akin to having your brain smashed out with a brick wrapped in lemon". That about sums up my meeting with U. G. Stripped bare of any reliance on my meditation techniques, energy work and whatnot I was left facing the dreaded reality nicely illuminated by a new acquired sense of proportion. Particularly painful was the immediate realization of the precise scope of my spiritual and energetic "achievements" - basically all that hard work got me nowhere. I felt like the proverbial man peeing next to a waterfall. There was no way to block that out or deceive myself here. This was too obvious.
Bottom line - I became a blank slate for a time. As if something has blasted all the influences (cultural, spiritual, educational, family, authority figures, etc) out of me. It was back to square one and in the end it worked out allright.
The feeling, that meeting U. G. was about the worst thing to happen to me was promptly replaced by the feeling that it was the best thing to happen to me. Eventually, I settled on a less extreme attitude somewhere down the middle. But as much as I may miss those "boots to walk on thorns", they just don't fit anymore.
Selected U. G. Quotes
Society, of which you are a part, cannot be other than it is. So stop trying to save it or change it. You cannot even change your mother-in-law.
You want a different world so that you can be happy in it. That is your only interest. You can talk of mankind, concern for mankind, compassion for mankind, but it is all bullshit, horseshit ...
This is not to say that the free individual is indifferent to society. On the contrary. In any case, it is you who are indifferent right now. You only talk and whine, meanwhile doing nothing. Sorry....
I have a very limited vocabulary: yes & no. To all your questions I say no, to money - yes.
Nature's laws know no reward, only punishment. The reward is only that you are in harmony with nature.
You are all the time interfering with the natural functioning of the nervous system. When a sensation hits your nervous system the first thing you do is to name it and categorize it as pleasure or pain. The next step is that you want to continue the pleasurable sensations and stop the painful sensations. First, the recognition of a sensation as pleasure or pain is itself painful. Second, the attempt to extend the life of one kind of sensation ("pleasure"), and to stop another kind of sensation ("pain"), is also painful. Both activities are choking the body. In the very nature of things every sensation has its own intensity and duration. The attempt to extend pleasure and stop pain only succeeds in destroying the sensitivity of the body and its ability to respond to sensations. So, what you are doing is very painful for the body. If you do nothing with the sensations, you will find that they must dissolve into themselves. That is what I mean when I speak of the "ionization of thought". That is what I meant by birth and death. There is no "death" for the body, only disintegration. Thought being material, all its pursuits are material. That is why your so-called spiritual pursuits have no meaning. Don't get me wrong, I am not against using thought to get what you need; you have no other tool at your disposal.
How can you possibly observe your thoughts? You talk as though there is some entity in you separate from thoughts. It is an illusion; your thoughts are not separate from you. There is no thinking. Thought cannot damage you. It is your separative structure trying to control, dominate, censure and use thought that is the problem. Thought by itself can do no damage. It is only when you want to do something with thought that you create problems for yourself.
What I am trying to say is that you must discover something for yourself. But do not be misled into thinking that what you find will be of use to society, that it can be used to change the world. You are finished with society, that is all.
Where, you ask, is this knowledge, the past? Is it in your brain? Where is it? It is all over your body. It is in every cell of your body. These questions all spring from your search. It doesn't matter what the object of that search is -- God, a beautiful woman or man, a new car. It is all the same search. And that hunger will never be satisfied. That hunger must burn itself out completely without knowing satisfaction. The thirst you have must burn itself out without being quenched. It dawns on you that this is not the way, and it is finished.
There is no question of your seeing things as they are. You can't see things as they are. You never leave any experience or feeling you have alone. You have to capture and interpret that feeling within the framework of the known. You are happy or unhappy only as you have knowledge about and experience of happiness and unhappiness. So everything has to be brought within the framework of the known before you can experience it. The movement of the known is gathering momentum within you. Its only interest is to continue. There is no entity, no self there to give itself continuity; it is just the movement of thought, the self-perpetuating separation. It is mechanical. Anything you try to do about it only adds momentum to it.
It is the desire to reach a particular goal, an all important goal, that must go, not the countless petty little desires. The only reason you try to manipulate or control the petty desires is that such control is a part of your strategy to attain the highest goal, the desire of all desires. Eliminate that main goal and the others fall into a natural pattern and pose no problem for you or for the world. You won't get anywhere by trying to endlessly control and manipulate these numerous desires. It is vicious in its nature.
What you experience through your separative consciousness is an illusion. You can't say that falling bombs are an illusion. It is not an illusion, only your experience of it is an illusion. The reality of the world that you are experiencing now is an illusion. That is all I am trying to say.
Look here, I want to experience God, truth, reality or what you will, so I must understand the nature of the experiencing structure inside of me before I deal with all that. I must look at the instrument I am using. You are trying to capture something that cannot be captured in terms of your experiencing structure, so this experiencing structure must not be there in order that the other thing may come in. What that is, you will never know. You will never know the truth, because it's a movement. It's a movement! You cannot capture it, you cannot contain it, you cannot express it. It's not a logically ascertained premise that we are interested in. So, it has to be your discovery. What good is my experience? We have thousands and thousands of experiences recorded -- they haven't helped you. It's the hope that keeps you going -- "If I follow this for another ten years, fifteen years, maybe one of these days I will...." because hope is the structure
Nothing. That's the discovery. So-called self-realization is the discovery for yourself and by yourself that there is no self to discover. That will be a very shocking thing -- "Why the hell have I wasted all my life?" It's a shocking thing because it's going to destroy every nerve, every cell, even the cells in the marrow of your bones. I tell you, it's not going to be an easy thing, it's not going to be handed over to you on a gold platter. You have to become completely disillusioned, then the truth begins to express itself in its own way. I have discovered that it is useless to try to discover the truth. The search for truth is, I have discovered, absurd, because it's a thing which you cannot capture, contain, or give expression to
Thought is not intended for achieving spiritual goals or even to find out the significance, meaning, or purpose of life, or to be used for the quest for permanence or permanent pleasure.
But what I am left with is something extraordinary -- extraordinary not in the sense that it has been possible for me through any effort or volition of mine, but in the sense that everything that every man thought, felt, and experienced before is thrown out of my system. So, you can say that it is, indeed, a courageous thing that has happened to me. But I cannot tell people that through courage you can put yourself into that kind of situatio
The function of the brain in this body is only to take care of the needs of the physical organism and to maintain its sensitivity, whereas thought, through its constant interference with sensory activity, is destroying the sensitivity of the body. That is where the conflict is. The conflict is between the need of the body to maintain its sensitivity and the demand of thought to translate every sensation within the framework of the sensual activity. I am not condemning sensual activity. Mind, or whatever you want to call it, is born out of this sensuality. So, all activities of the mind are sensual in their nature, whereas the activity of the body is to respond to the stimuli around it. That is really the basic conflict between what you call the mind and the body.
The demand to be prepared for all future actions and all situations is the cause of our problems. Every situation is so different; and our attempt to be prepared for all those situations is the one that is responsible for our not being able to deal with situations as they arise.
You experience what you already know. Otherwise, there is no experience at all. There is no such thing as a new experience.
You don't want to accept that any attempt on your part to get out of that trap in which you find yourself is strengthening the shackles. And there is no way out.
A: You tell me, why do we? Why should there be any meaning? The question "How to live?" is totally unrelated to the functioning of this living organism. It is living all the time. It doesn't have to ask the question "How to live?" "How to live?" is superimposed on the living organism. Q: And the search for meaning is absurd? A: Obviously you do not see any meaning. You do not see any purpose in life. Obviously you don't see. (Laughs) I don't mean only you. I mean people. To me to ask that question is so silly, so meaningless, so absurd -- "What is the meaning of life?" It is not life that we are really interested in but living. The problem of living has become a very tiring business -- to live with somebody else, to live with our feelings, to live with our ideas. In other words, it is the value system that we have been thrown into. You see, the value system is false. Q: ....like glue all over. A: We are trying to fit ourselves into that value system which is totally false. It is falsifying you. But you are not ready to accept that it is falsifying you. You throw a lot of energy into this business of fitting yourself into that framework or value system.
What is this 'you', as you experience yourself? The 'you' as you know yourself is a product of the momentum of that knowledge that is passed on to us. It has this question which you think is a very intelligent question. Through your demand for an answer to that question it wants to know how to add momentum to that knowledge.
It is not 'you', because 'you' don't exist. There is no individual there at all. Culture, society, or whatever you want to call it, has created 'you' and 'me' for the sole purpose of maintaining its own continuity. But, at the same time, we are made to believe that you have to become an individual. These two things have created this neurotic situation for us. There is no such thing as an individual, and there is no such thing as freedom of action
You see, the whole thing springs from this separation or isolation that human beings live in today. We are isolated from the rest of creation, the rest of life around us. We all live in individual frames. We try to establish a relationship at the level of "What do I get out of that relationship?" We use others to try and fill this void that is created as a result of our isolation.
Q: The organism does not know what pleasure is? A: It doesn't even want it. Q: It wants but it hasn't.... A: It doesn't want it, because all these pleasurable sensations disturb it. The moment there is a pleasurable sensation, the demand to extend it longer and longer is there. That is why there is this tremendous frustration there. You want to make it possible for everybody that he should always be happy and that he should have only pleasant or pleasurable sensations and not any painful ones. It may be possible through some drugs like 'ecstasy', but for how long? Q: What happens if you indulge in such things? A: In the long run it destroys the sensitivity of the body. Q: How do you say that? A: You are not in living touch with anything there. Q: ....so thought is separating us from the natural way? A: Yes, the natural way.
If I am not looking at you, I cannot create any image, because the eye is not focused on you. The problem is very simple. I don't know what you look like as I have no way of creating the image inside of me. So, it ceases to be a problem
You can say there is no thought, there is no space, there is no matter, and there is no time. First, you create thought, then thought creates space, and then time is necessary to cover the distance, to experience the space, to capture it, and do something with it. So, then time comes in. But there is no time
Q2: But there must be some sensitivity without a stimulus. UG: What I am talking about is the sensitivity of sensory perceptions. But what you are concerned with is sensuality. They are different things. The sensory activity of the living organism is all that exists. Culture has superimposed on it something else which is always in the field of sensuality. Whether it is a spiritual experience or any other experience, it is in the field of pleasure. So the demand for permanence is really the problem. The moment a sensation is translated as a pleasurable one there is already a problem. The translation is possible only through the help of knowledge. But the body rejects both pain and pleasure for the simple reason that any sensation that lasts longer than its natural duration is destroying the sensitivity of the nervous system. But we are interested only in the sensual aspect of the sensory activity.
There is no sensitivity other than the sensitive nervous system responding to stimuli. So, if you are concerned or preoccupied with the sensitivity of anything else, you are blurring the sensory activity. The eyes cannot see, but the moment you see, the translation of sensory perceptions comes into operation. There is always a space between perception and memory. Memory is like sound. Sound is very slow, whereas light travels faster. All these sensory activities or perceptions are like light. They are very fast. But for some reason we have lost the capacity to kick that [memory] into the background and allow these things to move as fast as they occur in nature. Thought comes, captures it [the sensory perception], and says that it is this or that. That is what you call recognition, or naming, or whatever you want to call it. The moment you recognize this as the tape recorder, the name `tape recorder' also is there. So recognition and naming are not two different things. We would like to create a space between them and believe that these two are different things. As I said earlier, the physical eye by itself has no way of translating the physical perception into the framework of your knowledge.
But the fact that this particular response is for that particular stimulus is something which cannot be experienced by you. It is one unitary movement. Response cannot be separated from the stimulus. It is because they are inseparable that we can do nothing to prevent the possibility of the knowledge about past experiences coming into operation before the sensory perceptions move from one thing to another.
The fundamental mistake that humanity made somewhere along the line, is, or was, or whatever is the correct verb [chuckles], to experience this separateness from the totality of life. At that time there occurred in man, which includes woman also, this self-consciousness which separated him from the life around. He was so isolated that it frightened him. The demand to be part of the totality of life around him created this tremendous demand for the ultimate. He thought that the spiritual goals of God, truth, or reality, would help him to become part of the `whole' again. But the very attempt on his part to become one with or become integrated with the totality of life has kept him only more separate. Isolated functioning is not part of nature. But this isolation has created a demand for finding out ways and means of becoming a part of nature. But thought in its very nature can only create problems and cannot help us solve them.
We don't seem to realize that it is thought that is separating us from the totality of things. The belief that this is the one that can help us to keep in tune with the totality is not going to materialize. So, it has come up with all kinds of ingenuous, if I may use that word, ideas of insight and intuition
Accepting the limitations is intelligence. You are trying to free yourself from these natural limitations and that is the cause of your sorrow and pain. Your actions are such that one action limits the next action. Your action at this moment is limiting the next action. This action is a reaction. the question of freedom of action does not even arise. Therefore no fatalistic philosophy is needed. The word "karma" means an action without a reaction. Any action of yours limits the action that is to take place next.
Nature's laws know no reward, only punishment. The reward is only that you are in harmony with nature. The whole problem started when man decided that the whole universe was created for his exclusive enjoyment. We have superimposed the notion of evolution and progress over nature. Our mind--and there are no individual minds, only mind--which is the accumulation of the totality of man's knowledge and experience, has created the notion of the psyche and evolution. Only technology progresses, while we as a race are moving closer to complete and total destruction of ourselves and the world. Everything in man's consciousness is pushing the whole world, which nature has so laboriously created, towards destruction. There has been no qualitative change in man's thinking; we feel about our neighbors just as the frightened cave man felt towards his. The only thing that has changed is our ability to destroy our neighbor and his property.
You will never blast me; the attachment you have to religious authority prohibits you from questioning anything, much less a man like me. I am certain you will never challenge me. For that reason what I am saying will inevitably create an unstable, neurotic situation for you. You cannot accept what I am saying, and neither are you in any position to reject it. If it wasn't for your very thick skin, you would certainly end up in the loony bin. You simply cannot and will not question what I am saying; it is too much of a threat. Absolutely nothing is going to penetrate your defenses; Gowdapada provides the gloves, the Bhagavad Gita a snug coat jacket, and the Brahmasutra(3) a bullet-proof vest. So you are safe, and that is all you are really interested in. You can't blast what I am saying as long as you are relying upon what someone has said before. Please don't say that there are thousands of seers and sages; there are only a very few. You can count them all on your fingers. The rest are merely technocrats. The saint is a technocrat. That is what most people are. But now with the development of drugs and other techniques, the saint is dispensable. You don't any longer need a priest or saint to instruct you in meditation. If you want to control your thoughts, simply take a drug and forget them, if that is what you want. If you can't sleep, take a sleeping pill. Sleep for a while, then wake up. It is the same. Don't listen to me. It will create an unnecessary disturbance in you. It will only intensify the neurotic situation you are already caught in. Having taken for granted the validity of all this holy stuff, having never questioned, much less broken away from it, you not only have learned how to live with it, but also how to capitalize on it. It is a matter of profiteering, nothing more.
It is very difficult to be like the other fellow, to be ordinary. Mediocrity takes a great deal of energy. But to be ourselves is very easy. You don't have to do a thing. No effort is necessary. You don't have to exercise your will. You need not do a thing to be yourself. But to be something other than what you are, you have to do a lot of things. The boredom and restlessness you feel inside you is there only because you think you must be doing something more interesting, more meaningful, and more valuable than what you are already doing. You think that the way you are carrying on is terrible boring, and that there must be something more valuable, powerful, and exciting to do. So all this becomes part of the complex knowledge you have about yourself. The more you know about yourself the more impossible it becomes to be humble and sensitive. How can there be humility as long as you know something?