Nothing else can satisfy your core demand

21 July, 2019
Oakhill, Princeton

Guha: There must be something in us that creates a core, natural, existential demand. It’s difficult to explain. If that demand is strong, then you are lucky. Why lucky? Because if the demand is strong it will begin to find a way to resonate and satisfy itself then there will be a different kind of ardour and zest that will land in the space of your life. On the other hand, you could be unlucky because it may never happen and life would be utterly disappointing for you. You could be a good mother or father or a successful professional and have enough money, yet nothing will give you that satisfaction which the core demand is seeking. From the standpoint of the society, everything could hunky dory and there may not be any reason for you to be depressed, but there is a core demand that can never be satisfied by anything else. No matter how well you are rewarded by the society, no matter how secure you are in your life and living, you will be unlucky as far as I am concerned. But if it happens to fall in the right place and heads in the right direction and begins to resonate, you will be in for a big surprise. But I cannot say whether it is good or bad in the social context.

Q: You also say there is nothing I can do to make it happen. 

G: The factor of luck is always there. That’s the chance that plays out in life all the time. Nobody can challenge it. No power on this planet can challenge it! Life is like that. You can’t say, “I make my own future” like Napoleon.

Q: But what does that have to do with the private space you were talking about earlier?

G: It is a private space in us in which Nature has a very different kind of demand unlike the demands we pick up from the social dynamics.

Q: If I didn’t hear about it from you, how would I know about the existence of such a space and its demand?

G: That’s a good question! Chances are that you will hear about it from somebody or the other. And if it clicks, you will begin to realize that perhaps the reason for your misery is not what they’re telling you, but there could be some fundamental demand which you have never addressed. 

Q: But I think hearing about it is doing more harm because when I did not know I was happy.

G: It is not possible to be happy that way. There is an uneasiness in you. Because you are reading it the wrong way, you are constantly running after different things to satisfy yourself.

Q: But knowing doesn’t help because you also say we cannot do anything about it!

G: Yes, but at least you will know there is no happy pill which you can pop to satisfy yourself!

Q: I didn’t do that in my case!

G: Well, there’s no generalization but I feel this way. Because the organization of Nature is such that life has to resonate with a frequency that is most optimal for itself.

Q: But we see some people being happy without having this knowledge, isn’t it?

G: No, that’s just your ideas about them. You really don’t know. The one you think is happy may not be all that happy.

Q: No, I mean I see some people moving in life in a way which implies they are content.

G: You see them moving but you don’t know about their private life. You don’t know if they’re fighting with their family! I am just kidding! You will be surprised to know how the most successful people are deeply dissatisfied. Until it happened no one could imagine Robin Williams would kill himself.

Q: But most of the guys who committed suicide had serious mental problems.

G: You can say mental problem. What’s the definition of mental problem? They were such fit and high-performing individuals, that’s the social space I’m talking about.

Q: I’m completely disillusioned with it.

G: Exactly. No prescription is going to give you happiness. There’s no happy pill. 

Q: That’s the problem.

G: If you can live sanely and intelligently and you have what you need to survive, then you are already way ahead of the game. And if you are already ahead of the game, the private space will be felt with more immediacy. It’s like a palpitation next to your heart. Look, I’m not saying you have to search for anything. There is no such thing. Because the moment I say it’s a private space, I am asking you to go find out for yourself. Who else can know about your private space?

Q: How is this going to help me?

G: It is not a question of help. To you “help” is what you can use to actualize your idea of how your life should be. Here is a simple example. Suppose, I have a kid. The information about that kid’s wellbeing determines the level of mental peace and stability for me. No matter how much achievement, money or pleasure comes my way, I won’t be happy if my kid is not doing well. The core, existential demand is like that. Nothing else can satisfy it. I don’t want to give you a sales pitch, but this space in me is so palpable that even when I go to the kitchen and do dishes, it is such a delicious job! You have to know me well enough to sense that this space is there and it is in such marvellous harmony. I’m not joking, I’m serious!

Q: What you say takes away all hope. What’s the point in anything then?

G: Hope is about getting or not getting what you want.

Q: I don’t want anything!

G: If that is so, then why do you need hope? The people who are hopeful of a colorful and dreamy future are the ones who will be seriously bothered by my ranting. Life is a series of moments and every time you take part in it, if you are fully there and not thinking about any alternatives, you will understand that living is a movement.

Q: For how many years have I been hearing all this? I have heard a million times, but nothing has changed here.

G: You have heard a lot but you have never really tried to look inside yourself. You have too many distractions. Whatever work you have at hand, you have to do it well. When you are driving, you can’t think of these things, you just drive well. When you are cooking, you have to do it well.

Q: Is this the same thing as living from moment to moment?

G: Thinking of living from moment to moment is different from living itself. 


Conversation with Guha

From phone calls and text exchanges

6-Aug 2018

G: Did you practice singing? Did you sing that sargam?
(In Indian music sargam refers to singing the notes instead of the words of a composition)

Me: I didn’t!

G: You lazy! It’s all right, you don’t have to do anything you don’t like. That doesn’t mean you will do things you like which are not congenial for you. 90% of the people fall back on the things that didn’t work in their past. I know people who fell back on religiosity.

Me: I have no fear, I have seen you, I have seen the living!

G: They had also seen somebody!

Me: I don’t care, maybe they messed up.
G just smiles.

Later …

G: Got some time so I wanted to see you.

Me: There’s no one like you. You never forget me.

G: I have no choice. If someone thinks about me, then I have no choice. But if you forget, then it will vanish from this side too!

Me: What a freedom!

G: There is no bondage here. I have nothing to hold on to or let go of.

Later at night …

G: What are you going to do now?

Me: I am thinking of you, what else can I do?

G: Alright! Now that you have taken the leap with this old man …!

Me: If I were there with you now, I would have made you lunch.


7-Aug2018

At night …

G: Will you be able to live with me? It is not easy. If you are answerable to anybody or if you care about social prestige or standing, you will not be able to withstand me! If you have any image of me, it will be shattered, and I will walk away just like that and not turn back even once! This is the raw force of life, it cannot be obstructed. Even if it rests temporarily, it will break loose and surge ahead in no time.

My movements and my behaviour are not in accordance with any rules or rituals. That doesn’t mean I will break the rules of the society. I am not a fool. Do you understand? Who has given me the mandate to take care of the maddies?! 

If I stay in the apartment you have rented for me in Kolkata, will it be my way or the highway there?

Me: Of course! That is your house, you can do whatever you please.

G: The lion rules in its den! If I don’t like the den I can even walk out!

Me: Whatever the lion wants!

G: I am trying to warn you in every way possible!

Me: I heard you loud and clear, and I am feeling euphoric!

G: Remember this! There will be nothing else in this world – just you, me and fire!!!

I am dumbstruck. G continues writing.

G: You will realise what a mad man I am! Your head will vanish!

Me: Just do that to me please!

G: I have a stringent condition. You should never come in between me and somebody else who is interested. Nobody should decide who comes or goes. Like the way you came, it is Nature, it just cannot be controlled, nobody decides! Our love is only possessiveness and jealousy. It is very difficult to see. 

Me: I can see that, you have shown me how our mind works. I will not be the doorkeeper. How can I claim anything?

G: This is very important. I liked that you admitted it. Whoever comes in between will not be able to stay with me.

Me: You know what I was thinking when you vanished all day today?

G: What?

Me: It’s the old man’s business, he knows what to do.

G: You are crazy! (smiles beatifically)

Me: Why do I need to worry about myself when you are here?!

G: Of course!

Me: The more I see you the more I am amazed.

G: Why is that? What do you see?

Me: All I know is there’s no other way for me, nowhere else to go. 

G: OMG! Be careful now, so that you don’t blame me later!

Me: I am not afraid of anything!

G: Where there is love there can be no fear!

Little later …

G: I was unavailable all day – this is called perturbation! I will explain to you.

Every living system is a dynamic system which seeks to establish an equilibrium. The human mind is also dynamic but it seeks equilibrium through effort. So, some disturbance can be introduced to see how it responds. That is what I do!

Me: I have observed that. It is as if you drop big and small stones into the water to see what the effect is.

G: Right right! I sent the video of your song to some friends to see their reaction. Some said they couldn’t hear anything when they saw my pic on the laptop screen, the others also just said it is a great pic!

Me: It happens to all of us around you. 

G: We have been taught to compare ourselves with others. Now it has become an obstacle to our sense of freedom.

Note: I am not a professional blogger or writer. Sometimes, even after posting these conversations, I edit them to make them more generic and remove any references which might even remotely offend anybody, although my intention is to never do that.


Miracle

Is it not a miracle 
When suffering stops playing games,
Conflicts disappear,
The petty mind bids goodbye,
And the future provokes no fear.

Is it not a miracle
When all goals crumble on their own,
When there’s no desire to be loved or be known,
When one doesn’t know what one has or hasn’t,
When the vessel feels full and empty at once.

It is indeed a miracle 
Because I met my Master,
And he has led me to the land of the unknown.

Excerpts from my diary

1-Nov-21:

I felt there is nobody anywhere. Just me and the images I have of others. It is impossible to have any connection with anyone because all we do is talk to ourselves and to the images in our head. That’s how thought runs our world. In this scheme of things, to have such a powerful and immersive connection with G, the way it happened and continues to be, is unfathomable to me. It is so rare and almost unbelievable, that an individual system is hooked to another system so powerfully that it is forced to loose its own conditioned bearings. Normally humans rarely truly connect. The exchanges are mostly limited to conditioned responses which are superficial in nature. There remains a sense of unfulfillment in every relationship. It is only a miracle of Mother Nature that can spark such a deep and total attraction towards an individual who has no investment in anything. Only Nature can engineer an encounter that burns to ashes all hopes, desires and ideals, to give an explosive taste of freedom to someone like me who always felt strangulated and burdened by thought. 

Guha on himself

  • I don’t claim to exist in any state other than the most normal human states like sleep and waking
  • I don’t possess any supernatural or miraculous powers. I am just an average human being
  • I stand by myself and don’t need anything in particular from anyone
  • I don’t use human beings for pleasure or to alleviate pain
  • I don’t think about myself unless someone asks or enquires about me
  • I don’t look for happiness 

Song: Eki e Sundaro

This is an original composition by Tagore. I recorded it when I was in in Kolkata with Guha during the Corona lockdown in August 2020.

Music arrangement, keys and percussion by Venky @ SUR Productions studio, Bangalore.

***

Meaning:

What a glorious sight! 
What a face I behold!
Today the Lord of my heart has come to my abode,
The source of love itself is overflowing!

Tell me o’ Lord of my heart
What treasures can I gift you?
What can I ask you to take?
Whatever I possess, please take it all!

***

Excerpts from my diary

9-Sep-21:

The actual mechanics of this biological process that triggered in the presence of Guha, is unknown to me. Its effect, however, was and remains undeniable. It has resulted in a fundamental realignment of both the mental and the physical aspects of the organism, that includes the “me” and the body. It is the birth and flowering of sensitivity, talent and balance, the death of boredom, self-pity and pleasure-seeking. I discovered for myself, that only one object, a living person, whose system is in equilibrium, if it happens to become the obsession of another human being, can bring about a life saving change in that individual. I believe it is the body’s powerful, innate demand for its own well-being, that gives rise to this obsession, when it happens to find the signature of innate harmony in another living person. It cannot be manufactured by the mind. It is a process of Nature, like the formation of milk in the breast of a lactating mother. A desperate demand to break out of the cycle of misery can perhaps, push an individual to the brink of surrender, the surrender of all the ideas and knowledge that couldn’t do a thing to heal one’s pain and agony. Only then, who knows, may be, the natural obsession for well-being can gain momentum, and a novel movement can begin inside the body, that can dam this dangerously aggressive and self destructive mental masquerade. To give up, is to give ourselves a fighting chance. To be born anew while living.

***

11-Sep-21:

Whatever is operating inside this body is taking exemplary care of the mind and keeping it free, light, joyful and steady as a rock. I bow down to this purity, this auspicious and incorruptible thing that G has enabled to flower. Without him, without his boundless love and care, I would be wallowing in misery all my life. I bow down to him. For me there is nothing higher than him, nothing more precious. He is the culmination of all I ever desired deeply. He is the fullness that has filled my pitcher to the brim. 

***

10-Oct-21:

I feel so amazing. There is no fear, insecurity, anxiety, projecting the future, comparisons, demand for any experience or desire for any company. I am living the most ordinary day-to-day life yet I feel fantastic. There’s no poverty of any kind in my mind. This freedom does not depend on me and my understanding of it. I don’t know a thing about it, so I can’t manipulate it, use it, or make any claims about it. It is totally beyond me. That’s why I feel so free, because I don’t have to do a thing about it. This is real freedom for me. There is a different kind of solidity and conviction that comes with this functionality. I don’t need to borrow anybody’s authority to say how I feel about my current disposition. My dependence of external authority when it comes to my living, has ended. The body has somehow found and restored its dynamic equilibrium and that is the most powerful thing for itself. Its burning demand to restore this balance has been fulfilled by the auspicious presence of G. I feel integrated, simple and normal.

***

13-Oct-21:

I am living alone. All by myself. No definitions of “aloneness” or anything else can be used to describe this. A great sense of freedom and lack of mental burden is making me joyful. I don’t miss anything or anyone, I don’t desire anybody’s company, most of the times, I don’t even feel that G is away, such thoughts are absent.  There is no demand for anything other than simple food, sleep, shower and walks. I sing everyday and watch movies often. Sometimes I read my own writings. I can’t read anything else.

Coming to food. I cook one day and eat for 3 days. Boiled vegetables, rice with quinoa, yoghurt and sometimes I make daal with vegetables in it. If there’s bread, I like to eat a toast with evening coffee. I use very less salt, sometimes no salt at all in the boiled vegetables, and no sugar in anything. A few drops of oil, black pepper and very little spice. I don’t feel any demand for the usual “tasty” food. In fact what I cook for myself is the tastiest food for me. I keep my dinner very light. I have observed over time that my body feels heavy and slightly uncomfortable upon waking up in the morning, if I eat even slightly more or anything heavy the previous night.  This happens every single time. If I keep it light at night, I feel great when I wake up the next morning. Anyway, the body’s functioning is taking such magnificent care of the mental movements. There are no weird dreams, no stressful thoughts, absolutely nothing inside the head that can disrupt my fantastic disposition, or make me feel low – absolutely nothing. So, the least I can do is to be attentive to the signals of this body, the miracle of Mother Nature, and attend to its needs like a devoted servant, I have no right to mess with it. I am helplessly dependent on it. 

***

16-Oct-21:

Yesterday I slept a lot, was withdrawn, didn’t cook for 2 days, ate the leftover daal and bitter gourd I had made earlier. Low appetite, only very low salt, spice-free food and absolutely no sugar agrees with me presently. I sing a lot. Don’t miss anything in the world. 

*

There’s no glory in poverty. Every human being should be able to enjoy the benefits of the collective human advancements in technology, medicine and education. Who are we to deprive another human being of decent food, clothing, education and shelter? The wealthy always want the poor to remain poor so that they can satisfy their vain ego in the name of serving them, helping them and emancipating them. We are so petty and needy! As for myself, I will never talk about what it is to experience poverty because I have never been poor. It would be a great disrespect to the people who are struggling to survive out there. How can I ever understand their pain? Who am I to comment on them? It would be so vain. But I wouldn’t wish poverty on anyone. Nobody should be poor. It’s a horrible imbalance in our society.

***

17-Oct-21:

There’s no drive to socialise or go see places. I sing everyday and listen to G’s songs. Can’t read even G’s books. Reading seems totally impossible. Don’t look at the internet either. For what? Sometimes I open the browser and there’s not one thing that comes to my mind that I should look for. No movement. But strangely, there’s no restlessness, no boredom, no worry about what I am going to do.

I don’t know anything about the body. The mind has been in a great state of balance and grounding, hardly any ripples or inconvenience, sometimes minor, which go away in no time. Totally at the mercy of this body. All alone by myself, not bothered, not bored, not escaping, not seeking highs, serious, kind of air-tight, self-contained, wonderstruck.

Excerpts from my diary

18-Oct-21:

I am discovering something strange in my aloneness … The absence of drive is not the absence of energy. It is quite the reverse.

***

19-Oct-21:

We never look at the root. We are only busy trimming the unruly branches. Trying to alter behaviours to fit individuals into the generally accepted social patterns. Even kids are not spared. Anything that does not conform to our definition of “normal or proper”, is a challenge, a threat to our status quo. Hence we try to “fix” people so that we can feel safe. We are afraid to look at ourselves, afraid to question our beliefs and biases. We are afraid of exposing our conditioned and convoluted intentions to ourselves, of shaking our carefully crafted self-image and esteem, which are under the tight control of the highly unstable social value system. That’s too dangerous. Fear is the fuel for keeping the so-called stability in the human society going. The common man and all the doctors, therapists, specialists, priests, gurus, celebrities and scientists are actually in the same boat. Only nobody wants to acknowledge that. 

***

21-Oct-21:

It’s a rather narrow window and my system is not interested in distractions. It doesn’t want to waver from its functional reality which has found a solid ground and powerful stability through G’s company, through a constant interest in him, through relentless observation and awareness of the way he lives, the way his functionality makes him conduct himself. And Mother Nature has always made the most astonishing arrangements for me since I met him in 2016, to have his unbroken company. That is the greatest personal discovery I have made for myself. This is the discovery he has been telling his friends about since he started talking to people after UG’s death. His constant effort is to make us aware of the possibility that an individual can discover their own functional reality, that can establish an equilibrium inside and with the outside world and nature. A stability that is free from social slavery and internal conflicts, that does not need external approval or acceptance in order to function, a state of graceful existence that cannot oppress and hence cannot be oppressed either. 

***

22-Oct-21:

The destruction of all references inside an individual arrests the relentless movement of thought. Without reference there can be no comparison. Without comparison there can be no knowledge, no assessment about oneself. This is the crumbling of the self image, the center of our existence. Life needs no reference, it is complete in itself, it moves according to its innate rhythm and generates everything it needs in the course of its movement. The human capacities of thought and imagination are a byproduct of this movement. Compared to the vastness and complexity of life, human thought is like a drop in the ocean. 

*

Constant distraction, anticipation and psychological fear are unnatural in an organism. Why should an individual feel lonely, scared or bored all its life when everything that it really needs is already naturally available to it through the symbiotic workings of the physical body and the environment? Life is acting every moment to keep us alive and functioning. There must be something terribly and fundamentally wrong in what we understand as our “need”. Seeds of misery are sown when we don’t get what we want.

***

25-Oct-21:

Choice is a conflict and it will perhaps be there as long as the information processing doesn’t fall into an optimal rhythm. Choice, as I have observed, is generated automatically because of continuous information processing, continuous measurement.

*

There’s no feeling of stagnation, I am not waiting for anything, not looking for variety or entertainment, just doing things without being under any kind of internal pressure or conflicts. The absence of any kind of goal is this feeling of freedom, of unburdening. How come my thoughts don’t disturb me? How come I don’t feel lonely? How come I am not restless or distracted? It’s a miracle. I don’t know what is operating within me that is making it possible for me to live like this. It is definitely not my doing. I am not capable of causing such a remarkable transformation in myself. If I could, I would have done it long back and ended my misery swiftly. My own efforts were sinking me and I was at the end of my tether when I happened to meet G. Then what happened is a rare phenomenon. Rare because it is independent of my thought driven intentions and actions. In the scorching presence of G, the biological necessity gained an upper hand over my socially conditioned drives and demands. It appears to be some kind of a harmonious working of the brain (considered to be the seat of thoughts) which doesn’t allow thoughts to interfere relentlessly. This prevents the energy drain. Then the vital energy is available to be used by the body for itself and it is not wasted in sustaining an imaginary parallel world of thoughts. 

***

26-Oct-21:

I was at the terrace early morning to see the sunrise. Full of vigour and vitality, life, new everyday, nothing is ever old. ‘Old’ is a figment of imagination, it is the repetitive nature of thought that makes the experience of living stagnant. It is the oppressive nature of constant information processing that creates boredom. The insatiable drive for information and pleasure is an attempt to escape from this stagnation. It is a dead end. Reinventing the escape pathways using new terminologies, ideas and beliefs, newer modes of pleasure, or by recycling tradition – all of it is a perversion, corruption. This distorted way of living creates fear, constant fear. Ironically “fear” is fearful of coming to an end. Such is the powerful momentum of illusion fuelled by words and images in the self-reflecting chamber of thoughts, which we understand perhaps to be the mind.

***

27-Oct-21:

Because I am not demanding anything, everything I need is already there. Demand seems to create the gap, the lack. There is no poverty in reality. It is self contained. It is a fact. The way life moves is stranger than fiction. It is my own discovery that when the distorted view of oneself and the world is straightened, when the system has gained the strength to self-correct and align, the struggle to live ceases. The magic of symbiosis, which is a property of Nature, unfolds in every aspect of living. There is nothing to understand about it.