When it comes to Reality, nobody can help

In this brief talk Guha focuses a scorching light on our gullibility that makes us believe there is a Reality, it is possible to know it, and that knowledge will set us free. 

“You don’t know anything, but you can’t accept that. You think you are going to understand something someday, so you keep playing the same game that perpetuates information gathering. You think I am joking? When I don’t need a building, of what use is an architect for me? Why do I need a lawyer if I haven’t done anything wrong? What is my equation with them? When it comes to reality, nobody can help. There is nothing to know, nothing to understand. Only when you are cornered, you will have to admit you really don’t know. Don’t believe anyone who says they know. Nobody knows anything. Philosophers will give you many definitions to make you understand the nature of reality, psychologists will explain the nature of your mind. You don’t have any clue about yourself, so you believe all those who claim to know. 

We have no choice but to operate within the legal boundaries set up by the society. You can’t walk naked. But the holy men and the sadhus can. They can get away with anything. They lock up and chain their penis to control it! What control? You have been told these things are bad. Eating meat and having sex are bad. 

Just because you write a little bit of poetry describing Nature and Reality, it means nothing, it’s only in your head, it has got nothing to do with the way things are actually operating. First you fool yourself, then you fool others. It’s uncomfortable to say “I don’t know”. But that’s the only reality. Somebody here was talking about a ghost buster, a guy who looks for ghosts. How can you look for something that doesn’t exist? Your situation is exactly like that.”

October 13, 2021
Princeton, New Jersey, USA

Photo: Radhika Venugopal

Order Has The Power To Optimize

Guha: After whatever happened to me, I found myself in a situation wherein everything in my life started turning minimalistic. I could eat very little and I could not think about the future. I had no thought about how much savings I should have, or what I should do to earn more money. I would do exactly what my responsibility was at work, and no more. I would go to the store and buy only what was needed. If I bought anything more, it didn’t feel good. Then I noticed I didn’t need most of the things that were there in my room. I wanted to have only that much, which my energy would permit to maintain properly. If I had to do anything more than what was my need, it used to feel like a torture.

March 26, 2020
Handmade Home, Kolkata, India

Part of the “Corona Series Talks” recorded during Guha’s five months of isolated stay in India.

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Guha’s poem


The reservoir of Life’s tremendous power,
When used appropriately to flower, 
Is the fruition of Life’s innate desire;
Its misuse will destroy creation’s supreme blueprint.

When the focus of your deepest inspiration,
Gets a taste of the congeniality of your talent, 
Currents of joy will spring out like nuclear radiation.

If you desire to express yourself,
Using the gifts of Nature
Turn all haphazard effort into one steady current,
And move on fearlessly like a powerful river,
Flowing without caring about the obstructions;
The sea is eagerly waiting for you
No power on this planet can ever stop you!


Translation of excerpts from the Bengali poem Suzanne Ke Abhinandan (Congratulations to Suzanne)

Maya

Translation of Guha’s Bengali poem “Maya”

What you want to eradicate
Unbeknownst to you at every step, 
Sucks your life-energy,
And burrows deep inside, 
Leaving you clueless every time;
All effort to fight it is futile,
Your defeat is certain.

If ever this feeling arises in the core of your being,
Pulsating in your heart, resonating in every neuron- 
I am an ordinary creature of Nature,
I know of no existence other than the physical
Then perhaps, what made you restless,
Kept you tied to the savage, cyclical maze of living,
Will dry up and dissolve into nothingness.

The outcome of this fearlessness is devastating;
Shattering the veil of tinted glass,
The “You” as you know yourself,
Will be stripped naked,
And brought face-to-face with you.


Cover photo: Guha in Kolkata, November 2013 by Radhika Venugopal

Song: Murshid

Photo: Radhika Venugopal

This is a folk song written by Fakir Kala Sai belonging to the Baul tradition of Bengal. The Bauls are itinerant singing fakirs straddling the greater Bengal (present West Bengal and Bangladesh). Murshid means Teacher or Guide in Arabic. In Sufism it refers to The Great One who has attained the highest goal in the spiritual path and is in a position to guide spiritual aspirants.

I loved this song because it tells with great simplicity and rustic charm about an irreversible physical transmutation brought about by the presence of the Teacher. The melody has the breezy, folksy signature typically found in Baul songs. I took the liberty to change the lyrics a little bit to make it more relevant for myself.

Venky has done a masterful music arrangement for this composition. I personally feel, no matter what I sing, Venky’s musical genius catapults it to a different level. The Indian stringed instrument Esraj has been played beautifully by Aranyakumar from Hyderabad.

***

Meaning:

My teacher is the Philosopher’s Stone
He has turned iron into pure gold
His feet are my priceless treasure
My sadhana is complete

// He has turned iron into pure gold
My teacher is the Philosopher’s Stone //

Whoever cherishes his feet
Makes yoghurt without milk 
And churns butter out of it
That butter appeases worldly cravings

// He has turned iron into pure gold
My teacher is the Philosopher’s Stone //

When the heart-lotus blooms
The bee of the mind busy gathering knowledge, is restless
The sight of Him has driven me crazy
Nobody dare stop me

// He has turned iron into pure gold
My teacher is the Philosopher’s Stone //

Kala Sai says, O crazy mind
Don’t mix innocence with guile
Else you’ll loose the precious jewel
Go to the land of simplicity
Where you will never be corrupted

// He has turned iron into pure gold
My teacher is the Philosopher’s Stone
My benefactor is the Philosopher’s Stone
He has turned iron into pure gold //



My Story Chapter 5: Kidnapped

Since G wanted to visit Pune this time, I had booked a nice hotel for him in the posh Koregaon Park neighbourhood. Koregaon Park is famous for the Osho Ashram. We arrived on October 11th in Pune. G asked me how much I had paid for his room and wanted to pay me back. When I said I would have done the same if my parents were visiting, he replied with a grin, “We are not that close yet!”

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My Story Chapter 4: Struck by lightning

Guha arrived again on the 5th of June, 2017 in Mumbai just two and a half months after his last visit. Kishor and his wife vacated their entire apartment for him and went to live at their brother’s house nearby. Both of them worked hard to keep the place in order, cook for everyone and take care of G (short for Guha). I took a week off from work and came to Mumbai. G had arranged for my stay at Sanjiv’s house which is a twenty minutes drive from Kishor’s.

When I came to see him this time, I felt incredibly excited, but I had little idea that my life was about to take an unexpected turn. 

Read full chapter

***

Excerpts from my diary

16-Apr-19
9:15 pm
Oakhill, Princeton, NJ

He said, “Life is action. It is dynamic, not static like images.” 

He says it takes a lot of energy from the environment to establish order in a disorderly system. The environment contains the sum total of nature’s energy. An orderly system is a source of huge energy. When an unstable system comes in the proximity of a highly stable and ordered system, the resulting energy exchange between them is capable of triggering a transformation in the disordered system. If all the stringent conditions are met, the disorder may transition to a dynamically maintained equilibrium, which is self-sustaining in its nature.

Then actions happen automatically. Whatever it takes to maintain that dynamic balance will get done. Nobody is doing anything! Laws of mother nature … no God, no doer, no “other”, just a self-feeding, stupendous biological marvel! G demonstrates this through his living. What a marvel, what a magic is unfolding in my life!

***

17-Apr-19
4:12 am
Oakhill, Princeton

When it becomes a functional reality, then begins the action! Life’s charge and power is channeled into action. It will do anything, everything in its capacity.

G is life itself, life’s energy. His energy, his words have taken deep roots in me and are doing their own thing. I have no say in this. The old man is swimming in my bloodstream.

***

4:29 am 

He is not up yet. This season is bad for him, allergies and stuff. His asthma is bothering him. He is mostly resting and limiting physical work. But he is the sun, ever shining on everything. Sharp as hell! Softer than butter, tougher than a diamond. 

***

When action has begun, what are words good for? It shows in everything it touches. Yesterday he looked at me and said, “It is time for business, isn’t it?”

***

2-May-19
10:04 pm

What a magical high … I don’t know what he is anymore… such maddening energy from him has engulfed me … just the sound of his voice is enough to put me into samadhi again and again and again.

He keeps an eye on me. It is perhaps life’s primal instinct. An invisible chord ties me to him. He doesn’t need to say much, his body language is enough, like in animals. His functionality is inexplicable yet rock solid. It is the culmination of evolutionary movement in the human species, wherein everything a system has – words, images, ideas, energy – are directed singularly and powerfully towards making it function the way nature has designed and programmed it to function. My proximity to him has impacted my physical body tremendously. I feel this is a massive natural event. But what it actually is and what is exactly happening in my body is unknown to me. What I am expressing is how this whole thing is translating in my head. I cannot claim to know anything more.

***

I pass out even when my eyes happen to briefly fall on him. I am astounded by the fact that a particular human being’s presence can have so much significance for another human.

***

Two days ago, I slept the entire first half of the day. I froze, felt a tremendous pressure inside my head and couldn’t open my eyes. When I got up, I felt I had come back from the dead. I felt immensely charged. My senses were at their peak. He was very pleased to see me. He appeared blindingly radiant to my eyes.

***

2-May-19

Yesterday was his birthday. We sang and danced like crazy! He was luminous, blazing, and nectar like … even my bone marrow was aching with joy!

***

At Oakhill, Princeton

A Drop Of Water

Translation of Guha’s Bengali poem “Ek Bindu Neer”

A drop of water
Where were you?
In my breath
In life’s unwritten history
In every cell of the amoeba
Was it at the dawn of creation or even before?
When time just began
Perhaps split into infinite parts
Restless and minute
In tremendous heat picked up great speed
Disintegrated and put back into myriad forms
Obstructed by powerful forces
Traversing countless paths for ages
You finally reached the earth
With your billion companions
The life-giving wizard
Eternal amidst birth and death
A drop of water.

Your rhythm knows no excesses
Neither good, bad nor pure
A despicable animal or the great Jesus
A fierce warrior or the Buddha
Your form is the same in all
In the white, black and yellow 
Of the bone, blood and marrow
You have the lion’s share 
The rest are in the fringes
In equilibrium with Nature’s infallible law
Touching the universal life in a primal union
Immortal amidst creation and destruction
Immersed in a timeless dance
To the beat of the damaru
Beyond the eternal and the transient
For the thirsty ones the ultimate truth
You are a drop of water.

On Freedom

Photo by Kishor Chopra

“Freedom from ideas is the highest freedom. Then you become invincible. There is no such thing as spiritual crisis. It is a make-believe idea, it does not exist. It is like chasing an unknown beast in the dark!”