Nothing Else Can Satisfy Your Core Demand
21 July, 2019
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.
Order Has The Power To Optimize
Part of the “Corona Series Talks” recorded during Guha’s five months of isolated stay in India.
March 26, 2020
Handmade Home, Kolkata, India
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.
I don’t follow a particular lifestyle or way of living. The way things are operating within me, that itself makes me live in a certain way. And if I don’t follow that, it creates a disturbance inside me. So, I feel my choices are very limited. Like, if I am looking for a place to stay, I will prefer having a single room for myself in which I can maintain the things that are necessary for me. But if there are two rooms, I will not take up that place at all, it’s like that for me. That is how my options become limited owing to the way things operate within me. If I have to interact with somebody, and if they are unable to understand my principles of living, I will never impose my point of view on them. I somehow don’t feel like arguing with anybody, because there is something within me that doesn’t have an authoritative nature anymore. I would rather try to get out of that situation and find a space where I can live my own way. If somebody is okay with me, then I have no problem. But if it doesn’t work, I won’t get into in any confrontation to impose myself on anyone. I simply feel that the movement of life is like that of a river, which starts from the mountains and flows through the plains. It can’t go straight to the ocean. Whenever it meets a hurdle, it doesn’t fight it. It avoids it and finds a terrain through which its waters can flow easily. That’s the flow of life. I feel it will be a waste of my energy if I try to convince people, because there is no such inspiration in me, and I have no desire for getting a do-gooder’s high. I would rather move to a space where I can find my appropriate equilibrium, and I actually live that way. If that is attractive to somebody, maybe they will inquire and try to find out. I don’t have a problem with that, but I have no exhibition either. I don’t justify anything. Now, suppose, I am in a place where it’s impossible to avoid an uncomfortable situation, then I will have no choice but to deal with it. Life is like that. But given a chance, life will try to optimize its functioning in a way that is closest to its innate natural rhythm. So, I started discovering my needs in every bit of our existence right from cooking, to cleaning, to keeping the pen in the pen stand, keeping the scissors and knives where they belong. It is like an automatic process. Until I keep a thing in its proper place, where it is supposed to be, there is a jitter within me. And the moment I do it, it’s over. How this process is actually operating within, I have no clue. But it appears to me, as if life from the very beginning has been moving with this kind of orientation, that is governed by its own primal organizational power. It seems to have its own hierarchy of needs. And if what it needs is not accessible, it works with the next best available option, else with the next one and so on. In a given condition, it will try to go as close as possible to its core functioning, while maintaining a rhythm and some degree of symbiosis with all forms of life around.
I don’t have to think about how I should function, I don’t have to organize myself, the functionality just makes me do it. When I live in this manner, I don’t need to know what my path should be. I make my own path as I walk. My instinct and my ease automatically find the things that are appropriate and make me feel okay, and I organize myself accordingly. That’s it, I don’t have to worry about it. It is not that I don’t think. Every time I do something, thought is involved, but it is very precise. So, I do think all the time. And when I hit the bed, I just sleep. In a given situation, even though there is a signal from within about what is congenial to me, I am aware of what is approved and what is not approved by the social structure. After whatever happened to me, I found the existence of something operating from within, which is very different from imposing a certain lifestyle or a set of do’s and don’ts on myself from outside. At the same time, I have no desire to break the law, because that will put me in a difficult situation. So, these decisions have to be taken, and they are, that’s all. No more thoughts, no more pondering!
The Signal – Part 1
Oakhill, Princeton, NJ
Q: The way I view the information I have processed so far, I think the psychosomatic event or whatever happened with UG is a distraction. I think what he speaks in different contexts with different people can also add noise. Whereas, the signal that is there is something that has a deep understanding of the way the human brain functions. The reason I come here to see you is because some of the noise, which includes UG’s biography, which includes what happened between you and him are not interesting to me. To me what is interesting is the message, the signal and its relevance to humanity at large. So, I want to pull that signal out and ensure that it is understood and communicated in a simple language. Because otherwise, one is going to get lost in all the noise. For a lot of people, for example, if they hear the whole story, they will think it is a cult. But that’s not the point. The point is, there is a signal somewhere. I am interested in empirically seeing in my life and from my understanding, how that signal operates. That’s why I want to go to the first principles where there is no vagueness, no hand-waving. So, what are those first principles? I want a generic understanding that applies to humanity, not just to me, because if it applies to humanity, it will apply to me.
G: It is the other way around too.
Q: Sure. Something addresses a human body’s well-being, and all human bodies are functionally similar all over the world, irrespective of caste, creed, religion, makeup, ideas, understanding.
G: Like, if a human body has evolved in a way that sun rays and oxygen are necessary for its growth, it will be true for all humans on this planet. Likewise, is there anything that I can assimilate by reading or practice or meditation that’s good for all of us? One group says this is good, another group says something else is. So, my mind got even more confused and lost. Basically, I wanted to filter down to a few principles, but it just did not work.
Until I interacted with UG, these questions would bother me. For example, when somebody is sick, they can give you the sickness, right? We call it transmission of disease. I wanted to find out if the reverse could be true, if well-being could be transmitted. I felt, unbeknownst to me, a principle of resonance began to take root in me that made me feel better and better. It’s like, somebody is infusing health in me, like something is picking up the signal and getting smarter by itself. My immune system got better due to the triggering of certain mechanisms inside my body. That was my empirical experiment and observation. The problem begins when I try to answer your question. How do I convey what was taking place in me, which was addressing a general wellbeing in me? I am nobody special. I’m just an ordinary human being, picking up the signal. It’s like somebody who was not breathing good air, not eating the right food, suddenly found a place where he got right nutrition, good air and then without any effort, his health started improving. I find it difficult to translate, that’s why I am giving an example.
Q: I am asking the questions in a bid to get the translation.
G: When an island surfaced in Galapagos, animals from distant lands, even though they couldn’t see that far, started coming there and began to thrive. Some instinct drove them there. I’m giving this example to make a point. There are these kinds of signals in Nature. Can our brain put together the exact translation of the signals and the triggering mechanism? It is clear to me but it may not be clear to others. That’s why I came up with the term Subject Specific Functional Reality. It was clear to me, because there was some signal behind UG’s words and their meanings, where my consciousness which processes the information, was getting affected.
Q: What I’m trying to state is that there are some fundamental principles …
G: The fundamental principle is the existence of life itself. The way life propagates, if you look at it, do you think the insects and bugs understand the meaning of life? They have this stimulus and response mechanism. That is the signal, the signal processing and the importance of the signal to a receiver. This is the fundamental principle. But is it clear to you that it can exist that way? That’s the question.
Q: A lot of it could be noise …
G: It’s mostly noise. So, what I am trying to do here is to clear up the noise. The point is, can we state information in such a way that it is self explanatory? Say, somebody has an immune system which is so highly functional and smart, that he can afford to expose himself to bad atmosphere and yet not fall sick. Basically, why I’m giving this example is to make you understand that the system which processes information, our neurobiological system, keeps the essence for itself and rejects what is not important. It figures what is causing the problem and solves it in a very unique way. Somebody is naturally healthy because of a good immune system. Someone’s neurobiological chemistry is sound and information is processed optimally, not allowing it to get stuck and create a long term instability. Do you understand? It is not understanding, it is a functionality.
You may apply the word “understanding” to the immune system and say the immune system understands well. What does it mean? A person can get a Nobel Prize by writing about the understanding of the immune system, and how it delivers antibodies and kills the bacteria or maintains the temperature cycles of the body. So, that’s functionality, and mind you, one of the senses is information processing which is in the brain. So, they are working in tandem. I devoted all my time to decipher what was it that was making me feel so healthy and good! No hocus-pocus, no mythological shit, no luck, nothing. I wanted to understand in simple, physiological and biological terms what could be applicable to the entire human race. Fundamentally, we are very similar. We meaning our system. The thing that was making such sense to me, making me feel so healthy, was somehow rejecting stuff that had no meaning for itself, including achieving energy, achieving spiritual power, knowing God. It was rejecting them in a different way. It was not me. It was not my understanding that was rejecting it. That is the difficult part to understand.
Q: So, how do you process these two?
G: I’m not doing it. That’s the whole point. Do you understand?
Q: No, I know. I know.
G: It’s not me. It is something to do with the signal that you are talking about. My system picked up the signals buried under the noise. In fact, that’s how the biological organism works. For example, you are walking your dog on a street with a lot of people moving around. As soon as your dog spots another dog on the other side, it straightaway processes the signal between them, ignoring all the noise, the human beings and everything else that is around. Do you understand what I’m saying? Try to understand. It appears to you that the dog has learned a technique to suddenly filter out all the noises. No! That’s not the way the biological function works. So, what is happening, is that this noise and the signal that you’re talking about is a working of the system itself, and it is also serious about it without my knowledge.
Q: You know, what the case here is? You have imbibed certain information and it is so intrinsic to you that you are not able to necessarily communicate that.
Q: Hold on. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that you’re not communicating well.
G: I do want to communicate. I want to show you where it is failing. It is not that I’m not interested. I am more interested than you to bring this point to the table, because that is where 90% of my effort has gone into, in trying to understand that if something is good for me, it has to be good for everybody. But it does not work that way. In fact, I don’t want to give you or anybody else any psychological high or low. Do you understand psychological high or low? Like, if you read Krishnamurti all your problems will be solved. Bullshit story!
G: I’m not talking about that, you understand? That’s the noise I want to cut through. This system, given a chance, is capable of doing so, without verbally communicating anything. That doesn’t mean there is non-verbal communication. It is just a stimulus and response, and life is so smart that it is beyond me how it does these things.
Q: What has effectively happened is: in everything you say, the way you say it, the words you use, and the examples you give, you place the physical system above the mental system.
G: The mental system is a part of the physical system. Without our talking to each other, this stimulus-response is not going to be there. Your trying to understand me and my trying to make you understand is a mental thing that is being done by the physical system for itself. Otherwise, we will not be engaging ourselves at all. How can you pay attention without the mental thing? The mental thing is being constantly utilized, right?
G: So, I’m not above or beyond it.
G: It’s not separate. I want to make sure that we are on the same page. I can’t tell you to have faith. I give examples to show that this system has many attributes and functionalities that are way beyond the information we process, remember and deliver. You are looking at me, but you don’t know you are looking at me. You are just listening to me but that’s not the only thing that is happening. There is a lot of focus on your physical system right now. What you are aware of is the meaning of the words coming out of me. You see, your eyes don’t even register what you’re seeing, but it is nonetheless going into the memory bank, it is triggering certain things. It is doing its job, but what are you aware of? The verbalizations, the meanings. You are trying to form another sentence in your head to go even deeper into yourself, right? That’s all you are aware of. But I am telling you, the way your entire system is engaged with me right now, isn’t it way more than what you are processing?
Q: Yeah, of course.
G: You cannot be aware of the whole thing. Your system is much more intelligent, aware and interested in solving the problem that is disturbing you, than you can ever imagine.
Q: Somehow, you have found the capability to use your mental capacity in an efficient manner, so that you respond only when the demand arises.
G: Exactly. This is what I am trying to tell you. I am not dramatizing. I am not telling you a mythical story. I’m giving you an upfront disclaimer because this is what I discovered. This capacity is there in every individual. What I discovered in myself is that, it is very different from our understanding of the activities we are engaged in, which give us our livelihood. It’s totally different. I work very hard before I go to a meeting, before I deliver a lecture, before I go to a conference, before I read my paper, you know, I have to really prepare myself to tie all the loose ends, anticipate what questions the audience could ask etc. For the first time, I realized that when I am confronted by someone who is interested in what I have to say, the things that come out of me are from my information bank. But the way my brain assimilates the understanding, the way it delivers, the way it uses examples, is mind-boggling even to me! Who is doing it? Obviously, it’s my old system which has accumulated all the information over time. But the way it is processing them is beyond me. Hence, I began to develop a trust in my system. I began to observe my delivery, my gesture, my use of language, my focus, my trying to understand what someone is asking. To my utter surprise, I found my system was affecting others. So, it’s not me and my understanding, it is the signal that you are talking about.
I promised myself that I will not create any erroneous idea about this, but I want my friends to understand that there is a tremendously powerful communication that can exist between human beings, that is not verbal or non-verbal or anything. It is the system’s stimulus and response mechanism. If you see I’m suffering from a contagious disease, your system will warn you. You either take protection or run away because it’s not about love or anything. Only if you protect yourself will you have a better chance to protect me in the long run, right? In the same way, the reverse is also true. The body can pick up certain signals and things that address its general well-being, energize it, and make it more aware. Many things trigger when you look at a beautiful woman or an ugly one. It is a triggering system that does something inside you. It’s not a mysterious thing. We all know it. Your system immediately processes a smell, a sight, it can trigger skin irritations etc. It is a way more intelligent and responsive system than what we think it is. We want to capture and write down everything we know. This creates more noise and the essence is lost.
Q: Exactly. It does.
G: So, finally what happens is, when we talk to each other, we are caught up in the game of ego. That is the result of noise. Do you understand? We forget why we started the communication in the first place. Ultimately, we get caught up in my point of view versus your point of view, who is right, who is wrong, caught up in a totally wrong game!
Q: Exactly. That game is the noise.
G: The signal is there, but it is buried under the noise. After some time you become insensitive towards the signal.
Q: Yeah, and that’s a problem then.
G: It’s a big problem.
Q: Any human being, any person walking on the street, if he or she has to benefit, it has to be written down in a simple way.
G: Our communication will never exist unless you cross that first door, the verbal communication. It can only do so much. The signal, you have to sense.
Multiplicity is a ubiquitous property of life. There’s nothing you can do about it. So, anything you understand may have a totally different meaning for another person. Soon there will be a huge marshy land, you know. And you will go swimming in it. I call it the multiplicity of the knowledge game. How many books can you read before you exhaust everything to find out what is good for you? You are going to spend all your life. Say, you are a computer scientist. Although you are an expert, I guarantee you, the way this field has grown, it will be impossible for you to know how many sub-fields have evolved under it. There is no end to it. If you are caught up in that game, you are done. It is like, knowledge has become an addiction, the way we are addicted to our cell phones. You have forgotten all about the quality of life. You think the only signal that is there is through the knowledge game.
Q: No, it caused problems.
G: So, awareness of the existence of such a problem is the first step. If it is not a problem, you know, it’s like, a drug is giving you high, you are flying and one day hell breaks loose. You will find yourself in it.
Q: To get through the first door we need verbal communication. If we can just focus on that, it can lead to the next door.
G: I appreciate that. It requires tremendous understanding and appropriate use of our knowledge. But there is always the danger of a fallout. The moment you verbalize something, the variation in the interpretation of meaning comes into the picture. That is why human beings wanted to have simple laws, like, if you steal, you will be caught and punished. Now, there’s a loophole there. If I have no other choice other than stealing, or if I like to steal, I have to find a way of not getting caught! And the law started multiplying itself. What is the result now? Inexhaustible books on law! It multiplies in such a way that it becomes a problematic and difficult thing.
Although somebody is taping this conversation, I am not concerned if it will be of any good to anybody. We are trying to be serious, sincere and distill certain points which you can crystallize and see how simply they can be stated, so they don’t have an ambiguous meaning.
Q: It has to be generic and simple, like Buddha’s axioms.
G: He tried but what happened is, he himself broke into pieces and many branches emerged. I want to tell you that the man who was the first and the most honest iconoclast of all time, became the biggest icon! Don’t you see a strange thing about it?
Q: Of course, but that is because …
G: No because! His teaching says there is no God and no soul, but that does not stop you from touching the laughing Buddha’s belly in the hope of getting money, right?
Q: Yeah. He was to me, in many ways, one of the first cognitive scientists.
G: He was India’s first formative philosopher. During his time, the Indian philosophy had reached a stalemate situation. Complete stalemate! They said the mind cannot capture it, but it is there, Brahman. Then there was Charvaka who said there is nothing to anything, just eat, fuck and die. That’s Charvaka’s materialistic philosophy. So, basically, philosophy was almost stagnant at that time. Buddha systematically showed that it’s not true. If this principle were true, human beings should be all fine, hunky-dory, but it is not so. So, something is wrong. That’s why he completely disregarded the authority of the Vedas and God and discarded the idea of the soul. I know why.
Q: Is it a guess?
G: Not a guess. It is my own experience. I had experiences of being in places and times which my brain couldn’t decipher. It was mind boggling.
Q: But you knew that information. You did not see or experience something that you had no knowledge about.
G: Of course, because if I see a man, I will know it is a man. If I see a landscape, I know what it is, but I am talking about the time. How was I witnessing a living civilization which was like 2000 years old? Then I began to realize that at a certain stage of our brain functioning, it is possible to see things one has never personally experienced. It happened in my waking state. Imagine Buddha in his meditation seeing himself in another place a hundred years ago. Now, being an integrated man, he is trying to explain it philosophically. How is he going to explain his own vision? He has to accept the Hindu theory of reincarnation. But what is it that reincarnated?
Q: It has to be the soul, but he disregarded the soul.
G: So, that’s what I’m saying. I realized that the knowledge of brain physiology that I have now, Buddha didn’t have.
Q: So, what is your understanding?
G: My understanding is that it is possible for the brain to generate such visions.
Q: Most likely, it is doing it from some combination of existing information.
G: Because that is what is language. There is a story to it. The story is, your brain is a machine, which right from the onset, is trying to make the whole system functional. Its only job is that. It keeps growing in a way that it can process the things that are supposed to be processed by a biological organism, in order for it to survive and procreate. It has to identify a dangerous animal, it has to see its mother in a certain way, see moving objects, and so on. When an object comes towards you, the solid angle it makes on your retina increases. Your brain immediately deciphers the increase in solid angle as an object moving in your direction and alerts you. So, the movement of an object towards a biological organism is being processed in the brain not as a movement, but as a continuously changing solid angle. Similarly, the brain uses the Doppler effect to figure if a sound is coming towards or going away from you. You don’t have to know the purpose, the system knows its purpose. Then comes the information processing. The system is constantly bombarded with words and images. The auditory cortex and visual cortex are working hand-in-hand. Also, there are challenges, you know, if you are throwing challenges at a little boy or girl, the brain is constantly under pressure. All it wants is to solve these challenges. In doing so, it is absorbing the information in a serious manner. Your brain is heavily engaged in making you smart, and for your body to have a working relationship with the gravitational field in such a way that you are able to walk on two legs. This is a feat in itself! If you create a robot, you will know how difficult it is to make it walk.
Q: Guha, how does this link to what we were talking about?
G: I am telling you. So, the language is now creating a world inside you. You are now an enormously imaginative machine. You have to be! Without imagination, you cannot process the meaning of words.
Q: So, it’s a product of that imaginative faculty which is using all the language that it absorbs?
G: It absorbs all the stories from grandpa, grandma and friends. Every religious storybook is there inside your head. When you are facing a challenge, your brain is constantly processing information to give you an appropriate solution. You are pressurizing yourself by wanting to know the truth, the reality. This is self-created. The brain has to process this pressure, but you cannot keep on thinking 24 hours. Your body has a rhythm, it needs to rest, it needs to stop you. It is like the law of diminishing demand for food. It needs to stop. Now, if I can take a small diversion, what is problem-solving by the brain? It is a tug of war. Your boss gives you a programming problem. How is your brain solving it? It’s a process. Often it’s not you. If you are in a job that requires a lot of thinking, what happens is, your brain takes the information, takes all the cues and keeps churning them. Sometimes you get a solution in dream. You had no clue when you went to bed. You get up in the morning, and go wow!
Q: It happens in programming all the time, you walk away and the solution comes.
G: There you go, I too experienced that a lot. So, you see what the brain is doing. Just the way in dreams, even in waking there could be visions, which could act as a solution to your pressure. Do you understand? I mean, I have experienced this so many times in my life, you know. One of them, the most significant signal, was the constant push inside me to go and meet UG. You see, although I read so much of J. Krishnamurti, I never went to see him. But it was different in UG’s case. There was a constant pressure inside me to somehow go and see this guy once. Was it me? No!
How does the brain process information that makes it possible for me to have a vision of being present 2000 years ago? It is the play of the software and hardware, the information and the body, which are both old. The body is as old as creation itself. All languages go back to the time when humans started gathering and processing information. Since then, all the incidences and events are there in the brain. So, I see a scene of Plato and Socrates as if I am in their court 2500 years ago! It just appeared in my vision, because I was so interested, I wanted to know about truth, justice, the principle of witnessing, and so on.
Q: So, basically the brain picks up pieces of information and creates some kind of combination and shows you something. You are like, what the hell is this? But it is nothing.
G: It is simply a vision. It’s not my fault that I had a vision of God. I grew up watching my grandparents and parents who were devout Hindus. I had such love for them that whatever they believed in infiltrated me.
Q: When you try to understand contradictory information and resolve it, it utilizes more and more energy of the brain, imposes more and more demand, drives you down paths that are dead ends. If one can understand that, then it may be possible to deal with it spontaneously and naturally.
G: My two cents is that, if you are aware that a certain effort is trying to resolve the conflict, probably that awareness is going to give you the first step towards doing whatever is required. Don’t forget that the physical system has the upper hand in processing information and resolving the conflict. It’s not your understanding, your understanding can only increase awareness. It is working to resolve the conflict in a very different and immaculate manner.
Q: So, you are saying it is not in the zone of my mental math.
G: Exactly, it is not in the field of either mental math or your understanding which presupposes a solution.
Q: Yeah, the mental part can only give me an awareness but the physical system will handle it much better.
G: Better means in a way that is suitable for itself. A set of food that is congenial to your system may not be good for me. Say, some information agitates your emotional center and you get excited, but another person stays cool as a cucumber. So, what I’m saying is, in my tremendous effort to make everybody understand and understand it myself, I discovered that this brain of ours is not designed that way. You cannot make even your nearest and dearest ones understand a simple thing that makes great sense to you. By hitting my head against the wall in an effort to break the wall, I only hurt my head. I, then, began to realize that we are really unique individuals, unique in the deepest sense possible. The way you see things is not how your daughter, son or mother see it, because each one of us is wired differently. But it is possible for this system to discover and sort out what is best for itself.
Q: You know, today I took a stab at verbalizing and you took the verbalization and went one step ahead and physicalized it.
G: I am putting a limitation on the verbalization, but I’m not telling you that it is bad. The limitation can be different for different people.
I Cannot Prescribe a Path or Goal
12th April, 2021
Guha: I can’t say how I felt and why I was doing what I was doing years ago. If you ask me to describe my state of mind back then, it will be a misrepresentation. There are many things I didn’t know then, which I know now. But that’s not the story. The story always gets twisted and polarized by the present situation that one is in. If someone asks me, “You’re telling us all these things, but is it possible for someone who’s hearing you to apply them in his or her life?”, my answer will be: obviously not! You see, back then, I myself did not do any of the things I’m telling you now. Simple. So, what I’m telling you cannot be considered as an instruction for your living. In that light, I cannot give you any prescription for how you should live your life.
I don’t know where I am going, so I cannot give you a goal. Firstly, the goal determines what type of actions you’re supposed to execute to reach the goal and on the way find out what is happening. Let’s say, if you want to build a house, you first make a model of a house, then you start putting things together with the hope that it is going somewhere. If you start working without knowing where it’s going, you will not know what will come out of it. So, in that field a goal is necessary. But living is a different story altogether. I do not have a goal because I don’t know the purpose of life. I don’t know what is happiness. I can only tell you something about what I call “good health”. Every biological being which is an organized form of life, if it is able to maintain its organizational integrity, that is its optimum existence, its good health. And we are no exception. I feel that is the balance every single form of life is seeking all the time. I don’t know anything more than that. Somebody else might know. So, if I don’t know I cannot tell you what you should do. And most importantly, I myself didn’t know where I was going so I didn’t come through any particular path. It is not like I knew where I should be and accordingly I modified my actions to go there. I cannot say that! So, where does it lead you as far as your talking to me and gathering information from me is concerned? Nowhere! You might as well not waste your time here! You think about it. I felt the same thing when I was interacting with UG. Not one thing was appropriate for me to adopt in my living so that I could become a better social being. More money, more fame, becoming an ideal father, an ideal brother or an ideal son, nothing. I couldn’t find one instruction that told me how to become these things, not a single one. So, you tell me, is there anything of social value that can come out of this discussion?
From our childhood due to the constant push and pull a momentum got created in us in which our intentions, beliefs and actions – the entire social dynamics – were aligned in a way that made us do things in a particular manner to arrive at a specific goal. My father pays for a teacher to teach me and pushes me to learn. So, I sit in front the teacher wanting to learn from him. Every time we interact seriously with somebody, that’s our modus operandi, and the rest is entertainment. After working hard you want to relax, so you go to a bar or go to a temple. I know it doesn’t sound good! But any system that works really hard needs rest for itself. So are you! Your neurobiological circuitry needs rest. Some people sleep, some paint, some people sing, or go to the mountains or go to friends and chit chat. One is relaxing, so that you have a pleasurable sensation and you feel rested, the other is learning. Outside of this, can you tell me what else is there? You pick up a book because you don’t have to think about food, clothing and shelter. You either want more knowledge or you are deeply reflective and want to find out the purpose of life. So basically, you want to know. For what? Why do you want to know? You want to use that in your life to make your life better. What is “better”? That’s also social dynamics. You want to be happy according to their definition. You want to free yourself from the pettiness that you see around. You don’t like your own behavior, you want to change yourself. You had an argument with your brother or your friend had a bad temper. Obviously, directly or indirectly, often you don’t like the way you are feeling and you think there must be some other way of living. So, you look into books to see what they have to say about this. Obviously, there is something which is not satisfactory. Why otherwise would you pick up a book to read somebody’s discourses and not a story or fiction? Because there’s something in those discourses telling you that there is another way of living, another way of looking at things, another way of surviving, another purpose, you know. They make you believe that the purpose of life was already discovered by our great ancestors and they have written it down as aphorisms in the great spiritual scriptures, and if you read them, well, you will find happiness. That’s the prescription! This is the way things are. And when you go to somebody, when they talk that way, you immediately think, “Okay, something is coming, he’s going to tell us something more, he’s going to now give a three-step program that will make me never feel jealous or angry again!” Who wants to suffer from jealousy? It’s the most idiotic thing. But it is there! It is like an omnipresent, impervious thing that fills the head of every single human being. It makes a king attack another kingdom. For others, it is an internal pain that they suffer silently. Some people will tell you, if you know the truth, the truth will set you free from this feeling called “jealousy”. The old man used to say, “If jealousy goes, you go!”. The signature of your existence is in jealousy! Don’t think it’s a small thing. If somebody comes and tells you that take this pill and you will be forever happy, don’t believe such charlatans. Suppose, you have a spot on your face. Your friends tell you that they have something that will remove the spot and that will do wonders for your self-confidence. So, you fall for it! I have friends who are highly educated yet are bothered by their complexion. They want some cream to lighten their skin. If anybody comes and tells them, “Oh, it’s easy, just follow me and your problems will be solved”, they will be convinced. That’s the kind of psychology that’s operational. So, you see we are constantly looking out for solutions and the demand for this has been created in us by the society. We find ourselves in a position where there is suffering and uneasiness because of not knowing the future with a certainty. The marketplace offers hope for such people. They say, “Close your eyes and sit here and you will experience something.” They are clever, they know through the evolution of a thousand years of human knowledge that some information or chemical can produce a cozy and calm sensation. Either specific words, or repetition of a set of words, or a set of new ideas or a chemical, all can produce some effect. This is just a knowledge game! But you feel that if this guy can produce such a thing in you, then it can change your whole life forever! You can go after it for the rest of your life and nothing will happen! I guarantee! This is the truth! Every time you are told that you are progressing, it is only in your mind. You are standing exactly at the same place from where you had started out! You did not move an inch! You have been made to believe that you have moved. I want to know where? You are the same jealous, cheap, insecure and aggressive individual that you were then. And you were told that there will be a radical transformation, you will not be the same person anymore. I don’t see any sign of it! Then you were fighting with your colleagues, now you are fighting with other devotees. Exactly the same jealousy. Whoever has more access to the guru feels good and those who don’t, feel jealous. For example, with the same blocks of stone you can either make a Taj Mahal or build a five star hotel. The quality of the structures will be as per the building blocks and it’s intrinsic property. No matter which organization you make, the problem of the individuals will always surface. You try to project to the outside world that everybody is very peaceful here, and you have created a society where there is no difference amongst people, there is no jealousy and anyone is free to sleep with anyone. This is the brand of freedom gurus like Rajneesh sold. I am not joking, hello! This is us, this is the only reality, not the reality they promised which will be revealed to you one day! You hope that there is some reality which will completely change your life. Other than the Alzheimer’s disease, nothing else can make your suffering come to an end! The old man used to say, “That’s your fate! Valentine, you are the future of humanity! She is in the Turiyatita state, not just Turiya but beyond Turiya!”
That’s us buddy. Do you see or not? They will come and tell you, “Don’t say there is nothing. Because you haven’t got the right guru who has the power to show you, you haven’t experienced the truth. Come with me, I’ll show you.” His aim is to outsmart you, to bring you to his point of view, because you are not that smart, and he knows how to play with words. But if you are not afraid of your present state of existence, no power on this planet can make you do things you don’t want to do. Yes, if they apply force, if the government says you have to go, then you will have no choice, and you will think you are under a perfect fascist rule. But you don’t understand that you are always under a perfect fascist rule through the social dynamics. One is explicit, the other is implicit.
So, tell me why would anyone want to talk to me? Give me one good reason why you are sitting here. Why? Don’t talk about the love business, it does not exist! Ask yourself, “Why am I here?” You never know all this chit chat may bring out something! I already talked for half an hour.
Q: What you are saying is revealing to us what we actually are.
Guha: That is my point. What is self-knowledge? If it is really self-knowledge, it should be revealed by itself, no? Nobody can tell you whether you’re good or bad. Your own dynamics will be revealed to yourself. Don’t judge because judgment is made by them. They made you believe that if you have sex you are not a spiritual person. They made you believe if you eat meat, it’s very bad. Many things that they made you believe have no foundation. So, that is knowledge, that you can’t judge. Then when you interact with somebody you will feel a huge difference. The other person is also like you, another human being. There’s a part of you that imposes itself on another person which he or she does not like, but you are not sensitive enough to understand this. You inadvertently impose yourself on others and they do the same to you. It creates a hugely complex world and you never want to learn about it. You only want to be on this side, you are a doer. You don’t want to go to the other side and be under the control of someone. You never reflect how others feel about your behaviour. That part of knowledge you don’t want to touch.
Even self-knowledge is only self oriented. It learns only what it likes to learn. Right from the beginning it is polarized. So, the sense of self which creates reason and the drive for action has intention and motivation which do not necessarily address the symbiosis of life. What I’m saying is that, if you look at life in general, if you have proper reflection, you will find a fantastic balance. It may apparently appear merciless and chaotic, but in the long term it is very different, it somehow maintains the greater balance of life. One of the most important discoveries of humans should be that we should not compare ourselves with the animals. We are different from them. You cannot compare your drive with their drive, whether its anger or sex or apparent competition for a female, because we use a very different instrument for taking action. They don’t think but we think. Because we think, our words and actions are always passing through different filters. You may get angry but you don’t just go and hit somebody because the consequences are lined up in your brain. So, these are the factors we have to consider. We have to think about what we are and how things are in us – that’s the self-learning. What can we learn that will help us see ourselves the way we are? I am not asking you to repair anything. To repair means to change according to somebody else’s stamp of good and bad. Not that you can help it. But you can always identify it, like let’s say, when you are feeling bad about your dark complexion. Somebody told you dark skin is inferior, that’s it, but it has no foundation! In fact dark skin is considered healthier than light skin. If I tell you these things every day, perhaps this defect in you will go away and it will no longer stand in your way of expressing yourself. Because it was false anyway. But if it is reinforced, it will become a permanent feature in you. And you will be always awkward. And this is just a minor side-effect. Your complexes are layered with this kind of information and they have become a part of your living condition. They are restricting you, pulling you from all sides, which literally is illusion. These are the illusions that completely govern your life. But they won’t be applicable if you begin to reflect. Your feeling bad about yourself is not allowing you to gather the energy that is required for you to make your living better. Just reflect and see. Awareness is the power.
Each one has his or her own way of coming to an equilibrium. I am not saying that just because you are dark skinned, you are healthy and if you have a light skin you are unhealthy. I’m not indicating that. I’m saying this to remove a particular idea from your head, I’m saying that research has found something else. Each one of us has evolved in a very specific way, it’s not in our hands. Your genetic line, the environment where your ancestors stayed for a long time, and many other complex factors produced a particular skin tone. You can’t go back and change anything. But still your perception didn’t change. It has to go completely, get uprooted. Only then you will make no distinction when you interact with another person. If a human being is standing in front of you and somebody tells you that he is very rich and powerful, your perception about him is immediately going to change. But if he is nothing, then you brush him aside. So, these are sitting inside your head. Actually he is just another two-legged human! Come off it mate! I can’t see anything other than this. It’s a fact! It is not that I am confident or something. Confident about what?
I don’t have any bank balance, but why am I not afraid? People say, “Oh, you have rich friends so you get money just like that.” But they are like quicksand. Yesterday somebody was offering me millions of dollars and today that person is gone! Do you think I’m going to go and renew my friendship? No! Tomorrow if you feel that staying with Guha is becoming really expensive and leave, I will lose another rich friend! But this thought does not make me fearful. I don’t depend on numbers, it does not create a sensation of panic in me. I can’t transmit this confidence to anybody. It is not a thing to be practiced. Who is going to give me even one penny for talking like this, you tell me! But if I talk about the Bhagwat Gita, people will give tonnes of money. This is our country! If I go and tell glorious stories about Lord Rama people will be happy to give me money. But what if I really want to tell the way things are? Then it won’t be pleasant. Things that are there in your mind, about which you haven’t reflected may just surface, and you will not like that. Right? Suppose if I understand certain things, I can talk to you and try to make you understand. But I know there is something that cannot be transferred, this feeling that I have. You may talk like me, and maybe even become more conversant than me. But the feeling that I have when I’m talking, that I cannot convey to you. That punch of life will not be palpable, because it cannot be given to anybody. But it may happen that you will talk about something else and that will have great punch. This I know.
There is no teaching. How can these things be taught? It is the expression of life and it has to find its own resonance. We are all resonating, but the thing is we are afraid, we are intimidated by others. You are as much a part of nature as anybody else on this planet. It is not arrogance or ignorance, it is a fact of life. You have been told that you should ask yourself, “Who am I?” It will not take you anywhere. You are a poor Indian, that’s what you are! If you are a rich Indian, that would be a different story. But you are poor or middle-class Indian. That’s all you will learn from “Who am I?” What else can you learn? You have fear, you have jealousy, you have a family, you have this, you have that. What else can you know about yourself? Hello! Tell me one thing you will know that you didn’t already know? What will “Who am I” teach you madam? For once in your life, close your eyes and honestly think hard about what answer can come out of such an exercise. Nothing unknown will come out. But you think that something you don’t know will be revealed. In terms of what? Words and images, hello! You will live and die in that hope, it’s a guarantee! On your death bed you will realise you wasted your whole life running after that question! I tell the youngsters to get up, go and earn money. At least that will get them the things they want in life.
Sense Of Self Is A Definition
Date: 13th March, 2021
Place: Pondicherry, India
Q: What similarities did you find between U.G. and Sri Ramakrishna?
Guha: Before I met U.G., I had no idea that the existence of a personality and his company could invoke such things in one’s physical existence, not even remotely! After a few years of interaction with U.G., he suddenly suggested to me, in a completely different context, to read The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. I was surprised to find from my own experience, that many things discussed in the book was actually possible for an individual to experience. That’s the whole point. I didn’t know what U.G. felt. That was impossible for me to know.
Q: But why did U.G. ask you to read The Gospel?
Guha: That is SSFR (subject specific functional reality). It is a functional reality. I have an understanding, somebody else who reads that book will think something else. I was in a quandary. When you have a huge upheaval inside your body, anybody who has read science and understands something about the physical body will be concerned, isn’t it? Something is just twisting and turning inside you, there are swellings here and there, and suddenly you cannot eat, cannot sleep, yet you feel unnecessarily high. I was suddenly inundated with such things. I was not discussing much with U.G., because in his company, I felt fantastic and these things were in the background. But then when I started reading The Gospel, the first thing that caught my attention was Ramakrishna referring to a very specific quote from the scriptures. That was the first time I felt such a thing was actually possible. It isn’t mentioned clearly but in a rather cryptic way. But the cryptic message becomes clear if you are familiar with what they were referring to. The Sanskrit verse was bhidyate hṛdaya-granthiś chidyante sarva-saṁśayāḥ. It means there is a knot near your heart, it’s called the hṛdaya-granthiś. If that is pierced then all doubts evaporate, no doubts remain in you. That’s how I felt after I came back from Palm Springs and it happened about a year before I had read the book.
I didn’t have any doubt that U.G. was doing something. His physical presence was piercing things in me. That was my take. But you never know what is anybody else’s take. Everybody reads The Gospel but how do I know what they feel about it? I felt exactly as described in that verse. As if somebody had stabbed me and something had broken next to my heart. That is what I felt physically and it popped out of the book when I first read that quote and Ramakrishna was describing about that situation. It is written in the book that even the sages, if any one among them had this sensation would go so mad that they would kick everything out. For them there were no rituals. Some would go crazy about sex. Then Ramakrishna described in detail about the sensation inside his head and how he couldn’t eat anything and could not sleep. The guy who used to take care of him was annoyed. His body was on fire and he felt a thousand ants were biting his head. He had described all kinds of sensations. It all appeared familiar to me. That took away the doubt that something bad was happening to my body. I even asked U.G. one day that how would I know if the lumps were not cancerous growths, because something was growing out of proportion inside the body. That is the discussion I used to have with him. He would say, “If it is something bad, you will come to know soon.”Some people asked why I was not seeing a doctor. I said, “When you feel good, you do not go to a doctor! When you feel bad, only then you go to the doctor.”
I’m feeling healthy, I’m feeling strong, I eat less yet I have lots of energy. What is the mystery? I felt the whole thing was like that. There were some funny dreams and visions. There was a time when I would have a vision every other day. Every time I came out of the shower and sat down to think about what I needed to do that day … boom! something would happen! Things happened in a way that I used to live all alone by myself those days. My family would be with U.G. but I couldn’t take two months off because I worked in a university. So, I would come back and stay by myself.
Q: But you used to go to the university?
Guha: Of course, that was the most productive period of my life. I published many papers. I had so much energy that I translated everything that was written about U.G. into my mother tongue. I wrote poetry, I wrote a book, and I was publishing science papers. Then I realized that I could sing! One Christmas Eve, we were all sitting and U.G. asked us to do something. When U.G.’s turn came he blurted out some Sanskrit verse, who knows whether it was right or wrong! When my turn came he said, “Can you sing?” I didn’t know what to do and I started singing a Bengali song. U.G. was stunned. He said “My God, you missed your calling, buddy. You could have been a singer!” I had stopped doing these things since a long time. Everything came rushing back after I met him. I had never written poetry or anything like that before. All my writings were in the field of science.
Q: Did you disprove any theory of physics?!
Guha: No. I was not interested in the properties of objects anymore. My interest went into the area of relationship of objects with humans. That became my subject. Without the subject, the properties cannot be analysed. It is you who is using your power of analysis to find out the nature of an object. Otherwise, who finds the nature of the objects? It’s us. It’s only in the human mind that we have an instrument which can analyze and then see how far our analysis is valid. My interest was to understand how relevant it is to us. Most of it is relevant, because, if we know what is its property we can utilize it for our needs. We can harness energy, we can produce special food, everything is connected to our use. My interest went into what’s in us that creates the problem. That was my interest and I found that U.G. was very correct in analyzing that religiosity is taking us away from that solution. It is the biological nature of humans. Religion is an outgrowth of that and political ideologies are also the outgrowth of human nature. Basically, we are not divided by religion, caste, creed or anything. The human nature has diversified into different things. So, if there is an appropriate solution for a particular human, it’s according to his nature and not due to his religious background or belief about the perception of reality or any such thing. Because I also found that there is no such thing as fundamental reality which can be applicable to everybody. This really made the most sense to my understanding than any philosophy or physics ever did.
Q: So, then what happened to your sense of self during that time?
Guha: It was fully engaged in finding these things because without the drive of the sense of self we cannot do anything. If somebody says he has no sense of self, he is lying! Even to invoke an emotion which is outside the framework of animalistic functioning requires the sense of self. When I felt his kindness I would think this is the best self that can be there inside! You cannot have kindness without an attribute of the sense of self. Not possible! So, basically those who say that they don’t have a sense of self, they misunderstand the meaning of the term.
Q: Then the sense of self continues to exist eternally?
Guha: It is like this: an object is falling towards the ground and you say there is a law of gravitation in operation. The Law of Gravitation doesn’t exist by itself. Our desire to understand the way Nature functions led to these discoveries. Similarly, the sense of self is used to describe and understand the way we behave. We attribute that exhibition to the existence of a sense of self. Actually there is nothing there. It is just a definition.
Q: But we still feel it.
Guha: It is the sorting out of information in your brain which gives you a feeling that there is somebody called Ram. It is the property of the system. The way it processes information from the outside world, the way it relates and responds to another human being makes it appear that it identifies with the sound “Ram”. Even a dog responds to the name you give it, to that sound. But you don’t say the dog has a sense of self, because he remembers his name!
Q: So, when did the sense of self become irrelevant?
Guha: Irrelevant means it doesn’t have any specific objective outside the framework of necessity. Suppose if something is not necessary, it does not have any movement in that direction. It remains in the background, it just doesn’t do anything. But without its working, there is no action as far as a human being is concerned. So, what happens is the moment I’m feeling hungry, the process of remembering where the food is going on. Without the sense of self, I couldn’t have learned where the refrigerator is. All this information processing is connected to a movement which can be only attributed to the sense of self. My learning process which has stored the information and is accessing it in different ways makes me feel that there is definitely a ‘me’ that is doing all this. But you can divide this process of digging out information into parts like, ‘I’m hungry, next I get up and then I open the fridge’. Someone looking at you will say, “Oh, Ram is hungry now, then he is getting up, next he is opening the fridge”. You can even tell yourself, ”Oh man, I’m very hungry! What should I eat now?” These are parts of the whole process. To me it is not a mysterious thing at all.
Q: Like in sleep …
As far as I am concerned, even if the whole world says U.G. is not spiritual, nothing happened to him, it doesn’t bother me. I say the way I understand and feel. If you say he had a big ego, so be it. U.G. said, “Looks like I’m the most egotistic person on this planet because I say that every thought that humans have thought, felt and experienced got flushed out of my system. I can say that, it doesn’t bother me at all.” If I try to analyze the sense of self in order to figure out how to get rid of it, to me, it will be an exercise in total futility. All this is part of our existence.
Q: Ramana said abiding in the self is the real sadhana. What do you have to say about this given that you had so many experiences?
Guha: To me sadhana is the demand from within a human being, who is sincerely trying to resolve the conflict that is not allowing that individual to be in harmony with nature. As far as I’m concerned, that’s all that is there. It includes all our relationships too, like the relationship of my knowledge with my own system. How pertinent is my knowledge when I am all alone by myself? That is the real understanding of the working of the self. That is the only knowledge about oneself. How am I as I know myself? How is it relevant to the way I function? This is the only self-knowledge there is, and you will see that you are nothing but the conglomeration of information. Information has emotional tags that have been systematically induced by the society. There is nothing outside that, so you cannot even demand anything outside that! Anything you demand is within that framework.
Q: So, when all attachments become irrelevant, what happens to that person?
Guha: Suppose when you are madly in love with somebody, everything else becomes irrelevant to you. Even though the other things are present, one movement has taken over everything. So, the question of relevance and irrelevance is simply a matter of necessity. Your system suddenly wants something extremely urgently, so everything else is rendered irrelevant.
Q: Were you scared at that time?
Guha: I was not scared, others were scared. I felt at that time as if there was nobody for me, I didn’t care about the universe and I just wanted to stay with U.G. That kind of thing, you know? What’s the dynamics involved in that? There is no logic in why a young boy suddenly gives up everything and goes away. There is no logic. When the same boy becomes a father and if his son does the same thing, he will be pissed off. Say, I walked out on my father, now if my child walks out on me, I will be trying to resist it, no? So, you see, we never understand these things and yet we want to do sadhana. Sadhana is a selective goal. It has no potency. It’s a practiced thing that will make you dull. This is not a dialogue, I actually found how true it was for me. In all my practices, the first experience would be mind-boggling, and then I would try to repeat that experience. But it never occurs with same intensity as the first one.
Q: Did you ever think that all your practices before meeting U.G. were like a build-up?
Guha: My philosophy is this: if I want to create a picture about my past, I can really connect things and make it appear like a beautiful story. It is like looking at the sky. The fireballs of stars are billions of miles apart, but I can draw a scorpion or a great Orion, which really have no relationship with anything that is happening out there in space. There is no knowledge that can decipher what is happening there right now, it can only be done in retrospect. If that is so, and here is the crux of the problem, you should also be able to know your future using the same theory, but that is never possible. So, if you claim that you know what is going to happen, it is just a cock and bull story. You might as well just say, “I don’t know”. That’s my take, because then what happens is, my effort to find out the connections becomes irrelevant as far as my life is concerned. Nobody is going to learn anything out of that. It is a past model which has no relevance as far as our living and future are concerned. Those are the things we are most concerned about. You want to utilize that knowledge to create a future which would be all hunky dory, positive and nice. That’s the only goal. What I’m saying is, we are messing it up further by not abiding in the state of ‘not knowing’, which is the real state of human mind. If one is utterly honest and sincere one will see that everything else is an input to the sense of self, which is useless as far as I’m concerned. It’s a kind of tickling for the sense of self. The first thing I told U.G. when I met him was, “When I look at your life, I see it is a textbook case of enlightenment. You are a person whose drive to find reality or truth was so overpowering that you gave up everything and ended up on the streets of London penniless, although you came from a rich family. You did not give up and kept going in one direction and then something happened. That’s a textbook case.” He said, “Why do you believe everybody but not me? I am telling you that despite everything I did, this happened. Why don’t you believe that? Why do you believe the cock and bull stories of others?” He blasted me. What I thought was, he had many spiritual experiences and I also had experienced many things in meditation, so I had some hope, and because I was with him I must have done something great.
Q: But whatever you are saying is still influencing us. We don’t have a choice. We have to go through that.
Guha: I am just trying to say that it was very hard for me. Do you see where it leaves me? It leaves me in a place where I cannot move. I could use theories only in the field of physics to make my living, but not in the field of spirituality. I thought, “What am I going to say if people ask who is U.G.? Shall I say he is just a freak? What would that mean? He did sadhana and then got enlightened like the Buddha? He says all that is bullshit. So, am I going to tell my version of the story or his version of the story? I’m not him. He’s telling his story and I better take it.” It is a simple thing. For U.G. it was like, if you can’t trust me on this, how are you going to interact with me? You will never listen to me because you will think that your God is better and I’m a liar. This started burning me from day one. It impacted me more than all the experiences I had before meeting him. The entire logical ground from which I was acting, the existence of a goal, the justification for the goal, the method for attaining the goal – everything was kind of wiped out powerfully. Then I realised that maybe this is what J. Krishnamurti was talking about when he argued against the method of systematic practice glorified in our scriptures. Look, U.G.’s utterances had attracted me so much that I couldn’t stop thinking about him. His point of view seemed negative, yet I was drawn to it. What was the reason for that? I thought, “Why can’t I accept what he is trying to say? Can I rely on my logic which never worked in my own life?” These were the conflicting thoughts. So, I realized that if I interact with him, I have to really think hard, go deeper than my usual thinking and try to figure it out. Why is he saying something and what is its implication for me?
Many things were revealed as I moved on in life and I always felt that nobody in the history of humanity was more right than U.G., as far as I was concerned. So, in that way, I have to admit that nothing had happened to him and nobody ever influenced him. But I was feeling something, so if he said that nothing happens to anybody, I would say, “Bullshit! Something is happening to me. When I touch fire my finger burns, you can’t say nothing is happening, I don’t believe you!” I don’t need to go to a psychiatrist to find out if my finger is really burning or it is something else. I felt U.G. did that to make me so strong that I could stand on my two little feet, because my world cannot be anybody else’s world. That’s why I proposed a most practical model of human functioning. I used all my knowledge of science and biology to decipher the uniqueness of a human. Every human being is genetically and culturally so unique that there is no exact copy of one human being that can match anyone that lived before, is living now or will ever live in the future. No two human beings will ever be the same. I can explain this very easily in the terminology of physics. Space-time is one continuous movement, there is no tracing back, it is uni-directional. So, obviously, the past is out of range. It is like what the mystics say, that the same water never flows twice in a river. It is gone. Doesn’t matter if it is high tide or low tide, it is gone. Every living moment is almost like that. How can the brain which lives by deciphering the reality and the demand from that reality be same for two human beings? Your way of looking at a thing can never match with someone else’s. So, your effort to explain how you perceive an object is not going to convince another person about the way you are feeling and experiencing. Our effort to make all human beings follow the same religion and same God is total bullshit. It is the unimaginably oppressive nature of fascist thought! Can you imagine forcing a kid to believe in something that you believe in? His or her brain is developing in a different way. Your father didn’t know anything about computers but today’s kids are playing with computers as if it is nothing. It’s a totally different brain. How can this brain perceive a reality which can match your so called non-existing fundamental reality? There is no such thing as fundamental reality. There is no reality, leave alone fundamental reality. Reality is just a functional aspect of our existence. So, having heard all these things, where does it lead us? That’s the question everybody has to ask themselves.
Guha describing his state of existence
Translation of Bengali talk
Date: 26 November 2018
Place: Julie’s house, Highland Park, New Jersey
There is nothing to do or give. Because there is no give and take here, you cannot evaluate me from the social standpoint. If you write the history of a tree, it will mean nothing to the tree. It is living in its own natural rhythm.
If people praise or criticise me, both are meaningless as far as I am concerned. Trying to evaluate me is trying to give me a character. This is impossible! Suppose a horse is running in the wild; what does it care whether you call it naked or beautiful?
The most significant thing according to me is this state’s relationship with Nature and its diverse rhythms. I am amazed when I think about it. Sometimes I feel it. But I cannot explain it or hand it over to anybody. I never knew something like this could exist. It is neither good nor bad, but it has such power that it does not allow anything else to take over. It has its own expression. There is no translation of this in my language. This is what I want to give you a hang of. This has a different kind of power, beat, pulse, depth and punch. It cannot be dominated. Various events in society which attract our attention cannot create any permanent impact here. It comes and goes away. If I see someone suffering, I feel bad. But the effect on me is short lived. My internal rhythm doesn’t allow my mind to keep it going. I cannot say this is good or bad. Or that I feel happy or sad about it. How can I say anything about something which cannot be evaluated? But you can say, that this is something that gives me no scope to pull out my past pains, joys etc. from memory and play games with them.
In deep sleep your habitual mental turmoil is absent. Here, there is a similar rhythm inside. If I tag this as good or pleasurable then maybe people will see some value and want it. But I can’t. Its rhythm has no cause. What is the cause of your heart’s rhythm? It is for the purpose of living. This has no comparative existence because the beating of the heart and fire in the blood is same in everyone. But in society, the value system is based on “more” and “less”. Who has more power, who has less? Who has more money, who has less? Who has more pain, who has less? In this scenario, I have no value.
Life is enacting its play in all of us. I didn’t know it was possible to live like this. If my father or mother were to live this way, may be I would have felt bad as a kid. But I cannot help it. It is like you cannot expect a sick man to act normally. I am not saying this is a sickness but this is such a condition that I cannot help function the way I do.
I found out that it is extremely difficult for me to have a relationship with anyone. Relationship means a set of known responses. May be it’s a defect in me that does not allow me to have relationships. On that ground, the thing that we call “love”, I don’t see that in me. People may think I am a loveless man, but I will not do anything to get points from the value system! To me that is social slavery, sorry!
Translation of the Bengali Hindmotor Conversation with Friends 2012 – Part 1
Place: Guha’s ancestral home in Hindmotor, West Bengal, India
Guha: We try to know the future. If we consider the scientific standpoint, we will understand that in order to know the future accurately, we will have to know all the parameters which regulate the workings of life. These parameters are so numerous and are so intimately connected to each other, that knowing becomes an impossible proposition. Say I am chatting with you and we are having a good time. Suddenly you and I say something and a fight starts! (laughs!) It unexpectedly changes the course of events.
Q: It may be possible to make assumptions about a person’s future based on his basic nature.
Guha: Assumptions may be possible. Say a problem in the liver is cured. It then begins to function in a way that will regulate your appetite, and through taste discriminate between what food is good or bad for your body. Similarly, if any thought creates stress, or strain or an illusory world from which you are unable to get out, the body will automatically dissolve that thought. This capacity already exists in the neurotransmitters which operate automatically through the glands in a pre-programmed way. The only thing is it is unable to function the way nature has already programmed it to function. Say you are growing up as a kid. Your muscles will develop well if they get the right nutrition, but if you grow up in a place where there are harmful chemicals and scanty nutrition, then naturally your body will not develop according to its potential. If you are under tremendous stress unable to rest properly, unable to exercise your mental balance properly, what will happen is, like the problem of malnutrition, your thoughts will begin to get distracted. This could lead to a point where the chances of recovery are slim. If, however, a child is taken care of and given the right nutrition, the programs in the body will begin to work and he or she will develop to become his or her best according to the inherent individuality. If the height is genetically coded to be 5 foot 7 inches, it will never be 7 foot, that doesn’t happen! Whatever is in there will find full expression! There are specific knowledge and intellectual capacities. I’m talking about the mental aspect of humans. What differentiates man from other animals is the power of thought. If a balance is established in the thought-world, a complete human can come into being. One cannot be thoughtless, that is incorrect knowledge, hodgepodge! Thought will function the way it is supposed to. There is no such thing as being thoughtless. It is something like this: Say you are not hungry, will you eat then? But there is a point when you need rest. Dogs don’t eat for days if they are unwell.
The mind is running distractedly in all directions. This movement creates an unnatural state in the body, like that of a drug addict. He doesn’t feel alive if he is not disturbed. He is addicted to that kind of disturbance. To get rid of this and to enable the body to function naturally – by body I mean body and mind – you need to channel the distracted thoughts into a single powerful current. The Hindus have explained this very well in the yoga shastra. The concepts of concentration, meditation and samadhi have originated from there. There’s so much in the scriptures – Jnana yoga, prem yoga, bhakti yoga, karma yoga – so many of them. The word yoga came from this: For something new to be created, there has to be a sort of union. Male and female have to unite to create. So the Hindus thought about this and saw that there is a state in us in which thought-currents flow in a single direction. And when this flow begins to slow down, something strange happens! When a sperm stops after reaching the egg, the two unite to create new life. When a sperm swims towards an egg, it has only one purpose, one goal. When do thoughts flow in one direction? This has to be clearly seen. When thought moves in one direction, what is its goal? To get something or to know something, to arrive at a conclusion, a premise. Now, like the sperm stops, thought also comes to a halt.
Q: In that is the blueprint of new creation!
Guha: Then a new order is created in the head! Hindus called it yoga. A different process begins to slowly unfold in the body. It has many external signs. The main thing is, there’s a shift. The mental movements give the apparent impression of existence of a person. He thinks he will get something. He doesn’t exist! It is totally a mental process! But it has an overwhelming effect on us.
Q: He is the subject, he is the thinker.
Guha: But what is he? No more than a process in the brain! A small pill will make it vanish! This tiny process lives in an illusory world and believes it is the owner of the body. Actually it is never the case! If it were true, it would have been possible to use the body in any way it wanted to. But if you look clearly, you will see that the ways in which it tries to use the body are only destructive. I know how I can harm the body. I know I will die if I eat poison or jump into fire.
Q: It knows the extreme.
Guha: Many things are known. The only thing that it does not know is what can be done to bring about its flowering. Because we do not know anything about this flowering! All we know are demands. Demand for what?! Everything has an end. Tell me why we have hunger?
Q: For the body’s need.
Guha: What are bodily needs? Why do they exist? To sustain the body, right? Why do I feel hunger? Why do I have taste? To eat the right food and keep the body healthy. If I overeat for pleasure, bloating my stomach, then it is a contradictory thing!
Q: Taste is there so that I can get nutrition from a variety of food.
Guha: Not variety! If you go hungry, you will know what taste is! You don’t know any of these processes. But you know that you can do certain things by using thought. You can use a chemical to be high. This knowledge that you have lends you an apparent confidence that you can do many things. If it were true, why can’t you put an end to your sorrows and misery? When there is a desire, why can’t you discriminate if it is good for you or not? Say nobody loves you. What is there to be sad about? I don’t understand. But you can’t help it, you feel bad. You never try to sincerely understand what the problem is. What is actually the prime mover? And what is using that power to function? You aren’t able to figure this out! Your apparent knowledge gave you the confidence that there is a God who will take care of things, but you haven’t been able to discover the basis or source of this belief. Even if you can’t discover this, if it ever appears to you that it is beyond your control, then you will not try to know. If it is beyond your knowledge, you will not use knowledge! I can’t leap to the moon; it’s obvious, right? When you stop using your knowledge, you will see another process automatically unfolding. It is beyond your desire. What is your desire? To be at peace, right? Because you think it is good for you and consequently for others. But you are not able to achieve it. If you give up altogether, the programs in the body will slowly start working on their own. No external power is necessary.
Others can teach you if you do not learn yourself. You have heard about so many things, but what you have not understood yourself is not knowledge. A teacher teaches forty students in a class. He says the same thing to all, but whose knowledge is it? It’s yours. Whatever you have understood, whatever you are doing, whatever is working inside you, all of it is yours, there’s nothing external! If it were external, your life would have been wonderful! It is as if I discover heaven, go there and all my problems are solved! It just cannot be! But you have a peculiar hope. This hope originates from greed. Because you are unable to accomplish anything, you think somebody will come along and give you a lottery winning, do some magic, and you will get what you want. Impossible! You will live and die in hope.
You say you want to know what God is, what is liberation, but all this knowing is in the future. How long will you wait? Your life will be over! But it never appears to you that it is beyond your control. If you realize it is not in your hands and you give up completely without taking a single step in any direction, you will see that life gradually begins to move in a different way. But this will not come about in you unless you have struggled with all your might!
Q: This effort has value.
Guha: It is because of this effort that all the energy starts flowing in a single direction. That’s yoga. Read any great man’s life and you’ll see he or she either committed suicide or died or gave up completely. This has to happen. When the promised state is not attained in spite of all effort, you have to give up. In this giving up, which is not in the hope of getting something else, the body begins to function differently. Then there will be a new kind of confidence. You will discover something which will make your concepts of enlightenment seem childish! It will hold no more value.
There is no difference between you and me. Whatever I have, you have it too. But there is a small difference. I don’t have any doubt. That does not mean I have total belief. There is a difference between the two.
Q: What is the difference?
Guha: I have no doubt that the functioning of this body according to its own natural rhythm is all that is necessary for a human being. There’s nothing beyond this. This is called complete trust.
Say, I am looking at the world. I open my eyes and see the world chock-a-block with objects. There are absolutely no gaps! It is full of things, movements and colors! Who sees them?
Guha: Not ‘me’, the eyes see. The retina runs programs on reflection of objects to show these. The seer and the seen exist because of a mutual necessity. Have you or I created this body? These capacities are encoded in the egg and sperm. Everything was written in that single egg and sperm – how it will grow, see colors, communicate, make movements, and perceive this world full with objects! This is how nature has been working over millions of years. You and I are nothing. So, what will you trust? In you or me? Or in nature’s functioning? In our thought-world we try to understand where humans came from.
Q: Where did the sperm and egg come from?
Guha: From parents!
Q: Where did parents come from?
Guha: How will you find out? You may conduct scientific experiments. I say these experiments have nothing to do with the problems you are presently facing. Whether God exists or not, whether man and all life forms were created by somebody or not; the problems in your life cannot be solved by understanding these concepts. Your problems are totally different! They are in your desires and wants. The existence of God in your knowledge has no relationship whatsoever with this. If you have problems and somebody tells you there is a God who will take care of things, then you automatically start praying. This creates a strange dynamic and your problems remain unsolved. The resolution of problems is a totally different thing. If you try to understand your desires, it will be a much better problem-solving approach. Finding out if your desires are truly valid is the next step. You will then see there are no desires you can call your own! You are a petty slave; a slave of thoughts! Even the thoughts are not yours! Others have put them in your head! Can you think of anything which you can call your own desire? If you are honest you will see in the thought-world you have no desires of your own. You have been taught everything. Even God was taught to you! Becoming a doctor, engineer, singer – all this was put inside you. Everything! Everything you can think of has been systematically implanted in you from your childhood by the society. There is no knowledge which you can call your own. There is not a single word you can call yours! Everything is acquired.
Q: It is not possible without breaking away from society …
Guha: Breaking away from society is impossible!!! You don’t exist without the society! From where are thoughts originating? Both are connected. If you just say “I” and don’t complete the sentence, you will die! “I” is always something – someone’s son, someone’s friend, someone’s husband. He wants something or the other. This is the movement of thought. If you say “I” and stop, there will be a reaction in the body – what is “I”?
Since humans can think and reflect, you should ask ‘what is it that I want?’ Truly, honestly what do I want? Money!!! Somebody asked me, if a karma yogi comes to you and says “you are God, and I will do whatever you ask me to do”, what will you tell him? … I would say earn money!!! If you have complete trust in me then give up all other endeavors and earn money!!! Why? There’s a reason for that! What is the meaning of freedom? To be able to do what you love is freedom. There’s no freedom other than this. There’s no freedom of the mind. Say, you want to go to USA. How will you go? You need money. Money is the first step towards having the power to do things.
Somebody once told me that he loved spending time with me. I said “Well, earn money! I can guarantee that once you start earning money, this love will change and you will no longer want to spend time with me. You will go after something else!” People say things like ‘If I had money, I would travel with you’. The moment money comes, they go elsewhere! This whole thing is an illusion. Even if God drops down right in front of you, nothing will change in your life! This is guaranteed! By reading books you create ideas of Krishna, Vishnu, Brahma, Ganesh and then see them. It is a very ordinary happening in the mental space.
Q: Somebody wrote the books …
Guha: Yes. Somebody wrote Harry Potter. Thought has this peculiar power. Suppose you suddenly think what if the horse had eight legs and you create a new animal!
Q: But we know that Harry Potter is a fiction.
Guha: Clearly! All imaginary, right?!
Q: But in the field of spirituality, they do not say that God, his forms etc. are imaginary.
Guha: That is exactly the problem!
Someone told me, “You talk about science, neurons and all this stuff”. I said, to hell with neurons! The eyes do not know about neurons but they still see the world as they are supposed to. It doesn’t matter if you are a fisherman’s son, a farmer’s son or an idiot! The knowledge of neurons is not required, it is automatically built-in. Then the guy asked, “What is the difference between your knowledge and my knowledge?” I said, there’s one difference. You can throw out all that I am saying and I won’t blink! But can you say the same? Can you throw out your Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Ramakrishna, Mohammad, Jesus? I say kick out all scientific knowledge, I don’t care! It is not necessary! That is the difference!
Society has carefully created fear in you in order to control you. It always wants to maintain this separation. You say, “I know, but how can I make you understand? It is beyond knowledge!” If that be the case, it is beyond both your and my knowledge. Both are infinite! Hence you and I are same! You become the mother, father, guru and I forever remain the follower! Wow! In the scientific world, a fifteen year old boy can vanquish a great scientist! But can a follower kick his Guru’s ass?! Never! So, the difference is only in knowledge. What else is the difference? I pretend to know something which you cannot know.