Guha: It’s an arduous process, almost like a constant introspection, to see ourselves responding to the social demand and dynamics, and gradually enriching ourselves with an awareness that understands the subtle difference between our needs and wants, and our vulnerability and strength towards achieving an equilibrium. This awareness creates a new process whose aim is to achieve freedom from the social slavery.
This man lives without any burden of the past. His living is full of energy and punch. He says to me, “So many people have come to see me. Most feel nothing and go away. And here you are saying so many things about me and my effect on you. How is that?” His effect is not universal. It is subject specific he says. It depends on the person interacting with him. What will come out of him largely depends on me in my case. So it is with the others. Hence, it cannot be applied universally, unlike the laws of science. I used to feel his presence is bound to have some effect whether or not one is aware of it, but then I found it somehow largely depends on how the individual translates the effect into his or her understanding. The right kind of alignment in terms of information can perhaps lead to resonance. Without that, either the interest in him will snap quickly, or it will be one long struggle if one is somehow still able to hold some interest.
His presence cannot be used for social improvement or mass reform. On the contrary, it has no social value and one does not get any reward out of it. We cannot put Guha up on a pedestal and ask people to worship him, like the way Vivekananda did in his missionary zeal through the establishment of the Ramakrishna Mission. Life doesn’t function that way, Guha says. This shakes to the core our moral values and scriptural ideals of general good, peace and well-being springing out of spiritual pursuits. These are distractions. Practice makes us cunning and manipulative individuals.
The only way to get a glimpse of his living energy is to interact with him. His effect cannot be measured. All measurements require a reference but here there is none. No knowledge, no understanding can teach us how to deal with him. It has to be a personal discovery.
Handmade Home, Kolkata
I am high like crazy. It is difficult to contain such infectious energy.
Since we came to Kolkata, G has burst open like a massive ripe, sweet, succulent fruit. People are buzzing like bees around him. The laughter, the craziness and the joy his presence is generating is like unlike anything one can ever imagine. He is also dead serious at times. His body language, the movement of his hands, his whole body is indescribably beautiful, oozing his scorching, healing energy. I feel electrocuted by him. There’s no sleep, no tiredness, I am running around, cooking huge meals, coordinating with people for cleaning, making travel plans, booking tickets, buying stuff – endless chain of activities just flowing one after the other under the shade of his gracious gaze.
“Your tendency creates more conditioning by using the pre-existing impressions. That is how the layers get added. Old conditioning cannot be wiped out, but if the innate tendency to create new conditioning is somehow shaken, then it will stop creating more mess. I attack the tendency not the accumulated conditioning. This changing of the core tendency is the radical transformation, and not the wiping out of past conditioning.
As your discrimination becomes powerful, the old conditioning will wither away and be rendered useless. After this, whatever new impressions are formed will not be harmful and will be used by your system for functioning efficiently. It is impossible not to be affected by the environment you live in, so you will take in only that information which is necessary and discard the rest. This will address the well being of the individual as well as life around him or her. This is how life functions.”Guha
“I have no miraculous powers. If I had any, the world would be at my feet, which is not the case! Some people say I have a funny effect on them and they feel something in my presence. That is what they say, but even they don’t know what it is. And I don’t know anything either, I don’t see anything in me. So, both are unknown.
Power means you should be able to use it to get what you want. But if it is unknown, what can you do with it?”Guha
“What you see as my response to you, and my actions like taking you for a drive, giving you something, chit chatting with you etc. creates a solidified image about me inside your head. Then you begin to expect familiar responses from me, and then begins your trouble. You try to establish a relationship. But the real action, the life-abiding aspects are outside of this area. What actually works or happens is not in this field of relationships or conditioned responses. It does not depend on any of these. It is independent of what you think. It is not easy to see this! It requires total rejection of everything. When I was deeply reflecting about this in UG’s presence, my initial joy and excitement vanished.”
What joy there is in singing! I have been singing since morning and listening to Bach and Chopin. Feeling such lightness. There is joy without cause or reason. G called me before he went to sleep and I was giggling away and singing some of Tagore’s lines. His face glowed! We hardly spoke!
I am thinking his company seems to have exhumed all that was dark, resistive and fearful in me. His essence is cruising in my blood, giving me a new shot of life every moment. I feel like kneeling down to this life-abiding presence. Life feels worth living for the first time. He said yesterday, “I am ecstatic for you! Now live your life in style and don’t give a shit about anything.” This is pure magic as far as I am concerned!
What a burden I was carrying in my head for as long as I can remember. I was stuffed with rotten images, fearful projections and self-pity. I was helplessly dependent on the approval of others. I was also a clever manipulator using and dominating others for my gratification. This is what I knew as ‘Me, Myself’ and defended obstinately. I was nonetheless feeling suffocated in this private ghetto of my own creation. There used to be an inexplicable discomfort in by body all the time. Everyday, I used to wake up in the morning tense and anxious not knowing what do to. I was gradually becoming aware that thought was playing a fearful movie in my waking and dream states in an infinite loop. I just wanted out!
I am startled that the same information processing system that used to wreak havoc in my life, is now singing a different tune altogether. Much of the thoughts and feelings that it is now generating seem conducive to the well-being of this organism. This is making me realise that the body is everything and its equilibrium is the only thing that is necessary for me. It is not that I am in touch with what is unfolding in my body, that is not possible. I am only beginning to see that I have no business to obstruct its innate rhythm. I am nobody and have to stay out of its way.
What a mind-blowing shift this is. All my attention has been gathered and pulled into my body! There is hardly any distraction. Wow! I have become very focused even while doing minor stuff like cleaning my phone, organising my wallet or combing my hair. I seem to be in no hurry and no work seems monotonous. I am also becoming more attentive to my body’s signals like hunger, fullness, unease, repulsion, lightness, heat and more. There seems to be nothing in this world which is more interesting than this. There is a Bengali talk of his recorded in 2012, in which he talks about the body. He says “There is nothing unknown for the body. You think you know what is good for it! You don’t have any clue about what it wants. If you are lucky and you come to know, you will discover that your body is even mightier than your so called God! It is the life beating powerfully inside you which is the prime mover.”
He told me sometime back, “Nobody wants you to be free, much less your near and dear ones. Nobody will like your independence.”
It is raining outside. I am nobody.
What business do I have to come in the way of the natural functioning of my body? My knowledge had established such a stranglehold on me that living had become a misery. Intellect, will, self, knower are all one and the same.
The living energy that runs through every cell in the universe is the reservoir that supplies all that is necessary for life to continue and thrive. It has worked for millions of years in space-time to make us what we are today. This body is nature’s property. My idea that I am its owner, is the source of all sorrow. This is a powerful illusion thought creates. Until the body takes over, there’s no way out of this misery. How the body takes over is a mystery. Is there anything that I did to trigger it? I don’t think so. I was helpless and miserable. G says, “Thought and thinker are the end products of the workings of the brain. They can never discover the source or change anything there. Thought is never in touch with anything that is working inside you.” It is so simple to see. There is nothing to understand. I have no responsibility to know or do anything about it. This is freedom.
I am drinking coffee at Starbucks and wondering what all my thinking and trying to understand did for me? Nothing, it now seems. This whole movement was false. A burden that keeps on multiplying every moment. Every inference, every conclusion interferes with life’s flow. I am feeling that there is nothing to be afraid of in this world other than my own ugly ideas and images. The enemy is inside, eating away at the body’s vital energy.
We show false courtesy and engage in false conversations. We have nothing to say to each other. Living a false life has become a habit. He said, “Two people are two interacting images. Each trying to figure out what it can get from the other to fortify its own sense of self. There is no such thing as a relationship. Every relationship is mutual exploitation. Even sex becomes a problem after some time. You are free only when you don’t use anybody for your pleasure or satisfaction. Otherwise you are sold body and mind.” I realise the depth of this statement. If I don’t need anything from anyone, I cannot have any relationships whatsoever. Even the subtlest of demands can enslave me, including the intellectual ones.
But this cannot be forced upon oneself. It cannot be practiced. You cannot not have sex if sexual desire is burning inside you. You cannot practice giving up anything. Any practice is torture.
There’s no time for thought. I am not supplying energy to it. If anything comes to my mind, I act immediately. Like booking my stay at a hotel, going to the mall for coffee, buying flight tickets etc. And I seem to have no concern for money. I am buying whatever I feel like. There are no calculations. I am amazed at this change in my dealings with money! When I had a job and was earning handsomely, I used to be worried about money. And looking at a big bank balance would give me pleasure. And then I saw how he dealt with money given he has none of his own! He keeps a sharp eye on his accounts, settling dues with everyone on the spot. He says, “Keep it out of the way!” Many of his friends feel uncomfortable with his approach. He says sternly, “There’s no democracy as far as I am concerned. If you don’t like it, you can leave now!” People are used to playing games with money and he never allows that! To top it all, he silently pays for friends who cannot pay for themselves!
About himself, he says “If I don’t have money, I don’t travel. I don’t ask anybody for money either. If I don’t have the means, I have no desire. Somehow money and other things come when necessary. I have this confidence that cannot be passed on to anyone.”
I sit in coffee shops and write. I watch people in malls. There is no unease. Sometimes thought habitually pops up trying to capture what’s going on, what state this is, but it subsides soon unable to take root.
I find it rather strange that I fell in love with whatever I saw of G since the beginning. It didn’t matter if he was being sweet or bursting like a volcano, my friend was a spectacle to behold and still is! I have never felt what am I doing with this guy or am I wasting my time hanging around him. I questioned nothing about him. This is strange because I had never seen anybody as radical as him before, neither did I ever travel like crazy, as I did with him, without plans or agenda. Yet I felt at home with him, I had to be with him, there was no other way. It is like discovering your long lost friend all over again. He captured me even before I could blink and saved me all the trouble.
I went for a drive to the hills today. Although it’s the middle of monsoon season, there was hardly any rain today. But the waterfalls were in full bloom. Monkeys were doing their thing at the viewpoints.
There is a steady calm inside me. I can see how thought continuously pops up creating a comparative state of mind. It has to relate to some image, otherwise it cannot exist. I can see what he wants to convey when he says “What is happening inside you is the reality, not what should happen.” What an unburdening, what a grace!
His words are mighty; they seem like the radiation of life’s raw energy. To me it appears his energy can focus, like concentrated sun rays through a magnifying glass, on the darkest corners of the mind and burn down the impenetrable layers of images if one is completely open to him. Even when he is thousands of miles away from me, when his words drill something powerfully into me over the phone, my chest starts burning, something like an electric current flows through my limbs, the body heats up, my heart beats like crazy and I turn into a corpse. After a while, or sometimes after days, I am back to normal. He is a merciless slayer of the knower, the corrupt. He digs out the deeper layers of conditioning and breathes fire on them. Any thought, any idea that comes in the way, is his prey! Such is the fury of the raw life force in him! But even the slightest resistance on our part halts this natural process. This is my own discovery and I don’t care for anybody’s validation or approval. The experiences of others have little value for me, because I don’t need them to judge where I stand. But I also know each individual values his or her own experiences.
I see how mechanical the movement of knowledge is. It goes on and on like an old habit. Conflict creates censorship, turning us into arrogant and depressed individuals. The illusory knower thinks all its problems will be solved by more knowledge, and that there is an ultimate knowledge which will give freedom from sorrows and pain. It seems almost impossible to be able to wriggle out of the trap of knowledge, into which we are thrown at a tender age. Knowledge gives birth to numerous images and every image creates its exact opposite. The interaction between the images and their opposites creates a tremendous conflict. To put it mildly, it is a war zone! To keep it raging, there must be a relentless supply of images, which in turn is generated by an infinite loop of knowledge-experience-knowledge. This continuous process apparently creates the illusion of a permanent self, thinker, knower, me, I. Where does the fuel come from to sustain such a cumbersome and draining act? It comes from the body’s own vital energy.
I am observing how thought gives continuity to experiences and feelings. This way the knower is forever present without a moment of respite. This drains so much energy. It seems to me, occasionally when the body refuses to supply energy for image-making, we get a sinking feeling and call it ‘depression’ or “lack of purpose”. I have also gone through these lows, it is familiar territory. The knower lives on a slippery ground and needs a constant supply of past images and future projections. Without this it cannot exist.
I remember him saying recently, “No experience and its resultant conclusion has any value for me, forget about it having any value for others. Every moment is different and nothing needs to be carried over. It is a huge burden you carry.” I was helplessly carrying this burden and struggling to wriggle out if it. I couldn’t do anything other than being aware of its ugly nature. I used to get tired and drained out. But I also started experiencing from 2011 onwards an ecstatic state of joy and lightness. I felt as if thoughts used to get pushed to the background during those times. It used to last for some days and then thoughts would come back with vengeance. This went on and on for about 5 years till I met Guha.
I am beginning to see that there is no need to understand anything. This is living without distractions. It is becoming obvious to me that my body has everything it needs to respond every moment to the demands of living.
Throughout the day I am seeing how thought tries to conclude, understand and create guilt, every single moment. It keeps on connecting everything and carrying them over to the next moment, building up a huge momentum. Oh my gosh! It is so invested in the outcome of every experience and interaction! It is plain evil, destroying the body’s natural equilibrium and sensitivity.
I was thinking today morning that I am living rather simply. Eating, sleeping, cleaning, doing laundry. This is peace, this is relief! Just like a cat licks its fur, cleans it’s paws, sleeps, hunts and eats, a perfect slave of nature without any will of its own. There is no other way to live. Our ideas corrupt this pristine flow of life. Will is our enemy.
There is another strange thing. It is a little early to say this but I will anyway. If there is no worry of future, if the projections are absent, and the will to do anything is weak, then whatever is necessary becomes available when needed. There is hardly any dissatisfaction or disappointment. There is no time, the attention moves on to the next thing. This is intriguing! We have no idea about how life moves. It is and will perhaps remain a mystery. He told me sometime back, “As you start shedding your mental burden, you will witness a tremendous flow in your life.”
He cautions us, “There is no such thing as a thoughtless state at all! It is plain bullshit! It is an image you have created as a result of your struggle with thought. The only thing which is possible, is for thought to fall in its right place, where it no longer has a stranglehold on the organism. It is only used when needed. It is like using a pen to write and keeping it down when done.” How supremely simple and potent his words are! Whatever falls from his mouth enter straight inside me without resistance.
He says, “There is no such thing as perfection in Nature. Life constantly navigates through obstacles and adapts itself to survive. This is the dynamic equilibrium of life. If it cannot, it dies gracefully.” This is very evident in animals. There is no scope for despair. To read or discuss about this is one thing, but discovering this functionality in one’s own living is radically different. It sets in motion something that thought dare not touch. It takes away all guilt.
I don’t feel lonely or bored. I don’t know how my days pass. I am not evaluating anything hence there’s no agenda I guess. I don’t seem to have a particular goal for myself – what I should do or what I should be. What I still want is to be where he his, but my current rhythm is such that I am not unhappy about anything. There is no disappointment. I feel light, active, without worries. I feel no fear or insecurity. I am simply on my own – singing, writing, making coffee, cleaning my room, getting documents ready for my US visa application. The only person I am interested in talking to is him. I miss nobody and don’t desire anybody’s company. Thoughts come and go like an old habit but their hold is weak and they don’t seem to persist like before. Also, my body heats up if any worry crops up and I become very aware of it.
I don’t have a permanent address now. If I get the visa I will go to US and stay with him for a couple of months and then come back with him to India. If I don’t get it, I don’t know where I will go next. I have no plans and no worries either. I just feel like moving around and not staying at any place for too long. He told me, “The journey is from unknown to unknown.” When I was a kid I used to read travel magazines and used to love globetrotters. I remember being deeply fascinated with the idea of a nomadic life.
I feel until the body’s innate process gains an upper hand, one is helpless against the momentum of thought. It boggles my mind to think how powerful life’s demand for harmony is, that it engineered a near-impossible encounter between me and him, given we come from such different backgrounds and geography! He had told me, “If you think about it, the probability of you and I meeting is almost zero! But we did! Nature is crying out to free itself from thought induced misery. It wants back its equilibrium with life, which is pre-programmed in every living thing.” I felt this very strongly during our Kodaikanal visit in May 2018. I felt in my guts that even if we remotely understood what is life-abiding in us, nature will do everything possible to give us a helping hand. It is as if it wants its pre programmed order to unfold to establish harmony with rest of the life around us. In Guha life’s energy flows without hindrance. He is a highly sensitive and finely tuned instrument of Mother Nature. This is not my belief, it is an outcome of my observation of his living through intense interactions with him. Resonance with him can trigger the process of unburdening in an individual. It is nature’s mystery! He calls it “Attraction, resonance and unfoldment!” The question is – unfolding of what? It is nature’s program that unfolds, and it is nobody’s private business and nobody can know or manipulate it. It is not the religious bullshit about finding God, finding Brahman or the Self. All of that is a big hoax!
Guha’s friend the Bangladeshi poet Nannu Mahbub approached him in 2012 with a request to write a piece in Bengali on U.G. It was published as the preface in Nannu’s Bengali translation of U.G’s book Thought Is Your Enemy. When I read it years later, I found Guha’s expression in his mother tongue so unique and poetic that I decided to translate it to English.
U.G. Krishnamurti was a personality whose expression bore the unique rhythm of Nature. When I recollect and relive my experiences from the many years I spent with him, I feel as if thousands of flowers are in bloom amidst the wild green grass covering the mountain slopes and the valleys stretching to the horizon.
The superhuman effort to find a solution for the problems in his life brought about a burning discrimination in U.G. His uncompromising mentality gave rise to immense inward courage and determination. While traversing the path of life, an acausal, calamitous event struck him, out of which was born a living solution. The proof of the existence of Nature’s symbiotic equilibrium became palpable in all his movements. If we can approach his conversations with an open mind, then perhaps that living melody will begin to play in every chord in our body. When thought-driven desires create a dissonance in the natural rhythm of an individual, problems begin. The imperceptible feeling underlying this aspect can be called ‘Thought is your enemy’.
Rooted in this inconceivable space, U.G. was mingling with the people of the world, regardless of their caste, colour, religion, economic status or talent. His conversations are pregnant with pointers that can help us go to the root of our problems and give us the courage and determination to reject everything that does not work in our lives.