My time in isolation with Sabyasachi Guha during the global pandemic
India’s Prime Minister announced a nationwide curfew tomorrow, 22nd March, which also happens to be the day UG died in 2007. People in India have been told to stay home. The police will arrest anyone who violates the curfew. It is a national emergency.
A fiercely infectious viral pandemic is galloping across countries, sending shockwaves through every modern human institution, cracking up everything we humans have built and considered infallible until now. The paranoia is of an unprecedented scale.
I am with Guha in Kolkata. There is nobody else. We are in self quarantine at an Airbnb. We came to Kolkata on the 24th of February and moved into this apartment on 2nd March. To me, it appears as if Nature has hatched this conspiracy to lock me up with G! I know this sounds like a childish idea, but what the heck, I landed up with him! He said the same thing today evening sporting his usual grin!
I started feeling a bit hyper and serious a couple of days before the curfew was announced. I have lost my appetite completely since then. Something must have been brewing inside. I had a huge headache yesterday and loose motions. The piss and shit felt hot. When G jokingly asked a while back, “What will happen if you start shitting fire?!” I said, “I already am!” We both started laughing. Today, a fire is burning around the navel all day. I can only eat bitter gourd, we have tonnes of it brought by local friend.
What is it like to be locked up in a house with a phenomenon that has pervaded all that I knew as “Me” and “Mine”, a presence that has left little space for worries, fears and doubts? Well, there are too many thoughts now! They are all about him – of how to take care of him, what is the best food for him, what I should buy for him, what he said clearly or hinted at, so much to think about! There’s hardly any time to think about “Me”.
My knees have been aching all day. The right wrist is paining. Red, scratchy rashes suddenly appeared next to the navel and on the lower left side of the stomach. There is a swelling on the upper side of the right jaw, very close to the earlobe. It pains if I touch it, otherwise I don’t know. When I told him, he just said, “It’s ok, don’t ever scratch the rashes.”
He is shining in his full glory. He recited his Bengali poem Anidra and asked me to record it. He explained many things to me. He talked about some of his close friends and their dispositions, and how he deals with each one of them, as if imparting me a direct lesson. I was acutely attentive. That strange automation that I have experienced so many times before, is kicking in again. It is a relief because I don’t have the burden of choice when this happens.
Mother Nature is camping in isolation with me as the world deals with the Coronavirus epidemic. She is imparting life lessons like a mother bird teaches her chick to fly, like an elephant mom gently nudges her newborn to stand up with her huge trunk. It is serious business though, and he is extremely purposeful and focused. It is Nature’s song, its tune, its primal rhythm, a powerful pulse that is pushing through all barriers to express itself.
I lose my mind when I begin to think how the whole situation developed that left him and me locked up in an apartment here in Kolkata. Due to the highly infectious nature of the virus and the extent of its spread, all of India is under lockdown. Nobody can travel anywhere. So, I am with him, just him. He tells all his friends that only I stayed back with him, everyone else had to go away for one reason or another. He warned me jokingly, “Many people will be jealous of you now!”
He cooked pasta yesterday night! It was delicious, Guhine!!! (there’s no such thing as divine anyway!) We mixed it up with leftover boiled vegetables and fenugreek leaves and it tasted out of this world! Then he washed pots and dishes. He can do everything. I observe him in amazement, like a chick in the nest watching its mother soaring high up into the gorgeous blue, then swooping down, displaying all her moves, her grandeur. The chick learns unknowingly.
Today he suddenly dictated the following text to me. I was so high, so drunk, I couldn’t figure anything. He said, “I am just telling how you feel now, write it down and send it to Suman Babu!” Suman Babu is a local friend who visits often.
There is only one thing that I am intoxicated with. I looked far and wide, deep within and without, but I couldn’t find anything anywhere that could take away my pain, until Guha came to me. And now I don’t know what it is to live like I did before. All I can say is I am intoxicated with Guwine! (Guha+Wine)
The national lockdown got extended for twenty one more days!
The world outside is shaking with fear but within these four walls, there’s only joy. What is happening in this modest apartment is historic as far as my life is concerned. I feel intoxicated from head to toe all day. I have tasted beer and wine and I know what it means to be mildly intoxicated. But this intoxication triggers on its own and does not have the effects of hangover like headaches, nausea, agitation or a huge low, that drugs and drinking induce. Its effects are exactly the opposite. The system slows down, there’s a deep refreshing feeling inside and a restfulness. My speech slurs, eyes turn puffy and my steps are unsteady, even though I am wide awake. I don’t know what exactly induces this state, but I have no doubt it is because of his life-abiding presence. I feel extremely aware and everything in my environment comes alive with a vibrance and power that is incomprehensible yet undeniable. G says, “The right resonance leads to an energy exchange with Nature which is life-abiding and results in an unburdening for the system.”
Nature seems to be breathing a sigh of relief as we humans are forced to stay indoors. I can almost hear it in the chirping and singsong of the birds. Birds that would otherwise never enter our localities, are happily hopping around, mating and doing what not!
I am crazy with bliss! My head says, Mother Nature is spending time with me! He cooks, does dishes. This is between the mother and child.
He has taken over the kitchen! He plans the menu for our lunches and dinners. He is teaching me everything – washing dishes, then wiping them dry, having a standard measure for every ingredient of cooking, optimizing the portions so that nothing goes to waste, storing the rice, lentils, whole grains in jars and labelling them – a super efficient and practical way of functioning.
We cook once, eat for two days, then cook again. The refrigerator is mostly empty, except for 2-3 bowls of rice, curry and some daal. We also stock a few cartons of milk for coffee and a little salad.
He organises his closet neatly. Every piece is where it should be. He wears a shirt for 3 days, then washes it. It is almost like what people call “A Zen living”, but they have no clue what it is to fall into this rhythm without practice or the idea of achieving a preconceived goal. There’s no way to define or put a stamp on the way he lives. It is spontaneous, not consistent, it is a response, not a conformance to some silly ideology. He says emphatically, “To mould one’s way of living in order to prove to others that one is in a particular state of being, is to actually falsify oneself.” After watching him from close quarters, I have realised he has no notion that he is in any particular heightened state, hence his actions do not conform to any of the much-described and glorified states like Advaita or Satchidananda, which we have been brainwashed to believe exist.
If I have ever learnt anything useful in life, it is only from him. Most of what I was either taught or I tried to learn myself, before he came into my life, were garbage that needed to burn away in his pure fire. I suffered from the lack of focus since childhood. And now, he has taken over my mindspace in a way that nothing else ever could. Everything about him, his gestures, his movements, his rage, his laughter has a magnetic appeal for me. The sound of his voice is music to my ears! This feeling I cannot generate by will. It is its own thing.
The phrase familiarity breeds contempt falls flat when it comes to the dynamics around him. The more I observe him, the more my respect and adoration deepen for this guy. And it seems to only increase by the day.
The totality of his presence has a massive effect on my body. The intense burning, the slowing down of thoughts, the loss of speech, the intoxication and the currents of joy that spring out of it are possibly the physical exhibition of a deep living resonance between two systems.
A friend of G’s, wrote a piece after spending ten days with G here in Kolkata earlier this month. It was about his discovery of something that he did not know existed before. G sent his writeup to other friends and asked them to comment on it. He read all the responses to me, asked what I thought about each and then helped me interpret them. I freely said whatever came to mind at that time. A little later, I was thinking aloud, “What right do I have to comment on the psychology of his friends? Who do I think I am?!” He heard me and said reassuringly, “What you did is fine”. I immediately knew that he wanted me to do it and be attentive to these aspects. I felt relieved.
Later he compiled all the comments and sent them back to the friend in a beautifully written letter which I place here:
This is a glimpse of Subject Specific Functional Reality, which reflects the variation in our understanding of the same text! This is the world you have to navigate. What you have just experienced is the response from a relatively benign and friendly segment, you can imagine the real possibility of what is probably to come. Your depth of understanding and courage to hold onto very precious, deeply-perceived personal feelings can help you find a stable ground on which to stand, to keep yourself functioning sanely as a balanced and appropriate member of the human race, at this present time.
The friend replied:
I cannot begin to express my gratitude and luck. The real troubles of life I was escaping from, could have landed me in a bigger self-created trouble. For me, a social kafir, the natural phenomenon called Guha did prevent that crash and put me in the midst of real troubles. The phenomenon called Guha is very vital in my phenomenology.
We went for a quick early morning jog in our neighbourhood. The Lake is closed because of the lockdown. After coming back he suggested we finish shower first and then make breakfast.
He told me I should chronicle my daily life with him during these extraordinary times. He described how he and Julie used to write everyday when they were with UG, and that they would feel uneasy if they didn’t.
So, here I am in my room writing and recording whatever is coming to my head. This house is the nursery of Mother Nature. The seeds were sown sometime back, now, in the right environment, new life is springing up. G’s piercing attention, his loving shade and his fierce glare provide vital nutrition and protection to my sapling.
In my most serious and intense interactions with him, most things are unsaid. His body language does all the talking. One look from the corner of his eyes, one movement of his hand, or just one word falling from his lips, and that’s enough. I think it is a more direct way of communication as compared to using language. There’s no question of confusion here, because I am not trying to understand anything through my ideas. I had identified this “effort to understand” as a wasteful, energy-draining exercise after I met him, but the momentum kept going for quite sometime, then it finally died down in his proximity.
Just a while ago, I heard him washing something in his bathroom. I asked him what he was doing. He said, “Look I have to wash these socks and my mask. I am going to soak them in detergent. Can you pour some detergent liquid?” “How much should I pour?”, I asked. He seemed rattled and said sternly, “Why ask me, don’t you know? You lived all by yourself for many years, yet you don’t know these things?” I got a jolt and realised I had been casual with him. I ran to the kitchen looking for a measuring cup. As I was searching, I turned around and he was right behind me! He said softly, “Grab a tablespoon and put two spoonfuls of detergent. Then see if that’s enough, if not, put more. This way you will know the exact measure for a particular volume of wash.” What a lesson!
Moral of the story: Optimising and streamlining repetitive activities lead to efficiency in daily living, because you don’t have to break your head every time you execute them.
He is purposeful and focused in everything he does. From cooking, to cleaning dishes, to addressing people’s questions on complex human problems, he does it all with a breathtaking ease and simplicity.
His affection is like a warm blanket in the freezing cold. He never imposes himself on me, I have a free rein to be just the way I am. Yet, he is my universe, I have nothing else to think of. All my social ties and drives paled rapidly into non-existence since his advent in my life. Everything, other than him, turned tasteless. Now, I have nowhere to go, and nothing can hold me back either.
A dear friend of G’s, a local, called in the evening. G was on the phone with Julie so he asked me to take the call. I was making dinner so I put the call on speaker. The friend started talking about an experiment he did long back by keeping a few bats in a cage and giving them food on alternate days. He boasted that the bats became so fond of him that even after he freed them, they would still hang around him. He said he loved animals and wanted to help them by doing experiments on them. My insides twisted when I heard this. I blurted out uncontrollably, “You think you love them, but to them it is torture. How would you feel if your wife or child is locked in a cage and fed once in two days in the name of scientific exploration? Then you will know what pain is. What do you think gives us humans the right to torture other forms of life for our own recreation? G wrote in his poem: You have read so much, you know so much, but why don’t the demands which are beyond your need fall off? Your situation is like that. Has knowledge reduced your mental pain, your restlessness?” He sounded a little shaken but gathered himself and said, “It hasn’t, on the contrary I am more restless than ever and remorseful. I feel I have wasted my life.” At this point I suddenly realized what I had just told him. I said, “I am sorry for speaking to you like this, before I knew the words came out of me involuntarily.” He said what I said was true, so I shouldn’t be sorry. He was a sport.
This gentleman used to work in a bank, and is a scholar and a self-taught researcher with interests in diverse subjects. His interest in spirituality took him all around India, from the mountains in the north, to the seas of the south, in search of sadhus, yogis and pundits. He is fond of G and visits him often. He says about G, “What sadhus struggle to attain even after a lifetime of practice and penance in caves and forests, this guy here (G) has got it just like that! And he doesn’t make any fuss about it, it is so simple for him.” G tries to point out how running after sadhus and reading about spirituality have failed to address his deep seated sorrow and the sense of lack of fulfilment, because what he is engaged in is merely a knowledge game, which has nothing to do with his overall well-being. This is not easy for the gentleman to accept. He thinks knowledge is sacrosanct and an end in itself. He asks many questions and brings out a lot from G, which are mostly in pure Bengali. G’s choice of words, sentence construction and delivery in Bengali is of the highest order that I know of, being a Bengali myself.
Today was a strange day. I felt sleepy all the time. I can’t keep my eyes open. Usually, when we sleep, the outside world gets wiped out of our consciousness. But this is a different kind of sleep. It is like being in the waking state with eyes closed, wherein I can hear, smell and feel things as if I am awake. My body goes into a state of suspended animation and I can’t move or speak. Thoughts slow down to an extent that I can’t process any information in that duration. Sometimes thoughts appear, then vanish immediately, they don’t stay. The body is highly alert and charged up. When the “spell” breaks, I can gradually move my limbs to sit up. My head feels completely empty and light. If G says anything to me at that time, I stare blankly, words and their meanings don’t find tags in my head. He smiles lovingly, he is all too familiar with the workings of the human body! I feel calm and grounded, as if in a deep state of restfulness. After a few minutes, I swing back into action. Today, he asked me with an impish smile on his lips, “Why are you sleepy all the time, is it because of the heat?” Then he added, “It is actually a constant state of meditation.”
Just finished lunch. I cooked and he did the dishes. He made rice too. I ate everything but in tiny morsels. Food never tasted so good. When I eat the first spoonful, my eyes close in bliss, the sensation of various tastes is explosively pleasing! Every flavor is distinct and sharp. Every sound is clear. I feel as if the inside of my head has cleared up and I can hear, see, smell and taste everything like never before! The sense of smell is also heightened. As I was chopping coriander leaves in the kitchen, its smell flooded my head – bliss again. Perhaps, this can truly be called “satisfaction”. I am in awe. I won’t trade this with anything in the universe! I am wonderstruck at discovering what G says all the time, “Your system is already peaceful, it’s your thinking that keeps you from being in equilibrium.” This condition set in around 21st March and it has been nine days since. I don’t want to do anything that disturbs this delicious disposition.
G was explaining a friend’s piece “Fruition of a flower” to me. He said mysteriously, “What you are discovering also discovers you.” This reminded me of something he told Suman Babu a few days before the lockdown began. He had said, “In the process of discovering UG, I ended up discovering myself!”
I was texting a friend on the phone, telling him how intoxicated I was feeling and how my eyes became puffy although I was wide awake. G said, “I will tell you what to write”, then he dictated the following to me:
Often after sitting with G for sometime, when I go to my room and look at the mirror, I see my eyelids are swollen and drooping and my eyes are red. When I asked him what was happening, he said “Although you were awake, your system was going through a restful state as if you came out of a deep sleep, which is a sign of core rejuvenation.”
I just read to him the draft of my reply to Carol’s email. He said he liked it and asked me to keep writing! Then he uttered, “The order that thought creates has nothing to do with the order of life!”
Since the Lake is closed, we walk on the Southern Avenue and its by-lanes in the morning. Today, he kept walking to the end of Southern Avenue where it meets the SP Mukherjee Road. Upon reaching the crossing, he took a left turn. I now knew where he was taking me. Shortly, we reached the gate of Suryodaya! This is where I met him 3.5 half years ago on 29th October! What a pleasant surprise!
I can’t eat. Anything I try makes my mouth acidic. G suggested I try oranges. “The acid in the orange will reduce the acid secretion in your stomach and your mouth will feel good”, he said. He was right, oranges never tasted so good.
There is something I have observed many times starting mid 2017. It was when I felt a huge pressure in my chest and abdomen for the first time. He was in India then and a big group would gather at the table for meals. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why I felt full always. There was another young friend who was skipping meals. One day at breakfast G said, “Because you guys can’t eat, I have to eat for you.” I don’t know about others, but his words startled me. This time, he didn’t say anything but I saw him eat way more than he usually does. For two to three days in a trot, he asked for extra helpings of rice and curry, after finishing his regular portions. I watched him, unable to eat anything myself. When I asked him if I could write about this, he said, “You can write whatever you observe. I don’t know anything, I just do my thing.”
G said, “There is no such thing as a miracle. The only miracle is the radical transformation of a human being, if someone can do it.” He said these words to me as we were watching the Netflix series Messiah. Then he added, “Remember this always. What is happening in your life will stay with you for a long time after I am gone!”
Southend Park, Kolkata
Today as I was cooking, G finished his shower and came out of his room. I noticed he had trimmed his overgrown moustache and beard!
His face was glowing with a beauty and power that I fail to describe. I felt like fainting! I have never seen anything so beautiful. I started dancing around him and said, “It is unbelievable what is emanating from you! What is this magical thing in you?! I don’t know!”
Then he said the most profound thing to me – “The tiger’s jaw which can crack open the skull of a huge bison, when it holds its baby, the same jaw is most gentle and will never hurt the little one!”
I burned all day. No matter how much water I drank, the thirst won’t go. My head is heavy and tight. There’s so much heat in the body. I wonder what this intense heat does inside. I slept for 2 hours before lunch while he washed the greens in kitchen. He told me to just rest. I slept again around 2:40 pm, he also rested for a while. I took a hot shower in the evening and felt better.
I don’t know but it appears to me as if the body renews and refreshes itself in this way. It wants to throw out images and oppressive ideas. What role the intense heat plays in this I don’t know. I remember him saying once that heat burns off unwanted thought, and that unleashes more heat.
We are watching the series Family Man on prime video.
He is super pleased with the tune I gave to his poem UG Krishnamurti Laho Pranam. I tuned it on 19th April and as I was doing it, G started recording so we didn’t forget! He was ecstatic about the melody and rendition and kept telling me, “You have no idea what you have done!”. Since then he’s been telling everybody how talented I am and that I don’t know it myself. He says he wrote this poem 21 years ago and since then had asked many of his friends to try and make it into a song, but it didn’t happen. He has been announcing since, that I am a genius! I am amused! He is happy beyond happy and told me “It means a lot to me!” Then in the most endearing Bengali he said, “Tui ei burota ke khushi korechish! Er theke beshi aar ki ache?!”
What is this unabated ecstasy bubbling inside me day and night?!
This joy, this furious charge in my body … the fullness in my head, chest and stomach … what a symphony … as if everything in me, every bit, all of me … all the pieces are being strung together in a supremely lilting melody to celebrate my expression which is life’s own. It is like all the pieces in a puzzle are falling in their right places. My innate talents – be it in music, writing, communication or reflection, which as G says, are the result of million years of intelligent tinkering by mother nature – are in bloom and are sticky with honey in the nutritious light and rain of Guha, expressing what they were dying to express and resonate with for over three decades.
Massive heatwaves are coursing through the body all day. Been a few days like this … I don’t know how many days exactly. The intense heat is making me faint. The whole body is aching. After I emerge from it, I feel cleansed, free, full, euphoric.
A while earlier around 6:15 pm today, I woke up after passing out. Intense, intense heat and the body was drenched in sweat as I woke up. Before passing out I felt as if I had a light fever with body ache. When I woke up, G asked me to schedule a video call and send out invites to friends the way I do almost every day. As I was I trying to sit up straight, I experienced myself melting into an immense vastness inside me! There was a euphoric surge of something tremendous in the body. I felt joyfully empty and exclaimed, “Oh my god!” and collapsed back into my seat again! G asked what happened? I couldn’t speak and my eyes shut themselves. He immediately sensed something and himself reached out for the laptop and gently handed it over to me saying, “Here, take it. See if you can set up the meeting.” I took the laptop … I felt so drunk! I started muttering… “It’s all empty inside … so quiet and amazing! Oh gosh!
I have noticed the body coils into a semi circular posture, like a baby inside the womb, whenever there’s a surge of energy. This position feels most comfortable. At those times the body becomes very flexible and supple, I can twist and turn myself easily in many ways. Sitting in a tight posture with a straight back and the right leg in an upside down “V” over the left leg feels good.
Today red itchy rashes appeared on my wrist, right side of stomach, above the navel and the left elbow developed tiny itchy swellings. It is difficult to keep clothes on … my skin feels hypersensitive and supple. So much heat! Healing heat … perhaps cleaning centuries old conditioning from every pore and rejuvenating the entire existence.
I feel as if I grew up under his blazing sun, his sweet shadow and his nourishing rain – my life giving friend! He has slayed me with his love! His unbroken attention is akin to the sun raining it’s light on earth to nourish life.
He just uttered as Revathi called, “Entertainment can never enter the territory of our well-being.”
Goal, purpose and agenda, the way I used to know them, are dead. My thought space is shrinking and the trapped energy is pouring more and more into the dynamic space of living and action. The more it pours, the more it tastes its own incredible rhythm and power, it is beginning to gather the crucial momentum needed to crack open all gates, clear every obstacle to gush forth into its very own field – the playground of the living energy.
There is a swelling above the navel. It is itching severely and burning as if I spilled hot oil on the skin. The solar plexus area is burning and reddish.
The swelling on the stomach suddenly reminded me of something my parents told me long long back. When I was born there was a big blood-red patch on my stomach in exactly the same place which is now swollen and burning and slightly red. Mom said when they saw the flaming red patch on the newborn, they were worried and consulted a doctor. I think the doctor asked them to leave it alone. The red colour started fading and completely disappeared by the time I was 7 years old. I told this story to G. He rarely explains these physical events to me. Sometimes he would give a subtle hint, sometimes his body language would tell me just enough. He wants me to just let the body be and not use thought to interfere in its rhythm. He told me a couple of times before when I reported some swellings and burning, “You don’t need to understand anything. Don’t talk to yourself.” This utterance was enough to stop every endeavour of mine in every direction to understand what was happening to me.
I am applying aloe vera gel on the area all day. The burn is so sharp and intense! I can barely keep my clothes on. Tremendous heat waves … and sweat bursting out every now and then.
I can barely eat. I am full in the head and everywhere.
Adiba keeps writing almost every day on whatsapp. I can sense that she can’t help it. I never write to her on my own, but she texts everyday. She was my roommate in Kolkata and I like her. Today she wrote to me that she was miserable mentally and physically. She can’t sleep and feels dreadfully unwell, has headaches etc. I felt my inside twist as I read her text. “What is this girl going to do? What can I say to her?”, I exclaimed aloud. I told G, “Why am I feeling such pain for her? What can I even do?!” He simply smiled.
I asked her to start jogging in the morning and reduce carbs, salt and sugar intake and increase greens and protein in her diet. I learned these things from G. Then I told her, “Start tomorrow and keep it up. Your well-being is in your hands. Why should you let yourself suffer? What for?” She seemed to understand and readily agreed to get going. I really wish she gets back on her feet soon.
I feel I am living inside a boiler. Heat is melting me from inside out. Today, for the first time I felt I was getting used to being so hot. I didn’t turn on the fan although I was drenched in sweat and felt red hot. There was a peculiar comforting sensation of being cleansed from inside. In the absence of the constant buzz of thoughts, I sense a calm alertness that generates a euphoria, a high without any reason. I feel the body’s rejuvenating power is rightfully taking over the control of the neurobiological system from the clutches of thought. I have never felt so alive, so fulfilled ever in life. It is not the thinker’s doing. Its relentless chatter is anti-life. The thinker has to surrender to the life force within. It must melt into the ocean of life’s energy and surface only when necessary.
I got knocked out again today after breakfast. In this state, my mind almost stops, there is hardly any mental movement. An acute alertness hears every sound, smells everything without any translation. The body freezes completely, the eyes shut and every pore gets charged with a huge surge of energy. Sometimes some fleeting mental images surface but they burn out quickly and there’s a discharge of heat in the body. Then the energy withdraws and the spell breaks, allowing me to move again gradually. Every time this happens, I feel more and more lighter and euphoric. I feel drunk with my body’s own energy. I woke with the thought of chopping off my hair. Who wants to take care of long hair and stuff? There’s no time for such things in my life anymore!
Today evening before coffee time, I suddenly felt a sharp prickly sensation in the back of my head where the neck meets the skull. It was as if the area was being pricked by sharp thorns. It was also burning. It vanished after 20 mins or so.
Today I finished translating Manush, his Bengali poem. It was an intense exercise and I am really surprised by the level of focus that has developed in me. It is a fiery concentration that penetrates whichever subject resonates with me. I would say the translation got done pretty quickly, given how complex and extraordinary the subject is, and how brilliant and classical his expression in Bengali is. Still, the English version is a pale shadow of the original Bengali masterpiece. My body was on fire and drenched in sweat as I worked on the piece. I felt my focus is like a blazing fire that rips right through me and spills words onto the page. I felt severely feverish when I finished. Something funny happened then … Wanting some relief from the heat, I gulped down some chilled coke and lo and behold, the feverish heat subsided exactly like how a fire is doused by pouring water over it!
Today is his birthday. Because of the national lockdown, it’s just the two of us in this apartment. Fountains of joy are overflowing here, relentless waves of euphoria are sweeping me off my feet. G is in the fullest bloom possible! I am jumping all around him, and singing with him.
We had a virtual birthday celebration on zoom with people pouring their hearts out for him through poems, songs and video presentations.
It is only love that can put the thinker, the interloper in the right place and make it what it is – a slave of the body. Only love can untangle this rotting knot. Only love can do the impossible i.e., make this centuries-old, mighty, narcissistic, fascist thinker forget about itself! This is the greatest miracle that can happen to a human being and it happened to me after Guha walked into my life in his full glory! He became the balm on my wound and the fire in my chest. He bewitched my grief-stricken mind with his auspicious presence. He became everything. One thing, the only thing, the only desire. My old life and living bowed down to him and burned themselves out.
Handmade Home, Kolkata
Just before disappearing into his room to sleep he told me, “You are getting ready now. You have to go very far.”
I am in my bed. I feel a strange excitement about what is happening to me. I am getting rooted in my body more and more. The body is becoming the most important thing. This is so fascinating. The relentless process of thinking is loosing its grip on me. The primal power of the body is asserting itself for its own well-being. This discovery of what is real in one’s existence and what is not, is of tremendous value to an individual. I cannot even begin to express what a shatteringly powerful movement this is in nature – a tiny dot beginning to discover its innate connection with the infinitely vast field of life’s energy. All I feel is the powerful surge of energy coursing through my body, clearing up cobwebs of thought created conflict that were resistant to the flow of life. I don’t know what life is or how this body is connected with the vast energy field. The energy pulsating in my body vitalises me in a way I never knew was possible. This energy seems to have its ups and downs like the waves in the ocean. It is by itself, for itself. Who can question or know anything about it? What is the need? Questioning disrupts the flow of this energy. It is fitting for thought to retreat and let life dance to its own music. I find no other way to express this at this moment. Anyone who has got a taste of this will know what I am trying to say. Perhaps very few will see.
Handmade Home, Kolkata
His eldest sister passed away on 13th May at Hindmotor. We got the news around 9:30 in the morning. She was very dear to him and was unwell since the last few years. G paid for her hospitalisation and care before she passed. He called his youngest brother immediately to arrange for a car. Uber and other cabs were off the road because of the lockdown. He got cash, got dressed, we ate early lunch and were ready to leave. His youngest brother arranged a car from his doctor friend for us. We took just 40 minutes to reach Hindmotor. Roads were empty. Her body was on a bed in a small room packed with people. He held the sheet along with five other people and brought the body down to be put inside the hearse. We walked to the cremation ground just five minutes from there by the bank of Ganges, a beautiful place. There were some old friends of his too.Then he and his brothers took her up to the incinerator. In 15 mins all that was left of her was a handful of ash. For the first time, I felt death had nothing to do with sorrow or loss. His brothers and sisters carried out the rituals without any drama or emotional exhibition. G was just normal, didn’t come in the way of any rituals, let everything happen as his family wanted. We went back briefly to his ancestral house and then left for Kolkata. He then had the idea of making a slideshow of her photos with him singing Madhuro madhoro dhwani baje, a Tagore song in the background. Venky worked hard and created a delightful piece.
In my eyes, he stands out distinctly even when amongst a crowd of people. His graceful body language, his relaxed demeanour, his hair flying in the crisp air, I thought he looked like a swan by the water. I couldn’t take my eyes off him even for a second. I kept clicking pictures. He exudes a quality which I don’t see anywhere else. But it doesn’t look like his friends and family from here see anything different or special in him.
In this vast field of life, whatever my eyes can perceive and my brain can translate using knowledge, have created a functional reality in me which, for the first time in my life, asserts every moment without doubt or conflict, that there’s an unmistakable signature, a rare expression of harmony operational inside him. It is as real to me as the sunlight or the wind.
His family wanted me to come with him for the cremation. He didn’t expect it and I was pleasantly surprised too. He said, “See how they invited you, I didn’t have to do anything!” His family at Hindmotor are very nice to me.
A young friend of G’s chats with me often. He is 23 years old yet mature. He is about to finish his masters in philosophy. He has the rare combination of intellectual prowess and vulnerability. He seems open minded too. What he will make out of this rare encounter with G, only time will tell.
Today a friend was suggesting that there’s a new series on prime, and before he could type the name, I said if was “Paataal Lok” we’ve already finished it! The friend couldn’t believe it and said, “You guys are way ahead of the game! Woah!” G heard this and said to me, “They have no clue how on the ball you are with everything!”
2-3 days ago he told me “The egg has been pierced and new life has germinated. The egg is no longer there and now the tree is growing from the seed!” Later he told, “You won’t need this old man much anymore. You have to live by yourself.”
Today he again said, “My job is done. My time is coming to an end. You have to set sail into your own life. It is like a child has to live on its own after it grows up. This is Nature’s way, nobody has any say in this matter.”
Handmade Home, Kolkata
Super cyclone Amphun hit Kolkata today evening around 4:39 pm. A huge storm raged for about 3-4 hrs, with sheets of rain beating down. We lost power around 7 pm. He cooked a big pot of pasta in the evening so that we can survive without cooking even if the power didn’t come back in 24 hrs. His favourite mango trees were swaying madly in the fierce winds, beating on his balcony and on the kitchen window. Then he saw a few mangoes fall. We ran downstairs to collect them. We went out on the street. What a sight! Raw nature! He picked 5-6 mangoes that fell in his balcony. We were like kids enjoying everything around! He was taking videos, watching the news, answering some phone calls.
I cleaned the whole house in the morning today. I have so much energy, I feel I can do anything. I feel purely undistracted. No worries, no anxiety about anything enters my head. He said today to me, “You are headless”.
We had early dinner around 7:30 pm, then watched news on my phone. Then he felt sleepy so he retired. Only his room had light coming from outside so we didn’t need to use our phone torches. He sang Daake barobaar daake in his beautiful booming voice. It made me go into a trance. I said to him “Who could have imagined I would get so much uninterrupted time with you?! This is an extraordinary situation! It’s been two months now!” He laughed and said, “See what nature did for you!” Then he shook my right hand, felt something and said “This is called Tapas”. I asked, “Is it so? I don’t know anything.” He laughed and said “This is an ordinary thing. I don’t consider it as extraordinary.” I said, “Yes it’s the property of this body. Most normal and regular.” He continued, “Revathi was stunned by what I told her yesterday. That your system cannot pay attention to anything ordinary. It knows. To pay attention you need to see something extraordinary. But I am just an ordinary person. And you can’t see that. In the presence of an ordinary person you can relax, you don’t need to struggle.” “We have no clue what a massive relief this is, to live like this”, I said. He was very pleased.
Handmade Home, Kolkata
Yesterday was a lunar eclipse. Nandini and Julie reminded us about it. Julie said it was a rare eclipse that happens once in 300 years.
G said he had trouble sleeping last night. His glands were talking, he mentioned. He woke up with a mild headache and later he was hot and felt slightly feverish and his eyes burned. He kept all the ACs on, which is very rare because he doesn’t like ACs unless it gets unbearably hot. His heat tolerance is extremely high.
I have a headache since yesterday and my appetite is poor. I skipped breakfast yesterday and today. After coming back from walk in the morning, I got knocked out for a while. It was one of those waking sleeps with the mind in suspended animation, thoughts appearing and disappearing like light smoke, eyes glued shut, ears hearing everything, body paralyzed, limbs charged. Today there was an acute pressure inside the center of my head. It held me captive and motionless. I could hear him doing dishes and other chores but I couldn’t move. A little later I woke up with great difficulty and felt extremely dizzy. After lunch I felt drowsy again and went to bed. I conked out for more than 2 hours. I woke up with that same pressure and headache. It left me only just before dinner.
We have been busy preparing for tomorrow’s big zoom meeting. Slideshows, translations, videos, photos, songs etc. G said “All this started happening because of you”.
Time flies. I don’t bother about time unless I have to get something done. Without thought there’s no way to measure time.
Suman babu came to see us early morning today. G invited him for coffee and breakfast. Suman has millions questions. He is well read and scholarly and actually brings out a lot from G. He has chased sadhus, and religious people for decades and read endlessly about spirituality. His head is full of these things. G talked to him in pure and pristine Bengali for an hour, explaining the most fundamental human problems and their source. I recorded the whole thing in audio and video. I can see that Suman doesn’t somehow realize how rare G is and how he functions. Suman treats him like a learned man who’s company is enjoyable. The tons of images of holy men that have clogged his head don’t let him see the powerful simplicity and conflict-free essence of G. That’s SSFR.
Handmade Home, Kolkata
A gem from G today:
He said when he talks to us, he does not intend to lead us anywhere. It is where he keeps us all along, that is important. He keeps us focused so that we are not distracted. That’s the time the body gets a chance to get most of its jobs done. But since we are always looking for meaning and a particular end, which is nothing but an understanding, we are unaware of it.
Handmade Home, Kolkata
My chat with a friend about the events of today:
You know, today before lunch, we were doing something on the computer and G suddenly jumped out of his seat and said “Oh boy, It’s so hot!” and ran to turn on the AC. I was surprised because his heat tolerance is very high and I myself didn’t feel it was that hot in the room. I asked him what the matter was and he said his insides were twisting so powerfully that he felt he could kill anybody around him! So he was running to turn the AC on to protect me! When I urged him, “Don’t turn the it on, I want to see what happens!”, he came back to his seat. In a minute I started sweating and radiating heat!
You know, sometimes when he holds my hand tightly, electrical charges flow in my palm and my hand starts aching. I experimented many times with it.
I had a piercing pain in my solar plexus today and got knocked out early in the morning. The heat and sensitivity is too much to bear.
G and I are busy prepping for UG’s virtual birthday celebration tomorrow. He planned the whole thing meticulously – sequence, contents, duration of each item, everything. I sent out invites to a large group.
Today is UG’s birthday. G felt he had to sing and record Tagore’s Oi Pohailo today. He came back from morning walk and recorded his track. He finished quickly and it came out very well. He had tried this song a few times before but didn’t like it. He asked me to send it to Venky with a note: This is G’s gift for you! Venky was in the seventh heaven after listening to it. The Zoom meeting started at 6 pm. It was a success and everyone enjoyed thoroughly.
Handmade Home, Kolkata
A few days ago a lady from Canada, a young mother of two boys, wrote to Revathi on the website that she wanted to interview G and publish it on the internet. She described in great detail her spiritual seeking, failures, confusion and lack of clarity and direction. G refused to be interviewed for a public platform but said he had no problem talking to her personally on Zoom. He also got Julie to mail her two books: Guha Talks to Mother of God and Life Finds Its Way. It was a gift from him, he asked Revathi to tell her. She wrote back saying she would love to be on zoom and sent a list of five questions. Today G spoke to her at 6 pm our time for 30 mins before other friends joined. I have 2 audio recordings of his talk with her. He debunked all her theories and assumptions on meditation, seeking, devotion, suppression of the ego, surrender and what not. Basically, he made it clear that everything she thought she had understood or not understood was just trash. The wrong knowledge had made her miserable and she needed none of it.
Handmade Home, Kolkata
Sophie, a lady from Portugal, who is Ellen’s friend, got in touch with G and wanted to talk to him about her own spiritual experiences. G agreed and invited her to Zoom. In the meeting she described how she has been experiencing energies coursing through her body, Kundalini rising (she didn’t want to use this term though) and other mystical stuff. G listened to it for a while, then said, it was all in her head, and that there was no way to experience these things without translating them as something mystical or holy, and how we are never in touch with anything that is happening inside our bodies. It appeared to me that she was seeking a stamp of approval from G about her elevated spiritual state.
Handmade Home, Kolkata
I thought it’ll be nice give an account of what a typical day is like for us here.
We get up around 4 every morning and both of us come out to the living room by 4:15 or 4:30. The first thing I do is warm a quarter glass of water and put some biochemic salts in it and give it to him. Then I make coffee, his favourite Illy! I used to order them from Amazon, but Venky recently got us a crate from a whole seller in Mumbai. He usually speaks briefly to Julie, Revathi and Radhika during this time. After coffee we go out for our morning walk to the lake. It takes us two mins to get there. The lake opened after 3 months on the 1st of July. It now has the freshness of a wilderness, teeming with birds, flowers and fish. While coming back, we pick up fresh vegetables from vendors sitting outside the park gate. Old and destitute ladies gather to ask for money from him. He has given away thousands of rupees to them since the lockdown started. They keep an eye out for him. By the time we reach home it is 7:45 and we are soaked in sweat, as if we just took a dip in the pool. I change and give him a glass of water with bitter gourd and Jamun (Indian Blackberry) juice. I gulp some down too. They are good for keeping sugar levels normal, he says. He doesn’t take medicines, see doctors or keep any medical records. After resting for 10-15 mins we go to the kitchen and start prepping for breakfast. I cut vegetables and he washes the greens, then it all goes together into the pressure cooker. As the veggies cook we sometimes practice singing, do a quick translation of a song, or poem or read letters from his friends mainly from US and India. He answers calls and sometimes calls his friends. I write the chapters of my blog and make entries into my diary. Then we decide what to cook for lunch and with great zeal start cutting vegetables, washing the greens, cleaning the grains etc. G plays one of mine or his songs as we cook. As things are cooking, we catch some series on Netflix or Prime. Then we go to shower. He emerges fresh as a daisy from his room in about half and hour, after washing his clothes, putting them out to dry and showering. I do the same. It is around 1’o clock by now. He waits for 10-15 mins till he feels hungry. Then I serve lunch and we continue watching our series, intently discussing the unfolding plot. His favorites are crime, murder and thrillers, only high octane stuff. Because it is summer we eat ice cream with mangoes. If any of us feels sleepy, we take a nap and come back in an hour or so. It’s usually coffee time by then. The aroma of Illy fills the living room. He likes to have crackers with coffee. Evening time during lockdown is also Zoom time. Every other day he does a video call with his friends. They wait with bated breath for the invite and jump into the meeting hungrily to see and hear him. 6-7 friends are really hooked. Out of them 2-3 are die-hard cases, their world falls apart if he turns off his ph even for a day, as if choking without oxygen. By the time Zoom ends, it is dinner time, so I heat up the food. We eat a rather small portion for dinner, a little of everything in a bowl. We continue watching our movie or series till we are sleepy again. I warm up a glass of water, throw in a teaspoon and a half of fenugreek seeds and keep it on his bedside table. As the day is almost over, before closing his door he usually cracks a joke or two to pull my leg, “Lady, I think you are wasting your life and money with me. You should go back to your parents”, is his all-time favourite line for me! In my reply I make a bunny face or some funny face and say good night! Some days I say “I would have wasted my life had I not met you!” I go to my room, change and melt into my bed. On most days I sleep like a log.
Last week a great discomfort in my body lasted for 2-3 days. Extreme heat waves made me drowsy all the time. Sparks were flying inside the head and thoughts were bubbling up like scum in boiling water. Felt extremely uncomfortable. I had to curl up while sitting and even sleeping, with electricity flowing in my limbs. Didn’t feel like doing anything, or even listening to G. Everything seemed repulsive and I was grave. G reminded me later, that this churning started when I began editing his Mumbai talk from 2017 for my blog. It turned so bad that I had to stop working. He didn’t do anything different. His response depended on my state. If I was irritable, he either kept quiet or made a point, if necessary. He left me to myself and did dishes and worked in the kitchen. Unless I tell him about my discomfort he never asks or advises anything. That is his beauty, he never interferes or imposes himself. I used to conk out every morning continuously for 4-5 days as he spoke with J, RI and RV on Zoom. I froze and the pressure in my head forced my eyes to close. I heard the sounds but there was no movement inside to translate anything. Then the discomfort vanished suddenly. This has happened countless times since I met him. Almost dying, then back with double energy!
G told the ladies in US during a morning Zoom call one of these days, “I don’t know what sadhana this girl is doing, I can’t move an inch from here!”
I had started writing chapter three of my blog quite sometime back but got stuck as I didn’t have much memory of what had happened during my second meeting with G in Mumbai. It was mostly uneventful is what I could remember. I told him, “You need to give me a push and tell me how I should do chapter three, I am stuck!” He said he would. A couple of days later while walking by the lake he said he got an idea. “Ask Kishor if he has any recording of my talk with the two young guys in Powai when you came to see me. You can include that talk in chapter three. Also you can reflect on some happenings from my life relevant to the chapter. This way you will have enough material.” I got the recording from Kishor and started working on it immediately. I plunged into writing and finished fifteen pages in two days. Herculean energy was bubbling up in me resulting in a piercing focus.
Yesterday I wrote a poem while chit chatting with a friend. I named it “Who needs a title?”
G is a damn scientist,
And a fucking philosopher too.
He sounds like a bloody doctor when he utters:
People who get fooled by religion,
Suffer from the Spiritual Down’s Syndrome.
He is an infectious RNA,
That attaches itself to the neurons,
And multiplies gleefully,
Gobbling up our sweet and sticky hopes,
That we carefully stock up as dope.
He is a lifetime of itch and twitch,
A funny dude who knows how to bewitch!
G loved it and read it out to his friends.
Day before yesterday:
While coming back from our morning walk, G asked me to buy vegetables and went to the ATM. After I was done, I started walking towards the ATM. Suddenly, I heard a female voice cursing wildly from the opposite side of the street I was on. It was an old lady in torn clothes hurling profanities into the thin air. She looked absolutely crazy. The moment her eyes fell on me, she started cursing with even more gusto. I was so excited I almost ran to the ATM to tell him what had happened. “You have to see her”, I said to him. As we approached her, she saw me first and started cursing violently again. Then G emerged from behind me and stood in front of her. That very moment she softened up and started crying. She complained to him like a child that people had taken her money away and beaten her up. He was surprised by the dramatic change in her behavior. He gave her some money and we walked back.
Today during our morning walk:
G said, “You have not been writing your diary for many days now. These moments are unique and will never come back. You should write daily rather than just focussing on your blog, which is writing about your past. What is happening now has a lot of significance in your life, it has a different quality. I may not be able to move with you in this way later. Julie used to write her journal daily when around UG. You should find some time everyday to write about the present, living moments. You will not be able to remember later, they will be lost. You just write, don’t think about what others will think about it.” Since his words fell on my ears, I have been writing and writing and writing. He knows when the ground is ready and when to plant the seed!
A friend of his called at around 10 am today. I received it and passed the phone to him. The person complained that he was not taking her calls although she had been calling him frantically sinces the last few days. G told her without mincing any words: “You need to understand this clearly. I don’t want anything from you or anyone, so when you call me, it is your need, not mine. So many people call me all the time. It is up to me whether I take their call or not. No one can dictate terms to me because I have no investment of any kind. I don’t need you. Even if you call fifty times, I may not answer. If you don’t call me ever again, that is fine too.” The person said, “I sometimes call because if I hear your voice, I get some inspiration.” G said, “When you are neurotic and disturbed for no valid reasons, and just worrying about others unnecessarily, I don’t take your call, because I know you are in no position to listen to me. I have nothing to do with such things in your life. But if you are sick or have a real problem that does not concern others but yourself, I am there for you. You should know this by now. Never tell me what I should do. Be well, goodbye.”
Handmade Home, Kolkata,
I am sure nobody ever told this friend (mentioned in the last entry) what G did. I have no doubt that only a person who really does not want anything from others can talk this way. When he talks to someone, his intention is never to please or displease that person. He only says what is necessary for that person at that moment. Every time a conversation like this happens, it seems the person is so hurt and upset that he or she won’t ever call G again. But I have seen many people come back later and thank him for being so direct and uncompromising. They say he cleared up some nasty cobweb in their head. It was no different this time! The friend he rebuked yesterday just called and thanked him saying, “I am feeling very good after your admonition yesterday. It is as if I got cured of some illness.” Her voice was clear and upbeat, she was laughing. G said, “Your happiness is my happiness. You sound great. You can call me anytime you want.”
G has made me his music teacher. Starting late May he has recoded 11 singles till date. His singing with rhythm has improved in leaps and bounds. He is a student who has unbroken attention and complete trust on his teacher. He is innocent as a child. He trusts my musical sense almost blindly. He says, but for Covid and me, he would have never recorded songs. Since UG’s death, he has been surrounded by people. And he is so busy that he never had the time to practice singing, forget recording. When I was in Princeton in 2018, one day he asked me “Will you be my music teacher?” I thought he was joking. What can I teach him?! And where’s the time? He is busy from five in the morning to nine at night every single day. Little did he or I know that nature would put us in a space and time where he would have all the time in the world to direct his unbroken focus on me. Mother Nature’s ways are mysterious indeed!
Some friend had mentioned that people around the world are communicating through video conferencing apps since they can’t meet due of the pandemic. G wanted to find out more, so we did some research and tried out Zoom for free. It seemed to work well, so he decided to subscribe for a month and then take it from there. That was mid April. Since then, he has been talking to his friends around the world on Zoom. Without this, his close friends in America and India would have been distraught! If any new person shows interest in what he has to say, he invites him or her to a zoom meeting. One can record these video calls too. I have a bunch of recordings which have him talking intensely.
Handmade Home, Kolkata
I am feeling like a madcap for sometime now. Actually, it started after I emerged from my system shutdown last week. My head is buzzing with energy and I feel fluid and happy all the time without inhibitions. G is not a guru who saved my life, or a sage who granted me the boon of emancipation. Like I don’t praise my mother for giving birth to me and caring for me when I was an infant, I can no longer praise him for doing what he did to me. It’s like thanking my lungs for sucking oxygen from air to keep me alive! I cannot describe my relationship with him any other way. I am in no way hinting that it is a mystical or spiritual or an abstract, mind-bending, superlative state of coexistence. It is unlike any we have with our family or friends. The demands of a typical relationship are completely absent here. It is an ordinary way of living that neither accepts the imposition of social conditioning that lead to misery, nor imposes itself on anybody. It is so plain that it will seem unattractive to most people. It is akin to living on the edge but without any burden or pressure. The connection renews itself continuously owing to the spontaneous nature of exchanges. Nothing is premeditated, and nothing can be carried over. It is like two birds flying together. My deep resonance with his disposition has shrunk my emotional thought-space that used to dominate and weigh me down. He allows an immense space between us, in which I freely express myself. He is so ordinary that there’s no pressure on me to behave or be in a certain way. Consequently, there’s no movement anymore in me to understand him or to please him. I don’t think how he will react before I do anything. Whatever I do around him, I do with joy. I feel life’s unforgiving momentum burns its way rapidly through layers of conditioning once it has acquired a critical momentum in the presence of an ordered system like G’s.
My banks have broken. I don’t know what’s going on inside me but I feel heady and high and drunk with happiness.
Today’s morning walk was special. The trees, birds, fish, fragrant flowers, the crisp air, the ripe fruits hanging from trees together created a blissful intoxication in me. Every sight, every sound feels like a shot of joy in my bones. A big bunch of lotuses are in bloom in Padmapukur. We both walk fast and run in short bursts soaked in sweat. All along we joke and sing songs. G loves to watch the fish. As we walk by the lake, we see millions of tiny fish born a week or so ago along the entire stretch of the lake. This year because of clean water and less pollution there has been a profusion of new life in the waters. Nature got a chance to rejuvenate itself in the absence of human interference. Somedays when the light is good, I take pictures of him running like a white gazelle under the banyan tree or by the lake. He is so light, his company has a rare unburdening quality. All he does with his friends is chit chat, discuss, crack jokes, roll with laughter, sing songs, call out the farce of religious gurus and the days pass. The undercurrent of something powerfully transformative, to which my body responds like a live wire, pervades everything he does or does not do!
Handmade Home, Kolkata
I see many men of his age in the park. Most of them look exhausted and anxious. I can overhear them talking about being lonely and having nothing to do for the rest of the day. After meeting him I understood first hand that loneliness and frustration are the result of our messed up sense of self. They have little to do with the situation we find ourselves in. No other life form suffers from boredom or feels out of place in its native environment. Our idea of a world that does not otherwise exist, interferes with what we have at hand. It disturbs the delicate dynamic balance that is essential for maintaining the integrated well-being of every living thing. Let’s say, I see the world around and out of this perception I gather knowledge which comes to me through language. Then I form ideas and beliefs using this knowledge. They shape my way of living. They also impart a personality to me. What I believe in makes me who I am. What makes me believe certain things and reject the others? It is my unique background and culture. Culture is nothing but a massive subset of knowledge that has evolved over generations in a particular geography to deal with the challenges of survival unique to that place. We humans are a highly evolved species on the scale of evolutionary advancement. Our built-in capacities are mind-boggling. The most powerful instrument we have is the intellect. It is so powerful that even the slightest misuse can lead to a catastrophe. It is like a nuclear bomb that demands the highest levels of care and safeguarding least its inappropriate use destroys the world. This care, this awareness can channel it to serve the purpose of our individual well-being. If such a thing happens, the dynamic balance, which the body is struggling to get to for its own sake, begins to find its foothold. Nowadays, I feel if someone gets even the slightest hang of it, he or she will never dare do anything to disturb it.
We had a big Sunday zoom today with all his Bengali friends. He mostly spoke in Bengali.
Handmade Home, Kolkata
On today’s morning zoom call, he said, “Behind every satisfaction lurks a dissatisfaction.”
Handmade home, Kolkata
Yesterday some time after breakfast, I started feeling odd. A pressure was building up in my abdomen and my stomach felt heavy. The pressure went on increasing and I felt as if there were bricks inside my stomach. This is not a new sensation for me. I suffered similarly for a week or more when I was in New Jersey in the winter of 2018. I remember I used to walk holding my tummy, it used to be so bad. Anyway, I ate a little lunch and we watched a bit of the British series “Stranger” on Netflix. It had a fantastic and engaging plot but I was feeling extremely drowsy. G said I should go and rest. We went to our rooms around 2:30 pm. He asked me to wake him up by 4 pm for coffee, if he didn’t come out by then.
I dragged myself out of bed at 4 pm as my alarm rang. I freshened up and knocked on his door. He was still inside. I felt so drowsy I could slip and fall. I went and sat on the living room couch. He came out in two minutes and asked how I was doing. I told him about my drowsiness and pressure in the stomach. I said, “I think I will sleep for three days straight if nobody wakes me up.” I can’t explain how heavy my abdomen felt.
Anjana and Sophie were keen to talk to him again, so we were going to have a zoom at 5 pm for them along with the usual group. I barely managed to make coffee for us. There was now a huge pressure inside the center of my head that forced my eyes to shut. I started feeling feverish and passed out as soon zoom started. I could hear the voices of G and friends talking but was immobile like a dead body. G told me after I got up that I was out for one a half hours. He was on fire during the meeting. He smashed all arguments to the ground ruthlessly. An elderly lady friend from US tried to push him a little, saying he was using too many words. He asked her to express herself without words right then and there. He was in an unforgiving mood. He said we could go for satsangs and spiritual discourses elsewhere, if we thought we were going to get something out of them. When he emphatically asserted, “There is no such thing as spiritual potential. You are greedy that is why you are here. You want something you think I have. Is that not greed?”, he exposed naked our gullibility and showed, the spiritual seeking that we are so proud of, is a farce, a game we play with ourselves. He pumped such energy into every word that quite a few his friends said they slept for the whole day after the call was over. I was physically miserable. I developed a lower back ache, maybe because I passed out in a wrong sleeping position on the couch. We had an early dinner and I was still feverish. The day got over when we finished the remaining episodes of “Stranger”.
When I woke up this morning, I felt the back pain and a serious pressure and heaviness in my abdomen. It felt as if some monstrous force is squeezing my insides. He said I should drink lots of water. I went out for the morning walk but sat on a bench and watched ducks and noisy cormorants fishing in the lake. Grasshoppers and butterflies were everywhere. I still feel unwell but words are flowing from my fingertips as I write this diary. He expresses a lot of satisfaction when he sees me writing. He digs the internet to find classical bandishes for me to practice. He is ecstatic when I practice the swaras at high speed. He only wants my best, and for whatever talent I have to flower. My joy is his joy. There’s no exaggeration when I say this. He has no expectations from anyone. That’s why he is free. When he sleeps, a serenity pervades his face that is hard to describe. How can worry enter a head that is singularly incapable of exploiting others? The twisted intentions of the sense of self have been burnt to smithereens in his ordered body-mind. It is easy to experiment with him and find out for oneself, if this is true. Nobody can tell me, I have to find out, and I have, time and again.
Handmade home, Kolkata
I have been very uneasy today, huge discomfort in the body. Can barely move or sit, such is the pressure and twisting inside the abdomen. A pressure inside my head and between my eyebrows is making me drowsy. I slept after making coffee, got up just in time to make breakfast, then slept again. I skipped breakfast. From my room I could hear him practicing his songs. Then I heard him talking to friends on phone. I got up just now. He said he sang and played his and my songs and made daal. I saw he had cleaned the kitchen like a pro. When he is doing something, there’s nothing else in his head. He is like an animal. If he has food and water and a place to stay, he does not want anything more. He does not need anybody to be the way he is. He told me, “You are witnessing me up close for such a long time like nobody has before. What you are seeing is the core movement of life, simple, just the way it is.” Although he emphatically denies every idea we harbour about his greatness or spiritual power, his impact on his close friends is undeniable. The physical response that is generated in his presence is as real as a severe headache or a stomach cramp. The deeper the resonance with him, the more mysterious it becomes. He told me, “When the deeper conditioning begins to unsettle and relieve itself, the system which has been oppressed for a long time, experiences a huge effect.”
Handmade Home, Kolkata
The abdominal pressure was far less when I got up today. I can move and sit freely. What a relief after two days of torture! I feel light as a feather and happy as a kitten!
I came out to the living room at 4:30 am. He was still in his room. I made coffee and waited. I could hear the gentle hum of his voice, he was singing dake barobar dake in his room. He has been practising and recording tracks of this song since the past two days. He thought his rendition had some flaw and lacked the bhava that he would like to bring out. I couldn’t help him since I was so miserable all this while. After coffee he said he wanted to practice with me. I suggested it would be better if we both sang and recorded two tracks of the song – the first and last part separately. It came out well. Then I asked him to sing each portion one after another without music, so I could hear if he was singing the finer notes clearly and fully. So, he sang and I corrected his notes. He said, the song was way more intricate than he had previously thought. Whatever I pointed out he corrected immediately without second thoughts. He has paripurno astha on his music teacher!
G often tells us that when he sang for the first time in front of UG, UG had remarked “You missed your calling buddy!”
No hunger pangs for almost two days now. Smell of food is making my stomach churn. I thought I was a little hungry and ate about four table spoons of salad around 9 am. After eating I instantly felt heavy and uneasy. I should have avoided eating altogether. I wasn’t hungry the whole day but didn’t feel any lack of energy either. This is strange. I think the body does not want much food and I am feeling better on an empty stomach.
Rabindra Sarobar, Kolkata
I feel like a prisoner released from jail after a long sentence! The choking squeeze in my abdomen seems to have loosened its iron grip after two days. Looks like the body didn’t want any food during this time, so I didn’t feel any hunger. If I ate anything at all, I felt an instant discomfort and mild cramps in my guts. I think I lost some weight too. G said, “You still look quite prosperous!”
This is the first time I am writing at the Lake. I feel fine but cannot walk as much or as fast as I otherwise do. So I am sitting on a bench by Padmapukur. I just saw a water bird walking and running on water over large swathes of lotus leaves. Its feet have three or four thin, long and protruding toes that spread out on the lotus leaves distributing its body weight in a way that there’s not enough pressure to break the water. G had explained this to me the other day while we were watching water insects.
Nature seems more alive and beautiful than ever before. The same eyes, the same ears, the same brain now sense things in a more vital way. So, what changed inside me and how? I really cannot pin point. What I can say though is: the huge energy drain that I earlier used to suffer from as a result of my habitual thinking, seems to have been plugged to a great extent. This, I have no doubt, has been possible because my system suddenly developed a monstrous attraction for G, which left little space for distractions. Unnecessary thoughts are a huge distraction. Over the last three years after meeting him, I observed my system develop a piercing, one-pointed focus. My voice, with hardly any practice or training, started exhibiting its core beauty which was preprogrammed at birth. I learnt singing from the age of seven for several years, but I lacked the drive to achieve anything in the world of music and eventually gave up singing altogether. When I met him in Oct 2016, it was thirteen years since I had stopped singing. Then everything changed. He says music is the bridge between him and me. He adds, “It’s your voice that hooked me and my attention fell on you. In Nature, flowers have bright colours and fragrance to attract the bees. We are no different!” I now realise music is a very powerful medium of communication. I don’t feel shy to say this: Maybe it was Nature’s sweet conspiracy to gift me a voice that could hook someone like G, so that my system could have its core existential crisis addressed. It is the symbiotic nature of life. A living thing needs another living thing, how can books and pictures be of any help?
Today at the Lake I lost him as I sat writing on a bench by Padmapukur. I waited a long time, then went up to the gate of Lion’s Safari, then walked down to the main entrance next to Southend Park to check if he was there waiting. No luck. I walked back to Padmapukur again. I was exhausted by then. Anyway, I decided to go back to our apartment since it was already 8:10 and the park would close at 8:30. I walked in and there he was on the red couch! He got back just ten mins before me. I gave him his morning concoction of bitter gourd and jamun juice and rested a while. I felt worn out. Then we got to making breakfast. As usual, I cut the veggies and he cleaned the greens and threw in a fistful of whole moong beans and quinoa into the pressure cooker. While serving him the delicious mix in a bowl, my stomach started twisting in an odd way and the smell of breakfast, which is otherwise so appealing, seemed repulsive. I kind of forced myself to eat two spoons of the vegetable and grain mix and that set my stomach on fire. Then my guts twisted and turned. What a punishment! I felt irritated suddenly. Then G started talking about what we should eat for lunch. I said gravely, “When I can’t eat, I can’t think of food”, then rolled my eyes and said “Whatever!” I was in no mood to talk about food! He said gently that it was ok as long as I didn’t philosophise the matter. He felt my difficulty.
I am in awe when I reflect how the bio-mechanics of the body control every single aspect which I earlier used to think, I was in control of – my hunger, my likes, my dislikes, my habits etc. I now see, I am actually helpless, I have no idea about what goes on inside me. All I try to do these days is, what G calls “trial and error”, to see how my body responds to a particular action of mine, and then take the next step accordingly. It is almost like learning everything about myself from scratch again!
The monsoon rains have infused new life into the potted plants in my balcony. Tiny, shiny dots of green are crawling out of tender stems in a breath-taking symmetry. The stately Kadamba tree bending over my balcony is heavy with perfectly round ball-like flowers. Life renews itself continuously, moving all the time. In Nature, I see no signs of stagnation. The momentum of life does not allow such a thing, it seems. I see the same signature in my day-to-day living with G. It is not difficult to see if one flows with his ways. He does not sit and ruminate, he is busy all day, even though he has been restricted to an apartment for four months in a row. He gives thought to things when necessary, then no more, he moves to the next one. What is important to understand is, this is not the outcome of some kind of discipline or practice. He has a basic daily routine but I have seen him toss it out with abandon, if he felt like it. He sleeps when he’s sleepy and eats when hungry. He showers in the morning or in the evening or not at all, depending on what his body demands that day. A few things are constant though, he gets up at the crack of dawn, has his morning coffee, then goes for a long morning walk everyday. I haven’t seen him impose any routine on himself just for the sake of it. Most of his habits depend on factors like temperature, humidity and availability of things in the part of the world where he happens to be at a particular time.
On the contrary, fearful of the future, we constantly invent ideas and methods, which we then act upon, hoping to ward off that fear. We impose new habits and routines on ourselves. Without them we feel wasted and useless. Does it take away fear? No way, it only adds more fuel to it. More information, more conflict, more fear. Our effort to arrive at a point mentally, when knowledge will dissolve all our problems, is a huge drain on the body’s vital energy. Thought cannot do anything to resolve it, it did not solve any of my problems, only aggravated and solidified them. Stagnation is an inevitable side-effect of our powerful reflective capacity.
For three days in a row, I was in utter discomfort and felt half-dead, today a gush of fresh energy is coursing through my veins and guts. I feel so charged that I can barely recall the recent misery. It is just not there. What can I call this, other than “A renewal”? This “almost dying” and then springing back again has happened countless times since I met G. They became particularly intense since our Kodaikanal trip in 2018, I think.
Handmade Home, Kolkata
Today I got a pair of new shoes from Amazon. Guess what, they are the same fiery red pair G got for himself a month back! I looked through hundreds online but couldn’t find any other pair that I liked. I tried them on and asked to take some pics. I was wearing a red T-shirt and black trousers matching with the red and black shoes! I said its G and baby G! He said, “You have been eating G-protein for such a long time!” I said, “Ya I am eating all the time yet loosing weight!”
G is talking to his friends on zoom. It’s the regular gang. He just spoke to his psychiatrist friend from US. The guy recently lost his mother and is feeling depressed and lost. Mom was the only friend he ever had. G gave him some friendly, practical suggestions – see if you can exercise, or go for a walk every day, keep yourself healthy as far as possible, keep a space for yourself you can go back to when you feel like being alone, that’ll ensure your independence when your relatives get busy with their own lives after the grieving period is over. Not once did he console him, not once did he say everything’s going to be alright.
Handmade Home, Kolkata
Two of his friends from Hindmotor came visiting today. One of them is his childhood friend. G says this friend was his partner in every crime when they were growing up! These local friends are fond of him and enjoy his company, but in a different way. They think of him as a good friend to laugh and joke with, but they are not really interested in what he has to say, what his existence is all about. They somehow don’t connect to that aspect. They are too entangled in their struggles, their political ideologies and their facebooking. G spent the first seven years after UG’s death talking relentlessly to his friends in Kolkata and Hindmotor. He says, he spoke for hundreds of hours trying to give them a glimpse of the solution that had taken place in him, and the real possibility of that happening to them. But he was disappointed. Not because they didn’t understand him, but because they lost a rare chance to understand something that could have given their system an opportunity to work out the problems it is plagued with. There are many videos from 2008, 9 and 10 where he can be seen talking intensely to big groups of people. His intense energy, the punch behind every word falling from his mouth, his body language is too powerful to be overlooked. He told me recently, that he started focusing on individuals from 2015. Before that, he would engage with many people at a time, and his energy was so volcanic that many of them would get affected. But the energy somehow could not make inroads deep enough into any single individual, to make a real difference to his or her ways of thinking and living. This scenario changed dramatically after 2015, when he took a road trip from New Jersey to Chicago, via Detroit, then flew to Mumbai and continued up to Kochi, then drove down to Kanyakumari, then flew up to Delhi and drove further up to Kasauli, via Parwanu, finally flying back to NJ. He also mentioned that he somehow felt all the important connections that he had to make would be done by 2016.
Handmade Home, Kolkata
He didn’t take any calls from afternoon till night yesterday. He asked me not to respond to any enquiries from anyone.
He just finished a brief zoom call with J, RI and RV on. He said, “What keeps changing is the photo on your wall. What remains? You! Your dependence on me, your liking or disliking me are one and the same, the result of your twisted intention that needs excuses all the time. I am not involved at all. Whether you know it or not, it is all about you. It is like how you interact with your pet cat. You talk to it and it says “meow”. You think it reciprocates your feelings. You translate it the way you want. Pets are better than me because they don’t cause heartache!
Today’s evening zoom call was something! When he gets on to the call, he has no idea what he will say. But as soon as he looks at all the faces on his screen, words come gushing out of his mouth like a river in spate. He doesn’t pause to think. He says, his brain pulls out the appropriate information from his memory, strings them together and delivers them using a language that is most effective for the audience. This process, he says, is automatic. It is the questioner, the listener, who invokes this process in him. That is why he needs no preparation to talk to people. Today’s call was no exception. Like a surgeon he dissected each part of our thinking mechanism and showed how we conjure up ideas about “A Creator” of this vast universe, based on religious dogma, and then we say we are devotees of that powerful God. He showed systematically that although our intellect is singularly incapable of grasping things like one-billionth of a second or the distance light travels in a year, or how the design of the human brain has evolved to maximise its surface to volume ratio, yet we cockily declare that we know what God is like and how this vast universe with billions of stars and planets was created by him. He said, we are no more important than the bacteria.
One of the participants in the meeting wanted to ask something, so he allowed it. She wanted to know why she felt so lucky to have him in her life. He said it was her SSFR and if it were true, then she should be happy. This irked the lady and she said it was true and she was happy. He retorted that if she was really happy, why would she need to convince him about it? The exchange continued for sometime with the lady trying to aggressively defend herself and G coolly shooting down her arguments. Finally, she relented and stopped. G continued as if nothing had ever happened.
It was 8:30 at night by the time the meeting ended. I warmed up a little rice, curry and daal and took out some leftover pasta from the refrigerator, which we ate cold. We continued watching “Fargo”, a fantastic series on Netflix, marvelling at the masterful execution of every scene and the camerawork. He felt sleepy around 9:30, and we went to our respective rooms, and so the day ended.
Another mind-blowing evening zoom. How can this man keep producing such gems every single day without any thought or preparation?! It is a miraculous phenomenon indeed. He says, doesn’t have to do anything about it, people pull out stuff from him. His brain picks up the most relevant pieces of information, already residing in his memory, in a highly efficient way, then delivers it to his audience in a precise, need-based fashion.
The more I see him, the clearer it becomes to me, that the life functioning in us, which keeps us alive and allows us to think and act, is really an automation, a self-serving intelligence preprogrammed by Nature. It does everything by itself, for itself, using its innate power. This power is not something we can possess to control others or to gain knowledge.
G is talking to a friend on phone and I am noting down whatever I can:
“Thought cannot figure out how it is created in situ. It is impossible for thought to be a part of that process. It is a knowledge game. Because we are trying to figure out if there is a being or force that can make our life comfortable, it becomes a problem. The Covid RNA has no mind. A mindless process in Nature produced life, and a part of that process also produced the mind. The imaginative faculty is an emergent property, it has been created by a process in the brain, which is not part of this framework of thinking and imagination. What you are using is a complex knowledge game and a circular logic to find the source of thought. It is like going round and round to find the end point of a circle. The chicken and egg paradox – you cannot prove or disprove anything there.”
Half an hour ago, as I was typing away on my laptop and he was doing something in the kitchen, the lady caretaker from the ground floor appeared at our doorstep with money in her hand. Since the lockdown started she and her friend have been bringing money every month that I transfer digitally to their sons who are out of work. She handed over the money to me, I asked her if she was doing ok. G added, “Do you have enough food? We get everything online and we have excess food at the moment. We can easily spare some if you need anything.” We had offered her food and money many times before but she had refused politely every time. This time she said, “I hardly have any money left. What can I buy with that?” I said, “If you don’t mind we can give you some food.” “Why would I mind, I am poor”, she said. G immediately pulled out a can of basmati rice and a kilo of masoor dal and gave her. Her face lit up, she exclaimed, “Oh my God, all of it?!” G vanished out of her sight before she could say more. I gave her two cotton masks. After she was gone, I saw G was packing a packet of potatoes and vegetables. He asked me to go give it to her. I finished transferring the money to her son, ran down the steps and knocked on her door. Her friend, another middle-aged lady opened the door. I told her G sent them some stuff. She asked, “Why did he send more?!” I said I didn’t have any answer to that and ran back upstairs.
Morning walk over, we are sitting on our red couch in the living room. He just finished his morning zoom with RI, RV and J. I videotaped a part of the conversation. He discussed with them about what he should do with his return ticket to Newark on 14th August. He seems reluctant to travel in August because of existing restrictions and the obvious risk of contracting Covid on a long flight. Only repatriation flights are currently allowed in and out of India. His friends in US want him to fly back, they have been away from him for the longest time. Let’s see which way the wind blows, and where life takes us! I am unable to project any future scenario at the moment, nothing is conjuring up in my head. I don’t have a clue! But I am beginning to see that I cannot be resistant to whatever happens. Trying to force my ideas onto a living situation is the source of sorrow and conflict. Seeing how he operates even in challenging situations, and understanding that no one can control or influence the dynamic flow of the moments of life, helps me find a stable grounding inside. Power does not lie in being able to control one’s life, it’s a stupid illusion, a futile effort.
I finished cooking dal and rice, we watched Fargo on Netflix, then he felt sleepy. Half an hour later he got up and went to his room to lie down, I came to my room. Slept for a while but I still feel sleepy.
G is loving Fargo. I think it’s an example of the brilliant American movie making. We are glued to the screen when it runs, we discuss the plot intently and keep watching it all day except when we are cooking, sleeping, singing or out walking.
My periods now happen once every 2.5 or 3 months. This trend started since the lockdown began. The cycle has changed completely. I don’t care or keep track of it.
None of this can actually be my worry – the plight of humanity, the poverty, the wars and the diseases. I am so insignificant that to even think I can do something about it, would be a myth far removed from reality. I can’t do anything about anything.
My ideas about myself is the “me”. It is like my reflection on the mirror. Without the reflection, how would I know how I look? Without the ideas, how would I know anything about myself? Whatever this “me” experiences is through the filter of its ideas, and the feedback from such experiences keep adding more muscle to it. Eventually, this process cuts me off from the actual movement of life. It has now gained enough momentum to run a parallel mental existence. It cuts a wide channel into the body’s energy reserves and sucks from it incessantly, covering the waking, sleep and dream states. It’s a relentless dissipation of energy to keep a wasteful process going.
Finished coffee, he is getting ready to go out for morning walk. I am ready. Just now I found a Hindi translation of the Tagore song he nikhilobharodharano and he had great fun with it. That’s enough fodder for him to make his friends roll with laughter during zoom later today.
Came back from walk dripping with sweat, bought 2 bags of vegetables and a few mangoes. Carrots, eggplant, pumpkin, coriander, raw papaya and beets, our usual harvest.
We went a little early to the Lake today, hardly any crowd, cloudy.
He is talking to RI, RV and Julie on zoom. “I say serious things jokingly, and very serious things seriously. I can’t bullshit. But you cannot pay attention to me if you are not entertained to some extent, it is not possible.” RI and RV interjected saying they prefer his talks over all entertainment. He replied, “You don’t see it. A part of your brain has to be entertained. That’s how the processes in the brain have evolved for its own need. In other words, there must be a sense of getting a reward, when it is attracted to certain interactions or activities. For example, taste is a reward for eating food in order to meet the body’s energy needs. So, I am not saying entertainment is bad. I know the landscape of the human mind inside out. I reflected deeply on these aspects. Can you cook without getting little burns here and there? Can you learn swimming without gulping water, which has piss sometimes?!” That cracked us all up! “That’s so gross”, we said. Incidentally, G taught RV, RI and me, all three of us, swimming last summer in Julie’s pool at her farmhouse.
A drowsiness is coming over me, a deeply relaxing feeling in the head and the whole body.
I am intoxicated still, my eyes want to stay shut.
I now understand. If the mind is not troubled and the body is not in any pain, we are actually peaceful and harmless, like the rest of the life forms.
He is talking to RV. She praised him for something and pat came his reply: “I do not give or take credit where it is not due. I don’t accept anything that is not appropriate. ”
We had a zoom evening call and lots of people joined. He had asked Radhika to make a slideshow of Carol’s collection of 42 paintings. She did a fantastic job of it, using Venky’s solo tabla recital as the audio track. All of it was G’s idea though. I got a last minute idea to request Karan and Rahul to each read a poem of G’s in English. Karan read Premature Death and Rahul did Existence. I requested Sanjiv to read something from his diary, which he wrote in 2015 during his first trip with G to Kerala, and he readily agreed. His writing is powerful. Kishor is a great photographer. He has designed some beautiful slides with G’s photo and quotes. Each one is strikingly good.
I had a sinking feeling all day today. I slept a lot through the day but still kept feeling sleepy, as if some powerful intoxicant got mixed in my blood. My solar plexus region started burning after we had breakfast. The burning became intense and mildly painful so I had to skip lunch. I didn’t want to eat till I really felt hungry. G said I should eat a little dinner, so I did.
Came back from walk, was extremely muggy today. He is getting in to his morning zoom with RI, RV and J. He kept himself on mute and kept talking, joking with them.
He said, “Perpetual enslavement by ideas! What you need and what you think you need are two different things.”
He just played a song Anjana sent him. He said he had to listen to it with RI, RV and me. She sang a piece from Geet Govinda that describes the erotic love of Radha and Krishna. She has a beautiful and nuanced voice, she is well trained in the Carnatic style. It is strange how musicians turn up at his doorstep. He is so fond of music. He told Anjana that all she needs to do is sing, nothing else is necessary! To Venky he said, “Playing tabla is your only meditation. You have to practice daily for an hour at least.”
He has decided to postpone his ticket and stay the whole of August in Kolkata. He told Julie he feels comfortable here and feels no hurry to travel anywhere.
My food intake has reduced further after the big abdominal sqeeze. I feel full most of the time.
Just finished watching a gory, murder movie in which the murderer streams the killing live on internet! Before closing his door he did his usual gig with me, “Prepare to go to Mukundapur!” I said, “Gimme one good reason why I should stay away from you! Don’t you send me anywhere old man!” He said, “Call your mommy and ask her to give you a good reason why you should go back to them” and started giggling like a kid. Then he said good night.
Today’s evening zoom was high on fun. He cracked jokes, did mimicry, danced and got all of us so high! A joyous current was overflowing from him into the surroundings. Boy! I couldn’t stop grinning! RI read her long poem about her life, it is very well written and sounds like an epic in many ways. Rahul read his new poem and Karan read his latest rap! Everyone was on a roll! I read a piece from my corona journal which gives an account of a typical day with G during the lockdown. G told the friends, “Tanusri is keeping a daily journal. She takes notes whenever I say something important on phone or zoom to anybody. This is the real Commentaries on living, unlike what JK wrote describing the beauty of Gstaad while he was in Ojai. She is writing down things as they happen here.”
His body is relaxed almost all the time. I believe that’s the reason it looks so graceful. His movements are fluid. When he sleeps, he is a picture of perfect repose, if I can call it that. His body turned on one side, with his legs curled up, one hand beneath his head, the palm of the other resting gently on the bed, it’s a beautiful sight.
I don’t remember if I wrote about the iron guy before who has a makeshift shop next to our building. His name is Vinod. He irons at his shop all day and sleeps there at night. This ever-smiling gentleman is from Bihar. His family is poor and have no land or other means of income in his village. They depend solely on his meagre earnings. He makes six rupees out of each piece he irons. His income dried up the day the lockdown started. I remember G wondering how this man was going survive without any money. G gave him a few thousand rupees to start with. Vinod was astonished. For the next three months G gave him hundred rupees or more every single day. He told me one day, “Vinod is my neighbour, how can I see him starve?” His wife delivered a baby girl a couple of weeks back. When G got the news he gave him a thousand rupees. Vinod will do anything G asks him to, in fact he looks for an opportunity to do something for G. He is happy to run to the market for vegetables or run any other errands.
There’s another young man who comes daily to pick garbage and sweep the streets. He is part of a group of workers employed by the municipality. We leave our garbage bag outside the staircase door for him to take away. He wishes us good morning and G gives him money everyday.
A strange incident happened in the last week of May. This was after the cyclone Amphun had hit Kolkata. Our neighbourhood was strewn with giant fallen trees and heaps of branches and leaves. Those days we would walk on Southern Avenue as the Lake was closed. The mango tree next to G’s bedroom was full of mangoes and he had been thinking of making a contraption using a long and sturdy branch or stick, which would allow him pluck the mangoes without damaging them. As we would run by heaps of fallen branches on the streets, he would slow down to see if there was anything he could pick from there. It was funny seeing him slow down every time he saw a pile of branches. I would mimic his running then slowing down and show him! This continued for quite a few days, he found nothing suitable. One fine morning on our usual jog, as we were running by the Ramakrishna Mission in Golpark, we overheard two men who sat on the road discussing something. “What am I supposed to do with this long contraption now? I brought it so I could pluck the ripe jamuns but the branches of the tree are all broken. What should I do now?”, one of them was lamenting. We stopped to look, and lo and behold, there lay on the road in front of the two men, a most magnificent, long bamboo pole with a hook at its tip, a tailor made fruit picker! G told the guys, “I can rent it from you right now and give back to you after a couple of days”, and he pulled out a 500 rupees note from his pocket and stretched out his arm to offer it to them. The men looked startled, they said he could take it just like that, he didn’t have to pay anything for it. One guy said, “I know where you live, I will take the pole to your house soon.” G said he wouldn’t touch it if they didn’t take the money, so they agreed. We finished walking, went back to our apartment, had breakfast and got busy with stuff. Around noon we remembered the pole guy, he hadn’t come yet. In 30 mins we heard a knock on our door. It was the pole guy! He gave us the pole and a bagful of ripe jamuns! G was beaming with joy! The jamuns were sweet and juicy. He said they were the best jamuns he had in decades. He ran to the balcony to test his brand new contraption, after a few mins of tugging at the branches, he emphatically declared he couldn’t have asked for anything better! In the evening he told his friends on zoom that this was the most exalted spiritual experience of his life! He wanted something for plucking mangoes and Nature brought the perfect thing right to his doorstep!
G is working with RV, RDG, KS and RI to do some stuff for my birthday tomorrow. He has been coordinating with them since afternoon. All of them are high because he is talking to them a lot today! He just spoke to Rahul about some changes in the video he is making, Rahul was giggling with excitement. Anyway, after the call ended, G said, “These kids understand pure affection. If there is no jealousy, then it’s pretty simple. Jealousy is what comes in the way.” I bowed down to him and prayed, “May my jealousy, may all that go away in your presence.” He smiled and said, “That’s it.”
We finished dinner. I made a lightly spiced mix of rice, quinoa and vegetables. He is now talking to his psychiatrist friend from US. His mother passed away recently and he has been feeling low and depressed since then. He used to be a seeker before he met G. He was a Ramana devotee and used go for satsangs and meditations. He had to give all that up after coming in contact with G. Now he says he feels miserable with no interest in anything and nothing to look forward to. He has a big job at a state hospital. He calls G for inspiration. G listens to him patiently, never tells him everything will be alright. Sometimes he tells the guy to take one day at a time without projecting his present misery into the future, and to find some activity with which he resonates.
G is on a late night zoom with RDG, KS, RI and RV! They are ecstatic! He is showing us the video Rahul made (amazing work by the kid!) and another video Radhika had made in 2019 after my first 6 months in US. It brought back such memories for me! It’s almost like a pre-birthday bash, nobody wants to leave the meeting! We are rolling with laughter and real joy! The friends said we should continue the meeting till after midnight so that they can wish me happy birthday! Looks like it’s going that way!
Carol read the Corona Diaries posts on my blog and wrote a long email to G. G just read it out. She wrote she couldn’t believe what I wrote, and how it was so simple, and that I had let the secrets out!
He is now talking about the dream state, how it is a part of what we know. “Brain doesn’t understand time. Time exists through thought. In other words, thought is time. The time that exists when you act when a stone is thrown at you is different. The way a tree grows to be a thousand years old, for it there’s no time. Similarly your body does not understand time. So memories have no time tagging. Memories from different phases in life sit in the brain in the same way, they do not have different time tagging. It does not understand the difference between the memory of something that happened ten years ago versus something that happened yesterday.”
Wishes started coming in from before 5 am from RI, RV and KS. RI sent the Shilpa Shetty song that we had so much fun with yesterday night! RV made a beautiful slideshow and Karan sent a couple of cute Gifs!
Then RI called and he was telling her, “You till the land, pull out the weeds, throw out all the trash that the sun has burned, then you sow the seed. You then water it and make your nice little garden of flowers.”
I just sang and recorded my favourite Sabyasachi Vandana, which I had plagiarised from a famous Ram bhajan of Tulsidas, when I was in US in May 2019. Today is the foundation laying of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. It’s a mega event by the Indian government. The propaganda and hoopla are sweeping the country, people say. But I am oblivious to this hysteria, spinning furiously with high “enerG” around him. No external disturbance can penetrate this sacred, life-abiding space.
My parents had called a while back to wish me and they seemed ecstatic about the Temple event. I didn’t say anything to contradict their feelings, it’s their functional reality after all. G told me, “Your parents are more happy about the temple than your birthday!”
G was talking to RI and me just now about the mass religious hysteria in India. He said, “What will you take, something that a huge number of people believe in or something that functions in you? Both are illusions though” We said, we will take the one that functions in us, as individuals. Then he asked, “But there must be something, some truth in that, which so many people believe in, no?” I said those people have been brainwashed to believe that there is some truth there, but actually there’s no functional aspect in it. He added, “Giving into mass hysteria, and following what a lot of people follow, is to give up one’s discrimination, that’s what the religious people want you to do. Actually these beliefs are a sign of inner poverty.”
I am cooking lunch and he is resting on the couch, half asleep. He is in constant touch with Venky. Venky’s entire family has tested Covid positive. The government has forced his uncle, father and grandfather to get admitted to hospital. His father is serious, he has COPD, and the doctor told Venky a while back that the disease is progressing rapidly and he will need to be put on ventilator soon. He actually contracted the virus at least ten days back, but ignored the fever and did not maintain social isolation. He kept up his routine of visiting his family temple twice a day. This is what religion does to simple people.
I just finished shower and came to the living room. He is not out yet. I have been writing a lot since a few days, noting down incidents, conversations and his utterances.
Before going for shower, he told me with a naughty grin on his face, “You could have easily gone to Mukundapur to spend your birthday with your parents. Your mom would have baked a cake and made other delicacies! You would have been happier there!” He has such an amazing sense of humour, there never ever is a dull moment around him! I couldn’t stop laughing! “You have gone crazy”, he said.
G invited a lot of people to my birthday zoom at 5:30 pm. He planned the whole thing. The two little girls Dibyashree and Rohini made beautiful birthday cards and also did poetry recitals. Karan wrote a rap using events from my journal. There were songs and more videos and stuff. G was the driver of the boat and the motivation behind everything.
We are having our morning coffee and it’s raining outside. He said it rained all night. I am feeling ecstatic just seeing him. I sometimes wonder how did nature make something so real, so beautiful? Seeing me so happy he said, “How can something that ruthlessly burns and demolishes the ideas, and eventually the sense of self, be so gentle and tender, that it won’t even hurt a fly?!” This reminded me of a few lines from Blake’s poem Tyger:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
He said, “The jaw that crushes the skull of a huge buffalo, wouldn’t even scratch its newborn babe when lifting it.” In 20 mins Rahul made a video out of G’s morning sermon!
We had a morning zoom with RDG, Venky, RI, RV and J around 9. G played some videos from the birthday zoom as Revathi had missed it due to a bad headache. G spoke about SSFR and subjective logic of humans. While wrapping up, he mentioned the incident from his first meeting with UG on 13th Dec 1995, when UG told him after a few hours of intense discussion that they were just two dogs barking at each other. We knew this incident very well, but what came next was a surprise. He said, “It is two dogs barking at each other, but only the two dogs know what they are communicating, no one else knows!” This blew everybody’s mind! G was looking at Venky while saying this. Venky is going through a tough time with his father in hospital. G is thinking about him all the time. Today morning he asked Venky his father’s age. He is 63. G said, “63 is a crucial age. It reminds me of my Father’s death when I came from Bangalore to Kolkata on a hunch, without knowing he was actually unwell. He was ailing for sometime and died. But your father’s constitution is good. He should live.” I quipped, “Now that it fell from your mouth, he may.” In a week’s time Venky’s father recovered and came back home.
The rains held up for sometime so we got a chance to go to the lake at 6 am. It was so lush and fresh. We did about 2.8 miles singing Tagore songs all the way. When he sang he nikhilobharodharano, two dogs came happily running towards us, he said they were his friends! Then I started singing hridoy amar nachere and he joined me, he made a dizzy video of the trees and sky and water logged road as we sang this one! Intoxication filled everything! It started drizzling lightly so we walked back to our apartment. He said a hot shower would be wonderful in this weather and went to his room. I did the same, I had some clothes to wash too.
He asked me to call Air India to postpone his ticket. They said he can use the same ticket anytime till December 2021. So, we din’t need to do anything as of now. I told him, if he goes to America in September, I will go too. I pleaded with him, “Take me with you wherever you go. I can’t stay without you. I have nothing else to do and nowhere to go. You know, yesterday night I tried to imagine a scenario that I am away from you, but my brain expelled it instantly, it wasn’t allowed to stay!” He found it hilarious!
I plagiarised a traditional classical bandish in raga Kedar and replaced Krishna’s name with Guha’s. It goes like this …
Guha re Manu nandan
He dukh bhanjan
In English the meaning is: Guha, the son of Manu, is absolutely blemishless, the one who destroys sorrow.
We slept at 12:50 pm and got up around 1:45 pm to eat lunch. Then we watched a movie called Lost Girls.
Venky religiously practices tabla sincerely and sends a recorded recital or two everyday to G. G goes into samadhi listening to them. Venky is a talented guy. His guru Shubhankar Banerjee is the current numero uno in tabla in India. He doesn’t take money from Venky. G pushed Venky to resume his classes with Shubhankar to fine tune his art to the best of his abilities. For Venky, G’s word is final.
Had a fantastic morning zoom just now. He started by playing the Bengali “Maddie song” I wrote on 17th June. It goes like this: I became mad because I found a real maddie. I adapted it from a famous Baul song of Bengal. Towards the end of the call, he said, “A big tree bears fruits and birds come and eat them. Does the tree charge anything from them? In fact, the tree wants the birds to pick the fruits. But you are always compartmentalising things. Nature doesn’t work that way. You have unfulfilled desires that you want to vicariously fulfil through me.”
Today is lockdown day in West Bengal. We went to the terrace in the morning. I was feeling light a grasshopper! I jumped and ran around him non-stop! I was unreasonably ecstatic! I felt I could jump high enough to touch the sky. What a lightness! He looked supremely beautiful as he paced up and down and stretched his arms and legs to loosen up his body. What a graceful presence! What a mammoth source of joy in my life! The solution, the living order that is constantly working in him is readily available for anyone who is really interested. He gives it all like the rain that drenches every speck of dust on earth.
A gentleman from Canberra had written through the website that he wanted to meet G as soon as the travels restrictions are lifted. G had replied to him through Revathi that he didn’t mind talking to him on zoom. So, right now he is in zoom with that gentleman. They are talking. G is telling him, “I did not want to be governed by external influences. I wanted to find my equilibrium with myself and with Nature. The result of such an equilibrium can be called peace, because the system has addressed its own conflicts.” The guy is saying he has tried all kinds of meditation, reiki, art of living, vipasana etc. Then he read UG and was upset that all his effort for attaining effortlessness added up to nothing. G adds, “Psyche is how you respond to information. Your daily social dynamics.” The gentleman dropped off after an hour and the zoom continued for another two hours! How time flies in his company, there’s not a moment’s gap to stop and ponder. His vast presence accommodates and envelops everything.
We are sitting with our early morning coffee. It is so quiet I can hear the murmur of foam in his cup. He is sitting cross-legged and reading something on his phone, swinging his right leg gently. The whooshy sound is stirring music in my ears. The fullness of the moment is so heady and potent, there is no room for distraction. Any food for thought, whether sublime or ridiculous, is detrimental to this stability.
I am making breakfast. The same food tastes so good everyday.
We just finished our extended morning zoom with the usual suspects. G was telling stories about UG. It reminded me of something I have experienced in his presence. His system has a tremendous sense of dignity about itself, which is not a superficial gravity or self importance. The self-sufficiency of his system is of such a high order that it reminds me of the Sanskrit word Swayam Sampurna. In my experience, his personality and his own take about his functioning are so deep and grounded, that it creates a sense of awe in the minds of people around him. There is a mysterious boundary that even his closest friends dare not cross when engaging with him. He cannot be taken for granted or disregarded even for a moment. His presence demands tremendous alertness and focus.
We were discussing the Sanskrit sloka:
vedāhametaṁ puruṣaṁ mahāntamādityavarṇaṁ tamasaḥ parastāt |
tameva viditvātimṛtyumeti nānyaḥ panthā vidyate’yanāya ||
The great Purusha, who is effulgent like the Sun is beyond all darkness.
Only by knowing Him can one overcome death, there is no other way to severe the cycle of birth and death.
He wants me to sing this sloka. He suggested I refer to the track from Peter Brook’s Mahabharata to learn it.
What an exquisite intoxication! Can barely keep my eyes open. I feel so high all the time around him.
He is taking shower and I am writing my diary. I just made some Pad Thai noodles for lunch. I am waiting for the apartment owner who is coming to collect the rent for August.
A dear friend of his from Denmark had called a while back. She had stayed with us for three weeks in Kolkata in this apartment November 2019. When she came she was desperately looking for a job after being out of work for over a year. She went for tons of interviews but nothing clicked. When she was here in Kolkata, she gave an interview with a non-profit and they offered her a job! G had an explosive impact on her. She told me, one day as she was sitting in the living room opposite to him, she felt a huge force coming from him and exploding on her. I was her room mate. At night she would toss and turn in the bed. She was unable to get up if I didn’t wake her in the morning. She told me she was neither asleep nor awake, it was a strange state, thoughts and images would continuously roll in her head and make her head go crazy. Often she would sleep for long hours during the day. After going back to her country, she chatted with me often asking about G. She had started with a new job and the work was demanding and stressful. She was finding it hard to cope. Then she went through a difficult phase and started exploring alternative faiths to see if it could ease her conflict and pain. She thought faith could heal her. Because G gives no methods or disciplines, nothing to hold on to, it is a precarious situation for the sense of self. He warns us, “It’s the tendency to chicken out that makes you fall back on the things that never worked for you in your life. Like someone could use UG as a shield to defend oneself against what I am saying.”
Today when she called, G started talking as if nothing had ever changed, although it has been months since she spoke to him last. He started by saying, “You see I can be a Sufi too. Did you see Tanusri’s birthday video which has me dressed as a Peer?” She was delighted! Then he talked about the life of Prophet Mohammed (she is a muslim). He knows more about that guy than even devout muslims do. I could see she was hooked, her face and eyes changed and softened, she became focussed. I thought, “This is what he does. He uses information in a way that helps a person focus on him. What value does information have otherwise?” After the call was over I told him this and he smiled and agreed. “Information by itself is nothing. I had to speak to her in a way that could get her attention. Focus does something, it has some quality, otherwise information has no purpose for me.”
Yesterday around 9:30 am a friend shared Hindi song “Yeh Dooriyan” from the film Love Aaj Kal with me. I used to enjoy the haunting melody and strange melancholy of this song when it came out eight or nine years ago. I used to listen to it over and over again. The song is about the pangs of separation a lover feels when away from his beloved. I told G about it and he asked me to play it on speaker. As soon as the music started, I saw his eyes change, as if they were sinking within in samadhi, although open. An indescribable softness and grace enveloped his face, the fingers of his hand started forming mudras. In a flash I picked up my phone and started videotaping him.
His smokeless fire on evening zoom … blasting away at our age-old layers of conditioning about God, fear and love.
Later, he got RI, RV & RDG on zoom again to show them the “Yeh Dooriyan” video I shot of his samadhi. Everybody was spellbound. I described to them how the video happened.
He just finished a short zoom call with the usual suspects. They were beyond happy to see him. After logging out of the call, he wondered aloud pointing to his head, “How do all these words come out of me?! What to do, this brain functions in a different way, it’s not me.” I feel like saying poetically, From the eternal fountain of life within, spring his words that strike down conflicting ideas and bring succour to our minds ravaged by sorrow.
During our morning walk he explained to me the meaning of the primary verses from Svetasvetara upanishad and showed their connection with the prayer of the Vedas Asadoma Sadgamaya.
Today is Venky’s birthday. We are prepping for the evening zoom party.
He just said, “Fame and freedom do not go together. If you are famous, you have to behave the way culture dictates. The image people have about you, if you can reinforce and work to maintain it, your fame will continue. The moment those images begin to crumble, you will be defamed.”
He hasn’t taken calls since afternoon today. Some friends checked a few times with me, but he didn’t wish to respond.
Been sleepy all day. Have a mild headache now and can’t keep my eyes open. There’s a zoom going on, RI and SC read from their diaries. G is saying, “Honesty does not exist, it is false. The brain takes in information as it is, but the reporter is convoluted to begin with. What you say is what you can recall and what you feel at that moment. So, honesty is at best a policy.”
Felt I would pass out while walking by the Lake in the morning, so he said let’s go back. Came back and got knocked out for over an hour. Woke up to find him working in the kitchen. He was making preparations for breakfast. I joined him and finished the remaining work.
We went to a shopping mall for the first time in four months since the lockdown began! It was completely empty and clean and shiny like never before! We roamed around gleefully like kids in a candy store!
Haven’t written anything for sometime. Feel no urge or impulse to write. He had a headache so we retired early. I translated his Bengali poem Anidra to English today.
He had a vivid dream of UG yesterday night. He felt restless, his throat choking, and couldn’t sleep until 11:30 pm. He is narrating it to Julie now on phone. Mahesh, Chandrasekhar and Louis were there in the dream. He was moves around with UG and UG was acting silly, he looked very frail. Then they came to a tea stall and UG grabbed a cup of tea or juice from an urchin boy and G was settling the dues with the shopkeeper, when UG suddenly vanished. He had a dream after a very long time. “I thought I didn’t dream at all, but that’s not correct! I am really surprised. I don’t know what all my head contains!”, he said.
Rahul and Karan arrived on the 3rd from Delhi. Two young boys from Liverpool have recently discovered G and seem gung ho about him. They are twins. They have attended three zoom calls as of now.
It is likely that he will stay the entire September in India. But nothing is confirmed yet.
I haven’t been writing much lately.
Venky came on the night of 24th. He has set up a temporary recording studio here! G just recorded Mor Bhabonare and it was great fun! After finishing he got up from his seat and I sat on it to begin my recording. The seat was toasty warm! He said he felt intoxicated while singing. “Now the seat is like the mother’s womb!”, he added. I re-recorded the Bengali UG song He Tumi Nirgun. It sounded amazing.
We sang songs and made merry till 10:30 in the night yesterday. The atmosphere was electric and intoxicating. G himself was drunk and high listening to his own voice. We all plugged in our headphones to a star-shaped extension and listened to recordings from Venky’s computer where he edits the songs.
All the three boys are easy-going. They make good housemates. They work in the kitchen and are eager to help in every way possible. Karan is spending a lot of money. I tell him “You are not a Sindhi!”, because Sindhis are known to be miserly. G always says, if there are more than 5-6 people around him, the group dynamics become complicated. So, five is the right number it seems. There’s a Kabir song which goes “Baba jogi ek akela … panch jana ki jamat chalawe taas guru mein chela”. G often refers to this song.
Yesterday night a friend got rebuked for wasting too much water to wash a few dishes and cups. Actually it was for the others too. The friend sat squirming in his seat and said, “Oh my god, what did I do?!” He looked visibly shaken. G kept going at him for some more time, then stopped and started joking. Then he narrated in a step-by-step manner how he could shower with half a bucket of water. It was a lesson for all of us. We are seldom aware of our deep-seated conditionings and fears. The only way to see them is when they come out. Once G said, “My aim, so to say, is to bring out the conflicts and if someone is serious, he or she will see and probably become aware of them. That’s all one can do.”
Some plumbing problem has been bothering us since a couple of days. We don’t have a drop of water in the house today. Nitish Babu’s wife is supposed to come and cook lunch for us today, not sure how that’s going to go without any water in the kitchen. Balaram came yesterday afternoon just as we were leaving for South City Mall. G treated us to lunch at Mainland China! Balaram is visiting after 6 months. He looked very happy. He stayed till late and cooked dinner for us. He and Karan danced to G’s Tagore song “Tar hathe chilo.”
Yesterday around 7 or 7:30 pm as we were sitting and joking with G in the living room, the lower back of my head and neck started paining mildly. Then my thoughts slowed down and my eyes closed. I sat alert and still for a long time as the others chit chatted. My head was still inside with no thoughts arising.
G is telling RI on FaceTime, “I am surrounded by exotic nuts! These guys here are driving me nuts!”
He said the following:
“We all have tremendous energy, but it is not to achieve anything. It is for itself by itself.”
“The brain is a highly organised system. For the sake of its own survival it has the tendency to decipher causal connections in Nature. It is able to do this because of the highly logical nature of its own organisation and neural connections. Nothing is without purpose in its functionality. It is not because some external power gifted this capacity to humans. It has evolved on its own to survive in a highly complex environment and it is still here after millions of years. That is a testimony of life’s power!”
G is interpreting Patanjali’s Yogasutra on zoom. He is saying, “Unresolved conditioning is the cause of distraction.”
G to Radhika on Facetime: “It is like you are looking at a fruit and saying I want it. That doesn’t work. If you want it, you have to get it. The fruit doesn’t have a mind, it doesn’t care who eats it. It is there to be eaten and for the seeds to be spread. Whoever eats it has to spread the seeds, that’s the law of Nature. But both of them do it unknowingly.”
Handmade Home, Kolkata
The house is full of people like it used to be before the lockdown began. Kishor and Sanjiv arrived yesterday afternoon. I arranged for two rooms for them in another apartment, which is a ten mins walk from our’s. Balaram babu has been visiting everyday and cooking for us. The kitchen is buzzing with activity today with Balaram and Sanjiv cooking for ten people.
Day before yesterday he talked for sometime to me and then we started laughing and having fun. Then he shook my hand and said softly, “Your palm is acquiring a different texture, a different quality.”
We left Kolkata on the 25th and came to Bangalore. It’s now been a year since he arrived in India. He sent Karan and Rahul back to Delhi. They will join us again on 30th, then we will drive to Pondy on 1st Nov. We have booked Sovereign for two months. Venky is coming back from Sagar today.
We have a cook here who makes delicious meals. She is Bengali. For some reason G has been throwing up after all meals here, except breakfast. This never happened in Kolkata.
Today is Sanjiv’s birthday and we are going to have a big zoom party in the evening. Karthik, Venky’s friend, is bringing a cake. He is a sweet young man just out of college and very hardworking.
The weather in Bangalore is dry and slightly chill, which does not suit G. He got a bad cold the very first day and Venky had to arrange for a room heater for him the day after. I got alarmed seeing him sick after a very long time. He has decided to go to Pondy a week sooner than planned.
He has constantly been on the phone since we arrived in Bangalore. Too many people are drawing his attention. The lady from Canada has apparently flipped her lid. She has bizarre delusions about herself and G’s impact on her. Her imagination is running riot. Anyway, he is infinitely patient and deals with different people differently.
I met him 4 years ago on this day in Kolkata.
The weather here is fabulous, warm but not as humid as Kolkata. We are staying at Sovereign Apartment on Caserne Street. This is the same place we stayed in December 2019 when we came to Pondicherry for the first time. G and I have a room each in our apartment, Karan and Rahul sleep in the living room. We took another apartment in the same building where Sanjiv, Kishor, Venky and Sanjay are staying. Both the apartments are booked for 2 months. G doesn’t want to go to US in the winter. Europe is out of bounds for visitors due to Covid.
There are hardly any tourists in Pondy but things seem normal, shops are open. Auroville and the ashram guest houses are closed though.
I feel normal, feel no urgency or drive of any kind. I used to experience a lot of emotional upheavals in his presence earlier, now the waters are calm.
He is sending Rahul, Karan and Sanjay back to Delhi tomorrow. Rahul and Karan were reluctant but G had made up his mind.
I canceled our zoom subscription today. He was unnecessarily paying $16 every month although we stopped using it after 30th Oct.
He got a bad cold yesterday morning after waking up from sleep. He texted me at 4:45 am “Are you up? I got cold. I need my salts.” I hurriedly brushed my teeth, came out of my room and knocked on his door. The moment he came out I saw it was pretty bad. He had a runny nose and his eyes were glassy. My insides twisted. I rushed to the kitchen and brought him a glass of warm water with salts. I started giving him this solution every half hour and he felt better after a couple of hours.
The lady from Canada has stopped communicating. She had a mental breakdown and had to be hospitalised sometime back (this is what she told G). She went off air after that. G agreed when I told him that she and her family must have been scared and thought it was G’s association that was driving her crazy hence she decided not to be in touch anymore. G asks no one to stay or leave. It is simply upto them. But that does not mean people can do whatever they want with him. When we are around him, we have to respect his space, his dynamics, else we are free to leave. “You got to understand that it is your need, not mine. If you don’t like me, please leave. I guarantee nothing bad will happen to you if you go away”, he says.
Sometimes when I observe myself, I see most of the thoughts are useless and wasteful. The very awareness arrests them momentarily, then they begin again. But one thing is for sure, they don’t hang heavy anymore, they are like shadows or passing clouds. They don’t disrupt my flow or actions. The uneasiness in the body which I was so weary of earlier, vanished when the changes in my body started taking effect in the auspicious presence of G.
Revathi is about to arrive shortly at Pondicherry. She is flying from Detroit via Newark and Mumbai. She landed in Chennai a while ago and Karan met up with her. The two are driving down to Pondy. G made arrangements for their pickup. Radhika also got her Indian visa yesterday. She had put in a special request at the Consulate. Venky wants to come back soon. This place is going to fill up again! This is how it usually is around him. 4-5 people are usually around, sometimes less, sometimes more. The five months I got with him alone is a miracle that will probably never repeat itself.
I just finished cooking. Sanjiv made stir fried broccoli and potatoes with mustard and olive oil. There’s fried bittergourd and eggplants I made from yesterday, G’s favourite. I said we should make the Govindabhog and quinoa rice mix, so G took out measured quantities of rice and quinoa and soaked them in water. We have a rice cooker here, so its easy.
Yesterday G reminded me about my writing and said that I needed to think about incorporating my musical journey in the journal.
Sovereign apts, Pondy
Rahul, Radhika and Venky arrived on 1st Dec. G arranged a cab to pick them up from Chennai. He allowed Venky and Rahul to come on a day that synced with Radhika’s arrival date in Chennai. A few hours into their arrival, I started sensing a big surge in the energy dynamics. My head tightened, alertness levels jacked up and I couldn’t eat any of the junk food I was gorging on all these days. I got that same acidic taste in the mouth I have felt so many times before that forces me to avoid all fried, salty and sweet stuff.
Today morning’s atmosphere was electric. Whatever G uttered was so deeply moving that it went like a straight arrow inside me. I was transfixed, so were most of the others around. There was pin-drop silence in the room for the longest time. I was so high I din’t know what to do with myself. I told him, “I feel like Hercules, like a giant, but I just sit quietly, what do I do with it?!” An angelic smile filled his face and he gestured to me to keep writing. Then he said, “You have forgotten to sing all together! I have to get you started again!” Then he went up to Venky and asked him to look for a song for me to practice.
A couple of days ago he said “It is about time you guys put out everything that you have. It should be available out there.” He meant audiotapes of his talks, videos, transcribed talks etc.
Around mid-November while we were still in Kolkata, he suggested that we could compile a book of his talks out of the ones that we think are good. Since then I and another friend have been working on transcribing and editing some of G’s latest talks. I spent many days editing “My needs are specific”, “On Will” and “Life needs no God”. I go over each line at least twenty times before I am satisfied. We also decided to make the talks available on his website as they get done. When all of them are ready, we will make a book out of it. After a few days G told me, “Don’t worry about the website, make a book”. Since then I am working with only the book in mind, I won’t get involved with his website unless he asks me to.
Promenade by the beach, Pondy
We are walking in the promenade … he is with a bunch of friends ahead of me, I am way behind, lagging, alone with myself, with no desire to catch up with anything. The Sun is blazing bright today after 4 or 5 days of darkness and damp, falling full on my face, its gentle warmth nourishing the body. I am just an animal. I am bound by Nature. I see the trappings of the mind’s intentions, the rotting sore in the head that keeps on wounding itself in its bid to be free, harming itself in the guise of harming others, exposing itself in the name of exposing others. Finally, I feel free.
If someone is lucky enough to experience this agony, this crisis deep in his or her bones, that individual undergoes a change. From being an exhibitionist, she becomes a simple exhibition of whatever is inside, whatever the body’s processes produce every moment. Knowing fully how this exhibition happens and its apparent meaning or application is not possible, because it is in the realm of the biological workings of the body which is the maker of our intellect, the only instrument we have for knowing anything. The body is not run by my intellect. The body doesn’t lie, doesn’t manipulate, doesn’t worry, has no future – all this is by Mother Nature’s design. Hence, it does not want to suffer mental agony because it is not necessary or constructive for it in any way. The two don’t go together. This body is the master, the source of what we call happiness, joy, freedom. The terms are not important, by themselves they mean nothing, just dead words we like to babble, because we are so in love with our paramour Misery.
G4, Sovereign Apartments
We are sitting in the living room around G. I am sitting on the couch right opposite him and writing.
Some strange things happened yesterday evening (Monday 7th Dec). We were going out for an evening walk. After G and friends stepped out, I put on my shoes, switched off all the lights and fans of the house, locked the door and went out leaving my phone behind. Unable to locate them after walking a few yards, I came back to pick my phone so I could call and find out where they were. Moments later, I got some confusing texts and calls from a friend, who was with G, about G’s location, and ended up loosing my way for fifteen minutes, before I finally found him after walking down the promenade for another 5-7 mins. I was not perturbed at all, just a bit surprised. When I met G, he exclaimed, “Where were you? We were waiting and waiting!” I said with a chuckle that I got lost for a while. He looked aghast, “Lost? How is that possible?!”, he said. When I told him what had happened, he got angry. It was then that I realized that something was off. My innocence had prevented me earlier from realizing that somebody could ever try to confuse me! Then I suddenly flew into a rage directed at that person. I had no clue why I was raging, yet the firepower kept pouring out of me. My solar plexus started beating and burning uncontrollably and I felt feverish with high energy. My body was giving me a strong signal about something.
G just now said firmly to the group sitting around him:
“Spirituality is the spirit of life, which is in the harmonious existence of everything. There is no such thing as spiritual energy or potential, it does not exist. What is inside you just comes out. You yourself end up doing things that fan those things and they come out even more. If you guys here fight amongst each other, kill each other, I won’t raise a finger to stop anything. Whatever is going on amongst you is your problem. Don’t think that I will either douse the fire or fan it. I won’t raise even my little finger. You have to clean up your own shit!”
My room in Sovereign Apartments,
As G got up from his couch and asked everybody to disperse, he noticed that the living room floor was dirty. Bits of food were lying scattered all around. He asked a few friends to vacuum the place. As I saw them painstakingly clean the floor after a long and exhausting day, I felt what G had said earlier about you have to clean your own shit was coming true right in front of my eyes! G stood watching and made sure the job was done well before all of us retired to our respective rooms.
The startling series of events that unfolded out of the blue from Monday, 7th December till the close of day today (Wednesday) revealed the illusory nature of past and future in all its nudity to me. Whatever happens now is the only reality, whichever way one behaves right now is what one is. All our stories, associations, images and relationships have no value as far as life is concerned. This living energy that I am experiencing in G’s presence, which has so carefully and lovingly nourished my system, is sacrosanct and powerful beyond our comprehension. It is also merciless, it knows no distraction. Anything that tries to thwart it gets burnt down. It is the fire that burns in the belly of every living thing, the warmth in every living cell that preserves the ageless continuity of life. How can anything that thought creates ever touch it?
Living room, Sovereign Apartments,
I stayed up very late yesterday. Couldn’t sleep, something was keeping me up. I was twisting and turning from inside. Words kept gushing out of my fingertips in their own precise rhythm, as I typed away distractionless, purposeful to the core, without any known goal, experiencing an unknown joy and enthusiasm without the thought-fuelled highs.
Promenade beach, Pondy
I am sitting on a stone bench by the sea and typing on my phone these words that are spontaneously springing up. Moments back, G looked back at me as we were walking with all the friends and said strangely, “From now on the weather is going to be great. No more storms!” Something in me felt it was a hint about what was to come in my life, and I smiled in gratitude at him. This is my existence, my ground, Mother Nature has worked tirelessly for millions of years to bring me here. Nothing can move me now, nothing can touch me, no guilt or filth can stain life’s purity, it is its own master. Its own well-being is its only goal, its ultimate comfort is in recognising the peaceful womb within itself and coming back to it again and again till it becomes its most natural way of existence, free from the wear and tear of conflicting thoughts created by the wrong foreplay of intentions which lie unattended and unwatched for centuries. I feel free at this moment for I have seen it, seen it all in me. Now, perhaps, I will see things as they emerge and unfold, free from my own filters. The enemy within has been overpowered by the body – the only real thing in this universe through which everything comes to be.
Today I woke up in the morning with a stabbing pain in my back. It is in the middle of my back slightly to the right of the spine. I feel as if someone has stabbed me from behind with a sharp object and left it there causing a deep wound. The pain is so intense that it is difficult for me to take deep breaths or move my shoulder and right hand. My gait is awkward and I have to sit in a strange posture to feel even remotely comfortable. My solar plexus is pulsating and burning like mad, and tremendous heat is soaking my shirt. I feel some crazy animal is going to pop out of my chest. The strange thing is, I feel extremely vital and healthy inspite of the piercing pain in my back and chest. The unhindered gush of energy in my body is driving me up to cloud nine.
My body is sorrowless. I feel so fuckingly powerful, yet I don’t know what to do with it, it is totally in the realm of the unknown. G said today, “There’s no direction or goal, just movement.”
He is treating me like royalty! Anything I want he gets it. All I have to do is to look at the thing and then look at him! Like a child I want anything that catches my attention. Today I picked up a horseradish & wasabi siracha sauce (I usually never touch such spicy and garlicky stuff) just after entering a grocery store! He bought it for me without blinking an eye. In the evening we went to Anokhi, a clothing and lifestyle store, as Radhika wanted to look at some designs for pajamas. I entered the store a few minutes later and saw her holding a beautiful light pink printed shirt and pajama set. It immediately caught my fancy. I touched it, the fabric felt light like feather. G immediately asked, “Do you want it?” I said I did, never bothering to look at the price. Next moment the dress was in a bag hanging from my arm and I walked out of the store happily!
I have burnt in his pure fire, centuries of accumulated garbage. Nothing can touch this sacred space in which he has grounded me.
I am suddenly seeing hoards of young people gathering wherever G and I go. A cascade of young men and women, girls and boys suddenly descended on Pondicherry on the evening of 7th December. The mysterious magic realism of life is unfolding in front of my eyes in ways far beyond my imagination. My entire surroundings is coming alive and talking to me in an unspoken, ageless language. What is this strange and heightened state of consciousness that was so far hidden from me? Life is never going to be the same again, I guess.
I feel unshakeably grounded yet light and innocent like a baby. Mother Nature’s design honed over millions of years has made this body as functional and sensitive as the existing conditions in the environment demand, and the capacities of this organism allow for, to attain a dynamic balance or order which is critical for the preservation and propagation of life. This drive is sacred, it is not to be messed with. Anything – any image or idea – that comes in its way will be destroyed, such is its power and innate demand to be what it is, to simply live without the past and future, not knowing what it is, yet be full of joy and enthusiasm, moving, moving, dancing without any direction or intention, purely driven by raw instinct. This is the only thing that is holy, the only grace, only peace a human mind can experience.
What a nightmare of the war of images. What a vividly real illusion! Unbeknownst to me deeper, core conditioning are surfacing. The finer they are, more terrible the burning. This is causing me unbearable physical agony. The latest painful hallucination started yesterday. Images play the friend and foe in tandem, I cannot trust my image-making machinery. The result of information matching can go both ways. The same mechanism makes me ecstatic and also makes me feel an excruciating withdrawal when the present situation does not match with the story running in my head. So, both the highs and lows are qualitatively similar. And the most startling discovery of mine is: the image of G that got created in my head as a part of the process of getting to know him, and then coming very close to him, is as unreal and shifty as all the other images whose vivid interplay is driving me nuts! I am powerless in front of this illusion. Can I choose not to get elated by the highs and almost killed by the lows? G says the body can handle these problems if I do not interfere and let the burning and heat do its job. What job or what purpose it has, I have no clue about it. What we call mind, is a powerful instrument. The proof of its might is manifest in the stupendous growth and advancement of human learning and technology advancement. Inside us, this same instrument can create insanely powerful illusions in our brain. G says one has to live through and experience these illusions as they are being purged and thrown out by the body. There is no other way. He himself went through a phase of experiencing powerful visions which he later called a purging process.
Thought is my enemy! What a risky thing it is to think about anything! Anything I think is coming true or manifesting immediately. It then starts playing like a scary or happy movie in an auto mode, squeezing everything out of me, burning my chest and solar plexus like a massive forest fire, setting my head in a tizzy. What an unbearable overdrive in the body. I am completely helpless, I don’t know what to choose, I don’t know right from wrong, everything is burning. I don’t know who the people around me are. Where are the people who I was so sure existed? They just seem like faces with nobody fixed inside, everyone and everything is ever changing. Where do I stand in this ever moving dynamics? The body seems to hate thought, the moment thought emerges trying create a future from information, a fire starts raging in my chest and the situation around me builds up in a way that I am forced to surrender completely to whatever happens. If the thinking process tries to habitually make any meaning out of the words and images I perceive, the entire series of events (this includes what the friends and G say and do, and what my eyes see) around me alter or transform in an unbelievable way to play out or enact exactly what is inside me. It is exactly like a movie and I am the spectator. This is driving me crazy. This mechanism is too powerful for me to bear! What G is doing since this craziness started is unbelievable. He is also part of this dynamics, playing along, pushing me to the limits, then allowing for respite. One of these days he hinted to me while we were sitting for lunch, “Feel free to experiment, just play along. It is like playing a role, that’s it. You don’t have to be afraid or worried!” I have no clue about what he knows or doesn’t know and what makes him do what he does. The one thing I know is, he never discusses or explains these things. He acts and then keeps moving. Then he even forgets what he said or did! Such is the momentum of the powerful flow of life’s energy in him!
I have no control over my body, I move slowly, breathe heavily, my chest and stomach are perennially on fire, the whole body is highly charged and sensitive, yet outwardly inert and withdrawn. I feel like a dead body walking around with powerful sensitivity. My speech continues to be impaired, I cannot speak a word. I am like a dumb spectator at the mercy of the circumstances. If anybody asks me anything, even G, no answer comes from inside, as if I don’t know anything. I can’t even answer simple questions like whether I want to drink coffee or not. I don’t know what’s going on, no words are forming inside me. I don’t have an iota of strength to resist anything. I feel I am dying every now and then, and coming back to life again with new vigour.
I cannot conjure up any image about G. It seems he is just a machine executing something powerfully and ruthlessly, and he doesn’t seem to have much choice in this process. His responses are forced out of him by the unfolding circumstances. When we went out shopping yesterday evening, the whole situation around me played out like a movie, apparently showing me how impossible it is for me to make any choice. All G asked me to do was to choose a nice shirt and trouser material for myself at the store. I didn’t know what to choose, I was stupefied. I wasn’t acting dumb. The usual movement of will that drives the choice-making process seemed paralyzed and frozen inside me. Then something strange started happening right in front of my eyes. All the friends and G turned into just faces with voices and started aggressively bombarding me with options. As I stood frozen unable to respond, they became impatient and their behaviour became increasingly chaotic. Soon, all of them starting talking to me at the same time. The shop was crowded and noisy as such. I felt a storm raging inside my head and the ground beneath my feet slipping away. The experience was so suffocating that I felt I would drop dead right there if the choice-making process did not subside soon. Anyway, the deadly interplay of sound and images ended the moment I somehow managed to make a choice.
Even a second of distraction, allowing thought to interfere, gets an instant punishment. No image or idea is acceptable to the present moment. This ever-changing series of events is controlling me and I am utterly helpless, I cannot move an inch in any direction. The only things I am holding on to, to keep some semblance of sanity, are music and writing.
(I am writing this from recent memory. I had no clue about what was really happening during that time.)
I didn’t know what was “mine”, or what belonged to me. Somebody pointed at my phone and asked if it was mine and I said I didn’t know. Such questions made me uncomfortable. The very thing that connects me to everything and gives me a sense of “me” and “mine” seemed to have snapped, maybe temporarily, I don’t know. I was unable to differentiate between mine and other’s belongings.
I couldn’t talk, no words were forming in my head, I was dumbfounded all day, day after day. When I spoke a little, it was only with G. I was folding my bed sheet in the living room one day when I told him in Bengali in a tone giddy with affection, “Eta ami tor jonyo kinechilam Pune te, tui asbi bole” (I bought this bed sheet for you when you came to my house in Pune). He responded instantly in a tone filled with deep respect, “Apni sudhu gaan korun” (You kindly keep singing).
His hints are masked, allowing my system to sort out things for itself. By the time it does, I am almost dead. It is as if I am dying again and again as thoughts are being consumed by the body. When the illusion is powerful, the punishment is harsh and I almost collapse. After resting for a while, I spring back again with an emptiness and euphoria that I can’t explain. it lasts till the next thought with some deep tag inside springs up, getting an instant, painful punch from the body. This is maddening. What is this humongous pressure from the environment to not allow me to think habitually?! For the first time in my life I am scared to think! I don’t want anything that thought creates – good, bad or ugly. It is so painful! This is like a self-correcting mechanism. I don’t know anything about it’s purpose, direction, goal or quality. The only thing I can feel at this point is that it is a massively powerful physical movement and the power of thought is nothing compared to it, and it is gradually paling into submission, but still trying to instil fear out of old habit, like a monster unwilling to drown in the ocean.
Yet, when I am by myself without the interference of ideas about anything, I feel a delicious coziness in the body, as if it is making love to itself. A careless joy is springing out on its own. Then everything gets done by itself, all my needs are taken care of, I don’t have to lift a finger. G is doing everything and more for me, completely taking over everything that I thought was “me”. I am just a slave, I have absolutely no freedom. This is a kingdom of plenty and nothing at the same time! There is no time even to breathe. It is mind-boggling. Yet I am not allowed to freak out or act insane or take anything for granted. He is keeping me together in both gentle and harsh ways, like a benevolent dictator. His energy output has increased by leaps and bounds. It is pouring and pouring as if from a boundless source, doing its job till the “order” is established for good. How otherwise could life maintain its rhythm in this largely sorrowful human jungle? The energy balance and local order that is paramount for the well-being of the web of living things.
I feel like a grown-up baby who doesn’t know what to do yet, feels great energy and vigour. What a show! I don’t get anything, any reward, yet there is enthusiasm, energy, meaning and gusto in everything, every step. Every event seems connected in a complex, integrated way. I have no clue about the connection though. This is a solid, immersive reality which morphs into a disturbing war of images and ideas when I slip into thinking.
What is this mystery? I will never know. What do I know about anything? Just my conditioned ideas and tags that I have accumulated since I became conscious of my separate individual existence.
Sovereign Apartments, Pondy
G says, “Our memory is fragmented. Whatever we remember is a part of the distorted reflection of the actual happenings. Memory by itself doesn’t have a time tag. The memory of something that happened two years ago and something that happened a day ago are not specifically ordered in the way we remember them. It is not necessary for the brain to remember the time tagging. On the other hand, emotional tags of memories have more weightage for the body’s organizational framework for its own survival and protection. Our senses absorb way more information than what our mind can capture, process and recollect. But our intention further manipulates the process of recreation to narrate whatever is convenient at that moment. To us it appears as real.” (I picked these lines from one of his recent talks in Pondicherry. There couldn’t be a better disclaimer for what you are going to read next!
This entry is a detailed account of events between 7th to 14th December 2021.
I find it impossible to understand what really happened during those days, by churning my memory and pre-existing knowledge. I realise it is not something my logical thinking can figure. The usual causal connections which my mind uses to relate to objects and events and make meaning out of them is of no help in this context. In retrospect, all I can say is, it was a bizarrely altered state of consciousness, in which the experiences are different from our regular, everyday experiences.
When I reflect on the experiences of those eight days, I see that my brain was using powerful imagery and meaning to direct my thoughts to a particular subject – the goddess or auspicious aspect of the female form. I was startled beyond belief when G also started contributing heavily to this altered state of experience, which I thought was just a movie running in my head! I couldn’t, for the life of me, understand what was going on, but there was no running away from it. It was so disconcerting that I began to question if this was a trick of my sense of self trying to falsely project a grandiose image of itself. “Why should I participate in this illusion?”, I thought. But inspite of all my discrimination, the bizarre movie kept on playing. Whenever we were out on the streets walking or driving, wherever my eyes fell, I spotted temples dedicated to goddesses. They just kept coming every minute! Then names of various goddesses and spiritual terms such as “Grace”, “Shakti” etc. started popping out of various billboards and banners, crowding my vision. Then I saw many ordinary women with calm and powerful faces, and innocent young boys and girls. There were a million other things that my eyes could see, and they usually do, yet they were picking up only those specific things. They would intensely focus on a particular name or word or figure for a fraction of a moment, then move on to the next. It was a powerful drive, and I felt helpless against it.
I consciously never had any of these ideas in my head. I actually experienced that my eyes were being controlled and directed by some unknown automation inside the body, that wanted the knower to see things in a particular way, and there was no choice whatsoever in the matter. I thought I was hallucinating and tried to turn away from it, but it made the whole imagery and events even more powerful, imposing and vivid. I knew without doubt that these are cultural conditionings and kept resisting them fiercely from inside. This resistance set my body on fire and punished me with an agonizing discomfort inside my head. Then, to my utter surprise, a couple of friends started telling me that I was something, that something had happened to me and I now had the same quality that Guha has. It was just crazy. I was utterly confused, to say the least. I thought, “Where is the boundary between the real and the illusory? What instrument can I use tell one from the other?”
As the strange events around me kept reinforcing themselves with more and more solidity, I was finally forced to surrender to the process. Sensing my discomfort, G told me obliquely that I should take it easy and behave as if this was a play and I was just playing a role in it. Then suddenly, G’s statement, “There is no such thing as reality. All you have is a functional reality that works for you and you have to discover it for yourself”, dawned like a new morning on me. So, I started experimenting with myself. I tried to relax and stopped resisting whatever was happening. One day I told him with a chuckle, “All I see these days are goddesses and what not! What is going on?” He laughed heartily and said, “It’s alright, just take it easy!” On the way to Auroville and back (we had gone there for a few hours), he made me hand out food to his friends, especially the young ones, as if some celebration was taking place. He asked me to make daal for lunch and asked some friends to help. After the daal was ready and on the dining table, he made me serve a little to everyone. Maybe it was to take my mind away from things.
Now that I have realised the hard way that I have no choice, do I need to worry about how to move in the field life? Not a bit. I will do whatever comes to me naturally and resonates with me. When I don’t resist, I feel amazingly charged up, confident and peaceful and my head is in seventh heaven of bliss, without any torture of any kind. G told me, “Finally the sun is out, the storms have passed and everything is good.” I recall he also said something like this when we were walking by the sea: When the high tide recedes, and before the low tide sets in, the waters become choppy, and it leaves behind a lot of stuff which reveal themselves suddenly. If one can stay grounded and not get carried away, things will settle down.
Sovereign Apartments, Pondy
Wow! I am bubbling with pure energy all the time, there is nothing to brood about or worry. My head is making merry all day. I work all day in the house with utmost focus. I don’t feel tired. Every part of my body feels amazingly light. What a cozy feeling this is. Just the way the cats, dogs, crows and tigers sit cozily and lick and groom themselves, completely at ease with themselves – I feel like that now.
A few days ago, G invited Bali, Aseema and her sister for lunch. I cooked daal and bitter gourd stir fry, Radhika made a curry and payesh (a Bengali rice pudding). After I took shower and got dressed, my body suddenly felt weightless. I thought I will fly away if I didn’t hold something to keep my feet on the ground! I grabbed a couch not knowing what to do, and just then G walked into the room. I told him about the experience. He said, “Just rest.” I hit the bed and conked out for I don’t know for how long. Somebody woke me up and said G wanted me to come out, the guests had arrived.
Sovereign Apartments, Pondy
Latha, her husband Vinod & their daughter Sampriti arrived from Coimbatore yesterday evening. Latha accidentally met G a year ago in Pondicherry while on a vacation. She had already read about G and watched many of his talks on Youtube, when she suddenly saw him walking on the promenade. She couldn’t believe her eyes and ran behind him to confirm if it was really the Guha she knew. G says meeting Latha is one of the most mysterious incidents of his life. Sampriti is a high energy kid and freaks out with joy in front of G. Latha is sweet and quiet. She is a top techie in Cisco. Vinod is a good-hearted guy and a great cook. The whole family is very fond of G.
Sovereign Apartments, Pondy
We went to Club Mahindra with Latha and her family. We Rented an Innova and Vinodh drove his own car. I jumped and ran on the beach like a 5 year old kid. I feel no inhibitions. I feel so light as if there’s nothing inside me, so the outside fills me, captivates me and I can’t think. What a tremendous relief, what a delicious disposition to have. Every day is packed with wonder and movement and my head is not expecting or formulating anything. Something radical has happened to my 40 year old thinking structure, it is unable to hold itself together continuously.
Sampriti is sticking to me. I can sense that she is feeling ever more cozy in my company. She comes and sits in my lap, puts her legs on mine and just relaxes. She is intelligent and multi-talented. She sings beautiful English songs, plays keyboards and is also good at sports and studies.
When I wake up at 4 every morning, I feel a fresh burst of energy in every pore of my existence. It is a physical experience. I feel as if some pump inside the body is pumping vital energy from the head right up to the tip of my fingers and toes. I freshen up and go to the kitchen and wash the coffee pots and mugs. Then I wait for G to open the door of his room. Every work seems interesting and thoroughly engaging. I work almost all day, specially cleaning and keeping the house in order. I have been doing the major part of cooking, once a day. Cleanliness and order seem to be my innate demand now, more than ever. I am in a high energy mode all day, and it renews itself beautifully without any doing on my part. It is an unbelievably friction-free way to live. For the first time in my life I feel I have no burden, no responsibility, no future.
I am feeling highly focused and attentive to everything. I don’t listen to anybody or expect anything from anyone. I don’t care what people around G think about me and I simply can’t chit chat with anybody, it somehow doesn’t agree with me. But I cook for everybody, make coffee and do things that are necessary. I don’t try to please anybody yet I don’t have any reason to misbehave with anyone either. I am aware that this kind of behaviour may appear as “weird” and “selfish” in the eyes of the society.
Sovereign Apartments, Pondy
Today was Latha’s last day with G and the rest of us. G made all of Sampriti’s dreams and demands come true in these past six days. Anything she wanted any moment, he just made it possible.
I am like a recluse and by myself amongst all these people here. My true and unwavering connection is only with G. I see that the group dynamics is hardly bothering me, the effect of their behaviour on me is very less. It is somehow not affecting my stability. This was not the case earlier. I used to get disappointed and disturbed by people’s reactions. I don’t know how this grounding of my information-processing system happened, but it seems to be functional as of now. I am doing what I naturally want to without feeling any pressure from anyone. If my system senses any pressure, is either avoids it or breaks through it, without causing anybody any harm. And the best thing is there is no lingering effect. I am never feeling low about anything. I am just moving from one thing to another. There is a great dynamism and energy in me. I am beginning to enjoy the game of stimulus and response, which is an automatic process, if thought doesn’t interfere. It is such a burdenless way of living. A living that I cannot engineer for myself, in which I have no say, no control hence no responsibility. So, I am free.
Sovereign Apartments, Pondy
Felt some pressure inside my head and slept for two hours around 11 am today. G and others went grocery shopping as I slept. I felt refreshed when G woke me up. I opened my eyes enveloped in pure joy and saw him rolling his eyes and making a funny face. I giggled and hid my face in the pillow like a baby! Then he started singing Tagore’s Oi Pohailo Timiro Rati (Behold, the dark night is over). I sat up on the bed feeling euphoric, just euphoric! Then he asked me to cook methi, potatoes and pumpkin stir fry, his favourite. Radhika made pongal and tomato chutney. I ate just a little. I was eating like a monster for a week or so, no more, I am feeling full again.
In the evening while having coffee, Radhika mentioned it was a full moon yesterday. Was it because of the moon that I felt sleepy and tightness in the head? Who knows! Everything is a conjecture. And what do I get out of knowing such things? Nothing, zilch!
He said a while ago that both the full moon and clouds affect sensitive people. A friend was getting a little a headache or something and he was asking if she felt ok. He himself started having a headache after dinner and retired around 9:45 pm.
There are no uncomfortable or distressing thoughts inside my head. I am feeling light and euphoric all day. Even if there’s a tense atmosphere outside, due to people dynamics, my system seems beautifully balanced and poised to handle it. I am not getting unnecessarily affected by things that are not important for me. I am very forthright, I say what I think is correct without bothering about what others will make of it. My confidence is at an unprecedented high! I take nobody’s advice and try out everything for myself. I don’t feel compelled to say or do anything that doesn’t resonate with me. There’s no motivation to prove anything to anybody. I feel transparent. Distractions have completely evaporated from my awareness. This is a miracle that happened because of G! I bow down to him – my mother, my father, my friend – who’s presence has cured me of my misery.
Sovereign Apartments, Pondicherry
First day, so to say, of the new year and I spent almost all of it sleeping. Went for morning walk as usual. Felt acutely focussed and alert, so much so that my head felt jammed from inside. I looked at everything like an animal without being able to translate much, just looking, looking, busy without purpose. Came back and conked out immediately for more than an hour. Woke up before lunch, went out with G and friends to the handicrafts fair at the promenade because he wanted to buy a belt. Took shower, ate a little and fell asleep on the couch again for I don’t know how long, as he sat with friends in the living room. Woke up for coffee but couldn’t keep my eyes open, felt crazily drowsy. He went out with friends for a stroll and some shopping, since I could barely move, I stayed back. Then I went to my room, lay down and drowned into the unknown. Got up around 6:40 pm and found the house empty. Then I took out clothes from the washer and hung them on the clothes rack. Felt refreshed and new, still a little drowsy.
Sovereign Apartments, Pondy
I have been drowsy and sleepy for a week now, can barely keep my eyes open. Been sleeping 2-3 times during the day. I feel extremely relaxed and grounded. The euphoric feeling in my body is sometimes so huge that it is difficult to keep my feet on the ground. There are no discordant thoughts in my head, my body has acquired a different kind of language and external movement. My limbs now seem to have a life of their own. They twist and turn as they wish!
Earlier today, after coming back from our morning stroll, I slept off as G and friends were making breakfast. He woke me up when they were ready to eat. I ate a bit. Sometime around 10:40 am we went for grocery shopping to the nearby store called Honesty, run by the Aurobindo Ashram. As I stepped out of the house I felt my feet were made of feathers, so amazingly light. I felt I was walking on air or clouds. I was walking like a baby barely able to control my steps! After coming back RI, RV, me and G were chit chatting and having fun in the living room. Sanjiv and Karan had probably gone to take shower in their apartment. I was feeling drowsy as usual. Suddenly, for half a minute or so, something like a motor started running inside my head near the centre of the crown. It buzzed for sometime, then stopped. G exclaimed, “Oo la la!”, when I told him about it. Then he asked me to take it easy. The heat in my body is so much that I find it difficult to keep clothes on. I am only able to wear loose and soft clothing. I have started buying tops and pants one size larger.
About twenty mins ago a lady arrived to meet G. She is white and probably in her seventies and dressed in a white sari like a sanyasi. She had written to G yesterday requesting for a meeting. She was a regular in the Bangalore UG circle and somebody there informed her that G was in Pondy. She has been staying in Pondi since the lockdown, otherwise she stays in Thiruvannamalai. She sat next to Sanjiv on a chair far from G, near the dining table. She didn’t want to sit on the couch. She had some tea. When G asked her how she learned about him, she spoke of some intuition and left brain stuff. She sat quietly after that and G didn’t utter a word either. While leaving she expressed interest in visiting again so he told her he is usually available between 4:30 and 6:30 pm every day.
Sovereign Apartments, Pondicherry
The lady sanyasi has come again. I am skipping evening coffee. Feel too full after gorging on pizza for lunch. We had a lunch party for Radhika (G calls it “the good riddance party”) as she is leaving on the morning of 11th.
G was looking for a place for himself in Pondy for sometime. He finally found it and we all liked it. It is a small two bedroom apartment on the Romain Rolland street. The building is named Prosperity. Sanjiv will furnish it the way G wants. He is now looking for basic furniture and appliances in different stores, getting prices, looking at models.
G wants to stay alone so he has asked us to make arrangements for our own accommodation but he is equally involved in setting up the places for us. I had expressed to him my desire to stay alone and he readily agreed. Just today we found a first floor tiny room with an attached bath, newly built on Bazar St. Laurent street about fifty yards from his building. I liked it. G also liked it and we immediately booked it for February and March. Sanjiv, Venky, Karan and Sanjay are taking a two-bedroom apartment on Labourdonnaise street for two months. Revathi will stay there for two weeks in Feb before she leaves for US. Venky is arriving with Shanti and the two kids on 15th Jan. They may stay for seven days in the other apartment in Sovereign. All the three accommodations got finalized today. So, all the arrangements for our stay seem to have fallen into place for the time being.
Sovereign Apartments, Pondy
Around 11 am today we went in two auto-rickshaws looking for appliances and furniture for G’s apartment. Sanjiv got prices for all items from different stores then compared them with the prices on Amazon.
Today I ate some leftover pizza for lunch. I ate a couple of spoons of boiled salad in the morning that Sanjiv made. I have been unable to eat since the last two or three days. I am completely avoiding sweet and fried stuff, also I can only eat low salt food. Yet, I ate pizza today and disturbed the beautiful condition of my body. I felt uneasy after eating and couldn’t sleep although I felt drowsy and lay down for an hour. When I got up my eyes were red. I felt like a criminal who had meddled with a beautifully functioning object. I felt low and swore to myself that I will never do anything that is not congenial to this body. In my mind I asked for forgiveness from this marvel of nature. I told G how my greed had disturbed the wonderful equilibrium my body was in all the time. He said, “I can see how good you are feeling all the time and then what this food did. It made you low. I also suffered after eating pizza yesterday and had to throw up”. I replied, “Even though I feel heavy and stuff, there’s still a mild feeling of euphoria, you know. I am really stupid to disturb this fantastic state”. By evening I started feeling better and after a stroll to the promenade and the departmental store Nilgiris, I even felt slightly hungry. I ate a little daal and yogurt and a few spoons of the homemade mishti doi (sweet yoghurt, a specialty of Bengal) which was G’s latest experiment in yoghurt making.
That old sanyasi lady came again at 4:30 pm today. G had earlier informed her via email that he would be available. As usual she sat quietly without saying anything and left at 6 pm when G said we were going to go out.
I am feeling much better today. What a relief! I didn’t eat any junk all day. In fact, I could barely eat. A spoon of rice, salad and a drop of yoghurt mixed together, and I was done. After a gap of about five days or so, I cooked today. I made his favourite shukto (A Bengali mixed vegetable curry with bitter gourd). He loved it and ate it both for lunch and dinner, everybody else did the same. I couldn’t touch it although it is one of my favourite dishes. I felt it would be too heavy for my stomach. The only thing I am enjoying is chilled coke with a squeeze of lime. That’s my lunch and dinner too! Sanjiv noticed I wasn’t eating and asked if I had acidity or any such problem. He said there are some bio-chemic salts which could help. I told him I can’t eat anything sweet or salty or fried. And there is a strong discrimination working in the body when it comes to choosing what to eat. Whatever is undesirable for the body at this time, leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Lime, oranges, boiled vegetables taste good. But if I don’t eat, there’s no problem. I am feeling vital, super high and full of energy.
Radhika left today to return to US.
I avoid confrontation with people for the sake of my own stability, but I do what I like and don’t take anybody’s advice, my business is only with G. Nobody has any power to influence me about anything! I feel solid as a rock.
I told G, “I can probably write pages about the deep, sleepy state that I have gone through so many times after meeting you. I feel I am coming out of it today.”
When this state kicks in, it is as if I am submerged and lost in a bottomless, tranquil ocean of deep sleep that can continue unbroken for days. Sometimes it continues for a week or so. I sleep 2-3 hours each time, 3 times a day plus 7 hours at night, yet I feel intoxicated and ready to melt away at any moment. During this time I cannot cook or eat. I become hypersensitive to everything. I speak very little, I don’t participate in anything that is going around me, I kind of end up observing everything acutely without effort. My system completely withdraws from everything and shows no interest in anything other than sleeping, keeping itself clean and eating whenever it can. The euphoria and lightness in the body touches its peak. As far as I can remember, this sleep thing intensified from 2019.
G said “The brain is complicated but its output is simple.”
He just finished talking for about thirty minutes explaining the magical laws of physics and the breaking down of logical thinking when it tries to understand how life and nature function at the quantum level. He had us mesmerised. I audiotaped it. I will transcribe it soon.
Venky, Shanti and their two kids Nishvika, 4 and Nirnay, 2, arrived from Bangalore on 15th. The kids are extremely adorable. Nishvika has really become attached to me, I love playing with both of them. I feel a different kind of fondness for them and Shanti. Shanti is so tiny she looks as if just out of college. To manage two kids is a humongous task. She is very young, yet patient and soft spoken. I don’t know why I am feeling so concerned about her. I keep an eye on whether she has eaten, if she needs any help with the kids, if she needs anything at her apartment etc.
Our place is buzzing with activity – the kids running around, Venky, Shanti and me running after them, me and Revathi cooking in the kitchen, washing clothes and taking the wash upstairs in several batches to the terrace to dry. Then we are also busy ordering furniture and appliances from Amazon for G’s new apartment that’s being set up. I sat with Sanjiv and G, and we ordered almost all his bedroom and living room furniture and some sheets and covers for his bed.
It’s a lot of work with so many people in the house. Revathi and I work all day. It is not just about cooking. Keeping the house in order is a big task. But what I do is nothing compared to how much G does.
A young friend of G’s arrived on 14th January. He is staying at the Park Guest House by the promenade and will be here for two weeks. He sits with a grim face all day, doesn’t say a word to anyone, not even to G, and doesn’t participate in anything. He has become distant and awkward with G, a far cry from what he was for the first couple of years after meeting G in 2016, when he used to enjoy himself and beam with enthusiasm. He was about twenty-five when he came to see G and got immediately hit. G’s physical impact on him was impossible to miss. He would breathe, eat and drink G, not leaving his side even for a second, and jostle and compete with other friends to sit next to him. So much so, that most of us used to be annoyed by him. Now, his face looks different, there’s a dark shadow over it. His stubborn religious ideas and self importance seem to have overtaken and overshadowed the magical attraction and resonance he felt initially.
Today G was washing spinach in the kitchen after coming back from morning walk. I stood watching him, and we were laughing and chatting. It was a cozy moment. Karan and Sanjiv were also doing something in the kitchen. I was standing next to G watching him with wonder. Suddenly, he said to me, “I have to tell you some secrets, otherwise they will go to my grave with me, no?”
Shanti made spinach dosa and her special sambar today. We all loved it.
I have come with Venky, Shanti, the kids and Karthik at a shoe store to buy shoes for Shanti and Nishvika. G asked me to go with them. We are now at MG road. The kids are making a racket here, climbing on everything, pulling out shoes and running around! Shanti got a pair of Adidas sneakers. G went with Sanjiv and Karan to the Jockey store, he will also go to an electronics store to buy appliances.
After coming back, I took stock of the food situation. There was nothing left over from lunch which G could eat for dinner. So, I quickly made rice and daal. I have a problem – his food and basic comfort are my personal concern, because his health depends on them. I feel a strong agony if any of the two is compromised. He doesn’t expect me to do anything for him but I can’t help it. It is a very personal feeling. I don’t depend on anybody or expect any help from anyone when it comes to ensuring he is taken care of. I am my one man army, the urgency I feel is of a different level, because I simply cannot bear to see him inconvenienced in any way.
I just hit the couch. The day is over. I finished cleaning the kitchen. Venky and Karthik did some dishes. I am surprised that I am not tired even after an extremely hectic day.
He just said, “As long as you are concerned with what you have achieved and what you have not, you will be enslaved. It just keeps going on and on.” We are sitting in the living room. The kids are having fun playing with us. Baby Nirnay is engaged in a pillow-fight with G! Nirnay is super organised already. He collects pieces of paper, food and anything else he finds on the floor, and drops them into the trash can. He makes countless trips to the trash can through the day!
G is telling a friend on the phone, “This moment was never there before and will never be there again. That’s life!” This friend is coming here on 24th around 3:30 am. G asked him to arrange for his own transport from Chennai to Pondicherry, he was allowed to come only then!
Just came back from morning walk. I got cold and headache a couple of days back, must have caught it from Karthik. I feel better today. Karthik is affectionate, innocent and very responsible, he sticks his head into everything and gets them done. He’s Venky’s friend. He is really enjoying his days around G here, and helping immensely with work and shopping for G’s new house and also in the kitchen, he is a wonderful cook. He is studying sound engineering now, as such he is a mechanical engineer. It is easy for simple people to get attracted and to get along with G, so is the case with Karthik, I think. I call him Karthikeya Swami! When G bought him an expensive pair of sneakers, he was beyond thrilled! While walking on the promenade a while back, G told Karthik, “You should get paid for any work you do, no matter who it is for. People who bring business always get a cut, that’s how it works. You see, nothing is free in Nature. A cow allows a crow to sit on its back because it cleans its wound and eats the ticks. So, get this and get this straight mister!” Karthik is trying hard to get a job and start earning money to support his father and mother.
Yesterday, the two ladies who work in our apartment told G that they want to follow him wherever he goes! He laughed, pointed at us and said, “These people move with me, so can you, I have no problem!” He gives them lots of money every day. He gave money for all the kids and grandkids of these two ladies and the two security guards in our building as a Pongal (Tamil new year) gift. It was beyond their imagination, nobody gives them this kind of money or affection. One of the security guard’s youngest brother recently committed suicide in his village because of poverty and deprivation. G gave him more money when he heard this.
Prosperity Apartment, Pondy
We just came to G’s new apartment. The electrician is working so Sanjiv and G wanted to check what he was doing and also give him some instructions. The plumbing work in both the bathrooms is done. G’s bathroom got a complete makeover. It now looks like new. We bought the bathroom fittings from an Aurobindo Ashram affiliated store named Honesty a few days ago. It is a big and beautiful store, and the staff is sweet and respectful. G had spent about an hour there. After a while I noticed people in the store’s office staring at G. One person in particular, an Oriya gentleman, who was showing us around, couldn’t take his eyes off G. Even after his job was done and we were waiting for the bill, he kept on staring and talking to G, his cheeks were flushed red with heightened emotions. Even the store owner, an old man who had seen The Mother (the French guru Mira Alfassa), wanted to know from his staff, who G was! I felt the atmosphere in the store was heavily charged as long as G was there.
After coming back from morning walk we immediately started preparing for breakfast because G had an appointment with the electrician at his apartment. A friend walked in as we were working in the kitchen. He had slept late so he didn’t come for walk. G saw him and said sternly, “If you are burning your midnight oil for studies, then sleeping late is fine. But if you are surfing the internet and looking at junk, then it won’t be allowed here. There is so much information to hook you and give you a high, but they are useless when it comes to your health and well-being. There are trillions of things to eat in the jungle, but the bird eats only what it needs to survive.” His tone and delivery were controlled yet fiery! The person was taken aback. I felt a huge shot of energy in my body immediately. Then G went to his room and I followed him bubbling with excitement. I blurted out, “I feel so happy when these young people …” G interrupted me, “Why should you be happy because of something or someone? If these guys go away, then will you unhappy? Your happiness should not depend on many things. Otherwise it will a constant high and low, that’s the story of everybody’s life. The one thing I don’t trust is human mind. But if your happiness depends on only ONE thing, then it’s fine! I jumped, “Yes, yes, just one thing!!! That’s why I don’t miss anybody or anything. I don’t care who comes or goes, because I have you.”
We are driving. G just decided to come to that ashram store for bathroom fittings. He is now talking to that Oriya guy! He seems visibly happy to see G, his face has again turned a bit red! He almost came out of the store to see us off. I don’t think he was aware of what he was doing! I was telling a friend about this store and the Oriya gentleman a while back. He got to see it first-hand just now and was very excited and intrigued. I said to him, “These happenings are nothing, they are like a sideshow. What do you get out of it? What is fundamental is this guy and what is functioning in him, and how it is affecting you and your life. That’s is what is important, the rest is like a movie, just nothing!”
We came back to G’s apartment (the building is named Prosperity) as his washing machine, AC, cooktop and refrigerator had arrived. As we were driving towards Prosperity, G’s eldest brother-in-law called my phone. He said he was arranging a small gathering on 14th February at Hindmotor to feed close friends and relatives who had attended G’s eldest sister’s funeral in May 2020. “You guys have to come”, he said to me. I passed on the phone to G. He immediately replied, “I will come”. G is very respectful towards this gentleman. He is a dignified and composed person. He is soft natured and hardly speaks. I was surprised to see his composure during his wife’s funeral last year. Anyway, after the call, G asked me to check if the now legendary Handmade Home apartment (as far as my life is concerned!) in Kolkata would be available for a week starting 12th Feb. I called immediately and Roshan, the owner, seemed delighted to hear from me and said he would arrange for our stay. Then G asked me to inform Balaram Babu. He said, “Tell him the old man is coming to Kolkata!” A new scenario suddenly emerged out of nowhere!
Revathi is coming back from Mumbai tomorrow. She went there on 23rd January to deal with her lawyer and the banks for work related to inheritance and finances.