His name was Chakravarti Anantachar. As his name indicates, he was born in a Vaishnava family which followed the tradition of Vishishtadvaita [qualified nondualism] taught by Sri Ramanujacharya. Although Mr. Anantachar was a profound scholar in Sanskrit grammar and logic and an authority on Ramanujacharya’s philosophy, he was also a great admirer of Sankara and his Advaita philosophy. His lectures on Sankara’s Advaita Vedanta always drew large crowds and earned him a good standing in the spiritual circles of Bangalore. That is how several of my friends got to know of him. Once upon a time, my friend Krishnamurthy was very close to him and was attending his lectures almost everyday.
One day in June 1998, our friend Venkata Chalapati spoke about UG to Anantachar describing UG as a ‘Jivanmukta’. Anantachar was impressed and expressed his interest in meeting UG. But UG dissuaded Venkata Chalapati: “Why do you want to bring him? You say that he is a scholar and a professional speaker. Such people have an investment in the tradition they believe in. How can he listen to me?” But Venkata Chalapati’s eagerness prevailed.
At last, on Sunday the 21st June 1998, Anantachar walked into Major’s Farm House to meet UG. He was accompanied by Venkata Chalapati and Krishnamurthy.
UG respectfully offered a seat next to him on the sofa. Some of us sat on the floor and some on the available chairs. I wrote down the points of discussion between UG and Anantachar. Here is the text of the conversation that took place on that bright sunny afternoon.
Anantachar introduced himself as a theoretical Vedanta exponent, and a mere speaker and scholar on matters of Vedanta. He started his conversation with UG saying, “Those who are in the highest spiritual state are said to be in possession of several powers.”
UG made no comment.
Anantachar: Don’t you think that through meditation one can achieve great heights in spiritual life?
UG: Meditation should not be given any importance at all. That’s my feeling.
Anantachar: Then what shall we do?
UG: Nothing; do nothing.
Anantachar: [Smiling] In that case everyone becomes a yogi.
UG: I am not a yogi.
Anantachar: But you are a yogi.
He then looked at the people sitting around. The problem was he hadn’t read any of UG’s books before he came to see him. He was not familiar with UG’s point of view. So, he was visibly perturbed by UG’s statements. After a while, he confessed he was not able to follow what UG was trying to communicate.
Anantachar: Anyway sir, you are a widely traveled person. Don’t you think it is possible to bring out a universal philosophy to end all conflicts?
UG: Universal philosophy as such doesn’t exist except as an idea. That goal has created the actual problem.
Anantachar: Do you mean to say that a universal life doesn’t exist? All the masters of all religions talked of the oneness of life.
UG: You are an expression of that life. The mosquito that is sucking your blood is another expression of that life. The garden slug out there is another expression. The problem is we want to understand life. We try to understand. That attempt is bound to create conflict.
Anantachar: Advaita Vedanta talks about that life as anirvacaniya, indefinable.
UG: In that case, why should they talk about it? [Now UG’s tone got sharper.] If there is anything as the ‘beyond’, it can never be captured, contained or given expression to. How can they describe it as bliss, beatitude and all that nonsense? If they know that it is anirvacaniya, they should have stopped right there.
Anantachar: As philosophers they wanted to postulate….
UG: What good is that to you sir? Philosophers as I know are lovers of wisdom. That’s what they are. Philosophy only helps to sharpen the intellect.
Anantachar: Sir, how to determine whether a man is wise or not?
UG: You have no way of knowing.
Anantachar: Sankara describes the characteristics of an enlightened man. Even in the Gita it is said.…
UG: They are all empty words and empty phrases, sir! They mean nothing. What’s the use of all those words? They haven’t helped you. You are still asking the same question.
Everybody laughs. Anantachar is visibly shaken. He asks for a cup of water and empties two cups, one after the other.
Anantachar: We have to use words to communicate with each other.
UG: I say and maintain that no communication is possible and none is necessary.
Anantachar: But we have no other way to wisdom.
UG: Why are we not ready to accept that ‘wisdom’ is a real block?
Anantachar looks at the people around helplessly. He turns to Venkata Chalapati and says “I can’t understand what he is saying.” He then turns to UG:
Anantachar: You have gone a little above my head. I am not able to follow you. I have worked for several years academically…..
UG: But I am an illiterate….
Anantachar: No. No. I can’t agree. You are an enlightened person. Only to a few are gifted to be enlightened. An enlightened person is above everything. In my opinion, when a man forgets all his surroundings in the contemplation of the undivided Self, that state, according to Sankara, is the ‘Brahmi State’. My practice of meditation is very poor. I haven’t done any sadhana. But I want to. I am only a Jnanamargi.
UG: I am not a scholar like you. But I studied Advaita philosophy. Prof. Mahadevan was our teacher of Advaita philosophy.
Anantachar: Sir, how can we understand the world?
UG: There is no need to understand the world.
Anantachar: Otherwise, how can we be in contact with the world?
UG: Do you think you are really in contact with anything? Do you think you are looking at that man? Do you think you have ever looked at your wife even once? If you have once looked at your wife, that would the end of the whole relationship. You look at everything through the knowledge you have. It’s the knowledge about the things around that creates the world for you. You cannot experience anything which you do not know. In that sense I say and maintain that there is no such thing as a new experience at all. How can you have contact with the world?
Anantachar: As long as we breathe and live in this world we keep the contact.
UG: No, on no level can you contact anything.
Anantachar was disturbed with the rise in UG’s voice. He became fidgety in his seat next to UG. He asked for more water and Mohan gives him some.
Mohan: [to Anantachar] Do you accept what he is saying, sir?
UG: How can he say anything? He is not in a position to say.
Anantachar started quoting the Mandukya Upanishad. “There is Para wisdom and there is Apara wisdom. When once you renounce Vritti Gnana, then Swarupa Jnana dawns on you. Ultimately, ‘upasantoyam atma,’ as the instruction in the Mandukya indicates.”
At this point, UG suddenly flared up. He burst out saying that Mandukya Upanishad does not even have as much worth as toilet paper. He called Sankara a bastard for writing commentaries on Upanishads. He started his tirade on Gowdapada for writing the karika to Mandukya and called him also a bastard.
This was too much for Anantachar. He started trembling with anger. He could no longer sit in a composed manner. Mohan was trying to calm him down handing him more cups of water. “Drink more water sir, and sit comfortably,” Mohan told him.
Anantachar: [In an agitated voice, looking at the people around] This is too much, sir, He uses such uncivilized terminology. How can he call Sankara a bastard? How can an enlightened person use such foul language?
Then UG again flared up.
UG: Yes, I shall maintain Sankara was a bastard! Mandukya is shit! It is his shit that is coming out of your mouth. What do you have to say? That is my question. Don’t repeat Sankara, Gowdapada, and all that nonsense. You are just repeating. A tape recorder does a better job than you. What you say, does it operate in your life? You can teach fools from the platform and make a living. I have no objection. But it has not touched you. How can anybody describe that state as love and bliss? Love divides and separates. There is already division. How can there be love?
Anantachar stood up. He couldn’t take it anymore. He said, “I came here hoping to see an enlightened person. I never expected I would be meeting such a negative person instead.”
UG countered immediately saying “You came to the wrong man. You can go now.”
Anantachar folded his hands as a mark of respect and walked out of the room.
* * *
February 25, 1999, Thursday -- Hyderabad
At Rajasekhar’s home. I sit at the dining table writing. Above me the ceiling fan is spinning. It’s 7:30 am. Prabhakar, Raja and I chatted last night till 11:30 and then went to bed. Last evening, Gopi brought me here from Venkatapuram on his motorcycle. We arrived at Amirpeta at 4:30 pm. We didn’t know that we were about to be acquainted with a great person a few minutes later. Raja had written to me about her in his letters. When I read his letter to UG in Palm Springs, I learned some new things.
Before I left on my journey for Palm Springs, Bharati phoned to tell me, “An anonymous disciple has been pining to see UG. She is not an ordinary woman. She is rich in every way. Tell me when UG is coming. He must come and meet her.”
“Such a wealthy lady could call UG and talk to him. Why should UG call her?” I replied.
“She won’t call. Tell him that I asked him to,” she said.
I conveyed what she said to UG. Then he said immediately, “Perhaps that unknown disciple is this lady whom Rajasekhar has been describing.” Yesterday, that suspicion has been confirmed. This is the lady who has been worshipping UG, reading his books all these years without yet meeting him, and trying to understand UG’s trend of thought and implement it constantly in her everyday life. I thought that perhaps this might be the god-sent lady who has been prophesied by the astrologer friends of UG as the unique lady who has been waiting for the favor of the planets like a cuckoo bird to surely step into UG’s life.
Yesterday afternoon, exactly at 5 pm, Sharmila stepped into Raja’s living room. She wore a green sari with an apple-colored border. She was neither tall nor short but stout. She had attractive eyes and a beautiful face. She was probably a bit older than 40 years, but she looked younger. There was great peace and contentment in her eyes. In her demeanor she manifested an unperturbed nature.
* * *
I move from the dining table to the sofa in the living room and continue writing. After Raja’s mother has passed away, the room has been transformed. How worried she was about what would become of her son after she was gone! Now, Raja has a new life. A new enthusiasm runs through his life. He has gotten the whole house painted and repairs made; the house got a facelift. He decorated the house like a museum with the help of Kirti. He hung beautiful pictures on the walls. In this room he has pictures of all the great people; Amma of Jillellamudi, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Aurobindo, Mother, Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi, UG and Shirdi Sai Baba greet you kindly from the walls. In the corners you see brass lamp posts, metal statues of gods -- a statue of Nataraja and a Lingam of Siva with Nandi, the bull. A white statue of Ganesha depicts him seated comfortably. Besides these, there is an art piece from Tanjore – apparently Sharmila had presented it to him. There is a wool carpet on the floor and a nice sofa set. You can see a big round pillow and other pillows there for back support. These and many other things give the room a look of high status. In the middle of the room there is a small table. On it is a glass slab, and on the slab is placed a brass bowl with pan paraphernalia. There is a box in the middle of the bowl with imbedded shells. In a corner, there are a couple of brass decorative plates. The display in the room reveals Rajasekhar’s artistic temperament. A calm that transcends the artwork seems to pervade the room. Raja has been using this as his worship room. There is incense burning and the room is filled with the fragrance of joss sticks. There is no scope for any other fumes to rise except the fragrances of flowers. Gopi too was greatly impressed by this room.
* * *
The ‘i’ in ‘Sharmila’ is elongated. You should pronounce the name as ‘Sharmeelaa”. We thought that the name was perhaps Moslem. I told people in Palm Springs that her name was Sharmila. She now said that the sound ‘sh” is a symbol for “hrim” in the Sri Sukta. She studied in a medical college in Calcutta. Perhaps she had changed her name there.
First of all, who is this lady? How was she attracted to UG? What about this crazy worship of UG even before she had ever met him? Such questions naturally occur to anyone. I asked her in person, “You tell us about your background, how you came to be interested in UG and such other details.” She replied, “Oh, even if I tell about it every day, a whole year will not be enough,” and laughed. When she talks you feel like you want to keep listening to her. She doesn’t have to struggle to find the right word nor does she have difficulty in translating her thoughts into words. I thought she showed an ability to speak on a public platform, in meetings or assemblies, like an expert, fluently and profoundly. She seemed to be naturally endowed with the facility to speak and express her ideas clearly. We listened to her words spellbound.
About five years ago she was introduced to UG when she had read Mahesh Bhatt’s biography of UG in English. She doesn’t agree with the account UG gives of his natural state, saying that it’s only of contemporary value and will not be of use to future generations. On the basis of the information in that book, it became clear to her that UG is an impersonal individual and that a universal consciousness is manifested in him. She said:
This is no ordinary matter. From the beginning of creation, many teachers and great people have pledged their lives to the grace of God and to realizing the Self; they did many sadhanas and had extraordinary experiences. Some became the crest jewels of mankind. People today are paying homage to them. But it’s different with UG. Mother Creation tried out many models. None of the models could understand her sorrow. All the avatars who have descended on mankind, the prophets who have appeared and the supreme teachers who have spread their messages have only helped to break up the human race into pieces. They strove to divide humanity into religions and planted the seeds of that poison. Even if they didn’t preach it themselves, their teachings have had such a consequence. However, for the first time, Mother Creation found UG’s model. This model strove to erase completely the consciousness in himself that he is a separate individual. There is only one courageous model who is prepared to be completely merged in this universal consciousness without keeping even a trace of himself and who is prepared to be consumed like fuel in the fatal fire of life. Exactly after 2,500 years, Mother Creation found a model which is on a par with Tathagata [Buddha]. Before UG, she had hopes in the models of Ramana Maharshi, Jiddu Krishnamurti and Aurobindo. But no such models could satisfy Mother Creation. All her hopes were dashed.
At last, when the model of UG sat on the bench under a tree in Switzerland exactly on his 49th birthday, the labor pains of Mother Earth had begun. The heavens held their breath. The seven mountains and seven valleys looked into their depths and stood still. With one stroke Creation became paralyzed with the scream of Mother Earth. For one moment, there were tremors in UG’s body. All the nine nadis and six chakras whirled around. For one moment, the whole of Creation was in disarray. Heavens shook hands with the underworld. The mountain peaks kissed their own shadows. The next moment everything settled down. The wind storm that shook the directions calmed down. In the model sitting on the bench, the universal consciousness shaped itself as a newborn child. That was a true new birth. It was a new birth for the human kind. It was a unique experience unheard of before in history.
That’s what Sharmila had noticed. That’s why she is so interested in UG. She is infinitely fond of this ‘model’ called UG. She says that “his is an impersonal self.” She says that “the time has come for the ‘model’ to spread throughout the world.”
There is no individual in UG; only the collective. In him, there is no tradition of any country. In him is hidden the evolution of the whole human race. Evolution in all its stages made room for itself there. To say it in other words, there is nothing. Everything is washed away, and there is a hollow like in a reed flute. In it, the winds of universal consciousness resonate the seven notes.
Sharmila makes this truth clear. If she could explain this to Bharati and Aparajita and get them interested in it, I must congratulate her.
Sharmila doesn’t talk much about herself. “I am always in the wakeful-sleep state,” she said once. I haven’t met any person, except UG, who could say that. I was stunned. It’s not that she didn’t know the meaning of those words. She has had many divine visions. It’s evident from her appearance that she is a holy person who has attained heights of spirituality. She says she is Raja’s ‘sister’. She gives him gifts. She is wealthy. Yesterday she gave me a silver engraving of Lakshmi. She says, “Keep it, it will do you good.” The question “Why?” remained in my mind.
Sharmila - ii
It’s almost 10 O’clock, time for Sharmila’s arrival. The dishes Raja had made last night, the tomato chutney Sharmila had brought and the idlis Raja has served today are sitting still in my stomach. I didn’t believe that I could sit in this room and write like this. I am not sorry that Mr. Raju has not come. Yesterday, Sharmila had borrowed my yet-to-be-published book to get it copied. Raja told me that her husband is a professor; he doesn’t know that she comes here or meets all these people.
Sharmila has a great interest in spiritual pursuits. She has read the books of Andrew Cohen and Aurobindo; and it seems that she has a coterie of disciples. Apparently, they gather around her, listen to her messages and record them. As she was saying goodbye yesterday, she handed a small photo of herself to me and said, “Please show this to UG; and after he looks at it, you please burn it. I don’t know if I will be fortunate enough to see him or not.” When I asked Raja “why can’t she come to Bangalore,” he told me that circumstances wouldn’t permit it. Will UG ever come to Hyderabad? Who knows if he will?
* * *
All those who studied UG’s horoscope have said with confidence that a unique lady will enter his life. That should have happened by now. Who is that woman? Could it be Sharmila? I think she is a multi-millionaire. She is the mother of two girls. That she can afford to distribute properties worth 40 million rupees to each of her daughters shows that her husband is a multi-millionaire. But when you see her, she doesn’t look like she is wealthy. By profession she is a doctor, but she has moved away from that profession a long time ago. She later took up the job of teaching arts and crafts to children, women and the destitute. She said she has recently closed down the institution which she had run for fifteen years. She is an adept in 30 different crafts; and she has a great appreciation for art. She is cultured and lives a righteous life. She is a treasure house of all the noble qualities. Such a person has surfaced after such a long time. She gives comfort to Bharati and prepares her for her father’s grace. It’s clear that the unimaginable change in Bharati’s attitude toward her father is due to Sharmila’s influence.
March 1, 1999
Morning 5:25 am. The city is still asleep. I felt as if I was awake all the time.
For a while I might have dozed off. Then I woke up soon after. I first woke up at 4:30. But by the time I got up from bed it was 5:15. Almost all yesterday I spent with Venkata Chalapati and Dakshinamurti. I related to both of them the news of Hyderabad, at least the highlights of it, if not all the details.
I don’t know what I have already written about Sharmila. Saturday, the day I was leaving, she spent from 1:30 in the afternoon till 6 pm chatting with us. The more I watched her and the more I learned about her, the more she seemed like an extraordinary woman.
After meeting me, she gave a testimonial about me, as much as her intuitions had indicated to her. Apparently, she had observed cosmic rays falling over my head. “There is a great positive force in Mr. Chandrasekhar,” she told Raja. But when I look into myself, I can find nothing but holes and ditches. Anyway, whatever I think about myself is only a product of my imagination. If I am myself a fiction, can all the things I experience and learn on the basis of it be real? What, indeed, is real? Is there anything true or eternal? If there is such a thing, there is no scope for me to find it. Anything that I happen to grasp with this tiny narrow personality cannot be real. How can I know even that?
Sharmila - iii
UG must have left Sydney and arrived in Stapleton. I must phone him and find out when he is coming here. His Australian friends hold him dearer than their own lives -- especially Jeffrey. I think Jeffrey has some extrasensory powers. Sharmila is also endowed with such powers.
“Are you going through menopause?” I asked her as I was saying goodbye.
“I think I started it about a year-and-a-half ago. Still, it doesn’t cause any problem for my body,” she answered.
“I asked you because I feel that if you include mung dahl in your diet, you will have less heat during that period,” I explained.
“I live in my body at the cellular level, united with the cells; so nothing bothers me. At the peak of summer a cold wave starts from inside my body; so, the common bodily changes that happen to everyone don’t touch me,” she said to reassure me. Then quoted UG’s words about food saying that the body can manufacture all the nutrients it needs from sawdust. She remarked, “That’s absolutely true; but only for him; not for all bodies. As a result of the changes that took place in his body, the Mother of Creation prepared such a body for him.”
It would be interesting to mention here Sharmila’s explanation of how the body is a mixture of the five elements and how it obtains its energy:
Three quarters of the globe of earth is covered by water and only a quarter of its surface is earth. Many times vaster than water is fire or light. Larger than that is air or atmosphere. Above that is the sky or space. In this hierarchy, each is lighter than the one below it. There is so much difference between the most solid, dense earth and the sky or space. The earth, water, light, air and space – each the five elements is lighter and thinner than the previous one. Each is more extended than the previous one. It’s possible to derive energy from each of them. You can sustain life by just breathing air. The body can live on sunlight alone. It’s possible.
“So,” she concludes, “the less you consume solid substances, the easier it is to support the body.
* * *
March 10, 1999, Wednesday -- Day 3 of UG’s stay.
Early this morning, I took oats, pineapple juice and cream upstairs for UG. UG and Major were on the balcony. UG eats his oatmeal by 6 am, swinging gently on the swing and chatting. We too chat away, sitting in front of him in the chairs and drinking coffee.
In the morning at 10 am, we went to the bank with UG. We finished all the deposit business, visited the tailor, Shankar, and then returned home in Major’s car. At 11:45 Venkata Chalapati brought his car with the driver. We all went in both the cars to the Farm House, spent half-an-hour there and returned at 1:45 pm. The Malladis and Suguna also came with us. UG certified to Major that everything in the Farm House is in order.
Now I remember an important thing. Once upon a time, Major harbored an ambition of touring abroad, particularly of visiting the US. But after his wife passed away, as he got more and more acquainted closely with a variety of foreign faces through UG, his desire to visit all those countries had diminished. The more UG extolled their culture, the more he felt repelled by it. He resolved, “This is our country. And there is no way of life better than ours. What’s the point of going there?” No matter how many times UG prodded him, he brushed him off saying, “Please let me be as I am. I don’t have any desire to visit those countries and see those spectacles.”
Recently, after Christmas, on December 27, I called Major on the phone from Palm Springs and talked to him: “You must get a visa and leave for the U.S. right away. You must come.” What I said raised a storm in his mind. I told him even earlier, looking at his horoscope, that it was inevitable that he would travel to foreign lands. “Even if you don’t like it, at the beginning of the Rahu stage, you’re bound to travel.” But getting a visa, buying a ticket and traveling abroad – these are all tasks that are beyond him. He complains and asks why he should be dragged into the street when he is living happily in this cottage, amidst this garden, alone, in the lap of nature, without a worry.
But what should he do about the current anxiety in his mind? He couldn’t take the agitation anymore and sat in front of a photo of UG. Normally he never looks at UG’s photo; he doesn’t pay any attention to it. Only when he has such problems which go over his head, he pours out his worries before UG. “He is asking me to come, UG. But I don’t like to go. What do you want me to do? Should I tell him OK? Or should I say I won’t go?” Thus he silently appealed to UG. A message from inside told him to say, yes. As soon as he said to himself “OK, as you please,” all the chaos in his mind had calmed down. All his anxiety was removed as if it was erased clean from his mind. He narrated that story to UG and us yesterday at the breakfast table. UG made him repeat it to everyone over and over again.
UG’s photo has greater power than UG. It performs wonders. I told those that gathered that there is no count of how many people have photos of UG protecting them in different ways.
* * *
UG told us another story confirming this: “My photo is more powerful than me. Once, Robert was taking me around in Amsterdam in his car. No matter how much he searched, he couldn’t find a parking place. He had a UG photo on his dashboard. Normally he would be able to get a parking space without much difficulty as soon as he prayed to the photo. But this time, he couldn’t find one, even though I was by his side. Finally, I told him, ‘Drop me off here and then ask my photo; you will find the place.’ And the moment I got out of the car, Robert found a parking space.”
UG’s drawing attention to the power of his own photo pleased me. Even UG doesn’t know in how many ways and to how many people it has given comfort and still does.
* * *
Yesterday Yadunath brought an artist from ‘Prabhat Kalavidaru’. The artist wished to demonstrate to UG the Bhagavad Gita in the form of a play. He said he would arrange for a stage in an auditorium and let us know by the end of the month. He said to me, “On that stage UG must speak about Bhagavad Gita.” I didn’t know how to reply to him. Yadunath himself admitted after a little while, “UG doesn’t care about such things. He won’t be happy.” I told UG about it in the night. Major burst out into laughter and commented “What! UG speak about Bhagavad Gita? After listening to him, who will remain in the auditorium?” and continued with his laughter. “Want to bet? I can give a talk on the Bhagavad Gita and please everyone present. How much will you bet?” challenged UG smiling. “Well, show us first, then we will believe you,” Major concluded. With that the discussion stopped.
* * *
March 12, 1999
Yesterday, driving to the Farm House, Aparajita sat with Suguna in the car with UG. Apparently, UG had been attacking JK for the whole way. As soon as they arrived at the Farm House, UG smiled and asked me and Suguna, “Why did you let this girl sit with me?” And picking on Aparajita, he said, “You couldn’t seduce JK. You’re so inept.” She got all cooked up. She couldn’t stand that UG was making fun of her in front of everyone. UG got out of the car and sat in the living room. Aparajita sat next to him nestled in a rattan chair. “Why do you talk like that? Could people like you speak like that?” she admonished UG. UG, on his part, continued to use obscene language. Aparajita couldn’t take it any more. This belittling of JK and of her, especially by someone like UG -- how long could this jocularity go on? She suddenly leapt up and not stopping even when UG was trying to move away, she held him by her hands and squeezed his throat. All of us who had been watching this scene couldn’t keep from laughing. She tried to strangle him two or three times. But eventually she calmed down by herself. That was some fun for UG. He is used to picking on her, teasing her and making her angry. It appears that Aparajita still holds the crazy notion that she had been UG’s wife in her previous life. She wouldn’t quit that notion even after so many years. She is now the Secretary of the JK Center. “If they learn that you tried to strangle me, the JK gang will praise you,” said UG making even more fun of her. We all enjoyed Aparajita’s assault.
* * *
I must write about Radhakishan’s story. He was very ill six months ago. When I phoned him sometime ago, he said he was just recovering. He had some intestinal infection with diarrhea and vomiting, which could not be controlled. He was bedridden for some months. He suffered from bedsores for some more time. He was worried at that time that he might die. But he resolved in himself strongly that “I won’t accept death until I see UG.” Then he started recovering slowly. Now, this is the first time that he has seen UG since his illness. As soon as he set his eyes on him UG said, “You’re the only one whom I have been thinking about, sir!” That moved me. I felt that it was Radhakishan’s prayer, his longing to see UG, that had brought UG here this time. Radhakishan is still able to come on his scooter. He passed all his assets and property on to his relatives. He has washed his hands of them and is now sitting, comfortably waiting for his final departure.
* * *
It was then 2 pm in the afternoon. We had all returned to the Farm House at 1 pm in Venkata Chalapati’s car after we had lunch. A Californian called Sky is now part of the Sai Baba group. He called on the phone from Whitefield and asked if he could come and see UG. He couldn’t find UG’s books. He left word with Suguna to ask me to bring some books to the Farm House. “Did you bring any books?” he asked me. I didn’t bring any with me. I told him I would get them the next day. “Then I’ll come tomorrow,” he replied. “Why don’t you come and meet the man? Is that not more important than the book?” I asked him. He laughed. “O.K., I will come right away,” he said and, just as he promised, he came in an auto. After that, UG’s talk turned out to be very interesting. Perhaps it was all intended for him. Jitendra Baba was sitting next to UG in a chair. UG spoke about many things. Sri Ramakrishna seemed to be influencing UG. UG was using the term ‘fuck’ frequently, enunciating it clearly with his whole mouth. He mentioned Clinton’s contention that oral sex is not a sin and said that Clinton quoted the Bible to support his claim. “You don’t fuck the face anyway,” he laughs. He reported that Ramakrishna used to pester the people who came to see him by asking them, “How much money do you have? How much will you give me?” Then he declared that Sri Ramakrishna was a homosexual.
Aside, Sky had been whispering in my ear, “How does UG know all these things?” “Those are all facts that came out in the newspapers or books which he had read,” I answered. He asked UG, “What’s your opinion of Nisargadatta?” UG narrated the story of his meeting Nisargadatta. UG and Maurice Friedman were friends. Friedman was part of the JK gang at that time. It was in the days after the ‘Calamity’ that Friedman met UG. An account of Friedman’s mentioning about his meeting UG to Nisargadatta and what Nisargadatta said about UG have been printed in the 71st Chapter of I am That. After hearing about UG’s unique experiences and the description of his natural state, Nisargadatta even predicted, “Your friend is talking now. But soon he will stop talking and remain silent.” Later, Friedman cleverly arranged a meeting between UG and Nisargadatta in his house. He told UG that his daughter was sick and that she was hoping to see him; he invited him to his house. Thus he arranged things so that UG could meet Nisargadatta. The two were together for about an hour. “I spoke in English and he in Marathi. Someone else who didn’t know either of the languages very well translated us to each other. That’s all that happened. Finally, when Friedman asked me what I thought about Nisargadatta, I replied, “I met a man,” says UG. That’s all that happened. But who knows what the inner meaning of it all is?
* * *
After Mohan arrived, the scene became quite interesting. Mohan interrupts UG with his questions. He doesn’t care even if UG scolds him, shoos him away or abuses him in front of everyone; he just never quits questioning UG.
“Why do you come here? You won’t get anything here. Why do you leave your office and hang around here?” asks U.G. “What can I do U.G.? I can’t change. When you’ve come so many thousands of miles, what’s the sense if I can’t travel these few miles? Even if I sit in the office, I only think of you. I can’t work. So, it’s better to sit here than stay there,” is Mohan’s answer.
Then UG kept on talking till 5 pm. Bob was videotaping quite a bit of it. I must have a look at it. UG’s jabs at J.K. and talks about his encounters with J.K., his meeting with Ramana Maharshi and about his one-night stand. He talked about how with that single night’s experience, not only his sex desire, but the whole pleasure movement had burned out. In answer to one of Mohan’s questions, he said, “When you can fuck your mother, your daughter or your sister, only then this is possible.” I can’t remember Mohan’s exact question. That means, in order for duality to disappear and for you to be able to step into a reality devoid of space and time, you must able to do such a thing. “Once you have sex – just sex without any ideas – you are finished,” he says. It’s dangerous to consider this as a method. U.G. never makes such a mistake. The Tantrics make sex as part of their sadhana. That’s why he spurns it.
He talked about cancer, of his son Vasant dying of cancer, and of his advising son’s girlfriend “forget about Vasant, find some other young man and be happy,” on the same day that Vasant died. Although the girl was furious at UG’s advice, she did exactly what UG had suggested before the end of a year.
* * *
UG talks so intensely, for so many hours, using all his energy – it is amazing how he can talk like that. The food he eats is so little. He doesn’t rest. [Listening to him,] everyone’s eyes become heavy with drowsiness. The listeners feel that their throats are so parched that they feel they should go and get a drink of water. UG doesn’t even ask for a glass of water. He talks ceaselessly about something or other. Where does he get so much energy? Yet, his body seems only a bit better than a cage of bones. There is an indescribable light in his face. His sharp eyes observe every movement.
“Recognition is UG. As soon as there is recognition, UG is present. Then he goes. Then there is another thing,” when UG talks like that my head gets hot. I have only a vague understanding of what he is talking about; that’s all. I don’t understand. “You shouldn’t understand. If you understand, you will not come to me; nor will you go to anyone else for help,” says UG. The more you observe it, the more UG’s tremendous energy dazzles you.
“Bob, I want you three to do something with the stuff Chandrasekhar has gathered,” he said referring to Bob, Julie and me. As soon as he said, “I shall even ask Julie to come over here, if you three will do something with those archives,” I and Bob shook hands. What should we do with the archives? Whatever we do, we must convert those tapes into VCD’s or CD’s before they deteriorate.
* * *
March 14, 1999, Sunday -- Day 7
It is exactly a week since UG has arrived in this country. A week ago, I was involved in the arrangements for the School’s anniversary celebrations. Bhagavan [Sri Ramana Maharshi] taught us that we must move as that Force moves us. That Force is within me, within my heart. If I can see it there, I can see its presence everywhere. That’s the truth. But who is this who is pining to gain a vision of it? Am I something different from that Force? Every action, every thought and every experience is an attempt to multiply the pleasure-seeking a thousand times, says UG. God is the most extreme pleasure. The yearning is to gain the presence of God. UG explained this in many ways yesterday. He calls it the ‘pleasure movement’. Long ago, he had realized clearly that every effort of his was prompted by that.
Venkata Chalapati said to U.G. yesterday:
You tell everyone that what one needs in life are just the two ‘F’s. You advise that we should double their quotas for the smoker and the drinker. Although you suggest that it’s futile to suppress the desire for pleasure and that one should nurture them to the limits, what I observed in myself and everyone else is that those desires for pleasure won’t satisfy us in the long run. Everyone will sometime or other strongly want to become free from these pleasures and will retreat from them. Indeed, he wouldn’t want to dedicate the rest of his life to those pleasures.
Then UG replied immediately, “To put that truth into practice doesn’t depend on time. Realizing that is not done by learning slowly, little bits at a time. It must become clear instantly like a flash of lightning.” He gave the example of Mahesh. In the past, Mahesh was an alcoholic; he drank liquor every night. He could not do without it. Once, when he came to Bangalore and was in pain because he couldn’t buy a bottle of liquor, UG procured a bottle of Black Label through Brahmachari and gave it to him. He said:
I never condemned him saying that he shouldn’t drink liquor. However, ten years ago, when Mahesh picked up his six-months-old baby and tried to kiss her, she turned her face away, repelled by the smell of alcohol on his face. Seeing the repulsion in the baby’s face, his aversion toward drinking became ignited. That was it. He never drank again. In all these years, he hasn’t drunk a drop of alcohol. That’s how aversion should arise.
UG claims that you won’t be successful in practicing it [relinquishing] a little at a time. It must happen all at once. It’s the same with anything in life. ‘Sanaih, sanaih’ [‘slowly, slowly’] which the Bhagavad Gita preaches is a pure lie, he says. Things must happen in one stroke. It is not a matter of time. If it happens, it must happen totally; it [the habit] must leave without a trace; or else, it doesn’t happen at all. It’s foolish to think that it can be achieved through stages.
“Did you ever have such an experience in your life? Did an event occur when you collapsed?” asked Mohan. “You want to hear about it? Are you ready?” asking him twice, UG told us about his ‘one-night stand’. “With the experience of that one night, the sexual urge in me was completely extinguished. After that, all these forty years I haven’t had any sex,” said UG. He even dropped sexual intercourse with his wife. “Not just sex, but the whole pleasure movement was wiped out with it,” said UG. It became clear to him that “I have no other way of gaining pleasure except by using another person for my pleasure.” UG was reluctant to depend on another person for his enjoyment. He was turned off by such a situation even if the other person willingly participated. That’s why his whole life, at every stage, was a field of torture.
Toward the end of the dialogue, Mohan said, “This body is nothing but a robot, nothing else; that’s clear to me.”
“How could it be so? You who are going to do that thing lying by your wife’s side, how could that statement be real to you?” UG challenged him. Mohan shut up.
* * *
I must tear into the ego within myself and look at it. This pen of mine is my weapon. Nothing is more powerful than this. This book is the battlefield. I must wage this duel with myself without any help. In this private war, this ego is an entity to reckon with. He appears before me in my own shape. At times he prostrates before me and pleads for mercy. The next moment, he mocks demonically, pounces on me and throws me down. He makes everything topsy-turvy. He makes people who are close to me turn against me. Then I have no choice except to seek the UG Force. With the shield of remembering UG, I can guard myself. Must this struggle go on like this?
* * *
Even though I have started writing, the bother of mosquitoes has not diminished. Suguna is making coffee. I won’t feel settled until it goes into my stomach. This morning Tim called from London. He is eager to talk to UG. He had called in the Farm House earlier and talked to UG. “Don’t come to Switzerland. Money is important. Save it,” UG told him. Today, Tim asked me on the phone, “Do you know Yehudi Menuhin?” I said I did. “Does UG know that he has died a couple of days ago?” he asked. I answered, “He probably doesn’t.” He urged that I inform UG about it. I agreed and he hung up.
This Tim is a strange character. How UG attracts such people! They have complete liberty with UG. He goes into their world. He has the knack of going into anyone’s world he wants to. The next moment he goes into someone else’s world. That’s why each person around him thinks that UG is moving in his or her own world, just as Krishna did in the Rasa sport in Brindavan.
* * *
March 18, 1999, Thursday -- Telugu New Year’s -- Day 11
“Tomorrow is New Year’s. It’s the beginning of a new era,” I said to Mahesh. He looked surprised and asked, “Is that true, UG?” as if wondering if that’s the true of meaning of the word. “Tomorrow will be exactly like today, I guarantee you,” answered UG. That may be true. But yesterday was new moon day and today is the first day of the lunar month.
As I was writing this, I got a call from Bharati. “New Year’s Greetings,” she said. If she picks up the phone, she doesn’t put it down for at least half-an-hour. It’s the same today. As UG’s phone was busy, she called me. She told me that JK had explained to her UG’s real nature. “He [JK] taught me about UG’s state -- his ferociousness, his putting down everything, his gathering fools around him, his destroying others, his talking crazy nonsense and such other traits.” She predicted that someone like Balasubrahmanya Swami [the god] will come, kick him a bit and straighten him out. “The Chinese can do such a thing, if he acts crazy. Ask him to beware,” she warned. She gave him the title of ‘Innocent Idiot’. “That too is a trait of Kala Bhairava [Siva]. Instead of making people’s lives happy, he reduces them into mounds on the cremation ground. Indeed, he shaped his own life like that, standing in the cremation ground. The nature of Venkateswara, who is Vishnu’s essence, is not like that. He has great grandeur -- pride, compassion and scholarship; regarding everyone with respect. That’s why one must worship the Vishnu Principle instead of the Siva Principle,” she said.
She named me a broker. I told her, “Twenty-five years ago you named me UG’s ‘son of the mind’, now you are giving me the new name of ‘broker’.” She replied, “You can only cut glass with glass, a diamond with another diamond. The same way, Balasubramniam will come to set him straight. There is kalasarpa dosha [‘the defect of the Cobra of Time’] in UG’s horoscope. That’s why he acts so crazy. That’s the same problem with all those who were born in the sign of Gemini. My father doesn’t have that grandeur of Venkateswara. That’s why Venkateswara and Annamacharya wouldn’t let him in their houses,” she said. She continued, “Sharmila is a great person. I found the ‘Jabala Principle’ manifested in her.” “She is a great princess, truly wise. My husband Rayudu sits quietly in front of her and listens to what she has to say. Today is New Year’s Day. That’s why I felt like calling.” Then she said in conclusion. “No one here is eager to see my father. Tell him it’s all right if he doesn’t want to come.”
* * *
March 20, 1999, Saturday – Day 13
Morning 4:15 am. After I lit the Good Night mosquito repellent, surprisingly, all the mosquitoes have disappeared. What happened to them? All is quiet except for the fan noise in Shyamalamma’s room. The fan noise is rhythmic like sound of a tomcat snoring. I hear the noise of dogs barking at a distance. This tranquil atmosphere will all change in a few minutes. Commotion will start. As the sky turns crimson, there will be increased movement of people on the street.
Today Saraswati worship is scheduled for the School kids. They have examinations from the 26th. The School closes on April 10th. I don’t have the free time to look after the School affairs. My whole day is spent with UG. From the moment I get up, there are phone calls. Then preparations are under way to go to the Farm House. The whole day is occupied with spending time with the friends who have come to see UG and making arrangements for those who are yet to come. Bob is leaving this afternoon for Madras. Shekhawat is also going to Bombay on the morning Sahara flight.
Yesterday, early in the morning, Mahesh phoned from Indore. The man who went to Bombay at 9 pm two nights ago surfaced the next morning in Indore. He is attending some conference there.
This time I find again in Mahesh his earlier enthusiasm and interest. Even last December in Palm Springs, he looked dull and depressed, living in his own world, always holding a book in his hand. Although he seemed a bit more cheerful when UG was around, something appeared to be lacking.
I have noticed significant changes in Mahesh’s demeanor in the last couple of years. This time, however, the old Mahesh is back in force. Huge shouts, quarrels with UG, boisterous laughing, joking around with UG and teasing -- the liberties he takes with UG no one else can. Only Mahesh is capable of goading, egging UG on, even when UG makes fun of him in front of everyone saying, “You are a real bastard.” There must be a mention of money at least once each hour. When UG says, “I put your name as the beneficiary for the 10 million rupees deposit in the Canara Bank. You can have it when I die,” Mahesh asks very seriously, putting his face inches from UG’s face, “UG, when are you going to die?”
“I took two years’ interest of 25 lakhs of rupees and made an additional deposit. These 25 lakhs will be added to the principal of 10 million rupees in two years. Until then you won’t get any interest,” said UG.
* * *
UG kept Mahesh’s mother alive for two years. It was probably in April 1996, exactly on the Telugu New Year’s Day, that UG called Mahesh to come to Bangalore to see the Farm House and our new house. Meanwhile, Mahesh’s mother’s illness had turned serious. Mahesh got the news from Bombay that she was in the ICU on her death bed; so he hurried to go back. “You don’t worry about your mother. I will keep her alive as long as you want. But you must pay me $5,000 a day,” said U.G. “I can’t pay so much. I can manage Rs.5,000 a day,” answered Mahesh. UG agreed. His mother returned home safely from the ICU. Last year, when UG was staying in the flat above her flat in Bombay, she saw UG and talked to him. In these two years, the amount of the money Mahesh owed to UG grew like sin. One day, he pleaded with UG, “That’s enough, UG, of keeping my mother alive. I can’t pay you at the rate of Rs.5,000 a day. Let her go.”
In 1998, a month after UG left Bombay, probably in April, Mahesh’s mother had died. Apparently she complained to Mahesh before she died, “You have been friends with such a great man for so many years; but you haven’t acquired even a thousandth of his good traits. Is this how you treat such a guest?”
She asked UG, “I am thinking of donating my dead body to a hospital. What do you say?” “Don’t. You should never help medical technology. Whatever they learn from your body they will utilize for the destruction of mankind,” UG said, and stopped her.
Since she died, there has been a great change in Mahesh. He produced the movie, Zakhm, based on her life. I haven’t seen it yet. He said he would send me a videotape of it.
* * *
The bother of the mosquitoes has subsided, thanks to this repellent. I can now write in comfort. I have written exactly for an hour. Who will benefit from what I have written so far? Who cares? I just feel happy writing. What do I care who will benefit from it? I like to keep writing like this. The pages in the book will be filled.
I feel like writing about the story of Shekhawat. He has spent the past three days happily here. A couple of days ago, he was sitting with Mahesh before UG, asking all sorts of questions. When UG asked, “Where is your wife?” his counter question was, “Which wife are you asking about?” We all broke out into laughter. “I have divorced twice,” he said.
Last night, while standing, he told me, Suguna and Venkata Chalapati, about his married life. I was amazed at the facility with which he could narrate smoothly, like a movie, the events of his life. A major facet of Shekhawat’s life was revealed before our eyes. I could understand why he is so keen about UG.
Twenty years ago, Shekhawat worked as an officer in the Reserve Bank of India. He used to come from Rajajinagar to 23 West Anjaneya Street, to see UG. In the days when Mahesh and Parveen lived here, he too came frequently. It was in those times that he married Kumuda, the daughter of the prince of a province called Kota in Rajasthan. But he was from a middle class family while she was a princess. The marriage occurred at the behest of the Queen Mother of Mysore. He didn’t know of the princess’s status before the marriage. They showed him the girl in a farmhouse in Delhi. The wedding took place in Kota. The palace there had 40 rooms in it. There were many servants. The grounds of the palace were huge. There were fabulous gates. He marveled at all this, riding on a horse on the wedding day and wondering whether he was awake or dreaming. He was worried that they might have duped him into marrying an old lady; so immediately after the wedding, he lifted the veil of the bride. He saw her beautiful face and heaved a sigh of relief. But his joy was short-lived. How could Kumuda, who grew up in princely luxury, take to common middle class life? Our hero found a house for them to live in Bangalore. He handed over his first month’s salary of Rs.2,700 to her. In three days she demanded more money to run the house. All the money he gave her had disappeared. Shekhawat almost fainted. His wife blew up a whole month’s salary in three days. In addition, she spent some of her own money. There were four servants in the house. She could cook well, but she needed servants to help her in the cooking. She also needed servants to clean, wash clothes, arrange things in the house and run errands outside home. Their married life survived for three years. She got tired of it. So she grabbed their son and moved back to Kota. Now the boy is 17-years-old. She has divorced Shekhawat. Still they two relate to each other as friends. Each year, at least once or twice they meet each other and spend time together.
* * *