A Jolt of Lightning

Whatever has happened to me has happened despite everything I did. It was like a jolt of lightning or an earthquake, as it were. Everything that every man thought, felt, and experienced before was flushed out of my system. This has become possible for me not through any effort or volition of mine. That is why I say it is 'acausal', and I have no way of knowing what I am left with.


I maintain that memory is not located in any particular area of the body. Every cell in our body is involved.


We have put memory and the brain to such a use for which it is not intended. This is one of the reasons why we find that Alzheimer's disease is on the increase.


We are no different from, nor are we created for any grander purpose than, the mosquito that is sucking your blood.


If there is anything like super-consciousness or higher consciousness that people speak of, you are as much an expression of that as any of the claimants to that cosmic power. Every dog, every cat, every pig, every cow, the garden slug there, you, me, and everybody, even Genghis Khan and Hitler, are an expression of that same thing. Why should nature or some cosmic power, if there is one in the world, need the help of somebody as an instrument to express itself and help others?


Q: I think it was in 1967, just on your 49th birthday when you were listening to J. Krishnamurti's talk, it is said that an experience occurred to you. Would you describe that?

A: I don't want to go into that in great detail. But what I have been emphasizing lately is that whatever has happened to me happened despite everything I did. Whatever I did or did not do, and whatever events people believed that led me into this (natural state) are totally irrelevant. It is very difficult for me to fix a point now and tell myself that this is me, and look back and try to find out the cause of whatever has happened to me, because this is not in the field of cause and effect relationship. That is why I am emphasizing and overemphasizing all the time that it is acausal. That is very difficult for people to understand.

Q: By 'acausal' you mean that it happened without any preparation?

A: That is what I am saying. It is something like, to use my favorite phrases, "lightning hitting you, a jolt of lightning hitting you," and you don't know what you are left with. You have no way of finding out for yourself and by yourself what has happened to you. Has anything happened to me at all? But one thing I can say with certainty is that the very thing that I searched for all my life was shattered to pieces. The goals that I had set for myself -- self-realization, God-realization, transformation, radical or otherwise, or even enlightenment -- were all false, and there was nothing there to be realized, and nothing to be found there. The very demand to be free from anything, even from the physical needs of the body, just disappeared, and I was left with nothing. Therefore, whatever comes out of me now depends upon what you draw out of me.

I have actually and factually nothing to communicate, because there is no communication possible at any level. The only instrument we have is the intellect. We know, in a way, that this instrument has not helped us to understand anything. So, when once it dawns on you that this is not the instrument, and that there is no other instrument with which to understand anything, you are left with this puzzling situation that there is nothing to understand. In a way, it would be highly presumptuous on my part to sit on a platform or accept invitations like this and try to tell people that I have something to say, that I have come into something extraordinary which nobody has come into.

But what I am left with is something extraordinary -- extraordinary not in the sense that it has been possible for me through any effort or volition of mine, but in the sense that everything that every man thought, felt, and experienced before is thrown out of my system. So, you can say that it is, indeed, a courageous thing that has happened to me. But I cannot tell people that through courage you can put yourself into that kind of situation.

It is very difficult to tell people how it all happened to me. They are only interested in finding out how it happened to me, because their only interest is to find out the cause, find out what led me into this. But when I tell them that it is acausal, it is very difficult for them to understand and accept it. Their interest is to find out a cause and make it happen to them.

Q: I think it is useful sometimes to talk about one's realization in terms of when and what happened. In this context, going back to 1967, what happened to you when you were listening to J. Krishnamurti?

A: You see, when I was listening to him it suddenly dawned on me, "Why the hell have I been listening to this man? From his description I feel that I am in the same state as that man." I said to myself that I was in the same state as that man, assuming for the moment that he was in the same state that he was describing and in the same state that the great spiritual teachers were in. "What the hell have I been doing all my life? Why the hell am I sitting here listening to him?" I then walked out with just one single thought whirling in me, as it were, like in a whirlpool. "How do you know that you are in the same state?" I understand that the question implies that I was familiar with the descriptions of various states. I had tried to simulate them in me and experience them, and that is all there is to it. So this question went on and on. But suddenly this question also disappeared. I said to myself that there is no reason for me to feel grateful to anybody, to express my thanks to anybody.

Whatever has happened to me has happened despite listening to this teacher or that teacher, or doing this, that, or the other. But if I say all this, it is something which is not very interesting to people. They want to know, and I tell them that I myself do not know. I cannot look at myself and tell myself that I am an enlightened man, that I am a free man, that tremendous changes have taken place in me. So, I use this phrase which we very often hear on the commercials. It is not something like "before and after the wash"; no washing has helped me to reach anywhere. It is just a happening. I still have to use the word 'happening', because there is no other way that I can communicate this and give a feel of this to anybody else.

Q: It is all like an infant just coming into the world without any memory or thought, trying to see the world for the first time, and just figuring it out as to how it all works, just experiencing it. Will that be similar to what you are talking about?

A: No. It is not correct to say that there is any kind of experience in newborn children, because we have no way of going through that all over again. Anything we simulate and try to experience is only from where we stand today. And where we stand today is the product of experiences of all kinds. So, anything we experience, although we call it rebirthing or trying to experience what it was like when we were a newborn baby or an infant, is naturally colored by where we stand today. Anything we experience has no relevance, no meaning to what I am trying to say.

There are many people who talk of rebirthing. It has become fashionable for people to indulge in that kind of fantasy. You know in Japan they have some techniques in which by manipulating certain nerves at the base of your head they will make you go through the experience of your own birth. I have always maintained that the experiencing structure is totally absent at the time of our birth. And I always questioned the psychologists, especially Freud, when he made the statement that birth is a traumatic experience. I don't think that it is a traumatic experience at all, because there is no experiencing structure there at all. Actually it is very difficult to say as to when the experiencing structure in babies comes into operation. I am one of those who believes that the influence of environment is very limited on us. (I maintain that I am not an authority on such things.) But the experiencing structure is genetic in its origin and in its expression. Everything is genetically controlled. If we really want to change individuals, the only way we can do it is not by changing the environment, not through changing the cultural input, but by trying to understand what really is the part that genes play in us. Maybe through some kind of genetic engineering we can create perfect human beings.

Q: So, you would support genetic engineering?

A: No, I do not. I am at the same time conscious of the fact that it is a very dangerous thing that we are indulging in. When once we perfect these engineering techniques, we will hand them over to the state. Thereafter it will be a lot easier for the state to manipulate individuals and turn them into mere robots. (I am not against robots, as we are actually robots, whether we like it or not.) The state will make people do things which they are unwilling to do. Usually it takes a lot of time and a lot of brainwashing to teach something to people -- to make people believe in God, to make people believe in a particular political ideology. Conversely, to free them from some kind of belief we have to brainwash them all over again. It is a very elaborate and long process. But it is a lot easier and faster for us to use these techniques of genetic engineering to change individuals than it is possible otherwise.

Q: You know, we were speaking about J. Krishnamurti. He claims to have no memory of this process. It is the same thing that has happened to you? Do you have a memory?

A: I don't want to say anything about Krishnamurti. I don't have any idea of what happened to him. I don't know what he meant when he said this. Actually your memory becomes very extraordinary after this happening. But the problem which we have to face today is different. We have been using our memory a lot. I always maintain (you may question this, and the experts in the field of brain physiology may question it; but one of these days they will have to accept what I am trying to say) that the brain plays a very minor role in the functioning of the body. It is not a creator at all. It is just a reactor. What this memory is we really don't know yet. One of these days the experts who are dealing with this problem of memory will have to come out with answers to questions like what the neurons are.

I maintain that memory is not located in any particular area of the body. Every cell in our body is involved. And my feeling is that we have come to a point in the history of mankind where we have to confront the problem of people who have lost their memories. We have put memory and our brain to such use for which they are not intended. This is one of the reasons why we find that Alzheimer's disease, or whatever you want to call it, is on the increase. The other day I heard that one in two of those in the eighty-year-old bracket are affected by it. You know recently there was also a report of the same disease in England. Six hundred thousand people are affected by the problem there.

Q: You mentioned about the misuse of the brain.

A: Misusing memory. Using memory for purposes for which it is not intended. After all, what are you? You are a memory. We have to use memory in order to survive in the world crated by our society, culture, or whatever you want to call it. There is no other way. I know that it is an extension of the same survival mechanism. No doubt it is.

Q: When you burn your finger you withdraw it at once.

A: Automatically. There you don't have to use your memory. That is the way this human body is functioning. But to survive in this world which we have created, our world of culture, society, or whatever you want to call it, the constant use of memory is essential. The whole of our education is built on the foundation of how to develop our memory. I am afraid that I am going off on a tangent.

Q: Yes.

A: I usually hop, jump and skip. Let me try to stick to this point which I am trying to make. Unfortunately, humanity has placed before itself the model of a perfect man. The idea of the perfect man is born out of the value system that we have created. That value system is born out of the behavior patterns of the great teachers of mankind.

Q: Jesus might be an example of....

A: Jesus, Buddha and all the great teachers. Every human body, however, is unique. Nature is not interested in creating a perfect being. Its interest is to create only a perfect species.

Q: If every one of us is unique, that implies that our code of enlightenment, if there is such a thing, would also be unique so that each of us reaches that state individually and uniquely.

A: Exactly. That is what I am trying to emphasize. It is just not possible for us to produce enlightened people on an assembly line. You know, if you look at history, even a country like India, which prides itself as a land of spirituality, has produced only a very few enlightened people. You can count them on your fingers. But unfortunately, in the market place, we have many claimants who say that they are enlightened, and they are in turn out to enlighten everybody. There is a market for that kind of thing. The demand and supply principle is responsible for that. But actually an enlightened man or a free man, if there is one, is not interested in freeing or enlightening anybody. This is because he has no way of knowing that he is a free man, that he is an enlightened man. It is not something that can be shared with somebody, because it is not in the area of experience at all.

There is no such thing as a new experience. Suppose you go to a new place. What goes on in your mind, if I may use that word, is that you are always trying to fit whatever you are seeing into the framework of the past. The moment you say that something is new, it is the old that is telling you that it is new. So, it is very difficult for us to experience anything new because, if there is something really new, it is not in particular frames that the old is destroyed, but the totality of the past is destroyed in one great big blow.

Q: In effect what you are saying is that we cannot experience anything new.

A: Yes. You may not agree with me, and brush this aside as absurd and nonsense. But there is no such thing as a new experience. There is nothing new at all. It is the old that tells us that it is new, and through this gimmick thought is making what it calls new part of the old, and is thus maintaining its continuity. So, whatever you cannot experience does not exist. It may sound as a very dogmatic assertion on my part, but when you try to experience something that you have not experienced before, the whole movement of the experiencing structure comes to an end.

Q: Having read some accounts of your previous life, I go back to the experience that you had when you went to see Ramana Maharshi. You asked him, "Whatever it is you have, can you give it to me?" And he said, "I can give it, but can you take it?"

A: Unfortunately, that is the traditional answer that is dished out by all the spiritual teachers. What is reported in the so-called story of my life is a garbled version of what I actually felt at that time. Anyway, anything I say today is irrelevant, because I don't know what I felt at that particular moment, and there is no way I can relive that experience from here. I said to myself, "What is it that he has? If there is anybody in this world who can receive it, it is I." I said this to myself and walked out. That, in a way, decided another phase of my life.

The old traditional approach to the whole question of enlightenment was thrown out of my system, although I continued to read books on religion, studied philosophy, psychology, and science. I tried to find out answers from those people who have not been contaminated by the traditional teachings. I got interested in Western philosophy and science, and tried to find the answer to my basic question. My basic question was one question: "Where is this mind that we are so concerned about, that we are trying to understand, study, and change? Why do we talk of a total change in the makeup of the mind? I don't see any such thing as mind there at all, let alone a transformation or mutation of the mind." This question always intrigued me and I questioned everybody about the mind. I tried to get answers from every area of human thought, but nothing helped me to find out the answers to those questions. At that time I didn't have the certainty that I have today. The certainty I have today that there is no mind is something which I cannot transmit to anybody, however hard I may try, because the very thing which we are using to communicate is in jeopardy, and you are not ready to accept that possibility.

Q: The Buddhists also talk about no mind.

A: They made a tremendous structure out of that philosophical thought. They talked of the void. They talked of emptiness. You know the whole Buddhist philosophy is built on the foundation of that 'no mind'. Yet they have created tremendous techniques of freeing themselves from the mind. All the Zen techniques of meditation try to free you from the mind. The very instrument that we are using to free ourselves from the thing called 'mind' is the mind. Mind is nothing other than what you are doing to free yourself from the mind. But when it once dawns on you, by some strange chance or miracle, that the instrument that you are using to understand everything is not the instrument, and that there is no other instrument, it hits you like a jolt of lightning.

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