Q: After reflecting on some of the things you have said, a few questions have arisen in my mind which I would like, if I may, to discuss with you over the next few days.
UG: Yes, Sir.
Q: You talk of a state that is entirely natural to man. I want to know if that natural state can be acquired by effort - if it can be acquired at all - or is it simply a chance occurrence?
UG: When I use the term `natural state' it is not a synonym for `enlightenment', `freedom', or `God-realization', and so forth. Not at all. When the totality of mankind's knowledge and experience loses its stranglehold on the body - the physical organism - then the body is allowed to function in its own harmonious way. Your natural state is a biological, neurological, and physical state.
Q: Then I presume that you agree with modern science that it is the genes that control our behavior and destinies.
UG: I can make no definitive statements about the part genes play in the evolutionary process, but at the moment it appears that Darwin was at least partially wrong in insisting that acquired characteristics could not be genetically transmitted. I think that they are transmitted in some fashion. I am not competent enough to say whether the genes play any part in the transmission.
Anyway, the problem lies in our psyche. We function in a thought-sphere, and not in our biology. The separative thought structure, which is the totality of man's thoughts, feelings, experiences, and so on - what we call psyche or soul or self - is creating the disturbance. That is what is responsible for our misery; that's what continues the battle that is going on there [in the human being] all the time. This interloper, the thought sphere, has created your entire value system. The body is not in the least interested in values, much less a value system. It is only concerned with intelligent moment-to-moment survival, and nothing else. Spiritual `values' have no meaning to it. When, through some miracle or chance you are freed from the hold of thought and culture, you are left with the body's natural functions, and nothing else. It then functions without the interference of thought. Unfortunately, the servant, which is the thought structure that is there, has taken possession of the house. But he can no longer control and run the household. So he must be dislodged. It is in this sense that I use the term `natural state', without any connotation of spirituality or enlightenment.
Q: As a scientist I can only allow myself to be interested in things which I can predict and control through experimentation. I must be able to repeat the results of another scientist; if not, I must, in the name of sound science, reject what he says, and his so-called evidence. So, I am tempted to ask whether someone can demonstrate that state to me, whether it is possible to reproduce it.
UG: That is the very thing I am against. Nature does not use models. No two leaves are the same; no two faces are the same; no two human beings are the same. I understand your problem. You are not the first scientist to come here demanding `scientific proof', throwing questions at me like, "Why can't we test these statements you are making." First of all, I am not selling anything. Second, their interest, and yours, is to use this natural state in your misguided efforts to change or `save' mankind. I say that no change is necessary, period. Your corrupt society has put into you this notion of change, that you are this and you must be that. Anything that insists that you be something other than what you in fact are is the very thing that is falsifying you and the world. I somehow stumbled into this natural state on my own, and I cannot, under any circumstances transmit it to others. It has no social, political, commercial, or transformational value to anyone. I do not sit upon platforms haranguing you, demanding that you change the world. As things are, you and the world--which are not two separate things--cannot be any different. All these attempts on the part of man to change himself go entirely against the way nature is operating. That is why I am not interested. Sorry! Take it or leave it. It's up to you. Whether you praise me or insult me, I am not in the least interested. It is your affair. I don't fit into the picture [of `scientific investigation'] at all. I am only talking about it in response to your questions. You throw the ball, and it bounces back. There is no urge in me to express myself to you or anyone else.
Q: Although you don't talk about designing a perfect culture or society, as B.F. Skinner does in Beyond Freedom and Dignity, and Walden Two, you too seem to emphasize the importance of culture in guiding mankind's destiny....
UG: Did I say so in that book of mine? I don't even know what there is in that book.... Culture is a way of life and the way of thinking of a people. To me, this is culture: how we entertain ourselves, how we speculate about reality, what kind of things we are interested in, what kind of art we have, and so on. Whether the culture is Oriental or Occidental, it is basically the same. I don't see any difference between the two except one of accent, just as we all speak English with different accents. All human beings are exactly the same, whether they are Russian, American or Indian. What is going on in the head of that man walking in the street is no different from what is going on inside the head of a person walking in a street in New York. Basically it is the same. His goal may be different. But the instrument he is using to achieve his goal is exactly the same, namely, his trying to become something other than what he is.
I am not interested in helping anyone.... Things have gone too far. If, just to take one example, the evermore sophisticated genetic engineering techniques are monopolized by the state, we are sunk. What little freedom is still open to mankind will be brought under the control of the state, and the state will be in a position to create designer human beings, any type it wants, with impunity. It is all very respectable. Mankind will be robotized on a scale never dreamt of before. What can be done to stop or prevent that sort of catastrophe? I say, nothing. It is too late. You may call me a skeptic, a cynic, a this or a that, but this is hard realism. It is your privilege to think what you will, but I fail to see any way out, as long as man remains as he is, which is almost a certainty. I don't see how it is possible for us to reverse this trend.
This crisis has not arrived unannounced. It has been building up for a long time, from the day long ago when man felt this self-consciousness in himself, and decided that the world was created for him to hold and rule. On that day he laid the foundation for the total destruction of everything that nature has taken so many millennia to create and build.
Q: But behind the changes of nature there seems to be some kind of plan or purpose, don't you think?
UG: I don't see any plan or scheme there at all! There is a process - I wouldn't necessarily call it evolution - but when it slows down then a revolution takes place. Nature tries to put together something and start all over again, just for the sake of creating. This is the only true creativity. Nature uses no models or precedents, and so has nothing to do with art per se.
Artists find it comforting to think that they are creative: `creative art', `creative ideas', `creative politics'. It's nonsense. There is nothing really creative in them in the sense of doing anything original, new or free. The artists pick something here and something there, put them together, and think they have created something marvelous. They are using something that is already there; their work is an imitation. Only, they are not decorous enough to admit that. They are all imitating something that is already there. Imitation and style are the only `creativity' we have. We each have our own style according to the school we attended, the language we are taught, the books we have read, the examinations we have taken. And within that framework again we each have our own style. Perfecting style and technique is all that operates there.
Q: Still, we must admit that some artists can produce things of power and beauty....
UG: The framing of what there is by the mind is what you call beauty. Beauty is [in] the frame[ing]. The framing creates the conclusion, the thought, which it then calls beauty. Otherwise there is no beauty at all. Beauty is not in the object. Nor is it in the eye of the beholder. To say, like the Upanishads do, that the total absence of the self is beauty is a lot of hogwash! The act of capturing and framing, which thought creates for us, is what we call beauty. Perhaps I am going off on a tangent....
Q: No, no, you are helping me immensely. What you say is of great use to me. I am integrating your statements within myself as we go along.... Don't think that what you say is useless.
UG: You want to make something of what I am saying, to use it somehow to further your own aims. You may say that it is for humanity's sake, but really you don't give a damn about society at all. What I am saying cannot possibly be of any use to you or your society. It can only put an end to you as you know yourself now.
Neither is what I am saying of any use to me because I cannot set up any holy business and make money. It is just impossible for me. I am not interested in freeing anyone or taking anybody away from anyone else. What they are interested in they can get from their gurus. You can go to the temples and pray there. You certainly get some comfort. You need to be comforted: that is what you want. And they provide you with that. This is the wrong place to come. Go anywhere you want. I have no interest in freeing you at all. I don't even believe in altering you in any way, or saving or reforming society, or doing anything for mankind.
Q: But there seems to be some sort of underlying motive, an all-pervasive demand, that seems to distort and frustrate society's efforts to bring about order.
UG: It is the constant demand for permanence which cripples society. Because we all seek permanence inwardly, we demand that those things which we perceive to lie outside ourselves - society, humanity, the nation, and the world - also be permanent. We seek our permanence through them. All forms of permanence, whether personal or collective, are your own creation. They are all an extension of the very same demand for permanence. But nothing is permanent. Our efforts to make things permanent go entirely against the way of nature. Somehow you know that you will not succeed in your demand for permanence. Yet you persist.
Q: Still, for most of us, many questions remain. We want to somehow find out what life is, if it has any meaning.
UG: Life is something which you cannot capture, contain, and give expression to. Energy is an expression of life. What is death? It is simply a condition of the human body. There is no such thing as death. What you have are ideas about death, ideas which arise when you sense the absence of another person. Your own death, or the death of your near and dear ones, is not something you can experience. What you actually experience is the void created by the disappearance of another individual, and the unsatisfied demand to maintain the continuity of your relationship with that person for a non-existent eternity. The arena for the continuation of all these `permanent' relationships is the tomorrow - heaven, next life, and so on. These things are the inventions of a mind interested only in its undisturbed, permanent continuity in a `self'-generated, fictitious future. The basic method of maintaining the continuity is the incessant repetition of the question, "How? How? How?" "How am I to live? How can I be happy? How can I be sure I will be happy tomorrow?" This has made life an insoluble dilemma for us. We want to know, and through that knowledge we hope to continue on with our miserable existences forever.
Q: So many people in this society are interested in ....
UG: Society cannot be interested in what I am talking about. Society is, after all, two individuals or a thousand of them put together. Because I am a direct threat to you individually - as you know and experience yourself - I am also a threat to society. How can society possibly be interested in this sort of thing? Not a chance. Society is the sum of relationships, and despite what you may find agreeable to believe, all these relationships are sordid and horrible. This is the unsavory fact; take it or leave it. You cannot help but superimpose over these horrible ugly relationships a soothing fictitious veneer of "loving", "compassionate", "brotherly", and "harmonious" or some other fancy relationships.
Q: So, it is possible, in the here and now, to brush aside the demand for perfect, permanent relationships, and deal with our actual relationships. Is that it?
UG: No, sorry! All this talk of "here and now", much less a "here and now" within which you can solve all your miseries, is, for me, pure bunk. All you know is separateness and duration, space and time, which is the `frame' superimposed by the mind over the flow of life. But anything that happens in space and time is limiting the energy of life. What life is I don't know; nor will I ever. You can say that life is this, that, or the other, and give hundreds of definitions. But the definitions do not capture life. It's like a flowing river. You take a bucketful of water from it, analyze it into its constituent elements, and say that the river is the same [as the bucketful of water]. But the quality of flow is absent in the water in the bucket. So, as the Zen proverb says: "You can never cross the same river twice." It's flowing all the time.
You cannot talk of life or of death because life has no beginning or end, period. You can say that it is because there is life that you are responding to stimuli. But what happens after you are dead? The word `dead' is only a definition - a condition of your body. The body itself, after what is called clinical death, no longer responds to stimuli the way in which we know it to respond now. It is probably still responding in some fashion: the brain waves continue for a long time after clinical death takes place.
Through your death you are giving continuity to life, or whatever you call it. I can't say you are dead: only that you are not useful to me any more. If you bury a dead body, something is happening there; if you burn the body, the ashes are enriching the soil; if you throw it in water, the fish will eat it; if you leave it there in the vulture-pit, the vultures will eat it. You are providing the means for the continuity of life.
So, you can't say the body is dead. It is not metaphysics that I am talking about here. It is only your fear of something coming to an end that is the problem. Do you want to be free from that fear? I say, "No." The ending of fear is the ending of you as you know yourself. I am not talking of the psychological, romantic death of "dying to your yesterdays." That body of yours, I assure you, drops dead on the spot the moment the continuity of knowledge is broken.
Q: But as a scientist I ask myself, what are my obligation to my fellow beings?
UG: None whatsoever. . . . Sorry. All you are interested in as a scientist is self-fulfillment, the ultimate goal of a Nobel prize, and power. I am very sorry. Personally, you may not be interested in that kind of thing. That's all. I encourage that kind of pursuit. Of course, you scientists have made all this comfort-bearing technology possible, and in that sense, I, like all those who enjoy the benefits of modern technology, am indeed indebted. I don't want to go back to the days of the spinning wheel and the bullock cart. That would be too silly, too absurd. Pure science is nothing but speculation. The scientists discuss formulas endlessly and provide us with some equations. But I am not at all taken in by the "march of progress" and all that rot. The first trip I made to the U.S. in the thirties took more than a full day, and we had to stop everywhere. Later, the same trip took eighteen hours, then twelve hours, and even more recently six hours and three, and so on. And if the supersonic jets are put to commercial use we may be able to make the trip in one-and-a-half hours. All right, that's progress. But the same technology that makes fast international travel possible is making ever more deadly military fighter planes. How many of these planes are we using for faster and more comfortable travel from one point to another? And how many more hundreds of planes are we using to destroy life and property? You call this progress? I don't know. As the comforts increase, we come to depend upon them, and are loath to give up anything we have.
Within a particular frame I say it is progress. I am now living in an air-conditioned room. My grandfather used a servant who sat in the hot sun and pulled the punkah, and before that we used a palm leaf hand fan. As we move into more and more comfortable situations we don't want to give up anything.
Q: But surely some have too much and should give up some of....
UG: Why do you expect others to give up all they have? The poor man there is not ready to give up his tiny little hut, and you expect all the rich men to give up all their mansions. No, they are just not going to do that. They will fight to the their last breath to protect what they have, and kill themselves in the process. That is inevitable. What do wild animals do? They at first try to flee, then fight until they kill each other, and both combatants die.
Q: Sir, I would like to ask you two connected questions....
UG: I am myself disconnected and disjointed....
Q: I will do the integrating....
UG: All right. Anyway, it is through you that I can express myself. You are the medium of my expression.
Q: I am interested in finding out why we pursue knowledge. Is it for knowledge's sake, or for the sake of mankind, or with some other motive?
UG: Power. I am sorry. There is no such thing as knowledge for knowledge's sake or art for art's sake. It is certainly not for the benefit of mankind. Knowledge gives me power: "I know and you don't know." Sir, if I may ask, what is your specialty?
Q: I am a sort of jack-of-all-trades and master of none. I was trained in organic chemistry. Then I went to the university medical school, and worked in the field of cancer chemotherapy. I am now doing research in genetic engineering. It has tremendous possibilities.
UG: I see, that is your field....
Q: It's not my field. But I am fascinated by it.
UG: I may be wrong, but I feel, Sir, that man's problems, even his psychological problems, can only be solved through the help of your genes. If they can show that the tendency, say, to steal, is genetically determined, where will that leave us? It implies that man has no freedom of action in any area. Even the capacity to learn a language is also genetically determined. The whole thing, every tendency, capacity, and kind of behavior, is controlled by the genes. Man has no freedom of action. His wanting and demanding freedom of action seems to be the cause of his suffering. I am not at all proposing the fatalistic philosophy that people preach in this country. My emphasis is quite different. So, shall we go back to the question of genetics?
Q: Should we, then, pursue aggressive research in the field? The field offers great possibilities.
UG: Whether you like it or not, they are going to do it. You have no say in the matter. If you don't do it someone else will. How can you stop it? Any school boy knows how they make an atom bomb. And on a worldwide basis, huge amounts of fissionable materials are already missing. They will end up in God-knows-whose hands. The know-how is available to everyone. One day someone is going to use it. Then we will be in trouble. If you don't do it [the research], because you are prevented by some ethical code, it's not going to work, because the code won't prevent someone else.
Q: No, I think we can control it.
UG: Yes, but for how long?
Q: Well, just as long as we can ....
UG: Postpone the evil day? Is that it? That's all we are trying to do. But for whose benefit? I am not singing a gloomy song of doom. If mankind goes, I am ready to go with it. But what can we do about it? There isn't a thing we can do. It is too far gone.
Q: At times I wonder whether we took a wrong route....
UG: I don't think that we deliberately took the wrong path. Something happened long ago to the human race. We are now a menace to the planet. Perhaps it is nature's way to clear away and start afresh in the fastest way. I don't see any scheme in nature, do you? We project our own ideations and mentations onto nature and imagine it to be sweetly ordered. We imagine that there is a scheme or plan, and such a thing as evolution. I don't see any such thing. There may be no evolution except what we see in nature and what we project onto it. By putting things together we surmise that that has evolved from this.
Q: But there seem to be anomalies and exceptions in nature....
UG: Somewhere along the line the process slows down. And when it does, then it takes a leap. This we call a mutation. Is there any relation between the two? Seeking to find a scheme behind it all, we link up these two things and call it evolution. It is the same in physics.
So, what do we do? I don't have the answer. It is not given to me. No one has chosen or elected me to be the savior of mankind. All this talk of a permanent, eternal, perfected mankind has absolutely no meaning to me. I am interested only in the way we are functioning right now.
It [the body] is not thinking in terms of a hundred years, or two hundred years, or even tomorrow. No, it is only interested in survival now. If it is confronted with danger, it throws in everything it has, that is, all its resources, to survive in that particular situation. If it survives that moment, then the next moment is there for it. That is its own reward: to go on living for one more moment. This is the way the body is functioning now. Don't bother inventing philosophies of the moment, situational models, and all that. The body functions from moment to moment because the sensory perceptions and responses to the stimuli are also from moment to moment. Each perception or response is independent. What the purpose of the body is, why it is there, where it all may be heading, I really don't know. I have no way of finding out. If you think you know, then good luck to you!
So, why bother trying to stop the growth of genetic engineering? Tell me.
Q: No, I am merely wondering whether we are taking the right step and in the right direction?
UG: So, what is the motivation behind all this research? Tell me.
Q: I would like to think that it is the healthy pursuit of knowledge, for the satisfaction of curiosity, and for the sheer enjoyment of it.
UG: But it doesn't stop there.
Q: True. Other people, politicians and the like, exploit our results.
UG: I am afraid you cannot so easily exonerate the scientists themselves. Einstein encouraged Roosevelt to drop the atom bomb. "If you don't do it, they will," he said. Out of his contempt for Germany and gratitude to the United States, which helped him flourish in his work and produce tremendous results, he gave that advice. He came to regret that advice later on. That doesn't matter.
Q: Yes, but as a scientist I think we have to balance the costs, risks, and benefits of everything we do. I am a chemist. I am afraid we chemists have a rather poor reputation for polluting the atmosphere. But our intention was not to pollute the atmosphere....
UG: Don't you think that pollution goes hand in hand with your research? Where do you draw the line?
Q: That is difficult, very difficult to say.
UG: These environmental problems have been allowed to escalate into huge crises, so huge that in fact they are beyond what any individual or even ecologists can tackle any more. Look out the window. Observe the sickening fumes, the poisonous air. The factories are pumping out millions of tons of deadly wastes. There is more pollution here than in Western countries. To clean up the exhaust fumes from all the contaminating chemicals takes huge amounts of money. These companies are not going to voluntarily clean up the mess. Do you think General Motors and the others give a damn? If I had any shares in a company, and I don't actually, I would want dividends, not a bill for clean-up costs. Any management team that advocated corporate responsibility would be run out of office at once. As a shareholder I would want income, period. I wouldn't give a damn for all the people, animals, and plants that are there.
Now it has become fashionable to become an ecologist. Prince Philip's talk of saving the whales is a joke to me. The fellow has nothing else to do. And Queen Anne talks of saving the seals! Why are they concerned about whales and seals? If what I read is true, only fifteen percent of all the animal species that ever lived are alive today. All the other species have become extinct. Only five percent of all the plant species that ever existed exist now. So, extinction of species is the regular order of things in nature. Perhaps man should have become extinct long ago, I don't know. It's too late now. This one species alone is increasing the rate of extinction of all other species beyond what could have been thought possible. The self-consciousness in the human species, the idea that the world was created for man alone, is the real problem. The useless ecologists, they should all be shot on sight! They form groups, attend meetings, collect funds, start foundations, build organizations worth millions with presidents and vice-presidents, and they all make money. It may sound very cynical to you, but the fact of the matter is that they have no real power. The solutions do not lie with them. The problem is out of their hands. Governments have the power to do something, but they are not interested.
Q: But the scientific community is not without influence....
UG: No, sorry. You may call me a cynic, but the cynic is a realist who has his feet firmly planted in the ground. You don't want to look at the reality of the situation.
Q: Some would argue that a humanity restored not through science but through love is our only hope.
UG: I still maintain that it is not love, compassion, humanism, or brotherly sentiments that will save mankind. No, not at all. It is the sheer terror of extinction that can save us, if anything can. Each cell of a living organism cooperates with the cell next to it. It does not need any sentiment or declarations of undying love to do so. Each cell is wise enough to know that if its neighbor goes, it also goes. The cells stick together not out of brotherhood, love, and that kind of thing, but out of the urgent drive to survive now. It is the same with us, but only on a larger scale. Soon we will all come to know one simple thing: if I try to destroy you, I will also be destroyed. We see the superpowers of today signing arms control pacts, rushing to sign no-first-strike accords, and the like. Even the big bully boys, who have among them controlled the world's resources, no longer talk about a winnable nuclear war. Even the arrogant, swashbuckling United States has changed its tune. It no longer talks -- as it did twenty years ago under Dulles and other cold warriors - of massive retaliation. If you read the Time magazine now, it doesn't talk about the United States as the mightiest, the richest, the most powerful, and the most invincible of all nations. It refers to it as "one of the superpowers."
Q: But the United States is the only country that has actually used `the Bomb' in war. There is no guarantee that ....
UG: I don't trust the Americans. If America were on the losing side in a big war, then what it would do is anybody's guess. I am not personally alarmed or concerned at all: if the Americans want to blow up the world, I am ready to go with them and with the rest of the world. But that's not the point. I am reasonably convinced that the Russians won't blow up the world. They have already suffered so much: they know firsthand the horrors of war. They were invaded and they lost twenty million of their citizens, while America lost few lives, gained immense power as a result of the war, and sacrificed only some of its natural resources. Hitler created full employment in the U.S. overnight.
America showered bombs on the poor Vietnamese at a cost of $101 billion. It is that war that shattered the dollar. Each time that Vietnamese fellow walking in flip-flops brought down with his tommy gun planes worth millions and millions of dollars, it was not just the paper greenback money that was lost, but all those material resources of the earth.
Here in India it is the same story. We still call this a non-violent nation! It's a joke to me. What do we do, Sir?
You scientists are the ones who control the fate of the world, not these gurus, not these religious people. The fate of the world is in your hands and not in the hands of the government. But your research funds have to come from them. They hold the strings. So, what do we do? The situation is so horrible. What do we do? I want to know. But still we play with each other: "Who has an edge over whom in the world?"
Q: Surely good deeds are possible despite our drive for power.
UG: What good deeds?
Q: Anything, like a simple act of planting a coconut tree....
UG: But the chap who planted the tree is not going to eat its fruit. Some future generations are going to enjoy it. You think it's the same thing, because you feel good about the continuity you will have with them. I am not saying anything against it. Lay the roads, dig the tunnels and all that for future generations....I am only pointing out that there may not be anyone left to enjoy all those fine things!
Q: What I am trying to understand is: is he doing it with good intentions or is it power that prompts him?
UG: Why are you doing what you are doing? If I put that question to you what is your answer?
Q: Are my actions perhaps due to my desire for power?
UG: You tell me. I don't have an answer.
Q: I always delude myself.
UG: Exactly, that is what I am trying to point out. There is nothing wrong about it. I am on your side. Do what you have to, but don't conveniently place it under the rubric of humanitarianism, brotherly love, self-sacrifice, and such other comforting ideas. At the same time I am telling you that the fate of the planet is in the hands of today's scientists, not in the hands of the mystics and holy men, these jokers who come talking of changing the world, of creating a heaven on earth. It is these ideas, full of absolutes and poetic fancy, that have turned this place into a hell. I have entrusted the whole thing to the scientists. So, tell me. What are you going to do?
Q: I am pleased that you harbor so much faith in the scientific community.
UG: I have more faith in you and your colleagues than in all these jokers that are going around `saving' mankind. We need to be saved from the self-appointed saviors of mankind. No, they are the ones who are responsible for the terrible situation we find ourselves in today. We don't realize that it is they who have created this mess for us. They had their day, and have utterly, totally failed. Still they refuse to take a back seat. That's it. We are stuck. You study the history of mankind: monarchies, revolutions, democracies, and more revolutions. Everything has failed us; everything is over. Not one ideology will survive. What's left for us? Democracy, the `noble experiment', is over. Everything is over. We find ourselves in a situation where these issues will be decided by your boss.
Take the problem of starvation. One side says, "My political system will solve the problem of starvation in this world," and the other side says, "No, mine will;" and both of them end up on the battlefield brandishing their atomic weapons. That is the reality of the situation. Everywhere, on every continent, there is confrontation.
The basic issue in the world is, of course, economic: who will control the resources of this world? The nine rich nations of the world have been so used to controlling the resources of the world. They sit in Basel, Switzerland, and say, "Here is the price you must take for your products. Take it or leave it." A country like the United States may talk of freedom, democracy, and justice, but they would like to have military governments in countries like those of South America. They prefer to do business with militarized, authoritarian states. A military general is very useful to run those countries. That is a fact.
Who or what can save you from all this? Not I, you may be sure. I am not a savior of mankind. I don't even want to save you. You can stay in heaven or hell as the case may be.... The fact is you already are in hell, and seem to enjoy it. Good luck to you!
Q: Somehow I do feel a responsibility to my fellow beings, not in a philosophical or spiritual sense, but in a more fundamental sense. You see someone starving, and you would like to do something about it.
UG: As an individual you can. But the moment you start an institution, and the institutions try to enlist individuals' help, then the whole thing is destroyed. You have to organize, and there is no other way. That means my plan and your plan. It means war. Look at Mother Teresa. What is going on there? As an individual, she did a tremendous amount of service. But now she is only interested in the money - meeting the heads of governments and collecting money everywhere. I am glad they are stealing the money from the envelopes that pour in. The money ends up in a Hong Kong bank: have you heard the news?
Q: You see, as a scientist I feel an individual responsibility.
UG: To whom?
Q: To what I do.
UG: What you do is really an expression of your urge for self-fulfillment. You may not agree. What is it that you are trying to do there? You say your actions are very noble, meant to help the suffering world. Not a chance. You are only interested in your Nobel Prize, and the recognition it brings. How are you going to solve individually these immense problems of the world? Only through governments. There is no other way. And they are at each other's throat and armed to the teeth. Individually there isn't anything that you can do. Not a damn thing! You have so many conventions of scientists. What do they say?
Q: We feel that collectively we can do something; otherwise the future for the world is bleak indeed.
UG: Doing something collectively means war.... It's like the European Economic Community. Each one has his own idea of running their country. Each country wants its own language, its own laws, its own king or queen, and resents any interference in its affairs from other countries. They have, however, set aside these differences in order to solve larger problems. But individually what can you do? Why are you concerned about humanity?
Q: As you would say, the urge to help is a result of my culture. When you see someone sad, tears come to your eyes. We empathize....
UG: We translate that as sadness, and the tears follow as a sentimental effect. But the tear ducts are there to protect your eyes from going blind, to keep them lubricated and cleansed, and not to respond to the suffering of others. This may be a crude way of putting things, but that's the fact of the matter.
Q: Tears are also an expression of sadness....
UG: We have translated that as an expression of sadness. Emotions activate the glands, unfortunately.... Sir, the fate of the world is in your hands. You decide. Just press the button and the whole thing is finished. I am ready to go any time!
Q: You see, we have difficulty in understanding the ethical implications of our actions. In our zeal and enthusiasm to do something....
UG: The ethical considerations are what are standing in the way of your doing something. You don't have the energy to deal with this problem because you are throwing away what energy you do have by indulging in all these pointless ethical considerations. Otherwise you would find some way of neutralizing the whole thing. There must be some way of doing it. The superpowers will soon be humbled, neutralized in no time, by a single terrorist. Ghaddaffi needs only one atomic hand grenade to neutralize the power of the mighty nations. They say that they already have a hand grenade that can blow up the Golden Gate Bridge. I wouldn't know. We now have hydrogen bombs, neutron bombs, gas warfare - horrible weapons at our disposal. Look at the billions being poured into these arms. What for?
Q: Even worse than the atomic grenades is biological warfare. It's terrible.
UG: That's the worst. You don't even need that. They have those atom bombs piling up. Yet they have no use for them. What huge amounts of money we are pouring into that! What for?
Q: If someone drops an atom bomb it is obvious. We can see it. But biological warfare is
something that can be carried on in a subtle way without anyone discovering what's going
I must be leaving soon. But I would like to put to you one more question somewhat
unrelated to what we have been discussing: what is your opinion regarding the existence of
I must be leaving soon. But I would like to put to you one more question somewhat unrelated to what we have been discussing: what is your opinion regarding the existence of God?
UG: Oh my God! You really want my answer? To me the question of whether God exists or not is irrelevant and immaterial. We have no use for God. We have used God to justify the killing of mil- lions and millions of people. We exploit God.
Q: That's the negative aspect of it.
UG: That's the positive aspect of it, not the negative. In the name of God we have killed more people than in the two world wars put together. In Japan millions of people died in the name of the sacred Buddha. Here in India, five thousand Jains were massacred in a single day. This is not a peaceful nation! You don't want to read your own history: it's full of violence from the beginning to the end.
Q: Then how can people remain as a group if they don't believe in something?
UG: The fear of extinction will probably bring us together, not `love' or feeling of brotherhood. The
invention of God, along with all those other beliefs, may have served mankind's instinct to survive for
some time in the past, but not now. It's the extension of the same survival mechanism that now
operates through the fear of extinction. The biological instinct is very powerful, and the fear of
extinction, not love and compassion, will probably be the savior of mankind.
Go to Chapter 11