Chapter 5


Almost Wanting Enlightenment

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Q: How did you come to have such a gloomy view of the world?

UG: I was surrounded by all kinds of religious people. I felt that there was something funny in their behavior. There was a wide gap between what they believed and how they lived. This always bothered me. But I could not call all of them hypocrites. I said to myself, "There is something wrong with what they believe. Maybe their source is wrong. All the teachers of man- kind, particularly the spiritual teachers, conned themselves and conned the whole of mankind. So, I have to find out for myself, and I have no way of finding out anything for myself as long as I depend upon anyone."

I found that whatever I wanted was what they [the religious people] wanted me to want. Whatever I thought was whatever they wanted me to think. So there was no way out of this. Somewhere along the line something hit me: "There is nothing there to be transformed, nothing there to be changed. There is no mind there, nor is there any self to realize. What the hell am I doing?" That spark hit me like a shaft of lightning, like an earthquake. It shattered the whole structure of my thought and destroyed everything that was there, all the cultural input. It hit me in a very strange way. Everything that every man had ever thought, felt, and experienced before was drained out of my system. In a way, it totally destroyed my mind, which is nothing but the totality of man's experiences and thoughts. It destroyed even my identity. You see, the identity is nothing but the input of the culture there [in U.G.].

Somewhere along the line in human consciousness, there occurred self-consciousness. (When I use the word `self', I don't mean that there is a self or a center there.) That consciousness separated man from the totality of things. Man, in the beginning, was a frightened being. He turned everything that was uncontrollable into something divine or cosmic and worshiped it. It was in that frame of mind that he created, quote and unquote, "God". So, culture is responsible for whatever you are. I maintain that all the political institutions and ideologies we have today are the outgrowth of the same religious thinking of man. The spiritual teachers are in a way responsible for the tragedy of mankind. We have come to a point where we have to ask a different kind of question and find out if there is anything that we can do.

The way the world is moving, there seems to no hope. If the world or mankind has to free itself from the chaos of its own making, then man should come up with other ways. As I see it, the whole thing is heading in a direction where there is no way that we can stop or reverse it.

The other day I was talking to someone who asked me, "Why is it you are not concerned?" I am not interested in saving anyone. As a matter of fact, I have been pleading that the world has to be saved from all the saviors of mankind. Individually there seems to be nothing that you can do to change, alter or reverse anything. And `collectively' it means war. We have unfortunately placed the politicians in the seats of power. Political consciousness is all that we are left with. But the religious people are still trying to talk in terms of the divine, humanity, ancient culture, Ramarajya, this, that, and the other. Politicians also use these things for purposes of elections, and thus try to win people over to their side. But if we think in terms of something that is already dead, we don't have any future to think of. That is why people ask me, "What do you think of Gorbachev?" Gorbachev is a traitor to the cause of communism. Millions and millions of people have died for the cause of communism, and if he is looking to the West for the solutions to his problems, there is something wrong. The answers have to be found within the framework of the U.S.S.R. The West is not in a condition to offer him anything except McDonald's or organically grown potatoes or Pepsi Cola. Actually it is not our ideas of freedom or of humanity that have brought about a change there but it is Pepsi Cola. It has conquered Russia. And it is Coca Cola that has made a tremendous impact on China.

What I am trying to say is that thought has a tremendous control over us. Thought in its birth, in its content, in its expression and in its action is fascist. It wants to control everything. And thought is not the instrument that will help us to solve the problems that we are facing today. We can only ask questions and find out if there are any answers individually. Collectively means, you see, I have one idea, you have another idea, and there is going to be a battle between us.

The identity that we have created, that culture has created in us, is the most important factor which we have to consider. If we continue to give importance to this identity, which is the product of culture, we are going to end up with Alzheimer's disease. We are putting memory and the brain to a use for which they are not intended. Computers can do the same job in a much more efficient way.

The maintenance of our identity is possible only through the constant use of memory. It is wearing out the human organism, leaving little energy for tackling the problems of the world. You must have read the statistics recently in an American magazine. One in three in the sixty-year age group is affected by this Alzheimer's disease. The nature of the disease is such that it brings about total and complete destruction of the mind and identity. In England one in two in the eighty-year group, altogether six hundred thousand people, are affected, and out of that there are two Nobel Prize winners. Hundreds and thousands of people around the globe are affected. We don't have any record of exactly how many are affected. That may be nature's way of turning us all into vegetables [chuckles] to recreate something better. I am hazarding an opinion which is as bad or as good as anyone else's. I have said my piece.

Q: I go along with most of what you say. But there still remains the demolition job, the clearing of cobwebs. We have all these purveyors of religion and god men....

UG: Every time a god man appears on the stage he is adding momentum to all the chaos that already exists, and we are slowly moving in the direction of destroying ourselves.

Q: Yes, I mean that.

UG: Not that we all become anti-God, destroying everything. When I talk of a total anarchy, it is a state of being and not a state of doing. There is no action there. Maybe out of that something new will emerge. Now they are talking about new forms of life near a volcano on the west coast of the United States. Maybe something new will spring up. Not that I am concerned about the future of mankind. If humanity goes, you and I will also go with it. Who has given me or you the mandate to save mankind? I am part of this world. As far as I am concerned I am in perfect harmony with the world. I like it exactly the way it is. I am not in conflict with it. It cannot be any different. You are the guys who want to change the whole thing - "a better world and a happier world." I don't see any of this possibility you see to create that kind of world. So we must ask questions which have never been asked before, because all the questions which we have been asking are born out of the answers we already have.

But unfortunately, the only way out for all these people is to go back to the great heritage of India. We are the products of the great heritage of India. But if this is what we have done, and if we are what we are today, what is there to be proud of in the great heritage of India? Why do you want us to go back? This great heritage is something which has failed us. What do we do in such a situation? What is the answer ? Maybe you have an answer, he has an answer, or she has an answer. I am asking them, since they are the ones that are trying to bring about a change. There is nothing there to be changed. As long as you are interested in bringing about a change in yourself, you talk in terms of bringing about a change in the world. When once you are freed from the demand to bring about any change in yourself, the demand to bring about a change in the world also comes to an end.

All revolutions are nothing but revaluations of our value systems. You only replace one system with another system. But basically, any system is not going to be much different from the system that has been replaced.

Q: Still this hankering `to know' remains. I reject God, I am an agnostic. Yet, I don't have the answer for the simple question which most of us ask: "Why are we here? What will happen to us when we die?" My only answer is that I have no answer. I don't know. But that does not satisfy us. That is why we turn to people like you.


UG: I say, go back to the gurus and they will give you some comfort....

Q: But they spin yarns which don't make sense to rational human beings.

UG: But they don't want to solve their problems. What I can do?

Q: That's not what I mean. It is a simple question of wanting to know where the beginning was, the purpose and the....

UG: Don't you think that wanting to know is really the problem? `Wanting to know' is what has created this identity of ours.

Q: Can't we suppress it?

UG: No. I am not asking you to suppress it. What I am saying is that `wanting to know' may not be the answer. Wanting to know more and more is only strengthening and fortifying the very thing which has not helped us to solve the problem individually or collectively. I am only asking that question. `Knowing' is not something mysterious or mystical. It simply means to know that this a chair, or I am happy or unhappy. Look, we have to accept the reality of the world as it is imposed on us. Although it is questionable, this reality is functional in its value. That is the only way we can function sanely and intelligently.

Q: Knowing a concrete object is one thing. But what I have in mind is something like the question posed by Adi Shankara. He asked himself, "Where did I come from?" in a very simple language.

UG: That question is irrelevant to me because it does not in any way help us to understand the situation we find ourselves in, as the movement of thought is only interested in establishing a causal relationship.

Q: Would you dismiss the question?

UG: I dismiss the question because the question is based on the assumption that there is a cause for everything. To me every event is an independent unit. A friend of mine, Mr. Mahesh Bhatt, one of the film directors, signed a contract with Penguin Books to write a biography of his friend U.G. Krishnamurti. I told him that there is no story to tell. I am saying that whatever has happened to me is acausal. Whatever has happened has happened despite everything I did. All those events before it [U.G.'s `calamity'] were unconnected with it. We would like to link all of them up and create a story or philosophical structure out of them, and say that every event in one's life is not an accident but that some destiny may be shaping the events, shaping one's life. I don't think that is the way we are functioning. This very demand to know either the cause of our own origins or the cause of the origin of the world is an idle demand, the answers for which, however interesting they may be, are of no importance in dealing with the problems of living.

Q: The same problem arises with the question of death: What happens when we die? What does it mean to die?

UG: We don't want to come to terms with the fact that we can only live seventy or eighty years of life. With death, all that we have achieved during that span has to come to an end. Not wanting to accept the fact that that is the end, we project the beyond and create all kinds of fantasies. My answer to the question is, what do you think is there now which will continue after the death of this body? As far as the body is concerned there is neither birth nor death. What we call death is nothing but a reshuffling of atoms, and the reshuffling of atoms takes place for the simple reason that the level of energy in this universe has to be maintained. It is for this very reason, that is, to maintain the level of energy, that millions and millions of people have been wiped out through catastrophic events. For nature it is not catastrophic. An earthquake is as much a necessity, as much a part of the planetary activity, as any other event. (Of course, it is no comfort to those who have lost their properties and their near and dear ones. Earthquakes have destroyed large sections of mankind.) So trying to find out answers for those questions is nothing but dialectical thinking. It is not going to help solve the basic problems faced by mankind . . . .

It is needless to answer those questions because there is no end to it. There is no beginning and there is no end. That is not the way things are happening in nature. Everything that is born is destroyed there. You see, birth and death are simultaneous processes. When once the continuity of thought or the demand to experience the same thing over and over again to maintain what we call identity is not there, all these questions which we repeatedly ask are finished. The way thought is taking its birth and then dissolving itself in the form of energy is the way life is. It is not that I have any special insight into nature's laws, but whatever we discover about nature's laws is being used for destruction. What little benefit we get is benefiting only a negligible percentage of people on this planet. It is not percolating to the level of the common man. Why are we so tremendously impressed by our scientific research? We can give them Nobel Prizes. We can give them prestigious awards. But how is it [this research] going to affect the common man? Every time somebody comes and knocks on the door of my house, I tell him, "Go to your prime minister. He is there. You elected him. You put him there to feed you, clothe you, and shelter you." You know, if you give charity to a beggar, it's the most vulgar thing. If you do something of that sort, it is only for your self-fulfillment. It is a "do-gooder's" high that you feel. You are not accepting the fact that you are a self-centered man.

We are not doing anything to solve the problems. You would ask me, "What are you doing?" That's a natural question. I am not here working for this country, you see. I am not in any way influenced by the ideas of nationalism, patriotism or any of the stuff that the teachers taught us at school. I never learned anything from either the secular teachers or the spiritual teachers. Although I lived with the masterminds, products of Oxford and Cambridge, I didn't benefit by their association.

Q: I ask these questions because as someone with the particular framework of believing in God and life hereafter, and as someone who is a journalist, I would like to ask about the injustices in the world.

UG: No answers anyone gives are satisfactory answers. The answers in no way explain the existence of poverty and misery. After forty-three years of freedom you still can't go on blaming the British for the situation here [in India]. Don't go on exalting your culture and heritage. In one blast the whole thing should be thrown out. They don't even have the energy to blow up the whole thing. You have been fed with all kinds of bluff and nonsense. For generations you have been under the influence of the belief that there is reincarnation. You believe you did something terrible in your past life, and so you enjoy your misery, your degradation, your poverty in this life and hope for the best in your next life. So what is the point in feeling sorry about all this? For centuries people have been brainwashed to believe in all kind of things. Besides, you have no way of testing the validity or truth of the statements of those god men. Someone says he was Shirdi Sai Baba in his previous life and Satya Baba in this life, and in his next life he is going to be God knows what. We have no way of testing these claims. You are not going to be there to test that. To those people who ask this question about reincarnation, I tell them that there is reincarnation for those who believe in it, and there is no reincarnation for those who don't believe in it. But if you ask me, "Is there reincarnation [objectively] like the law of gravity in nature?" my answer is, "No." Some people have this compulsion to believe. There is not much that we can do about it. Probably believing [in reincarnation] is consoling and comforting to them.

Q: Well, there is injustice in the scheme of things. When a child is born defective....

UG: The explanation that it occurred because of something you did in your past life is a comforting thought. It is a drug that may help you face the situation.

Q: Yet how do I answer such problems?

UG: We don't know. We don't have any satisfactory answers. If some chap who claims to be spiritual pretends to have answers to such questions, that gives us comfort.

Q: Well, I dismiss it as bullshit.

UG: So do I. But what about the one who believes in such things. It is a comforter for him. You can as well take a drug and forget the whole thing for sometime.

Q: Religion is rightly called the opium of the people.

UG: Yes, it is. But there is relief from that opium. The body cannot tolerate all these meditation techniques that we impose on it. It [meditation] brings about an imbalance in the chemistry of this living organism. All this is the cultural input there [in us] which is destroying the sensitivity of the whole system. Such actions of yours like breath-control and yoga blur the sensitivity of the sensory perceptions. All this is really an enemy to the living organism.

As I was saying, it is the self-consciousness that occurred in the human species somewhere during the course of evolution (I even question evolution; and I don't know if there exists such a thing as evolution at all) that has separated the human species from the totality of nature. It [the self-consciousness] is responsible for the feeling that the human species is created for some grander purpose than all the other species on this planet. It caused the feeling that the whole creation is for the benefit of man. That's how we have created all these ecological problems and problems of every kind. Our trying to take advantage of everything in nature is the source of problems. And, it was at that time what we call `identity' took its birth. We for some reason seem compelled to maintain that identity.

Q: What part does the brain play in all this?

UG: The brain is not a creator. This is a statement which many people may not accept, but this is what I have found out. Thoughts come from outside. There are no individuals at all. It is culture, society, or whatever you want to call it, that has created all of us for the sole purpose of maintaining its status quo. At the same time, it has also created the idea that you must become something different from what you are. That is why you try to better yourself, improve yourself. You want to become something other than what you are. That creates this neurotic situation.

The neurosis in the human species is absolutely essential. We have to maintain this neurosis in order to function in this society. There is no other way that we can function in this society except to live in hope and die in hope. There are some people who have given up. But we force them to become functional in this value system which we have created. We even push them to commit suicide lest they become manic-depressive individuals. We are solely responsible for driving all these people into a situation where they have to put an end to themselves. They don't want to be functional here. They have given up. That is the reason why I say that the psychiatrist is the enemy of this culture, because he is forcing all those people who have given up to fit into this value system. One of the tragic things that human culture has done to us is that it has placed before us the model of a perfect being. That perfect being is modeled after the great spiritual teachers.


Q: Can you elaborate a little more in what you call the value system?

UG: The whole value system is born out of the demand to fit ourselves into this model we have before ourselves. We want to develop ourselves into perfect beings. This constant battle within ourselves is created by the value system. We never question that. The value system is false, and it is falsifying us. Nature is trying to create something extraordinary, a perfect species. That is why each individual is unique. Because of this input of culture, it has become impossible for this organism to show uniqueness. We have destroyed the possibility of what nature can do. You only use this paradise that nature has created, including not only mankind but all the species that exist on this planet. We are solely and fully responsible for the chaos that mankind has created, and there seems to be no way out of it [this chaos]. Every time a so-called savior comes along he says that he is an avatar and that he is the answer to all our problems. This very thing, his claim that he is the answer, adds momentum to the existing chaos. It is making it impossible for us to stop and ask questions which we have never asked before. We have got to ask these questions, because all the questions we have been asking are born out of the answers we already have. But no one who suggests we should `go back' has answers for us at all. And that situation makes it impossible for us to create something new. That is not the way we can resolve our problems. This "go back" and "revive" cries are useless slogans.

Whatever is the great heritage of India, it is good for politicians to use it and raise hopes in people's hearts. But we are all the products of that great heritage, and there is nothing to be proud about the people of this country today. We talked of the oneness or unity of life for centuries. Then why is there this poverty? Why is there this misery? Why haven't we done anything to resolve these problems to the satisfaction of everybody? Why even today, after forty-two years of independence, are we blaming the British for the problems? I can only ask questions. You may very well ask me, "Why don't you do something?" But I am not working for this country, and I have no business to tell the leaders of this country how to run it. We are in a situation where we have to deal only with the political consciousness. Religion is dead, but the religious people are not ready to take back seats and admit to themselves that they have done an enormous mischief and now should leave everything to us. I maintain that all the political systems we have today, including communism, are nothing but the warty outgrowth of the religious thinking of man.

It is very strange that people ask me, "What do you think of Gorbachev?" You see, Gorbachev is a traitor to the cause of communism. How many thousands and thousands of people have died during the Bolshevik revolution! They all have died in vain. What I want to say [to the Russians] is that your system has failed, but you have to find answers within that framework and not look to the West to solve your problems. The West is in a sorry mess today. They don't have the answers to their own problems. All those people, the scientists and psychologists who come to see me, I tell them that they have all come to the end of their tether. If they are looking for answers, they should not look to Vedanta, or Zen Buddhism. Those sects don't have any answers for their problems. The scientists and psychologists have to find their answers, if there are any answers within their own framework. Only then will they be able to help mankind to look at things differently. But there is no way you can go back and revive anything.

Q: What should we do?

UG: We don't seem to have any answers for our problems. If you ask me about collective answers, there is not much that we can do. And individually there isn't a damn thing that can be done. Not a thing. What is it that we can do ? At least, we can ask these questions, the questions that have never been asked, because all the questions that we have been asking for all these years are born out of the answers we already have. But they have not helped us.


Q: There is some grace and shine on your face.

UG: Half of me is woman. This is an abnormal thing. This is an abnormal condition of the body which you have turned into something mysterious and mystifying and then call it an enlightened being. When once this kind of a thing happens, the whole hormonal balance changes. So, who is normal and who is abnormal? From your point of view this [referring to himself] is an abnormal individual. But I don't call you an abnormal man.

Once a holy man came to see me. He was in his forties. He was claiming that denial of sex is so essential for the spiritual future of man. I said, "It's a crime against nature." Nature has not intended you to deny sex. Then he got up and left. So how can this abnormal situation be made a model for all spiritual aspirants? And why torture them? Why has denial of sex been made the foundation stone of all the spiritual enlightenment in this country and in the West as well? As a reaction or a revolt against that [denial], what you call the Tantric system appeared in this country. When it went out of control, they introduced this mystical element, the "left" and the "right" Tantra. That is why now some jokers are saying that Tantric sex is only one of the means to attain spiritual bliss, enlightenment, and what not.

Q: When you say half of you is female, what do you mean?

UG: I said so because whatever has happened to me has changed the whole hormonal balance. It is just not possible for that individual [for U.G.] physically to have sex any more. The whole chemistry of the body has undergone abnormal changes. I call it abnormal because this is not possibly what nature has intended it to be. There are two things that this living organism is interested in - its survival and the reproduction of one like itself. Even nature has discarded this body because it has no use for it any more. But you have turned that into something spiritual. That is why they say that sex control is something very essential for the spiritual achievement of human beings. What I am trying to say is that neither the denial nor the indulgence in sex has anything to do with what they call enlightenment.

Q: Do you think that to have sex you need thought?

UG: Definitely; otherwise how could it be done? It is just not possible to have a sex "build-up" without thought. It is the continuous thinking that gives the illusion of a coordinator. But here [referring to himself] there is nobody who is coordinating the sensory activity. Sensations occur so fast that there is no way memory can capture that in its framework and say, "This is it." You are looking at some beautiful pet and the next moment when she opens her mouth probably her teeth would be the ugliest that you have ever seen or can even imagine. You have moved from her beautiful face to her ugly teeth and then on to something else happening somewhere else, and you are looking at that.

I would like to say one thing: to be attracted to something is natural. If you are not attracted, you are a stone. The body with its senses is not a stone. It has to respond to what is happening around it. What touches this body is not your piety or your silence but your anger, your lust, and everything that is happening there. That is the response I am talking about. Well, I don't translate. I don't even know what is going on here - whether it is a sex drive or affection or anger or greed. None of those things are translated by thought as such and such. There is no time here. That is why I always give the example of a film. If you take a movie of a moving hand, from here to there, there are so many frames. What you see on the screen is an artificial thing. You need a projector to produce that action or movement on the screen. But it is not actually the movement of the hand from here to there. You have to synchronize the discrete movements of the hand to produce a combined effect of the hand moving. That is the way the human organism is operating. When you are listening to the tape-recorded music, you don't hear the gap between the two notes. But the senses register and listen to the gap. This is so even when you speak a language. What is language after all? Language is nothing but the space between two notes and the tune. If you learn that, you know how to speak Konkani, French or German. In that sense all languages are the same. They are just noise.

Q: Where were you born?

UG: I was born in Andhra Pradesh in a place near Vijayawada....

Q: Was your family very conservative? 

UG: My grandfather, my mother's father, and others in my family were very close to the founders of the Theosophical society. I spent more time in Madras than in Andhra Pradesh. I am better versed in Tamil than in Telugu. I don't know how to read and write Tamil, but Tamil comes to me easier than my mother tongue. I spent all my formative years with the Madras Theosophical Society.

Q: What kind of music do you like?

UG: [Laughs] That's very difficult to answer. I can't say that I like or I don't like some music. I don't know. Anything I say, you want to abstract something from it and project something on it. I may have my own likes, but all those likes are conditioned by my upbringing. There is no way you can free yourself from your conditioning. The talk of an unconditioned mind is utterly foolish. But my conditioning does not interfere with my actions. For example, I see somebody. Watching his actions, I would call him `nasty', or say that he is a nasty man. That is not a value judgment but a descriptive statement of his actions within your framework. But this in no way affects me or changes me in any way that would lead me to react to him the next time. I am not involved with what he is doing. The next moment when somebody else is there, I may say that man is a nice man. But it's the same thing. I really don't mean anything by saying that he is a nice man or that he is a nasty man. I am not involved in any way in his actions.

Q: Sir, what kind of a woman do you like?

UG: I don't know. That's the answer.

Q: You don't like women at all?

UG: I have no use for them.

Q: Why?

UG: As I said a while ago, I like their company. It's a strange question.

Q: Is it not abnormal?

UG: That's what I am saying. Whether I hold the hand of a woman or hold the arm of a chair, the physical response is exactly the same. Exactly the same. The response doesn't say that this is the hand of a delicate darling or this is a teak-armed chair. Please don't get me wrong. It is not that I phrase these things in a certain way or that I put them all on the same level. You have to understand what I am trying to say.

Q: But you yourself say that the body has to react to everything in some way?

UG: What is going on there, or that reaction you are referring to, is something that I have no way of transmitting or experiencing. I may tell you that I have had sex. Sometimes the memory comes. The moment that memory takes birth there inside of me it is like any other memory. It cannot take roots here because every thing here [pointing to his head] tightens and makes it impossible for that [the memory] to drag on or continue any longer. The next moment I will be seeing the black dog there and the frame of the previous thing is finished - the whole thing. I may be now looking at the most beautiful and gorgeous woman, and the next moment it may be a black dog there. These are different frames. That is why I ask, "Who is abnormal here, you or me? Who falls on which side?" My actions are not the actions of an abnormal man. I am not a misogynist. I don't hate women. I like them. I have always had women with me. But the relationship with everything around me is formed and broken every minute of my existence. I don't want you to put me in any particular cage; you will not succeed at all.

Q: Are you married?

UG: I was married, I had four children. My wife was one of the most beautiful women around. She was the most beautiful girl in our university also. My daughters are still there [in India]. They are all grown up. Some say that I don't look older than my daughter.

Q: What is the significance of this? Is there any secret?

UG: I don't think there is any secret. I don't pay attention to my body. When I was your age, very young, I was stupid. I did all that was expected of those who practice spiritual sadhana, to quote and unquote. But I got nowhere, and I rejected them all. I don't eat any health foods. On the contrary, I say all such things are muck.

I did nothing for my daughters. Had they lived with me what would have happened to them is anybody's guess. They grew up with my in-laws, you know. And one son is in America. Another died of cancer. He was in the advertising agency in Bombay. He had polio and even went to the U.S. for his treatment. I spent a fortune there, unlike those people who go to America to make money. I wanted to put him back on his feet. I spent many thousands of dollars. He was a very brilliant boy.

Q: How did you get all the money?

UG: I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth.

Q: You did not have to work?

UG: No. I was born in a rich family. I made a lot of money. The bankers did that for me in Switzerland. That's the reason why I am a non-resident Indian, although I carry an Indian passport. My Swiss money is not hidden money. Later I met this Swiss lady. When everything was gone she came along. She was an extraordinary woman. She has lost her memory now and is 89 years old. [She passed away in December 1991.] That is the fate of mankind, I am telling you. It is the Alzheimer's disease. If you don't behave, if you continue to maintain your identity, you are in trouble. Nature will destroy the minds and identities of people, and we will all become vegetables. Nature then will reshuffle these human bodies and will create a new species. The human species is expendable. We are not created for any purpose grander than that for which the mosquito that is sucking your blood is created.

Q: Are you a sannyasi?

UG: I don't know why you call me a sannyasi. Do I look like a sannyasi?

Q: A modern sannyasi.

UG: I am not. I am not a model to anybody. Yesterday some journalists insisted in saying, "If you are a guru or a godman, we can understand. But we cannot figure out what you are. We cannot put you in a cage. That's the problem. We don't know." .... Whatever I am can never be fitted into a value system. It has no source or continuity. It cannot help the world to become a better place. The moment you realize exactly what I am trying to say, the `you' as you know yourself, the `you' as you experience yourself, will come to an end. Or, you will take whatever I am saying as a threat, because it is undermining the very foundation not only of Indian thinking, but of human thinking. And then you may even eliminate me.

Q: What you mean is that the Indian heritage has produced only people like our present day politicians.

UG: Listen, they don't matter at all. What is happening, whether it is in India or in America or anywhere in the world, is all the same. The players are different but the play is the same. The actors are different but the act is the same. If you pick up a paper published forty years ago in this country, I believe you will be surprised that everything they have said is again being repeated by these people now. Exactly the same thing. You don't have to print a new newspaper. You can just pick up that old stuff, and put new names and dates on it and reissue it. What is it that you are doing now? You are doing exactly the same thing.

Q: In India?

UG: How can India be a model to the world? You may talk of your spirituality, and go and exploit the people in the United States. But what kind of a model can India give? What kind of effective role can India play in the world? You are doing exactly what they [the Americans] are doing. What is that `great' culture that you are talking about? How can there be poverty in this country after so many years? I want to know. You talk of the "oneness of life" or the "unity of life". Where is that unity of life? Where is the oneness of life? I want to know. For centuries we have been brainwashed to believe that this is a "punya bhumi". I would never accept that designation. Where is that "punya bhumi?"

You don't seem to have even social consciousness in you. When you do not have a fellow feeling what is the point of talking of spirituality? There are basic needs. You don't have to devote anything or sacrifice anything to secure them. The poor man has a right to this wealth. That is why I call charity vulgar, vicious. You take everything that belongs to everybody here and then give him charity. What for? He has a right. You may very well ask me the question, "What are you doing?" It is easy for you to throw that question at me. I am not here working for this country. If I were in power, I would give everything to everyone. Whatever anyone wants. But you will never put me in the seat of power. They don't want to live in peace. At the same time I will not join a separatist movement and break up this country. I am not interested, because I am not interested in becoming the Chief Minister of Telugu Desham or Kannada Desham or Tamil Nadu. Your system is so corrupt that anyone, however "Mr. Clean" he may be, will also be corrupted. The system is corrupt. You are corrupt. You are corrupted by the religious thinking.

Q: Are you corrupt?

UG: No.

Q: Why not?

UG: I am not saying that I am incorruptible or anything. I don't touch that [corruption] at all because thought cannot touch anything here [points to himself] and corrupt it. All your heritage is a contamination here [points to himself]. It has been thrown out of my system. All the teachers' teachings are a contamination. But you consider them to be very sacred and keep repeating them, empty words and empty phrases, day after day. The teachings don't operate in your life. You don't have to say anything. If there is a God, let people see what God can make of you. You don't have to talk of God as full of love, mercy, and all that. People will see it in you. So, what good is the culture you are talking about? I want to know. When people throw all these phrases at me, this is what I tell them.

Q: You can afford to talk like this only because you don't have to work.

UG: I can work, but then you will not be there. Tomorrow you will be out of your job. You will not be able to compete with me even as a journalist!

Q: Not now.

UG: Any time. I reached the top of whatever line I chose. When I was twenty-one I was the leader of the Theosophical Society. I made a million dollars out of a hundred dollars. I chose this life not because I was a total failure or misfit. I chose this life because I wanted to find the source [of why people behave the way they do]. "Why is there this dichotomy in people? They talk of one thing and their behavior patterns are something else. Something is funny." I did not condemn people as hypocrites. I said, "Maybe the source is wrong. The man who is responsible for the teaching is wrong. Maybe he conned himself and conned everyone else." So I wanted to find out. Now, I know that they all conned themselves and conned the whole of mankind. I conned myself too. I believed in them. I placed my confidence in them but they led me nowhere. Having known this, I cannot do to others what they did to the whole of mankind. I can just point out, "Look here! They have put us all on the wrong track. If you want to find out for yourself and by yourself, go ahead and do it." I am not here to liberate anybody. I am telling my friend here, "Go to hell! Stay there and rot in it. I will not lift my little finger to help you because you enjoy your hell. You love it." Who am I to liberate you? When once the demand to bring about a change in you is not there, the demand to change the world is not there. What is wrong with this world? It cannot be any different. People being what they are, it cannot be any different. I am not in conflict with this world. You may offer me a utopia tomorrow, and a Ramarajya the day after tomorrow. But this is the Ramarajya they have promised us. You can look at it right now. I am only pointing out all this when these people throw high-sounding phrases at me.

Q: But there is no peace throughout the world?

UG: How can you create peace through war? What is the source of war? This peace is war. You are promising me peace through war. You are promising me peace of mind through meditation which is war. I discovered these things when I was very young. Can you establish peace through war? The peace that is there between world wars is false. You are war-weary and getting ready for another war. I am not saying anything against war. I am not a peace-monger, much less a warmonger.


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