CHAPTER 6

horizontal rule

There indeed are white crows....

I could never compete with my daughter as far as her unshakeable faith in U.G. is concerned. I remember, one day, we were just dropping Mahesh Bhatt back at his hotel room. The taxi carried U.G. and my daughter in the front seat, and Mahesh and myself singing and joking in the back seat, as it often happens. I started an argument with U.G., and my daughter Mittu unquestioningly sided with him against me. I exclaimed that if U.G. would point at a crow and call it `white' Mittu would readily agree with him. It was meant to be a taunt to her childlike devotion to him, but on the other hand what do you think U.G. came up with? He said, "There are white crows in Australia."

Thank God we had reached our destination by then, because I could not argue any more after this strange clipping which sounded like something from Ripley's Believe It or Not.

If you really want to learn something, school is the last place to go...

Mittu was having a real tough time with her school syllabus, and the chief cause was lack of time. So I decided to move her to a new school, with an easier syllabus and just half-a-day working time, so she could devote more time to her studies. All this was told to U.G. He heard all my explanations patiently and then said, "If you want really to learn something, school is the last place to go."

I then continued saying that it was a change from a convent school to a Hindu school, from "Jesus to Ganesha." He exclaimed, "What a fall!" He was not very happy about Mittu's new school timings which cut down her visits to him. So he said, "Drop school for a week." Of course, I turned a deaf ear to this advice.

U.G. addiction....

During his last visit to the States, U.G. had regularly sent audio tapes by mail to my son Prashant. Every week's mail carried a new tape with music, video hits, and "Yes, Prime Minister" taped on them. Prashant was overjoyed at the arrival of each new tape and the only sane member of the family finally got hooked to the "U.G. addiction."

Prashant was counting hours, minutes, and seconds for U.G.'s arrival in Bangalore, and the very next day we were all happily making our way to Poornakutee.

Prashant entertained himself with "Barnaby Jones," and "Three is Company," and I saw a tired-looking U.G. sitting amongst unpacked bags, the whole carpet littered with pen refills, shaving kits, tooth brushes, torches, photographs, and what not.

After he played Santa Claus for some time, the children (Chandrasekhar's two daughters, and Mittu and Prashant) helped U.G. to clear up the mess and tidied his bed so that he could catch up with his sleep.

The after-effects of the jet-lag and the usual effects of a full moon presented us with a dull U.G. who kept on repeating, "I am sinking."

The next morning Prashant was eager to catch the early bus to Poornakutee, so that he could spend the day with U.G. I could not accompany him, however much I would have loved to. I had to attend to Mittu who was attending her new school.

By the evening I rang up U.G. to ask Prashant to take an auto home and skip the tedious bus ride. U.G. immediately replied, "I have a very rich and prosperous guest who has parked his brand new car here and is generously offering to give your son a lift to Malleswaram." I was just wondering who this honored visitor could be, and U.G. continued, "But he is such a careless driver I told your son not to risk his life." I immediately said, "U.G., my son is very precious to me." U.G. replied, "I know, so I have told him to go on his own." It is only after Prashant returned home that he told me how U.G. had one of his jokes at the expense of poor Brahmachariji who had come to visit U.G. on a bicycle, and had offered a double ride on his back seat to my bewildered son.

Even now I don't know how far to trust U.G. and his sense of humour; for all I know poor Brahmachariji could have brought his moped. Trust U.G. to call it a bicycle!

Willing victims....

Talking about Prashant, I have noticed that U.G. has never failed in his attempt to humour my son, knowing jolly well that he had been dragged unwillingly by an over-enthusiastic mother. I am talking of those days long ago when I had eagerly rushed to spend every spare minute with U.G., and my son who had just entered his teens would be thoroughly bored with all the philosophical discussions held by every visitor who walked in.

U.G. was temporarily staying at Brunton Road, and though it was a lovely place with a sprawling garden, Prashant used to curl up his nose in distaste every time I mentioned a day with U.G. So much so that my kids were soon branded as "willing victims."

I advised Prashant to bring his badminton rackets and play on the lawns with Mittu if he was bored with me, U.G., and Philosophy; and Prashant packed in his racket, a pack of cards and comic books.

When we arrived at Brunton Road U.G. again remarked that "the heartless one had once again dragged the willing victims to spend another boring day."

Much to my surprise, U.G. offered to play badminton with Prashant and pranced about like a teenager himself. To top it all he then settled down for a game of cards and very soon a poker-faced U.G. was trying his skill at the game of "Bluff" and won.

So the day ended with Prashant completely bowled over and victorious with his new friendship with U.G.

Well, then, it soon became a habit. Prashant would carry his game of chess and the like, and squirmed as U.G. seriously played game after game, while people waited to discuss the "purpose of life" with the renowned sage.

Those playful days are over. Now Prashant rejoices whenever U.G.'s name is mentioned. All he can think of is watching Michael Jackson on the video and discussing the latest TV programs with the ever-willing U.G. I am quite happy with the way things go because Mittu too never tires of sitting at the feet of her Master and refuses to bat one eyelid when U.G. speaks for hours. So now neither of them are any longer referred to as "willing victims," and have become a part of the regular regulars.

Thought itself is action....

There is a friend of mine, Vatsala, who spent the last twelve years in Ireland. Afraid that her children would be influenced by the totally materialistic atmosphere of the West, she came back to India. Unfortunately for her, she happened to be my neighbor. After a few days, she found that I could not carry a simple conversation for more than five minutes without mentioning a certain U.G., and thus I had to tell her who he was. She did not have any Guru or background of Philosophy. She told me all that she had ever done since she was a little child was to repeat Ram-Nam over and over.

Now she told me that there were a lot of questions which she would love to ask, and I thought she deserved an interview with the ever-available sage, U.G.

So I took Vatsala with me one day, and U.G. started with his usual line, "Why do you bring your friends? What has not helped you is not going to help anyone else." Anyway, we were not so easily discouraged.

Vatsala asked him how to prevent thought or emotion from distorting her actions. U.G. very quickly came out with the simple answer, "Thought itself is action." Then she said that she repeated Ram-Nam to overcome her impulsive actions, and U.G. said, "A mantra is also a thought. You can repeat your own name or even your friend's name instead of Ram-Nam." That sounded ridiculous at first, but sadly true.

You can't own people like you own furniture....

U.G. used to refer to her as the "Irish Lady" though she was very much an Indian. On her next visit she had a few more questions to ask. And this time she asked about "selfless love." Of course, she was not aware of how U.G. detests the very mention of the word `love,' so that it was enough to remind him of a bottle of mouthwash! But U.G. is gentle with strangers. She said that in her every act of love she sensed some sort of selfishness, and it was not the sort of detached love that everyone talked about. U.G. advised her to stop attempting at the unattainable goal of selfless love, since there is no such thing at all. He said, "You can't own people like you own furniture or a color TV set." That simple sentence seemed to have found its mark, and she was quite satisfied with his answer.

U.G. had once remarked to me that people owned dogs to enjoy a sense of power or possessiveness, since they could not enjoy human relationships. They chose to enjoy a sense of authority by keeping a pet dog.

During his last visit to his son, Mark, in the U.S., it seems that their pet dog tried to jump on U.G.'s lap, and after being pushed away many times the dog finally got the message.

Like master like dog....

Speaking about dogs, U.G. once said that a lady in Switzerland once came with two dogs, and for a full two hours of discussion the dogs sat quietly without the slightest movement. He said that he had not seen even human beings behave so well. Finally he asked the lady about those dogs, and she said that they were sent to a training school. U.G. told me, after relating this incident, that man being neurotic, the poor animals which were kept as pets finally turned neurotic in man's company. So much so that even the plants in a garden have sexual problems.

There is nothing to understand....

I remember way back when I first met U.G. I used to visit him almost everyday, not caring for the time, energy or money spent, and my circle of friends back home used to wait for me to return and ask me to relate all that was discussed. I used to come home and jot down the most interesting points of conversation.

One day I happened to tell U.G. how eagerly my friends asked me, "What did U.G. say today?" He immediately shot out, "What does U.G. say? Tell me!" I was frightened to even attempt to answer, so I put the ball in his court by asking him, "O.K., you tell me what I should answer them." He said, "Tell them that there is nothing to understand." As I repeated that to myself just to register it in my memory, he then asked me whether I had understood that "there was really nothing to understand." I answered with a feeble "Yes." And he said, "If it were so, you wouldn't be here." I am so used to being told that if he had really helped me in any way I would not have seen his face again that I have stopped trying to convince U.G. that he has helped me in some way.

Why I don't want to see people who are interested in enlightenment....

U.G. always said that his heart sank at the amount of money I wasted just to visit him, and he missed no chance to remind me of my decreasing bank balance. Ultimately he tried to discourage me by saying, "You know what U.G. says? -- Get up and go, and don't come back. You are wasting your time. I don't have anything to sell."

Those were the days when I felt really hurt when he told me never to come back, but I kept going back because I loved to listen to him, and I could sit for hours when he spoke, just listening to him. U.G. would say, "I am ready to be enlightened by you. The physiological aspect is of no importance at all. The way I express myself is still related to the question of enlightenment. When you say that there is no such thing as enlightenment, what does it matter if you present it as physiological, psychological or any other enlightenment. It is of no importance at all. But still it is just a state of functioning. The stigma of the guru is there. All the people who come to see me ask me about enlightenment--so all these answers come out of me. That is the reason why I don't want to see people who are interested in enlightenment. Period, full stop, full period."

No God man....

And so he is labeled as a `god man.' And there was this little girl of just nine years old who sat watching U.G. who asked her why she was staring. The kid replied that she was told that U.G. was a god man. U.G. asked her if she thought that he looked anything like a god man, and she said, "Mother says so. Then why do they call you a god man?" And U.G. said with a smile, "Either your mother has a very vivid imagination or the birds are singing in her head!"

The roar of the sea is silence....

A lady called Shyama, a friend of mine, equally interested in the God man and enlightenment, accompanied me once to U.G. She asked him about divine bliss, silence, meditation, integration with the Divine, and question of the like. U.G. first looked at me and smiled. He was getting used to my bringing a new friend with me every time I visited him. He taunted that I brought them along either for moral support or to save on the taxi fare, (both of which reasons were false and unfair to me!)

Anyway, then he seriously settled down to answer my friend's question on silence, "What is this silence you are talking about? The silence operates there in the city market. When I am talking, it is the expression of the silence. You think there is no silence, when I am talking? You think there is silence when you close your eyes, sit in one corner and try to stop the flow of thoughts? You are just choked--that is not silence. Go to the forest--that roar is the silence. Go to a sea--that is silence. Go right into the center of the desert--that is silence. A volcano erupting--that is silence. Not the silent mind trying to experience "silence." Silence is energy bursting.

All this certainly silenced my friend's further questioning. When we left we did not speak a word to each other till we reached home. We were both in a daze.

'No' is the only word in my vocabulary....

For all his talkativeness U.G. sometimes refuses to speak at all. Like when a Jehovah Witness bombarded him with many questions like, "Do you believe in God? Do you believe in reincarnation, divorce, and the like?" U.G. was patient enough to let him run out of his stock of questions, and in the end he answered, "There is only one word in my vocabulary--the word, `No.' And you will be really surprised to know in how many different ways I can so `No.'" Sounds funny now, but I feel sorry for the man who was waiting to hear U.G. voice his opinions on all the topics from "disease to Divinity."

Nature descriptions are tricks to capture readers' interest....

My notes were being read with fervor, of course, with the exception of Nagaraj who rebelled openly. The hope that the notes would finally have the privilege of coming in the form of a book burnt like a small flame in my heart, and yet I really wondered what the final outcome would really be.

Suguna asked me if I had thought of a name for my book. I said that I was so busy waiting and collecting material I had no time even to think of one. Talking of books, notes, and diaries, Nagaraj suddenly asked U.G. why J. Krishnamurti described the natural surroundings and its beauties in his Commentaries before he reported his conversations.

U.G. replied that it was a trick to capture the interest of the readers. He also said that when Krishnamurti himself spoke he always gave very commonplace examples like the red bag, a door knob, and the barking of dogs. Such examples in a book would not attract the attention of people much, and the book would collect dust on the shelves.

Thinking Allowed....

U.G.'s recent trip to Delhi was a grand success. He told me that he had the occasion to be avalanched by a hoard of Krishnamurti's "Widows," Rajneesh's "Divorcees," and the "Separatees" of some other Guru. And the most surprising part was that they said that they were ready to "marry" U.G.! His trip to the U.S. was hallmarked by his interview in the program titled "Thinking Allowed." The man who was to interview U.G. came to the place in Mill Valley where U.G. was camping and had a brief talk with him. U.G. normally refused to go to TV studios for such interviews. But this time he agreed. A few friends were nervous about how the whole thing would go, especially because of U.G.'s frank and blunt ways of putting things across. But U.G. assured them by saying, "Come on, I can handle it all. I was not born yesterday, nor did I come to town on a turnip truck."

God said "Let there be light," and there was a power-out!....

It seems that the lady who made up U.G.'s face for the TV camera remarked that he was very handsome and that soon the place would be flooded with fan mail. As U.G. was relating all these incidents to us suddenly the lights in the room went out, and U.G. came up with "God said, `Let there be light,' and there was a power-out!" We all enjoyed the joke, so he added, "Oh God, if there is a God, what the hell is he doing?"

U.G. continued to say, "In the bygone days, during my lectures I often used the phrase, `Don't curse the darkness, light a candle.' But now I don't use that phrase anymore because I don't see any darkness." We did have to light the candles anyhow, till the power came back, until which time U.G. kept us quite entertained.

Ram-Nam and stealthy behavior don't go together....

I had this habit of putting aside a few rupee notes from the household account and save them for a rainy day. This secret was told to U.G. who would often tease me about the ever-increasing kitty funds, till it reached the enormous sum of 7,000 rupees. I remember it was a very hot afternoon. I had taken my kids with me, and U.G. suddenly had this idea of making me invest all this in a post office Savings account. I asked him how I could ever face my husband, and what he would say if he came to know all about these secret savings. And U.G. said, "Just put all the savings certificates on his lap as soon as he returns from work, and I guarantee you everything will be fine." He even dictated a letter, still in my possession, which says that Ram-Nam and stealthy behavior don't go together.

I remember how U.G. walked with the kids and me in the hot sun of the merciless summer, all the way to the post office, just to see my money safely invested.

When we returned, I made some coffee for the tired U.G. who promised to "pray for my long life and prosperity," much to my surprise. Seeing that he was in a good mood I cajoled him into giving me a much-coveted photo of his which he had refused me before, because he said he looked very saintly in it, and he detested that religious look about him.

The whole episode of the declaration of the immense savings to my husband was uneventful except for the pleasant surprise. I agreed with U.G. when he said, "Your husband must be some God or saint. Save some more money and build a temple for him, and I will be the head priest." My fertile imagination vividly pictured a U.G. in the garb of an Indian priest, and I was tempted to pass the hat around for the collection of funds for such a temple.

Gaudapada did not stumble into that by reading the Upanishads....

One early morning Brahmachariji surprisingly dropped in and U.G. as usual started an animated discussion on Indian culture. The very sight of Brahmachariji, though greatly welcomed, always reminds U.G. of the great heritage and culture of India. He started by saying, "Why do you have to sell Shankara to make a living? What little good or bad he has done is there--the Maths are there. So why do you have to sell Shankara? You preach something about Gaudapada. But it doesn't operate in your lives. Gaudapada said, "No moksha, no sadhana," then what are you selling? That is why I say, one fellow is enough for the whole of India. You don't need any more. Gaudapada, sure he brushed everything aside. So where's the room for Ramakrishna Math? They translated Gaudapada. How can they justify that? Gaudapada did not stumble into that by reading the Upanishads. So what are you doing?"

All this we listened to in utter silence. Brahmachariji made no attempt to either justify or defend himself. Soon it was lunch time and everyone seemed most interested in the menu prepared for lunch.

What am I doing here? Why am I here?....

U.G. had just returned to Bangalore from one of his world tours. On the very first day, as I sat watching, I noticed that he sat with his eyes closed murmuring something to himself. I asked him what it was and he said audibly, "What am I doing here? Why am I here?"

Strangely I felt quite sorry for him. I asked him if he felt more at home in the foreign lands, and he replied that he did not feel at home anywhere in the world. But there was a time, he said, when he had felt at home everywhere in the world. I let him continue with his catnap and got busy with my notes.

Writing on awareness is the biggest lie....

A reliable acquaintance of mine told me that he had had two or three interviews with J. Krishnamurti, and that he had come to know that there was a time when Krishnamurti smoked cigarettes, that he in fact was a chain smoker. When I related this to U.G., he denied the whole thing and said that he had never heard of such a thing. I told U.G. that this friend could not have possibly lied because he had recently written a book on awareness, and U.G. immediately said that writing on awareness was the biggest lie that the man could have ever told. I have yet to clear this misunderstanding.

"Where have his teachings left you?" "Nowhere."...

There were days when I had attended every possible lecture of a certain Swamiji of great renown. But a time soon came when I had to tell him that I had no more questions to ask anyone at all, because I had met a man called U.G. Recently when this Swamiji visited Bangalore I occasioned to meet him when he asked me, "Madam, where is your god now?"

I replied honestly, "He is talking to me, this moment." He replied, "So now there is a little humility." (I was never aware that I was proud; proud about what?) The Swamiji said further, "Your thoughts were oriented toward a certain man called U.G. Are you still enamored of his teachings?" I heartily assented. The next question was, "And where have they left you?" I spontaneously answered, "Nowhere!"

And when I related all this to U.G., he agreed that "Nowhere" was the right answer and a fact!

Even to say `You' you have to retain the `I'....

That reminded me that during one of my visits to an ashram in the South of India, I had a discussion with the saint residing there. I had and still have a great regard for her. Her advise to all who came to her was to subdue the ego by surrendering the `I' to the universal power calling it `You' and remembering it in every action of ours. This seemed quite a nice exercise. And when on my next meeting with U.G. I told him this, he said, "At this rate you will be for ever stuck with the `I' because even to say `You' you have to retain the `I'." The minute I am comfortably resting or at least about to lean on a new found crutch, U.G. knocks it off with all glee!

Shoes made from human hide and soup made from new born babies' tongues....

There was this group of foreigners, the oldest of whom was very devoted to U.G. He kept bringing this group to U.G. as often as possible. They would sit very quietly and listen to U.G., and bring him many gifts of cheese, cream, and fruits. They had happened to visit all the renowned ashrams in India, and had wanted to settle down in India for further sadhana. Little did they know that coming to U.G. was the last thing they should have done. There was one member of this group who was on his way to becoming a Poornavatar, and this man needed U.G.'s help to become one.

Anyway, this highly sensitive man looked at U.G.'s silk kurta and protested saying that he could feel the silk worms crawling whenever he saw silk, and how could U.G., if he was a God man as others declared him to be, ever wear silk? U.G. with his usual sense of humor said that silk was his favorite fabric. Not only so, but he would not hesitate to wear shoes made from human hide, his favorite dish being soup made from new born babies' tongues!

That was really too much. A few more visits to U.G. and they cancelled their plans of settling down in India, and went happily back to their homeland.

U.G.'s favourite line is, "There is no freedom in America, no Communism in Russia, and no spirituality in India."

If you cannot part with a single photo, how can you ever speak of detachment?....

I come from a family of Sai Baba devotees, and they can never explain the fascination I feel for U.G., more so because he ridicules saints, God men, Moksha, Sadhana, and the like.

Yet when I went home and related to Shobha, my sister, all that U.G. spoke about, she was curious to see him once. I was a little nervous because if U.G. started his usual fun about God men, it would hurt the feelings of my poor sister. But U.G. strangely seemed on his best behavior and sat like a well-behaved schoolboy, so sweet and innocent-looking that my sister was taken in by the oozing charm. She was soon asking for his photograph exactly like the one that he had sent me from California. U.G. asked me to hand over my copy to my sister and said that if I could not part with a single photo how could I ever speak of detachment. Whatever the argument, I clung on to my copy which was my prized possession. Anyway, my sister was least inclined to deprive me of it. So, we returned home. The very next morning, as soon as I entered U.G.'s room, he gave me an exact duplicate of the photo saying, "Here, this is for your sister."

When I met Shobha and gave her the photo, she told me that she had prayed and cried to Baba the whole night, saying that if there was anything to her devotion, she should get a photo exactly like mine the next day. Now she is convinced that her Baba and U.G. are in the same "State," which U.G. denies, because, as he put it, that Baba is in "Telugu Desam" and he himself is in the Karnataka State.

At least one member of the family agreed to see something in this enigma called U.G. I had taken my parents once to meet him in Bombay. My mother comes from a thoroughly religious and orthodox background. She is more used to orange robes, incense sticks, and silence in saints' rooms. I felt very responsible for her discomfort when she heard the discussion on investments, rise and fall of the dollar, hilarious jokes and laughter, and to add to it Mahesh Bhatt was rolling at U.G.'s feet on the ground. I did not even attempt to tell my mother that there was a lot beyond and behind this frivolous scene, but it seemed as if it was my father, with his usual broad-mindedness and tolerance, who enjoyed his first visit to U.G.

I can imagine my mother's surprise as we walked in silently to meet the great sage in his Bombay flat. What do you think U.G. said as soon as he saw me? "Ah, there you are, there is some batter in the fridge. We are all waiting for you to make idlis and dosas for us."

I have yet another sister, Sheela, who is very intelligent, sweet, but supremely sensitive. All my excited talk about U.G. roused her curiosity too, and there was another day of nervousness when I took her to U.G., as if I took with me some fragile china. I rang up U.G. telling him that I was bringing along my favorite and nicest sister and that he better be on his most pleasant behavior.

U.G. was his sweet self, but the sudden appearance of a Mr. Shekawat changed the whole course of the hitherto smooth small talk. U.G. was soon talking about drugs, teenage sex, burning of rupee notes, and forgery, with a few four-letter words thrown in. My poor sister squirmed and said that it was getting really late, and I soon found myself on the way to the heaven of my home.

Anyway, the unfailing charm of the unassuming U.G. had not failed to rub off, and even Sheela soon found herself dialing his number just to say hello to U.G., at least over the phone. Now I am the only one in the family who has still stuck around.

Mind is a Myth....

And so the book, Mind is a Myth finally made its appearance in Bangalore. U.G. seemed quite excited when the complimentary copies arrived from Bombay. Mahesh rang up and told U.G. that he wanted someone in Bangalore to review the book. Chandrasekhar was on leave, and Brahmachariji had graced the house early in the morning. The journalist Subramanya was an eager participant in the conversations, and I was the silent observer of the day's proceedings. Many names were suggested and I did not dream in the least that U.G. would turn to me and ask me to write the review. I could hardly believe my ears. Of course, my mind was used to U.G.'s strange words and behavior, but this surpassed all the koans of his "Zen" treatment. I stammered that I had never seriously read any reviews, let alone write one. But he seemed all the more eager to honor me with the job. He said that since I had not read any reviews, my review would be original in style.

U.G. seemed to have more confidence in my potential than I ever dared to have in myself. My protests were of no avail. After returning home, and a few moments of fervent prayer, I lifted my pen and just let it run across the pages. Within an hour a few pages were written. I sent the whole handiwork to U.G. with my son Prashant. U.G. seemed quite pleased with it. He said that he had no words to express what he was feeling, and that he had least expected such a wonderful piece of literature from such a messy housewife!

I want you to stand on your own two feet, however shaky they may be....

The last week that U.G. was in Bangalore was really eventful. I had a sudden call to fill in a leave vacancy for one of the teachers in my daughter's school. I had never seen U.G. more excited. I reported that I would be teaching. Long ago I had taught in a school, and those two years of experience was all that I had. U.G. had insisted that I do my teacher's training, and the plans to enroll in the university had fizzled out even before they had sparked. U.G. said, "I want you to stand on your own two feet," and added quite audibly, "however shaky they may be."

Anyway, untrained as I was, I enjoyed the week's teaching job thoroughly, but very suddenly, maybe due to the breathing in of that chalk dust while writing on the blackboard, I came down with a sore throat and a bad cold. The whole prospect of trekking to school and facing an army of naughty brats did not seem to be very inviting. So I rang up U.G. and said, "U.G., I am down with a sore throat, as you can hear, but, for all the trouble I take, they may not even pay me much. So, shall I drop the idea?"

There was a vehement, "No" from him. He said, "Even if they pay you two rupees you have to go; the experience will do you good." So I trudged along and completed the fifteen-day contract with the school. All this not only reduced my visits to U.G., but also cut down on the leisure which I spent writing down the notes for my book. U.G. consoled me saying, "You must teach permanently, even at the cost of your book," which did not appeal to me in the least.

Prashant's birthday....

18th of June--my son's birthday. Poor boy, I could not join in the yearly eagerness to celebrate, because by 10 a.m. I had to rush to school after managing to finish most of the household chores. Early morning there was a tinkle, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear U.G. who had remembered that it was Prashant's special day and had bothered to call him and wish him a happy birthday. I was very happy U.G. told me that if I had not accomplished anything worthwhile in this world, at least I had brought forth into the world such a wonderful boy. He expressed his admiration for both my children. I was happy and proud that U.G. had so kindly remembered to make my son's birthday even more eventful. He asked me to send Prashant to Poornakutee. There could not be a more ideal way of spending one's birthday. Prashant came home with an expensive gift, a voice-activated tape recorder, which was pocket-size and so convenient to carry that the boy was simply thrilled with the gift.

Thought is matter....

It was one of those days--I suddenly got a call from my friend Shyama, and she said that she would come with me if I was planning to see U.G. She said that the visit would help clear some cobwebs from her mind. So off we went. Thankfully U.G. was very much at home, and I did not mind in the least when he called me names and labeled me as a messy housewife. There were not many guests or visitors, so Shyama asked some question on thoughts, thinking, and desire. And it was just a few moments, enough to let me take my pen and book out of my bag, and U.G. started with that surprisingly natural ease. "Thought is matter. Wanting anything is the beginning of your problem. If you don't want a thing in this world then there is no thinking. The roots are there--it started with religious thinking and ended up with political ideologies, which are no different. Communism is a religion."

Shyama and myself were really surprised to find how easily U.G. linked religion with politics, and we heard him as he proceeded, "What are these people doing here? Your legislators--you elect them and seat them there. They tell you how many acres of land you should have, what is the ceiling, what kind of marriage you should have, whom you should sleep with, whom you should not sleep with--what right have they? On what basis do they condemn corruption? On what basis do they condemn selfishness?"

The spiritual man is the worst egocentric man....

As U.G. spoke, I ventured to ask about the so-called missionaries, and he replied, "The spiritual man is the worst egocentric man--he feels superior to everyone. He thinks that his teaching is going to save mankind, and his teachings should be preserved. The compassionate man Buddha, his Buddhism destroyed millions of people in Japan. Armies were maintained. I don't know why you exonerate these people and put them on a pedestal."

U.G. went on, "Their teachings were at fault, not the following. They fooled themselves, all of them. They thought that their teaching was the teaching and all the others were phonies. I am not saying that I am superior to all of them. Not at all. They are false, period, full stop, full period. I am not saying I have a teaching to save mankind."

Kalyani....

U.G. got interrupted by the sudden appearance of Kalyani, the mad one. She started shouting, dancing, screaming, saying that U.G. was responsible for the fact that her dead mother had left her no property in her will, and that U.G. should see that her family gives her her share of the inheritance. That was a sudden change for all of us. I knew that the session for the day had to end like this. We left U.G. to sort out Kalyani's problems. She refused to leave till U.G. gave her, with great reluctance, a two rupee note.

Kalyani came from a very good family, but due to some sad circumstances, she left her teaching job, was totally deserted by her family, and shockingly took to begging in the streets. This was the condition she was in when U.G. first came across her. U.G. intervened and arranged for Chandrasekhar's landlord to give Kalyani a small room and also gave her some cash to prevent her from begging in the streets. Much to U.G.'s distaste, Kalyani would come to his flat and start sweeping and swabbing the floors, making them more messy than clean, and I once viewed an angry U.G. almost throwing Kalyani out, broom, bucket, and all.

Anyway, she was finally banned from coming, or at least sweeping, and nowadays, if she comes at all on the scene, we have a musical interlude. U.G. makes her sing before she receives any money from him.

It seems that she had made quite a few thousands of rupees from the foreign friends who visited U.G. So U.G. calls her the "rich beggar." She would sometimes put rupee notes into some mail box and love to see the surprise on the postman's face when he collected his daily mail.

U.G. is responsible for the miracle; I am just a surrogate....

My experience with Kalyani is a rather mysterious story. I once had a very severe pain in my neck. The doctors feared spondylitis, and this pain was troubling me for at least two continuous months. It did not stop me from making my daily visits to West Anjaneya Street where U.G. lived before he moved to Poornakutee, his present residence.

U.G. had noticed that I was having this pain, and asked me if I was having any treatment for it. He suddenly brought out the album of his recent visit, and as I was looking at the photos Kalyani came in. I still remember the scene: both U.G. and I were comfortably sitting on the carpet with the photos sprawled all over, and Kalyani suddenly came in and touched me at some point below my neck near the right shoulder. I wouldn't have believed it if it had happened to someone else. But the pain suddenly vanished and never came back thereafter. When I told this to Kalyani the next day, she said that U.G. was responsible for the miracle and that she was just a surrogate. I did not analyze the miracle worker for long; it was enough for me that the dogged pain had left me for good.

I remember I gave Kalyani a hundred rupee note which made her dance with joy, and left me grateful to her for the rest of my days.

If thought is not there, you would not hesitate to sleep with your mother, sister or daughter....

One morning I got up, happy with the feeling that U.G. was still in Bangalore and had promised to extend his visit for another week. Suddenly the phone rang, and U.G. at the other end screamed, "Good news, good news. Guess what!" I said I could not tax my imagination before I had my second cup of coffee. So U.G. said, "Nagaraj is warming up for the world championship against Tysen." Then he added that a common friend had decided to separate from her husband. This was very unlike U.G. because rarely does he gossip over the phone. Anyway, I gulped down my second cup of coffee and arrived at Poornakutee to catch up with the remaining headlines of the day's news.

Then late in the morning there were two new visitors, a young couple, both scientists in the Indian Institute of Science. And they had a lot to talk about, which kept U.G. blasting off almost till lunch time.

The girl was very young and vociferous. She asked about the sense of individuality, and U.G. replied that there was nothing marvelous about it. "Even the so-called enlightenment made you put on orange robes and gave you a sense of superiority by being something different from others. It's nothing but the holy business."

Then the young man questioned, "Do you think animals have a sense of individuality?" U.G. frankly said, "Neither of us know. Leave the animals alone. Why do you have to bring in the poor animals in your conversation? Talk about yourselves. Why don't you talk about the elephants who make it once in eight years. Look at the lady spiders who eat up their mates immediately after the sex act. Animals don't think of Sattvic diet. They just eat some grass. The sex there is not born of thought. If thought is not there, you would not hesitate to sleep with your mother, sister or daughter. If the idea is not there sex is not possible any more. The build up is no more there. Sex for the human being is more of a build up in his imagination. The body begs for release from the tension. And we turn this release, the orgasm, into the ultimate pleasure for man."

I was taking down notes, but when U.G. said all this my pen paused, and I wondered how all this talk affected the poor honeymooning couple. But they persisted in their arguments.

The sensory activities are registered in frames....

The gentleman asked U.G. if he was free from the sex idea. U.G. replied, "The sensory activities are registered in frames. If I look at a beautiful woman, that is registered. But when her horrible teeth are seen, the whole scene is changed. It is all in frames, no continuity. So it is not possible for the sex idea to take its birth there."

There is noise inside you wherever you go....

U.G. continued saying, "What is the `silence' that you are after? Do you hear those trucks passing by on the road and the flushing of the toilet? Do you want to escape from all this and go and sit in the caves? There is noise inside you wherever you go."

The girl then asked, "How can you be so certain of everything you say? Why can't we function like you?" U.G. replied, "I am not selling my certainty."

 

Radhakrishna entered and U.G. immediately got up and gave him his chair. He plunked on the carpet without making a great show of his concern for Radhakrishna's stiff joints. In the meantime the students who were bombarding him with questions for more than an hour left without even a goodbye. But U.G., who was totally absorbed in discussing some political issues with Radhakrishnan, did not notice the fact that his talkative guests had left.

 


Go to Chapter 7
Go to Table of Contents