UG: ‘Yes, I shall maintain Sankara was a bastard! Mandukya is shit!’

October 13, 2010

His name was Chakravarti Ananthachar. As his name indicates, he was AdiSankaracharyaborn in a Vaishnava family which followed the tradition of Vishistadvaita (qualified nondualism) taught by Sri Ramanujacharya. Although Mr. Ananantachar was profound scholar in Sankrit grammar and logic and an authority on Ramanajacharya’s philosophy, he was also a great admirer of Sankara and his Advaita philosophy. He lectures on Sankara’s Advaita Vedanta always drew large crowds and earned him a good standing in the spiritual circles of Bangalore. That is how several of my friends got to know of him. Once upon a time, my friend Krishnamurthy was very close to him and was attending his lectures almost every day.

One day in June 1998, our friend Venkata Chalapati spoke about UG to Anantachar describing UG as a “Jivanmukta”. Anantachar was impressed and expressed his interest in meeting UG. But UG dissuaded Venkat Chalapati: “Why do you want to bring him? You say that he is a scholar and professional speaker. Such people have an investment in the tradition they believe in. How can he listen to me?” But Venkat Chalapati’s eagerness prevailed.

At last, on Sunday June 21 1998, Anantachar walked into Major’s Farm house to meet UG. He was accompanied by Venkat Chalapati and Krishnamurthy.

UG respectfully offered a seat next to him on the sofa. Some of us on the floor and some on the available chairs. I wrote down the points of discussion between UG and Anantachar. Here is the text of the conversation that took place on that bright sunny afternoon.

Anantachar introduced himself as a theoretical Vedanta exponent, and a mere speaker and scholar on matters of Vedanta. He started his conversation with UG saying, “Those who are in the highest spiritual state are said to be in possession of several powers.”

UG made no comment.

Anantachar: Don’t you think that through meditation one can achieve great heights in spiritual life?

UG: Meditation should not be given any importance at all. That’s my feeling.

Anantachar: Then what shall we do?

UG: Nothing; do nothing.

Anantachar: [Smiling] In that case everyone becomes a yogi.

UG: I am not a yogi.

Anantachar: Anyway sir, you are a widely travelled person. Don’t you think it is possible to bring out a universal philosophy to end all conflicts?

UG: Universal philosophy as such doesn’t exist except as an idea. That goal has created the actual problem.

Anantachar: Do you mean to say that a universal life doesn’t exist? All the masters of all religions talked of the oneness of life.

UG: You are an expression of that life. The mosquito that is sucking your blood is another expression of that life. The garden slug out there is another expression. The problem is we want to understand life. We try to understand life. We try to understand. That attempt is bound to create conflict.

Anantachar: Advaita Vedanta talks about that life as anivachaniya, indefinable.

UG: In that case, why should they talk about it? [Now UG’s tone got sharper.] If there is anything as the “beyond”, it can never be captured, contained or given expression to. How can they describe it as bliss, beatitude and all that nonsense? If they know that it is anivarchaniya, they should have stopped right there.

Anantachar: As philosophers they wanted to postulate…

UG: What good is that to you sir? Philosophers as I know are lovers of wisdom. That’s what they are. Philosophy only helps to sharpen the intellect.

Anantachar: Sir, how to determine whether a man is wise or not?

UG: You have no way of knowing.

Anantachar: Sankara describes the characteristics of an enlightened man. Even in the Gita it is said…

UG: They are all empty words and empty phrases, sir! They mean nothing. What’s the use of all those words? You haven’t helped you. You are still asking the same question.

Everybody laughs. Anantachar is visibly shaken. He asks for a cup of water and empties two cups, one after the other.]

Anantachar: We have to use words to communicate with each other.

UG: I say and maintain that no communication is possible and none is necessary.

Anantachar: But we have no other way to wisdom.

UG: Why are we not ready to accept that “wisdom” is a real block?

Anantachar looks the people around helplessly. He turns to Venkata Chalapti and says “I can’t understand what he is saying.” He then turns to UG.

Anantachar: You have gone a little above my head. I am not able to follow you. I have worked for several years academically…

UG: But I am an illiterate…

Anantachar: No. No. I can’t agree. You are an enlightened person. Only a few are gifted to be enlightened. An enlightened person is above everything. In my opinion, when a man forgets all his surrounding in the contemplation of the undivided Self, that state, according to Sankara, is the “Brahmi State”. My practice of meditation is very poor. I haven’t done any sadhana. But I want to. I am only a Jnanamaargi.

UG: I am not a scholar like you. But I studied Advaita philosophy. Prof. Mahadevan was our teacher of Advaita philosophy.

Anantachar: Sir, how can we understand the world?

UG: There is no need to understand the world.

Anantachar: Otherwise, how can we be in contact with the world?

UG: Do you think you are really in contact withy anything? Do you think you are looking at that man? Do you think you have ever looked at your wife even once? If you once looked at your wife, that would be the end of the whole relationship. You look at everything through the knowledge you have. It’s the knowledge about the things around that creates the world for you. You can not experience anything that you do not know. In that sense I say and maintain that there is no such thing as new experience at all. How can you have contact with the world?

Anantachar: As long as we breathe and live in this world we keep the contact.

UG: No, on no level can you contact anything.

[Ananatachar was disturbed with the rise in UG’s voice. He became fidgety in his seat next to UG. He asked for more water and Mohan gives him some.]

Mohan: [to Anantachar] Do you accept what he is saying, sir?

UG: How can he say anything? He is not in a position to say.

Anantachar started quoting the Mandukya Upanishad. “There is Para wisdom and there is Apara wisdom. When once you renounce Vritti Gnana, then Swarupa Jnana dawns on you. Ultimately, upasantoyam atma, as the instructions in the Mandukya indicate.”

At this point, UG Gaudapadasuddenly flared up. He burst out saying that Mandukya Upanishad does not even have as much worth as toilet paper. He called Sankara a bastard for writing commentaries on Upanishads. He started his tirade on Gowdapada for writing the karika to Mandukya and called him also a bastard.

This was too much for Anantachar. He started trembling with anger. He could no longer sit in a composed manner. Mohan was trying to calm him down handing him more cups of water. “Drink more water sir, and sit comfortably,” Mohan told him.

Anantachar: [In an agitated voice, looking at the people around]. “This is too much, sir. He uses such uncivilised terminology. How can he call Sankar a bastard? How can an enlightened person use such foul language?”

Then UG again flared up.

UG: Yes, I shall maintain Sankara was a bastard! Mandukya is shit! It is his shit that is coming out of your mouth. What do you have to say? That is my question. Don’t repeat Sankara, Gowdapada and all that nonsense. You are just repeating. A tape recorder does a better job than you. What you say, does it operate in your life? You can teach fools from the platform and make a living. I have no objection. But it has not touched you. How can anybody describe that state a love and bliss? Love divides and separates. There is already division. How can there be love?

Anantachar stood up. He couldn’t take it anymore. He said, “I came here hoping to see an enlightened person. I never expected I would be meeting such a negative person instead.”

UG countered immediately saying, “You came to the wrong man. You can go now.”

Anantachar folded his hands as a mark of respect and walked out of the room.

The above excerpts are sourced from the book:
Stopped in our tracks: UG-anecdotes, comments and reflections (Second series). From the Notebooks of K. Chandrasekhar; translated by J.S.R.L. Narayana Moorty. Bangalore: Firsthand Publications, [2010].

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“God is in the Vagina” – Sri Ramakrishna

February 23, 2010

Sri Ramakrishna PramahmsaSri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1836 – 1886) is considered as one of the most respected spiritual masters of the modern time in India. The story or saying is that he attained the highest ‘nirvikalpa samadhi’, state. He empowered Swami Vivekananda as his most powerful disciple in the 20th century. He experienced ‘trances’ at the age of six. He was born to a poor but pious family in a village in Bengal, India. He never bothered to learn even to write his name, such an implicit ‘illiterate’ he was. Ducked and bunked the ordeals of school learning. He was a true ‘rebel’, but still remained rooted in the tradition of the soil and time. He took over the priesthood profession for his livelihood to worship Goddess Kali. He revolted against the senseless caste and class discriminations, in his own ways. He was initiated to other religions also – Islam, and Christianity. He has no qualms about the religions. Initially he was initiated into ‘tantra’ tradition by Bhairavi Brahmani, an orange-robed, middle-aged female ascetic; later on initiated into non-dual meditation and Vedanta. This is the briefest description that is given here just as a reminder about his holy personality.

Sri Ramakrishna was also known as a ‘tantrik’; he worshiped even his wife Sarada as Goddess. It is not unknown that many a class spiritual masters go eccentric and erratic (or erotic or mystic?) in their utterances, gestures and teachings. It is told that Ramakrishna used the most rustic, colloquial, classic, gross Bengali language to communicate or abuse with his disciples and people – in the larger mission of spreading the spiritual consciousness. He often used filthy, sexy words to convey the message of clarity. These masters or mystics often reveal ‘Vedanta’ in the very ‘vagina’, so to speak. They know not what is holy or unholy. It’s the middle class mortals and minds that drum beat and blow the siren of morals and holiness; and our Gurus make good ‘harvest’ out of it. Otherwise, God knows no bounds of morals or sermons. It seems, the morals are for the mortals, never for the immortal ones.

The teachings of Ramakrishna are preserved in the work called ‘Sri-Sri-Ramakrisna-Kathamrta’ compiled in Bengali by his house-holder devotee, Mahendranath Gupta. This book is more realistic and less filtered, it seems. But the English translation of this book was never a true translation or rather the translation was made to depict the Personality Ramakrishna as an ‘avatar’ and ‘holy’ person; or rather it was impossible to translate the ‘original’ as it is due to the best kept reasons or impulses.

All the above paragraphs I scribbled just after incidentally reading a passage from the book, ‘Stopped in Our Tracks’ (third series, on UG) originally compiled in Telugu by K. Chandrasekhar, a close long associate of UG, (translated in English by Narayana Moorty). There may be several scholarly great books available on UG, but my favorite passion is always, Chandrasekhar’s ‘Lost in Our Tracks’ (First series ; Second series ; and Third series), an informal inner circle open chit-chat or tidbits on UG and in UG’s own informal spontaneous words too. Many instant diamonds of wisdoms we may strike there in the jungle of informal UG journey in these books (first, second, and third series).

The random passage I got in this book (‘Lost in our Tracks: third series’) reads:

“God is in the Vagina” – Sri Ramakrishna

The other day, Guha was reading the Bengali original of Sri Ramakrishna Bodhamrtam, translating it into English for us. “I will remove all my clothes and dance before the women; what do you care about it?” Sri Ramakrishna had scolded one of his disciples. Guha continued, “God is in the vagina. God lets me see him in the copulation of two dogs.” Ramakrishna had used much more obscene and vulgar language [than this] in his conversations. But Nikhilananda, in translating, had corrected all that, changing it so that people would be presented with the image of a holy man to hold in their minds.

And another passage I happened to get from Chandrasekhar’s ‘Stopped in Our Tracks’ (first series) reads:

“The source for both God and sex is the same. As long as you think of God, there is always sex in its shadow,” says U.G. I now understand the value of this saying. But in those days I was very confused. “Why am I so deluding myself? The mind which freed itself from so many attractions, why is it pining so much for such a trifle? Is this a test? O Lord, please give me strength. Please get me out of this mire.” Just as I was praying thus, I felt that I was sinking deeper into the mire.

Some of the interesting passages taken from the article [Wikipedia] on Sri Ramakrishna are reproduced here:

The Bhairavi initiated Ramakrishna into Tantra. Tantrism focuses on the worship of shakti and the object of Tantric training is to transcend the barriers between the holy and unholy as a means of achieving liberation and to see all aspects of the natural world as manifestations of the divine shakti.

In 1866, Govinda Roy, a Hindu guru who practiced Sufism, initiated Ramakrishna into Islam. Ramakrishna said that he “devoutly repeated the name of Allah, wore a cloth like the Arab Moslems, said their prayer five times daily, and felt disinclined even to see images of the Hindu gods and goddesses, much less worship them—for the Hindu way of thinking had disappeared altogether from my mind.” According to Ramakrishna, after three days of practice he had a vision of a “radiant personage with grave countenance and white beard resembling the Prophet and merging with his body”.

At the end of 1873 he started the practice of Christianity, when his devotee Shambu Charan Mallik read the Bible to him. Ramakrishna said that for several days he was filled with Christian thoughts and no longer thought of going to the Kali temple. According to Ramakrishna, one day when he saw the picture of Madonna and Child Jesus, he felt that the figures became alive and had a vision in which Jesus merged with his body. In his own room amongst other divine pictures was one of Christ, and he burnt incense before it morning and evening. There was also a picture showing Jesus Christ saving St Peter from drowning in the water.

According to Malcolm Mclean, the principal source for Ramakrishna’s teaching is Mahendranath Gupta’s ‘sri-sri-ramakrisna-kathamrita’. Kripal calls it “the central text of the tradition”. The text was published in five volumes from 1902 to 1932. Based on Gupta’s diary notes, each of the five volumes purports to document Ramakrishna’s life from 1882–1886.

The main translation of the Kathamrita is The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna by Swami Nikhilananda. Nikhilananda’s translation rearranged the scenes in the five volumes of the Kathamrita into a linear sequence. Malcolm Mclean and Jeffrey Kripal argue that the translation is unreliable. Philosopher Lex Hixon writes that the Gospel is “spiritually authentic” and “powerful rendering of the Kathamrita”

Ramakrishna’s explicitly sexual language shocked 19th-century Westerners, even scholars Max Müller who were otherwise his admirers. Müller wrote that his language was at times “abominably filthy”. He admitted however that such direct speech was natural to contemporary hindus, “where certain classes of men walk stark naked”, and should not be considered intentional filthiness or obscenity. Citing examples of classical poems like Bhartrihari, the Bible, Homer, and Shakespeare, Müller felt that few of the sayings would have to be bowdlerized.

Many great thinkers including Max Müller, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sri Aurobindo, and Leo Tolstoy have acknowledged Ramakrishna’s contribution to humanity. Ramakrishna’s influence is also seen in the works of artists such as Franz Dvorak (1862–1927) and Philip Glass.

Indologist Heinrich Zimmer was the first Western scholar to interpret Ramakrishna’s worship of the Divine Mother as containing specifically Tantric elements. Neeval also argued that tantra played a main role in Ramakrishna’s spiritual development.

Philosopher Lex Hixon writes Ramakrishna was an Advaita Vedantin. Postcolonial literary theorist Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak wrote that Ramakrishna was a “Bengali bhakta visionary” and that as a bhakta, “he turned chiefly towards Kali.” Amiya P.Sen writes that “it is really difficult to separate the Tantrik Ramakrishna from the Vedantic”, since Vedanta and Tantra “may appear to be differ in some respects”, but they also “share some important postulates between them”.

The dialogue between psychoanalysis and Ramakrishna began in 1927 when Sigmund Freud’s friend Romain Rolland wrote to him that he should consider spiritual experiences, or “the oceanic feeling,” in his psychological works. Romain Rolland described the mystical states achieved by Ramakrishna and other mystics as an “‘oceanic’ sentiment,” one which Rolland had also experienced. Rolland believed that the universal human religious emotion resembled this “oceanic sense.” In his 1929 book La vie de Ramakrishna, Rolland distinguished between the feelings of unity and eternity which Ramakrishna experienced in his mystical states and Ramakrishna’s interpretation of those feelings as the goddess Kali.

Christopher Isherwood who wrote the book Ramakrishna and his Disciples (1965) said in a late interview,”Ramakrishna was completely simple and guileless. He told people whatever came into his mind, like a child. If he had ever been troubled by homosexual desires, if that had ever been a problem he’d have told everybody about them.(…) His thoughts transcended physical love-making. He saw even the mating of two dogs on the street as an expression of the eternal male-female principle in the universe. I think that is always a sign of great spiritual enlightenment.”

Some scholars of Indian religion, including Narasingha Sil, Jeffrey Kripal, and Sudhir Kakar, analyze Ramakrishna’s mysticism and religious practices using psychoanalysis, arguing that his mystical visions, refusal to comply with ritual copulation in Tantra, Madhura Bhava, criticism of Kamini-Kanchana (women and gold) reflects homosexuality.

Jeffrey Kripal’s controversial Kali’s Child: The Mystical and the Erotic in the Life and Teachings of Ramakrishna (1995) argued that Ramakrishna rejected Advaita Vedanta in favor of Shakti Tantra. In this psychoanalytic study of Ramakrishna’s life, Kripal argued that Ramakrishna’s mystical experiences were symptoms of repressed homoeroticism.

Other scholars and psychoanalysts including Romain Rolland, Alan Roland, Kelly Aan Raab, Somnath Bhattacharyya, J.S. Hawley and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak argue that psychoanalysis is unreliable and Ramakrishna’s religious practices were in line with Bengali tradition.

In his 1991 book The Analyst and the Mystic, Indian psychoanalyst Sudhir Kakar saw in Ramakrishna’s visions a spontaneous capacity for creative experiencing. Kakar also argued that culturally relative concepts of eroticism and gender have contributed to the Western difficulty in comprehending Ramakrishna. Kakar saw Ramakrishna’s seemingly bizarre acts as part of a bhakti path to God.

 


UG Gave No Last Scene to Mahesh Bhatt

March 29, 2009

UG is deadly to its hard core dead end.Mahesh Bhatt with UG, and Narayana Moorty UG tore apart all hopes, hypes, holy sermons and scriptures even in his death. Well one can easily doubt whether UG was Mahesh Bhatt’s mentor or monster. Equally Mahesh Bhatt also fought like a monster with UG till the end. The veteran Indian film maker and director Mahesh Bhatt was too obsessed to get the final message – rather “the final scene” from UG to click and build on the empire, but UG demolished all the holy hopes and said simply ‘No Message’. UG made his own death and end so simple and straight; and no sermons there to preach.

Mahesh Bhatt Monster Mahesh Bhatt!narrated this the other day with his UG friends and family at Chandrasekhar Babu’s residence, where UG used to come once in a year to chat and beat his unholy sermons with his friends. Ever since UG’s death on 22 March 2007, Mahesh Bhatt has made it a point to dash at Chandrasekhar’s place every year on that day. This time Mahesh said, “I have come from Mumbai to Bangalore toMahesh Bhatt reminded that UG used to say, ‘we are always interested in eating memories and we are in miseries. Life doesn’t care a bit of it.’ meet my family and friends – Mr Chandrasekhar Babu, Mrs. Suguna and all UG friends here. Nothing to do with calendar or ritual like things.” He ate and relished Dosa, a favorite mouth-watering South Indian dish, thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Chandrasekhar Suguna’s simple straight to heart hospitality.

Of course before eating Dosa, Mahesh Bhatt made a very emotional narration that he had with UG in his (UG’s) last departing days and death. Mahesh Bhatt experienced life in UG’s death. During those few days Mahesh Bhatt derives the most from UG, unlike his other long days of stint with UG. Nothing holy about it, but a whole lot of rare simple and plain insights there, that Mahesh Bhatt wants to yell out. Mahesh told that the whole account of this rare experience is coming out in the form of his new book, entitled ‘The Taste of Life’, from the Penguin Publishers, slated to be released next month, April 2009. UG took a hard view that, ‘the so called no-thought state talk is a biggest lie.’Mahesh Bhatt was very emphatic there to stress the point that UG demolished all the empire-like holy sermons, scriptures, religions and religious gurus. UG simply tore apart the holy empire of spirituality and put it in its natural naked and nude state – no perversion, no diversion there. Enough of centuries of chaining and choking of holy spirituality; and this was the ‘devilish act’ that UG did to this humanity.

On this occasion a Kannada versionChandrasekhar Babu with UG book of Mahesh Bhatt’s book ‘U.G. Krishnamurti: A Life’ was released. Another interesting aspect on this occasion was that an enterprising publisher Sonali DesaiMahesh Bhatt and Publisher Sonali Desai brought out a new well designed book entitled ‘UG Says’, containing rare UG sayings and photos. Mahesh Bhatt was too happy to release the book there. Another close associate and admirer, Mr Louis shared his experiences with UG and, told that he is bringing out his encounter and account of his insights in the form of a new book soon.

“UG doesn’t want, but UG admirers need it” – the informal gathering of UG admirers at Chandrasekhar’s residence on 22 March 2009 was an indication of that. Even his admirers from Italy and other places all the way flown down to Bangalore simply to ‘see’ that dead(ly) virus called UG.

View Album/Slide Show of the Occasion:
Mr K Chandrasekhar Babu has sent in a link, where he has put the best moments of the event in Photos; as all of us know, Chandrasekhar Babu is a meticulous archiver and best resource person on UG. His first hand encounter and experience with UG is amazingly quite vast. Here is the album link:
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