The great debunker (UG) of any belief system talks with Luc Sala in
Amsterdam about “The black hole of (any) belief”, from disease to divinity. UG died 22 march 2007. A critical interview.
The great debunker (UG) of any belief system talks with Luc Sala in
The much awaited new title on UG, The Biology of Enlightenment by Mukunda Rao [is now released in Bangalore, on 8th January, 2011].
Title of the Book: The Biology Of Enlightenment
Unpublished Conversations Of U. G. Krishnamurti After He Came Into The Natural State (1967-71)
Author: Mukunda Rao
Publisher: HarperCollins, India, 2010
ISBN-13: 9789350290095, 978-9350290095
Number of Pages: 430
About the Book
In this book we meet with the modern sage, U.G. Krishnamurti, and listen to his penetrating voice describing life and reality as it is. What is body and what is… mind? Is there a soul? Is there a beyond, a God? What is enlightenment? Is there a life after death? Never before have these questions been tackled with such simplicity, candour and clarity. In these unpublished early conversations with friends (1967-71), U.G. discusses in detail his search for the truth and how he underwent radical biological changes in 1967. Preferring to call it the natural state over enlightenment, he insists that whatever transformation he has undergone is within the structure of the human body and not in the mind at all. It is the natural state of being that sages like the Buddha, Jesus and, in modern times, Sri Ramana, stepped into. And U.G. never tires of pointing out that this is the way you, stripped of the machinations of thought, are also functioning.
About the Author
Mukunda Rao is a professor of English and has been teaching in Bangalore for the last 31 years. He has participated and presented papers in several seminars on wide-ranging subjects such as Gandhian philosophy of social action and non-violence, Ambedkar, culture and politics, communalism, spirituality and religious harmony, and has been associated with organizations involved in the area of social justice and human rights. Among his previously published works are Confessions of a Sanyasi (1988), The Mahatma a novel (1992), Babasaheb Ambedkar: Trials with Truth (2000), The Other Side of Belief: Interpreting U.G. Krishnamurti (2005), and The Penguin U.G. Krishnamurti Reader (2007).
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News Report [Courtesy: The Hindu, 09 Jan 2011]
Life of a person like UG knows no full-stop: Mahesh Bhatt
Bangalore: Film director and director Mahesh Bhatt released a book on his “teacher, master and God”, the late philosopher U.G. Krishnamurti.
Edited by Mukunda Rao, a Bangalore-based English professor of 30 years, the book “Biology of Enlightenment” compiles 200 hours of tapes and recordings of the late philosopher’s talks and discourse. “In being a watchman for my master, I have already played the role of my lifetime. I believe that the life of a person like U.G. knows no full-stop and no endings which is probably why I have had no sense of parting. My master left me without a sense of farewell,” said a visibly moved Mr. Bhatt.
Later, Mr. Bhatt refused to take questions on anything but his association with and sentiments for his “master”.
He declined to comment on the ongoing tussle between him and lyricist and poet Javed Akhtar on the issue of copyright for lyricists and film producers. “I am not here to discuss these issues,” he said.
Educationist Chandrashekhar Babu and A.P. Frank Noronha, Director-General of the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity, Union Government, also spoke at the event.
Speaking of his association with U.G. Krishnamurthy, Mr. Noronha said, “He was the highest point or destination of my life. I am very privileged to have come in touch with him”.
His name was Chakravarti Ananthachar. As his name indicates, he was born 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 suddenly 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 beauty or the freedom with the masters is that two masters may never agree with each other and instead they indulge and enjoy the ‘game’ of abusing each other profusely. It is to be construed more as a ‘joyous play’, less as a ‘serious play’. It also happened among Osho, J. Krishnamurti, and U.G. Krishnamurti – a classic case here.
In the following excerpts, Osho speaks on the peak of J. Krishnamurti (11 May 1895 – 17 February 1986):
J. Krishnamurti died last Monday (17 February 1986), In Ojai, California. In the past you have spoken of him as another enlightened being. Would you please comment on his death?
The death of an enlightened being like J. Krishnamurti is nothing to be sad about, it is something to be celebrated with songs and dances. It is a moment of rejoicing. His death is not a death. He knows his immortality. His death is only the death of the body. But J. Krishnamurti will go on living in the universal consciousness, Forever and forever.
Just three days before J. Krishnamurti died, one of my friends was with him; and he reported to me that his words to him were very strange. Krishnamurti was very sad and he simply said one thing: “I have wasted my life. People were listening to me as if I am an entertainment.” The mystic is a revolution; he is not entertainment.
If you hear him, if you allow him, if you open your doors to him, he is pure fire. He will burn all that is rubbish in you, all that is old in you, and he will purify you into a new human being. It is risky to allow fire into your being—rather than opening the doors, you immediately close all the doors.
But entertainment is another thing. It does not change you. It does not make you more conscious; on the contrary, it helps you to remain unconscious for two, three hours, so that you can forget all your worries, concerns, anxieties—so that you can get lost in the entertainment. You can note it: as man has passed through the centuries, he has managed to create more and more entertainments, because he needs more and more to be unconscious. He is afraid of being conscious, because being conscious means to go through a metamorphosis.
I was more shocked by the news than by the death. A man like J. Krishnamurti dies, and the papers don’t have space to devote to that man who for ninety years continuously has been helping humanity to be more intelligent, to be more mature. Nobody has worked so hard and so long. Just a small news article, unnoticeable—and if a politician sneezes it makes headlines.
What is your connection with Krishnamurti?
It is a real mystery. I have loved him since I have known him, and he has been very loving towards me. But we have never met; hence the relationship, the connection is Something beyond words. We have not seen each other ever, but yet…perhaps we have been the two persons closest to each other in the whole world. We had a tremendous communion that needs no language, that need not be of physical presence…. You are asking me about my connection with him. It was the deepest possible connection—which needs no physical contact, which needs no linguistic communication. Not only that, once in a while I used to criticize him, he used to criticize me, and we enjoyed each other’s criticism—knowing perfectly well that the other does not mean it. Now that he is dead, I will miss him because I will not be able to criticize him; it won’t be right. It was such a joy to criticize him. He was the most intelligent man of this century, but he was not understood by people.
He has died, and it seems the world goes on its way without even looking back for a single moment that the most intelligent man is no longer there. It will be difficult to find that sharpness and that intelligence again in centuries. But people are such sleep walkers, they have not taken much note. In newspapers, just in small corners where nobody reads, his death is declared. And it seems that a ninety-year-old man who has been continuously speaking for almost seventy years, moving around the world, trying to help people to get unconditioned, trying to help people to become free—nobody seems even to pay a tribute to the man who has worked the hardest in the whole of history for man's freedom, for man's dignity.
I don’t feel sorry for his death. His death is beautiful; he has attained all that life is capable to give. But I certainly feel sorry for the whole world. It goes on missing its greatest flights of consciousnesses, its highest peaks, its brightest stars. It is too much concerned with trivia.
I feel such a deep affinity with Krishnamurti that even to talk of connection is not right; connection is possible only between two things which are separate. I feel almost a oneness with him. In spite of all his criticisms, in spite of all my criticisms—which were just joking with the old man, provoking the old man…and he was very easily provoked…. Krishnamurti’s teaching is beautiful, but too serious. And my experience and feeling is that his seventy years went to waste because he was serious. So only people who were long-faced and miserable and serious types collected around him; he was a collector of corpses, and as he became older, those corpses also became older.
I know people who have been listening to him for almost their whole lives; they are as old as he himself was. They are still alive. I know one woman who is ninety-five, and I know many other people. One thing I have seen in all of them, which is common, is that they are too serious.
Life needs a little playfulness, a little humor, a little laughter.
Only on that point am I in absolute disagreement with him; otherwise, he was a genius. He has penetrated as deeply as possible into every dimension of man’s spirituality, but it is all like a desert, tiring. I would like you back in the garden of Eden, innocent, not serious, but like small children playing. This whole existence is playful. This whole existence is full of humor; you just need the sense of humor and you will be surprised…. Existence is hilarious. Everything is in a dancing mood, you just have to be in the same mood to understand it.
I am not sorry that J. Krishnamurti is dead; there was nothing more for him to attain. I am sorry that his teaching did not reach the human heart because it was too dry, juiceless, with no humor, no laughter.
But you will be surprised to know—whatever he was saying was against religions, was against politics, was against the status quo, was against the whole past, yet nobody was condemning him for the simple reason that he was ineffective. There was no reason to take note of him….
Krishnamurti failed because he could not touch the human heart; he could only reach the human head. The heart needs some different approaches. This is where I have differed with him all my life: unless the human heart is reached, you can go on repeating parrot-like, beautiful words—they don’t mean anything. Whatever Krishnamurti was saying is true, but he could not manage to relate it to your heart. In other words, what I am saying is that J. Krishnamurti was a great philosopher but he could not become a master. He could not help people, prepare people for a new life, a new orientation.
But still I love him, because amongst the philosophers he comes the closest to the mystic way of life. He himself avoided the mystic way, bypassed it, and that is the reason for his failure. But he is the only one amongst the modern contemporary thinkers who comes very close, almost on the boundary line of mysticism, and stops there. Perhaps he’s afraid that if he talks about mysticism people will start falling into old patterns, old traditions, old philosophies of mysticism. That fear prevents him from entering. But that fear also prevents other people from entering into the mysteries of life….
I have met thousands of Krishnamurti people—because anybody who has been interested in Krishnamurti sooner or later is bound to find his way towards me, because where Krishnamurti leaves them, I can take their hand and lead them into the innermost shrine of truth. You can say my connection with Krishnamurti is that Krishnamurti has prepared the ground for me. He has prepared people intellectually for me; now it is my work to take those people deeper than itellect, to the heart; and deeper than the heart, to the being.
Our work is one. Krishnamurti is dead, but his work will not be dead until I am dead. His work will continue.