Tuesday, 29 December 2015

" Tell Me Honestly, Does It Operate In Your Life?" - UG

Once a famous Bollywood actress walked into UG's portal along with her friend. 

UG was 'sinking' (cycles of moon affected him terribly) and he remained unusually quiet that whole afternoon. People around him just sat about lazily and listlessly. There was no talk going on, the din and roar of traffic from the busy street below was the only sound in the room.

UG’s silence seemed a little harsh for the celeb’s comfort. At some point someone in the room broke the ice by asking her something. She immediately seized the opportunity and animatedly began talking.  For some strange reason, she started waxing eloquent on love and relationship. She began singing the glories of marriage, parenthood, the joy of bringing up children.

Strangely, she had recently gone through a divorce from her not so famous husband and had walked out of her wedlock that had lasted only for a few years, leaving behind two little darlings! The glossies were ripe with the spat between the couple and the court case. But here she was, with a straight face, glorifying the institution of marriage! There was something seriously amiss!

Someone in the audience couldn't stand it anymore and burst out saying 'Madame, please do not waste time talking of love! After all, as UG puts it, it is just a four letter word! The talk of love, relationship is nothing but nonsense!"

Being a famous celebrity, she couldn't suffer this affront from an unknown entity! She was visibly upset.  She turned furious, raising her voice to a pitch, she hysterically shrieked out arguing and defending her position on marriage and love! 

This was turning into a showdown! 

UG suddenly came out of his hibernation, ' Hey! Why are you getting so upset? What are you talking?  What he is saying is right! You talk of love and all that crap, tell me honestly, does it operate in your life?

This sudden outburst from UG silenced her completely! UG didn’t stop there, " Look here! Don't try to be clever, you will be clobbered!'

The room fell silent!

After sometime, the man, her ‘offender’ took leave of UG and left the room. The lady quietly followed him to the door. Seems the person was shocked to see her trailing him. He apparently stopped to confront her. Still feeling smarted and seething with anger, she stood glowering at him! He stood rooted silently staring back at her! There was a pause and the lady abruptly turned around and vanished into the house.

On learning of her rage, UG remarked, “These people have no chance at all with me… I can silence them in a minute, no, not even a minute, in a second!”

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

“Come on sir! It's nothing! Don’t even bother" - UG

UG enjoying a moment with feline beauties.

During one of his many visits to Bombay, our pilot friend, Kamal invited UG for breakfast to his flat. In those days, Kamal’s bachelor pad was in a thickly wooded area near Andheri. 

Early morning that day, UG and Mahesh Bhatt set out to reach Kamal's place. I was to join them with breakfast preparation from home. My wife Prasuna offered to prepare ‘idlis’ for us all. UG used to like her preparation, “When it comes to idlis, I can’t decide who makes it better –Suguna (Mrs. Chandrasekhar Babu) or your wife, both make it so well, it is difficult for me to choose between the two!”

That day, everything seemed to go awry. There was a delay in the preparation of food so I started late, the traffic snarls further delayed my arrival and it was well past breakfast time when I finally reached Kamal’s place.

After profusely apologising for the inordinate delay, I and Kamal rushed to serve food to UG. Mahesh said he had already finished his breakfast at home and come.

UG promptly went about his business and started attacking the idlis, I stood around waiting to serve ‘chutney’, a spicy serving to go with the bland idlis! All of a sudden, a frantic-looking Kamal darted across the room to my side and literally pulled me into the kitchen. He clearly looked a worried man! Obviously something had gone wrong! He wanted to know whether I had tasted the idlis myself, I said, 'No'!

Kamal gave me a shocker, “Suresh, looks like the batter for making idlis contained grains of sand"! And handed me a piece to taste! Ouch! I couldn't hold the grainy morsel on my tongue for even a second! 

For a moment, I stood there paralysed, feeling guilty of a capital crime!

Recovering from my shock & disbelief, I rushed out into the living room to see if I could salvage the situation. But it was too late! I caught a glimpse of UG as he lapped up the last piece of the sandy idli from his plate and got up to wash his hands!

He looked absolutely normal, calm and composed! There was no change in his facial expression, there was absolutely no sign to give away that he had just consumed a sandy meal!

I felt terrible and offered my unconditional apologies for the gross negligence! It was really unforgivable! It was unbecoming of me & wife to have served him such food! UG brushed aside the whole thing! With aplomb befitting a sage, he pacified me, “Come on sir! It's nothing! Don’t even bother".

I was dumbstruck! First ever time, I had witnessed what is hailed as the sagely equanimity!


Fast forward to 2009 !

Kamal had flown back from Dubai that morning!
We were supposed to meet Mahesh Bhatt at his office. Kamal suggested we carry along a pack of fine dates he had brought from the desert. 

After the pleasantries got over, Kamal offered the pack of dates to Mahesh who promptly ordered for a plate and poured all the dates into the plate and passed it around for everyone in the office. Meanwhile, his lady writer, Shagufta Rafeeq joined us at the table. 

For some reason, she peeled open one of the dates before popping it in! She let off a huge scream, "Ooh! There are worms inside these dates"! And showed us a crawler! Already Mahesh, I and Kamal had generously helped ourselves and munched some delicious dates, blissfully unaware of what went alongside the dates into our tummies!

It was Kamal's turn to be dumbstruck!

Mahesh, cool and unruffled, called for the boys to remove the plate and dismissed the whole episode saying, "Ok! That's alright!" And hurried on to resume his favourite topic, UG, even as Kamal and I made brave efforts to gather our wits.  Shagufta, sitting next to us, unable to get over, looked completely dazed!

An aside:

On this particular day of sandy idlis, I had travelled to Kamal’s place in an auto rickshaw. As soon as I walked in, UG greeted me asking, “Sir! Did you come in your car driving all the way?” gesturing with both hands to indicate steering. I said, “No sir! I came by rickshaw.”

After some more time, he repeated the same question all over again using the same gesture, again I answered him in the negative.

A third time this question was repeated, all within a span of one hour! I patiently repeated that I did not own a car and that I used the public transport for my commute.

But UG’s remark had hit its mark!

I mulled over UG’s words that evening. There was something there for me to think and consider! Why would he go on asking that question?

Strangely, in those days, I used to spend a fortune on renting cars for a saffron-clad guru who used to be my guest. And UG’s refrain pushed me to weigh the option of going for my own car. This made sense as it would result in a lot of savings rather than blowing up money on prohibitive car rentals.

When UG arrived on his next visit, I had already bought a new car, a Fiat Palio and UG appeared delighted and showed it to one and all. He suddenly decided to make a trip to our home in the new car!


Wednesday, 9 December 2015

“A busy man has time for everything - UG.”

UG and Mahesh Bhatt

UG rarely quoted other sources to convey nuggets of wisdom. The famous adage about time, “A busy man has time for everything.” was his constant refrain!

In the 90s, Mahesh Bhatt, the film director would shoot late into the wee hours of the morning, pack up his gear, head straight to Parekhji’s home in Santacruz, UG’s abode in Bombay. UG rightly described Mahesh as a workaholic. Even after his night long shoots, Mahesh would carry awesome energy over to his morning encounters with UG.

On one such occasion, UG pointing to Mahesh, who had hardly slept the night before, said, “Sir, he is Gudakesa”.  By the way, Arjuna, the famed warrior of Mahabharata is referred to as Gudakesa, which means the ‘sleepless one’!

I recently asked Mahesh what he had to say about UG’s oft repeated quote, “A busy man has time for everything” given his tight schedule befitting that of a celebrity. Mahesh, as is his wont, responded, “Don’t you see I am a standing example of what UG said!” There is no exaggeration there! He remains a busy bee and at the same time never misses anything! His friends would vouch for that!

Regardless of his numerous engagements, Mahesh manages to find time for every small thing! He would respond to calls, mails and messages from friends in the thick of his hundred odd tasks that demand his time!

When I probed him further about how he managed to get time for everything, specially calling his attention to UG’s famous maxim, Mahesh simply replied, “I work!”

His mantra seems to be ‘Don’t Try, Don’t Talk, Just Work!’

UG kept hammering away, “What do you want? Do you really know what you want? If you really know what you want, there is no way you can’t get it!” 

Chasing after a myriad dreams soaks up all our energy and time. Once we know what we want, there seems to be no dearth of time and energy.

Once we are clear about what we want, our clarity then decides our priority, and we will not be caught up in the maze of choices. With no more choosing or thinking, one is left with only doing! Time and energy suddenly seem to abound for such a person and open up in a big way!

Apparently, Mahesh knew what he really wanted from the very beginning!

I once parroted UG’s words to Mahesh, I said, “UG told me, ‘Don’t do a thing! Do Nothing!’ At this Mahesh turned into a live wire, “Noooo! UG never said that to me! He asked me to chase my dream! He said, Mahesh I want you to achieve name and fame, make money! He said he will not forgive me if I made failure into a virtue!

UG made it clear that there is nothing wrong with desire! Desire is life itself, if there is no desire, you will drop dead the next moment!”  

The small exchange took the wind off my sails and I just stopped short in my tracks!

For a moment, unwittingly I had transgressed the sacred territory of another individual! It hit me that UG’s guidance had always been personal, it was laser-focused on the individual! It varied from individual to individual. Like a good physician, UG administered the right medicine in right dosage to the right individual. I zipped my lip! Nothing could be more preposterous than generalising UG and his words!

Mahesh had a special equation with UG that defied description.

Once a close friend called on Mahesh to seek advice on how to stay around the fiery, raging UG, Mahesh explained, “It is actually very simple! When I am with UG, I never think! I ‘just do’ what he says! If he says sit, I sit, if he says get up, I get up, if he says get out, I just go, that’s all! I know he knows what is best for me!”  

This rare clarity makes Mahesh simply declare “I work!” unencumbered by frivolous choices , focused completely on the task at hand!

This simple, amazing ‘just do’ formula holds the key to efficiency, productivity and performance, buzz words in today’s business parlours! ‘Just do’ presupposes three things – tremendous clarity, sticking to essentials and single-minded commitment.

Getting to this point is not easy, it is sheer hard work and intelligence!

 ‘Just do’ demands that we re-look at our very fundamentals, our very way of life!

When it came to his own dictum of the busy man making time for everything, UG walked the talk!

Time, it appeared, was never in short supply for UG’s innumerable commitments - he found time for every little thing despite his constant travels, meetings and exchanges with scores of people across the globe! He made sure every one of his friends enjoyed a unique, personal equation with him!

For a sage there is no choice, no thinking, only doing what has to be done!

UG received every visitor who turned up at his door, spent tons of hours with all sorts of discussions and inquiries, at the same time kept all his appointments, never missing a single engagement, visit or shopping!

UG never wore or carried a watch on his person but functioned precisely like a clock! When any visit was on the anvil, his eyes would dart back and forth to the clock on the wall, “We still have five minutes!” he would announce and continue to take more questions! At the appointed time, he would simply get up, declare the ‘shop’ closed, dismiss the crowd and slip into the waiting car!

UG would often repeat:

Don’t think, just do!”

“Stop thinking and start living”


Wednesday, 18 November 2015

“How can I or anyone give you that which you already have?” - UG.

Who is a sage?

~ Sages are first-hand, authentic, genuine articles.

A sage is referred to as a Real Man or Woman by the ancient Taoists or Total Man or Woman by the Africans.  

UG explained, “Sages are very few, you can count them on your fingers ….  Ramana or Ramakrishna can never be produced on a production line….”

UG went on further, “There are many saints in the world but very few sages”, and explained the subtle difference, “A sage lives his own life, sings his own song and goes about his own way. He couldn’t care whether you listened to him or not! He does not give sermons, much less write books.

Actually we must thank the saints! But for the saints, who could record the words and works of a sage? They would be lost forever….it is the saints who spread the words of the sage….”

I probed him, "Sir, you mean to say the saints do the classroom job?" UG said, "Yes, they try to interpret and write commentaries…!"


Ramana Maharshi, used a famous metaphor ‘the pail in the well’ to explain the difference between the sage 'rooted' in the primal or Natural State and the saint who may have ‘experienced’ the Natural State.

Let us say a pail is immersed in a well. Now there is water inside and outside the pail. It is the pail or 'container' that divides the well water as inside and outside.

Ramana Maharshi explained that a sage is grounded or rooted in his primal or Natural State or Sahaja Samadhi at all times.

Those with spiritual experience, regardless of whether it is the highest experience, remain like 'the pail in the well'. The ‘container’ or the ‘pail’ or ‘ego’ or ‘self’ maintains the division of consciousness as inside and outside.

Ramana Maharshi pointed out that the 'ego' or 'self' remains in its subtlest form even in the 'thoughtless state' and keeps the consciousness divided thus bringing about the 'experiencer' and the 'experienced'. This thoughtless state with subtle ego is the Nirvikalpa Samadhi!

The pail or container is akin to UG's description of the ‘experiencing structure.’ Water is the metaphor used by Ramana here for describing consciousness. Water within the pail is ‘self-consciousness’ as opposed to water without which is the ‘pure undivided consciousness.’

When there is no ‘container’ or ‘ego’ or ‘self’ or ‘experiencer’, what remains is 'the well water' of pure consciousness. Ramana described such a state as the Sahaja Samadhi or Natural State!

UG in a vision, after his Calamity, had witnessed many a sagely figure including the likes of Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Akka Mahadevi, Lalleswari, many strange beings and animal forms, all those who had come into the Natural State or Sahaja Samadhi.

In this context, one is reminded of UG's pointed question to JK, "Have you seen the 'sugar cube' or have you tasted the 'sugar cube?"


 ~ A Sage Will Pass The Gold Test For Simplicity.

The gold standard for simplicity would be a Ramakrishna Paramahamsa or a Ramana Maharshi or Nisargadutta or Swami Nityananda who led such extraordinarily simple, common lives. Their material needs were minimal. They were beyond psychological or societal needs.

"The man who is ‘practicing’ humility is not a humble man", observed UG.

There are many con artists out there who 'practice' simplicity and humility. Living under the same roof for a while is all that it takes to reveal the malice in the hearts of con men! Healthy skepticism will always help us in calling the bluff!


~ There is no private side to a sage's life! It is an open book!

UG explained, "There is nothing private in my life! You can see me in my bedroom anytime. My doors are always open. I am available to anyone who wants to see me or speak to me anytime, twenty four hours of the day!"

Chandrasekhar Babu, a very close associate of UG confirms that, for years, the doors of the place where UG stayed were kept open even during nights. The parallels are to be found in Ramana or Ramakrishna and others.


~ In the company of a true sage, you are unburdened and relieved, you are at peace with yourself.

Great people make you feel great and the small (minded) ones make you feel small and uncomfortable. Of course, only an open mind, a receptive mind can chance upon a genuine article.

Once you meet a real sage, he lets you drop your guard at the very first instance! You breathe instant freedom!


~ A sage encourages you to stand firm on your two ‘shaky’ legs and unflinchingly face the ‘ugly’ truth about yourself.

UG lambasted the tendency to escape or avoid facing our inadequacies, "Anything you want to be free from, for whatever reason, is the very thing that can free you!"  This puts an end to all forms of escape!

Lao Tzu says: " It is easy to vanquish others but difficult to conquer oneself."

It is easier to face a belligerent crowd than our own ugliness.

The most debilitating influence in one's life is the feeling of guilt, shame and the psychological burden of the past. These are akin to an open, festering wound in our system.

The sage lets you see the falsity of the ‘self’ and its myriad sicknesses letting you overcome all ‘sins’! He indeed is a true redeemer!


 ~ A genuine teacher has no agenda, no axe to grind and no investment to make.

A genuine teacher is not into any holy business. He or she has nothing to sell whether moksha, liberation, salvation or enlightenment!

UG thundered, "Why are you here? What do you want? Look! Whatever (motive) brought you here will take you somewhere else (to another guru)!"  

UG made it abundantly clear that there is nothing to look for or nothing to seek or search thus killing all motives!

He would ask, “How can I or anyone give you that which you already have?”

And then, “If you realize this, you will never come back to me or go to someone else! All search will be finished for you! That is the acid test!" 

Ramana clarified that all of us are in the natural state but when we want to find out how to attain that state, it becomes a terrible problem. He explained that it is like being in Thiruvannamalai but asking people how to reach there!


~ Sages are not sentimental!

When you took leave of UG, he would say, "Bye, bye! See you sometime, somewhere! "And simply turn and look away from you, cutting you off completely! The parting was so sudden and total. It jolted and unnerved you!

UG made it clear to everybody, “I don’t need you or anyone else!”  

If someone had any misgiving that he or she had some exclusive right to UG, UG would slap back hard, "Look here! You can't buy me with your money or favours. I don’t need you here. Get lost and stay lost!"

By virtue of his primal state, his clarity, his utter lack of fear, UG posed a serious threat to our mask or façade!

When the sagely Nisargadutta Maharaja’s wife died, the sage remained as tranquil as ever, he was totally unaffected!

Seems as he came out from his apartment to arrange for the funeral, someone on the street, waiting for him, accosted Nisargadutta and there ensued a serious discussion on spiritual matters. The visitor clarified his many doubts and after a while thanked the master for his instructions and requested his permission to leave.

At this point, Nisargadutta casually informed the seeker about his wife’s passing away and said that if he could spare some time, he was welcome to attend the funeral, leaving the visitor in shock and awe!


~ A sage suffers with you in your pain and rejoices with you in your happiness.

UG used to say, "I am affected by everyone and everything around me. I am vulnerable.” When I asked him to elaborate, UG explained, “I am affected by everyone but I am not involved."

UG was like a transparent glass taking on the colours of the surroundings. People and the crowds affected him. It was not unusual to find UG looking dull, pensive and listless at times. It took a little probing to discover that someone in the crowd had passed on the blues causing UG’s hangover!

Equally, UG would light up and come into his elements with energetic, entertaining and no-holds-barred friends a la Mahesh Bhatt, Bhanwar Singh Shekhawat or Louis Brawley. They enacted a dual role, playing UG's sounding board and providing fun element in his portals, giving him the much needed breather from his relentless talks. They were a great company and unleashed tons of mirth and laughter, lighting up his portals.


~ A sage lives like an ordinary soul sticking to the rules of social conduct.

For some time, I was part of VIP protocol for a certain religious head. This saffron clad Swamiji was obsessive about special treatment at airport security, customs and immigration check-points.

UG was quite the opposite! He simply abhorred any kind of special treatment! He entered and exited the airports like an ordinary passenger. There was absolutely no fanfare during his arrivals or departures! Having agonized over VIP handling for the holy man for years, I was completely floored by UG’s simplicity and unassuming ways!


~ The sagely lessons are informal, direct and personal.

UG loathed speeches and remained informal till the end. Even during TV shows, UG could be seen constantly checking himself, "What are we doing here, is this an interview or am I giving a speech!?"

UG, the master sculptor chiseled away at all that was false!

His guidance was mainly personal and came in umpteen forms. It could be a stinging slap or a public bashing. Or a gentle reminder or a friendly suggestion. And at times complete silence that spoke louder than his words.

~ They (sages) have no power, yet they rule the world. They have no wealth but they possess everything. They have no purpose, yet they attain perfect virtue. They know nothing, but they are supremely wise. -Chuang Tzu

UG described, "The knowledgeable man is an arrogant man!"

In his relentless exhortations, UG highlighted the many limitations and dangers of knowledge!

UG would go 'that extra mile' to exorcise the ghost of knowledge in puffed up individuals. Intellectually-intoxicated men and women who walked in to 'grind' UG found themselves ground to dust. Chastised, they would hastily retreat from his presence never to return again!

In UG, there was no trace of fear or expectation. He rubbished any talk of gratitude by his thankful friends. There was no ceremony, no speech or mass frenzy. A get-together was an informal cafe-meet with like-minded souls, never a grand gala dinner with noise and din!


~ A sage is not interested in the past nor in the future but lives in the moment.

A sage lets you see the 'trap' of psychological dependence in every relationship and sets you free from all ‘sticky’ relationships including his own!

UG explained that all relationships are based on a common goal - mutual exploitation.

Every relationship is an on-going battle, a struggle between people saddled with a life time of opinions and views. It is all about 'maintaining, sustaining and holding to each other, somehow! Such human relationships could only be debasing and demeaning!

~ A sage burns bright every moment of life, through joy and sorrow, without a purpose!

If you were truly open minded, prepared to drop your baggage, UG would turn into an extraordinary phenomenon where Life gushed forth in full flow, unfettered and blazing! 

A moment in the company of a sage is refreshing, healing, liberating and energising. What is in operation is - the pure energy, intensity and wholeness of the moment, to use UG’s words, 'the throb, the pulse and beat of life!!'

This innocent, child-like living is a joy to behold!


An aside:

Can you tell a sage from a con man?

“Once Sri Chandrasekhar Saraswati, Shankaracharya of Kanchi had camped in North India. The then Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, came to meet him.

The Prime Minister of India placed a similar question (referring to con men) in front of Sri Swamiji, “If you would pinpoint the persons who, in the name of spirituality, lead the people in a wrong way, I will take action against them.”

Swamiji laughed and said, “No! It should not be handled in this manner. Those who approach such fake gurus will themselves, after a time, understand their standard of maturity.”

He understood that this reply did not satisfy Mrs. Gandhi.

Someone had offered a basket full of mangoes to the sage. It contained many unripe and a few ripe fruits. Many devotees waited outside for a meeting with him. He instructed the attendants to bring a child from amongst these devotees. A child of about 5 years was brought to Him.

Pointing to the basket the sage smilingly said to the child, “Take whatever you want.” After a search the child picked up a ripe fruit.

Swamiji pointed out to Mrs. Gandhi who was watching all this, “Just as the way a child knows what is ripe and what is unripe, so too would those who go out in search of Truth recognize a true Man at some point of their life.”

Thursday, 29 October 2015

"I'd rather be known as a Conman than a God-man!” - UG

The exploitation of the gullible and the credulous by gurus and godmen anguished UG so much that he declared, "I'd rather be known as a Conman than a God-man!”

Where does that leave us? Are we stuck? Is there a way out? Is getting 'bitten' or 'conned' the only way to tell the fraudulent from the real? 

UG was categorical about our gullibility and credulity. He insisted that the onus is on us, "You are the ones who put the power in the hands of these gurus! They are just like you and me, no different! It is you who put them on a pedestal and then complain that you are helpless!"

UG, time and again said that the intelligent and educated are the most gullible! Unlike most others, they are intellectually aware of the limitations of reason and logic. Perhaps this makes them throw caution to the winds and discard reason and discrimination to surrender to the market gurus selling spiritual kingdom, the Promised Land beyond reason and logic.

Whether we like it or not, collectively and individually, directly and indirectly, every one of us is responsible for this sorry state of affairs.

UG’s recommendation to rid the problem of conmen was ‘uncompromising and uncomplaining self-reliance’ and a dose of ‘healthy skepticism’. UG would often say, "I was a heretic to the tips of my toes!

UG would often recount an anecdote from his childhood where he was asked to kowtow to a visiting Swami who materialised gold coins out of thin air. When he was pushed really hard to touch the feet of the holy man, UG insisted that he would do so if the latter could materialise a gold coin with the current year stamped on it. This brought down the curtain on the 'miracle' show! 

Not everyone is as clearheaded! Many are willing victims among the prey.

What makes us vulnerable?

Desire and fear are the key ingredients of our psychological DNA.

Every one of us without exception desires name, fame, money, position, possession, self-fulfillment and 'happiness without a moment of unhappiness'!

Everyone is equally afraid. There is fear of failure, fear of loss, fear of death and everyone is running after security, certainty, permanence and freedom!

Alongside we carry the psychological burden of guilt and shame.

Behind the façade of our degrees, wealth, fame there lies fear and desire. Any attempt to change this state of affairs is just another desire and any such attempt at change creates fear. So in reality there is no escape from desire and fear. It is a vicious circle!

The hope of getting something, getting somewhere, becoming someone is the cause of our exploitation. Market gurus are psychologically savvy. They are cool operators, ready to exploit the insatiable human desire and insurmountable human fear!

Here is a story from China that paints our dilemma.

A thief was caught while trying to run away after stealing a gold chain from a jewelry shop. This happened in broad day light with many people in the shop! He was immediately nabbed and produced in front of the district magistrate. The judge asked, “What made you do such a thing? There were so many people, didn’t you see them?” The thief responded, “No sir, I didn’t see anyone! I only saw the gold chain!”

Our story is not very different. Our insatiable desire to possess the ‘gold chain’ of happiness blinds us to the traps, threats and the hidden motives of conmen. Happiness, our ‘gold chain’ appears to us as the end goal of all desire and the ending of all our fears. We wish to be happy at all costs.

Were there any pointers from UG to deal with the nuisance of con artists?

Firstly UG highlighted ordinariness! He said, "It is extraordinarily difficult to be ordinary!"  

Being ordinary is unburdening. Being ordinary is getting liberated from a thousand needless complexes, pretensions and trappings. Being ordinary is putting an end to all kinds of self-inflicted troubles.

Ordinariness is a stress-buster and relieves one from the tremendous burden of being important and respectable!

Those who bounced into UG, at some point or the other, got ‘pushed against the wall’ and had no choice but to stare at their own ordinariness. UG was a past master in exposing the hidden selfish motives, masquerading as spiritual virtues and values!  The ‘self-encounter’ that he orchestrated so well, without giving us a hint, was a cleansing and healing process!

Secondly UG took away all hope, "There is no oasis situated yonder, you are stuck with the mirage!"

This summarily discounts the possibility of striving for some spiritual state or attaining immortality or enlightenment. This debunks the sales pitch of gurus, godmen and conmen of each and every kind. This puts an end to all peddlers of hope trying to lure the hopeful!

Does it mean UG is taking away all hope and choking us?

Importantly UG is jettisoning all false hope, pushing us into a ‘hope-free’ state, rather than a hopeless state. The ‘hopeless’ state would make one helpless, despondent and miserable! On the contrary, with UG one felt liberated and unburdened!

Hope-free state is much closer to the ‘uncomplaining, uncompromising self-sufficiency’ that UG emphasised often! It is about the mind that has completely ‘stopped in its tracks’!

When we are truly hope-free, we are no longer searching or seeking. Tons of psychic energy that is lying trapped underneath the burden of false hope is suddenly released!

“With so much energy at your disposal,” UG asked, “Tell me, what is it that you cannot do?”

The realisation that there is nothing to achieve, nothing to attain, nothing to hope for, is indeed a blessing and would free us of many psychological burdens, making us invulnerable to the lure of conmen!

Friday, 23 October 2015

" Joining Politics is Suicide " - UG

Mahesh Bhatt with UG

There is no friendship or kinship in politics - only a mad rush for POWER.               

Several years ago, UG was on his annual visit to Bombay and was put up at Parekhji's place in Santacruz.

UG's 'shop' opened early morning that day and sometime later Mahesh Bhatt walked in. Soon after, he received a call from a famous politician, a national political leader.

A conversation ensued between Mahesh and the honcho in a loud voice. It was difficult not to overhear what was going on between the two. 
Mahesh then shouted across the hall to UG! "Sir! L. is making me an offer to join Rajya Sabha from his party! "

UG simply returned a blank stare.

I was seated at UG's feet, directly in front, with my back to Mahesh. I blurted out, "Sir! Joining politics is like committing suicide".                   

UG leaned forward, put his hand on my shoulder and quipped, "What did you say?"  I repeated that joining politics is like committing suicide." No", shouted back UG, "Joining politics is SUICIDE"

(Suicide used here in the connotation of killing one's conscience).


An aside:

Sri Nityananda of Ganeshpuri

A sagely perspective on India's Freedom and Indian Politics by Swami Nityananda

( The following excerpt is from the Archives of Sri Nityananda of Ganeshpuri  by Captain M.U. Hatengdi . Source ::http://www.nonduality.com/m3a.htm )

One Saturday night, with India's independence only four weeks away, Nityananda made some weighty pronouncements about the future. First he asked, "What does swaraj mean?" Defining it as ''freedom'' or ''self-rule,'' he said that India needed additional time to complete its training, hinting that considerable begging and suffering remained for our country. He seemed to say that India's continued dependence on outside assistance would limit our freedom. 

He added that greedy parties were forcing the situation in the same way that people try to force fruit to ripen before its time. He even predicted our country's division into several states because of petty rivalries and jealousies. And everything he said has come to pass........

Months later, in September 1947, I again heard the Master speak about a great national leader. 

He said that little time remained for this individual and he wondered whether he was satisfied yet with his fame and accomplishments.

Why, Nityananda asked, did he not simply retire from politics, close his eyes, and think of God--for God would come to him, implying that he was a spiritually advanced soul.

He added that a person alone, regardless of greatness, cannot do everything.

Instead we should each treat life as a relay race, covering the bit of track meant for us as fast as possible before passing on the baton

Four months later, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated.

" Rabindra ( Nath Tagore) was born great; Mahatma Gandhi achieved greatness ; Jiddu ( Krishnamurti ) had greatness thrust upon him. " - UG

Saturday, 17 October 2015

"UG was a big-time robber !" - Hegde, the palmist.

UG the Prince of Robbers

         UG's portals attracted scores of individuals from all walks of life. He kept everyone engaged with his amazing repertoire of subjects, spanning ‘disease to divinity’.

He was current on a wide range of topics. He dismissed this fantastic ability saying, "All kinds of experts walk into my portals. I get to know so much from these experts. In fact, these chaps tell me all about the latest happenings, I don't do a thing!"              

The portals had a fair share of unusual, eccentric people - palmists, astrologers, 'nadi' readers, face readers, the list is long! The sheer entertainment value and the fun element of such a gathering really lightened one's mood. It helped downplay some of the most intense, fiery discussions and debates on philosophy, religion and spirituality where UG fiercely lambasted iconic figures of yore, tearing them down with vehemence.

This particular incident took place in Bangalore on a weekend in Hridaya Vihar, the home of Chandrasekhar Babu and Suguna.

Over the course of the morning, many friends had gathered to see and hear him. The numbers swelled and spilled into the street.

Everyone was eagerly trying to hang on to his every word that reverberated with such clarity and intensity. UG was seated on his sofa in the living room. Aware that many people were hanging outside, eager to listen, he obliged by raising his voice a few notches! His words now came out ringing loud and clear into the street where we all stood!

There was a sudden lull in the intense discussions that went on inside since morning. UG came out into the portico where many had gathered. His attention caught an elderly gentleman, 'dhoti-clad' with a simple demeanour. UG recognized him instantly. Seeing an opportunity for fun, he quietly led him into the house, "Banni Swami! ( ಬನ್ನಿ ಸ್ವಾಮಿ,'Come in sir’ in Kannada), please read my palm and tell me how much money I will make   ..." 

I learnt from Major standing next to me that the man Hegde sometimes played the role of a palmist in UG theatre. He was from a village in South Canara, the northern district of Karnataka. His son worked as a software engineer in Bangalore. The old man came to visit his son and stayed on for some time. 

The palm-reading sessions were more like UG 'constitutionals' (car rides) that served as a respite from his non-stop talks and discussions. They acted as necessary interludes in an otherwise busy 'UG day'!

Our palmist Hegde couldn’t utter a word in English. He spoke in vernacular Kannada. As I stood watching the drama unfold, UG suddenly came out once again, this time pulling me inside declaring that I would act as the official translator for this session of palm reading.

Hegde sat close to UG and the palm reading began!

Hegde explained that some lines on his right palm suggested that UG had been born in the distant past, he had already completed two lives and the current one was actually his third. And that in one of his past lives, UG was a great Yogi and had attained a very high spiritual state.

UG's second sojourn on the planet, it turned out was more interesting and entertaining!

"Ivaru bahala dodda kallaragiddaru! (ಇವರು ಬಹಳ ದೊಡ್ಡ ಕಳ್ಳರಾಗಿದ್ದರು)” Hegde narrated, which translates to “UG was a big-time robber!” 

There were peals of laughter all around. UG too joined the fun! It was hilarious!

But somewhere inside of me, something exploded! The Vedic chants of Sri Rudram from Yajurveda came flooding back to me! As well as the famous narrative of Robber Kih from Chuang Tzu's classic!

I was suddenly transported to the distant world of Vedas and Taoism! What I heard resonated distinctly with the uncanny wisdom of sages from ancient lands of both India and China.

I resolutely fought back my urge to intervene and narrate my own commentary on the Vedic and Taoist revelations about 'bandits and the kings of bandits'!  But then I decided it would be presumptuous on my part to don the role of a commentator with so many worthies around!

Thinking thus, I suppressed my overwhelming desire to recount ‘the greatness of the chieftain’, as portrayed in the Sri Rudram and the matchless narrative of Robber Kih by the great Chuang Tzu.

I meekly proceeded with the translation.

The exploding fun and laughter evoked by his description of UG as a robber chief did not seem to bother Hegde! He went on with the many capers and exploits of UG as a don!   

This blow by blow account of UG was funny and colourful. And it also raised many eyebrows that day! The palmist said that despite his bizarre calling, UG had shone as a benefactor to many people a la Robin Hood!

In conclusion, Hegde described that UG's current birth was an outstanding one and that multitudes would benefit from his great wisdom and reassured UG that he would continue to sit on oodles of money!

The palm reading ended.

UG thrust a 500 rupee note into Hegdes hand! The palmist waited for more!  Once again UG reached out to Chandrasekhar Babu, grabbed another 500 note and shoved it into his palm. Mighty pleased, the man bade goodbye and left the scene!


Just an aside!

 There is a great revelatory verse in Yajurveda from the most ancient literature known to mankind. This is the third Anuvaka (stanza) of Sri Rudram of Yajurveda Samhita:

नमः॒ सह॑मानाय निव्या॒धिन॑ आव्या॒धिनी॑नां॒ पत॑ये नमो॒ नमः॑ ककु॒भाय॑ निष॒ङ्गिणे॓ स्ते॒नानां॒ पत॑ये॒ नमो॒ नमो॑ निष॒ङ्गिण॑ इषुधि॒मते॑ तस्क॑राणां॒ पत॑ये॒ नमो॒ नमो॒ वञ्च॑ते परि॒वञ्च॑ते स्तायू॒नां पत॑ये॒ नमो॒ नमो॑ निचे॒रवे॑ परिच॒रायार॑ण्यानां॒ पत॑ये॒ नमो॒ नमः॑ सृका॒विभ्यो॒ जिघाग्ं॑सद्भ्यो मुष्ण॒तां पत॑ये॒ नमो॒ नमो॑‌सि॒मद्भ्यो॒ नक्त॒ञ्चर॑द्भ्यः प्रकृ॒न्तानां॒ पत॑ये॒ नमो॒ नम॑ उष्णी॒षिने॑ गिरिच॒राय॑ कुलु॒ञ्चानां॒ पत॑ये॒ नमो॒ नम॒ इषु॑मद्भ्यो धन्वा॒विभ्य॑श्च वो॒ नमो॒ नम॑ आतन्-वा॒नेभ्यः॑ प्रति॒दधा॑नेभ्यश्च वो॒ नमो॒ नम॑ आ॒यच्छ॒॑द्भ्यो विसृ॒जद्-भ्य॑श्च वो॒ नमो॒ नमो‌स्स॑द्भ्यो॒ विद्य॑द्-भ्यश्च वो॒ नमो॒ नम॒ आसी॑नेभ्यः॒ शया॑नेभ्यश्च वो॒ नमो॒ नमः॑ स्व॒पद्भ्यो॒ जाग्र॑द्-भ्यश्च वो॒ नमो॒ नम॒स्तिष्ठ॑द्भ्यो॒ धाव॑द्-भ्यश्च वो॒ नमो॒ नमः॑ स॒भाभ्यः॑ स॒भाप॑तिभ्यश्च वो॒ नमो॒ नमो॒ अश्वे॒भ्यो‌श्व॑पतिभ्यश्च वो॒ नमः॑ ॥ 3 ॥

            In this rare Sanskrit verse, Shiva, the Godhead is described as the Leader of Leaders of every hue and colour! He is seen in the brilliant spark evident in the skill and finesse of even among robbers, gangsters, scamsters, cheaters, tricksters, land grabbers, murderers, highway robbers, looters, brigands, fly-by-night operators, sadists, plunderers of forests and mountains, glib-tongued men, smooth operators etc.

            The Vedic hymn, in a bold voice proclaims that it is the same Consciousness or Energy or Intelligence that lights up and animates every kind of intellect, upright or pervert! The many shades of intellect being the result of one's own background.

Regardless , it is the same life spark that is behind the duke or the crook!

Behind all outward attributes and manifestations of human perfection or perversion, there lies pure Consciousness – the Eternal , Untouched, Uncontaminated, the pure Essence of Life!


Come to think of it, the gang leader or the chieftain is renowned for his strategic skills, he is brilliant in planning and startegising. He has a meticulous eye for detail, an uncanny ability to choose the right person for the right job, call it the Human Resource management at its very best!

He exhibits tremendous ability to motivate his men by leading them by his own example! He instills courage in men by leading from the front! He is the first one to break in during a robbery and the last one to leave the premises thus lionising his men.He shows utter fearlessness but whips up fear in the hearts of opponents.

His matchless leadership qualities are evident in his uncommon understanding and awareness of threats, opportunities. He is completely aware of own flaws and follies as well as those of followers and opponents.

He is endowed with great vision in sustaining and growing his illegitimate empire. There is an utter lack of hypocrisy. There is no mincing of words - he means what he says and says what he means! His empathy is total and complete, he could sacrifice his life to protect that of his followers.

            His statesmanship and financial wisdom is evident in the distribution of plundered wealth or loot. He shares and cares for fellowmen.
                  Rare indeed is a human being where thought, speech and act flow together in unison. A robber-chief or leader is supposed to possess this rarest of rare quality in great measure. Only that he is given to perversion and espouses wrongful ideology! This is imperative in order to run his illegitimate empire or government.


Assuming that the palmist was right in his palm-reading, it comes as no great surprise to those who associated with UG that this brilliant, magnetic personality could very well have sparkled as the prince of thieves!

It takes rich imagination to picture UG as Robin Hood!  He rather comes through as the prince among men, given his qualities of utter fearlessness and immeasurable strength. His exceptional courage or rather utter lack of fear to expose the fraud and falsehood and call the 'spiritual bluff' finds resonance among the daredevilry exhibited by robber chieftains and plunderers of yore!  

“ I am a White Brahmin, of purest ray serene! ” - UG

I just recall this one-off anecdote. UG and Mahesh Bhatt had just returned to Parekhji’s place after their lunch at the Oberoi...