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 :: )

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!  

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

"You will never know what a Euro is ! " - UG

Mahesh & UG

Mahesh Bhatt narrated this incident with UG from Switzerland.
Once UG thrust a Euro in his face and queried, "Mahesh, what does this mean to you?"
There was an interlude while Mahesh was caught up trying to figure out the equivalent of Euro in terms of Indian Rupee.
Shortly UG intervened, "Mahesh, you will never know what a Euro is! You only know the Rupee, so you will try to understand Euro in terms of what you know!
This is true of whatever I am saying ! You will only translate what I am saying into what you already know, which is nothing but your background. There is no such thing as understanding, there is only translation going on there!"
UG’s oft repeated words were: “There is no such thing as understanding, there is no understanding possible, no understanding is necessary!”
This rhymes with his quote on communication!
Elsewhere UG clarified, “Understanding is nothing but clarification of thought.”
UG, after the Calamity (the death process in 1967), freed from the burden of knowledge, brought in a rare clarity to bear upon words like 'understanding' in light of his uncluttered perception.
Understanding, UG said is nothing but ‘ hashing & rehashing of thought’, basically ordering or reordering of thought, a clarification process that finally throws up a recognizable pattern connected to the past.  
Understanding or clarification is essential, even necessary in the domain of technical knowledge. This will help us in learning a new technique or appreciate the working of a computer but it becomes utterly futile when employed for grasping life or its problems like love, hatred, jealousy.

“ 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...