|UG & Dr. KBR (both in white) and Dr.S.S. Raghavachar|
---By Dr. K B Ramakrishna Rao
For all purposes, U G (that is how U G Krishna Murthy is known) is like anyone you may come across. But begin to listen to him, at once you feel that a description ‘extraordinary’ would be simply inadequate. He pronounces, ‘whatever he has said or has been saying is tradition‘. This amazes you. For what of that ‘tradition’, he has spoken? As he talked, you were feeling corroded -- and when he says, it is all tradition you feel he is kidding you. For you have witnessed the uprooting of the ‘tradition’ you had known. And its collapse!
Yes. How can everything that has been or has come into being be 'tradition’?
UG admonishes: ‘No, that is no tradition, that is no authority’.
Then, what is that ‘tradition he says he is speaking of? It is neither old, nor what is believed’. It is the truth that speaks for itself and by itself. Its emergence is not related to time or belief. lt is not corrected by experience, nor perfected through practice and skill. It is not obtained by meditation. It is not a result.
What the sacred scripture (the ‘sastra') has wished to convey, but failed to express, or what it said, but we have failed to grasp, that sprouts here, in UG, with extraordinary power and life. Maybe, what had all along rusted in the course of custom and habit, bursts forth here with a luster, and we are dazzled by its brilliance. We proclaim, ‘how new it is, how refreshing and pure it is!’ In no time we have realised how this ‘tradition’ of U G has exposed all false tradition we have been in and about.
U G is not a ‘person’. He is a 'state'. lt is this ‘state’ which the Vedanta identifies as the ‘Brahman‘ or the ‘Atman‘, or 'Moksha‘ or ‘Ananda’. We do study the Vedanta and the scriptures. We think we have understood the secrets of Vedanta so well taught by the teachers. We are proud of our learning. But we should only ask ourselves, if really we had the experience of the truth or a glimpse of the thing indicated by the sacred lore. We are too prone to dabble in terms and loudly too on several occasions. We speak of those great terms: Atman, Brahman, Sushupti, Turiya etc. Neither having understood their depth nor having grasped their extension. We speak as though they are like concrete things on our work-table—a ‘fait accompli’. But a single encounter with U G will be sufficient to realise how deluded we were about things and concepts. All our storehouse of knowledge is belied in his presence. He will have destroyed our ‘knowledge‘, and pride too!
Is it, then, our learned knowledge and scriptural mastery ignorance of false?
Meet UG and discover for yourself the answer, how to receive it and how not. ‘Lead us from darkness to light’ is our constant prayer. It is for this purpose we put our effort, practise meditation, cultivate austerity. But UG brushes them aside, and decrees: ‘all that leads you from darkness to greater darkness’.
U G says: ‘this State in which l am, was not obtained by all such Sādhana, however sincere it was. For, that is not of the nature of a result. It should happen, and can happen to anybody in spite of endeavour. lt is something far removed from the relationship of cause and effect. And so, l could not obtain it by Sādhana’. We may be surprised at such statements. But they are true we learn in his company. We are taken aback at ﬁrst, but while coming back, we wonder whether all our labour and schooling had not been futile.
But we ponder, and ask ourselves: How could that be admitted? ‘Haven’t we had numberless saints and mystics in our religious history? Haven't they wanted us to do sādhana? Aren't we told that ‘avatars' themselves had descended to lift us up and redeem’? Aren't we told of devotees in scores getting salvation by grace? We ask, aren't these our evidences for accepting the 'way' tradition has decreed, and the 'goal’ it has visualised? We are satisfied, and nurture our hopes and work for our salvation. We continue our search for a Guru and his promises of a heaven, a bliss, a beatitude, till we, again, encounter UG.
He smiles at us, and dashes our dreams! With a calmness that has the strength of Himalayas, he says : ‘All that you need to know and ought to do is just to seek for food and clothing!‘ ‘Beyond that, any pursuit of bliss or beatitude or salvation is will o’-the-wisp!' This is plain talk and we are told that all aspirations of getting an eternal and unchanging bliss or salvation, would be the first blunder. It is like being in one's own home, but seeking outside its address. It is the sign of having missed what you have, but going out in search of something which is not.
Is it, then UG is a rank materialist, an atheist or a positivist?
He is none of these. He is simply a ‘natural man’. He has no ‘theory’ to put forth, and no argument in defense. ‘l am not speaking’, he says, ‘the State is expressing itself’. Yes. His statements have nothing in them of the heat one may find in the dialectic of the pundits engaged in establishing and describing the nature of reality, either as one or many, or as this or that.
There is always a twinkle in U G’s eyes, and his smile beguiles us. He draws us as a magnet would do, and we go. He asks: ‘why have you come here? I cannot do anything for you. Neither can I give, nor can you receive. Get out of here!’ Yet an inexplicable force draws us to him.
If ever we can intuit of what he says, that would be the end of our stay there. That may also be the end of all our seeking, our visits to holy places and holy men! The peculiarity of this ‘magnet’ of U G is, as it draws, so it repels!
Many are caught in to the magnetic web of U G. They lose all awareness of time or surroundings. Hours they sit enraptured and mystiﬁed. How does this happen? Look at him straight. He is a spell, both his form and deport. All our scholarship, wisdom, and knowledge of sciences and scriptures get dumb in his presence.
The most talkative gets mute. And the most argumentative misses his logic. The hair-splitter gets lost. The invincible meets his defeat!
But is it ‘defeat?’ No. That should be ‘victory’! For herein, one has unwittingly stumbled upon something he has been in search for ages, and has been missing all along. It is an ‘accident‘, one which changes. You don’t stay there. You run. All by yourself, towards no ‘goal’, but towards yourself avoiding all mentors who may promise heaven, bliss and all glory!
Is this not new? Is this not strange‘?
UG is not a recluse, nor a sanyasi. He wears no ochre robe. Neither rides on a palanquin with pomp and pageantry. There is no intermediary or a mediator. Many who have gone to meet him, have asked him ‘where is UG?’ Yes, you can even address him by his personal name. This is extraordinary for one expecting to meet a ‘spiritual guru'. But here there is no embarrassment or need to prostrate or address him as Lordship, Holy presence or World teacher. He says, he is none of these. It is rare to come across a man of the type of U G. He is just there, a simple man. You knock, and he opens the door!
Not many have heard of him. And of those who may have heard, not many have met him. It is not enough you meet him, you must be with him—not once, but often, if possible. And what may happen to you, you alone can be your witness! That may be your ‘calamity’ -- not a bad word, indeed, if you come to know what it means in the context of UG.
What is U G's message?
‘Nothing’, says he.
His words are like those of ‘Upanishads'. Many a time you find in what he says reﬂections of the great sears. Yajnavalkya, Aruni, Sanatkumara, the seer of the Mandukya Upanishad come out of him and speak to you. Buddha, Gaudapada and Sankara stand before you. For those who cannot follow U G everything would be inconsistent. But for him who can know, it is all joy, nay, it is fulfillment.
The vision that U G gives is new. Here the philosophy of Self of the Upanishads is reconciled with Buddha's philosophy of No-self: the immutable theory of the real is harmonised with theory of eternal flux. Are not these sets mutually contradictory? The question bothers the follower of the Upanishads, even as it does the opponent. Herein lies the most unique aspect of UG‘s vision. What U G says, the pundit neither can digest, nor reject. Pointing to his chest, U G says ‘There is nothing here called the Atman, but there is Witnesshood. Here there is no agent, but all that is action. There is no subject here, but every object creates it. There is no immortality, but nowhere there is birth or death. There is no mind, and if there is one, it is not different from the body. The mind divides life, but if it unites with life, ‘it illumines and makes it dynamic.’
Such statements naturally bewilder us. Here the ‘tradition’ that we know fails us and logic gets derailed. Yet UG says with a smile: ‘there is nothing that mystifies here, there is no mystery at all!’
U G is akin to an ocean. Of it, if you ask, ‘is it unchanging, static or eternally dynamic?’ he simply says: ‘it is your question, not mine. I am not concerned at all. lt need not even be answered. If you realise the meaninglessness of it, it disappears.’ All this is confusing to us. Yet, it we can intuit the 'state' of U G, in the words of the Upanishad, ‘the unheard becomes heard, and the unknown becomes known.’
UG warns: in this ‘state’ there is no 'religious' content, yet we cannot forget that it is the root of all ‘dharma’ (in its primary sense of an all-bearing and all-sustaining force). He says there is no ‘social’ content in it, yet we see in it the foundation of all social structure and good life. He says, there is no ‘value’ here, yet we cannot deny that all value originates therein, and gets evaluated.
If such is not the truth, we would not have reason to go to U G, nor like to listen to him enraptured. Even though he does not invite any, what reason compels us to go to him?
Is U G a ‘mystic'? Is he a ‘prophet’?
None of these. As he says of himself, he is just a ‘natural man‘, ‘the end product of human evolution.'
Not that we can understand such simple statements. Perhaps never can we understand. The Evolutionist, both the philosophical and the scientific, has something new here to encounter in the description: ‘the end-product of human evolution.’ Does the Evolutionist digest it, or gets dizzy when he does? It is an open question.
Naturally we become curious, and ask: ‘how and when this state occurred?’
And he answers: ‘when all my inherited tradition of history and culture, and all the instruments and institutions that these had fostered broke down in my life.’ And after that he says: ‘l have no biography.’
U G describes it as a strange ‘happening.’ ‘Every cell in my body exploded. Biological and chemical changes took place. A strange awareness came about. What had hitherto been an unnatural life, mistakenly taken for the natural, came to a close. That is the happening of the real Natural State.‘ Of this UG calls a ‘calamity.’ For him the term ‘realisation’ is like a worn out coin, much used and disﬁgured. He does not use it.
What the jnanin, the yogin, the tapasvin craves for, but fails to get, is that Primordial State, which UG calls the ‘Natural State.‘ How can we understand him who is in that State? Does he help us‘? He says, 'no'! But we hear him saying. ‘it is unique, peerless, deathless and birthless. It is no effect, has no cause. That is no bondage, nor even freedom. It is a divisionless awareness, a witnesshood.'
Again, you ask him, for you are enchanted: ‘how to know it, how to be it‘? UG repeats: ‘I do not know myself, I cannot teach. It is a state of not-knowing. To know, and to make one know I have no means with me!' Is it helplessness, or is it the uniqueness of the ‘state’, which does not admit of communication'?
If one who is in that ‘state’ were to say what is said, does it not strike us queer or crazy? No, for that is the very logic of it, as the Upanishad says:
‘How to know that, by which everything is known? How to know the Knower?’
( Reproduced from the Article published by Manasa Gangotri on 20-03-1978 by Dr. KB Ramakrishna Rao.
Dr. Rao hosted UG regularly in Mysore in the late '70s and also was instrumental in introducing UG to many a friend in Mysore and Bangalore.
Article Courtesy: Dr. Narayana Moorty, Montery, California)