Tuesday, 30 May 2017

"CLARIFICATION (of thought) strengthens and fortifies the very thing that you want to be free from!" - UG.

UG discussing with friends ( Gstaad ) Courtesy: Julie Clark Thayer
The autobiographical 'self' perhaps is concretised through clarification, ideas, belief and conviction.
There is no doubt clarity is essential in matters of function and operation of the living entity within the framework of society (social environment), to learn a technique and to earn a livelihood and in all technical matters and for purposes of survival.
But clarity of thought in 'matters of mind' (psychological domain) could be dangerous as it only hardens the person (the autobiographical self), perpetuates dogmas, doctrines and ideologies….sowing the seeds of division and destruction.
Everyone's clarity is unique and coloured by his or her background and hence collective clarity is a myth!
Sagely life seems like instant action born of situation and not premeditated or clarified or coloured thought....as explicated by UG.

Friday, 19 May 2017

“You are restless because……” –UG


 UG with baby Sirisha, Mumbai 2003 (Courtesy: Trisha)


Life provided me with great opportunities to interact with and observe firsthand many a spiritual guide. But amongst all the gurus, UG stood apart as the one and only one who wanted nothing from anyone whatsoever! He touched many lives but was himself untouched by sentiments or gratitude. He remained fiercely independent and allowed no relationship to sully his freedom and stuck to his credo of “un-complaining, uncompromising self-reliance.”

As was his wont UG wanted an anonymous death and chose the able Mahesh Bhatt to dispose of his physical remains without any ceremony or song. And remained self-effacing to the very end!

In his relentless travels, discussions, interactions for decades, with thousands of individuals, UG simply and matter-of-factly gifted away his unique, extraordinary observations about Life whereas lesser mortals would have founded a whole empire based on this wisdom!

UG’s talks and discussions were indeed a commentary on Life and Society, on ‘problems of living’, on human saga, on hope, fear and expectation! Deeply original and unburdening!

****

In my profession as a trainer, I sometimes enjoy the privilege of hosting an interesting workshop, “The Human Factors in Aviation”. This is a tremendous opportunity to cut through layers of baggage and meet people firsthand. Here we interact freely discussing the various aspects of biology and psychology in light of the latest findings from science. We work together to peek into the serious limitations of biology that affect our functioning and performance while we perform our jobs as airline crew and we also look at the various aspects of psychology that affect our teamwork like misconceptions, prejudices and notions imposed on us by culture and communities!

One of the questions that pops up very often during our workshops is on empathy, “What is the greatest gift that you can give to a fellow human being?”

Answers are aplenty…..love, advice, service, support and so on! But inevitably, in every workshop, we unanimously agree that the greatest gift to a fellow human is “Time!”

Giving time to someone is giving a piece of one’s heart, nay it is giving oneself!

UG kept his doors always open to anyone who wanted his time, round the clock, all round the year, wherever he stayed!

To borrow an IT phrase, UG was ‘platform-agnostic’ (pun intended) and remained accessible to one and all! A sincere and earnest heart was all that was needed to get his time!

****

Before bouncing into UG, my previous encounters with spiritual guides exposed me to the frivolous nature of questions! My previous guru Rayaru did help me to be firmly grounded rather than indulge in questions and answers, the be-all and end-all of empty intellectual debates and discourses! Once my tenacious relationship with Rayaru came to an end, thanks to UG, I was yearning to be a normal, ordinary human all over again! I made every effort to stay away from anything even remotely spiritual! I was ‘almost’ free from the greed of seeking answers to questions on Life and God that had nudged me into the spiritual realm in the first place!

Right at the very beginning, I made honest attempt not to repeat my blunder- to make UG into my new guru, a new crutch, yet another perennial dependency!

A few months after my first encounter with UG, I once left my room to be with UG on learning that he was again in Bangalore.

Halfway into the journey, I was hit by a sudden thought, “Why are you making UG into your new crutch? Is this the right thing to do? You are beginning to embark on another guru-shishya relationship that you loathed all this while? Why fall back on a new crutch, however noble and well meaning?”

I stopped my bike then and there, right in front of a coffee shop and walked in for a cuppa! After a refreshing coffee, I felt lighter and was about to scoot off to my room. Now an equally strong thought struck me hard, “What is the problem now? You are clear that you don’t want to make UG into a crutch! Fine, why not just see him for what he is? He has been so very kind and courteous to you all the time! At least go say hello, why are you so stubborn?”

I changed my plan again and proceeded straight to Poornakuti. UG was all affection as he welcomed me with his charming smile!

****

UG stayed in Santacruz West in Parekhji’s place during his visits to Bombay. Since my workplace was in Santacruz East, I could spend time in his company before and after my office hours. UG was stationed so conveniently so I could see him as well as attend my office! Life it seems always conspires to help you if you really yearn deeply! Sometimes I applied leave to be with him for a few days at a stretch. At times I paid visits during my office hours and spent the whole day with him. UG would immediately know this and jokingly remark about my ‘French Leave’! There was hardly anything that you could hide from this man!

That summer day was hot and humid! I had met up with UG in the morning before proceeding to office.

Everything was fine till noon! Then out of the blue, something hit me hard!

I suddenly began to feel restless! However hard I tried, I couldn’t figure out why I had become restless!

“Why this restlessness, why this unease, this disquiet?” I asked myself.

With UG constantly knocking off our ‘seeking’, seriously there was no searching or seeking inside of me, I didn’t want anything at the intellectual level at least!

Then why this unrest, this disturbance?

The question began to haunt me no end!

I resisted the idea of going to UG initially, but when the restlessness became unbearable, I slipped out of office and started walking in the hot summer sun towards UG’s place!

I had to walk several kilometers before reaching Parekhji’s house, nothing mattered to me except the answer for my deep unrest!

As I knocked on UG’s door, Dr. Patel, a famous homeopath from Vile Parle opened the door. There was Pratap Karvatji, the only other guest. The house was quiet. Mahesh Bhatt called up to say that he was unable to visit till late evening, UG replied, “Thank you mister for leaving us alone! We don’t want any more people hanging around here!”

As I sat at a distance from UG listening to a discussion about doctors and medicine, I felt deeply disturbed and restless for some unknown reason!

There was now a long pause. Everyone sat silently!

I wanted an answer for my restless state and taking the opportunity threw my question at UG. This was my first and only question to UG in all of my fifteen years of association that was born of a genuine necessity to solve a personal crisis! Others were routine questions, there was no real ‘hunger’ to seek solutions!

“Sir, why this restless(ness, when I don’t want anything)……? ”

UG pounced on it even as I started the question not even giving me a half chance to complete it!

“You are restless because of the knowledge that you have put in there! Knowledge is the garbage of centuries of human thought, culture! Your knowledge is making you restless, knowledge is a disturbance to biology, and it disturbs the tremendous inner peace!”

UG looked fierce! True to his fame as ‘the sage in rage’ continued on,

“Look here! If you want Brahman, you will be out there on the street! You will be stripped of everything….Yes, everything will be taken away from you! You will be left there like a beggar!”

The half-question had triggered off a torrential downpour. After all, there was more to it than simple restlessness!

Seeking or quest obviously is a much deeper and sometimes unconscious disturbance!

UG’s shock treatment not only highlighted the dangers of knowledge but also of noblest of cravings including that of Brahma Jnan!

****


“ 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...