Friday, 6 October 2017

“Where did you meet this ‘monster’?” – Mahesh Bhat

During the early years of my association with UG, once Mahesh Bhat queried me, “Where did you meet this ‘monster’?”

Mahesh’s description of UG was spot on! 

Like a monster, UG could completely ‘devour’ you, especially if you were one of those ‘crazy types’ feverishly looking for answers to life’s problems or hankering after spiritual goals. Once in his field of influence, UG appeared to grow bigger and bigger, like a monster and to engulf you completely!

It was simply not possible to debunk or dismiss UG’s words or actions that falsified (the entity called) ‘you’ at every step. UG relentlessly pointed out that the ‘you’ as you know yourself, is a mere ‘impostor’, a psychological beast foisted upon the physiological entity by human society or culture. And that it has no real basis!


The renowned Sri Narayana Guru from Kerala once visited Sri Ramana Maharshi along with his disciples and stayed on in Tiruvannamalai for a few days. Referring to the Maharshi, he exclaimed that Ramana is indeed ‘the King Cobra’ !

The following anecdote from the life of Sri Ramakrishna captures the real essence of allegory of the King Cobra:

One day I was passing the Panchavati on my way to the pine-grove, I heard a bull frog croaking. I thought it must have been seized by a snake. After some time, as I was coming back, I could still hear its terrified croaking. I looked to see what the matter was, and found that a water-snake had seized it. The snake could neither swallow it nor give it up. So, there was no end to the frog’s suffering. I thought that had it been seized by a cobra, it would have been silenced after three croaks at the most. As it was only a water – snake, both of them had to go through this agony. A man’s ego is destroyed after three croaks, as it were, if he gets into the clutches of a Real Guru.”

In today’s spiritual bazaar, the clueless gurus and their hapless disciples suffer from the agony of painful and exploitative relationships.

The ego of the ‘guru’ is far worse than the ego of the ‘sishya’, both suffer from the burden of bloated egos and self-deceit!


UG perhaps was the ‘monster’ and the ‘king cobra’ rolled into one!

An encounter with UG was like a ‘body blow’ to those hankering after spiritual goals. The impact of the blow decimated the drive in the individual for any further ‘shopping’ or ‘guru hopping’! 

UG struck at the very root of the problem as it were, and ensured that the very search for spiritual ‘goodies’ lost its steam and charm. All our spiritual endeavours turned insipid, irrelevant and redundant in his company.

UG asserted that there will be no (needless) thinking or chattering if one is not wanting or chasing. “Wanting and thinking go together. There is no thinking if there is no wanting.”

Further UG explained, “The ‘self’ is the ‘movement of knowledge’.

Goal is the binding glue that coalesces thoughts into the ‘thinker’, giving it a rock-solid appearance! 

Our goals set the psychological machinery up and running. Goal is a powerful engine that drives the mechanics of ‘becoming’! Goal propels thought, giving it movement, and the ‘movement of thought’ or the ‘movement of knowledge’ creates the illusion of the ‘thinker’ or the ‘self’.

Goal, especially the spiritual kind, is the real culprit. Goal perpetrates thinking. Any pursuit demands tremendous investment of energy and resources. It is a drain on our psychological and biological resources, guzzling away enormous amounts of life energy. 

Children, free from this artificial demand of ‘becoming’ ( the bane of adults), seem to enjoy vast reserves of energy and are full of beans.

UG therefore carefully chose his target and sledgehammered at our ideals and goals, dismantling the very mechanics of ‘becoming’, helping us to go back to the source and to tap into the vast reserves of energy and peace, inherent within our own biology.


Physiological implications of the ‘thought movement’ are well known among scientists in the realm of neuroscience.

[ There are some interesting findings in the field of neuroscience that give us a glimpse of how the brain copes with cognitive or psychological demands.

There are a large number of dendritic 'spines' or finger-like projections at the tip of every nerve cell or neuron. 

These dendritic spines could be in the order of a few thousands to a few hundred thousand per cell. This means that each neuron could effectively link up to and ‘talk to’ hundreds of thousands of neighboring cells and also form connections known as neuronal 'pathways and circuits' in the brain.

The dendritic spines help in forming chain-like connections with adjoining neurons at cell junctions known as ‘synapses’.

There are nearly a hundred billion neurons in the human brain and tens of trillions of synapses.

The neuroscientists point out that whenever there is a cognitive demand on the system, the dendritic spines or fingers actually grow and multiply in huge numbers. Conversely their numbers dwindle when the brain is not really engaged in intense cognitive activities. 

Cognitive load could be anything from learning a new subject or picking up a new skill to an intense psychological activity.

It is said that even routine and ordinary tasks like reading or listening could impact the numbers of 'synaptic connections' and continually reshape the physical brain. This is referred to as the 'plasticity of the brain', brain is ever changing!

Little do we realise that whenever we read, see or hear something, it is having a tremendous impact on our biology!]


In light of the above scientific findings, we could safely assume that chasing after goals sets off the mechanics of ‘psychological becoming’, placing huge demands on brain physiology, requiring the re-deployment of available energy resources.  

In short, all psychological pursuits ‘come at a cost’ to the physical system, and impact and disrupt its internal ‘economy’, resulting in a huge 'energy deficit'.

Once we realise the dangers of ‘becoming’, and the cost of its trade-off on the physical system, we are freed of the illusory goals! 

Unburdened we begin to relax, we then enjoy the mundane and the ordinary, and begin to appreciate life’s little joys and live life more fully!

When every guru, worth his salt, seemed to recommend some goal or other, UG seemed to completely differ! His was a sane and lone voice in the spiritual wilderness that alerted us to the dangers of  false pursuits saving us from a myriad illusions and delusions.

When the King Cobra strikes, is there an escape?


“ 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...