No Way Out/Chapter 2

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Happy Accident
No one is there to put it all together.
All the king's horses all the king's men can never put U.G. back together again.

Q-1: Is there any such thing as your own experience?

UG: Whatever you experience has already been experienced by someone else. Your telling yourself, "Ah! I am in a blissful state," means that someone else before you has experienced that and has passed it on to you. Whatever may be the nature of the medium through which you experience, it is a second-hand, third-hand, and last-hand experience. It is not yours. There is no such thing as your own experience. Such experiences, however extraordinary, aren't worth a thing.

Q-1: But we get caught up with that idea.

UG: The experience is you.

Q-2: We want to know what truth is. We want to know what enlightenment is.

UG: You already know it. Don't tell me that you don't. There is no such thing as truth at all.

Q-1: I don't know.

UG: You can only say that there is a logically ascertained premise called truth and you can write a book, "My Quest for Truth," like your ex-president Radhakrishnan.

Q-2: But you had this search. Was it real? You also didn't know what it was about.

UG: My case was quite different.

Q-1: How is that?

UG: I was thrown into that environment. I was surrounded by all those religious people. I had spent all my formative years in the milieu of the Theosophical Society. I didn't have anything to do with my own blood relatives. The only people that I knew were the leaders of the Theosophical society. The old man Mr. J.Krishnamurti was part of my background. I did not go to him. In every room of our house we had photos of J.Krishnamurti, beginning from his ninth or tenth year till he was, I don't know how old. I disliked the photos of all the gods and goddesses.

Q-1: You mean that was the background which made you what you are today?

UG: No, no. I am saying that despite all that, whatever happened to me has happened. It seems a miracle. That is the reason why I emphasize without a shadow of doubt, that whatever has happened to me can happen to a con man, to a rapist, to a murderer, or to a thief. All of them have as much a chance as, if not a better one than, all these spiritual people put together. Don't ask me the question, "Was the Buddha a rapist, or Jesus something else?" That's not an intelligent question.

Q-2: Coming back to your earlier statement — what is it that you did in pursuance of your goal?

UG: You give me a list of all the saints, sages, and saviors of mankind. Then, look at their lives and look at what they did. I did everything they did. Nothing happened. I knew what it was all about. I was interested in finding out whether there was anything to all those teachers, from the very beginning of our times. I found out that they conned themselves and conned every one of us. Was there anything to their experience which they wanted to share with the world?

Q: What do you think?

UG: Nothing. They were all phonies. Don't ask me, "Could they all be phonies?" and "Why did they last for so long?" The Ivory soap or Pears soap in the United States is celebrating its 100th year. The fact that it lasted for a hundred years does not mean that there is anything to it. This certainty that they were all false, and that their teachings falsified me, is something which I cannot transmit to anyone. It is your problem. As I said this morning, I had this hunger, I had this thirst. Nothing satisfied my hunger and nothing satisfied my quest. You know, the old man [J. Krishnamurti] and I thrashed out everything for thirty days, whenever he could find time. We used to go for walks. I met him toward the end of my association with the Theosophical Society.

Q2: For some years he was close to you.

UG: No, no. I wanted to find out whether there was anything to him. He was saying something on the platform. Toward the end I asked him a question, "What do you have behind all the abstractions you are throwing at me and others? Is there anything?" (That was my way of dealing with problems.) I listened to him every time he came to Madras. But I didn't swallow any of his words. Then the encounter came about in a very strange way. We thrashed it out. I told him, "Look here, as far as thought is concerned, it has reached its acme in India. You can't even hold a candle before those mighty thinkers that India has produced. What is it that you have? I want an answer." But then we didn't get along. I said to myself, "You are nowhere. What the hell are you doing here?" I didn't want to waste my time. So I told the old man, "You can give your time to anyone who you think will be helped by you." And that finished the whole thing. That was in 1953. I never saw him afterwards.

Q2: Sir, does all this [U.G.'s search and his `calamity'] mean that there was a certain programming?

UG: If there is one, you have to rule out all such things as mutation, and radical transformation. I ruled those out because I didn't find anything there to be transformed. There was no question of mutation of mind, radical or otherwise. It is all hogwash. But it is difficult for you to throw all this stuff out of your system. You can also deny it and brush it aside, but this, "May be there is something to it" lasts for a long time. When once you stumble into a situation that you can call `courage' you can throw the entire past out of yourself. I don't know how this has happened. What has happened is something which cannot but be called an act of courage, because everything, not only this or that particular teacher you had been involved with, but everything that every man, every person, thought, felt, and experienced before you, is completely flushed out of your system. What you are left with is the simple thing — the body with its extraordinary intelligence of its own.

When I went to school I studied everything, including Advaita Vedanta. Vedanta was my special subject for my Masters in philosophy. Very early during my studies I arrived at the conclusion that there is no such a thing as mind at all.

There was a well-known professor of psychology at the University of Madras, Dr. Bose. Just a month before my final examinations, I went to him and asked him the question, "We have studied all these six schools of psychology, this, that, and the other, exhaustively, but I don't see in all this a place for the `mind' at all." (At that time I used to say that "Freud is the stupendous fraud of the Twentieth Century." The fact that he has lasted for a hundred years does not mean anything.) So my problem was that I did not see any mind. So I asked my professor, "Is there a mind?" The only honest fellow that I have met in my life was not any of those holy men but that professor. He said that if I wanted my Master's degree I should not ask such uncomfortable questions. He said, "You would be in trouble. If you want your postgraduate degree, repeat what you have memorized and you will get a degree. If you don't want it, you explore the subject on your own." So I said, "Goodbye." I did not take my examination. I was lucky because at that time I had a lot of money, and I told him that I had four times the income of what he had as professor of psychology. I told him that I could survive with all this money and walked out of the whole business.

But my suspicion [about the mind] persisted for a long time. You see, you cannot be free from all this so easily. You get a feeling, "May be the chap [whoever is talking about the mind] knows what he is talking about. He must have something." Looking back, the whole thing was a stupendous hoax. I told J. Krishnamurti that he was a stupendous hoax of the twentieth century along with Freud. I told him, "You see, you have not freed yourself from this whole idea of messiahs and Theosophy." He could not come out clean from the whole thing.

If you think that he is the greatest teacher of the Twentieth Century, all right, go ahead, good luck to you. You are not going to have all these transformations, radical or otherwise. Not because I know your future, but because there is nothing there to be transformed, really nothing. If you think there is, and think that plum will fall into your stretched palm, good luck to you. What is the point of my telling you?

There is no such thing as enlightenment. So whether Rajneesh is enlightened or some other joker is enlightened is irrelevant. It is you who assumes that somebody is, whoever he is. Good luck to you! Somebody coming and telling me, "That I am" is a big joke. There is nothing to this whole nonsense. I have heard that there is a course in the United States: if you want enlightenment in twenty-four hours they charge you one thousand dollars and if you want it within a week, five hundred dollars, and so on.

Q2: Why did you talk about Krishnamurti?

UG: It came up, you know. I looked at him, this J.K. freak, sitting here.

Q2: It seems not relevant.

UG: What is relevant ? Tell me. Are you a Krishnamurti freak or what?

Q2: Not exactly.

UG: Then it is no problem. What does it matter, whether I discuss the prime minister of India or J. Krishnamurti? You know, I express what I think of that man.

Q1: Why don't you keep quiet?

UG: Here with all these people around me? Noisy people and noisy things going on around me...?

Q1: Can you feel the thoughts of people?

UG: Just the way you feel humidity. [Laughter] I cannot decode and translate everything. If I could, you would be in trouble. I am ready to discuss any subject you want. I have opinions on everything from disease to divinity. So I can discuss any subject. In America I always start with health food. That is the obsession there. When you don't have faith in anything, food becomes your obsession in life. So what do we do ?

Q1: So you say that the mind doesn't exist. What does exist?

UG: This [pointing to himself] is just a computer.

Q1: What difference does it make whether you call it a computer or the mind?

UG: If you want to use that word, it is fine with me. The mind is (not that I am giving a new definition) the totality of man's experiences, thoughts, and feelings. There is no such thing as your mind or my mind. I have no objection if you want to call that totality of man's thoughts, feelings, and experiences by the name `mind'. But how they are transmitted to us from generation to generation is the question. Is it through the medium of knowledge or is there any other way by which they are transmitted from generation to generation, say for example, through the genes? We don't have the answers yet. Then we come to the idea of memory. What is man? Man is memory. What is that memory? Is it something more than just to remember, to recall a specific thing at a specific time? To all this we have to have some more answers. How do the neurons operate in the brain? Is it all in one area?

The other day I was talking to a neurosurgeon, a very young and bright fellow. He said that memory, or rather the neurons containing memory, are not in one area. The eye, the ear, the nose, all the five sensory organs in your body have a different sort of memory. But they don't yet know for sure. So we have to get more answers. As I see it, everything is genetically controlled. That means you don't have any freedom of action. This is not what we have been taught in India — the fatalistic philosophy. When you say that there is no freedom of action, it means that you have no way of acting except through the help of the knowledge that is passed on to you. It is in that sense, I said, no action is possible without thought. Any action that is born out of thought which belongs to the totality of knowledge is a protective mechanism. It is protecting itself. It is a self-perpetuating mechanism. You are using it all the time. Every time you experience anything through the help of that knowledge, the knowledge is further strengthened and fortified. So every time you experience greed and condemn it you are adding to its momentum. You are not dealing with the actual greed, anger or desire. You are only interested in using them. Take, for example, desirelessness. You want to be free from desire. But you are not dealing with desire but only with the idea of `how to be free from desire'. You are not dealing with something that is living there. Whatever is there or happening there cannot be false. You may not like it and may condemn it because it doesn't fit into your social framework. The actions born out of the desire may not fall into the society's framework which accepts certain actions as socially acceptable and certain others as anti-social. But you are concerned only about values. You are concerned about grappling with or fighting that which you condemn. Such a concern is born out of culture, society, norms, or whatever. The norms are false and they are falsifying you. ....

Q2: What is the way of making this system, let us say for convenience, `mind', more efficient?

UG: Why, it is already efficient.

Q2: We would like it to be more efficient.

UG: By trying to do that you are only sharpening the instrument. That instrument [thought] is useful in achieving certain results which are outside the field of living.

Q2: Is the mind itself outside the field of living?

UG: It is all dead. It can deal with only ideas or thoughts which are actually dead.

Q2: Say there are two cities and a river in the middle. These two cities have to communicate, and we have to build a bridge.

UG: Yes, you already have the technical know-how.

Q2: No. We don't.

UG: You don't have, but someone else can give it to you.

Q2: Suppose no one gives it.

UG: Then, you don't bother about that. We don't discuss hypothetical situations. Who the original man was, how did he get this idea — whether it was by trial and error — we don't bother about all that. The demand to cross over to the other side because there is a rich land there is a kind of drive — the drive for survival. That drive is an extension of this survival mechanism that already exists in nature. You don't have to teach dogs, cats, pigs, and other wild animals, how to search for food, eat and survive. All our activity is nothing but an extension of the same survival mechanism. But in this process we have succeeded in sharpening that instrument. With the help of that instrument we are able to create everything that we are so proud of — progress, this, that, and the other. You may be able to put this record player together and take it apart. This kind of knowledge can be transmitted from one person to another. But the problems which we are interested in solving — the day-to-day problems, living with someone else, or living in this world — are the living problems. They are different every time. We would like to treat them on a par with mechanical problems and use that knowledge and experience [coming from dealing with the mechanical problems] to resolve problems of living. But it doesn't seem to work that way. We cannot pass on these experiences to others. It doesn't help. Your own experiences don't always help you. You tell yourself, for example, "If I had this experience ten years ago, my life would have been different." But ten years hence you will be telling yourself exactly the same thing, "If I had this experience ten years ago, ...." But we are now at this point and your past experiences cannot help you to resolve your problems. The learning concerning mechanical problems is useful only in that area and not in any other. But in the area of life we don't learn anything. We simply impose our mechanical knowledge on the coming generations and destroy the possibility of their dealing with their problems in their own way.

The other day I met somebody, a leader. I don't know him. He had come straight from some university. He said, "We have to help the coming generation." He said that the future belongs to the young generation. I told him, "What the hell are you talking about? Why do you want them to prepare to face their future? We have made a mess of this world so far, and you want to pass this mess on to the younger generation. Leave them alone. If they make a mess of the whole thing, they will pay the price. Why is it your problem today? They are more intelligent than us." Our children are more intelligent than us. First of all, we are not ready to face that situation. So we force them into this mold. But it doesn't help them.

The living organism and thought are two different things. Thought cannot conceive of the possibility of anything happening outside the field of time. I don't want to discuss time in a metaphysical sense. I mean by time yesterday, tomorrow, and the day after. The instrument which has produced tremendous results in this area [of time] is unable to solve problems in the area of living. We use this instrument to achieve material results. We also apply the same thing to achieve our so-called spiritual goals. It works here but it doesn't work there. Whether it is materialistic goals or spiritual goals, the instrument we are using is matter. Therefore, the so-called spiritual goals are also materialistic in their value and in their results. I don't see any difference between the two. I haven't found any spirit there. The whole structure which we have built on the foundation of the assumed `self' or `spirit', therefore, collapses.

What is mind? You can give a hundred definitions. It is just a simple mechanical functioning. The body is responding to stimuli. It is only a stimulus-responding mechanism. It does not know of any other action. But through the translation of stimulus in terms of human values, we have destroyed the sensitivity of the living organism. You may talk of the sensitivity of the mind and the sensitivity of your feeling towards your fellow beings. But it doesn't mean a thing.

Q2: But there must be some sensitivity without a stimulus.

UG: What I am talking about is the sensitivity of sensory perceptions. But what you are concerned with is sensuality. They are different things. The sensory activity of the living organism is all that exists. Culture has superimposed on it something else which is always in the field of sensuality. Whether it is a spiritual experience or any other experience, it is in the field of pleasure. So the demand for permanence is really the problem. The moment a sensation is translated as a pleasurable one there is already a problem. The translation is possible only through the help of knowledge. But the body rejects both pain and pleasure for the simple reason that any sensation that lasts longer than its natural duration is destroying the sensitivity of the nervous system. But we are interested only in the sensual aspect of the sensory activity.

Q1: When you refer to `we' whom do you mean?

UG: Because we are using the word `we', you are asking me the questions, "Who is the `we'?" "What is the entity that is using it?" etc. This is only a self-perpetuating mechanism, and it is maintaining its continuity. When I say `self', I don't mean the `self' in the sense in which we normally use the word. It is more like a self-starter in a car. It is perpetuating itself through this repetitive process.

Q2: What is an example of sensitivity?

UG: There is no sensitivity other than the sensitive nervous system responding to stimuli. So, if you are concerned or preoccupied with the sensitivity of anything else, you are blurring the sensory activity. The eyes cannot see, but the moment you see, the translation of sensory perceptions comes into operation. There is always a space between perception and memory. Memory is like sound. Sound is very slow, whereas light travels faster. All these sensory activities or perceptions are like light. They are very fast. But for some reason we have lost the capacity to kick that [memory] into the background and allow these things to move as fast as they occur in nature. Thought comes, captures it [the sensory perception], and says that it is this or that. That is what you call recognition, or naming, or whatever you want to call it. The moment you recognize this as the tape recorder, the name `tape recorder' also is there. So recognition and naming are not two different things. We would like to create a space between them and believe that these two are different things. As I said earlier, the physical eye by itself has no way of translating the physical perception into the framework of your knowledge.

Q2: Can this naming be postponed for sometime?

UG: What do you want to postpone it for? What do you want to achieve by that? I am describing the functioning of sensory perception. Physiologists talk about this as a response to a stimulus. But the fact that this particular response is for that particular stimulus is something which cannot be experienced by you. It is one unitary movement. Response cannot be separated from the stimulus. It is because they are inseparable that we can do nothing to prevent the possibility of the knowledge about past experiences coming into operation before the sensory perceptions move from one thing to another.

Q2: Why do you use a vague word like `mind'? All that we are referring to is the brain like any other organ of the body. Why should we create another word?

UG: Because it has become a bugbear for many people — "peace of mind," "control of mind," etc.

Q2: You first create the mind and then start pouring it out. UG: We invent what is called a thoughtless state or an effortless state, I don't know for what reason. Why one should be in an effortless state is beyond me. But to be in an effortless state or to act effortlessly we use effort. That's absurd. We don't seem to have any way of putting ourselves into a thoughtless state except through thought.

Q1: Do you mean to say that the word is the thing.

UG: It makes no difference. I don't want to indulge in this frivolity that the word is not the thing. If the word is not the thing what the hell is it? Without the word you have no way of experiencing anything at all. Without the word you are not separate from whatever you are looking at or what is going on inside of you. The word is the knowledge. Without that knowledge you don't even know whether it is pain or pleasure that you experience, whether it is happiness or unhappiness, whether it is boredom or its opposite. We really don't know what is going on there. Using the expression, "What is going on there" itself implies that you already have captured that within the framework of your experiencing structure and distorted it.

Q2: Sir, is not the word a superimposition on the comprehension of a thing?

UG: Is there any comprehension?

Q2: Suppose I comprehend, and then there is a word — `U.G. Krishnamurti'. First I comprehend and then there is a superimposition through a word?

UG: What do you mean? You have to explain. That is too difficult a word for me — `comprehend'. You can produce a simpler word for me. I am not with you.

Q2: If my eyes take you in comprehending ....

UG: Then, what you are saying is something which cannot be experienced by you.

Q2: No. it is not for the purpose of being liberated or controlled. It just happens.

UG: You can't even assert that it just happens. There are no two things there. As far as the eye is concerned it does not even know that it is looking.

Q2: I cannot decide what I am going to see.

UG: You are not the one that is operating the camera. The thoughts which we are talking about don't originate there. No action of yours is self-generated. The problem is really with the language. We can manage with three hundred basic words.

Q2: Even less....

UG: Even less. Children can express all emotions. If they can't use words, they are able to express their emotions so beautifully, in simple ways. Their whole bodies express their joy, each in a different way. But we are proud of the words we use because for us they are instruments of power. For us knowledge is power. "I know, and you don't know." That gives you power. There is no such thing as knowledge for knowledge's sake. It is good to write an essay on knowledge for knowledge's sake or art for the sake of art. Is there beauty? What is beauty ? Only when it is framed, you call it beauty. It is thought that frames something, the nature of which we really don't know. To use your word, there is no way of comprehending. We don't even know what is going on there.

Q2: Or when the experience is over ....

UG: No, no. That line I am very familiar with [Laughs]: "While you are experiencing the thing you are not aware of it." That is a copybook maxim. But that's not true.

Q2: You know when you use the phrase `not true'....

UG: What do you want me to say?

Q2: There has to be something on the basis of which you judge that this is not true. That is where the difficulty starts....

UG: It is not a value judgment. `Nice', `horrible', `detestable' — we have plenty of these words. There is no need for any adjectives and adverbs. There is no need even for a verb. It is the verb that creates a problem. For purposes of communication we have to rely upon words. But when I say, "He is a nasty fellow," it is not a value judgment but a descriptive sentence. That is the way you describe or fit the actions of that individual into the framework of nastiness. I have to use that word, but it is not a value judgment in my case. Not that I am placing myself on a higher or superior level. "What is the good man good for?" — I don't know. Maybe for society a good man is a useful citizen, and for a bad man a good man is good because he can exploit him. But as far as I am concerned what a good man is good for I wouldn't know. The problem with language is, no matter how we try to express ourselves, we are caught up in the structure of words. There is no point in creating a new language, new lingo to express anything. There is nothing there to be expressed except to free yourself from the stranglehold of thought. And there is nothing that you can do to free yourself either through any volition of yours or through any effort of yours.

Q: But we have to understand.

UG: What is there to understand? To understand anything we have to use the same instrument that is used to understand this mechanical computer that is there before me. Its workings can be understood through repeatedly trying to learn or operate it. You try again and again. If it doesn't work, there is someone who can tell you how to operate it, take it apart and put it together. You yourself will learn through a repetitive process — how to change this, improve this, modify this, and so on and so forth. This instrument [thought] which we have been using to understand has not helped us to understand anything except that every time you are using it you are sharpening it. Someone asked me, "What is philosophy? How does it help me to live in this day-to-day existence?" It doesn't help you in any way except that it sharpens the instrument of the intellect. It doesn't in any way help you to understand life. If that [thought] is not the instrument, and if there is no other instrument, then is there anything to understand? `Intuitive perception' or `intuitive understanding' is only a product of the same instrument. The understanding that there is nothing to understand, nothing to get, somehow dawned on me. I was seriously wanting to understand. Otherwise I would not waste forty-nine years of my life. But when once this understanding that there is nothing to understand somehow dawned on me, the very demand to be free from anything, even from the physical demands, was not there any more. But how this happened to me I really wouldn't know. So there is no way I can share this with you, because it is not in the area of experiencing things.

Q2: How do you place those people who don't have this burden of trying to understand life but are just living in the world? How do you place them?

UG: Whether you are interested in moksha, liberation, freedom, transformation, you name it, or you are interested in happiness without one moment of unhappiness, pleasure without pain, it's the same thing. Whether one is here in India or in Russia or in America or anywhere, what people want is to have one [happiness] without the other [unhappiness]. But there is no way you can have one without the other. This demand is not in the interests of the survival of this living organism. There is an extraordinarily alert, and alacritous quality to it [the organism]. The body is rejecting all sensations. Sensations have a limited life; beyond a particular duration the body cannot take them. It is either throwing them out or absorbing them. Otherwise they destroy the body. The eyes are interested in seeing things but not as beauty; the ears hear things but not as music. The body does not reject a noise because it is the barking of a dog or braying of an ass. It just responds to the sound. If you call it a response to the sound, then we get into trouble. So you don't even know that it is a sound. Anything that is harsh, anything that would destroy the sensitivity of the nervous system, the body cuts out. It is like a thermostat. To some extent the body has a way of saving itself from heat, cold, or anything that is inimical to it. It takes care of itself for a short period, and then thought helps you to take the next step to cover yourself, or to move yourself away from the dangerous situation you find yourself in. You will naturally move away from the cement mixer that is making a loud noise and is destroying the sensitivity of your nervous system. The fear that you would be destroyed because the sound is bad, or that you will become a nervous wreck, and so on and so forth, is part of your paranoia.

Q2: Sir, is there a state in which you just receive without reacting?

UG: There is only reaction and you are reacting. If the reaction is not there, it is a different matter. Unfortunately, it seems to be there all the time. That is why you are asking the question. But the response that I am talking about is something which cannot be experienced by you at all. If I say that the response to a stimulus is spontaneous and that it is a pure action, then that action is no action at all in any ordinary sense of the word. It is one unitary movement. It [the response] cannot be separated [from the stimulus]. The moment you separate them [the stimulus and the response] and say that this is the response to that stimulus, you have brought the element of reaction into the picture already. Let us not fool ourselves that there is a spontaneous action, pure action, and all that kind of nonsense.

Q2: I have two questions, Sir. One, assuming that a cat has a computer, though a smaller one, and I have a bigger one, what else is the basic difference....

UG: Your computer is more complex and complicated. Evolution implies the simple becoming complex. They say that the brain power of all the ants in an ant-hill is much more than the brain power of a human being. Whatever that is there in the human body is the result of what has been passed on from one species to another. We use thought not only for our self-aggrandizement but we also use it to destroy, for no reason, other species of life around us. Physical fear is totally different from the fear of losing what you have, the fear of not getting what you want. You call this psychological fear.

So, the simple becomes complex. We don't even know if there is any such thing as evolution. We rule out spiritual evolution. Those who assumed that there is such a thing as spirit or soul or center, or whatever you want to call it, say that it also goes through the evolutionary process and perfects itself. And for that you have to take one birth after another. I don't know how many births there may be, 84 million, or god knows what the figure is.

Q2: Coming back to the question that a cat has a smaller computer and I have a more complex computer....

UG: Basically, they both operate in exactly the same way.

Q2: Looking from the cat's point of view now....

UG: I don't know how the cat looks at it. The cat can look at the king, whoever told the story, but we dare not look at the king, you see. [Laughter]

Q2: Don't put up those restrictions yourself....

UG: I don't know. It is an assumption on our part like any other assumption or speculation about how the cat looks. I say sometimes that when I look at something, it is like a cat or a dog looking at things....

Q2: What is the difference?

UG: I don't see any difference.

Q2: There is none.

UG: There is none.

Q2: There isn't any difference except the differences we create. Then we get into them.

UG: That's what I am saying.

Q2: Yes, I agree with you.

UG: I don't know for sure how a cat looks at me. Outwardly, the cat looks at me and I look at the cat or at anything else the same way. There is not even looking, you see, if it comes to that. Is there a looking without a looker? Is there any seeing without a seer? I don't use those words in a metaphysical sense. Is there a seeing without a seer? There is no seeing even. `What is going on?' — the very question is absurd. We want to know everything, and that's our problem.

Q2: You must create a problem to solve it.

UG: Yes, but you can survive without that knowing.

Q2: That is what I was coming to.

UG: We can survive. All the species have survived for millions of years, and we have evolved out of them. Without them probably we wouldn't be here today. So why this demand to know?

Q1: To know what?

UG: To know that you are happy, that you are bored, that you are not free, that you are enlightened or not enlightened, that you cannot have pleasure all the time — the whole lot. Even the demand to know, "How did you stumble into this?" is the same. You want to know the cause. You want to know what I did or what I did not do. You see, you are trying to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between the two. You do this for the simple reason that you want `that' to happen to you.

Your background is completely and totally different from my background. Somebody was saying that my background, my life story is very dramatic. But your background is equally dramatic. The impossibility of what is there to express itself is really the problem. What is it that is making it impossible? What prevents the uniqueness, which is the end product of millions and millions of years [of evolution], to express itself? It [the mind] is just two thousand years old. It is too silly to think that it is going to succeed. It is not going to succeed. You don't go about calling yourself unique. I don't go around the world telling everyone that I am a unique man. No, not in that sense. But you are unique. The two uniques don't even bother to compare how unique they are. I have to use that word uniqueness because it is really unique. Even two human bodies are not the same. Now they [the scientists] have come to that conclusion. Unfortunately, all that understanding is the result of the research and experiments in crime laboratories to track down thieves through their finger prints. Not only through prints, but they can track down a man from the smell, or a teeny-weeny bit of his hair. They say that women have more gold than men in their hair. [Laughter] Your saliva is different, your tissues are different, and your semen is different from everyone else's. No two faces are the same.

I studied botany in the university. When you study the leaves under a microscope, you can see that no two leaves are the same. Our whole attempt, for idiotic reasons, to fit every individual into a common mold is not going to succeed. If we push it too hard, we will probably blow ourselves all up. That is inevitable because we have in our possession tremendous instruments of destruction, far surpassing the capacity of the so-called mind to deal with them.

Q2: I want to return to my question. When I started I said there are two computers, X and Y. Their computers have been programmed. Everything is programmed. Once everything is programmed, everything — effort, will, and all that — is immaterial.

UG: Yes, that's what I am saying.

Q2: There is no scope for the word called `effort'....

UG: That's what I say too. ...or for freedom of action.

Q2: ...will or any such thing. Because everything is programmed.

UG: Yes, not only by culture, but by nature itself, probably for its own survival. We don't know, it [each species] is programmed. That is why I say that there is no freedom of action at all. The demand for freedom of action is meaningless.

Q2: Well, maybe it is also programmed, and that is why people keep on demanding. We can leave the matter at that. To come back to the cat and the man, personally, I think, there is absolutely no difference.

UG: No. If we had remained that way, probably we would have become a different species. This is only a speculation.

Q2: Every time we get into the ice age, or another age when the whole thing restarts, you start from that level.

UG: Yes, we have come to a nuclear age where the future is very gloomy. Anyway that is not the point.

Q2: You know, gloomy may be another way of describing....

UG: If the human race goes we also go with it.

Q2: All the computers will be destroyed.

UG: Not only the computers, everything will be destroyed.

Q2: No, computers, because I have reduced everything to computers. ... My second question: You said you must be highly obliged to all the spiritual teachers at least for one reason, namely, but for them I or you or anyone would not have realized that there is no such thing as enlightenment.

UG: I am not with you. Say that again.

Q2: .... because they have been selling enlightenment as a product and we go after it.

UG: And then you discover that it is a shoddy piece of goods that they are selling.

Q2: Right. But for them you would not have realized even this.

UG: I don't think that there is room for any gratitude to them.

Q2: No. I wouldn't say that.

UG: See, you are thrown into a situation from where you have no escape. You are trapped in it. The very attempt on your part to `untrap' (is there any such word?) or free yourself, or get out of that trap, is making you sink further into it. What we are left with is the total helplessness to do anything. But yet, unfortunately, we have a hope that there is something we can do. We don't stop at that total helplessness; we goes on and on until the dead end. The living teachers and the yet unborn ones are hammering into our heads that they have answers for our problems and that they have the means to save the whole situation.

Q2: Since there are no questions, there is no question of answers. Where are the questions?

UG: All the questions are born out of the answers. But nobody wants the answers. The end of the question is the end of the answer. The end of the solution is the end of the problem. We are only dealing with solutions and not with the problems.

Actually there are no problems, there are only solutions. But we don't even have the guts to say that they don't work. Even if you have discovered that they don't work, sentimentality comes into the picture. The feeling, "That man in whom I have placed my confidence and belief cannot con himself and con everyone else," comes in the way of throwing the whole thing out of the window, down the drain. The solutions are still a problem. Actually there is no problem there. The only problem is to find out the inadequacy or uselessness of all the solutions that have been offered to us. The questions naturally are born out of the assumptions and answers that we have taken for granted as real answers. But we really don't want any answers to the questions, because an answer to the questions is the end of the answers. If one answer ends, all the other answers also go. You don't have to deal with ten different answers. You deal with one question and that puts an end to the answer. Not that you get an answer. But there will be no questions. Yet I have to accept the reality of the world as it is imposed on me for purposes of functioning sanely.

Q2: Will it not lead us to the tribal level again?

UG: We have not moved away from the tribal level. [Laughter] Have we really? The cave man didn't have the means to blow up the whole world, but we do. And animals don't kill anybody for an idea or belief. Only we do it.

Q3: Is there, Sir, any evolution apart from the biological one?

UG: You mean spiritual ?

Q3: Well, any other.

UG: Even the biological evolution, we don't know for sure. Some idlers like me have observed certain things and they have arrived at some conclusions.

Q3: Please tell us.

UG: I am an illiterate. I don't read much. I haven't read anything for ages now.

Q2: For idling you don't need literacy, Sir! [Laughter]

UG: I don't even observe. At least the scientists have this motivation, if I may use that word, to observe things and understand the laws of nature.

Q3: It's all a self-centered activity.

UG: It's all a self-centered activity. It is a question of self-fulfillment. You may feel that I am fulfilling myself through this talk, surrounding myself with all the people here. Yes, you can throw that at me and maybe there is something to it. I really don't know. Pleasure it is not. I have pain here — [Laughter] — a headache.

Q3: Acute pain leads to pleasure.

UG: They are the same, Sir. We forget that. Pain indicates a healing process in the body. That is what I have discovered. We don't give the body a chance to recover but rush to the doctor.

Q3: Actually all these spiritual leaders....

UG: They don't exist without us, Sir.

Q3: No, they don't. They have confused mankind to such an extent....

UG: They can't confuse us. We want to be confused. Otherwise how can they confuse us? We are willing victims in this matter.

Q2: We are fooling ourselves.

UG: Yes, we are fools. If one fool leaves, there are ten fools to change places with him. There will never be any shortage of fools at any time.

Q2: Sir, again we are coming to the same point. The enlightened ones....

UG: Have you come across one except the claimants?

Q2: We have come across the one who is sitting before us, Sir. [Referring to U.G.] [Laughter]

UG: No, no. Let's not indulge in that sort of thing. You will have no use for it. You cannot fit me into a value system at all. A value system has no use for me, and there is no question of my setting up a holy business. I have no way of telling myself that I am different from you. As I said, you have to take my word for it. If you still say, "No, we don't accept it," it is just fine with me. What can I do?

Q4: We have come across the one who is sitting before us, Sir. But the understanding of their thought processes and all those things which you have come across can help us.

UG: I didn't understand a thing. I am telling you. There is no process to go through to reach anywhere. It looks like I went through some process. No. I did not. I wasted so many years of my life in pursuit of the goals that I had set for myself. If it had dawned on me during the early stages of my life that there is nothing to understand, I wouldn't have wasted forty-nine years of my life and denied myself everything. I was born with a silver spoon, sleeping on a luxurious bed. Do you think if I had known all this I would go there and lie down in a cave repeating things which I did not know? I was repeating things and reading books which I did not understand when I was fourteen. It is too silly. Looking back I would say I wasted all that time. But any way I don't see any way of comparing what I did with what I stumbled into. I have no way of saying "This is it," and then "I was like that." There is no point [of reference] here. Since there is no point here, there is no way I can look back and say that was the point. You may very well ask me the question, "How come you are saying that despite all you did you have stumbled into whatever you have stumbled into?" But I have to put it that way — "despite", "in spite of" — or whatever words you want to use. All that did not lead me to this. "How do you know that it did not lead you there?" you might ask. What I went through is not part of that knowing mechanism. "Why do you say that it is a state of not-knowing?" you may ask. "How can you talk of that state of not-knowing in terms of the known?" you may ask. You are only pushing me to give an answer. To answer your question, your demand, your persistence to know what that state is, I say that it is a state of not-knowing; not that there is something which cannot be known. I am not talking of the unknowable, the inexpressible, the inexperienceable. I am not talking of any of those things. That still keeps the movement going. What there is is only the known. There is no such thing, for instance, as the fear of the unknown. You can't be afraid of the unknown, because the unknown, as you say, is the unknown. The fear that you are talking about is the fear of the known coming to an end. That seems to be the problem. When I use this phrase — "the state of unknowing" — it is not a synonymous term for transformation, moksha, liberation, God-realization, self-realization, and what have you.

Q2: When I visited a place where people who are mentally different are kept....

UG: Mentally different or sick or ill or....

Q2: I would prefer to call them mentally different because they think we are mentally different and vice versa.

UG: That is true.

Q2: The dividing line is very thin. They may be looking at us as victims. Really we don't know who is different. But biologically both of us are functioning.

UG: ....exactly the same way.

Q2: ....the same way. What could be the basis for calling them mentally different?

UG: Because we have established the so-called normal man.

Q2: That's what I am hinting at.

UG: Some people who are in the All India Institute of Mental Health at Bangalore visited me. One of them is a top neurosurgeon. I asked him the same question, "Who is normal? Who is sane and who is insane?" He said, "Statistically speaking, we are sane." That was quite satisfactory to me. And then I asked him, "Why are you putting all of them there and treating them? How much help do you give them?" He said, "Not even two percent of them are helped. We send them back to their homes, but they keep coming back." "Then why are you running this show?" I asked him. He said, "The government pays the money and the families don't want to keep those people in their homes."

So, we now move on from there to the basic question, "Who is sane and who is insane?" I have lots of them coming to see me. Even this Institute sometimes sends people to me. Even people who are hardcore cases come to me. But the line of demarcation between them and me is very thin. The difference seems to be that they have given up, whereas I am not in conflict with the society. I take it. That's all the difference. There is nothing that prevents me from fitting into the framework of society. I am not in conflict with the society. When once you are, I don't like to use the word, freed from, or are not trapped in, this duality of right and wrong, good and bad, you can never do anything bad. As long as you are caught up in wanting to do only good, you will always do bad. Because the `good' you seek is only in the future. You will be good some other time and until then you remain a bad person. So, the so-called insane have given up, and we are doing them the greatest harm and disservice by pushing them to fit themselves into this framework of ours which is rotten. [Laughter] I don't just say it is rotten, but it is.

I don't fight society. I am not in conflict with it. I am not even interested in changing it. The demand to bring about a change in myself isn't there any more. So, the demand to change this framework or the world at large isn't there. It is not that I am indifferent to the suffering man. I suffer with the suffering man and am happy with the happy man. You seem to get pleasure out of the suffering of somebody. But why don't you get the same pleasure when you see a rich man throwing his weight around? They are the same. This you call pleasure and that you call jealousy or envy. But I don't see any difference between the two. I see suffering. Individually, there isn't a anything that I can do. And at the same time I don't want to use this [suffering] for my self-aggrandizement, my self-fulfillment. The problem is there, and we are individually responsible for it. Yet we don't want to accept the responsibility for creating the problems. The problems are not created by nature. It is we who have created the problems. There is plenty, there is bounty in nature; but we take away what rightfully belongs to everybody and then say that you should give charity. That's too absurd!

The practice of charity, started by the religious man, is what refuses to deal with the problems squarely. I may give something to a poor man because he is suffering. But unless I have something more than he has, there is no way I can help. What do I do if I don't have the means to help him? What do I do in a situation where I am totally helpless? That helplessness only makes me sit with him and cry.