The Mystique of Enlightenment/Part Three
No Power Outside of Man
(An Interview by Professor HSK, Mysore, India, 1980)
What is necessary for man is to free himself from the entire past of mankind, not only his individual past. That is to say, you have to free yourself from what every man before you has thought, felt and experienced — then only is it possible for you to be yourself. The whole purpose of my talking to people is to point out the uniqueness of every individual. Culture or civilization or whatever you might call it has always tried to fit us into a framework. Man is not man at all; I call him a 'unique animal' — and man will remain a unique animal as long as he's burdened by the culture
Nature, in its own way, throws out, from time to time, some flower, the end-product of human evolution. This cannot be used by the evolutionary process as a model for creating another one — that is why I say this is the end-product of human evolution — if it throws out one flower, that's it, you see. Such a flower, you can put it in a museum and look at it — that's all you can do.
You don't like what I'm saying, because it undermines the whole Indian culture and the psychological superstructure that has been built on the Freudian fraud. That is why the psychologists and religious people are against me — they don't like what I'm saying — that is their livelihood. The whole thing is finished: the whole religious and psychological business will be finished in the next ten or twenty years.
Q: Sir, what part has India to play in the present-day world crisis?
UG: The crisis through which the world is passing has to throw up something [in order for the world] to save itself. I think it has to come, and it will come from the West — I don't know from where, but India has no chance.
Q: Is the questioning genuine there in the West?
UG: It is very genuine. They are questioning their values. Now it is only at the stage of rebellion and reaction, but they want answers. They are very pragmatic people, they want answers; they are not satisfied with just promises.
So that seems to be the situation — otherwise man is doomed, you see. But man will not disappear; he will somehow survive. I am not preaching a theory of doom — I am no prophet of doom. But I believe that it will come from the West. You see, it has to come from somewhere, and India will not be that country.
Q: You are quite sure?
UG: I am certain of that because half my life I've spent in the West — first half in India, and now the second half in the West.
Q: How do you come to this conclusion? Don't you think that India has evolved some sort of a philosophy?
UG: Yesterday I quoted a passage from Emerson. It's very rarely I quote anybody. You see, he makes a statement, a very interesting statement, that if you want your neighbor to believe in God, let him see what God can make you like. There is no use talking about God as love, God as truth, God as this, God as that.
So, this is the most interesting thing: Let the world see what God can make you like. In exactly the same way, you have to set your house in order. It's in chaotic condition — India — nobody knows where it is going. So, if there is anything to your spiritual heritage (and there is a lot; I'm not for a moment denying that; India has thrown up so many sages, saints and saviors of mankind), if that heritage cannot help this country to put its own house in order, how do you think this country can help the world? That is one thing.
Number two: You have to use the modern terminology, the new phrases. The people in the West are interested, fascinated, because of the new terminology, the new phrases, so they learn all these things, and they feel that they are somebody because they are able to repeat these things — that's all there is to it. You learn a new language and start speaking in that language, so you feel just great, but basically it is not in any way helping you.
So, how can this great heritage, of which all Indians are so proud, help this country first? Why is it not able to help this country? — that is my question.
Q: Help, in what sense?
UG: First of all you must have economic stability — everybody must be fed, clothed and given shelter. There is no excuse for the poverty in this country — for thirty years we have been a free country. Why do these things still continue in this country? — that is my basic question. Not that I have answers. I don't have answers. If I had the answers, I wouldn't be sitting here and talking; I would do something. You see, individually, there isn't anything anybody can do — that is the situation. Collective action means trouble — my party, my system, my technique; your party, your system, your technique — so all these systems finally end up on the battlefield. All their energies are wasted in trying to....
Q: Win over?
UG: ....win over the people to their political stands. But the problems have not in any way been solved by these systems — that's all I'm trying to say.
Q: The country cannot save itself? The heritage cannot be of any help?
UG: The country cannot save itself. The heritage doesn't seem to be able to come to the aid of the people, unfortunately.
UG: I have been saying the same thing. The psychologists, for example, have come to the end of their tether — now they are looking to India. They are going to all these holy men, these yogis, to those who teach — you were mentioning the Transcendental Meditation. They are really interested, but they want that to be put to test. They want results, you see, not just talk, not just some spiritual experiences and some spiritual fantasies. It must be applied to solve the problems of the world — that is all they are interested in. So, my argument or my emphasis is that they have to come out with solutions for their problems. The scientists have their problems, the technologists have their problems — they have to come out with the solutions for their problems — that is number one. There is no use those people turning to the holy men here, you know.
Q: They have to find answers in their own way. UG: In their own field — they are the ones who have to come out with their solutions for their problems. Our solutions have no answers for those problems at all — not only those problems, but your day-to-day problems also. Man is interested only in solutions, and not in looking at the problems. You say that these great sages and saints and saviors of mankind have answers for our problems. Then, why are we still asking the same questions?
Why are we still asking the same questions? So, they are not the answers. If they were the answers, the questions wouldn't be there. The fact that we are still asking the questions means that they are not the answers. So, the solutions that have been offered for our problems are not the solutions. Otherwise, why would the problems remain as problems?
So, each individual has now the responsibility; not any particular nation — India or America or Russia. You see, the individual has to find out his answers for the questions. That is why every individual is the savior of mankind — not collectively. If he can find out an answer for his question, or a solution for his problems, maybe there is some kind of a hope for mankind as a whole — because we all are brought together: whatever is happening in America is affecting us; whatever is happening here is affecting the other nations too.
You see, the whole world is now thinking in terms of one world — at least theoretically - — but nobody is ready to give up the sovereignty of his nation. That is really the crux of the problem. The European Economic Community — they have joined together only for economic reasons, and not for any other reason. Every nation is still asserting its sovereignty — but that is the thing that must come to an end first of all, you see.
Even those powerful nations like America and Russia are not able to solve the problems. Like the Iran-Iraq conflict — what are they doing? They are just putting their nuclear ships there — which they can't use. So even they are not able to stop the movement of the world, to control the events of the world.
If even they can't, how do you think India can? We can feel proud because Indira Gandhi has sent an emissary to Iran. What will come out of that? The other nations are using India. Not that India can influence anybody — not at all. Nobody listens to India, because India is not in a position to do anything in the economic field or in the political field or in the military field. This is such a backward nation. You see, we just talk of peace. Why shouldn't India explode the H-bomb? — that is my question. Whether you will be in a position to deliver those weapons or not is a different matter. China is growing stronger and stronger — they will not listen to all this talk. India — nobody cares for India — that is the situation.
This illusion that we have, that all those gurus who are going from India are changing the world, is really a fantasy. Actually, the impact of all this is zero. Zero!
The people who are drawn to these things are not really the ones who can guide the destinies of their own countries — this is a fact.
Q: But how can our rich heritage help to solve the material problems?
UG: It cannot solve them, because of the falseness, because it is false, because it doesn't operate in the lives of the people — that is why it cannot help to solve the economic problems of this country. We have talked for centuries about the oneness of life, the unity of life. How can you justify the existence of these slums? How can you justify the existence of ten crores of Harijans (i.e. one hundred million untouchables) in this country? Please, I don't have any answers; I am just pointing out the absurdity of our claims that our heritage is something extraordinary.
Q: It means we are not translating it into action.
UG: We are not living up to our hopes and the expectations of our great tradition or heritage, whatever we want to call it.
Q: That doesn't mean that our heritage is false or that our values are false.
UG: What consolation is that to us? What good is that? That's like saying "My grandfather was a very rich man, a multimillionaire: when I don't know where my next meal will come from. What is the good of telling myself all the time that my grandfather was a multimillionaire? Likewise, India produced great saints, spiritual giants, and we don't have even one in our midst, you see — so what is the good of repeating all the time that our heritage is so tremendous and so great, or telling ourselves, or talking about or praising the greatness of our heritage? What good is that? It must help this country. So why don't you question that? There may be something wrong with the whole business. Why I say that is: in spite of the fact that the whole culture of India is supposed to be something extraordinary, a great culture, in spite of the fact that everybody talks of spirituality, dharma, this thing or the other, India has produced only a handful of great teachers, and they have not produced another teacher like them. Show me another Ramanujacharya. Only one Ramanujacharya, only one Sankaracharya, and only one Madhavacharya, only one Buddha — uh? — only one Mahavira. They can all be counted on one's fingers.
We're not thinking in terms of these gurus, because these gurus are like the priests in the West. India has this freedom, so everybody sets up his own tiny little shop and sells his own particular wares. That is why you have so many gurus in India, just the way they have priests in the West. In the West organized religion destroyed the possibility of individual growth, you see — they destroyed every dissent, they destroyed every possibility of individuals blossoming into spiritual teachers as in India. But luckily India had this kind of a freedom, and it threw up so many.
But in spite of all that, in spite of the fact that the whole atmosphere is religious (whatever that word means; to me the religious thing you are talking about is nothing but superstition; celebrating all these fasts, feasts, and festivals, and going to the temple is not religion, you see), those teachers have not produced another teacher. There can't be another Buddha within the framework of Buddhism. There can't be another Ramanujacharya within the framework of that school of thought. They have left behind — either they have left behind, or the followers have created — these small, tiny, little colonies. And so all those colonies are fighting all the time — whether you should have the "U" nama or the "V" nama, fighting in the courts whether the elephants should have a "V" mark or a "U" mark. The whole thing has degenerated and deteriorated into such a triviality nowadays.
So, "Is India able to produce an outstanding giant like those people?" is the question which everybody in this country should ask himself or herself — that is number one. Number two: Does this religion, the heritage that you are talking about, operate in the lives of the people? And the third question is: Can it be of any help to solve the economic and political problems of this country? My answer to all these is "No" — to all these questions.
Q: Don't these two things belong to two different planes?
UG: No. Unfortunately we have divided life into material and spiritual — that is the greatest and biggest escape that we have created. You see, it's all one; you can't divide life into material and spiritual. That is where we have gone wrong. So, like the West: only on Sunday are they all religious — they go to the church on Sundays — and the rest of the week they are monsters.
What do you think? What is the good of reading those books, repeating them mechanically? People are repeating, repeating, repeating — they don't even know the meaning of what they are repeating. I listen to the devotional music every morning — not that I'm interested in that or anything; because I am here and the radio is there, I tune in. Those devotional songs — what are they? Do they know the meaning of those things they are singing? It is pornography, I am sorry to say — really, it is pornography. I have come to the conclusion that the composers of all those stotras (verses) were sex-starved people, so they externalized it and put it on the goddess. They do not leave out even one part of the anatomy of the woman in those stotras. I am not condemning.
You can give mystical explanations for all those things — I am not interested in the mystical explanations — that's only a cover-up, a hush-hush policy on the part of those who want to put down the questioning attitude of some of the people, who want to know why these things are there.
I was just telling the people here: the worship of the bull there in the temple, and the worship of Siva — you know that yoni and lingam business — has come down from the original man, to whom sex was the highest kind of pleasure that he knew. Later on man experienced the bliss, the beatitude, and all that moved over; but, originally, sex was the most important thing. Even the cross is a phallic symbol.
In the church they give wine and bread — what does it actually mean? You see, they have copied it from the days of the savages — when a hero died there, they ate his flesh and drank his blood hoping that they would acquire the great traits of the hero. So, that is passed on from generation to generation.
We are carrying on, not knowing, all those silly things that are going on. I'm not blaming, you see, but what is the heritage you are talking about: Can it really solve the economic problems of this country?
The political problems and the economic problems go together. You can't separate them; they are all one. It is all one integrated unity. Why do you separate these two things? Is it possible for you to change the country without a political revolution? Not at all possible. And political revolution is not at all possible in this country, because your constitution says that change, if there is to be any change, should be within the framework of your constitution. That finishes the possibility of any rebellion against the government that is in power. So how do you expect to change that? To get elected as an MP, you have to have millions and millions of rupees — so, once you have spent millions of rupees, you have to make money there. They are not there to serve the country — not at all — so don't blame them.
I say all these social problems have to be handled by the government; there is no room for any private charity anywhere in this world. If the government does not do its duty, throw the government out. Make them do it. So, if they don't do it, you are responsible for it. Why blame the politicians? Blame yourself.
Q: But the government that is elected represents a particular class.
UG: Rich people, you see — "I want my five acres of land to be assured." I have none, so it doesn't matter to me — the land ceiling — nothing affects me. Even if the communists come into power, I have nothing to lose.
Not that the communists can solve the problems; nobody, no party, can solve the problems of India; God alone, if there is a God, and even that if He can. He is singularly incapable of solving (Laughs) the problems of India. It is not a pessimistic evaluation of the problems of India, but I don't see how it is possible. I don't see any hope for this country. I want this country to play a very important role in the affairs of the world. I would be most enchanted (Laughs) if India could play an important part. Even God cannot do it. The all- powerful, almighty God, if there is one — I don't know if there is any — if he can't do it, what can I and you do?
So, I think that one day ... You see, the people are so weak, Sir, they don't blow up the whole thing. If the whole thing is blown up, probably there is some chance ... You see, the problem of this country is that India got her freedom handed to her on a gold platter, whereas all the other countries worked so hard and fought for their freedom, died for freedom — that's really the problem. It was a pity that the British ruled India; if the French or some others had ruled India, it would have been a different country. China had those tremendous military leaders; India cannot produce one leader like Mao Tse-Tung. How can India produce a man like Mao Tse-Tung?
But, another thing, you see: there's no point in looking to those communist nations as a model; India has to evolve its own indigenous revolution. Mao Tse-Tung would be a total failure here; so it has to produce an indigenous product (if I may use the word that way). But the times don't seem to be ripe for that kind of a thing. You see, unless that kind of a thing happens in India, there is no chance, there is no hope.
You see, the times do throw up the individuals: India needed a man like Gandhi at that time, and he was ready; England needed a man like Churchill, and there he was; France needed a man like de Gaulle, and there was the man; Germany needed a man like Hitler, and the man was there. Not that I am supporting or any such thing — but Hitler alone was not responsible; the whole nation was behind him at that time. If you blame Hitler, you have to blame every German — he was a product of the times. Immediately after the War the English threw Churchill out. That was a great nation — England was really a great nation — they knew that Churchill wouldn't be of any help to solve the problems of England. I do not personally believe that it was because of Gandhi that India got freedom. The world conditions were such that the British had to be very friendly and walk out of India in a friendly way — you see, that was our tragedy. So, for how long this will continue, I don't know.
You see, I'm not working for India in any way, so I have no right to criticize India. Because we are sitting here, this is armchair politics we are discussing. But I have no right to say anything against anybody in India, because I am not working here.
If I find the way, I will be the first one to show you. I don't see any way. I don't believe in the revivalism of this religion, which is dead. What do you want to revive in this country? — you tell me. There is nothing to revive. Build more temples? What for? There are so many thousands of temples. Why add one more temple? That means it's only for my own self- aggrandizement, not for the religious welfare of this country. Another ashram? What for? There are so many ashrams, so many gurus.
So, that seems to be the situation. We are all so helpless. We have hope — maybe one day India will throw up the right type of man — but the conditions are not ripe. When they will be ripe, I do not know. Suffering, you see — the attitude of the people is very strange in this country. The fatalism that India has practiced for centuries is responsible for the present sorry state of affairs in this country.
Q: Do you think that the efforts of all those sages — persons like, for example, Sai Baba — are all useless?
UG: What is he doing, Sir? What is he doing? And if he's an avatar as he claims he is, and if he can't do, who else can? — tell me. So something is wrong somewhere.
Q: So it is all futile?
UG: I feel it is futile. They can't do anything.
Q: They are doing miracles, producing something out of the void.
UG: What good is that? What good is that — miracles? But he cannot perform the miracle of all miracles, which is necessary to transform the whole of life, the whole way of thinking. Can he do that?
Q: A large number of people, including so-called intelligent people, are attracted by him.
UG: The intelligent people are the dullest and dumbest people (Laughter) — they are the most gullible people. I am not referring to Sai Baba in particular. I don't know anything about Sai Baba. I am not interested in miracles, you see. He is the number one holy man in this country because he draws huge audiences, uh? So, in that respect (Laughs) he is number one, and there are number two, three, four, you see — we have classifications according to the number of people they draw.
So, what he can do, I don't know. It will be the miracle of all miracles — I'm not interested in materializing watches, Swiss or HMT watches — but this will be the miracle of miracles, and if there is any avatar in this world who can perform that miracle, I'll be the first one to salute him, that's all. He can't do it. Nobody can do it.
It's not the avatars that can help; it's the individual that can help. It is an individual problem, so it is not the avatar who can help. There is a savior in every individual, and if that savior is brought out, blossoms, then there is a hope. But when?
Q: The Upanishadic seers, I think, were all people who blossomed individually.
U.G.: Sir, if there was anything to the teachings of the Upanishads, there wouldn't have been any need for Buddha to come. Why did he? They created the opportunity, the need for a man like Buddha — he came after the Upanishads. You see, the Vedic stuff deteriorated, then the Upanishadic seers arrived on the scene; and they messed up the whole thing, so Buddha came; and afterwards, so many people. Buddhism deteriorated in this country, so Sankara had to come; and Sankara's followers did exactly the same thing, so there arose the need for Ramanujacharya to come — it's the same thing, you see — and, after him, Madhavacharya. Where is the room for all these teachers?
So, probably there is again a need for another teacher — God alone knows. If He is there around the corner, I don't know. Even the avatars we have in our midst seem unable to perform this miracle which is necessary to save this country and the world.
Q: What is your concept of God? Very often you say that God alone can help.
UG: No, that's a manner of speaking. (Laughs) Man has to be saved from God — that is very essential because ... I don't mean God in the sense in which you use the word "God"; I mean all that 'God' stands for, not only God, but all that is associated with that concept of God — even karma, reincarnation, rebirth, life after death, the whole thing, the whole business of what you call the "great heritage of India" — all that, you see. Man has to be saved from the heritage of India. Not only the people; the country has to be saved from that heritage. (Not by revolution, not the way they have done it in the communist countries — that's not the way. I don't know why; you see, this is a very tricky subject.) Otherwise there is no hope for the individual and no hope for the country.
Not that he should become anti-God or an atheist. To me, the theist (the believer in God), the non-believer in God, and the one that comes in between and calls himself an "agnostic" — all of them are in the same boat.
I personally feel that there is no power outside of man, you see — no power outside of man — whatever power is out there is inside man. So, if that is the case — and that is a fact to me — there is no point in externalizing that power and creating some symbol and worshipping it, you know? So that's why I say that God, the question of God, is irrelevant to man today. I don't know if I make myself clear.
It's not that you should burn all the religious books and tear down all the temples. That is too silly, too ridiculous, because what temples and religious books stand for is in the man, uh? — it is not outside. So there's no point in burning all those libraries and making a bonfire of all the religious books the way that Tamilian Ramaswamy Naicker did — that is too silly; that is not the way to do it, you see.
So, that's why I say God is irrelevant — because man has to rely more and more on his own resources. The heritage you are talking about has produced this man here today, all that is there in him. So, not what is there in the Upanishads, not what.... All those teachers — what they thought and what they experienced is part of this man. So, that has to express itself in a new form, otherwise there is not much....
If you talk of God it has no meaning at all; everybody becomes a believer in God or a non-believer in God and ends up fighting on the battle-field. What is the point in their reviving Islam? What is the Islam all these people are talking about? And they're quarrelling amongst themselves, the subdivisions, just the way the Indians are fighting among themselves, the small religions. So, that is why I say God is irrelevant to man in the modern context. What 'God' stands for is already there in man — there is no power outside of man — and that has to express itself in its own way.
Q: So you believe in the theory of evolution?
UG: You see, Darwin's theory is not to be considered at all — his basic statement that acquired characteristics are not transmitted from generation to generation has proved to be wrong. Maybe there is something to evolution — maybe — but what exactly do we mean by "evolution?" You see, the simple things become complex, hm? Man has become such a complex individual today that he has to move in the opposite direction. I don't mean, by saying "in the opposite direction," that we have to advocate involution. You see, there is no question of going back and starting with the year number one; man has to start where he stands today.
But I maintain that man has no freedom of action. I don't mean the fatalism that the Indians have practiced and still are practicing: when I say that man has no freedom of action it is in relation to changing himself, to freeing himself from the burden of the past.
What is necessary is that the individual should free himself from the burden of the past, the great heritage you are talking about. Unless the individual frees himself from the burden of the past, he cannot come up with new solutions for the problems; he repeats the same old.... So it is up to the individual. He has to free himself from the entire past, the heritage which you are talking about — that is to say he has to break away from the cumulative wisdom of the ages — only then is it possible for him to come out with the solutions for the problems with which man is confronted today.
That is not in his hands; there is nothing that he can do to free himself from the burden of the past. It is in that sense that I say he has no freedom of action. You have freedom to come here or not to come here, to study or teach economics or philosophy or something else — there you have a limited freedom. But you have no freedom to control the events of the world or shape the events of the world — nobody has that power, no nation has that power.
You know that India is helpless. America — even America, the mightiest, the strongest, the richest and the most powerful nation — it has been; it is not now. Even Time magazine does not use those phrases any more to describe America. If even such countries as Russia and America are not able to control, much less shape, the events of the world, what can a poor country like India do? Not a chance.
So the individual is the only hope. And the individual also seems to be totally helpless because he has to free himself from the burden of the past, the entire heritage, not only of India, but of the whole world. So is it possible for man to free himself from the burden? Individually, he doesn't seem to have any freedom at all. You see, he has no freedom of action — that is the crux of the whole problem. But yet the hope is in the individual — if through some luck, some strange chance....
Q: These two statements seem to be contradictory. You say that there is no power outside of man....
UG: That makes the God we are talking about irrelevant — God in the sense in which you use the word. There is no power outside of man. That power is unable to express itself, because of the burden of the past; when once he is freed from the burden of the past, then what is there, that extraordinary power, expresses itself. You see, in that sense there's no contradiction.
Q: He can control events?
UG: No, not control events; you see, he stops trying to control and shape events.
Q: He simply sails along?
UG: Sails along with events, you see. You and I are not called upon to save the world. Who has given us the mandate, uh? The world has gone on for centuries. So many people have come and gone. It is going on in its own way.
So he is freed from all the problems — not only his problems, but also the problems of the world. And if that individual somehow has an impact, it has an impact; if it hasn't.... It is something which cannot be measured, you see.
Q: That is the ideal state of man?
UG: You see, the animal becomes a flower. That seems to be the purpose — if at all there is any purpose in Nature, I don't know. You see, there are so many flowers there — look at them! Each flower is unique in its own way. Nature's purpose seems to be (I cannot make any definitive statement) to create flowers like that, human flowers like that.
We have only a handful of flowers, which you can count on your fingers: Ramana Maharshi in recent times, Sri Ramakrishna, some other people. Not the claimants we have in our midst today, not the gurus — I am not talking about them. It is amazing — that man who sat there at Tiruvannamalai — his impact on the West is much more than all these gurus put together — very strange, you understand? He has had a tremendous impact on the totality of human consciousness — that man living in one corner, you understand?
I visited an industrialist in Paris. He is not at all interested in religious matters, much less in India; he is anti-Indian. (Laughs) So, I saw his photo there — "Why do you have this photo?" He said "I like the face. I don't know anything about him. I'm not even interested in reading his books. I like the photo, so it's there. I'm not interested in anything about him."
Maybe such an individual can (I can't say 'can') help himself and help the world. Maybe.
Q: One more question.... I don't know, I am putting it crudely. I am the most ignorant man.
UG: You can put it in the crudest form. You are not so ignorant; they say you are the wisest man. A man who has written the biography of Ramanujacharya can't be crude.
I sometimes tease our Professor here, who is an advocate of Advaita (Sankara's monism), "You cannot go beyond Ramanuja's position (qualified non-dualism), as far as philosophy is concerned. There it stops. Monism is something which you cannot talk about - — for all practical purposes it doesn't exist. That is the limit." I'm not pro-Ramanujacharya or anti-Sankara. As I see it — as a student of philosophy. I studied philosophy — you cannot go beyond that chappie Ramanujacharya. You may not agree with me. As far as the philosophical position is concerned, Ramanujacharya's position is the limit, the ultimate. The rest of it? Maybe there is.... If there is a monistic situation, that is something which cannot be talked about, and which cannot be applied to change anything in this world.
Q: This ideal state of man ...
UG: Man becomes man for the first time — and that is possible only when he frees himself from the burden of the heritage we are talking about, the heritage of man as a whole (not East and West; there is no East and West). Then only does he become an individual. For the first time he becomes an individual — that is the individual I am talking about.
That individual will certainly have an impact on human consciousness, because when something happens in this consciousness of man it affects (the whole), to a very microscopic extent maybe. So, this is a simile: when you throw a stone in a pool, it sets in motion circular waves. In exactly the same way, it is very slow, very
slow— it is something which cannot be measured with anything.
So, maybe that's the only hope that man has — that's the first time such an individual becomes a man — otherwise he's an animal. And he has remained an animal because of the heritage, because the heritage has made it possible, from the point of view of Nature, for the unfit to remain; otherwise Nature would have rejected them a long time ago. It has become possible for the unfit to survive — not the survival of the fittest (Laughs), but of those unfit to survive — and religion is responsible for that. That's my argument. You may not agree. You won't agree.
Q: Does it mean that this ideal man....
UG: He's not a perfect man, he's not an ideal man — he cannot be a model for others.
Q: How do you refer to him?
UG: He's an individual. He becomes the man, freed from all the animal traits in him. You see, animals follow, animals create leaders, and the animal traits are still persisting there in man — that is why he creates a leader, the top-dog, and follows.
Q: Is he something like a superman?
UG: He's like a flower, Sir. This is like a flower. And each flower is unique.
Q: His state is the natural state that you very often mention?
UG: You become yourself. You see, the shock that your dependence on the entire heritage of mankind has been wrong — the realization that dawns on you hits you like lightning — that your dependence on this culture, be it oriental or occidental, has been responsible for this situation in you. That applies to the whole as well, because the nation is the extension of the individual, and the world is the extension of the different nations. So you are freed from the burden of the past and become, for the first time, an individual.
There is no relationship between these two flowers at all, so there is no point in comparing and contrasting the unique flowers that Nature has thrown up from time to time. They, in their own ways, have had some impact, although the whole thing resulted in some tiny colonies fighting amongst themselves, that's all. It goes on and on and on. Who is called upon to save this world?
Q: Couldn't you say it's a colony of flowers?
UG: But each flower has its own fragrance. If it had not been for the heritage of man, which we are so proud of, we would have had so many flowers like this. So it has destroyed what Nature.... (It's not that I am interpreting or understanding Nature's ways, the purpose of evolution, or any such thing; there may not be any such thing as evolution at all. If it had not been for the culture, Nature would have thrown up many more flowers — so this has become a stumbling block to man's freeing himself in his own way. What is responsible for his difficulty is this thing, you see, the culture.
So, that flower — what value has that flower to mankind? What value has it? You can look at it, admire it, write a piece of poetry, paint it, or you can crush it and throw it away or feed your cow with it — but still it is there. It is of no use to the society at all, but it is there.
If it had not been for the culture, the world would have produced more flowers, different kinds and different varieties of flowers, not only the one rose
that you are so proud of. You want to turn everything into one model. What for? Whereas nature would have thrown up, from time to time, different flowers, unique each in its own way, beautiful each in its own way. That possibility has been destroyed by this culture, which has a stranglehold on man, which prevents him from freeing himself from the burden of the entire past.
Q: That natural state is the same as the real man?
UG: Yes, he ceases to be somebody else; he is what he is, uh?
Q: Sir, you attained this in your forty-ninth year?
UG: This shock, this lightning, hitting me with the greatest force, shattered everything, blasted every cell and gland in my body — the whole chemistry seems to have changed. There's no scientific evidence or medical man to certify that, but I'm not interested in satisfying anyone's curiosity, because I am not selling this, I am not collecting followers and teaching them how to bring about this change. It's something which you cannot bring about through any volition or effort of yours; it just happens. I say it is acausal. What its purpose is, I really don't know, but it is something, you see.
Q: A transformation has come about?
UG: The whole chemistry of the body changes, so it begins to function in its own natural way. That means everything that is poisoned (I deliberately use that word) and contaminated by the culture is thrown out of the system. It is thrown out of your system, and then that consciousness or life (or whatever you want to call it) expresses itself and functions in a very natural way. The whole thing has to be thrown out of your system; otherwise, if you don't believe in God, you become an atheist and you teach, preach and proselytize (to ) atheism. But this individual is neither a theist, nor an atheist, nor an agnostic; he is what he is.
The movement that has been created by the heritage of man, which is trying to make you into something different from what you are, comes to an end, and so what you are begins to express itself, that's all, in its own way, unhindered, unhandicapped, unburdened by the past of man, mankind as a whole. So such a man is of no use to the society; on the other hand he becomes a threat.
Q: The question of being useful doesn't arise?
UG: It doesn't at all. He doesn't think that he is chosen, chosen by some power to reform the world. He doesn't think that he is a saviour or a free man or an enlightened man.
Q: Yes, the moment he says he is the saviour of mankind, he establishes a tradition.
UG: So, the moment the followers fit him into the tradition, there arises a need for somebody else to break away from that tradition — that is all.
Q: When Vivekananda asked Ramakrishna whether he had seen, he replied "Yes, I have." What did he mean by that?
UG: You have to ask him. I can't answer. I don't know what he meant by that. But I have explained to you....
Q: Perhaps every concept has relevance in a particular framework. Now he's outside that, and all those things are irrelevant, so he doesn't care to answer.
UG: I don't care what Ramakrishna said, or what Sankara said, or what Buddha said.
Q: You've thrown it all out?
UG: Don't use that word. It has gone out of my system; not that I have thrown it out or any such thing. It has just gone out of my entire system. So whatever I say stands or falls by itself; it doesn't need the support of any authority of any kind. That is why such a man is a threat to the society. He's a threat to the tradition because he's undermining the whole foundation of the heritage.
Q: You talk of the seven hills, the seven days....
UG: There's no significance to the seven or to the things that happened to me during the seven days — no significance at all. All that is occult stuff. There's nothing to occultism at all. There's no significance to all that.
As I very often tell my friends, I don't come to India to liberate people, I don't come to lecture to people; I come here — it's a personal thing — to avoid the harsh winter in Europe — and it's less expensive here. My talking to people is incidental — I mean it — otherwise I would get up on a platform. What is the point in getting up on a platform? I am not interested. I have no message to give.
Q: Everyone can attain this natural state, but it's not in his hands?
UG: It's not in his hands; it's not in anybody's hands. But you have one thousand per cent certainty because it is not that it is my special privilege or that I'm specially chosen by anything; it's there in you. That's what I mean by saying there's no power outside of man. It is the same power, the same life, that is functioning there in you. The culture you are talking about is pushing it down. Something is trying to express itself, and the culture is pushing it down. When once it throws the culture out, then it expresses itself in its own way.
Q: Do those who have undergone this transformation have any common characteristics?
UG: That question does not arise here. If I compared myself to a saint, it would be my tragedy. We don't belong to a common fraternity, a common brotherhood, or any such thing. What is it that is common to a rose, a daffodil, and a grass flower? Each one is uniquely beautiful in its own way. Each one has its own beauty. Whether you like it or not — that's a different thing.
Q: Is uniqueness the index to this transformation?
UG: No, this individual does not feel he is unique.
Q: No. But for others?
UG: Probably. You see, the expression of that is bound to be unique. When this kind of thing happens to you, you will begin to express your own uniqueness in quite a different way. How it will express itself, you do not know and I do not know.
Q: What are your views about scientists? You said something: that Einstein had done a great injustice to mankind.
UG: Don't you think that he has done the greatest harm — the atom-bomb?
Q: He simply said that matter and energy are interchangeable.
UG: Which has resulted in the atom-bomb. When the question came up whether America should go ahead with the weapon or not, he said "Yes, do it, by all means. If you don't do it, Germany will do it." If not Einstein, somebody would have done that.
Q: So he had no choice; he had to choose between two evils.
UG: No. If you go on choosing the lesser of the two evils, you'll end up only with evil. That is what has happened to us now.
Not that I consider him enemy number one. I also consider Freud the biggest fraud of the twentieth century because he talked of some theory which really has no basis at all. So he's the confidence trickster of the twentieth century. But it has become the slang of man today: everybody is using that. So in that sense; not that I consider all these people enemies of mankind or any such thing.
Q: This change — you call it a `calamity'?
UG: You see, people usually imagine that so-called enlightenment, self-realization, God- realization or what you will (I don't like to use these words) is something ecstatic, that you will be permanently happy, in a blissful state all the time — these are the images they have of those people. But when this kind of a thing happens to the individual, he realizes that really there is no basis for that kind of thing. So, from the point of view of the man who imagines that that is permanent happiness, permanent bliss, permanent this and permanent that, it is a calamity because he is expecting something whereas what happens is altogether unrelated to that. There's no relationship at all between the image you have of that, and what actually is the situation. So, from the point of view of the man who imagines that to be something permanent, this is a calamity — it's in that sense I use it. That's why I very often tell people "If I could give you some glimpse of what this is all about, you wouldn't touch this with a barge pole, a ten foot pole." You would run away from this because this is not what you want. What you want does not exist, you see.
So, the next question is: Why did all these sages talk of this as "permanent bliss," "eternal life," this, that and the other? I'm not interested in that at all. But the image you have of that has absolutely no relationship whatsoever to the actual thing that I'm talking about, the natural state. So the question whether somebody else is enlightened or not doesn't interest me, because there is no such thing as enlightenment at all.
Q: In the light of what you have said, this question may be rather irrelevant. Have you any message?
UG: For whom?
Q: Anybody. Everybody.
UG: I have no message, Sir — no message for mankind — no message. People ask me "Why the hell are you talking always?" When I say I can't help anyone, why the hell are you here? (I don't mean you.)
I don't want to use this `flower' business.... That is the fragrance of the flower. Such an individual cannot retire into a cave or hide himself; he has to live in the midst of this world; he has no place to go to. That is the fragrance of that particular flower — you don't know what it is.
You don't know the fragrance of that flower — you have no way — that's why you are comparing it: "This smells like that flower. This looks like that flower." That's all that you are doing, you see. When you stop doing that — trying to understand what that flower is, and what that perfume is which you have never known — there is another flower; not a copy of that flower, not the rose, which you admire, nor the daffodil. "An Ode to the Daffodils," some chappie wrote. Or the rose.... Why has the rose become so important? Because everybody likes them. The grass flower that is there is more beautiful than the rose flower. The moment you stop trying to compare this, trying to understand and even imagine what that flower is, what its fragrance is, there is a new flower there, which has no relationship whatsoever with all the flowers that we have around us.
Q: Thank you, Sir. I'm a changed man, to what I was an hour ago.
UG: Thank you.