After five years I returned to Gstaad to visit friends who are also here after a long absence. Entering the valley by train the views were as spectacular as I remembered, maybe even more so, I don’t really know. Every square inch of the town and the place I’m staying is packed with intense memories of UG. When I step into the elevator I remember him shoving me into the wall of the elevator in that same childish game he played every night when we left the building without tiring of it. I open the door to 803 where I’m staying and flash back to the stay in the “Hunting Lodge” next door, some footage of which is now on line where UG is talking about Osho, JK, and a variety of other topics in a dark grainy video. Walking into town I couldn’t resist stopping in to have a look at Chalet Birkenwild, where I first met him in what at the time was an ad-hoc basement living room with musical sewage pipes. By the time it was over, I’d spent over a year living in that house and countless months in there with him night after night while he recovered from the fall in 2005. It sometimes reminds me of one of my favorite novels by Samuel Beckett called WATT, about a fellow called Knott, who goes to learn or live with and presumably seek the silent wisdom of Watt, and ends up living in a mental asylum.
I’ve written already too many words not to have mentioned the sheer visual splendor of this valley of Saanen and Gstaad. JK told UG about it in the 40’s, UG brought his wife in the 50’s, and finally, after meeting Valentine, he spent 7 years here listening to the talks of JK before seeing the total futility of his situation for the first and last time. After that he never saw JK talk again, but he spent every summer here until the year he died. The greens defy description, the light, the flowers everywhere, the richness of the air with the vastness of the mountains, clouds puffed up around them like Maxfield Parrish fantasies. It seems untrue, dreamy, too much almost. A good place to be miserable because you are yanked out of the misery by the constant reminder of the infinite beauty of nature. That misery was worth every minute. People ask my why I put up with it. If they don’t know I can’t explain it. Some things are just too true to bother explaining. UG shoved me into the corner of my fake, learned, and finite ideas so hard he cracked and perminantly damaged them. That damage allowed my life to fill up with more things I don’t understand, can’t explain so I can live more fully. How do you thank someone for that? Not possible.
The influence of UG was closer than skin, his affect on me was something I don’t understand and happily never will. He was like Ramakrishna in the flesh. I’d read the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna twice before meeting UG, bemoaning the fact that he was long dead. Now reading the Gospel for some reason comes closest to what I felt from UG, a living example of someone like that. Don’t be careful what you wish for, ask for, or wonder about. I wanted to know if there was really someone like that out there. I found him, or he found me, I have no idea, noone found anyone, nothing happened, put it however you like. Anything I can say comes across as a platitude, but now I know something is possible, something I was dreaming about.
If the question of what that is comes to an end, the situation is resolved.