Calibration; the UG effect.

There is something unmistakably  positive to be said for the effect of UG’s company in books, video, audio, or what not. I don’t think you have to have met him for this to be the case. The search, the effort I made to understand things before I met him allowed me the discrimination to appreciate the benefits of the struggle that ensued in me while being around UG. As I look back with that in mind, nothing was wasted. One example would be my obsession with Jiddu Krishnamurti’s teachings before I met UG. That interest laid a groundwork for meeting UG with some appreciation for what he was driving at.  Nothing comes without some kind of effort, or as he put it, ‘homework’. In some areas this will yield material results apparent to others, whereas in other areas, like the area of simply living, that area addressed by UG, this effect will be impossible to prove or measure in the social arena. My efficiency for surviving in the world increased while I was around UG. My capabilities and energies were more effectively put to use for lesser needs. This is the case as long as I am not questioning or hankering for security in the future. As soon as the concern for future comes in, fear takes hold. Wanting more always leads to trouble.  As long as I am focused on simple needs, I can say I have never felt so purposeful as I do now. Silly as it may seem, or contradictory, I get more energy, more life support from writing about UG than anything else I’ve done in my life.  He was a corrective lens, a living calibrator for life and the effect of that was revealed to me through writing, something I never felt the urge to put to use until I met him. Calibration is a fantastic word because it means getting the most out of a particular machine, and all machines are particular. We all have our abilities, none are better or worse than the rest if you put aside the social agenda. We are each suited to a unique life. He was shoving us all into that corner to sort out for ourselves what that would mean in our individual frames.

“What do you want?” is a simple question that could occupy you for the rest of your life. A question like that will bring you into focus like nothing else if its allowed to do its work. So with that in mind, nothing is wasted unless I ignore the question. One effect of the time spent with him, is that as soon as I compromise this I pay.

His commentary about all this was so simple it is easily overlooked but the proof is in the living. The comment “All this and heaven too, just forget about it…”  begs the question, what is “All this” for me, and what is the ‘heaven’…? That is a question I have to sort out for myself. One can be known, the other cannot. Life cannot be known, only static things can be measured and he was never static. That’s the challenge and no one can take care of, approve, disapprove, or help you to get to the bottom of that, except maybe that invisible force of longing for peace we either ignore or address that is demanded of us by this machine we call a body. If we ignore it, we are at our own peril, at the mercy of a society that is driven by oppressive demands. If I address it, it forces me to slow down and listen. That can’t be harmful to anyone, whereas as soon as I start hankering for something more, watch out!!

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16 Responses to Calibration; the UG effect.

  1. Andres says:

    Hi Louis! Really nice post!

    I feel the UG effect through the books, videos and audios. When he says “All this and heaven too…” I always thought he put an ultimatum. You can’t have both. Like, if you want heaven you have to drop everything else… And if you drop heaven you have the energy to go and get what you want in the world. But we often get stuck in between… Is this how you see it, after being with him? Or is the heaven altogether false? He himself did pursue “heaven” didn’t he?

    • louisbrawley says:

      I would say there is no way of addressing the ‘heaven’ other than that it is the body, the mechanism which sustains us. We exist at the tip of millions of years of evolution. Each one of us is the expression of life in a unique situation. He was indicating this all the time, talking about the uniqueness of each individual organism. We are always trying to fit this body to ideas imposed from the outside. That would explain why he said we have to throw him out as well, but it’s not a literal thing. I don’t think there was any harm in hanging around UG or I would have left. We are constantly running from our body. There is no way of stopping thoughts or ideas, we have to find out where they are coming from and deal with that. Dealing may be what he was talking about when he said, “When you are lost in the jungle and there is no way out and you don’t have a clue.. you just stop.” That stopping is the result of trying and failing. Otherwise you will never know for sure. He tried everything, he worked very hard, and at some point it just didn’t work. Then what happens is not something you can prescribe or explain.

      • Andres says:

        Thanks for your answer Louis! It´s really valuable to hear your experience of this.

        I feel that my “understanding” of UG is sometimes going in circles. Sometimes it feels like your back on square one again.

        If the body is the only way to adress the “heaven” – is then all the work about setting the body free? To let it function in its own way?

        And you say that you have to find out where the thoughts are coming from. Do you mean it in the sense that Ramana Maharsi was putting it? To find the origin of thought inside of you? Or do you mean that it comes from society? (Maybe there´s no difference..?)

        And then I want to ask you regarding your answer to Shobha underneath. That alertness you talk about… Is that something like the meditative alertness you mean, like in Vipassana? Does it then differ from J.K´s teaching about choiceless awareness and all that? I feel that I get mixed up in those kinds of similes.

        Many questions… sorry!

        Again, thanks!

      • louisbrawley says:

        I apologize for the leading phrases like ‘alertness’ and ‘setting the body free’, as apparently they sound as if they indicate something you should do. UG used to repeat this little ‘line’ of his… “I am saying something and in the next sentence I deny that and in the following sentence I deny the past two sentences and the fourth remark is to cancel out the remarks that will follow.” or something to that effect. Another line… “It is easy to knock off the other fellow. It’s not as easy to knock off yourself.” and then. “What I am saying is messing up, I feel it is polluting the purity of the thing I have come into.” All of his comments indicated that there was something, that cannot be described or prescribed by any practice. Your comment about ‘being back at square one’, is precisely what UG said to himself at the very brink of the calamity. If he was willing to deal with that after all he lost, (and don’t forget he lost a lot!, then I should keep that in mind as this frustration mounts over and over. I feel as though it is essential to be ready at all times to be absolutely wrong and mislead and start all over again. I am not interested in half-baked understandings so i continue to thrash around in what I guess is an unavoidable frustration until I am finished with that. For me to suggest anything to you in the way of explaining would be cruel, since I am in no position to advise you. (and please don’t get me wrong, I am in no way experiencing a state of Not-Knowing or anything like what UG may have been in, I’m just trying to deal with this stuff myself.)

  2. Shobha says:

    Hi Louis

    Your post is Bang on. After banging mself to understand what UG actually meant by what he had to say in all those books and tapes, because there was nothing definative. No hope to hang on.
    I slowly realised that he just pushed people to be their own.” All this and Heaven too” just summarises the whole thing. If we really have the hunger and courage to pursue heaven, we would not sit around UG, be in our comfort zone and just throw out words and statements that we have read from books of Shankara, Ramana ……etc

    We would be out there acting.
    I think the most difficult question I have still not managed to answer is “What do you want” ?

    “Courage to standalone” & “No Way Out” summarises the entire thing. There is no way we can move out of this world and we got to survive in here and at the same time, if we can accumulate the courage to be what we are, without falsifying ourselves, most of the job is done.

    Thanks for this beautiful article.


    • louisbrawley says:

      I don’t think there is anything wrong with the things we do to try and get to the bottom of things. Sitting around UG was essential for me, as well as reading, meditating. I just had to go through these things, I have to keep at until I am done with it. This was my ‘homework’. He once told a friend who after listening to him though he should stop meditation. UG’s reply was, “Don’t stop it. It will come to a stop on it’s own.” If we don’t try we won’t find out the validity of these things. “Contempt prior to investigation.” is a great time waster. I once sat across the table from UG thinking that I was so clever to avoid what I took to be the sanyas nonsense I was overhearing from some friends at the table who had followed OSHO. I crumpled a saffron colored napkin into a ball and put it in a used coffee cup, feeling like I understood something. He looked up at me and said, “It’s not that simple.” ( I have to say here, it was amazing the evidence here that he just knew what was going on in my head, that’s company worth keeping my friend!) So there is no easy answer to these things. I constantly have to remind myself not to come to easy conclusions. If anything, his company kept me on my toes like nothing I could have imagined. There simply was no way to evade or avoid, agree or disagree… this keeps some kind of alertness in play which is essential if you want to get to the bottom of things without getting stuck in some phoney despair or equally dangerous false sense of

      • Shobha says:

        Thanks Louis.

        I kind of wrote a wrong sentence there. Many a times I was in tears while reading UG’s books and seeing the tapes that I didn’t get to meet him. If this could have been my preparation for an encounter with UG and if he was alive, I would have just sat there with him with no questions and no answers to seek. Complete surrender, because I accept the fact that I dont have the courage to discover it on my own.
        As the say, GURU is responsible for the disciple, why do I worry.

        What I meant was, UG pushed everyone to do the homework themselves and find out, Rather than just repeat the words or phrases or slokas from everywhere. ” All Talk and No Work”. He showed people how we are only interested in discussion and more discussion and always in future or tommorow.
        Initially I took everything UG has to say in a literal sense. Slowly the words started working and with the help of people who were around him, has just given me a slight glimpse of what it was all about.

        Thanks for UG’s thought on Meditating.

        “Contempt prior to investigation is a great time waster” Beautiful. Just loved it.

  3. bparthip says:

    I envy your situations. You were in the company of a few all time greats( at least I think so). Though I have not met these gentlemen I have read extensively about them. It is as if I can feel in their presence

    • louisbrawley says:

      Odd, I was writing a reply and it dropped. Must have been I was getting too sentimental. I would have to agree that UG was a rare great phenomenon. I feel insanely fortunate to have spent that time with him. Really, there is nothing more valuable in my life, a true conduit to something I cannot fathom, but which enriched me so much I cannot stop writing about it. Fortunately this forum exists so I can talk to people about it because it’s all I think about most of the time and I hate to think of wasting what I saw. The important thing is not to get all full of myself as though I ‘got’ something. What happened was not like that, it was something so quiet and miraculous it is nearly invisible, like a flower opening in the evening, you turn and it’s opened a little, then if you glance, you see a petal spring silently open. Or if you saw a rare animal and locked eyes with it. These are puny poetic images compared to what he revealed in the most ordinary situations. He was stealthy and silent and continues to unfold in a thousand directions… words words words aaaaagh!

  4. sharbra says:

    This post is a little goldmine. Nice post and comments. I could go on and on 🙂
    Thanks Louis and Guys,
    Cheers Branko

  5. Shobha says:

    UG was the rarest flower among the rarest. He has set such high standards, that I really fear if I would really meet any other flower like him. A guru/god who himself walked to the doors of his devotees. He was most extraordinarily ordinary. He always roared when he listed to the words like “LOVE” & “Compassion”. But I don’t see anything else radiating from this person or enigma called UG other than love and compassion.

  6. Ben says:


    I truly enjoyed your book and all your comments here. I’m relatively new to UG but not new to seeking truth.

    After meeting UG on the web a profound shift has begun and grows ever more closer to god knows where.

    After first meeting UG, I read Julie’s Travels book. Then listened to and read UG extensively. Your book as did Julie’s presents a wonderful sense of resonance to the truth that UG exemplified.

    That word resonance is the closest I can find to explain this meeting with UG. There is something about UG that resonates with me and in that resonance I sense transformation. Actually nothing is really transforming other that the dropping away of veils of ignorance. As the veils drop away, what is left is a childlike innocence.

    My biggest issue is this sense of stages (not the best word to use). Even after hearing UG ask Ramana ” are their stages ?”.His answer was no. Have you ever heard UG speak of stages of growth towards this.

    ” What I am saying can’t be experienced by you except through the help of thought. In other words, as long as the movement of thought is there, it is not possible for you to understand what I am talking about.”

    So simple yet so profound.

    Thanks, Ben

    • louisbrawley says:

      Thank you for writing Ben. Glad the resonance occurred for you. It’s a quite inexplicable thing in the end. To answer your question, UG never spoke of stages or levels or anything that might give some idea of progress. That is all up to us I think. He presented a challenge, a phenomenon, he was a phenomenon, a force of nature. In that sense there is little about him that can be explained but a lot can be talked about. Mostly I tell stories because it’s the only way I feel I can talk about it without misleading people.

  7. Louis –
    Your post is exactly what I feel about my association with UG through books and videos! If someone asks me to pick only one line from this post, I will pick this one: “What do you want?” is a simple question that could occupy you for the rest of your life”. 🙂


  8. Mike Marinos says:

    Thanks for this post Louis. I have just finished Goner. It was a pleasure to read and profoundly moving. Calibration is a great word. As with any attempt to describe what is happening I struggle but for me UG’s response of “Not a chance” when he was asked for an “answer” was at once brutal and kind. Reading that phrase was like having noisy and unfocused bits of me instantly cremated. My wife, who didn’t know I was reading the book, commented that I had changed. So thank you (and UG).

    • TysOn says:

      My life took a turn when I met him. Back in on my own authority. When i see him it’s like seeing myself operating innanither body. why settle for less? It’s like he’s the one guy that knew the truth about me, the others had inklings, but were pasted down with insight. He’s the one guy thats never tried to fool me. He knows what I’m worth and won’t sell it off to anyone. Eh

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