I have been unable to write lately since there is so much happening around me the information has been sinking in as it demands my attention. In India I continue to meet mostly, exclusively, people who I met through UG. What is striking is the danger in this country of UG’s influence on people interested in indulging themselves in spiritualism. I have met individuals who publicly claim symptoms similar to what UG described in his earlier years. These individuals are mostly unhinged, either slightly or dangerously, but the impression they give is that they are eager to get someone’s attention and not shy about showing us all how ‘affected’ they are by UG. The affectedness usually comes in the form of intimidating shows of spiritual madness, a sadly boring egotism that fools some, but not many clear minded individuals. These cases are far outnumbered by the people who express a kind of overwhelming relief at having met someone to unburden them of previously oppressive ideologies or lifestyles imposed on them mostly by spiritual concepts.
Simple personal exchanges with UG stand in contrast to the impression people may glean from reading his books, or taking his words at face value. A shy young woman described to me how UG stood behind her watching MTV, something her parents forbid her to watch. When she switched it off in fear, he asked, “Why did you turn it off? I was watching that.” She said she never felt such acceptance as she felt from this man as this and other exchanges always reassured her that she was just fine as she was, and there was nothing wrong with her desire to watch TV. A man described to me how when UG came to his home, he immediately ran up a flight of stairs to greet his father, 20 years his junior, because his father had difficulty walking down to meet him due to severe arthritis in his legs. These two friends of mine had for years catered to religious figures whose demands for a/c cars, and elaborate meals, not to mention endless ritualistic inconveniences to their followers made their lives hell.
Through his way of living UG was throwing information at us left right and center, refusing to fix a meaning on any of it to satisfy the monster of logical self aggrandizement. His words cannot be extracted from his life. The only way to understand his ‘teachings’ (if that is what youwant to call them), is through the life of this particular teacher. His actions had the harmonious, un-self-conscious order found in the swaying of leaves in a tree and like them, it never repeated itself in exactly the same way, nor did the response to the stimuli around him ever come in a fixed way. Each phrase he repeated with mechanical precision was infused with a subtle motive, to push gently or forcefully, as needed, against ‘the stranglehold of thought’.
Artists are copyists at the feet of nature, scribbling words and lines as a neurotic reaction to beauty. From the perspective of an artist, his beauty of movement struck me as it flowed outward without hesitation, like water falling in exactly the same way over a rock or a tin can, unaffected by the content of whatever was in it’s path, indifferent to the result. At times it was as though movement alone was its motive.
No matter what background a person approaches UG with, in the light of this attraction, the accumulated material of their minds or backgrounds seem to gradually fall into place at a level that needs no corroboration. This can be pleasant of a painful reminder when you are off track.
What confronts one as refreshingly confounding at first, gradually has an effect of smoothing out these things. It is as though they have taken care of themselves. People who had been taken advantage of or driven crazy by bosses, families, spiritual communities, loved ones or gurus, were in subtle and sometimes not subtle ways unburdened of these things enough to breath again. In their place was a fascination with someone who, without replacing a belief system, freed them from a preexisting condition, ( I used that medical terminology for obvious reasons). Spirituality as expounded by most if not all institutions, is necessarily corrupted at its surface levels through empty ritual and the materialistic begging bowl of prayer. The common thread in the descriptions of people deeply affected by UG is that they no longer feel the need to justify their lives to others. This slight shift in social relations eases a person’s life in so many directions it cannot be measured.
What makes it all the more real to me is the way my personal ambitions have been effectively weakened since meeting him. What I am left with is the beauty of anonymity, not my anonymity, but the anonymity of life in the social rat race. The simple enjoyment of life is lost to me as soon as I scramble for position, reward or acknowledgement. Pride is the primary candidate for attention and inward pride is one of the most nefarious criminals in the line up. UG’s capacity to read your mind when you made an egotistical assertion made this game unappealing. If you take seriously the influence he has on your life, you will find yourself in a very razor sharp confrontation with the bullshit nature of your personal identity.