Oops is the word of the day. I leave India in the early morning hours, heading back to the west, back to NYC, the heart of the world of commerce. Some of my final hours are spent with Bob hanging out in a mall in an attempt to cool off. Ahh, the mall, the contemporary place of worship I came to frequent only after meeting that strange man called UG. Bob and I sat talking about him as new India swarmed around consuming soda, cheap fast food, movies, clothes, and mostly the practice, the sadhana of shopping western stye. Tee shirts with silly sayings have become one of those tasteless vogues here. “I’m your future boss” “Being Human”, and other such tedious expressions of Hallmark sentimentality are expressed in the attire of young and old. At the mall there was a woman wearing one that read, “I’m with stupid”, summarizing India’s embrace of American culture in one perfect line.
Bob met UG in 1966 before the ‘calamity’, then again later in 1978 in India at his invitation. The difference, he said, was the vacancy. During the 1980’s UG stayed in his house so on occasion he found himself sitting around with UG when there was no one else there, in the room and also, presumably, in the person sitting in front of him. In one of those quiet moments he looked at him and said, “Make it simple for me UG.” UG just looked at him and said, “It is simple Bob, this is a tape recorder.’ Indicating himself, “And that also is a tape recorder”, indicating Bob, “nothing more”. And that was that.
When you sit with westerners in India, much of the discussion is about the differences between the east and the west. In the west, the shared cultural goal is about conquering nature and becoming famous, wealthy, standing out in history. In India, the cultural goal, rarely actually sought, but nevertheless lingering in its philosophy, is simple, ‘renounce’. This afternoon I stood in a stairwell hoping for a breeze, staring at a brown patch of field where some boys were playing cricket in the sweltering landscape of endless highrise apartment buildings. The thought came to me that India is as unnatural in its superstitions as the west is unnatural in its insistence on logic and reason. Somewhere between all our habits of thought whether eastern or western, lies the reality we can’t see. According to him, it was simple, a glimpse of that would finish us, reboot the computer and the whole thing would collapse inside us like a house of cards. The natural current of life, were it to interrupt this flimsy continuity of one memorized thought path after anther, would fry the habitualized channels of thought, and once and for all, we wouldn’t know what the fuck we were looking at, nor would we care. If we were to let go of that tiger for one second, ‘he said’, we would be thrown off, and get up and walk away.
Alas, there is fear, the fear of losing what I have.
“If you have any sense, you would walk out of here and not walk in anywhere else.” That would be the end of UG as I know and experience him. I would lose UG.
They say that meeting a half baked swami-guru-teacher-enlightened one, is no where near as painful and desperate as meeting a real one. Having met UG I now know what that means. There is no way to back out, there is no way forward, there is nothing left but to cling to bullshit. The painful thing is I can no longer tell myself it is anything but bullshit. The habit is so strong I cannot fully participate, yet I cannot back away, stop, or fool myself that I can control myself. The only thing left to do would be to shut up, but to shut up deliberately will only excite the beast. Any attempt at self control, “This is the last time I’m going to buy into that…” is met with a redoubling of efforts to hang in there, hope for the best, put one foot in front of the other, rather than let it all fall to pieces.

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22 Responses to oops

  1. Uday Puranik says:

    No Way Nowhere……

  2. TKar says:

    Good god the last paragraph summed up the whole of the human “culture”….and the solution..also summed up what probably both of us are right now…we can neither spit it..nor swallow…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wanting to be something other than what you are is real misery. The very idea that you can be like UG, or trying to imagine what was his experience, can trap someone. He was pointing at our own experience, not his. He wanted us to look at our own life, our own attempts to become whatever ideal we held to be dear, and to come to the point of no longer believing in this whole game. All of this conflict begins to lose its steam. Maybe one day we notice that we are no longer interested in all these ideas as the fullness of our being begins to operate instead of the incessant chattering of me, me, me.

  4. do they even make tape recorders anymore? what would be the modern equivalent i wonder..a smart phone?

  5. Branko says:

    It is hard to appreciate the impact of U.g.’s Tape recorder statement. I have read it many times and i think “Oh yeah, i know that we are all just tape loops” i have read that twenty times so i must know all about it. Apparently Bob was totally floored when U.G. said this to him, the impact hit him real hard. The whole weight of u.g.’s statement was able to get past the armoury.

    Anonymous has reminded me of an old Eastern Orthodox Verse/Chant-
    Fullness of Being is part of the problem
    Fullness of Being is part of the problem
    Fullness of Being is part of the problem
    translates something like that

  6. Anonymous says:

    What problem? The imaginary one that keeps trying to understand, analyzing every statement and trying to make it fit in to our world of knowing? That keeps telling ourselves that there is something to become, some state to arrive at? That tape recorder contains everything we know, everything we think we are. Wanting it to be otherwise is misery. Separating from it is misery. Criticizing is misery. Within this misery/tape recording, there is a fullness to it all. It is what you are when you stop fighting it. I don’t really know how to describe this but it is like a loving embrace of everything.

  7. Branko says:

    I dunno man??? Being-ness is a bubble… It’s filled with Swami’s, Gurus, therapists and workshop leaders who lovingly embrace everything. Although what you have written sounds really appealing to me and i would attend one of your workshops.

    • Anonymous says:


      LOL. It’s good to be wary of any statement, but don’t be too clever. There is nothing that I nor anyone else could say that could stand up to any criticism. But, that is the tape recorder playing back all our interpretations of what anyone is talking about. UG included himself in the tapes! This is his way of making himself disappear along with everyone else! A true magician. No smell or stain left. A clean machine. No problems, and no others. 🙂

      • Branko says:

        It would be nice to have your first name. 🙂 and when is the next Satsang? 🙂 We are talking about different things… Alas, never the twain shall meet.
        well, enjoy the bliss… 🙂

  8. Janaki says:

    OMG, you are such a brilliant writer, you really know how to nail stuff. You have a real rare talent.

  9. Bruce says:

    selfish to the core! selfish to the core! you don’t stand a chance, you greedy bastard! sTFU & go make some money!

  10. David Baxter says:

    As always, a great blog! I love reading about your recent encounters. The only REAL problems are making enough money to survive in this world and that is all. Anything outside of that frame, so-to- speak is irrelevant; and with that you become unburdened from the myth of becoming something better, spiritual, religious or any other illusiory entity that you think you are made to believe you must attain before you die.

  11. Philip says:

    Hi Louis I was wondering if in your time with U.G. did you ever experince a state of headlessness that he talked about?

  12. philip says:

    Thanks for the reply Louis, you might find this website of some interest, the experiments section is worth looking at, they are simple and direct and I have to say that for me at least, it worked, nothing has been quite the same since…Philip

    • louisbrawley says:

      Hi Phillip,

      Thank you for the link. I’ve been aware of Harding for a long time. An interesting fellow for sure. My attraction to UG continues to be so overwhelming that I am unable to sustain an interest in other teachers since meeting him. I suppose this is an organic thing, or chemical, or how ever one would put that, since I can never defend him or explain him to anyone who isn’t interested.
      Regarding the headless phenomenon, what I gather from UG’s talks and our conversations, is that his headless phase in London was a step along the way, a preparation for the final blast he called the ‘calamity’. I remember a powerful conversation with him about this headless phase during an early visit to see him. The overwhelming evidence seems to point to the fact that that sort of thing was not in his control. He would never attempt to recreate it in another. He was more focused on moving past all experiences to push people to a place of total surrender.
      These things are very seductive and I have been continuously forced to accept as I investigate the ‘whatnot’, that each individual case is totally unique. I have always had the feeling that if something like this were to happen to me it would take have its own way and there would be no way for me to prepare for it, rather it’s the other way around, it would prepare me. This is reiterated by people with far more experience than me. It’s frustrating in a way, but makes sense.

      Thanks for the tip man.



  13. philip says:

    Thanks for the reply Louis, I really enjoy your outlook on things, I think that one has to be very careful about such experience’s as headlessness and other so called spiritual happening’s, as the mind has a great capacity to fool oneself and I realize that what happened to me may have very well happened regardless of my trying out the experiments. and after all it did not really change my life other than to make me aware that who and what I thought I was is really an illusion (if only for a few seconds,) it really does take a tremendous effort and single-mindedness to do anything with that awareness, to be willing to give up everything to find your answer. U.G. did it, what an incredible energy and drive he must have possessed!…Philip

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