Q: From our earlier talks with you it is evident that man has a wrong relationship with his knowledge of himself and the world. What exactly do you mean by knowledge?
U.G.: Knowledge is not something mysterious or abstract. I look at the table and ask myself, "What is that?" So do you. Knowledge is just naming things. It tells you that that is a "table", that I "am happy" or "miserable", that "you are an enlightened man and I am not". Is there anything to thought other than this?
The knowledge you have of the world creates the objects you are experiencing. The actual existence or non-existence of something "out there" in the world is not something you can determine or experience for yourself, except through the help of your knowledge. And this knowledge is not yours; it is something which you and your ancestors have accumulated over a long time. What you call the "act of knowing" is nothing other than this accumulated memory. You have personally added to and modified that knowledge, but essentially it doesn't belong to you at all.
There is nothing there inside you but the totality of this knowledge you have accumulated. That is what you are. You cannot even directly experience the reality of the world in which you are functioning, much less some world beyond. There is no world beyond space and time. It is your invention, based upon the vague promises of the holy men. Our sense of value springs from the world as it is imposed on us. We must accept the world.
Q: So our belief system is also based upon this memory ...?
U.G.: Neither is belief an abstraction. It is an extension of the survival mechanism which has operated for millions of years. Belief is like any other habit, the more you try to control and suppress it, the stronger it becomes. Your question implies that you want to be free from something: in this case it is belief. First of all, why do you want to be free from it? Whatever you are doing or hope to do to be free from this only adds momentum to it. Anything you do has no value at all. Why has this become a problem to you? You are in no position to deny or accept what I am saying. You have probably tried some kind of system to control your thoughts and beliefs, and it has failed you. Repeating mantras, doing yoga, and prayer have not helped. For whatever reasons, you have not been able to control your thoughts. That is all.
Q: But the repeating of mantras and other sacred techniques do seem to quiet thought ...
U.G.: You cannot even observe your thoughts, much less control them. How can you possibly observe your thoughts? You talk as though there is some entity in you separate from thoughts. It is an illusion; your thoughts are not separate from you. There is no thinking. Thought cannot damage you. It is your separative structure trying to control, dominate, censure and use thought that is the problem. Thought by itself can do no damage. It is only when you want to do something with thought that you create problems for yourself.
Q: Listening to you now seems also to create problems for me.
U.G.: You say you are listening. Even as I speak you are not listening to anything. You are not listening to me, but only to your own thoughts. I have no illusions about it. You cannot listen to me or anybody. It is useless trying to persuade me that you are attentive, concerned, listening. I am not a fool.
Q: It is not so obvious to me that I am not listening to you. I seem to be listening to you and thinking about it simultaneously. Isn't this possible?
U.G.: It is impossible. There is only one action possible for you: thinking. The birth of thought itself is action. The thinker who says he is looking at cause-and-effect is himself thought. Thought creates the space between the thinker and his thoughts, and then tells himself, "I am looking at my thoughts." Is it possible? Forgetting about what has happened in the past, try to look at your thoughts at this very moment. I am asking you to do something which is quite simple. If you will tell me how to look at thought, I will be your student. I will be very grateful to you. Instead of looking at thought, you focus on me. If you repeat a mantra, that is thought. The repetition of the mantra is another thought. The idea that these repetitive thoughts have not succeeded in producing the state you want is another thought. The idea that you must find a new mantra or practice some technique that does work is another thought. What is thought other than this? I want to know.
Q: But all religions have stressed the importance of suppressing and controlling undesirable thoughts. Otherwise we would descend to the level of animals.
U.G.: We have been brainwashed for centuries by holy men that we must control our thoughts. Without thinking you would become a corpse. Without thinking the holy men wouldn't have any means of telling us to control our thoughts. They would go broke. They have become rich telling others to control their thoughts.
Q: But, surely, there are qualitative differences in the way thoughts are controlled.
U.G.: You have arbitrarily made these distinctions. Thinking is part of life, and life is energy. Having a glass of beer or smoking a cigarette is exactly the same as repeating prayers, holy words, and scriptures. Going to the pub or the temple is exactly the same; it is a quick fix. You attach special significance to the prayers and temples, for no reason other than that it is your prejudice and that it makes you feel superior to those who frequent pubs and bordellos.
Q: So it is all an attempt to modify or change in some way my conditioning ...
U.G.: Conditioning is tradition. The Sanskrit word for it is samskara. Tradition is what you are -- what you call you. No matter how you may modify it, it continues. In life everything is temporary, and the attempt to give continuity to conditioning -- which is based upon thought -- is pathological in nature. You treat the psychological and the pathological as if they were two different things. Actually there is only the pathological there. Your samskara, the conditioning that makes you feel separate from yourself and the world, is pathological.
Where is this conditioning you talk of ...? Where are the thoughts located? They are not in the brain. Thoughts are not manufactured by the brain. It is, rather, that the brain is like an antenna, picking up thoughts on a common wavelength, a common thought-sphere.
All your actions, whether thinking of God or beating a child, spring from the same source -- thinking. The thoughts themselves cannot do any harm. It is when you attempt to use, censor, and control those thoughts to get something that your problems begin. You have no recourse but to use thought to get what you want in this world. But when you seek to get what does not exist -- God, bliss, love, etc. -- through thought, you only succeed in pitting one thought against another, creating misery for yourself and the world.
When the thought structure, pressed into the service of fear and hope, cannot achieve what it wants, or cannot be certain, it introduces what you call "faith". Where is the need for belief, or its alter-ego faith? When your beliefs have gotten you nowhere, you are told you must cultivate faith. In other words, you must have hope. Whether you are seeking God, or bliss, peace of mind, or, more tangibly, happiness, you end up relying on hope, belief, and faith. These dependencies are the tokens of your failure to get the results you desire.
Q: What is the relationship between thought conditioning, and what we call desire?
U.G.: Your desires, like your thoughts in general, are to be suppressed and controlled at all costs. This approach only enriches the holy men. Why the hell do you want to be in what you call "a desireless state" anyhow? What for? I can assure you that when you have no desire you will be carried as a corpse to the burial ground.
We have been told by the holy men that to have desires is wrong. They must be suppressed or changed into a higher order of desires, "transformed". It is hogwash. Either you fulfill those desires or you fail to fulfill those desires. That is the problem. In either case desire will arise. Attempting to do nothing is also useless. It (i.e., doing nothing) is part of your general strategy to get something. It has to burn itself out. The samskara, or conditioning, although capable of being burnt out, cannot be seen. You can never look at desire. Seeing desire will blind you. Your culture, your philosophy, your society has conditioned you, and now you think you can change or in some way modify that conditioning. It is impossible, for you are society.
Q: We do not want to be free of conditioning. It is too frightening to contemplate. We are too insecure.
U.G.: Every thought that is born has to die. It is what they call the death wish. If a thought does not die, it cannot be reborn. It has to die, and with it you die. But you don't die with each thought and breath. You hook up each thought with the next, creating a false continuity. It is that continuity that is the problem. Your insecurity springs from your refusal to face the temporary nature of thought. It is a little easier to talk to those who have attempted thought control -- who have done some sadhana -- because they experience the futility of it and can see where they are "hung up".
Q: I suppose, then, that it is the tradition and conditioning that has created the moral dilemma for us ...?
U.G.: Only the man who is capable of immorality can talk of morality. There is no such thing as immorality for me. I cannot sit and preach morality. That is all. I take no moral positions at all. The one who talks of morals, love, and compassion is a humbug.
Your morality or the lack of it is of no importance compared to the fact that you are dead. You are always operating in and through your dead memory. Memory is nothing more than the same old nonsense repeating itself, that's all. All you know, or can ever know, is memory, and memory is thought. Your ceaseless thinking is only giving you continuity. Why do you have to do that all the time? It is not worth it. You are wearing yourself out. When there is a need for it, one can understand. Why do you have to separate yourself from your actions and tell yourself all the time, "Now I am happy," "Now I feel I belong," "Now I feel alone." Why? You are constantly monitoring and censoring your actions and feelings: "Now I feel this, Now I feel that;" "I want to be that," "I should not have done that." You are mulling over the future or the past all the time, oblivious to the present. There is no future in relation to your problem. Any solution you think of is in the future, and is, therefore, useless. If there is anything that can happen, it must happen NOW. Since you don't want anything to happen NOW, you push it away into something you have named "the future". What you have in place of the present is FEAR. Then begins the whole exhausting search for a way to be free from fear. Do you really want THIS kind of freedom? I say you do not.
Anything you want to be free from, for whatever reason, is the very thing that can free you. You have to be free from the very thing you want to be free from. You are always dealing with a pair of opposites; so being free of one is to be free from the other, its opposite. Within the framework of the opposites there is no freedom. That is why I always say, "You haven't got a chance ..." Likewise, the man who is not concerned with morality will not be interested in immorality. The answer to selfishness lies in selfishness, not a fictitious opposite called selflessness. Freedom from anger lies in anger, not in non-anger. Freedom from greed lies in greed, not in non-greed.
The whole religious business is nothing but moral codes of conduct: you must be generous, compassionate, loving, while all the time you remain greedy and callous. Codes of conduct are set by society in its own interests, sacred or profane. There is nothing religious about it. The religious man puts the priest, the censor, inside you. Now the policeman has been institutionalized and placed outside you. Religious codes and strictures are no longer necessary; it is all in the civil and criminal codes.
You needn't bother with these religious people anymore; they are obsolete. But they don't want to lose their hold over people. It is their business; their livelihood is at stake. There is no difference between the policeman and the religious man. It is a little more difficult with the policeman, for, unlike the inner authority sponsored by the holy men, he lies outside you and must be bribed.
Q: The helplessness of the average man to solve these basic dilemmas is acknowledged by many religions. Seekers are directed, therefore, to a sage, savior or avatara. Yet you deny even this source of help and inspiration, do you not?
U.G.: When you are suffering greatly and are very depressed, the body falls asleep. It is nature's way of handling the situation. Or you use repetitive words as a soporific -- what you call "japa" -- and go into sound sleep. You invent a name like Rama, repeat it endlessly, and hope to get some benefit. First of all you have invented Rama. Rama doesn't exist except as an historical figure. Having created the monster, you worship and then say you can't get out of it. It's alright with me if you continue with your "Ram Nam" ...
Q: The repetition of holy names is a sincere effort to find something transcending the transient, something more permanent ...
U.G.: There is no permanence. The attempt to attain permanent happiness and uninterrupted pleasure is only choking the body, doing it violence. Your search for happiness only succeeds in destroying the sensitivity and intelligence of the nervous system. Wanting what does not exist -- the romantic, religious, spiritual stuff -- only adds momentum to that false continuity which destroys the body. It is radically disturbing the chemical balance of the body. The body, which is only interested in survival and procreation, treats both pain and pleasure alike. It is YOU who insist on stopping pain and extending pleasure. The body's response to both pleasure and pain is the same -- it groans.
What does the body want? It doesn't want anything except to function. All other things are the inventions of thought. The body has no separate independent existence of its own apart from pleasure and pain. The various vibrations affecting the body may differ in intensity, but it is you who divide them into good and bad.
You are constantly translating vibrations that hit the body into experiences. You touch the table and it is "hard", you touch the pillow and it is "soft", you touch the woman's arm there and it is "sexy", and you touch the doorknob and it is "not-sexy". Without the constant translation of the sensory activity you have no way of knowing if something is hard, or soft, or sexy. The body's natural intelligence is correctly "processing" the sensory input without your having to do a thing. It is similar to how the body turns over many times during sleep without your being aware of it, much less trying to control it. The body is handling itself.
You are all the time interfering with the natural functioning of the nervous system. When a sensation hits your nervous system the first thing you do is to name it and categorize it as pleasure or pain. The next step is that you want to continue the pleasurable sensations and stop the painful sensations. First, the recognition of a sensation as pleasure or pain is itself painful. Second, the attempt to extend the life of one kind of sensation ("pleasure"), and to stop another kind of sensation ("pain"), is also painful. Both activities are choking the body. In the very nature of things every sensation has its own intensity and duration. The attempt to extend pleasure and stop pain only succeeds in destroying the sensitivity of the body and its ability to respond to sensations. So, what you are doing is very painful for the body.
If you do nothing with the sensations, you will find that they must dissolve into themselves. That is what I mean when I speak of the "ionization of thought". That is what I meant by birth and death. There is no "death" for the body, only disintegration. Thought being material, all its pursuits are material. That is why your so-called spiritual pursuits have no meaning. Don't get me wrong, I am not against using thought to get what you need; you have no other tool at your disposal.
So, the body is interested only in its survival. All that are necessary for life are the survival and reproductive systems. That is nature's way. Why life wants to reproduce itself is another matter. The only way the human organism can survive and ensure its reproduction is through thought. So thought is very important and even essential to the living organism. Thought determines whether there is action or no action. All animals have these survival thoughts, but, in the case of man, the factor of recognition is introduced, complicating the whole thing enormously. We have superimposed over the natural sensory functioning a never-ending verbalization.
The body is not at all interested in psychological or spiritual matters. Your highly praised spiritual experiences are of no value to the organism. In fact they are painful to the body. Love, compassion, ahimsa, understanding, bliss, all these things which religion and psychology have placed before man, are only adding to the strain of the body. All cultures, whether of the Orient or of the Occident, have created this lopsided situation for mankind and turned man into a neurotic individual. Instead of being what you are -- unkind -- you pursue the fictitious opposite put before you -- kindness. To emphasize what we SHOULD be only causes strain, giving momentum to what we already in fact are. In nature we find the animals at one time violent and brutal, at others kind and generous. For them there is no contradiction. But man is told he must be always good, kind, loving, and never greedy or violent. We emphasize only one side of reality, thus distorting the whole picture. This trying to have one without the other is creating tremendous strain, sorrow, pain, and misery for man. Man must face the necessary violence in life; you must kill to live, one form of life thrives on another. And yet you have condemned killing.
Q: If you don't mind, I would like to discuss another topic with you. What is the connection between deep sleep and death? In either case the "me" is absent, and yet they seem different.
U.G.: Why are you talking of deep sleep? If there is any such thing as deep sleep, it's not possible for the sleeping person to know anything about it. So don't talk of deep sleep; it is something you can never know. The actual deep, natural, profound sleep natural to the body has nothing to do with poetic stuff like "dying to all your yesterdays." At the profoundest levels of rest, or deep sleep, the whole body goes through the death process, and may or may not return to vigor and normal waking states. If it comes around and is revived, it means that the body has not lost its ability to rejuvenate itself. What is left there after this death is free to carry on after its renewal. Actually, you are born and die with every breath you take. That is what is meant by death and rebirth.
Your thought structure denies the reality of death. It seeks continuity at all costs. I am not informing you about deep sleep or any other theories, but only pointing out that if you go deep enough the "you" disappears, the body goes through an actual clinical death, and that, in some cases, the body can renew itself. At that point the entire history of the individual, located in the body's genetic structure, no longer separates itself from life and falls into its own rhythm. From then on it cannot separate itself from anything.
What you experience in your ordinary superficial sleep is nature pushing down the thoughts so that the body and brain can rest. If the thoughts are not effectively pushed down into the subterraneous regions, there will be no sleep. But after this deep sleep, there is no more sleep for the body. The entity that was there before informing itself, "Now I am asleep" and "Now I am awake" is no longer to be found. You can no longer create this division in consciousness between waking and sleeping. So don't bother theorizing about "thoughtless states;" when thought is finished, you die. Until then all talk of thoughtless states are the silly products of thought trying to give itself continuity by believing and searching out a "thoughtless state". If you have ever fancied yourself to be in a thoughtless state, it means that thought was there.
Q: The yogins maintain that it is possible to extend normal waking consciousness into the realms usually guarded by sleep, that is, into the unconscious.
U.G.: You need not practice any yogic techniques in order to experience these things. By taking drugs you can have all these experiences. I am not at all advocating drugs any more than I am advocating yoga. I am just pointing out that all experience is born out of thought and is in all the essentials identical. If you call these yogic or drug-induced states blissful, more profound, or in any way more pleasurable than "ordinary" experiences, you are strengthening the ego and fortifying the separative structure by wasting your thoughts translating sensations into higher or lower and pleasurable or painful. Anything you experience as energy is thought-induced energy. It is not the energy of life.
Q: What you are saying is contrary to what the religions and saints have ...
U.G.: The "gurus" can say what they want. The books can say all they like. It is advantageous to them. They are in the filthy marketplace selling some shoddy goods.
Q: But they say ...
U.G.: Forget them. What are you, essentially? What do you have to say? You have nothing to say. To sit and quote another is easy, but will do no good here.
Look. In this state there is no division. Our situation is that I cannot transmit and you cannot receive that fact. In addition to it, you have gone one step further and created a more complex problem for yourself by placing the undivided state outside yourself as you are; this means search. To search is to be cunning. The search for peace is dulling the natural peacefulness of the body. Your knowledge and search are meaningless because there is nothing inside the division you have created around you.
Q: Because you disagree with some of the great teachings in some things, is that any reason to so ruthlessly brush aside the entire spiritual heritage of mankind?
U.G.: It is all worthless as far as you are concerned. It is a menu without the meal. It is all a sales pitch. It has resulted in hypocrisy and commercialism. There is something radically wrong with it. If there is anything good, it cannot produce anything bad. Obviously, religions are false -- religion, spirituality, society, you, your property, your motives and values, the whole thing.
Q: It may be that the means have been corrupted, as you say. But the goal --bliss--seems to be a fundamental urge. Is this not so?
U.G.: Bliss -- what is that? Are you in a blissful state? You say that the atma is blissful, quoting your gurus and "Mandukya Upanishad" (1). It is false, junk food. You don't have to indulge in all this nonsense to be free from it. You need not be a former drunkard in order to appreciate sobriety.
Q: But it is so extraordinary to read the scriptures, they are inspirational ...
U.G.: What do these words mean to you? What do all these Sanskrit words mean to you? Don't start repeating what you have read. Do you have anything to say with regard to the way you are actually functioning right now? That is what is very important, not what Samkara(2) or someone else has said. I am not here to teach you anything. This is not a didactic or instructional exercise. The fact that you have chosen to come here and ask these questions means that all those gurus and scriptures have failed you, does it not? If you do not come here, you will go somewhere else. Words only have a vague abstract meaning for you; otherwise, they have no relevance to you at all.
Q: All this has been a bit disillusioning. May I go and continue this conversation tomorrow?
U.G.: Of course.
Q: Thank you.
U.G.: Where is space? Is there space without the four walls? What tells you that there is something called space? Don't repeat what others have said on this question? Without thought is there space at all? There is not. Thought creates time as well as space. The moment thought is there, there is time and space.
Thought has created tomorrow. You feel hopeless because you have created tomorrow's hope. Your only chance is now -- no hope is necessary. Neither is the idea of self or atma valid. I tried so hard to find one. It was wrongly put together by the philosophers.
Thought is body, thought is life, thought is sex. You are the thought. Thought is you. If there is no thought, you are not there. There is no world, if thought is not there.
Q: My God, what a mess! How can I save myself from all this? It is a sad destiny to contemplate.
U.G.: You have to be saved from the very idea that you have to be saved. You must be saved from the saviors, redeemed from the redeemers. If it is to happen, it must happen now. My words cannot penetrate the lunacy there. It is the madness of the spiritual search that makes you unmoved and impervious to my words. The line between the madman and the mystic is a very, very thin one. The madman is regarded as a clinical case, while the other, the mystic, is equally pathological.
Forget the rosaries, the scriptures, the ashes on your forehead. When you see for yourself the absurdity of your search, the whole culture is reduced to ashes inside you. Then you are out of that. Tradition is finished for you. No more games. Vedanta means the end of knowledge. So why write more holy books, open more schools, preserve more teachings? The burning up inside you of everything you want is the meaning of ashes. When you know nothing, you say a lot. When you know something, there is nothing to say.
Q: The state of not knowing you describe is related to another level of consciousness. What has it got to do with me, an ordinary neurotic person?
U.G.: What levels of consciousness? There are no levels of consciousness. Awareness is no different in the waking state than in the sleeping state. Even while you are sitting here you are dreaming. There cannot be dreaming without images. When you are lying in bed you call it dreaming, when sitting with the eyes open you call it something else, that is all. For me these images are absent, whether I am in a "waking" or a "sleeping" state. I cannot form any image at any time. It does not matter here whether the eyes are open or closed. The only thing that is there in that individualized consciousness is the sure reflection of what is presented to it. You do not name it. The movement or desire to know what it is simply is not there. I have no way of knowing or experiencing this so-called wakeful state. I can mechanically explain the wakeful state, but this does NOT imply that there is someone there who KNOWS THAT HE IS AWAKE. The explanations don't mean a thing. That is why I maintain that your natural state is one of "not knowing".
Q: Most schools of religion and psychology recommend the expansion or intensification of awareness as a means to a more fulfilled life, as, for example, through therapy. Is this what you are talking about -- some kind of awareness therapy?
U.G.: No. Awareness is a simple activity of the brain. It cannot be used to bring about any change, including a therapeutic one. We have superimposed a naming process over this natural physiological awareness, an awareness we share, incidentally, with the other animals. Awareness and the movement or tendency in you to bring about change in you are two different things entirely. That difference cannot be perceived by you, for there is no perception without the perceiver. Can you become conscious of anything except through the medium of memory and thought? Memory is knowledge. Even your feelings are memory. The stimulus and the response form one unitary movement -- they cannot be neatly separated.
In other words, you cannot even differentiate the stimulus from the response; there is no dividing line, except when thought steps in and creates one. Thought, as memory and knowledge, has created this mechanism. The only way it can perpetuate itself is to gather knowledge, to know more and more, to ask more and more questions. As long as you are seeking you will be asking questions, and the questioning mechanism only adds more momentum to the naming process.
Q: But let us not sell thought short. It can capture many wonderful things ...
U.G.: Thought can never capture the movement of life, it is much too slow. It is like lightning and thunder. They occur simultaneously, but sound, traveling slower than light, reaches you later, creating the illusion of two separate events. It is only the natural physiological sensations and perceptions that can move with the flow of life. There is no question of capturing or containing that movement. We like to use the word consciousness glibly, as if we are intimately familiar with it. Actually, consciousness is something we will never know.
Q: So attempts to suspend thought somehow hoping to be purely aware is bogus?
U.G.: As far as I am concerned we become conscious of something only through memory, knowledge. Otherwise space, and the separative consciousness it creates, are not there. There is no such thing as looking at something without the interference of knowledge. To look you need space, and thought creates that space. So space itself, as a dimension, exists only as a creation of thought. Thought has also tried to theorize about the space it has created, inventing the "time-space-continuum". Time is an independent reference or frame. There is no necessary continuity between it and space.
Thought has also invented the opposite of time, the "now", the "eternal now". The present exists only as an idea. The moment you attempt to look at the present, it has already been brought into the framework of the past.
Thought will use any trick under the sun to give momentum to its own continuity. Its essential technique is to repeat the same thing over and over again; this gives it an illusion of permanency. This permanency is shattered the moment the falseness of the past-present-future continuum is seen. The future can be nothing but the modified continuity of the past.
Q: These philosophical endeavors only seem to complicate things. Is it not possible to live simply with nature, to look at the clouds and trees ... ?
U.G.: The tree you are talking about cannot be captured by thought. If your thought structure cannot stop and frame its reflection of the tree, you have no way of looking at the tree at all. In other words, the tree is actually looking at you, not vice versa. I am not trying to mystify it. The important thing to see is the false separation between you and the tree, not who is looking at whom. Approaching the reality of the "positively" or "negatively", as the philosophers try to do, has no meaning. The gap, created by thought, remains, no matter what approach you take.
Thought has created all these divisions, making what you call experience possible. The man who has freed himself from all divisions in consciousness has no experiences; he does not have "loving" relationships, does not question anything, has no notions about being a self-realized man, and is not stuck on wanting to help somebody else.
What I am maintaining is that the whole problem has been created by culture. It is that that has created this neurotic division in man. Somewhere along the line man separated himself and experienced self-consciousness--which the other animals don't have--for the first time. This has created misery for man. That is the beginning of the end of man.
The individual who is able, through luck, to be free from this self-consciousness, is no longer experiencing an independent existence. He is, even to himself, like any other thing out there. What happens in the environment repeats itself within such an individual, without the knowledge. Once thought has burnt itself out, nothing that creates division can remain there.
While thought is taking birth, the disintegration or death of thought is taking place also. That is why it is not natural for thought to take root. Only by maintaining a divisive consciousness in man is thought capable of denying the harmonious functioning of the body. To cast man in religious or psychological terms is to deny the extraordinary intelligence of this wondrous body. It is the movement of thought that is constantly taking you away from your natural state and creating this division.
Is there any way for us to experience, much less share, reality? Forget about "ultimate reality"'; you have no way of experiencing the reality of anything. Experiencing reality "from moment to moment" is also a thought-induced state of mind.
Q: Listening to you is difficult for us, for what you are saying undermines the very basis of communication ...
U.G.: You cannot listen to anybody without interpretation. There is no such thing as "the art of pure listening." You can sit here talking for the rest of your life without getting anywhere. Without a common reference point--which is another invention of thought--how can you communicate and share? It is just not possible. There is nothing TO communicate anyhow.
You want to use communication to help you out of the mess you are in. That is your only interest. Getting out of your situation is your only aim. Why? Why do you want to get out of your situation? Wanting to get out of situations is what has created the problem in the first place. Wanting to free yourself from the burden is really the problem. I am not recommending anything; doing or not doing lead to the same end: misery. So doing nothing is no different from doing something. As long as you have knowledge about that burden--which I deny exists--you will have to struggle to be free of it. It cannot but do otherwise. Anything you do is part of the mechanism of thought.
Your search for happiness is prolonging your unhappiness.
Q: There is a ring of certainty and authority in what you say. We want to know ...
U.G.: From whom do you want to know? Not from me. I don't know. If you assume that I know, you are sadly mistaken. I have no way of knowing. What is there inside you is only the movement of knowledge wanting to know more and more. The "you", the separative structure can continue only as long as there is a demand to know. That is the reason why you are asking these questions, not to find out anything for yourself. Nothing you can tell yourself can change your unfortunate situation. Why should something, or nothing, happen?
The demand for freedom, whether outwardly or inwardly, has been with us for a long while. We have been told that this demand is a sacred, noble thing. Have we again been misled?
The demand to be free is the cause of your problems. You want to see yourself as free. The one that is saying, "You are not free," is the same one that is telling you that there is a state of "freedom" to be pursued. But the pursuit is slavery, the very denial of freedom. I do not know anything about freedom, because I do not know anything about myself, free, enslaved, or otherwise. Freedom and self-knowledge are linked. Since I do not know myself and have no way of seeing myself, except by the knowledge given me by my culture, the question of wanting to be free does not arise at all. The knowledge you have about freedom denies the very possibility of freedom. When you stop looking at yourself with the knowledge you have, the demand to be free from that self drops away.
Q: Our ordinary minds are too cluttered to appreciate what you are saying. Only a profoundly still mind can begin to understand you. Is this not so?
U.G.: Stillness of mind is ridiculous. There is no such thing as stillness of mind. This is another trick created by the demand to be free. What is there is the constant demand to be free. Nothing else is there. How can you, and why should you, be free from memory? Memory is absolutely essential. The problem is not having a memory, but your tendency to use memory to further your "spiritual" interests, or as a means to find happiness. To attempt to be free from memory is withdrawal, and withdrawal is death.
There is nothing to know. The statement that there is nothing to know is an abstraction to you, because you know. To you not knowing is a myth. What is there is not not-knowing but knowing projecting the state of freeing yourself from the known. Your demand to be free from the known is the one that is creating the problem. As long as the notion of "I ought to be this" is there, so long will that which I actually am be there.
Q: So it is the fantasizing about a non-existent ideal person, society, or state that dooms and fixes me where I am. My belief in what I am not determines what I in fact am. Is that it?
That's it. And the greatest ideal, the most imposing, perfect and powerful, is, of course, God. It is an invention of frightened minds. The human mind has many destructive inventions to its credit. The most destructive one, and the one that has corrupted you, is the invention of God. The history of human thinking has produced saints, teachers, gurus, Bhagavans, but God is the most corrupt of them all. Man has already messed up his life, and religion has made it worse. It is religion that really made a mess of man's life.
Q: One parallel I have noticed between your message and other teachings, especially that of J. Krishnamurti, is the stress on the thought structure and its ability to blind us. Why is thought so important?
U.G.: It is important that although thought controls and determines your every action, it, at the same time, cannot itself be seen by consciousness. You can think and theorize about thought but cannot perceive or appreciate thought itself. Are you and thought two separate things? You know about thought, not thought itself. Does thought exist apart from the knowledge you have about thought? About all you can say is, "I know, I have knowledge about my thoughts, about my experiences, about this or that," that is all you can do. Independent of that, is there thought? Your knowing about thought is the only thing there is.
So all that is there is the knowledge you have accumulated about thought. Nothing else is there. All the things observed, as well as the observer himself, is part of this knowledge about thought. They are thoughts, and the "I" is another thought. But there is no individual value in thought; it is not yours, it belongs to everyone, like the atmosphere. Knowledge is common property.
What I am trying to say is that there is no individual there at all. There is only a certain gathering of knowledge--which is thought--but no individuality there. The knowledge you have of things is all that you are capable of experiencing. Without knowledge no experience of any kind is possible. You cannot separate experience and knowledge. The "I" is nothing sacred; it is the totality of your knowledge, and you are, unfortunately, stuck with it. Why are you interested in separating the knowledge you have about yourself--whatever you call yourself? Knowledge is all that is there. Where is the "I"? You have separated the "I" from the knowledge it has of the things about you. It is an illusion.
Similarly, enlightenment has no independent existence of its own apart from your knowledge about it. There is no enlightenment at all. The idea of illumination is tied up with change, but there is nothing TO change. Change admits of time; change ALWAYS takes time. To change, to eliminate one thing and replace it with another, takes time. What you are now and what you ought to be are linked together by time. You are going to be enlightened TOMORROW ...
Let us take this as an example. You want to be enlightened, you want to be "selfless"; you are this, you want to be that. The gap between the two is filled with time, put there to ask the repetitive question, "How?" Your enlightenment or selflessness is always tomorrow, not now. So time is essential, and time is thought. Thinking is not action, not taking, but merely wanting. You are not ready to do a thing, only meditate, which is just thinking about it. Your thought structure, which is you, can't conceive of the possibility of anything happening except in time. This escapist logic is also applied by everyone to spiritual matters, only the time frame is larger. It happens in a future life or perhaps in heaven; at any rate, tomorrow. And just as there is no tomorrow in these matters, so its reference point, the present, does not exist. Where does it not exist? In thought, which is the past. There is no question of enlightenment and selfless "now", because there is no "now", only the projection of the present into the past.
You have never seen a tree, only your knowledge you have about trees. You see the knowledge, not the tree. Your whole interest in selflessness is motivated by the past. As long as there is motivation, it is a self-centered activity. The more you do, the more selfish you become. Your wanting to be enlightened or selfless is a very selfish thing. You don't want freedom, nor do you want everyone to be free, you want "freedom" for you. With an approach like that, how the hell are you going to be free? You are not going to be free.
1) Mandukya Upanishad: One of the principal Upanishads, officially forming part of the larger scriptures of the Hindus called the Vedas.
2) Samkara: The Vedanta philosopher of the 8th century Kerala, India, who propounded the non-dualist philosophy based on the Upanishads. This philosophy teaches that Brahman (Ultimate Reality) alone is real, that the world is an illusion, and that there is no difference between Atman (the interior self) and Brahman.