posted November 23, 2008 01:49 AM
U.G. Krishnamurti (July 9, 1918 – March 22, 2007)
U.G. Krishnamurti, or just U.G., was a speaker and philosopher,
often known as an "anti-guru" or as "the man who refused to be a guru".
I have no message for mankind.
This is how U.G. Krishnamurti often summed up his own insights,
denying the value others thought they found in them.
According to U.G., despite his life-long efforts to bring about spiritual enlightenment,
he underwent a life-altering series of personal experiences, which he collectively referred to as his "calamity".
According to U.G., "The so-called self-realization is the discovery for yourself and by yourself that there is no self to discover.
That will be a very shocking thing because it's going to blast every nerve, every cell, even the cells in the marrow of your bones."
U.G. practiced all kinds of austerities and earnestly sought moksha or spiritual enlightenment. To that end, between the ages of fourteen and twenty-one, he undertook all kinds of spiritual exercise, determined to find out whether moksha was possible. Wanting to achieve that state, he had also resolved to prove that if there were people who have thus "realized" themselves, they could not be hypocritical. As part of this endeavor, he searched for a person who was an embodiment of such "realization". He spent seven summers in the Himalayas with Swami Sivananda studying yoga and practicing meditation. ... In 1939, at age 21, U.G. met with renowned spiritual teacher Ramana Maharshi. U.G. related that he asked Ramana, "This thing called moksha, can you give it to me?" - to which Ramana Maharshi purportedly replied, "I can give it, but can you take it?". This answer completely altered U.G.'s perceptions of the "spiritual path" and its practitioners, and he never again sought the counsel of "those religious people". Later U.G. would say that Maharshi's answer - which he perceived as "arrogant" - put him "back on track". ... From 1947 to 1953, U.G. regularly attended talks given by Jiddu Krishnamurti in Madras, India, eventually beginning a direct dialogue with him in 1953. U.G. related that the two had almost daily discussions for a while, which he asserted were not providing satisfactory answers to his questions. Finally, their meetings came to a halt. He described part of the final discussion:
And then, towards the end, I insisted, "Come on, is there anything behind the abstractions you are throwing at me?" And that chappie said, "You have no way of knowing it for yourself". Finish -- that was the end of our relationship, you see -- "If I have no way of knowing it, you have no way of communicating it. What the hell are we doing? I've wasted seven years. Goodbye, I don't want to see you again". Then I walked out.
After the break with K. Jiddu, U.G. continued travelling, still lecturing. At about the same time he claims to have been "puzzled" by the continuing appearance of certain psychic powers. ... He ultimately separated from his family and went to London where he lived a bleak existence, alone and penniless, wandering the streets, often depending on the charity of others for survival. ... About this time, Jiddu Krishnamurti was in London and the two Krishnamurtis renewed their acquaintance. Jiddu tried to advise U.G. on his recent marital troubles, but U.G. didn't want his help. Jiddu eventually persuaded him to attend a few talks he was giving in London, which U.G. did, but found himself bored listening to him. ...
[By] 1967, U.G. was again concerned with the subject of enlightenment, wanting to know what that state was, which sages such as Siddhârtha Gautama purportedly attained. Hearing that Jiddu Krishnamurti was giving a talk in Saanen, U.G. decided to attend. During the talk, Jiddu was describing his own state and U.G. thought that it referred to him (U.G.). He explained it as follows:
When I Iistened to him, something funny happened to me -- a peculiar kind of feeling that he was describing my state and not his state. Why did I want to know his state? He was describing something, some movements, some awareness, some silence -- "In that silence there is no mind; there is action" -- all kinds of things. So, I am in that state. What the hell have I been doing these thirty or forty years, listening to all these people and struggling, wanting to understand his state or the state of somebody else, Buddha or Jesus? I am in that state. Now I am in that state. So, then I walked out of the tent and never looked back.
Then -- very strange -- that question "What is that state?" transformed itself into another question "How do I know that I am in that state, the state of Buddha, the state I very much wanted and demanded from everybody? I am in that state, but how do I know?
The next day, on his 49th birthday, U.G. was again pondering the question "How do I know I am in that state?" with no answer forthcoming. He later recounted that on suddenly realizing the question had no answer, there was an unexpected physical, as well as psychological, reaction. It seemed to him like "a sudden explosion inside, blasting, as it were, every cell, every nerve and every gland in my body." Afterwards, he started experiencing what he called "the calamity", a series of bizarre physiological transformations that took place over the course of a week, affecting each one of his senses, and finally resulting in a deathlike experience. He described it this way:
I call it calamity because from the point of view of one who thinks this is something fantastic, blissful and full of beatitude, love, or ecstasy, this is physical torture; this is a calamity from that point of view. Not a calamity to me but a calamity to those who have an image that something marvelous is going to happen.
Upon the eighth day:
Then, on the eighth day I was sitting on the sofa and suddenly there was an outburst of tremendous energy -- tremendous energy shaking the whole body, and along with the body, the sofa, the chalet and the whole universe, as it were -- shaking, vibrating. You can't create that movement at all. It was sudden. Whether it was coming from outside or inside, from below or above, I don't know -- I couldn't locate the spot; it was all over. It lasted for hours and hours. I couldn't bear it but there was nothing I could do to stop it; there was a total helplessness. This went on and on, day after day, day after day.
The energy that is operating there does not feel the limitations of the body; it is not interested; it has its own momentum. It is a very painful thing. It is not that ecstatic, blissful beatitude and all that rubbish -- stuff and nonsense! -- it is really a painful thing.
U.G. could not, and did not, explain the provenance of the calamity experiences. In response to questions, he maintained that it happened "in spite of" his pre-occupation with - and search for - enlightenment. He also maintained that the calamity had nothing to do with his life up to that point, or with his upbringing. Several times he described the calamity happening to him as a matter of chance, and he insisted that he could not possibly, in any way, impart that experience to anybody else.
Describing his post-calamity life, he claimed to be functioning permanently in what he called "the natural state": A state of spontaneous, purely physical, sensory existence, characterized by discontinuity - though not absence - of thought. ... U.G. remained primarily in Switzerland but often travelled to other countries around the world, holding discussions with small groups of people and with interested individuals. However, whenever people sought him for answers to their spiritual dilemmas, he emphasized that he had nothing to teach, and that no one can really learn about enlightenment by depending on someone else as an authority, teacher or guide. He gave his only post-calamity public talk in India, in 1972. ... His unorthodox non-message/philosophy and the often uncompromising, direct style of its presentation, generated a measure of notoriety and sharply divided opinions. At the extremes, some people considered him enlightened (U.G. always refused the label) while others considered him nothing more than a charlatan.