Q: We always feel that we have to improve ourselves or find at least a way out of our misery. Everyone thinks that he or she has to change or get to a higher level. What is your view on the matter?
UG: The moment we ask the question, "Is there something more to our life than what we are doing?", it sets the whole questioning mechanism going. Unfortunately, what has created this interest in the Western nations is the so-called Hippy generation. When they tried drugs, the drugs produced a change in what they called their `levels of consciousness'. For the first time they experienced something outside the area of their normal experiencing structure. When once we experience something extraordinary, which actually it is not, we look around for varieties of experiences....
UG: More and more of the same. That has created a market for all those people from the Eastern countries, India, China, and Japan, to flood into these countries and promise to provide answers for their questions. But actually they are selling shoddy pieces of goods. What people are interested in is not some answers to their problems but some comforters. As I said before, they are selling ice packs to numb the pain and make you feel comfortable. Nobody wants to ask the basic question: What is the real problem? What is it that they want? What are they looking for? And this [situation] is taken advantage of by the people from the East. If there is anything to what they claim (that they have the answers and solutions for the problems that we are all facing today), it doesn't seem to be evident in the countries from where they come. The basic question which Westerners should throw at them is: "Have your answers helped the people of your own countries? Do your solutions operate in your own lives?" Nobody is asking them these questions. The hundred different techniques that they offer to you have not been subjected to test. You don't have any statistical evidence to prove that there is something to what they claim. They exploit the gullibility and credulity of the people. When once you have everything that you need, the material goodies, you look around and ask the question, "Is that all there is to it?" And that situation is exploited by those people. They don't have any answers for the problems facing us today.
What is responsible for the human tragedy or the malady that we are confronted with today is that we are interested in maintaining the identities that are created by our culture. We have tremendous faith in the value system that is created by our culture or society or whatever you want to call it. We never question that. We are only interested in fitting ourselves into that value system. It is that demand from the society or culture to fit us all into that value system that is the cause of man's tragedy.
Somewhere along the line there occurred in human consciousness the demand to find out the answers for loneliness, the isolation that human beings suffer from the rest of the species on this planet. I don't even know if there is any such thing as evolution. If there is, somewhere along the line in that evolutionary process man separated or isolated himself from the rest of the creation on this planet. In that isolation, he felt so frightened that he demanded some answers, some comfort, to fill that loneliness, that isolation from the rest of the life around him. Religious thinking was born out of this situation, and it has gone on for centuries. But it has not really helped us to solve the problems created by mankind. Even the political systems that we have today are nothing but the warty outgrowth of the spiritual, religious thinking of man. Unfortunately they have failed, and a void has been created. There has been a total failure of our political and economic ideologies.
There is a tremendous danger facing mankind today. The void created by the failure of all these ideologies will be taken advantage of by the church. They will preach and shout that we all have to go back to Jesus, or go back to the great traditions of our own countries. But what has failed for them is not going to help us to solve our problems.
When some psychologists and scientists came to see me, I made this very clear to them, "You have come to the end of your tether. If you want answers for your problems, you have to find them within your own framework and not look elsewhere, especially the ancient dead cultures of the past." Going back or looking back to those systems and techniques that have failed us is only going to put us on a wrong track, on a merry-go-round.
Q: That's true. A lot of people are looking back to the past, as if the answers would be there.
UG: The situation that we are facing today is only the result of the past, and if we are looking back to the past we are already dead. We have no future at all as long as we try to get the answers from the past that is dead. Anybody who says, "Look back or go back," has no answers to offer us. The future is blocked if someone tells us, "You have to look back," because it is the past that has put us in the present awkward situation. But we are not ready to brush the whole thing aside.
Q: So all the techniques, the ancient techniques of meditation, Yoga, Tantra, Zen, Buddhism, Catholicism, you name it--have they all failed?
UG: All of them have totally failed. Otherwise we wouldn't be where we are today. If there is anything to their claims, we would have created a better and happier world. But we are not ready to accept the fact that it is they which are responsible for creating the sorry mess that we are all facing today.
Q: If you look at the political systems like fascism or communism they are very much like a religion.
UG: They have their own Church, their own Bible and....
Q: Their own gods.
UG: And their own gods. For them the state is the church.
Q: What I find very interesting is that even our procurators have left the church. They have had the big temples, accepted the same hierarchies as in the church of the middle ages, but all of them have crumbled and still there are millions of victims.
UG: We are partly responsible for this situation because we want to be victimized by them. What is the point in blaming those people? There is no point in blaming ourselves either because it is a two-way game: we play the game and they play the game. And playing games is all that we are doing. We are used to patting our own backs and telling ourselves, "God is in the far heavens and all is right with the world." It is very comforting to believe that we are going to do something extraordinary in the future. What we are left with is the hope; and we live in hope and die in hope. What I say doesn't sound promising, but it's a fact.
Q: We keep hoping.
UG: That's a very comforting thing - to hope that the future is going to be a marvelous thing and tremendously different from what it has been all these years. But we are not doing anything to create something new.
Q: No, no. We just hope....
UG: It is just a rehash of the past, the dead past. We only give new names and put new labels. But basically and essentially it [the religious teaching] has not helped us and it is not going to help us. It is not a question of replacing our ideas with new ideas, our thoughts with new thoughts, our beliefs with new beliefs, for the whole belief structure is very important to us. We do not want to free ourselves from this illusion. If we free ourselves from one illusion, we always replace it with another. If we brush aside or drop one belief, we will always replace that belief with another belief.
Q: Immediately ?
UG: Immediately. The fact is that we don't want to be free. What is responsible for our problems is the fear of losing what we have and what we know. All these therapies, all these techniques, religious or otherwise, are only perpetuating the agony of man. It is very comforting for people to believe that somehow, through some miracle, they are going to be freed from the problems that they are confronted with today. There is no way out of this because we are all wholly and solely responsible for the problems that we have created for ourselves and for others.
Q: If we have created the problems, we are also fighting them.
UG: Yes. But we are not ready to accept the fact that what has created the problems cannot itself solve them. What we are using to solve our problems is what we call "thought". But thought is a protective mechanism. Thought is only interested in maintaining the status quo. We may talk of change, but when actually the time comes for us to change things, we are not ready for it. We insist that change must always be for the better and not for the worse. We have a tremendous faith in the mechanism that has created the problems for us. After all, that is the only instrument that we have at our disposal, and we don't have any other instrument. But actually it cannot help us at all. It can only create problems, but cannot solve them. We are not ready to accept this fact because accepting it will knock out the whole foundation of human culture. We want to replace one system with another. But the whole structure of culture is pushing us in the direction of completely annihilating all that we have built with tremendous care.
We don't want to be free from fear. Anything you do to free yourself from fear is what is perpetuating the fear. Is there any way we can be freed from fear? Fear is something that cannot be handled by thought; it is something living. So we want to put on our gloves and try to touch it, play with it. All that we want to do is to play games with it and talk about freeing ourselves from fear. Or go to this therapist or that, or follow this technique or that. But in that process, what we are actually doing is strengthening and fortifying the very thing that we are trying to be free from, that is, fear.
Q: We are putting all our energies into [becoming free from] fear and then it grows?
UG: If the tremendous amount of energy that we put into solving this problem is released--I say, `if'--if it is released, what is it that you cannot do? But there is no way you can do anything about it. If you are lucky enough to find yourself in the situation where you are freed from this [fear] and that energy is released, living in this world would be very simple and easy.
Q: So we live in a society based on fear. Even our institutions - police, banks, doctors, insurance, and everything we have created - are based on fear?
UG: Yes, fear. But what is the point in telling ourselves that we are going to be freed from fear? If that fear comes to an end, you will drop dead, physically! Clinical death will take place! Of course, you and your fear are not two different things. It is comforting to believe that you and fear are two different things. You are frightened of certain things, or you do not want this or that thing to happen. You want to be free from fear. All this is very comforting, but there is no way you can separate yourself from fear and do anything to free yourself from it. If the fear comes to an end, `you' as you know yourself, `you' as you experience yourself, are going to come to an end, and you are not ready for that sort of thing.
The plain fact is that if you don't have a problem, you create one. If you don't have a problem, you don't feel that you are living. So the solutions that we have been offered by the teachers, in whom we have tremendous faith, are not really the solutions. If they were the solutions, the problems wouldn't be there at all. If there are no solutions for the problems, even then the problems wouldn't be there. We would like to live with those problems, and if we are free from one problem, we create another.
Q: Without problems you will be bored, won't you?
UG: Boredom is a bottomless pit. There is no way you can be freed from boredom. You love your boredom, but all the time you are trying to free yourself from boredom. As long as you think that there is something more interesting, more purposeful, more meaningful to do than what you are actually doing, you have no way of freeing yourself from boredom. So, it goes on and on. If you don't entertain yourself with a cowboy movie, you might go to a church and pray, or you might go to a temple and pray, or you might want to listen to a holy man telling you all kinds of cock- and-bull stories. He will sell you some shoddy piece of goods - "Stand on your head, stand on your shoulders, do this and do that, and you will be all right."
But the basic question which none of us is willing to ask is: what is it that we want? Whether you are in Holland, in America, or in Africa, anywhere, what you are really interested in is the quest for permanent happiness. That is all that we are interested in. All these religious people, the gurus, and the holy men, who are marketing these shoddy pieces of spiritual goods, are telling us that there is some way you can have eternal and permanent happiness. But that doesn't happen. We invest our faith in them so that it gives us hope, and we go on doing the same thing over and over again . And we continue to live in that hope. But it does not help us to get what we are really interested in, namely, to be permanently happy. There is no such thing as permanence at all, let alone permanent happiness.
The quest for permanent happiness is a lost battle; but we are not ready to accept that fact. What we are left with is some moments of happiness and some moments of unhappiness. If we are not ready to accept that situation, and still demand a non-existent permanent happiness, we are not going to succeed.
It is not just a question of succeeding, or wanting to be in a permanent state of happiness, but that demand is the enemy of this living organism. The organism is not interested in happiness at all. It is only interested in its survival. What is necessary for the survival of this living organism is its sensory perceptions along with the sensitivity of the senses and nervous system. The moment you find yourself in a happy situation and tell yourself that you are happy, the demand that this happiness should continue for a longer time is bound to be there. And the more you try to prolong that sensation of happiness beyond its natural duration, the more there is danger for this system which is only interested in maintaining its sensitivity. So, there is a battle going on between your demand for permanent happiness and the demand of the body to maintain its sensitivity. You are not going to win this battle; yet you are not ready to give it up.
Q: Does meditation affect the body?
UG: You put your body to unnecessary torture.
Q: The body suffers?
UG: Yes, the body suffers. It is not interested in your techniques of meditation, which actually are destroying the peace that is already there. It is an extraordinarily peaceful organism. It does not have to do anything to be in a peaceful state. By introducing this idea of a peaceful mind, we set in motion a sort of battle, and the battle goes on and on. But what you feel, what you experience as the peaceful state of mind, is a war-weary state of mind created by your thought. Once you experience some peaceful state of mind, you want more and more of the same. This creates problems for the body.
Q: And by wanting more of the same, you literally harm the body?
UG: Yes, harm the body. And you pay a heavy price.
Q: I want to know whether the body learns on its own - for example, when a baby cries, it has no idea of crying.
UG: If you let the baby keep crying it will eventually stop.
UG: Automatically. The baby will be exhausted. The baby cries because it is trying to express through that crying some discomfort. But we don't understand what the discomfort is. We are interested only in our comfort, and that is why we try to stop the baby from crying. We have created a neurotic situation for the baby from the very start. We don't have the energy to deal with the problems of living beings, and the child is a living thing. It would be more interesting to learn from children, than try to teach them how to behave, how to live and how to function.
Q: How to suppress ....
UG: Because we suppress everything in us, we want to suppress everything in the growing child. We have already created a problem for the child instead of finding out what actually is his problem. We don't have the energy to deal with the problems of children. We curse them and then we push them to fit into this framework of ours, created by us for our own reasons.
This is what we call culture. Culture is not anything mysterious. It is your way of life and your way of thinking. All the other cultural activities we consider to be very creative are part and parcel of your way of living and thinking. And your way of thinking is the thing that has created all these problems for you. There is no way you can free yourself from the problems created by thinking except by setting in motion another kind of thinking. But that cannot be of help.
Actually there are no thoughts there [within you]. Thoughts are not self-generated. They are not spontaneous. We never look at a thought. What is there is about thought but not thought itself. We are not ready to question that and face the fact that thoughts are not spontaneous. They come from outside - outside in the sense that when there is a sensory response to a stimulus, we translate that sensation within the framework of our knowledge, and tell ourselves that that [the translation] is the sensation. You recognize the sensation and give a name to it. That is what memory is all about. What is there is only memory. Where is that memory? Really, nobody knows where memory is. You can say that it is in the neurons. When once the sensory perceptions activate the senses that are involved, they, in their turn, activate the memory cells. We capture every movement there [in the sensation] within the framework of the memory structure and translate it. Naturally, memory is born out of our demand to isolate ourselves, censor the sensory perceptions and filter them in order to maintain the status quo and continuity of the movement of our knowledge. We may talk of freeing ourselves from knowledge. But whatever we are doing is not freeing us from the movement of knowledge. On the contrary, it is strengthening and fortifying the very thing that we are trying to be free from.
Q: Your statements seem to resemble what the quantum physicists tell us. Our thinking about the universe is very limited.
UG: We are creating the universe ourselves. We have no way of looking at the universe at all. The model that we see is created by our thought. Even the scientists who say that they are observing certain things have actually no way of observing anything except through the mirror of their own thinking. The scientist is influencing what you are looking at. Whatever theories he comes up with are only theories; they are not facts to him. Even if you are looking at an object physically, without the interference of thought and without translating what you are looking at, the physical looking is affecting the object that you are looking at. Actually there is no way you can capture, contain and give expression to what you are looking at. You dare not look at anything. Scientists can come up with all kinds of theories, hundreds and hundreds of them. You can only reward them with Nobel prizes or give them some prestigious awards, and that is all that they are interested in. But, are we ready to accept the fact that there is no way that you can look at anything? You are not looking at anything at all. Even the physical looking is influenced by your thoughts. There is no way you can look at anything without the use of the knowledge that you have of what you are looking at. In fact, it is that [the knowledge] that is creating the object. It is your thinking that is creating the observer. So this whole talk of the observer and the observed is balderdash. There is neither the `observer' nor the `observed'. [The talk of] the `perceiver' and the `perceived', the `seer' and the `seen' is all bosh and nonsense. These themes are good for endless metaphysical discussions. There is no end to such discussions. And to believe that there is an observation without the observer is a lot of baloney.
UG: Hogwash and hot air.... [Laughter] There is no way you can look at anything without the `looker', who is the product of this thinking.
Q: This week there is going to be an important meeting here. Important scientists from all over the world from different disciplines - people from the spiritual world and the world of industry and economics - are for the first time coming together to talk about the similarities among their respective disciplines instead of differences. All of them now seem to feel that they should support each other instead of focusing their energies only on differences and the compartments that they create in their minds.
UG: First of all, the scientists, by looking or asking for help from all these religious people, are committing the biggest of all blunders. They have come to the end of their tether. If they have problems in their systems they have to solve them by and for themselves. These religious people have no answers for the problems created by the scientific thinking of man. I do not know if by coming together and exchanging their views or giving speeches they are going to achieve anything. I may sound very cynical when I say that nothing is going to come out of it except that they will make speeches and feel comfortable that they are trying to understand each other's point of view. When you say something to someone, he will say that that is your point of view. But he does not realize that his also is a point of view. So, how can there be any communication between those two people who have different points of view? The whole purpose of the conversation or dialogue is only to convert the other man to your point of view. If you have no point of view, there is no way he can convince or convert you to his point of view. So this dialogue is between two points of view and there is no way you can reconcile them.
The conference would be very interesting [Laughs]. They can all come together, talk about that [what is common to their different disciplines] and exchange their views, and that would be that. It would be something like the United Nations. (The United Nations is the biggest joke of this century. If each one is trying to assert his own rights there, how can there be a United Nations?) The problem is that thought creates frontiers everywhere. That's all it can do.
UG: Differences. So it is thought that has created the world; and you draw lines on this planet--"This is my country, that is your country." So, how can there be unity between two countries? The very thing that is creating the frontiers and differences cannot be the means to bridge the different viewpoints. It is an exercise in futility.
Q: Yes, true.
UG: I may sound very cynical when I point this out. But they know in their heart of hearts that nothing will come out [of their deliberations]. We are not ready to accept the fact that thought can only create problems. That instrument cannot be of any help to us.
The talk of intuition and insight is another illusion. Every insight you have is born out of your thinking. The insights strengthen and fortify the very thing you are trying to be free from. All insights, however extraordinary they may be, are worthless. You can create a tremendous structure of thought from your own discovery, which you call insight. But that insight is nothing but the result of your own thinking, the permutations and combinations of thought. Actually there is no way you can come up with anything original there. There is no thought which you can call your own. I don't have any thoughts which I can call my own - not one thought, not one word, not one experience.
Everything comes from outside. If I have to experience anything, I have to depend upon the knowledge that is put in here. Otherwise there is no way you can experience anything. What you do not know, you cannot experience. There is no such thing as a new experience at all.
I even question the idea of consciousness. There may not be any such thing as consciousness at all, let alone the subconscious, the unconscious, and all the other levels of consciousness. How do you become conscious of a thing? You become conscious of a thing only through your memory. First, you recognize it. And the recognition and naming are all that are there. You can trick yourself into the belief that recognition and naming are two different things. But actually they are not. The very fact that you recognize something as an object even without naming it means that you already know about it. The memory that has captured it says that it is an object. The talk about recognition without naming is a very clever way of playing a game. It is only sharpening your intellect. Actually you are not trying to understand what the problem is or how to deal with it.
Q: So what do you call instinct? Is it another idea in the mind?
UG: It is another idea invented by thought. Whatever we experience is thought-induced.
Q: There cannot be anything else?
UG: What you don't know you can't experience. To experience a thing you have to `know'.
Q: For instance, when people from a jungle in Africa were shown their photograph they could not recognize themselves at all.
UG: The recognition of yourself as an entity is possible only through the help of the knowledge [you have about yourself]. We start this process with children. You tell a child: "Show me your teeth, show me your nose, show me your ears, or tell me your name." That is where identity starts. The constant use of memory to maintain that identity is the situation we find ourselves in. We do not want that identity to come to an end. We do everything possible to maintain it. But the effort to maintain your identity is wearing you out.
The constant use of memory to maintain our identity will put us all ultimately in a state where we are forced to give up. When someone gives up the attempt to fit himself or herself into the value system, you call that man crazy. He (or she, as the case may be) has given up. Some people don't want to fit into that framework. We push them to be functional. The more we push them to be functional, the more crazy they become. Actually, we are pushing them to suicide.
The alternatives before mankind are either suicide or the fashionable disease, what we call Alzheimer's disease. Whether the disease occurs due to damaged tissue in the brain or through the use of aluminum vessels, as some claim, they really don't know yet. But this seems to be the fate of mankind. These are the only ways your identity can be destroyed.
It is amazing how thousands and thousands of people are affected by it. Even middle aged people are affected. The constant use of memory to maintain your identity, whether you are asleep, awake or dreaming, is what is going to destroy not only the human species, but all forms of life on this planet. It is not a very happy prophecy. I am not a prophet. I am not prophesying anything. But from what we know and what is happening today, that seems to be the fate of mankind.
. . . .
Q: Do you think that the discovery of the laws of nature and the enormous money that is invested in it will ultimately help mankind?
UG: Even if we discover the laws of nature, for whatever reason we are interested in doing so, ultimately they are used to destroy everything that nature has created. This propaganda that the planet is in danger is a media hype. Everybody has in fact forgotten about it. Actually it is not the planet that is in danger, but we are in danger. We are not ready to face this situation squarely. We must not look for answers in the past or in the great heritage of this or that nation. And we must not look to the religious thinkers. They don't have any answers. If the scientists look to the religious leaders for their solutions, they are committing the biggest blunder. The religious people put us all on the wrong track, and there is no way you can reverse the process.
Q: What do you think we should do then?
UG: I am not here to save mankind or prophesy that we are all heading toward a disaster. I am not talking of an Armageddon, nor am I prophesying that there is going to be a paradise on this planet. Nothing of the sort; there is not going to be any paradise. It is the idea of a paradise, the idea of creating a heaven on this earth, that has turned this beautiful paradise that we already have on this planet into a hell. We are solely responsible for what is happening. And the answers for our problems cannot come from the past and its glory, or from the great religious teachers of mankind. Those teachers will naturally claim that you all have failed and that they have the answers for the problems that we are confronted with today. I don't think that they have any answers. We have to find out the answers, if there are any, for ourselves and by ourselves.
Q: I have read somewhere, "Your image is your best friend."
UG: [Laughs] That's a sales pitch; it's very interesting. In fact, it's the other way around: the image we have is responsible for our problems. What, after all, is the world? The world is the relationship between two individuals. But that relationship is based on the foundation of "What do I get out of a relationship?" Mutual gratification is the basis of all relationships. If you don't get what you want out of a relationship, it goes sour. What there is in the place of what you call a `loving relationship' is hate. When everything fails, we play the last card in the pack, and that is `love'. But love is fascist in its nature, in its birth, in its expression and in its action. It cannot do us any good. We may talk of love but it doesn't mean anything. The whole music of our age is all around that song, "Love, Love, Love...."
Q: "I love you ...." [Laughter]
UG: You want to assure yourself and assure your friend that you love. Why do you need all the time the assurance that you love the other individual?
Q: There are no questions, according to you ?
UG: There are no questions but only answers. We already have the answers. I don't have any questions of any kind. How come you have questions? The only kind of questions I have are ones like, "How does this microphone work?" I ask that because I don't know its workings. I have questions only as to how these mechanical things are operating. For living situations we have no answers at all. You cannot apply this mechanical, technical know-how, which we have acquired through repeated study, to solve problems of living.
We are not really interested in solving the latter kind of problems. We do not know a thing about life. Nobody knows. You can only give a definition. What we know is that our living has become terribly boring. We want a way of out of that situation. So we have invented all kinds of ways of entertaining ourselves, whether it is the church or politics or entertainment or music or Disneyland. Yet there is no end to that at all. You need more and more. There comes a time when you will not be able to find anything to free yourself from this boredom of life.
Q: Do you like television?
UG: Yes, I do watch television. I turn off the sound and watch the movement only. I like to watch the commercials because most of the commercials are more interesting than the programs. If people can fall for the commercials, they can fall for anything that these religious people are selling today in the market. How can you fall for those commercials? But they are very interesting. It is not the commercials nor what they are selling that interest me, but the techniques of salesmanship. They are amazing and more interesting - I am fascinated by those techniques. I am not influenced by what they are selling. If they had customers like me they would be soon out of business. I don't buy anything they are selling.
Q: So sales pitch is the main literature in America?
UG: Yes. I don't know how long they can go on like that. But now others have also copied that. Even in India they have commercials.
Q: Soon they will have it in Russia and Eastern Europe.
UG: That's what has happened in Russia. It is not your [American] ideas of democracy or freedom that have won the country over to your side. It was Coca Cola, I think, in China, and Pepsi Cola in Russia. Why do you have to sell organically grown potato chips there in Russia? I want to know. They have also opened a McDonald's there. That's all that the West can offer to them. That is how it [commercialism] is spreading. If America survives, if we survive, and if we don't destroy ourselves through our own idiotic ways of living and thinking, the American way of life is going to be the way of life. Even in the third world countries including India they have these supermarkets. They are very innovative, the Americans. So, it [commercialism] is spreading all over.
Q: The problems with the supermarkets is that people develop a thieving tendency.
UG: I am not against stealing, but I tell people, "Steal but don't get caught." [Laughter] It is stupid to get caught. All the politicians, the whole government machinery thrives on stealing, promising something which they cannot deliver. It is amazing that we have tremendous faith in all these religious people who cannot deliver the goods. In a business deal, if your partner refuses or fails to deliver the goods, that is the end of the business relationship. But here in the area of religion they can get away with just promising something. They don't deliver the goods at all. How we can fall for that kind of a thing is beyond me. The whole con game has gone on for centuries. But why do we allow ourselves to be conned by those con men? There is not a single exception. All these spiritual teachers of mankind from the very beginning have conned themselves into the belief that they have the answers, the solutions for mankind.
Q: This is from the Buddha to Jesus, to ....
UG: Yes, yes, all of them. And all those who are in the market place today.
Q: And in the past...?
UG: And in the past, in the present and in the future. [Laughter....]
Q: It means their goods did not work?
UG: No, not at all. They cannot deliver the goods. They only give us hope. As I said at the beginning, we live in hope and die in hope.
Q: We learn something during our upbringing and we believe it. Would you say our minds are programmed?
UG: The basic question which we all have to ask is: What kind of human being you want in this world?
Q: Or where we want to be ?
UG: Or where we want to be. Society is trying to create the human beings. That is what society has done. You and I have been created by the society, solely and wholly to maintain its continuity, its status quo. You have no way of establishing your own individuality. You have to use that [society and all its heritage] to experience yourself as an entity and to function in this world. If you don't accept the reality of the world as it is imposed on us, you will end up in the loony bin. But we have to accept that. The moment we question the reality of what has been imposed on us we are in trouble.
What I am saying is that you have to answer this question for yourself - "What do we want?" This was my problem. I asked myself, "Is there is anything I want other than what they wanted me to want? Is there anything I want to think other than what they wanted me to think?" Nobody could help me in this area, and that was my problem. I had no way of finding out an answer. Wanting not to want what the others wanted me to want was also a want. It never occurred to me that this was no different from all the other wants. Somewhere along the line the question somehow disappeared; I don't know how. What I am left with is something which I have no way of experiencing, and no way of communicating or transmitting to anybody.
That is the difficulty I have when I meet people. I have no way of communicating the certainty that occurred in me that there is no way I can understand anything through the instrument which I used for years and years, the instrument being the intellect. It has not helped me to solve any problem. No understanding is possible through that instrument, but that is the most powerful instrument and the only instrument we have. You cannot brush that aside and throw it away. But that is not the instrument, and there is no other instrument. The talk of intuition only puts us on a merry-go-round. It doesn't lead us anywhere.
Q: What do they mean when they say that the `heart' understands?
UG: You want to know? You are making this assumption that to have a `heart' is better than to use your head. The whole religious thinking is built on the foundation of having a good heart and giving supremacy and importance to it, and not to what your `head' is doing. But what I want to say is that the heart is there only to pump blood. It is not interested in your kindly deeds. If you indulge in kindly deeds, doing good unto others, having a good `heart', you will only create problems for the heart. It is the beginning of your cardiac problems! That's going to be a real problem. It is your kindly deeds that are responsible for the cardiac arrests and heart failures, and not any [mal]functioning of the heart. The tremendous importance that we have given to the `heart' is totally irrelevant. To make a distinction between the `head' and the `heart' is interesting, but in the long run it is not going to help us.
The reality of the matter is that even your feelings are thoughts. If you tell yourself that you are happy, you are translating that sensation of happiness within the framework of the knowledge you have. So that too is a thought. There are no pure feelings at all. What you are stuck with are only thoughts, and those thoughts are put in there by your culture.
We have also invented this idea of freeing yourself from thoughts. How are you going to succeed in freeing yourself from thoughts? It is only through the help of another thought. Actually there are no thoughts there at all. What you find there is that the very question that we ask ourselves and ask others, namely, "Is there a thought?" is itself born out of thought. If you want to look at thought and find out for yourself if there is any such thing as thought, what you will find there is [a thought] about thought but not thought itself. So we really don't know if there are any thoughts, let alone good thoughts or bad thoughts. And there is no thinker there either. The thinker, the non-existent thinker, comes into being only when you use your thought to achieve your goals. It doesn't matter what the goal is, or whether it is material or spiritual. When once you use thoughts to achieve a goal, we create a non-existent thinker. But actually there is no thinker. There is nobody who is talking now. There is only `talking', there is only `seeing', there is only `listening'. But the moment you translate that listening, interpret it in terms of the framework of your reference point, you have created a problem. Its [thought's] interest is to interpret and translate. It helps only to strengthen and fortify the very thing which you are trying to free yourself from.
Q: It is an addiction.
UG: Yes, it is like a dog chasing its own tail; or like your trying to overcome your own shadow. But you never ask how this shadow is cast.
Q: How is the shadow cast ?
UG: [Laughs] With the help of the light. Your wanting to overtake your own shadow is an exercise in futility. We are not taking anything seriously. This is all frivolous.
Q: I have heard that time is money.
UG: Because money is the most important factor in our lives. They say that money is the root cause of all evil. But actually it is not the root cause of evil; it is the root cause of our existence, of our survival. I sometimes say that if you worship that god, the money god, you will be amply rewarded. If you worship the other God - whether He exists or not is anybody's guess - you will be stripped of everything you have, and He will leave you naked in the streets. It is better to worship the money god.
Q: Money god....
UG: Money god. And you will be amply rewarded. Tell me one person who is not thinking of money. Not one person on this planet. Even the holy ones who talk about their indifference to money are concerned about it. How do you think they will get ninety-two Rolls Royces? You try and buy one Rolls Royce car; you will know how difficult it is. For the religious people it is easy because other people deny themselves and give their money to them. So you can be rich at another man's expense. How much money you need is a different matter. Each one has to draw his own line. But when once your goals and needs are the same, then the problem is very simple.
Q: The goals and needs are....?
UG: ....the goals and needs are the same. You have no goals beyond your needs or beyond your means.
Q: So you stay more or less here, in this moment, and deal with what happens right now.
UG: When once that becomes a reality in your life, it becomes very simple to live in this world, the complex and complicated world created by us all. We are all responsible for this world. When once this demand to change yourself into something better, something other than what you actually are, is not there, the demand to change the world also comes to an end. I don't see anything wrong with the world. What is wrong with this world? The world can't be anything different from what we are. If there is a war going on within us, we cannot expect a peaceful world around us. We will certainly create war. You may say that it all depends upon who is responsible for the war. It is simply a point of view as to who is calling another a warmonger and oneself the `peace-monger'. The peace-mongers and the warmongers sail in the same boat. It is something like the pot calling the kettle black, or the other way around: the kettle calling the pot black.
Q: These proverbs or folk sayings are quite to the point.
UG: Yes, they are to the point. They are really the utterances of wise men who have observed the reality of the world exactly the way it is.
Q. There is an old expression which says, "There is nothing to understand."
UG: There is nothing to understand. How that understanding dawned on me, I really don't know. The understanding that this instrument [the intellect] is really not the instrument to understand anything is something which cannot be communicated. This instrument is only interested in perpetuating itself through what it calls `understanding,' which in reality is its own machinations. It is only sharpening itself to maintain its own continuity. When once you know that it is not the instrument and that there is no other instrument, then there is nothing more to understand.
Q: It is actually quite simple.
UG: Yes, very simple. But this very simple fact of our life, of our existence, is something which the complex structure that we have created is not ready to accept, because its very simplicity is going to shatter the complexity. What, after all, is evolution, if there is any such thing as evolution? It is the simple becoming complex. The complex structure is not ready to face this situation - the very simplicity of the whole process. When once that is understood, the whole theory of evolution collapses. Maybe there is such a thing as evolution. We really don't know for sure. When once you accept that there is an evolution in the life around, you put the same thing in the spiritual realm and say that there is also spiritual progress. You will say, "I am more evolved than my neighbor - spiritually speaking, more evolved than my fellow beings." That makes us feel superior to all.
Q: I am more spiritual than you.
UG: I am more spiritual than my fellow beings.... So the very complexity which we are responsible for is not ready to leave that simple thing alone, to leave it simple.
Q: If we accept `what is'....
UG: That is a very misleading phrase, to accept `what is'. It is very interesting to talk about `what is,' but you cannot describe that `what is' in any manner. And you cannot leave `what is' as it is. You cannot even complete the sentence and say "`What is' is". But we don't stop there. We build a tremendous structure, the fantasy structure, romantic structure, on `what is' and talk about love, bliss, beatitude, or immensity.
Q: We are stuck in words and ideas.
UG: We dare not leave that `what is' alone. It implies that you are still grappling with what you romantically phrase as `what is'. It is like dealing with the unknown. There is no such thing as the unknown. The known is still trying to make the unknown part of the known. It is a game that we play. That is how we fool ourselves in our approach to problems. All our positive approaches have failed, and we have invented what is called the `negative approach'. But the negative approach is still interested in the same goal that the positive approach is interested in. What is necessary for us is to free ourselves from the goal. When once we are freed from the goal [of solving problems], the question of whether it is a positive approach or a negative approach does not even arise.
Q: So in nature the positive and the negative don't exist at all?
UG: They don't exist at all. If they do, they exist in the same frame. That is what these scientists are all talking about. If you observe the universe, there is chaos in it. The moment you say there is chaos, in the same frame, there is also order. So, you cannot, for sure, say that there is order or chaos in the universe. Both of them are occurring simultaneously. That is the way the living organism also operates. The moment thought is born, it cannot stay there. Thought is matter. When once the matter that is necessary for the survival of the living organism is created, that matter becomes part of energy. Similarly life and death are simultaneous processes. It is thought that has separated and created the two points of birth and death. Thought has created this space and this time. But actually, birth and death are simultaneous processes.
You cannot say whether you are born or dead. You cannot say that you are alive or dead. But if you ask me the question, "Are you alive?" I would certainly say, "I am alive." So my answer is the common knowledge you and I have about how a living being functions. That is how I say that I am a living being and not a dead person. But we give tremendous importance to these ideas. We sit and discuss them everlastingly and produce a tremendous structure of thought around them.
Q: Shall I go back to my original question about change in human beings?
UG: Yes, what kind of a human being do we want? Culture, society, or whatever you want to call it, has placed before us the model of a perfect being, which is the model of the great spiritual teachers of mankind. But it is not possible for every one of us to be like that. You are unique in your own way. There is no way you can copy those men. That is where we have created the tremendous problem for the whole of mankind.
Q: These people want to be like the Buddha....
UG: Like the Buddha or like Jesus. Thank God, you cannot be like Jesus because there is one and only one Jesus.
Q: Yes, you are right.
UG: To that extent many people are saved from trying to be like Jesus. But in India they accept Jesus also as one of the great teachers of mankind. They tell themselves and others that Jesus is there to enable you to become a Christ and not a Christian. But that is not acceptable for the Christians, because it destroys the whole foundation of the church; it destroys the whole foundation of Christianity. If there was a Christ, you have to accept his word when he says, "I am the way, I am the truth, and I am the life. Through me you will reach the eternal Father." That statement, whether he made it or someone else put it in his mouth, has created the foundation for the whole church. You cannot exonerate the leaders of the church and only blame the followers for the sorry mess of things they have created for us.
The whole ethical culture and everything that we have created to rule ourselves with are born out of the thinking of man. We are not ready to accept the fact that nature probably is interested in creating only perfect species and not perfect individuals. Nature does not use any model. It creates something; then it destroys it, and creates something else. The comparative process characteristic of thinking seems to be absent.
So what kind of a human being do you want? The whole ethical culture that is built by us to shape the actions of man have totally failed. The commandment, "Thou shall not steal," has not helped. If you want to free a human being from thieving tendencies we have to find some other way of doing it, whatever your reasons are to free him from those tendencies. Probably you have to find a drug to change the chemistry of those who have the tendencies.
Q: There is a biotechnology coming out....
UG: But there is also a danger, a tremendous danger. When once you perfect genetic engineering and transform human beings through chemical means or genetic engineering, you will certainly hand the means over to the state. Then it becomes easy for the state to control people without brainwashing them. Brainwashing takes decades and decades, probably even centuries. The fact that we have outlawed murder has not put an end to murder. It's only on the increase. I am not for a moment saying that if murder is not outlawed, there will be fewer murders. In spite of outlawing murder, murder is on the increase. Why is that so? Your argument will be that if it is not outlawed, there will be more murders. But I am not impressed by that logic at all. Why is murder on the increase?
Q: Because you are putting energy into it.
UG: You put energy into it. The moment you condemn certain things, people have ways and means of overcoming them. . . .
Q: Isn't it true that when we are against something or trying to get rid of something, it will keep growing?
UG: We are not ready to accept that. Whatever we are doing to free ourselves from the problems which we have created is what is perpetuating them.
Q: But when there is perception....
UG: No. That perception is the enemy of this body.
Q: It is the enemy of the body...?
UG: The body is not interested in your perceptions. It is not interested in learning anything from you or knowing anything from you. All the intelligence that is necessary for this living organism is already there. Our attempts to teach this body, or make it function differently from the way it is programmed by nature, are what are responsible for the battle that is going on. There is a battle between what is put in by culture and what is inherent there in the body.
The body knows what is good for itself. It can survive and it has survived for millions of years. It is not concerned about your pollution or your ecology, or about the way you are treating it. What it is concerned with is in its own survival. And it will survive. There is no doubt about it. When the time comes, it will probably flush the whole thing [the cultural input] out of its system. That would be the luckiest day for mankind. That is something that cannot be achieved through any volition or effort, or through the help of any teacher who says that there are ways and means of freeing you from the stranglehold of your thoughts.
. . . .
Q: Does that mean that the scientists who are coming next week need to recognize the fact that there is no way out.
UG: If they could, then they wouldn't give any solutions, and wouldn't offer anything. There is no way out. The solution for their problems is to accept the fact that there is no way out. And out of that [acceptance] something can come.
Q: Even if you understand the right or wrong of the matter....
UG: It is not a question of calling it right or wrong. There is no way out. Anything you do to get out of this trap which you yourself have created is strengthening and fortifying it.
Q: Yes, exactly.
UG: So, you are not ready to accept the fact that you have to give up. A complete total surrender. I don't want to use that word `surrender', because it has certain mystical overtones. It is a state of hopelessness which says that there is no way out of this situation. Any movement, in any direction, on any level, is taking you away from that. Maybe something can happen there, we don't know. But even that hope that something will happen is still a hope.
Q: So you give up completely?
UG: You see, giving up something in the hope of getting something else in its place is not really giving up. There is nothing to give up there. The very idea of giving up, the very idea of denying certain things to yourself, is in the hope of getting something else.
Q: Sometimes it so happens that when you give up everything without any expectations the problem gets automatically resolved.
UG: Yes. This happens to all those who are working out some mathematical or scientific problem. They go to sleep when they are exhausted, and that gives some time for the mechanism that is involved, and you are ready with the answer. It is not some miraculous thing. You give some time for the computer to work out a solution to your problem. On its own it comes out with the answer, but only if there is an answer. If there is no answer then that is the end of the story.
Q: So basically this means you can't do anything?
UG: You can't do a thing; yet you don't stop there. All those who say that you can do something are telling you that there is a way out.
Q: Yet you can't sit down without doing anything. The problem is that one may become a zombie....
UG: Not at all. You cannot stop the movement of life.
Q: It goes on ....
UG: You don't try to channel the movement of life in any particular direction to produce any special results.
Q: So you let go? It is very difficult to frame questions because of the problem of language.
UG: Our language structure is such that there is no way you can be free from a dualistic approach to problems. I don't want to use the word `dualistic' because it again has religious connotations.
Q: What is the relationship between words and reality?
UG: None. There is nothing beyond words.
Q: But there are memories.
UG: Memory is playing a trick with itself because it tells you that it is not the words that you are left with but something other than the words. But the fact that you remember something of what has gone on between us both implies that the impact of the words is translated by memory, which then tells you that it [the memory] is something other than the words.
Q: A psychologist has once said that the memory field is outside the body.
UG: That's what I am saying too. Thoughts are outside the field of the body. I don't think that the brain has anything to do with creativity at all. The brain is just a reactor and a container.
Q: A type of memory?
UG: What is memory after all? Nobody knows what it is. You can give a definition as a student of psychology. "Memory is the mental response of recalling a specific thing at a specific time." That was the definition that I had learned in psychology textbooks. But that is too silly a definition because nobody knows what memory is or where it is located. You can examine the brain after you are dead, after I am dead. But you won't see any difference between the brain of a genius and the brain of a low grade moron. So we really don't know. A scientist comes out with some theory. You may award him a Nobel Prize. Then someone else comes along, blasts his theory and offers another one. Every leap year there is a new theory.
Q: There is also this talk about the morphogenetic field.
UG: But that implies that there is something that you can do with the genes.
Q: Do you understand that term?
UG: Of course, I do. I know something about the morphogenetic theory. The whole motivation, if I may use that word, behind all this is that you still want to do something, change something. All the research projects are geared to the idea of learning something about the way memory operates and the way the human body is functioning, so that you can then apply what you have discovered, which is very limited in the first place. It [the subject matter of life, the human body, and memory] is such a vast thing that what you know is only a teeny-weeny bit of what there is. Your only interest is to bring about a change. But we are not ready to accept that there is nothing to be changed. Scientific discoveries are used for purposes of destruction in the long run. The benefits are microscopic compared to the destructive use we put them to. What we have discovered of the laws of nature is only used for destructive purposes. We have tremendous weapons of destruction today. If the church had these instruments of destruction, I don't think you and I would be here, much less evolve any other way of dealing with our problems and our lives.
Q: Yes, indeed! There was a time when the church was full of powers....
UG: But now it is trying to again step in.
Q: Yes, especially in the Eastern European countries....
UG: Yes. The Russian Orthodox church will have another heyday. That's all right, but all these countries from East to West, North to South, will step in now. I am glad that there are more enlightened people in the West than in India. The Westerners are not talking of just their Christianity. They claim that they are enlightened people, and they are out to enlighten the vast millions. Maybe one of these days all these people will go to India and try to enlighten the people there.
Q: Yes, in India. You are right....
UG: I won't be surprised.
Q: We have already great enlightened Americans....
UG: Yes, lots of them. It's good in a way because that has put an end to all those teachers coming from the Eastern countries to exploit the people here in the West. It would be interesting if you import all that religious stuff into these countries and give your high-tech and technology to those third world countries. They will most probably be able to compete with you in the West. [Laughter]
Q: You are always at Bangalore?
UG: No. I don't have any abode of my own. I spend four months in India, four months in Europe, mostly in Switzerland, and four months in the United States.
Q: Are you married or you are a bachelor?
UG: I was married in the past, and my wife has been dead for I don't know how long, twenty three years.
Q: Twenty three years?
UG: She has been dead. I think she has been dead for twenty-seven years. My children are there, but my contact with them is very limited. They visit me. But when they start talking about their lives and try to relate to me in a sentimental way, I feel funny.
Q: Do you live in India or ...?
UG: No. I don't live in any particular place. I am here today, and tomorrow I will be in America, or God knows where. I have no fixed abode. I have no tangible means of livelihood. That is the definition of a vagabond. Mine is a sort of gypsy life. I have just enough money to travel and take care of my physical needs. So, I don't depend upon anyone. The world does not owe a living to me. Why should the world feed me? I am not contributing anything to the world. Why should the world feed me and take care of me?
Q: If people want to come and listen to your answering of questions....
UG: No, no. I don't want many people. I am trying to avoid all the seekers. Here they have invented the term `finders'. `Finders' means those who have found the truth. I don't want seekers. And if there are any finders, they don't need my help.
Q: Yes, that's right.
UG: By allowing myself to be surrounded by those people, I am inadvertently participating in the illusion that by carrying on a dialogue or a conversation with me they are getting something. So lately I have been discouraging people. Even if they just come and sit around me, I try to point out the ridiculous nature of this get together. I try to finish it by saying, "Nice meeting you all." But still they don't go. They would sit with me for hours and hours. Even if I get up and go away, they would be still there sitting and talking. They would be talking about what I did or did not say, or what they thought I had said. [Laughter] It's happening everywhere and in India too. But there we are used to this kind of thing.
Q: And you even say to people, "Goodbye, and don't come back."
UG: Still they keep coming back. I have been very emphatic these days saying that I don't want to see Krishnamurti's `widows'. Most of those who come to see me are the followers of J. Krishnamurti. I mean J. Krishnamurti freaks, and also the `widows' of Rajneesh, and all kinds of religious buffs - of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Unless they have some sort of background in all this, they can't be interested in this kind of thing. They only come to receive some confirmation from me about what they are interested in. But they find that they are not getting anything from me. Still they continue to come. You have no idea of how many thousands and thousands of people have passed through the precincts of my homes in India, America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Some of them are intelligent enough to realize that they are not going to get anything from me and that there is no point in hanging around me. But still I have a few friends, whom I call my Enemies Number One, Two, Three, Four, Five etc. [Laughter] They hang around me, but I don't think they expect anything from me. I am not so sure that they don't expect anything from me. They are not ready to accept what I emphasize, overemphasize and assert all the time: that whatever has happened to me has happened despite everything I did. Some friends who have been with me for years say that they still have the hope that they are going to get something from me. This, in short, is the story of my life. [Laughter]
Q: The more you find the more you get....
UG: If you try to destroy the authority of others, you in your own way become the authority for others. How to avoid that [becoming an authority] is really a problem for me. But in some sense it's not really a problem.
Q: But you should accept them [seekers].
UG: No. I cannot because it is very clear to me that I cannot be of any help to them, and that they don't need any help from me. What they are interested in they can get somewhere else. There are so many people who are selling in the marketplace. They are interested in selling comforters. That is where these people should go, and not hang around me.
Q: Can you say something about discipline? For example, Japan is founded on discipline.
UG: True. The whole structure of religious thought is built on the foundation of discipline. Discipline to me means a sort of masochism. We are all masochists. We torture ourselves because we think that suffering is a means to achieve our spiritual goals. That's unfortunate.
Q: Is life difficult?
UG: Life is difficult. So discipline sounds very attractive to people. With great honor we say, "He has suffered a lot." We admire those who have suffered a lot to achieve their goals. As a matter of fact, the whole religious thinking is built on the foundation of suffering.
Q: We have got all this at the cross.
UG: At the cross. If not for religion, you suffer for the cause of your country in the name of patriotism....
Q: For your town, for your family....
UG: Those who impose that kind of discipline on us are sadists. But unfortunately we are all being
masochists in accepting that. We torture ourselves in the hope of achieving something....We are
slaves to our ideas and beliefs. We are not ready to throw them out. If we succeed in throwing them
out, we replace them with another set of beliefs, another body of discipline. Those who are marching
into the battlefield and are ready to be killed today in the name of democracy, in the name of freedom,
in the name of communism, are no different from those who threw themselves to the lions in the
arenas. The Romans watched that fun with great joy. How are we different from them? Not a bit.
We love it. To kill and to be killed is the foundation of our culture.
Go to Chapter8