The Attraction for Drugs is Spiritual – Osho

Drugs are as old as humanity itself, and they certainly fulfill something of immense value. I am against drugs, but my being against drugs is for the same reason as for thousands of years people have been addicted to the drugs.

It may look very strange. The drugs are capable to give you a hallucinatory experience beyond the mundane world. That is the experience that is being searched through meditation.

Meditation brings you to the real experience, and drug gives you just a hallucination, a dream-like experience but very similar. To meditate is difficult. The drug is cheap. But the attraction for drugs is spiritual.

Man is not satisfied with his mundane existence. He wants to know something more. He wants to be something more. Just the ordinary life seems so flat, so meaningless, that if this is all then suicide seems to be the only way out of it. It gives no ecstasy, no joy. On the contrary, it goes on piling you up with more and more misery, anxiety, disease, old age and, finally, death.

From the cradle to the grave, the ordinary life is just a drag. People go on living it because they are cowards. Otherwise they will commit suicide. They don’t have the courage enough to commit suicide. But this is not something one can rejoice in.

You can drag on but you cannot call it living. There is no dance in it, no color in it. It is just a vast desert spreading as far as you can see, with no oasis anywhere. I am reminded of one of the dreams of Leo Tolstoy. It is a rare dream. It is also unique that it went on repeating continuously almost his whole life. As long as he could remember, the dream was happening. And the dream is very strange. In his dream he sees a vast desert and two gumboots without anybody in them, just the two gumboots without any feet inside them, are walking. They go on walking and they go on walking, and there is no end to this walk. The desert is endless. And he always woke up perspiring, his heart beating louder, gripped with great fear.

Without going to any psychoanalyst, he knew the meaning. He himself was a genius. He knew that this is his life, this is not a dream. It is not even symbolic. It is exactly his life. Where he is going? Wherever he goes he will end into the grave. Who is going he does not know. The gumboots are empty.

He is unaware of anybody inside. He is unacquainted of the person who is wearing the gumboots. He is invisible. All that is visible is the gumboots and the desert, and the tedious journey, pointless, meaningless.

This is the reason that drugs have attracted man since the very beginning. And they have at least given him a temporary relief. Only few people tried meditation. And my own understanding is, these people also tried meditation because drugs at a point become useless. You become immune.

In the beginning they give you tremendous experiences, but soon they become almost part of your body chemistry. Then if you don’t take them you are in trouble. Your whole chemistry wants them. If you take them, you gain nothing. You go on increasing the doses.

In India where the experiments with drugs must have been the oldest, because the oldest scripture in the world is Rigveda, the religious source book of the Hindus, it talks about a certain drug, Somras. Because of this Somras, Aldous Huxley has called the ultimate drug one day, when LSD is refined and there is no side effect, it will be called Soma. The name is from Rigveda.

Rigveda according to Hindus is ninety thousand years old, and nobody has been able to prove that they are wrong because their arguments for its old age are almost irrefutable. They are not logical, otherwise it would have been easy. They are astronomical.

In Rigveda there is a description of a certain combination of stars that had happened according to modern astronomers also ninety thousand years before. Now there is no way for the people who were writing Rigveda to describe it in absolute detail unless they have seen it.

Now this is such an evidence that you cannot do anything about it. The astronomers say for ninety thousand years that combination has not been again in the sky. So certainly whoever was writing it was fully aware of the combination of stars at that time.

For ninety thousand years Hindus have accepted drugs almost as part of their religious ceremonies. It was only under British regime that drugs created trouble, but because they were part of a religious ritual, which is the ancient most religion in the world, even the British government was afraid to interfere with it. It continued. Even in my childhood all drugs were available in the market. There was no question of any illegality. And every school of Hindu religion was using drugs, but they were using it in a very scientific way.

They will give the drug in a certain quantity, create a certain experience in the man, and then when he will come out of it will tell him that, “This was only an illusion. It was simply because of the drug, because of the chemistry, your mind experienced.

“Would you like to experience it in its reality? If the illusion is so beautiful, you can think how much more the reality would be. And the experience created by the drug lasts for a few hours, and again you are back to the same old rotten world. But if the experience is real, it is yours forever. You never lose it. It is not something that has happened to you, it is something that was already in you; you have discovered it.”

So I don’t see that it was wrong to use drugs in this way. In fact, this should be the approach around the world for the modern man.

And now we have more advanced drugs, synthetically made, and we are capable to purify them more. We can make drugs which have no bad effects at all. We can make drugs which are not addictive. And we can have in every hospital, in every university, a certain department which teaches people how to move from drug to meditation.

Just to talk about meditation remains simply verbal. There is no way through the words to give you any experience. But drugs are immensely useful. The words can explain to you what meditation is, the drug can give you an hallucinatory experience of it. And then you can be initiated into a method. And now you will not be moving in darkness. Now you know that something… if an ordinary drug can do so much, then there must be some way to find an authentic transformation, to experience it without any dependence on anything.

So the drug simply opens up a door and helps you to understand that man’s life and his experience need not be confined to the ordinary mundane world – he can fly high towards the stars — that he is capable of knowing things which are not ordinarily available.

Under proper guidance — medical, meditational — drugs can be of immense help. I said I am against drugs because if they become addictive then they will be the most destructive for your journey towards the self. Then you become enchanted into hallucinations. And because it is cheap — no effort has to be done, just you have to go on taking bigger and bigger doses….

In India it came to a point…. Still today there are monasteries where they keep poisonous snakes because the people had become so addicted to all kinds of drugs that no drug has any effect on them. They can take any dose and they will remain normal. The only thing that gives them a little experience is a bite on their tongue by a cobra. That will be death to anybody, but to them it is a beautiful drug experience.

Sometimes it has happened that these people become addicted even to cobra bites. Their whole bloodstream becomes poisonous. And it is on record, and once it happened in front of me, that a cobra was brought to bite. The cobra did it perfectly well on the tongue, and died.

The man had become so poisonous… because the cobra is not poisonous in his whole body. He has simply a small gland which has poison, and that gland is just in his mouth. So whenever the cobra bites someone, he immediately turns upside down, because the gland in his mouth has the opening up. He will bite; that is not dangerous. That is simply making your blood available. And then he will turn over to pour the poison on your blood.

The bite is not really poisonous. The poison comes from the gland which hangs above his tongue in the mouth. It has to hang that way, otherwise the poison cannot remain in it. So he turns upside down. The poison starts flowing out of the gland into the wounds that he has made by his bite. But before he could do that, biting the man was enough to get poisoned himself.

For thousands of years people have been using drugs. Moralists, religious people, governments have been trying prohibition absolutely unsuccessfully. And I don’t see that they can ever succeed.

The only way to succeed is what I am suggesting. Rather than prohibiting drugs, let the scientists find out better drugs which give deeper and more psychedelic, more colorful, more ecstatic experiences and without any side effects, and without any addiction. And these should be available in the universities, in the colleges, in the hospitals — wherever some kind of guidance is possible, that the person is not prohibited, is allowed total freedom to use anything that he wants. And we use his experience to help him grow towards some authentic process so that he can start experiencing something far greater than any drug can give.

And only then he can compare that the first one was just a dream, and this is a reality, and the first one was just cheating myself through chemistry, ‘And the first one was not helping me in my spiritual growth. It was in fact preventing the growth, keeping me addicted and retarded’. The second one goes on growing, and now he starts gathering courage to explore more.

He was never aware that these experiences are possible, that these experiences are not just fiction.

So drug can be used in a very beneficial way, to make the person realize that this is hallucination, and the hallucination is so satisfying, would not you like to try the real? We have the real drug also. I call it meditation. And it takes you to the uttermost blissful experience possible.

Then only drugs become useless for you.

If we want humanity to get free of drugs, then meditation is the way. But before we can get free of them, they are very important and can be used to introduce people to meditation.

So this paranoia about drugs is not helpful to humanity. You can make drugs illegal, it makes no change. In fact, they become more attractive, more exciting. Particularly to the youth they become a challenge.

I am amazed sometimes, is man going ever to learn even the ABC of human psychology? The same stupidity goes on which God did with Adam and Eve: prohibition. Don’t eat the fruit of this tree. But that becomes an invitation. That becomes a challenge.

And thousands of years have passed, but the authority figures are still in the same mood: don’t use the drug, otherwise imprisonment for five years, seven years. And nobody bothers that drugs are being made available in jails. Just you have to pay a little higher price. And the people who come out of the jail are not cured. They go back again because … the reason is the drug gives them something which your society is not giving.

They are ready to destroy their health, their body, their whole life becomes a mess, but still that drug gives them something which your society does not give. So rather than preventing them, create a society which gives something which is better.

I have been fighting in India with one of the most idiotic prime ministers India had, Morarji Desai. He is absolutely fanatic, is not ready to listen to any reasonable argument. Alcohol has to be prohibited. He prohibited the alcohol. That does not make any change. People start making alcohol but that proves dangerous. Thousands of people died because the alcohol they drank was poisonous, was not made rightly. The people who were making it had no idea what they are making.

And this has been happening around the world. Once in a while some idiot comes in and tries to prohibit, but nobody asks why people drink alcohol.

Your life gives them nothing. You suck them of their blood and in return what they get? No joy, just anxieties upon anxieties. Safe alcohol makes them relax for few hours, sing a song or have a little dance — or a fight in the pub.

But for few hours they are transported from your world. The very attraction proves that your society is wrong, not that alcohol is wrong.

Your society should help people to dance, to sing, to rejoice, to love. The alcohol will disappear. The other drugs are far better than alcohol.

There are many drugs which have less bad after-effects, particularly synthetic drugs taken in a right atmosphere, in a right mood, for example, LSD. It simply enhances your mood, it does not do anything to you. If you are in a despair the LSD experience will become a nightmare. But if you are feeling a well-being, that is the time to take LSD. Then it can give you a really positive ecstatic experience, although it will be hallucinatory.

But if you don’t know the real, it looks almost the real. Even a man like Aldous Huxley, one of the most intelligent men of this generation, thought that through LSD he has achieved the same experience as Gautam Buddha, Kabir, Ramakrishna.

If you don’t know the real, naturally you cannot call it hallucinatory. It is so real. Huxley had no experience of meditation. He has really no right to say such a thing. You can say such a thing only when you have experienced both, that it is the same experience as Kabir.

Kabir never used any drug. His experience was purely of meditation. On what grounds Huxley can say it is the same experience? He does not know the experience of Kabir. I can understand that he has been through a tremendously beautiful experience, but that experience disappears as the effect of the LSD goes out of the system.

But Kabir’s experience remains twenty-four hours, day in, day out, his whole life. Once it happens, it is always there.

This is a simple criterion. But he was so much fascinated by the experience, and he corrupted almost a whole generation. They thought that if a man like Huxley says that LSD can give you samadhi, then what is the need of going into so much trouble for meditation with no guarantee whether you will be able to succeed or not?

I am against drugs because they can become addictive and they can prevent your spiritual growth. You can start thinking that you have achieved what you were seeking, and your hands are empty. You are just dreaming.

But, on the other hand, I am a very scientific mind. On the other hand, I would like drugs to be used, not to be prohibited — but used under proper guidance as a stepping-stone towards meditation.

And governments should pay more attention for improving the drugs rather than preventing people. If improved drugs are available, then other drugs will already be out of the market. There is no need to prohibit anything in the world. Just produce something better — something better, cheaper, legal. Then who is going to bother about marijuana, hashish, heroin — for what? There is no reason. Something better is available with the medical store, without prescription. Even in the hospital you can book a place for yourself that doctors can look after you while you are in the drug experience. Meditators can help you to understand what has happened to you. And this is possible very easily through meditation.

One thing more, that if something even hallucinatory happens to a person, meditation becomes easier. Something in him becomes certain. Something in him is now perfectly guaranteed that meditation is not just fiction.

And the hallucinatory experience also opens some doors.

The guidance can be of very much importance. For example, when somebody is under LSD and is having an ecstatic joy, that is the moment to teach him the method of meditation, because he is very sensitive, very clean and clear as he is not ordinarily. He is dull and cloudy. Now the whole sky is a clarity. You can teach him meditation more easily in this moment than you can teach him when he is in an ordinary state. He seems to listen but he only hears. It does not go deep. His sleep is thick.

But in certain moments under LSD he is very close to awakening. Under a right guide he can be introduced to the technique of meditation. He can be given what is called post-hypnotic suggestions for which he is absolutely vulnerable. He can be told that, “This meditation, you will be able to do it when you are out of LSD experience.” You can go on repeating it that, “You are going to succeed in it.” It is a simple method and there is no problem in not succeeding in it. Just one or two sessions with a guide will be enough. The man can be moved towards meditation. And once he moves towards meditation, drugs have no importance at all.

All the efforts of scientists and the government should be to understand that if a certain thing has been so attractive for the whole history of man, and no government has ever been successful to prohibit it, then there must be certain need that it fulfills. And unless that need is fulfilled in some other way, drugs are going to remain in the world. And they are destructive.

And the more governments are against them, more destructive they are, because nobody can make any refinements on them, nobody can make any experiments on them, nobody is even allowed to say what I am saying.

But I can say it because I am against drugs. But that does not mean they cannot be used. They can be used as a means, they are not the end.

And if we can hope a future free of drugs, if man becomes naturally meditative…. And that is possible. If a child finds his father is meditating, his mother is meditating, everybody is meditating, he will start being curious about it. He also wants to meditate. And that is the age when meditation is very simple because he is not yet corrupted by the society. Yet he is innocent.

And if everybody around him is doing something and enjoying in doing it, he cannot remain behind. He will sit with them with closed eyes. First they may laugh at him, that it is not possible for children. But they do not understand. It is more possible for children than for the so-called grownups.

Just the atmosphere of meditation in schools, in colleges, in universities — wherever the person goes he finds that atmosphere which nourishes his own meditativeness.

I would love to see that no drugs are needed in the world. But not through prohibition, but through creating something better, something real. Drugs will be defeated without any difficulty, but these idiotic governments go on giving importance to drugs and they go on destroying the youth around the world.

The most precious time of life is wasted in hallucinations, and by the time they realize what they have done to themselves, perhaps it is too late. They cannot come back to a normal state. Their body has become accustomed to have certain chemicals in it. Then even unwillingly they have to go on injecting themselves with all kinds of poisons.

Or if somebody has not been on hard drugs, returns back, then he finds life very much dull, more dull than you find it because he has seen something beautiful. It always remains a comparison.

He has made love under the impact of drug and he had felt at the very top of the world. And now he makes love and finds that it is nothing but a kind of sneeze. It feels good; you sneeze and it feels good, but it is not something that you live for. Nobody can say that, “I am living here for sneezing.”

 -Osho

From The Last Testament, Vol. 4, Discourse #6

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com  or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

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Drip Meditation – Ajja

Bhagavan Arabbi-Nithyanandam (Ajja)
Bhagavan Arabbi-Nithyanandam (Ajja)

The devotees fondly address the body, which is used as a medium of expression by an unknown power, as Ajja. His benevolent visage of silvery white hair, toothless smile could be the reason why many plead with Him to be taught meditation. Ajja would often reply: ‘You prepare yourself.’ At last, he agreed and told that a meditation class would commence. Many devotees happily assembled.

The gist of His instruction in the class is given below:

Concentrate the mind on the empty space between the lungs. Being aware of the breathing pattern helps the mind to go within. But that alone is not enough. Where does breath originate? Focus the mind there. The spot we point at to indicate ourselves (in the right portion of the chest) is the one. Let the eyes be half open, the gaze be on the ground and let the mind free. Practice this for a month, then let us see.

After a month, the people assembled and said, “We cannot meditate. The mind refuses to go within. Even if we try for an hour there is no result.”

Why? What happens?

The mind runs riot. When it is known that the mind has slipped off, it slips again after bringing it back. It refuses to be still.

Is it the case with all of you?

Yes.

Is there no one whose mind has gone within? There should be someone at.

There is dead silence as an eloquent reply!

You at least repeat the Holy Name. If there are people initiated in this, they can repeat that Mantra or else Omkara will suffice. First repeat it loudly so that the mind gets concentrated on it and then reduce the pitch. Finally, there should be no lip movement even. It should go on in the mind, in silence. Let the mind become silent thus. Let it free.

He stood watching; having got the process started. Then the following words emerged:

Nowadays, there is a new trend in everything. In the earlier days, the tress were watered using a pot, then with a hose pipe. Now, what do you call it? Drip irrigation? Watering is done drop by drop, ensuring moistness the whole day. The base of the plants remains damp throughout. Likewise, let us find new procedures. It is difficult for you to meditate for an hour at a stretch, isn’t it? Then spread that one hour over the entire day. That means…come on calculate and say. It amounts to two and a half minutes every hour. This is possible, isn’t it?

Yes it is. (In one voice)

So it is possible for all; doctors, engineers and all those who say they have no time. Leave the mind free. As the river flows freely towards the sea, let the mind be. Is it so very difficult for you? Our job is to sweep away the dirt and dust. We are here to clear away your mental cobwebs. Unless the mind is cleansed, no meditation is possible. Allow Us to enter within. We need some place to stand. We are your servants.

The peepul (bodhi) tree Ajja planted at Anand Kuteer.

Again, Ajja spoke: There is a peepul (Bodhi) tree there. When it was a small sapling, how much care was required! Barriers were erected from all four sides, daily watering…so much care. Now? Nothing is required, it grows by itself. Think it over, is this some lecture for us to rattle on? Only two and a half minutes meditation every hour. How? The phone rings endlessly till the call is answered. Likewise, even if He does not respond, keep trying till He comes. He must come sometime or the other. Nowadays you have a new thing. What is it? Mobile phone. It is received directly by the concerned party. You have to dial the correct number. But this number is not available to one and all.

Words of great import!

The river flows. They construct an anicut, then the water gets collected. Then it is utilized for irrigation through channels. In the same way the mind. It is frittering away in various diversions. It must be stopped in its tracks at the original location. Don’t waste it in so many pursuits. Concentrate this mental energy in the Heart center. How about this microphone? It is amplifying and transmitting our speech, isn’t it? In the same way, the mind is expressing words. If we turn the mike away (turns the mike away from Him) can you hear Us? If oriented properly it can work. If ones thoughts are turned upside down, nothing remains. If the mind is drawn externally, all words and thoughts emerge. If it is internalized, then no speech – only silence. All these words are for your sake only. The mike is there so that you can all hear. We do not need the mike. We need nothing.

-Bhagavan Arabbi-Nithyanandam (Ajja)

Taken from Anandopanishat (Inspirations From the Unmanifest to the Manifest), Chapter 40

This was seen on Ajja’s website.

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Awakened Consciousness Speaks – Ajja

Ajja in his animated fashion

Three Subjects of Enquiry

One state is Sakshatkara[1].

A second state is Aikya[2] the living essence in individual (Jivatma) merging itself in Paramatma[3].

A third one is birth death[4].

These are the only three subjects of enquiry.

There is death for the one who has birth – is it not so? He takes birth; dies and then takes his birth again. We are not talking about the death of the body – it is composed of earth;[5] should return to earth. There is one inside, isn’t it? When death occurs to the one[6] who comes and goes…there the issue is to be examined.

In Aikyatha, there is (individual) existence; There is possibility of returning if one is willing to do so.

The earth, planets, stars and galaxies exist in place only due to mutual attraction – isn’t it? In the same way, mutual attraction exists inside individuals also. There is the bond of attraction between the Jivatma and his astral body. Otherwise how can the Jivatma stay in the body? Does he have a cage? It stays because of the bond of attraction of his astral body. If he detaches himself from the karmic bond, he becomes one with the original power (creator). He attains Aikya. When the river joins the ocean, it becomes one with the ocean. The river attained Aikya with the ocean. The river ceases to exist. The ocean and this river become one. But the ocean exists, is it not so? The water exists, isn’t it? That may evaporate, then condense to form clouds thereafter and into rain. And the same water may form a river. Is it not so?

But in Sakshatkara, when transformed mind is concentrated on the transformed power, one who is the enquirer becomes the object of enquiry. This enquirer then loses itself in the enquiry ‘Who am I’, there threefold annihilation (Triputinasa) takes place.

There remains no enquirer, no enquiry and no object of enquiry.

-Bhagavan Arabbi-Nithyanandam (Ajja)

Taken from Anandopanishat (Inspirations From the Unmanifest to the Manifest), Chapter 3

The entire book may be downloaded.


[1]To become the ever existing One

[2] Unification, union

[3] Creator, sustainer and annihilator of the creation-the universe-the manifested.

[4] The process of individual spiral cycle of evolution.

[5] Five elements

[6] Living essence, the soul that is bound by residue of actions done with motives (Sankalpa)

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An Interview with Ajja (Bhagavan Arabbi-Nithyanandam)

Ajja 1
Ajja (Bhagavan Arabbi-Nithyanandam

This interview was conducted by Andrew Cohen and  first appeared in the magazine What Is Enlightenment as part of a longer article. I am posting the interview portion for the benefit of those who have an interest in learning more about Ajja.

Ajja: First, we should introduce ourselves, so there will be mutual understanding and harmony. After that, our conversation can begin. Only then will there be usefulness in this conversation. Otherwise, words are mere words. The other day when we met, you described your experience of awakening, but the others here have not heard it, so could you please describe it again?

Andrew Cohen: I was sixteen years old.

Ajja: Who was sixteen years old?

AC: The individual, the young man, who was convinced that there was a problem, that there was something wrong.

Ajja: You can continue.

AC: Suddenly the doors of perception opened. It seemed like the walls in the room had disappeared and suddenly there was infinite space. And this infinite space was full of energy. And this energy was conscious, it was aware of itself.

Ajja: And what you are now—is it that awareness itself?

AC: Yes.

Ajja: So it’s not this body that you refer to as “I.” The awareness you experienced at that time, is that the “I” you feel now also?

AC: Yes. It’s the same.

Ajja: It’s not this body?

AC: There’s only one “I.”

Ajja: And what happened after that?

AC: Then what happened was that I realized that this energy which was aware of itself was intelligent—there was intelligence—and the nature of it was love. Unbearable love. Excruciating love. And it also became apparent that everything that existed in the manifest universe was of the same substance, which was this consciousness. And in that it became apparent that every point in space was exactly the same point as every other. For example, now we’re here in this room. We just came from Prashanti. Before that I was in Europe. Before that I was in America. While these all seem to be different places, what I realized in that moment was that every place I could be was the same point, literally and actually. Also, there were tears but I wasn’t crying. And my throat was opening and closing.

Eventually this experience faded. But then, six years later, when I was twenty-two, I began to seek for this experience once again, because even though by that time it felt very far away from me, I knew that it had been the most real experience of my life. I began to do sadhana [spiritual practice] and had various experiences and was with many different teachers. And then finally when I met my last teacher, I told him about it. Over the years, I had told many people about this experience and they had never known what to say, but when I told him, he said, “Then you experienced everything.” And when he said this, it began to come back. Then I experienced this overwhelming love and heat and burning for several weeks. After that happened I began to find myself speaking spontaneously about the Absolute—I couldn’t help it; I would start speaking about it and then it would come into the room. And my body would fill up with bliss, and other people would feel the bliss and be drawn into the experience.

Ajja: What is your state now?

AC: That’s what my experience is now. It happens when I’m teaching, when I’m speaking about the Absolute. Then this experience comes, and when I stop speaking about it, then I go back into a more ordinary state. But the difference now is that I have no doubt—self-preoccupation and doubt are gone—and this love that I met at that time is my whole life.

Ajja: In the beginning, the “I” was a constricted “I.” Later, it started becoming expanded, and then you reached a state where there was no time and space, beyond even emotions. In that, “you” and “I” become one—the supreme Divine. We only use the word “I.” Whatever there is in this body, for that we say “I” as a simple indication. We say that it is “me,” but I am nothing. I am not the body. I am not even a power. What really exists is That whose nature is light, its nature is satya [ultimate reality]. It is truth, it is bliss, it is peace, and that is the real existence.

Who is that energy, that power? What is the source of that? Who am I? What is my source? I am that energy. I am that power which is my source. So when I go to search for the source of this “I,” I reach that self-illumination. Then this power that is existing in this body, residing in this body, is also arising from that self-illumination itself. And it has all the qualities and nature of That itself. So when I know this, I start evolving. This “I” starts evolving to become That itself. That is its nature. Total expansion is its nature.

So what is that “I” which we were calling “I”? This body is not “I.” The one who resides in this body is the real I. That power, that shakti, is I. When one goes into that self-illuminated state and recognizes it as his own true nature, he also finds that it has endowed him with the qualities of illumination, expansion, compassion. The individual self has become one with That. Whatever he sees around him, where does it come from? It is evident that it always comes from within; in every instant, it seems to just come springing up from within. To a realized soul, that is how the whole world around us looks.

Everything has come out of that “I.” The most important answers, how do they come? It is not as if they were written down somewhere. These answers have just come out. Not from the individual self, but from this state they have come out. So there is no self! It has just spontaneously come out.
So for the individual soul who aspires to be totally free, what is the easiest and most direct path to freedom from the cycle of birth and death? The answer to that question will come when the mind becomes totally silent. So it is not what I say that is important. We have to get those answers ourselves, and that we can do only by silencing our minds. All of us have the capacity to get those answers, because every question has an answer within silence. When the mind has reached a state of stillness, the answer comes. This will not happen in one or two days, but it is certain that we will get the answer in the silence.

AC: I understand that when the mind is silent there is no problem and therefore no need to find a solution. However, I have some questions I’d like to ask you anyway, for the sake of the many people who will read this.

Ajja: Whatever question you ask, the answer that comes out of here is: “Silence the mind.” You have to first concentrate the mind on itself. If, after that, you still need a perfect answer, my life itself is the answer. By seeing my action, you can understand, you can realize That. That is my message. That is my answer.

AC: Can I ask you a question anyway? It’s a good one.

Ajja: If I answer something, it should be of some use. The importance is for action. When the message is given, will they bring it into practice?

AC: That is what I wanted to ask you about: What is the relationship between nonexistence and action in time and space?

Ajja: One loses his existence through knowledge and action. Through these he becomes free. Then he himself is a jivan mukta [liberated person]. But when that “I” has gone, what is there? Where is the question then?

AC: Even though he is free, isn’t the jnani [Self-realized individual], the jivanmukta, still expressing something through his actions?

Ajja: I don’t have the awareness that “I’m a jnani“or “I’m a jivan mukta.” I don’t have anything. When the “I” has gone, the consciousness does not even raise the feeling of “I.” That is completely gone. So for a jnani that question does not even arise. When there is no question of thinking, then ordinary action in day-to-day life does not take place. Our thoughts are transformed into contemplation. Then our day-to-day routine interactions become spiritual. In that, the regular routine itself becomes spiritual life. That itself is yogic life. That itself is divine life.

AC: There is a mystery that I’m infatuated with. From nothing, there became something; it’s literally the beginning of everything. In the jivanmukta, also, he is nothing, he’s in nothing. And yet, from nothing comes something: words, actions, etc. This is what I want to know about.

Ajja: I have already described how day-to-day interactions themselves can be converted into spiritual actions. Having that objective, when an individual soul is engaged in day-to-day actions and duties, he gets transformed. Then as he advances on the path of evolution, through contemplation on the thought “Who am I?”—who is that individual soul?—then, even while residing in this body, he becomes totally free from the cycle of birth and death. He becomes the Self itself, and the Self is total freedom. This is real freedom. This realization is the objective of human birth. It is for this alone that a human birth is taken. When this objective is fulfilled, our life itself is fulfilled. It is a state from which there is no more birth. It is a life free from duality, and beyond death. This is applicable everywhere in the entire world. This is true for the whole of humanity. When the whole of humanity understands this and puts it into action, then where is this question?

AC: Then there will be no difference between birth and death.

Ajja: Yes. Only when there is birth can there be death. Where is birth in this? We think: “I am this body. All the sense objects that are related to the body are mine. With such a constricted feeling, when a person is involved in action, and is experiencing the joys and sorrows that are resulting from such action, again and again he will take birth in this world. So his lives continue according to his actions. This is the secret of birth, life and death. But when the individual self is freed from the bondage of action, and also the bondage of this body, then he becomes one with the supreme Self, which is his original nature. He becomes the supreme Self itself. When the individual, through contemplation of the question “Who am I?” becomes free from karma, he evolves, he becomes the self-luminous Supreme. That itself is Self. That itself is bliss. That itself is satya, ultimate reality. That itself is Life. That itself is Self-realization.

So Self-realization is for the good of the whole. It brings auspiciousness and good to the whole universe. That is the objective of human life. When we understand the secret of this, we will really understand the relationship between the individual soul, the supreme Soul and the universe. The individual is a part of the cosmos. This body, this “I,” is nothing but a microcosm of that macrocosmic universe. When we understand the micro level, we are bound to understand the macro universe. Anyone who seeks here is bound to reach there, because this individuality is a part of That. And also, it containseverything. All the secrets of That, this also contains. Through the study of the individual—or even the atom—the basis of the whole universe can be understood.

How is this freedom realized? Through action alone does realization come. That is jnana, that is freedom, that is moksha [liberation].We must understand how, by doing action, we can reach that state. What kind of action will help us to become liberated? Chanting the name of God, contemplation, surrender, truth, nonviolence, detached action. One who, during his lifetime, can translate the knowledge of the Self into action, that one deserves to realize that supreme blissful state. Not only that, he becomes bliss itself. “Who am I? What is the secret of my life, my birth?” Understanding this, realizing this through his search, even when he is engaged in actions and duties, he attains his original nature, which is bliss. So it is through action that he becomes transformed.

AC: When you speak about karma yoga, or detached action, are you referring specifically to spiritual practice? Or to any form of detached action?

Ajja: Any action which is done as a duty without the expectation of a result. Any action, if you do it without expectation and selfishness, is transformed into duty. This leads you to a state where there are no emotions. One is doing, but he is not doing. There is no feeling that “I am doing something.” What happened to that “I”?

This evolution is step by step. It doesn’t happen all of a sudden. It has to pass through various stages. However, even the most elementary state of bliss is Bliss itself. The nature of bliss is Bliss itself. Bliss itself is the nature of bliss. Bliss is Bliss itself. Bliss is Bliss. This bliss is eternal reality. This bliss is eternal Truth. That bliss which is eternal reality, that is the eternal bliss. This is the supreme Bliss. This is the Brahmic [Absolute] Bliss. And that itself is Ananda [spiritual bliss]. There is nothing there—no state. Experience and words cannot reach there. The actual nature of the individual self is this bliss itself. And the easiest and the shortest path is to always dwell in that sahaja [natural] state that is our original nature.

The question may arise, “Where is that Bliss?” That Bliss is here and now, ever present. When this jivatma [individual self] is dropped, that Bliss is there, already existing. The individual soul has the bondage of action, but the Supreme doesn’t have that. There is not even birth for the Self. So let us go beyond this dualistic world of action, let us evolve, and reach the paramatma [supreme Self].

For all this, meditation is the starting point. In the beginning you should sit. You should have that internal preparation. One has to discipline oneself. But it is not enough only to sit. It is not merely that the body must sit; your mind must sit also. The mind should not be wandering. Unless the mind is controlled, there is no meditation. The wandering of the mind itself is the world.

AC: Yes. The mind is the world.

Ajja: So in the beginning, the mind should become still. The mind is wandering and that must stop. Through meditation, the mind turns inward. And this should happen not only in meditation, but also in the midst of action.

Nothing that we take to be real in this world actually is. When this world becomes unreal to you, then the true reality reveals itself. That is the beginning. In that, we realize that there is no death, there is no life, there is only existence. At one point or another, we all have to die. But I do not mean the death of this body. There is another kind of death—a death from which there is no rebirth. When the one who keeps coming back for reincarnation, when that one dies, that is the real death—as in my case, where all experiences have passed. Now, here in this state, there is nothing.

AC: When you say there is nothing here, do you mean that you have no experience right now? You seem to be expressing a great deal.

Ajja: Whose experience? Words are coming, it is true. Through this vehicle, some unknown force is acting, some power is working, using this body as an instrument. It is not this body that is speaking. There is a power that is inspiring this body, intellect and mind. In each one of us the same thing is happening, but often we say, “I am speaking.” Here that is not happening. Words are just coming out. That is the difference. I don’t say, “I say, I speak.”

AC: In my own experience, the relationship between this state of bliss, in which there is no “I,” and perfect action in the world of time and space seems to be very mysterious. So I would still like to know more about how you define that relationship for the one who is actually established in that bliss consciousness in which there is no notion of “I.” How do that individual’s actions in this world express the perfection of that condition? What is the relationship between that state and the expression of perfect action in this world of appearances?

Ajja: My level of interaction is totally different. There is no relationship between these two in my actions. What is your understanding about perfect action in the world?

AC: Perfect action means action that comes from pure love, in which there is no sense of individuality and no self-interest whatsoever. There’s no pride, there’s no greed, there’s no egotism, there’s no self-consciousness. And it is also the expression of pure love that has no sense of itself as being separate. But this action does occur. All the realized souls express this.

Ajja: This is difficult to explain, to put into words, but if one spends time in the company of a person who is in such blissful consciousness, then it becomes possible to understand. Such an individual will not tell you anything. He will communicate only in silence. But through contact with him, understanding can happen. One can know this only through experience.

What is love? Are we speaking about a love related to the senses? Or is it beyond the senses? Some people are the embodiment of love but the nature of their love is beyond the senses. You cannot see it with your eyes. You cannot describe that love with your words. They are love embodied. This love is not something to be displayed. It is their original nature. It’s not something they merely express. It is their nature always.

AC: It’s who they are.

Ajja: They exist in this world, but they are not. They are, and they are not. That is what self-illumination is. That itself is Atman [the Self]. That itself is bliss. That itself is truth. That itself is life. Which life is it? It’s not worldly life. It’s a life beyond duality and beyond death.

AC: So how they are, then, is the answer to the question. How they are is the answer to the question of what the relationship is between nothing and something.

Ajja: These things are beyond description. This we cannot explain. This can only be seen and understood. It’s not because they have something to say that they speak. It’s not possible to describe bliss. When you are blissful, it’s an experience, but there is no one there to speak. Words come out, but between the words that come out and that ultimate reality there is no relationship. The real state and the words that describe it are not related. That exists only as Itself. The words show That, they manifest That, but they are not That. The existence of that Supreme is indicated by the word “I” only for the sake of interaction in the world—for the sake of the world, but not for the sake of That.

My experience is of the Universal Soul only, which is energy, light and power—the self-luminous supreme Universal. It has come for evolution and it has evolved. Universal light comes for evolution and it evolves.

AC: The light evolves?

Ajja: Light and power came, but now only light remains in the evolved form. There is no power. The indweller of this physical body is the soul, which is nothing but self-luminous light and power. And in evolution, the power dissolves, leaving only light.

AC: Can you say that again?

Ajja: The indweller of the body is a universal power and light. And in the process of evolution, the power dissolves and the light remains. But the truth of this cannot really be communicated. Only through contact, by being in the proximity of a realized soul, can one understand. This is one of those questions the answer to which can only be discovered when you search for it in silence. Otherwise it becomes mere lecture from which none of us will benefit.

AC: I understand that the most important answer cannot be given in words, that it can only be found by the individual in silence. And yet it is my experience that by asking these kinds of questions sometimes magical and extraordinary things can happen.

Ajja: Even if the truth comes out or if, as you say, magical, miraculous things occur, when words come out, they are still nothing but words.

AC: But the words coming from a jnani have the power to enlighten.

Ajja: That is about the jnani. But where are the jnanis? Who is a jnani? And who is it that recognizes the jnani?

AC: The jnani and the one who recognizes the jnani are one and the same.

Ajja: Is that your experience?

AC: Yes.

Ajja: I do not deny that experience. But a jnani will never have the experience that “I am a jnani.” He is simply what he is. It’s his original state. If an unnatural state comes, he will be amazed. This is the original, natural state for a jnani. There is only bliss. There is no one to experience that bliss. The person who sees has gone. That is evolution. So what is, in that case, is a state which is not a state. This is the original state of every individual. But one must be ready to go to that original state.

AC: One of your disciples told me that when you get to know people more intimately you can see their past lives. Is this true?

Ajja: I am not an astrologer. I don’t read anyone’s mind. This is contradictory for spirituality. Liberation should happen in this life itself. Sometimes we are told that for some reason it’s not possible in this life, that we have to wait for future incarnations. But we don’t know if this is true or not, so here and now we should become free.

AC: I agree with you, and my question is based only on what I’ve heard from other people here. I personally feel that this kind of thing is a complete waste of time and also that it’s the opposite direction one should be looking in if one wants to be free. If one wants to be free, one wants to know the Self one is when there’s no time and no history. Finding out about past lives could never tell you anything about that which never happened.

Ajja: Yes. Let us know about this life. In knowing this you know everything you need to know. Now we are here. It’s now about this. Why should we go back? There is no future and no past. We have come here. We are here. What is this? Who are we? Who am I? Who is the one who has come? That which has come is self-luminous power with light. This itself is the foundation. There are engineers who build the building, but we must look only at the foundation, we are concerned only with the foundation. “Who am I?”—this inquiry is the foundation. When you go in search of That, it is possible to find the answer to every question on this earth. When you go in search of “Who am I?” you will reach a state where there is nothing. “I” means the state where nothing is there. It’s over. No sadhana is required for this—only search.

AC: Direct search.

Ajja: Yes, direct search. When the seeker goes in search of That, the seeker is no more. That state is Atman, which is bliss, which is self-luminous and which is silence. Until then, ego is there. Then it is not.

It sometimes happens in life that due to some incident there is total transformation. In many people’s lives, due to one incident there is total transformation. It is in the biographies of all the great saints of southern India—Valmiki, Tulsi Das, Ramana Maharshi, J. Krishnamurti. According to their karma, due to small incidents, they changed. Through all these stories, there is one thread. In my case, for example, there was pain for six months, then no pain. Then contemplation began; worry became contemplation. Untruth became truth. Darkness became light. As with fruit, when it is unripe, it is bitter. When it becomes ripe, it is sweet. But that sweetness was always there. That bitterness is transformed into sweetness.

So worry should become contemplation. For that reason alone we should give importance to thoughts. We should not get agitated or lost when we get worries or problems. We should experience them. Then there is an explosion.

AC: Do you mean that we must face them completely?

Ajja: Yes. Experience that. And how should the mind be when you experience that? During that time, the mind should be focused, the mind should contemplate on that. When the mind is fixed on that, then—

AC: You mean there should be no resistance to experience?

Ajja: No resistance. In this way, the same mind that experiences everything else now goes to contemplation. Beyond that there is no mind at all. So mind itself is both the cause of bondage and the means to liberation. This world is nothing but the roar of mind. When the works of mind are over, there is no mind. Then all desires are gone—desires which the mind imagines. Everything is imagined; all of that is mind. So the mind has to withdraw. All desires should go. Even if one desire is there, you cannot take the mind inward. The mind should go into the heart and begin the search. “Who am I? Who am I? I am here in this body. Who am I?” We should search like that. When you are in the search, in that the mind is gone. We are afraid to touch that place. But the mind must be totally gone. Give it up.

AC: You said earlier that this is universally applicable and true for the whole of humanity.

Ajja: Yes, this is a question for the whole of mankind. We need freedom. No one wants to be in bondage. Everyone wants to be free. My message for the whole universe is not that only one should get free. Others also should become free. The whole world should become free. That is my message.

What is the path to freedom? If you have a clear picture of the experiences I’ve had during my lifetime—joys and sorrows, triumphs and miseries, honor and dishonor, and how I reacted to these—that can help you to find your own way. How I faced those experiences, how I walked in my life, how I accepted death. How action was performed, and how transformation has come. My whole life, once understood, gives a clear picture of the way. When we have understood all these things, then we have to bring that understanding into our practice. Then we become free. If one individual is liberated in this way, then the mission of my life has been fulfilled. That is why I am giving these statements—so that it will be helpful for the public. That is why I have agreed to this interview. Otherwise I would remain in total silence.

The total picture is the integrated evolution of the individual and that power. When we become totally free in our action, only then is our birth fruitful. Then our life is really fulfilled. Freedom is the goal. Everyone should become free. And all have come to life only for that purpose—that freedom itself is bliss for all, for every individual. Every individual should be released from bondage. If I alone become free, it is not enough to make me happy. Everyone should become like that. Every soul has to become free. I have had a glimpse of that possibility, and if all were free, that would be true bliss for me.

AC: So this is for the benefit of mankind.

Ajja: Yes. This message is for the whole of humanity. When there is purity within, mind, heart and action should be one. Mind and heart should be pure and our deeds should be the same. We all have to go beyond thought to that state in which there are no obstacles at all. It is by this true search alone that one becomes a universal soul. And every individual has that capacity. Not just one. Every individual has the capacity to become That.

I am not in mind at all. I am in a state beyond all thoughts and emotions. I am speaking, but I don’t know anything. I don’t think; I read no books. For the true knowledge itself, none of this is necessary. For intellectual discourse, books are necessary, but for Self-experience, nothing is required. If I am in some remote corner, also it doesn’t stop. It spreads through the whole universe, percolates through the whole universe. If one reaches that state of ananda, even if he is in some remote corner, it just spreads. Even if he tries to hide, it just radiates from him. It reaches throughout the whole universe, the entire cosmos.

So . . . what are you going to do with what you have recorded?

AC: It will be part of an article about you—your experience and what you are saying—that will help people in America and other places to benefit from what you have discovered.

Ajja: It feels as if you are very known to us. You do not feel like a stranger to me.

AC: Yes, I feel the same way.

Ajja: There is no America and no India. There is only the whole universe.

Read about a visit to Ajja’s ashram.

See a video of Ajja.

For more posts on Ajja.

To read more from Ajja.

Meetings with Two Remarkable Men

Ajja and U.G. together in Bangalore
Ajja and U.G. together in Bangalore

Preamble

When Amido and I were on Koh Phayam, Thailand, in 2004 we met a New Zealand couple named Ross and Karyn. They had a bungalow next to ours. We had never spoken until after the tsunami that hit on December 26, which seemed to bring a lot of people together. There was a strange sense of oneness with everyone experiencing this huge swell that went all around the Indian Ocean. You could literally feel and see the interconnectedness. Anyway we struck up a friendship and found that we had many common interests, one of them was U.G. Krishnamurti. None of us had spent any time with him but we were all interested in doing so. I was particularly concerned with seeing him before he died.

A year later we ran into Ross in Bangkok. He and Karyn were on their way to India, as were we. We talked about Goa and keeping in touch to communicate if we found a spot we really liked. A couple of emails later and they were at Arambol Beach, Goa, and recommended the place, so we made plans to meet up.

On our arrival in Arambol, we were walking into the village with our backpacks and wondering how we would find them when from the other direction Ross appeared on his way to some shop. We spent a couple of breakfasts sharing information and stories over very large bowls of fruit muesli at the Buddha’s Smile restaurant.

Ross and Karyn met an English guy who had visited every guru he could learn about in India and kept a very well-documented address book. He told Ross and Karyn that of gurus he had seen the two that really affected him were U.G. and a 90 year old sage named Ajja. They proceeded to relate the story that this fellow had told them.

It went like this: He spent quite some time at Ajja’s ashram in Karnataka near Mangalore and he kept wanting to speak with Ajja. He was continually told to go to the mediation hall. Finally, he was sitting in the hall and became tremendously angry and just couldn’t handle the experience anymore, so he grabbed his bag and walked down the drive to leave. As he was leaving, he looked back at Ajja and saw Ajja watching. And that was the end of his time there. But this experience somehow really affected him.

When I heard the story I knew right away that I wanted to meet this man, Ajja. Karyn also shared with us an interview that Ajja had given to Andrew Cohen published in What is Enlightenment? Ross also told us that U.G. was going to be in Bangalore in February. This fellow had given them the contact information, but they were sworn to secrecy, so didn’t feel comfortable sharing the details of the information that had come from him. They said that once they arrived they would contact us and in that way it would be their information and not this other fellow’s.

We didn’t stick around very long in Arambol, as nice as it was; we wanted to go straightaway to Ajja’s ashram.

Bhagavan Arabbi-Nithyanandam

We phoned the ashram from Mangalore, an hour and a half away by bus, to ask if we could come. The woman on the phone told us to come right away and we would be in time for lunch. When we arrived Ajja was meeting with some Indians on his porch and we were told to hurry up and we could meet him. So we took off our hiking boots and dropped our packs as quickly as we could and had just enough time for a Namaste and then were told we could meet with him later. Lunch was being served in the dining hall. The food that was served at the ashram was simple and fabulous.

After lunch we were given a room. But very soon after our arrival Amido and I needed to be separated because there were a few other visitors coming. Amido shared a room with a lovely Swedish woman named Ingrid and I bunked (although there was no bed or mattress) with an Indian man who would be arriving later.

Besides Ingrid there were a couple of other foreigners, a German named Hans who had been coming regularly for a couple of years, an Israeli named Giri who was together with a lovely English woman named Thea. In addition, Giri’s brother was visiting along with a friend and his wife and daughter.

Later in the afternoon, an Indian doctor named Satish, who took care of organizing darshans with Ajja, paid us a visit. He wanted to get some background from us and learn why we were there. He asked us to clarify our questions if we had any so as to make better use of our time with Ajja. He said that he would talk with Ajja and let us know when it was time to see him.

In the meantime Amido and I made use of the meditation hall and participated in the chanting and other activities. I found that Dr. Satish’s question about whether I had any questions a particularly powerful engine for my inquiry. The question was – did I have a question? This whole process of wanting to see Ajja seemed to be one of the primary teaching methods for westerners.  We heard many stories of westerners wanting to see Ajja and being told to go to the meditation hall. To most it seemed like some kind of punishment. For Amido and I, from the very beginning, we enjoyed our time spent there and really used the opportunity to explore deeply.

In the afternoon at tea time, the doctor came and told Amido and I that there were some Indians coming to visit Ajja later and we could try and tag along. He wasn’t sure if Ajja would allow us to stay or not. It seemed that it wasn’t something that he could just ask Ajja. When Satish informed us of his plan the other westerners present overheard and the lights went on in their minds. This would be a good opportunity for them too.

When the time came, all of us foreigners filed on to the porch for darshan with Ajja. Ajja came and sat down and immediately said you, you, you, etc. to all the foreigners, go to the mediation hall. Amido and I went right away and used that opportunity to explore all the feelings that were aroused. We were joined by Ingrid and Hans but the others didn’t come.

So again it was an opportunity to explore the question about a question. And when I sat with that for some time I found that I did have a question. I was aware of a sense of awareness which somehow I could physically relate to the area at the back of my head. And I was also aware of an energy, a sense of being that I would say somehow related to the area around my heart. My question became – what is the relationship between these two? It was not very long after formulating this question that it was answered in my meditation.

It seemed that the awareness of awareness was not an activity, there was no movement. But the energy that I felt around the heart was active, not static. What seemed to happen was the awareness gave attention to the energy and with this attention the energy became less active. It gradually settled and when it completely settled it felt as if it was absorbed by the awareness. That is the best way that I can describe what took place. In that merging, that joining, that absorption there were no more questions. The question was answered in dissolving. And in that dissolving of the question there was light and bliss.

Our time passed wonderfully at the ashram and we found that there was some strange connection between Ajja and U.G. Almost everyone at Ajja’s had been to see U.G. In fact we learned that a couple of years earlier, Ajja, on two occasions, had been taken to the house where U.G. was staying in Bangalore. The first time, Ajja sat next to U.G. but they never said a word to each other. When Ajja left and was in the car ready to drive away, U.G. went outside and namasted to Ajja. The second time, Ajja sat next to U.G. and spoke for some time. Apparently it was the rare occasion when U.G. actually let someone else speak. Ajja spoke Kanada, so only the local Indians could understand but during that time U.G. was silent.

Thea was present during this meeting and it was the first time that she met either Ajja or U.G. and she met them both together. Thea continued to have a very strong connection with both Ajja and U.G. and would shuttle back and forth between Puttur and Bangalore. Several of U.G.’s close friends in Bangalore were regular visitors at Ajja’s ashram. Because of this we had no difficulty getting all the information necessary for a visit with U.G. In fact we were getting messages at the ashram as to the exact arrival of U.G. in Bangalore.

Daily, we participated in “chores” around the ashram in the morning and also any other time we were asked to help out. Thea was the one who assigned jobs in the morning and in the afternoon someone might come and ask for help with some other task. It invariably involved doing a very menial task with the utmost awareness. Because the ashram was so small, one was often within sight of Ajja who would sit on his porch and oversee all the activities. And Ajja’s presence was so strong that one was almost bowled over with the present moment. It was difficult ‘not’ to be in the moment. His presence created a very powerful Buddhafield.

One day Amido, Ingrid and I, were asked to help with some cleaning. Ajja had left the ashram and we were to help with the cleaning of the tile floor in his house. He had a very modest room but it was full of consciousness. There was “that something” the same that I had felt whenever I had been in Osho’s living quarters, a certain sensing, clarity, presence, to be honest not unlike the heightened awareness accompanying some of my past LSD experiences.

Sunday was the day that many Indian visitors came. It was the day that even the foreigners could count on spending time in Ajja’s presence. On the Sunday that we were there, we all went into the original house on the property which was a hut the musician lived in. It was small but there was a second story. The Indians and Ajja were downstairs and all of us foreigners were upstairs just above Ajja. Bhajans were sung, music was played and it was a lovely time. Finally Ajja asked for one of us foreigners to sing a song. I went blank, not a song came to mind but Thea, bless her heart, sang The Lord of the Dance. It was really extraordinary, because she is one of the most ethereal persons I have ever met, and in the beginning her singing was rather meek and then you could sense her taking courage and finding her power through the singing.

The following day was some kind of special day, it was a full moon and musicians were coming and there was going to be quite a celebration. We sang and danced out on the ground in front of Ajja’s porch. He came out and encouraged both the musicians and us dancers. There was a performance where two speakers enacted a conversation regarding Rama and his shooting of Vaali with an arrow from behind.  After the music and performance a great meal was served. The whole event was wonderful.

Earlier in the day we had been asked what our plans were and without thinking I said we would leave the following day. It was going to be a week, and we had experienced so much, especially with the coming evening celebration it seemed appropriate for us to move on. In addition, we now knew that U.G. was in Bangalore and we wanted to go and see him.

The next morning, Dr. Satish came to visit us and said he would see what arrangements could be made for us to have darshan with Ajja before we left, but nothing was guaranteed. To be honest, Amido and I were so overflowing with the whole week it really didn’t matter if we would be able to have darshan or not. Of course it would be nice but we would be happy whatever happened.

Hans had made arrangements and was planning to see Ajja that day as well. He was going to take his camera to have a photo taken with Ajja. We packed our things and prepared ourselves to leave after lunch. Sometime before lunchtime, a woman named Kavita came and said “the two people who are leaving today should come now.” I ran and told Amido and we were ready. I saw Hans on the way and told him what Kavita had said. He was not leaving that day so stayed behind. Kavita took us over to the porch. We sat in front of Ajja and Kavita translated questions of where we were from and our background. While sitting with Ajja, the whole group sang Bhajans. Ajja turned to us and asked us to sing a song we knew. Because of the experience on the day of Thea singing, we had at least thought of a song that we both knew just in case. It was one of the celebration songs from the Poona Ashram, Asalaam Aleikum. 

The words are as follows:

May the love we share here spread its wings

And fly across the earth and sing

Its song to every soul that is alive

May the blessings of your grace Bhagwan

Be felt by everyone and may we

All see the light within, within, within

 

Asalaam aleikum, Aleikum asalaam

Asalaam aleikum, Aleikum asalaam

Asalaam aleikum, Aleikum asalaam

While we were singing, I experienced what I had seen in Thea when she sang. In the beginning there was a hesitancy but we continued through it and then a power took over and one just rode with it. Ajja smiled and asked where we had learned the song and we told him at Osho’s ashram and he said that it was related to his name. Ajja is just a nickname which means uncle but his name is Bhagavan Arabbi-Nithyanandam. The Arabbi is related to Islam. He has joined the two together like so many Sufis of India.

At the end of the singing, Ajja said that we were very clean and didn’t have a lot of thoughts. I said that it was because we had spent a lot of time with Osho, and Ajja said that we had done a lot of work. I responded, “so not a lot more digging.” He said that now we needed to stabilize. He asked if we had any questions and we said no, (my questioning had dissolved days before). Eventually I piped up that yes there was one question, “Could I take a photo of him?” He agreed and had someone take a photo of Amido and me with him. After our time with Ajja, an Indian man, Sudarshan had some questions. When they were answered he had more questions. Eventually, Ajja turned to Amido and me and said, “Look, this couple has no questions and you are here with me every day and you have so many questions.”

Dr. Satish came and reminded Ajja that Hans was still waiting and so he was called over. He had his photo taken with Ajja and we all sang more Bhajans and then ate some ice-cream. We must have spent close to an hour with Ajja and it was truly glorious. We said our Namastes.

After lunch, Sudarshan was the one, when everyone was having their nap, who stayed around and made arrangements for a rickshaw for us. He wanted to make sure that it came and the driver knew where to take us. We had been bonded in the sweetness of Ajja’s Darshan. And then it was time to bid farewell. It had been one extraordinary week.

U. G. Krishnamurti

We had a hard time finding a room in Bangalore when we arrived late at night. Everywhere was full because one, it was the wedding season and two, there was a big “Art of Living” gathering in the city, with many visitors both Indian and western. In fact we had to resort to calling an Indian (Shiva) who we had met at Ajja’s and had given us his phone number. We stayed at his apartment that night and left early in the morning. Shiva, his wife and mother were going to London that day.

After finding a place the next morning, we made our way to Chandrashekar’s home courtesy of some very elaborate directions and a map. When we walked through the door the first people we saw were Ross and Karyn. We entered the living room where everyone was gathered and watching a video on the television. We sat down on the floor without really surveying the room. In fact I had been wondering where U.G. was when I realized he was sitting on the sofa watching the video of himself.

Soon the video was off and U.G. was telling stories. This is what his meetings consisted of at this point–gossiping with friends. Ingrid was there too. She had come from Ajja’s ashram and was sitting on the sofa next to U.G. We had tried to warn her about U.G., that he wouldn’t behave as she might expect an Indian holy man to act. He was throwing around the word bitch quite a bit and she looked uncomfortable.

It was a very informal arrangement and people would come and go at will. Because we were the new arrivals, U.G. directed some attention to us. Ingrid left and I suggested Amido move to the sofa where she sat enjoying being in his presence. When he learned that I was from the States he directed all of his stories about the States towards me.

It really was quite an interesting experience. First of all, there was the heightened sense of presence, that same presence that I have experienced with Osho, Jean Klein, the 16th Karmapa, J. Krishnamurti and also with Ajja. That presence was at the core, at the center. If you came out of that center you could get caught up in the whirlwind that blew around his words. He used language that could easily throw you off your center. And it was not just the words but the energy had an appearance of anger at times, and yet if you stayed in the center it was love.

We only visited over two days but even in that short time heard some stories so many times that I could finish them off myself. It was interesting to watch those that have spent a lot of time with U.G. They seemed to rest there at the center.  Others would get caught up in what he was saying. That can be seen on some U.G. forums where people actually believed what he was saying about J. Krishnamurti or Osho. To me, he was just shocking people out of their conditioning, but he also seemed cognizant of how far he could go without really hurting someone. He seemed sensitively outrageous.

We learned that many of our sannyasin friends had become very close to U.G. We met some at the house and learned of others that had been hosting U.G.’s stay in Palm Springs. We said our goodbyes to Ross and Karyn who were staying on. I was so happy that we had managed to meet U.G. before he left the planet. As it turned out, this was his last visit to Bangalore. When we bid him farewell, it was namaste and I felt that we had connected with an old friend. The entire time he was so welcoming and loving in his unique way.

Postscript

The following year we returned to India with the intention of visiting Ajja and then going on to Bangalore to see U.G. again. He was scheduled to be in Bangalore in February just like the previous year. As it turned out we arrived at Ajja’s ashram the day after he left the body.

We were able to take part in the ceremonies involved with the Samadhi, one of which was maintaining a chant through the night by taking shifts. Ajja was not cremated but buried in a traditional lotus Samadhi position. He had supervised the building of the structure to house the Samadhi all through the previous year. On top of the marble tomb a granite block was placed that had a small hole above Ajja’s head. We took part in the last day of the ceremony, chanting around the Samadhi through the night. We spent only two days at the ashram this time because we could sense the ashram had a lot of adjustments to make and we didn’t want to be in the way.

The first day we arrived at the ashram, we learned that on January 31st in Italy U.G. had fallen in his bathroom and couldn’t get up. He wasn’t eating, he wasn’t drinking water and he wasn’t passing urine. This information was coming to Srinath at the ashram who was in contact with Mahesh Bhatt, the longtime friend of U.G.

On February 1st, Ajja had a stroke. He was hospitalized in Puttur. After some days the doctor said that they couldn’t do anything for him there and so he was transported in an ambulance to Mangalore.

We were told that when U.G. heard about Ajja he said, “I don’t want to breathe, I don’t want to eat, I don’t want to be in this body.”

Ajja left his body on March 12th and on March 14th we heard from Srinath that U.G. had sent everyone away and that it seemed he would be going soon too. We left the ashram and continued on our travels. We later learned that U.G. left his body on March 22nd. No one ever seemed to know the nature of this strange connection between Ajja and U.G but it was a blessing to have met them both.

-purushottama

This post is from a collection of essays, stories, insights and poems that have occurred to me along the Way titled Here to Now and Behind.

A link to Ajja’s website.

Read an interview with Ajja.

See a video of Ajja.

For more posts on Ajja.

To read more of U. G. Krishnamurti .