Remembering Nisargadatta Maharaj- David Godman

The following is from an interview with David Godman.

Harriet: You say that Maharaj never visited other teachers because he no longer had any doubts. Did he ever talk about other teachers and say what he thought of them? 

David: He seemed to like J. Krishnamurti. He had apparently seen him walking on the streets of Bombay many years before. I don’t think that Krishnamurti noticed him. Afterwards, Maharaj always spoke well of Krishnamurti and he even encouraged people to go and see him. One day Maharaj took a holiday and told everyone to go and listen to Krishnamurti instead. That, I think, shows a high level of approval.

The most infamous teacher of the late 1970s was Osho, or Rajneesh as he was in those days. I once heard Maharaj say that he respected the state that Rajneesh was in, but he couldn’t understand all the instructions he was giving to all the thousands of foreigners who were then coming to India to see him. Although the subject only came up a couple of times while I was there, I got the feeling he liked the teacher but not the teachings. When Rajneesh’s foreign ‘sannyasins‘ showed up in their robes, he generally gave them a really hard time. I watched him throw quite a few of them out, and I saw him shout at some of them before they had even managed to get into his room.

I heard a story that he also encountered U. G. Krishnamurti in Bombay. I will tell you the version I heard and you can make up your own mind about it. It was told to me by someone who spent a lot of time with U. G. in the 1970s.

It seems that Maurice Frydman knew U. G. and also knew that he and Maharaj had never met, and probably didn’t know about each other. He wanted to test the theory that one jnani can spot another jnani by putting them both in the same room, with a few other people around as camouflage. He organised a function and invited both of them to attend. U. G. spent quite some time there, but Maharaj only came for a few minutes and then left.

After Maharaj had left Maurice went up to U. G. and said, ‘Did you see that old man who came in for a few minutes. Did you notice anything special? What did you see?’

U. G. replied, ‘I saw a man, Maurice, but the important thing is, what did you see?’

The next day Maurice went to see Maharaj and asked, ‘Did you see that man I invited yesterday?’ A brief description of what he looked like and where he was standing followed.

Then Maurice asked, ‘What did you see?’

Maharaj replied, ‘I saw a man Maurice, but the important thing is, what did you see?’

It’s an amusing story and I pass it on as I heard it, but I should say that U. G.’s accounts of his meetings with famous teachers sometimes don’t ring true to me. I have heard and read his accounts of his meetings with both Ramana Maharshi and Papaji, and in both accounts Bhagavan and Papaji are made to do and say things that to me are completely out of character.

When Maharaj told Rudi that he had no interest in visiting other teachers, it was a very true statement. He refused all invitations to go and check out other Gurus. Mullarpattan, one of the translators, was a bit of a Guru-hopper in the 1970s, and he was always bringing reports of new teachers to Maharaj, but he could never persuade him to go and look at them. So, reports of meetings between Maharaj and other teachers are not common. Papaji ended up visiting Maharaj and had a very good meeting with him. In his biography he gives the impression that he only went there once, but I heard from people in Bombay that Papaji would often take his devotees there. He visited quite a few teachers in the 1970s, often when he was accompanying foreigners who had come to India for the first time. It was his version of showing them the sights. They would never ask questions; they would just sit quietly and watch what was going on.

Harriet: What was Maharaj’s attitude to Ramana Maharshi and his teachings? Did you ever discuss Bhagavan’s teachings with him? 

David: He had enormous respect for both his attainment and his teachings. He once told me that one of the few regrets of his life was that he never met him in person. He did come to the ashram in the early 1960s with a group of his Marathi devotees. They were all on a South Indian pilgrimage tour and Ramanasramam was one of the places he visited.

With regard to the teachings he once told me, ‘I agree with everything that Ramana Maharshi said, with the exception of this business of the heart-centre being on the right side of the chest. I have never had that experience myself.’

I discussed various aspects of Bhagavan’s teachings with him and always found his answers to be very illuminating.

He asked me once, ‘Have you understood Ramana Maharshi’s teachings?’

Since I knew he meant ‘Had I actually experienced the truth of them?’, I replied, ‘The more I listen to Maharaj, the more I understand what Bhagavan is trying to tell me’.

I felt that this was true at both the theoretical and experiential levels. His explanations broadened and deepened my intellectual understanding of Bhagavan’s teachings and his presence also gave me experiential glimpses of the truth that they were all pointing towards.

I have to mention Ganesan’s visit here. V. Ganesan is the grandnephew of Ramana Maharshi and in the 1970s he was the de facto manager of Ramanasramam. Nowadays, his elder brother Sundaram is in charge. Ganesan came to visit Maharaj for the first time in the late 1970s. As soon as he arrived Maharaj stood up and began to collect cushions. He made a big pile of them and made Ganesan sit on top of the heap. Then, much to everyone’s amazement, Maharaj cleared a space on the floor and did a full-length prostration to him.

When he stood up, he told Ganesan, ‘I never had a chance to prostrate to your great-uncle Ramana Maharshi, so I am prostrating to you instead. This is my prostration to him.’

From Remembering Nisargadatta Maharaj: Harriet interviews David Godman, page two.

You can read more from Nisargadatta Maharaj here.

Life is Aware of Itself – U.G. Krishnamurti

ug003mThe following is a conversation between U. G. Krishnamurti and David Bohm, recorded in Saanen, Switzerland in 1968. Also present were Mrs. Bohm, David Barry and Valentine.

U.G.: From quite a young age I had this question about religious people and religious experiences. What is there behind or beneath these religious beliefs and practices? And most of the guys I met were frauds, in the sense they didn’t have this real thing in them. You see, I myself went through all kinds of experiences—all within the field of thought. These religious people and mystics didn’t have the real touch of the ‘source’ or the ‘origin’—except perhaps Ramana Maharshi and Krishnamurti.

Not that I have what he has. There is nothing there. But is it the same? Perhaps it can’t be different. I don’t know, the question doesn’t interest me. However, this must be the base—the religious experience is not the thing—which is something beyond thought. The thought can never penetrate here. It is that state where the action takes place. But I have no way of knowing what is happening at that time. But there seems to be some kind of awareness—that is the difference between sleep and this state. Something is aware of something else. The Hindu religious thinkers say the immensity is aware of its own immensity, or that is aware of that. I would simply say life is aware of itself.

The body is in a state of quiet, of relaxation, which you can call bliss, truth, love, god or reality or anything you like, but it is not that, because there is nobody looking at it. I look at that (microphone) and I can bring out the word and say it is a microphone. But here, for this state of being, there is no word you can find to describe it. So the words bliss, love, god, truth, are all inadequate to express this state of being. Here there is no difference between life and death. The continuity (of the self) is gone once and for all.

Bohm: What do you say of time?

U.G.: There is no time, no space. When there is thought, there is time. Thought is time and thought is space.

As long as I am looking at something, there is space—but space of and by itself—because I have what you call Vistavision, I see much more. The eyes take in completely the hundred peer cent of what is there. They say the eye cuts off ninety-eight per cent and takes in only two per cent, but here, since there is no choice of any kind, the eyes take in the whole thing.

But the space that thought creates is different. The moment you say the Palace Hotel (in Gstaad), there is a space. When I close my eyes there is no space at all. Light is the part of the whole space, and the light inside has no frontiers. But to say that I am the space is not correct (laughs).

(To illustrate the point, UG picks up a visor.) This is the social consciousness, the mind, the world, this is the enclosure, this is the eye I have built through the years. Every human cell carries the knowledge built from thousands of years; rather, the whole fourteen million years of the past is embedded in the individual. So the human being is not different from the social consciousness. And what has happened in me is that this whole built-up consciousness somehow and by some process-not through any sadhana or effort or one’s volition—has knocked itself off.

When the explosion takes place, the whole structure of thought collapses. This is not an ordinary thing. It is like a nuclear explosion and it affects the whole human consciousness. It is not just once, but a series of explosions and there is a fallout which affects the human consciousness. This seems to be the only way we can affect the world, by bringing about a structural change within oneself. You can never look at thought. The thought splits itself into two, and one thought or image looks at the other. Only when you step out of the whole structure built over millions of years, you can look at thought, but it has no content. Thought has been a part of the human consciousness right from the beginning. There is this expression in the Bible: In the beginning was the word and word as the flesh. Actually it means matter. Thought is matter and at the same time it is sound and this has been in existence through centuries.

The thinker has no existence; he is an artificially created, built-up thing. He has taken possession of the body and has dominated for centuries… but somehow, here, he has been displaced. He is not there anymore. What you are left with are the body and thought. What is this thought? Here, they are only words, factual memory without psychological content. Only now, after you step out of the social and individual consciousness, there is a possibility of looking at thought. When thought comes, there is a disturbance in awareness and , once you look at it, this very awareness destroys it. There is no scope for the thought to take roots here and bring the thinker in. It is just there in the background for your use and when there is a need you use it and discard it. Sometimes the old memories come, but when you become aware of them, they disappear. The braid becomes tight and they cannot penetrate and take root.

Bohm: As thought comes in it disturbs the awareness, you say. Can we discuss the root of thought, but you say you don’t know.

U.G.: You see, when you put the question, first I am in the state of not-knowing; I really don’t know what mind is. If the exploration of the question should begin, the thinker has to come in and the thought process develops.

All right, let us take an example from the field of science. As long as we were caught up in the Newtonian physics nobody could break through. But Einstein, somehow and by some process, realized the inadequacy of Newtonian thought and that itself acted as a breakthrough. Now we connect them and we know that without Newtonian physics Einstein’s theories would never have come into existence. And now we can see that the process (Newtonian thought) had come to an end, but not actually, rather it caught the experience and created another thought structure. This kind of revolution is within the structure of thought. It could be a mystical experience or a path-breaking discovery and this brings about the changes or conversions. However, all experiences in any field are within the field of thought. A mystical experience can change the individual consciousness. The whole way of looking at life changes and it’ll be like wearing new glasses. Everything you look at, every activity is different, but still within the field of thought. Even bringing the mind to a quiet state is not the end of the mind. That could, at best, be the first loosening process of this whole structure. Every cell has a memory of its own. So the whole human body has to change for this to happen. This silence is of a different quality and kind.

So, you see, it is difficult to answer the question.

Bohm: I also wanted to ask, ‘What is the origin of the continuity of thought?’

U.G.: There is no continuity.

Bohm: If the awareness doesn’t wipe out thought…

U.G.: That means the ‘I’ is there and he carries on. But when the ‘I’, the thinker is absent, there is no continuity and thoughts just come and go and never take root and bring the thinker into operation.

Bohm: But you use thoughts in order to communicate, which it seems you want to.

U.G.: (Laughs) I may not even want to. But I am beginning to feel that even without communicating there is a possibility of being silent in some corner, no matter where, and these fallouts perhaps will affect in their own way. I don’t know; but there is another difficulty for me. I have no way of expressing myself—the whole of my past is wiped out and that past included Krishnamurti. So the Krishnamurtian lingo—if I may use that word—is of no value at all. I can’t use that language. I don’t even know what he is talking now, except the few phrases which are fresh.

The easiest thing would be to fall back on such a lingo. All the religious teachers used the then available literature, they used words like god, beyond, immortal, heavenly and such expressions. In our times Ramana did the same. He read texts of Hinduism in order to understand what he had come into and that coloured his mode of expression and he fell back on the Hindu terminologies to explain things. It must be said to the credit of Krishnamurti that he has come out with this strikingly original approach and has developed a new mode of expression which is very vital. But then there are and were hundreds of Hindu scholars who have tried to strike a new path, use new words or terminologies. So where do all these take one? To me all that seems inadequate. Perhaps it helps others.

This is not a new discovery, not something that comes from outside. When the whole process comes to an end, the search comes to an end, not that you arrive at a point or a destination. The self, the seeker disappears and what is left is the body and the senses operating in an extraordinary way. So—how am I going to create new words to talk about this? I can’t. I have to use the inadequate words we have.

Bohm: But the same words can function differently in different persons.

U.G.: It would be interesting to find out. But, you see, the person who comes here can bring me out. I can’t come prepared. It depends upon the person I am talking to. And one of the difficulties I have is that most of the people who come here are all full of Krishnamurti’s ideas. I am always confronted with this, or if I go to India, There they come with the Hindu terminologies. Anyway, they have to bring me out. Perhaps in this process something will come out.

From The Biology of Enlightenment: Unpublished Conversations of U.G. Krishnamurti after He Came into the Natural State (1967-71), pages 109-113.

Aftermath – From U.G. Krishnamurti: A Life – Mahesh Bhatt

‘The uniqueness of the individual cannot express itself because of the stranglehold of the experiences of others.’ U.G.

U.G. refers to the events that happened to him during the summer of 1967 as the ‘calamity’:

‘I call it a calamity because from the point of view of one who thinks this is something fantastic, blissful and full of beatitude, love, or ecstasy, this is physical torture; this is a calamity from that point of view. Not a calamity to me but a calamity to those who have an image that something marvelous is going to happen… I can never tell myself or anybody that I’m an enlightened man, a liberated man, or a free man, or that I am going to liberate mankind.’

On the eighth day he was sitting on the sofa and suddenly, in his words: ‘There was a tremendous outburst of energy—tremendous energy shaking the whole body and along with the body, the sofa, the chalet and the whole universe—shaking, vibrating. You cannot cause that movement… Whether it was coming from outside or inside, from below or above, I didn’t know—I couldn’t locate the spot. It lasted for hours and hours… There was nothing I could do to stop it; I was totally helpless. This went on for days.’ Then for three days U.G. lay on his bed, his body contorted with pain—it was, he says, as if he felt pain in every cell of his body. Similar outbursts of energy occurred intermittently throughout the next six months, whenever he lay down or relaxed. ‘It’s a very painful process. It’s a physical pain—it has a form, a shape of its own. It is like a river in spate. The energy that is operating there does not feel the limitations of the body; it is not interested; it has its own momentum. It is not an ecstatic, blissful beatitude and all that rubbish!’

U.G. explains that thought had controlled his body to such an extent that when that control loosened, the whole metabolism went agog. Then the movement of his hands changed. They started turning backwards. ‘That is why they say my movements are mudras.’ Certain hormonal changes started occurring in his body. Now he didn’t know whether he was a man or a woman. Suddenly there was a breast growing on the left side of his chest. It took three years for his body to finally fall into a new rhythm of its own. Here U.G. questions the value of this description for the world. Reading about it may be dangerous because people may try to mimic the outward manifestations of the process. People have a tendency to simulate these things and believe that something is happening to them.

His friends observed swellings up and down his torso, neck and head, at those points called chakras. These swellings of various shapes and colors came and went at regular intervals. On his lower abdomen, the swellings were horizontal, cigar-shaped bands. Above the navel was a hard, almond-shaped swelling. A hard, blue swelling, like a large medallion, in the middle of his chest was surmounted by another smaller, brownish-red, medallion-shaped swelling at the base of his throat. These two ‘medallions’ were as though suspended from a varicolored, swollen ring—blue, brownish and light yellow—around his neck, as in the pictures of some Hindu gods. There were other similarities: his throat was swollen to a shape that made his chin seem to rest on the head of a cobra, as in the traditional images of Shiva. Just above the bridge of the nose was a white lotus-shaped swelling. All over the head the small blood vessels expanded, forming patterns like the stylized lumps on the heads of some statues of the Buddha. Like the horns of Moses and the Taoist mystics, two large and hard swellings periodically appeared and disappeared. The arteries in his neck, blue and snake-like, expanded and rose into his head.

U.G. says that his body is affected by everything that is happening around it: Whatever is happening there is also happening here—there is only the physical response. This is affection. You can’t prevent this, for the simple reason that the armor that you have built around yourself is destroyed; so it is very vulnerable to everything that is happening. In his discussions with medical doctors, U.G. learned that the ductless glands are located in exactly the same spots where the Hindus speculated that the chakras were. The thymus gland, it is said, is very active when one is a child. Therefore, children have extraordinary feelings. When they reach the age of puberty, the gland becomes dormant—at least that’s what the scientists say. When this sort of an explosion takes place within the body, which the scriptures refer to as being born again, that gland is automatically activated so that all the extraordinary feelings are there again. ‘Feelings are not thoughts, not emotions; you feel for somebody. If somebody hurts himself there, that hurt is felt here—not as a pain but there is a feeling. You automatically say, “Ouch!”‘ There is an incident in U.G.’s life which illustrates this. He was once staying at a coffee plantation in South India. For some reason a mother started beating her child. She was angry and she hit her child so hard that the child almost turned blue. Somebody then asked U.G., ‘Why did you not interfere and stop her?’ U.G. answered, ‘I was standing there. I was puzzled: “Whom should I pity, the mother or the child?” Both were in a awkward situation: the mother could not control her anger, and the child was so helpless. Then I found all marks corresponding to the marks of the beatings on my back. So I too was a victim of that beating.’ U.G. says that this was possible because consciousness cannot be divided. ‘With this affection, there is no question of your sitting in judgment on anyone.’

Here is another incident: It was some time during the mid-Seventies that U.G. was visiting the hill country in North Goa. Many of his friends from Bombay were with him. One morning a group of people visited him. They were sitting together at the foot of a hillock. Valentine came to join the group. But when she found that the path was steep and slippery, she decided to go back to her cottage.

Then a discussion arose among the people there about what each would have done if Valentine had slipped and fallen. U.G. said nothing. After a while Valentine came back and ventured down the path to join the group. She did indeed slip and fall. No one got up or did anything to help her, not even the person behind her. U.G. pointed out to them that they did nothing even though each of them had said they would help her. One of the members of the group asked U.G., ‘How come you yourself did nothing to help then?’ U.G. replied, ‘I never said that I would give her a helping hand. If, however, you want to see for yourself how I myself was involved in that event…’ and he rolled up the leg of his trouser. They found scratches on his knee similar to those found on Valentine’s knee. Everybody was stunned. U.G. said that there was no significance to these occurrences.

U.G. says that the ‘third eye’, also called the ajna chakra, is the pituitary gland. When once the interference of thought is gone, the function of thought is taken over by this gland: it is this gland, and not thought, that gives the instructions or orders to the body. That is why they probably call it ajna (command) chakra. U.G. says that there is a built-in armor created by thought, which prevents us from being affected by things: Since there is nobody here who uses thought as a self-protective mechanism, thought burns itself up. It undergoes combustion, ionization. Thought is, after all, a vibration. So when this ionization of thought takes place, it throws out, and sometimes it covers the whole body with, an ash-like substance… There is tremendous heat in the body as a result of this. One of the major reasons why U.G. express the ‘calamity’ in pure and simple physical and physiological terms is that it has no psychological or mystical content or religious overtones. Such a thing, U.G. says, must have happened to many people. It is not something that one could especially be prepared for. There is no purificatory method or sadhana necessary for such a thing to happen. Narayana Moorty says that if he had to reduce U.G.’s teaching to one sentence it would be the following: ‘Consciousness is so pure that whatever you are doing in the direction of purifying that consciousness is adding impurity to it.’ U.G. says:

Consciousness has to flush itself out: it has to purge itself of every trace of holiness and of every trace of unholiness, of everything. Even what you consider ‘sacred’ and ‘holy’ is a contamination in that consciousness. Yet it does not happen through any volition of yours. When once the frontiers are broken—although not through any effort or volition of yours—then the floodgates are open and everything goes out. In that process of flushing out, you have all these visions. Suddenly you yourself, the whole consciousness, takes the shape of the Buddha, Jesus, Mahavira, Mohammed or Socrates—only of those who have come into this state; not of great men or leaders of mankind. One of them was a colored man. Then a naked woman with breasts and flowing hair. I was told that there were two saints here in India—Akkamahadevi and Lalleswari—they were women, naked women. Suddenly you have these two breasts and flowing hair. Even the organs change into female organs.

But still there is a division there—you, and the form that your consciousness has assumed, the form of the Buddha, say, or Jesus Christ, or God knows who. The situation there is: ‘How do I know I am in that state?’ But that division cannot stay long; it disappears and something else comes along. Probably the same thing happened to so many hundreds of people. This is part of history: so many rishis, some Westerners—monks—and so many women. All that people have experienced before you is part of your consciousness. I use the expression, ‘The saints go marching out.’ They run out of your consciousness because they cannot stay there any more because all that is impurity, a contamination there.

This flushing out of everything good and bad, holy and unholy, sacred and profane, has got to happen. Otherwise your consciousness is still contaminated, still impure. After that you are put back into that primeval, primordial state of consciousness. Once consciousness has become pure, of and by itself, then nothing can touch it, nothing can contaminate it any more. All the past up to that point is there but it cannot influence your actions any longer.

U.G. saw these visions for three years after the ‘calamity’. He says that the most puzzling and bewildering part of the ‘calamity’ was when the sensory activities began their independent functioning. He says that there was no coordinator linking up the senses. That presented a problem to Valentine. ‘We’d go for a walk and I’d look at a flower and ask her, “What’s that?” She’d say, “That’s a flower.” I’d take a few more steps, look at a cow and ask, “What’s that?” Like a baby, I had to relearn everything. Not actually relearn. All the knowledge was in the background and never came to the forefront.’

Valentine didn’t know what to make out of what was going on. She consulted a leading psychiatrist in Geneva. The psychiatrist told her that unless he saw the person he couldn’t be of help. He asked her to bring U.G. over. But U.G. declined because he knew that something extraordinary had happened inside him. His difficulty was that the people who came to see him didn’t seem to understand the way he was functioning and he didn’t seem to understand the way they were functioning. ‘How can we carry on a dialogue? Both of us have to stop. I am talking like a raving maniac. The difference is only a hair’s breadth. That is why I say you either flip or fly at that moment of calamity.’

Reproduced here are a couple of the most frequently asked questions concerning U.G.’s ‘calamity’. These questions, in a way, also sum up what U.G. himself has to say on this topic:

Q: Are even those who ‘realized’ different from one another?

U.G.: Yes, because their background is different. The background is the only thing that can express itself. What else is there? My expression of it is the background: how I struggled, the path I followed, how I rejected the path of others–up to that point I can say what I did or did not do… Such an individual is different, not only from you, but from all the others who are supposed to be in this state, because of his background.

Q: Although everyone who is supposed to have undergone this ‘explosion’ is unique, in the sense that each one is expressing his own background, there do seem to be some common characteristics.

U.G.: That is not my concern; it seems to be yours. I never compare myself to someone else.

Summing up the account of the happenings surrounding his ‘calamity’, U.G. says: And that’s all there is to it. My biography is over… There is nothing more to write about and there never will be. If people come and ask me questions, I answer. If they don’t, it makes no difference to me… I have no particular message for mankind, except to say that all holy systems for obtaining enlightenment are nonsense and that all talk of arriving at a psychological mutation through awareness is rubbish. Psychological mutation is impossible. The natural state can happen only through biological mutation. The incredible physiological changes continued to occur for years.

U.G. was so bewildered by what had happened to him that he did not speak for a year after the ‘calamity’. He had to practically learn to think and talk all over again, so complete was his mutation. After a year or so he had regained most of his communicative powers. Yet he did not say much. ‘What is there to say after a thing like this?’ he asked. One day the answer came in a flash: ‘I’ll say it exactly the way it is.’ Except for a year’s break in the late Sixties, U.G. has been speaking tirelessly ever since. Of all this U.G. now says: I did not know what was happening to me. I had no reference point at all. Somehow I died and came back to life, free of my past. This thing happened without my volition and despite my religious background. And that is a miracle. It cannot be used as a model and duplicated by others.

-Mahesh Bhatt

From: U. G. Krishnamurti: A Life

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Appa Deepo Bhava – Osho

The first question.

Osho, how can I become a light unto myself?

These were the last words of Gautam the Buddha, his parting message to his disciples: “Be a light unto yourself.”  But when he says, “Be a light unto yourself,” he does not mean to become a light unto yourself. There is a great difference between being and becoming.

Becoming is a process, being is a discovery. The seed only appears to become the tree; that is an appearance.  The seed already had the tree within itself, it was its very being. The seed does not become the flowers. The flowers were there unmanifest, now they are manifest. It is not a question of becoming, otherwise a pebble could become a flower. But that doesn’t happen. A rock cannot become a rose; that doesn’t happen because a rock has no potential to become a rose. The seed simply discovers itself through dying into the soil: dropping its outer shell, it becomes revealed in its inner reality.

Man is a light in the seed. You are already buddhas. It is not that you have to become buddhas; it is not a question of learning, of achieving. It is only a question of recognition–it is a question of going within yourself and seeing what is there. It is self-discovery.

You are not to become a light unto yourself, it is already the case. But you don’t go in, your whole journey is outward. We are being brought up in such a way that we all become extroverts. Our eyes become focused on the outside. We are always seeking and searching for some goal “there,” far away. The farther the goal, the more challenging it appears to the ego. The more difficult it is, the more attractive it appears. The ego exists through challenges; it wants to prove itself. It is not interested in the simple, it is not interested in the ordinary, it is not interested in the natural, it is interested in something which is neither natural, nor simple, nor ordinary. Its desire is for the extraordinary. And the reality is very ordinary, it is very simple.

The reality is not there but here, not then but now, not outside but in the innermost sanctum of your being. You have just to close your eyes and look in.

-Osho, Walking in Zen, Sitting in Zen, Chapter 13

The last words of Gautam Buddha were, appa deepo bhava: Be a light unto yourself. And those words were said to his chief disciple, Ananda, who had been with him for forty-two years, just like a shadow, non-stop, day out, day in. But he had not become enlightened. And many others who had come afterwards had become enlightened.

Buddha said, “That is the barrier. You think I can make you enlightened – that’s why these forty-two years have gone by and you have not attained. Perhaps after my death, within twenty-four hours you may become enlightened. For these forty-two years there was a hope that I would do something. Nobody can do anything. Be a light unto yourself.”

-Osho, Razor’s Edge, Chapter 12

This statement of Gautam Buddha is one of the milestones in the history of human growth: Appa deepo bhava – be a light unto yourself. Nobody before him was courageous enough to say this. They were all trying to say, “We are the light, follow us. Be surrendered to us and whatever we say never doubt it.” These people were not really for human freedom, human integrity, they destroyed all self-respect in man, they reduced him to a slave, a spiritual slave.

Gautam Buddha has brought a great revolution to the world. He says, “Be a light unto yourself” – because there is no other light. You are not to surrender to somebody because every surrender is slavery, and spiritual surrender is the greatest of all because it is so subtle. The chains are so invisible that you may never become aware of it, and the imprisonment is not something outside you, it is something imposed on the very being of your interiority. You are carrying your prison wherever you go, whatever you do.

-Osho, Sword and the Lotus, Chapter 19

The last words of Gautam Buddha on the earth were, “Be a light unto yourself. Don’t be bothered about what others say, don’t be bothered about traditions, orthodoxies, religions, moralities. Just be a light unto yourself.”Just a small light is enough, and you can go on with that small light for ten thousand miles without any difficulty. Your light may be falling only four feet ahead of you – just go on moving. As you move, the light will be moving ahead, and if you can see four feet ahead, that’s enough. You can go as far as you want. You can go on an eternal pilgrimage with just a small light of your own.Don’t live on borrowed light.Don’t live on borrowed eyes.

Don’t live on borrowed concepts.

Live according to your own light, and your life will be, each and every moment, a greater joy, a greater blissfulness, a greater ecstasy.

-Osho, The Great Zen Master Ta Hui, Chapter 10

Buddha says nobody can deliver you. You have created the mess, you have to sort it out. Nobody has created it, so nobody can deliver you either. Your bondage is created by you, so only you can come out of it. Hence his last statement on the earth was: Be a light unto yourself. This is a totally different dimension: Be a light unto yourself. The buddhas only show the way, but you have to work upon your being; you have to work hard to discover your innermost core.

-Osho, Wild Geese and the Water, Chapter 8

Buddha’s last words to his disciples were: Be a light unto yourself. And how can you be a light unto yourself? Go beyond the body, the mind, the heart. Find the center of your being and suddenly there is light. It is already there, it is already burning bright. It is your very being; you just have to discover it.

-Osho, Dhammapada V. 12, Chapter 5

The last words of Gautama the Buddha on the earth were: Be a light unto yourself. Do not follow others, do not imitate, because imitation, following, creates stupidity. You are born with a tremendous possibility of intelligence. You are born with a light within you. Listen to the still, small voice within, and that will guide you. Nobody else can guide you, nobody else can become a model for your life, because you are unique. Nobody has there been ever who was exactly like you, and nobody is ever going to be there again who will be exactly like you. This is your glory, your grandeur – that you are utterly irreplaceable, that you are just yourself and nobody else.

-Osho, Dhammapada V. 2, Chapter 9

But if you want to end this whole nonsense that has persisted down the ages for so many lives, the same repetitive wheel of birth and death moving; if you want to stop it, then the other, the way of the intelligent person, the way of the wise…be a light unto yourself.

-Osho, Dhammapada V. 2, Chapter 9

In the same way, Krishnamurti is also contained in Buddha. Krishnamurti is Buddha’s latest edition, the freshest – in today’s language. But the difference is only of language. Krishnamurti is just an elaboration of Buddha’s ultimate sutra: “Be a light unto yourself.” A commentary on this sutra – deep, profound, tremendously vast, immensely significant – but he is just an elaboration.” These were Buddha’s last words on this earth. Before leaving his body he had given this essential sutra, poured his whole life’s treasure, his whole life’s experience, into this one small sutra.

-Osho, Die O Yogi Die, Chapter 1

Don’t search for any light outside. The last words of Buddha were, “Be a light unto yourself. Be a lamp unto yourself.” Don’t search for light anywhere else; the light is already there, the fire is already there. Just probe a little deeper into your being. Inquire. Maybe much ash has gathered around the fire…just probe deep inside, and you will find the spark again. And once you have found a single spark inside yourself, you will become a flame soon, you will be a fire – a fire that purifies, a fire that transforms, a fire that gives you a new birth and a new being.

-Osho, The Sun Rises in the Evening, Chapter 3

The last message on his deathbed was…Ananda, his chief disciple asked “Bhagwan, give us your last message.” And he said “Ananda, appa deepo bhava: become a light unto yourself. There is no other light, so don’t look into the sky, don’t look at me. There is no other light. Be a light unto yourself. Your own intelligence has to become your light, depend utterly upon yourself – no other dependence, no shelter anywhere, no refuge.”

-Osho, I Say Unto You V. 1, Chapter 2

It is good that religious experience has to be experienced individually. Nobody can lead you there. People can indicate the way and those indications are very subtle. Don’t take them literally. Buddha said, “Be a light unto yourself.” He is saying, “Remember, my truth cannot be your truth, my light cannot be your light. Imbibe the spirit from me, become more thirsty from me. Let your search be intense and be totally devoted to it. Learn the devotion of a truth-seeker from me but the truth, the light, will burn within you. You will have to kindle it within you.”

-Osho, Ancient Music in the Pines, Chapter 4

The master said, “Buddhas can only show the way, but you have to travel alone – and with your own light. Be a light unto yourself.”

-Osho, Nirvana the Last Nightmare, Chapter 5

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

Many of Osho’s books are available online from and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

A Visitor from Beyond the Mind

Dada with Amido while staying at our Boulder house in 1993.

Sometime in the early 90’s, my friend Santap moved to Boulder, Colorado, and after settling in, made arrangements to bring Dada Gavand, a teacher that he had spent some time with in California, to town. He was sponsoring the visit and Dada would be staying with Santap in his mountain home. Dada’s visit coincided with my own inward turn and interest in self- inquiry as a spiritual practice. I read his books and very much appreciated his keen insight. They were prodding me in.

Santap needed some help with the organizing and I was happy to assist. Dada primarily taught through one-on-one interviews but he did do a few public talks. Santap spread the word of Dada’s upcoming visit and organized a list of interested people for the interviews. Together we set up a public talk.

Dada did not enjoy the cold. He was arrived from somewhere warm but was going to be staying in the Rockies at about 9,000 feet in the fall. Amido and I offered to host Dada down in town if he wanted, but he liked to stay with people he knew.

Amido and I had an interview together and this meeting with Dada was very helpful for me. Up to that point I was still thinking of “going inside” as a journey, as a movement through some imaginary inner space. I don’t remember the exact words that were said but there was shift and I understood for the first time that “going inside means not going at all.” This was a major insight. Dada recognized that a shift had happened and later suggested to Santap that he would like to spend half of his time in Boulder with us.

It was a complete joy to be with him in the house even at the ninety-degree requested temperature. One thing I found interesting was that we would be sitting and chatting around the dinner table and suddenly some kind of shift would happen. The atmosphere would change and there would be a palpable silence. It was almost as if a presence had descended or the entire room had been lifted to a higher dimension and he would then speak as the spiritual teacher and even his speaking mannerisms would alter. He began to use the first person plural and say “we” rather than “I” in those moments.

Dada’s story is quite unique. He had been part of the Theosophical Society and known U.G. Krishnamurti before either one of them experienced their transformations. They met up after those experiences and it was at the urging and even help of U.G. that Dada set off for the States. Dada had also spent time with Meher Baba and J. Krishnamurti.

His teaching has the directness of Krishnamurti combined with the heart of being of Meher Baba. The following is from his book Towards the Unknown, beginning on page 57:

The imaginative and fragmentary mind
can never discover
that dynamic, effervescent energy
of eternal, timeless quality.
The mind is the product of time.
Whereas Godhood is timeless divine.

 The dead past cannot contact
the living present.
Time cannot contact the timeless.
Shadow cannot contact light.
Contracted polarity cannot contact enormity.

He continues on page 62:

At the cost of your own life force
the mind is misusing energy,
scattering it everywhere
in a very clever and subtle way,
in petty little pursuits
and self-intoxicating drives.

And page 63:

By close and alert watching
of all the movements of body and mind,
you will discover that
the constant ripples of thought
on our life energy
are the cause of disquiet.

He concludes with page 68:

You cannot meet God through the mind,
nor experience the timeless through time.
Thought cannot meet the omniscient.
The eternal cannot touch the transient.

Only with freedom from thought
and from mental cravings and ambitions
does the energy become
whole, tranquil and pure.

Such inner purity and humility
will invite the hidden divinity.

The pure consolidated energy,
with its silence and fullness within,
awaits in readiness to meet the divine,
to experience that which is beyond the mind.

 There across the region of time,
beyond the frontiers of the mind,
within the sanctuary of silence
resides the supreme intelligence,
your Lord, the timeless divine.

At the end of his stay Santap and I took Dada to the airport. I was, of course, sad to see him go; such a sweet friendliness had surrounded us. We said goodbye and Dada boarded the plane with his carry-on. He believed in carrying his own baggage even in his late 70’s.

A few years later, after Amido and I had moved from Boulder to Crestone , Colorado, we talked to Dada on the phone with the idea of bringing him there but it wasn’t to be. And in 2007, while traveling in India we emailed his contact person, thinking perhaps we would visit but he was in silence and not accepting visitors. Dada left his body in 2012.

Thank you Dadaji.


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.

There is a website maintained for Dada at

To see more from Dada look here.


O-theism is Religion-less Religious-ness.

It is the No Religion of Whole religion.

O-theism is the understanding that there is no God separate from existence. It is the understanding that God is the Beingness which is experienced when one is at-one knowingly with the whole of existence.

It is the understanding that this Beingness is the potential of all human beings and that it is the identification with a fictitious entity (ego) which prevents the realization of this potential.

O-theism is the understanding that there have been many masters who have attained that Beingness and have expressed that experience in the language and culture in which they lived. Their experience is One but their expressions are many.

It is the perennial philosophy. It is the Heart of the teachings of all the Awakened Masters including Krishna, Lao Tzu, Mahavir, Mohammed, Zarathustra, Guru Nanak, Buddha and Christ.

O-theism is the religion-less of the Sufis, Tao, Advaita, Tantra, Yoga and Zen.

It is the religious-ness of Ramakrishna, Ramana Maharshi, Meher Baba, Krishnamurti and Osho.

O-theism is the religion of Enlightenment.

It is the ground in which Theism, Atheism and Deism dissolve.

O-theism is the end of theism. It is All-theism and No-theism, hence O-theism.

Seeing From Behind – Jean Klein

The following is an excerpt from a dialog held at Joshua Tree, California, May 25, 1995

What do you mean by seeing from behind?

You feel yourself behind and look from behind, hear from behind. It gives you a new quality. First you must know how to see yourself from behind, and then you will know yourself in front.

Does feeling from behind take you out of the forebrain?

Yes. You don’t feel yourself located in the object. You have the sensation of expansion behind you. You are not identified with the object. You have the feeling that the perceiver is behind you, that you are no longer stuck to the object. Body, senses and mind are all objects, objects that need a perceiver to be known. A perceiver can never be known, only what is perceived can be known.

When you knowingly say, “I am not the body, senses and mind, because these do not exist on their own, they need consciousness to be known,” you become integrated; it gives you enormous distance. Then you perceive and live with the surroundings free from psychological involvement. You see facts as they are, free from bad and good. This is whole seeing, global seeing. You know when you are psychologically involved in daily life. But here there is no interpretation, there is only seeing facts as they are. It is important to see how this way of living, this way of seeing, this way of touching, acts on you, how you feel. Then you have a functional relation with your surroundings, also aesthetic and ethical. You see the truth, you see the beauty, you see the functional. Our seeing mainly refers to the ego. You do not see the situation in its verite. When you are appropriate to the situation, then you observe what is aesthetic, ethical and functional. It belongs to you, but this doesn’t mean it is appropriated to your ego. You are taken by the seeing. One can say it is not you who sees it, it is the seeing who sees it.

Taken From The Book of Listening. Non-Duality Press 

To read more from Jean Klein see:

A Perfect Tool – Jean Klein

How can I empty myself of the sense of “I”?

Body, senses and mind are tools, vehicles, instruments. There may be moments in daily life when there is no function but this absence of functioning has nothing to do with tranquility. Function and non-function alike appear in tranquility. Tranquility is the ground of existence, all perception. Very often what we call meditation is only the non-activity of the senses. Many people make a great effort to bring these tools to rest through various techniques. These methods of concentration are completely artificial procedures. The rest thus achieved is localized. Real tranquility is multidimensional. It is diametrically opposed to any concentrum. It has no direction. It is openness, receiving. Tranquility comes naturally. All concentrated effort is a violation. A concentrated mind is never free. It is stiff with no subtlety.

See that in all effort to bring to a stop organs which by nature are meant to function, there will be fixation on the object. The natural state of the mind is movement so why impede its natural functioning? In real meditation there is no achieving, no controlling, because there is no one who meditates. When you let go of the doer tranquility immediately appears. Your existence in space and time appears within this tranquility. All existence is in tranquility but tranquility is not in existence.

Must the mind come to stillness, to quietness, first in order to see its contents?

The mind is an object of perception. It does not need to be still to be perceived. First see that there is agitation in the body-mind. Don’t get involved in controlling, escaping or changing this situation. Just listen to it. You will discover then that you can’t listen, that the reflex to discipline, dominate, manipulate is very strong. I repeat that it is a waste of energy to try to still the mind. The nature of the mind is movement. But you are not in the movement. It is in you. When the body-mind functions in you, in your wholeness, it will come spontaneously to its inherent rhythm without agitation. Then it is a perfect tool.

-Jean Klein

Taken from The Ease of Being. Acorn Press

To read more from Jean Klein see:

First and Last Public Talk of U.G. Krishnamurti After His Calamity

U.G. Krishnamurti[At the Indian Institute of World Culture Bangalore in the year 1972]

Let me, at the very outset, thank the authorities of the Indian Institute of World Culture for giving me this opportunity to meet you all here. I was very reluctant to accept the invitation of Mr. Venkataramaiah. But somehow, if I may use that word, I was trapped into this kind of a thing.

As Mr. Kothari pointed out, I don’t like to give talks at all. You all seem to be very fond of listening to speeches, talks, lectures, discussions, discourses, conversations, and so on. I do not know if at any time you realize for yourself and by yourself that you never listen to anybody or anything in this world. You always listen to yourself. I really don’t know what to say. I don’t know what you want to listen to and what I am expected to do.

This is supposed to be a discourse and a dialogue. I very often point out to those who come to see me and talk things over that no dialogue is possible and no dialogue is necessary.   It may sound very strange to you, but, nevertheless, the fact does remain that no dialogue is possible and yet no dialogue is necessary.

If you will permit me, I will say a few words, to set the ball rolling, as it were. That’s a very hackneyed and over-worked expression, but that would serve our purpose.

I am going to say a few words about the state of not knowing. How can anybody say anything about the ‘state of not knowing?’ I have necessarily to use words. Can we use words without indulging in abstract concepts. I say we can. But I do not, at the same time, mean that it is a non-verbal conceptualization. That is a funny thing — there is no such thing as non-verbal conceptualization at all. But, perhaps, a few words like this will enable you to understand [that] the methods of thought prevent you from understanding the limitations of thought as a means to directly experience life and its movements.

This ‘state of not knowing’ is not [just] my particular state. (This I call it a ‘Natural State’ of your being.) This is as much your natural state as it is mine. It is not the state of a God-realized man; it is not the state of a Self-realized man. It is not the state of a holy man. It is the natural state of every one of you here. But since you are looking to somebody else and you are reaching out for some kind of a state of liberation, freedom, or moksha — I don’t know what words you want to use — you are lost.

But, how can one understand the limitations of thought? Naturally, the only instrument we have is the instrument of thought. But what is thought? I can give you a lot of definitions, and you know a lot of definitions about thought. I can say that thought is just matter; thought is vibration; and we are all functioning in this sphere of thought. And we pick up these thoughts because this human organism is an electro-magnetic field. And this electro-magnetic field is the product of culture. It may sound very inappropriate on this occasion to say that in order to be in your natural state, all that man has thought and felt before you must be swept aside and must be brushed aside. And that means the culture in which you are brought up must go down the drain or out of the window. Is it possible? It is possible.   But, at the same time, it is so difficult, because you are the product of that culture and you are that.   You are not different from that. You cannot separate yourself from that culture. And yet, this culture is the stumbling block for us to be in our natural state.

Can this ‘Natural State’ be captured, contained and expressed through words? It cannot. It is not a conscious state of your existence. It can never become part of your conscious thinking. And then why do I talk of this state of not knowing?   For all practical purposes it does not exist at all. It can never become part of your conscious thinking.

Here, I have to explain what I mean by the word ‘consciousness’. You and I mean two different things, probably — I don’t know. When do you become conscious of a thing? Only when the thought comes in between what is there in front of you and what is supposed to be there inside of you. That is consciousness. So,you have to necessarily use thought to become conscious of the things around you, or the persons around you. Otherwise, you are not conscious of the things at all. And, at the same time, you are not unconscious. But there is an area where you are neither conscious nor unconscious. But that ‘consciousness’– if I may use that word — expresses itself in its own way; and what prevents that consciousness to express itself in its own way is the movement of thought.

What can anyone do about this thought? It has a tremendous momentum of millions and millions of years. Can I do anything about that thought? Can I stop it? Can I mold it?  Can I shape it?  Can I do anything about it? But yet, our culture, our civilization, our education — all these have forced us to use that instrument to get something for us.  So, can that instrument be used to understand its own nature? It is not possible. And yet, when you see the tremendous nature of this movement of thought, and that there isn’t anything that you can do about it, it naturally slows down and falls in its natural pattern.

When I say that, I do not, of course, mean what these people in India talk about– that thought must be used in order to get into a thoughtless state or into a meditative state. But there is no such thing as a thoughtless state at all. Thoughts are there;  they will be there all the time. Thoughts will disappear only when you become a dead corpse — let me use these two words – ‘dead corpse’. Otherwise,  thoughts are there and they are going to be there. If all the religious teachers tell us that you are going into a ‘thoughtless state,’ they are taking us all for a ride. They can promise you that in that thoughtless state — in that state of silence, in that state of quietness, or in that state of a ‘Quiet Mind,’ or whatever phrase you want to use — there will be this real ‘bliss,’ ‘beatitude,’ ‘love,’ ‘religious joy,’ and ‘ecstatic state of being’. All that is balderdash. Because, that state — if there is any state like the state of bliss — it can never become part of your consciousness. It can never become part of your conscious existence. So, you might as well throw the whole thing — the whole crap of these ideas, concepts and abstractions about the blissful states — into a cocked hat, if I may use that American slang.

So, what is one to do? Can anybody help you? No outside agency can help you. That means a complete and total rejection, as I said in the beginning, of all that man has thought and felt before you. As long as there is any trace of knowledge, in any shape, in any form, in your consciousness, you are living in a divided state of consciousness.

He [Mr. Kothari] referred to my coming into a state of ‘not knowing’ or ‘the calamity,’ as I myself refer to that.  What happened? I don’t know.  Suddenly thought has fallen into its natural state. The continuity has come to an end.  So, what I am saying is not the product of thinking. It is not manufactured by my thought structure inside.  Nor is it a logically ascertained premise. But what is happening here is only the expression of that state of being where you do not know what is happening. You do not know how this organism is functioning. As he [Mr. Kothari] himself referred to, this is a pure and simple physical and physiological state of being. It has no religious undertones or overtones. It has no mystical content whatsoever.  And, at the same time, this extraordinary thing, the extraordinary intelligence that is there, which is a product of centuries of human evolution, is able to express itself and deal with any problem and any situation without creating  problems for us.

Q: May I interrupt you? I was told by people who are around you that when this calamity befell you, you couldn’t recognize even ordinary things. You were asking like a newborn child, “What is this?” Even if there was a flower in front of you, you did not know if that was a flower.  Then you would ask, “What is this?” And the Swiss lady who was keeping house for you, who was looking after you, Valentine, [she is here with us], said “This is a flower.” Then you would ask again, “What is this?”  You mean to say that at the time when the calamity took place, all recognition was gone?

U.G.: Not only then, but even now,  as I said, this is a state of ‘not knowing’. Since the memory is there in the background, it begins to operate when there is a demand for it. That demand is created by an outside agency, because there is no entity here. There is no center here. There is no self here.  There is no Atman here.  There is no soul here at all. You may not agree. You may not accept it, but that unfortunately happens to be a fact. The totality of thoughts and feelings is not there. But [in you] there is an illusion that there is a totality of your feelings and thoughts.   This human organism is responding to the challenges from outside. You are functioning in the sphere —  so, thousands and thousands, perhaps millions and millions of sensations are bombarding this body. Since there is no center here, since there is no mind here, since there is nothing here, what is it that is happening? What is happening here [is that] this human organism is responding to the challenges, or to the stimuli, if I may put it that way. So, there is nobody here who is translating these sensations in terms of past experiences. But there is a living contact with the things around. That is all that is there.  One sensation after another is hitting this organism. And at the same time there is no coordinator here. This state of not knowing is not in relationship to your Brahman, or your Nirguna Brahman or Saguna Brahman or any such thing.  This state of not knowing is in its relationship to the things that are there around you. You may be looking at a flower. You may think that it is a crazy state.  Perhaps it is — I don’t know. You do not know what you are looking at. But when there is a demand for that — and that demand always comes from outside, [asking] what is that, and then the knowledge, the information that is there, locked up in this organism comes and says that it is a rose, that this is a microphone, that’s a man, that’s a woman, and so on and so forth.  This is not because there is a drive from inside, but the outside challenge brings out this answer. So, I say that this action is always taking place outside of this organism, not inside.

How do I know that these sensations are bombarding or hitting this organism all the time? It is only because there is a consciousness which is conscious of itself and there is nobody who is conscious of the things that are happening. This is a living organism and that living state is functioning in its own way, in its natural way.

Mr. Kothari: U.G., it appears to me this Nirguna Brahman, Atman, whatever it is — when somebody uses the word Bhuma, another uses the word “unknown,” the third man says “akal” [the timeless], the fourth one says something else — all of them say that this cannot be described, “Neti, Neti.”  Probably they meant the same thing; I don’t know.  I think they meant probably what you are saying as “totality.”  As I understand it, Brahman means “totality.”  If I would translate this state into terms of those times, probably this state is the state of Brahman and [it is] thought which is limiting the “alpa“, which is limiting the “bhuma“, which is limiting the limitless, since it does not function like that, creating an individuality within you.  Maybe I am wrong, may be I am translating, but I say that it is possible that the person who listens to you doesn’t know the old terms. You are not going to use the old terms, because the new terms are your terms. And every teacher, every person who has come into some state like this has generally used a different term, a different word, according to his background. But personally I think you mean the same thing.  This is a commentary on what you are saying.

U.G.: What do you want me to say? [Laughter]  If they have understood what there is, they wouldn’t be here. They wouldn’t go to anybody. They wouldn’t ask these questions at all. If they translate what I am saying, in terms of their particular fancy or their particular background, that’s their tragedy; it would be their misery. It hasn’t helped them.  This is my question:  Has it helped you? Why are you hung up on these phrases? They are after all phrases.  When once you realize, when once this is understood — how this mechanism is operating, how automatic it is, how mechanical it is, you will realize that all these phrases have no meaning at all. You may very well ask me why I am using these phrases: [it is] because you and I have created this unfortunate situation where you have put me here on the dais and asked me to talk, and naturally, as I said in the beginning, I have to use words. So, the moment I stop talking, the whole thing has come to a stop inside. Is that so? It is so here [in my case], because there is no continuity of thought.

We go back to the thing he [Mr. Kothari] referred to, about  the things around me. Here there is a table. I don’t know what it is. And, at the same time, if you ask me, “What is that?” I would immediately say, “It’s a chair.” It [the knowledge] is there in the background. It comes automatically, like an arrow. But otherwise, this [the impression I have] is just a reflection of this [the thing in front of me].  I don’t translate this as “bimbavatu [like an image]” at all. But I have to use that word: this is reflecting the thing exactly the way it is. I don’t want to use these metaphysical phrases because you will immediately translate them in terms of your particular parallel. There is no subject here independent of the object at all. So, there is nothing here [inside of me]. What is there is all that is there, and you do not know what it is. So, now you turn there, and this object has just disappeared, there is something else. This has completely and totally disappeared from here and then what is there is a thing that is there in front of me and it is just like this object, exactly the way it is. But you do not know what it is. That is why I say it is a state of not knowing. Probably you will find parallels to these things. What I am trying to point out is the absence of what you are all doing at this moment; [that] is the state that I am describing, and it is not [just] my state [but] that is the way you are [also] functioning.

May I give an example of what is happening in the field of spectroscopy. I don’t read books, but sometimes I read magazines. I get interested in these things. They have developed very powerful lenses to take photos of objects. They have developed micro-seconds, nanoseconds and picoseconds. It doesn’t mean anything to you and me — it’s all technical language. Now they are able to take pictures of objects, say for instance, of this table, every pico second. Every picture is different. In exactly the same way, the reflection of that object was once new; another time,  you turn this side, and look back again — it’s again new. But don’t translate this in terms of newness and oldness.  It cannot be communicated to you at all. This can never become part of your experiencing structure.

I am throwing a lot of conclusions at you. But even a thing like this cannot be experienced by you at all. I don’t know if you understand this. You have necessarily to abstract this in order to experience a thing. So, what I am trying to say is that you can never experience your own natural state. This can never become part of your experiencing structure. And what you are all trying to do all the time is to make that — whatever you want — to realize or discover — part of this experiencing structure. So your experiencing structure and your natural state cannot co-exist at the same time.

Mr. Kothari:  The way you want to say is that everything is in a continuous flux all the time. The human eye being limited and the human ear being limited, and the human senses being limited, [they] cannot respond to the quick movement of existence.  They don’t respond, they don’t reflect. You say, unless there is a need of recognition — which is thought, which is verbalization, which is word — it is just a way of affecting the life within you, and that’s all. There is no need to verbalize, or translate, if possible. Am I describing what I understand of your state?

U.G.: That’s what you understand. [Laughter] [I am not trying to be irreverent.]

Mr. Kothari: [I am Neither.]  What happens is, it seems to me … [is he trying to mislead you by saying?…] that all these persons coming to this have tried to express this in terms of what somebody else has said. It is all the time new. It is all the time fresh. It is all the time indescribably beautiful. When they came into the world they have to say [something about it]. He says it is neither new nor old. It is never old. It is never old because he does not take [it] into the [past] experience. It is not translated, unless, as he says, it is needed for translation. Otherwise, every time, life is indescribably, extraordinarily — all that is outside — is extraordinarily fresh, extraordinarily new, though he doesn’t use the words `fresh’ and `new’.  This is how I understand.

U.G.: This I must stress: that the need for the operation of thought, or the movements of thought to come into being, is decided by factors outside of this organism. When and why and how this translation is to come into being is decided by an action outside. The actions are always taking place outside. When there is a demand, the movement of thought probably separates itself for a while to meet the demands of the situation and then it is back again in the movement of life. So, thought is only functional in value, and it has no other value at all.

What is more is that the continuity of thought is destroying the sensitivity of your senses. When the movement of thought is not continuous, the senses begin to function in an extraordinarily sensitive way. When I use the word sensitivity, I mean the sensitivity of the senses and not the sensitivity of the mind. The sensitivity of the mind is a trick of your mind, and you can create a state of mind where you feel sensitive to the feelings of everybody, to the things around you and wallow in that sickly state of mind and think you are getting somewhere. This is a thing that is there [you are doing this] all the time.

There is nothing to achieve, there is nothing to accomplish, nothing to attain, and no destination to arrive at. And what prevents what is there, this living state, from expressing itself in its own way is the movement of thought which is there only for the purposes of functioning in this world. When the movement of thought is not there — I have to use the clauses in terms of time — but time is thought. When thought is there, time is there. When thought is there, sex is there, when thought is there, God is there. When thought is not there, there is no God, there is no sex, nothing is there. It may sound objectionable to you to accept my statement [Mr. Kothari:” Not at all.”], but the drug of virtues you practice, the practice of virtues is not a foundation for it at all. And the practice of abstinence, continence, and celibacy is not the path to it. But if you want to indulge in them and feel greatly superior, it’s your own business. I am not here to reform you. I am not here to lead you anywhere. But this is a fact.  You have to understand a fact as a fact. It is not a logically ascertained thing, it is not a rational thing [so as] to understand it rationally. A fact is a movement. Truth is movement. Reality is movement. But I don’t want to use these words, because they are all loaded words. You know all about them. The unfortunate thing about the whole business is that you know a lot about these things, and that is the misery of you all. This is a thing which you do not know at all. I am not claiming that I know it.  I myself don’t know. That is why I say I don’t know. It’s a state of not knowing. Let alone God, let alone reality, ultimate or otherwise, I don’t know what I am looking at — the very person who has been with me all the time, day and night. That is my situation. If I tell this to a psychiatrist, he will probably put me on a couch and say something is radically wrong with me. Probably, I am functioning like any other human being. He doesn’t understand that. That’s his problem, it is not my problem anymore.  So, all your search — for truth, God, Reality — you use any phrase you like, is a false thing. You are all on a merry-go-round, and you want to go round and round and round.

How can you ask for a thing which you do not know? How can you search for a thing which you do not know? You all seem to know. You have an image of this state.   From the description of this state probably you have already created [an image]. What state?  Somebody asked me: “What is the state you are in?” “What State? Mysore State or Tamil Nadu State? What state are you talking about?” This is my response. What is the state you are talking about? This is your natural state. You don’t want to understand that. You don’t want to be in your natural state. It requires an extraordinary intelligence to be in your natural state, to be yourself.

You always want to be somebody else; you want to imitate the life of somebody else — you want to imitate the life of Jesus, you want to imitate the life of Buddha, you want to imitate the life of Shankara. You can’t do it, because you don’t know what is there behind. You will end up changing your robes, from rose to saffron, saffron to yellow, or from yellow to rose, depending upon your particular fancy. How can you ask for a thing which you do not know? How can you search for a thing which you do not know? That is my question. So, search has no meaning at all. Only when the search comes to an end, what there is will express itself, in its own way. You cannot tamper with that.  You cannot manipulate that. You cannot manipulate the action of the thing which is there, which has an extraordinary intelligence.

To be yourself is the easiest thing. And you don’t want to be in your state. You’d rather be somebody else, imitate the life of somebody else. That’s your problem.  To be yourself doesn’t need any time at all. But you talk of timelessness, which is a mockery. To be yourself, do you need time? To be a good man, to be a marvelously religious man, to be in a state of peace, to be in a state bliss, naturally you need time. That will always be tomorrow. When tomorrow arrives, you say, “All right, day after tomorrow.” That is time.  [I am] Not [talking about] this metaphysical or philosophical thing. I am not talking about metaphysical time and timeless. There is no such thing as the timeless.

I am making assertions, statements and conclusions — you will object to them. Take it or leave it. I don’t expect you to accept anything that I am saying. You are not in a position to accept or reject it. You can reject it because it does not fit into your particular framework of your philosophy — Shankara, Gaudapada, Ramanuja, Madhvacharya, God knows what — we have too many of them here. So how can you understand this? The only thing to do is to throw in the towel. Turn your back on the whole business. That is why, it takes extraordinary courage, not the courage or the bravado of these people who climb Mount Everest or try to swim across the English Channel, or cross the Pacific or Atlantic — whatever their fancy — on a raft. That is not what I mean. What I mean is the courage. You quote your Bhagavad Gita, or your Brahma Sutras, “kaschid dhirah.” All these phrases. What do they mean? “Abhayam Brahma.” [Fearless is Brahman.] Why do you all repeat these phrases? It has no meaning. It’s a mechanical thing. “How are you?” “I am all right, I am fine. Just fine. I couldn’t be better.” In America, you know, [they say] “How are you this morning,” “I am just fine. I couldn’t be better.” In exactly the same way, you throw these phrases at everybody.   If you understand the way this mechanical structure is functioning inside of you, you see the absurdity of the whole business of discussing these matters everlastingly. Can you throw the whole business out of the window and walk out?

[Mr. Kothari]: I think what he means is… When I meet him…. I have known him for about five years now. And I am many times reminded, on account of my having read the Upanishads and this and that,….  I am reminded of  [the passage in] the Isavasyopanishad, “asmai  nayatu patha,” “Oh fire, takes us on the right path!” I find there is a sort fire in him which sometimes, I fear, would frighten a person who does not understand, quite grasp, even intellectually, what he is trying to convey. As I understand it, he is not advocating anything. His whole approach is….  He has no system.  He says something about these states — that this is your natural state. But the whole thing, this achievement business, to get something, [the state being] like something, comparing something to some imaginary state which one has formulated, an image we got by reading about those things — that he says is all futile. It is strengthening the mental structure, it is strengthening the thought structure, and it is giving a life to it — which, he says, is all useless. It is the cause of your very misery, all the problems. It seems he has seen it himself.  And the structure went phut, the whole thing broke inside, and, as he says, he even does not know [it himself].  That is the state of unknowing. When he says this, I am reminded of the words of Jnaneswar who says, “I don’t know what I am or where I am.” Even avidya has gone, and vidya has gone also. So, I see… only I want to remind some of my listeners here… that the newness of expression … but whatever he is trying to convey, is as old as the hills and as fresh as the vibrations from that thing now. It is as fresh or even fresher than the words I am speaking, the sounds that I am throwing at you. It is more fresh than that.  It is sanatana [ancient] and puratana [old]. But, he says that it requires total courage.

Another thing that I have noticed in him is a kind of — I am talking personally about you —  but, since there is no personality, it doesn’t matter. [Laughter] — is a tremendous, fearlessness, “abhayam tattva samsuptih.”  I would again quote the Gita, the daivika sampatti [the divine qualities], this is something that does not happen in the usual, normal men in whom the animal fear is functioning all the time, as he says. But he does not come out of that [state]. I don’t know how he came to it. But [there is in him] a tremendous fearlessness and a sense of abandonment. He is not a perfect specimen of all the wonderful virtues. He gets annoyed, and he gets angry also.  But, for a moment you see the cloud of anger on his face, and after a minute you see the full moon is again on his face, smiling.  The clouds have disappeared all of a sudden. So, I say, he says there is no system, no matter. Probably, in whatever he conveys, there is some suggestion. He says you don’t have the courage to throw in the towel. You don’t have the fearlessness. “[inaudible]…have got to go.” He says, “You throw out the speaker also.” I hope some of you certainly have got the hang of what he is trying to convey.

Q: [Inaudible]

[Mr. Kothari:] Your question is, when there is hunger and pain in the body, what happens? You mean what happens to him or what happens to you?

U.G.: I will tell you. First of all, there is no hunger at all, in the sense in which we use the word. It’s pure and simple chemistry. And then there is what you call hunger which is like any other sensation, you understand.  The consciousness or life, or whatever you want to call it, becomes conscious of that thing [called hunger]. And [the next moment] it is gone. It is not there. It does not push you to reach out for food. And so, the next sensation is coming. It’s a continuous movement. You are looking at something which is finished. Probably your body will become weaker and weaker, if you don’t eat food. People give me food; so I eat food. Otherwise, there is no such thing as hunger at all. And the pain, there is a physical pain. Since there is no continuity of thought, as I pointed out, there is no continuity of the pain. It comes in impulses like that — just the way you are throwing out words.  There is no continuity of the pain. I don’t want to use the word psychological pain, because it gets us involved in…, because we will begin to tie things in knots. There is only physical pain and there is no other pain. But even that physical pain is not continuous, and so it is not much of a pain, in the sense in which we use the word.

Q: What is the way or method of getting into this state?

U.G.: What state? When the movement in the direction of wanting to be into your own natural state or in the state of God knows whom you want to be, your idol, or your hero or your master [is there] — it is there — this movement in any direction, is taking you away from yourself. That is all that I am pointing out. When the movement is not there, you are your natural state. So, the sadhana or the method, or system, or the technique, is taking you away from yourself in the direction of the state you want to be in and that is the state of somebody else. As I pointed out, you have the knowledge about this state. Unfortunately, so many people have talked about it. I am already doing the mischief, perhaps. Kick them all out, on their backs. [Mr. Kothari:Not now!” — Laughter] Yes, throw stones at me and walk out. [Mr. Kothari: “They don’t have any.”] My interest is to send you packing, as the expression has it. If you can do that, you will never go to listen to anybody. [Someone in the audience: “If I throw stones, I will go to jail.”] I will not take you to jail. That’s a problem with the society in which you are caught. I can’t help you. I will not be the first one to complain about it…. Whose body is it? If it get hit, that’s all probably; that’s the end of it. … Are you not tired? I can go on. That’s enough, I suppose.

I haven’t said anything. What all you think I have said is a `bag’. You think it makes sense. How can this make sense? If you think that it makes sense, you haven’t understood a thing. If you think that it doesn’t make any sense, you haven’t understood it either. It’s just words — [you are] listening to this noise — words, words, words — mechanically coming out of this organism. I don’t know how they are coming. I wish I knew. I wish I knew how I got into … what state? It always irritates me when people ask me “You tell us something ….” About what state? What state are you talking about? I know Mysore State. I am in the Mysore State. How do I know that I am in the Mysore State? Because people tell me that I am in Mysore. So, what state you want to get into? That is your natural state, I am saying.

What takes you away from your state is this movement in the direction of wanting to be in some state other than yourself. To be yourself doesn’t need time. If I am a village idiot, I remain a village idiot. Finish.  I don’t want to be an intelligent man. Even if my neighbor takes advantage of his extraordinary intelligence and exploits [me], good luck. What can I do? To accept the reality, this is the reality of the world. There is no other world. There is no other reality, ultimate reality. This is the only reality. You have to function in this world. You can’t run away from this world. How can you run away from this world? Because you are that world. Where you can you go? Hide yourself in a cave? Yes, you are taking your thoughts wherever you go. You cannot run away from your shadow. It’s there all the time. So, you can’t do a thing about thought. That’s all that I am saying. When you realize the absurdity of all your effort to do something about the thought — it’s creating the problem; it’s misery for you; you can’t do anything — when you can’t do anything, when you realize that you can’t do a thing about it, it’s not there. You are not using it [thought] as a means to get something for you.

I want to say this again. You desire. If you do not want anything, there is no thought at all. You understand? Wanting is thinking, it doesn’t matter what you want — want self-realization, want God-realization — you want anything, that means you have to use this instrument. These are not your thoughts, these are not your feelings. You may not like it. They belong to somebody else. You want to make them your own. You have unfortunately made them your own. That’s why you ask all these questions. Why do you ask all these questions? These questions have been put before to so many people — all the sages, saints and saviors of mankind, the holy men dead and alive. They are all ready to answer. They have composed a lot of lullabies. You go and listen to them and go to sleep, if you want to. That’s what you are interested in. You want somebody else to pat on your back and say, “Oh, fine, just fine, you are doing very well. Do more and more of the same and you will reach the destination you want to arrive at.” What is the destination you want to arrive at? To be gentle, meek, to be soft, to talk in whispers. You know if you go to some of these monasteries in the West, the Trappist, they talk in whispers. They don’t even understand what the other man is saying. That’s the secret to the spiritual path.

Mr. Kothari: When a man is in love, he talks in whispers to his beloved. What objection have you to anybody talking in whispers?

U.G.: I have no objection at all. I wonder if he is really in love. [Laughter] You don’t even have to talk about it. You want to reassure your partner that you are in love with that person. It isn’t worth a tinker’s damn, that love. That’s not love at all. You can call it love. I don’t want to go into that. It’s a forbidden subject.  You will ask me, “Do you have anything to say…?” It’s a four letter word.  It’s like any other word — `dog’, `pig’, `love’. In love, can there be any relationship at all? Can you have any relationship? This is your problem. You are all the time trying to have relationship with  people. You cannot have any relationship with people at all. “Love is relationship.” “Life is relationship.” All that guff. Trite. Crap. You memorize and repeat them [those phrases]. They all become fancy phrases these days. “Freedom,” “first and last freedom,” and “the freedoms that come in between.” What is this nonsense? This is like any other trite [phrase], any other crap that these people are repeating. You have memorized a new set of phrases. That’s all you are doing. You sit and discuss everlastingly all this awareness. What is that awareness you are talking about? How can you be aware of this? Can you at any time be aware of this? If you are aware of this once in your lifetime, the whole structure has collapsed; it has fallen in its proper place. You don’t have to do a thing about it. So, it doesn’t mean a thing at all. You can talk of awareness — choiceless or otherwise — or conditioning. Conditioning — what can you do about it? Conditioning is intelligence. You can’t do a damn thing about it. You can’t free yourself [from it]. If you want to free yourself from your conditioning, or uncondition yourself and all that nonsense that is going on …. How are you going to uncondition yourself? You create another conditioning — instead of repeating Upanishads you will repeat some other books, the fancy books.

Q: What is the secret of total happiness?

U.G.: There is no happiness.   I never ask myself the question. So many people ask me that question: “Are you happy?” What is that question? Funny question. I never ask [myself] that question, “Am I happy?” ‘Total happiness is an invention. [Mr. Kothari: “Invention of the mind, you mean? Naturally.”] There is no mind. There is no such things as the mind at all. Where is the mind? Is the mind separate from the body? Distinguished from the body? Apart from the body? These questions have no meaning at all. You have no way of separating yourself from what is going on. The moment you separate yourself means you have a knowledge about it — the knowledge given by either the biologists, the physiologists, the psychologists or the religious people. So through that you are looking at it. You cannot experience anything without knowledge. You cannot experience this at all, let alone Brahman or reality. You cannot experience this at all. Only through abstraction.  And what is that abstraction? The knowledge you have about it. This has been put there. Your mother told you, or your neighbor or friend told you that this is a table. What the hell is that, you don’t know, apart from what you have been told. Every time you look at this, you have to repeat to yourself that it is a table. What are you doing that for? This is my question. This is the continuity I am talking about. You want to reassure yourself that you are there. The “I” is nothing but this word. There is no “I” independent of this word. Maybe you find some parallel  [to what I am saying] in Shankara or God knows what.

[Mr. Kothari:] Plenty, plenty. Because this is the same thing that they have talked about.
Q: [Inaudible]  …thoughtless state as in “cit, cit, cit.”

U.G.: Yes, yes. “The consciousness I am talking about, is a state where there is no division which says that you are asleep, that you are awake, that you are dreaming …. There is no division at all. I don’t even know if I am alive or dead. This is my state. I have no way of knowing for myself. The doctor can come and say that I want to examine your lung, your lung is functioning all right — there is heartbeat, there is this, that and the other — you are alive. That’s all right. I am delighted. You reassure me that I am a living being. But…

Q: How do you know at any given time that you are in your Natural State?

U.G.: That, as I said, can never become part of your conscious existence. It begins to express itself.  The expression of that is energy; and that is action. It is acting all the time. This is not a mystical term. What I mean by action is [that] the action is taking place always outside. The senses are working at their peak capacity all the time. It’s not because you want to look at a particular thing. There is no time even for the eyelids to blink for a second. They have to stay open all the time. And when they are tired, naturally, it [the body] has its own built-in mechanism, which cuts off the sensation. And then it’s back again.

Q: What is that mechanism?

U.G.: What is that mechanism? Supposing somebody gives you an answer. So, where are you? Can you separate yourself from that mechanism? This is what I am saying. You can separate yourself from the mechanism and look at it only through the knowledge, whether the knowledge is provided by a physician or by a saint or by a sage.  And that [knowledge] is worthless. Because you are projecting this knowledge on what you are looking at, and that knowledge is creating or producing these experiences. That can never become part of that experiencing structure. That’s the trouble. You want to experience this. You can’t experience this at all. Whether it is the consciousness that I am talking of, or the living state or the state of not knowing or the things that are there around you. How is it expressing itself? It is expressing itself as energy; it is expressing itself as action, in its own way. If I use some words, “It is aware of itself, it is aware of its own its incredible depth, it is conscious of itself;” — all these phrases may sound very mystical to you — but you cannot [experience it]. The brain physiologists, if I may quote somebody, — they are trying to understand the brain. And they have to find some means to define [it]. They have defined the brain as an instrument with which we think that we think. They are not so sure. You cannot separate yourself from the brain and its activity and look at the brain. Can you look at your back and tell me something about your back. Somebody else must come and tell you. And he has his own ideas, fancy ideas. “You have a straight back.” … The doctor always observes people. … And from his point of view he says that that man is sick, this man’s back is not correct, and so forth. Or, if I see a painter, his description is something else. So, this is a thing which you cannot communicate to somebody else. Can you communicate your sex experience to somebody else? [Mr. Kothari: “Why sex experience, any experience.”]  Or any experience, for that matter.  That’s what everybody is trying to do — a painter, a poet or a writer. He is trying to communicate some experience, which he calls extraordinary experience, through his medium — writing poetry, sculpture. He is like any other artisan.

Q:  How do you reconcile your existence with the world?

U.G.: I don’t bother. Do I exist in this world? Does the world exist for me? Where is the world? I am not trying to be clever with all these phrases. I don’t know a thing about it. Am I talking, am I saying anything? This is like the howling of a jackal, the barking of a dog or the braying of an ass. If you can put this on that level and just listen to this vibration, you are out, you will walk out, and you will never listen to anybody in your lifetime. Finish. It doesn’t have to be the talk of a self-realized man. You will realize that there is no self to realize. That’s all. There is no center there. It is working in an extraordinary way.

Q: In the extinction of sense organs…, if the sense organs do not function at all, for instance with death, is the state of not knowing still functioning?

U.G.: There is no death. You are never born. You are not born at all. [Laughter] I am not trying to mystify. Because life has no beginning, it has no end. Has it a beginning, has it an end? What creates the beginning is your thought. Why are you concerned about death? There is no such as death at all. Your birth and your death can never become part of that experiencing structure. If you want to experience death, you are not going to be there. [Laughter] Somebody else will be there. It will be somebody else’s misery.

unique early talk of U.G. Krishnamurti:

1998 video of U.G.:

To read more of U. G. Krishnamurti see:

Enlightenment In Seattle

The Realization of Richard Rose

Excerpted from the transcription of Richard Rose’s April 28, 1984, lecture titled Peace of Mind in Spite of Success, delivered in Akron, Ohio.

QUESTION: Would you describe your experience?

ROSE: What do you think it will do?

Q: I would just like to know.

ROSE: I don’t mind talking about it — but it could be fairy tales. It’s something I can’t validate for you. And I don’t know that it’s something that somebody should copy.
The bad thing about — it’s just like reincarnation. Many of the teachers of the East, when you approach them about the idea of reincarnation, to them it immediately is an excuse for procrastination. This is one of the dangers of it — if you become convinced, or if enough people tell you that there is such a thing as reincarnation.
I had a Rosicrucian write to me one time, and he said, “Oh, you’re fretting about self-definition. You’ve got hundreds of lifetimes ahead of you.” Now how does he know that? How could he presuppose that there were hundreds of lifetimes? He couldn’t remember the last one, perhaps. Again, I say some people have. But it’s more or less — the ones that have, it’s more like a dim scene or like something you’d see in a movie. Not with really specific details.
But what happened was — at different times, I started on this rather actively — I started off in a seminary, and I came to the conclusion that the people there were also hypocrites — running an institution that was not necessarily truth-directed. So I checked out after a while. And I went back to high school and went to a couple years of college and studied chemistry.
Then I decided that a lot of this stuff was nonsense, and it would just be in the road of me putting full time into studying psychology. I didn’t know what door to go to, so I started off through the psychological door. Then I ran into some books on raja yoga. And I tried everything. I lived a totally ascetic type of life. I quit eating meat. I didn’t smoke, I didn’t drink coffee, I stood on my head a bit and sat in poses and that sort of thing.
And after a few years went by, it seemed like utter nonsense. And sometimes I would decide to throw it all over. I would have gotten drunk, but my body wouldn’t stand it. So back to the drawing board. Or I’d think the smart thing for me to do before all my hair falls out is to hunt a girl up and get married, because that’ s the pattern in this rat race, and I might as well at least give some children a chance to do something.
So I’d go out and I’d look for a girl, and she’d tell me off. There was some guiding power there all the time, protecting me, but I didn’t have sense enough myself, letting something else get in the road.
But anyhow, I was in a high state of frustration at different times, because I felt I was a real fool. I had no tangibles — when you deal in this, there is nothing tangible to go by, that you’re making any step at all. You’re just struggling like a worm underneath somebody’s foot, that’s all. And the exigencies of time and life are the feet.
But I kept at it. I went out to Seattle, Washington with the idea of getting married. Again, I was going to chuck it all and get married. I’m not going to get into that part of it, because it’s a nasty story. I didn’t get married. The girl and I fell out. I was staying in a Japanese hotel out there, and I went back to the hotel. I had a job, and I worked every day, and every evening I would come home from work and get into this posture with my feet under me and sit there and think. The only meditation is what you devise for yourself. The best meditation is just to look at yourself: “Why did I think this?” or “What should I do more dynamically tomorrow?” And I got a pain in the top of my head. It was unbearable. And I thought, “Oh boy, three thousand miles from West Virginia, and this is where I have a stroke.” That is what I thought was coming on. Well, I went unconscious, to a degree, in that I lost the body on the bed. It was daylight yet. Because I worked at night and I was home during the day.
And I went out the window — out this hotel window — and I could see the people on the street, just as clearly as if everything were just as it was. But looking out my window, I could also see snow-covered mountains — I think they’re called the Cascade Mountains — and the next thing you know, I was above the Cascade Mountains. I was gaining altitude. And when I looked down — I was watching this all the time I was going — but when I looked down, the whole scene changed. I had lost this whole dimension. And that’s when I saw — the mountain became just piles of humans, millions, struggling, trying to get a little bit of altitude.
And then I experienced nothingness. I found oblivion. And it was really a shock. I thought, “Oh boy, you wanted the answer — and it’s nothing.” But in the middle of that, while I was doing this, while it was happening, I knew I was watching it and then I realized the watcher and in this little book I’ve written, that’s the reason for the words Psychology of the Observer [used as the title].
The scene, the view, is not the viewer. That which Is, is the viewer. If you look at your body, if you look at your progress, that isn’t you. The viewer is you: The awareness behind, all the time. That type of awareness, when you contemplate it, it’s not really consciousness. You feel — you don’t think. Awareness doesn’t imply thought. And, in some respects, the relative thought does disappear. But that awareness always remains.
And I knew, in the middle of this, that I was observing the whole thing. And that’s when I knew I was immortal. I was nothing, and I was everything — simultaneously.

Q: Was this God?

ROSE: I felt that if this is God, he’d be lonely.

Q: Was this a death experience?

ROSE: It’s death, and you don’t encourage it. It came to me one other time, and it wasn’t as traumatic because I knew what was happening. But it’s still — there’s a Zen saying: Before you have the experience, the hills are hills and the valleys are valleys; and during the experience, they are no longer hills and valleys; but once you return, again once more the hills are hills and the valleys are valleys.
In other words, you’ve got to enter into the play. This is a stage play. You’ve got to come in and assume the mask of life until you’re ready to check out. You have to eat and drink and whatever is necessary. If you’re sick, you take pills.

Q: (Inaudible.)

Rose: I didn’t have that particular feeling. As I said, I feel that something was — it may have been an anterior self; because I didn’t choose to return.
The only thing was — you know I said that I was very angry. I had an angry period from the time I was a kid until I was thirty years old about the lack of truth available to people, about the phonies.
And young people just generally quit looking. They say, “To hell with it. There are too many lies to trip over, there are too many books that are phony to read.” And they never think of looking inside themselves to find it.
And even looking inside yourself takes help. Just like I’m talking now; if that doesn’t inspire somebody to look inside themselves, I’m wasting my time. Hardly anybody does it alone. Even myself, when I was looking, I read books. I read everything I could get my hands on. But I got a surprise. None of the books told me I’d find what I found.
But I found myself back on that bed. And I wasn’t too happy about it. It was a very miserable experience coming back.

Q: (Inaudible.)

ROSE: Yes, you might call it that. The valleys are once more valleys, but you’re never quite the same. That’s the reason I hesitate to talk about it. When I first came back from Seattle, I talked with Andy’s mother and dad [i.e., Rose’s friend Bob Martin and Bob’s wife] about this happening.
And the funny thing about this is — his dad is a very extensive reader in Buddhist philosophy, and he knew a tremendous lot about books on the subject, and he had a hunch about what had happened. But his mother made a remark I’ll never forget. She was just a young one at the time — I don’t think she was over twenty years of age. She said, “Dick, I think you lost your ego.” I didn’t realize this until much later, that was the procedure — that my egos had collapsed.

Q: (Mentions the head pain.)

ROSE: I think I had help. Something worked on my head to kill me, so to speak; to kill the mundane mind. The mind has to die.

Q: What causes the pain?

ROSE: I don’t know. And I don’t know about other cases. I’ve heard just fragments of stories. Incidentally, there’s a categorization — after years and years of studying other cases and wondering why they were all so different — I found out that they aren’t different. They fall decidedly in certain categories. And if you ever run into a little book by Ramana Maharshi in which he describes Samadhi — Kevala Samadhi and Sahaja Samadhi. Kevala Samadhi is cosmic consciousness. There’s a book written by Richard Bucke, “Cosmic Consciousness,” in which he describes that experience — which is not Sahaja Samadhi.
I had the cosmic consciousness for about seven years, in my twenties. Everything was beautiful. And I realized that the world was beautiful, but I was getting ugly. I wasn’t learning anything. So I knew I had to get away from the intoxication with the mundane harmony.
The blueprint is harmonious — if you don’t mind the fact of the predators and the victims, the pageantry of eat and be eaten, in the beautiful world. Everything’s being eaten and destroyed and killed and slaughtered, etc. Still, it’s a very beautiful pattern. The grass is green in the spring because a lot of things die.
But — I think the pain [Rose is referring to the pain in his head that preceded his self-realization – Ed.] basically comes from physical reaction to the mind being taken out or disconnected from the body, that’s all.
Of course, when I tried to find somebody who knew something about it, I looked for years. I found very little mention of it except in St. John of the Cross. I don’t know how far John of the Cross went — he had an illumination when he was in prison. But a lot of people have had the different illuminations. Under stress — times of death, sometimes before a firing squad — it will happen. In times of tragedy, thinking is forced; you have to think about it, and the mind is opened up.
But there was physical pain. I got out of the body far enough — the circulation in the head might have been down, I don’t know. And people have asked me this, but I never thought to time it. I don’t know how long I was out. I was alone at the time, and —

Questioner: Was there pain when you came back into your body?

ROSE: The pain was when I was leaving. The pain got so intense that I left my body.

Q: I have astral-projected and never experienced any pain.

ROSE: See, this is something a little different I think from astral projection; because I have projected astrally and didn’t have too much trouble. But this seemed to be something tremendously different. Most astral projection, if you notice, is limited to the geography here.

Q: About losing your ego — the ego that you’re talking about is your will to survive, or your life. You left your life — something happened, and you died. That’s the difference between astral projection and this.

ROSE: The thing that I faced, number one, was — I had a lot of little, real lousy, egos that I was trying to put across at the time. But also in the process, when I was sitting there and I knew that death was approaching, I had to face the fact, very quickly, that all of a sudden I was going to be possibly zero.

In a natural death, when a person dies slowly, they go through that change. And I went through it rapidly. I accepted death, knowing that very possibly it could be zero. You have no choice. Any bit of protoplasm — animals do the same thing when they realize that they’ re going to be killed. Nature has the sedative.

Q: This was a mental thing that happened to you, and you mentally accepted the fact that you were dying. It felt reasonable to you because this is what life is about.

ROSE: Yes. The total absurdity of one and the inescapability of the other. Everything just like dominoes — the whole thing went down very rapidly.

Q: You just can’t do that on the spur of the moment; certain things have to fall into place.

ROSE: I couldn’t bring it about, no. I don’t particularly think that I’d care to. I know there’s a difference between whether I astrally stepped out of my body and went to see somebody I knew. (That would be a nice little trip, but I would say also that a bus ticket is cheaper.) It’s not as traumatic. To go through this — you can’t plan it — there’s no way you can plan it — because you’d have to put yourself in a state of mind in which you would be beyond relativity, beyond concern.
© 1978, 1984, 1985 Richard Rose. All right s reserved.

This article and additional descriptions of Richard Rose’s experience can be found at: