The following is excerpted from The Biology of Enlightenment—Conversations with U.G. Krishnamurti, edited with an introduction by Mukunda Rao, HarperCollins India, 2010.

The body and the nature of the mind. The mischief of the image maker. The structure of civilization and culture is built on a wrong foundation. There is no external agency. Sensations are the movement of life without thought, image, word. Object is the subject. Descartes’ declaration ‘I think therefore I am’ and its implication. If there is no thinking, is there the ‘I’? the difference between factual memory and psychological memory. The natural state is a pure and simple, physical and physiological state of being.

Paul: It seemed to me that while doing yoga exercise, one of the greatest things was to be aware of the body. And you asked me, are you aware of the shape of your body? I said, yes; but now I realize it is not true. When I sit for meditation I am not aware of the shape of the body. I am aware of the points of contact of the body with something else, I am aware if there is a tension in a muscle, for instance; I am aware if I feel pain somewhere, I am aware of the heart beating or of the breathing. But all these are like dots. And if I say from there that I am aware of the shape of the body, I was putting a line across all these dots and saying that is the shape. But it is not me. It is an assumption – it is a supposition that the body has a certain shape and so such a shape is not a reality but an image I have. Is that what you meant?

UG: Yes. You also become aware of your body when you are sick.

Paul: Yes.

UG: Otherwise we are not aware of our bodies at all, are we? No. It is just the image you have of yourself, which image you always carry with you. But if you actually want to look at the shape of your body, you can’t. How can you – except the image you have? And even this idea we have from the photos, from the looking-glass image of ourselves – that is all. How do you look like? Who can tell you?

Paul: Probably one reason why I was mistaken is that I have read too many books about that. And they tell about the image of the body and I told myself it must be true. But it is not a fact. 

Q: When you see the hand, maybe you really feel the hand. That is not the whole body. If you see and you say I feel my leg, maybe you have an image of the shape of your leg. That way maybe we are able to develop the image of the whole body.

UG: The awareness is only wherever the body touches a point. That’s all. But you fill it up with your imagination. If there is no imagination, what happens? There are the points of contact with the things around you, all right… Where do you think the thinking process is going on? It is a simple thing. You know for yourself. You don’t have to read books. Where is this thought going on inside of you?

Paul: Well, it seems I…

UG: Tell me. Where are the thoughts?

Paul: I have an idea it is situated in the head, but is it so? I don’t know.

UG: Where is it? You are thinking all the time, whether you are giving expression to it or not, verbalizing it or not. As I was telling you the other day, even if you are not bringing out the sound, these vocal chords are moving. If you are very closely watchful of what is going on inside of you, you would feel the movements of the vocal chords. Whether you speak it out or not, whether you bring out the sounds or not, you will feel the movements. You must try it as an experiment one of these days. Lie down in your bed. You are thinking all the time and there is a constant flow of thought. The thought produces a movement of the vocal chords.

Paul: Yes. But where do you feel it?

UG: If that is what I am asking you, don’t ask me that question. Where do you think this thinking process is located?

Paul: Now, if what is in question is a point of contact with the so-called exterior of world, I can locate it. For instance, I know my hand is here.

UG: How do you know that your hand is there? It is not a clever or tricky question that I am asking. Yes – you have identified this hand with yourself.

Paul: Yes?

UG: You see, I am looking at my own hand. I don’t have the idea that this is my hand. I will show you something. Come on. This is only to make you understand, you see. You look at the image that is there (in the mirror). The reflection of the fire and all that– when you see that, what’s going on inside of you?

Paul: What I can see from what you have shown us is that we are lying to ourselves because we think we feel all that. They are, in fact, only points. 

UG: They are points.

Paul: And that we make relations between these points and that is the image-maker in us.

UG: That is right – the image-maker.

Paul: But I can hardly understand that as far as my hand is concerned.

UG: It is exactly the same.

Paul: But here it means that there is no difference between my hand and the so-called exterior world.

UG: Yes. It is exactly the same, it is an extension of the same.

Paul: Yeah – I can see that.

UG: No. I don’t expect you to see. It is not that simple.

Paul: Now, you said to us the other day that when you see, listen and touch, it is all different senses and that there is no connection between them and that each sensation is independent. The supposition that there is a connection between all these, which is the progress of thought, does not come to you. It comes later if necessary.

UG: It comes later if there is a necessity. If there is a necessity to relate these two things, it is there. For instance, you see the fire there. The question arises in me – what is that? I am so innocent. I am not ignorant. This is the difference. The child is innocent. You have watched your child grow. Children are innocent. How do you teach them? You teach a word and this is how the relationship is built up in our minds. You feed the child, you say this is a spoon and then repeat it again till she learns and is able to repeat the word. So, whenever the child looks at the object, the identification of the object is through the word. This is how it begins there – in a very simple way.

Even now you cannot free yourself from this very simple process which started when you were a little baby. It is continuing. And that is true with reference to everything.

There is a continuity, but actually there is no continuity at all. The continuity is the image-maker if you want to call it that or the thinker or the central entity inside of you, or whatever word you want to use. Actually there is no such entity at all. But for all practical purposes, you believe that this entity or centre exists. That, I say, is an illusion. It is that that is creating the self– a focussing point bringing all these things together.

This has been put together not only from your childhood. The hereditary characteristics – seven generations on your father’s side and seven generations on your mother’s side, and your wife’s seven generations on her mother’s and father’s sides – these hereditary characteristics also influence this formation. The chromosomes carry this. The Hindus call it reincarnation, but we are not concerned about that. So the influence of heredity also is there, shaping up what you experience in this life. It is put together. That which is put together will never allow itself to go apart. And the continuity of all these things is a necessary thing for its survival. I don’t know if it makes any sense.

Paul: Where is this focussing system, is it inside or outside of us?

UG: It is inside of us. Outside there is nothing. The focussing mechanism is built by ourselves.

Paul: It is a mechanism?

UG: It is a mechanism. So that will not allow itself to go apart. It is put together. 

Paul: How can you say it is not the centre if it is always there when you need it?

UG: When you need it, it is there. When you don’t need it, it is not there. But you have a feeling that it is there all the time.

Paul: Who knows that you need it – or not?

UG: You think you need it. You are now used to it that it must be there all the time. Without that, you are lost, you know.

Paul: That is why we cannot stay silent. And if there is a silence, the whole thing comes to…

UG: The whole thing comes to an end. That is why I said that if only you could listen to the crackling noise of that log of wood, that’ll fill you because you are empty. But you are never empty, rather you are full of your own ideas – your own thoughts and your own thinking processes. So that has no opportunity to enter you – that calm. You are not listening to anything outside, but you are listening to yourself inside all the time. So here you have the clue, the key. You have the answer here to whatever you are searching.

You are more interested in putting questions. Nobody can answer this. After all, what is it that we expect from all these discussions, all these talks or listening to somebody or reading books? This is the only thing – the silence – to be at peace with yourself. That is what we are all seeking – to be at peace with ourselves. But this state is already a peaceful state. Since you are moving away from this peaceful state in search of an idea of peace, you have no peace. We want to be peaceful because we are all disturbed by these thoughts. Some thoughts are good, some thoughts are bad, some holy, some unholy, some pleasurable and some are painful. It is the centre that is classifying these things – sorting out these things. You want to stay with the pleasurable thoughts and discard the unpleasurable thoughts, the painful thoughts, which is not possible.

Now we come back to the point of identity. I am looking at this hand. Right?

Paul: Yes.

UG: How do I know that this is my hand? The brain has a connection with this. If you pinch it here, there is a pain recorded by the brain. But there is nobody who says that I am feeling the pain. You see the difference? If there is a pain, automatically the brain records the pain and communicates it. The moment I introduce the factor ‘I am painful’, ‘I am feeling the pain’ and ‘I am feeling’ – these extraneous things—it is this that is creating the psychological pain.

Paul: After all, from the physiological point of view, pain has a role to play, and that is the conservation of the body. That means that if there is a pain, the brain must feel that so that there is the right reaction to save the body. But that’s all.

UG: It has its own way. That’s all there is to it. That’s what I am saying.

Andreas: Anything more than that is the creation of the image-maker.

UG: It is the creation of the image-maker. Take hunger, for instance. I experimented eight years ago. For seven days, I didn’t eat food at all just to see what hunger is like. You know, for the first two days, you feel hunger at the actual time when you are used to eat food. And then after two days, you don’t feel the hunger at all. There is no such thing as hunger. But you are becoming weaker and weaker. And they say you can live on your own fat for sixty-three days or sixty-seven days. There is no charm in starving yourself just to understand this chemical process. You need combustion to keep the body warm. You need food.

And also I must tell you here, I did all kinds of experiments. I read a lot about pain, the mystery of pain, suffering and all that. I myself gave lectures on the meaning and mystery of pain. I wanted to test for myself what actually this pain is. This was my idea. I was suffering from mumps. It was a terrible, excruciating pain for me and the doctors wanted me to go to the hospital. I said no – I must understand this pain. It was such an unbearable pain, but I still wanted to. I wanted my son to sit by me and I started describing the pain in detail and then something else. And after fifteen minutes, do you know what happened? I became unconscious. The body just couldn’t bear the pain. It threw me out of consciousness. They removed me to the hospital, and after six hours, I woke up and there was no pain. The body has its own mechanism, you see. It takes care of itself.

Paul: There seem to be this device in the body which, when there is physical danger, makes the heart beat faster and there is release of sugar in the blood, there is sweat and the hair bristles. And all that is so that the body is ready to give a quick response to escape from a physical danger. That is necessary, perhaps to survive. But, the stress and tensions in life also affects the body, the blood pressure, your sleep and so on.  This is avoidable, unnecessary, these tensions, but it is there.

UG: Now they say that when there is a fall in the Stock Exchange the incidence of ulcers goes up in America, also the diabetes cases. It is because of anxiety, the fear and all that. It has its own effect.

You cannot separate the mind from the body. The mind is not only the mental activity as I was telling you the other day. The mind is everywhere – all over you. At every nerve end, the thought is there; the thinker, the self, is there. In every cell in your body the self is there operating. So you can’t separate so easily.

Paul: You mean the mind is not just in the brain but everywhere…

UG: That is exactly the reason why you can’t listen. The silence means it is a complete, total silence of every cell in your body – not necessarily your mental activity. That’s the reason why you can’t listen. The self is there all over your body. Every nerve-end has this mind. It is not a silence of mental activity alone. This silence means the silence in which the real silence operates. The whole of your being is silent. And the only thing that is there is what you are listening to and what you are looking at. You are all eyes when you are looking at it. Only eyes – the two eyes – that’s all you have. You see everything. Whatever you see is yourself – you are filled with that. And similarly, when you listen to that, it is the sound that fills your whole being. You are not separate from that sound. So the silence I am talking of is not the absence of noise. You can sit right in the heart of the Times Square or in an opera in Paris, and yet be in this state of silence. Nothing will disturb you – you can meditate there. You are that noise, the screaming noises – the horns, the movement of the vehicles, you are filled with that. It doesn’t mean that I am suggesting that one should go and sit there in an opera and meditate. It is not that. You are filled with that sound. You are that sound – nothing else.

Paul: It’s in that sense that the body has no definite frontier or division between the so-called myself and the rest of the world. When that is so I am filled with the crackling noise of the fire, so…

UG: So there is no separateness.

Paul: True. For me, it is only a word.

UG: It’s a word. So you and I would not be talking now if you had listened to that. The answer is there.

Andreas: The noise comes from outside. You say you are the noise. So if there is no noise, there is no me?

UG: There is no you. It is the objects and things outside of you that create the perception. It is purely a sensation; pure perception. But the moment you say that is bad, this is good and so on, the mind is in operation and the total perception is not there. The total listening is not there. It is not possible because the cup is never empty. If the cup is empty inside of me, that fills it completely. Since you are always full with something or the other, you take in only a fraction of that sound and a fraction of what you see. They say that the eye takes in only two percent of what you see and ninety-eight per cent of what is there is lost.

Andreas: The eye takes in only two per cent because of thoughts?

UG: Yes, because of thoughts. That is the difference. Now I am able to have a complete, total vision – a vista vision. I see more; I listen more. But there is nobody who is translating these sensations. This is a physiological phenomenon that I am talking of.

Andreas: Translation is thought.

UG: It creates the thought, yes. The very looking, the very perceiving process is distorted by the thought. It is so subtle. It is not easy to separate these two things. It is all interwoven, you know.

Q: It seems there is a difference between a thought which is only the answer coming from the past and a thought that becomes alive in a way and which defends itself and that is easy to see because it produces the physiological effects that we were talking about sometime ago – the quickening of the pulse and all that.

UG: For instance, you eat a fruit which you have never eaten before. Ordinarily, there is a process inside of you trying to recognize this taste in terms of some other fruit that you have eaten. There is a movement inside of you trying to find out how this tastes like. Suppose I eat that fruit, that movement is not there inside of me, I really don’t know what it is. I just eat it – that’s all. I wouldn’t even say it is sweet, nice or anything. That doesn’t mean I’ll eat a poisonous fruit or I would go on trying such things. This curiosity to experience everything new is not there inside of me. So I would under no circumstances go on trying everything.

Andreas: Can you relate to that fruit without its name, only by the taste?

UG: The name doesn’t matter at all. The taste is there, involved.

Andreas: So you remember the taste without the name?

UG: I don’t even try to. It is a thing which I don’t know. There is no relationship and so it is finished.

Andreas: Now, that fruit, is it a word or is it a taste?

UG: It was a taste; because there was no name, so no word at all. So when you eat it – a thing which you don’t know – how do you relate that taste? There is the process going on, you see.

Andreas: Trying to put a name?

UG: Trying to put a name in that. When there is no way of trying to put a name in that, it is finished with that. I really don’t know. It is in a state of not knowing. That means the whole thing is silent inside of me. It is not only there. It is also here, you see – that flame outside. I really don’t know what it is. This is to be in a state of not knowing all the time. And the one difference is that it (the name) comes when there is a need. Every time I look, I don’t know who you are. It is difficult to convey this. It is exactly the same – there is no difference. What I am trying to do is to describe this state of being – that’s all.

Which seems to be different from the way the process is going on inside of you. I don’t even remember how I looked at things a few months ago. Now this has become a natural way to me. This seems to be the only way to live; this is real living. Please excuse me, but the way you are living is death; because you are not able to take everything that is there. This seems to be the only way to live.

Paul: And the whole civilization has got it wrong?

UG: The whole structure of civilization is built on wrong foundations – whether it is the civilization in the east or in the west. All that you see in this world – not nature, I am not talking about nature – all that we have done is the creation of the mind. The whole progress – everything – is the creation of the mind, the creation of the hand and the mind. I am not for a moment suggesting that we should put bombs under this and destroy the whole thing. There isn’t a thing we can do about it. We can’t start with year number one, but at least I can start with myself.

Paul: But it is not a question of wanting to do it or not. It falls upon you or it does not. You can’t do anything about it. We can’t say that our life goes wrong because of thought.

UG: But we take it for granted, don’t we?

Paul: Is it enough to see that our life goes wrong because thought interferes all the time and because we are living in a self-created world? We are living in a mental world which is completely distorted. And we see that in this mental world, sometimes something flares up with which we identify ourselves and we fight for that and we die for that. And we have never seen anything. That’s easy enough to see. And if seeing that can change life…

UG: Seeing that can bring about the change inside of you. It’s not something beyond; it’s not something, some reality out there or somebody or some outside agency will do this trick for you. So all our search is in the wrong direction and we are running after a mirage.

Paul: What I wanted to say is that seeing that is not easy, but it can be seen; it can be done.

UG: What is possible for me is possible for you. It is possible for anybody and everybody.

Paul: But can one be definitely sure that he is not seeing any more through thought?

UG: Who?

Paul: I mean, you can be completely sure that you are not seeing any more through thought. That thought does not interfere any more as a screen.

UG: You would certainly know for yourself.

Paul: There’ll be absolutely no need for discussion?

UG: You would know for yourself. You don’t ask anybody about it. The fact is that there is a contradiction inside of you, that there is a conflict between two types of opposites. The only difference is that there are thoughts here. This thought does not produce the opposite thought. That means this thought does not bring that entity – or thinker or whatever you want to call it – into being. That is all the difference. The moment this centre – the thinker – is brought into the picture, he creates the whole mischief. So when there is no conflict, there is no contradiction any more inside of you.

Q: But when a situation brings the thoughts, the contradiction can come?

UG: No. It (this state of being) deals with the problem then and there and it finishes. There is tremendous energy available to deal with the problem.

To talk of a hypothetical problem is difficult. It is becoming more and more complex – our way of life. Psychology, the mind, that started in a very simple way has become so complex and complicated. It’s all become science, a field of specialization now. It becomes so difficult to deal with anything when there is this kind of specialization in every field. This we have to simplify in order to understand this basic problem.

I am never tired of quoting this story: A woman goes to a doctor with some eye complaint and three hundred people are waiting there. He is a very well-known man and an eye specialist of international fame and all that. She waits for a long time and then finally her turn comes and she goes in to see the doctor. And she complains, I have a terrible pain here and my eye is watering all the time. He says, madam, I am very sorry, your problem is in the right eye, but I have specialized in the left eye. I can’t help you; you have to go to somebody else.

Paul: First, we don’t see anything. We don’t even know we are thinking and that thoughts live within ourselves and we are moved by our past and all that. We don’t even know.

UG: All that is a fact. All right, I want to ask you a question. Where is this thought and how can you look at the thought? Can you look at your thought?

Paul: I guess, if I am without thought, I can see that very well.

UG: You can’t separate yourself from that thought.

Paul: I think I can see my thoughts, but the question is, who is seeing these thoughts?

UG: The same thought.

Paul: Yes.

UG: The thought dividing itself…

Paul: I’m afraid it seems to be true…

UG: Then how can you look at the thought? How do you bring this to an end? And why should you bring this thought to an end? Because somebody is describing a marvellous state of living, saying that this is the way to live?

Andrea: Yes, for only a few seconds or a few minutes I seem to be able to bring my thought to a standstill – not for more than that. Because, later on, the process resumes and there are all kinds of thoughts.

UG: The process – that’s the most important thing. The process must come to an end.

Paul: The process must come to an end.

UG: Yes, the problem is not so much with the habit as with the habit-forming structure inside of you. It’s like trying to stop smoking. You can try for years and years to stop smoking, but that has no meaning. You are all the time battling with it. You might as well continue to be a smoker. Or take the habit of drinking coffee. Battling is giving strength, you see. Otherwise it is a very pleasant thing. You want to move with the thoughts. You want to give life to these thoughts – invest them with life and live with them.

Paul: Yes.

UG: It is a very pleasurable thing. Only the painful thoughts you don’t want.

Paul: When there are no thoughts, there is only emptiness. I cannot suffer it and I invite thoughts – pleasant ones.

Andrea: Can you choose?

UG: No.

Paul: Yes, you can choose a thought.

UG: You can’t choose. How can you choose a thought? You can choose whether you want to live with the thought or not. You can’t choose your thought.

Can you say to yourself, ‘I am going to dream a very beautiful dream tonight’? You can say I am going to think certain thoughts, some beautiful thoughts. Isn’t that a problem? There are so many thoughts coming in. What is this thinking? This whole process of thinking is choosing your thoughts. But, here, there is no choice. So all thoughts are the same. I am not a thought-less person. Don’t get the impression that thoughts just come through one window and go away through another. It is just that nobody pays any attention to these thoughts, nobody recognizes these thoughts. There is no centre which says I am going to live with these or move with these thoughts.

Paul: So it is not a question of not having any thoughts. It is a question of recognizing them or not.

UG: Yes – or trying to do something with the thought. Don’t get the impression that this is the thought-less state. The thoughts are there. They come and go. You can’t do anything about them. It is a necessary instrument for us. We have evolved through centuries and developed this thinking process – this thought. It is a dead thing. It has no life. We invest that dead thing with a meaning, we give life to this thought. So that is where the energy is going. Not the physical energy – the animal energy depends upon some other things – but this psychic energy, to use an expression from the psychologists.

Paul: Why do we give life to our thoughts and who is giving life?

UG: You tell me.

Paul: This is a question I have asked myself many times.

UG: What is the answer?

Paul: A thought comes into the field of my consciousness and that thought becomes connected with some structure of the past and I give life to it and so it grows and I try to have other people helping me to extend this ‘me’.

UG: And you want that ‘me’ in you and that is the continuity. All right, but what is the problem? Why are you dissatisfied with that?

Andreas: Because, very often, they are not so enjoyable thoughts.

UG: There are some painful thoughts also.

Paul: Another reason, at least to me, is that I feel I don’t know the real life, there is something superficial and artificial about this whole process…

UG: But what is that real life?

Paul: I don’t know, rather that’s what I want to know.

UG: Suppose I say that there is no other life than this.

Paul: As I said before we live in a mental, self-created world which hardly has any basis in reality. It’s a distorted world. And when one sees it – even if not completely – it is enough to change the life to some extent. Life becomes less stupid than before, certainly. But it is not a total seeing. It is only a fragmentary seeing.

UG: All right. If there is no other life which you call the real other than the life you have now– what would I do?

Andreas: We really don’t know, but we think there is something more to this life than what we know.

UG: Yes, we imagine that there is another way of life, that there is something beyond this. All our ideas of the other life is just a myth – a creation of the mind as an escape from the factual, real life. This is the only life. There is no other life.

Paul: You mean that life that we have just described with…

UG: It is the only life. If I can see that that is the only life and there is no other escape – there is no other leeway – then what would I do? The image I have of the other life is only a myth – it is only an image.

Paul: Yes, it is an image. It is a part of that thing I have described to you.

UG: If I see that, what happens? The image goes. When the image goes, what is there is that. It is the image that makes me seek something.

Q: But we feel that maybe we don’t see the right thing. Maybe it is the thoughts that prevent us from seeing the real.

Paul: Even that is part of the whole process. Even what you are just saying now is a part of the mental process.

UG: If there is no way out of this, sir – if there is no way of getting out of the way I am living now, then what would I do?

Paul: There is no way. It seems everything I imagine, everything I try is an escape, and that is another thought.

UG: You have said that already – that it is another thought and so on. If there is no other way, there is no other life other than the life I am living today, then, with such thoughts I am creating more problems for myself. I have created this misery because of that unfortunate myth– that there is another real life which I must live. Some chap like me says that there is another state of being. It is this image that makes your life miserable. So you cut off that image once and for all; and then what is there is only life.

Paul: Yes. You found the way yourself. Something is different for you now.

UG: Yes, because I am not comparing myself, because there is no comparative structure inside of me anymore.

Paul: So, as you said a little while ago, what happened to you, maybe that will happen to me!

UG: Certainly it will happen. It’ll happen the moment you see that the other processes, the images you are building for yourself – the image-maker –comes to an end; it is already there inside of you. What is it that I have that you don’t have? The living quality. This living quality is not able to express itself because you are running away from this, thinking that there is another way of life.

Paul: But then, you also said that there has been a mutation – that everything, including the cells of the body, have changed.

UG: The moment you see this, everything will change inside of you.

Paul: The moment I can see that nothing can change, it changes?

UG: It changes. That is what I am saying – that there is no other way of life. You can’t accept that fact.

But how can you see what I am saying? That is the difficulty. I can tell you a hundred times that there is no other life. But somebody else – some monk from India – comes and tells you that there is a beyond, that there is a way. You have to meditate for so many hours a day and then you will have a beautiful life and so on. Then somebody else comes and says something very different. Where are you? You go on changing this mirror, you polish it to reflect that image and it goes on.

Paul: I can’t explain very well, but I know that you are different now from what I saw of you two years ago. Something has changed.

UG: All right. What I am saying is that the change that has taken place inside of me is that the images, image-maker and all these things have come to an end. Because the image-maker has seen that all these are the images of his own creation and that these images are not going to take him anywhere, that there is no escape, so he has gone. That’s what has happened. Nobody can do this for me; nobody can give this for me. There is no external agency at all to see that.

Paul: There is no external agency?

UG: Nobody can do this for me, you know. So if I don’t know, I am not going to get off from this seat unless I find out for myself if there is or there isn’t.

Paul: And you say that this is not gradual. It’s all or nothing.

UG: Why do you introduce this idea of time? You don’t want to face it at this moment. When you bring this into focus, it burns you. You don’t want that to happen or you are not ready and that is why you are talking of time. And there is somebody who says that you can do it by steps.

Paul: Well, maybe we like the thinker.

UG: Yes. But you can’t have both. That’s what I am saying.

Somebody was telling me yesterday, I must have my property, I must have my wife, I must have every pleasure and everything. And yet I want this, and I hope that this meditation will give me that. You can’t have both. I will never be a Buddha because to become a Buddha means giving up everything, he told me. I don’t want to give up everything – I don’t want to become a Buddha. But I want to be kind, I want to be non-violent, I want to be this and I want to be that.

He doesn’t want to become a Buddha, but wants to be kind and all that. This struggle gives him pleasure – this battling. You love that – to fight inside of you. To resist that sound filling you – this is the battle that’s going on. You are battling with that, which is a thing you can’t do. It is hitting you all over. The sounds are coming and you are battling them, unfortunately. What can you do about the mountain there? You can’t do anything about the mountain. You can climb the mountain and write a book about it. Or, if you are of a poetical mind, you can write a poem about the beauty of the mountain. Or, if you are a painter, you can paint a picture. What can you do about it? You can’t do a thing about it.

Paul: You mean I can’t open myself up.

UG: It is a dangerous thing, so you don’t want to open yourself up. You are holding on. You want to. If somebody says throw open this window and everything comes in, you want it and yet you are not so sure. The draught might come in, it might get chilly and you might get pneumonia – all this you are thinking. Even if somebody gives you the key, you will not open the door. First, one cannot give you the key. The key is there for you, in your hands. The key was that, you see, the crackling ice. I am not exaggerating that. The key was there in your hand but you didn’t want to use that key – that’s all. 

Andreas: Very soon I am going to cut another of these pines.

UG: Put it here. It will keep us all warm. That is better than this talk.

You can’t have the best of both worlds. That is why practising these virtues become so charming. Tomorrow I will be a marvellous man. And the tomorrows go on extending to more tomorrows, and you come to a point when the body is either ending up in a grave or going up in a flame. And then you invent that there is something else – there is the next life. We postpone it to the next life. All right, even if you accept the next life and this is not guaranteed, you will have to be born again and again.

I am not saying if there is reincarnation or not. What is necessary to understand is that the fear that has created all these beliefs is the fear that has created god. That’s the most important thing to realize. To talk whether there is god or not is absurd. How can I understand god? It is the fear that has created god inside of me, the same thing that has created this idea of time; thought is time. The impossibility is trying to walk on these stilts. This is the only life I have. There is nothing else. My wife, my children, my job – this is the only thing. Anything I do is an escape, is a self-deception. Anything other than what I am doing is self-deception. To see that as a fact – that opens up the doors. At least, it cracks up. And then the whole thing collapses by itself. There is nothing that you can do. So this loosening process begins here.

Paul: So it is fear which prevents us from opening ourselves.

UG: Yes. Because we don’t know what it is. A thought can penetrate into a thing that it knows. It cannot penetrate into the unknown. Unknown is not a mystical concept I am talking about. But it is a thing that I don’t know. I don’t know my state of being – what it is. To describe it in terms of God, truth, reality, Brahman, peace, ananda and all that is absurd. I really don’t know what is my state of being, although I am describing this state of being. But what it actually is, that is very difficult to describe. That is the difficulty for me to communicate. Because the living quality of life is a thing which the thought cannot look at – do you understand?

That is why I asked this question – how do you know you are living? The moment you have an idea, that means that is the end. You don’t know. You will never know. You have no answer to that question at all. So to describe the incredible depths of life is a thing that the thought can never do. It cannot penetrate. So it always remains unknown.

Therefore the search for the unknown is an absurd thing. A thing that I do not know – how can I search for it? How can I seek it? How can I want it? Whatever I want, whatever I seek, whatever I pursue is a thing which I have already known, experienced or accepted the experience of somebody or have created an image of that. And so I am running away from what you call the actual, real life. This is the real life. That is the unreal.

Q: So this whole business of search, of thinking, seeking must come to a stop, must stop abruptly.

UG: Yes, inside of you.

Q: Inside of an individual?

UG: How am I going to bring the whole thing to an end, to a stop? It is not the attrition of consciousness that I am talking of. What I am saying is the bringing together of the whole thing to a point where it cannot escape. Time is an escape. Are there no stages, are there no steps, are there no levels? These are your questions. This is the escape. You don’t want to face this fact as a fact now, at this point. That means you have no escape any more. It has to explode. What will happen? This has to explode. When this explodes, the frontiers are gone— they explode with a tremendous bang.

This affects the human consciousness – the social consciousness. This is the only way to bring about change. Since I cannot change and I see the difficulty in bringing about a change in myself I’ll understand why the society is not going to change. You may think you can reform, – touch it here, touch it there and bring about some change here, some change there. In this process, you destroy millions and millions of people. That is not the way.


UG: My interest is to only make you frame the ‘right’ question. The right question has the answer in itself. But you seem to know the answer and that is why you put the question. If I give you an answer you’ll either agree or disagree, but this is not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing at all.

Paul Sempe: I can’t help although it is difficult for me to frame the right question. However, this is the question. I have seen that the mental machine (the mind) that is working in me is me myself and that it cannot give answers in certain fields. It has to stop. Sometimes it does stop, but on the whole I think it has to function in some other way.

UG: Why do you read these feelings? Reading these feelings inside of you is the thinking-structure. There is a feeling of anger and feeling of happiness, you say, but why do you differentiate these feelings? They are all one. They are a movement within and are all exactly the same, but you give them different names such as anger, peace, happiness and so on.

In the way you see things outside and call what you see as a tree, a bunch of grapes, a road, this is man, this is woman—in exactly the same way you are doing inwardly too. That is the thinking structure.

Paul: The fact is that it (the mind) does work that way and working that way it causes mischief which works as a poisonous thing. I have to remember that it is a poisonous thing.

UG: Why do you call it poisonous? For you anger is poisonous, happiness or sex is not. You want to recognize that feeling as happiness and stay and move with that feeling. You want that feeling to continue so it is not poisonous. But you don’t understand that anger is also a feeling like the feeling of happiness or peace or whatever word you want to use. It is the machinery that reads these feeling with different words and that is the thinking structure, that is its nature.

Paul: You make no difference between the feeling of anger and happiness?

UG: That is what I am saying. If you do that then the whole mischief is there. But if there is no difference, then is there anger, or happiness? That is my question. In exactly the same way what is that out there without this word ‘tree’. It is still there all right.

Paul: This chair, for instance

UG: Can you look at it without the word interfering? That would be the end of you as the thought-structure. If the word is not there how is the chair different from other things? That would be the end of the thought-structure and another kind of instinct and intelligence takes over.

Paul: When I recognize that as a chair, that as a couch, this touch as soft and that as hard, it is a thought and it is necessary because I have to use them. And that seems to be the normal function of the mind. But the same mental machinery when it works in other fields like my beliefs and I try to defend them, it causes mischief and so it should not work that way. There is something wrong here.

UG: When I touch this there is a feeling and that is a response, but when I react it is a mental activity. There is a movement and that produces a movement inside of you also, but naming that movement is the mischief. You are all the time reading inside and not looking at things as they are.

All right, what is ‘thought’, how does it arise in you?

Paul: There is a link…

UG: That is the ‘I’, the memory. The linking between two thoughts is the ‘I’. If the linking is not there, there is a gap between two sensations.

Anxiety, pride, anger, happiness—all that is fear and fear is the ‘I’. All that is thought. Thought is the ‘original sin’, when it began cannot be known. The Bible says In the beginning was the word…

Paul: We talk of it (the word) as the glory of man.

UG: That is the foundation on which the whole of man’s civilization is based and it is collapsing now. But not actually because we still have faith in the thought structure.

Paul: But you say the ‘I’ is the thought.

UG: Bundle of thoughts.

Paul: But when there is an interval between two thoughts there is no ‘I’.

UG: There is no ‘I’; when there is a need you call it a chair and it is finished, it is not linking up further.

Paul: Then what is the body?

UG: Is there a body without this ‘I’? The body is like the chair there without the word. But you have an idea, an image of the body and have introduced a psychological element, when actually it is different, the way it functions of and by itself.

Not intellectually but actually you have to discover it and let the sensations to be there without naming them, then you’ll understand.

All these thoughts and feelings you talk about are not part of you, it is the society functioning in you. If that comes to an end then there’ll be an explosion and there’ll be the radical mutation in the body. This change is not within the thought structure, if it is, then, it is another way of thinking, another way within the structure of thought.

Q: I take a happy pill (drug) and there is no more the ‘I’.

UG: And after some time you come back to the old state. It is like during surgery you are given anesthesia, the brain becomes dull, you don’t feel the pain, but after the effect of anesthesia wears off you are back to square one.

Q: What is the difference between sleep where there are no thoughts and the state you have been describing?

UG: You seem to think that the thought will come to an end. This is not a thought-less state. If you think there are no thoughts, no memories here, that means I am dead.

The thought cannot influence you, that is all. Thoughts come but there is nobody translating or linking these thoughts. When there is a need thoughts come and are used, the memory supply the words. But when you are not doing that then thoughts are not there and there is only the silence.

Q: You don’t seem to have interest in anything.

UG: As long as the ‘I’ is there it gives life to the thoughts and translates them in terms of its own experience. But here the thoughts cannot bring the thinker and say this is interesting, this is pleasurable or miserable or whatever.

Q: I don’t understand.

UG: When you look at your face in the mirror what happens? You recognize your face because you have looked at your face before and there is already an image of what you look like. In the same way you look at your thoughts and read them. But, say you have never looked at your face before then would you recognize your face in the mirror?  Similarly, here, there is nobody, no such image to tell you how you look like. There are only sensations. But in your case, the moment you read your sensations, thoughts come in and in that sense your sensations are thoughts, your feelings too are thoughts.

Q: I can’t figure out the source of the ‘I’.

UG: You can’t without the word.

Q: What is the ‘I’? I don’t know. But there is an ‘I’.

UG: Your thinking, feeling, questioning is the ‘I’. But is there anything other than the ‘I’?

Q: I don’t know. But the Buddhas and Gurus say that to bring to an end the reincarnation (of the ‘I’) we have to come out of the misery of life. But I want to speak about the relativism of life. Why to go out of life, why always see misery in life. Life is not always a misery. Yesterday I had a beautiful day. So life is not necessarily a miserable thing.

UG: Sometimes it is, sometimes it is not. Your search is to extend what is pleasant or pleasurable to the maximum. That is impossible. It is in the very nature of things and it is its way—the movement. You separate and categorize the feelings, the experiences as pleasurable, painful, I want this, I don’t want that and so on. And you want to live with the pleasant feeling always which is not possible. Because what you call pleasure, that feeling is also moving and it cannot stay there for it is its very nature. Your nervous system cannot stand pleasure so it has to move, but what you are trying to do is to hold on to it which is not possible and so you are in misery.

Q: Yesterday was a beautiful day. It was raining and I was in a very happy state of mind.

UG: That is what I’m saying. You are comparing today with yesterday and that yesterday may become the most pleasant day with which you are testing, comparing the other days.

Q: No. I’m not suffering now because today is not like yesterday.

UG: Sure, you are, otherwise you wouldn’t be interested in what happened yesterday. You see, that memory is impinging upon the feeling.

All right, what exactly do you mean by suffering? The Buddha called it Dukkha which is translated as sorrow. He said what he said to free you from births and deaths and that they have translated it into soul reincarnating and so on.

What you are doing is you are linking up this process, this chain of events in terms of cause and effect. This is the process and when there is a break between the two, you’ll know that the cause itself is the event, that the event is not independent of the cause, that effect is the cause and the cause is the effect. But you are separating the two when actually they are one and the same. And when you discover what is pain and what is pleasure, then where is the question? It is what it is.

Q: I am going to India—to Sikkim actually—and hope to stay there for a few days. I don’t know what I’ll find there; there is no expectation.

UG: Then why are you going there?

Question: Just like that. I have contact with a person there. I just go and see things. It is a pleasure for me to travel, that’s all. This not suffering.

UG: If there is no suffering there is no problem. What is it then you are seeking?

Q: It is just that I want to be very alive, move, travel—I like action. Life is always moving and I just want to go with the flow. One time I did suffer when I didn’t get what I wanted, say the woman I very much desired to be with. But all that is finished, now I don’t care if I don’t get what I want or desire. I don’t think about it. But there is this desire for knowledge and to meet people. I am here to see you now, tomorrow you may go away and I am not going to be miserable.

UG: Yes, but if your wife goes away or runs away with someone then you’ll be miserable.

Q: No, I’ll say I must just move on…

UG: You say that now, but it is not valid. You say life is a movement and you are moving with life, but actually you are manipulating the movement. The movement of life is altogether a different thing.

Q: I try to understand the movement of life.

UG: You are trying to understand a thing that is not possible to understand. You seem to have a lot of knowledge about this movement. Others have talked about it, you have read a lot and are trying to understand this movement in terms of your own experience, your knowledge. You want to acquire more and more knowledge and experience and through this process you think you can understand things better. But what I am saying is that the movement of life can never be a part of the knowledge. When you yourself are the movement you are trying to do something about it and by this process you are separating yourself from the movement.

You can’t step outside of yourself and look at yourself. You can take a photo and look at yourself, which is like looking at yourself in the mirror or through somebody’s description of you, but you can’t look at yourself; in exactly the same way it is not possible to look at the movement of life, because you are that movement.

Q: You see, I have time and I want to move around the world…

UG: Yes, why not, it’s a pleasurable thing to do. It is a hobby just like somebody else is interested in cricket, baseball or something else. What I am saying is that your interest is not very different, but you don’t want to accept the fact that what you are seeking is not very different from anybody else seeking whatever it is. Not that I am suggesting you shouldn’t travel or lock yourself up in some place or that seeking new contacts, new experiences are wrong. That is the nature of the mind, that is all. I know a man who says he has slept with three hundred and sixty women of different races and nationalities in different parts of the world.

Q: Poor man!

UG: (Laughs) Not a poor man, that is his ambition in life. I asked him, have you ever understood sex? How is it different whether you sleep with a French or an Italian or an American woman? It is your experience, she is not giving you anything at all, but you attribute it to her. The experience is yours, your projection and you may think it is different every time. How is this different from shopping around?

It is for you to see that this is not the way to understand. My interest in you is only to free you from illusion. Whether you go to one or ten different girls it is going to be the same. But if you are honest with yourself and know that what you are seeking is just a pleasurable thing, that’ll be the end of this whole business.

Q: But the mind is always seeking new experiences.

UG: The mind is put together by these experiences. What is there inside is nothing but the bundle of all these experiences and you want to add more and more to it. That’ll not destroy the thought structure, only strengthen it. And what I am saying is that to understand this structure is not to destroy it but to put it in its proper place.

Unfortunately that structure has taken possession of you and is controlling your whole way of life. It is the life of thought, of the mind, not life.

You are the movement of life and you have no way of knowing that movement. The thought structure which is a dead thing cannot look at a living thing. Any experience is a dead experience. No experience is new, all your experiences are in terms of the old experiences.

Even the so-called new knowledge becomes a part of the old knowledge. That is why I object to the use of the words like love, God, truth, reality, peace, beatitude and immensity. May be there is such a state as immensity and sometimes you are tempted to use that word, but the moment you use that word that state is gone, but if you let this state remain without naming it, without calling it love or bliss or God, the whole of your being is immersed in that—whatever that is. It is a living thing. Here, one may describe the state but the next moment it is forgotten, gone, and so the description may have some validity.

Paul: Yesterday you said you cannot look at or speak about this state.

UG: There are no words, yet, I am all the time communicating, direct and straight, in a clear and unmistakable language that state so that in the light of what I am describing you can see the illusion, you can see for yourself that what you are seeking has no relationship whatsoever with this state. That is the purpose of my talking.

You’ll also be in this state when you stop translating this or comparing or projecting it in terms of your past knowledge and experience. And you’ll know the silence that is always there.

Paul: Meditation is silence, isn’t it?

UG: That is not what I mean. When one is in this state of silence, this silence which is not of the mind, is going to affect you. Here, the whole of your being is silent. It is the silence of the universe flowing through this instrument (body).

In your case, you don’t stay for long in this silence, because there is a movement in this silence and you translate it as this and that and so you never come in real touch with this silence.

Paul: When you are silent, words jump about and sometimes you are helpless.

UG: You see, you are experiencing silence which is not the real thing, because the experience is always there and so it has no value.

What then has value? When I see what I am doing, would I continue to do it? When I see this meditative state is no different from all other experiences, of what importance is this indulgence in meditation?

Here, the meditative state is a way of life (although I don’t want to put it that way). This is always in a meditative state. This is not the result of practice in meditation, this is different and at a different level altogether. It is the tremendous silence of the body, the whole organism, not of the mind.

See, what happens when you meditate is that the thought slows down, the mind becomes dull and that many translate it as an extra-ordinary experience.

Paul: No, when I am in meditation there is nothing that comes to disturb or hurt me. But in your case, you say, you are always in a state of meditation.

UG: But you must know that this is not an extension of what you think is the meditative state. This has no relationship whatsoever with what you call meditation. That is why sometimes I have to use negative words and say this is not this or that or what you are thinking. Then, naturally, the question will be what is it then? It is like the sea, a fact (not in the sense the scientists use the word), it is there, untouched, of and by itself. And you have no way of understanding the whole thing.

Paul: Yes, the mind cannot understand, so what shall I do? I go out of it and not do anything?

UG: (Laughs) In any case you’ll continue to do what you are doing and I am not saying you should alter or change. But, you see, you may acquire half-a-dozen more beliefs, increase the fund of your knowledge, but the structure has not changed. So you should stop adding things further. The very nature of the mind is to add more and more, that is the art of its survival. And that is the way it has come into being, by putting together all these experiences. That way even the so-called religious experience becomes a part of this experiencing structure. All that is a barrier.

Paul: So I should not do anything, not gather more knowledge, more experiences.

UG: What makes you think you’ll not do anything? You are projecting a state of being and you think you’ll come to it by not doing anything. It doesn’t happen that way.

No. First you’ll have to see that your search is not different from other things or what others are doing, and see that it is an escape from what is there. If you at least see the illusion of it all then it loses the grip over you.

The idea or search for ultimate reality prevents you from facing the reality that is there now. So when such a goal drops away you are stuck with yourself. This suffering is the reality. No matter what you do you cannot escape it. When you see that there is nothing you can do about it, you stop.

To see the tricks of the mind to survive, to see the illusion of absolute reality, absolute virtues, to see the horror inside of you is to start the loosening process. Then there is a possibility.

Paul: You are saying that it has to begin in the mental process itself.

UG: You have to see what this instrument is doing, this is the only instrument you have and there is no other instrument and you have to discover the way it functions, see that the whole thing is an illusion.

Paul: Then there will be the unity of life.

UG: It is not what you think. The questioner must come to an end. The questioner is the question. If the mirror is not there then you are everything that is there. The separateness has gone.

When the wind is blowing or the rain is falling, since there is nobody experiencing the wind or the rainfall, there is no separateness. The only awareness I have is I am the rain. Not that I say that to myself. Although the body is resisting the flow of the wind, the awareness that is there inside of me is the wind.

Paul: You are made of what the Buddhists call as ‘emptiness’!

UG: No, this body is solid (laughs). There is an awareness of the wind. It is not like saying I am the wind, the rain, the tree, I am Brahman, Brahmasmi—these are all words. These words never come there. But in order to communicate what that state of awareness is I am using these words.

It is like this. I look at the water, like a camera the eyes are focusing on it, whether it is blue or brown or red or whatever I don’t know—when you ask I’ll tell you it is blue, but I never tell myself it is blue or that it is even water—because there is no thinker here, there is no separateness from that. The object is the subject here—it sounds very philosophical, but to me it is an actuality. There is no subject; the thinking-feeling subject is what you call consciousness.

The subject is not there, the object is the only thing for me. I don’t exist independent of that. The ‘I’ comes into being only when the memory comes in. When the word ‘sea’ comes the ‘I’ comes, but when the word is not there, what is there then?

When things are not separate from you there is no space. Object is the subject. The woman I am looking at is myself, so I can’t have sex, I can’t make love to myself, you understand. There is no building up process here. This is not a mystical concept, this is a pure and simple physiological state. There is only perception, no perceiver. If you translate this into mystical or philosophical terms, it is not my concern. This is unitary awareness; the inside and the outside are the same.

Paul: You talked of vibrations in the body. I want to understand what that is.

UG: You see, there is this man who chants Lalithashashranama every morning. I was listening. Those sounds, vibrations fill my whole being; it originates from inside here, as it were. At the same time a dog started barking and the barking sound too filled my being. And I was wondering if the dog was chanting. So you see, there is no mind, no choice, no translation taking place here, this is a physical state. All these sounds or noises, whether a holy man chanting, or a dog barking, originate inside of me. What can I do? (Laughs)

Paul: I want to ask you about Descartes’ statement, ‘I think therefore I am’. It is my state, it is true of me, but it doesn’t seem to be true of you.

UG: Yes, as long as you think the thinker is there. If there is no thinking, is there the ‘I’? Thinking is the ‘I’. Perhaps Descartes discovered this for himself.

Paul: But it has been interpreted in a different way, which is, since man is able to think he has a permanent entity, the ‘I’ and he is different and superior to animals and all other things in the universe. That’s the popular line.

UG: That is so. But to me that statement of and by itself has a different meaning. What he meant I wouldn’t know. However, the fact is that there is a state where there is no thinking, no ‘I’. The difficulty is for you the ‘I’ is a solid thing, that there is somebody who is thinking these thoughts. But is there a thinker? Is it the thinker who is thinking the thoughts or is it the thoughts that has created the thinker? You see the difference. I say that the thoughts bring the thinker into existence, so it is quite the opposite of the Cartesian statement.

Paul: So Descartes statement doesn’t apply to you but it applies to me.

UG: It doesn’t apply to you either. It’s just that you haven’t questioned it.

Paul: So I live in illusion that it applies to me and make it true and real.

UG: As long as you don’t discover that there is no seeker, Descartes statement is going to be true.

Paul: So you see how the mind functions, see the illusion it creates and it has to stop.

UG: It is wearing itself out. It is destroying the energy which can be used for some other purpose.

Paul: We have to be honest with ourselves.

UG: You have to be ruthlessly honest with yourself. It’s not an easy thing. And you’ll find out that this mental structure, which you thought is very efficient, cannot deal with this.

Paul: What you are saying goes against psychoanalysis.

UG: Yes, quite the opposite. A psychiatrist who met me recently said that I was knocking off the very foundation on which they have built the whole structure. As long as you deal with the mind so long is there the need for psychiatry. Here there is no mind, leave alone the unconscious and the subconscious and all that.

The unconscious has had its origin in the amoeba itself; it all began there. The thought is there in the animal. Animals and birds don’t use words but produce sounds and that is thought. But we have evolved to a certain extent where we learn and use words, we translate images into words. The image is knocked off here, not words, and these words don’t produce the image. There are only words: Wife, daughter, tape recorder, chair, man, woman—they don’t produce images here. That is why I say semantics and linguistics and all that have no meaning. And you must know that it is not only the word-structure that is part of thinking, but there is also the cellular structure. The nervous system has a thinking process and memory of its own.

Paul: I have never seen so clearly before the illusions about observing our own thought process, our past. Doing that implies that there is an observer which is given continuity. But that is not the way to live.

UG: Why do you say it is not the way? That’s what you are doing and will continue to do.

Paul: Why do you say that?

UG: The observer is still there, you have not seen the end of it.

Paul: No.

UG: You’ll continue to do that, tomorrow you’ll adopt another approach, another method, hoping it’ll all come to an end. Every time it starts you’ll tell yourself you’ll stop doing this and it never stops.

Paul: So believing that I can see the origin of thought…

UG: Or cannot see the origin of thought—both are same. All this is part of the same structure. Leave it alone and let it function in its own way. What does it matter how the thought originated. The thought is there. So I don’t try to find its origin, don’t manipulate it, don’t find the meaning of that or understand it, I leave it alone.

You see, what is happening now. You are listening and inwardly you are thinking what to do with all this. Listening is also thinking. As long as you translate my words into a meaningful structure, the listener, the thinker is there.

Paul: We always translate things in our own way. It is a fact.

UG: It is a fact and not a fact. When you find out for yourself you’ll know that this is not the way you function. There are only thoughts, no thinker. You don’t have to accept what I am saying or Descartes is saying. You have to find out for yourself what this whole business is all about. That means you should brush aside both the statements and also brush aside all your experiences that confirm these things. And then the whole process, the whole movement of thought comes to a stop, not end, then you’ll find out.

Paul: You said there is a movement inside of you which is not related to any dimension, and yet, you also say there no space for you. How is that?

UG: Movement is from point A to point B, the distance and the time it takes for me to travel from A to B. This is in terms of time, distance and space. When there is no space, no time, no distance here then there is absolutely no movement of the thought structure. But what you are doing is like moving from A to B, this way you want to understand the thinking process. That is a wrong process. There is nothing you can do about it. Full stop. Period. You don’t know if it’ll come to an end or not come to an end.

What I am saying is not the absence of thought. The thought will be there. But it has become a part of the movement of life. Thought is never separate or have an independent existence. In you the thought has a parallel movement with the movement of life.

Paul: Sometimes I can see that I live in a parallel world which is made of language, of ideas and images, other than that I don’t know if there is anything else. I see this parallel world, a stock of memory which is the ‘I’, and I have a feeling that I can see all this, yet I’m not too sure if I see it really, if I see it would come to a stop, isn’t that so?

UG: You are analyzing it for me. You are explaining the anatomy of the structure of thought.

Paul: Yes, I can see it and yet I don’t see it really.

UG: The seeing is the ending of what you say you are seeing. Outside and inside are the same, whether you say it to me or to yourself, and so long as that keeps happening, you cannot see. Seeing is the ending of that process—they are one and the same.

Paul: Since I can say that, analyze it, I can see it…

UG: No, that is not the way to see. It is dialectical thinking on thinking itself. You are explaining it for yourself the way you are functioning. What for?

Paul: Doesn’t that lead to the loosening process (of the ego, the ‘I’)?

UG: It does if you keep it on that level.

Paul: What does that mean?

UG: To see that what you are doing is not going to lead you anywhere. ‘Lead you anywhere’ is a misleading statement because there is nowhere to go and there is nothing to do about it.

Anyway, there is no guarantee that this loosening process will stop that. Just do whatever is possible and leave it at that. And when that process stops by itself then you’ll find your own level.

Paul: The mind is like a computer and it is comparing things all the time. Where is it that I am overdoing things, where am I going wrong?

UG: You are watching it constantly to see where it is going wrong. You have no confidence in it. You are afraid that it may not work and breakdown, but if you let it function in its own way, it’ll go.

You see, there is an agency that has put this machine, this computer to work. That is intelligence, whether it is yours or the intelligence that has no beginning and no end, it’ll come into play. The intellect is all the time trying to manipulate the machine. When it is fatigued you leave it alone; when the body is tired it needs rest and then you put the body to work.

Paul: How is that out of the functioning of my machine I imply time and the subject, unlike the computer?

UG: This is the parallel or the secondary movement or what you call consciousness which is the thinking and feeling subject. Mind is the child of the brain and the child has taken possession of the mansion. So you put it back in its proper place and finish it. But the problem is you have introduced the psychological time, the psychological element into the whole structure.

Paul: When?

UG: (Laughs) Not you as an individual, but somewhere along the line.

Paul: When will it come to an end or finish?

UG: (Laughs) When? It has no beginning. It is said in the beginning was the word. That is the original sin, thought is the original sin. Who began this and how it began, who knows? It all began in the amoeba, in the animal, perhaps.

Paul: It seems the animals have the capacity of building images and comparing things, but in man the same capacity leads to a whole lot of problems.

UG: Comparison is part of the structure, of memory. I met you yesterday and I meet you now again and there is comparison.

Paul: Then there is nothing wrong in that, is there?

UG: Nothing wrong, but the mind functions only on that level. If I long for you to come again for some reason then it is not something natural. If I prefer you over the others then comparison has already entered into this natural thing.

It is obvious that someone is more intelligent than the other person. That is a comparison. But that does not affect my relationship to that individual, because I have no use for a more intelligent person than a dull one.

Paul: Animals don’t extract time and the notion of the ‘I’ through comparison. There is no feeling of ‘I’ and time there.

UG: It is difficult to understand animals. You see, man is a highly evolved product. But the human instincts have not been given an opportunity to develop. What I mean is not the instinctual wisdom that people talk of. These are all intellectual concepts.

As I see it the human animal has to flower into a human being. And this can happen only when the animal content of the brain is quiet or becomes quiet through the process of evolution. But the process of evolution is retarded or delayed because of the culture, because of our anxiety to shape man according to a pattern, a model, or an idea or belief. So something has to be done, but then we continue to live the life of ideas of the mind and hence it is very difficult to grasp this.

Paul: You say, like in my case and like in the case of everyone else, there is memory in you too, so what’s the difference here?

UG: Yes, but that memory is not influencing my action, my life; it plays its part where it is necessary. Memory is necessary and as long as you are living and the brain is functioning there is bound to be memory, otherwise it means you are a corpse or the brain is damaged.

Paul: But you use your memory, right?

UG: To function in this world.

Paul: But it doesn’t bring in the time or bring in the ‘me’.

UG: No. ‘Me’ or the ‘I’ cannot stay here, because of the complete change in the physiological structure inside, so the cells are also functioning differently.

In your case the cells are formidable and they don’t want to change. You don’t want to change. You want continuity and that is the mind. A collection of such individuals is a collection of nations and a collection of nations is the world and it doesn’t want to change. Continuity and change are two opposing things. Here there is a change every moment. Every moment you are different to me. You are changing every moment and if I have to draw or paint a picture of you, I’ll have to do it again and again.

Paul: It is the moment that does not exist in time and space!

UG: That’s what I am saying. So how can I catch you and put you on the canvas. No particular moment is important; rather, every moment is important because there is nothing here that holds on to a particular moment.

This is not a mental state. This is not an experience at all. It is not beyond the mind; it is just not of the mind. The senses function that way, moment to moment and there is no interpreter there. This is a physiological phenomenon and so it is physically impossible for me to live in any other way except from moment to moment.

My interest is only to make you see how the thought structure is functioning and why it cannot understand anything that is not a part of it. So the yogi and the commissar are the same because both are the products of the mind.

To be what you are is the thing. But you don’t know what you are and you are always trying to be something else. That is the problem. But when the search comes to an end what is there is what it is. And that will destroy the structure to the very marrow of your bones and you as ‘you’ will be finished. And you will know that there is no self, no soul, no beyond, nothing. There’ll be just living from moment to moment and this is a pure and simple physical and physiological thing.

~  ~

[Paul Sempe was a retired captain of a tugboat in France, and first met UG around 1969, while he was attending J.Krishnamurti’s talks in Saanen. Every summer, when he visited Switzerland, he drove UG around the countryside. UG always teased him with his joke that ‘he hit his boat against a rock while practising choiceless awareness’. There is no information on Andrea, the second participant in this conversation.]

Image by Prem Goodnight, courtesy of Creative Commons license.