/* START Google Analytics Code*/ /* END of Google Analytics Code */ A home called "Parvathi": November 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Brahmachari and a person called UG Krishnamurti

"U.G. is not a teacher."
"He is a friend to you when your own teacher has become your enemy"
- (late) Vijay Anand, film director

If words like 'anti-Christ', 'anti-Guru' etc. have managed to create philosophical speculations for a good number of years in our world, then the good citizens of Sankar Mutt in Bangalore, members of a Bollywood industry ( Mahesh Bhatt , late Vijay (Goldie) Anand, late Parveen Babi ), and parts of the California and European worlds would not be found lacking for similar thoughts following astounding experience(s) with the personality of the late "UG" ( U.G. Krishnamurti ) .

Some have attempted to compare UG to a modern day Rasputin in struggling to come up with an image for him. Others have been simply caught numb, mesmerized by the provocative thoughts and pronouncements of an extraordinarily mysterious man. Some have thought of him as a thinker's thinker as he continued to pulverize all notions of a religious world; indeed of any world that chose to think in terms of the structure of a God or Divinity .

Growing up in a milieu of prayers, chanting, sacred music and amidst Shankaracharyas , it was indeed a fascinating walk that Brahmachari Shivaram Sharma ( Kunigal Shivaramiah, fourth son of K.Puttu Rao ) took from growing up in the shelter of "Parvathi" to finding himself besides UG and to decades of an association with the latter.

If there are any gleanings to be drawn from a reading of lives in the links provided, it is only to remind ourselves that this process that we call life is indeed but an extaordinary journey.

We present to you a UG, in the most expressive of terms by the late Brahmachari Shivaram Sharma (borrowed from the link on UG), and leave you to further fascinating readings within the same:

--Brahmachari Sivarama Sarma

[Brahmachari Sivarama Sarma was once professor of Chemical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India. He joined the Indian Administrative Service in the Nehru administration as Chief Engineer in the Sindhri Fertilizer Factory and resigned the job when Nehru pressured him to go to Russia. He then dedicated himself to spiritual pursuits under the guidance of the Sankaracharya of Kudli Math in the Karrnataka State, who subsequently chose him as his successor. But factional intrigue prevented him from accession to the seat (pitha= "seat" of religious authority). --Editor]

" The Naiyayikas (followers of one of the six orthodox systems of Indian Philosophy which specializes in logic and theory of knowledge) have declared that knowledge of the sixteen fundamental categories propounded by them would lead one to moksha (liberation). The scientists have vouchsafed that the knowledge of nature and the discovery of its mysteries will lead one to final and total happiness.

Both the claims have been negated by an `experience' which is intellectual and conceptual and is pushing mankind toward total annihilation. Here comes a man called U.G. who knows something of our Shastras (scriptures) but condemns them outright.

Who is this U.G.? What does he stand for? What are the principles of his teaching? What are his ideas? What is the meaning of his roaming around the world twice a year spending thousands of dollars on air travels and moving from continent to continent like a migratory bird?

In spite of my contact with U.G. for two decades I am unable to make out exactly what he stands for. I am unable to place him either as a `sage' or as a `saint', much less a social reformer.

U.G. doesn't give public lectures, nor does he belong to any institution. But people go to see him wherever he is and flock around him discussing all sorts of things `from disease to divinity' (as he himself would put it), including sex, morality, politics, and corruption.

He shuns religious persons, ridicules social reformers, condemns saints, speaks with disgust about sadhakas (spiritual aspirants), detests the chanting of the Vedas or the recitation of the Upanishads, and is full of rage when one speaks of Shankara or Buddha. He becomes furious of the very mention of Sai Baba or Rajneesh. The height of his rage could only be seen when `J.Krishnamurti freaks' approach him.

He doesn't give any solution to any of the problems raised and avoids questions on `enlightenment'. Whenever he gets entangled in a controversy he says, "It is so. Take it or leave it." Whenever he is confronted with arguments he becomes violent and says, "Who asked you to come here? You may get up and go. That's fine with me."

U.G. is a good conversationalist. He can speak confidently on any topic, be it economics, politics, history, or geography. He gives the impression of being a jack of all trades. He has studied a bit of Vedanta and is quite an expert in misquoting the passages from the Upanishads to suit his argument. When he is questioned about the authenticity of his statements he lashes out saying, "What I say has an authority of its own." Isn't it an egotistic attitude to make such claims, as if he is a `sage' or God?...

He is against morality, but refrains from preaching immorality. He gets wild when somebody speaks of honesty, though he is not dishonest himself. He is a bundle of contradictions. He statements are devastating. His ideas are shocking. His expressions are bewildering. His utterances are irritating.

Yet, I am pulled toward such a person! Is it my weakness? No. Or is it because of my passivity or cowardice, or incapacity to stand on my own? No. Not at all. Then what? I don't know! I don't give a tuppence for what he says on matters religious, much less his teaching. Yet, there is something in him that drags me to him.

He is like a machine gun shooting anything that moves in its vicinity. We only seem to be supplying the bullets.

What a tragic situation! Is this `hero worship' on my part? Am I idolizing? No. Certainly not. Am I then foolish or stupid? Am I such a gullible fellow; a fainthearted chicken? Is it the pusillanimity in me? Oh, man! Answer your conscience, if you have any left of your own. What avail is all your holy associations, your Japa (worship and meditation) and the like, if you still hang around him in spite of your distaste toward his way of life and teaching?

Yes. These are the questions I often posed to myself. I found no answers. I made up my mind not to think about him any more; nor bother to visit him. And yet, the moment he is anywhere near Bangalore my nerves reverberate! I become restless and find no peace till I run to him. Why? Why? Why? ...

There is yet another aspect of U.G.'s life, a totally different side of this man. He is very simple and behaves like a child. He acts meticulously and doesn't make a mess of things. Whenever a new visitor comes he receives him with all kindness and courtesies. When people are in difficulties, he helps them to come out of their troubles. Yet he says he has no `bleeding heart'.

He is at his best when he explains the chemical changes that have taken place in his body.

What have I gained in my twenty years of association with him? As a result of my contact with him my attachment to Gurus and sannyasins (holy men) has faded away. I have lost all my interest in visiting temples and sannyasins. Havanas and homas (oblations) which I was regularly performing have dropped away. I felt and still feel that dropping them, however, is not the be-all and end-all of existence.

Is it possible to reject totally whatever he is saying and go your own way? Impossible. At the same time, is it possible to swallow all that gibberish that he throws at you? That is out of the question. That is my predicament!

But then when someone asks, "Who is this U.G. whom you are talking about?" what answer can I give? Is he an enigma? Yes. It is impossible to gauge him. The Gurus and God-men we have in our midst to-day are no match to him. He is unique in every way. He is an undaunted spirit. He is a daring and fearless person.

Hearing him is one thing and being with him is altogether different. Meet him. Listen to him and you will yourself know what I am talking about. Don't bother about what he says. Don't try to know "THAT which is beyond words." If you attempt to do so, you may "land up in the loony bin singing loony tunes and merry melodies," to use his own expression. Or, to put it also in his own words: "You may have to go and hang yourself on the tallest tree with the longest rope."

This much is certain. You will not be the same after meeting him. You will start questioning your own actions--their validity and their usefulness. This is the help that he renders. He puts you on your path in a subliminal way and removes the cloak which you put on, trying to be what you are not. That's the sort of help you get from him. "

[Thought provoking times with UG in Bangalore, in the 1970s]
[Courtesy: ‘Stopped in our Tracks’ Second Series part 2 by K.Chandrasekhar; Editor J.S.R.L. Narayan Moorty]

Mahesh Bhatt talks on UG and Brahmachari Shivaram
[ Excerpted from the book U.G. Krishnamurti: A Life by Mahesh Bhatt ]
" U.G. and Brahmachari have for more than twenty years shared a volatile relationship. Brahmachari apparently had the world at his feet when U.G. stepped in and prevented him from getting it. The story goes that before dying the pontiff of the Kudli Math nominated Brahmachari as his successor. This meant being an heir to a property worth hundreds of millions of rupees, a fleet of cars and a residential palace in the heart of the city of Bangalore. A contest for the throne began when a rival stepped in, challenging Brahmachari's succession. This was the beginning of a long-drawn legal battle for the throne. Obviously both sides had much to gain. Little did Brahmachari know that even his life was in danger. Had it not been for U.G., who for three months, till the appointed day of coronation, sheltered him, Brahmachari's life would have ended in a tragedy. Every day, from dawn to late night, U.G. kept him under his guard, preventing him from venturing out, dissuading him from entertaining the idea of becoming a pontiff of the math. Brahmachari was permitted to go back home every night only when it seemed safe. On the day of the coronation, when his dream of scepter, throne and crown came tumbling down and his rival ascended the throne, Brahmachari was with U.G. The next day Brahmachari took him to visit a piece of land granted to him by the Karnataka Government. That same evening U.G. dropped him off at his residence, which happened to be a garage, and handing him two rupees, the remainder of the cab fare, said, 'With this, start your own ashram...' Months later, with the assistance of the Karnataka Government, Brahmachari set up a huge ashram on the outskirts of Bangalore, in which he also built a school, a temple, a guest house and cottages for the elderly. "

"Brahmachariji brings the Brahmajnani "

[ Title and text below excerpted from the book Stopped in Our Tracks : Stories of U.G. in India By K. Chandrasekhar, J. S. R. L. Narayana Moorty ]

" After Barry left, all the friends in the hostel talked for a long time about the things they had heard from him about U.G.
That same night, about 9 p.m., suddenly Mr. Brahmachari, a spiritual teacher who later became a friend of U.G., appeared outside the hostel. "I don't have much time. I am just arriving from Mysore to tell you of an important event. Tomorrow morning a Brahmajnani is coming to our 'cave'. Take a leave of absence in your offices, come to the Cave and meet him," he summoned. Who is this Brahmajnani that was going to sanctify Mr. Brahmachari's Cave? Normally Brahmachariji did not invite anyone to the Cave.
"He is U.G.Krishnamurti. Everyone calls him U.G." These words of Mr. Brahmachari resounded in my ears. I couldn't believe myself hearing them.
"Who? U.G.? The man who recently arrived from Switzerland?" I asked, containing my amazement and excitement with great difficulty. Mr. Brahmachari turned pale: "How do you know him? When did you meet him?" "I have heard about him. But I haven't met him yet. I am going to see him tomorrow morning," I briefly reported to him what had happened earlier with Barry."
"So, the publicity has started even before he has arrived in Bangalore. I met him in Mysore. When he told me he was coming to Bangalore, I invited him to the Cave."
"What sort of a man did he appear to be when you saw him?" I asked Mr. Brahmachari.
"I have no doubt that he is a true Brahmajnani. Wisdom dawned on him in a peculiar way. If you look at his eyes, it is absolutely certain that he is a jivanmukta. No matter how long I observed him, I could not find him blinking. His skin is soft and smooth like silk. Why try to know the taste of the curry when you are going to eat it? You will see him tomorrow." So saying, he left hurriedly.
That night I marveled: "What is this? Is this a dream or is it true? Or is this an illusion of Vishnu?" Such was the state of my mind. "I heard about him this morning. And tonight I have this news. Are these events coincidental? Or is this a grace from a mysterious force? Or is this merely my good fortune?" I pondered for a long time. "Tonight is a long night. When will it be dawn?" I laughed at my own craziness and dropped off into sleep.. "

Below, is the life of UG life as foretold by a Nadi Reader.......

"...So, the nadi reading resumed. 'This man will rise to prominence in his ravidasa (the phase of the Sun) like the rising Sun. Having been displaced from his native place, he never stays in any one place long. He does not go through initiation of any kind, he is born with it. His teaching is not like the teachings of hermits and jungle-dwellers. The light of his teaching keeps spreading everywhere. But he thoroughly disappoints those who come to him hoping to get somewhere. This person should be addressed as "atma" and not as "man" (implying that individuality is absent in him)...."

Brahmachari Shivaram seen with the Nadi reader who read UG's life

2012 Update: Associates of the late Brahmachari Shivaram Sharma and UG discuss the androgynous form of UG found in a painting.

L to R: K. Ravishankar, R. Sachi , 'Sripada' ( as named by Brahmachari ), K. Babu Chandrasekhar ( Author, Biographer of UG ), Shashidhar Arkalgud ( back to camera )

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Remembering Dec 3 as Vidwan Maharajapuram Santhanam Day, Each Year

In remembering Maharajapuram Santhanam's great compositions and the great 'bhakti' in his singing, we are reminded simultaneously in thinking of the Lord Murugan (who was the 'self' in several of his compositions) and of the great Seer of Kanchi, Chandrasekhar Saraswati Swamigal for whom he had a very great devotion. Maharajapuram Santhanam was a very honored guest in "Parvathi" and was accompanied in his concerts by the greatest Vidwans of his times. In 1972 he was joined by M.Chandrasekharan (violin) and Palghat Raghu (mridangam). 1977 saw him featured with Chandrasekharan (again) along with Guruvayur Dorai (Mridangam) and Ramachar (Kanjira). The next year 1978 saw him with Lalgudi (Violin), Vellore Ramabhadran (Mridangam) and M.A.Krishnamurthy (Ghatam). He completed the hat trick in 1979 again with Lalgudi, Ramabhadran and MAK and such was his draw that he went on to perform at the same venue for the next four years; 1980 (MC-VR-Ramachar), 1981 (Lalgudi, VR, MAK), 1982 (Lalgudi, VR) and 1983 ( V. Thyagarajan, Tanjore Upendran) .

[Palghat Raghu - Maharajapuram Santhanam - M. Chandrasekharan - Vikku Vinayakaram at "Parvathi", Mysore, March 28, 1972 ]
The Concert April 18, 1978 at "Parvathi" Maharajapuram Santhanam ---Vocal Lalgudi Jayaraman --- Violin Vellore Ramabhadran --- Mridangam M.A.K Murthy --- Ghatam 

Song List

 01. Brochevarevare - Sriranjani; 02. Rararaghuveera - Atana; 03. Saramegaani - Pantvarali; 04_Enthanerchina - Shuddadhanyasi; 05. Theliyaleru - Dhenuka; 06. Najeevadhara - Bilahari; 07. UrakeGalguna - Sahana; 08. Thungatheeravirajam - Ragamalika; 9.  Bansiwale - Mohanakalayani;10. Sreechakraraja - Ragamalika; 11. Tathwameruga - Garudadhawani; 12. Thillana; 13. Mangalam.