Thought is your Enemy – Mind-shattering Conversations with a Man called U.G.

Q: U.G., I would like to probe into the very essence of your revolutionary and uncompromising statement that there is no soul.
A: There is no self, there is no I, there is no spirit, there is no soul, and there is no mind. That knocks off the whole list, and you have no way of finding out what you are left with. You may very well ask me the question, “Why do you go on telling people about the way you are functioning?” It is only to emphasize that we have been for centuries using some instrument, that is, thinking or mind, or whatever you want to call it, to free ourselves from the whole of what you call the ‘I’ or the ‘self’, and all kinds of things. That is what the whole quest of spirit is all about. But once it dawns on you that there is nothing to be free from, then these questions don’t arise at all. How that dawned on me, I have no way of finding out for myself.

Q: Ordinary human beings like me would like to know if you could find answers for us.

A: The answers I give are only to emphasize that what we are left with is the functioning of the living organism. How it is functioning is all that I am trying to put across, emphasize, and overemphasize all the time. My interest is to somehow make you see that the whole attempt on your part to understand what you are left with is a lost battle.

Q: What you are trying to say is that there is only the physical body and nothing else. Is that it?

A: Even that statement cannot be experienced by what is left there. When once the whole thing is flushed out of your system, the statement, “We are left with only the physical body and the universe — ” that statement also cannot stand any more.

Q: But I want to probe around this….
A: The more the questions you throw at me the more there is a need to emphasize the physical aspect of our existence, namely, that there is nothing to what we have been made to believe. All our problems have arisen because of our acceptance that it is possible for us to understand the reality of the world, or the reality of our existence. What I am saying is that you have no way of experiencing anything that you do not know. So anything that you experience through the help of your knowledge is fruitless. It is a lost battle.

Q: When you are saying that there is no nonphysical element in human nature….
A: I am not with you. What exactly do you mean when you say, “No nonphysical element in human nature?”

Q: I mean that there is only the actual physical body and the world as it is.

A: That is the reason why I say that the instrument which we are using to understand the reality of our existence and the reality of the world around us is not part of this (body) mechanism that is there. That is the reason why I say thoughts are not self-generated and are not spontaneous. There are no thoughts there even now.

If you want to find out whether there is any such thing as thought, the very question which we are posing to ourselves, namely, “Is there a thought?” is born out of the assumption that there is a thought there. But what you will find there is all about thought and not thought. All about thought is what is put in there by the culture. That is put in by the people who are telling us that it is very essential for you to free yourself from whatever you are trying to free yourself from through that instrument.

My interest is to emphasize that that is not the instrument, and there is no other instrument. And when once this hits you, dawns upon you that thought is not the instrument, and that there is no other instrument, then there is no need for you to find out if any other instrument is necessary. No need for any other instrument. This very same structure that we are using, the instrument which we are using, has in a very ingenious way invented all kinds of things like intuition, right insight, right this, that, and the other. And to say that through this very insight we have come to understand something is the stumbling block. All insights, however extraordinary they may be, are worthless, because it is thought that has created
what we call insight, and through that it is maintaining its continuity and status quo.

Q: I think I understand that, but what I want to pursue is that there is the physical side of this, and if I could observe clearly the human organism there and its interrelated functions….

A: As a matter of fact even that is not possible to experience and understand except through the knowledge that is given to us by the physiologists.

Q: You mean our own observation…?

A: There is no such thing as your own observation. Your own observation is born out of the knowledge that you have. This knowledge comes from the physiologists. This knowledge comes from those who have been involved in medical technology. They are trying to find out how this body is functioning, how the heart is functioning, and the whole lot of things that we have become familiar with, though what they have discovered is something which cannot be experienced by us.

Q: What you are saying then is that there is really no such thing as direct or immediate experience….
A: There is no experience at all without the help of knowledge. That is all that I am saying. There is no way you can experience the reality of anything except through the help of this knowledge. So what I am saying is that you cannot experience what you do not know. Therefore, you project that there is something beyond the mechanism of the experiencing structure. There is no ‘beyond’. But that ‘beyond’ is again affirmed or rejected by this experiencing structure to maintain its continuity. It is a game.

Q: Back to that. I asked you this before. Isn’t there an experience of touch?
A: No. The only way you can even experience the sense of touch is through this contact; that is what you call the sense of touch. So you are bringing your fingers here and touching it here. (U.G. touches the arm of the chair.) The eye is looking at it. But it does not translate the movement of that as somebody putting his finger here to know what exactly happens when you touch this. The eye cannot say that, and the sense of touch does not translate that for any reason. Unless you ask the question….

Q: I am suggesting that….
A: The eye is looking at it.

Q: No, I am not looking at it.
A: You are not.
Q: I can feel, I can feel without….
A: It is born out of your imagination and translation of this particular tactile sensing within the framework of your past experience. At this moment if that is not translated as a soft touch or a hard touch, or even as a touch of your hand, you have no way of separating the two and experiencing that.

Q: No more separating the two….
A: Supposing you ask me a question for whatever reason that you want to know, the sole knowledge you have is here in the computer (pointing to his head), and it comes out and tells me and tells you that you are touching this, and that the sense of touch is translating that as the soft touch of the friend who is sitting next to me. Q: I might be walking alone, and I feel a breeze coming. I am not doing anything, but it is blowing in my way.

A: If you do not translate the breeze touching your body….

Q: I am feeling the breeze.
A: The feeling is also a thought. The moment you separate yourself from the breeze, that sensory activity is translated within the framework of the knowledge you already have. I am not for a moment saying that you are the breeze. What I am saying is that all that you are saying is part of the knowledge you have. Otherwise, there is no way you can separate the breeze and the body.

Q: So you are saying that there is no such thing as a new experience.

A: There is no new experience at all. But the demand to experience the same thing over and over again is the one that is wearing off the whole mechanism of memory for purposes for which it is not intended.

Q: Is it possible for us to see that memory should not be the operative factor in consciousness?
A: I question consciousness because what we call consciousness is memory. You become conscious of something through the help of the knowledge you have, and that knowledge is locked up in the memory. So the whole talk of the subconscious, unconscious, levels of consciousness, and all that, is the ingenious invention of the thinking mechanism. Through this cleverness, inventiveness, it maintains its continuity.

Q: Do you make any distinction between awareness and consciousness?
A: Awareness has no meaning to me because awareness is not an instrument to be used to understand anything, much less to bring about a change there. First of all, there is nothing there to be changed. Since there is nothing there to be changed, whether you use awareness or any other instrument to bring about a change is irrelevant.

Awareness can never be separated from the activity of the brain. That is the reason why I always describe what is happening here (pointing to himself) in physical terms. “The reflection of that, (pointing to a cushion) whatever it is, on the retina, and to experience that without naming it,” is only a clever game we are playing with ourselves. You think that recognition is separate from naming. This is not true. Recognition and naming are one and the same. Whether I name it or not, the very recognition of you as a man or that as a pillow, itself means that the naming is already there, whether I use the word or not. That is the reason why I point out to the people who say that the word is not the thing, the word is the the
thing. If the word is not the thing, what the hell is it? It is all right for the philosophers to sit and discuss everlastingly that the word is not the thing. That implies that there is something there other than the word. So you cannot accept the fact that the word is the object. That is, even if you say that there is an object without using the word, it means that there is a separation there. What I am trying to tell you is how this division, separation is occurring.

Q: Separation is really the beginning of duality.
A: I never tell myself and tell you that I am the table. That is too absurd. So what I am saying is that there is no way you can separate yourself on your own free will and volition except when there is a demand from outside. You ask the question, “What is that?” You and I have the same information in our memories. Whether you use a French word, an English word, a German word, or a Latin word, it doesn’t matter. The reference point is the table you are asking me about.

So, I say it is a table, and that it is a white table. You and I have the same information. When that question is not there, I would at no time look at it and tell myself that it is a table. It does not mean that I am ‘choicelessly aware’ of that. What is there is only the reflection of this object on the retina. Even this statement cannot be experienced by me, because the stimulus and response are one unitary movement. The moment you say there is awareness, there is already a division.

Q: Why do we maintain this position, this duality, this separation….?

A: That is the only way you can continue. Otherwise you are coming to an end. The ‘you’ as you know yourself, the’you’ as you experience yourself, that ‘you’ is the identity there. Through the constant demand for using memory it maintains its continuity. If that ‘you’ is not there, you don’t know what will happen. That is why the phrase, “freedom from the known” is very attractive up to a point. Once you are free from the known, there is no way you can say anything about it. So, if I am listening to somebody like you who is talking about the need to have the
freedom from the known, your emphasis that there is a need to free yourself from the known has already become part of the known. Thought has survived for millions and millions of years, and it knows every trick in the world. It will do anything to maintain its continuity.

Q: So thinking has really no place in understanding….
A: There is no thinking at all. If there is no thinker, there are no thoughts at all.

You cannot say there is only thought and there is no thinker. The thoughts do not come from here (pointing to his head), they are coming from outside. The translation of a sensory perception within the framework of your experiencing structure is thought. And you are using those thoughts to achieve a goal.

Q: I have got to know about this thinking. This is sequential….

A: No, you can try that. I am not your teacher. What is happening here is a mechanical thing like in a computer. It is mechanically operating, trying to find out if there is any information stored in the computer (pointing to his head) related to what we are talking about. “Let me see,” ” Let me think;” these are statements you are just making, but there is no further activity and no thinking taking place there. You have an illusion that there is somebody who is thinking and bringing out the information.

Look, this is no different from the extraordinary instrument we have, the word-finder. You press a button and “Ready,” it says. Then you ask for a word; “Searching,” it says. That searching is thinking. But it is a mechanical process. In that word-finder or computer there is no thinker. There is no thinker thinking there at all. If there is any information or anything that is referred to, the computer puts it together and throws it out. That is all that is happening. It is a very mechanical thing that is happening. We are not ready to accept that thought is mechanical because that knocks off the whole image that we are not just machines. It is an extraordinary machine. It is not different from the computers we use. But this [pointing to his body] is something living, it has got a living quality to it. It has a vitality. It is not just mechanically repeating; it carries with it the life energy like that current energy.

Q: One of the things that human beings use most often is imagination . . .

A: The idea that you experience the totality of your body is born out of your imagination. Actually, there is no way you can experience the totality of it. Your experience of the heaviness of your body is due to the gravitational force. Sometimes you experience the heaviness of your body when thoughts are not in operation. Sometimes thoughts slow down in everybody. That is the time when you feel heavier than the heaviest object. You feel as if you weigh 640 kilos, or suddenly you feel as if you are walking on air. These are the actual functionings of the body which they have described in some spiritual terms and given so much importance to.

Q: So, people in this area of imagination think that unfettered thinking can sometimes come up with new possibilities, of ways in which you can live more fruitfully, more easily or more pleasurably….

A: That is something that is not valid and true.

Q: This is what people assume. If one has an opportunity to do that, one can do so. What is wrong with that?
A: See, it works in certain areas. You know, we have a mathematical problem. We are thinking about it. You come out with an answer and say that this is the product of your thinking. But sometimes you exhaust all the possibilities, the variations and and combinations of finding out the solution of a particular mathematical problem or a scientific problem. You are so tired that you go to sleep. But when you wake up the answer is there. This is possible only in the area of mechanical problems. Thinking cannot help us to solve living problems. There is no way we can use that to solve human problems. That is why it has failed to solve our problems. It has not touched anything there [pointing to his body]. All our beliefs have not touched anything there. We don’t know what we would do in a given situation. You can say that you are going to be a nonviolent man. But what
you would do in a given situation you would never know. The demand to be prepared for all future actions and situations is the cause of our problems. Every situation is so different, and our preparedness to meet that situation with this knowledge we have of answering and dealing with such situations cannot help us.

Q: Then what does the phrase “living challenge” mean?

A: I don’t know, the way you are putting questions….

Q: You meet a new situation….
A: It is not a challenge. The inadequacy of using what you have, preparing yourself, and the question of how to deal with the situation are absent here. It ceases to be a challenge then. That is why I say there are no problems there. We create the problems. If the solutions we are offered by those people are really not the solutions, you really don’t have a problem. But the fact of the matter is, if you do not have a problem, you create a problem. You cannot live without problems.

Q: That is right. What you are saying in one sense is that the human being is not really different from animals.
A: I must admit that we are probably far more evolved than the other animals. That is an advantage to us in functioning in a much better way. I don’t like to use the word ‘better’, but rather ‘in a more natural way’. We are free from some dangers. All these problems can be handled with the highly evolved structure which we have been endowed with. That is why what we call psychic powers — clairvoyance, clairaudience, etc. — are already there in the animals. We also have them in us. In the case of some, through techniques of meditation and such gimmicks, thought slows down. Then they experience these so-called powers, temporarily, and they think that they are all spiritual experiences. Probably in our case the mechanism is more sensitive than in the case of animals. I don’t know; I cannot make any definitive statement. There is no way you can really
understand how animals are functioning. All these gimmicks, all these ideas of experiencing your birth again, rebirthing, this, that, and other things — they are absolute rubbish, because you are trying to go back to the time of your birth and experience your own birth from this point. What you are experiencing is not the experience of your own birth, but something from where you are. You use all these experiences, color them, and imagine that you are experiencing your own birth. This is good for marketing their ‘rebirth’, but there is nothing to it.

Q: Why is it that human beings have developed some traits which have made them masterful destroyers of the earth, the air, the water, and everything around them?

A: As I said the last time, this separateness from the totality of things around us, and the idea that the whole thing is created for our benefit and that we are created for a grander and nobler purpose than all the other species on this, planet, are the causes of this destruction. This powerful use of thought is what is destructive. Thought is a self-protective mechanism. So anything that is born out of thought is destructive — whether it is religious thought or scientific thought or political thought — all of them are destructive. But we are not ready to accept that it is thought that is our enemy. We don’t know how to function in this world without the use of thought.

You can invent all kinds of things and try to free yourself from this stranglehold of thought, but there is no way we can accept the fact that that is not the instrument to help us to function sanely and intelligently in this world. Thought is a self-perpetuating mechanism. It controls, moulds, shapes our ideas and actions. Idea and action — they are one and the same. All our actions are born out of ideas. Our ideas are thoughts passed on to us from generation to generation. Thought is not the instrument to help us to live in harmony with the life around us. That is why you create all these ecological problems, problems of pollution, and the problem of possibly destroying ourselves with the most destructive weapons that we have invented. So, there is no way out. You may say that I am a pessimist, that I am a cynic, or that I am this, that, and the other. But I hope one day we will realize that the mistakes we have made will destroy everything. The planet is not in danger. We are in danger.

Q: If we are, then we can go to another planet. The desire to survive — whence comes this desire to survive beyond the death of the body and its inevitable demise?

A: Because you know in a way that what you know of yourself is coming to an end there. You have lived sixty, seventy, or a hundred years of your life; you have been through so many experiences; you have achieved so many things; you have attained and accomplished so many things. “Is all that coming to an — leaving behind nothing?” So, naturally we create something ‘beyond’.

Q: Why do you think that we have allowed an illusion and unreality to persist in consciousness or human thought….?
A: You are not separate from that illusion. You are the illusion. If one illusion goes, it is always replaced with another illusion. Why? Because the ending of the illusion is the ending of ‘you’. That is the death. The ending of belief is the ending of the ‘you’ that is there. So, that is not the poetic, romantic death — of “dying to your yesterdays.” Physical death is the only way through which you flush out what your whole culture has put in there.

Q; In a smaller and minor way, I can see through an illusion….
A: That is another illusion. The illusion is that “the seeing is the ending.” There is no way you can separate yourself and the seeing. Seeing is the illusion; the seer is the illusion. The seer tells himself that “seeing is ending,” but it does not end. So the seer does not want to come to an end. The seeris the illusion. I don’t know; it is better not to discuss these things. The seer is the illusion. Through the invention of what is called “the seeing of the illusion is the ending,” the seer is gathering momentum and continuing. The moment you want to ‘see’ something you have separated yourself from that and the seer has come into being, and through that seeing he is maintaining his continuity. That is why seeing has not
helped us; it has ended nothing there.

Q: This dialogue, our talking together now — what would you like to call it? It is just a physical exchange….this interplay that is going on now?

A: (Laughs) I don’t really want to repeat it again and again. This is just a puppet sitting here. And, two puppets, two computers, two tape recorders playing, that is all.

Q: Whatever you are saying — listening to you, will it not bring about a change in us?

A: Not at all. You are not even listening. There is no such thing as the art of listening. You are not listening at all. Listening is not in your interest. You are interpreting.

Q: I am aware of that. Surely there is some kind of listening. I am trying to put the key in the door and….

A: We don’t have to use all those phrases such as, “I am aware of this, that, and the other.” If you put into practice what they call ‘awareness’, you will go the way of Alzheimer’s disease which is hitting everybody. I read it in some magazine that it is hitting everybody. It has hit already the famous musician, what is his name, Frank Sinatra. It is there in one of your papers. He is very young. They mention him as an example of how a person suffering from Alzheimer’s disease functions. You have the ‘key’ there in your hand. But you don’t know how to use the key and open the door.

Q: Then really what you are saying is that the body has an enormous intelligence because all its functions go on interplaying beautifully in their own way.

A: Our interest to teach that body something which it is not interested in is causing, creating problems for it.

Q: Is there anything else that you would like to say?
A: To say what? I have said a lot now
Q: You certainly have. Another thing that I wanted to ask you about is physical pain — whether….
A: To leave it alone. If there is pain you take some pain killer. I am not saying you should do nothing, and let the body suffer and go through the pain. You are actually adding more to the pain. See, as long as the pain is there, I might as well take a pill and free myself from the pain temporarily, because there is no special charm, spiritual or otherwise, to prove to ourselves and to others that we can endure pain. That is not what we are talking about. But what we can do is to leave that pain alone without interfering all the time. We think we know a lot more than this body. We think that we know what is good for that body, and that is why we are creating problems for it. It knows what it wants to know. It doesn’t
want to learn anything from us. If we understand this simple relationship that thought and the body have, then probably, we will allow the body to function and use thought only for functional purposes. Thought is functional in value, and it cannot help us to achieve any of the goals we have placed before us, or what the culture has placed before us.

Q: Is there no such thing as a physical purpose for pain?
A: It is a healer. Pain is a healing process. But we are paranoid. We are overanxious to see that we don’t suffer. I am not saying that you should not get any help that is available to you. There is no point in suffering, like the Christian saints who suffer and don’t go to a doctor. That is not what I am saying. In fact, anything we say now is of no use. What we would do in any given situation is anybody’s guess.

Let us stop and leave it at that. If you make some sense out of that, then you make it. If you don’t, then you simply don’t. I wish that nobody remembers anything of what we have discussed so far. If you remember anything, it is lost. Nor am I trying to say that what I say is in a mysterious way affecting the whole of human consciousness.

Q: I do think that pain is really a healer. I am not contradicting what you said. But pain is inborn.

A: It is there. It is trying to heal us because of some disequilibria. But what I am suggesting is that there is no charm in suffering; some helping hand can be given to make it a little bit bearable. I don’t see any point in any kind of suffering.

Q: If the pain is in your knee, in your back, or in your head, it is already there..

A: May I say something? Anything that we discuss about pain at this moment has no meaning, because we are not having any pain now. If some pain is really there then we wouldn’t discuss it; some action would be there.

Q: Yes, that is right.

A: Your value system is the one that is responsible for the human malady, human tragedy, forcing everybody to fit into that model8

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