“It’s ridiculous to ask for something that you already have,” UG would say, “Stop looking and start living.” Mark Whitwell | Heart of Yoga

Understanding U.G. Krishnamurti: An Interview with Mark Whitwell, Part 4

Atmospheric pollution is most harmless when compared to the spiritual and religious pollution that have plagued the world | UG Krishnamurti

Mark Whitwell interviewed by Andy Raba

Mark Whitwell: It has become clear to me in recent times just what the hell UG was communicating. Him sitting in a room year after year shouting that there was no such thing as thought, and people come in and then get frustrated because they can’t understand him and they want to be in the state that he’s in. UG would shout back that there’s no frustration, there’s no such thing. He would call people idiots and tell them to get out of here; to go and find someone who will give you a method based on the delusion of your frustration.

UG was saying that here everything ends. Here is the end of the road for thought. If you want to be here then this is the end of it. And we can only imagine the state that he was in. The state that is prior to all thought, that is aliveness, stark aliveness. “You won’t know what hit you,” he said. To be the life that you are, when you realise that thought has no reality to it , that thought is just flickering currents in the brain core.

UG was so unique because he did not create an elaborate culture of response around him that so many Reality Realizers do. There was no conventional religiosity possible around him.

Krishnamacharya considered UG to be in the state of Yoga, one who is speaking from the place of sahaj samadhi, the natural state of intrinsic, permanent union. So UG spoke of Yoga practice from that place to ensure that Yoga was only each person’s participation in life as it actually is and not a seeking for some future possibility. | Mark Whitwell | Heart of Yoga
Krishnamacharya considered UG to be in the state of Yoga, one who is speaking from the place of sahaj samadhi, the natural state of intrinsic, permanent union. So UG spoke of Yoga practice from that place to ensure that Yoga was only each person’s participation in life as it actually is and not a seeking for some future possibility. | Mark Whitwell | Heart of Yoga

Interviewer: Is it possible to duplicate UG’s experience?

Mark Whitwell: He would say don’t try to duplicate me or anyone else. There is a profound peace in the body and our efforts to attain peace only disturb that peace. So that’s felt. But I do maintain that it’s impossible for me to know what UG’s life was like. And UG said over and over again that it’s impossible to know your own experience, even death. The one who knows will come to an end. The structure of knowledge ends. The one who claims enlightenment is a bullshitter, because there will be no-one to know. He was saying you as a seeker, you as a knower, you don’t want to know this state. You don’t want your own demise.

Interviewer: Did you share many meals with him?

Mark Whitwell: Yes (laughing). A lot. UG made no rules or recommendations on diet at all. He would say eat what you like because the perfect intelligence of life knows exactly what to do with food and it doesn’t really matter what you put into or what you don’t. The body will absorb what you need and spit out the rest.

He was once interviewed on a radio show in the U.S. and said that if you ate sawdust and glue the body would know what to do with it. A lot of serious people, dieticians and the like, rang up to disagree. Then a woman-listener rang up and said sawdust and glue was exactly what she survived on in a Siberian refugee camp during World War II. And it was only when she got to the America and starting eating that diet that she became sick. UG loved to tell that story.

The most pertinent point about his own diet was that he ate very little. He would eat oats and cream and pineapple juice, and that was about it. It seemed pretty good to me. There were many meals I shared with him because at some point in the gatherings it would be food time and someone would bring out something from the kitchen, often some easily digestible noodles. In his daily life he would take what’s called a constitution or go off driving in the Swiss alps. Sometimes we went to restaurant to have a coffee, but it would be all cream with a tiny squirt of coffee on it. So that was UG’s diet.

UG’s purpose was to point out that everybody was in the natural state, no matter what the mind is up to. So you no longer have to wonder about UG or imagine he is something other than what you are. Your Yoga practice is participation in the state that UG was in, that you are currently always, eternally in | Mark Whitwell | Heart of Yoga

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Interviewer: There’s a section in your book Yoga of Heart called “Diet and the Extreme Intelligence of Life.” It seems like something of UG’s views on food made it into that piece.

Mark Whitwell: Yeah, the main point being to not oblige food to make you happy or healthy. That’s all very well, but in my life when my diet has been restricted due to where I was living, I didn’t do terribly well. I wouldn’t take it to the extreme of sawdust and glue. But definitely all seeking, and the seeking that we do with food. We are often obliging food to make us happy and healthy and live forever.

Interviewer: Did UG ever talk about his mother?

Mark Whitwell: That’s an interesting aspect. His mother died seven days after his birth. He was raised by his grandfather. As a consequence he never had the bonding to his own mother or a substitute mother. He would say that that mother-child bond is the problem of the human condition because it is neurotic. He said all the problems of humanity began with the first kiss of the mother, with the mother looking to the child to make her happy and to justify her own life and transferring that neurosis onto the child who then develops a neurotic attachment or rejection of the mother. Because his mother died he never had that issue to deal with or understand.

I was very moved to see that photo of his mother with bangles. She was a very noticeable but very ordinary and poor Indian woman. The stories are that this woman was deeply devout and she knew that she was giving birth to a special son and that she knew it was an important birth, that she was giving birth to some sort of avatar. She went through dreadful pain in the delivery which finally killed her. Her family were devout Hindus and they knew that her child was a special personality. The father was a scoundrel apparently, he had sex and ran away. There’s a piece of writing on the archive of UG about her.

UG described how thoughts and speech arose spontaneously when they were needed. After which they would subside. So thoughts and speech were purely functional and had no meaning outside of practical matters-thoughts are not for creating meaning culture, but for functioning as a living organism that has to survive and relate | Mark Whitwell | Heart of Yoga

This was all written up in a long book and I saw UG flick through it for thirty seconds before putting it aside. It’s a long elaborate story about his family history, and he had no interest in it, and no apparent interest or sentiment for his mother. In the conventional world you hear that story about his mother it just seems negative. But it has to be interpreted.

I loved UG for constantly saying that everybody is a unique, unprecedented being. “ You are the one without a second!” he said, “Why are you trying to be like somebody else?” He identified that human misery is trying to be something you are not | Mark Whitwell | Heart of Yoga

Interviewer: “The problems of humanity begin with the first kiss of the mother.” This statement strikes me as very unusual.

Mark Whitwell: Well you understand in your own case. To be finished with the problem of either attachment or rejection between the mother and the child. Attachment isn’t even the word. It is more a neurotic clinging from both directions. Where is the need for neurotic clinging when we are the perfection of life itself? We are not talking about rejecting the mother either, just that there is no problem around the relationship.

Interviewer: I also heard him say about the mother to: “kick that bitch!” (Laughing). It seems like UG often said such shocking things.

Mark Whitwell: He would say the most outrageous things relative to the ideals, icons and the precious jewels of culture that we are all organised around. If there was ever any elephant in the room he would definitely address the elephant. I think a point to be made is that UG is not digestible by the usual social mind.

UG clarified for all time that Yoga is participation only in the given Reality, not a seeking for a future result. “It’s ridiculous to ask for something that you already have,” UG would say, “Stop looking and start living.” | Mark Whitwell | Heart of Yoga

I feel like he was so outrageous because he had a job to be done and that was to end the abstractions that culture puts every person into. The way culture warps us into living an abstract life of ideas and dead structures in which we try to find meaning and definition in every aspect of life. Science and religion is this attempt to understand life from a position of presumed separation. UG was ruthlessly going about not the just deconstruction of it, but the explosion of it. That’s why he’s so outrageous.

And this writing about him or whatever we say here is only our interpretation of him.

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Mark Whitwell

Mark Whitwell has worked as a Yoga teacher around the world for the last 45 years and is the author of 4 books on Yoga. He lives in Fiji with his wife Rosalind.