What U.G. Krishnamurti did for Yoga | Mark Whitwell

Mark Whitwell
4 min readJul 23, 2021


“Each flower has its own fragrance” | My friend U.G. (1918–2007)

“But it grieves my heart love

To see you tryin’ to be a part of

A world that just don’t exist

It’s all just a dream, babe

A vacuum, a scheme, babe

That sucks you into feelin’ like this”

— Bob Dylan, To Ramona

For thousands of years, humanity has suffered the proposal that Truth or God is absent and needs to be found. The population has been brainwashed into the pursuit of a transcendent Truth that supposedly lies ‘beyond the veil’ of ordinary, presently arising conditions.

In the belief that there is somewhere amazing to get to, the intrinsic wonder of ordinary conditions — the body, birth, sex, women, and death — is denied. The search for God obliterates our ability to notice the wonder that is already present in us, as us and around us.

Whether religious or no, the movement of mind toward an imagined future state is the axiom of all patriarchal cultures. Few are spared. It is the very source of human suffering.

Convinced of a future possibility of perfection, union with God, or permanent happiness (a.k.a. enlightenment), the mind tries to get us there with all its energy and intelligence; and the mind’s urgent effort toward God as ‘other’ produces a tremendous stress in the body-mind.

“Grazie U.G.” Outside his place in Saanen | Mark Whitwell | Heart of Yoga

“You can’t imagine the extent to which, as you are now, thought pervades and interferes with the functioning of every cell in your body,” my friend U.G. Krishnamurti observed.

“Society has put before you the ideal of a perfect man. No matter in which culture you were born, you have scriptural doctrines and traditions handed down to you to tell you how to behave. You are told that through due practice you can even eventually come into the state attained by the sages and saints, and so you try to control your behavior, to control your thoughts, to be something unnatural.

Your effort to control life has created a secondary movement of thought within you which you call the self […] You are a living creature yet you lead your entire life within the realm of this isolated, parallel movement of thought. You cut yourself off from life. That is something very unnatural.” — The Natural State

Although, he was recognized by the orthodoxy of Vedanta as a Jivamukti (a liberated soul), U.G. would reject all such claims, terms and titles and was utterly unwilling to be identified with the cultural logics of religious or spiritual seeking.

Due to his steadfast refusal to abide the idea that one person could be senior to another (or second to another) within the hierarchies of spiritual/ religious attainment, he gained the nickname ‘the raging sage’ — videos of U.G. yelling at people that their problems are not real can be found on youtube. “The very fact that you are here is your problem,” he would say to seekers who came to his door looking for a boon.

“Your naturalness is something that you don’t have to know. You just have to let that function in its own way” — U.G. Krishnamurti | Mark Whitwell

U.G. declared and embodied the fact that everybody is in the natural state already; everybody is the wonder, harmony and beauty of the cosmos already; that the body does not care in the slightest for your samadhis and bliss-states; that Life does not come in the form of a problem or a solution or even a question; Life is simply happening in all its radiance and you are that: and that is the end of the story.

Although he remains relatively obscure within the worlds of mainstream yoga, U.G. made a significant contribution to yoga by clarifying for all time that Yoga is participation in the natural state of the body and not a thought-created struggle for a future peace known as ‘enlightenment.’

“Surrender, known in the traditions as Isvarapranidhana, and faith, known as sraddha, are the giving up of spiritual ideas.” — Hridaya Yoga Sutra | Mark Whitwell

The natural state of the body is the peace, power, harmony, relatedness, intelligence and extreme sensitivity that is always functioning as the body-mind of every person; the natural state is a perfect balance of strength and softness, male and female, receptivity and penetration. Yoga is to unqualify the whole body from the imposition of mind and let it bloom like a flower.

It was U.G.’s birthday on July 9th. He was a dear friend who is missed by many. What his life represented continues to flow into the world: the rejection of hierarchy; the disenchantment of exalted spiritual states; the blasting of spiritual commercialism; and a presence that was utterly loving as well as mischievous.

Thank you U.G.



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.