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#2452 - Friday, April 21, 2006 - Editor: Jerry Katz

This issue features a link, contributed by Leo Hartong, to a very good video intended for the general public, which looks at the nature of reality and shows that there is only "this", or reality, or Allah. It is pure nonduality, which is what you would expect a guy like Leo to pass along.  

A short review about a book on U.G. Krishnamurti, contributed by Kriben Pillay.  

A poem by Janaka Stagnaro follows.  

The closing piece is a selection from Chuck Hillig's blog reporting his travels in Southeast Asia.    

    Leo Hartong writes:   Google presents:

Non-duality, science and a small sprinkling of Islam.

Have a look, you might like this video.

Enjoy (or not of course :-)







Debunking enlightenment

Jaydeep Deosthale
The book, which rejects outright all matters spiritual, is not for those whose sensibilities get offended easily.

The Other Side of Belief— Interpreting U G Krishnamurti ;

Mukunda Rao, Penguin Books, 2005, pp 350,

Rs 350.

History does not treat prophets of anti-wisdom too kindly, and that is why U G Krishnamurti is not as well known as his name sake, at least as of now. That may be one of the reasons why Mukunda Rao presents this new biography, a decade after one by Mahesh Bhatt, and his interpretations of the unconventional life and subversive views of U G.

This book is intended for all those readers who at some time or other think of the mystery called life. Mukunda Rao, shattered by the shock of his young daughter’s death, uses a personal narrative to understand life through that of UG and his unholy utterances. In this strangely shell-shocking yet therapeutic process, the reader is made to question almost all beliefs at the core of one’s existence.

The story of UG’s life starts with a search many have in mind but few bring to a completion; but proceeds in a way which is extremely unusual. Unlike the usual ending of an enlightened mind, here is a case of a transformed body which rejects all forms of enlightenment as “thought-induced conditioning”. Peppered with interesting anecdotes, the author presents UG’s dissatisfying encounters with people such as Swami Sivananda and Ramana Maharshi. A significant and spicy theme running through the book is UG’s unique relationship over his lifetime with J Krishnamurti.

Rao brings in JK so often that one is left wondering whether the book is about UG or JK. Starting off as a disciple-teacher association, the relationship culminates in UG’s rejection of all teachings including JK’s. In a typically irreconcilable statement, UG holds JK to be the most remarkable man he has met yet holds his teaching to be “phony baloney”. Yet as JK was dying, UG’s body apparently went through near death spasms four hundred miles away.

The hard to believe part of UG’s life is his bodily transformation in his 49th year, which has led to him living in what he calls the “
Natural State”. “The Mystique of Enlightenment” (1982), a book containing conversations with UG, describes this incredible process. Mukunda Rao too recounts this integral part of UG’s life.

This physical change mirrored UG’s disenchantment with all teachers and their teachings from Jesus to JK, and led him to debunk enlightenment and conclude that “the mind is a myth” and that no one, including himself, could help anyone else. UG’s blasphemous statements as he brings down supposed greats like Rousseau, Marx and Aurobindo and everything else held sacred by humankind are compared by Rao to the iconoclastic words of Nietzsche.

For those like me who have been seeking answers, this book comes as a welcome cold shower; a wake-up call to not ignore physical life itself in the quest for the spiritual. My conditioning however makes me disagree with the total rejection of matters spiritual, as held by UG, as it negates a tradition as old as man. But UG does not care for tradition.

The book itself could do with another round of editing, as one encounters repetition of events. At times there is a disjointed feel. Aesthetics apart, it is written in an easy to read style, with a wide array of thoughts, philosophic and scientific, tailored in. Some of the parallels are informative, but at times they seem digressive if not irrelevant.

The Other Side of Belief should come with a warning that it is not for those whose sensibilities get offended easily, as it is full of typical statements of UG such as “Religious joy is crap” or that “Man has to be saved from God”. Rao would say that UG does not care for sensibilities either.





Spring has come to this Bay
And with it a burning—
A burning so hot
It has cooked the waves of my dreams,
Washing me upon the shores of Consciousness,
In a bubbling bath of time.

In my hands I hold bloodied shears
Over the feathered pile of wings,
Reminding me of chickens plucked in
Soon to be washed down by beers.

I have tried, God,
You know I have,
To fall from my knowing of You,
To plunge into this House of Matter—
A house with a great wardrobe of pressed costumes,
Waiting for bodies to adorn;
Not one of them fit for flying.

And so I’ve cut and cut
And sometimes torn,
Trying to forget Your Name.

Then just when I think
I have found my tailored suit,
Trimmed and measured by the footsteps behind,
Your Name I hear once more,
Uttered by one of Your Lovers,
And again such a fashionable garment
Becomes ruined by the sprouting of wings.

Oh, how the nights burn and burn
With its molten waves of dreams,
Cooking me just like a Cameroonian chicken.

However, I know, God, I know,
That behind the scorching heat
Of shredded wings,
Comes the cool Hand of fog.

2004 Janaka Stagnaro


Friday, April 21, 2006

Around Vientiane...

Yesterday, I hired a tuk-tuk to take me out to a place called Buddha Park. It's an area on the banks of the Mekong about 25 K north of the city. The park itself is a collection of very old stone statues of Buddha, cobras, dragons and some of the demi-gods and deities that are described in Buddhist literature. A particularly impressive statue is a reclining Buddha about (I'm guessing) 100 feet in length and over 40 feet high. There were several other statures that towered over the others. Wandering around these weathered and beautifully-carved edifices was quite an amazing experience. They even had one large ball-shaped dome...perhaps fifty feet high...that you could enter by squeezing through an open stone mouth. Once inside, you could climb to the top floor through very narrow passages and then circle that level. Inside the dome are numerous stone statues that represent, I was told later, the various level of hell. As you finally descend, floor by floor, you end up at the lowest level with stone skulls and people being tormented by demons. I tried, unsuccessfully, to find a description in the guide book and only learned about it from the hotel. It's well worth the trip so, if you ever get to Vientiane, be sure to see the Buddha Park.


Tomorrow is Sunday and I've booked a 40-minute flight up to Luang Prabang for a few days. Today, I've visited the Cultural Hall and the Revolution Museum and, at 8 P.M. tonight, I'm going to dinner with a delightful Irish fellow named Graham.


Some general impressions around Vientiane:


1) As it is around Indonesia, many of the houses and business have small "spirit houses" that they maintain near their front door. Sometimes, these small houses are on the ground but, more often, they're mounted on a platform that is supported by a stone pillar about 4 feet high. On the flat area, (sometimes as large as 4' x 4'), they then erect what resembles a miniature temple or wat that is supposed to honor the spirits. Flowers, incense, fruit, etc. are placed on the platform as gifts. I understand that, if you add to the size of your house, you also are expected to add an addition to the spirit house as well.


2) As it was in Hanoi, the folks in Vientiane also have a special area in which to practice their aerobics every evening. It's all quite voluntary, of course, and the physically-challenging movements are all performed with great enthusiasm.


3) The sidewalks in Vientiane are sometimes very uneven, and it's not uncommon to see gaping holes in them that seemingly appear out of nowhere. Some of these holes, in fact, are several feet across and over a foot deep so, if you're not paying full attention, it's all too easy to take a serious fall. None of these hazards, of course, are marked so you really have to walk carefully. I remember that I had experienced that same kind of pedestrian hazard when I was walking the streets of Bali many years ago.


4) The restaurants in southeast asia don't give you a lot of napkins to use during your meals. For example, at the restaurant in my hotel this morning, I was given one small square of tissue...about 8" x 8 "...that was so thin I could, quite literally, read my newspaper through it. More later...

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