Sunday, March 25, 2007

U.G.Krishnamurti, 1918-2007.

The Sunday morning newspapers announced the death of UG at Vallecrossia in Italy on March 22nd. Along with Rajneesh and J.Krishnamurti, UG occupied a special place in my heart and thoughts. I first heard about him in the beginning of 1990 when i read an article in 'The Week'. It was only in 2002 that I learnt more of UG reading his biography written by filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt. Since then I have read much more and did hope to meet him once.

UG was very clear in his disagreement with J.Krishnamurti though both of them in a way shared the heritage of the Theospohical Society. Rajneesh too has made a bitter attack on him.
UG was very emphatic on the wisdom of the body as supreme and considered the mind a myth. He did not believe there is anything permanent which will surive our death.

In a letter written to a monk in the Ramakrishna Ashram in London UG wrote ' one has to haul oneself out of one's own swamps by one's own bootstraps'.

In another context UG remarks 'Insights mean nothing. In a living situation the man with insight behaves just like anybody else. Has the psychologist solved for himself the problem that he is trying to analyze?'

UG had a very sober view of death as marking the end of our physical existence. And since he did not believe in a soul or atman or a dot that outlives death to sail in a sea of eternity, He saw death a a final ending.

Adieu UG!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Of Gods and Nudity!

The reference by a Minister on the floor of the Kerala Assembly to nude Hindu Gods raised a furore leading to boycott of the House by the Opposition who allege that the Minister offended the sensibilities of believers in the Hindu faith. The Minister immeidately withdrew his remarks but the Opposition has decided to continue its boycott of the Minister till he apologises for the same. The Minister has since clarified that he was referring to the sculptures in many Hindu temples.
Debates have started in the language newspapers as to whether it is proper for Gods to be in the nude or as to what respectful attire they should be draped in. The Minister's comment and consequent debates reflect the offcial culture of India that has been influenced by the British administrators and missionaries who managed to impose on this country the prudishness and puritan morality of the Victorian era. This influence was so extreme that no less a person than Mohandas Gandhi wanted the erotic sculptures of Khajuraho to be defaced.
What the Minister, the Opposition and others have failed to acknowledge or understand is that these sculptures where created to enable 'drishti-shuddhi' whereby the worshipper who feasts his eyes on these and other scenes of social life enters the garbha-griha with his mind emptied of all wordly thoughts and prepared for communion with the divine. The position of these sculptures, their numbers and size would readily lend themselves to this interpretation.