This book brings a whiff of fresh air in an atmosphere infested with self-proclaimed godmen, gurus and pseudo-religious seekers. If you like to tread a path of adventure, risking your pet beliefs, assumed certainties and habitual hypocrisies, you will love this unique work by a simple and ordinary housewife. Her spontaneous encounters with the enigmatic sage are full of wit and humor. The amusing episodes transport you to newer heights of crystal-clear vision of yourself. U.G.'s straightforward but ego-shattering statements give you no scope to duck out of real life situations, leaving you to face life as it comes.
Within these pages, U.G. Krishnamurti emerges not as a guru or a godman dishing out homilies and commandments but a person in flesh and blood. He is a zen master without a school and at large. But there is something about him which defies description. Nevertheless, the readers cannot fail to notice the freshness and vitality of his words which seem to spring from a source unknown. However, there is no occultification or mystification surrounding U.G. The fragrance of his simplicity and openness is spread throughout the book.
At last, here is a book that is refreshing, radical, unconventional, as it clears a lot of muck spewed forth in the name of God, religion, enlightenment and related matters.
A Brief Sketch of the Author
Shanta Kelker was born in 1948 in Bombay. Her devout parents and her brahmanical background were to a great extent responsible for her very early spiritual quest.
Convent educated and a graduate in home science, she had to leave her hometown, Bombay, after her marriage and settle in Bangalore where she currently lives with her two children. As a housewife, she spent most of her leisure in reading philosophy. It was in Bangalore that she chanced to meet many saints and philosophers. Her mind continued to be intrigued with the mysteries of life till she met U.G. in the year 1980.
U.G. seemed to be an answer to most of her questions, and after every visit to him, she noted down her conversations with him in a diary. The book is a collection of some of the amusing incidents from her diary pages.
The overwhelming response from the readers to the first title, Thought Is Your Enemy (Mind-shattering conversations with the man called U.G.) and the encouragement and goodwill from my friends and well-wishers could not hold me back from going in for a second one on U.G. Krishnamurti, The Sage and the Housewife by Shanta Kelker. In fact, the second title should have been the first in coming. But it does not always happen the way you want it.
However, I would like to mention two incidents which triggered the process of publishing this book. They, in themselves, are not of much importance but still might interest the readers when viewed in the context of what the subject of the book—U.G.—means to me. Of course, all this is my interpretation.
First incident: It was last year (1989) sometime in June when I was with U.G. in Bangalore, the conversation drifted along the topic of money. I was vociferously stating that I would like to be very very rich. Chandrasekhar, who is U.G.'s host in Bangalore, was also present at the scene. He said, "If you are really serious you have an opportunity. There is a book written by a lady which is in need of a publisher. Whoever inherits it will be a rich man one day." I heeded his words and at once offered to publish it. But U.G.'s reaction was cold. He said, "Neither the subject nor the author is famous. I don't know how you are going to sell it."
To another, who was sitting with a religious air around him, he said, "Whether you are after riches or enlightenment or God it is all the same." But my mind stuck on to Chandrasekhar's words and I pressed on to inherit the publishing rights for the book. As though to make my dream come true, U.G. at once summoned the author of the book. No time was lost in signing the deed of the transfer of the rights of the book in my name. Said U.G., "You want money and she wants fame and let us wait for the outcome." Thus the drive for fame and money, at last, brought this book in print.
Second incident: Delhi, December 1989. U.G. was my guest. One day we were going shopping when he suddenly burst out (we call it a cloudburst), "You know, what has happened to me, in a way, is very extraordinary. The whole of the past has been wiped out of my system. What is left is the simple energy of life. Do you think it depends on anyone? In this scheme of things neither you nor me nor anybody matters. But it will certainly have its full glow and disappear one day. There is not much time left now, Sir. It is like a lamp which burns the brightest at its end."
Interpretation: The single most question that some of us constantly pose to U.G. is whether he affects us in some way or not, whether he helps us to fulfill our wishes or not. In no uncertain terms does his answer come, "I don't know and I have no way of knowing it," and thereafter, a rider, "I think I don't. Whatever happens to you is your own making."
This is not the right place to be sentimental or indulge in a marathon narrative to say that whatever I am today I owe it to this man called U.G., who (I do not get the right word) is more than a mere person. He is a phenomenon, a continuum of consciousness and several other things that are ascribed to the indescribable.
Many of us who have known U.G., including the author, cannot easily deny his playing the role of a catalyst to unearth the potential of everyone who comes in close contact with him. The book and its publication are the result of this catalytic action. Setting aside the talk of fame and money as causes of the book and its publication (which is more like a new peg to hang your real story), those who have known him are witnesses to the fact that their latent energies and potential receive a solid kick from the uncontaminated and explosive energy of U.G. and stir us to action. (I can hear U.G. chuckling and calling it unadulterated nonsense.) U.G. does affect us all, but in a strange way. Layers upon layers of dust gathered over you are wiped clean (your hypocrisies are completely exposed) and then there is an unobtrusive, gentle but a mighty push by him to be yourself. Thereafter, whatever the potential is within you flowers. No rational explanation for all this is possible nor is it necessary. Take it or leave it.
The publisher hopes the readers will enjoy the book, which is a veritable goldmine; not only that, but also that it will remain a most precious ornament in their lives.
For the benefit of those who indulge in serious philosophical cogitations, at the end of the book, a chapter on U.G. and his unteachable teachings has been devoted. It is written by Mr. J.S.R.L. Narayana Moorty, a teacher of Philosophy in the Monterey Peninsula College in California. The article is an attempt to capture through thought that which cannot be captured or expressed by thought.
May I conclude with a short piece of conversation that took place between the author and me.
Publisher: I am going ahead with the book.
Author: At last....eh! I have given you a goldmine.
Publisher: Let's see how it will all work out to be.
Author: Every action of mine has a source in U.G. Every cell of mine has U.G. Nothing will I say or do without his bidding.
Publisher: Same here. But how long do you know U.G.? I know him since fifteen years.
Author: The time does not count. It is more a matter of how much U.G. has affected you. One second with him may be enough.
Yes, I agree. One second is enough. A word, an episode in the book, may be enough to be effected by U.G. It depends on you.