Man who refused to be God

Man who refused to be God

Sweet and Sour

Among the few Indians I admire is film producer Mahesh Bhatt. The times I could go to cinema, I saw ‘Saransh’ and thought it first-rate. I was told he made some even better. He was regarded as somewhat of a genius among film directors. It was not for his films I admired him but for one who spoke out boldly against hooligans who inflicted violence on others not of their faith or region. This took some courage as he spent his boyhood years in Shivaji Park, the epicentre of Shiv Sainiks who periodically roughed up Muslims, Tamilians, Biharis and Uttar Pradeshis.

Now I have another reason to admire him: he also writes very well. I’ve just finished reading his ‘A Taste of Life — the Last Days of U G Krishnamurti’. I did not know he had also dabbled on spiritual pursuits and had been a ‘chela’ of Acharya Rajneesh (Osho) till he ran into U G Krishnamurti and switched over his loyalties.

Uppaluri Gopala Krishnamurti, always referred to as UG was the son of an Andhra Brahmin lawyer. He dropped out of college to pursue the quest for the truth of life and ‘moksha’ — salvation. He followed the traditional path of Indian seekers of Math: meditated in a Himalayan cave, sought the counsel of Ramana Maharishi and rejected them with scorn.

He joined the Theosophical Society of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Since he was a good speaker, he was sent abroad. He delivered lectures in European countries and America. Finally, he also rejected theosophy.

He had a magnetic personality and soon a cult grew around him. Much as he tried to diminish his stature, it grew bigger and bigger.

I quote his words: “I am not a godman; I would rather be called a fraud. The quest for God has become an obsessive factor in the lives of human beings because of the impossibility of achieving pleasure without pain. The messy thing called the mind has created many destructive things but the most destructive thing, by far, is God. God has become the ultimate pleasure. The variations of God, self-realisation, ‘moksha’, liberation, the fashionable gimmicks of transformation, the first and the last freedom and all the freedoms that come in between, are pushing man into a state of manic depression.”
UG made a mess of his own life. He got married, then deserted his wife and child and asked for a divorce.

Mahesh Bhatt was a kindred soul; son of Brahmin father and a Muslim mother. Besides making films, he went in a spiritual quest of his own. For a while he became a devotee of Acharya Rajneesh (Osho) and stayed in his ashram in Pune. Osho gave him a necklace of rudraksh beads to wear. He married and had a family. He had a torrid affair with Parveen Babi. In a violent quarrel his necklace broke. He flushed the beads in the toilet.

Bhatt’s book is on UG’s last days and death in an Italian sea-side town Vallecrosia in March 2007. “What is death?” asked UG and answered: “Death is a process which occurs within that space called ‘you’. And when it occurs, it leads to the disintegration of that form called ‘you’. We call this disintegration ‘death’. When you interfere with this occurrence, you interfere with the stream of life.”

As one would expect, UG did not want any monuments raised in his memory. He was cremated and the ashes immersed in the Mediterranean.

Though somewhat repetitive, Mahesh Bhatt’s narrative makes compelling reading. UG did not want to be God; Mahesh Bhatt has made him out as one.

Well tried!

“Twenty-nine years ago Demetrius Soupolos and his former beauty queen wife Traute wanted a child badly,” a solicitor told a court in Stuttgart, “and had spent several years unsuccessfully trying to conceive. When Soupolos went to a fertility doctor and discovered that that he was sterile, his wife was distraught, so he asked his neighbour Frank Maus for assistance. Maus was already married with two children, and he looked a lot like Soupolos, so a plan of action was agreed. Soupolos would hire Maus for a lump sum of 2,500 euros, and in return Maus would get Traute pregnant.”

“Traute initially objected to the plan, but was placated by Maus, who told her, ‘I don’t like this any more than you do. I’m simply doing it for the money.’ Over the next six months, Maus spent three evenings each week trying to impregnate Traute, a total of 72 times, but without success. At this point, Soupolos insisted that Maus should have a medical examination, and discovery that he too was sterile shocked everyone, especially Maus’ wife, who subsequently confessed that he was not the real father of their two children.
“Soupolos is now suing Maus for breach of contract, in an attempt to get his 2,500 euros back. But Maus refuses, saying that he never guaranteed conception, only that he would give an honest effort. Which he did.”

(Courtesy: ‘Private Eye’, May 28, 2009)

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