[ Uppaluri Gopala Krishnamurti or more popularly known as UG was a “philosopher, a Non-guru, guru.” Though he used to claim “that the demand for enlightenment was the only thing standing in the way of enlightenment itself,” his close followers consider him to be a jIvanmukta. Krishnamurti himself often “referred to his state of being as the ‘natural state’.” Anon who is a frequent Commentator at this site contributes the following write up about UG’s natural state — ramesam.]
For me to do a commentary on what U.G. has described as ‘The Natural State’, would be a very difficult thing as I would only be playing with ideas and concepts about what someone else has said, much like doing a commentary about what the Upanishads described. The closest thing would be to paraphrase some of the descriptions from what U.G. had said about it. Here is my feeble attempt:
UG makes a clear distinction between ‘states of mind’ and what happened to him. He refers to the totality of mind and all its maneuvering as having nothing to do with the ‘Natural State’. He made it clear that if anything had to be done, it was the stopping, not volitionally, of all attempts to gaining ‘understanding’,
‘insight’, ‘attainment of any kind’, including ‘god’, ‘brahman’, ‘no self’, ‘true self’, and ‘Self Realization’. This was the pre-requisite if anyone was to fall into the ‘Natural State’. This itself is no easy task as we all know, but he said there was simply no other possibility as the seeker must see that all his attempts cannot bring this state into being. Then, perhaps it could happen to someone. How?, is not known. It is not a question that ever comes to one that is in this ‘state’.
What he has described, which may or may not appear in the Hindu scriptures and other literature, is how this ‘calamity’ (joke) left him. He described it as a transformation of the body that no longer had a ‘center’, a ‘self’, an ‘interpreter’, of all the sensual stimulus that the senses encountered. There was nothing else but the extraordinary moment to moment flow of life which was complete in itself and where no thoughts or images arose. There was nothing held over from one moment to the next. If he looked at a flower, that was his universe. All the senses were alive like this. Without the interruption of thought on seeing, he had ‘vista vision’ where he saw everything at once in a wide-screen format. 🙂Maybe HD, too. Every aspect of his body was now functioning including many dormant glands and chakras, much more than is commonly talked about. Many strange and extraordinary things took place physically including a white ash that would appear on his feet and body. I never saw this, but several friends had. He once described it as burnt thoughts. Maybe this is the source of vibhuti in Hindu speak.
I could go on and on, however if anyone is really interested to get it in U.G.’s own words, ‘The Biology Of Enlightenment’, edited by Mukunda Rao is the book to get. What many people speak of and ‘practice’ and ‘experience’ is simply not the ‘Natural State’. They are states of mind which appear as experiences and which will come and go. What comes and goes is the sense of an experiencer and the whole sense of time and space as well as a history of a fictitious self, even what many call ‘The Self’. The Natural State is clearly devoid of any of these Mind-induced concepts, images, thought-feelings. All psychological content is gone since there is no one experiencing any of this. There is only factual content that is left for the brain to navigate by.
U.G. goes on to say that whoever comes into this state, will have an unique way of describing it. Each flower has its own smell.
Picture Credits: By Giuliano Sauro, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3048295
Ashtavakra Gita, 17.5:
“Those desirous of worldly enjoyment and those desirous of liberation, both are found in the world. But rare indeed is the great-souled one who is not desirous of either enjoyment or liberation”
There are other passages such as these in Ashtavakra. UG is simply pointing out that the desire / striving for liberation also has to go, because it is a function of the ego.
As for transformation of the body – it is irrelevant isn’t it? Who is left to care – a non-existent ego? And by setting it up, as you are, as some kind of transformation that is experienced, you are presuming an experiential goal to attain, which you posit as the mark of enlightenment. All the sages have said you are not the body, you are not the mind – so why does it matter if the body does or does not achieve ‘HD vision’? That is probably why the vedantic literature does not focus on this, because it entirely misses the point.
I think one of the mistakes that seems to take place in readers of U.G.’s story is that they do set up this physical transformation of the body as a goal. But that is not the intention of U.G. In the conversations with him, he constantly reminds the listener that this was what literally happened to him when his search came to an end. It was a total surprise and had nothing to do with his doing anything to achieve it or even know about it. What U.G. seems to be describing is what happens when you are living as the Ashtavakra Gita verse that you quote.
I never heard U.G. describe this transformation as a goal. In fact, after he became ‘acclimated’ to these changes, they were never mentioned unless someone asked specifically about something. What we tend to do with this information is to make it a part of our process of ‘becoming’ instead of looking at it and letting it go like all other experiences. U.G., in fact, seemed like Advaita incarnate the way he lived. He never focused on anything or told anyone to try and become anything. It is just a story, Venkat, much like you are. No matter what kind of books you read, you will try to take something from them and play with it for awhile. That kind of activity is what misses the point, I think. Whether it’s quoting Shankara or U.G., it’s all the same thing, playing with words, telling a story. None of it is relevant.