Dialogues with UG Krisnhamurti quoted by Luna Tarlo, mother of Andrew Cohen, from her memoir, The Mother of God.
UG seems to have pioneered some kind of idiot savant method.
Without consciously being aware of it, Luna Tarlo was becoming weary of the abuse she endured from her son, Andrew Cohen, after he became spontaneously enlightened in company of HWL Poonja. In February, about 5 months before she realized she could no longer endure her son’s nastiness, Luna Tarlo picked up a book by UG Krisnhamurti.
'As I left my apartment to take the train back to Boston, I grabbed without looking, a book amongst those that belonged to Andrew in my bookcase. It was titled The Mystique of Enlightenement—The Unrational Ideas of a Man Called U.G.
UG was UG Krishnamurti, an Indian gentleman who happened to be born in the same area of South India as was the famous J. Krisnamurti—Andhra Pradesh—where Krishnamurti is a fairly common name. They were not in any way related, but, oddly enough, both had worked for the Theosophical Society and had met each other there. In actual fact, J. Krishnamurti was UG’s favorite target in many of his attacks on gurus and their false promises and their lust for power.
(Tarlo, The Mother of God, 1997 Plover Presspage 246)
On the following page, Tarlo tells us something of the complexities of being devotees struggling to remain loyal to a bullying guru, while exposing themselves to material that has the potential to assist them to make a later and successful rejection of that abusive guru.
‘In Boston, the book went the rounds of our house. (Tarlo was with a group of Andrew disciples living in a communal house). Everyone was equally captivated. No one saw any conflict between UG’s ideas, and those of Andrew. Instead, they saw yet more confirmation of Andrew as a godman.’ (page 247)
In summer of that year, Tarlo went to join another group of disciples, mostly women. She overheard that her son had wondered, derisively, why some disciples of his would want to live in 'a house full of old ladies.'---namely Tarlo herself and some middle aged female disciples of Andrew's. For the past two years, Tarlo had had many grievious doubts about her son and his increasing cruelty but had managed to rationalize them. But all at once, a tipping point came when she had more than she could rationalize and reached saturation point.
‘When I put down the telephone receiver’ Tarlo writes ‘I felt as if I had received a blow to the head. Bizarre as it may seem, laughable to some, that perfunctory remark to Leslie (made by Andrew) was the catalyst that would alter the chemistry of my relationship to Andrew forever. I felt clobbered by something I had hadn’t wanted to acknowledge before—the fact that my once sensitive, understanding, woman loving (I’d thought) tenderhearted son had so changed.
I sat down next to the phone feeling a rush of nausea. How had this come about? Had I been negligent about something? Had there been signs in the past that I had missed? I’d always been adamant with both my sons about the necessity to treat a woman as the equal she is. With my hand still resting on the receiver, I sat without moving, stunned, sick with disappointment, and wondering whether the transformation in Andrew was the inevitable outcome of absolute male power.
‘Well, I was a woman. I was also a person. And I was the guru’s mother. Andrew was putting me down as a woman, as a person, and as his mother. Slowly, unalterably, some pivotal organ inside my body began to recoil into a state of uncontrollable rebellion.’
(Tarlo, page 250)
But…it appears Tarlo and others did need someone to validate their misgivings. And UG filled that role.
Now, here is a description of their visit to UG who visited the area at that time. UG had been answering peoples questions at a house meeting that Luna Tarlo was invited to attend. She went in state of gloom, troubled by her anger at her son. UG seemed glad to respond to questions. Then, Tarlo asked him a question about love.
When finally the questions ceased, and there was an extended silence, I roused myself to ask, “What about love? Where does love fit in?’
“Love is a four letter word” UG shot back. I looked him, dumbstruck. I was such a renegade opinion! I didn’t quite understand what he was getting at, but for me right then, it had a ring of the awful truth. “Its wanting something from someone” he continued. “And if they don’t deliver, your love turns either to hate or to indifference.” And then, with an air of impatience, he said the session was over.
Tarlo tells us that only then, reflecting on all this, did she see there were actually discrepancies—major ones—between UG’s teachings and her son’s doctrine. But this helped her feel free from her son’s authority and trust her own doubts. But perhaps it is possible by that point that she might have felt liberated by encountering something else.
But…this little snapshot seems to be an early form of a turn around.
Here is a later encounter that Tarlo and other discontented Andrew disciples had with UG.
‘Julie asked UG, ‘Is it necessary to surrender to a guru?
‘Well, what can a guru give you? UG responded. ‘When you surrender to a guru, all that happens is, you give up your self reliance.’
UG continued ‘And if you sometimes fall down in life, so what if you fall?’ UG continued. ‘You’ll get up again and go on.” He paused. ‘What can a guru give you?’
Then Isabel said, and I didn’t know if she was joking—‘You know UG, sometimes I think my dog is my real guru.’
‘With a dog its easy’ UG replied. ‘It’s a one way dialogue. No back-talk.’
We all laughed.
‘’The trouble is’ UG said, ‘You people are always looking on the outside for help.’
We gaped at him. It was true.
‘It will never come’ he said. ‘No one can give you anything. The looking outside, itself, is the barrier. ‘The seeking itself, is the obstacle.’
‘So what you are saying’ I said (Luna Tarlo) is that listening to you or anyone else, for that matter, will never bring about a change in us?’
‘No’ UG agreed. ‘And the fact is, you are not even listening. You are not listening at all. Listening is not in your interest. You are interpreting. ‘
Someone asked if there was a way to live that he could recommend.
‘UG said, ‘That’s a ridiculous question! With extraordinary intelligence, in every cell of the body, the body is already living and living well. The body knows how to feed itself, reproduce itself, and heal itself. It doesn’t need the interference of thought. Thought can only create problems but it cannot help us solve the problems.’ (Tarlo, 257)
((So….here, by the punchline UG undermined thought and its value, despite his otherwise encouragingly anti authoritarian message. C ))
But UG was shrewd. Later when one of Tarlos friends phoned him to announce they’d freed themselves from Andrew Cohen, gave this response:
In the morning, Julie called UG to thank him and to tell him all five of us had left Andrew.
‘No you havent’ he said gently. ‘you have just replaced one teacher with another teacher. Take it easy. Give it some time.’ (page 261)
Tarlo wrote of having several additional meetings with UG later on.
‘I was always very appreciative that with him there were no need for cover ups. Everything was open.
‘I discovered for myself and by myself, that there is no self to realize, it comes as a shattering blow. It hits you like a thunderbolt. You have invested everything in one basket, self realization, and in the end, suddenly you discover there is no self to discover, no self to realize. And you say to yourself, Whatthe hell have I been doing all my life.?’ That blasts you.’
Tarlo then wrote:
‘I don’t know how UG knows all this but he seems to know unequivocally. He seems to know it with the kind of certainty that gurus communicate to their disciples. And this quality of absolute certainty expressed by UG keeps people circling around him like flies droning around a honeypot. It is fed by the same old hope for freedom from suffering, even though UG states over and over they they’ll never find freedom through him, that they’d best go home and live their lives as best they can…
‘But some remain obdurate followers, insisting on endowing UG with powers that he emphatically denies. Some have remained followers for years, even decades. UG allows it. He refers to them as ‘friends’ and allows them to visit him more or less whenever they wish to. I don’t know why…He himself, the quintessential anti guru, must know that they nevertheless persist in regarding him as a guru, perhaps, paradoxically enough, as the guru above all other gurus, just because he denies being a guru—and lets them come…..
‘But why does UG bother to talk to people at all, I wonder? Ive wondered about this for a long time and have not been able to come up with a satisfactory answer. When asked this question directly, he answers, “Even if I wanted to hide away somewhere, they would find me.’
‘Maybe he flies around the world year in and year out answering peoples questions because he has never found anything else he wants to do. Who knows?’
(Luna Tarlo, The Mother of God pp 266-76)
So..it may be UG also pioneered a form of idiot savant.