First Introduction: The first time I heard about UG was with Terry Newland (then Agnew). I knew Terry in
It must have been some months later in the same year. Terry took a fancy to me and invited me to
Later, Terry invited me and three of my friends to spend the night in his place in Sebastapol on our way to
That morning Terry gave us a breakfast of musilex. He also showed me a picture of UG and referred to him as an enlightened man. Terry had heard him speak in
UG had invited him to spend three months in
Terry was obviously quite touched by the attention UG showered on him. Apparently, UG would get up early in the morning before Terry and arrange for his hot water for his bath! The biography he was supposed to write, for which purpose he took a typewriter with him, never came about. I heard several such accounts about UG from Terry and simply stored them away in memory without doing much about them.
Second Introduction: The next occasion I heard about UG was when I was in
A day or two after the cabin was burned down, I went with Linda and Terri to one of his lady friends’ place. It was a lone house amid fields and pineapple plantations. There he played a tape of UG speaking. Again, I felt no reaction. I remember UG’s voice in the tape being somewhat shriek.
Third Introduction: Linda, to whom I now was married, our daughter Bujji and I went to
Sowris, Chalam and Sowris’s ‘gang’ used to visit UG in
My First Meeting with UG: Then, some years later, early in 1981, I got a letter from Nartaki, the lady who lived in Chalam’s family for much of her life. She said that UG was coming to the
At about the same time, Terry also called from
It must have been about a month or so later: one morning (this must be in 1981, around October), I got a phone call from Ramesh Ganerwala, an engineer who worked for the California Energy Commission, from
I had a large quantity of upma made for my in-laws who were visiting me that morning. After breakfast they had all gone out with my wife, Wendy. I was home alone. The time was about noon. Ramesh drove UG and Valentine in his small old beat-up BMW. I watched through the living room window UG getting out of the car and walking on the pavement toward my house. With his arms hanging loose, he had the gait of a zombie. His face was expressionless and he looked like a man on the death row.
Valentine and Ramesh as well as UG, all came in. I greeted them, led them into the kitchen and seated them at the kitchen table. UG sat next to the wall in the kitchen and I sat across the table from him. I served lunch to everyone. UG was praising my upma to Ramesh saying that it was the ‘authentic stuff’. UG started talking mostly about himself. During the conversation he and I exchanged notes about our backgrounds -- he coming from Gudivada and I from
During the conversation, UG joked about Satya Sai Baba, saying how he used to materialize Swiss watches before, but how he materialized only
They stayed for about two hours. As they were leaving, I tried to put my arm around UG’s shoulder as a gesture of affection, but he quickly moved away. I realized that he was not open to such physical contact. In the living room, as he was leaving, I shook his hand to say goodbye, addressing him as ‘Mr. Krishnamurti.’ He said that I could just as well call him ‘number 69,’ like a jail convict, and that people called him ‘UG.’
It was a pleasant experience meeting UG. I had the strange feeling as we were standing at the kitchen door and holding each other’s hands, that he was so similar to me in many ways, and that I was meeting myself. The feeling was one of closeness. I was already bonded with UG!
As he left, he invited me to visit him in
First Visit to UG: I think UG came a second time, when Elena, a Russian young lady, was also present. It must be about a month or so after his first visit. I can’t remember much about this visit except that this time he invited both Elena and me to visit him. Again, I didn’t respond except saying “OK, thank you.” But the night before Thanksgiving that year, I got another phone call from Ramesh in
We arrived at UG’s house in
Julie Wellings, whom I had met long before (in 1975) in Tiruvannamalai, where she was living in Chalam’s household and learning Telugu from Sowris, was also visiting UG. She brought her own beer that night and drank it, to my surprise. The next day a few pictures were taken.
UG gave me a room upstairs with a big (soft) bed and some sheets. Not much else. I couldn’t sleep very well. I was there a couple of nights. The next day in the kitchen, UG asked me if I could “look into” the cooking which Kim was doing. I put a few spices like cumin (or anything suitable I could find on the shelf) in the food.
On the second day I was there, Ramesh was also there. Then UG went on talking hours on end about his past life, his wife, family and so on. Then a young man visited UG. He sat at the table and they talked about Zen. UG challenged the man, holding a cup in his hand, “Tell me what this is.” “Do you really see this? What do you really see here?” And he kept repeating the questions. Soon he enlisted my help. I remember saying, “There is something funny about Zen. How can anyone certify that someone had satori or enlightenment and to what degree?” UG appeared to agree with me.
It was during this visit that Terry brought mimeographed copies of conversations with UG (later to become part of The Mystique of Enlightenment) and distributed them to people around. He collected five dollars per copy for the cost of mimeographing. I got a copy for myself.
That was where Elena met Krim, a young American of Russian origin, who had known UG in
That afternoon, an elderly man and a young couple, all Americans, came to visit UG. I was told that they were friends of Alan Watts. UG received them cordially and soon got involved in a discussion with them. At one stage, I interjected saying something trying to help the discussion and UG immediately interrupted me saying, “I want to stop him right there.” I got the message and shut up.
I was ready to leave after two days. Kim was driving Ramesh’s BMW car for UG in those days. On the third day, sometime in the afternoon, Kim was ready to drive me to the Bus Depot in
 Till his final days, on special occasions, especially on full moon days, UG demonstrated the swollen glands to people around him.
 I know that treatment: there were times when I slept in UG’s living rooms. He would come early in the morning at 6 or 7 am, stand by my side and say in a feeble and gentle voice: “It’s 7 o’clock now, will you try to get up?”
 Chandrasekhar was a frequent visitor to Chalam’s house and regarded Chalam as his ‘father’ besides being devoted to Sowris.
 Having been a widow and had no place to go, she took shelter in Chalam’s place and became part of the household.
 She had lived with us for about a month. I think she just got out of living with a Russian old lady in
 I thought people didn’t drink or smoke in front of spiritual people like UG.
 He did make a few futile attempts later [sometimes with me helping him] to break up the relationship. They ended up having a child and then separating.