Sabyasachi Guha, known as ‘Guha’ by his English-speaking friends, was born on 1st May, 1953 in Kolkata, India. Shortly after, his family moved to Hindmotor, West Bengal, a small town situated on the western bank of the Ganges, where he spent much of his early and teenage years. He graduated from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, with a Ph.D. in physics and began his career as a scientist at the Indian Space Research Organization. In 1988 he moved to the United States and took up a post as Research Scientist at Rutgers University. He retired in 2007 and now spends his time travelling to India, Europe and throughout the United States meeting with friends and acquaintances responding to people's questions.
Guha’s childhood is probably typical of most Indian boys of a middle-class family. He enjoyed hanging out with his friends and showed a keen interest in playing soccer. Although he initially refused to take his studies seriously, he was a bright student and had a natural inclination towards the sciences. He taught himself calculus to understand the works of Albert Einstein, which fascinated him deeply. Physics came easily to him and he enjoyed the subject which is the main reason he decided to make it his profession later in life.
At the age of 17, Guha attended the prestigious Presidency College in Kolkata. However, he was soon faced with an inner dilemma: “How can one aggressively pursue one’s career and at the same time be sensitive and kind to the suffering people?” He became involved with a political party that addressed the freedom of the poor and oppressed. At the age of 21, after leaving home and studies, he ended up in Varanasi as a fugitive. It was here that his passion “to find out the meaning and purpose of life” was ignited. He studied Indian philosophy and Zen Buddhism in the library of Benares Hindu University. Later, in Bangalore, he became acquainted with the works of Jiddu Krishnamurti. He felt that J. Krishnamurti best addressed his inner struggle and this sparked an interest in him to inquire even deeper into his own nature.
He was intent to find out what his role was in the scheme of life as a member of the human species and what the justification was that could take place in his own mind to free him from conflict. He would later say that this was an exercise in total futility. “I spent so much of my energy in wanting to know and discovered that the deeper I delved, the more difficult and complex it became, needing more and more of my attention—there was no end to that knowing, no foundation, or any such thing as fundamental truth. I became constantly miserable and dissatisfied. Something inside me was resisting all this.”
In his pursuit, Guha became well acquainted with all aspects of spiritual practice, to no avail. He observed in himself, that even though he had many tremendous meditative experiences, nothing had changed in him—he was still struggling, still in conflict.
His search culminated in the meeting of U.G. Krishnamurti in 1995. This was the beginning of a close and pivotal association that lasted until U.G.’s death in 2007. During this time, his intense inquiry in wanting to know, to understand, came to an end for good. He came to realize that in life most things operate outside the field of knowledge and will, and that somewhat paradoxically, it is the greatest mercy of the body that it is allowing us to continue doing what we are doing, not the other way round—“the body does not give two hoots for the nobility of our thoughts.”
On first meeting Guha, one is immediately struck by his transparency and his tremendous sense of justification and respect for each individual life. He has a direct and clear way of expressing his point of view, often with a lot of humor. He talks about everything and anything, mostly addressing our main concerns of everyday living, the complexity of human individuals and of our striving to free ourselves from the burden and stranglehold imposed on us by society’s demands. He never fails to add though, that there is no such thing as god or “so-called enlightenment,” that there is nothing to get from him or from anyone; that what operates in him also exists in every individual. This conviction is firm, and Guha states it eloquently in his Bengali book ‘Fourteen Days in Palm Springs with U.G.’—
“Each one of us is a unique creation of nature and an extraordinary movement. If somehow a complete trust—in Bengali we say ‘paripurno astha’—develops in the supreme intelligence responsible for maintaining its equilibrium with the rest of the world and sustaining the living movement, the naturally-induced order pre-programmed at birth will reincarnate in our life and reorient our living. Life then begins to function in a very different way. The internal power of that order is far beyond our imagination, its exhibition and extension are truly incomprehensible. Everything that you need to move in the field of life is very naturally supplied by that power.”
Guha says emphatically that he is not defending anything. He does not want to promote anything or anybody or any idea. This website was created solely because of a genuine expression of interest in wanting to hear what Guha has to say and to make it readily available for anyone wishing to explore further.
- Golda Markovic