An Extract from 'Consciousness Writes'

by Ramesh S. Balsekar
Zen Publications, Mumbai.
(p. 119 - 120)

'When I wrote the preface for my first book, 'Pointers from Nisargadatta Maharaj', I had included the following paragraph in it: ' As I was translating Shri Maharaj's talks into English I began noticing in my translations the distinct influence of Wei Wu Wei's use of the English in his books. I have no doubt that traces of this influence would be clearly noticed by the discerning reader in these articles. Apart from the language, it seemed to me a wondrous demonstration of the universality of the subject itself that the writings of a scholar and practitioner of the Tao philosophy like Wei Wu Wei, thousands of miles away, (and hardly a popular writer), should find corroboration in the words of a Self-realized Jnani like Shri Maharaj, whose education, as he says himself, takes him just beyond the limit of illiteracy!'

Against my better judgement, under pressure from several well-wishers, this paragraph was dropped: the argument was that what I was in effect doing was to place a mere writer on the same level with Maharaj, a Self-realized Jnani. Perhaps the omission was a mistake - I now think it was - but it did happen. And I suppose it had to happen.

The whole story is that Wei Wu Wei's 'Open Secret' was given to me as a present by a friend of mine more than a decade before I started going to Maharaj. When I first read it, I couldn't make any sense out of it. Except that I had the sense to realize that the book was a real treasure; and I kept it aside so that it might not get thrown away with other books during one of the clean ups. And for some unfathomable reason, I suddenly thought of (more accurately, the thought occurred concerning) the book almost immediately after I started visiting Maharaj. I cannot describe to you the innumerable intellectual frustrations I went through between the two of them - Maharaj and Wei Wu Wei! I felt that the two of them had ganged up to have a private joke of their own, at my expense!! It was indeed a gang up but, as I realized some time later, it was to bring about an awakening in this body-mind mechanism that was named Ramesh.

When I was reading Wei Wu Wei (I must have subsequently read the book more than a hundred times - certain phrases and whole lines used to come out of my lips when translating Maharaj's talks), I used to marvel at the command of the English language which a Chinese man should have achieved. It was some time later that I gathered that Wei Wu Wei was not a Chinese but a wealthy Irish aristocrat, highly educated at Oxford University, an authority on wines and race horses.

I got this information through a lady who used to visit Maharaj. She later sent me a photograph of Wei Wu Wei with her. He was a giant of a man. She mentioned 'Pointers' to him, and he expressed a desire to see the book. I would have sent him a copy if I had known his address. I did this as soon as I heard from this mutual friend. I sent a copy to him at his villa in the south of France with a letter expressing my gratitude for the guidance I had received from his book. Unfortunately at that time (Wei Wu Wei was almost ninety years of age) senility was beginning to set in, but his wife read out the book to him, and, in his lucid moments, he indicated that he enjoyed the book. Our mutual friend told me that he referred to 'Pointers' as 'Wei Wu Wei without tears'.

Some years ago I was told that Wei Wu Wei is dead. His writings, together with Maharaj's teaching, helped me enormously. But many people find his writing too abstruse.'

(This extract is from a letter Ramesh wrote to 'E.F.' on May 2, 1988. Special thanks to Gloria Blocker for providing the extract and additional details.)


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