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The Observer is the Observed

Madras, India. Group Discussion 1st December, 1947

[ One friend asked whether meditation can be practised for acquiring power, such as clairvoyance, and therefore this subject was taken up for discussion. ]

Generally speaking, seeking power takes one or the other of the following forms:

(i) Physical: - Power over matter, such as an engine or a motor car. This requires the mastering of the concerned technique. Modern civilisation is based on power which man has acquired by scientific skill to tame nature and to utilize its resources for the benefit of man.

(ii) Over yourself: -

a) Body - By doing appropriate physical exercise you gain control over your body.

b) Emotions: You can control your emotions and also be able to exercise power over others, over your relatives, through relationship. This is how several of you dominate others through relationship.

c) Mentation. Many of you practice vigorously to exclude various thoughts that arise in your mind in quick succession in the hope that you will be able to have only that thought which you choose. Though the mind will not be creative in this manner, you get some power to arrange your ideas and express them forcefully.

d) Super-sensory. It is also possible to gain powers of a super-sensory nature, such as clairvoyance. As a matter of fact experiments have been made in America to control matter by thought. Actually, by thought, the second-hand of a watch has been stopped from its movement. This shows that there is the possibility of controlling matter, and probably to some extent other individuals also, by means of thought.

Asceticism is really the pursuit of power through control of various kinds. Why do you seek power, or domination, over others? Generally this question is approached either a) through utilitarianism - i.e. what use it may be put to - or b) humanism - i.e. whether it will help in the salvation of the ignorant, etc. If you follow the utilitarian idea, then you will be lost in the various uses to which power is put and you will not be able to understand the truth of the problem of why you seek power. Similarly in following the idea of salvation of others, you bring in the question of morality, right and wrong, etc. Morality implies duality - right and wrong, good and bad, etc. Following this approach you will be lost in the various social and religious edicts that are considered desirable to enforce morality, and you forget all about the search for truth of the problem.

In order to ascertain the truth of the problem you should not be concerned with the uses to which power is put, nor with morality, as such concern always implies conflict of opposites.

You will then find that power is sought for itself because it is gratifying to you. You suggest that power is sought with a view to have continuance of a new desire, to seek fulfilment through things, through relationship and mentation; this indicates that you have attempted to use memory to solve this problem of power because we have previously discussed this question of continuance. As has been stated already, the application of any other idea which we have had before like Communism, Utilitarianism, etc. - to solve our new problem of seeking power - will be a hindrance to the discovery of Truth.

If you have intense desire for the search of Truth and if you realise that your mind is conditioned, then you are free of the conditioning. It is only then that your mind is still and free from all distractions. Then you will realise that your seeking of power is essentially due to your attempt to seek fulfilment of yourself through things, relationship and mentation. You seek such fulfilment because you are empty, lonely and insufficient. When the mind realises this, it is empty of all thoughts and is quite still - i.e. there is no thinking. This is really the highest form of meditation. The mind is then fully alert and is ready for creation to take place. Then the mind will be free from 'Time', duality, etc., with- out any effort whatsoever. As has already been stated, any system or practice will surely be a hindrance for the mind to arrive at this state.

To sum up, in your search for Truth regarding power, you have realised that conditioning of any kind is a hindrance to discovery of Truth. You have to emphasise not the conditioning but the search. Then, in examining this, you found that the seeking of power is because of your desire for gratification and for filling up your emptiness. Therefore, you must lay the emphasis not on the seeking of power but on understanding the emptiness in you. When the mind thus emphasises the primary issue and not the secondary, and when it follows each thought connected with the primary issue to its conclusion, there is understanding of the problem.

The Observer is the Observed

Madras, India. Group Discussion 1st December, 1947

Jiddu Krishnamurti texts. The Observer Is the Observed. Contains reports of spontaneous discourses about life and reality, given at different times between 1945 and 1948.


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