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The Observer is the Observed

Madras, India. Group Discussion 5th December, 1947

You have seen that it is necessary to realise that substitution is a false action. Why do you seek substitution?

You are gossiping and you say that you don't want to gossip and therefore you want to give up gossiping. The desire to give up gossiping is really a substitute for the gossiping which is your actual state.

A friend said that his ill-health was found to be due to smoking and he gave up smoking immediately. It was pointed out that this giving up was really based on the fear of a breakdown in his health and that even though he gave up smoking he had not really solved the problem of smoking.

A habit, however bad it may be, will be continued so long as it is pleasurable and it will be given up the moment it is found to be painful. To be free of habit, you have to understand the problem of habit.

Another friend referred to his having given up pooja recently but that the image which he had been worshipping previously, always stared him in the face. This question was gone into and it was pointed out that pooja was really done by that friend with a profit motive - i.e. with a view to gain something, and that it was based upon authority - i.e. the injunction given by some priest that pooja would lead to his gaining the object in view. His desire for change in regard to the performing of the pooja was also probably due to his having accepted another authority. Thus, there has been no understanding, and therefore the giving up of the pooja has not led him anywhere. When there is desire for gain or profit or to achieve a particular result, there is greed. When there is greed, there is no investigation at all because there is always the fear that enquiry will affect the investment that has already been made. When mind is free of all distractions like profit and authority, and when you give over your whole being to the understanding of the pooja and all the implications involved in it, then there will be no problem.

The Observer is the Observed

Madras, India. Group Discussion 5th 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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