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The Observer is the Observed

Bombay, India. Public Talk 7th March, 1948

We must often have wondered why life from birth to death is a process of constant struggle. Why is it that life, everyday existence is such a struggle, a constant battle with oneself, with one's neighbour, with one's ideas? Why this constant battle, this constant struggle? Is it necessary, or is there a different process? This conflict and struggle, this travail and battle with oneself and with one's neighbour, is it necessary for existence, for living? We see that life as we know it is an endless process of becoming, moving from what is to what is not, from anger to non-anger, from violence to peace, from hatred to love. Surely, becoming is a process of repetition in which there is always strife. We see that whatever we do in life, the struggle of becoming is continually repeating itself. This becoming is the cultivation of memory, is it not; and the cultivation of memory is called righteousness, Righteousness is a process of self-enclosure. This constant becoming - the clerk becoming the manager, the ignoble becoming the noble - , this constant strife, is a form of self-perpetuation.. We know this battle to become something: being attached, we want to become detached; being poor we want to become rich; being small, we want to become great; being petty, we seek to be deep, profound, worthwhile. There is this constant battle of becoming, and in becoming there is obviously the cultivation of memory. Without memory there is no becoming. I am angry, and I want to become non-angry; I want to possess the state of non-anger, and I struggle. This struggle is considered righteous. So, righteousness, this process of becoming, is obviously one of self-enclosure. The moment I wish to become something or to be something, emphasis is laid on the becoming, on the being; and hence there is this struggle. To this struggle we have given significance. We say it is righteous, it is noble. So, from birth to death we are caught in an endless struggle, and we have accepted this battle of becoming as worthwhile, as noble, as an essential part of existence.

Now, is life, existence, inevitably a process of struggle, pain, sorrow, a continuous battle? Surely, there is something wrong in this action of becoming, There must be a different approach, a different way of existence. I think there is; but it can be understood only when we understand the full significance of becoming. In becoming there is always repetition, and therefore the cultivation of memory, which is emphasis on the self, and the self in its very nature is travail, strife, battle. Now, virtue can never be a becoming. Virtue is being, in which there is no struggle. You cannot become virtuous; either you are, or you are not virtuous. You can always become righteous, but you can never become virtuous; because, virtue brings freedom, and you will notice that a righteous man is never free. This does not mean that a virtuous man is self-indulgent; but virtue, by its very nature, brings freedom, If you attempt to be virtuous, what happens? You merely become, righteous. Whereas, virtue necessarily brings freedom; because the moment you understand the process, the struggle of becoming, there is being, and therefor there is virtue.

Take, for example, mercy. You can never become merciful, can you? If you do, what happens? If you struggle to become merciful, if you try to become generous, kindly, what happens? In trying to become merciful, emphasis is laid on becoming, which means that emphasis is laid on the self - the `me' becoming something, and the `me' can never be merciful, can it? It can be clothed in righteousness, but it can never be virtuous. So, virtue is not righteousness; the righteous man can never be a virtuous man. Righteousness is always a process of self-enclosure; whereas virtue, in which there is no becoming, but being, is always free, open and orderly. Experiment with yourself and you will see that the moment you strive to become virtuous, merciful, generous, you are merely building a resistance; whereas, if you really understand the process of becoming, which is giving emphasis to the self, then you will find that there comes a confidence, a freedom, a being in which there is virtue.

Now, how is one to transform, to bring about this radical change from becoming to being? A person who is becoming and therefore striving, struggling, battling with himself - how is such a person to know that state of being which is virtue, which is freedom? I hope I am making the question clear. That is, I have been struggling for years to become something, not to be envious, to become non-envious; and how am I to shed, to drop the struggle, and just be? Because, as long as I struggle to become what I call righteous, I am obviously setting up a process of self enclosure; and there is no freedom in enclosure. So, all that I can do is to be aware, passively aware of my process of becoming. If I am shallow, I can be passively aware that I am shallow, without the struggle to become something. If I am angry, if I am jealous, if I am unmerciful, envious, I can just be aware of that and not contend with it. The moment we contend with a quality, we give emphasis to the struggle, and therefore strengthen the wall of resistance. This wall of resistance is considered righteousness; but for a righteous man, truth can never come into being. It is only to the free man that truth can come; and to be free, there cannot be the cultivation of memory, which is righteousness.

So, one has to be aware of this struggle, of this constant battle. Just be aware without contention, without condemnation; and if you are truly watchful, passively yet alertly aware, you will find that envy, jealousy, greed, violence and all these things, drop away, and there comes order - quietly, speedily, there comes order that is not righteous, that is not enclosing. For virtue is freedom, it is not a process of enclosure. It is only in freedom that truth can come into being. Therefore, it is essential to be virtuous, not righteous, because virtue brings order. It is only the righteous man that is confused, that is in conflict, it is only the righteous man that develops his will as a means of resistance; and a man of will can never find truth, because he is never free. Being, which is recognizing what is, accepting and living with what is - not trying to transform it, not condemning it - , brings about virtue; and in that there is freedom. Only when the mind is not cultivating memory, when it is not seeking righteousness as a means of resistance, is there freedom; and in that freedom there comes reality, the bliss of which must be experienced.

Question: Are not religious symbols the expression of a reality too deep to be false? The simple name of God moves us as nothing else. Why should we shun it?

Krishnamurti: Why do we need symbols? Symbols exist, obviously, as a means of communicating with others; through language, a painting, a poem, you communicate something which you feel or which you think. But why need we crowd our lives with religious symbols - either the cross, the crescent, or the Hindu symbols? Why do we need them? Are not symbols a hindrance? Why can't we experience what is, directly, immediately and swiftly? Why do we seek the medium of symbols? Are they not distractions? An image, a painting, a thing made by the hand, of wood or stone, though it is a symbol, is it not a hindrance? You will say, I need an image as a symbol of reality. Now, what happens when you have symbols? The Hindus have their symbols, the Christians theirs, and the Muslims theirs - the temple, the church, the mosque, with the result that the symbols have become much more important than the search for reality. And surely, reality is not in the symbol. The word is not the thing; God is not the word. But the word, the symbol, has become important. Why? Because we are really not seeking reality: we merely decorate the symbol. We are not seeking; what is beyond and above the symbol, with the result that the symbol has become extraordinarily important, vital in our lives - and we are willing to kill each other for it. Also, the word `God' gives us a certain stimulation, and we think that that stimulation, that sensation, has some relation to the real. But has sensation, which is a thought process, any relationship to reality? Thought is the outcome of memory, the response to a condition; and has such a thought process any connection with reality, which is not a thought process? Therefore, has a symbol, which is the creation of the mind, any relationship to reality? And is not a symbol an easy escape, a fanciful distraction from the real? After all, if you are really seeking truth, why do you want the symbol? It is the man who is satisfied with an image that clings to the symbol; but if he wants to find what is real, obviously he must leave the symbol. We crowd our lives, our minds, with symbols, because we have not the other. If we love, surely, we do not want the symbol of love, or the example of love - we just love. But the man who holds an example, a symbol, a picture, an ideal in his mind, is obviously not in a state of love. Therefore, symbols, examples, are hindrances, and these hindrances become so important, that we are killing others and maiming our minds and hearts because of them. Sir, why not appreciate things directly? One loves a person, or a tree, not because of what it represents, not because it is the manifestation of reality, of life, or of anything else - that is merely an easy explanation. One just loves. Surely, when one is able to love life itself, not because it is the manifestation of reality, then in that very love of life one will find what is real. But if you treat life as a manifestation of something else, then you abominate life; then you want to run away from life, or you make life a hideous business, which necessitates your escape from the actual. Besides, a mind that is caught in symbols is not a simple mind. And you must have a very simple, clear mind, an unpolluted, uncorrupted mind, to find the real. A mind that is caught in words, in phrases, in mantrams, in patterns of action, can never understand that which is real. It must strip itself of everything to be free, and only then, surely, can the real come into being.

Question: What do you advise us to do when war breaks out?

Krishnamurti: Instead of seeking advice, may I suggest that we examine the problem together? Because, it is very easy to advise, but it does not solve the problem. But if we examine the problem together, then perhaps we shall be able to see how to act when a war breaks out. It has to be a direct action, not action based on somebody else's advice or authority, which would be too stupid in a moment of crisis. In moments of crisis, to follow another leads to our own destruction. After all, in critical times like war, you are led to destruction; but if you know all the implications of war and see its action, how it comes into being, then when the crisis does arise, without seeking advice, without following somebody, you will act directly and truly. This does not mean that I am trying to avoid the problem by not answering your question directly. I am not dodging it: on the contrary. I am showing that we can act virtuously - which is not `righteously' - when this appalling catastrophe comes upon man. Now, what would you do if there was a war? Being a Hindu, or an Indian, or a German, being nationalistic, patriotic, you would naturally jump to arms, wouldn't you? Because, through propaganda, through horrible pictures and all the rest of it, you would be stimulated, and you would be ready to fight. Being conditioned by patriotism, by nationalism, by economic frontiers, by the so-called love of country, your immediate response would be to fight. So, you would have no problem, would you? You have a problem only when you begin to question the causes of war - which are not merely economic, but much more psychological and ideological. When you begin to question the whole process of war, how war comes into being, then you have to be directly responsible for your actions. Because, war comes into being only when you, in your relationship with another, create conflict. After all, war is a projection of our daily life - only more spectacular and more destructive. In daily life we are killing, destroying, maiming thousands through our greed, through our nationalism, through our economic frontiers, and so on. So, war is the continuation of your daily existence, made more spectacular; and the moment you directly question the cause of war, you are questioning your relationship with another, which means that you are questioning your whole existence, your whole way of living. And if you enquire intelligently, not superficially, when war comes you will respond according to your enquiry and understanding. A man who is peaceful - not because of an ideal of non-violence, which we have gone into, but - , who is actually free of violence, to him war has no meaning. He will obviously not enter it; he may be shot because he does not enter into war, but he accepts the consequences. At least he will not take part in the conflict - but not out of idealism. The idealist, as I have explained, is a person who avoids immediate action. The idealist who is seeking non-violence is incapable of being free from violence; because, as our whole life is based on conflict and violence, if I don't understand myself now, today, how can I act truly tomorrow when there is a calamity? Being acquisitive, being conditioned by nationalism, by my class - you know the whole process - , how can I, who am conditioned by greed and violence, act without greed and violence when there is a catastrophe? Naturally I will be violent. Also, when there is a war, many like the bounties of war: the government is going to look after me, it is going to feed my family; and it is a break from my daily routine, from going to the office, from the monotonous things of life. Therefore, war is an escape, and to many it offers an easy way out of responsibility. Have you not heard what many soldiers say? `Thank God. It is a beastly business, but at least it is something exciting.' Also, war offers a release to our criminal instincts. We are criminal in our daily life, in our business world, in our relationships, but it is all underground, very carefully hidden, covered over by a righteous blanket, a legalised acceptance of this criminality; and war gives us a release from that hypocrisy - at last we can be violent.

So, how you will act in time of war depends upon you, upon the condition, the state of your being. To say, `You must not enter war' to a man who is conditioned to violence, is utterly useless. It is a futile waste of time to tell him not to fight, because he is conditioned to fight, he loves to fight. But those of us who are seriously intentioned can investigate our own lives, we can see how we are violent in daily life, in our speech, in our thoughts, in our actions, in our feelings, and we can be free of that violence, not because of an ideal not by trying to transform it into nonviolence, but by actually facing it, by merely being aware of it; then when war comes, we shall be able to act truly. A man who is seeking an ideal will act falsely, because his response will be based on frustration. Whereas, if we are capable of being aware of our own thoughts, feelings and actions in daily life - not condemning them, but just being aware of them - , then we will free ourselves from patriotism, from nationalism, from flag-waving, and all that rot, which are the very symbols of violence; and when we are free, then we will know how to act truly when that crisis comes which is called war.

Question: Can a man who abhors violence take part in the government of a country?

Krishnamurti: Now, what is government? After all, it is, it represents, what we are. In so-called democracy, whatever that may mean, we elect, to represent us, those who are like ourselves, those whom we like, who have got the loudest voice, the cleverest mind, or whatever it is. So, obviously, government is what we are, isn't it? And what are we? We are, arn't we?, a mass of conditioned responses - violence, greed, acquisitiveness, envy, desire for power, and so on. So, naturally, the government is what we are, which is violence in different forms; and how can a man who really has no violence in his being belong, either in name or in fact, to a structure which is violent? Can reality co-exist with violence, which is what we call government? Can a man who is seeking or experiencing reality have anything to do with sovereign governments, with nationalism, with an ideology, with party politics, with a system of power? The peaceful person thinks that by joining the government he will be able to do some good. But what happens when he enters government? The structure is so powerful that he is absorbed by it, and he can do very little. Sir, this is a fact, it is actually happening in the world. When you join a party, or stand for election to parliament, or whatever it is, you have to accept the party line. Therefore, you cease to think. And how can a man who has given himself over to another - whether it is to a party, to a government, or to a guru - , how can he find reality? And how can he who is seeking truth have any relation to power politics?

You see, we ask these questions because we like to rely on outside authority, on environment, for the transformation of ourselves. We hope leaders, governments, parties, systems, patterns of action, will somehow transform us, bring about order and peace in our lives. Surely, that is the basis of all these questions, is it not? Can another, be it a government or a guru or a devil, give you peace and order? Can another bring you happiness and love? Surely not. Peace can come into being only when the confusion which we have created is completely understood, not on the verbal level, but inwardly; when the causes of confusion, of strife, are removed, obviously there is peace and freedom. But without removing the causes, we look to some outward authority to bring us peace; and the outward is always submerged by the inner. As long as the psychological conflict exists, the search for power, for position, and so on, whatever the outward structure, however well built, however good and orderly it may be, the inward confusion always overcomes it. Surely, therefore, we must lay emphasis on the inner, and not merely look to the outer.

Question: You don't seem to think that we have won our independence. According to you, what would be the state of real freedom?

Krishnamurti: Sir, freedom becomes isolation when it is nationalistic; and isolation inevitably leads to conflict, because nothing can exist in isolation. To be, is to be related; and merely to isolate yourself within a national frontier invites confusion, sorrow, starvation, conflict, war - which has been proved over and over again. So, independence as a State apart inevitably leads to conflict and to war, because independence for most of us implies isolation. And when you have isolated yourself as a national entity, have you gained freedom? Have you gained freedom from exploitation, from class struggle, from starvation, from conflicting religiosity, from the priest, from communal strife, from leadership? Obviously, you have not. You have only driven out the white exploiter, and the brown has taken his place - probably a little more ruthlessly. We have the same thing as before, the same exploitation, the same priests, the same organized religion, the same superstitions and class wars. And has that given us freedom? Sir, we don't want to be free. Don't let us fool ourselves. Because, freedom implies intelligence, love; freedom implies non-exploitation, non-submission to authority; freedom implies extraordinary virtue. As I said, righteousness is always an isolating process, for isolation and righteousness go together; whereas, virtue and freedom are co-existent. A sovereign nation is always isolated, and therefore can never be free; therefore it is a cause of constant strife, of suspicion, antagonism and war.

Surely, freedom must begin with the individual, who is a total process, not antagonistic to the mass. The individual is the total process of the world, and if he merely isolates himself in nationalism or in righteousness, then he is the cause of disaster and misery. But if the individual - who is a total process, not opposed to the mass, but who is a result of the mass, of the whole - if the individual transforms himself, his life, then for him there is freedom; and because he is the result of a total process, when he liberates himself from nationalism, from greed, from exploitation, he has direct action upon the whole. The regeneration of the individual is not in the future, but now; and if you postpone your regeneration to tomorrow, you are inviting confusion, you are caught in the wave of darkness. Regeneration is now, not tomorrow, because understanding is only in the present. You don't understand now because you don't give your heart and mind, your whole attention, to that which you want to understand. If you give your mind and heart to understand, you will have understanding. Sir, if you give your mind and your heart to find out the cause of violence, if you are fully aware of it, you will be non-violent now. But unfortunately, you have so conditioned your mind by religious postponement and social ethics that you are incapable of looking at it directly - and that is our trouble.

So, understanding is always in the present, and never in the future. Understanding is now, not in the days to come. And freedom, which is not isolation, can come into being only when each one of us understands his responsibility to the whole. The individual is the product of the whole - he is not a separate process, he is the result of the whole. After all, you are the result of all India, of all humanity. You may call yourself by whatever name you like, but you are the result of a total process, which is man. And if you, the psychological you, are not free, how can you have freedom outwardly; of what significance is external freedom? You may have different governors - and good God, is that freedom? You may have the multiplication of provinces, because each person wants a job; but is that freedom? Sir, we are fed by words without much content; we darken the councils with words that have no meaning; we have fed on propaganda, which is a lie. We have not thought out these problems for ourselves, because most of us want to be led. We don't want to think and find out, because to think is very painful, very disillusioning. Either we think and become disillusioned and cynical - or we think and go beyond. When you go beyond and above all thought process, then there is freedom. And in that there is joy, in that there is creative being, which a righteous man, an isolated man, can never understand.

Question: My mind is restless and distressed. Without getting it under control, I can do nothing about myself. How am I to control thought?

Krishnamurti: Sir this is an enormous problem; and, as with all other problems of life, we will not find a method for its solution. But we will try to understand the problem itself, and out of that understanding we shall know how to deal with the question. First, we must understand thought, which the thinker wants to control. I hope this is not too serious a subject. What do we mean by thought? What do we mean by thinking? And, is the thinker separate from his thought? Is the meditator different from his meditation? Is the observer different, separate from the observed? Is the quality different from the self? So, before thought can be controlled, whatever that may mean, we must understand the process of thinking and who it is that thinks, and find out whether these are two separate processes, or one unitary process.

Does the thinker exist when he ceases to think? When there are no thoughts, is there a thinker? Obviously, if you have no thoughts, there is no thinker. And why is there the separation between the thinker and the thought? With most of us, there is this separation. Why is there this separation? Is it factual, is it true, or merely a fictitious thing which the mind has created? We must be very clear on this point, because then we shall enquire into what the thought process is. First, we must be very clear as to whether the thinker is separate, and why he has separated himself from his thoughts. Then we shall go into the problem of thinking and controlling, and all the rest of it.

Arn't you under the belief that your thoughts are separate from yourself? This very question implies that, doesn't it? - that there is the controller and the controlled, the observer and the observed. Now, do we know this process to be a fact, that there is the observer and the observed, the controller and the controlled? Is this separation real? It is real in the sense that we are indulging in it. But is it not a trick of the mind? Please, in this question a great deal is involved, so don't accept or deny, don't defend or put aside what I am suggesting. Most of you believe that the thinker is separate, the higher self, the Atman, the watcher, dominating the lower self, and so on. Why is there this separation? Isn't this separation still within the field of the mind? When you say the thinker is the Atman, the watcher, and the thoughts are separate, surely that is still within the field of the mind. Now, is it not that the mind, the thinker, has separated himself from his thoughts in order to give himself permanency? Because he can always modify his thoughts, he can always change his thoughts, put a new frame around them, while he remains apart and therefore gives himself permanency. But without the thoughts, the thinker is not. He may separate himself from his thoughts, but if he ceases to think, he no longer exists, does he? So, this separation of the thinker from his thoughts is a trick of the thinker to give himself security, permanency. That is, the mind perceives that thoughts are transient, and therefore it adopts the cunning trick of saying that it is the thinker apart from its thoughts, it is the Atman, the watcher, apart from action, from thought. But, if you observe the process very closely, putting aside all your acquired knowledge of what others have said, however great, then you will see that the observer is the observed, that the thinker is the thought. There is no thinker apart from thought; however widely, deeply and extensively he may separate himself or build a wall between himself and his thoughts, the thinker is still within the field of his thinking. Therefore, the thinker is the thought; so when you ask, `How can thought be controlled?', you are putting a wrong question. When the thinker begins to control his thoughts, he does so merely to give himself continuity, or because he finds his thoughts are painful to him. Therefore, he wants to modify his thoughts, while he remains permanent behind the screen of words and thoughts. When once you admit that, which is true, then your disciplines, your pursuit of the higher, your meditations, your controls, all collapse. That is, if you are willing to look at the obvious fact that the thinker is the thought, and when you become fully aware of that fact, then you no longer think in terms of dominating, modifying, controlling, or canalizing your thoughts. Then the thought becomes important, and not the thinker. The emphasis then is not on the controller and how to control, but the thought which is controlled becomes important in itself. Understanding the thought process is the beginning of meditation, which is self-knowledge. Without self-knowledge, there is no meditation; and meditation of the heart is understanding. To understand, you cannot be tethered to any belief.

So, we are now concerned, not with controlling thought, which is a false question, but with the understanding of thought; we are concerned with the thought process itself. Therefore, we are free of the idea of discipline, of the idea of control - which is an extraordinary revolution, isn't it? You can be free only when you see the truth of the falseness of the belief that the thinker is separate from his thoughts. That is, when you see the truth about the false, then there is freedom from the false. We have for a long period accepted the idea that the thinker is separate from his thoughts; and now we see that the separation is false. Therefore, seeing the truth about the false, you are free of the false, with all its implications - disciplining, controlling, guiding, canalizing thought, putting thought into a definite pattern of action. When you do all that, you are still concerned with the thinker; therefore the thinker and the thought will remain separate, which is a false thing. But when you see the falseness of all that, it drops away from you, and there is only thought left. Then you can enquire into thought, then the mind is merely the machine of the thought process, and the thinker is not apart from the thought.

Now, the mind is the recorder, the experiencer, and therefore the mind is memory, sensuous memory; because the mind is the result of the senses. So, thought which is the product of the mind, is sensuous; obviously, thought is the result of sensation. Mind is the recorder, the accumulating factor, the consciousness which is experiencing naming, and recording. That is, the mind experiences, then names the experience as pleasant or unpleasant, and then records it, puts it in the pigeon-hole which is memory. That memory responds to a new challenge. Challenge is always new, and memory, which is merely a record of the past, meets the new. This meeting of the new by the old is called experiencing. Now, memory has no life in itself. It has life, it is revivified, only in meeting the new. Therefore, the new is always giving life to the old. That is, when memory meets the challenge, which is always new, it derives life, it strengthens itself from that experience. Examine your own memory and you will see that it has no vitality in itself; but when memory meets the new and translates the new according to its own conditioning, then it is revivified. So, memory has life only as it meets the new, always revivifying, always strengthening itself. This revivification of memory is called thinking. Please, it is very important to understand all this, but I don't know how much you want to go into it.

So, thinking is always a conditioned response, thinking is a process of response to a challenge. The challenge is always new; but thinking, which is a response derived from memory, is always the old revivified. It is very important to understand this. Thinking can never be new, because thinking is the response of memory, and this response of memory becomes vital when it meets the new and derives life from the new. But thinking in itself is never new. Therefore, thinking can never be creative, because it is always the response of memory. Now, our minds, our thoughts, are wandering all over the place, and we want to bring about order. As I have explained, this cannot be done by control; because, the moment you control it, your mind becomes exclusive, isolated. If you merely emphasize one thought and exclude all others, there is an isolating process going on. Therefore, such a mind can never be free. It can isolate itself, but isolation is not freedom. A controlled mind is not a free mind.

So, our problem is that our thoughts wander all over the place, and naturally we want to bring about order; but how is order to be brought about? Now, to understand a fast evolving machine, you must slow it down, must you not? If you want to understand a dynamo, it must be slowed down and studied; but if you stop it, it is a dead thing, and a dead thing can never be understood. Only a living thing can be understood. So, a mind that has killed thoughts by exclusion, by isolation, can have no understanding; but the mind can understand thought if the thought process is slowed down. If you have seen a slow motion picture, you will understand the marvellous movement of a horse's muscles as it jumps. There is beauty in that slow movement of the muscles; but as the horse jumps hurriedly, as the movement is quickly over, that beauty is lost. Similarly, when the mind moves slowly because it wants to understand each thought as it arises, then there is freedom from thinking, freedom from controlled, disciplined thought. Thinking is the response of memory, therefore thinking can never be creative. Only in meeting the new as the new, the fresh as the fresh, is there creative being. The mind is the recorder, the gatherer of memories; and as long as memory is being revivified by challenge, the thought process must go on. But if each thought is observed, felt out, gone into fully, and completely understood, then you will find that memory begins to wither away. We are talking about psychological memory, not factual memory.

Thought, which is the response of memory, arises only when an experience has not been completely understood, and therefore leaves a residue. When you understand an experience completely, it leaves no memory, no psychological residue. Thought is the response of the residue, which is memory; and if you can complete a thought, think it out, feel it out to its fullest extent, then its residue is done away with. To fully think out a thought, a feeling, is very arduous; because when you begin to think out one thought, other thoughts creep in. So, you go round, pursuing one thought after another hopelessly, because of the rapidity of each thought. But if you are interested to think out one thought fully, experiment with writing out the thoughts that arise; just put them down on paper, and then observe what you have written. In that observation, your mind is slowed, because to study, it has to slow down - which is not a compulsion, not a discipline. When you write down only a few of your thoughts and observe them, study them, your mind is immediately slowed. Watch your own mind now as you listen, see what it is doing. It is moving very slowly. You have not innumerable thoughts, you are merely pursuing one thought, which I am explaining. Therefore, your mind is slowed down, and being slowed down, it is capable of pursuing one thought to the end. When all thought is pursued to the end and the mind denuded of memory, the mind becomes tranquil, it has no problem. Why? Because the creator of the problem, which is memory, ceases; and in that tranquillity, which is absolute, reality comes into being. This whole process, which we have discovered this evening with regard to this particular question, is meditation. Meditation is self-knowledge, which is the basis of true thinking; and when there is true thinking, there is understanding, and so right action. But meditation becomes imitative, it has no meaning, when the thinker is not understood. When the thinker separates himself from his thoughts and seeks to control them, he is progressing towards illusion; whereas, seeing the truth in the false liberates you from the false. Then there is only thought left and in understanding thought fully, there comes tranquillity. In that tranquillity, there is creation; that is, when the mind ceases to create, there is a creation which is beyond time, which is immeasurable, which is the real.

The Observer is the Observed

Bombay, India. Public Talk 7th March, 1948

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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