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Choiceless Awareness

New Delhi Public Talk 19th December, 1948

As this is the last talk, perhaps it might be just as well if I made a brief summary of what we have been discussing for the last six weeks. Our life is beset with so many problems at different levels. We have not only the physical problems, but the much more subtle and more intricate psychological problems; and without solving the psychological problems or even trying to understand their subtleness, we seek merely to rearrange their effects. We try to reconcile the effects without really understanding the causes which produce these effects. Therefore, it seems to me much more important to understand the psychological conflicts and sorrows than merely to rearrange the pattern of effects; because, the mere reconciliation of effects cannot profoundly and ultimately solve the problems that are produced. If we merely rearrange the effects without understanding the psychological struggles that produce these effects, we will naturally produce further confusion, further antagonism, further conflict. So, in understanding the psychological factors that bring about our well-being, there may be a possibility - and I think there is a definite possibility - of creating a new culture and a new civilization; but it must begin with every one of us, because, after all, society is my relationship with you, and your relationship with another. Society is the outcome of our relationship, and without under standing relationship, which is ac- tion, there can be no cessation of conflict. So, relationship and its effect and cause must be thoroughly understood before I can transform or bring about a radical revolution in the ways of my life.

We are concerned, then, with the individual problem and our own psychological sufferings. In understanding the individual problem we will naturally bring about a different arrangement in its effects, but we should not begin with the effects; because, after all, we do not live by the effects alone but by the deeper causes. So, our problem is how to understand suffering and conflict in the individual. Mere verbal explanation of suffering, mere intellection, the perception of the causes of suffering, does not resolve suffering. That is an obvious fact; but as most of us are fed on words, and as words have become of such immense importance, we are easily satisfied by explanations. We read the Bhagavad Gita, the Bible, or any other religious book which explains the cause of suffering, and we are satisfied; we take the explanation for the resolution of suffering. Words have become much more significant than the understanding of suffering itself; but the word is not the thing. Any amount of explanation, any amount of reasoning, will not feed a hungry man. What he wants is food, not the explanation of food, or the smell of food. He is hungry, and he must have the substance that nourishes. Most of us are satisfied by the explanation of the cause of suffering. Therefore, we don't take suffering as a thing to be radically resolved, a contradiction in ourselves that must be understood. How is one to understand suffering? One can understand suffering only when explanation subsides and all kinds of escapes are understood and put aside, that is, when one sees the actual in suffering. But you see, you don't want to understand suffering; you run away to the club, you read the newspaper, you do puja, go to the temple, plunge into politics or social service - anything rather than to face that which is. So, the cultivation of escapes has become much more important than the understanding of sorrow; and it requires a very intelligent mind, a mind that is very alert, to see that it is escaping and to put an end to escapes.

How, I have explained that conflict is not productive of creative thinking. To be creative, to produce what you will, the mind must be at peace, the heart full. If you want to write, to have great thoughts, to enquire into truth, conflict must cease; but in our civilization, escapes have become much more significant than the understanding of conflict. Modern things help us to escape, and to escape is to be utterly uncreative, it is self-projection. That does not solve our problem. What does solve our problem is to cease to escape and to live with suffering; because, after all, to understand something, one must give full attention to it, and distractions are mere escapes. To understand escapes, which is to put an end to them by seeing their falseness, and to perceive the whole significance of suffering, is a process of self-knowledge; and without self-knowledge, without knowing yourself fundamentally, not the mere superficial effects of your actions, but the whole total process of yourself, both the thinker and the thought, the actor and the action - without that self-knowledge, there is no basis for thought. You can repeat like a gramophone, but you will not be the music-maker, there will be no song in your heart.

So, through self-knowledge alone an suffering come to an end. After all, what does suffering mean - not as a verbal explanation, but as a fact? How does suffering arise, not merely as a scientific observation, but actually? In order to know, to find out, surely discontent is essential. One must be thoroughly discontented in order to find out. But when there is discontent - and most of us are discontented - we find an easy way of smothering that discontent. We become something - clerks, governors, ministers, or what you will - , anything to smother that flame, that spark, that dissatisfaction. Materially as well as psychologically we want to be sure, we want to be secure, we do not want to be disturbed. We want certainty, and where the mind is looking for certainty, security, there is no discontent; and most of us spend our lives doing this, we are all seeking security. Obviously there must be physical security, food, clothing and shelter; but that is denied when we seek psychological security - psychological security being self-expansion through physical necessities. A house in itself is not important except as shelter, but we use the house as a means of self-aggrandizement. That is why property becomes very important, and hence we create a social system which denies the right distribution of food, clothing and shelter.

So, it is discontent that drives, that creates, that urges us on; and if we can understand discontent without smothering it by the search for certainty, psychological security, if we can keep that discontent and its flame alive, then our problem is simple; because, that very discontent is creative, and from that we can move on. But the moment we smother discontent, put it away, resist it, hide it, then the mind is concerned merely with the reconciliation of effects, and discontent is no longer a means of going forward, plunging into something unknown. That is why it is so important for each one really to understand oneself. The study of oneself is not an end, but a beginning; because, there is no end in understanding oneself, it is a constant movement. If you observe yourself very carefully, you will see that there is no fixed moment when you can say, `I understand the whole totality of myself', it is like reading many volumes. The more one studies oneself, the more there is to be studied. Therefore, the movement of the self is timeless; and that self is not the high or the low, but the self which is from moment to moment, with its actions, its thoughts, its words. That self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom, and in that self-knowledge one discovers a state of utter tranquillity in which the mind is not made still, but is still; and only when the mind is still, when it is not caught up in the thought process or occupied with its own creations - only then is there creativeness, is there reality. It is this creativeness, this perception of reality which will free us from our problem, not the search for an answer to the problem.

So, self-knowledge is the technique of meditation, and without self-knowledge there is no meditation. Self-knowledge is not something acquired from a book, or from a guru or teacher. Self-knowledge begins in understanding oneself from moment to moment, and that understanding requires one's full attention to be given to each thought at any particular moment without an end in view; because, there cannot be complete attention when there is condemnation or justification. When the mind condemns or justifies, it does so either to deny or to escape what it perceives. It is much easier to condemn a child than to understand a child. Similarly, when a thought arises, it is easier to put it away or discipline it than to give it your undivided attention and thereby discover its full significance. Therefore, the problem is to understand oneself, and one can approach it rightly only when there is no justification, condemnation or resistance - and then you will find that the problem unfolds like a map.

To discover what is eternal, the process of the mind must be understood. You cannot think about the unknown; you can think only about the known, and what is known is not the real. Reality cannot be thought about, meditated upon, pictured, or formulated; if it is, it is not real, because it is merely the projection of the mind. It is only when the thought process ceases, when the mind is literally and utterly still - and stillness can come about only through self-knowledge - , that reality is understood; and it is the real that resolves our problems, not our cunning distractions and formulated escapes.

I have several questions here, and I shall try to answer them as briefly and clearly as possible.

Question: I have parents who are orthodox and who depend on me, but I myself have ceased to believe in their orthodoxy. How am I to deal with such a situation? This is a real problem to me.

Krishnamurti: Now, why has one ceased to be orthodox? Before you say, `I have ceased to be orthodox', must you not find out why, for what reason? Is it because you see that orthodoxy is mere repetition without much meaning, a framework in which man lives because he is afraid to go beyond and discover? Or, have you abandoned orthodoxy as a mere reaction, because it is the modern thing to do to reject the ancient, the old? Have you rejected the old without understanding it? - which is merely a reaction. If that is the case, it is quite different, it brings about quite a different issue. But if you have ceased to be orthodox because you see that a mind caught in tradition, in habit, is without understanding, then you know the full significance of orthodoxy. I do not know which you have done: Either you have left it in protest; or, you have abandoned it - or rather, it has fallen away from you naturally - because you understand it. Now, if it is the latter, then what is your responsibility to those people around you who are orthodox? Should you yield to their orthodoxy because they are your mother and father, and they cry and give you trouble at home, calling you an undutiful son? Should you yield to them because they create trouble? What is your responsibility? If you yield, then your understanding of orthodoxy has no meaning; then you are placatory, you don't want trouble, you want to let sleeping dogs lie. But surely, you must have trouble, a revolution is essential; not the bloody kind of revolution, but a psychological revolution - which is far more important than mere revolution in outward effects. Most of us are afraid to have a fundamental revolution; we yield to the parents saying, `There is enough trouble as it is in the world, why should I add more?' But surely, that is not the answer, is it? When one has trouble, it must be exposed, opened up and looked into. Merely to accept an attitude, to concede to the parents because they are going to give you trouble, kick you out of the house, does not bring out clarity; it merely hides, suppresses conflict, and a conflict which is suppressed acts as a poison in the system, in the psychological being.

If there is tension between you and your parents, this contradiction has to be faced if you want to live creatively, happily; but as most of us do not want to lead a creative life and are satisfied to be dull, we say, `It is all right, I will yield'. After all, relationship with another, especially with a father, mother or child, is a very difficult thing, because relationship with most of us is a matter of gratification. We do not want any trouble in relationship. Surely, a person who is looking for gratification, satisfaction, comfort, security in relationship, ceases to have a relationship that is alive; he makes that relationship into a dead thing. After all, what is relationship? What is the function of relationship? Surely, it is a means by which I discover my- self. Relationship is a process of self-revelation; but if the self-revelation is unpleasant, unsatisfactory, disturbing, we do not want to look any further into it. So, relationship becomes merely a means of communication, and therefore a dead thing. But if relationship is an active process in which there is self-revelation, in which I discover myself as in a mirror, then that relationship not only brings about conflict, disturbance, but out of it comes clarity and joy.

The question, then, is: `When you are not orthodox, what is your responsibility to the person who is dependent on you?' Now, the older you grow, the more orthodox you become; that is, because you know you are soon coming to the end of your life and you don't know what awaits you on the other side, you seek safety, security, on both sides. But a man who believes without understanding is obviously stupid; and should you encourage stupidity? Belief creates antagonism, the very nature of belief is to divide: You believe in one thing, I believe in another; you are a communist, I am a capitalist, which is merely a matter of belief; you call yourself a Hindu, I call myself a Musalman - and we slaughter each other. So, belief is obviously a device which sets man against man; and recognizing all these factors, what is your responsibility? Can one advise another as to what to do? You and I can discuss; but it is for you to act, after looking into it. To look into it you must pay attention, and you must face the consequences of your decision, you cannot leave it to me or to anybody else. That means you understand and are quite willing to face trouble, to be thrown out, to be called an ungrateful son, and all the rest of it; it means that for you orthodoxy does not matter, but that truth, which is the understanding of the problem, matters immensely, and therefore you are prepared to face trouble. But most of us do not want the clear happiness that truth brings; want mere gratification, and therefore we concede and say, `All right, I will do what you want me to do; but for God's sake, leave me alone.' That way you will never create a new society, a new culture.

Question: It us the universally accepted conclusion of modern intellectuals that educators have failed. What is, then, the task of those whose function it is to teach the young?

Krishnamurti: There are several problems involved in this, and to understand them, one must go very carefully into them. First of all, why do you have children? Is it mere accident, an unwanted event? Do you have children to carry on your name, title or estate? Or do you love, and therefore you have children? Which is it? If you have children merely as toys, something to play with, or if you arc lonely and a child helps you to cover up that loneliness - then children become important because they are your own self-projection. But if children are not a mere means of amusement or a result of accidents, if you really love them in the profound sense of that word - and to love somebody means to be in complete communion with them - , then education has quite a different significance. If as a parent you really love your children, you will see that they have the right kind of education. In other words, children must be helped to be intelligent, sensitive, to have a mind and heart that are pliable, able to deal with any situation. Surely, if you really love your child, you as a parent will not be a nationalist, you will not belong to any country, you will not belong to any organized religion; because, obviously, if you are a nationalist, if you worship the State, then you inevitably destroy your son, because you are creating war. If you really love your son, you will find out what is your right relationship with property; because it is the possessive instinct which has given property such enormous significance, and which is destroying the world. Again, if you really love your children, you will not belong to any particular religion, because belief creates antagonism between man and man. It you love your children, you will do all these things. So, that is one aspect.

Then the other aspect is that the educator needs educating. What are you educating the children for? To become clerks or glorified clerks, governors, engineers, technicians? Is that all life us, merely a matter of glorified clerks, technicians, mechanics, human beings made into cannon fodder? What us the purpose and intention of education? Is ut to turn cut soldiers, lawyers and policemen? Surely, the occupations of soldier, lawyer, and policeman, are not right professions for decent human beings. (Laughter.) Don't laugh it off. By laughing it off, you are pushing it aside. You can see that these professions do not contribute to the total well-being of man, though they may be necessary in a society that has already become corrupt. Therefore, first of all, you have to find out why it is that you have children, and what it is that you are educating them for. If you are merely educating them to be technicians, naturally you will find the best technician to educate your child, and he will be made into a machine, he will discipline himself to conform to a pattern. Is that all there is to our existence, our struggle and our happiness - merely to become mechanics, tank or airplane experts, scientists, physicists inventing new ways of destruction? Therefore, education is your responsibility, is it not? What is it you want your children to be, or not to be? What is the purpose of existence? If it is merely to adjust to a system, to efface oneself for a party, then it is very simple; then all that you have to do is to conform and fit in. But if life is meant to be lived rightly, fully, joyously, sensitively, then there must be quite a different process of education in which there is the cultivation of sensitivity, of intelligence, and not mere technique - though technique is necessary.

So, as a parent - and God knows why you are parents - you have to find out what your responsibility is. Sirs, you love so easily: you say you love, but really you don't love your children. You have no feeling. You accept social events and conditions as inevitable; you don't want to transform them, to create a revolution and bring about a new culture, a new society. Surely, it depends on you what kind of education your children will have. As the questioner says, education throughout the world has failed, it has produced catastrophe after catastrophe, destruction and more destruction, bloodshed, rape and murder. Obviously, education has failed; and if you look to the experts, the specialists, to educate your children, the disaster must continue, because the specialists, being concerned only with the part and not with the whole, are themselves inhuman. Surely, the first thing is to have love; for if there is love, it will find the way to educate the children rightly. But you see, we are all brains and no heart; we have cultivated the intellect, and in ourselves we are so absurdly lopsided - and then the problem arises of what to do with the children. Surely, it is obvious that the educator himself needs educating - and the educator is you; for the home environment is as important as the school environment. So, you have to transform yourself first to give the right environment to the child; for the environment can make him either a brute, an unfeeling technician, or a very sensitive, intelligent human being. The environment is yourself and your action; and unless you transform yourself, the environment, the present society in which we live, must inevitably harm the child, make him rude, rough, unintelligent.

Surely, sirs, those who are deeply interested in this problem will begin to transform themselves and thereby transform society, which will in turn bring about a new means of education. But you are really not interested. You will listen to all this and say, `Yes, I agree; but it is too impracticable'. You don't treat it as a direct responsibility; you are not really, fundamentally concerned. If you really loved your son and knew the war was coming, as it inevitably is, do you mean to say yon would not act, you would not find a way of stopping war? You see, we don't love; we use the word `love' but the content of that word has no meaning any more. We just use the word without a referent, without substance, and we live merely on the word; so the complex problem is there still, and we have to face it. And don't say I have not shown you a way out of it. The way is yourself and your relationship with your children, your wife, your society. You are the gleam, you are the hope; otherwise there is no way out of this at all.

Look at what is happening. More and more governments are taking charge of education, which means they want to produce efficient beings, either as technicians or for war; and therefore the children must be regimented, they must be told, not how to think, but what to think. They are taught to live on propaganda, slogans. Because those who are in power don't want to be disturbed, they want to keep the power, it has become the function of government to maintain the status quo with little alterations here and there. So, taking all these factors into consideration, you have to find out what is the meaning of existence why you are living, why you are producing children; and you have to find out how to create a new environment - for, what the environment is, your child is. He listens to your talk, he repeats what the older people think and do. So, you have to create a right environment, not only at home, but outside, which is society; and you have to create a new kind of government which is radically different, which is not based on nationalism, on the sovereign State with its armies and efficient ways of murdering people. That implies seeing your responsibility in relationship, and you actually see that responsibility in relationship only when you love somebody. When your heart is full, then you find a way. This is urgent, it is imminent - you cannot wait for the experts to come and tell you how to educate your child. Only you who love will find the way; for, those hearts are empty that look to the experts.

You have listened to all this, and what is your reaction? You will say, `Yes, very nice, very good, it should be done; but let somebody else begin' - which means, really, you don't love your child; you have no relationship with your child, so you don't see the difficulty. The more irresponsible you become, the more the State takes over all responsibility - the State being the few, the party, left or right. You yourself have to work it out because we are facing a great crisis - not a verbal crisis, not a political or an economic crisis, but a crisis of human degradation, of human disintegration. Therefore, it is your responsibility; as the father, as the mother, you have got to transform yourself. These are not just words I am indulging in. One sees this calamity approaching so closely and dangerously, and we sit here and do not do a thing about it; or if we do, we look to some leader and turn our hearts over to him. It is an obvious fact that when you pursue a leader, you choose that leader out of your own confusion, and therefore the leader himself is confused. (Laughter.) Don't laugh it off as a clever remark: please look at it, see what you are doing. It is you who are responsible for the appalling horror which we have come to, and you are not facing it. You go out and do exactly the same thing that you did yesterday; and you feel your responsibility is over when you ask that question about education and pass your child on to a teacher who teaches and beats him. Don't you see? Unless you love your wife, your children, and not merely use them as a tool or means for your own gratification, unless you are really touched by this, you will not find a right way of education. To educate your children means to be interested in the whole process of life. What you think, what you do, and what you say, matters infinitely, because that creates the environment, and it is the environment which created the child.

Question: Marriage is a necessary part of any organized society, but you seem to be against the institution of marriage. What do you say? Please also explain the problem of sex. Why has it become, next to war, the most urgent problem of our day?

Krishnamurti: To ask a question is easy, but the difficulty is to look very carefully into the problem itself, which contains the answer. To understand this problem, we must see its enormous implications. That is difficult, because our time is very limited and I shall have to be brief; and if you don't follow very closely, you may not be able to understand. Let us investigate the problem, not the answer, because the answer is in the problem, not away from it. The more I understand the problem, the clearer I see the answer. If you merely look for an answer, you will not find one, because you will be seeking an answer away from the problem. Let us look at marriage, but not theoretically or as an ideal, which is rather absurd; don't let us idealize marriage, let us look at it as it is, for then we can do something about it. If you make it rosy, then you can't act; but if you look at it and see it exactly as it is, then perhaps you will be able to act.

Now, what actually takes place? When one is young, the biological, sexual urge is very strong, and in order to set a limit to it you have the institution called marriage. There is the biological urge on both sides, so you marry and have children. You tie yourself to a man or to a woman for the rest of your life, and in doing so you have a permanent source of pleasure, a guaranteed security, with the result that you begin to disintegrate; you live in a cycle of habit, and habit is disintegration. To understand this biological, this sexual urge, requires a great deal of intelligence, but we are not educated to be intelligent. We merely get on with a man or a woman with whom we have to live. I marry at 20 or 25, and I have to live for the rest of my life with a woman whom I have not known. I have-not known a thing about her, and yet you ask me to live with her for the rest of my life. Do you call that marriage? As I grow and observe, I find her to be completely different from me, her interests are different from mine; she is interested in clubs, I am interested in being very serious, or vice versa. And yet we have children - that is the most extraordinary thing. Sirs, don't look at the ladies and smile; it is your problem. So, I have established a relationship the significance of which I do not know, I have neither discovered it nor understood it.

It is only for the very, very few who love that the married relationship has significance, and then it is unbreakable, then it is not mere habit or convenience, nor is it based on biological, sexual need. In that love which is unconditional the identities are fused, and in such a relationship there is a remedy, there is hope. But for most of you, the married relationship is not fused. To fuse the separate identities, you have to know yourself, and she has to know herself. That means to love. But there is no love - which is am obvious fact. Love is fresh, new, not mere gratification, not mere habit. It is unconditional. You don't treat your husband or wife that way, do you? You live in your isolation, and she lives in her isolation, and you have established your habits of assured sexual pleasure. What happens to a man who has an assured income? Surely, he deteriorates. Have you not noticed it? Watch a man who has an assured income and you will soon see how rapidly his mind is withering away. He may have a big position, a reputation for cunning, but the full joy of life is gone out of him.

Similarly, you have a marriage in which you have a permanent source of pleasure, a habit without understanding, without love, and you are forced to live in that state. I am not saying what you should do; but look at the problem first. Do you think that is right? It does not mean that you must throw off your wife and pursue somebody else. What does this relationship mean? Surely, to love is to be in communion with somebody; but are you in communion with your wife, except physically? Do you know her, except physically? Does she know you? Are you not both isolated, each pursuing his or her own interests, ambitions and needs, each seeking from the other gratification, economic or psychological security? Such a relationship is not a relationship at all: it is a mutually self-enclosing process of psychological, biological and economic necessity, and the obvious result is conflict, misery, nagging, possessive fear, jealousy, and so on. Do you think such a relationship is productive of anything except ugly babies and an ugly civilization? Therefore, the important thing is to see the whole process, not as something ugly, but as an actual fact which is taking place under your very nose; and realizing that, what are you going to do? You cannot just leave it at that; but because you do not want to look into it, you take to drink, to politics, to a lady around the corner, to anything that takes you away from the house and from that nagging wife or husband - and you think you have solved the problem. That is your life, is it not? Therefore, you have to do something about it, which means you have to face it, and that means, if necessary, breaking up; because, when a father and mother are constantly nagging and quarrelling with each other, do you think that has not an effect on the children? And we have already considered, in the previous question, the education of children.

So, marriage as a habit, as a cultivation of habitual pleasure, is a deteriorating factor, because there is no love in habit. Love is not habitual; love is something joyous, creative, new. Therefore, habit is the contrary of love; but you are caught in habit, and naturally your habitual relationship with another is dead. So, we come back again to the fundamental issue, which is that the reformation of society depends on you, not on legislation. Legislation can only make for further habit or conformity. Therefore, you as a responsible individual in relationship have to do something, you have to act, and you can act only when there is an awakening of your mind and heart. I see some of you nodding your heads in agreement with me, but the obvious fact is that you don't want to take the responsibility for transformation, for change; you don't want to face the upheaval of finding out how to live rightly. And so the problem continues, you quarrel and carry on, and finally you die; and when you die somebody weeps, not for the other fellow, but for his or her own loneliness. You carry on unchanged and you think you are human beings capable of legislation, of occupying high positions, talking about God, finding a way to stop wars, and so on. None of these things mean anything, because you have not solved any of the fundamental issues.

Then, the other part of the problem is sex, and why sex has become so important. Why has this urge taken such a hold on you? Have you ever thought it out? You have not thought it out, because you have just indulged; you have not searched out why there is this problem. Sirs, why is there this problem? And what happens when you deal with it by suppressing it completely - you know, the ideal of Brahmacharya, and so on? What happens? It is still there. You resent anybody who talks about a woman, and you think that you can succeed in completely suppressing the sexual urge in yourself and solve your problem that way; but you are haunted by it. It is like living in a house and putting all your ugly things in one room; but they are still there. So, discipline is not going to solve this problem - discipline being sublimation, suppression, substitution - , because you have tried it, and that is not the way out. So, what is the way out? The way out is to understand the problem, and to understand is not to condemn or justify. Let us look at it, then, in that way.

Why has sex become so important a problem in your life? Is not the sexual act, the feeling, a way of self-forgetfulness? Do you understand what I mean? In that act there is complete fusion; at that moment there is complete cessation of all conflict, you feel supremely happy because you no longer feel the need as a separate entity and you are not consumed with fear. That is, for a moment there is an ending of self-consciousness, and you feel the clarity of self-forgetfulness, the joy of self abnegation. So, sex has become important because in every other direction you are living a life of conflict, of self-aggrandizement and frustration. Sirs, look at your lives, political, social, religious: you are striving to become something. Politically, you want to be somebody, powerful, to have position, prestige. Don't look at somebody else, don't look at the ministers. If you were given all that, you would do the same thing. So, politically, you are striving to become somebody, you are expanding yourself, are you not? Therefore, you are creating conflict, there is no denial, there is no abnegation of the `me'. On the contrary, there is accentuation of the `me'. The same process goes on in your relationship with things, which is ownership of property, and again in the religion that you follow. There is no meaning in what you are doing, in your religious practices. You just believe, you cling to labels, words. If you observe, you will see that there too there is no freedom from the consciousness of the `me' as the centre. Though your religion says, `Forget yourself', your very process is the assertion of yourself, you are still the important entity. You may read the Gita or the Bible, but you are still the minister, you are still the exploiter, sucking the people and building temples.

So, in every field, in every activity, you are indulging and emphasizing yourself, your importance, your prestige, your security. Therefore, there is only one source of self-forgetfulness, which is sex, and that is why the woman or the man becomes all-important to you, and why you must possess. So, you build a society which enforces that possession, guarantees you that possession; and naturally sex becomes the all-important problem when everywhere else the self is the important thing. And do you think, Sirs, that one can live in that state without contradiction, without misery, without frustration? But when there is honestly and sincerely no self-emphasis, whether in religion or in social activity, then sex has very little meaning. It is because you are afraid to be as nothing, politically, socially, religiously, that sex becomes a problem; but if in all these things you allowed yourself to diminish, to be the less, you would see that sex becomes no problem at all.

There is chastity only when there is love. When there is love, the problem of sex ceases; and without love, to pursue the ideal of Brahmacharya is an absurdity, because the ideal is unreal. The real is that which you are; and if you don't understand your own mind, the workings of your own mind, you will not understand sex, because sex is a thing of the mind. The problem is not simple. It needs, not mere habit-forming practices, but tremendous thought and enquiry into your relationship with people, with property and with ideas. Sir, it means you have to undergo strenuous searching of your heart and mind, thereby bringing a transformation within yourself. Love is chaste; and when there is love, and not the mere idea of chastity created by the mind, then sex has lost its problem and has quite a different meaning.

Question: In my view, the guru is one who awakens me to truth, to reality. What is wrong in my taking to such a guru?

Krishnamurti: This question arises because I have said that gurus are an impediment to truth. Don't say you are wrong and I am right, or I am wrong and you are right, but let us examine the problem and find out. Let us enquire like mature, thoughtful people, without denying and without justifying.

Which is more important, the guru or you? And why do you go to a guru? You say, `To be awakened to truth'. Are you really going to a guru to be awakened to truth? Let us think this out very clearly. Surely, when you go to a guru you are actually seeking gratification. That is you have a problem and your life is a mess, it is in confusion; and because you want to escape from it, you go to somebody whom you call a guru to find consolation verbally, or to escape an ideation. That is the actual process, and that process you call seeking truth. That is, you want comfort, you want gratification, you want your confusion cleared away by somebody; and the person who helps you to find escapes you call a guru. Actually, not theoretically, you look to a guru who will assure you of what you want. You go guru-hunting as you go window-shopping: you see what suits you best, and then buy it. In India, that is the position: You go around hunting for gurus, and when you find one you hold on to his feet or neck or hand till he gratifies you. To touch a man's feet - that is one of the most extraordinary things. You touch the guru's feet and kick your servants, and thereby you destroy human beings, you lose human significance. So, you go to a guru to find gratification, not truth. The idea may be that he should awaken you to truth, but the actual fact is that you find comfort. Why? Because you say, `I can't solve my problem, somebody must help me'. Can anybody help you to solve the confusion which you have created? What is confusion? Confusion with regard to what, suffering with regard to what? Confusion and suffering exist in your relationship with things, people and ideas; and if you cannot understand that confusion which you have created, how can another help you? He can tell you what to do, but you have to do it for yourself, it is your own responsibility; and because you are unwilling to take that responsibility, you sneak off to the guru - that is the right expression to use, `sneak off' - and you think you have solved the problem. On the contrary, you have not solved it at all; you have escaped, but the problem is still there. And, strangely, you always choose a guru who will assure you of what you want; therefore you are not seeking truth, and therefore the guru is not important. You are actually seeking someone who will satisfy you in your desires; that is why you create a leader, religious or political, and give yourself over to him, and that is why you accept his authority. Authority is evil, whether religious or political, because it is the leader and his position that are all-important, and you are unimportant. You are a human being with sorrow, pain, suffering, joy, and when you deny yourself and give yourself over to somebody, you are denying reality; because it is only through yourself that you can find reality, not through somebody else.

Now, you say that you accept a guru as one who awakens you to reality. Let us find out if it is possible for another to awaken you to reality. I hope you are following all this, because it is your problem, not mine. Let us find out the truth about whether another can awaken you to reality. Can I, who have been talking for an hour and a half, awaken you to reality, to that which is real? The term `guru' implies, does it not?, a man who leads you to truth, to happiness, to bliss eternal. Is truth a static thing that someone can lead you to? Someone can direct you to the station. Is truth like that, static, something permanent to which you can be led? It is static only when you create it out of your desire for comfort. But truth is not static, nobody can lead you to truth. Beware of the person who says he can lead you to truth, because it is not true. Truth is something unknown from moment to moment, it cannot be captured by the mind, it cannot be formulated, it has no resting place. Therefore, no one can lead you to truth. You may ask me, `Why are you talking here?' All that I am doing is pointing out to you what is and how to understand what is as it is, not as it should be. I am not talking about the ideal, but about a thing that is actually right in front of you, and it is for you to look and see it. Therefore, you are more important than I, more important than any teacher, any saviour, any slogan, any belief; because you can find truth only through yourself, not through another. When you repeat the truth of another, it is a lie. Truth cannot be repeated. All that you can do is to see the problem as it is, and not escape. When you see the thing as it actually is, then you begin to awaken, but not when you are compelled by another. There is no saviour but yourself. When you have the intention and the attention to look directly at what is, then your very attention awakens you, because in attention everything is implied. To give attention, you must be devoted to what is, and to understand what is, you must have knowledge of it. Therefore, you must look, observe, give it your undivided attention, for all things are contained in that full attention you give to what is.

So, the guru cannot awaken you; all that he can do is to point out what is. Truth is not a thing that can be caught by the mind. The guru can give you words, he can give you an explanation, the symbols of the mind; but the symbol is not the real, and if you are caught in the symbol, you will never find the way. Therefore, that which is important is not the teacher, it is not the symbol, it is not the explanation, but it is you who are seeking truth. To seek rightly is to give attention, not to God, not to truth, because you don't know it, but attention to the problem of your relationship with your wife, your children, your neighbour. When you establish right relationship then you love truth; for truth is not a thing that can be bought, truth does not come into being through self-immolation or through the repetition of mantras. Truth comes into being only when there is self-knowledge. Self-knowledge brings understanding, and when there is understanding, there are no problems. When there are no problems, then the mind is quiet, it is no longer caught up in its own creations. When the mind is not creating problems, when it understands each problem immediately as it arises, then it is utterly still, not made still. This total process is awareness, and it brings about a state of undisturbed tranquillity which is not the outcome of any discipline, of any practice or control, but is the natural outcome of understanding every problem as it arises. Problems arise only in relationship; and when there is understanding of one's relationship with things, with people and with ideas, then there is no disturbance of any kind in the mind and the thought process is silent. In that state there is neither the thinker nor the thought, the observer nor the observed. Therefore, the thinker ceases, and then the mind is no longer caught in time; and when there is no time, the timeless comes into being. But the timeless cannot be thought of. The mind, which is the product of time, cannot think of that which is timeless. Thought cannot conceive or formulate that which is beyond thought. When it does, its formulation is still part of thought. Therefore, eternity is not a thing of the mind; eternity comes into being only when there is love, for love in itself is eternal. Love is not something abstract to be thought about; love is to be found only in relationship with your wife, your children, your neighbour. When you know that love which is unconditional, which is not the product of the mind, then reality comes into being, and that state is utter bliss.

Choiceless Awareness

New Delhi Public Talk 19th December, 1948

Jiddu Krishnamurti texts. Choiceless Awareness. What can the average decent man do to put an end to our communal problem?


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