Poona, India, 1948
Poona India 2nd Public Talk 5th September, 1948
It is especially difficult to understand the intricacies and the complexities of human relationship, is it not? Even when one is very familiar with a person, it is often very arduous and almost impossible to find out what his feelings and thoughts are. This becomes comparatively easy when there is affection, love between two people, for then there is immediate communion at the same time and on the same level; but that communion is denied when we are merely discussing or listening on the verbal level. To establish that communion between you and me is extremely difficult, because there is no communion, there is no real understanding. Communion ceases to exist when there is fear or prejudice, because then the defence mechanism is at work. Perhaps I see things in a way different from that to which you are accustomed, and I want to be in communion with you, I want to communicate to you what I see. I may not see truly or completely; but, if you want to examine what I am communicating, you on your side must be open, receptive.
I am not dealing with ideas. To me, ideas have no meaning at all. Ideas do not produce revolution, ideas do not produce regeneration; and it is regeneration that is essential. The communication of ideas is comparatively easy, but to commune with each other beyond the verbal level is extremely arduous. What we have to establish between us is not some imaginative, mystic communion, but a communion that is possible only when both of us are intent on discovering the truth which will solve our problems. For myself, I feel that there is a reality which is from moment to moment, which is not in the realm of time at all. That reality is the only solution to the innumerable problems of our life. When one perceives that reality, or when that reality comes, it is a liberating factor; but no amount of intellectual argumentation, of disputation, of conflict, whether economic, social or religious, will resolve the problems that the mind itself creates.
We have met to commune with each other, and to do that one must be open and receptive, not accepting or denying, but enquiring. You and I are related, we are not living in isolation. Truth is not something apart from relationship. Relationship is society, and in understanding the relationship between yourself and your wife, between yourself and society, you will find truth, or rather, truth will come to you, and it will bring liberation from all problems. You cannot find truth, you must let it come to you; and for that there must be a mind that is no longer haunted by ignorance. Ignorance is not the lack of technical knowledge, the lack of having read many philosophical books; ignorance is lack of self-knowledge. Though one may have read many philosophical and sacred books and be able to quote them, mere quotations, which are the accumulated words and experiences of others, do not free the mind from ignorance. Self-knowledge arises only when there is the searching out and experiencing of the ways of one's own thoughts, feelings, and actions, which is to be aware of the total process of oneself in relationship, from moment to moment. Self-knowledge, which we will discuss presently, gives the right perspective in approaching any of our problems, the right perspective being the understanding of the truth of the problem; and that understanding will inevitably bring about action in relationship. So, self-knowledge is not opposed to, nor does it deny, action. Self-knowledge reveals the right perspective or the truth of the problem, from which action arises - these three are always interrelated, they are not separate. There is no true action without self-knowledge. If I do not know myself, obviously I have no basis for action; what I do is mere activity, it is the response of a conditioned mind, and therefore has no meaning. A conditioned response can never liberate, or produce order out of this chaos.
Now, the world and the individual are one process, they are not opposed; and a man who is trying to solve his own problems, which are the problems of the world, must obviously have a basis for his thought. I think this is fairly clear. If I do not know myself, I have no basis for thinking; if I do not know myself and merely act, such action is bound to produce misery and confusion - which is exactly what is taking place in the world at the present time. So, an enquiry into self-knowledge is not a process of isolation, it is not the fancy or luxury of an ascetic. On the contrary, it is an obvious necessity for the man of the world, for the poor and for the rich, and for him who wants to solve the problems of the world; because man is the world, he is not apart from the world. I think it is very important to realize that this world is the product of our everyday existence, and that the environment which we have created is not independent of us. The environment is there, and you cannot change it without changing yourself; and to change yourself, you must understand your own thoughts, feelings and actions in relationship. Economists and revolutionary people seek to alter the environment without altering the individual; but mere alteration of environment without understanding oneself has no meaning. Environment is the product of the individual's effort, the two are interrelated; and you cannot alter the one without altering the other. You and I are not isolated; we are the result of the total process, the outcome of the whole human struggle, whether we live in India, Japan, or America. The sum total of humanity is you and me. Either we are conscious of that, or we are unconscious of it. To bring about a revolutionary change in the structure of society, each one must understand himself as a total process, not as a separate, isolated entity. If this is very clear, we can proceed with the investigation into the nature of man's mind and what he is. But it must be very clear to the earnest man that there cannot be a complete revolution in the world merely on one level, either economic or spiritual. A total, an enriching revolution cannot take place unless you and I understand ourselves as a total process. You and I are not isolated individuals, but are the result of the whole human struggle with its illusions, fancies, pursuits, ignorance, strife, conflict and misery. One cannot begin to alter the condition of the world without understanding oneself. If you see that, there is immediately within you a complete revolution, is there not? Then no guru is necessary, because knowledge of oneself is from moment to moment, it is not the accumulation of hearsay, nor is it contained in the precepts of religious teachers. Because you are discovering yourself in relationship with another from moment to moment, relationship has a completely different meaning. Relationship then is a revelation, a constant process of the discovery of oneself; and from this self-discovery, action takes place.
So, self-knowledge can come only through relationship, not through isolation. Relationship is action, and self-knowledge is the result of awareness in action. It is like this; Suppose you had never read any books, and you were the first person to seek the meaning of existence. There is nobody to tell you how to start; there is no guru, no book, no teacher, and you have to discover the whole process for yourself. How would you set about it? You would have to begin with yourself, would you not? That is our problem. Merely to quote authority is not self-knowledge, it is not the discovery of the process of the self, therefore it has no value. You have to start as though you knew nothing, and only then is there a discovery which is creative, releasing; and only then does your discovery bring happiness and joy. But most of us are living on words; and words, like memory, are the outcome of the past. A man who lives in the past cannot understand the present. So, you have to discover the process of yourself from moment to moment, which means you have to be aware, conscious of your thoughts, feelings and actions. Be aware, and then you will see how your thoughts, feelings and actions are not only based on the pattern created by society, or by the religious teachers, but are the outcome of your own inclinations. To be aware of your thoughts, feelings and actions is the process of self-knowledge. All of us are aware in the sense that we are conscious that we are doing or thinking something; but we are not conscious of the motive or the urge that lies behind what we think and do. We try to alter the framework of thought, but we never understand the creator of the framework.
So, it is essential to understand ourselves; for without understanding ourselves, without the process of self-discovery, there is no creative revolution. To understand oneself is to be aware of every thought and feeling without condemnation. When you condemn, you put a stop to your feelings and thoughts; but if you do not condemn, justify or resist, then the content of your thought will reveal itself. Experiment, and you will see. This is very important; because, to bring about a creative revolution or regeneration, the first essential is to understand oneself. Without understanding oneself, merely to bring about an economic change, or introduce new patterns of action, has very little value. If we do not understand ourselves, we will merely proceed from conflict to conflict. Nothing can be created in conflict; creation can take place only with the cessation of conflict. For a man constantly in battle with himself and his neighbour, there can never be regeneration - he can only go from reaction to reaction. Regeneration can come only when there is freedom from all reaction, and that freedom takes place only when there is self-knowledge. The individual is not an isolated process, apart from the whole, but is the total process of mankind; therefore, those who are in earnest, and who desire to bring about a radical and fundamental revolution of values, have to begin with themselves.
I have several questions, and I will try to answer as many as possible.
Question: Image-worship, puja, and meditation, are natural and obviously useful to man. Why are you denying them and taking away the consolation in suffering which they offer?
Krishnamurti: Let us understand what we mean by meditation. As it is a complex subject, you will have to pay continued attention, otherwise you will miss the point. Let us first get the main points clear to ourselves. First of all, I am not saying that meditation is not necessary. But before we say whether it is necessary or not, we must understand what it means. My guru, my traditions, say `meditate', so I sit in a room and meditate. Surely, that has no meaning. I must understand what is meant by meditation.
What do we mean by meditation? In meditation, several things are involved: prayer, concentration, the search for truth, or what we call understanding, the desire to seek consolation, and so on. Let us take prayer. What do we mean by it? Prayer is a form of supplication. One is in difficulty, and one looks to somebody to help one out. You and I may not pray, but millions do; and when they pray, obviously they receive an answer, otherwise they wouldn't do it. They receive a certain consolation. In prayer, does the answer come from God, a superior entity, or does the answer come from somewhere else? What is involved in prayer? First, you repeat certain words; you are a Hindu, and you repeat certain words, mantrams. By repeating words over and over again. you induce quietness in the mind. If you endlessly repeat something, obviously the mind is made dull, quiet; and when the conscious mind is quiet, then it receives an answer. Where does the answer come from? Does it come from what you call God, or does it come from somewhere else? Why do you pray? Obviously, you pray because you are in some sort of difficulty, there is a state of pain and suffering, and you want an answer. That is, you have created a problem; and by praying, which is a repetition of words, you quiet the mind, and then the mind receives an answer. When you do that, what is actually taking place? The superficial mind is in a quiet, inactive state; then the unconscious projects itself, and you have an answer. Or, to put it differently, you have a problem which you worry and puzzle over for a long time, but you do not find an answer. Then you say, `I will sleep on it'. When you wake up the next morning, you have the solution. How does it take place? The conscious mind, after worrying over a problem, puts the problem aside and says, `I will leave it alone; and when the conscious mind is quiet with regard to the problem, the unconscious is able to project itself into the conscious, and the answer is there. You may call it the still, small voice, the voice of God, or what you will - the name does not matter. It is the unconscious that gives the intimation, that gives an answer to the problem; and prayer is merely a trick to make the conscious mind quiet, so that it can receive the answer. But the conscious mind receives an answer according to its conscious desire. As long as the mind is conditioned, its answer will inevitably be conditioned. That is, if I am nationalistic, and through prayer I reduce the conscious mind to stillness, I receive an answer according to my nationalistic conditioning. Therefore a Hitler can say, `I hear God's voice'. That is one part of this question of meditation.
Then there is the problem of con- centration, which is a little more difficult; it requires more application of thought and attention. What do you mean by concentration? By concentration, you mean exclusion. To concentrate upon an object, an idea, an image, means to resist and exclude all other thoughts encroaching upon your mind. To resist the flow of other ideas, to try to force your mind to dwell upon one idea, is a constant battle, is it not? You choose an idea, and you try to focus your mind on that idea and resist all other thoughts; and when you are able to concentrate on that idea to the exclusion of all others, you think you have learnt complete concentration. When you do this, what is actually taking place? Concentration becomes a constant conflict of resistance. Why do you choose one thought, and deny all other thoughts? Because you think that one particular thought is more important than all the others, which you consider to be lesser ones. So, there is a conflict, a constant battle between the lesser thoughts and the more important thought. But if you follow and understand each thought as it arises, whether important or unimportant - all thoughts are important - , then there is no necessity for focussing your thought on one idea. Then concentration is no longer narrowing, but strengthening, creative. Look at a child. Give him a toy, a plaything, something in which he is interested. The child will be completely absorbed in it, you do not have to tell him to concentrate. It is the grown - up people who are not interested and who force themselves to concentrate. The man who makes an effort to concentrate, has no interest in what he is doing. If he is interested, concentration is no effort at all. Most of you indulge in meditation because you are not interested in what you are doing every day. So meditation carries you away from life, it is not a part of your daily existence. Therefore, concentration, which you call meditation, is merely an escape from life; and if you can escape from life completely, you think you have gained something. But if you examine every thought, every feeling as it arises, without condemnation, justification, or resistance, then out of that constant understanding, constant rediscovery, the mind becomes very quiet, till and free. So, meditation is not concentration, meditation is not prayer.
Then there is the performance of rituals. Why do you perform a ritual? What is the truth behind it? My mother dies, and I do it for no valid reason. Sirs, this introduces the question of sanity. To do something without thinking, is insanity; to use words without a referent, without meaning, is a state of unbalance. Why do you perform rituals for the dead? If it gives you comfort, you are seeking comfort and not understanding. If you know that, why are you doing it? Do you know the full significance, the whole implication of performing rituals? If you do not, obviously you should not do it. Why do you do it, Sirs? Some people do it because they have nothing else to do, especially women, and it indicates the state of unbalance in which we are living. The performance of rituals is a marvellous escape from the brutality of life, from a brutal husband, the constant bearing of children; and you condemn those who do not do it. To some it is an escape, to others it is a matter of tradition, of authority. Surely, to perform a ritual for the father or mother who has died because it is the tradition to do so, is a state of unbalance. You do not know what it means, but it will please the mother, or the father, or the neighbour. He who does something he does not understand is an unbalanced person. Surely, to quote authority, to do something you do not understand because it gives you comfort, is not the action of a balanced person.
Finally, there is the worshipping of an image, sitting in front of a picture and losing yourself. Why do you worship dead things? Why don't you worship your wives, your children and neighbours? You worship dead things because they cannot respond, and you can attribute to them what you want. It is a marvellous escape. You do not worship the living because they can respond and tell you how silly you are.
Now, if meditation is not prayer, is not concentration, is not rituals and the repetition of words, is not the worship of images, then what is meditation? To understand anything, obviously, a quiet mind is necessary. What do we mean by meditation? If you see that meditation is not the mere repetition of words, is not sitting and looking at a picture and getting hypnotized - if you see the truth of this, what happens to your mind? If you see the truth about prayer, about image-worship, if you see the truth about rituals and their fallacies, what then is the state of your mind? Obviously, if you have seen the truth about all these things, you are free of them, are you not? Being free of them, your mind becomes much more clear, more tranquil, very quiet; and in that tranquillity, reality comes into being. Meditation, then, is not a disciplining of the mind and heart according to any particular pattern, but meditation is a constant process of understanding from moment to moment. Understanding comes only when there is perception of the truth - not some abstract truth, but the truth of what is actual. If I mistake a rope for a snake, there is a state of falsification; but when I see the rope as a rope, there is truth. There is truth only when I see things as they are, in their right perspective; and this whole process of seeing things as they are, clearly and without distortion, is meditation. But it is extremely difficult to see what is, not to mistake the rope for the snake, because most of us are incapable of perceiving without distortion. Therefore, meditation is the process of de-conditioning the mind; it means being aware, without condemnation, justification, or resistance, of every thought, every feeling, every fancy that arises according to one's idiosyncracies and particular tendencies. So, meditation means freedom from the past. It is memory of the past that conditions your response, and meditation is the process of freeing the mind from the past.
But here a difficulty arises. It is necessary for the mind to free itself from the past in order not to distort what is, in order to see things clearly as they are; and how can the mind, which is the result of the past, free itself from the past? Mind can free itself from the past only when you recognize that every thought is the product of the past, and you are fully aware that thought cannot solve any problem. The problem is a challenge, and a challenge is always new; and to translate the new according to the terms of the old is to deny the new. When the mind sees itself as the centre of distortion and is free, clear and unfettered by the past, when it is no longer separating itself as the `you', the `I', then it is still; and in that stillness there is understanding, recognition, reality. It is an experience which must be felt by each one, it cannot be repeated. If you repeat it, it is the old. But if you are interested in solving human problems, there must be meditation of this kind; and when the mind becomes naturally quiet, as a pool becomes quiet when the winds cease, then reality comes into being.
Question: Men are born unequal, and any intelligence test will prove it. Our shastras recognize this fact by dividing men into three types, satva, rajas and tamas. Why then do you say that your message is for all, irrespective of differences in temperament and intelligence? Are you not shirking your duty by pre- suming that all are equal? Is it not a bit of demagogy?
Krishnamurti: Sir, it is an obvious fact that we are all unequal. There is extraordinary difference between man and man, between woman and woman. But is there a difference when you love somebody? Is there any inequality? Is there any nationality? When the heart is empty, then types become very important; then we divide human beings into classes, colours, races. But when you love, is there any difference? When there is generosity in your heart, do you distinguish? You give yourself. It is the man who is not generous, who is concerned with his bank account, that wants to keep these differences and divisions. To a man who is seeking the truth, there are no divisions; to seek the truth is to be active, to have wisdom, to know love. The man who is pursuing a particular path can never know the truth, because to him that path is exclusive. When I say this is applicable to all, it is not to flatter democracy - which is non-existent in the world. To appeal to the common man is a cheap trick, the work of the politician. What I am saying is applicable to everyone irrespective of his station in life, whether he be rich or poor, and whatever his temperament may be. We are all suffering, we all have our problems, we are burdened by worries and in ceaseless conflicts; death, sorrow and pain are our constant companions. The hierarchical principle is clearly detrimental to spiritual thought. To divide man as the high and the low indicates ignorance. Since we are all suffering on different levels of consciousness, what I say is applicable to all. We all want to be free from suffering whether rich, poor, or in between. Suffering is our common lot; and as we are all seeking a way out of suffering, what I say is applicable to all.
Now, as we are suffering, it is no good merely escaping from it. Suffering cannot be understood through escape, but through loving and understanding it. You understand something when you love it. You understand your wife when you love her, you understand your neighbour when you love him - which is not merely being carried away by the word `love'. Most of us run away from suffering through the innumerable clever tricks of the mind. Suffering is understood only when we are face to face with suffering, not when we are ceaselessly trying to avoid it. Through the desire to avoid suffering we have developed a culture of distraction, of organized religion with its ceremonies and pujas; and we accumulate wealth by exploiting people. All these are indicative of the avoidance of suffering. Surely, you and I, the man in the street, anyone can understand suffering, only we must give our attention to it. But, unfortunately, modern civilization merely helps us to escape through amusements, through distractions, or through illusions, the repetition of words, and so on. All this helps us to avoid what is, and therefore we have to be aware of these innumerable escapes. It is only when man is free from escapes that he will dissolve the cause of suffering. To a happy man, a man who loves, there are no divisions, he is neither a Brahmin nor an Englishman, neither a German nor a Hindu. To such a man there is no division of high and low. It is because we do not love that we have all these invidious divisions. When you love, there is a sense of richness, that perfume of life, and you are willing to share your heart with another. When the heart is full, the things of the mind fall away.
Question: Maharashtra is the land of saints. Dyaneswari, Tukaram, and a host of others belonging to Maha- rashtra, have striven through Bakthi Marga to proclaim the truth and give assistance to millions of common men and women, who still visit Pandharpur temple year after year in devout faith. These saints have given mantrams. Why do you not simplify your message and bring it to the level of the common man?
Krishnamurti: Most of us are devout and want to worship something; and as the mantrams have simplified life and helped the millions, why do I not make my teaching simple? That is the gist of the question. Sir, by repeating words, by repeating a name, do you think you can give sustenance to the soul? Or do you merely dull the mind? Surely, anything that is repeated over and over again makes the mind insensitive. Is this constant repetition of words not a trick to make the mind dull so that all revolution, all enquiry and sensitive response are destroyed? It has become one of the functions of governments to make the mind dull by constant repetition; `We are right, and other parties are wrong'. By your endless repetition of a name, by your constant performance of a ritual, surely the mind, which should be sensitive and pliable, becomes dull. Most of us have an inclination to live a kind of devout life; but unfortunately, these repetitive exercises destroy it. It is important to understand that the path of devotion and the path of wisdom are not separate.Relationship, which is a process of self-revelation, is not understood through any one path. If I want to understand life, I must live it, I must be active, I must he full of wisdom concerning life. To follow one path at the expense of the other is distortion, a state of contradiction within oneself.
The questioner wants to know why I cannot make my teaching simple enough for the common man. This is an extraordinary thing. Why are you concerned about the common man? Are you really concerned about the common man? I doubt it very much, If you were concerned about the common man, then you would not worship any system, there would be no political party, either left or right. A system becomes important when you do not love the common man but only love the system, am ideology for which you are willing to kill and destroy the common man. After all, the common man is you and I. What is the difficulty in understanding what I say? The first difficulty is that you do not want to understand. If you understood, you would have a revolution, and this would disturb you, it would upset your father, your mother, or your wife; so you say, `Your teachings are too complex'. In other words, Sir, when you do not want to understand a thing, you make the thing complex. When you want to understand something, you love it; and when you love, life becomes simple. It is because you have no love for your wife or for anything that this becomes a complicated philosophy which you are finding extremely difficult. When you love one person you love others, the heart is warm towards everyone. Then you are in a sensitive, pliable state. Because we have not that pliable, warm affection, we live on words, we are sustained by words. We worship a system, with its appalling class and racial divisions, with its economic frontiers, because our hearts are empty. To understand, you must have love in your hearts. Love is not a thing to be cultivated; it comes into being swiftly and directly when it is not hindered by the things of the mind. Our hearts are empty, and that is why there is no communion between you and me. We listen, we have words, we have argumentation, but there is no communion between us because between us there is no love. When there is love - that warmth, that generosity, that kindliness, that mercy - , there is no need for philosophy, there is no need for teachers; for love is its own truth.
September 5, 1948
Poona, India, 1948
Poona India 2nd Public Talk 5th September, 1948
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