Madras 1st Public Talk 18th December, 1949
Perhaps if we can understand this whole problem of searching, seeking we may be able to understand the complex problem of dissatisfaction and discontent. Most of us are seeking something at various levels of existence, physical comfort or psychological well-being; or we say we are seeking truth or seeking wisdom. We are apparently always seeking something. Now, what does this mean, actually? What is it that we are seeking? We can only seek something that we know; we cannot seek something that we do not know. We cannot search for something that we do not know exists; we can only search for something that we have had and have lost. The search is the desire for satisfaction.
Most of us are dissatisfied both outwardly and inwardly; and if we observe ourselves closely, we find that this discontent is merely the search for an enduring satisfaction at different levels of existence which we call truth, happiness, understanding, or any other term. Basically, this urge is to find lasting gratification; and being discontented with everything we do, finding no gratification in any of the things we have tried, we go from one teacher, one religion, one path, to another, hoping to find ultimate satisfaction. So, essentially our search is not for truth, but for satisfaction. Most of us are discontented, dissatisfied, with things as they are; and our psychological, inward struggle is to find a permanent refuge; whether the refuge is one of ideas or of immediate relation ship, the basic urge is a desire to achieve complete satisfaction. This drive is what we call seeking.
We try various gratifications, various `isms', communism included; and when these do not satisfy, we turn to religion and pursue one guru after another, or we become cynics. Cynicism also gives great satisfaction. Our search is always for a state of mind in which there will be no disturbance whatever, in which there will no longer be a struggle, but complete satisfaction. Is there the possibility of complete satisfaction in anything which the mind seeks? The mind is searching for its own projections, which are satisfying, gratifying; and the moment it finds one of these projections troublesome, it leaves it and goes to another. That is, we are seeking a psychological state which will be so pacifying, so reconciled, that it eliminates all conflicts. If we look into it deeply, we shall see that no such state is possible unless we are in illusion or attached to some form of psychological assertion.
Can discontent ever find permanent satisfaction? And what is it that we are discontented with? Are we seeking a better job, more money, a better wife, or a better religious formulation? If we examine it closely, we shall find that all our discontent is a search for permanent satisfaction - and that there can be no permanent satisfaction. Even physical security is impossible. The more we want to be secure, the more we become enclosed, nationalistic, ultimately leading to war. So, as long as we are seeking satisfaction, there must be everincreasing conflict.
Is it possible ever to be content? What is contentment, actually? What brings contentment, how does it come about? Surely, contentment comes only when we understand what is. What brings discontent is the complex approach to what is. Because I want to change what is into something else, there is the struggle of becoming. But mere acceptance of what is also creates a problem. Surely, to understand what is, there must be passive watchfulness without the desire to change it into something else; which means that one must be passively aware of what is. Then it is possible to go beyond the mere outward show of what is. What is, is never static, though our response may be static.
Our problem, therefore, is not the search for an ultimate gratification which we call truth, God, or a better relationship, but the understanding of what is. To understand what is requires an extraordinarily swift mind which sees the futility of the desire to change what is into something else, of comparing or trying to reconcile what is with something else.
This understanding comes, not through discipline, control, or self-immolation, but through the removal of hindrances which prevent us from seeing what is directly.
There is no ending to satisfaction, it is continuous; and unless we see that, we are incapable of dealing with what is as it is. Direct relationship with what is, is right action. Action based upon an idea is merely a self-projection. The idea, the ideal, the ideology, is all a part of the thought process, and thought is a response to conditioning at any level. Therefore, the pursuit of an idea, of an ideal or an ideology, is a circle in which the mind is caught. When we see the whole process of the mind and all its crafty manoeuvering, only then is there understanding which brings transformation.
Question: We see inequality among men, and some are far above the rest of mankind. Surely, then, there must be higher types of beings like Masters and devas who may be deeply interested in co-operating with mankind. Have you contacted any of them? If so, can you tell us how we can contact them?
Krishnamurti: Most of us are interested in gossip; and gossip is an extraordinarily stimulating thing, whether it is about Masters and devas, or about our neighbours. The more dull we are, the more we love gossip. When one is fed up with social gossip, one wants to gossip about something higher. We are interested, not in the problem of inequality, but in gossipy tidbits about strange entities we do not see, thus seeking a means of escaping from our shallowness. After all, the Masters and devas are your own projections; when you follow them, you follow your own projections. If they were to say to you, "Drop your nationalism, your societies, do not be greedy, do not be cruel", you would soon leave them and pursue others who would satisfy you. You want me to help you to contact the Masters. I am really not interested in the Masters. There is a lot of talk about them, and it has become a cunning means of exploiting people. We make a mess in the world, and we want a big brother to come and help us out of it. A great deal of that is cant. This division between Master and pupil, the hierarchical climbing of the ladder of success - is it really spiritual? This whole idea of hierarchical becoming, struggling to become what you call spiritual, to attain liberation - is it spiritual? When our hearts are empty, we fill them with the images of Masters, which means there is no love. When you love someone, you are not conscious of equality or inequality. Why are you so occupied with the question of Masters? The Masters are important to you because you have a sense of authority, and you give authority to something which has no authority. You give authority because it pleases you; it is self-flattery.
The problem of inequality is more fundamental than the desire to contact the Masters. There is inequality in capacity, in thought, in action - between the genius and the dull witted man, the man who is free and the man who practises a routine. Every kind of revolution has tried to break this down, and in the process has created another inequality. The problem is how to go beyond the sense of inequality, of the inferior and the superior. That is true spirituality - not seeking Masters and thereby maintaining the sense of inequality. The problem is not how to bring about equality, because equality is an impossibility. You are entirely different from another. You see more, you are much more alert than the other; you have a song in your heart, the other's heart is empty and to him a dead leaf is a dead leaf which he burns. Some people have extraordinary capacity, they are swift and capable. Others are slow, dull, unobserving. There is no end to physical and psychological differences, and you cannot break them down - that is an utter impossibility. All that you can do is to give an opportunity to the dull and not kick him, not exploit him. You cannot make him a genius.
So the problem is not how to contact Masters and devas but how to transcend the sense of inequality; seeking to contact Masters is the pursuit of the very, very dull. When you k now yourself you k now the Master. A real Master cannot help you, because you have to understand yourself. We are all the time pursuing phony Masters; we seek comfort, security, and we project the kind of Master we want, hoping that Master, will give us all that we desire. Since there is no such thing as comfort, the problem is much more fundamental, that is, how to go beyond this sense of inequality. Wisdom is not the struggle to become more and more.
Now, is it possible to transcend the sense of inequality? For inequality is there, we cannot deny it. What happens when we do not deny inequality, when we do not come to it with a prejudiced mind, but face it? There is the dirty village, and there is also the nice clean house: both are what is. How do you approach ugliness and beauty? In that lies the solution. The beautiful you wish to be identified with, and the ugly you put aside. For the inferior you have no consideration, but for the superior you have the greatest consideration and deference. Your approach is identification with the higher, and rejection of the lower; you look upward with cringing, and downward with contempt.
Inequality can be transcended only when we understand our approach to it. As long as we resist the ugly and identify ourselves with the beautiful, there is bound to be all this misery. But, if we approach inequality without condemnation, identification, or judgment, then our response is entirely different. Please try it, and you will see what an extraordinary change occurs in your life. The understanding of what is brings contentment - which is not the contentment of stagnation, not the contentment caused by the possession of property, of an idea, of a woman. Contentment is the state of approach to what is as it is, without any barrier whatsoever. Then only is there love, the love which destroys the sense of inequality; and this is the only thing that is revolutionary, that can transform. Since we have not that flame of revolution, we fill our hearts and minds with ideas of revolution of the left or the right, the modification of what has been. That way there is no hope. The more you reform, the greater the need for further reforms.
It is not important to know how to contact the Masters, for they have no significance in life. What is important is to understand yourself, otherwise your Master is an illusion. Without understanding yourself you are creating more and more misery in the world. Look at what is happening in the world and see the narrow spirit displayed by the zealous votaries of peace, of the Masters, of love and brotherhood. You are all out for yourselves, though you wrap it up in beautiful words. You want the Masters to help you to become more glorified and self-enclosed.
I know I have answered this question at different times in different ways. I also know that, in spite of all I say, you are going to perform your rituals and rattle your swords for king and country. You do not want to understand and solve this problem of inequality. People have written to me saying, "You are very ungrateful to the Masters who have brought you up". It is so easy to make these statements. It is all cant. One has to discover for oneself that no Master can help one. Is it ungrateful to see that which is false and say it is false? You want me to be grateful to your idea, to your formulation of a Master; and when your ideas are disturbed, you call me ungrateful. The problem is not one of gratitude to the Masters, but of understanding yourself.
There is great joy in understanding and discovering what you are, the whole content of what you are, from moment to moment. Self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom. Without self-knowledge, you cannot know anything - or if you know something, you will misuse it. To pursue the Master is easy; but to have self-knowledge, to be passively watchful of every thought and feeling, is arduous. You cannot watch if there is judgment or identification; for identification and judgment prevent understanding. If you watch passively, the thing that you watch begins to unfold, and then there is understanding which renews itself from moment to moment.
Question: In one of your talks you have stated that if a person prays, he receives, but he will pay for it in the end. What do you mean by this? What is the entity that grants our prayers, and why do we not succeed in getting all that we pray for?
Krishnamurti: Are you not happy that all you pray for is not granted? Would that not be deadly boring? You should see the whole picture, not only the part you like. Most of you pray to be satisfied. Your prayers are petitions, supplications for help to get away from your own confusion. Obviously, you pray only when you are confused, in trouble, unhappy. You do not pray when you are joyous, but only when there is fear and when there is pain. What happens when you pray? Please experiment with yourself and watch what happens. When you pray, you quiet the mind by the repetition of certain phrases; that is, the mind is made quiet, is drugged, by repeating a word or by looking at a picture or an image. When the superficial mind is quiet, into that upper layer of the mind comes the response which is most satisfactory. Mass prayer also has a similar effect. You supplicate, you put out the begging bowl to receive; you want gratification, you want an escape from your confusion. So, when the mind is drugged into insensitivity or is partly asleep, into it is projected unconsciously the satisfying answer, which is the general influence of the world about you. There is the collective reservoir of greed, of the universal demand away from what is; and when you tap it, you obviously get what you want. But that reservoir - is it God, the ultimate truth? Please do look at it, watch it closely, and you will see.
When you pray to God, you pray to something with which you have a relationship, and you can have a relationship only with what you know; therefore your `God' is a projection of yourself, either inherited or acquired. When the mind is begging, it will have an answer, but that answer will always be more enclosing and more troublesome, and will create further problems. That is the price you pay. When you sing or chant together, you are only avoiding, seeking an escape from what is. The escapes have their satisfactions; but their price is, that you have yet to meet the problem which pursues you like a shadow. Your prayers may be gratifying most of the time; but you are in misery all the time, and you want to run away. Your search is the search of avoidance. To understand requires watchfulness, knowing every thought, every gesture. But you are lazy; you have convenient escapes which help you to avoid the understanding of yourself, the creator of pain. Until you understand the problem of yourself, your ambitions, your greed, your exploitation, your desire to maintain inequality; until you face the fact that you are the creator of pain and suffering in the world, of what value are your prayers? You are the problem, you cannot ultimately avoid it; and you can dissolve it only by understanding the whole of it.
So, your prayer is a hindrance to understanding. There is a different kind of prayer - a state of mind where there is no demand, no supplication. In that prayer - perhaps this is a wrong word to use - there is no forward movement, no denial; it is not put together, it cannot be brought about by any kind of trick. That state of mind is not seeking a result, it is still; it cannot be thought of, practised, or mediated upon. That state of mind alone can discover and allow truth to come into being, and it alone will solve our problem. That quiet state of mind comes when what is, is observed and understood; and then the mind is capable of receiving the inexhaustible.
Question: There is widespread misery in the world, and all religions have failed; yet you seem to be talking religion more and more. Will any religion help us to be free from misery?
Krishnamurti: We must find out what we mean by religion. Religions have failed throughout the world, perhaps, because we are not religious. You may call yourselves by certain names, but your beliefs, your images, your incense-burning, are not religious at all. To you, all these have become important - not religion. Look at what we have done throughout the world. Ideas have set man against man. The extension of dogma is not freedom from dogma. Belief is separating people. Separation is the emphasis of belief, and it is a good means of exploiting the credulous. In belief, you find comfort, security - which is all illusion. Wherever there is a tendency to separativeness, there must be disintegration. Where there is the enclosing force of belief, there must be disintegration. You call yourselves Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Theosophists, and what not, and thereby you enclose yourselves. Your ideas create opposition, enmity, and antagonism; so also your philosophies, however clever, idealistic and amusing. As a man is addicted to drink, you are addicted to your beliefs. That is why organized religions have failed through out the world.
True religion is experiencing, and it has nothing to do with belief. It is that state of mind which, in the process of self - knowledge, discovers truth from moment to moment. Truth is not continuous, it is never the same, it is incomparable. Truth is the alone; it is not the symbol of anything. The worship of any symbol brings about disaster, and a mind that is addicted to belief in any form can never be a religious mind. It is only the religious mind, not the ideological mind, that is capable of solving the problem. Quoting others is no good. A mind that quotes, whether it be Plato or Buddha, is incapable of experiencing reality. To experience reality, the mind must be completely stripped; and such a mind is not a seeking mind.
Religion, therefore, is not belief; religion is not ceremonies; religion is not an idea, or various ideas put together to form an ideology. Religion is experiencing the truth of what is from moment to moment. Truth is not an ultimate end - there is no ultimate end to truth. Truth is in what is; it is in the present, it is never static. A mind that is clouded with the past cannot possibly understand truth. All religions, as they are, divide man. The beliefs of these religions are not truth. Truth is not to be found in any belief in reincarnation; truth is experienced only when there is an ending, the ending which is implied in death. Your belief in God is not religion, is not truth. There is little difference between the believer and the non-believer; they are both conditioned by their respective environments; they bring separation in the world, through ideas, through beliefs. Therefore, neither the believer nor the non-believer can experience reality.
When you see things as they are without any prejudice, without praise or condemnation, in direct relationship with what is, there is action. When the idea intervenes, there is postponement of action. The mind which is the structure of ideas, the residue of all memories and thoughts, can never find reality. Your reading and quoting will not help you to experience reality. Reality must come to you. You can search only for something that you know; you cannot search for reality. please do see the truth of this matter, see the beauty of the mind that is experiencing directly and therefore acting without a reward, without a punishment. But experience is not the criterion of truth. Experience only nurtures memory. Your self is thought, and thought is memory; experience is memory as thought. Therefore, such a mind can organize the word `truth' and exploit people; but it is incapable of experiencing reality. Only the mind that has no idea can experience reality. A religious man is the truly revolutionary man. The man who acts on ideas may kill others. In direct relationship with what is there is experiencing, and such a mind is no longer fabricating ideas. A mind that has no idea is sensitive, is able to see what is directly, and is therefore capable of action. Such action alone is revolutionary.
Question: It has been said that the acquirement of wisdom is the ultimate goal of life, and that wisdom has to be sought little by little through a life of purification and dedication, with the mind and the emotions directed to high ideals through prayer and meditation. Do you agree?
Krishnamurti: Let us find out what you mean by wisdom, and then see whether we can find that wisdom. What do you mean by wisdom? Is it the goal of life? If it is, and if you know the goal, the purpose of life, then wisdom is the known. Can you know or acquire wisdom, or can you only know facts, acquire knowledge? Surely, knowledge and wisdom are two separate things. You may know all about something; but, is that wisdom? Is wisdom to be acquired little by little, life after life? Is wisdom the storing up of experience? Acquisition implies accumulation; experience implies residue. Residue, accumulation - is that wisdom? You have already accumulated the racial, the inherited residues in conjunction with the present. Is that process of accumulation, wisdom? You accumulate to safeguard yourself, to live secure; you acquire experience gradually. The accumulation of knowledge, the slow gathering of experience - is that wisdom. Your whole life is accumulation, acquiring more and more, Will that make you wise? You have acquired something, you have had an experience which has left a residue; and that residue conditions your further experience. Your response is this experience, and it is the continuation of the background in a different way. So when you say that wisdom is experience, you mean the collection of many experiences. Why are you not wise? Can the man who is constantly acquiring, be wise? Can the man burdened with experience, be wise? Can the man who knows, be wise? The man who knows is not wise, and the man who does not know is wise. Do not smile and pass it off.
When you know, you have experienced, you have accumulated; and the projection of that accumulation is further knowledge. Therefore, wisdom is not a slow process, it is not to be gathered little by little like a bank account. To believe that gradually through several lives you are going to become Buddha, is immature thinking and feeling. Such statements appear wonderful, especially when ascribed to a Master. When you enquire to find out the truth, then you will see it is only your own projection that wants to continue to experience the same thing as before.
So, accumulation is never wisdom, because there can be accumulation only of what is known; and what is known, can never be the unknown. The emptying of the mind is not a slow process; but trying to empty it is a hindrance. If you say, "I will empty the mind", then it is the same old process. Just see the truth that a mind that is acquiring can never be wise - in six lives or in ten. A man who has acquired is already rich; and a rich man is never wise. You want to be rich in knowledge, which is the acquisition of experience in words; but the man who has, can never be wise. Also, the man who deliberately has not, can never be wise.
Truth cannot be accumulated. It is not experience. It is experiencing in which there is neither the experiencer nor the experience. Knowledge always has the accumulator, the gatherer; but wisdom has no experiencer. Wisdom is as love is; and without that love, we attempt to pursue wisdom through continuous acquisition. What continues must decay. Only that which ends can know wisdom. Wisdom is ever fresh, ever new. How can you know the new if there is continuity? There is continuity as long as you are continuing experience. Only when there is ending is there the new, which is creative. But, we want to continue, we want accumulation, which is the continuity of experience; and such a mind can never know wisdom. It can only know its own projection, its own creations, and the reconciliation between its creations. Truth is wisdom. Truth cannot be sought out. Truth comes only when the mind is empty of all knowledge, of all thought, of all experience; and that is wisdom.
December 18, 1949
Madras 1st Public Talk 18th December, 1949
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