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Bombay 1950

Bombay 3rd Public Talk 26th February 1950

I would again like to lay emphasis on the importance of listening rightly. Most of us listen without understanding, we listen merely to words; but the word is not the thing, the word can never be the real. The word becomes real only when it has deep significance, but to catch the deep significance of the word one must know how to listen. This evening I want to talk about the question of virtue, and perhaps it may be something which is not along the old traditional lines, it may be something new; so I hope you will kindly listen to it without any resistance, without denial Listen to it with the intention of really grasping its significance. and then perhaps we shall be able to understand the extraordinary importance of virtue. The difficulty in grasping the significance of whatever is said will be, I am quite sure, to cross the barriers of our own prejudices and personal experiences.

Now, virtue is essential, and to understand it we have to go beyond the struggle to be virtuous, beyond the conventional meaning or definition of that word. Because we have made virtue into something very tiresome and tedious, something very ugly, there is no joy in being virtuous. It is a constant effort, it is a strain, a travail. Virtue is a fact, and to understand the fact one must be free to look at it as a fact. It is only the unhappy man who struggles to be virtuous, and the very struggle to be virtuous is the denial of virtue; but the man who is free from un happiness, from strife, from struggle, such a person is virtuous without effort. The understanding of a fact is extraordinarily difficult, because the fact is one thing, and the desire to change the fact is another. To understand the fact is to be virtuous. Anger is a fact, and to understand it without condemning it, without trying to defend it or find excuses for it, liberates one from the fact; and liberation from the fact is virtue. So, virtue is in the understanding of the fact, whatever it be, not in becoming something away from the fact.

With most of us, virtue is the ideal, which is a means of escape from the fact; and therefore we are never virtuous at any time. We are always becoming virtuous and therefore we are not virtuous. Surely, one must see the fact of what one is, whatever it be, without denial, acceptance or identification; because, when one identifies oneself with a fact, accepts or denies it, one does not understand the fact. Mere denial or acceptance is obviously not understanding. So, virtue is not an end to be pursued. The understanding of the fact is virtue, and without virtue there can be no freedom. It is the unvirtuous who are not free, and it is only in freedom that truth can be discovered. Freedom is virtue, and virtue is understanding the fact of what you are, which is not an ultimate process. You can see the fact immediately, so virtue is immediate, not in the future. If you will think about this, you will see the significance of it. Naturally we have not the time to go into all the details; but if you can see the fact of what you are as you would see any other fact, then you will discover there is a freedom from that fact; and it is only in that freedom that truth can be realized.

So, virtue is not a process, not an ultimate thing to be gained or to be practised. What is practised merely becomes habit, and habit can never be virtue. Habit is merely an automatic response. A fact is something that is constantly fresh, free; but a virtue that is practised only leads to respectability, and a respectable man can never be happy. Happiness is not something that is gained by position, prestige, it is not arrived at through any means. We say we are happy because we have money, a position, or some means of sensation; but surely, that is not happiness. Happiness is a state of being in which there is no dependence; for where there is dependence there is fear, and a man who is fearful can never be happy, however much he may cover up his fear. There is happiness only in freedom, and there must be virtue for freedom. An unvirtuous man can never be free because his mind is confused. So, the under standing of the fact is freedom from that fact, and freedom from the fact is virtue. It is only when there is freedom that there is discovery, and freedom is not at the end, but at the beginning. Truth is not something distant: it must be discovered in the immediate, in the very first step. To discover the truth in the immediate there must be freedom, which means the understanding of the fact, which is virtue.

Now I shall answer some questions. It is always difficult to answer questions, and to be precise, because life is not a matter of `yes' and `no'. It is much too vast to be encompassed by a few words, it is too vital to be put in a frame. But if we can see the significance of the problem, then the answer is in the problem itself. It is open to anyone to discover the significance, the beauty, the truth of the problem, and that is possible only when you can see the fact and do not wander away from the fact.

Question: One watches the people near you for any visible sign of transformation. Now do you explain that, while you walk in light, your nearest followers remain dull and ugly in their life and their behaviour?

Krishnamurti: First of all, the follower destroys the leader. To follow anyone is not to find truth. If one would understand what truth is, there can be neither the follower nor the teacher. There is no guru who will lead you to truth, and to follow anyone is to deny that freedom which virtue brings. This is not a mere rhetorical response. Just see the truth of it, that to follow of any kind is to deny intelligence. We follow because we ourselves are in confusion, and out of that confusion we choose the leader; therefore the leader also can only be confused. (Laughter.) Sir, please do not laugh it off. You choose the guru to have your appetite for security satisfied, and what you follow is your own projection, your own gratification, not the truth. When you follow somebody you are destroying that somebody, which is to destroy your self. I have no followers, nor am I a teacher to anybody; if I were, you would destroy me and I would destroy you. Then there would be no love between us, there would be mere following; for those who follow and those who lead have no love in their hearts.

Now, the questioner is very concerned with those who are about me. Why? Why is he concerned with whether others are beautiful or ugly? Surely, what is important is one's own condition , not that of an other. If my mind is petty, narrow, limited, then I will see the same in others. This desire to criticize others is really quite extraordinary. How can I know what another is when I do not know what I myself am? How can I judge another when my own measurement is at fault? What is the instrument, the balance by which I weigh another when I do not know the whole process of my- self? And when I do away with the `myself' in its totallity, there is no time to judge another, nor do I feel the inclination to judge another. It is the sluggish, agitated, worrying mind that judges, it is the restless mind that is forever criticizing others; and how can a restless mind that does not know itself ever look clearly at anything? It is only when you are capable of looking at things directly and clearly that you are free of those things.

The third point in this question is, is it not?, how do you know that I "walk in light"? You assume that I do, but how can you know anything about it? This extraordinary desire to accept and to take things for granted is one of the indications of a dull mind. On the contrary, you should be sceptical. Scepticism is not cynicism or denial; it is the state of a mind that does not agree quickly, that does not accept or take things for granted. A mind that accepts is seeking, not enlightenment or wisdom, but refuge. The important thing is, surely, not whether I walk in light. but whether you do. It is your life, not mine; it is your happiness, your strife, your misery. What is the good of thinking someone else walks in light? He may or may not; and of what value is it to. you when you are yourself in misery? If you merely believe in the light of another, you become a follower, a copyist, an imitator, which means you are a gramophone record playing some tune over and over again without a song in your own heart.

In this question there is also an other point: instead of criticizing, tackling me, you go for the so-called followers. It is like whipping a boy instead of the king; the king can do no wrong, so you go for the boy. Similarly, you go for those whom you regard as my followers. Fortunately there are no followers as far as I am concerned. As I said, to follow anyone is destruction, and that is what is the matter with the world at the present time. We are mere copyists, imitators; we follow eagerly, both politically and religiously, ;nd so we are led to destruction. This does not mean that we must become rampant individualists, which is the other extreme; but to be able to live happily, to see the truth for oneself, does not demand following another. A happy man does not follow. It is the miserable, the confused man who eagerly pursues an other, hoping for refuge; and he will find a refuge, but that refuge is his darkness, it is his undoing. It is only the man who tries to find out the fact of what he is in himself that will know freedom and therefore happiness.

Question: The more one listens to you, the more one feels that you are preaching withdrawal from life. I am a clerk in the Secretariat, I have four children, and I get only Rs. 125 a month. Will you please explain how I can fight the gloomy struggle for existence in the new way you are proposing? Do you really think that your message can mean anything significant to the starving and the stunted wage-earner? Have you lived among such people?

Krishnamurti: First of all, let us dispose of the question as to whether I have lived among such people. It implies, does it not?, that in order to understand life, you must go through every phase of life, every experience, you must live among the poor and the rich, you must starve and pass through every condition of existence. Now, to put the problem very briefly, must you go through drunkenness to know sobriety? Does not one experience fully, completely understood, reveal the whole process of life? Must you go through all the phases of life to understand life? Please see that this is not an avoidance of the question - on the contrary. We think that to know wisdom we must go through every phase of life and ex- perience, from the rich man to the poor man, from the beggar to the king. Now, is that so? Is wisdom the accumulation of many experiences? Or is wisdom to be found in the complete understanding of one experience? Because we never completely and fully under stand one experience, we wander from experience to experience, hoping for some salvation, for some refuge, for some happiness. So, we have made our life a process of continuous accumulation of experiences, and therefore it is an endless struggle, a ceaseless battle to attain, to acquire. Surely, that is a tedious, an utterly stupid approach to life, is it not?

Is it not possible to gather the full significance of an experience and so understand the whole width and depth of life? I say it is possible, and that it is the only way to understand life. Whatever the experience, whatever the challenge and response to life, if one can understand it fully, then the pursuit of every experience has no meaning, it becomes merely a waste of time. Because we are in capable of doing that, we have invented the illusory idea that by accumulating experiences we shall ultimately arrive, God knows where.

Now, the questioner wants to know if I am preaching withdrawal from life. What do we mean by life? I am thinking out this problem aloud, so let us follow it together. What do we mean by life? Living is possible only in relationship, is it not? If there is no relationship, there is no life. To be, is to be related; life is a process of relationship, of being in communion with another, with two or ten, with society. Life is not a process of isolation, of withdrawal. But for most of us, living is a process of isolation, is it not? We are struggling to isolate ourselves in action, in relationship. All our activities are self-enclosing, narrowing down, isolating, and in that very process there is friction, sorrow, pain. Living is relationship, and nothing can exist in isolation; therefore there can be no withdrawal from life. On the contrary, there must be the understanding of relationship - your relationship with your wife, your children, with society, with nature, with the beauty of this day, the sunlight on the waters, the flight of a bird, with the things that you possess and the ideals that control you. To understand all that, you do not withdraw from it. Truth is not found in withdrawal and isolation; on the contrary, in isolation, whether it is conscious or unconscious, there is only darkness and death.

So, I am not proposing a withdrawal from life, a suppression of life; on the contrary, we can understand life only in relationship. It is because we do not understand life that we are all the time making an effort to withdraw, to isolate; and having created a society based on violence, on corruption, God becomes the ultimate isolation.

Then the questioner wants to know how, earning so little, he is to live what we are talking about. Now, first of all, the earning of a livelihood is not only the problem of the man who earns little, but it is also yours and mine, is it not? You may have a little more money, you may be well off, have a better job, a better position, a bigger bank account; but it is also your problem and mine, because this society is what all of us have created. Until we three - you, I and another - really understand relationship, we cannot bring about revolution in society. The man who has no food in his stomach obviously cannot find reality, he must first be fed; but the man whose stomach is full, surely it is his immediate responsibility to see that there is a fundamental revolution in society, that things do not go on as they are. To think, to feel out all these problems is much more the responsibility of those who have time, who have leisure, than it is of the man who earns little and has such a struggle to make both ends meet, who has no time and is worn out by this rotten, exploiting society. So, it is you and I, those of us who have a little more time and leisure, who must go into these problems completely - which does not mean that we have to become professional talkers, offering one system as a substitute for another. It is for you and I who have time, who have leisure for thought, to seek out the way of a new society, a new culture.

Now, what happens to the poor man who is earning Rs. 125/-, or whatever it is? He has to carry the family with him, he has to accept the superstitions of his grandmother, his aunts, nephews, and so on; he has to marry according to a certain pattern, he has to do Puja, ceremonies, and fit in with all that superstitious nonsense. He is caught in it; and if he rebels, you, the respectable people, throttle him.

So, the question of right livelihood is your problem and mine, is it not? But most of us are not concerned with right livelihood at all, we are glad and thankful simply to have a job; and so we maintain a society, a culture, that renders right livelihood impossible. Sirs, do not treat it theoretically. If you find yourself in a wrong vocation and actually do something about it, do you not see what a revolution it will bring in your life and in the life of those around you? But if you listen casually and carry on as before because you have a good job and for you there is no problem, obviously you will continue to cause misery in the world. For the man with too little money there is a problem; but he, like the rest of us, is only concerned with having more, and when he gets more the problem continues, because he wants still more.

Now, what is a right means of livelihood? Obviously, there are certain occupations that are detrimental to society. The army is detrimental to society, because it plans and encourages murder in the name of the country. Because you are a nationalist, holding to sovereign governments, you must have armed forces to protect your property; and property is much more important to you than life, the life of your son. That is why you have conscription, that is why your schools are being encouraged to have military training. So, in the name of your country you are destroying your children. Your country is yourself identified, your own projection, and when you worship your country you are sacrificing your children to the worship of yourself. That is why the army, which is the instrument of a separate and sovereign government, is a wrong means of livelihood. But it is made easy to enter the army, and it becomes a sure means of earning a little money. Just see this extraordinary fact in modern civilization. Surely, the army is a wrong way to earn one's livelihood, because it is based on planned and calculated destruction; and until you and I see the truth of this we are not going to bring about any different kind of society.

Similarly, you can see that a job in a police force is a wrong means of livelihood. Do not smile and pass it off. The police becomes a means of investigating private lives. We are not talking of the police as a means of helping, guiding, but as an instrument of the state, the secret police, and all the rest of it. Then the individual becomes merely an instrument of society, the individual has no privacy, no freedom, no rights of his own; he is investigated, controlled, shaped by the government, which is society. Obviously, that is a wrong means of livelihood.

Then there is the profession of law. Is that not a wrong means of livelihood? I see some of you are smiling. Probably you are lawyers, and you know better than I do what that system is based on. Fundamentally, not superficially, it is based on maintaining things as they are, on dis- agreements, disputation, confusion, quarrels, encouraging disruption and disorder in the name of order.

There is also the wrong profession of the man who wants to become rich, the big business man, the man who is gathering, accumulating, storing up money through exploitation, through ruthlessness - though he may do it in the name of philanthropy or in the name of education.

Obviously, then, these are all wrong means of livelihood; and a complete change in the social structure, a revolution of the right kind, is possible only when it begins with you. Revolution cannot be based on an ideal or a system; but when you see all this as a fact, you are liberated from it, and therefore you are free to act. But, Sirs, you do not want to act; you are afraid of being disturbed, and you say, `There is already sufficient confusion, please do not make any more'. If you do not make more confusion, others are there making it for you - and utilizing that confusion as a means of gaining political power. Surely, it is your responsibility as an individual to see the confusion within and without, and to do something about it - not merely accept it and wait for a miracle, a marvellous Utopia created by others into which you can step without effort.

Sirs, this problem is your problem as well as the poor man's problem. The poor man depends on you and you depend on him; he is your clerk while you ride in a big car and get a fat salary, accumulating money at his expense. So, it is your problem as well as his, and until you and he alter radically in your relationship, there will be no real revolution; though there may be violence and bloodshed, you will maintain things essentially as they are. Therefore, our problem is the transformation of relationship; and that transformation is not on the intellectual or verbal level, but it can take place only when you understand the fact of what you are. You cannot understand it if you theorize, verbalize, deny or justify, and that is why it is important to understand the whole process of the mind. A revolution which is merely the outcome of the mind, is no revolution at all; but revolution which is not of the mind, which is not of the word, of the system - that is the only revolution, the only solution to the problem. But unfortunately, we have cultivated our brains, our so-called intellects, to such an extent that we have lost all capacities except the merely intellectual and verbal capacity. It is only when we see life as a whole, in its entirety, in its totality, that there is a possibility of a revolution which will give both the poor man and the rich man his due.

Question: The conscious mind is ignorant and afraid of the unconscious mind. You are addressing mainly the conscious mind, and is that enough? Will your method bring about release of the unconscious? Please explain in detail how one can tackle the unconscious mind fully.

Krishnamurti: This is quite a complex and difficult problem, it requires a great deal of penetration, and I hope you will pay attention, not merely verbally, but by really listening and by seeing the truth of it.

Now, we are aware that there is the conscious and the unconscious mind, but most of us function only on the conscious level, in the upper layer of the mind, and our whole life is practically limited to that. We live in the so-called conscious mind and we never pay attention to the deeper unconscious mind, from which there is occasionally an intimation, a hint; but that hint is disregarded, perverted, or translated according to our particular conscious demands at the moment. Now, the questioner asks, "You are addressing mainly the conscious mind, and is that enough?" Let us see what we mean by the conscious mind. Is the conscious mind different from the unconscious mind? We have divided the conscious from the unconscious; and is this justified? Is this true? Is there such a division between the conscious and the unconscious? Is there a definite barrier, a line where the conscious ends and the unconscious begins? We are aware that the upper layer, the conscious mind, is active; but is that the only instrument that is active throughout the day? So, if I were addressing merely the upper layer of the mind, then surely what I am saying would be valueless, it would have no meaning. And yet most of us cling to what the conscious mind has accepted, because the conscious mind finds it convenient to adjust to certain obvious facts; but the unconscious may rebel, and often does, and so there is conflict between the so-called conscious and the unconscious.

So, our problem is this, is it not? there is in fact only one state, not two states such as the conscious and the unconscious; there is only a state of being, which is consciousness, though you may divide it as the conscious and the unconscious. But that consciousness is always of the past, never of the present; you are conscious only of things that are over. You are conscious of hearing the second it is over, are you made; you understand it a moment of truth. You are never conscious or aware of the now. Watch your own hearts and minds and you will see that consciousness is functioning between the past and the future, and that the present is merely a passage the past to the future. So, consciousness is a movement of the past to the future. Please follow this. It is a little too abstract to give examples, similes; and to think in similes is not to think at all, because similes are limited. You must think abstractly or negatively, which is the highest form of thinking.

If you watch your own mind at work, you will see that the movement to the past and to the future is a process in which the present is not. Either the past is a means of escape from the present, which may be unpleasant, or the future is a hope away from the present. So, the mind is occupied with the past or with the future and sloughs off the present. That is, the mind is conditioned by the past, conditioned as an Indian, a Brahmin or a non-Brahmin, a Christian, a Buddhist, and so on, and that conditioned mind projects itself into the future; therefore it is never capable of looking directly and impartially at any fact. It either condemns and rejects the fact, or accepts and identifies itself with the fact. Such a mind is obviously not capable of seeing any fact as a fact. That is our state of consciousness, which is conditioned by the past, and our thought is the conditioned response to the challenge of a fact; and the more you respond according to the conditioning of belief, of the past, the more there is the strengthening of the past. That strengthening of the past is obviously the continuity of itself, which it calls the future. So, that is the state of our mind, of our consciousness - a pendulum swinging backwards and forwards between the past and the future. That is our consciousness, which is made up not only of the upper layers of the mind, but of the deeper layers as well. Such consciousness obviously cannot function at a different level, because it only knows those two movements of backwards and forwards.

Now, if you watch very carefully you will see that it is not a constant movement, but that there is an interval between two thoughts; though it may be but an infinitesimal fraction of a second, there is an interval that has significance in the swinging backwards and forwards of the pendulum. So, we see the fact that our thinking is conditioned by the past, which is projected into the future; and the moment you admit the past, you must also admit the future; because, there are not two states as the past and the future, but one state which includes both the conscious and the unconscious, both the collective past and the individual past. The collective and the individual past, in response to the present, give out certain responses which create the individual consciousness; therefore, consciousness is of the past, and that is the whole background of our existence. And the moment you have the past, you inevitably have the future, because the future is merely the continuity of the modified past; but it is still the past. So, our problem is how to bring about a transformation in this process of the past without creating another conditioning, another past. I hope you are following all this. If it is not clear, perhaps we will discuss it on Tuesday or Thursday.

To put it differently, the problem is this: Most of us reject one particular form of conditioning and find another form, a wider, more significant or more pleasant conditioning. You give up one religion and take on another, reject one form of belief and accept another. Such substitution is obviously not understanding life, life being relationship. So, our problem is how to be free from all conditioning. Either you say it is impossible, that no human mind can ever be free from conditioning; or you begin to experiment, to enquire, to discover. If you assert that it is impossible, obviously you are out of the running. Your assertion may be based on limited or wide experience, or on the mere acceptance of a belief; but such assertion is the denial of search, of research, of enquiry, of discovery. To find out if it is possible for the mind to be completely free from all conditioning, you must be free to enquire and to discover.

Now, I say it is definitely possible for the mind to be free from all conditioning - not that you should accept my authority. If you accept it on authority, you will never discover it will be another substitution, and that will have no significance. When I say it is possible, I say it because for me it is a fact, and I will show it to you verbally; but if you are to find the truth of it for yourself, you must experiment with it and follow it swiftly.

The understanding of the whole process of conditioning does not come to you through analysis or introspection; because, the moment you have the analyzer, that very analyzer himself is part of the background, and therefore his analysis is of no significance. That is a fact, and you must put it aside. The analyzer who examines, who analyzes the thing which he is looking at, is himself part of the conditioned state, and therefore whatever his interpretation, his understanding, his analysis may be, it is still part of the background. So that way there is no escape; and to break the background is essential, because to meet the challenge of the new, the mind must be new; to discover God, truth, or what you will, the mind must be fresh, uncontaminated by the past. To analyze the past, to arrive at conclusions through a series of experimentations, to make assertions and denials, and all the rest of it, implies in its very essence, the continuance of the background in different forms and when you see the truth of the fact, then you will discover that the analyzer has come to an end. The background is still there, but the analyzer has come to an end. Then there is no entity apart from the background: there is only thought as the background, thought being the response of memory, both conscious and unconscious, individual and collective.

So, the mind is the result of the past, which is the process of conditioning; and how is it possible for the mind to be free? To be free, the mind must not only see and understand its pendulum-like swing between the past and the future, but also be aware of the interval between thoughts. That interval is spontaneous, it is not brought about through any causation, through any wish, through any compulsion. Just experiment with me this evening and see your own mind in operation as I go slowly into the matter. Don't worry, I am not mesmerizing you. (Laughter.) I am not interested in mesmerizing or influencing you, because to be mesmerized, to be influenced, consciously or unconsciously, is to become a follower; and to become a follower is to destroy yourself and him whom you follow, and therefore there is no love between us. When there is love, there is no mesmerism, there is neither the follower nor the teacher, neither the man nor the woman, there is only that flame of love; and it is that love which brings communion between us.

Now, although it is difficult with a large audience, this evening I am going to try to show how the mind actually works; and you can experiment and see it for yourself. We know thinking is a response of the background. You think as a Hindu, as a Parsee, as a Buddhist, or as God knows what else, not only in your conscious thinking, but also in your unconscious thinking. You are the background, you are not separate, there is no thinker apart from the background; and the response of that background is what you call thinking. That background, whether it is cultured or uncultured, learned or ignorant, is constantly responding to any challenge, to any stimulant, and that response creates not only the so-called present, but also the future; and that is our process of thinking.

Now, if you watch very carefully, you will see that though the response, the movement of thought, seems so swift, there are gaps, there are intervals between thoughts. Between two thoughts there is a period of silence which is not related to the thought process. If you observe you will see that, that period of silence, that interval, is not of time; and the discovery of that interval, the full experiencing of that interval, liberates you from conditioning - or rather, it does not liberate `you', but there is liberation from conditioning. So, the understanding of the process of thinking is meditation - which we will discuss another time. We are now not only discussing the structure and the process of thought, which is the background of memory, of experience of knowledge, but we are also trying to find out if the mind can liberate itself from the background. It is only when the mind is not giving continuity to thought, when it is still with a stillness that is not induced, that is without any causation - it is only then that there can be freedom from the background. I hope I have explained this question sufficiently.

Question: Why does the human mind cling so persistently to the idea of God in many different ways? Can you deny that belief in God has brought consolation and meaning to lonely and desolate people all over the world? Why are you depriving man of this consolation by preaching a new type of nihilism?

Krishnamurti: Sirs, this is as important a question as the previous one, because all vital human questions are important. So please do not resist, but try to understand what I am talking about, and you will see.

Now, belief is a denial of truth, belief hinders truth; to believe in God is not to find God. Neither the believer nor the non-believer will find God; because, reality is the unknown, and your belief or non-belief in the unknown is merely a self-projection and therefore not real. So, if I may suggest, do not resist, but let us go into it together. I know you believe, and I know it has very little meaning in your life. There are many people who believe, millions believe in God and take consolation. First of all, why do you believe? You believe because it gives you satisfaction, consolation, hope, and you say it gives significance to life. But actually your belief has very little significance, because you believe and exploit, you believe and kill, you believe in a universal God and murder each other. The rich man also believes in God; he exploits ruthlessly, accumulates money, and then builds a temple or becomes a philanthropist. Is that belief in God? And the man who drops an atomic bomb says that God is his copilot on the airplane.(Laughter.) Do not laugh, Sirs. Your turn is coming also. The man who plans murder on a vast scale calls on the Almighty; the man who is cruel to his wife, to his children, to his neighbour, he also sings, sits down, kneels, clasps his hands and calls on the name of God.

So, you all believe in different ways, but your belief has no reality whatsoever. Reality is what you are, what you do, what you think, and your belief in God is merely an escape from your monotonous, stupid and cruel life. Furthermore, belief invariably divides people: there is the Parsee, the Hindu, the Buddhist, the Christian, the communist, the socialist, the capitalist, and so on. Belief, idea, divides; it never brings people together. You may bring a few people together in a group, but that group is opposed to another group. So ideas and beliefs are never unifying; on the contrary, they are separative, disintegrating and destructive. Therefore your belief in God is really spreading misery in the world; though it may have brought you momentary consolation, in actuality it has brought you more misery and destruction in the form of wars, famines, class divisions, and the ruthless action of separate individuals. So, your belief has no validity at all. If you really believed in God, if it were a real experience to you, then your face would have a smile, then you would not be destroying human beings. I am not being rhetorical; but please look at the facts first.

You do not really believe in God, because if you did you would not be rich, you would have no temples, you would have no poor people, you would not be a philanthropist with a big title after exploiting people. So, your belief in God is worthless; and though it may give you temporary consolation, compensate for and hide you from your own misery, give you a respectable escape which mankind recognizes as making you a religious person, it is all without validity, it has no significance whatsoever. What is significant is your life, the way you live, the way you treat your servant, the way you look at another human being.

So, what I am preaching is not negation. I am saying that you spread misery by clinging to illusions which help you to avoid looking at things as they are. To face a fact is freedom from the fact, and belief is a hindrance to the perception of what is. After all, your belief is the result of your conditioning. You can be conditioned to believe in God, and another can be conditioned not to believe, to deny that there is God. Obviously, then, belief impedes the realization of what is; and to see the truth of this fact is to be free from belief. Then only can the mind enquire and find out if there is that thing which is called God.

Now, what is reality, what is God? God is not the word, the word is not the thing. To know that which is immeasurable, which is not of time, the mind must be free of time, which means the mind be free from all thought, from all ideas about God. Because, what do you know about God or truth? You do not really know anything about that reality. All that you know are words, the experiences of others, or some moments of rather vague experience of your own. Surely, that is not God, that is not reality, that is not beyond the field of time. So, to know that which is beyond time, the process of time must be understood, time being thought, the process of becoming, the accumulation of knowledge. That is the whole background of the mind; the mind itself is the background, both the conscious and the unconscious, the collective and the individual. So, the mind must be free of the known, which means the mind must be completely silent, not made silent. The mind that achieves silence as a result, as the outcome of determined action, of practice, of discipline, is not a silent mind. The mind that is forced, controlled, shaped, put into a frame and kept quiet, is not a still mind. You may succeed for a period of time in forcing the mind to be superficially silent, but such a mind is not a still mind. Stillness comes only when you understand the whole process of thought; because, to understand the process is to end the process, and the ending of the process of thought is the beginning of silence. Only when the mind is completely silent, not only on the upper level, but fundamentally, right through, on both the superficial and the deeper levels of consciousness - only then can the unknown come into being. The unknown is not something to be experienced by the mind; silence alone can be experienced, nothing but silence. If the mind experiences anything but silence, it is merely projecting its own desires, and such a mind is not silent; and as long as the mind is not silent, as long as thought in any form, conscious or unconscious, is in movement, there can be no silence. Silence is freedom from the past, from knowledge, from both conscious and unconscious memory; and when the mind is completely silent, not in use, when there is the silence which is not a product of effort, then only does the timeless, the eternal come into being. That state is not a state of remembering - there is no entity that remembers, that experiences. So, God or truth, or what you will, is a thing that comes into being from moment to moment, and it happens only in a state of freedom and spontaneity, not when the mind is disciplined according to a pattern. God is not a thing of the mind, it does not come through self-projection, it comes only when there is virtue, which is freedom. Virtue is facing the fact of what is, and the facing of the fact is a state of bliss. Only when the mind is blissful, quiet, without any movement of its own, without the projection of thought, conscious or unconscious - only then does the eternal come into being.

February 26, 1950


Bombay 1950

Bombay 3rd Public Talk 26th February 1950

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