Bombay 4th Public Talk 5th March 1950
Unless we understand the whole problem of effort, the question of action will not be completely understood. Most of us live by a series of efforts, striving to achieve a result, striving either for the general welfare, for general upliftment, or to achieve personal advancement. Effort is ultimately, is it not?, a process of ambition, whether collective or individual; and it is ambition that seems to drive most of us into political activity or into work for social and religious advancement.For most of us, ambition seems to be the goal, the way of living; and when the pursuits of that ambition are thwarted, there is frustration, there is sorrow, leading to a series of escapes. Surely, effort ultimately implies, not only the ambition for personal advancement, but also the ambition for social and political advancement; and if we do not suc- ceed in worldly matters, we turn our ambition to so-called spiritual matters. If I do not become somebody in this world, I want to become somebody in the next world, and that is considered to be spiritual, more worthy, more significant; but ambition in any direction, by whatever name we may call it, is still ambition. The acquiring of capacity, of technique and efficiency, the desire for the power to do good, for the power to speak, to write, to think clearly, the desire for power in any form, implies ambition, does it not? And does the search for power bring about creation or creativeness? Does creativeness come into being through effort, through advancement, personal or collective? Does creativeness come into being through the cultivation of capacity and efficiency, which is ultimately power? Until we understand the state of being which is creation, until there is that ingrained sense of creativeness, conflict is inevitable. If we can understand that question of creation, then perhaps we shall be able to act without multiplying the problems through action; and to understand the state of creativeness, surely we must understand the process of effort.
Now, where there is effort to achieve something, obviously there cannot be understanding. Understanding comes only when there is the cessation of the whole process, the whole mechanism of striving to be or not to be, to advance or not to advance. It is really only the imitator who makes an effort to become something and the man who has disciplined his mind according to a certain pattern is obviously an imitator, a copyist. He must make an effort to conform to the pattern, and conformity to the pattern he calls living. However subtle, however hidden and widely extended, any effort in which there is imitation, copy, is obviously not creation. Because most of us are caught in imitation, we have lost the feeling for creation, and having lost it, we get entangled in technique, in making effort more and more perfect, more and more efficient, that is, we develop more and more technical capacity without having the flame; and the search for efficiency in action without the flame is the curse of the present age. Most of us who are concerned with action which we hope will bring about a revolution are caught in action based on an idea, which is merely copy, and therefore it is invalid. Surely, our problem - sociological, religious, individual, collective, or what you will - can be solved only when we understand the whole process, the mechanism of effort; and the understanding of effort is meditation.
So, until we understand and are utterly free from the whole process of ambition, which is the search for power, for efficiency, for domination, there cannot be creative action; and it is only the creative man who can solve these problems, not the man who is merely copying a pattern, however efficient, however worthy. The search for a pattern is not the search for creation, the search for a pattern is not the search for true revolution. As long as we do not understand the process of effort, in which is implied power, imitation, ambition, there cannot be creation. It is only the creative man who is happy, and only the happy man is virtuous; and the happy, virtuous man is a really creative social entity who will bring about revolution.
There are several questions. To most of us, the problems of life are not very serious, and we want ready made answers. We do not want to delve into the problem, we do not want to think it out completely, fully, and understand the whole significance of it; we want to be told the answer, and the more gratifying the answer, the quicker we accept it. When we are made to think about a problem, when we have to go into it, our minds rebel, because we are not used to enquiring into problems. In considering these questions, if you merely wait for a ready made answer from me, I am afraid you will be disappointed; but if we can go into the question together, think it out anew, not according to old patterns, then perhaps we shall be able to solve the many problems which confront us, and which we are usually so unwilling to look at. We have to look at them, that is, there must be the capacity to face the fact; and we cannot face the fact, whatever it be, as long as we have explanations, as long as words fill our minds. It is words, explanations, memories, that cloud the understanding of the fact. The fact is always new, because the fact is a challenge; but the fact ceases to be a challenge, it is not new, when we consider it merely as the old and discard it. So, in considering these questions, I hope you and I will think out the problem together. I am not laying down the answer, but we are going to think out each problem together and discover the truth of it.
Question: You seem to be preaching something very akin to the teachings of the `Upanishads', why then are you upset if someone quotes from sacred books? Do you mean to suggest that you are expounding something no one has ever said before? Does quotation from another person interfere with the peculiar technique of hypnotism which you are employing?
Krishnamurti: Why do you quote and why do you compare? Either you quote because you say, `By quoting I can compare and understand', or you quote because in your mind you are nothing else but quotation. (Laughter.) Do not laugh, Sirs, just see the truth of the matter. A gramophone record repeats what someone else has said. Has that any validity in the search of truth? Do you understand by quoting the Upanishads or any other book? No book is sacred, I assure you; like the newspaper, it is only words printed on paper, and there is nothing sacred in either. Now, you quote because you think that by quoting and comparing you will understand what I am talking about. Do we understand anything through comparison, or does understanding come only when you deal directly with whatever is said? When you say that the Upanishads have said it, or someone else has said it, what is actually taking place in your psychological process? By saying that someone else has said it, you do not have to think any more about it, do you? You think you have understood the Upanishads; and when you compare what the Upanishads say with what I am saying, you say it is alike, and you give no further thought to the problem. That is, by comparing you are really seeking a state in which you will not be disturbed. After all, when you have read the Upanishads or the Bhagavad Gita and think you have understood it, you can settle back and keep on repeating it, and it will have no effect on your daily life; you can keep on reading and quoting and be undisturbed, perfectly safe. Then you are very respectable, and you can carry on with your daily life, which is monstrously ugly and stupid; and when someone else comes along and points out something, you immediately compare it with what you have read and you think you have understood. Actually, you are avoiding disturbance; that is why you compare, and that is what I object to.
I do not know whether what I am saying is new or old, I am not interested in whether someone else has said it or not; but what I am really interested in is to find out the truth of every problem - not according to the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Bible, or Sankara. When you are seeking the truth of a problem, it is stupid to quote what others have said. Sir, this is not a political meeting, and the question fundamentally is, do you understand anything by comparison? Do you understand life by having your mind full of the sayings of others, by following the experience, the knowledge of others? Or does understanding come only when the mind is still - not made still, which is dullness? Through enquiry, through search, through exploration, inevitably the mind becomes quiet, and then the problem gives its full significance; and it is only when the mind is quiet that there is understanding of the significance of the problem, not when you are constantly comparing, quoting, judging, weighing. Surely, Sir, the man of knowledge, the scholar, can never know truth; on the contrary, knowledge and erudition must come to an end. The mind must be simple to understand truth, not filled with the knowledge of others or with its own restlessness. Look, if you had no books of any kind, no so-called religious or sacred books, what would you do to find truth? If you were interested in it at all, you would have to search your own heart, you would have to seek out the sacred places of your mind, would you not? You would have to look to yourself, you would have to understand the way your mind is working; because, the mind is the only instrument you have, and if you do not understand that instrument, how can you go beyond the mind? Surely, Sir, those who first wrote the sacred books could not have been copyists, could they? They didn't quote somebody else. But we are quoting because our hearts are empty, we are dry, we have nothing in us. We make a lot of noise, and that we call wisdom; and with that knowledge we want to transform the world, and thereby we make more noise. That is why it is important for the mind which really wants to bring about a fundamental revolution to be free from copy, from imitation, from patterns.
Now, the questioner asks, "Does quotation from another person interfere with the peculiar technique of hypnotism which you are employing?" Am I hypnotizing you? Don't answer me - because the hypnotized man does not know he is being hypnotized. The problem is not whether I am hypnotizing you, but why you are listening to me. If you are listening merely to find a substitute, another leader, another picture to worship and put flowers before, then what I am saying will be utterly useless. Your walls are already filled with pictures, you have innumerable images, and if you are listening to find further gratification, you will be hypnotized no matter what is said. As long as you are seeking gratification you will find the means that will gratify you, and therefore you will be hypnotized - as most of you are. Those who believe in nationalism are hypnotized; those who believe in certain dogmas about God, about reincarnation, or what you will, are hypnotized by words, by ideas. And you like to be hypnotized, mesmerized, either by another or by yourselves, because in that state you can remain undisturbed; and as long as you are seeking a state in which you will have no disturbance, which you call peace of mind, you will always find the means, the guru - anyone or anything that will give you what you want. That state is hypnosis. Surely, that is not what is taking place here, is it? Actually, I am not giving you anything. On the contrary, I say: wake up from your hypnosis; whether you are hypnotized by your Upanishads, or by the latest guru - be free of them. Look at your own problems; see the truth of the nearest problems, not the farthest, and understand your relationship with society. Surely, that is not to hypnotize you; on the contrary, it is to bring you down to facts, to make you see the facts. The avoid- ance of the fact, the escape from the fact, is the process of hypnosis, and that is helped along by the newspapers, the cinema, the sacred books, the gurus, the temples, the repetition of words and chants. The fact is not something very extraordinary, the fact is that you are exploiting that you are responsible for the mess in the world; it is you who are responsible, not some economic maladjustment. That is the fact, which you are unwilling to look at; and as long as you do not want to look at the fact, you will be hypnotized, not by me, but by your own desire, which seeks a way of not being disturbed, of walking along the usual path and becoming respectable. Sir, the respectable man, the so-called religious man, is the hypnotized man, because his ultimate escape is his belief; and that belief is invariably gratifying, it is never disturbing otherwise he would not believe in it.
So, either the desire for comfort, for security, for gratification, for a state of non-disturbance, creates the outside entity who hypnotizes you, or you are inwardly hypnotized by your own desire for security; but to understand truth, the mind must be free. Freedom is not something to be achieved ultimately, it must be at the beginning; but we do not want to be free at the beginning, because to be free at the beginning means inward revolution, a drastic perception of the facts all the time, which demands constant awareness, alertness of mind. Because we do not want to be awake to the facts, we find the usual ways of escape, either in social activities or personal ambition, and the mind which is caught in social activity and ambition is much more hypnotized than the mind which is merely self-enclosed in its personal misery; but both are hypnotized by their own want, by their own desires. You can be free from your own self-hypnosis only when you understand the whole, total process of yourself; therefore, self-knowledge is the beginning of freedom, and without self-knowledge you are perpetually in a state of hypnosis.
Question: You are preaching a kind of philosophical anarchism, which is the favourite escape of the highbrow intellectuals. Will not a community always need some form of regulation and authority? What social order could express the values you are upholding?
Krishnamurti: Sir, when life is very difficult, when problems are increasing, we escape either through the intellect or through mysticism. We know the escape through the intellect; rationalization, more and more cunning devices, more and more technique, more and more economic responses to life, all very subtle and intellectual. And there is the escape through mysticism, through the sacred books, through worshipping an established idea - idea being an image, a symbol, a superior entity, or what you will - , thinking that it is not of the mind; but both the intellectual and the mystic are products of the mind. One we call the intellectual highbrow, and the other we despise, because it is the fashion now to despise the mystic, to kick him out; but both function through the mind. The intellectual may be able to talk, to express himself more clearly, but he too withdraws himself into his own ideas and lives there quietly disregarding society and pursuing his illusions, which are born of the mind; so I do not think there is any difference between the two. They are both pursuing illusions of the mind, and neither the highbrow nor the lowbrow, neither the mystic, the yogi who escapes, withdraws from the world, nor the commissar, has the answer. It is you and I, ordinary common people, who have to solve this problem without being highbrow or mystical, without escaping either through rationalization, or through vague terms and getting hypnotized by words, by methods of our own self-projection. What you are the world is, and unless you understand yourself, what you create will always increase confusion and misery; but the understanding of yourself is not a process through which you have to go in order to act. It is not that you must first understand yourself and then act; on the contrary the understanding of yourself is in the very action of relationship. Action is relationship in which you understand yourself, in which you see yourself clearly; but if you wait to become perfect or to understand yourself, that waiting is dying. Most of us have been active, and that activity has left us empty, dry; and once we have been bitten, we wait and do not act further, because we say, `I won't act until I understand'. Waiting to understand is a process of death; but if you understand the whole problem of action, of living from moment to moment, which does not demand waiting, then understanding is in what you are doing, it is in action itself, it is not separate from living. Living is action, living is relationship, and because we do not understand relationship, because we avoid relationship, we are caught in words; and words have mesmerized us into action that leads to further chaos and misery.
"Will not a community always need some form of regulation and authority?" Obviously there must be authority as long as a community is based on violence. Is not our present social structure based on violence, on intolerance? The community is you and another in relationship; and is not your relationship based on violence? Are you not ultimately out for yourself, either as a commissar or as a yogi? The yogi wants his salvation first, and so does the commissar, only you call it by different names. Is not our present relationship based on violence - violence being the process of self-enclosure, isolation? Is not our daily action a process of isolation? And since each one is isolating himself, there must be authority to bring about cohesion, either the authority of the state, or the authority of organized religion. To the extent that we have been held together at all, we have been held so far through fear of religion or through fear of government; but a man who understands relationship, whose life is not based on violence, has no need for authority.The man who needs authority is the stupid man, the violent man, the unhappy man - which is yourself. You seek authority because you think that without it you are lost; that is why you have all these religions, illusions, and beliefs, that is why you have innumerable leaders, political as well as religious. In moments of confusion you produce the leader, and that leader you follow; and since he is the outcome of your own confusion, obviously the leader himself must be confused. So, authority is necessary as long as you are producing conflict, misery and violence in your relationships.
"What social order could express the values you are upholding?" Sir, do you understand what values I am upholding? Am I upholding any thing - at least, for those few who have listened with serious intention? I am not giving you a new set of values for an old set of values, I am not giving you a substitution; but I say, look at the very things that you hold, examine them, search out their truth, and the values that you then establish will create the new society. It is not for somebody else to draw up a blueprint which you can follow blindly without knowing what it is all about, but it is for you to find out for yourself the value, the truth of each problem. What I am saying is very clear and simple if you will follow it. Society is your own product, it is your projection. The world's problem is your problem, and to understand that problem you have to understand yourself; and you can understand yourself only in relationship, not in escapes. Because you escape through them, your religion, your knowledge, have no validity, no significance. You are unwilling to alter fundamentally your relationship with another because that means trouble, that means disturbance, revolution; so you talk about the highbrow intellectual, the mystic, and all the rest of that nonsense. Sir, a new society, a new order, cannot be established by another; it must be established by you. A revolution based on an idea is not a revolution at all. Real revolution comes from within, and that revolution is not brought about through escape, but comes only when you understand your relationships, your daily activities, the way you are acting, the way you are thinking, the way you are talking, your attitude to your neighbour, to your wife, to your husband, to your children. Without understanding yourself, whatever you do, however far you may escape, will only produce more misery, more wars, more destruction.
Question: Prayer is the only expression of every human heart, it is the cry of the heart for unity. All schools of Bhaktimarga are based on the instinctive bent for devotion, Why do you brush it aside as a thing of the mind?
Krishnamurti: Most people pray, you all do, either in a temple, in your private room, or quietly in your own heart. When do you pray? Surely, you pray when you are in trouble. do you not? When you are faced with a serious problem, when you are in sorrow, when there is no one to help you in your difficulty, when you are unhappy, confused, disturbed, and you want someone to help you out - then you pray. That is, prayer is the cry of every human being who seeks someone to help him out of his misery; so prayer is generally a petition, is it not? It is a supplication to someone outside of yourself, to a separate entity, to help you, and you want to be united with that entity.
Now, Sirs, most of you pray in one way or another, so try to understand what I am talking about; do not resist it, but first find out. I am not mesmerizing you, I am trying to tell you that to resist something new is not to understand it. Do not say that I am condemning prayer, that I think it is futile; because there may be a different approach to the whole problem. Unless you follow this rather closely, I am afraid you won't understand what is going to come out of it. Prayer is a supplication, a petition, an appeal to something out side of ourselves. Is there anything beyond ourselves? Do not quote the Upanishads or Marx, because quotation has no meaning. The Upanishads may say that there is something beyond yourself, and the Marxist may say there is nothing beyond yourself, but both of them may be wrong. You have to find out the truth of it, and to find out the truth of it you have to examine the process of yourself in prayer, you have to understand why you pray. For the moment we are not considering whether there is an answer to prayer, or how the answer comes; we will go into that presently. When you pray, it is taken for granted that you pray to another, to an entity who is superior; who is beyond yourself; but before we go into that, surely we must find out why you pray. What is the process of prayer? First, obviously, we pray because we are confused. A happy man does not pray, does he? A man with joy, with delight, does not pray. It is the man who is in sorrow, the man who is faced with a difficulty, who is in confusion, in pain - it is he who prays; and his prayer is either for the clarification of his confusion, or it is a supplication for some other need in which there is urgency. So, the man who prays is confused, in misery, in travail; and what happens when he prays? Have you ever observed yourself praying? You either kneel or sit quietly, you take a certain physical posture, don't you? Or, while you are walking, your mind is praying. Now, what happens in that process? Please follow it and you will see. When you pray your mind is repeating certain words, certain Christian or Sanskrit phrases; and the repetition of these phrases makes the mind quiet, does it not? Try it and you will see that if you keep on repeating certain words, certain phrases, the superficial, upper layers of the mind are made quiet - which is not real stillness, but a form of hypnosis. Now, when the upper, the superficial mind is made quiet, what happens? Obviously, the deeper layers of the mind give their intimation, do they not? All the deeper levels of consciousness, the racial accumulations, the individual experiences, the past memories and knowledge - it is all there; but our daily life, our daily activities, are merely on the surface of the mind, and most of us are not concerned at all about the deeper levels. We are concerned with them only when we are disturbed, or occasionally when there is a remembrance, a dream. But obviously the deeper layers of consciousness are always there, and they are ceaselessly acting, waiting, watching; and when the superficial mind, which is ordinarily so completely occupied with its own troubles, necessities, and worries, becomes somewhat quiet, or is made quiet, naturally the inward memories give their intimations; and these intimations we call the Voice of God. But is it the Voice of God? Is it something beyond yourself? When these intimations come obviously they must be the result of collective and individual experience, of racial memory, which is a little more alert, a little wiser than the superficial mind; but the response is still from yourself, it is not from outside. The collective memories, the collective instincts, the collective idiosyncrasies and responses - all these project the hint into the quiet mind, but it is still from the limited entity, from the conditioned consciousness, it is not from beyond that consciousness. That is how your prayers are answered. You are part of the collective, and your prayers are answered from the collective in yourself; and the response to prayer must be satisfactory to the conscious mind, otherwise you will never accept it. You believe and you pray because you want a way out of your difficulty; and the way out of your difficulty is always satisfying, somehow your prayers are always answered according to your gratifications. So, our prayers, which are supplications, have an answer from our deeper selves, not from beyond our selves.
The next question is: is there something beyond ourselves? To find that out requires quite a different way of thinking, not through prayer, not through meditation, not through quotation, but through understanding the whole process of consciousness. The mind can project ideas about God or reality, but what the mind projects is not beyond the field of thought; and as long as the mind is active in the projection of its own conceptions, it obviously can not find out if there is something beyond itself. To find out if there is something beyond itself, the mind must cease to project, because what ever it can think of is still within the field of thought, whether conscious or unconscious. What the mind can project is not outside the field of it self, and to find out if there is some thing beyond the mind, the mind as thought must come to an end. Any activity, any movement on the part of the mind, is still its own projection, and as long as thought continues, it can never find what is beyond itself. That which is beyond the mind can be discovered only when the mind is still; and the stilling of the mind is not a process of will, of determined action. The mind that is made still through the action of will is obviously not a still mind, so the problem is how thought can come to an end without willing it to come to an end; because, if I discipline the mind to be still, then it is a dead mind, it is an enclosed mind, it is not a free mind. It is only the free mind that can discover what is beyond itself, and that freedom cannot be imposed on the mind. Imposition is not freedom, discipline is not freedom, conformity is not freedom; but when the mind sees that conformity is not freedom, then it is free. Seeing the fact is the beginning of freedom, which is seeing the false as the false and the true as the true, not at a distant future, but from moment to moment; then only is there that freedom in which the mind can be simple and still, and such a still mind can know what is beyond itself.
Question: Do you accept the law of reincarnation and karma as valid, or do you envisage a state of complete annihilation?
Krishnamurti: Now, most of you probably believe in reincarnation and karma, so please do not resist what I am going to say. Through resistance we do not understand, through exclusion there is no communion; to understand something, we must love it, which means we must be in communion with it and not be afraid of it.
First of all, belief in any form is the denial of truth; a believing mind is not an exploring mind, a believing mind can never be in a state of experiencing. Belief is merely a tether created by a particular desire. A man who believes in reincarnation cannot know the truth of it, because his belief is merely a comfort, an escape from death, from the fear of non-continuity; such a man cannot find the truth of reincarnation, because what he wants is comfort, not truth, Truth may give him comfort or it may be a disturbing factor; but if he starts with the desire to find comfort, he cannot see the truth. Now, if you are serious, you and I are going to find out the truth of the matter, and what is important is how we approach the problem. How do you and I approach the problem of reincarnation? Are you approaching it through fear, through curiosity, through the desire for continuity? Or, do you want to know what is? I am not avoiding the question. A mind that wants to know the truth, whatever it is, is surely in a different state from the mind which is afraid of death and is seeking comfort, continuity, and therefore clings to reincarnation. Such a mind is obviously not in a state of discovery. So, the approach to the problem matters; and I am taking it for granted that you are approaching the problem rightly, not through any desire for comfort, but to find out the truth of the matter.
Now, what do you mean by reincarnation? What is it that reincarnates? You know there is death, and do what you will, you cannot avoid it. You may postpone death, but this is a fact, which we will go into presently. What is it that reincarnates? It is either one of two things, is it not? Either it is a spiritual entity, or it is a thing which is merely an accumulation of experience, of knowledge, of memory, not only individual but collective, which takes form again in another life. So, let us examine those two things. What do we mean by a `spiritual entity'? Is there a spiritual entity in you, something which is not of the mind, which is beyond sensation, something which is not of time, something immortal? You will say, `Yes' - all religious people do. You say that there is a spiritual entity which is beyond time, beyond the mind, beyond death. Please do not resist, let us think it out. If you say there is a spiritual entity in you, it is obviously the product of thought, is it not? You have been told about it, it is not your experience. As a man is conditioned by being brought up with the idea that there is no spiritual entity, but only the coming together of various social, economic and environmental influences, so you are conditioned to the idea of a spiritual entity, are you not? Even if it is your own discovery that there is a spiritual entity, surely it is still within the field of thought; and thought is the result of time, thought is the product of the past, thought is accumulation, memory. That is, if you can think about the spiritual entity, surely that entity is still within the field of thought, therefore it is the product of thought, the projection of thought; and therefore it is not a spiritual entity. What you can think about is still within the field of thought, so it cannot be something beyond thought.
Now, if there is no spiritual entity, then what is it that reincarnates? And if there is a spiritual entity, can it reincarnate? Is it a thing of time, is it a thing of memory that comes and goes at your convenience, at your desire? If it is born, if it is a process in time, if it has progress, surely it is not a spiritual entity; and if it is not of time, then there can be no question of reincarnating, taking on a new life. So, if the spiritual entity is not, then the `you' is merely a bundle of accumulated memories, the `you' is your property, your wife, your husband, your children, your name, your qualities. The accumulation of the experiences of the past in conjunction with the present is the `you', both the conscious and the unconscious, the collective as well as the individual - that whole bundle is the `you; and that bundle asks, `Shall I reincarnate, shall I have continuity, what happens after death?' If there is a spiritual entity, it is beyond thought, it cannot be caught in the net of the mind; and to discover that entity, that spiritual state, the mind must be quiet, it cannot be agitated with the functioning of thought. Now you are asking whether the `you' has continuity - the `you' being the name, the property, the furniture, the memories, the idiosyncrasies, the experiences, the accumulated knowledge. Has that continuity? That is, has conditioned thought a continuity? Obviously, thought has continuity, for that you do not have to enquire far. You have continuity in your children, in your property, in your name; obviously, that continues in one form or another. But you are not satisfied with that continuity, are you? You want to continue as a spiritual entity, not merely as thought, a bundle of reactions - there is no fun in that. But are you anything more than that? Are you anything more than your religion, your beliefs, your caste divisions, your superstitions, traditions and future hopes? Are you anything more than that? You would like to think you are more than that, but the fact is you are that and nothing else. There may be something beyond; but to discover something beyond, all this has to come to an end. So, when you enquire into the problem of reincarnation, you are concerned, not with what is beyond, but with the continuity of thought identified as the `you; and obviously, there is continuity.
Now, another question involved in this is the problem of death, What is death? Is death merely the ending of the body? And why is it that we are so afraid of death? Because we cling to continuity and we see that there is an ending of continuity when we die, we want assurance of continuity on the other side, and that is why we believe in life after death; but any amount of guarantees of continuity, all the research societies, all the books and information, will never satisfy you. Death is always the unknown; you may have all the information about it, but the known is afraid of the unknown, and will always be. So, one of the problems in this question is this: Is continuity creative? Can that which is continuous discover anything beyond itself? Sir, can that which has continuity know something beyond its own field? That is the problem, and it is a problem which you are unwilling to face - and that is why you are afraid of death. That which continues can never be creative; it is only in ending that there is the new. Only when the known comes to an end is there creation, the new, the unknown; but as long as we cling to the desire for continuity, which is thought identified as the `me', that thought will continue, and that which continues has in it the seed of death and decay, it is not creative. It is only that which ends that can see the new, the fresh, the whole, the unknown. Sir, this is simple and very clear. As long as you are continuing in the habit of a particular thought, surely you cannot know the new, can you? As long as you cling to your traditions, to your name, to your properties, you cannot know anything new, can you? It is only when you let all that go completely that the new comes. But you dare not let go of the old because you are afraid of the new; that is why you are afraid of death, and that is why you have all the innumerable escapes. More books are written on death than on life, because life you want to avoid. Living is to you a continuity, and that which continues withers, has no life; it is always afraid of coming to an end - and that is why you want immortality. You have your immortality in your name, in your property, in your furniture, in your son, your clothes, your house; all that is your immortality - you have it, but you want something more. You want immortality on the other side - and you have that too, which is your thought, identified as yourself, continuing; `yourself' being your furniture, your hats, your substitutions, your beliefs. But should you not find out whether that which continues can ever know the timeless? That which continues implies a process of time, the past, the present and the future. That is, continuance is the past in conjunction with the present breeding the tomorrow, the future, which again breeds another future; and so there is continuity. But does that continuity bring about, can that continuity discover the unknown, the unknowable, the eternal? And if it cannot, what is the point of having that thought, identified as the `me', continue? The `me', which is identified thought, must be in a state of ceaseless conflict, constant suffering, perpetual worry over problems, and so on; and that is the lot of continuity. It is only when the mind comes to an end, when it is not identified as the `me', that you will know that which is beyond time; but merely to speculate what is beyond is a waste of energy, it is the action of a sluggard. So, that which has continuance can never know the real, but that which has an ending shall know the real. Death alone can show the way to reality - not the death of old age or of disease, but the death of every day, dying every minute, so that you see the new.
In this question is also involved the problem of karma.1 I wonder if you would rather I discussed this another time? It is already half past seven. Do you want me to go into it?
Comment from the Audience: Yes, Sir.
Krishnamurti: Have you under stood what I have said about reincarnation? Have you, Sirs? Why this strange silence? (Interruption.) This is not a discussion, Sir. We will discuss next Tuesday the question of time, and on Thursday evening we will discuss meditation; but if you really think about what has just been said, you will see the extraordinary depth of ending, of dying. The mind that can die every minute shall know the eternal; but the mind that has continuance can never know that which is beyond the mind. Sir that is not a thing to be quoted, discussed; you must live it, and then only you will know the beauty of it, you will know the depth and the significance of dying each minute. Dying is merely the ending of the past, which is memory - not the memory, the recognition of facts, but the ending of the psychological accumulation as the `me' and the `mine', and in that ending of identified thought, there is the new.
Now you want me to answer the question on karma. Please approach it with freedom, not with resistance not with superstition, not with your beliefs. Obviously, there is cause and effect. The mind is the result of a cause, you are the result, the product of yesterday, and of many, many thousands of yesterdays; cause and effect are an obvious fact. The seedling has in it both cause and effect. It is specialized; a particular seed cannot become something different. The seed of wheat is specialized, but we human beings are different, are we not? That which specializes can be destroyed, anything that specializes comes to an end, biologically as well as psychologically; but with us it is different, is it not? We see that cause becomes effect, and what was effect becomes a further cause - it is very simple effect, and what was effect becomes a further cause - it is very simple. Today is the result of yesterday, and tomorrow is the result of today; yesterday was the cause of today, and today is the cause of tomorrow. What was effect becomes cause, so it is a process without an end. There is no cause apart from effect, there is no division between cause and effect, because cause and effect flow into each other; and if one can see the process of cause and effect as it actually operates, one can be free of it. As long as we are concerned with the mere reconciliation of effects, cause takes patterns, and the patterns then become the issue, the motive of action; but is there at any time a line of demarcation where cause ends and effect begins? Surely not, because cause and effect are in constant movement. In fact, there is no cause and no effect, but only a movement of the `what has been' through the present to the future; and for a mind that is caught in this process of the `what has been' using the present as a passage to the `what will be', there is only a result. That is, such a mind is only concerned with results, with the reconciliation of effects, and hence for such a mind there is no escape beyond its own projections. So, as long as thought is caught in the process of cause and effect, the mind can proceed only in its own enclosure, and therefore there is no freedom. There is freedom only when we see that the process of cause and effect is not stationary, static, but in movement; when understood, that movement comes to an end - and then one can go beyond.
So, as long as the mind is merely responding to stimuli from the past, whatever it does is merely furthering its own misery; but when it sees and understands the fact of this whole process of cause and effect, of this whole process of time, that very understanding of the fact is freedom from the fact. Then only can the mind know that which is not a result or a cause. Truth is not a result, truth is not a cause, it is something which has no cause at all. That which has a cause is of the mind, that which has an effect is of the mind; and to know the causeless, the eternal, that which is beyond time, the mind, which is the effect of time, must come to an end. Thought, which is the effect as well as the cause, must come to an end, and only then can that which is beyond time be known.
March 5, 1950
Bombay 4th Public Talk 5th March 1950
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