Madras 5th Public Talk 19th January 1952
We have been discussing the last few times that we have met, the importance of understanding the ways of the self; because, after all, the most thoughtful people must be aware that the self, the `me', the `I', is really the cause of all our mischief and all our misery. I think the most thoughtful people are aware of it. One can see that most religious organizations theorize and vaguely insist upon how essential it is that the `me', the self, should be completely abandoned. We have read in the books about the abandonment of the self. If we are at all religiously inclined, we have various phrases about it afl; we may repeat mantrams and all the rest of it; but in spite of all this, our own perception and vague comprehension about the self still continue in a very subtle way or in the grossest manner. I think, if it were at all easy, we must be sure and must understand the various expressions of the self and see if we cannot completely eradicate it; because I feel that, without understanding the whole complexity of the self, we can't proceed further - whether the self is or is not divided into the high and the low, which is irrelevant and which is only a matter of the mind which eventually divides it as a means of its own security. Unless we understand this whole complex process, there is no possibility of peace in the world. We know this; we are aware of this fact consciously or unconsciously; but yet in our every day life, it does not play any part; we do not bring it into reality.
What we have been discussing is this: how are we to recognize the various activities of the self and its subtle forms behind which the mind takes shelter? We see the self, its activity and its action based on an idea. Action based on an idea is a form of the self because it gives continuity to that action, a purpose to that action. So, idea in action becomes the means of continuing the self. If the idea was not there, action has a different meaning altogether, which is not born of the self. The search for power, position, authority, ambition and all the rest are the forms of the self in all its different ways. But what is important is to understand the self and I am sure you and I are convinced of it. If I may add here, let us be earnest about this matter; because I feel that if you and I as individuals, not as a group of people belonging to certain classes, certain societies, certain climatic divisions, can understand this and act upon this, then I think there will be real revolution. The moment it becomes universal and better organized, the self takes shelter in that; whereas, if you and I as individuals can love, can carry this out actually in every day life, then the revolution that is so essential will come into being, not because you organized it by the coming together of various groups, but because, individually, there is revolution taking place all the time.
I would like to discuss this evening how experience strengthens the self.
You know what I mean by the self? By that, I mean the idea, the memory, the conclusion, the experience, the various forms of nameable and unnameable intentions, the conscious endeavour to be or-not to be, the accumulated memory of the unconscious, the racial, the group, the individual, the clan, and the whole of it all, whether it is projected outwardly in action, or projected spiritually as virtue; the striving after all this, is the self. In it, is included the competition, the desire to be. The whole process of that, is the self; and we know actually when we are faced with it, that it is an evil thing. I am using the word `evil' intentionally, because the self is dividing; the self is self-enclosing; its activities, however noble, are separated and isolated. We know all this. We also know that extraordinary are the moments when the self is not there, in which there is no sense of endeavour, of effort, and which happens when there is love.
It seems to me that it is important to understand how experience strengthens the self. If we are earnest, we should understand this problem of experience. Now, what do we mean by experience? We have experiences all the time, impressions; and we translate those impressions, and we are reacting to them; or we are acting according to those impressions; we are calculated, cunning, and so on. There is the constant interplay between what is seen objectively and our reacting to it, and the interplay between the unconscious and the memories of the unconscious.
Do not please, memorize all this. Watch, if I may suggest, watch your own minds and activities taking place as I am talking, and you will see. I have not memorized all this; I am just talking as it is happening.
According to my memories, I react to whatever I see, to what ever I feel. In this process of reacting to what I see, what I feel, what I know, what I believe, experience is taking place. Is it not? Reaction to the response of something seen is experience. When I see you, I react; the reaction is experience. The naming of that reaction is experience. If I do not name that reaction it is not an experience. Please do watch it. Watch your own responses and what is taking place about you. There is no experience unless there is a naming process going on at the same time. If I do not recognize you, how can I have experience? It sounds simple and right. Is it not a fact? That is, if I do not react to you according to my memories, according to my condition, according to my prejudices, how can I know that I have had an experience? That is one type of it.
Then there is the projection of various desires. I desire to be protected, to have security inwardly; or I desire to have a Master, a guru, a teacher, a God; and I experience that which I have projected. That is, I have projected a desire which has taken a form, to which I have given a name; to that, I react. It is my projection. It is my naming. That desire which gives me an experience, makes me say: `I have got', `I have experienced', `I have met the Master', or `I have not met the Master'. You know the whole process of naming an experience. Desire is what you call experience. Is it not?
When I desire silence of the mind, what is taking place? What happens? I see the importance of having a silent mind, a quiet mind, for various reasons; because, Upanishads have said so, religious scriptures have said so, saints have said it, and also occasionally I myself feel how good it is to be quiet because my mind is so very chatty all the day. At times, I feel how nice, how pleasurable it is to have a peaceful mind, a silent mind. The desire to have a silent mind is to experience silence. I want to have a silent mind, and so I ask you `How to get it?'. I know what this book or that book says about meditation and the various forms of discipline. I want a silent mind through discipline and I experience silence. The self, the `me', has established itself in the experience of silence. Am I making myself clear?
I want to understand what is truth; that is my desire my longing; then there is my projection of what I consider to be the truth, because I have read lots about it; I have heard many people talk about it; religious scriptures have described it. I want all that. What happens? The very want, the very desire is projected and I experience because I recognize that state. If I do not recognize that state, that act, that truth, I would not call it truth. I recognize it and I experience it. That experience gives strength to the self, to the `me'. Does it not? So, the self becomes entrenched in experience. Then you say `I know', `the Master exists', `there is God', or `there is no God; you say that you want a particular political system to come, because that is right and all others are not.
So experience is always strengthening the `me'. The more you are strengthened, the more entrenched you are in your experience and the more does the self get strengthened. As a result of this, you have a certain strength of character, strength of knowledge, of belief, which you put over across to other people because you know they are not so clever as you are and because you have the gift of the pen and you are cunning. Because the self is still acting, your beliefs, your Masters, your castes, your economic system are all a process of isolation, and they therefore bring contention. You must, if you are at all serious or earnest in this, dissolve this completely and not justify it. That is why we must understand the process of experience.
Is it possible for the mind, for the self, not to project, not to desire, not to experience? We see all experiences of the self are a negation, a destruction; and yet, we call the same a positive action. Don't we? That is what we call the positive way of life. To undo this whole process is what you call negation. Are you right in that? There is nothing positive. Can we, you and I as individuals, go to the root of it and understand the process of the self? Now what is the element that dissolves it? What brings about dissolution of the self? Religious and other groups have explained it by identification. Have they not? Identify yourself with a larger, and the self disappears; that is what they say. We say here that identification is still the process of the self; the larger is simply the projection of the `me', which I experience and which therefore strengthens the `me'. I wonder if you are following this. All the various forms of discipline, beliefs and knowledge only strengthen the self.
Can we find an element which would dissolve the self? Or, is that a wrong question? That is what we want basically. We want to find some thing which will dissolve the `me'. Is it not? We think there are various forms of finding that, namely, identification, belief, etc; but, all of them are at the same level; one is not superior to the other, because all of them are equally powerful in strengthening the self, `the me'. Now, I see `the me' wherever it functions, and I see its destructive forces and energy. Whatever name you may give to it, it is an isolating force, it is a destructive force; and I want to find a way of dissolving it. You must have asked this yourself - " I see the `I' functioning all the time and always bringing anxiety, fear, frustration, despair, misery, not only to myself but to all around me. Is it possible for that self to be dissolved, not partially but completely?" Can we go to the root of it and destroy it? That is the only way of functioning. Is it not? I do not want to be partially intelligent, but intelligent in an integrated manner. Most of us are intelligent in layers, you probably in one way, and I in some other way. Some of you are intelligent in your business work, some others in your office work and so on; people are intelligent in different ways; but, we are not integrally intelligent. To be integrally intelligent means to be without the self. Is it possible? If I pursue that action, what is your response? This is not a discussion, and therefore please do not answer but be aware of that action. The implications which I have tried to point out, must produce a reaction in you. What is your response?
Is it possible for the self now to be completely absent? You know it is; possible. Now, how is it possible? What are the necessary ingredients, requirements? What is the element that brings it about? Can I find it? Are you following this, Sirs? When I put that question `Can I find it?', surely, I am convinced that it is possible. I have already created an experience in which the self is going to be strengthened. Is it not? Under standing of the self requires a great deal of intelligence, great deal of watchfulness, alertness, watching ceaselessly, so that it does not slip away. I who am very earnest, want to dissolve the self. When I say that, I know it is possible to dissolve the self. Please be patient. The moment I say `I want to dissolve this', and in the process I follow for the dissolution of that, there is the experiencing of the self; and so, the self is strengthened. So, how is it possible for the self not to experience? One can see that creation is not at all the experience of the self. Creation is when the self is not there; because, creation is not intellectual, is not of the mind, is not self-projected, is some thing beyond all experiencing, as we know. Is it possible for the mind to be quite still, in a state of non-recognition, which is, non-experiencing, to be in a state in which creation can take place, which means, when the self is not there, when the self is absent? Am I making myself clear or not? Look, Sirs, the problem is this, is it not? Any movement of the mind, positive or negative, is an experience which actually strengthens the `me'. Is it possible for the mind not to recognize? That can only take place when there is complete silence, but not the silence which is an experience of the self and which therefore strengthens the self.
Is there an entity apart from the self, which looks at the self and dissolves the self? Are you following all this? Is there a spiritual entity which supercedes the self and destroys it, which puts it aside? We think there is. Don't we? Most religious people think there is such an element. The materialist says `It is impossible for the self to be destroyed; it can only be conditioned and restrained - politically, economically and socially; we can hold it firmly within a certain pattern and we can break it; and therefore it can be made to lead a high life, a moral life, and not to interfere with any thing but to follow the social pattern, and to function merely as a machine'. That, we know. There are other people, the so-called religious ones - they are not really religious, though we call them so - who say `Fundamentally, there is such an element. If we can get into touch with it, it will dissolve the self'.
Is there such an element to dissolve the self? Please see what we are doing. We are merely forcing the self into a corner. If you allow yourself to be forced into the corner, you will see what is going to happen. We would like that there should be an element which is timeless, which is not of the self, which, we hope, will come and intercede and destroy, which we call God. Now is there such a thing which the mind can conceive? There may be or there may not be; that is not the point. When the mind seeks a timeless spiritual state which will go into action in order to destroy the self, is that not another form of experience which is strengthening `the me'? When you believe, is that not what is actually taking place? When you believe that there is truth, God, timeless state, immortality, is that not the process of strengthening the self? The self has projected that thing which, you feel and believe, will come and destroy the self. So, having projected this idea of continuance in a timeless state as spiritual entity, you are going to experience; and all such experience will only strengthen the self; and therefore what have you done? You have not really destroyed the self but only given it a different name, a different quality; the self is still there, because you have experienced it. So, our action from the beginning to the end is the same action; only we think it is evolving, growing, becoming more and more beautiful; but, if you observe inwardly, it is the same action going on, the same `me' functioning at different levels with different labels, with different names.
When you see the whole process, the cunning, extraordinary inventions, the intelligence of the self, how it covers itself up through identification, through virtue, through experience, through belief, through knowledge; when you see that you are moving in a circle, in a cage of its own make, what happens? When you are aware of it, fully cognizant of it, then, is not your mind extraordinarily quiet - not through compulsion, not through any reward, not through any fear? When you recognize that every movement of the mind is merely a form of strengthening the self, when you observe it, see it, when you are completely aware of it in action, when you come to that point - not ideologically, verbally, not through experiencing, but when you are actually in that state - then you will see that the mind being utterly still, has no power of creating. What ever the mind creates, is in a circle, within the field of the self. When the mind is non-creating, there is creation, which is not a recognizable process.
Reality, truth, is not to be recognized. For truth to come, belief, knowledge, experiencing, virtue, pursuit of virtue - which is different from being virtuous - all this must go. The virtuous person who is conscious of pursuing virtue, can never find reality. He may be a very decent person; that is entirely different from the man of truth, from the man who understands. To the man of truth, truth has come into being. A virtuous man is a righteous man, and a righteous man can never understand what is truth; because virtue to him is the covering of the self, the strengthening of the self; because he is pursuing virtue. When he says `I must be without greed', the state in which he is non-greedy and which he experiences, strengthens the self. That is why it is so important to be poor, not only in the things of the world, but also in belief and in knowledge. A rich man with worldly riches, or a man rich in knowledge and belief, will never know anything but darkness, and will be the centre of all mischief and misery. But if you and I, as individuals, can see this whole working of the self, then we shall know what love is. I assure you that is the only reformation which can possibly change the world. Love is not the self. Self cannot recognize love. You say `I love', but then, in the very saying of it, in the very experiencing of it, love is not. But, when you know love, self is not. When there is love, self is not.
Question: What is simplicity? Does it imply seeing very clearly the essentials and discarding everything else? Krishnamurti: Let us see what simplicity is not. Don't say `that is negation'. You do not say anything positive; that is immature, thoughtless expression. Those people who say it, are exploiters; because, they have something to give you, which you want and through which to exploit you. We are doing nothing of that kind. We are trying to find out the truth of simplicity. Therefore you must discard, put things aside, and observe. The man who has much, is afraid of revolution, inwardly and outwardly. So let us find out what is not simplicity. A complicated mind is not simple, is it? A clever mind is not simple; a mind that has an end in view for which it is working as reward, as punishment, is not a simple mind, is it? Sirs, don't agree with me. It is not a question of agreement. It is your life. A mind that is burdened with knowledge, is not a simple mind; a mind that is crippled with beliefs, is not a simple mind, is it? A mind that has identified itself with something greater, and is striving to keep that identity, is not a simple mind, is it? But we think it is a simple life to have a loin cloth, one or two; we want outward show of simplicity, and we are easily deceived by that. That is why a man who is very rich, worships the man who has renounced.
What is simplicity? Can simplicity be the discarding of non-essentials and pursuing of essentials - which means choice? Please follow this. Does it not mean choice, choosing? I choose essentials and discard non-essentials. What is this process of choosing? Think deeply. What is the that chooses? Mind; is it not? It does not matter what you call it. You say `I will choose this essential'. How do you know what is the essential? Either you have a pattern of what other people have said, or your own experience says that is the essential. Can you rely on your experience? Because, when you choose, your choice is based on desire; what you call essential, is that which gives you satisfaction. So you are back again in the same process, are you not? Can a confused mind choose? If it does, the choice must also be confused.
Therefore, the choice between the essential and the non-essential is not simplicity. It is a conflict. A mind in conflict, in confusion, can never be simple. So when you discard, when you see all the false things and the tricks of the mind, when you observe it, look at it, are aware of it, then you will know what simplicity is. A mind which is bound by belief, is never a simple mind. A mind that is crippled with knowledge, is not simple. A mind that is distracted by God, by women, by music, is not a simple mind. A mind caught in the routine of the office, of the rituals, of the mantrams, such a mind is not simple. Simplicity is action without idea. But, that is a very rare thing; that means creation. As long as there is not creation, we are centres of mischief and misery and destruction. Simplicity is not a thing which you pursue and experience. Simplicity comes, as a flower opens, at the right moment when each one understands the whole process of existence and relationship. Because we have not thought about it or have not observed it, we are not aware of it; we value in a certain way all the outer forms of simplicity - such as shaving our heads, having clothing or unclothing in a certain way. Those are not simplicity. Simplicity is not to be found. Simplicity does not lie between essential and non-essential. It comes into being when the self is not, when the self is not caught in speculations, in conclusions, in beliefs, in ideations. Such a mind only can find truth. Such a mind alone can receive that which is immeasurable, which is unnameable; and that is simplicity.
Question: Can I who am religiously inclined and desirous of acting wholly and integrally, express myself through politics? For, to me, it appears that a radical change is necessary in the political field?
Krishnamurti: What the questioner means is this: seeking wholly, seeking religiously the whole, entire, complete, can I politically function, that is, act partially? He says politics is obviously the path for him; when he seeks and follows that path which is not the whole, complete, he merely functions in fields which are partial, fragmentary. Is that not so? What is your answer, not your cunning answer, or immediate response? Can I see the whole thing of life, which means, can I love? Let us take love. I have compassion, I feel tremendously and for the whole; can I then act only politically? Can I, seeking the whole, be a Hindu or a Brahmin? Can I, having love in my heart, identify myself with a path, with a particular country, with a particular system, economic, or religious? Suppose I want to improve the particular, I want to bring about a radical change in the particular, in the country in which I live; the moment I identify myself with that particular, have I not shut out the whole? This is your problem just as mine. We are thinking about it together. You are not listening to me. When we are trying to find an answer, your opinions and ideas are not the solution. What we are trying to find is, can a truly religious man - not a phoney one that consults others - a really sacred person seeking the whole, can he identify himself with a radical movement for a particular country? And will it do to have revolution - don't be afraid of that word - of one country, of one people, of one state, if I am seeking the whole, if I am trying to understand that which is not within the scope of the mind? Can I, using my mind, act politically? I see there must be political action; I see there must be real change, radical change in our relationship, in our economic system, in the distribution of land, and so on. I see there must be revolution; and yet at the same time, I am pursuing a path the political path; I am also trying to understand the whole. What is my action there? Is not that your problem, Sirs? Can you act politically - that is, partially - and understand the whole? Politics and economics are partial; they are not the whole, integrated life; they are partial, necessary, essential. Can I abandon the whole or leave the whole society, and tinker with the particular? Obviously, I cannot. But I can act upon it, not through it.
We want to bring about a certain change; we have certain ideas about it; we pursue so many groups and so on. We use means to achieve the result. And is the understanding of the whole contrary to that? Am I confusing you? I am only telling you what I think; do not accept it, but think it out for yourself and see. For me, political action, economic action, is of secondary importance, though they are essential. There must be radical change in the political field; but such a change will have no depth if I do not pursue the other. If the other is not primary, if the other is only secondary, then my action to wards the secondary will have tremendous significance. But, if I see a certain path and act politically, political action becomes important to me, and not acting integrally. But, if acting integrally is really important to me and if I pursue it, political action, religious action, economic action, will come rightly, deeply, fundamentally. If I do not pursue the other but merely confine myself to the political, the economic or the social change, then I create more misery.
So it all depends on what you lay emphasis on. Laying emphasis on the right thing - which is the whole - will produce its own action with regard to politics and so on. It all depends on you. In pursuing that whole thing without saying `I am going to act poli- tically or socially', you will bring about fundamental alterations politically, religiously and economically.
What is important in this question is `What is it that you are seeking?'. What is the primary issue in your life? There is really no division between primary and secondary; but yet, in seeking, you will find that when you begin to understand the whole, there is no secondary or primary, then the whole is the path. But if you say that you must alter a particular part, then, you will not understand the whole. Any change in the particular, like the political field, cannot alter the whole thing; this has been shown historically. But if you know, if you are aware of the whole process of the self dissolve it, and if there is love, this will bring about a fundamental revolution in India.
January 19, 1952
Madras 5th Public Talk 19th January 1952
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