Poona 4th Public Talk 1st Febraury 1953
As this is the last talk here and as it is not possible to enter into more detailed thinking out of certain ideas, may I suggest that you do not reject or accept what I have been saying, that you do not say, `This is not for me, or this is only for the few; do not compare what I have said to what you already know.
Our problems are very complex because we have, I feel, fundamentally lost or perhaps we never had, freedom, self-reliance, and vigour to search out happiness and to find out the truth of any problem. We are not happy beings just normally, healthily happy; we have too many burdens, too many worries; our security, physical as well as psychological, is being threatened all the time; there is no faith in anything any longer, no hope; the faith that we had has evaporated. The leaders have led us to more confusion, to more misery, to more strife; and out of this confusion we have chosen our gurus, our political leaders; naturally, when we choose a leader or a guru out of confusion, out of misery, out of strife, that which you choose will invariably be confused, will also be striving, struggling. So, when we follow somebody, we invariably follow those who represent our state, not something entirely different; those who represent us may perhaps be a little more glorified, a little more polished, but they are never the contrary of what we are.
I think it is very important, specially when we are facing a crisis. to be very clear in ourselves, because no one is going to represent us any more. I think there is nothing extraordinary in that, if we realize that there are no more leaders, no more gurus, because we have lost complete faith in them; we cannot turn to any political panacea for a solution; so we are invariably forced. to think out the problem by ourselves and for ourselves, to see for ourselves the truth of the problem we are faced with now, to think out for ourselves, if we can, individually and perhaps later collectively, every problem that confronts us.
Truth or happiness or what you will, cannot come through choice; it is not a matter of choice. But our minds are only capable of choosing, differentiating and therefore not having insight into the problem. Our minds are petty, small, narrow, shallow. It does not matter if the mind is a most learned, most experienced mind: such a mind is still shallow, still petty. So if you think over the problem of what I am saying, what I am suggesting, do not reject it, don't say, `It is not for me, it is too much for me', but investigate it, think it out for yourself.
As long as we are choosing between what is good and what is bad, between the noble and the ignoble, between this guru and that guru, between that political leader and this political leader, as long as there is choice, there can be no Truth. Choice is only the capacity of the mind to differentiate, and the process of differentiation springs from a confused mind; and however much you may choose, analytically, subjectively or by investigation of all the circumstances, still that choice will invariably produce conflict. What is necessary now is not choice between this and that, but to understand each problem in itself, completely, without comparing, without judging, but by going into it from every aspect, deeply, by putting aside one's own inclinations and prejudices and by really investigating. Our minds have been made petty through choice, through the capacity to differentiate. Please think over it, don't reject it.
Our minds at present are so cunning, so confused, so distorted, that we are incapable of seeing directly, immediately, in an experience, the thing that is true. We want confirmation, and a man who is really seeking confirmation can never find or experience that which is truth. But it is very difficult for us whose minds are shallow, who are thinking in terms of tomorrow or of immediate results, to bring about a fundamental revolution in our thinking. This fundamental revolution is essential if we have to create a different world which is not based on communistic or capitalistic or religious ideas.
There must be a transformation in our thinking; and that can only come about if we really investigate into the question of choice - which does not mean that we should become obstinate. The mind that is analytical, that has the capacity to see what is worthwhile and what is not worthwhile, that is choosing, will invariably build a society based on results, on past memories, on immediate necessity. Therefore, such a mind will be utterly incapable of creating a world in which there is this sense of an integrated outlook on the total process of life.
So, if I may suggest, if you are really serious and earnest, please follow what I am saying. Our problems are so complex that there can be only a simple and direct approach to them. You cannot approach them through any book, nor through a philosophy, nor through a system, nor through any leader. You can approach them only through the understanding of yourselves, by seeing yourselves in your daily relationships exactly as you are and not what you should be. This `should be' is always the choice, is always away from `what is'. `What I am' actually is important, not what `I should be'. `What I should be' is theoretical and ideological and has no value; it is only an escape from `what I am'. Our society, our religious and moral structure is based on `what should be, which is an escape from `what I am'. What is important is to find out `what I am' actually from moment to moment, in which there is no choice whatsoever. As long as the mind is incapable of choosing what should be, then it will deal with `what is'. The `what is' is important, not only in the world of action but psychologically, inwardly. There can only be direct action if I understand `what is', not `what I want to be'.
As long as we introduce choice in our action, the choice is based on our conditioned thought and therefore there is no release from fear; therefore, there is always struggle, there is always pain; and if we can understand `what is' which is constantly changing, which is never static, that very understanding is dynamic and therefore it is creative; and, in that, there is release. We must really observe our relationships from day to day, from moment to moment, the exact state of what we are, and not try to transform it into something noble. You cannot transform stupidity into intelligence; all that you can do is to understand stupidity; and the very understanding of that stupidity is intelligence. Please see the importance of this and we will create a new world. As long as you are striving to be something other than what you are, there will be destruction, there will be misery, there will be confusion. It is only when I understand the thing which I am from moment to moment, that the understanding leads me to the various unconscious depths of my being; therefore, through that, there will be release from fear; and the release from fear is the state of happiness.
Question: You seem to imply that all action, thought and ideals are forms of self-fulfilment. You confuse us further by asserting that `to be is to be related' and that `not to be related is death'. In one breath you uphold renunciation; in another you are refuting that view. What do you mean by self-fulfilment? Can one live at all without fulfilling oneself in one form or another?
Krishnamurti: Is not everyone trying to fulfil in something? The mountaineer climbing the great heights, to him that is the action of fulfillment; through marriage and children, through your son, you try to fulfil; and the politician with a huge crowd in front of him, getting the thrill of the crowd, is fulfilling himself through the crowd. If you reject these outward expressions of action and activities which are self-fulfilling, then you turn to inward psychological, spiritual actions; you want to fulfil in an idea, in God, in virtue. So each one of us is trying to fulfil in different ways - that is, to be something through identification. You want to fulfil through identification with a political party; you deny yourself and say the party is all-important. The party represents what you believe is true; so the party is a means through which you fulfil. The mountaineer fulfills in the delight of climbing great heights, and the ambitious man fulfills himself in attaining his ambition. So this is what you are doing; are you not?
The desire to fulfil, the desire to become, the desire to achieve, to gain, that is our relationship, is it not? I want something from you and therefore I treat you very nicely and very politely. I give you garlands, but I treat contemptuously those from whom I receive nothing. And this is the constant process of our being. Sirs, is there such a thing actually as `self-fulfilment'? Do you follow? `To be' is to be related, that is an obvious fact. I cannot live without being related to something, and that something is that through which I try to fulfil - my wife, my child, my house, my property, my painting, my poem, or the talk which I am giving now. If I am doing that, obviously it is a form of self-expansion; I am important, not you, not what I am talking about. So the means of self-fulfilment becomes much more important to me and to you, than the truth of finding out whether there is ever such a thing as fulfilment.
All action, as it is now, is based on self-fulfilment; that is what we know. We may try to cover it up, camouflage it, we may use any words, any nice sounding words, phrases; but essentially every action is the outcome of the desire to fulfil through that action. When I say India, I identify myself with India, and India then becomes the means for my fulfilment. These are the obvious facts. Let us go a little bit further into that. Is there such a thing as fulfilling? From childhood to maturity and till death, we are always seeking fulfilment in different forms, are we not?, and there is always frustration. The moment you are fulfilled, there is some other higher fulfilment, and you are everlastingly struggling. So behind our fulfilment, behind our urge to self-fulfilment, there is the fear of frustration. Watch your own minds and hearts, and you will see whether what I am saying is true or not. You do not have to accept what I am saying.
Where there is desire, the unconscious or conscious desire to fulfil, there must be the fear of frustration. So our actions invariably lead us to frustration. Being frustrated, we seek further fulfilment to escape from that frustration. So we are caught in this everlasting prison of fulfilment and frustration. And is it not important to free the mind from this desire to fulfil itself in action, in idea, in something? When I am seeking to fulfil myself through my wife and children, is it love? When I am trying to fulfil myself in speaking to large or small audiences, am I really concerned with the truth, with the fundamental-desire to free men, or, am I fulfilling myself through you?
Sirs, this is not a discussion meeting. So, is it not important to find out if there is not a different way of thinking out this problem, a different approach which is not based on self-fulfilment, an action which is not seeking a result? Don't say, `Yes, that is what the Bhagavad Gita says, what the Upanishads say', and so brush it aside. When you say that, you are actually not listening to another person. And what is impor- tant is to listen. Really if you know how to listen, the miracle takes place. If you can listen to the pure sound, to the silence between two notes, then perhaps you will find out the truth of anything. But as long as you are comparing, rejecting, accepting with the constant activity of explanation and rejection, you are not actually listening.
I am suggesting that perhaps there can be a different way of acting in which there is no longer self-fulfilment, which is not preserved for the few. If I can understand, if I can watch myself in my daily activity, how I am fulfilling myself all the time and therefore living with frustration and fear, when I actually realize that - not merely accept it - then I see that there is no fulfilment of myself in anything. When you actually see, from moment to moment in your daily activity, how every action is the prompting of self-fulfilment and that self-fulfilment invariably brings frustration, if you realize the whole thing, if you are awake to that without argumentation, without disputation, without trying to compare - you know all that juggling that the mind does - then from that, there must be a new action, an action not of self-fulfilment but of something else.
Obviously, when each one of us is trying to fulfil, there is chaos in society; and in order to overcome that chaos our minds turn to a particular pattern or condition. If you can realize all that, if you are really listening to what I am saying, you will see the truth of this, that there is no self-fulfilment. Do what you will, climb to whatever heights, there is no such thing as self-fulfilment. If one really, actually sees that, inwardly feels it out, then there is a possibility of action which is not the outcome, the result, of compulsion of fear of frustration.
Question: You seem to stress the importance of the individual exclusively. Is not collective action necessary to be effective? Why do you denounce all organizations - social, political or religious?
Krishnamurti: `You seem to stress the importance of the individual exclusively. Is not collective action necessary to be effective? Why do you denounce all organizations, social, political or religious?' Sirs, this is the question.
Now, let us go into the question of what we mean by collective action. Can there be ever such a thing as collective action? I know that is the popular phrase - mass action, collective action, doing things with a spirit of co-operation. But, what does collective action mean? Can we all paint a picture, together? Please follow this. Can we all write a poem together? Can we plough a field together or work in a factory? Surely, we do not mean collective action there! We mean collective thinking, not action; we mean action born of collective thinking. So, we are concerned with collective thought, not collective action. Now, action may come out of collective thinking - that is, if you can all agree together as to what is good for India or for a country, if the authorities can so condition your thinking, then there will be collective action, action presenting a collective form, carried out by you as an individual; and if you do not carry it out, there are always ways of making you do it - such as, compulsion, liquidation, punishment, reward and so on.
Essentially the nature of collective action is collective thinking. Now, what do we mean by collective thinking? Can you and I and millions together think out a problem - economic, social, political, religious, or what you will? Can we independently think out the problem or are we persuaded by punishments, rewards, traditions, conditioning influences? Can there be collective thinking? Please find out, observe yourselves, think. Are you not the result of collective thought? When you call yourself a Hindu, Brahmin, Christian, is it not a result of collective thinking? You are conditioned by collective thought to be a Hindu, to be a Buddhist, a Christian or a Roman Catholic, or a Communist; and every group, every society, every religion, conditions, impinges its ideas on the mind. Is it possible to think collectively when we are together, conditioned in a certain way? We are collective; we cannot think independently. There is no thought which is independent because thought is the outcome of a conditioned mind, thought is the symbol of the reaction to memory; so all thinking - conscious or unconscious - must be collective. You cannot think independently because your mind is already conditioned, as a Communist, as a Catholic, and so on. Sirs, there is no freedom of thought. Collective action is collective thinking.
When we say we try to make man think differently, not in the old pattern but in the new way of thinking, it is still a continuance of the old modified. That is all we are concerned with, and that is what we mean by collective thinking. When we have that kind of collective thinking, we must have propaganda to urge us to think in a certain way, we must have newspapers. Then we become slaves to authority, to the compulsions of subtle minds putting various forms of impressions on us constantly. So collective thinking may produce individual action, but it will be in a field of conditioned thought, and therefore there is no freedom. Freedom is only possible when we realize this and admit that we are conditioned completely. Then there is a possibility of breaking through and finding out a state of mind in which there is no conditioning; and when you and I perceive the truth of that, in that there can be action which is truly collective and which is not the conditioned collective thought.
When you and I say that all our thinking is conditioned - whether as a Catholic, a Communist, or a Hindu, a Buddhist, or a Mussalman - when we realize that, when you do not want me to become a Communist or I do not want you to become a Catholic - because that is the modified continuance of the old, in which is implied fear, threat, compulsion, liquidation, concentration camps and all the various forms of propaganda to make you do things - when you and I realize that all our thinking is conditioned and therefore there can be no fundamental revolution, no fundamental transformation in society, then perhaps we shall, you and I, come to the realization of that Truth which is not the outcome of a conditioned thought. When you and I realize that, then there can be truly collective action.
Is that not our vocation, yours and mine, to find that Truth which is beyond the conditioned mind, so that you and I can work together, create a new world which is ours, yours and mine, our world - not Communist, not Capitalist, not Socialist, nor Hindu. But perhaps you will say that this is an impossible state, and very few of us can realize this, and so, brush it aside. Sirs, it is our world. We can transform the world, we can bring it about for ourselves and our fellow beings; but we must give care and thought to all this. True collective action, not the collective action of a conditioned mind, can only be possible, can only come about when you as an individual can understand the total process. That is why organizations - political, religious or social - will not lead man to happiness.
Man may have all the clothes he wants, all the food he wants, all the shelter he wants; but there is something much more significant in life than the mere acquisition of things. This does not mean that you should become a saint, a sannyasi and withdraw into a cave which is the ultimate escape. But when we do realize the implications of the mind that is unconditioned and when therefore all actions can take place from that, that is the true revolution.
Question: What do you mean by `the whole'? Is it only a new term to define the absolute or God? And can we at all shift our outlook from the part to the whole, except through image, idea or aspiration?
Krishnamurti: I am not substituting the word `whole' for God or for Truth. It is what you do, I am not doing that. What I am trying to point out is that through the part we cannot understand the whole. Wait a minute, Sir; we will go into what the whole is.
Through studying part of a picture, of a particular painting, taking a part, one corner of it, you don't see the whole picture. Perhaps if we saw all the picture and understand what the painter intends to convey, then we could study the part, the corner; but if we begin to study the corner, the angle, instead of the whole of the picture, then we will never have the comprehension of the whole. It is a very simple fact; that is, if we emphasize only the economic side of our total living and give all our thought, all our considerations, all our experiences to the economic solution of man, we will miss the whole struggle of man, the whole existence of man, his different states - the psychological, physical, inward, outward. And will this study of the part lead you to the comprehension of the whole totality of man? As most of us - the specialists, the experienced ones, the learned ones, the great ones - are all concerned with the part and legislating for the part, perhaps we miss something - the whole of man, the whole of the being of man - which if we understand, we may find a different solution, a different answer, a quicker way of approach to our economic problems. That approach is after all the totality of my being or your being: it is made up of all these parts, is it not? I am the body, the clothes I put on, the hunger, the thirst, outwardly; and inwardly, I am all the desires, all the ambitions, psychological struggles, frustrations, urges, the compulsion to fulfil, to seek something beyond the mind; I am the total process of all that, as you are.
Is it not important to help each other to understand the total process of you and me, and not just legislate for one part of me, of one layer of me? Sir, I need food, clothes and shelter, so do you; and we also need something much more fundamental. We want to fulfil, we want to be painters, we want to be writers, we want to be saints, we want to be helpers, we want to be evil beings; there is the feeling of hatred, ambition, envy; how can you leave all that aside and just concern yourself with a particular part - it may be a glorified part - and talk about that particular part and bring about a revolution? Is not my existence a total process, is it not the whole process of my being at different levels, the conscious as well as the unconscious? Have you not to take all that into consideration, have you not to have the vision of the whole of me - not of some extraordinary God? The `me' is related to the whole that is the `me' of everyone, I do not exist independently of it. I cannot. The total process of the whole of me and of you, has to be understood. If I can understand as you can,the total process of the whole being, and regard and concern myself with the whole and not with the part then we shall find a different answer to all our problems. But the enrichment and the glorification of the part is not going to solve the problem of the whole.
It is so much easier to occupy ourselves with the part. We are concerned with the part - which indicates our shallowness, the pettiness of our minds. It is only when we can understand the total process of our being from day to day, in all our relationships, then there is a possibility of discovering something which is beyond the mind. But we cannot find that which is beyond the mind through the emphasis of the part. And without discovering what is beyond the mind, we shall have no happiness, we shall have no peace for mankind; our lives will be a constant struggle and misery. These are obvious facts; you don't have to study them in innumerable psychological books; you don't have to pass an examination, you don't have to know a technique to discover what is in your mind and heart from time to time, from moment to moment, everyday. All that it needs is watchfulness, and not the following of a guru or leader. It needs no discipline but the mere observing of simple things - anger, jealousy, the desire to fulfil, the desire to acquire, the desire to be powerful. You observe these things in your relationships in your everyday life, and you will see how the totality of your being works, whether you are the centre, whether without the alteration at the centre, fundamentally, radically, you can bring about a revolution at the periphery. As long as we are polishing the outer - not that the outer should not be bright - such an approach will not solve our problems. But if we can understand the total process of our being, and then perhaps be able to go beyond and, from there, approach all our problems, then we shall find the true answer. The answer will not then be productive of further problems, further misery, further sorrow.
Question: I am troubled by my dreams night after night. Can one not free oneself from this exhausting process?
Krishnamurti: Let us find out together what is the right answer to this problem - together, you and I. Don't listen to me merely as if I am the talker and you the listener; but together we shall find the truth of this because it is your problem.
What do you mean by waking and dreaming? When are you awake? At least, when do we think we are awake? And when do we think we are dreaming? Please, this is not a psychological question. Just follow it step by step, simply. Do not translate it and say, `Yes, Sankara, Buddha, said so', and then wander away. I am talking very simply what is the actual fact. When do we think we are awake? When our conscious mind is functioning, is it not? That is, there is the mind that is operating every day, and when that is functioning, we are awake. You are awake when you have a job, when you are studying, when you are getting into the tramcar or into the bus, when you are following, when you are scolding someone, when you are ambitious or sexual or what you will. That is, during the day we think we are awake and when we sleep we think we are in a state when the mind has gone to sleep - rather, has been put to sleep.
Now, is the mind ever asleep? Is it ever at rest? The mind is both the conscious as well as the unconscious. The consciousness shows very little; that which we call the conscious is very superficial; but there is a dreaded part, undiscovered, hidden, below this conscious part, which is the unconscious; and our mind is both the conscious as well as the unconscious. The conscious mind is urged, propelled, driven, or held back by the unconscious. You may think you are outwardly a very peaceful person, that outwardly you are not ambitious; but below, hidden deep down, there is the bellowing going on in your heart - your urges, compulsions, desires, motives. The unconscious is the reservoir of all the past of humanity - not the past of your being only, but of your father, of your fore-fathers, of your nation, of human beings - the racial traditions, the caste prejudices; all that is held in the unconscious.
The conscious mind is occupied during the day with trivial things, and the occupation with those trivial things we call the waking state. When we go to sleep the mind goes on being active, it is still thinking out the problems of the day in relation to and coloured by the unconscious; and when the unconscious wants to put some idea, some impression on the conscious mind which it is not capable of doing during the day, then you have dreams. That is, your conscious mind is occupied throughout the day; it cannot receive new impressions, new promptings, new hints, because it is too occupied; and then you go to sleep, and the unconscious projects into that semi-active conscious mind, its impressions. When you wake up, you say you have had a dream. Then begins the translation of that dream by the conscious mind, and you say you have had a marvellous experience.
So, as long as you are not consciously aware at the time - throughout the waking time, throughout the waking period - of the promptings of the unconscious, as long as you are not open to every impression or every hint, from the unconscious, you must continue to dream; there must be a conflict between the conscious and the unconscious. Sirs, these are all very simple facts. If you observe your own being, your own thoughts, your daily activities, if you are aware of them, you will see that this is the actual process going on. There is nothing mysterious about it.
The whole process - the unconscious, the conscious, the promptings, the hints, the impressions and the translating of all those impulses by the conscious - all that is your being; that is what you are. If you are not open, if the mind is not open to the total process but is only occupied with the part, naturally there must be dreams - dreams being the impressions and the projections of the unconscious. So there is this constant struggle going on between the conscious and the unconscious, because the conscious can never compete completely with the unconscious, because the conscious is trying to translate every impression according to certain demands, activities and results.
Sirs, it is only when we begin to understand this total process of our being, the actual state in which we are that then there is a possibility of an integrated human being. Surely that is the beginning of meditation, is it not? Meditation is not merely concentration on some idea, on some picture, or the desire to be something - that is just immature, childish; it is not meditation. Meditation is this understanding of the total process, the observation, the awareness of the responses of the conditioned thought to every challenge, so that the mind remains aware of its content, its activity, its pursuits, its hidden motives; so that, through that constant awareness without choice, there is freedom,' there is an integration - this whole process is meditation. A mind that is capable of observing without choice, seeing things as they are without trying to interpret them, without translating them, without twisting them, without distorting them - such a mind, through awareness, shall know what peace is, such a mind is capable then of being truly silent. Then only, in that silence, that `which is' comes into being. But the mind that is seeking a result can never find Truth.
February 1, 1953
Poona 4th Public Talk 1st Febraury 1953
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