Bombay 1st Public Talk 8th February 1953
As we are going to have a series of ten talks, I think it is very important to establish the relationship between the speaker and yourselves; otherwise, Sirs, we shall have misconceptions, and inevitably misunderstandings will follow from those misconceptions. You see, I am speaking not to convince anyone of you of any particular theory, or of a particular mode of conduct, or to drive in certain ideas, because the intention is not in any way propagandistic. Propaganda implies the conditioning of certain minds to certain attitudes. That is not my intention at all. If you have ideas of which you want to be convinced, if you want to have certain ideas to cherish, to follow, if you want a definite course of thought leading to certain results, or if you wish to bring about a certain revolution in ideas, I am afraid, you will be very much mistaken. Because, I feel that what is fundamentally important is the revolution in the unconscious - not the conscious revolution; and of this, I shall explain presently when we go on with the talk.
But before we do that, as I said, you and I must know each other, not only at the verbal level but more deeply, if we can. Because, if we can know your intention as well as mine, then there is a possibility of our meeting together to talk over our problems. But if you have certain set-up ideas, and I contrary ideas, then obviously there is no meeting point between us. So, I think it is very important that we should from the very beginning establish the right relationship between us. I am not your guru, or a leader; so you cannot look up to me. I do not think that our problem, the present crisis in which we are, can dissolve in any way by following any leader, political or religious, or any guru. As I said, it requires a fundamental revolution in the unconscious, not merely a change of ideas on the superficial level.
So, is it not very important to find out what I am going to say or what I have said? Because, I am not going to convince you of anything. This is not propagandistic. I mean what I say; I am not here to convince you of any particular idea. Conviction implies the process of rejection and acceptance, confirmation or denial; and that is not my intention at all. What we are trying to do is to find out the true answer, the right answer to all our problems. You can only find the right answer when you are not projecting any particular idea, when you are not merely accepting a certain thesis and rejecting your own particular form of thinking. We are concerned with the whole problem of thinking and not what to think. That is, without thinking rightly, obviously, all our actions will lead us to further confusion. So what we are concerned with is not the rejection or the acceptance of ideas, but how to think rightly together - that is, our relationship together - to find out how to think about the problems that confront us, rightly. I am using the word `rightly' not in contradiction; there is only one way of thinking, not the right or the wrong. We shall find out if it is at all possible to pursue a thought and discover the truth of that thought, of that particular problem.
Is it not important to differentiate between hearing and listening? Most of us casually hear, as we hear the noise that is going on; and gradually, we get accustomed to hear particular noises, and then we pass them by. We read papers and we hear the familiar voices about us. But there is a difference, is there not?, between hearing and listening? In listening, there is neither acceptance nor rejection; you really listen to find out. You listen to another person, to find out what he wants to convey, not merely at the verbal level, but at deeper levels of understanding. But listening is denied if we merely object or interpose our particular ideas, instead of really listening to find out actually what the other man is saying. After all, we know our minds, so that we have not to listen to that; but perhaps if we can listen without any interpretation, without translation, if we can really listen, then perhaps there may be a possibility of that radical revolution at the unconscious level, which is the only revolution that is worthwhile.
We have got innumerable problems; and the more we consciously think about them and try to resolve them, the greater the complications, the more the problems. Because we are dealing with problems which are not the products of the superficial mind but which are the result of deep unconscious struggles, conflicts, ambitions, strifes, without a fundamental and radical change at that deep level, the mere tinkering reformation on the superficial level - economic, social, political or otherwise - will have very little significance. You can see that revolutions have not fundamentally altered the process of our living. The change at the conscious level is merely a modified continuity because there the mind is superficially calculating, judging, weighing; but the calculating, weighing and judging process is a continuity of that which is conditioned; so through that, you have not resolved the problem at all; you have only modified it, only altered its course; but the course is still confused.
As long as we tackle our problems on the superficial level, with the conscious mind, opposing idea by idea, argument by argument, cunning by cunning, logic by logic - which are all reactions of the superficial mind - obviously the results which the mind has thought out will be the product of conditioned thought. Therefore in that process there is no fundamental deep psychological revolution. I think what is important now is not the revolution on the superficial level, but the revolution at the deep unconscious level, because we live there much more, and have our being there more than on the superficial level.
So, is it not important to listen, so that the unconscious is absorbing, if I can so put it - so that the revolution is not a conscious revolution? I think it is very important to so listen that the change is unconscious, that our whole outlook on life is not a conscious, deliberate alteration, but that revolution which comes without the deliberate process of thought.
After all we have so many problems at different levels, economic, social, religious; the problem of love, death, the problem of relationship, starvation, what is God, if there is continuity, what is mortality, what is that state of `timelessness', what is creativity, so on and so on. We have innumerable problems and we have always approached these problems with the intention of solving them by the conscious mind, by the everyday mind, by the mind that has thoughts, by the mind that is the result of time, that is the result of tradition, that is the result of so-called education - which is the process of conditioning to a particular thought or pattern or particular action, such as Communist, Socialist, Capitalist or Catholic. And with that conditioning we approach the innumerable problems; and obviously, a conditioned mind can never solve these problems.
We need to have quite a different approach, quite a different revolution - psychologically, inwardly, fundamentally. I think that is only possible when you know how to listen to everything, not to me only, but to the conversation that is taking place about you, the talk that you have with your wife, with your husband, with your children, with your boss, on the tramcar, on the bus, when you are listening to the beggar or to a song, when you listen to the birds or to the surge of the sea. If you know how to listen without interpretation, without translation, then there is a possibility of that unconscious revolution taking place. I think that is the revolution which is most essential at the present times - not the chain of leaders, not which political system you should follow; because they have all failed completely; because the systems they have advocated or created are the result of the conditioned mind, and their result will still be conditioned and so you will be everlastingly caught in the net of problems; that way does not lead to human happiness, human creativity, and the discovery of what is true.
The discovery of what is true does not come about through a conscious effort. If we really understood this - it is my intention during these talks to approach this problem from every point of view - we come to that state when the conscious mind realizes it is incapable of dealing with these problems. Then perhaps there is a possibility of uncovering a different source of action, a different source by which or through the discovery of which we shall find a new way of thinking, feeling, living, being.
Our problems are not individual - because there is no such entity as an `individual'. The individual, you, may have a different name, a different form, you may live in a separate house; but the content of your mind is the content of my mind also. What you think, I think; you are ambitious, so am I; what you are, I am, and your neighbour is. It is a collective problem, not an individual problem. You, as an individual conditioned to a certain set of ideas, cannot dissolve this problem of existence; you can only resolve it when you and I can think out the problem together and not separately. The collective action can only come, take place, when there is thinking which is not collective. But as we know now, collective action implies collective thinking; collective thinking is conditioned thinking; and that is what we are concerned with, through various forms of propaganda, education, compulsion, concentration camps, and so on and so on. You are made to think collectively, traditionally, whether that tradition is new or old; you are made to conform, to think along a collective line, thereby hoping you will produce collective action; but collective action is not possible as collective thinking is only conditioned thinking.
We will discuss that as we go along. But surely there is a way of acting which is not yours or mine, which is not the Communist, Socialist or Catholic, or the Christian or the Hindu or the Buddhist; that is the way of acting which springs from the discovery of what is Truth. The discovery of what is Truth is not dependent on you and me, on your conditioned mind or on my conditioned mind. That discovery of what is Truth can only come about when you and I recognise our conditioned mind, our conditioned state.
If you and I can discover what is Truth, from there, there is collective action. But collective thinking does not lead to collective action, it only leads to further misery which is actually shown at the present time. But, if we can, you and I together - because, it is not I who am leading you and you who are following me - we shall uncover the process of our thinking. I cannot uncover it for you and you merely accept or deny; you have to uncover it as we go on together; you have to observe your own state of mind, not only at the conscious level but also unconsciously, at every moment of the day, in your relationships, not only while you are hearing me here but when you have gone away from here.
The feeling that discovery of truth is not individual, that truth is neither collective nor individual but it is truth, can only come about when you understand the whole process of thinking. Thinking is collective; you cannot think independently; there is no individual thinking; what you think is the collective thinking, because you are conditioned as a Hindu, Christian, or a Mussulman; because you are holding yourself in the frame of tradition which is collective thinking. You may be conditioned in the framework of the supposed indivi- dual but the framework is collective; or you may be conditioned as a Communist but the conditioning is still collective. The collective can never find what is true nor can the individual, because there is no individual thinking, because all is collective thinking.
Please listen to this; don't reject it; find out the truth of what I am saying.
After all, the words that I am using, the thoughts that I am expressing, the ways of our thinking, all this is the result of collective thought and action; though I may call myself a separate individual, give myself a name, live in a hovel or in a rich house, the whole process of me is the collective. Can the collective ever find what is true? The collective is the conditioned mind, it is a mind that is bound to tradition, to authority, to every form of fear, conscious or unconscious, it is a mind that is constantly seeking security. Can such a mind which is the collective mind find what is truth? Truth is that which is uncontaminated, which cannot be conceived, which cannot be premeditated or read about in books, which cannot be given to you by another. The only solution of our problems is the discovery of what is Truth. That is the only revolution which will radically affect our existence, our daily everyday life, our daily life of relationship.
As the discovery of what is truth is of vital significance and importance, should we not coming to these talks for the next five weeks or so earnestly enquire if the mind is capable of peeling itself from all its conditioning and perhaps thereby discovering what is truth? This discovery of what is Truth does not come about through any conscious effort. I think it is very important to understand that you cannot come to Truth. Truth can come about only unknowingly when you are not expecting. Every form of expectation, every form of hope, is a form of projection - the projection of `the me', `the me' being the collective. And so our problem is: the understanding of conflict, of struggle, the everyday life, our relationships, our ambitions, our passions and pursuits, our imitativeness and the appalling degradation that is going on within us, the corruption, the darkness, the death that is constantly with us; being aware of all that, to discover something which is beyond the mind. And that state can only come into being when we understand the process of our mind, not when we try to imagine what it is, or speculate about it. It is only when we understand the process of our thinking, how our minds are conditioned completely, then only is there a possibility of discovering what is Truth, which alone will liberate us from our problems.
After every brief talk I shall be answering questions and I am afraid you will be disappointed if you are waiting for an answer. The mind that is expecting an answer is a schoolboy mind, because you are only concerned with the results, like a schoolboy who looks at the end of the book to find the answer without really studying the problem or going into the problem deeply. When you put questions, you want answers; most of you are not interested in questions, you just want an answer - an answer being an explanation or combination of explanations. So, you who are seeking the answer, are not really concerned with the problem.
Sirs, please don't take photographs. Sirs, may I say something? This is a serious meeting; I regard it as a religious meeting - in the deeper sense of the word, not in the religious sense which is stupid. There must be a certain sense of dignity, and that is not possible when you are asking for autographs, taking photographs, yawning. It requires seriousness. When you are serious, you are quiet; you do not fidget about; you are concentrating, listening. So, please do not take photographs or take notes, because then you are not paying attention, you are not listening. As this is a serious meeting, and as you have come with serious intention, let us spend an hour with the purpose of understanding and finding out, because our problems are tremendous, because we are destroying each other.
As I was saying, a mind that is only concerned with an answer which is a result, which is really the combination of explanations, is satisfied with words; such a mind can never understand what the problem is. As I am concerned with only the problem and not with the answer, you will be disappointed if you are waiting for an answer. You will say, I cannot put my teeth into it. But if we can see, the answer is in the problem; the answer to the problem is in understanding the truth of the problem. But the discovery of the Truth is a very arduous process. It requires mature thinking - not glib answers or conclusions or judgments, either of the left or of the right, or what you have learnt in your books or from your experiences. It requires real consideration. As we are only concerned to uncover, to discover the ways of our thinking and thereby to find out how to bring about that fundamental revolution, perhaps we can go together into these problems, in the maze of questions.
Question: There is a famine in this country; men starve, and you sit here talking of things which do not fill empty stomachs. Are you not helping us to lose all sense of responsibility to our starving neighbours?
Krishnamurti: If I offered an escape through some means, dialectical or religious, or some kind of phony arguments, that would be an irresponsible action, would it not? But if together we can find out how to solve this problem, not only in this country but throughout the world, then perhaps we shall not be sitting talking in vain. Can these stomachs which are empty now be filled by any system by any economic system, by any revolution at the economic or political level? If you had a new kind of revolution - it does not matter what you call it - which will alter the top layer of bureaucrats, will that solve our problem? We think it will. We hope that if there is a revolution of values, of economic systems, we shall be able to feed the world. Is that possible? Is revolution economic, or is revolution a total process not just a partial process? After all, we have had revolutions based on economic systems, and they have not fed men. They have always promised that they will feed men; but in that promise there are always concentration camps, tyranny, totalitarianism, wars, destruction, more misery. We are quite familiar with this; the newspaper every morning carries it.
Is our problem the problem of the part - which is, economic revolution - or the problem of the total - which is, revolution in our thinking? When we are talking about starvation, we are concerned about giving food to starving people - which is only the part, though an essential part, and which is only one segment of our existence. The more we concentrate on the one part, one corner of our whole life, we will never solve the problem. We can solve the problem only when we comprehend the whole picture; then we can completely understand; then we can apply our understanding to the part. But from the part we cannot go to the whole. All our revolutions are based on the change of the part, not of the whole.
I am talking of the whole total process of our being, not of the part. Real revolution is and must be always in the total being, in the total thinking and not in the part thinking. We don't live by bread alone. We need bread, we need food, we need clothes, we need shelter; but if we emphasize them, if we are concerned with alterations or with revolution in the economic field only, then we shall invariably end in great- er confusion and misery. But if we can understand the total process of our being and bring about a revolution in the psyche - in the inward nature of our being - then we can apply that revolution, that understanding, to the part. Surely, that is our problem. Please don't misunderstand. There must be no neglect of food, clothing, shelter; on the contrary, they must be provided. But there must be the right approach to it; and the right approach can only come about, not on the superficial level but only when there is a fundamental revolution in our being, in our thinking, in the psychological state of our existence. We have tried economic revolutions and they have not fed man; on the contrary, there is more misery, more destruction, more wars. It is only possible to end starvation, famine, when we understand the whole and thereby bring about a revolution fundamentally, deeply.
Question: We have heard you for many years. Still we are mean, ugly and full of hatred. Often we feel abandoned by you. We know you have not accepted us as disciples, but need you shirk your responsibility completely towards us? Should you not see us through?
Krishnamurti: Sirs, this is a roundabout way of asking, `Why don't you become our guru?' (Laughter). Now, Sirs, the problem is not abandoning or seeing you through, because we are supposed to be grown-up people. At least physically we are grown-up; mentally, we are the age of fourteen and fifteen; and we want somebody glorified, a Saviour, a guru, a Master, to lead us out of our misery, out of our confusion; to explain to us the chaotic state; to explain, not to bring about a revolution in our thinking, but to explain it away; and with that we are concerned.
When you put this question, you want to find a way out of this confusion; you want to be free from fear, from hatred, from all the pettiness of life; and you look to somebody to help you. Or, other gurus have perhaps not succeeded in putting you to sleep by giving you a dose of opium, an explanation; so you turn to this person and say, `Please help us through'. Is that our problem - the substitution of a new guru for an old one, of a new master for an old one, of a new leader for the old? Please listen to this carefully. Can anybody lead you to Truth, to the discovery of Truth? Is discovery at all possible when you are led to it? If you are led to Truth, have you discovered it, have you experienced it? Can anybody - it does not matter who it is - lead you to Truth? When you say you must follow somebody, does it not imply that Truth is stationary, that Truth is there for you to be led to, for you to look at and take?
Is Truth something to be discovered or something that you are led to? If it is something that you are led to, then the problem is very simple; then you will find the most satisfying guru or leader, and he will lead you to it. But surely the Truth of that something which you are seeking is beyond the state of explanation; it is not static; it must be experienced; it must be discovered; and you cannot experience it through guidance. How can I experience spontaneously something original, if I am told, `This is original, experience it'? Hatred, meanness, ambition, pettiness, are your problems, and not the discovery of what is Truth. You cannot find what is Truth with a petty mind. A mind that is shallow, gossiping, stupid, ambitious - such a mind can never find what is Truth. A petty mind will. create only a petty thing; it will be petty, empty; it will create a shallow God. So our problem now is not to find, not to discover what God is, but to see first how petty we are.
Sir, look. If I know that I am petty, that I am miserable, that I am unhappy, then I can deal with it. But if I am petty and say, `I must not be petty, I must be big', then I am running away - which is pettiness. Please understand this.
What is important is to understand and discover what is, not to transform what is into something else. After all, a stupid mind, even if it is trying to become very cunning, clever, intelligent, is still stupid because its very essence is stupidity. We do not listen. We want somebody to lead our pettiness to something bigger and we never accept, we never see what is, actually. The discovery of what is, the actuality, is important; it is the only thing that matters. At any level - economic, social, religious, political, psychological - what is important is to discover exactly what is, not what should be.
Please listen. In this question there are several things implied. The questioner wants someone to help him to free himself from the complications of his life; so he is seeking a leader. The leader whom he seeks is the outcome of his confusion, of his misery; and therefore the leader is himself confused. Sir, don't you know what is happening in the world? You are confused with all this turmoil, and a political leader comes along; you vote for him out of your confusion; and so you have created a politician who is also confused; and he is leading you. Similarly, the guru or the teacher or the leader whom you choose; you choose him out of your confusion, out of your desire for gratification, to get security; so you project what you want, and that guru is your creation. Because he is going to satisfy you, you accept what he gives - which indicates that you are never confronted with what is in yourself, with actually what you are. It is only when your mind is not running away, avoiding, pursuing the ideal - that is, when the mind says, `This should not be, but that should be', and so on - that you can discover how to deal with what is. Then you will solve the problem. You can only solve the problem when you discover what is actually `the me'. If you know that you are petty, that your mind is shallow, that you have hatred for people, when you are aware of that fact, then you can deal with that fact. We can discuss how to deal with that fact. But if you say, `I must not hate, I must love', then you are entering into an ideological world - which is the most stupid way of escape from what is.
So, in this question, we are not concerned with the understanding of the truth of our problems. It is only the Truth that will free us. Understanding comes only when we are not following anybody, where there is no authority of any kind - either the authority of tradition, the authority of books, the authority of the guru, or the authority of our own experience. Our own experience is the result of our conditioning, and such an experience cannot help us to discover what is Truth.
So those who are really earnest, who really want to find out the truth of these problems must obviously set aside all authority. That is very difficult because most of us are so frightened. We want somebody to lean on, somebody to encourage us, the big brother - the big brother in Russia or in England or in America or behind the Himalayas, or round the corner. We all want someone to help us. As long as we lean on somebody, we shall never understand the process of our own thinking; so, we shall deny the discovery of Truth for ourselves.
Please listen to this; don't reject it because you have not solved your problem, because you are just as unhappy as you were before. When you are following your guru or your political leaders, you are confused. There is only one way to resolve this problem, and that is through the understanding of yourself in your relationships, from moment to moment, from day to day - the antagonisms, the hates, the passions, the transitory love and so on. You are caught in it and you can only resolve it when you ac- cept it, see it as it is. It is only when you resolve that, there is a possibility of freeing the mind from its own conditioning and thereby letting Truth be.
Question: Do you have a technique which I can learn from you, so that I too can carry your message to those who are full of sorrow?
Krishnamurti: Sir, what do you mean by carrying a message? Do you mean repeating the words - propaganda? The very nature of propaganda is to condition the mind. Every form of propaganda - the Communist propaganda, the religious propaganda, and so on - is to condition the mind, is it not? If you learn a technique, as you call it, a way, and you learn it by heart and repeat it, you will be a good propagandist; if you are keen, clever, if you are capable of using words, you will condition those that hear you, in a new way instead of the old way; but it is still conditioning, it is still limited. And that is our problem, is it not?
Our problems arise because we are conditioned. Our education conditions us. Is it possible for the mind ever to be free from conditioning? You can only discover that state. You cannot say whether it is possible or not possible. When you ask, `Have you a technique?', what do you mean? Perhaps you mean a method; a system, which you learn like a schoolboy and repeat it. Sir, surely the problem is something much more fundamental, radically different, is it not? There is no technique to learn. You do not have to carry my message, what you carry is your message, not mine, Sirs.
This existence, this misery, this confusion is your problem. If you understand it, if you can understand the experience of a conditioned mind and go beyond, then you will be the person who is teaching; then there will be no teacher and no disciple. But then, you have to understand yourself, not learn my technique or carry my message. Sir, what is important is to understand that this is our world, that together we can build this world happily, that we - you and I - are related together, that what you do and what I do inwardly matters, that how we think is important, and that thought which is always conditioned will not solve our problem. What will solve our problem is to understand the ways of our thinking. The moment we understand how we think, there will be a radical change inwardly; we will no longer be Hindus, Christians, Communists, Socialists, or Capitalists; we shall be human beings, human beings with passion, with love, with consideration. That cannot come about by merely learning a technique or carrying somebody's message.
You cannot have love through technique. You can have sensation through a technique, but that is not love. Love is something that cannot be told, that cannot be carried across through newspapers or through techniques or through propaganda. It must be felt, it must be understood. But if you repeat love, love, love, it has no meaning. You will know of that love when the mind is quiet, when the mind is free from its conditioning, from its anxieties, from its fears. And it is that love which is the true revolution that will alter the whole process of our being.
February 8, 1953
Bombay 1st Public Talk 8th February 1953
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