Bombay 4th Public Talk 18th February 1953
It seems to me that one of our greatest difficulties is communication. I want to tell you something, and naturally I have to use words. The words are so loaded with different varieties of meaning that it is very difficult for most of us to communicate directly and simply what we want to say to each other. And especially it is difficult when we are dealing with something which is a little more subtle, which is not too definite, and which therefore requires not only mere verbal communication, but also communication that is beyond mere words. The mind rebels against something which it cannot get hold of, put its teeth into.
The difficulty with most of us is that we want a definite course of ac- tion. We want to find out what to do, how to behave, specially when we are confused, when the very object of our choice is the outcome of our own confusion. When we choose, out of our confusion, the leader or the idea or the system, it can only lead to further confusion, further misery, further sufferings. Because, if I, out of my confusion, choose an action, that action is bound to lead to further confusion. That is an obvious fact which unfortunately most of us do not consider. Since most of us are anxious to find a way, a course of action, it seems to me important to find out not what to do but how to think.
Most of us are accustomed to find out what to do. We have examples, we have heroes, precepts, ideals that we can follow. But what is important is the manner of our thinking, because, if there can be a revolution there, then perhaps it is possible to bring about a revolution in our action. So, is it not important to find out how to think, not what to do? Because the moment we are conditioned by an activity, by a system of thought, our actions become more and more complex, more and more confusing, more and more irksome, conditioned, disciplined, shaped; and therefore out of that, more confusion arises. So it seems to me what is important is to find out how to think; and perhaps then there is a possibility of changing that thought, bringing about a revolution in our thinking, and thereby creating a new way of life, a new way of action. There is a state of being which is revolution; and there is a state of becoming which is confusion. Most of us are accustomed to becoming - becoming something more, altering a course of action and adjusting it to a particular pattern of thought, following a leader, developing a virtue, changing from greed to non-greed, cultivating or practising certain ways of thinking; and all that implies, does it not?, a becoming in which there is no change at all, no revolution at all. Becoming is only a form of continuity; in that, there is no revolution, there is no transformation ever possible. A transformation and revolution is only possible in a state of being. Now, the becoming can never understand the being. When the becoming watches the being, the being is not.
Please follow this literally. I think it is very important to understand this, because our minds are so accustomed to becoming, to accumulating, to gathering experiences from which to proceed further; our thinking is based on knowledge, experience, examples, memory, which are all in the pattern of continuity; there is a modified change in that continuity, but there is no revolution, there is no transformation.
The becoming always tries to transcend, go beyond itself. I am the result of time, of memory, of experience, of constant choice, of differentiation; I am the continuity in the past of time; my mind, following, rejecting, accepting, resisting, is all in the pattern, in the field, of `becoming', is it not? I am something today and I will be something tomorrow. The projection, tomorrow, is the continuity of today. This is what my mind is accustomed to, which is the result of accumulation, of memory, is it not? This is not complicated. You observe your own thinking; you observe the various ways of your action, your desires; and you will find this is so. We are always trying to become something - the clerk becoming the manager, the manager the executive, the politician becoming the greatest leader and so on and so on. There is a becoming something continuously; and in that, we hope to bring about a revolution, a transformation. But it is not possible, because that which continues can never bring about a transformation within itself.
Now with that mentality, with that mind, with the process of that thought, we observe the being - the true god or what you will, of which we do not know. The becoming al- ways speculates about the being; the becoming always watches the being trying to grasp it, to take hold of it to adjust itself to it. So when you the becoming, the me tries to capture that being, that being is not. Because my mind is accustomed to think in terms of time, because my mind is the product of time, I cannot think in any other terms than becoming or not becoming. So in the very process, becoming there is conflict, and through the conflict we hope to achieve a result; that is our life. We want to achieve a result, an end, and we proceed through various means to achieve - always with an effort, with struggle, complications, choice, desiring to be this, shaping and accepting that, so on and so on. That is our life, is it not? So, the becoming is ever trying to follow a course of action - worship of the hero, the cultivation of virtue and so on. It everlastingly trying to capture the state which is the being, in which alone there is revolution. It is important, it seems to me, that we should understand that, in becoming there can be no change, no radical transformation. Then what is one to do? Do you follow?
I want to tell you something and I have to use words. And you are going to translate those words according to your conditioning and so communication ceases between you and me. I want to tell you a very simple thing which is: there is no happiness, transformation, no revolution in becoming; and it is only in being that there is a possibility of fundamental radical transformation. But the becoming can never understand the being. The more you observe, the more the becomer observes the being, then the being becomes static, it never moves. So what the mind chooses is caught always in this becoming, in the wanting to do something. Do you see the problem?
How can I who have been conditioned - my whole education, my upbringing, my religion, my every endeavour is to become - how can I stop becoming? I do not know if you have ever thought over this problem; but as I am talking, how do you regard this problem? How do you feel about it? All our textbooks, all our religions, all gurus, all the process of thought is to become something - you must be communal, then national, then the world; first you are a child, then maturity and death; you must go through the evolutionary process till you reach the ultimate reality. Our mind is conditioned to the way of thinking that gradually the world can be changed, that a revolutionary state cannot be brought about immediately, that it must come through a gradual process of time, that we must all be dedicated, that we must all be educated in a certain way, that we must think in a certain way of action and so on. With that process of thinking we are familiar. I say that through that way there is no revolution, there is no change, there is no possibility of any kind of transformation. Yet, transformation is essential in order to produce a different world.
You see the starving beggars on the road, the baby outside. The baby needs care, it needs food, it needs love, it needs freedom of the right type, it needs education to be without fear. Now, is it possible,for the world to change immediately, not in a few centuries? Is that not your problem also? There is that child starving and we have invented a Socialistic, a Communistic theory which will ultimately feed that baby; in the meantime, that baby dies. And in the course of building a system, there are a great many complications, destructions, misery, liquidation, concentration camps - which are all the process of becoming, are they not?
So, there must be a different approach to this problem, Can my mind which is so conditioned in becoming ever stop and be capable of receiving that being which cannot be observed, which cannot be understood by the becomer? How can I who am the product of time, memory, who am always becoming something accepting or denying something positively or negatively, how can I bring about in myself a fundamental revolution of values, of thought, of desires, of everything, radically, so that there can be happiness not only in me but in my relationship with the world, with my fellowbeings? Is that also not your problem? And if it is your problem as well as mine, how do we act? Do we act in terms of becoming or in terms of being? There is no being if there is becoming.
As I have said previously, please listen. It is very important to listen to something which is true, because that very listening to what is true has an extraordinary effect on the mind. If I know how to listen, if I can see beauty without interpretation, that beauty has an extraordinary effect on me. If I am sensitive enough to see the beauty as well as to see the ugliness of life, to see without interpreting, just to see it, it has an extraordinary effect. Similarly, if I know how to listen to something that is true, to something that is right, without translating, without comparing it to what has already been said by some teacher, by the Bhagavad Gita or some book, if I can listen without any translation, then that very listening, the receptivity to what is Truth has an extraordinary effect. An unconscious revolution is taking place, if I can listen.
Please listen to this: there can be revolution only when there is being from which action which is true can take place. But as long as the mind is caught in the everlasting process of becoming, there can be no revolution, there can be no change, there can be no love; there can be only misery, more hate, more wars. So, what is the mind to do? It cannot go over to the other state. The mind which is in itself the becoming process cannot go over to the other state and bring it to itself; it cannot become the being. It cannot search the being. The moment it is conscious, it is aware of the being, the being is dead; the being is no longer a vital thing, it does not dance, it does not live, it has no purposive action. So, what is the mind to do, which realizes that it cannot bring about a revolution within itself? Please listen, don't answer my question. Just listen.
Action is necessary, wars must be stopped, there must be no starvation. We recognise that a revolution is essential - a revolution which is fundamental, wide, not narrow, not partial, not limited. A total revolution is necessary. On investigation, we see that the mind cannot bring about such a revolution. The Communist, the Socialist, or the so-called religious person cannot bring about a revolution that is total; they can do partial reformation, partial change, but it will all be modified continuity. A total revolution is necessary in order to bring about a different world, a world which is not yours or mine but ours together; and that revolution can only come about when there is being and not becoming. So whatever effort you make in the revolution of being is a denial of that revolution. That is, if I make an effort to understand that state of being in which there is a radical revolution, that being becomes a dead state. So when my mind understands this whole thing, my mind becomes very quiet; then it does not make an effort to be or not to be. Please follow this. The mind becomes quiet, and then you understand the whole process of becoming.
The mind cannot invite the being. The being can only come into existence when the mind is completely quiet, without any pursuit, without seeking any result, without becoming virtuous. Because, the self is the becoming, `the me' is the becomer; and as long as `the me' exists, there cannot be being. `The me' can take on different garments of different colours and think it is changing, is bringing about a revolution; but at the centre, `the me' is still there, and `the me' cannot come to an end by discipline, by control, by sacrifice, by following examples. `The me' exists because of the very effort, it makes, to be or not to be. So listen.
As long as the mind makes an effort, that very effort gives strength to `the me' - `the me' identifying with the State, with the party, with virtue, with certain system of thought, with religion, or what you will. Therefore through that process there is no revolution, there is no transformation; there is only more misery, more confusion, more war, more hatred. When I realize that, when the mind realizes that, then there is tranquillity; then there is that silence which is so essential for the being; and it is only then that there is a possibility of radical revolution.
Question: I feel like committing suicide; life to me has no purpose, no meaning whatsoever. Wherever I look, there is only despair, misery and hatred. Why should I continue to live in this monstrous world?
Krishnamurti: Why do we commit suicide? Are there not different ways of committing suicide? Do you not commit suicide when you identify yourself with the country? Do you not commit suicide when you become a party member, join any sect? Do you not commit suicide when you believe in something? That is, you give yourself over to something greater; the something greater is your projection of what you think you ought to be; the identification of yourself with something greater - the greater being your desire for something nobler - is a form of committing suicide. Do listen to it; don't throw it out, Sirs.
Many of you have identified yourself with this country; you have been to prisons, you have struggled. Have you not committed suicide for something which is very small? Another commits suicide because he has no belief; he is a cynic, all his intellectual life has led him to nothing but despair and misery, and so he commits suicide. The man who believes and the man who does not believe have both committed suicide, in their own ways, because both want to escape from themselves. They want to escape through the country, through the idea of nationalism, through the idea of God; and when God and nationalism fail, or the country or the ideal for which the country stood for fails, then they are in darkness. And when I or you depend on a friend, on the person whom we love, when that dependence is taken away, we are again on the edge, ready to throw ourselves into darkness. So all of us - through identification with something greater, through belief, through various forms of escapes - try to run away from ourselves; and when we are thrown back upon ourselves we are lost, we are lonely, we are in despair; so we are ready to commit suicide. That is our state, is it not? One whom you love turns away, you are jealous; it reveals the emptiness of your heart and mind, and that frightens you; and therefore you are ready to run away to another form of escape; and so on and on.
So, as long as we do not understand ourselves, we are always on the edge of darkness. We say the world is a terrible place, a miserable place. But the world is what we have created, the world is your relationship to another. If, in that relationship, there is dependence, then there is fear, there is frustration, there is disillusionment; and from that there is the desire for suicide. And if you have a very strong belief, it holds you; and that very belief consciously conditions your mind so that you have no regard for inner search; that very belief acts as an escape from yourself. The more you are religious the less you are inclined to commit suicide.
The more you question, the more you investigate, there is the constant fear of coming to that very close knowledge which is the emptiness of one's own loneliness. So must you not face that emptiness, without depending upon anything? Must you not come to that state when you are completely lonely, and understand that state? Must you not be alone in order to find that which is alone, that which is not contaminated, which has not been thought about? But you cannot come to that aloneness if you are afraid of your loneliness. Most of us are afraid to face ourselves, and therefore we have many avenues of escapes; and when these avenues of escapes fail, we are thrown back upon ourselves; and it is that moment which we have to regard to look into ourselves; we have to understand this emptiness, not run away from this emptiness through rituals, through any form of distraction, knowledge or belief.
You can only look at this emptiness when the mind is completely absorbed in it, when you know of it without any sense of translating it or without desiring it to change - which is a very arduous process. Since most of us are lazy, we escape into some form of belief or commit suicide. So it is only when a person understands what loneliness is and goes through it, that that person is purified to be alone; and only that aloneness can meet that which is the being in which there is not `the me' with all its efforts, contradictions and confusions.
Question: I have known moments of quietness, a sense of complete equilibrium, but the moment is fleeting: how can this balance be sustained?
Krishnamurti: Why do you want to sustain this balance? Is it not the same desire to continue, the same desire to hold on to something which you have. Happiness is an experience, a sense of quietness, a stillness. You have had that experience and so you want to hold on. The very desire to hold on is to give it continuity, is it not? And that which has continuity can never experience the new. That is our trouble, is it not?
We are so traditionally bound, our mind is so conditioned by tradition, by yesterday's beauty by yesterday's sorrow, by yesterday's experience. The mind is saturated by the many yesterdays and no new experience can possibly penetrate; and when by some chance it does, we want to hold on to it; and so the quiet moment becomes a habitual moment, the moment of tradition; and so it is no longer a still mind. It is a mind that is weighed down by acquisition. And the mind that is burdened by the weight of the past is incapable of being still, it only lives on memory, like an old man. A mind that is old, that is burdened by the past, cannot possibly understand a still mind. Please listen to this and you will find out how to put aside the past and to have a fresh mind.
Our difficulty is not the adoption of new methods, new systems of what to do, but how to be creative. We are not creative in our lives, in our ways of thinking, in our activities. We are just machines of routine, and our education is a cultivation of that routine which is memory; and since we are not creative, any new creative breath becomes the old, gets caught in a tradition and is lost. So if you can really listen and understand that, you will see that any accumulation of virtue or of money or of possessions burdens the mind, and therefore the mind is incapable of knowing the new, being new; and that what is essential in the world at the present time is the new mind, a creative mind - not an inventive mind. A creative mind is not possible when the mind is becoming, is possessing, is caught in the process of memory.
So, a mind that accumulates happy experiences is not a creative mind. A mind that is burdened by the past and therefore by fear, is incapable of bringing about the revolution of being. If you can listen to this and let the truth of this operate uncon- sciously, without any purposive action by the conscious mind, then you will see that the mind becomes free from the past, not in some distant future but immediately. That means, you must have the capacity to listen, to listen very attentively, without interpretation. Then only is there a possibility of the mind being creative.
Question: I understand, Sir, your emphasis on the need of revolution in the human psyche, and your detere mined refusal to bless mere ideas; but, Sir, our way of life influences our psyche; why do you not preach voluntary re-distribution of land and property, and thus help to create a right atmosphere for the understanding of your teaching by common men and women. Why do you not lay down the minimum condition that a truth-seeker must fulfil?
Krishnamurti: Sir, what is important in this question? The minimum standard for the truth-seeker? You have them in your books, have you not? Have you not been told from the very beginning that there must be generosity, that you must do good to others, that you must give what little you have to another, that you must love, that you must not be greedy? Those are all ideals which are good, are they not? Because you have no generosity of the heart, to you the generosity of the heart is an idea. And it is the fact that is more important that the minimum of what you should be.
Will the re-distribution of land create a right atmosphere? Will everybody having enough land, enough food, enough clothing, enough shelter create a right atmosphere for the truth-seeker, for the human being? Sir, what is the essence of this question? Our minds are petty, small; and we think we can enlarge that mind by regulation, by creating a right atmosphere, by re-distribution of land, by economic revolution. The problem is not the distribution of land or what kind of economic system we should have; the problem is the pettiness of our minds. We do not see that.
What constitutes the petty mind? The question that has been put to me is not important; but the questioner is important because it indicates the mind that puts these questions. The question itself can be understood. We can resolve the problem of distribution of land, giving food, clothing, shelter; all these things can be arranged, organized. But, it is the mind that is behind the organization and that is the thing that must be understood. It is there that there must be a revolution, and a petty mind cannot bring about a revolution. The mind even when it thinks of God, is still petty because the mind in itself is petty. When the mind creates a revolution, it must be a petty revolution; because, the mind, do what you will, is still petty, because thought is conditioned. Do what you will, thought is always conditioned - conditioned according to Marx, according to Christianity, Buddhism, or Hinduism and so on. As long as the mind is conditioned, it is a petty mind; and such a mind cannot create a revolution. It can bring about reforms here and there; but that reformation brings more misery, that very reformation which the petty mind creates ends in tyranny, in concentration camps.
So our problem is not re-distribution of land or a better economic system, but how to break this mind that is so small, so that the mind cannot think at all. Sir, it is very important to understand this question, because we all want to do something in this world. There is so much misery, starvation, lack of love, unkindness, brutality; we all know the absolute absence of love in our daily life. We want to do something but our minds have never produced a revolution; they have produced reformations, but those reformations have produced greater wars, greater miseries. Please see this, hear it, let it pene- trate; you will understand it. So thought can never produce a happy world. Thought can produce more confusion, more misery because our thought is always conditioned. There is no free thought because thought is based on memory. Memory is experience; experience is conditioned reaction; from childhood you are brought up as a Hindu, as a Communist, a Socialist or what you will; you are conditioned, shaped, hedged about to be in a frame. The revolutionary man says that that frame is no good and he will put you in a new frame; and if you do not fit into his frame, he will liquidate you; so, that is the constant process of modifying, changing thought; that is not revolution; that is not transformation; that is mere modification, the changing superficially. So, as long as we are concerned with thought, with ideas, with experience, our world will be in a state of confusion and misery.
So our problem is not how to redistribute land or to sacrifice or to give up something, but how to think, how to bring about the silence of the mind so that a new state can come into being. This revolution is possible only when thought has come to an end. And thinking can only come to an end when I understand the whole process of thought, how thought arises. Thought arises through memory, thought is words. All our action is based on experience, on knowledge which is always conditioned; and if I make an effort to put an end to thought, it is still conditioned. So the mind, realizing this, becomes very quiet. That is true meditation. When the mind - without discipline, without compulsion, without resistance - comprehends this whole process of thought and so becomes quiet, then only is there a possibility of a deep fundamental revolution from which action can take place, which will not be a conditioned action. Therefore there will be possibility of producing a different world in which this conflict between human beings - you have everything and I have nothing - has come to an end; and in that world, though you may have something more than me, I do not care because I have something else.
It is only when the mind is no longer seeking to aggrandize itself, seeking a result, seeking to bring about an action through ideas, that there is a possibility of a revolution which is not of the mind, which is not the product of thought. That revolution is the revolution of being, of truth, of love. This is not sentimental, a superstition, a religious bogey. This is not a myth but a reality that can be discovered by each one. That reality can only be found when you are really earnest, when you know how to listen to something which is true and let that Truth operate, let that cleanse the mind of all thoughts.
February 18, 1953
Bombay 4th Public Talk 18th February 1953
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