Bombay 5th Public Talk 22nd February 1953
For most of us prejudice or bias is a very strong influence in our lives. Most of us are not aware of our prejudices and of the way they condition our life, and we derive a great deal of strength from prejudices; so, it is almost impossible for anything new to penetrate through the thick wall of prejudices and conditioning influences. And the more we make an effort to break through consciously, not only do we further strengthen the prejudices that we have but also cultivate new ones. I do not know if you have observed that any form of conscious effort to get rid of some particular quality or bias or prejudice brings about another form of prejudice, another conditioning, another wall which creates a resistance and from which we derive strength to act, to live, to continue.
It would be unfortunate if we, in listening this evening to the talk here, try to break through any particular wall of prejudices in order to cap- ture a certain meaning or significance of what I am saying. I think therefore it is very important to listen rightly. I do not think I can repeat it too often that there is an art of listening, which is not the cultivation of a new thought or a new resistance. On the contrary, the very process of listening is really a very unconscious awareness. In that unconscious awareness, in that listening, a new perception, a new understanding can come into being; and any effort made destroys and nullifies understanding. You understand only when the mind is fairly quiet, when you are willing to find out the Truth of the matter; but the Truth of a matter is not revealed when you make an effort and therefore create resistance. So, if I may suggest, let us try to listen, not to mere words or to the definition of a particular word, but to the whole content of any particular statement. The more one listens in that way without any effort, without any directive purpose to use what has been said, to do something in life with it, to use it to act, to use it as an instrument to clear our conflicts and miseries, the more we are capable of listening with a passive awareness, with an easy awareness in which there is no choice, with an alertness in which the meaning, the significance comes without any effort on our part.
I want to discuss, if I can, this evening, the thing that we call influence, the motive power, the faith, the strength which keeps us going, the machinery of dull routine, the so-called purpose which having established itself gives us a certain driving power, and that very force of an idea, of a purpose, of an aim, of wanting to achieve a result, which gives us a great deal of strength to continue. For most of us there is ambition, the desire to achieve a result - whether particular, or national or of a party or of a group of people - and when we identify ourselves with a particular idea, we derive a great deal of strength from it, and that keeps us going,that gives us an energy, a drive; and the more we use that energy, the greater is the capacity to achieve a result. But in the wake of that capacity there is always pain, there is always suffering, there is always frustration; and so gradually we lose confidence.
I do not know if you have noticed in yourselves that if you strive after an idea, if you strive after a result, you may achieve it; but in the very process of that achievement there is always a frustration in which there is fear, there is a lack of confidence; being aware of this lack of confidence, you identify yourself with something which sustains you, from which there is strength, and that strength keeps you going. If I have no particular ideal, I have faith in God, and that faith keeps me going; all the troubles I translate with that faith, or that faith sustains me through trouble. But most of us have really no faith at all; we have a verbal assertion of faith and so we are always looking for something, some idea, some person, some guru, some political party, some system; we identify ourselves with a country, with an idea, from which we derive strength and so keep going; and those of us who have capacity use that capacity as a means to sustain our effort.
As long as there is an outward or inward faith, there is always fear. Most of us try to awaken self-confidence through some kind of experience, the experience of God or the experience of knowledge, or the experience of a conditioned state. I believe in a particular religion, in a particular ideal, in God; from that belief, I derive strength that sustains me; and then in the very process of the energy of sustaining, there is the cultivation of the me, of the I, the self, the ego. If we have no confidence in ourselves, we try to learn the technique of certain practices, and so establish routine, a habit of thought which gives us vitality, the energy with which to confront our daily conflicts and struggles. The more intelligent, the more alert we are, the less faith we have in anything.
So, is there not a way of life in which self-confidence is non-existent? Let us go into it a little bit. I depend on my parents when I am young; and as I grow older, I depend on society, on a job, on capacity; and when these fail me, I depend upon faith; there is always a dependence, a faith in something; that dependence sustains me, gives me vitality, energy; and as with all dependences there is always fear, and so I set conflict going. Or, having no faith, I cultivate consistency, to be constant in my life according to my idea, and that very consistency endangers my self-confidence; the more I am consistent the less I am strong, vital, clear-cut. Self-consistency - to be consistent to a certain form, to a certain action - is what most of us are striving for, which is the cultivation of self-confidence.
So wherever we try, there is always this desire to depend on something to give us strength - on a person, on a particular idea, on a political party, on a system, or on an experience. So there is always a dependence on something to sustain us; and as we depend more and more, there is the cultivation of fear. Dependence arises because in ourselves we are insufficient, in ourselves we are lonely, in ourselves we are empty. I depend and therefore I cultivate faith; therefore we must have more knowledge; and as we become more and more civilized, more and more learned - materialistic or spiritual - we must have faith or we turn cynics.
Now, is there not a drive for action - to do something, to live - without being dependent on anything inwardly? For most of us self-confidence is necessary, and for most of us confidence is merely the continuation of an experience or the continuation of knowledge. Does self-confidence ever free the mind from its own conditioning influence? Does this confidence derived through effort bring about freedom or does it merely condition the mind? And is it not possible to free the mind, to remove all dependences? That is, am I capable of being aware of my loneliness, of my complete emptiness, being aware of it without running away from it, and not being consistent through any particular form of knowledge or experience? What is our problem, is it not? Most of us are running away from ourselves as we are; we cultivate various forms of virtues to help us to run away. We cultivate various forms of confidence, knowledge, experience; we depend on faith; but underneath it all, there is a sense of immense loneliness; and it is only when we are capable of looking at it; living with it, understanding it fully, that there is a possibility of acting without bringing about a series of efforts which condition the mind to a particular action. Please listen to this and you will see it.
All our life we try to be consistent to a particular thought or to a pattern of thought, and the very desire to be consistent creates energy, drive, gives us strength and so narrows down the mind. The mind that is consistent is a very small mind, a petty mind. A small mind has enormous capacity for energy; it derives a great deal of strength from its pettiness, and so our life becomes very small, very limited, very narrow. Can we realize this process of dependence from which we derive strength, in which there is conflict, in which there is fear, envy, jealousy, competition, that constantly narrows down all our efforts so that there is always fear?
Is it not possible to look, to be aware of our loneliness, of our emptiness and understand it without trying to escape from it? The very understanding of it is not to condemn it, but to be passively aware of it, to listen to the whole content of that loneliness. It means really to go beyond the self, beyond the `me' and from there act, because our present action is within the confines of the `me'. It may be enlarged, extended, but it is always the `me' identifying with a person or an ideal; and that identification gives us a great deal of strength to act, to do, to be, and that identification strengthens the `me', the `I', the self in which there is everlasting conflict, everlasting misery; and so all our actions lead to frustration. Recognising that, we turn to faith, we turn to God as a source of strength; and that too is the enlargement of the `me', the strengthening of the `me', because the `me' is running away from itself, from that loneliness in itself. When we are capable of facing that loneliness without condemnation or judgment, looking at it, understanding it, hearing the whole content of the `me', of that loneliness, then only is there a possibility of having strength which is not of the `me'. Then only is there a possibility of bringing about a different world or a different culture.
Question: You have talked so much of beauty. Now tell us of ugliness.
Krishnamurti: We avoid ugliness, we turn our back upon it. We put away the thing that we call evil, and cultivate the thing that we call good. We resist the thing called sin and cultivate virtue. We avoid those things which are ugly - the ugly street, the ugly faces, the ugly habits - and always pursue the thing we call beauty, the good, the noble. Now in this process what happens? When we turn our back on the ugly, and turn our faces to beauty, what happens? We become insensitive, do we not?
When you put away the ugly, resist it, turn your back upon it, and turn your face to what is considered beautiful, what are you doing? You are only observing one side of life, not the whole process of life; and the whole process of life, the total process of life, includes the ugly and the beautiful. Is there such a thing as ugliness? And must not the mind be totally sensitive to both, beauty and ugliness? Must it not be aware of hatred as well as of love, not as opposed to each other, not as a dual process? Please follow this. For us, hate and love are two opposites; we want to avoid hate and we want to cultivate love. In the very avoidance of hate we are cultivating resistance, we create ugliness, we are becoming insensitive; we are insensitive to the whole section which we call ugly and we try to be sensitive to the whole part which we call beauty.
So there is a dual process going on, the avoidance of that which we call ugly and the capturing of that which we call beauty; and in that conflict the mind becomes dull, the mind becomes insensitive, unaware. It is like walking down the street and only looking at the beautiful sky or only looking at the trees, the stars. Life is not only the sky, the stars and the trees but also the dirt, the squalor, the ugliness, the misery, the children that are starving, the tears and the laughter. The whole process is life. But the mind does not want to be sensitive to understand the whole process, it wants to pursue a particular pattern of thought. And the pursuit of a particular thought is considered noble, good, virtuous; that only leads to respectability, and the respectable mind will never find God. (Laughter). No, Sirs, don't laugh! That is what we want. We want to be respectable because we all want to be consistent, and that very consistency gives us self-confidence; and where there is the strengthening of the self, there is respectability, whether through virtue or through denial of virtue.
So life is not merely the pursuit of the beautiful, but also the comprehension of that which we call sin, ugly. It requires a great deal of sensitivity and alertness, a passive awareness of both; and then we will find that there is no ugly, no beautiful, but only the state of the mind. But you cannot come to that state of mind by the cultivation of any particular virtue or by pursuing a particular thought which you consider beautiful. That state of mind comes only when we understand the total process of our whole being - anger, envy, jealousy, love, hate, the ugly things of our existence, the tears and the laughter, the whole thing. The man who avoids the squalor and hangs a picture in his room and worships that picture psychologically or physically, is never satisfied.
Surely what is important is not the cultivation of the beautiful or the avoidance of the ugly, but to understand the total process of our existence, everything that we are. And there can be no understanding of everything we are if we are merely concerned with judgment; because, most of us derive strength from judging others or judging our own character, our own state. We have values and according to those values we judge people, experiences, ideas; that very judgment gives us strength; and in that strength, in that judgment we live; and from that, we derive confidence for further action. Such an action, such an activity, such judgment obviously cripples our capacity to understand the whole process of existence. That is why it is very difficult for most of us to live completely open inwardly, psychologically, without any background, to live from moment to moment without the psychological accumulation of judgment, of any pursuit, of virtue, of the denial of sin; because, we are not quite aware of the total entity, consciously or unconsciously, we are not aware of the whole.
You are both hate and love; but by merely cultivating love and making a conscious effort to pursue it, love is no longer love. The man who is conscious of love does not know love; likewise, the man who is conscious of his humility surely ceases to be humble; there is only concern with the cultivation of the partial. So what is important in understanding this question is not what is ugly and what is beautiful but to be totally sensitive to the whole process of life which is you, to the total process of relationship. After all, society is relationship, and if I understand that relationship, conflict, pleasures, pain, sorrow, ugliness, bitterness, the whole of that, then I am a mature human being. But to understand the whole, the total process of life, the conscious as well as the unconscious, requires a great deal of listening to the whole content of myself - which means, there must not be condemnation, judgment.
You see how difficult it is to live without condemnation, to live without comparison; because, our mind is always comparing, everlastingly judging; and with that comparison, with that judgment, there is vitality, there is strength; and we are satisfied with that vitality and strength - which is very destructive. If I want to understand, there must be no comparison, there must be no judgment, I must listen, I must go into it. And that requires enormous patience, affection, care - which implies an openness of mind, not a blankness but a passivity of mind. But the mind will resist all this. The mind exists only in comparing, judging. That is the function of the mind. And when you deprive it of judgment, of comparison, there is no longer the mind, there is no longer the anchorage of it in which the mind can live; so we are afraid of that, and so we cultivate various forms of beauty and avoid various forms of ugliness; and so we are caught everlastingly in the conflict of duality. But if we can understand it as a total process, a unitary process, then there is no conflict of duality, then there is a possibility of the mind going beyond itself, a possibility of quietness, stillness, so that you can receive that which is true. Question: How can I be free from envy?
Krishnamurti: What is envy? Is not envy the desire for the more? The more knowledge, the more power, the more love, the more adulation, the more understanding; having more and more of things, of ideas, of knowledge. The more implies comparison, does it not? Please listen.
You will see that one can be free from envy completely, not at some future date but immediately, if one knows how to listen to the Truth of the statement, `The mind is the seat of envy'. The mind is everlastingly asking for more and more, and our whole civilization is based upon the acquiring of the more, the demand for more properties, more money, more, more and more; therefore there is always comparison, therefore everlastingly struggle. Knowing envy, we say we must cultivate non-envy, which is another form of the more, negatively. So is it possible for the mind not to think in terms of the more at all, not to compare, not to judge what it is. This is not stagnation; on the contrary, when the mind is not seeking the more, when it is not comparing, you are no longer concerned with time.
Time implies `the more' - `I will be something tomorrow', `I will be happy in the future', `I will be a rich man', `I will fulfil', `I will be loved', `I shall love' and so on. The comparative mind, the mind that is asking for the more, is the mind of time, of tomorrow, is it not? So, when such a mind says, `I must not be envious', it is again another form of time, is it not? Another form of comparison is, `I have been this, I shall be less than that'. So, can the mind which is seeking the more, stop completely from the demand of the more which is envy? Do you understand the problem, Sirs?
The problem is not how to be free from envy - which is a very small affair - but how, not to think in terms of the more; how not to think comparatively, how not to think in terms of time, how not to think `I will be'? Can the mind ever not think in terms of the more? Do not say it is not possible. You do not know. All that you do know is the more - more knowledge, more influence, more clothes, more property, more love. If you cannot get the more, then you want the less and less and less.
Now, is it possible for the mind not to think at all in those terms? First put the question. Do not help me to be free of envy. Can the mind cease to think in terms of the more? Put that question and listen - not only now, but when you go home, when you are taking the tramcar, sitting in the bus, when you are walking alone, when you see a sari. When you see a man going in a big car, the big politician, the big businessman, put that question and find out and listen to it. Then you will find the truth of the matter; then you will find that the Truth frees the mind from the more. The mind then is not the conscious mind making an effort to denude itself of the more. When the mind makes a conscious effort of not asking for more, it is another form of negation of the same thing, of the more; so in that, there is no answer. But if you put that question, you can only listen to it when you are not judging, when you don't want a result, when you don't want to use it to produce a certain action. It is only when you are listening, that it is possible for Truth to come into being, which will free the mind from the more.
Question: You have talked of a state of non-recognition. How does that state come into being?
Krishnamurti: First of all, let us find out how this state of recognition comes into being. Without memory there is no mind. Without naming there is no mind. If I do not recognize, I have no experience, is there? There is no experience without re- cognition, is there? If I do not recognize you, I do not have an experience of meeting you, have I? So all experience is a process of recognition, is it not? The mind is the process of recognition. Naming, verbalizing memory is all recognizing. So, my mind which is the mechanism of recognition can never see the new. It can only recognize what has been. All experiences are conditioned. They are never liberating; because, every experience is recognized by me as good, beautiful, ugly, worthwhile or non-worthwhile. The very process of recognition, that very process of experience through recognition strengthens the conditioning of the mind. So there is no freedom through experience because, after all, experience is the process of recognizing. I recognize because of a similarity in the past, so that the past is the process of recognition. We say that experience is the liberating force. We say that the more we experience, that the more we recognize an experience, understand it, store it away, the more there is wisdom. Is that so? Every experience only conditions my thinking, does it not? And thinking is the process of recognizing, verbalizing, naming, terming. So my mind is conditioning itself, limiting itself, confining itself through the experience which is already recognized, which has come from the background, from the mind itself. So my mind which is the mechanism of recognition can never know what Truth is, what Reality is.
Reality is the original, the new, the completely unrecognizable. If I can recognize it, it is my projection, something I have already known; therefore it is not Truth. Please follow this. Please listen to this rather than following it. All the gods, all the experiences, all the images and symbols which man pursues in his desire for happiness are projections of his recognition, of his experiences. There is no freedom through knowledge, accumulation of recognition which is the process of experience.
We know, we are aware that the moment I recognize an experience, it is not new. Can the mind ever be in the state of non-recognition? Do not say, `No'. Please do not shake your heads, but listen and find out. If the mind can never be in a state of non-recognition, then there is no possibility of anything new, there is no possibility of Truth or God. The Truth which is recognizable, the God which is recognizable, is not Truth, is not God but only a projection of my past. You have to see the truth of the fact that so long as the mind is recognizing, there is nothing new, there is no creativity at any time, there is nothing beyond the state of recognition. Now, is there a state which is not of recognition? If I say, `Yes', it would be no answer, because it is my statement which has no value; but you have to find out the truth of it. And to find the truth of it, is to put the question, to go into it, to let the mind, the unconscious, the deeper things, give hints of the thing which is not recognizable. Have you not experienced this at any time? The mind is quiet, still - it may be for a fleeting second - when it is in a state when something new is happening inwardly to it; but that state of non-recognition is immediately captured by recognition, by past memories, by past desires. That state is the new, but the mind captures it, recognizes it and wants more of it. That is all its concern, the more.
Is there not a state when the mind is not recognizing, when it is absolutely still, when it is no longer asking even for an experience, when the whole desire for the more, when the whole demand for acquiring, has completely ceased? It is only in that state that there is a possibility of the state of non-recognition. When the mind is so still, so quiet, without any process of recognition, it is only then that Truth can come into being. But the moment you recognize it as Truth, it is no longer Truth; it is already caught in the net of time. Because Truth is something which comes into being from moment to moment, it is not to be accumulated, to be stored away, to be used. If it is stored away, if it is to be used, to be captured, then it is no longer Truth; then it is only a memory, a thing that has come and gone. Truth is not to be accumulated. The mind can never understand Truth, because the mind is a process of recognition. The mind can never experience Truth. Truth is a living thing; and a living thing cannot be understood by the mind because the mind is the result of the past, it is a dead thing.
And as Truth, that Reality, is something not of time, the mind cannot comprehend the timeless. The mind can create all kinds of illusions, project various forms of desires, symbols; but that is not Reality. That Reality comes only when the mind is in a state of non-recognition, and that state is not to be cultivated. You cannot cultivate a state which you do not know. If you knew it, it is not truth. It is only memory which is conditioning you to a particular action. So the mind enquiring what is truth, what is Reality, can never find it. It can invent, it can theorize, but it can never know what Reality is.
That Reality can only come when the mind recognizes its own process, how it is conditioned, and when there is then a freedom from its own recognizing process. Then only is there a possibility of the mind being so still that it is capable of receiving that which is Truth. Truth is timeless. It is of no time. Therefore it cannot be captured, put away for use, or remembered, re-named. Therefore, Truth is creative. It is everlastingly new, the mind can never understand it.
February 22, 1953
Bombay 5th Public Talk 22nd February 1953
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.