Madras 8th Public Talk 27th December 1953
For the last four weeks we have been discussing what, I think, is a very important problem, which is, the way of total revolution, not the method, not the system, not how to bring it about, but the necessity of such a state. There is a vast difference between the two: the method or how to bring about such total revolution in oneself, and seeing the importance and the necessity of total revolution. The way, the system, the method, will not bring it about, because the method implies practice, repetition, routine, thereby bringing about a mediocre mind. But if one can see that it is essential to have total revolution in oneself - not at any one particular level of our consciousness, not the economic or social or environmental, but a total psychological revolution - if one can see the importance of it, the necessity of it, the urgency of it, then it will not be a conscious revolution but an unconscious involuntary revolution. That is what we have been discussing through different angles, from different points of view.
I would like this evening, if I can, to discuss how is it possible to bring about a fresh mind, a new mind, a mind that is not condemned by the past, a mind that is not merely the outcome of a time process; how to bring about, how to have a mind unburdened, a mind totally innocent. That is necessary, because all the leaders - economic, social, religious - have totally failed; because we still have wars; appalling miseries in the world, starvation, social divisions, growing unemployment, overpopulation and so on. Each of us who are at all serious has tried to solve these problems according to his knowledge, according to his experience, according to his system, according to the communist, socialist, capitalist, Catholic, or Hindu ideal; and we have not solved them. The problem is not that we have not fully, completely, practiced the ideals of Hinduism or Catholicism or Capitalism or Communism, intelligently or continuously. Because, the ideals and the practicing of ideals make the mind incapable of meeting the fresh challenge; and the practicing is only a constant repetition, the dulling of the mind, making the mind mediocre, small, petty, and bringing about the pursuit of the ideal. So what matters is not the ideal nor a better system, nor the search for a better system, a better philosophy, a better leader; the very following of authority is destructive, is disintegrating.
Is it not necessary to have a fresh mind, not an open mind, but a totally new mind to meet all these problems? Is it possible? I do not know if you have asked this question of yourselves. We have always asked how to meet the problem, what methods we should adopt, what ideals we should practice, the way; but we never set to ourselves that we must have a new mind, a totally innocent mind that can meet the problems, a fresh mind uncluttered, a mind that can see the problem without any bias. So when we enquire into that, should we not go into that question of what is experience, because it is the experience that is dulling the mind? That is, does experience, as we know it, help to meet this extraordinarily complex problem of living? If I may suggest, it is important to know how to listen. You are listening obviously from experience, you have conclusions, you have had innumerable experiences, various trials, sorrows, afflictions, and with that background you are listening you are listening with a conclusion. Is that listening at all? If I listen to what you are saying, which may perhaps be new, different, with a mind already entrenched in a particular ideology, in a particular experience, in a specific knowledge, can such a mind listen? That may be one of our difficulties because I feel that if we can listen rightly, we shall be able to break down the whole process of the mind that is entrenched in a particular point of view. So there is an art of listening, and I think it is very important specially when we are dealing with the problems that confront each one of us.
Various leaders - economic, social, spiritual, and so on - have not solved our problem; and no leader will ever solve our problem - no guru, no Master - because the problems are created by each one of us. The only person that could solve the problem is none other than each one of us, as there are no leaders any more. It may be that each one of us will become a leader to himself; and to bring about the leadership in oneself or to oneself as understanding, liberation, I think it is very important to enquire into this whole question of experience - that is, what our mind is. The mind is the result of experience not only of these few years but the experience of centuries of man, man throughout the world, not just here. There is this process of experience going on all the time. After all, life is experience, living is experience; there is the impact of life all the time going on whether you are conscious or unconscious of it. When you walk down the street, when you meet a person, when you read, listen to music, when you see the stars, the shades of the evening, when you talk, when you cry, when there is the anguish to find out - all that implies, does it not?, experience, the impact of various reactions of the mind to those impacts. That is experience, and the experience is the outcome of our conditioning, is it not? That is fairly simple. I experience according to my background. The back ground is either the conscious or the unconscious, the residue of all thoughts, of all experiences, of all knowledge. After all, that is my mind, that is your mind. It is the store house of experience and that experience does not react to any new stimuli, any new challenge, but translates the new challenge, the new demand, according to its conditioning, according to its background. So, the new challenge, the new demand, the new problem only strengthens the background; it does not liberate the background. I think that is fairly clear, is it not?
There is a challenge, there is a problem. I who am a Communist or some kind of `ist' or belonging to something, meet that problem according to my conditioning, the way I have thought, the way I have lived, the way I have been educated. So instead of the problem or the challenge liberating my mind, I translate the problem, the challenge, according to my education, according to my conditioning, according to my ideology, according to my belief, dogma. So, in the process of translation, my background, my conditioning is strengthened. It is not weakened. So, my mind is all the time gathering, strengthening in its own conditioning, in its own background, in its own limitation, in its own pettiness, narrowness and in its own beliefs, and there is never liberation from experience. I think it is very important to understand this, because we generally say `Life will teach us.' The more experience you have, you think you are more wise; the more you read, the more you search, the more you enquire, practice, you think you are achieving more.
If you really go much deeper and look at it, you will find there is always this entity that is accumulating, that is gathering. This entity is already conditioned; and so it is always translating, living, using every experience, every new challenge, every new problem in terms of the old, and therefore strengthening itself; so strengthening is the process of time. After all, that is what we mean by time, is it not?, not the time by the clock, but the time process of thought - I was, I am and I shall be. That is the whole psychological process of and in that time, we are gathering experience, and our mind is the experience. Now, with that mind we approach all life's problems. I hope I am making myself clear. Because that is the only mind you and I have, not a higher mind or a lower mind. Because, the higher mind is still a thought process. The higher mind has been invented by thought, and thought is the result of time, experience; and therefore the higher self is still within the field of the mind. Therefore, it is incapable of meeting the problem. Though you may look to it, pray for it, long for it, the higher self, the thing that you are looking to as the higher entity is still within the field of time, which is the process of thought. When you look at the self, the mind, to solve the problem, you are still creating illusion of time and there is no solution. So if that is clear, if you are really paying attention, you will see that all experience only conditions the thought process.
So, can a mind which is experiencing, which is caught in experience, a mind which is bound, held in tradition, in knowledge, can such a mind be a fresh mind? Obviously not. Is it possible, not how is it possible, to have a fresh, uncontaminated and innocent mind and yet have experience? You cannot live without experience, living is the process of experiencing; without experience, life is not possible; there is experience or death. Is it possible to have a fresh mind though it is experiencing? Please follow. This is an important question because the revolution of which I have been talking implies that, and implies having a mind which, though it is experiencing is not contaminated by experience and therefore is capable of meeting the problem afresh.
Am I talking Greek? I feel there is no contact of what I am saying with what you are thinking.
Look, Sirs, we have problems at different levels of our existence - not the problem of bread and butter, or the problem of war. There is this whole problem of living, inequality, brutality, death, war, sorrow, hatred, acquisitiveness, the sense of antagonism. There is this whole existence implying all that. Now we have always to approach this problem of living with a conditioned mind - as a Hindu, as a Theosophist, as a Catholic, as a Buddhist, as a Communist and so on. So we are translating the problem according to our conditioning, and we are acting according to that translation; such action only strengthens our conditioning, and therefore there is no liberation. So, should not one ask oneself whether it is possible to have an uncontaminated mind, a fresh mind, a mind which is innocent, though it is living with its innumerable experiences?
What makes the mind contaminated? That is the problem. What makes the mind dull, stupid, routine, bound to routine, bound to habit, tradition? What makes the mind decay, grow old? If the mind can remain fresh, not decaying, not deteriorating, then experience cannot contaminate it, though we have to live, though there is experience.
What is the thing, or the way, or the process, that makes the mind corrupt? Let us think out this problem together. Do not listen to me to tell you what it is. If you are waiting in the hope that I will discuss it presently, if you are waiting merely for me to tell you, you become a mere automaton waiting to be told what to do. That is the very state of mind which is the deteriorating factor, to be told what to do, what to think. Our education is, is it not?, `What to do and what to think? All our religions tell us what to do and what to think. But there is not the release, the creative power of enquiry. So please do not wait for me to tell you. Let us find out together.
What is this thing that makes the mind dull, that makes the mind all deteriorating? One of the major factors is effort - this constant struggle to become, the struggle to do the right thing, to be successful, the struggle to understand, the struggle and the practicing of virtue, the following of an idea or ideal. Because of this everlasting struggle of the mind, the mind has never a moment of tranquillity, or rest. You watch your own mind; it is never, even for a moment, quiet, quiet by itself. A mind that is enforced or disciplined to be quiet, is a dead mind. There is this constant struggle of the lawyer trying to be come a judge, and the clerk trying to become the boss, the pupil trying to become the master; there is this constant struggle to become; and there is never a moment of being. Such a mind, both conscious and unconscious, is like a machine that is running all the time ceaselessly. The consciousness is everlastingly in movement, ever lastingly pushing and pushing, struggling and struggling to acquire, struggling to change, struggling to understand, struggling to fulfil, and when not fulfilling, feeling thwarted, agonised, held, finding resistance, hindrance, blockages; and having ambitions, successes. That is our life. How can the mind that is everlastingly struggling be a fresh mind? The problem is not how such a mind can become a fresh mind; such a mind can never be come a fresh mind. But if such a mind ceases its activity of everlasting struggle to be, then there is a possibility of the conditioned state ceasing and the mind being a fresh mind.
After all, the thing that we call the `Me', the `I', is the entity that is gathering experience. Is that the entity that is everlastingly struggling? Please follow this, Sirs. If you really listen, you will see an extraordinary thing that will take place in front of truth; there is a disintegration of the `I', and therefore there is the possibility of a fresh mind, a mind that is really experiencing what is true, and therefore the mind itself is the truth.
What is after all the `I', the `Me'? That is the centre of the struggle, that is the centre of ambition, this everlasting becoming - I was, I am, and I shall be - and that is the centre, that is the deteriorating factor that makes the mind corrupt, that makes the mind dull, heavy, stupid, mediocre. Just see the fact that the struggle is the central factor of deterioration, the struggle of the `Me' becoming something, and therefore never a moment of real tranquillity, real stillness of the mind. A still mind can experience and yet be uncontaminated. But a mind that is acquiring, pushing. struggling gathering, in itself experiencing - such a mind is a deteriorating factor. Simply see the thing as it is - not as I am describing but actually what is taking place in your own mind.
We have had discussions for the last four weeks, every morning at 7:30 A.M. But this is not a meeting of that kind. We are together here trying to enquire into the process of the mind. There are innumerable problems still, which I have not touched. But if one can understand the major root, the major factor that is destroying our minds, that is corrupting our minds, that is making our minds dull, mediocre, then one will see that it is only the still mind, the mind that is not becoming, the mind which is still, that can experience without gathering. The factor of gathering anything is deteriorating; it is that factor of gathering that must be understood, that must be seen, and not how to put away that factor. The moment you understand that accumulation, gathering, is the destructive factor, the mind will cease to gather; really the mind then is capable of being still and experiencing; but the experiencing is no longer the gathering process of memory which will be used for further experiencing.
A mind that is understanding, that sees the truth of becoming, of being, that sees the truth of gathering - such a mind is a still mind; and a still mind can experience without corrupting itself. Then the still mind can know, go deeper into the extraordinary state which no conscious mind or disciplined mind or a mind that is gathering can ever touch. Truth or God is not to be gathered, it is only from moment to moment. A mind that is continually becoming, that only knows the continuity of becoming, can never know the truth.
I think instead of your asking me questions as you did yesterday about the things I have talked just now, it may be better that I answer these questions that have been given to me. But really I am not answering them as there is no answer.
Question: What is a tender mind?
Krishnamurti: Sirs, as I said, I am not answering questions from the audience this evening. I am only answering questions that have been given to me written down. As I was saying, I am not answering questions because there is no answer and there are only problems. You understand? Sirs, there are only problems and no answers. If I can understand the problem completely, totally, understand the inward nature of the problem, I need not seek the answer. It is easy to ask questions but it is extremely difficult to uncover the problem and to go to the root of the problem, to understand it. So I am not answering. What we are doing is exploring the problem together; and in the exploration of that problem, you will see the truth of the problem, and the truth of the problem will free the mind from the problem. But if you wait for an answer, like a school boy, then you will miss what we have been talking about.
Question: I have listened to you for a long time. My mind has grown dull, weary, with endless repetition of a few basic statements. Is there any hope of my liberation?
Krishnamurti: The questioner says that he has listened for a long time, his mind has become dull, weary by the few basic statements made by me.
The problem is, has he listened at all? Please do listen, Sirs. This is not a matter of laughter. This is not a political meeting or a meeting of amusement or entertainment, and after 20 or 40 minutes you need distraction and therefore you laugh. The problem is: has he listened? If he has listened for a life time, naturally he has grown weary because he has been listening, has he not?, according to his background, according to his fixations, his formulations, his experiences. He is not listening. That is why, Sirs, to listen properly is an astonishing thing. If I know how to listen to one truth, one thing that is truth, that one thing is going to be the liberating factor. A mind becomes dull through routine, and is so eager to gather, to accumulate. You have to just listen sweetly without any argumentation. When in front of a magnificent scenery, in front of a lovely thing, if your mind is chattering or comparing itself with another, do you ever see the magnificent thing? Because your mind is occupied with comparison, you do not see. So, if you can just listen without comparing, that very listening will tell you whether the thing that is being spoken is true or false. The truth of that will bring to the mind a freedom from innumerable burdens effortlessly. You are not listening; your mind is either al- ready dull or already gone dull or already gone away somewhere else.
Sirs, it is a great art just to listen not only to another but to oneself, to all the prompting, to all the unconscious demands, motives, pursuits, desires, and to be aware of them choicelessly. That very awareness without choice will show you the truth of that motive and the truth of this is the creative factor, the liberating factor.
Question: Is it not better to have a contented mind than a still mind? In that case, do not the problems themselves cease to exist?
Krishnamurti: What is the problem, to have a contented mind or a still mind? Is it not a problem that your mind is not contented, is not still, is disturbed is confused? Being confused, you say "I must have a contented mind or a still mind." So you are pursuing again a contented mind, or gathering or saying "How is my mind to be still?' Sirs, contentment is something which comes into being when I understand what is. What is important is not to have a contented mind but to understand the things as they are, not as you like them to be, to understand what is. Sirs, look! I am envious, and my mind is struggling not to be envious; and I think that, by becoming non-envious, I shall have a contented mind. But instead of pursuing the ideal which is utterly illusive, which is not existent, if I understood the whole content of envy, that which is in actuality, in reality, the thing as it is - `I am envious' - then with that understanding comes the contentment of the mind. To understand the thing as it is requires an extraordinary awareness in which there is no comparison, no judgment, no condemnation - to look at it as it is, not as you would like it to be, not as something different which you wish it to be. That requires extraordinary insight; and out of that insight, the mind becomes quiet, which you may call contentment. A mind that is contented is a shallow mind. It is like the mind of a cow.
A still mind is entirely different from a contented mind. A still mind is acutely active. But that activity is not the activity of getting, conquering, making, gathering and progressing. That is not active. That is death, decay, deterioration. The mind is still, with the understanding of what is, the thing I am and not what I think I am, the thing that I am - envious, jealous, anxious, fearful, struggling, afraid of what my neighbours say, afraid of my uncertainty, afraid of my job. To understand myself as I am requires a choiceless awareness in which there is no condemnation but watching without any deflection, without any destruction. Seeing the thing as it is brings about the breaking down of a mediocre mind, and it is only that mind that really understands, that is capable of receiving that which is eternal.
Question: What we have learnt about meditation from our sacred books, from our spiritual leaders, seems to be essentially different from what you term as meditation. Will you kindly go into this?
Krishnamurti: Sirs let us see what is meditation because this is a very important problem and if I know how to meditate, then the problem of existence will be understood. Can I learn meditation from another, from the sacred book or from the teacher or from the school which teaches you to meditate? Please listen.
What is the problem involved in meditation? There is only the be comer; there is, in meditation, the thinker with the thought. Please watch your own minds through the description of my words. Do not follow my words but watch your own mind in operation, in listening to what I am saying. The problem of meditation is the meditator. But the meditator has many thoughts. The thoughts and the meditator are pursuing the becoming. That is, I am meditating in order to find God, in order to understand, in order to cultivate virtue, in order to acquire tranquillity, in order to put away something from me, hoping in that state to be in a position where there is only being. So when we enquire into the question of meditation, the problem is the meditator and the becoming. What we know in meditation is the thinker and the thought, is it not? That is all we know - the thinker trying to change his thoughts, trying to push his thoughts higher up, climbing, climbing. The maker of the effort is the thinker, the `I', moulding, shaping, controlling, guiding, aspiring, suppressing thought. That is what you call meditation. You have the image of a master, a picture of a guru, or some image made by the hand or the mind, and you concentrate. So there is a concentrator with the thing that is concentrated upon. In this, there is a division between the thinker and the thought. Now, is there actually such a division? We have created the division, the thinker and the thought. But is there actually the thinker apart from thought? If you take away thoughts, is there a thinker? Sirs, if you have no thoughts, is there a thinker?
The thoughts have created the thinker because thoughts are transcendent, and so we say the thinker is permanent. So thoughts seeking permanency have created a thinker. Then the thinker dominates thoughts and shapes thoughts in order to reach something else which is obviously not truth. Thoughts have created a thinker, whether the thinker is Paramatman or a supreme being, whatever it is. Thoughts have created it, and without thoughts there is no thinker. So seeing the truth of that, there is no longer the controlling of thoughts, there is no entity shaping, pushing thoughts into all directions or in one particular direction; there is only thinking. If I say that and if that is understood, there is already a tremendous revolution, is there not?, because there is no longer the thinker to actually experience, to actually see the truth of that, namely that there is no thinker. To see the truth of that is the beginning of meditation. Without seeing that, you are merely going to all classes of gurus, all the experiments of going to high and low, are all tricks of the mind. They are not meditation. They will lead nowhere, they are all illusion. Till you have understood this primary thing that the thought creates the thinker and without the thought there is no thinker, and till you experience that - not verbally but really - reality will not come into being. Reality comes into being after a great deal of meditation - the meditation being the thinking out, watching, observing, not letting the mind play tricks upon it, seeing the trick which the mind plays and has played upon us for centuries that the thinker is completely different from thought, something divine, something extraordinary, totally out of time. As long as there is the thinker apart from thought, do what you will, your meditation is an illusion which will lead you to nowhere; it is the most destructive factor.
So meditation is not merely sitting still, controlling your mind. Meditation is something entirely different. Without self-knowledge, there is no meditation, self being how the mind works and not the self of Sankara or Buddha; but the self is your mind, and you have to understand how it operates, how it works. Without understanding that, you do not know how to meditate; and all meditation and the labours of discipline are in vain, and they have no meaning. So, when you come to that point when there are only thoughts, then quite a different issue arises. Then what is the significance of thought, what is the significance of thinking? You understand, Sirs? Thinking before had a significance because it created the thinker; then the thinker came into being, and he lived, functioned, experienced, acquired or rejected. But when through self-knowledge - not the reading of books about self-knowledge but the observation of self-knowledge in your relationship, in your talks, in your looks, smiles, watching everything - you know how the self works, there is the beginning of meditation; and as you go into it, you must invariably come to the point when you will see the thinker and the thought are one and not separate. Then when you come to that state, what is the significance of thinking? That is merely a reaction to any response, to any stimuli; and if it is merely the stimulation that makes you think, then the mind is God. When there is no stimulation, when there is no asking, looking, then the mind is still. If there are only thoughts, then you see the significance of thoughts. From there, the mind is still.
The still mind is not a disciplined mind. There is no discipliner, one who controls and says `I am still.' That still mind has no experiencer because the moment there is the experiencer, he is experiencing, gathering; he is different from the experience. Yet, if you observe, all of us want to continue experiencing - `I want to experience truth', `I want to experience God.' You will never experience God, never the truth, as long as there is the experiencer who is separate from thought. So there is only thinking, thinking without the thinker. Therefore, the mind is no longer concerned with what to think or with what is right thinking. It is only thinking and seeing the significance of thought. Therefore, there is no continuity of thinking. So the mind is still. That still mind is not experiencing, because the experiencer has ceased. There is only the state of being in which there is no experiencer. Therefore, in that silence, in that stillness, the mind is non-recognizing. I am using all these words; and if you have gone so far, you will immediately know what I am talking about.
The still mind is the creative mind. That which is creative is not of time, it is something beyond time. It is of no nationality, no race, no individuality. It is timeless, it is something eternal. If the mind can perceive that which is eternal in itself, the stillness, then the mind itself is the eternal. But all these will remain as so many words if you do not understand the beginning which is self-knowledge. That self-knowledge is to be found in our daily life from moment to moment; and without that, if you go and sit at the feet of any master, or any guru, you are just wasting time. Self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom. That which is creative - the creativeness of God, of truth - does not come into being, cannot come into being, when the mind is seeking. The mind must cease to seek, and then only reality can come into being. December 27, 1953
Madras 8th Public Talk 27th December 1953
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