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Banaras 1954, Rajghat School

Banaras, India 4th January 1954 1st Talk to Students at Rajghat School

I suppose most of you understand English. Don't you? It does not matter if you do not, as your teachers and your elders understand English. Perhaps you would ask them afterwards to explain what I have been talking about make a point of asking them won't you? Because what we are going to discuss for the next three or four weeks is very important; we are going to discuss what is education and what are its implications, not just passing examination but the whole implication of being educated. So, as we are going to talk about that every day please ask your teachers, if you do not understand what I am saying now, to explain carefully what we have talked. Also, after I have talked, perhaps you would ask questions. Because these talks are meant primarily for students and if the older people want to ask questions, they can only ask questions that will help the students to understand, that explain further the problem. If the older people would ask questions so as to help students, then their questions will be useful. To ask questions with their own personal problems will not help the students.

Don't you ask yourself why you are being educated? Do you know why you are being educated, and what does that education mean? As we know, education is to go to schools, learn how to read and write, to pass examinations and to play a few games; and after you leave the school, you go to the college, there again study very very hard for a few months or a few years, pass an examination and then get a job; and then, you forget all about what you have learnt. Is it not that, what we call education? Do you understand what I am talking about? Is it all that we do?

If you are girls you pass a few examinations, B.A. or M.A., marry and become cooks or something else and then have children; and all the education that you have got for a number of years is useless. You know how to speak English, you are a little bit more clever, a little bit more tidy, a little bit more clean, that is all, is it not? And the boys get a technical job, or become clerks, or get some kind of governmental job, and that finishes, does it not?

You see what we call living is to get a job, to have children, raise a family and to know how to read and write and to be able to read newspapers or magazines, to discuss, to cleverly argue about something or other. That is what we call education, is it not? Have you noticed your own parents, your own elder people? They have passed examinations, they have got some jobs and they know how to read and write. Is it all what we call education?

Education is something much more different, is it not? It is to help you not only to get a job in the world but also how to meet the world. Is it not? You know what the world is. In the world, there is competition. You know what competition means - each man out for himself, struggling to get the best pushing the others aside. In the world, there are wars, there are class divisions and the fight between them. In the world, every man is trying to get a better job, to keep on rising; if you are a clerk, you try to get a little higher and so fight all the time. Have you not noticed it? If you have a car, you want a bigger So, there is that constant fight going on, not only within ourselves but with all our neighbours. Then there is the war that kills, which destroys people, like the last war millions were killed, wounded or maimed. Our life is all this political struggle. And also, life is religion is it not? What we call religion is rituals going to temples, putting on something like the sacred thread, mumbling some words, or following some guru. Life is also, is it not?, the fear of dying, fear of living, fear of what people say and do not say, fear of not knowing where one is going fear of losing a job, fear of opinion. So, life is something extraordinarily complex, is it not? You know what that word `complex' means? Very intricate, it is not just simple which you just follow; it is very very difficult, many many things are involved.

So, education is, is it not?, to enable you to meet all these problems. You have to be educated so as to meet all these problems rightly. That is what education is - not merely to pass a few examinations, some silly studies, some subjects in which you are not at all interested. Proper education is to help the student to meet this life, so that he understands it, he won't succumb, he won't be crushed under it as most of us are. People, ideas, country, climate, food, public opinion - all that is constantly squeezing you, constantly pushing you in a particular direction in which the society wants you to go. Your education must enable you to understand this pressure, not to yield to it but to understand it and to break through it, so that you, as an individual, as a human being are capable of a great deal of initiative, and not merely traditional thinking. That is real education.

You know that, for most of us, education consists in what to think. You know you are told what to think. Your society tells you your parents tell you, your neighbours tell you, your books tell you, your teachers tell you what to think. The machinery of what to think we call education, and that education only makes you mechanical, dull, stupid, uncreative. But if you know how to think, not what to think, then you would not be mechanical, traditional but be live human beings; you may be great revolutionaries - not in the stupid sense of murdering people to get a better job or to push through a certain idea - with the revolution of how to think rightly. That is very important. But, when we are at school, we never do all these things. The teachers themselves do not know. They only teach you how to read or what to read, and correct your English or Mathematics. That is all their concern and, at the end of five or ten years, you are pushed out into this life about which you know nothing. Nobody has talked to you about it; or, if they have talked, they push you in certain directions - either you are a socialist, a communist, a congressist or some other - but they never teach you or help you to understand and how to think out all these problems, not just at one moment during a certain number of years, but all the time - which is education, is it not? After all, in a school of this kind that is what we must do, help you not merely to pass some beastly examinations, but how to meet life when you go out of this place, so that you are intelligent human beings, not mechanical, not Hindus or Mussalmans or communists or some such thing.

It is very important how you are educated, how you think. Most of the teachers do not think; they want a job, they get a job and settle down because they have families, they have worries, they have fathers and mothers who tell them `you must follow certain rituals, you must do this, you must do that'. They have their own problems, their own difficulties; they leave all those at home, come to the school and teach a few lessons; they do not know how to think, and we do not know how to think. In a school of this kind, surely, it is very important for you, for the teachers, for all of us who are living here, to consider all the problems of life, to discuss, to find out, to investigate, to enquire, so that your mind becomes so very alert that you do not just follow somebody. You understand what I am talking about? Is not all that education? Education is not just till the age of 21, but till you die. Life is like a river, it is never still, it is always moving, always alive and rich. When we think we have understood a part of a river and hold to that part, it is only dead water, is it not? Because, the river goes by. To watch all the movement of the river, all the things that are happening on the river, to understand, to be faced with it, that is life; and we all have to prepare for it.

So, is not education really not merely passing a few examinations but being able to think of all these problems, so that your mind is not mechanical, traditional, so that your mind is creative so that you do not merely fit into society, but you break it, create anew out of it - not a new thing according to the socialist, the communist or the congressist, but a completely new thing - that is real revolution. And after all, that is the meaning of education, is it not?, so that you grow in freedom, so that you can create a new world. The old people have not created a beautiful world; they have made a mess of the world. Is it not the function of education, of the educator, to see that you grow in freedom, so that you can understand life, so that you can change things and not just grow dull, weary and die as most people do?

So, I feel and most of us do feel who are serious about these things, that a place like this Rajghat should provide an atmosphere, should be a place in which you are given every opportunity to grow, uninfluenced, unconditioned, untaught, so that when you go out of this place, you can meet life intelligently, without fear. Otherwise, this place has no value; it will be like any rotten school, perhaps a little better, because it happens to be a beautiful place, people are a little more kind, they do not beat you, they may coerce you in other ways. We should create a school where the student is not pressed, is not enclosed, is not squeezed by our ideas, by our stupidity, by our fears, so that as he grows, he will understand his own affairs, he will be able to meet life intelligently. You know what all this requires - not only an intelligent student, a student who is alive, but also an educator, the right kind of educator. There are not the right kind of educators and the right kind of students: they are not born, we must struggle, discuss, push till the thing comes about. You know, to grow a beautiful rose, you require a great deal of care, don't you? To write a poem, you must have the feeling, you must have the words to put it in. All that requires care, considerable watching.

So, is it not very important that this place should be such a place? If it is not such a place. it is nobody's fault but yours and the teachers'. Do not say `The teachers do not do this'. It is the teachers' fault if they do not create this place. Nobody else is going to create it. Others are not going to create it; you and I and the teachers are going to create it. That is real revolution to have the feeling that it is our school which you and I and the teachers and all of us are building together. So, it is very important, is it not?, to understand what we mean by education - not ideals of education; there are no such ideals; they are all nonsense. We must begin as we are, understand things as we are and, out of that, build. You do not have an ideal garden or school; you build the soil, you take it as it is, manure it, water it and then create something out of nothing. As there is nothing, you will have to create, to build together.

Is it not very important for each one of us to know how to think rightly, not what to think, not what the book says, but how to think? That is what I would like to discuss with you for the next three or four weeks, namely how to think, so that you and I at the end of it will have our minds very clear and with that clarity, with that thinking, with that capacity, we can then go out and meet life.

May I ask you the question, `What do you want to do when you leave school and when you have been to college'? Do you know what you want to do? Don't you want jobs, is not you primary concern to get a job? You have all become dumb. It is the first day and you are a bit shy. It will be all right in a couple of days. Please do not keep your shyness too long, we shall only be here for a few weeks.

Question: What is intelligence?

Krishnamurti: What do you think is intelligence? Not what the dictionary says, not what your teacher or your book has sad - leave all that aside and think and try to find out what is intelligence. Not what Buddha, Sankara, Shakespeare, Tennyson or Spencer or somebody else has said, but what do you think is intelligence? Do you see that the moment you are ask not to think along those lines, you are stunned? Take a man who reads Sankara or the communist philosophy or some other authority; he will tell you what intelligence is right off because, he will quote somebody. But if you ask not to quote, not to repeat what somebody else thinks, not merely to read from a dictionary what intelligence is, you are lost, are you not? Do you know what intelligence is?

What do you think is intelligence? It is a very complex problem, is it not? It is very difficult in a few words to say what intelligence is. So, you begin to find out what is intelligence. The person who is afraid of public opinion, afraid of the teacher, afraid of what people say, afraid of losing his job, afraid of not passing an examination, is not an intelligent person; the mind that is afraid is not an intelligent mind, is it? What do you say? Is that very difficult? If I am afraid of my parents, that they might scold me, that they might do this and that, am I intelligent? I behave, I act, I think according to them; because, I am afraid to think freely, to think independently, to act what I think. So, fear prevents me does it not?, from being what I am. I may be a most stupid person; fear prevents me from being what I am. I am always copying, I am always following, trying to do things which other people want me to do, because I am afraid. So, a mind which is imitative, which is copying, because it is afraid, is not an intelligent mind, is it? What do you say?

Is it not the function of education to help the student to understand these fears, to show how you are frightened of your teacher, of your parents so that you may say `As I am frightened, I will do what I like' - which is equally stupid? Education should help us to understand these fears and to be free from these fears. It is very difficult. It requires a great deal of digging, understanding, going into it. You know what to `to thaw' means. You know it freezes when the weather is very cold; and when the sunshine comes out, it begins to melt. This morning, we all feel frozen because we do not know each other. You are a little bit nervous because you may ask something which you may be ashamed of, you may ask something which the teachers may say you should not have asked, or you are frightened of your fellow students. All that is preventing you from thawing, from feeling natural, spontaneous easy, so that you can ask. I am sure you have got lots of questions bubbling inside, but you dare not ask, because you are a bit apprehensive the first morning. Perhaps tomorrow the sun will have thawed and we can ask each other questions.

January, 4, 1954.


Banaras 1954, Rajghat School

Banaras, India 4th January 1954 1st Talk to Students at Rajghat School

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