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Banaras 1954, Rajghat School

Banaras, India 7th January 1954 4th Talk to Students at Rajghat School

Don't you think that it is very important, while you are at school, you should not feel any anxiety, any sense of uncertainty but you should have a great deal of that feeling of being secure. You know what it is to feel secure? There are different kinds of security, of the feeling that you are safe. While you are very young, you have the security of relying on older people, the feeling that somebody is looking after you to give you the right food, the right clothing, the right atmosphere; you have a sense of feeling that you are being cared for, looked after - which is essential, which is absolutely necessary while one is very young. As you grow older and go out of the school into the College and so on into life, that security, that feeling that you are physically safe physically being looked after, goes into another field. You want to feel inwardly, spiritually, psychologically safe; you want to have somebody to help you, to guide you, to look after you, whom you call a guru or guide; or you have some belief or some ideal because you want something to rely on. The problem of seeking security, safety, is very very complex, and we won't deal with that now. I think that while you are at school, you ought to have physical and emotional and mental stability, the mental and physical feeling that you are being looked after, that you are being cared for, that your future is being carefully nurtured, carefully being watched over, so that while you are very young, while you are at school, there is no sense of anxiety, no sense of fear. That is essential because, to have anxiety, fear, apprehension, wondering as to what is going to happen to you, is very bad, is very detrimental to your thinking; out of that state, there can be no intelligence. It is only when you feel you have teachers who can really look after you, care for you physically, mentally and emotionally who are helping you to find out what you want to do in life, not forcing their opinions or their ways of life or their ways of conduct, that you feel you can grow, that you can live. That is only possible when you are at school with proper environments, with proper teachers.

One of the things that prevents the sense of being secure is comparison. When you are compared with somebody else, in your studies or in your games or in your looks, you have a sense of anxiety, a sense of fear, a sense of uncertainty. So, as we were discussing yesterday with some of the teachers, it is very important to eliminate, in our school here at Rajghat, this sense of comparison, this sense of giving you grades or marks, and ultimately the fear of examination. You are afraid of your examinations, are you not? That means what? There is that threat before you all the time that you might fail, that you are not doing as well as you should, so that during all the years that you live in the school, there is this dark cloud of examinations hanging over you. We were discussing yesterday with some of the teachers whether it is possible not to have examinations at all but to watch over you every day, month after month, to see that you are learning naturally and happily and easily, to find out what you are interested in and to encourage that interest, so that when you leave the school, you go out with a great deal of intelligence, not just merely with the capacity to pass an examination. After all, if you have studied or you have been encouraged to study in your own interest because you like to do it, in which there is no fear - all the time, not just the last two or three months when you have to spurt and read for many hours to pass examinations - if you are watched over all the time and cared for, then when the examination comes, you can easily pass it.

You study better when there is freedom, when there is happiness, when there is some interest. You all know that when you are playing games, you are doing dramatics, when you are going out for walks, when you are looking at the river, when there is general happiness, good health, then you learn much more easily. But when there is the fear of comparison, of grades, of examinations, you do not study or learn so well; but, unfortunately, most of your teachers indulge in that old-fashioned theory. Given the right atmosphere of enjoyment, of no fear, of not being compelled to do something, so that he is happy or is enjoying life in that state, a student studies much better. But the difficulty is, you see, neither the teachers nor the students think in these terms at all. The teacher is concerned only that you should pass examinations and go to the next class; and your parent wants that you should get a class ahead. Neither of them is interested that you leave the school as an intelligent human being without fear.

The teachers and the parents are used to the idea of pushing a boy and girl through examinations because they are afraid that if they are not compelled, if they have no competition or no grades, they will not study. To them, it is a comparatively new thing to bring up and educate boys and girls without comparing, without compulsion, without threat, without instilling fear.

What do you, students, really think will happen if you have no examinations, no grades? When you are not being compared with somebody else, what would happen to your studies. Do you think that you will study less?

A voice: `Of course'. I do not think so. It is surprising that, even though you are young, you have already accepted the old theory! It is a tragedy. Look, you are young and you think compulsion is necessary to make you study. But if you are given the right atmosphere, if you are encouraged and looked after, you will surely study well - it does not matter if you pass examinations or not.

They have experimented with all this in other countries. Here, we have not thought about all these things and so you, as a student, say `I must be compelled, compared, forced; otherwise, I won't study.' So, you have already accepted the pattern of the old. You know what the word `pattern' means? It means the idea, the tradition of the older people. You have not thought it out. Look! while you are young, it is the time of revolution, of thinking out all these problems, not just to accept what the old people say. But the old people insist on your following the tradition because they do not want you to be a disturbing factor, and you accept. So, the difficulty is going to be because the teachers and you are both thinking that compulsion of some kind, appreciation of some kind, coercion, comparison, grades, examinations are necessary. It is going to be very difficult to remove all that and to find ways and means without all that, so that you study naturally, easily and happily. You think it is not possible. But we have never tried it. This way - the way of examinations, appreciation, comparison, compulsion - has not produced any great human beings, creative human beings. The persons produced already have no initiative; they just become automatic clerks, or governors or book-keepers with a very small mind, meagre mind, dull mind. Do you see this? You are not listening to all this because you think this is impossible. But we have got to try it. Otherwise, you will be living in an atmosphere of fear, of threat; and no one can live happily in such an atmosphere. It is going to be very difficult, when one has been used to this way of thinking, living, studying, to completely change, push that aside and find a way to study, to enjoy. That can be done only if we all agree, all the students and all the teachers, that there should be no fear and that it is essential for all of us to feel a sense of emotional, mental, physical security while we are young. Such security is not when there are all these threats. The difficulty is that we are all not concerned with many of the deeper problems of life. The teachers are only concerned to help you to pass examinations, to make you study; but they are not concerned with your whole being. Do you understand what I mean? The way you think, the way your emotions are, the outlook, the traditions, the kind of person you are as a whole - the conscious and the unconscious - all that nobody is concerned with.

Surely, the function of education is to be concerned with the whole of your being. You are not just a student to be pushed through certain examinations. You have your affections, your fears; just watch your emotions, what you want to do, your sex life. Here, in the school, all that the teachers are concerned with is to make you study even some subject in which you are not greatly interested and to pass through, and they think you have been thereby educated. To be educated implies, does it not?, to understand the whole, the total process, the total being, of you. To understand that, there must be on your part as well as on the teachers' part, a feeling that you can trust, that there is affection, that there is a sense of security and not fear. Look! this is not something impossible, something utopian, or a mere ideal. It is not. If all of us put our heads together, we can work this out. It must be worked out in the school; if not, the school must be a total failure like every other school. So, you have to understand the problem that one can really study much better, more easily, in an atmosphere in which there is no fear, in which you are not compelled, forced, compared, driven, in which you can study much better than in the old system, in the old ways. But of that, we must be completely sure. That is what we are doing here in the afternoons with the teachers. We talk over all this problem to see that you go out of this school, not as a machine but as a human being with your whole being active, intelligent, so that you properly face all the difficulties of life but not merely react to them according to some tradition.

Question: Why do we hate the poor?

Krishnamurti: Do you hate the poor, do you hate the poor woman who is carrying the heavy basket on her head, walking all the way from Saraimohana to Benaras? Do you hate her with her torn clothes, dirty? Or, do you feel a sense of shame that you are clothed well, clean, well-fed, when you see another with almost nothing and working day in and day out, year after year? Which is it that you feel? A sense of inward sensation, a sense of `I have got everything, that woman has nothing', or a feeling of hatred for the others? Perhaps we are using the wrong word `hate'. It may be really that you are ashamed of yourself and, being ashamed, you push away.

Question: Is there any difference between cleverness and intelligence?

Krishnamurti: Don't you think that there is a vast difference? You might be very clever, in your subject, be able to pass, argue out, argue with another boy. You might be afraid - afraid of what your father may say, what your neighbour, your sister, or somebody else says. You may be very clever and yet have fear; and if you have fear, you have no intelligence. Your cleverness is not really intelligence. Most of us who are in schools become more and more clever and cunning as we grow older, because that is what we are trained to do, to outdo somebody else in business or in black market, to be so ambitious that we get ahead of others, push aside others. But intelligence is something quite different. It is a state in which your whole being, your whole mind and your emotions are integrated, are one. This integrated human being is an intelligent human being, not a clever person.

Question: Does love depend on beauty and attraction?

Krishnamurti: Perhaps. You know it is very easy to ask a question, but it is very difficult to think out the problems that the question involves. That boy asks `Is cleverness different from intelligence?' Now, to really think it out, not wait for an answer from me, to really think it out step by step what it involves, to go into it, is much more important than to wait for an answer from me. This question indicates, does it not?, that we are used to being told what to think, what to do, and not how to think or do anything. We have not thought out these problems, we do not know how to think.

While we are young, it is important to know how to think, not just repeat some professor's book; we have to find out for ourselves the truth, the meaning, the implications of any problem. That is why it is very important while we are here in the school that all these things, all these problems, should be talked over, discussed, so that our mind does not remain small, petty, trivial.

Question: How can we remove the sense of anxiety?

Krishnamurti: If you had no examinations, would you have the anxiety with regard to them? Think it out quietly and you will see. Suppose we are going out on a walk and we are talking about this problem; would you have any sense of anxiety if, in a couple of months, you will have an examination? Would you have anxiety if at the end of your examinations, B.A. or whatever it is, you would have to fight for a job? Would you? You are anxious because you have to have a job. In a society where there is keen competition, where everybody is seeking, fighting, you as a student are being trained from childhood in an atmosphere of anxiety, are you not? You have the first form to pass then the second form to pass and so on and on. So, you become a part of the whole social structure. Don't you? That is not what we are going to do in this school. We are going to create an atmosphere in which you are not anxious, in which you have no examination, in which you are not compared with somebody else, even if it involves the breaking of the school. You are important as a human being, not somebody else. If there is such an atmosphere, then examinations are not inevitable and you can study; it would not be difficult for you to pass the University examinations; because you have been intelligent during all the years you spent in the school and college, you would work hard for four or five months before the examination and pass the examination. After passing the final examination, when you go out in the world, you will want a job. But the job you take won't frighten you; your parents, your society won't frighten you; you will do something, even beg; you would not be anxious.

At present, your life is full of anxiety because from the very beginning of your childhood you are caught in this framework of competition and anxiety. All of us want success and we are constantly told `Look at that man, he has made a great success.' So long as you are seeking success, there must be anxiety. But if you are doing something because you are loving to do it and not because you want to be successful, then there is no anxiety. As long as you want success as long as you want to climb the social ladder, there is anxiety. But if you are interested in doing what you love to do - it does not matter whether it is merely mending a wheel or putting a cog together, or painting or being an administrator - but not because you want position or success, then there is no anxiety.

Question: Why do we fight in this world?

Krishnamurti: Why do we fight? You want something and I want the same thing, we fight for it. You are clever, I am not clever; and we fight for it. You are more beautiful than I am and I feel I must also be beautiful, and so we squabble. You are ambitious and I am ambitious, you want a particular job and I want the same job, and so it goes on and on. Does it not? There is no end to squabbling as long as we want something. It is very difficult. As long as we want something, we are going to quarrel. As long as you say India is the most beautiful, the greatest, the most perfect, the most civilized country in the world, then you are going to quarrel. We start in the small way, you want a shawl and you fight for it. That same thing goes on in life in different ways and in different walks.

Question: When a teacher or some other superior compels us to do a thing which we do not want to do, what are we to do?

Krishnamurti: What do you generally do? You are frightened and you do it. Yes? Suppose you were not frightened and you ask the superior, the teacher, to explain to you what it is all about, what would happen? Suppose you say - not impudently, not disrespectfully - `I do not understand why you are asking me to do this which I do not want to do; please explain why you want this to be done.' Then, what would happen? What would generally happen is the teacher or superior will be impatient. He will say `I have no time, go and do it.' Also, the superior or your teacher might feel he has no reason; he just says `Go and do it', he has not thought it out. When you quietly, respectfully ask him `Please tell me,' then you make the teacher, the superior, think out the problem with you. Do you understand? Then, if you see the reason, if you see that he is right, that there is sense in what he says, then you will naturally do it; in that, there is no compulsion. But to do something that the superior says, because you are frightened of him does not mean a thing. When you do it and say `I am frightened', you would go on doing it even when he is not there.

Question: When Puja is a form of imitation, why do we do it?

Krishnamurti: Do you do Puja? Why do you do it? Because your parents have done it. You have not thought it out, you do not know the meaning of all that. You do it because your father or mother or great aunt does it. We are all like that. When somebody does something, I copy hoping to derive some benefit from it. So, I do Puja because everybody does Puja. It is a form of imitation. There is no originality about it. There is no consideration over it. I just do it hoping that some good will come out of it.

Now, you can see for yourselves that if you repeat a thing over and over again, your mind becomes dull. That is an obvious fact, like in mathematics wherein if you repeat over and over again, it has no meaning. Similarly, a ritual repeated over and over again makes your mind dull. A dull mind feels safe. It says `I have no problems, God is looking after me, I am doing Puja, everything is perfect; but it is a dull mind. A dull mind has no problems. Puja, the repetition of a mantram, or any word which is constantly being repeated, makes the mind dull. This is what most of us want; most of us want to be dull so as not to have any disturbance. Whether it is beneficial or not is a different problem. You know that by repeating you can make your mind very quiet - not in the living sense, but in the dead sense - and that mind says `I have solved my problem'. But a dead mind, a dull mind, cannot be free of its problems. It is only an active mind, a mind that is not caught in imitation, not caught in any fear, that can look at a problem and go beyond it and be free of it.

You are quoting somebody, because you have not thought out a problem. You read Shakespeare or Milton or Dickens or somebody else and you take a phrase out of it and say `I must know the meaning of it.' But if you, as you are reading, thought things out, if as you went along you used your mind, then you will never quote. Quoting is the most stupid form of learning.

Question: No risk, no gain; no fear, no conscience; no conscience, no growth. What is progress?

Krishnamurti: What is progress? There is a bullock cart and there is a jet plane. In this there is progress. The jet plane does 1300 to 1500 miles an hour and the bullock cart does two miles an hour. There is progress in this. Is there progress in any other direction? Man has progressed scientifically - he knows the distance between stars and the earth, he knows how to break the atom, he knows how to fly an aeroplane, a submarine; he knows how to measure the speed of the earth. There is progress all along that line. Is there progress in any other direction? Is there any lessening of wars? Are people more kind, more thoughtful, more beautiful? So, where is progress? There is progress in one direction and there is no progress in the other. So, you say risk will bring about progress. We make statements without seeing all the implications. We just read some phrases; and some students imitate, copy those phrases, put them on the wall and repeat them.

Question: What is happiness and how can it be obtained?

Krishnamurti: You obtain happiness as a byproduct. If you look for happiness, you are not going to get it. But if you are doing something which you think is nice, good, then happiness comes, as a side result. But if you seek happiness, it will always elude you, it will never come near you. Say, for instance you are doing something which you really love to do - painting, studying, going on a walk, looking at the sun shine, shadows, something which you feel `how nice to do it'. In the doing of it you have happiness. But if you do it because you want to be happy, you will never be happy.

January 7, 1954.


Banaras 1954, Rajghat School

Banaras, India 7th January 1954 4th Talk to Students at Rajghat School

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