Banaras 1954, Rajghat School
Banaras, India 18th January 1954 11th Talks to Students at Rajghat School
I think we ought to talk about something of which some of us may be aware, namely, the peculiar desire for power over others and over oneself which most of us have.
I think that power is one of the deeper desires behind which really lies that fear which comes from a sense of loneliness, a sense of frustration. What I am saying may be difficult, but please listen. If one can understand this and go beyond, then there is a different kind of state in which love is. If one has not that love, life becomes dull, weary, empty, and shallow.
I think it is important to understand this thing that we call power - not electric power or steam power, not the capacity to do something efficiently - which are all necessary. I am talking of something which is of greater significance and of much deeper value, and without understanding which, efficiency, the capacity of doing things, becomes a means of creating greater misery, greater suffering for man.
Most of us desire some kind of power; it may be over the son, or the wife or the husband; or, it may be over a group of people; or it may be in the name of an ideal or in the name of a country. This power, this desire to have power over others, is always operating - even over a servant, to order him about, to get angry with him, to push him around. Does not this desire for power spring from a sense of loneliness? Have you ever felt lonely? You know what it is to be alone, to have no friends, to be completely alone, to be an isolated being? To have no friend, no sense of anyone on whom you can rely or whom you can trust, is to be in a state of complete self-isolation. Probably, you have not felt it. Most of you avoid it, run away from it. You are only awakened to it in a great crisis, in death; but you run away from it. Without understanding this emptiness, the mere control of power leads to every form of frustration. Probably, it is very difficult to understand all this while one is young; but one should talk a great deal about it because when one grows older, one begins to have power over others and over oneself. The sannyasi wants to have power over himself, and so he controls himself through asceticism; that gives him a sense of power, a sense of domination over himself and over his desires. His wanting only a few things for himself creates in him an extraordinary sense of power, a power which is self-centred. And you also demand power over others and, in that, you feel a great sense of release, of happiness, of delight. You feel capable of dominating several thousands of people, through ideas, through political power, through words. Fear lies behind all this urge for power.
After all, when you compare yourself with somebody, with an idea, with a person, with an example, does not the desire for power lie behind that comparison? I have no power, no position, no capacity; and if I can imitate a hero, copy him, I shall become powerful, I shall be somebody. So, the very desire to be somebody, the copying, the imitation, the comparison, gives me a sense of power.
I think it is very important, while we are young, to understand this thing, because that is what almost everyone is seeking in the world. The clerk wants power over his under-clerk and the boss has innumerable employees over whom he has power. The ministers have power to give position or to give prestige, and they have the means of controlling others. The whole structure of society is based on this and we think we can use power as a means of changing people's lives. The very possession of power is a great delight. The man in power says, `I am doing this for the sake of the country', `I am doing this for the sake of an idea'? When he says this, he is conscious that he is in a position of authority and that he is controlling people.
When you are being educated, when you are at school or college, this thing has to be understood. You have to see if you can live in this world without dominating people, without controlling people, without shaping their minds. Because, after all, each one of us is as important as the politician, the wielder of power; each one of us wants to grow in freedom so that we can be what we are, so that we can understand what we are and, from that, act so that we are not imposed upon by society or by our teachers or by our parents or by any other person who is trying to dominate and shape our particular lives. It is very difficult to withstand all this because we ourselves, each one of us, want power. The teacher wants to become the Principal, because the Principal has power over so many people and he has more money.
When you are controlled by another through money, through position, through status, the feeling that you are an individual, a human being, a single unit, is completely denied, destroyed. Whereas, it seems to me, it is very important in a school of this kind, that we should create a feeling that this is our school, yours and mine, in the sense that you, as a student, are as important as the teacher or the Principal. This feeling of ourness does not exist anywhere in the world, the feeling that this is our earth, yours and mine, not the Russians' or the Americans' or the English or the Africans', the feeling that it is our world, not a communist world or a socialist world or a capitalist world, the feeling that it is our earth in which you and I and others can live and be free to find out the whole significance of living.
The significance of living and the understanding of it is denied if we are seeking power in any form. The mother has power over the little child and wants him to grow in a certain way. The father says `This is what he should be' and pushes him into a pattern. But, education is surely the freeing of the mind to function in freedom without any twist, without any corruption through power, through comparison. We should create such a school, you and I must create it. Otherwise, you will go out of this school and college just like any other human being, dull, with all your brains stuffed with superficial information; you will not have any clear initiative of your own, but be a machine that is driven by circumstances, by society, by the politician, because each one of you wants power, like the politician.
So, even though you may not understand for the time being what I am saying, talk to your teachers, make them explain all this to you that it is our earth where all human beings can live, understand, exercise their capacities, if they have any, without destroying any one. The moment we want to use our capacity to gain power, position, prestige, we destroy. So, we ought to talk about how to create a school at Rajghat where each one of us, the student, the teacher, the members of the Foundation, all together create this place - with you as a student looking after the trees and the roads, feeling and caring for the things that are of the earth, not because it is your school but because it is our earth.
I think this is the only spirit that is going to save the world, not clever scientific inventions but the sense that you and I are creating together in a world which is ours. But that is very difficult to come by because, now, everything is mine and not yours, the mine being divided into many classes, many holdings, many functions, many nationalities. That feeling of ourness does not exist in this world. Without that feeling, we will have no peace in the world. Therefore, it is very important that you, while you are young, should understand this and have this feeling, so that when you go out into the world, you can create a new world and a new generation.
Question: Why does one feel sad when someone dies, whom one knew, whom one loved?
Krishnamurti: Why does one feel sad if some near relation dies?
You feel sad when any friend or near relation of yours dies. Do you feel sad for the person who is dead or for yourself? The other person is gone and you are left to face life. With that person, you felt somewhat secure, somewhat happy; you felt a companionship, a friendship. That person is gone and you are left with your insecurity, are you not? You are constantly aware of your loneliness. You are aware that you have been stripped of companionship. There was a person with whom you could talk and express yourself to be what you were. When that person is gone, you feel very sad; out of your loneliness, out of your sense of not having any one to whom you can turn, you feel very sad; but you do not feel sad for the person. Feeling sad you create all kinds of theories, all kinds of beliefs.
It is very important, is it not?, to understand this process of dependence. Why does one depend on another? For certain things I depend on the milkman, on the postman, on the man who drives the engine, on the Bank, or on the policeman; but my dependence on these is entirely different from the dependence based on fear and the inward demand for comfort. As I do not know how to live, I am confused, I am lonely, I want someone to help me; I want someone to guide me, some one on whom I can rely, a master, a book, or an idea. So, when that dependence is taken away from me, I feel lost. This sense of loss creates suffering.
Is it not important while we are at school, to understand this problem of dependence, so that we may grow without depending on anyone inwardly? That requires a great deal of intelligence a great deal of enquiry. Surely, it is the function of education to help to free the mind from any sense of fear, which makes for dependence. Being dependent, we say `How can I be free from dependence'? But if one understood the process, the ways of dependence, then there would be no problem of how to be free from dependence. The very understanding frees the mind from dependence.
Question: What is a star?
Krishnamurti: I am sorry I cannot give you a scientific explanation.
Have you looked at a star? What do you feel when you look at a star? You can find out what a star is from any scientific book or from your science-teacher. When you look at the sky of an evening and see the many thousands and millions of stars and planets, what do you feel? Do you just look and move away? Most of us do that. We are talking with somebody and we say `Look at the stars and the moon, what a beautiful night!', and go on with our talk. But, if you were alone or with people who are not always chattering or talking, but who want to look at things, then when you look at the stars, what do you feel? Do you feel small in this vast universe, or do you feel that it is part of you, the whole thing - the stars, the moon, the trees and the river? Have you the time to look and find out your own feeling?
How difficult it is to look at anything beautiful without the mind interfering, without the mind with its memories saying `This is not such a good night as the other night. It is not as beautiful as it was last year,' `It is too cold I cannot look.' The mind never looks without words, without comparison. It is only when you can look without comparison or without words, that the stars and the earth and the trees and the moon and the light on the water have an extraordinary significance. In that, there is great beauty. To look, without comparison, one has to understand the mind, because it is the mind that looks, it is the mind that interprets what it seeks giving it a name. The very naming of a thing by the mind becomes the way of pushing it away.
So, when you look at a star or at a bird, or at a tree, find out what is happening to you as you look, and that will reveal a great deal about yourself.
Question: Man has made great progress in the material world. Why is it we do not see progress in other directions?
Krishnamurti: It is fairly clear why we make progress in the material world, specially in the new world where there is a great deal of energy a great release of intellectual capacity. When you are colonising a new world you have to invent, you have to struggle. Man has made progress from the bow and arrow to the atom bomb, from the bullock cart to the jet plane that travels about 1600 miles an hour; that is generally called progress. But is there progress in any other direction, inwardly? Have you, as an individual, progressed inwardly? Have you found anything for yourself?
We know what other people have said, what other people have found. But have we found anything for ourselves? Are we more charitable, more kind? Are our minds more expansive and alert, inwardly? Have we put away fear? Without that, to make progress in the world, is to destroy ourselves.
Question: What is God?
Krishnamurti: You know the villager, the peasant; for him, God is that little image before which he puts flowers. Primitive people call Thunder their God, and they worship trees and nature. At one time, man worshipped the apple tree and the olive tree in Europe. There are people in India now who worship trees.
You go into a temple. There you see an image, oily, with garlands and jewels; you call that your God and you put flowers and do puja before it. You may go further and create an image in your mind, and an idea that is born of your own tradition, out of your background; and that, you call your God. The man who threw the atom bomb, thought that God was by his side. Every war lord, from Hitler and Kitchner to our little general, invokes God. Is that God? Or, is God something unimaginable, not measurable by our minds?
God is something entirely, totally, unfathomable by us, and that comes into being when our minds are quiet, when our minds are not projecting, struggling. When the mind is still, then perhaps we shall know what God is.
So, it is very important, while we are young, not to be caught by the word God, not to be told what God is. There are many eager to tell us what God is. But, we must examine what they tell. There are many people who say there is no God. We must not be caught by what they say, but examine it equally carefully. Neither the believer nor the non-believer will ever find God. It is only when the mind is free of belief and non-belief, when the mind is still, that there is a possibility of finding God.
We are never told of these things. From childhood, we are told there is God and you repeat there is God. When you go to some guru, he will tell you `There is God. Do this and do that. Repeat this mantram, do that puja, practise such and such discipline, and you will find God.' You may do all this; but what you find will not be God. It will only be your own projection, the projection of what you want. All this is difficult and requires a great deal of thought and enquiry; and that is why, when you are in a school of this kind, you should grow in freedom so that your mind may find out for itself, may discover; then the mind becomes creative, astonishingly alert.
Question: Why does a human being suffer, though he does his best with whatever capacity he has?
Krishnamurti: Whatever capacity I may possess, in the very doing, why do I feel sad, when I cannot fulfil, when I am not successful in carrying out my intention? Why do you, when you are doing something to the best of your capacity, feel sad? Is it not simple, this question?
We are not satisfied with just doing what we love to do. We want what we do to be a success. To us, the doing is not important, but the success, the result, what the doing will bring. When our action is not successful, when it does not bring about what we want, we feel sorrow-laden. The drive for our action is our desire for success, our desire for power, for recognition, for position, for status. We want somebody to tell us how marvellously we have done - which means, really, we never know how to love a thing and to do it just for itself, not for what it will bring. When we do something with an eye on success, on the future on the tomorrow, and when tomorrow does not come, we feel miserable; this is because we never do anything for the love of the thing.
There are many among you who are teachers, there are others who are professors or big business people or officials. Why are you in those professions? Not because you love what you do, but because there is nothing else for you to do. So, whatever you do, you want it to be successful. You want to ride on the wave of success and so you are always competing, struggling and so destroying the capacities of the mind.
Question: How can we live a life without experience and memory?
Krishnamurti: You remember what I said the other day? You want to know how to get rid of memory. That is, you want to find a method, a system. The system, the method, only gives you experience. It cultivates memory. Does it not? When I know how to do a thing, it becomes a habit. If I know how to read and write, the `how' then becomes a part of my memory and, with that memory, I write and I recognise every word, every syllable.
What I said the other day was about something entirely different. I said that life is a process of experience and memory. The very living is experience and the experience creates tradition, memory; with that tradition, memory and habit, we live. So, there is never anything new. Is it not possible to live with experience which does not corrupt, which does not merely become a memory with which we look at life? We discussed this very carefully. But one has to go into it over and over again from so many different points, to get the whole meaning of it.
Question: Does history prove the existence of God?
Krishnamurti: Is it a matter of proof? History may or may not prove that there is or that there is not. Millions say there is God; and millions say equally emphatically there is no God. Each side quotes authority, history, scientific proof. Then, what?
The mind is frightened, it wants something to rely on, something on which it can depend. The mind wants something to which it can cling, as permanent. With this desire for permanence, it seeks authority negatively or positively. When it seeks authority in those who say there is no God, it repeats and says `There is no God.' It is perfectly satisfied in that belief.
There are those who, seeking permanency, say that there is God. So, the mind clings to that and seeks to prove through history, through books, through other people's experiences, that there is God. But that is not reality, that is not God.
The mind must be free from the very beginning to find out what God is. And the mind is not free when it is seeking security, when it is seeking permanency, when it is caught in fear.
January 18, 1954
Banaras 1954, Rajghat School
Banaras, India 18th January 1954 11th Talks to Students at Rajghat School
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