Banaras 1954, Hindu University
Banaras, India 24th January 1954 3rd Talk at Banaras Hindu University
The problem of knowledge and specialization, it seems to me, is very important. Let us consider it and see if the mind which is trained in specialization and in knowledge can be free to investigate and to discover whether there is nothing more beyond what it has known, where knowledge is leading us to, and the significance of specialization.
There are many avenues of knowledge and more and more information on a vast scale is becoming available to us. Where is it all leading us to? What is the function of knowledge? We see knowledge is essentially at a certain level, in our conscious and unconscious living, in our existence. Can such knowledge be a hindrance to further investigation of man's realization of the total significance - of existence? For instance, I may know, as an individual how to build a bridge. Will that knowledge bring about a radical change in my ways of thinking? It may produce a superficial change or adjustment. But, at this present crisis in the world, which is necessary a mere superficial adjustment or a radical revolution? It seems to me that the revolution born of any particular pattern of action is not revolution at all and that, if we are to bring about a new generation with a new way of thinking, we must find out what the function of knowledge is. What is knowledge, not the dictionary meaning or a definition? Is it not the cultivation of memory along a particular line? Is it not the development of the faculty of gathering information to be utilized towards a particular end? Without knowledge, obviously, modern existence is almost impossible. Can knowledge which is the cultivation of memory, the gathering of information and the using of that information for special purposes - for surgery, for wars, for uncovering scientific new facts and so on - be a hindrance to the total understanding of human society?
As I said, knowledge may be particularly useful at one particular level. But if we do not understand the total process of human existence, will not that knowledge be a hindrance to human peace? For example, we have scientific information enough to create food for the whole of mankind, to give them shelter. Why is it that, that scientific knowledge is not used? Is that not a problem to most of us? Is not that very knowledge preventing the consideration of human understanding and peace?
What is preventing the stoppage of war, of feeding man, clothing him, giving him shelter? It is surely not knowledge, it is something entirely different. It is nationalism and vested interests in various forms - capitalistic or communistic or of a particular religious group - which are preventing the coming-together of man. Unless there is a radical change in our ways of thinking, knowledge is used, is it not?, for the further destruction of man. What are the universities of learning doing, the academic as well as the spiritual? Are they producing, bringing about, a fundamental revolution in our hearts and minds? It seems to me, that is the fundamental issue and not the constant accumulation of further information and knowledge.
Can a total revolution take place through knowledge which is, after all the continual development of the mind through memory? I may know about various facts, I may know the distances between the various planets, I may know how to run jet planes; but, will that knowledge, will that information, bring about a radical change in my thinking? If it cannot, what will it bring about? Is it not a problem for most of us? We want peace in this world, we want to put an end to envy which human individuals raise in their search for power, we want to put an end to wars. How is this to be done?
Will mere accumulation of knowledge put an end to wars, or must there be a radical revolution in our thinking? Will thinking produce that revolution? I do not know if you have considered any of these points; but, it seems to me, a revolution based according to a particular pattern of thought is not a revolution at all. After all, thinking is the response to a particular condition, response to a challenge according to a particular background. I will respond to a challenge, according to my conditioning, to my background, to my training, to my upbringing as a Christian or a Hindu or a Mussulman or what I am. How is that background, that conditioning, that peculiar pattern of action to cease and a new way of thinking to be born? Is this not a problem to most of us? Because, there cannot be a radical revolution unless the breaking takes place of all the background, of the pattern of our constant thinking along a particular line.
Will knowledge, the accumulation of information about facts bring about the breaking of my conditioning? Yet, this is what we are doing; we are constantly accumulating information, knowledge, we are training our memory. All this is important at one particular level. We may know or we may search out information about the whole consciousness of man, about the psychological process of uncovering oneself - mostly intellectual, mostly verbal - through specialization. But, will that bring about a radical change? It seems to me that mere information, knowledge, will not bring about a radical change. There must be a totally different factor; and that is the understanding of the process of consciousness, of the mind that is constantly accumulating, gathering information.
Why are we gathering information knowledge? It is for the purpose of security which is essential at one level of our being. Some people think that knowledge is a means of discovery. Do we discover through knowledge? Does not knowledge impede discovery? How can the mind find this out if the whole mind is trained to merely gather information, knowledge? Must not the mind examine this question free from an anchorage, from any belief, from any knowledge? The mind having information, having knowledge, must be free of it in order to find out otherwise, it cannot find out.
After all, there is a conflict in all of us between the conscious and the unconscious, between the superficial ways of thinking and the hidden process of motives, desires, anxieties and fears. We are gathering information, knowledge at the superficial level without fundamentally altering the deeper levels of our consciousness. The most important thing at the present crisis is that the revolution should take place at the unconscious level and not merely at the conscious level. The revolution at the unconscious level is not possible if merely the conscious mind is cultivating memory. Is it not the problem with all of us how to bring about this revolution deep in ourselves?
After all, the individual is the man; you, from me; and it is the individual that brings about the radical transformation. History shows how a few individuals, different from others in their way of living, have wrought a change in society. Unless we individually transform ourselves deeply, fundamentally, I do not see any possibility of having peace, tranquillity, in this world.
How is the individual - that is, you and I - to change radically in the deep unconscious level? Is it brought about by the practice of a particular ideal, or a particular virtue? Is not the cultivation of a particular virtue merely the strengthening of that consciousness which is pursuing the accumulative process of memory, the strengthening of the self, of the ego? Is not the practice of a particular idea or an ideology still a strengthening of the self, the me, with the inevitable conflict within and without, which is the fundamental cause of wars?
Can there be a revolution in `the me' through the action of will? I do not know if you have exercised will in order to bring about a change. You must have noticed that the action of will is still at the conscious level and not at the unconscious level, and mere alteration or exercise of will at the conscious level does not produce a revolution, an alteration, a radical change in our ways of thinking. So, is it not important to find out, for each one of us, how the mind works, not according to any particular philosophy but actually observing the ways of our mind in action, the ways of our life, so that through the understanding of the superficial mind, it may be possible to go beneath the surface and understand the mind?
As I was saying last Sunday, unless we bring about an integration between the thinker and the thought, mere thinking, reason, philosophy, accumulation of knowledge will be used by the thinker as a means of either self-aggrandizement of the individual or of a group, or propagation of a particular ideology. So, it is important for those who are really serious about these matters, to find out how the total integration of man can take place. Obviously, it cannot be through any form of compulsion or persuasion, or through disciplinary processes, or through any action of will; because, they are all, if one really looks at it, on the surface level.
So our problem then is; how is this total transformation of our being to come about? We have tried through authority, through compulsion, through conformity, through imitation. If we understand the truth of compulsion, the truth of discipline, the truth of imitation or conformity, the superficial mind becomes free from these compulsory imitative processes; and so the superficial mind becomes quiet. Then, the total, unconscious processes can project themselves into the conscious and, in their projection, there is a possibility of uncovering them, understanding them and being free.
Whenever there is understanding of any deep facts of life, the mind is invariably still, not making an effort to understand. It is only when the mind is entirely still, that there is a possibility of an understanding which brings about a radical revolution in our life.
Question: I have to study a boring book. I don't find any interest in it, yet I cannot but study it. How am I to create an interest in it?
Krishnamurti: How can you create interest, sir, if you are not interested in something? How falsely we think about life; Your parents send you to a University, to a College. They never enquire, nor do the teachers and the professors enquire, about your true vocation, your true interests. Because of political, economic and social conditions, you are pushed in a particular groove, you are forced to become a mathematician, when you are really interested in painting and so, you say `How am I to be interested in mathematics?'
In a country where there is overpopulation, innumerable economic, social and religious conditioning, it is almost impossible to break away and do what one really wants to do. But, to find out what one wants to do, to discover the capacity of each one, is extremely difficult. That requires a total revolution in our educational process, does it not? Because most of us here are trained to be alike, we are not able to do anything for which we have the capacity or the inclination, and so most of us become low paid clerks.
Interest in a book is not possible, because you have not found your own true vocation. I think it is far more important to live creatively than to pass examinations, than to have a few degrees. I think it is much better to starve, if necessary, doing what one wants to do than being compelled to do what one loathes. Because, when one does under compulsion what one loathes, then one destroys the mind; life then becomes a rotten, ugly thing, like the life which most of us are leading.
Question: What is your opinion on concentration, on Sushumna and the Chakras, and on Om? These are mentioned in books regarded by us as most authoritative, although perhaps not read by yourself. The Tantras contain an enormous amount of information on individual mantras, individual Pranayama, yantras, etc, as a means of realization. All this is practically forgotten in modern India but is known to a few Gurus who remain hidden. What is your esteemed opinion about this?
Krishnamurti: Concentration? Fixing the mind, in a particular puja, on an idea, giving full attention to it?
If there is any form of compulsion, any form of effort in concentration, is that concentration? Is it concentration when there is any form of exercising will in order to concentrate? In that process of doing the puja on which you concentrate, there is the entity that concentrates, that says `I must concentrate.' So, there is a dual process, is there not? Perhaps, this is a little out of the way and I hope you don't mind my discussing this, my going into this question because, it seems to me, we have a wrong formulation of what is concentration. If I concentrate on reading a book which I find boring but through which, I think, I am going to get a result or success, is that concentration? In that, is there not a dual process in operation, the concentrator and the thing upon which he concentrates? In this dual process, is there not a conflict between the concentrator and the thing upon which he concentrates? If there is any form of effort, to push away other forms, to control the mind so that it will concentrate on one particular idea or series of ideas, is that concentration or something entirely different?
In the usual concentration which we know, one part of the mind can concentrates on another part which is an idea, which is a symbol - an image and so on. In that process, various other parts of the mind come and interfere and so, there is constant conflict going on, the straying of the mind as it is called. Is it possible not to create this conflict but to be total attentive, to be completely one with the thing that you are meditating upon and to really understand?
It is important to find out the meditator and to understand the meditator, not the thing upon which it meditates or concentrates but the meditator himself because this whole question is concerned with the meditator, not the thing upon which it meditates. If one goes really deeply into the question, we only know that the meditator is meditating upon something and in his attempt to meditate there is a constant conflict, constant control, constant battle going on between the meditator and the thing upon which he meditates. When there is the understanding of the ways of the meditator not only at the conscious level but also at the deeper levels of consciousness it is possible to find out the truth. Truth cannot be found when there is the separation and then the control of the one over the other. It can be found only when the mind is utterly still, not through any form of compulsion, discipline; and the mind cannot be still as long as there is the meditator as a separate entity who is always seeking, searching, gathering, denying.
Really, this question, being very complicated and subtle, should be discussed very carefully, and not answered or passed off in a few of minutes. There is no answer, but only the problem. The answer lies in understanding what the problem is; but most of us, unfortunately, want to find the answer `yes' or `no,' and we listen with that attitude. But if we can put away that attitude and merely concern ourselves with the problem, then, there is real concentration without any effort. There may be so many methods of concentration, advocated by others; but they are all bound to be leading nowhere.
We have to understand the whole process of the entity who concentrates. Meditation is the understanding of the meditator. Only in such meditation is it possible for the mind to go beyond itself and not be caught in the illusion of its own projection. Question: The burning question of our time is war. You suggested that war can be avoided if individuals are integrated in themselves. Is this integration of the individual possible? As far as I know, there is no such individual. Even the best institutions like the League of Nations and the U.N.O. have been rendered ineffective by the egotistic self-interest of individuals or groups.
Krishnamurti: The question is: is integration possible?
What do we mean by integration? Integration between the various processes of our thinking, of our doing, of our consciousness; integration between hatred and love, between envy and generosity, between the various cleavages, between the various components in our total make up - is that what we mean by integration? Or is integration something entirely different?
Now, we think in terms of changing hate into love. Is that possible? If I hate, which is important: that I should love, or that I should understand what is hatred? Is it not important for me to understand the whole process of hate, not the ideal of love? If I am envious, what is important is not to be free from envy, not to have the ideal of love or of generosity and so on, but to understand the whole process of envy The understanding of `what is` is more important than `what should be'. If I am stupid, it is very important to understand that I am stupid, to know that I am stupid, not how to arrive at cleverness. The moment I understand the whole problem of how stupidity comes into being, then, naturally, there will be intelligence.
So, is integration to be brought about by the dual process involved in our thinking, or does integration come into being only when `what is' is understood without any concern for `what should be'? Integration takes place only when I understand what I am actually - not what I am according to Sankara, Buddha, or any modern psychologist, or a communist. That actuality I can find out only in my relationship of dual existence, the way I talk to people, the way I treat people, my ideas as I have them.
Life is, after all, a mirror in which I can see myself in operation. But we cannot see what is actually taking place because we want to be something totally different from what we are. I think integration is possible only when I see what I am actually, without the blinding process of an ideology or an ideal. Then it is possible to bring about a radical change in what I am, in `what is'.
Question: How do these illuminating talks fulfil and help your purpose? The world has been listening since a long time to the gospel of revolt, the cult of attaining to supreme truth or burning oneself and thereby achieving the highest and the sublimest. But, what is the reaction, is it creative or recreative?
Krishnamurti: What do you mean by fulfiling? You ask whether these talks help you to fulfil. Do you think there is such a thing as fulfilment? It is only when you are thwarted that you want to fulfil. It is only when you want to become a judge or somebody, that there is the fear of not fulfilling. But if you do not want to become anything, then there is no problem of fulfilment.
All of us want to become something, either in this world or in the next world, inwardly or outwardly; and our purpose is well defined, because our desires are always compelling us towards a particular end which we call fulfilment. If we do not understand these desires and when they are thwarted, there is conflict, misery, pain, and so an everlasting search for fulfilment. But, when one begins to understand the ways of desire, the innumerable urges, conscious as well as unconscious, there is no question of fulfilling. It is the self the me, that is always craving to fulfil, either as the great people of this land or to fulfil inwardly - to become something, to attain liberation, moksha or what you will. But if we understand the implications of desire - that is, the implications of the self, of the me - then there is no question of fulfilling.
Question: Does not the emphasis on quieting the mind reduce creativity?
Krishnamurti: What is creativity and what is understanding?
To understand creativity, there must be no fear. Is it not so? After all, most of our minds are imitative. We are ridden by authority, we have innumerable fears, conscious as well as unconscious. A mind so elaborate so small, so petty, so conditioned - can such a mind be creative? It can only be creative in the deeper sense of the word - not in the sense of writing off a couple of poems or painting some pictures - when you understand the whole process of fear. To find out fear, must you not search the workings of your mind, must you not be watchful of the ways how the mind imitates, why it copies authority? It is only then it is possible for the mind to be creative.
Is the mind creative or is creativeness something entirely different? After all, what is the mind? Mind is the result of time, time being a process. Mind is the result of the past, the past being the culture, the tradition, the experience, the various economic and other unconscious influences; all that is the mind. Can the mind which is the result of time, be creative? Is not creativeness something out of time, beyond time, and therefore, beyond the mind? There is no Indian creativeness or European creativeness. Culture is not Indian or European, occidental or oriental; the expression of it may be.
That creative something, that creative reality, that truth, God, what you will, is surely beyond time.
The mind that is the result of time cannot conceive or experience the unknown; so, the mind has to free itself from the known, from the knowledge, from the various experiences, traditions; then only would it be capable of receiving the unknown. It is the unknown that is creative, not the mind that knows how to create.
Question: When there is conflict between the heart and the mind, which should be followed?
Krishnamurti: Is conflict necessary? Is this not the question; what to follow the mind or the heart?
First, let us understand if conflict is necessary. When the conflict arises, then the question comes into being as to which I should follow, this or that. Why do we have conflicts? Will conflict produce understanding?
Perhaps you think this I am not answering your question. All that you want to know is what you should follow. It is a very superficial demand, and you are satisfied if you are merely told what to do. Unfortunately, as most of us are today, we know only what to think, not how to think; therefore, the problem becomes very superficial. If we want to think out a question of this kind, we must put aside `what to think' and enquire into `how to think'. If we know how to think, the problem is not. But, if you say, `I must fol- low this', or `I must not follow that' or `which shall I choose?', then the problem arises.
If you once really go into it clearly, deeply, the problem `what to do' is a choice, is it not? Will choice clarify or put an end to conflict? Is there not another way of acting, not between the two, but which is the understanding of the demands of the mind and the demands of the heart without saying which should be done. Between them all, I must not follow one or the other but understand each demand, not in comparison. Then only is it possible to free the mind from choice and therefore conflict.
All this requires a mind that is really attentive not only to what I am saying but also to its own processes and understands them. But very few of us want to do that. Very few of us are serious. We are serious about something superficial - diversion or excitement. But to really go into the whole problem of existence, of the ways of thought, requires not an hour's attention at a particular meeting but requires the understanding of the mind all the time as it lives and acts. For that, few of us are willing. In that, there is no risk, you do not get a good job, you do not become famous, you do not become successful. As long as we want to become famous, successful, powerful, popular, we would create misery, conflict which brings about war.
January 24, 1954
Banaras 1954, Hindu University
Banaras, India 24th January 1954 3rd Talk at Banaras Hindu University
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