Bombay 2nd Public Talk 10th February 1954
As we were saying last Sunday, the right kind of revolution, a radical transformation can only take place not at the physical level but fundamentally at the level of the spirit, and I would like this evening to go into that matter still further.
The true revolution is the religious revolution, not the merely economic or social. A fundamental revolution can only take place, when man is truly religious; for, every other kind of revolution or change is merely a continuity in a modified form of what has been. I say it is very important to understand what I mean by religious revolution. Unless there is a transformation at the fundamental level of our thinking, of our being, any superficial changes, persuasions, compulsions, or adjustments to environment are no transformation at all. Such transformation can only lead to greater mischief, to greater sorrow. So the revolution must be at the level which we call religious, and I would like to discuss that.
Before I go into that, it seems to me it is very important to know how to listen, because we do not listen. We hear the words, we know their general meaning and we are merely satisfied with the meaning of those words. But listening is quite a different thing. I think if we know how to listen, that very listening will produce that fundamental revolution. Listening is not an effort because effort implies continuity of purpose, a continuity of memory in a particular direction; and memory is directive, it is not creative. Listening, if we know how to listen, is really creative because, in that, there is no memory involved at all. But most of us listen with an attitude of resistance. If I say something you do not like, or if I say something which you like, you immediately judge, you reject what you do not like and accept what you like; but that is not listening. Listening is a process in which the mind is really quiet, not interpreting what it is hearing, not translating, but actually following without any kind of effort because effort destroys. If you knew how to listen, then the full significance of what is being said, the truth of it or the falselessness of it, will come into being; but if you oppose one suggestion by another suggestion, one idea by another idea, you will never find the truth or the falselessness of a statement, I think it is very important to understand what I am saying now - which is, to find out the truth of what is being said, the truth or the falsehood of what is being said. You must listen and not merely oppose it by an opinion or by a memory or an experience which you had. What we are trying to do in these talks is not to convince you of anything, not to persuade you to a particular activity or action; because, that is merely propaganda and that has no value at all. What we are trying to do, you and I together, is to bring about that radical revolution not at any particular level of our existence but in the process of total development of man. And so it is very important, it seems to me, to know how to listen. I am not suggesting any particular course of action, I am not offering any particular pattern or thought or philosophy. Revolution according to a pattern is not revolution. To know what you are changed into, is not change at all; but to change fundamentally into something which is not known, the `unknown', is revolution. And I want to discuss that, if I can, this evening, fairly simply. It is a very complex problem; but I think if we can quietly follow without any opposition or resistance in ourselves to what is being said, in order to find out the truth or falsehood of what is being said, then the truth or the falsehood will produce its own action.
For most of us, religion is dogma, belief, whether it is the Communist, the Christian or the Hindu religion. The dogma, the tradition, the rituals, the hopes, everlasting struggle to become something, the ideal - the ideal man, the ideal love, the ideal state - and the pursuit of that ideal is what we call religion. But surely that is not religion. Religion is not conformity, religion is not the pursuit of continual thought. Religion is something totally different. That is why it is very important to understand that word not according to you or to me, but to understand the meaning of that word, the significance and full implication in its totality. Mind can create any form of illusion, and that illusion can be the ideal, the God; and the worshipping of that illusion is not religion. The illusion, the projection of the mind that most of us worship, in any form at any level, is born out of hope, out of desire, out of longing; and that desire can create an image; and the imitation, the pursuit, the becoming of that, ideal is still within the continuity of the mind. The mind cannot produce revolution, the radical change. What can produce the radical revolution, the total revolution in man's thinking is the cessation of the continuity of the mind as thought.
Please listen. Don't compare what I am saying to what you have learnt or what you have read either from a sacred book or from any other book. Don't compare. If you compare, then you are not listening to what is being said. What is important is to listen to what is being said. When you compare you never find the truth or the falseness of what is said because your mind then is occupied with comparison and not with the understanding of "what is". So the inventions of the mind whether purely physical, scientific or abstract, the inventions of its own projections, its own ideas which it calls God, Truth, Love, the imitation of them, the pursuit of them, are all the continuance of the mind.
We know what envy is, and we have an idea that, to be really religious is to be in a state of `non-envy'. Obviously, an envious man is not a religious man, any more than the ambitious man either on the physical level or the psychological level. Now, hearing that envy is not religious, and finding that envy is a series of struggles, pains, and that it brings about suffering, the mind says `I must not be envious'. This is the `becoming' which is the continuity of the state of being envious, as we call it. The ideal, the pursuit of the ideal which we call `to become non-envious' are all still `envy'.
We are now talking of the cessation of `becoming', in which alone there can be that revolution which is the real religious revolution. I think it is important to understand this. Our whole education, culture, influence and conditioning is a `becoming'. That is an obvious fact, is it not? I am poor, I want to become rich. I am envious or violent or angry, I must become peaceful, I must become non-ambitious - that is, I must, become something. So our whole social, economic, religious conditioning and culture is to become, is the process of becoming. That is a fact, is it not? Watch the operation of your own minds, and you will see it is an obvious fact. The becoming is the continuity of `the me', of the idea, a constant process; and that process can never produce a revolution. A revolution, a change, a radical transformation takes place when the `becoming' has ended - that is, not when I become non-envious but when there is no envy.
Let us take the ideal of Non-violence. You say `I will become nonviolent'. You say that you will practise the ideal of non-violence. That is, you are going to become nonviolent. You are violent; but through a process of thought, of practice, of discipline you are going to become non-violent. The continuity from violence to non-violence is not a revolution; it is merely a process of becoming, and so there is no radical transformation at all. The mind that is constantly becoming, pursuing being persuaded being conditioned, can never become non-violent; in that mind, there can never be a fundamental revolution. It is only when the mind sees that this is the process of becoming in time, and that the cessation of becoming is the being, there can be `being', in that being alone, there can be a radical revolution.
Now, if you will listen, you will see that as long as the mind - which is the centre of all becoming because the mind is the result of time, and time is continual - is pursuing an ideal and becoming something, there can be no change. There can be re- volution, a radical revolution, a total revolution in the development of man, only when the becoming comes to an end - not when the mind becomes a perfect mind; the mind can never become a perfect mind, the mind, can never be free, not becoming, because freedom implies the cessation of the continuity of what has been. So when you really see the truth of that, there is the silence of the mind, not that the mind becomes a silent mind; silence can never be achieved, mind can never become silent. But when the mind sees that becoming is the process of struggle, is the process of effort, and that effort can never produce peace because what has been will be in continuity, in time, there is no becoming. Only with the ending of becoming is there silence of the mind.
Please follow this. When there is silence, in that silence there is no becoming. You cannot become silent. If you make an effort to become silent, it is merely the continuity of an activity, which you call silence now but which you called pain previously. So the understanding of becoming is the beginning of silence, and that silence is the state of being, the total understanding of man's process; and that being is the revolution, the total transformation of one's being; and then only is there a possibility of that which is timeless to come into being. Only such people are really revolutionary because they are not thinking in terms of economic, social or temporary adjustments.
I think it is very important to understand this, because most of us, specially in this country, are cursed with the pursuit of the ideal. We all want to become the ideal person, the perfect being; and so we practise discipline, the everlasting struggle to become something, and so we never `are' at any moment. We always are becoming, we never `are', the moment is never full, it is always tomorrow that is full; and so we miss the full movement of life. If you observe your own mind, you will see that we never are still for a minute, but we are always trying to be still. The trying is what we know, the becoming is what we know.
We know the ideal of silence, our mind is constantly pursuing that ideal, struggling, disciplining, controlling, shaping in order to have that silence in which the real can take place; and the real can never take place in that silence because that silence is a becoming. It is only when the mind understands the total process of becoming, of pursuing, of trying to shape itself into something else that there can be the cessation of becoming, when alone there can be revolution. Only then is the mind truly religious. The religious man is not the man who becomes a Sannyasi, not the man who becomes, who pursues virtues, or who tries to become an ideal man. The religious man is the man who has stopped becoming; therefore to him there is only one day, there is only one moment - not the moment of yesterday or of tomorrow. Such a man is the real revolutionary; for, he is of reality.
It is important not merely to listen to what is being said, but to go away from here as a human being that is totally transformed - not with new ideas, not with a new outlook, not with new values, not with the putting away of tradition. Those are all childish things. They are all activities of immaturity. What is important is for the mind to have no space in it except for the state of being.
Our minds are continuously being shaped by ourselves, by circumstances. We are pushed about, conditioned as the Hindu, as the Catholic, as the Christian, or as the Communist. So long as we are in that state, we cannot produce a new world. It is only the man who has no other religion than the religion of `being' - the state of being has no space, it has no corners in which the mind can become something - that will produce a new world.
You and I will have to produce a new world - not the new world according to the Communists or the Catholics or the Capitalists - a new world that is totally different, that is a free world, that is free in being and not in becoming. The man who `becomes, is never free', he is always struggling, striving to become; and such a man is never a free man. Please follow this. Please listen to this. You will see that if you really listen, there is freedom from becoming. It is only when there is freedom from becoming that a man is really happy; he is the happy man, happy in that fundamental spirit that creates the new world.
As I was saying, the importance in asking a question is not to find the answer but to understand the problem because there is only the problem and not the answer. To ask a question is easy; but to go into the problem is extremely difficult because once you know what the problem is, the very seeing of the problem is the understanding of the problem. The moment I can state the problem very clearly, simply, the answer is there, I do not have to look beyond. But most of us do not know what the problem is. We are confused about the problem and so naturally we look, in our confusion, for answers; and that will only produce further confusion.
Please understand once and for all that there are no answers to life. Life is a living thing, not an ending thing, life is the problem. If I can understand the whole total process of the problem, then it is a living thing, not a thing from which to run away, to escape from, to be frightened about. So what is important is not the answer, but to state the problem clearly and simply and to see the full implications of the problem; then, the mind becomes acutely sharp. But when a mind is seeking an answer, it is a dull mind, a stupid mind. If the mind sees the whole problem, the subtlety, the implications, the significance, the variations of the problem, the extension of the problem, the mind itself becomes the problem. The mind that is the problem itself, does not seek an answer. When the mind is the problem, the mind itself becomes quiet; and the moment the mind is quiet, there is no problem. So what is important is not to enquire for an answer, but to take the journey into the problem.
Question: In India today, man faces a growing totalitarianism. Political leaders cloak their authority in smugness, virtue and good intentions. On the one hand, there is this growing authority; on the other hand, there is a creeping servility, corruption and disintegration. How is man to meet this debacle except by fighting authority on all fronts. What is your way of meeting this totalitarian challenge?
Krishnamurti: Is there my way and your way? Or is there only the truth that will meet the challenge? You understand, Sirs? There is not your way and my way of meeting the challenge; such a way is an ugly thing. There is only the right way of meeting it. The moment you talk of your way and my way, you are not stating the problem at all; You are only creating another authority which is myself. You see the question?
If you can put it entirely differently, the problem is: `Why do we follow'? That is the problem, not the politician using authority or the religious man using authority; they cover their authority, cloak it, under sweet sounding words. People will always do that for their own interests, they will cloak their ambition by calling it the `love of India', the `love of peace', the `love of God', being ambitious, they will use patriotism or the name of peace to serve their own interests. There will be always people of that nature, but that is not the problem.
The problem is: Why do you follow? You understand, Sirs? Why do you follow - not a particular leader, a particular guru, a particular idea, a particular experience or a particular ideal - but why do you follow at all? If we can understand that problem, this problem will be answered immediately. It is no problem at all. We are not discussing whether you should follow or not follow, we are not seeing whether it is good to follow or bad to follow. Whether it is immoral to follow, that is not the problem for the moment. The problem is: Why do I follow? Why do you follow? You may reject outward authority, you may have no outward guru, the example; but you have your own ideal, you have your own experience, or your own accumulated knowledge which you follow. I am questioning the whole total process of following, not the substitution of one authority for another, or of one guru for another - those are all childish activities. But if we can enquire into the question, into the problem `Why do we follow?', then perhaps we shall understand the problem of authority.
When you are asked why you follow, you do not know the reason why you follow. The reason is fairly obvious. You follow for some satisfaction, for some motive, for some gain, for an end in view. But this whole instinctual response to follow somebody, to follow an ideal, to follow an experience which you have ad ten years ago and which you want how and therefore follow and strive after in order to get that richness - this total process of following is the problem. The moment you follow, you have a guru, you create the authority. But if there is cessation of following there is no authority, there is no guru; then you are a light to yourself. Please put yourself this question: `Why do I follow?' You are unaware that you are following, and that is of real importance. You are totally unaware - not only superficially but at the deeper layers of your consciousness - that you follow. But if you say `I follow because of this motive, because of this desire, with this end in view, because I am frightened, because I am this and I am that', then you are not finding out why you follow; you are only giving reasons, logical conclusions. But do you know you are aware that in following a political leader, a guru, or a book - sacred or profane, the Gita, the Upanishads, the Bible or Marx's - you are only following words? Our whole process of life deeply as well as superficially, is one of following. Following is imitation; we all know that. How can such a mind which only knows and functions in the field of following, imitation, creating authority, face and understand and break down authority? Following is destructive, following destroys. Can you see the truth or falseness of that, the truth or the falseness of the statement that following of any kind at any level is totally destructive, is disintegrating? Either you see the truth of it and accept it or you reject it. But you cannot reject or accept it if you don't know that you are following. If you are not following somebody, then either you are following your own desire, or you externalize those desires and follow the politician or the guru or the book.
So, as long as there is the following of your own motives, your own desires, you must have authority. And following is destructive, is a disintegrating process - we know so well in India where we have nothing else but leaders and followers. Don't you follow? You are not a free people. You may have a new government, a brown bureaucracy; but you are not a free people because freedom implies `not following'. Sir, when you really think about and understand all this, in that only there is freedom, there is total revolution; then only can a new world be created. But if you follow you are destroying yourself. When you follow your guru, you are destroying both yourself and the guru. Please listen to this, find out the truth of it. Don't say I disagree or agree - which is an immature way of thinking. If you do not know that you are following, then you have no authority to give an opinion. If you do not know why you follow, if you do not know the whole process of it, then you cannot decide whether to follow or not to follow. But if you understand the idea of following, then you will not create the duality of not following, then there will be no struggle to follow or not to follow.
Our mind which is so accustomed to follow, to imitate, can only react by not following, by not imitating. So it sets up the problem of duality: `I have followed so far; now I must not follow.' But that is not the answer. When you say `I must not follow', that itself produces its own authority. Then you become the authority or the person who says you must not follow. But if you understand the significance, the total meaning - of which most of us are totally unaware - then there is the cessation of following. Then there is creativity, and that is what is needed - not the putting away of one authority and taking up of another authority, more pleasant or less pleasant. But you have to see that all following is destructive, is a process of disintegration, you have to be aware of it choicelessly, so that there is no duality. Awareness is a process in which there is no duality. Awareness is a state in which there is no choice, but there is seeing "what is" and not trying to change "what is" into something else. Only in such awareness is there a possibility of freedom, and only in that freedom can there be creativity.
Questioner: I have heard you every time you speak in Bombay. When I hear you, I feel great clarity and understanding; when you go, I get caught back into the innumerable habits of action and thought. Is it not necessary for me once for all either to understand you or to give up hearing you?
Krishnamurti: Sir what is important is to know how to listen, not only to me but to everything in life - to the song of birds, to the roar of the restless sea, to the voice of a bird, to everything about you. Because we do not know how to listen, we keep on hearing, and hearing dulls the mind. If you keep on coming to these talks year after year and merely hear but not listen, then your mind becomes dull. Your coming here becomes another ritual; a yearly performance. That is what has happened to most of us. We have become dull through repetition of ideas, hearing the same thing over and over and over again, performing the same stupid vain ritual, pursuing the same ideals, or substituting other ideals. This constant struggle within and without, primarily within, this battle `to become', is making us dull. But if you know how to listen to one talk, really, how to listen to one idea, then you will see your mind becoming astonishingly alert, sharp, clear, subtle. Then you can listen to the talks over and over again, and you will see that each talk has meaning in it afresh every time, that it has significance, that there is a richness - all of which you would miss when you merely hear.
Sir, you do not know how to see the beauty of a tree or of a person. Though you pass by, every day, the beauty is there. You never look at the stars, the skies. You never hear the child's cry. You never listen to those things, your mind is too occupied - God knows with what - with its own anxieties, with its own becoming's, with its own fears. Through this screen of fear, anxiety, hope, frustration, you hear and decide what it is that I am saying. There is nothing, literally nothing at all, which you cannot understand. I am not putting through new ideas, I am not giving directions for you to follow because that would create merely another authority. You must forsake all authority to listen properly.
If you listen after forsaking all authority, all following, then the truth or the falseness thereof comes into being. But a mind which is occupied, can never listen. Most of our minds are occupied with love, with hate, with anxieties, with envy, with trying to be good. An occupied mind is a petty mind. If you listen, your mind becomes a fresh mind, a clear mind, an unspotted mind; such a mind cannot be bought, nor can it come into being through any authority, through any following. So one must understand what one hears, and find out the truth of the matter by observing one's own mind. Truth is not something away from the mind. It is away now because the mind is so confused. A man who seeks answers, seeks truth out of confusion, and so his answer of truth will also be confused.
Questioner: In moments of great anguish and despair, I surrender without effort to "Him", without knowing "Him". That dispels my despair; otherwise, I would be destroyed. What is this surrender and is this a wrong process?
Krishnamurti: A mind that deliberately surrenders itself to something unknown, is adopting a wrong process, like a man who deliberately cultivates love, humility when he has no love, no humility. When I am violent, if I am trying to become nonviolent, I am still violent. If I am practising humility, is it humility? It is only respectability, it is not humility. You see the truth of this, Sirs? Don't smile and say how clever the statement is. It is not clever. A man who is deliberately persuading himself into being good, who is surrendering himself to something which he calls God, or to Him, does so deliberately, voluntarily, through an action of will. Such a surrender is not surrender; it is self-forgetfulness, it is a replacement, a substitute, an escape; it is like mesmerizing oneself, like taking a drug or like repeating words without meaning.
I think there is a surrender which is not deliberate, which is totally unasked, un-demanded. When the mind demands something, it is not surrender. When the mind demands peace, when it says `I love God and I pursue the love of God', it is not love. All the deliberate activities of the mind is the continuance of the mind, and that which has continuity is in time. It is only in the cessation of time that there can be the being of reality. The mind cannot surrender. All that the mind can do is to be still; but that stillness cannot come into being if there is despair or if there is hope. If you understand the process of despair, if the mind sees the whole significance of despair, you will see the truth of it. There is bound to be despair when you want something and when you cannot get when you want, - it may be a car, it may be a woman, it may be God; they are all of the same quality. The moment you want something, the very wanting is the beginning of despair. Despair means frustration. You would be satisfied if you get what you want, and because you cannot get what you want, you say `I must surrender to God'. If you got what you wanted you would be perfectly satisfied; only that satisfaction comes to an end soon and you seek another thing. So you change the object of your satisfaction constantly; this brings with it its own reward, its own pains, its own sufferings, its own pleasure.
If you understand that desire of any kind brings with it frustration, despair and so the dual conflict of hope, if you really see the fact of that, if without saying `How am I to be in that state?' you just see that desire makes for pain, then the very seeing of it is the silencing of desire. Being aware choicelessly, purely, simply that the mind is noisy, that the mind is in constant movement, in constant struggle, that very awareness brings about the ending of that noise choicelessly. Awareness is the important thing, not the dispelling of despair, not the silence. Pure intelligence is that state of mind in which there is awareness, in which there is no choice, in which the mind is silent. In that state of silence, there is `being' only; then that reality, that astounding creativity without time, comes into being.
February 10, 1954
Bombay 2nd Public Talk 10th February 1954
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.