Bombay 3rd Public Talk 14th February 1954
I would like to continue with what we were talking about last wednesday, namely, the problem of change. It is quite an important issue which deserves to be really deeply considered; for, change seems to produce more confusion, more travail and more sorrow, as can be observed by us from day to day. I would like to discuss this evening, whether it is possible to change, to bring about a radical breaking up of the centre, rather than merely indulging in peripheral or superficial changes. Is it possible to change at the centre, without the action of will, without cultivating a background, and without strengthening the background in the process of change. Is change, a breaking up, a revolution, a complete transformation, possible without the cultivation of memory? Generally, in the process of changing, we are always breeding memory: `I was this yesterday, and I shall be that tomorrow'. This `I shall be' is the cultivation of memory; and therefore there is no fundamental, radical change at the centre.
I hope you will have the patience to listen to this. Communication is anyhow very difficult because words have definite meaning; consciously, we accept certain definitions and try to translate what we hear according to those definitions. But if we begin to define every word or merely define certain words as a reference and leave it at that, communication will be at the conscious level. It seems to me that what we are discussing is not merely to be understood at the conscious level, but also to be absolved - if I may use that word - unconsciously, deep down, without the formulations of any definition. It is far more important to listen with the depth of one's whole being, than merely indulge in superficial explanations. If we can listen with totality of being, that very listening is an act of meditation.
The meditation that we do consciously is no meditation at all; it is merely the projection of the con- scious mind, memory. You have to listen with the totality of your being without any effort, without any struggle, and with the intention to understand, to explore, to discover, really to find out the truth or falseness of what I am saying. To discover is to be in a state of mind in which the struggle, the constant conflict to find out, to discover, must cease. It seems to me that such an act of living is meditation. To find out the truth of something, not according to what you wish, what you like or dislike, or according to the particular tradition in which you have been brought up, the mind must be capable of not only understanding the superficial sound that it hears, the vibrations of sound, but also entering much deeper through that sound.
It is a very difficult problem to listen with the totality of one's whole being - that is, when the mind not only hears the words, but is capable of going beyond the words. The mere judgment of a conscious mind is not the discovery or the understanding of truth. The conscious mind can never find that which is real. All that it can do is to choose, judge, weigh, compare. Comparison, judgment, or identification is not the uncovering of truth. That is why it is very important to know how to listen. When you read a book, you might translate what you read according to your particular tendency, according to your knowledge or idiosyncrasy, and so miss the whole content of what the author wants to convey; you might also listen similarly. But to understand, to discover, you have to listen without the resistance of the conscious mind which wants to debate, discuss, analyse. Debating, discussing, analysing is a hindrance when we are dealing with matters which require not mere verbal definition and superficial understanding, but understanding at a much deeper, more fundamental level. Such understanding, the understanding of truth, depends upon how one listens.
What we are concerned with is the necessity of change. We see that a fundamental revolution is necessary. I am using that word revolution not in the political sense. In the political sense, if there is revolution, it is no longer a `revolution', it is merely a modified continuity. But I am talking of fundamental transformation which alone can be called change. Is it possible to bring about such a radical change by the action of will - which is what we are used to? Will is the continuity of a decision based on memory, on knowledge, or experience; will is the reaction of a conditioned mind, the mind that lives in tradition, in experience, in knowledge; and knowing decides, creates the pattern according to which it shall change. Therefore, can a change, through an action of will, be a radical change? When I know in what direction I am changing, and also the implications which are in the change based on my experience - my experience being the reaction of my conditioning - can such a change be radical?
I wish to change because I see the importance and the necessity of change, not only in myself but in society; I see the imperative necessity of it, logically and inwardly, because society as it is and myself as I am only produce a further mess, further chaos, further misery; that is an obvious fact, whether you accept it or not. As we are conditioned, any action from the conditioned mind is only productive of further confusion; because, if I am confused, any action out of that confusion is still further confusion. We are confused, whether we like it or not; whether we admit it or not, it is a fact. Whether you call yourself a Communist, a Socialist, a Christian, a Hindu, or a Buddhist, your mind, if you observe, is in a state of contradiction, is in a state of confusion. When you have a certain belief, a certain dogma, you hold to that dogma, to that belief. It is obviously, psychologically, an indication of confusion, because that belief acts as a security away from yourself; that security is your projection, the projection born out of confusion.
A mind that seeks to understand the fundamental necessity of change must ceaselessly ask itself: `Is it possible to change without the action of will?' You understand, Sir, the difficulty of the question? That is, my will is born out of my past, out of knowledge, out of the experiences that I have gathered. The gathering is the result of my conditioning. The conditioning is the culture in which I have been brought up, the religion, the social values and so on. Out of that background is born the will to be, to change, to continue. This is a psychological fact. When you observe the action of will, you will find that the will cannot bring about a radical change? If it cannot what else will bring about a radical transformation? What will break up the centre of this constant accumulation of memory, of experience, of knowledge, from which there is action? This is an important question to ask yourself and to find the truth of. It is not enough if you merely listen to what I say, because that is your problem. You have really to go into it.
The will is the I, the process of `the me; as it cannot bring about a radical transformation, the mind projects the idea of God and says `God has the power to change', `There is the grace of God' and so on. That is, when the mind sees that it cannot bring about a radical change in itself through its own power, through its own action, through its own volition, the mind projects and identifies itself with something which will bring about the transformation. But that projection is still the action of will, the action of `the me' that wishes to change; and as it sees that it cannot change through its own activities, it identifies itself with an idea, or with a so-called reality which it has created relating to a Buddha, a Christ or anyone it likes, and hopes that, through that, there will be a transformation. But that projection, the activities of that projection, and the response of that projection are still part of the action of will; so there is no radical transformation at the centre.
Surely the problem now is: `What can bring about the breaking up of that centre? Is it Grace, is it God, is it an idea?' Is it something totally different, which is not the projection or the activity of the mind? That change which is the breaking up of the centre, of the me, of the self, cannot be brought about by the action of the self, by will. The myself which changes is the result of pain, of pleasure, of experience, of memories; and when it says `I must change to something', that something is the projection of `myself', the projection being the Master, the Guru, the Saviour and so on. Through the Saviour, through the Guru, which is the projection of myself, I hope to bring about a change.
If you deny all that and say that circumstances or the control of nature would be the only possibility of change, then your mind is controlled by the so-called education on the Communist lines, or the Catholic lines, or the Hindu lines. This process controls the mind, shapes the mind; and the shaping of the mind cannot bring about that radical transformation at the centre.
Do you understand the problem? I want to change. I see the impossibility of change through action of will. I see that there can be no change through the projection of the past into the future, through the known projecting itself into the future as the unknown which is however the known. I see also how the mind can be shaped by circumstances. By the way I am brought up from childhood, my mind can be so completely conditioned that it functions like a machine, that it believes, or does not believe. I also see that this is not change. In order to bring about a completely new world, a new State, a new being, to understand that this world is not a Catholic or a Hindu world but it is `our' world - to feel that is to understand the richness of it - there must be radical transformation at the centre, in which there is no longer the me or mine - my India, my religion my experience. It is there that the radical change has to take place. How is that to take place?
Now, please listen. Is that the right question: `How can it take place'? Is there a method, a system? A system, a method, implies the continuity of memory, cultivation of memory, and therefore no radical change at all. When I ask myself how can this centre be broken up and when I seek a method, the very method, the very system produces the result which the system gives. But that is not change; I am only following the system, cultivating the memory of that system, instead of the system, the method which I had cultivated in the past, now I cultivate a new method, a new system; so the very `how' is the denial of the radical change. Please, observe your own mind. When this problem of radical transformation is posed, the moment you hear it mentioned, your immediate response is `Tell me what to do'. The telling you of what to do is not change at all. You want to arrive at the stage of security or certainty through a method, and the very desire for certainty is no change. If you understand all this, you would not say at the end of the talk `You have not told us what to do, you are too vague?,
There is only the problem and not the answer. If you know the depth of the problem, the answer is at the depth. The problem itself will reveal the answer; but as long as you are looking for the answer at the depth, you are dealing with the superficiality of the problem. There is the problem of change, of radical transformation of the centre. This change cannot be brought about through any volition, through an act of will, through practice, through a system of meditation. The very process of meditation, as you practise it, is the cultivating of a certain idea, a certain discipline, and so it only strengthens the self, the centre; and any form of projection from the background or the experience of that projection as reality is still the strengthening of the centre. When you have this problem, when you really are confronted with this problem, you will see that your mind becomes completely still. It is only when you are trying to change, to bring about a superficial change, that the mind becomes agitated, works, strives, struggles. But when you see the full significance of the fundamental revolution, transformation, then the mind, in front of this enormous complex problem is still. If you are listening rightly and if you have understood the problem profoundly, then you will see your mind is still. The problem itself makes the mind still. When the mind is still in front of this problem, then there is transformation at the centre. This whole process of understanding the problem is meditation. This meditation is not the sitting down and grappling with the problem, but understanding as you go for a walk, when you look at the stars, at the sea, and the shadows of a tree, when you see a smile. It is a total process; for, the problem involves the total understanding of man's development. Then only the mind is still, without any movement or projection of the mind, a wish, a hope. Silence is not a word, it is a state of being. A mind that is trying to become can never understand that state of being. You cannot become still, do what you will - practise, discipline, control, subjugate. All such action leads only to results. Silence is not a result, it is a state of being from moment to moment. So when the mind understands the problem of radical transformation, from moment to moment, then there is silence which is not the silence of accumulation, which is not the silence of memory, but a state of being; it is out of time, it is timeless. If there is such silence, you will see that there is a radical transformation of the centre.
If you have listened rightly, you will find the seed of transformation has taken root. But if you are merely verbally resisting, then you will have only resistance and not truth. Unfortunately most of us are left with the ashes of resistance and not with reality. We are not educated from childhood to listen, to find out, to understand; we are never confronted with the problem, we are always given answers - what should be, the example, the hero, the saint, for you to copy, to imitate. So we are never shown the implications of the problem - such showing is real education. As we have not been educated in the subtleties of problems, in the understanding of problems, we become confused when we are thrown against a problem, and we want to find an answer. There is no answer to life. Life is a living thing from moment to moment, and a man who is seeking an answer to life is creating a little pool of mediocrity. So the question is not to find the answer, but to understand the problem; the problem holds the truth, and not the answer.
Question: The awareness you speak of must mean the stripping away of the many facets of personality; in India, this search for self-knowledge has led inevitably to the destruction of personality, and the sapping away of all initiative and drive which are the driving forces of personality. That is why we see in India a refusal to fight social evil. Will not then your teachings only lead to further lethargy of the spirit?
Krishnamurti: Are you individuals who have personalities? Will the understanding and the awakening of awareness with all its implications deprive you of that personality? Are you an individual, or are you a mass of conditions? When you are a Hindu, a Christian, a Buddhist, a Communist, are you an individual? When you belong to some society or group, are you an individual? And are you an individual, because you have a little property, a name, a few qualities and tendencies?
Sir, what is individuality? It is something which must be totally unique. But we are not unique. When you call yourself a Hindu, a Mussalman, a Communist, you are just repeating, it is merely the tradition. You are conditioned by your society, by your culture; according to that conditioning you experience, and the experience is the memory, is knowledge; the knowledge does not constitute individuality, it is only the reaction of the condition. When you become aware of this total process of conditioning, experiencing, accumulating knowledge, and that it does not constitute individuality but is the destruction of all creative being. when you are aware of all this, then you will not be a Christian, a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Communist or what you will: you will be in a total state of revolt. But as long as you are accepting, as long as your mind is conditioned as a Hindu, a Catholic, a Communist, you are not an individual, you are only a cog in the machine.
Look at your own mind and the operations of that mind. Are you an individual in the sense of creating a unique state of mind in which there is freedom, the freedom of being? How can you have individuality, personality, when culture, religion, throughout the world are based on imitation, copying? When you are pursuing the ideal, when you are Gandhites, or some other `ites', how can you be an individual? Are you aware of the total process of fear which makes you imitate, which makes you follow, which makes you accept the authority of an ideal, of a Guru, of a Saviour, of a priest? It is that fear that makes you comply, conform, imitate; it is that fear that destroys the real creative mind. It is that fear, that seeks a result, security, a state of being in which there is no fear; and therefore it projects. And you follow that projection as your Saviour, as your guide, as your ideal. So your fear is compelling you to conform. And as long as there is fear, you cannot possibly be an individual, you cannot have a creative mind.
It is very important to understand fear, specially in a country that is overpopulated, that is deep in tradition - whether modern or scientific or ancient. As long as there is fear, there can be no creativity; and it is only the creative mind that is the real, that is unique. Awareness in which there is no choice, does not destroy that creative reality.
Your mind from childhood is conditioned, it is educated from childhood in fear, it is subjugated, it is compelled, pursued, compared, various values are imprinted upon it; how can such a mind be a free mind? All that it knows is fear. Therefore it everlastingly struggles to do good and to avoid evil. The very doing good is to overcome fear; it is not freedom from fear, but the overcoming of fear; therefore there is still fear. How can such a mind be creative, be happy?
The mind that is free from fear is the creative mind, such a mind, through awareness, through self-knowledge, cannot lose that reality. The mind can be free only through self-knowledge - not the self-knowledge of the specialist, not the self-knowledge of Ramanuja or Buddha or the Christ; such self-knowledge is not self-knowledge. To know yourself according to somebody, Marx or Buddha or what you will - that is not knowing yourself. You can physically know yourself only if you are aware of yourself, aware of your actions, thoughts, feelings, words. But you cannot be aware of the total process, see the fullness of that awareness, if you compare, if you choose, if you say `This is good', `That is bad'. So self-knowledge through awareness does not destroy, does not sap away initiative. You have no initiative. You just follow some powerful personality, somebody who, you think, is a leader. So long as you follow anybody, any authority, any book, you are not creative. You are following because of fear, and the understanding of fear is the beginning of creativity.
It is very difficult to understand fear. I am not talking of the cultivation of the opposite. The mind which is cultivating the opposite is still caught in fear. The awareness of which I have been talking is a choiceless state in which you can see things as they are and not as you wish them to be, in which you can know exactly what you are, without any choice; and that awareness is intelligence. The man who is constantly choosing is not an intelligent man. A man is truly intelligent when there is no choice; for, choice is the outcome of his background, and a free mind is not a mind of choice. Choice will exist as long as there is fear, choice will exist as long as you have any kind of authority at different levels of your consciousness. Therefore, to follow another is destructive. But to be completely aware is to be the light yourself.
Question: What is the true value of equality? Is equality a fact or an idea?
Krishnamurti: To the idealist, it is an idea, to the man who observes, it is a fact. There is inequality: you are much cleverer than I am; you have greater capacities; you love and I don't; you paint, you create, you think, and I am merely an imitator; you have riches, and I have poverty of being. There is inequality existing; that is a fact, whether you like it or not. There is also inequality of function; but unfortunately we have brought inequality of function into the inequality of status. We do not treat function as function, but use function to achieve power, position, prestige - which becomes status. And we are more interested in status than in function; so we continue with inequality.
There is not only the psychological inequality but also the obvious outward inequality. These are all facts. By no amount of legislation can one wipe out this inequality. But I think, if one can understand that there must be freedom psychologically from all authoritarian outlook, then equality has quite a different meaning. If one can wipe away the psychological inequality which one creates in oneself through status, through capacity, through ideas, through desire, through ambition, if there is a wiping away of that psychological struggle to be something, then there is a possibility of having love. But as long as I am striving, psychologically using function to become somebody, as long as there is a becoming of `the me', inequality of spirit will exist. Then there will always be a difference between me and the saviour, there will always be a gap between one who knows and the one who does not know; and there will also be the struggle to come to that state. So as long as there is no freedom, all this becoming will be used for the strengthening of the existing inequality, which is destructive.
Sir, how can a man who is ambitious, know equality or know love? We are all ambitious and we think it is an honourable state. From childhood we are trained to be ambitious, to succeed, to become somebody; and so inwardly we want inequality. Look at the way we treat people, how we respect some and we despise others. It you look into yourself inwardly, you will find that this sense of inequality creates the Master, the Guru, and you become the disciple, the follower, the imitator, the becomer. Inwardly, you establish inequality and dependence on another; therefore there is no freedom. There is always this division between man and man, because each one of us wants to be a success, to be somebody. always this division between man and man, because each one of us wants to be a success, to be somebody.
Only when you are inwardly as nothing because you are free, is there a possibility of your not using inequality for personal aggrandisement, and of bringing about order, peace. But to be as nothing is not a series of words; you have to be literally as nothing, inwardly; that can only be when the mind is not becoming.
Question: How did you find God?
Krishnamurti: How do you know, Sir, I have found God? Sirs, don't laugh. It is a serious question.
Sir, is God to be known? Is God to be found? Please listen. Is God something which is lost and is to be found? Can you recognise that reality, that God? If you can recognise it, you have already experienced it; if you have already experienced it, it is not new. If you can experience God or Truth, your experience is born out of the past; therefore, it is no longer truth; it is merely a projection of memory. The mind is the outcome of the past, of knowledge, of experience, of time; the mind can create God; it can say `I know this is God', `I know I have experienced God', `I know the voice of God speaks to me'. But that is all memory, that is the past reaction of your conditioning.
The mind can invent God and can experience God. The mind which is the result of the known, can project itself forward and create all the images, all the visions, which is still within the field of the known. God cannot be known. It is totally unknown. It cannot be experienced. If you experience it, it is no longer God, Truth. It is only when there is no experiencer, no experience, that reality can come into being. Only when the mind is in the state of the unknown, does the unknown come into being. Only when there is the wiping away of all experience, of all knowledge, is the mind truly still, and in that stillness which is immeasurable, that which has no name comes into being.
February 14, 1954.
Bombay 3rd Public Talk 14th February 1954
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