Bombay 7th Public Talk 9nd March 1955
It seems to me that most of us are bewildered and confused, not only with regard to what we should do, but primarily in the matter of what is right thinking, and we are groping to find a way out of this confusion. We want a leader, someone to help us out of our difficulties. Being confused we are very gullible, and we are easily made to accept things that are irrational; or we turn to past teachers, to Christ or Buddha, to the Vedas, to the Bible, hoping to find an answer to our problems. But I think such a way of thinking makes confusion more confounded. Confusion comes, really, when we are incapable of looking at the fact without having an opinion about the fact. We never look at the fact directly, but always come to it with a conclusion, and the result is confusion. If we can see this one very simple thing, then I think we shall be able to understand the much more complex and comprehensive problem of what is religion, what is truth, what is God.
We are confused, and we do not know what we are confused about, or how confusion arises. Surely, confusion exists only when we are not capable of looking at the fact stripped of all evaluations, that is when we have not the capacity to recognize the fact without opinion, without the traditional values which we give to it. It is the traditional value, the opinion, the judgment with regard to the fact, that brings about confusion. If you look into it you will find that this is so. We are never able to look at a fact as it is, but always come to it with judgments, with values, and hence the confusion.
Now, can the mind look at the fact without the evaluating factor? The fact is always new, whereas the evaluating factor is always old. When the mind looks at the fact with the values, the opinions, the judgments it has acquired, which are all the outcome of the past, there is bound to be confusion.
So our problem is to look at the fact without evaluation; and that requires a great sense of humility, does it not? But none of us are humble; we all have values, we do not come to the fact without knowing. Not knowing is a state of humility, and I think this is very important to understand. Knowledge has nothing to do with wisdom. Wisdom comes into being without knowledge, that is, only when the mind has no evaluating factor, when the mind is not the entity that evaluates, that judges, that compares. Humility is necessary to understand a fact, and to have this sense of humility, there must be total freedom from all knowledge; for knowledge is the process of evaluation, and the fact being the new, when you approach it with a mind that is burdened with knowledge, out of that comes confusion.
Now, if the mind can be stripped instantaneously of all the past, so that it is able to meet the present without the burden of knowledge, then there is no confusion. It is like a doctor observing the patient; he does not come to the patient with foregone conclusions, with his mind already made up as to what illness the patient has. But most of us approach the fact with conclusions. We have certain beliefs, certain dogmas, certain formulas, and our approach to the problem, how to deal with it, is already clearly laid out in our minds; so our minds are never fresh, never able to approach the problem anew.
We say that we need time to free the mind from all accumulative, self-protective knowledge, to unburden ourselves of all sorrow, misery, strife. But I do not think time is necessary at all. On the contrary, time is merely the outcome of our not meeting the fact without knowledge. For centuries the mind has been acquiring knowledge with which to meet the fact, and has thereby introduced confusion. So, can the mind be free from all the values it has accumulated and meet the challenge anew, the challenge being the fact? It is because we do not meet the fact fully, without conclusions, that there is confusion, there is sorrow. To be free of sorrow we say we must have time, and therefore we have developed philosophies, disciplines, various ways and means to overcome it. But sorrow is the result of this very process of meeting the fact with a conclusion.
So, to be free from sorrow, must not the mind approach the fact without a belief, without a conclusion? That is, must there not be immediate freedom from memory as the evaluating factor? When I meet you, for example, if I already know you, I do so with certain values, opinions, judgments about you which memory has retained and which are based on my previous experiences with you. Now, can I look at you, have the memory of you, and yet be free of all judgment? Can I meet you, know who you are, and yet have no values, no opinions concerning you? Surely, it is our values, our judgments that bring confusion, sorrow; and being confused, being in sorrow, we say we must have time to overcome this sorrow. But is that so? Will time resolve our sorrow?
Do you understand, sirs, what sorrow is? Sorrow is our incapacity to meet the fact completely, without judgment, without belief. It is because we do not meet the fact afresh and move with it that there is sorrow. Being in sorrow, as most people are, we want time to be free from sorrow, and so we have various philosophies, schools of thought, disciplines, meditations, to overcome it. I do not think sorrow can be overcome through, any discipline, through time, for sorrow is the result and not the cause, and as long as you are merely dealing with the symptom and not with the cause, there must be the prolongation of confusion, conflict and sorrow.
So, can sorrow be overcome immediately? I think this is an important question to put to oneself, because the man who is happy is not antisocial. It is the man who is frustrated, confused, miserable, and also the man who is seeking God, truth - it is such people who are antisocial, because truth cannot be found as long as the mind is seeking. So, for the man who is seeking truth, as well as for the man who is confused, who is in sorrow, the problem is: can the cause of sorrow be dissipated immediately? Is there an entirely different way of looking at it, thinking about it, so that it can be understood, not in some distant future, but now? Surely, there is the ending of sorrow only when I free my mind from all evaluation, from all comparison, from all social sanctions. strip it of all its accumulations, so that it is in a state of humility, the state in which the mind is aware and knows nothing, and is therefore able to look at the fact without judgment.
After all, what do we mean by religion? Religion is not belief, it is not the capacity to quote sacred books, it is not the worship of an image or a symbol, it has nothing to do with the performance of a particular ritual. Religion is that state of mind in which there is no longer any search, in which there is no longer any movement which is a cause. And surely, being so confused. our problem is not to be resolved by going back to the past, to what Shankara, Buddha. Christ, or your own guru has said, but only by being able to meet life, with all its challenge, anew, afresh; and you cannot meet the challenge, the fact in that way as long as the mind is burdened with any evaluation. It is meeting the fact with evaluation that creates confusion and sorrow. So, can the mind have memory and yet be still, thus meeting the fact without evaluation? Can the mind be free of all its many yesterdays?
Now, there is no way to be free, is there? There is no method, because the very method imprisons the mind and therefore the mind is no longer free. The pursuit of the method, of the `how', has a cause, and so long as there is a cause, an incentive, a motive, the mind is incapable of meeting the fact anew, and hence there is confusion and sorrow. So there is no way, no method, no system to free the mind.
Please listen to this without agreeing or disagreeing. I am not saying anything which you have to think about in a complicated manner or make a philosophy of. I am just describing to you a fact, and if you don't meet directly the fact which I am describing, you are going to be more confused. I say there is no way of freeing the mind, no method, because any method, any discipline, any practice binds the mind, conditions it further. When you suffer, all that you are concerned with is to find a way out, and the `way out' is the method, the system, the discipline, the practice with which you meet the fact; therefore you are incapable of understanding the fact, so your confusion and sorrow increase.
What is important, then, is to see the truth in a flash, to be so sensitive that the fact instantly reveals the truth. But that requires a great deal of humility; and the man who has experienced, who has studied, the man who worships and practices, has no humility at all, therefore his leadership, his advice, his learning, bring more sorrow, more confusion to the world.
So our question is, can your mind now, at this minute while you are listening to me, be entirely striped of all the evaluating factors, of all the many yesterdays, so that it can see what is truth? The perception of truth is not a state of experience, because to experience there must be the experiencer, the evaluator. Please listen, it is very simple. As long as there is an experiencer, who is the evaluator, there is no perception of what is truth. Truth has no continuity; it is only the evaluator, the observer, the experiencer, that has continuity, not truth. That which continues is the process of evaluation.
Now, as one is sitting here quietly of an evening, or when one is walking or taking the bus, is it possible to see all this vast confusion and sorrow in one's own heart and mind, and, realizing the whole process of sorrow, not give it soil in which to take root, the soil of knowledge, evaluation, but look at the facts without judgment? Which means, really, looking at the facts in all humility. If you say, `I must be humble, I must remove the previous understanding from my mind and be free of all it knowledge, evaluation', then the `how' becomes important and you will never solve the problem. But if you see the truth now, as you are listening, that the mind is free from sorrow only when it looks at the fact without any judgment, without any evaluation, that is, when it meets the challenge completely, totally - if you see the truth of that immediately, then you will find there is the cessation of sorrow. It does not matter whether one is learned or ignorant, if one can just listen to what is being said and see the truth of it, then that very act of listening is the liberation from sorrow. But the difficulty is for most of us that we want an experience of joy or ecstasy to continue; having seen clearly, we want to have an abiding sense of clarity, and the desire for the `more' is the beginning of vanity. It is only in complete humility - which is a state in which you know nothing, a state in which there is no experiencer, no evaluator - that the mind can instantaneously receive the truth. There is no path to truth, no system by which you can attain it. You may read the Gita, the Bible, all the sacred books in the world, or even Marx, but none of them will lead you to truth. The mind that has achieved, that knows, that has practised and experienced, that is full of its own knowledge - such a mind can never find truth or God, but only the very simple mind, the mind that is really humble and therefore able to meet the fact without any evaluation. What is important is to look at life, at every movement of life, without the burden of many yesterdays, thereby ceasing to create confusion and sorrow.
Question: How can I be free from fear?
Krishnamurti: What is fear? Fear exists only in relationship to something, it does not exist by itself. Fear comes into being in relationship to an idea, to a person, with regard to the loss of property, and so on. One may be afraid of death, which is the unknown. There is fear of public opinion, of what people will say, fear of losing a job, fear of being scolded, nagged. There are various forms of fear, deep and superficial, but all fear is in relationship to something; so when we say, `Can I be free from fear?', it really means, `Can I be free from all relationship?' Do you understand? If it is relationship that is causing fear, then to ask if one can be free from fear is like asking if one can live in isolation. Obviously, no human being can live in isolation. There is no such thing as living in isolation, one can live only in relationship. So, to be free from fear one must understand relationship, the relationship of the mind to its own ideas, to certain values, the relationship between husband and wife, between man and his property, between man and society. It I can understand my relationship with you, then there is no fear; because fear does not exist by itself, it is self-created in relationship. Our problem, then, is not how to overcome fear, but to find out first of all what our relationship is now, and what is right relationship. We do not have to establish right relationship, because in the very understanding of relationship, right relationship comes into being.
I think it is important to see that nothing can live in isolation. Even though you may become a sannyasi, put on a loin cloth and seclude yourself, isolate yourself in a belief, no human being can live in isolation. But the mind is pursuing isolation in the self-enclosure of `my experience', `my belief', `my wife', `my husband', `my property', which is a process of exclusion. The mind is seeking isolation in all its relationships, and hence there is fear. So our problem is to understand relationship.
Now, what is relationship? When you say, `I am related', what does that mean? Apart from the purely physical relationship through contact, through blood, through heredity, our relationship is based on ideas, is it not? We are examining what is, not what should be. Our relationship at present is based on ideas, on ideation as to what we think is relationship. That is, our relationship with everything is a state of dependency. I believe in a certain idea because that belief gives me comfort, security, a sense of well-being, it acts as a means of disciplining, controlling, holding my thought in line. So my relationship to that idea is based on dependence, and if you remove my belief in it I am lost, I do not know how to think, how to evaluate. Without the belief in God, or in the idea that there is no God, I feel insecure, so I depend on that belief.
And is not our relationship with each other a state of psychological dependency? I am not talking about physiological interdependence, which is entirely different. I depend on my son because I want him to be something which I am not. He is the fulfilment of all my hopes, my desires; he is my immortality, my continuation. So my relationship with my son, with my wife, with my children, with my neighbours, is a state of psychological dependency, and I am fearful of being in a state in which there is no dependence. I do not know what that means, therefore I depend on books, on relationship, on society, I depend on property to give me security, position, prestige. And if I do not depend on any of these things, then I depend on the experiences which I have had, on my own thoughts, on the greatness of my own pursuits.
Psychologically, then, our relationships are based on dependence, and that is why there is fear. The problem is not how not to depend, but just to see the fact that we do depend. Where there is attachment there is no love. Because you do not know how to love, you depend, and hence there is fear. What is important is to see that fact, and not ask how to love, or how to be free from fear. You may momentarily forget your fear through various amusements, through listening to the radio, through reading the Gita or going to a temple, but they are all escapes. There is not much difference between the man who takes to drink and the man who takes to religious books, between those who go to the supposed house of God and those who go to the cinema, because they are all escaping. Whereas, if as you are listening you can really see the fact that where there is dependency in relationship there must be fear, there must be sorrow, that where there is attachment there can be no love - if as you are listening now you can just see that simple fact and comprehend it instantaneously, then you will find that an extraordinary thing takes place. Without refuting, accepting, or giving opinions about it, without quoting this or that, just listen to the fact that where there is attachment there is no love, and where there is dependency there is fear. I am talking of psychological dependency, not of your dependence on the milkman to bring you milk, or your dependence on the railway, or on a bridge. It is this inward psychological dependency on ideas, on people, on property, that breeds fear. So, you cannot be free from fear as long as you do not understand relationship, and relationship can be understood only when the mind watches all its relationships, which is the beginning of self-knowledge.
Now, can you listen to all this easily, without effort? Effort exists only when you are trying to get something, when you are trying to be something. But if, without trying to be free from fear, you are able to listen to the fact that attachment destroys love, then that very fact will immediately free the mind from fear. There can be no freedom from fear as long as there is no understanding of relationship, which means, really, as long as there is no self-knowledge, The self is revealed only in relationship. In observing the way I talk to my neighbour, the way I regard property, the way I cling to belief, or to experience, or to knowledge, that is, in discovering my own dependency, I begin to awaken to the whole process of self-knowledge.
So, how to overcome fear is not important. You can take a drink and forget it. You can go to the temple and lose yourself in prostration, in muttering words, or in devotion, but fear waits around the corner when you come out. There is the cessation of fear only when you understand your relationship to all things, and that understanding does not come into being if there is no self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is not something far away, it begins here, now, in observing how you treat your servants, your wife, your children. Relationship is the mirror in which you see yourself as you are. If you are capable of looking at yourself as you are without any evaluation, then there is the cessation of fear, and out of that comes an extraordinary sense of love. Love is something that cannot be cultivated; love is not a thing to be bought by the mind. If you say, `I am going to practise being compassionate', then compassion is a thing of the mind, and therefore not love. Love comes into being darkly, unknowingly, fully, when we understand this whole process of relationship. Then the mind is quiet, it does not fill the heart with the things of the mind, and therefore that which is love can come into being.
Question: You postulate an understanding that is absolute. To you there is no place for gradualists. How can we with our limited minds grasp your teachings?
Krishnamurti: Sir, we have invented this process of gradualism for our convenience. When you go to a doctor to have an operation, do you say that the thing which necessitates operation will be eradicated gradually? When you have a bad tooth, do you say that it will gradually be extracted? You go to the dentist for an immediate extraction, or you go to the surgeon to be put on a table and cut open. But you see, we do not think in those terms. We want both pleasure and pain, and that is why gradualism exists. We have invented a philosophy of life, a so-called way of love, that gives us both pleasure and pain, and hence the conflict between good and evil. We say, `I am violent, and I must have time to overcome that violence', therefore we have the ideal of nonviolence, and through a process of gradualism we hope eventually to become non-violent, which is just a lot of nonsense. Either we are or we are not violent, there is no becoming non-violent.
Now, being violent, what is important is to have the capacity to deal with violence immediately and not give it time to take root in the mind and become a problem. Do you understand, sirs? To be free of violence one has to meet violence within oneself and understand it immediately, and that immediacy of understanding is not possible if one thinks in terms of time, which is the soil in which the problem takes root. But not having the capacity to meet our violence, our greed, we invent a way of dealing with the problem which has no reality, which is not a fact, it is just an ideation.
So, is it possible for you and me to meet anger, violence, or whatever it be, without making it into a problem, that is, without giving soil in the mind for the problem to take root? The problem comes into being only when we are not capable of dealing with the fact immediately, and therefore we give soil for that issue to take root, which then becomes a problem. When this problem arises, we say, "How am I to deal with it?', and so we have invented gradualism, the idea that gradually we shall get rid of it. I hope I am making myself clear.
If I am capable of dealing instantly with anger, with jealousy, with violence, if I am able to meet it immediately, factually, then there is no problem. The problem arises only when, not knowing how to meet that feeling, I give it shelter in the mind, soil in which to take root, and insist that to be free from it gradualism is necessary.
Our question is, then, can you and I deal with the fact immediately without making it into a problem? Please listen. Can I just look at the fact of anger, envy, ambition, or what you will, without any evaluation, without condemning or accepting it? That is, can I look at anger without giving it a name? There is a feeling, that feeling is immediately termed as anger, and the very word `anger' is a condemnation. So, can I look at that feeling without naming it, without condemning, judging, or comparing it, without identifying myself with it? That means, really, looking at the fact and retaining the memory of the fact without all the evaluating factors.
Let us approach the question differently. The questioner says, `You talk about an absolute understanding, but we cannot understand immediately, we need time'. Let us find out if that is so. You think somewhere there is God, truth, that extraordinary thing which man seeks everlastingly, and that between that thing and the `me' there is a gap, a thick wall of vanity, greed, ambition, fear, and so on. So you say, `I must have time to tear down the wall, to wear it out, or to make it transparent to that beauty, that goodness'. But I say time will never do it. Whether you have one life or a hundred lives, as long as you are thinking in terms of time you will never do it. All your sacred books, all your gurus have said that you must have time; but who is the entity that is taking time to polish the wall day after day, or to pull it down, who is it that says, `There is distance between me and that reality'? That very entity is the creator of time, because he wants to achieve something and therefore thinks in terms of `getting there'. So he has created this idea, this illusion that there is space between the `me' and that reality, and having created this space, this gap which is time, he asks, `How am I to bridge it?'
Please see this. Any movement on the part of the mind towards that which it calls reality, creates time, and therefore it can never bridge the gulf. As long as there is the entity who says, `I am going to discipline, control myself, I am going to practise virtue every day in order to break down the wall between myself and reality', that very entity is creating the wall, the distance between itself and reality. Virtue is essential, for virtue brings freedom, order, but virtue alone does not lead to reality. Virtue is recognition by society, and to live in society you must have virtue. Perhaps many of you are virtuous, good, kindly, compassionate, unassuming, and yet you have not that extraordinarily creative thing without which virtue has very little meaning, it is merely a social oil which enables society to run smoothly.
So, as long as the mind thinks in terms of becoming; as long as it says, `I am here and I must get there'; as long as it wants to be something the governor, the big executive; as long as it says, `I am going to fulfil, reach God', it must have time. Now, if you can see and understand this fact, then at that moment you are not, you are nothing, and for you there is no time. Then there is no gap, there is no `me' and `that reality', but only a state of being, and out of that comes an extraordinary joy. Then there is no striving, no dissipation of energy. You must have an abundance of energy, but not through control. If you say, `I am going to take the vow of celibacy, I am going to discipline myself in order to have more energy', that is merely another bargain. Those are all the ways and tricks of the mind in order to achieve something, to get somewhere. The person who has taken the vow of celibacy knows no love, because he is concerned with himself and his own fruition.
So, what is important is to see all this, how the mind deceives itself, how the mind has created the distance between itself and that reality which it thinks exists. As long as there is any movement of the mind towards a goal there must be gradualism, there must be time. Merely to listen to this fact, to meet and understand it in oneself, frees the mind from time. But you can listen to it, understand it only when there is no sense of becoming, when you don't want to be anything. only when your mind is stripped of all experiences - and it is as you are listening now. You are not being mesmerized by me, you are quiet because you are listening to something that is true. And if you can listen quietly even for a minute, for a second, then you will find that that very quietness, the very silence of that second has within it the whole abundance, the richness and the beauty and the goodness of truth. In that moment there is complete attention without any motive, and that complete attention does not wish to have something more, it does not wish to be better. That complete attention is the good, and therefore there is no better.
I say that the mind can be free immediately, and that there is no gradual process by which to free the mind through time. It is only the mind which is very quiet that can be free, and that quietness cannot be purchased by the accumulation of knowledge or virtue, it cannot be known through any discipline or sacrifice. It is only when you are listening to everything in life, when you are watching in the mirror of relationship the reflection of your own thoughts, wants, greeds, envies, purposes, just watching it without acceptance or condemnation - it is only then that the mind becomes really still. For the mind to be still there must be abundant energy and therefore the cessation of conflict. It is only when conflict ceases at every level that the mind is still. When there is no dissipation of energy through conflict, through effort, through discipline, the mind becomes totally quiet, and that very quietness is the abundance of energy. Only then does that reality which cannot be put into words, which has no symbol, that something which cannot be described or speculated upon, come into being.
March 9, 1955.
Bombay 7th Public Talk 9nd March 1955
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