Bombay 8th Public Talk 13th March 1955
Krishnamurti: Surely, the most important thing that all of us have to do is to understand our life and not escape from life; but our whole pattern of thinking, it seems to me, is a process of escaping from our daily conflicts, from our daily miseries and responsibilities, from the utter chaos we find ourselves in. We have to understand this confusion, and not look for someone to help us to escape from it. The facts of our life are important, not the ideological escapes which all religions and most philosophies offer. We seem to find it extraordinarily difficult to live with deep fullness of thought, with intense, abundant love, and most of us are not concerned with that; we are concerned with trying to become something.
If you observe, all our religions, all our leaders, political and so-called spiritual, all our organizations, the worldly as well as the religious, offer ways of becoming something, either here or in the so-called world of the spirit. In striving, in struggling to become something, we have lost the beauty of living, and if we can understand the problem of effort, then perhaps we shall be able to understand our lives and live richly, worshipping the one day. with abundance, with deep passion, and not looking to tomorrow. It is because we do not understand the eternal present that we try to find something beyond the present, tomorrow. And what is it that prevents us from understanding our life, which is so fraught with sorrow, with conflict, with ambition, with this extraordinary division between man and man? Why is it that we do not understand this whole process of living and are always looking somewhere else for truth, for life, for something which is immeasurable, beyond the limits of thought? What is it that blocks our understanding? Is it that we want to find an answer away from the facts of everyday living, something which will be much more satisfactory, more permanent, something that will give us a sense of well being? What is it that each one of us wants out of life?
Can life offer anything but conflict and misery as long as we use life as a means to something else? Yet that is what we are all doing, is it not? We are using life, our daily living, which is an extraordinary thing in itself, to get somewhere, to reach heaven, to find truth, God; and the various philosophies, the religious teachers and systems offer the means of escape from our living and from the understanding of that living.
Now, it seems to me that the understanding of life is not a difficult problem at all, but what makes it difficult is the interpretation, the opinions, the values, the judgments that we have. It is this conditioning of the mind that creates wars, that makes for darkness and myths, and if we can actually wipe it away, not in the process of time, but from day to day, then I think we shall find that life is not a stepping stone to something greater. There is nothing greater. If I know how to live, then living itself is the truth. But it is not a question of how life should be lived. There is a vast difference between actual living and the what I should be. It is this curse of the ideal, that what should be, that has rotted our thinking. And is it possible to wipe away all our conditioning? I think that this is the real question, not how to improve our conditioning, or which is the better way of thinking. All thinking is a form of conditioning, whether it is Communistic, Socialistic, Capitalistic, Catholic, Hindu, or what you will. And if it is possible to wipe away this whole evaluating process, to retain memory without the condemnatory and justificatory values, then we shall see that life has a tremendous significance.
So, is it possible to wipe away the many values, the ambitions that one has set up for oneself, and live a life without effort? Effort, which is based on the evaluations of memory is a process of degeneration, it destroys the clarity of thinking and living. If you can listen without evaluation to what is being said here, then your problem is immediately solved, because you perceive the truth, not somebody's interpretation of the truth. But you cannot possibly act to free the mind from evaluation, from condemnation, justification, comparison, from all the accumulated knowledge which makes you think this way or that, for any pressure on thought is another deviation. All of us think under pressure, do we not? Our thinking is a process of pressure because we want to become something, positively or negatively, and we thereby bring about frustration. Pressure on thought leads to frustration, to misery, to sorrow; and is it possible to live without pressure?
Surely, that is our problem, is it not? Our problem is to live richly, happily, sweetly, without all this sorrow. Our lives are full of sorrow, and what most of us are concerned with is how to escape from sorrow; and if we cannot escape from it, we use sorrow as the means to truth, saying that we must suffer in order to understand that which is joy, that which is necessary. But sorrow does not lead to ecstasy, sorrow does not lead to life, to beauty, to light.
We are in sorrow because we are always trying to become something. If you watch your own mind you will see that every movement of thought is towards something or away from something, and so your life is a series of battles, conflicts and miseries. Don't agree with me, but watch your own life and see how miserable it is, how petty, mediocre, uncreative. The mind is limited, everlastingly occupied, and with that mind we try to find something which is beyond the whole process of thought. Realizing that, we say we must silence the mind, so we begin to discipline, to control, to shape the mind, thereby dissipating the energy which is so necessary if the mind is to be still. So we have made our life into a tortuous affair; and can we sweep away the things that are making us into thoughtless, uncreative, imitative machines, all the repetitive phrases which have very little meaning? Can we wipe all that away, be simple and begin anew?
It is possible to do that only when we do not think in terms of time. We are used to thinking in terms of time, in terms of becoming something, are we not? Being confused, in sorrow, without love, being full of the bitterness of frustration in the everlasting struggle to become something, we say, `I must have time to be free from all that', and we never put to ourselves the question, `Can I be free, not in time, but immediately?' It is necessary to ask fundamental questions always and never seek answers to them, because to fundamental questions there are no answers. The question itself, with its depth and clarity, is its own answer. But we never put fundamental questions, and one of the fundamental question is whether it is possible not to think in terms of time.
The mind is the result of time, of centuries of memory, it is the outcome of innumerable experiences and evaluations; and can that mind think, can that mind find, without becoming something? If you are good now, there is no problem; but if you are thinking in terms of becoming good, then the problem arises. If there is no love, the question is not how to love eventually, but what is love? If you are asking what love is, that is a fundamental question, and the answer is not to be sought, for it depends on the seriousness and depth of the questioner.
So, what is important in our daily living is not what to seek and what to find, but to stop all search, because in search there is pressure on thought. All search as we know it has a motive, and as long as there is a motive, an incentive in your search, what you are seeking is obviously the fulfilment of that motive; therefore it is no longer search.
Now, can the mind stop seeking? Surely, any movement of the mind in any direction has an incentive, and the incentive breeds its own result; therefore that result is not truth. Truth comes into being when the mind has no movement at all, when it is completely still.
But you see, the difficulty is that all of us have been educated wrongly, we have lost the initiative in thinking, we want to be helped, and probably most of you are here for that reason. Sirs, there is no help, and please realize this. There is no help - which does not mean that you must remain in despair. On the contrary. But the moment you begin seeking help you have lost the initiative, and initiative is the beginning of that extraordinary thing called creativity, which is truth. Remaining within the walls of your particular prison, the walls of your own thinking, your own conditioning, your own ambition and confusion, you want to be helped by an outside agency, and so you lose the initiative to jump over the wall. Him who you think will give you a hand to jump over the wall you call your guru, or the one who loves you, or the truth; but if you are helped you have lost that creativity. Life is a process of discovery, and in living from day to day you have to find out for yourself its beauty, its extraordinary depth; and it is because you do not look, because you want to be helped, that you lose the confidence, the initiative which is so essential to the process of discovery. The sense of individual discovery of what is truth is destroyed, taken away from you, so you read the Gita, you turn to Shankara, Buddha, or Christ, you follow the book or the leader, and having established authorities, you are lost. That is a simple fact. You are lost because you have leaders, philosophies, disciplines. If they did not exist you would not be lost, because then you would have to find out from day to day, rom moment to moment, you would have to discover for yourself.
There is a difference between self-confidence and the state of mind which is constantly inquiring without a motive. Self-confidence breeds aggression, arrogance, its action is a self-enclosing process; but for the mind that is in a state of constant inquiry there is no accumulation of discovery, and only such a mind can find that which is truth. The mind that is led can never discover what is truth, but only the mind that is free from society, from all conditioning, and is therefore in a state of revolution. That is why only the truly religious man is a revolutionary, not the reformer.
So it seems to me that our problem is not to seek that which you call truth or God, but to free the to mind from all conditioning as a Hindu, a Moslem, a Christian, or whatever it be, and also from the conditioning which comes about when you are ambitious, envious, all of which is within the pattern of society. Society is based on reformation, and reformation is continuation of the past; and it is only when the mind is aware of all this and understands it that there is a possibility of the coming into being of that for which we all hunger and without which life has not much meaning, which is the real. But for the experiencing of the real, there must be no experiencer. The experiencer is the result of the past, he is made up of many accumulations, of many memories, and as long as there is the experiencer, the thinker, there cannot be that which is truth. When the mind is free from the thinker, from the experiencer, from the `me' as accumulated memories with their evaluations - it is only then that the mind can be still.
Stillness of the mind is not to be thought of in terms of time. That stillness has no continuity, it is not a state to be achieved and continued or perpetuated. When the mind wants to continue an experience, there is the experiencer, and that experiencer is greed for the more. The more creates time, and as long as the mind is thinking in terms of the more, the real is not there.
Perhaps you have listened to all this quietly and easily. The mere hearing of the words is not the understanding of the words. But if you listen to the words without any effort to capture or experience something, if you just listen and do not grasp at it, then you will find that that very listening brings about in you an unconscious revolution. That is the only revolution, because a conscious revolution of desire, of effort, is merely reformation. If you can listen quietly, easily, without interpretation, to what is being said, and to everything about you then you will find that you are listening not only to that which is very near but also to things that are very far away, to that which has no measure, no space, that which is not caught in words, in time. But to listen to that which is beyond measure to that which is truth, the mind must be very quiet, and it cannot be quiet as long as it is seeking, because seeking is a form of agitation. When the mind is really still because it is caught up in the song of its own listening, only then the immeasurable, that which is eternal, comes into being.
Question: All our problems seem to be rooted in the dust of the past. Is it possible to be aware of the full content of the unconscious and die to it, so that the mind is fresh, new?
Krishnamurti: Sirs, it is very interesting to find out, when you ask a question, why you are asking it. What is the urge that makes one ask a question? Surely, it is not the answer to the question that is very important, but to find out why one seeks an answer, what is the motive, the incentive, and who the entity is that is seeking an answer, because on the motive of the question depends the answer, and if you don't know the motive, any answer is valueless. And the moment you begin to discover the motive, with all its extraordinary deviations, you are already in the field of self-knowledge, you are already understanding yourself in the mirror of your own thoughts, in the mirror of relationship; therefore you have no questions at all. Every problem is an issue in which truth can be discovered; but if you merely put a question and wait for an answer, wait to be helped, then you have lost the initiative in the action of discovery.
Please listen, because this is really important. I feel that happiness lies in our own hands, and the key to that happiness is self-knowledge - not the self-knowledge of Freud, or Jung, or Shankara, or somebody else, but the self-knowledge of your own discovery in your relationship from day to day. In the mirror of relationship you can discover everything without reading a book, and then you will not want leaders, then leaders become destroyers. Through observation, through awareness without effort of the movement of your own thought from day to day, as you get into a bus, while you are riding in a car, when you are talking to your servant, to your wife, to your children, to your neighbour - through observing all that as in a mirror you begin to discover how you talk, how you think, how you react, and you will find that in understanding yourself you have something which cannot be found in books, in philosophies, in the teachings of any guru. Then you are your own guru and your own disciple. But such observation needs attention, and there can be attention only when where is no incentive to alter that which you discover. As long as there is any intention to alter that which you discover, you are not totally aware. Total attention is the good, and there cannot be total attention it there is any sense of condemnation, comparison, or justification of that which you discover. Nobody can give you the key to the ending of sorrow, but it is in your own hands if you see yourself in the mirror of relationship without judging what you see. Then no religions, no books, no temples are necessary, for you will find that out of deep self-knowledge there comes a timeless thing, and therefore the creations of the mind have little importance. Then you will know love.
Now, the questioner says that all our problems seem to be rooted in the past, and he asks if it is possible to be fully aware of the whole content of the unconscious and die to it, so that the mind can be fresh, new.
To uncover the various depths of the unconscious there is the process of analysis and there is introspection. You can watch and evaluate everything you think and say, or you can analyze the mind, both conscious and unconscious, going step by step into all its deviations and interpreting every dream.
Now, it seems to me that all this is very tedious and not a true way to go about it; because, after all, in the process of introspection and in the process of analysis there is always the analyzer, the one who introspects, evaluates, so there is always a division in the mind. There is always this duality of the one who watches and that which is watched, the part of the mind which introspects analyzes, and the other part which is examined, analyzed; hence there is always interpretation, evaluation, conflict. And since this separation of the analyzer from the thing analyzed only leads to everlasting conflict, then what is the other way?
Perhaps it is not a way, because there is no way, no path to truth, there is no system of meditation, no discipline which will bring that extraordinarily creative thing into our daily life. But there is a possibility, if you really pay attention to something, of being in a state when there is no thinker at all, but only thinking. This is not just a theory of mind, it is a fact. Thought is fleeting, transient, in constant flux, and when there is total attention, thought can never create the permanent as the thinker, as the experiencer, as the one who has accumulated experience or property; there is only thinking and not the thinker.
Please listen and you will see how to put away this whole process of analysis and transcend the unconscious, thereby bringing into the so mind the freshness of youth, of innocency; because it is only the of innocent, the fresh mind that can receive the new, not the mind that is. tortured by analysis, that is shaped, controlled by discipline. So, there is only thinking, and thinking is transient; therefore all the things that are gathered by thinking the values of achievement, of ambition, of desire, are also transient. As long as there is accumulation as experience, as knowledge, as tradition, as values, there must be the unconscious with all its intimations of fear, of hidden motives; and the moment you are aware of that fact clearly, simply, the moment you really see that thinking is transient, in flux, all accumulation ceases.
After all, the unconscious is the accumulation of yesterday and the many thousands of yesterdays; it is not only the accumulation of centuries of tradition, but also the accumulation that is going on in the movement of the present, in the mind's contact with the present. All that is the unconscious. The mind clings to its accumulation because it thinks in that there is clarity, in that there is hope, the cessation o but that very accumulation is the cause of fear. In its accumulation the mind finds a sense of permanency; but the fact is that thought is transient, and whatever it accumulates is also transient. The mind may think that there is a permanent Atman, a permanent entity, permanent reality, but that very thinking of the permanent, is impermanent. Thought, being transient, can only create the impermanent, though it may deceive itself by believing that it has created the permanent If you see the truth of that simply, immediately you will free the whole content of the unconscious, and the mind will never accumulate again; and the moment the mind ceases to accumulate, ceases to continue as the accumulator, it is fresh young innocent, totally new.
You see, the difficulty is that we do not really want to be simple; we are lazy, therefore we invent the process of time. But if you are not lazy, if your mind is alert, if you see very simply that all thinking is transient, that thought has no abiding place, that there is no fixed point around which you can think, that the fixed point is created by thinking and is therefore as transient as the thinking which created it - if you really see that simply and directly, then you will find that all evaluation ceases. Then there is memory uncontaminated by values, and therefore the mind is fresh though it may remember.
Question: Truth or reality appears to be just around the corner when one is listening to you, but afterwards it is as far away and beyond reach as ever, and one feels utterly frustrated. What is one to do?
Krishnamurti: Why is it that when you are listening, as the questioner says, you seem to understand? Why is it that your mind is now very clear and simple? Is it that my voice is mesmerizing you? Or is it that both of us are earnest for an hour, earnest without any motive, not seeking, not wanting to achieve anything, but simply listening without any sense of being distant or near? Both of us are in a state of attention, are we not? Obviously, the speaker is not trying to convert you to anything, to any system, to any philosophy, he does not want you to join any organization, take up any discipline, and he is not offering you a thing. He is merely describing the fact, and the fact is much more significant than your opinion, than your interpretation or judgment of the fact. The speaker says, `Abstain from judgment, put away comparison, evaluation, and merely listen to the fact'. He is presenting the fact without wanting you to do anything about the fact. Just be aware that you are ambitious and that as long as there is ambition there must be fear, frustration, the agony of unfulfilment. That is a fact. As long as you are ambitious in any direction, in this world or in the so-called spiritual world, as long as you are gathering virtue as a means to heaven, fear is inevitable. Virtue as a means to heaven only leads to respectability, which is an ugly thing, a thing to be put aside.
So, what is important is to be aware, just to see the fact that ambition in any form breeds envy, antagonism, and that in its fulfilment there is fear. And you are seeing that fact now, as you are listening. But what happens? You see the truth of the fact and for the moment that fact is real and you cease to be ambitious, there is no fear; but when you go away from here you are caught again in the wheels of respectable society, so you have created a division. While listening to the fact you are free, but after going away from here there is contention, and then you say, `How am I to get back to the fact? I saw it very clearly yesterday, but now I don't see it.' That very wanting to see the fact is creating the disturbance, the gap. But if you are deeply aware that you are craving to see that fact again, which is another form of ambition, then you will find that you don't have to attend a single meeting. Then you are your own teacher and your own disciple; then life is open and you will meet it every day fully, richly, happily. But that is not possible if there is any form of accumulation. Just to see the fact without evaluation brings freedom. You cannot translate the fact, it is a fact whether you like it or not, and when you are confronted with the fact there is no problem.
Question: Love, death and God are three unknowables, but life is without meaning unless the significance of the three is understood. How can the mind comprehend what it cannot know?
Krishnamurti: The mind can comprehend only that which it knows, it cannot comprehend what it does not know. That is very simple. The mind can understand only that which it has gathered, that which it knows; because the mind itself is the result of the known, is it not? Your mind is now the result of the known, of many yesterdays, of many experiences of all the traditional memories, values, judgments, opinions, fears. Being the result of the known, how can such a mind know the unknown? It may invent, it may speculate, but its speculation is merely a reaction of the known; like any theory, like any Utopia, like any philosophy, it is the reaction, the response of what is known.
So, the mind can never know the unknowable, but that is what each one of you is trying to do. The mind is seeking the unknown through the known, and that is why your disciplines, your meditations are such frustrations; they have no meaning because you are moving from the known to the known. You never ask the fundamental question, which is: can the mind be free from the known and not pursue the unknown? Please listen. Can the mind, which is the result of the known, free itself from its own movement? Can the mind wipe away all its yesterdays, its yesterdays being the known? The known in contact with the present creates the future, which is also the result of the known.
So, can there be freedom from the known? That is our problem, not whether the mind can ever comprehend the unknown. Can the mind comprehend love? It can comprehend sensation, desire, how to curb a sen- sation, how to manipulate, torture, suppress, sublimate desire; but can the mind know love? Can the mind know that which is unknowable? Can the mind which measures time, distance, space, discover that which is immeasurable?
You want to know the unknowable, so your mind is always pursuing it, you read, you meditate, you smother yourself with ideas, with books, with leaders, and you never ask the question: can the mind ever be free from the known? Do you understand?
The known is made up of the things that you have learnt, the things that you have been taught, that you are a Brahmin or a non-Brahmin, a Hindu, a Christian, or a Moslem; it is made up of your desire to be the prime minister, to be a rich man, and so on. And can the mind, being the result of the known, do anything else but move everlastingly in the field of the known? Can this movement in the field of the known come to an end without any incentive? Because if there is an incentive, that is also the known.
Surely, as long as there is this movement of the known in the field of the known, it is impossible for the mind to know the unknown. So, can that movement of the known come to an end? That is the problem. If you really put that simple question without trying to find an answer, without wanting to get somewhere, and if you are earnest because it is a fundamental question to you, then you will find that the movement of the known comes to an end. That is all. With the cessation of the mind as the known, with its freedom from the movement of the known, there is the coming into being of the unknowable, the immeasurable, and in that there is an ecstasy, a bliss.
March 13, 1955.
Bombay 8th Public Talk 13th March 1955
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