Sydney 3rd Public Talk 16th November, 1955
Most of us, I think, want some authority to mould our lives, our whole being. Because in ourselves we are very uncertain, confused, we turn to others for guidance and try to find the right person or leader to look up to in the conduct of our lives. We think that others know better or know more, and so in our desire to find out if there is a reality, a permanent happiness, a state of bliss, we gradually create authority.
Now, it seems to me that this process is totally wrong, if I may use that word, because if we could find the light in ourselves, then there would be no necessity for any authority whatsoever, for any saviour or master, for any teacher, and that is what I would like to discuss this evening.
This is one of the most fundamental issues in our lives, is it not? We invariably look for a teacher, for a guide, to shape the conduct of our lives; and the moment we look to another for a mode of action, for a way of living, we create authority and are bound by that authority. We attribute to that person great wisdom, great knowledge; our attitude is, "I am ignorant but you know, you are more experienced, therefore tell me what to do." This attitude invariably breeds the sense of fear, does it not? And does it not also bring about the disciplining of oneself according to the authority of an idea or a person?
So, where there is authority created by oneself there must also be the desire to achieve what that authority offers, or what one wants from that authority. Therefore one begins to discipline oneself in order to achieve, through a gradual process of the mind, what one thinks is true. To me this whole process is totally false, because that which is true, whatever name you may like to give it, cannot come into being through any control of the mind, through any form of discipline, or through following any authority. What we are seeking in this process is essentially self-perpetuation, which is not the search for truth at all. It is merely the continuation of one's own gratification in a more subtle form.
Surely, as long as we follow, imitate, have an authority, the mind can never be free; for freedom is at the beginning, not at the end. This extraordinary thing which may be called truth, love, or what you will, cannot come into being through any form of obedience to authority, and there are different types of authority. There is the authority of another who is supposed to know, and whose authority the so-called individual may reject, but there is also the authority of experience, of memory, which is much more subtle.
Being confused, out of my confusion I look to another, to a teacher, to a book, to an organization, to bring me peace or to help me find out what is true; but when I am confused my search will also be confused, and my action will be the outcome of this confusion. So what is important, surely, is to free the mind from all sense of authority, from all giving of value to someone else's experience and therefore imitating, following.
Now, is it possible to find this light within oneself and not look to another? I think it is possible, and that it is the only way. There is no other way, and it requires considerable insight, arduous investigation into oneself. The disciplining of the mind, the following of various teachers, the practice of yoga - all these things are empty, utterly futile to a man who is really serious, because there is self-knowledge, the real thing, only through oneself, it cannot be found through another.
But most of us are unwilling to undertake the arduous task of looking into ourselves, so we turn to somebody else who will help us out of our confusion, out of our misery, thereby further increasing our confusion and misery. This love, this truth, or what name you will, obviously cannot be found through another. So, can we as individual human beings discover directly for ourselves what is true and what is false? I think it is very important to ask ourselves this question.
To find out for ourselves what is true, must we not put aside all authority? Must we not discard the authority of the book, the authority of the priest, the authority of the Masters, of the Saviours, of the various religious teachers, of those who practise yoga, and all the rest of it? Which means, really, that we must be able to stand alone, without support, without looking to another for any kind of encouragement. It is like taking a journey where there is no guide. Where there is no guide the mind must be extraordinarily alert to every form of deception, and it is only when one has totally put aside all sense of authority, all desire for guidance, that one is capable of looking into oneself without fear. It is fear that makes us turn to others for guidance.
We deeply want to be secure, do we not? We want to be certain that we shall arrive, that we shall gain this state of immortality, of truth, of love, of peace. Because we are uncertain of ourselves and of our capacity to find, we look to another to guide us, and in the very process of looking to another we create authority, which brings into being the practice of discipline, and all the rest of it.
So, can we undertake by ourselves the journey to find out? In the very asking of this question there is the beginning of freedom, and it is only the free mind that can discover, not the mind that is bound by tradition, by authority, by discipline and control. The mind that is free is capable of facing itself completely as it is, and it is only such a mind that can find out what is true, not the mind that is frightened and therefore follows, imitates.
This evening, instead of answering questions, I would like if I may to suggest that we discuss what I have just said. In discussing together you and I must stick to the point and not deviate or make long speeches. We are trying to find out through discussion, not whether you are right or I am right, or whether we should or should not follow, but the truth of this whole problem of following, and to do this we must not just make statements. We must together investigate the problem, which is very complex, because our whole life is a process of imitation from childhood till we die. Society, tradition, the established values, all make us conform, copy. To function in society, you most obviously conform to the pattern of society, you have to adjust yourself to its values. But the truly religious man is free of society, society being the values of greed, envy, ambition, success, fear.
Now, this evening can we discuss or verbally exchange what each one of us thinks about this particular matter of following, disciplining, imitating? I think it would be worth while if we could discuss it easily, spontaneously, freely, so that you yourself experience the truth of the fact that the mind invents stages as the one who knows and the one who does not know, as the master and the disciple, the leader and the follower. As long as we think in terms of stages, time, achievement, there must be this illusory idea of following somebody. Where there is love, reality, there is obviously not the teacher and the follower; and in talking it over together, can we directly experience this state? I do not think it is very difficult. It is difficult only when we dogmatically or obstinately assert that we must follow, that there must be a compulsion to hold us to a particular pattern of behaviour, otherwise we shall be lost. Any person who makes such an assertion is obviously not inquiring, he is merely accepting a certain tradition and is afraid to face himself as he is.
So, let us see if we can discuss this matter, and if I may I shall stop those who are not really sticking to the point. We are trying to find out if the mind can actually free itself now, as we are discussing, from this fear of not achieving truth or happiness, which drives it to follow somebody, to set up another as the saviour whom it must obey. This is the whole point which we are discussing.
Questioner: Yes, sir, it can be done if we have the proper authority to help us, just as we have medical authority to tell us what to do and what not to do when we are ill.
Krishnamurti: Just a minute. You have medical authority, but you do not put the doctor on a pedestal, you do not worship him, you do not mould your mind according to his dictates. This is a difficult problem. We are trying to find out how your mind or my mind functions, and whether it can be free from the fear of not achieving an end.
Questioner: Must one lead a solitary life?
Krishnamurti: I am not suggesting that you should lead a solitary life. You cannot live in isolation. But for most of us all relationship is conflict, and as we do not know how to deal with it, we look to somebody to help us.
Questioner: If I am stupid, what then?
Krishnamurti: What actually takes place when I am stupid? Do I ever discover that I am stupid, or am I told I am stupid? And what is the immediate reaction? I want to be clever, so I make an effort to be more clever, more intelligent than I am; and the moment I demand the more I have already set a goal which inculcates fear in me. Whereas, if I am capable of looking at what I am, at the fact that I am stupid, surely that very looking at what is brings about a transformation of what is. A stupid mind can never be intelligent through trying to be, but the very recognition that it is stupid has already brought a transformation in itself. That is an obvious fact, is it not, sir?
Questioner: It merely means that the mind has a knowledge that it never had before.
Krishnamurti: What do you mean, sir?
Questioner: Previously it thought it was stupid, now it knows it is stupid.
Krishnamurti: Please watch your own reactions. If I realize that I am stupid, the immediate reaction is that I must do something about it, so I strive, I make an effort. Whereas, if I acknowledge I am stupid without trying to do something about it, that very acknowledgment or awareness of my stupidity actually brings a change within, does it not?
Questioner: May I say that it does not entail fear to find joy, peace and security in following the Saviour.
Krishnamurti: All right, why do we follow at all? This is complex, it is a deep psychological problem, so let us go into it simply. Do we follow anybody? If we do, why do we follow?
Questioner: Because the other is much more clever than we are.
Questioner: Sir, may I with great respect and deference ask you please to qualify what you mean by the mind.
Krishnamurti: That is a question which is not to the point, if I may humbly point it out. We follow, do we not? We are following a book, a saviour, a teacher, a guru, an ideal, a standard. Or is this not so?
Questioner: You say, sir, that if we seek truth we may not seek outside authority. What then is the first step?
Krishnamurti: I am going to come to that soon, but first let us see what we actually do. We follow, do we not? Why?
Questioner: Because we are afraid. It seems that there is a certain gratification involved in following.
Krishnamurti: We are not yet discussing the process of following. The fact is that we follow. Why? Please do not answer me. I am asking in order for you to find out for yourself, not to verbalize and tell me. Please, what we are doing here is very important. If we can do this really intelligently it will lead us to great depths, because we are finding out how our minds operate, what our thinking process is.
The fact is that we follow. Why do we follow? Please do not answer me immediately. Investigate, go into it. Why does one follow? There are different types of following. You follow what the doctors say, what your boss in the office says, or you are being dominated by your wife, by your husband, by the neighbour. You follow tradition, the edicts of society, the opinion of another. You follow the beliefs and dogmas of a religious organization, or you follow what the priests say, what the sacred books say. This is what we are actually doing, and we never question why we do it. Now, I am asking myself, and I hope you are asking yourself, why does one follow?
Questioner: If through introspection I realize why I follow, then maybe I shall cease to follow and shall act in a way which I feel is correct and free. Yet the freedom which I practise may be harmful to somebody else.
Krishnamurti: Let us go into this slowly, if you do not mind. The fact is that I follow, and I want to know why I follow, the inward nature of it. I want to unearth, open up the psychological factor that makes me follow. One follows in a worldly sense for obvious reasons. Having a job, I know I must do what the boss says. This much is fairly clear. But what we are discussing is, why do I psychologically follow another?
Questioner: Do you feel that you have experienced this freedom?
Krishnamurti: I can answer that question, but it is irrelevant, is it not? If I say "yes" or "no", what value will it have? How can you judge? You can only judge according to your standards, according to your psychological inclination or disinclination. But please, this is irrelevant, it is unimportant. What we are trying to find out directly, each one of us, is why we follow psychologically. If we go slowly, step by step, we shall begin to see the process of our own thinking, what is taking place in our minds, in our hearts, of which we are now unconscious.
Questioner: Are you suggesting that by analysing his experiences the individual can find freedom of expression?
Krishnamurti: No, sir, I am not suggesting that at all. I question the whole accumulation of what we call experience, whether it has any validity at all, because experience is merely a conditioned response. But I don't want to go into that for the moment.
We are asking ourselves why we follow. Is it habit?
Questioner: I do not follow. I lead the way.
Krishnamurti: Then you are a leader. If you are a leader psychologically, there must be a follower for you to lead, and he who is a leader is also a follower.
Questioner: Sir, don't you realize that to follow a person is not necessarily to be his follower? One is not his follower if one just treats him as a milestone.
Krishnamurti: I am trying to find out why you or I follow psychologically.
Questioner: Are we not seeking personal proof?
Krishnamurti: You are jumping so far ahead.
Questioner: When the intuition is aroused we do not follow, we obey what the intuition says.
Krishnamurti: Please, when we talk about intuition, the inner voice, what do we mean by that? The inner voice may be entirely false. Please, I am not trying to destroy your intuition. I am trying to find out whether intuition is true or false. Surely, until you understand the whole process of desire, conscious as well as unconscious, you cannot rely on intuition, because desire may bring you to certain "facts" which are not facts at all. The unconscious desire to be or not to be something makes you accept or reject, therefore you must first understand the whole process of your desire and not say, "Intuition tells me this is true."
Let me take a very simple example and you will see it. We all die, fortunately or unfortunately, and my desire for continuity is very strong, as it is in most people. When I hear the word "reincarnation", my intuition says, "Yes, that is true." But is it my intuition, or my desire? My desire to continue is so embedded, so strong, that it takes the form of so-called intuition, which has no meaning at all. Whereas, if I can understand this extraordinary thing called desire, then death will have quite a different significance.
Well, let us come back. Why do you or I psychologically follow another? Are we aware that we are following, not only a person, but a teaching or an ideal? I have set up an ideal of the perfect man, the perfect life, the perfect goal, and I follow that. Why? Please do not merely listen to me, but look at the operation of your own mind. You see, you are probably disinclined to put this question to yourself, because the moment you inquire why you follow, many things in your daily life, your Masters, your teachers, guides, philosophers, your books and ideals can no longer be accepted, they have to be investigated, which means that there must be the freedom to investigate, to find out.
So, why do you have an ideal? Why do you follow? Obviously, you follow in order to reach something. You have guides, have you not? Being confused, you have some teacher - he may be in India, or standing on the platform now, or it may be somebody you know around the corner - who tells you what to do. Please see this. One is confused, miserable, in conflict within oneself, so one goes to somebody.
Questioner: It may be that one has an inferiority complex.
Krishnamurti: It is not a question of inferiority or superiority complexes. I am looking at the fact that I am confused. I am confused and you are not confused, at least I think you are not confused, so in my confusion I follow you - you being the Master, the Saviour, the leader. My choice is made in confusion, therefore whoever I choose is also confused, including the politicians. So, being confused, what am I to do? Surely, I have to understand my confusion and not look to somebody else to help me out of it.
Questioner: But one can follow and still not be confused.
Krishnamurti: Will I follow if I am not confused?
Questioner: One can follow in the sense that one agrees with the other's phiIosophy.
Krishnamurti: Sorry, you are missing my point.
Questioner: I am not confused.
Krishnamurti: Then you are out of the picture. Sir, this is not a debate. Please take this seriously, it is not a laughing matter. If I am not confused, then I do not need to follow anybody; then I am my own light, something has happened to me which puts me out of this chaos. But most of us are not in that position. We are confused, we have great sorrow, insoluble problems, and we look to somebody to help us out of our confusion; but that very choice is the product of confusion, so the result is greater confusion. This is fairly obvious, is it not?
Now, if I do not follow, if I do not go to another but say, "Let me understand this confusion", then what happens? What happens when I simply acknowledge that I am confused? I don't rush about looking for someone to help me. I see there is confusion, and I remain with it. I know I have created this confusion and that no one else can resolve it - which does not mean that I am cut off, isolated, but I am fundamentally alone, and my whole attitude is that I am willing to discuss with another. I do not follow any authority because I want to solve this problem of confusion, so I begin to tackle it, to find out what confusion is.
So the problem is, why do we follow? Is it that we are afraid? The Master, the teacher, the priest, or the sacred book says there is a state of bliss, and we want to achieve it; therefore we follow, we practise a system of yoga, and all the rest of it. So, as long as one has an urgent demand to be something psychologically, as long as one wants to arrive at a state in which one will be unconfused, happy, secure, one must obviously follow. Is that not clear?
Please, you are not merely listening to what I am saying, you are being aware of your own confusion, of your own desire to be something.
Questioner: We follow somebody who we think knows more than we do.
Krishnamurti: You see, that is just it. You follow somebody because he is supposed to be more perfect, which means there is a distance, a gap between you and the other. Is this so, or is it a false creation of the mind? When there is love do you say, "He loves more and I less"? There is only this state of being, is there not? You say you follow somebody because you think he knows more than you do. Does he? And what does he know? Do not answer, but please think it out with me. What does he know? If he is really a true person he knows only a very few things, he knows love, which is not to be envious, not to be greedy, not to be ambitious, to do without the "me". He may or may not be in that state, and you come along and seek something from him. You see a glitter in his eyes, a smile, and you want to be like this man, so your greed is operating. Because you are confused you go to him and say, "Please tell me how you got into that state", and if he also is confused he will tell you, because such a man thinks he has achieved. It is the man who dies every day to everything he has known, experienced - it is only such a man who can have a really still mind and an uncorrupted heart. But let us come back.
Is it not important for all of us, if we are at all serious about these matters, to be aware of our own activities and investigate, inquire into their validity? We follow out of habit, do we not? It is the tradition of centuries. Every religious book tells us to seek and follow, but they may all be wrong and probably are, so I cannot depend on any of them. I must find out for myself, which does not mean I am greater than somebody else, or that I am self-centred, egotistic, proud. I must find out, I must know that I am confused. So I begin, not by following the ideal, the tradition, the Master, the book, the priest, or my wife or husband, but by seeing the fact of what I am.
In myself I am uncertain, I am miserable, confused, unhappy, and I want to find a way out of all this chaos, so I turn to symbols, to examples, to the teachings of certain persons, because through them I hope to get what I want. It is a very simple psychological process, if I am at all alert, aware. And if I am also aware that nobody can help, that help lies everywhere, not in any one particular direction, then as I walk down the street and look at a person, a dancing leaf, a smile, there may be a spontaneous hint which will uncover a great many things. But this is not possible as long as the mind says, "My leader, my teacher will help me", as long as it obstinately clings to a par- ticular book or follows a chosen path, and to be aware of this whole process in oneself is the beginning of freedom, of wisdom.
You do not learn wisdom from books, from teachers. Wisdom is the uncovering of the mind, of the heart, which is self-knowledge. That is why it is very important not to accept anything but to understand the extraordinary process of your own thinking. You require great subtlety to find out the ways of the self, and the mind cannot be subtle when it is merely following, disciplining, controlling, suppressing - which does not mean that you must go to the other extreme, to the opposite.
You see, the difficulty in all this is that we do not look at anything simply. The problem is complex, and in approaching a complex problem there must be simplicity, otherwise you cannot solve it. To be simple you must understand yourself, which you cannot do through what a priest or someone else says. You can only understand yourself directly, and it is not a difficult process, it is not a God-given gift reserved for the few, which is all nonsense. If one has the intention to find out what one is thinking, if one is constantly watching every invention of the mind, looking at it, playing with it, being open to every spontaneous reaction, out of this comes self-knowledge, and this is meditation.
But wisdom does not come to a human being who follows, because he is merely an imitator, he disciplines himself out of greed. A mind which is imitative, fearful, which is merely copying, following, can never have self-knowledge, and without self-knowledge everything becomes a prison, does it not? It is the mind that creates the division of the high and the low. In reality there is neither high nor low, there is only a state of being, and to come to that state there must be freedom at the very beginning, not just at the end.
November 16, 1955
Sydney 3rd Public Talk 16th November, 1955
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