New Delhi 1959
New Delhi 5th Public Talk 22nd February 1959
This evening I would like to talk out what is confusion and what is clarity. But before we go into that, I think we ought to understand for ourselves what is the intention of these talks. It would be a great pity if we listened merely to find answers to our problems. As I have often pointed out, and I hope you will not mind if I say it again, there is only the problem, there is no answer; for in the understanding of the problem lies its dissolution.
So I think it would be wise to listen, not in order to find an answer or to receive instructions, but to discover for oneself, in the very process of listening, the truth about confusion and clarity.
Most of us are satisfied with descriptions, with answers, with explanations, and we think we have found a solution to our problems. That is why we are so eager to repeat, to quote, to explain, to formulate. But all those things, to me, are barriers to comprehension. A man who quotes is obviously incapable of clear thinking, He relies on authority for his thought. But even though there is in the world every form of authority seeking to drive man in a particular direction, there are more and more individuals who are aware of the problem, and who have not only discarded authority but are trying to discover for themselves the whole significance of living.
Now, either we give a meaning to life, or we are living. The man who gives a meaning to life, who seeks what he calls the goal of life, is obviously not living. Me wants to find something of greater significance than the very fact of existing and living, so he creates a Utopia, a speculative formulation of what life should be, and according to that formula he guides his life.
That is exactly what I don't propose to do. We have innumerable problems, some of them quite suffocating, and they are there to be understood, not from any particular point of view, but as part of the total process of living. There are people who perceive the problems of life and who want to resolve them according to certain beliefs and dogmas, either religious or politico-economic; they look at the discords and horrors of man's existence only from that narrow point of view, and they think that through some form of belief or legislation they can bring about a transformation in the world. And there are scientists who are only concerned with the exploration of matter, and going upward into the sky. All these people are approaching the problems of existence from a particular point of view, are they not? They are all breaking up into segments the process of living. But living, surely, is a total process, it is not a matter of departmental behaviour. At present the individual is one thing in the government, and some thing else in his private life; he is a economist, or a Communist, or a businessman, and that has nothing to do with his hunger for reality, his longing to find out the truth of death, of meditation, of all the extraordinary things that comprise life.
So I think it would be a very great pity if you as an individual were to listen to all this with a fragmented mind, with a partial or specialized mind. Life is not fragmentary, and it must be approached totally, fully, and as deeply as possible.
What is important, it seems to me, is to understand this vast ocean of life with its immeasurable loveliness and reality, its shallowness and great depths, its joy, its misery, its strife and pain. The struggle to earn a livelihood, the sense of despair, of utter hopelessness, the mistakes and accidents, the deep delving into oneself through meditation and discovering that reality which is beyond time - all this is life, and to see the full significance of it, the mind must be very clear. There must be no shadow of confusion. The mind must be capable of exploring every untrodden region of its own being without accumulating what is discovered; because the mind that accumulates obviously cannot go very far. I am not being rhetorical but merely factual. When the mind is burdened with a great deal of experience, how can it experience anything anew? It is the mind that is young, fresh, innocent, the mind that is always moving, that has no accumulation of experience, no refuge - it is only such a mind that can understand life as a totality.
To have this extraordinary perception of the immensity, the immeasurableness of life, our minds must be very clear, very precise. And precision of the mind is not a matter of following instructions; it does not come about through discipline or obedience. Precision comes to the mind only when one understands this whole process of confusion in which most of us are living. Most people - from the biggest politician to the poorest clerk who goes on his bicycle every day to repeat some ugly routine of business - are confused; and without understanding what it is that brings about this sorrowful state of confusion, the search for clarity is merely an evasion, an escape.
Very few of us are willing to admit that we are wholly confused. We say: "I am partly confused, but there is another part of me which is very clear, and with this clarity I am going to clear up my partial confusion". Or, if you admit you are totally confused, you say: "I shall go to somebody who will tell me what to do to clear up my confusion". But when you choose a guru or a leader to help you, you are choosing out of your own confusion; therefore your choice is bound to be equally confused. ( Laughter). Don't laugh, sirs, this is actually what is happening in the political world, and also in your so-called religious life, with its gurus, beliefs, philosophies and disciplines; it is happening in all the ways of your existence. Being confused, you turn to someone who promises to clear up your confusion. So dictatorships appear; ruthless systems of exploitation come into being, both political and so-called spiritual.
So first of all, we have to realize that confusion can never be cleared up for us by another, and this is a very difficult thing for most of us to face. The mind does not want to see the fact that there is no one who can help it to be clear. But as long as you are confused, your choice of a leader or a guru is the result of your confusion; and if you are not confused, you will not create the leader, the guru, the hierarchical system of authority.
The simple fact is that the mind is confused. If you really look at your own mind you will see that you are in a state of confusion, politically, religiously and in every way. You don't know what is the right thing to do, whom to follow, or whether to follow anyone at all. Specialists contradict other specialists. The Communists, the capitalists, and the various religious sects are all working against each other. So the mind is confused, and whatever it chooses or decides to do in its confusion is bound to bring about still further confusion, further conflict and misery.
Now, why is there confusion? I am going to inquire into it, and please listen to what is being said without rejecting or accepting it. Just listen as you would listen to anything worth while. First see the truth that a mind that chooses out of confusion can only breed further confusion. That is one fact. Another fact is this: that when the mind says it is only partially confused and thinks there is a part of itself which is clear - the higher self, the Atman, and all that business - , it is still totally confused. The mind that says "There is a part of me which is not confused" is deceiving itself. If there were any part of you which is very clear, obviously that clarity would wipe away all confusion. Where there is clarity there is no darkness; there is only clarity. So it is sheer nonsense to think there is part of yourself, a spiritual essence, which is clear, and that only the material world is in a state of confusion. That idea is an invention of the mind which prevents you from looking at the fact. The fact is that there is only confusion, so you must be aware of this fact and not deceive yourself.
What brings about this state of confusion? Essentially, it is the urge to be different from what you are, which is encouraged by educational and other influences that make you think you must have ideals. Where there is an urge to be different there is an endless process of imitation, which means following the pattern of authority. Please see the truth of this. When you desire to be different from what you are, you begin to follow, you have standards, formulas, ideals, which means there is a contradiction between what you are and what you think you should be. Just observe this contradiction in yourself. Do not accept or deny what I am saying, for that would be very silly - if I may use that word without any derogatory significance. Surely the moment you want to be different from what you are, without understanding what you are, you have set in motion the process of self-contradiction; and this very self-contradiction is the way of imitation. If you are lazy, for example, you have the ideal of not being lazy, and you strive to live up to your ideal; and in that very striving you have established the pattern of imitation.
So there is an inward going, and an outward going. The outward going you call materialistic, and the inward going you consider to be spiritual. But the man who goes inward in the sense of pursuing an ideal, who struggles to change himself through discipline and all the rest of it - the mind of such a man becomes a battlefield of contradictory desires, does it not? Psychologically, inwardly he has established the pattern of imitation, of authority, and he struggles to live according to that pattern. So your inward going is really as materialistic as your outward going - materialistic in the sense of being profitable. Outwardly you want more power, better position, greater prestige, you want more land, more possessions; and inwardly you want to be something other than what you are. So both are a form of self-interest, self-perpetuation.
These are facts, they are not my invention. I am merely exposing the facts. You probably won't like it, because you think you are a religious person, and therefore you will discard all this. But if you are capable of examining yourself very clearly, precisely, impartially, you will see that there is this desire to be different, both inwardly and outwardly; hence there is imitation and the creation of authority-, and therefore an endless contradiction between what is and what should be. This state of self-contradiction is the beginning of confusion.
Now, there is an inward going which is not motivated by the desire to be different, and therefore it does not create the self-contradiction which breeds confusion. That is the true inward going - seeing the fact as it is without trying to change it. To see the fact that one is lazy, that authority in various forms dominates one's life - to see this fact and not try to alter it, not say "I must not be lazy, I must be free from authority", is surely of the greatest importance, because it does not create the opposite and bring about the confusion of self-contradiction. But simply to perceive the fact is an extraordinarily difficult thing to do, because our minds are always comparing, always desiring to change what is into something else.
Take authority, for example. When you are aware that you are being compelled, pushed around, when you know that you have to obey, what happens? There is also a movement of the opposite, is there not? That is, you feel that you must be free. So in the very fact of obedience, there is the contradiction of that obedience. This contradiction is inevitable as long as you do not understand the whole process of authority - not why you must keep to the right or the left side of the road, which is obvious, but why there is the authority of the guru, why you treat a particular book with such extraordinary reverence, and all the rest of it. If you really go into it, you will see that the mind wants to be certain, secure; it wants to be led, guided, so that it will have no struggle, no pain, no feeling of aloneness. As long as the mind does not see this fact and merely seeks clarity, inwardly or outwardly, there is bound to be authority; and that authority is the result of your confusion, which is the outcome of self-contradiction.
So one begins to see that every desire has its own equal and opposite response. Do you understand? Am I making myself clear? Surely, desire creates its own opposite. In other words, all desire is self-contradictory. I desire to be good, to be kind, to be affectionate, and at the same time there is the desire to be violent, to be angry, to be jealous, and all the rest of it. The very urge to be something creates the opposite desire, does it not? No?
Sirs, let me put it in a different way. Can you have a desire without its opposite? Surely not. I want to be kind, and yet I am brutal; I want to be non-violent, and I am full of violence. So desire is contradictory in itself - which does not mean that there must be no desire at all. On the contrary. If you observe yourself as we go along, you will see that something quite different comes into being - not a mind that is desireless.
Confusion arises where there is the urge to be different. That is an important fact to discover for oneself. And it is also important to see the truth that every desire has its own opposite.
Now, seeing the truth of something is an immediate perception, it is not a disputatious, analytical approach in which you finally say "Yes, I understand". Perception of what is true takes place when the mind is in a state of real inquiry, which means that it is not defending, nor is it on the offensive. You can see the truth as the truth, the false as the false, and the truth in the false, only when your mind is very clear and simple, that is, when it is uncluttered with thoughts, with experiences, with its own hopes and fears. To see the truth of something, the mind must be fresh, innocent, which is really a state of self-abnegation.
I was saying that there is confusion when there is self-contradiction, which arises with the desire to be different; and the desire to be different sets going various systems of imitation and authority. You must see the truth of this for yourself - not by my persuasion, for then you don't see it at all, and you will again be persuaded or influenced by somebody else. There is no good influence; all influence is evil, just as all authority is; and the more absolute the authority, the more absolute the evil. So it is of the utmost importance for you to see the truth of this for yourself: that there is confusion when there is self-contradiction, which is born of the desire to be different; and this desire breeds imitation and authority.
Now, if you see that simple fact, then the question arises, "Must there not be the understanding of what I am?" And the understanding of what you are is the real inward going; it is not a reaction to or the rejection of outward going. But you do not know what you are. You think you are the Atman, the higher self, this or that; whereas you are actually the result of innumerable influences, of tradition, of various environmental pressures, and so on. The fact is that you are conditioned by the culture in which you were born. Just as a Communist is conditioned not to believe in God at all, to say it is sheer nonsense, so you are brought up and conditioned as a Hindu, and you believe accordingly.
To find out what you are requires the comprehension from moment to moment, not only of the outward influences which have moulded your life, but also of the subtle influences and urges of the unconscious, of which you are generally unaware. What you are is not static; it is moving, changing all the time. It is never a permanent state, and in the perception of that impermanency there is no contradiction. I do not know if you see the truth of this. What you are is never fixed, permanent. You would like it to be permanent, you would like to be able to say "I am the ultimate spiritual self, which is permanent", because in that `permanent' state you think you will have found happiness, security, God, and all the rest of the business. Whereas, to see what you are at each moment and to pursue what you see to its fullest depth and width, is the true inward going; and this true inward going will never create self-contradiction and confusion, because there is complete abandonment at each moment of what has been observed, experienced, learnt. It is the mind that has assumed a position, that has ex- perienced and says "I know", that wants to be different-it is only such a mind that creates self-contradiction and therefore confusion.
You are obviously the result of influence. Your mind is being influenced all the time by newspapers, by the radio, by speeches, by your wife or husband, by society, by traditions, dogmas, beliefs. You are influenced by what you eat, by what you wear, by the climate you live in, by the daily routine you follow, and so on. But to know all this, to be aware of these innumerable influences from moment to moment without acceptance or rejection, is to begin to be free of them; because, obviously, a mind that is very alert is not easily influenced. It is the mind that is unaware of itself, that is crippled by tradition, held in the bondage of time - it is only such a mind that is always being influenced.
To see at every moment what actually is requires a perception, an alertness, an awareness in which there is no accumulation; because what is is constantly changing. Today you are not what you were yesterday; what you were yesterday has been modified by a series of events in time. Thought moves from point to point in time; it is never absolute, never fixed, never the same. What is is never static. Therefore you don't have to introduce the idea that you must be different. The very perception of the fact of what is is sufficient; it brings about its own movement of change, which is the transformation of what is.
So a mind that is confused, yet seeks to become clear, creates a contradiction in itself and thereby increases its own confusion; and whether it goes outward or inward, a confused mind builds up systems, disciplines, contradictions, compulsions, which only breed further misery. The man who goes outward you call materialistic, and the man who turns inward you call spiritual; but they are both self-contradictory. Whereas, there is a true inward going which is not a reaction, not the opposite of outward going. It is the simple perception of what is, and this is very important to understand.
Sirs, what happens when a mind that is lazy becomes aware of its own laziness? It immediately says, "I must discipline myself not to be lazy, I must get up early every morning, I must do this, I must not do that." Now, laziness is an indication of a disciplined mind. The mind that disciplines itself is lazy. (Laughter). Sirs, don't laugh it off, just see the truth of it. Becoming aware that I am lazy, I force myself to get up early every morning, to take exercise, to sit quietly in so-called meditation, and all the rest of it. Now, what has happened? I have merely set going another habit of thoughtlessness. Thoughtlessness is the very essence of a lazy mind. When you see that you are lazy and force yourself not to be lazy, that very forcing breeds contradiction and further confusion. The fact is that you are lazy. Look at that fact, go into it, uncover all the factors that are making you lazy. Don't try to change the fact, but watch laziness in operation, be aware of it from moment to moment. Then you don't have to discipline yourself. The mind is alert every minute to see when it is lazy, and such a mind is not a confused mind.
So there is confusion only when there is an outward going or an inward going which becomes a contradiction. Perception is neither inward going nor outward going; it is seeing things as they are at every moment without prejudice, without colour, without evaluation. Only then is there clarity. Such a mind has no untrodden regions, either on the surface or inwardly, because it is so alert, so watchful, so aware that its every movement is perceived, examined and understood.
All that I am saying is that a clear mind is a perceptive mind. The more there is true perception, in the sense of self-knowledge, the deeper that perception penetrates within - but not in terms of time. When there is self-knowledge, which is a perceiving of the continuous movement of what is, not only at the conscious level but deep down in the unconscious, then you will find that there comes a state which is not measurable by the mind. The mind is then extraordinarily clear, it has clarity without a shadow; and only such a mind is capable of receiving what is true,
February 22, 1959
New Delhi 1959
New Delhi 5th Public Talk 22nd February 1959
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