New Delhi 1961
New Delhi 3rd Public Talk 13th January 1961
We were discussing the day before yesterday the question of comparison and differentiation, whether a mind that is comparing and therefore thinking of its advancement is really advancing at all. And as long as a mind is in conflict, in comparison, is not the mind in fact deteriorating? Is not the conflict an indication of deterioration? And we were discussing what it is that makes the mind perceive, observe the fact as it is, and not interpret or offer an opinion about the fact, and whether a mind is capable of such perception if it is merely comparing. And also we went into the whole question of discontent. Most of us are dissatisfied, discontented with what we are, with what we are doing in our relationships, with the state of the world's affairs. And most of us who are at all thoughtful want to do something about all this. And is discontent a source of action? I do not know if we could explore that a little bit. I am dissatisfied politically with the situation in the world. The motive of my action is discontent. I want to change the situation in certain patterns - Communist, Socialist, or whatever it is, extreme left, or centre, centre from the left, or centre from the right and all the rest of it.
Now, is action born of discontent, creative action? I do not know if I am going on to what we were discussing day before yesterday. But I think it is connected with what we were discussing the other day, because we are always thinking, aren't we?, in terms of the better. And is there creation in the field of the better? Is there intelligence where there is discontent? And discontent, surely, as we know it, is the incapacity to approximate totally or completely with the better, with the more.
Please, if I may point out here, this is rather a difficult thing which we are discussing. Unless we somehow give a little bit of our attention to it, it is going to be rather difficult. I feel that the mind in conflict is a most destructive mind. When a mind is in conflict and so destructive, any action springing from the mind - however erudite, however cunning, however capable of carrying out a plan, economic, social, whatever it is - is destructive. Because its very source is discontent - which is the comparative mind, which is the destructive mind - , its action whether partial, total, or whether it is capable of covering the world and all the rest of it, is destructive. And as most of us have this bug, this insect, this cancer of discontent and we are always seeking satisfaction because of this discontent, through drink, God, religion, yoga, political action and so on, our action is surely the escape from this flame of discontent. And the more quickly we find a corner in the recesses of the mind, or in action, where we find we are more contented, there we settle down to stagnate. This happens for all of us in our everyday relationship, in our activities and so on. If I can find a guru, a teacher, a theory, a speculation, I am out of my discontent; I am happy to find it and I settle back. And surely such action is very superficial, isn't it? And is it possible for the mind to see, or perceive the truth of discontent and yet not allow itself to stagnate but discover the source of discontent? Let me put it round the other way, Sirs. Comparison - the better, the more - surely breeds discontent. And we think, don't we?, that if there was no comparison there could be no progress, there could be no understanding. Such comparison is essentially the expression of ambition. Whether the comparison is in the political, religious or economic field, or in personal relationship, such comparison inevitably is based on ambition. The man wanting to become the Manager, the Minister wanting to become the Prime Minister, and the Prime Minister saying, "Everything is all right, I am in the right place; you don't be ambitious" - the whole of that process, surely, is the result of comparison to better the "I am" and "We are". When the mind is ambitious, surely, such a mind is incapable of love. Ambition is a self-centred action. Though it may talk in terms of peace and world welfare, God, truth, this or that, it is surely the self-centred movement expressing itself through comparison, ambition. Such a mind is incapable of love. That is one thing. And can the mind see the truth of all this? A mind which is concerned with itself, with its own advancement, with its own expression through fulfilment, economic, social and all the rest of it - such a mind is incapable of affection, of love. And therefore it must inevitably create a world in which comparison, the hierarchical values of comparative existence is continued. So conflict is a continuous inevitability; and as far as one can see it, it is very destructive. Now we see all this as factual, as actual fact, in our daily life. And can the mind cease to think comparatively and therefore eliminate conflict - which does not mean stagnate in the thing which is?
What I am trying to say is: can the mind cease to be in a state of conflict? And is conflict, which indicates self-contradiction, inevitable? You see that awakens an extraordinary question, which is; is creation - I mean not printing, building, writing a poem, that is only an expression of the state of the mind; I am not talking of the expression but of that state of creativeness - is that state of being in creation the result of conflict? And truth, God and whatever one likes to name that, that thing which human beings have been seeking century upon century - is that to be perceived, known, experienced, through conflict? Then why are we in conflict? And is it possible for the mind to be totally free of conflict, which means having no problems? But there are problems in the world, and a mind free of conflict will meet with those problems and cut through them like a knife through butter, like a sharp knife that cuts through without leaving any traces on the knife.
Now I do not know if you think along these lines, or if you think differently. After all, Sir, the individual as well as the collective, the unit as well as the community, the one as well as the society, is concerned, isn't it?, really with a mind that is not in conflict, that is really a peaceful mind - not the politician's peace, not the Communist's peace, not the Catholic's peace, but in the sense of a good, first class mind, capable of reasoning, analysis, and also capable of perceiving directly and immediately. Can such a mind exist?
If the mind is in a state of comparison, it creates problems and is everlastingly caught in them, and therefore it is never free. Sir, from childhood we have been brought up to compare - the Greek architecture, the Egyptian, the modern - ; to compare with the leader, the better, the more cultured, the more cunning; to be the perfect example, to follow the master; to compare, compare, compare, and therefore to compete. Where there is comparison, there must be contradiction obviously - which means ambition. Those three are linked together inevitably. Comparison comes with competition and competition is essentially ambition. Is there a direct perception, is it possible to see something true immediately when the mind is caught up in this vortex of comparison, conflict, competition and ambition? And yet you know the Communist society as well as the Capitalist society and every society is based on this competition. The more, the more, the more, the better - the world is caught up in it and every individual is in it. We say that if we have no ambition, if we have no goal, if we have no aim, we are just decaying. Sir, this is so deeply rooted in our minds, in our hearts - this thing to achieve, to arrive, to be. And if you take that away, shall I stagnate? I will stagnate if it is forcibly taken away from me; if through any form of influence I cease to compete, I stagnate. But can I understand this process of comparative, competitive, ambitious existence, and through understanding and seeing the fact of it, be free of it? This is a very complex problem. It is not a matter of just agreement or disagreement. Can the mind be in a state in which all sense of influence has ceased?
I do not know if you have ever explored the problem of influence. In America, I believe, they tried subliminal advertising, which is to show a film on the screen at a very tremendous speed, advertising what you should buy; consciously you have not taken it in, but unconsciously you have taken it in, you know what that advertisement is; and when you leave the cinema or the place, as the propaganda has already taken root, you go and buy the advertised article, unconsciously. But fortunately the Government stopped that.
But aren't we, all of us, unconsciously, or perhaps even consciously, the slaves of such subliminal propaganda? After all, all tradition is that. A man who lives in tradition repeats whatever he has been told - which most of us do, either in platitudes or in certain forms of expansive modern words. We are slaves to that tradition, not only as custom, habit, but also as the word. I do not know if this interests you. Because, all this surely is implied when the mind begins to go into it to see if it can free itself from this comparative existence.
The world is in chaos. There is no question about it. From the Communist point of view, it is in a mess. Some say you must have better leaders, bigger, wiser, more capable leaders. Others say you must go back to religion, obviously implying you must go back to your tradition, follow this and follow that, or create a plan which you must follow. You know what is happening in the world.
Looking at all this, is it a matter of leadership, is it a matter of better planning, or creating a world according to a certain pattern, whether the left or the right - which means the pattern is much more important, the formula is much more important than the human being who will fit into the pattern? That is what most politicians, most leaders, most theoreticians and the rest of them are concerned with. They create the plan and fit the human being into that plan. Is that the issue at all? At one level, obviously, that is the issue. But is that the fundamental issue, or is it that creativity in the immense sense of that word has completely stopped, and how is one to bring the human mind to that state of creativity, not how to control the human mind and shape it according to a certain pattern as the Catholics and everybody else are doing in the world?
What are the things that hold the mind? The psychoanalysts have tried to unloosen the mind by analysis. But they have not succeeded. And I am not at all sure that any outward agency, as religion, as a guru, as a book, as a theorist and so on and so on, can ever unloosen the blockages of the mind. Or, is it really only possible through self-knowing from moment to moment? You understand? That means an awareness without the burden of previous knowledge which interprets what is being experienced. But, what is the state of the mind which is experiencing? I see a beautiful thing, a tree, a building, the sky, a human being lovely with a smile, with a job and all the rest of it. I see it; the very perception of that is the state of experiencing.
Now, when the mind is conscious in the state of experiencing, is there an experiencing? I do not know. When there is silence in this immense world of noise, that experiencing of silence - is it a conscious process? And if it is conscious, if the mind says, "I am experiencing silence", is it experiencing silence? When you are happy - bursting with happiness, not for any reason, not because your liver is functioning well, or you have had a good drink, or any God's influence, but really feeling that sense of incredible source of bliss and joy without any foundation - , if you say at that time, "I am experiencing a marvellous state", obviously it ceases to be. Can we, you and I, at a stroke, stop the mind thinking comparatively? It is like dying to something. Can we do that? That is really the issue, not how to bring about a state of mind which is not comparative.
Sir, we are aware consciously that we are in conflict, and that conflict arises out of self-contradiction. Now, there is a state of self-contradiction. How do we eradicate it? By analysis, going into it analysing step by step, and saying these are the causes of contradiction and these are the blocks? Ambition, obviously, is the result of self-contradiction. You don't live with the fact.
Sir, how do you live with a fact? The fact that I have ideals is one thing; and the fact that I realize that having ideals is the most stupid escape from the fact of what is, is another thing. They are two stages. Now, I can reject ideals because I see the falseness of ideals. I see the falseness of an ideal, it has no value; so I brush it aside. But there is the fact that I am violent, that I am this and that. The fact is that, and can I live with the fact? And what is implied in living with something? Sir, I may live in a street full of noise, dirt, squalor. Is that living with it? I don't smell any more the filth, I don't see any more the dirt in the street, because I get used to it by living in that street.
Getting used to something is one way of living - which is: the mind has become blunt, dull; which means, the thing which is dirty, squalid, ugly, has perverted the mind, made the mind insensitive. There is something extraordinarily beautiful, the picture, the sunset, the face, the field, the trees, the river, a light on the river - I see these every day and these also I get used to. The marvellous mountains - I get used to them. And the mind has become insensitive to both, the ugly and the beautiful. That is one way of living.
Now, what does living with something mean? Obviously, to live with ugliness implies, my mind must be much more sensitive, much more energetic, full of energy in order not to be perverted by the ugliness; and similarly, my mind must be astonishingly alive in order to live with something extraordinarily beautiful. Both should demand an intensity of energy, an intensity of perception, so that there is no question of getting used to it. Not getting used to it - that is what is implied in living with something.
Now, how is the mind to be sensitive? - not a method when I use the word "how", method is what makes the mind most insensitive. But can the mind see the fact of this? The very perceiving of the fact - is that not the releasing of energy?
Take the mind which is being made dull every day by going to the office, seeing the stupid boss, or the bullying boss, or yourself not so clever as the boss and trying to imitate the boss, the nagging, the bus, the squalor, the poverty - all that is making the mind so dull. I see all this, I face this every day of my life. Then what am I to do? Will going to the temple, going to the God, going to the Sunday sermon, sharpen my mind, make my mind exquisitely sensitive to everything? Will that do it? Obviously, it won't. Then why do I do it? Why don't you negatively cut away everything that is going to make the mind dull?
Question: But being conscious of all this, I get a feeling of being unhappy.
Krishnamurti: Be unhappy, what is wrong with being unhappy? Why should you not be unhappy? The world is unhappy. How do you get out of it? First you must know unhappiness. You must know what fear is before you can get out of it. If you are escaping from it, you are afraid of it, you have never faced the issue.
What do you mean by ambition? I am using the word "ambition" in the dictionary sense, which means an intense desire, the fulfilment of that desire. That is, I want to be the Manager, I want to be the Minister, I want to be on the top of the heap, I want to be something intensively. To see the absurdity of such a thing and at the same time talk about love and peace and goodness is utter nonsense. When I have seen that is ambition, I am out of it, I won't be ambitious; at least I won't talk about peace, love and goodness.
Question: Can we run away from traditions, families, living on a desired pattern?
Krishnamurti: Sir, who is suggesting that we should run away from family? Our minds are the result of tradition. You are a Hindu. I may not be a Hindu, a Muslim, or a Communist, or whatever it is. You are the result of your environment, of your society, of your education, of the family, the name you know - you are the result of all this. At what level do I see this, the verbal, theoretical as an explanation, or do I see this as a fact? What do you say, Sir? Surely, there is a vast difference between seeing, perceiving something as a fact, and offering an opinion about the fact, or indulging in explanations about the fact, verbal, intellectual, theoretical, spiritual, whatever it is. Do you see that your mind is the result of tradition, whether it is the modern tradition or is the tradition of one yesterday or a thousand yesterdays?
Some days ago, perhaps last year, some of my friends asked me to sit in front in a car and several people were sitting behind in the car. And as we were driving along, they were talking about awareness, the complications of awareness, what was meant by awareness; and the chauffeur who was driving the car ran over a poor goat and broke its leg. And the gentleman sitting in the car was still discussing awareness; he never noticed that the poor goat had been run over, he was not concerned about anything but intellectually discussing awareness.
Sir, you are doing exactly the same thing. Can you be aware of the fact that your mind is dull?
Question: There is the will to live. If my mind were to know that it is dull, it won't be able to live.
Krishnamurti: Oh! The will to live prevents you from facing your dullness - is that what you call living? The gentleman says that seeing the fact that I am dull will horrify me and I would cease to live. But I am asking, "Are we living now?" When we don't see the beautiful sky, when we don't see the beautiful tree, when we don't see the garden, sea, rain, when we don't know all that, feel love, feel sympathy, are we living?
Sir, take a very simple example which everybody talks. about in India since I have been here - corruption. There is corruption everywhere, because everybody talks about it from top to bottom and everybody says we cannot help it and we don't bother over it. But suppose each one of us were really aware what corruption implies, what would happen? Would that prevent corruption, or would that make you more corrupt? Sirs, you have never thought about this.
Have you been aware of the fact of what you are? We are slaves to words - the word "soul", the word "Communist", the word "Congress", the word "this" and "that". Are you aware of this fact that you are slave to words? For instance, you don't go into why you are used to the word "leadership". Why? Because, you belong to a party, Socialist, Communist, Congress or something else. They have their leaders, and you accept them, it is the tradition; and you also see if you don't want to accept the same, you may lose your job. Therefore fear blocks you from looking. So you accept it as it is advantageous, it is profitable, it is less disturbing; so you live in the world of words and are slave to words. So, the word "God" means very little to all of you. Does it really mean anything? We might spell it the other way and be slave to that word "dog" as the altruists are. But, Sir, can the mind break through all this slavery to words?
As long as the mind is seeking security through words, it is going to be dull. I don't mean that the mind must be very clever, read lots of books, and all the latest books and the enormous and the latest criticism; I am not talking about that sort of superficial cleverness. I am talking of perceiving the mind as it is.
Sir, let us take another problem, the same thing in a different way. We are all competitive, aren't we? In the office, at home, religiously, we are competitive. There is the guru and I am below him, and one day I will reach that state and I will be the guru and so on - climbing the ladder. We are, aren't we?, ambitious. Aren't we competitive? - which means we are ambitious, which means lack of love.
Question: There is a distinction between rational ambition and irrational ambition. For example, I try to improve my work, that is a rational ambition; and if I want to become the Prime Minister, that is irrational ambition.
Krishnamurti: Sirs, a gentleman says: there is rational ambition and there is irrational ambition; when I try to become the Prime Minister - a post which is already occupied - it is irrational ambition, and it is rational ambition when I try to improve my job.
Question: He means personal efficiency. That is all.
Krishnamurti Personal efficiency? Can an ambitious mind be ever efficient? Have you noticed a child completely absorbed in a toy? Would you call that child efficient? You don't call it efficient, because the toy to him is something amazing, he is completely in it. There is no incentive, there is no trying to become better, trying to become something else.
Question: This is play. If I have no ambition, if I don't want to work for my children, why should I improve?
Krishnamurti: Are you improving, Sir? Sir, if all incentive is taken away, would you stop working? Do you know what is happening in the world, in welfare States? Sweden is the most complete form of all welfare States and there are many more suicides there than anywhere else. Why? Because, there is no incentive, everything from womb to tomb is settled. That is one form of not having an incentive. And here, in this country and elsewhere, you have incentive; you will become a better officer if you work hard - climb, climb, climb. Yet, efficiency is declining here also, isn't it? No? What do you say, Sir? You have incentive and yet efficiency is declining. You have no incentive and thereby the mind is becoming dull. So, if you want to be really efficient, how do you set about it? Don't talk of efficiency, how do you become efficient? Only when you give your whole mind to it, when you love the thing which you are doing. Isn't that so, Sir?
Question: But we have no choice, because of circumstances.
Krishnamurti: Sir, each of us is a slave to circumstances and we hold to them. Can't we realize to what extent one is a slave to circumstances and limit it, cut it and be free of it, instead of saying, "I am a slave to circumstances"? Limit it to bodily needs and get on with it. We are not asking ourselves first why the mind is made dull.
Sir, we began this morning asking ourselves if we can understand this whole process of competition, conflict and ambition and this attitude of the mind to accept leadership, to follow. This is what we are used to. You are sitting there, I am sitting here; you are listening to me, with an attitude, with an idea and you say, "let me listen". So there is this conflict which inevitably results in dulling the mind. Obviously, Sir, all conflicts destroy the mind. Now, is it possible to see the process of this conflict? And the very perception of this conflict, perceiving, seeing the very source of this conflict, not what you should do about it - the very perception has its own action. Now, do we see that? That is all what I am asking. What is the good of saying, "It is inevitable. What will happen if I don't compete in the society which is competitive, which is ambitious, which is authoritative?" "What will happen to me?" - that is not the problem. You will answer it later. But can we see the fact that a mind which is in conflict is the most destructive mind and whatever it wants to do, any activity, however reformative, has in it the seed of destruction.
Do I see it as I see a cobra, that it is poisonous? That is the crux of the whole matter. And if I see it, I do not have to do a thing about it, it has its own action. Look, Sir. You know, the saints, the leaders, and all the swamis and the yogis talk about building character, doing the right thing, living a right life; and they talk a great deal about what they do in the West, about sin. Now, is there sin, when there is love? And when there is love, is there not character? Let love do what it will, it is always right. When there is love, what it does is right; and if it doesn't do anything it is right. So why discuss everything else, how to build character, what should you do and what should you not do and how can we find it? Surely, Sir, to uncover the source of love, the mind must be extraordinarily free from conflict. To look at the heaven, Sir, your mind must be clear, mustn't it? It cannot be engrossed in your office, in your wife, in your children, in your security; it must look, mustn't it? So, can the mind be free from conflict, which means competition and all the rest of it?
Sir, how do you see things? Do you see things at all? Sir, do you see me and do I see you, see visually, or between you and me are there several layers of verbal explanations and curtains, opinions and conclusions? You understand what I am saying? Do you see me, or do you see your verbal explanations about me? When you see a Minister, do you see the man or the Minister? What, Sirs?
Question: We usually see the Minister and rarely the man.
Krishnamurti: So, you never see the fact at all, you see the label and not the contents. You are slave to words, slave to labels. You don't say, "Let me look at that man and not that label, not the Socialist, the Congress, the Communist, the Capitalist, but look at the man" - which indicates that we are slaves to words. Sir, haven't you noticed with what respect we greet a big man, a big noise? What does that mean? Surely, all this is part of self-knowing. The very knowing is going to create its own action.
January 13, 1961
New Delhi 1961
New Delhi 3rd Public Talk 13th January 1961
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