London 11th Public Talk 25th May 1961
We were talking last time about meditation and beauty, and I think if we could go back into it a little, we could then go on with what I want to discuss this time.
We were saying that there is beauty, a feeling of beauty beyond the senses, a feeling not provoked by the things put together by man or by nature. It is beyond these; and if one were to pursue the enquiry into what is beauty - which is not merely subjective or objective - , one would come to that same intense awareness of the feeling of beauty that one comes to through meditation. I think that meditation, the meditative mind, is absolutely essential. We went into it fairly thoroughly and saw that a meditative mind is an enquiring mind which goes through the whole process of thought and is capable of going beyond the limitations of thought.
Perhaps for some of us it is extremely difficult to meditate; and it may be that we have not thought about the matter at all. But if one has gone carefully into this question of meditation - which is not self-hypnosis or imagination or the awakening of visions and all that immature business - , one comes invariably, I think, to that same feeling, to that same intensity as when the mind is capable of perceiving what is beautiful, unprovoked. And a mind that is silent, still and in that intensity, discovers a state which is not bound by time and space.
I would like to talk this time about what is the religious mind. As we have been saying from the beginning of these informal talks, we are trying to communicate with each other, we are taking a journey together. Therefore you are not listening to the speaker with prejudice, with favour, with likes or dislikes; you are listening to find out for yourself what is true. And to find out what is true, caught as one is in so much false, immature thought, hope and despair, one must not accept anything at all of what the speaker is saying. One has to investigate, explore; and that requires a free mind, not merely the reaction of a prejudiced, opinionated mind but a really free mind which is not anchored to any particular belief, dogma or experience but which is capable of following a fact very clearly and precisely. And to follow facts requires a very subtle mind. As we were saying the other day, a fact is never static, never still; it is always moving - whether it is the fact that one observes within oneself, or it is an objective fact. The observation of a fact demands a mind that is capable, precise, logical, and above all, free to pursue.
It seems to me that in this present world, with all its confusions, misery and turmoil, the scientific mind and the religious mind are necessary. Those, surely, are the only two real states of mind - not the believing mind, not the conditioned mind, whether it is conditioned by the dogma of Christianity, Hinduism, or by any other belief or religion. After all, our problems are immense, and living has become much more complex. Outwardly, perhaps, there is more sense of security, the feeling that perhaps there will be no atomic wars, because of the great fear of them. One feels that while perhaps there may be a distant war, it will not be in Europe; and so one may feel more secure, physically and inwardly. But it seems to me that a mind seeking security becomes a dull mind, a mediocre mind; and such a mind is incapable of solving its own problems.
So, living in this world - with its routine, its boredom, with its superficial middle class, upper class or lower class existence - to solve our problems, to go beyond them, to go deeply inwardly, there are only two ways: a scientific approach or a religious approach. The religious approach includes the scientific approach, but the scientific approach does not contain within it the religious approach. But we need the scientific spirit because the scientific spirit is capable of examining ruthlessly all the causes that bring about man's misery; the scientific spirit can bring about peace in the world, objectively, can feed mankind, give it houses, clothes, and so on - not just for the English or for the Americans, but for all the world. One cannot live in prosperity at one end of the earth, and at the other end have degradation, disease, hunger and squalor. Probably most of you do not know anything about all that, but you should. To solve all these immense problems, to break through all the stupidities of nationalism, all the political bargainings, the ambitions, the avariciousness of power, one needs the scientific spirit. But unfortunately, as one sees, the scientific spirit is mostly concerned with going up to the moon and beyond, improving our comforts, better refrigerators, better cars and all the rest of it. That is all right so far as it goes, but it seems to me a very limited point of view.
We know what the scientific spirit is: the spirit of enquiry, of never being satisfied with what it has found, always changing, never remaining static. It is the scientific spirit which has built the industrial world; but an industrial world without an inward revolution brings about a mediocre form of living. Without an inward revolution, all the so-called glories and beauties of intellectual life only make the mind more dull, more contented, satisfied, secure. Progress in certain ways is essential, but progress also destroys freedom. I do not know if you have noticed that the more you have of things the less free you are. And so the religious people in the East have said, `Let us put away material things, they do not matter. Let us pursue the other thing', but they have not found that either. So we know, more or less, what the scientific spirit is - the spirit that exists in the laboratory. I am not talking about the individual scientist; he is probably like you and me, bored with his daily existence, avaricious, seeking power, position and prestige and all the rest of it.
Now it is much more difficult to find out what is the religious spirit. How does one go about it when one wants to discover something true? We want to find out what is the true religious spirit - not the strange spirit that prevails in organized religions, but the true spirit. So, how does one set about it?
I think one begins to discover what is the true religious spirit only through negative thinking, because for me negative thinking is the highest form of thinking. I mean by negative thinking the discarding, the tearing through of false things, breaking down the things that man has put together for his own security, for his own inward safety, all the various defences and the mechanism of thought which builds these defences. I feel one must shatter them, go through them rapidly, swiftly, and see if there is anything beyond. And to tear through all these false things is not a reaction to what exists. Surely, to find out what is the religious spirit and to approach it negatively, one must see what one believes, why one believes, why one accepts all the innumerable conditionings which organized religions throughout the world impose on the human mind. Why do you believe in God? Why do you not believe in God? Why do you have so many dogmas, beliefs?
Now, you may say that if one goes through all these so-called positive structures behind which the mind takes shelter, goes through them without trying to find something more, then there will be nothing left, only despair. But I think one has to go through despair also. Despair only exists when there is hope - the hope of being secure, being permanently comfortable, perpetually mediocre, perpetually happy. For most of us despair is the reaction to hope. But to discover what is the religious spirit, it seems to me, that enquiry must come into being without any provocation, without any reaction. If your search is only a reaction - because you want to find more inward security - then your search is merely for greater comfort, whether in a belief, an idea, or in knowledge, experience. And it seems to me that such thought, born of reaction, can only produce further reactions, and therefore there is no liberation from the process of reaction which prevents discovery. I do not know if I am making myself clear.
I feel there must be a negative approach, which means that the mind must become aware of the conditioning imposed by society with regard to morality, aware of the innumerable sanctions which religion imposes, and aware also of how in rejecting these outward impositions one has cultivated certain inward resistances, the conscious and unconscious beliefs which are based on experience, knowledge and which become the guiding factors.
So, the mind which would discover what the true religious spirit is, must be in a state of revolution - which means the destruction of all the false things which have been imposed on it, either by the outward pressures, or by itself; for the mind is always seeking security.
So it seems to me that the religious spirit has within it this constant state of a mind which never builds, never constructs for its own safety. Because if the mind builds, with the urge to be secure, then it lives behind its own walls and so is not capable of discovering if there is something new.
So death, the destruction of the old, is necessary - the destruction of tradition, the total freedom from what has been, the removal of the things that it has accumulated as memory through the centuries of many yesterdays. Then, you might say, `What remains? All that I am is this story, this history, the experiences; if all that is gone, wiped away, what remains?' First of all, is it possible to wipe all that away? We may talk about it, but is it actually possible? I say it is possible - not by influence, not by coercion; that is too silly, too immature. But I say that it can be done if one goes into it very deeply, brushing aside all authority. And that state of wiping the slate clean - which means dying every day, and from moment to moment, to the things one has accumulated - requires a great deal of energy and deep insight; and that is a part of the religious spirit.
Another part of the religious spirit is the spirit of power in which is included tenderness and love. I am trying to express it in words; please do not stay with the words. I have said that another part of the religious spirit is the power which comes through love. And by the word `power' I mean something entirely different from the urge to be powerful the feeling of dominance, of control; the power that comes through abstinence; or the power of a sharp mind which is ambitious, greedy, envious, wanting to achieve - such power is evil. The domination of one person over another, the power of the politician, the power to influence people to think in a certain way, whether it is done by the Communists, the churches, the priests or by the press - such power, to me, is utterly evil. I mean something entirely different, not only in degree but in quality, something totally unrelated to the power of domination. There is such a power, a something outside, not provoked by our will or by our desire. And in that power there is that extraordinary thing which is love; and that is a part of the religious spirit.
Love is not sensual; it has nothing to do with emotion; it is not the reaction to fear; it is not the love that the mother has for her child, or the husband for the wife, and all the rest of it.
Please follow this, go into it, do not accept or reject, because we are taking a journey together. You may say, `Such love, such a state of mind which is not based on a recollection, a remembrance, an association, is not possible'. But I think one will find it. One comes upon it darkly when one begins to investigate this whole process of thought, the ways of the mind. It is a power which has its own being in itself; it is energy without a cause. It is entirely different from the energy that is generated by the self, the `me' in the pursuit of the things it desires. And there is such an energy; but it can only be found when the mind is free, not tethered to time and to space. That energy comes into being when thought - as experience, as knowledge, as the ego, the centre, the self, the `me' which is creating its own energy, volition, with its sorrows, miseries, and all the rest of it - is dissolved. When that centre is dissipated then there is that energy, that power which is love.
Then there is another layer of the religious mind which is a movement, movement which is not divided as the outer and the inner. Please follow this a little. We know the outward movement, the objective movements; and from that there is a reaction to it, which we call the inward movement, a going away from the outer, a renouncing of it, or else accepting the outer as inevitable and resisting it, and cultivating as a reaction an inward movement, with its beliefs, its experiences, and so on. There is the outward movement, the going outward, being ambitious, aggressive, and so on; and when that fails, there is a turning inward. We never seek truth when the mind is happy. When the mind is pleased, delighted, it is in itself so lively that it does not want to even whisper the name of God. It is only when we are miserable, when outward things have failed, when you are no longer successful, when you have trouble in the family, when there is death, conflict and so on, that you turn to the inward, as old people do. We never turn to religion when we are young because all our glands are working at top speed. We are satisfied with sex, position, prestige, money, fame and all the rest of it. When those things begin to fail us, then we turn inward; or if we are still young, we become beatniks. All that is a reaction: and revolution is not a reaction.
Now, if one sees the truth of all that very clearly, then there is a movement which is both the outer and the inner; there is no division. It is a movement - a movement of seeing the outward things precisely, clearly, objectively as they are; and that same movement going within, not as a reaction, but like the tide that goes out and the tide that comes in being the same water. The going out is keeping the eyes, the senses, everything, open, alive. And the going within is the closing of the eyes - I am using that as a way of telling you; you do not have to keep your eyes closed. The going within is the inward look. Having understood the outer, the eyes turn inward; but not as a reaction. And the inward look, the inward understanding is complete quietness, stillness; because, there is nothing more to seek, nothing more to understand.
I do not like to have to use the word `inward', but I hope we have understood. It is this inward state that is creation. It has nothing to do with the power that man has to invent, to produce things and so on. It is the state of creation. This state of creation comes into being only when the mind has understood destruction, death. And when the mind has lived in that state of energy, which is love, only then is there that state of creation.
Now, the part is never the whole. We have described the parts; but the spoke of a wheel is not the wheel though the wheel contains the spokes. You cannot approach the whole through the part. The whole is understood only when you have the feeling of the totality of what has been said about the various parts of the religious mind. When you get the total feeling of it, then in that total feeling is included death, destruction, the sense of power through love, and creation. And this is the religious mind. But to come to that religious mind, the mind has to be precise, to think clearly, logically, never accepting the outward things or the inward things it has created for itself as knowledge, experience, opinion and all the rest of it.
So the religious mind contains within itself the scientific mind; but the scientific mind does not contain the religious mind. The world is trying to marry the two, but it is impossible; so they will try to condition man to accept the separation. But we are talking about something entirely different. We are trying to take a journey of discovery, which means that you have to find out. To accept what is being said has no value at all; then you are back in the old routine, you are slaves to propaganda, influence, and all the rest of it.
But if you have taken the journey also, and if you are capable of discovering, then you will find that you can live in this world; then the turmoils of this world have a meaning. Because, in this total content, in this total feeling, there is order and disorder. Is that not so? Do you understand? You must destroy to create. But it is not the destruction of the Communists. The disorder, if I can use that word, which exists in the religious mind is not the opposite of order. You know how we like order. The more bourgeois, limited, mediocre we are, the more we like order. Society wants order; the more rotten it is the more orderly it wants to be. That is what the Communists want - a perfectly orderly world. And the rest of us want it too: we are afraid of disorder. Please understand, I am not advocating a disorderly world; I am not using the word `disorder' in a reactionary sense at all. Creation is disorder; but that disorder, being creative, has order in it. This is difficult to convey. Do you get it?
So the religious mind is not a slave to time. Where time exists - that is, yesterday with all its memories, moving through today and so creating the future and conditioning the mind - this creative disorder is not. So the religious mind is a mind which has no future, which has no past, nor is it living in the present as an opposite to the yesterday and tomorrow, because in that religious mind time is not included. I do not know if you understand.
So the mind can come to that religious state. And I am using the word `religious' to convey something totally new - not related to the religions of the world, which are all dead, dying, decaying. So the religious mind is a mind that can only live with death, with that extraordinary energy of power, of love. Do not translate it. Do not ask about loving the one or the many; that is childish. It is only the religious mind that can go within; and the going within is not in terms of time and space. The going within is limitless, endless, not to be measured by a mind that is caught in time. And the religious mind is the only mind that is going to solve our problems, because it has no problems. Any problem that exists is absorbed and dissolved on the instant; therefore it has no problems. And it is only the mind that has no problems, a really religious mind, that can solve all problems. And therefore such a mind has an intimate relationship with society; but society has no relationship with it.
So, in that sense of the word `religious', a revolution is necessary in each one of us - a total revolution, not partial. All reaction is partial; and the revolution we are talking about is not partial, it is a total thing. And it is only such a mind that can be intimate with truth. Only such a mind can be friendly with God - or whatever name you like to give it. Only such a mind can play with reality.
Question: Does the same mind create disorder and order?
Krishnamurti: I am afraid, sir, you have not taken the journey. There must be death for something new to be.
Words, phrases, the intellectual formulation of questions - these have no relation to what we have been talking about. You know, when you see something very lovely, immense - the mountains, the rivers - the mind becomes silent, does it not? The beauty of what is seen sweeps from your mind all enquiry, all sentimentality, every whisper of thought; for the second they are wiped out, because the thing seen is too great. But if the wiping away is done by something outside you, then it is a reaction, then you go back to your remembrances afterwards. But if you have actually taken the journey, then your mind is in that state when it does not ask question, when it has no problems. Sir, a mind that is dying, dead, has problems; not a mind that is vital, living, moving like a river, intense.
Question: I think you will agree that the state of human society leaves a lot to be desired. Is it possible for a religious person to act upon that society in an effective way against all the other people who are acting differently?
Krishnamurti: I was going to talk about that next time. What value has all this upon society? What is the point of the few, of one or two getting this? What is society, and what does society want? It wants position, prestige, money, sexuality; its very structure is based on acquisitiveness, competition, success. If you say something against all that, they do not want you. You cannot help it. If some of these so-called spiritual people, the priests and all the rest of them, began talking about not being ambitious, not having any wars, any violence at all, do you think they would have a following? Nobody would listen. And I am sure you will not listen to what is being said, because you are going to carry on your own lives; you are going to pursue the path of ambition, frustration and security, which is really the path of death.
You will take little bits of this away to add to what you already know. What we are talking about is something entirely different, something really quite extraordinary in its beauty, its depths. But to come to it, to understand it, to live with it, requires enormous work, the work of going within, unravelling the conscious and the unconscious mind, and the world about you. Or you can see it all with one flash and wipe it away. Both require an astonishing energy.
May 25, 1961
London 11th Public Talk 25th May 1961
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.