Saanen 9th Public Talk 13th August 1961
This is the last talk of this gathering. During these talks we have covered a great many subjects, and I think we should consider this morning what is a religious mind. I would like to go into it fairly deeply because I feel only such a mind can resolve all our problems, not only the political and economic problems, but the much more fundamental problems of human existence. Before we go into it, I think we should repeat what we have already said: that a serious mind is a mind that is willing to go to the very root of things and discover what is true and what is false in it, that does not stop half-way and does not allow itself to be distracted by any other consideration. I hope this gathering has shown sufficiently that there are at least a few who are capable and earnest enough to do this. I think we are all very familiar with the present world situation, and we do not need to be told of the deceptions, the corruption, the social and economic inequalities, the menace of wars, the constant threat of the East against the West, and so on. To understand all this confusion and bring about clarity, it seems to me that there must be a radical change in the mind itself and not just patchwork reform or a mere adjustment. To wade through all this confusion, which is not only outside us but within us, to grapple with all the mounting tensions and the increasing demands, one needs a radical revolution in the psyche itself, one needs to have an entirely different mind.
For me, revolution is synonymous with religion. I do not mean by the word `revolution' the immediate economic or social changes, but I mean a revolution in consciousness itself. All other forms of revolution, whether Communist, Capitalist or what you will, are merely reactionary. A revolution in the mind, which means the complete destruction of what has been so that the mind is capable of seeing what is true without distortion, without illusion - that is the way of religion. I think the real, the true religious mind does exist, can exist. I think if one has gone into it very deeply one can discover such a mind for oneself. A mind that has broken down, destroyed all the barriers, all the lies which society, religion, dogma, belief have imposed upon it, and gone beyond to discover what is true, is the true religious mind.
So first let us go into the question of experience. Our brains are the result of the experience of centuries; the brain is the storehouse of memory. Without that memory, without the accumulated experience; and knowledge, we should not be able to function at all as human beings. Experience, memory, is obviously necessary at a certain level. But I think it is also fairly obvious that all experience based on the conditioning of knowledge, of memory, is bound to be limited. And therefore experience is not a factor in liberation. I do not know if you have thought about this at all.
Every experience is conditioned by the past experience. So there is no new experience, it is always coloured by the past. In the very process of experiencing, there is the distortion which comes into being from the past, the past being knowledge, memory, the various accumulated experiences, not only of the individual but also of the race, the community. Now, is it possible to deny all that experience?
I do not know if you have gone into the question of denial, what it means to deny something. It means the capacity to deny the authority of knowledge, to deny the authority of experience, to deny the authority of memory, to deny the priests, the church, everything that has been imposed on the psyche. There are only two means of denial for most of us - either through knowledge or through reaction. You deny the authority of the priest, the church, the written word, the book, either because you have studied, enquired, accumulated other knowledge, or because you do not like it, you react against it. Whereas true denial implies, does it not?, that you deny without knowing what is going to happen, without any future hope. To say, `I do not know what is true, but this is false' is, surely, the only true denial, because that denial is not out of calculated knowledge, not out of reaction. After all, if you know what your denial is leading to, then it is merely an exchange, a thing of the market place; and therefore it is not true denial at all.
I think one has to understand this a little, to go into it rather deeply, because I want to find out, through denial, what is the religious mind. I feel that through negation one can find out what is true. You cannot find out what is true by assertion. You must sweep the slate completely clean of the known before you can find out. So we are going to enquire what the religious mind is through denial, that is, through negation, through negative thinking. And obviously there is no negative enquiry if denial is based on knowledge, on reaction. I hope this is fairly clear. If I deny the authority of the priest, of the book or of tradition, because I do not like it, that is just a reaction because I then substitute something else for what I have denied; and if I deny because I have sufficient knowledge, facts, information and so on, then my knowledge becomes my refuge. But there is a denial which is not the outcome of reaction or knowledge, but which comes from observation, from seeing a thing as it is, the fact of it; and that is true denial because it leaves the mind cleansed of all assumptions, all illusions, authorities, desires.
So is it possible to deny authority? I don't mean the authority of the policeman, the law of the country, and all that; that is silly and immature and will end us up in jail. But I mean the saying of the authority imposed by society on the psyche, on the consciousness, deep down; to deny the authority of all experience, all knowledge, so that the mind is in a state of not knowing what will be, but only knowing what is not true.
You know, if you have gone into it so far, it gives you an astonishing sense of integration, of not being torn between conflicting, contradictory desires; seeing what is true, what is false, or seeing the true in the false, gives you a sense of real perception, a clarity. The mind is then in a position - having destroyed all the securities, the fears, the ambitions, vanities, visions, purposes, everything - in a state that is completely alone, uninfluenced.
Surely, to find reality, to find God or whatever name you like to give it, the mind must be alone, uninfluenced, because then such a mind is a pure mind; and a pure mind can proceed. When there is the complete destruction of all the things which it has created within itself as security, as hope and as, the resistance against hope, which is, despair, and so on, then there comes, surely, a fearless state in which there is no death. A mind that is alone is completely living, and in that living there is a dying every minute; and therefore for that mind there is no death. It is really extraordinary, if you have gone into that thing; you discover for yourself that there is no such thing as death. There is only that state of pure austerity of the mind which is alone.
This aloneness is not isolation; it is. not escape into some ivory tower; it is not loneliness. All that has been left behind, forgotten, dissipated and destroyed. So such a mind knows what destruction is; and we must know destruction, otherwise we cannot find anything new. And how frightened we are to destroy everything we have accumulated!
There is a Sanskrit saying: `Ideas are the children of barren women'. And I think most of us indulge in ideas. You may be treating the talks we have been having as an exchange of ideas, as a process of accepting new ideas and discarding old ones, or as a process of denying new ideas and holding on to the old. We are not dealing with ideas at all. We are dealing with facts. And when one is concerned with facts, there is no adjustment; you either accept it or you deny it. You can either say `I do, not like those ideas, I prefer the old ones, I am going to live in my own stew', or, you can go along with the fact. You cannot compromise, you cannot adjust. Destruction is not adjustment. To adjust, to say, `I must be less ambitious, not so envious', is not destruction. And one must, surely, see the truth that ambition, envy, is ugly, stupid, and one must destroy all these absurdities. Love never adjusts. It is only desire, fear, hope, that adjusts. That is why love is a destructive thing, because it refuses to adapt itself or conform to a pattern. So, we begin to discover that when there is the destruction of all the authority which man has created for himself in his desire to be secure inwardly, then there is creation. Destruction is creation.
Then, if you have abandoned ideas, and are not adjusting yourself to your own pattern of existence or a new pattern which you think the speaker is creating - if you have gone that far - , you will find that the brain can and-must function only with regard to outward things, respond only to outward demands; therefore the brain becomes completely quiet. This means that the authority of its experiences has come to an end, and therefore it is incapable of creating illusion. And to find out what is true it is essential for the power to create illusion in any form to come to an end. And the power to create illusion is the power of desire, the power of ambition, of wanting to be this and not wanting to be that.
So, the brain must function in this world with reason, with sanity, with clarity; but inwardly it must be completely quiet.
We are told by the biologists that it has taken millions of years for the brain to develop to its present stage, and that it will take millions of years to develop further. Now, the religious mind does not depend on time for its development. I wish you could follow this. What I want to convey is that when the brain - which must function in its responses to the outward existence - becomes quiet inwardly, then there is no longer the machinery of accumulating experience and knowledge, and therefore inwardly it is completely quiet but fully alive, and then it can jump the million years.
So, for the religious mind there is no time. Time only exists in that state of a continuity moving to a further continuity and achievement. When the religious mind has destroyed the authority of the past, the traditions, the values imposed upon it, then it is capable of being without time. Then it is completely developed. Because, after all, when you have denied time you have denied all development through time and space. Please, this is not an idea; it is not a thing to be played with. If you have gone through it, you know what it is, you are in that state; but if you have not gone through it then you cannot just pick up these ideas and play with them.
So, you find destruction is creation; and in creation there is no time. Creation is that state when the brain, having destroyed all the past, is completely quiet and therefore in that state in which there is no time or space in which to grow, to express, to become. And that state of creation is not the creation of the few gifted people - the painters, musicians, writers, architects. It is only the religious mind that can be in a state of creation. And the religious mind is not the mind that belongs to some church, some belief, some dogma - these only condition the mind. Going to church every morning and worshipping this or that does not make you a religious person, though respectable society may accept you as such. What makes a person religious is the total destruction of the known.
In this creation there is a sense of beauty; a beauty which is not put together by man; a beauty which is beyond thought and feeling. After all, thought and feeling are merely reactions; and beauty is not a reaction. A religious mind has that beauty - which is not the mere appreciation of nature, the lovely mountains and the roaring stream, but quite a different sense of beauty - , and with it goes love. I do not think you can separate beauty and love. You know, for most of us love is a painful thing, because with it always come jealousy, hate, and possessive instincts. But this love of which we are talking is a state of the flame without the smoke.
So, the religious mind knows this complete, total destruction, and what it means to be in a state of creation - which is not communicable. And with it there is the sense of beauty and love, which are indivisible. Love is not divisible as divine love and physical love. It is love. And with it goes, naturally, without saying, a sense of passion. One cannot go very far without passion - passion being intensity. It is not the intensity of wanting to alter something, wanting to do something, the intensity which has a cause so that when you remove the cause the intensity disappears. It is not a state of enthusiasm. Beauty can only be when there is a passion which is austere; and the religious mind, being in this state, has peculiar quality of strength.
You know, for us strength is the result of will, of many desires woven into the rope of will. And that will is a resistance with most of us. The process of resisting something or pursuing a result develops will, and that will is generally called strength. But the strength of which we are talking has nothing to do with will. It is a strength without a cause. It cannot be utilized, but without it nothing can exist.
So, if one has gone so deeply in discovering for oneself, then the religious mind does exist; and it does not belong to any individual. It is the mind, it is the religious mind, apart from all human endeavours, demands, individual urges, compulsions and all the rest of it. We have only been describing the totality of the mind, which may appear divided by the use of the different words; but it is a total thing, in which all this is contained. Therefore such a religious mind can receive that which is not measurable by the brain. That thing is unnameable; no temple, no priest, no church, no dogma can hold it. To deny all that and live in this state is the true religious mind.
Question: Can the religious mind be acquired through meditation?
Krishnamurti: The first thing to understand is that you cannot acquire it, you cannot get it, it is not to be brought about through meditation. No virtue, no sacrifice, no meditation - nothing on earth can buy this. This sense of attaining, achieving, gaining, buying must totally cease for that to be. You cannot use meditation. What I have been talking about is meditation. Meditation is not a way to something. To discover in every moment of daily life what is true and what is false is meditation. Meditation is nor something to which you escape, something in which you get visions and all kinds of thrills - that is self-hypnosis, which is, immature, childish. But to watch every moment of the day, to see how your thought is operating, to see the machinery of defence at work, to see the fears, ambitions, greeds and envies - to watch it all, enquire into it all the time, that is meditation, or a part of meditation. Without laying the right foundation there is no meditation, and the laying of the right foundation is to be free of ambition, greed, envy and all the things that we have created for our self-defence. You do not have to go to anybody to be told what meditation is or to be given a method. I can find out very simply by watching myself, how ambitious I am or not. I do not have to be told by another; I know. To eradicate the root, the trunk, the fruit of ambition, to see it and totally destroy it is absolutely necessary. You see, we want to go very far without taking the first step. And you will find if you take the first step that it is the last step, there is no other step.
Question: Is it true that we cannot use reason to discover what is true?
Krishnamurti: Sir, what do we mean by reason? Reason is organized thought, as logic is organized ideas, is it not? And thought, however clever, however wide, however well-informed, is limited. All thought is limited. You can observe it yourself; this is not something new. Thought can never be free. Thought is a reaction, a response of memory; it is a mechanical process. It can be reasonable, it can be sane, it can be logical, but it is limited. It is like the electronic computers. But thought can never discover what is new. The brain, through the centuries, has acquired, has accumulated experiences, responses, memory; and when that thing thinks, it is conditioned, and so cannot discover the new. But when that brain has understood the whole process of reason, logic, enquiring, thinking - not denied it but understood it - then it becomes quiet. Then that state of quietness can discover what is true.
Sir, reason tells you that you must have leaders. You have had leaders, political or religious. They have not led you anywhere except to more misery, more wars, greater destruction and corruption.
Question: One sees the absurdity of condemning things, outwardly and inwardly, but one keeps on condemning. So what is one to do?
Krishnamurti: When we say, `I see that I must not condemn', what do we mean by that word `see'? Please follow this a little slowly. I am examining that word `see'. What do we mean by that? How do we see a thing? Do we see the fact through the words? When I say, `I see that condemnation is absurd', do I see it? Or am I looking at the words `I must not condemn'? I do not see the true fact that condemnation does not lead anywhere, do I? I do not know if I am making myself clear. The word `door' is not the door, is it? The word is not the thing; and if we confuse the thing with the word, then we do not see it. But if we can put the word away, then we can look at the thing itself. If I see the whole implication of Catholicism, Hinduism, Communism - see the thing, not the word - , then I have understood it, I have finished with it. But if I cling to the word then the word is an impediment to seeing.
So, to see, the mind must be free of the word but see the fact. I must see the fact that condemnation of any kind prevents the mind from really looking at something. If I merely condemn ambition, I do not see the whole anatomy, the structure of ambition. If the mind wants to understand ambition there must be the cessation of condemnation; there must be the perception of the fact, without resisting it, without denying it. Then the seeing of the fact has its own action. If I see the fact of the whole structure of ambition, then the fact itself reveals to the mind the absurdity, the callousness, the infinitely destructive nature of ambition; and ambition drops away; I do not have to do a thing about it.
And if I see, inwardly, the full significance of authority, study it, watch it, go into it, never denying, never accepting, but seeing, then authority drops away.
August 13, 1961
Saanen 9th Public Talk 13th August 1961
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