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Paris 1961

Paris 9th Public Talk 24th September 1961

This is the last talk. I would like to talk this morning about sorrow and the religious mind. There is sorrow everywhere, outwardly and inwardly. We see it in high places and in low. For thousands of years it has existed, many theories have been spun around it, and all the religions have talked a great deal about it; but it continues. Is it possible to end sorrow, to be really, inwardly, completely free from sorrow? There is not only the sorrow of old age and death, but the sorrow of failure, of anxiety, of guilt, of fear, the sorrow of continued brutality, the ruthlessness of man against man. Is it ever possible to root out the cause of this sorrow - not in another, but in oneself? Surely, if any transformation is to take place it must begin with oneself. After all, there is no separation between oneself and society. We are society, we are the collective. As a Frenchman, a Russian, an Englishman, a Hindu, we are the result of collective reactions and responses, challenges and influences. And in transforming this centre, the individual, perhaps we may alter the collective consciousness.

I think this is not so much a crisis in the outward world, but a crisis in consciousness, in thought, in one's whole being. And I think it is only the religious mind that can resolve this sorrow, that can dissipate entirely, wholly, the whole process of thought and the result which thought brings about as sorrow, fear, anxiety and guilt.

We have tried so many ways to get rid of sorrow; going to church, escaping into beliefs, dogmas, committing oneself to various social and political activities, and innumerable other ways of running away from this everlasting gnawing of fear and sorrow. I think it is only the truly religious mind that can solve the problem. And by a religious mind I mean something entirely different from the mind, the brain, that believes in religion. There is no religion where there is belief. There is no religion where there is dogma, where there is the everlasting repetition of words, words, words, whether in Latin, Sanskrit or any other language. Going to `mass' is just another form of entertainment; it is not religion. Religion is not propaganda. Whether your brain is washed by the Church-people or by the Communists, it is the same thing. Religion is something entirely different from belief and non-belief; and I want to go into the whole question of what is the religious mind. So let us be very clear that religion is not the faith you believe in: that is too immature. And where there is immaturity there is bound to be sorrow. It requires great maturity to discover what is a truly religious mind. Obviously it is not the believing mind; not the mind that follows authority of any kind, whether it be the greatest teacher or the head of a certain sect. So obviously a religious mind is free from all following and therefore from all authority.

May I here digress a little and talk a bit about something else? Some of you have been listening to these nine talks during the last three weeks fairly regularly. And if you go away with a lot of conclusions, with a new set of ideas and phrases, you will be going away empty-handed, or your hands will be full of ashes. Conclusions and ideas of any kind do not resolve sorrow. So I deeply hope you will not cling to words but rather journey together with me so that we may go beyond words and discover for ourselves, through self-knowing, what is factual, and from there take the further journey. The discovery of what is in oneself, actually and factually, brings about quite a different response and action. So I hope you will not carry away with you the ashes of words, of memory.

As I was saying, a religious mind is free of all authority. And it is extremely difficult to be free from authority - not only the authority imposed by another but also the authority of the experience which one has gathered, which is of the past, which is tradition. And the religious mind has no beliefs, it has no dogmas; it moves from fact to fact, and therefore the religious mind is the scientific mind. But the scientific mind is not the religious mind. The religious mind includes the scientific mind; but the mind that is trained in the knowedge of science is not a religious mind.

A religious mind is concerned with the totality - not with a particular function, but with the total functioning of human existence. The brain is concerned with a particular function; it specializes. It functions in specialization as a scientist, a doctor, an engineer, a musician, an artist, a writer. It is these specialized, narrowed-down techniques that create division, not only inwardly but outwardly. The scientist is probably regarded as the most important man required by society just now, as is the doctor. So function becomes all-important; and with it goes status, status being prestige. So where there is specialization there must be contradiction and a narrowing-down, and that is the function of the brain.

Surely, each one of us functions in a narrow groove of self-protective responses. It is there that the `me', the `I' is brought into being, in the brain with its defences, its aggressions, its ambitions, frustrations and sorrows.

So there is a difference between the brain and the mind. The brain is separative, functional, it cannot see the whole; it functions within a pattern. And the mind is the totality which can see the whole. The brain is contained within the mind; but the brain does not contain the mind. And however much thought may purify, refine, control itself, it cannot possibly conceive, formulate or understand what is the total. It is the capacity of the mind that sees the whole, and not the brain.

But we have developed the brain to such an amazing extent. All our education is the cultivation of the brain, because there is profit in the cultivation of a technique, the acquisition of knowledge. The capacity of seeing the whole, the totality of existence - such perception has no profit-motive; therefore we disregard it. For us, function is far more important than understanding. And there is understanding only when there is the perception of the total. However much the brain may work out the reason, the effect, the cause of things, sorrow cannot be solved by thought. It is only when the mind perceives the cause, the effect, the whole total process, and goes beyond, that there is the ending of sorrow.

For most of us, function has become very important, because with it goes status, position, class. And when status comes into being through function, there is contradiction and conflict. How we respect the scientist and look down on the cook! How we look up to the Prime Minister, the General, and disregard the soldier! So there is contradiction when status is allied to function; there is class differentiation, class struggle. A society may try to eradicate class, but so long as there is status accompanying function, there must be class. And that is what we all want. We all want status, which is power.

You know, power is a most extraordinary thing. Everybody pursues it: the hermit, the general, the scientist, the housewife, the husband. We all want power: the power that money gives, the power to dominate, the power of knowledge, the power of capacity. It gives us a position, a prestige, and that is what we want. And power is evil, whether it is the power of the dictator, the power of the wife over the husband or the husband over the wife. It is evil because it forces others to conform, to adjust; and in that process there is no freedom. And we want it, very subtly or very crudely; and that is why we pursue knowledge. Knowledge is so important to most of us, and we look up to the scholars with their intellectual tricks, because with knowledge goes power.

Please listen, not merely to me, but to your own minds, brains and hearts. Watch it there, and you will see how eagerly most of us want this power. And where there is the search for power there is no learning. Only an innocent mind can learn; only a young, fresh mind delights in learning, not a mind, not a brain burdened with knowledge, with experience. So a religious mind is always learning, and there is no end to learning. Learning is not the accumulation of knowledge. In holding to knowledge and adding to knowledge you are ceasing to learn. Do please follow this to the very end.

When you observe all these things, you are aware of an extraordinary sense of isolation, of lonelines, of being cut off. Most of us have experienced at one time or another this sense of being completely alone, enclosed, without a relationship with anything or anyone. And being aware of that, there is fear; and when there is fear there is at once the urge, the demand to escape from it. Please follow all this inwardly, because this is not a lecture; we are actually taking the journey together. And if you can take the journey, you will leave here with quite a different mind, with quite a different quality of brain.

This sense of loneliness must be gone through, and you cannot go through it if you are afraid. This loneliness is actually created by the mind through its self-protective responses and self-centred activities. If you observe your own brain and your own life you will see how you are isolating yourself in everything you do and think. All the business of `my name, my family, my position, my qualities, my capacities, my property, my work' - it is all isolating you. So there is loneliness, and you cannot avoid it. You have to go through it as factually as you have to go through a door. And to go through it you must live with it. And to live with loneliness, to go through it, is to come upon a much greater thing, a much deeper state, which is aloneness - to be completely alone, without knowledge. By that I do not mean being without the superficial mechanical knowledge which is necessary for daily existence; the brain does not need to be washed out, but I mean that the knowledge which one has acquired and stored up should not be used for one's psychological expansion and security. I mean by aloneness a state which no influence of any kind can touch. It is no longer a state of isolation, because it has understood isolation, it has understood the whole mechanical process of thinking, of experience, of challenge and response.

I do not know if you have ever thought of this problem of challenge and response. The brain is always responding to every form of challenge, conscious or unconscious. Every influence impresses itself upon the brain, and the brain responds. You can fairly easily understand the outward challenges, they are very petty; and if you go fairly deeply you can see through the inward challenges and responses. Please follow this, because when you go still deeper there is neither a challenge nor a response - which does not mean that the mind is asleep. On the contrary it is completely awake, so awake that it does not need any challenge, nor is there any necessity for a response. That state, when the mind is without challenge or response because it has understood the whole process - that state is aloneness. So the religious ind understands all this, goes through it, not in the course of time, but in perceiving immediately.

Does time bring understanding? Will you have understanding tomorrow? Or is there understnding only in the active present, now? Understanding is to see something totally, immediately. But that understanding is prevented by any form of evaluation.All verbalizing, condemnation, justification and so on prevents perception. You say, ``It takes time to understand. I need many days for it'. And while you are taking many days, the problem takes deeper root in the mind, and it is much more difficult to get rid of it, whatever the problem is. So understanding is in the immediate present and not in terms of time. When I see something very clearly, immediately, there is understanding. It is the immediacy which is important, not the postponement. If I clearly see the fact that I am angry, jealous, ambitious, and so on, without any opinion, evaluation or judgment, then the very fact begins to operate immediately.

So you will see that the quality of aloneness is the state of a completely awakened mind. It is not thinking in terms of time. And it is really quite extraordinary if you go into it. Therefore the religious mind is not an evolutionary mind; because reality is beyond time. This is really important to understand, if you have gone so far in discovery.

You see, chronological time and psychological time are two different things. We are talking about psychological time, the inward demand for more days, more time in order to achieve - which means the ideal, the hero, the gap between what you are and what you should be. You say that to cover that gap, to bridge it over, you need time; but that attitude is a form of laziness, because you can see this thing immediately if you give your whole attention to it.

So the religious mind is not concerned with progress, with time; it is in a state of constant activity, but not in terms of becoming or being. You can go into it now, though you will probably never go into it. Because you will see, as you go into it, that the religious mind is the destructive mind, for without destruction there is no creation. Destruction is not a matter of time. Destruction takes place when the totality of the mind has given its attention to `what is'. The seeing of the false as false completely, is the destruction of the false. It is not the destructiveness of the Communist, the Capitalist, and all that immature stuff. The religious mind is the destructive mind, and being destructive the religious mind is creative. What is creation is destruction.

And there is no creation without love. You know, for us, love is a strange thing. We have divided love into passion, lust, profane and sacred, carnal and divine, into family love, love of the country, and so on and on, dividing it and dividing it. And in division there is contradiction, conflict and sorrow.

Love, for most of us, is passion, lust; and in the very process of identification with another there is contradiction, conflict and the beginning of sorrow. And for us, love goes. The smoke of it - the jealousy, hate, envy, greed of it - destroys the flame. But where there is love there is beauty and passion. You must have passion, but do not immediately translate that word into sexual passion. By `passion' I mean the passion of intensity, that energy which immediately sees things clearly, burningly. Without passion there is no austerity. Austerity is not mere denial, having only a few things, controlling yourself - which is all too small, too petty. Austerity comes through self-abandonment; and with self-abandonment there is passion, and therefore there is beauty. Not the beauty put together by man; not the beauty which the artist creates - though I am not saying there is no beauty there. But I am talking of a beauty which is beyond thought and feeling. And that can only come about when there is high sensitivity of the brain as well as of the body and mind. And there can be no sensitivity of that nature and quality when there is not complete abandonment, when the brain is not completely giving itself over to the totality which the mind sees. Then there is passion.

So the religious mind is the destructive mind. And it is the religious mind that is the creative mind, because it is concerned with the totality of existence. It is not the creativity of the artist because he is only concerned with a certain segment of life and he tries to express what he feels in that, as the man of the world tries to express himself in business - though the artist thinks he is superior to anybody else. So creation comes into being only when there is total understanding of the whole of life, not of one part of life.

Now, if the brain has gone as far as that and has understood the whole process of existence, and has put away all the gods that man has manufactured, his saviours, his symbols, his hell and his heaven, then, when there is complete aloneness, there is quite a different journey to be undertaken. But one must come to that before one can deny or assert if there is God or no God. From then on there is true discovery because the brain, the mind, has totally destroyed everything it has known. Then only is it possible to enter the unknown; then there is the Unknowable. It is not the god of the churches, the temples, the mosques; not the god of your fears and beliefs. There is a reality which is to be found only in the total understanding of the whole process of existence, not one part of it.

Then the mind, you will find, becomes extraordinarily quiet and still, and the brain also. I wonder if you have ever noticed your own brain in operation, whether the brain has ever been aware of itself in action! If you have been so aware, choicelessly, negatively, you will see that it is everlastingly chattering, talking to itself, or talking about something, accumulating knowledge and storing it away. It is all the time acting consciously at the upper levels and also deeply in dreams, hints, intimations of ideas, and so on. It is constantly moving, changing, acting; but it is never still. And it is necessary for the mind, the brain, to be completely, utterly quiet and still, with no contradiction, no conflict. Otherwise there is bound to be the projection of illusion. But when the mind and brain are completely quiet, without any movement - every form of vision, influence and illusion having been absolutely wiped away - then, in that stillness, the totality will go further in the journey to receive that which is not measurable by time, that which has no name,the Eternal,the Everlasting.

Question: Is not the whole problem a matter of eliminating something which is not, in order to receive that which is?

Krishnamurti: Surely, to seek confirmation is rather absurd, if I may say so. What we have been talking about does not need any confirmation. Either it is so, which is all right; or it is not so, which is also all right. But you cannot seek conflrmation from another, you have to find out.

Question: Is the state of mind in which there is no challenge and response the samc as meditation?

Krishnamurti: I said very carefully that there is no meditation if there is no self-knowing. The laying of the right foundation, which is meditation, is actually to be free of ambition, envy, greed, and the worship of success. And if, after laying the right foundation, one goes further, deeper, there is no challenge and no response. But that is a long journey, not in time, not in days and years, but in ruthless self-knowing.

Question: Is there not a fear which is not the result of thought?

Krishnamurti: We have said that there is instinctive, physical fear. When you meet a snake, or a bus goes roaring by, you withdraw - which is natural, healthy, sane self-protection. But every form of psychological self-protection leads to mental illness.

Question: In dying, is there not a new being?

Krishnamurti: In dying, as we have been going into it, there is no becoming and there is no being. It is another state altogether.

Question: Why are we not always in that marvellous state?

Krishnamurti: The actual fact is that you are not. All that you are is the result of your conditioning. To go through with the total understanding of what you are is to lay the right foundation for further discovery.

You see, I am afraid what has hapis that you have not listened at all to what we have been talking about. This is the last talk, and it would be a pity if you select the parts that suit you and try to take those ashes home with you. What has been said, from the first talk to the last, is all one. There can be no choice or preference in it. Either you must take the totality or nothing at all. But if you have laid the right foundation you can go very far - not, as I have said, in terms of time; but far in the sense of the realization of an immensity which can never be put into words, into paint, or into marble. Without that discovery our life is empty, shallow, without meaning.

September 24, 1961


Paris 1961

Paris 9th Public Talk 24th September 1961

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