Varanasi 7th Public Talk 14th January 1962
This is the last talk. Since we have been meeting here, we have been considering how to bring about a new mind, a mind that is religious - not in the sense of orthodox - a mind that has no roots in beliefs or in dogmas or ideation. Such a mind not only is necessary at all times, but also is essential at the present period of great crisis in the world. Is it possible, not theoretically, but actually to bring about a new mind, or to transform the present, confused, dull, insensitive mind into something totally different? Is it to be done through practice, through discipline, through some form of exercise, forcing the mind to conform to a pattern? Or has the mind the capacity to see directly and immediately what is false, and thereby through negation see what is true?
I think we ought to be clear what we mean by negation and what is positive thinking. Most of us start thinking from a basis, from a conclusion, from an experience. We take a position that we believe in something - believe, because of experience, of knowledge, of tradition - and from there we think, from there we act. That position is generally that of psychologically being secure. That security is either in relationship or in an idea. Mostly, it is in an idea which we call belief, an ideal, an example - still an idea - an idea being a word. We take refuge in words, and that is our platform; and from that we act, and from that basis we think. I think that is untenable; and all our judgement, evaluation, all our consideration and enquiry start from that - from a position, from an idea, from a conclusion, which prevents us from investigating what is true and what is false, or from seeing directly, immediately, what is true.
Now, is it possible to enquire, to wipe away belief, wipe away our conditioning as a Hindu, a Christian or what you will, and investigate? That is what a scientist obviously does; he does not start from a conclusion; he has knowledge, but he will not allow that knowledge to interfere with his investigation. But our human existence is not so definite as that, because we are afraid, we want security, we want so many things in life, we want a name, a position and power, freedom and many other things; and these form the basis of our platform, and from these we try to investigate. All investigation is denied the moment you take a position from which you are looking. Whereas negative investigation, if I may so use that word, is to be free from conclusions, from dogmas, from beliefs, from conditioning, and then enquire. Such enquiry, you may think, prevents action; you may ask, `How can one live, act and be with a mind that is constantly enquiring?'
All action is the result of an idea, of an experience, of knowledge; and from that we act; and we think action will be denied if we are only in a state of constant enquiry. Is our action, whether it is a little one or a most complex one, a most unselfish one and all the rest of it - is our action denied, unless it is already foreseen, controlled, shaped? Is not all action free and therefore must always be the result of enquiry? So, from negative enquiry - that is, not seeking a positive result but denying all positive positions which the mind takes, and enquiring from that denial - is there not action which is more significant, much more effective than action which springs from conclusions? All life is action, is it not? Our coming here, our listening to the talk, my talking, your listening, anything that we do is action; and we base that action on a conclusion. Our actions are confined or limited by the idea which we have, and the idea is the result of experience. The idea is born out of knowledge; and with this background which is fixed, which is more or less confined, limited, conditioned, we proceed to act upon life; and life is always moving, always changing; and so there is a contradiction, and out of that contradiction there is sorrow; and we try to escape from sorrow through different means.
Look, sirs, if I may put it differently, most of you here are probably Hindus, or committed to a particular course of action or belief; and with that background, with those ideas, with that conditioned thinking, you face life, you face the modern world which is so tremendously changing; and so between the world which is changing and the mind which refuses to change, there is a contradiction. You have taken a stand, a position - as a Hindu, as a Catholic, or what not - and with that tradition, you meet life; and so there is a contradiction. Is it possible to meet life, without taking a stand of any kind?
There are enormous changes going on outwardly; but the outer always influences the inner, and we have divided the outer and the inner as two separate things. After all, the inner life, the inner psychological state, is of the same movement as the outer; it is like a tide that goes out and comes in. And to understand the tide that is coming in, you must understand the tide that is going out; you must understand the world; and without the understanding of the outer, the inner pursuit has no value at all. So, the thing is not to divide life as the outer world and the inner world, but to understand the totality of this movement. You cannot understand the totality of this movement, if you take a stand of any kind.
The religious mind is the non-committed mind, because it is only such a mind that can discover what is true and what is false. It is only such a mind that can find out if there is or is not a reality, God, a timeless thing - but not the committed mind, not a mind that believes or does not believe. Obviously, the religious mind is not the mind that goes to the temple, that does puja and all kinds of tricks. The religious mind sees the falseness of all that totally, completely; and therefore being free and not having a platform from which to proceed to enquire, it begins all enquiry from freedom. Therefore, such a mind is dispassionate, objective, sane, rational, capable of reasoning - which is after all the scientific mind. The scientific mind is not a religious mind. The scientific mind is committed to examine a certain part of existence, a segment of life; so the scientific mind cannot understand the totality which the religious mind can understand.
To have such a religious mind, there must be a revolution - not economic or social, but a psychological revolution - a revolution in the psyche, in the very process of our thinking. Now, how is such a mind to be brought about? We see the necessity of such a mind - a new mind that has no frontier; a new mind that is not committed to any group, race, family or culture or civilization; a new mind that is not the result of social morality. Social morality is no morality at all, it is only concerned with sexual morality; you can be as ambitious, as ruthless, as vain and envious as you like. And social morality is the enemy of the religious mind.
So, how is the religious mind or the new mind to come into being? How would you set about it? It is not a rhetorical question. We are all faced with this problem: to have a fresh, young mind, a new mind - because, the old mind has not solved a thing, it has multiplied problems. How would you get it, how would you set about to realize this mind? Will you have a system, a method? Please see the importance of the question which I am asking, and see the significance of it. We do require a new mind, it is essential; and how do you come by it? Through a method - a method being a system, a practice, a repetitive thing day after day? Will a method produce a new mind? Please find out, enquire into it with me; do not just merely listen, and go back to thinking that you must have a practice, a method, whereby to acquire a new mind.
Surely, a method implies, does it not?, a continuity of a practice, directed along a certain line towards a certain result - which is, to acquire a mechanical habit, and through that mechanical habit to realize a mind which is not mechanical. Essentially, that is what is implied in a method. When you say, `Discipline', all discipline is based on a method according to a certain pattern; and the pattern promises you a result which is predetermined by a mind which has already a belief, which has already taken a position. So, will a method, in the widest or the narrowest sense of that word, bring about this new mind? If it does not, then method as habit must go completely, because it is false. Whether it is Sankara, Buddha or the latest saint who has said that you must have a method, such a method is utterly false, because method only conditions the mind according to the result which is desired. But do you know what the new mind is - a fresh, young mind, an innocent mind? How can you know? You cannot know it, you have to discover it. So you have to discard all the`mechanical processes of the mind. Just listen to this. It does not matter if you do anything about it or not - it is up to you. Please do follow this. The mind must discard all the mechanical processes of thought. So, the idea that a method, a system, a discipline, a continuity of habit will bring about this mind is not true. So, all that is to be discarded totally as being mechanical. A mind that is mechanical is a traditional mind, it cannot meet life which is non-mechanical; so, the method is to be put aside. Then, how will you approach it?
Will knowledge give you the new mind, knowledge being experience? Experience is the response to a challenge, and the response is according to your memory, surely, according to your conditioning. So, will knowledge - that is experience - help you to the new mind? Must not the new mind be in a state of non-experience? If I may, I will go into it a little bit; and perhaps, we shall be able to understand afterwards by questioning. There is challenge and response. We live that way. Every moment life challenges, and we respond. We respond according to our conditioning, our conditioning being as a Hindu, a Mussulman and all the rest of it. If you reject the outer challenge - which very few do - then you create your own challenge inwardly, psychologically; and again there is the inward questioning and to that you respond; and all that, both the outer and the inner questioning, is based on experience. And that experience is always accumulating as knowledge, as time. Please, what we are talking about is not difficult. All that you have to do is to watch yourself, and you will see that we are only talking about facts, not about theories. Time being experience as knowledge, will that bring the new mind? Obviously not, because the very word `the new mind' implies something new, totally new, not to be brought about by experience. Experience is always the past - which is time. So, one realizes, if one has followed this, that neither habit nor experience as knowledge will produce the new mind, nor will one get the new mind through time.
When you deny all this - as you are bound to, if you have gone into yourself and examined - then you will see that the total denial of everything that you know, of every experience, of every tradition, of every movement born of time, is the beginning of the new mind. To deny totally you must have energy. We generally derive energy by resistance - do I need to explain that? We derive energy by escape; we derive energy through envy, through ambition, through greed, through brutality, through the desire for power. But such energy creates its own contradiction, and the contradiction wastes that energy. So, most of us have no energy to deny and to remain in that state of denial which is the highest form of thinking. But that denial gives energy, because in that denial there is no contradiction.
So, the religious mind or the new mind, is the revolutionary mind. Because, it is no longer ambitious, envious, it has seen the significance of envy, ambition, authority, and therefore is free of it - not eventually, but actually, immediately. And this denial is the way of meditation. Meditation is not the silly thing of repeating words, sitting in front of a picture and trying to get visions and all the sensations; but meditation is this constant awareness of seeing the false and denying it totally. That denial gives energy - not the energy brought about through conflict, not the energy that is prescribed by the so-called religious people of being a bachelor and all the rest of it; those are all forms of resistance and therefore contradiction. You can see factually the totality of all this process, understand it completely, only when you have not a platform, a perch, an idea, from which you are examining. It is only the religious mind that can go very far, it is only the religious mind that can discover what is beyond the measure of the mind.
Question: Is not denial and rejection a method?
Krishnamurti: Have you ever denied anything, and in that denial was there a motive? If there was a motive, is that a denial? And then if there is a motive and if there is the denial which is born out of that motive, then it is a method. But we are talking of denial without a motive - to renounce, to give up doing something, without a motive. Don't you know that? Have you done anything - acted, given up, put aside, renounced, denied, whatever you would like - without motive, have you ever done it? And when you do, does that bring about a method? Does that constitute a method?
You see, the difficulty lies in using words. For us, words are extraordinarily significant - we live by words, like the word `India'. We are now enquiring into a mind that is not a slave to words. Do we love out of a motive? Is there love when there is a motive. You will very easily say, `Of course, not` - at least probably you would. How is it possible to love without a motive - `how' as a question-mark, not as a method? First, you must discover if you have a motive, and understand that motive, go into it; and the very going into it is the very denial of the motive. Then perhaps, you will understand what love is.
Question: Sometimes, a challenge is such that it paralyses one and there is no proper response. Is it possible not to feel paralysed but respond immediately to the challenge?
Krishnamurti: The gentleman says, one is overwhelmed by the reaction to a challenge. My son dies, and there is immediate reaction; and that reaction is so overwhelming, so shocking that I am paralysed. It may take me a year, two years, or a day. The question is, if I understand the gentleman rightly: Is it possible to respond immediately without being overwhelmed by the response? My son dies and it is a shock; it is an unexpected, unfortunate, not wanted incident in my life, it leaves me in a paralysed condition. And the question is: need I be paralysed, need I be overwhelmed by the reaction? Surely, one cannot lay down a general principle on this. It depends on the sensitivity, on the dullness, on the so-called affection, on many interrelated reasons for this extraordinary sense of being paralysed, overwhelmed; but we do not have such extraordinary incidents all the time of our lives. There are one or two challenges which really overwhelm us; but, there are minor challenges all the time, of which we are conscious or unconscious - minor, not of an extraordinarily major kind. Most of us do not know that they are taking place; we are so dull, we are so immune, we live in a world of our own making. And for such a mind `response and challenge' is non-existent - and that is what most of the sannyasis, saints and monks do; they live behind a wall of ideas. So, they have rejected the world, and live in a world of their own, in a world of ideas; they do not want to be disturbed, they have no challenge, they have found an asylum, an abode which will always be satisfactory; and so, they have no response and challenge. Most of us would like to be in that position where nothing touches us. Most of us want that - that is our idea of God, having peace of mind and all the rest of it where nothing will touch us. But life won't leave you alone. My son dies, my wife turns to somebody else, I lose a job, I lose my money, there is disease, there is death; everything is a challenge. And I have always relied on a conclusion, the things which I have learnt, tradition and all the rest of it. So, my response is weak.
If I may go further into it, the question really is: is it possible for the mind to be so attentive all the time, so sensitive that every challenge is answered completely and immediately, and to come to a state when there is no challenge and no response, when it is no longer in a state of experiencing? Do think about it. You may deny it, you may say it is a very nice theory; but do look at it. When you understand something totally, say for instance, when you understand authority totally, all its peculiarities, its tendency, where you have completely read the whole book of authority which is yourself, in yourself, when you have completely understood authority, then there is no problem any more about authority, no experiences of authority can ever touch you. In the same manner, if you regard the totality of life with all its intricacies, and therefore be free of envy, greed, jealousy, ambition, authority, then, is there a need for experiencing? I say it is only such a mind that can understand what is true, what is false, and if there is something beyond time; it is only such a mind that is free from the known and therefore not in a world of experience, challenge and response, and knowledge; it is only such a mind that can discover the timeless.
Question: Will the new mind be of the nature of life?
Krishnamurti: I do not quite understand the meaning of that question. It is a theoretical question, is it not? I am not belittling your question, when you ask: will not the new mind be of the nature of life? We are not talking of ideas, of symbols, of comparisons; either you have the new mind or you do not have it. If you have it, there is nothing more to be said; if you have not got it, how will you have it - not what it is like? Question: Is it possible not to have any Psychological experience?
Krishnamurti: Psychologically speaking, the questioner asks: is it possible to have no experience psychologically? Mechanically, you can add, you can improve the engine from the piston-type to the jet-type, and harness the power in the atom - you can improve mechanically. The question is: is it possible at all psychologically to be free of experience? If you ask that question, what do you expect me to reply? Yes or no? If I say, `Yes', what value has it to you? If I say, `No', you will say it shows that we cannot do it. At the end of the question where are you? Have you found out whether, psychologically, it is possible to be free of experience or not, for yourself but not because somebody else says so? To find out the truth of that question, you have to dig into yourself tremendously, have you not? You have to enquire, burn everything to find out.
You know death is a strange thing, you cannot argue with death. You cannot compromise with death, you cannot postpone death. It is absolute and final, and it is the most destructive thing. To find out what death is, you must die to everything. Similarly, to find out if it is possible to live in this world without authority, you have to dig very deeply into yourself, have you not? - which means, you must deny totally the authority of the guru, the authority of the family, the authority of the State; you must find out where the authority of the State holds and where it does not hold, where you have to obey the policeman and where the policeman cannot possibly enter.
Question: You have talked about denial and contradiction. Is not contradiction a denial?
Krishnamurti: The question is: you have said about denial and contradiction; is not contradiction a denial?
Let us keep it very simple. Is not denial contradiction? What do we mean by a contradiction? When different desires pull in different directions - when I want to do that but do something else, when I want to be kind but I am unkind - there is contradiction; and that contradiction saps the energy. Is denial contradiction? I say, `No'. Denial is not a contradiction, because denial is not a reaction. I have understood the whole significance of authority at all its levels, I have seen the whole totality of authority or envy, and I deny it; it is not a contradiction, it is not a reaction.
When you deny something, either you deny through a motive - then it becomes an assertion - or you deny because you see it as false. It is a very complex thing. You all believe in God because you have been told, you have been brought up, you have been conditioned to believe in God. But to find out if there is God, you must deny the God which you believe in; but that denial becomes a reaction if that denial is born out of discontent with the God which you hope will give you something. But that denial is not a reaction when the mind says, `Look, as long as I have a belief of any kind - either belief in God or belief in no God - I cannot find out; to find out if there is such a thing, I must put aside all this'. Surely, that is very clear.
Question: You say that denial without reaction brings energy. What is the source of that energy?
Krishnamurti: The denial which has a motive, the denial which is the outcome of what is to be in the future, the denial born of knowledge - all such denial does not bring the energy we have been talking about. On the contrary, the denial without reaction brings that energy. The gentleman wants to know from what source that energy comes into being. You need energy to deny. Most of our energy we derive from escapes, from repression, from resistance; but that energy is not the same energy that you need in order to deny. I said that and I stick to it. I am not challenging it. You can see how you derive energy by resisting. That is very simple. Is that not clear?
I resist and in the process of resistance I have energy. I have energy when I think of nationalism, of the Indian flag; I feel emotionally stirred up and I derive a certain form of energy. When I hate, that brings a form of energy. All those breed contradictions, and thereby that energy which is engendered through resistance is dissipated. But the energy of which I am talking, the energy that comes through denial, is different. The gentleman asks: what is the source of that energy? First of all, motive of any kind gives energy. I want money, and that produces energy; I feel a sexual urge, a biological urge, and that produces energy. So motive, as far as we know, produces certain forms of energy which become contradictory; and if you deny with a motive, then that energy is dissipated. But if you deny because you understand totally, then that energy is necessary to go further into the whole process of the mind. From where does that energy come? Where do you think it comes from? Don't wait for the answer. It is only a question. There is no answer. If you put a question without wanting an answer, you will find the answer. But if you put the question, hoping to find the answer, your answer will then be according to your conditioning. But if you put the question without any motive, that very questioning is the source of energy.
I want to know what is that timeless state which everybody talks about. What is the source of that urge to know? Is it to escape from the world of sorrow, from my nagging wife, from my brutal husband" from death, from disease? Then such an urge, productive of energy, creates a contradiction, and thereby dissipates energy. If I put the question without a motive, why do I put the question without a motive? I put it because I have understood very clearly, completely, that a question with a motive is like thought anchored to a belief; it cannot go very far.
Question: What is all this for, sir?
Krishnamurti: I have nothing to offer. I do not take your escapes away. I point out your escapes; you can have them, or worship them, or do what you like; but it is for you. I have pointed out something much more significant.
Question: Can one live in this world without any contradiction, psychologically?
Krishnamurti: Is it possible to live in this world in a state in which, psychologically, there is no contradiction? I want to experience that state. It must be there. How do I proceed. That is too difficult. Let me take something simpler.
You know what death is? You have seen death being carried away to be burnt, and the burning of death is the continuity of death. I want to know what it is to die, while I am living - not when I am old, diseased. I want to know what it is to die, while living with my faculties fully alive and while my brain can reason, while it is not diseased. I want to know the state, the feeling of dying, of being dead. I want to know it, not because I am frightened, but because I have said a motive cannot take me very far - then the motive dictates the journey.
Therefore, I see that a mind that wishes to know what is death, must be free from fear. So, I must enquire into the whole question of fear. Is it possible to live in this world without fear? So, I enquire, I see, I cross-examine, I am aware of every movement of thought. And it is only then, when there is no fear and therefore no motive, that I can find out what death is. That means, I must totally abandon everything I know. I must die to everything known - to my family, to my tradition, to my virtue, to everything. Is it possible to die? I say it is possible, but it has no validity for you; it has validity only when you die to all
the known. When you die to the known, every day, never accumulating then you will find out what death is. And the discovery of what death is comes with the understanding of the totality of fear and therefore being free of fear; and the freedom from fear is the source of energy.
Question: Is love a feeling?
Krishnamurti: The gentleman asks: is the love that you talk about a feeling? What is feeling? Feeling is like thought. Feeling is a sensation. I see a flower and I respond to that flower, I like it or dislike it. The like or the dislike is dictated by my thought, and the thought is the response of the background of memory. So, I say, `I like that flower', or `I do not like that flower; `I like this feeling' or `I do not like that feeling'. Now, is love related to feeling? What is your answer? Look at what my question is. Listen to it. Is love a feeling? Feeling is sensation, obviously - sensation of like and dislike, of good and bad, of good taste and all the rest of it. Is that feeling related to love? That is the question; and what does love mean to you?
Do you associate love with women or men, do you associate love with sex? You must, because you have denied beauty; all your saints have denied beauty. And beauty is associated with women. So, you have said, `No feeling; and so you have cultivated rough personalities, crude egos which deny beauty. Have you watched your street, have you watched the way you live in your houses, the way you sit, the way you talk? And have you noticed all your saints whom you worship? For them passion is sex, and therefore they deny passion, therefore they deny beauty - deny in the sense of putting those aside. So, with sensation you have put away love because you say, `Sensation will make me a prisoner, I will be a slave to sex-desire; therefore I must cut'. Therefore you have made sex into an immense problem. Sex is a problem to all of you; and all your gods whom you want to reach, say that you must be without feeling, you must never look at a woman, never look at a man, never look at the tree, at the river, at the beauty of the earth. So is love a feeling? When you have understood feeling completely, not partially, when you have really understood the totality of feeling, then you will know what love is. When you can see the beauty of a tree, when you can see the beauty of a smile, when you can see the sun setting behind the walls of your town - see totally - then you will know what love is.
Question: You talk about being free from experience. But is it right to be indifferent to a person who is suffering because someone is dead?
Krishnamurti: You see, sirs, what do we mean by being indifferent? Are you not all indifferent to what is happening in this country which is rapidly. declining? Are you not all indifferent to the dirt, the squalor, the sordidness of life about you? Please listen to this. Are you not indifferent to love, are you not indifferent to your neighbour, to the village which is hungry. Being indifferent, you say you want to act; being insensitive, you force yourself to do something. Indifference and insensitivity go together. But a sensitive mind which is not blunted through experiences, can give sympathy, love, affection to somebody. But the thing is to be sensitive, not blunted, not made dull by experience, by tradition, by authority, by all the gods that man has invented. You need a sensitive mind to go into everything.
Question: Have you not set up an authority to liberate yourself from all authority including itself?
Krishnamurti: The gentleman says that I have an authority which liberates me from all authorities including itself. Should I accept such an authority? If I met an authority which destroys all previous authorities including itself, should I accept such authority? Authority can never liberate you from any other authority; and if it does, that new authority has taken root in you; it has not destroyed authority; you have only replaced old authority by a new one. If that authority has denied all authority and helped you to be free of all authority including itself, where is the need of acceptance of any authority? I see authority is pernicious. I have gone into it. Do not ask me about the authority of policemen, of Government, etc; I won't go into it now.
The understanding of authority is absolutely essential for a free mind; and it is only a free mind that can find - not a crippled mind. If you understand the full significance of authority, not because somebody else tells you to look, or somebody else tells you that you are free only when you are free from authority, but through your own examination, through your own questioning, from your own enquiry, every day of your life, then you will find there is no authority. You have got to accept no authority of any kind including my own; but that requires a tremendous understanding, that requires your seeing facts.
The question is: is the religious mind, an individual mind or the collective mind? Or, is it something else? Sir, is your mind, the mind that you use, an individual mind - individual being unique? is your mind unique? Or is it merely the collective and the interaction of the collective modified in the present by various experiences and incidents and accidents? Is yours an individual mind? You may have a technical job, a mechanical functioning; is it an individual mind? Are you not of the collective? You are all Hindus, Christians, Catholics, Buddhists, Communists, Indians or Russians - you are the collective. To see that you are the collective and to see the fact of it and to free the mind from the collective - that can only be done through self-enquiry, through self-knowing. And the freeing of the mind from its conditioning through self-knowing brings about a new mind which is neither individual nor collective; that mind is something totally new.
May I say something, sirs? First of all, it is very kind of you to have come and listened to these talks. And these talks will be utterly useless, absolutely worthless, will be empty ashes, if you merely lived by the word, if you merely treated it as an idea, as a theory which is added to the old theories which you already have. But if you have listened so that the very listening is an act of self-enquiry, self-knowing, then these talks will have real significance; then they will take you infinitely far.
January 14, 1962
Varanasi 7th Public Talk 14th January 1962
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.