New Delhi 1962
New Delhi 2nd Public Talk 24th January 1962
We were saying the last time when we met here - it was on Sunday - how important it is that there should be a total revolution - not reformation, not the reforming of society, but a complete inward revolution of the mind. We said that a new mind is necessary to meet not only the present crisis which is always expanding and growing worse, but a new mind is necessary also to discover for ourselves what is true and if there is a state of creativity beyond time. For that a new mind is necessary, a new mind that is not a slave to obedience to authority, that comprehends totally that state of humility in which alone there can be learning.
And as I said last Sunday, is it possible for the individual to break away from society? It is only in breaking away from society that the individual comes into existence. And is it possible for that individual to bring about a new mind? We said that society is the past, and each one of us is the result of the past. Each one of us is the result of his environment, of the society he lives in, of the culture in which he has been brought up, of the religious propaganda with which he has been inculcated through centuries. He is the result of all that which is the past. Is it possible to break away from the past totally, the past being not only yesterday but the many thousand yesterdays, the past which is the atomic bomb as well as the tradition of the Hindu, the Christian, the Buddhist, or of all the other religions, or of the social revolutionary who is the Communist?
The past is not only the tradition but also the result of that tradition in conjunction with the present which creates the future. Because for most of us tradition is very important, we have to understand tradition. There is the tradition of the weaver, there is the tradition of the scientist, there is the tradition of the scholar, there is the tradition of the so-called religious person, the tradition of the technician. Where is one to draw the line between the various kinds of tradition, and then is technical knowledge essential to live in this world and when is it a total detriment to the creative mind?
I think each one of us should comprehend this problem of tradition, because tradition is after all habit seasoned in time. And that habit shapes our thought, shapes all our existence, forces you to go to the office, forces you to maintain a family which evokes responsibility, duty and morality in which is included obedience. All these are surely tradition: they compose tradition, they make up tradition.
Does tradition help to bring about a creative mind that is the new mind? Or does habit prevent the total comprehension of that which is beyond time? There is no good habit and bad habit - all habit is the same. But to free the mind from habit is, surely, extraordinarily important, because habit is merely a technique, an easy way of living in which no deep thinking is necessary. That is why most of us cultivate habits which become almost automatic, and thereby we need not exert too much vitality or thought. So we cultivate habits which gradually, through time, become tradition.
Now, the whole of that is the past, the past including the ideas, the gods, the various conscious and unconscious influences, the various compulsions and urges, the various accumulations to which we are attached. All that is the past, not only the accumulated memories of the individual, of the person, but also the accumulated knowledge of humanity which has been gathered, accumulated through centuries. There is the accumulation in the unconscious and there is the accumulation in the conscious. The accumulation in the conscious is the present technological education, the environmental and social influences in the present. There is also in the unconscious the residue of thousands of years of man's endeavour, his knowledge, his hopes, his frustrations, his unexpected demands. All that is the past. The past is you, and there is nothing else but the past. And I think it is very important to understand this.
I mean by understanding, not intellectually, not verbally. If you merely assent to what has been said, agree or disagree and add more in detail to what has been said, verbally, intellectually, then you are not understanding, because anybody can agree with anything or can be persuaded not to agree. But understanding is something entirely different, surely. Understanding comes into being when you give your whole attention not only to the word and to the meaning of the word, but also to your reaction to those words and the reaction which is the response of your memory which is the past; the whole total process of that brings about understanding.
And these talks are not verbal, are not meant to be merely a series of ideas with which you can play. They are meant for those people who are serious, earnest, who are willing or wishing to go to the very end to find out - to the very end, not to the intellectual barren end of words and theories, but to the very end of an idea, of a thought like the past - to enquire very deeply into it, and to pursue it logically, sanely, rationally to the very end. Such a person is a serious person who will not be thwarted by any formula.
And this evening we are proposing to do that; and that is not only to enquire verbally, but also emotionally contact with the word. You know, there is a difference between these two. Mere verbalization is not connected with our emotions, with our feelings; there is a division between the idea and the feeling which brings about action. When we divide the idea, we separate it from the feeling; then there is the contradiction between the feeling and the idea. And most of us spend our time in trying to find out how to bridge the gap between the idea and the action. The idea is merely the word, the idea is merely a series of thoughts verbalized. Ideas have no value at all. As you must have observed, every politician throughout the world talks of peace. That is double talk. They talk of peace and prepare for war. They talk of not having position, power, prestige, they are craving, burning after it. So it is an idea. But we are not dealing with ideas; we are dealing with the fact that action can only come about when there is an emotional contact with the fact.
I feel that the past can be completely dissolved. The future, the unknown, is just beyond the wall of the past. But to go beyond, to break through that wall, one has to go very deeply into the question of the past. One cannot go deeply into the whole process of consciousness verbally. One cannot enquire through thought. Thought is not capable of enquiry, because thought is born of reaction. Thought is the reaction of memory, and memory is the result of experience; and that experience is the conditioning in which we have been brought up. So thought is not the way to enquire, thought is not the instrument of questioning, of demanding.
So, when one realizes very clearly, sharply, that thought is not the instrument of enquiry, then how is one to enquire, how is one to understand? As I am talking, please listen to find out the state of your own mind. Do not merely hear the words, but use the words to open the door into your own mind. Because, really, what we are doing this evening is the process which opens the door into yourself. We are taking a pilgrimage inwardly, taking a journey together into the whole process of the mind. If you are merely listening to words then it will have no value. But if you are journeying together - not merely listening to me, but journeying together with me - then you will discover for yourself the truth or falseness of what is being said.
And if the intellect is not the instrument of enquiry and the intellect is not the way that opens the door, then what is the way? I am using the word `way' not as a method, not as a system, not as a practice, not as a discipline - those are all too immature and childish; it does not matter who says so. A mind that follows a system is a narrow mind, it is a limited mind. And a mind that is disciplined, shaped, controlled, ceases to think. So I am using the word `way' in the sense if this is not it, then what is? If thought is not the way to enquire into how to dissolve the past - because thought itself is the past, is the result of the past; and therefore it is incapable of dissolving the past, then what is? How is the past to be dissolved? I hope I am making myself perfectly clear.
The hand that gives cannot at the same time take away. Thought wants to dissolve the past, but yet thought is the result of the past. No action, no projection, no desire, no volition from the past can dissolve it, because all that is still of the past. Do what you will, every action, every sacrifice, every movement of the mind is of the past; and thought, do what it will, cannot resolve it. If this is very clear, not merely in agreement - not merely that you agree with what is being said, which is not important at all - then what is important is to find out if you can dissolve the past. The past can give the technique of daily existence, the past is the machinery of daily existence; it can offer, it can facilitate, but it cannot take you very far. And we have to take a journey beyond the past, beyond time; and it is necessary because the only revolution that matters is the religious revolution. And such a revolution only can bring about an extraordinary order out of this disorder. I will explain that presently. It is not a contradiction.
So, thought under no circumstances offers a way out of the past. The past is necessary; otherwise you would not know where you live, you would not be able to know what your name is, or to go to the office, or to recognize your wife, husband, your friends, your children, or to speak. The past is memory, and memory is essential. You cannot put it aside. But the cultivation of memory which is knowledge, which is the expansion of thought, cannot possibly break down the wall of the past. And therefore the mind is never new, never fresh, never young, never innocent. But it is only such a young, fresh, innocent mind that knows humility - not the mind that is burdened with the past.
So how is one to break through the past? There is an act which comes into being with seeing. Please pay a little attention to what is being said. Because of its very simplicity you will find it difficult to understand; our minds are so complicated, so immature, with a lot of information which has no value, so frightening, so insecure. Being insecure, the mind seeks security, and therefore furthers, insecurity; and such a mind is incapable of seeing something very simple and therefore acting very simply. simply.
And I am going to talk a little bit about the act of seeing, which like listening is an extraordinary act. To listen without judgment, without thought, without the word, without interpretation, without condemning or accepting; just to listen, which is an extremely attentive state of mind; to listen to somebody, it does not matter who it is, whether it is your child, your husband, your boss, your bus-conductor; to listen completely - it requires a great deal of attention, not concentration but just attention. And seeing and listening involve this attention. There is the past - which nobody can deny. It is there, solid, brutalizing, crippling, destroying the young mind that must be totally alive. That is a fact - not only an outward fact, but also a psychological fact. One must see the fact without condemnation, without any judgment - merely see the fact, what the past is.
Now, let me go into the question of seeing, in a different way. For most of us authority is very important - the authority of the books, the so-called sacred books; the authority of the policeman, the law; the authority of the boss, the tradition; authority as domination of the husband over the wife or the wife over the husband and of the parent over the child; the authority that makes you obey; the authority that has created such disorder in this world. For through obedience you do not create order, but you bring disorder - as all tyrannies do bring disorder. This again is a fact, both an outward and an inward fact, that you obey. And your constant demand is to find an assuring, comforting, enduring authority that will give you great, immense satisfaction which you call peace.
Do please listen to this and apply it to yourself. You are not listening to words, you are listening to yourself. You are not listening to ideas, you are observing yourself in a mirror. You may turn your back, you may not look at the mirror; but it is there if you look, if you want it. As you are here, do look at the mirror which is yourself. So there is authority - the authority that makes you do things, the authority of right conduct, the authority that says that you must not and that you must, the authority that destroys all creativity - which is shown in the soldier. The soldier is not allowed to think. He is only allowed to obey. The more completely he obeys the authority without hesitation, the more is he the complete soldier. Then for him he has no responsibility, his superiors take the responsibility, and that is why war is popular. That is what most of us want: the authority of the guru who tells you what to do - and you don't have to think, you don't have to feel, you don't have to question; you just follow.
And so obedience becomes almost second nature. And a nation brought up on obedience is a nation that ceases to be. That is what is happening in this unfortunate country. There is no questioning, you don't break down authority - I do not mean the authority of the Government and the authority of the law. If you do break that down, if you do not pay taxes, you will go to prison; that is very simple - I don't mean breaking down that kind of authority; that will be too stupid and immature. When I speak of breaking down authority, I mean the breaking down of the psychological authority, the authority that one has built up within oneself, which is to obey - to obey the guru, to obey tradition, to obey what you have been told, to bend your knee to the so-called religion which is nothing else but propaganda. We will go into the whole question of religion later. So authority cripples all that and brings about deterioration; you are never free, there is always fear.
And how can a mind which is ridden by authority of every kind, from the little authority to the great authority of the highest guru, Sankara and all the saints - how can such a mind ever find out what is true for itself? Surely, it has to find out what is true for itself. It need not be told by a thousand gurus what is true, for all of them may be wrong - they probably are. But you have to find out; and to find out you have to destroy every authority that you have created within yourself. That very denial brings what you may call disorder, because that disorder is really fear which arises when you begin to question this inward authority and so tear down the house that one has built up through centuries, specially in this country which is in a state od deterioration. You see this fact of authority and follow it; you say: what would happen if there were no inward authority? Probably if there were no inward authority you would be disturbed for a few days, but soon you would find another authority to replace the old. And in the mean time there is disorder, and you are frightened by that disorder.
Surely, sirs, you must tear down everything to create, you must question everything. And in that very questioning the individual comes into being; otherwise, we remain the mass. And, surely, that is what is necessary at the present time - to question everything, to question not to find out the answer. If you question with a motive, it is no longer questioning; then you are merely seeking a result. But if you question without a motive - which is quite an extraordinary thing to do - then your mind is completely capable of seeing what is true.
So it is important, is it not?, that there should be a new mind, a fresh mind. And such a mind is not possible, if it is burdened with authority. Authority is not only the authority of the guru, the authority of the book, the authority of the wife and the husband and all the rest, the authority or the will to dominate, but also there is a much deeper significance in authority which is experience. Because, most of us live by experience, experience becomes authority. There is the experience of the scientist who has accumulated for centuries knowledge which is authority, and also there is the experience which each one of us has gathered as knowledge and that becomes our authority which again is the past: the authority of which the conscious mind is aware and also the authority which is the accumulated experience in the unconscious. Experience is the reaction to challenge. I ask you something. The very asking is a challenge to which you respond, and the responding is the experiencing. And that experiencing is the result of your previous experiences which become the authority.
Please see, it is quite simple. It may sound very complicated, but it is not. All experience is of the past. And any response of experience which is of the past will not break down the wall of the past. So authority of any kind, inward or outward, will not free the mind from the past. And you can never be a master of the future, except in mechanical things, because the future is the unknown. But we look at the future, the tomorrow, with the eyes of the past, and therefore we think we can control it. And we do control it mechanically - tomorrow you are going to the office, tomorrow you are going to have certain results in your activities and so on. Mechanically you will do all kinds of things; therefore you think you are the master of the future, but you are not. Psychologically you are not the master of the future which is tomorrow. Because, how can you be the master of something which you don't know? How can you be the master of a mind which is - which must be - young, fresh, innocent? So when you see - I am using the word `see' in the way I have talked about seeing - that certain outward forms of authority are necessary, like the authority of the engineer, the doctor, the Government, the law, the policeman, but every other form of authority is destructive and prevents the mind from being free, then the mind can be free. And it is only the free mind that can go beyond.
So we are the result of the past. We are the past. And any projection of the past is not the future, except mechanically, except in time. All projections into the future - such as `I shall be this, psychologically', `I shall arrive', or `I shall find the truth' - are born of the past and therefore are productive of conflict.
Now, if you are able to see this totally - that is, as I explained seeing something totally, with your mind, with your heart, with your senses, with your eyes, nose, ears, with all your senses, as well as mentally, emotionally, completely; seeing something without contradiction, without effort - then you will find that the past can be broken down completely, not bit by bit, but totally, immediately, because seeing prevents the gap from action. There is no gap between seeing and acting. I hope I am making myself clear.
You see, sir, it is very important, to remove contradiction, to be free of contradiction, because contradiction brings about conflict. I am talking of the inward, psychological contradiction, the double talk of the politician - and most of us indulge in that double talk. And if one is really going to the very end of any thought, to introduce contradiction prevents further journey, you are caught in contradiction. So what we are pointing out is seeing something totally, without contradiction.
Sir, to see that you are angry, what is involved in that seeing? The fact is that you are angry. And when you see that fact, without denying it, without justifying, without saying, `It is right' or `It is wrong', when you are just aware choicelessly of the fact that you are angry, then that very fact that you are angry will bring about an action which is not contradictory. Then you do not pretend, or persuade yourself, or discipline yourself not to be angry, because in that very act of seeing there is no contradiction. And this fact of seeing is very important to understand, because on that point I am going to talk all the time, because that is the only liberating factor - the act of seeing, the act of listening-; then you do not have to do a thing.
But to see so completely you must be attentive, and attention denies contradiction. You cannot attend if you are condemning. You cannot give your whole attention if you are trying not to be jealous. It is only when you are completely aware that you are jealous or envious, completely, then that fact brings its own energy. And you need tremendous energy to have this attention. And the act of seeing is attention. I am not talking of something mystic, something of a special process, a new particular way of thinking - all that is absurdity. We are moving from fact to fact.
And the act of seeing without condemnation, judgment, evaluation, without the word which is thought; the act of looking, observing every movement, every feeling when you pay your total attention to everything that you see and feel - that act of seeing brings about a new mind, a fresh mind. That fresh mind is not created by thought, by modern education, by going to the temple, reading the Gita or the Koran or the Bible everlastingly. That mind comes into being only through seeing; and to see you must question desperately. And the very act of seeing is very destructive, because it destroys the society in which you have been brought up. You are no longer concerned with the reformation of that society. You cannot reform society, because society is the result of the past. And if you will reform it, you are still in the past. But a man who has broken down the past completely - and such breaking down is possible - he, being alone, may affect society; that is irrelevant.
So what is important and essential is to see that a new mind is necessary. And a new mind cannot be brought about by the tricks of the mind - which is thought. The new mind can only come into being when there is a questioning of the society in which we have been brought up. And you cannot question if you have a motive. And so seeing authority, seeing obedience frees the mind from obedience. After all what prevents you from seeing is your condemnation, your justification which is the past. So when you look, when you see, when you listen, without condemnation, you are free of the past. You can look, and to so look you need to have attention; and attention is the essence of energy. And that energy only comes into being when you are constantly looking, watching, observing, seeing, questioning.
So out of this extraordinary listening and seeing, the mind has lost its mooring, its connection with the past. The mind has its anchor in the past, the mind is the past; but when the mind gives complete attention to seeing, it has broken down the past. And it is only such a fresh, young, innocent mind that can go beyond the limitations which the mind has placed upon itself. It is only then that it is possible to discover for oneself as an individual who is no longer a part of society, to find out if there is or if there is not the immeasurable.
January 24, 1962
New Delhi 1962
New Delhi 2nd Public Talk 24th January 1962
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