Bombay 7th Public Talk 11th March 1962
I am going to talk this evening about several things; but the central point of this talk is meditation. But to comprehend it fully and to go into the meaning, not only of the word but of the activity of a mind that is meditative, demands a certain intensity of thought and clarity of perception. It is a very complex subject and what I am going to say, what I am going to explore, will not at all be traditional. So, if you would journey with me into the question of what is meditation and the meditative mind, you have to be attentive - attentive not in the sense of making a tremendous effort to concentrate or to learn a few phrases, or to get a few ideas, but attentive in the wide, large sense of that word not only to what is about you as you are sitting, to the trees, to the light on the tree, to the cawing of the birds, to the breeze, but also to the operation of your own mind, how it is functioning. All this demands a certain clarity of attention in which there is no concentration, in which there is no effort.
But for a mind that is sharply, eagerly, intensely enquiring, searching, seeking, and going into the question of what is meditation, there must be also the art of listening. I mean by that word to listen without any form of denial or acceptance, to listen without comparing, to find out. If you compare, if you merely hear a series of words and ideas, then you are not listening. Listening is quite an extraordinary fact. And we very rarely so listen with a freedom, with an enchantment, with a smile, to find out.
We are going to talk about something which needs a mind that can penetrate very profoundly. We must begin very near, because we cannot go very far if we do not know how to begin very close, if we do not know how to take the first step. The flowering of meditation is goodness, and the generosity of the heart is the beginning of meditation. We have talked about many things concerning life, authority, ambition, fear, greed, envy, death, time; we have talked about many things. If you observe, if you have gone into it, if you have listened rightly, those are all the foundation for a mind that is capable of meditating. You cannot meditate if you are ambitious - you may play with the idea of meditation. If your mind is authority-ridden, bound by tradition, accepting, following, you will never know what it is to meditate on this extraordinary beauty. And as we have gone into all that, I would like to go this evening into the question of goodness and generosity.
Pride in any form prevents generosity of the mind and heart, because pride is self-centred activity - pride in achievement, pride in knowledge, pride in an aim, pride in the race. We are all very proud, consciously or unconsciously. And a mind that is proud, can never be generous, can never have the excellence of heart, can never have humility - as we talked about the other day - which is the beginning of learning, which is wisdom. The flowering of generosity cannot take place in the arid soil of the mind. The mind can never be generous, but only the heart and the hand. The mind can imagine what the qualities of generosity are, and try to cultivate generosity; but 'the cultivation of generosity' is not `to be generous'.
It is the pursuit of its own fulfilment through time that prevents generosity. And you need a generous mind - not only a wide mind, a mind that is full of space, but also a heart that gives without thought, without a motive, and that does not seek any reward in return. But to give whatever little one has or however much one has - that quality of spontaneity of outgoing without any restriction, without any withholding is necessary. There can be no meditation without generosity, without goodness - which is to be free from pride, never to climb the ladder of success, never to know what it is to be famous; which is to die to whatever has been achieved, every minute of the day. It is only in such fertile ground that goodness can grow, can flower. And meditation is the flowering of goodness.
Please listen to this, not in order to achieve goodness - you won't be able to achieve it. You can't practise goodness. Goodness is a flower that bursts overnight, it comes into being without your wanting, without your seeking, without your cultivating. It can only come through listening. It will take place suddenly, in full blossom. Goodness is never the repetition of what has been; you cannot be good if you remember the past, either the pleasure or the pain, or the insult or the flattery. In that soil it will never grow. It will never grow in the ground of time, but it comes into being without your knowing. This goodness cannot be when there is pride, and this goodness is the very essence of never accumulating and therefore never forgiving - there is no forgiveness; there is only forgiveness when you have accumulated. But a mind that is constantly moving, flowing, never having a resting place, never looking back to its memories, to its knowledge, to all the things that it has experienced - it is only in such a mind that goodness can grow and generosity be.
You have to find out what meditation is. It is a most extraordinary thing to know what meditation is - not how to meditate, not the system, not the practice, but the content of meditation. To be in the meditative mood and to go into that meditation requires a very generous mind, a mind that has no border, a mind that is not caught in the process of time. A mind that has not committed itself to anything, to any activity, to any thought, to any dogma, to any family, to a name - it is only such a mind that can be generous; and it is only such a mind that can begin to understand the depth, the beauty and the extraordinary loveliness of meditation.
I am going to go into that this evening, not only verbally - which is the only means of communication that you and I have - but also non-verbally. And to understand the non-verbal pursuit of meditation, the mind must be free of the word. The word is the symbol, and the symbol is never the truth. So the man who is bound by a word, can never pursue that form of meditation which is beyond and above the word, beyond the symbol, beyond the vision. But to go into that we will begin very close, very near, and we will proceed step by step. Meditation is a part of life,just as your going to your office, or your eating your meal, or your speaking, or your acting is a part of life. And meditation, being a part of life, is not to be neglected any more than you neglect to clean your teeth, To bathe, to go to your office; but most of us neglect this side because it is much more arduous, demanding much greater energy, and of greater insistency. Meditation is the beginning of self-knowledge. To know oneself and nothing else is meditation. To know what you are thinking, what you are feeling, what your motives are, to be choicelessly aware of them, to face them as facts without an opinion, without judgment - that is just the beginning of meditation. If you have not done that in your life ever, but have pursued the traditional meditation of sitting down in a quiet corner and trying to focus your attention on something, then you can sit for ten thousand years and go on repeating words, mantras, you can hypnotize yourself by the repetition of words, which quietens the mind. But that quietness leads nowhere but to death, decay and withering.
Please listen to it. We are not condemning, so you don't have to resist. We are merely pointing it out for you to take it or not to take it. But you must observe it. The beginning of meditation, is self-enquiry, self-critical awareness, just to know what you are; and from that very simplicity grows the immense which is beyond words, beyond time, beyond thought. But you must begin at that very simple, immediate step.
Most of us do not want to know what we are. We invent the Higher Self, the Supreme Self, the Atman and all the innumerable ideas, to escape from the reality of what we are - the actual everyday, every-minute reality of what we are. And we do not know what we are from day to day; and on that we impose something which thought has bred as the Atman, which tradition has handed over as the Higher Self. With all that, we cover ourselves and try to reach the thing invented by the mind; and then if you do reach it, it is empty, it is ashes, it has no meaning.
So to meditate you must destroy every thing totally, completely deny every thing that is being imposed. You must deny nationality, you must deny the Gita, the Bible, the Koran - everything. And that is a very difficult thing to do, because we need them as a means of security, as something to lean on in time of trouble, in time of pain, in sorrow. They are merely escapes - your Krishna, your saviours and all those people. What is of importance and of the greatest significance is your daily, everyday existence - what you think and what you feel. And you can't understand what you think and what you feel, if you are encumbered, if you are weighed down by the knowledge of the past, of what the books have said.
So, the beginning of meditation is the knowing of yourself - not what you think you should be, not what Sankara thinks you should be - just as you are, as when you look at yourself in a mirror. So, if you pursue self-knowing, you begin to enquire into what you are, your daily activities, the way you talk to your servant, the way you treat your wife, your husband, the way you play up to important people, the everlasting desire to be `somebody'. Without knowing the whole field of the conscious and the unconscious of your being, do what you will, you will never know what meditation is.
So, the beginning of meditation is the denial of every form of authority, because you have to be a light to yourself. And a man who is a light to himself has no authority at any time, either at the beginning or at the end. But to be a light to oneself implies a great many things; and from the beginning you must be a light to yourself, not at the end. To be a light to yourself implies no fear - we have gone into it. To be a light to yourself implies no attachment of any kind, neither to your wife, nor to your husband, nor to your knowledge, nor to your experiences; because, these cast a shadow and prevent you from being a light to yourself. But more than that, to be a light to yourself you must enquire into experience.
Experience is the essence of time, experience builds time as knowledge, experience conditions the mind. If you are a Hindu or a Christian or a Buddhist, you are being brought up in a particular culture, which is in the religion, in the education, in the family, in the tradition of that particular culture; your mind is shaped, moulded according to that culture, according to that tradition. You either believe in Krishna or Christ or whatever you believe in, and that is your conditioning; and according to that conditioning you will experience. A mind that experiences according to that conditioning, cannot possibly ever know the immense significance of meditation.
We are enquiring into meditation. I hope you are listening - not merely verbally following, but actually living the thing that is being explained - so that, when you leave this place, you will know the immensity, the beauty, the ecstasy of meditation - not the toil, not the struggle to achieve a state or a vision. Because, the vision which you want, which you crave for, which you desire, is the result of your conditioning. When you see Krishna or Rama or any other person it is your background that has projected it there. Your background has been built through centuries of time, through fear, through agony, through sorrow; and whatever vision may be born of that is utterly empty, has no meaning; and a mind caught in that can never know the freedom of meditation.
So you have to understand the meaning of the word `experience. We all want more experience, more and more, more wealth, more property, more love, greater success, more fame, more beauty; and we also want more experience as knowledge. Please do follow this. A mind that is experiencing is dependent on experience; and experience is after all the response to a challenge. I do hope you are following this - this is not very complex. The mind that is athirst for more, wanting more experience, more knowledge, more thrills, more ecstasy, is a mind that is dependent. And a mind that is dependent, leaning upon something - that can only indicate that it is asleep. Therefore every challenge to it is an experience of waking up for a moment, to go to sleep again. So every challenge and response is an indication of a mind that is asleep.
There are innumerable challenges all our life. There are influences all the time, impregnating our minds and hearts all the time whether we are conscious or unconscious of them. The cawing of the crow has already gone into your unconscious, it is there; the colour of that sari, whether you see it or not, has already given its impression; the sunset, the cloud caught in the light of an evening - that has left its mark. So the conscious or unconscious mind is full of these impressions; and from these impressions all experiences arise. These are psychological facts, you don't have to dispute or gaffe or disagree. And a mind that is dependent on experience as a means of advancement, as a means of growing, as a means of maturity, as a means of unfoldment - such a mind which is dependent on time, on experience, can never obviously penetrate that which is beyond time, beyond experience. Therefore, you will have to understand very profoundly the significance of experience.
Experience dulls the mind. It does not enlighten the mind, because that experience is the result of a response to a challenge, and that response is from the background of what you have already known. So every experience only strengthens what you have known, and therefore there is no freedom from what you have known.
Meditation is the very beginning of the freedom from the known. You must meditate, not because somebody says so, not because a man talks about meditation and enchants you. You must meditate because it is the most natural thing to do. Meditation gives you an astonishing sensitivity, a sensitivity that is very strong and yet vulnerable; though it may sound contradictory, it is not. A mind that is put together by time, by experience, by knowledge, by conflict, by assertion, by aggression, or by ambition - such a mind is not a strong mind; it is only capable of resisting. I am talking of strength of quite a different kind, a strength that is vulnerable, that has no resistance; and therefore it is a mind that is beyond experience.
You must understand the meaning, the depth and the quality of experience that you all want. To see Rama, Krishna, Christ, this or that - that you call meditation. It is not meditation, it is only a projection from the past, a projection of what you have been brought up on. A Christian sees the Christ, and glories in what he sees. But the man who is never brought up to worship Christ as the Saviour, or whatever it is, will never see Christ any more than you who have been brought up to believe in Krishna. You will never see other gods, you will see your own gods; and when you are caught in your own gods, you are caught in your own illusion. A mind that is caught in an experience can never, do what it will, go into the depth, into the complete silence of emptiness of space - which is part of meditation.
So, through understanding the whole process of experience, you will be able to deny the known completely. There are various forms of drug, that make the mind very sensitive. They have them now in Europe and America; probably they will come to this country also. They give you a great capacity to see colour, shape, light, intensely, vividly; and by taking those, you have extraordinary experiences. But what you see through the drugs - the visions, the experiences, the sensations, the clarity, the beauty of the trunk of a tree, or the leg of a table - they are still within the field of the known. Those drugs will never free the mind from the known, and therefore there is no possibility for the unknown to be.
So, you begin to see for yourself if you are listening, that every form of repetitive thought, practice, discipline, every form of experience only engenders the demand, the urge for further experience; you are never satisfied with one experience, you want more, more and more. So, you begin to see that there is no method. A method is the practice, the tradition, of doing something over and over again, following some thought, some action - which only dulls the mind. Therefore there is no method, there is no path.
Please follow all this. There is no path to enlightenment. You begin to see that every form of experience is to be denied through understanding, because you understand that every experience dulls the mind, every experience is a translation of the known, of the past. A mind caught in time can never go beyond time. So, when you deny authority, when you deny discipline as the known, as practised by a method, then you will also have understood and put aside experience completely.
Most of us are brought up on concentration. From childhood you are told to concentrate on your book; when you want to look out of the window and see the birds on the wing, or see a leaf on the tree, see a bullock cart passing by, your teacher says, 'Concentrate, pay attention to your work'. Do you know what that does to you? It builds up a new conflict, a contradiction. A child absorbed in a toy is concentrated. You must have noticed your children; when they have a toy, they are completely absorbed in that toy, the toy takes them; and you call that concentration. You concentrate on an idea; when your mind wanders all over the place, you want to fix it on one thing, and your mind goes off again; you pull it back and it goes off again; so, you have the conflict - you call this meditation; it is so immature, so infantile.
But you have to follow every thought, understand every thought that arises, and not say that any thought which is not concentrated becomes a distraction. If you don't say that but examine every thought, follow it to the end, then there is no distraction. Because, then there is no concentration, then you are understanding every movement of thought, every movement of the mind. When you follow every movement of the mind, in such following, there is no distraction. There is no distraction when you listen to that crow. There is no distraction when you listen to that noise of the traffic. But there is distraction when you say, `I want to concentrate on one thing and deny everything else', then everything else becomes a distraction.
So a mind that has learnt to concentrate, has become a narrow, dull mind. I am not denying concentration, I am going to go into it. But when you understand the whole significance of concentration - which is to resist, to cut away and focus your mind on one thing - you see that such a focussing narrows the mind, dulls the mind. That focussing is a resistance, and therefore creates conflict; and a mind in conflict can never pursue the depth, the ecstasy found in meditation.
When you understand the whole significance of concentration, then there is an attention, awareness. Attention is not focussed, but inclusive - you can listen to the birds, you can listen to that traffic, you can listen to the speaker, you can watch the movement of the leaf in the breeze, you can see the sunset, you can see the light on the building. In this awareness there are no borders; it is inclusive, it includes everything. And such a mind which is attentive, which is completely taking everything, can concentrate; and such concentration is not resistance, such concentration has no conflict. Look at what is actually taking place now, if you are observing. The speaker is talking, expressing, and at the same time there is listening to the birds, to the traffic, to the light, seeing the quietness of the leaf, seeing the stars, taking everything in, and therefore denying nothing.
So a mind that has gone through and has understood concentration, experience, has realized that there is no method, no system, no practice. Such a mind is in a state of attention. Such a mind then understands what is stillness. The brain, the actual brain, is constantly active. The brain is the result of time; the brain is the result of the animal instincts, animal demands, animal urges. The understanding of this whole process of the brain is really self-understanding, because it is the brain that has the impulses of ambition, greed, envy. The brain has association; it works on the same principle as an electronic brain. So, one has to understand the process of the brain, which is built up through society, which is the result of society. The instincts, the pursuits, the fears, the ambitions, the greed, the envy all that is contained in the brain. The brain can be completely, extraordinarily still - not by force, not by compulsion not by discipline, but by understanding and being free of ambition, greed, envy, success, fear including fear of public opinion, the righteous immorality of society, by putting all those aside, completely. And you must have that stillness, otherwise you can't proceed. A mind that is seeking peace, as most people are, is only seeking darkness. But when you begin to understand the whole process of the psychological structure of society, which has put into the brain all the memories, associations, results; when you understand that; out of that, comes the quietness of the brain. If you have not understood it, if the brain is not completely quiet - quiet, not drugged, not hypnotized - , then there is no space in the mind.
You must have space in the mind. Space cannot exist if there is not complete quietness. Space is not imagined, is not romantic, is not brought about by stupid ideas of achievement; but it comes through when the brain has understood and has become completely quiet; then there is space within the mind.
There must be space within the mind, and it is that space that is innocency. No society, no thought, no feeling, no experience, can enter into that space which is the unknown. That space is not the space which the rockets discover, the space above us. That space cannot be discovered; you cannot seek it, there is no way to it; but there will be that space when you have understood the whole psychological structure, conscious as well as unconscious, of your being. You can understand it instantly, in a moment, without going through all the rigmarole of analysis, enquiry, you can come to it immediately; and when you do come, there is that space. That space is completely empty; and no thought, no feeling can enter it. Thought and feeling are the reactions of the known; and the brain has associations built up through the social influences as the `me'. And therefore the freedom from the known is the quietening of the brain.
Now what I am going to say about that space will have no meaning for you, it will be a theory. It will have no value for you, except as repetition; and what you repeat will have no meaning at all. But I am talking about it, for you to see that there is such a thing - just to see it casually, not for you to get it and to hold it; you can't hold it any more than you can hold the wind in your fist. But you must know the poesy of something beautiful. To see that space there must be an extraordinary sense of sensitivity. Now, in that space there is nothing, as the mind is empty - the mind has no thought, no feeling. And because that space is empty, there is energy, not the energy brought about through resistance. Because it is empty, because there is space, there is that energy which is creation.
That creation is also destruction. Everything created is the known. And because that creation is innocency, it is destructive of everything known; the known cannot enter. And because it is creation and also is destruction, there is love - not the love of remembrance, not the love of your husband or wife, not the love of your children; all that is merely the response of various desires, pursuits and ambitions and fulfilments. In this love, there is no division; it is Love. And that mind can love the one or many, because in that there is no division.
So, meditation is the beginning of the flowering of goodness. When that goodness flowers deeply, without a root in the mind as the self and self-pity and memory, from that little beginning grows the Immensity which is not of time, which has no beginning and no end. And that is the Everlasting and the Immeasurable.
March 11, 1962
Bombay 7th Public Talk 11th March 1962
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