Rajghat 1st Public Talk 24th November 1963
I will talk to you for about half an hour or so and then perhaps you will be good enough to ask questions, and we can discuss them. Perhaps this might be worthwhile.
It seems to me, not only now but always, that a new mind, a mind that can consider all the many problems from a totally different dimension, is necessary, because the problems are increasing in every field; man's anxiety, his despair, the agony of his violence and hatred all over the world is increasing - one kills for an idea. And technologically, you may go to the moon; but the human problems of violence, of real sympathy, love, affection, are not solved at all. And wars are on the increase - there is the threat of war, there is more division between man and man. And one sees, all over the world, the fantastic illusion, the fiction of ideals which have no meaning at all; and ideals have become astonishingly important.
We - specially the so-called religious people, the so-called idealists, the non-violent people - live in a world of fiction. We are not facing facts, the actualities, the `what is' of everyday human existence. And if one observes, one finds there is more conflict, without as well as within - not only physical conflict, an act which kills, but also the conflict within - inside the skin, inside the heart, inside the brain; and there is the conflict between nations, between classes. And unfortunately in this country, there is conflict between people who speak different languages, between the rich and the poor.
If one observes a little more deeply, there is conflict within at all levels of our existence - not only at the conscious level of our daily hopes, daily activities and daily feelings, but unconsciously, deep down. There is always a battle going on - an endless battle which perhaps ends with death. There is unceasing violence outside and within. And we try to escape from this violence through ideals, through every form of religious fantasy. But the fact remains that there is this extraordinary violence and conflict within each one. Apparently, we do not give our whole heart and mind to understand this conflict, this violence. When you give your mind, your body, your heart, your nerves, everything that you have, you understand and resolve this conflict. But apparently we do not do that. We rather put up with the conflict and I escape through some ideation. All ideation is fiction, it has no reality at all. What has reality is the actual: the actual thing that you can observe, put your hands upon. But apparently ideals give us a fantastic escape from the actual thing.
Not only have we conflict within ourselves, but we add to it another conflict, the conflict of ideals - how to approximate our activities, our doing, our thought, to a certain pattern which we call the ideal. You know what happens in this country, the country which has everlastingly preached non-violence. Non-violence is obviously, a fiction, it has no validity at all; and yet we are carried away by this word. What has reality is violence, this conflict, this agony, this terribly complex existence of life. Instead of giving our hearts to understand it, to resolve it, and to go completely beyond it, we pursue this fiction, this myth. We see not only we have this incessant conflict, but we also add another. This becomes hypocritical as is shown in this country which has talked about ahimsa and non-violence - which is all sheer, brutal, ugly nonsense.
Our problem is surely not only to find the cause, not only to be aware of the conflict, of the violence within, but having discovered it, having seen it as a fact, as an actuality, to give our hearts to it - and apparently we cannot do that. You know, to understand something, to understand even the most scientific question, the scientist must give his mind, his labour, his thought, his heart to it. And the really first class scientist does this at least in his laboratory, he is completely there. He is a completely different human being once he leaves his laboratory. But when he is in his laboratory, he has only one complete intensity to discover, to understand what is under the microscope and go on with it till he discovers everything that has to be understood about that particular thing. But apparently we cannot do that. Though we are broken, we are in chaos; though our life is shattered, made ugly, though our life is petty, narrow, small and stupid, we won't give our minds, our hearts, to understand this thing. I wonder why we are so fragmented, broken up.
It is important, I think, to find out what it is to listen, to find out how we listen. There is a statement being made by the speaker. How do you listen to it? Do you listen to it as something foreign, as a series of words put together which you casually hear, which has a vague peripheral meaning, as something that you have heard or that has very little meaning? Or, do you listen to find out if what the speaker is saying is true or false, not agreeing with him, not rejecting what he says: And to find out, you have to listen. And to listen is one of the most difficult things. We can't listen completely, continuously. We listen intermittently, sporadically, now and then.
To listen implies that you have to have a certain quality of attention. To listen means that you have not to bring your own opinions, not to bring, your own ideas, the commitments that you have, the knowledge, the inferences, the comparison that you make - all those have to be put aside, so as to listen really, completely, to what another person is saying. You happen to be here to listen to the speaker; if you cannot listen that way, then what is being said is merely a series of words casually formed together, and all communication between you and the speaker ceases.
We are talking about something very very serious - not something which you do occasionally when you have time, when you have nothing else to do. We are dealing with life. And you have to listen to find out how to resolve this extraordinary conflict in which one is. Because this conflict is not merely of the particular, but it is also the conflict of the world, the collective - the two things are not separate; it is one continuous movement, like a tide that goes out and comes in. And you have to resolve this conflict as an individual, not as a group, not as the collective that wants to work for peace - that will follow much later. We will always begin at the wrong end.
It is important to understand this and give our hearts and minds to find out if this conflict, misery, sorrow, despair and anxiety can be resolved. What we propose to do during the three Sundays we are meeting here, is to go into the question whether a new mind can come into being. And a new mind is only possible when all the conflicts at every level of our being - the conflict of the unconscious, the conflict of the verbal, the conflict of the intellectual and the conflict at the level of our daily existence - are wiped away. We have to see whether that conflict can be completely, totally, wiped away. Because it is only then that we can have the new mind - a mind that can proceed, a mind that is young, fresh, innocent, a mind that can ask.
You see another peculiar thing in our life. We think that every action needs conflict. To overcome that conflict, we have a pattern called an idea, and according to that idea, action is made to conform; and so conflict increases in action. So, is it possible, not theoretically, not ideationally, not in some far-off places, not in an ecstatic heaven - is it possible actually to eliminate conflict altogether if I am going to see? Naturally that is a vital question. Because if the mind is not in conflict, then there would be affection, love; there would be clarity; then you and I will not be against each other; you won't have your own opinions, ideas, your beliefs which are so extraordinarily important that you fight with another for your beliefs and dogmas. Then we will look at things, then we will consider what is important and will enquire into those things with which we are concerned.
So, is it possible to end conflict? If you say it is not possible to end conflict in life, in living, then you stop enquiring. Please understand this. You may say it is not possible, as most people say. The whole of the communist world, ideologically and actually, says, "Conflict cannot be wiped away from the human mind. It is part and parcel of human existence", then you must have conflict. You don't do it either. You say, "Let us refine conflict, let us make it better; let us fasten it, let us put it in a gold frame, and all the rest of it".
Just as there are those who say it is not possible, there are those who say, ideologically, verbally, it is possible if you follow a certain discipline and a certain rule of life. They say that if you believe in God, if you sacrifice yourself for certain ideas and so on, eventually you will have peace. Eventually means at a distance, at the end of some years, but we want peace now, like a hungry man wanting food. So if you belong to either of these categoric - one who says that it is not possible and the other who says that it is possible only through time - then you and I can have no relationship, because it is absolutely essential to end this conflict immediately, not in time.
If you say it is possible, then you do not do anything about it, because possibility is merely an idea. And if you say it is not possible, again you belong to the category of the man that says, "Conflict is there, put up with it, make the best of it". You do. not belong to either of the two: that is the only intelligent approach. Then, when you approach a problem, you start with the fact that there is conflict and you will begin to enquire whether it is possible to end it, neither accepting that it can be ended nor asserting that it cannot be ended; your mind is then in a position to look at the fact; and that is what we must establish between us.
We are not concerned with the state of mind which says, `It cannot be' or `It is possible'. When a man is hungry, he wants food and not the possibility of having food. That is the first thing to establish: that you are concerned with the understanding of conflict and whether it is possible to end that conflict, not in the world outside - that is one of our fantastic escapes - but in yourself, because you are the world, you are all the environmental influences, conditions, forces of the world, you are the centre of all that. Without understanding this, merely to go out to reform this world has no meaning at all; that way you create more mischief - which the idealists, the reformers do now; they are really the most dangerous people. So is it possible to end conflict?
What do we mean by conflict? To be insulted, to be battling, to have the constant struggle to maintain and sustain certain ideas, language, ideals. The conflict that goes on within one: `I am loved' or `I am not loved', or `I want more love', or `I want to fulfil' - and in the very, act of fulfilment there is frustration. `I am a little man and I want to become the big man, the big noise' - there is the conflict, because it is not possible for every one to become the big man. I am greedy, I want to be good and I want to flower to goodness; there is the other side of me, which is ugly, which is dull, which is stupid; so there is the battle between stupidity and intelligence. The conflict of a mind that must be always wanting more experiences, more intelligence, more things as well as intellectual capacities - that is what we call conflict. And we are saying, "Is it possible to end conflict?".
First of all, to find out for oneself whether it is possible or not, one has to look at the actuality, one has to observe the actuality, the real thing. It is very important to understand what we mean by `observation', by `looking', by `seeing the fact'. How does one observe? You understand? I am in conflict with myself. I want to understand it. In order to understand something, I must look, I must observe. What do we mean by observation? How do we look? Because if I do not know how to look, I shall not be able to understand it. If I am not observing, I shall not be able to unravel, to learn about it. Therefore the first thing you have to understand is how to look, how to observe.
How do you observe a tree, if you ever do? How do you look, at a tree? Do you ever look at a tree? You are so highly, intellectually, spiritually evolved! If you ever look at a tree, how do you look at it? You say that it is a mango, a tamarind, a people, or whatever the tree is. And by the very act of giving it a name you have already distracted your observation; the word prevents you from looking at that tree. I do not know if you have noticed all this. You want to look at that tree, and in the very act of looking, you have named the tree; and in the very naming of that tree, your mind has gone away from observation; so the word prevents you from looking ,most of us do not even care to look; but if we do look, the word distracts. That is the first thing to find out: to observe a thing, the word must not interfere - not that you are going to suppress it, not that you are going to discipline yourself not to use the word. It is as simple as that; if you want to see something: clearly, no verbal distraction must take place.
Then the word is associated with opinion. The word by itself is nothing; but behind the word there are innumerable associations: pleasure, pain, opinion, judgment, evaluation, comparison, condemnation. Behind the symbol, all these associated, related thoughts lie; and all these prevent you from looking, especially at something which requires complete attention. It is very simple to look at a tree - the tree is static. But to look without the interference of association, without all the implications which a symbol evokes, requires astonishing attention and real interest in the thing which we are observing. Therefore, when you observe there is no contradiction; or you observe the contradiction when you begin to observe. When you begin to observe violence, the violence in yourself, the opposite of that violence, which is non-violence, may occur, because you are trained by the saints, by literature, by the past, by society, by all the things that you have been brought up in, to introduce the opposite. If you are not aware of it while you observe, if you do not see it the moment you introduce the opposite, you are not observing. So the art of observation is as difficult as, or perhaps more difficult than,getting a Ph.D or any other technological degree, because it requires a tremendous interest in the very act of living.
So the first thing to understand is this complex violence of human thought and human being - not only the human being outside but also the human being inside. To observe that, you need interest in the thing which you are observing - interest, nothing else. And that interest cannot be stimulated; you cannot by drink, or by a pill, or by going to a temple, understand violence - all that is an escape. And when you are interested, you begin to observe; then you begin to learn `how to observe'. That very observation, you will find, brings its own discipline - not the stupid discipline imposed by society, or the discipline you impose upon yourself endlessly, because that discipline breeds conflict. In the discipline of observation there is no conflict. A man who would really resolve this problem, this complex, perplexing, destructive thing called violence, which is outside the skin as well as inside the skin - what that man has to learn is how to observe.
You cannot learn from another. There is no teacher. You cannot practise learning. You learn by the very act of doing. If I am interested to find out how a motor car runs, I open the hood and look, observe, watch, see how everything is put together - the piston, the sparking plug and all the rest of it. In the very act of observation, I am learning. Not that we learn first and then apply; that is what most of us do, and therefore we are not learning at all, we are merely applying something that we already know, or that we have learnt, or that we are being told. We never have this extraordinary capacity and beauty of observation. That is the first thing to understand.
But to go beyond all this - to go beyond all violence, all man's stupidity which has been imposed upon us and which we have cultivated ourselves - requires earnestness. One must be earnest - not in pursuing an ideal which is childish and immature - , one must have the serious intent that comes when one wants to find out and to go to the very end of that thing, so as totally to be free from it. It is only the serious mind that can live richly, fully, in this world.
Perhaps you will ask some questions about the things we have been talking about.
Questioner: Does the recognition of a thing prevent one from observing it? You may not name it. Krishnamurti: What do we mean by the words `to recognize `? We are not splitting hairs to be dialectically argumentative. You know what dialecticism is? It means to discuss and see the truth of an opinion. We are not discussing opinions, we are discussing facts. Therefore we are not dialectically arguing about anything, we are not concerned with opinions. So we are considering what we mean by the words `to recognize'. It is very important to understand this thing. I recognize you because I met you yesterday or last year; I say you are that person. That is one thing: outwardly I recognize you. But during the interval of a year, a day, or an hour, you may have undergone a tremendous transformation. There might have been sorrows, despairs, hopeless misery. I do not recognize you there. Only outwardly I recognize you, and that recognition comes through memory - I have a memory of having met you the day before yesterday, and I recognize you today; I recognize you physically and nothing more. When I say I know you, I only know the physical contour of your face. I cannot know you because in the interval you might have changed tremendously or might not have changed; so only experience gives recognition; otherwise I cannot recognize. Please go with me a little and you will see what it is leading to.
I have an experience of sorrow, which I have named as sorrow; and when it recurs I say that is sorrow. The first experience of sorrow has left a memory, and that memory reacts when a similar, or somewhat similar, sorrow arises; there is again recognition. Memory reacts through recognition. I meet that tree and say, "It is a tree and it is not a car". Please watch this. The moment I say that is a tree, I have recognized it as a tree; that very recognition as a tree is a distraction which prevents me from observing. I do not say it is a car, I know it is a tree. I won't mistake it as a human being - I wish I could; the tree is more beautiful than a human being, generally. I am not distracted, I say it is a tree, I do not confuse. But I see that the very process of recognition becomes a distraction from observation.
Can a mind look at something though it recognizes it, without bringing in all the associated memories of that recognition? Please be quiet. Do think about it; do not reject it. Because you will see that unless you understand this very deeply, your mind is merely in a mechanical state, your mind follows merely a repetitive process - adding and subtracting - and you will keep this mechanism going on all the time.
I have learnt something. I have had an experience of something and with that experience I look. And I do not really look, because the experiences, the memories, the associations prevent me from looking. Therefore, there is a continual mechanism of recognition, acceptance, denial or gathering to yourself. This is the mechanical process that is going on all the time, consciously or unconsciously. If you want to look at something anew, as though you are meeting it for the first time, you have to have a mind that is not cluttered up with all the past, and you have to look at it without bringing up all the associations.
Questioner: What is the root, what is the source of imitation and fear? How is one to be free of them?
Krishnamurti: I have to repeat your question. Please correct me if I do not repeat it properly. The question is: "What is the root of imitation and fear? Is it at the conscious level or at the unconscious level? And is it possible to be free of imitation and fear?"
Do you want to discuss this now, or should we discuss it next Sunday when we talk about fear and its consequences? We are now talking about something which is not completely related to this question. This morning we are trying to talk about the art of observing, the art of seeing.
Questioner: What is the significance of words? Have words any significance? If we cannot use words, how do we communicate?
Krishnamurti: First of all, the word is not the thing. The word `tree' is not the tree. But the word `tree', for most of us, is the tree. You understand? When we use the word `tree', immediately the image of a particular tree arises in our mind - the tree that has given us pleasure, the tree with which we are familiar. But the word is not the tree. So one has to be aware of this fact that the word, the symbol, becomes much more importance than the fact. To a Christian, the symbol - the image, the cross - is much more important than all the facts associated with that symbol. To you the symbol of some goddess or some god or image is much more important than the fact. So if you want to think clearly, simply, directly, you have to realize the importance and the unimportance of the word and not get caught up between the two.
When we use the word `understanding', does the word create, bring, understanding or is understanding independent of the word? I say, "I understand what you say. I understand very clearly that the ideal of non-violence is sheer rubbish". I say, "I understand". What do you mean by the word `understanding'? What is the state of the mind that says, "I understand"? I say something, and you say, "How true that is! I understand it". What is the state of the mind that says, "I understand it"? In that state the mind has grasped something. When does understanding take place? I have stated verbally a certain thing. You have heard it, and you say, "I understand it". You can only understand something directly, as a fact, when the mind is not projecting its own opinion, conclusion, concept, but is listening so as to have an immediate communication with the speaker. The person who says, "I understand", has gone beyond the word; the word has become irrelevant - that is, he has grasped the significance of the word and gone beyond it. The mind can only go beyond the word when it is attentively observing so that it is not caught in the word, and therefore it becomes quiet, somewhat quiet, and in the space of that second of quietness, it can see something true and therefore say, "I understand". The word has significance only as long as it is not caught between the word and the fact.
Questioner: You have said that ideas prevent action. Is not that statement itself an idea?
Krishnamurti: The gentleman says that I have said that ideas prevent immediate action; and he asks if that statement is not itself an idea. I have already said that the word is not the thing. I have said, "Ideas prevent immediate action" - which is a fact. If I have an idea and I see you starving, I begin to say that India must be saved and all the rest of it; I become a politician or a social worker, and I do not see you are starving.
Questioner: Is it not helpful to have a teacher, a guru, to instruct and guide me?
Krishnamurti: The word is not the thing. To you who are so trained and conditioned, a guru is astonishingly important. Then you begin to defend, to hide behind words. What I said was something entirely different. I said learning is far more important than the teacher. The teacher is not at all important. Please follow. Learning is far more important than any guru, any book, any scripture in the world - those are irrelevant; so they have to be put away in a cupboard and locked up, or thrown down the river, including the saints. What is important is to learn. Now, how do you learn? What do you mean by learning? This is really very important.
What do you mean by learning? We generally mean that one learns from something, from some experience, from some example, from some observation. I learn from an experience that has left a mark, left some knowledge. When I have the next experience I look at that experience through this knowledge and add to that knowledge. This process is what is called learning. Please follow this. I have an experience, I have learnt from that experience, and with that knowledge I approach the next experience; and what I have learnt from that new experience is added on to the old. I keep this going. So what we generally mean by learning is an additive process, adding, adding. We are just adding. We are not learning. I will explain what I mean by learning.
We know now what we do - this mechanical process of adding to something which we already know. And that process we have called learning. I do not call that learning at all; that is only a mechanical process that is going on - a self-possessive, defensive, reactionary process that goes on. To learn something new is something entirely different. To learn implies something new. For example, I learn how this machine is working. The implication behind that word is: it is something new, learning is something new, not adding something to what is already known. Therefore learning means a constant newness; otherwise the mind cannot learn.
Listen, sir. I have said something new just now. I am telling you that to learn implies no additive process. Adding to something which you already know or discarding something which you already know - that is not learning. I say that to you, and you say, "What do you mean? How do you know? What are you talking about?". So you don't listen, you have already discarded what is being said; you have already stated, "I don't understand what you are saying". You do not say, "Perhaps there may be something in what you say, I will listen to what you say". All that you say is: "Can I add that which you say to something which I already know?". I say, "Don't do that, but listen to find out what is being said, don't add". Because if you add, you are not listening; then your mind is a mere machine which is running automatically, reactionally, mechanically - adding, subtracting, dividing. But to learn, your mind must be fresh; otherwise you cannot learn. Learning is a process of being constantly inquisitive, constantly aware, not constantly adding and making yourself dull.
So learning is an astonishing thing. You cannot learn from a teacher. You can only learn from observing - observing what another says, observing to see whether there is truth or whether there is falsehood in what he says, or observing to see the truth in the false. Your mind must be constantly alert, watchful; then only can it keep its freshness all the time and not become dull by adding, adding.
Questioner: Scientific or technological progress is made by the new knowledge that has been learnt being added to the old knowledge. How can you say that this is not learning?
Krishnamurti: Have you all heard the question? The questioner says that technological knowledge is an additive process wherein you keep on adding, adding. You cannot discard all that and restart to know what the atom is, all over again. You already know a great deal about it, and you can start from there. Is not human understanding also the same? That is: people have already enquired, found out what you are; all that you have to do is to accept what they have said as knowledge and go on from there; otherwise, you will have to start right from the bottom again. That is the question.
Look at the implications in that question. Technological knowledge and adding more and more to it is what the scientists, the physicians, the businessmen know. The whole world of technological progress and of electronic brains is based on that. Then there is the other: the psychologists, the saints and others have laid down, have said, what you are; will you accept them and start? Or, do you say, "I am not going to accept anybody, not even the greatest of people, but I am going to find out"?
Not that I start at the bottom. Here I am - this complex human being which is the residue of all human beings. What is the good of what Buddha, Sankara, or your own pet guru has said about this? I have to find out, to watch, to observe. It looks like starting from the bottom, but I observe what I am. I know what I am, and I also know the conflict between `what I am' and `what I should be'. I observe all the fantastic ideas about the Supreme Self, the big Self with a capital S, the higher self and all the rest of it. In the very process of observation, I also learn about myself, not adding more and more to myself; I am learning. Therefore, living, being, is a constant change. And to understand this constant change, the mind must be fluid, sensitive, unaccumulating, every moment of the day. This does not mean starting from the bottom of the thing. On the contrary, the very observation gives me the intensity to start anew, watching everything in me.
Questioner: It requires a good deal of energy to observe oneself. How is one to get that energy?
Krishnamurti: The question is: Every man needs a great deal of energy to observe himself. From where is he to get this energy? How will energy come for every man to observe himself?
The energy of a scientist is understandable, because he is objectively working at something, putting his heart in it. He is ambitious, he is greedy, he is conscious of everything that is going on. He divides himself - that is, he escapes from his daily life into his laboratory, and there he is energetic. But we are talking of a different kind of energy, aren't we?
It is obvious that we need a tremendous lot of energy to observe the whole of the psychological structure of a human being. Now, how do we get this energy? Obviously, the first obvious thing is not to escape. The moment you escape from the fact of what you are, to move away from it is the lessening of this energy. The moment you cease completely to escape from the actual of what you are, there is greater energy. When you say, "I must be that", you escape. The fact is: you are violent. When you say, "I must not be violent, I must be non-violent", you escape from the fact; and as you have escaped from the fact, you are lessening your energy. When you are confronted with the fact, any attempt on your part to translate what you see of that fact according to what you already know, or to suppress it, or to change it, is an escape; it is a deterioration of that energy.
Any approach to the fact of what you are actually, through any opinion, judgment, evaluation, condemnation and so on, takes away your energy. A mind has energy only when it is completely with the fact and does not try to do something about that fact.
Questioner: Is it possible to be free from conflict without ending it?
Krishnamurti: Of course it is not possible. How can I be free from conflict if I do not end conflict? I must end conflict - that is what we are talking about. When I have a pain, I can only be free when that pain goes.
Questioner: When you decide to do something, why is there conflict in that decision?
Krishnamurti: That is very simple, isn't it? First, don't decide. (Laughter). You laugh because you do not understand.
What is involved in a decision? I decide to do this and not that; that has already created a conflict. But when you see the truth of this and the truth of that - either the truth of this and the falseness of that, or the falseness of this and the truth of that - , when you see the truth, that seeing will act; it is not a decision.
Therefore do not decide, don't choose; then there is no conflict. See what is true - that requires astonishing intelligence. You cannot see what is true when you take what Sankara or any other person has said as true, and follow him.
So a mind that chooses is always in conflict. But a mind that sees what is true, acts instantly on that perception; it is not in conflict. Such action is the only action.
Questioner: What to choose is also a choice - is it not?
Krishnamurti: It is up to you, sir.
November 24, 1963
Rajghat 1st Public Talk 24th November 1963
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