Bombay 1st Public Talk 9th February 1964
Those of you who are going to come to all these talks - you have an arduous, persistent and strenuous enquiry to make. We have to take a very long journey together. And that requires a mind that is capable of instant perception, a mind that is not fixed to any particular point of view, or to any conclusion, or to any formula. We are going to enquire together into this vast problem of living, as a total problem - not as any particular problem, but life as a whole. And to enquire very deeply into that, one requires a mind that is subtle, that is free, that is capable of reasoning and sanity; and the mind must be very healthy.
Most of us who are desirous of enquiring within ourselves are merely satisfied with words and are not capable or are not willing to go beyond the words. So, what we are going to do in all these talks is that we, the speaker as well as you, are both, together, going to co-operate freely in a spirit of enquiry. In this country especially, one finds this spirit of enquiry has completely come to an end; we have lost the urge of enquiry, of searching out, penetrating, having a deep insight. And to comprehend the things that we are going to talk about during these seven discourses demands a mind that does not agree or disagree, that does not easily accept or easily deny; it requires a mind that is capable of looking, observing, seeing, listening.
The thing that we are going to enquire into demands a total freedom - freedom from everything, not from a particular quality, or a particular condition. Because truth is something that cannot be found unless you discover it for yourself. It is utterly useless to repeat what somebody else has said. What somebody else has said with regard to truth becomes a lie if you do not discover it for yourself. And to discover it for yourself you need a very quick, a very free mind. And we are going persistently, ardently, to enquire into the source, into the very foundation of what is truth. And we are going to go into it right from the beginning to the very end, touching the whole of life. And this demands seriousness.
Most of us are not serious. You may listen to many talks; you may read a few books and be capable of discussion; and you may intellectually accept a certain norm of thought; but that does not indicate seriousness. I mean by seriousness that intention to go through to the very end and not get distracted or sidetracked, to go to the very root of things, and to find out for yourself what this extraordinary thing called truth is. Because unless you find it, each one of you, life becomes very empty. You may play with a lot of things, you may go to many shrines, many teachers; but unless you, as a human being living in this world, - and this world is so tortuous, miserable, anxious - find it for yourself, life becomes utterly stupid, shallow, empty. And most of our lives are empty. You may be very clever in acquiring knowledge, you may be a great student of the past, you may repeat endlessly the sacred books - all of which indicate a mind that is not very serious.
And what we are going to discuss and talk about during these seven talks demands an extraordinary amount of seriousness, deadly seriousness. Most of us want to be distracted; most of us escape from the central issue; we do this and ten different things. And this also is surely the central issue. And what we are going to do during these talks is to uncover this root from which we can flower in goodness, in beauty. Only then can we understand this extraordinary thing called life with its vastness and its great simplicity and its variety of complexities, and meet the various challenges of daily existence.
So your task is strenuous: you have not only to hear the words and comprehend the meaning of those words, but you have also to listen - that is to go beyond the words, because words are merely symbols. The word is not the real; it indicates, it signifies, it gives you direction; but most of us stop there, and with these words we either disagree or agree. But I feel, if we could listen, then perhaps, inadvertently, without our knowing consciously, we will catch a glimpse of the beauty of something that is beyond the measure of words and the measure of thought. But one has to have this state of mind that is capable of listening.
Listening is an art. You are not going to develop it in the sense of true time. There is only the instant that is the true time; there is no other time, except chronological time. And you listen so that in that instant, you catch the whole significance immediately. That listening to that instant brings about an extraordinary revelation which actually transforms one's whole existence. I feel that this listening is extraordinarily important.
Please do differentiate between hearing and listening. You are naturally now hearing the words, and you will translate those words according to your comprehension of English and according to your likes and dislikes, whether you agree or disagree. And you will see that we are not discussing opinions. There is no truth in opinions; one opinion is as good as another. We are not dialectically exploring - dialectically in the sense of finding the truth of opinions and discussing those opinions: we are not doing it. We are not agreeing or disagreeing.
We are exploring. And to explore really, ardently, with a passion, we need to have this attention, which is the act of listening - the act of listening to everything; to the crows, to that kite, and listening to the speaker, not trying to find out if he is telling truth or falsehood, but merely listening, suspending your capacity to judge, to evaluate, to condemn. If you listen in that sense - listen in a state of emptiness, if it could be so put, or listen out of emptiness - then the very act of listening begins that instant in which there is comprehension, which alone brings about transformation. Because we need a tremendous revolution, not only outwardly, but inwardly - especially inwardly.
I do not think we realize how important it is that there should be this spontaneous - not calculated, not brought about according to your formula - but an instant perception of what is true, and that very perception should act in life. And that action in life can only come about when there is this act of listening. A mind has to be very aware of its surroundings, not only outwardly to all the squalor, the dirt, the beauty of a tree, of a sunlit cloud, but also inwardly so as to listen to all the whispers, mutterings, secret desires, all the urges and compulsions - to listen to them without any judgment, just to listen and to perceive what is. And that alone brings about an extraordinary, endless revolution, psychologically and therefore outwardly.
As one observes throughout the world, wherever one is, there is a general decline, a general disintegration. And especially in a country which is supposed to be very old and ancient like this, there is disintegration at all levels. Politically there is corruption, tyranny, personal worship, the desire for power and position on the part of the politicians; there is corruption at that level from the top to the bottom. In the world of business there is also corruption, decline; you are only concerned with making money, and not making, helping, the other also to live happily, richly, in a happy environment. So there is corruption there too, a decline, a disintegration, degeneration. Then there is also decline in the family. When the family becomes all important, as one observes, the family then is merely the continuity of oneself, enlarged; and when one is concerned with oneself, everlastingly calculating, then one is the root of corruption. And then there is corruption in relationship with one another.
Life is relationship. To live in this world you must be related; otherwise can't exist in isolation. To be related means also to co-operate: co-operation is `working together'. You cannot work together if one dominates the other, if one has a particular idea and forces the other to accept it. Co-operation can only exist when there is real affection, sympathy, pity, a sense of togetherness. This does not exist at all in this country. Ideologically, yes! That is, in the sense of words, that we must all work together, that we are brothers, that there is one life - you know all that nonsense that we repeat endlessly. But actually, factually, in every moment of our life, it does not exist.
So we do not know what it means to co-operate. We know to co-operate with the State from which we are going to gain our livelihood, or with an idea for a utopia, because that is going to profit us; or we know co-operation under authority which is compulsion, conformity. But the co-operation we are talking about is entirely different. That co-operation comes only when you 'care'. 'Care' is a very simple word, but it has a deep meaning - to care for somebody, to care for a tree, to care for a bird. We do not care - please, I am not moralizing; you must leave it to the politicians. I am merely pointing out to you how important it is, to live in this world with care - to care. for the room in which you are living, to care how you eat, what your behaviour is, what your manners are.
Please, I am going to go into it, because you have to understand the meaning of this word `care'. To care how you dress, how you talk, what your gestures are, how you treat your neighbour, how you look at life, how you educate your children; to care - from that sense of caring, there comes sympathy, there comes affection, and you can go, you can ride on that affection and you know what love is. And you have to have that sense of caring from the very beginning - how you use words, how you speak to another. Don't brush all this aside and say that you know all this, you have heard this, you have read about this, you have listened to, this thing that we must love, a hundred thousand times. We are stating something which is true.
You have to understand truth in that little word `care' and listen to that word, and understand it. That word means being sensitive - to be sensitive to another; sensitive to the sky, to the bird, to the tree, to the beauty of the sunset, to the sun on a lovely cloud. If you are not sensitive completely, vulnerably, you will never know what love is. You may have married, you may have children, you may have relations, but you will have no love. The very beginning of reality is at the first step, that is to care.
And there is not only corruption at every level of our life, but there is also, death in religion. We are not religious people at all. Please listen carefully, don't agree or disagree. I say we are not religious people. You may go to, temples, you may read the Gita, quote endlessly Sankara or some other teacher - you may just as well quote a detective story - and you may perform innumerable rituals. But you are not religious people. Religion is something entirely different. That is to find the root of things, to find out for yourself what is truth, and live in that, live with it endlessly so that every act and every word and every gesture has a meaning, beauty. And you cannot live that way unless you have passion. And to discover truth you must have passion, an ardent, burning enquiry; and for that you need great energy. Please see, observe all the misery, despair, inward stagnation, inward emptiness, inward rot that is going on, and also technologically what is happening in the world. There is the electronic brain, there is automation. There are extraordinarily rapid changes in technology: what was yesterday is no longer today, it has already moved; the change is much more rapid than the thing that is changing. And unless, inwardly, inside this skin, we are very alive, we also will become mechanical. Monkeys have painted pictures. Electronic brains have written poems; they calculate much more quickly than the human mind, though the human mind has put them together. They translate books and solve mechanical problems immediately. These electronic brains are doing most extraordinary things. Man is going to the moon. Outwardly there is extraordinary knowledge, information almost about everything. And inwardly, if you observe yourself, you will see how dead you are. It is only a dead thing that adapts itself to the mechanical things of life, that shapes itself to the form demanded by society.
Do listen to all this. We are not talking vainly, because we have nothing else or better to do; nor are you listening for an hour because you happen to have an hour. We are talking of deadly serious things, things that are terribly serious. You have no time to waste. You have only one life - whether you live a future life is irrelevant. You have only this period and you have completely to transform yourself inwardly - that is your task; that is the only thing you have to do. If you don't transform yourself, not only there is this contradiction between the dead or decaying thing of which you are inwardly and this rapid change that is going on technologically, outwardly, but also you have to adjust yourself to that. And a mind that merely adjusts itself to a pattern becomes a dead thing itself.
Anybody can adjust himself to an environment - which we all do, because it is the easiest thing to do. But we have to be so alive inwardly that the environment plays very little part. And what we are discussing, what we are going into, is to bring about this state of aliveness, an alertness, a quickness; and that demands an astonishing seriousness on your part.
So, we have to consider what the world outwardly is, and also to be aware inwardly how things are, inwardly in ourselves. Constant conflict - that is all we know; endless conflict in ourselves, projected in the world as war, hatred, ambition, greed, thirst for power, for position. Inwardly we are in a state of constant battle. A mind that is in conflict is a dull mind; conflict makes it dull, stupid. It is not `how to be free of conflict' - I am going to go into that. But first listen to what conflict does, not how to get out of it. If you understand, if you see the poisonous nature of conflict, if you see the deadliness of conflict, the brutality, the insensitivity that conflict brings about, if you really understand conflict, then you are out of it, instantly.
But, you see, we have got so used to conflict. Conflict with the world, with your neighbour, with your children, with your wife; conflict in the office; conflict between groups, between families, between societies, communities, nations; and conflict between divergent, contradictory desires, the compulsions, the urges - you know all this, especially the inward conflicts if at all you are aware, if at all you are watching. When you are aware of this conflict, you want to be out of that conflict; you do not want to understand it, you do not sit with it, you do not care for it - that is, you do not care to understand what that conflict is; that is, you do not look at conflict with affection, not with an urge to be rid of it.
Conflict comes when there is contradiction, when there are two desires, pulling in different directions. And so we say we should be without desires, or have only one desire for truth or whatever it is. So you have conflict, not only the conscious conflict but also the unconscious conflict in which you have been brought up - the society in which you live, the jobs you do that are utterly boring, endless routine, going to the office from morning till night for thirty or forty years of your life. And during those thirty or forty years you are muttering about religion, God, spirituality, truth; but your main interest is the office, money, family, position; so you are in conflict. That is a fact. Now, being in conflict, you try to escape. The first escape is to get rid of it; that is our instant reaction to every form of conflict. The ultimate escape is war, outwardly - to kill and to be killed.
So, conflict exists when there is self-contradiction, when, inside you, there is this sense of wanting to do that and also at the same time wanting to do something else - like wanting to smoke, and because you have heard the doctors make the recent announcement that smoking produces cancer, you are frightened. You want to give up smoking, and at the same time you have the habit - it is conflict on a very very simple, stupid level. But you can go further and further, deeper, into this thing of conflict, of contradiction.
Now, if we understand one thing about conflict, it is this: the whole conflict of life must be understood instantly, not one by one. Because you have no time to examine every conflict as it arises, to analyse, to go into it, to become aware of the cause of it. You follow? To do all the various conflicts one by one is merely a fragmentation; and you cannot put various fragments of contradiction together and make it a whole. But if you take one contradiction, one conflict, the simplest possible, like smoking, and merely listen to it, not saying, "I must give it up or not give it up", then you listen to the whole problem of conflict. This demands patience, and to listen, to observe, you need `care'.
You are understanding now what an important place `care' has got - care to understand what that conflict is. And when you care, you have patience. When you care, you don't condemn, you don't judge; you look, you observe, you see. If you care for a tree, you water it, you prune it, you give manure to it, and all the rest of it; you look after it; you don't condemn it; you don't say it is going to be a bigger tree or a smaller tree. You care for it, and therefore all comparison ceases. Because you love that tree, you have planted it, you are watering it every day, you are protecting it, you are looking at it; and in that state there is no condemnation, no judgment; it is just observation.
In that sense, we have to observe with care, this vast thing called `conflict', in which we have been brought up. And to look at it, there must be no condemnation, obviously, no, comparison, no desire to be out of this conflict. Because the moment you desire to be out of one conflict, you are going to create another conflict as a means of escape; and so you are seeing that through the first conflict you have many other conflicts. So our life becomes a vast field of conflicts.
That is the first thing to realize: that a mind in conflict day after day, a mind that is worn out with problems - problems of society, problems of family, problems of its own, any problem - becomes dull. Problems do not sharpen the mind. What sharpens the mind is freedom to look at the problem. And you need to have a very sharp mind, a sensitive mind, not a clever mind, not a mind that is full of erudition; you need to have a mind that is clear, that is free to observe, to listen, to see.
And what is utterly important is that each one of us does bring about a deep, fundamental revolution in himself. Because, you see, if you have observed the world, the world is yourself; the thing outside you is yourself you are part of the world. You are not different from the world. You might like to think you are, but you are not; when you say you are a Hindu, a Parsi, this or that, something or the other, you are being conditioned by society to think that way.
You are part of the environment, part of this outward flow which comes inwardly. The two things are not separate. Unless you understand the outer, you do not understand the inner; from the outer you must come to the inner - not start from the inner. You must understand the world, the things that are going on: the vast changes, the corruption, the ugly brutality of existence, the insensitivity, the pettiness, the shallowness of the human mind and all the false gods. And all gods are false, they are man-made - made by man because he is frightened. A man who is not frightened, a man who sees clearly, who reasons with care - he does not invent gods. That is something entirely different.
So we need a complete revolution, not in any time, but now, actually on the instant. Please see - even intellectually, verbally - the importance of this state: that you have no time, that there is no time. For when you admit time and say, "I will change gradually; change is an evolutionary process; time will bring about a change", when you rely on time, then you are merely continuing what has been, as a `modified continuity'. And that is not a revolution, that is not a change, that is not a complete transformation.
You need transformation, you need a very deep revolution. Because without religion - not this phoney thing called `religion' - , without uncovering for yourself what is real, what is true, the beauty of truth, and the extraordinary meaning of that word, unless you find it out for yourself, any outward transformation, any outward adjustment to conditions, to the environment, to new inventions, will make you all the more dull, more mechanical, more stupid, more clever, but not a human being, totally alive.
So, whether you want it or not, as a human being living in this despairing world, in this world where there is so much corruption, degeneration, you need this immense change taking place in you. And it cannot be brought about through the `will'. I am going to go into all this during the talks that are following, but I am just pointing out to you that it cannot be brought about through will, through a deliberate act. Because, then, it is merely conforming to a pattern; and a mind that conforms to a pattern has not the least idea of what this tremendous revolution means.
So this revolution can only come about when you listen with that care, to the world outside you, to all the ugliness, the corruption, the desire for power, the politicians and their words and their chicanery, the businessman with his gods and temples, who is out to make money. You know all this is going on in this mad, stupid world. Unless you understand all that, you cannot come within. When you understand the world, you will inevitably come within on the tide of this understanding of the world. When you come inwardly, then you will have to listen much more; and that is our difficulty, because we do not know how to listen to ourselves.
We have never listened to ourselves. We know we have only said to ourselves, "I must", "I must not", "This is right" "This is wrong", "This is good", "This is bad", "I must conform to this", "I must do this", or "I must not do this". That is only what we have said. We have never listened to ourselves - listened with care so that everything, every detail is revealed. And that is the beginning of self-knowing. Without self-knowing, you have no basis for any action, because then all action leads to misery, to despair.
Therefore, a man who would understand what truth is, must begin with himself, must begin to know himself. All the intricacies, all the hints and intimations, the ugliness, and the beauty, the murmur of every thought and everything - all that he must know. There must not be one corner untrodden. It must all come out; and it does, if you listen with care. That is why you must begin to care for the things that you do, how you dress, what you say, how you behave, how you are polite, how you conform, how you talk to your servants, if you have servants, how you talk to the boss.
You have to listen with care. And out of that listening comes sensitivity, a sharpened mind. It comes naturally, you don't have to sharpen your mind through conflict. But that sharpening, that natural sharpening without bitterness, without harshness, comes only when you begin to care; and that care brings about a state of attention in which there is listening. Then on that wave you can proceed deeply.
All religions have failed. Religion has nothing to do with beliefs and dogmas - organized belief is merely propaganda. What we need now is not to go to the past, to revive the past. You cannot revive the dead, it is gone, it is finished. Now you have to come alive, totally alive, to find out for yourself what truth is. You have no leader, you have no guru, you have no teacher. You have to find out the flower of goodness, the expanding beauty. And that reality that is beyond the words, beyond the measure of thought - you have to find it out for yourself.
February 9, 1964
Bombay 1st Public Talk 9th February 1964
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