New Delhi 1964
New Delhi 1st Public Talk 21st October 1964
One of our great difficulties is that of communication. Words have an important place in our lives; otherwise, we cannot commune or communicate with each other. We have to use words, but each word has a different meaning for each one of us; the more so when the word is a little abstract - it then demands a greater penetration, a greater insight. But, unfortunately for most of us, we are easily satisfied with superficial words, because our whole structure of thinking is based on words. And without understanding the significance of each word, especially when we are dealing with psychological, subtle forms of human behaviour, human thought and conduct, it becomes extremely difficult to be really in communication with each other.
So, really to commune with each other - that is, to share, to partake in something together - we must understand the verbal construction, the word. The word plays an extraordinarily important part in our lives. And we are so unconscious of words like the word Hindu, the word Muslim, like the words God, husband, government, socialism, communism - these words are all laden with meaning. To go into all these questions of human conflict, human problems, we have to understand the words. We have to go beyond the construction of words, and that seems to be one of our major difficulties. Because in what we are going to talk about during these discourses, talks or whatever they are called, we will not only use words - because we must use words - but also try, if we can, together to commune over those things, which are not contained in the word. The word is static, the word has a definite meaning according to the dictionary; but we interpret the word according to our emotional, psychological structure, according to our temperament, according to our immediate pressures, according to our conditioning. But to commune with each other we have not only to understand the word but also to share that which is contained in and yet is not, the word. And that seems to be one of our greatest difficulties, because unfortunately we do not listen to all the talks.
It is important that you and I share, commune with each other. We really do not know what it means to commune. We have never communed with anybody. We have talked about it; we have conversations, ideas, opinions, the verbal structure of concepts; but we have never communed about anything together. I am sure you have never communed with nature. You have never communed with your wife, with your children, with your friends. To commune is to share, not verbally only but to penetrate very deeply; to be together active - not you be passive and the speaker active, but together penetrate beyond the words and thereby commune. To commune with each other, you require a certain stability, a certain clarity - not of opinion; but mere clarity to look at things as they are, to look at yourself as you actually are, to look at the world situation not according to your particular group, nationality, section, but to look at all problems of man whether he is in the West or in the East. And to look at the problem is to commune with the problem. You cannot possibly commune with the problem if you have opinions, if you are convinced that this is so and this is not so, if you are steeped in nationalism, if you are caught in politics - then you cannot commune at all at any level with the problem.
We have many problems, immense problems which cannot be solved by anybody except by yourself; and that requires not only the factual understanding of the problem but also to be in communion with that problem. I do not know if you have ever tried to be in communion with anything. You know, if you are a great painter and you want to paint a tree, you must be in communion with the tree. There must be no space between you and the tree - not that you identify yourself with the tree, but there must be no barrier between you and that which you observe, which you paint, with which you are in communion. That is, you as an entity must be totally absent to commune with the tree. To be in communion with Nature, with the mountain, with a scene, with a human being - this demands extraordinary attention and a tremendous quality of sensitivity; otherwise, you cannot commune.
As we are going to deal with so many problems during these discourses, you have to take an active part; you have not merely to listen to the speaker, but you have actively to partake in everything that is being said, not agreeing or disagreeing. You cannot partake in something, share something, if you say "I like you" or "I do not like you". You have to examine critically, be aware of the whole implications of the problem. You have to question, you have to doubt, you have to criticize and you have to penetrate. That means you must be active, share with the speaker, be in communion with the speaker over the problem. Most of us do not know what it means to be in communion with something, because it requires an open heart, a clear mind, a sense of hesitancy, a quality of sensitivity - we have none of these things. We are so full of opinions, so full of judgment, so overwhelmed with what we already know; and with all these we precipitate into the present; therefore we never understand, we are never in contact intimately, completely, fully, with the problem.
So, if you will be good enough to listen with that quality of attention where you are partaking, you are not merely listening to the speaker but you are actively, dynamically entering into the problems that are overwhelming the world, especially in this country. As we are going to deal with the problems, you must come to them with a sensitivity, with a hesitancy, with the quality of questioning, asking, demanding, searching. And you cannot do this if you come to it with concepts, with opinions with the knowledge which already you have accumulated about it. You need a fresh mind.
I am going to talk about these things, not because I am used to talking - I really do not very much like this kind of talks; it is not a habit with me that has caught me up and I go trotting along from country to country - but I see the tremendous problems that are now in the world, the agonies, the despairs, the starvation, the conflicts, the endless sorrow of man, the terrible poison of nationalism, the racial differences and the religious intolerance, and the innumerable gods that break the heart of man. They are there in front of us. We just go along casually with a boredom, with a sense of unawakened despair and we are caught in it. If we could easily, happily, with a certain quality of intensity, commune together, then perhaps we shall be able to understand the problem and resolve and go beyond that. As we were saying, we have many problems not only in this country but throughout the world. And when one comes to this country after a certain time, one sees the extraordinary decline. I do not think one is aware of it: the decline morally, mentally, emotionally, artistically, creatively, the decline of that thing called religion, the utter superstition, the stupidity of the so-called religious mind, the everlasting repetition of what the Gita or somebody else has said, and the desire to escape from the present into the past.
So you see all these. I do not think it is very important to go into the details over these. Perhaps we will; but what is important is: is it possible for the human mind which has developed for two million years, which is caught in certain habits, in a certain rhythm, can such a mind break away from all these and create for itself a new mind, a new way of action? That is what is needed. You know, in science, in the artistic world, in the world of politics and also in the world of religion, we can go along as we are, improving here and there - little patches of freedom here, little patches of prosperity there, a better government, less corruption or more corruption - the decline of thought, the decline of deep feeling, the utter carelessness. And in the scientific world one observes that the scientists have a few keys which open the doors; and they are always moving in the horizontal direction with these keys, through these doors; and very few are asking: is there a vertical explosion, not a horizontal process? One sees in the world today a great deal of prosperity, especially in the West, of which we here in this country hardly know anything at all - the throbbing, intense prosperity, money, houses, good food, museums, theatres, cinemas, - and excitement. And here we know nothing of all that; here we are not throbbing with a new life, even in the world of economics. So one observes that one can go on indefinitely, becoming a little more prosperous, a little less corrupt, having a better government, a little more intelligent Ministers, a better bureaucracy, reading better books and so on. Indefinitely we can go along on the horizontal line always improving, changing on a minor key; but that way we have lived for two million years. I do not know if you have read or heard or have been told that the scientists have found, the anthropologists have found, that man has lived for two million years and has not solved his problem. He is still in sorrow, he is still in fear, he is still in the agony of despair, in hopeless confusion after two million years; and he can go on that way indefinitely.
I think one has to see this, question this, feel this problem: you, as a human being who has lived for two million years, have not solved your sorrows; you are not free of your despairs, you are not free of this extraordinary thing called death; you have nothing in your life that is creative. We are bound to time, we are bound to a nationality, to a family, to the innumerable corruptions that are going on around us; and we live in that, grow in it, suffer and die hoping for some future happiness somewhere in some world or to come back here, or having some vague hope based on despair; and we live, quoting some religious book as if it were the final thing. That is how our lives are. So, we have to be aware, we have to be in communion with it; and perhaps we can explode, because that is what is needed - a new mind, a new way of thinking, a new way of acting, a new relationship. For life is movement in relationship; and that demands astonishing awareness, never a moment which is stable, which is firm, to which you are anchored. Life is an endless movement. Unless one understands that movement, one is caught in sorrow.
So, our main question is: how can the mind, your mind - not an abstract mind - how can your mind living in a world of confusion, misery, in a world of oppression, in a world of poverty, in a world of tremendous authority which destroys the mind; how can this mind which is the result of the influence of two million years of environment, of its conditioning - how can that mind explode and discover something new, not on the horizontal line but on the vertical? That is really the issue - not whether there is God, whether you believe in this or that: that comes much later. To find reality you must cease to function horizontally - that means really that you must be free of your environment. We shall talk about it later. So, the main issue in front of us is this question: we can go on living as we are for another two million years and more, go to the moon, go ten miles deep into the sea or live under the sea for a month or two, in caves - which they are experimenting with - and endlessly live with sorrow; is that the way of life, or is there a new way of living? To live actually, not according to somebody else, not according to the speaker, not according to some formula, not according to an idea or an ideal, not according to a pattern - we have done all these things, and they have led us to where we are.
So, you have to ask yourself whether it is possible to cut yourself off completely from this, from the past, and start anew, not knowing. Because knowledge, however important at a certain level - you must have knowledge at that level, technological knowledge; certain memories are essential - it becomes a hindrance for the explosiveness of the new age. So our problem is: can the mind - do please listen to, this, not verbally; look at your own mind, put yourself this question - can you mind which has acquired so much information, so much knowledge, can it put that aside? Knowing that memory, knowledge, is important at a certain level, can it free itself from that knowledge so that it can look, explore into something new? You know, the painters, the musicians, the scientists are trying to find something new. The so-called modern painting, non-objective painting, is a search for the new; but the new is not possible with the old. They cannot let the old go, they are always battling and discovering something new - a new way of expression, new music, new painting, a new way of finding out.
So, you have to ask yourself the question, the final question: can the mind, can your mind, liberate itself from the past, not in time, not tomorrow, not ten years later? Either it can be done immediately, or not at all. You know, Sirs, we need a surgical operation. We need a tremendous mutation - not a revolution, but a complete mutation - of our mind, our being which is still animalistic, because we are the result of the animal. A great part of our brain is still the animal - the animal is acquisitive, jealous, fearful, anxious, insecure, competing. They are experimenting with animals, and they have discovered all these things. We are very similar to the animals in our behaviour, though we might pretend that we are seeking this and that, the super-human - we are not. There is a great deal of us that is still the animal; and unless we operate completely, be free of the animal, we shall still go on for two million years, suffering, in despair, in agony, inventing philosophies that have no value at all in daily existence, seeking God because in our own hearts and minds we are in fear.
So, that seems to be the major issue. Can the mind - our mind, your mind which has been conditioned for two million years - do listen to this - conditioned; shaped, held ruthlessly by your society, by your priests, by your politicians, by your economists, by your social activities; held by your family - can that mind operate upon itself, cut itself away completely from the past and discover for itself what this extraordinary mutation is, which is necessary to solve our problems? What to do we shall discuss; we shall commune how to bring about this mutation; we will go into it, step by step; but you must share with me. You cannot sit there, listen, agree or disagree, say that this is right or that is wrong, have fears. Then you and I shan't have any relationship; then you and I are not in communion. You are merely listening to another's talk, which has no meaning at all.
So, first we must see the enormous problem that man has divided the earth into nationalities, into different governments, and thereby is economically suffering. There is the division of nationalities. You know, in Europe, they spit on nationalism now; it means nothing to the intellectual, to the man who is thinking about it; but here we are boiling with that. This country is supposed to be so ancient, so full of wisdom; what they mean by wisdom is being full of words. The world has been cut into nationalities, into economic spheres, into spheres of power. And you have the divisions of religion - Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, Catholic, Zen - and there are dozens and dozens of gurus all over the place. So, it is your problem. You cannot leave it alone, you have to solve it. You have to put your mind, your heart, your whole being into it; otherwise, we will go on for another two million years suffering, aching, butchering each other.
So, that is the first thing to realize: that it is you that have to solve the problem and nobody else; you are responsible and nobody else, not your government, not all the politicians - they are a miserable lot anyhow - not the priests, not the gurus, not the sacred books, not the teachers, not your gods and temples. You who are the result of two million years, you who have suffered, who are suffering, who are in despair, who are everlastingly seeking, asking, begging, demanding to be told what to do - you have to awaken to yourself, you have to become an individual, an individual that sees clearly the problem and breaks away. You know this does not demand courage. When you see something very clearly, then you act; you cannot help acting. It is only when you do not see things clearly that you talk about courage and action. When you see very clearly a poisonous snake, you act. It does not need courage; it demands clarity for perception, clarity of vision. And you cannot have clarity of perception if you are merely caught up in words, in phrases, in beliefs, in dogmas, in all the nonsense that you call modern existence with the terrific amount of religious superstition, dogmas. So, one has to realize for oneself the total importance of one's own conduct, one's own clarity of perception; one has to be tremendously responsible for oneself. It has to be clear between you and me that I am not, the speaker is not, telling you what to do, that the speaker is not bringing another pattern or another formula according to which you will behave - then we are back again to the old stupid relationship of a teacher and a follower, which is deadly. But if you and I really, honestly, seriously are in communion over the problem, then we can go together; then we can discuss, and we will point out the extraordinary qualities that lie behind all this: because if one can be free of fear, then the whole problem is solved. And the speaker will explain - not how to follow, but - how to set about for yourself to be completely free of fear. It can be done.
Then the question is: do you know what it means to be without fear? Have you ever tried in your mind to know what it is to be without any sense of fear? Then your mind becomes extraordinarily clear. And the mind being very clear, it affects the nervous organism; there are no psychosomatic diseases; then the whole body, mind and everything functions very clearly; then you are not merely mechanically efficient; then you can give your attention to everything that you are doing: with the mind you are attentive. Perhaps, next Sunday, we would go into that, we would talk about this question of fear - what it means to be really free of it and how to set about it.
Now we have to understand, you and I, that we are partaking, we are sharing; that, here, there is no authority, because authority in any form is destructive. You accept authority because you are afraid. If there was no fear, you would not go to a temple, you would not look at a priest, there would be no guru, and all that nonsense; then you would be a free man to look, to search out, to enquire, to ask, to demand, to move. So, this evening, it seems to me, the first thing to realize is that the world is in such a contradictory chaos, in confusion, that nobody can resolve it - no politician, no guru, no teacher, no book - except your own activity. You are responsible for everything, and in you the explosion must take place. This complete mutation must bring about a transformation, and this mutation is not a formula. You know what we mean by mutation? There are two things involved in life, change and mutation. Change implies a continuity of what has been, modified or extended or altered. Change implies a movement from the known to the known, modified. That is what we mean by change. I change my house, I change my way of thinking, because I want to change from what I am to something that I already know - which is a modified continuity of what has been. That is all what most of us are concerned with - change. But we are talking of something entirely different, which has nothing to do with change. Change is the process of time. I am this, today; and if I work on myself, I shall be that, tomorrow. In the interval between today and tomorrow, by the exercise of will, by circumstances, by influences, I shall become that. What is, during the interval of time there is a change. That change is already known, and therefore, it is not mutation. Mutation is something that cannot be known; because if you knew it already, you have just moved. Please see the importance of this. Mutation is a totally different dimension; and therefore you must have a different eye, a different heart, a different mind - a totally different mind, not a changed mind. We shall go into that too.
So, what we are talking about is a mind that can use knowledge, but is not a slave to knowledge; a mind that is empty and therefore creative. Because even the scientists, some of them with whom we have talked, are asking this: whether the mind can ever be empty. Because they see that out of emptiness only a new thing takes place, not out of a mind that is burdened, conditioned and all the rest of it. The new is not conditioned by the old. The new is not recognizable by the old as the new. I shall not go into all these now, at the first talk, because it will probably be too abstract and too difficult. But one can see, one can perhaps verbally grasp, intellectually grasp, what it means to have a mind that is not burdened with knowledge, that is not burdened with all the experience that man has had. Because if the mind is not empty, then it is mechanical; you repeat. It is only out of this extraordinary, awakened, sensitive emptiness that the new can be. The new is, if you can use that word, God; but really it is not God, because that word God is so misused that it has no meaning; because it is a formula, it is a concept of despair. But it is that mind which is empty, in which creation can take place; it is only there that there is love. We do not know what love means - we know what sensation means, we know what sex means - because love can never be where there is jealousy, love is not the result, love has no jealousy.
This is not the moment to talk about all this, because it is the first talk. You and I have to establish a verbal relationship at least, and then we can proceed. We have got six more talks. During those talks we hope we shall establish a relationship, not that of a listener and a speaker, but of two minds meeting, two minds that have thought out, enquired, searched, asked, demanded, doubted and awakened. Then only you and I can meet in something that is astonishingly new; because out of that or in that, there are no problems; and in that there is the immensity of beauty. Then only we shall understand what that is; and perhaps then, we can function from the unknown in the known.
October 21, 1964
New Delhi 1964
New Delhi 1st Public Talk 21st October 1964
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