Varanasi 2nd Public Talk 22nd November 1964
If we may, we will continue with what we were talking about the other day when we met here.
We were talking about maturity and the necessity of that energy that goes with maturity, to bring about mutation in the mind. And to go into it fully we must understand, it seems to me, what is action; and in understanding action, we must also find out, for ourselves, what is communication and what is communion.
We see that action in our daily life is so contradictory, so conflicting, so hypocritical. We say one thing and we do another. We believe in certain formulas and do things contrary to those formulas. We are artists, businessmen, politicians, writers, poets, painters, teachers. And at all the levels of our life and of our existence there is this contradictory activity: the ideal and the factual. The ideal has nothing whatsoever to do with the factual - for example, violence has nothing whatever to do with non-violence. But yet we live in this fragmentary, contradictory activity. At one level we are religious - at least so-called religious - and at another level we are destroying each other, not only in the business world through competition, through ambition, through greed, but also as a group, as a race, as a family.
This is what is happening in our daily life. Every action is so contradictory, so broken up; the activity at one level contradicts it at another level. Such activities must invariably, as we notice in daily life, breed much havoc, breed much misery and confusion and conflict. And to escape from all this contradictory activity, we try to establish a super activity, through meditation, through religious scriptures, and all that - which is another escape at another level - quite in contradiction with our daily existence. And realizing this extraordinarily fragmentary, unrelated activity, doesn't one demand naturally - not ideationally, not as an idea or as a theory - , doesn't one enquire into an action which is not fragmentary, which is not hypocritical, which is not departmentalized, which is not put in watertight compartments, but which is an action that, in the discovery of it, will function as a whole, in every activity of life?
I mean one must ask this question for oneself: is there an action, a total action that, wherever it expresses itself, must be total, not contradictory?
Now, if I may, we would like to go into that. First of all, to understand what we are talking about, we must establish the difference between communication and the nature of being in communion. The two, I think, are different: that is, communication is one thing and being in communion with another is quite a different thing. Communication demands either words, gesture, or some form of outward expression which conveys the meaning of the speaker to the listener, or of the listener to the speaker - this is what we mean by communication. When one speaks, one uses certain words as symbols - which means there is a referent. So communication cannot be misunderstood if it is clearly, definitely expressed in words which you and I both understand. Then there can be no equivocation, there can be no misunderstanding; it is clear, definite. You and I both understand English - if we do understand English - and we use the words as a means of conveying certain specific meanings through certain words, certain symbols, certain gestures. And then we both are in a state of understanding of what is being communicated. That, surely, is very clear.
But the other thing is much more difficult: it is to be in communion. As I said, it's much more difficult, because most of us are not in communion at all with anything. I mean by that word not only the meaning the dictionary gives, but also much more. To be in communion with something implies - does it not? - that there is no hindrance between you and the thing you see, the thing you regard, you observe. To be in communion with nature, that is with the birds, with the trees, with the river, with the earth, with the green fields, the squalor on the road - one is not in communion with nature if there is any sense of resistance, any sense of condemnation or disregard, or turning away from it. There is communion when there is no interference of thought between the thing and the observer.
Do please pay a little attention to this, because what we are going into presently demands this communion between the speaker and you who are the listener. Otherwise we shall not meet at all; we shall be able to communicate verbally, but we shall not be in a state of communion with each other. And it is necessary, it seems to me, to understand the real significance of action which is not contradictory. So we mean by communion a state of mind which is not contradictory. So we mean by communion a state of mind which is not to be induced, which allows no barrier to come between you and that which is being heard - which may be contradictory to what you believe - a state of mind which doesn't compare, quote, evaluate, but actually listens, tries to find out.
You know, there is communion between people, between you and nature, when there is a great affection, when I like you and you like me, or when you like one another - in the sense that there is a great deal of sympathy, affection, no sense of condemning, comparing, judging, evaluating. Then in that state the two people are in a state of communion; that is they are in communion at the same moment, at the same level, with the same intensity - which is after all what is called love. So it's only a mind that can put aside every form of opinion, judgment, evaluation, comparison and so on - it is only such a mind that can be in communion with nature, or with another, or be in communion with itself - which is much more difficult.
And it is necessary to understand this, because, unless you are directly in communion with yourself and therefore with a source of action which is not contradictory, your life will inevitably be a contradiction; do what you will, whatever pattern you may follow, whatever beliefs, whatever concepts, you may have, your life will be a contradiction - as in this country where you preach everlastingly ahimsa, non-violence, and do quite the opposite. You just talk about a nation of peace, of non-violence, and prepare for war, much more than the other nations - there they don't talk about non-violence. Here, every politician, every person has this schizophrenia, double entity, double personality, double thinking.
One has ideals, most marvellous ideals which have no relationship whatsoever with daily existence. So one leads such a terribly contradictory, hypocritical life. And this contradictory life makes for greater contradiction, greater misery, greater division between the fact and the theory. And then the problem arises: how to bridge the fact with the theory? And then from that, the everlasting search, the conflict of trying to discipline the mind to conform to the pattern or to the concept, and thereby causing more contradiction, more, wider, deeper division between the fact and the theory. Please, this is what is actually happening in your lives. It is not a theory, I am not condemning it. We are just saying "observe it, it is a fact".
So, if one is at all serious, one asks oneself, what is a total action? And life is only for the serious. It is only for the man who is very earnest, that life has depth, meaning, significance, vitality, energy. But most of us are not serious; we are serious in fragments, little bits of seriousness here and a little bit of seriousness there: it's not a total earnestness. So, you have to find out for yourself what is a total action, not to be told by me, by the speaker - that becomes the pattern, the ideal; and you are back again in contradiction. If you exercise your reason unemotionally, if you exercise whatever capacity you have for understanding, then you will find out for yourself what is this total action, which is not divided as the individual action and the collective action, or the individual paying back to society what society gives him - all these divisions come to a complete end; and the ending of this division in action is the beginning of maturity.
So, this morning we are going to find out for ourselves through exploration, not through conforming, not through being told what it is, not through creating a verbal pattern - all patterns are verbal, except the engineering pattern laid down on a blue paper. Without creating any pattern, ideological or contradictory, we are going to find out, if it is possible, whether there is a total action which, whatever we are doing, will not create a contradictory action and therefore will not create more misery, more sorrow, more confusion.
If that is clear, I think that what I have said this morning is good enough without going into too many details. Therefore first we have to consider what is communication. One has to understand that very clearly, because after understanding that we shall go into and find out what is the mind that is in a state of communion. But without understanding what is communication, you will not be able to understand what is communion.
When we have something to communicate to each other, we use words. When I say I like you or I don't like you, I have to use words or a gesture; and that gesture, that word, that symbol gives the meaning, and you interpret that according to your likes and dislikes, or according to your conditioning, or according to your fear. So, communication with words has its own limitation; unless we, both of us, use the same word, with the same meaning with the same clarity on both sides, we do not understand, through communication, what it is that's being said. That's again very clear, isn't it? When we say two and two make four, it is very clear. It is only not clear when your mental state is perverted, refuses to see, when there is imbalance in the mind, when the mind has some fixation, has some definite opinion, ideas, conclusion which says, "No, two and two make six or five". Then such a mind refuses to see the fact and denies the fact, because it is already caught in its own conditioning, in its own opinion, in its own experience, belief, and refuses to see the fact that two and two make four.
So see the difficulty of communicating with somebody who is traditional - as most people are - bound by his own ideas, opinions, judgments, by his fears, by his own inept, inefficient thought, by the use of a word to which he gives a specific meaning which the speaker does not. Please see the immense difficulty in communicating verbally. We use certain words like discipline and we immediately have certain patterns. You immediately translate that word into your particular terminology, into your particular experience, or as discipline according to some religious leader; and so refuse to understand the meaning that the speaker is giving to that specific word. So, as long as you take a position - an intellectual position, or a verbal position - and refuse to budge from that position, any form of communication is impossible. That's again very obvious.
So it is possible to communicate - I am using the word "communicate", not "commune" - when the speaker is using an English word, only when you also understand it at the level of that word or give the meaning to that word which the speaker has given, and not translate it into your particular terminology of Sanskrit which has its own associations; then there is a possibility of communicating with each other. Look, Sir! Take any word - like the word "discipline", like the word "effort". I use the word "discipline" in its actual sense; it is an English word, and the root of that word means "to learn". But, for you it has quite a different meaning. The moment you hear that word, you translate it, meaning conformity, suppression, control, discipline according to somebody, Sankara or someone else. So you and I have ceased immediately to communicate with each other. Isn't that so? Even to communicate with each other verbally, you must be in a state of trying to find out what that word means according to the speaker, not according to your particular definition.
So it is very difficult to communicate even at the verbal level; and it is much more difficult to be in a state of communion with each other, over something which demands an astonishing energy, an astonishing sense of no division but seeing the same thing together at the same time, at the same level, with the same intensity.
Now, we are going to use the word "action". Action means to do, or having done, or going to do, to act - not according to a pattern, not according to an ideal, not according to what the Gita, or the Buddha, or Sankara has said. I am talking of action, not according to somebody, not according to one's own concept of action. Because concept is not action, idea is not action. By "action" I mean "doing". So, we are not concerned with the idea of what is right action and what is wrong action, or the concept, the formula; but we are only concerned with finding out a total action which does not breed, which has not in it, the seed of confusion, the seed of contradiction. Then you and I will be in a state of communion to find out what is action which will be total, complete.
So, first, one has to see actually that our life in action produces the activity which creates contradiction; because life is a movement, and that movement is action. You cannot live without action, whether it is intellectual action, emotional action, physical action, or action in relationship with your wife, with your children, with your husband, with society. Life is a movement; and that movement creates contradiction in action when that movement of life is separated into fragments as the scientific activity, the human activity, the religious activity, the bureaucratic activity, the political activity, the social reform activity, and so on. And when you function in those departments, though there is a movement, that movement creates, or breeds, or brings about contradiction; and from that contradiction the mind seeks to escape through an ideal, such as non-violence which you consider to be a noble ideal, and so on.
So first we must realize that it is a fact that our life is broken up into fragmentary activities which breed contradiction and therefore more strife, more misery. Not how to escape from it, not what to do about it; but first we must see that fact. Do we see that fact? And then how do you see that fact? Do you see that fact repulsively, saying, "How terrible it is!"? The moment you say how terrible it is, you have already stopped understanding it. You know, the fact doesn't demand your opinion, your judgment. The sun rises every day whether you like it or don't like it; whether you have a headache, whether you have slept badly, whether you have hunger or this or that - there it is, a fact. In the same way you have to realize this fact, the what is, not what should be.
So, the moment you realize the fact and do not translate the fact into terms of opinion, or what to do about it, then, because your mind is completely concerned with the fact and is not translating that fact according to your conditioning, you are in communion with that fact. Am I making myself clear?
Most of us are never in communion with anything. You are not in communion with your wife, your husband, with your children; you are in communion with the image of your wife, with the memories of your wife, with the sexual pleasures of that wife or husband. You are in communion with the memory but not with the fact that you have a wife or a husband. In the same way if one really wants to go deeply into this extraordinary question of action - not social action or individual action or collective action; not what I should do about society - one has to understand and discover for oneself - or rather, discover and thereby understand - what this total action implies, what it means. One has to be in communion with it. And one can only be in communion with it when one has understood the verbal communication and the difficulties involved in that communication. And when you have understood verbal communication, then you can go to the next step - not step, the sequence, but the natural movement - which is to be in communion with yourself. Because, after all, that is the source of all action, isn't it? Your desires, your hatreds, your ambition, your greeds - that is the source of all your action, and you are not in communion with that at all. You will inevitably follow the movement of life when there is an understanding of the significance of communication; having understood it, you move on to the next question: which is, "Is it possible to be in communion with anything at all? Or you have your memories of the past - the past may be a thousand years, or the past of yesterday - will those memories interfere all the time, so that you are never in communion with anything?" After all, if you are not in communion with anything, you are a dead human being.
You have to be in communion with the river, with the birds, with the trees, with the extraordinary light of the evening, the light of the morning on the water; you have to be in communion with your neighbour, with your wife, with your children, with your husband. I mean by "communion" non-interference of the past, so that you look at everything afresh, anew - and that's the only way to be in communion with something, so that you die to everything of yesterday. And is it possible? One has to find this out, not "how am I to do it?" - that is such an idiotic question. People always ask, "How am I to do this?" - it shows their mentality; they have not understood, but they only want to achieve a result.
So I am asking you if you are ever in contact with anything, and if you are ever in contact with yourself - not with your higher self and lower self and all the innumerable divisions that man has created to escape from the fact. And you have to find out - not to be told, not how to come to this total action. There is no "how", there is no method, there is no system; you cannot be told. You have to work for it. No? I am sorry. I don't mean that word "work: people love to work; that is one of our fantasies that we must work to achieve something. You can't work; when you are in a state of communion, there is no working, it is there; the perfume is there, you don't have to work.
So ask yourself, if I may request you, to find out for yourself whether you are in communion with anything: whether you are in communion with a tree. Have you ever been in communion with a tree? Do you know what it means to look at a tree, to have no thought, no memory interfering with your observation, with your feeling, with your sensibility, with your nervous state of attention, so that there is only the tree, not you who are looking at that tree? Probably you have never done this, because for you a tree has no meaning. The beauty of a tree has no significance at all, for to you beauty means sexuality. So you have shut out the tree, nature, the river, the people. And you are not in contact with anything, even with yourself. You are in contact with your own ideas, with your own words, like a human being in contact with ashes. You know what happens when you are in contact with ashes? You are dead, you are burnt out.
So the first thing one has to realize is to find out what is the total action which will not create contradiction at any level of one's existence, what it is to be in communion, communion with yourself, not with the higher self, not with the Atman, God, and all that, but to be actually in contact with yourself, with your greed, envy, ambition, brutality, deception, and then from there move. Then you will find out for yourself - find out; not be told, which has no meaning - that there is a total action only when there is complete silence of the mind from which there is action. You know, in the case of most of us, the mind is noisy, everlastingly chattering to itself, soliloquizing or chattering about something, or trying to talk to itself, to convince itself of something; it is always moving, noisy. And from that noise, we act. Any action born of noise produces more noise, more confusion. But if you have observed and learnt what it means to communicate, the difficulty of communication, the non-verbalization of the mind - that is, that communicates and receives communication - , then, as life is a movement, you will, in your action, move on naturally, freely, easily, without any effort, to that state of communion. And in that state of communion, if you enquire more deeply, you will find that you are not only in communion with nature, with the world, with everything about you, but also in communion with yourself.
To be in communion with yourself means complete silence, so that the mind can be silently in communion with itself, about everything. And from there there is a total action. It is only out of emptiness that there is the action which is total and creative.
Sirs, perhaps we can discuss, or ask questions, explore together what we have said this morning.
Questioner: Are we not in communion with the contradiction, Sir?
Krishnamurti: Are you not in contradiction? Are you not in communion with contradiction - which is the root cause of our existence? All thought, all evolution brings contradiction. Are you theorizing, or, if I may ask, are you speaking from fact? If you are speaking from fact, have you found out what is the cause of contradiction? What is the cause of contradiction? Do look at it very simply. Don't speculate about it, find out what is the cause of contradiction. May I explore it for you?
What is one of the causes of contradiction? I will develop it as I go along. But go with me, step by step. What is one of the causes of contradiction? One of the major causes of contradiction is having an ideal.
Questioner: What is the primal cause?
Krishnamurti: Wait, Sir, I am
coming to that. You want the primal cause, you have not even begun with the first cause. I am saying to myself, "Why does this contradiction arise - not the ultimate cause; I want to know the cause at the beginning. I see one of the causes of contradiction is having an ideal. We are examining; we are not saying we must not or we must. We see why we preach non-violence - at least, you do - and also are violent. Why this contradiction? This contradiction is obvious.
I see one of the primary causes of contradiction is having an ideal. I know you will disagree. You will probably agree with me verbally, but actually you will still have ideals when you leave here. You are bound by, suffocated with ideals. So I say that the first cause of contradiction is having an ideal. Why do you have ideals? You say that if you did not have ideals, you would not know how to deal with the fact, and that the ideal will help you to alter the fact. That is, if you did not have the ideal of non-violence, you would not know what to do with violence, and you would be violent. You think that the ideal will help you as a leverage to throw out violence. Does the ideal of non-violence prevent you from being violent - violence being ambition, domination? Sir, I am explaining it to you, I am showing it to you. This means that, whoever the speaker is, you are not concerned with the understanding of contradiction and being free of it, but you are concerned with ideas.
So, why do we have ideals? First we hope that, by having an ideal, we shall be able to get rid of, or alter, or modify, or change the fact. I am violent and I use the ideal of non-violence to help me to get rid of my violence. Now look at what has happened! The fact is I am violent; and the ideal is not a fact at all, it is a verbal fact, an idea; and with that idea I hope I can get rid of my violence. The ideal is created because I want to escape from the fact, and so I have created a contradiction; whereas, if I look at the fact - the fact that I am violent - I can deal with that fact, can't I? Either I like violence, or I don't like it. And as most people love violence they keep it. And if it is a fact and you like it, it is all right; you keep it, be violent, and talk about peace and all the rest of it; but know that, by doing this, you are deceiving others and yourself. But if you don't like it, why have the ideal? If you don't like it, you can deal with it now.
Sirs, do you understand how the contradiction arises? Why am I violent? First of all, my education, my society, the climate, the food, the social structure, the phenomena of society, the economic structure and all the rest of it - they all breed in me the sense of violence. And also psychologically I like violence. Being violent I invent the idea of non-violence in order to escape from it, hoping thereby to postpone, hoping that I will gradually become non-violent one of these nice days. But if I have no ideal - having an ideal is immature - the mind faces facts and therefore there is maturity. A mature mind has no ideal at all. It faces facts and deals with them, and therefore there is no contradiction in facts. I am violent; either I like it, or I don't like it. If I don't like it, I put it away - it is as easy as that. But you cannot put it away if you are pretending to be idealistically non-violent all the time.
You have to face the fact and you can then deal with the fact. And that is all our life. I am afraid of insecurity, I am afraid of death, I am afraid of public opinion - a dozen things I am frightened of. Why am I frightened of my wife? Why are you frightened of your boss, or your husband, or your neighbour? Because they will hurt you, they will take away something from you. I am frightened of my wife or husband; they belong to me. Legally, morally, brutally, I hold them; and I am frightened. If my wife looks at another, I am jealous; and to prevent that jealousy arising, I put around her various moral laws. So there is the beginning: I am frightened that she may run away from me, that she may not give me the sexual pleasure I want.
Questioner: Is this not inherent in us, sir?
Krishnamurti: Nothing is inherent, except in the animal - in the animal, some things are inherent. But as we are still animals, as the major part of us is still animalistic, we are frightened. We are dealing with facts. But to say that is a fact, to be satisfied with it, is still animalistic. Sir, the animal fights, so does a human being fight; but the human being, still being an animal, is supposed to have evolved two million years from the animal.
Questioner: You have blazed the path of mutation. Is there another example of a similar mutation?
Krishnamurti: Sirs, we are talking about something else now; so we will leave mutation for the moment.
You know what it is "to learn", sir? What does it mean - to learn? To learn about something, especially about psychological, rather deep and subtle matters, one must be fairly free, and there must be a sense of extraordinary curiosity which is neither acceptance nor denial. It is only then that you can learn; and you learn, not from the speaker only, but you learn from everything. But most of us don't want to learn; because we have accumulated so much knowledge, all that we are concerned with is adding more knowledge to what we already know.
I am trying to point out, to the people listening to me, how difficult, how necessary it is to learn and not to accumulate knowledge. I don't know why we accumulate knowledge at all - it is all in the books. Why not leave it in the books on the shelf? Why carry it in your brain? When you want to know what Sankara said about something, go and have a look at the book in which it is. Why do you carry it in your brain? You carry it, because it gives you a certain spectacular sense of importance, because you can convince somebody that you know much more than somebody else. But such a mind does not learn.
One has to learn. Life is a movement, as I pointed out. You have to learn every minute. And it is only the young, youthful, innocent, clear, good mind that is always learning, learning, learning, never accumulating. So, sir, if you want to learn, you must know what it is to communicate and what it is to be in a state of communion. Learn, discover it for yourself.
And when you know that the word is not the thing, then the word becomes unimportant. The word has its importance, but not this tremendous importance that it now has with most people. Then when the mind is free of the word, then it can look at the tree without the word. You try it sometime, and you will learn the extraordinary beauty of the tree. And when you learn the full meaning and the significance of the word, then there is the same movement which goes on further, deeper, wider. That is, the mind then is in a state of communion. And it is only the mind that is in a state of communion that can understand and discover for itself what it is to act totally at every level of our existence.
November 22, 1964
Varanasi 2nd Public Talk 22nd November 1964
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