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Varanasi 1964

Varanasi 4th Public Talk 26th November 1964

We would like this morning, if we may, to talk about something that may be a little foreign to you, and perhaps about which you have not thought a great deal. But it must be thought about, it must be enquired into and explored to find for oneself the truth of the matter. Merely to be satisfied with words, or to refer what is being said to what you already know, or to compare it with that which you have already read, will only prevent further understanding and enquiry. So, I would like, before I go into this matter, to prevent - if one can use that word - or stop you from comparing. When you are comparing or referring what you have heard, or what you are going to hear, with what already you have read about, it will actually prevent your immediate understanding. And the immediate understanding is far more important than mere recollection and comparison, than a conclusion. We are going to enquire into freedom. We are going to enquire into that extraordinary state of mind that has the quality of love. And as we are going to enquire into it, we have to use words. Words prevent one from really coming into immediate contact, because the word is not the thing and it never is. What you hear is not "what is". Unless one has deeply understood the significance of words and is not caught up in words and their influence and their emotional content - unless there is a certain quality of freedom from words, one is caught up in them, and all further enquiry and all further understanding come to an end. So one has to be aware of the extraordinary difficulty of words.

Man throughout the world is being organized - economically, socially, and religiously. He lives in a crowded town or in sky-scrapers, living in drawers, in boxes. And men are going to the moon and are living under the sea; they have built huts to live under the sea, on the floor of the sea, for a month, for a week. And being caught in this extraordinary organization of efficiency - and there must be efficiency - man has always sought a further frontier, further space, a feeling of limitless space without horizon, without a border, where there is neither earth nor the sky nor the horizon. Man has always sought space. And without space you and I could not exist.

Please follow this. This is not some kind of vague, abstract subject which we are talking about. We have to understand this thing called space. If there was no space, you would not be able to see, or hear. If you had no space between you and the speaker, you couldn't see the speaker or hear the words that he is using. There must be space between you and that tree, between you and your wife, between you and your neighbour. And there is. And man is getting more and more organized; governments are controlling his thoughts, and religion has denied him his freedom. Religions may assert freedom in another world; but freedom, of the mind all religions have denied, actually, because they have imposed on the mind beliefs, dogmas, rituals, fear. And the more there is the explosion of population - as there is in this country and throughout the world - the more are people forced to live together in crowded towns, the more are they organized, controlled, made efficient, and there is less and less space. Space is created, if you observe, by the object as well as without the object.

Please, you have neither to accept nor to reject, but just to observe. The object - you sitting there and me sitting here - creates space round it. This microphone creates space round it; otherwise, it couldn't exist. So, we only know a space because of the object which creates the space. There is the space between the earth and the moon: this space exists because the earth is away from the moon. There is the object, the centre; and the observer is the centre, is the object looking out.

This is a very difficult subject we are going to discuss - I am going to talk about. And you need all your attention, because if you don't follow the thing you won't come to the end of it, you won't flow with it. Man has always sought space outwardly - new frontiers, new countries. And when all the earth has been conquered, explored, as it has now been, he is enquiring into outer space - the space between the earth and the sun, and the moon and the stars. He is always going outward, outward, outward, seeking this space. And inwardly, religions, society, his personal tendencies, fears, the family, circumstances and tensions and pressure of population, and so on have prevented him from finding the space within. And if you have no space within, you have no freedom. If the object only creates space, then the mind is caught within that space which is bred, brought about by the object. And therefore there is no freedom if one once admits. or allows or knows that space is created only by the object.

That is, as long as there is a centre which creates space round it, and as long as there is no other space except the space which the object creates round itself, there is no freedom for man. You understand? The centre is the "me", which is physical as well as emotional as well as intellectual. The "me" creates the space round itself, because the centre exists. And because the centre exists and creates the space, and if that is the only space man can ever know, then there is no freedom at all. And if there is no freedom for man, not abstract freedom but freedom in living his daily life: going to the office, doing his daily routine, however pleasurable or painful - if there is no freedom in his daily life, then he is a slave forever: slave to environment, slave to all the pressures of existence, slave to every form of social influence. And if the object only creates the space, there is no freedom. There can be freedom, obviously, only when there is space without the centre, without the object. And that is what we are going to enquire into this morning.

You must have space; otherwise, you have no freedom. Even in a little room, however small it is, you must have space to move about in, to put your things, to do your exercise, to play. To do anything in life, you must have space. And we demand this space outwardly: better houses, more playgrounds, forests, woods, trees, going on boats and so on. But inwardly we never want space, our minds refuse space, because we are frightened.

We are going to enquire, not abstractly, whether it is possible for a mind to be completely free and therefore to have space without a centre - only that space without a centre is free. The space is translated by the scientist as field: electro-magnetic field, gravitational field, nuclear field, and so on. We are not talking of field as the scientist knows it. But we are talking about the space which is beyond the scientific investigation of fields as the scientist knows it; we are enquiring into something much more human, which has relationship with human thought, and not merely into scientific facts. So you must first see the problem very clearly, even intellectually, verbally. That is, man must have space. Modern society with an ever exploding population, the atomic fears, wars, threats, forces man to go out, outwardly.

And we only know space, because there is the observer, the centre, the object, which creates the space. A piece of furniture creates the space round it; so also a wall, a house; and that is the only space you know: the space that you observe with your eyes when you look out from the earth to the moon, to the stars.

So we are going to enquire into this problem of space without the object. And only in that space is freedom; that space without the object is freedom. In enquiring into space and freedom we are also going to discover for ourselves what is love. Because without love there is no freedom. Love is not sentimentality, love is not emotionality. Love is not being in an emotional state, nor is it devotional.

So we are going to find out for ourselves. To find out, we must create space in the mind. We must empty the mind, obviously, so as to give space: not space in a limited field of thought, but space without limit and space within, if we can so divide it - that is, space in the mind and in the heart; otherwise there is no love, no freedom. And without love and freedom man is doomed. You may live very comfortably on the fifteenth floor of the sky-scraper or live most miserably in a filthy little village; but you will be doomed unless there is this extraordinary, limitless space within the mind and the heart, within the whole of your being.

Now, as I said, we are going to enquire. I am going to go into it. Probably you have not thought about this at all. I am going to go into it, and you have to be sufficiently awake, alert, watchful, forceful, energetic, if we are to travel together. But if you just sit there agreeing, disagreeing, nodding your head in approval or in denial, you will be left behind.

Now, this enquiry into space is meditation. Please listen carefully. I am using the word meditation, not in your sense; so don't take a posture immediately, don't sit up straight. I said the enquiry into and the understanding of this space demand meditation. But the meditation with which is associated posture, breath, repetition of words, concentration, various forms of having visions, heightened sensitivity, is not meditation. It is all a form of self-hypnosis. You may say, "Well, aren't you making a rather sweeping statement, a vast general statement?" I am not. We haven't the time this morning to go into it all step by step. And I shall go into it very briefly, because there is much more to be said about it than the mere repetition of fairly obvious things.

So meditation is the enquiry into, and the discovery of this space without a centre: Therefore it is not an experience at all. You understand? If you experience that space, you have a centre from which you are experiencing; therefore you are a slave to the centre which creates the space, and therefore you are not free. So you have to understand this thing that man demands, which is experience. He wants more and more experience, because he is fed up with the daily routine experience of going to an office, sex, the everyday boredom of life. As he wants more experience, he turns to drugs, to various forms of stimulants, which will give him new experience, new visions, new states of heightened sensitivity, which will bring about further experience.

So, a mind that is seeking more experience is only perpetuating the centre which is creating the space, and therefore it is never free. And experience comes only when there is a challenge and a response. And the inadequacy of that response demands further experience. Please, you have not thought about all this; just listen: go into it, as I am going along. So a mind that is seeking experience is a mind that wishes or wants or has not understood that experience - this only further enslaves the mind. You have had the experience of going to an office for forty or fifty years. You have had the experience of hunger, of sex. You have had the experience of your peculiar devotions to peculiar idols made by the hand or by the mind. And you live in those experiences and pretty soon you get tired of them, bored with them - whether it be Jesus, or Krishna, or any other man-made thing. So you want more experience, further experience away from all this stupid stuff. So you call that a mystical, extraordinary state. A man who is seeking experience and calls it mysticism, is deluding himself; he is only projecting his own desires, his own conditionings, his own unfulfilled, agonizing demands, clothed in virtue, in nobility, in visions.

So one has to be free of this demand for experience, because as I have explained, the moment you want experience, you are strengthening the centre, the observer, and creating a little space round it and living in that space. In that space you have your relationship, your family, the design of morality and everything; and that little space will never bring freedom, do what you will.

Similarly, the escape through prayers, through repetition of words, is fairly obvious. Because you are dissatisfied with life, there is agony, there is misery, conflict, the agonizing existence of life. And you pray for somebody - for what you call God - to give you relief. You shed tears, you beg, you are suffocated by your own thirst of ignorance. You pray and you never find satisfaction. When you do pray, you are supplicating. you are asking, you are begging, you are putting out your hand for somebody to fill it; and there generally is somebody to fill it - that is the most peculiar part of life, it is always filled by somebody. Because you are seeking to be filled, you are asking, begging, searching for someone to give you something to fill your hands, your heart, your mind; and you are filled. There are people who pray for refrigerators. Don't laugh; they are just like you; only their prayer is much more concrete. You want happiness, you want experience, you want something which you call much better than worldly goods - it is exactly the same thing as asking for a refrigerator, a better house. So a mind that begs can never be free.

Please, we are enquiring into freedom and space and love, and this enquiry is a process of meditation. Therefore I am putting away the things which are not meditation - such as experience, prayer, repetition of words, mantras, turning over beads endlessly. The repetition of words, turning over beads calms the mind. You know, if you repeat something over and over again like a machine, naturally your mind becomes quiet - that is, your mind becomes dull, stupid, heavy. But that is not meditation. Sitting in the right position, with a straight back, breathing regularly - that gives a certain quietness to the body, but that is not meditation; if you sit straight, blood can flow easier to the head; and that is all there is to it, nothing else. A petty mind, a shallow mind, a narrow mind, a mind that is jealous, furious, angry, bitter, agonizing, suffocating - a mind that has no sense of beauty, such a mind can sit straight with a straight back, breathe regularly, do all the tricks, and think it is doing meditation - it is not meditating, it is dying in its own putrefaction. None of these things is meditation, because meditation is something that comes into being naturally - you do not have to pursue it. A man who deliberately sits to meditate, is merely cultivating a habit, wanting a certain experience, a certain state of mind - and he will get it; but that is not meditation, that is only a form of hypnosis.

So, we are enquiring into this extraordinary thing of space without object. And that space must exist; otherwise there is no freedom and love. And it is only when you see the false as the false, and the truth in the false, that you are beginning to empty the mind - that is, then the mind is emptying itself. Then you will see the truth in the falseness that experience is going to liberate you. When you see the truth of experience, the whole implication of experience, then you are free of it; you are no longer asking, demanding, panting after experience - which does not mean that you are satisfied, content like a cow. And when you see the falseness and therefore the truth in prayers, in postures, in deliberate methods invented by man with a definite goal, in doing certain definite practices which you call by so many names - all that only makes the mind dull, stupid, heavy; and therefore the mind is never free. So when you see the falseness and the truth in that falseness, then you are free of it, you do not have to struggle, you do not have to say, "How am I to get rid of this stupid thing?" - because you see it is stupid, it is gone.

So, the mind realizes that without space, without infinite space, there is no freedom, and that there is infinite space only when there is no object which creates the space. You see the beauty of it? Space is infinite, the moment there is no object; and therefore, freedom is infinite. And when there is this sense of space without borders, without limit, infinite, out of that infiniteness comes love - not the love of God, not the love of man; but love which shares, which watches, which nourishes, which protects, which guides, which helps, which shows.

Meditation is not: being absorbed by a toy invented by man. You know, a child is absorbed by a toy; and he is quiet, because the toy is so interesting; he is taken over by the toy, and he won't be mischievous; he will behave for the time being, because the toy is new and delightful to play with, and because his whole attention is concentrated there. And so are men; the grown-up people have their toys, the toys of images, the toys of ideas, of Masters, pictures, visions; by those visions, by those Masters, by those toys they are absorbed; and during that period they behave very nobly, very quietly, decently. So absorption by a toy is not meditation.

Nor is concentration meditation. We all learn to concentrate. Apparently that is one of the most important things taught by the various stupid schools that preach, talk, teach meditation. Think of anybody teaching another how to meditate - as though you can be taught! See the fallacy of it. You can learn, you can be taught how to drive a car, how to learn a language, how to acquire a particular technique. But you cannot be taught - through a method, through a system - how to meditate. If you are taught, if you have learnt that particular method of meditation, you are caught in it. Therefore again there is no freedom.

So, through the understanding of experience and seeing the truth of that, the mind is free from the demand for experience. By understanding and observing, seeing the falseness of prayer, various forms of postures, breathing - seeing the falseness and the truth of it, you are free. And also you are free of this supplication, of this being absorbed by toys - toys created by another or by yourself. And also you are free of this terrible thing called concentration, because concentration is a process of exclusion. When you want to concentrate on what you think is right, on your particular image, God, or idea, phrase, you focus your mind on that; but the mind wanders off, and you pull it back; again it wanders off, and again you pull it back; you play this game for the rest of your life. And that is what you call meditation, this battle - forcing the mind when it is not interested in something, and trying to control it. And if you saw that, if you understood the truth of this matter or the falseness of this process, then you would never concentrate, whether you are in a school learning a particular subject, or whether you are teaching in a school. Do not concentrate, when you are in your office, or when you are trying to meditate. Do not concentrate; that only excludes, creates a resistance, a focus, giving greater strength to the centre and therefore limiting space.

Now, if you understand all this, then out of this understanding comes awareness, which is nothing mysterious. Just to be aware: to be aware of that river when you are near it, not from here; to watch the sail of a boat, to see the current go by, to see that bridge, to hear the train going over it making a noise; to see the tree, just to see it, not to compare it, not to judge it, not to say "I like" or "I don't like: just to observe. And from the outside you come inside, come inside the room, and you observe the shape of the room; don't compare it, don't say, "It is ugly" or "It is beautiful, I wish I were living in it", or "I wish I had that carpet, that furniture; but just look at the colours, the shape, the beauty, the ugliness of the curtains, the light out of the window, and the people, their faces, their expressions, without judging, without comparing, without analysing - you just observe, choicelessly.

And with that awareness, starting from the outside - the dirt, the squalor, the poverty; the national divisions; the religious separations; the battle between the tribes, between the nations, between the groups, between the families; the family within itself, the husband, the wife against each other, the brutality, the sexual demands, the unfulfilled appetites, agonies - observing that awareness from the outside, come in. It is all one movement. And as you come in you go deeper; from the room you go into yourself - what you think, what you feel; don't judge it don't say "This is noble" or "This is ignoble" or "I shouldn't be this", or "I shouldn't be that", or "I am Supreme God, I am Atman" - all that is sheer nonsense, created by your own mind to give you a certain satisfaction. Just observe what you are. What you are is the fact: the fact that you are jealous, anxious, envious, brutal, demanding, violent. That is what you are. Look at it, be aware; don't shape it, don't guide it, don't deny it, don't have opinions about it. By looking at it without condemnation, without judgment, without comparison, you observe; out of that observation, out of that awareness comes affection.

Now, go still further. And you can do this in one flash. It can only be done in one flash - not first from the outside and then working further and deeper and deeper and deeper; it does not work that way, it is all done with one sweep, from the outermost to the most inward, to the innermost depth. Out of this, in this, there is attention: attention to the whistle of that train, the noise, the coughing, the way you are jerking your legs about; attention whereby you listen to what is said, you find out what is true and what is false in what is being said, and you do not set up the speaker as an authority. So this attention comes out of this extraordinarily complex existence of contradiction, misery and utter despair. And when the mind is attentive, it can then give focus, which then is quite a different thing; then it can concentrate but that concentration is not the concentration of exclusion. Then the mind can give attention to whatever it is doing, and that attention becomes much more efficient, much more vital, because you are taking everything in.

So that is the beginning of meditation - that is, the mind which has sought space and searched for it outwardly, having understood outward space, moves with that same energy, with that same intensity as is required to go to the moon, and turns inwards within itself and looks. And denying the false - not verbally, but actually, ruthlessly cutting out, like a surgeon, all the stupid things that man has invented in order to make the mind quiet - the mind comes to a quietness, to a very still state. And the mind is no longer seeking, asking, demanding, because it has understood all that. So the mind then becomes naturally, without any enforcement, without any pressure, quiet, completely still. A mind is only still when there is no object in that stillness to experience. Please understand, you cannot experience this stillness; the moment you say, "I must experience stillness", you are no longer still. And I have explained what the implication of experiencing is. So it is not to be experienced. And such a still mind, which knows what space is without the object, is an empty mind. It is empty of every effort, of every struggle, of every demand, of every agony, of despair, because it is free of the psychological structure of society - which is the animal still, which is greedy, envious, acquisitive, competitive, seeking power, domination and all the rest of it.

It is only such a mind that has understood - not verbally but actually - this extraordinary space and emptiness. Then, if the mind can go still further - there is no further really, it is part of the same thing - then you will understand what it is to love. Really you have no love. You have pleasure, you have sensation, you have sexual attachments, such as the family, the wife, the husband, the attachment to a nation. But attachment is not love. And love is not something divine and profane: it has no division. Love means something to care for - to care for the tree, for your neighbour, for the child; to see that the child has the right education, not just put him in a school and disappear; the right education not just technological education; and to see that the children have the right teachers, right food, that they understand life, that they understand sex. Teaching children merely geography, mathematics, or a technical thing which will give them a job - that is not love. And without love you cannot be moral - you may be respectable; that is, you may conform to society: that you will not steal, that you will not chase your neighbour's wife, that you will not do this and you will not do that. But that is not morality, that is not virtue, that is merely the conformity of respectability. Respectability is the most terrible, disgusting thing on earth, because it covers so many ugly things. Whereas when there is love, there is morality. Do what you will, it is moral, if there is love.

And love, like freedom, can only be when you have understood meditation. Therefore, when a mind is empty of all the things and pressures of two million years which man has lived in, out of that comes this extraordinary thing called emptiness and space. It is only then that the mind can be quiet. And it is only then that there is love and that extraordinary thing called creation.

November 26, 1964


Varanasi 1964

Varanasi 4th Public Talk 26th November 1964

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