Madras 7th Public Talk 6th January 1965
As this is the last talk, at least for this year, I would like if I may to talk about what is a religious mind. I would like to go into it rather deeply and investigate together into this whole question of man's search for something beyond his own petty limitations, trying to find something beyond his own measure. And to share, to go into it together, the word "religion" must be clearly understood both by the speaker as well as by you who are listening.
From what anthropologists have discovered, man has always sought, through two million years and more perhaps, some deity, some divinity, something other than this transient world; and always he has created, out of his imagination, out of his search for something permanent, something which is not easily destructible. He has created images or symbols, which he has carved according to his own image, according to his own imagination, according to his poetry of life, according to his limitations, fears, hopes, and all the travail of life. And having established an image carved by the hand or by the mind, he began to worship it, to give it, day after day, flowers, to go to it regularly, to look to it as a protection against the weather, against death, against disease, against various calamities that man is heir to.
And out of this constant search for a Saviour, for a God that is not bred by the imagination, by thought, he has always sought - through rituals, through going to the temple, day after day, following certain modes, certain patterns, certain formulas - and has got himself lost, if necessary, in some form of mysticism, some vision, some heightened sense of intelligence.
And one has really to find out, and not merely revive the dead past of a culture. Because what is revived is something that is already gone, dead, buried, withered; and to worship that and try to revive it in the modern world has very little meaning, or hardly any meaning. And yet that is what we do. When we cannot find an answer to the agony of our life, we try to go back to something far away, and try to revive, to catch hold of it through memory, through deep remembrances, through every form of deceit and habit.
But it seems to me this revival of the past, this adherence to something that has been well-established for centuries, this resorting to the temples - their rituals, their organized beliefs, their dogmas - with their property, with their enormous wealth - is utterly fantastic; it has really no meaning at all. If you go into it deeply and observe it for yourself, there is no meaning in our life, our daily active life of misery, despair, insufficiency and fear.
Therefore, one has to find out for oneself if there is such a thing as a religious mind - not a religion. To find that out one must put aside all the nonsense which the priests have invented, along with their saviours, with their rituals, with their everlasting repetition of words; we must put all those aside completely and start as though anew. And that is the only way to find out: as though organized belief, rituals, the so-called sacred books never existed; and as though you have never read them. Actually, they have no meaning in daily life. What has meaning is our daily life of struggle, of misery, of pain, of not being able to go beyond our own limited activities of the body, of the heart, or of the mind.
Our life is very limited, very petty, circumscribed by so many things, by circumstances, by fears. Is it possible for man to go beyond that? That is really the fundamental issue - not whether there is God or no God, whether you believe or don't believe. It does not make any difference whether you believe or do not believe. Your belief is the result of your conditioning. If you are born a Muslim, a Christian, a Hindu, your society shapes your thinking, your belief, your thoughts, your feelings. And in the communist world, they do not believe in it at all; they think you are talking sheer nonsense.
So really to find out, one must put a away from oneself, operate surgically on, all this nonsense. One must away the absurdities of so-called religion with its rituals, with its mutterings, whether in Latin or in Sanskrit, so that one can face the reality of what is.
So, we have to take this journey together - not abstractly, not in theory, not listen to a talk and follow the words and think perchance you have got something out of it; all that has no meaning at all. What has meaning is to explore and, in the very act of exploration, to bring about a radical change in daily living. For this is the basis, that is the foundation, on which one can build - the daily living with its agony, with its boredom, with its loneliness, with its fear, with its unseeable future. It is the daily living that we have to investigate, to explore.
And to explore, you need passion; you need tremendous vitality, energy. And very few have the energy, or rather the passion, to enquire, because we are so easily satisfied! We are, most of us in the modern world, discontented with almost everything - with the family, with the job, with the routine of life, with loneliness. If we are completely discontented, we try to find an action through an organization, through social reform, through political reform, or through religious reform - always reforming. Or, not entering that kind of activity, one goes within oneself, as the monks are supposed to do. But the monks do not go within themselves at all; they have all the outward appearance of a simple life! But a simple life begins only when you have put away dogma, belief and authority; then you can go within. But the going within is very difficult; it requires energy. And, as we were saying, very few people have the energy of this kind.
There is energy created through friction, through resistance, through battle with oneself, through conflict - that engenders a certain form of energy, as one can see. You want something, you go after it. You are miserable; you are unhappy, you cannot get on with your wife, your husband; you battle; and from that resistance, battle, comes a form of energy which is really hate, envy, greed. And discontent is so easily satisfied. You find some channel through which you can fulfil yourself, or your hopes, or your fears; and you are satisfied immediately. But to keep this discontent at its height, to keep it hot, burning, without finding any channel, to keep it terribly alive, one must enquire into oneself and discover that energy which has no motive.
And that is what we are going to do, if we may, this evening. We are going to discover for ourselves if there is a passion, an energy, a very simple way of looking at life, without battle, without conflict, without seeking an end. To do that one must go within oneself. And one cannot go within oneself, except by going through outward activity and then moving from there inwardly. Without understanding the world, society, without understanding your relationship as a human being to that world, to that society, without understanding your job, your wife, your family, your word, your gesture, outwardly, you cannot begin to go inwardly. And that is very difficult to do. Nothing is easy in life - nothing. But most of us want a quick answer, a quick way of getting all this over and coming to some extraordinary mystical stage, which is all illusory.
So one must begin to find out the meaning and the significance of our outward activities, because that is the only test one has. You cannot deceive yourself there. Whether you hate, whether you are bored, whether you are deceiving others or deceiving yourself, whether you are frightened, whether you are happy, whether you are creating, in this world, something out of your own self-centred activity, if you have no criterion as a test from the outside, how can you go within yourself and discover the most extraordinary complex entity with all the deceptions, motives, anxieties?
So to go within and to go very far within, you must look to the outside and find it. That is, as the tide goes out and the same waters come in, so must we: we must rise on the tide which goes out, which is our relationship to the world and, having understood that, ride on that water and move within.
So, you have to look to your relationship to the world. Your relationship begins with the family, the wife, the husband, the children: that is the world you live in. You have to find your relationship, you have to find out what it is based on - not deceive yourself. What is it actually based on? Habit, a certain tradition, a narrow little circle - and we live in that. The family is composed of the husband, wife, and children; and there we dominate or are dominated, sexually, emotionally; there we are dependent.
Please, observe yourself. You are not merely listening to a lot of words. One can build on a lot of words, but that does not get you very far. But the words reveal the state of your own relationship, the actual relationship - not what you would like your relationship to be, with your wife, with your children; but the actual fact. Then, from there, one can move.
The family is against society; the family is against human relationship as a whole. You know, it is like living in one part of a big house, in one little room, and making an extraordinary thing of that one little room, which is the family. The family has only importance in relation to the whole of the house. As that one room is in relation to the whole of the house, so is the family in relation to the whole of human existence. But we separate it, we cling to it. We make much about the family - my relations and your relations - and we battle with each other everlastingly. And the family is like the little room in relation to the whole house. When we forget the whole house, then the little room becomes terribly important; so also the family becomes very important, when you forget the whole of human existence. The family has only importance in relation to the whole of human existence; otherwise, it becomes a dreadful thing, a monstrous thing.
So, one has to find out for oneself the fact of the actual relationship, and discover through that relationship the relationship with your neighbour, with the world, with the extraordinary human beings who are cantankerous, who are mischievous, who are ugly, brutal, tyrannical. And to find that out, you must start very near.
And there is this problem also of sex, which has become so astonishingly important for most people - such a complex thing. As we were saying the other day, we cannot find other ways of releasing ourselves, and so we turn to the one thing, sex, and make a monstrous issue of it. And when we say, "We love the family", we do not really love that family; we do not love our children - actually we do not. When you say that you love your children, you really mean that they have become a habit, toys - things of amusement for a while. But, if you love something, your children, then you would care.
You know what caring is? If you care, when you plant a tree, you care for it; you cherish it; you nourish it; you find out the right soil, the right fertilizer; you care, you watch it infinitely. I do not know if you have ever planted a tree, a seedling, and watched it every day. You have to dig deep before you plant, then see the soil is right, then plant, then protect it, then watch it every day, look after it as though it was a part of your whole being. But you do not love the children that way. If you did, then you would have a different kind of education altogether. There would be no wars, there would be no poverty. The mind then would not be trained to be merely technical. There would be no competition, there would be no nationality. And because we do not love, all this has been allowed to grow.
Therefore, one has to begin with the very near thing, and discover from there the actual state of one's mind and one's being. And that is very difficult to do, because we find in ourselves so many ugly things, conscious as well as unconscious. And we cannot face them, we rather run away to a temple, or to a church, or to a cinema, or to some other organized amusement - and the temple or the church is also an organized amusement. And to face something actually demands energy. You have no energy if you are battling uselessly about nothing - and that is what most of us are doing!
So to bring about this passion, this energy, which one needs, to go into something very deeply, endlessly, every day and every minute, there are certain things one has to do, obviously. One has to eat the right food, not what one's tongue dictates. You can study and find out what is the right food; we do not have to go into it. Then, one has to understand the urge to obey. Most of us so easily obey. A man who obeys easily or with great difficulty, is seeking power. Please follow this. Why should you obey anybody? You obey your boss in the factory, in your office, because you may lose your job. If you show yourself a little more intelligent than the boss, you might lose your job - and there are so many people waiting to get that job. So there is this fear built up, and therefore you obey. Your intelligence is down-graded, because every one of us is seeking power, position, prestige, status. Watch it, you are doing that in your life, every day.
You are not concerned with function alone, but you use the function to arrive at a status. And, therefore, the status becomes far more important than the function. And hence there is the battle for status - not for the efficiency of function, but for what you get out of that function, what position, what power, what prestige, what status. And hence there is competition for status, not for functioning efficiently. So, most of us obey, because we want power, position, status; and we will gradually climb to that status through obedience and therefore cultivate inefficiency, cultivate this obedience and the fear that goes with it.
To find out what is the religious mind, you must understand not only the relationship of yourself with the family, with society and beyond, but also this whole process of the search for power: which is to dominate, either in the family or in society, or to be the dominating authority in an organization, religious or otherwise.
So the mind must investigate this whole process of authority in which is included law. You must obey law: you must keep to the left side of the road, here; you must buy a stamp. But every other form of authority, psychological authority, must be understood completely so that the mind never seeks authority of any kind.
So one begins to discover for oneself the nature of the religious mind. One may have a family, but that family is in relation to the whole and not separate. And because it is not separate, it has to be looked after, cared for. And therefore a totally different kind of education is called for. And the enquiry which begins very near shows this desire for power, for dominance, and this urge to obey which manifests itself in so many ways: which is disrespect for many people and respect for a few. If you have no disrespect for anybody, you need not have respect for anybody.
So, then, one can begin to go within oneself, beginning outwardly, being aware of the outward things - of the trees, of the poverty, the reason for the poverty, the whole social and economic structure as it is - and understanding those outward things.
When we use that word "understand", we mean not merely analytically, intellectually, verbally, but understanding it with your blood, with your heart, with your mind, with everything. And you have to understand your relationship with your family; you have to understand your relationship to power, position, authority, status.
Then you can go within. And to go within one must first understand the principal thing: which is to be terribly honest to oneself, so that there is no deception whatsoever. We deceive ourselves so easily! We would not look. We would rather talk about something transcendental: God, theories, Atman, anything.
You know, when you enter a room, you are so concerned about discussing reality - if there is this, if there is that - and you never watch the furniture, the colour of the carpet, the flowers, the shape of the window; you watch nothing, you are so consumed by the other. One has to watch, one has to observe everything: watch the sunset, watch the tree against that sunset, the darkness, the casuarina with its delicate foliage, the light through it, the leaves, the trunk. And if you do not watch that, you cannot watch this. If you do not know how to look without, you cannot look within. And we have tried to look in by denying the outer, by denying the outward beauty of life. All the saints, all your literature, never talk about the beauty of life; they tell you how to escape from this misery.
And there is tremendous beauty in living. And that beauty is shown in nature - in watching a tree, in being in communion with a tree. And if you do not know how to look there, to look where you are walking, to observe what you are saying, outwardly, the gestures you make, the way you show respect and disrespect - if you do not watch that, how can you watch within? So you must begin again outwardly; then you can go within.
And to observe there must be no deception. What is the power that creates, breeds deception? You understand? Why do we deceive ourselves? Why do we put on masks? You know what a mask is? When a human being is capable and efficient in technology, that is a particular mask; he lives in that; he does not want to know what is behind that mask. He may be a first-class engineer, a first-class bureaucrat: and that is a mask. That mask becomes respectability which the world accepts as a marvellous human being. But remove the mask; then, whether he is a scientist or an astronomer, he is just like everybody else.
So one has to find out for oneself what is the power, what is the energy, that creates deception. You know what I mean by "deception"? Never to see actually what we are - actually, not theoretically. Not to be able to see clearly, definitely, what we are. Because we are frightened; because we want to change what we are into something noble, or whatever it is; we want to make it supreme; we want to be everything.
So the motive of deception begins when you want to change what is, when you are discontented with what is. We are going to go into that. But, first, we are showing how necessary it is to remove every deception and the means that create deception, so that your mind can look clearly.
Most of us live in deception: which is, living on the surface. Just amusing ourselves if we have money, or going to an office, day after day, just living on the superficial things and never enquiring - that also is a form of deception. Because we do not live by bread alone, we live at other levels, a deeper existence. But if we deny all that, we are also deceiving ourselves. So one must become aware of this power to deceive oneself. And that power to deceive oneself comes to an end, deception comes to an end, when there is no end, when there is no desire to reach any end, and when one moves from fact to fact.
And to look at oneself is possible only when there is no interference by deception. You have to look without the word, without the desire to translate it according to your own past memory. And that is one of the most difficult and arduous things to do - to look: to look at a tree, at a woman, at a man; to look at the squalor; merely to observe.
If you can observe without any interpretation, without any translation, then from that observation you will find you have tremendous energy. Because, now, that energy is being wasted through interpretation, through translating what you see into like or dislike, or trying to alter it according to your social, economic, religious, or moral pattern.
So this desire to change what is is dissipation of energy. Whereas if you look at what is actually - at your anger, at your jealousy, at your lust, at your violence - without any interpretation, then you have energy.
So the religious mind is a mind that has no deception whatsoever, that does not seek any status, that has no desire or urge for power of any kind. And the religious mind understands its relationship with the family and with the whole of man. Then it can go deeply. We have only the intellectual instrument - at least, that is what is said. But there is the instrument of observation, which is: to observe every movement of thought, to observe every movement of feeling, and so uncover the fears that are hidden, the secret desires that are never looked at, that are never explored. And to explore, as we said, needs tremendous energy. And this energy is released when you are moving with what you are discovering, when you are not translating or interpreting what you are seeing in terms of the past.
Have you ever wondered how the scientists have extraordinary energy? When you go into a laboratory, if you have ever gone into a first-class research laboratory, there you will see the scientist completely full of energy, active. Because he is dealing with outward things, there is no resistance; he is moving from fact to fact; he does not indulge in theories, hypotheses, speculations; he is not a theoretician. He is a pure, clear-sighted technician, watching everything under the microscope. Therefore he has tremendous energy there, in the laboratory. But let him go outside, he is just like everybody else, anxious, fighting for position, competing, nationalistic, caught in religious beliefs, or inventing his own particular belief, and so on. There is a waste of energy.
And to look, the mind must be completely silent. After all, if the scientist is looking through the microscope, or whatever he is doing, he is observing from silence, not from knowledge. What he sees, he then translates in terms of knowledge and therefore there is action. But he sees from silence - it may be that silence may last a split second or an hour. And that is the only way to observe.
So the cultivation of a silent mind becomes stupid. You cannot practise and arrive at a silent mind. But, to look, to observe, you must have silence. Do look at that sunset. You cannot look at that sunset, you cannot see it, if your mind is chattering. You can see it completely, only when the mind is extraordinarily quiet and intense. After all, that is beauty. That is, the perception of beauty or non-beauty is only possible when there is passion, when you look at that sunset with complete intensity. And you cannot be intense if you are not silent. So you begin to see how extraordinarily silent the mind becomes when you observe. When you are observing, you do not have to discipline the mind to be silent - then it is a dead mind. But the mind that is observing out of silence, creates its own discipline; it does not need discipline, because it is observing. This observation out of silence is passion, is energy. Then you can observe your fears. Most people are frightened - frightened of death, frightened of this empty, useless life. And one has to meet that fear, and to observe it without any movement, without trying to go beyond it or to resist it, without trying to get rid of it. To go beyond it, to overcome it, to suppress it - these are waste of energy. Whereas if you observe the whole movement of fear then that observation out of silence gives energy; then that problem of fear ceases.
Then the question of time enters into it, and the whole implication of time that we have already talked about.
So there has to be this observation of daily events. When we are using the word "observation", we mean the observation which is not critical, which is not the outcome of discontent or conformity or suppression, but which is the observation out of silence, the observation of fact only, not the translation of that fact or the opinion about the fact. Then you will see, out of this observation, there is no effort necessary to do, to resist, to overcome or to deny; effort altogether goes away. And one can live one's daily life - going to an office, cooking, doing everything - without effort.
The religious mind is the mind that understands the family and its position relative to the whole; the mind that does not seek power, position; the mind that is not caught in any ritual, any dogma, any belief, any organized church or temple; the mind that has no power whatsoever to create illusion. And the religious mind is the mind that looks at facts and, therefore, does not make any effort at all, whatever it does.
Then one goes still further. That is, by observing the outward things, one has come to the inner. And the outer and the inner are not two different states; they are the same state of observation out of silence.
This silence is space. We live in a very small space, in the space created by the mind with its own ideas. And the mind is the result of its own conditioning in a particular society and culture; it lives in a very small space; and all the battles, all the relationships, all the anxieties are within that little space. But the moment the mind, through observation, becomes naturally, easily, without effort, silent, that little space is broken. The moment the mind is completely quiet, you will see that there is no limitation to space. You will then see that the object does not create the space, there is space - endless space.
And when that takes place, the mind is the truly religious mind; and from that mind there is activity. You can be a super-citizen - not running away to a monastery; not becoming a sannyasi, or a complete technician, or a mechanized human being. But from that effortless, silent observation, there is action; and that is the only action that does not breed hatred, enmity, competition. Then through observation and silence you will see that, because there is space, there is love.
Love is: dying every day. Love is not memory, love is not thought. Love is not a thing that continues as duration in time. And, through observation, one must die to the continuity of everything. Then there is love; and with love, there comes creation.
Creation is one of the most difficult things to understand. The man who writes a poem, however beautiful, thinks he is a creative being. The man and the woman who breed children think that they are creative. The man or the cook who makes bread thinks, perhaps, he is also creative. But creation is something far more. That man is not creative, who merely writes a book or fulfils himself in some petty little ambition. Creation is not a man-made structure, or man-made technological knowledge and the result of technological knowledge which is merely invention. Creation is something that is timeless, that has no tomorrow and yesterday; it is: living timelessly. And you come to it very naturally, if you understand this whole problem of existence.
So a religious mind is all these things, and then it knows, or rather it is in, a state which is creative from moment to moment. It is always acting from that extraordinary sense of emptiness.
I do not know if you have ever noticed how a drum is always empty. When you strike on it, it gives the right tone; but it is empty. Our minds are never empty; they are always full. Therefore, our action is always from this dreadful noise of thought, of memory, of despair; and, therefore, action is always contradictory, leading to great misery.
But a mind that is completely empty, empty in the sense of observation, silence and, therefore, love and the whole understanding of death - such a mind is creative. And a creative mind is empty all the time; it acts from that emptiness, it speaks from that emptiness. And, therefore, it will always be true, it will never bring about a deception within itself. And it is only such a religious mind that can solve the problems of misery in this world.
January 6, 1965
Madras 7th Public Talk 6th January 1965
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