Bombay 6th Public Talk 28th February 1965
I would like this evening to talk over with you, or rather communicate to you, a rather complex problem. To communicate, one has not only to listen with one's ears but also to see with one's eyes; and really to communicate, one has not only to see with one's eyes, to hear with one's ears, but also to see and feel with one's mind and heart. Because one sees much more with one's mind - much more rapidly, much more quickly - than the eyes see; and the mind hears much more quickly, with greater precision, than the ear. And to feel one must see and hear, not only with one's mind but also with one's heart - that is, be very sensitive. Most of us, unfortunately, have become insensitive, through our education, through modern life, through everyday turmoil, the ugliness and the despair of life, the routine, the boredom and senseless existence.
And to listen, to see, demands that the mind be astonishingly precise and sharp; that there must be a great sensitivity, not only to the word but to the feeling, to the beauty of something that you hear to be true; and that the mind be equally sensitive when you hear something false, something not trite. As most of us are so indifferent, have no time or patience to consider deeply, to investigate profoundly, we resort to the quickest way of communication: that is, just hear a few words, and oppose them or agree with those words, opinions, or terms; we deny or accept. This is what we generally do. But when we are discussing something that demands not only that the ear pay attention but also that the mind and the heart be at attention, sensitivity is necessary if we would communicate together something that demands careful attention.
We are not going to talk about something. "About something" is always an idea. I talk about politics, about religion, about a particular problem.-But the about is the idea - about politics, about a particular problem, about a particular issue. But when we are communicating together, when we are in communion together, there is no such thing as the about; there is no idea. You and I are in communion directly, here - in the word, seeing, feeling; and the mind listening much more, non-argumentatively, neither accepting nor denying. If you accept or deny, you are not in communion. We must establish communion. And to establish communion we must not talk about something, because always the about is the unessential: the word, the opinion, the belief, the dogma. But if there is communion between the speaker and the listener, then both will go through the words, the terminology, the opinions, the ideas, and come to something which will have tremendous significance to both. What I wanted to talk about - again `about' - what I wanted to commune with you - which is the better word - is the nature and significance of meditation.
First of all, the word "meditation" evokes certain images, certain reactions, pleasant or unpleasant. And as we are going to commune together, as we are trying it, as you are feeling your way with me into this extraordinary thing called meditation, you must naturally, easily, willingly, put aside your opinions, your practices, your disciplines, to find out what the other man is trying to convey. It is one of the most difficult things to find out for oneself what is meditation.
Now, first of all, to enter into an immense problem like that you need to be very sensitive. You cannot come to it with clear-cut ideas, opinions and judgment; but you must be sensitive. We are rarely sensitive to beauty. Beauty means nothing for most of us. Personal adornment is not beauty. Beauty is not a reaction of some kind of stimulation. You listen to good music, and tears come to your eyes; and such a feeling you call a beautiful feeling. You call that an experience. That is, you are stimulated by an outward incident, by an outward occurrence, such as seeing a statue, seeing a sunset, seeing a beautiful woman or the clean, healthy smile of a child. You feel that is beautiful; that is, you are stimulated. The reaction of that stimulation is either pleasurable or not pleasurable. If it is pleasurable, you call that beauty.
But there is a beauty that is not the outcome of a reaction or a stimulation. Now that sense of beauty is not merely colour, proportion, texture, quality, but it is something far greater, much deeper; and it has nothing whatsoever to do with a passing stimulation. It is difficult to convey that feeling, the feeling of that sense of beauty where the mind, the heart, the nerves, the whole sensory organism is in complete co-ordination. That feeling is not induced or brought about by any stimulation, but actually is there, because you are throughout the day sensitive to everything - to your word, to your gesture, to your walk, to the dirt on the road, to the squalor of a house, to its disorderliness, the ugliness of the office, the brutal travail of man. You are aware, sensitive; and because you are so sensitive, you have activated every field of your being, activated every corner of your consciousness, of your state. It is only then that there is a sense of beauty, not stimulated by the lake, or by the mountain, or by a poem, or by the movement of a bird on the wing.
Now to communicate that feeling, if really you and I both feel that beauty which is not adorned, which is not a stimulation, which is not an intellectual concept, but an actual state - to communicate that, you and I must both not only be intense but meet at the same level, with the same intensity, at the same moment. Otherwise communication ceases. And such communication is necessary to understand what we are going to go into.
You know we rarely are in a state of communion. You may hold the hand of your wife or your friend or your child, but you are not in communion you are only physically in contact. Communion implies that there is no division - not a physical division but, much more, a mental or an emotional division which each one of us has. Because each one of us is struggling to assert himself, to fulfil himself, to be something, to strive, to try to become famous, ambitious, competitive; and in that state there is no communion. There may be a physical communication. But communion is something far more deep, much more intense, where you and the speaker are both in contact with something that is real - not imagined, not dialectical, not with mere reason - where both of us see the same thing, at the same moment, with the same intensity. Then there is an extraordinary relationship established between you and the speaker. This happens very rarely for most of us. To communicate with another is part of the thing about which we are going to talk.
Most of us are burdened with tradition - not good tradition or bad tradition, but tradition. The word "tradition" means to carry over from the past generation to this generation; from time immemorial, to carry over from father to son and on and on, a certain custom, a certain idea, a certain concept. And that tradition conditions the mind.
Just listen, this evening. Don't argue with me, don't discuss with me; just listen. I feel that you must listen, just actually, with your ear - not listen to your opinion, to your experiences, to, your ideas. You must actually listen to the speaker, because that is what you are here for, obviously. And what we are saying is not irrational or insane or nonsense; we are just stating facts. If you listen to a fact, if you listen actually with your ear, then you will see that that fact has an impact on a mind that is conditioned. It is necessary to have that impact. That impact does everything, if you let it. But if you begin to, argue - " Should we keep certain traditions? Are not certain traditions necessary? Otherwise we would be this and that" - , the argument with yourself and with the speaker prevents you from listening and, therefore, you are not meeting the fact. Your meeting the fact will have tremendous effect if you will actually listen. We know what we mean by tradition: custom, habit, has shaped the mind - that is a fact. And that tradition has established certain methods, certain specialized processes; it says you must meditate in this way. And organized thought, a method, has been established or is being established by people who think they know how to meditate and want to teach others. It is based on a tradition, or on their own experience; or they have borrowed it from others and put it together; and they want you to practise it in order to arrive at something which they call "peace", "God", "truth", "bliss" and all the rest of it.
So the religious people throughout the world have through tradition established a method or methods in order to arrive at that state which they call "peace", or "God", or "some extraordinary experience". That is a fact: a method, a system, a practice. Please listen. What is implied in the practice and in the method? There is the method; and then there is the carrying out of that method, which is called the practice. We are examining these two: the method and the practice. What is implied in the method? An organized system of ideas: if you do this, this and this, you will arrive there. It is an organized, specialized procedure in order to help you to arrive; and the procedure you begin to practise, day after day, slowly, purposefully - in which is involved great effort. So there is the method and there is the practice. Through a method or methods you will arrive only at a state which must be static. If you have a method, that will lead you somewhere; that somewhere must be static; it cannot be moving dynamic; it cannot be living; it is not a movement; it is static.
Some people say that if you do certain specialized, organized things, you will have peace. That peace is an idea which becomes static. But peace is never static; it is a living thing; it comes only when you understand the whole of man's struggle - not just one particular struggle, but the whole of existence: which is, his daily bread, his feelings, his ambitions, his sexual appetites, his competitiveness, his despairs and his fulfilments; the vast complex network of escapes. In understanding all that, out of that understanding you may have peace. But if you follow a method in a particular direction, through a particular system, which will promise you or guarantee that you will have peace, then such peace is merely an idea, a static concept, which is not real at all. That is what you are doing. You want peace of mind - whatever that may mean - and you practise it day after day. But you will get angry, you will be ambitious, you will be greedy, you will talk roughly with your servant - if you have a servant - , you will be competitive. So you divide life: you practise a particular method, which you call meditation in order to have peace; and all your life destroys what you are seeking. So that is what is involved in practice and in method.
And also, in a method, in a system, there is implied authority: "You know, I don't know. You have realized the self whatever that may mean; and you are going to tell me what to do. I will get it." So there is established this thing called the guru: the authority, the enlightened, the self-realized, the man who knows: and you who do not know; and you want that, whatever that may mean. The guru looks fairly happy, fairly quiet, secluded; and he talks a great deal about self-realization and all that stuff. And you say, "How good it will be to have it!" You want it; you begin to practise, and he becomes your authority. So the method, the practice implies authority.
We are again dealing with facts. I am not trying to tell you something which is not. Therefore, listen to it so that it has an impact, not of agreement or disagreement. Now, what happens in an authority? You have not understood yourself, your life, your behaviour; whether you have affection, love, sympathy, does not matter; you have not explored your extraordinary being yourself; you deny all that, and you follow somebody else. And by following somebody else, you have added an extraordinary layer of fear, because you might not follow according to the sanction of those people, and so on.
So practising a method implies authority. Practising a method implies mechanical procedure, it becomes mechanical. It is not a living thing which you are examining, watching, exploring. You are merely practising like a machine - you go to the office, there you do something; you get into a habit, and that habit carries on. In the same way, you practise a system which you hope will lead to peace; you merely practise and establish a habit; thereby your mind becomes dull and insensitive, mechanical. All these are implied when you are practising a method; there is authority; there is a mechanical cultivation of habit which suppresses, which helps you to escape from yourself. See the fact of it. When you see the fact of it, the impact of it, then your mind is no longer concerned with practice, no longer concerned with habit, no longer concerned with authority - spiritual authority - at all. Then you are concerned with exploration, investigation, understanding. Then you are concerned, not with a result but with the whole of existence - not one part of existence.
For most of us, meditation means prayer; it means repeating certain words endlessly, or taking a certain posture, breathing in a certain way. Do you follow what you are doing? You are giving importance to outward activity, sitting very straight - which is fairly simple. Why should you sit straight? Because blood flows more easily to the head; that is all. And when you breathe deeply the blood gets more oxygen. There is nothing mysterious about it. But we begin with the outward signs of meditation: sitting quietly in a room; and you know every outward gesture. But there is no inward comprehension at all. Everything is from the outside.
So meditation is not practice, is not following a system. System implies authority. Therefore, meditation is not the result of authority. Nor is it a collective prayer or an individual prayer, prayer being a supplication, an asking. Because you are miserable, you pray for some entity or some being to give you help. You have reduced your life to a terrible chaos, misery. You have built this social structure, this environment that is destroying human beings. You are responsible for your greed, for your activities, for your ambition - which have created the society in which the human being is caught. So you are responsible; and therefore it is no good asking somebody to help you. When you do ask, it is an escape.
There are prayers for peace in Europe, in America and in this country - not in the Communist world where there are no prayers for peace. To have peace, you must live peacefully: that is, no ambition, no competition, no nationality, no class division, no petty little division of race, of country, linguistic or non-linguistic. To live peacefully you must be at peace with yourself. And if you cannot be at peace with yourself, it is no good praying for peace; because everything that you are doing is bringing about disorder, bringing about conflict.
So meditation is not prayer; nor is it repetition of words. You know that one of the most astonishing things is how this word "mantra" gives people such fantastic ideas. You use any word - it does not matter what word - or use a series of words; give it a special meaning, and repeat it. What happens when you repeat over and over again a series of words in English, or in Sanskrit, or in Latin or in any other language? Repeat, repeat; and your mind becomes gradually quiet, gradually dull; and you think at last you have quietened your mind. So meditation is not prayer, not a repetition of words, not practice, not pursuing a particular method or a system in which is implied authority. If you listen to this fact, then you will never go back to that. Then you become completely responsible for yourself. Therefore, you have no guru; you do not rely on anybody, including the speaker. You are then responsible for everything that you do. Therefore, what is necessary is that you have abundance of self-knowledge, that you must be completely rich in knowing yourself; that is the only basis from which you can proceed. And for most of us, this knowing oneself is so arduous, so difficult, that we would rather take a pill, hoping that everything will be all right, that we shall get something for nothing. That is how you practise and do all the innumerable things which have no meaning; because you do not know how to look into yourself.
So, one has to know oneself - not the higher self, not the Atman, not God; all that is theory, absurdity, invented by some people; it is not a fact; you just repeat what is merely a tradition; therefore, you must be free from the authority of tradition to find God. To know yourself is to be aware. Do not give a mystical meaning or some complicated meaning to that very simple phrase "to be aware" - to be aware of those crows, to the noise of those crows. just listen, please listen; be aware of the light that is in the sky; be aware of the dark trunk of the mango tree; be aware of that palm; be aware of your neighbour, his colour, his dress; just be aware - not condemning it; not comparing; not saying "this is good", "that is bad; not explaining; not justifying - just be aware.
Most people are not aware at all even of outward things. I am sure you pass every day, in the bus or in the car, various houses, the road, the trees. But you have never watched those trees, you are never aware of those trees, the outline of those houses, how many floors there are in that apartment-house; you are never aware of the tree; of the flower, or the child that goes by. Please be aware outwardly, without comparing, without judging, without evaluating; then move with that awareness inwards.
Please listen to this. Do it, as I am talking. Do not think about doing it, but actually do it now. That is, be aware of the trees, the palm tree, the sky; hear the crows cawing; see the light on the leaf, the colour of the sari, the face, then move inwardly. You can observe, you can be aware choicelessly of outward things. It is very easy. But to move inwardly and to be aware without condemnation, without justification, without comparison is more difficult. Just be aware of what is taking place inside you - your beliefs, your fears, your dogmas, your hopes, your frustrations, your ambitions, your fears and all the rest of the things. Then the unfolding of the conscious and the unconscious begins. You have not to do a thing.
Just be aware; that is all what you have to do, without condemning, without forcing, without trying to change what you are aware of. Then you will see that it is like a tide that is coming in. You cannot prevent the tide from coming in; build a wall, or do what you will, it will come with tremendous energy. In the same way, if you are aware choicelessly, the whole field of consciousness begins to unfold. And as it unfolds, you have to follow: and the following becomes extraordinarily difficult - following in the sense to follow the movement of every thought, of every feeling, of every secret desire. It becomes difficult the moment you resist, the moment you say, "that is ugly", "this is good", "that is bad", "this I will keep", "that I will not keep".
So you begin with the outer and move inwardly. Then you will find, when you move inwardly that the inward and the outward are not two different things, that the outward awareness is not different from the inward awareness, and that they are both the same. Then you will see that you are living in the past; there is never a moment of actual living, when neither the past nor the future exists - which is the actual moment. You will find that you are always living in the past: what you felt; what you were; how clever, how good, how bad: the memories. That is memory. So you have to understand memory, not deny it, not suppress it, not escape. If a man has taken a vow of celibacy and is holding on to that memory, when he moves out of that memory, he feels guilty; and that smothers his life.
So you begin to watch everything and, therefore, you become very sensitive. Therefore by listening, by seeing not only the outward world, the outward gesture, but also the inward mind that looks and therefore feels, when you are so aware choicelessly, then there is no effort. It is very important to understand this.
Most of us make effort in meditation, because we want experience. It is a simple fact. Please listen to the fact - not my judgment of the fact, not your opinion with regard to the fact. The fact is that most of us want some kind of spiritual experience and the continuity of that experience. So you have to examine the whole content of experience, and the mind that desires experience.
What is experience? The word "experience" means to go through. We want experience, the so-called spiritual experience - which is, a vision, a heightened perception, a heightened understanding. We want a deep, wide, profound experience that will shatter our way of living. And by experience we mean - don't we? - a challenge and a response. I ask and you answer; or you see and there is a response. Life is a constant series of experiences, conscious as well as unconscious, pleasant or unpleasant. This is a fact. Whether you recognize those experiences or not, they are going on all the time. When you are riding on the bus, when you are sitting quietly at home, when you are working in the office, when you are talking to your wife or your husband, when you are walking by yourself, this experiencing is going on all the time.
Most of us, not being aware of this extraordinary inter-reaction of life, get bored with the few experiences that we have - sexual experiences, the experiences of going to the temple and the ordinary experiences - and so we want something more, much more. So we turn to meditation. And because we want greater, heightened emotion and experience, we resort to drugs. There are various new drugs in America and Europe, which, when you take them, momentarily give you a heightened perception. If you are an artist, if you take that drug called L.S.D., that gives you an astonishing feeling of colour; you have never seen colour before as when you take this drug; colour then becomes alive, vibrant, infinite; and you can see the tree as you have never seen before; there is no division between you and the tree. If you are a priest, and if you take that drug, then you have priestly experiences and that gives you greater conviction that what you are doing is perfectly right. Or it alters your life in the field of your conditioning. So, man, being bored with his own life, with his daily experiences, wants a greater experience. So he tries to meditate, or to take drugs, or to do innumerable things to get more.
So when the mind is seeking more, it indicates that it has not understood the whole structure of its own being. Without understanding yourself or laying the right foundation, which is the only foundation - which is to understand yourself - , do what you will - sit in any posture, or stand on your head, repeat, follow, or do anything, - you will never find peace, you will never come by that which is true.
So without understanding yourself, there is no righteous behaviour. Without understanding yourself there is no action which does not breed more conflict, more misery, more confusion. Without understanding yourself, do what you will, there is no wisdom. And only when you understand yourself, is there the intimation of life.
Now what we have done so far, in this talk, is to put away all the things which are not true; negatively, we have denied. The denial is factual. It is not my denial; it is the denial of something which is not true - it does not matter who says it: Sankara, the Buddha, your guru or anybody else. So we have pushed negatively aside everything that is not true. Then, let us find out what it means to meditate.
We are starting with having laid the foundation of self-knowing. If you have not done it, you cannot proceed; and it becomes a theory only. If you live by a theory, then you are a dead human being; you are living with ideas and not with facts. It is only a mind that is very sharp, very clear, a heart that is alive, that can deal with facts and nothing else. A mind that sets about to meditate ceases to meditate, because it is a deliberate action. A deliberate action, in order to achieve a result, in order to gain something, is a desire, an urge, to escape from the fact of your daily life.
Therefore, a mind that deliberately practises meditation is not in a state of meditation, do what it will. Therefore, there must be no deliberate act of meditation. If there is a deliberate act of meditation, then it becomes an effort, and therefore a pressure on the mind. So, meditation is not a deliberate act, it is not a continuity. Because the moment it has continuity, it has time-value; and therefore, it has been created by the mind as a means to achieve something, or as a means to retain something.
So meditation is an act which ends each minute and has no continuity. One can see that a healthy mind is not under any pressure: the pressure of any desire or of any compulsive urge. Nor is it influenced by any outward movement, political, revolutionary, economic. It is a healthy mind that is not influenced, that is not under the compulsion of any desire. And it can only be healthy when there is self-knowledge, when it has understood the whole business. Then the mind being under no pressure, under no compulsion, the brain must also be very quiet, not induced to be quiet.
Listen to those birds. You are listening. If you are listening then there is no reaction. You are listening obviously through the brain, which reacts. The function of the brain is to react. But now you are listening without any reaction; but yet you are listening, because your mind, your brain, is quiet, receptive, sensitive, alive. But if it reacts, it follows a certain pattern.
So the brain must be sensitive, quiet, alert and without any pressure of like or dislike; this again depends on the depth and the abundance and the richness and the fulness of self-knowing. Then also, naturally, your body must be very quiet, But do not begin with the body, making it quiet at first - that means nothing. All this comes naturally. You do not have to induce, you do not have to say, "I will sit quiet; I will try to train my brain to be alert, without reaction; or I will watch so that no influence enters." Then you are lost completely. But if you begin with self-knowing, then these things will follow naturally, like the sun rising after it has set; it will follow as: sweetly and as naturally.
Then you come, naturally again, to the sense of being silent. You cannot be silent if you have no space. Most of our minds have no space at all. Our minds, our brains - everything is so full, overcrowded. In a town like this, you live in a flat, in one room; and you have no room outwardly, everything is round you. Inwardly, too, you have no space, because your mind is cluttered with your ideas, your beliefs, concepts, formulas, "must not" and "must; there is never a space where you can completely be free, where the mind can be open, quiet. So silence goes with space; and silence is not an end, the result of a particular practice or a wish or the demand of a particular desire. It comes about naturally, and therefore effortlessly. Don't practise silence, because in that silence, there is nothing to practise.
I am not giving you a method, I am not telling you what to do. You are doing it. We are communicating together. Therefore, you can go to it naturally. Then you will be a light to yourself, a free human being; then you will have no fear; there is no guru, there is no tradition; you are a human being alive. These things follow as naturally as the day follows the night.
In that silence there is a movement which is not made of the energy of conflict. All our life is conflict, and through that conflict we derive energy. But when the mind has understood the whole nature of conflict in the world and within oneself, then out of that understanding comes silence. And therefore in that silence there is tremendous energy. It is not the silence of sleep, stagnation; but it is a silence of tremendous energy.
I do not know if you have seen a machine or a dynamo, something that is moving with terrific speed, full of energy. In the same way the mind that is completely silent is completely full of energy. And that energy, because it is not named, has no nationality, no conflict. That energy is anonymous; it is not yours or mine. And therefore that energy, when allowed to move freely, goes very far; it can go beyond the measure of time.
And this whole process which we have communicated to you is the act of meditation. When there is such an act, there is benediction. Such an act is love. And it is only such a mind that can bring order to the world. It is only such a mind that can live peacefully. It is only such a mind that does not bring confusion in its activity. And it is only such a mind that can find what is true.
February 28, 1965
Bombay 6th Public Talk 28th February 1965
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