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Varanasi 1965

Varanasi 1st Public Talk 22nd November 1965

If you will allow me, I will talk for about half-an-hour or more, and perhaps then you will ask questions or discuss points for further clarification.

It seems to me that one of our great problems is order and disorder, freedom and conformity. Until we resolve this question within ourselves, not as a group, not as a community or by organized acceptance of a certain formula - unless we, as human beings, as individuals, resolve this problem, our revolt or freedom will only be a further process of confusion and conflict. We conform - that is fairly obvious - right through the world, hoping that conformity will bring about order. We must have order. No society, no individual - within or without - can have disorder; there must be order. And order is not possible by merely stating what order is, in terms of a categorical or a patterned order.

Order, it seems to me, can only come about when we discover for ourselves what breeds disorder; out of the understanding of what brings about disorder, naturally will come order. That is fairly simple. When I know what brings about disorder in a family, in myself, or in society, and if I wish, as a human being, to bring about order, first I must clarify or put away disorder. So, the order of which we are talking is not a positive act, but rather it comes about through the understanding of the negation of what is disorder. If I understand what is disorder and negate it, put it aside, clarify, enquire into all the implications involved in that, if I understand all of what is disorder, this may appear superficially as negation. But out of this understanding of disorder comes a natural order: not the other way round, not conforming to what is considered as order - such conformity only breeds greater disorder. We are human beings in conflict, in fear, in anxiety, with a great many problems of obedience, acceptance, anxiety, seeking power and so on. And so merely to seek order, or the pattern of order, and then conform to that pattern essentially breeds disorder.

Please, we must understand this, not verbally. Because, you know, it is one of the most unfortunate things that we all preach endlessly, write books, have theories, formulas and concepts, and there is no action at all. We are masters, especially in this unfortunate country, at verbalizing, theorizing, having concepts, formulas, and exploring these concepts dialectically, hoping that, through the discovery of the truth in theories, we will come to action; and therefore there is inaction, we do not do a thing. So, we must at the very beginning understand that order cannot possibly be brought about through conformity to a pattern, under any circumstances - whether it is a communist order or a religious order or a personal demand for orderliness. This order, which is extraordinarily positive, can only come about through understanding this issue very profoundly, because we are going to go into things with which you will presently not agree at all - at least I hope you will neither accept nor discard; that leads nowhere. So, we have to find out what causes disorder in the world outside and within. The understanding of the disorder outwardly brings about the understanding of the disorder inwardly. But this disorder which we divide as the outer and the inner, is essentially one and the same; they are not two separate disorders, because each of us, as a human being, is both society and the individual. The individual is not separate from society; the individual has created the psychological structure of society, and in that psychological structure he is caught. And therefore he tries to break away from that psychological structure, which is a mere revolt and therefore does not resolve any problem.

We have to enquire into what creates disorder, because out of disorder nothing can grow, nothing can function. You must have tremendous order to bring about the understanding of truth, or whatever one likes to call it. You must have great order, and this order cannot possibly come about through revolt, or through conformity, or through acceptance of a formula - socialist, capitalist, religious, or any other formula.

So, what brings about disorder? You understand? There must be order in the world. There is no order now in the world. War is the essence of disorder, whether it is in Vietnam or here or in Europe; war at any level, for any cause, is disorder. And why is there this disorder in the world - in this world in which we have to live and function as human beings? We are going to examine that; we are not examining it verbally or theoretically or statistically, but actually, factually. When you understand the fact, then you say that you prefer either to go that way or not to go that way.

So, what brings disorder in the world, psychologically, inwardly? Obviously, one of the reasons of this enormous, destructive disorder in the world is the division of religions - you a Hindu and I a Muslim; you a Christian - Catholic, Protestant, Episcopalian - a multitude of divisions. Obviously religion has been put together by man in order to help to become civilized, not to seek God - you cannot find God through beliefs, dogmas, through rituals, through repetition, through reading the Gita or the Bible, or through following a priest. This world is divided into religions - organized religions with their dogmas, with their rituals, with their beliefs, with their superstitions - throughout the world. And religions do not bring people together at all. They talk about it, they say, "If you see God, we are all brothers." But we are not brothers! We are looking at facts and not at hopes and theories.

So, religions have separated man, and that is one of the factors of great disorder. You are not agreeing with me, you see the facts. You see how, in Christendom, for two thousand years they have been fighting each other, Catholics and Protestants, Catholics amongst themselves and there have been tortures. And this has happened in this country - the Muslims against the Hindus and the Hindus against the Muslims; one guru against another guru; one guru having fewer disciples, the other having more and wanting more!

Please do listen to all this because we are reaching a great crisis in our lives, not only as individuals but as a community. And any man who wants not only to bring about order in himself, but to bring about a good society - not a great society, but a good society - needs to resolve this problem. So, we can see factually in the world that religions have separated man and that there have been tremendous, religious wars in the East as well as in the West. So that is one of the roots of disorder. The organized beliefs with their churches, rituals, have become a tremendous corporation, a business affair, which has nothing to do with religion.

And nationalism, a recent poisonous growth, is also the cause of disorder. This country probably has never been nationalistic. Europe has divided itself into many sovereign states, fighting each other, and tearing at each other for more land, for greater economic expansion and so on. They have had recently two tremendous, destructive wars within the memory of man. Nationalism has divided the people - the Englishman, the Frenchman, the Indian. And now you are becoming nationalistic in this country also. It is hoped that, through nationalism, human beings can be united. Worshipping the same flag, a piece of cloth - that has no meaning. (Laughter) Please do not laugh. This is not a rhetorical or amusing, entertaining gathering. We are very serious, we are concerned with immense problems.

War has brought disorder in the world. War is always destructive, there is never a righteous war. And there have been within the recorded history of mankind, I believe, something like fourteen thousand six hundred wars and more. Since 1945 there have been forty wars! In the first war, the people might have said, "Let us hope this will be the last war!" The mothers, wives, husbands, children, must have cried. And we are still crying, after these five thousand five hundred years. People have accepted war as the way of life. Here in this country you are also accepting war as the way of life - more armaments, more generals, more soldiers. And as long as you have sovereign governments - that is, nationalistic separate governments, sovereign governments with their armies - you are bound to have wars. You may not have your son killed at Banares, but you will have a son killed in Vietnam, whether he is an American or a Vietnamese. So, as long as there are sovereign governments, there must be war.

And, what is a man to do who says, "I will not kill"? You understand? In this country, for generations upon generations, a certain class of people has been brought up not to kill, not to hurt an animal, a fly. And all that is gone. They will write volumes about the spiritual inheritance of India, but the actual fact is that we have destroyed all that inheritance; we are just verbally repeating something which is not real.

So, we have two issues involved: What is a human being to do in a country like this, or in Europe, or in America, when he asserts he will not kill? And strangely, in this country for several years, perhaps thirty years or so, you have been preaching non-violence - you have been shouting it from the housetops; that has been the export from this country to the West - "Don't kill", "Ahimsa", and so on. Now you are brought together, united by war! Somebody told me yesterday with great enthusiasm, with great pleasure, that war has united India as never before! I have been told this in several places, by several people. You know, this is not very strange. This has happened in England, where class division is as strong as here; they all slept together in the underground, they were all terribly united through hate! And you have the spurious arguments: What will you do, if you are in the government; would you not fight if you were attacked? Obviously, if you are in a government, if you are the head of a sovereign state with an army, with all the paraphernalia of uncivilized existence, you are bound to attack or to defend. Nowadays nobody talks about being attacked or defending. You are at war; do not justify war!

Please, sirs, listen to all this, it is your life. We people have gone, we are going. In this country, in spite of its non-violence, its preaching of non-killing for thousands upon thousands of years, there has not been one human being who has said, "We will not kill". There have been whispering campaigns; you and I privately tell each other in our rooms that we won't kill. But publicly we never get on a platform and say, "I won't kill", and go to prison, or get shot for saying it. There has not been one boy or girl or one human being who has stood up against the stream. When it was popular to preach non-violence we all supported it. Now that war is popular, you also go for it. I am not talking of such individuals.

What is a human being to do, who says that he will not kill? What is he to do? He cannot do anything, can he? Either he can go to prison, or be shot, killed by the government, because he is a rebel, disloyal - you know all the words put out by the politicians and by the religio-political entities. Please enquire into yourselves: why is it that there has not been one human being in India who said, "This is wrong, killing is wrong"? Not as governments, but as a human being, why is it that you have not said it? Must you be challenged? Through all the various organizations created for non-violence, why have they not stood up? There is something very radically wrong in this country, when they have not got that conviction of what they believe. So, nationalism is disorder, it breeds disorder. War breeds disorder. Obviously, religions also breed disorder. So civilized man, a man who is really human, will not accept sovereign governments. You understand? You say, "I am a Hindu" - who cares whether you are a Hindu, a Chinese, or whatever you call yourself? What matters is what you are, not what your labels are.

So, unless you, as a human being, are free from all these labels - socialist, communist, capitalist, American, Englishman, Indian, Muslim - as long as you are labelling yourself in any way, secretly or openly, you are breeding disorder in the world. And also you are breeding disorder outside and inside, when you belong to any religious group, or follow any guru. Because truth is not to be found by following somebody, by making it all easy for you as a pattern: doing this, following this, meditating this way, disciplining this way. You will never get it that way. To find truth you must be free. You must stand alone, swim against the current, battle. You know, I was told the other day that this war that India has had, is justified because the Bhagavad Gita said so! I thought that was rather lovely - don't you?

So, what are you going to do about it - not as Indians? What are you, as a human being, confronted with this problem - what are you going to do about it? There is poverty in this country, tremendous poverty - you know it as well as I do. And this poverty is going to increase because of this war. There is lack of rain, also inefficiency, corruption, and national divisions. We will accept food from one country and not from another - all politics! So, as a human being, what are you going to do? Either you accept disorder and continue to live in disorder and therefore inefficiency and therefore wars, therefore poverty, therefore hunger, or, as a human being, you reject it totally, not partially. You cannot reject something partially, you do not reject poison a little bit, you reject the whole thing. And that means you have to stand alone. Then you will be despised by society. You will be shot. Probably in this country, it is not too efficient yet, unfortunately. In Europe, during the last war, many were killed. A mother we know, had a son, a boy of eighteen - not a grown-up like you - who refused to go to kill, and he was shot. That boy did not talk about non-violence, ahimsa, Gita, non-killing, none of that. He did not want to kill, and he was killed.

So, seeing all this, the outer disorder and inward disorder, merely to become a pacifist is not the answer. The answer is much deeper than all this. But to find that answer, one has to reject the obvious things. You cannot keep the obvious things that are poisoning you, and then try to see much deeper. You cannot say, "I will have my pet guru and follow him, accept what he says and meditate, and then try to seek an answer much deeper". The two cannot go together. Either you reject the total thing, or not at all - reject as human beings but not as a collective body. Because, when you become a collective body and reject, then you are merely conforming and you may have the support of a hundred or a million people behind you - that is a mere following of another, in a different way. But to stand out completely alone - that is a very difficult thing for most people, because they are frightened of losing their job. You know all this.

So, seeing all this enormous disorder in ourselves and in the world, how is one to bring about any order? As we said, order will come when we understand disorder, when we cease to be nationalist, when we are really seeking truth, freedom - not through some organization, not through some belief, not through some guru.

Now, what makes each one of us change - you understand? That is the real question. What makes you, who have been nationalistic, or a tremendously devout person with regard to some guru, change? To me the word guru' is poison, and there is something ugly in human beings following anybody. Now, how will you drop all this? How will you drop your Hinduism, your gurus, your nationalism? How will you stand alone, not follow what everybody says? What will make us, as human beings, do this? That is the real issue. You understand, sirs? What will make you divest all this at one blow, one breath, and say, "I am out"? Probably, most of you have not thought of all this at all. You have never said to yourself in your heart, "Why have I not stood up with tears in my eyes not to kill anybody?" Why have you not done it? Don't invent reasons. Why have you not done it?

And what will make you change? That is the real issue. Either you say, "I do not want to change, I will accept the things as they are. That is good enough for me; there is disorder, poverty, there is starvation; there will be wars. There have been wars for five thousand years and more, and we will have some more wars. What does it matter? The world is maya anyhow and what does it all matter?" You accept it, as most of you apparently do. Because we human beings have an extraordinary capacity to adjust to anything - to living in a small room for the sake of God, doubled up, having one meal, a tortured mind; or to the appalling, bestial conditions of war, not at Benaras but in the front, at Vietnam, whether American or Vietnamese. Human beings can adjust themselves to, anything, to dirt and squalor in the streets, open gutters, a corrupt municipality; they can put up with anything. After all, adjustability is the difference between animals and human beings - animals cannot, but human beings can.

So, either we accept things as they are and go along miserably, torturing ourselves, unhappy, killing and being killed, seeking fulfilment and being frustrated, wanting to be leaders, restless, unhappy - which is what we are doing. If you accept that, there is nothing more to be said. You understand? You say, "That is my life, that is the way my father lived, my grandfather lived, my sons will live. And generations will come that will live likewise". If you accept that, that is all right. Don't introduce another problem. If you don't accept it, as a man of affection who feels strongly, who feels this whole monstrous thing, then what are you to do? How is such a man to change? How is he to bring about a mutation within himself? And that mutation perhaps will not, or will, affect society - but that is irrelevant. Society wants this disorder - not wars; but greed, envy, competition, seeking for power, position. That is what society is. And when you see all that, how will you change? You understand my question, sirs? How will you change?

May I proceed to point out what brings about this enormous mutation in a human mind? May I go on with it? Wait, sirs. I will go on. But it is not a verbal statement, it is not a thing about which you say, "I agree" or "I disagree". Because you see there is disorder and you are passionate; you do not say, "Show me the way and I will follow it". We are not talking of like and dislike, what is convenient, what is not convenient, nor in terms of a communist, a socialist, a Hindu, a Buddhist, or whatever you are. We are talking non-verbally, factually, about the necessity of tremendous, human change. Because, you see, the electronic brains, automation and other technological things are going to bring about a certain change in the world. Man is going to have more leisure - it is not yet in this country; it is coming in Europe, and the beginning of it is already in America. So, all these things, automation, computers, wars, nationalism, these religious differences - to face all these and to break through all these, there must be in each one of us - not as a collective group belonging to some organization but as human beings - a tremendous mutation. How will you change? What is the thing, what is the element, what is the energy that is necessary to break down this tremendous destructive chaos in which one lives?

What makes one change, even a little bit? Say, for instance, you smoke - if you do. What will make you drop it? Doctors state that your lungs will be affected, and that is one of the ways of making you drop smoking - through fear. Punishment and reward - those are the only things that will force us to change. Punishment and reward; heaven and hell; next life and therefore behave in this life; therefore the carrot and the whip - that is, punishment and reward. That is the only thing we know - "It gives me greater profit, greater satisfaction, greater energy, greater amusement, greater excitement, greater adventure; therefore I will do it!" Now, any change taking place through punishment and reward - is that change? Please, sirs, you have to answer this question, not I. So, don't go to sleep! Is that a radical change, not a superficial change? Superficial change - we have done that for centuries, and that has not brought any mutation in the human beings, any revolution in the human mind. We are asking the question much more fundamentally.

If there is no punishment and reward, what will make you change? And there is no punishment and reward. Who is going to punish you, who is going to reward you? All those things are overt. God is not going to reward you for righteous behaviour; He does not care two pins for your behaviour, right or wrong. The Church no longer has any importance. You may go to `confession' and so on, in Europe that is Catholic. But all that is disappearing, all that is being thrown overboard, except in the most backward States. Perhaps, in India where you say a little but not too much, you pretend to be a little more careful; that is all. But actually there is nobody to punish and reward. On the contrary, society says, "Come along; be greedy, be envious, be competitive, fight, quarrel; kill the Muslim and the Muslim will kill you. Society loves that, and the politicians play up to it! So there is nobody who is going to reward you or punish you - nobody. Neither your guru - you don't believe in gurus anyhow - nor your gods and goddesses will reward or punish you. Probably your wife or husband can only punish you. When you have a family, your wife says, "I am not going to sleep with you tonight; or, I am not going to do this or that" - that is all!

So, as there is no reward and no punishment - and there is not any actually when you investigate, how will you bring about this change? You understand the problem that is getting more and more complex for each one of us? Is this a problem to you? It must be, if you are at all thoughtful, serious, if you have watched the world's events. Seeing what is taking place in this country; knowing that religions have no meaning any more - probably they never had it - seeing the futility of sacred books; seeing the absurdity of following any guru, however profitable, however pleasant; seeing that nobody can give you freedom, nobody can give you a mind that is healthy, strong and deeply silent; seeing that no society, nobody is going to punish you or reward you - seeing all this and realizing that human beings must change radically, fundamentally, deep down, how will this change come about?

Shall we stop there this morning? Let us stop here this morning and continue on the twenty-fifth morning. You will perhaps be good enough - I am not asking you or trying to persuade you - to ask questions or discuss what we have been talking about.

Questioner: I see all that you have said this morning. But there is no change.

Krishnamurti: Let us go slowly and clearly, without any sentimentality involved in it.

Questioner: I am not sentimental. I see clearly...

Krishnamurti: I want to clarify your question to myself. There are two ways of looking at things. Either one sees intellectually, verbally, all that we have been talking about. Verbally, that is superficially. Then the question, "How am I to change?", will never occur to that person. He will say, "It has been like this and it will go on like this." Or, he says, "I see it, I smell it, I taste it, it boils within me; I am burning with it, and yet action does not come out". And there is the other who sees it and the very act of seeing is the act.

Questioner: Sir, this has not happened at all, though you have talked about it for forty years.

Krishnamurti: We know very well, perhaps just as you do, that for forty years we have talked about all this, and many of you here have listened to me for forty years. And you go your way and we go our way. We are not discouraged, nor are you! Basically you are not discouraged; you want that way, you go that way.

And the gentleman says, "You have talked for forty years and what a waste of time!" I do not feel it that way at all. We have other problems.

Questioner: You have isolated yourself from the world altogether, and therefore you are happy.

Krishnamurti: Why don't you do the same?

Questioner: We are all ordinary human beings.

Krishnamurti: We cannot afford to be ordinary human beings any more. It was all right at one time. You cannot afford to be an ordinary, mediocre, dull, stupid, human being any more. The challenge is too immense. You will have to do something. So, let us go through this slowly, sir. If you see it intellectually, there is no problem to you. If you see this whole thing from a comfortable easy chair - of course you happen to have a little money or a good job or....

Questioner: Let us have it out, Sir.

Krishnamurti: I am glad we know each other, we can fight it out. And if you belong to some socialist organization, communist or whatever it is, then you want the world to change according to that pattern, because you play an important part or you are a leader, you are this, and it gives you a certain importance - you all love that. That is one kind. Then there is the other kind - intellectuals who talk, who preach, who write books, who go to meetings, who cannot be kept away from any meetings, who always want to talk, talk. Then there are the others who see this mess, this confusion, this disorder, this misery, this agony that is going on in the world, and don't know what to do. They cannot break away from their nationalism, from their religion, from their gurus, and so on and on.

Then there are very few who say, "Look, I see this chaos, actual chaos; and the very perception of it is action - not that they see it and later act. It is like seeing something poisonous and dropping it. There are very few of this kind, because that demands tremendous energy, enquiry, application, attention, stripping yourself of all your vanity, of all your stupidity, of everything.

The intellectual obviously will have his own kind of armchair; he takes away this armchair, but he will invent another armchair. If you take away this organization, he becomes a super-communist or something else. So, there is only the middleman left, who says "I see it, I do not know what to do, tell me what to do. Tell me the next step; step by step tell me, and I will follow it." That is his difficulty. He is looking for somebody else to tell him what to do. Instead of following the old bearded gentlemen and ladies who have been your gurus, you throw them away and you come to me and say, "You are my guru, please tell me what to do." And I refuse to be put in that position.

Questioner: Still the question remains: Why in spite of your talking about this for forty years, not a single human being has become different?

Krishnamurti: The gentleman asks why is it that though I have talked for forty years more or less of the same thing in different words and expressing it differently, there has not been one human being who is different? Why? Will you answer it, sir? Either what is being said is false and therefore has no position in the world; it is false and has no validity, and therefore you do not pay attention; your own reason, your own intelligence, your own affection, your own good sense says, "What rubbish you are talking about!" Or, you hear what is being said, but it means nothing to you, because the other is much more important.

Questioner: Why should truth be so impotent?

Krishnamurti: Because truth has no action. Truth is weak. Truth is not utilitarian, truth cannot be organized. It is like the wind, you cannot catch it, you cannot take hold of it in your fist and say, "I have caught it". Therefore it is tremendously Vulnerable, impotent like the blade of grass on the roadside - you can kill it, you can destroy it. But we want it as a thing to be used for a better structure of society. And I am afraid you cannot use it, you cannot - it is like love, love is never potent. It is there for you, take it or leave it.

So, sirs, the problem is not that we have spoken for forty years. But the problem is: How is a human being, who has listened for forty years with a dry heart, without a tear in his eyes, who sees all this and does not do a thing, whose heart is broken up, whose heart is empty, whose mind is full of words and theories, and full of himself - how is he to make his heart love again? That is the real question.

November 22, 1965


Varanasi 1965

Varanasi 1st Public Talk 22nd November 1965

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