New Delhi 1966
New Delhi 1st Public Talk 15th December 1966
I think it is necessary to consider what is actually taking place in the world, not only in this country but in different parts of the world - the grave incidents. Deep questions are being asked and I think we should, from the beginning, consider most objectively what is actually taking place. There is general deterioration: of that there is no question. Morally, religiously, the old values have completely gone. There is a great disturbance and discontent in every part of the world. They are questioning the purpose of education, the purpose of man's existence altogether, not only in a very limited manner, as it is being done in this country, but also extensively, deeply.
And one can see both in the West and in this country that this questioning, this challenge is not being adequately met. In this country, you know as well as I do - probably better, because I am an alien resident, I come occasionally every year for three or four months and I observe - there is a rapid decline, people are willing to burn themselves over very trivial questions about whether you should have two Governors or one Governor. And you are willing to fast over some idiotic little question, the holy men are ready to attack people and so on and on and on - a tribal approach to a tremendous problem. And I do not think we are aware of this immense problem. This country has dissipated its energy in various trivial things, responding to the pressure of circumstances without having a large, wide outlook; it has approached nationalistically every problem, including the problem of starvation. There is no consideration of man as a whole, but only consideration of the limitation of a particular tribe, a particularly narrow, religious, sectarian outlook. We all know this, and apparently the Government and the people are incapable of stopping all this. They are caught in utter inefficiency, deep distrust, wide discontent, unable to respond totally, deeply to the whole issue. And you will see in Europe and in America as well as in Russia and China, there is tremendous discontent, and again that discontent is being answered very narrowly.
There is war; and people treat wars as a favourite war or not a favourite war, a war that is righteous, or a war that is not politically right. You take sides when you have preached non-violence for forty years and more: you are ready to battle, to kill, to become violent at the throw of a hat. You see all this and when you consider all this - not only what is taking place in the West but in India - the problem is so great. And I do not think any of the politicians, any of the religious leaders throughout the world, sees the problem as a whole. They see it according to their limited, political, religious point of view, or according to their particular economic demand or social demand. No one apparently takes the problem entirely as a whole and deals with it as a total thing, not fragmentarily, not as a Sikh, not as a Hindu, a Muslim, a Christian, a Catholic, a Communist or a Socialist. And because they are not dealing with the problem as a whole, people are trying to escape in different ways: they are taking the drug L.S.D. that gives them tremendous experience. They are going off at tangents, responding to a minor, infantile, immature challenge and responding equally immaturely.
So we are all concerned with the problem - every one of us must be. There is starvation, there is war; religion has totally failed and has no meaning any more, except for some people. Organized belief is losing its power, though propaganda, in the name of religion, in the name of God, in the name of peace, is everlastingly being trumpeted in newspapers and everywhere. So education, religion and politics have completely failed to answer the problem and science has not answered it either. And it is no good looking to those things any more, or to any leader or to any teacher, because man has lost faith in all this. And because he has lost faith he is afraid and therefore he is violent. Not only in this country but all the world over, people are violent - the riots that are going on in America between the white and the black, the appalling things that are taking place in this country. Essentially man has lost faith not only in those beliefs, in those ideals, in the values which have been set up for him but also in himself. He has completely lost faith. He does not know where to turn, in what direction to look for any light. And because he has lost faith he is afraid; and because he is afraid his only answer to fear is violence. This is what is taking place. So we have to be serious, dreadfully earnest, not according to some belief, not according to some pattern, but serious to find out, so that we can begin again to discover the source which has dried up.
I do not know if you have observed that in yourself, as a human being - not as a fragmentary being in a world of fragments. A human being - whether he is an Indian, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Sikh, a Christian, a Communist, or a Socialist - has no nationality; and you, as a human being, do not belong to any religion, or to any political party or ideology. If you have observed yourself as a human being, you will see in yourself - and therefore you will see in others - that the source of our being, of our existence, the meaning of our life, the struggle that we are making all day long, these have no meaning any more. And therefore we have to find for ourselves that source which has dried up and also if it is possible to find the waters of that immense reality again, and from that reality to act. And that is what we are going to discover for ourselves during all these talks here.
You understand the problem, sirs? Religions, leaders, whether political or religious, the books, the propaganda, the beliefs, the doctrines, the saviours - all have lost their meaning. To any really serious intellectual man totally aware of all these problems, all those things upon which we have relied, have lost totally their meaning. You are no longer the religious people that you pretend to be. You are no longer a human being, because you have lost the purpose, the meaning, the significance of your existence. You can go to the office for the next forty years as a routine, earn a livelihood, but that is no answer either.
So to discover this whole thing, to understand this immense problem we have to look at it anew, not with the eyes of a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim or a Communist. We have to look at it totally anew - which means first we must not be driven by circumstances, nor respond to the immediate problem - we have to act to the immediate problem but not act as though that was the only thing in life. We must be aware of the circumstances and not be compelled by them to act.
You understand the issue? Because in this country you are quarrelling over little pieces of land, and you are ready to burn and kill each other because you happen to be a Sikh, a Muslim or a Hindu, or God knows what else. And compulsion of the environment, of circumstances, is so strong that you react.
Therefore one has to be aware of the circumstances and what is implied in those circumstances, and act as little as possible depending on those circumstances. Then one has to be aware of one's temperament, and not be guided by one's temperament; nor has one to act according to one's inclination. These three things are essentially important, when you are facing an immense problem. Not to be guided by your inclination, however pleasurable, however demanding, not to act according to your personal inclination - that is the first thing to realize. Then not to allow your activity, your life to be shaped by your temperament, whether you are intellectual or emotional, or whether you have various forms of idiosyncrasy. Then not to be compelled by circumstances. If we can understand these things fully, these three things, then we shall be able to meet this immense challenge, this immense problem: which is that the human being is at stake. You understand? To consider an issue of some land, a Governor - all that is too immature, too childish, too appalling.
So, what we have to do, if we are at all serious - and it is absolutely necessary to be serious, because the house is burning, not only the house that is called India, but the world is burning - is to respond to it totally, not bring a little bucket of sand and hope to put the fire out. We have to be enormously serious. And I am afraid we have not been serious, we have dissipated our energies because we have responded to circumstances which are so trivial and wasted our energies in all these directions. You became followers of Gandhiji. You became followers of someone else and so on and on. So having dissipated your energy, when an immense problem is put before you, you are incapable of responding to it totally.
Therefore one has to understand this immense problem of man, that man is at stake, the human being is at stake - not any particular individual but the whole human being is at stake. And to understand that immense problem you have first not to be guided by your inclination, not by your pleasure or dislike; you have to look at the problem. And you cannot look at the problem if you are depending on your personal inclination, or be guided by your temperament. You know, most of us are very clever people, because we have read a great deal, we have passed many examinations. Our mind, our intellect is very cunning, deceptive, hypocritical, and our temperament has this capacity to deceive itself, to assert itself, to function along a particular line, according to its particular demand. And, of course, when you are driven by circumstances, compelled to act according to circumstances, you cannot possibly be concerned with a total human being.
So those are the first things of which one has to be aware: inclination, temperament and circumstances. When you have understood those then you can face the immense problem of man. Your personal inclination, whether you believe in God or do not believe in God - that is a personal prejudice. It has no value at all. When you approach a problem intellectually, or emotionally, or sentimentally, that is your particular temperament. And one can go much more deeply into the question of temperament, but that is not important now. So any particular approach to this immense problem indicates either you are being guided by your inclination, or compelled by circumstances, or you are acting according to your narrow, little temperament.
So, if that is very clear - that we cannot possibly act according to these - we will then be able to look at the problem entirely differently. And there is an immense problem, because man, that is the human being has lost - if he ever had it - the source, the fountain, the depth, the vitality of living anew, he has become a lonely human being frightened, anxious, caught in despair, discontented, unhappy, in tremendous sorrow. You may not be aware of all this, because nobody wants to look at oneself very clearly. To look at oneself clearly is very difficult, because we want to escape from ourselves. And when we do look at ourselves we do not know what to do with ourselves.
And so our problem is: as the source of our being, the source of our existence, is drying up, has lost its meaning, we have now to find out for ourselves what it all means. You know what is happening in the West? Young men have passed brilliant examinations, they see war, they see great business corporations; they become executives and so on; and they say what is the point of it all, what is the point of a war, what is the point of becoming very clever, having a lot of money when life itself has no more any meaning? So they take various forms of drugs that give them a tremendous sense of new experience and they are satisfied with that. They are not stupid people who take these things - they are very intelligent, very sensitive, highly trained people.
Because life has no longer any meaning, you can invent a meaning, you can invent a purpose, you can invent a significance. But these inventions are purely the acts of an intellectual mind and therefore have no validity. Nor has faith validity any more; whether you believe or do not believe has no meaning at all, because you will believe according to your circumstances. If you are born in this country you will be a Hindu, or a Sikh, or a Muslim, a Christian - God knows what not. According to circumstances you are forced to believe or not to believe. So belief, an invented purpose of life, a significance carefully put together by the intellect - these have no meaning any more.
I do not think you see the seriousness of this: man has come to the end of his invention, his beliefs, his dogmas, his gods, his hopes, his fears, he has come to an absolute end. You may not be aware of it, you may still be hiding behind the walls of your belief, of your hopes. But they are illusions, they have no validity at all when you are faced with this crisis.
So, having realized this - if one is at all capable of realizing this - one must proceed to begin to find out how to renew the mind, to renew the total being. You understand? I hope I am making my question very clear. Look, sirs, human beings for over five thousand years and more have struggled, have had to face their own immense sorrow, their wars and disillusionment, the utter hopelessness of life without any meaning, always inventing their gods, always inventing a heaven and a hell to keep themselves righteous, always surrounded with ideas, ideals, hopes. But all that has gone. Your Ramas and Sitas, your Upanishads, your great gods, - everything has gone in smoke, and you are faced with yourself as a human being and you have to answer. Therefore your responsibility as a human being becomes extraordinarily great.
So our question then is: how is a mind that has been so heavily conditioned for so many centuries, through so many agonies, how is such a mind to be made new, so that it can function totally differently, think entirely differently. You understand the question? The Communists and the totalitarians say, "We will shape the mind. We will make the mind, break the mind and recondition it". You are following all this? The Catholics, the Protestants, the Hindus, the Muslims, people all over the world have done this over and over again. And each human being is so heavily conditioned, conditioned in one way and re-conditioned in another way by the politicians, by propaganda, by the priests, by commissars, by Socialists, by Communists - endlessly re-shaped and again re-shaped. And when you realize that absolute fact - the absolute truth, not according to me or according to you - then you ask yourself whether it is at all possible to break this conditioning and not enter into another conditioning, but be free, so that the mind can be a new thing, sensitive, alive, aware, intense, capable. So that is our problem. There is no other problem. Because when the mind is made new, it can tackle any problem, whether it is a scientific problem, or the problem of starvation, or corruption; then it is capable of dealing with any circumstances.
So that is our main issue: whether it is possible for a mind that has been so heavily conditioned for so many centuries, to uncondition itself and not fall into another conditioning, and therefore to be free, capable, intensely alive, new, fresh, so that it can meet any problem. As I said, that is the only question which we, as human beings, have to face and to find the answer for. And you cannot depend on anybody to tell you what to do. You understand? You cannot depend on anybody to tell you how to uncondition yourself; and if you do depend on that person, you are conditioning yourself according to his ideas, therefore you are caught again.
So, see the immense problem that is in front of you. There is no leader, no saviour, no guru, no authority any more. Because, all they have done is to condition one as a Hindu, a Muslim, a Christian, or a Communist and all that. They have not answered the problem. They have found no solution to human misery, to human anxiety, to human despair. They have given you escapes, and escapes are not the answer. When you have got cancer you cannot run away from it, you have to face it.
So that is the first thing to realize: that you cannot possibly rely on anybody to uncondition you. When you realize that, either you get frightened because you cannot rely on anybody but you are left to yourself - that is a very frightening thing - or you are no longer frightened and you see that you have to work because nobody can help you, and therefore you have vitality, you have energy, you have the drive. And you can only have the drive, the energy, the vitality when you are no longer depending on anybody and no longer afraid. Then you are no longer following anybody. Then you are your own master, your own pupil; you are learning, you are discovering.
So, our question being very clear, how do we proceed? You understand the question? You understand the problem? The problem must be very clear, otherwise you cannot answer it. The question can be put in ten different ways, but the essence of the problem is always the same: that human minds are shaped by circumstances, by environmental influences, by one's own temperament and inclination which shape the mind, which condition the mind. And a mind that is conditioned, a mind that is moulded by a particular belief, by a particular dogma, by a particular experience or tendency - such a mind cannot possibly answer this question: is it possible for the mind which has been made so dull, heavy, stupid, so heavily conditioned by circumstances, by environment and so on, to free itself and therefore meet every problem of life anew?
I say that it can, and I am going to go into it, show you whether it is possible or not. But I am not your teacher, nor are you my followers: God forbid, because the moment you follow someone you have destroyed the truth. If you have a leader you are destroying the truth. So all that we can do is to consider together, take the journey together - not I lead you along a path or show you, but together we partake - share together this question and discover together the issues and the way out.
So to share does not mean merely stretching your hand out and receiving something. To share means that you must be capable of sharing, which means that you must be extraordinarily alive, keen to find out; otherwise you cannot share. Somebody can give you a most beautiful jewel; but if you do not know that is the most precious thing you will throw it away, and you cannot share it. And to journey together, you must be capable of walking together. And the capacity to walk, to share, to observe, depends on your earnestness. And that earnestness, that seriousness comes into being when you see the immensity of the problem. It is the problem that makes you serious, not that you become serious. You understand the difference? We say we are serious and tackle the problem; that is not at all so. The problem itself is so great and that very greatness makes you serious. Then that seriousness has vitality, that seriousness has a pliability and enormous strength and vitality, and one can go to the very end of it. So we are taking the journey together, therefore we are sharing the thing together Therefore you are no longer a listener you are no longer just hearing a few words, a few ideas which either you accept or reject - say, "I like this and I do not like that". Because we have gone beyond all that which is mere inclination.
So our first question is: is it possible for a human mind that has been so heavily conditioned to break through the conditioning? You cannot possibly break through it, if you are not aware of your conditioning. That is an obvious fact, isn't it? You cannot say "I am conditioned and I must break through it". That has no meaning. But if you are aware how you are conditioned, what are the factors of your conditioning, what are the circumstances, then being aware of this conditioning you can do something. But if you are not aware of it, then you cannot do a thing. So the first thing is to be aware of your conditioning - conditioning, how you think, how you feel, what are the motives behind that thinking, feeling.
You may say, "Well, this is all too complicated, I want a simple pill which I can take very quickly and the whole problem is solved". There is no such pill. Life is a very complex process and you cannot solve it by some kind of trick. You have to see the complexity of it, and you can only see the complexity of it if you are completely simple. You understand, sirs? If you are really simple then you can see how extraordinarily complex you are and all your conditioning. But to be simple is one of the most difficult things. Simplicity is not wearing a loincloth, or having one meal a day, or walking around the earth preaching some idiotic nonsense. Simplicity is not obedience. Please do listen to all this. Simplicity is not following an ideal. Simplicity is not imitation - just to be simple, so that you can look. You know you can only look at a tree, or a flower, or the beauty of an evening when your eyes are not clouded, when your mind is not somewhere else, when you are not tortured by your own particular little problem. Then, you can look at the tree; then the evening has a beauty; then out of that simplicity you can observe.
And as I said, to be simple is one of the most difficult and arduous things - to be simple. But, you see, that word has been loaded by all the saints with all their pretensions, with their dogmas; and therefore the saints are not simple people at all. A simple mind means a mind that can see very clearly. And the moment you see anything with clarity the problem is over. That's why, to look at our conditioning needs clarity. And you can only have clarity when you do not say, "I like or I don't like". Do you understand, sirs? I want to see myself as a human being, actually what is, not what I pretend and all that rubbish. To see very clearly there must be light, and there is no light if what I see I translate in terms of like or dislike. You understand? It is simple, sir, when you go into it - very, very simple. That is, to see anything there must be light and to have light there must be care and with clarity and care you can observe. But that clarity and care are denied when you condemn what you see, or justify what you are. Therefore, when you want to see very clearly, like and dislike, judgment and condemnation disappear. Am I making myself clear? This is a very serious thing. Then you will find that you are your own guide, then you are your own light which nobody can put out. In that way one begins to discover for oneself the source of all life, that source which has dried up, that man has been seeking everlastingly.
You may have great prosperity as they have in the West and in America. You may be hungry, miserable; but a mere solution of these is not the answer, because our being, the human being is at stake. Your house, which is yourself, is burning. And to find an answer you must be able to look clearly. And therefore when you look clearly you can reason clearly. And reason becomes insanity when there is obscurity. You understand, sirs? The politicians, because they are obscure, are breeding inefficiency, hatred, division among men. And also the priests, whether in the West or in the East, are contributing to this darkness. Religion, after all, is not a matter of belief, not what you believe or what you don't believe. Religion is the way of life. It does not depend on any belief, or any dogma, or any ritual. Only the religious mind which lives peacefully can find that ultimate reality.
Perhaps some of you would like to ask questions, and if this is the occasion for asking questions we will answer them. If not, perhaps at the next meeting there will be time to ask questions. You know, to ask is not to find the answer necessarily. To ask a right question is one of the most difficult things. When you ask a right question, in that question itself is the answer. But to ask the right question demands great intelligence, not cleverness, not erudition. So to ask the right question needs great sensitivity, intelligence, a great awareness of one's own problem. And then when you do ask the right question, the right answer comes. Because you have been so intelligent, so sensitive, so aware of your problem, and because out of that awareness you ask the right question, the right question is the right answer. So I hope next time we meet here there will be an occasion for us to ask questions and perhaps find the right answers.
December 15, 1966
New Delhi 1966
New Delhi 1st Public Talk 15th December 1966
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