Bombay 4th Public Talk 1st March 1967
This is the last talk. I think, during the last three meetings that we have had here and the two discussions that took place in the little hall, we have more or less indicated in what direction one has to make one's way. Because, the world, as we see now, is becoming more and more chaotic, more and more violent, almost anarchical, antisocial. There is war, there is such exploitation, ruthless efficiency, mismanagement, bad government and so on. We can enumerate the many problems that we - each one of us - have to face: a world that we have created out of our greed, out of our sorrow, conflict and the desire for pleasure, the urge to dominate, to seek a position.
We could go on enumerating all the many problems in more detail. But description and explanation have very little value when we are confronted with the problem. And unfortunately, we are so easily satisfied with explanations. We think words will actually solve our problems; and so there is a Niagara of words, not only at this meeting, but also right throughout the world. Everybody talks endlessly, and there are innumerable theories, new ideologies and, unfortunately, new leaders - both political and religious - and there is every form of propaganda to convince another of what he should do, of what he should think. And it is one of the most difficult things to find out how to think. Our problem is not only social, economic and so on, but much more a religious problem, a problem of crisis in the whole of consciousness. And, there, it almost becomes meaningless if one depends on words, explanations or definitions. Perhaps these talks may have pointed out, not what to think, but how to think. We are slaves of propaganda. We have been told what to think - the Gita. the Koran, the Bible, the priest, Marx-Lenin theories, the innumerable ideologies. But we do not know, I am afraid, how to think very deeply and to see the limitation of thought.
One of our major problems, probably the only problem, is sorrow. Man has tried through every form, to resolve, to end sorrow; he has tried to escape from it, he has worshipped it, he has given many explanations. But man, endlessly, from the moment he is born till he dies, lives in this sorrow, in this grief. It seems to me that unless one resolves that issue not verbally, not by ideas or by explanations, but actually by stepping out of the stream of this incessant sorrow, one's problems will multiply. You may be very rich; you may have power, position, prestige, status; you may be very clever; you may have all the brains in the world, with great information; but, I am afraid, all those things are not going to resolve the human demands, the human urgency of resolving one of the most fundamental questions, which is sorrow. Because, with the ending of sorrow is the beginning of wisdom. Wisdom - not cunningness, not knowledge, not ideologies - comes only with the ending of sorrow; and without wisdom we cannot solve our human problem, not only outwardly, but also inwardly.
Man, as one observes historically and also from one's own life or one's own everyday activity, is caught in the principle of pleasure and sorrow. We are guided by pleasure. Most of us want pleasure only, and we are pursuing it most subtly. When we seek truth - as people say they do when they are religious - we are still seeking this principle of pleasure. Where there is pleasure in any form there must also be sorrow: one cannot be pursued without the other. There is not only sensuous pleasure, sensuous enjoyment, but also - if one is a little more refined, a little more cultured, a little more intellectual - the pleasure of reformation, of doing good, of altering society. Writing, books, entering into politics, and other endless activities of the fulfilment of desire - all that is the continuation of pleasure. If one observes one's own life, if one is at all aware, even casually, one will find that we are guided by our inclination, by our tendency. Inclination and tendency are the outcome of this constant demand for greater and greater satisfaction of pleasure. After all, all virtue is based on this principle of pleasure. Without understanding this pleasure there is no ending of sorrow. I would like to go into it rather deeply.
Is all life a pleasure? Is all life a conflict and misery, an endless series of battles, outside and inside? A life which is made into a battle-field - that is all we know. We may spin theories, we may endlessly talk about theological concepts, social improvements, and criticism of what should be. But unless we understand this extraordinary demand for pleasure, it seems to me, we shall be caught in the current of endless conflict and sorrow. To understand pleasure is not to deny it; because pleasure is one of the basic demands of life, like enjoyment. When you see a beautiful tree, a lovely sunset, a nice smile on a face, light on a leaf, then you really enjoy it, there is a great delight.
Beauty is something that is not pleasure. The sense of beauty is not in a building, in a picture, in a poem, in holding the hand of another, in looking at a mountain or a river - these are still sensations, however pleasurable. Beauty is something entirely different. To understand actually what beauty is - not intellectually, not verbally - one must understand pleasure.
You know, man has been denied pleasure through religion, through worship of an idea, through the saints and the missionaries, by the sannyasis and the monks throughout the world. They have consistently denied pleasure to man. They say it is wrong, it is something evil, something to be put away. They say that a mind that is full of pleasure or is seeking pleasure, can never find reality, God, and that therefore you should torture yourself. But such persons come to God with a twisted, tortured, petty little mind. A mind that has been squeezed by society, by culture, is no longer a mind free, alive, vibrant, capable, unafraid. And most human minds are tortured. They may not know it, they may not be aware of it. They may be so completely occupied, with their families, with earning a livelihood, with achieving a position, that they may not be aware of the total content of their being.
Man is always seeking: seeking a purpose, seeking a goal, seeking satisfaction; and the satisfaction in the highest, he calls God, So we are always seeking, seeking, seeking. We are always feeling that something is missing and so we try to fill that void in ourselves, that loneliness, that emptiness, that weary, exhausting, meaningless existence of life with lots of ideas, with significance, with purposes, ultimately seeking satisfaction in a permanency which will never be disturbed. And that state of permanency we call by a thousand names - God, Samadhi and so on; one can invent names. We are endlessly seeking, and we never ask why we are seeking. The obvious answer is that we are dissatisfied, unhappy, unfortunate, lonely, unloved, fearful. We need something to cling to, we need somebody to protect us - the father, the mother and so on - and so we are seeking. When we are seeking, we are always finding. Unfortunately, we will always find when we are seeking.
So, the first thing is not to seek. You understand? You all have been told that you must seek, experiment with truth, find out truth, go after it, pursue it; chase it; and that you must discipline, control yourself. And then somebody comes along and says, "Don't do all that. Don't seek at all". Naturally, your reaction is either to ask him to go away, or you turn your back, or you find out for yourself why he says such a thing - not accept, not deny, but question. And what are you seeking?
Enquire about yourself. You are seeking; you are saying that you are missing something in this life inwardly - not at the level of technique or having a petty job or more money. What is it that we are seeking? We are seeking, because in us there is such deep dissatisfaction with our family, with society, with culture, with our own selves, and we want to satisfy, to go beyond this gnawing discontent that is destroying. And why are we discontented? I know discontent can very easily be satisfied. Give a young man who has been discontented - a communist or a revolutionary - a good job, and he forgets all about it. Give him a nice house, a nice car, a nice garden, a good position, and you will see that discontent disappears. If he can achieve an ideological success, that discontent disappears too. But you never ask why you are discontented - not the people who have jobs, and who want better jobs. We must understand the root cause of discontent before we can examine the whole structure and the meaning of pleasure and, therefore, of sorrow.
You know, sirs, from school days till one dies, we are educated, we are conditioned in comparison. I compare myself with somebody else. Do watch yourself; please listen to what I am saying, and see how your mind works. You have a double task: you have not only to listen to the speaker, but also, in listening to him, to observe your own state of mind actually. So you need a certain attention, a certain awareness of both the speaker and what he is saying, and observing yourself. But if you are listening - actually listening in the sense of not trying to understand, not trying to translate what the speaker is speaking, not condemning, not adjusting, not denying or accepting - you will see that there is neither the speaker nor yourself, but there is only the fact, there is only "what is". That is the art of listening: not listening to the speaker or to your own opinions and judgments, but to "what actually is". We are always comparing ourselves with somebody else. If I am dull, I want to be more clever. If I am shallow, I want to be deep. If I am ignorant, I want to be more clever, more knowledgeable. I am always comparing myself, measuring myself against others - a better car, better food, a better home, a better way of thinking. Comparison breeds conflict. And do you understand through comparison? When you compare two pictures, two pieces of music, two sunsets, when you compare that tree with another tree, do you understand either? Or do you understand something only when there is no comparison at all?
So, is it possible to live without comparison of any, kind, never translating yourself in terms of comparison with another or with some idea or with some hero or with some example? Because when you are comparing, when you are measuring yourself with "what should be" or "what has been", you are not seeing "what is". Please listen to this. It is very simple, and, therefore, probably you, being clever, cunning, will miss it. We are asking whether it is possible to live in this world without any comparison at all. Don't say "no". You have never done it. You won't say, "I cannot do it; it is impossible, because all my conditioning is to compare". In a school-room a boy is compared with another, and the teacher says, "You are not as clever as the other". The teacher destroys `B' when he is comparing B with A. That process goes on through life.
We think that comparison is essential for progress, for understanding, for intellectual development. I don't think it is. When you are comparing one picture with the other, you are not looking at either of them. You can only look at one picture when there is no comparison. So, in the same way, is it possible to live a life never comparing, psychologically, yourself with another? Never comparing with Rama. Sita, Gita, whoever it is, with the hero, with your gods, with your ideals. A mind that is not comparing at all, at any level, becomes extraordinarily efficient, becomes extraordinarily alive, because then it is looking at "what is".
Look, sir, I am shallow; I compare myself with another who is supposed to be very deep, capable, and profound in his thinking and in his way of living. I, being shallow, narrow, limited, compare myself with that person, and I struggle to be like him. I imitate, quote, follow, and try to destroy myself in order to be like him; and this conflict goes on endlessly. Whereas if there is no comparison at all, how do I know I am dull. Because you tell me? Because I cannot get a job? Because I am at school? How do I know I am dull if there is no comparison at all? Therefore, I am what I am; I am in that state from which I can move, I can discover, I can change. But when I am comparing myself with another, the change will invariably be superficial, Please do listen to all this, it is your life. Whereas if there is no comparison, "what is" is; from there I move. This is one of the fundamental principles of life, that modern life has conditioned man to compare, to compete, to struggle endlessly, caught in a battle with another. I can only look at "what is" when there is no comparison. So, I understand, not verbally but actually, that comparison is a most childish, immature thing. Sir, where there is love, is there a comparison? When you love somebody with your heart, with your mind, with your body, with your entire being, - not be possessive, not be dominating, not say, "It is mine" - is there any comparison? Only when there is no comparison, can you look at "what is". If we understand that, then we can proceed to find out, to enquire into the whole structure of pleasure.
Not to compare "what is", not only with the future but also with "what has been the past" - this demands tremendous attention. You understand? I had a pleasure yesterday - sensuous pleasure; an idea which has brought an extraordinary light; a cloud which I saw full of light yesterday but which now I don't see at all - and I want that back. So I compare the present with "what has been" and I am going to compare the present with "what should be". It requires extraordinary intelligence and sensitivity to be free of this comparative evaluation. One must have intelligence and sensitivity completely; then only can one understand "what is". Then you see you are passionate; and then you have the energy to pursue "what is". But you lose that energy when you are comparing "what is" with "what has been" or "what should be".
Now, I hope that is clear - not intellectually, because that has no meaning at all; you may just as well get up and go away. But if you really understand this, then you can look at pleasure; you do not compare it with the pleasure that you have had yesterday, or with the pleasure that you are going to have tomorrow; but you look at the actual mind that is seeking pleasure. Man has to understand this principle of pleasure, not just say, "I want pleasure". If you want pleasure, you must also have pain and also sorrow with it; you cannot have one without the other. And if you pursue pleasure in any form, you are creating a world of conflict. When you say, "I am a Hindu" - you know all the rest of the labels one gives to oneself - then you become very important. Like when you worship one river, you deny all other rivers; when one family becomes all important, you deny all the other families, and that is why families are a danger; when you worship one tree, one god, then you deny all trees, all gods. And that is what is happening: when you worship your own particular little nation, then you deny all other nations; then you are ready to fight, to go to battle and kill each other.
So, pleasure is embedded in the worship of gods, searching for truth, saying "my nation", "my family", "my position; in all this pleasure is involved, and this pleasure is creating untold mischief. We have to understand this, not deny it, because the moment you deny, it is like cutting your arm off or blinding yourself so that you will not have the pleasure of seeing a beautiful cloud, a beautiful woman, or a lovely tree. So we have to understand the extraordinary importance of pleasure and how it comes into being. And when you understand it, you see what significance pleasure has, as we are going to see now.
You know, you have been told by the religious people of the world that you must be without desire. It is one of the edicts of the so-called religious people, that you must strive to be without desire, to be desireless. That is sheer nonsense, because, when you see anything, you have already desire. desire is a reaction. When you see a brilliant colour, look at it. You know, one of the most beautiful things is colour, colour is God. Look at it, do not say, "I like red", or "I like blue; but just watch the colour of a cloud, the colour of a sari, the colour of a leaf that has just come in the spring. When you do look, you will find that there is no pleasure at all, but sheer beauty. Beauty, like love, is not desire, is not pleasure.
And it is important to understand this whole question of desire, which is quite simple. I do not know why people make such a lot of ado about it. You can see how it comes into being. There is perception; then sensation, contact and desire. Do you follow? I see a beautiful car - first, perception. Then the sensation of it, then you touch it, and there is the desire to own it - desire. First seeing, perception; then observation, sensation, contact, desire. It is as simple as that. Now the problem begins. Then thought comes in and thinks about that desire, which becomes pleasure. That is, sir, I see a beautiful mountain with deep valleys, covered with snow, bright in the morning light, full of aloofness and splendour. I see it. Then thought begins to say, "How beautiful! I wish I could always be seeing it!" Thought - which is memory responding to what it sees - says, "I wish I could live there!" Or, I see a beautiful face; I think about that face; then thinking constantly about it creates the pleasure. Sex; the pleasure that you had; and you think about it, the image; the more you think about it, the more the pleasure; so then desire. Thought brings about the continuity of pleasure. It is very simple when you look into it.
Then one asks, "Is it possible for thought not to touch desire?" You follow it? That is your problem. When you see something extraordinarily beautiful, full of life and beauty, you must never let thought come in, because the moment thought touches it, thought being old, it will pervert it into pleasure and, therefore, there arises the demand for pleasure and for more and more of pleasure; and when it is not given, there is conflict, there is fear. So, is it possible to look at a thing without thought? To look you must be tremendously alive, not paralysed. But the religious people have said to you, "Be paralysed, come to reality crippled". But you can never come to reality, crippled. To see reality, you must have a clear mind, unperverted, innocent, unconfused, untortured, free; then only can you see reality. If you see a tree, you must look at it with clear eyes, without the image. When thought thinks about desire - and thought will always think about desire - out of that, it derives pleasure. There is the image which thought has created about the object, and constant thinking about that image, that symbol, that picture, gives rise to pleasure. You see a beautiful head, you look at it. Thought says, "It is a beautiful head", "It's a nice head", "It has got nice hair". It begins to think about it, and it is pleasurable.
To see something without thought does not mean that you should stop thinking - that is not the point. But you must be aware when thought interferes with desire, knowing that desire is perception - sensation - contact. You must be aware of the whole mechanism of desire, and also when thought precipitates instantly on it. And that requires not only intelligence but awareness, so that you are aware when you see something extraordinarily beautiful or extraordinarily ugly. Then, the mind is not comparing: beauty is not ugliness and ugliness is not beauty. So with the understanding of pleasure you can investigate sorrow.
Without ending sorrow, do what you will - climb the highest social ladder or the bureaucratic ladder or the religious ladder or the political ladder - you will be always creating mischief, either in the name of God or in the name of your country, or your party, or your society, or your ideology; you will be a mischief-monger. This is obvious.
So, what is sorrow? Again, please look at "what is", not at "what should be". Because, now if you have gone into it, you are not comparing any more, but you are actually looking at "what is". Therefore, you have got energy to look, and that energy is not being dissipated in comparing. One of the problems of man is how to have energy. Again, the religious people with their petty little minds have said, "To have energy, you must be a bachelor; to have energy you must starve, fast, eat one meal, wear a loincloth, get up at two in the morning and pray" - it is all idiotic, because you are thereby destroying yourself, you are destroying energy. Energy comes when you look at actually "what is", which means no dissipation of energy in comparison.
We are saying, "What is sorrow?" Man has tried to overcome sorrow in so many ways - through worship, through escapes, through drink, through entertainment - but it is always there. Sorrow has to be understood as you would understand any other thing. Do not deny it, do not suppress it, do not try to overcome it; but understand it, look at what it is. What is sorrow? Do you know what sorrow is? Must I tell you? Sorrow is when you lose somebody whom you think you love; sorrow is when you cannot fulfil totally, completely; sorrow is when you are denied opportunity, capacity; sorrow is when you want to fulfil and there is no way to fulfil; sorrow is when you are confronted by your own utter emptiness, loneliness; and sorrow is burdened with self-pity. Do you know what "self-pity" is? Self-pity is when you complain about yourself unconsciously or consciously, when you are pitying yourself, when you say, "I can't do anything against the environment in which I am, placed as I am; when you call yourself a pest, bemoaning your own lot. And so, there is sorrow.
To understand sorrow, first, one has to be aware of this self-pity. It is one of the factors of sorrow. When someone dies, you are left and you become aware how lonely you are. Or if someone dies, you left without any money, you are insecure. You have lived on others and you begin to complain, you begin to have self-pity. So one of the causes of sorrow is "self pity". That is a fact, like the fact that you are lonely; that is "what is". Look at self-pity, do not try to overcome it, do not deny it or say, "What am I to do with it" The fact is: there is self-pity. The fact is: you are lonely. Can you look at it without any comparison of how extraordinarily secure you were yesterday, when you had that money or that person or that capacity - whatever it is? Just look at it; then you will see that self-pity has no place at all. That does not mean that you accept the condition as it is.
One of the factors of sorrow is the extraordinary loneliness of man. You may have companions, you may have gods, you may have a great deal of knowledge, you may be extraordinarily active socially, talking endless gossip about politics - and most politicians gossip anyhow - and still this loneliness remains. Therefore, man seeks to find significance in life and invents a significance, a meaning. But the loneliness still remains. So can you look at it without any comparison, just see it as it is, without trying to run away from it, without trying to cover it up, or to escape from it? Then you will see that loneliness becomes something entirely different.
Man must be alone. We are not alone. We are the result of a thousand influences, a thousand conditionings, psychological inheritances, propaganda, culture. We are not alone, and therefore we are secondhand human beings. When one is alone, totally alone, neither belonging to any family though one may have a family, nor belonging to any nation, to any culture, to any particular commitment, there is the sense of being an outsider - outsider to every form of thought, action, family, nation. And it is only that one who is completely alone, who is innocent. It is this innocency that frees the mind from sorrow.
And a mind ridden with sorrow will never know what love is. Do you know what love is? There is no love when there is space between the observer and the observed. You know what space is? The space between you and that tree, between you and what you think you should be. There is space when there is the centre or the observer. You understand this? Again, this is very simple; and this becomes extraordinarily complex much later. But first begin with it simply. There is this microphone in front of the speaker. That microphone is in space. But the microphone also creates the space. There is a house with four walls. There is not only space outside, but there is also space within the four walls. And there is space between you and the tree, between you and your neighbour, and between you and your wife. As long as there is this space between you and your neighbour, your wife, your husband, or anybody, this space implies that there is a centre which creates the space. Are you following this? When you look at the stars, there is you who are looking at the stars and the marvellous sky of an evening with brilliant stars, clear cool air - you, the observer; and the observed.
So you are the centre who is creating the space. When you look at that tree, you have an image about yourself and about the tree; that image is the centre which is looking, and therefore there is space. And as we said, love is when there is no space - that is, when there is no space which the observer creates between himself and the tree. You have an image about your wife, and your wife has an image about you. You have built up that image for ten years or for two years or for a day, through her pleasure, your pleasure, through her insults, your insults; you have built it up through nagging, dominating and all the rest of it. And the contact between these two images is called `relationship'. It is only when there is no image that there is love - which means there is no space; not sensuous space, not physical space; but, inwardly, there is no space, just as there is beauty when there is no space.
There is space when there is no self-abandonment. You know, we are talking about something you do not understand. You have never done it. You have never removed the space between yourself and your wife, between yourself and the tree, or between yourself and the stars and the sky or the clouds; you have never actually looked. You don't know what beauty is, because you don't know what love is. You talk about it, you write about it, but you have never felt it; because you have never known, except probably at rare intervals, this total self-abandonment. Because it is that centre that creates the space round itself. And as long as there is that space, there is neither love nor beauty. That is why our lives are so empty, so callous.
You go to an office - I don't know why. You say, "I have to go, because I have responsibility, I have to earn, I have to support my family". I don't know why you must do anything. You are slaves, that is all. When you are riding in a bus, you have never observed to look at a tree or to look at the face of a person opposite to you. When you do look at that face, you are looking from a centre. The centre creates the space between yourself and that person. And to overcome that space, people are taking drugs like L.S.D. When you take that drug, it makes your mind extraordinarily sensitive; a chemical change takes place, and then you see that space disappears completely. Not that I have taken it (laughter), don't laugh. Those are artificial means and, therefore, not real. Those are all instant happiness, instant paradise, instant bliss. You can't get it that way.
So without love and beauty, there is no truth. Your saints, your gods, your priests, your books have denied this. That is why you are in such a sorrowful plight. You rather talk about the Gita, the Koran, the Bible, than love This means you look at the dirty roads, the squalor, the filth along these roads, and you put up with it. You co-operate with dirt; and you do not know when not to co-operate. You co-operate with the system; and you do not know when to say, "No, I won't co-operate, and it does not matter what happens". But when you say so it is because you love, because you have beauty, not because you revolt. Then you will know, when you have this, there is beauty, love, and there is the perception of "what is" which is love. Then the mind can go immeasurably beyond itself.
But you have to work, you have to work like fury every day, as you go to your office every day,. You have to work hard, not to achieve love, because you cannot achieve love any more than you can achieve humility - it is only the vain man that talks and achieves humility; but he is always vain. Like humility, you cannot cultivate love, nor cultivate beauty; without being aware you cannot see what is truth. But if you are aware - not awareness of some mysterious nature - if you are just aware of what you are doing, of what you are thinking, how you look, how you walk, how you eat, what you talk about, then out of that awareness you will begin to see the nature of pleasure, desire, and sorrow, and the utter loneliness and boredom of man. And then you will begin to come upon that thing called "space". And when there is space between yourself and the object, then you know there is no love.
Without love, do what you will - reform, bring about a new social order, talk about endless ideological improvement - all that creates agony. So it is up to you. There is no leader, there is no guru. There is nobody to tell you what to do. You have to be a light unto yourself: Therefore, you are alone, alone amidst the mad brutal world. That is why one has to be an oasis in a desert of ideas. And the oasis comes into being when there is love.
March 1, 1967
Bombay 4th Public Talk 1st March 1967
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