Jiddu Krishnamurti texts Jiddu Krishnamurti quotes and talks, 3000 texts in many languages. Jiddu Krishnamurti texts


New Delhi 1967

New Delhi 4th Public Talk 30th November 1967

I would like to talk about something this evening which I think is rather important. It is concerned with a problem that I am sure most of us are worried about. It is the question of how a small, mediocre mind, which seems to be so powerful in the world, how such a mind can become something totally different. It seems to me most of us live on words: words have become extraordinarily important. Words are used to cover up deceit, words are used to befuddle another, words are used to convey meanings which may have a double meaning, words are used in a political world where hypocrisy exists and is supposed to be democratic - and so on. To us, words have become extraordinarily important, like the word `Hindu', `Communist', `Sikh' - they are just words but to us these words are loaded with a great deal of significance and tradition.

So the problem is, amongst other problems, how to empty the mind of all words; because we are actually slaves to words. When you mention `India' to a patriotic human being - and I am sorry they are such human beings - to them that word is an intoxication, as is the word `God'. This evening our question is whether it is at all possible for a mind which is so filled with thought, endless varieties and contradictions of thought - worries, issues, problems that cannot possibly be solved - whether such a mind can find out for itself if there is a state in which the word does not interfere.

The word `meditation' means a great deal to many people and a petty, shallow, narrow mind, a mind that is heavily conditioned, such a mind can repeat words and think it will have some fantastic, mysterious experiences. Words must be used to communicate; but is there thinking without the word? We are going to find out this evening if we can, what that word `meditation' actually means; not the word that is used by the Hindu, the Muslim the Christian or by the yogis, the mahatmas, but we are going to find out for ourselves what is implied in that word. People are taking various drugs, psychedelic drugs, and by using them, they hope to expand their minds and thereby live in a different world, have different experiences. We are going to go into it very carefully, but if you already have an opinion of what meditation is, or what you think meditation should be, then I am afraid you and I will have very little to say to each other. But if we are going to enquire into this extraordinarily interesting issue, then we must both be free to enquire, to find out, and not be committed to any particular form or system of meditation.

First of all, there must not only be freedom from the word but there must also be austerity. The word `austere', `austerity', comes from a Greek word which means harsh, dried up. And most of the people who practise austerity - the saints, the yogis, the mahatmas, the so-called spiritual people who have one meal a day, or have one thought, or one principle, or one idea and practise it deliberately day after day - suppressing, controlling their minds - they obviously have harsh minds, they soon become dry inwardly. So what is austerity? To examine that word and its meaning, we must put aside all formulas or concepts that we have about that word. In India, the saints, the teachers have established a certain pattern of austerities, and they think that if you practise these you will arrive at a certain level. And there are thousands of people who practise austerity, hoping thereby to come to some extraordinary experience.

To `experience' - that word means to "go through", to go through a problem until you have finished with it. But most of us, when we have had experiences, we do not go through them, they leave a mark on the mind and therefore there is never an ending to experience; and the experiencing of austerity needs a very close examination by each one of us. First of all we must doubt every saint, every yogi, every mahatma - all the books about the state of mind that is austere, or about the practice of austerity which will ultimately lead man to some reality. To understand austerity needs intelligence, intelligence creates its own austerity. And we must ask, what is intelligence? What do you mean by that word? If you ask the meaning of that word or the explanation of that word, you can look it up in a dictionary. It will tell you the origin, it will tell you from what Greek or Latin word it comes, the root of it; but we can more or less investigate for ourselves what true intelligence is. Intelligence is not opinion. Intelligence is not a state of mind that is always comparing, not a mind that is measuring, but a mind that can see very clearly, dealing only with facts, with "what is" and not with ideas. That is, intelligence comes about through the negation of what it is not - by the denial of what it is not, you come upon intelligence. One observes throughout the world how human beings are conditioned: the communist in his way, the religious person in his way. If you are a Hindu or a Sikh or a Muslim or a Christian, you are conditioned according to that pattern, to that tradition, to that culture. These divisions of human beings into categories of religious, political, geographical groups, obviously imply a state of non-intelligence. So a mind which denies this religious, political, national division is really an intelligent mind; that is, not denying verbally but actually, inwardly, psychologically; it is not attached to any country. And a mind that calls itself nationalistic, a Hindu and so on, is not intelligent. So through negation of what is not intelligence one can be in a state of intelligence. That is, to find out what is not intelligence you need a highly sensitive mind, not a dogmatic nor a dialectical mind, which is a mind that is seeking truth through opinions, which is dialectic. To be sensitive is to be intelligent; the greater the sensitivity, the greater the intelligence. And you cannot be sensitive if you are bigoted, narrow, petty, shallow. A man who is only concerned with his own problems, totally unaware of the problems of others, obviously does not have a sensitive mind. A mind that is unaware of its environment, the squalor, the dirt, the sloppiness, such a mind is not a sensitive mind - all this is very important when we are exploring what meditation is. And I feel without understanding that quality of the mind that is meditative, life has really very little meaning. So in enquiring into what is meditation we are going to find out what it is to be sensitive, which means to be intelligent.

So you observe in your daily life - not theoretically but actually - the things that you talk about, the endless, useless chatter, the thoughts, the opinions, the judgements, the condemnations that you have about others or about yourself. If you are not aware of them, obviously you are not sensitive, you are asleep. And if you have any belief whatever, political or religious, obviously such a mind, being tethered to a particular formula or an ideology, is not an intelligent mind. So to find out what it is to be austere - and one must be austere (not outwardly having few clothes or one meal a day) but to find out what inward austerity means, one must have a very sharp mind, a mind that sees very clearly. And what is it, to be austere? Obviously, it is not suppressing any desire - please follow this very carefully - nor indulging in any desire, but understanding desire. One can suppress a desire, a want, one can control it - that is fairly easy; but to understand desire, to understand it not intellectually, not as a fragment, but as a total way of life (which most of us indulge in) needs not only intelligence but also the quality of austerity, to look at the thing as it is, not as you wish it to be.

You know, to look is to act. To see is to do; when you see danger you are acting. So the seeing is the doing, and to see there must be tremendous attention, which brings its own austerity - to see the whole structure of desire and the nature of desire, how it comes into being. Examine it, which means be aware of your desires and look at them without condemning, without judging, without saying "this is right", or "this is wrong", nor indulging in any desire, but just to look. That demands a discipline which is completely different from the discipline of suppression.

You are listening, I hope, not merely to words but are actually examining your own minds, your own lives, not the life of somebody else, but actually your lives.

So, this austerity means order, it means precise thinking and there can be no austerity, which is order, if there is not awareness - not only of things outwardly, but also psychologically, inwardly. Most of us live in disorder both outwardly as well as inwardly. Disorder is a state of mind in which there is conflict; and conflict exists because of contradiction both outward and inward, there is contradiction between two desires, two demands and hence there is conflict. And without understanding the nature and the structure of desire, merely to suppress desire is the most unintelligent thing to do. Because what you suppress festers and will explode in some neurotic way.

The understanding of desire is fairly simple: to look at desire, how it arises. It arises through the process of thought. I see something pleasant and I think about it; the thinking about it is the cultivation of desire as pleasure - is that somewhat clear? Intelligence brings about its own austerity, its own order, not the order which anybody has established, nor the order of any society - the order of any particular society or community is disorder. Please, these are not dogmatic statements, you can watch this. Every society wants order and talks a great deal about establishing order, politically, religiously; outwardly it establishes morality but its morality is disorder. You can be greedy, envious, seeking power, position and prestige and yet be so-called "orderly". But are you not cultivating disorder when you are envious, greedy, jealous, obsessed by ambition? Order is virtue and order is a living thing, as is virtue. It is not an idea, a discipline which you establish practising it day by day; it is something alive, active, not a mechanical thing, and order can only come about when there is intelligence. Intelligence comes when there is the understanding of disorder and the denial in oneself of the disorder; and this denial is not suppression but observation, seeing actually how you are creating disorder in yourself.

So, to understand meditation, of which we are going to talk, first there must be order in oneself; not order according to a formula, a pattern, but order which you have brought about in yourself through your own intelligence - not the intelligence of the Gita or the Koran or any other book (one has lived on these printed words that have no meaning any more). If you would understand meditation, there must be order in yourself, which is virtue; and that virtue is not according to any pattern or any society, because society says, `be as greedy, envious, ambitious as you like' - which is the very essence of disorder. So virtue, austerity, order, intelligence are necessary to understand what meditation is. Without that you cannot possibly go into this question, which is of immense significance; you can repeat words: Aum, Aum, or Jesus (Coca-cola would do just as well), a hundred times and put yourself in a state of hypnosis - but that is not meditation. Without going through all that you can take a drug and put yourself to sleep. Repetition of any experience or of any word, inwardly - whether it is Aum or Amen - such a repetition creates a mechanical process of thought, an established formula, system, and therefore your mind becomes narrow, shallow, dull. So one has to understand this repetitive process and put it away. And to understand meditation one needs a very clear, sharp mind, a mind that can reason and be logical (not sentimental, emotional) because sentimentality and emotionalism have nothing whatsoever to do with love. As we said the other evening, love is not desire or pleasure; but to understand love, one has to understand what desire and pleasure are.

Meditation is something which demands a very alert mind; that is, a mind that is aware, aware of things outside as well as inside. We are aware of things that give us pleasure and we are aware of things that cause pain; we avoid the one and want to pursue the other. To be aware of both of them demands a mind that is without choice - please follow this. Just listen, because most of you won't do any of this; it is much too quick and sharp and clear, needing a driving energy and most people haven't got it. Just listen, do nothing, don't say, "How am I to do it?" or "What am I to do?", "Tell me what to do", because then you are not listening. But if you just listen quietly, without effort, easily, without any strain, then the thing will happen to you. A petty little mind enquiring about an enormous thing cannot possibly understand it. But if that petty little mind is quiet, actually listening, then perhaps it will be lucky enough to come upon something that cannot be put into words. So, if I may suggest, just listen, don't ask `how to', or investigate, just listen with your mind, with your heart, so that you give your attention completely.

As we were saying, be aware easily, without choice, because it is only the confused mind that has choice; a mind that sees clearly has no choice whatsoever. It is only the confused that are always asking, seeking, demanding, looking, searching; a confused mind can only choose and its choice will invariably lead to further confusion. Be aware of the squalor on the road, the inefficiency in the office, the utter callousness of people, of the politicians with their greed and ambition, not caring one pin for the people - be aware of all that. Be aware of the beauty of the sunset, of the light on the water, the bird on the wing,just look without any choice, without any condemnation. If you can do that outwardly then turn inwardly and be aware of yourself without condemning, without judging, without saying, "This is ugly", "This is wrong", "This is right", "This is good", "This is bad" - just look, look at yourself. Then out of that choiceless awareness comes attention.

You know, there is a great deal of difference between attention and concentration. Concentration is an exclusive process - just listen, don't accept or deny, just listen - when you concentrate, your mind is fixed on one thing, one idea, one image, or a symbol, or the meaning of a phrase; it is concentrating which means you are excluding every other thought, every other movement - right? When you concentrate it is a process of exclusion. But when you are aware, when there is attention, there is no exclusion whatsoever - you are aware of the world, the ugliness, the brutality, the violence, the hideous callousness, the cruelty to animals - you are aware of all that outwardly. In that there is no condemnation. Also be aware inwardly and you will see that out of that awareness you become tremendously attentive, without any compulsion, without any effort. That is, you can only be attentive when there is complete abandonment of the observer. When the observer abandons himself totally, then you will see, if you have gone that far, that because there is abandonment (not forgetfulness), the self, the centre which is memory, experience, knowledge, the everlasting strife and sorrow, which is the essence of the observer - when that is not, then there is total, complete attention.

Now in that attention, there being no observer, there is space. You know what space is? There is space between you and me. There is space outside the tent and inside the tent, but the mind has very little space. In crowded cities human beings are put into cages with very little space to live in; they live in flats and being an urban civilization, living in these crowded cities, that lack of space produces a great deal of violence, neurotic conditions and so on. Man must have space, and as space is denied outwardly, one must have space inwardly. So one has to find out what that inward space is. Space, which is both time and distance, between the observer and the observed.

When you look at a tree, or the sky, or a bird, or the face of your wife or husband, there is space between you two. There is space between people, between objects, and there is space because there is an observer, the centre from which one is looking. When you look at the tree or the sky or at another person, the centre is looking, isn't it? the centre which is memory, which is experience, which is knowledge, which is striving, demanding, which seeks to fulfil, which seeks success and so on and so on; that is the centre, the self, the ego, the me; and from that centre, from that entity which is the observer, you look at something and so there is a space between the observer and the observed. Between the experiencer and the experienced or the thinker and the thought - when you say, "I must be", or "I must not be" - there is space, a time interval. Now when there is the observer who creates space round himself, he may expand that space through various forms of repetition of words and so on - he may expand the space, but there is always the centre and therefore his expansion of space is the expansion of a prison - are you understanding this? Just listen!

So our minds are crowded with words, with chatter, with experience, with memory, with the whole human sorrow of the past; that is the centre from which we look at life. Now that space is very limited, very narrow, confined, it is like a prison: and is it possible to free the mind from its own centre which it has built up? It is only possible when you can look at the tree, at the bird, at the face of your wife or husband, or at the face of your boss and so on, without the image. Can you look at your wife or your husband without the images that you have about her or him, just to look without the image - have you ever tried? Probably you never have. If you do, you may shatter your relationship, because what we are related to is the image; one image to the other, one memory, one experience to another. When one becomes aware of this image, relationship becomes entirely different. There may be no so-called relationships as they exist now. So the point is, can the mind empty itself of the image, of the centre? Then you will find space is limitless... and that is part of meditation. It is not having visions, because that is fairly simple to explain. If you are born, conditioned, in a Catholic world, a Christian world, and are a so-called religious person, obviously you will have Christian visions; if you are born in this country with all its superstitions, saints, heroes, gods and goddesses - innumerable entities - you are obviously conditioned and you will have experiences according to your conditioning. But they are not realities. What is real can never be experienced by the experiencer. When you love - actually love with your heart, not with your mind - when you totally abandon yourself in that love, then the other is not.

Meditation, then, is emptying the mind of the past not as an idea, not as an ideology which you are going to practise day after day - to empty the mind of the past. Because the man or the entity who empties the mind of the past is the result of the past. But to understand this whole structure of the mind, which is the result of the past, and to empty the mind of the past demands a deep awareness of it. To be aware of your conditioning, your way of talking, your gestures, the callousness, the brutality, the violence, just to be aware of it without condemning it - then out of that awareness comes a state of mind which is completely quiet. To understand this quietness, the silence of the mind, you must understand sorrow, because most of us live in sorrow; whether we are aware of it or not, we have never put an end to sorrow, it is like our shadow, it is with us night and day. Sorrow is not only the loss of somebody whom you think you like - I won't use the word `love' - you shed tears at the loss of somebody whom you like. Are those tears for yourself or the one that is dead? - in sorrow there is a great deal of self-pity, concern with one's own loneliness, emptiness; and when one becomes aware of that emptiness, loneliness, there is self-pity, and that self-pity we call sorrow. So as long as there is sorrow (conscious or unconscious) within the mind there is no quietness of the mind, there is no stillness of the mind. The stillness of the mind comes where there is beauty and love; you cannot separate beauty from love. Beauty is not an ornament, nor good taste. It does not lie in the line of the hills nor in architecture. There is beauty when you know what love is, and you cannot possibly know what love is when there is not intelligence, austerity and order. And nobody can give this to you, no saint, no god, no mahatma - nobody! No authority in the world can give it to you - you as a human being have to understand this whole structure. The structure and the nature of your life of every day, what you do, what you think, what your motives are, how you behave - how you are caught in your own conclusions, in your own conditioning. It must begin there, in daily life, and if you cannot alter that totally, completely, bring about a total mutation in yourself, you will never know that still mind. And it is only the still mind that can find out - it is only the still mind that knows what truth is. Because that still mind has no imagination, it does not project its desires, it is a still mind - and it is only then that there is the bliss of something that cannot be put into words.

Questioner: Are we aware...

Krishnamurti: Sit still, quietly, for a minute. I know you have many questions, many problems. Life is a torture, life is boredom, routine, an agony, and you have to understand that - not what the speaker says; what the speaker says has very little value. You will forget it the moment you leave the tent; what will remain outside the tent is yourself, your life, your pettiness, your shallowness, your brutality, your violence, your greed, your ambitions, your endless sorrow - that is what you have to understand and nobody on earth, or in heaven, is going to save you from it. Therefore to ask a question is to question yourself, not the speaker. What the speaker has said is of very little importance. You can throw it out, or you can repeat certain phrases and think you have understood it - you haven't! Or you will compare what you have heard with the Gita, with some book; but you will not face your own life. That is what matters, your daily agony, your daily despair and the hopeless misery that one lives in. You may have occasional joy, but that joy becomes a memory and then begins again the battle to capture that which has been. So when you ask questions, please remember you are asking the question of yourself and not of the speaker. And when you do ask, listen - listen to the question which you are putting and also listen to the speaker. Which means: not respect for the speaker, or yourself or another, but listen to understand. It doesn't matter who asks the question, it doesn't matter how silly the question is - you are listening to find out - not the other's silliness but one's own silliness. Because life demands enormous observations. Life is a movement, an endless movement and we want a corner of security out of that movement and there is no security in life, psychologically. You must have security outwardly - food, clothes, shelter; every human being must have that, and it can only come about through world planning, a world state; not India planning for herself or another country planning for itself. Everyone can have food, clothes and shelter, if we forget our own nationalities, religions, divisions and become human beings without a label.

So, sirs, if you are going to ask questions, please bear in mind that you have to listen to your own question first and also listen to the speaker's reply, or explanation, or investigation.

Questioner: To observe, one part of the mind must observe the other part of the mind and that observation is destructive.

Krishnamurti: One fragment of the mind looking at another fragment and hence there is a contradiction, conflict, and the question is - is it possible to look totally? That is the question, isn't it?

We live in fragments, if you are a politician, you arc one thing in politics and something different at home. You may talk as a liberal, you may talk about democracy, yet in your heart you are autocratic, brutal, violent, ambitious. There is one part looking and working separately from the other part. You talk about loving the neighbour and then in the office about killing. So we function, we live, in fragments and each fragment is looking at the other fragment - right? That is fairly simple. So the question is - is it possible to live without any fragmentation, to be a total human being, to look at everything completely, totally? Isn't that right, sir? That is the question.

Now, of whom are you asking this? Are you asking the speaker, or are you asking because you are aware of your own fragmentation? You are aware of your life, one thing in the office, another thing in the street; you are respectful to the boss and you kick the servant - which is to act fragmentarily. Are you aware of this fragmentary existence in yourself and are you therefore asking whether it is possible not to function in fragments, but wholly? Or do you want the speaker to tell you how to live wholly? Please follow this carefully. If he were foolish enough to tell you, would you live that way? Functioning in fragments, you would not. It is only fools that give advice. But if you looked at your fragments, not condemning, not identifying with one fragment that is pleasurable, that gives you delight, but if you were aware of each fragment - how one thinks politically and entirely differently religiously, how one treats one's wife, or husband - if you were aware of these fragments without identifying with any fragment, then you would ask: who is the observer? Is not the observer also a fragment which looks at other fragments? When one becomes aware of that fragment which looks at another fragment, one becomes totally aware of every fragment and also of the observer, who is the result of the fragmentation. So you will find, when you are so aware, that there is no fragmentation at all.

Questioner: Would you kindly tell us what to think of the processes of learning, knowing, remembering and understanding. And I would like you to tell us how do we get people together who have the right values, in the sense you have been describing in meditation. How do we get together people who are meditating in the sense that you are meditating?

Krishnamurti: How do we get people together who are meditating rightly? That is one of the questions. I don't know why you want to get people together who are meditating rightly. If you are meditating rightly, in the way we have talked about, you are with the people - right? It is only when you do not know what is right meditation, then you want to collect people and do propaganda.

Are there any other questions, sirs?

Questioner: What are learning, knowing, remembering and understanding? I want you to make a reply to me.

Krishnamurti: I will, sir. The question is what is learning, what is knowledge, and what is remembering?

Questioner: And what is understanding?

Krishnamurti: All right, sir, what is understanding? When do you understand? Is understanding intellectual? When you read a book or a phrase and say, "I understand it", what do you mean by that word `understand'? Do you understand it intellectually, like understanding a mechanical problem? You can study a machine and you can say, "Yes, I know how it functions, how it works, I have understood it". And when we use that phrase, "I understand you", what does it mean? What do you understand? - the complexity of something? Is it intellectual? Or is it emotional? Or merely sentimental? Can you understand something? Can you understand another, or can you understand yourself if you are sentimental, if you look at yourself fragmentarily? When you look at yourself with an ideology, with a formula (which is intellectual), do you understand yourself? You understand yourself when you look without the formula, see yourself actually as you are. So understanding comes only when the mind is quiet. You understand, sir? When I look at you and you look at me, when your mind is chattering, is elsewhere, comparing, judging, evaluating and you aren't listening, then you won't understand. But if you listen with attention, then that attention is not fragmentary, it is a total process and out of that quiet attention comes understanding. The other question is - what is learning? Are you tired? You are not tired?

Questioner: Go ahead.

Krishnamurti: "Go ahead"? So typical! That means you sit there and I do all the work. (Laughter) You don't work, you want to be spoon-fed. That is what has been done, that is how they have treated you for centuries, you have been spoon-fed by your teachers, by your authorities, by your books, by your saints - you don't want to work. You say, "Tell me all about it, what lies beyond the hills and the mountains and the earth", and you are satisfied with the description. That means you live on words and your life is shallow and empty. To understand you have to work, and you haven't worked this evening, the speaker has worked. If you had worked a little, you would have taken the journey and gone on.

Learning is one of the most complex things. To learn a language, to learn a technique is one thing; to become a first-class engineer, acquires a technique, knowledge, whether that knowledge is your experience or the experience of thousands of others, it is knowledge, scientific knowledge, technological knowledge, knowledge of language, knowledge that you acquire through criticism, comparison and so on - all that is knowledge, stored up. But knowledge is not learning. Learning is always in the active present; knowledge is always of the past and we live on the past, are satisfied with the past. To us knowledge is extraordinarily important; that is why we worship the erudite, the clever, the cunning. But if you are learning, that means `learning all the time', which is an active present, learning every minute: learning by watching and listening, learning by seeing and doing. Then you will see that learning is a constant movement without the past. Whereas knowledge is always of the past - I "have known", it is `my knowledge' `my remembrance', `my memory' - the past. But we are saying that a mind that is burdened with the past is a sorrowful mind and to understand sorrow is the beginning of enlightenment. And when you end sorrow there is bliss.

November 30, 1967


New Delhi 1967

New Delhi 4th Public Talk 30th November 1967

Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.


the 48 laws of power