Conversation With Swami Venkatesananda. Saanen 1969
Saanen 2nd Conversation with Swami Venkatesananda 26th July 1969
Swami Venkatesananda: Will you forgive me, Krishnaji, if I inflict myself on you for a little while more? We are sitting near each other and enquiring, listening and learning. Even so did the sage and the seeker, and that is the origin they say of the Upanishads. These Upanishads contain what are known as Mahavakyas, Great Sayings, which perhaps had the same effect upon the seeker then as your words have upon me now. May I beg of you to say what you think of them, are they still valid, or do they need revision or renewal?
I'll say what Mahavakyas are: Prajnanam Brahma, or as it is usually translated: consciousness is infinite, the absolute, the highest Truth. Aham Brahmasmi: I am that infinite, or I is that infinite, because the 'I' here does not refer to the ego. Tat Tvam-asi: Thou art that. Ayam Atma Brahma: The self is the infinite, or the individual is the infinite.
These were the four Mahavakyas used by the ancient sage to bring home the message to the student, and they were also sitting just like us, face to face, the guru and the disciple, the sage and the seeker.
Krishnaji: Yes, what is the question, sir?
Swamiji: What do you think of them? Are these Mahavakyas valid now? Do they need a revision or a renewal?
Krishnaji: These sayings, like "I am that", "Tat-Tvam-asi" and the other thing, what was that?
Swamiji: Prajnanam Brahma, that is: consciousness is Brahman.
Krishnaji: Isn't there a danger, sir, of repeating something not knowing what it means? "I am that." What does it actually mean?
Swamiji: Thou are that.
Krishnaji: Thou art that. What does that mean? One can say, I am the river. That river that has got tremendous volume behind it of water, moving, restless, pushing on and on, through many countries. I can say, "I am that river." That would be equally valid as, "I am Brahman."
Swamiji: Yes. Yes.
Krishnaji: Why do we say, "I am that"? And not the river, or the poor man, or the man that has no capacity, no intelligence, dull, this dullness brought about by heredity, by poverty, by degradation, all that! Why don't we say, "I am that also"? Why do we always attach ourselves to something which we suppose to be the highest?
Swamiji: 'That', perhaps, only means that which is unconditioned: Yo Vai Bhuma Tatsukham. That which is unconditioned.
Krishnaji: Unconditioned, yes.
Swamiji: So, since there is in us this urge to break all conditioning, we look for the unconditioned.
Krishnaji: Can a conditioned mind, can a mind that is small, petty, narrow, living on superficial entertainments, can that know or conceive, or understand, or feel, or observe the unconditioned?
Swamiji: No. But it can uncondition itself.
Krishnaji: That is all it can do.
Krishnaji: Not say, "There is the unconditioned, I am going to think about it", or "I am that". My point is, if I may point out, why is it that we always associate ourselves with what we think is the highest, and not what we think is the lowest?
Swamiji: Perhaps in Brahman there is no division between the highest and the lowest, that which is unconditioned.
Krishnaji: That's the point. When you say, "I am that", or "Thou are that", there is a statement of a supposed fact...
Krishnaji:... which may not be a fact at all.
Swamiji: Perhaps I should explain here again that the sage who uttered the Mahavakyas was believed to have had a direct experience of it.
Krishnaji: Now, if he had the experience of it, could he convey it to another?
Krishnaji: And also, sir, the question also arises, can one actually experience something which is not experienceable? We use the word 'experience' so easily - 'realize', 'experience', 'attain', 'self-realization', all these things - can one actually experience the feeling of supreme ecstasy? Let's take that for the moment, that word. Can one experience it? Wait sir, wait.
As you say, the infinite, can one experience the infinite? This is really quite a fundamental question, not only here but in life. We can experience something which we have already known. I experience meeting you. That's an experience, meeting you, or you meeting me, or my meeting X. And when I meet you next time I recognize you, don't I? I say, "Yes, I met him at Gstaad." So there is in experience the factor of recognition.
Swamiji: Yes. That is objective experience.
Krishnaji: If I hadn't met you I wouldn't experience, I'd go by, you'd pass me by. There is in all experiencing, isn't there, a factor of recognition?
Krishnaji: Otherwise it is not an experience. I meet you - is that an experience?
Swamiji: Objective experience.
Krishnaji: It can be an experience, can't it? I meet you for the first time. Then what takes place in that first meeting of two people? What takes place?
Swamiji: An impression, impression of like.
Krishnaji: An impression of like or dislike, such as, "He's a very intelligent man", or "He's a stupid man", or "He should be this or that". It is all based on my background of judgment, on my values, on my prejudices, likes and dislikes, on my bias, on my conditioning, the background. That background meets you and judges you. The judgment, the evaluation, is what we call experience.
Swamiji: But isn't there, Krishnaji, another...
Krishnaji: Wait, sir, let me finish this. Experience is after all the response to a challenge, isn't it? The reaction to a challenge. I meet you and I react. If I didn't react at all, with any sense of like, dislike, prejudice, what would take place?
Krishnaji: What would happen in a relationship in which the one - you, perhaps - have no prejudice, no reaction; you are living in quite a different state and you meet me. Then what takes place?
Krishnaji: I must recognize that peace in you, that quality in you, otherwise I just pass you by. So when we say, "Experience the highest", can the mind, which is conditioned, which is prejudiced, frightened, experience the highest?
Swamiji: Obviously not.
Krishnaji: Obviously not. And the fear, the prejudice, the excitement, the stupidity is the entity that says, "I am going to experience the highest." When that stupidity, fear, anxiety, conditioning ceases, is there experiencing of the highest at all?
Swamiji: Experiencing of 'that'.
Krishnaji: No, I haven't made myself clear. If the entity, which is the fear, the anxiety, the guilt and all the rest of it, if that entity has dissolved itself from fear and so on, what is there to experience?
Swamiji: Now that beautiful question was actually put in just so many words, by another sage. He asked the very same question: Vijnataram Are Kena Vijaniyat: "You are the knower, how can you know the knower?" "You are the experiences!"
But there is one suggestion that Vedanta gives and that is: we have so far been talking about an objective experience: Paroksanubhuti. Isn't there another experience? Not my meeting X Y Z, but the feeling 'I am', which is not because I meet desire somewhere, or because I confronted desire somewhere else. I don't even go and ask a doctor or somebody to certify that 'I am'. But there is this feeling, there is this knowledge, 'I am'. This experience seems to be totally different from objective experience.
Krishnaji: Sir, what is the purpose of experience?
Swamiji: Exactly what you have been saying: to get rid of the fears, and get rid of all the complexes, all the conditioning. To see what I am, in truth, when I am not conditioned.
Krishnaji: No, sir. I mean: I am dull.
Swamiji: Am I dull?
Krishnaji: I am dull; and because I see you, or X Y Z, who is very clever, very bright, very intelligent...
Swamiji:... there is comparison.
Krishnaji: Comparison: through comparing, I find myself that I am very dull. And I say, "Yes, I am dull, what am I to do?", and just remain in my dullness. Life comes along, an incident takes place, which shakes me up. I wake up for a moment and struggle, struggle not to be dull, to be a little more intelligent, and so on. So experience generally has the significance of waking you up, giving you a challenge to which you have to respond. Either you respond to it adequately, or inadequately. If it is inadequate, the response then becomes a medium of pain, struggle, fight, quarrel, you know. But if you respond to it adequately, that is fully, you are the challenge. You are the challenge, not the challenged, but you are that. Therefore you need no challenge at all, if you are adequately responding all the time to everything.
Swamiji: That is beautiful, but (laughing) how does one get there?
Krishnaji: Ah, wait, sir. Just let us see the need for experience at all. I think this is really extraordinary, if you can go into it. Why do human beings demand not only objective experience, which one can understand - in going to the moon they have collected a lot of information, a lot of data, a lot of...
Krishnaji: That kind of experience is perhaps necessary, because it furthers knowledge, knowledge of factual, objective things. Now apart from that kind of experience, is there any necessity for experience at all?
Krishnaji: Yes. I don't like to use 'subjective' and 'objective'. Is there the need of experience at all? We have said: experience is the response to a challenge. I challenge you, I ask, 'Why?' You may respond to it, and say, "Yes, perfectly right, I am with you." Why? But the moment there is any kind of resistance to that question, 'Why?', you are already responding inadequately. And therefore there is conflict between us, between the challenge and the response. Now, that's one thing. Now there is a desire to experience, let's say god, something supreme, the highest - the highest happiness, the highest ecstasy, bliss, a sense of peace, whatever you like. Can the mind experience it at all?
Krishnaji: Then what does experience it?
Swamiji: Do you want us to enquire what the mind is?
Swamiji: What the 'I' is?
Krishnaji: No! Why does the 'I', me or you, or they or we, demand experience? - that is my point - demand the experience of the highest, which promises happiness, or ecstasy, bliss or peace?
Swamiji: Obviously because in the present state we feel inadequate.
Krishnaji: That's all. That's all.
Krishnaji: Being in a state in which there is no peace, we want to experience a state which is absolute, permanent, eternal peace.
Swamiji: It is not so much that I am restless, and there is a state of peace; I want to know what is this feeling, "I am restless". Is the 'I' restless, or is the 'I' dull? Am I dull, or is dullness only a condition which I can shake off?
Krishnaji: Now who is the entity that shakes it off?
Swamiji: Wakes up. The 'I' wakes up.
Krishnaji: No, sir. That's the difficulty. Let's finish this first. I am unhappy, miserable, laden with sorrow. And I want to experience something which has no sorrow. That is my craving. I have an ideal, a principle, an end, which by struggling towards it I will ultimately get that. That's my craving. I want to experience that and hold on to that experience. That is what human beings want - apart from all the clever sayings, clever coverings.
Swamiji: Yes, yes; and that is perhaps the reason why another very great South Indian sage said: Asai Arumin Asai Arumin Isanodayinum Asai Arumin. It's very good really.
Krishnaji: What's that?
Swamiji: He said, "Cut down all these cravings. Even the craving to be one with god, cut it down", he says.
Krishnaji: Yes, I understand. Now wait a minute. If I, if the mind can free itself from this agony, then what is the need of asking for an experience of the supreme? There won't be.
Swamiji: No. Certainly.
Krishnaji: It is no longer caught in its own conditioning. Therefore it is something else; it is living in a different dimension. Therefore the desire to experience the highest is essentially wrong.
Swamiji: If it is a desire.
Krishnaji: Whatever it is! How do I know the highest? Because the sages have talked of it? I don't accept the sages. They might be caught in illusion, they might be talking nonsense or sense. I don't know; I am not interested. I find that as long as the mind is in a state of fear, it wants to escape from it, and it projects an idea of the supreme, and wants to experience that. But if it frees itself from its own agony, then it is altogether in a different state. It doesn't even ask for the experience because it is at a different level.
Swamiji: Quite, quite.
Krishnaji: Now, why do the sages, according to what you have said, say, "You must experience that, you must be that, you must realize that"?
Swamiji: They didn't say, "You must".
Krishnaji: Put it any way you like. Why should they say all these things? Would it not be better to say, "Look here, my friends, get rid of your fear. Get rid of your beastly antagonism, get rid of your childishness, and when you have done that..."
Swamiji:... nothing more remains.
Krishnaji: Nothing more. You'll find out the beauty of it. You don't have to ask, then.
Swamiji: Fantastic, fantastic!
Krishnaji: You see, sir, the other way is such a hypocritical state; it leads to hypocrisy. I am seeking God, but I am all the time kicking people. (Laughs)
Swamiji: Yes, that could be hypocrisy.
Krishnaji: It is, it is.
Swamiji: That leads me on to the last and perhaps very impertinent question.
Krishnaji: No, sir, there is no impertinence.
Swamiji: I am neither flattering you, nor insulting you, Krishnaji, when I say that it is a great experience to sit near you and talk to you like this. Your message is great, and you have been talking for over forty years of things you have considered very important to man. Now three questions. Do you think a man can communicate it to another man? Question number one. Do you think that others can communicate it to still others? If so, how?
Krishnaji: Communicate what, sir?
Swamiji: This message, that you have dedicated your life to. What would you call it? You may call it message.
Krishnaji: Yes, call it what you like, it doesn't matter. Am I, the person who is speaking, is he conveying a message, telling you a message?
Swamiji: No. You may call it an awakening, a questioning.
Krishnaji: No, no. I am asking, sir. Just look at it.
Swamiji: I guess we feel so, the listeners.
Krishnaji: What is he saying? He says, "Look, look at yourself."
Krishnaji: Nothing more.
Swamiji: Nothing more is necessary.
Krishnaji: Nothing more is necessary. Look at yourself. Observe yourself. Go into yourself, because in this state as we are, we will create a monstrous world. You may go to the Moon, you may go further, to Venus, Mars and all the rest of it, but you will always carry yourself over there. Change yourself first! Change yourself - not first - change yourself. Therefore to change, look at yourself, go into yourself, observe, listen, learn. That's not a message. You can do it yourself if you want to.
Swamiji: But somebody has to tell...
Krishnaji: I am telling you. I say, "Look, look at this marvellous tree; look at this beautiful African flower."
Swamiji: Till you said that, I hadn't looked at it.
Krishnaji: Ah! Why?
Krishnaji: Why? It is there, round you.
Krishnaji: Why didn't you look?
Swamiji: There could be a thousand answers.
Krishnaji: No, no. I asked you to look at that flower. By my asking you to look at that flower, do you look at that flower?
Swamiji: I have the opportunity, yes.
Krishnaji: No. Do you really look at that flower because somebody asks you to look at that flower?
Krishnaji : No, you can't. That's just it. I say to you, "You are hungry." Are you hungry because I say it?
Krishnaji: You know when you are hungry. Now you know when you are hungry but yet you want somebody to tell you to look at the flower.
Swamiji: I may know when I am hungry, but it is the mother that tells me where the food is.
Krishnaji: No, no. We're not talking about where the food is, but we are saying 'hunger'. You know when you're hungry. But why should somebody tell you to look at a flower?
Swamiji: Because I am not hungry to look at the flower.
Krishnaji: Why not?
Swamiji: I am satisfied with something else.
Krishnaji: No. Why aren't you looking at that flower? Why? I think first of all nature has no value at all for most of us. We say, "Well, I can see the tree any time I want to." That's one thing. Also, we are so concentrated upon our own worries, our own hopes, our own desires and experiences, that we shut ourselves in a cage of our own thinking; and we don't look beyond it. He says, "Don't do that. Look at everything and through looking at everything you'll discover your cage." That's all.
Swamiji: Isn't that a message?
Krishnaji: It is not a message in the sense...
Krishnaji: It doesn't matter what you call it - call it a message. All right. I tell you that. You play with it, or take it very seriously. And if it is very serious for you, you naturally tell it to somebody else. You don't have to say, "I am going to make propaganda about it."
Swamiji: No, no.
Krishnaji: You will say, "Look at the beauty of those flowers."
Krishnaji: You say that. And the person doesn't listen to you. He says, "What are you talking about, I want a whisky". And there it is - finished! So is propaganda necessary?
Swamiji: Propagation, sir.
Krishnaji: Yes, propagation, that is what, propagate. To bring out, to cultivate.
Swamiji: Cultivation is necessary.
Krishnaji: All these questions are rather... What do you say, sir?
Swamiji: I don't know.
Krishnaji: What are we talking about? What is it we are talking about?
Swamiji: Yes. We are talking about these forty years of talking.
Krishnaji: More than forty years.
Swamiji: Yes, millions of people have been talking for centuries, wasting their...
Krishnaji: For forty five years we have been talking, yes. We have been propagating...
Swamiji: Or something which is extremely important, which I'm sure you consider is extremely important.
Krishnaji: Otherwise I wouldn't talk.
Swamiji: Exactly. I hope you will forgive me for all this impertinence. I have read some of the books you have published, but this experience of sitting and talking to you...
Krishnaji:... is different from reading a book.
Swamiji: Completely, completely, different!
Krishnaji: I agree.
Swamiji: Last night I read one and there was a little more meaning. How does one bring that about?
Krishnaji: All right, sir. You are a serious person, and the other person being serious there is a contact, there is a relationship, there is a coming together in seriousness. But if you're not serious, you will just say, "Well, it's very nice talking about all these things, but what's it all about?", and walk away.
Krishnaji: Surely, sir, with any kind of relationship that has meaning there must be a meeting at the same level, at the same time, with the same intensity, otherwise there is no communication, there is no relationship. And perhaps that's what takes place when we are sitting together here. Because one feels the urgency of something and the intensity of it, there is a relationship established which is quite different from reading a book.
Swamiji: A book has no life.
Krishnaji: Printed words have no life, but you can give life to the printed word if you are serious.
Swamiji: So how does it go on from there?
Krishnaji: From there you say, is it possible to convey to others this quality of urgency, this quality of intensity, and action which is always taking place now?
Swamiji: Really now?
Krishnaji: Yes, not tomorrow or yesterday.
Swamiji: Action, which means observation at the same level.
Krishnaji: And is always functioning - seeing and acting, seeing, acting, seeing, acting.
Krishnaji: How is this to take place? First of all, sir, very few people, as we said yesterday, about ninety-five per cent are not interested in all this.
Swamiji: Five per cent more!
Krishnaji: Five per cent more since yesterday. Quite right! Most of them are not interested. They play with it. There are very, very few really serious people. Ninety-five per cent say, "Well, if you are entertaining it's all right, but if you are not, you're not welcome" - entertainment, according to their idea of entertainment. Then what will you do? Knowing there are only very, very few people in the world who are really desperately serious, what will you do? You talk to them, and you talk to the people who want to be entertained. But you don't care whether they listen to you or don't listen.
Swamiji: Thank you. Thank you.
Krishnaji: Either. I don't say, to the people who need crutches, offer crutches!
Krishnaji: Nor to the people who want comfort, an avenue of escape - 'Go away somewhere else.'
Swamiji: To the Palace Hotel!
Krishnaji: I think, sir, that is perhaps what has taken place in all these religions, all the so-called teachers. They have said, "I must help this man, that man, that other man."
Krishnaji: The ignorant, the semi-ignorant, and the very intelligent. Each must have his particular form of food. They never said, "All right, I am not concerned. I just offer the flower, let them smell it, let them destroy it, let them cook it, let them tear it to pieces. I have nothing to do with it."
Swamiji: Well, they glorify that other attitude, the Bodhisattva ideal.
Krishnaji: Again, the Bodhisattva ideal - is it not an invention of our own desperate hope, desire for some kind of solace? The Maitreya Bodhisattva, the idea that He has relinquished the ultimate in life, enlightenment, and is waiting for all humanity, or part of humanity...
Swamiji: Thank you.
Krishnaji: What is actually Vedanta?
Swamiji: The word means, 'The end of the Vedas'.
Krishnaji: Yes, Vedanta, the end of the Vedas.
Swamiji: The word.
Krishnaji: Sir, that's just it! End of the Vedas.
Swamiji: Not in the manner of 'full stop'.
Krishnaji: I am saying it is the end of all knowledge.
Swamiji: The goal of it.
Krishnaji: Veda is what they have talked about.
Krishnaji: Knowledge, that means the end of knowledge.
Swamiji: Quite right, quite right. Yes, the end of knowledge; where knowledge matters no more.
Krishnaji: Therefore, leave it.
Krishnaji: Why proceed from there to describe what it is not?
Swamiji: As I've been sitting and listening to you, I've thought of another sage who is reported to have gone to another greater one. And he says, "Look my mind is restless; please tell me what must I do." And the older man says, "Give me a list of what you know already, so that I can proceed from there." He replies, "Oh, it will take a long time, because I have all the formulas, all the shastras, all of that." The sage answers, "But that's only a set of words. All those words are contained in the dictionary, it means nothing. Now what do you know?" He says, "That is what I know. I don't know anything else."
Krishnaji: Vedanta, as it says, means the end of knowledge.
Swamiji: Yes, it's wonderful, I never thought of it before: the end of knowledge.
Krishnaji: Freedom from knowledge.
Swamiji: Yes indeed.
Krishnaji: Then why have they not kept to that?
Swamiji: Their contention is that you have to pass through it in order to come out of it.
Krishnaji: Pass through what?
Swamiji: Through all this knowledge, all this muck, and then discard it. Parivedya Lokan Lokajitan Brahmano Nirvedamayat. That is, "After examining all these things and finding that they are of no use to you, then you must step out of it."
Krishnaji: Wait a minute, sir. Then why must I acquire it? If Vedanta means the end of knowledge, which the word itself means, the ending of Vedas, which is knowledge, then why should I go through all the laborious process of acquiring knowledge, and then discarding it?
Swamiji: Otherwise you wouldn't be in Vedanta. The end of knowledge is, having acquired this knowledge, coming to the end of it.
Krishnaji: Why should I acquire it?
Swamiji: Well, so that it can be ended.
Krishnaji: No, no. Why should I acquire it? Why should not I, from the very beginning, see what knowledge is and discard it?
Swamiji: See what knowledge is?
Krishnaji: And discard, discard all that: never accumulate. Vedanta means the end of accumulating knowledge.
Swamiji: That's it. That's correct.
Krishnaji: Then why should I accumulate?
Swamiji: Pass through, perhaps.
Krishnaji: Pass through? Why should I? Knowledge: I know fire burns. I know when I am hungry I must eat. I know I mustn't hit you; I don't hit you, therefore I don't hit you. I don't go through the process of hitting you, acquiring the knowledge that I'll be hurt again. So each day I discard. I free myself from what I have learnt, every minute. So every minute is the end of knowledge.
Swamiji: Yes, right.
Krishnaji: Now if you and I accept that, that is a fact, that's the only way to live, otherwise you can't live. Then why have they said, "You must go through all the knowledge, through all this?" Why don't they tell me, "Look my friend, as you live from day to day acquiring knowledge, end it each day"? - not Vedanta.
Swamiji: No, no.
Krishnaji: Live it!
Swamiji: Quite right. Again this division, classification.
Krishnaji: That's just it. We are back again.
Swamiji: Back again.
Krishnaji: We're back again to a fragment, the fragmentation of life.
Swamiji: Yes. But I'm too dull, I can't get there; so I'd rather acquire all this.
Krishnaji: Yes, and then discard it.
Swamiji: In the religious or spiritual history of India, there have been sages who were born sages: the Ramana Maharishi, the Shuka Maharishi, etc., etc. Well, they were allowed to discard knowledge even before acquiring it. And in their cases of course, the usual argument was that they had done it all...
Krishnaji: In their past lives.
Swamiji:... in their past lives.
Krishnaji: That's just it, sir. No, sir, apart from the acquiring of knowledge and the ending of knowledge, what does Vedanta say?
Swamiji: Vedanta describes the relationship between the individual and the Cosmic.
Krishnaji: The Eternal.
Swamiji: The Cosmic, or the Infinite, or whatever it is. It starts well: Isavasyam Idam Sarvam Yat Kimcha Jagatyam Jagat: "Till the whole universe is pervaded by that one..."
Krishnaji: That one thing.
Swamiji:... and so on. And then it's mostly this, a dialogue between a master and his disciple.
Krishnaji: Sir, isn't it extraordinary, there has always been in India this teacher and disciple, teacher and disciple?
Swamiji: Yes, Guru.
Krishnaji: But they never said, "You are the teacher as well as the pupil."
Swamiji: Occasionally they did.
Krishnaji: But always with hesitation, with apprehension. But why? The fact is, you are the teacher and you are the pupil. Otherwise you are lost, if you depend on anybody else. That's one factor. And also I would like to ask why, in songs, in Hindu literature, they have praised the beauty of nature, the trees, the flowers, the rivers, the birds. Why is it most people in India have no feeling for all that?
Swamiji: Because they are dead?
Krishnaji: Why? And yet they talk about the beauty, the literature, they quote Sanskrit, and Sanskrit itself is the most beautiful language. They have lost it.
Swamiji: They have no feeling for...
Krishnaji: Why? And they have no feeling for the poor man.
Swamiji: Yes, that is the worst tragedy of all.
Krishnaji: I know. The squalor, the dirt.
Swamiji: And heaven knows from where they got this idea because it is not found in any of the scriptures. That means we are repeating the scriptures without realizing their meaning.
Krishnaji: That's it.
Swamiji: Even Krishna says: Ishwara Sarvabhutanam Hriddesserjuna isthati, "I am seated in the hearts of all beings." Nobody bothers about the hearts of all beings. What would you think is the cause? They repeat it daily, every morning they are asked to repeat a chapter of the Bhagavad Gita.
Krishnaji: Every morning they do Puja and the repetition of things.
Swamiji: Now why have they lost the meaning? Obviously great meaning was put into those words by the authors. We are even asked to repeat them every day in order that we might keep...
Swamiji: Keep them alive. When and how did I kill the spirit? How was it possible? And naturally, how to prevent it?
Krishnaji: What do you think is the reason, sir? No, you know India better.
Swamiji: I am shocked at it.
Krishnaji: Why do you think it happens? Is it over population?
Swamiji: No, overpopulation is a result, not the cause.
Krishnaji: Yes. Is it that they have accepted this tradition, this authority?
Swamiji: But the tradition says something good.
Krishnaji: But they have accepted it, therefore they never questioned it. Sir, I have seen M.A's and B.A's in India, who have passed degrees, are clever, brainy, but they wouldn't know how to put a flower on a table. They know nothing but memory, memory, the cultivation of memory. Isn't that one of the causes?
Swamiji: Perhaps. Mere memorizing.
Krishnaji: Memorizing everything.
Swamiji: Without thinking. Why does man refuse to think?
Krishnaji: Oh, that's different: indolence, fear, wanting always to tread the traditional path so that he doesn't go wrong.
Swamiji: But we have discarded the tradition which they say didn't suit us.
Krishnaji: Of course. But we find a new tradition that suits us, and therefore keeps us safe.
Swamiji: We never felt that the healthy tradition is a good tradition to keep.
Krishnaji: Throw out all tradition! Begin! Let's find out, sir, whether these teachers and gurus and sages, have really helped people. Has Marx really helped people?
Krishnaji: They have imposed their ideas on them.
Swamiji: And others have used the same ideas.
Krishnaji: Therefore I question this whole thing, because they are really not concerned with people's happiness.
Swamiji: Though they say so.
Krishnaji: If the Marxists and all those Soviet leaders are really interested in the people - people - then there would be no concentration camps. There would be freedom. There would be no repressive measures.
Swamiji: But I suppose they think, we have to imprison the lunatics.
Krishnaji: That's it. The lunatic is a man who questions my authority. The authority of the Soviets, the authority of whatever it is.
Swamiji: Yesterday's ruler might be today's lunatic.
Krishnaji: That always happens, that's inevitable, that's why I'm asking, whether it's not important to make man, a human being, realize that he's solely responsible.
Swamiji: Each one.
Krishnaji: Absolutely! For what he does, what he thinks, how he acts. Otherwise we end up in this memorizing, and complete blindness.
Swamiji: That is your message. And how to nail it?
Krishnaji: By driving it in every day (laughs). And driving it into oneself. Because man is so eager to put his responsibility on others. The army is the safest escape, because I'm told what to do. I don't have any responsibility. They have all thought it out, what I should do, what I should think, how I should act, how I should carry the gun, how I should shoot - and finished! They provide me with a meal, sleeping-quarters, and for sex you can go to the village. That's the end of it. And strangely they talk about Karma.
Swamiji: That is Karma. Prarabdha Karma.
Krishnaji: They insist on Karma.
Swamiji: That is Karma. I was a Brahmin, and I know what happened. We played with that Karma and then it came back on us.
Krishnaji: Playing havoc now in India.
Swamiji: We toyed with the idea of Karma and we said: it's your Karma, you must suffer. My Karma is good and so I'm divorced from it all; I'm the landlord. And now they have turned the tables.
Swamiji: I asked someone who was a vegetarian - she's a fanatical vegetarian - someone asked, "Is pure vegetarianism absolutely necessary for yoga practice?" I said, "Not so important. Let's talk about something else." And she was horrified. She came back to me and said, "How can you say that? You can't say that vegetarianism is of secondary value. You must say it's of primary value." I replied, "Forgive me. I said something, but it doesn't matter." I then asked her, "Do you believe in war, defence forces, defending your country and so on?" "Yes," she said, "otherwise how can we live - we have to." I replied, "If I call you a cannibal, how do you react to that? This man kills a small animal to sustain his life, but you are willing to kill people to sustain yours. Like a cannibal." She didn't like that - but I think she saw the point later.
Swamiji: It's so fantastic. People don't want to think. And I suppose with you, Krishnaji, if you say the truth, you become very unpopular. A priest said: Apriyasya Tu Pathyasya Vakta Shrota Na Vidyate. Very beautiful! "People love to hear pleasant things; pleasant to say and pleasant to hear." If you say something which is not so pleasant, but if it is the truth, one doesn't want to say and one doesn't want to hear it.
Conversation With Swami Venkatesananda. Saanen 1969
Saanen 2nd Conversation with Swami Venkatesananda 26th July 1969
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