Madras 4th Public Talk 1st January 1978
We have been talking about the art of listening, and the art of observation, and I'd like a little bit to talk about the art of learning. We said, the art of listening is not to translate what you hear into your own particular jargon, into your own particular vernacular, or Sanskrit English, or your own particular language, but to listen actually to what is being said without making an idea of it, which I am afraid most of us do. We never listen to the thing itself, but make something out of it, either to suit ourselves or make it fit into our own particular way of thinking. That obviously prevents actual listening.
And also we were talking about the art of observation. To observe without distortion, without our particular prejudices and all the idiosyncrasies and tendencies to interfere with what we observe. We talked about that at some length also. Because when you observe something, specially yourself, without any distortion, without liking or disliking, without the idea of punishment and reward, then that which you observe freely, yourself, undergoes a radical transformation. I do not know if you have experimented with it, if you have tested it, or you are merely listening to a talk just as you would listen to other talks. Probably you are all professional listeners! So it becomes rather difficult when we are talking about serious matters that you are not testing it in your own daily life, that you are not going into it fully and deeply to find out if what the speaker is saying is true or false.
And the art of learning. I think this is rather important, perhaps for some of you it is rather new. For most of us learning implies, doesn't it, memorizing, storing away what you have heard, or what you have learnt, store away in the brain and trot it out when it is necessary. That's what we call learning from school days, through university, if you are lucky enough to go through university and so on. That is, gathered information, store it up as knowledge and act, either skilfully or not skilfully according to that knowledge. This is what we call learning. Isn't that so? I am not saying it is something extraordinary. But all of us function in our daily life from stored up memories, as knowledge, either very, very skilfully, or not at all. I think there is another way of learning, which is not only to store up knowledge, because we must have knowledge to function in daily life, technological, engineering, mathematical, professorial, scientific, doctor and so on, must have that kind of knowledge. But there is, I think, a way of learning which is not repetitive, which is not routine, which is not institutionalized way of thinking, tradition, but entirely different. This, I would like to begin if I may to talk about it, and perhaps we can both communicate with each other what the speaker means by learning.
That is, to learn apart from acquiring knowledge and storing it up and acting according to that, but learning without storing up knowledge. Learning to have an insight into the problem of existence, or problem of poverty, problem of religion and organization, to have an insight into it which is not intellectual, not analytical, but to have clear sight in that and act instantly according to that. Am I making any sense? Please help me to communicate to you what I am thinking about or feeling. Don't just go off to sleep. Just help me to convey this to each other. I think this is very important because to us skill, a capacity, has become extraordinarily important because it encourages the self, the 'me'. Right? The greater the skill the greater power, greater position, greater influence and all the rest of it, which is essentially the expression of the 'me', the self, ultimately selfishness. It encourages deep rooted selfishness. And if one is in search of what is truth, the truth, then one must be free of those activities that are merely memorial.
To have an insight into, say, tradition. To have an insight into it, not learn all about tradition, all the arguments against or for tradition, but have a deep insight into the whole nature and the structure of tradition, how it acts, what are its dangers and so on, to have immediate insight into that, and acting from that insight. So that you are acting without calculation, without personal demands, without personal prejudices and so on. You have got an insight into something that is true and are acting from that, then it is ultimate skill, which does not build up the self. Am I conveying something? Are we meeting each other on this?
So there is a way of learning which is not only the storing of memory but also freedom from the repetitive activity which memory cultivates. So when the speaker makes a statement, as I am going to make it now, that the ending of sorrow is the beginning of wisdom - the ending of sorrow is the beginning of wisdom - how do you receive it. What is your immediate reaction to it, not calculated reaction, not argumentative reaction, you hear a statement of that kind, how do you respond to it? Do you say, I have heard this before, who said it, I don't quite remember, is it so, it sounds rather good, but has it any validity? Are you comparing what is said, that statement, with somebody else's, or you have immediate insight into it and see the extraordinary truth of it and therefore the perception of that is a total action, not a fragmentary action. Am I conveying this?
So we are saying, that there is a way of learning which is having insight. When one has an insight it is not remembered. Each new insight is something fresh. Therefore action then is constantly not repetitive but constantly creative. I wonder if you get all this.
We will go into it as we go along, because we are going to talk about, as we talked about yesterday, fear, how every human being has this burden of fear. And we went into it. We said that fear is the movement of time. Just listen to it. The speaker says, fear, you know fear, don't you, fear is the movement of time. Now how do you receive it, share it, what is your response to it? Is it a response of insight and therefore total comprehension of it, or is it a fragmentary approach? You understand? Am I making myself clear, somewhat? I said fear is the movement of time. Thought is movement. Right? So thought is the movement of time. Thought is the response of memory, knowledge, which is the past. So thought springs from the past, modifies itself in the present and goes on, which is a movement from the past through the present to the future, it's a movement. All movement implies time. To go from here to Bangalore, your next village, or whatever it is, requires time. So thought is the movement of time. Right? At least verbally be clear on this - intellectually if you would prefer. I personally don't like that word 'intellectual' because it is rather a shoddy word. The intellectuals have done great harm, I'm afraid, in the world. Because they first encourage you to be communists, say a marvellous thing will happen, and then later on they get disillusioned with it, they withdraw and you are stuck. This is happening all over the world all the time. So I am rather wary of the intellectuals.
So when one says, as the speaker says, fear is the movement of time, do you capture the significance of it and see the depth of it instantly? Or your mind is arguing with it, or drawing a conclusion from it? You see the difference? So we ought to go into the question a little bit of what is time. There is obviously the time by the watch, chronological time, there is time by the rising of the sun and the setting of the sun, time as tomorrow when you are going off to do something; time as yesterday; time as future. Right? That's simple. Now we are questioning - please listen - if there is psychological time at all. Do you understand my question? Psychologically we think we have time. When you say, I will be good, I will achieve a state of mind when I will have peace, I will become the prime minister, I will become the executive, the top dog. So that is a movement of time. Right? Physically there is the movement of time, and we are questioning whether there is psychological time at all. Do you understand my question? Am I making my question clear at least? Do say yes, or no. Question, not the answer, not the explanation, which I am going to go into, but the question itself.
Now it matters very much how you approach a question. Perhaps in the very question is the answer. So it matter very much how you come to question and how you approach the answer. Right? Now how are you approaching this question? That is, is there psychological time at all? That is, I will become something. Right? That is time. I am violent but I will not be violent. That is in the future. So that means time. I am unhappy but I will become happy, granted certain things and so on and so on. So all that implies time, psychologically. That is, I have had an experience which was extraordinary, lovely, beautiful, etc., and it has gone and I hope to have it again, and I go after gurus and all the lot. So all that implies psychologically time. Right? The moment you use the words 'I will', that implies time. Psychological time. So I am questioning, the speaker is questioning whether such time actually exists at all. Do you understand my question? How do you approach that question?
Please, sir, just listen, don't question, we are going to have a discussion the day after tomorrow, under the trees in the morning so you can bombard me with questions then. But I am asking you how do you approach this question, please listen to it, learn from it. The question is - first of all why do you put such a question. I am putting it, probably you have never put it, I am putting it, and you will ask me, why do you put such a question. I will tell you why I put it. I question the whole evolutionary psychological process altogether. Do you understand? That is, biologically we can't grow a fourth arm, or a second head, man's biological evolution has come to the highest possible, physically. That has taken a million years. And we may be under that misapprehension that psychologically it is the same. Inwardly we will make progress, eventually reaching enlightenment, god, whatever you like to call it. Now the speaker says, such time doesn't exist at all. You understand? So I put this question to you and how do you approach it. Obviously if you are articulate, and I hope you are, you will say, I doubt it. Because if you say there is no time at all, psychologically, then I have no hope. You understand the question. That is why I want you to find out how you approach it. The speaker is denying all hope, therefore you must receive it with a shock, it must be a shock to you if you really understood it. So are you approaching the question with a shocked mind or are you saying, now let me listen? You understand? Let me find out, let me learn, not memorize, let me have an insight into this enormous truth. It may be an enormous truth or an enormous lie. You understand?
So it matters immensely how you approach the question, any question. Because in the very question itself and the approach is the answer. I am going to go into it. Are you working with me? We are working together? Or a`` you merely casually listening? You understand? Are you ploughing all the time and never sowing? Or, you are ploughing and sowing together? You understand? Which is it you are doing? Sowing means action in daily life. But if you all the time plough, plough, plough, which you probably do, intellectually, argumentatively, traditionally, then you never sow. So what is it that you are doing? Sorry to put so many questions to you.
So we are asking is there psychological time at all? Do you understand my meaning now? Or is there only fact, the actual and therefore no future to the actual. I wonder if you see that. Look, sir, we are educated from childhood, religiously as well as sociologically and in every way to live in a world of duality. Right? Not only duality of man, woman, darkness and light, but psychologically, inwardly to live in a world of opposites. Right? And these opposites are endless corridors. Right? Now the speaker is questioning whether there is an opposite at all - though all your sacred books say there is an opposite, you have to find it - forgive me, I don't know all the names of it. So you have been educated, and the speaker says there is no opposite, only 'what is'. Right? Just go into it, play with it.
The opposite of violence is non-violence. Right? But non-violence is not factual, is not actual, but violence is actual. Right? Oh, my lord! Are we meeting each other somewhere? So the opposite is the invention of thought because it doesn't know how to deal with 'what is'. I wonder if you understand this. Are we meeting each other somewhere. Please, I must go on because I have a lot to talk about.
Is there an opposite to hate? Or only the fact of hate, the actuality of that feeling, and not the opposite of it. For most people the opposite exists. And I am saying, why does it exist. Why is there the opposite of hate? Call it love, call it goodness, whatever - why? Is it because we don't know how to deal with the fact of hate, 'what is', and so we think by having an opposite to it it will help us to get rid of hate. Having an ideal, which is non-factual, non-actual, we hope that will help us to get rid of that which is. Right? I wonder if you understand, it's simple enough. So we have invented the opposite, but the fact is 'what is'. When you are concerned only with 'what is' there is no opposite, there is no conflict with the opposite. Right?
So we are enquiring into whether there is time psychologically at all. Which means, is there an opposite of 'what is', now? You understand? I am in despair because I have lost my son, I have lost my job, I have lost my grandmother, whatever it is - I'm in despair. And I don't know how to solve this thing. Right? I am in despair, I cry, I am miserable, unhappy, and you come along and tell me, 'Look, old boy, you have to go through it, and come out of it and you will be happy, it is an experience, it is a lesson, it is your responsibility' or whatever, you give me all the explanations. Which is what? You are giving me hope. So out of my desperation you help me to escape from it and give me a hope. Now giving me hope is psychologically time. Right? So the speaker says such time doesn't exist at all, you have to deal with the fact of desperation. Right? Not try to achieve a state in which there is no desperation. So psychologically there is no evolution, there is no 'I' becoming better and better and better. Which is sheer nonsense, anyhow.
So time exists only in relation to knowledge and its action where it is absolutely necessary, otherwise there is no other time. Do you understand what it means? Either you live totally complete now and never again, which means a terrible statement to accept. I wonder if you see that. Because it takes away from you every sense of hope, which means you have to face actually 'what is', and not try to cultivate its opposite. Do you understand now? So you are now confronted with actually what is going on. And, as I said, if you can observe it without any distortion, if I can observe my despair, without any distortion, that means without any hope, without wanting to transform it, without wanting to run away from it, suppress it, but actually observe as though through a microscope without any conclusion, direction, just to observe, and that very observation transforms my desperation. I wonder if you get it. Will you test it out? Will you? And not go off into the opposite, because your whole habit, tradition is to go off to the opposite. So when you realize that psychological time doesn't come in at all.
So we said, fear is the movement of time. And time has a stop. This is, again how do you receive such a statement. You understand? Is this all too much for an evening? I must go on because I want to tell you so many things, learn from each other.
And now we must go into the question of the other side of the coin of fear which is pleasure. Right? Do you want to go into it? What is pleasure, and why does man throughout the centuries, millennia, pursue this thing at all costs, pleasure, why? Why do you, as a human being, pursue pleasure and avoid fear, and all the rest of it? Not only sexual pleasure, but pleasure of a position, status, pleasure of having a very good body, pleasure of achievement, pleasure of success, pleasure of possessing money and so on and so on. You are following all this? Why do you pursue pleasure? And it has become tremendously important in life, why? Go on, sir, answer these questions. When you go to a guru and obey all the silly things he trots out, and it gives you great pleasure to follow him - why? And does it give you pleasure now, sitting here, listening to the speaker? I doubt it!
So I am asking, it is the other side of the coin, the whole pursuit of pleasure, what is pleasure. When at the moment of pleasure, the moment, second, there is no idea, or thought of pursuing pleasure. Right? It is only after the event, whether that event be sexual, event be seeing the beauty of a sunset, seeing the sheet of water with the light on it, reading a phrase and seeing the beauty of the phrase and the pleasure of that phrase, a dozen ways we seek pleasure. What is pleasure? And why has man, you, who are the representative of all humanity, why have you made pleasure the greatest thing in life? Right? Why has sex - I hope you don't mind talking about it a little bit - why has sex become so extraordinarily important. The pleasure of it, the remembrance of it, the cultivation of it, the attraction towards it. Why has love been attached to that act, sex. So I am asking you, is love pleasure? Is love desire? Which is a form of pleasure. I desire to have a car, and that gives me great pleasure in possessing the car. So desire, which is so condemned by all religious people, and because of this condemnation it is said for any man who would be a religious person they must be free of desire - which is absurd.
So we are going to question everything and find out a way of living where there is only immediate action from insight. Not from calculation - we have been through that. So what is pleasure? Why has man throughout the ages given that as the greatest thing? Look into yourselves, sir, don't just listen to me, find out, learn from it. Is it because senses, sensory perception, sensory activity is much more important than clarity? You understand my question? Must I explain every question. Sir, to us senses, taste, smell and all the rest of it, give us such tremendous satisfaction. Right? So is pleasure a form of deep satisfaction and therefore the cultivate of desire and pleasure, which has nothing whatsoever to do with love. You follow what I am asking? So I am asking you, if you are thinking at all, following what the speaker is saying, is love desire, is love pleasure? If it is not, then either love has tremendous significance, or pleasure dominates that. You are following all this? Which in your heart, if you are honest, look at yourself, which is the most important thing to you? Not love, because you don't know anything about it. I question whether in India they know anything about love. They know a great deal about pleasure, a great deal of devotion, reverence, which is a form of self-worship. Right? And since you have give pleasure such tremendous importance, why has the mind, the brain given such significance to pleasure? Come on, sirs. You understand? The pleasure of having had an extraordinary experience last week, and I have lost it and I must have it. Pleasure of position, pleasure of - you understand, pleasure.
So is pleasure the movement of thought? Right? As we said, fear is the movement of thought and time. Right? So we are asking, is pleasure also the movement of time? Come on! I see a beautiful thing, a beautiful house, a beautiful woman or a man. The perception of beauty is natural, otherwise you would be dead, paralysed. To see something beautiful and to see it completely, that's natural. But the perception is interrupted by thought: I would like to have that house, it's so beautiful, I wish I could live there. Right? So see the beauty of the house and not let thought come into it at all. You understand what I am saying? Do you understand this? Because the moment desire comes into existence pleasure begins. But if you see the beauty of something and remain with it, and not move with the flow of desire. Sir, can you look at a car, a really good car - they don't exist in India, it's a monopoly here in this country, you play havoc with it - a really good car, beautiful lines, look at it. Because it's natural to look at that car, the line, all the rest of it. To look at it and not let thought say, how beautiful, I wish I could drive it, I wish I could be in it, own it, and drive it. You understand? Then begins the pleasure. You understand what I am saying?
Let me put it the other way: I see a beautiful sunset, lovely, with all the colours of the evening, the extraordinary sense of light and gaiety and beauty and strength. To look at it, enjoy it, look at it, and end it. Not say, I must remember it, and I wish I could have more of it, I'll come back tomorrow and look at it. Which is the perception translated into action of tomorrow, which is the cultivation of pleasure. I wonder if you see it.
So to look at something completely, end it. And not carry it over. You understand? The 'carrying it over' is the pleasure. Right? This requires a great sense of attention, and that attention itself brings its own discipline - not the discipline imposed. Right? So we are saying, fear is the movement of time. Pleasure is a movement of an event which is over and demanding that event, which is always pleasurable, to continue. Whereas if you can look, if that pleasure can end, there is no continuity, therefore there is no pursuit of pleasure. You understand this?
So the next thing is - we have got twenty minutes, so we can go into it. I want to find out what love is. Don't you? Don't you want to find out what the true factor, the true nature of love is, don't you? Do you? I will go into it. First of all, when there is fear, is there love? When there is pleasure and the pursuit of pleasure, is there love? When there is attachment, I am attached to my wife, I am attached to my husband, attached, is that love? Go on, sir, find out. You are attached to your wife, why? What is attachment? The pleasure she gives you, sexually or otherwise, and the image you have about her, gratifying or not, and all the rest of it, and you are attached. And because you are attached, and because of the pleasure of that attachment, and possession, there begins the act of cruelty. The cruelty of jealousy. Right? The cruelty of anxiety, fear, hatred. Right? You know all this, don't you. So I am asking, is attachment love? If you are not attached, would that be love? Then you might chase another woman, or another man. And when there is jealousy, is that love? And to come upon that extraordinary state, and the nature of it, the beauty of it, obviously fear, the movement of pleasure, which is remembrance, attachment, jealousy, all that must completely end. Will you do that? Or, you say, yes, quite right, it's a marvellous idea, I agree with you - and so you live in a world of words. And apparently because you live in a world of words you are starved, decayed because you have no love. Right? Would that be an accurate statement? Right?
Look at yourselves, sir, and find out whether you love any human being, whether you love any stray dog, whether you love the skies, the beauty of a tree and a flower, or you are so tremendously caught up in your own cocoon that you have no time or regard for anything else. Well, sirs, find out. Because if you have no love you are dead people. You may be very clever, you may be great pundits, scholars, specialists, but if that thing is not you have no right to exist as a human being. I know you will smile at this, you will see the reason of it, the logic of it, the sanity of it, but you will go on your old way. Right? And that's the tragedy of this country. They are very good analyzers, they are very good at arguments, theories, but when it comes down to action they are dead. Right, sirs?
So what will you do? Without love - if you have love then you can do what you will. Because you have no love, with all the gods, all the gurus, all the nonsense that is going on in this country. Do you understand all this, sirs?
So as love is not to be cultivated, not something that you plant and water it and let it grow, with care. As it is not something to be argued, discussed about, which means is it possible for the mind, for the brain to be free of the word. You understand? The word, not love, I don't mean that, the word. Is it possible for the brain not to function always with words? Because we are a slave to words - the Hindus, the Muslims, the Christians, the communists - words. So can you observe the slavery of the mind to words? And the word is not the thing. Right? The word 'love' is not love. So the word is not the thing. So the description is not the described. But to you the description is satisfactory. That's good enough. Right? So the symbol, the shadow, is more important than the fact.
So how will you, as a human being - please listen, sirs - how will you, as human beings, have this thing, this perfume; how will you come by it? You have suffered enough. Right? Humanity has gone through hell, tremendous wars, tremendous agony. Apparently that has not brought this thing. All your reasons, your theology, your gods, your gurus, your scriptures, have not brought this thing to you. You understand, sir? Do listen to me for god's sake, listen to me. Your organizations, institutions, none of them have brought this to you. So how will this happen, this miracle? Nobody can give it to you. Right, sir? You can't buy it. The gods that you have won't give it to you. The gods that you have are created by your mind, by your thought, by your hand. So thought won't give it to you, all your reason won't give it to you, all your selfish activities won't give it to you - your position, your authority, your status, nothing will give it to you. But you must have it. So what will you do? Sir, please, what will you do? I will tell you.
Sir, are you hungry for this? Do you abandon yourself to have this? You understand what I mean - abandon? Will you give up one thing - attachment - give it up and face what happens if you give it up. You understand? Immediately fear will arise, won't it. Right? Right, sir? Fear will arise when you let go. Then face it. Don't escape from it, deal with it, understand it, go into it. In the same way, if you really deeply are concerned with the nature of love and beauty, then it will come. But you must do something for it.
You see, unfortunately, we are educated in terms of reward and punishment. Right? That's our outlook on life. A merchant's outlook, a commercial outlook. I'll give you something, give me something in return. That's why you go to the temples. Now as you cannot buy love, reward and punishment, can you naturally, easily, happily, let go your particular form of pleasure, knowing pleasure is not love. You understand, sir? Will you do it?
Sir, look, if you have no love there is no possibility of meditation. Meditation means first putting everything in its right place, so the mind, the brain is free. You understand? Putting everything in its right place: your knowledge, your sex, your relationship and so on, in its proper order, in its proper sequence. Like an engineer, everything must be in sequence otherwise he cannot build a bridge. So meditation implies that you have established order in your life. Otherwise when you meditate you go off into an illusion, and it may be a very exciting illusion, and one of the things in meditation that comes is the desire for power. You understand? Desire for various forms of occult processes. You know there is a whole group of people practising levitation. Right? It's much simpler to take a lift!
So unless you have laid the foundation in your daily life, the foundation is order, and out of this order, please, comes love. Not out of your chaos, confusion, not giving such tremendous importance to sex, to pleasure. Sex has its place, pleasure has its place, but when that becomes supreme you have chased away love. Right, sirs?
So we said fear is the movement of time, pleasure is the movement of a remembrance of an incident that has given you delight - which is also the movement of time. And where time exists there is no love. Time being, I will become something, I will become non-violent, I will become good. So the speaker says there is no such time, there is only 'what is'. Understand, observe 'what is', and 'what is' then undergoes tremendous change, but you must observe it without any distortion, which means you observer it with care, with love. You understand? So can you observe your violence with affection? Can you? Because then you don't condemn if you observe something with affection. You don't deny it, you don't suppress it.
So from the beginning of this talk we said the art of listening, the art of observing, seeing, the art of learning. Art means to put everything in life, in our daily life, in its right place. Then when you have put everything in its right place order comes. Order in your daily life. Then when there is order the mind then is free. Right? And only when the mind - the word 'mind' we are saying is both the activity of the brain, the content of our consciousness, which is consciousness, and all that is the mind - when you have put everything in order the mind is free. And it's only a mind that is free knows, has that extraordinary quality of love. So we will talk about what is implied in this question of what is sorrow, whether there is an ending to sorrow and what it means to die. All this is part of meditation.
Madras 4th Public Talk 1st January 1978
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