Madras 3rd Public Talk 2nd January 1982
May we continue with what we were talking about the other day, last Sunday? We were talking about conflict, not only outwardly but much more psychologically, inwardly, if I may use the word, spiritually. And we also pointed out, if you will kindly pay attention to it, that we are not giving a lecture. On the contrary, we are talking over together our problems: problems which confront humanity; not only the personal problems but the problems of every man, religious, social, economic, national, and the constant preparation for war, which every nation is indulging, spending vast sums of money. Incredible, to destroy each other. And also we were saying that most of us are accustomed to be lectured, to be talked to, to be told what to do, what to think, not how to think, but what to think. And also we are used to linear thinking. Linear means thinking word by word, horizontally or vertically; our brains are trained to that, and therefore our brains cannot function in other directions.
We talked about the necessity of a life which is not routine, mechanical. And we pointed out that when we live a life of routine, a mechanical life which is more or less tradition, then we gradually atrophy the brain; the brain becomes dull, inactive, it may repeat what it has learnt, knowledge, but such a brain which is conditioned heavily to habit, to tradition, to a routine, loses all its flexibility, its intricate quality, which is to learn. Learning and memorizing are two different things: from childhood we memorize, we go to school, college, university and there we learn linear, as well as accumulate a lot of information which becomes knowledge; and we function on that knowledge with skill, and gradually we lose the quality of learning. Learning is all the time; learning requires a very alert mind, a subtle mind. Whereas merely accumulating knowledge, however necessary, makes the mind gradually dull. Please see, therefore, if you will, that there is a difference between acquiring knowledge and learning, memory, memorizing and learning. Most of us are good at memorizing, specially in this country.
We were talking once to a very classical monk, very erudite, scholarly, knew his subject extraordinarily well. Which is, that he had gathered tremendous information about his subject, which was religion, and he could not break away from the habit of repetition, what somebody has said. There was no thinking on his part at all, but merely repetition. And when it was pointed out to him most respectfully, he couldn't understand what it meant to learn. So please we are together here to learn, to look at things afresh; to look at our lives as though it were for the first time that we were investigating this very complex process of living; not come to it with all our prejudices, with our conclusions, with our fears and hopes. We come to it to learn about it; like a schoolboy who doesn't know anything about history or mathematics, or biology, he comes to it afresh. So if we could this evening look at our lives, which is the life of humanity, which is the life of everyone including yourself, if we could look at it as though for the first time. We are curious, we want to find out; not accept, not quote what others have said, but look at ourselves afresh, see all our reactions, the process of our thinking, our behaviour, why we believe, why we have such extraordinary lives. So let us begin together to uncover step by step into why there is so much disorder in the world.
In the world outside there is war, there is corruption, there is dishonesty, politically utterly ruthless, the politicians seeking power, position, prestige, status; the tremendously rich people, and the oppressed who are in revolt in this country. Revolt is going on because they have been oppressed and there is a great deal of discontent, unhappiness, sorrow, pain, an incredible amount of fear. There is no security outwardly: you may have a job but the future of man, that is, the future of your children, the future of your grandchildren, the future of humanity is really in the balance. This is not a cliche: it is a tremendous crisis in our consciousness. And, that is, outwardly there is great disorder.
And inwardly, inside each one of us, in our lives, in our relationship, in our jobs, there is disorder. And we must find out together what is the cause of disorder, and end disorder in ourselves, not out there, not try to bring about order in the world, in the corrupt society, but order in our lives, which is in our relationship with each other. And that relationship which is order can only be understood deeply if we begin to discover what is the cause of disorder. Everything that has a cause must end. Right? If I have a cause for my cancer, for my disease, for some ill health, because there is a cause it will find an answer. Right? Do we understand this? Causation for any action must inevitably end. Our life as a whole has a cause. Right? Do we understand this clearly? I have a cause - if I have - in talking to you. That cause, the motive, the force, the agent, that is making me talk will be valueless because it has a struggle; what has cause brings about a struggle. And if I have a cause in addressing you, then it is a struggle between you and me, it is a conflict. But the speaker has no cause, he doesn't want to convert you to anything: he has no belief about anything. And he is talking not to express himself, not to fulfil himself, not to have a reputation which he must maintain: it is none of these things. Therefore an action without a cause is eternal. I wonder if you will understand this?
Sir, the universe, that is the stars in the heavens, the black hole, millions and millions of stars and planets and systems, have no cause. Scientists are beginning to discover this, I hope they are. There is no cause for it: therefore it is eternal, endless, which is vast space without any reason, without any cause, without an agent which is making this; therefore it is everlasting to everlasting, it has no time. What has cause has time. If I am jealous - and jealousy has a cause, which is I am attached to my person and in that attachment there is fear, there is possession, domination, control because the cause is my sense of insufficiency in myself, and I am lonely, therefore I begin to attach myself to you, and out of that attachment, which has a cause, jealousy arises. Whereas if I can discover the cause, jealousy can end. Therefore we must together find out the causes of disorder. If we can find the causes of disorder, disorder will end completely. And when there is an end to disorder there is order. That order is a living thing, not a blue print, not something laid down which you follow. So please together let's find out what is the cause of this disorder in our daily life; not an abstraction or an idea of disorder. The fact is not the idea. Right? The fact of disorder is not a concept. That is, I say one thing and do another; that contradiction is disorder. Right? It is not an abstraction. It is not something invented by the mind and then call it disorder. Disorder exists where there is contradiction in one's life. There is disorder when my life is fragmented, broken up. Are we meeting each other? We are following each other? We are talking about our lives, not an abstraction of a life. We are talking about your daily life in which there is so much confusion and disorder. And some recognize their life is in disorder and try to bring order out of disorder. Right? Order exists only when disorder ends. Like a man in prison, as long as he is in prison he is not free; when he is out of the prison he may be free. Similarly our life is in disorder, there is no question of it; you can't say, "I am not". And that disorder is a fact, if one is aware of it. And we are trying to find out together the causes of this disorder. Is that clear? Why you live in disorder, if you are aware of it. So first, are we aware of it? Do we recognize it, do we see it, or we are mesmerizing ourselves saying, god is order but one day I will reach order, which is a pretension, which is nonsensical. What we are talking about is the fact of disorder in our life. Right, can we go on from there?
So what is the cause, or causes of disorder? Because when that ends there is order without a cause and therefore a life which is eternal. I wonder if you understand this? So what is the cause of our disorder? Essentially, basically, the idea that we are separate from another, which is, myself is different from yourself: that is the basic cause of disorder. Please don't say, "How am I to be free of the self" - we are not talking about freeing the self. If you understand the cause of disorder, understand the nature of the self, then that very comprehension, that very observation, absolves, dissolves the self. So we are saying the basic cause of disorder is the self, the me, the ego, the personality. We have accepted it because it is part of our tradition, part of our education, that we think we are separate individuals, we must seek our own personal salvation, our own response to god, you know, the whole concept that each one of us is separate, and therefore there is constant battle between each other. That is the basic cause. And other causes are peripheral, outside. You understand? Peripheral. The division of nationalities, that is a cause, because in believing in a nation, in a tribe, you feel you are secure, because the human brain demands security. Right? That is obvious. So it invents a concept of a nation; it is an idea. And in that idea it feels secure. And to protect that security it will kill another, which is called war. War has several reasons, but one of the reasons is this: the desire to be secure. Please look at it, you are not accepting what the speaker is saying, we are observing together the fact; not imagination, not an idea, but the actual living fact.
And also one of the reasons for disorder, is thought itself. I wonder if you understand that? Thought, we are saying, is the cause of disorder. Look at it, please, examine it; don't say, "How can you say that". Examine, find out for yourself, if thought is not one of the major causes of disorder. Thought is the response of memory, memory is knowledge, knowledge is experience; so from experience, knowledge, memory, thought, action. So thought has a motive, which is experience and knowledge. Are we following each other somewhat? Please, am I speaking to myself? Or are you coming with me? If you want to understand why human beings live in such a chaotic state you have to examine very closely. And to examine you must exercise your brains; you must be willing to let go your fanciful ideas and face facts. We are saying one of the causes of this disastrous disorder is the very activity of thought because thought is limited, because thought is based on knowledge and knowledge is never complete about anything: even science is incomplete; your experiences are incomplete; and the knowledge you acquire from those experiences is incomplete. So knowledge always goes with the shadow of ignorance. So thought born of ignorance, knowledge, will invariably create conflict. That is one of the reasons.
The other is: that we human beings are fragmented in ourselves, broken up: I want one thing, and I don't want another; I am violent and I want to live in peace. There is this contradiction going on all the time in our life. That is one of the reasons of disorder. We said the other day that there is no duality at all, there is only 'what is; there is only violence, not non-violence. But we have invented the idea of non-violence and so have created duality in our daily life. Philosophically or theoretically you may say that state of non-duality exists only when you have reached a certain point in you thinking, or in your spiritual evolution. There is no spiritual evolution; there is only 'what is'. To understand 'what is' one must be free totally from the idea of 'what should be'. That is, I am violent, and that is the only state, not, I am trying to become non-violent. The non-violent is non-fact, therefore there is only violence. And to understand that violence, the causation of that violence, I have to give all my energy, investigative process, observation, awareness to it.
So our conditioning is, we have accepted duality. Of course duality is there - darkness and light, man and woman, childhood, adolescence and man. There are physical differences, but differences do not make duality. So that is one of the reasons why we are in conflict, because we are not facing, or we want to avoid actually what is going on. We never come face to face actually with the fact of what we are: we are always thinking of what we should become. So one of the causes of disorder is this sense of conditioned duality.
And the other cause of disorder is fear. Right? Isn't that so? Shall we discuss, go together into the question of fear? Shall we? Whether one can be free totally, absolutely, free from fear; both biologically and psychologically, both inwardly and outwardly. Not to be afraid; not to have courage, not to be brave, but to be free from fear which gives one tremendous strength; that strength is nothing whatsoever to do with courage, bravery and so on. Freedom from fear has this quality of tremendous vital strength. Most of us are afraid; not only of ultimate death but afraid of so many, many things: afraid of the future, what is going to happen to us when you are older, you might die of old age with a disease, paralysed, and we are afraid of the future. We are the past, the present and the future; we are that. I will go into that perhaps a little later. Because we create our own time, our own future, our own, not imaginary timelessness. So we must investigate together very carefully into the nature of fear.
First of all, are we aware seriously that we have fears? Right? Are we aware of that? And together we are going find out the cause of fear, or the causes of fear. Because when we find the cause, as we pointed out, what has causation can end, can bring about its end, the effect. So what is fear? Either you are afraid of the past, or of the present, or of the future; that is, of yesterday, today and tomorrow. Therefore we must understand in investigating fear, the whole concept, or the reality of time.
What is time? Please, this is related to fear, this is connected with fear so we must enquire very carefully, not merely intellectually, verbally but actually understand the nature of time. There is time according to the sun, rising at a certain time and setting at a certain time; there is time as having had pain yesterday, continuing today and hoping tomorrow to end it. Time is a movement. Both chronologically and inwardly, psychologically, time is a movement: time to go from here to your home, to cover that distance requires time; to learn a language requires time. Please follow all this closely, if you don't mind, if you want to understand the nature and the extraordinary subtlety of time - if you are interested, if you are serious. That is up to you. Time to learn a skill; time to learn to drive a car. So there is physical time: to get up in the morning, 9.0 o'clock to be in the office, or in the factory, or do some labour, and end it at 5.0 o'clock. That is time. Think of a human being which is you, spending all your life from the moment you have passed your university, or have acquired a skill, for the rest of your life going to the office from 9.0 o'clock till 5.0 o'clock until you retire and die. Right? That is your life. Just think of it! And you might say you have your responsibilities, therefore we have to earn money, So you are slaves to money, to responsibility and to duty. This is your life.
So you have to understand how extraordinarily time is a factor in our life. So there is outward time and inwardly we have created time. That is, I hope to be something tomorrow; I hope to reach the height of spiritual nonsense; I hope to see you tomorrow. Hope - you understand? The word 'hope' implies time: I am this but give me time to change to be different; I am greedy but I need time to be free from greed. So there is this idea of inward time, a psychological time. This is clear isn't it? Now, is that a fact? Is that so? Or merely an invention to escape from actually facing 'what is'? You are following all this? Right? I am greedy-suppose I am greedy - and I like to be greedy; but also there is in me, which has been conditioned for centuries, "Don't be greedy. It is not right to be greedy, if you want to be a spiritual human being you must not be greedy." I have been conditioned to that, but yet I am greedy. So I say to myself, I will eventually be free of greed. Give me time, either this life, or in a future life, which again is something we have invented. We will go into that later on. I am greedy and I must have time to be free from greed. This is what we are conditioned to through millennia: all the scriptures, everything tells you, you must gradually be free of it. Right? That is, if I allow time to be free from greed I am pursuing greed. Obviously. But to understand the greed, what is the cause of that greed, is the ending of that greed. But if I have time to say, eventually I will be free from greed, that is a continuation of greed. I hope this is clear.
So there is only the ending of greed, not greed trying to become something else. Greed trying to become non-greed is still greed. I wonder if you follow all this? So thought has invented this idea of time: psychologically, spiritually, inwardly. And thought itself is time. Right? Because it is born out of the accumulation of many, many millennia, of knowledge from which it acts, which is time. So can the mind, can your brain, understand the nature of psychological time, that there is actually no future? I am greedy; not greed is separate from me but I am greed. And to discover the cause of that greed, to understand the causation of that, and to look at it very carefully, is the ending of that greed, not in terms of time, but actually, immediately, instantly end greed. If you are concerned with that we can go into it. That is, the cause of greed, envy, is desire. Right? I desire a new car; I have got an old car and I want a new car. Or I see you driving in a marvellous Mercedes, or a new imported car, and I want to have the same thing: greed. We all know that word what it means, the feeling of it, the desire to possess something that I haven't got. To understand that one must enquire very carefully into what is desire, because desire is part of fear, part of time, part of our contradiction and therefore disorder. They are all interrelated, they are not something separate. They all have a cause and the causes are all interrelated.
So in understanding what is fear, why human beings have lived for timeless ages with fear, we must go into the whole structure, and the nature and the continuity of fear. That requires your attention, your care, your awareness: not say, please tell me how to be free from fear - that is too childish. But if you understand the whole nature of it, how it comes into being, what is the structure of it, what is its movement, then you will see for yourself, if you have given your attention, your care, your observation, then you will be totally free of fear. Don't say, "Will I always be free of fear?" - that is another form of greed. All that you are concerned is with the ending of fear. If another fear arises, find out why it arises, go into it, because that requires constant alertness, observation, awareness. But if you say, "Please tell me how to end fear altogether at once" - it is possible but that requires an extraordinary skill of thought, skill of observation; that requires an insight into the whole nature of fear, to end it completely so that you have no fear of anything at any time. That insight into the nature of fear is not bought from a book, it cannot be taught to you, which is memorize and apply. But if you learn about it, it is yours, you have it, then you have it in your hand, in your pocket, you can act.
So we are learning together. That is, we said fear is common to all mankind; every human being, from the poorest to the most sophisticated, richest, has this sense of fear. And we know what fear does: cripples the mind, makes you ill physically, contracts you, both physically and psychologically, inwardly, you become tighter, narrow, frightened to look. And so in investigating fear you must also discover, as we said, time. Time may be the factor of fear. And also in investigating time you have to investigate also desire. And desire may also be a factor of fear. So you have to understand, learn afresh, not memorize and repeat, repeat, repeat, that is so childish. But to learn how desire arises, what is the origin of desire; not how to suppress it, not how to escape from it, but the beginning of it. And also one must understand the nature of time, because you are the past, the present and the future. You make your own time: you make your own time by saying "I will do", or "I will be". So you are the past, the present and the future: you are the time-maker. I don't know if you understand this? The beauty of it sirs, it is all in your hand; not in your gurus, not in your books, not in somebody else, but in your hand.
So, it is half past six, yes. So we will go on, shall we? You are not tired? No? Why? Have you worked? Have you used your brain during all this hour, to watch, to listen, to learn, to perceive what we are, and work? If you have done it your brain, which is not used to all this, must be tired. But we will continue.
We are saying, to understand fear, its cause and the ending completely of fear, one must understand the nature of time; and also desire. The universe has no time, and that is why it is everlasting from everlasting. It has no cause and therefore it is endless, it is infinite. That which has a cause has always a limited space. You understand? We have no space in us because we do everything because we have causes. So what is desire? And why has man been a slave to desire? Sir, we are investigating, you are not listening to the speaker. Together we are observing the nature of desire, how it comes into being, what extraordinary vitality it has. The desire is will, and we live and act with will: "I will do this", "I must do this". It is part of desire. So we must go together and look at desire, not suppressing it, not trying to conquer it, not trying to rationalize it, but to see the whole movement of desire, which has such deep vitality in our life. Desire to be great, desire to be successful, desire to reach heaven, desire to understand that which is not to be understood. We have so many driving desires: one desire contradicting another desire, one desire stronger than the other desire, and that which is stronger conquering, pursuing, driving. It is a very complex movement. So we are going together, please together, you are not learning it from the speaker, you are learning by observing your own desire, your own urge, your own momentum of this driving force.
Most of us know what is sensation: sensation is the operation of the senses. I touch a hot thing, or a cold thing, taste something very hot; the touching, the seeing, the hearing, brings about sensation. This is observable, natural, healthy fact, because if there is paralysis then there is no feeling, there is no hearing. Probably most of us are paralysed because we are not learning. This is an incitement, this is not just a statement because most of us live a life of routine, we never observe the beauty of a tree, the flowers, the dirt on the road, everything, we are insensitive. And we have become insensitive to fear, we accept it as a natural thing: the wife afraid of the husband, the husband afraid of the wife, or the children afraid of the father and try to beat up the father, as they try to beat up the teacher. This is happening in the world. So we all know sensation, unless you are paralysed. What is sensation? The seeing, the contact, sensation. Right? This is a fact. One sees a beautiful tree - the glory of the earth is a tree, the beauty of the earth is a tree - the shadow, the trunk, the leaves, the fluttering of it, the shape of it; to look at it, to touch it, that is a sensation. We are afraid of that sensation because we have the idea that all senses must be conquered. Right? This is one of your religious conditionings. And so no senses; you have destroyed the senses because religion has told you "Deny all senses", so what have you become? You never look at a tree; you never look at a woman or a man because your senses begin to function and you have the desire and so on. So look what we have done, what you have done to your mind, to your brain, to your body: your religion has said, "Disregard the body, have a contempt for the body", and you have. Look at yourselves. Right? Right?
So we are saying something totally different from all that: which is, to understand desire, desire is sensation - I will go into it, I will explain it a little bit. There is seeing the tree, the woman, the man, the car, the politician who is right on the top, or the guru who says, "I know". So perception, seeing, then contact, touching, then out of that sensation. Right? Is this clear? Then what takes place? Thought says, "I wish I had that tree in my garden". Right? Thought says, "I wish I had that car." So thought creates the image - please listen, learn from it, learn, not memorize - then thought creates the image of you in the car and driving that car. When thought creates the image of you driving in that car, that moment is the origin of desire. Is that clear? That is, I see a beautiful sunset, the glory of the evening, and it is a great delight to see something extraordinary, a vast sky with thundering clouds, and light; and it has left a record on the brain. That record wants to be repeated, which is desire. You understand? That is, there is the sensation of that beauty of that sunset, then thought says, "I hope I will see it again tomorrow", or I want to write a poem about it, or I want to tell somebody about. So desire begins, the origin, begins when thought creates the image and imposes that image on sensation, then is the beginning of desire. Is this clear?
Now to learn that thought creates desire, and therefore watch that thought doesn't create the image and be in desire. Just to remain with sensation. You understand? Not to allow thought to creep in. I wonder if you understand this? That is tremendous discipline. Discipline means to learn; it comes from the word disciple: a disciple is one who learns. So we are both teachers and disciples, there is no teacher outside us. I wonder if you see all this? Therefore we are learning. That requires full attention, the awareness, watching. The origin of desire, the sensation, and the ending of that, stopping there, not allowing thought to come in. It is not an action of will, just the observation how desire arises. That very observation has its own peculiar subtle discipline; discipline in this sense is learning, not conforming to a pattern.
So desire, time, thought are the factors of fear. I have had pain, an extraordinary experience, or extraordinary perception. I hold on to that perception, to that experience, and I am afraid to lose it; which is, thought recollected that experience, thought remembers that experience and is frightened that it may lose it. Right? So thought, time, desire, is the factor of fear. Not how to end thought, or how to end time, or the ending of desire; but you have to learn the movement of fear. You understand, the movement. If you want to be a good engineer - I hope none of you want to be anything - but if you want to be a good engineer, which you must probably to earn a livelihood, you have to learn. A real genius of an engineer may know knowledge but he is learning.
So to learn about fear is the ending of fear. Is this clear? Are we together in this? That means you and I have worked, observed, this evening, very, very closely, the movement of desire, time, thought, which is the origin of fear, which are the causes of fear. And as you have listened, if you have at all listened and paid attention, you are free from fear. Not that you will think about it tomorrow and be free of fear, you have listened, therefore you are free of it now. And that means you have to give all your energy to understand fear. And a man who is free from fear, and the cause of fear, is a totally different human being.
Madras 3rd Public Talk 2nd January 1982
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.