Madras 3rd Public Talk 4th January 1986
You don't mind if we start five minutes early? I suppose we must talk.
Will you kindly participate in what he's talking about? Will you? Follow if you wish what he is talking about. Not only follow, but, together, share, I mean participate in it, not just think about it or casually pay attention to it, but rather together go into what the speaker is going to talk about presently.
One or two things must be made very clear. This is not a personality cult. The speaker has an abomination of all that - to worship somebody - because everything he is saying is contradictory if you personally worship an individual, or make something, him, into a god, into a... all the nonsense that goes on in the world. What is important is to listen to what he has to say, share it, not only listen, but actually participate in what he's saying. You may agree, or disagree, which you are perfectly right to do, but since you are here and since the speaker is here, we are talking over together. We have talked about - I've forgotten - we talked about life, the very complexity of life, the beginning of life. We are going together. What is life, what is the origin of all this, the earth, the marvellous earth, the lovely evening and the early morning sun, the rivers, the valleys, the mountains and the glory of the land which is being disseminated, spoiled?
So, what is the origin of all this? If you say 'god', then it's finished; then you can trot along quite happily because you've solved the problem. But if you begin to question, doubt, as one should, all gods, all gurus - I don't belong to that tribe - if you begin to question all that man has put together through a long evolution of two million years from the beginning of the Sumerians, and so on, the Hebrews, ancient Egyptians, down the corridors of history, they've always asked this question: what is the beginning; what is the origin; how has all this come about? I hope you're asking this question. Don't just listen to me, to the speaker with wide eyes, or with narrow eyes, whatever eyes you have, but share it, tear it to pieces, don't, please accept anything he says. He's not your guru, thank god; he is not your leader. He is not your helper. Right? So, that is the platform, that is the beginning of this talk.
This is a very serious talk we will go into, and unless your brain is active, not just sit there and gaze, is actually active, I'm afraid, one is afraid that you won't be able to follow. That would be useless, for the speaker, if you sit there and listen to a lot of words; but if we could together take a long journey, a very long journey, not in terms of time, not in terms of belief or conclusions or theories, but as we have examined very carefully the way of our lives, fear, uncertainty, insecurity and all the inventions that man has made including the extraordinary computers and so on, if you take a long journey into this, where are we at the end of two million years? Where are we going. Not some theory, not what some wretched book says, however holy it is. Where are we all going? And where have we begun? They're both related to each other: where we are going, where we began. The beginning may be the ending. Do you understand? I don't know if you understand what I'm talking about. Don't agree. Find out. There may be no beginning and no ending and we're going to investigate into that together. Is that all right? Do you approve of all that? It doesn't matter if you approve or not, I will go on.
From the beginning of time, man has always sought, thought in terms of religion, right? The ancient Egyptians had their Isis, Osiris and all the gods and the ancient Hebrews, and so on right down to the present day. What is religion? You understand my question? What is religion? Why are we so inclined, or not, say I don't believe in anything, but man has always sought something more than this world. They've worshipped the stars, the suns, the moons and their own creations; it has been a tremendous endeavour, effort, energy, spent on ancient temples, mosques and the churches of course. They have spent tremendous energy on this. Some of them most extraordinarily beautiful, others are hideous - around the corner you can find them. And we're asking: what is the spirit of man that sought something beyond the work, the present day agony, the travail, the work, going to the factory, to the office and climbing the ladder of success, making money, trying to impress people, trying to command, right from top to bottom? Right? Right? Are you agreeing to this? It is a fact whether you agree or not. You're all seeking power in some form; wanting to be at the centre of things - in Delhi, or here, or in other places. You all want to be there.
But, we're asking: what is religion; what is it that made man spend enormous treasures, or give treasures to a temple and so on; what made him do all this? Are we talking together? Yes? Yes? Somebody tell me a little bit. What made him do all this? What was the energy that was given to all this? Was it fear? Was it a seeking a reward from heaven, or hell, whatever you like to call it? Seeking a reward? Was that the origin? Because man as you, you want a reward, you want something in exchange. You pray three times or five times a day and you hope in return some entity will give you something, from a refrigerator to a car to a better wife, or better husband, or wait for grace, something that you can hope, cling to. Right? This has been the history of all religions, right, organized, you know the temple near here call Tirupati. I'm sure you go there, but it doesn't matter, they make, I believe, a million dollars every third day. Right? Right? No? So, god and money are always together. That's how the Catholic Church was built, tremendous treasures there, extraordinary valuable jewels and all that. So, you too have it here, your various temples and all the puja and worship and all that triviality; all that is really nonsense.
So, we are trying to find out, enquire very, very deeply what is religion, not obviously all this moneymaking stuff. Right? Do you go along with what I'm saying, even for an hour? But afterwards you can go back to your temples, to your prayers, to your - what's it called in Sanskrit, I've forgotten for a moment - it doesn't matter. So, we are asking what is that which is nameless, which is the supreme intelligence, which has no relationship with all our prayers, with all our temples, mosques, churches; of course that's all man-made. Right? Right? All the gods, all the temples, mosques and so on, even that, all that is man-made. No? We have built the churches (not you, you're all in the offices or somewhere else) but the builders of the ancient monuments, ancient temples, all that, all the rituals, all the strange dresses they put on, medieval dresses, to impress the people. But if you brush all that aside, any intelligent man must, brush all that aside, the prayers, the worship, the puja, giving garlands to some idol, right, and the priest muttering some Sanskrit words, probably which he doesn't himself understand, and probably it's his tradition and thereby he earns a lot of money, and so on. If you can put all that aside, not become cynical, not become merely sceptical, but a really enquiring brain, right, enquiring brain. Have you got such a brain? Enquiring brain, a brain that's active, a brain that enquires into everything, not only outside which the scientists are doing in their way, the world, the outside world, but have you got a brain that is enquiring into its own thoughts, into its own consciousness, into its own pains, sufferings, all the rest of it. Have we got such a brain?
Here, we must separate the brain from the mind. You don't mind? The brain is the centre of all our nerves, all our knowledge, all our theories, opinions, prejudices, college, universities, all that knowledge is gathered in the skull. Right? It is there, all the thoughts, all the fears, and so on. Is the brain different from the mind? Don't look at me, I'm asking you a question. If you seriously pay attention to what the speaker asked, is there a difference between the brain, your brain, that is inside the skull and all the knowledge you have gathered, not only you, but your forefathers and so on, for two million years? It's all encased in there. So, that brain will always be limited. Right? Don't agree, sir, this is much too serious. And is the mind different from this, from my consciousness, from my daily activities, from my fears, anxieties, uncertainties, sorrow, pain and all the theories which man has gathered about everything - it is there. Right? And the mind has no relationship with the brain, but it can communicate to the brain, but the brain cannot communicate with it? Am I making something clear to you? Do you understand my question? Don't agree, please, that's the last thing to do, agree with me. The speaker is saying the brain is the keeper of all our consciousness, of our thoughts, of our fears, and so on, and on, and on. All the gods, all the theories about gods and all the unbelievers, it's all there. Nobody can dispute that unless you're a little bit odd. You know the word 'odd'? It's all there, but this brain which is conditioned by knowledge, by experience, by tradition, and so on, it cannot have any communication with that mind which is totally outside the activity of the brain. I don't know if you will accept this; don't bother, just think about it, look at it. But that mind can communicate with the brain, but the brain cannot communicate with that because the brain can imagine infinitely, the brain can imagine the nameless; brain can do anything. You understand? And that's too immense because it doesn't belong to you; it's not your mind, your etc., etc.
So, we are going to investigate - together, please bear in mind always together - not only the nature of religion, but also enquire into the computer. You know what the computer is? Don't you? Yes. It's a machine. It can programme itself. It can bring about its own computer. The father computer has its own son computer who is better than the father. You understand all this? You don't have to accept this. It's public, it's not something secret, so watch it carefully. That computer can do almost anything that man can do. It can invent all your gods, all your theories, your rituals, even better at it than you will ever be. So, the computer is coming up in the world, not only in the factories, but also it's going to make your brains something different. Which is - you've heard of genetic engineering - oh god, don't you hear all these things? They're trying to, whether you like it or not, to change your whole behaviour. That is genetic engineering. They are trying to change your way of thinking. You understand what I'm saying?
Oh, don't stare at me, sir. Will you go and sit somewhere else? Will you? Will you go and sit somewhere else? Because you are staring at me all the time. Sit there, sir, would you?
Q: It's only my eyes.
K: I know, I know. That's good enough. Would you sit there, sir? Good. Thank you.
So, genetic engineering and the computer, when the two meet together - they're going to presently, in a couple of years - what are you? You understand what I'm asking, sir? What are you; as a human being what are you? Your brains are going to be altered. Your way of behaviour is going to be changed. Right? They may altogether remove fear, remove sorrow, remove all your gods. They're going to, sir, don't fool yourself. Because it all ends up either in war or in death. Right? So, this is what is happening in the world actually. Genetic engineering on the one side and computer on the other and when they meet, as they're inevitably going to meet, what are you as a human being? Actually, your brain now is a machine. You are born in India and say: 'I'm an Indian'. You are encased in that. Or you're born in Russia, back again. And so on. You are a machine. Please don't be insulted. I'm not insulting you. You are a machine who repeats, repeats, or says it different - you know a machine, like a computer. Right? Don't imagine there is something divine in you - that would be lovely - something holy that is everlasting. The computer will say that to you too.
So, what is becoming of a human being? What's becoming of you? And we have also to enquire - this is a very serious subject, don't agree or disagree, just listen, you can't, probably you can't take part in it - what is creation? You understand my question? You understand my question at least - creation. Not the creation of a baby, that's very simple, or the creation of a new something or other. Invention is totally different from creation. Invention is based on knowledge. Right? I can improve, the engineers can improve the jet; the improvement is based on knowledge and the invention is also based on knowledge. So we must separate invention from creation. Will you? No, no, sir, don't agree. This requires your total energy, your capacity to penetrate, not just say: yes, yes. The difference between creation and invention, you understand the difference? Invention is essentially based on knowledge. Right? I improve the clock; I have a new gadget, because the old gadgets I have used, I have found something new and I invent something else. So all invention is based on knowledge, right, on experience. Inventions are inevitably limited because they're based on knowledge. Oh, for god's sake, somebody wake up. So, knowledge being ever limited, inventions must always be limited. In the future they may have no jets, but something else and that will go from Delhi to Los Angeles in two hours, that's an invention based on previous knowledge which has been improved step by step by step, but that's not creation. Right? I get rather fed up looking at those faces which say nothing.
So what is creation? So what is life? You understand? Life in the tree, life in the little grass, life in the scientist, life, not what they invent, what they do, but the beginning of life. I don't know if you understand, life, the thing that lives. You may kill it but it's still there in the other.
So, we're asking, don't agree or disagree, don't nod your head, but see we are enquiring into what is the origin of life. C'est d'accord? Vous etes comme moi? I'm sorry. So, we are going to enquire into the absolute - something that's really marvellous. Not a reward. You can't take it home and say: I'll use it.
What is meditation to you? Would you kindly tell me. What is meditation? You meditate, some of you, don't you? No? Oh, god. Some of you do, don't you? What is meditation? The word, it's common language in the dictionary, means: to ponder over, to think over and, to concentrate, to learn to concentrate on something, not let your brain wander all over the place. Right? Right? Is that what you call meditation? Be simple, sir, be honest. That is what? Giving every day a certain period and you go to a room quietly, sit down for ten minutes, quarter of an hour, meditate. Right? Right? Do you agree with that, sir? No? Then what is meditation to you? Concentration? Thinking about something very noble? You can't answer all these questions.
So, we are going to first enquire what is meditation. Any conscious effort to meditate is part of your discipline of the office, because you say: if I meditate, I'll have a quiet mind, or I'll enter into another state. And so on and so on. The word 'meditation' means to measure, which means to compare. Oh, lord. So, your meditation becomes mechanical, right, because you are exercising energy to concentrate on a picture, an image, or an idea and that concentration divides. Right? You understand what I mean? Concentration is always divisive. No? I want to concentrate on that, but thought wanders off. Then I say I mustn't wander off, come back. You repeat that all day long, or half an hour. And then you come off it and say well I've meditated. And this meditation is advocated by all the gurus, by all the - you know, lay disciples, and so on, and so on; and the Christian idea is: I believe in god and I'm sacrificing myself to god. You understand what I'm saying? And, therefore, I pray to save me, save my soul, save my etc., etc. Is all this meditation? Tell me, I know nothing about meditation, at least not this kind. Will you tell me? Is this meditation? Tell me, sir, don't be frightened, I'm not your guru, or your boss, or your - Tell me if this is meditation. It's like an achievement. Right? If I meditate for half an hour, by Jove I feel better. Or is there a totally different kind of meditation? Right, sir? Totally different?
I'm asking you, but since you won't answer I must answer. In the word 'meditation' which is measurement, as I said, which is comparison of achievement, that's not meditation. I say don't accept anything that the speaker says, at any price. The speaker says that is not meditation at all. That's merely a process of achievement. Right? You have been one day not able to concentrate; you take a month and say: yes, I've got it. That's like a clerk becoming a manager. Right? So is there a different kind of meditation which is not effort, which is not measurement, which is not routine - please pay attention to what I am saying - which is not mechanical? Is there a meditation in which there is no sense of comparison, or there is no reward and punishment? You understand what I am saying? So, is there any meditation which is not based on thought which is measurement, time, and all that? You understand my question? How can one explain a meditation that has no measurement, that has no achievement, that doesn't say: I'll be that; I am this, but I'll become that? That being god or super-angel.
So, that requires, if I may point out, not for you to accept or deny, just pointing out, is there a meditation which has nothing to do with will, with an energy that says: I must meditate - which has nothing to do with effort at all? The speaker says there is. You don't have to accept it. He may be nuts. He may be talking nonsense, but he sees logically that the ordinary meditation is self-hypnosis, deceiving oneself and when you stop deceiving, stop all that mechanical process, is there a different kind of meditation. And unfortunately, the speaker says: yes. That is not for you to say: yes, I agree, I'll meditate. You can't get at it through effort, through giving all your energy to something. You can't, there is no - you understand? It is something that has to be absolutely silent. Don't achieve silence now. Don't sit in meditation. Please don't do it, sir. You can't do it. First of all, begin very humbly, very very humbly and, therefore, very gently and, therefore, no pushing, driving, saying: I must do this. It requires a tremendous sense of not only aloneness, but a sense of - I mustn't describe it. I mustn't describe it because then you'll go off on descriptions. If I describe it, the description is not the real. Right? The description of the moon, or of the Himalayas, painted, description is not the Himalayas. Right? So, we'll stop describing. It's for you to play with it, or not play with it, going your own way and your own peculiar achievements through meditation and so on, and so on, reward and all the rest of it. So, a meditation which is absolutely no effort, no achievement, no thinking; then the brain is quiet. You understand? Not made quiet by will, by intention, by conclusion and all that nonsense; it is quiet. And being quiet, it has infinite space. Are you waiting for me to explore? And you swallow what I explore. God, what kind of people are you?
So, is your brain ever quiet? I'm asking you. Is your brain, thinking, fearing, your office work, your thinking of your family, what they will do, your sons and your daughters, thinking, which is time and thought, is your brain ever quiet? Would you kindly tell me?
K: What, sir? Don't be nervous. Say what you want to say and if you can't say it forget it. Is your brain ever quiet. Not made quiet by drugs and by all kinds of things, whisky and various forms of drugging yourself. You drug yourself when you believe. You drug yourself and say: yes, this is perfectly right; the Buddha has said that, therefore it must be right. You're drugging yourself all the time, therefore you have no energy of that kind that demands into the penetration of something immense.
So, we're going back now to find out what is creation. You understand? What is creation? Because it has nothing to do with invention. That's gone. So what is creation, the origin, the beginning? What is life? Tell me, sirs, what you think of it. What is life? Not going to the office and all the rest of it, sex and children, or no children but sex and so on and so on. What is life? What gives life to that blade of grass in the cement? You understand? What is life in us? Not all the things we go through, power, position, prestige, fame, or no fame, but shame. So, that's not life, that's part of our mishandling of life. But, what is life? You understand my question? You understand, sir?
Why are you listening to me? What makes you, if you are listening at all, listen to the man? What is the motive behind your listening? What do you want? What's your desire? Behind the desire there is a motive. So what is desire? First, carefully let's quickly examine it. Desire is part of sensation, isn't it? I see this beautiful clock or ugly clock; it's a sensation. The seeing brings about a sensation. Oh, this is normal, sir. From that sensation, thought comes and makes an image of it. That is, I see this clock, rather nice, I would like to have it. The sensation of seeing, then thought coming and making an image of that sensation; at that moment, desire is born. It's very simple. Right? So, is there a brain, your brain, which is not muddled up, muddied by environment, by tradition, by society and all the rest of it?
So, what is the origin of life? Are you waiting for me to answer it? You are waiting for the speaker to answer that question? Are you? Would you kindly tell me yes or no. I'll wait. If you tell me, then I'll go on. This is much too serious a subject for you to play with, because we are trying to enter, enquire into something that has no name, no end. I can kill that bird; there is another bird. I can't kill all birds; there are too many of them in the world. So, we are enquiring into what makes a bird, what is creation behind all this? Right? Are you waiting for me to describe it, go into it? Yes, sir? You want me to go into it? Why?
Q: To understand.
K: What do you understand?
Q: What is creation?
K: Why do you ask that? Because I asked? You see again, you're - sorry, sir. No description fits, can ever describe the origin. The origin is nameless; the origin is absolutely quiet; it's not whirring about making a noise. Creation is something that is most holy; that's the most sacred thing in life and, if you have made a mess of your life, change it. Change it today, not tomorrow. If you are uncertain, find out why and be certain. If your thinking is not straight, think straight, logically. Unless all that is prepared, all that is settled, you can't enter into this world, into the world of creation. It ends.
This is the last talk. Do you want to sit together quietly for a while? All right sirs, sit quietly for a while.
May we get up now? Slowly, slowly, sir.
Madras 3rd Public Talk 4th January 1986
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.