The Future Is Now
Longer, Unedited Versions
Rajghat 1st Public Talk 18th November 1985
I hope you can all hear.
I wonder why you are all here. If you are asked that question seriously, what would be your answer? Why we are all gathered here on the banks of the Ganga - of course, sacred river - and therefore partially for that reason you are here. And I wonder what other reasons you have to come and listen to this person. Is it merely reputation? Is it merely that you have heard this man talk several times before; therefore you say, let's go and hear him? What is the relationship of what he says to what you do? You understand my question? What is the relationship of what he says and what you do? Are they two separate things? Or, you just listen to what he has to say, and carry on your daily life? You understood our question?
So, we two are going to talk over, together, not some abstract theoretical problem, but rather we are going to talk over together, like two old friends, sitting under these trees, our daily life, which is far more important than some theoretical, very knowledgeable abstract problems. We may come to those much later. So, shall we, as two old friends, talk over our problems? We have got so many problems - how to meditate, which guru to follow, if you are a follower, what kind of practice you should do, what kind of daily activity you should go through; and so on, and also what is our relationship to nature - all the trees, the rivers and the mountains, the plains and the valleys - what is our relationship to nature? To a tree, to a flower, to a bird that passes by, and what is our relationship with each other - not with the speaker - but with each other, your wife, your husband, your children and all the environment, as government, neighbour, community and so on? What is our relationship to all this? Or, are we so isolated, so self-concerned, so intensely interested in our own way of life? Please, I am asking - we are asking all these questions as two friends. The speaker means as 'friends', not as a guru. You have had enough gurus in this country (they are really not worth it). And the speaker has no intention whatsoever to impress you, to tell you what to do, or to help you. Please bear this in mind right through the talks: he has no intention whatsoever to help you. I will tell you why - the reason, the logic of it.
You have had a great many gurus, thousands of them, a great many helpers, Christian helpers, Hindu, Buddhist, every kind of leader, not only politically, but so-called religiously (I do not know what that word means at the moment, we will go into that word) and you have had leaders of major kind and the minor, and where are you at the end of this long evolution of two million years old? Where are you? Where are we - you, and all of us here? We are supposed to have lived on this earth two and a half million years, and during that long revolution and the evolution, we still remain barbarians. We may be cleaner, quicker communication, better hygiene and so on, transportation - but morally, ethically - if I may use that word - spiritually, we are still barbarians. We kill each other not only in a war, but by words, by a gesture. We are very competitive. Am I talking to myself or are we together in this? We are very ambitious. Each is concerned with himself. Self-interest: that is the dominant note in our life: 'self-interest' that is, concerned with one`s own well-being, security, possession, power and so on. Aren't we concerned with ourselves, spiritually, religiously, business and so on, each one right throughout the world, whether Russians, Americans or Europeans, and so on, we are all concerned with ourselves: that means, isolating ourselves from the rest of humanity. That's a fact. We are not exaggerating. We are not saying something that is not true. Wherever you go - the speaker has been all over the world at a certain time and still goes round. Some of you have come a long way, so has the speaker, a very long way, and when you go around the world and see what is happening - increase of armaments, violence, fanaticism, and the great, deep sense of insecurity, uncertainty and the sense of separateness, 'you and I'. Right?
This is the common note of mankind. Please, we are facing facts, not theories, not some kind of distant, theoretical, philosophical statement. We are looking at facts, not my facts opposed to your facts; facts. Every country in the world as you must all know, is gathering armaments - every country, however poor or however rich. Right? Look at your own country - immense poverty, disorder, corruption - you all know that - and gathering of armaments. It used to be a club to kill another, now you can vaporize mankind by millions, with one atom bomb or neutron bomb. We have come from the club, arrow and so on, till we have the atom bomb. And we have progressed, technologically, immensely - revolution is going on, of which we know very little. The technological process is so rapid, overnight is already over - something new! And, ethically we are what we have been for a million years. You understand the contrast? Technologically, like a computer, which will outthink man, it can invent new meditations, new gods, new theories. We were talking the other day with three or four very prominent computer people. The computer can think backwards and forwards which is called 'architecture'. (I am not going into it for the moment). And this fifth or sixth generation of computers is so quick, so extraordinarily capable, it can invent, it can produce, it can change and so on. (I won't go into all that.)
And man, that is, you and I - what is going to happen to our brains? You understand something? If the computer can do almost anything - of course except looking at the new moon, it can do almost anything that human beings can - this is not some theory. It is happening now. So, what's going to happen to you? What's going to happen to us, as human beings? We want entertainment, probably this is part of your idea of entertainment: coming here, sitting, listening, and agreeing or disagreeing, and going back home, carry on your own life. This is part of entertainment, as going to church, temple, mosque or football, cricket in this country. Please, this is not an entertainment. You and the speaker must think together. It's not just to sit quietly and absorb some strange atmosphere, some 'Punyam'. Sorry, it is not like that at all. We are going to, sanely, logically, think together, look at the same thing, together. Not how you look and I look, but together, to observe, not only our daily life, which is far more important than any other - our daily living, every minute of our day. So, first, we are going to, together, think, not just merely listen, agree or disagree, which is very easy. One wishes strongly that we could put aside agreement and disagreement. That is very difficult for most people to do. We are too eager to agree or disagree. Our reactions are so quick. We classify everything, as a religious man, irreligious man, mundane and so on and so on.
If you could, this morning at least, put aside completely, agreement and disagreement, and merely observe together, think together. Will you do it? Put aside altogether your opinion and my opinion, your way of thinking and the other person's way of thinking. Could we do that? Only for an hour. Don't bother. Don't be too long at it, because agreement and disagreement divides people. It's illogical to say, yes, I agree with you or I don't agree with you, which means you are either projecting, holding to your opinion, your judgement, your evaluation, or you disagree, say 'I am sorry, I don't agree with you'. Another form of personal interest and discarding. Could we do that, for this morning, just for fun? Just for an amusement, or entertainment, if you want: to forget our opinions, or judgements, our saying, agreement or disagreement, just have a good, clear brain, not devotional and emotional or romantic, but a brain that thinks clearly - if it is at all possible. A brain that does not get involved in all the complications of theory, opinion, admission, dismission? Could we do that? Probably you have never done it. So, let us proceed.
What is thinking? Every human being in the world, everyone from the most ignorant, most crude, from the very, very small person in a little village to the most highly sophisticated scientist, they have something in common. Haven't you noticed? Thinking. They think. The villager never read anything, never been to a school, college, university, but probably most of you here, are or have been educated. Right? So you think and the villagers think. Right? The man who sits in the Himalayas by himself, he also thinks. So, every human being in the world thinks. Right? And this thinking has been right from the beginning of time.
We must ask the first question - as we are going to ask several questions - what is thinking? What is it that you think about? What is thinking? Right? Would you answer this question first, not from books, right? Not from some Gita or the Upanishads or the Bible or the Koran says. What is thinking? Sir, one may go to a college, school, right up to university and be a bureaucrat, or a chief minister or prime minister, or the lowliest of the villagers, they have all something in common, apart from many other things which we will go into, what is thinking? We live by thinking. Our daily action is based on thinking. Unless we question, solve, and hold to it, find out. If you are a physicist, a labourer, or any kind of human being on this earth, we all think. You may think one way, and another may think another way, but it's still thinking. Yes. So, what is that? Can you think if you have no memory? You cannot think backwards and forwards, what you will do tomorrow, or the next hour, or what you have done yesterday, or this morning. You can think forward and backward. That is called technologically, in the computer world, 'architecture', and the computers can do it. So we must find out together, not the Indian way of thinking or the European way of thinking. I do not know if you follow what the speaker is saying; or the oriental way of thinking which is the Buddhist, the Hindu, the Muslim, the Christian and all the sects. Right?
So, what is thinking? Tell me, please. What is thinking? Why do you think? Are you stumped? No answer? You will discuss with me tomorrow or I believe the day after tomorrow, we are going to have a dialogue together. Unless you really understand the process of thinking, unless you really understand it, our life is always going to be very, very limited. So, we must very deeply, seriously, as a physicist, as a scientist, examines, we must examine very, very, very closely this whole process of thinking, which shapes our life. Man has created god by his thinking. God has not created man. It must be a very, very poor god who created these human beings who are fighting each other perpetually. He must be a rather silly old god. So, what is thinking? And why have we made problems of it? Right? We have problems about thinking. So we also must examine closely, why we have problems. Do you understand? Are we together into this a little bit? At least, following each other, or, have you all gone to sleep?
So, first, why have we problems in life? What is a problem? We have plenty of them: political problems, financial problems, economic problems, the problems of one religion against the other, the problems of - oh! You understand? Haven't you got problems by the thousand? What is a problem and the meaning of that word 'problem'? What does that mean? The meaning. According to the dictionary it means something thrown at you, a challenge, something you have got to look at, face. That's what a problem means. Right? Are we together in this, or am I talking to myself? So first, the word problem means something thrown at you. You can't dodge it, you can't run away from it, you can't suppress it. It is there, like a sore thumb. Why is it, that all our life from the moment we are born till we die, there is a problem - about death, about fear, about a hundred things? Right? Are you asking this question, or am I merely asking it for you? You don't seem to react to all this. From the moment you are born, after a while, after several years, you go to school. There you have to read, write. That becomes a problem to the child. And later on you have to learn mathematics, and that becomes a problem. And the mother says, 'Don't do this, don't do that', that becomes a problem. Right? So, from childhood we are bred in problems. Right? Am I saying something strange? You all look so damn serious! I am sorry to use that word, but you do look very serious, probably only this morning. So, from childhood, we have cultivated a million problems. Our brain is conditioned in problems. It is never free from problems. As you grow, become adolescent, sex, how to earn money, what to do, to follow society or not, revolt or not, and at the end you yield to society, to environment. So, all this becomes a problem.
Every politician in the world solves one problem and thereby creates another problem. Haven't you noticed all this? So, the human brain, what is inside the skull, itself has a problem. Do you understand? So, can the brain ever be free of problems, to solve problems? Do you understand my question? If the brain is not free of problems, then how can it solve any problem? Do you understand? This is logical. Right? So, the brain, your brain, that which is in the skull, which carries memory, (I am not going into details), which has acquired tremendous knowledge, that brain has been nurtured, educated, to have problems. So, we are asking now: can the brain, your brain, can it ever be free of problems first, and then it can solve problems. It's logical. Right? So, can you be free of problems first? Or is that impossible? You understand my question? Our brain is conditioned as Hindu and the various divisions in Hinduism. We are - the brain is conditioned as a Buddhist, as a monk, the brain is conditioned in various narrow religions, the brain is conditioned by specialization. Oh Lord! Aren't you interested in all this? I am asking myself, looking at you - aren't you interested in all this? Or is it the habit of going to a meeting and listening, and saying, yes, quite right, quite right. You are a funny people, all right.
So, let us begin. Our brain is conditioned by the environment in which we live, by your education, by your religion, by your poverty or richness, you have taken vows as monks - don't know why, but you have taken them - and it becomes a torture, a problem. So our brain is extraordinarily conditioned, as a business man, as a house-keeper, and so on, and from that narrow point of view, we look at the world. So, we have to go into this question, of not only having problems, but also, what is thinking?
Why do you think at all? Is there a different way of action? Is there a different manner of approach to life, to the daily living, that does not require thinking at all? Oh, you don't know all this. So, first we have to look very closely, together - not I am explaining and you accept, that would be silly - but together find out for ourselves and then act, not say, yes, quite right. Act. We are going to go into that. What is thinking? Don't you think? Otherwise you would not be here. You made arrangements to come here at a certain time and you have also made arrangements to go back. That is thinking. Thinking philosophically - philosophy means the love of truth, the love of life, not passing some exam in a university. So, let us find out together what is thinking. If you had no memory of yesterday or what will happen tomorrow - no memory at all, of any kind, will you think? You understand? Oh, come on sirs - would you think and act thereby if you had no memory? Of course not. What are you hesitating about? You can't think if you have no memory. So what is memory? Now you are stumped.
What is memory? You did something yesterday and what you did is registered in the brain, which becomes a memory, and according to the memory you think and act. Right? So, what is memory? How does it come about? You remember somebody flattering you, you remember somebody hurting you, saying ugly things about you, or flattering you because you have written a book, so, you remember - memory. That is, the memory is the outcome of knowledge. Right? Oh, Lord! That is, you insulted me; it is registered in the brain as a memory. That insult or flattery or whatever it is, is registered which becomes the memory. That is, the knowledge of that incident becomes memory. I have an accident to a car, that accident is registered in the brain, in the brain cells, and then it says, yes that is memory, I had an accident and I must drive carefully. Right? So, out of knowledge comes memory. Right? Clear? From memory, thought.
Now, what is knowledge? This is rather difficult. We all accumulate knowledge, the great scholars, great professors, scientists, acquire tremendous knowledge. Do you understand? What is knowledge? How does it come about you have knowledge? Haven't you thought about all this, looked at all this? Knowledge comes when there is experience. Right? You have an accident in a car, that becomes the act, the accident, that becomes an experience. Right? Right? From that experience you have knowledge and from that knowledge you have memory; from memory, you have thought. Right? Be careful. Don't agree yet or disagree. I am going to pull the rug from under your feet. So, what is experience, which is, that incident, right, or accident in a car, which is registered in the brain as knowledge? Right? And so on - knowledge, experience - knowledge - memory - thought. Clear? This is logical. Not my way of looking at it or your way of looking at it. So, all experience, whether it is god's experience or your experience, is limited. Yes? Right? Would you agree, would you see that? All experience! Because, you look at it, the scientists are adding every day more and more and more. Right? That which is added to, is always limited. Don't agree. Look at it, look at it. I know little, and I must know more, you are adding! Right? That which you add to, must be limited. Oh Lord! Right?
K: So, experience is always limited. Your experience of god - I don't know what that means, but it doesn't matter - your experience of something is always limited; there is something more to be added. So, experience is limited, knowledge is limited - for ever, not just future knowledge, it is always limited. Therefore, memory is limited and so thought is limited. Right? Thought is limited. And where there is limitation, there is division. Right? As the Sikh, the Hindu, the Buddhist, the Muslim, the Christian, the Democratic party, Republican party, Communist. You understand? They are all based on thought. Therefore all governments are limited. All your activity is limited, whether you think most abstractly or try to be very noble, it is still thinking. Right? So, from that limited quality of thinking - and thinking is always limited - our actions are limited. Right?
Now, from that you begin to enquire very carefully: can thought have its right place and have no other place at all? You understand my question? No, no. Don't go to sleep, please. I need thought to come here. I have to get up at a certain time and all the rest of it. You have too. You have to sit there. So, is there an action which is free of limitation? You think it out. Think it out, look at it carefully. That is, thinking being limited, we have reduced the whole universe into a very small affair. You understand? We have made our life into such a small affair. I think, I must be this, I mustn't be that, I must have power, I must not! You follow? We have reduced the enormous quality of life into a very small petty little affair. Right? So, is it possible to be free of thought? That is, I must think to come here. If I am a bureaucrat, I must think in terms of bureaucracy. If I go to the factory and turn the screw, I must have certain knowledge. Why should I have knowledge about myself? You understand my question? The higher self, lower self and all that stuff? Why should I have knowledge about it? It is very simple. I am self-interested. I am only concerned with myself actually. We may pretend to have brotherhood, or may talk about peace, we may do every kind of verbal explaining in many words, but we are always self-centred. Right? So, from that arises the question: can the self-centredness, which is essentially deep selfishness, can there be a change at all? You understand? Can we be utterly selfless? Go on, sir.
So, we have to enquire: what is the self? Right, sirs? What are you, apart from your name and profession and your vows and following some guru or leader, what are you? Tell me. Apart from your profession, apart from your name - or put it the other way round: are you your name; are you your profession? Or, are you part of the community, or are you part of the tradition? The Hindu, that is a tradition, a name! So, what are you? Don't repeat what the Gita says, the Upanishads say, or somebody else says. That's futile. Actually, what are you? God! Won't you try to know it? Is this the first time this question is being put to you? What am I? Aren't you fear? Aren't you your name? Aren't you your body? Aren't you what you think you are? The image you have built about yourself - aren't you all that? Aren't you your anger, or do you say 'Anger is separate from me'? Come on, sirs. Aren't you your fears, your ambitions, your greed, your competition, your uncertainty, your confusion, your pain, your sorrow? Aren't you all that? Aren't you the guru that you follow, and all the kind of stuff you put around your neck? So, when you identify yourself with that, that is, your fear, your pleasure, your pain, your sorrow, your affection, your rudeness - all that, aren't you all that? Or are you something high up, super-self, super-consciousness? If you say you are super-consciousness, higher self, that is also part of thinking; therefore what you call the higher self is still very small. So, what am I? Don't go to sleep sir! What's the time, sir?
Q: Nine thirty five.
K: We have talked for nearly an hour.
Q: Yes sir. Yes sir.
K: Good. God! I don't know whether it's worthwhile.
I am saying, you are a bundle of all that. Right? Put together by thought, I am a Hindu, I am a Brahman, I am not a Brahman, or anti-Brahman, and I want to be prime minister, I want to have a bigger position, I want power, position. Right? Don't say, no. You want all those. You want to be nearer to god, or your guru, and therefore, what he says, you follow, and you are uncertain, confused, lonely, in sorrow, in pain, anxiety. Right? You are all that. Whatever you think, you are. Right? You may invent all kinds of stuff, but that invention too is what you are. Right?
So another very, very complicated question I won't go into now, because it is nearly time: who has put all this together? Putting it all together is called me, myself, my ego, my personality, my higher self, my god, you know, atman, I invent all this kind of stuff. Who has put this together? You understand my question? Or is there only one structure? You understand? We have separated all this. One day I am quite certain, second day I am uncertain, third day - I mean third day, it's a long interval - I want, I aspire to be very noble, fifth day I say, I must be fearless and so on. Right? Moving from day to day. What kind of human beings we are! I am a Hindu, Buddhist, and all the rest of it! Who has divided all this? You understand my question? Who has said, 'I am a Hindu', or 'I am a Muslim'? Is it merely propaganda? Division between countries - who created this division? Oh come on, sirs.
K: Thought: Are you sure? Or is it the desire, the longing to be identified, to be safe?
Q: These are also thoughts.
K: Would you listen before you put that? Of course, thought, but there is something else in it. I am asking you most respectfully, who has created this division? It is thought, of course, but behind that thought there is something else. I am a Russian, or a Muslim and I hold on to that. Right? For the rest of my life I am a Muslim, or a Catholic, or a Hindu, or whatever it is. Who is doing all this, apart from the thought? What is the desire, what is the urge, what is the movement behind it?
Q: To become.
Q: That's right.
K: To become; what do you mean, to become what?
Q: Different from what I am sir.
Q: It's security.
K: That's it. Security. I want to be secure, that is why I follow a guru. I want to be secure in my relationship with you, with my wife: she is mine. Right? Secure. Right, sirs? Secure, protected, safe, some place I must have. At home - it is rather difficult in a factory or in a bureaucratic structure. The desire, the urge, the response, the reaction is 'safety', 'I must be secure'. Right? K, so and so name, B.A. You are a crazy crowd. Or an MP, Member of Parliament! Politics matter very much here, in this country. So, it is a form of security. We all want security, but we never question, is there security at all? Is there anywhere I can say I am safe? You distrust your wife, your wife distrusts you. You distrust your boss, because you want his place. It is all common sense You like to be gurus - for god's sake! So, each human being in this world - you may laugh at it now - each human being in the world wants to have a place where he can be safe, secure, where there is no competition, where he is not pushed around, where he is not harassed. Don't you want all that? If you are honest, for a change, don't you want all that? Yes, but you never ask: is there security at all? We want something - it may be illusory. I want god, but we have created god. So, you want security, and you also must ask: is there security at all? If you want security, you must also ask the other question. You can't say, I want security and hold on. Is there security at all?
Then, the question arises: why do you want security? Is there security in your thinking? Is there security in relationship? Not with me, with your wife, your children. Is there security in your job? You may be a professor, carefully protected once you become a professor, but they are hapless. You want to become Vice Chancellor? You know the game. So, where is there security? Or there may be no security at all. Just think about it, sir! See the beauty of that! having no desire for security, having no urge, no feeling of any kind, in which there is security in your vows, in your offices, in your factory, in your parliament and so on. Is there security? Life may not have security. Life is meant to be lived. Not create problems and then try to solve them, not to have sorrow, pain. It is meant to be lived, and it will die. That is one of our fears, to die. Right? We will go into all that.
So, for this morning, have we learnt from each other - not helped each other - have we learnt? Have we heard at all what the speaker is talking about? Heard with the ear? Have you seen the facts of the world, which is you, the world is you, have you seen the facts of all that? Or are they all ideas? There is a difference between fact and idea. The idea is never the fact. The microphone, this thing in front of the speaker, the word microphone is not the thing. Right? The word is not the thing, but we have made the word the thing. You understand what I am saying? So, the 'Hindu' is not you. The word is not you. You are the fact, not the word. I wonder if you see all that. So, can we see the word and see that the word is not the thing? The word 'god' is not god. The word is different totally from reality. Right?
So, we are most respectfully asking: what have you learnt this morning, actually learnt, so that you act? Not say, yes, quite right, quite right and go home and carry on. So unless we act, the world is in great chaos - I don't know if you realize it. There is great trouble in the world, great misery. And the world is you, because you are in misery, you are confused, you are all this, therefore you are creating the world around you. You understand what I am saying? If you don't alter, the world cannot alter, change. In the world, everywhere you go, every human being in the world goes through the same phenomenon, as you are going through: uncertain, unhappy, fearful, insecure, wanting security, trying to control, trying to say 'that guru is better than my guru' and so on, and so on, creating wars. You understand sirs? The speaker is not an optimist or a pessimist; we are presenting the facts, not newspaper facts. We are talking about facts of our life, not the life of a guru or the emporer or somebody other. We are talking together about your life. Your life is like the rest of the world.They are terribly unhappy, uncertain, miserable, unemployed by the millions. Poverty, hunger, sorrow, pain just like you - you are not different from them. You may call yourself Hindu or Muslims or Christains or what you like but consciously, inwardly you are like rest of the world. You may be dark brown and they may be light brown, different government but every human being shares this terrible world. We have made the world. Do you understand? Not Lenin or Marx, we have made the world. We are society. If you want society to be something different you have to start, you have to bring order to your house. The house is you. Alright sirs?
The Future Is Now
Longer, Unedited Versions
Rajghat 1st Public Talk 18th November 1985
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