The Way of Intelligence
Chapter 5, Seminars Madras 1978
The Way of Intelligence Chapter 5 Part 3 2nd Seminar Madras 14th January 1978 'Insights Into Regeneration'
P.J.: Could we discuss the problem of the sorrow of man, the nature of compassion and meditation? I feel we are in a trap: being in sorrow and not understanding the nature of compassion.
K: May I ask, what are your ideas or concepts about sorrow, meditation and love?
A.P.: Sorrow is an inescapable part of life. We are helpless victims when a part of humanity is forced to live a subhuman life, with no hope of change in their way of life. Unless one sees some affirmative process, one feels completely lost.
P.J.: You can't talk about the sorrow of another.
A.P.: But it is my sorrow. I am not talking about another's.
P.J.: Sorrow is something integral to one.
A.P.: I am talking about sorrow. It is integral. Nothing can be more integral than the fact that there is no compassion in me as an authentic response. When I witness the sorrow of another, I am part of that sorrow.
K: Sir, is there such a thing as my sorrow, your sorrow and his sorrow?
P.J.: Sorrow is not a concept, not an idea. It is deeply in me.
K: I wonder what we mean by the word `sorrow'. Let us go slowly, because it is rather important. What do we mean by sorrow, grief, pain? Every human being goes through this ugly business of sorrow. Some people think that it is a cleansing process, an enlightening process. Some give explanations which appear to satisfy them - you did something in the past, you are paying for it now. Strip away all these words; what remains is the actuality, the feeling of sorrow; not the word; not the connotation of that word, not the evocation of the images that word brings up. Now, what is this deep feeling that we call sorrow? My son dies, and there is a tremendous feeling. Is that sorrow?
P.J.: It is sorrow.
K: In that is involved self-pity, loneliness, a sudden realization that I have lost somebody and I am left alone. I suffer because he has not lived as long as I have lived and so on. But the root of this enormous sorrow is what man has carried through timeless centuries.
P.K.S.: As a preliminary definition of the word `sorrow`, not the connotative definition, what is actually felt when you are in sorrow? I think there is some sense of privation, a want, and this produces a state of mind, a pang which is called sorrow. In it is a sense of limitation, finitude, helplessness.
A.P.: If I may suggest, we human beings know pain, physical pain. Physical pain is a condition which we have to accept; we can do nothing about it. Sorrow is the exact equal of that - psychologically; that is, we are totally unable to do anything about it. We have to just take it and be with it.
K: Sir, you meet the poor people next door, you have great sympathy for them. Perhaps you may feel guilty because you get used to their poverty, their endless degradation. Perhaps you may have great affection for them. Would you call the fact, man living in this appalling way, sorrow?
I.I.: I do. I, at least, know that there are different kinds of sorrow in my life. One of them is that sorrow of which we speak: sorrow when I do something violent to somebody else, which takes away from somebody else. I live in society. So many things I cannot undertake without taking away big chunks from others. For instance, tomorrow morning I take the jet plane from Madras to Delhi and on this plane which I take for my benefit, I have calculated that I will grab out of the atmosphere more oxygen than a little herd of elephants from birth to their death can breathe. I will be co-responsible for an exploitation of many thousands of Indians, each one who in a sensible way pays his taxes and lives in a world dominated by the planes so that some of us can have that sense of importance of flying in a jet today. I do something which if I didn't, I would have to radically, totally change the way I live. I have not yet decided to make that change. In fact, I create for myself legitimate reasons by word-constructions for taking that plane, and in this sense I feel a very particular kind of sorrow which is the one about which I would want you to enlighten me most.
K: We will discuss it, sir. As you said, there are different kinds of sorrow. There is your kind, what you described; then there is somebody losing a son, a father and mother; seeing appalling ignorance, and seeing that there is no hope for man in a country like this. And there is the sorrow, the deep agony of realizing you are nothing. There is also the sorrow of how man treats man and so on. Now, what does all this sorrow mean? According to Christian terms or Hindu terms, is there an end to sorrow or is it an everlasting thing? Is there an end to any sorrow at all?
I.I.: Certainly there is no end to this sorrow as long as I am willing to participate in violence.
K: Then I shut myself up. If I narrow down my life, `I won't do this, I don't do that,' then I would not be able to move at all. For myself I have faced this. I can see from what you say, that we exploit people. So what can I do? Before I answer, before we can discuss that question, could we ask what is love? Perhaps it may solve the problem and answer this question.
I am asking what is love. Biologically, life is reproduction and all the rest of it. Is that love? I would like to go into it, if you don't mind; then, perhaps, we shall be able to answer the fundamental question, which is, whatever I do at present causes some kind of sorrow to another. The very clothes I wear is making somebody work for me. So I would like to approach this question from a different angle. The word `love' is loaded; misused, vulgarized, sexualized, anything you like. What then is love, because that may answer this gradual inaction that arises when I say, `I can't do this; if I do this, I am depriving somebody of that, I am exploiting somebody,' and out of that comes sorrow; perhaps we can have a dialogue about this feeling of love.
Do I love my wife? Sir, let us go into it a little bit because this may resolve our problems of sorrow, exploitation, using other people, narrowing down our lives. I am trying to prevent myself from being reduced to narrow activity. So I want to ask this question, is everything biological? Is my love for my wife biological?
R. Krishnaswamy: Yes.
K: Would you say that to your wife?
K.S.: Yes, sir.
K: I am not being rude. I am not being personal. Then you are reducing it to a purely sensory reaction.
K.S.: Yes, it begins like that and then we begin to verbalize it, romanticize it.
K: Yes, it begins there and then you build up the picture, the image. Is that it?
K.S.: I think that is true. The primitive man, the hunter, did not have any of these problems which we are facing now. Is my love for my child also this? Is this an extreme form of selfishness, because we want to perpetuate ourselves?
K: You are saying, sir, that this state is not only biological, it is sensory. Sensory love may begin with desire, desire being seeing, perception, contact, sensation, thought, the image and desire; that is the process. You are saying love is desire, it is biological. I want to find out whether love exists at all apart from the sensory, apart from desire, attachment, jealousy and, therefore, hate. Is that love? If I told my wife it is all sensory, and if she is at all intelligent, she would throw something at me. We have reduced love to such a limited, ugly thing. Therefore, we don't love.
Love implies much more than the word. It implies a great deal of beauty. It does not rest in the woman I love, but in the very feeling of love, which implies a relationship with nature, love of stars, the earth, stones, the stray dog, all that, and also the love of my wife. If you reduce it to desire and sensation, if you call it a biological movement, then it becomes a tawdry affair. Your wife treats you, and you treat her, as a biological necessity. Is that love? So I am asking, is desire, pleasure, love? Is sexual comfort love?
I.I.: Is love communion?
K: How can I commune with another if I have an image of her?
I.I.: An image may be an obstacle to communion?
K: Can I be free of the image I have of you, of my wife, of the professor, doctor and so on? Only then is there a possibility of communion. I don't have to use words.
I.I.: And love, perhaps, is free communion?
K: I would not like to say so, yet. We will come to it presently.
P.K.S.: In a fundamental sense, love is the opposite of desire. What I mean is, desire insists on getting. Love insists on giving.
K: You see, sir, you are categorizing, conceptualizing, you have already put it in a cage.
P.K.S.: I only wanted to suggest that love is not merely biological; it is much more than that. It is giving, a sacrifice.
K: Sir, if I have a wife, what is my relationship to her apart from sexual, apart from attachment, apart from all the rest of the traditional meanings of relationship? Am I really related to the lady? Relationship means to be in contact at all levels, not just the physical level which is desire, pleasure. Does it not imply, when I say, `I love you,' and I mean it, that you and I meet at the same level, meet with the same intensity, at the same moment?
K: That happens apparently only sexually, at the biological level. I question this whole approach to life, life in which there is this immense thing called love. Now, are we not concerned to find out what it is? Does not your heart, mind, say that you have to find out? Or, is everything reduced to a verbal level?
N. T.: If love is sensual pleasure and based on the pursuit of desire, it is not love; love has to be based on compassion.
K: But what is compassion?
N.T.: Compassion itself is love.
K: Sir, you have freedom with words.
N.T.: Love is universal.
K: I want to find out, I want to have this sense of love. As a human being it is like breathing; I must have it.
N.T.: That sense of love is universal, not moved by desire.
K: All right sir, don't think me impudent, don't think me rude. Have you got that love, or is this just theory?
N.T.: It does not arise in the human mind.
K: That is verbalizing it. I want to know as a human being, do you love anybody?
N. T.: Not through a possessive type of love.
K: Oh, no. You are all theorizing.
N.T.: No, sir.
K: You are a priest, you are a monk; I come to you and say, please, for god's sake, let me have the perfume of that which is called love. And you say love is compassion, compassion is love, you go around it.
N.T.: Love in the absolute sense is present in all human beings.
K: Is it there when you kill somebody, when Stalin kills twenty million people, when India fights Pakistan? Is there love in every human being?
N.T.: Love is there in every human being.
K: If there were love in every human being, do you think India would be like this - held in poverty, degradation, dishonesty, corruption? What are you all talking about?
Prof. Subramaniam: Sir, if love means being related to another person at all levels, when I don't understand myself and when I don't love myself, how is it possible to love another? I am not talking about self-love. I don't find that I am relating myself at all levels to myself. When that is so, I realize that I am not related to another person, whether it is my wife or another, at all levels.
K: So, as a human being, don't you want to come upon this, don't you want to find out? Don't you want to have a sense of this great thing? Unless you have it, I don't see the point of all these discussions, pujas, and all that is going on in this country.
R.B.: I think the point is that when there is no relatedness inside oneself, when there are warring elements within oneself, there can't be love.
K: Sir, I would rather put the question this way: If this thing, love, is merely a biological process and one sees it even intellectually as a shoddy little affair, and a human being has never had this perfume, don't you want to find out this love, this state of passion; don't you want to drink at that extraordinary fountain? Or have we mesmerized ourselves verbally so that we have become incapable of any movement outside the field of our own particular verbalization? The Christians, Dr. Illich will tell you much more easily than I, have said, `Love Jesus, love Christ, love your neighbour as you would love yourself,' and so on. I question that any religious approximation or dictum is love. One may go to the church, one may go to the temple and love god, if god exists. Is that love?
R.B.: Sir, you started with the question of what is sorrow and followed it up with the question of what is love. Could you say what is the relationship between the two questions?
K: Is love this constant battle, words, theories and living at that level? I personally can't imagine any human being not having this love. If he does not have it, he is dead.
A.P.: Is that not the crux of the problem of regeneration?
K: Yes, sir. If you haven't got love, how can you regenerate anything? If you don't look after the plant that you have just put in the earth, if you don't give it water, air, proper nourishment, affection, see that there is plenty of light, the plant won't grow. Let us leave love for the moment. Shall we go into what is meditation?
P.J.: Without comprehending sorrow and love, we cannot know what is meditation.
R.B.: But is that itself not the problem? Millions of people are not even asking what is love.
I.I.: Is it, perhaps, also something so secret, hidden, personal? But it is so different because of its being concrete in each one of us. You spoke about our loving each other, some kind of close existence.
K: Sir, I can belong to a community, a commune, and then feel close to the others because we are there at the same time.
I.I.: Yes, but that has nothing to do with it.
K: Yes. I.I.: But somewhere at the very deepest level, the marvellous, glorious thing which I believe makes for love is that, your life and my life at that moment are both made sacred, the forms of renewal of mutual presence.
K: Forgive me, I wouldn't say that. I would say: When there is love, there is no `you' or `me,.
I.I.: Sir, that could be easily understood. I know you don't mean it that way, but love is a symbiosis.
I.I.: There is no `you' and there is no `me', but on the other hand, there is more of you and more of me.
K: Sir, when there is great beauty like a mountain, the majesty of it, the beauty of it, the shade, the light, `you' don't exist. The beauty of that thing drives away the `you'. Do you follow what I am saying?
I.I.: I follow what you are saying.
K: At that moment, when there is no `me' because of the majesty of the hill, there is only that sense of great wondering glowing beauty. So, I say: Beauty is when I am not, with my problem, with my gods, with my biological love and all the rest of it. When I am not, the other is.
I.I.: And yet - correct me if I am wrong - at that moment the transparent flame is burning higher and the stream of life is clearer, fresher, and the renewal of this world goes on.
K: At that moment there is a new rejuvenation taking place, if you like to put it that way. I am putting it this way, that there is a sense of an otherness than me.
I.I.: Yes. That otherness implies...
K: The otherness is not the opposite.
P.J.: May I then ask, what is it that makes the spring, the stream flow?
K: I have seen the birth of the great river right in the hills. It starts with a few drops and then collects, and then there is a roaring stream at the end of it. Is that love?
P.J.: What is it that makes the stream flow fully?
K: I come to you and say, `Look, I don't know what love is, please teach me, help me, or let me learn what love is.' I say, attachment is not love, the mere biological pleasure with all its movements, with all its implications, is not love. So can you be free of attachment, negate it completely? Through negation you may come to the positive, but we won't do that. I come to you who are learned, who have studied, who have lived, suffered, who have children, and I say: `Please teach me, help me to understand love.' Don't say, `Love is consciousness without words,' and all that. I want this thing in me. Don't give me ashes.
P.J.: What is the relationship of sorrow to love? Is there any relationship?
K: You must relate sorrow, love and death. If you end attachment, end it. Do not say, `I will end it today but pick it up tomorrow.' End it completely and also jealousy, greed. Do not argue, but end it, which is death. Both biologically and psychologically the ending of something is death. So, will you give up, renounce - to use a traditional term - your status, position, attachments, beliefs, gods? Can you throw them into the river and see what happens? But you won't do this. Will renunciation give love, help you to understand the beauty of it? Please, sir, you are monks, you have studied, please tell me.
P.K.S.: Renunciation, sir, can be of many kinds. Renunciation of selfishness certainly won't be love.
K: Will my becoming a monk, giving up the world, taking a vow of celibacy, give me love?
P.K.S.: No. One can be a monk, take vows and yet not have love.
K: So what am I to do? You are a philosopher, you teach all this. Philosophy means love of truth. Are you giving me life? Are you giving me, helping me, to understand truth?
P.K.S.: From your observations we obtained certain descriptions of love.
K: I don't want descriptions of love. I want food.
P.K.S.: We have got certain characteristics of love. One of these is unselfishness, the other is non-possessiveness. These are all positive aspects. Certain characteristics that you mention are positive, but the very nature of ourselves is that there is jealousy and greed.
K: Right, sir. I am your disciple; I come to learn from you because you are a philosopher. I am not being rude, but I ask, sir, are you living it or are these only words? If you are, then there is a communion between us. I am fighting for a breath of this. I am drowning. What am I to do?
I say to myself, nobody can help me. No guru, no book, nothing, will help me. So I discard the whole thing; I won't even touch it. Then I ask, what is love? Let me find out because if I don't have that flame, that love, life means nothing; I may pass examinations, become a great philosopher, but it is nothing. I must find out. I can only find out something through negation. Through negation I come to the positive; I don't start with the positive. If I start with the positive, I end up with uncertainty. If I start with uncertainty, then something positive occurs. I say, I know love is not merely a biological thing. I put the biological movement, desire, in its right place. So I am free from the biological explanation of love. Now, is love pleasure which means desire, will, pursuit of an incident which happened yesterday, the memory of that and the cultivation of that? Pleasure implies enjoyment, seeing the beauty of the world, seeing the beauty of nature; I put that also in its place. Then what is love? It is not attachment, obviously; it is not jealousy, possessiveness, domination; so I discard all that.
Then I ask, what place has thought in relationship? Has it any place at all? Thought is remembrance, the response of knowledge, experience from which thought is born. So thought is not love. In that there is a denial of the total structure which man has built. My relationship to my wife is no longer based on thought, event, sensory desire, biological demand or attachment; it is totally new. Will you go through all this? Now I ask, what is love? It is the ending of everything that man has created in his relationship with another - country, race, language, clan. Does that ending mean death?
P.K.S.: It is knowing the completion of life.
K: No, no. I said the ending of thought in relationship. Is not that death?
I.I.: Sir, could we not say I have never loved enough until the moment of my death?
K: I want to invite death, not commit suicide. So death means an ending. I am attached to my wife and death comes and says, look, that is all over. Ending means death; ending of attachment is a form of death. The ending of jealousy, biological demands, is also death, and out of that may come the feeling called love. We are educated to believe that death is something at the end of our life. I am saying death is at the beginning of life, because death means ending. This ending is the ending of my selfishness. Therefore, out of this comes that extraordinary bird called love, the phoenix. I think if one has that sense of love, I can take the aeroplane. It doesn't matter if I take a bullock cart or an aeroplane, but I won't deceive myself. I have no illusions.
I.I.: Is it also the end of sorrow?
K: Yes. Sir, do you know the Latin word for sorrow? In it is involved passion. I know most human beings know what lust, biological pleasure and all the rest of it is. Are they actually aware of what sorrow is? Or is it something that you know, recognise, experience after it is over? Do I know sorrow at the moment my brother, my son, my wife, dies? Or is it always in the past? I.I.: I do not know the sorrow of my own injustice, which I feel is connected like the shadow of my own action. A single bullock cart - that's a very small affair.
K: So I won't reduce it to that. Sir, you are saying, if I take the jet, specially the Jumbo, I am up there; when I take the bullock cart, I am down here. And if I walk, I am still further down.
I.I.: Would it not be wisdom to learn, to act with sorrow and, therefore, keep sorrow also in its place? If I have the courage to act with the sorrow which I understand, then at the very same time, I will progressively eliminate from my life all those things which cast a very long shadow of sorrow.
K: Sir, why should I carry sorrow?
I.I.: Because I do injustice; otherwise how can I justify that which cannot be justified?
K: No, I won't justify. I want to find out what is right action, not justify, not say I won't fly by jet. I want to find out what is right action under all circumstances. Right action may vary in different things, but it is always right. We are using the word `right' - correct, true, non-contradictory, not the action of self-interest; all that is implied in that word "right action". What is my right action? If I can find that out I have solved it, whether I go by aeroplane or by bullock cart or whether I walk. But what is right action in my life? Right action will come about when the mind is not concerned with the `me'.
P.K.S.: Can I ask for the definition of meditation? Is it constant awareness?
I.I.: There is no exercise of the mind about it but an awareness.
K: The word `meditation' implies, according to the dictionary, to think over, ponder, to reflect upon, to enquire into something mysterious; not what we have made of it. P.K.S.: But could it not be applied to cases where something has been known to be true and ascertained to be true without any shadow of doubt?
K: How can I ascertain something to be true?
P.K.S.: For example, practice of love.
K: Love is not something to practise.
I.I.: No, in the sense of being aware of.
K: No sir, I said ending of something. There is no practising the ending of something. I end my jealousy. I want to find out what love is. Obviously love is not jealousy. So end it without argument. Because my whole urge, my whole concern is to find this thing, I will come upon it. In the same way, I want to know what meditation is: Zen meditation, Burmese meditation, Indian meditation, Tibetan meditation, Hinayana meditation. Must I go through all this to find out what meditation is? Must I go to Japan, spend years in monasteries, practise, go to Burma, go to India, to all the gurus?
I want to know what you understand by meditation. Would you agree, sir, that the basic principle, the essence of all this meditation is control? If you ask a Christian what is meditation, he will tell you one thing; if you ask an Indian guru, he will tell you something else. If you ask a man who has practised meditation for twenty-five years, he will tell you something else again. So, what is meditation? Is it control of the mind, or thought, and, therefore, control of action? Control implies choice. Choice implies no freedom at all. If I choose, there is no freedom.
P.K.S.: Control is an important element in meditation.
K: So you are saying control is part of meditation. Then who is the controller, the Higher Self, the atman, the super-consciousness, which are all put together by thought? Now, can I live a life without control? I.I.: Sir, for the purpose of this conversation, could we not say that meditation is the rehearsal of the act of dying?
K: Forgive me, why should I have a rehearsal?
I.I.: One day I will be called upon for a last time, and before I could really engage in that supreme activity which is to die...
K: So why not die now?
I.I.: Now, if it is the act of dying, I will be happy to put it that way. Only if I say to somebody that meditation means dying, and if I say that tomorrow morning I will have breakfast with you, people won't understand me; that is the reason I suggested the term.
K: No, sir. I don't think we are meeting each other. The word `meditation' has now become the fashion in Europe. It is vulgarized, industrialized, money is made out of it. Wipe away all that. Is not meditation to come upon something sacred, not put together by thought which says, `This is sacred'? I mean sacred in the sense of something that is not contaminated by time, by the environment, something that is original. I am shy of these words, but please accept it. Is meditation an enquiry into that?
I.I.: Into that of which we speak shyly?
K: Yes, into that. My enquiry then must be completely undirected, unbiased. Otherwise, I will go off at a tangent. If I have a motive for meditation because I am unhappy and, therefore, I want to find that, then my motive dictates. Then I go off into illusions.
I.I.: If I said the same thing in different terms: Meditation is the readiness for radical surprise, will you accept it?
K: Yes, I accept it. So my concern in meditation is - have I a motive? Motive means movement. So I have a motive in meditation. Do I want a reward? I must be very clear that there is no search for reward or punishment, which means there is no direction. And also I must be very clear that no element creates an illusion. Illusion comes into being when there is desire, when I want something. I see the fact that the mind in meditation must be tremendously aware that it is not caught in any kind of self-hypnosis, self-created illusion. So part of meditation is to wipe away the illusory machine. And, if there is control, it is already directed. Therefore, it means, can I live a daily life in which there is absolutely no control? That means, no censor, saying `do this, do that'. All our life, from childhood, we are educated to control, to suppress, to follow. So can I live a daily life, not an abstract life, with my wife, with my friends, without any control, without direction, without movement?
That is the beginning of meditation.
The Way of Intelligence
Chapter 5, Seminars Madras 1978
The Way of Intelligence Chapter 5 Part 3 2nd Seminar Madras 14th January 1978 'Insights Into Regeneration'
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