Awakening of Intelligence
2nd Conversation with Swami Venkatesananda - Saanen
26th July 1969
Four Mahavakyas from the Upanishads
b. The Bodhisattva Ideal
d. The Ending of Knowledge
Swami Venkatesananda: Krishnaji, we are sitting near each other and enquiring, listening and learning. Even so did the sage and the seeker, and that is the origin they say of the Upanishads. These Upanishads contain what are known as Mahavakyas, Great Sayings, which perhaps had the same effect upon the seeker then as your words have upon me now. May I beg of you to say what you think of them, are they still valid, or do they need revision or renewal?
The Upanishads envisaged the Truth in the following Mahavakyas:
Prajnanam Brahma: "Consciousness is infinite, the absolute, the highest Truth."
Aham Brahmasmi: "I am that infinite", or "I is that infinite" - because the "I" here does not refer to the ego.
Tat Tvam-asi: "Thou art that".
Ayam Atma Brahma: "The self is the infinite", or "the individual is the infinite."
These were the four Mahavakyas used by the ancient sage to bring home the message to the student, and they were also sitting just like us, face to face, the guru and the disciple, the sage and the seeker.
Krishnaji: Yes, what is the question, Sir?
Swamiji: What do you think of them? Are these Mahavakyas valid now? Do they need a revision or a renewal?
Krishnaji: These sayings, like "I am that", "Tat Tvam-asi" and "Ayam Atma Brahma"?
Swamiji: That is, "Consciousness is Brahman".
Krishnaji: Isn't there a danger, Sir, of repeating something not knowing what it means? "I am that." What does it actually mean?
Swamiji: "Thou are that."
Krishnaji: Thou art that." What does that mean? One can say, "I am the river". That river that has got tremendous volume behind it, moving, restless, pushing on and on, through many countries. I can say, "I am that river." That would be equally valid as, "I am Brahman."
Swamiji: Yes. Yes.
Krishnaji: Why do we say, "I am that"? And not "I am the river", nor "I am the poor man", the man that has no capacity, no intelligence, who is dull - this dullness brought about by heredity, by poverty, by degradation, all that! Why don't we say, "I am that also"? Why do we always attach ourselves to something which we suppose to be the highest?
Swamiji: "That", perhaps, only means that which is unconditioned.
YO VAI BHUMA TATSUKHAM
That which is unconditioned.
Krishnaji: Unconditioned, yes.
Swamiji: So, since there is in us this urge to break through all conditioning, we look for the unconditioned.
Krishnaji: Can a conditioned mind, can a mind that is small, petty, narrow, living on superficial entertainments, can that know or conceive, or understand, or feel, or observe the unconditioned?
Swamiji: No. But it can uncondition itself.
Krishnaji: That is all it can do.
Krishnaji: Not say, "There is the unconditioned, I am going to think about it", or "I am that". My point is, why is it that we always associate ourselves with what we think is the highest? Not what we think is the lowest?
Swamiji: Perhaps in Brahman there is no division between the highest and the lowest, that which is unconditioned.
Krishnaji: That's the point. When you say, "I am that", or "Thou are that", there is a statement of a supposed fact....
Krishnaji: ...which may not be a fact at all.
Swamiji: Perhaps I should explain here again that the sage who uttered the Mahavakyas was believed to have had a direct experience of it.
Krishnaji: Now, if he had the experience of it, could he convey it to another?
Krishnaji: And the question also arises, can one actually experience something which is not experienceable? We use the word "experience" so easily - "realise", "experience", "attain", "self-realisation", all these things - can one actually experience the feeling of supreme ecstasy? Let's take that for the moment, that word. Can one experience it?
Swamiji: The infinite?
Krishnaji: Can one experience the infinite? This is really quite a fundamental question, not only here but in life. We can experience something which we have already known. I experience meeting you. That's an experience, meeting you, or you meeting me, or my meeting X. And when I meet you next time I recognise you, don't I? I say, "Yes, I met him at Gstaad." So there is in experience the factor of recognition.
Swamiji: Yes. That is objective experience.
Krishnaji: If I hadn't met you, I should pass you by - you would pass me by. There is in all experiencing, isn't there, a factor of recognition?
Krishnaji: Otherwise it is not an experience. I meet you - is that an experience?
Swamiji: Objective experience.
Krishnaji: It can be an experience, can't it? I meet you for the first time. Then what takes place in that first meeting of two people. What takes place?
Swamiji: An impression, impression of like.
Krishnaji: An impression of like or dislike, such as, "He's a very intelligent man", or "He's a stupid man", or "He should be this or that". It is all based on my background of judgment, on my values, on my prejudices, likes and dislikes, on my bias, on my conditioning. That background meets you and judges you. The judgment, the evaluation, is what we call experience.
Swamiji: But isn't there,
Krishnaji, another... ?
Krishnaji: Wait, Sir, let me finish this. Experience is after all the response to a challenge, isn't it? The reaction to a challenge. I meet you and I react. If I didn't react at all, with any sense of like, dislike, prejudice, what would take place?
Krishnaji: What would happen in a relationship in which the one - you, perhaps - have no prejudice, no reaction; you are living in quite a different state and you meet me. Then what takes place?
Krishnaji: I must recognise that peace in you, that quality in you, otherwise I just pass you by. So when we say, "Experience the highest", can the mind, which is conditioned, which is prejudiced, frightened, experience the highest?
Swamiji: Obviously not.
Krishnaji: Obviously not. And the fear, the prejudice, the excitement, the stupidity is the entity that says, "I am going to experience the highest." When that stupidity, fear, anxiety, conditioning ceases, is there experiencing of the highest at all?
Swamiji: Experiencing of "that".
Krishnaji: No, I haven't made myself clear. If the entity - which is the fear, the anxiety, the guilt and all the rest of it - if that entity has dissolved itself, discarded the fear and so on, what is there to experience?
Swamiji: Now that beautiful question was actually put in just so many words. He asked the very same question:
VIJNATARAM ARE KENA VIJANIYAT
"You are the knower, how can you know the knower?" "You are the experiences!" But there is one suggestion that Vedanta gives and that is: we have so far been talking about an objective experience:
Isn't there another experience? Not my meeting X Y Z, but the feeling "I am", which is not because I encountered desire somewhere, or because I was confronted with some desire. I don't go and ask a doctor or somebody to certify that "I am". But there is this feeling, there is this knowledge, "I am". This experience seems to be totally different from objective experience.
Krishnaji: Sir, what is the purpose of experience?
Swamiji: Exactly what you have been saying: to get rid of the fears, and get rid of all the complexes, all the conditioning. To see what I am, in truth, when I am not conditioned.
Krishnaji: No, Sir. I mean: I am dull.
Swamiji: Am I dull?
Krishnaji: I am dull; and because I see you, or X Y Z, who is very bright, very intelligent..?
Swamiji: There is comparison.
Krishnaji: Comparison: through comparing, I find that I am very dull. And I say, "Yes, I am dull, what am I to do?", and just remain in my dullness. Life comes along, an incident takes place, which shakes me up. I wake up for a moment and struggle - struggle not to be dull, to be more intelligent, and so on. So experience generally has the significance of waking you up, giving you a challenge to which you have to respond. Either you respond to it adequately, or inadequately. If it is inadequate, the response then becomes a medium of pain, struggle, conflict. But if you respond to it adequately, that is fully, you are the challenge. You are the challenge, not the challenged, but you are that. Therefore you need no challenge at all, if you are adequately responding all the time to everything.
Swamiji: That is beautiful, but (laughing) how does one get there?
Krishnaji: Ah, wait, Sir. Just let us see the need for experience at all. I think it is really extraordinary, if you can go into it. Why do human beings demand not only objective experience, which one can understand - in going to the moon they have collected a lot of information, a lot of data...
Krishnaji: That kind of experience is perhaps necessary, because it furthers knowledge, knowledge of factual, objective things. Now apart from that kind of experience, is there any necessity for experience at all?
Krishnaji: Yes. I don't like to use "subjective" and "objective". Is there the need of experience at all? We have said: experience is the response to a challenge. I challenge you, I ask, "Why?" You may respond to it, and say, "Yes, perfectly right, I am with you." "Why?" But the moment there is any kind of resistance to that question, "Why?", you are already responding inadequately. And therefore there is conflict between us, between the challenge and the response. Now, that's one thing. And there is a desire to experience, let's say God, something Supreme, the highest; or the highest happiness, the highest ecstasy, bliss, a sense of peace, whatever you like. Can the mind experience it at all?
Krishnaji: Then what does experience it?
Swamiji: Do you want us to enquire what the mind is?
Swamiji: What the "I" is?
Krishnaji: No! Why does the "I", me or you, demand experience? - that is my point - demand the experience of the highest, which promises happiness, or ecstasy, bliss or peace?
Swamiji: Obviously because in the present state we feel inadequate.
Krishnaji: That's all. That's all.
Krishnaji: Being in a state in which there is no peace, we want to experience a state which is absolute, permanent, eternal peace.
Swamiji: It is not so much that I am restless, and there is a state of peace; I want to know what is this feeling, "I am restless". Is the "I" restless, or is the "I" dull? Am I dull, or is dullness only a condition which I can shake off?
Krishnaji: Now who is the entity that shakes it off?
Swamiji: Wakes up. The "I" wakes up.
Krishnaji: No, Sir. That's the difficulty. Let's finish this first. I am unhappy, miserable, laden with sorrow. And I want to experience something where there is no sorrow. That is my craving. I have an ideal, a goal, and by struggling towards it I will ultimately get that. That's my craving. I want to experience that and hold on to that experience. That is what human beings want - apart from all the clever sayings, clever talk.
Swamiji: Yes, yes; and that is perhaps the reason why another very great South Indian sage said (in Tamil:
ASAI ARUMIN ASAI ARUMIN
ISANODAYINUM ASAI ARUMIN
It's very good really.
Krishnaji: What's that?
Swamiji: "Cut down all these cravings. Even the craving to be one with God, cut it down", he says.
Krishnaji: Yes, I understand. Now look, Sir. If I - if the mind - can free itself from this agony, then what is the need of asking for an experience of the Supreme? There won't be.
Swamiji: No. Certainly.
Krishnaji: It is no longer caught in its own conditioning. Therefore it is something else; it is living in a different dimension. Therefore the desire to experience the highest is essentially wrong.
Swamiji: If it is a desire.
Krishnaji: Whatever it is! How do I know the highest? Because the sages have talked of it? I don't accept the sages. They might be caught in illusion, they might be talking sense or nonsense. I don't know; I am not interested. I find that as long as the mind is in a state of fear, it wants to escape from it, and it projects an idea of the Supreme, and wants to experience that. But if it frees itself from its own agony, then it is altogether in a different state. It doesn't even ask for the experience because it is at a different level.
Swamiji: Quite, quite.
Krishnaji: Now, why do the sages, according to what you have said, say, "You must experience that, you must be that, you must realize that"?
Swamiji: They didn't say, "You must"...
Krishnaji: Put it any way you like. Why should they say all these things? Would it not be better to say, "Look here, my friends, get rid of your fear. Get rid of your beastly antagonism, get rid of your childishness, and when you have done that..."
Swamiji: ...nothing more remains.
Krishnaji: Nothing more. You'll find out the beauty of it. You don't have to ask, then.
Swamiji: Fantastic, fantastic!
Krishnaji: You see, Sir, the other way is such a hypocritical state; it leads to hypocrisy. "I am seeking God", but I am all the time kicking people. (Laughs)
Swamiji: Yes, that could be hypocrisy.
Krishnaji: It is, it is.
Swamiji: That leads me on to the last and perhaps very impertinent question.
Krishnaji: No, Sir, there is no impertinence.
Swamiji: I am neither flattering you, nor insulting you, Krishnaji, when I say that it is a great experience to sit near you and talk to you like this. Your message is great, and you have been talking for over forty years of things you have considered very important to man. Now three questions. Do you think a man can communicate it to another man? Do you think that others can communicate it to still others? If so, how?
Krishnaji: Communicate what, Sir?
Swamiji: This message, that you have dedicated your life to. What would you call it? - You may call it message.
Krishnaji: Yes, call it what you like, it doesn't matter. Am I - the person who is speaking, is he conveying a message, telling you a message?
Swamiji: No. You may call it an awakening, a questioning...
Krishnaji: No no. I am asking, Sir. Just look at it.
Swamiji: I guess we feel so, the listeners...
Krishnaji: What is he saying? He says, "Look, look at yourself."
Krishnaji: Nothing more.
Swamiji: Nothing more is necessary.
Krishnaji: Nothing more is necessary. Look at yourself. Observe yourself. Go into yourself, because in this state as we are, we will create a monstrous world. You may go to the Moon, you may go further, to Venus, Mars and all the rest of it, but you will always carry yourself over there. Change yourself first! Change yourself - not first - change yourself. Therefore to change, look at yourself, go into yourself - observe, listen, learn. That's not a message. You can do it yourself if you want to.
Swamiji: But somebody has to tell...
Krishnaji: I am telling you. I say, "Look, look at this marvellous tree; look at this beautiful African flower."
Swamiji: Till you said that, I hadn't looked at it.
Krishnaji: Ah! Why?
Krishnaji: Why? It is there, round you.
Krishnaji: Why didn't you look?
Swamiji: There could be a thousand answers.
Krishnaji: No, no. I asked you to look at that flower. By my asking you to look at that flower, do you look at that flower?
Swamiji: I have the opportunity, yes.
Krishnaji: No. Do you really look at that flower because somebody asks you to look?
Krishnaji: No, you can't. That's just it. I say to you, "You are hungry." Are you hungry because I say it?
Krishnaji: You know when you are hungry, and yet you want somebody to tell you to look at the flower.
Swamiji: I may know when I am hungry, but it is the mother that tells me where the food is.
Krishnaji: No, no. We're not talking about where the food is, but we are saying "hunger". You know when you're hungry. But why should somebody tell you to look at a flower?
Swamiji: Because I am not hungry to look at the flower.
Krishnaji: Why not?
Swamiji: I am satisfied with something else.
Krishnaji: No. Why aren't you looking at that flower? I think first of all nature has no value at all for most of us. We say, "Well, I can see the tree any time I want to." That's one thing. Also, we are so concentrated upon our own worries, our own hopes, our own desires and experiences, that we shut ourselves in a cage of our own thinking; and we don't look beyond it. He says, "Don't do that. Look at everything and through looking at everything you'll discover your cage." That's all.
Swamiji: Isn't that a message?
Krishnaji: It is not a message in the sense...
Krishnaji: It doesn't matter what you call it - call it a message. All right. I tell you that. You play with it, or take it very seriously. And if it is very serious for you, you naturally tell it to somebody else. You don't have to say, "I am going to make propaganda about it..."
Swamiji: No, no.
Krishnaji: You will say, "Look at the beauty of those flowers."
Krishnaji: You say that. And the person doesn't listen to you. And there it is - finished! So is propaganda necessary?
Swamiji: Propagation, Sir.
Krishnaji: Yes, propagation, that is the word - propagate.
Swamiji: Yes. We are talking about these forty years of talking...
Krishnaji: ...more than forty years...
Swamiji: Yes, millions of people have been talking for centuries, wasting their...
Krishnaji: We have been talking, yes. We have been propagating...
Swamiji: ...something which is extremely important, which I'm sure you consider is extremely important.
Krishnaji: Otherwise I wouldn't go on.
Swamiji: I have read some of the books you have published, but this experience of sitting and talking to you...
Krishnaji: ...is different from reading a book.
Swamiji: Completely, completely, different!
Krishnaji: I agree.
Swamiji: Last night I read one and there was a little more meaning. How does one bring that about?
Krishnaji: You are a serious person, and the other person being serious there is a contact, there is a relationship, there is a coming together in seriousness. But if you're not serious, you will just say, "Well, it's very nice talking about all these things, but what's it all about?" - and walk off.
Krishnaji: Surely, Sir, with any kind of relationship that has meaning there must be a meeting at the same level, at the same time, with the same intensity, otherwise there is no communication, there is no relationship. And perhaps that's what takes place when we are sitting together here. Because one feels the urgency of something and the intensity of it, there is a relationship established which is quite different from reading a book.
Swamiji: A book has no life.
Krishnaji: Printed words have no life, but you can give life to the printed word if you are serious.
Swamiji: So how does it go on from there?
Krishnaji: From there you say, is it possible to convey to others this quality of urgency, this quality of intensity, and action which takes place now?
Swamiji: ...really now...
Krishnaji: Yes, not tomorrow or yesterday.
Swamiji: Action, which means observation at the same level.
Krishnaji: And is always functioning - seeing and acting, seeing, acting, seeing, acting.
Krishnaji: How is this to take place? First of all, Sir, most people, as we said yesterday, are not interested in all this. They play with it. There are very, very few really serious people. Ninety-five per cent say, "Well, if you are entertaining it's all right, but if you are not, you're not welcome" - entertainment, according to their idea of entertainment. Then what will you do? Knowing there are only very, very few people in the world who are really desperately serious, what will you do? You talk to them, and you talk to the people who want to be entertained. But you don't care whether they listen to you or don't listen.
Swamiji: Thank you. Thank you.
Krishnaji: I don't say, "To the people who need crutches, offer crutches!"
Krishnaji: Nor to the people who want comfort, an avenue of escape, "Go away somewhere else..."
Swamiji: ...to the Palace Hotel!...
Krishnaji: I think, Sir, that is perhaps what has taken place in all these religions, all the so-called teachers. They have said, "I must help this man, that man, that other man.',
Krishnaji: The ignorant, the semi-ignorant, and the very intelligent. Each must have his particular form of food. They may have said that; I am not concerned. I just offer the flower, let them smell it, let them destroy it, let them cook it, let them tear it to pieces. I have nothing to do with it.
Swamiji: Well, they glorify that other attitude, the Bodhisattva ideal.
Krishnaji: Again, the Bodhisattva ideal - is it not an invention of our own, the desperate hope, desire for some kind of solace? The Maitreya Bodhisattva, the idea that He has relinquished the ultimate in life, enlightenment, and is waiting for all humanity...
Swamiji: Thank you.
* * *
Krishnaji: What is Vedanta?
Swamiji: The word means, "The end of the Vedas".... Not in the manner of "full stop".
Krishnaji: The end of all knowledge.
Swamiji: Quite right, quite right. Yes, the end of knowledge; where knowledge matters no more.
Krishnaji: Therefore, leave it.
Krishnaji: Why proceed from there to describe what it is not?
Swamiji: As I've been sitting and listening to you, I've thought of another sage who is reported to have gone to another greater one. And he says, "Look my mind is restless; please tell me what must I do." And the older man says, "Give me a list of what you know already, so that I can proceed from there." He replies, "Oh, it will take a long time, because I have all the formulas, all the shastras, all of that." The sage answers, "But that's only a set of words. All those words are contained in the dictionary, it means nothing. Now what do you know?" He says, "That is what I know. I don't know anything else."
Krishnaji: Vedanta, as it says, means the end of knowledge.
Swamiji: Yes, it's wonderful, I never heard it put that way before. "The end of knowledge."
Krishnaji: Freedom from knowledge.
Swamiji: Yes indeed.
Krishnaji: Then why have they not kept to that?
Swamiji: Their contention is that you have to pass through it in order to come out of it.
Krishnaji: Pass through what?
Swamiji: Through all this knowledge, all this muck, and then discard it.
PARIVEDYA LOKAN LOKAJITAN
That is, "After examining all these things and finding that they are of no use to you, then you must step out of it."
Krishnaji: Then why must I acquire it? If Vedanta means the end of knowledge, which the word itself means, the ending of Vedas, which is knowledge - then why should I go through all the laborious process of acquiring knowledge, and then discarding it?
Swamiji: Otherwise you wouldn't be in Vedanta. The end of knowledge is, having acquired this knowledge, coming to the end of it.
Krishnaji: Why should I acquire it?
Swamiji: Well, so that it can be ended.
Krishnaji: No, no. Why should I acquire it? Why should not I, from the very beginning, see what knowledge is and discard it?
Swamiji: See what knowledge is?
Krishnaji: And discard, discard all that: never accumulate. Vedanta means the end of accumulating knowledge.
Swamiji: That's it. That's correct.
Krishnaji: Then why should I accumulate?
Swamiji: Pass through, perhaps.
Krishnaji: Pass through? Why should I? I know fire burns. I know when I am hungry, when I must eat. I know I mustn't hit you; I don't hit you. I don't go through the process of hitting you, acquiring the knowledge that I'll be hurt again. So each day I discard. I free myself from what I have learnt, every minute. So every minute is the end of knowledge.
Swamiji: Yes, right.
Krishnaji: Now you and I accept that, that is a fact, that's the only way to live - otherwise you can't live. Then why have they said, "You must go through all the knowledge, through all this?" Why don't they tell me, "Look my friend, as you live from day to day acquiring knowledge, end it each day"? Not "Vedanta says so and so".
Swamiji: No, no.
Krishnaji: Live it!
Swamiji: Quite right. Again this division, classification.
Krishnaji: That's just it. We are back again.
Swamiji: Back again.
Krishnaji: We're back again to a fragment - a fragmentation of life.
Swamiji: Yes. But I'm too dull, I can't get there; so I'd rather acquire all this...
Krishnaji: Yes, and then discard it.
Swamiji: In the religious or spiritual history of India, there have been sages who were born sages: the Ramana Maharishi, the Shuka Maharishi, etc. etc. Well, they were allowed to discard knowledge even before acquiring it. And in their cases of course, the usual argument was that they had done it all...
Krishnaji: In their past lives.
Swamiji: Past lives.
Krishnaji: No, Sir, apart from the acquiring of knowledge and the ending of knowledge, what does Vedanta say?
Swamiji: Vedanta describes the relationship between the individual and the Cosmic.
Krishnaji: The Eternal.
Swamiji: The Cosmic, or the Infinite, or whatever it is. It starts well:
ISAVASYAM IDAM SARVAM
YAT KIMCHA JAGATYAM JAGAT
"Till the whole universe is pervaded by that one..."
Krishnaji: That one thing...
Swamiji: ...and so on. And then it's mostly this, a dialogue between a master and his disciple.
Krishnaji: Sir, isn't it extraordinary, there has always been in India this teacher and disciple, teacher and disciple?
Swamiji: Yes - Guru.
Krishnaji: But they never said, "You are the teacher as well as the pupil."
Swamiji: Occasionally they did.
Krishnaji: But always with hesitation, with apprehension. But why? - if the fact is, you are the teacher and you are the pupil. Otherwise you are lost, if you depend on anybody else. That's one fact. And also I would like to ask why, in songs, in Hindu literature, they have praised the beauty of nature, the trees, the flowers, the rivers, the birds. Why is it most people in India have no feeling for all that?
Swamiji: Because they are dead?
Krishnaji: Why? And yet they talk about the beauty, the literature, they quote Sanskrit, and Sanskrit itself is the most beautiful language.
Swamiji: They have no feeling for...
Krishnaji: And they have no feeling for the poor man.
Swamiji: Yes, that is the worst tragedy of all.
Krishnaji: Nor for the squalor, the dirt.
Swamiji: And heaven knows from where they got this idea because it is not found in any of the scriptures. That means we are repeating the scriptures without realizing their meaning.
Krishnaji: That's it.
"I am seated in the hearts of all beings." Nobody bothers about the hearts of all beings. What would you think is the cause? They repeat it daily, every morning they are asked to repeat a chapter of the Bhagavad Gita.
Krishnaji: Every morning they do Puja and the repetition of things.
Swamiji: Now why have they lost the meaning? Obviously great meaning was put into those words by the authors. We are even asked to repeat them every day in order that we might keep them...
Swamiji: Keep them alive. When and how did I kill the spirit? How was it possible? How to prevent it?
Krishnaji: What do you think is the reason, Sir? No, you know India better.
Swamiji: I am shocked at it.
Krishnaji: Why do you think it happens? Is it over population?
Swamiji: No, overpopulation is a result, not the cause.
Krishnaji: Yes. Is it that they have accepted this tradition, this authority...
Swamiji: But the tradition says something good.
Krishnaji: But they have accepted it. They never questioned it. Sir, I have seen M.A.s and B.A.s in India, who have passed degrees, are clever, brainy - but they wouldn't know how to put a flower on a table. They know nothing but memory, memory, the cultivation of memory. Isn't that one of the causes?
Swamiji: Perhaps. Mere memorizing.
Krishnaji: Memorizing everything.
Swamiji: Without thinking. Why does man refuse to think?
Krishnaji: Oh, that's different - indolence, fear, wanting always to tread in the traditional path so that he doesn't go wrong.
Swamiji: But we have discarded the tradition which they say didn't suit us.
Krishnaji: Of course. But we find a new tradition that suits us - we are safe.
Swamiji: We never felt that the healthy tradition is a good tradition to keep.
Krishnaji: Throw out all tradition! Let's find out, Sir, whether these teachers and gurus and sages, have really helped people. Has Marx really helped people?
Krishnaji: They have imposed their ideas on them.
Swamiji: And others have used the same ideas...
Krishnaji: Therefore I question this whole thing, because they are really not concerned with people's happiness.
Swamiji: Though they say so.
Krishnaji: If the Marxists and all those Soviet leaders are really interested in the people then there would be no concentration camps. There would be freedom. There would be no repressive measures.
Swamiji: But I suppose they think, we have to imprison the lunatics...
Krishnaji: That's it. The lunatic is a man who questions my authority.
Swamiji: Yesterday's ruler might be today's lunatic.
Krishnaji: That always happens, that's inevitable, that's why I'm asking, whether it's not important to make man, a human being, realize that he's solely responsible.
Swamiji: Each one.
Krishnaji: Absolutely! For what he does, what he thinks, how he acts. Otherwise we end up in this memorizing, and complete blindness.
Swamiji: That is your message. And how to nail it?
Krishnaji: By driving it in every day (laughs). And driving it into oneself. Because man is so eager to put his responsibility on others. The army is the safest escape - you're told what to do. You don't have any responsibility. It's all been thought out, what you should do, how you should think, act, carry your gun, how you should shoot - and finished! They provide you with a meal, sleeping-quarters, and for sex you can go to the village. That's the end of it. And strangely they talk about Karma.
Swamiji: That is Karma. PRARABDHA KARMA
Krishnaji: They insist on Karma.
Swamiji: That is Karma - I was a Brahmin, and I know what happened. We played with that Karma and then it came back on us.
Krishnaji: Playing havoc now in India.
Swamiji: We toyed with the idea of Karma and we said: it's your Karma, you must suffer. My Karma is good and so I'm divorced from it all; I'm the landlord. And now they have turned the tables.
Swamiji: A vegetarian - she's a fanatical vegetarian - asked me, "Is pure vegetarianism necessary for yoga practice?" I said, "Not so important. Let's talk about something else." And she was horrified. She came back to me and said, "How can you say that? You can't say that vegetarianism is of secondary value. You must say it's of primary value." I replied, "Forgive me - I said something, but it doesn't matter." I then asked her, "Do you believe in war, defence forces, defending your country and so on?" "Yes," she said, "otherwise how can we live - we have to." I replied, "If I call you a cannibal, how do you react to that? This man kills a small animal to sustain his life, but you are willing to kill people to sustain yours. Like a cannibal." She didn't like that - but I think she saw the point later.
Swamiji: It's so fantastic. People don't want to think. And I suppose with you, Krishnaji, if you say the truth, you become very unpopular. A priest said:
APRIYASYA TU PATHYASYA VAKTA SHROTA NA VIDYATE
Very beautiful! "People love to hear pleasant things; pleasant to say and pleasant to hear."
Public Talks Madras 1968
1st Public Talk Madras
3rd January 1968
The Art of Seeing
WE WERE SAYING the other day how very important it is to observe. It is quite an art to which one must give a great deal of attention. We only see very partially, we never see anything completely, with the totality of our mind, or with the fullness of our heart. And unless we learn this extraordinary art, it seems to me that we shall be functioning, living, through a very small part of our mind, through a small segment of the brain. We never see anything completely, for various reasons, because we are so concerned with our own problems, or we are so conditioned, so heavily burdened with belief, with tradition, with the past, that this actually prevents us from seeing or listening. We never see a tree, we see the tree through the image that we have of it, the concept of that tree; but the concept, the knowledge, the experience, is entirely different from the actual tree. Here one is surrounded by a great many trees, fortunately, and if you look around you, as the speaker is going on with the subject of seeing, if you actually look at it, you will find how extraordinary difficult it is to see it all, so that no image, no screen, comes between the seeing and the actual fact. Please do this, don't watch me - look at the tree, find out whether you can see it completely. By completely I mean with the totality of your mind and heart, not a fragment of it, because what we are going to go into this evening demands such observation, such seeing. Unless you actually do this (not theorize, intellectualise or bring up various issues which are irrelevant) I am afraid you will not be able to follow closely what we are going to go over together. We never see, or actually hear, what another is saying; we are either emotional, sentimental or very intellectual - which, obviously prevents us from actually seeing the colour, the beauty of the light, the trees, the birds, and from listening to those crows; we never are in direct relationship with any of this. And I doubt very much if we are in relationship with anything, even with our own ideas, thoughts, motives, impressions; there is always the image which is observing, even when we observe ourselves.
So it is very important to understand that the act of seeing is the only truth; there is nothing else. If I know how to see a tree, or a bird, or a lovely face, or the smile of a child - there it is, I don't have to do anything more. But that seeing of the bird, of the leaf, listening to the noise of birds, becomes almost impossible because of the image that one has built, not only about nature but also about others. And these images actually prevent us from seeing and feeling; feeling being entirely different from sentimentality and emotion.
And, as we said, we see everything fragmentarily and we are trained from childhood to look, to observe, to learn, to live in a fragment. And there is the vast expanse of the mind which we never touch or know; that mind is vast, immeasurable, but we never touch it, we don't know the quality of it because we have never looked at anything completely, with the totality of our mind, of our heart, of our nerves, of our eyes, of our ears. To us the word, the concept is extraordinarily important, not the acts of seeing and doing. But having the concept, which is a belief, an idea - having this - conceptual living, prevents us from actually seeing, doing; and therefore we say we have problems of action, of what to do or not to do, and the conflict that arises between the act and the concept.
Do please observe what I am talking about, not merely hear the words of the speaker, but observe yourselves, using the speaker as a mirror in which you can see yourself. What the speaker has to say is of very little importance, and the speaker himself is of no importance whatsoever, but what you gather out of observing yourself is important. It is so because there must be a total revolution, a complete mutation in our minds, in our way of living, in our feeling, in the activities of our daily life. And to bring about such fundamental, deep revolution is only possible when we know how to look; because when you do look, you are not only looking with your eyes but you are also looking with your mind. I do not know if you have ever driven a car; if you have, you are not only visually aware of the approaching car, but your mind is far ahead watching the bend of the road, the side road, other cars coming and going. And this seeing is not only seeing through your eyes and nerves, but seeing with your heart, with your mind, and you cannot see completely in this way if you are living, functioning, thinking, acting within a fragment of the total mind.
Look what is happening in the world - we are being conditioned by society, by the culture in which we live, and that culture is the product of man - there is nothing holy, or divine, or eternal about culture. Culture, society, books, radios, all that we listen to and see, the many influences of which we are either conscious or unconscious, all these encourage us to live within a very small fragment of the vast field of the mind. You go through school, college, and learn a technique to earn a living; for the next forty or fifty years you spend your life, your time, your energy, your thought, in that specialized little field. And there is the vast field of the mind. Unless we bring about a radical change in this fragmentation there can be no revolution at all; there will be modifications, economic, social and so-called cultural but man will go on suffering, will go on in conflict, in war, in misery, in sorrow and in despair.
I do not know if you read some time ago how one of the Marshals of the Russian army reporting to the Polit Bureau, said that in the army they were training soldiers under hypnosis - you know what that means? You are put under hypnosis and taught how to kill, how to obey completely, function with complete independence, but within a pattern, under the authority of a superior. Now culture and society are doing exactly the same thing to each one of us. Culture and society have hypnotized you. Do please listen to this very carefully, it is not only being done in the army in Russia, but it is being done all over the world. When you read the Gita endlessly, or the Koran, or repeat some mantram, some endlessly repeated words, you are doing exactly the same thing. When you say, "I am a Hindu", "I am a Buddhist", "I am a Muslim", "I am a Catholic", the same pattern is being repeated, you have been mesmerized, hypnotized; and technology is doing exactly the same thing. You can be a clever lawyer, a first-class engineer, or an artist, or a great scientist, but always within a fragment of the whole. I do not know if you see this, not because I describe it, but actually see what is taking place. The Communists are doing it, the Capitalists are doing it, everybody, parents, schools, education, they are all shaping the mind to function within a certain pattern, a certain fragment. And we are always concerned with bringing about a change within the pattern, within the fragment.
So, how is one to realize this, not theoretically, not as a mere idea, but see the actuality of it - you understand, see the actual? The actual being what is everyday taking place and is spoken of in newspapers, by politicians, through culture and tradition, in the family, making you call yourselves Indians, or whatever you think you are. Then when you see, you must question yourself (I am sure you would if you saw it), and that is why it is very important to understand how you see. If you really saw it, then the question would be, "How can the total mind act?" (I do not mean the fragment, not the conditioned mind, nor the educated, sophisticated mind, the mind that is afraid, the mind that says, "there is God" or "there is no God", "there is my family, your family, my nation, your nation".) Then you will ask, "How can this totality of the mind be, how can it function completely, even while learning a technique?" Though it has to learn a technique and to live in relationship with others, in our present disordered society - bearing that in mind, one must ask this question, which is a fundamental one: "How can this totality of the mind be made completely sensitive, so that even the fragment becomes sensitive?" I don't know if you have understood my question, we shall come to it in another way.
At present we are not sensitive; there are spots in this field that are sensitive, sensitive when our particular personality, our particular idiosyncracy, or our particular pleasures are denied - then there is a battle. We are sensitive in fragments, in spots, but we are not sensitive completely; so the question is, "How can the fragment, which is part of the total, which is being made dull every day by repetition, how can that part also be made sensitive as well as the total?" Is this question fairly clear? Do tell me.
Perhaps this is a new question to you, probably you have never asked yourself about it. Because we are all satisfied to live with as little trouble and conflict as possible, in that little part of that field which is our life, appraising the marvellous culture of that little part as opposed to other cultures, Western, ancient or any other. We are not even aware what the implications of this are - of living in a tiny fragment, a corner of a very vast field. We don't see for ourselves how deeply we are concerned with the little part, and we are trying to find answers to the problem within that fragment, within that little corner of this vast life. We ask ourselves, how can the mind (which is now half asleep in this vast field, because we are only concerned with the little part), how can we become totally aware of this whole thing, become completely sensitive?
Now, first of all there is no method. Because any method, system, repetition or habit, is essentially part of the corner of that field. (Are we travelling together, taking a journey together, or are you falling behind?) The first thing is to see the actual fact of the little corner and what its demands are. Then we can put the question, "How can we make the whole field completely sensitive?", because in that lies the only true revolution. When there is total sensitivity of the whole of the mind, then we will act differently; our thinking, feeling, will be wholly of a different dimension. But there is no method. Don't say, "How am I to arrive, achieve, become sensitive?" - you can't go to college to become sensitive, you can't read books or be told what to do to become sensitive. This is what you have been doing within that corner of the field, and it has made you more and more insensitive, which can be seen in your daily life, with its callousness, brutality, and violence. (I do not know if you have seen the pictures in magazines of the American and Vietnamese soldiers being wounded. You may see it and say, "I am so sorry", but it has not happened to you, not to your family, not to your son.) So we become callous because we are functioning, living, acting, within the small petty little corner of a distorted field.
There is no method. Please do realize this, because when you realize it, you are free of the enormous weight of all authority, and so free of the past. I don't know if you see this. The past is implicit in our culture, which we think is so wonderful (the tradition, the beliefs, the memories, the obedience to it), and all that is put aside completely, forever, when you realize there is no method of any kind to bring freedom from the "little corner". But you have to learn all about the little corner. Then you are free of the burden which makes you insensitive. Soldiers are trained to kill, practise day after day, day after day, ruthlessly, so that they have no human feeling left at all. And that is the type of thing which is being done to each one of us every day, all the time, by newspapers, by political leaders, by the gurus, by the Pope, by the bishops, everywhere, all over the world.
Now, as there is no method, what is one to do? Method implies practice, dependence, your method, my method, his path and another's path, my guru who knows a little better, this guru who is phoney, that guru who is not (but all gurus are phoney, you can take that for granted right from the beginning, whether they are Tibetan Lamas or Catholics, or Hindus) - all of them are phoney because they are still functioning in a very small part of a field that has been spat on and trodden upon and destroyed.
What is one to do? You understand my question now? The problem is this: we don't know the depth and the immensity of the mind. You can read about it, you can read the modern psychologists, or the ancient teachers who have talked about it - distrust them because it is you yourself who have to find out, not according to somebody else. We don't know it - the mind - you don't know it, so you cannot have any concept about it. You understand what we are saying? You can't have any ideas, any opinions, any knowledge about it. So you are free from any supposition, from any theology.
So once again, what is one to do? All that one has to do is to see. See the corner, the little house that one has built in a corner of a vast, an immeasurable field; and living there, fighting, quarrelling, improving (you know all that is going on there), see it. And that is why it is very important to understand what it means to see, because the moment there is conflict you belong to that isolated corner. Where there is seeing there is no conflict. That is why one has to learn from the very beginning - no, not the beginning, but now - to see. Not tomorrow, because there is no tomorrow - it is only search for pleasure, or fear, or pain that invents "tomorrow". Actually there is no tomorrow psychologically, but the brain, the mind, has invented time; but we shall go into this later.
So what one has to do is to see. You cannot see, if you are not sensitive, and you are not sensitive if you have an image between you and the thing seen. Do you understand? So seeing is the act of love. You know what makes the total mind sensitive? - only love. You can learn a technique and yet love; but if you have technique and no love you are going to destroy the world. Do watch it in yourselves, Sirs, do go into it in your own minds and hearts and you will see it for yourselves. Seeing, observing, listening, these are the greatest acts, because you cannot see if you are looking out from that little corner, you cannot see what is happening in the world, the despair, the anxiety, the aching loneliness, the tears of the mothers, wives, lovers, of those people who have been killed. But you have to see all this, not emotionally, nor sentimentally, not saying, "Well! I am against war" or, "I am for war", as that sentimentality and emotionalism are the most destructive things - they avoid facts and so avoid what is. So, the seeing is all important. The seeing is the understanding; you cannot understand through the mind, through the intellect, or understand through a fragment. There is understanding only when the mind is completely quiet, which means when there is no image.
Seeing destroys all barriers. Look, Sirs, as long as there is separation between you and the tree, between you and me, and between you and your neighbour (that "neighbour" being a thousand miles away or next door), there must be conflict. Separation means conflict, that is very simple. And we have lived in conflict, we are used to conflict and to separation. You see India as a unit - geographical, political, economical, social, cultural, and the same goes for Europe, and America, and Russia: separate units, each against the other, and all this separation is bound to breed war. This doesn't mean that we must all agree, or if we disagree that I am doing battle with you; there is no disagreement whatsoever, or agreement, when you see something as it is. It is only when you have opinions about what you see, that there is disagreement and that there is separation. When you and I see that it is the moon, then there is no disagreement, it is the moon. But if you think it is something, and I think it is something else, then there must be division and hence conflict. So in seeing a tree, when you actually see it, there is no division between you and the tree, there is no observer seeing the tree.
We were talking one day to a very learned doctor, who had taken a drug called L.S.D., a minute dosage, and there were two doctors beside him with a tape recorder registering what he was saying. After a few seconds he saw the flowers on the table in front of him, and between those flowers and himself there was no space. It doesn't mean he identified himself with those flowers, but there was no space, which means that there was no observer. We are not advocating that you should take L.S.D., because it has its own deleterious effects; and also when you take such things you become a slave to them. But there is a much simpler, more direct, more natural way, which is to observe for yourself a tree, a flower, the face of a person; to look at any one of them, and so look that the space between you and them is non-existent. And you can only look that way when there is love - that word which has been so misused.
We will not go into the question of love for the time being, but when you have this sense of real observation, real seeing, then that seeing brings with it this extraordinary elimination of time and space which comes about when there is love. And you cannot have love without recognising beauty. You may talk about beauty, write, design, but if you have no love nothing is beautiful. Being without love means that you are not totally sensitive. And because you are not totally sensitive you are degenerating. This country is degenerating. Don't say, "Aren't other countries degenerating too?" - of course they are, but you are degenerating, though technically you may be an extraordinarily good engineer, a marvellous lawyer, technician, know how to run computers; but you are degenerating because you are not sensitive to the whole process of living.
Our fundamental problem then is - not how to stop wars, not which god is better than another god, not which political system or economic system is better, not which party is worth voting for (they are all crooked anyhow), but the most fundamental problem for the human being, whether he is in America, India, Russia, or anywhere else, is this question of freedom from "the little corner". And that little corner is ourselves, that little corner is your shoddy little mind. We have made that little corner, because our own little minds are fragmented and therefore incapable of being sensitive to the whole; we want that little part to be made safe, peaceful, quiet, satisfying, pleasurable, thereby avoiding all pain, because, fundamentally, we are seeking pleasure. And if you have examined pleasure, your own pleasure, have observed it, watched it, gone into it, you will see that where there is pleasure, there is pain. You cannot have one without the other; and we are always demanding more pleasure and therefore inviting more pain. And on that we have built this part, which we call human life. Seeing is to be intimately in contact with it and you cannot be intimately, actually in contact with it if you have concepts, beliefs, dogmas, or opinions.
So what is important is not to learn but to see and to listen. Listen to the birds, listen to your wife's voice, however irritating, beautiful or ugly, listen to it and listen to your own voice however beautiful, ugly, or impatient it may be. Then out of this listening you will find that all separation between the observer and the observed comes to an end. Therefore no conflict exists and you observe so carefully that the very observation is discipline; you don't have to impose discipline. And that is the beauty, Sirs (if you only realize it), that is the beauty of seeing. If you can see, you have nothing else to do, because in that seeing there is all discipline, all virtue, which is attention. And in that seeing there is all beauty, and with beauty there is love. Then when there is love you have nothing more to do. Then where you are, you have heaven; then all seeking comes to an end.
2nd Public Talk Madras
10th January 1968
IT WOULD BE rather interesting and worthwhile if we could share together a mind that is not tortured, that is fundamentally free, that has no barriers, that sees things as they are, that sees that an interval of time separates man from nature and from other human beings, that sees the meaning of dreadful, frightening time and space, that knows what is really the quality of love. If we could share this - not intellectually, not in a most cunning, elaborate, philosophical, metaphysical way, but actually partake of it, if we could do that I think all our problems would end. But this sharing is not with another, one must have it first. Then when you have it you have it in abundance. And when there is this abundance the one and the many are the same, like a tree that is full of leaves of which one leaf is perfect and is part of the whole tree.
If we could, this evening, share this quality, not with the speaker, but by having it and then sharing it. Then the question of sharing it would no longer arise. It is like a flower full of scent which doesn't share, but is always there for any passer-by to delight in. And whether anyone is very near in the garden, or very far away, it is all the same to the flower, because it is full of that perfume, and so it is sharing with everything. If one could come upon this, it is really a mysterious flower. It only seems mysterious because we are so full of emotion and sentiment, and sentiment, in that emotional sense, has very little meaning; one can have sympathy, be generous, be very kind, gentle and extremely polite but the quality of which I have been speaking is entirely different from all this. And don't you wonder (not in abstract terms, nor according to something to be gained by a system, by a philosophy or by following some guru), don't you wonder why it is that human beings lack this thing? They beget children, they enjoy sex, tenderness, a quality of sharing something together in companionship, in friendship, in fellowship, but this thing - why is it that we haven't got it? For, when it is, then all problems whatever they may be, come to an end. And haven't you wondered lazily, on occasion, when you were walking by yourself in a filthy street, or sitting in a bus, or when you were on a holiday by the seaside, or in a wood with a lot of birds, trees, streams and wild animals, hasn't it ever come upon you to ask - why is it that man, who has lived for millions of years, why is it that he hasn't got this thing, this extraordinarily unfading flower?
If you have asked this question, even out of casual curiosity, you must have had an inkling, an intimation, a hint. But, probably, you have not asked it. We live such a monotonous, dull, sloppy life within the field of our own problems and anxieties that we have never even asked this question. And if we were to ask this question of ourselves (as we are going to do now, sitting under this tree on a quiet evening, with the noise of the crows), I wonder what would be our reply. What would each one of us honestly give as a direct answer, without equivocation or cunning, what would be the answer if you put this question to yourself? Why do we go through all this excruciating torture, with so many problems, with multitudinous fears piling up, yet this one thing seems to go by, seems to have no place at all. And if you were to ask why, why one has not found this quality, I wonder what would be your answer? Your answer would be according to your own intensity in asking that question, and its urgency. But we are neither intense nor urgent and we are not urgent or intense because we haven't got the energy. To look at anything, a bird, a crow sitting on a branch preening itself, to look at it with all your being, with all your eyes, ears, nerves, mind and heart, to look at it completely, requires energy, but not the shoddy energy of a dissipated mind that has struggled, that has tortured itself, that is full of innumerable burdens. And most minds, ninety-nine point nine per cent recurring of minds have this terrible burden, this tortured existence. And so they have no energy, energy being passion. And you can't find any truth without passion. That word "passion" is derived from the Latin word for suffering which again derives from Greek and so on; from this "suffering" the whole of Christendom worships sorrow, not passion. And they have given "passion" a special significance. I don't know what significance you give to it, the feeling of complete passion, with a fury behind it, with total energy, that passion in which there is no hidden want.
And if we were to ask, not just with curiosity but with all the passion we have, then what would be the answer? But probably you are afraid of passion, because for most people passion is lust, passion that is derived from sex and all that. Or it may come from the passion that is felt through identification with the country to which we belong, or passion for some mean little god, made by the hand or by the mind; and so to us, passion is rather a frightening thing because if we have such a passion, we do not know where it will take us. And so we are very careful to canalise it, to build a hedge around it through philosophical concepts, ideals, so that energy, which is demanded in order to solve this extraordinary question (and it is quite extraordinary if you put it to yourself honestly, directly), why we human beings, who live in families with children, surrounded by all the turmoil and violence of the world, why, when there is one thing that could cover all this, why it is that we haven't got it? I wonder, is it because we really don't want to find out? Because to find out anything there must be freedom, to find out what I think, what I feel, what are my motives, to find out, not merely to analyse intellectually, but to find out, there must be freedom to look. To look at that tree you must be free from worry, from anxiety, from guilt. To look you must be free from knowledge; freedom is a quality of mind that cannot be got through renunciation nor sacrifice. Are you following all this, or am I talking to the winds and the trees? Freedom is a quality of mind that is essential for seeing. It is not freedom from something. If you are free from something that is not freedom, it is only a reaction. If you smoke and you give up smoking, and you say, "I am free", you are really not free although you may be free from that particular habit. Freedom concerns the whole habit-forming machinery, and to understand this whole problem of habit-forming one must be free to look at its mechanism. Perhaps we are afraid of that freedom too; and therefore we put freedom far away from us, in some heaven.
So fear is perhaps the reason why we have not the energy of that passion to find out for ourselves why that quality of love is lacking in us. We have everything else, greed, envy, superstition, fear, the ugliness of a shoddy little life, the routine of going to an office every day for the next forty, fifty years - not that one shouldn't go to an office, one has to, unfortunately, but it becomes a routine, and that routine, that going to the office, doing the same thing day after day, day after day, for forty years, shapes the mind, makes it dull, stupid, or clever in only one direction.
It may be, probably it is, that each one of us is so frightened of life, because without understanding this whole process of living, we can never possibly understand what it is not to live. You understand? What we call living, the daily boredom, the daily struggle, the daily conflict within oneself and outside of oneself, the hidden demands, the hidden wants, the ambitions, the cruelties, and the enormous burden of conscious or unconscious sorrow - that is what we call living - don't we? We may try to escape from it, go to the temple, or the club, follow a new guru, or become a hippy or take to drink, or join some society which promises us something - anything to escape. In fear lies the major problem of what we call living (fear of not being, fear of being attached, with all the great pain it brings - how to be detached - whether there is physical, emotional, psychological, security - the fear of that - the fear of the unknown, fear of tomorrow, the fear of your wife leaving you, the fear of having no belief and being isolated, lonely, in despair at every moment, deep down), this is what we call living, a battle, a tortured existence with barren thoughts. We live like this because that is our life, with occasional moments of sanity, occasional moments of clarity to which we cling furiously.
Please, Sirs, don't merely listen to words and don't be carried away by them; explanations, definitions, descriptions, are not the fact. The fact is your life, the fact is whether you are aware of it, and you cannot be aware of it through the speaker's words, which merely describe your condition and if you are caught up in the description, in the words, then you are certainly lost forever. And that is what we are - we are lost, we are forlorn because we have accepted words, words, words. So don't please, I beg of you, be caught in words, but watch yourself, watch your life, your daily life which you call living, which consists of going to the office, passing examinations, getting a job, not having a job, fear, family and social pressure, tradition, the torture of not arriving, the uncertainty of life, the utter deep boredom of life that has no meaning whatsoever. You may give significance to life, you can invent as philosophers and theoreticians do, as religious people do - invent the significance of life, that is their job. But this is feeding on words when you need substance; you are fed with words, and you are satisfied with words. So to understand this living we have to look at it: to come intimately into contact with it, not have the space and time interval between yourself and it. You don't have this time-space interval when you have deep physical pain, you act, you don't theorize, you don't quarrel about whether there is Atman or no Atman, soul or no soul, you don't begin to quote the Gita, the Upanishads, the Koran, or the Bible or some saint. Then you are face to face with actual life. Life is that movement which is active, the doing, the thinking, the feeling, the fears, the guilt, the despair - that is life. And one has to be intimately in contact with it. And one cannot be intensely, passionately, vitally, in contact, if there is fear.
Fear is what makes us believe, whether our belief is in the ideological community of the Communist, or the theocratical idea of a clergyman or a priest. All these things are born out of fear; obviously all gods, all, are the outcome of our agony; and when we worship them we are worshipping our agony, our loneliness, despair, misery and sorrow. Do please listen to all this - it is your life, not my life. You have to face this and so you have to understand fear. And you cannot understand fear if you don't understand life. You have to understand the jealousy that you have, the envy - envy and jealousy which are merely the indications of fear. And you can understand totally (not intellectually, there is no such thing as understanding intellectually, there is only understanding totally), you can understand totally and it is like looking at that sunset with your mind, with your heart, with your eyes, with your nerves; it is then you understand. And to understand jealousy, envy, ambition, cruelty, violence (to understand them and give your complete attention at the moment anything happens, at the moment you feel envious, angry, jealous or full of hate, or feel dishonest in yourself), then, if you understand that, you will understand fear. But you can't take fear as an abstraction. After all fear exists in relation to something. Are you not afraid of your neighbour, of the government, of your wife, or your husband, afraid of death, and so on? You have to observe, not fear, but enquire as to what has brought this about.
Now we are going to examine what living is, to which we cling so desperately, the living of our daily, monotonous, tragic life - the life of the bourgeois, the mediocre, the down-trodden - because we are all downtrodden by society, by culture, by religions, by priests, by leaders, by saints, and unless you understand this you will never understand fear; so we are going to understand this living and also that enormous source of fear, which is called death. And to understand it you have to have tremendous energy, passion. You know how we waste our energy (I don't mean through sex, that is a very small affair, don't make that into something unnecessarily tremendous), but one must enquire directly, not according to Shankara or any of those people, who have invented their own particular form of escape from life.
To find out what living is, we must not only have energy but also the quality of passion that is sustained, and intellect cannot possibly sustain passion. And to have that passion one has to enquire into the wastage of energy. One can see that it is a waste of energy to follow anybody - you understand? - to have a leader, to have a guru, because when you follow you are imitating, you are copying, you are obeying, you are establishing authority and your energy is therefore diffused. Do observe this; please do so. Don't go back to your gurus, to your societies, to your authorities, drop them like hot potatoes. You can also see how you waste your energy when there is compromise. You know what compromise is? There is compromise only when there is comparison. And we, from childhood, are trained to compare between what we are and what the head of the class in our school is; compare ourselves with what we were yesterday, noble or ignoble, with the happiness that we felt yesterday, that came upon us without warning, suddenly it came, the delight of looking at a tree, at flowers, at the face of a lovely woman, a child or a man, and then we compare what is today with what was yesterday. This comparison, this measurement, is the beginning of compromise. Do please look at this for yourself. Find out the truth of it, that the moment you have a measure, which is comparison, you are already compromising with what is. When you say that man is an I.C.S., he earns so much, he is the head of this or that, you are comparing, judging, placing people as important, not as human beings, but according to their degrees, their qualities, their earning capacity, their job, their Ph.D.s and the whole lot of alphabets after their names; and so you are comparing, comparing yourself with another, whether "the other" is a saint, a hero, a god, an idea, or an ideology - comparing, measuring - and all this breeds compromise which is a tremendous wastage of energy. This is not a question of when you are sexual and the tradition behind that. So, one sees how this is a waste of energy and the energy is wasted when you indulge in ideation, in theories: whether there is a soul or no soul, whether there is an Atman, or no Atman - isn't it a waste of time, a waste of energy? When you read or listen to some saint endlessly, or some sannyasi, making commentaries on the Gita, or the Upanishads just think of it! - the absurdity of it! - the childishness of it! Somebody explains some book which in itself is dead, written by some dead poet, giving to it a tremendous significance. All this shows that immaturity is essentially a waste of energy.
The immature mind compares itself with what is and what should be, but it is only the immature mind that compares. The mature mind has no comparison, the mature mind has no measure. I don't know if you have ever looked into yourself and watched how you compare yourself with another, saying, "He is so beautiful, so intelligent, so clever, so prominent; and I am nobody, I would like to be like him." Or, "She is so beautiful, has a good figure, has a nice mind, intelligent, bright, better." We think and function in this comparative, measuring world. And if you have ever questioned and observed maybe you have said, "No more comparison, no more comparison with anybody, not with the most beautiful actress." You know that beauty is not in the actress, beauty is something total, not in the face, in the figure, in the smile, but where there is a quality of total comprehension, the totality of one's being; when that is what looks, there is beauty. Do watch it in yourself, please, try it, or rather do it - when you use the word "try", you know how such a mind is the most deplorable, foolish mind; when it says, "I am doing my best, I am trying", this indicates a mind that is essentially bourgeois, capable of measuring, which is doing better every day; so, find out for yourself whether you can live, not theoretically but actually, without comparison, measure, never using the words "better" or "more". See what happens. It is only such a mature mind that is not wasting energy, only such a mind can live a very simple life, I mean a life of real simplicity, not the so-called simplicity of the man who has one meal, or one loincloth - that's exhibitionism - but the mind that has no measure and is therefore not wasting energy.
So to come to the point. We are wasting energy and you need this energy to understand this monstrous way of living. And we must understand it, that is the only thing we have, not gods, Bibles, Gitas, or ideals; what you have is this thing - the daily torture, the daily anxiety. And to understand it, be in contact with it, is to have no space between yourself as the observer and the thing as despair, and for this you must have tremendous, driving energy. To have that energy, it cannot be dissipated - when this occurs you will understand what living is. Then there is no fear of life, of the movement of life. You know what a movement is? A movement has no end and no beginning, and therefore the movement in itself is the beauty, the glory. Are you following this?
So life is this movement and to understand it there must be freedom, there must be energy. And to understand death is to understand something which is closely related to life. You know, beauty (not in pictures, not in a person, not in the tree or in the cloud or in the sunset) beauty cannot be divorced from love. And where there is love and beauty there is life and also there is death. You cannot separate one from the other. The moment you separate there is conflict, there is no relationship. So we have looked, not in great detail or widely, perhaps, but we have looked at life.
Now let us consider, go into, this question of death. Have you asked why you are frightened of death? Apparently most people are. Some don't want even to know about it, or if they do, they want to glorify it. Or some invent a theory, a belief, an escape - an escape such as resurrection, or reincarnation. The majority of the people who live in the East believe in reincarnation - you all do, probably. That is, a permanent entity, or a collective memory, is reborn again in the next life - isn't it? That is what you all believe; to have a better opportunity, to live more fully, to perfect yourself, because this life is so short, this life can't give you all the experience, all the joy, all the knowledge, therefore - let's have a next life! You want a next life where you will have time and space to perfect yourself, so you have that belief. This is escape from the fact - we are not concerned with whether there is or there is not reincarnation, or whether there is continuity or no continuity. That requires quite a different analysis. We can see briefly how that which has continuity is that which has been, that which has been yesterday will continue today, through today to tomorrow. And such a continuity is within time and space. This is not intellectual, you can observe it very simply for yourself. And we are frightened of this thing called death. We are not only frightened of living but we are also frightened of this unknown thing. Are we frightened of the unknown, or frightened of the known, of losing the known? That is, the family, your experiences, your daily monotonous existence - the known - the house, the garden, the smile to which you are accustomed, the food which you have eaten for thirty years, the same food, the same climate, the same books, the same tradition - you are frightened of losing that, aren't you? How can you be frightened of something you don't know?
So thought is frightened not only of losing the known but also thought is frightened of something which it calls death, unknown. As we said, fear cannot be got rid of, but it can be understood only when the things that produce the fear, like death, are understood. Now man throughout time has pushed death far away; the ancient Egyptians for instance lived to die. Death is something in the distance, that time-space interval between life and that which we call death. Thought, which has divided this, divided the living from the dying, thought keeps it apart. Do go into it, Sirs, it is very simple if you do so. Thought keeps it separate because thought has said, "I don't know what the future is; I can have a lot of theories if I believe in reincarnation, it means I must behave, work, act, now - if I believe that. What you do now matters when you die - but you don't believe that way. You believe in reincarnation as an idea, a comforting idea, but rather vague, so you don't care what you do now. You really don't believe in karma although you talk a great deal about it. If you really, actually, vitally, believed in it, as you believe in earning money, in sexual experience, then every word, every gesture, every movement of your being would matter, because you are going to pay for it in the next life. So that belief would bring tremendous discipline - but you don't believe, it is an escape, you are frightened because you don't want to let go.
And what are you letting go? Look at it. When you say, "I am afraid to let go" - what are you afraid of? Letting go what? Do look at it very closely. Your family, your mother, your wife, your child? Were you ever in relation with them? Or were you related to an idea, to an image? And when you say, "I am afraid to let go, to be detached" - what are you thinking of being detached from? Memories? Surely memories, memories of sexual pleasure, memories of your becoming a big man, or a little man climbing up the ladder, memories of your character, memories of your friendship - just memories. And you are afraid to let those memories go. However pleasant or unpleasant they may be, what are memories? They have no substance whatsoever. So you are frightened of letting go something which has no value at all, memory being that which has continuity, the bundle of memories, a unit, a centre.
So when one understands living, that is, when one understands jealousy, anxiety, guilt and despair and when one is beyond and above them, then life and death are very close together. Then living is dying. You know if you live according to memories, traditions, and what you "should be", you are not living. But if you put away all that, which means dying to all that you know - freedom from the known - this is death, and then you are living. You are living, not in some fantastic world of concepts but actually living, not according to the Vedas, the Upanishads which have no validity; what has validity is the life that you lead every day, that is the only life you have, and without understanding it, you will never understand either love, beauty, or death.
We come back to that original thing, which is: why there is not this flame in our heart. Because if you have examined very closely what has been said (not verbally, intellectually, but examined it in your own mind, in your own heart), then you will know why you haven't got it. If you know why you haven't got it, if you feel it and live with it, if you are passionate in your search for why you haven't got it, then you will find that you have it. Through complete negation, that thing which alone is the positive, which is love, comes into being. Like humility, you cannot cultivate love. Humility comes into being when there is total ending of conceit, vanity, but then you will never know what it is to be humble. For a man who knows what it is to have humility is a vain man. In the same way when you give your mind and your heart, your nerves, your eyes, your whole being to find out the way of life, to see what actually "is" and go beyond it, and deny completely, totally, the life that is lived now, in that very denial of the ugly, brutal, in its complete denial, the other comes into being. But you will never know it either. A man who knows that he is silent, or knows that he loves, doesn't know what love is, nor what silence is.