By J. Krishnamurti
E-Text Source: www.jiddu-krishnamurti.net
Bangalore, India; 1948
1st Public Talk
4th July, 1948
2nd Public Talk
11th July, 1948
3rd Public Talk
18th July, 1948
4th Public Talk
25th July, 1948
5th Public Talk
1st August, 1948
6th Public Talk
8th August, 1948
7th Public Talk
15th August, 1948
New Delhi, India; 1948
6th November, 1948
19th December, 1948
Bangalore, India; 1948
1st Public Talk4th July, 1948
Instead of making a speech, I am going to answer as many questions as possible, and before doing so, I would like to point out something with regard to answering questions. One can ask any question; but to have a right answer, the question must also be right. If it is a serious question put by a serious person, by an earnest person who is seeking out the solution of a very difficult problem, then, obviously, there will be an answer befitting that question. But what generally happens is that lots of questions are sent in, sometimes very absurd ones, and then there is a demand that all those questions be answered. It seems to me such a waste of time to ask superficial questions and expect very serious answers. I have several questions here, and I am going to try to answer them from what I think is the most serious point of view; and, if I may suggest, as this is a small audience, perhaps you will interrupt me if the answer is not very clear, so that you and I can discuss the question.
Question: What can the average decent man do to put an end to our communal problem?
Krishnamurti: Obviously the sense of separatism is spreading throughout the world. Each successive war is creating more separatism, more nationalism, more sovereign governments, and so on. Especially in India, this problem of communal dissension is on the increase. Why? First of all, obviously, because people are seeking jobs. The more separate governments there are, the more jobs there will be; but that is a very shortsighted policy, is it not? Because, eventually the world's tendency will be more and more towards federation, towards a coming together, and not a constant breaking up. Surely, any decent person who really thinks about this situation - which is not merely Indian, but a world affair - , must first be free from nationalism, not only in matters of state, but in thought, in action, in feeling. After all, communalism is merely a branch of nationalism. Belonging to a particular country, to a particular race or group of people, or to a particular ideology, tends more and more to divide people, to create antagonism and hatred between man and man. Obviously, that is not the solution to the world's chaos. So, what each one of us can do is to be non-communal: We can cease to be Brahmins, cease to belong to any caste or to any country. But that is very difficult, because by tradition, by occupation, by tendency, we are conditioned to a particular pattern of action; and to break away from it is extremely hard. We may want to break away, but family tradition, religious orthodoxy, and so on, all prevent us. It is only men of goodwill who really seek goodwill, who desire to be friendly; and only such men will free themselves from all these limitations which create chaos.
So, it seems to me that to put an end to this communal contention, one must begin with oneself, and not wait for somebody else, for legislation, for government, to act. Because, after all, compulsion or legislation does not solve the problem. The spirit of communalism, separatism, of belonging to a particular class or ideology, to a religion, does ultimately create conflict and antagonism between human beings. Friendliness is not brought about by compulsion, and to look to compulsion, surely, is not the answer. So the way out of this is for each one, for every individual, for you and me, to break away from the communal spirit, from nationalism. Is that not the only way out of this difficulty? Because, as long as the mind and the heart are not willing to be open and friendly, mere compulsion or legislation is not going to solve this problem. So, it is obviously the responsibility of each one of us, living as we do in a particular community, in a particular nation or group of people, to break away from the narrow spirit of separatism.
The difficulty is that most of us have grievances. Most of us agree with the ideal that we should break away and create a new world, a new set of ideas, and so on; but when we go back home the compulsion of environmental influences is so strong that we fall back - and that is the greatest difficulty, is it not? Intellectually we agree about the absurdity of communal contention, but very few of us care to sit down and think out the whole issue and discover the contributory causes. Belonging to any particular group, whether of social action or of political action, does create antagonism, separatism; and real revolution is not brought about by following any particular ideology, because revolution based on ideology creates antagonisms at different levels and therefore is a continuation of the same thing. So this communal dissension, obviously, can come to an end only when we see the whole absurdity of separate action, of a particular ideology, morality, or organized religion - whether Christianity, Hinduism, or any other organized and limited religion.
Audience: All this sounds very convincing, but in action it is very difficult; and as you say, when we go home most of us are entirely different people from what we are here. Although we may listen to you and think about what you say, the result depends on each one of us. There is always this "but."
Audience: This move to do away with organized religion may itself form an organized religion.
Krishnamurti: How, Sir?
Audience: For instance, neither Christ nor Ramakrishna Paramahamsa wanted an organized religion; but forgetting the very essence of the teachings, people have built around them an organized religion.
Krishnamurti: Why do we do this? Is it not because we want collective security, we want to feel safe?
Audience: Are all institutions separatist in character?
Krishnamurti: They are bound to be.
Audience: Is even belonging to a family wicked?
Krishnamurti: You are introducing the word "wicked", which I never used.
Audience: We are repudiating our family system. Our family system is ancient.
Krishnamurti: If it is misused, it must obviously be scrapped.
Audience: So an institution by itself need not be separatist?
Krishnamurti: Obviously. The post office is not separatist, because all communities use it. It is universal. So, why is it that individual human beings find it important to belong to something - to a religious organization, to a society, to a club, and so on? Why?
Audience: There is no life without relationship.
Krishnamurti: Obviously. But why seek separatism?
Audience: There are natural relationships and unnatural relationships. A family is a natural relationship.
Krishnamurti: I am just asking: why is there the desire, the urge, to belong to an exclusive group? Let us think it out, and not just make statements. Why is it that I belong to a particular caste or nation? Why do I call myself a Hindu? Why have we got this exclusive spirit?
Audience: Selfishness. The ego of power.
Krishnamurti: Throwing in a word or two does not mean an answer. There is some motive power, a drive, an intention, that makes us belong to a certain group of people. Why? Is it not important to find out? Why does one call oneself a German, an Englishman, a Hindu, a Russian? Is it not obvious that there is this desire to identify oneself with something, because identification with something large makes one feel important? That is the fundamental reason.
Audience: Not always. A Harijan, for instance, belongs to a very low community. He does not take pride in it.
Krishnamurti: But we keep him there. Why don't we invite him into our particular caste? Audience: We are trying to invite him.
Audience: We are trying to invite him.
Krishnamurti: But why is it that individuals identify themselves with the greater, with the nation, with an idea which is beyond them?
Audience: Because from the moment the individual is born, certain ideas are instilled into him. These ideas develop, and he thinks he is a slave, In other words, he is so conditioned.
Krishnamurti: Exactly. He is so conditioned that he cannot break away from his serfdom. The identification with the greater exists because one wants to be secure, safe, through belonging to a particular group of thought or of action. Sirs, this is obvious, is it not? In ourselves we are nothing, we are timid, afraid to remain alone, and therefore we want to identify ourselves with the larger, and in that identification we become very exclusive. This is a world process. This is not my opinion, it is exactly what is taking place. Identification is religiously or nationalistically inflamed at moments of great crisis; and the problem is vast, it is not just in India, it is everywhere throughout the world - this sense of identification with a particular group which gradually becomes exclusive and thereby creates between people antagonism, hatred. So, that is why, when answering this question, we will have to deal with nationalism as well as communalism, in which is also involved the identification with a particular organized religion.
Audience: Why do we identify ourselves at all?
Krishnamurti: For the very simple reason that if we did not identify ourselves with something we would be confused, we would be lost; and because of that fear, we identify ourselves in order to be safe.
Audience: Fear of what? Is it not ignorance rather than fear?
Krishnamurti: Call it what you like, fear or ignorance, they are all the same. So the point is really this: Can you and I be free from this fear, can we stand alone and not be exclusive? Aloneness is not exclusive; only loneliness is exclusive. Surely, that is the only way out of the problem; because, the individual is a world process, not a separate process, and as long as individuals identify themselves with a particular group or a particular section, they must be exclusive, thereby inevitably creating antagonism, hatred and conflict.
Question: Man must know what God is, before he can know God. How are you going to introduce the idea of God to man without bringing God to man's level?
Krishnamurti: You cannot, Sir. Now, what is the impetus behind the search for God, and is that search real? For most of us, it is an escape from actuality. So, we must be very clear in ourselves whether this search after God is an escape, or whether it is a search for truth in everything - truth in our relationships, truth in the value of things, truth in ideas. If we are seeking God merely because we are tired of this world and its miseries, then it is an escape. Then we create god, and therefore it is not God. The god of the temples, of the books, is not God, obviously - it is a marvellous escape. But if we try to find the truth, not in one exclusive set of actions, but in all our actions, ideas and relationships, if we seek the right evaluation of food, clothing and shelter, then, because our minds are capable of clarity and understanding, when we seek reality we shall find it. It will not then be an escape. But if we are confused with regard to the things of the world - food, clothing, shelter, relationship, and ideas - how can we find reality? We can only invent "reality." So, God, truth, or reality, is not to be known by a mind that is confused, conditioned, limited. How can such a mind think of reality or God? It has first to decondition itself. It has to free itself from its own limitations, and only then can it know what God is, obviously not before. Reality is the unknown, and that which is known is not the real.
So, a mind that wishes to know reality has to free itself from its own conditioning, and that conditioning is imposed either externally or internally; and as long as the mind creates contention, conflict in relationship, it cannot know reality. So, if one is to know reality, the mind must be tranquil; but if the mind is compelled, disciplined to be tranquil, that tranquillity is in itself a limitation, it is merely self-hypnosis. The mind becomes free and tranquil only when it understands the values with which it is surrounded. So, to understand that which is the highest, the supreme, the real, we must begin very low, very near; that is, we have to find the value of things, of relationship, and of ideas, with which we are occupied every day. And without understanding them, how can the mind seek reality? It can invent "reality", it can copy, it can imitate; because it has read so many books, it can repeat the experience of others. But surely, that is not the real. To experience the real, the mind must cease to create; because, whatever it creates is still within the bondage of time. The problem is not whether there is or is not God, but how man may discover God; and if in his search he disentangles himself from everything, he will inevitably find that reality. But he must begin with the near and not with the far. Obviously, to go far one must begin near. But most of us want to speculate, which is a very convenient escape. That is why religions offer such a marvellous drug for most people. So, the task of disentangling the mind from all the values which it has created is an extremely arduous one, and because our minds are weary, or we are lazy, we prefer to read religious books and speculate about God; but that, surely, is not the discovery of reality. Realizing is experiencing, not imitating.
Question: Is the mind different from the thinker?
Krishnamurti: Now, is the thinker different from his thoughts? Does the thinker exist without thoughts? Is there a thinker apart from thought? Stop thinking, and where is the thinker? Is the thinker of one thought different from the thinker of another thought? Is the thinker separate from his thought, or does thought create the thinker, who then identifies himself with thought when he finds it convenient, and separates himself when it is not convenient? That is, what is the "I", the thinker? Obviously, the thinker is composed of various thoughts which have become identified as the "me". So, the thoughts produce the thinker, not the other way round. If I have no thoughts, then there is no thinker; not that the thinker is different each time, but if there are no thoughts there is no thinker. So, thoughts produce the thinker, as actions produce the actor. The actor does not produce actions.
Audience: You seem to suggest, Sir, that by ceasing to think, the "I" will be absent.
Krishnamurti: The I is made up of my qualities, my idiosyncracies, my passions, my possessions, my house, my money, my wife, my books. These create the idea of "me", I do not create them. Do you agree?
Audience: We find it difficult to agree.
Krishnamurti: If all thoughts were to cease, the thinker would not be there. Therefore, the thoughts produce the thinker.
Audience: All the thoughts and environments are there, but that does not produce the thinker.
Krishnamurti: How does the thinker come into being?
Audience: He is there.
Krishnamurti: You take it for granted that he is there. Why do you say so?
Audience: That we do not know. You must answer that for us.
Krishnamurti: I say the thinker is not there. There is only the action, the thought, and then the thinker comes in.
Audience: How does the "I", the thinker, come into being?
Krishnamurti: Now, let us go very slowly. Let us all try to approach the problem with the intention of finding the truth, then discussing it will be worthwhile. We are trying to find out how the thinker, the "I", the "mine", comes into being. Now, first there is perception, then contact, desire, and identification. Before that, the "I" is not in existence.
Audience: When my mind is away, I shall not perceive at all. Unless there is first the perceiver, there is no sensation. A dead body cannot perceive, though the eyes and the nerves may be there.
Krishnamurti: You take it for granted that there is a superior entity, and the object it sees.
Audience: It appears so.
Krishnamurti: You say so. You take it for granted that there is. why?
Audience: My experience is that without the cooperation of the "I", there is no perception.
Krishnamurti: We cannot talking of pure perception. Perception is always mixed up with the perceiver - it is a joint phenomenon. If we talk of perception, the perceiver is immediately dragged in. It is beyond our experience to speak of perceiving, we never have such an experience as perceiving. You may fall into a deep sleep, when the perceiver does not perceive himself; but in deep sleep there is neither perception nor perceiver. If you know a state in which the perceiver is perceiving himself without bringing in other objects of perception, then only can you validly speak of the perceiver. As long as that state is unknown, we have no right to talk of the perceiver as apart from perception. So, the perceiver and the perception are a joint phenomenon, they are the two sides of the same medal. They are not separate, and we have no right to separate two things which are not separate. We insist on separating the perceiver from the perception when there is no valid ground for it. We know no perceiver without perception, and we know no perception without a perceiver. Therefore, the only valid conclusion is that perception and perceiver, the "I" and the will, are two sides of the same medal, they are two aspects of the same phenomenon, which is neither perception nor perceiver; but an accurate examination of it requires close attention.
Audience: Where does that take us?
Audience: We must discover a state in which perceiver and perception do not exist apart, but are part and parcel of the same phenomenon. The act of perceiving, feeling, thinking, brings in the division of perceiver and perception, because that is the basic phenomenon of life. If we can follow up these fleeting moments of perceiving, of knowing, of feeling, of acting, and divorce them from perception on the one side, and the perceiver on the other.
Krishnamurti: Sir, this question arose out of the enquiry about the search for God. Obviously, most of us want to know the experience of reality. Surely, it can be known only when the experiencer stops experiencing; because, the experiencer is creating the experience. If the experiencer is creating the experience, then he will create god; therefore, it will not be God. Can the experiencer cease? That is the whole point in this question. Now, if the experiencer and the experience are a joint phenomenon, which is so obvious, then the experiencer, the actor, the thinker, has to stop thinking. Is that not obvious? So, can the thinker cease to think? Because, when he thinks, he creates, and what he creates is not the real. Therefore, to find out whether there is or there is not reality, God, or what you will, the thought process has to come to an end, which means that the thinker must cease. Whether he is produced by thoughts is irrelevant for the moment. The whole thought process, which includes the thinker, has to come to an end. It is only then that we will find reality. Now, first of all, in bringing that process to an end, how is it to be done, and who is to do it? If the thinker does it, the thinker is still the product of thought. The thinker putting an end to thought is still the continuity of thought. So, what is the thinker to do? Any exertion on his part is still the thinking process. I hope I am making myself clear.
Audience: It may even mean resistance to thinking.
Krishnamurti: Resistance to thinking, putting down all thinking, is still a form of thinking; therefore the thinker continues, and therefore he can never find the truth. So, what is one to do? This is very serious and requires sustained attention. Any effort on the part of the thinker projects the thinker on a different level. That is a fact. If the thinker, the experiencer, positively or negatively makes an effort to understand reality, he is still maintaining the thought process. So, what is he to do? All that he can do is to realize that any effort on his part, positively or negatively, is detrimental. He must see the truth of that and not merely verbally understand it. He must see that he cannot act, because any action on his part maintains the actor, gives nourishment to the actor; any effort on his part, positively or negatively, gives strength to the "I", the thinker, the experiencer. So all that he can do is not to do anything. Even to wish positively or negatively is still part of thinking. He must see the fact that any effort he makes is detrimental to the discovery of truth. That is the first requirement. If I want to understand, I must be completely free from prejudice; and I cannot be in that state when I am making an effort, negatively or positively. It is extremely hard. It requires a sense of passive awareness in which there is no effort. It is only then that reality can project itself.
Audience: Concentration upon the projected reality?
Krishnamurti: Concentration is another form of exertion, which is still an act of thinking. Therefore, concentration will obviously not lead to reality.
Audience: You said that, positively or negatively, any action on the part of the thinker is a projection of the thinker.
Krishnamurti: It is a fact, Sir.
Comment from the Audience: In other words, you distinguish between awareness and thought.
Krishnamurti: I am going at it slowly. When we talk of concentration, concentration implies compulsion, exclusion, interest in something exclusive, in which choice is involved. That implies effort on the part of the thinker, which strengthens the thinker. Is that not a fact? So, we will have to go into the problem of thought. What is thought? Thought is reaction to a condition, which means thought is the response of memory; and how can memory which is the past, create the eternal?
Audience: We do not say memory creates it because memory is a thing without awareness.
Krishnamurti: It is unconscious, subconscious, it comes of its own accord, involuntarily. We are now trying to find out what we mean by thought. To understand this question, don't look into a dictionary, look at yourself, examine yourself. What do you mean by thinking? When you say you are thinking, what are you actually doing? You are reacting. You are reacting through your past memory. Now, what is memory? It is experience, the storing up of yesterday's experience, whether collective or individual. Experience of yesterday is memory. When do we remember an experience? Surely, only when it is not complete. I have an experience, and that experience is incomplete, unfinished, and it leaves a mark. That mark I call memory, and memory responds to a further challenge. This response of memory to a challenge is called thinking.
Audience: On what is the mark left?
Krishnamurti: On the "me". After all, the "me", the "mine", is the residue of all memories, collective, racial, individual, and so on. That bundle of memories is the "me", and that "me" with its memory responds. That response is called thinking.
Audience: Why are these memories bundled together?
Krishnamurti: Through identification. I put everything in a bag, consciously or unconsciously.
Comment from the Audience: So, there is a bag separate from memory.
Krishnamurti: Memory is the bag.
Comment from the audience: Why do the memories stick together?
Krishnamurti: Because they are incomplete.
Audience: But memories are non-existent, they are in a state of inertia, unless somebody is there to remember.
Krishnamurti: In other words, is the rememberer different from memory? The rememberer and the memory are two sides of a coin. Without memory, there is no rememberer, and without the rememberer, there is no memory.
Audience: Why do we insist on separating the perceiver from the perception, the rememberer from the memory? Is this not at the root of our trouble?
Krishnamurti: We separate it because the rememberer, the experiencer, the thinker, becomes permanent by separation. Memories are obviously fleeting; so the rememberer, the experiencer, the mind, separates itself because it wants permanency. The mind that is making an effort, that is striving, that is choosing, that is disciplined, obviously cannot find the real; because, as we said, through that very effort it projects itself and sustains the thinker. Now, how to free the thinker from his thoughts? This is what we are discussing. Because, whatever he thinks must be the result of the past, and therefore he creates god, truth, out of memory, which is obviously not real. In other words, the mind is constantly moving from the known to the known. When memory functions, the mind can move only in the field of the known; and when it moves within the field of the known, it can never know the unknown. So, our problem is, how to free the mind from the known. To free ourselves from the known, any effort is detrimental, because effort is still of the known. So, all effort must cease. Have you ever tried to be without effort? If I understand that all effort is futile, that all effort is a further projection of the mind, of the "I", of the thinker, if I realize the truth of that, what happens? If I see very clearly the label "poison" on a bottle, I leave it alone. There is no effort not to be attracted to it. Similarly - and in this lies the greatest difficulty - , if I realize that any effort on my part is detrimental, if I see the truth of that, then I am free of effort. Any effort on our part is detrimental, but we are not sure, because we want a result, we want an achievement - and that is our difficulty. Therefore, we go on striving, striving, striving. But God, truth, is not a result, a reward, an end. Surely, it must come to us, we cannot go to it. If we make an effort to go to it, we are seeking a result, an achievement. But for truth to come, a man must be passively aware. Passive awareness is a state in which there is no effort; it is to be aware without judgment, without choice, not in some ultimate sense, but in every way; it is to be aware of your actions, of your thoughts, of your relative responses, without choice, without condemnation, without identifying or denying, so that the mind begins to understand every thought and every action without judgment. This evokes the question of whether there can be understanding without thought.
Audience: Surely, if you are indifferent to something.
Krishnamurti: Sir, indifference is a form of judgment. A dull mind, an indifferent mind, is not aware. To see without judgment, to know exactly what is happening, is awareness. So, it is vain to seek God or truth without being aware now, in the immediate present. It is much easier to go to a temple, but that is an escape into the realm of speculation. To understand reality, we must know it directly, and reality is obviously not of time and space; it is in the present, and the present is our own thought and action.
2nd Public Talk11th July, 1948
In a talk like this it is more important, I think, to experience what is being said rather than to discuss merely on the verbal level. One is apt to remain on the verbal level without deeply experiencing what is said; and experiencing an actual fact is much more important than to discover if the ideas themselves are true or not, because ideas are never going to transform the world. Revolution is not based on mere ideas. Revolution comes only when there is a fundamental conviction, a realization, that there must be an inward transformation, not merely an outward one, however significant the outward demand may be. What I would like to discuss here during these five Sunday meetings is how to bring about, not a superficial change, but a radical transformation which is so essential in a world that is rapidly disintegrating. If we are at all observant, it should be obvious to most of us whether we travel or remain in one place, that a fundamental change or revolution is necessary. But to perceive the full significance of such a revolution is difficult; because, though we think we want a change, a modification, a revolution, most of us look to a particular pattern of action, to a system either of the left or of the right, or in between. We see the confusion, the frightful mess, the misery, the starvation, the impending war; and, obviously, the thoughtful demand action. But unfortunately, we look to action according to a particular formula or theory. The left has a system, a pattern of action, and so has the right. But can there be revolution according to any particular pattern of action, according to a line laid down, or does revolution come into being from the awakened individual's interest and awareness? Surely, it is only when the individual is awake and responsible that there can be a revolution. Now, obviously, most of us want an agreed plan of action. We see the mess, not only in India and in our own lives, but throughout the world. In every corner of the world there is confusion, there is misery, there is appalling strife and suffering. There is never a moment when men can be secure; because, as the arts of war are developed more and more, the destruction becomes greater and greater. We know all that. That is an obvious fact which we need not go into. But is it not important to find out what our relationship is to this whole confusion, chaos and misery? Because, after all, if we can discover our relationship to the world and understand that relationship, then perhaps we may be able to alter this confusion. So, first, we must clearly see the relationship that exists between the world and ourselves, and then perhaps, if we change our lives, there can be a fundamental and radical change in the world in which we live.
So, what is the relationship between ourselves and the world? Is the world different from us, or is each one of us the result of a total process, not separate from the world but part of the world? That is, you and I are the result of a world process, of a total process, not of a separate, individualistic process; because after all, you are the result of the past, you are conditioned through environmental influences, political, social, economic, geographical, climatic, and so on. You are the result of a total process; therefore, you are not separate from the world. You are the world, and what you are, the world is. Therefore, the world's problem is your problem; and if you solve your problem, you solve the world's problem. So, the world is not separate from the individual. To try to solve the world's problem without solving your individual problem is futile, utterly empty, because you and I make up the world. Without you and me, there is no world. So, the world problem is your problem. it is an obvious fact. Though we would like to think that we are individualistic in our actions, separate, independent, apart, that narrow individualistic action of each human being is, after all, part of a total process which we call the world. So, to understand the world and to bring about a radical transformation in the world, we must begin with ourselves with you and me, and not with somebody else. Mere reformation of the world has no meaning without the transformation of you who create the world. Because, after all, the world is not distant from you; it is where you live, the world of your family, of your friends, of your neighbours; and if you and I can fundamentally transform ourselves, then there is a possibility of changing the world, and not otherwise. That is why all great changes and reforms in the world have begun with a few, with indivi- duals, with you and me. So-called mass action is merely the collective action of individuals who are convinced, and mass action has significance only when the individuals in the mass are awake; but if they are hypnotized by words, by an ideology, then mass action must lead to disaster.
So, seeing that the world is in an appalling mess, with impending wars, starvation, the disease of nationalism, with corrupt organized religious ideologies at work - recognizing all this, it is obvious that to bring about a fundamental, radical revolution, we must begin with ourselves. You may say, "I am willing to change myself, but it will take an infinite number of years if each individual is to change". But is that a fact? Let it take a number of years. If you and I are really convinced, really see the truth that revolution must begin with ourselves and not with somebody else, will it take very long to convince, to transform the world? Because you are the world, your actions will affect the world you live in, which is the world of your relationships. But the difficulty is to recognize the importance of individual transformation. We demand world transformation, the transformation of society about us, but we are blind, unwilling to transform ourselves. What is society? Surely, it is the relationship between you and me. What you are and what I am produces relationship and creates society. So, to transform society, whether it calls itself Hindu, communist, capitalist, or what you will, our relationship has to change, and relationship does not depend on legislation, on governments, on outward circumstances, but entirely upon you and me. Though we are a product of the outward environment, we obviously have the power to transform ourselves, which means seeing the importance of the truth that there can be revolution only when you and I understand ourselves, and not merely the structure which we call society. So, that is the first difficulty we have to face in all these talks. The aim is not to bring about a reformation through new legislation, because legislation ever demands further legislation; but it is to see the truth that you and I, on whatever social level we may live, wherever we are, must bring about a radical, lasting revolution in ourselves. And as I said, revolution which is not static, which is lasting, revolution which is constant from moment to moment, cannot come into being according to my plan, either of the left or of the right. That constant revolution which is self-sustaining can come into being only when you and I realize the importance of individual transformation; and I am going to discuss with you, I am going to talk and answer questions from that point of view during the five Sundays that follow.
Now, if you observe, you will find that in all historical revolutions there is revolt according to a pattern; and when the flame of that revolt comes to an end, there is a falling back into the old pattern, either on a higher or a lower level. Such a revolution is not revolution at all - it is only a change, which means a modified continuity. A modified continuity does not relieve suffering; change does not lead to the cessation of sorrow. What does lead to the cessation of sorrow is to see yourself individually as you are, to be aware of your own thoughts and feelings and to bring about a revolution in your thoughts and feelings. So, as I said, those of you who look to a pattern of action will, I am afraid, be liable to disappointment during these talks. Because, it is very easy to invent a pattern, but it is much more difficult to think out the issues and see the problem clearly. If we merely look for an answer to a problem, whether economic, social or human, we shall not understand the problem, because we shall be concentrated upon the answer, and not upon the problem itself. We shall be studying the answer, the solution. Whereas, if we study the question, the problem itself, then we shall find that the answer, the solution, lies in the problem and not away from the problem. So, our problem is the transformation of the individual, of you and me, because the individual's problem is the world's problem, they are not separate. What you are, the world is - which is so obvious.
What is our present society? Our present society, whether Western or Eastern, is the result of man's cunning, deceit, greed, ill will, and so on. You and I have created the structure, and only you and I can destroy it and introduce a new society. But to create the new society, the new culture, you must examine and understand the structure which is disintegrating, which you and I have built together. And to understand that which you have built, you must understand the psychological process of your being. So, without self-knowledge, there can be no revolution, and a revolution is essential - not of the bloody kind, which is comparatively easy, but a revolution through self-knowledge. That is the only lasting and permanent revolution, because self-knowledge is a constant movement of thought and feeling in which there is no refuge, it is a constant flow of the understanding of what you are. So, the study of oneself is far more important than the study of how to bring about a reformation in the world; because, if you understand yourself and thereby change yourself, there will naturally be a revolution. To look to a panacea, to a pattern of action for revolution in outward life, may bring about a temporary change; but each temporary change demands further change and further bloodshed. Whereas, if we study very carefully the problem of ourselves, which is so complex, then we shall bring about a far greater revolution of a much more lasting, more valuable kind, than the mere economic or social revolution.
So, I hope we see the truth and the importance of this: that, with the world in such confusion, misery and starvation, to bring order in this chaos we must begin with ourselves. But most of us are too lazy or too dull to begin to transform ourselves. It is so much easier to leave it to others, to wait for new legislation, to speculate and compare. But our issue is to study the problem of suffering intelligently and wisely, to see its causes which lie, not in outward circumstances but in ourselves, and to bring about a transformation.
To study any problem, there must be the intention to understand it, the intention to go into it, to unravel it, not to avoid it. If the problem is sufficiently great and immediate, the intention also is strong; but ff the problem is not great, or if we do not see its urgency, the intention becomes weak. Whereas, if we are fully aware of the problem and have a clear and definite intention to study it, then we shall not look to outward authorities, to a leader, to a guru, to an organized system; because the problem is ourselves, it cannot be resolved by a system, a formula, a guru, a leader or a government. Once the intention is clear, then the understanding of oneself becomes comparatively easy. But to establish this intention is the greatest difficulty, because no one can help us in understanding ourselves. Others may verbally paint the picture; but to experience a fact which is in us, to see without judgment a particular thought, action, or feeling, is much more important than verbally to listen to others, or to follow a particular rule of conduct, and so on.
So, the first thing is to realize that the world's problem is the individual's problem; it is your problem and my problem, and the world's process is not separate from the individual process. They are a joint phenomenon, and therefore what you do, what you think, what you feel, is far more important than to introduce legislation or to belong to a particular party or group of people. That is the first truth to be realized, which is obvious. A revolution in the world is essential; but revolution according to a particular pattern of action is not a revolution. A revolution can take place only when you, the individual, understand yourself and therefore create a new process of action. Surely, we need a revolution, because everything is going to pieces; social structures are disintegrating, there are wars and more wars. We are standing on the edge of a precipice, and obviously there must be some kind of transformation, for we cannot go on as we are. The left offers a kind of revolution, and the right proposes a modification of the left. But such revolutions are not revolutions; they do not solve the problem, because the human entity is much too complex to be understood through a mere formula. And as a constant revolution is necessary, it can only begin with you, with your understanding of yourself. That is a fact, that is the truth, and you cannot avoid it from whatever angle you approach it. After seeing the truth of that, you must establish the intention to study the total process of yourself; because, what you are, the world is. If your mind is bureaucratic, you will create a bureaucratic world, a stupid world, a world of red tape; if you are greedy, envious, narrow, nationalistic, you will create a world in which there is nationalism, which destroys human beings, a social structure based on greed, division, property, and so on. So, what you are, the world is: and without your transformation, there can be no transformation of the world. But to study oneself demands extraordinary care, extraordinarily swift pliability, and a mind burdened with the desire for a result can never follow the swift movement of thought. So then, the first difficulty is to see the truth that the individual is responsible, that you are responsible for the whole mess; and when you see your responsibility, to establish the intention to observe and therefore to bring about a radical transformation in yourself.
Now, if the intention is there, then we can proceed, then we can begin to study ourselves. To study yourself, you must come with an unburdened mind, must you not? But once you assert that you are Atman, paramatman, or whatever it is, once you seek a satisfaction of that kind, then you are already caught in a framework of thought, and therefore you are not studying your total process. You are looking at yourself through a screen of ideas, which is not study, which is not observation. If I want to know you, what do I have to do? I have to study you, have I not? I cannot condemn you because you are a Brahmin or belong to some other blinking caste. I must study you, I must watch you, I must observe your moods, your temperament, your speech, your words, your mannerisms, and so on. But if I look at you through a screen of prejudice, of conclusions, then I do not understand you; I am only studying my own conclusions, which have no significance when I am trying to understand you. Similarly, if I want to understand myself, I must discard the whole set of screens, the traditions and beliefs established by other people, it does not matter if it is Buddha, Socrates, or anybody else; because, the "you", the "I", is an extraordinarily complex entity, with a different mask, a different facet, depending on time and occasion, circumstance, environmental influence, and so on. The self is not a static entity; and to know and understand oneself is far more important than to study the sayings of others or to look at oneself through the screen of others. experiences. So, when the intention is there to study ourselves, then the screens, the assertions, the knowledge and experiences of others, obviously have no value. Because, if I want to know myself, I must know what I am, and not what I should be. A hypothetical "me" has no value. If I want to know the truth of something, I must look at it, not shut the door on it. If I am studying a motorcar, I must study it for itself, not compare a Packard with a Rolls Royce. I must study the car as the Rolls Royce, as the Packard, as the Ford. The individual is of the highest importance, because he, in his relationships, creates the world. When we see the truth of that, we shall begin to study ourselves irrespective of the assertions of others, however great. Then only shall we be able to follow without condemnation or justification the whole process of every thought and feeling that exists in us, and so begin to understand it. So, when the intention is there, I can proceed to investigate that which I am. Obviously, I am the product of environment. That is the beginning, the first fact to see. To find out if I am anything more than merely a product of environmental and climatic influences, I must first be free from those influences which exist about me and of which I am the product. I am the result of the conditions, the absurdities, the superstitions, the innumerable factors, good and bad, which form the environment about me; and to find out if I am something more, I must obviously be free of those influences, must I not? To understand something more, I must first understand what is. Merely to assert that I am something more has no meaning until I am free from the environmental influences of the society in which I am living. Freedom is the discovery of not merely a denial of them. Surely, freedom comes with the discovery of truth in everything that is about me - the truth of property, the truth of things, the truth of relationship, the truth of ideas. Without discovering the truth of these things, I cannot find what one may call the abstract truth or God. Being caught in the things about me, obviously the mind cannot go further, cannot see or discover what is beyond. A man who is seeking to understand himself, must understand his relationship to things, to property, to possessions, to country, to ideas, to the people immediately about him. This discovery of the truth of relationship is not a matter of repeating words, verbally throwing at others ideas about relationship. The discovery of the truth of relationship comes only through experience in relationship with property, with people, with ideas; and it is that truth which liberates, not mere effort to be free from property or from relationship. One can discover the truth of property, of relationship, of ideas, only when there is the intention to find out the truth and not be influenced by prejudice, by the demands of a particular society or belief, or by preconceptions concerning God, truth, or what you will; because, the name, the word, is not the thing. The word "God" is not God, it is only a word; and to go beyond the verbal level of the mind, of knowledge, one must experience directly, and to experience directly one must be free from those values which the mind creates and clings to. Therefore, to understand this psychological process of oneself is far more important than to understand the process of outward environmental influences. It is important to understand yourself first, because in understanding yourself you will bring about a revolution in your relationships and thereby create a new world.
I have been given several ques- tions, and I shall answer some of them.
Question: How can we solve our present political chaos and the crisis in the world? Is there anything an individual can do to stop the impending war?
Krishnamurti: War is the spectacular and bloody projection of our everyday life, is it not? War is merely an outward expression of our inward state, an enlargement of our daily action. It is more spectacular, more bloody, more destructive, but it is the collective result of our individual activities. So, you and I are responsible for war, and what can we do to stop it? Obviously, the impending war cannot be stopped by you and me, because it is already in movement; it is already taking place though still chiefly on the psychological level. It has already begun in the world of ideas, though it may take a little longer for our bodies to be destroyed. As it is already in movement, it cannot be stopped - the issues are too many, too great, and are already committed. But you and I, seeing that the house is on fire, can understand the causes of that fire, can go away from it and build in a new place with different materials that are not combustible, that will not produce other wars. That is all that we can do. You and I can see what creates wars, and if we are interested in stopping wars, then we can begin to transform ourselves, who are the causes of war. So, what causes war - religious, political or economic? Obviously, belief, either in nationalism, in an ideology, or in a particular dogma. If we had no belief, but goodwill, love and consideration between us, then there would be no wars. But we are fed on beliefs, ideas and dogmas, and therefore we breed discontent. Surely, the present crisis is of an exceptional nature, and we as human beings must either pursue the path of constant conflict and continuous wars which are the result of our everyday action, or else see the causes of war and turn our back upon them.
Obviously, what causes war is the desire for power, position, prestige, money, and also the disease called nationalism, the worship of a flag, and the disease of organized religion, the worship of a dogma. All these are the causes of war; and if you as an individual belong to any of the organized religions, if you are greedy for power, if you are envious, you are bound to produce a society which will result in destruction. So again, it depends upon you and not on the leaders, not on Stalin, Churchill, and all the rest of them. It depends upon you and me, but we do not seem to realize that. If once we really felt the responsibility of our own actions, how quickly we could bring to an end all these wars, this appalling misery!But you see, we are indifferent. We have three meals a day, we have our jobs, we have our bank accounts, big or little, and we say, "For God's sake, don't disturb us, leave us alone". The higher up we are, the more we want security, permanency, tranquillity, the more we want to be left alone, to maintain things fixed as they are; but they cannot be maintained as they are, because there is nothing to maintain. Everything is disintegrating. We do not want to face these things, we do not want to face the fact that you and I are responsible for wars. You and I may talk about peace, have conferences, sit around a table and discuss; but inwardly, psychologically, we want power, position, we are motivated by greed. We intrigue, we are nationalistic, we are bound by beliefs, by dogmas, for which we are willing to die and destroy each other. Do you think such men, you and I, can have peace in the world? To have peace, we must be peaceful; to live peacefully means not to create antagonism. Peace is not a ideal. To me, an ideal is merely an escape, an avoidance of what is, a contradiction of what is. An ideal prevents direct action upon what is - which we will go into presently, in another talk. But to have peace, we will have to love, we will have to begin, not to live an ideal life, but to see things as they are and act upon them, transform them. As long as each one of us is seeking psychological security, the physiological security we need - food, clothing and shelter - is destroyed. We are seeking psychological security, which does not exist; and we seek it, if we can, through power, through position, through titles, names - all of which is destroying physical security. This is an obvious fact, if you look at it.
So, to bring about peace in the world, to stop all wars, there must be a revolution in the individual, in you and me. Economic revolution without this inward revolution is meaningless, for hunger is the result of the maladjustment of economic conditions produced by our psychological states - greed, envy, ill will and possessiveness. To put an end to sorrow, to hunger, to war, there must be a psychological revolution, and few of us are willing to face that. We will discuss peace, plan legislation, create new leagues, the United Nations, and so on and on; but we will not win peace, because we will not give up our position, our authority, our monies, our properties, our stupid lives. To rely on others is utterly futile; others cannot bring us peace. No leader is going to give us peace, no government, no army, no country. What will bring peace is inward transformation which will lead to outward action. Inward transformation is not isolation, is not a withdrawal from outward action. On the contrary, there can be right thinking, and there is no right thinking when there is no self-knowledge. Without knowing yourself, there is no peace.
To put an end to outward war, you must begin to put an end to war in yourself. Some of you will shake your heads and say, "I agree", and go outside and do exactly the same as you have been doing for the last ten or twenty years. Your agreement is merely verbal and has no significance, for the world's miseries and wars are not going to be stopped by your casual assent. They will be stopped only when you realize the danger, when you realize your responsibility, when you do not leave it to somebody else. If you realize the suffering, if you see the urgency of immediate action and do not postpone, then you will transform yourself; and peace will come only when you yourself are peaceful, when you yourself are at peace with your neighbour.
Question: Family is the framework of our love and greed, of our selfishness and division. What is its place in your scheme of things?
Krishnamurti: Sirs, I have no scheme of things. See in what an absurd way we are thinking of life! Life is a living thing, a dynamic, active thing, and you cannot put it in a frame. It is the intellectuals who put life in a frame, who have a scheme to systematize it. So, I have no scheme, but let us look at the facts. First, there is the fact of our relationship with another, whether it is with a wife, a husband or a child - the relationship which we call the family. Let us examine the fact of what is, not what we should like it to be. Anyone can have rash ideas about family life; but if we can look at, examine, understand what is, then perhaps we shall be able to transform it. But merely to cover up what is with a lovely set of words, calling it responsibility, duty, love - all that has no meaning. So, what we are going to do is to examine what we call the family. Because Sirs, to understand something, we must examine what is, and not cover it up with sweet-sounding phrases.
Now, what is it that you call the family? Obviously, it is a relationship of intimacy, of communion. Now, in your family, in your relationship with your wife, with your husband, is there communion? Surely, that is what we mean by relationship, do we not? Relationship means communion without fear, freedom to understand each other, to communicate directly. Obviously, relationship means that - to be in communion with another. Are you? Are you in communion with your wife? Perhaps you are physically, but that is not relationship. You and your wife live on opposite sides of a wall of isolation, do you not? You have your own pursuits, your ambitions, and she has hers. You live behind the wall and occasionally look over the top - and that you call relationship. That is a fact, is it not? You may enlarge it, soften it, introduce a new set of words to describe it, but that is the actual fact - that you and another live in isolation, and that life in isolation you call relationship.
Now, if there is real relationship between two people, which means there is communion between them, then the implications are enormous. Then there is no isolation, then there is love and not responsibility or duty. It is the people who are isolated behind their walls that talk about duty and responsibility. But a man who loves does not talk about responsibility - he loves. Therefore he shares with another his joy, his sorrow, his money. Are our families such? Is there direct communion with your wife, with your children? Obviously not, Sirs. Therefore, the family is merely an excuse to continue your name or tradition, to give you what you want, sexually or psychologically. So, the family becomes a means of self-perpetuation, of carrying on your name. That is one kind of immortality, one kind of permanency. Also, the family is used as a means of gratification. I exploit others ruthlessly in the business world, in the political or social world outside, and at home I try to be kind and generous. How absurd!Or the world is too much for me, I want peace, and I go home. I suffer in the world, and I go home and try to find comfort. So I use relationship as a means of gratification, which means I do not want to be disturbed by my relationship.
So, what is happening, Sirs, is this, is it not? In our families there is isolation and not communion, and therefore there is no love. Love and sex are two different things, which we will discuss another time. We may develop in our isolation a form of selflessness, a devotion, a kindness, but it is always behind the wall, because we are more concerned with ourselves than with others. If you were concerned with others, if you were really in communion with your wife, with your husband, and were therefore open to your neighbour, the world would not be in this misery. That is why families in isolation become a danger to society.
So then, how to break down this isolation? To break down this isolation, we must be aware of it, we must not be detached from it or say that it does not exist. It does exist, that is an obvious fact. Be aware of the way you treat your wife, your husband, your children, be aware of the callousness, the brutality, the traditional assertions, the false education. Do you mean to say, Sirs and Ladies, that if you loved your wife or your husband we would have this conflict and misery in the world? It is because you do not know how to love your wife, your husband, that you don't know how to love God. You want God as a further means of isolation, a further means of security. After all, God is the ultimate security; but such a search is not for God, it is merely a refuge, an escape. To find God you must know how to love, not God, but the human beings around you, the trees, the flowers, the birds. Then, when you know how to love them, you will really know what it is to love God. Without loving another, without knowing what it means to be completely in communion with one another, you cannot be in communion with truth. But you see, we are not thinking of love, we are not concerned with being in communion with another. We want security, either in the family, in property, or in ideas; and where the mind is seeking security, it can never know love. For love is the most dangerous thing, because when we love somebody, we are vulnerable, we are open; and we do not want to be open. We do not want to be vulnerable. We want to be enclosed, we want to be more at ease within ourselves.
So again, Sirs, to bring about transformation in our relationship is not a matter of legislation, of compulsion according to Shastras, and all that. To bring about radical transformation in relationship, we must begin with ourselves. Watch yourself, how you treat your wife and children. Your wife is a woman, and that is the end of it - she is to be used as a doormat!Don't look at the ladies, look at yourselves. Sirs, I don't think you realize what a catastrophic state the world is in at the present time, otherwise you wouldn't be so casual about all this. We are at the edge of a precipice - moral, social and spiritual. You don't see that the house is burning and you are living in it. If you knew that the house is burning, if you knew that you are on the edge of a precipice, you would act. But unfortunately, you are at ease, you are afraid, you are comfortable, you are dull, you are weary, demanding immediate satisfaction. Therefore you let things drift, and therefore the world's catastrophe is approaching. It is not a mere threat, it is an actual fact. In Europe war is already moving - war, war, war, disintegration, insecurity. After all, what affects another affects you. You are responsible for another, and you cannot shut your eyes and say, "I am secure in Bangalore". That is obviously a very shortsighted and stupid thought.
So, the family becomes a danger where there is isolation between husband and wife, between parents and children, because then the family encourages general isolation; but when the walls of isolation are broken down in the family, then you are in communion, not only with your wife and children, but with your neighbour. Then the family is not enclosed, limited, it is not a refuge, an escape. So the problem is not somebody else's, but our own.
Question: How do you propose to justify your claim of being the World Teacher?
Krishnamurti: I am not really interested in justifying it. The label is not what matters, Sirs. The degree, the title does not matter: what matters is what you are. So, scrap the title - put it in the wastebasket, burn, destroy it, get rid of it. We live by words, we don't live by the reality of what is. What does it matter what I call myself or don't call myself? What matters is whether what I am saying is truth; and if it is truth, then find out the truth and live by it for yourselves.
Sirs, titles, whether spiritual titles or titles of the world, are a means of exploiting people. And we like to be exploited. Both the exploiter and the exploited enjoy the exploitation. (Laughter), You laugh, you see! And that is all you will do, because you don't see that you yourself are exploited and therefore create the exploiter - whether the capitalistic exploiter or the communistic exploiter. We live by titles, words, phrases, which have no meaning; that is why we are inwardly empty, and that is why we suffer. Sirs, do examine what is being said, or what I say, and don't merely live on the verbal level, for on that level there can be no experience. You may read all the books in the world, all the sacred books and psychological books, but merely living on that level will not satisfy you; and I am afraid that is what is happening. We are empty in ourselves, and that is why we fall in with other peoples ideas, other peoples" experiences, moods, mottos, and thereby we become stagnant; and that is what is happening throughout the world. We look to authority, to the guru, the teacher, which is all on the verbal level. To experience the truth for yourself, to understand and not follow somebody else's understanding you must leave the verbal level. To understand the truth for yourself, you must be free of all authority, the worship of another, however great; for authority is the most pernicious poison that prevents direct experience. Without direct experience, without understanding, there can be no realization of the truth.
So, I am not introducing new ideas, because ideas do not radically transform mankind. They may bring superficial revolutions, but what we are trying to do is something quite different. In all these talks and discussions, if you care to attend them, we are trying to understand what it is to look at things as they are; and in understanding things as they are, there is a transformation. To know that I am greedy, without finding excuses for it or condemning it, without idealizing its opposite and saying. "I must not be greedy" - simply to know that I am greedy, is already the beginning of transformation. But you see, you don't want to know what you are, but what the guru is, what the teacher is. You worship others because it gives you gratification. It is very much easier to escape by studying somebody else than to look at yourself as you are. Sirs, God or truth is within, not in illusions. But to understand that which is, is very difficult; for that which is, is not static, it is constantly changing, undergoing modifications. To understand what is, you need a swift mind, a mind not anchored to a belief, to a conclusion, or to a party. And to follow what is, you have to understand the process of authority, why you cling to authority, and not merely discard it. You cannot discard authority without understanding its whole process, because then you will create a new authority to free you from the old one. So, this question has no meaning if you are merely looking at the label, because I am not interested in labels. But if you care to, we can undertake a journey together to find out what is, and in knowing ourselves, we can create a new world, a happy world.
3rd Public Talk18th July, 1948
As there are only a few of us, instead of my making an introductory speech as I did last time before answering questions, may I suggest that we turn this into a discussion meeting? Perhaps that may be more worthwhile than my making a formal speech, and so on. So, would you mind coming in a little closer? What subject shall we discuss which will be worthwhile and profitable? What would you suggest, Sirs, as a subject to be discussed?
Audience: Why are you touring around? Krishnamurti: Do you really want to discuss why I am touring around?
Comment from the Audience: May we discuss the purpose of life?
Krishnamurti: Does that interest everybody, to discuss what is the purpose of life, reincarnation and karma?
Krishnamurti: Then let us discuss what is the purpose of life, and perhaps later we shall introduce other subjects.
First of all, in discussing any subject of this kind, we must obviously be earnest and not academic, scholarly or superficial, because that will not lead us anywhere. So, we have to be very serious, and that means we cannot merely accept or reject, but must investigate to find out the truth of any subject. One must be attentive and not academic. One must be open to suggestion, and therefore one must have a desire to investigate and not merely accept the authority, either of the platform or of a book, of the dead past or of the present. So, in discussing what is the purpose of life, we have to find out what we mean by "life" and what we mean by "purpose" - not merely the dictionary meaning, but the significance we give to those words. Surely, life implies everyday action, everyday thought, everyday feeling, does it not? It implies the struggles, the pains, the anxieties, the deceptions, the worries, the routine of the office, of business, of bureaucracy, and so on. All that is life, is it not? By life we mean, not just one department or one layer of consciousness, but the total process of existence which is our relationship to things, to people, to ideas. That is what we mean by life - not an abstract thing.
So, if that is what we mean by life, then has life a purpose? Or is it because we do not understand the ways of life - the everyday pain, anxiety, fear, ambition, greed - , because we do not understand the daily activities of existence, that we want a purpose, remote or near, far away or close? We want a purpose so that we can guide our everyday life towards an end. That is obviously what we mean by purpose. But if I understand how to live, then the very living is in itself sufficient, is it not? Do we then want a purpose? If I love you, if I love another, is that not sufficient in itself? Do I then want a purpose? Surely, we want a purpose only when we do not understand, or when we want a mode of conduct with an end in view. After all, most of us are seeking a way of life, a way of conduct; and we either look to others, to the past, or we try to find a mode of behaviour through our own experience. When we look to our own experience for a pattern of behaviour, our experience is always conditioned, is it not? However wide the experiences one may have had, unless these experiences dissolve the past conditioning, any new experiences only further strengthen the past conditioning. That is a fact which we can discuss. And if we look to another, to the past, to a guru, to an ideal, to an example, for a pattern of behaviour, we are merely forcing the extraordinary vitality of life into a mould, into a particular shape, and thereby we lose the swiftness, the intensity, the richness of life.
So, we must find out very clearly what we mean by purpose, if there is a purpose. You may say there is a purpose: to reach reality, God, or what you will. But to reach that, you must know it, you must be aware of it, you must have the measure, the depth, the significance of it. Do we know reality for ourselves, or do we know it only through the authority of another? So, can you say that the purpose of life is to find reality when you do not know what reality is? Since reality is the unknown, the mind that seeks the unknown must first be free from the known, must it not? If my mind is clouded, burdened with the known, it can only measure according to its own condition, its own limitation, and therefore it can never know the unknown, can it?
So, what we are trying to discuss and find out is whether life has a purpose, and whether that purpose can be measured. It can only be measured in terms of the known, in terms of the past; and when I measure the purpose of life in terms of the known, I will measure it according to my likes and dislikes. Therefore, the purpose will be conditioned by my desires, and therefore it ceases to be the purpose. Surely, that is clear, is it not? I can understand what is the purpose of life only through the screen of my own prejudices, wants and desires - otherwise I cannot judge, can I? So, the measure, the tape, the yardstick, is a conditioning of my mind, and according to the dictates of my conditioning I will decide what the purpose is. But is that the purpose of life? It is created by my want, and therefore it is surely not the purpose of life. To find out the purpose of life, the mind must be free of measurement; then only can it find out - otherwise you are merely projecting your own want. This is not mere intellection, and if you go into it deeply you will see its significance. After all, it is according to my prejudice, to my want, to my desire, to my predilection, that I decide what the purpose of life is to be. So, my desire creates the purpose. Surely, that is not the purpose of life. Which is more important, to find out the purpose of life, or to free the mind itself from its own conditioning, and the mind is free from its own conditioning, that very freedom itself is the purpose. Because, after all, it is only in freedom that one can discover any truth.
So, the first requisite is freedom, and not seeking the purpose of life. Without freedom, obviously, one cannot find it; without being liberated from our own petty little wants, pursuits, ambitions, envies and ill will, without freedom from these things, how can one possibly enquire or discover what is the purpose of life? So, is it not important, for one who is enquiring about the purpose of life, to find out first if the instrument of enquiry is capable of penetrating into the processes of life, into the psychological complexities of one's own being? Because, that is all we have, is it not? - a psychological instrument that is shaped to suit our own needs. And as the instrument is fashioned out of our own petty desires, as it is the outcome of our own experiences, worries, anxieties and ill will, how can such an instrument find reality? Therefore, is it not important, if you are to enquire into the purpose of life, to find out first if the enquirer is capable of understanding or discovering what that purpose is? I am not turning the tables on you, but that is what is implied when we enquire about the purpose of life. When we ask that question, we have first to find out whether the questioner, the enquirer, is capable of understanding.
Now, when we discuss the purpose of life, we see that we mean by life the extraordinarily complex state of interrelationship without which there would be no life. And if we do not understand the full significance of that life, its varieties, impressions, and so on, what is the good of enquiring about the purpose of life? If I do not understand my relationship with you, my relationship with property and ideas, how can I go further? After all, Sir, to find truth, or God, or what you will, I must first understand my existence, I must understand,the life around me and in me, otherwise the search for reality becomes merely a escape from everyday action; and a most of us do not understand every day action, as for most of us life is drudgery, pain, suffering, anxiety, we say, "For God's sake, tell us how to escape from it." That is what most of us want - a drug to put us to sleep so that we don't feel the aches and pains of life. Have I answered your question about the purpose of life?
Audience: May one say that the purpose of life is to live rightly?
Krishnamurti: It is suggested that the purpose of life is to live rightly. Sirs, I do not want to quibble, but what do we mean by a "right life"? We have the idea that to live according to a pattern laid down by Shankaracharya, Buddha, X, Y or Z, is to live rightly. Is that living rightly? Surely, that is only a conformity which the mind seeks in order to be secure, in order not to be disturbed.
Audience: There is a Chinese saying that the purpose of life is the pleasure of it, the joy of it. It is not an abstract joy, but it is the joy of living, the pleasures of sleeping, drinking, the joy of meeting people and talking to them, of coming, of going, of working. The joy of living, of everyday happenings, is the purpose of life.
Krishnamurti: Surely, Sirs, there is a joy. There is real happiness in understanding something, is there not? If I understand my relationship with my neighbour, my wife, with the property over which we fight, wrangle and destroy each other - if I understand these things, surely out of that understanding there comes a joy; then life itself is a joy, a richness, and with that richness one can go further, deeper. But without that foundation, you cannot build a great structure, can you? After all, happiness comes naturally, easily, only when there is no friction either in us or about us; and friction ceases only when there is an understanding of things in their right proportion, in their right values. To find out what is right, one must first know the process, the working of one's own mind. Otherwise, if you do not know your own mind, how can you discover the right value of anything?
So, we are confused; our relationships, our ideas, our governments, are really confused. It is only a foolish man who does not see the confusion. The world is in an awful mess, and the world is the projection of ourselves. What we are, the world is. We are confused, fearfully entangled in ideas, and we do not know what is true and what is false; and being confused, we say, "Please, what is the purpose of life, what is the need of all this mess, this misery?"
Now, some will naturally give you a verbal explanation of what the purpose of life is; and if you like it, you accept it and mould your life accordingly. But that does not solve the problem of confusion, does it? You have only postponed it, you have not understood what is. Surely, the understanding of what is - the confusion within me and therefore about me - is more important than to inquire how to behave rightly. If I understand what has caused this confusion, and therefore how to put an end to it,I understand these things, there comes naturally a true, affectionate behaviour. So, being confused, my problem is, not to find out what is the end or purpose of life, nor how to get out of confusion, but rather how to understand the confusion; because, if I understand it, then I can dissolve it. To put an end to confusion requires the understanding of what is at any given moment, and that demands enormous attention, interest to find out what is, and not merely the dissipation of our energies in the pursuit of our life, of our own methods, of our actions according to a particular pattern - all of which is so much easier, because it is not tackling our problems but rather escaping from them.
So, as you are confused, every man who becomes a leader, political or religious, is merely the expression of our own confusion; and because you follow the leader, he becomes the voice of confusion. He may lead you away from a particular confusion, but he will not help you to resolve the cause of confusion, and therefore you will still be confused; because, you create the confusion, and confession is where you are. So, the question is. not how to get out of confusion, but how to understand it; and in understanding it, perhaps you will find the meaning of all these struggles, these pains, these anxieties, this constant battle within and without.
So, is it not important to find out why we are confused? Can anybody, except a very few, say that they are not confused, politically, religiously, economically? Sirs, you have only to look around you. Every newspaper is shouting in confusion, reflecting the uncertainties, the pains, the anxieties, the impending wars; and the sane, thoughtful person, the earnest person who is trying to find a way out of this confusion, surely has first to tackle himself. So then, our question is this: What causes confusion? Why are we confused? One of the obvious factors is that we have lost confidence in ourselves, and that is why we have so many leaders, so many gurus, so many holy books telling us what to do and what not to do. We have lost self-confidence. Now, what do you mean by self-confidence? Obviously, there are people, the technicians, who are full of confidence because they have achieved results. For example, give a first class mechanic any machine and he will understand it. The more technique we have, the more capable we are of dealing with technical things; but surely; that is not self-confidence. We are not using the word "confidence" as it applies to technical matters. A professor, when he deals with his subject, is full of confidence - at least, when other professors are not listening; or a bureaucrat, a high official, feels confident because he has reached the top of the. ladder in the technique of bureaucracy, and he can always exert his authority. Though he may be wrong, he is full of confidence - like a mechanic when you give him a motor he knows all about. But surely, we do not mean that kind of confidence, do we? , because we are not technical machines. We are not mere machines ticking according to a certain rhythm, revolving at a certain speed, a certain number of revolutions per minute. We are life, not machines. We would like to make ourselves into machines, because then we could deal with ourselves mechanically, repetitiously and automatically - and that is what most of us want. Therefore, we build walls of resistance, disciplines, controls, tracks along which we run. But even having so conditioned, so placed ourselves, having become so automatic and mechanical, there is still a vitality that pursues different things and creates contradictions. Sirs, our difficulty is that we are pliable, that we are alive, not dead; and because life is so swift, so subtle, so uncertain, we do not know how to understand it, and therefore we have lost confidence. Most of us are trained technically because we have to earn our livelihood, and modern civilization demands higher and higher technique. But with that technical mind, that technical capacity, you cannot follow yourself, because you are much too swift, you are more pliable, more complicated than the machine; so you are learning to have more and more confidence in the machine, and are losing confidence in yourself, and are therefore multiplying leaders. So, as I said, one of the causes of confusion is this lack of confidence in ourselves. The more imitative we are, the less confidence we have, and we have made life into a copy book. From early childhood up, we are told what to do; we must do this, we must not do that. So what do you expect? And must you not have confidence in order to find out? Must you not have that extraordinary inward certainty to know what truth is when you meet it?
So, having made life into a technical process, conforming to a particular pattern of action, which is merely technique, naturally we have lost confidence in ourselves, and therefore we are increasing our inward struggle, our inward pain and confusion. Confusion can be dissolved only through self-confidence, and this confidence cannot be gained through another. You have to undertake, for yourself and by yourself, the journey of discovery into the process of yourself, in order to understand it. This does not mean you are withdrawn, aloof. On the contrary, Sirs, confidence comes the moment you understand, not what others say, but your own thoughts and feelings, what is happening in yourself and around you. Without that confidence which comes from knowing your own thoughts, feelings and experiences - their truth, their falseness, their significance, their absurdity - , without knowing that, how can you clear up the whole field of confusion which is yourself?
Audience: Confusion can be dispelled by being aware.
Krishnamurti: You are saying, Sir, that by being aware, by being conscious of the confusion, that confusion can be dissipated. Is that it?
Audience: Yes, Sir.
Krishnamurti: For the moment, we are not discussing how to dissipate confusion. Having lost self confidence, our problem is how to get it back - if we ever had it at all. Because, obviously, without that element of confidence we shall be led astray by every person we come across - and that is exactly what is happening. What is right purpose politically, and how are you to know it? Should you not know it? Should you not know what is true in it? Similarly, must you not know what is true in the babble of tongues of religion? And how are you going to find out what is true among all the innumerable sayings, Christian, Hindu, Mussulman, and so on? In this frightful confusion, how are you going to find out? To find out, you must obviously be in a great strait, you must be burning to know what you are in yourself. Are you in such a position? Are you burning to find out the truth of anything, whether of communism, fascism, or capitalism? To find out what is true in the various political actions, in the religious assertions and experiences which you so easily accept - to find out the truth of all these things, must you not be burning with the desire to know the truth? Therefore, never accept any authority. Sir, after all, acceptance of authority indicates that the mind wants comfort, security. A mind that seeks security. either with a guru or in a party, political or any other, a mind that is seeking safety, comfort, can never find truth, even in the smallest things of our existence. So, a man who wants this creative self-confidence must obviously be burning with the desire to know the truth of everything, not about empires or the atomic bomb, which is merely a technical matter, but in our human relationships, our relationship with others, and our relationship to property and to ideas. If I want to know the truth, I begin to enquire; and before I can know the truth of anything, I must have confidence. To have confidence, I must enquire into myself and remove those causes that prevent each experience from giving its full significance.
Audience: Our minds are limited. What is the way out of this impasse?
Krishnamurti: Now wait a minute. Before we enquire how to free the mind from its own conditioning, which creates confusion, let us try to find out how to discover the truth of anything - not of technical things, but the truth of ourselves in relation to something, even in relation to the atomic bomb. You understand the problem, Sir? We are not self-confident, there is no confidence in us, that creative thing which gives sustenance, life, vitality, understanding. We have lost it, or we have never had it; and, because we do not know how to judge anything, we have been led here and pushed there, beaten up, driven, politically, religiously and socially. We don't know - but it is difficult to say we don't know. Most of us think we do, but actually we know very little except in technical matters - how to run a government, a machine, or how to kick the servant or wife or children, or whatever it is. But we do not know ourselves, we have lost that capacity. I am using the word "lost", but that is probably the wrong word, because we have never had it. Since we do not know ourselves and yet we want to find out what truth is, how are we going to find it? Do you understand the quest;on, Sir? I am afraid not.
Someone wanted to discuss reincarnation. Now, I want to know the truth of reincarnation, not what the Bhagavad Gita, Christ, or my pet guru has said. I want to know the truth of that matter. Therefore, what am I to do to know the truth of it? What is the first requirement it, must I? I must not be persuaded by the clever arguments or by the personality of another, which means I am not easily satisfied by the reassuring comfort which reincarnation gives. Must I not be in that position? That is, I am not seeking comfort, I am trying to find out what is true. Are you in that position? Surely, when you are seeking comfort, you can be persuaded by anyone, and therefore you lose self-confidence; but when you do not seek comfort but want to know the truth, when you are completely free from the desire to take refuge, then you will experience truth, and that experience will give you confidence. So, that is the first requirement, is it not? To know the truth of anything psychologically, you cannot seek comfort; because, the moment you want comfort, security, a haven in which you are protected, you will have what you want, but what you have will not be the truth. Therefore, you will be persuaded by another who offers a greater comfort, a greater security, a better refuge; and so you are driven from port to port, and that is why you have lost confidence. You have no confidence because you have been driven from one refuge to another by your own desire to be comfortable, to be secure. So, a man who would seek the truth in relationship must be free of the destructive and limiting desire to be comfortable, to be secure. This fear of losing oneself psychologically must go. Only then can you find the truth of reincarnation or of anything else, because you are seeking truth and not security. Then truth will reveal to you what is right, and therefore you will have confidence. Sir, is it not more important to find out the truth than to believe that there is or is not continuity? That is the question, is it not? If I want to know the truth, I am in a position not to be easily persuaded. Audience: When we asked the question about reincarnation, we wanted to be reassured that there is reincarnation, we did not want to know about truth and all that.
Krishnamurti: Of course you want to know if there is reincarnation, if reincarnation is a fact, but you don't want to know the truth of it; and I want to know the truth of reincarnation, not the fact. It may or may not be a fact. I do not know if the distinction is clear.
Audience: It is not clear.
Krishnamurti: Alright, Sir, let us discuss it.
Audience: When we ask the question about reincarnation, it is in order to be assured that there is reincarnation. In other words, we put the question in a state of anxiety that there should be reincarnation, and being anxious, we listen with a biased mind. We do not want to find out the real truth of it; we only want to be assured that there is such a thing as reincarnation.
Audience: Do you want to know whether there is such a thing as reincarnation, or do you want to know the truth? Are you anxious that there should be reincarnation, or are you seeking to find out the truth, whatever it is?
Audience: You cannot do both. Either you want to know the truth about reincarnation, or you want to be assured that there is reincarnation. Which is the case?
Krishnamurti: Let us be very clear on this point. If I am anxious to know whether there is reincarnation or not, what is the motive behind that question?
Audience: The motive is quite clear, I think.
Krishnamurti: What is it, Sir?
Audience: The motive is that life begins at a certain stage and ends at a certain stage.
Krishnamurti: Which means what?
Audience: It means that the purpose is understood and the goal is reached or not reached.
Audience: When you say that life is limited, are you anxious?
Audience: I did not say that life is limited.
Audience: You said it begins at a certain point and ends at a certain point.
Audience: I mean by that, birth and death.
Audience: Life is spanned by birth and death. It is limited.
Audience: When you ask whether there is reincarnation, are you in a state of mind which desires it?
Audience: I am in a state of enquiry. Audience: Are you a believer?
Audience: An enquirer, a seeker.
Krishnamurti: If I seek, what is the state of my mind? What is making me seek?
Audience: I do not understand, Sir.
Krishnamurti: What is making me seek?
Audience: We desire to know the truth.
Krishnamurti: Therefore, you are not anxious.
Audience: There is no motive, only anxiety.
Krishnamurti: So you are saying you are anxious?
Audience: Everybody is.
Krishnamurti: Therefore you are not seeking truth. You are not passive.
Audience: I seek out of anxiety to know the truth.
Krishnamurti: Yes, Sir?
Audience: What are you anxious about?
Audience: I am not anxious about anything. I am viewing it merely from an academic point of view.
Krishnamurti: Either we are discussing merely academically, superficially, or we are discussing very seriously.
Krishnamurti: I am not saying you are superficial; but surely, we must know if we are merely discussing out of curiosity. If we are, it will lead us in one direction, and if we are discussing to find out the truth, then it will lead us in another direction. Which is it: As I said right from the beginning this evening, if we are merely discussing as a club for intellectual amusement, then I am afraid I shall not partake in it, because that is not my intention; but if we are seeking to find out the truth of anything, that is, the truth of our relationship, then let us discuss.
Now, if I ask about reincarnation because I am anxious, surely that anxiety comes into being because I am afraid of death, of coming to an end, of not fulfilling myself, of not seeing my friends, of not finishing my book, and all the rest of it. That is, my enquiry is based on fear; therefore fear will dictate the answer, fear will determine what truth shall be. But if I am not afraid and am seeking the truth of what is, then reincarnation has a different meaning. So, inwardly, psychologically, we must be very clear what it is that we are seeking. Are we seeking the truth about reincarnation, or are we seeking reincarnation out of anxiety?
Audience: I do not think there is much difference between the two. I am seeking.
Audience: I think he used the word "anxiety" to mean "earnestness". Audience: It is obvious that if you are seeking out of anxiety, you are prejudice in favour of a certain answer which will relieve you of that anxiety, and therefore you cannot find the truth.
Audience: I can honestly tell you that I am neither in favour of this nor of that. I want to know the truth. The question arose in me when we were discussing the subject.
Audience: Why did it arise?
Audience: I cannot explain. That is for you to explain.
Audience: People usually ask questions about reincarnation in order to be assured that there is such a thing as reincarnation.
Audience: Not all.
Audience: It is very rare that somebody asks about reincarnation just to know the truth.
Audience: You can naturally understand that I am very much interested in the subject.
Krishnamurti: Alright. I am not answering your question for the moment. We are discussing it generally. Does our approach lie through anxiety, through fear; or, without being afraid, do we want to know? Because, the results of our enquiry will be different in each case. As has been pointed out by one of you, either I am anxious to know, and therefore my anxiety is going to colour what is, or, I want to know about continuity, independent of my likes and dislikes, fears and anxieties. I want to know what is. Now, most of us are a mixture of both, are we not? When my son dies, I am anxious, I am burning with pain, with loneliness, and I want to know. Then my enquiries are based on anxiety. But sitting and discussing in this hall and casually saying, "Well, I would like to know" when there is no crisis - can such a mind know? Surely, you can find truth only in a crisis and not away from the crisis. It is then that you will have to enquire, not when you casually say, "Let us discuss whether there is truth or not". Is that not so? When my son dies, I want to know, not whether he lives, but the truth about continuity, which means that I am willing to understand the subject. Does it not imply that? I have lost my son, and I want to know what makes me suffer, and if there is an end to suffering. So, it is in that moment of crisis alone, when there is pressure, that I will find the truth, if I want to know the truth. But in the moment of crisis, in the moment of pressure, we want comfort, we want alleviation, we want to put our head on somebody's lap; in moments of anxiety we want to be lulled to sleep. And I say, on the contrary, the moment of anxiety is the right moment to enquire and to find the truth. When I want comfort in the moment of crisis, I am not enquiring. Therefore, I must know the state of my own being, of my psychological or spiritual being. I must know the state I am in before I can enquire and find out what truth is.
Sir, most of us are in a crisis - about the war, about a job, about our wives running away with somebody. We have crises about us and in us all the time, whether we admit it or not; and is that not the moment to enquire, rather than to wait till the ultimate moment when the bomb is thrown? Because, though we may deny it, we are in a crisis from moment to moment, politically psychologically, economically. There is intense pressure all the time; and is this not the moment to find out? Are we not in this moment? If you say, "I have no crisis, I am only sitting back and looking at life", that is merely avoiding the issue isn't it? Is any one of us in that position? Surely, that is not true of any person. We have crises one after another, but we have become dull, secure, indifferent; and our difficult is, is it not? , that we do not know how to meet crises? Are we to meet them with anxiety, or to enquire and so find the truth of the matter? Most of us meet a crisis with anxiety; growing weary, we say, "Will you please solve this problem?" When we talk, we are looking for an answer and not for the understanding of the problem. Similarly, in discussing the question of reincarnation, the problem of whether there is or is not continuity, what we mean by continuity, what we mean by death: to understand such a problem, the problem of continuity or no continuity, we must not seek an answer away from the problem. We must understand the problem itself - which we will discuss at another meeting, because our time is nearly up.
My point is that there must be self-confidence - and I have sufficiently explained what I mean by self confidence. It is not the confidence that you have through technical capacity, technical knowledge, technical training. The confidence that comes with self-knowledge is entirely different from the confidence of aggressiveness and of technical skill; and that confidence born of self knowledge is essential to clear up the confusion in which we live. Obviously, you cannot have this self knowledge given to you by another, because what is given to you by another is mere technique. That is the joy of discovering, the bliss of understanding, can come only when I understand myself, the whole total process of myself; and to understand oneself is not such a very complex business, one can begin at any level of consciousness. But, as I said last Sunday, to have that confidence there must be the intention to know oneself. Then I am not easily persuaded: I want to know everything about myself and so I am open to all the intimations concerning me, whether they come from another or from within myself. I am open to the conscious and the unconscious within me, open to every thought and feeling that is constantly moving, urging, arising and fading away in myself. Surely, that is the way to have this confidence: to know oneself completely, whatever one is, and not pursue an ideal of what one should be, or assume that one is this or that, which is really absurd. It is absurd because then you are merely accepting a preconceived idea, whether your own or another's, of what you are or would like to be. But to understand yourself as you are, you must be voluntarily open, spontaneously vulnerable to all the intimations of yourself; and as you begin to understand the flow, the movement, the swiftness of your own mind, you will see that confidence comes from that understanding. It is not the aggressive, brutal, assertive confidence, but the confidence of knowing what is taking place in oneself. Surely, without that confidence, you cannot dispel confusion; and without dispelling the confusion within you and about you. how can you possibly find the truth of any relationship?
So, to find out what is true, or what is the purpose of life, or to discover the truth of reincarnation or of any human problem, the enquirer who is demanding truth, who wants to know truth, must be very clear as regards his intentions, If his intentions are to seek security, comfort, then obviously he does not want truth; because, truth may be one of the most devastating, discomforting things. The man who is seeking comfort does not want truth: he only wants security, safety, a refuge in which he will not be disturbed. But a man who is seeking truth must invite disturbances, tribulations; because, it is only in moments of crisis that there is alertness, watchfulness, action. Then only that which is is discovered and understood.
4th Public Talk25th July, 1948
As I was saying the last time we met, the problems of the world are so colossal, so very complex, that to understand and so to resolve them, one must approach them in a very simple and direct manner; and simplicity, directness, do not depend on outward circumstances nor on our particular prejudices and moods. As I was pointing out, the solution is not to be found through conferences, blue prints, or through the substitution of new leaders for old, and so on. The solution obviously lies in the creator of the problem, in the creator of the mischief, of the hate and of the enormous misunderstanding that exists between human beings. The creator of this mischief, the creator of these problems, is the individual, you and I, not the world as we think of it. The world is your relationship with another. The world is not something separate from you and me; the world, society, is the relationship that we establish or seek to establish between each other.
So, you and I are the problem, and not the world; because, the world is the projection of ourselves, and to understand the world, we must understand ourselves. The world is not separate from us; we are the world, and our problems are the world's problems. This cannot be repeated too often, because we are so sluggish in our mentality that we think the world's problems are not our business, that they have to be resolved by the United Nations, or by substituting new leaders for the old. It is a very dull mentality that thinks that way; because, we are responsible for this frightful misery and confusion in the world, this impending war. To transform the world, we must begin with ourselves; and, as I said, what is important in beginning with ourselves is the intention. The intention must be to understand ourselves, and not to leave it to others to transform themselves or to bring about a modified change through revolution, either of the left or of the right. So, it is important to understand that this is our responsibility, your's and mine; because, however small may be the world we live in, if we can transform ourselves, bring about a radically different point of view in our daily existence, then perhaps we shall affect the world at large, the extended relationship with others.
So, as I said, we are going to discuss and find out the process of understanding ourselves, which is not an isolating process. It is not withdrawal from the world, because you cannot live in isolation. To be is to be related, and there is no such thing as living in isolation. It is the lack of right relationship that brings about conflicts, misery and strife; and however small our world may be, if we can transform our relationship in that narrow world, it will be like a wave extending outward all the time. I think it is important to see that point, that the world is our relationship, however narrow; and if we can bring a transformation there, not a superficial but a radical transformation, then we shall begin actively to transform the world. Real revolution is not according to any particular pattern, either of the left or of the right, but it is a revolution of values, a revolution from sensate values to the values that are not sensate or created by environmental influences. To find these true values which will bring about a radical revolution, a transformation or a regeneration, it is essential to understand oneself. Self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom, and therefore the beginning of transformation or regeneration. To understand oneself, there must be the intention to understand - and that is where our difficulty comes in. Because, although most of us are discontented, we desire to bring about a sudden change, our discontent is canalized merely to achieve a certain result; being discontented, we either seek a different job, or merely succumb to environment. So, discontent, instead of setting us aflame, causing us to question life, the whole process of existence is canalized, and thereby we become mediocre, losing that drive, that intensity to find out the whole significance of existence. Therefore, it is important to discover these things for ourselves, because self knowledge cannot be given to us by another, it is not to be found through any book. We must discover, and to discover there must be the intention, the search, the enquiry. As long as that intention to find out, to enquire deeply, is weak or does not exist, mere assertion, or a casual wish to find out about oneself, is of very little significance.
So, the transformation of the world is brought about by the transformation of oneself; because the self is the product and a part of the total process of human existence. To transform oneself, self-knowledge is essential; because, without knowing what you are, there is no basis for right thought, and without knowing yourself there cannot be transformation. One must know oneself as one is, not as one wishes to be, which is merely an ideal and therefore fictitious, unreal; and it is only that which is that can be transformed, not that which you wish to be. So, to know oneself as one is, requires an extraordinary alertness of mind; because, what is is constantly undergoing transformation, change, and to follow it swiftly, the mind must not be tethered to any particular dogma or belief, to any particular pattern of action. If you would follow anything, it is no good being tethered. So, to know yourself, there must be the awareness, the alertness of mind in which there is freedom from all beliefs, from all idealization; because, beliefs and ideals only give you a colour, perverting true perception. If you want to know what you are, you cannot imagine or have belief in something which you are not. If I am greedy, envious, violent, merely having an ideal of non-violence, of non-greed, is of little value. But to know that one is greedy or violent, to know and understand it, requires an extraordinary perception, does it not? It demands honesty, clarity of thought. Whereas, to pursue an ideal away from what is, is an escape; it prevents you from discovering and acting directly upon what you are.
So, the understanding of what you are, whatever it be - ugly or beautiful, wicked or mischievous - , the understanding of what you are without distortion, is the beginning of virtue. Virtue is essential, for it gives freedom. It is only in virtue that you can discover, that you can live - not in the cultivation of a virtue, which merely brings about respectability, and not understanding and freedom. There is a difference between being virtuous and becoming virtuous. Being virtuous comes through the understanding of what is, whereas becoming virtuous is postponement, the covering up of what is with what you would like to be. Therefore, in becoming virtuous you are avoiding action directly upon what is. This process of avoiding what is through the cultivation of the ideal is considered virtuous; but if you look at it closely and directly, you will see that it is nothing of the kind. It is merely a postponement of coming face to face with what is. Virtue is not the becoming of what is not; virtue is the understanding of what is and therefore the freedom from what is. And virtue is essential in a society that is rapidly disintegrating. In order to create a new world, a new structure away from the old, there must be freedom to discover; and to be free, there must be virtue, for without virtue there is no freedom. Can the immoral man who is striving to become virtuous, ever know virtue? The man who is not moral can never be free, and therefore he can never find out what reality is. Reality can be found only in understanding what is; and to understand what is, there must be freedom, freedom from the fear of what is.
Is virtue, then, a matter of time? The understanding of what is, which is virtue, for it gives freedom, immediate release - is this a matter of time? Are you kind, generous, affectionate, through the process of time? That is, will you be kind day after tomorrow? Can kindness be thought of in terms of time? After all, affection, mercy, generosity are necessities of life, they are the only solvent for all our problems. Goodwill is essential, and we have not got it, have we? Neither the politicians, nor the leaders, nor the followers have real goodwill, which is not an ideal; and without goodwill, without that extraordinary mellowness of being which gives affection, our problems cannot be solved by mere conferences. So, you, like the politicians and the vast majority of human beings the world over, are not kind, you have not got that goodwill which is the only solution; and since you have not got it, is it a mere question of time? Will you have goodwill tomorrow or ten years hence? Is it not fallacious reasoning to think in the future? If you are not kind now, you will never be kind. You may think that by slow practice, discipline, and all the rest of it, you will be kind tomorrow or ten years later; but in the meantime, you are being unkind. And kindness, goodwill, affection, is the only solvent for the immediate problems of existence; it is the only remedy that will destroy the poison of nationalism, of communalism, the only cement that can bring us together.
Now, if kindness, mercy, is not a matter of time, then why is it that you and I are not kind immediately, directly? Why is it that we are not kind now? If we can understand why we are not kind, understanding being immediate, we shall be kind immediately; then we shall forget what our caste is, we shall forget our communal, religious and nationalistic differences and be immediately generous, kind. Therefore, we must understand why we are not kind, and not patiently practise goodness or meditate on generosity - which is all absurd. But if I know why I am unkind and I want to be kind, then, because my intention is to be kind, I will be. So again, the intention matters enormously; but the intention is futile if I do not know the cause of unkindness. Therefore, I must know the whole process of my thinking, the whole process of my attitude towards life. So, the study of oneself becomes tremendously important; but self-knowledge is not an end. One must study oneself more and more, but not with an object in view, to achieve a result; because, if we seek an object, a result, we put an end to enquiry, to discovery, to freedom. Self-knowledge is the understanding of the process of oneself, the process of the mind, it is to be aware of all the intricacies of the passions and their pursuits; and as one knows oneself more and more deeply and widely, extensively ind profoundly, there comes a freedom, a liberation from the entanglements of fear, the fear which brings about beliefs, dogmas, nationalism, caste and all the hideous inventions of the mind to keep itself isolated in fear And when there is freedom, there is the discovery of that which is eternal. Without that freedom, merely asking what is the eternal, or reading books about the eternal, has no value at all. It is like children playing with toys. Eternity, reality, God, or what you will, can be discovered only by you. It comes into being only when the mind is free, untrammelled by beliefs, untrammelled by prejudice, not caught in the net of passion, ill will and worldliness. But a mind that is entangled in nationalism, or in beliefs and rituals, is caught in its own desires, ambitions and pursuits, and obviously such a mind cannot possibly understand. It is not prepared to receive.
Only the discovery of truth will bring happiness, and to discover, there must be the understanding of oneself. To understand oneself, there must be the intention to understand and with the intention, comes an enquiring mind, a mind that is alertly aware without condemnation, without identification or justification; and such awareness brings an immediate release from the problem. Therefore, our whole search is not for the answer to a problem, but for the understanding of the problem itself. And the problem is not outside you: it is you, the problem is you. To understand the problem, to understand the creator of the problem, which is yourself, you have to discover yourself spontaneously from day to day as you are: because, it is only at the moment when your responses arise that you can understand them. But if you discipline your responses to a particular pattern, either of the left or of the right, or if you follow a particular rule of conduct, then you cannot discover your own responses. Experiment with it and you will find being aware of each response as it arises, seeing it without condemnation or justification and pursuing the whole implication of that response. Freedom is in release from the response, not in disciplining that response.
So, our whole enquiry into the purpose of existence, our question as to whether there is reality or not, has very little meaning if there is no understanding of the mind, which is yourself. The problem, which is so vast, so complex, so immediate, lies in you, and no one can solve it except yourself; no guru can solve it, no teacher, no saviour, no organized compulsion. The outward organization can always be overthrown, because the inner is much stronger than the outward structure of man's existence. Without understanding the inner, merely to change the pattern of the outer has very little meaning. To bring about a lasting reorganization in outer things, each one of us must begin with himself; and when there is that inner transformation, the outer can then be transformed with intelligence, with compassion and with care. There are several questions, and I will try to answer as many of them as possible this afternoon.
Question: Do you have a special message for youth?
Krishnamurti: Sirs, is there a very great difference between the young and the old? Youth, the young people, if they are at all alive, are full of revolutionary ideas, full of discontent, are they not? They must be: otherwise they are already old. Please, this is very serious, so don't agree or disagree. We are discussing life - I am not making a speech from the platform to please you or to please myself.
As I was saying if the young have not that revolutionary discontent, they are already old; and the old are those who were once discontented, but have settled back. They want security, they want permanency, either in their jobs or in their souls. They want certainty in ideas, in relationship, or in property. If in you, who are young, there is a spirit of enquiry which makes you want the truth of anything, of any political action whether of the left or of the right, and if you are not bound by tradition, then you will be the regenerators of the world, the creators of a new civilization, a new culture. But, like the rest of us, like the past generation, young people also want security, certainty. They want jobs, they want food, clothing and shelter, they don't want to disagree with their parents because it means going against society. Therefore, they fall in line, they accept the authority of older people. So,what happens? The discontent which is the very flame of enquiry, of search, of understanding - that discontent is made mediocre, it becomes merely a desire for a better job, or a rich marriage, or a degree. So, their discontent is destroyed, it merely becomes the desire for more security. Surely, what is essential for the old and for the young is to live fully, completely. But you see, there are very few people in the world who want to live completely. To live fully and completely, there must be freedom, not an acceptance of authority; and there can be freedom only when there is virtue. Virtue is not imitation; virtue is creative living. That is, creativeness comes through the freedom which virtue brings; and virtue is not to be cultivated, it does not come through practice or at the end of your life. Either you are virtuous and free now, or you are not. And to find out why you are not free, you must have discontent, you must have the intention, the drive, the energy to enquire; but you dissipate that energy sexually, or through shouting political slogans, waving flags, or merely imitating, passing examinations for a better job.
So, the world is in such misery because there is not that creativeness. To live creatively, there cannot be mere imitation, following either Marx, the Bible. or the Bhagavad Gita. Creativeness comes through freedom, and there can be freedom only when there is virtue, and virtue is not the result of the process of time. Virtue comes when you begin to understand what is in your everyday existence. Therefore, to me the division between the old and the young is rather absurd. Sirs, maturity is not a matter of age. Although must of us are older, we are infantile, we are afraid of what society thinks, afraid of the past. Those who are old seek permanency, comforting assurances, and the young also want security. So, there is no essential difference between the old and the young. As I said, maturity does not lie in age. Maturity comes with understanding, and there is no understanding as long as we escape from conflict, from suffering; and we escape from suffering when we seek comfort, when we seek an ideal. But it is when we are young that we can really, ardently, purposefully enquire. As we grow older, life is too much for us, and we become more and more dull. We waste our energies so uselessly. To conserve that energy for purposes of enquiry, to discover reality, requires a great deal of education - not mere conformity to a pattern, which is not education. Merely passing examinations is not education. A fool can pass examinations, it only requires a certain type of mind. But to enquire deeply and find out what life is, to understand the whole basis of existence, requires a very alert and keen mind, a mind that is pliable. But the mind is made unplayable when it is forced to conform, and the whole structure of our society is based on compulsion. However subtle com- pulsion may be, through compulsion there cannot be understanding.
Question: Is your self-confidence born of your own release from fear or does it arise from the conviction that you are solidly backed by great beings like the Buddha and the Christ?
Krishnamurti: Sirs, first of all, how does confidence come into being? Confidence is of two types. There is the confidence that comes through the acquisition of technical knowledge. A mechanic, an engineer, a physicist, a man who masters the violin, has confidence, because he has studied or practiced for a number of years and has acquired a technique. That gives one type of confidence - a confidence which is merely superficial, technical. But there is another type of confidence which comes from self - knowledge, from knowing oneself entirely, both the conscious and the unconscious, the hidden mind as well as the open. I say it is possible to know yourself completely, and then there comes a confidence which is not aggressive not self-assertive, not shrewd, not that confidence which comes from achievement; but it is the confidence of seeing things as they are from moment to moment without distortion Such confidence comes into being naturally when thought is not based on personal achievement, personal aggrandisement, or personal salvation, and when each thing reveals its true significance. Then you are backed by wisdom, whether it is of the Buddha or of the Christ. That wisdom, that confidence, that extraordinarily swift pliability of mind, is not for the exclusive few. There is no hierarchy of understanding. When you understand a problem of relationship, whether with physical objects, with ideas, or with your neighbour, that understanding frees you from all sense of time, of position, of authority. Therefore, there is not the Master and the pupil, the guru sitting on a platform and you sitting down below. Sirs, such confidence is love, affection; and when you love somebody, there is no difference, there is neither high nor low. When there is love, this extraordinary flame, then that itself is its own eternity.
Question: Can we come to the real through beauty, or is beauty sterile as far as truth is concerned?
Krishnamurti: Now, what do we mean by beauty and what do we mean by truth? Surely, beauty is not an ornament; mere decoration of the body is not beauty. We all want to be beautiful, we all want to be presentable - but that is not what we mean by beauty. To be neat, to be tidy, to be clean, courteous, considerate, and so on, is part of beauty, is it not? But these are merely expressions of the inward release from ugliness. Now, what is happening in the world? Every day, more and more, we are decorating the outer. The cinema stars, and you who copy them, are keeping beautiful outwardly; but if you have nothing inside, the outward decoration, the ornamentation, is not beauty. Sirs, don't you know that inward state of being that inward tranquillity, in which there is love, kindliness, generosity, mercy? That state of being, obviously, is the very essence of beauty, and without that, merely to decorate oneself is to emphasize the sensate values, the values of the senses; and to cultivate the values of the senses, as we are doing now, must inevitably lead to conflict, to war, to destruction.
The decoration of the outer is the very nature of our present civilization, which is based on industrialization. Not that I am against industrialization - it would be absurd to destroy industries. But merely to cultivate the outer without understanding the inner must inevitably create those values which lead men to destroy each other; and that is exactly what is taking place in the world. Beauty is regarded as an ornament to be bought and sold, to be painted, and so on. Surely, that is not beauty. Beauty is a state of being, and that state of being comes with inward richness - not the inward accumulation of riches which we call virtue, ideals. That is not beauty. Richness, inward beauty with its own imperishable treasures, comes into being when the mind is free; and the mind can be free only when there is no fear. The understanding of fear comes through self-knowledge, not through resistance to fear. If you resist fear, that is, any form of ugliness, you merely build a wall against it. Behind the wall there is no freedom, there is only isolation, and what lives in isolation can never be rich, can never be full. So, beauty has a relationship to reality only when reality manifests itself through those virtues which are essential.
Now, what do we mean by truth, or God, or what you will? Obviously, it cannot be formulated; for, that which is formulated is not the real, it is the creation of the mind, the result of a thought process; and thought is the response of memory. Memory is the residue of incomplete experiences; therefore, truth, or God, or what you will, is the unknown and it cannot be formulated. For the unknown to be, the mind itself must cease to be attached to the known, and then there is relationship between beauty and reality, then reality and beauty are not different; then truth is beauty, whether it is in a smile, the flight of a bird, the cry of a baby, or in the anger of your wife or husband. To know the truth of what is, is good; but to know the beauty of that truth, the mind must be capable of understanding, and mind is not capable of understanding when it is tethered, when it is afraid, when it is avoiding something. This avoidance takes the form of outward decoration, ornamentation: being inwardly insufficient, poor, we try to become outwardly beautiful. We build lovely houses, buy a great many jewels, accumulate possessions. All these are indications of inward poverty. Not that we should not have nice dress, good houses; but without inner richness, they have no meaning. Because we are not inwardly rich, we cultivate the outer, and therefore the cultivation of the outer is leading us to destruction. That is, when you cultivate sensate values, expansion is necessary, markets are necessary; you must expand through industry, and the competitive expansion of industry means more and more controls, whether of the left or of the right, inevitably leading to war; and we try to solve the problems of war on the basis of sensate values.
The seeker after truth is the seeker after beauty - they are not distinct. Beauty is not merely outward ornamentation but that richness that comes through the freedom of inward understanding, the realization of what is.
Question: Why do you decry religion, which obviously contains grains of truth? Why throw out the baby with the bath water? Need not truth be recognized wherever it is found?
Krishnamurti: Sirs, what do you mean by religion? Organized dogma, belief, rituals, worshipping any person however great, reciting prayers, repeating Shastras, quoting the Bible - is that religion? Or is religion the search for truth or God? Can you find God through organized belief? By your calling yourself a Hindu and following all the rituals of Hinduism or of any other "ism", will you find God or truth? Sure- ly, what I decry is not religion, not the search for reality, but organized belief with its dogmas and separative forces and influences. We are not seeking reality, but are caught in the net of organized beliefs, repetitive rituals - you know the whole business of it - which I call nonsense, because they are drugs that distract the mind from seeking; they offer escapes, and thereby make the mind dull, ineffective.
So, as our minds are caught in the net of organized beliefs with their whole system of authorities, priests and gurus, all of which are engendered through fear and the desire for certainty - as we are caught in that net, obviously, we cannot merely accept, we must enquire, we must look directly, experience directly, and see what it is we are caught in and why we are caught. Because my great grandfather did some ritual, or my mother is going to cry if I do not do it, therefore I must do it. Surely, such a man, who is psychologically dependent on others and hence fearful, is incapable of finding out what truth is. He may talk about it, he may repeat the name of God umpteen times, but he is nowhere, he has no reality. Reality will shun him, because he is encased in his own prejudices and fears. And you are responsible for this organized religion, whether of the East or of the West, whether of the left or of the right, which, being based on authority, has separated man from man. Why do you want authority, either of the past or of the present? You want authority because you are confused, you are in pain, in anxiety, there is loneliness and you are suffering. Therefore, you want help from outside; so you create authority, whether political or religious, and having created that authority, you follow its directions, hoping that the confusion, the anxiety, the pain in your heart, will be removed. Can another remove your pains, your sorrows? Others may help you to escape from sorrow, but it is always there.
So, it is you who create authority; and having created the authority, you become its slaves. Belief is a product of authority; and because you want to escape from confusion, you are caught in belief and therefore continue in confusion. Your leaders are the outcome of your confusion, therefore they must be confused. You would never follow anyone if you were clear, unconfused and directly experiencing. It is because you are confused that there is no direct experience. Out of your confusion you create the leader, organized religion, separative worship, which brings about the strife that is going on in the world at the present time. In India it is taking the form of communal conflicts between the Mussalmans and the Hindus, in Europe it is the communists against the rightists, and so on and on. If you look into it carefully, analyze it, you will see that it is all based on authority, one person says this and another person says that; and authority is created by you and me, because we are confused. This may sound oversimplified verbally, but if you go into it, it is not simple, it is extremely complex. Being confused, you want to be led out - which means you are not understanding the problem of confusion, you are only seeking an escape. To understand confusion, you must understand the person who is making the confusion, which is yourself; and without understanding yourself what is the good of following somebody? Being confused, do you think you will find truth in any practice or organized religion? Though you may study the Upanishads, the Gita, the Bible, or any other book, do you think that you are capable of reading the truth of it when you yourself are confused? You will translate what you read according to your confusion, your likes and dislikes, your prejudices, your conditioning. Your approach, surely, is not to reality To find truth, Sir, is to understand yourself. Then truth comes to you you do not have to go to truth - and that is the beauty of it. If you go to truth, that which you approach is projected out of yourself, and therefore it is not truth. Then it becomes merely a process of self-hypnosis, which is organized religion. To find truth, for truth to come to you, you must see very clearly your own prejudices, opinions, ideas and conclusions; and that clarity comes through the freedom which is virtue. For the virtuous mind, there is truth everywhere. Then you do not belong to any organized religion, then you are free.
So, truth comes into being when the mind is capable of receiving it, when the heart is empty of the things of the mind. At present our hearts are full of the things of the mind; and when the heart frees itself of the mind, then it is receptive, sensitive to reality.
Question: Some of us who have listened to you for many years agree, perhaps only verbally, with all that you say. But actually, in daily life, we are dull, and there is not the living from moment to moment that you speak of. Why is there such a huge gap between thought, or rather words, and action?
Krishnamurti: I think we mistake verbal appreciation for real understanding. Verbally we understand each other, we understand the words. I communicate to you verbally certain thoughts that I have, and you remain on the verbal level, and from that verbal level, you hope to act. So, you will have to find out if verbal appreciation brings about understanding, action. For example. when I say that goodwill, affection, love, is the only solution, the only way out of this mess, verbally you thoughtful, you will probably agree. Now, why don't you act? For the very simple reason that the verbal response is identified with the intellectual response. That is, intellectually you think you have grasped the idea, and so there is division between idea and action. That is why the cultivation of ideas creates, not understanding, but mere opposition, counter-ideas; and although this opposition may bring about a revolution, it will not be a real transformation of the individual and therefore of society.
I do not know if I am making myself clear on this point. If we dwell on the verbal level, then we merely produce ideas, because words are things of the mind. Words are sensate, and if we dwell on the verbal level, words can only create sensate ideas and values. That is, one set of ideas creates counter-ideas, and these counter-ideas produce an action; but that action is merely reaction, the response to an idea. Most of us live merely verbally, we feed on words; the Bhagavad Gita says this, the Puranas say that; or, Marx says this, Einstein says that. Words can only produce ideas, and ideas will never produce action. Ideas can produce a reaction, but not action - and that is why we have this gap between verbal comprehension and action.
Now, the questioner wants to know how to build the bridge between word and action. I say you cannot, you cannot bridge the gap between word and action. Please see the importance of this. Words can never produce action. They can only produce a response, a counter-action or reaction, and therefore still further reaction, like a wave; and in that wave you are caught. Whereas, action is quite a different thing, it is not reaction. So, you cannot bridge the gap between the word and the action. You have to leave the word - and then you will act. Our difficulty, then, is how to leave the word. That means, how to act without reaction. Do you follow? Because, as long as you are fed on words, you are bound to react; therefore you have to empty yourself of words, which means emptying yourself of imitation. Words are imitation, living on the verbal level is to live in imitation; and since our whole life is based on imitation, on copying, naturally we have made ourselves incapable of action. Therefore you have to investigate the various patterns which make you copy, imitate, live on the verbal level; and as you begin to unravel the various patterns that have made you imitative, you will find that you act without reaction.
Sir, love is not a word; the word is not the thing, is it? God is not the word "god", love is not the word "love". But you are satisfied with the word, because the word gives you a sensation. When somebody says "God", you are psychologically or nervously affected, and that response you call the understanding of God. So, the word affects you nervously and sensuously, and that produces certain action. But the word is not the thing, the word "god" is not God; you have merely been fed on words, on nervous, sensuous responses. Please see the significance of this. How can you act if you have been fed on empty words? For words are empty, are they not? They can only produce a nervous response, but that is not action. Action can take place only when there is no imitative response, which means the mind must enquire into the whole process of verbal life. For example, some leader, political or religious, makes a statement, and without thought you say you agree ; and then you wave a flag, you fight for India or Germany. But you have not examined what was said; and since you have not examined, what you do is merely a reaction, and between reaction and action there can be no relationship. Most of us are conditioned to reaction, so you have to discover the causes of this conditioning; and as the mind begins to free itself from the conditioning you will find that there is action. Such action is not reaction, it is its own vitality, it is its own eternity.
So, with most of us the difficulty is that we want to bridge the unbridgeable, we want to serve both God and mammon, we want to live on the verbal plane, and yet act. The two are incompatible. We all know reaction, but very few of us know action, because action can come only when we understand that the word is not the thing. When we understand that, then we can go much deeper, we can begin to uncover in ourselves all the fears, the imitations, escapes and authorities; but that means we have to live very dangerously, and very few of us want to live in a state of perpetual revolution. What we want is a backwater refuge where we can settle down and be comforted, emotionally, physically, or psychologically. As between a lazy man and a very active man there is no relationship, so there is no relationship between word and action; but once we understand that and see the whole significance of it, then there is action. Such action, surely, leads to reality; it is the field in which reality can operate. Then we do not have to seek out reality: it comes directly, mysteriously, silently, stealthily. And a mind that is capable of receiving reality is blessed.
5th Public Talk1st August, 1948
In the last two talks we were considering the importance of individual action, which is not opposed to collective action. The individual is the world, he is both the root and the outcome of the total process, and without transformation of the individual, there can be no radical transformation in the world. Therefore, the important thing is not individual action as opposed to collective action, but to realize that true collective action can come about only through individual regeneration. It is important to understand the individual action which is not opposed to the collective. Because, after all, the individual, you and your neighbour, are part of a total process; the individual is not a separate, isolated process. You are, after all, the product of the whole of humanity, though you may be climatically, religiously and socially conditioned. You are the total process of man, and therefore, when you understand yourself as a total process - not as a separate process opposed to the mass or to the collective - , then through that understanding of yourself there can be a radical transformation. That is what we were talking about the last two times we met.
Now, what do we mean by action? Obviously, action implies behaviour in relation to something. Action by itself is non-existent; it can only be in relation to an idea, to a person, or to a thing. And we have to understand action, because the world at the present time is crying for an action of some kind. We all want to act, we all want to know what to do, especially when the world is in such confusion, in such misery and chaos, when there are impending wars, when ideologies are opposing each other with such destructive force and religious organizations are pitting man against man. So, we must know what we mean by action; and in understanding what we mean by action, then perhaps we shall be able to act truly.
To understand what we mean by action - which is behaviour, and behaviour is righteousness - , we must approach it negatively. That is, all positive approach to a problem must of necessity be according to a particular pattern; and action conforming to a pattern ceases to be action - it is merely conformity, and therefore not action. In order to understand action, that is, behaviour, which is righteousness, we have to find out how to approach it. We must understand first that any positive approach, which is trying to fit action to a pattern, to a conclusion, to an idea, is no longer action; it is merely continuity of the pattern, of the mould, and therefore it is not action at all. Therefore, to understand action, we must go to it negatively, that is, we must understand the false process of a positive action. Because, when I know the false as the false, and the truth as the truth, then the false will drop away and I will know how to act. That is, if I know what is false action, unrighteous action, action that is merely a continuation of conformity, then seeing the falseness of that action, I shall know how to act rightly.
It is obvious that we need in everyday existence, in our social structure, in our political and religious life, a radical transformation of values, a complete revolution. Without laboring the point, I think it is obvious that there must be a change - or rather, not a change, which implies a modified continuity, but a transformation. There must be transformation, there must be a complete revolution, politically, socially, economically, in our relationship with each other, in every phase of life. Because, things cannot go on as they are - which is self-evident to any thoughtful person who is alert, watching world events. Now, how is this revolution in action to be brought about? - which is what we are discussing. How can there be action that transforms, not in time, but now? Is that not what we are concerned with? Because, there is so much misery, here in Bangalore as everywhere else throughout the world; there are economic slumps, there is dirt, poverty, unemployment, communal struggle, and so on and on, with the constant threat of a war in Europe. So, there must be a complete change of values, must there not? Not theoretically, because merely to discuss on the verbal level is futile, it has no meaning. It is like discussing food in front of a hungry man. So, we will not discuss merely verbally, and please don't be like spectators at a game. Let us both experience what we are talking about; because, if there is experiencing, then perhaps we shall understand how to act, and this will affect our lives and therefore bring a radical transformation. So, please do not be like spectators at a football game. You and I are going to take a journey together into the understanding of this thing called action, because that is what we are concerned with in our daily life. If we can understand action in the fundamental sense of the word, then that fundamental unrest and longing will affect our superficial activities also; but first we must understand the fundamental nature of action.
Now is action brought about by an idea? Do you have an idea first, and act afterwards? Or, does action come first and then, because action creates conflict, you build around it an idea? That is, does action create the actor, or does the actor come first? This is not a philosophical speculation, it is not based on the Shastras, the Bhagavad Gita, or any other book. They are all irrelevant. Don't let us quote what other people say because as I have read none of the books, you will win. We are trying to find out directly whether action comes first, and the idea afterwards; or whether idea comes first, and then action follows. It is very important to discover which comes first. If the idea comes first, then action merely conforms to an idea, and therefore it is no longer action but imitation, compulsion according to an idea. It is very important to realize this; because, as our society is mostly constructed on the intellectual or verbal level, the idea comes first with all of us, and action follows. Action is then the handmaid of an idea, and the mere construction of ideas is obviously detrimental to action. That is, ideas breed further ideas, and when there is merely the breeding of ideas, there is antagonism, and society becomes top-heavy with the intellectual process of ideation. Our social structure is very intellectual, we are cultivating the intellect at the expense of every other factor of our being, and therefore we are suffocated with ideas.
All this may sound rather abstract, academic, professorial, but it is not. Personally, I have a horror of academic discussion, theoretical speculations, because they lead nowhere. But it is very important that we find out what we mean by an idea, because the world is dividing itself over the opposing ideas of the left and of the right, the ideas of the communists as opposed to those of the capitalists; and without understanding the whole process of ideation, merely to take sides is infantile, it has no meaning. A mature man does not take sides; he tries to solve directly the pro- blems of human suffering, human starvation, war and so on. We take sides only when we are moulded by the intellect, whose function is to fabricate ideas. So, it is very important, is it not?, to find out for ourselves, and not go according to what Marx, the Shastras, the Bhagavad Gita, or any of them says. You and I have to find out, because it is our problem; it is our daily problem to discover what is the right solution to our aching civilization.
Now, can ideas ever produce action, or do ideas merely mould thought and therefore limit action? When action is compelled by an idea, action can never liberate man. Please, it is extraordinarily important for us to understand this point. If an idea shapes action, then action can never bring about the solution to our miseries; because, before it can be put into action, we have first to discover how the idea comes into being. The investigation of ideation, of the building up of ideas, whether of the socialists, the capitalists, the communists, or of the various religions, is of the utmost importance, especially when our society is at the edge of a precipice, inviting another catastrophe, another excision; and those who are really serious in their intention to discover the human solution to our many problems must first understand this process of ideation. As I said, this is not academic, it is the most practical approach to human life. It is not philosophical or speculative, because that is sheer waste of time. Let us leave it to the undergraduates to discuss theoretical matters in their unions or in their clubs.
So, what do we mean by an idea? How does an idea come into being? And can idea and action be brought together? That is, I have an idea, and I wish to carry it out, so I seek a method of carrying out that idea; and we speculate, waste our time and energies, in quarrelling over how the idea should be carried out. So, it is really very important to find out how ideas come into being; and after discovering the truth of that, we can discuss the question of action. Without discussing ideas, merely to and out how to act, has no meaning.
Now, how do you get an idea: - a very simple idea, it need not be philosophical, religious or economic. Obviously, it is a process of thought, is it not? Idea is the outcome of a thought process. Without a thought process, there can be no idea. So, I have to understand the thought process itself before I can understand its product, the idea. What do we mean by thought? When do you think? Obviously, thought is the result of a response, neurological or psychological, is it not? It is the immediate response of the senses to a sensation, or it is psychological, the response of stored up memory. There is the immediate response of the nerves to a sensation, and there is the psychological response of stored up memory, the influence of race, group, guru, family, tradition, and so on - all of which you call thought. So, the thought process is the response of memory, is it not? You would have no thoughts if you had no memory; and the response of memory to a certain experience brings the thought process into action. Say, for example, I have the stored up memories of nationalism, calling myself a Hindu. That reservoir of memories of past responses, actions, implications, traditions, customs, responds to the challenge of a Mussulman, a Buddhist or a Christian, and the response of memory to the challenge inevitably brings about a thought process. Watch the thought process operating in yourself and you can test the truth of this directly. You have been insulted by someone, and that remains in your memory, it forms part of the background; and when you meet the person, which is the challenge, the response is the memory of that insult. So, the response of memory, which is the thought process, creates an idea; therefore, the idea is always conditioned - and this is important to understand. That is, idea is the result of the thought process, the thought process is the response of memory, and memory is always conditioned. Memory is always in the past, and that memory is given life in the present by a challenge. Memory has no life in itself; it comes to life in the present when confronted by a challenge. And all memory, whether dormant or active, is conditioned, is it not?
What, then, is memory? If you observe your own memory and how you gather memory,you will notice that it is either factual, technical, having to do with information, with engineering, mathematics, physics, and all the rest of it? or, it is the residue of an unfinished, uncompleted experience, is it not? Watch your own memory and you will see. When you finish an experience, complete it, there is no memory of that experience in the sense of a psychological residue. There is a residue only when an experience is not fully understood; and there is no understanding of experience because we look at each experience through past memories, and therefore we never meet the new as the new, but always through the screen of the old. Therefore, it is clear that our response to experience is conditioned, always limited.
So, we see that experiences which are not completely understood leave a residue, which we call memory. That memory, when challenged, produces thought. That thought creates the idea, and the idea molds action. Therefore, action based on an idea can never be free; and therefore there is no release for any of us through an idea. Please, this is very important to understand. I am not building up an argument against ideas, I am painting the picture of how ideas can never bring about a revolution. Ideas can modify the present state, or change the present state, but that is not revolution. A substitution, or a modified continuity, is not revolution. As long as I am exploited, it matters very little whether I am exploited by private capitalists or by the state; but exploitation by the state we consider better than exploitation by the few. Is it any better? I am not talking of the top-dogs. Is it any better for the man who is exploited? So, mere modification is not revolution, it is merely reaction to a condition. That is, the capitalistic background may produce a reaction in the form of communism, but that is still on the same level. It is the modified continuity of capitalism in a different form. I am not advocating either capitalism or communism. We are trying to find out what we mean by change, what we mean by revolution. So, an idea can never produce revolution in the deepest sense of the word, in the sense of complete transformation. An idea can bring about a modified continuity of what is, but that is obviously not revolution. And we need a revolution, not a modified continuity; we need, not a substitution, but a complete transformation.
So, to bring about revolution, that complete transformation, I must first understand ideas and how they arise; and if I understand ideas, if I see the false as the false, then I can proceed to enquire what we mean by action, if thought creates idea - or, if thought itself, put in verbal form, is what I call idea and if that thought is always conditioned because it is the response memory to a challenge which always new, then an idea can never bring about revolution in the deeper sense of the word; and yet that is what we are trying to do. We are looking to an idea to bring about transformation. I hope I am making myself clear.
So, our problem is this: If I cannot look to an idea, which is a thought process, then how can I act? Please, before I can find out how to act, I must be completely sure that action based on an idea is utterly false; I must see that ideas shape action, and that action which is shaped by ideas will ever be limited. Therefore, there is no release through action based on an idea, on an ideology, or on a belief, because such action is the outcome of a thought process which is but the response of memory. That thought process must inevitably create an idea which is conditioned, limited, and an action based on a limitation can never free man, Action based on an idea is limited action, conditioned action, and if I look to that action as a means of freedom, obviously I can only continue in a conditioned state. Therefore, I cannot look to an idea as a guide to action. And yet that is what we are doing, because we are so addicted to ideas, whether they are other people's ideas or our own.
So, what we have to do now is to find out how to act without the thought process - which sounds quite loony; but is it? Just see our problem, it is quite interesting. When I live and act within the thought process, which gives rise to idea, which in turn molds action, there is no release. Now, can I act without the thought process, which is memory? Please, don't let us be confused: by memory I do not mean factual memory. It would be absurd to talk of throwing away all the technical knowledge - how to build a house, a dynamo, a jet plane, how to break the atom, and so on and so on - that man has acquired through centuries, generation after generation. But can I live, can I act, be in relationship with another, without the psychological response of memory which results in ideation, and which in turn controls action? To most of us this may sound very odd, for we are accustomed to having an idea first, and then conforming action to the idea. All our disciplines, all our activities, are based on this - the idea first, and then conformity to the idea; and when I put the question to you, you have no answer, because you have not thought about it in this direction at all. As I say, it will sound crazy to many of you; but if you really examine the whole process of life very closely and seriously because you want to understand and not just throw words at each other, then this question as to what we mean by action is bound to arise.
Now, is action really based on idea, or does action come first and the idea afterwards? If you observe still more closely, you will see that action comes first always, and not the idea. The monkey in the tree feels hungry, and then the urge arises to take a fruit or a nut. Action comes first, and then the idea that you had better store it up. To put it in different words, does action come first, or the actor? Is there an actor without action? Do you understand? This is what we are always asking ourselves: Who is it that sees? Who is the watcher? Is the thinker apart from his thoughts, the observer apart from the observed,the experiencer apart from the experience, the actor apart from the action? Is there an entity always dominating, overseeing observing action - call it Parabrahman, or what you will? When you give a name, you are merely caught in the idea, and that idea compels your thoughts; and therefore you say the actor comes first, and then the action. But if you really examine the process, very carefully, closely and intelligently, you will see that there is always action first, and that action with an end in view creates the actor. Do you follow? If action has an end in view, the gaining of that end brings about the actor. If you think very clearly and without prejudice,without conformity, without trying to convince somebody, without an end in view, in that very thinking there is no thinker - there is only the thinking. It is only when you seek an end in your thinking that you become important, and not thought. Perhaps some of you have observed this. It is really an important thing to find out, because from that we shall know how to act. If the thinker comes first, then the thinker is more important than thought, and all the philosophies, customs and activities of the present civilization are based on this assumption; but if thought comes first then thought is more important than the thinker. Of course they are related - there is no thought without the thinker, and there is no thinker without the thought. But I do not want to discuss this now, because we will get off the point.
So, can there be action without memory? That means, can there be action which is constantly revolutionary? The only thing that is constantly revolutionary is action without the screen of memory. An idea cannot bring about constant revolution, because it always modifies action according to the background of its conditioning. Our question is, then, can there be action without the thought process which creates the idea, which in turn controls action? I say there can be, and that it can take place immediately when you see that idea is not a release, but a hindrance to action. If I see that, my action will not be based on any idea, and therefore I am in a state of complete revolution; and therefore there is the possibility of a society which is never static, which never needs to be overthrown and rebuilt. I say you can live with your wife, with your husband, with your neighbour in that state of action which does not conform to an idea; and that is possible only when you understand the significance of idea, how idea is brought about and molds action. The idea that molds action is detrimental to action, and a man who looks to an idea as a means of bringing about a revolution either in the mass or the individual, is looking in vain. Revolution is constant, it is never static. Ideas create, not a revolution, but merely a modified continuity. Only that action which is not based on an idea can bring about revolution which is constant and therefore ever renewing.
There are many questions and I shall answer as many of them as possible.
Question: What is the place of power in your scheme of things? Do you think human affairs can be run without compulsion?
Krishnamurti: Now, what do you mean by "your scheme of things"? Obviously, you think I have a pattern in which I am putting life, (Laughter). Please, this is important, don't laugh it off. Most of us have a scheme, a blue print of how life should be according to Marx, Buddha, Christ or Sankara, or accord- ing to the United Nations, and we force life into that mould. We say, "It is a marvellous scheme, let us fit into it" - which is absurd. Beware of the man who has a scheme of life; anyone who follows him, follows confusion and sorrow. Life is much bigger than any scheme that any human being can invent. So, that is out.
"What is the place of power? Do you think human affairs can be run without compulsion?" Now, what do we mean by power? There is the power that wealth gives, the power that knowledge brings, the power of an idea, the power of the technician. Which power do we mean? Obviously, the power to control, to dominate. That is what we mean by power, isn't it? The power that each one wants is the power which we exercise at home over the wife or the husband - only we want greater power to control, to dominate others. Also, there is the power which you give to the leader. Because you are confused, you hand over to the leader the reins of authority, and he guides and controls you; or you yourself would like to be the leader, and so on and on. And there is the power of love, of understanding, of kindliness, of mercy, the power of reality. Now, we have to be very clear which power we are referring to. There is the power of an army, that enormous power to destroy, to maim, to bring horror to mankind; and there is the power of a strong government, or of a strong personality. Merely to be in power is comparatively easy. Power implies domination; and the more power you have, the more evil you become - which is shown over and over again throughout history. The power to dominate, a mould, to shape, to control, to force others to think what the authorities want them to think - surely, this is a power which is utterly evil, utterly dark and stupid. So also is the power of the rich man swaggering in his factory, and the power of the ambitious man in government affairs. Obviously, all that is power in its most stupid form, because it dominates, controls, shapes, warps human beings.
Now, there is the so-called power of love, the power of understanding. Is love a power? Does love dominate, twist, shape the human heart? If it does, it is no longer love. Love, understanding, truth, has its own quality; it does not compel, therefore it is not on the same level as power. Love, truth, or understanding comes when all these ideas of compulsion, authority, dogmatism, have ceased. Humility is not the opposite of authority or of power. The cultivation of humility is merely the desire for authority, for power, in a different guise.
So, what is happening in the world? The power of governments, of States, the power of leaders, of the clever orators and writers, is used more and more for the shaping of man, compelling man to think along a certain line, teaching him, not how to think, but what to think. That has become the function of governments, with their enormous power of propaganda - which is the ceaseless repetition of an idea; and any repetition of an idea or of truth, becomes a lie. Because there is confusion, misery in our minds and hearts, we create leaders who control us, shape us, and so do our governments. All over the world there is conformity to the dictates of the military, the social environment is influencing us to conform; and do you think that understanding or love comes through compulsion? Do you have goodwill through compulsion? If I am the dictator can I compel you to have goodwill? So, the compulsion which comes with placing enormous power in the hands of those who can wield it, does not bring men together.
As I was explaining in my talk compulsion is the outcome of an idea. Surely, a man who is drunk with ideology is intolerant, he creates the torture of compulsion. Obviously, there can never be understanding, love, communion with each other, when there is compulsion; and no society can be built on compulsion. Such a society may for a time succeed technically, superficially; but inwardly there is the agony of being compelled, and therefore, like a prisoner kept within four walls, there is always the seeking for a release, for an escape, a way out. So, a government or a society that compels, shapes, forces the individual from the outside, will eventually create disorder, chaos and violence. That is exactly what is happening in the world.
Then, we compel ourselves to conform to a pattern, calling it discipline, which is suppression, and suppression gives you a certain power. But in either extreme, in either opposite, there is no stability, and human minds go from one to the other, evading the quiet stability of understanding. A mind that is compelled, a mind that is caught in power, can never know love; and without love, there is no solution to our problems. You may postpone understanding, intellectually you may avoid it, you may cleverly build bridges, but they are all temporary; and without goodwill, without mercy, without generosity, without kindliness, there is bound to be ever increasing misery and destruction, because compulsion is not the cement that brings human beings together. Compulsion in any form, inward or outward, only creates further confusion, further misery. What we need in world affairs at the present time is not more ideas, more blue prints, bigger and better leaders, but goodwill, affection, love, kindliness. Therefore, what we need is the person who loves, who is kind; and that is you, not somebody else. Love is not the worship of God; you may worship a stone image, or your conception of God, and that is a marvellous escape from your brutal husband or your nagging wife, but it does not solve our difficulty. Love is the only solvent, and love is kindness to your wife, to your child, to your neighbour.
Question: Why are we so callous to each other in spite of all the suffering it involves?
Krishnamurti: Why am I or why are you callous to another man's suffering? Why are we indifferent to the coolie who is carrying a heavy load, to the woman who is carrying a baby? Why are we so callous? To understand that, we must understand why suffering makes us dull. Surely, it is suffering that makes us callous; because we don't understand suffering, we become indifferent to it. If I understand suffering, then I become sensitive to suffering, awake to everything, not only to myself, but to the people about me, to my wife, to my children, to an animal, to a beggar. But we don't want to understand suffering, we want to escape from suffering; and the escape from suffering makes us dull, and therefore we are callous. Sir, the point is that suffering, when not understood, dulls the mind and heart; and we do not understand suffering because we want to escape from it, through the guru, through a saviour, through mantras, through reincarnation, through ideas, through drink and every other kind of addiction - anything to escape what is. So, our temples, our churches, our politics, our social reforms, are mere escapes from the fact of suffering. We are not concerned with suffering, we are concerned with the idea of how to be released from suffering. We are concerned with ideas, not with suffering; we are constantly looking for a better idea and how to carry it out, which is so infantile. When you are hungry, you don't discuss how to eat; you say, "Give me food", you are not concerned with who will bring it, whether the left or the right, or which ideology is the best. But when you want to avoid the understanding of what is, which is suffering, then you escape into ideologies; and that is why our minds, though superficially very clever, have essentially become dull, rude, callous, brutal. To understand suffering requires seeing the falseness of all the escapes, whether God or drink. All escapes are the same though socially each may have a different significance. When I escape from sorrow, all escapes are on the same level - there is no "better escape.
Now, the understanding of suffering does not lie in finding out what the cause is. Any man can know the cause of suffering; his own thoughtlessness, his stupidity, his narrowness, his brutality, and so on. But if I look at the suffering itself without wanting an answer, then what happens? Then, as I am not escaping, I begin to understand suffering; my mind is watchfully alert, keen, which means I become sensitive, and being sensitive, I am aware of other people's suffering. Therefore I am not callous, therefore I am kind, not merely to my friends - I am kind to everyone, because I am sensitive to suffering. We are callous because we have become dull to suffering, we have dulled our minds through escapes. Escape gives a great deal of power, and we like power, we like to have a radio, a motor car, an airplane, we like to have money and enjoy immense power. But when you understand suffering, there is no power, there is no escape through power. When you understand suffering, there is kindliness, there is affection. Affection, love, demands the highest intelligence, and without sensitivity there is no great intelligence.
Question: Can you not build up a following and use it rightly? Must you remain a voice in the desert?
Krishnamurti: Now what do you mean by a following, and what do you mean by a leader? Why do you follow, and why do you create a leader? If you are interested, please consider this closely. When do you follow? You follow only when you are confused; when you are unhappy when you feel torn down, you want someone - a political, a religious, a military leader - to help you to take you out of your misery. When you are clear, when you understand, you do not want to be led. You want to be led only when you are yourself in confusion, with all its implications. So, what happens? When you are confused, how can you see clearly? Since you cannot see clearly, you will choose a leader who is also confused. (Laugher) Don't laugh. This is what is happening in the world, and it is disastrous. It may sound very clever, but it is not. How can a blind man choose a leader? He can only choose those around him. Similarly a confused man can only choose a leader who is as confused as himself. And what happens? Being confused, your leader naturally leads you to further confusion, further disaster, further misery. That is what is taking place all over the world. For God's sake, Sirs, look at it - it is your misery? You are being led to the slaughter because you refuse to see and clear away the cause of your own confusion. And because you refuse to see it, you are creating out of your confusion the clever, the cunning leaders who exploit you because, the leader, like you, is seeking self-fulfilment. Therefore you become a necessity to the leader, and the leader becomes a necessity to you - it is a mutual exploitation.
So, why do you want a leader? And can there ever be a right leadership? You and I can help each other to clear up our own confusion - which does not mean that I become your leader and you become my follower, or I am your guru and you are my pupil. We simply help each other to understand the confusion that exists in our own hearts and minds. It is only when you do not want to understand the confusion that you run away from it, and then you will turn to somebody, to a leader or a guru. But if you want to understand it, then you must look to the common misery, the aches, the burdens, the loneliness; and you can look only when you are not trying to find an answer, a way out of the confusion. You look at it because confusion itself leads to misery, therefore you want to understand it; and when you understand, clear it up, you will be free as the air, you will love, you will not follow, you will have no leaders; and then will come the society of true equality, without class or caste.
Sirs, you are not seeking truth, you are trying to find a way out of some difficulty; and that is your misery. You want leaders to direct you, to pull you along, to force you, to make you conform - and that inevitably leads to destruction, to greater suffering. Suffering is what is happening directly in front of us, yet we refuse to see it and we want "right" leaders - which is so immature. To me, all leadership indicates a deterioration of society. A leader in society is a destructive element. (Laughter.) Don't laugh it off, don't pass it by: look at it. It is very serious, especially now. The world is on the verge of a catastrophe, it is rapidly disintegrating; and merely to find another leader, a new Churchill, a greater Stalin, a different God, is utterly futile; because, the man who is confused can choose only according to the dictates of his own mind, which is confusion. Therefore, it is no good seeking a leader, right or wrong. There is no "right" leader - all leaders are wrong. What you have to do is to clear your own confusion. And confusion is set aside only when you understand yourself; with the beginning of self-knowledge, there comes clarity. Without self-knowledge, there is no release from confusion; without self-knowledge, confusion is like a wave eternally catching you up. So, it is very important for those who are really serious and in earnest to begin with themselves, and not seek release or escape from confusion. The moment you understand confusion, you are free of it.
Question: Grains of truth are to be found in religions, theories, ideas, and beliefs. What is the right way of separating them?
Krishnamurti: The false is the false, and by seeking you cannot separate the false from the truth, you have to see the false as the false, and then only is there the cessation of the false. You cannot seek the truth in the false, but you can see the false as the false, and then there is a release from the false. Sir, how can the false contain the truth? How can ignorance, darkness, contain understanding, light? I know we would like to have it so; we would like to think that somewhere in us there is eternity, light, truth, piety all covered over with ignorance. Where there is light, there is no darkness; where there is ignorance, there is always ignorance, but never understanding. So, there is release only when you and I see the false as the false, that is, when we see the truth about the false, which means not dwelling in the false as the false. Our seeing the false as the false is prevented by our prejudice, by our conditioning. With that understanding, let us proceed.
Now, the question is, is there not truth in religions, in theories, in ideals, in beliefs? Let us examine. What do we mean by religion? Surely, not organized religion, not Hinduism, Buddhism, or Christianity - which are all organized beliefs with their propaganda, conversion, proselytism, compulsion, and so on. Is there any truth in organized religion? It may engulf, enmesh truth, but the organized religion itself is not true. Therefore, organized religion is false, it separates man from man. You are a Mussulman, I am a hindu, another is a Christian or a Buddhist - and we are wrangling, butchering each other. Is there any truth in that? We are not discussing religion as the pursuit of truth, but we are considering if there is any truth in organized religion. We are so conditioned by organized religion to think there is truth in it that we have come to believe that by calling oneself a Hindu one is somebody, or one will find God. How absurd! Sir, to find God, to find reality, there must be virtue. Virtue is freedom, and only through freedom can truth be discovered - not when you are caught in the hands of organized religion, with its beliefs. And is there any truth in theories, in ideals, in beliefs? Why do you have beliefs? Obviously, because beliefs give you security, comfort, safety, a guide. In yourself you are frightened, you want to be protected, you want to lean on somebody, and therefore you create the ideal, which prevents you from understanding that which is; Therefore, an ideal becomes a hindrance to action. Sir, when I am violent, why do I want to pursue the ideal of non-violence? For the obvious reason that I want to avoid violence, escape from violence. I cultivate the ideal in order not to have to face and understand violence. Why do I want the ideal at all? It is an impediment. If I want to understand violence, I must try to understand what it is directly, not through the screen of an ideal. The ideal is false, fictitious, preventing me from understanding that which I am. Look at it more closely, and you will see. If I am violent, to understand violence I do not want an ideal; to look at violence, I do not need a guide. But I like to be violent, it gives me a certain sense of power, and I will go on being violent, though I cover it up with the ideal of nonviolence. So, the ideal is fictitious, it is simply not there. It exists only in the mind; it is an idea to be achieved, and in the meantime I can be violent. Therefore, an ideal, like a belief, is unreal, false.
Now, why do I want to believe? Surely, a man who is understanding life does not want beliefs. A man who loves, has no beliefs - he loves. It is the man who is consumed by the intellect that has beliefs, because intellect is always seeking security, protection; it is always avoiding danger, and therefore it builds ideas, beliefs, ideals, behind which it can take shelter. What would happen if you dealt with violence directly, now? You would be a danger to society; and because the mind foresees the danger, it says, "I will achieve the ideal of non-violence ten years later, - which is such a fictitious, false process. So, theories - we are not dealing with mathematical theories, and all the rest of it, but with the theories that arise in connection with our human, psychological problems - theories, beliefs, ideals, are false, because they prevent us from seeing things as they are. To understand what is, is more important than to create and follow ideals; because ideals are false, and what is is the real. To understand what is requires an enormous capacity, a swift and unprejudiced mind. It is because we don't want to face and understand what is that we invent the many ways of escape and give them lovely names as the ideal, the belief, God. Surely, it is only when see the false as the false that my mind is capable of perceiving what is true. A mind that is confused in the false, can never find the truth. Therefore, I must understand what is false in my relationships, in my ideas, in the things about me; because, to perceive the truth requires the understanding of the false. Without removing the causes of ignorance, there cannot be enlightenment; and to seek enlightenment when the mind is unenlightened is utterly empty, meaningless. Therefore, I must begin to see the false in my relationships with ideas, with people, with things. When the mind sees that which is false, then that which is true comes into being; and then there is ecstasy, there is happiness.
6th Public Talk8th August, 1948
We have been discussing, the several times that we have met, the problem of transformation, which alone can bring about the revolution which is so necessary in the world's affairs. And, as we have seen, the world is not different from you and me: the world is what we make it. We are the result of the world, and we are the world; so the transformation must begin with us, not with the world, not with outward legislation, blue prints, and so on. It is essential that each one should realize the importance of this inner transformation, which will bring about an outward revolution. Mere change in the outward circumstances of life is of very little significance without the inner transformation; and, as we said, this inner transformation can not take place without self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is to know the total process of oneself, the ways of one's own thinking, feeling, and action; and without knowing oneself, there is no basis for broader action. So, self-knowledge is of primary importance. One must obviously begin to understand oneself in all one's actions, thoughts and feelings, because the self, the mind, the "me" is so very complex and subtle. So many impositions have been placed upon the mind, the "me", so many influences - racial, religious, national, social, environmental - have shaped it, that to follow each step, to analyze each imprint, is extremely difficult; and if we miss one, if we do not analyze properly and miss one step, then the whole process of analysis miscarries. So, our problem is to understand the self, the "me" - not just one part of the "me", but the whole field of thought, which is the response of the "me". We have to understand the whole field of memory from which all thought arises, both the conscious and the unconscious; and all that is the self - the hidden as well as the open, the dreamer and what he dreams.
Now, to understand the self, which alone can bring about a radical revolution, a regeneration, there must be the intention to understand its whole process. The process of the individual is not opposed to the world, to the mass, whatever that term may mean; because, there is no mass apart from you - you are the mass. So, to understand that process, there must be the intention to know what is, to follow every thought, feeling and action; and to understand what is is extremely difficult, because what is is never still, never static, it is always in movement. The what is is what you are, not what you would like to be; it is not the ideal, because the ideal is fictitious, but it is actually what you are doing, thinking and feeling from moment to moment. What is is the actual, and to understand the actual requires awareness, a very alert, swift mind. But if we begin to condemn what is, if we begin to blame or resist it, then we shall not understand its movement. If I want to understand somebody, I cannot condemn him: I must observe, study him. I must love the very thing I am studying. If you want to understand a child, you must love and not condemn him. You must play with him, watch his movements, his idiosyncrasies, his ways of behaviour; but if you merely condemn, resist or blame him, there is no comprehension of the child. Similarly, to understand what is, one must observe what one thinks, feels and does from moment to moment. That is the actual. Any other action, any ideal or ideological action, is not the actual; it is merely a wish, a fictitious desire to be something other than what is.
So, to understand what is requires a state of mind in which there is no identification or condemnation, which means a mind that is alert and yet passive. We are in that state when we really desire to understand something; when the intensity of interest is there, that state of mind comes into being. When one is interested in understanding what is, the actual state of the mind, one does not need to force, discipline, or control it; on the contrary, there is passive alertness, watchfulness. If I want to understand a picture or a person, I must put aside all my prejudices, my preconceptions, my classical or other training, and study the picture or the person directly. This state of awareness comes when there is interest, the intention to understand.
Now, the next question is whether transformation is a matter of time. Most of us are accustomed to think that time is necessary for transformation: I am something, and to change what I am into what I should be requires time. I am greedy, with its results of confusion, antagonism, conflict and misery; and to bring about the transformation, which is non-greed, we think time is necessary. That is, time is considered as a means for evolving something greater, for becoming something. Do you understand the problem? The problem is this: One is violent, greedy, envious, angry, vicious, or passionate. Now, to transform what is, is time necessary? First of all, why do we want to change what is, or bring about a transformation? Why? Because what we are dissatisfies us; it creates conflict, disturbance; and disliking that state, we want something better, something nobler, more idealistic. So, we desire transformation because there is pain, discomfort, conflict. Now, is conflict overcome by time? If you say it will be overcome by time, you are still in conflict. That is, you may say it will take 20 days or 20 years to get rid of conflict, to change what you are; but during that time you are still in conflict, and therefore time does not bring about transformation. When we use time as a means of acquiring a quality, a virtue, or a state of being, we are merely postponing or avoiding what is; and I think it is important to understand this point. Greed or violence causes pain, disturbance, in the world of our relationship with another, which is society; and being conscious of this state of disturbance, which we term greed or violence, we say to ourselves, "I will get out of it in time. I will practise non-violence, I will practise non-envy, I will practise peace". Now, you want to practise non-violence because violence is a state of disturbance, conflict, and you think that in time you will gain nonviolence and overcome the conflict. So, what is actually happening? Being in a state of conflict, you want to achieve a state in which there is no conflict. Now, is that state of no-conflict the result of time, of a duration? Obviously not. Because, while you are achieving a state of nonviolence, you are still being violent and are therefore still in conflict.
So, our problem is, can a conflict, a disturbance, be overcome in a period of time, whether it be days, years, or lives? What happens when you say, "I am going to practise nonviolence during a certain period of time"? The very practice indicates that you are in conflict, does it not? You would not practise if you were not resisting conflict; and you say the resistance to conflict is necessary in order to overcome conflict and for that resistance you must have time. But the very resistance to conflict is itself a form of conflict. You are spending your energy in resisting conflict in the form of what you call greed, envy, or violence, but your mind is still in conflict. So, it is important to see the falseness of the process of depending on time as a means of overcoming violence, and thereby be free of that process. Then you are able to be what you are: a psychological disturbance which is violence itself.
Now, to understand anything, any human or scientific problem, what is important, what is essential? A quiet mind, is it not? A mind that is intent on understanding. It is not a mind that is exclusive, that is trying to concentrate - which again is an effort of resistance. If I really want to understand something, there is immediately a quiet state of mind. That is, when you want to listen to music or look at a picture which you love, which you have a feeling for, what is the state of your mind. Immediately there is a quietness, is there not? When you are listening to music, your mind does not wander all over the place; you are listening. Similarly, when you want to understand conflict, you are no longer depending on time at all; you are simply confronted with what is, which is conflict. Then immediately there comes a quietness, a stillness of mind. So, when you no longer depend on time as a means of transforming what is because you see the falseness of that process, then you are confronted with what is; and as you are interested to understand what is, naturally you have a quiet mind. In that alert yet passive state of mind, there is understanding. As long as the mind is in conflict, blaming, resisting, condemning, there can be no understanding. If I want to understand you, I must not condemn you, obviously. So, it is that quiet mind, that still mind, which brings about transformation. When the mind is no longer resisting, no longer avoiding, no longer discarding or blaming what is, but is simply passively aware, then in that passivity of the mind you will find, if you really go into the problem, that there comes a transformation. So, transformation is not the result of time: it is the result of a quiet mind, a steady mind, a mind that is still, tranquil, passive. The mind is not passive when it is seeking a result; and the mind will seek a result as long as it wishes to transform, change, or modify what is. But if the mind simply has the intention to understand what is and is therefore still, in that stillness you will find there is an understanding of what is, and therefore a transformation. We actually do this when we are confronted with anything in which we are interested. Observe yourself, and you will see this extraordinary process going on. When you are interested in something, your mind is quiet. It has not gone to sleep, it is extremely alert and sensitive, and is therefore capable of receiving hints, intimations; and it is this stillness, this alert passivity, that brings a transformation. This does not involve using time as a means of transformation, modification, or change.
Revolution is only possible now, not in the future; regeneration is today, not tomorrow. If you will experiment with what I have been saying, you will find that there is immediate regeneration, a newness, a quality of freshness; because, the mind is always still when it is interested, when it desires or has the intention to understand. The difficulty with most of us is that we have not the intention to understand, because we are afraid that, if we understood, it might bring about a revolutionary action in our life; and therefore we resist. It is the defence mechanism that is at work when we use time or an ideal as a means of gradual transformation.
So, regeneration is only possible in the present, not in the future, not tomorrow. A man who relies on time as a means through which he can gain happiness, or realize truth or God, is merely deceiving himself; he is living in ignorance, and therefore in conflict. But a man who sees that time is not the way out of our difficulty, and who is therefore free from the false, such a man naturally has the intention to understand; therefore his mind is quiet spontaneously, without compulsion, without practice. When the mind is still, tranquil, not seeking any answer or any solution, neither resisting nor avoiding - it is only then that there can be a regeneration, because then the mind is capable of perceiving what is true; and it is truth that liberates, not your effort to be free.
I will answer some of the questions that have been given to me.
Question: You speak so much about the need for ceaseless alertness. I find my work dulls me so irresistibly, that to talk of alertness after a day's work is merely putting salt on the wound.
Krishnamurti: Sir, this is an important question. Please let us examine it together carefully and see what it involves. Now, most of us are dulled by what we call our work, the job, the routine. Those who live work, and those who are forced to work out of necessity and who see that work makes them, dull - they are both dull. Both those who love their work, and those who resist it, are made dull, are they not? A man who loves his work, what does he do? He thinks about it from morning to night, he is constantly occupied with it. He is so identified with his work that he cannot look at it - he is himself the action, the work; and to such a person, what happens? He lives in a cage, he lives in isolation with his work. In that isolation he may be very clever, very inventive, very subtle, but still he is isolated; and he is made dull because he is resisting all other work, all other approaches. His work is therefore a form of escape from life - from his wife, from his social duties, from innumerable demands, and so on. And there is the man in the other category, the man who, like most of you, is compelled to do something he dislikes and who resists it. He is the factory worker, the bank clerk, the lawyer, or whatever our various jobs are.
Now, what is it that makes us dull? Is it the work itself? Or is it our resistance to work, or our avoidance of other impacts upon us? Do you follow the point? I hope I am making it clear. That is, the man who loves his work is so enclosed in it, so enmeshed, that it becomes an addiction. Therefore his love of work is an escape from life. And the man who resists work, who wishes he were doing something else, for him there is the ceaseless conflict of resistance to what he is doing. So, our problem is, does work make the mind dull? Or is dullness brought about by resistance to work on the one hand, and by the use of work to avoid the impacts of life, on the other? That is, does action, work, make the mind dull? Or is the mind made dull by avoidance, by conflict, by resistance? Obviously, it is not work, but resistance, that dulls the mind. If you have no resistance and accept work, what happens? The work does not make you dull,because only a part of your mind is working with the job that you have to do. The rest of your being, the unconscious, the hidden, is occupied with those thoughts in which you are really interested. So there is no conflict. This may sound rather complex; but if you will carefully follow it, you will see that the mind is made dull, not by work, but by resistance to work, or by resistance to life. Say, for example, you have to do a certain piece of work which may take five or six hours. If you say, "What a bore, what an awful thing, I wish I could be doing something else", obviously your mind is resisting that work. Part of your mind is wishing you were doing something else. This division, brought about through resistance, creates dullness, because you are using your effort wastefully, wishing you were doing something else. Now if you do not resist it, but do what is actually necessary, then you say, "I have to earn my livelihood and I will earn that livelihood rightly". But right livelihood does not mean the army, the police, or being a lawyer, because they thrive on contention, disturbance, cunning subterfuge and so on. This is quite a difficult problem in itself, which we will perhaps discuss later if we have time.
So, if you are occupied in doing something which you have to do to earn your livelihood, and if you resist it, obviously the mind becomes dull; because that very resistance is like running an engine with the brake on. What happens to the poor engine? Its performance becomes dull, does it not? If you have driven a car, you know what will happen if you keep putting on the brake - you will not only wear out the brake, but you will wear out the engine. That is exactly what you are doing when you resist work. Whereas, if you accept what you have to do, and do it as intelligently and as fully as possible, then what happens? Because you are no longer resisting, the other layers of your consciousness are active irrespective of what you are doing; you are giving only the conscious mind to your work, and the unconscious, the hidden part of your mind is occupied with other things in which there is much more vitality, much more depth. Though you face the work, the unconscious takes over and functions.
Now, if you observe, what actually happens in your daily life? You are interested, say, in finding God, in having peace. That is your real interest, with which your conscious as well as your unconscious mind is occupied: to find happiness, to find reality, to live rightly, beautifully, clearly. But you have to earn a livelihood, because there is no such thing as living in isolation: that which is, is in relationship. So, being interested in peace, and since your work in daily life interferes with that, you resist work. You say, "I wish I had more time to think, to meditate, to practise the violin" - or whatever it be. When you do that, when you merely resist the work you have to do, that very resistance is a waste of effort which makes the mind dull; whereas, if you realize that we all do various things which have got to be done - writing letters, talking, clearing away the cow dung, or what you will - and therefore don't resist, but say, "I have got to do that work", then you will do it willingly and without boredom. If there is no resistance, the moment that work is over, you will find that the mind is peaceful; because the unconscious, the deeper layers of the mind, are interested in peace, you will find that peace begins to come. So, there is no division between action which may be routine, which may be uninteresting, and your pursuit of reality: they are compatible when the mind is no longer resisting, when the mind is no longer made dull through resistance. It is the resistance that creates the division between peace and action. Resistance is based on an idea, and resistance cannot bring about action. It is only action that liberates, not the resistance to work.
So, it is important to understand that the mind is made dull through resistance, through condemnation, blame, and avoidance. The mind is not dull when there is no resistance. When there is no blame, no condemnation, then it is alive, active. Resistance is merely isolation; and the mind of man who, consciously or unconsciously, is continually isolating himself, is made dull by this resistance.
Question: Do you love the people you talk to? Do you love the dull and ugly crowd, the shapeless faces, the stinking atmosphere of stale desires, of putrid memories, the decaying of many needless lives? No one can love them. What is it that makes you slave away in spite of your repugnance, which is both obvious and understandable?
Krishnamurti: No Sirs there is no repugnance, which is apparently obvious and understandable to you. I am not repelled. I only see it like I see a fact. A fact is never ugly. When you are talking seriously, a man may be scratching his ear, or playing with his legs, or looking about. As for you, you just observe it - which does not mean that you are revolted, that you want to avoid it, or that you hate the fact. A smell is a smell - you just take it; and it is very important to understand that point. To see a fact as a fact is an important reality. But the moment you regret or avoid it, call it a name, give it an emotional content, obviously there is repugnance, avoidance, and then resistance comes into being. Now, that is not my attitude at all, and I am afraid the questioner has me wrongly there. It is like seeing that a person has a red sari or a white coat; but if you give emotional content to the red and the white, saying this is beautiful or that is ugly, then you are repelled or attracted.
Now, the point in this question is why do I talk? Why do I wear myself out, if I don't love the people who have "shapeless faces, stale desires, putrid memories", and so on? And the questioner says that no one can love them. Now, does one love people, or is there love? Is love independent of people, and therefore you love people, or is one in a state of love? Do you follow what I mean? If I say, "I love people", and slave away, wear myself out talking, then the people become very important, and not love. That is, if I have the intention to convert you to a particular belief, and slave away at it from morning till night because I think I can make you happy if you believe in my particular formula, then it is the formula, the belief that I love, not you. Then I put up with all the ugliness, "the stale desires, the putrid memories, the stinking atmosphere", and I say it is part of the whole routine; I become a martyr to my belief, which I think will help you. So, I am in love with my belief; and as my belief is my own projection, therefore I am in love with myself. After all, a man who loves a belief, an idea, a scheme, identifies himself with that formula, and that formula is a projection of himself. Obviously, he never identifies himself with something of which he does not approve. If he likes me, that very liking is his own projection.
Now, if I may say it without being personal, to me it is quite different. I am not trying to convert you, to proselytize you or to do propaganda against any particular religion. I am just stating the facts, because I feel the very understanding of these facts will help man to live more happily. When you love something, when you love a person, what is the actual state? Are you in love with the person, or are you in a state of love? Surely, the person attracts or repels you only when you are not in that state. When you are in that state of love, there is no repugnance. It is like a flower giving perfume: next to it a cow may have left its mark, but the flower is still a flower giving forth its perfume. But a man comes along and, seeing the cow dung beside the flower, regards it differently. Sir, in this question is involved the whole problem of attraction and repulsion. We want to be attracted, that is, to identify ourselves with that which is pleasant, and avoid that which is ugly. But if you merely look at things as they are, the fact itself is never ugly or repellent - it is simply a fact. A man who loves is consumed by his love, he is not concerned with whether people have shapeless faces, stale desires and putrid memories. "Don't you know, Sirs? When you are in love with someone, actually you are not very much concerned with what that person looks like, whether it is a shapeless face or a beautiful face. When there is love, you are not concerned; though you observe the facts, the facts do not repel you. It is not love, but the empty heart, the arid mind, the stale intellect, that is repelled or attracted. And when one loves, there is no "slaving away. "There is ever a renewal, a freshness, a joy - not in talking, not in putting out a lot of words, but in that state itself. It is when one does not love that all these things matter - whether you are attractive or repellent, whether face is shapeless or beautiful, and so on and on.
So, why I "slave away" is not important. Our problem is that we have no love. Because our hearts are empty, our minds dull, weary, exhausted, we seek to fill the empty heart with the things made by the mind or by the hand; or we repeat words, mantrams, do pujas. Those things will not fill the heart; on the contrary, they will empty the heart of whatever it has. The heart can be filled only when the mind is quiet. When the mind is not creating, fabricating, caught up in ideas - only then is the heart alive. Then one knows what it is to have that warmth, the richness in holding the hand of another.
Question: Is not all caress sexual? Is not all sex a form of revitalization, through interpretation and exchange? The mere exchange of loving glances is also an act of sex. Why do you castigate sex by linking it up with the emptiness of our lives? Do empty people know sex? They know only evacuation.
Krishnamurti: I am afraid it is only the empty people who know sex, because sex then is an escape, a mere release. I call him empty who has no love; and for him sex becomes a problem, an issue, a thing to be avoided or to be indulged. The heart is empty when the mind is full of its own ideas, fabrications and mechanization. Because the mind is full, the heart is empty; and it is only the empty heart that knows sex. Sirs, have you not noticed? An affectionate man, a man full of tenderness, kindliness, consideration, is not sexual. It is the man who is intellectual, full of knowledge, knowledge being different from wisdom; the man who has schemes, who wants to save the world, who is full of intellection, full of mentation - it is he who is caught up in sex. Because his life is shallow, his heart empty, sex becomes important - and that is what is happening in the present civilization. We have over-cultivated our intellect, and the mind is caught in its own creations as the radio, the motor car, the mechanized amusements, the technical knowledge, and the various addictions the mind indulges in. When such a mind is caught, there is only one release for it, which is sex. Sirs, look at what is happening within each one of us, don't look at somebody else. Examine your own life and you will see how you are caught in this problem, how extraordinarily empty your life is. What is your life, Sirs? Bright, arid, empty, dull, weary, is it not? You go to your offices, do your jobs, repeat your mantrams, perform your pujas. When you are in the office, you are subjugated, dull, you have to follow a routine; you have become mechanical in your religion, it is mere acceptance of authority. So, religiously, in the world of business, in your education, in your daily life, what is actually happening? There is no creative state of being, is there? You are not happy, you are not vital, you are not joyous. Intellectually, religiously, economically, socially, politically, you are dull, regimented, are you not? This regimentation is the result of your own fears, your own hopes, your own frustrations; and since for a human being so caught there is no release, naturally he looks to sex for a release - there he can indulge himself, there he can seek happiness. So, sex becomes automatic, habitual, routine, and that also becomes a dulling, a vicious process. That is your life, actually, if you look at it, if you don't try to dodge it, if you don't try to excuse it. The actual fact is, you are not creative. You may have babies, innumerable babies, but that is not creative action, that is an accidental action of existence.
So, a mind that is not alert, vital, a heart that is not affectionate, full, how can it be creative? And not being creative, you seek stimulation through sex, through amusement, cinemas, theatres, through watching others play while you remain a spectator; others paint the scene or dance, and you yourself are but an observer. That is not creation. Similarly, so many books are printed in the world because you merely read. You are not the creator. Where there is no creation, the only release is through sex, and then you make your wife or husband the prostitute. Sirs, you have no idea of the implications, the wickedness, the cruelty of all this. I know you are uncomfortable. You are not thinking it out. You are shutting your mind, and therefore sex has become an immense problem in modern civilization - either promiscuity, or the mechanical habit of sexual release in marriage. Sex will remain a problem as long as there is no creative state of being. You may use birth control, you may adopt various practices, but you are not free of sex. Sublimation is not freedom, suppression is not freedom, control is not freedom. There is freedom only when there is affection, when there is love. Love is pure; and when that is missing, your trying to become pure through the sublimation of sex is mere stupidity. The factor that purifies is love, not your desire to be pure. A man who loves is pure, though he may be sexual; and without love, sex is what it is now in your lives - a routine, an ugly process, a thing to be avoided, ignored, done away with, or indulged in.
So, this problem of sex will exist as long as there is no creative release. There can be no creative release, religiously, if you accept authority, whether of tradition, the sacred books, or the priest; for authority compels, distorts, perverts. Where there is authority there is compulsion, and you accept authority because you hope through religion to have security; and while the mind is seeking security, intellectually or religiously, there can be no creative understanding, there can be no creative release. It is the mind, the mechanism of the mind that is always seeking security, always wanting certainty. The mind is ever moving from the known to the known; and mere cultivation of the mind, of the intellect, is not a release. On the contrary, the intellect can grasp only the known, never the unknown. Therefore the mere cultivation of the mind through more and more knowledge, more and more technique, is not creative. A mind that wishes to be creative must set aside the desire to be secure, which means the desire to find authority. Truth can come into being only when the mind is free from the known, when the mind is free from security, the desire to be certain. But look at our education: mere passing of examinations to get a job, adding a few letters after your name. It has become so mechanical, it is but the cultivation of the mind, which is memory. In that way there is no release either.
So, socially, religiously, in every way, you are caught and held. Therefore a man who wishes to solve this problem of sex must disentangle himself from the thoughts of his own making; and when he is in that state of freedom, there is creativeness which is understanding of the heart. When one loves, there is chastity; it is the lack of love that is unchaste, and without love no human problem can be solved. But instead of understanding the hindrances that prevent love, we merely try to sublimate, suppress. or find a substitute for the sexual appetite; and substitution, sublimation or suppression is called the attainment of reality. On the contrary, where there is suppression, there is no comprehension; where there is substitution, there is ignor- ance. Our difficulty is that we are caught in this habit of withholding suppressing, sublimating. Surely, one has to look at this habit, to be aware of its full significance, not just for one or two moments, but all through life. One has to see how one is caught in the machine of routine; and to break away from that needs understanding, self-knowledge. Therefore, it is important to understand oneself; but that understanding becomes extremely difficult if there is no intention to study and to understand oneself. The problem of sex, which is now so important, so vast in our lives, loses its meaning when there is the tenderness, the warmth, the kindliness, the mercy of love.
Question: Are you sure that it is not the myth of world teachership that keeps you going? To put it differently, are you not loyal to your past? Is there not a desire in you to fulfil the many expectations put in you? Are they not a hindrance to you? How can you go on unless you destroy the myth?
Krishnamurti: The myth gives life, a spurious life, a life of impotence. The myth becomes necessary when there is no understanding of truth every minute. Most people's lives are guided by myths, which means that they believe in something, and the belief is a myth. Either they believe themselves to be the World Teacher, or they follow an ideal, or they have a message for the world, or they believe in God, or they hold to the left formula for the government of the world, or to the right. Most people are caught in a myth, and if the myth is taken away, their life is empty. Sirs, if all your beliefs, all your titles, all your possessions, all your memories are removed, what are you? You are empty, are you not? Therefore your possessions, your ideas, your beliefs are myths which you must hold to, or you are lost.
Now, the questioner wants to know if it is not the myth of world teacher-ship that keeps me going. I am really not interested in whether I am or I am not; I am not particularly concerned, because I am interested to find out what is, and to see the truth of what is from moment to moment. Truth is not a continuity. That which continues has an end, that which continues knows death. But that which is from moment to moment is eternal, it is timeless, and to be aware of that which is true from moment to moment is to be in the state of eternity. To know the eternal there must be the moment-to moment life, not the continuous life; for that which continues has an end, it knows death, whereas that which is living from moment to moment, without the residue of yesterday, is timeless - and that is not a myth. That state can be only when one is not loyal to the past, because it is the past, yesterday, , that corrupts, destroys and prevents the present, which is now, today, Yesterday uses today as a passage to tomorrow, so the past molds the present and projects the future; and that process, that continuity of mind knows death, and such a mind can never discover reality.
So, it is neither the myth, nor loyalty to the past, nor the desire to fulfil those expectations that have been placed in me,that makes me go on. On the contrary, they are all a hindrance. The expectations, the past and loyalty to the past, the attachment to a label - they are a perverting influence, they give a fictitious life. That is why those people who believe in a myth are very active and enthusiastic. Don't you know people who believe in myths How they work, work, work; and the moment they don't work, they come to an end. Sir, the man who works making money, that is his myth. Just watch him when he retires at the age of 50 or 60 - he declines very rapidly because his myth is taken away. Similarly with the political leader; remove his myth and you will see how soon he sinks, he disintegrates. It is the same with the man who believes in something. Doubt, question, condemn, remove his belief, and he is done for. Therefore, belief, loyalty or adherence to the past, or living up to an expectation, is a hindrance.
So, you want to know why I keep going? Obviously,Sir, I feel I have something to say. And also there is the natural affection for something, the love of truth. When one loves, one keeps going; and love is not a myth. You can build a myth about love, but to the man who knows love, love is not a myth. He may be alone in a room, or sitting on a platform, or digging in the garden - to him, it is the same, because his heart is full. It is like having a well in your garden that is always filled with fresh waters, the waters that quench the thirst, the waters that purify, the waters that put away corruption; and when there is such love, it is not mere mechanical routine to go from meeting to meeting, from discussion to discussion, from interview to interview. That would be a bore, and I could not do it. To do something which becomes a routine thing would be to destroy oneself.
Sirs, when you love, when your heart is full, you will know what it is to strive without effort, to live without conflict. It is the mind that does not love that is taken up with flattery, that enjoys adulation and avoids insult, that needs a crowd, a platform, that needs confusion; but such a mind, such a heart, will not know love. The man whose heart is filled with the things of the mind, his world is a world of myth, and on myths he lives; but he who is free of myths, knows love.
7th Public Talk15th August, 1948
I think by understanding relationship we shall understand what we mean by independence. Life is a process of constant movement in relationship, and without understanding relationship we shall bring about confusion and struggle and fruitless effort. So, it is important to understand what we mean by relationship; because, out of relationship society is built, and there can be no isolation. There is no such thing as living in isolation. That which is isolated soon dies.
So, our problem is not what is independence, but what we mean by relationship. In understanding relationship, which is the conduct between human beings whether intimate or foreign, whether close or far away, we shall begin to understand the whole process of existence and the conflict between bondage and independence. So,we must very carefully examine what we mean by relationship. Is not relationship at present a process of isolation, and therefore a constant conflict? The relationship between you and another, between you and your wife, between you and society, is the product of this isolation. By isolation I mean that we are all the time seeking security, gratification and power. After all, each one of us in our relationship with another is seeking gratification; and where there is search for comfort, for security, whether it be a nation or an individual, there must be isolation, and that which is in isolation invites conflict. Any thing that resists is bound to produce conflict between itself and that which it is resisting; and since most of our relationship is a form of resistance we create a society which inevitably breeds isolation and hence conflict within and without that isolation. So, we must examine relationship as it actually works in our lives. After all, what I am - my actions, my thoughts, my feelings, my motives, my intentions - brings about that relationship between myself and another which we call society. There is no society without this relationship between two people; and before we can talk about independence, wave the flag, and all the rest of it, we have to understand relationship, which means we must examine ourselves in our relationship with another.
Now, if we examine our life, our relationship with another, we will see that it is a process of isolation. We are really not concerned with another; though we talk a great deal about it, actually we are not concerned. We are related to someone only as long as that relationship gratifies us, as long as it gives us a refuge, as long as it satisfies us. But the moment there is a disturbance in the relationship which produces discomfort in ourselves, we discard that relationship. In other words, there is relationship only as long as we are gratified. This may sound harsh, but if you really examine your life very closely, you will see it is a fact; and to avoid a fact is to live in ignorance, which can never produce right relationship. So, if we look into our lives and observe relationship, we see it is a process of building resistance against another, a wall over which we look and observe the other; but we always retain the wall and remain behind it, whether it be a psychological wall, a material wall, an economic wall, or a national wall. As long as we live in isolation, behind a wall, there is no relationship with another; and we live enclosed because it is much more gratifying, we think it is much more secure. The world is so disruptive, there is so much sorrow, so much pain, war, destruction, misery, that we want to escape and live within the walls of security of our own psychological being. So, relationship with most of us is actually a process of isolation, and obviously such relationship builds a society which is also isolating. That is exactly what is happening throughout the world: You remain in your isolation and stretch your hand over the wall, calling it nationalism, brotherhood or what you will; but actual, sovereign governments, armies, continue. That is, clinging to your own limitations, you think you can create world unity, world peace - which is impossible. As long as you have a frontier, whether national, economic, religious, or social, it is an obvious fact that there cannot be peace in the world.
Now, the process of isolation is a process of the search for power; and whether one is seeking power individually or for a racial or national group, there must be isolation, because the very desire for power, for position, is separatism. After all, that is what each one wants, is it not? He wants a powerful position in which he can dominate, whether at home, in the office, or in a bureaucratic regime. Each one is seeking power, and in seeking power he will establish a society which is based on power, military, industrial, economic, and so on - which again is obvi- ous. Is not the desire for power in its very nature isolating? I think it is very important to understand this; because, the man who wants a peaceful world, a world in which there are no wars, no appalling destruction, no catastrophic misery, on an immeasurable scale, must understand this fundamental question, must he not? As long as the individual seeks power, however much or however little, whether as a prime minister, as a governor, a lawyer, or merely as a husband or a wife in the home, that is, as long as you desire the sense of domination, the sense of compulsion, the sense of building power, influence,surely you are bound to create a society which is the result of an isolating process; because, power in its very nature is isolating, is separating. A man who is affectionate, who is kindly, has no sense of power, and therefore such a man is not bound to any nationality, to any flag. He has no flag. But the man who is seeking power in any form, whether derived from bureaucracy or from the self-projection which he calls God, is still caught in an isolating process. If you examine it very carefully, you will see that the desire for power in its very nature is a process of enclosure. Each one is seeking his own position, his own security, and as long as that motive exists, society must be built on an isolating process. Where there is the search for power, there is a process of isolation, and that which is isolated is bound to create conflict. That is exactly what is happening throughout the world: each group is seeking power and thereby isolating itself, and this is the process of nationalism, of patriotism, ultimately leading to war and destruction.
Now, without relationship, there is no possibility of existence in life; and as long as relationship is based on power, on domination, there must be the process of isolation, which inevitably invites conflict. There is no such thing as living in isolation - no country, no people, no individual, can live in isolation; yet because you are seeking power in so many different ways, you breed isolation. The nationalist is a curse because through his very nationalistic, patriotic spirit, he is creating a wall of isolation. He is so identified with his country that he builds a wall against another. And what happens, Sirs, when you build a wall against something? That something is constantly beating against your wall. When you resist something, the very resistance indicates that you are in conflict with the other. So nationalism. which is a process of isolation, which is the outcome of the search for power, cannot bring about peace in the world. The man who is a nationalist and talks of brotherhood is telling a lie, he is living in a state of contradiction.
So, peace in the world is essential, otherwise we will be destroyed; a few may escape, but there will be greater destruction than ever before unless we solve the problem of peace. Peace is not an ideal; an ideal, as we discussed, is fictitious. What is actual must be understood, and that understanding of the actual is prevented by the fiction which we call an ideal. The actual is that each one is seeking power, titles, positions of authority, and so on - all of which is covered up in various forms by well meaning words. This is a vital problem, it is not a theoretical problem nor one that can be postponed - it demands action now, because the catastrophe is obviously coming. If it does not come tomorrow, it will come next year, or soon after, because the momentum of the isolating process is already here; and he who really thinks about it must tackle the root of the problem, which is the indivi- dual's search for power, creating the power-seeking group, race, and nation.
Now, can one live in the world without the desire for power, for position, for authority? Obviously one can. One does it when one does not identify oneself with something greater. This identification with something greater - the party, the country, the race, the religion, God - is the search for power. Because you in yourself are empty, dull, weak, you like to identify yourself with something greater. That desire to identify yourself with something greater is the desire for power. That is why nationalism, or any communal spirit, is such a curse in the world; it is still the desire for power. So, the important thing in understanding life, and therefore relationship, is to discover the motive that is driving each one of us; because what that motive is, the environment is. That motive brings either peace or destruction in the world. And so it is very important for each one of us to be aware that the world is in a state of misery and destruction, and to realize that if we are seeking power, consciously or unconsciously, we are contributing to that destruction, and therefore our relationship with society will be a constant process of conflict. There are multiple forms of power, it is not merely the acquisition of position and wealth. The very desire to be something is a form of power, which brings isolation and therefore conflict; and unless each one understands the motive, the intention of his actions, mere government legislation is of very little importance, because the inner is always overcoming the outer. You may outwardly build a peaceful structure but the men who run it will alter it according to their intention. That is why it is very important, for those who wish to create a new culture, a new society, a new state, first to understand themselves. In becoming aware of oneself. of the various inward movements and fluctuations, one will understand the motives, the intentions, the perils that are hidden; and only in that awareness is there transformation. Regeneration can come about only when there;s cessation of this search for power; and then only can we create a new culture, a society which will not be based on conflict, but on understanding. Relationship is a process of self revelation, and without knowing oneself, the ways of one's own mind and heart, merely to establish an outward order, a system , a cunning formula, has very little meaning. So, what is important is to understand oneself in relationship with another. Then relationship becomes, not a process of isolation, but a movement in which you discover your own motives, your own thoughts, your own pursuits; and that very discovery is the beginning of liberation, the beginning of transformation. It is only this immediate transformation that can bring about the fundamental, radical revolution in the world which is so essential. Revolution within the walls of isolation is not a revolution. Revolution comes only when the walls of isolation are destroyed, and that can take place only when you are no longer seeking power.
I have several questions, and I will try to answer as many of them as possible.
Question: Can I remain a government official if I want to follow your teachings? The same question would arise with regard to so many professions. What is the right solution to the problem of livelihood? Krishnamurti: Sirs, what do we mean by livelihood? It is the earning of one's needs, food clothing and shelter, is it not? The difficulty of livelihood arises only when we use the essentials of life - food, clothing and shelter - as a means of psychological aggression. That is, when se the needs, the necessities, as a means of self-aggrandizement, then the problem of livelihood arises and our society is essentially based, not on supplying the essentials, but on psychological aggrandizement, using the essentials as a psychological expansion of oneself. Sirs, you have to think it out a little bit. Obviously, food, clothing and shelter could be produced abundantly, there is enough scientific knowledge to supply the demand; but the demand for war is greater, not merely by the warmongers, but by each one of us, because each one of us is violent. There is sufficient scientific knowledge to give man all the necessities; it has been worked out, and they could be produced so that no man would be in need. Why does it not happen? Because no one is satisfied with food, clothing and shelter, each one wants something more; and, put in different words, the "more" is power. But it would be brutish merely to be satisfied with needs. We will be satisfied with needs in the true sense, which is freedom from the desire for power, only when we have found the inner treasure which is imperishable. which you call God, truth, or what you will. if you can find those imperishable riches within yourself, then you are satisfied with few things, which few things can be supplied.
But, unfortunately, we are carried away by sensate values. The values of the senses have become more important than the values of the real. After all, our whole social structure, our present civilization, is essentially based on sensate values. Sensate values are not merely the values of the senses, but the values of thought, because thought is also the result of the senses; and when the mechanism of thought, which is the intellect, is cultivated, then there is in us a predominance of thought, which is also a sensory value. So, as long as we are seeking sensate value, whether of touch, of taste, of smell, of perception, or of thought, the outer becomes far more significant than the inner; and the mere denial of the outer is not the way to the inner. You may deny the outer and withdraw from the world into a jungle or a cave and there think of God; but that very denial of the outer, that thinking of God, is still sensate, because thought is sensate; and any value based on the sensate is bound to create confusion - which is what is happening in the world at the present time. The sensate is dominant, and as long as the social structure is built on that, the means of livelihood becomes extraordinarily difficult.
So, what is the right means of livelihood? This question can be answered only when there is a complete revolution in the present social structure, not according to the formula of the right or of the left, but a complete revolution in values which are not based on the sensate. Now, those who have leisure, like the older people who are drawing their pensions, who have spent their earlier years seeking God or else various forms of destruction, if they really gave their time, their energy, to finding out the right solution, then they would act as a medium, as an instrument for bringing about revolution in the world. But they are not interested. They want security. They have worked so many years for their pensions, and they would like to live comfortably for the rest of their lives. They have time, but they are indifferent; they are only concerned with some abstraction which they call God, and which has no reference to the actual; but their abstraction is not God, it is a form of escape. And those who fill their lives with ceaseless activity are caught in the middle, they have not the time to find the answers to the various problems of life. So, those who are concerned with these things, with bringing about a radical transformation in the world through the understanding of themselves, in them alone is there hope.
Sirs, surely we can see what is a wrong profession. To be a soldier, a policeman, a lawyer, is obviously a wrong profession, because they thrive on conflict, on dissension; and the big business man, the capitalist, thrives on exploitation. The big business man may be an individual, or it may be the State; if the State takes over big business it does not cease to exploit you and me. And as society is based on the army, the police, the law, the big business man, that is, on the principle of dissension, exploitation and violence, how can you and I, who want a decent, right profession, survive? There is increasing unemployment, greater armies, larger police forces with their secret service, and big business is becoming bigger and bigger, forming vast corporations which are eventually taken over by the State; for the State has become a great corporation in certain countries. Given this situation of exploitation, of a society built on dissension, how are you going to find a right livelihood? It is almost impossible, is it not? Either you will have to go away and form with a few people a community, a self-supporting, cooperative community - or merely succumb to the vast machine. But you see, most of us are not interested in really finding the right livelihood. Most of us are concerned with getting a job and sticking to it in the hope of advancement with more and more pay. Because each one of us wants safety, security, a permanent position, there is no radical revolution. It is not those who are self-satisfied, contented, but only the adventurous, those who want to experiment with their lives, with their existence, who discover the real things, a new way of living.
So, before there can be a right livelihood, the obviously false means of earning a livelihood must first be seen; the army, the law, the police, the big business corporations that are sucking people in and exploiting them, whether in the name of the State, of capital, or of religion. When you see the false and eradicate the false, there is transformation, there is revolution; and it is that revolution alone that can create a new society. To seek, as an individual, a right livelihood, is good, is excellent, but that does not solve the vast problem. The vast problem is solved only when you and I are not seeking security. There is no such thing as security. When you seek security, what happens? What is happening in the world at the present tine? All Europe wants security, is crying for it, and what is happening? They want security through their nationalism. After all, you are a nationalist because you want security, and you think that through nationalism you are going to have security. It has been proved over and over again that you cannot have security through nationalism, because nationalism is a process of isolation, inviting wars, misery and destruction. So, right livelihood on a vast scale must begin with those who understand what is false. When you are battling against the false. then you are creating the right means of liveli- hood. When you are battling against the whole structure of dissension, of exploitation whether by the left or by the right, or the authority of religion and the priests, that is the right profession at the present time; because, that will create a new society, a new culture. But to battle, you must see very clearly and very definitely that which is false, so that the false drops away. To discover what is false, you must be aware of it, you must observe everything that you are doing, thinking and feeling; and out of that you will not only discover what is false, but out of that there will come a new vitality, a new energy, and that energy will dictate what kind of work to do or not to do.
Question: Can you state briefly the basic principles on which a new society should be built?
Krishnamurti: I can state the principles, that is very simple; but it would be of no value. What has value is that you and I should discover together the basic principles on which a new society can be built; because, the moment we discover together what are the basic principles, there is a new basis of relationship between us. Do you understand? Then I am no longer the teacher and you the pupil, or you the audience and I the lecturer - we start on a different footing altogether. That means no authority, does it not? We are partners in discovering, and therefore we are in cooperation; therefore, you do not dominate or influence me, nor I you. We are both discovering; and when there is the intention on your part as well as on mine to discover what are the basic principles of a new culture, obviously there cannot be an authoritative spirit, can there? Therefore, we have established, a new principle already, have we not? As long as there is authority in relationship, there is compulsion; and nothing can be created through compulsion. A government that compels, a teacher that compels, an environment that compels, does not bring about relationship, but merely a state of slavery. So, we have discovered one thing together, for we know that we both want to create a new society in which there can be no authority; and that has an enormous significance, because the structure of our present social order is based on authority. The specialist in education, the specialist in medicine, the military specialist, the specialist in law, the bureaucrat - they all dominate us. The Shastras say so, therefore it must be true; my guru says so, therefore it must be right and I am going to follow it. In other words, in a society where there is the search for the real, the search for understanding, the search for the establishment of right relationship between two human beings, there can be no authority. The moment you discard authority, you are in partnership; therefore there is cooperation, there is affection - which is contrary to the present social structure.
At present, you leave your children to the educator, while the educator himself needs educating. Religiously, you are merely imitative, copying machines. In every direction you are dominated, influenced, compelled, forced; and how can there be a relationship between the exploiter and the exploited, between those who are in power and those who are subject to power - unless you yourself want the same kind of power? If you do, then you are in relationship with that power. But if you see that any desire for power is in itself destructive, then there is no relationship with those who seek power. So, we begin to discover the basic principles upon which a new society can be built. Obviously, relationship based on domination is no longer a relationship. When there is no domination, no authority, no compulsion, what does it mean? Obviously, there is affection, there is tenderness, there is love, there is understanding. For that to take place, domination must disappear. But we can discuss this presently, if you will listen to me. You seem irritated - perhaps I am upsetting your apple cart a little bit; but you will go out and do exactly the same thing that you did before, because you are not really concerned with the finding of a new basic order. You want to be secure, you want your positions, or such positions as you have, and you want to use them for your own purpose, which you call noble; but it is still a form of self-expansion, exploitation.
So, our difficulty in these discussions and talks is that we are not very serious about all this. We would like things to be altered, but slowly, gradually, and at our convenience. W"don't want to be disturbed too much, so we are not really basically concerned with a new culture. The man who is concerned sees as false the obviously pernicious things such as authority, belief, nationalism, the whole hierarchical spirit. When all that is put aside, what happens? You are merely a citizen, a human being without authority; and when you have no authority, then perhaps you will have love, and therefore, you will have understanding. That is what is required: a group of people who understand, who have affection, whose hearts are not filled with empty words and empty phrases, the things of the mind. It is they who will create a new culture, not the spinner of words. Therefore, it is very important for each one of us to see himself in the mirror of relationship, for out of that alone can there be a new culture.
Question: What must we do to have really good government, and not merely self-government?
Krishnamurti: Sirs, to have a good government, you must first understand what you mean by government. Don't let us use words without a referent, words without meaning. without something behind them. The word "watch" has a referent, but "good government" has no referent, To find the referent, we will have to discuss what we mean by "government" and what we mean by "good", but merely to say what is good government has no meaning.
So, first, let us find out what we mean by "good". I am not splitting hairs, I am not being school-boyish discussing at a union; because, it is very important to find out what we are talking about, and not merely use words that have little meaning. I know we are fed on words; it creates an impression for, us to talk of having self-government and wave the flag - you know the whole business of being enchanted with words when our hearts and minds are empty. So, let us find out what we mean by "good government".
What do we mean by "good"? "Good" obviously has a referent based on pleasure and pain. "Good" is that which gives you pleasure, "bad" that which gives you pain, whether outwardly or inwardly, whether inside or outside the skin. That is a fact, is it not? We are discussing the fact, not what you would like it to be. The fact is, as long as you seek pleasure in various forms - as security, as comfort, as power, as money - , that plea- sure is what you call "good", and anything that disturbs the state of pleasure, you call "not good". I am not discussing philosophically. but actually. Pleasure is what you want, so obviously you call "good" that which gives you security, comfort, position, power, safety. Do you follow? That is, "good government, is that body which can supply what you want; and if the government does not give you what you want, you say, "Throw it out" - unless it is a totalitarian government. Even totalitarian governments can be destroyed if the people say, "We don't want this". But nowadays it is almost impossible to bring about physical revolution, because the airplanes and other war machines without which there cannot be modern revolution are in the hands of the government. So, the "good" is what you want, is it not? Sirs, don't let us fool ourselves and spin a lot of words about abstract "good" and abstract "evil". Actually, in your daily life, the fact is that those who give you what you want, you call "good", "noble", "efficient", and so on, using various terms. What you want is gratification in different forms, and that which can give it to you, you call beneficent.
So, the government is the body which you create out of your want, is it not? That is, the government is you. What you are, the government is, which is an obvious facE in the world. You hate a particular country, and elect those people who will support your hate. You are communalistically inclined and you create a government that has your communalistic outlook - which is again an obvious fact, we need not elaborate it. Since what you are, your government is, how can you have "good" government? You can have good government only when you have transformed yourselves. Otherwise, the government is merely a bureau, a group of people whom you have elected to supply you with what you want. You say you don't want war, but you encourage all the causes that breed war, like nationalism, communalism, and so on. That being your condition, you create a government, as you create a society, after your own likeness; and having created that government, the government in turn exploits you. So, it is a vicious circle. There can be good - I won't call it "good" - there can be sane government only when you yourself are sane. Sirs, don't smile. It is a fact; we are insane, we are not rational, clean human beings. We are unbalanced, therefore our governments are unbalanced. Do you mean to say, Sirs, that, seeing the whole world caught up in the appalling catastrophe of war and the production of war machines, a sane human being does not want to break it up? Therefore, he will find out what are the causes of war, and not say, "Well, it is my country, I must protect it" - which is too immature and silly.
Now, one of the causes of war is greed - greed to be something greater - which causes you to identify yourself with the country. You say, "I am a Hindu", "I am a Buddhist", "I am a Christian", "I am a Russian", or what you will. That is one of the causes of war. And a man who is sane says, "I am going to get rid of that insane imitation which ultimately produces destruction". Therefore, We must first create sanity, not a plan for a new government, or a so-called "good" government; and in order to be sane, you must know what you are, you must be aware of yourself. But again, you see, you are not interested. You are interested in waving flags, you are interested in listening to speeches which have no meaning, you are interested stimulation. All these are indi- cations of insanity. And how can you expect a sane government when the citizens are not fully awake when they are half-alert and unbalanced?
Sirs, when you yourselves are in confusion, you create the leader who is confused, and you will hear the voice of him who is confused. If you are not confused, if you are clear, tranquil, you will have no leader; if you are clear, you will not wait for the government to tell you what to do. Why does a man want a government? Sirs, some of you smile, and you will push it out. Because you don't know how to love rationally, humanly, you want somebody to tell you what to do; therefore there is the multiplication of laws, laws, and more laws, what you must and must not do. So, it is your fault, Sirs. You are responsible for the government that you have, or are going to have; because, unless you radically transform yourselves, what you are, your government is. If you are communalistically-minded, you will create a government that is like you. And what does it mean? More disturbance, more destruction.
So, there can be a sane society, a sane world, only when you, as part of that society, that world, are breaking away, that is, becoming sane; and there can be sanity only when you spurn authority, when you are not caught in the nationalistic, patriotic spirit, when you treat human beings as human beings, not as brahmins, or as of any other caste or country. And it is impossible to treat human beings as human beings if you label them, if you term them, if you give them a name as Hindus, Russians, or what you will. It is so much easier to label people, for than you can pass by and kick them, drop a bomb on India or Japan. But if you have no labels, but merely meet people as human beings, then what happens? You have to be very alert, you have to be very wise in your relationship with another. But as you don't want to do that, you create a government befitting yourself.
Question: What is eternal love or death? What happens to love when death breaks its thread? What happens to death when love asserts its claim?
Krishnamurti: Now again, let us find out what we mean by death and what we mean by love. Sorry, some of you get bored with all this. Are you bored?
Audience: No, Sir.
Krishnamurti: I am surprised, because we have taken up very serious things. Life is serious, life is very earnest. It is only the empty headed and the dull at heart who are trivial, and if you are bored with the serious things of life, it indicates your own immaturity. This is a question with which everyone is concerned, whether it be the totalitarian, the politician, or you; because, death awaits each one of us, whether we like it or not. You may be a high government official, with titles, wealth, position, and a red carpet; but there is this inevitable thing at the end of it. So, what do we mean by death? By death we obviously mean putting an end to continuity, do we not? There is a physical death, and we are a little bit anxious about it; but that does not matter if we can overcome it by continuing in some mother form. So when we ask about death, we are concerned with whether there is continuity or not. And what is the thing that conti- nues? Obviously, not your body because every day we see that people who die are burnt or buried. Therefore, we mean, do we not? a super sensory continuity, a psychological continuity, a thought continuity, a continuity of character, which is termed the soul, or what you will. We want to know if thought continues. That is, I have meditated, I have practiced so many things, I have not finished writing my book, I have not completed my career, I am weak and need time to grow strong, I want to continue my pleasure, and so on; and I am afraid that death will put an end to all that. So, death is a form of frustration, is it not? I am doing something, and I don't want to end it; I want continuity in order to fulfil myself. Now, is there fulfilment through continuity? Obviously, there is fulfilment of a sort through continuity. If I am writing a book, I don't want to die till I have finished it; I want time to develop a certain character, and so on. So, there is fear of death only when there is the desire to fulfil oneself; because to fulfil oneself, there must be time, longevity, continuity. But if you can fulfil yourself from moment to moment, you are not afraid of death.
Now, our problem is how to have continuity in spite of death, is it not? And you want an assurance from me; or, if I don't assure you of that, you go to somebody else, to your gurus, to your books, or to various other forms of distraction and escape. So, you listening to me and I talking to you, we are going to find out together what we actually mean by continuity, what it is that continues, and what we want to continue. That which continues is obviously a wish, a desire, is it not? I am not powerful, but I would like to be; I have not built my house, but I would like to build it; I have not got that title, but I would like to get it; I have not amassed enough money but I will do so presently; I would like to find God in this life - and so on and on. So, continuity is the process of want. When this is put an end to, you call it death, do you not? You want to continue desire as a means of achievement, as a process through which to fulfil yourself. Surely, this is fairly simple, is it not? Now, obviously thought continues in spite of your physical death. This has been proved. Thought is a continuity; because, after all, what are you? You are merely a thought, are you not? You are the thought of a name, the thought of a position, the thought of money; you are merely an idea. Remove the idea, remove the thought, and where are you? So, you are an embodiment of thought as the "me". Now, you say thought must continue because thought is going to enable me to fulfil myself, that thought will ultimately find the real. Is that not so? That is why you want thought to continue. You want thought to continue because you think thought is going to find the real, which you call happiness, God, or what you will.
Now, through the continuity of thought, do you find the real? To put it differently, does the thought process discover the real? Do you understand what I mean? I want happiness, and I search for it through various means - property, position, wealth, women, men, or whatever it be. All that is the demand of a thought for happiness, is it not? Now, can thought find happiness? If it can, then thought must have a continuity. But what is thought? Thought is merely the response of memory, is it not? If you had no memory, there would be no thought. You would be in a state of amnesia, of complete blankness - as most peo- ple want to be. Thinking mesmerize itself and remains in a certain state which is a state of blankness. But we are not trying to discuss the state of amnesia, we want to find out what thought is. Thought, if you will look at it a little closely, is obviously the response of memory; and memory is the result of an uncompleted experience. So, through an incomplete experience you think you are going to find the complete, the whole, the real. How can it be done? Do you follow what I mean? Sirs, probably you are not thinking this out. You want to know if there is or if there is not continuity, that is all; you want an assurance. When you are seeking an assurance, you are seeking authority, gratification - you don't want to know the real. It is only the real that will liberate, not an assurance, or my giving you that assurance. We are trying to find out what is true in all this.
Since thought is the outcome of an incomplete experience - because you don't remember, in the psychological sense, a complete experience - , how can thought, through its own conditioned, incomplete state, find that which is complete. Do you follow? So, our question is, can there be a renewal, a regeneration, a freshness, a newness, through the continuity of the thought process? After all, if there is renewal, then we are not afraid of death. If for you there is renewal from moment to moment, there is no death. But there is death, and the fear of death, if you demand a continuity of the thought process. It is only thought that can continue, obviously, an idea about yourself. That idea is the outcome of thought, the outcome of a conditioned mind; because thought is the outcome of the past, it is founded on the past. And through time, through continuing the past, will you find the timeless?
So, we look to continuity as a means of renewal,as a means of bringing about a new state. Otherwise we don't want continuity, do we? That is, I want continuity only if it promises the new state; otherwise I don't want it, because my present state is miserable. If through continuity I can find happiness, then I want continuity. But can I find happiness through continuity? There is only the continuity of thought, thought being the response of memory; and memory is always conditioned, always in the past. Memory is always dead, it comes to life only through the present. Therefore, thought as a continuity cannot be the means of renewal. So, to continue thought is merely to continue the past in a modified form, and therefore it is not a renewal; therefore, through that passage there is no hope. There is hope only when I see the truth that through continuity there is no renewal. And when I see that, what happens? Then I am only concerned with the ending of the thought process from moment to moment - which is not insanity! The thought process ceases only when I understand the falseness of the thought process as a means of achieving a desirable end, or of avoiding a painful one. When I see the false as the false, the false drops away. When the false drops away, what then is the state of the mind? Then the mind is in a state of high sensitivity, of high receptivity, of great tranquillity, because there is no fear. What happens when there is no fear? There is love, is there not? It is only in the negative state that love can be, not in the positive state. The positive state is the continuity of thought towards an end, and as long as that exists, there cannot be love.
The questioner also wants to know what happens to love when death breaks its thread. Love is not a con- tinuity. If you watch yourself, if you observe your own love, you will see that love is from moment to moment, you are not thinking that it must continue. That which continues is a hindrance to love. It is only thought that can continue, not love. You can think about love, and that thought can continue; but the thought about love is not love - and that is your difficulty. You think about love, and you want that thought to continue; therefore you ask, "What happens to love when death comes"? But you are not concerned with love; you are concerned with the thought of love, which is not love. When you love, there id no continuity. It is only the thought that wishes love to continue, but the thought is not love. Sirs, this is very important. When you love, when you really love somebody, you are not thinking, you are not calculating - your whole heart, your whole being is open. But when you merely think about love, or about the person whom you love, your heart is dry - and therefore you are already dead. When there is love, there is no fear of death. Fear of death is merely the fear of not continuing, and when there is love there is no sense of continuity. It is a state of being.
The questioner also asks, "What happens to death when love asserts its claim? "Sirs, love has no claim - and that is the beauty of love. That which is the highest state of negation does not claim, does not demand: it is a state of being. And when there is love, there is no death; there is death only when the thought process arises. When there is love, there is no death, because there is no fear; and love is not a continuous state - which is again the thought process. Love is merely being from moment to moment. Therefore, love is its own eternity.
New Delhi, India; 1948
Radio Talk6th November, 1948
The world is in confusion and misery, and every nation, including India, is looking for a way out of this conflict, this mounting sorrow. Though India has gained so-called freedom, she is caught in the turmoil of exploitation, like every other people; communal and caste antagonisms are rife, and though she is not as advanced as the West in technological matters, yet she is faced like the rest of the world with problems that no politician, no economist or reformer, however great, is able to solve. She seems to be so completely overwhelmed by the unexpected problems confronting her, that she is willing to sacrifice, for immediate ends, the essential values and the cumulative understanding of man's struggle. India is giving her heart over to the glittering and glamorous pomp of a modern State. Surely this is not freedom.
India's problem is the world problem, and merely to look to the world for the solution of her problem is to avoid the understanding of the problem itself. Though India has been, in ancient times, a source of great action, merely to look to that past, to breathe the dead air of things that have been, does not bring about creative understanding of the present. Till we understand this aching present there can be no resolution of any human problem, and merely to escape into the past or into the future is utterly vain.
The present crisis, which is obviously unprecedented, demands an entirely new approach to the problem of our existence. Throughout the world man is frustrated and in sorrow, for all the avenues through which he has sought fulfilment have failed him. So, far, the diagnosis and the remedy of this problem have been left to the specialists, and all specialization denies integrated action. We have divided life into departments, and each department has its own expert; and to these experts we have handed over our life, to be shaped according to the pattern of their choice. We have therefore lost all sense of individual responsibility, and this irresponsibility denies self-confidence. The lack of confidence in oneself is the outcome of fear, and we try to cover up this fear through so-called collective action, through the search for immediate results, or through the sacrifice of the present for a future Utopia. Confidence comes with action which is fully thought out and felt out.
Because we have allowed ourselves to become irresponsible, we have bred confusion, and out of our confusion we have chosen leaders who are themselves confused. This has led us to despair, to a deep and aching frustration; it has emptied our hearts, which do not respond eagerly and swiftly, and therefore we never find a new approach to our problems. All that we seem able to do, unfortunately, is to follow some leader, old or new, who promises to take us to another world of hope. Instead of understanding our own irresponsibility, we turn to some ideology or to some easily recognizable social activity. It requires intelligence to perceive clearly that the problem of existence is relationship, which must be approached directly and simply. Because we do not understand relationship, whether with the one or with the many, we look to the expert for the solution of our problems; but it is vain to rely on the specialists, for they cam only think within the pattern of their conditioning. For the solution of this crisis, you and I must look to ourselves - not as of the East or of the West, with a special culture of our own, but as human beings.
Now, we are challenged by war, by race and class, and by technology; and if our response to this challenge is not creatively adequate, we shall have to face greater disaster and greater sorrow. Our real difficulty is that we are so conditioned by our Eastern or Western outlook, or by some cunning ideology, that it has become almost impossible for us to think of the problem anew. You are either an Englishman, an Indian, a Russian, or an American; and you try to answer this challenge according to the pattern in which you have been brought up. But these problems cannot be adequately met as long as you are not free from your national, social and political background or ideology; they can never be solved according to any system, whether of the left or of the right. The many human problems can be solved only, when you and I understand our relationship to each other, and to the collective - which is society. Nothing can live in isolation. To be, is to be related; and because we refuse to see the truth of this our relationships fraught with conflict and pain. We have avoided the challenge by escaping into the abstraction called the mass. This escape has no true significance, for the mass is you and I. It is a fallacy to think in terms of the mass, for the mass is yourself in relationship with another; and if you do not understand this relationship, you become an amorphous entity exploited by the politician, the priest, and the expert.
The ideological warfare that is going on at the present time has its roots in the confusion which exists in your relationship with another. War is obviously the spectacular and bloody expression of your daily life. You create a society that represents you, and your governments are the reflection of your own confusion and lack of integration. Being unaware of this, you try to solve the problem of war merely on the economic or the ideological level. War will exist as long as there are nationalistic states with their sovereign governments and frontiers. The gathering round a table of the various national re- presentatives will in no way end war; for how can there be goodwill as long as you cling to organized dogmas called religion, as long as you remain nationalistic, with particular ideologies backed up by fully armed sovereign governments? Until you see these things as a hindrance to peace and realize their cultivated falsehood, there can be no freedom from conflict, confusion and antagonism; on the contrary, whatever you say or do will contribute directly to war.
The class and racial divisions which are destroying man are the outcome of the desire to be secure. Now, any kind of security, except the physiological, is really insecurity. That is, the pursuit of psychological security destroys physical security; and as long as we seek psychological security, which creates an acquisitive society, the needs of man can never be sanely and effectively organized. The effective organization of man's needs is the real function of technology; but when used for our psychological security, technology becomes a curse. Technological knowledge is intended for the use of man; but when the means have lost their true significance and are misapplied, then they ride the man - the machine becomes the master.
In this present civilization, man's happiness is lost because technological knowledge is being used for the psychological glorification of power. Power is the new religion, with its national and political ideologies; and this new religion, the worship of the State, has its own dogmas, priests and inquisitions. In this process, the freedom and the happiness of man are completely denied, for the means have become a way of postponing the end. But the means are the end, the two cannot be separated; and because we have separated them, we inevitably create a contradiction between the means and the end.
As long as we use technological knowledge for the advancement and glorification of the individual or of the group, the needs of man can never be sanely and effectively organized. It is this desire for psychological security through technological advancement that is destroying the physical security of man. There is sufficient scientific knowledge to feed, clothe and shelter man; but the proper use of this knowledge is denied as long as there are separative nationalities with their sovereign governments and frontiers - which in turn give rise to class and racial strife. So, you are responsible for the continuance of this conflict between man and man. As long as you, the individual, are nationalistic and patriotic, as long as you hold to political and social ideologies, you are responsible for war, because your relationship with another can only breed confusion and antagonism. Seeing the false as the false is the beginning of wisdom, and it is this truth alone that can bring happiness to you and so to the world.
As you are responsible for war, you must be responsible for peace. Those who creatively feel this responsibility, must first free themselves psychologically from the causes of war, and not merely plunge into organizing political peace groups - which will only breed further division and opposition.
Peace is not an idea opposed to war. Peace is a way of life; for there can be peace only when everyday living is understood. It is only this way of life that can effectively meet the challenge of war, of class, and of everincreasing technological advancement. This way of life is not the way of the intellect. The worship of the intellect in opposition to life has led us all to our present frustration, with its innumerable escapes. These escapes have become far more important than the understanding of the problem itself. The present crisis has come into being because of the worship of the intellect, and it is the intellect that has divided life into a series of opposing and contradictory actions; it is the intellect that has denied the unifying factor which is love. The intellect has filled the empty heart with the things of the mind; and it is only when the mind is aware of its own reasoning and is able to go beyond itself, that there can be the enrichment of the heart. Only the incorruptible enrichment of the heart can bring peace to this mad and battling world.
Public Talk19th December, 1948
As this is the last talk, perhaps it might be just as well if I made a brief summary of what we have been discussing for the last six weeks. Our life is beset with so many problems at different levels. We have not only the physical problems, but the much more subtle and more intricate psychological problems; and without solving the psychological problems or even trying to understand their subtleness, we seek merely to rearrange their effects. We try to reconcile the effects without really understanding the causes which produce these effects. Therefore, it seems to me much more important to understand the psychological conflicts and sorrows than merely to rearrange the pattern of effects; because, the mere reconciliation of effects cannot profoundly and ultimately solve the problems that are produced. If we merely rearrange the effects without understanding the psychological struggles that produce these effects, we will naturally produce further confusion, further antagonism, further conflict. So, in understanding the psychological factors that bring about our well-being, there may be a possibility - and I think there is a definite possibility - of creating a new culture and a new civilization; but it must begin with every one of us, because, after all, society is my relationship with you, and your relationship with another. Society is the outcome of our relationship, and without under standing relationship, which is ac- tion, there can be no cessation of conflict. So, relationship and its effect and cause must be thoroughly understood before I can transform or bring about a radical revolution in the ways of my life.
We are concerned, then, with the individual problem and our own psychological sufferings. In understanding the individual problem we will naturally bring about a different arrangement in its effects, but we should not begin with the effects; because, after all, we do not live by the effects alone but by the deeper causes. So, our problem is how to understand suffering and conflict in the individual. Mere verbal explanation of suffering, mere intellection, the perception of the causes of suffering, does not resolve suffering. That is an obvious fact; but as most of us are fed on words, and as words have become of such immense importance, we are easily satisfied by explanations. We read the Bhagavad Gita, the Bible, or any other religious book which explains the cause of suffering, and we are satisfied; we take the explanation for the resolution of suffering. Words have become much more significant than the understanding of suffering itself; but the word is not the thing. Any amount of explanation, any amount of reasoning, will not feed a hungry man. What he wants is food, not the explanation of food, or the smell of food. He is hungry, and he must have the substance that nourishes. Most of us are satisfied by the explanation of the cause of suffering. Therefore, we don't take suffering as a thing to be radically resolved, a contradiction in ourselves that must be understood. How is one to understand suffering? One can understand suffering only when explanation subsides and all kinds of escapes are understood and put aside, that is, when one sees the actual in suffering. But you see, you don't want to understand suffering; you run away to the club, you read the newspaper, you do puja, go to the temple, plunge into politics or social service - anything rather than to face that which is. So, the cultivation of escapes has become much more important than the understanding of sorrow; and it requires a very intelligent mind, a mind that is very alert, to see that it is escaping and to put an end to escapes.
How, I have explained that conflict is not productive of creative thinking. To be creative, to produce what you will, the mind must be at peace, the heart full. If you want to write, to have great thoughts, to enquire into truth, conflict must cease; but in our civilization, escapes have become much more significant than the understanding of conflict. Modern things help us to escape, and to escape is to be utterly uncreative, it is self-projection. That does not solve our problem. What does solve our problem is to cease to escape and to live with suffering; because, after all, to understand something, one must give full attention to it, and distractions are mere escapes. To understand escapes, which is to put an end to them by seeing their falseness, and to perceive the whole significance of suffering, is a process of self-knowledge; and without self-knowledge, without knowing yourself fundamentally, not the mere superficial effects of your actions, but the whole total process of yourself, both the thinker and the thought, the actor and the action - without that self-knowledge, there is no basis for thought. You can repeat like a gramophone, but you will not be the music-maker, there will be no song in your heart.
So, through self-knowledge alone an suffering come to an end. After all, what does suffering mean - not as a verbal explanation, but as a fact? How does suffering arise, not merely as a scientific observation, but actually? In order to know, to find out, surely discontent is essential. One must be thoroughly discontented in order to find out. But when there is discontent - and most of us are discontented - we find an easy way of smothering that discontent. We become something - clerks, governors, ministers, or what you will - , anything to smother that flame, that spark, that dissatisfaction. Materially as well as psychologically we want to be sure, we want to be secure, we do not want to be disturbed. We want certainty, and where the mind is looking for certainty, security, there is no discontent; and most of us spend our lives doing this, we are all seeking security. Obviously there must be physical security, food, clothing and shelter; but that is denied when we seek psychological security - psychological security being self-expansion through physical necessities. A house in itself is not important except as shelter, but we use the house as a means of self-aggrandizement. That is why property becomes very important, and hence we create a social system which denies the right distribution of food, clothing and shelter.
So, it is discontent that drives, that creates, that urges us on; and if we can understand discontent without smothering it by the search for certainty, psychological security, if we can keep that discontent and its flame alive, then our problem is simple; because, that very discontent is creative, and from that we can move on. But the moment we smother discontent, put it away, resist it, hide it, then the mind is concerned merely with the reconciliation of effects, and discontent is no longer a means of going forward, plunging into something unknown. That is why it is so important for each one really to understand oneself. The study of oneself is not an end, but a beginning; because, there is no end in understanding oneself, it is a constant movement. If you observe yourself very carefully, you will see that there is no fixed moment when you can say, `I understand the whole totality of myself', it is like reading many volumes. The more one studies oneself, the more there is to be studied. Therefore, the movement of the self is timeless; and that self is not the high or the low, but the self which is from moment to moment, with its actions, its thoughts, its words. That self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom, and in that self-knowledge one discovers a state of utter tranquillity in which the mind is not made still, but is still; and only when the mind is still, when it is not caught up in the thought process or occupied with its own creations - only then is there creativeness, is there reality. It is this creativeness, this perception of reality which will free us from our problem, not the search for an answer to the problem.
So, self-knowledge is the technique of meditation, and without self-knowledge there is no meditation. Self-knowledge is not something acquired from a book, or from a guru or teacher. Self-knowledge begins in understanding oneself from moment to moment, and that understanding requires one's full attention to be given to each thought at any particular moment without an end in view; because, there cannot be complete attention when there is condemnation or justification. When the mind condemns or justifies, it does so either to deny or to escape what it perceives. It is much easier to condemn a child than to understand a child. Similarly, when a thought arises, it is easier to put it away or discipline it than to give it your undivided attention and thereby discover its full significance. Therefore, the problem is to understand oneself, and one can approach it rightly only when there is no justification, condemnation or resistance - and then you will find that the problem unfolds like a map.
To discover what is eternal, the process of the mind must be understood. You cannot think about the unknown; you can think only about the known, and what is known is not the real. Reality cannot be thought about, meditated upon, pictured, or formulated; if it is, it is not real, because it is merely the projection of the mind. It is only when the thought process ceases, when the mind is literally and utterly still - and stillness can come about only through self-knowledge - , that reality is understood; and it is the real that resolves our problems, not our cunning distractions and formulated escapes.
I have several questions here, and I shall try to answer them as briefly and clearly as possible.
Question: I have parents who are orthodox and who depend on me, but I myself have ceased to believe in their orthodoxy. How am I to deal with such a situation? This is a real problem to me.
Krishnamurti: Now, why has one ceased to be orthodox? Before you say, `I have ceased to be orthodox', must you not find out why, for what reason? Is it because you see that orthodoxy is mere repetition without much meaning, a framework in which man lives because he is afraid to go beyond and discover? Or, have you abandoned orthodoxy as a mere reaction, because it is the modern thing to do to reject the ancient, the old? Have you rejected the old without understanding it? - which is merely a reaction. If that is the case, it is quite different, it brings about quite a different issue. But if you have ceased to be orthodox because you see that a mind caught in tradition, in habit, is without understanding, then you know the full significance of orthodoxy. I do not know which you have done: Either you have left it in protest; or, you have abandoned it - or rather, it has fallen away from you naturally - because you understand it. Now, if it is the latter, then what is your responsibility to those people around you who are orthodox? Should you yield to their orthodoxy because they are your mother and father, and they cry and give you trouble at home, calling you an undutiful son? Should you yield to them because they create trouble? What is your responsibility? If you yield, then your understanding of orthodoxy has no meaning; then you are placatory, you don't want trouble, you want to let sleeping dogs lie. But surely, you must have trouble, a revolution is essential; not the bloody kind of revolution, but a psychological revolution - which is far more important than mere revolution in outward effects. Most of us are afraid to have a fundamental revolution; we yield to the parents saying, `There is enough trouble as it is in the world, why should I add more?' But surely, that is not the answer, is it? When one has trouble, it must be exposed, opened up and looked into. Merely to accept an attitude, to concede to the parents because they are going to give you trouble, kick you out of the house, does not bring out clarity; it merely hides, suppresses conflict, and a conflict which is suppressed acts as a poison in the system, in the psychological being.
If there is tension between you and your parents, this contradiction has to be faced if you want to live creatively, happily; but as most of us do not want to lead a creative life and are satisfied to be dull, we say, `It is all right, I will yield'. After all, relationship with another, especially with a father, mother or child, is a very difficult thing, because relationship with most of us is a matter of gratification. We do not want any trouble in relationship. Surely, a person who is looking for gratification, satisfaction, comfort, security in relationship, ceases to have a relationship that is alive; he makes that relationship into a dead thing. After all, what is relationship? What is the function of relationship? Surely, it is a means by which I discover my- self. Relationship is a process of self-revelation; but if the self-revelation is unpleasant, unsatisfactory, disturbing, we do not want to look any further into it. So, relationship becomes merely a means of communication, and therefore a dead thing. But if relationship is an active process in which there is self-revelation, in which I discover myself as in a mirror, then that relationship not only brings about conflict, disturbance, but out of it comes clarity and joy.
The question, then, is: `When you are not orthodox, what is your responsibility to the person who is dependent on you?' Now, the older you grow, the more orthodox you become; that is, because you know you are soon coming to the end of your life and you don't know what awaits you on the other side, you seek safety, security, on both sides. But a man who believes without understanding is obviously stupid; and should you encourage stupidity? Belief creates antagonism, the very nature of belief is to divide: You believe in one thing, I believe in another; you are a communist, I am a capitalist, which is merely a matter of belief; you call yourself a Hindu, I call myself a Musalman - and we slaughter each other. So, belief is obviously a device which sets man against man; and recognizing all these factors, what is your responsibility? Can one advise another as to what to do? You and I can discuss; but it is for you to act, after looking into it. To look into it you must pay attention, and you must face the consequences of your decision, you cannot leave it to me or to anybody else. That means you understand and are quite willing to face trouble, to be thrown out, to be called an ungrateful son, and all the rest of it; it means that for you orthodoxy does not matter, but that truth, which is the understanding of the problem, matters immensely, and therefore you are prepared to face trouble. But most of us do not want the clear happiness that truth brings; want mere gratification, and therefore we concede and say, `All right, I will do what you want me to do; but for God's sake, leave me alone.' That way you will never create a new society, a new culture.
Question: It us the universally accepted conclusion of modern intellectuals that educators have failed. What is, then, the task of those whose function it is to teach the young?
Krishnamurti: There are several problems involved in this, and to understand them, one must go very carefully into them. First of all, why do you have children? Is it mere accident, an unwanted event? Do you have children to carry on your name, title or estate? Or do you love, and therefore you have children? Which is it? If you have children merely as toys, something to play with, or if you arc lonely and a child helps you to cover up that loneliness - then children become important because they are your own self-projection. But if children are not a mere means of amusement or a result of accidents, if you really love them in the profound sense of that word - and to love somebody means to be in complete communion with them - , then education has quite a different significance. If as a parent you really love your children, you will see that they have the right kind of education. In other words, children must be helped to be intelligent, sensitive, to have a mind and heart that are pliable, able to deal with any situation. Surely, if you really love your child, you as a parent will not be a nationalist, you will not belong to any country, you will not belong to any organized religion; because, obviously, if you are a nationalist, if you worship the State, then you inevitably destroy your son, because you are creating war. If you really love your son, you will find out what is your right relationship with property; because it is the possessive instinct which has given property such enormous significance, and which is destroying the world. Again, if you really love your children, you will not belong to any particular religion, because belief creates antagonism between man and man. It you love your children, you will do all these things. So, that is one aspect.
Then the other aspect is that the educator needs educating. What are you educating the children for? To become clerks or glorified clerks, governors, engineers, technicians? Is that all life us, merely a matter of glorified clerks, technicians, mechanics, human beings made into cannon fodder? What us the purpose and intention of education? Is ut to turn cut soldiers, lawyers and policemen? Surely, the occupations of soldier, lawyer, and policeman, are not right professions for decent human beings. (Laughter.) Don't laugh it off. By laughing it off, you are pushing it aside. You can see that these professions do not contribute to the total well-being of man, though they may be necessary in a society that has already become corrupt. Therefore, first of all, you have to find out why it is that you have children, and what it is that you are educating them for. If you are merely educating them to be technicians, naturally you will find the best technician to educate your child, and he will be made into a machine, he will discipline himself to conform to a pattern. Is that all there is to our existence, our struggle and our happiness - merely to become mechanics, tank or airplane experts, scientists, physicists inventing new ways of destruction? Therefore, education is your responsibility, is it not? What is it you want your children to be, or not to be? What is the purpose of existence? If it is merely to adjust to a system, to efface oneself for a party, then it is very simple; then all that you have to do is to conform and fit in. But if life is meant to be lived rightly, fully, joyously, sensitively, then there must be quite a different process of education in which there is the cultivation of sensitivity, of intelligence, and not mere technique - though technique is necessary.
So, as a parent - and God knows why you are parents - you have to find out what your responsibility is. Sirs, you love so easily: you say you love, but really you don't love your children. You have no feeling. You accept social events and conditions as inevitable; you don't want to transform them, to create a revolution and bring about a new culture, a new society. Surely, it depends on you what kind of education your children will have. As the questioner says, education throughout the world has failed, it has produced catastrophe after catastrophe, destruction and more destruction, bloodshed, rape and murder. Obviously, education has failed; and if you look to the experts, the specialists, to educate your children, the disaster must continue, because the specialists, being concerned only with the part and not with the whole, are themselves inhuman. Surely, the first thing is to have love; for if there is love, it will find the way to educate the children rightly. But you see, we are all brains and no heart; we have cultivated the intellect, and in ourselves we are so absurdly lopsided - and then the problem arises of what to do with the children. Surely, it is obvious that the educator himself needs educating - and the educator is you; for the home environment is as important as the school environment. So, you have to transform yourself first to give the right environment to the child; for the environment can make him either a brute, an unfeeling technician, or a very sensitive, intelligent human being. The environment is yourself and your action; and unless you transform yourself, the environment, the present society in which we live, must inevitably harm the child, make him rude, rough, unintelligent.
Surely, sirs, those who are deeply interested in this problem will begin to transform themselves and thereby transform society, which will in turn bring about a new means of education. But you are really not interested. You will listen to all this and say, `Yes, I agree; but it is too impracticable'. You don't treat it as a direct responsibility; you are not really, fundamentally concerned. If you really loved your son and knew the war was coming, as it inevitably is, do you mean to say yon would not act, you would not find a way of stopping war? You see, we don't love; we use the word `love' but the content of that word has no meaning any more. We just use the word without a referent, without substance, and we live merely on the word; so the complex problem is there still, and we have to face it. And don't say I have not shown you a way out of it. The way is yourself and your relationship with your children, your wife, your society. You are the gleam, you are the hope; otherwise there is no way out of this at all.
Look at what is happening. More and more governments are taking charge of education, which means they want to produce efficient beings, either as technicians or for war; and therefore the children must be regimented, they must be told, not how to think, but what to think. They are taught to live on propaganda, slogans. Because those who are in power don't want to be disturbed, they want to keep the power, it has become the function of government to maintain the status quo with little alterations here and there. So, taking all these factors into consideration, you have to find out what is the meaning of existence why you are living, why you are producing children; and you have to find out how to create a new environment - for, what the environment is, your child is. He listens to your talk, he repeats what the older people think and do. So, you have to create a right environment, not only at home, but outside, which is society; and you have to create a new kind of government which is radically different, which is not based on nationalism, on the sovereign State with its armies and efficient ways of murdering people. That implies seeing your responsibility in relationship, and you actually see that responsibility in relationship only when you love somebody. When your heart is full, then you find a way. This is urgent, it is imminent - you cannot wait for the experts to come and tell you how to educate your child. Only you who love will find the way; for, those hearts are empty that look to the experts.
You have listened to all this, and what is your reaction? You will say, `Yes, very nice, very good, it should be done; but let somebody else begin' - which means, really, you don't love your child; you have no relationship with your child, so you don't see the difficulty. The more irresponsible you become, the more the State takes over all responsibility - the State being the few, the party, left or right. You yourself have to work it out because we are facing a great crisis - not a verbal crisis, not a political or an economic crisis, but a crisis of human degradation, of human disintegration. Therefore, it is your responsibility; as the father, as the mother, you have got to transform yourself. These are not just words I am indulging in. One sees this calamity approaching so closely and dangerously, and we sit here and do not do a thing about it; or if we do, we look to some leader and turn our hearts over to him. It is an obvious fact that when you pursue a leader, you choose that leader out of your own confusion, and therefore the leader himself is confused. (Laughter.) Don't laugh it off as a clever remark: please look at it, see what you are doing. It is you who are responsible for the appalling horror which we have come to, and you are not facing it. You go out and do exactly the same thing that you did yesterday; and you feel your responsibility is over when you ask that question about education and pass your child on to a teacher who teaches and beats him. Don't you see? Unless you love your wife, your children, and not merely use them as a tool or means for your own gratification, unless you are really touched by this, you will not find a right way of education. To educate your children means to be interested in the whole process of life. What you think, what you do, and what you say, matters infinitely, because that creates the environment, and it is the environment which created the child.
Question: Marriage is a necessary part of any organized society, but you seem to be against the institution of marriage. What do you say? Please also explain the problem of sex. Why has it become, next to war, the most urgent problem of our day?
Krishnamurti: To ask a question is easy, but the difficulty is to look very carefully into the problem itself, which contains the answer. To understand this problem, we must see its enormous implications. That is difficult, because our time is very limited and I shall have to be brief; and if you don't follow very closely, you may not be able to understand. Let us investigate the problem, not the answer, because the answer is in the problem, not away from it. The more I understand the problem, the clearer I see the answer. If you merely look for an answer, you will not find one, because you will be seeking an answer away from the problem. Let us look at marriage, but not theoretically or as an ideal, which is rather absurd; don't let us idealize marriage, let us look at it as it is, for then we can do something about it. If you make it rosy, then you can't act; but if you look at it and see it exactly as it is, then perhaps you will be able to act.
Now, what actually takes place? When one is young, the biological, sexual urge is very strong, and in order to set a limit to it you have the institution called marriage. There is the biological urge on both sides, so you marry and have children. You tie yourself to a man or to a woman for the rest of your life, and in doing so you have a permanent source of pleasure, a guaranteed security, with the result that you begin to disintegrate; you live in a cycle of habit, and habit is disintegration. To understand this biological, this sexual urge, requires a great deal of intelligence, but we are not educated to be intelligent. We merely get on with a man or a woman with whom we have to live. I marry at 20 or 25, and I have to live for the rest of my life with a woman whom I have not known. I have-not known a thing about her, and yet you ask me to live with her for the rest of my life. Do you call that marriage? As I grow and observe, I find her to be completely different from me, her interests are different from mine; she is interested in clubs, I am interested in being very serious, or vice versa. And yet we have children - that is the most extraordinary thing. Sirs, don't look at the ladies and smile; it is your problem. So, I have established a relationship the significance of which I do not know, I have neither discovered it nor understood it.
It is only for the very, very few who love that the married relationship has significance, and then it is unbreakable, then it is not mere habit or convenience, nor is it based on biological, sexual need. In that love which is unconditional the identities are fused, and in such a relationship there is a remedy, there is hope. But for most of you, the married relationship is not fused. To fuse the separate identities, you have to know yourself, and she has to know herself. That means to love. But there is no love - which is am obvious fact. Love is fresh, new, not mere gratification, not mere habit. It is unconditional. You don't treat your husband or wife that way, do you? You live in your isolation, and she lives in her isolation, and you have established your habits of assured sexual pleasure. What happens to a man who has an assured income? Surely, he deteriorates. Have you not noticed it? Watch a man who has an assured income and you will soon see how rapidly his mind is withering away. He may have a big position, a reputation for cunning, but the full joy of life is gone out of him.
Similarly, you have a marriage in which you have a permanent source of pleasure, a habit without understanding, without love, and you are forced to live in that state. I am not saying what you should do; but look at the problem first. Do you think that is right? It does not mean that you must throw off your wife and pursue somebody else. What does this relationship mean? Surely, to love is to be in communion with somebody; but are you in communion with your wife, except physically? Do you know her, except physically? Does she know you? Are you not both isolated, each pursuing his or her own interests, ambitions and needs, each seeking from the other gratification, economic or psychological security? Such a relationship is not a relationship at all: it is a mutually self-enclosing process of psychological, biological and economic necessity, and the obvious result is conflict, misery, nagging, possessive fear, jealousy, and so on. Do you think such a relationship is productive of anything except ugly babies and an ugly civilization? Therefore, the important thing is to see the whole process, not as something ugly, but as an actual fact which is taking place under your very nose; and realizing that, what are you going to do? You cannot just leave it at that; but because you do not want to look into it, you take to drink, to politics, to a lady around the corner, to anything that takes you away from the house and from that nagging wife or husband - and you think you have solved the problem. That is your life, is it not? Therefore, you have to do something about it, which means you have to face it, and that means, if necessary, breaking up; because, when a father and mother are constantly nagging and quarrelling with each other, do you think that has not an effect on the children? And we have already considered, in the previous question, the education of children.
So, marriage as a habit, as a cultivation of habitual pleasure, is a deteriorating factor, because there is no love in habit. Love is not habitual; love is something joyous, creative, new. Therefore, habit is the contrary of love; but you are caught in habit, and naturally your habitual relationship with another is dead. So, we come back again to the fundamental issue, which is that the reformation of society depends on you, not on legislation. Legislation can only make for further habit or conformity. Therefore, you as a responsible individual in relationship have to do something, you have to act, and you can act only when there is an awakening of your mind and heart. I see some of you nodding your heads in agreement with me, but the obvious fact is that you don't want to take the responsibility for transformation, for change; you don't want to face the upheaval of finding out how to live rightly. And so the problem continues, you quarrel and carry on, and finally you die; and when you die somebody weeps, not for the other fellow, but for his or her own loneliness. You carry on unchanged and you think you are human beings capable of legislation, of occupying high positions, talking about God, finding a way to stop wars, and so on. None of these things mean anything, because you have not solved any of the fundamental issues.
Then, the other part of the problem is sex, and why sex has become so important. Why has this urge taken such a hold on you? Have you ever thought it out? You have not thought it out, because you have just indulged; you have not searched out why there is this problem. Sirs, why is there this problem? And what happens when you deal with it by suppressing it completely - you know, the ideal of Brahmacharya, and so on? What happens? It is still there. You resent anybody who talks about a woman, and you think that you can succeed in completely suppressing the sexual urge in yourself and solve your problem that way; but you are haunted by it. It is like living in a house and putting all your ugly things in one room; but they are still there. So, discipline is not going to solve this problem - discipline being sublimation, suppression, substitution - , because you have tried it, and that is not the way out. So, what is the way out? The way out is to understand the problem, and to understand is not to condemn or justify. Let us look at it, then, in that way.
Why has sex become so important a problem in your life? Is not the sexual act, the feeling, a way of self-forgetfulness? Do you understand what I mean? In that act there is complete fusion; at that moment there is complete cessation of all conflict, you feel supremely happy because you no longer feel the need as a separate entity and you are not consumed with fear. That is, for a moment there is an ending of self-consciousness, and you feel the clarity of self-forgetfulness, the joy of self abnegation. So, sex has become important because in every other direction you are living a life of conflict, of self-aggrandizement and frustration. Sirs, look at your lives, political, social, religious: you are striving to become something. Politically, you want to be somebody, powerful, to have position, prestige. Don't look at somebody else, don't look at the ministers. If you were given all that, you would do the same thing. So, politically, you are striving to become somebody, you are expanding yourself, are you not? Therefore, you are creating conflict, there is no denial, there is no abnegation of the `me'. On the contrary, there is accentuation of the `me'. The same process goes on in your relationship with things, which is ownership of property, and again in the religion that you follow. There is no meaning in what you are doing, in your religious practices. You just believe, you cling to labels, words. If you observe, you will see that there too there is no freedom from the consciousness of the `me' as the centre. Though your religion says, `Forget yourself', your very process is the assertion of yourself, you are still the important entity. You may read the Gita or the Bible, but you are still the minister, you are still the exploiter, sucking the people and building temples.
So, in every field, in every activity, you are indulging and emphasizing yourself, your importance, your prestige, your security. Therefore, there is only one source of self-forgetfulness, which is sex, and that is why the woman or the man becomes all-important to you, and why you must possess. So, you build a society which enforces that possession, guarantees you that possession; and naturally sex becomes the all-important problem when everywhere else the self is the important thing. And do you think, Sirs, that one can live in that state without contradiction, without misery, without frustration? But when there is honestly and sincerely no self-emphasis, whether in religion or in social activity, then sex has very little meaning. It is because you are afraid to be as nothing, politically, socially, religiously, that sex becomes a problem; but if in all these things you allowed yourself to diminish, to be the less, you would see that sex becomes no problem at all.
There is chastity only when there is love. When there is love, the problem of sex ceases; and without love, to pursue the ideal of Brahmacharya is an absurdity, because the ideal is unreal. The real is that which you are; and if you don't understand your own mind, the workings of your own mind, you will not understand sex, because sex is a thing of the mind. The problem is not simple. It needs, not mere habit-forming practices, but tremendous thought and enquiry into your relationship with people, with property and with ideas. Sir, it means you have to undergo strenuous searching of your heart and mind, thereby bringing a transformation within yourself. Love is chaste; and when there is love, and not the mere idea of chastity created by the mind, then sex has lost its problem and has quite a different meaning.
Question: In my view, the guru is one who awakens me to truth, to reality. What is wrong in my taking to such a guru?
Krishnamurti: This question arises because I have said that gurus are an impediment to truth. Don't say you are wrong and I am right, or I am wrong and you are right, but let us examine the problem and find out. Let us enquire like mature, thoughtful people, without denying and without justifying.
Which is more important, the guru or you? And why do you go to a guru? You say, `To be awakened to truth'. Are you really going to a guru to be awakened to truth? Let us think this out very clearly. Surely, when you go to a guru you are actually seeking gratification. That is you have a problem and your life is a mess, it is in confusion; and because you want to escape from it, you go to somebody whom you call a guru to find consolation verbally, or to escape an ideation. That is the actual process, and that process you call seeking truth. That is, you want comfort, you want gratification, you want your confusion cleared away by somebody; and the person who helps you to find escapes you call a guru. Actually, not theoretically, you look to a guru who will assure you of what you want. You go guru-hunting as you go window-shopping: you see what suits you best, and then buy it. In India, that is the position: You go around hunting for gurus, and when you find one you hold on to his feet or neck or hand till he gratifies you. To touch a man's feet - that is one of the most extraordinary things. You touch the guru's feet and kick your servants, and thereby you destroy human beings, you lose human significance. So, you go to a guru to find gratification, not truth. The idea may be that he should awaken you to truth, but the actual fact is that you find comfort. Why? Because you say, `I can't solve my problem, somebody must help me'. Can anybody help you to solve the confusion which you have created? What is confusion? Confusion with regard to what, suffering with regard to what? Confusion and suffering exist in your relationship with things, people and ideas; and if you cannot understand that confusion which you have created, how can another help you? He can tell you what to do, but you have to do it for yourself, it is your own responsibility; and because you are unwilling to take that responsibility, you sneak off to the guru - that is the right expression to use, `sneak off' - and you think you have solved the problem. On the contrary, you have not solved it at all; you have escaped, but the problem is still there. And, strangely, you always choose a guru who will assure you of what you want; therefore you are not seeking truth, and therefore the guru is not important. You are actually seeking someone who will satisfy you in your desires; that is why you create a leader, religious or political, and give yourself over to him, and that is why you accept his authority. Authority is evil, whether religious or political, because it is the leader and his position that are all-important, and you are unimportant. You are a human being with sorrow, pain, suffering, joy, and when you deny yourself and give yourself over to somebody, you are denying reality; because it is only through yourself that you can find reality, not through somebody else.
Now, you say that you accept a guru as one who awakens you to reality. Let us find out if it is possible for another to awaken you to reality. I hope you are following all this, because it is your problem, not mine. Let us find out the truth about whether another can awaken you to reality. Can I, who have been talking for an hour and a half, awaken you to reality, to that which is real? The term `guru' implies, does it not?, a man who leads you to truth, to happiness, to bliss eternal. Is truth a static thing that someone can lead you to? Someone can direct you to the station. Is truth like that, static, something permanent to which you can be led? It is static only when you create it out of your desire for comfort. But truth is not static, nobody can lead you to truth. Beware of the person who says he can lead you to truth, because it is not true. Truth is something unknown from moment to moment, it cannot be captured by the mind, it cannot be formulated, it has no resting place. Therefore, no one can lead you to truth. You may ask me, `Why are you talking here?' All that I am doing is pointing out to you what is and how to understand what is as it is, not as it should be. I am not talking about the ideal, but about a thing that is actually right in front of you, and it is for you to look and see it. Therefore, you are more important than I, more important than any teacher, any saviour, any slogan, any belief; because you can find truth only through yourself, not through another. When you repeat the truth of another, it is a lie. Truth cannot be repeated. All that you can do is to see the problem as it is, and not escape. When you see the thing as it actually is, then you begin to awaken, but not when you are compelled by another. There is no saviour but yourself. When you have the intention and the attention to look directly at what is, then your very attention awakens you, because in attention everything is implied. To give attention, you must be devoted to what is, and to understand what is, you must have knowledge of it. Therefore, you must look, observe, give it your undivided attention, for all things are contained in that full attention you give to what is.
So, the guru cannot awaken you; all that he can do is to point out what is. Truth is not a thing that can be caught by the mind. The guru can give you words, he can give you an explanation, the symbols of the mind; but the symbol is not the real, and if you are caught in the symbol, you will never find the way. Therefore, that which is important is not the teacher, it is not the symbol, it is not the explanation, but it is you who are seeking truth. To seek rightly is to give attention, not to God, not to truth, because you don't know it, but attention to the problem of your relationship with your wife, your children, your neighbour. When you establish right relationship then you love truth; for truth is not a thing that can be bought, truth does not come into being through self-immolation or through the repetition of mantras. Truth comes into being only when there is self-knowledge. Self-knowledge brings understanding, and when there is understanding, there are no problems. When there are no problems, then the mind is quiet, it is no longer caught up in its own creations. When the mind is not creating problems, when it understands each problem immediately as it arises, then it is utterly still, not made still. This total process is awareness, and it brings about a state of undisturbed tranquillity which is not the outcome of any discipline, of any practice or control, but is the natural outcome of understanding every problem as it arises. Problems arise only in relationship; and when there is understanding of one's relationship with things, with people and with ideas, then there is no disturbance of any kind in the mind and the thought process is silent. In that state there is neither the thinker nor the thought, the observer nor the observed. Therefore, the thinker ceases, and then the mind is no longer caught in time; and when there is no time, the timeless comes into being. But the timeless cannot be thought of. The mind, which is the product of time, cannot think of that which is timeless. Thought cannot conceive or formulate that which is beyond thought. When it does, its formulation is still part of thought. Therefore, eternity is not a thing of the mind; eternity comes into being only when there is love, for love in itself is eternal. Love is not something abstract to be thought about; love is to be found only in relationship with your wife, your children, your neighbour. When you know that love which is unconditional, which is not the product of the mind, then reality comes into being, and that state is utter bliss.