First and Last Freedom
Chapter - 19
MOST OF US, I think, are aware that every form of persuasion, every kind of inducement, has been offered us to resist self-centred activities. Religions, through promises, through fear of hell, through every form of condemnation have tried in different ways to dissuade man from this constant activity that is born from the centre of the `me'. These having failed, political organizations have taken over. There again, persuasion; there again the ultimate utopian hope. Every form of legislation from the very limited to the extreme, including concentration camps, has been used and enforced against any form of resistance. Yet we go on in our self-centred activity, which is the only kind of action we seem to know. If we think about it at all, we try to modify; if we are aware of it, we try to change the course of it; but fundamentally, deeply, there is no transformation, there is no radical cessation of that activity. The thoughtful are aware of this; they are also aware that when that activity from the centre ceases, only then can there be happiness. Most of us take it for granted that self-centred activity is natural and that the consequential action, which is inevitable, can only be modified, shaped and controlled. Now those who are a little more serious, more earnest, not sincere - because sincerity is the way of self-deception - must find out whether, being aware of this extraordinary total process of self-centred activity, one can go beyond.
To understand what this self-centred activity is, one must obviously examine it, look at it, be aware of the entire process. If one can be aware of it, then there is the possibility of its dissolution; but to be aware of it requires a certain understanding, a certain intention to face the thing as it is and not to interpret, not to modify, not to condemn it. We have to be aware of what we are doing, of all the activity which springs from that self-centred state; we must be conscious of if it. One of our primary difficulties is that the moment we are conscious of that activity, we want to shape it, we want to control it, we want to condemn it or we want to modify it, so we are seldom able to look at it directly. When we do, very few of us are capable of knowing what to do.
We realize that self-centred activities are detrimental, are destructive, and that every form of identification - such as with a country, with a particular group, with a particular desire, the search for a result here or hereafter, the glorification of an idea, the pursuit of an example, the pursuit of virtue and so on - is essentially the activity of a self-centred person. All our relationships, with nature, with people, with ideas, are the outcome of that activity. Knowing all this, what is one to do? All such activity must voluntarily come to an end - not self-imposed, not influenced, not guided.
Most of us are aware that this self-centred activity creates mischief and chaos but we are only aware of it in certain directions. Either we observe it in others and are ignorant of our own activities or being aware, in relationship with others, of our own self-centred activity we want to transform, we want to find a substitute, we want to go beyond. Before we can deal with it we must know how this process comes into being, must we not? In order to understand something, we must be capable of looking at it; and to look at it we must know its various activities at different levels, conscious as well as unconscious - the conscious directives, and also the self-centred movements of our unconscious motives and intentions.
I am only conscious of this activity of the `me' when I am opposing, when consciousness is thwarted, when the `me' is desirous of achieving a result, am I not? Or I am conscious of that centre when pleasure comes to an end and I want to have more of it; then there is resistance and a purposive shaping of the mind to a particular end which will give me a delight, a satisfaction; I am aware of myself and my activities when I am pursuing virtue consciously. Surely a man who pursues virtue consciously is unvirtuous. Humility cannot be pursued, and that is the beauty of humility.
This self-centred process is the result of time, is it not? So long as this centre of activity exists in any direction, conscious or unconscious, there is the movement of time and I am conscious of the past and the present in conjunction with the future. The self-centred activity of the `me' is a time process. It is memory that gives continuity to the activity of the centre, which is the `me'. If you watch yourself and are aware of this centre of activity, you will see that it is only the process of time, of memory, of experiencing and translating every experience according to a memory; you will also see that self-activity is recognition, which is also the process of the mind.
Can the mind be free from all this? It may be possible at rare moments; it may happen to most of us when we do an unconscious, unintentional, unpurposive act; but is it possible for the mind ever to be completely free from self-centred activity? That is a very important question to put to ourselves, because in the very putting of it, you will find the answer. If you are aware of the total process of this self-centred activity, fully cognizant of its activities at different levels of your consciousness, then surely you have to ask yourselves if it is possible for that activity to come to an end. Is it possible not to think in terms of time, not to think in terms of what I shall be, what I have been, what I am ? For from such thought the whole process of self-centred activity begins; there, also, begins the determination to become, the determination to choose and to avoid, which are all a process of time. We see in that process infinite mischief, misery, confusion, distortion, deterioration.
Surely the process of time is not revolutionary. In the process of time there is no transformation; there is only a continuity and no ending, there is nothing but recognition. It is only when you have complete cessation of the time process, of the activity of the self, that there is a revolution, a transformation, the coming into being of the new.
Being aware of this whole total process of the `me' in its activity, what is the mind to do? It is only with renewal, it is only with revolution - not through evolution, not through the `me' becoming, but through the `me' completely coming to an end - that there is the new. The time process cannot bring the new; time is not the way of creation.
I do not know if any of you have had a moment of creativity. I am not talking of putting some vision into action; I mean that moment of creation when there is no recognition. At that moment, there is that extraordinary state in which the `me', as an activity through recognition, has ceased. If we are aware, we shall see that in that state there is no experiencer who remembers, translates, recognizes and then identifies; there is no thought process, which is of time. In that state of creation, of creativity of the new, which is timeless, there is no action of the `me' at all.
Our question surely is: Is it possible for the mind to be in that state, not momentarily, not at rare moments, but - I would rather not use the words `everlasting' or `for ever', because that would imply time - but to be in that state without regard to time? Surely that is an important discovery to be made by each one of us, because that is the door to love; all other doors are activities of the self where there is action of the self, there is no love. Love is not of time. You cannot practise love. If you do, then it is a self-conscious activity of the `me' which hopes through loving to gain a result.
Love is not of time; you cannot come upon it through any conscious effort, through any discipline, through identification, which is all of the process of time. The mind, knowing only the process of time, cannot recognize love. Love is the only thing that is eternally new. Since most of us have cultivated the mind, which is the result of time, we do not know what love is. We talk about love; we say we love people, that we love our children, our wife, our neighbour, that we love nature; but the moment we are conscious that we love, self-activity has come into being; therefore it ceases to be love.
This total process of the mind is to be understood only through relationship - relationship with nature, with people, with our own projections, with everything about us. Life is nothing but relationship. Though we may attempt to isolate ourselves from relationship, we cannot exist without it. Though relationship is painful we cannot run away, by means of isolation, by becoming a hermit and so on. All these methods are indications of the activity of the self. Seeing this whole picture, being aware of the whole process of time as consciousness, without any choice, without any determined, purposive intention, without the desire for any result, you will see that this process of time comes to an end voluntarily - not induced, not as a result of desire. It is only when that process comes to an end that love is, which is eternally new.
We do not have to seek truth. Truth is not something far away. It is the truth about the mind, truth about its activities from moment to moment. If we are aware of this moment-to-moment truth, of this whole process of time, that awareness releases consciousness or the energy which is intelligence, love. So long as the mind uses consciousness as self-activity, time comes into being with all its miseries, with all its conflicts, with all its mischief, its purposive deceptions; and it is only when the mind, understanding this total process, ceases, that love can be.
Chapter - 20
Time and Transformation
I WOULD LIKE TO TALK a little about what is time, because I think the enrichment, the beauty and significance of that which is timeless, of that which is true, can be experienced only when we understand the whole process of time. After all, we are seeking, each in his own way, a sense of happiness, of enrichment. Surely a life that has significance, the riches of true happiness, is not of time. Like love, such a life is timeless; and to understand that which is timeless, we must not approach it through time but rather understand time. We must not utilize time as a means of attaining, realizing, apprehending the timeless. That is what we are doing most of our lives: spending time in trying to grasp that which is timeless, so it is important to understand what we mean by time, because I think it is possible to be free of time. It is very important to understand time as a whole and not partially.
It is interesting to realize that our lives are mostly spent in time - time, not in the sense of chronological sequence, of minutes, hours, days and years, but in the sense of psychological memory. We live by time; we are the result of time. Our minds are the product of many yesterdays and the present is merely the passage of the past to the future. Our minds, our activities, our being, are founded on time; without time we cannot think, because thought is the result of time, thought is the product of many yesterdays and there is no thought without memory. Memory is time; for there are two kinds of time, the chronological and the psychological. There is time as yesterday by the watch and as yesterday by memory. You cannot reject chronological time; it would be absurd - you would miss your train. But is there really any time at all apart from chronological time? Obviously there is time as yesterday but is there time as the mind thinks of it? Is there time apart from the mind? Surely time, psychological time, is the product of the mind. Without the foundation of thought there is no time - time merely being memory as yesterday in conjunction with today, which moulds tomorrow. That is, memory of yesterday's experience in response to the present is creating the future - which is still the process of thought, a path of the mind. The thought process brings about psychological progress in time but is it real, as real as chronological time? And can we use that time which is of the mind as a means of understanding the eternal, the timeless? As I said, happiness is not of yesterday, happiness is not the product of time, happiness is always in the present, a timeless state. I do not know if you have noticed that when you have ecstasy, a creative joy, a series of bright clouds surrounded by dark clouds, in that moment there is no time: there is only the immediate present. The mind, coming in after the experiencing in the present, remembers and wishes to continue it, gathering more and more of itself, thereby creating time. So time is created by the `more; time is acquisition and time is also detachment, which is still an acquisition of the mind. Therefore merely disciplining the mind in time, conditioning thought within the framework of time, which is memory, surely does not reveal that which is timeless.
Is transformation 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 greed's results of confusion, antagonism, conflict, and misery; to bring about the transformation, which is non-greed, we think time is necessary. That is to say time is considered as a means of evolving something greater, of becoming something. The problem is this: One is violent, greedy, envious, angry, vicious or passionate. 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. Therefore we desire transformation because there is pain, discomfort, conflict. Is conflict overcome by time? If you say it will be overcome by time, you are still in conflict. You may say it will take twenty days or twenty 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 non-violence and overcome the conflict. 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 non-violence, you are still being violent and are therefore still in conflict.
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 non-violence 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; 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.
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. 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. 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. So 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. 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.
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.
Thus 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. 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.
Chapter - 21
Power and Realization
WE SEE THAT A radical change is necessary in society, in ourselves, in our individual and group relationships; how is it to be brought about? If change is through conformity to a pattern projected by the mind, through a reasonable, well studied plan, then it is still within the field of the mind; therefore whatever the mind calculates becomes the end, the vision for which we are willing to sacrifice ourselves and others. If you maintain that, then it follows that we as human beings are merely the creation of the mind, which implies conformity, compulsion, brutality, dictatorships, concentration camps - the whole business. When we worship the mind, all that is implied, is it not? If I realize this, if I see the futility of discipline, of control, if I see that the various forms of suppression only strengthen the `me' and the `mine', then what am I to do?
To consider this problem fully we must go into the question of what is consciousness. I wonder if you have thought about it for yourself or have merely quoted what authorities have said about consciousness? I do not know how you have understood from your own experience, from your own study of yourself, what this consciousness implies - not only the consciousness of everyday activity and pursuits but the consciousness that is hidden, deeper, richer and much more difficult to get at. If we are to discuss this question of a fundamental change in ourselves and therefore in the world, and in this change to awaken a certain vision, an enthusiasm, a zeal, a faith, a hope, a certainty which will give us the necessary impetus for action - if we are to understand that, isn't it necessary to go into this question of consciousness? We can see what we mean by consciousness at the superficial level of the mind. Obviously it is the thinking process, thought. Thought is the result of memory, verbalization; it is the naming, recording and storing up of certain experiences, so as to be able to communicate; at this level there are also various inhibitions, controls, sanctions, disciplines. With all this we are quite familiar. When we go a little deeper there are all the accumulations of the race, the hidden motives, the collective and personal ambitions, prejudices, which are the result of perception, contact and desire. This total consciousness, the hidden as well as the open, is centred round the idea of the `me', the self.
When we discuss how to bring about a change we generally mean a change at the superficial level, do we not? Through determination, conclusions, beliefs, controls, inhibitions, we struggle to reach a superficial end which we want, which we crave for, and we hope to arrive at that with the help of the unconscious, of the deeper layers of the mind; therefore we think it is necessary to uncover the depths of oneself. But there is everlasting conflict between the superficial levels and the so-called deeper levels - all psychologists, all those who have pursued self-knowledge are fully aware of that.
Will this inner conflict bring about a change? Is that not the most fundamental and important question in our daily life: how to bring about a radical change in ourselves? Will mere alteration at the superficial level bring it about? Will understanding the different layers of consciousness, of the `me', uncovering the past, the various personal experiences from childhood up to now, examining in myself the collective experiences of my father, my mother, my ancestors, my race, the conditioning of the particular society in which I live - will the analysis of all that bring about a change which is not merely an adjustment?
I feel, and surely you also must feel, that a fundamental change in one's life is essential - a change which is not a mere reaction, which is not the outcome of the stress and strain of environmental demands. How is one to bring about such a change? My consciousness is the sum total of human experience, plus my particular contact with the present; can that bring about a change? Will the study of my own consciousness, of my activities, will the awareness of my thoughts and feelings, stilling the mind in order to observe without condemnation, will that process bring about a change? Can there be change through belief, through identification with a projected image called the ideal? Does not all this imply a certain conflict between what I am and what I should be? Will conflict bring about fundamental change? I am in constant battle within myself and with society, am I not? There is a ceaseless conflict going on between what I am and what I want to be; will this conflict, this struggle bring about a change? I see a change is essential; can I bring it about by examining the whole process of my consciousness, by struggling by disciplining by practising various forms of repression? I feel such a process cannot bring about a radical change. Of that one must be completely sure. And if that process cannot bring about a fundamental transformation, a deep inward revolution, then what will?
How are you to bring about true revolution? What is the power, the creative energy that brings about that revolution and how is it to be released? You have tried disciplines, you have tried the pursuit of ideals and various speculative theories: that you are God, and that if you can realize that Godhood or experience the Atman, the highest, or what you will, then that very realization will bring about a fundamental change. Will it? First you postulate that there is a reality of which you are a part and build up round it various theories, speculations, beliefs, doctrines, assumptions, according to which you live; by thinking and acting according to that pattern you hope to bring about a fundamental change. Will you?
Suppose you assume, as most so-called religious people do, that there is in you, fundamentally, deeply, the essence of reality; and that if, through cultivating virtue, through various forms of discipline, control, suppression, denial, sacrifice, you can get into touch with that reality, then the required transformation will be brought about. Is not this assumption still part of thought? Is it not the outcome of a conditioned mind, a mind that has been brought up to think in a particular way, according to certain patterns? Having created the image, the idea, the theory, the belief, the hope, you then look to your creation to bring about this radical change.
One must first see the extraordinarily subtle activities of the `me', of the mind, one must become aware of the ideas, beliefs, speculations and put them all aside, for they are deceptions, are they not? Others may have experienced reality; but if you have not experienced it, what is the good of speculating about it or imagining that you are in essence something real, immortal, godly? That is still within the field of thought and anything that springs from thought is conditioned, is of time, of memory; therefore it is not real. If one actually realizes that - not speculatively, not imaginatively or foolishly, but actually sees the truth that any activity of the mind in its speculative search, in its philosophical groping, any assumption, any imagination or hope is only self-deception - then what is the power, the creative energy that brings about this fundamental transformation?
Perhaps, in coming to this point, we have used the conscious mind; we have followed the argument, we have opposed or accepted it, we have seen it clearly or dimly. To go further and experience more deeply requires a mind that is quiet and alert to find out, does it not? It is no longer pursuing ideas because, if you pursue an idea, there is the thinker following what is being said and so you immediately create duality. If you want to go further into this matter of fundamental change, is it not necessary for the active mind to be quiet? Surely it is only when the mind is quiet that it can understand the enormous difficulty, the complex implications of the thinker and the thought as two separate processes, the experiencer and the experienced, the observer and the observed. Revolution, this psychological, creative revolution in which the `me' is not, comes only when the thinker and the thought are one, when there is no duality such as the thinker controlling thought; and I suggest it is this experience alone that releases the creative energy which in turn brings about a fundamental revolution, the breaking up of the psychological `me'.
We know the way of power - power through domination, power through discipline, power through compulsion. Through political power we hope to change fundamentally; but such power only breeds further darkness, disintegration evil, the strengthening of the `me'. We are familiar with the various forms of acquisition, both individually and as groups, but we have never tried the way of love, and we don't even know what it means. Love is not possible so long as there is the thinker, the centre of the `me'. Realizing all this, what is one to do?
Surely the only thing which can bring about a fundamental change, a creative, psychological release, is everyday watchfulness, being aware from moment to moment of our motives, the conscious as well as the unconscious. When we realize that disciplines, beliefs, ideals only strengthen the `me' and are therefore utterly futile - when we are aware of that from day to day, see the truth of it, do we not to the central point when the thinker is constantly separating himself from his thought, from his observations, from his experiences? So long as the thinker exists apart from his thought, which he is trying to dominate, there can be no fundamental transformation. So long as the `me' is the observer, the one who gathers experience, strengthens himself through experience, there can be no radical change, no creative release. That creative release comes only when the thinker is the thought - but the gap cannot be bridged by any effort. When the mind realizes that any speculation any verbalization, any form of thought only gives strength to the `me', when it sees that as long as the thinker exists apart from thought there must be limitation, the conflict of duality - when the mind realizes that, then it is watchful, everlastingly aware of how it is separating itself from experience, asserting itself, seeking power. In that awareness, if the mind pursues it ever more deeply and extensively without seeking an end, a goal, there comes a state in which the thinker and the thought are one. In that state there is no effort, there is no becoming, there is no desire to change; in that state the `me' is not, for there is a transformation which is not of the mind.
It is only when the mind is empty that there is a possibility of creation; but I do not mean this superficial emptiness which most of us have. Most of us are superficially empty, and it shows itself through the desire for distraction. We want to be amused, so we turn to books, to the radio, we run to lectures, to authorities; the mind is everlastingly filling itself. I am not talking of that emptiness which is thoughtlessness. On the contrary, I am talking of the emptiness which comes through extraordinary thoughtfulness, when the mind sees its own power of creating illusion and goes beyond.
Creative emptiness is not possible so long as there is the thinker who is waiting, watching, observing in order to gather experience, in order to strengthen himself. Can the mind ever be empty of all symbols, of all words with their sensations, so that there is no experiencer who is accumulating? Is it possible for the mind to put aside completely all the reasonings, the experiences, the impositions, authorities, so that it is in a state of emptiness? You will not be able to answer this question, naturally; it is an impossible question for you to answer, because you do not know, you have never tried. But, if I may suggest, listen to it, let the question be put to you, let the seed be sown; and it will bear fruit if you really listen to it, if you do not resist it.
It is only the new that can transform, not the old. If you pursue the pattern of the old, any change is a modified continuity of the old; there is nothing new in that, there is nothing creative. The creative can come into being only when the mind itself is new; and the mind can renew itself only when it is capable of seeing all its own activities, not only at the superficial level, but deep down. When the mind sees its own activities, is aware of its own desires, demands, urges, pursuits, the creation of its own authorities, fears; when it sees in itself the resistance created by discipline, by control, and the hope which projects beliefs, ideals - when the mind sees through, is aware of this whole process, can it put aside all these things and be new, creatively empty? You will find out whether it can or cannot only if you experiment without having an opinion about it, without wanting to experience that creative state. If you want to experience it, you will; but what you experience is not creative emptiness, it is only a projection of desire. If you desire to experience the new, you are merely indulging in illusion; but if you begin to observe, to be aware of your own activities from day to day, from moment to moment, watching the whole process of yourself as in a mirror, then, as you go deeper and deeper, you will come to the ultimate question of this emptiness in which alone there can be the new.
Truth, God or what you will, is not something to be experienced, for the experiencer is the result of time, the result of memory, of the past, and so long as there is the experiencer there cannot be reality. There is reality only when the mind is completely free from the analyser, from the experiencer and the experienced. Then you will find the answer, then you will see that the change comes without your asking, that the state of creative emptiness is not a thing to be cultivated - it is there, it comes darkly, without any invitation; only in that state is there a possibility of renewal, newness, revolution.
Question and Answers
Question - 1
On the Present Crisis
Question: You say the present crisis is without precedent. In what way is it exceptional?
Krishnamurti: Obviously the present crisis throughout the world is exceptional, without precedent. There have been crises of varying types at different periods throughout history, social, national, political. Crises come and go; economic recessions, depressions, come, get modified, and continue in a different form. We know that; we are familiar with that process. Surely the present crisis is different, is it not? It is different first because we are dealing not with money nor with tangible things but with ideas. The crisis is exceptional because it is in the field of ideation. We are quarrelling with ideas, we are justifying murder; everywhere in the world we are justifying murder as a means to a righteous end, which in itself is unprecedented. Before, evil was recognized to be evil, murder was recognized to be murder, but now murder is a means to achieve a noble result. Murder, whether of one person or of a group of people, is justified, because the murderer, or the group that the murderer represents, justifies it as a means of achieving a result which will be beneficial to man. That is we sacrifice the present for the future - and it does not matter what means we employ as long as our declared purpose is to produce a result which we say will be beneficial to man. Therefore, the implication is that a wrong means will produce a right end and you justify the wrong means through ideation. In the various crises that have taken place before, the issue has been the exploitation of things or of man; it is now the exploitation of ideas, which is much more pernicious, much more dangerous, because the exploitation of ideas is so devastating, so destructive. We have learned now the power of propaganda and that is one of the greatest calamities that can happen: to use ideas as a means to transform man. That is what is happening in the world today. Man is not important - systems, ideas, have become important. Man no longer has any significance. We can destroy millions of men as long as we produce a result and the result is justified by ideas. We have a magnificent structure of ideas to justify evil and surely that is unprecedented. Evil is evil; it cannot bring about good. War is not a means to peace. War may bring about secondary benefits, like more efficient aero planes, but it will not bring peace to man. War is intellectually justified as a means of bringing peace; when the intellect has the upper hand in human life, it brings about an unprecedented crisis.
There are other causes also which indicate an unprecedented crisis. One of them is the extraordinary importance man is going to sensate values, to property, to name, to caste and country, to the particular label you wear. You are either a Mohammedan or a Hindu, a Christian or a Communist. Name and property, caste and country, have become predominantly important, which means that man is caught in sensate value, the value of things, whether made by the mind or by the hand. Things made by the hand or by the mind have become so important that we are killing, destroying, butchering, liquidating each other because of them. We are nearing the edge of a precipice; every action is leading us there, every political, every economic action is bringing us inevitably to the precipice, dragging us into this chaotic, confusing abyss. Therefore the crisis is unprecedented and it demands unprecedented action. To leave, to step out of that crisis, needs a timeless action, an action which is not based on idea, on system, because any action which is based on a system, on an idea, will inevitably lead to frustration. Such action merely brings us back to the abyss by a different route. As the crisis is unprecedented there must also be unprecedented action, which means that the regeneration of the individual must be instantaneous, not a process of time. It must take place now, not tomorrow; for tomorrow is a process of disintegration. If I think of transforming myself tomorrow I invite confusion, I am still within the field of destruction. Is it possible to change now? Is it possible completely to transform oneself in the immediate, in the now? I say it is.
The point is that as the crisis is of an exceptional character to meet it there must be revolution in thinking; and this revolution cannot take place through another, through any book, through any organization. It must come through us, through each one of us. Only then can we create a new society, a new structure away from this horror, away from these extraordinarily destructive forces that are being accumulated, piled up; and that transformation comes into being only when you as an individual begin to be aware of yourself in every thought, action and feeling.
Question - 2
Question: What is it that comes when nationalism goes?
Krishnamurti: Obviously, intelligence. But I am afraid that is not the implication in this question. The implication is, what can be substituted for nationalism? Any substitution is an act which does not bring intelligence. If I leave one religion and join another, or leave one political party and later on join something else, this constant substitution indicates a state in which there is no intelligence.
How does nationalism go? Only by our understanding its full implications, by examining it, by being aware of its significance in outward and inward action. Outwardly it brings about divisions between people, classifications, wars and destruction, which is obvious to anyone who is observant. Inwardly, psychologically, this identification with the greater, with the country, with an idea, is obviously a form of self-expansion. Living in a little village or a big town or whatever it may be, I am nobody; but if I identify myself with the larger, with the country, if I call myself a Hindu, it flatters my vanity, it gives me gratification, prestige, a sense of well-being; and that identification with the larger, which is a psychological necessity for those who feel that self-expansion is essential, also creates conflict, strife, between people. Thus nationalism not only creates outward conflict but inward frustrations; when one understands nationalism, the whole process of nationalism, it falls away. The understanding of nationalism comes through intelligence, by carefully observing, by probing into the whole process of nationalism, patriotism. Out of that examination comes intelligence and then there is no substitution of something else for nationalism. The moment you substitute religion for nationalism, religion becomes another means of self-expansion, another source of psychological anxiety, a means of feeding oneself through a belief. Therefore any form of substitution, however noble, is a form of ignorance. It is like a man substituting chewing gum or betel nut or whatever it is for smoking, whereas if one really understands the whole problem of smoking, of habits, sensations, psychological demands and all the rest of it, then smoking drops away. You can understand only when there is a development of intelligence, when intelligence is functioning, and intelligence is not functioning when there is substitution. Substitution is merely a form of self-bribery, to tempt you not to do this but to do that. Nationalism, with its poison, with its misery and world strife, can disappear only when there is intelligence, and intelligence does not come merely by passing examinations and studying books. Intelligence comes into being when we understand problems as they arise. When there is understanding of the problem at its different levels, not only of the outward part but of its inward, psychological implications, then, in that process, intelligence comes into being. So when there is intelligence there is no substitution; and when there is intelligence, then nationalism, patriotism, which is a form of stupidity, disappears.
Question - 3
Why Spiritual Teachers?
Question: You say that gurus are unnecessary, but how can I find truth without the wise help and guidance which only a guru can give?
Krishnamurti: The question is whether a guru is necessary or not, Can truth be found through another? Some say it can and some say it cannot. We want to know the truth of this, not my opinion as against the opinion of another. I have no opinion in this matter. Either it is so or it is not. Whether it is essential that you should or should not have a guru is not a question of opinion. The truth of the matter is not dependent on opinion, however profound, erudite, popular, universal. The truth of the matter is to be found out, in fact.
First of all, why do we want a guru? We say we need a guru because we are confused and the guru is helpful; he will point out what truth is, he will help us to understand, he knows much more about life than we do, he will act as a father, as a teacher to instruct us in life; he has vast experience and we have but little; he will help us through his greater experience and so on and on. That is, basically, you go to a teacher because you are confused. If you were clear, you would not go near a guru. Obviously if you were profoundly happy, if there were no problems, if you understood life completely, you would not go to any guru. I hope you see the significance of this. Because you are confused, you seek out a teacher. You go to him to give you a way of life to clarify your own confusion, to find truth. You choose your guru because you are confused and you hope he will give you what you ask. That is you choose a guru who will satisfy your demand; you choose according to the gratification he will give you and your choice is dependent on your gratification. You do not choose a guru who says, "Depend on yourself”; you choose him according to your prejudices. So since you choose your guru according to the gratification he gives you, you are not seeking truth but a way out of confusion; and the way out of confusion is mistakenly called truth.
Let us examine first this idea that a guru can clear up our confusion. Can anyone clear up our confusion? - confusion being the product of our responses. We have created it. Do you think someone else has created it - this misery, this battle at all levels of existence, within and without? It is the result of our own lack of knowledge of ourselves. It is because we do not understand ourselves, our conflicts, our responses, our miseries, that we go to a guru whom we think will help us to be free of that confusion. We can understand ourselves only in relationship to the present; and that relationship itself is the guru not someone outside. If I do not understand that relationship, whatever a guru may say is useless, because if I do not understand relationship, my relationship to property, to people, to ideas, who can resolve the conflict within me? To resolve that conflict, I must understand it myself, which means I must be aware of myself in relationship. To be aware, no guru is necessary. If I do not know myself, of what use is a guru? As a political leader is chosen by those who are in confusion and whose choice therefore is also confused, so I choose a guru. I can choose him only according to my confusion; hence he, like the political leader, is confused.
What is important is not who is right - whether I am right or whether those are right who say a guru is necessary; to find out why you need a guru is important. Gurus exist for exploitation of various kinds, but that is irrelevant. It gives you satisfaction if someone tells you how you are progressing, but to find out why you need a guru - there lies the key. Another can point out the way but you have to do all the work, even if you have a guru. Because you do not want to face that, you shift the responsibility to the guru. The guru becomes useless when there is a particle of self-knowledge. No guru, no book or scripture, can give you self-knowledge: it comes when you are aware of yourself in relationship. To be, is to be related; not to understand relationship is misery, strife. Not to be aware of your relationship to property is one of the causes of confusion. If you do not know your right relationship to property there is bound to be conflict, which increases the conflict in society. If you do not understand the relationship between yourself and your wife, between yourself and your child, how can another resolve the conflict arising out of that relationship? Similarly with ideas, beliefs and so on. Being confused in your relationship with people, with property, with ideas, you seek a guru. If he is a real guru, he will tell you to understand yourself. You are the source of all misunderstanding and confusion; and you can resolve that conflict only when you understand yourself in relationship.
You cannot find truth through anybody else. How can you? Truth is not something static; it has no fixed abode; it is not an end, a goal. On the contrary, it is living, dynamic, alert, alive. How can it be an end? If truth is a fixed point it is no longer truth; it is then a mere opinion. Truth is the unknown, and a mind that is seeking truth will never find it, for mind is made up of the known, it is the result of the past, the outcome of time - which you can observe for yourself. Mind is the instrument of the known, hence it cannot find the unknown; it can only move from the known to the known. When the mind seeks truth, the truth it has read about in books, that `truth' is self-projected; for then the mind is merely in pursuit of the known, a more satisfactory known than the previous one. When the mind seeks truth, it is seeking its own self-projection, not truth. After all, an ideal is self-projected; it is fictitious, unreal. What is real is what is, not the opposite. But a mind that is seeking reality, seeking God, is seeking the known. When you think of God, your God is the projection of your own thought, the result of social influences. You can think only of the known; you cannot think of the unknown, you cannot concentrate on truth. The moment you think of the unknown, it is merely the self-projected known. God or truth cannot be thought about. If you think about it, it is not truth. Truth cannot be sought: it comes to you. You can go only after what is known. When the mind is not tortured by the known, by the effects of the known, then only can truth reveal itself. Truth is in every leaf, in every tear; it is to be known from moment to moment. No one can lead you to truth; and if anyone leads you, it can only be to the known.
Truth can only come to the mind that is empty of the known. It comes in a state in which the known is absent, not functioning. The mind is the warehouse of the known, the residue of the known; for the mind to be in that state in which the unknown comes into being, it must be aware of itself, of its previous experiences, the conscious as well as the unconscious, of its responses, reactions, and structure. When there is complete self-knowledge, then there is the ending of the known, then the mind is completely empty of the known. It is only then that truth can come to you uninvited. Truth does not belong to you or to me. You cannot worship it. The moment it is known, it is unreal. The symbol is not real, the image is not real; but when there is the understanding of self, the cessation of self, then eternity comes into being.
Question - 4
Question: I gather definitely from you that learning and knowledge are impediments. To what are they impediments?
Krishnamurti: Obviously knowledge and learning are an impediment to the understanding of the new, the timeless, the eternal. Developing a perfect technique does not make you creative. You may know how to paint marvellously, you may have the technique; but you may not be a creative painter. You may know how to write poems, technically most perfect; but you may not be a poet. To be a poet implies, does it not, being capable of receiving the new; to be sensitive enough to respond to something new, fresh. With most of us knowledge or learning has become an addiction and we think that through knowing we shall be creative. A mind that is crowded, encased in facts, in knowledge - is it capable of receiving something new, sudden, spontaneous? If your mind is crowded with the known, is there any space in it to receive something that is of the unknown? Surely knowledge is always of the known; and with the known we are trying to understand the unknown, something which is beyond measure.
Take, for example, a very ordinary thing that happens to most of us: those who are religious - whatever that word may mean for the moment - try to imagine what God is or try to think about what God is. They have read innumerable books, they have read about the experiences of the various saints, the Masters, the Mahatma and all the rest, and they try to imagine or try to feel what the experience of another is; that is with the known you try to approach the unknown. Can you do it? Can you think of something that is not knowable? You can only think of something that you know. But there is this extraordinary perversion taking place in the world at the present time: we think we shall understand if we have more information, more books, more facts, more printed matter.
To be aware of something that is not the projection of the known, there must be the elimination, through the understanding, of the process of the known. Why is it that the mind clings always to the known? Is it not because the mind is constantly seeking certainty, security? Its very nature is fixed in the known, in time; how can such a mind, whose very foundation is based on the past, on time, experience the timeless? it may conceive, formulate, picture the unknown, but that is all absurd. The unknown can come into being only when the known is understood, dissolved, put aside. That is extremely difficult, because the moment you have an experience of anything, the mind translates it into the terms of the known and reduces it to the past. I do not know if you have noticed that every experience is immediately translated into the known, given a name, tabulated and recorded. So the movement of the known is knowledge, and obviously such knowledge, learning, is a hindrance.
Suppose you had never read a book, religious or psychological, and you had to find the meaning, the significance of life. How would you set about it? Suppose there were no Masters, no religious organizations, no Buddha, no Christ, and you had to begin from the beginning. How would you set about it? First, you would have to understand your process of thinking, would you not? - and not project yourself, your thoughts, into the future and create a God which pleases you; that would be too childish. So first you would have to understand the process of your thinking. That is the only way to discover anything new, is it not?
When we say that learning or knowledge is an impediment, a hindrance, we are not including technical knowledge - how to drive a car, how to run machinery - or the efficiency which such knowledge brings. We have in mind quite a different thing: that sense of creative happiness which no amount of knowledge or learning will bring. To be creative in the truest sense of that word is to be free of the past from moment to moment, because it is the past that is continually shadowing the present. Merely to cling to information, to the experiences of others, to what someone has said, however great, and try to approximate your action to that - all that is knowledge, is it not? But to discover anything new you must start on your own; you must start on a journey completely denuded, especially of knowledge, because it is very easy, through knowledge and belief, to have experiences; but those experiences are merely the products of self-projection and therefore utterly unreal, false. If you are to discover for yourself what is the new, it is no good carrying the burden of the old, especially knowledge - the knowledge of another, however great. You use knowledge as a means of self-protection, security, and you want to be quite sure that you have the same experiences as the Buddha or the Christ or X. But a man who is protecting himself constantly through knowledge is obviously not a truth-seeker.
For the discovery of truth there is no path. You must enter the uncharted sea - which is not depressing, which is not being adventurous. When you want to find something new, when you are experimenting with anything, your mind has to be very quiet, has it not? If your mind is crowded, filled with facts, knowledge, they act as an impediment to the new; the difficulty is for most of us that the mind has become so important, so predominantly significant, that it interferes constantly with anything that may be new, with anything that may exist simultaneously with the known. Thus knowledge and learning are impediments for those who would seek, for those who would try to understand that which is timeless.
Question - 5
Question: All religions have insisted on some kind of self-discipline to moderate the instincts of the brute in man. Through self-discipline the saints and mystics have asserted that they have attained godhood. Now you seem to imply that such disciplines are a hindrance to the realization of God. I am confused. Who is right in this matter?
Krishnamurti: It is not a question of who is right in this matter. What is important is to find out the truth of the matter for ourselves - not according to a particular saint or to a person who comes from India or from some other place, the more exotic the better.
You are caught between these two: someone says discipline, another says no discipline. Generally what happens is that you choose what is more convenient, what is more satisfying: you like the man, his looks, his personal idiosyncrasies, his personal favouritism and all the rest of it. Putting all that aside, let us examine this question directly and find out the truth of the matter for ourselves. In this question a great deal is implied and we have to approach it very cautiously and tentatively.
Most of us want someone in authority to tell us what to do. We look for a direction in conduct, because our instinct is to be safe, not to suffer more. Someone is said to have realized happiness, bliss or what you will and we hope that he will tell us what to do to arrive there. That is what we want: we want that same happiness, that same inward quietness, joy; and in this mad world of confusion we want someone to tell us what to do. That is really the basic instinct with most of us and, according to that instinct, we pattern our action. Is God, is that highest thing, un-nameable and not to be measured by words - is that come by through discipline, through following a particular pattern of action? We want to arrive at a particular goal, particular end, and we think that by practice, by discipline, by suppressing or releasing, sublimating or substituting, we shall be able to find that which we are seeking.
What is implied in discipline? Why do we discipline ourselves, if we do? Can discipline and intelligence go together? Most people feel that we must, through some kind of discipline, subjugate or control the brute, the ugly thing in us. Is that brute, that ugly thing, controllable through discipline? What do we mean by discipline? A course of action which promises a reward, a course of action which, if pursued, will give us what we want - it may be positive or negative; a pattern of conduct which, if practised diligently, sedulously, very, very ardently, will give me in the end what I want. It may be painful but I am willing to go through it to get that. The self, which is aggressive, selfish, hypocritical, anxious, fearful - you know, all of it - that self, which is the cause of the brute in us, we want to transform, subjugate, destroy. How is this to be done? Is it to be done through discipline, or through an intelligent understanding of the past of the self, what the self is, how it comes into being, and so on? Shall we destroy the brute in man through compulsion or through intelligence? Is intelligence a matter of discipline? Let us for the time being forget what the saints and all the rest of the people have said; let us go into the matter for ourselves, as though we were for the first time looking at this problem; then we may have something creative at the end of it, not just quotations of what other people have said, which is all so vain and useless.
We first say that in us there is conflict, the black against the white, greed against non-greed and so on. I am greedy, which creates pain; to be rid of that greed, I must discipline myself. That is I must resist any form of conflict which gives me pain, which in this case I call greed. I then say it is antisocial, it is unethical, it is not saintly and so on and so on - the various social-religious reasons we give for resisting it. Is greed destroyed or put away from us through compulsion? First, let us examine the process involved in suppression, in compulsion, in putting it away, resisting. What happens when you do that, when you resist greed? What is the thing that is resisting greed? That is the first question, isn't it? Why do you resist greed and who is the entity that says, "I must be free of greed"? The entity that says, "I must be free" is also greed, is he not? Up to now, greed has paid him, but now it is painful; therefore he says, "I must get rid of it". The motive to get rid of it is still a process of greed, because he is wanting to be something which he is not. Non-greed is now profitable, so I am pursuing non-greed; but the motive, the intention, is still to be something, to be non-greedy - which is still greed, surely; which is again a negative form of the emphasis on the `me'.
We find that being greedy is painful, for various reasons which are obvious. So long as we enjoy it, so long as it pays us to be greedy, there is no problem. Society encourages us in different ways to be greedy; so do religions encourage us in different ways. So long as it is profitable, so long as it is not painful, we pursue it but the moment it becomes painful we want to resist it. That resistance is what we call discipline against greed; but are we free from greed through resistance, through sublimation, through suppression? Any act on the part of the `me' who wants to be free from greed is still greed. Therefore any action, any response on my part with regard to greed, is obviously not the solution.
First of all there must be a quiet mind, an undisturbed mind, to understand anything, especially something which I do not know, something which my mind cannot fathom - which, this questioner says, is God. To understand anything, any intricate problem - of life or relationship, in fact any problem - there must be a certain quiet depth to the mind. Is that quiet depth come by through any form of compulsion? The superficial mind may compel itself, make itself quiet; but surely such quietness is the quietness of decay, death. It is not capable of adaptability, pliability, sensitivity. So resistance is not the way.
Now to see that requires intelligence, doesn't it? To see that the mind is made dull by compulsion is already the beginning of intelligence, isn't it? - to see that discipline is merely conformity to a pattern of action through fear. That is what is implied in disciplining ourselves: we are afraid of not getting what we want. What happens when you discipline the mind, when you discipline your being? It becomes very hard, doesn't it; unpliable, not quick, not adjustable. Don't you know people who have disciplined themselves - if there are such people? The result is obviously a process of decay. There is an inward conflict which is put away, hidden away; but it is there, burning.
Thus we see that discipline, which is resistance, merely creates a habit and habit obviously cannot be productive of intelligence: habit never is, practice never is. You may become very clever with your fingers by practising the piano all day, making something with your hands; but intelligence is demanded to direct the hands and we are now inquiring into that intelligence.
You see somebody whom you consider happy or as having realized, and he does certain things; you, wanting that happiness, imitate him. This imitation is called discipline, isn't it? We imitate in order to receive what another has; we copy in order to be happy, which you think he is. Is happiness found through discipline? By practising a certain rule, by practising a certain discipline, a mode of conduct, are you ever free? Surely there must be freedom for discovery, must there not? If you would discover anything, you must be free inwardly, which is obvious. Are you free by shaping your mind in a particular way which you call discipline? Obviously you are not. You are merely a repetitive machine, resisting according to a certain conclusion, according to a certain mode of conduct. Freedom cannot come through discipline. Freedom can only come into being with intelligence; and that intelligence is awakened, or you have that intelligence, the moment you see that any form of compulsion denies freedom, inwardly or outwardly.
The first requirement, not as a discipline, is obviously freedom; only virtue gives this freedom. Greed is confusion; anger is confusion; bitterness is confusion. When you see that, obviously you are free of them; you do not resist them. But you see that only in freedom can you discover and that any form of compulsion is not freedom, and therefore there is no discovery. What virtue does is to give you freedom. The un-virtuous person is a confused person; in confusion, how can you discover anything? How can you? Thus virtue is not the end product of a discipline, but virtue is freedom and freedom cannot come through any action which is not virtuous, which is not true in itself. Our difficulty is that most of us have read so much, most of us have superficially followed so many disciplines - getting up every morning at a certain hour, sitting in a certain posture, trying to hold our minds in a certain way - you know, practise, practise, discipline, because you have been told that if you do these things for a number of years you will have God at the end of it. I may put it crudely, but that is the basis of our thinking. Surely God doesn't come so easily as all that? God is not a mere marketable thing: I do this and you give me that.
Most of us are so conditioned by external influences, by religious doctrines, beliefs, and by our own inward demand to arrive at something, to gain something, that it is very difficult for us to think of this problem anew without thinking in terms of discipline. First we must see very clearly the implications of discipline, how it narrows down the mind, limits the mind, compels the mind to a particular action, through our desire, through influence and all the rest of it; a conditioned mind, however `virtuous' that conditioning, cannot possibly be free and therefore cannot understand reality. God, reality or what you will - the name doesn't matter - can come into being only when there is freedom, and there is no freedom where there is compulsion, positive or negative, through fear. There is no freedom if you are seeking an end, for you are tied to that end. You may be free from the past but the future holds you, and that is not freedom. It is only in freedom that one can discover anything: new idea, a new feeling, a new perception. Any form of discipline which is based on compulsion denies that freedom whether political or religious; and since discipline, which is conformity to an action with an end in view, is binding, the mind can never be free. It can function only within that groove, like a gramophone record.
Thus, through practice, through habit, through cultivation of a pattern, the mind only achieves what it has in view. Therefore it is not free; therefore it cannot realize that which is immeasurable. To be aware of that whole process - why you are constantly disciplining yourself to public opinion; to certain saints; the whole business of conforming to opinion, whether of a saint or of a neighbour, it is all the same - to be aware of this whole conformity through practice, through subtle ways of submitting yourself, of denying, asserting, suppressing, sublimating, all implying conformity to a pattern: this is already the beginning of freedom, from which there is a virtue. Virtue surely is not the cultivation of a particular idea, Non-greed, for instance, if pursued as an end is no longer virtue, is it? That is if you are conscious that you are non-greedy, are you virtuous? That is what we are doing through discipline.
Discipline, conformity, practice, only give emphasis to self-consciousness as being something. The mind practises non-greed and therefore it is not free from its own consciousness as being non-greedy; therefore, it is not really non-greedy. It has merely taken on a new cloak which it calls non-greed. We can see the total process of all this: the motivation, the desire for an end, the conformity to a pattern, the desire to be secure in pursuing a pattern - all this is merely the moving from the known to the known, always within the limits of the mind's own self-enclosing process. To see all this, to be aware of it, is the beginning of intelligence, and intelligence is neither virtuous nor non-virtuous, it cannot be fitted into a pattern as virtue or non-virtue. Intelligence brings freedom, which is not licentiousness, not disorder. Without this intelligence there can be no virtue; virtue gives freedom and in freedom there comes into being reality. If you see the whole process totally, in its entirety, then you will find there is no conflict. It is because we are in conflict and because we want to escape from that conflict that we resort to various forms of disciplines, denials and adjustments. When we see what is the process of conflict there is no question of discipline, because then we understand from moment to moment the ways of conflict. That requires great alertness, watching yourself all the time; the curious part of it is that although you may not be watchful all the time there is a recording process going on inwardly, once the intention is there - the sensitivity, the inner sensitivity, is taking the picture all the time, so that the inner will project that picture the moment you are quiet.
Therefore, it is not a question of discipline. Sensitivity can never come into being through compulsion. You may compel a child to do something, put him in a corner, and he may be quiet; but inwardly he is probably seething, looking out of the window, doing something to get away. That is what we are still doing. So the question of discipline and of who is right and who is wrong can be solved only by yourself.
Also, you see, we are afraid to go wrong because we want to be a success. Fear is at the bottom of the desire to be disciplined, but the unknown cannot be caught in the net of discipline. On the contrary, the unknown must have freedom and not the pattern of your mind. That is why the tranquillity of the mind is essential. When the mind is conscious that it is tranquil, it is no longer tranquil; when the mind is conscious that it is non-greedy, free from greed, it recognizes itself in the new robe of non-greed but that is not tranquillity. That is why one must also understand the problem in this question of the person who controls and that which is controlled. They are not separate phenomena but a joint phenomenon: the controller and the controlled are one.