The Observer is the Observed
Bombay, India. Public Talk 8th February, 1948
I think it is important to understand that there is being, only when there is no longer the thinker, and it is only in being that there can be radical transformation. Ideas cannot transform; the modification of thoughts cannot bring about revolution, radical revolution. There can be radical revolution only when the thinker comes to a standstill, when the thinker ends, When do you have creative moments, a sense of joy, a sense of beauty? Surely, only when the thinker is absent, when the thought process ceases for a second, for a minute, for a period of time; then, in that space, there is creative joy. That is real revolution, because then the thinker ceases, and thereby there is a possibility of radical transformation, radical rebirth. So, our problem is how to bring about an end to the thinker - it is not a matter of the transformation, the modification of ideas, either of the left or of the right. Only in bringing the thinker to an end is there creativeness. Perhaps you have experienced that while watching a sunset, when there is great beauty: the intensity of it drives the thinker away, and within that moment there is an extraordinary sense of joy. That creative moment brings revolution, which is a state of being. The thinker ceases, not as a result of transforming thoughts, but only by understanding the movements of the thinker and therefore coming to the central issue, the problem itself, which is the thinker. When the thinker is aware of his own movements, when the mind is aware of itself in action - which is not the thinker altering thoughts, but the thinker being aware of himself - , then you will find there comes a period when the mind is absolutely still, when it is meditative, when it is not attracted, not agitated. Then, in that moment, when the thinker is silent, there comes creative being which, if you will experiment, you will find is the foundation of all radical transformation.
Now I am going to answer several questions.
Question: Can one love truth without loving man? Can one love man without loving truth? Which comes first?
Krishnamurti: Surely, Sir, love comes first. Because, to love truth, you must know truth; and to know truth is to deny it. What is known is not truth, because what is known is already encased in time; therefore, it ceases to be truth. Truth is in constant movement and therefore cannot be measured in time or in words; it cannot be held in your fist. So, to love truth is to know truth - you cannot love something that you do not know. But truth is not to be found in books, in idolatry, in temples. It is to be found in action, in living, in thinking; and since love comes first, which is obvious, the very search for the unknown is love itself, and you cannot search for the unknown without being in relationship with others. You cannot seek out reality, God, or what you will, by withdrawing into isolation. You can find the unknown only in relationship, only when man is related to man. Therefore, the love of man is the search for reality. Without loving man, without loving humanity, there cannot be search for the real; because, when I know you, at least when I try to know you in relationship, in that relationship I am beginning to know myself. Relationship is a mirror in which I am discovering myself - not my higher self, but the whole, total process of myself. The higher self and the lower self are still within the field of the mind; and without understanding the mind, the thinker, how can I go beyond thought and discover? The very relationship is the search for the real, because that is the only contact I have with myself; therefore, the understanding of myself in relationship is the beginning of life, surely. If I do not know how to love you, you with whom I am in relationship, how can I search for the real and therefore love the real? Without you, I am not, am I? I cannot exist apart from you, I cannot be in isolation. Therefore, in our relationship, in the relationship between you and me, I am beginning to understand myself; and the understanding of myself is the beginning of wisdom, is it not? Therefore, the search for the real is the beginning of love in relationship. To love something, you must know it, you must understand it, mustn't you? To love you, I must know you, I must enquire, I must find out, I must be receptive to all your moods, your changes, and not merely enclose myself in my ambitions, pursuits and desires; and in knowing you, I am beginning to discover myself. Without you, I cannot be; and if I do not understand that relationship between you and me, how can there be love? And surely, without love there is no search, is there? You cannot say that one must love truth; because, to love truth, you must know truth. Do you know truth? Do you know what reality is? The moment you know something, it is already over, is it not? It is already in the field of time, therefore it ceases to be truth.
So, our problem is, how can a dry heart, an empty heart, know truth? It cannot. Truth, sir, is not something distant. It is very near, but we do not know how to look for it. To look for it, we must understand relationship, not only with man but with nature, with ideas; I must understand my relationship with the earth, and my relationship with ideation, as well as my relationship with you; and in order to understand, surely there must be openness. If I want to understand you, I must be open to you, I must be receptive, I must not withhold anything - there cannot be an isolating process. Therefore, in understanding there is truth and to understand there must be love; for without love, there cannot be understanding. So, it is not man or truth that comes first, but love; and love comes into being only in understanding relationship, which means that one is open to relationship, and therefore open to reality. Truth cannot be invited - it must come to you. To search for truth, is to deny truth. Truth comes to you when you are open, when you are completely without a barrier, when the thinker is no longer thinking; producing, manufacturing, when the mind is very still - not forced, not drugged, not mesmerized by words, by repetition. Truth must come; and when the thinker goes after truth, he is merely pursuing his own gain. Therefore, truth eludes him. The thinker can be observed only in relationship; and to understand, there must be love. Without love, there is no search.
Question: You cannot build a new world in the way you are doing it now. It is obvious that the method of training laboriously a few chosen disciples will not make any difference to humanity. It cannot. You may be able to leave a mark like Gandhiji, Mohammed, Buddha, Krishna, have done. But, they have not fundamentally changed the world - nor will you, unless you discover an entirely new way of approach to the problem. Krishnamurti: Let us think it out together. The question implies, does it not?, that the wave of destruction, the wave of confusion, is co-existent with life; that the wave of destruction, and life, are always together, running together simultaneously, and there is no interval between them. So, the questioner says, `You may have a few disciples who understand, a few who really perceive and transform themselves, but they cannot transform the world'. And that is the problem: That man should be transformed, not just a few. Christ, Buddha, and others have not transformed the world, because the wave of destruction is always sweeping over mankind; and the questioner says, `Have you a different way of solving this problem? If not, you will be like the rest of the teachers. A few may come out of the chaos, the confusion, but the majority will be swallowed up, destroyed'. You understand the problem, don't you? That is, the few who escape from the burning house hope to draw others from the fire; but since the vast majority are doomed to burn, many who are burning invent the theory of the process of time: in the next life it will be alright. So, they look to time as a means of transformation. That is the problem, is it not? A few of us may be out of this chaos, but the vast majority are held in the net of time, in the net of becoming, in the net of sorrow; and can they be transformed? Can they leave the burning house instantaneously, completely? If not, the wave of confusion, the wave of misery, is continuously covering them up, continuously destroying them. That is the problem, isn't it? I am only explaining, studying the question. So, is there a new approach to the problem? Otherwise, only a few can be saved - which means the wave of destruction, the wave of confusion, is always pursuing man. That is the problem, isn't it, Sirs?
Now, let us try to find the truth of it. Is it not possible for us to step out of time - all of us here, not by some self-hypnotic process, but actually? That is the problem involved. Can you and I, can you who are listening to me, step out of the process of time, so that you are free from chaos? Because, as long as you believe in that process, that is, as long as you say you are becoming free from chaos through the process of time, you and chaos are always co-existent. I do not know if I am explaining myself. That is, if you think that you will become free from chaos, you will never be free, because the becoming is part of the chaos. Either we understand now, or never. If you say, `I will understand tomorrow', you are really postponing; you are really inviting the wave of destruction. So, our problem is to put an end to the becoming process, and therefore put an end to time. As long as you think in terms of becoming - `I will be good', `I will be noble', `I will be something tomorrow which I am not today' - , in that becoming is implied the time process, and in the time process there is confusion. So, there is confusion because you are thinking in terms of becoming. Now, instead of becoming, can you be? - in which alone there is transformation, radical transformation. Becoming is a process of time, being is free from time. And, as I explained earlier, only in being can there be transformation, not in becoming; only in ending is there renewal, not in continuity. Continuity is becoming. When you end something, there is a being; and it is only in being, that there can be fundamental, radical transformation.
So, our problem is to put an end to becoming - not chronological becoming, as yesterday became today and today becomes tomorrow, but - , psychological becoming. Can you put an end instantaneously to that becoming? That is the only new approach, is it not? Every other way is the old approach. Do you understand the question? At present, all forms of approach are gradual. I am this, but I will become that tomorrow; I am a clerk, but I will be the manager in ten years' time; I am angry, but I will slowly become virtuous. That is becoming, which is the process of time; and where there is time, there must be the wave of confusion also. So, our problem is, can we immediately and altogether stop thinking in terms of becoming? That is the only new approach otherwise, we repeat the old approach. I say it is possible. I say you can do it, you can cease to be caught in the net of time, in the net of becoming, you can cease to think in terms of time, in terms of the future, in terms of yesterday. You can do it, and you are doing it now; you do it when you are tremendously interested, when the thought process ceases entirely, when there is complete concentration, complete awareness. That is, Sirs, you do it when you are face to face with a new problem. Now, this is a new problem - how to bring time to an end. As it is a new problem, you must be completely new in regard to it, must you not? Because, if you think in terms of the old, surely you are then translating the new problem into the old and therefore confusing, misinterpreting the problem. When it is a new problem, you must come to it anew; and that which is new is timeless.
So, the point is this: Can you, as you are now sitting here listening to me, free yourself from time? Can you be aware of that state of being in which there is no time? If you are aware of that state of being, you will see that there is a tremendous revolution taking place instantaneously, because the thinker has ceased. It is the thinker that produces the process of becoming. So, time can be brought to an end, time has a stop - not chronological time, but psychological time. Now, look: Many of you are gazing at somebody else - you are more interested in seeing who is coming and who is going. Therefore, what has happened? You are not interested to discover what it is to be without time; and you can discover what it is to be free from the net of time only when you give your whole mind and heart to it, your whole attention - not the attention which is merely exclusive. That, surely, is right meditation, is it not? For thought to end is the beginning of real meditation; and then only is there a revolution, a fundamentally new approach to existence. The new approach is to bring time to an end; and I say it can be done instantaneously, if you are interested. You can step from the river onto the shore at any point. The river of becoming ceases when you understand the time process; but to understand, you must give your heart and mind to it. You are free of time only when there is complete absorption in understanding, - which you are doing now. You are very quiet. You are quiet, because we are discussing, we are forcing the issue. But you cease to be quiet the moment the issue disappears. If you maintain, if you keep that issue clearly in front of you all the time, the stepping out of time becomes an extraordinarily absorbing problem; and I say that for any who are willing to give their mind and heart to it, it is possible to step out of time. That is the only new approach, and therefore it can bring about a radical transformation in society.
Question: When I listen to you, all seems clear and new. At home, the old, dull restlessness asserts itself. What is wrong with me?
Krishnamurti: What is actually taking place in our lives? There is constant challenge and response. That is existence, that is life, is it not? - a constant challenge and response. The challenge is always new, and the response is always old. I met you yesterday, and you come to me today. You are transformed, you are modified, you have changed, you are new; but I have the picture of you as you were yesterday. Therefore, I absorb the new into the old. I don't meet you anew, but I have yesterday's picture of you; so, my response to challenge is always conditioned. Here, for the moment, you cease to be a Brahmin, you cease to be high-caste, or whatever it is - you forget everything. You are just listening, absorbed, trying to find out. But, when you go out of this place, you become yourself - you are back in your caste, your system, your job, your family. That is, the new is always being absorbed into the old, into the old habits, customs, ideas, traditions, memories. There is never the new, for you are always meeting the new with the old - the challenge is new, but you meet it with the old. So, the problem in this question is, how to free thought from the old, so as to be new all the time? When you see a flower, when you see a face, when you see the sky, when you see a tree, when you see a car, when you see a smile, how are you to meet it anew? Why is it that we do not meet it anew? Why is it that the old absorbs the new, and modifies it; why does the new cease when you go home?
Now, the old response arises from the thinker. Is not the thinker always the old? Because your thought is founded on the past, when you meet the new it is the thinker who is meeting it; the experience of yesterday is meeting it. The thinker is always the old. So, we come back to the same problem in a different way: How to free the mind from itself as the thinker? How to eradicate memory, not factual memory, but psychological memory, which is the accumulation of experience? Because, without freedom from the residue of experience, there can be no reception of the new. Now, to free thought, to be free of the thought process and so to meet the new, is arduous, is it not? Because, all our beliefs, all our traditions, all our methods in education, are a process of imitation, copying, memorizing, building up the reservoir of memory. That memory is constantly responding to the new; the response of that memory we call thinking, and that thinking meets the new. So, how can there be the new? Only when there is no residue of memory can there be newness, and there is residue when experience is not finished, concluded, ended, that is, when the understanding of experience is incomplete. When experience is complete, there is no residue - that is the beauty of life. Love is not residue, love is not experience, it is a state of being. Love is eternally new. So, our problem is: Can one meet the new constantly, even at home? Surely, one can. To do that, one must bring about a revolution in thought, in feeling; and you can be free only when every incident is thought out from moment to moment, when every response is fully understood, not merely casually looked at and thrown aside. There is freedom from accumulating memory only when every thought, every feeling is completed, thought out to the end. That is, when each thought and each feeling is thought out, concluded, there is an ending; and there is a space between that ending and the next thought. In that space of silence, there is renewal, the new creativeness takes place. Now, this is not theoretical, this is not impractical. If you will try to think out every thought and every feeling, you will discover that it is extraordinarily practical in your daily life; for then you are new, and what is new is eternal, enduring. To be new is creative, and to be creative is to be happy; and a happy man is not concerned whether he is rich or poor, he does not care to what caste he belongs, or to what country. He has no leaders, no gods, no temples, and therefore no quarrels, no enmity. Surely, that is the most practical way of solving our difficulties in this present world chaos. It is because we are not creative, in the sense in which I am using that word, that we are so antisocial at all the different levels of our consciousness, To be very practical and effective in our social relationship, in our relationship with everything, one must be happy; and there cannot be happiness if there is no ending, there cannot be happiness if there is a becoming. In ending there is renewal, rebirth, a newness, a freshness, a joy. But the new is absorbed into the old, and the old destroys the new, as long as there is background, as long as the mind, the thinker, is conditioned by his thought. To be free from the background, from the conditioning influences, from memory, there must be freedom from continuity; and, there is continuity as long as thought and feeling are not ended completely. Sir, you complete a thought when you pursue the thought to its end, and thereby bring an end to every thought, to every feeling. Surely, love is not habit, memory; love is always new. There can be a meeting of the new only when the mind is fresh; and the mind is not fresh as long as there is the residue of memory. Memory is factual, as well as psychological. I am not talking of factual memory, but of psychological memory. As long as experience is not completely understood, there is residue, which is the old, which is of yesterday, the thing that is past; and the past is always absorbing the new and therefore destroying the new. It is only when the mind is free from the old that it meets everything anew, and in that there is joy.
Question: You never mention God, Has he no place in your teachings?
Krishnamurti: You talk a great deal about God, don't you? Your books are full of it. You build churches, temples, you make sacrifices, you do rituals, perform ceremonies, and you are full of ideas about God, are you not? You repeat the word, but your acts are not godly, are they? Though you worship what you call God, your ways, your thoughts, your existence, are not godly, are they? Though you repeat the word `God', you exploit others, do you not? You have your gods - Hindu, Mussulman, Christian, and all the rest of it. You build temples; and the richer you get, the more temples you build. (Laughter.) Don't laugh, Sir, you would do the same yourself - only you are still trying to become rich, that is all. So, you are very familiar with God, at least with the word; but the word is not God, the word is not the thing. So, let us be very clear on that point: The word is not God. You may use the word `God' or some other word, but God is not the word which you use. Because you use it, it does not mean that you know God; you merely know the word. I don't use that word for the very simple reason that you know it. What you know is not the real. And besides, to find reality, all verbal mutterings of the mind must cease, must they not? You have images of God, but the image is not God, surely. How can you know God? Obviously, not through an image, not through a temple. To receive God, the unknown, the mind must be the unknown. If you pursue God, then you already know God, you know the end; you know what you are pursuing, don't you? If you seek God, you must know what God is; otherwise, you wouldn't seek him, would you? You seek him either according to your books, or according to your feelings; and your feelings are merely the response of memory. Therefore, that which you seek is already created, either through memory or through hearsay, and that which is created is not the eternal - it is the product of the mind Sirs if there were no books, if there were no gurus, no formulas to be repeated you would only know sorrow and happiness, wouldn't you? - constant sorrow and misery, and rare moments of happiness; and then you would want to know why you suffer. You couldn't escape to God - but you would probably escape in other ways, and soon invent gods as an escape. But, if you really want to understand the whole process of suffering, as a new man; a fresh man, enquiring and not escaping, then you will free yourself from sorrow, then you will find out what reality is, what God is. But a man in sorrow cannot find God or reality; reality can be found only when sorrow ceases, when there is happiness, not as a contrast, not as an opposite, but that state of being in which there are no opposites.
So, the unknown, that which is not created by the mind, cannot be formulated by the mind. That which is unknown cannot be thought about. The moment you think about the unknown, it is already the known. Surely you cannot think about the unknown, can you? You can think only about the known. Thought moves from the known to the known; and what is known is not reality, is it? So, when you think and meditate, when you sit down and think about God, you only think about what is known, and what is known is in time; it is caught in the net of time, and is therefore not the real. Reality can come into being only when the mind is free from the net of time. When the mind ceases to create, there is creation. That is, the mind must be absolutely still, but not with an induced, a hypnotized stillness, which is merely a result. Trying to become still in order to experience reality is another form of escape. There is silence only when all problems have ceased; as the pool is quiet when the breeze stops, so the mind is naturally quiet when the agitator, the thinker, ceases. To put an end to the thinker, all the thoughts which he manufactures must be thought out. It is no good erecting a barrier, a resistance, against thought; because, thoughts must be felt out, the mind is still, reality, the indescribable, comes into being. You cannot invite it. To invite it, you must know it, and what is known is not the real. So, the mind must be simple, unburdened by belief, by ideation; and when there is stillness, when there is no desire, no longing, when the mind is absolutely quiet with a stillness that is not induced, then reality comes. And that truth, that reality, is the only transforming agent; it is the only factor that brings a fundamental, radical revolution in existence, in our daily life. And to find that reality is not to seek it, but to understand the factors that agitate the mind, that disturb the mind itself. Then the mind is simple, quiet, still. In that stillness the unknown, the unknowable, comes into being; and when that happens, there is a blessing.
The Observer is the Observed
Bombay, India. Public Talk 8th February, 1948
Jiddu Krishnamurti texts. The Observer Is the Observed. Contains reports of spontaneous discourses about life and reality, given at different times between 1945 and 1948.