Poona, India, 1948
Poona India 7th Public Talk 10th October, 1948
We have been saying that without self knowledge no human problem can permanently be solved. Few us are prepared to go into a problem completely and see the movement our own thought, feeling and action as a comprehensive, integrated whole; most of us want an immediate answer without understanding the whole process of ourselves. In considering this matter, we will have to go into the question of progress and specialization. We believe, and we have been carefully nurtured, regimented in the idea, that there is progress, there is evolution, there is growth. Now, let us examine that question, There is obviously technological progress, from the bullock cart to the jet airplane. Then there is growth, the acorn becoming an oak. And finally, we think that we ourselves shall become something, we shall achieve a result, an end. So, these three things, technological progress, growth, and becoming, are all considered a kind of evolution. It would be obviously absurd to deny progress in terms of technological advancement. We see the crude internal combustion engine eventually giving place to the turbo-jet, making possible airplanes of enormous speeds, doing 1500 miles per hour and more. It would be equally absurd to deny the growth of a seed into a plant, into a flower, and from that into a fruit. But with that same mentality we approach our own consciousness. We think there is progress, evolution, that through time we shall achieve a result; and I want to go into the question of whether there is progress at all for man, whether there is evolutionary growth, whether it is possible for you and me to achieve a result in terms of time, the result being the achievement of reality. We talk about the evolutionary advancement of man, that you become something eventually - if not in this life, then in future life. That is through time you evolve into something greater, more beautiful, more worthy, and so on.
Now, is there such a thing as your becoming more wise, more beautiful, more virtuous, approaching nearer reality, through the process of time? That is what we mean when we talk about evolution. There is obviously a physiological evolution, growth; but is there a psychological growth, evolution, or is it merely a phantasy of the mind, which, in its desire to transform itself, falls into the erroneous thought of becoming something? Now, to become something, you must specialize, must you not; and anything that specializes soon dies, decays, because all specialization implies lack of adaptability. Only that thing which is capable of adaptation or pliability can survive. So, as long as we are thinking of becoming, there must be specialization, and specialization obviously implies a process of narrowing down in which all pliability is impossible, and therefore there is death, decay and destruction. You can see that any animal that specializes soon destroys itself. That is a biological fact. And are human beings meant to specialize? You will have to specialize to have a profession, to be a doctor, to be a lawyer, to be the commander of an army, or to get a boat through the stormy seas; but is psychological specialization necessary? That means, is self-knowledge a process of specialization? If it is, then that process of specialization destroys man - which is what is happening in the world. Technological advancement through specialization is extremely rapid, and man is incapable of quick adaptability in the psychological sense because we approach life with the same mentality of specialization. In other words, specialization in the technological field has given us the bias that we must specialize in self-knowledge, become experts, specialists in the understanding of ourselves. So, our mentality, our approach to this problem, is that of specialization, in which is implied becoming. To specialize, you must discipline yourself, control yourself, narrow down your capacity, focus your attention on a particular object, and so on. All this is implied in specialization.
Now surely, Man is a complex entity, and to understand himself he cannot specialize. As you are complex, subtle, made up of many entities, you must understand them as a whole, and not specialize in any one direction. So, to understand the process of the self, which is self-knowledge, specialization is detrimental, specialization prevents quick adaptability; and anything that specializes soon decays and withers away. So, to understand oneself, one needs enormous pliability, and that pliability is denied when we specialize in devotion. in action, in knowledge. There are no paths such as devotion, as action, as knowledge, and he who follows any of these paths separately as a specialist brings about his own destruction. That is, a man who is committed to a particular path, to a particular approach, is incapable of pliability, and that which is not pliable is broken. As a tree that is not pliable breaks in the storm, so a man who has specialized breaks down in moments of crisis. To understand oneself is imperative, because self-knowledge alone can solve the innumerable problems that confront us; and you cannot approach self-knowledge through any particular path. The path implies specialization, becoming an expert, and in that process you are broken. Haven't you noticed that an expert is not an integrated person? He is specialized in one direction. To understand the process of life, you need an integrated action, an integrated understanding all the time, and not specialized attention. To think in terms of evolution, that I shall become something in time, implies specialization, because to become means achieving a result, and to achieve a result you must control, discipline, and all discipline is obviously a process of narrowing down. Though you may achieve the result, in the process of achieving that result you are broken. That is what is happening with all of us. We have become incapable of quick adaptability to the environment that is constantly changing. Our response to a challenge is always conditioned, and therefore the challenge can never be understood.
So, when you think in terms of evolution, in terms of becoming something psychologically, that becoming implies the achievement of a result, and to achieve a result you must discipline yourself; for discipline, specialization is necessary, which in turn narrows down your thought; therefore you become unplayable, incapable of quick adaptability, and that which is not adaptable is broken. A man who would have self-knowledge must put aside this idea of becoming and understand himself from moment to moment without the residual effect of the moment. Surely, if you will observe it, you will see that understanding comes, not through the accumulation of memory, but when memory is not functioning. You understand somebody only when you have no previous record of that person. If you have a previous record, you are merely remembering the past activities and inclinations of that person, but you are not understanding him. To understand, all idea of becoming must cease, which means that each experience must be understood immediately, directly; and you can understand experience immediately only when you do not bring up the old conditioning, the old background, to translate that experience or that challenge.
To understand oneself is of primary importance, because I cannot understand any human problem without understanding the instrument that regards, the instrument that perceives, that examines. If I do not know my self, I have no foundation for thought and to know myself is not the result of specialization, of becoming an expert in knowing myself - which prevents me from knowing myself. Because, the self is desire, it is alive, always moving, it has no resting place, it is constantly undergoing a change and to understand desire, you cannot have a pattern of action. You must understand desire as it arises from moment to moment; and because our minds are not capable of quick following, instant adaptability, immediate perception of desire, we translate that desire in terms of a pattern which we are accustomed, and that pattern becomes a conditioned response to the challenge. That is, we never understand desire because we are translating that desire in terms of memory. To understand desire, do not think in terms of changing that desire, or of achieving a result. Look at each desire as it arises, do not translate it; let the content of that desire convey its significance. In other words, as I was explaining yesterday, listen to desire as you listen to a song, as you listen to the wind in the trees; listen to the whole process of desire without trying to alter it, without trying to control or transform it. Then you will see that desire gives its full meaning; and it is only when you understand the content of desire that you have freedom.
In short, then, specialization of the psyche is death. If you desire to understand yourself, you cannot go to any expert, to any book, because you are your own master and pupil. If you go to another, he can only help you to specialize; but if you are desirous of understanding yourself, that understanding comes only from moment to moment when there is no accumulation of yesterday, no accumulation of a previous moment; and when the mind understands itself and its activities completely, fully, only then is there reality.
Question: Will you please explain what is meant by giving full attention?
Krishnamurti: To understand the significance of full attention, you must understand first what you mean by distraction; because, if a man is not distracted, there is full attention. To merely enquire and be told what is full attention, so-called positive, directed attention, destroys your own capacity to find out what is full attention. Surely, that is clear, is it not? If I were to tell you what is full attention, you would merely copy that, Would you not? - which would not be full attention. Following a particular pattern of thought or meditation, or keeping the mind focussed on a particular idea, is not full attention; but if you and I enquire into the question of what is distraction and understand that, then through this negative approach to the question you will find that there is complete attention. I hope I am making myself clear, because this is very important. Any sensitive approach to a problem prevents understanding of the problem; but if we approach this problem negatively - and negative thought is the highest form of thinking - , then we will find a complete answer to the question of what is full attention.
Now, what do you mean by distraction? You mean, do you not?, that you have chosen an idea from among several ideas, you have chosen an interest from among many interests, and you try to fix your mind on that particular thing; and any other interests that invade your mind you call distraction. That is, I have several interests, and from among these interests I choose one and try to focus my attention on it. But my other interests come between and impede attention, and this is what I call distraction. So if I can understand distraction and put an end to it, then naturally, suddenly, there will be full attention. Our problem is to understand each interest without choice, and not choose one interest and attempt to discard others, calling that distraction. If the mind can understand each interest as it arises and therefore free itself from each interest, in that freedom you will have full attention. Sir, most of us are made up of many masks, many entities, and it is no good choosing one entity and saying, `I am going to concentrate on this', because then you are inviting conflict with other entities; and the other entities which are fighting your chosen entity are also yourself. Whereas, if you look at all the entities and revalue them, see their true significance - and you can do that only when you do not condemn, when you do not justify, when you do not compare - , then there is a quickening of intelligence. There is attention only when you examine, when you revalue each entity, and that is the highest form of intelligence. A stupid man trying to concentrate on an idea will still remain stupid; but if that stupid man regards all his interests to find their true significance, that very enquiry is the beginning of intelligence.
So, you see that through a negative approach to this problem you discover a great deal, you become sensitive, alert to the significance of the innumerable problems about you. Then you do not resist them, you do not put them away, but as they arise, you understand them, which means that you have the capacity, the swiftness, the vitality to discover. After that discovery, you will give full attention. To have full attention, your mind must not be distracted; and since your mind is distracted, why not pursue the various distractions and find out? If you do that, you will see how extraordinarily quickly the mind becomes subtle, vivid, clarified and vital. It is only when the mind is alert that you can give that full attention in which there is complete understanding.
Question: You talk of seeing a thought through and getting rid of it. Will you please explain this in great detail?
Krishnamurti: To think a thought through is quite an arduous task and very few of us are willing to do so. We like to transform a thought, to put it in a different frame or mould, we do not want to think it through. There must be no desire to transform a thought, there must be no desire to get rid of it or to put it in a different frame. I am going to take a thought and examine it, and we will see together.
Most of us think we are very intelligent, most of us think that we have a bright spot. Now, are we intelligent? On the contrary, we are dull, but we would never admit to ourselves that we are dull, that we lack sensitivity; and if we completely analyzed this, we would not be so sorrowfully stupid. We are not intelligent, we have no bright spot, but we think we are partly bright and partly dull. I am going to think this thought through, so please follow it. When you say, `I am partly dull add partly bright', which is the part that is saying, `I am bright', and which is the part that is saying, `I am dull'? If the bright part is saying that the other part is dull, then obviously the bright part knows itself as being bright. That is, when you say, `I am bright', you are conscious of yourself being very intelligent. Is intelligence self-conscious? The moment I say, `I am intelligent', obviously I am dull. (Laughter.) That is not a clever response - you can watch it. When a man says he is clever, he is obviously a stupid man. So that part of the mind which is conscious of itself as being bright is really dull; and the dull mind thinking that a part of itself is bright is still dull. It very important to follow this, because most of us think that somewhere in us there is a bright spot. Obviously when a dull mind thinks that somewhere it has a bright spot, that thought is still dull, is it not? Sir, we are thinking a thought through. When a dull mind thinks it has a bright spot, that is still the action c& a dull mind. When a dull man per, forms puja, the action is also dull; and if there is a dull mind which thinks that a part of itself is bright, eternal, that part is equally dull.
So, most of us do not like to acknowledge that we are dull; we like to think that somehow, somewhere in us there is a bright spot - God, reality, Atman, Paramatman, and all the re of it. But if a dull man thinks about Atman, that Atman is still dull. How can a dull man think about something which is really intelligent? That which is intelligent is not self-conscious; and the moment I say to myself, `I am intelligent', I reduce myself to the level of stupidity - and that is what most of you are doing. So, you never acknowledge that the whole of you is dull - which it is, if you really look at it. You like to play about with bright things and call yourselves intelligent. Actually, a dull man playing with bright things reduces the bright things to his own level. When a mind is thinking itself to be bright, either it is self-conscious and therefore dull, or it is dull and thinks of itself as being bright - and is therefore still dull. But when a mind recognizes that it is dull, what is the next response? First, to acknowledge that one is dull is already a tremendous fact: to say that I am a liar is already the beginning of telling the truth. So, when we think out this thought of dullness and brightness, we see that almost all of us are dull right through, and we are afraid to acknowledge it. Don't you know how dull you are? Because we are dull, we try to solve our problems partially and unintegratedly, and therefore we still remain dull. But when we do acknowledge it - not mentally or verbally, but actually see that we are dull - , what happens? When a dull mind recognizes itself as being dull, when the mind sees it, there is no escape. We are thinking a thought through: just see what happens when you acknowledge and face the reality that you are dull. The moment you acknowledge that fact, that you are entirely dull, what happens? You see that a dull mind thinking of God, is still dull - the idea of God may be bright, but a dull mind reduces the idea to its own level. If you can face the fact that you are dull, then already there is the beginning of clarification. Stupidity which is trying to become intelligence will never be intelligence: it will always remain what it is. A dull mind trying to become bright will always remain dull, whatever it does. But the moment you acknowledge the fact that you are dull, there is an immediate transformation.
It is the same with every thought. Take anger. Anger may be the result of a physiological or neurological response, or you are angry because you want to conceal something. Think it out, face it without trying to find an excuse for it. The moment you face the fact, there is the beginning of transformation. You cannot translate a fact: you can mistranslate it, but a fact remains a fact. So, to think a thought through is to see what is without distortion; and when I perceive the fact directly, then only is it transformed. It is not possible to bring about transformation as long as I am evading, running away from what is, or as long as I am trying to change what is into something else, for then I am incapable of direct action.
Then, Sir, take violence. Again, let us think that thought through, First, I do not like to acknowledge that I am violent, because socially and morally I am told that to be violent is a very bad thing. But the fact is I am violent. So I meditate, I compel, I try to become something else - but I never face what I actually am, which is violent. I spend my time trying to transform what is into something else. To transform, I must look at what is; and I am not looking at it as long as I have an ideal. If I see that, I set aside the ideal, which is non-violence, and look at violence, and then I am fully aware that I am violent; and the very fact that I am directly conscious of it brings about transformation. Experiment with it and you will see. This refusal to see what is - that is the problem with all of us. I never want to look at what is, I never want to acknowledge that I am ugly - I always give reasons for my ugliness; but if I look at my ugliness as it is, without explanation or excuse, then there is a possibility of transformation.
So, to think a thought through is to see how thought is deceiving itself, running away from what is. You can think a thought out fully, completely, only when you stop all avenues of escape and then look at it - which requires an extraordinary honesty; and as most of us are dishonest in our thinking, we never want to see any thought through. It is the discovery of how thought is deceiving itself that is important; and when you discover its deceitfulness, then you can face what is. Then only what is reveals its full significance, its meaning.
Question: Instead of addressing heterogeneous crowds in many places and dazzling and confounding them with your brilliance and subtlety, why do you not start a community or colony and create a reference for your way of thinking? Are you afraid that this could never be done?
Krishnamurti: Sir brilliance and subtlety should always be kept under cover, because too much exposure of brilliance only blinds. It is not my intention to blind or show cleverness, that is too stupid; but when one sees things very clearly, one cannot help setting them out very clearly. This you may think brilliant and subtle. To me, what I am saying is not brilliant: it is the obvious. That is one fact. The other is, you want me to found an ashram or a community. Now, why? Why do you want me to found a community? You say that it will act as a reference, that is, something which can be pointed out as a successful experiment. That is what a reference implies, does it not? - a community where all these things are being carried out. That is what you want. I do not want to found an ashram or a community, but you want it. Now, why do you want such a community? I will tell you why. It is very interesting, is it not? You want it because you would like to join with others and create a community, but you do not want to start a community with yourself; you want somebody else to do it, and when it is done you will join it. In other words, Sir, you are afraid of starting on your own, therefore you want a reference. That is, you want something which will give you authority of a kind that can be carried out. In other words, you yourself are not confident, and therefore you say, `Found a community and I will join it'. Sir, where you are you can found a community, but you can found that community only when you have confidence. The trouble is that you have no confidence. Why are you not confident? What do I mean by confidence? The man who wants to achieve a result, who gets what he wants, is full of confidence - the business man, the lawyer, the policeman, the general, are all full of confidence. Now, here you have no confidence. Why? For the simple reason you have not experimented. The moment you experiment with this, you will have confidence. Nobody else can give you confidence; no book, no teacher can give you confidence. Encouragement is not confidence; encouragement is merely superficial, childish, immature. Confidence comes as you experiment; and when you experiment with nationalism, wit even the smallest thing, then as you experiment you will have confidence, because your mind will be swift, pliable; and then where you are there will be an ashram, you yourself will found the community. That is clear, is it not? You are more important than any community. If you join a community, you will be as you are - you will have somebody to boss you, you will have laws, regulations and discipline, you will be another Mr. Smith or Mr. Rao in that beastly community. You want a community only when you want to be directed, to be told what to do. A man who wants to be directed is aware of his lack of confidence in himself. You can have confidence, not by talking about self-confidence, but only when you experiment, when you try. Sir, the reference is you, so, experiment, wherever you are, a whatever level of thought. You are the only reference, not the community; and when the community becomes the reference, you are lost. I hope there will be lots of people joining together and experimenting, having full confidence and therefore coming together; but for you to sit outside and say, `Why don't you form a community for me to join?', is obviously a foolish question. I do not want an ashram for the simple reason that you are more important than the ashram: I really feel it. The ashram becomes a nightmare. Sir, what happens in the ashram? The teacher becomes important; it is not the seeker, but the guru who is important. The guru is all authority, and you have given him that authority; because, the moment you support a guru you make him into an authority. Therefore, when you join these ashrams you are destroying yourself. (Laughter.) Please do not laugh it off. Look at people who have come out of ashrams. They are dull, weary, their blood has been sucked away, and they are thrown out as shadows. Self-immolation to an idea is not finding truth - it is only another form of gratification. Where there is search for gratification, there is no search for reality. So, you are the only reference, not another, not an ashram, not a community. If you want to form a community for experimenting, it should not become your reference; for the moment it becomes your reference, your authority, you are no longer seeking truth - you are basking in the sunshine of another's action. That is what you want. You all want reflected glory. That is why you join ashrams, pursue gurus, form communities; and inevitably they will fail, because the teacher becomes all-important and not you. If you are searching for truth you will never join an ashram, you will never have the reference of another. You will have your own reference; and you can have your own reference only when you are very honest, and that honesty comes only when you experiment. A man who experiments and wants a result is obviously not experimenting. A man who experiments does not know what is going to come out. That is the beauty of experimentation. If you know what is going to come out of it, you are not experimenting. So, the difficulty in having a teacher, a community,an ashram, lies in this, that you make it your reference, you make it your shelter. The guru is not so much at fault as the follower. You make your guru your reference, you hand your life over to him to be told what to do. No man can tell you what to do. If he tells you what to do, he does not know: a man who knows, does not know. Do not seek a reference, do not seek shelters, but experiment, become confident; then you will have your own reference, which is truth. Then you will be aware that you are the community, you are your own ashram. Where you are is very important, for truth is very near you if you only look.
Question: Modern man has been a dazzling success in the field of technological development and organization, but he has been a dismal failure in building up harmonious human relationships. How can we resolve this tragic contradiction? Can we conceive of a cumulative increase in the means of grace at the disposal of each person in the world?
Krishnamurti: Let us think out this question and see what it means. The questioner points out that there is contradiction in our life: technologically we are very far advanced, and as psychological entities we are far behind; and he asks, can each one who is spiritually so far behind overtake that technological advance? Can there be a miracle which will immediately transform me so that the psychological entity catches up with technological progress? I think that is what is implied in this ques- tion: can each person be quickly transformed by accumulated grace so that there is no contradiction? That is, if I understand the question rightly, and to put it simply and directly, through some miracle can you be transformed? Can the cumulative grace of God act so rapidly that there is not this division, this contradiction? Because technological advance is going faster and faster, and psychologically we are following very slowly, we must have a miracle in order to catch up, otherwise we will be destroyed. I wonder if you follow all this. To put it differently, the turbojet airplane is said to fly at a speed of 1500 miles an hour; and there is the atomic bomb. You can see what that means. With instruments of such power in the hands of a stupid man calling himself a general, a national hero, or what you will, can I, who am an imbecile psychologically, catch up with all that so that I can alter it? The question, in other words, is this: Can I be transformed now? Please follow this. Can a miracle take place so that I may change immediately? I say yes. (Laughter.) Do not laugh it off. What I am saying is very serious. I say a miracle can take place now; but you and I must be receptive for that miracle to happen, and you must also be part of that miracle. A blind man who is suffering in his blindness, desires to be cured, he wants to see. If you are in that position you will have a miracle, and I say transformation is not in time, but now. Regeneration is immediate, it is not tomorrow or in the distant future. A miracle can take place if you know how to look at the problem, and that is what I have been trying to show during the past four or five weeks. The miracle Lakes place if you look at things directly. Sir, if you mistake the rope for a snake and are afraid to look, a miracle is not possible, is it? That is, you will always be afraid. The miracle happens only when you look. To look, you must have the desire you must be in pain and must want to be cured. That means you have honesty to solve this problem. But you are not honest, you are anxious - you want something to happen so that you will be changed, and yet you won't look at the problem, search it out, you won't enquire into it or go into it. So you remain dull and technological progress goes much faster than you can keep pace with.
So, there can be a miracle only when you are willing to receive that miracle; and I assure you that a miracle can take place when you are willing to receive it, when you are willing to look at things really as they are. Do not deceive yourself by giving explanations, by justifying yourself, but see yourself as you are - and discover what an extraordinary thing takes place. I assure you regeneration comes when you are not looking to time as a means of transforming yourself. Only then is there transformation, and the miracle is not far. But you are so sluggish, so unwilling, so empty handed even in your suffering! Sir, the rain falls and gives nourishment to the earth, the trees, the flowers; but if that rain falls on a rock, does it do any good You are like the rock your heart and minds are dull, you are empty and hard, and no amount of rain can wash that away. What will change your hard heart is to see things as they are; do not condemn, do not find an excuse for them, but recognize, look at them - and you will see a miracle. When you see and acknowledge that your heart is hard, your mind full of childish toys - when you recognize it, you will see a transformation take place. But, to look to see, to observe, you must have that intention. Sirs, look at you: some are yawning, some are twiddling their thumbs, some are cleaning their glasses.Do you think a miracle can happen to you? Do you think a miracle can happen when you are secure, when you have money? When your hands are full of money, it cannot happen. You must let go, you must be willing to let go, then the miracle can happen. You must be aware of yourself as you are, simply, constantly and directly, with all your ugliness, your cheerfulness, your brutality, joy and suffering. As you become aware you will see a miracle happening that you would never have suspected, a miracle that is truth, that transforms, that liberates.
Question: You seem to suggest that concentration and the willful focussing of one's attention is exclusive and therefore a dulling process. Will you please explain what is meditation and how the mind can be stilled and got rid of?
Krishnamurti: I do not know what is meant by `got rid of', but that does not matter. I have carefully explained that concentration is not meditation, for concentration is mere exclusive choice, and therefor; there is a narrowing down of the mind. A mind that is narrowed down can never understand that which is limitless, immeasurable. have explained that. You can read about it in the books that have been published. Also, I have said that meditation is not prayer. Prayer is another trick of the mind to quicken itself. Through the repetition of words and sentences you can make the mind still, and in that stillness receive a response; but that response is not the response of reality, because such prayer is merely a repetition, a begging, a supplication. In prayer there is duality, one who begs and the other who grants. I have said that meditation is not concentration, meditation is not prayer. Now, most of you who practice meditation belong to either of these two categories. That is, you are concentrating to achieve a result, or you pray for something you want, either a refrigerator or a virtue. You can enquire into what meditation is only when you do not want anything. You cannot go into the significance of meditation if you approach it from either of those two points of view. I have explained all that, and I won't go into it now.
What do we mean by meditation? obviously it means, does it not?, a mind that is capable of swift pliability, so that it is aware extensively and widely, so that every problem as it arises is dissolved instantaneously, every challenge is understood, and there is no response of yesterday. Sir, a meditative mind is a mind that knows itself, which means that meditation is the beginning of self-knowledge. You cannot meditate without knowing yourself. Without knowing yourself, your meditation is vain, it has no meaning. To meditate rightly, you must first know yourself. Therefore, meditation is self-knowledge. To know yourself is to see all the content of the mind, both the conscious and the unconscious activities, when it is awake and when it is in its so-called sleep. That is not difficult, and I am going to show how to do it; but experiment with it now, do not wait till you go home. When you experiment, you do not know what you are going to discover. Each time you approach any problem there is something new - that is the beauty of reality. It is always creative, it is always new. That newness cannot come through memory. So, meditation is the beginning of self-knowledge, which is to know the conscious activities and also the whole content of the hidden layers of the mind. Please follow this. Meditate with me as I go along step by step. I am not mesmerizing you, I am not using words for their neurological value. I am going to find out what it means to meditate, to discover reality through meditation. We are experimenting to find out, not tomorrow, but now. You can question me tomorrow. Please follow this, Sirs. First, I recognize the fact that without knowing myself I cannot meditate; meditation has no meaning without self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is not high or low, it is the whole process of thought, the open thought with which you are familiar, and all the concealed thought that is hidden in the unconscious. I am going to meditate and uncover the whole process - which can be done immediately. Truth can be perceived directly.
Now, what is the self? Obviously, it is memory; at whatever level, high or low, it is still memory, which means thought. You may call the self Atman, or merely the responses to environment; when you call it Atman you place it at a high level, but it is still part of thought, which is memory. Therefore, to understand this whole process of `myself' is to understand memory - memory which is not only acquired the previous minute, but also the memory of centuries, the memory which is the result of accumulated racial experience, national, geographical, climatic influences, and so on. All this is memory, whether superficial or very deep; and we are going to be aware of the whole of memory, in all its details. As most of us can see, when we say that the self is memory - not a particular memory, but the total memory of all entities - the implication is that to uncover its various layers needs time. To investigate the conscious and the unconscious memory, one must have time; and to use time to discover truth, reality, is to deny it. I hope you are following all this. So, I must use the right means for the right end. That is, Sirs, if I take time to analyze all the layers, conscious and unconscious, I am using time as a means of achieving the timeless. Therefore, I am using the wrong means to approach the right end. Surely, I must approach the right end with the right means. That is, I must not use time. But I am in the habit of using time as a means of achieving the timeless. Discipline, meditation, control, suppression, all imply time; and memory is time. So, I see something: that I must use the right means to find the right end. Therefore, I have a problem which I must dissolve without time. To analyze all the layers of memory and go into their value, involves time. If I use time, then I am introducing the wrong means to a right end, because I am using time in order to find the timeless. I can find the timeless only if I use the right means. Therefore, my problem is how thought which is the result of memory, which is memory, can be dissolved instantaneously. Any other approach is an approach through time. Watch it, Sir, please follow it. A problem is put in front of you: it is that the self, the `you', is memory, a bundle of memories, and it must be dissolved; because the continuance of memory is time, and through time you can never find that which is eternal, immeasurable, spaceless, beyond time. How is it to be done? It can be done only when memory completely ceases. Now, how is that memory to cease? Please follow this. I see that as long as memory functions, reality cannot be - that is a fact, is it not? I have explained it enough. That is, Sir, I see that mind is the product, the result of memory; and when that mind tries to think out how to be free, memory is still functioning. When the mind asks, `How am I to be free from memory', the very question implies an answer which is the outcome of memory. Perhaps I am putting it too concisely.
The mind, both conscious and unconscious, is a bundle of memories; and when the mind says to itself, `I must be free of memory in order to understand reality', that very wish to be free is part of memory. That is a fact. Therefore, the mind no longer wishes to be anything - it merely faces the fact that it itself is memory; it does not wish to trans- form, it does not wish to become something else. When the mind sees that any action on its own part is still the functioning of memory, and therefore that it is incapable of finding truth, what then is the state of the mind? It becomes still. When the mind perceives that any activity of its own is futile, is all part of memory and therefore of time, seeing that fact, it stops, does it not? If your mind sees the reality of what I am saying, that whatever it does is still part of memory, and therefore it cannot act to be free of memory, it does not act. When mind sees that it cannot proceed that way, it stops. Therefore, the mind, the whole content of the mind, the conscious and the unconscious, becomes still. Now the mind is without action, it has seen that whatever it does is on a horizontal line, which is memory; therefore, seeing the fallacy of that, it becomes quiet. It has no object in view, it has no desire for a result, it is absolutely tranquil, without movement in any direction. Therefore, what has happened? The mind is tranquil, it has not been made tranquil. See the difference between a mind that is put to sleep, and a mind that is quiet. In that state you will find an enormous movement, extreme vitality, a newness, peaceful and alert. All positive action has ceased, and the mind is in a state of the highest intelligence because it has approached the problem of memory through negative thinking, which is the highest form of thinking. So, the mind is peaceful, swift and yet still; it is not exclusive, it is not concentrating or focussing, but is extensively aware. Now what happens? In that awareness there is no choice, but merely seeing things as they are, red as red, blue as blue, without any distortion. In that state which is peaceful, choicelessly aware and alert, you will find that all verbalization, all mentation or intellection, has completely stopped. There is a stillness which is not induced, a stillness in which the mind is no longer using thought to revive itself; therefore, there is neither the thinker nor the thought. There is neither the experiencer nor the experienced, because the experiencer and the experienced come into being through the thought process, and the thought process has entirely stopped. There is only a state of experiencing. In that state of experiencing, there is no time; all time as yesterday, today and tomorrow, has completely stopped. If you can go further into it, you will see that the mind which was the product of time has completely transformed itself, and is now without time; and that which is without time is eternal, that which is without time is immeasurable, it has no beginning and no end, it is without cause and therefore without effect - and that which is without cause is the real. You can experience that now, but not through centuries of practice, discipline or control. It must be now or never.
So, the mind that wishes to understand meditation must begin to understand itself - understand itself in its relationships, not in isolation. A mind that is the product of time can be free of time, not eventually, but immediately; and that freedom comes into being only when there is the right approach - and meditation is the right approach - to all human problems. The positive approach is conditioned by a pattern of action. Meditation is the negative approach, and therefore it is the highest form of thinking - which is not thinking. All thinking is of time. If you want to understand a human problem, there must be no thought process, and to free the mind from the thought process is to meditate; and you cannot meditate without self-knowledge. Only when there is self-knowledge, of which meditation is the beginning, does reality come into being; and it is reality that liberates.
October 10, 1948
Poona, India, 1948
Poona India 7th Public Talk 10th October, 1948
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