Banaras 2nd Public Talk 23rd January 1949
One has to differentiate between the experiences caused by belief, and experiencing. Belief obviously is detrimental to experiencing; and it is only through direct experiencing, not through belief, that one can find the reality of anything. Belief is unnecessary, whereas experiencing is essential, especially in a world where there are so many contradictions, and so many specialists, each offering his own solution. We, the ordinary people, have to find out the truth of all this confusion and of all this misery. And so we have to inquire whether belief is essen- tial, and if belief helps in experiencing reality.
Now, as we see, the world is torn between two camps: those who believe that material life is of primary importance - the material life of society, the alteration of the environment, the reconditioning of man to environment - , and those who believe that spiritual life is primary. The extreme left believes in the modification and the transformation of the environment: and there are those who believe that the spiritual life of man is alone of primary importance.
Now, you and I have to find out the truth of this matter. According to it our life shall be right. The specialists say that environment comes first, and there are those who say that spirit comes first; and you and I have to find out what is the truth of this matter. It is not a question of belief, because belief has no validity with regard to experience. On which shall we lay emphasis: the environment, or the spiritual life? And how are you and I going to find the truth of this matter? Not by endless reading, not by following the experts of the left or of the right; not by following those who believe that the material life of society is of primary importance; and not by studying all their books, all their expert knowledge, nor by following those who believe that spiritual life comes first, with all their literature. Merely to believe the one or the other is, surely, not to find the truth of the matter.
And yet most of us are caught in belief, most of us are uncertain. Sometimes we think this, and sometimes we think that. We are not sure; we are as confused as the experts in their certainty. We cannot take anything for granted, we cannot follow the one or the other, because they both lead to confusion, because any acceptance of authority in these matters is obviously detrimental to society. Leadership in society is a factor of deterioration of society; and yet you and I, being caught between the two and not knowing what to do, have to find out what the truth of this matter is - and not according to any specialist.
So, how do you set about it? Sir, that is one of the primary questions at the present time: We have those who put all their energy, all their capacities, all their power and thought into the alteration of the environment, which they hope will ultimately transform the individual; and there are those who, more and more would turn to belief, to orthodoxy, to organized religion, and so on. These two are at war with each other, and you and I must decide - not decide which side we should take, because it is not a question of taking sides. But we must be sure of the truth of these.
Also, we cannot obviously depend on our particular prejudices, because our prejudices will not show us the truth of the matter. If you have been conditioned in a religious environment, you will say spirit comes first. Another, brought up differently, will say the material life of society is of primary importance.
Now, how are you and I, ordinary people, not dependent on the accumulation of knowledge, theory, proofs, his theoretical proofs - how are we, you and I, going to find out the truth of all this? Is it not a vital question? Because on that discovery our future responsibility of action depends. So it is not a question of belief; belief again is a form of conditioning, and belief will not help us to find the truth of this matter.
So, first, to find the truth of this, must we not be free from our religious back ground, as well as our materialistic back ground? Which means that we cannot merely accept; we must be free from the conditioning which makes us think that the materialistic life of society is of primary importance, as well as from the conditioning which makes us believe that the spiritual life, the life of the spirit, is of primary importance. We must be free of both in order to find the truth of both. Surely, that is an obvious thing, is it not? To find the truth of something, you must approach it afresh, anew, without any prejudice.
So, to find the truth of this, you and I must liberate ourselves from our back ground, from our environment; is it possible? That is, do we live by bread alone? Or, is there some other factor that shapes the outward end, the environment, according to our inner psychology? And to find the truth of this matter is obviously of primary importance to each responsible and earnest person, because on this his action will depend; and to find the truth of that, one has to study oneself, and one has to be aware of oneself in action. Does the material aspect of society play the primary part in your life? Does environment play the principal role in your life? With most of us it obviously does. Does environment shape our thoughts, feelings? And where does the so-called spiritual life begin, and where does the environmental influence cease? Surely, to find that out, one must study one's own actions, thoughts and feelings. In other words, there must be self-knowledge - not the knowledge found in a book, gathered from various sources, but as you live from day to day, from moment to moment, that knowledge of the self at whatever level you find it.
So, the truth of the matter lies in the understanding of yourself in relationship to environment, in relationship to an idea called the spirit. Surely? As we discussed yesterday and the last few days, life is a question of relationship. Living, existence, implies relationship; and it is only in relationship, in understanding relationship, that we shall begin to discover the truth of this matter: whether material life is of primary importance or not. Therefore, we have to experience it in understanding relationship, and not merely cling to belief. Then experiencing will give us the reality of these two.
So, self-knowledge, then, is of primary importance in the discovery of truth, which means that one has to be aware of every thought and feeling and see from whence these responses come; and one can be aware, so clearly, so extensively, only if there is no condemnation or justification. That is, if we are aware of a thought, of a feeling, and follow it through without any condemnation, then we shall be able to see whether it is a response to the environment, or merely a reaction to a materialistic demand, or if that thought has a different source.
So, through awareness, without condemnation, without justification, we shall begin to understand ourselves - ourselves being the various responses to various stimuli, responses to the environment, which is relationship. Therefore relationship, or rather the understanding of relationship, becomes very important: the relationship of ourselves to property, of ourselves to people, of ourselves to ideas, and that movement of relationship cannot be understood if there is any sense of condemnation or justification. If you want to understand a thing, obviously you must not condemn it. If you want to understand your child, your son, you have to study him, you have to observe him, you have to study his various moods, when he is at play, and so on. So likewise, we must study ourselves, all the time, not just at a given time; and we can study ourselves only when there is no condemnation, and it is extremely difficult not to condemn, because condemnation or comparison is an escape from what is; and to study what is, requires an extraordinary alertness of mind, and that alertness is dulled when it is merely caught in comparison, when there is condemnation. To condemn is not to understand, surely. It is so much easier to condemn a child, a person, rather than to understand that person. To understand that person requires attention, interest.
So, our problem is the comprehension of ourselves, as our selves, for each one of us is both the environment and some thing more. The something more is not the result of a belief. We have to discover it, we have to experience it; and belief is an impediment to experiencing. So, we must take ourselves as we are and study ourselves as we are; and this study can be done only in relationship, and not in isolation.
I have been given several questions. Now, it is very easy to ask a question. Anybody can ask a question. But a right question, when asked seriously, will find a right response. Now you have asked me several questions here, and, if I may suggest, there is a way of listening which will help in understanding the problem. You have a problem, you have put to me a question and you want an answer. Surely there is a way of listening which is receptive. It is like sitting in front of a picture and absorbing the content of that picture, without struggling to understand the picture. I do not know if it has happened to you, that when you see some of the modern surrealist, abstract pictures, the first inclination is to condemn them, to say what nonsense, what is it all about - because you are trained to appreciate classical art. But there is another way of looking at those pictures, that is, without condemnation, but with receptivity, so that the pictures may tell you their story. Surely, that is the only way to understand anything: to be receptive - not, of course, to every absurd thing - but, so receptive that your particular question receives the answer which will be true if you listen to it rightly.
Surely, the subconscious is much more eager to understand than the conscious, because the conscious is agitated, worried, pulled about, torn has innumerable problems. But there is surely, a part of the mind which is not agitated, which is eager to find out. Now, if we can give an opportunity for that part of the mind to listen, to be receptive, then, I am sure, you will find that your questions will be answered without your struggling to understand them. That is, to put it differently, understanding is not a matter of effort. The understanding of any problem that one has, does not come through your constantly worrying over that problem. Similarly, if I may suggest, listen to understand rather than to refute or to confirm your own particular vanities and prejudices.
Question: Can the past dissolve all at once, or does it invariably need time?
Krishnamurti: We are the result of the past. Our thought is founded upon yesterday, and many thousand yesterdays. We are the result of time, and our responses, our present attitudes, are the cumulative effect of many thousand moments, incidents and experiences. So the past is, for the majority of us, the present, which is a fact, which cannot be denied. You, your thoughts, your actions, your responses, are the result of the past. Now the questioner wants to know if that past can be wiped out immediately, which means not in time, but immediately wiped out; or does this cumulative past require time for the mind to be freed in the present? It is important to understand the question. That is, as each one of us is the result of the past, with a back ground of innumerable influences, constantly varying, constantly changing, is it possible to wipe out that background without going through the process of time? Is that clear? The question is clear, surely.
Now, what is the past? What do we mean by the past? Surely we do not mean the chronological past, the second that was before, we don't mean that, that is just over. We mean, surely, the accumulated experiences, the accumulated responses, memories, traditions, knowledge, the subconscious storehouse of innumerable thoughts, feelings, influences and responses, With that background, it is not possible to understand reality, be cause reality must be of no time: it is timeless. So, one cannot understand the timeless with a mind which is the out come of time. The questioner wants to know if it is possible to free the mind, or for the mind, which is the result of time, to cease to be, immediately; or must one go through a long series of examinations and analyses, and so free the mind from its background. You see the difficulty in the question.
Now, the mind is the background; the mind is the result of time; the mind is the past, the mind is not the future. It can project itself into the future; and the mind uses the present as a passage to the future, so it is still - whatever it does, whatever its activity, its future activity, its present activity, its past activity - in the net of time. And is it possible for the mind to cease completely. which means, for the thought process to come to an end? Now, there are obviously many layers to the mind; what we call consciousness, has many layers, each layer interrelated with the other layer, each layer dependent on the other, interacting; and our whole consciousness is not only experiencing, but also naming or terming, and also storing up as memory. That is the whole process of consciousness, is it not? Or is this all too difficult?
When we talk about consciousness, do we not mean the experiencing, the naming or the terming of that experience, and thereby storing up that experience in memory? Surely, all this, at different levels, is consciousness. And, can the mind, which is the result of time, go through the process of analysis, step by step, in order to free itself from the background; or is it possible to be free entirely from time and look at reality directly?
Now, let us see. Are you interested in this? Because you know, this is really quite an important question; because it is possible, as I will presently explain, to be free of the background, therefore to renew life immediately, without dependence on time; to recreate ourselves immediately and not depend on time. If you are interested, I will proceed, and you will see.
To be free of the background, many of the analysts say that you must examine every response, every complex, every hindrance, every blockage, which implies a process of time, obviously; which means the analyser must understand what he is analysing; and he must not misinterpret what he analyses. Because, if he mistranslates what he analyses, it will lead him to wrong conclusions, and therefore establish another background. Do you follow? Therefore the analyser must be capable of analysing his thoughts, feelings, without the slightest deviation; and he must not miss one step in his analysis, because to take a wrong step, to draw a wrong conclusion, is to reestablish a background along a different line, on a different level. And this problem also arises: Is the analyser different from what he analyses? Are not the analyser and the thing that is analysed a joint phenomenon? Sir, I am not sure you are interested in this, but I will go on.
Surely the experiencer and the experience are a joint phenomenon, they are not two separate processes. So, first of all, let us see the difficulty of analysing. It is almost impossible to analyse the whole content of our consciousness, and thereby be free through that process. Because, after all, who is the analyser? The analyser is not different, though he may think he is different, from that which he is analysing. He may separate himself from that which he analyses, but the analyser is part of that which he analyses. I have a thought, I have a feeling, say, for example, I am angry. The person who analyses anger is still part of anger; and therefore the analyser as well as the analysed are a joint phenomenon, they are not two separate forces or processes; and so the difficulty of analysing ourselves, unfolding, looking at ourselves page after page, watching every reaction, every response, is incalculably difficult and long. Surely? Therefore, that is not the way to free ourselves from the background. Is it? So there must be a much simpler, a more direct way; and that is what you and I are going to find out. But to find out we must discard that which is false, and not hold on to it. So analysis is not the way, and we must be free of the process of analysis. As you would not take a path which you know does not lead anywhere, similarly the process of analysis will not lead anywhere, therefore, you do not take that path; therefore, it is out of your system.
Then what have you left? You are only used to analysis, are you not? The observer observing - the observer and the observed being a joint phenomenon - , the observer trying to analyse that which he observes, will not free him from his background. If that is so, and it is, you abandon that process, do you not? I do not know if you follow all this. If you see that it is a false way, if you realize not merely verbally but actually that it is a false process, then what happens to your analysis? You stop analysing, do you not? Then what have you left? Watch it, Sir, follow it, if you will kindly, and you will see how rapidly and swiftly one can be free from the background. If that is not the way, what else have you left? What is the state of the mind which is accustomed to analysis, to probing, looking into, dissecting, drawing conclusions, and so on? If that process has stopped, what is the state of your mind?
You say that the mind is blank. Now, proceed further into that blank mind. In other words, when you discard what is known as being false, what has happened to your mind? After all, what have you discarded? You have discarded the false process which is the outcome of a background. Is that not so? With one blow, as it were, you have discarded the whole thing. Therefore your mind, when you discard the analytical process with all its implications and see it as false, is freed from yesterday, ind therefore is capable of looking directly, without going through the process of time, and thereby discarding the background immediately.
Sir, to put the whole question differently, thought is the result of time. Is it not? Thought is the result of environment, of social and religious influences, which is all part of time. Now, can thought be free of time? That is, thought which is the result of time, can it stop and be free from the process of time? Thought can be controlled, shaped; but the control of thought is still within the field of time, and so our difficulty is: how can a mind that is the result of time, of many thousand yesterdays, be instantaneously free of this complex background? And you can be free of it, not tomorrow, but in the present, in the now. That can be done only when you realize that which is false; and the false is obviously the analytical process, and that is the only thing we have; and when the analytical process completely stops, not through enforcement, but through understanding the inevitable falseness of that process, then you will find that your mind is completely dissociated from the past - which does not mean that you do not recognize the past, but your mind has no direct communion with the past. So it can free itself from the past immediately, now; and this dissociation from the past, this complete freedom from yesterday, psychologically, not chronologically, but psychologically, is possible and that is the only way to understand reality.
Now, to put it very simply, when you want to understand something, what is the state of your mind? When you want to understand your child, when you want to understand somebody, something that someone is saying, what is the state of your mind? You are not analysing, criticizing, judging what the other is saying; you are listening, are you not? Your mind is in a state where the thought pro cess is not active, but is very alert. Yes? And that alertness is not of time, is it? You are merely being alert, passively receptive, and yet fully aware; and it is only in this state that there is understanding. Surely, when the mind is agitated, questioning, worrying, dissecting, analysing, there is no understanding. And when there is the intensity to understand, the mind is obviously tranquil. This, of course, you have to experiment with, not take my word for it. But you can see that the more and more you analyse, the less and less you understand. You may understand certain events, certain experiences; but the whole content of consciousness cannot be emptied through the analytical process. It can be emptied only when you see the falseness of the approach through analysis. When you see the false as the false, then you begin to see what is true; and it is truth that is going to liberate you from the back ground. To receive that truth, the mind must cease to be analytical, must not be caught in the thought process, which obviously is analysis, which brings us to quite a different question, which is: What is right meditation? - which we will discuss at another time.
Question: I need the sunshine of the teacher's love to enable me to flower. Is such a psychological need not of the same order as the need for food, clothing, and shelter? You seem to condemn all psychological needs. What is the truth of this matter?
Krishnamurti: Presumably, most of you have some kind of a teacher, have you not? Some kind of guru, either in the Himalayas, or here, round the corner. Do you not? Some kind of guide. Now why do you need him? You do not, obviously, need him for material purposes, unless he promises you a good job the day-after tomorrow. So, presumably, you need him for psychological purposes, do you not? Now, why do you need him? Basically, obviously, you need him because you say, "I am confused, I do not know how to live in this world; things are too contradictory. There is confusion, there is misery, there is death, decay, degradation, disintegration; and I need somebody to advise me what to do." Is that not the reason why you need a guru, why you go to a guru? You say, "Being confused, I need a teacher who will help me to clear up the confusion, or rather help me to resolve the confusion." Is that not it? So your need is psychological. You do not treat your Prime Minister as your guru, because he merely deals with the material life of society. You look to him for your physical needs; whereas, here, you look to a teacher for your psychological needs.
Now, what do you mean by the word `need'? I need sunshine, I need food, clothes and shelter; and in the same way, do I need a teacher? To answer that question, I must find out who has created this awful mess around me and in me. If I am responsible for the confusion, I am the only person that can clear up the confusion, which means that I must understand the confusion myself; but you generally go to a teacher in order that he may extricate you from the confusion, or show you the way, give you directions on how to act with regard to the confusion. Or you say "Well this world is false, I must find truth." And the guru or the teacher says, "I have found truth", so you go to him to partake of that truth.
Can confusion be cleared by another, however great? Surely this confusion exists in our relationship; therefore we have to understand our relationship with each other, with society, with property, with ideas, and so on; and can someone give us the understanding of that relationship? Someone may point out, may show, but I have to understand my relationship, where I am. Sir, are you interested in this? My difficulty is that I feel you are not interested, because you are watching somebody else doing some thing. When you ask a question, you do not feel the importance of listening to the answer. Therefore, you are really treating your guru and your confusion very lightly. Really it does not matter to you two pins what your guru says, but it is just a habit: let us go to the guru. Therefore, life to you is not important, is not vital, creative, something which must be understood. And I can see it in your face, you are not vitally interested in this question. You listen either to be confirmed in your search for gurus, or to strengthen your own conviction that gurus are essential. But that way we do not find the truth of the matter. You can find the truth of the matter by searching out your heart, why you need a guru.
So, Sir, many things are involved in this question. You seem to think that truth is static, and therefore a guru can lead you to it. As a man can direct you to the station, so you think a guru can direct you to truth. That means truth is static; but is truth static? You would like it to be; for that which is static is very gratifying, at least you know what it is and you can hold on to it. So, you are really seeking gratification. You want security, you want the assurance of a guru, you want him to say to you: you are doing very well, carry on, you want him to give you mental comfort, an emotional pat on the back. So you go to a guru that really gratifies you, invariably. That is why there are so many gurus, as there are so many pupils; which means that you are not really seeking truth, you want gratification; and the person who gives you the greatest satisfaction, you call him your guru. That satisfaction is either neurological, that is, physical, or psychological; and you think in his presence you feel great peace, great quietness, a sense of being understood. In other words, you want a glorified father or mother, who will help you overcome the difficulty. Sir, have you ever sat quietly under a tree? There also you will find great peace. You will also feel that you are being understood. In other words, in the presence of a very quiet person, you also become quiet; and this quietness you attribute to the teacher, and then you put a garland around him, and kick your servant. So, when you say you need a guru, surely all these things are implied in it, are they not? And the guru that assures you an escape, that guru becomes your need.
Now, confusion exists only in relationship; and why do we need somebody else to help us to understand this confusion? And you might say now, "What are you doing? Are you not acting as our guru?" Surely I am not acting as your guru, because, first of all, I am not giving you any gratification, I am not telling you what you should do from moment to moment or from day to day; but I am just pointing something out to you; you can take it or leave it, depending on you, not on me. I do not demand a thing from you, neither your worship, nor your flattery, nor your insults, nor your gods. I say this is a fact, take it or leave it. But most of you will leave it for the obvious reason that you will not find gratification in it. But the man who is really in earnest, who is really serious in his intention to find out, he will have sufficient food in what is being said, which is, that confusion exists only in your relationship, and, therefore, let us understand that relationship.
To understand that relationship is to be aware, not to avoid it, to see the whole content of relationship. The truth is not in the distance, truth is near; truth is under every leaf, in every smile, in every tear, in the words, in the feelings, thoughts, that one has. But it is so covered up that we have to uncover it and see. To uncover is to discover what is false; and the moment you know what is false, and when that drops away, the truth is there.
So truth is a thing that is living from moment to moment to be discovered, not to be believed in, not to be quoted, not to be formulated. But to see that truth, your mind, your heart must be extreme pliable, alert. But most of us, unfortunately, do not want an alert, pliable mind, a swift mind; we want to be put to sleep by mantras, pujas - good God, in how many ways we put ourselves to sleep! Obviously we need a certain environment, a certain atmosphere, solitude - not the pursuit nor the avoidance of loneliness - , but a certain aloneness, in which there is full attention; and that aloneness, that certain complete attention, is there only when you are in trouble, when your problems are really in tense; and, if you have a friend, if you have somebody who can help you, you go to him; but surely, to treat him as your guru is obviously immature, obviously childish. It is like seeking the mother's apron strings.
I know all our instinct is, when we are in difficulty, to turn to somebody, to the mother, to the father, or to a glorified father, whom you call the Master or the guru. But if the guru is worth his salt, he will obviously tell you to understand yourself in action, which is relationship. Surely, Sir, you are far more important than the guru; you are far more import ant than I; because it is your life, your misery, your strife, your struggle. The guru, or I, or someone else may be free, but what value has it to you? Therefore, the worship of the guru is detrimental to your understanding of yourself. And there is a peculiar factor in this: The more you show respect to the one, the less you show respect to others. You sa lute your guru most profoundly, and kick your servant. Therefore, your respect has very little significance. I know these are all facts, and I know probably most of you do not like all that has been said, because your mind wants to be comforted, because it has been bruised so much. It is caught up in such troubles and miseries, and it says, "For God's sake give me some hope, some refuge." Sir, only the mind that is in despair can find reality. A mind that is completely discontented can jump into reality; not a mind that is content, not a mind that is respectable, hedged about by beliefs.
So you flower only in relationship; you flower only in love, not in contention. But our hearts are withered; we have filled our hearts with the things of the mind, and so we look to others to fill our minds with their creations. Since we have no love, we try to find it with the teacher, with someone else. Love is a thing that cannot be found. You cannot buy it, you cannot immolate yourself to it. Love comes into being only when the self is absent; and as long as you are seeking gratification, escapes, refusing to understand your confusion in relationship, you are merely emphasizing the self, and therefore denying love.
Shall I answer some more questions, or is that enough? Are you not tired? No? Sirs, are you being mesmerized by my voice and words? Surely, Sirs, what we have discussed, what I said before answering the questions, and these two questions, must be very disturbing to you? It must be very disturbing; if it is not disturbing, something is wrong with you. Because one is attacking the whole structure of your thought process, your comfortable ways, and that disturbance must be very fatiguing. And if you are not tired, if you are not disturbed, then what is the point of your sitting here? Sirs, let us be very clear about what we are trying to do, you and I. Probably, most of you will say, "I know all this; Shankara, Buddha, somebody else has said this." Your very statement indicates that, having read so much, superficially, you relegate what is being said to one of the pigeonholes in your mind, and thereby discard it. It is a convenient way of disposing of what you have heard, which means you are listening merely on the verbal level, and not taking in the full content of what is being said, and which creates a disturbance. Sirs, peace cannot be had without a great deal of searching; and what you and I are doing is searching out our minds and hearts in order to find out what is true and what is false; and to search out is to expend energy, vitality; it is as physically exhausting, it should be as exhausting, as digging. But you see, unfortunately, you are used to listening; you are merely the spectators enjoying, observing what another is playing; therefore you are not tired. The spectators are never tired, which indicates that they are really not partaking in the game. And as I have said over and over again, you are not the spectator, and I am not the player for you. You are not here to listen to a song. What you and I are trying to do is to find a song in our own hearts and not listen to the song of another. You are accustomed to listening to the song of another, and so your hearts are empty, and they will always be empty because you fill your hearts with the song of another. That is not your song; then you are merely gramophones, changing the records according to the moods, but you are not musicians. And especially in times of great travail and trouble we have to be the musicians, each one of us; we have to recreate ourselves with song, which means to free, to empty the heart of those things which are filled by the mind. Therefore, we have to understand the creations of the mind, and see the falseness of those creations. Then we will not fill our hearts with those creations. Then, when the heart is empty - not, as in your case, filled with ashes - , when the heart is empty, and the mind is quiet, then there is a song, the song that cannot be destroyed or perverted because it is not put together by the mind.
January 23, 1949
Banaras 2nd Public Talk 23rd January 1949
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.