Banaras 4th Public Talk 13th February 1949
I wonder what action means to most of us? Is action the outcome of an idea, or the approximation to an idea, or conformity to a pattern or ideation? Is action independent of relationship? Is not action, relationship? And if we base it on an idea, on a principle, on a conclusion, is it action? Is an action based on belief, which is a form of ideation, creative? Has such action the power of releasing, not only vitality, but creative energy, creative understanding?
Surely, it is important to find out, is it not?, how far our action is dependent on an idea, and whether the idea comes first or action comes first; whether mentation is the step preceding action, or whether action is independent of mentation, of thought process. We have to discuss this and find out; because, if action is merely conforming to a particular pattern, to an idea or ideation, then the idea becomes all-important, and not action. Action then is merely the carrying out of that idea. Then, the problem arises of how to approach action with the idea, how to put the idea into practice in order to complete the idea, how to fulfil the idea through action, and so on. Is idea the primary incentive to action, or does action take place first, and then the ideation come into being? Surely, if we observe very closely, action comes first: first we do something, pleasurable or non pleasurable, and then the idea is born out of that action. The idea then further controls the action; so the idea be- comes all-important, and not action. Action then is merely the continuation of an idea. So, with most of us, the difficulty is, is it not?, that ideas, which arc the recording of previous experiences, of the past, are controlling, guiding, and shaping action.
Now, as I said, action is relationship; and what happens when action, when relationship, is based on an idea? Action born of an idea must continue to condition thought; because an idea is the outcome of one's background, and the background shapes the action and therefore controls relationship. Therefore, action born of an idea can never be releasing it must always be conditioned, because the idea is a conditioned response, and an action born of an idea is necessarily conditioned. There is no freedom, no creative release, through action which is based on an idea; and yet all our systems of action are based on ideation.
So, to look to an idea as a means of revolution, as a means of releasing creative energy, is obviously erroneous. Then, what is action without ideation? I hope you are interested, because this is our problem. Our life is action, action is relationship; and if that action is merely the outcome of an idea, which is but the residue of previous experience, then that action can never be releasing; it is merely the continuation of the past, only modified. So, we cannot look for freedom, for liberation, for the understanding of reality, through action which is the outcome of an idea. An experience, a previous experience, cannot be the way to truth. Experience which leaves a scar, as memory, cannot be the way to the understanding of truth. Therefore, experience as an idea, as a memory of yesterday shaping action, surely cannot be the way to truth. Memory is not the way to understanding. That is, if action is based on an idea, which is the result of previous experience, then that action, being the outcome of the past, can never understand the living present.
So, what is the way of true action, action which is not the outcome of an idea? There is an action which is not merely the repetition of an idea. Experience is not the way to truth; but to most of us, experience is of the highest importance. We experience through the screen of memories, which again conditions the experience. That is, the idea, the background, has met the challenge; and out of that response, there is experience. That experience is conditioned, therefore action is conditioned; therefore action, as experience, cannot lead to truth, cannot lead to understanding. Please see the importance of this: that experience is a hindrance to the state of experiencing; for experience is a conditioned action, and being limited, can never be complete. Therefore, an experience is always a hindrance to the understanding of reality. This is contrary to what we have believed - that we must have more and more experience, knowledge, technique, in order to understand.
So, there has to be quite a different approach. You have to find out for yourself, inwardly, whether you are acting on an idea and if there can be action without ideation. We see that action based on an idea does not lead to truth, that action based on experience is limited action. That which is measurable cannot understand the immeasurable, and experience is always measurable. So, experience is not what we have made it out to be. Therefore, action based on experience is an impediment to understanding reality, or to understanding anything new. So, there must be a different approach. Let us find out what that is: action which is not based on an idea.
When do you act without ideation? When is there an action which is not the result of experience? Because an action based on experience is, as we said, limiting, and therefore a hindrance. Action which is not the outcome of an idea is spontaneous when the thought process, which is based on experience, is not controlling action; which means, there is action independent of experience when the mind is not controlling action. That is the only state in which there is understanding: when the mind, based on experience. is not guiding action; when thought, based on experience, is not shaping action. What is action, when there is no thought process? Can there be action without thought process? That is, I want to build a bridge, a house. I know the technique, and the technique tells me how to build it. We call that action. There is the action of writing a poem, of painting, of governmental responsibilities, of social, environmental responses. All are based on an idea or previous experience, shaping action. But is there an action when there is no ideation?
Surely, there is such action when the idea ceases; and the idea ceases only when there is love. Love is not memory. Love is not experience. Love is not the thinking about the person that one loves, for then, it is merely thought. Surely, you cannot think of love. You can think of the person you love or are devoted to - your guru, your image, your wife, your husband; but the thought, the symbol, is not the real which is loved. Therefore, love is not an experience.
Now, when there is love, there is action, is there not; and is that action not liberating? It is not the result of mentation, and there is no gap between love and action, as there is between idea and action. Idea is always old, casting its shadow on the present and trying to build a bridge between action and idea. When there is love - which is not mentation, which is not ideation, which is not memory, which is not the outcome of an experience, of a practised discipline - , then that very love is action. That is the only thing that frees. As long as there is mentation, as long as there is the shaping of action by an idea which is experience, there can be no release; and as lone as that process continues, all action is limited. When the truth of this is seen, the quality of love, which is not mentation, which you cannot think about, comes into being.
This is what actually happens when you love somebody with all your being; this is exactly what takes place. You may think of that person, but that is not the actual; and, unfortunately, what happens is that thought takes the place of love. Thought can then adjust itself to the environment, but love can never adjust itself. Adjustment is essentially of the mind, and the mind can invent `love'. When I say, "I love you", I am adjusting myself to you; but there can be no adjustment where there is love - it is alone, it has no second. Therefore it cannot adjust itself to anything. When there is love, this idea of adjustment, of conformity of action based on idea, completely ceases. When there is love, there is action which is relationship; and where there is adjustment in relation ship, there is no love. When I adjust myself to you because I love you, it is merely conforming to your desires, and the adjustment is always to the lower. How can you adjust yourself to the higher, to that which is noble, pure? You cannot. So, adjustment exists only when there is no love. Love is second to none; it is alone, but not isolated. Such love is action. which is relationship; it has not the possibility of corruption, as mentation has, because there is no adjustment. As long as action is based on an idea, action is mere adjustment, a reformed, modified continuity; and a society which is the outcome of an approximation to an idea, is a society of conflict, misery and strife. There is freedom in the action which is not the result of mentation; and love is not devotion to something which is ideation. A devotee is not a lover of truth. Devotion is not love. In love, there is not the you and the other. There is complete fusion of the two, whether of the man with the woman, or the devotee with his idea. Such love is not the gift of the few, it is not reserved for the mighty ones.
But you have not understood the implications of action based on experience. When one really sees that profoundly, when one is aware of all the implications, there is the cessation of mentation. Then there is that state of being which is the outcome of discontent. Discontent is not pacified through self-fulfilment; but as long as there is no self-fulfilment, discontent is the springboard from which there is a jump into the unknown. It is this quality of the unknown which is love. The man who is aware that he is in a state of love, is not loving. Love is not of time. Therefore, you cannot think about it; what you can think about is of time. What you can think about is merely the projection of itself; it is already the known. When you know love, when you practise love, surely it ceases to be love, because it is merely an adjustment of experience to the present; and where there is adjustment, there can be no love.
Question: What is the best method of stilling the mind? Meditation and repetition of God's name are known to be the only method. Why do you condemn them? Can intellect by itself ever achieve this?
Krishnamurti: Let us go into this question of meditation, which is really a very complex problem and needs careful thinking. Let us see its whole implication. Let us unroll the map of what we call meditation.
What do we mean by meditation? By meditation, we mean, don't we?, the stilling of the mind, as it is generally understood; and let us see how we approach it, because the means matter, for the means create the end. If you employ wrong means, you will create a wrong end. If you discipline your mind to be quiet, then your mind should be quiet; but it is not. It is merely a disciplined mind, a mind that is held within the room; and such a mind is not quiet, it is only tethered, held in control. So, we have to go into this question carefully.
What is the purpose of meditation? Is it to still the mind? Is the stilling of the mind necessary for the discovery of truth or the experiencing of reality? Is the process of exclusion, meditation? Let us approach it negatively, because we do not know what right meditation is. People have said this and that, and you do not know what is real meditation. Is it through a series of denials of thought, or through resistance, that you come to the quietness of mind? That is, the mind is vagrant, it wanders ceaselessly; and you proceed to choose one course, and resist all others, which is a process of exclusion, denial. You build a wall of resistance by concentration on a thought which you have chosen, and you try to ward off all the others. That is what you are doing all the time, struggling to learn concentration. Concentration then is an exclusion. You choose to rest your thinking on a word or an image, on a phrase or a symbol, and you resist every other thought that comes and interferes. So, what we call meditation is the cultivation of resistance, of exclusive concentration on an idea of our choice.
What makes you choose? What makes you say this is good, true, noble, and the rest is not? Obviously, the choice is based on pleasure, reward, or achievement; or it is merely a reaction of one's conditioning or tradition. Why do you choose at all? Why not examine every thought? When you are interested in the many, why choose one? Why not ex amine every interest? Instead of creating resistance, why not go into each interest as it arises, and not merely concentrate on one idea, on one interest? After all, you are made up of many interests; you have many masks, consciously and unconsciously. Why choose one and discard the others, in controlling which you spend all your energies, there by creating resistance, conflict and friction? Whereas, if you examine every thought as it arises - every thought, not just a few thoughts - , then there is no exclusion; but it is an arduous thing to examine every thought. Because, as you are looking at one thought, another thought slips in; but if you are aware, without domination or justification, you will see that by merely looking at that thought, no other thought intrudes. It is only when you condemn, compare, ap proximate, that other thoughts come in. Is that clear?
So, concentration is not meditation. We are going to find out what meditation is, but first we must see what it is not. Concentration implies discipline, various forms of denial, and resistance. A mind that is caught up in exclusive concentration, can never find truth. But a mind that understands every interest, every movement of thought, a mind that is aware of every feeling, every response, and sees the truth in every response - such a mind, being extremely pliable, swift, is capable of understanding what is, which is truth. But a mind that is concentrated is not a swift mind; a mind that is disciplined is not a pliable mind. How can the mind be subtle, swift and pliable, when it has learned merely to concentrate?
Then, meditation cannot be supplication, supplication being prayer. Have you ever prayed? What actually happens when you pray? Why do you pray? You pray, don't you?, only when you are in difficulty, only when you are troubled. You do not pray when you are happy, joyous, clear; you pray only when there is confusion, when there is fear of a certain event, in order to ward it off; or you pray to gain what you want. You pray, because there is fear in you. I do not say prayer is only fear; but all supplication arises from fear. A petition, a prayer, may give you joy; the supplicatory prayer to the so-called unknown may bring you the answer you seek; but that answer to your petition may come from your unconscious, or from the general reservoir, the storehouse of all your demands. The answer is not the still voice of God.
What happens when you pray? By the constant repetition of certain phrases, and by controlling your thoughts, the mind becomes quiet, doesn't it? At least, the conscious mind becomes quiet. You kneel as the Christians do, or sit as the Hindus do, and you repeat and repeat; and through that repetition, the mind becomes quiet. In that quietness, there is an intimation of something. That intimation of something for which you have prayed, may be from your unconscious, or it may be the response of your memories. But, surely, it is not the voice of reality; for the voice of reality must come to you; it cannot be appealed to, you cannot pray to it. You cannot entice it into your little cage by doing puja, bhajan, and all the rest of it, by offering it flowers, by placating it, by suppressing yourself or emulating others. Those are all forms of self-hypnosis; but once you have learnt the trick of quieting the mind through the repetition of words and of receiving hints in that quietness, the danger is - unless you are fully alert as to whence these hints come - that you will be caught; and then prayer becomes a substitute for the search for truth. So, a mind that is made quiet through prayer is not a still mind, for it is a thing that is put together and so can be undone. All that happens is, that the conscious layer of your mind, made quiet through pacification, made dull through repetition, receives some response to your petition; and that which you ask for, you get - but it is not the truth. If you want, and if you petition, you receive; but you will pay for it in the end.
We see, therefore, that prayer as petition supplication, helps to make the mind still; but there is also another form of prayer, which is to be completely receptive, not asking a thing, at least not consciously. This sensitive receptivity, induced through prayer, is also a form of stillness. It is merely your desire that is calling the response out of the unconscious; and that open receptivity of the conscious mind that is made still, is not capable of understanding, because the mind is made still, but is not still. A mind that is made still can never be still; it can receive an answer only from with in the confines of its own limitation. A stupid mind can be made still, but its answer will be stupid. A stupid mind may think that the answer it has received is directly from God, but it is not. A mind that is made still can only receive an answer in accordance with its own conditioning. So, we see that prayer is not meditation.
Neither is devotion, meditation. Meditation is not self-immolation to an idea. What is your devotion? You are devoted to something that will give you gratification. If it does not give you gratification, you will not be devoted. You are a devotee as long as that to which you are devoted gives you gratification; when it ceases, you go elsewhere. You change your guru, you change the idea. The teacher, the guru, the image, is the self-projection of the devotee; and that self-projection is based on gratification. So, you are really being devoted to yourself, externalized as a deity, as an idea, or as a Master, or a picture. You are devoted only to that which gives you gratification; and so a devotee, with all his puja, his garlands, his chants, is worshipping his own image, glorified, enlarged. Surely, that is not meditation.
Meditation is not discipline. Merely to discipline the mind is to limit the mind, to build a wall around it, so that it cannot escape. That is why a mind that is disciplined, a mind that is shaped, controlled, suppressed, that has found substitutes, that has found sublimation, is still a mind that is incapable of freedom. Does freedom come into being through discipline? Can you discipline yourself to be free? If you use wrong means, the end will also be wrong, for the end is not different from the means. So, when a mind is disciplined in order to achieve a result, the result is only the projection of the disciplined mind. Therefore, there is no freedom, there is only a disciplined state. So meditation is not discipline.
Meditation is not concentration, meditation is not prayer, meditation is not devotion, meditation is not a process of discipline. Then, what is it? We are going to find out. Now, when you discover that concentration, prayer, devotion, discipline, are not meditation, then what happens? You are discovering yourself in action, are you not? The understanding of these things is the discovery of your own process of thinking, which is self-knowledge, is it not? The uncovering of this process is the uncovering of yourself in action; to understand this, is to understand yourself. Therefore, meditation is the process of understanding yourself. There is no meditation without self-knowledge, and that is what you have discovered just now. Therefore, you are watching yourself in action through concentration, through prayer, through discipline, through devotion.
What we are doing now is discovering ourselves as we are, without deception, without illusion. Then what happens? Self-knowledge is not an end in itself; self-knowledge is the movement of becoming. In examining these four aspects of myself in action, I have found that there is only one process, and that is, that I am interested in becoming, in continuing. So then, the more knowledge of the self there is, of the self at any level - which is seeing the truth of every moment, the truth which is not the outcome of experience, but immediate perception - , the more is there tranquillity of the mind. For example, seeing the truth of prayer, and all its implications, surely frees the mind from prayer, from fear, from supplication. Similarly in seeing the truth of discipline, with all its implications, there is freedom from discipline. So, there is that much more knowledge, intelligence and awareness. The mind is made free from its becoming, therefore there is the awareness of truth.
Now, we have to experience this; we cannot go further without experiencing. If you are still caught in prayer, then your going further has no meaning; if you are still caught in discipline, what we proceed into has no meaning; so, too, if you are still concerned about the control of thought. But a mind that is quiet, not made quiet, not put together; a mind that is quiet because it has real interest, because it has seen truth, because truth has come to it, is a mind that is intelligent, that is free of conflict. Conflict has been resolved through the perception of every movement of thought and feeling, and by seeing the truth of that movement. Truth can be perceived, or truth can come into being, only when condemnation, justification, and comparison, cease; only then is the mind quiet, only then is there the cessation of memory.
Now, what happens when the mind is tranquil, when it is still, when it is no longer becoming, no longer seeking an end; when it is extraordinarily alert, passive? In that silence there is a movement, there is an experiencing, in which time is not. It is a state of being in which neither the past nor the present nor the future exists.
Meditation is the living from moment to moment every day. It is not isolating oneself in a room or in a cave, for that way one can never know reality. Reality is to be found in relationship, not in the distant relationship, but in the relationship of our daily existence. If there is no understanding of truth in relationship, you will not understand what it is to have a mind that is still. It is the truth that makes the mind still, not your desire to be still; and truth is to be found in relationship, which is action, which is as a mirror in which to see yourself.
So, self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom, and without wisdom there can be no tranquillity. Wisdom is not knowledge. Knowledge is a hindrance to wisdom, to the uncovering of the self from moment to moment. A mind that is still shall know being, shall know what it is to love. Love is neither personal nor impersonal. Love is love, not to be defined or described by the mind as exclusive or inclusive. Love is its own eternity; it is the real, the supreme, the immeasurable.
February 13, 1949
Banaras 4th Public Talk 13th February 1949
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