Madras 7th Public Talk 26th January 1952
Perhaps this evening we can discuss the problem and the full implication of what is suffering and what is sorrow. I think that before we enter into that subject, we should consider what we mean by the word `understanding', because if we can understand the profound significance, the depth and the meaning of sorrow, perhaps then we shall be able to free the mind entirely from those reactions which we term, or to which we give the name `sorrow' which is a feeling. So, it is important to find out what we mean by `understanding'.
Is understanding reason or deduction? Is understanding merely the outcome of an intellectual or verbal process, or is it something entirely different from deduction, from comprehension? By careful analysis, do we solve a deep psychological problem? Is not understanding the comprehension, recognition, seeing the whole of the problem in its entirety? The mind can only reason, put several things together, deduce, analyze, compare, have knowledge about; but can the mind which is a process of thinking in which time is involved, which is memory and which is the accumulation of beliefs, knowledge, can such a mind understand the full significance of a problem? In other words, can the time process which is essentially a process of the mind, a process of thinking, solve a problem? That is particularly important to find out for most of us. For most of us, the instrument which we have cultivated so diligently is the mind, the intellect, with which we approach a problem hoping thereby to resolve it.
We are asking ourselves: `Can the mind which is a process of time, which is the result of yesterday, to day and tomorrow, be the instrument of understanding?' Can the mind see the whole problem in its entirety? Does understanding come into being through time? Or is it irrespective of time? If we dissociate the process of understanding from reasoning, from deduction, from analysis which is a process of time, then we can probably comprehend fully a problem at one glance. That is very important. Is it not? If we are to understand the full significance of sorrow, we must eliminate the time process altogether. Time will not resolve the process of building up sorrow nor will it help in the resolution of sorrow. It can only help you to forget it, to evade it, to postpone it; but still the sense of sorrow is there.
So, please come forward this evening as two individuals, not as groups of people trying collectively to think about it; come forward as two individuals and look at this problem of sorrow without introducing the process of time as a means to understanding, to resolving. In other words, can we see this problem of entirety? It is only so when we see something completely, wholly integrally, there is a possibility of its dissolution, and not other wise. The possibility of this dissolution does not lie through the process of what we call the mind, the reason, the thought. That is why I said we must understand that word `understanding; we must grasp the significance of that word. I think if we can do that, perhaps we shall get to the root of the problem of sorrow.
If I would understand something, first I must love it. Must I not? I must have communion with it. I must have no barrier. There must be no resistance. There must be no apprehension, no fear, which translate themselves into condemnation, justification or a process of identification. I hope you are following all this. Forget the words for the moment; the words I am using need not have any value for you; keep in contact, in communion with what I am saying, the spirit of it, which is not mere verbalization. To understand something, there must be love. If I would understand you, I must love you, I must have no prejudice. We know all these things. You say `I have no prejudice'. But all of us are a bundle of prejudices, antagonisms; and we put on verbal screens. Let us remove this screen and see what the significance of sorrow is. I feel that, only through that way, we shall resolve this enormously complex problem of sorrow.
So, understanding requires communion; understanding requires a mind that is capable of perceiving the unknown, the unnameable; be cause a mind that wishes to understand something, must itself be quite still, which is not a state of recognition. If there is to be understanding there must be communion, which means love, not only at one particular level but at all levels. When we love somebody, it is a process of timeless quality. You can't name it. There is no barrier of fear, of reward, of condemnation; nor is there identification with somebody else - which is a mental process. If we can really see the significance of that word, then we can go into the problems of suffering. If there is that feeling of communion, of really loving that problem which we call sorrow, then we shall be able to understand it fully; otherwise we shall merely run away from it, find various escapes. So, let us, if we can, put ourselves in that position. Only then, we can understand what is called sorrow. There should be no mental barrier, no prejudice, no condemnation, no justification through tradition. Then we can approach, you and I as individuals, this thing that is consuming most of us, sorrow.
Energy in movement, in action, is desire. Is it not? That desire when thwarted is pain, and that desire in fulfilment is pleasure. For most of us, action is a process of fulfilment of desire. "I want" and "I don't want" govern our attitude. That energy which is canalized, identified as the `me' through desire, is ever seeking a fulfilment. Desire in its movement, in its action, is a process of fulfilment or denial. There are various forms of fulfilment and various forms of denial likewise, each binding, each bringing about different kinds of sorrow. When there is sorrow, there are various forms of resolution of it, various forms of escapes from it.
We know sorrow at different levels. Don't we? Physical sorrow, physical pain, sorrow of death, sorrow that comes when there is no fulfilment, sorrow resulting from a state of emptiness, sorrow that comes when ambition is not fulfilled, sorrow in not coming up to the standard or the good example, sorrow of the ideal and finally sorrow of identification. We know various forms of sorrow at different psychological and physiological levels; and also we know the various forms of escapes, drink, rituals, repetition of words, the turning to tradition, looking to the future, looking for better times, better hopes, better circumstances; we know all these forms of escapes - religious, psychological, physical and material. The more we escape, the greater and more complex the problems become. When we look at the problem, our whole structure is a series of escapes. You explain away sorrow; to you then, explanation has more significance than the depth, the meaning, the vitality of sorrow. After all, the explanations are merely words, however subtle, however justified; and we are satisfied with words. This is another escape.
We have our whole mental process in approaching a problem like that of sorrow. We have our basis of a series of escapes, justifications, and condemnation. So, there is not direct and vital communion with the problem of sorrow. Then you are a different entity looking at sorrow. You are trying to dissolve, enquire into, analyze the problem of sorrow. You are different; and something else is suffering in this process of analysis, condemnation and justification.
There is no question of you as an entity that is in sorrow or that is sorrowful. Sorrow is not different from the thinker. The thinker, the feeler, the entity that desires, is itself sorrow. It is not as if he is different from sorrow and he is going to dissolve sorrow. The very process of desire which is energy in action, is a process of frustration, of suffering, of fulfilment, of pain. You are not different from sorrow. That is the whole picture. Is it not? We can enlarge it more verbally, paint it more in detail; but that is the problem. Is it not? You are not different from sorrow and therefore you cannot resolve sorrow. You can't analyze yourself as a separate entity looking at sorrow; nor can you go to the analyser to get it resolved; nor can you escape, put away direct sorrow by energy spent in social activities.
Most of our efforts, most of our intentions and our search are for saying `I am different from that which I feel, and how am I to resolve that?'. This is really an important issue not to be easily brushed aside and cunningly replied. You have to look at it though your whole being revolts; because we have been brought up to think that you can operate on it. You are not at all a different entity from your thought or from your desire or your ambition, from the ladder you are climbing, spiritually or sociologically. To understand this problem there must be communion with the whole, and you cannot commune with the whole if you are looking at it partially as you and the object. That is a partial comprehension, partial understanding - which is not at all understanding - if you think you are a different entity looking at the thing which you call sorrow.
So, you are the creator of sorrow; you are the entity that suffers; and you are not separate from sorrow, from pain. As long as there is a division between you and suffering, there is only a partial understanding, partial comprehension, partial view of the thing; which means really, that you must put aside all previous explanations; which means, you are face to face, not as two separate processes, but as a unitary process, with the thing that you call sorrow. When you really love there is no barrier; then there is communion. It is not an identification with another; identification does not exist in love. It is only a state of being. Can you look at this problem of sorrow, sorrow not only of the reaction of sympathy, a hope or failure, but also the sorrow that is so enveloping, so deep, so profound that no verbal description can cover it? Can you and I be in full communion with it? We must not make virtue of sorrow, as a means of understanding, a means of progress.
Actually what is this sorrow? When you suffer, when your son dies, there is one kind of sorrow; when you see the poor unfed children, that is another kind of sorrow; when you are struggling to reach the top of the ladder and you don't succeed, that is a third kind of sorrow; when you are not fulfilling the ideal, you have sorrow. Surely, sorrow is a process of desire ever increasing, ever multiplying, self-enclosing. Can I understand that whole process of energy in movement as desire and put an end to desire, not to energy? What we know is that energy in action is desire - desire being the `me', the `me' advancing, the `me' fulfilling, the `me' postponing.
Can I understand this whole problem of sorrow and desire and thereby put an end to desire as a movement of the `me', and not come back but be in that state of energy which is pure intelligence? It is not a question to be answered `yes' and `no'. It is not a school boy's affair. This needs a great deal of meditation, meditation not in the sense of pitching up your thought to a certain level and holding it - that would be absurdity. We are not discussing meditation here. As I said, this requires a great deal of insight, and you can't have insight if there is any sort of distortion of desire.
Energy is pure intelligence; and when once we comprehend that, or let it come into being, then you will see that desire has very little significance. That is our whole problem, is it not?, how to shape the desire, how to mould it sociologically or spiritually. How is the `me' or desire to be shaped for collective use, to be shaped for individual use? How is all this done?
As long as desire is not fully comprehended, fully understood, there must be sorrow; because we cannot have the pure reason that will resolve it, the pure intelligence that is necessary for it. Reason can't dissolve sorrow; it can't dissolve desire. Therefore it is necessary to understand the whole problem not by deduction, not by reasoning but by seeing the whole thing, which means, to really love the problem, to really love sorrow. You understand? There are people who love sorrow; but their hearts are empty; instead of loving a man, they love sorrow, which is an ideal. Haven't you seen people who love virtue? They love sorrow be cause they feel good in loving; they feel a certain enthusiastic response, a certain well-being. I do not mean that kind of love at all. When you love, there is no identification but there is communion; there is open receptivity between that and you. That is essential to understand this whole problem.
As I said, understanding is not a process of time; it is not of time. Don't say `I will understand tomorrow; `I will go', `I will come', `I will be aware more and more'. Understanding has nothing to do with time or process of time, which is thinking. So mind cannot solve the problem of sorrow. So, what can solve it? If you try to understand the problem with your mind, you justify, you condemn, or you identify yourself with it. The mind that can understand the problem fully, is the mind that is not in a state of agitation; the mind that would understand the problem is not seeking a result; it does not want to find an answer; it does not say `I must be free from sorrow in order to experience, in order to have more'. There is no `more'. `More' is the sorrow, which means, the less. So if you can look at it completely, not as `I' or `me' looking observing shaping, destroying, but with a mind to which the observer and the observed are the same, then you will find there comes love that is not sensation, intelligence that is not of time or of thought process; and it is only that, that can resolve this immense and complex problem of sorrow.
Question: I have spent ten years of my best life in prison for my political activities which promised great things. Now there is disillusionment, and I feel completely burnt out. What am I to do?
Krishnamurti: You may not spend ten years in prison but you may spend a year or two in pursuit of false hope, in pursuit of false activity, in doing something to which you have given your whole being, your whole devotion or thought, and then find it empty. We have done that, have we not? You follow a certain path and action hoping it will bring great things, hoping it will help people, will free people, hoping there will be, at the end of it compassion, love; and you have given your life to it. And then one day, you find it is utterly empty, that is, the thing you have lived for has no meaning any more; you are emotionally burnt out. Don't you know such cases? Are you not one of the cases? Are you not in that position? Have you not had such experience, have you not known that you have followed the path of the Master, the initiator - political or religious, promising an ideal state through revolution - , and you have given out your zeal and energy and your life to it, and at the end you are disillusioned, burnt out emotionally? You work for it and then leave it. But there is another fellow, stupid and ignorant, who comes and fills your place. He carries on, he adds fuel to the useless fire. And if he is burnt out, he walks away and goes out of it. But there is another fellow to take up. And the movement of stupidity goes on in the name of religion, politics, God, peace - call it what you will. Another problem arises, how to prevent the stupid from falling into the useless fray that has no meaning.
Societies, organizations, are such empty things, specially the religious; so, what are you to do when you are burnt out? Your elasticity is gone. You are getting old. All the things you are striving for, have no meaning. And either you turn cynical, bitter ; or you remain like a log of dead wood, secluded, in isolation. That is an obvious fact, is it not? All that, we know; there are hundreds of examples; perhaps you are yourself one of them. What is one to do when one is in that state? Can that which is dead, be revived? Can that which is hollow, false, give its life to the false? Can that suddenly come to life and see what it has done, pursue the real, and renew? That is the problem, is it not? Can I who have given the greater part of my life to something which has no meaning - no meaning in the sense that it has no deep, ever lasting significance - , can I who have lost that state, been burnt out, can I find life again, can I find the zeal again? I think I can.
When I am burnt out, when I realize I have wasted, instead of becoming bitter if I can see the whole significance of what I have done I have pursued the ideal and how ideal always destroys - because ideal has no meaning, ideal is only self-projection, ideal is only postponement, ideal prevents me from understanding that which is, ideal prevents me from comprehending the whole-; if I can sit quietly, not pulled off in another direction; if I recognize the whole process of what I have done, and see what had led me to false hopes, what awakened all kinds of ambitions in me; if I can see all that without any movement in the other direction, either of justification or condemnation; if I can remain with it, live with it, then there is the possi- bility of reviving. Is there not? Be cause, the mind has pursued some thing which, it hoped, would produce results, utopias, marvels, etc. If the mind realizes what it has done, there is renewal; is there not? If I know I have done a grievous thing, false thing, if I am aware of it, understand it, then surely, that very understanding is light, is the new.
But most of us have no patience or wisdom or silent acceptance of that which we have done, without bitterness. All I know is I have wasted my life and I want a new life. I am eager to grasp the new thing. When I am eager to grasp, then I am again lost. Then there is the guru, the political leader, the promise of utopia carrying me away. So, I am back again at the same process as before. But recognizing this process is to be patient, to be aware, to know what I have done, not to attempt anything more. That requires great wisdom. That requires great affection, to know I am not going to participate in any of those things. It does not matter where it will lead me, but I am not going to do that. When we do that, when we are in that state, I assure you there is renewal, new beginning. But I must see that my mind does not create new illusion, new hope.
Question: What is meant by `accepting what is'? How does it differ from resignation?
Krishnamurti: What is acceptance? What is the process of acceptance? I accept sorrow. What does it mean? I suffer through loss of a friend, brother or son; and there is suffering. The acceptance of that suffering through explanation is resignation, is it not? I say it is inevitable, and the suffering dies; I rationalize, or I turn to Karma, or reincarnation, and I accept. Acceptance is the process of recognition, is it not? Don't define the word but see thy meaning. That is, I accept, in order to be peaceful. I resign myself to an event, to the circumstance, to the incident. I accept them because they pacify me, they put me out of the state of conflict. There is an ulterior motive in resignation, of which I may not be conscious. Deep down, unconsciously, I want to have peace, I want to have satisfaction, I do not want to be disturbed. But loss causes disturbance which we call suffering. And in order to escape from suffering, I explain, I justify and then say `I am resigned to the inevitable, to Karma'. That is the most stupid way, is it not?, of living. But that will not bring about understanding, will it?
If I am capable of looking at what is - that is, what has taken place, the death of someone, an incident - , without any mental process, if I can observe it, be aware of it, follow it, be in communion with it, love it, there is no resignation, no acceptance. I shall have to accept the fact. Fact is fact. But, if you can prevent yourself from translating it, interpreting it, giving it justification, putting it in a place that will be suitable for you, if you are aware of that and therefore put it aside naturally, without any effort, then you will see that which is quite different, which is significant. Then it begins to narrowly unfold, begins superficially; but as it begins to unfold, it is more and more; it is like reading a book. But if you have already concluded what the book is about, know the end, you are not reading.
Understanding of `what is' can not come about through any justification, condemnation, or identifying yourself with `what is'. We have lost the way of love. That is why all this superficial process exists. Don't ask what love is. You talk all the time of love. What do you mean by it? You can only find out what love is, by negation. As the life we lead is negation, there can be no love. As our life is mostly destructive, the way of our life, the way of our communion is self-enclosing. That which is all embracing can be understood only when the negation has ceased to be. The understanding of `what is' can come when there is complete communion with that which is.
Question: For Truth to come, you advocate action without idea. Is it possible to act at all times without idea, that is, without a purpose in view.
Krishnamurti: I am not advocating anything. I am not a propagandist, political or religious. I am not inviting you to any new experience. All that we are doing is trying to find out what action is. You are not following me to find out. If you do, then you will never find out. You are only following me verbally. But if you want to find out, if you as an individual want to find out what idea and action are, you have to enquire into it, and not accept my definition or my experience which may be utterly false. As you have to find out, you have to put aside the whole idea of following, pursuing, advocating propagandist, leader or example.
Let us therefore find out together what we mean by action without idea. Please give your thought to it. Don't say `I do not understand what you are talking about'. Let us find out together. It may be difficult, but let us go into it.
What is our action at present? What do you mean by action? Doing something, to be, to do; our action is based on idea, is it not ? That is all we know; you have idea, ideal, promise, various formulas about what you are and what you are not. That is the basis of our action, reward in future, or fear of punishment, or seeking self-enclosing ideas upon which we can base our action. We know that. Don't we? Such activity is isolating. Watch yourselves in action. Don`t go to sleep over my words. You have an idea of virtue and according to that idea you live - that is, you act in relationship. That is, to you, relationship is action which is towards ideal, towards virtue, to wards self-achievement, so on and so on, collective or individual.
When my action is based on ideal which is idea, that idea shapes my action, guides my action - such as, I must be brave, I must follow the example, I must be charitable, I must be socially conscious, and so an. So I say, you say, we all say `There is an example of virtue, I must follow; which means again, `I must live according to that'. So action is based on that idea. So between action and idea, there is a gulf, there is a time process, there is division of time. That is so, is it not? That is, `I am not charitable, I am not loving, there is no forgiveness in my heart; but I must be charitable. There is time between what I am and what I should be, and we are all the time trying to bridge between what I am and what I should be. That is our activity, is it not?
Now what would happen if the idea did not exist? At one stroke, you would have removed the gap, would you not? You would be what you are. Have I frightened you all? You say `I am ugly, I must become beautiful; what am I to do?' which is action based on idea. You say `I am not compassionate, I must be come compassionate'. So you introduce idea separate from action. There fore there is never action, but always an ideal of what you will be; never of what you are. The stupid man always says he is going to become clever. He sits working, struggling to become; he never stops, he never says `I am stupid'. So his action which is based on idea, is not action at all.
Action means doing, moving. But when you have idea, it is merely ideation going on, thought process going on, in relation to action. And if there is no idea, what would happen? Please follow it through. You are that `Which is'. You are uncharitable, you are unforgiving, you are cruel, stupid, thoughtless. Can you remain with that? If you do, see then what happens. Please follow this. Don't be impatient, don't push it away - now, not tomorrow, actually now when you are facing it - then, what happens? When I recognize I am uncharitable, stupid, what happens, when I am aware it is so? Is there not charity, is there not intelligence, when I recognize uncharitableness completely, not verbally, not artificially, when I realize I am uncharitable and am loving? In that very seeing of `what is', is there not love? Don't I immediately become charitable? Please let us not have your acceptance. Look at it. Go into it. If I see the necessity of being clean, it is very simple; I go and wash. But if it is an ideal that I should be clean, then what happens? Don't you know the answer? Cleanliness is then very superficial.
So action based on idea is very superficial, which is not action at all, Which is merely ideation, which is a different kind of action; but we are not discussing that kind of action which is merely thought process going on.
But the action which transforms human beings, which brings regeneration, redemption, transformation - call what you will - , such action is not based on idea. It is action irrespective of sequence, reward or punishment. Then you will see such action is timeless, because mind does not enter into it; and mind is time process, calculating process, dividing process, isolating process.
This question is not so easily solved. Most of you put questions and expect an answer `yes or no'. It is easy to ask questions like `What do you mean?', and then sit back and let me explain; but it is much more arduous to find out the answer for yourselves, go into the problem so profoundly, so clearly and without any corruption, that the problem ceases to be. And that can only happen when the mind is really silent in the face of the problem. The problem is as beautiful as sunset, if you love the problem. If you are antagonistic to the problem, you will never understand. And most of us are antagonistic because we are frightened of the result, of what may happen if we proceed; so we lose the significance and purview of the problem.
January 26, 1952
Madras 7th Public Talk 26th January 1952
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