Rajghat 13th Talk to Boys and Girls 24th December 1952
Perhaps, what we have been discussing for the last two weeks may be approached from a different point of view. You know what I am saying is not a thing to be remembered. You know what is `remembering'? It is to try to store in your mind what you have heard or what you have seen or what you have read, to be recollected, and either to be thought of or to be followed. But we are not doing that here. You are not trying to remember what I was telling you. If you remember what I was telling you, it will be merely memory; it won't be a living thing. This is not like a class where you take notes while you listen. that is only to make you remember what you have heard; and what you have heard, if you remember it merely, is not something that you understand. It is the understanding that matters, not remembrance. I hope you see the difference between remembering and understanding. Understanding is something immediate, direct, something which you experience intensively. But if you merely remember what you have heard during these mornings, it will act as a guide, something to be compared, something to be followed, a slogan, the remembrance of an idea which should be followed, which should be imitated, which should act as a guide, as an example, something on which to base your lives. But understanding is something which you do not remember. It is a continuous, constant pressure.
So, if you understand what I have been talking - understand, not remember - then you will see that your action, what you are doing, is in relation with your understanding. If you remember, you will try to compare your action or modify it, or adjust your action to what you remember. But if you understand, that very understanding is bringing about action, and you do not have to act according to your remembrance. That is why it is very important to listen, not to remember but to understand immediately. If you remember certain sentences, certain feelings that are awakened here, certain phrases, certain words, you will try to compare your action with what you remembered. So, there will always be a gap between what you remember and your action. But if you understand, there is no copying. So, it is very important, vitally important, to see that you really understand. Any fool can remember, anybody with certain capacities can pass an examination, because he remembers; but, if you understand the things involved in what you see, in what you hear, in what you feel, that very understanding brings about action which you have not got to guide, shape, control. If you remember, you will always be comparing; and comparison breeds envy. Our whole society is based on that structure of envy and acquisitiveness. So, mere comparison with what you remember, will not help to bring about understanding. In understanding there is love. This is not mere intellectualization which is a mental thought, a mental process in which you are comparing, in which you are imitating, in which you follow, in which there is always the danger of the leader and the led. Do you understand that?
In this world, the structure of society is based on the leader and the led, the example and the one who follows the example, the hero and the worshipper of the hero. If you go behind this process of following and being the led, you will see that where you follow, there is no initiative, there is no freedom for you or for the leader; because, you shape the leader, you control the leader as the leader controls you. If you are following examples - examples of self-sacrifice, examples of greatness, examples of success, examples of love - then those examples become the ideals which are to be remembered and followed; so, you have, between the ideal and the action, a gap, a division. A man who really understands this, has no ideal; he has no example; he is not following anybody; for him, there is no guru, no Mahatma, no historical leaders; because, he is constantly understanding what he hears, whether it is from the father or mother, or from the teacher, or from a person like myself who comes into his life occasionally
You are now listening; you are understanding and not following. You are not imitating here; therefore, there is no fear; and so there is love. So, it is very important to see this very clearly for yourselves, so that you are not bewitched, mesmerized by heroes, by examples, by ideals. Examples, heroes, ideals, and the things that are remembered, are soon forgotten. Therefore, there has to be a constant reminder by a picture, by an ideal, by a slogan. If you have an ideal, an example, then you are following; that is merely remembering. In that remembrance, there is no understanding. It is only comparing `what you are' to `what you want to be'. That very comparison breeds envy and fear; and that comparison breeds authority in which there is no love. Please understand all this, hear all this very carefully, so that you have no leaders, no examples, no ideals, to imitate, to follow, to copy; so that you are a free human being with dignity. You cannot be free if you are everlastingly comparing yourself with the ideal, with what you should be. If you understand what you are, however ugly, however beautiful, however frightened, actually what you are, that does not demand remembrance; remembrance is merely recollection. But, to watch, to be aware, to be conscious of what you actually are, is the process of understanding; and this is not a process of recollection, it is not a way of remembrance.
If you really understood what I am talking, listened to it completely, then you would be free of all the things that past generations have created, which are utterly false and have no significance; you will have no recollection which only cripples the mind and the heart, which breeds fear and envy. If you really understand what I am talking, you will listen. Unconsciously, you may be listening very deeply; I hope you are. Then you will see what an extraordinary power it brings, that comes with listening, with freedom from remembrance.
Question: Is beauty a subjective quality or objective?
Krishnamurti: Why do you ask that question? To write an essay on it? You know, in school and at college, you are asked to write essays; and so, what do you do? You collect, you read books and, like squirrels, collect ideas from books, from other people and put all these ideas together and put them on paper and pass it on to the examiner. Is that why you are asking? Please listen. Or, do you really want to know whether beauty is subjective or objective? Do you really want to under- stand, to find out, not to remember and say, `Yes, that is what he said', or `It is true or wrong'? If you really want to understand it, not merely remember it, then, let us proceed.
You see something beautiful, the river from the veranda; if you are not sensitive, then you pass it by. You see a child in tatters, crying; if you do not appreciate things about you, if you are not aware of things around you, then that is of very little value. There is a woman carrying a weight on her head with dirty clothes, starving, tired; do you see the beauty of her talk or feel the sensitivity of her state, the colour of her sari however dirty it is? There are objective influences that are all about you; if you have not that sensitivity, you will never appreciate them, will you? If you are sensitive, you are aware not only of the things which you call beautiful but also of the things called ugly - to see the river, the green fields and the trees from the distance, the clouds of the evening; or to observe the dirty villagers, the half starved people with very little thought, very little feeling, with dirty clothes. The one we call beautiful and the other we call ugly. If you are listening, you will see that what is important in this is that you cling to the beautiful, to the everlasting, you watch the beautiful; but you shut yourself away from the ugly. Is it not important to be sensitive to both, to what you call beautiful and to what you call ugly? It is the lack of that sensitivity that divides life into the ugly and the beautiful. But if you are sensitive, receptive, capable of appreciating both what is called ugly and what is beautiful, then you will find their significance - that they are full of meaning, that they give enrichment to life.
So, is beauty subjective or objective? If you were blind, if you were deaf, if you did not hear any music, would you miss beauty? Or, is beauty something inward? You may not see, you may not hear; but the feeling, that extraordinary feeling of being open, of appreciating everything even though you do not hear or you do not see, to be aware inwardly of all the things that are happening inside you, to every thought, to every feeling - is that also not beauty, is that also not subjective? But you see, we think beauty is something outside. That is why we buy pictures hang them up on the wall. We want beautiful saris, beautiful trousers, coats, turbans, we want to have every- thing outside of us; for we are afraid that without a reminder, we shall lose something inwardly. Can you divide life, the whole process of existence, of living, as subjective or objective? Is it not a wrong thing to divide life into the subjective and the objective? It is a double process, is it not? It is a complete process. without the outside, there is no inside; without the inside there is no outside.
Question: Why is it that a strong man suppresses the weak?
Krishnamurti: Do you suppress? Find out. Why do you, in argument, in physical strength, push away your brother younger than yourself, the smaller one? Why? Because you want to assert yourself, because you want to show your strength, you begin to assert, you begin to dominate, you begin to push the little child away; you begin to throw your weight about, because you want to show how much stronger, how much better, how much more powerful you are. It is the same thing with older people; they know a few more details from books, they have positions, they have money, they have got authority; and so they suppress, they push you aside; and you accept being pushed aside, because you also want to suppress somebody below you. So, the top people suppress you, and you suppress those who are below you. Each one wants to assert, to dominate, to how power over others. The very showing of power gives you satisfaction, the feeling that you are somebody; because most of you do not want to be nothing, you want to be somebody.
Question: Then, why do the bigger fish want to swallow the smaller fish?
Krishnamurti: Because, they want to live. The little fish live on the tiny fish, and the little fish are lived on by bigger fish. In the animal world, it may be perhaps natural. It may be you cannot alter it - the big fish living on the small fish. But the human big fish need not live on the human little fish. If you know how to use your intelligence, you can avoid living on each other, not only for physical but also for psychological reasons, for inward reasons. If you see this problem, if you understand it - which is, to have intelligence - then you will not live on another. But you want to live on another; so you live on somebody who is weaker than you. Freedom does not mean that you are free to do anything you like. Freedom can only be where there is intelligence; and intelligence can only come through the understanding of the relationship of you and me and all of us together with somebody else.
Question: Is it true that scientific discoveries make our lives easy to live?
Krishnamurti: Have they not made life easier? You have electricity, have you not? You use the switch and you have light. There is a telephone in that room and you can listen, if you want, to New York or to your friend in Benaras; is that not easy? Or, you can get into a plane and go to Delhi or New York. These are all scientific discoveries and they have made life easier. Science has also given you the atom bomb which can destroy human beings. Science has not only helped to destroy human beings, but it has also helped to cure diseases. But if we do not use scientific knowledge with intelligence, with love, we are going to destroy ourselves, because science is now discovering more and more, and there are atomic bombs which will destroy human beings. That is, using knowledge without love, we destroy each other, though science helps to make life easy.
Question: What is death?
Krishnamurti: What is death? This question from a little girl! You know, you see dead bodies being carried to the river; you have seen dead birds, dead leaves, dead trees, fruits that wither away, decay. Have you not seen the birds that are full of life, chattering away in the morning, calling to each other in the morning? In the evening, they may not be; they wither, they die. The person who lives in the morning may be carried away by disaster and be dead in the evening. We have seen all this. Death is common to all of us. We will all end that way. You may live for thirty or forty years crying, suffering, fearful; and at the end of forty or fifty years, you are no more. What is death and what is living? It is really a complex problem and I do not know if you want to go into it. What is it we call living, and what is it that we call death? If I know, if I can understand what living is, then I can understand what death is. Either one is frightened, or one does not understand it. Or, one has lost somebody whom one loves, and feels bereft, lonely; and therefore that has nothing to do with living. You separate death from living. Is death separate from life? Is not living a process of dying?
For most of us, living means what? It means accumulating, choosing, suffering, laughing. At the background of it all, behind all pleasure and pain, there is fear - the fear of coming to an end, the fear of what is going to happen tomorrow. Please listen, ask your teachers afterwards what I am talking about, question them, find out. So, behind this, there is fear - fear of not being with name and fame, with property, with position which you want to continue. So, you say what happens after death? What is death, and what is it that comes to an end? Life?
What is life? Is life merely breathing in oxygen and expelling it, is that life? Feeding, hating, loving, possessing, acquiring, being envious, comparing - that is what we know of life. For most of us, life is the constant battle that we have of pain and pleasure and suffering. Can that come to an end? Should we not die? In the autumn, the leaves on trees fall; in the cold weather the leaves drop and they reappear in the spring. So also should we not die to everything of yesterday, to all the accumulations, to all the hopes, to all the successes that we have gathered? Should we not die to all that and relive again tomorrow, so that we are fresh, like a new leaf, tender and sensitive? To such a man who is constantly dying, there is no death. But to a man who says, `I am somebody, I must continue', to him there is always death and the burning ghat; that man knows no love.
December 24, 1952
Rajghat 13th Talk to Boys and Girls 24th December 1952
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