Rajghat 15th Talk to Boys and Girls 26th December 1952
Perhaps, some of you were interested in what I was saying yesterday about envy. I am not using the word `remember', because as I have explained, remembrance, remembering the word or phrases only, makes the mind dull, lethargic, heavy, slow and so very uncreative. It is very destructive, merely to remember things. But what is very important, while we are young, in spite of modern education, is to understand and not to cultivate memory; because, understanding frees, understanding brings the critical faculty of analysis; you see the fact and then perhaps rationalize it. But merely remembering certain phrases and sentences or certain ideas prevents you from looking at the fact of jealousy, at the fact of envy. If you understand envy which lurks behind good works, behind philanthropy, behind religion, behind your pursuit to be great, to be saintly, if you really understand that, then you will see that there is an extraordinary freedom from jealousy.
As I was saying, it is important, really important to understand, because remembrance is a dead thing; and perhaps also that is one of the major causes of our deterioration, specially in this country, where we imitate, copy, follow, create ideals, heroes, so that gradually, the picture, the symbol, the word re- mains, the phrase remains, without anything behind it. This is specially so in modern education which merely prepares you to pass certain examinations - which is, merely to memorize. This is not creative; this is not understanding, but merely remembering things that you have read in books, that you have been taught; and so, throughout life, gradually, memory is cultivated and real understanding is destroyed. Please listen to this very carefully, because it is very important to understand this. Understanding is creative, not memory, not remembrance. Understanding is the liberating factor, not memory of the things that you have stored up. Understanding is not something in the future. The cultivation of memory brings to you the idea of the future; but if you understand directly, that is, if you see something very clearly, then there is no problem; the problem exists only when we do not see clearly.
As I was saying, what is important in life is not what you know, what you have gathered, how much knowledge or how much experience you have. What is really important is to understand, to see things as they are and to see them immediately, because comprehension is immediate. That is why experience and knowledge become deteriorating factors in life. For most of us, experience is very important; for most of us, knowledge is very significant; but when you really go behind the words and see the significance, the meaning of knowledge, the meaning of experience, you will find it is one of the major facts of deterioration. This does not mean that it is not right at certain levels of life, at certain levels of existence - to know how to grow a tree, to know what kind of nourishment it should have, how to feed the chickens, how to raise the family properly, how to build a bridge. There is an enormous amount of knowledge with regard to science, which is right; for example, it is right that we should know how to run a dynamo or a motor; but when knowledge is merely memory, it is destructive; you will find experience also becomes a very destructive thing, because experience brings memory.
I do not know if you have noticed how certain grown up people think merely bureaucratically as officials. They are teachers and their only function is to be teachers, not to be human beings pulsating with life; they know certain rules of grammar or mathematics or history; and because of their memory, their experience, that knowledge is destroying them. Life is not a thing that you learn from somebody. Life is a thing that you listen to, that you understand from moment to moment, without accumulating experience. Because after all what have you got when you have experience; when you say, `I have had an enormous amount of experience', when you say, `I know the meaning of those words'? Memory, is it not? You have had certain experiences, how to run an office, how to put up a building or bridge; and according to them, you have further experience. So, you cultivate experience and that experience is memory; and with that memory you meet life,
Life is like the river - running, swift, volatile, never still. You meet life with the heavy burden of memory, of experience; naturally, you never contact life. You are only meeting your own experience which only strengthens your knowledge; and gradually, knowledge and experience become the most destructive factors in life.
I hope you understand this very deeply, because what I am saying is very true; and if you understand it, you will use knowledge at its proper level. But when you merely accumulate knowledge and experience as a means to understand life, as a means to strengthen your position in the world, then it becomes most destructive, it destroys your initiative, your creativeness. In this world, especially here, most of us are so burdened with authority or with what people have said or with the Bhagvad Gita or with ideals, that our lives have become very dull. But these are all memories, remembrances; they are not things that are understood, that are living; there is no new thing in being burdened with those memories, and as life is everlastingly new, we cannot understand it; and therefore living becomes a burdensome thing; we are lethargic; we grow mentally and physically fat and ugly. It is very important to understand this.
Simplicity is the freedom of the mind from experience, from remembering, from memory. We think simplicity is to have a few clothes, a begging bowl; we think that a simple life is externally to have very little. That may be alright; but real simplicity is the freedom from knowledge, from remembering that knowledge or from accumulating experience. Have you not noticed people who have very little, those people who say they are very simple? Though they may have only a loin cloth and a staff, they are all full of ideals. Have you listened to them? Have you heard them? They are very complex inwardly, struggling, battling against their own projections, their own beliefs. They believe; they have many beliefs. Inwardly, they are very complex, they are not simple; they are full of books, they are full of ideals, dogmas, fears. But outwardly, they have only a staff and a few clothes. The simplicity of real life is to be inwardly completely empty, to be innocent inwardly without the accumulation of knowledge, without belief, without dogmas, without the fear of authority; and that can only take place if you really understand every experience. If you have understood an experience, then that experience is over; but because we do not understand it, because we remember the pleasure or the pain of it, we are never inwardly simple. So those who are religiously inclined, pursue the things that make for outward simplicity; but inwardly, they are chaotic, confused, burdened with innumerable longings, desires, knowledge; they are frightened of living, of experiencing.
When you look at all this, you will see that envy is a very deep rooted form of remembering, it is a very destructive factor, it is a very deteriorating thing; so likewise, is experience. The man who is full of experience is not a wise man. Please listen. The man who has experience and clings to that experience is not the wise man; he is like any school boy who reads, who has accumulated information from books; such a man is not a wise man. A wise man is innocent, inwardly free of experience; such a man is a simple man inwardly, though he may have all the things of the earth or very little.
Question: Does intelligence build up character?
Krishnamurti: What do you mean by character? Please listen very carefully to everything that is being said, both to the question and to the answer.
What do we mean by `character'? What do we mean by `intelligence'? Let us find out what we mean by these two words. We use these words very freely. Every politician from Delhi, or your own local tubthumper uses them - character, ideal, intelligence, religion, God. These are words and we listen to them with rapt attention, because they seem very important. We live on words; and the more elaborate, the more exquisite the words we use, the more we are satisfied. Let us find out what we mean by `intelligence' and what we mean by character. Do not say I am not answering you definitely. That is one of the tricks of the mind; that means, you are definitely not understanding and you just want to follow words.
What is intelligence? Is a man who is frightened, anxious, envious, greedy; whose mind is copying, imitating, filled with other people's experiences and knowledge; whose mind is limited, controlled, shaped by society, by environment; is such a man an intelligent man? You call him an intelligent man, but he is not, is he? Can such a man who is frightened, who is not intelligent, have character - character being something original, not the mere repeating of traditional do's and don't's? Is character respectability? Do you understand what respectability means? To be respected by the majority, to be respected by the people about you. What do the people of the family respect, what do the people of the mass respect? They respect the things which they themselves project, which they themselves want, which they themselves see in contrast. That is, you are respected because you are rich or powerful or big, because you are well-known politically, because you have written books; you may talk utter nonsense but, when you have talked, people say you are a big man. As you know people, as you win the respect of the many, the following of the multitude gives you a sense of respectability which is the `being safe'. The sinner is nearer to God than the respectable man, because the respectable man is enclosed by hypocrisy.
Is character the outcome of imitation, the outcome of what people will say or won't say? Is character the result of the mere strengthening of one's own prejudiced tendencies, the following of the tradition of India or of Europe or of America? That is generally called character - to be a strong man, to be respected. But when you are imitating, when you are frightened, is there intelligence, is there character? When you are imitating, fol- lowing, worshipping, when you have ideals which you are following, that way leads to respectability but not to understanding. A man of ideals is a respectable man; but he will never be near God, he will never know what it is to love. Ideals are a means to cover up his fear, his imitations, his loneliness.
So, without understanding yourself - how you think, whether you are copying, whether you are imitating, whether you are frightened, whether you are envious, whether you are seeking power - without understanding all this which is operating in you, which is your mind, there cannot be intelligence; and it is intelligence that creates character, not hero worship, not the ideal, not the picture. The understanding of oneself, of one's own extraordinarily complicated self, is the beginning of intelligence which brings character.
Question: Why does a man feel disturbed when a person looks at him attentively?
Krishnamurti: Do you feel nervous when somebody looks at you? Do you feel nervous when somebody whom you consider inferior, a servant, a villager, looks at you? You do not even know that he is looking at you, you just pass him by; you don't even know that he is there, you have no regard for him. But when your father, your mother, your daughter looks at you, you feel anxious; because you feel that they know a little more than you do, that they may find out things about you, you are anxious. If you go a little higher, if a Government Official or a priest or somebody looks at you, you are pleased; you hope to get something from him, a job, or some reward. But if a man looks at you, who does not want anything from you - neither your flattery nor your insult - who is quite indifferent to you, then you will find out why he is looking at you. You should not be nervous but you should find out what is operating in your own mind when such a person looks at you, because looks mean a great deal, because a smile means something.
You see, unfortunately, most of you are utterly unaware of all these things. You never notice the beggar; you never notice the villager carrying his heavy burden, or the parrot that flies. You are so occupied with your own sorrows, with your longings, with your fears, with your rituals that you are never aware of the things of life; and so if any one looks at you, you are apprehensive.
Question: Cannot we cultivate understanding? Is understanding experience? When we try to understand constantly, does it not mean that we want to experience understanding?
Krishnamurti: Is understanding cultivable? Is understanding to be practised? You practise tennis; you practise the piano or singing or dancing; or you read a book over and over again till you are familiar with it. Now, is understanding the same thing, something to be practised - which means, repeating; which means really, cultivating remembrance? If I can remember constantly all the time, is that understanding? Is not understanding something from moment to moment, something that cannot be practised?
When do you understand? What is the state of your mind or your heart when there is understanding? When I say that experience and the memory of experience are destructive, are deteriorating, what is the state of your mind when it hears that? When you hear me say that jealousy is destructive, that envy is one of the major factors which destroy relationship, how do you react to it? What happens to you? Do you say, "It is perfectly true, I understand it"? Or do you say, `What would happen if I am jealous'? - which is to rationalize it. When you hear something very true about jealousy, do you see the truth of it immediately or do you begin to think about it, talk about it, discuss it, analyse it, see what it all means and then see if you can be free from jealousy? Is understanding a process of slow rationalization, of slow analysis? When you hear the truth of something - like `envy is destructive' - do you immediately understand that it is so? Do you follow?
Can understanding be cultivated as you cultivate your garden to produce fruits or flowers? Can you cultivate understanding which is really to see something without any barrier of words or of prejudices or of motives, to see something direct? Question: Is the power of understanding the same in all persons?
Krishnamurti: You see very quickly, you understand immediately, because the thing is presented to you and you have no barriers. I have many barriers, many prejudices; I am jealous; my conflicts have been built upon envy, upon my importance. You are not full of your own importance; so you see immediately. You are eager to find out; but I have done many things in life, and I do not want to see. You have no barriers and you see immediately; I have innumerable barriers, I do not want to see; and so I do not see. Therefore, I do not understand and you understand.
Question: I can remove the barriers slowly by constantly trying to question.
Krishnamurti: No. I can only remove the barriers, not try to understand.
You hear someone say that envy is destructive. You listen and understand the significance and the truth of it; and you say, `Yes; you are free from that feeling of jealousy and envy.
I do not want to see it because if I listen to the truth of it, it would destroy my whole structure of life. What am I to do? Am I to remove the structure or the barrier? I can only remove the barrier, when I really feel the importance of not having the barriers - which means, that I must feel the barriers.
Question: I feel the necessity.
Krishnamurti: When do you feel that? Will you remove the barriers because of circumstances or because somebody tells you? Or will you remove it when you yourself feel inwardly that to have any barriers creates a mind in which slow decay is taking place - that is, when you yourself see the importance of removing the barriers. And when do you see it? When you suffer? But suffering does not necessarily awaken you to remove these barriers; on the contrary, suffering helps you to create more barriers. You remove those barriers when you yourself are beginning to listen, to find out. There is no reason for removing, no outside reason or inward reason; the moment you bring in a reason, you are not removing the barriers. So, that is the great miracle, that is the greatest blessing, to give the inward something an opportunity to remove the barrier. But, you see, when we want to remove it, when we practise to remove it, when we say it must be removed, all that is the work of the mind; and the mind cannot remove the barrier. No rituals, no compulsions, no fears can remove the barrier. But when you see that nothing will remove it, that no attempt on your part will remove it, then the mind becomes very quiet, the mind becomes very still; and in that stillness, you find that which is True.
December 26, 1952
Rajghat 15th Talk to Boys and Girls 26th December 1952
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