Poona 2nd Public Talk 25th January 1953
Perhaps in considering the problem of suffering and pain we shall be able to find out directly for ourselves the full problem of a conditioned mind. We are not discussing merely the various forms of suffering - physical, psychological or psycho-somatic - but the problem of suffering which is surely linked to the question of the conditioned mind, the mind that is incapable of comprehending the whole, the total, the mind that is only concerned with the particular, with the limited, with the part. Perhaps if we can understand that, not merely speculate on what the whole is and thereby project in words, but perhaps if we understand the whole, the total, there is a possibility of overcoming sorrow, of being free from sorrow.
Our outlook, our approach generally is through the part to the whole, and we hope to understand the all through the part ; that is, we hope that through the part - the part being the `me' - we can comprehend our suffering, our relationship to the world, our attitude, our pain, our frustration; through the part, the `me', we hope to comprehend the whole complex problem of living. After all, the `me', the mind, is the only instrument you and I have; and that mind is so conditioned, so specialized, that it is capable of only thinking in conditioned values, outlooks, actions; and we hope that through the understanding of the part, of the `me', we shall comprehend the whole. The whole is not a theory, not a speculation, not what some teacher says, not some idea of a state, not some idea of God or of a state of being. But the direct experiencing of the whole, not speculatively but actually, may be the ultimate release from man's suffering.
Because we, you and I, are conditioned, totally conditioned by our thinking, our mind is incapable of comprehending `the whole' of which we do not know. All thinking is conditioned; thought at whatever level you may place it, is conditioned. You do not want to admit that. You think there is a part within you, which is not conditioned, which is above all the influences that bring about conditioning - the climate, the religious, the social influences; the education; the memory; the experience. You think that that something is beyond all conditioning and that it is not `the me'. But, when you think of that state which you say is unconditioned, that very thinking conditions; and also that thing which is beyond all conditioning is still conditioned if it is related to thought. This is not merely a speculation, a cunning argument.
If you can go into this question of the conditioned mind, you will find out that there is no part of thought, which is not controlled, conditioned. Perhaps that very conditioning is the source from which all suffering begins and ends. Perhaps if we can go into it, if we do not remain at the verbal level - you know what I mean by the verbal level: the mere thinking about it, the mere speculating whether the mind can ever be unconditioned - if we can understand it, then in that understanding we shall discover a great many things.
First if we are at all aware, if we are observant of the state of our own mind, we realize that thought is conditioned, that there is no thinking apart from conditioning. If we admit that, if we realize that, then there are different ways of approaching the problem. That is, I admit that I am conditioned and that there is no possibility of unconditioning the mind at all; then I attempt to modify the conditioning, to change the condition by being no longer a believer of certain ideas or ideals; but in this process, I get conditioned to accept other ideas or ideals. So there is a progress in conditioning, and that is what most of us are concerned with. We want to progress socially, economically, or religiously, or in our relationship with one another, in being conditioned or better conditioned; and thereby, we admit that all suffering can never come to an end and that there can only be a modification of suffering, various forms of escapes from suffering.
But when we know, when we are completely totally aware that our whole thought is conditioned and there is no part of it unconditioned, then there is a possibility of finding out if there is anything beyond the mind, beyond the projections, beyond the fabrications of the mind. I think this is a very important point; if you can really go into this, if we can really, actually experience it as we talk, then there may be a real solution to all the innumerable problems that we may have, the chief of which is sorrow, pain - not only bodily pain, but the greater involvements of psychological pain, the inward struggle, the conflicts, the frustrations, the despair, the hope.
So what is important is to find out, to actually experience - if there is a state which is not conditioned - the total, the whole which is not conditioned, which is not controllable by the mind or projected by the mind. All our answers - social, economic, or religious - are sought by a mind that is conditioned and therefore, whatever it is, the answer will be progressively conditioned, never beyond conditioning. That is, instead of worshipping the word ` God', we now worship the word `State', and by using the word ` State', we think we have made tremendous progress. Or if we do not like the word `State', we take the word `Science' or the word `Dialectical materialism' as though that is going to solve all our problems. That is, we are always approaching the solution of all our problems with a conditioned thought.
Thought is always conditioned, there is no thought which is not conditioned. As I said, you may comprehend the highest self, sublimely and at the highest level; but it is still conditioned. When once we realize it, not theoretically but actually, when we watch the operations of the mind, we see how the mind is constantly thinking always with the background and how there is no thought without memory, there is no experience without memory, without the process of recognition and therefore the contradiction of that. That is the state we know, and we approach our problems from that point of view. But, I do not think our problems can ever be solved in this way, by merely approaching the problem from a particular point of view. The problem can only be solved when we comprehend the whole, and the comprehension of the whole is not possible as long as thought, the idea, is functioning. Do please think about this, not when you go home, but actually as I am talking to you.
The difficulty is that most of us translate or interpret or compare what we hear. Do you follow? You say that is what the Upanishads said, that is what that phrase in the Bhagavad Gita meant; so, you are interpreting, you are not understanding; so, your knowledge becomes a hindrance to direct experience. Therefore there must be suppression of knowledge, the putting aside of all knowledge - I am not talking of the knowledge of how to build a bridge, which is essential; I am not talking of becoming primitive, which would be absurd - the putting aside of all knowledge which is comparative, the knowledge that interprets what others say. This interpretation, this translation indicates a form of self-fulfilment, the desire to be always sure, always certain; therefore the mind is always comparing, saying, `that is what the book says; and the very statement, the very translation has put an end to further experimentation, further study.
The mind must surely be in a state of complete uncertainty - that means, in a state of complete inaction, of not knowing; a mind which is not saying, `I know', `I have experience', `It is so'. A mind which says, `I know', is incapable of solving any complex problem of living, because life is moving because life is not stagnant. You may translate life, you may interpret it as a Socialist, as a Communist, as a dialectical Materialist, or what you will; you may translate it and thereby hold it in the words of explanation; but the Reality is a living thing, and that living thing cannot be approached through the particular which is thought. Please do see this, and Reality will reveal itself to you. If you are real- ly listening to it, you will do an extraordinary thing: it will break down immediately the conditioning of the mind, and then the mind will be capable of being so alert, so watchful that `the whole' is then not something miraculous, not something beyond the mind. That whole, that totality will be experienced only when this whole process of conditioning is understood and when you actually realize that through a conditioned thought there is no solution to any of our problems. When you have an experience of that kind, when you have the perception or the experience of the whole, then there is a tremendous inward revolution which is the only revolution - not the economic revolution which is merely progressive thought, conditioned action.
And so we have to approach all our problems realizing that our thought is conditioned. Do what you will, gather psychological knowledge, read all the sacred books of the world; if with that knowledge you approach the problem of life which is ever living, never static, you will never find an answer. But if there is the experiencing of the whole with the comprehension of the whole, where the conditioned mind is realized, then with that understanding of the whole, every problem can be solved, not in terms of progressive conditioning but in the complete cessation of that particular problem.
As I said yesterday, there is in this world of so-called progress more and more sorrow, more and more destruction, misery, suffocation, frustration. You may not be aware of it because your nose is accustomed to the grinding stone of everyday routine; but if you are at all aware, you will see that this is the process of existence: everlasting frustration without any end; and the more you seek fulfilment the more there is frustration. In self-fulfilment, in the desire to fulfil, there is further desire, further misery; because the source of your action, the impetus of your action is self-fulfilment - fulfilment in your son, in your family, in the nation, or in the society - the desire to fulfil and the resulting action bring about frustration. When there is frustration, there is despair. So the mind is seeking a way of hope through the State, through God or something else, through which it can fulfil; and so we are caught in that chain again.
So if there is to be an action which is not of a particular system, of a particular theory, if there has to be the action of togetherness, of you and me, which is not the action of fulfilment, there must be the understanding of how the mind is conditioned. The liberation of the mind from its conditioning is essential; then there is cooperation and there is action of `ourness', not of yours or mine. That is Truth. All this requires naturally a great deal of observation. This you cannot buy in books. This is real meditation - not the meditation of controlled thoughts, not the meditation that is only the narrowing down of thought, but the meditation of extensive awareness. Extensive awareness is the awareness of all the processes of thinking, being aware of how the mind is operating, of every reaction, every experience, every infringement of life, being aware of how the mind works at every moment, being aware of every response without shaping it, controlling it, guiding it, disciplining it. In that state of extensive awareness, the mind becomes astonishingly still, the mind is no longer concerned with achievement, with self-fulfilment, with being or not being. That state of stillness is not compelled or disciplined. It is the state of being, which is not of the mind; and therefore the mind is quiet, still; and in that stillness, that which is `the whole' is comprehended.
Question: Common men and women like me are mostly concerned with their immediate problems of famine, unemployment, illness and conflicts; how can I give my real attention to the deeper issues of life? All I seem to be seeking is relief from the immediate calamities.
Krishnamurti: We all want immediate relief from our calamities. We are all common people, however high we may be placed - bureaucratically, socially or religiously. There are these little calamities of everyday life, the jealousy, the anger, the anguish of not being loved, and the great ecstasy of being loved; if you can understand these little things of life, you can see in them the workings of your mind; it does not matter if you are a housewife cooking three meals everlastingly through the rest of your life, being the slave to the husband, or if you are the husband being a slave to the wife. In that relationship of pain, of pleasure, of calamities, of despair, of hope, at the very superficial level, if you begin at that, then you will find - if you can observe, watch, wait, be aware, without condemning, without judging - that the mind goes deeper and deeper with the problems; but if you are only concerned with the aspect of getting away from the particular problem, then your mind remains at a superficial level.
Let us consider the problem of envy, because our society is based on envy. Envy is acquisitiveness, greed. You have, I have not; you are somebody, I am nobody and I am going to compete with you to become somebody; you have more knowledge, more money, more experience, I have not. There is this everlasting struggle: you always going on and on and I always falling back; you are the guru I am the disciple or the follower; and there is the vast gulf between us; you always ahead, I always behind. If we can see, there are immense implications in all these struggles, in all these efforts, in these sufferings, in the little illnesses and other little things of everyday life. You do not need to read all the Vedas, all the books; you can put all of them aside, they have no importance; what is important is to see actually and directly, in these little things of life, things that are implied differently. After all, when you observe the beauty of a tree, the bird flying, the sunset on water, they tell you a great deal; and also when you see the ugly things of life - dirt, squalor, the despair, the oppression, the fear - they also reveal a fundamental process of thought. But we cannot be aware of all that, if the mind is merely concerned with escapes, with a panacea, with avoiding the discovery which exists in all relationships.
Unfortunately, we have not the patience, we want an immediate answer, our mind is so impatient with the problem. But if the mind is capable of observing the problem - not running away from it, but living with it - then that very problem begins to reveal its extraordinary quality. The mind gets to the depth of the problem and so the mind becomes not a thing pushed around by circumstances, by calamities. Then the mind is like a pool, like rich water, quiet; and it is only such a mind that is capable of stillness, of calmness, of peace.
Question: Faith in dialectical materialism has released a flood of creativity in New China. Faith in religion seems to make men smug and other-worldly. Can the kindliness of a spiritual way be combined with the dynamic action of the materialists?
Krishnamurti: It is comparatively easy as you must have noticed, to create enthusiasm for the State, for freedom, for peace or for war, and to identify ourselves with the State, with God, with an idea. That is, to forget oneself - through the idea of the State, of God, or material dialectism - or rather to fulfil oneself, is comparatively easy; that gives you an astonishing enthusiasm, a capacity. How do you think wars are fought - the wars that demand ruthless murder, that encourage enmity, endurance, sacrifice, the putting aside of all one's responsibility and going out to the front to kill? For that, you must have astonishing enthusiasm, energy, drive, hatred, and the so-called love of the country which makes one fulfil in that particular action. Therefore, there is no problem for such a man. He is living. Similarly, the identification with what we call God, the State, the identification with the idea which is considered bigger than `the me' obviously gives one an astonishing energy and creativeness. And the same is the case with religion; if I am at all so-called religious, it also gives me great faith, capacity, drive. You have it all in this country. When you were struggling, fighting for freedom, you could do anything.
The struggle for freedom is self-fulfilment; the country with which you identify yourself is the means of escaping from yourself. The struggle, pain, suffering to create a new world, a new India, is an artificial means of self-forgetfulness. They are all fulfilment in various ways, of the `me'. And they all give extraordinary temporary energy, a release of enthusiasm. But behind it, there is always the `me', the `I', seeking everlastingly to fulfil; and the fulfilment, the desire to fulfil brings conflict.
Religion, as you know it, as you practise it, is a dull routine, a dead thing, because it is bound by tradition, by what Sankara or Buddha said. So the mind creates what Sankara meant, what the Bhagavad Gita meant, and that meaning is the way through which you fulfil. So your interpretation, your commentaries become extraordinarily important. There is a false creativity which comes into being when you are fulfilling; but that is not creative; that is merely progression in calamity, progression in conditioned thinking. But there is an activity which is far beyond and above this urge of self-fulfilment; and that activity comes only when the desire to fulfil in different ways has come to an end.
Do think about all this, Sirs. Don't just agree or disagree. The actual listening to experience is an essential thing. That will give you an untold energy, a life in which there is no hurt, in which there is no enforcement, no enforced slavery. That gives rise to a creativity in which there is not the `me' that is fulfilling.
The `me' identifying with the State or with a particular system brings calamity; that brings position, that brings enmity, that brings hatred. If you identify yourself with a particular caste, won't you feel astonishingly enthusiastic to maintain that caste and struggle and fight to destroy other castes? So, similarly, mere identification with the larger is not the problem, nor is it the solution to the problem. See how, again, our mind moves, hoping to understand the whole through the part. We think the whole is the State, the Community, the nation or an ideal. The whole is none of these things, because they are projections of thought, and thought is always conditioned. That is why, through religion or books, you cannot see the whole.
The discovery of the experience of the whole can only be understood and experienced when the mind is completely assured that it is conditioned. Then the mind which is the centre of the `me' everlastingly seeking fulfilment and therefore escaping through enthusiasm, realizes that it is incapable of movement in any direction, and becomes still; then in that stillness there is an activity which is not merely producing, inventing, but which is creative. That creativity is essential in each of us to break the source of mischief, of misery and destructivity. You and I are ordinary human beings; but if we discover this creativity, then this world will be our world, you and I building it together, you and I acting together, creating a world in which sorrow, pain and star- vation have come to an end. But without that Creative Reality, all other creation is merely progression in misery, progression of conditioned thought.
Question: As a man thinks so he becomes. Is it not essential to know how not to be at the mercy of one's own evil and wayward thoughts?
Krishnamurti: First, the questioner begins with the quotation, `As a man thinks so he becomes'. Is it not very odd that we cannot think of any problem directly? We have innumerable quotations to support our theories - what the Bhagavad Gita, Marx, Sankara, Churchill or Mao Tse Tung have said. Our mind is incapable of looking at anything directly and experiencing a thing directly. Quotation-knowledge has destroyed our capacity to find out the truth for ourselves. (Laughter) Yes, Sirs, you laugh and you don't know the misery behind that laugh.
Now, your mind is crippled; and the mind that is crippled is not capable of being free. It is only free when it realizes it is crippled; then there is a possibility of doing something. A mind saying `I am not crippled', `I am full of knowledge', `I am full of quotations of other peoples' ideas', is incapable of the discovery of what is Real. The man with such a mind is living at a level of `second-hand'.
Now the next part of the question is, `Is it not essential to know how not to be at the mercy of one's own crazy, evil and wayward thoughts'? In this question, there are two things involved. He says, `How can I remain, free from evil thoughts, evil and wayward thoughts'? Please follow this closely because it is very important, because if we can really see the significance of it, go behind the words you will discover something. Don't follow me merely verbally - which is, don't merely listen to the words and the vibrations of the words - but go into it.
Is there the thinker, the one apart from thought, apart from the evil, wayward thoughts? Please watch your own mind. We say, `There is the `I' who wants to remain apart from the evil, apart from thoughts which are vagrant, wandering'. That is to say, there is the `I', the `me' which says, `This is a wayward thought', `This is an evil action', `This is good', `This is bad', `I must control this thought', `I must keep to this thought'. That is what we know. Is the one, the `I', the thinker, the judger, the one that judges, the,censor, different from all this? Is the `I' different from thought, different from envy, different from evil? The `I' which says that it is different from this evil, is everlastingly trying to overcome me, trying to push me away, trying to become something. So you have this struggle, the effort to put away thoughts, not to be wayward.
We have, in the very process of thinking, created this problem of effort. Do you follow? Then you give birth to discipline, controlling thought - the `I' controlling the thought which is not good: the `I' which is trying to become non-envious, non-violent, to be this and to be that. So you have brought into being the very process of effort when there are the `I' and the thing which it is controlling. That is the actual fact of our everyday existence.
Now, is the `I' who, is observing, the observer, the thinker, the actor, different from the action, from the thought, from the thing which it observes? We have so far said that the `I' is different from thought. So let us keep to one thing - that is, the thinker is different from thought. The thinker says, `My thoughts are vagrant, evil; therefore I must control them, shape them, discipline them'. In that process, that has been brought into being this whole problem of effort and the negative form `not to be'. Please listen to what I am saying, and don't interpret; if you will listen carefully, you will see something extraordinary coming out. As I said, you have brought into being the effort in different forms, the negation and assertion; that is our daily life.
But is there a difference between the thinker and the thought? Please find out. Is there? That is, if you don't think, would there be an `I'? If there was no thought, no idea, no memory, no experience, would there be the `I'? You say `I' is the higher self, the thing which is beyond thought, which is guiding you, which is controlling you. Now, if you say that, again examine it; don't accept it. If you say that, then the very entity that thinks about the Atman is still within the field of thought. The thing that is capable of being thought about is still within thought. That is, when I think about you, the particular name I know, when I recognise, you are already within the field of thought. Aren't you? So, my thinking is related to you. So the Atman or the higher self or whatever word you use, is still within the field of thought. So there is always a relationship between the thinker and the thought; they are not two separate states, they are one unitary process.
So there is only the thought which divides itself into the thinker and the thought, and brings the thinker into prominence. That thought creates the `I' which becomes permanent because, after all, that is what it is seeking - security, permanency, certainty in my relationship with my wife, with my children, with my society; always the desire to be ever certain. Thought is desire; so thought, the desire seeking certainty, creates the `I'. Then the `I' is enclosed in permanency. Then that says, `I must control my thoughts, I must push away this thought and take on that thought', as though that `I' is separate. If you observe, the `I' is not separate from thought. That is where the importance comes of really experiencing this thing, in which the thinker is the thought. That is real meditation, to find out how the mind is everlastingly operating in dividing the thinker and the thought.
The whole total process of thinking is what we are concerned with, not the `I' which wants to look, which is creating, dominating, subjecting, sublimating thought. There is only one process which is thinking. The thinking which says; `That is my house', has behind it the desire for security in that house. Similarly when you say `my wife', in that thought there is security. So the `I' is given prominence in certainty. There is only a process of thinking and not the `I' separate from thought.
So when you realize that, when this realization, this understanding comes, what happens to the thoughts which are vagrant, wandering going all over the place like a butterfly, like a monkey? When there is no censor any more, when there is no entity which says `I must control thought', then what happens? Please follow this, Sirs. Then, is there such a thing as a wandering thought? Do you follow? There is no entity which is operating, which is judging; therefore every thought is a thought in itself, not to be compared as good and bad. So, there is no wandering or wavering.
The wandering thought exists when thought says, `I am wandering, I must not do that, I must do this'. When there is no thinker, the entity which says that it will control thought, then we are only concerned with thought as it is, not as it should be. And then you will find the beauty of really observing every thought and its significance; because then there is no such thing as a wandering thought. You cut away the whole problem of effort, because you cannot come to Reality through effort; effort must come to an end for Reality to come. You must be capable of receiving. It is not a reward or a punishment. It is not a reward for good deeds. Society is concerned with your respectability but Truth is not.
For Truth to be, thought must be silent. Thought must not seek re- ward or punishment, it must not be concerned. Only in that state of mind in which there is no seeking, does Truth come into being. Truth that is seeking is not truth at all, it is only the self-projected voice of self-fulfilment. So, when you see all this, when you see this whole picture of how the mind operates, then there is no thought to be controlled, to be disciplined; then that very thought has significance; there is an observation of the thought as the observer watching thought, which is very difficult to experience, very arduous because that requires extraordinary perception and peace of mind. Every thought is the result of memory - memory which is but a name. After all, you think in words; your thought is the outcome of memory; memory is formed of images, symbols, words. So long as there is the `projection' there must be thought. So a man who is concerned with the understanding of thought understands the whole process of naming, terming, remembering, recognising. Then only is there a possibility of the mind becoming thoroughly still. This stillness comes with understanding. Then Truth may bless that individual, may come to him, may set him free from all problems; and then only is there the creative being, not the man who paints, writes a poem or works ten hours a day.
Question: Nama-Japam is the most effective means of quieting the incessant wanderings of the mind. Why do you object to these preliminary exercises which help the seeker to turn away from the fleeting shadows of existence?
Krishnamurti: What most of us want to be is to be hypnotized by words, by sound. We want to be quiet and so we invent words or take a drug that will temporarily quieten the nerves.
If you are only concerned with the superficial quietening of the mind, Nama-Japam does quieten the mind, the nerves, by the repetition of words. Instead of repeating Nama-Japam, just repeat `two and two make four' several times, and your mind becomes very quiet (laughter).
Please follow this. The mind wants a vocation in which it cannot be disturbed. After all, that is what most of you want; you do not want to be disturbed in your job, in your relationship with your wife, with your neighbour; you want to be assured of your income; you want to be assured of your life; you want rest; you do not want to be disturbed politically, religiously. Only if you are hungry, if you are starving, then there is disturbance. The man who starves will somehow acquire a state of non-disturbance. After all, tyrannies and concentration camps are filled with those people who are disturbed. So doubt becomes a hindrance to a man who is seeking. That is what your religion says; that is what your politicians, your leaders assert. So the mind does not want to be disturbed, and so it turns to various resorts to quieten the mind.
After all, contentment is the thing essential for quietness. There must be the watching of mind and heart, of what is truth - not the ultimate truth, but truth in the everyday movement of life, the truth of thinking. It is necessary to be watchful not just go to sleep by some repetition of words. Truth is not something ultimate; it is to be found every minute of the day. Truth is not something which is accumulative, which is tied up and thereby becomes time. That which is caught up in time is not the Truth; it is memory, and that memory says, `I must not be disturbed; `I had a most beautiful experience of reality, of God, of the sunset' or `the joy of fulfilment; `I had a certain desire', `I must not be disturbed'.
So the mind is everlastingly seeking a way in which it can remain quiet, in which it can function in a habitual manner. After all, all your experiences are merely established habits, and in that habit the mind is quiet; and so you create Nama-Japam and repeat certain words, and your superficial mind is made quiet. But there is an urge going on inside, the becoming something, the urge for fulfilment, thoughts which are ambitious, struggling, striding, thoughts that are to be understood, that are to be apprehended. They are revealed in your daily relationship with your wife, with your children, in the job you are doing.
So life is a process of relationship in which there is disturbance. There must be disturbance, and that disturbance is the mirror in which you discover; you discover the state of your mind, of your heart; you see how it moves, how it functions. But if you condemn it, then you put a hindrance to it. You cannot go beyond it. So again the entity that judges, that compares, that condemns, is still thought - the thought that is trying to become something, the thought that is ambitious; and such a thought will never find Reality. The ambitious man is the political man and the political world will never solve the problem of human existence. No parliament, no political leader will understand and bring about an inward revolution in the world.
The world is you; your world is the world in which you live with your people. It is in the heart that there must be revolution. And that revolution does not come about by putting yourself to sleep; it comes through something which is creative, which is dynamic, which is the ultimate Reality. That revolution is only possible when you understand the things of life. The understanding of the heart is the `beginning to listen', and meditation is the understanding of the whole process of the mind.
January 25, 1953
Poona 2nd Public Talk 25th January 1953
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