Bombay 3rd Public Talk 15th February 1953
I think it is one of our greatest difficulties to be serious because we are surrounded with so many frivolities and distractions, with so many teachers and systems and philosophers, that it is very difficult for us to choose what is right. It is especially difficult if we are very learned, if we are already committed to a par- ticular pattern of action. The more we are committed to a certain pattern, or type of thought, ideal or action - though we may appear to be very earnest, very serious - we are really not alert or intelligent; because, the very acceptance of any particular system - religious, political, scientific or social - is obviously a conditioning and a deteriorating factor in our existence. It seems to me that it is very difficult for most of us to be serious without being entrammelled in a particular system of thought or without being caught up in a groove of action; because, the moment we are serious, we want to be something, we want to act, we want to throw ourselves into a particular action, reform, revolution; and we think that which is not immediately translated into action is not serious.
I think it is very important to consider this: not that there should not be action, not that there should not be a certain revolution, a certain change - economic, social and so on - but before we plunge into any activity, should we not be very clear what we mean by seriousness and what we mean by being intelligent? Are all serious people intelligent, and are all intelligent people serious? Is the so-called intelligent, well-read man who is up-to-date in scientific knowledge or philosophical systems of thought - is he serious? Is it not important for each one of us to find out what it means to be serious? Because without seriousness, without real earnestness, life has very little significance.
In the case of most of you who are attending these talks regularly, if you are merely caught up in the travail of curiosities, if you want to find a solution for a particular problem, an answer, should you not consider in what way it is important to be serious? You will hear these talks and you will go away. What effect has this on your lives, what does this do in your lives? Is it merely a repetition of certain phrases, words? Is it the learning of a new technique, new words, a sharpening of the mind? Or is it that by really listening, not merely hearing - there is a distinction between hearing and listening - one may find out what this seriousness is? It is not the seriousness of the man who pursues a particular virtue. The pursuit of a virtue only leads to respectability and therefore it is a thing to be avoided; for, the respectable man will never find joy, will never be creatively happy.
So is it not important to find out for ourselves to what extent, to what depth, we are serious? Because, we have to be serious. Does not seriousness go with intelligence? A man who is really intelligent must be a serious man. Let us find out what this intelligence implies.
Now, if I may suggest, let us repeat what I said the other day, without too much boredom; if you can listen rightly, without interpreting or comparing what you have already read about or heard, listen as though you were enjoying yourself, and try to find out, to enquire, not to block, not to hinder, but to really find out - which is entirely different from hearing lectures. We are used to going to talks. We hear lots of speeches made up of words, very brilliant or crudely put together. But the effect of true listening is much more revolutionary than that particular action. If I know how to listen to you, to music, to the sound of a wave, if I know how to listen to it, if I let it penetrate into me without any barrier, then that very listening brings about an extraordinary activity which is not a conscious endeavour on my part.
So, perhaps we can try this way of listening - which is not `being mesmerized' to any particular attitude or action. I am not suggesting any kind of activity or any kind of attitude. I am only trying to find out, you and I together, what is this intelligence which is so essential, which will bring about a seriousness, a dedi- cation, an involuntary dedication to life and not to a particular action; because, life is not a particular activity, it is a total process. Is it not possible to dedicate oneself unconsciously, involuntarily, freely, to the totality of existence? To do that, one must have extraordinary intelligence, native insight; one must be uncorrupted. And is that intelligence possible? Because the more we read, the more there is comparison and the more we are caught in all this confusion of knowledge.
Is it not possible to find out what is true intelligence, so that with the operation of that intelligence we shall find out true action? True action is action which is not imposed by anyone - by Marx, by the Socialist, or by the Capitalist, or by some other clever human entity - which is not dominated by one's ambition, knowledge, erudition. Since we probably have never had that intelligence, we have been dominated by others; and the very process of being dominated destroys the cultivation or the discovery of true intelligence.
Intelligence, it seems to me, is devoid of all authority. There cannot be intelligence where there is authority - the authority of the party, the authority of tradition, the authority of books or the authority of one's own experiences. Because, where there is authority, domination, there must be choice. And where there is choice there is no intelligence.
Please listen to this; just let what I am saying penetrate; listen to it and you will find the truth of it as we go along. I depend on my experience, thinking that it will bring about intelligence. But, is my experience capable of such intelligence? Is experience ever capable of producing intelligence? What is my experience? It is a series of reactions to invariable challenges of life. You may flatter me and I react to it, or I react to beauty. This constant relationship between challenge and response is experience, is it not? And that experience is based on a conditioned background. So, the conditioning, the conditioned background, responds to other challenges; and from the challenge I begin to choose, I begin to react according to my background, according to my choice. So my experience gradually becomes authority - the authority from which I am, from which I choose, from which I think. So choice is authority, authority of knowledge which is experience - whether mine or yours or of all the well-learned people.
Is there intelligence where there is the capacity to choose? Choice is the result of experience, mine or another's; and experience is the recording on the conditioned background. All our life is based on choice. I choose this material or that material. I choose this flower or that scent; I choose this philosophy, I choose that guru, that political system, leader, and so on. All my life is based on a series of interpretations and choices; and the higher I choose, the more I think I am capable of distinguishing, the more I think I am intelligent. Is that so? Obviously, choice is necessary at certain levels of existence, in certain fields of thought, of life, of action; but psychologically, inwardly, does not choice based on authority cripple intelligence? Because, after all, when I choose psychologically - I am not talking about the physical fact of choice - but when I choose psychologically, is not that choice the result of my conditioning, my experience? And so the more I choose according to my experience, the more my mind is conditioned. and so the more I choose according to a particular system of thought, according to tradition, according to my conditioning.
Does not the very process of choice based on authority, destroy intelligence? And is not intelligence essential, specially in a world where there are a series of crises, where there is domination and the imposition of authority? Is it not essential to free ourselves from all authority - which means, from all choice - and to discover what is truth? Because, what is truth is not the result of choice, is not the outcome of authority. If I choose, then it is not truth. I choose according to my background, according to my experience, or according to the authority which gives me security, the authority through which I shall fulfil, through which I shall carry out certain series of actions which will guarantee what I want. So, choice as we know it, as we exercise it every day, will that lead us to intelligence? And if it does not, is it not important to find out what it is that prevents this functioning of intelligence which is the freedom from authority of every kind.
Is it possible to live in a world whose structure is not based on authority, on the social, economic, religious cultural imposition and domination of authority? Is it possible to live without authority, without some form of compulsion, some form of resistance, to hold us in a certain groove of action? Is it not important for us to find out if it is possible to be earnest with this intelligence in which there is no choice? Because, then there is action without reward, without an end - it is a constant revolution; and such action is necessary, specially in us, because we are confused. All the teachers, all the gurus, all the books, everything has failed; all the heroes are merely on the walls - not in our hearts and minds - since they have all failed. Is it not important for us to be free from every kind of authority and to enquire what is truth, without authority, without choice? Because the moment we do not choose, the moment we do not interfere with that activity in which there is no choice, such an action will obviously produce a revolution, not superficially only but also fundamentally, deeply, inwardly.
It is that creative action which is essential - creativity without choice in which there is no authority of any kind. Because then the mind is free from fear; it is only the mind that is afraid that chooses, and the mind that is afraid is not intelligence. And is not all choice based on fear, and can the mind be utterly free from fear? The mind can only be free from fear when the mind is not seeking an end, when the mind is not pursuing a result, when it is not conditioned by any belief, by any authority. Then only is there a possibility of bringing about a revolution, a regeneration, a transformation of the human mind and heart.
Question: My body and my mind seem to be made up of deep-rooted urges and conscious and unconscious fears; I watch the mind but often it is as if these basic fears overpower me. What am I to do?
Krishnamurti: Sir, let us find out what we mean by fear. What is fear? Fear exists only in relation to something. It is not something by itself. It is only in relation to something - to what you might say of me, to what the public may think of me, to the loss of a job, in having security in my old age, or the fear of the mother's or the father's death, or God knows what. It is the fear of something.
Now, how am I to be free from fear? Will discipline of any kind dispel fear? Discipline is resistance, the cultivation of resistance to learn. Will that free the mind from fear? Or will it only hold it away from it - like building a wall, but on the other side there is always fear? Fear obviously cannot be got rid of by resistance, by the cultivation of courage; because, the very nature of courage is the opposite of fear, and when the mind is caught up in fear and courage, there is no solution but the cultivation of resistance; so there is no overcoming of fear through cultivation of courage.
How am I to get rid of fear? Please follow this, Sirs. This is our problem, yours and mine, of every human being who wishes to be free from fear, because if I can be free from fear then `the me', the self, which is creating so much mischief, so much misery in the world, can disappear. Is not the self, in its very nature, the cause of fear? Because I want to be secure, if I am not economically secure, I want to be secure politically, socially in name, I want to be secure in the hereafter, I want to have God's assurance to pat me on the back and say, `You will have a better chance next life; I want somebody to tell me, to encourage me, to give me shelter, refuge. So, as long as I am seeking security in any form, there must be fear from which all the basic urges spring. So, if I can understand what fear is, perhaps then there may be a release from that constant choice.
How am I to understand what fear is? How am I - without disciplining, without resisting, without running away from it, without creating other illusions, other problems, other systems of gurus, of philosophers - to really face it, to understand it, to be free of it and go beyond it? I can only understand fear when I am not running away from it, when I am not resisting it. So we have to find out what this entity is that is resisting. Who is `the I' that is resisting fear? Do you understand, Sirs? That is, I am afraid; I am afraid of what the public might say about me, because I want to be a very respectable person, I want to succeed in the world, I want to have a name, position, authority. So one side of me is pursuing that; and inwardly, I know that anything I do will lead to frustration, that what I want to do will block me. So, there are two processes working in me; one, the entity that wants to achieve, to become respectable, to become successful; and the other, the entity that is always afraid that I might not achieve.
So, there are two processes in myself operating, two desires, two purSuits - one that says, `I want to be happy', and the other that knows that there may not be happiness in the world. I want to be rich and at the same time I see millions of poor people; and yet, my ambition is to be rich. So long as the desire for security confronts me, drives me, there is no release; at the same time there is in me compassion, love, sensitivity. There is a battle going on endlessly and that battle projects, becomes antisocial and so on and so on. So what am I to do? How am I to be free from this battle, from this inward conflict?
If I can observe one process alone and not cultivate the dual process, then there is a possibility of dealing with it. That is, if I can observe fear in itself and not cultivate virtue, not cultivate courage, then I can deal with fear. That is, if I know `what is' and not `what should be', then I can deal with `what is'. With most of us we do not know `what is; for, most of us are concerned with `what should be'. This `should be' creates the duality. `What is' never creates duality. `What should be' brings about the conflict, the duality.
So, can I observe `what is' without the conflict of the opposite, can I look at `what is' without any resistance? Because, the very resistance creates the opposite, does it not? That is, when I am afraid, can I look at it without creating resistance? Because, the moment I create resistance against it, I have already brought into being another conflict. Can I look at `what is' without any resistance? If I can do that, then I can begin to deal with fear.
Now, what is fear? Is fear a word, an idea, a thought or an actuality? Does fear come into being because of the word fear, or is that fear independent of the word? Please, Sir, think it out with me. Don't get tired. Don't let your minds go off. Because, if you are really concerned with the problem of fear - which you are, which every human being is - fear of death, fear of your grandfather or grandmother dying, since you are burdened with that extra- ordinary darkness, should you not go into the problem and not just push it aside? If we go into this problem carefully, we see that as long as we are creating a resistance against fear in any form, running away from it, building barriers against it, like cultivating courage and so on, that very resistance brings about conflict which is the conflict of the opposites. And through the conflict of the opposites, we will never come to an understanding.
The idea that conflict between thesis and antithesis will bring about a synthesis is not true. What brings about understanding is comprehending the fact of `what is' and not by creating the opposite. So, can I face fear, look at fear, without resisting, without running away from it? Now what is this entity that is looking at fear? When I say I am afraid, what is the `I' and what is the `fear'? Are they two different states, are they two different processes? Am I different from the fear, which `the I' feels? If I am different from the fear, then I can operate on fear, then I can change it, then I can resist it, push it away. But if I am not different from fear, then is there not a different action altogether?
Is this a little bit abstract and too difficult for you, Sirs? Please, let us go into it. Listen to it, just listen; don't bother to argue, because by listening, not throwing up arguments, by just listening, you can comprehend what I am talking about.
As long as I am resisting fear, there is no freedom from fear, but only further conflict, further misery. When I do not resist, there is only fear. Then is fear different from the observer, `the me' that says, `I am afraid'? What is this `me' that says `I am afraid'? Is not `the me' composed of that feeling which I call fear? Is not `the me' the feeling of fear? If there was no feeling of fear, there would be no `me'. So `the me' and the fear, are one. There is no `me' apart from fear; so fear is `me'. So there is only fear.
Now there is the enquiry: is fear merely the word? Does the word fear, the idea, the symbol, the state, is that created by the mind independent of the fact? Please listen. Fear is `me; there is no independent `I', apart from me. The man, `the I' says `I am greedy', the authority is the `I'. The quality is not different from `the I'. So long as the `I' says `I must be free from greed', it is making an effort, it is struggling. But that very `I' is still greedy, because it wants to be non-greedy. Similarly, when `the I' says `I must be free from fear', it is cultivating a resistance; and so there is conflict, and it is never free from fear. So there is only freedom from fear when I recognise the fact, when there is an understanding of the fact that the fear is `the I', and the `I' cannot do anything about fear. Please see `the I' that says `I am afraid, I must do something about fear'. As long as it is acting upon fear, it only creates resistance and therefore increases further conflict. But when I recognise that the fear is `me', then there is no action of the I; it is only then that there is freedom from fear.
You see we are so accustomed to do something about fear, about an urge, about a sexual urge, that we always act upon it as though that urge is independent of `me'. So, as long as we are treating the desire as independent of `me', there must be conflict. There is no desire without `me'. I am the desire; the two things are not separate. Please see this. It is really a tremendous experience when there is this feeling that fear is `me', that greed is `me', that it is not apart from `me'.
There is no thought without the thinker. As long as there is the thought, there is the thinker. The thinker is not separate from thought; but thought creates the thinker, puts him apart because thought is everlastingly seeking permanency and so creates `the I' as a permanent entity, `the I' that controls thought. But without thought there is no `I; when you don't think, when you don't recognise, when you don't distinguish, is there `the I'? Is there `the me'? The very process of thinking creates `the me', then `the me' operates on thought. So the struggle goes on indefinitely.
If there is the intention to be free from fear completely, then there must be the recognition of the truth that fear is `me', that there is no fear apart from `me'. That is the fact. When you are faced with a fact then there is action - an action which is not brought about by the conscious mind, an action which is the Truth, not of choice, not of resistance. Then only is there a possibility of freeing the mind from every kind of fear.
Question: My life is one constant adjustment with my husband, with my relations. I thought I was happy; but I have heard you, and the bleakness of my life has been laid bare. What is the use of my listening to you if what you talk about does not bring light to my ordinary everyday life?
Krishnamurti: Is it not important to be stripped off of all Illusions? Is it not important to find out what actually one is, to find out the events in the world? You cannot do it through a Socialist, Communist, Capitalist or religious point of view; you must see them as they are. Then you can deal with them. But if you live in an illusory world and through that illusion look at various problems, then there is no resolution of those problems.
The question appears to be this: should one be stripped of these illusions to see exactly what one is? Is it not necessary to be aware, to be conscious of this bleakness? After all, we are human beings without joy, without happiness, in sorrow, exploiting others; that is our actual state - using others for our fulfilment, either the State or the party or the idea. We are empty human beings. Inwardly, we are very lonely, afraid, dependent on so many people, on so many ideas, without love; that is what actually we are. Can't we look at it and must we not know of it? Can we avoid it? We try to avoid it by going to cinemas, reading books, doing various activities; but the fact still remains that, behind these activities, we are dull human beings, unhappy, living in miserable conditions. Is it not important to face that fact, to know exactly what we are? When we know what we are actually, then what happens? Then we try to alter that, to consciously bring about a change. Do you understand Sirs, what I am saying?
We are living in a world of escapes, in a world of mass illusion; we run away from things as they are actually; and when somebody, anybody, brings them to us and makes us look at the actuality of them, we don't like it. And then we try to do something about `what is', the actuality; this is again creating resistance, again running away from it. So that is our difficulty. If I know I am lonely, if I am antisocial, if I am greedy, if I am afraid, I want somebody to tell me what to do. If I am aware of my greed, if I am conscious of it, then my immediate reaction is to act upon it, to do something about it. So I set the chain going again - which is, to do something about it, to create resistance against it. If I can look at it, be with it, live with it, if I can get acquainted with all the intricacies of it, then there is a possibility of going beyond it. But as long as I am desirous of operating on what I am, I can never deal with it. I am lonely, I am afraid, I am unhappy; if I can look at this without any kind of compulsion, without any kind of interpretation, then an unconscious revolution takes place.
We want to act consciously and our conscious action is very limited; because, our minds are conditioned all the time. It does not matter whose thought it is, all thinking is conditioned, all thinking is reaction; and thought is not productive, it does not bring about freedom. What brings about freedom is when the conscious mind is quiet, when the whole being is quiet with the fact - with the fact of loneliness, with the fact of fear, with the fact that `I hate', with the fact that "I am ambitious". When the mind is silent with the fact, then there is an unconscious revolution. The revolution is in releasing creativity. It is that revolution that is so essential in bringing a creative society into being. But, you see, we never come to that point; we are always wanting to do something about the fact - the fact that I am unhappy, the fact that I am depressed, ambitious. The moment I recognise the fact, my mind is operating upon it to alter it, to see whether it can control it, to shape it. That is the mind.
The conscious mind does not face the fact and remain with the fact, without any desire to alter, to bring about a change in it. Real acceptance means seeing the thing as it is. Then I assure you there is the revolution of the unconscious, the revolution without motives. That is the only true revolution; because, in that revolution, there is the release of creativity, that creativity which is love.
Question: I hear you and sometimes I feel I understand. Another uses your words and there is no understanding. What is it that is understood?
Krishnamurti: What do you mean by understanding? When do you understand? When I say `I understand you', what do I mean by that? Do I hear merely the words or is it a deeper process at work? Is understanding on the verbal level? That is, I hear you, I translate what you say and I say `Yes, I have understood'. Is that what we mean by understanding? Or, is understanding something entirely different? Under-hearing, but the comprehension of the truth of what you are saying, or of the falseness of what you are saying.
What is it that understands? Is it a state, is it a reaction? Please listen to this. It is very important to find it out, because we may find the key to the whole process of comprehension, of understanding. Do we listen when we are interpreting? Do I understand what you are saying, when I am translating what you are saying? When you say, for instance, `be good', what effect has that on me? Do you say it with full intention, with the feeling of being good without any sense of reservation, without any sense of inhibition? And am I capable of listening to it without translating, without saying, `How am I to be good in my circumstances'? Am I capable of listening without translating what you are saying to suit my circumstances? Can I listen to you without any barrier? Is it not, only then, that understanding comes?
Is not understanding something which is not brought about by any effort? If you are making an effort to understand me, all your knowledge is gone in making the effort; you are not listening to me. If you are not making an effort, if you are merely listening without any compulsion, without any translation, without any interpretation, without comparing - which means, you are allowing the words, the thought, the feeling, the thing that is said, the whole of the thing implied, to penetrate - then, is there not a direct communion of something which I see and you also see? Then that understanding - not yours or mine, it is understanding - is the flash of something true. So understanding is not personal. It is not yours or mine. It is a state of being when the mind is capable of receiving what is Truth. And the mind is incapable of receiving what is Truth if it is bound by authority, by tradition; then the mind is comparing what is said with the Bhagavad Gita, with the Bible, with this, with that. So understanding surely is a state in which the mind is not comparing, in which there is no authority; it is choiceless awareness; so, the mind directly sees without any interpretation, without any mediator. So, if you and I both can see, if you and I be in that state, obviously there is immediate perception of what is true.
But with most of us, our knowledge, our experiences, authority, compulsions, various activities of daily life prevent us from experiencing directly something which is true. However much you may hear me, your minds are so crippled by authority, by knowledge, by experience, that you are incapable of seeing things directly. So, understanding comes only when the mind is really quiet, not compelled, not coerced, when the mind in its quietness and stillness is capable of reception. If understanding is not accumulation, you cannot gather understanding; you cannot keep it in store. Understanding comes in flashes or in a series of flashes or in a long flash, which indicates the mind must be extraordinarily quiet, listening, without making any choice. But a conditioned mind, a mind disciplined, held up, hedged by compulsions - such a mind cannot understand, cannot directly experience what is Truth. And it is that experiencing of what is Truth, from moment to moment, which brings about creative release.
Question: You talk of the revolution in the unconscious; but as the unconscious is a dimension unknown to thought, how can I be aware that there has been any deep revolution? Are you not using these words to hypnotize us into imagining a state?
Krishnamurti: Is not the unconscious also the conscious? That is, consciousness, as we know it, is strife. I am only aware when there is friction, when there is a challenge. when I am in misery, when I make conscious effort to do or not to do. But behind that conscious effort, are there not many motives hidden, many compulsions, urges, traditions, which I have inherited after centuries? I am both the conscious as well as the unconscious. Both are the process of thought, are they not? Suppose I perform rituals, puja; it is an action which is the outcome of the great tradition in which I have been brought up; that tradition is based on fear, on the desire to find peace, hope, reward and so on; that is the unconscious motive which makes me do a certain action. Is not the whole process of consciousness the result of thought? You may not think of the idea; the unconscious may not have thought it out; but is not the whole of that the process of thinking? I may not have thought out puja, but someone else has thought it out and I have been conditioned in that - that is the unconscious, deep down in me. I have been brought up as a Capitalist, as a Communist, or as a Socialist; and from that I act and from that I respond. The unconscious motives, the urges, the conditions, are the result of thinking by me or by another, by society, by circumstances.
Can thought bring about a revolution? Please follow this. Thought being conditioned, thought being always conditioned, can it bring about a revolution - which is so essential - a radical revolution, not an economical or partial revolution? Can a deep fundamental revolution be brought about by thought? Thought, both conscious and unconscious, is a total process. My unconscious may be covered up and I may not have dealt with it. But that unconscious is still there, and it is the result of thought, my forefathers' thoughts, the thought of the books, the knowledge, the experience, all that is `the me', the conscious as well as the unconscious; it is the product of thought. So I recognise that this whole process is thought, and I see that thought conditions; how then can thought bring about a radical revolution? But there is a revolution which is beyond thought; and it is there, beyond the conscious, beyond thought, that there must be a revolution.
Is Love something to be cultivated? Do I know when I love? Is love a conscious process? If I know I love you, is that not sensation and therefore not love? If I am conscious that I am humble, if I am aware that I am kind, is that humility, is that kindness? So, is not love, is not humility, something which is a state of which I am unconscious, in the sense of thought - thinking?
The revolution which I am speaking of is only possible when thinking as a reaction, as the conditioned state, comes to an end. It is only then that there is a revolution. Sirs, don't push it aside as some crazy idea, but find out, investigate, feel it out. You will see that every form of thinking is conditioned - the Communist, the Socialist, the Catholic, or the thinking of a religious person. It is conditioned; and as long as we are acting in a conditioned field, you will have further problems of conditioned actions: and in that, there is no release, there is no creativity. There is creativity, there is release, only when the mind is completely silent. That silence is not a thing to be cultivated consciously. I cannot cultivate it, because the conscious effort to bring it about is the outcome of a conditioned thought, a desire, an end; therefore there is no revolution, there is always an ending, a result; and a mind that is seeking a result is not revolutionary.
So, only a mind that is still, is capable of receiving what is true - not something extraordinary, but what is true every moment, the Truth of what one sees, the word, the thought, the feeling. It is only when the mind is really quiet, without any compulsion, without any urges, that the revolution takes place. The revolution is a revolution of thought which Truth brings about, not through any form of cultivation, but when you listen to what is being said. But you cannot listen if you are arguing with me - which does not mean I am hypnotizing you. After all, you are being hypnotized every day by newspapers, by the politicians, by do-gooders, by your religion, by the Bhagavad Gita, by the Bible, by people dominating or pushing, by directive or purposive action. Is not all this a process of hypnosis? The whole process of propaganda is a way of hypnosis, and you are caught in it.
I am talking of something entirely different. The two are not compatible, they are of two different worlds. All that I am saying is: if we can listen, then the truth will release creative activity in human beings; and without that creativity, we become utterly chaotic, destructive; however noble our intentions are, all our actions lead to misery, mischief. That creative activity is love. Without love there is no revolution, and love is not a conscious action. Love is something beyond thought. It can only be understood, felt, known, experienced when the mind is utterly still; and only then is there a possibility of bringing about a fundamental revolution in the world.
February 15, 1953
Bombay 3rd Public Talk 15th February 1953
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