Bombay 6th Public Talk 25th February 1953
I think it is important to understand the problem of discontent. Perhaps we may find the right answer to our enormous problems if we can search out the deeper significance of discontent. Most of us are dissatisfied with ourselves, with our environment, with our ideas, with our relationships. We want to bring about a change. There is discontent from the villager up to the most learned man, if he is not caught in his knowledge, if he is not a slave to his learning. There is a spreading discontent which makes us do all kinds of actions, and we want to find a way to contentment. If you are dissatisfied, you want to find a way to happiness. If you are battling within yourselves, you want to find a way to peace. Being dissatisfied, discontented, you want to find an answer that will be satisfactory. So the mind is ever groping, ever probing to find out the truth - the true answer to its discontent. Some find an answer in their satisfaction, in an aim, in a purpose of life which they have established for themselves; and finding a means to their desire, they think they have found contentment.
Is contentment to be found? Is peace a thing to be found by the process of the intellect? Is happiness a thing gotten by the understanding or by the creation of the opposite of what it is? This misery, and this discontent - is it essential in our life? The fact is we are discontented with what is, discontented with things which we have, with what we are; and the discontent arises because of comparison. I am discontented because I see you are learned, rich, happy, powerful. Is that the cause of discontent? Or does discontent come into being when I am seeking a way away from what is? If I can understand the way of discontent, perhaps there will be happiness, there will be contentment. There is no way to happiness, to contentment. That contentment and that happiness are not the process of stagnation because if I am discontented and if I want to be contented, then that way leads to contentment which is stagnation; and that is what most of us want. But is there a way?
Can we find out, can we probe into the question of discontentment without trying to create its opposite, without trying to seek its opposite? Because after all, when we are young, we are discontented with society as it is. We want to reform, we want to bring about a change. So we join a society, a party, a political group, or a religious association. And soon our discontentment is canalized, held and is destroyed. Because, then we are only concerned with carrying out a way, a system which will produce a result, and thereby put aside our discontent. Is that not one of our greatest problems? How easily we are satisfied!
Is not discontent essential in our life, to any question, to any enquiry, to probing, to finding out what is the Real, what is Truth, what is essential in life? I may have this flaming discontent in college; and then I get a good job and this discontent vanishes. I am satisfied, I struggle to maintain my family, I have to earn a livelihood and so my discontent is calmed, destroyed, and I become a mediocre entity satisfied with things of life, and I am not discontented. But the flame has to be maintained from the beginning to the end, so that there is true enquiry, true probing into the problem of what is discontent. Because the mind seeks very easily a drug to make it content with virtues, with qualities, with ideas, with actions, it establishes a routine and gets caught up in it. We are quite familiar with that, but our problem is not how to calm discontent, but how to keep it smouldering, alive, vital. All our religious books, all our gurus, all political systems pacify the mind, quieten the mind, influence the mind to subside, to put aside discontent and wallow in some form of contentment. And is it not essential to be discontented in order to find what is true?
Why is it that we are discontented, and does discontent produce revolution, change, transformation? And does transformation revolution, come about only when we understand the nature of discontent? And with what is there discontent? What is it that we are discontented with? When you can really probe into that question, then you may find an answer. What is it that we are discontented with? Surely with `what is'. The `what is' may be the social order, the `what is' may be the relationship, the `what is' may be what we are, the thing we are essentially - which is, the ugly, the wandering thoughts, the ambitions, the frustrations, the innumerable fears; that is what we are. In going away from that, we think we shall find an answer to our discontent. So we are always seeking a way, a means to change the `what is' - that is what our mind is concerned with. If I am discontented and if I want to find a way, the means to contentment, my mind is occupied with the means, the way and the practising of the way in order to arrive at contentment. So I am no longer concerned with discontent, with the embers, the flame that is burning, which we call discontent. We do not find out what is behind that discontent. We are only concerned with going away from that flame, from that burning anxiety.
Surely we are discontented with `what is'. And it is enormously difficult to probe into the actual `what is', not `what should be' but into what I am from moment to moment. This is not the enquiry, the probing, into the higher-self which is a fabrication of the mind, but into `what is'. This is enormously difficult because our mind is never satisfied, never content in the examination of `what is'. It always wants to transform `what is' into something else - which is the process of condemnation, justification or comparison. If you observe your own minds you will see that when it comes face to face with `what is', then it condemns, then it compares it with `what it should be', or it justifies it and so on, and thereby pushes away `what is', setting aside the thing which is causing the disturbance, the pain, the anxiety.
Is not discontent essential, not to be smothered away, but to be encouraged, enquired into, probed into, so that with the understanding of `what is' there comes contentment? That contentment is not the contentment which is produced by a system of thought; but it is that contentment which comes with the understanding of `what is'. That contentment is not the product of the mind - the mind which is disturbed, agitated, incomplete, when it is seeking peace, when it is seeking a way away from `what is'. And so the mind through justification, comparison, judgment, tries to alter `what is', and thereby hopes to arrive at a state when it will not be disturbed, when it will be peaceful, when there will be quietness. And when the mind is disturbed by social conditions, by poverty, starvation, degradation, by the appalling misery, seeing all that, it wants to alter it, it gets entangled in the way of altering, in the system of altering. But if the mind is capable of looking at `what is' without comparison, without judgment, without the desire to alter it into something else, then you will see that there comes a kind of contentment which is not of the mind.
The contentment which is the product of the mind is an escape. It is sterile. It is dead. But there is contentment which is not of the mind, which comes into being when there is the understanding of `what is', in which there is profound revolution which affects society and individual relationship. So, discontent is not to be calmed, to be set aside, to be drugged by some system of thought. It is an essential thing. It must be kept alive, burning, in order to find out.
We are in conflict with each other and our world is being destroyed. There is crisis after crisis, war after war; there is starvation, misery; there are the enormously rich clothed in their respectability, and there are the poor. To solve these problems, what is necessary is not a new system of thought, not a new economic revolution, but to understand `what is' - the discontent, the constant probing of `what is' - which will bring about a revolution which is more far-reaching than the revolution of ideas. And it is this revolution that is so necessary to bring about a different culture, a different religion, a different relationship between man and man.
Question: Who are you? Whom am I listening to? You say, `Do not rely on any guru', you say, `Listen to me', listening to you is to listen to the greatest guru of all. I am puzzled. What am I to do?
Krishnamurti: Does it really matter very much who the speaker is? Surely it does not matter much by whom the microphone is made; but it matters very much what the microphone conveys to your ears. The voice is of no importance. Whose it is, whether it is educated, whether it is the voice of the cultured, it does not at all matter; but what is important is what it says, conveys. And what it says, and the understanding of it depends upon you, not on the guru, not on the voice, but on how you understand it, how you translate it, how you put it into action. So again the voice is not important; what is important is listening.
How do you listen? Do you listen with your projections, through your projection, through your ambitions, desires, fears, anxieties, through hearing only what you want to hear, only what will be satisfactory, what will gratify, what will give comfort, what will for the moment alleviate your suffering? If you listen through the screen of your desires, then you obviously listen to your own voice; you are listening to your own desires. And is there any other form of listening? Is it not important to find out how to listen not only to what is being said but to everything - to the noise in the streets, to the chatter of birds, to the noise of the tramcar, to the restless sea, to the voice of your husband, to your wife, to your friends, to the cry of a baby? Listening has importance only when one is not projecting one's own desires through which one listens. Can one put aside all these screens through which we listen, and really listen?
What does this listening mean? That is all we are concerned with - not who the speaker is, it is utterly irrelevant; not whether he is good or bad; not whether he is the guru, small or big. But in listening to the speaker, you are going to find out how you are listening, how you are watching yourself. Do not merely listen to me, but watch the process of your own mind - how you project, how you ward off, how you feel shy of certain statements, how you will resist and how you will put aside a new idea, a new way of looking; all that reveals the process of your own mind, does it not? And when you discard, put aside all these projections of the mind, is there any other way of listening? Can one put them aside and really listen?
Then, is there a guru at all? Then, is a guru necessary at any time? We all think a guru is necessary from the beginning to the threshold. If the guru is not necessary after the threshold, then he is not necessary from the beginning, because the end lies in the beginning, and the man who is seeking the threshold of reality must seek at the beginning, not at the end. And because we are sluggish, impatient, doubtful, discontented, we want to find somebody to lead us away from our discontent. The understanding of this is essential, not the entity who leads away, not the system, not the thought that will take us away from what we actually are.
So, is it not important to know how you are listening? And when you listen without these projections, what happens? Please follow this. What happens when you are not projecting your desires through which you hear, through which you translate to suit your particular temperament, your particular idiosyncracies? When you are not projecting your desires, how do you listen? Is your mind capable of listening? Will it allow you to listen? And then when you are so capable of listening, and when you are listening, what happens? What happens to the mind that is so listening? This is important but not whether there is a guru or not, not whether you are hearing the voice of the guru who is promulgating the Truth to which you are listening and which makes the guru essential for you? What are you listening to when you are not listening through the screen, through the layers of your own projections? Do you understand?
We are always listening to something - to a noise, to the voice of somebody, to the restless sea. But if you are not listening through your projections, then are you listening to anything? Please watch your own mind, not what I am saying. If you watch what I am saying, you are dependent on me; and if you depend on me, then you have fear; then you are fettered to me, and that is a bondage; that is a travail from which you have to go beyond. So from the very beginning, do not be dependent on any one. Do not follow any one, because it matters what you are from the beginning, not what you are at the end.
So when the mind is no longer following, no longer listening to the voice of its own projections, its desires, ambitions, satisfactions, then what is the mind listening to? Is there a listening to anything? Is it not a complete openness, a complete state in which there is no reaction, no listening to anything, in which there is no concentration, no absorption with an idea, in any idea? Is it not a state of complete passive activity, when the mind is very quiet, not listening to anything in particular, but listening, not projecting, but thoroughly still. Then in that state, is there a guru? And in that state, is a guru necessary? Is that state not possible from the very beginning? That is, if I want to understand something fundamental, must I not be in that state always? Most of you are projecting your own desires, so most of you do not listen. You are always listening to something. You are not merely listening. You are always listening to your own voice, and that voice always assumes the voice of despair, of hope, of pleasure, of security. But if you are not listening to something if you merely listen, then is there not an utter stillness of the mind which is not the result of any discipline to be achieved at some far end, but which is to be understood right at the very beginning, from now on for the rest of your lives?
Can you completely and totally discard this whole idea of the guru, the awakener, the giver of comfort, the man who will lead you to Truth? I say you can completely wipe it away when you see that listening to something is listening to your own projections, to your own desires, that it is translating them to suit yourselves; when you understand that, then there is no listening to anything; then there is only listening; that listening is eternal because it is not of time, because it is not of the mind.
Question: What is happiness? Is it not the search for happiness that makes the mind crave for new experiences? Is there a state of happiness that is beyond the mind?
Krishnamurti: Why do we enquire `what is happiness'? Is that the right approach? Is that the right probing? We are not happy. If we were happy, our world would be entirely different; our civilization, our culture would be wholly, radically different. We are unhappy human beings,petty,miserable,struggling, vain, surrounding ourselves with useless futile things, satisfied with petty ambitions, with money and position. We are unhappy beings, though we may have knowledge, though we may have money, rich houses, plenty of children, cars, experience. We are unhappy suffering human beings; and because we are suffering, we want happiness; and so we are led away by those who promise this happiness, social, economic or spiritual. So we want to escape from `what is' - the suffering, the pain, the loneliness, the despair. We want to run away from it, and the very running away gives us experience; and that experience we call happiness. Is there any other kind of happiness?
What is the good of my asking if there is happiness, when I am suffering? Can I understand suffering? That is my problem, not how to be happy. I am happy when I am not suffering; but the moment I am conscious of it, it is not happiness. Is it not so? Because the moment I know I am virtuous, I cease to be virtuous. The moment I know I am humble, courageous, generous, the moment I am aware of it, then I am not that. So happiness, like virtue, is not a thing to be sought after, not a thing to be invited. Virtue when cultivated becomes immoral, because it strengthens the `me', the `I', leading to respectability which is the self. So, I must understand what is suffering. Can I understand what is suffering when a part of my mind is running away seeking happiness, seeking a way out of this misery? So must I not, if I am to understand suffering, be completely one with it, not reject it, not justify it, not condemn it, not compare it, but completely be with it and understand it?
Can I listen to the voice of suffering without projections? I cannot listen when I am seeking happiness. So my probing, my enquiry is no longer what is happiness, nor if there is happiness beyond my mind, nor whether it is permanent or impermanent, nor whether it is an experience and therefore to be stored. The moment I do any of these things, it is already gone; therefore it is no longer happiness. But the truth of what is happiness will come if I know how to listen. I must know how to listen to suffering; if I can listen to suffering I can listen to happiness because that is what I am.
I suffer; I am fearful of death; I desire to be secure after death; I desire to be permanent, to have position, wealth, comfort; I am filled with the ache of loneliness. So can I listen to all that? Then, my problem is no longer a way to happiness but to find out how to listen to the voice of suffering, just to listen without trying to interpret it. And that is a very arduous process because the mind continuously objects to live with suffering, to look at it, not to interpret it, not to justify it, not to translate it, not to condemn it, but to look at it, to know its content, to be acquainted with it, to love it. The mind is capable of listening to that voice which is beyond suffering, only when the mind is not running away from it into some futile imagination or illusion or some desire for satisfaction.
So what is important is not if there is happiness, but from the very beginning to enquire what is suffering, and to stay with that till the right answer comes. The right answer cannot come if you are seeking. The moment you search for the right answer, the mind is projected because it wants the answer; therefore it is not concerned with the listening to suffering. It is not concerned with listening, but it is concerned with the answer which will reject this suffering. The moment you wish to reject something then you will find an answer which will be satisfactory; and so it will be that satisfaction which the mind seeks and not the understanding of suffering. After all, that is what we all want. We want satisfaction, either in a position, in relationship, or in ideas. And the more we are satisfied the more the suffering. Because, the mind that is satisfied is never let alone; it is always being challenged on every side of life, So a mind realizing that it is seeking satisfaction - the very desire to find an answer for suffering is to be satisfied - totally puts aside all this. Therefore it is only listening, seeing the whole process how the mind runs away, how it never can stay with suffering - such as facing fear. Fear comes only when you are running away from it. Fear exists in the process of flight, not when you are confronted with the thing. It is only when you are running away from the thing, in the very running away, fear is created - not when you are watching the thing, the `what is'.
So, similarly, can I look at suffering without running away - which creates sorrow, which creates fear which prevents me from looking at it? If I can look at it, then there is a possibility of listening to suffering without interpretation, without judgment without translating or asking for a result. Then only is there a possibility of listening, of trying to find something beyond the mind.
We cannot find what is beyond the mind, if we do not know, if we are incapable of facing `what is'. And it requires enormous attention, great passive awareness to observe without justification, without judgment, just to observe, just to listen. In that, there is transformation. In that, there is happiness which is not measured by time, by the mind.
Question: You talk so much of intelligence. What is it to be intelligent?
Krishnamurti: Again, can a stupid mind see what is intelligence? Can a petty mind, a shallow mind find out what is greatness? Please, Sirs, listen to this. A petty mind enquires after God. It is like the rich man who builds temples after exploiting people; after putting away money, he enquires `What is God'? Shall such a man find what is God? His mind is corrupt, his mind is cruel, ungenerous, unkind, petty, small and clothed by his own beliefs; shall such a man find what is Truth, what is Reality, what is God? He may surround himself with images, symbols, prayers, words, books; but shall such a mind find what is God? His mind is petty, and his God is also petty. So a stupid mind enquiring what is intelligence can never understand what is intelligence; but if it is aware that it is stupid, then it is already intelligent. Do please listen to this; it is not a matter of emotional nervous laughter.
As most of us are petty, small, narrow, we create the world in our image, not in God's image. So what is important is not what is intelligence, but to be aware of our own narrowness, of our stupidity of our pettiness without trying to alter it, without saying, `I must make it intelligent, I must make it clever. When the petty mind which is aware that it is petty tries to alter its pettiness, then its activity will still be petty. If I realize that I am stupid, if I am aware that I am stupid, and if I set about to alter that stupidity, that very action is born of stupidity, is it not? But can I be aware that I am stupid, and listen to it, follow it, understand it, and not challenge it? The stupid mind is still a stupid mind it cannot alter its course which is choice; all that it can do is to see that whatever it chooses is still petty. Please observe your own mind. Don't listen to me only, but watch your own minds and see the truth of what I am saying.
Because choice is a factor of deterioration, choice is petty under all circumstances; there is no great choice and no little choice. All our cultural; religious processes are from discrimination to discrimination, climbing higher and higher through choice. But the choice is made by the petty mind, because where there is choice there is pettiness of the mind. A mind which is the result of hate, which is the result of prejudice, which is the result of conditioning, whatever such a mind chooses is still conditioned; whatever its experiences, they are still conditioned. Therefore a mind that is petty, in choosing, is not liberated from its pettiness. Therefore when a mind chooses something great, the great is still the petty. When the petty mind chooses the guru, a particular guru to follow, it is the petty, mind that chooses; therefore the guru is petty. And so all gurus are petty because you have chosen them.
So intelligence is surely something that is not cultivable through the process of choice, through the process of experience, through knowledge. A petty mind remains a petty mind though it has innumerable experiences, because at the centre it is still petty. You may read all the Vedas, all the Upanishads, the Gita, all the sacred books of the East and the West; the mind is still petty; so your knowledge is still petty. Is not the mind always petty? Can it be anything other than petty and small? So is it not important to find out not what is intelligence but in what way the mind is choosing, acting, discriminating? Is it not important to find out for yourselves - not to listen to me, not to read a book on what is intelligence - to observe the state of your own mind? Only in the uncovering of `what is', intelligence comes into being. In the understanding of `what is' there is that intelligence which is creative.
Question: Every religion advocates prayer. Will you please explain the power of prayer and how prayer differs from meditation?
Krishnamurti: You pray, do you not? And when do you pray? Is it when you are happy? Or is it that you pray in the moment of strain and suffering? You pray every morning when you are doing puja. That is a routine, that is traditional and dull and without much significance. When you are suffering, you pray, do you not? You supplicate, petition, to find an answer for your suffering. And there is a prayer in which there is no routine, which is not the outcome of supplication, but which is complete listening.
The routine prayer of repetition of words, obviously produces a certain result; the more you repeat the more quiet you are. But that quietness of repetition is stagnation, because the mind is put to sleep by repeating a phrase, and you think you have done marvellously if you can quieten the mind by repetition; but that quietness is not creative, is it? It is dull, it is like the petty human being who is concerned with household things and prays, repeats words because, in repetition, it is peaceful in its smallness.
Then there is prayer, supplication, petitioning when there is suffering. Please follow all this, listen to all this. When I suffer I want an answer. When my son dies, I want to find comfort; I want somebody to tell me that he is all right. When I am dying in my old age, I want an assurance from some guru or from the book or from some friend that everything is all right, that I am secure. So I beg, I petition, I enquire, I ask. When I petition, when I ask, when I beg, I receive what I want; because, what I want is security, comfort. Because I am confronted with the abyss of darkness, with loneliness, with utter extinction, and not knowing what it is, I ask somebody to give me the answer which I want - which is, to guarantee that on the other side there is light, there is companionship, there is the Father. So when I suffer, I pray; and my prayer is answered according to my desire. This is not a cynical reply, but it is the actual fact.
I am suffering, and somebody comes and tells me that I am suffering because of all the misery that I have inflicted on thousands of people, the way I have behaved. I do not want to face it, I want to be pacified, I want comfort and I seek the person who satisfies me. Or in that suffering, when I pray, I think about something - about light, about the bird, the sea, about a picture - and my suffering goes; I temporarily put it aside. Have you not noticed that if you can turn your mind from your physical suffering there is less suffering? Similarly, in praying, if you can turn your mind away from the present conflict, from the present misery, there is peace. But that is an escape. In that, there is deterioration. But it gives you a certain tranquillity, a peace; your mind is at rest; and this peace acts as a drug. You might as well take whisky as pray, because all that you are concerned with is not to suffer, not to enquire, not to find out, not to go beyond; all that you are concerned with is some comfort. So prayer answers what you want; and the more you want, the more strongly you desire, the greater is your satisfaction.
But can one use that word prayer which has been so misused, for something quite different? If I can understand what is meditation, then I shall perhaps understand what is prayer - the right prayer, not the stupid prayer of the petty mind.
What is meditation? To find out what is meditation, you must know what the meditator is - not some higher entity, but the meditator, the one who meditates, the one who sits down, closes his eyes and begins to meditate. Without knowing that entity, the process is all a waste, and you cannot know meditation because you cannot separate meditation from the meditator. There is no meditation without the meditator, and without the meditator understanding himself there is no peace. So to find out what is meditation one must understand what is the meditator; and in the understanding of the meditator there is self-knowledge, there is wisdom. Don't listen just to words, but understand yourself.
Self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom, and a small mind meditating will, even at the end of ten years, still be a small mind; and that is the tragedy of people who meditate. They have enclosed themselves so deeply in their conditioning that nothing can penetrate; and they remain petty, anxious, everlastingly seeking. The meditator must set about to under- stand himself from moment to moment, from day to day - what it is he is, what it is he is not, at the time when he is getting into the tramcar when he is talking to his wife, when he is scolding his servant, when he is snobbish - he must study himself at all those moments.
Then in that self-knowledge he will find out the operations of the meditator, how the meditator comes into being; then he will find that there is no meditator apart from meditation, that there is only meditation - not the meditator meditating. Then only, when there is only meditation, there is peace, because the mind then is no longer meditating upon something, because the mind is no longer seeking through meditation to find something. There is only meditation as there is only listening. There is not the meditator meditating upon something. Then the observer is the observed. Then fear is not. Then only is there peace, and that peace cannot be sought by the mind because the mind is everlastingly petty, small. The mind can never be great. What is great cannot be invited by the mind. The mind can only invite its own pettiness. It cannot invite the great. It cannot invite the Truth, the Real. And so, the mind can only be quiet, receptive, alone, listening.
February 25, 1953
Bombay 6th Public Talk 25th February 1953
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