Madras 4th Public Talk 13th December 1953
Almost all of us are concerned with the problem of change. We see things in confusion. Every problem, every change, seems to produce more problems, more complex suffering, every kind of disturbance. As we think about the problem and in the process of changing from `what is' to `what should be,' we create other problems, do we not? I do not know if you have thought about it. Every one must have noticed that in the process of changing oneself, one creates problems not only in one's daily life but also politically, socially, in every direction. The very revolution brings other problems and yet we want to change to a state or into a stage in which no other problems will be created. That is what we all want, don't we? Please let us think this out together because it requires a little bit of attention, insight into what we are discussing.
I am not out to show you, or to twist your thinking to a particular pattern. But we are concerned with the problem of change and we see the necessity of it. For instance, most of us when we are young are very dissatisfied, we are discontented, we search, we grope after, we seek various avenues of knowledge, information, guidance, go to some guru, some master to help us out of our discontent, out of our enquiry, to give us knowledge, information and insight into things. The moment we have found someone who can give us knowledge, a way to act, a way to live, our dissatisfaction comes to an end, and we pursue that particular pattern of thought for years and years. That is the case with most of us, is it not? When you look back to your youth, that is what happens to most of us. I see the inequality in this world of the rich and the poor, the man who knows so much and the man who knows so little; there is the appalling misery, war, strife; and I am discontented with all that in my youth and I begin to enquire; then I join the socialist party, the communist party, or become a very devout religious person. The moment I have joined hoping that joining will bring about change, the discontent is gone. I want change according to a certain pattern of thought, according to a certain course of action. Then the discontent is only in following that course. That is the case with most of us, is it not? When we have become crystallized, heavy in that which we have accepted, we have destroyed our discontent. Then we need sanction, then we need authority to ply us from our set course of action. So we go to an authority as a final means of producing a change in ourselves.
This is really a very important question which I am not twisting to my particular way of thinking or looking or enquiring; but this is what is happening. There is a tremendous revolution in thousands and millions. Certain people have an idea what a change should be, how a change should be brought about, how a society should be built. So they assume powers of Providence and they mould, shape and control the people, because they say that people must change and, for that, they must be held in a certain pattern of action, and otherwise there will be no corporate action. So everybody including the dull, heavy, insensitive person is concerned with this problem of change. You may not change; you may have your corners of seclusion, safe gardens where nothing can penetrate; your whole mind may be enclosed by ideas, systems. But even in those minds, there must be the germ of anxiety, the worry of change, because everything is changing. To what? We do not know to what, but we should like to change to what is the real which will not create more problems, more anxieties, more sorrow. After all, we are human beings. We have a certain sense of responsibility, and there is such a thing called love which may be smothered, destroyed; but there it is. We see misery, poverty, wars, the powerful and the weak; and that love must act and somehow find a way.
Are we not all greatly concerned with this problem of change? How easily we are satisfied when there is discontent which we think is so wrong! Give a man or a boy who is a Communist, who is a Socialist, who feels violently, strongly about this problem, a good job, a safe position; let him marry and have children; there he is finished, he becomes a capitalist like ourselves because he wants his change to be continued in a particular direction. When we do change, it is the change in a particular cast, in a particular direction, towards a certain direction. So is it not a problem with each one of us, this question of change? Change to what? We want a change; and in the process of changing we have problems, and the very changing produces such catastrophes! So the mind hesitates. So what has one to do? Please let us think over this together, not that you are listening and I am giving a talk - which is quite stupid. But let us, you and I together, find out the truth of this, not my truth or your truth - because truth is not personal - how to think about this problem but not what to change into. Every religion, every group, every society, every philosophy says `You are this, change to that; and in the process of changing, there is conflict within and without. The conflict is not an indication of intelligence, it dulls the mind. One becomes insensitive, dull, weary, as most of us are - especially the older people, who have struggled, battled, disciplined, controlled in order to change, to achieve the result.
So just listen to this problem of change, not to my approach to the problem because I have shown I have no approach; not in terms of conclusion or how to bring about a change or in terms of what to change to. Just listen to the problem of complete revolution which will not produce other problems. Look at what is happening in the world. There are India and Pakistan, essentially one country but now two countries; therefore more trouble, more wars, more destruction, more competition to fight with each other. Similarly, in Europe everywhere there is a breaking up, there is a disintegration. Every leader, every political dogmatist, every religious tyrannist says his way is the way you must change. So if we can, even for this evening, put away all such thoughts and enquire into what to change into, then perhaps we shall have an understanding which is not merely the product of effort of striving. First of all, the enquiry must be, must it not?, `From what intention do you want to change; and what authority do you need to change; what compulsion, what motive do you need in order to bring about a change?' That is a very important question, is it not? Because on that depends whether you will change or not change. If my whole structure, if my thought is built on acquisitiveness, which is the case with most of us, on a sense of discontent which demands the more - `you have, I have not, and I must have' indicates our discontent is acquisitive - then that discontent carries the mind.
Is change possible without any form of compulsion? Please follow all this. I am thinking aloud, I am not giving a talk to you. It is a problem of how to change the people who are in power, position, authority, who believe in such absurd nonsense. How to change them, how to change you and myself? Must I not enquire why I want a change? What is the drive? What is the motive and to wards what? Most of us change, do we not?, when we are assured that which we are going to change into is satisfactory, is comfortable, is worth, while. You follow? I will change if I am assured by an authority, by a man who knows, by a guru, by a system, by somebody who has written a book, that doing these things will produce that. Do you under- stand? You listen to me, why? Is it not primarily that somehow I will tell you something which will help you to change, to acquire, to be more happy, to be something else? Is that change? If I were able to guarantee, or if I were stupid enough to guarantee, that if you change you will have happiness, Moksha, and whatever it is, then you will struggle violently to acquire that. But is that change? That is, when you know, when you are conscious, when you deliberately move towards the known, is that change? You understand? Is there a change in me when I move from a known to another known. The other known is always to be guaranteed, to be made satisfactory, it must be certain almost in getting through to be successful. Is that the motive for most of us to change?
A change is possible only from the known to the unknown, not from the known to the known. Do please think this over with me. In the change from the known to the known, there is authority, there is hierarchical outlook of life - `You know, I do not know. Therefore, I worship you, I create a system, I go after a guru, I follow you because you are giving me what I want to know, you are giving me a certainty of conduct which will produce the result, the success and the result'. Success is the known. I know what is to be successful. That is what I want. So we proceed from the known to the known in which authority must exist, the authority of sanction, the authority of the leader, the guru, the hierarchy, the one who knows and the other who does not know; and the one who knows must guarantee me the success, the success in my endeavour, in change, so that I will be happy, I will have what I want. Is that not the motive for most of us to change? Do please observe your own thinking, and you will see the ways of your own life and conduct. So we set up a society, build a structure, in which there is this whole principle of authority, the authority of the one who knows, who is going to help me to that state in which I shall also know, I shall have the supreme satisfaction of achieving, arriving; and this is called change. I am not twisting it to my particular thinking; this is just what is happening in our daily life. When you look at it, is that change? Change, revolution, is something from the known to the unknown in which there is no authority, in which there may be total failure. But if you are assured that you will achieve, you will succeed, you will be happy, you will have everlasting life, then there is no problem. Then you pursue the well-known course of action, which is, yourself being always at the centre of things.
So is it not a problem, in thinking this out, whether time brings about a process of change? Do you understand? I am greedy, envious; I look to time, tomorrow, day after tomorrow, next month, next year, as a means of destroying my greed, overcoming my violence, my passion. Does time produce change, revolution? Is not the psychological demand for time a process of being certain? After all, time, the psychological process of achieving the end through time - is that not the invention of the mind for its own convenience in order not to change but to continue in the same pattern of action only calling it by a different name? Look! `I am violent. I have the ideal of non-violence, which is so much talked of in India - they have other ideals in other countries unfortunately. I am violent and non-violence is over there; to arrive there, I must have a gap of time; I am going to arrive there. That is the state, the ideal state. I think that is the state in which I will be happy, a perfect state in which there is no violence; and to achieve that, that distance, to travel from here to there, I need time'. This process of travelling from here to there is called progress towards a state of non-violence. Is that state of non-violence, non-violence at all? You follow? Or is it merely an idea away from what is. You understand, Sirs?
I am violent. How is that violence to be changed? That is the problem, not into what, but the complete transformation in what is. If I am only concerned with the complete transformation in `what is', then `what should be' is not. Therefore time is no concern. This is not a philosophical problem of time. If I am concerned with revolution, a complete total transformation, I must not think in terms of time, time being merely the invention of the mind. Therefore, a mind wishing to change can never change, can only modify what is as in a continuity. Is all this too difficult. I wonder if you are understanding what I am talking about. First of all, it is a very difficult problem. You only know change in terms of time, in terms of the known, in terms of compulsion, in terms of social environment, squeeze. That is all we know. In these terms we think and are compelled to change fast. But we do not know the spontaneous change in which the consciousness of the effort to change is not; because, when a conscious mind says `I am going to change', that requires effort; and when the mind makes a conscious effort to change, that implies time. Please follow all this; and if you follow it, listen to it carefully and you will find how astonishing is the change that takes place without your making an effort.
So when a conscious mind makes up its mind to change, it must have time, and time implies the continuity of the same in a modified form. It is never a revolution. It is not what has been, but it is a continuity of what has been. When there is a conscious, deliberate act to acquire virtue, through meditation, through practice, it implies time, does it not? Time is the very nature of the self, the `me' that is going to acquire, to be. The man who says `I must forget myself in virtue and therefore I am going to practice virtue', takes the cloak of virtue as the `self', it is only the self, the `me', which is clothed in virtue. Therefore, the `me' is the cause of disturbance, is the cause of destruction, is the cause of misery. When the conscious mind uses authority, sanction, as the means to bring about a change, it must establish a whole hierarchical outlook of life in which there is no love. When you follow your guru who knows, you have no love; you have only fear which is covered over by the words `devotion', `service', `sacrifice', because, at the bottom of it, you want to be sure, you want to arrive; you do not want to suffer, you do not want to discover, to find out - which means uncertainty, enquiry. So, a man who is concerned with this problem of change is confronted with all this. It is only the most stupid or the cleverest politicians who say that they know and who take the role of Providence.
So our problem is the change to the unknown, not to the known; and that is the only revolution, the change which comes about when the unknown comes into being in my mind. Please follow this. When the unknown comes into being, the unknown cannot be with the `me' when the `me' is pursuing consciously some end. Until that unknown, that truth, comes into being - which only can build - all labour is vain. So, for that unknown to come into being, the mind must cast away all knowledge of the thing, which it has learnt in its self protection; the mind must be completely, totally empty to receive the unknown; the mind itself must be in a state of the unknown. Then from that unknown we shall build, and then that which we build is everlast- ing. But without that, they who labour to build labour in vain, which only creates more misery and more chaos in the world.
There are many questions sent in. I shall try to answer them. I will not give the answers, but we shall investigate the problems together and find the truth of the problem. The truth is not yours or mine; it is not what appeals to you or what appeals to me. Truth is not appealing, it does not depend upon your temperament. It can only be when you have no temperament. I have no temperament, when I have no opinion, judgment, comparison. Truth is only when I am not and you are not. Therefore, it has not anything to do with your satisfaction or with mine; it has nothing to do with whether it appeals to you or not. It is there. Only the wise, experienced man who suffers, the man who loves, will know it.
Question: Sir, what kick exactly do you get out of these talks and discussions? Obviously you would not go on for more than 20 years, if you do not enjoy them. Or, is it only by force of habit?
Krishnamurti: This is a natural question to put, is it not? Because, the questioner only knows or is aware that generally a speaker gets a kick out of it, some kind of personal benefit. Or is it merely old age? Or, whether one is young or old, is it the habit? That is all he is accustomed to; so he puts the question.
What is the truth of this? Am I speaking out of habit? What do you mean by habit, force of habit? Because I have talked for 20 years, am I going to talk for 20 more years till I die? Is the understanding of anything habitual? The use of the words is habitual; but the contents of the words vary according to the perception of truth from moment to moment. If a speaker gets a kick out of it, then he is exploiting you. That is what most of us are used to. The speaker is then using you as a means of fulfilment, and surely it would destroy that which is real. As we are concerned to find the truth and what is from moment to moment, in it there can be no continuity; all habit, all certainty, all desire for fulfilment, all personal aggrandizement must have come to an end, must it not? Other wise, it is another way of exploiting, another way of deluding people; and with that surely we are not concerned.
There are many questions or several questions about gurus - `Should I follow my own mind or my guru?' `You awaken in us the desire to discover the truth and so you are indispensable to us.' So, similarly, `True realization is essentially an individual matter. Are not philosophies, systems, gurus, masters, helpful in lighting the spark within us and therefore necessary.
This is really a very persistent question with most of us. We want an awakener, we want an inspirer, we want a guide, we want somebody to tell us how to behave, we want some one to tell us what love is, what to love. In ourselves we are empty; in ourselves, we are confused, uncertain, miserable. So we go round begging to be helped, to be inspired, to be guided, to be awakened. Please follow this. It is your problem and not mine and because it is your problem you should face it, understand it, not repeat it, year after year till you die confused, utterly lost. You say an inspirer is indispensable, or a guru is a necessity. For what? Is a guru necessary for you to be led to what you call truth, what you call the real, to God, to self-realization? Do you understand? You want to be led. Several things are implied in this. First, that which is truth is never an abode or a fixed thing to understand; it has not a fixed spot in time so that you can carefully be guided, led, shown. If you are guided or helped, and if it be shown to you, then it is not truth; it is only an invention of the mind, which you want because that will give you satisfaction, certainty, and that will make you happy. So do follow this.
Truth is not a fixed point in time. Only if it is a fixed point, the mind can understand it. What the mind can understand is the creation of the mind; and so it has nothing whatever to do with reality, with God or what you will. You cannot be led to reality, because it is a living thing, because it is never the same from day to day, from moment to moment. Because you want permanency, a state of continuity, you seek a guru who will lead you to what you want. But what you want is not what is truth, and you can not be led to discover truth. Do you understand? The process of leading you to discover truth is not discovery. You cannot be led to discover it; it must be discovered by you. No one can lead you to discover it. It is a contradiction. So I must be allowed to discover truth. Do please see this.
In India, it is one of our curses that you must have an awakener, a guru, a master, someone who will help us, who will guide us to find the truth; and in that desire to find truth, you build up an hierarchy of authority. The building of authority and the hierarchy destroys love because then you discard everybody, you trample on everybody in your desire to get there. You talk of brotherhood, you found societies of brotherhood; and yet, you maintain the hierarchy, the caste system. So you are not seeking reality. If you are really seeking reality, you will not stretch your hand out for it, because reality must come to you. You cannot invite it, you can not go after it, because it is there every second, if you know how to look at it. What you want is not truth, you want comfort, you want safety, you want success, you want self-fulfilment which is `me' fulfilment in God, in Truth, which is `me' ever continuous, everlasting. That is all you are interested in. You want safety, spiritual safety as well as economic safety; and as you know very well there is no economic safety, you are after the permanency in spirituality; that permanent state you call truth. That is why you have leaders, religious organizations, philosophies, gurus, always guaranteeing safety, permanency for your comfort.
One who guarantees and one who seeks guarantee are, both of them, caught in illusion. They are not seeking reality. Once for all, if you really understand this, you will put away your gurus; for light is not in a guru or through a guru; it is in yourself. But no one can lead you to find it because you will have to find it for yourself. When you say you are seeking truth, it is superstition and vanity; and those people exploit you through your superstition, through your vanity. Surely, to find truth you must be stripped, you must be completely naked, of all desire, alone, not depending, unsheltered. Then only truth comes. Only then, it is possible to create a new world, a world in which there will be no problems. Because, there is action then not from fear, not from the desire to be certain, but from reality which is the unknown.
The questioner asks `Should I follow my mind or my guru?' Your guru is made or born or chosen from your mind, from your temperament, from your like or dislike, from what appeals to you; your mind creates the guru. So you are following your own mind and there is no guru. You are following your desires, and your desire is to be safe, comfortable, to have certainty for great success. You are not successful in this world, fortunately for you; therefore, you want, unfortunately, success in the next world. A man who is seeking success will never find reality. Sirs, the mind must be understood, the ways of your thoughts must be fathomed, delved into. Then you will know the operations, the workings of your mind, how the mind in its desire to be safe, projects everything - every illusion, every master, every guru. So the mind is the only guru which you have; but that guru is not going to help you; that guru is not going to lead you; that guru is only going to deceive you, to bring more confusion and more misery. You have to understand that mind which creates illusion. Just listen, do not say I have heard what Sankara says or what others say. Comparative thinking is not thinking. So when you know the ways of your mind, the mind becomes still, voluntarily and easily, without discipline, without compulsion; then only that reality will come into being. Then that reality will build a new world, not the mind, not your gurus; because, that reality is love.
December 13, 1953
Madras 4th Public Talk 13th December 1953
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.