Madras 7th Public Talk 26th December 1953
I think most of us must be very concerned in a world that is divided between the catholics and the communists, the capitalists and the socia- lists, a world divided as orient or occident. In a divided world like this, the grave concern for those who are thoughtful, must be `What to do and what is the right action?' It is not so much what to do but how to think about the whole problem.
It seems to me important to enquire into what to do because that question `What to do?' obviously springs from the desire to follow a certain course of action. The implication of what to do is, is it not?, `Tell me the way, show me the way to act in a confused world of this kind where the Christian, the Hindu, the Buddhist, the Mussulman, the Communist, each has an idea, an ideology, utopia, belief, a dogma. Each one of us belongs to one of the other of these. We think that, if we follow our particular system, we can shape the world, bring about clarity, a sense of well-being, individually as well as collectively. So, the following of a particular system, the action that springs from that system is what most of us are concerned with. So we ask "What has an individual to do?' Now, is that the problem, `what to do?' Please have patience and let us think out this problem together, because what I may suggest may be entirely different; and if you do not follow sufficiently attentively, closely, you might miss it and you will ask questions that will be irrelevant to the point. Instead of thinking `What to do?', must there not first be the feeling of ourness, `It is our world - not the Christian, not the Hindu, Buddhist or the Communist; but it is our world, yours and mine?' You follow? We have not that feeling. We are Hindus and we want the Hindu world; or we are Mussalmans and want the Mussulman world; or the Communists the Communist World; or the Christian the Christian world - each desiring to make a world according to his `ism.' But no one thinks of it as `It is our world, something that you and I can build together, and that it is your responsibility as well as mine to build it.' The feeling, `it is ours,' is as you would have when you enter your house - a feeling of care, of love of the earth and the things thereof; the extraordinary feeling that you have when something belongs to you and you nourish it, you care for it, you want to protect it, guide it, help it. You have none of these feelings. You have only ideas, systems, philosophies; and according to those, you want the world to live, to be, to exist. You have not the feeling that it is our world, that you and I are building it together, not as Christians, or Hindus or Communists or Socialists, but as two human beings.
That is a very complex problem, developing each other's intelligence to meet the problem. All that is totally denied when we say `What am I to do?' The feeling that it is our world, is an extraordinary feeling; it is not a sentimental or emotional feeling but a true feeling, a feeling that you have about a tree that is in your garden a pet dog, a cat, a human being. When you consider something as yours, think of the extraordinary care you bestow on it! Without cultivating that extra ordinary feeling that it is ours - our world, our earth, our rice field, mango tree, the richness of the earth - we turn to ideas, systems, and thereby hope to build a different world. What is important nowadays is not the technological issue of how to run the world; that is very simple because we have got all the machinery, all the science, the information, the know-how of what to do with things. But as long as the world is divided - Christian, Hindu, Communist, Socialist, the Orient, the Occident - we shall never solve this problem. So it seems to me that the most important thing is not what to do but to bring about this feeling that it is our world, our earth, our garden. From that extraordinary vital feeling, we can discuss what to do; then, I do not think that question `What to do?' will ever arise.
So I would like this evening to discuss the problem, `What is it that prevents this extraordinarily rich feeling, rich mind, this rich freedom, the abundance of it when we feel it is our world? There is only one culture; the forms may vary, the expressions may vary; but there is only one feeling which creates the thing though it may be expressed in different ways, orient or occident. But without the feeling, that astonishing sense of this world as yours and mine to build together, we shall not succeed in creating a different world in which, though there may be in equality, the psychological distinction of status is gone. That is what I want to discuss, if we can, this evening.
The problem is this: what is it that prevents this rich feeling that this world is ours, that it is happy to live in a world which is so abundant, on earth that is so productive and that does not belong to some greedy, avaricious capitalists or lawyers or is not under the power of some commissars. What is it that prevents this thing? That is what we ought to go into, and see if we cannot, not temporarily but radically, cut away that impediment.
One of the most difficult things in all our culture, either of the orient or of the occident, is the psychological attitude towards life. We are all followers. We follow and, therefore, we create a world of hierarchy. Though you are all followers of various forms of hierarchy, please listen to what I am saying. Do not just brush it aside and say `It is one of his pet aversions, pet complexes, conditioning.' We are not discussing inequality because the world is unequal, not equal. You have more brains than I have. You are totally different from me in many ways. You have gifts which I have not. You appreciate beauty, music and the things of refinement; and I do not. Below me, there are still people unequal and who have no such gifts, capacity, intelligence as I have. So there is inequality; it is a fact which you and I must accept and not brush aside. You may develop your capacity to an astonishing extent; I may have very little and I do not know what to do with it. It is no good trying to bring about equality in that, but we can approach the inequality quite differently. Inequality ceases when there is no comparison, when I do not compare myself with you or with another.
We have to accept the inequality as a fact; but it is much more important to break down the hierarchical attitude towards life - the high and the low, the master, the guru, the worship of authority either of Sankara or any one of the leaders - to cut down this sense of acceptance, following. Following is all we know, is it not?, `Tell me what to do and I will try to do it.' You have innumerable examples of saints, saviours; and you imitate them, try to follow them. In the very attitude of following, you have set up authority. This hierarchical attitude towards life, this authoritarian justification, evaluation, is one of the most fundamental causes of all division in this world; and until we really tackle that problem, not accept it, but understand it, see the significance of it, go into it profoundly in ourselves, psychologically, inwardly, we shall not be the creators of a new world. This world will not be our world, yours and mine; it will be somebody else's world according to somebody else's ideas, systems. What we are talking about is of radical revolution and not mere substitution of authority. So, as long as there is authority, the psychological authority of superior and inferior, the one who knows and the one who does not know, the one who does not know follows the other in order to be safe, to be secure. That is why we follow. All our systems of authority are based upon following - psychologically, spiritually and inwardly. I am talking not of an engineer who knows how to build; he is merely an engineer and I treat him as an engineer, as a function; psychologically, I do not follow him. But the moment I create the psychological inward authoritarian value, build a hierarchy of ideas, of people, we shall not create a new world; it will be a most destructive world, as before, with wars and divisions; it will not be our world - yours and mine. So it is your problem, our problem, to discuss this, to find out the truth of it and break it down entirely, totally, in ourselves and to eradicate it. Why do we follow a guru, a master, one who is going to lead us to truth? We follow for the obvious reason that he will help us to get through; getting through is the method; and that which he will give or point out and to which he will guide, is safety, happiness, security and certainty. That is all we are concerned with. We call that certainty, that happiness, that goal as God, Truth or some other name. But in essence, fundamentally what we want is the sense of being secure psychologically, inwardly certain; and wanting that, we follow. So we create authoritarian values, the master, the disciple; and we believe we are gradually achieving masterhood. But behind the desire, the urge, is this immense craving for certainty. It is a psychological fact that when you follow, you seek certainty, success, like when you follow your boss in a factory or in a school. You know very well why you are doing it. You may totally disagree with him but you want to be economically or psychologically secure. So the following creates a hierarchy in our thinking - socially, mentally and emotionally. We create it. Watch the way you talk to your servants and the way you approach your boss, spiritual or otherwise, with clasped hands or garlands. But with the servant you have a special language, with a kick. You talk of brotherhood. It is all phony because you psychologically want to be sure that you will come ultimately to be a master, to have reached a level which the others have not, in which you are well entrenched, certain, assured. So you create a world of authority. All religions are based on that, are they not? All societies who preach brotherhood follow masters. They are essentially authoritarian.
Now, those who are concerned have this problem: `Not how to live with out authority but why does the mind create an authority, and can the mind drop authority?' Please follow this a little bit closely. I follow authority. My guru, my law whatever it is, is my authority. I have the hierarchical outlook: `You are nearer the master; I am going to follow you, the Priest, the Bishop' who has not only economic division but also spiritual division. I see the whole absurdity of authority and that to follow authority is not spiritual; I see it is gross, material, materialistic, though clothed under the spiritual words of `brotherhood', `love' and all that nonsense. I want to break away from it; I break away from it, when I see the impossibility of intelligence working while following authority; so I drop following authority. Then, through action, I want to prove to myself that I have dropped it; I leave the society, or I say to myself that I must not follow anybody, that I must not follow any spiritual leader, though economically I may have to follow someone a little bit painfully; there is going to be no more spiritual leaders for me because it is all nonsense. It is very important to understand this.
To follow another - a guru, a tradition, an ideal - is the most destructive thing you can possibly do, because you are then destroying, by comparing, your own intelligence, your own freedom and the discovery of what is real. When you compare yourself with another, you want to become like him, to have power, position, prestige, patronage like him. You have this constant urge to become better and better, in which there is no end. So, you really do not understand what you are. Ideals also create hierarchy - the one who is nearer and the other who is not nearer. So if I am at all serious, if I am at all earnest in my endeavour, I understand this whole process of living. I drop the following of another. But, I want to prove to myself that I have dropped. That is what we are concerned with. I follow, then I drop following; then I want to be sure that I have dropped following, my action is going to show it, I will no longer do rituals because that is tradition, that is based on hierarchy, imitation. The very process of authoritarian judgment of valuation, is imitation, copying, comparing. To prove to myself that I have dropped the authoritarian evaluation, I am going to find out through action if I have dropped it or not; I am going to give up rituals, I am going to give up Masters, to drop being a member of a particular sect or society because, through action, I am going to prove to myself that I have dropped it. That is it. You follow? To me, action is proof that I am sincere in what I believe, is it not?
I believe hierarchy to be the most stupid way of acceptance of hierarchical judgment, values, following; and I wish to prove it to myself, and I think that I must do certain things; and I do those things - which shows that I am an honest person in my thought, in my outlook because I have shown it through my action. I may have lost my job because of this; but I feel I am very honest because I am following what I think to be true. But if you go behind that action through which you want to see whether you have dropped the hierarchical principle or not, you will find that, through action, you are seeking certainty, that you are doing the right thing. You understand? I followed in order to be certain in order to be assured that I was doing the right thing, not making a mess of my life. That is why I follow another. Now I see the absurdity of it, and drop following; but, through action, I want to be assured that I am doing the right thing by not following. I have not changed at all. Only I have changed my coat. I used to follow but I do not follow now; yet, the inner `me' is still the same because I want to be sure that I will thrive in not following. Therefore, though I have discarded authority, I have created another form of authority. So what we are concerned with is the action that proves that I am honest, and the honesty is the sign of certainty. You see how the mind deceives itself.
I have followed; I have given up certain things which the spiritual bosses demanded; I have dropped following. Now, I want to prove to myself that I am not following, by doing certain things - behind which is the fact that I still want to be sure of the sense that I am doing the right thing. You understand, Sirs, what I am talking? You have followed: and you see that the very nature of following is criminal, unspiritual, disintegrating and will lead you to nowhere. So you say to yourself, `I had better listen to that man; he has reputation etc; so I had better be quite sure that I drop that and, through action, prove to myself that I am not following.' So you are concerned with action that will show that you are honest; and being honest is to be certain. You understand?
You follow to be certain, you give up to be certain. So you have not changed at all. You have played a trick. The mind has played a trick upon you. The mind creates illusion when it seeks to be certain. But it is only a radical revolution of the mind, which is going to create a new world and not an illusion. You have followed, you have created illusion, a hierarchy. If you follow another, you cannot like to be yourself. If you follow another, there is no self-knowledge. If you follow another, however noble, wise, you will not know the workings of your own mind; and without knowing, without self-knowledge, there is no wisdom. So, if there is a desire to be certain, the mind creates an illusion. Now what we are concerned with is the power to create illusion from which there is action. If there is to be a fundamental deep revolution, this power of creating illusion must stop, which means really that the desire to be certain - the psychological demand for safety, for assurance, for encouragement - must come to an end.
So, if you say that you are following and then dropping it and, through that, your mind is still craving to be certain, what are you to do? It is the mind that wants to prove to itself, through action, that it is doing the right thing. That is all we know, is it not? That is all our life. Action will prove that I am honest, that I am respectful, that I am this. But the proof of your action is born of this illusion, the escape of the mind which wants to be certain.
If you have followed so far, the next thing that is important is not to prove to yourself that you have dropped the ugly authoritarian evaluation or to find out whether you are following, but to find out if you have radically cut at the root of the problem - which is, that the mind, as long as it follows its own ideals, its own demands to be certain, its own cravings, will create illusion, and the cutting away of the power to create this illusion is what we are concerned with. You might say `what has all this long, complicated talk to do with action? I want to know what to do, and you tell me all this rigmarole.' But without this rigmarole, your action will lead to mess, confusion, as it is doing now. So, what is important is to see the fallacy of following and to cut it, to drop following, and not to want to prove to yourself through action that you are not following. When we want action to convince us, we want action to spring from the known; we have no action springing from the unknown. It is the action that is springing from the unknown, that is the liberating, creative action - not the action that is born from the known saying `I have given up and I am going to show that to myself.' You can be sincere and yet be caught in illusion. You can prove to yourself that you are doing the right thing; but the doing of the right thing will be the outcome of an illusion.
So action born from freedom, freedom from all authority, is creative. We can build together; and then you and I can say we have no spiritual authority, and we can build this world which is yours and mine. You are not my spiritual leader. You may know a little about mathematics, build houses, bridges, by stresses and strains; but you are not my authority spiritually, I am not following you. Therefore, you and I are discovering together how to build this world because it is our world. It is only the mind that is free from all authority, that can do this. Because we have been wrongly educated, because we have been conditioned so heavily in authority, we think that freedom will come at the end. So what is important is to understand the process of the mind - the ways of its thought, how it creates illusions, but not what are illusions - and to understand that there is the creation of illusion as long as the mind wants certainty. This certainty creates the follower and the leader; and the moment you have that relationship of a follower and a leader, you will create a world in which there will be no sense of yours and mine, of our world. There will not be that feeling. There will be the commissars, warmongers, the capitalists, exploiters - spiritual or otherwise. If you want to understand all this process, you have to go into this problem of action.
Perhaps you would ask questions out of this talk. If not, I have got some questions written down.
Question: A vast number of people are inclined to think that another is more intelligent than themselves, and therefore they follow.
Krishnamurti: Sirs, what is intelligence? Does intelligence consist in comparison? If you follow this for a minute, you will see. When a teacher in a school compares one boy with another, is he making him intelligent by comparison, or is he destroying him by comparing him with the cleverer boy? You understand, Sirs? Are you not destroying by comparing one boy with another boy, one human being with another human being. When you compare yourself with another, the master with the disciple, by all these ugly horrors, are you not destroying yourself? Is that destruction intelligence? So, what is intelligence? Intelligence is that state when you are not comparing. In understanding what you are, you do not really compare yourself with somebody else. But in a school imparting the so-called education in which all of us have been brought up and in which we have all been conditioned, we are always comparing. Therefore we are destroying that thing by the way we talk. When you compare your sons - the elder with the younger - and you want the younger to work, to imitate, to copy, to struggle, to push up, to be as good as the elder, it means really that the younger is not important at all, you have an idea what the elder is, and you are pushing the younger into that. You call that education, you call that intelligence!
So to have this radical revolution, there must be no comparison. Surely, we are human beings, Sirs. You are as good as I am. We are human beings, suffering, struggling and understanding. You are not my master, I am not your follower. To create a new world, we must think of all this totally, differently. I can only think totally differently when I do not compare. I am what I am. I want to understand what I am. I may be the greatest idiot; I want to understand what I am because out of this idiocy something marvellous would come; but if I smothered, I remain an idiot for the rest of my life.
So, Sirs, if there is to be radical revolution there must be radical thinking, and thinking does not come by mere action. Action is not the proof of the integrity of thought. The integrity comes when you understand what you are, whatever you are. You cannot understand what you are, if you are comparing, judging, beating out. To look at things as they are is the greatest thing; and therefore a free mind will not create any illusion.
Question: Is not the idea of one world an utopia?
Krishnamurti: I did not say any thing about one world. I talked of the world that is ours. That is not utopia. You can make of it into an utopia, an ideal which you are practicing, all the nonsense which are escapes from the actual fact that it is our world. You and I are living in the world but we do not know how to live in it together. I say it is only possible to make that world ours when we have not a leader and a follower.
Question: If we give up authority what is it we are living for? In giving up authority, is there another form of security?
Krishnamurti: That is just what I have been talking about all this evening. A mind that follows security and the demand for security, creates hierarchy in the authority, which is the poison of our present society. That is very clear. It is not giving up that matters but the desire to be certain. I want to be certain that I am living rightly according to the Bhagavad Gita, according to the Master, according to Stalin, according to somebody else. I want to live rightly and so I ask the Masters behind the hills, ask the gurus round the corner. So the moment I want to be certain, secure, I have created an authority, and that is the greatest illusion which the mind can create, because it destroys freedom and therefore creativeness.
Sirs, how many of you are really free from imitation? You all know the Bhagavad Gita by heart. You do not know anything about yourself; or, if you know about yourself, it is from Sankara. Sirs, you live and you all aspire for a noble life - which is, copying, imitating and repeating; and that is what you call a noble life. But you never discover for yourself what you are, you never discover truth. You may say you are a great soul, Atman, as stated by Sankara or Buddha; that is all nonsense because that is repetition, that is false. Even though Sankara or Buddha said it, you have to find the truth through every day, discovery from moment to moment.
Question: What is spontaneous action?
Krishnamurti: This is not the moment for that. We are discussing this spontaneous mind in which there is no authority, in which there is no sense of security. I will not answer that question now.
Question: If everybody thinks of his individual liberty then where is the question of feeling ourness?
Krishnamurti: Are you individually free? You are conditioned, you are not a free individual. But to understand your conditioning, to understand it fully, requires a great deal of work, does it not? Freedom is not a thing that you can easily buy. You do not know what it means. When you talk of freedom, you think you must be free according to me, or according to the pattern, or according to the idea. All that is not freedom. Freedom means something entirely different. It means being free in itself. There is such a state of being free in itself and not from something. That is what I have been talking about, being free, not free of authority, of the hierarchy; because, you have cut at the root of authority, and that is going to produce action. The cutting is going to produce action, and there is not the action that is going to prove that you have cut it. If you really understood what you are, then you will not want prestige, power, position and patronage; you will not think of your individual liberty; you are free.
Question: May we know if you yourself have experienced that state of freedom? Krishnamurti: Sirs, why do you want to know? Please do listen. Do not laugh. I am not giving a clever, smart answer. You see how the mind works very cleverly. This is a meeting in which no discussion is possible. Discussions are over. To morrow will be the last day of the talks.
The gentleman wants to know if I have experienced directly that freedom. Please see the importance of that question and the implications of that question. Is it setting up of authority when I say `Find out for yourself?' When I say there is, is that setting up of authority? If you followed it, it would be authority. But I am cutting at the very root of authority by saying `Find out for yourself. Do not follow another'. Why do we ask such questions? The gentleman says that you should not follow what I say. What have I said that you should follow? I have pointed out to you, if you have followed the talk, the workings of your minds, the operations of deception, how the mind thinks it has given up when it actually has not given up, how the mind creates illusion. I have not told you what to do. Therefore you are not following. I am showing the ways of your own mind. I have several times said to you to follow nobody including myself. To follow anybody, including myself, is the most destructive, deteriorating factor in life. But do not misapply.
It is very interesting to find why this gentleman said. `We are not going to follow and why the other asked `Do you know that freedom?
Question: The gentleman who says `Give up authority,' clings to authority.
Krishnamurti: I am afraid you have not followed at all what I have been talking about. I said to you at the beginning of the talk that the mind creates authority and accepts it or rejects it, and the very rejecting of it and the seeking of proof is another form of authority. There is only one process, one way of looking at it, the dropping of it but not being convinced that you have dropped it. I went into the problem how the mind works, and this really demands attention. It is really a process of meditation, not the attention of enforced thought but the attention that comes when you are really interested in something which is of vital importance.
This question is a vitally important question because it is confronting the whole world, the commissar and the worker, the Pope and the layman. The whole problem is there. Do not brush it aside. That is what we are tackling and, to understand it, you must follow it. There must be meditation. This is very important, not to be accepted or rejected but which requires extraordinary insight; and that insight can only come when you understand the working of your mind, why the mind creates authority and accepts it or rejects it, and how the very rejecting of it is another form of authority. That is what we have been discussing. It is very important to see this thing as a whole and not because you belong to some society, or because you have some power over somebody else. It is a complex problem that necessitates your thinking very deeply about it; and you cannot think deeply if you are attached to any authority.
December 26, 1953
Madras 7th Public Talk 26th December 1953
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