Banaras 1954, Rajghat School
Banaras, India 6th January 1954 3rd Talk to Students at Rajghat School
You know we were discussing yesterday, if you remember, the question of fear. Most of us are afraid of something or other; and if we can eliminate fear, get rid of it, perhaps we should create a different world altogether. It seems to me to be very important to understand this, specially while we are young. Because the older we grow, the more difficult it is to get rid of this fear, because circumstances are much too strong for most people to withstand the impacts of fear. I really want to communicate, tell you something of this, because I feel it is very important, because fear corrupts our minds and when we are afraid there is no love.
In this world, there is no love. We talk about love, we talk about brotherhood, we talk about kindliness, about life being one, but those are just words; they have no meaning, they are a lot of words bamboozling, deceiving people. In fact, love does not exist. How can there be love when you see the appalling poverty, the miseries, the very very powerful people and the poor people?
I think one of the causes of there being no love is fear. If you are afraid of your teacher, of your parents, of what people say and so on, how can you love? Without love, life has no meaning, because life becomes very dry, dull, weary; and you do not see the flowers, the trees, the birds and sunlight on the water, you do not really live, you do not enjoy life. By `enjoyment' I do not mean going to cinemas or having a good job or having a car - those are external things. The really inward joy of living, the feeling of internal richness whether you are materially poor or rich, that feeling of the earth being ours to be made more beautiful, to bring about a different status in our relationships with each other - these are important. But if there is fear, you cannot have these. These come only when there is love in our being. Love is not a thing that you cultivate, it is in the thing you practise. Day after day, you may say `I must love, I must be kind, I must be gentle'. It does not come out of that; it comes like the sunlight in the morning, actually without your knowing it; it comes only when there is no fear. Please listen to this carefully because, when we are young, if we can understand this and have a feeling of it, then nothing can destroy us. You may be poor, you may have no capacity, you may not look well or beautiful; but the thing that makes life rich, really rich, is this quality of love, stripped of all fear.
So, in an educational place like this, surely our first concern, not only of the teachers but of you and all the members of the Foundation, it seems to me, is to eliminate the real causes of fear. While you are here, it is necessary to explain to each one of you the causes of fear just as Mathematics, Geography. or History is explained to you. The teachers may still be afraid, the Foundation members may still be afraid; but for you, it is important that all these things are explained because then you will create a new world, a new education.
I think one of the causes of fear is comparison. You know what `comparison' is? To compare you with somebody else, to compare you with a clever boy, or to compare you with a dull boy, to compare you with Gandhiji or Buddha or Christ or somebody else - if you are any communist, it won't be Buddha or Christ, it will be Stalin or Lenin - to compare you with somebody else is the beginning of fear. I will show you why'. I will go into it and you will see the importance of not fearing. Our whole society is based on comparison, is it not? We think comparison is necessary for growth. I compare myself to another politician and say `Well, I must beat him, I must be better than him.' When a teacher compares you with another boy who is perhaps a little clever, what is happening to you? Have you noticed what happens to you when you are compared? The teacher says to you `Be as clever as the other boy.' To make you as clever, as strenuous, as studious as the other boy or girl, he gives you grades, he gives you marks; and so you keep on struggling, competing; you are envious of the other boy. So, comparison breeds envy, jealousy, and jealousy is the beginning of fear. So, when you are compared with another boy, you as an individual, as a boy or girl are not important, but the other boy is important. When you compare yourself with somebody else, the somebody else is more important than you. Is it not so? You, as an individual, with your capacities, with your tendencies, with your difficulties, with your problems, with your being, are not important; but somebody else is important; and so you, as a being, are pushed aside and you are struggling to become like somebody else. So in that struggle is born envy, fear. You watch yourself in a class when the teacher compares you, gives you different marks, different grades; you are destroyed, your own capacities, your own innate being, get suppressed. You talk about soul and freedom and you think you know all the rest of it; but those are just words because when you are compared with somebody else, you are being destroyed. You may be dull or stupid, but you are as important as the other boy or girl whom the teacher or the parent considers intelligent.
So, should not a school, an educational centre of this kind, eliminate comparison altogether because you are important and not somebody else? Your teacher has also to be much more watchful of each individual, has he not? The difficulty is that the parents are not interested in all these, they want you to pass an examination, to get a job; and that is all their interest. So, what do they do? At home, they compare you with your elder brother or nephew or niece and say `Be as clever as that.' That is not love. When there is comparison, there is no love. You know when there are many children the mother, if she really loves her children, does not compare. Each is as important as the other. Is it not so? Unless the mother is stupid, callous, unintelligent, she does not pick up one boy of the family and say `He is my favourite and you must all be like him.' The real mother with love in her being does not compare. The cripple, the stupid, is as important as the clever one. In the same way, here we must not have an ideal and say we are going to work towards it; we must eliminate all this competitive comparison.
The teacher has to study each boy and find out his capacities, in what way he is making progress, in what way he is studying. Perhaps you should not use that word `progress' at all. The difficulty is how to make, how to help, each boy or girl to be studious, to learn. We learn now through comparison, through competition, through grades; we are forced, are we not? If you are lazy in the class, what happens? You would be pointed out as being lazy and the other boy as active. The teacher may say `Why don't you be like him'? You are given lower marks than the other boy or girl, you struggle and struggle and struggle to learn mathematics, what happens? Your brain, your being, is all the time being twisted, because you are not interested in Mathematics. But you may be interested in something else through which you can learn Mathematics.
So, to eliminate fear is extremely difficult; it must be done radically, right from the beginning, from childhood, from the kindergarten, from the small age, till you leave this place. It is our job, it is not an ideal. It must be done every day and we must work out as we are doing this because, you see, in this so-called civilized world, competition leads to ruthlessness. Do you understand what that word means? It means brutality, disregard of another without thinking of another. Because you are ambitious, competitive, you are aggressive, you want to get more and more; like you, everybody else also has a right to get more and he struggles. Our society is built on this, is built on envy, is built on jealousy, is built on ambition in the name of the country, in the name of the people and all the rest of it, but you are the centre. This competition leads ultimately to war, ultimately to the destruction of people, to greater misery. Seeing all this throughout the world, is it not right that a few of us who are really interested in this hind of education, should sit down, work out a way of teaching, of living, of educating, in which there is no comparison, in which there is not a sense of somebody being more important than you? You are as important as any one else but the teacher has not found out how to awaken your interest. If the teacher can find a way to arouse your interest, then you will be as good as the other.
So, I think it is very important, while we are young, to understand this business of comparison. We think we learn by comparison, but really we do not. The real inventor, the real creative person is not comparing, he is just acting; he does not say `I must be as good as Edison or Rama', he works.
When you write a poem, if you are comparing with somebody else, what happens to your poem? You do not write a poem if you compare yourself with Keats, with Shelley or any other great poet; you then cease to write at all. You write because you have something to say. You may put it badly, what you write may not have the right rhythm, your words may not be rich, easy, overflowing; but you have something to say and what you say - no matter how stupid it is - is as important as what has been said by Keats or Shelley or Shakespeare. If you compare, you cannot write.
Have you ever painted? Do you ever paint? When you paint a tree, the tree tells you something. The tree gives you a significance, the beauty of it, the quietness, the movement, the shades, the depth, the shape, the flutter of a leaf. It tells you something and you paint it; you do not merely copy a leaf, but you express the feeling of the tree. But in expressing it, if you know your mind compare yours with one of the great painters, then you cease to paint, don't you? I see, you have not done any of these things. It is too bad! What you miss in life! Probably you are very good at Mathematics or Science - which is also necessary. If you miss all the rest, Mathematics and passing a few examinations have no meaning at all. You become such dull human beings.
What is important is to understand what fear is and to eliminate fear. One of the causes of fear is envy, and envy is comparison. A society based on comparison, envy, is bound to create misery for itself and for others. You know, a contented person is not one who has achieved a result but one who understands the things as they are and goes beyond them. But to understand things as they are, if your mind is always comparing, judging, weighing, it is no good. Such a mind can never understand things. To put it very simply, if you are compared with somebody else, you are not important, are you? In that comparison, there is no love. Is there? Our society, our schools, our education, our big people - they have no love. So, all our society, all our culture is going to pieces; everything is deteriorating. That is why it is very important that at this place, here at Rajghat, this thing is done, that the teacher, the Foundation members and the students create this thing. Question: What are manners?
Krishnamurti: Did you listen to what I was saying previous to your question, or were you so concerned with your question that you did not listen to what I was saying? We will talk about manners.
You want to know what manners are. Manners are born of respect. If I respect you, I am kind, I am gentle. Respect and manners go together don't they?, manners being conduct, conduct being behaviour, behaviour being action. That is, when I respect, when a boy or girl or an elder person comes, I get up - not because he is an old man, not because he is a governor, not because he is somebody from whom I can get something, but because I have the feeling of respect for people whether they are poor or rich. Manners are conduct, behaviour; and it is necessary, is it not?, to have manners, to be polite, not artificially - which means superficial - but to have good feeling for others. Having that good feeling for others, you become respectful, you have good manners, you talk quietly, you consider others. That is necessary, is it not?, because when there are lots of people living together, if everyone was thoughtless, we shall have a chaotic society. So, manners, if they are the outcome, the natural outflow, of deep respect and understanding and love, have a meaning, a significance; they are a beauty on this earth.
Unfortunately, we learn superficial manners. You watch the way you talk to the servant and the way you talk to the headmaster. To the one, you are just tremendously respectful. To somebody who, you think, has got something to give you, you almost go on your knees; but to the cooley or to the poor beggar, you are indifferent, you do not care. But real consideration is when you have respect both for the poor man or the poor woman as well as the rich man; in yourself, you are rich; you have affection, you have kindliness for another - it does not matter whether he is a governor or a cooley.
Have you ever smelt a flower? The flower is not concerned much whether the passer-by is a rich man or a poor man. It has perfume, it has beauty and it gives it, it has no concern whether you are a boy or a governor or a cook. It is just a flower. The beauty of it is in the flower, in the perfume.
If we have that sense of inward beauty, inward respect, inward love, inward feeling of being sensitive, then from that comes nice, good, happy manners without compulsion. But, without that, if we are quite superficial, it is like putting on a coat. It looks very nice, but it is very shallow. empty.
Question: What is true love?
Krishnamurti: Again, the same business! We want a definition, we want words.
How can you love if there is fear? You see how easily we are satisfied with words. If I tell you what is true love, it will have no meaning to you. Is it not very important to find out if we love at all, not what is true love? Do we love a flower, a dog, husband, wife, child? Do we love the earth? Without knowing that, we talk about true love. The love we thus talk about may be phony love; it is unreal, it is an illusion.
How can I love if I have fear in me? I assure you it is one of the most difficult things to be free from fear. It is not easy. Without understanding the whole process of fear, the implications of fear - not only the conscious fears but the subtler, the deep down fears, the fears that are hidden deep down - without understanding all that, it is no good asking what true love is. Then you can look up a dictionary and find out what `true' means and what `love' means. You see, the difficulty is we have always been educated what to think but we do not know how to think; and the greatest difficulty is to break away from what to think and to enter into the stream of how to think. To break away from what to think, we must know, we must be conscious, we must be aware, that our whole education, our cultural upbringing is what to think. You read the Bhagvad Gita, or Shakespeare, or Buddha, or some other teacher, or revolutionary leader, and you know what to think. They tell you exactly what to think and you think according to the pattern. That is not thinking at all; it is like a machine repeating, a gramophone playing over and over again. To know it and to stop it is the beginning of how to think.
Question: Is it right to copy something?
Krishnamurti: Let us go step by step. When I use English, I am copying English, am I not? When you speak Hindi, you are copying the words, you are learning the words, you are repeating the words, and so it is a form of imitation. When I put on this kurta, this pyjama, it is a certain copying. When I write, when I repeat a song, when I read, when I learn mathematics, there is a certain imitation, is there not? So, there is copying, imitation at a certain level. At a certain other level of our life, our life is not just imitation. There are all kinds of issues, problems. Let us go into them slowly.
We copy tradition, tradition is copying. When you do Puja, when you put on sacred thread, when you do this and that, that is also imitation. When you do Puja or some of these things, do you say to yourself `Why should I do it?' You never question it. You merely accept it because your parents do it, your society does it; and you just thereby become an imitative machine. You never say `Why should I do any Puja? What is the meaning of it? Has it any meaning?' If it has any meaning, you have to find it out, and you are not to be told by somebody else that it has such and such a meaning. You have to find out and, to find out, you must be unprejudiced, you must not be against it or for it. That requires a great deal of intelligence, that requires fearlessness.
Most old people have some guru or other, some kind of guru round the corner. Why should you have a guru merely because the old people have it? This means you have to find out why they have it. They have it because they are afraid, they want to arrive in heaven safely. Neither they nor you know if there is a heaven. Their heaven is what they imagine it to be. So, you need a great deal of skepticism - not doubt - to find out and not to be smothered by the older people and by their ideas of what is true, of what is ideal, what is right and wrong.
Inevitably, there must be a certain amount of imitation, like any song, or mathematics and so on. But the moment that imitation is carried over into psychological feeling, it becomes destructive. Do you know what that word `psychological' means? It means the self, the ego, the subtler feelings, the inward nature. When imitation begins there, then there is no creativeness. That is a very complex problem because imitation means action according to a pattern. Imitation, copying means the acceptance of action according to memory. Experience is inevitably imitation because all experience is dictated by the past, and the past is imitation.
The difficulty is to see whether imitation is inevitable and to be free inwardly of all imitation. That requires a great deal of thinking - that is real meditation. If the mind can free itself from all projective images and thoughts which are imitative, then only is there a possibility of that reality, God or truth being. A mind that is imitative can never find what is real.
Question: How can we avoid laziness?
Krishnamurti: Let us find out together how to avoid laziness. Because it is your question, I am not just going to answer it. You and I are going to find out.
You may be lazy because you are eating the wrong kind of food, or you may be lazy because you have inherited from your parents a lethargic body, or your liver is not working properly, or you have not enough calcium which means milk. Your laziness is an escape from the things which you are afraid of. You become lazy because you do not want to go to the school, you do not want to study, because you are not interested in, study. But you are not lazy if you go and play a game, you are not lazy to quarrel with somebody. Your laziness may be due to the lack of the right kind of food or an inherited tendency from the parents or an escape. Do you understand what I mean by `escape'? You want to escape from what you do not want to do; therefore, you become lazy. You do not want to study, because you are not interested in studies, studying is a bore; and the teacher is not very good, he is also a bore. So, you say `All right' and you become lazy.
So, the teacher and you have to find out if you have the right food; perhaps with right food you will become active. Your teacher has to find out what you are really interested in - Mathematics, geography or building something. Then, in doing that, you will become active. All these have to be gone into. The teacher must not say `You are a very lazy boy, you will be punished, you will get less marks'.
Question: But for fear, we would have no respect for our parents. How do you say fear is destructive?
Krishnamurti: Do you respect your parents out of love or out of fear? I am saying `How can one have respect if there is fear?' Such respect is not respect at all; it is an apprehension, a fear. But if you have love, you will respect whether it is your father, or the governor, or a poor cooley. Is not that simple? The respect born of fear is destructive, it is false, it has no meaning.
Question: Why do we feel a sense of fear when we do not succeed?
Krishnamurti: Why do you want to succeed? You do something and in itself it is beautiful, it is sufficient. Why do you want to have the feeling that you have succeeded? Then you have pride, and then you say `I must not have pride.' Then you try to cultivate humility which is all absurd. But if you say `I am doing it because I love to do it', then there is no problem.
Question: What are the qualifications of an ideal student?
Krishnamurti: I hope there is no ideal student. Look what you have asked! You want an ideal student; you picture his image, his ways of behaviour, his ways of conduct; and you want to imitate him. You do not say `Here I am. I want to find out about myself. I want to find out how to live, but not according to a picture.' You see, the moment you have an ideal, you become false; you say `How wrongly I have been brought up'! The ideal becomes much more important than what you are.
What is important is what you are, not what the ideal is, not the ideal student or his qualifications. You are important, not an ideal. In understanding yourself, you will find out how false these ideals are. Ideals are the inventions of the mind which runs away from what the thing is. What is important is not an ideal but to understand `what is'. There is a beggar. What is the good of talking to him about an ideal? You have to understand him, to help him directly. The ideals of a perfect society are all fictitious and unreal, and it is the old peoples' game to talk about these ideals. `What is' is the actual and it has to be faced and understood.
January 6, 1954
Banaras 1954, Rajghat School
Banaras, India 6th January 1954 3rd Talk to Students at Rajghat School
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