Banaras 1954, Rajghat School
Banaras, India 15th January 1954 10th Talk to Students at Rajghat School
I do not know if you have found that fear is a very strange thing. Most of us have fear of some kind or another, and it lurks behind so many forms, it hides behind so many virtues. Without really understanding the cause of fear, the root of fear, all feeling for beauty merely becomes imitative. Without understanding the deeper layers of fear, there is very little significance in the appreciation of beauty. For most of us, the appreciation of beauty is tinged with envy, and so is the desire for beauty. You know what envy is - to be envious of somebody, to be envious of another's capacity, his position, his prestige, the way he looks, the way he walks? For most of us, envy is the basis of our actions; remove envy and we feel we are lost. All our effort is towards success, and in that there is envy; behind that envy there is fear. Fear is the drive, the motive, the spirit, which moves us. Without really understanding the significance of fear and envy, we only create social and moral imitators.
So, I think it is very important to understand this thing we call envy. If you watch your own mind in operation, your own activities, you will find that there is hardly any moment which is not towards something, towards the more, towards the greater, towards the desire for wider experience. The moment there is comparison there must be envy. When I want more, not only of the mundane things, of the worldly things but also of love, of beauty, of inward richness, the very movement towards the more, towards the end, towards the thing which you are going to get, has envy behind it.
After all, beauty is something not tinged with envy, beauty is something which is in itself. You do not become more beautiful or more good - which are all the movements of envy. But you have to understand `what is', as things are - which does not mean you are satisfied with things as they are. The moment you enter into satisfaction and dissatisfaction, there is envy. You can understand the thing as it is, whatever you are, only when you do not compare; because in comparison, there is also envy. To understand `what is' seems to me to be the real creative beauty of life, and not the mere getting some where in virtue or in respectability or in power or in position. But all our education, all our thinking, instinctively is towards the more, which we call progress.
It is, I think, very important to understand this while we are young, while we are not caught in the wood of responsibility, of family, of jobs, of position, of activity, of undertakings done blindly and foolishly. Is it not the function of education to free the mind from the comparative? You understand what I mean by that? You see, our education, our social life, our religious aspirations, are all based on this urge for the more - the more spiritual life, more happiness, more money, more knowledge, greater virtue - a perfect ideal towards which I go and you go. We are brought up in that atmosphere and so we never discover what we are, `what actually is'.
We are always trying to become something else. We are always trying to become noble, to become a hero, an example, an ideal; and if we really go behind this urge to become, we will find that there is envy and that behind that envy there is fear, the fear of what one is. We begin to cover up what we are, with all these outward and inward movements which we call progress, which we call `becoming'. It is very difficult for the mind not to think in terms of becoming, of moving towards the greater, the wider, the more extensive activities; and that movement is based on fear and envy. But there is a totally different movement which is real creativity and real understanding, namely, the movement of the understanding of `what is', what you actually are. In that movement, you do not change `what is' but you understand `what is'.
We are accustomed to think in terms of getting somewhere, of achieving, of success, of changing this into that - of changing violence into non-violence which is an ideal. I am inwardly poor and I want to find the inner riches which are incorruptible. That is the movement we know; in that movement, we are brought up, we are nurtured we are conditioned. In that movement, if you observe, there is envy, there is fear, the fear of not being what one wants to be. The urge to become has created this society, this culture, these religions. Our culture is based on envy. Our religion as we practise it, as we think of it, as we know it, is the worship of success in a distant future. So, this movement is based on envy, acquisitiveness and fear.
Is it not the function of education to break up that movement and to bring about a totally different activity which is the understanding of `what is', as one actually is? In this activity, there is no fear, there is no envy, no desire to become something. This activity is the initiative of the thing as it is.
The movement of envy leads to utter discontent and disintegration. Let me put it very simply. I am aggressive, violent; and I am told from childhood that I must change that, that I must become non-violent, non-aggressive, that I must have love. All this is a movement towards transformation of `what is', and that movement is based on envy, on fear, because I want to change `what I am' into something else. But if I see the truth of that movement which is envy and in which there is fear, then I can see what I am. When I see I am aggressive, I do not change `what I am', but I watch the movement of aggression. In that watching there is no fear, there is no compulsion. The very watching of `what I am' brings about a totally different activity. That is surely the function of education, that is creation.
Creative activity requires a great deal of perception, insight and understanding. Because, it does not emphasize the self-centred activity of the mind. At present, all our activities emphasize self-centredness, from which spring our social and economic difficulties and miseries. Everyone can observe these two movements in oneself. In the observation of the two, there is the dropping away of all activity based on fear and envy, and there is only the other activity which is creative, in which there is initiative and beauty.
Question: What is experience?
Krishnamurti: When you watch yourself, is it not an experience? When you put on a kurta, is that not an experience? When you watch the boat going down the river, is that not an experience? When you cry, when you laugh, when you are jealous, when you want to possess something and want to push others aside, is it not an experience? Living is experience. But, we want to keep the experiences which are pleasant and to avoid experiences which are unpleasant. That is not life. The choice between the pleasant and the unpleasant is not living. Life is everything from the dark clouds to the marvellous sunset; life is the whole thing which you can watch death, the song of birds, the green fields and the barren earth, the fears, the laughters, the struggles. But, we generally view life differently; we say `This is life', `That is not life', `This is beautiful', `That is not beautiful', `I am going to hold to the beautiful and push away the ugly', `I am unhappy, I want happiness'. When we begin to choose, there is death.
If you really think about all this, you will see that when the mind chooses between that which is pleasant and that which is unpleasant, and holds on to one and discards the other, then deterioration takes place, then death comes in. But to see this whole process in movement, to be aware of it totally without any choice, stirs the mind, and frees it from its self-enclosing activities of choice. A mind that is free from choice is wise, intelligent, capable of infinite depth.
Listen to all this. These are not mere words to be listened to and put aside. Experience of various kinds are impinging all the time on our minds, and our minds now are only capable of choice, choosing one experience and holding on to it and discarding another experience. When a mind retains an experience, from that experience it creates a tradition; and that tradition becomes choice and action. A mind that is merely caught in choice, can never find out what truth is. So, it is only the mind that sees the whole movement of darkness and of light, that is highly sensitive, intelligent. It is only then that that which we call God can come to be.
You have been listening for some days to all that has been said. Are you aware of what is taking place in you, how your mind thinks, how your mind watches things and people around. Are you watching more, seeing more, feeling more? Are you aware of all this? Do you understand what I am talking about? Are you aware of what is going on within yourself, in your mind, in your feelings? Do you observe a tree? Do you ever watch the river? Do you see how you are looking at the river? What are the thoughts that come into your mind, as you watch that river?
If you are not aware of all that is going on in your mind, when you see something, then you will never know the operations of your mind, the workings of your mind; and without knowing them, you are not educated, You may have a few alphabets after your name, but that is not education. To be educated, you have to find out if your mind functions in tradition, if it is caught in the usual habitual routine. Do you do things because your parents want you to do them. Do you put on a sacred thread merely because that is the custom? Do you go to the temple to do puja because you have been told to, or because you have been meditating, or because you like it? Surely, all this indicates the operation of your mind, does it not? And without knowing that, how can you be educated?
The brain is an astounding thing if you watch it. There must be millions and millions of cells in it, and it must be a very complex mechanism. It must be most complex and concentrated, because when I ask you a question, when I look at things, the mind goes through such a lot to produce an answer. You understand what I am talking about? If I ask you where you live, how quickly your mind operates! See the astounding rapidity of memory! If you are asked a question which you do not know, again look at what the mind goes through.
We are so rich in ourselves; but without knowing that richness, without knowing all its beauty, its complexity, we want every other richness - the richness of position, of office, of travel, of comfort, of knowledge - but these are all trivial riches compared to this thing. To know how the mind works and to go beyond it seems, to me, to be real education.
The lady says that when we are confronted with something complex, when there is a problem, our mind becomes blank. Does your mind become blank? Do you understand what I am asking you? Look sir, your mind is ceaselessly active, it is in constant movement. When you open your eyes, you have various impressions and the mind is receiving all these impressions - the light, the pictures, the windows, the green leaves, the movement of the animals and people. When you close your eyes, there is the inward movement of thought. So, the mind is constantly active; there is never a moment when it is still. That is the mind, not only at the superficial level but also deep down. You know, after all, the Ganga is not just the surface water on which you see the ripples and the beauty of the sunshine; there is also the great depth of it, about 60 feet of water below the surface. The mind is not just the superficial expression of annoyance, of pleasure, of desires, of joy and frustration; but deep down, there is the whole mind, and all that is in movement all the time - asking questions, doubting, being frustrated, longing. When that movement is confronted with something which does not answer, it is shocked into paralysis for a second or two, and then it begins to act.
Have you not noticed when you see a beautiful thing, a beautiful mountain, a lovely river, a beautiful smile, how your mind becomes quiet? It is too much for the mind; for a second, it is still; and then it begins to function. That is the case with most of us. Seeing that, is it possible for the mind to be still the whole way, not just at one level? Can your mind be totally still all the time, not through the shock of beauty or pain, not with any purpose because the moment you have purpose, there is fear and envy behind it - but be totally still, deep down and also on the surface? You can only find out, you cannot answer `yes' or `no'.
There is real freedom when the mind right through knows its activities, its shades, its lights, its movements, its deliberations, its elations. The very knowing, by the mind, of all its movements from deep down to the top, the very seeing of it all, is the stilling of the mind. All this has to be very intelligently thought out, watched for, unearthed, so that you know the whole thing that is the mind, so that you are aware of the whole process; then only is the mind really still.
Question: What is jealousy?
Krishnamurti: Don t you know what jealousy is? When you have a toy and the other person has a bigger toy, don't you want that bigger toy? When you have a small bicycle and you see a big beautiful bicycle, don't you want that? That is jealousy. On that jealousy, people live, exploit, multiply.
Please, the teacher who is responsible for that boy's education, will please listen and please explain this to him. Take the time and the trouble to point out what jealousy is, if you understand what jealousy is, yourself.
Jealousy begins in a small way and then one gets drawn into a stream of action, clothed under so many names. We all know jealousy. That little boy wants to know what jealousy is. Do not say it is wrong or right, do not condemn it. Do not tell him it is not desirable to be jealous, that jealousy is ugly, evil. What is evil is your condemnation of it, not jealousy itself. Please explain to him the whole business of jealousy, how it arises how our society is based on jealousy, how instincts are based on it, how it shapes all our actions. You do not condemn a map, you do not say the road should be that way. You do not say that the villages should be here or should not be there. The villages are there. Similarly you must explain, must look at jealousy and not try to push it aside, not try to transform it, not try to make it idealistic.
Jealousy is jealousy. You cannot make it into something else. But if you can look at it, understand it, then it gets transformed; you do not have to do a thing about it. If you could explain this deeply to every boy and girl, we will produce quite a different generation.
Question: Why do we want to show off ourselves that we are something? Krishnamurti: Why do you want to assure yourself that you are something? Why do I want to be sure that I am something? Why do you think?
You know, the Maharaja wants to show that he is something. He shows off his cars, his titles, his position, his riches. The professor the Pundit, as, assures himself that he is somebody through his knowledge. You also want to show that you are somebody in your class, with your friends. It is the same thing on a small scale or a big scale. Why do we do that? Please listen to what I am saying.
If you are inwardly rich, there is no need to show off, because that in itself is beautiful. Because inwardly we fear we have nothing, we put on lots of airs. The sannyasi does it; the prime ministers and the rich men do it. Strip them of their power, their money, their position; they are dull, stupid empty. So a person who wants to show off, who wants to be assured that he is somebody, or who tells himself that he is somebody, is really very empty. You know, it is like a drum; you keep on beating it to make a noise, and the noise is the showing off, the assurance that you are somebody. But the drum in itself has no noise, it has to be beaten to produce the noise; in itself, it is empty. In yourself, you are empty, dull, uncreative; and because you are nothing, you want to assure yourself that you are somebody. That is the movement of envy. But if you said `Yes, I am empty I am poor', and from there begin, not to change but to understand it, to go into it to delve deeply into it, then you will find riches that are incorruptible. In that movement, there is no assurance that you are somebody, because you are nobody. The man who is really nobody, who is nothing in himself, is the only truly happy man.
Question: You have been talking all these days, with the idea of bringing about a change in our lives. If you want us to think differently, how is it different from the attitude we have been having so far, to be something which we are not today?
Krishnamurti: The question needs to be made simpler. Your question is: `You want us to change and in what way is that different from our own desire to change in the old pattern'?
Do I want you to change? If you change because I want you to change, then that change is the movement of envy, of fear, of reward and punishment. That is, you are this and you want to change into that because, you are being persuaded by me to change into that - which is the movement of jealousy, of fear, of envy. If I realize what I am, just realize without any desire to change, without any desire to condemn, if I just be that, just see that, then from that there is a totally different action. But to bring about that totally different action, the other movement - the movement of envy, fear, of condemnation, of comparison - must cease. Is that clear?
Question: At present, we are not thinking in the way that you are thinking. You are talking to us with a view to making us see that way of thinking. Is that not so? Is that not a change that you would like us to bring about in us? There is only a subtle difference between the two. We are not thinking in the way you are thinking, because we do not take life in the way you are taking it.
Krishnamurti: The way we generally think is the way in which we have been brought up; in that pattern, in that groove, in that framework. Now, when you realize your thinking is conditioned, is there not a breaking up of that condition? When I realize that I am thinking in terms of communism or catholicism or Hindu- ism, is there not a breaking away from that? That is all I am talking about. There is a breaking away which is quite a different movement from habitual thinking in which there is no change.
When we talk of change, we mean we must change from this to that. When we change from `this' to `that', `that' is already the known; therefore, it is not change. When I change from greed to non-greed, the non-greed is my formulation, is my idea. Therefore, I already know the state of non-greed. Therefore when I say I must change greed into non-greed, the movement is still within the field of the known from one known to another known. Do you see that? Therefore, it is not change at all.
Please listen, all of you. It is not that gentleman alone who is asking the question but all of us are involved in this. When we talk about change, about revolution, changing from `this' to `that', `that' is the state we already know; therefore it is not change. When I change from Hinduism to Catholicism, I know what Catholicism is. It is a thing I want. I do not like this and I like that. That which I like is already what I know. Therefore, it is the same thing only in a different form.
What I am talking about is not change, but the cessation of the desire to change and the movement from that - which does not mean I am content with `what is'. There must be the cessation of the desire to change from the known to what I think is the unknown but which is really the known. If that movement ceases, then there is a totally different activity.
January 15, 1954
Banaras 1954, Rajghat School
Banaras, India 15th January 1954 10th Talk to Students at Rajghat School
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