Banaras 1954, Rajghat School
Banaras, India 19th January 1954 12th Talk to Students at Rajghat School
From childhood, we are brought up to condemn some things or some persons, and to praise others. Have you not heard grown-up people say `This is a naughty boy.'? They think that, by doing that, they have solved the problem. But to understand something requires much insight, a great sense, not of tolerance - tolerance is merely an invention of the mind to justify its activities or other people's activities - but of understanding, a great width of mind, and depth of mind.
I would like to talk, this morning, of something which may be rather difficult, but I think it is worthwhile to understand it. Very few of us enjoy anything. We have very little joy in seeing the sunset, or the full moon, or a beautiful person, or a lovely tree, or a bird in flight, or a dance. We do not really enjoy anything. We look at it, we are superficially amused or excited by it, we have a sensation which we call joy. But enjoyment is something far deeper, which must be understood and gone into.
When we are young, we enjoy and take delight in things - in games, in clothes, in reading a book, or writing a poem, or painting a picture, or in pushing each other about. But as we grow older, this enjoyment becomes a pain, a travail, a struggle. While we are young, we enjoy food; but as we grow older, we start eating food that is heavily laden with condiments, chillies, and then we lose all taste, the delicacy, the refinement of food. When young, we enjoy watching animals, insects, birds.
As we grow older, though we want to enjoy things, the best has gone out of us; we want to enjoy other kinds of sensations - passions, lust, power, position. These are all the normal things of life, though they are superficial; they are not to be condemned, not to be justified, but to be understood and given their right place. If you condemn them as being worthless, as being sensational, stupid or unspiritual, you destroy the whole process of living. It is like saying `My right arm is ugly, I am going to chop it off.' We are made up of all these things. We have to understand everything, not condemn, not justify. As we grow older, the things of life lose their meaning, our mind becomes dull, insensitive; and so, we try to enjoy, we try to force ourselves to look at pictures, to look at trees, to look at little children playing. We read some sacred book or other and try to find its meanings, its depth, its significance. But, it is all an effort, a travail, something to struggle with.
I think it is very important to understand this thing called joy, the enjoyment of things. When you see something very beautiful, you want to possess it, you want to hold it, you want to call it your own - `It is my tree, my bird, my house, my husband, my wife.' We want to hold it and in that very process of holding, the thing that you once enjoyed is gone; because, in the very holding, there is dependence, there is fear, there is exclusion; and so the thing that gave joy, the sense of inward beauty is lost and life becomes enclosed. You consider the thing as belonging to you. So gradually, enjoyment becomes something which you possess, which you must have. You enjoy doing a ritual, doing puja, or being somebody in the world; you are content with living on the surface, seeking one sensation, one enjoyment, after another. That is our life, is it not? You get tired of one god and you want to find another god. You change your guru if he does not satisfy you, and then you tell him `Please lead me somewhere.' Behind all this, there is the search to find joy. You live at a superficial level and think you can get enjoyment.
To know joy one must go much deeper. Joy is not mere sensation. It requires extraordinary refinement of the mind, but not the refinement of the self that gathers more and more to itself. Such a self, such a man, can never understand this state of joy in which the enjoyer is not. One has to understand this extraordinary thing; otherwise, life be- comes very small, petty, superficial - being born, learning a few things, suffering, bearing children having responsibilities, earning money, having a little intellectual amusement and then to die. That is our life. There is very little refinement in clothes, in manners, in the things that we eat. So, gradually, the mind becomes very dull.
It matters very much, what you eat; but you like to eat just tasty things, you like to stuff yourself with a lot of unnecessary food, because it tastes good. Do please listen to all this. It matters very much the way you talk, the way you walk, the way you look at people. Search your mind, be aware, watch your gestures, watch the meaning of your speech. If you are really very alert, the mind becomes very sensitive, refined, simple. Without that simplicity and refinement, life is very superficial. But if you go beyond that superficiality, then there is the refinement of the self. But the refinement of the self is like being enclosed behind a beautiful wall, with a great deal of decorations and pictures. That refinement of the self is still not enjoyment because, in that, there is pain; in that, there is always the fear of losing and of gaining. But if the mind can go beyond the refinement of the self, `the me', then there is quite a different process at work; in that there is no experiencer.
All this may be rather difficult, but it does not matter. Just listen to it. When you grow older these words might have a meaning, a significance; they might mean something to you later, when life is pressing on you, when life is difficult and full of shadows and struggle. Then perhaps, these words will mean something to you. So, listen to it as you would listen to music which you do not quite understand; just listen.
We may move from one refinement to another, from one subtlety to another, from one enjoyment to another; but at the centre of it all, there is `the me', `the me' that is enjoying, that wants more happiness; `the me' that searches, looks for, longs for happiness; `the me' that struggles; `the me' that becomes more and more refined, but never likes to come to an end. It is only when `the me' in all subtle forms comes to an end, that there is a state of bliss which cannot be sought after, an ecstasy, a real joy without pain, without corruption. Now, all our joy, all our happiness is corruption; behind it, there is pain; behind it there is fear.
When the mind goes beyond the thought of `the me', the experiencer, the observer, the thinker, then there is a possibility of a happiness which is incorruptible. That happiness cannot be permanent, in the sense in which we use that word. But, our mind is seeking permanent happiness, something that will last, that will continue. That very desire to continuity is corruption. But when the mind is free from `the me', there is a happiness, from moment to moment, which comes without your seeking, in which there is no gathering, no storing up no putting by of happiness. It is not something which you can hold on to. A mind that says `I was happy yesterday and I am not happy now; but I will be happy tomorrow' - such a mind is a comparing mind, and in that mind there is fear. It is always copying and discarding, gaining and losing; therefore, it is not really a happy mind.
If we can understand the process of life without condemning, without saying it is right or wrong, then, I think, there comes a creative happiness which is not yours or mine. That creative happiness is like sunshine. If you want to keep the sunshine to yourself, it is no longer the clear, warm life-giving sun. Similarly, if you want happiness because you are suffering, or because you have lost somebody or because you have not been successful, then that is merely a reaction. But when the mind can go beyond, then there is a happiness that is not of the mind.
It is very important from childhood to have good taste, to be exposed to beauty, to good music, to good literature, so that the mind becomes very sensitive, not gross, not heavy. It requires a great deal of subtlety to understand the real depths of life and that is why it matters very much, while we are young, how we are educated, what we eat, what clothes we put on, what kind of house we live in. I assure you that the appreciation and love of beauty matters very much, and that without it the real thing can never be found. But we go through school, through life, brutalized, disciplined; and we call that education, we call that living.
It is very important, while we are at this school, to look at the river, the green fields and the trees; to have good food, but not food that is too tasty, that is too hot; not to eat too much; to enjoy games without competition; not to try to win for the college but to play for the sake of the game. From there, you will find, if you are really observing, that the mind becomes very alert, watchful, recollected; and so as you grow, right through life, you are bound to enjoy things. But to merely remain at the superficial level of enjoyment and not to know the real depth of human capacity, is like living in a dirty street and trying to keep it clean. It always gets dirty, it will always be spoilt, it will always be corrupt. But if one can, through the right kind of education, know how to think and to go beyond all thought, then, in that, there is extraordinary peace, a bliss which the mind, the superficial mind, living in its own superficial happiness can never find.
You have heard what I said about food and clothes and cleanliness. Try to find out for yourself something more beyond it. See if you can restrain yourself from eating food which is too hot or too tasty. After all, it is only when you are young that you can be revolutionaries, not when you are sixty or seventy. Perhaps a few of us may be, but the vast majority are not revolutionaries. As you grow older, you crystallize. It is only when you are young that there is the possibility of revolution, of revolt, of discontent.
To have that revolt, there must be discontent all through life. There is nothing wrong with revolt. What is wrong is to find an avenue which will satisfy you, which will quiet the discontent.
Question: When I read something, my mind wanders. How am I to concentrate?
Krishnamurti: We answered that question the other day. Do you know what concentration is? Do you know that you have concentrated when you are watching a dance which you really like? Listen to what I am saying. Last night, we had a dance. I do not know if you were watching it. When you watched, did you know that you were concentrated? Did you? When you are watching something in which you are interested - two bulls fighting, or a bird in flight, or two boats with full sail going on the river against the current - are you conscious that you are concentrated? Do you understand what I am talking about? Do listen.
When your mind is not attracted to something, when you are forcing yourself to listen to music which you really do not enjoy, then you are conscious of making an effort to listen. This forcing, you call concentration. But if you listen with real delight, because you are really enjoying the music, then your whole mind, your whole being, is in it. You are not saying `Well, I must concentrate.' You are already there with the dancer, you are almost dancing yourself. But you see, we never look at or listen or read anything that way, we are never interested in anything so completely. We are only partially interested. One part of the mind says `I do not want to read that beastly book, it is boring' and the other part says `I must read it, because I have to study for my examination.' When one part says that you must read, the other part which knows the book is terribly boring, wanders off. So, you have struggle, and you say `I must begin to concentrate.'
Really, you do not have to learn to concentrate. Please listen to this. Do not force yourself to concentrate, but be interested, love the thing that you are doing, for itself. When you paint, paint for itself; when you look at a dance, enjoy it, look at it, see the beauty of it, so that your mind is not broken up into different parts. so that the mind is a whole thing, a complete thing, so that there is no fractional looking with a mind that is broken up in different parts and which says `I must look.'
What is important is not concentration, but the love of the thing; the very love of the thing for itself brings an astonishing energy, energy which is attention; without that, your learning, your looking, has no meaning; and you merely pass examinations or become glorified clerks.
Question: Is it true that the lunar eclipse affects our life? If it does, why is it so?
Krishnamurti: If you are luny, perhaps it may affect you. If you are a little touched in the head, it may affect you. But I do not see otherwise how it can affect you.
This question opens up the problem of superstition. Do listen. You live in a society, among religious people who say `The lunar eclipse affects the mind.' They have got all kinds of theories, and you are brought up in them. You see all these pilgrims; thousands of them gather and bathe at the Sangam and in the Ganga. When thousands of people think about something, there is an atmosphere created, is there not? In that atmosphere, in that activity, the child watches and is impressed. When you are young, the mind is sensitive like a photo-plate that absorbs. That is why the kind of atmosphere you live in is very important. But we do not pay attention to all this.
We live in this chaotic, dark, miserable world in a superficial way. You hear old people say `The lunar eclipse affects your life'. You hear and you accept. You do not question, you do not think for yourself. To think simply is very difficult, because the mind is not simple, the mind invents, it creates every kind of illusion mystery, and it gets caught in that.
To have a simple mind is really to understand the complexity of life You cannot deny the complexity of life and say `I have a simple mind'. A simple mind is not a thing to be cultivated; it comes into being when you understand the complexity of existence.
Question: What is the goal of our life?
Krishnamurti: What is the significance of life? What is the purpose of life?
Why do you ask such a question? You ask this question when, in you, there is chaos, and about you there is confusion, uncertainty. Being uncertain, you want something to be certain. You want a certain purpose in life, a definite goal, because, in yourself, you are uncertain. You are miserable, confused; you do not know what to do. Out of that confusion, out of that misery, out of that struggle, out of those fears, you say `What is the purpose of life?' You want a permanent something that you can struggle after, and the very struggle for a goal creates its own clarity; and that clarity, that certainty, is another form of confusion.
What is important is not what is the goal of life, but to understand the confusion in which one is, the misery, the tears and other things of life. We do not understand the confusion but want to get rid of it. The real thing is here, not there. A man who is concerned with the understanding of all this confusion does not ask what is the purpose of life. He is concerned with the clearing up of the confusion, clearing up of the sorrow in which he is caught. When that is cleared, he does not ask a question like this.
You do not ask `What is the purpose of sunshine'?, `What is the purpose of beauty'?, `What is the purpose of living'? It is only when life becomes a misery, a constant battle, and when you want to escape from that misery, from that battle, you say `Tell me what is the aim of life?' Then, you go after various people, migrate from one teacher to another, finding out what is the purpose of life. They will tell you, though they are equally foolish. You can only choose a guru like yourself, who is equally confused; and from him you get what you want.
If you can understand the confusion, the struggle, the misery, the deep longings that you have, then in that very understanding, you will find something about which you do not have to ask another.
Question: Why do we cry?
Krishnamurti: You know there are tears of joy and tears of pain. The tears of joy are very rare. When you love some one, tears come to your eyes. But that is a very rare thing. It does not happen to us, because we do not love. As we grow older, we become more and more serious. We know at least the seriousness of frustration, the seriousness of hopeless misery in life the depths of which have not been seen, enjoyed, known. Most of us have tears - the little girl and the old person. We know what those tears mean - the tears of pain, of losing something, of losing a person, of not having success, of not being happily married. We know all those things. But to understand and go beyond all that, to go beyond every thought, requires a great deal of thought, a great deal of insight.
Question: How can we deal with the unconscious?
Krishnamurti: This question has been put, not by a grown-up person but by a child. The child does not know anything about the unconscious. All that he is concerned with is to play a game, to learn a subject, to be hungry, to bully people around him, to have fear and so on.
You are a child and you cannot watch much while you are young. But, even if you watch a little, you will find that there are various things going on under the superficial ripples of your mind. Have you ever watched the river? You know there is an astonishing life going on below the river, in the deeper depths. A Frenchman went down to a depth of two hundred and thirty feet under water and found astonishing life, fishes that you have never seen, colours that are utterly unimaginable, darkness that is incredible, silence that is impenetrable. But we know only the surface of the river, the tiny ripples that ruffle the water, we know only the currents on the surface of the river. But if we go deeper - there are artificial ways of going deep down - then you can see the number of fishes, the variety of life, the strange happenings below the water.
In the same way, to see below the surface of the mind to know the ripples in it and all its activities, you must be capable of going deep down into the mind. It is important to know that the mind is not just the little layer of superficial activity, that you are not just studying to pass examinations, and that you are not merely to follow some tradition in the matter of your putting on clothes, doing Puja or something else. To go below the superficial activities, you must have a mind that can understand how to go deep.
I think that is one of the functions of education, not to be merely satisfied with the surface whether it is beautiful or ugly, but to be able to go deep like the diver with his diving dress, so that in the depths you can freely breathe, so that you can find out all the intricacies of life, of the depths, the limitations, the fluctuations, the varieties of thought - because in oneself, one is all that - and then go beyond all that, transcend all that.
You cannot go very deep, if you do not know the surface of your mind. To know the surface, one has to watch; the mind has to watch the way it dresses puts on clothes, puts on a sacred thread, does puja, and understand why. Then, you can go deep. But to go deep, you must have a very simple mind. That is why a mind that is held in conclusions, in condemnation, in comparison, can never go beyond its own superficial activities.
Question: How should we observe things?
Krishnamurti: What matters is not how you should observe, but how you actually observe.
You do not know how you should observe. Many people will tell you how you should, and just to accept it would be silly. But, you have to find out how you look at things. Have you ever noticed how you look at things? How do you look at a tree? Do you look at it fully, or do you immediately give the tree a name, look at it casually, and wander away? When you give it a name, your mind has already wandered away. If you look at a parrot, do you observe the red beak, the claws, the curious ways it flies? You watch; as you watch, you observe and learn to see. The moment you say that bird is `this', your mind has already been distracted from observation.
We never look at anything freely, completely because we do not observe it without comparing; we say `That bird is not as beautiful as the other bird', `That tree is not as tall or as magnificent as the other tree; we also give it a name. The process of comparison is going on all the time. Only that mind really looks, that can look without this process. That is how a thing has to be observed. When you hear it said that you should look without comparison, without naming, then you will try to struggle to look that way. But, do not try to look that way. Just see how you look, how you compare, how you judge, how you see a beautiful object. Just watch how your mind is always wandering, never fully looking. To look, the mind must be quiet, not wander, not be distracted.
January 19, 1954
Banaras 1954, Rajghat School
Banaras, India 19th January 1954 12th Talk to Students at Rajghat School
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.