Banaras 1954, Rajghat School
Banaras, India 20th January 1954 13th Talk to Students at Rajghat School
One of the greatest difficulties that we have is to find out what makes for mediocrity. You know what that word means? A mediocre mind really means a mind that is impaired, that is not free, that is caught in fear, in a problem; a mind that merely revolves round its own self-interest, round its own success and failure about its own immediate solutions and the sorrows that inevitably come to a petty mind. It is one of the most difficult things, is it not?, for a mind that is mediocre to break away from its own habits of thought from its own pattern of action, and be free to live, to be able to move about, to act. You will see most of our minds are very small, are very petty. Look at your own minds and you will see what it is occupied with - such small things as your passing an examination, what people will think of you, how you are afraid of somebody and your own success. You want a job; and when you have that job, you want to have a better job and so on. I you search your minds, you will find it is all the time occupied with this kind of small, trivial self-interested activities. Being thus occupied, it creates problems, does it not? It tries to solve its problems according to its own pettiness and, not doing that, it increases its own problems. It seems to me that the function of education is to break down this way of thinking.
The mediocre mind, the mind that is caught in one of the narrow streets of Benaras and lives there, may read; it may pass examinations; it may be socially very active; but it still lives in the narrow little street of its own making. I think it is very important for all of us, the old and the young to see that the mind being so small, whatever effort it makes, whatever struggles it may go through, whatever hopes or fears or longings it may have, they are still small, they are still petty. It is very difficult for most of us to realize that the Gurus, the Masters, the societies, the religions which the petty mind forms, are still petty. It is very difficult to break this pattern of thinking.
Is it not very important while we are young, to have teachers, educators, who are not mediocre? Because, if the educators are dull, weary, are thinking of little things and are caught in their own pettiness, naturally, they cannot help to bring about an atmosphere in which the student can be free and break through the pattern which society has imposed upon people.
I think it is very important to be able to know that one is mediocre, because most of us do not admit we are mediocre, we all think that we have something extraordinary lurking behind, somewhere. But we have to know that we are mediocre, to realize that mediocrity still creates pettiness, and not to act against it. Any action against mediocrity is the action born of mediocrity; to break down mediocrity is still petty, trivial. You see, don't you understand all this? Unfortunately, I speak only in English, but I wish your teachers could help you to understand this. In explaining this to you, their own triviality will break down. The mere explanation will awaken them to their own pettiness, smallness. That is why a small mind cannot love, is not generous, quarrels over trivial things. What is needed in India and elsewhere in the world is not clever people not people with degrees or big positions, but people like you and me who have broken down the triviality of their mind. Triviality is essentially the thought of oneself. That is what makes the mind trivial, the constant occupation about its own success, about one's own ideals, about one's own desires to become perfect; that is what makes the mind petty because `the me', the self, however much it may expand, is still very small. So, the mind that is occupied is a petty mind; the mind that is constantly thinking about something, worried about its own examination, worried as to whether it will get a job, what the father and mother or teachers or gurus or neighbours or society thinks, is a petty mind. The occupation with these ideas makes for respectability, and the respectable mind, the mediocre mind, is not a happy mind. Please listen to all this.
You know you all want to be respectable, don't you?, to be well thought of by somebody - by your father or by your neighbour or by your society - to do the right thing, and this creates fear; such a mind can never think of anything new. What is needed in this deteriorated world, is a mind that is creative, not inventing, not with capacity. But that creativeness comes when there is no fear, when the mind is not occupied with its own problems. All this requires an atmosphere in which the student is really free, free not to do whatever he likes but free to question, to investigate, to find out, to reason and to go beyond the reason. The student requires a freedom in which he can find out what he really loves to do in life so that he is not forced to do a particular thing which he loathes, which he does not like.
You know that a mediocre mind never revolts; it submits to government, to parental authority; it puts up with anything. I am afraid in a country like this, where there is overpopulation, where livelihood is very very difficult, the pressures of these make us obey, make us submit, and gradually the spirit of revolt, the spirit of discontent is destroyed. A school of this kind should educate a student to have that tremendous discontent right through life, not truly to be satisfied. The discontent begins to find out, becomes really intelligent, if it does not find a channel of satisfaction, of gratification.
So education is a very complex thing, it is not just going through some classes and passing examinations and getting a job. Education is a life process, a constant uncovering of the whole significance of life. We are not prepared for it. That is why the educator must be educated in order to educate the children. You go through these examinations, get jobs and then what happens to you? You get married, you have children, you are worried, you have little money and you are swallowed up in this whole mass of the average mind. That is what happens to you. All of us who have passed the gates of any University, we just disappear; we do not revolt and create a new society, a new way of thinking, we do not break down the old pattern. Instead of doing that, we just become the average mediocre mind. I think really the function of the school at Rajghat is to break down this mediocrity, so that you can be a different person when you leave here, a creative human being who will create a new world. You see, that requires on the part of the teachers, on the part of the elders, on the part of the parents, a great deal of understanding, a great deal of affection. So, if a school of this kind cannot do that, it has no business to exist. It is very important that all of us - the student, the teacher, the parents, every one of us that comes here - should understand this and create conditions where the petty mind, the small mediocre mind, is transformed so that it can live and be in that creative spirit without fear, with great affection and understanding.
Question: Why do we, boys and girls feel shy of each other?
Krishnamurti: Why do you feel shy? Have you ever seen two sparrows, male and female sparrows, two birds on the window sill, chatter away? They are different, are they not? The male has a black chest and the female has not. One is very shy; the other is very aggressive, it attacks. Have you not noticed it? Obviously a boy and a girl are different, physically. Girls have a different body from the boys', their nerves are different. Perhaps a girl is more sensitive, shy, and the boy is not. A boy is more rough physically; a girl is differently constructed physically from the boy. There is a whole problem behind that, the problem of sex, which is nature's way of creating babies. Nobody tells us of all these things and all the implications. We are allowed to grow wild in this thing, being ignorant of all this; and that is why we feel shy.
Also the Indian society keeps the male, the female and the little children apart. The old people have great many ideas of what is right and what is wrong - that the woman must be kept in the house, the woman is inferior, something to be looked down upon, something to be used, made into a cook and to have children. Naturally, you grow in fear, in apprehension, in nervousness, anxiety, so that you are not a human being at all, but just a dull, hard working woman, that is all. You have no amusement, you do not paint, you do not think, you pass some examinations; they do not mean a thing to you. You become an ordinary woman like the rest and the boy too exactly the same.
Our education generally is the most destructive way of dealing with human beings. We are not treated like human beings, to understand life, to love life, to see the enormous beauty, the richness of existence, to know of death, to know the living thing of life. We are not shown all that. All that we are told is `do' and `don't'. Brutally or aggressively you are beaten, scolded, bullied; and naturally when you grow or when you are young, you are shy. So, the whole problem is never understood because behind it there is fear. Is it not the function of the educator to explain, show all these, so that you as a student understand the difficulties, the subtleties? You can understand the difficulties, the subtleties the immense problems involved in all these things only when there is no fear.
Question: Is it right that fame comes after death?
Krishnamurti: Do you think that the villager who dies will have fame after he dies?
Question: A great man, after he dies, becomes famous and is honoured.
Krishnamurti: What is a great man? Find out the truth of that question. Is he one who seeks fame? Is he one who would give himself tremendous importance? Is he one who identifies himself with a country and becomes the leader? I he does this, he has fame wile he is living. That is all what we want; we all want the same thing, we all want to be great people. You want to lead the procession, you want to be the governor, you want to be the great ideal, the great person who is going to reform India. Since you want that, since all the people want that, you will lead the proces- sion. But is that greatness? Does greatness consist in being publicised, in having your name appear in the papers, having authority over people, making people obey because you have a strong will or personality or crook in the mind. Surely, greatness is something totally different.
Greatness is anonymity, to be anonymous is the greatest thing. The great cathedral, the great things of life, great sculpture, must be anonymous. They do not belong to any particular person, like truth. Truth does not belong to you or to me, it is totally impersonal and anonymous; if you say you have got truth, then you say you have got truth, then you are not anonymous, you are far more important than truth. But an anonymous person may never be great. Probably he will never be great, because he does not want to be great, great in the sense of the world or even inwardly because he is nobody. He has no followers. He has no shrine, he does not puff himself up. But most of us unfortunately want to puff ourselves up, we want to be great, we want to be known, we want to have success. Success leads to fame, but that is an empty thing, is it not? It is like ashes. Every politician is known and it is his business to be known and therefore he is not great. Greatness is to be unknown, inwardly and outwardly to be as nothing; and that requires great penetration, great understanding, great affection.
Question: If we respect any one, there is fear. Then, why do we respect?
Krishnamurti: It is fairly simple. If you respect out of fear, you want something from that person. Don't you? Therefore you do not respect him at all. All that you want is to get something out of him. So, you bow down very low, touch his feet and put a garland round his neck. That is not respect, respect is something entirely different. To respect another requires affection not fear. When you respect somebody from whom you are hoping to get something, then you must despise people who are below you, you must have contempt for others. So, a man who has contempt for another can never be free from fear. Can he?
Is it not possible to have respect, to have affection in oneself which naturally expresses itself in respect to every person, irrespective of whether one gets something or not? You watch the way you treat the cooley, the labourer, the servant of your hostel, and the way you treat your housemaster or the principal or a member of the Foundation - the scale going up and up - and you will see the manner of your behaviour. You do not get up when the cooley comes in, but when your teacher comes in you jump up; and the teacher demands that you jump up because he thinks that you must show respect to him. But he does not insist that you should treat the servant equally, with equal words, to talk to him gently and kindly as you do to somebody else.
Is it not important to know all this while you are young, so that you do not become slaves to authority, so that you have real affection for people, you have respect, which you show to the servant as well as to the man whom you think to be a little more important? But as long as there is fear and no affection, you are bound to have contempt for the one and so-called respect for the other.
Question: Why does the elder brother beat the younger sister, and the younger sister the younger brother?
Krishnamurti: That is a very good question. You know, have you ever watched the chicken? The more powerful pecks the weaker chicken and the weaker chicken pecks the still weaker chicken. You have no chickens here, you do not watch. You do not do anything though there is life all about you. Please listen. You do not look, you do not observe - neither your teachers nor yourself. That is how life is. Among the animals, the stronger destroys the weaker. That is what we do in human society. The strong man pushes out his chest and beats everybody and the weaker one gets angry with the still weaker. You ask why we do this. For the very simple reason that we want to do it. If we are beaten by a big man, we want to take it out of the little man.
You know the desire to hurt is very strong in us. We want to hurt people. There is a pleasure in hurting people, in telling, in saying cruel things about people, ugly things, inferior things. We never speak to people with kindliness. We never speak to people of their goodness but always talk with a sneer. So, that has to be understood, not why the elder sister beats the younger sister and so on. The elder sister is probably beaten by the father or mother. Therefore she has to take it out of somebody. So, she beats the younger and the younger takes it out of the little ones.
To understand cruelty is very difficult and to understand animosity and not to create animosity is very difficult for most people. We never think of all these things. In our schools we are never pointed out these acts of cruelty, because the teacher does not see them for himself. He has his problems, he has to get through the class and push the students through some examinations. Please watch all the things that are taking place about you, how the chicken fight each other, how the strong bulldog dominates everything else. You will find that the same spirit of domination, anger, hatred and animosity is in each one of us. To dispel this, we have only to be aware of it and not to consider it as wrong or right.
Question: What is freedom?
Krishnamurti: I wonder if she really wants to know what freedom is! Does any of us know what is freedom? All that we know is we are made to do things, we are compelled by circumstances or through our own fears to do things and we want to break away from them. The breaking away from restraint, from compulsion, from fear, or something else is what we call freedom. Please listen.
The breaking away from restraint, the breaking away from a hindrance, the breaking away from some form of compulsion is not freedom. Freedom is something in itself, not away from something. Understand this, please. The prisoner put in a prison for some cause wants to break away, and be free. He only thinks in terms of breaking away; If I am angry, I feel that if I can only break away from anger, I will be free. If I am envious, the overcoming of the envy is not `freedom; the breaking away, the overcoming, the suppressing is merely another kind of expressing the same thing; that is not freedom. Freedom is in itself, not away from anything. The love of something for itself is freedom. There is freedom when you paint because you love to paint, not because it gives you fame or gives you a position. In the school, when you love to paint, that very love is freedom and that means an astonishing understanding of all the ways of the mind. Also, it is very simple to do something for itself and not for what it brings you either as a punishment or as a reward. Just to love the thing for itself is the beginning of freedom.
Do you spend ten minutes of your class period, talking of all this? Or do you plunge immediately into Geography, Mathematics and English and all the rest of it? What happens? Why don't you do this for ten minutes every day instead of wasting your time on some stupid stuff which does not really interest you but which has to be done. Why don't you spend some time with the teacher in the class, and talk about these matters? This will help you in your life though it might not help you to become great or successful, or famous. If you talk over every day for ten minutes, about these matters, intelligently, fearlessly, then it will help you all through life, because it will make you think and not merely repeat things like parrots. So, please ask your teachers to talk to you about these matters. Then you will find both the educator and yourself becoming more intelligent.
Question: Can nature get rid of nature's dependence? If dependence is equivalent to fear, can we ever get rid of nature's dependence.
Krishnamurti: When we are very young as babies, we are dependent. We depend on the mother for the milk. We are dependent when we are very young, to be protected, to be watched, to be cared for. That is inevitable for every bird, for every animal. All the puppies that are in this place are guarded by the mother. That is a natural thing. But as we grow, if we depend on somebody for happiness, for comfort, for guidance, for security, then, out of that dependence comes fear. Dependence makes us dull, insensitive, fearful. We do depend on the railway, on the post office, but that is not dependence; that is a function in which both of us are partaking. But the dependence of which I am talking, is inward insight, inward seeking; and it is that dependence that creates fear, that clouds our mind, making it dull, heavy, insensitive.
We depend because in ourselves we are so empty, in ourselves there is nothing, not a seed that is flowering. Because we do not know anything of all that, it is the function of education, is it not?, to show all the implications of human existence outwardly and inwardly. Our living is not just what appears outwardly; that is very superficial. We are much deeper; great many things are hidden in us. To understand all that, to unravel and to go beyond that is the function of education, is it not?
January 20, 1954
Banaras 1954, Rajghat School
Banaras, India 20th January 1954 13th Talk to Students at Rajghat School
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