Banaras 1954, Rajghat School
Banaras, India 21st January 1954 14th Talk to Students at Rajghat School
A lovely morning! Did you notice the blue sky? How extremely limpid it is, clear, very quiet! Did you notice the river this morning? There was no ruffle on it; and the sun early in the morning, how peaceful it was! You know, that is the kind of thing that we want - and not only the people who live on the river side - this extraordinary peace. When we have it, we do not know that we have it. That is the strange part of it. Those fishermen living in that village, they also do not know. They have all that beauty, that quietness, that sense of being alone with nature; but they are not satisfied because they are hungry. They have to struggle for life; so, in spite of this extraordinary beauty and quietness, there is constant battle going on. They want more money, their children are ill, their wives, their husbands or grownup mothers are dying and so, in spite of this tranquillity, there is a great deal of disturbance. It is so with most of us too. As we grow older, we want to live alone.
When we know we are not concerned with peace, with tranquillity, with beauty, but when we only want to enjoy, to have a good time, to play about, to see things as they are, we do generally see children, everything, factually as they are. But as we grow older, we want so many things, we want to be happy, we want to have virtue, we want to have good position, we want children, we compete with each other for a better job, to have position where there is more power and so on. But underneath all, we want to be left alone, we do not want to be disturbed, we want our thoughts to run in easy grooves; and so, we set up habits of easy thought, easy existence, have a comfortable job and there stagnate. So, most of us, as we grow older, want to be left alone, we do not want to be disturbed; and this state of non-disturbance is what we call peace. For most of us, that is peace - having a clear sky. But in this clarity there are great many things going on, a great disturbance in the atmosphere, which we do not see. What we see is very superficial, is just on the surface. The kind of tranquillity we want, is a superficial calm, an easy existence; and that we call peace. But peace is not so easy to go by. We can only understand peace when we understand the great disturbance, the discontent in which each one of us is caught, when the mind is free from easy thought easy grooves of pattern of action, when we are really disturbed - which we all avoid.
We do not want to be disturbed, we want things to remain as they are. If you are in a comfortable position, if you own a good house or car, you do not want to be disturbed. You want to let things remain. But here is disturbance going on all the time around you and in you, social disturbance; and so, you become a reactionary, a conservative, you want to let things remain, you are constantly avoiding any form of change and going back to the good old days when things were as they were. While we are young, we are disturbed, we question, we are curious, we want to know. As we grow older, we want not to be disturbed, we want to find out the answers. Our religion is a solace to us, it gives us peace, gives us tranquillity, gives us a sensation of `we shall be better off next life,' we accept things as they are. So, when we talk about peace, it is a state, for most of us, in which there is no disturbance of any kind. We imagine, we think upon, we meditate on that peace as a state in which there is no kind of disturbance, no kind of revolution, no kind of deep radical change. So, our minds become very dull, lethargic, also dead; what we call peace is dead.
But I think there is another kind of peace; and that is much more difficult to understand, a peace which is not a reaction, a peace which is not an opposite of conflict. Do you understand what I am talking about? That is the peace where there is no conflict, it is something which is not conflict. I am happy or unhappy; and when I am unhappy, I want to be happy. So, we only know these opposites, these dual processes. I was happy yesterday and I am unhappy today; and I would like to get back to that happiness tomorrow. So, we keep these opposites going on, working, struggling and when we have a thing which we call happiness as opposed to unhappiness, we want to remain in that state. The remaining in that state is what we call a constant security, peace, happiness. That is all we know and we are always asking `How am I to get back to that state in which I was happy, in which I was secure?' Because, in that primary state, I am not disturbed, I am not afraid. I won't fear that. But, I think, that is not peace. Peace is not something which is an opposite to conflict. It is not the outcome of struggle, of pain, of suffering of unhappiness. If it is, then it is no peace; it is just the opposite reaction to `what is.' This is a bit difficult. Please ask your teachers if they understand it. I hope they do, because it is very important to understand this. Peace is like freedom. Freedom is the love of a thing for itself, it is not the opposite of slavery. The love of something is not for what it will bring you - position, prestige, money, fame, notoriety or what you will. But, it is something in itself without a reward, without being afraid of punishment or failure or success. So, is this thing called peace. Peace is not the opposite of conflict, disturbance, revolution.
To understand peace which is not the opposite, we must understand the conflicts of the mind. Being disturbed, the mind creates peace, it wants peace, it wants to be left alone, not to be disturbed. So, it creates a haven, a belief, a refuge which it calls peace. But that is not peace; it is only a reaction, a movement away from this to that. But life does not leave you. Life is very disturbed, life being the poor people, the rich people, the camel that suffers with so much weight on its back, the politician, the revolution, the war, the quarrels, the bitterness, the unhappiness, the joy and the dark shadows of life. There is also death in it. The whole of that life is very disturbed. Since it is very disturbed and we do not understand it, we want to run away to something which we call peace; we sit on the banks of the river, close the eyes and think on something which we call peace. That is merely an escape, a reaction, an opposite to the state of disturbance. But, if we can understand all these disturbances - the living, the joy, the unhappiness, the struggles, the jealousies, the envies - if you can understand all that, not run away from it, just look at `what is', without condemning, just understand `what is', then out of that, there will be peace which is not an opposite. In that peace, there is great depth, a totally different activity which is creativeness, which is God, which is truth. But one cannot come to it or understand it, if one does not understand the disturbances. In understanding these disturbances, these discontents, these constant enquiries and perplexities, anxieties, the mind becomes very clear. Peace is not something beyond the mind, but it comes when I understand the difficulties. To understand the difficulties, I must not condemn the difficulties, I must not compare one difficulty with another difficulty. I must not say `Ah! you suffer much more!' Or `I suffer less.' Suffering is suffering - you do not suffer more and I less or I more and you less. If we know suffering without comparison, we shall try to understand it. Out of that understanding, the mind becomes very simple, very clear, very innocent; and it is this innocence that is peace. The mind that has been through experience, understands the experience and does not stir it, is innocent and it knows peace.
It is rather complex for a young student to understand all this, but you should know all about this, because you will be going out of this place into a world where there is frightful competition, where everyone is out for himself, for the country, for the people, for the god. If we do not understand this process, we will be caught in it, we will be driven by society, by circumstances. It is very important while we are young to be so educated, or to educate ourselves so clearly, so simply, that we can understand the battle of life. But the difficulty is that we spend our days in things that do not really matter. Have you noticed how you spend your day as a student? Mostly in the class room, a few hours of play, go to bed exhausted, wake up and then begin again; never spend a day, an hour or even ten minutes a day, talking about these things that do really matter. Neither the educator nor those who are being educated spend any of their time going into these matters, finding out the truth of them and knowing how to improve life. That is far more important than passing an examination. Thousands and millions pass examinations all over the world, but they do not mature. Life is a process of learning all the time, understanding continuously. There is no end to understanding you cannot say `I have finished my examination, I will throw away my books, I am ready for life.' But this is what we generally do. We never pick up the book again after we pass examinations.
If I can read rightly, then the books have much to tell. But there is something far deeper than books; that is ourselves. In ourselves, if we know how to read the thing that we are, in it there is immeasurable richness. Then you do not have to read a single book. It is all there. But it requires much greater capacity than reading a book; and in reading the thing that you are, none of you are helped and so, you never spend time every day in coming to it and understanding it; you are bored with it. You are tired when the real things are mentioned. Most of us do not want to be disturbed; outwardly, we have jobs, we have occupations, we are teachers and so on; we carry on; and the beauty of life passes by.
Question: How can we progress in this world?
Krishnamurti: Does progress in this world consist mainly of becoming successful, of being somebody in the ladder of success, socially? Why do we progress in this world? Why do we become taller, bigger, why do we become more clever, more learned, why do we become more powerful or less powerful? More money, bigger house means, to us progress; that is why we all want more. We all want to keep on climbing, don't we?, not only in this world but spiritually, inwardly. You see, you are not paying attention to what I am saying; I have answered this question many times - not that I am not answering it again. We have to see the truth of this thing, that this so-called progress, outward or inward, does not bring tranquillity and peace but only leads to wars, to destruction, to greater misery. We do not understand ourselves, the ways of our existence; and so we are enamoured of this progress - the progress of the aeroplane, the very latest car, the astonishing things the inventors are producing. But these things have their own uses; but unless we change ourselves, we use these things in a manner which causes destruction and misery.
Question: In every meeting, you tell us to have a discussion with the teachers at least for ten minutes in the morning; but many of our teachers do not come to the meetings. So, what are we to do in order to have a discussion?
Krishnamurti: If most of them do not come to the meetings, ask the others who come. When you attend the class, you must have a teacher there. Why don't you ask him? Why don't you say `Please, before we start our classes, let us talk about what was said at the morning meeting.' But, I think the question is a little more difficult. Because, the teachers, when you ask them to discuss with you before the classes begin, get rather annoyed, don't they? They do not want to be questioned about these matters, because they do not quite understand. They do not want to feel that they do not understand. They are teachers, you know, they are great people and you are only the students. So, they want to keep you in your place. You, being impudent, want to catch them out. So it works both ways. Does it not?
I think it is important for the teacher as well as for the student to listen to these talks and to discuss with the students. It does not matter if the teacher does not understand. He must understand this thing, what I am talking about, is life, this is not just a fancy, a belief, a religion, a sect. This is life and if the teachers do not understand it, then naturally, they cannot help the students to understand. If the students want to discuss with them, why should they get angry or annoyed or disturbed? If they also begin to think, they also will see the problems, then they will find a way of talking about them. But you see, unfortunately, most of our teachers are not interested in all this. They have their problems, they have their jobs, they are well-established and they want you to leave them alone. The young mind, the mind of the student, wants to know, to find out, to enquire, to disturb the teacher. That is why, sirs, you, the older people, should pay attention to what ever I am talking because, in your hands, the new generation can come into being. If you are not interested in all these things, you are going to produce a generation as cursed as yours. You are really producing a curse on the land, if you will educate your children according to your own pattern, and the pattern of the older generation is nothing to be proud of. It is really important that the older people, the teachers, should question all these. After all, Rajghat is primarily a place for this kind of education.
Question: What is self-confidence and how does it come into being in man?
Krishnamurti: Sir, you dig a hole in the garden, manure it, water it and then put a plant in it and you see it grow. You say, you feel, that you can do something at least, can't you? So, you dig another hole, plant another tree and that gives you a sense that you can do things, that gives you a confidence, as when you pass an examination, one after the other. Does not that make you feel that you have confidence, the capacity to plant, to drive a car. to write a book, to be very clever, to pass examinations? The capacity to do anything gives you a sense of confidence, does it not? When you write a poem easily, often you say `By Jove! I can do it very easily.' It gives you a sense of confidence. But, what happens? That confidence becomes a way of self-importance, `I can do things.' So, when you use the capacity, you begin to have self-importance. That is, if I am able to speak well on a platform, which may be my sole capacity, I use the platform for my importance, as a means of expanding myself. I may be able to dance some silly dance and that gives me enormous importance, because I show myself off and, out of that, I have self-importance. So, I use capacity as a means of giving strength to my inward subtle forms of selfishness.
What is important is not the cultivation of the self, but to have the capacity to do things without the strengthening of the self. You understand? When you write a poem, when you plant a tree, do not say `I have written a poem, I have planted a tree.' It requires a great deal of intelligence to see that and to stop using capacity - whatever capacity, however little it may be - for self-expansion, for making oneself important. Question: As a boy grows, he becomes curious about sex; should it be, or not be? Why is it so?
Krishnamurti: It is a natural thing. Are you not curious about how trees grow? Have you not seen that the cows have calves? Everything is a curious thing - how a plant grows, how a little plant growing, becoming a tree, fructifies and produces fruits; is that not astonishing? Please listen carefully. We do not use this interest to find out in every direction. You understand? You would never enquire why a tree grows, why a bird flies. You would never see the beauty of the bird and the shades of the tree. You never dig in the garden and you never plant a tree, a bush; you never smell a flower; you never read with enjoyment, you never create anything out of your hands. Because you are not interested in all these things creatively, you become interested in one thing which you call sex; but, if you are interested in all these things, then that also is a part of your life, that also is a natural thing. That is a way of producing babies, there is nothing wrong about it; but, that should not become our occupation, our mind is not to be completely concentrated on that, as most of our minds are.
When we are young, if we have not taken interest in the flowers, in the rivers, in the fish, in creating something with our hands, then that thing, sex, becomes more important. If we can be creatively interested in everything - that is after all, education - in painting, in music, to play an instrument, to write a poem, to play games, to eat right food, to put on the right clothes, to see the sky of an evening and early morning, see the beauty of the trees, our mind taking in all that, creatively enjoying, seeing the beauty of all this, then this thing is not an ugly problem. But because we have not been encouraged to look at all those things creatively, this thing sex, becomes a nightmare. Those of you who are the elder people, please do listen. After all, that is education, to help the students to plant trees, see that they do plant trees and care for them, leave them to make things with their hands, to milk the cow, to go for walks - not always everlasting games - to look at the trees, the birds, the skies, to widen the mind creatively, extensively; that is education, not the passing some stupid and silly examinations.
Question: When we see girls, we try to show ourselves off, why is it?
Krishnamurti: I have answered that question. We want protection. We are attracted to what we call the opposite sex, the opposite person, the girl. That is a normal thing. Do listen, that is a normal thing, not to be ashamed of, not to be condemned. When you see a tree, are you not attracted by the tree? When you see that lovely bird, that king fisher, blue and marvellous in the light, are you not delighted by it? Perhaps you are not, because you never look. Last night, there was thunder, lightning, rain. You never looked, did you? You never felt the rain on your face. Did you? You see everybody running for shelter, how the roads are washed clean and how the leaves are brighter. This is also an attraction.
Unfortunately, we, girls or boys, are insensitive to everything in life except to one thing, and that becomes an enormous problem afterwards in our life, a problem with which we struggle. You have to be sensitive to everything about us, to those poor bullocks that are drawing the heavy carts day after day, how thin they are and how tired the drivers are, the poor villagers, the disease, the empty stomachs. To be aware of all these things is part of education. If you are sensitive to all these, then you will not want to show off.
Beauty is something that only sensitive minds and heart can find. But mere attraction, mere sensation, though it may be pleasurable at the beginning, does not completely satisfy one. So, there is pain in it. But if the mind can look at all the things of life, all the depths and heights and qualities of it, if the mind can be sensitive to them, then the attraction of boy and girl has its right place; but without the other, this becomes a very small petty affair.
Question: How can we create the feeling of necessity of manual work?
Krishnamurti: How can we feel that manual work is important? Sir, when you have to do things yourself, the question does not arise. The question arises when somebody else can sweep the floor instead of you. When you have your own physical work to do, day after day, you do not put that question. The villager digging, plowing, he does not say `How can I make manual labour important'? He has to do it. But we are so glad, we have not got to do manual labour. We, the upper middle class, have withdrawn from all manual labour because we have a little money, and we have the tradition of centuries that the educated men, the Brahmins, the upper class persons, have nothing to do with the squalid affair of doing manual labour. If you go to America, if you have lived there, you have to do everything, wash the floors, do the laundry, cook, wash dishes, because there are no servants. There, only the very very rich can afford servants. They are not called servants, they are called helpers and they are treated like human beings. But here, in this country, you have overpopulation. Thousands are there for one job. If you have a little money, you employ somebody to do the dirty job and you gradually withdraw from doing anything with your hands. If you see that and if you see the importance to do something with your hands, then out of that you will naturally do it. The mentality of the so-called educated people, whether they are clerks or they become ministers, is the same - mediocre, petty, small.
Those people who refuse to touch the earth, the flower, do not know what they miss. If you really went into the garden, dug and planted, saw things grow, if you milked a cow, looked after chickens, something happens to you, there is an astonishing richness in it. Those who have no touch with the earth, miss a great deal. You try and have a garden of your own, you plant a tree of your own, do it, organize it; then you will see what will happen to you inwardly. It gives you a sense of release, beauty, the love of the earth, of the little worms inside the earth. But, unfortunately, we do not know that feeling; nor do we know the feeling of sitting still and looking on something actually. We know none of these inward richness and, not knowing, we acquire superficial, transient riches.
Question: What is the sun?
Krishnamurti: Did you ask your teacher? The sun is, according to scientists, a ball of fire, a light and it gives you heat, light, strength, everything. You won't ask your teachers about it.
Question: How can one be satisfied with what one is?
Krishnamurti: The thing is very simple if you listen to what I am saying. You listen carefully. Dis- satisfaction comes when there is comparison. When you see somebody else having more and you having less, and you compare yourself with that somebody, then dissatisfaction comes; but if you do not compare, then there is no problem. But not to compare requires a great deal of interest and understanding, because all our education, all our training is based on comparison - `That boy is not so good as you', `you are not so clever as that boy' and so on. Then, you struggle and this boy struggles like you. So we keep this game of constant comparison and struggle. But if you love the thing which you are doing, you do it because you love it and not because somebody else is doing it better than you or you are doing it better than somebody else. When you have no comparison of any kind, then the thing that you are doing, that itself, begins to produce its own depths, its own heights.
Question: Why can't we see the sun?
Krishnamurti: Because it is too bright. You cannot look at electric lamp, if it is a powerful lamp. The eyes are to sensitive.
January 21, 1954
Banaras 1954, Rajghat School
Banaras, India 21st January 1954 14th Talk to Students at Rajghat School
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