Bombay 1st Public Talk 7th February 1954
I would like this evening to discuss the problem of change. It is really quite a complex problem and I do not know if you have thought about it. If you have, you must have seen how extraordinarily difficult it is to bring about a change in oneself. We see the necessity of change, of a certain adjustment to life, of a radical revolution in oneself at certain moments - not along any particular pattern of thought or compulsion. Observing the various complications of existence, one feels the immense desire of bringing about a revolution in oneself. You must have thought about it - at least those of you who are serious - how this change is to be brought about, how it will affect the relationship that one has with another or with society, and whether this revolution will affect society. It is really, if you go into it, a very very complex problem involving a great many issues, not only on the superficial level of our thinking, but also deeply at the unconscious level.
But before I go into it, I would like to say that, as I begin to explore the problem, you should kindly listen without resistance; then perhaps, if you are listening attentively and without any resistance, it may be possible to find yourself in that state of total revolution in yourself. After all, that is the purpose of my talking - not to convince you of any particular form of change, not to say that you must change according to a certain pattern; that is not at all change; that is merely adjustment, conformity to a particular pattern of action which is not change; that is not revolution. If you listen without any resistance, then I am sure you will be in a state of revolution in yourself, not because of any compulsion from me, but naturally. So I would suggest, if I may, that you should listen without resistance. Most of us do not listen at all. We listen with an intention, with a motive, with a purpose which indicates an effort. Through effort one never understands anything.
Please see the importance of this. If you have to understand something you must listen without effort, without compulsion, without any form of resistance, bias, opinion or judgment. This is quite a difficult thing in itself and we do not know how to listen. The problem is not how to bring about a change. If one can listen rightly without any form of resistance, the change will come about without a conscious act. I do not think a radical change can come about through any conscious action, through any motivation, through any form of compulsion, through any motive.
I will go on to explain how this change comes into being without motivation. But to understand that, one must have an attentive attitude of listening, without any barrier, without any restriction, without any resistance. The moment you hear the word `revolt', `change', or `revolution', that word has a definite meaning to you, either according to the dictionary, or according to the Communists, or according to the Socialists, or, if you are a religious person, according to your own particular pattern of thought. These patterns of thought are constantly interfering with what you are listening to. So the difficulty is going to be, not the understanding of the problem itself but how we approach the problem, how we listen to the problem. This is really very important to understand before we can go into any problem.
To bring about understanding requires no resistance to what you hear, but the following of the current of thought that one is listening to. One cannot follow if one is merely resisting, translating, putting against it barriers of one's own ideas. If we can listen without resistance, we can think out together then, together we will find the mind in a state of change, which comes into being without any form of persuasion, reason, or logical conclusion.
I think that, for most of us who are aware of world events and the things that are happening in this country, some kind of revolution is necessary; some kind of a change of attitude, of thought, a revolution in one's sense of values is essential. It is obvious that there must be a change to bring about peace, to have sufficient food for all the world, to bring about human understanding. To cultivate the total development of man, some kind of a vital, total change is necessary. Now, how is this change to be brought about and what does this change imply? Is there change when the mind, thought, is merely conforming to the pattern of a particular culture - the Indian, the Christian, the Buddhist - or to the Communist pattern of thought and action? Can conformity at any level of our existence bring about change? Obviously, if one conforms to a pattern, either imposed or developed by oneself, it is no longer change; because the pattern, the end, is the result of our conditioning. If I, as a Hindu or a Communist or a Christian, change according to the plan on which I have been brought up, according to an idea, according to a particular mode of thinking, surely that is not change because I am merely conforming to a conditioned reaction. And when I change myself according to the pattern of a fear, of a defence, of a tradition, obviously that is not change; that is not revolution, that is not a radical revolt from "what is".
So, in enquiring into the question of change, must I not enquire how my mind functions? Must I not be aware of the total process of my thought? Because, if there is any form of fear and that fear makes me change, it is not change; the fear projects at pattern and according to that pattern I change; it is merely conformity to a particular pattern projected by fear. If I wish to bring about change, must I not enquire into the many many layers of my being, both of the conscious as well as of the unconscious? must I not enquire into the superficial reactions of my thoughts and motives, the deep underlying currents from which all thought, all action, springs? If I wish to change, can I have a pattern according to which I change? Though I repeat this, please pay attention to what I am saying; otherwise, you will miss what is coming.
I see the necessity of change in myself and in society. Society is my relationship with another, and in that relationship, which I call society there must be change, there must be total uprooting and complete revolution of thought. As I see the importance of it, my question is: How is this to be done? Is it a matter of intellectual reasoning, having a knowledge of history and translating that history, or having information of various social affairs, reformations? Will all this knowledge bring about revolution, the total change of me, in my thinking, in my attitude, in my activities, in my thoughts? So must I not enquire if I am serious about this matter of change? Must I not enquire into my motivation for change, the urge to change? Does the urge to change bring about a radical change? The urge may be merely a reaction to my conditioning, to my background, to the various social, economic, or cultural impressions. Can change be brought about through any form of compulsion?
Or is there a change which is not of time? Let me put it this way: We know change in terms of time, being the compulsion of various forms of society, of culture, of relationship, of fears, of the desire to gain or to avoid punishment. These are all in the field of time, are they not? They are functions, they are the results, they are the activities of a mind which is the product of time. After all, the mind is the result of time - chronological time, centuries of cultivation of tradition, of education, of compulsion, of fear. So the mind is of time. Can the mind which is the result of time bring about a total revolution which is not of time? If we change within the field of time - which is, if I change because my society demands it, or because I see the necessity through any form of compulsion, or because I gain something, or because of fear, which are all surely the result of the calculation of a mind that is thinking in terms of time, today and tomorrow - there cannot be a total revolution; that is fairly obvious, is it not? When the mind thinks in terms of time, in relationship to change, is there change? Or is there merely a continuity, an adjustment to a particular pattern, and therefore no change at all?
So, the problem is: Is there change, is there revolution which is out of time? And is that not the only revolution, which is not the product of the mind, of thought? After all, thought is the reaction of memory, memory being experience, knowledge, the storing up of innumerable reactions, of experiences; that is the mind - with that background the mind reacts and that reaction is thought. So thought is of time. So as long as I am changing in time - that is, according to any pattern, Communist, Socialist, Capitalist, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist or what you will - it is still within the field of time. When change is according to a pattern, however expansive that pattern may be, it is still within time and therefore there is really no change, no revolution. Please listen to this, and understand. Do not reject it, do not say `It is all nonsense, it does not lead us anywhere', but just listen to it though you may not be used to the idea. Perhaps it is the first time you are hearing this. Do not reject it; because, if you will really go into it, you will see the extraordinary thing in it.
Change comes into being when there is no fear, when there is neither the experiencer nor the experience; it is only then that there is the revolution which is beyond time. But that cannot be as long as I am trying to change the "I", as long as I am trying to change "what is" into something else. I am the result of all the social and the spiritual compulsions, persuasions, and all the conditioning based on acquisitiveness; my thinking is based on that. To be free from that conditioning, from that acquisitiveness, I say to myself: `I must not be acquisitive; I must practise non-acquisitiveness.' But such action is still within the field of time, it is still the activity of the mind. Just see that. Don't say "How am I to get to that state when I am non-acquisitive?" That is not important. It is not important to be non-acquisitive. What is important is to understand that the mind which is trying to get away from one state to another is still functioning within the field of time, and therefore there is no revolution, there is no change. If you can really understand this, then the seed of that radical revolution has already been planted and that will operate; you have not a thing to do.
There is difficulty in the way of that seed of real timeless revolution operating because we are not listening, because we are opposing, because we are only concerned with immediate results. We see we need to change, but immediately we want to know how to change, what is the method; that is all what we are concerned with. The method implies continuity of the activity of the mind, and it can only produce an action which is still according to a pattern and therefore of time and producing suffering.
Can there be an action which is not of time, which is not of the mind, which is not conditioned by thought which is merely the experience of knowledge? These are all of time. Therefore such activity can never produce a revolution, a total revolution in the human development of ourselves. So the problem is: Is there a revolution, is there a change which is not in the field of time? Can there be a change without the mind interfering? I see the importance of change. Everything changes, every relationship changes, every day is a new day. If I can understand the new day, if I am dead to the old yesterday completely, to all the things I have learnt, acquired, experienced, understood, then there is a revolution in that which is coming, there is change. But dying to yesterday is not an activity of the mind. Mind cannot die by a determination, by evolution, by an act of will. If the mind sees the truth of the statement, that, through an action of will or by a determined conclusion or through a compulsion, the mind cannot bring about a change, and that what is then brought about is only a continuity, only a modified result, but not a radical revolution, and if the mind is silent only for a few seconds to hear the truth of that statement, then you will find an extraordinary thing happening in spite of yourself, in spite of the mind; then, there is transformation inwardly without the interference of the mind, the mind being that thought which is conditioned. That is an extraordinary state of the mind when there is no experiencer, no experience. From that, there is a total revolution. That total revolution is the only thing that will bring peace in the world. All national adjustments, all economic reformations of one group dominating another and liquidating all other groups, will fail; they all will bring greater miseries, wars. What will bring peace, understanding, love in the world, is not reason - reason being based on a conditioned reaction - but only the mind which understands itself totally and is capable of being in that state which is everlastingly, timelessly new. That is not an impossibility, it is nothing idealistic or dreamy or mystic. If you can pursue the thing truly, you will find that it is there, you can experience it directly; but that requires a great deal of meditation and hard research and understanding.
So, what is important is the understanding of the mind, and not how to bring about the change in oneself and so a change in the world. The very process of understanding the problem of change brings about a change in spite of yourself. That is why it is very important to listen to these talks, not to be persuaded by what I say out simply to listen to the truth of what is being said. It is the truth that brings revolution, not the cunning mind, not the calculating mind. Because, truth is not of time, not of India, Europe, Russia, or America; it does not belong to any group, to any religion, to any Guru, to any follower. If there is a guru, if there is a follower, if there is a nationality, truth will not be there. Truth comes into being only when the mind has understood and is still, when only that reality can come into being.
There are several questions. I think, before I answer them, it is important to find out whether you are listening with a view to getting an answer, or whether you are listening entirely to the problem. These are two different states. It is easy to ask questions like a schoolboy who pops up a question hoping, waiting, listening for an answer, and thinking that the answer is going to solve all his problems, and that all that he has to do is just to follow the answer or to refute the answer and discuss like a cunning debating student. It remains at that level only when we are looking for an answer, listening for an answer. But when we are concerned with the problem and not with the answer, then the whole attitude is entirely different. The one comes from an immature schoolboy, it is the result of thoughtless education. The other requires mature enquiry.
So it depends upon you how you are listening, whether with an attitude of trying to find an answer, and if there is no answer, being disappointed and saying `He never answers questions'. I do not intend to give an answer because life has no answer, `yes' or `no'. Life is much too immense, much too vast; everything goes into it like into the Sea. It is like a big river that flows all the way into the Sea, carrying with it the good, the bad, the evil, the beautiful, the ugly. The whole of that is the Ocean, not just the superficial activities, the ripples. To enquire into a problem with no resistance, with no barriers, with no prejudices is very difficult. We have to enquire into the problem to really understand the deeper issues of the problem. So there are only problems and no answers. I think that if we can really understand, if we can really feel it out that life is a problem that it is not a thing to be concluded, that it is not a refuge where you are everlastingly safe, then our whole attitude, activities, thoughts will be entirely different. Then, we shall receive everything and at the same time be as nothing.
Question: In India today one meets absence of beauty and destruction of form on all fronts - political, social, psychological and cultural. How do you account for this, and in what manner can this total social disintegration be met?
Krishnamurti: Why is there disintegration, not only in this unfortunate, overcrowded, miserable, starving land, but also all over the world? Why is there such disintegration? Don't find an answer, wait. Don't give immediate reasons, because your reasons will be according to your background, according to your conditioning - Communist, Hindu Capitalist, Christian or what you will. Please listen. When you are asked a question: `Why is there disintegration?', your response is according to your background, according to your knowledge, according to your experience, is it not? That very reaction is the cause of disintegration. We will go step by step into it, and you will see the truth of it. Why is there disintegration? Why does the mind become small, petty? Why are we only concerned with our little selves? Why do we identify ourselves with a bigger self - which is still petty? Because I am petty, I identify myself with something which is greater; but my mind is still petty. I may identify myself with God, Truth, or Nation; but my mind is still petty. However much the mind may identify itself with something greater, the very identifying process is still petty.
Sirs, why are we caught in this pettiness, in this deterioration? Are you aware that your mind is deteriorating? Or do you say `My mind is not deteriorating it is functioning beautifully without any effort like a perfect machine, without any resistance, without any fear, without thinking of tomorrow'? Obviously, only very very few of us can say that. If you can understand why the mind deteriorates, then you can understand why culture, social values, the various forms of expressive beauty are all disintegrating.
Why is the mind deteriorating? That is the problem, not `Why is there disintegration in India on all fronts'? Why is your mind disintegrating? If one or two of us can really understand this, one or two of us can change the world. Because most of us are not interested in this, we are not able to bring about a complete revolution. So it is only the few that can really understand that will bring about a tremendous revolution in the world.
Why is your mind deteriorating? You say that, culturally, we are disintegrating. What is culture? Is it merely an expression, the imitation of a form conceived by the human mind? At present, in India, the mind is completely held, tethered, bound, by so-called culture, by tradition, by fear, by a lack of joy, by the fear of not having a future, by lack of security, or by the lack of a job. Is that the reason why the mind, being so completely conditioned, so completely held, has no initiative, no creative impulse? Is it because the mind is imitative, conforming, copying, that it is disintegrating and therefore not intensely active, creative?
How can a mind be creative when there is fear? So is that not the problem: Is it possible for the mind, your mind, the average mind, the mind that is troubled, the mind that is caught in family ties, caught in joy, in the routine of an office with an ugly boss, the mind that is caught in tradition, in richness, can such a mind be creative? If the mind can free itself from its conditioning, it is obviously creative. If the mind sees the truth that every form of imitation is destructive to itself, then obviously it will put all imitation aside. But we do not see the truth of that. Therefore the slow process of disintegration goes on and on and on.
Can a mind be free from fear? That is the central issue because fear is disintegration. When you frighten a boy, he complies; but in the very imitation, in the very compulsion, you are destroying the mind. Can the mind be free from fear? Fear is not in just one particular form - the fear of being punished, the fear of losing a job, of being a loser. But the mind has fear in all its relationship. Can the mind be free from fear, wherever it be, in the office or in the family, wherever it functions? Don't say `No'. If I know I am afraid in my relationships in various directions, the very knowledge, the very awareness that there is fear, will bring about a transformation. But that transformation is not possible if you want to change that fear into something else, say love; because, then love is another form of fear. Please see this, Sirs. If I am aware that I am frightened of you and if I have no wish to change that fear into something else, if I just know that I am afraid of you and I remain in that state, then fear begins to transform itself into something totally different from that which the mind wants.
Sirs, let us put the problem in another way. The problem exists because of resistance, and if there is no resistance there is no problem. But to understand resistance requires astounding insight, not mere determination, not an action of will which says `I am not going to have any resistance'. The very statement `I am not going to have any resistance' is another form of resistance. But if you understand the depth, the quality, the various forms of resistance within the mind - which are extraordinarily difficult to uncover - then you will find that the problem of fear does not come into being. Therefore the mind is dying every day, it is not accumulating. And this dying to the day, means dying to knowledge, dying to experience, dying to all the things that one has accumulated, one has valued, cherished. Then only is there a possibility of a new mind, of a creative mind coming into being.
As long as you are a Hindu, a Communist, Buddhist or what you will, you cannot have a new mind. As long as your mind is caught in fear and therefore is doing a particular routine or ritual, it is not a new mind. As long as you are doing your Puja, your various forms of compulsion, which are the projections of fear, the mind cannot be a new mind. By just listening to this and saying `I must have a new mind', you cannot have a new mind. A new mind cannot come into being by desire, by compulsion. It comes only by itself when the mind has understood the whole capacity, activities, the depth of itself.
It is important to understand the truth of change. Mind cannot put away fear, because mind itself is fear, and that is all you know of the mind - fear of what people will say, fear of death, fear of losing, fear of being punished, fear of not gaining, fear of not fulfilling. So the mind, as your mind is now, is itself fear. And when such a mind wishes to change, it is still within the field of fear; that is an obvious psychological fact. So the mind invents a superior Self, the Atman that is going to alter; but it is still within the field of fear, because it is the invention of the mind. It does not matter what Buddha, Sankara, or anyone else has said. It is still within the field of thought and when the mind wishes to change within the field of thought, within the field of time, it is not change, it is still a form of the continuance of fear.
A man who is pursuing an ideal can never know a new mind, and that is the curse on this land. We are all idealists wanting to conform to nonviolence, to this, or to that. We are all imitators. That is why we have never a fresh mind, a mind which is completely, totally new, which is yours, not Sankara's, not of Marx, not of somebody else. That total newness, that complete state of mind, can only come into being when there is no experiencer and no experience; that state is there only when you can die totally to each day, to everything that you have gathered psychologically. Then only is there a possibility of a complete regeneration. That is not an impossibility, that is not a rhetoric statement. It is possible if you think it out, go into it deeply; that is why it is important to know, to listen to what is truth. But you cannot listen to what is truth when your mind is not silent. If your mind is continually asking, demanding, begging, wanting this or that, putting this away and gathering that, such a mind is not a quiet mind.
Just be quiet, be still. Look at the trees, the birds, the sky, the beauty, the rich qualities of human existence. Just watch silently and be aware. Into that silence comes that something which is not measurable, which is not of time.
February, 7, 1954.
Bombay 1st Public Talk 7th February 1954
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