New York 1954
New York 6th Public Talk 30th May 1954
If I may repeat what I said the other day, these talks have very little significance if we do not directly experience what is being said; and that experience is immediate, it is not to be thought over or remembered and put into practice, because direct experience of what is true will have its own effect without the mind seeking to act upon it. That is why it is very important to listen, not only to what is being said, but to everything in life. When we hear another say something, when we read, when we hear the birds, or the sound of the restless sea, it is important to listen, because in the very act of listening there is a direct experience which is uncontaminated by any of our prejudices, our particular conditioning. It seems to me that most of us find it extremely arduous to listen because we have read so much and we justify or compare it with what we hear; or we try to remember what is being said in order to think it over. So the mind is restless and therefore not listening.
Most of us have many problems, and the solution to these problems lies, not in searching for the solution, but in listening to the actual content of the problem. We are all seeking happiness at different levels, we want permanency, security, someone to take us over to the other side, to a permanent state of bliss. We are searching for something, and that is our life, moving from one object of search to another. We are never satisfied. Consciously or unconsciously, we are always pursuing, searching, and the background of this search, if we go into the process, is really the urge to find some kind of satisfaction, some kind of permanency, happiness. We have made search as inevitable as breathing, living, and we say life has no meaning if we do not seek. So, we are everlastingly pursuing, looking for something at different levels.
As long as we are seeking we must create authority, we must follow or have a following. And it seems to me that this is one of the most crucial points: whether there is anyone - a saviour, a master, an enlightened one, it doesn't matter who it is - who can ever lead us to reality. Yet that is what each one of us is seeking, and we have accepted the search as inevitable. Without seeking, we say, life has no meaning, but we never go behind that word to find out the whole significance of this urge to seek, to find. You have been told that if you seek you will find. But your search, if you go into the process of it is the outcome of a desire to find some kind of security, some kind of hope, some kind of fulfilment, a bliss, a continuity in which there is no frustration. And as long as you are seeking, you must create authority, the authority that will take you over, that will lead you, give you comfort.
Is it not important to ask ourselves if there is anyone, any authority who can give us that truth which we think will be satisfactory? And we have never asked ourselves what is the state of the mind if all search ceases. Search implies a process of time, does it not? So, we use time as a means of understanding something which is beyond time. Search implies a continuity, and continuity means time, a series of experiences which we hope will lead us to truth; and if those experiences do not take us to that which we are seeking, then we turn to somebody else, we disregard the old and take on a new leader, a new teacher, a new saviour.
So, what I am asking is not that we should deny search, because we are caught in it, but will seeking lead to reality? - reality being the unknown, that which is not the product of the mind, which is a state of creativeness, which is totally new from moment to moment, which is timeless, eternal, or whatever other word can be used to indicate that it is out of time.
I think it is important to ask ourselves this question. You may not find the answer. But if you are really persistent with the question, "Why do I seek?" and let that question reveal the content of your search, then perhaps there may be a moment, a second when all search ceases. Because, search implies effort, does it not? Search implies choice, choice from among the various systems that will lead you, the various methods, practices, disciplines, saviours, masters, gurus. You have to choose, and your choice invariably depends on your conditioning and your gratification. Therefore, your search is really dictated by your conscious or unconscious desire.
Please follow all this - not that I am trying to guide your thinking, but I am just pointing out what it is we are doing. At the moment of rest from this constant struggle, is there not the freedom from search? And so inevitably, when one examines this process of search, the question arises, does it not? whether anyone can lead us to what we call truth, reality, God, or whatever name you like to give it?
Do you understand the problem? We are used to being led, following a saviour, a master, having someone to tell us what to do. We follow what another says because he has fasted, practised discipline, become an ascetic; we think he has arrived, found enlightenment, and so we go to him. All religions maintain that you must have someone who is enlightened, who knows the truth, and that in his presence, with the example of his way of life, you will find it. But is there anyone who can lead you to truth? To me, that whole process is destructive, it is uncreative, it will not lead to that which is timeless, because the very process of seeking implies time. We use time to understand that which is beyond time. And can the mind which for centuries, generation after generation, has been caught in this process of seeking, can that mind not seek? That is, can the search for any kind of gratification come to an end? - which doesn't mean that you should be satisfied with what is.
You see, the difficulty in this is that when we have gone far in our questioning, in our inquiry, we come to an impasse, and then we stop; but the stopping is merely a compulsion. If we could find a way out, we would pursue it. So, can you who are listening be without a guide, without seeking, and therefore understand this whole process of time?
Even though one may not understand the full significance of what is being said, I think it is very important to listen to it. Because, after all, life isn't merely a series of conflicts, it isn't just a matter of earning a livelihood, of living comfortably in a sumptuous flat and enjoying worldly things. That isn't the whole content of life. That is only part of it; and if one is satisfied with the part, then inevitably there is confusion leading to misery and destruction.
Life is a total process, is it not? It must be lived at all levels, completely, and a mind that is satisfied with any one particular level of existence is inviting sorrow. In its very structure, by its very nature, the mind is always curious, wanting to know, wanting to find out whether there is something beyond this thing that we call living, beyond our struggles, our efforts, our miseries, our passing joys, sensations. But can I know what is beyond through mere curiosity, by reading what someone has said who has had experience of something beyond? Or can the mind experience what is beyond only when it is uncontaminated, totally alone, uninfluenced, and therefore no longer seeking? If you are listening, not to what I am saying, but to the process of your own mind, doesn't this question inevitably arise - the question as to whether this struggle to find reality, to discover something beyond the transient, has any meaning? If we cannot find satisfaction in one direction, don't we turn to something else? In the Orient they are starving, therefore they turn to God. This is the process of existence in the Orient and in the Occident, it is not only limited to the Oriental people.
Can there be the cessation of all search, and therefore the freedom from all compulsion, all authority, the authority created by religions, the authority which each one creates in his search, in his demand, in his hope? We all want to find a state in which there is no disturbance of any kind, a peace which is not put together by the mind, because what is put together can be undone by the mind. And it seems to me that as long as the mind is seeking, it must create authority; and when it is completely lost in fear, in imitation, it can no longer find what is true. Yet that is what is happening throughout the world. Through the tyranny of governments and the tyranny of religions there is the conditioning of each child, each human being, to a particular form of thinking, however wide or however narrow, and this conditioning, whether here or in Russia, is obviously going to prevent any discovery of what is true. And is it possible for each one of us to find out what is true without seeking? Because search implies time, search implies gaining an end, search implies dissatisfaction, which is the motive of your search for gratification or happiness. All that implies time, the tomorrow, not only chronologically but psychologically, inwardly.
And is it possible to experience, not in terms of time but immediately, that state when the mind is no longer seeking? The immediacy is important, not how to arrive at that state when the mind is no longer seeking, because then you introduce all the factors of struggle, of time. And I think it is important, not only to listen to that question, but actually to put it to yourself and leave it, not try to find an answer to it. According to the way you put it, and the earnestness of your question, you will find the answer. For that which is measureless cannot be caught by a mind that is seeking, by a mind that is full of knowledge; it can come into being only when the mind is no longer pursuing or trying to become something. When the mind is completely, inwardly empty, not demanding anything, only then is there that instantaneous perception of what is true.
In discussing some of these questions we are not trying to solve the problem; we are together taking the journey of investigation. As long as we are limited by our own experience and knowledge, the problem can never be solved. And is it possible for the mind to look at the problem, not in terms of its own cognizance, but just to look at it, without any resistance? Surely, resistance is the problem. If there is no resistance there is no problem. But our whole life is a process of resistance; we are Christians or Hindus, communists or capitalists, and so on. We have built walls around ourselves, and it is these walls that create the problem; and then we look at the problem from within our particular wall. Don't ask, "How am I going to get out of the enclosure"? The moment you put that question you have brought in another problem, and so we multiply problem after problem. We don't see the truth simply and clearly that resistance creates problems, and leave it there. Surely, what matters is to be aware of the resistance, not how to break down the resistance. And awareness is not something extraordinary, beyond. It begins very simply: by being aware of your talk, of your reactions, just seeing, watching all that without judgment or condemnation. It is very difficult to do this, because all our conditioning for centuries is preventing awareness without choice. But be aware that you are choosing, that you are condemning, that you are comparing, just be aware of it without saying, "How am I not to compare?" Because then you introduce another problem. The important thing is to be aware that you do compare, that you are always condemning, justifying, consciously or unconsciously - just be aware of that whole process. You will say, "Is that all"? You ask that question because you hope through awareness you will get somewhere. Therefore your awareness is not awareness, but a process in which you are going to get something, which means that awareness is merely a coin which you are using. If you can simply be aware that you are using awareness as a coin to buy something, and proceed from there, then you will begin to discover the whole process of your own thinking, of your being in the relationship of existence.
Question: You have said that nationalities, beliefs, dogmas are separative. Is the family also a separative force?
Krishnamurti: As long as there is any form of identification with the family, with a national group, with a dogma, with a belief, obviously it is separative. If I identify myself with India, with its past, with its religion, with its dogmas, with its nationality, I am obviously building a wall around myself through identification with what I think is greater than myself.
Surely, the question is not whether the family or the group is separative, but why the mind identifies itself with something and thereby creates division? Why do I identify myself with India? Because if I do not identify myself with India, with America, with the Orient, or the Occident, or what you will, I am lost, I feel alone, deserted. This fear of being lonely, alone, compels me to identify myself with my family, with my property, with a house, with a belief. It is that that is bringing separation, not the family. If I do not identify myself with something, what am I? I am nobody. But if I say I am an Indian with Oriental wisdom and all that nonsense - you know the whole business of it - , then I am somebody. If I identify myself with America or with Russia, it gives me prestige, it makes me feel worth while, it gives me a sense of significance in life, because I do not want to be nobody, I do not want to be anonymous. I may bear a name, but the name must bring importance. I am unwilling to be really nobody, to have no identification of the "me" with something which I call bigger: God, truth, country, family, or ideology.
It is this process of identification that is separative, destructive. Please listen to this. This is your problem, because the world is being divided now into two dogmatic identifications which are increasing the separative force. We are human beings, not Indians, or Americans, or Russians; and is it possible to live without identifying, to be nobody in this world where everyone is struggling to be somebody? Surely it is possible. Your trying to be somebody is leading to misery, to wars, all of which implies the search for power; and when you seek power as an individual, as a group, or as a nation, you are bringing about your own destruction. This is a fact.
Can you and I remain in solitude inwardly, without seeking power, without identifying with anything - which means, really, having no fear? You will find the answer for yourself if you go into the problem.
Question: Do you deny the value and integrity of saints in all ages, including Christ and Buddha?
Krishnamurti: This raises a very interesting question. Why do you want saints? Why do you want heroes? Why do you want examples? And who is a saint? Because a church canonizes somebody, is he a saint? And what is your measure of a saint? Your measure will be according to your desires, hopes and conditionings. But, you see, the mind wants somebody to cling to, something beyond itself. You want leaders, saints, examples to follow, to imitate, because in yourself you are poor, insufficient, so you say, "If I can follow somebody, I shall be enriched". You will never be enriched, you will be made the poorer; because it is only when the mind, when your whole being is empty, not seeking, that the creativeness of reality comes into being.
You don't have to believe what I am saying. Your saints, your leaders have led you nowhere. You have only wars, misery, strife, a continuous battle within and without. But if you can see what you are, that you are inwardly poor, that you are caught in struggles, miseries, see it and not try to change it into something else, which only modifies it; if you can remain with what is without any desire to transform it, then there is transformation. But as long as the mind is trying to imitate, to adjust, to measure with its preconceived ideas who is a saint and who is not, then it is merely pursuing its own fulfilment, which is vanity.
Question: I am a young man without any religion. I do not consider any system of government as my authority. I lack ambition and I do not have a job, nor can I keep one for very long because I am not ambitious. I create misery in my home because I am financially dependent on my parents, and they are not sufficiently well off to support me. How might we look at this problem?
Krishnamurti: You are living in a society whose structure, morality and ethics, though it may say the contrary, are based on acquisitiveness, on envy. Not to fit into that society implies either that you are totally free from ambition, and are therefore not acquisitive, or that mentally there is something wrong; because to be without ambition is astonishingly difficult. I may not be ambitious in the worldly sense, but I may be seeking something else: I want to be happy, I want to fulfil myself in my children, in my activity, and so on. So, it is a very rare thing to find someone who is not ambitious, competing, striving.
But it is comparatively easy to be lazy. Please don't laugh at this, or misinterpret what you have heard to suit your particular mode of thinking. If one is not ambitious even though one lives in a world that is full of ambition, where every individual, group and nation is seeking power, position, prestige, then to find out why one is not ambitious is very important, is it not? It may be a disease; it may be a weakness of mind. Or you may have imposed upon yourself the condition that you must not be ambitious.
To understand the whole problem of ambition, of strife, and to find out what it really means to live in a competitive society without striving to be somebody, is a very difficult thing to do; because if we fail in this world, we want to succeed in the next world, we want to sit at the right hand of God. Not to seek any form of fulfilment requires great understanding, for each one of us is seeking fulfilment; and when we seek fulfilment, there is frustration. You may be aware of that frustration beforehand and therefore try to avoid all kinds of ambition, all desire to fulfil, but that only imprisons you in your own conclusion. Whereas, to understand the process of fulfilment, to go through it, to be aware that one's whole drive, urge, compulsion, is towards fulfilment, and that thereby there is frustration and sorrow, and to ask oneself if there is any such thing as fulfilment at all - surely, all that requires self-knowledge.
Question: If we could experience immortality, would there be fear of death?
Krishnamurti: Is it possible for the mind, for you, to experience something which is not mortal, which is not created by the mind, which is not of time? Obviously, if we could experience that, there would be no fear of death. But is it possible? Is it possible for a mind which is afraid, which functions within the field of time - is it possible for such a mind to experience that which is beyond time? Perhaps if you did various tricks you might experience something, but it would still be within the field of time.
So, let us leave for the moment the question of what is the immortal, because we do not know what it is. But we do know the fear of death, of old age and withering away, we are quite familiar with that; so let us take that and examine it, go into it, and not ask if we can be free of fear by experiencing immortality. Such a question has very little meaning.
We are afraid of death, which means we are afraid of coming to an end. All the things we have acquired, the experiences we have gathered, the knowledge, the relationships, the affections, the virtues we have cultivated - we are afraid of all that coming to an end. You may have a hope, a belief that there is a resurrection in the future, but fear is there, because the future is uncertain. Through your religions, your priests, your hopes have said that there is a continuity in some form or other, there is still uncertainty. You do not want to die. That is a fact. So, is there the understanding of fear in relation to death?
Is it possible to die while living? Please listen. If I am not accumulating, if I am not living in the future, in tomorrow, if I am content in the rich worship of one moment, there is no continuity. Continuity implies time: I was, I am, and I shall be. As long as I am sure that I shall be, I am not afraid; but the "shall be" is very uncertain, and so I seek immortality, a confirmation that I shall continue.
In continuity is there a transformation? Can anything that continues in time be in a state of complete revolution? Can a continuity have newness? And is it not important inwardly to die each day, not theoretically, but actually not to accumulate, not to let any experience take root, not to think of tomorrow psychologically?
As long as we think in terms of time, there must be fear of death. I have learned, but I have not found the ultimate, and before I die I must find it; or if I do not find it before I die, at least I hope I shall find it in the next life, and so on. All our thinking is based on time. Our thinking is the known, it is the outcome of the known, and the known is the process of time; and with that mind we are trying to find out what it is to be immortal, beyond time, which is a vain pursuit, it has no meaning except to philosophers, theorists and speculators. If I want to find the truth, not tomorrow, but actually, directly, must not I - the "me", the self that is always gathering, striving and giving itself a continuity through memory - cease to continue? Is it not possible to die while living - not artificially to lose one's memory, which is amnesia, but actually to cease to accumulate through memory, and thereby cease to give continuance to the "me"? Living in this world, which is of time, is it not possible for the mind to bring about, without any form of compulsion, a state in which the experiencer and the experience have no basis? As long as there is the experiencer, the observer, the thinker, there must be the fear of ending, and therefore of death. As long as I am seeking further experience, giving strength to my own continuity through the family, through property, through the nation, through ideas, through any form of identification, there must be the fear of coming to an end.
And so, if it is possible for the mind to know all this, to be fully aware of it and not merely say, "Yes, it is simple; if the mind can be aware of the total process of consciousness, see the whole significance of continuity and of time, and the futility of this search through time to find that which is beyond time - if it can be aware of all that, then there may be a death which is really a creativity totally beyond time.
May 30, 1954
New York 1954
New York 6th Public Talk 30th May 1954
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