Banaras 3rd Public Talk 23th January 1955
I think it would be worth while if we could go into the question of what it is to be really creative, because it seems to me that this is the major problem in the world at the present time. Merely to be gift- ed, or to have talent in any one particular direction, is obviously not creativeness. I think creativeness comes about through the capacity to see life as a totality, not in fragments, to think and feel as a completely integrated human being. It may be that this sense of completeness, in which there is no contradiction, is the experiencing of reality, God, or what you will, and I think one would understand this state if one could distinguish myth from fact.
May I suggest that you kindly do not take notes. If you take notes you are only partially listening, and I think it is much more important to experience now what we are discussing than to take notes and remember it at a future time. If we can be fully aware of and directly experience what one is talking about, it will surely have much greater significance than if we merely remember certain phrases and then try to relate them to the ordinary events of daily life.
It seems to me that what is important is to understand the everyday facts of our life, and to do this ,we must obviously distinguish them from the mythology that we create about the facts. If we could distinguish fact from myth, then perhaps the major problem of life would be solved, which is this constant effort, the struggle to become, and which is really destroying a complete understanding of what life is.
If we are at all conscious of the ways of the mind, we know that there is always a contradiction in our thinking, an effort to patch up or bridge over the gap between what is and what should be. This constant struggle to become is what we know, and if we could really understand and dissolve it, then perhaps there would be a state of integration, a life of being and not of becoming.
After all, do we understand anything through effort? To understand, surely the mind must be quiet, and it cannot be quiet when it is in a state of effort. If you look at the fact through the screen of your opinions, biases, or knowledge are torn between the fact and what you yourself think is true, this contradiction between the fact and the myth brings about a continuous effort on your part which is destructive. The fact is one thing, and the myth about the fact is another, and effort comes into being when there is this myth apart from the fact. If we can once really grasp that all such effort is destructive, and can remove the screen of the myth from between ourselves and the fact, then our minds will be given wholly to understanding the fact.
When we are confronted with a fact, we all have different opinions about the fact, different ways of looking at it, and this breeds contention, antagonism between us. Whereas, if I can look at the fact without any opinion, without the myth, then the fact itself will have its own effect without my making an effort to comply with or adjust my mind to the fact.
So, can the mind look at the fact without having an opinion, an idea, a judgment about it, without bringing in its knowledge and previous experience? Because life is one thing, and what we think life is, is another. Life is obviously impermanent, not static, it is always in movement, in flux; but we want to make that transient thing permanent, we want to make that constant movement gratifying to ourselves. So the fact is one thing, and the myth is another; and can we free the mind from the myth of what we would like the fact to be? Can we be free of all the philosophies which people who cannot look at the fact have created and which have conditioned the mind? If we can, then there is no conflict. I think that is the real crux of the whole matter. It is very interesting to watch how the mind operates, to see how difficult it is for the mind to put away the myth, the opinions, the various philosophies, and merely observe the fact; but if we can really do this, I think it will bring about a total revolution in our thinking, because it will remove the whole process of mentation which is building the myth, the self, the `me'.
After all, the `me' is totally impermanent, is it not? What is the It is a series of memories, experiences, a process of conditioned thinking apart from the fact, and it is this separation of the mind from the fact through various forms of conditioning that breeds the effort which destroys creativeness. I do not think this is an oversimplification, and if we can really grasp it we shall find that the mind then becomes merely an observer of the fact, and that the observer is not something separate from the fact.
What is the mind? It is the constant movement of thought, is it not? It is the movement of thought which is the outcome of a particular conditioning, either as a Communist, as a Christian, or what not, and the accumulated experiences based on that conditioning. All that is the mind. That mind cannot look at a fact directly because it is shaped by various forms of knowledge, by personal satisfactions, by opinions, judgments, all of which prevent it from looking directly at the fact. If one really understands this, I think it will have a tremendous sociological effect. The mind is constantly seeking some form of security, some form of permanency; but there is no permanency at all. Psychologically the mind is ambitious, acquisitive, and so it creates a society which is based on acquisitiveness, society being the collective will. The fact is that there is no permanency, but the mind is seeking it, which creates the myth away from the fact; hence there is a contradiction, and so an everlasting effort by the mind to adjust the myth to the fact, and in this conflict we are caught.
So, our problem is, can the mind be free from all forms of opinion, conclusion, judgment, hope, and look directly at the fact? And if the mind is thus free, then is there any fact except the freedom of the mind? Let us go into that a little bit.
You see, the mind is the result of time, of many yesterdays, and the thinking process is the outcome of a certain conditioning. This conditioned mind is everlastingly seeking some form of consolation, some form of permanency. That is the state of the mind of almost everybody. But the fact is that life is not permanent, life is not secure; it is a rich, timeless movement. Now, when the mind is free from its own conditioning, from its judgments, opinions, from all the things that society has imposed upon it, is the mind then different from the fact of life? Then life is the mind; then there is no separation between the fact and the mind. This is really a tremendous experience if one can do it, and such a mind, being in a state of revolution, can bring about a different culture altogether. I don't know if you see the significance of this.
You see, the mind is seeking truth, God, as something apart, and seeking implies a separation, a direction, even semantically. The mind wants God to be permanent, static, and therefore its God is self-created; but the truth of God may be entirely different, it may be something which is not the product of the mind at all. So the fact may be one thing, and that for which the mind is seeking may be another. The search may lead you, not towards the fact, but away from the fact - which means, really, that the mind must cease to search. It searches because it is seeking comfort, security, permanency, and all the rest of it, therefore it is moving in a direction totally apart from the reality which may never be still, the reality which the mind may have to discover every minute, every second. When the mind realizes that its search is the outcome of a particular conditioning, of a desire for security, permanency, and so on, then without any enforcement or compulsion there is a natural cessation of the movement of search, of going towards an end to be gained. Then is not the mind itself the movement of the fact, and not the movement of a desire or a hope about the fact? It is then really the movement of truth, of creativeness, because there is no contradiction; the mind is whole, completely integrated, there is no effort to be, to become.
This is really very important to understand. Perhaps we can discuss it.
Question: Is there anything permanent in us?
Krishnamurti: If I may say so, you have not listened to what I have been saying. The fact is that everything is impermanent, whether you like it or not; but it is not a matter of acceptance. You see, that opens up an enormous question. What is acceptance? Acceptance implies that there has been disagreement between us. What have we disagreed about? Obviously, about opinions. Opinions can be accepted or rejected. But are you `accepting' the truth that life is impermanent, or merely seeing the fact that it is impermanent, which has nothing to do with acceptance? You don't have to `accept' the depth of the sea: it is deep. Nobody has to convince you of the fact that a bullet is very dangerous. We `accept' when we have not really seen the fact. There is no question at all of accepting what I am saying. I am just describing the actual process of our thinking, which is that in everything we want a state of permanency, in the family, in property, in position. But life is not permanent. That is so obvious, it does not need acceptance. The fact is that life is impermanent. Now, can the mind put away all the philosophies, the practices, the systems of discipline which it follows, hoping thereby to arrive at a permanent state? Can the mind be free of all that and see what the fact is? And if the mind is free to see the fact, is the fact then separate from the mind? Is not the mind itself the movement of the fact?
You see, sir, the difficulty is that we don't listen to what is being said; and we don't listen to it because we are listening to the opinions, the judgments which we have and with which we are going to contradict or accept what is being said. Just to listen to what is being said is one of the most difficult things to do. Have you ever tried really listening to somebody? Experiment with it, try actually listening to somebody as you would listen to a song, or to something with which you neither agree nor disagree, and you will see how extraordinarily difficult it is, because just to listen to somebody the mind must be very quiet. To find out if what is being said is true or false, you must have a very silent mind, and not interpose between the mind and what is being said your own judgments about it.
The questioner wants to know if there is anything permanent in us. How will he find out? He can find out only through a direct experience. To say that there is or is not a permanent state merely creates contradiction, because it conditions the mind to think in a certain way. If the mind wishes to find out what is true it must be free from all previous knowledge, experience, and tradition. That is an obvious fact.
Question: In giving talks, your ideas are born of your thinking. As you say that all thinking is conditioned, are not your ideas also conditioned? Krishnamurti: Obviously, thinking is conditioned. Thinking is the response of memory, and memory is the result of previous knowledge and experience, which is conditioning. So all thinking is conditioned. And the questioner asks, `Since all thinking is conditioned, is not what you are saying also conditioned?' It is really quite an interesting question, is it not?
To speak certain words, there must be memory, obviously. To communicate, you and I must know English, Hindi, or some other language. The knowing of a language is memory. That is one thing. Now, is the mind of the speaker, myself, merely using words to communicate, or is the mind in a movement of recollection? Is there memory, not merely of words, but also of some other process, and is the mind using words to communicate that other process? Is this too complicated? It is really a very interesting problem if you actually follow it through.
You see, the lecturer has his store of information, of knowledge, and he deals it out; that is, he remembers. He has accumulated, read, gathered, he has formed certain opinions according to his conditioning, his prejudices, and he then uses language to communicate. We all know this ordinary process. Now, is that taking place here? That is what the questioner wants to know. The questioner says, in effect, `If you are merely remembering your experiences, your states, and communicating that memory, then what you say is conditioned' - which is true.
Please, this is very interesting, because it is a revelation of the process of the mind. If you observe your own mind you will see what I am talking about. Mind is the residue of memory, of experience, of knowledge, and from that residue it speaks; there is the background, and from that background it communicates. The questioner wants to know whether the speaker has that background and is therefore merely repeating, or whether he is speaking without the memory of the previous experience and is therefore experiencing as he is talking. You see, you are not all observing your own minds. Sirs, to investigate the process of thought is a delicate matter, it is like watching a living thing under a microscope. If you are not all watching your own minds, you are like outside observers watching some players in the field. But if we are all watching our own minds, then it will have tremendous significance.
If the mind is communicating through words a remembered experience, then such remembered experience is conditioned, obviously; it is not a living, moving thing. Being remembered, it is of the past. All knowledge is of the past, is it not? Knowledge can never be of the now, it is always receding into the past. Now, the questioner wants to know if the speaker is merely drawing from the well of knowledge and dealing it out. If he is, then what he communicates is conditioned, because all knowledge is of the past. Knowledge is static; you may add more to it, but it is a dead thing.
So, instead of communicating the past, is it possible to communicate experiencing, living? Do you follow? Surely, it is possible to be in a state of direct experiencing without a conditioned reaction to the experiencing, and to use words to communicate, not the past, but the living thing which is being directly experienced. I don't know if this has at all communicated to the questioner what he wanted to know.
When you say to somebody, `I love you', are you communicating a remembered experience? You have used the accustomed words, `I love you', but is the communication a thing you have remembered, or is it something real which you immediately communicate? Which means, really, can the mind cease to be the mechanism of accumulation, storing up and therefore repeating what it has learnt?
Question: Is total forgetfulness possible?
Krishnamurti: We are not talking about total forgetfulness. That is amnesia. I know the way to the station. I can recognize various people.
Question: The moment the thought process is active, it is conditioned.
Krishnamurti: But is it active apart from the use of words as a means of communicating what is true?
Question: Does one not choose expressions while communicating what is true?
Krishnamurti: But the thought process is active only in the verbal sense. After all, if I know French, Spanish, or whatever language it be, I can use it to convey what is true, and then it is just a means of communication, like the telephone, is it not? But here we must be very careful not to deceive ourselves, because self-deception is now tremendously easy if we are not very alert.
If you tell me something and your telling is the result of an experience which is over, then your description, your thought is from the past, is it not? Therefore thought is conditioned. But is there thinking when you are experiencing and communicating? If you are experiencing and communicating the state of love, is there thinking then in the sense which we have understood?
Question: I find that when the experiencing process is going on, communication totally stops.
Krishnamurti: Does it stop? When you love your son, your wife, a dog, a flower, does communication stop in that moment of experiencing? You ask me a question and I reply. There is experiencing, but communication has not stopped. This is really very complex, so please pay attention. It is not a matter of opinion, you have to find out.
All book knowledge, and the communication of that knowledge, is conditioned. That is simple, is it not? Then why are you collecting knowledge? You have to read certain books in preparing to earn a livelihood, but why do you read the Vedas, the Upanishads? Why do you accumulate knowledge about God, reincarnation, philosophies, and all that?
Question: When you are talking, who is speaking? Are you not conscious that you are speaking?
Krishnamurti: I am not at all sure that I am conscious that I am speaking. Something is being said. But we are going off at a tangent.
All accumulated knowledge, whether about machinery, jet planes, or about philosophy, is conditioned, which is obvious, and you want to know if I am speaking from knowledge. If I am speaking from knowledge, then what is communicated is conditioned; and if I am not speaking from knowledge, then you ask, `From what are you speaking?' What is happening inwardly, inside the skull? Psychologically, what is taking place? Let us go slowly into this and try to find out.
Now, is it possible not to have the burden of accumulated knowledge? If that is possible, then communication at a different level is also possible, surely. If you say that it is not possible to free the mind from all knowledge, knowledge being accumulation, then thinking and communica- tion are conditioned. But if it is possible for the mind to be free of all accumulation, which means dying each day, each minute to the previous experience, then, though the words may have a binding or conditioning quality, what is being said is not conditioned. I think that is the fact, it is not just a clever, logical conclusion.
Question: I am terrified of death. Can I be unafraid of inevitable annihilation?
Krishnamurti: Sir, why do you take it for granted that death is either annihilation or continuity? Either conclusion is the outcome of a conditioned desire, is it not? A man who is miserable, unhappy, frustrated, will Thank God, it is soon going to be all over, I won't have to worry any more'. He hopes for total annihilation. But the man who says, `I have not quite finished, I want more', will hope for continuity.
Now, why does the mind assume anything with regard to death? We shall presently go into the question of why the mind is afraid of death, but first let us free the mind of any conclusion about death, because only then can you understand what death is, obviously. If you believe in reincarnation, which is a hope, a form of continuity, then you will never understand what death is, any more than you will if you are a materialist, a Communist, this or that, and believe in total annihilation. To understand what death is, the mind must be free of both the belief in continuity and the belief in annihilation. This is not a trick answer. If you want to understand something, you must not come to it having already made up your mind. If you want to know what God is, you must not have a belief about God, you must push all that away and look. If one wants to know what death is, the mind must be free of all conclusions for or against. So, can your mind be free of conclusions? And if your mind is free of conclusions, is there fear? Surely, it is the conclusions that are making you afraid, and therefore there is the inventing of philosophies. I don't know if you are following this.
I would like to have a few more lives to finish my work, to make myself perfect, and therefore I take hope in the philosophy of reincarnation, I say, `Yes, I shall be reborn, I shall have another opportunity', and so on. So, in my desire for continuity I create a philosophy or accept a belief which becomes the system in which the mind is caught. And if I don't want to continue because life for me is too painful, then I look to a philosophy that assures me of annihilation. This is a simple, obvious fact.
Now, if the mind is free of both, then what is the state of the mind with regard to the fact which we call death? Do you understand, sirs? If the mind has no conclusions, is there death? We know that machinery wears out in use. The organism of X may last a hundred years, but it wears out. That is not what we are concerned with. But inwardly, psychologically, we want the `I' to continue; and the `I' is made up of conclusions, is it not? The mind has got a series of hopes, determinations, wishes, conclusions - `I have arrived', `I want to go on writing', `I want to find happiness' - and it wants these conclusions to continue, therefore it is afraid of their coming to an end. But if the mind has no conclusions, if it does not say, `I am somebody', `I want my name and my property to continue', `I want to fulfil myself through my son', and so on, which are all desires, conclusions, then is not the mind itself in a state of constant dying? And to such a mind, is there death? Don't agree. This is not a matter of agreement, nor is it mere logic. It is an actual experience. When your wife, your husband, your sister dies, or when you lose property, you will soon find out how you are clinging to the known. But when the mind is free of the known, then is not the mind itself the unknown? After all, what we are afraid of is leaving the known, the known being the things that we have concluded, judged, compared, accumulated. I know my wife, my house, my family, my name, I have cultivated certain thoughts, experiences, virtues, and I am afraid to let all that go. So, as long as the mind has any form of conclusion, as long as it is caught in a system, a concept, a formula, it can never know what is true. A believing mind is a conditioned mind, and whether it believes in continuity or annihilation, it can never find out what death is. And it is only now, while you are living, not when you are unconscious, dying, that you can find out the truth of that extraordinary thing called death.
January 23, 1955
Banaras 3rd Public Talk 23th January 1955
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