Bombay 2nd Public Talk 10th February 1957
I think most of us are easily satisfied with explanations, and we do not seem able to go beyond mere words and directly experience something original for ourselves. We are always repeating like gramophone records, merely following some authority who promises a certain result.
Now, it seems to me that religion is something entirely different. It is not this worship of words, nor is it the projection of symbols and the experiencing of those symbols. Religion is the experiencing of that which lies beyond the measure of the mind; but to experience that state, to realize the immensity of it, one really has to understand the process of one's own thinking. Most of us are indifferent to the impressions, to the pressures, to the vitality of existence; we are easily satisfied, and some of us dare not even look at the problems about us and within ourselves.
So I think it would be worth while if we could, this evening, look at our problems, not theoretically or abstractly, but actually, and see what our problems really are. Not that we are going to resolve the problem of war, or put an end to the butchery that is going on in Hungary, and so on; but we are easily led away by the very enormity of these issues, and there is not that clarity of thinking which can come into being only when we begin with ourselves, not with somebody or something else. The world problem is our problem, because we are the world. What we think does affect the world; what we do does affect society. The individual problem is directly related to the world problem, and I do not think we are giving sufficient importance to the power of individual thinking and action. Historically I am sure you will find that it is always individuals who produce the great movements that are brought about. So we have to look first and foremost at our own problems, because they are directly related to world problems; and if you and I can spend the whole of this hour in doing that, then perhaps we shall come out of it with a different outlook, a fresh impulse, an explosive vitality.
Now, what is our basic problem? As students, or businessmen, as politicians, engineers, or so-called seekers of the truth, whatever that may be, what fundamentally is our problem?
First of all, it seems to me that the world is rapidly changing, and that the Western civilization, with its mechanization, its industrialization, its scientific discoveries, its tyranny, parliamentarianism, capital investment, and so on, has left a tremendous imprint on our minds. And we have created through the centuries a society of which we are a part and which says that we must be moral, righteous, virtuous, that we must conduct ourselves in accordance with a certain pattern of thought which promises the eventual achievement of reality, God, or truth.
So there is a contradiction in us, is there not? We live in this world of greed, envy and sexual appetites, of emotional pressures, mechanization, and conformity, with the government efficiently controlling our various demands, and at the same time we want to find something greater than mere physical satisfaction. There is an urge to find reality, God, as well as to live in this world. We want to bring that reality into this world. We say that to live in this world we have to earn money, that society demands that we be acquisitive, envious, competitive, ambitious; and yet, living in this world, we want to bring the other thing into being. We may have all our physical needs provided, the government may bring about a state in which we have a great measure of outward security; but inwardly we are starving. So we want the state which we call religion, this reality which brings a new impulse, an explosive vitality to action.
Surely, that is my problem, that is your problem. How are we to live in this world, where living implies competition, acquisitiveness, ambition, the aggressive pursuit of our own fulfilment, and also bring into being the perfume of something which is beyond? Is such a thing possible? Can we live in this world and yet have the other? This world is becoming more and more mechanized; the thoughts and actions of the individual are increasingly controlled by the State. The individual is being specialized, educated in a certain pattern to follow a daily routine. There is compulsion in every direction; and living in such a world, can we bring into being that which is neither outward nor inward, but which has a movement of its own and requires a mind that is astonishingly swift, a mind that is capable of intense feeling, intense inquiry? Is that possible? Unless we are neurotic, unless we are mentally peculiar, surely that is our problem.
Now, any intelligent man can see that going to temples, doing puja, and all the other nonsense that goes on in the name of religion, is not religion at all; it is merely a social convenience, a pattern which we have been taught to follow. Man is educated to conform to a pattern, not to doubt, not to inquire; and our problem is how to live in this world of envy, greed, conformity and the pursuit of personal ambition, and at the same time to experience that which is beyond the mind, call it God, truth, or what you will. I am not talking about the God of the temples, of the books, of the gurus, but of something far more intense, vital, immense, something which is immeasurable.
So, living in this world with all these problems, how am I to capture the other? Is that possible? Obviously not. I cannot be envious and yet find out what God or truth is; the two are contradictory, incompatible. But that is what most of us are trying to do. We are envious, we are carried along by the old momentum, and at the same time we dream of finding out whether there is God, whether there is love, truth, beauty, a timeless state. If you observe your own thinking, if you are at all aware of the operation of your own mind, you will see that you want to have one foot in this world and one foot in that other world, whatever it may be. But the two are incompatible, they cannot be mixed. Then what is one to do?
Do you understand, sirs? I realize that I cannot mix reality with something which has no reality. How can a mind that is agitated by envy, that is living in the field of ambition, greed, understand something which is completely still, and which has a movement of its own in that stillness? As an intelligent human being I see the impossibility of such a thing. I also see that my problem is not to find God, because I do not know what that means. I may have read innumerable books on the subject, but such books are merely explanations, words, theories which have no actuality for a person who has not experienced that which is beyond the mind. And the interpreter is always a traitor, it does not matter who that interpreter is.
My problem, then, is not to find truth, God, because my mind is incapable of it. How can a stupid, petty mind find the immeasurable? Such a mind can talk about the immeasurable, write books about it, it can fashion a symbol of truth and garland the symbol, but that is all on the verbal level. So, being intelligent and aware of this fact, I say, "I must begin with what I actually am, not with what I should be. I am envious, that is all I know".
Now, is it possible for me, while living in this society, to be free of envy? To say it is or is not possible is an assumption, and therefore has no value. To find out if one can do it requires intensity of inquiry. Most of you will say it is impossible to live in this world without envy, without greed. Our whole social structure, our code of morality is based on envy, so you assume it is not possible and that is the end of it. Whereas, a man who says, "I don't know if there is a reality or not, but I want to find out; and to find out my mind must obviously be free of envy, not just in patches, but totally, because envy is a movement of agitation" - it is only such a man who is capable of real inquiry. We shall go into that presently.
So my problem is not to inquire into reality, but to find out whether, living in this world, I can be free of envy. Envy is not mere jealousy, though jealousy is part of it, nor is it merely being concerned because someone else has more than I. Envy is the state of a mind which is demanding more and more all the time: more power, more position, more money, more experience, more knowledge. And demanding the `more' is the activity of a mind which is self-centred.
Now, can I live in this world and be free of self-centred activity? Can I cease to compare myself with somebody else? Being ugly, I want to be beautiful; being violent, I want to be non-violent. Wanting to be different, to be `more', is the beginning of envy - which does not mean that I blindly accept what I am. But this desire to be different is always in relation to something which is comparatively greater, more beautiful, more this or more that, and we are educated to compare in this way. It is our daily craving to compete, to surpass, and we are satisfied with being envious, not only consciously but also unconsciously.
You feel that you must become some body in this world, a great man or a rich man, and if you are fortunate you say it is because you have done good in the past - all that nonsense about karma, and so on. Inwardly also you want to become somebody, a saint, a virtuous man; and if you observe this whole movement of becoming, this pursuit of the `more', both outwardly and inwardly, you will see that it is essentially based on envy. In this movement of envy your mind is held; and with such a mind, can you discover the real? Or is that an impossibility? Surely, to discover the real, your mind must be completely free of envy; there can be no demand for the `more', either openly or in the hidden recesses of the unconscious. And if you have ever observed it, you will know that your mind is always pursuing the `more'. You had a certain experience yesterday, and you want more of it today; or being violent, you want to be non-violent, and so on. These are all the activities of a mind which is concerned with itself.
Now, is it possible for the mind to be free from this whole process? That is my inquiry, not whether there is or there is not God. For an envious mind to seek God is such a waste of time; it has no meaning except theoretically, intellectually, as an amusement. If I really want to find out whether there is God or not, I must begin with myself, that is, the mind must lie totally free from envy; and I can assure you, that is an enormous task. It is not just a matter of playing with words.
But you see, most of us are not concerned with that, we do not say, "I will free my mind from envy". We are concerned with the world, with what is happening in Europe, with the mechanization of industry - anything to get away from the central point, which is that I cannot help to bring about a different world till I as an individual have changed fundamentally. To see that one must begin with oneself is to realize an enormous truth; but most of us overlook it, we easily brush it aside, because we are concerned with the collective, with changing the social order, with trying to bring about peace and harmony in the world.
Few people are concerned with themselves except in the sense of achieving success. I do not mean that kind of concern. I mean being concerned with the transformation of oneself. But first of all, most of us do not see the importance, the truth of change; and secondly, we do not know how to change, how to bring about this astonishing, explosive transformation within ourselves. Changing in mediocrity, which is to change from one pattern to another, is no change at all.
This explosive transformation is the result of all one's energy coming together to solve the fundamental problem of envy. I am taking that as the central issue, though there are many other things involved in it. Have I the capacity, the intensity, the intelligence, the swiftness to pursue the ways of envy, and not just say, "I must not be envious"? We have been saying that for centuries, and it has no meaning. We have also said, "I must follow the ideal of non-envy", which is equally absurd, because we project the ideal of non-envy and are envious in the meantime.
Please observe this process. The fact is that you are envious, while the ideal is the state of non-envy, and there is a gap between the two that has to be filled through time. You say, "Eventually I shall be free of envy" - which is an impossibility, because it has to happen now or never. You cannot set some future date on which you will be non-envious.
So, is it possible for me to have the capacity to inquire into and be totally free from envy? How does that capacity arise? Does it arise through any method or practice? Do I become an artist by practising a particular technique day after day? Obviously not. So please do listen to this for two minutes, not with the desire to have something, but to find out how the capacity in question comes into being. Do you understand, sirs? The desire to have that capacity is a selfish movement of the mind; whereas, if I do not try to cultivate it, but begin to inquire into the whole process of envy, then the means of totally dissolving envy is already there.
Now, in what manner do I inquire into the process of envy? What is the motive behind that inquiry? Do I want to be free of envy in order to be a great man, in order to be like Buddha, Christ, and so on? If I inquire with that intention, with that motive, such inquiry projects its own answer, all of which will only perpetuate the monstrous world which we have now. But if I begin to inquire with humility, that is, not with a desire to achieve success, then an entirely different process is taking place. I realize that I have not got the capacity to be free of envy, so I say, "I shall find out" - which means that there is humility from the very beginning. And the moment one is humble, one has the capacity to be free of envy. But the man who says, "I must have that capacity, and I am going to get it through these methods, through this system" - such a man is lost, and it is such people who have created this ugly, treacherous world.
A mind that is really humble has an immense capacity for inquiry, whereas the mind that is under the burden of knowledge, that is crippled with experience, with its own conditioning, can never really inquire. A humble mind says, "I do not know, I shall find out" - which means that finding out is never a process of accumulation. Not to accumulate, you must die every day, and then you will find, because you are fundamentally, deeply humble, that this capacity to inquire comes of itself; it is not a thing that you have acquired. Humility cannot be practised, but because there is humility, your mind has the capacity to inquire into envy; and such a mind is no longer envious.
Do you understand, sirs? A mind which says, "I do not know", and which does not want to become something, has totally ceased to be envious. Then you will find that righteousness has quite a different meaning. Righteousness is not respectability, it is not conformity, it has nothing to do with social morality, which is mere convenience, a manner of living made respectable through centuries of compulsion, conformity, pressure and fear. A mind that is really humble, in the sense I have explained, will create its own righteousness, which is not the righteousness of a pattern. It is the righteousness of living from humility and discovering from moment to moment what is truth.
So your problem is not the world of newspapers, ideas and politicians, it is the world within yourself - but you have to realize, to feel the truth of this, and not merely agree because the Gita or some bearded gentleman says it is so. If you are aware of that inner world and are watching yourself without condemnation or justification from day to day, from moment to moment, then in that awareness you will find there is a tremendous vitality. The mind that is accumulating is frightened to die, and such a mind can never discover what is truth. But to a mind that is dying every minute to everything that it has experienced, there comes an astonishing vitality, because every moment is new; and only then is the mind capable of discovery.
Sirs, it is good to be serious, and we are very rarely serious in our life. I do not mean just listening to somebody who is serious, or being serious about something, but having the feeling of seriousness in ourselves. We know very well what it is to be gay, flippant, but very few of us know the feeling of being deeply serious without an object to make us serious - that state in which the mind approaches every situation, however gay, happy, or exciting, with serious intent. So it is good to spend an hour together in this way, being serious in our inquiry, because life for most of us is very superficial, a routine relationship of work, sex, worship, and so on. The mind is always on the surface, and to go below the surface seems to be an enormously difficult task. What is necessary is this state of explosiveness, which is real revolution in the religious sense, because it is only when the mind is explosive that it is capable of discovering or creating something original, new.
Question: I have done something wrong and sinful, and it has left me with a terrible feeling of guilt. How am I to get over this feeling?
Krishnamurti: Sir, what do you mean by sin? The Christians have a concept of sin which you have not, but you do feel guilty when you have more money, when you have a bigger house than somebody else - at least you should. (Laughter). When you are riding in a comfortable car and you see a queue of people one mile long waiting to catch a bus, it does something to you - either you have what is called a feeling of guilt, or you want to transform something radically, not in the stupid economic sense, but in the religious sense, so that these things cannot happen in the world. Or you may feel guilty because you realize that you have a certain capacity, an insight which others have not. But strangely we never feel guilty about such things, we feel guilty only about worldly things - having more money, a better social position, and so on.
Now, what is this sense of guilt, and when are you aware of it? Is it a form of pity? Most of us are occupied with ourselves in different ways from morning till night, and consciously or unconsciously we move along in that stream. When there is a sudden challenge, that movement of self-occupation is disturbed, and then we feel guilty, we feel that we are doing something wrong, or that we have not done something right ; but that feeling is still within the stream of self-centred activity, is it not? I do not know if you are all following this.
Why should you feel guilty? If you are living intensely with your whole being, if you are fully aware of everything about you and within yourself, the unconscious as well as the conscious, where is there room for guilt? It is the man who lives in fragments, who is divided within himself, that feels guilty. One part of him is good, the other part corrupt; one part is trying to be noble, and the other is ignoble; one part is ambitious, ruthless, and the other part talks about peace, love. Such people feel guilty because they are still within the pattern of their own making. As long as there is self-centred activity, you cannot get over the feeling of guilt, it is impossible. That feeling disappears, only when you approach life totally, with your whole being, that is, when there is no self-fulfilment of any kind. Then you will find that the sense of guilt does not exist at all, because you are not thinking about yourself. There is no self-centred activity.
Sirs, if you are listening and are not acting, it is like a man who is always tilling and never sowing. It is better not to listen to a truth than to listen without acting, for then it becomes a poison. Whether you approve or disapprove of the details of what is said here, is irrelevant; what matters is to see the truth that as long as you function within the field of self-centred activity you are bound to have various kinds of sorrow and frustration. Sorrow and frustration cease only when you are living totally, with the intensity of your whole being, of your mind, heart and body; and you cannot live with that completeness, with that intensity, if you are concerned about your own virtue. You may be free from the feeling of guilt today, but it will arise in another form tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow.
Just try this, sirs, try a little bit to live intensely every day, with all your mind, heart and body, with all your capacity, feeling, energy. Desire is contradictory in itself; but if you love intensely with your body, mind and heart, with everything that you have, then you will find there is no contradiction, there is no sin. It is desire, envy, ambition, that creates contradiction, and the mind caught in contradiction can never find that which is real. Question: How can I be sensitive when I am tortured by desire?
Krishnamurti: Why are we tortured by desire? Why have we made desire into a torturous thing? There is desire for power, desire for position, desire for fame, sexual desire, the desire to have money, to have a car, and so on. What do you mean by that word `desire'? And why is it wrong? Why do we say we must suppress or sublimate desire, do something about it? We are trying to find out, Don't just listen to me, but go into it with me and find out for yourself.
What is wrong with desire? You have suppressed it, have you not? Most of you have suppressed desire, for various reasons: because it is not convenient, not satisfactory, or because you think it is not moral, or because the religious books say that to find God you must be without desire, and so on. Tradition says you must suppress, control, dominate desire, so you spend your time and energy in disciplining yourself.
Now, let us first see what happens to a mind that is always controlling itself, suppressing, sublimating desire. Such a mind, being occupied with itself, becomes insensitive. Though it may talk about sensitivity, goodness, though it may say that we must be brotherly, we must produce a marvellous world, and all the rest of the nonsense that people talk who suppress desire, such a mind is insensitive because it does not understand that which it has suppressed. Whether you suppress or yield to desire, it is essentially the same, because the desire is still there. You may suppress the desire for a woman, for a car, for position; but the very urge not to have these things, which makes you suppress the desire for them, is itself a form of desire. So, being caught in desire, you have to understand it, and not say it is right or wrong.
Now, what is desire? When I see a tree swaying in the wind, it is a lovely thing to watch; and what is wrong with that? What is wrong in watching the beautiful motion of a bird on the wing? What is wrong in looking at a new car, marvellously built and highly polished? And what is wrong in seeing a nice person with a symmetrical face, a face that shows good sense, intelligence, quality?
But desire does not stop there. Your perception is not just perception, but with it comes sensation. With the arising of sensation you want to touch, to contact, and then comes the urge to possess. You say, "This is beautiful, I must have it", and so begins the turmoil of desire.
Now, is it possible to see, to observe, to be aware of the beautiful and the ugly things of life, and not say "I must have" or "I must not have"? Have you ever just observed anything? Do you understand, sirs? Have you ever observed your wife, your children, your friends, just looked at them? Have you ever looked at a flower without calling it a rose, without wanting to put it in your buttonhole, or take it home and give it to somebody? If you are capable of so observing, without all the values attributed by the mind, then you will find that desire is not such a monstrous thing. You can look at a car, see the beauty of it, and not be caught in the turmoil or contradiction of desire. But that requires an immense intensity of observation, not just a casual glance. It is not that you have no desire, but simply that the mind is capable of looking without describing. It can look at the moon and not immediately say, "That is the moon, how beautiful it is; so there is no chattering of the mind coming in between. If you can do this, you will find that in the intensity of observation, of feeling, of real affection, love has its own action, which is not the contradictory action of desire.
Experiment with this and you will see how difficult it is for the mind to observe without chattering about what it observes. But surely, love is of that nature, is it not? How can you love if your mind is never silent, if you are always thinking about yourself? To love a person with your whole being with your mind, heart and body, requires great intensity; and when love is intense, desire soon disappears. But most of us have never had this intensity about anything, except about our own profit, conscious or unconscious; we never feel for anything without seeking something else out of it. But only the mind that has this intense energy is capable of following the swift movement of truth. Truth is not static, it is swifter than thought, and the mind cannot possibly conceive of it. To understand truth, there must be this immense energy which cannot be conserved or cultivated. This energy does not come through self-denial, through suppression. On the contrary, it demands complete abandonment; and you cannot abandon yourself, or abandon everything that you have, if you merely want a result.
It is possible to live without envy in this world which is based on envy, on acquisitiveness and the pursuit of power, position; but that requires an extraordinary intensity, a clarity of thought, of understanding. You cannot be free of envy without understanding yourself, so the beginning is here, not somewhere else. Unless you begin with yourself, do what you will, you will never find the end of sorrow. The purification of the mind is meditation - the purification of the mind which is concerned with itself. You have to understand yourself, and you can play with it a little bit every day. A man who plays with the understanding of himself will perceive far more than he who preaches to others.
February 10, 1957
Bombay 2nd Public Talk 10th February 1957
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