New Delhi 1959
New Delhi 1st Public Talk 8th February 1959
It seems to me very important that we should first establish between ourselves right communication and understanding. For most of us, communication is merely at the conscious, at the verbal or intellectual level, and it is very difficult really to understand anything when communication is limited to that level. I think there is a form of communion which comprehends not only the conscious, but also the unconscious level, and also goes further, beyond that; and there is real communication or communion, it seems to me, only when there is complete harmony between these three. Behind the conscious or verbal understanding of the significance of the words there is an unconscious comprehension which is not merely verbal; and there is also a form of communion which goes beyond all that and which has no symbols, no words or phrases as a means of communication. It is the total integration of these three that makes possible a complete understanding of anything, is it not? To put it differently, I can understand something totally, fully, completely, only when I think with my whole being, which includes the conscious, the unconscious, and a state which lies beyond both and is not expressible in words. When there is this total comprehension, this total approach, there is surely complete communion between two human beings.
I think it is very important to establish this state of communion between ourselves. But the difficulty is that most of us merely accept verbally or intellectually what is convenient, and reject what is not, and on that level we dispute. This is what most of us do. But to go deeper, beyond the verbal level, beyond the level of words and symbols, requires much more attention, much more insight, a greater quality of awareness. And it seems to me that if we comprehend and communicate merely at the verbal level, these talks will have very little meaning. It is very easy to talk and argue about certain ideas; but we are not dealing with ideas. Ideas do not bring about a really fundamental change in the quality of the mind. Ideas influence us, they give a certain activity to the mind, but fundamentally, deeply, they do not change the quality of the mind; and it is surely very important that there should be such a change - a radical transformation in the quality of the mind. For it is only in bringing about a revolution in the quality of the mind itself that we can resolve the many problems that we have.
I hope that we now understand each other. There is no teacher with something to be taught. I think we must be very clear on this point: that the speaker is not the teacher, nor are you the disciple. If you put yourself in the position of a disciple, of a man who accepts or rejects, who wants a particular comprehension in order to resolve certain problems, I am afraid you will be disappointed. The true relationship between you and the speaker is one of understanding, it is a relationship in which we are both learning, and if you merely accept or reject what is said with a sanctimonious religious attitude, you obviously cease to learn and therefore communication between us is impossible. What we are trying to do, surely, is to understand the main problems of life - to go into them, to learn about them, and to see all the reactions of the mind in relationship to everything. If we do not learn about ourselves directly and are merely eager to be instructed, then instruction is not a process of learning, but only the accumulation of knowledge, which does not solve our problems. What does solve radically and fundamentally our problems is a mind that is capable of inquiring, searching, learning. When you and I as two human beings talk things over together, inquiring, searching out, then our relationship is entirely different. Then you do not accept or reject; then the speaker is not on a pedestal, and you are not down below, and we are both learning.
To be capable of learning, the mind must obviously put aside all that it has learnt, which is extraordinarily difficult. To learn, the mind must be in a state of freedom. We are in a state of freedom when we want to find out, when we want to know, when we want to understand or discover something; but that freedom is destroyed the moment we begin to interpret what we discover in terms of our conditioning, in terms of our established morality, our environmental influences, and so on.
So, may I point out that these talks will be utterly useless if we do not from the very beginning establish the right relationship between you and me. After all, what is important is not society, but the individual who creates society, the individual who thinks, who feels, who suffers, who is probing, questioning, asking. So you and I as individuals are inquiring, and through this process of inquiry we are going to learn.
But learning ceases when there is the accumulation of learning. And it is a most difficult thing to really be in a state when the mind is learning, because it demands a sense of complete humility, does it not? If one wants to know something deeply, inwardly, that very urge to know presupposes a mind that is really humble; but we are not humble, and that is our difficulty.
Humility is necessary in order to learn. But humility is not to be cultivated. The moment you cultivate humility, you are cultivating the field of arrogance, and the humility which that field produces is false. But if we really begin to inquire, to probe, to ask questions, then there is humility, because in that state of inquiry the mind does not assume anything, it does not accept any authority, it has no tradition and is not bound by knowledge. Surely a mind that is humble has no authority in itself through its own acquisition of knowledge, nor does it accept the outside authority of a teacher. This deep sense of humility is essential to the process of learning. The truly humble mind is not weighed down by learning, by experience, by a knowledge of the sacred books. The man who is always quoting is not humble. The man who has read a great deal, and whose burden is knowledge, has no sense of humility.
So it seems to me of the utmost importance that from the very beginning we establish between us, you and I, a relationship in which you are not looking to be guided, or hoping to have your problems solved by another. There is no solution to any problem apart from the problem itself, and it would be well if we could really understand this deeply, fundamentally. There are no solutions, there are only problems, and the resolution of each problem lies in the problem itself. That much you and I should understand right from the start. We have innumerable problems at all levels of our existence, social, economic, intellectual, moral, sexual. There is the problem of death, the problem of what is true, of whether there is God, and the problem of what this whole business of life is all about. Having a problem, we always seek a solution, which means that our attention is not on the problem, but away from the problem in search of a solution. If you and I can simply understand this one thing, that the solution of a problem lies in the problem itself, then we shall pay tre- mendous attention to the problem.
Do please give your mind to what is being said. I know you have problems of every kind, because everything that the human mind-heart touches it makes into a problem - which is a terrible thing. Having made problems, we want solutions, so we go everlastingly in search of them. We go from one career to another, from one teacher to another, from one religion to another, until we find what we think is a solution - and that becomes our curse, because it is not a solution at all. It is a deception, and so the problems multiply.
Now, you and I together are going to uncover the problems, understand them; but that is possible only when there is communication between us, not only at the verbal level, but also at the unconscious level, which is extraordinarily important. Because any fundamental change comes about, surely, not through decision, but only when there is deep comprehension of the full significance of the problem - which is not a matter of decision.
What we intend to do during these talks is to establish right communication with each other as two individuals, and then proceed to uncover our many problems. In the understanding of one's problems as an individual the mind will be free, because the individual is the totality of the mind - the conscious, the unconscious, and the untrodden regions beyond.
After all, your mind is made up of what it has learnt, of certain modern techniques which help you to survive, and there is also, in the unconscious, the residue of the past, of tradition, of innumerable influences, impressions, compulsions, fears. In addition to all this there are the conscious urges, the ambitions, frustrations and conflicting desires which create a wide chasm of self-contradiction.
So the transformation of the individual is of the highest importance, because what you are the world is. You as an individual must bring about a radical change in yourself; for what you think, your mode of activity and relationship, your ambitions, your frustrations, your miseries - all this produces the world about you, and unless there is a transformation in the quality of the mind itself, mere tinkering on the periphery, which is called revolution, whether communist or any other, will never bring about a fundamental change. The individual may adjust himself to a particular environment, he may become a communist, a socialist, a capitalist, or whatever it is, but inwardly, deep down, he will still be the same. That is why we must be concerned with the transformation of the individual at the core. But that requires a great deal of attention, a great deal of penetration, insight; it means that the mind must go beyond tradition in an ever-deepening inquiry, which is a delving into self-knowledge; and as this demands great energy, we prefer to quote the sacred books, or go to a guru, or belong to some so-called religious society, thinking all this is going to free the mind; but it is only perpetuating our misery.
It seems to me that we must be concerned with the process of learning; and we can learn only when we die to all the things of yesterday. It is only the new, fresh mind that learns, not the mind that is burdened with the accumulations of the past. So our problem is to understand ourselves. Without understanding oneself there is no possibility of understanding what is true and what is false, or of finding out if there is something eternal, immeasurable. Unless there is full comprehension of ourselves, life is merely a constant flux without much meaning. So self-knowledge is essential.
I know you will all nod your heads at this statement that you must know yourself, for it has been repeated ad nauseam for ages; but really to go into oneself and observe the whole structure of the mind requires an immense aloofness from every thought and every feeling. Because, after all, thought and feeling are the reactions of the mind, and to know myself I must be aware, without condemnation or judgment, of my reactions in relationship to all things. I must see my responses - the unconscious as well as the conscious - to people, to property, to ideas; otherwise I do not know myself. I must not take these reactions for granted, or merely accept them verbally, intellectually, but actually be aware of every reaction; and this requires enormous attention.
I do not know if you have ever tried to be aware, not only of your reactions, but of the causes behind them - which is not introspection, for it does not concern the self at all. It is rather the uncovering of the self, the direct experiencing, through inquiry, of the whole structure of the self. To inquire into yourself there can be no authority; no psychologist, no guru can teach you. To know the extraordinary subtleties of the mind, its contradictions, its urges, its ambitions, frustrations and miseries - to know all that, there must be no sense of condemnation or judgment of what you see. There must be mere observation, which is extraordinarily difficult.
I wonder if you have ever observed anything really - a fly, or a picture, or a sunset, or the beauty of a leaf, or the moonlit waters on a still night. Perhaps you have never really perceived these things. Most of us have not; because the moment we see something, we immediately give it a name, cover it with a symbol, translate it in terms of what we know - which are all distractions preventing direct perception. To see something without naming it, to observe it totally, is possible only when there is no comparison, that is, when the mind is really quiet, silent in its perception.
To find out about oneself, such a mind is necessary: a mind that is capable of looking without interpreting, without condemning, without justifying. Try that sometime, and you will find out how extraordinarily difficult, how arduous a thing it is. Our tradition, our education, all our moral and religious training, has conditioned us to condemn, to justify, to cover up, not to penetrate. There can be penetration, deep insight, only when your mind is capable of observation without being distracted by any process of evaluation; and unless you know the source of your thinking, you have no basis for thinking at all. Then you are merely a machine, repeating certain ideas, predetermined thoughts.
So, to penetrate deeply into yourself is not introspection; it does not give strength to self-centred activity, but begins to open the door through which you will be able to perceive the whole process of your own mind. And if you go into it very deeply, dying to everything that you have discovered in the process of understanding, you will find that involuntarily, without any compulsion or discipline, the mind comes to a state of quietness, a state of alertness; and it is only then that a radical revolution takes place.
In all these talks you and I are going to discover the ways of the mind; we are going to find out how it is conditioned, shaped as a Hindu or a Moslem, a Parsi or a Christian, a communist or a socialist, and see how it holds on to certain beliefs, to certain ideas or aspirations. We are going to learn about all that, so that our minds are liberated through direct perception, and then we shall have a totally different relationship with society. We cannot exist in isolation, and it is only in relationship that we discover what we are.
We have so many problems that our life is crowded with them. We know life only as a problem, and we never see life as a whole - this extraordinary vastness of a mind that has no barrier, that is not in bondage to experience. We do not know the quality of the mind that is illimitable, eternal. That is why it is very important for each one of us to learn how to listen.
Now, listening is a very difficult thing to do. Most of us never listen. We hear, but we do not listen. Surely, listening implies no interpretation. If I say something, you may listen; but you cease to listen the moment you interpret what you hear according to your background. Whereas, if there is no interpretation, no evaluation, but a actual listening with your whole being, then you will find in that very act of listening there is a mirror in which you see for yourself what is true and what is false - and that is the beauty of listening.
Just as you have never looked at anything - at a flower, at a star, at a reflection on the water - with your whole being, so you have probably never listened to anything with your whole being. To listen with your whole being is to listen with your conscious mind, with your unconscious mind, and with your body - that is, with all your senses fully awakened. It is only when you listen in this manner that you are able to discern that which is true, and the truth about the false. That is all the mind needs, isn't it? - the capacity to see what is true in ourselves and about ourselves.
To perceive what is true, there must be a total giving of oneself to the thing. If in listening to music you are capable of paying total attention, the music has quite a different meaning. If you are able to give your whole being to a problem, the problem is not. The problem exists only when there is contradiction within ourselves. This inner contradiction can be dissolved only through self-knowledge, and the self is revealed only in relationship with the one or with the many.
All this demands, surely, a tremendous alertness, and everything about us tends to put us to sleep. One of the drugs that put us to sleep is obviously knowledge. A mind that knows can never learn. Another drug is tradition - not only the tradition of centuries, but the tradition of yesterday, the tradition that says "I know, I have experienced". Knowledge, tradition, and the experiences that one gathers, both the good and the bad, the joyous and the sorrowful - all these contribute to put the mind to sleep. And it is only the alert mind, the mind that is constantly questioning, asking, looking into itself and all its activities - it is only such a mind that can discover what is true. Truth does not demand belief, truth is not the result of experience, truth is something that you perceive directly; but this is possible only when the mind is innocent, not burdened with a thousand and one problems. To die to all that, is the beginning of wisdom.
What you and I are trying to do in these talks is to look into ourselves and uncover the many layers of our consciousness. If you do not do that and merely listen to a series of words, you will find that these talks will have very little meaning, and your coming here will be a fruitless thing. But if you follow and directly experience what is being said through the observation of your own mind, then together we can go very far. In penetrating deeply within yourself, you will find that the mind becomes completely motionless, spontaneously still and free. That state of quietness is not the result of any discipline, it cannot be brought about through any yogic practice. It is the outcome of understanding oneself. Such a mind is essential to the understanding of the totality of life. Only such a mind can find out what is true, whether there is God.
Most of us are caught in some form of sorrow, turmoil, travail, and we can resolve it only through understanding ourselves - `ourselves' being the conscious as well as the unconscious. The more you understand yourself, the more subtle and beautiful you will find the mind to be; and without understanding yourself there is no reality. You may quote the sacred books and affirm your belief in God, but it is all just words without much meaning. What is essential is self-knowledge. To know oneself is not to talk about the Atman, the super-self, and all that business, which is just an invention of the mind. To know oneself is to know the mind that invents the super-self, that seeks security, that is everlastingly wanting to be settled, undisturbed, reassured. To know all that through direct observation brings about a spontaneous tranquillity of the mind. And it is only the tranquil mind, the mind that is still, motionless - it is only such a mind that knows the tremendous activity of being totally alive.
February 8, 1959.
New Delhi 1959
New Delhi 1st Public Talk 8th February 1959
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