Bombay 7th Public Talk 5th March 1961
I think it would be a great mistake if we treat these talks as a theoretical affair, approximating our lives to ideas or ideals. That surely is not what we are doing. We are moving very carefully and advisedly from fact to fact which is after all the approach of a scientist. The scientist may have various theories, but he pushes those aside when he is confronted with facts; he is concerned with the observation of outward things, the things that are about matter, whether it is near or far; to him there is only matter and the observation of that matter - the outward movement. The religious mind is concerned with the fact and moving from the fact; and its outward movement is a unitary process with its inward movement - the two movements are not separate. The religious man moves from the outward to the inward like a tide; and there is this constant movement from the outer to the inner and from the inner to the outer, so that there is a perfect balance and a sense of integration, not with the outer and the inner as two separate movements but as a unitary movement.
If one observes very carefully, one sees what an extraordinary thing anonymity is. The anonymous approach after all is required to understand a fact. To see the reality of what is false or to find out what is truth, there must be the approach of the anonymous, not the approach of tradition, of hope, of despair, of an idea - which are all identified with something or other, and therefore can never be anonymous. A monk who withdraws into a monastery and takes a name, is not anonymous, nor the sannyasi, because they are still identified with their conditioning. One has really to be aware of this extraordinary movement of the outer and the inner as a unitary process, and the understanding of this whole thing must be anonymous. Therefore it is very important to understand all conditioning and to be aware of that conditioning, and to shatter through that.
I hope you are aware of the significance of "listening". You are not merely listening to me, to the speaker; but you are also at the same time listening to your own mind - the mind is listening to itself - because what is being said is merely an indication. But what is more important is that through this indication one begins to listen - the mind begins to listen to itself, and is aware of itself, aware of every movement of thought. Then I think these talks would be of significance and worthwhile. But if you merely treat them as a theory, something to be thought over, and after thinking over, to come to a conclusion and then approximating your daily life with that conclusion, these talks would seem to be utterly futile. When there is a condemnatory process or justification, there is an identification with thought. One has to see the significance of all this as we go along. We have been talking about the religious mind and the scientific mind. Every other mind is a mischievous mind, whether it is of a learned person or of a very erudite person or of the sannyasi who has given up this and that; the political mind is, of course, the most destructive mind. The real scientific mind observes, analyses, dissects, goes into the outward movement of life without any compromise; the scientist may compromise outside the laboratory where he is still a conditioned human being; but inside the laboratory there is that spirit of enquiry and research as a ruthless pursuit of fact; that is the only spirit in the scientific field and our minds must be that, to understand. The mind must also have this comprehension of the outer as well as the inner; and as these are the only two actual facts, one begins to understand these two as a unitary process; and it is only the religious mind that can comprehend the unitary process. Then whatever action springs from the religious mind - that is the action that will not bring about misery, confusion.
Also we have been discussing to some extent the question of fear, and perhaps it might be worthwhile this morning to consider suffering and compassion. I have been told by physicists that when they focus strong light on an atom, that light awakens the movement in the atom; and in that movement - with the mind that is looking at the movement - there is an indeterminism: that is what the scientists say. Now, there is, I feel, the light of silence with which to approach all the problems - the light of silence which can be turned on, if one may use that phrase. And that light of silence brings into being precision, clarity, preciseness to the actual movement of every thought. It is only in that light of silence there is comprehension. I think we have discussed enough of that to see the implications involved in it. Then with that understanding let us consider what is suffering. We have thought of fear, we have gone into it somewhat. Now let us go into the question of suffering, because I feel that fear and suffering are very close to the comprehension of what is compassion. The scientific mind is not a compassionate mind; it can't, it does not, know what compassion means. But it is the religious mind that knows, lives, has its being in compassion. And to comprehend that thing, one must understand what is suffering.
Please, I hope you are not merely listening to my words because you can really get into a hypnotic state, mesmerized by words, by learning phrases. I can quite imagine how you will repeat "the light of silence", and the mind will keep on repeating it. You have not understood what it means; but that is a new phrase, it sounds nice - that would be mesmerizing yourself. But perhaps if we could really approach this question of suffering actually, not theoretically, then out of this struggle with words, with thought, with the mind, the flame of compassion might come into being.
What is suffering? We are all suffering, every human being is in some kind of suffering. The death of someone whom one likes, breeds sorrow; poverty, the outward and inward sense of poverty, also breeds an extraordinary sense of fruitlessness. And the inwardly poor human being, when he is aware of it, is caught in the world of sorrow; it is a terrible thing to realize that you have absolutely nothing inside. You may have degrees, titles, ministerships, good clothes, places and all the rest of that; strip them off and you will find inside an empty shadow and ashes. Strip the man of his knowledge, of words, of the things he has accumulated, and there too there is immense sorrow for him. We suffer in so many things - the sorrow of frustration, the anxiety of ambition, the solitary existence, the woman who has no child everlastingly crying, the man who has no capacity and sees capacity and cleverness, the man who has a gift and the one who is stupid wants to have that gift and many other gifts. Incapacity and capacity both lead to suffering. There is the suffering of a man who knows that he is not loved, that there is another whom he loves but who does not return the love. So there are so many varieties and complications and degrees of suffering. We all know that. You know it very well and we carry this burden right through life, practically from the moment we are born till the moment we collapse into the grave. Watch yourself, Sir, not my words. Is suffering essential? Is it a part of existence to suffer? Is it inevitable? Is it the human law?
Man has suffered for thousands upon thousands of years and still goes on - from the poorest beggar to the richest man, from the most powerful to the least. If we say that it is inevitable then there is no answer; if you accept it, then you have stopped enquiring into it. You have closed the door to further enquiry; if you escape from it you have also closed the door. You may escape into man or woman, into drink, amusement, into various forms of power, position, prestige and the eternal chatter of nothingness. Then your escapes become all-important, the objects to which you fly assume colossal importance. So you have shut the door on sorrow also, and that is what most of us do. Can we talk a little bit to each other openly? I suffer as my son dies; there is an empty void, utter misery, confusion, the sense of loss, degradation. You know all this. I run away from it into the belief in reincarnation; then resurrection and all the rest of it follow - which means, I have escaped from the fact. And when I have escaped, obviously I can't understand what is suffering. Now, can we stop escape of every kind and come back to suffering? You understand, Sirs? That means not seeking a solution for suffering. There is physical suffering - a toothache, stomach-ache, an operation, accidents, various forms of physical sufferings which have their own answer. There is also the fear of future pain, which would cause suffering. Suffering is closely related to fear and, without comprehension of these two major factors in life, we shall never comprehend what it is to be compassionate, to love. So a mind that is concerned with the comprehension of what is compassion, love and all the rest of it, must surely understand what is fear and what is sorrow.
Take the physical fact first. I may have a disease or a certain form of disease which is apparently inevitable. Or the doctors may find a new antibiotic or a new drug which will perhaps prolong life - instead of living a hundred years you may live a hundred and twenty years. Once a person has been ill he is always afraid of the future, afraid of the recurring disease, recurring pain, recurring anxiety - the fact of `what has been' projects itself into the future: I may become ill and thus it begins; sorrow, the wheel of sorrow goes on, which is, the projection of the thought of `what has been' into the future `which may be'. We are aware of it; and it requires a very sharp mind not to project thought, not to project itself into the future - because once it has pain, it may have pain again, and through that death; so fear sets in, the wheel of sorrow goes on. So the comprehension of sorrow as physical fear projected by the mind has to be understood. You cannot brush that aside and say that we are only concerned with sorrow which is inward, psychological. Not that there is no inward and psychological suffering, but one has, to understand this physical fact first. Most of us have dental trouble or various forms of pain; we have got to know them. The mind has remembered the past pains and says, `look', gets, frightened, anxious; and so it is afraid of a future pain. And thought has, been the seed that has caused this future pain and anxiety. Just listen to it to see this process. I wonder if you have understood it when I say, "Just listen to it - the psychological fact that a person who has had pain is afraid of pain recurring in the future". Thought has created that fear; in the future, you may not have the pain, but the mind is already preparing for it; that is the actual psychological fact. Merely observe the fact - you can't do anything about the fact - , see that is how the mind operates. The nervous system, the whole defensive organism gets going; it is very anxious to do the right thing, always with the background of fear, of pain, of sorrow.
Then what is sorrow? We have understood the physical process that engenders fear and suffering. Then what are the other kinds of sorrow - not other kinds - , what is sorrow otherwise? Take the fact that most of us have experienced, the death of some one whom we loved. There is a terrific sense of loss, there is a sense of anguish, a sense of complete loneliness, of being left alone, stranded. We know that; most of us have had that experience in various degrees of intensity. Why is there suffering? What do you say, Sir?
Question: The thought of fear is there.
Krishnamurti: Yes, Sir, there is the thought of fear. Go into it.
Question: A feeling of utter helplessness.
Krishnamurti: The feeling of utter helplessness - but why should that cause sorrow? Why should death cause sorrow, why should living cause sorrow? Why should this thing called death be such an extraordinary factor which produces untold fear and sorrow, as living also apparently causes untold suffering and sorrow? So life and death are synonyms, when there is sorrow. Do understand this, Sirs. It is not that you are afraid only of death which causes sorrow, but you will also see you are afraid of living which causes sorrow - living, being good, being respectable, having a job or no job, being loved or not loved, ambition with its frustrations, the incapable or the capable mind which has its own tortures, the feeling of being frustrated. You know the life you lead - going every day to the office, the routine, the boredom, the insults, the anxiety. Not approximating, not reaching, not arriving - that is also our living, is that not so? The eternal competition with somebody and with some idea - that is what we call living. Such living also produces an astonishing kind of this thing called sorrow, as death does.
Why are we so frightened of death - not what happens after? We are not talking about the after-effects, whether there is continuity or not, whether there is a soul or not, and all that. We are discussing the fact that we are all acquainted with this terrible thing called death which causes pain, suffering, anxiety, a sense of utter helplessness, the loneliness, the isolation, the feeling that you are stranded. Don't you know this feeling, Sirs?
Question: We are in sorrow because when he was living, the person we loved was filling some space in us and helping us to live.
Krishnamurti: That is so, and that is why we loved the person. I love my son because he is going to immortalize me, I am going to carry my name through him, I am going to perpetuate myself; because he is going to support me when I am old, he will be better than me, he will go to college, be clever and get better degrees, have a better job, become an important man, and so he will be recognized as an important man and in that importance I also glory, and so on and on. And therefore I say, "I love my son", and the mother says, "I love my son". This extraordinary process goes on everlastingly from the known existence of man thousands and thousands of years ago, till now. The religions, the great teachers have talked about it; and we are caught in it.
Question: We instinctively avoid pain and sorrow.
Krishnamurti: The gentleman says that we instinctively avoid pain and sorrow. When you say you avoid pain and sorrow, then why do you suffer? Such a question has no meaning. If you say I instinctively avoid a snake, then that has an answer; that is a fact. But when you say you instinctively want to avoid pain and suffering, you are living in suffering, you can't avoid it. You are following all this, Sirs? Why do you suffer? Go into it, Sirs. That is your challenge. What is your response to that challenge, Sirs? Why do you suffer?
Question: Because we are not full, because our mind is not full. There is the utter emptiness of life.
Krishnamurti: You have given explanations, and at the end of it you suffer - which means that you accept suffering as inevitable. A healthy mind does not accept suffering, Sir. Now after explaining, do you want to go into it? How do you go into it so that when you leave this room you are finished with suffering once and for all, you do not go back to the eternal wheel of sorrow?
Question: Accept the fact that there is suffering. Attachment is the cause of sorrow.
Krishnamurti: You say that attachment is the cause of sorrow. Therefore, you cultivate detachment and in the meantime you are agonizing. You are in a state of agony, and you accept the fact that you are suffering? Why do you accept it? You don't accept sunshine, do you? Suffering is there, you don't have to accept it. Pain with its burning intensity is agonizing you, and you don't say, "I must accept it". It is there. You can explain, you can gradually push it away - that is what you are doing. You might say, "I accept it, I will bear with it; but you can't bear with an intense pain more than a few hours or so.
And the mind says sorrow is created by attachment - which means, you will be free from sorrow if you are detached. So you begin to cultivate detachment which all the books talk about. Why are you attached first of all? You say that you are inwardly empty and therefore you are attached to the wife, to the child, to an idea, to power, position, to fill that emptiness. You don't tackle the emptiness, but you run away from the emptiness. So how do you face this fact of suffering?
Question: What are the implications of suffering?
Krishnamurti: How do you enquire into suffering? That is my point - not `what are the causes?' You know the causes. But you are not facing the fact. You are suffering, how do you tackle it, Sirs?
Question: Stop thinking of it.
Krishnamurti: Take a drug, go to a cinema, take a tranquillizer? Will that help me? You are advising me how to kill suffering, you are advising me with a lot of words, aren't you? You give me explanations, and at the end of it all I am still empty-handed.
I want to know, when I suffer, how to be free of it. Not with words, not with explanations. When I have a toothache actually, I go to the nearest dentist; I don't sit down, explain, explain. If that is the mind that asks and that responds to the challenge, that wants to be out, then what will you do? It can only then look at the fact, and stop escaping altogether. I want to know why I suffer; therefore I cannot escape away from this thing, through explanations, through drink, through women, through the radio, through something else. I want to understand the thing, I want to break through it, crash through it, put it away everlastingly, so that it will never touch my mind again. That means, I want to be with it; I want to know all about it - not give words to it, not give explanations to it. As I would go to the nearest doctor and see that there is no pain, in the same way I end suffering.
I am not going to escape from it, because I see that through escape - however subtle, however cunning, however reasonable - there is no solution. Then what happens to the mind that has stopped escaping, that has no longer the Gita, the Upanishads, the guru, reincarnation, tradition? It has stopped everything. What is the state of mind that is no longer escaping, that wants to grapple with this thing and come out of it clean-washed, bright, spotless? The mind has realized that to look at something there must be no escape of any kind and it has to be scientifically ruthless with itself, and so it has no self-pity.
Then for the first time you have no words; you have stopped the use of all words. Before, you had indulged in words, explanations, quotations; now, you have no words, words have stopped. So the mind that knows suffering, that has suffered, that has gone through the travail of existence, is faced with the stark fact, and it observes.
Now, let us look into the word `observation' - not into the thing that you are looking at, but the state of observation. How do you observe? How do you look at your wife, husband, child or a tree or a flower? What happens generally is: all kinds of pictures, ideas, desires surge forward. If you could understand how you observe, then you will come to something which will help you to understand sorrow.
When you see a most lovely thing, a beautiful mountain, a beautiful sunset, a ravishing smile, a ravishing face, that fact stuns you and you are silent; hasn't it ever happened to you? Then you hug the world in your arms. But that is something from outside which comes to your mind; but I am talking of the mind which is not stunned but which wants to look, to observe. Now, can you observe without all this up-surging of conditioning? To a person in sorrow, I explain in words; sorrow is inevitable, sorrow is the result of fulfilment. When all explanations have completely stopped, then only can you look - which means, you are not looking from the centre. When you look from a centre, your faculties of observation are limited. If I hold to a pose and want to be there, there is a strain, there is pain. When I look from the centre into suffering, there is suffering. It is the incapacity to observe that creates pain. I cannot observe if I think, function, see from a centre - as when I say, "I must have no pain, I must find out why I suffer, I must escape". When I observe from a centre, whether that centre is a conclusion, an idea, hope, despair or anything else, that observation is very restricted, very narrow, very small, and that engenders sorrow.
So, when I want to understand suffering, because of the intensity of wanting to understand, I do not look at it from a centre. I want to be free from sorrow - free, so that it will never touch the mind again. The mind says, "It is an ugly thing, it is a brutal thing, it distorts perception, it distorts living, death and everything". There must be a total comprehension and therefore a total wiping away of it from the whole of the mind. That is the challenge. When the mind responds according to its conditioning, according to its background, from its centre, the observation of the fact is prevented. When I look at the world as a nationalist, I can't look at another human being who comes from abroad, I have no relationship with him, though I may talk of brotherhood, peace and all such things. When I am looking, observing from a centre which I call `nationalist', I am functioning within the boundaries of a petty small island. So I can only look at the full, whole world and be with the world totally, wholly, when I have no centre as a nationalist, as a Hindu and all the rest of it.
So what is important is to look at, observe without the centre, and then there is no suffering ever more. There will be physical suffering, the kidneys may go wrong, you may have cancer, blindness, death may occur; but you are then able to look at physical suffering, every torturous psychological suffering, without the centre. Therefore you will never have psychological suffering.
And it is only the mind that does not suffer that has no fear. It is only such a mind that is in a state of compassion. Sirs, do go out of this room with that intensity; when the challenge is so great, you have to respond greatly, not from a little corner of the universe as the `me'.
March 5, 1961
Bombay 7th Public Talk 5th March 1961
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