New Delhi 1962
New Delhi 3rd Public Talk 28th January 1962
If I may, I would like to continue with what we were talking about, when we met here last Wednesday. We were saying that it was highly important to have a new way of thinking, and that a new way of living is absolutely necessary in a world that has become so utterly superficial, that has problems multiplying, and that constantly faces enormous danger. I do not think we realize, especially in this country, how serious the issue is. We are fairly safe here; perhaps we are very corrupt but safe. We have our problems: nationalism is increasing while other countries have discarded it; we still have leaders when other countries deny leadership; we have still authority in position when in other countries authority is being questioned. We have, in this country, talked a great deal on religion, but we are really not religious at all; we are like anybody else, superficially interested in getting money, success, making progress, and having amusement like everybody else in the world, though we may talk loudly about God and all the rest of it.
So, it seems to me, a different kind of mind is absolutely essential. You will see that the demand is urgent, when you observe the state of the world, its superficiality, the mechanical success, the technological progress, the immense pressures that are operating. When one observes closely and has gone into this fairly deeply, one must see that a new quality of the mind is necessary, is essential. And that quality cannot be brought about by, or through, any technological progress. I think we must see this very clearly. And if I may, I would like to talk a little bit more about what we were saying last Wednesday.
You see, you are the result of the past, of all the yesterdays that lie behind you. You are the result of your environment, of the society in which you have been brought up, of the propaganda which is called religion and which has been instilled into you for centuries. You can glibly talk about religious ideas and the western impact on the oriental mind, on your mind; but all that is still very superficial. Seeing all this, one must, if one is at all serious, demand and ask oneself: where is all this leading to, what is it all about? When you put that question earnestly, you may return to your conditioning and reply that everything will be all right, that this is only a periodical change through which man goes, and through turmoil everything will come out right because there is God, there is justice, there is beauty, there is love. But those are all words, they have not much meaning. The hungry man is not fed by words, he wants food. When you put that question seriously to yourself, you will see, as we pointed out last week, that you are the result of the past - actually the result - and that there is nothing new.
Any attempt at the new is really a reaction of the old, is a projection of some part of the old, the old being the religion in which you have been brought up, the culture, the family influence, tradition and all the rest of it. So, there is really nothing new. And yet the circumstances of life - the present crisis, the confusion, the misery, the sorrow, the immense dearth - demand that a new mind shall come into being; not a new state of ideas, not ideation, not ideals, but a totally different approach to life. And this approach is not a matter of time. That is, there must be a mutation, there must be an immediate change, a change in the quality of the mind, a mutation that would bring about a different kind of action, different values.
And how is this mutation to take place? That is what we were trying to talk about last wednesday, and I would like to go on with it. We were saying that what is important is to understand a fact: the fact that one is imitating, the fact that one seeks success, the fact that one is ambitious - to see that fact. Because, seeing that fact in itself brings about the mutation. The very seeing of something as a fact, without an opinion, without judgment, without condemning, brings about the necessary impetus, the energy which brings about mutation. Perhaps most of you do not understand the implication of this seeing, of this listening. And I would like to go into that, because for me the act of seeing, the act of listening is the only medium, the only instrument that brings about a revolution, a transformation in the mind.
Most of us want success. I am going to talk about this in order to help you to see the fact - not to deny it, not to accept it, but just to see the fact. Most of us worship success, success in this world; or psychologically, we want to become successful. And to be successful there must be imitation, there must be copying, there must be the continuity of what has been. And if you observe yourself you will see that is what you want: you want success, not only here but inwardly, you want to achieve a result. And this desire to achieve a result implies, does it not?, that you must have a pattern to follow. And when you have a pattern to follow, no fundamental change can he brought about. Any departure from the pattern creates fear. And in order to avoid fear, you follow the lines laid down by authority, and you pursue that authority - whether it is the Gita, whether it is the political leader, whether it is your guru, or whatever it is - in order to be successful, in order not to have any trouble, in order to avoid any conflict, always bearing in mind that you want a result which will be satisfactory, which is success.
Please, if I may deviate a little - if it is a deviation at all - let me again say that we are not dealing with words or phrases, we are not coining new ideas. We are really concerned with bringing about a mutation of the mind. And in bringing about such a revolutionary change within yourself you have to listen - not accept, not deny, not compare, but just listen - which is quite a difficult thing to do; because, most of us, whenever we listen to something, are either justifying it, or comparing it with what we know, or referring to some authority which we have established for ourselves. When you do that, you are not actually listening you have deviated, you have gone away. So I suggest that you listen without comparing, just listen without judgment, because you do not know what I am going to say. And in order to understand what the speaker has to say, you have to listen; but you cannot listen to what is being said if all the time you are interpreting what he is saying. So the act of listening is the act of receiving the activity of your own mind. Through the act of listening you are learning about yourself, what prevents you from seeing, what prevents you from listening. And you will find that you are not listening; therefore you feel you must force yourself to listen. And the compulsion to listen is also a distraction. So it is very difficult to listen not only to the speaker, but to everything in life - to listen to your wife, your husband, to listen to a political speech, to listen to all that is being said on the radio if you do listen to the radio, to listen to what you read in the newspaper - to see that clearly without any prejudice, without any judgement.
And I hope that you will do this while I talk, because that listening is an act of humility. It is only the mind that is really humble that can learn. It cannot cultivate humility, because then it is vanity clothed in humility. But there is humility when you listen, not comparing, not judging, not saying: he is right, he is wrong, this is right, this is true, or this is false. We are not trying to do any propaganda, we are not trying to force you to think in any particular direction; what we are trying to do is to see facts. And to see a fact requires enormous energy, enormous attention. And you cannot pay attention, you cannot attend, if your mind is evaluating what is being said. Please do see the importance of this - not only see now the importance of what is being said, but also see throughout life the importance of everything you hear. Then you will find that out of this seeing, out of this listening, there comes an energy which is necessary to see a fact that is constantly changing.
So I keep on repeating this: the importance of seeing, the importance of listening. You know, when there is attention goodness flowers; when there in no attention, every form of evil comes into being. So attention is the only virtue. And you cannot attend if you are all the time in conflict within yourself. And I want to deal this evening with that conflict.
Why is it that all of us have taken conflict as a part of existence? Why have we accepted conflict as essential to living? If you observe your own life, you are in conflict, not only with your neighbour and with the world, but also psychologically; inwardly you are much more in conflict. You do not know what to do. Or if you know what to do, you do it; and out of that comes a problem, there is misery, there is strife, there is struggle. All that we know is conflict; and we are always trying to avoid it, to escape from that conflict. This is a fact. I am not trying to tell you how not to be in conflict - the way, the escape. The escape, the thing to which you escape, becomes much more important than the conflict itself. Then the thing to which you escape becomes important - it may be drink, it may be your church, your gods, sex, power, ambition; all these are escapes from the fact that you are in conflict. That is a fact. Please see that fact - see in the sense that I am using the word `see', don't deny, don't say, `What am I to do with it?', `How shall I escape from it?' but see the fact that you are in conflict and that there is this urge to escape from that conflict. And after escaping, the thing to which you have escaped becomes all important. Your religion, your nationalism, your guru, the ideals, the saints - all are escapes from the central issue that you are in conflict, that you are in misery.
Now, how does conflict arise - not only the little conflicts of everyday living, but the deep, inward conflicts, the unconscious and conscious conflicts that are unresolved? How does this conflict come into being? Again, please, neither accept nor reject it, but please find out if the speaker is telling the truth, find out - not agree - why you are in conflict. If you are at all aware of your own condition, you are bound to be conscious of being in conflict. You are in conflict, why? There is conflict because there is contradiction. You want to do something, and you also want to do something opposite - a contradiction like love and hate, wanting to be ambitious and at the same time pretending not to be ambitious, wanting to be rich and at the same time trying to play the game of politics, of being a poor man. There is the fact of `what you are' and there is the idea of `what you should be', the fact of what actually `is' and the idea of what `should be' - a contradiction. So you are brought up on what you should be, and not to face the fact. You are brought up to be non-violent and never to face the fact that you are violent. That is what this country has been told for umpteen years - that you must be non-violent, that you must be idealistic. And ideals are far more important than `what is'. So between `what is' and 'what should be' there is a gap, and the bridging of that gap brings about conflict. Please observe yourself. I am only putting into words what is the actual fact.
So contradiction arises; conflict arises when there is contradiction; and then there is effort. We like making efforts. For us effort is very important. Everything that we do is the result of effort. That is a fact. That is what you are used to. Why should we make an effort?
Is it not possible to live in this world without any effort? And that question can only be answered if you can understand this whole process of conflict, not only the conflict outwardly but conflict inwardly - conflict between nations, between people outwardly; and conflict within, deep anxiety. And when there is conflict, there is this effort to conquer the conflict. So conflict arises through contradiction. And when there is contradiction with its misery, with its turmoil, with its anxiety, then there is the urge to make an effort to overcome that conflict; in this circle we are caught. And all our concern is to escape from this fact, and therefore there arises further effort - further effort in religious practices to discipline, to control, to shape, to comply, to alienate, to obey. So our mind is never quiet, is never capable of looking at anything, listening to anything fully, completely. It is always in turmoil.
And how can such a mind that is in turmoil understand anything? Life is an immense thing to understand. Life is not just merely going to the office, life is not merely begetting children, life is not merely sex, life is not merely prosperity, life is not a series of successes, life is not the fulfilment of ambitions - life is something much more than all this. Life is also an enquiry: to find out whether there is, or whether there is not, God or something beyond all words; what is love; how to face and understand despair, the sense of guilt, the enormous sorrow, the anxiety that is in the heart of man. All that is life. And to understand all that you must have a very quiet mind, not a mind torn in conflict, in travail.
And so what happens when we are faced with all this? We turn to the past, or to some book, or to some authority; and we think we have understood all this enormous complexity by following some absurd formula, or the Gita, or following a guru, or some book or other. But to understand this immensity there must be a revolution in your mind - not an economic, social revolution but a mutation in the quality of the mind. And this mutation cannot be brought about through volition, because the more you bring in the past the more conditioning there is, and therefore there is no longer mutation. So just see the fact of all this, how mechanical we have become.
You see, sirs, virtue has lost its meaning, because by taking some chemicals you can become very virtuous. I do not know if you have seen all that is happening in the world. You can take a pill and become tranquil. So tranquillity has lost its meaning. You can take a pill, some chemical, to become less angry, less jealous, less hateful and all the rest of it. If you are passionate sexually, you can take a pill and quieten love. So all virtue has lost its meaning. And the computers, the mechanical brains, those extraordinary electronic machines are taking over all thinking; they can do far better than man. And automation - a machine running other machines - is also coming into being. We are becoming - not only in India but over the rest of the world - very superficial, because we are becoming mechanical. So seeing these which are facts and which are not my inventions, gods have no meaning any more, religions have lost their significance; and you are faced with immediate danger. The future is unknown; all that you have is the past and nothing else - the past of what you know, the past of what you have learnt, the past of the atomic bomb, the past of your tradition, and all that. That is all what you have, nothing else. That is your mind and nothing else.
Now how to bring about a tremendous mutation, a radical revolution out of this? That is the real issue. I hope you understand the question - not what to do. But first we must understand the question and the significance of the question. Look, sirs, you read the Gita; you are Christians, Buddhists, or Muslims, or whatever you are. What makes the difference is not what the Gita says, but what you actually are; not your turbans and your coats and your learning and your knowledge, but what you are. When you are stripped of all this, what you are is merely the past, something that has existed, the thing that you have known, the machinery of the past And whatever you do from the past will condition the future and is therefore still of the past.
Do please see the importance of what is being said. If you make an effort to bring about a mutation - that mutation is absolutely necessary in this world at the present time - that urge is from the past, and therefore conditions mutation, and therefore it is no longer mutation; it is merely a continuation of the past. We are concerned with mutation, with a new mind that can see the whole of the totality of existence, not just a part of it. It is a strange thing that at one time in this country, you were told that you must not be provincial, you must not separate yourself from the rest of the country; and now you are becoming nationalists, still in parts. You are concerned with the whole of life, not of India, not of Hindus, or of Buddhists, but of man, and with what is going to happen to man, to the mind of man, of which you are a part. So when you see this fact, the seeing of the fact must make you question most fundamentally. But if you try to find an answer to that question, that answer will be from the background; so you must put the question without seeking an answer. And that is very difficult to do, merely to put the question and enquire.
So our problem is this: that a radical revolution is necessary within the mind, within consciousness. When that revolution takes place, it will act socially, economically and quite differently. Now, how is this revolution to be brought about? I am using the word `how' not to suggest a method, a system - if you have a method and a system, it is still of the past - but merely as a means of enquiry, not as a means of offering a system. How is this revolution to be brought about?
First of all, to live fully, to see very clearly anything, there must be no conflict of any kind; and therefore there must be the understanding of the whole problem of contradiction - which means enquiring, observing the operations of your own mind, and seeing that every form of ambition, outwardly or inwardly, brings about a contradiction. Wherever there is self-fulfilment, wherever there is the urge to fulfil - to become this or not to be that - in that very desire to fulfil there is a contradiction which is frustration. So ambition, success, fulfilment implies frustration, and from that frustration there is conflict. These are all psychological facts, these are not my inventions. If you observe yourself, you will see that these are the facts that take place.
So a mind that is seeking to understand what is implied in mutation has completely ceased to have ambition. And then you will ask: how can such a mind live in this world - this world made up of conflict, ambition, ruthlessness, each one for himself - how can a mind which is not ambitious live in this world? It cannot. Therefore, when you understand ambition and have denied ambition totally, then you will find you can live, not in the terms of the old society, you will create a new world. Do you understand, sirs, what it is we are talking about? A new world has to come into being. And you cannot create a new world by merely saying, `I must conform and live in this world'. You must destroy this society and create a new world. I am talking not of the destruction of buildings, but of the destruction of social values. And you do not want to do that, because you are afraid; therefore you are caught again in conflict.
So you have to see very clearly for yourself that where there is ambition of any kind there is conflict, there is sorrow. But, you see, we are brought up on ambition, on competition. Every schoolboy is taught to compete. Every schoolboy is taught to worship success. And how can you deny this whole pattern, the pattern in which you have been brought up? You will deny it when you see its importance, when you are faced with a crisis. And the crisis now is that there should be a new mind. That is the crisis - not how to reform the old pattern. So when you are aware of the crisis, when you are aware of all the implications of ambition, when you have gone into yourself very deeply to find out the source of ambition - why you are ambitious, why this competition, this travail, this ruthless search for position, prestige for oneself - when you understand this whole anatomy of ambition, then you are either with ambition with all its ruthlessness, or you are out of it. And the man who is out of it brings about a new mind, a new quality of thinking.
So what we are concerned with is to see the importance of this deep inward revolution and to find out whether such a revolution is possible or not for each one of us. Time demands it, circumstances demand it, your own life demands it; and the strange part of it is that there is no time. You cannot say, I will eventually change through time, I will gather the energy to bring about this change'. Time does not give you energy. Time takes away your energy; you are old, you wither away. What gives you energy to pursue deeply is facing the fact, just to face the fact, whatever that fact may be. And you will see that, as you face it, out of that comes energy. Not the denial of the fact - that never gives you energy. And you need tremendous energy, because not only there are all the trivialities of life which one has to face and understand, but also one has to go beyond them. There is also something else much more significant which demands all your attention. And that is to find out for yourself, not through words but actually, if there is something beyond the measure of the mind, if there is something called the immeasurable, something which is beyond death, beyond words, beyond thought. Unless you find that out, life becomes very shallow, life becomes mechanical; then life is full of sorrow and travail. And to find that out you need immense energy.
And this energy can only come when you have understood the quality of seeing, the quality of listening, when you can look at facts, look at your jealousy, look at your ambition, look at your passions and all the absurdities that you have built round yourself and which you call religion. And when you can face them and not react, then out of that confrontation comes energy. And it is this quality of energy that brings about mutation. And only then does the mind become something extraordinary; it is no longer the thing of environment, it is no longer the thing of experience. Then it is capable of renewing itself everlastingly; then it has the quality of youth, of innocency. And it must have that quality of innocency, of complete humility, to find out that which is beyond words, beyond thought, beyond time.
January 28, 1962
New Delhi 1962
New Delhi 3rd Public Talk 28th January 1962
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