Saanen 7th Public Talk 5th August 1962
The last time we met here we were talking about fear, and whether it is at all possible to be completely free of fear, which is the reaction that occurs when one is aware of danger. And this morning I would like, if I may, to talk about the ending of sorrow; because fear, sorrow and what we call love always go together. Unless we understand fear we shall not be able to understand sorrow, nor can we know that state of love in which there ia no contradiction, no friction.
To end sorrow completely is a most difficult thing to do, for sorrow is always with us in one form or another. So I would like to go into this problem rather deeply; but my words will have very little meaning unless each one of us examines the problem within himself, neither agreeing nor disagreeing, but simply observing the fact. If we can do this, actually and not just theoretically, then perhaps we shall be able to understand the enormous significance of sorrow and thereby put an end to sorrow.
Throughout the centuries love and sorrow have always gone hand in hand, sometimes one predominating, and sometimes the other. That state which we call love soon passes away, and again we are caught up in our jealousies, our vanities, our fears, our miseries. There has always been this battle between love and sorrow; and before we can go into the question of ending sorrow, I think we must understand what is passion.
May I point out that we are not a privileged group of people who - being fairly well-to-do and having enough money to travel to a place like this - have come here merely to indulge in a form of intellectual amusement. What we are talking about is very serious, and one has to be very serious to go into it. By being serious I mean having the intensity, the drive to go to the very bottom of this thing called sorrow. We are here to find out for ourselves whether it is at all possible to end sorrow completely, so that the mind is without a shadow, clear, sharp, capable of thinking without illusion. And we cannot do this if we merely live at the level of words, as most of us are apt to do. Concepts, patterns, ideals, words, symbols - these have an extraordinary meaning for most of us, and there we stop. We seem unable to break through the verbal level and penetrate beyond it; but to understand sorrow, one has to go beyond words. So, as I go into this problem of sorrow, I hope you also will examine it intensely and clearly, without sentimentality or emotionalism.
Now, unless we understand passion, I don't think we shall be able to understand sorrow. Passion is something which very few of us have really felt. What we may have felt is enthusiasm, which is being caught up in an emotional state over something. Our passion is for something: for music, for painting, for literature, for a country, for a woman or a man; it is always the.effect of a cause. When you fall in love with someone you are in a great state of emotion, which is the effect of that particular cause; and what I am talking about is passion without a cause. It is to be passionate about everything, not just about something, whereas most of us are passionate about a particular person or thing; and I think one must see very clearly this distinction.
In the state of passion without a cause there is intensity free of all attachment; but when passion has a cause, there is attachment, and attachment is the beginning of sorrow. Most of us are attached, we cling to a person, to a country, to a belief to an idea, and when the object of our attachment is taken away or otherwise loses its significance, we find ourselves empty, insufficient. This emptiness we try to fill by clinging to something else, which again becomes the object of our passion.
While I am talking, please examine your own heart and mind. I am merely a mirror in which you are looking at yourself. If you don't want to look, that is quite all right; but if you do want to look, then look at yourself clearly, ruthlessly, with intensity - not in the hope of dissolving your miseries, your anxieties, your sense of guilt, but in order to understand this extraordinary passion which always leads to sorrow.
When passion has a cause it becomes lust. When there is a passion for something - for a person, for an idea, for some kind of fulfilment - , then out of that passion there comes contradiction, conflict, effort. You strive to achieve or maintain a particular state, or to recapture one that has been and is gone. But the passion of which I am speaking does not give rise to contradiction, conflict. It is totally unrelated to a cause, and therefore it is not an effect.
Please, may I suggest that you just listen; don't try to achieve this state of intensity, this passion without a cause. If we can listen attentively, with that sense of ease which comes when attention is not forced through discipline but is born of the simple urge to understand, then I think we shall find out for ourselves what this passion is.
In most of us there is very little passion. We may be lustful, we may be longing for something, we may be wanting to escape from something, and all this does give one a certain intensity. But unless we awaken and feel our way into this flame of passion without a cause, we shall not be able to understand that which we call sorrow. To understand something you must have passion, the intensity of complete attention. Where there is the passion for something, which produces contradiction, conflict, this pure flame of passion cannot be; and this pure flame of passion must exist in order to end sorrow, dissipate it completely.
We know that sorrow is a result; it is the effect of a cause. I love somebody and that person doesn't love me - that is one kind of sorrow. I want to fulfil myself in a certain direction, but I haven't got the capacity; or if I have the capacity, ill health or some other factor blocks my fulfilment - that is another form of sorrow. There is the sorrow of a petty mind, of a mind that is always in conflict with itself, incessantly struggling, adjusting, groping, conforming. There is the sorrow of conflict in relationship, and the sorrow of losing someone by death. You all know these various forms of, and they are all the result of a cause.
Now, we never face the fact of sorrow, we are always trying to rationalize it, explain it away; or we cling to a dogma, a pattern of belief which satisfies us, gives us momentary comfort. Some take a drug, others turn to drink, or to prayer - anything to lessen the intensity, the agony of sorrow. Sorrow, and the everlasting attempt to escape from sorrow, is the lot of each one of us. We have never thought of ending sorrow completely so that the mind is not at any time caught in self-pity, in the shadow of despair. Not being able to end sorrow, if we are Christians we worship it in our churches as the agony of Christ. And whether we go to church and worship the symbol of sorrow, or try to rationalize sorrow away, or forget our sorrow by taking a drink, it is all the same: we are escaping from the fact that we suffer. I am talking about physical pain, which can be dealt with fairly easily by modern medicine. I am talking about sorrow, the psychological pain that prevents clarity, beauty, that destroys love and compassion. And is it possible to bring all sorrow to an end?
I think the ending of sorrow is related to the intensity of passion. There can be passion only when there is total self-abandonment. One is never passionate unless there is a complete absence of what we call thought. As we saw the other day, what we call thought is the response of the various patterns and experiences of memory, and where this conditioned response exists there is no passion, there is no intensity. There can be intensity only when there is a complete absence of the `me'.
You know, there is a sense of beauty which is not concerned with what is beautiful and what is ugly. Not that the mountain is not beautiful. or that there is not an ugly building; but there is beauty which is not the opposite of ugliness, there is love which is not the opposite of hate. And the self-abandonment of which I am speaking is that state of beauty without cause, and therefore it is a state of passion. And is it possible to go beyond that which is the result of a cause?
Please do listen to this with complete attention. I may not be able to explain it very clearly, but do gather the meaning rather than stay with the words. You see, most of us are always reacting; reaction is the whole pattern of our life. Our response to sorrow is a reaction. We respond by trying to explain the cause of sorrow, or by escaping from sorrow; but our sorrow doesn't end. Sorrow ends only when we face the fact of sorrow, when we understand and go beyond both the cause and the effect. To try to be free of sorrow through a particular practice, or by deliberate thought, or by indulging , in any of the various ways of escaping from sorrow, doesn't awaken in the mind the extraordinary beauty, the vitality, the intensity of that passion which includes and transcends sorrow.
What is sorrow? When you hear this question, how do you respond? Your mind immediately tries to explain the cause of sorrow, and this seeking of an explanation awakens the memory of the sorrows you have had. So you are always verbally reverting to the past or going forward to the future in an effort to explain the cause of the effect which we call sorrow. But I think one has to go beyond all that.
We know very well what causes sorrow - poverty, ill health, frustration, the lack of being loved, and so on. And when we have explained the various causes of sorrow, we haven't ended sorrow; we haven't really grasped the extraordinary depth and significance of sorrow, any more than we have understood that state which we call love. I think the two are related - sorrow and love. And to understand what love is, one has to feel the immensity of sorrow.
The ancients talked about the ending of sorrow, and they laid down a way of life that is supposed to end sorrow. Many people have practised that way of life. Monks in the East and in the West have tried it, but they have only hardened themselves; their minds and their hearts have become enclosed. They live behind the walls of their own thought, or behind walls of brick and stone, but I really do not believe they have gone beyond and felt the immensity of this thing called sorrow.
To end sorrow is to face the fact of one's loneliness, one's attachment, one's petty little demand for fame, one,s hunger to be loved; it is to be free of self-concern arid the puerility of self-pity. And when one has gone beyond all that and has perhaps ended one's personal sorrow, there is still the immense collective sorrow, the sorrow of the world. One may end one's own sorrow by facing in oneself the fact and the cause of sorrow - and that must take place for a mind that would be completely free. But when one has finished with all that, there is still the sorrow of extraordinary ignorance that exists in the world - not the lack of information, of book knowledge, but man's ignorance of himself. The lack of understanding of oneself is the essence of ignorance, which brings about this immensity of sorrow that exists throughout the world. And what actually is sorrow?
You see, there are no words to explain sorrow, any more than there are words to explain what love is. Love is not attachment, love is not the opposite of hate, love is not jealousy. And when one has finished with jealousy, with envy, with attachment, with all the conflicts and the agonies one goes through, thinking that one loves - when all that has come to an end, there still remains the question of what is love, and there still remains the question of what is sorrow.
You will find out what love is, and what sorrow is, only when your mind has rejected all explanations and is no longer imagining, no longer seeking the cause, no longer indulging in words or going back in memory to its own pleasures and pains. Your mind must be completely quiet, without a word, without a symbol, without an idea. And then you will discover, or there will come into being that state in which what we have called love, and what we have called sorrow, and what we have called death, are the same. There is no longer any division between love and sorrow and death; and there being no division, there is beauty. But to comprehend, to be in this state of ecstasy, there must be that passion which comes with the total abandonment of oneself.
Sir, please don't take photographs. You ought to know better than that. This is not a political meeting, nor is it a gathering for entertainment, and it's a pity to reduce it to that level.
Shall we discuss, or will you ask questions about what I have been saying this morning?
Question: Is passion or intensity a quality?
Krishnamurti: I wonder what we mean by that word `quality,? Is passion or intensity a virtue to be acquired through practice, through discipline, through self-sacrifice, and so on? Is that what you mean?
Another Questioner: May I ask a question?
Krishnamurti: Sir, a question has been asked. You see, we are occupied with our own questions that we don't listen to anybody else, and that is always happening in life. We are so caught in our own problems, in our own hopes and ambitions, in our own despairs, that we almost never see beyond our little selves. Perhaps some of us have other questions, but if I may respectfully suggest it, don't be so occupied with your own question.
To come back to the question that was asked: is passion or intensity a quality? I don't like to use that word 'quality'. When you are passionate about something, you don't ask whether it's a quality, do you? You are in that state. When you are angry, or lustful, or when you are being verbally brutal about somebody, you don't ask at that moment if what you are feeling is a quality. You are burning with it. But later on you say, "By jove, that was an ugly moment", and then it becomes something to be avoided in the future. Or, if it was a beautiful moment, you proceed to cultivate it; but what you cultivate is artificial, it is not a pure thing.
So the passion or intensity I have been talking about is not cultivable, it is not on the market for sale, you can't buy it with practice or discipline; but if you have listened and have really gone into yourself, if you have wrestled with it, you will know what it is. That passion has nothing whatsoever to do with enthusiasm. It comes only when there is a complete cessation of the `me', when all sense of `my house', `my property', `my country', `my wife', `my children', has been left behind. You may say, "Then it is not worth having that passion".-Perhaps for you it is not. It is worthwhile only if you really want to find out what is sorrow, what is truth, what is God, what is the meaning of this whole ugly and confusing business of existence. If that is what you are concerned with, then you must go into it with passion - which means that you cannot be tethered to your family. You may have a house, you may have a family, but if you are psychologically tended to them you can never go beyond.
Questioner: Have we all got the same capacity for passion?
Krishnamurti: I don't think passion is a capacity. You may have the capacity to write books, to write poems, or to play the flute, or to do any number of other things; and capacities can be cultivated, maintained, added to. But passion, intensity, is not a capacity. On the contrary, if you have a capacity, you must die to that capacity to be passionate. If you don't die to capacity, then capacity becomes mechanical, though you may build it up and be very clever at it. You see, we are still thinking in terms of acquiring, and protecting that which has been acquired.
Questioner: You have said that sorrow is a beautiful thing, and yet you say that we must get rid of sorrow.
Krishnamurti: I did not say that you must get rid of sorrow. I said that you have to look at sorrow and understand it. You can't get rid of sorrow, you can t just put it away. When does one have sorrow? If you love somebody and that person doesn't love you in return, you suffer. Why? Why should you suffer? What does your suffering mean? It means you are thinking about yourself-that is the actual fact. And as long as you are thinking about your own little self, wanting to be loved and being afraid that you will not be loved, with all the ugliness involved in that, naturally you are going to have what you call sorrow. Similarly, if I want to be a famous man, and I am not, inevitably I suffer; and if I am satisfied to remain in that state, all right. But if I want to understand my suffering and go beyond it, then I begin to look at it; I uncompromisingly examine the psychological urge to be famous, which is so utterly superficial, immature; and then there comes an understanding of sorrow which is the beginning of the end of sorrow. And, as I said, when one has gone beyond all this personal sorrow, one finds that love and sorrow and death are the same. That is a state of great beauty - which is not the beauty put together by man or by nature.
Questioner: Is passion or intensity the desire to know?
Krishnamurti: I wonder what we mean by the desire to know? The urge to pile up knowledge is still part of becoming, and is therefore a cause of conflict. But I am not talking about piling up knowledge, which can be found in any encyclopedia. I want to understand, go to the very end of sorrow and find out for myself its significance; and that doesn't mean that I must know. Knowing, as I very carefully explained the other day, is one thing, and learning is another. Knowing implies the accumulation of knowledge; and when you have accumulated knowledge, from that background you experience. Through experience you acquire still more knowledge: but in this acquisitive process of adding knowledge to knowledge through experience, there is no movement of learning. You can learn only when you are no longer seeking or acquiring knowledge. Sir, I don`t want to know about sorrow. We all have sorrow. Don't you have sorrow in one form or another? And do you want to know about it? If you do, you can analyze it and explain why you suffer. You can read books on the subject, or go to the church, and you will soon know something about sorrow. But I am not talking about that; I am talking about the ending of sorrow. Knowledge does not end sorrow. The ending of sorrow begins with the facing of psychological facts within oneself and being totally aware of all the implications of those facts from moment to moment. This means never escaping from the fact that one is in sorrow, never rationalizing it, never offering an opinion about it, but living with that fact completely.
You know, to live with the beauty of those mountains and not get accustomed to it, is very difficult. Most of you have been here now for nearly three weeks. You have beheld those mountains, heard the stream, and seen the shadows creep across the valley, day after day; and have you not noticed how easily you get used to it all? You say, "Yes, it is quite beautiful", and you pass by. To live with beauty, or to live with an ugly thing, and not become habituated to it, requires enormous energy - an awareness that does not allow your mind to grow dull. In the same way sorrow dulls the mind if you merely get used to it - and most of us do get used to it. But you need not get used to sorrow. You can live with sorrow, understand it, go into it - but not in order to know about it. You know that sorrow is there, it is a fact, and there is nothing more to know. You have to live with sorrow, and to live with it you must love it; and then you will find, as I said earlier, that love and sorrow and death are one.
Questioner: Is there no love without passion?
Krishnamurti: What do we mean by the word `passion' and by the word `love'? Whether you are a man or a woman, when you fall in love with somebody don't you have passion, at least for the first two years or whatever it is? And then you become accustomed to each other, you begin to get bored. With that passion, though you call it love, there is lust, attachment, jealousy, ambition, greed, and all the rest of the business. It is like a flame in the midst of smoke. And what happens? Gradually the flame dies, and you have only the smoke left. But if there is a subsiding of attachment, lust, jealousy, and all the other elements that make for the smoke and conflict which we call passion - if there is a dying away of all that, not through time and habit, but because one has gone into it, understood it, seen the depths and the heights of it, then love may be passion without a cause. I do not mean the passion of the missionary who, because he loves Jesus, goes out to convert the heathen - that is not the passion I am talking about. On the contrary, it is the denial of all that without a motive; and out of this denial, the clear flame comes into being.
Questioner: Is it possible for a human being to be permanently in a state of understanding?
Krishnamurti: It is important to understand what we mean by that word `permanent'. I don't think you can ever be permanently in anything. If you are permanently in something, you are dead. And that is what most of us want: we want certain things - love, passion, understanding, God - to continue permanently. Which means what? That we don't want to be disturbed, we don't want to be sensitive, alive. As I have explained, truth or understanding comes in a flash, and that flash has no continuity, it is not within the field of time. Do see this for yourself. Understanding is fresh, instantaneous, it is not the continuity of something that has been. What has been cannot bring you understanding. As long as one is seeking a continuity - wanting permanency in relationship, in love, longing to find peace everlasting, and all the rest of it - , one is pursuing something which is within the field of time and therefore does not belong to the timeless.
Saanen 7th Public Talk 5th August 1962
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