New Delhi 1963
New Delhi 2nd Public Talk 27th October 1963
As we were saying the other day, it is obviously an absolute necessity to bring about within each one a radical revolution, a change in mutation at the very root of consciousness. I feel that unless this takes place totally, the many confusing and contradictory problems in all our relationships at all the levels of our consciousness can never be solved. The search for truth, for reality, is not possible in a world in which there is not only outward contradiction but inward self-contradiction. It is not possible for one to discover that extraordinary thing called reality if there is no corresponding total clarity, not according to any particular formula or a concept, but that clarity that comes about through understanding through the awareness of the total boundary of one's consciousness.
You know it is very difficult to understand the meaning of words and also to be free of words. Most of us who understand English understand more or less the meaning of words. Words have their reference in the dictionary, or we give a particular significance to words. And I feel it is very important not to be caught in words. Most of us live with words; for us words have an extraordinary significance. All our thinking, our feeling, is limited by words. Words and symbols play an enormous part in our life; and to really comprehend those words and to be free of words and to go beyond the words is very important for the man who would really understand what is truth.
So, before we go this evening into this question of what is conflict, and if it is at all possible to be free of conflict, we must, it seems to me, understand the structure of words, the meaning which we give to a particular word, and discover through the awareness of the word how the mind is caught in a web of words. Because we live, most of us, by formulas, by concepts, either self-created or handed down to us by society, which we call ideals, which we call the necessity to have a certain pattern according to which we live. If you examine those formulas, those ideas, those concepts and those patterns, you will see that they are words, and those words control our activities, shape our thoughts, make us feel in a certain way. Words condition our thinking, our being.
Please do give a little attention to this. A mind caught in words is incapable of being free. A mind functioning within the pattern of a formula is obviously a conditioned, slavish mind. It is incapable of thinking anew, afresh. And most of our thinking, most of our activity, our thought is within the boundaries of words and formulas. Take a word like `God', `Love'. What extraordinary images, formulas, come into your mind! A man who would find if there is God, who would find out what love implies or means, obviously must be free of all concepts, all formulas. And to be free of the formula, of the concept, the mind refuses to break through, because there is fear. So, fear takes shelter in words, and we battle over words. So, the first thing for a man who would really go into this seriously, to the very end, to discover if there is or if there is not a reality, a thing that is beyond the measure of words, is that he must absolutely understand words and be free of formulas.
So, before we go very deeply into the question of conflict - which I will do presently this evening - , I may use words which may have a particular meaning to you. And if I may earnestly request, don't translate what is said in terms of your own meaning. Just listen. Don't interpret, don't compare, but just listen. Because most of us do not listen. We do not know what it means to listen to somebody. It is as much an art to listen, as any other form of activity is. Every activity is an art; even your going to your office - it is an art, there is beauty in it. And one has to listen without comparison, without evaluating what is being said in terms of words - that is all what you are going to do; you will listen with words which you already know; but that is not listening. A mind that listens is completely attentive, not in the framework of words; it wants to find out. And to find out, the mind must be astonishingly alive; and a mind is not alive when it is caught in a formula, a religious or an economic or a social formula, either of Karl Marx, or of this fantastic idea of non-violence in this country, or according to the Gita or other books. To listen implies an astonishing awareness, not only of your own words, of your own formulas, but putting them aside, to listen, to find out what the speaker is saying - not to argue, not to agree; it is very cheap to argue and to agree or to contradict. But you have to understand, to find out whether what the speaker is saying is false or true - not according to a formula, not according to what you know. Because what you know is merely a series of words which have been handed to you or the things which you have experienced, which again establish a further strengthening of your conditioning, and with those words you listen; and therefore you never learn.
So, we have to be really earnest in this matter. There must be a few of us, who are serious, who want to discover for themselves - not according to what some teacher, some book, or some political group has said, but to discover for oneself - what is the fact, the actual reality of things. For this, one must be free of these formulas and be capable of listening completely. We are not dealing with propaganda, we are not trying to convert you to anything, or to make you think differently, because thought is not going to bring about a revolution. On the contrary, the very cessation of thought is the beginning of a mutation. So, do please understand that we are not dealing with opinions or analyzing opinions or introducing new formulas, howsoever subtly - which is the way of propaganda. We are dealing, if we are at all serious in these matters, with facts. The man who is earnest begins to live, not the man who is not earnest - he does not live, he just dissipates not only his energy but his relationships; to such a man there is no reality, there is no way out of this enormous misery and confusion and sorrow. It is only to the serious man, to the earnest man, that life opens.
So the very art of listening is the beginning of understanding - the art of listening. When you do listen, it is not a matter of control, not forcing yourself to listen to something, because the moment you make an effort to listen you cease to listen. Here, we are not making an effort to listen. We want to find out. And to discover something new - which we are going to discover as we go along together - your mind must be free; not always comparing, judging, evaluating, condemning, agreeing, not agreeing, chattering; but just listening not only to the play of words but to the play of thought, and also going beyond the word, the thought, the idea. Then, you will see, if you so listen, that without your wanting, without a deliberate, purposive, directive action taking place, there has already taken place a mutation. This is an important thing to understand. That is, any purposeful action based on a desire, on a motive, will not bring about a revolution, a mutation in consciousness, because such a motive, such a desire is still within the formula, within the conditioning by the old pattern. What we are concerned with - those who are serious - is the breaking down totally of our conditioning so as to see something totally new. And the world situation, not only now, but also in the future, at all times, demands a mind that can see the true and act, not as an idea but as an action that is ever present - which we will go into presently,
What I want to discuss this evening is the conflict within and without, and whether it is at all possible, living in this world, to be free of conflict totally, not partially. To be totally free of all conflict - is it at all possible? Don't say, "It is" or "It is not". A serious mind does not take such a position, it enquiries. And the mind must be free of conflict, obviously - free of conflict which creates confusion, contradiction, various forms of neurosis, If it is not free of this confusion, how can such a mind see, understand, observe? It can only spin with a lot of words, about truth, non-violence, God, bliss, nirvana and all the rest of the words - they have no meaning at all.
So, a mind that would seek or that would find reality must be free of conflict at all levels of consciousness - which does not mean pursuing peace, retiring from the world, going to a monastery, or meditating under a tree; that is merely an escape. It must be free totally, completely, at all levels of one's consciousness, of all conflict so that the mind is clear. It is only a mind that is clear that can be free; and it is only in complete freedom that you can discover what is true.
So we have to investigate the anatomy, the structure of conflict. You are not listening to me, you are listening to your own consciousness. You are listening, observing, seeing the conflict in your own life - whether it is in the office, whether it is with your wife or husband, or with your children, with your neighbour, with your ideals - , observing your own conflict. Because what we are concerned with is the revolution in you, not in me, revolution within each one, radically, at the very root of one's being; otherwise, it is all a superficial change, an adjustment which has no value whatsoever. The world is undergoing tremendous changes not only technologically, but morally, ethically; and merely to adapt oneself to a change does not bring about clarity of vision, clarity of mind. What brings about this extraordinary clarity is when the mind has understood, totally, the whole process of conflict within and without; and that very understanding brings freedom. And therefore such a mind is clear; and in that clarity there is beauty. Such a mind is the religious mind, not this phoney mind that goes to a temple, repeats words endlessly, performs ceremonies ten thousand times - they have no meaning any more.
So, what we are concerned with, this evening, is the understanding of conflict; understanding - not how to get rid of conflict, not how to substitute conflict by a series of formulas called peace, or to resist conflict, or to avoid conflict, but to understand it. I hope I am making myself clear, when I use the word `understand'. You know, to understand something is to live with it, and you cannot live with something if you resist it, or if you substitute through your fear that which is a fact, or if you run away, or if, when you are in tremendous conflict within yourself, you seek peace - which is just another form of escape. I am using the word `understand' in a particular sense, that is, to face the fact that you are in conflict, and to live with it completely - not to avoid it, not to escape. And then you will see, if you can live with it, not translate it, not try to put all the collected opinions of every person upon it, but live with it - which you are going to do this evening even though it is for ten minutes.
First of all, there is conflict not only at the conscious level of the mind, but also unconsciously, deep down. We are a mass of conflicts, contradictions, not only at the level of thought but also at the level which conscious thought has not penetrated. Please, you must give your attention. Don't bother who is coming or who is going. Sirs, we are dealing with very serious problems. We are not children. This requires all your attention, and you cannot give your attention if you are watching somebody, if you are listening to some other factor. This demands complete attention on your part. You are in conflict whether you like it or not; your life is a misery, confusion, a series of contradictions - violence and non-violence. All the saints have destroyed you with their particular idiosyncrasies, with their particular patterns of violence and non-violence. To break all that, to find out for yourself demands attention, an earnestness to go through right to the very end of this question of violence, of this question of effort, conflict.
So, please listen. We are in conflict. Everything we do brings conflict. We do not know a moment, from school days till now, when we are not in conflict. Going to the office which is a terrible boredom, your prayers, your search for God, your disciplines, your relationships - everything has in it a seed of conflict. It is fairly obvious to any man who wants to know himself; when he observes himself as though in a mirror, he sees he is in conflict. And what does he do? Immediately he wants to run away from it, or to find a formula which will absorb that conflict. What we are trying to do this evening is to observe this conflict, not to run away from it.
Conflict arises when there is contradiction in our activity, in our thought, in our being, outwardly and inwardly. Conflict we accept as a way of progress. Conflict for us is a struggle. The adjustments, the suppressions, the innumerable contradictory desires, the various contradictory pulls, urges - all these create conflict within us. We are brought up to be ambitious, to make a success of life; and where there is ambition there is conflict - this does not mean that you must go to sleep, that you must meditate. But when you understand the very nature of conflict, a new energy comes, an energy which is uncontaminated by any effort; and that is what we are going to find out.
So, first of all, to be aware that we are in conflict, not how to transcend it, not what to do about it, not how to suppress it, but to be aware and not do anything about it - that is necessary. We are going to do something about it later, but first not to do anything about what you have discovered, about the fact that you are in conflict, that you are trying to escape in different ways from that conflict. That is the fact; and when you remain with that fact for a few minutes, you will see how your mind resists remaining with the fact. It wants to run away, to act upon it, to do something about it. It can never live with that fact. And to understand something, you have got to live with it; and to live with it you have to be extremely sensitive. That is, to live with a beautiful tree or a picture or a person - to live with it is not to get used to it. The moment you get used to it, you have lost the sensitivity to it. That is a fact. If I get used to the mountain where I live all my life, I am no longer sensitive to the beauty of the line, to the light, to the shape, to the extraordinary brilliance of it in the morning or in the evening. I get used to it - which means, I become insensitive to it. In the same way to live with an ugly thing demands equal sensitivity. If I get used to the dirty roads, to the dirty thoughts, to the ugly situations, to put up with things, if I get used to them, I again become insensitive. So to live with something, whether it is beautiful or ugly, or a thing that brings sorrow - to live with it means to be sensitive to it and not get used to it. So that is the first thing.
Conflict exists because we have not only contradictory desires, but all our education, all the psychological pressures of society bring about, in us, this division, this cleavage between what is and what should be, between the factual and the ideal. And we are ridden with ideals. A mind that is clear has no ideals. It functions from fact to fact and not from idea to idea. We know the nature of conflict not only at the conscious level but at the unconscious level. I do not want to discuss this evening what is conscious or what is unconscious; we will do that another day. We are now concerned with conflict, conflict throughout the total being of ourselves, not merely at the conscious level but at the unconscious level. There is conflict. Now, any effort to be free of it involves another conflict. Please see this. Any effort to be free of conflict involves another series of conflicts. It is fairly obvious, fairly logical. So the mind has to find a way of being free of conflict without effort. Do you understand the problem? If I resist conflict, or if I resist all the patterns, all the intimations which are involved in conflict, that very resistance is another contradiction and therefore a conflict. Am I making myself clear?
Look, sirs, let me put it very simply. I realize I am in conflict. I am violent, and all the saints and all the books have said I must not be violent. So there are two things in me, contradictory: violence and also that I must be non-violent; that is a contradiction, either self-imposed or imposed upon me by others. In that self-contradiction there is conflict. Now if I resist both, in order to understand or in order to avoid conflict, I am still in conflict. The very resistance creates conflict. That is fairly clear. So to understand and be free of conflict, there must be no resistance to conflict, there must be no escape from conflict; I must look at it, I must listen to the whole content of conflict - with my wife, with my children, with society, with all the ideas that I have. If you say it is not possible in this life to be free of conflict, then there is no further relationship between you and me. Or if you say it is possible, again there is no relationship between you and me. But if you say, "I want to find out, I want to go into it, I want to tear down the structure of conflict which is being built in me and of which I am a part", then you and I have a relationship; then we can proceed together.
So every form of resistance and escape and avoidance of conflict only increases conflict. And conflict implies confusion. Conflict implies brutality, a hardness. A mind in conflict cannot be compassionate, nor have that clarity of compassion. So the mind has to be aware of this conflict, without resistance, without avoidance, without an opinion put upon it. Please follow this thing. In that very act there is a discipline born - a flexible discipline, a discipline which is not based on any formula, on any pattern, on any suppression. That is to observe the whole content of conflict within; and that very observation brings naturally, effortlessly, a discipline. And you must have this discipline. I am using the word `discipline' in the sense of clarity, in the sense of a mind that thinks precisely, healthily; and you cannot have a healthy, sane, clear mind if there is conflict.
Therefore the first essential thing is to understand conflict. Perhaps you will say, "I am not free of conflict. Tell me how to be free of conflict". Do you follow? That is the pattern you have learnt. You want to be told how to be free and you will pursue that pattern in order to be free from conflict and therefore still be in conflict. That is fairly simple. So there is no `how'. Please understand this. There is no method in life. You have to live it. A man who has a method to achieve non-violence or some extraordinary state is merely caught in a pattern; and the pattern does produce a result, but it will not lead to reality. So when you ask, "How am I to be free from conflict?", you are falling back into the old pattern - which indicates that you are still in conflict, that you have not understood; which means again that you have not lived clearly with the fact. So, being in conflict implies a confused mind, and you can see this all over the world. Every politician in the world is confused and has brought misery to the world. Equally, the saints have brought misery to the world. And if you are earnest and would be free of conflict, you have to abolish totally all authority in yourself, because for a man who wants to find truth there is no authority - neither the Gita, nor your saints, nor your leaders; nobody. That means you stand completely alone. And to stand alone - that comes about when the mind is free from conflict.
You see, most of us want to avoid life, and we have found several ways and methods of avoiding this thing called life. Life is a total thing, not a partial thing. Life includes beauty, religion, politics, economics, relationships, quarrels, the misery, the torture, the agony of existence, the despair; all that is life, not just one part, one fragment of it; and you have to understand the totality of it. And that requires a mind, healthy, sane, clear. That is why you have to have a mind without conflict, a mind that has no mark of conflict, that has not been scratched. That is why conflict in any form can only be understood by being aware.
I mean by `being aware', observing it. To observe demands that you should not look at it with an opinion. You should look at it, but not with your ideas, with your judgments, with your comparison, with your condemnation. If there is a condemnation, a resistance, you are not observing; therefore, your concern then is not conflict. You cannot look at anything without an idea, and that becomes your problem. You want to observe conflict; but you cannot observe conflict if you bring in an opinion or an idea or an evaluation about that conflict, or resist it. Your concern then is to find out why you resist, not how to understand conflict - why you resist. So you have moved away from conflict and become aware of your resistance. Why do you resist? You can find out why you resist. For most of us, conflict has become a habit. It has made us so dull that we are not aware of it even. We have accepted it as a part of existence. And when you come upon it, when you see it as a fact, then you resist it, or you are trying to avoid it, trying to find a way out of it. To observe the fact that you resist is far more important than to understand conflict - how you are avoiding it, how you are bringing a formula to it. So you begin to observe your formulas, your opinions, your resistances. By being aware of all these, you are breaking down your conditioning and therefore you are able to face conflict. When you have broken down your conditioning, your resistance, your formulas, then you can face conflict.
So to understand conflict and therefore to be free of it, not eventually, not at the end of your life; not day after tomorrow, but immediately, totally - and it can be done - demands an astonishing faculty of observation which is not to be cultivated, because the moment you cultivate it, you are back again in conflict. What is demanded is the immediate perception of that total process, of the total content of consciousness - immediate observation and therefore seeing the truth of it. The moment you see the truth of it, you are out of it. And you cannot see the truth of it if, in any form whatsoever, at whatever level, you try to resist, avoid or impose upon it certain formulas which you have learnt.
So, that brings up a very important question which is: that there is no time for change. Either you change now or never. I do not mean `never' in the orthodox sense or in the Christian sense of `eternally damned' - I do not mean that. I mean: you change now in the active present - that active present may be tomorrow but still the active present. And it is only in the active present there is a mutation, not the day after tomorrow. This is very important to understand. We are so used to an idea and then we try to put that idea into action. We first formulate logically or illogically - mostly illogically - an idea or an ideal, and try to put that into action. So there is a gap between action and the idea; so there is a contradiction between the idea, the ideal, and the action. The action is the living present, not the idea. The formula is merely a fixation; the active present is the action. So if you say, "I must be free of conflict", that becomes an idea. And there is a time interval between the idea and the action, and you hope that during that time interval some peculiar, mysterious action will take place that will make you bring about a change. You understand? I hope I am making myself clear.
If you allow time, then there is no mutation. To understand is immediate. And you can only understand if you observe completely, with all your being - to listen to that aeroplane, to the hum of that with all your being, not to translate it, not say, "That is an aeroplane", or "How disturbing it is", or "When I want to listen to him, that plane is going on; then that becomes merely a distraction, a contradiction, and you are lost. But to listen to that aeroplane completely with all your being, is to listen to the speaker with all your being. There is no division between the two. There is a division only when you want to concentrate on what is being said, and that becomes a resistance. But if you are completely attentive, then you are listening to that aeroplane and you are also listening to the speaker.
In the same way if you are completely aware of the whole structure, the anatomy of conflict; then you will see that there is an immediate change. Then you are out of conflict completely and totally. But if you say, "Well, will it always be so? Will I always be free of conflict?", then you are asking the most foolish question. Then it indicates that you are not free of conflict, that you have not understood the nature of conflict. You only want to conquer and be at peace.
A mind that has not understood conflict can never be at peace. It can escape to an idea, a word called peace; but it is not peace. To have peace demands clarity, and clarity can only come when there is no conflict of any kind, totally - which is not a process of self-hypnosis. When the mind has understood and therefore is free, such a mind alone can go very far. It is only the mind that has understood conflict with all its violence, with all its insanities - and non-violence is a form of insanity because the mind has not understood violence - that can go very far. A mind that is forcing itself to be non-violent is violent. Most of your saints and teachers are full of violence; they do not know the clarity of compassion. And it is only the compassionate mind that can understand that which is beyond words.
October 27, 1963
New Delhi 1963
New Delhi 2nd Public Talk 27th October 1963
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