New Delhi 1963
New Delhi 3rd Public Talk 30th October 1963
I wonder what the purpose of a gathering like this is. What do you, if I may ask - not that you are going to reply - , expect from this? What do you want out of a gathering or meeting like this? I do not know what you want. Each person has his own particular problem which he wants resolved, and hopes he would find here, there, somewhere or other, an answer to an agony, to a despair, to an intense searching problem which he has. But I know what the speaker intends. He wants to convey something not only linguistically, verbally, but also to convey through the word something beyond the word. And to convey that thing beyond the word, the word must be understood and also the mind must be able to communicate, to receive, to comprehend, to understand - and that is where our difficulty lies.
Most of us have innumerable problems - economic, social, family, personal, collective, national, international; every kind of problem, at every level of our existence - , some very simple and others extraordinarily complex. We try to solve each problem in isolation as though it was something separate from the rest of our existence. But no problem is separate, whether it is an economic problem or your personal, individual problem. All problems are interrelated. And we have to know how to understand the extraordinary relationship of each problem, without trying to find an answer to the problem as a thing apart. For this we need a new mind, not a mind that is integrated, not a mind that is in fragmentation and is put together as an integration.
There is no such thing as integration; a thing that is broken up cannot be integrated. What is demanded is a new mind, not the approach of the old mind with all its superstitions, fears, dogmas, nationalities, authorities, traditions. There must be a new mind which sees the relationship of every problem with another problem, an interrelated comprehension of the whole. A problem cannot be answered. There is no answer to our human problems. Perhaps there may be an answer economically, technologically; but psychologically there is no answer.
The answer is in the problem itself - how we understand it, how we approach it, what we do and how we act with that problem. When a mind seeks an answer, a solution to this extraordinary, human, psychological, complex problem, there is no answer. What we have to do is to understand the problem, to investigate it, to go into it with all our being, and to go into it completely, totally. We cannot approach it with a fragmentary mind, a mind that has divided life into the economic world and the spiritual world, that avoids the one and goes off to the other, denies the one and accepts the other. It is the old mind that does it - the mind that is conditioned, that has not understood the problem. The problem, the crisis, the challenge is in you, and you have to reply adequately. You are the world and you have to respond to this as a human being - not as an Indian, a Sikh, a Muslim, or a Christian - they are all outdated, they have no meaning any more. It is important how you, as a human being, respond to this.
The world is really you, whether you accept it or not, whether you like it or not. And if you merely try to answer all these extraordinary problems as though they are separate, independent, or if you approach them from a nationalistic or a class point, you will not reply adequately to these extraordinary challenges.
You need a new mind, a new way of thinking and a new way of feeling, a new way of being. I would like, this evening, to go into that. But before I go into it, each one of us must see the necessity of denying the old mind, of putting away the old mind. You cannot put away something unless you completely, totally, understand it, see the implications involved. You cannot destroy the old mind and grope after the new mind. You have to understand the old mind; but to understand you must give your attention. And this attention will bring about a revolution, a mutation in the mind; you don't have to do a thing, only you must give your complete attention. So our question is not merely the freedom of the old; but in freeing the mind of the old, what is important is the manner, the way that it is done.
I hope this is very clear between you and me: we are trying to understand the problem of existence with all its ramifications, with all its fragments. There must be a total answer - not a political answer, not a sociological or scientific answer. If we try to answer the problem partially, our problems will increase a thousand times. So there must be a total approach, so that this approach can bring about naturally, without effort, without conflict, a tremendous mutation in the whole of consciousness itself. That is our problem, that is the central issue with which we are confronted.
I hope it is clear between you and the speaker, that we are not dealing with any particular, single, isolated problem of human existence, but we are concerned with putting away the old mind and thereby bringing about the new mind. The new mind is not a mind put together by us, by our travail, by our misery, by our anxiety, despair and agony. We have to understand all these agonies, despairs, conflicts, miseries, confusions; and the way we understand, the way we approach that complex, psychological structure of a human being is important. And out of that understanding comes the new mind. There is no new mind if you are ambitious, greedy, envious, superstitious, ignorant. So, we have to understand the fact as it is - not have an idea about it, not enquire into what the new mind is and speculate endlessly about that.
We are concerned with a deep, psychological revolution, an explosion at the very root of our being, because everything around us has failed. All the religions, education, nationalities, economic societies - everything that man has put together brings more misery, more confusion. This is obvious. So, what we need - not eventually but now, in the present, in the active daily living - is a tremendous revolution, a mutation. So, if that thing is clearly seen by each one of us, then the question arises: how is the mind that is crippled with the old, to slough it off, how is it to put it away easily, without any effort, without any struggle? The problem then is: is it possible for a mind that has been so conditioned - brought up in innumerable sects, religions and all the superstitions, fears - to break away from itself and thereby bring about a new mind? I hope I am putting the question clearly.
The old mind is essentially the mind that is bound by authority. I am not using the word `authority' in the legalistic sense; but by that word I mean authority as tradition, authority as knowledge, authority as experience, authority as the means of finding security and remaining in that security, outwardly or inwardly, because, after all, that is what the mind is always seeking - a place where it can be secure, undisturbed. Such authority may be the self-imposed authority of an idea or the so-called religious idea of God which has no reality to a religious person. An idea is not a fact, it is a fiction. God is a fiction; you may believe in it, but still it is a fiction. But to find God you must completely destroy the fiction, because the old mind is the mind that is frightened, is ambitious, is fearful of death, of living and of relationship; and it is always, consciously or unconsciously, seeking a permanency, security.
So, that is the old mind, and I am going to go into that. Now, I am going into it verbally; naturally, the only means of communication between the speaker and you is to use words. But if you twist the words, if you interpret the words to suit your own convenience, your own fiction, your own myth, then communication immediately ceases, because you move away into the realm of your particular fancy, of your particular ideas. So, as the speaker is going into it, you have to listen not only to the word but also to the meaning of that word, see how you react to that word - please follow all this - and how you deal with the thing that the word awakens in you. You understand? I hope I am making myself clear. I am going to go into something rather complex, verbally complex. And most of us - being intellectually, verbally, very complicated, very clever - will translate it into intellectual terminology, into a concept and leave it there. But what the speaker proposes is something entirely different. He proposes that when you leave this place you have completely understood the whole significance of what he is saying, and in the very act of understanding you are free from the things that are destroying you, and free of the mind that is dead, crippled, corrupt and that cannot possibly understand the new.
If you observe, there is everincreasing knowledge, more and more information. We are the entities made up of knowledge which is memory; we are not so sharp, clear, quick as the electronic brain, but we function alone that same process, in the same field. We are a bundle of memories and nothing else. Don't say, "Are we not the atman, the supersoul?". They are just words and they have no meaning. Somebody has told you about them and you repeat them - which is still a form of memory. We are a bundle of memories; that is the fact.
Now, what is the relationship of knowledge to freedom? How far is knowledge essential to freedom? Is knowledge opposed to ignorance, and what is ignorance? And this freedom, if there is such a thing - does it come from knowledge?
So, we are first going to understand what we mean by that word `ignorance'. For the speaker, ignorance essentially does not mean the lack of book-knowledge - anybody can learn how to read and write and go to the office, go to the factory. I am using the word `ignorance' in the sense of having no knowledge of the whole psychological structure of oneself, not knowing yourself please listen carefully: not knowing yourself - not `not knowing the atman', the man who repeats the word `atman' does not know what it means. What you know is yourself. You are a bundle of memories, and it is no good repeating what tens of thousands or millions of people have said. You have to find out. To find out you must enquire; and to enquire you must have freedom and not everlastingly repeat what the Gita, the Bible, the Koran, or your guru says - it has no meaning any more; probably it never had except for those people who want to avoid, to escape, to bypass living with all its problems. The man who bypasses existence - living, the actual present - is not a religious man at all. He may go to all the gurus, all the ashrams, to every religion, but he is not a religious man. A religious man has the new mind - the mind that has no fear, that is not ambitious, that is without conflict.
So, ignorance is the lack of self-knowing. By self I mean the self that functions every day - not the big self with a big, capital `S'-; I mean the self that goes to the office, that quarrels, that is greedy, that is afraid of death and of living, that seeks, that gropes after, that suffers, that is in conflict, that agonizes over every thing, that does not care. Without knowing that self, to try to find out what the supreme self is is sheer nonsense - that is fiction for a man who does not know himself. So, the man who does not know that he is a bundle of memories - both the conscious as well as the unconscious, the totality of his being - that person is ignorant. Now, this person has to understand the whole structure of his memories and responses according to that memory, to observe, to be aware, to watch. You see, most of us do not want to do that; we would rather go to somebody and be told what to do. It requires attention to watch yourself. To watch yourself requires infinite love - not chastisement, not condemnation, not evaluation. It requires love so that you watch out of extraordinary clarity - just observe, just see.
As all of us are a bundle of memories and are adding every day to that bundle more and more, what is the relationship of that bundle - which is the creator of problems - to the thing that it seeks, which is freedom? Because you must be free. That is absolutely essential; otherwise, you can never discover anything. And this freedom is not a reaction to bondage, it is not freedom from something. If it is freedom from something, then it is a reaction and therefore not freedom If I am free from pride and I know that I am free from pride, then it is not freedom from pride. Freedom is something that cannot be cultivated, that cannot be sought. It comes with an extraordinary vitality, with a fury, with an intensity, only when you begin to understand the whole psychological structure of yourself. So that is the issue.
Because you are the world, you have to act, you have to think, you have to feel in the world that is undergoing tremendous changes, that is made corrupt by the politician, by the religious people - I am using `religious' in the wrong sense of the word, that is in the sense of `made ugly by the saints, by the organized religious dogmas, beliefs; they are not religious people at all, and this world is made ugly by them. We live in that world and we have to understand that world. And to understand you must observe. And observation is not merely of the world outside you, because the world outside you is the `you' inside as well, the observer. There is no division between the world and you, you are the world. So how you observe yourself is of the highest importance. This observation of yourself is not the isolation of yourself from the world. Please do understand this. You are the world, the world in which you are born, in which you are educated - the family, the social, psychological structure of the society about you, the economic conditions in which you live - , which shapes your mind, your thought, your feeling. So you, as a human being, have to understand this. And in the process of understanding, in the very act of understanding, the new is born.
How do you observe yourself? What is observation and what do you observe? Who is the observer? Do you follow? You have to observe. Obviously that is essential. You have to see because when you see you begin to care. If you see that dirty road, if you really see the starvation, the poverty, the degradation, the corruption in this country - if you really saw it you would care, you would do something, you would act. But you do not care because you do not see. And when you do see, you want some social action to take place and therefore you wait.
To see is to care. To observe is to love. I am using the word `love' as a total thing - not the divine love, the sexual love, the personal love; those are all mere ideas; we are not dealing with ideas, we are dealing with facts. If you observe a dog, then you will begin to love that dog. If you observe your children, you will begin to love those children - not your particular children, but children. You will watch them intensely, completely, when they are sleeping, waking, crying, being naughty. In the same way, when you observe yourself you will care. Sirs, I hope I am making myself clear. You will care for what you observe and therefore you will not condemn what you see. You won't say, "I am ugly", "I am beautiful"," I am this", "I am that". You won't say that, because you will care when you are watching. Therefore when you watch, when you observe, you will see that you are observing without condemning, without bringing all the past experience into your mind, which either accepts or denies what you observe.
You see, sirs, we do not know what it means to love; we don't. We beget children, we are married, we have families, but we do not know what it means to love. If we loved, if there was love, if there was care, then we would find ways and means to fill the stomachs of the poor, build houses, do something drastically, independent of the ugly politicians with their words. We do not know what it means to love. And love cannot come to you if you do not understand yourself. That is the only solution in the world - to care profoundly.
So to understand yourself there must be no authority - the authority of a memory, of a previous observation. You understand? Look! When you observe a child whom you love - if you love at all - , that implies a tremendous thing. To love somebody - that means `to care'. When you observe a child what is happening? You watch. If you care, you do not condemn, you watch; you don't push him, you don't direct him, you don't say, "This is right", "This is wrong". You want to find out about the child, what he thinks, what he feels. You want to establish a sensitive relationship with the child because you care, you love: that he must be brought up properly, that he must have the right education entirely different from this rotten education, that he must not merely live for a job and die in a job. In the same way, in that extraordinary sensitive observation which comes with care, you watch yourself without authority, you watch yourself without the previous knowledge of what you have observed and learnt. Are you following this or is it too difficult? If I observe myself from what I have learnt from my previous observation, I am not observing - I am merely observing from the experience which I have had yesterday and that experience is going to dictate how I shall observe; therefore it prevents me from observing. If you observed your child who has been naughty yesterday and with that knowledge you observe him today, you are not observing him. That knowledge is going to dictate how you should observe him today. That previous knowledge becomes your authority. That knowledge is the tradition, what the guru, what the saints, what society has said; and with that you observe, and therefore it is not observation at all.
If you are really interested to observe and therefore really care, then all the tradition, all the authority of yesterday or ten thousand yesterdays drop away from you. Then you are observant every minute, watching, looking, listening, because you have the feeling of care, affection, love. These are not ideas; don't nod your heads in agreement. This is your life we are talking about - not my life - , your life which is so torn apart, which has no meaning any more, hedged about with so many anxieties, fears.
So a mind that is observing itself is watching the words, the gestures, the ideas, the feelings, the reactions, putting up with insults, inviting flattery. As you begin to observe yourself you will see that all authority - as tradition, as what people will say and won't say, all the authority of the guru, of the book - comes to a complete end, because then you become a light unto yourself. And that is absolutely essential because nobody can give you truth, nobody can point it out to you. Because truth is not something that is static. It is a living thing, a thing that is moving swiftly. It is not a word. And to find that, the mind must be equally swift and equally without a word. So if you really care and therefore observe, you will find that out of that observation comes freedom.
But you see most of us are so crippled by authority, both outwardly and inwardly. We respect authority, and authority is one of the most difficult things to be free from. Authority is different from law. Don't mix the two. The law of the road, the law of the country, the law that says that you must pay tax - that is entirely different from the authority of fear, the authority of a mind that is seeking security, the authority of a mind that has many experiences and uses those experiences to understand the living present. Because that authority is of time, of yesterday; it is not a living thing. And a dead thing shapes the living thing. A dead thing judges in its observation and says, "This is right", "This is wrong", "This is the right value", "This is the wrong value". As you observe in the world now, all values are going, all values have gone. Psychologically, inwardly, we have still values and with those values we observe. So to observe implies care, and when you care there is no condemnation, no comparison. You don't compare your child with his elder brother; you love that child. It is only when you do not care, when there is no love, you begin to compare and say, "You are not so good as your elder brother".
There is not only the authority of the conscious mind of which one is aware in daily process - the authority of your experiences of which you are conscious and which guides you, shapes you and controls you - but also there is the authority of the unconscious. I do not know if you yourself have gone into it directly - probably not. First of all you have neither the time nor the inclination. But probably all of you have read Freud and a few other psychologists or your own particular religious books which describe your consciousness, and you repeat it after them and think you have understood. What I am talking about is something direct, to be lived, discovered, understood immediately, as the speaker is talking.
There is the conscious as well as the unconscious - the thing that is hidden. The daily mind that operates, that goes to the office, that has technical knowledge of how to run a machine, what to do; the mind that is educated by the modern system to become a lawyer, a politician, a technician, a labourer - that is the conscious mind. There is the unconscious mind deep down, the racial instinct, the inherited racial knowledge, the things that are hidden which have never been uncovered, looked into - all that is part of you. I am not going to go into the details of the unconscious, because that would demand quite a lot of enquiry and that is not the purpose for the moment.
There is the unconscious. To enquire into that and to remove from it all authority - because otherwise there is no freedom, otherwise there is no discovery of the new - you must observe. You cannot possibly discover what is new with the eyes of the old. Life demands that every minute you look at it anew. And in looking at it anew, there is beauty. To look at the tree, the person, the mountains, the dirt, the squalor, to see all that anew, demands that you shall be free. Our question is now not only how to free the conscious mind but also how to be aware of the authority that is in the conscious mind and also of the authority that is in the unconscious mind - which is much more difficult. To observe your secret thoughts, your secret motives, the fears that have not been discovered, the hopes, the sorrows, the longings, the deep motives - to discover those, to bring them out to the surface demands an extraordinarily sharp mind. And the mind is sharp only when it is quiet. The conscious mind which observes the unconscious can only observe when it is completely quiet. I hope I am making myself clear. The conscious mind - do you understand what I mean by the conscious mind? I have explained it enough - has to be quiet, not forced to be quiet, not made quiet. If you would understand your child, you have to observe him quietly, haven't you?
So the conscious mind becomes quiet when you are enquiring into the unconscious. You will see also that the two are not separate - it is one movement, one process, which has been divided for convenience as the conscious and the unconscious. As you begin to understand the conscious mind you will also begin to see that there is an understanding of the unconscious.
And the moment you see the necessity of being completely free from all authority - which you don't because your fear prevents you - , when you go through like a flame through fear, when you see the poisonous nature of authority - whether it be of the guru, of the book, of a word, of a symbol, or the psychological authority of a nation, of a group - , when you see that authority destroys, corrupts the mind, and therefore the mind cannot possibly think clearly, when you see the truth of all that, then you will begin to observe the conscious as well as the unconscious, and thereby free yourself from authority.
Authority is of the old. Authority is never the new, it is never the living. The thing that is beautiful has no authority. How can innocence have authority? How can love have authority? So a mind that is ridden by authority, whether it is the authority of the wife over the husband or of the husband over the wife, of the book, of the guru - all authority the ugly nature of which we all know - , a mind that is seeking security and therefore clinging to authority - when that mind sees, when it observes with care, you find that all authority ceases.
Then you are a light unto yourself. And there is great beauty and freedom in that light, and then you begin merely to observe. What is light in itself does not demand any experience, does not seek, because there is no `more'. And that light has no shadow. To come to that light, you cannot invite it, you cannot sacrifice something for it. That light comes of its own accord, sweetly, uninvited, with a fury that will never leave you. But for it to come there must be no authority - which means the old is dead, the old mind is dead and gone. It is only such a mind which is really, truly, the religious mind.
October 30, 1963
New Delhi 1963
New Delhi 3rd Public Talk 30th October 1963
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