New Delhi 1963
New Delhi 7th Public Talk 13th November 1963
This is the last talk. This evening I would like to range over a large field and to go into things that may perhaps be rather abstruse and perhaps, verbally, not communicable.
For most of us word and action are so wide apart. We are satisfied with words. The more significant the word is, the more we are satisfied: it is unrelated to our daily living, to our daily activity. Most of us are incapable of action except within the narrow groove of everyday habit, everyday idea, a custom, a formulated opinion. And to go beyond the everyday activity and the everyday thought seems so utterly barren and difficult. But it is necessary to go beyond all that, really to find an answer to the absurdity of our daily existence. As our existence is hopeless, miserable and so utterly superficial, we try to find a satisfactory answer. And that answer we are satisfied with when it is comforting, when it gives us an opportunity to escape from our daily boredom, sorrows and the utter despair of a life that has very little meaning. And we are satisfied with words, we live with words and we live upon words. I am afraid words have never solved any problem - economic, social or so-called religious.
It is very difficult for most people to put away the word, the idea, the formula, and think of the whole issue anew. We have to think of the whole issue anew as though each one of us has no one to lean on, no one to look to, no leader, no spiritual precepts, because they have had no effect at all on our daily life. So we have to think of the problem entirely, wholly, as though you and I are facing the issue anew, afresh - and not to bring in all our old ideas, concepts; not to quote everlastingly from the sacred books. You have an old pattern, or you have a new theory if you are a Communist, and you function on those lines. But it seems to me the problem is so vast, so complex, so interrelated, that we must approach it as though we are approaching it for the first time, if it is possible at all, and look at `living ', actual living, not the abstract idea of living, not the abstract idea of what living should be - the ideal which is utterly valueless and nonsensical, which is a fiction that has no validity at all. We must be able to look at `what is' actually, with clarity, with an energy, with a drive, so that we really understand the full, deep significance of our life, of our living. And it seems to me that it is the most important thing to do, when we are confronted with an extraordinary problem.
The problem is not only here in this country but everywhere else - the utter meaninglessness of life, the absurdity of this life. Saying, inventing, or thinking about phrases and terms like God and all the rest of it, has no meaning any more. Life, as it is, means going to the office, earning a livelihood, going to the temple occasionally and calling the priest to perform your marriages, death ceremonies and so on. All these have become utterly meaningless, and so we begin to invent or give significance to life. If you have a very clever, philosophical mind, you give a new meaning, and you persuade thousands of people to think along that line. If you are in despair, you invent a philosophy of despair, or you try to recall the past, to revive the old, ancient ways of life. Because the present has no meaning at all - the way we live, the way we think, the way we go about with all our ambitions, corruption, anxieties and despair - , we are in constant battle with ourselves, with our neighbours, with society, with the world. And for what? When we put that question, we try to find an answer. We try to find an answer according to our conditioning and be satisfied with that explanation - which is again living on words, living on ashes, that have no meaning at all.
So if we look around, we will see actually that religions have no meaning any more. You verbally repeat certain phrases, because that is the habit, that is the custom, that is the usual polite thing to do - but it has no meaning at all any more - probably never had. And as religion has lost its significance, we turn to science as if that is going to solve everything - going to the moon, inventing new ways of production, automation, electronic brains etc. We always look outwardly to find an answer to a deep psychological problem. And as that has not succeeded, we turn to the expert, the specialist in economy or in politics. This is what we are actually doing, this is what is actually taking place in the world.
I think it is important for each one of us to realize, to see actually the fact, the `what is' - not to have an opinion about it, not to come to a conclusion, And you can't come to a conclusion, because whatever conclusions you come to, are insufficient to resolve the problem which is too vast. Or we may get lost in nationalism, the poison of modern existence; and also there is always the threat of war. And when none of these finds an answer, then we take to drugs, various forms of drugs, which psychologically stir you up to a heightened perception. So one observes this right through the world - not only in this unfortunate country but right through. We have not solved the problem of starvation, and probably we will never solve it the way we are going, because the problem of starvation is not of a particular country or of a particular party. It is the problem of the world. We are human beings interrelated with each other, and we all of us have to solve this problem together; but the politicians and their helpers prevent this. So when you see actually what is happening, is there an answer? Is there a way out of all this, out of this deep fundamental anxiety, fear, frustration and hopeless despair? You may not know it, you may not be even conscious of it; but it is deep down; if you can explore into your unconscious, it is there.
Is there an answer to this, and how do we find it? When you put a question like this, it is so easy to say, "Yes, there is an answer: seek God, or join this religion or that sect, or do some social reform, and so on". But every action, every attempt to solve this problem does not solve the essential problem of human existence - man's misery, his despair, his exhausting frustration. Please, I am not exaggerating. You may be satisfied with the little that you have, with your little philosophy, with you little gods, with having a good job and all the rest of it. And you may say, "Why bother about all this? Life is short, and we will eventually die. Perhaps we may live or we may not. Don't bother about all this: just live, have a good time". But only those who are really serious can live, and do live, completely, totally. I mean by `the serious' those who go to the very end, who try to find out for themselves the answer, who are not thwarted by any personal ambition and personal pleasures, but who really want to find out.
So what is the answer? Does it lie in collective activity or in individual activity? Is there such a thing as the individual apart from the collective, psychologically? You may be physically apart, but psychologically is there an entity who is totally separate, alone, in the sense of being unique, individual, undivided? There is no such human being. You are the collective. I know that is heresy for the religious man. But if you examine yourself you will see that what you think, all your habits, your ways of thought, your feelings, are controlled, shaped by the society in which you live. You are a Hindu, because you have been told you are a Hindu; or you are a Muslim or whatever you are; and you think in that pattern. And there is the whole block which is the collective, against the individual. Neither has found the answer, neither will find the answer. So how do we find the answer?
Having stated the problem, and seeing the problem very clearly - not only verbally but deeply and psychologically - , how are we to be aware of the problem? You understand what I mean? Is it a problem that is put to you by somebody, and therefore you make it your problem? Or are you aware of the problem yourself without being told of the problem? Surely, the two things are entirely different. If you accept the problem from another, it has no validity; it has become very superficial. But if it is an intrinsic problem, it is a problem with which you are confronted every day, battling with it, seeing, finding out, enquiring, because it is your despair, your agony, your frustration. It is like the problem of a man who is hungry - either he is told that he is hungry and therefore he becomes hungry, or he is actually hungry; these two states of being are entirely different.
If you and I are actually aware of this extraordinary problem of living, not escaping, then, when the speaker is beginning to go into it, you and I, being aware, have a relationship; then, you and I can meet at a certain point. But if it is not an actual, abiding, exhausting problem to you, then you and I will have no communication. You live at one level, and the speaker lives at another level. How are we aware of this problem? Please, this is very important. I am going to go into it, because it is very important to find out how we are aware. Are we aware of it merely as it affects us personally, or are we aware of it as a human, extensive, living problem of man - not of a particular man? I mean by that word `aware' not merely verbally but seeing the significance - comprehending non-verbally the state of your observation, how you observe this deep, anxious frustration, misery and sorrow which each one of us has.
How is one aware of it? Are you aware of it as a fact, or are you aware of it as it is verbally described? Am I making myself clear? Do I perceive, see, or observe merely verbally, or do I observe completely, without words? Because what we want to convey is that as long as there is conflict in observation, we shall not find the answer. As long as you put it outside of yourself, outside the skin as it were, and then observe it, then there is no answer to that: then it becomes superficial. Then it is a surface reaction to which you will find an answer which will be satisfactory to you and you will stop with that. But in the process of observation there is no conflict, then you are only observing and therefore there is no sense of distance between you and the thing which you observe - which means no conflict, which means there is no observer observing something outside himself. I hope you are following all this. What I want to get at is that the religious spirit is the only answer. There is no other answer.
But to understand this religious spirit which I am going to go into, we have to understand this kind of observation in which all conflict has completely come to an end; otherwise, you cease to observe: because, then, you come to what you observe with your opinions, with your conditioning, with your ideas, with your hopes, fears, despairs and all the paraphernalia of modern existence. Unless we completely remove this conflict in observation, we shall not find the real answer - which means that when you are able to look completely, objectively, you are able to observe, see, listen without any directive, without any motive, without any purpose; you merely observe.
Surely that is the only scientific observation; that is the only way to look, to listen to somebody - not to agree or disagree; that is so futile and empty. But to listen without conflict so that you find out whether the speaker is telling the truth or the falsehood, is difficult. We have to find this out for ourselves; nobody on earth, whoever he may be, can give it. You have to find it out yourself, because it is your life, your misery, your despair, your hopeless frustration. And when you find it, it is not an individual finding. It is the discovery of something which is true: and what is true is not personal or collective. When you find this out, then you can co-operate; then co-operation has got a different meaning when truth is functioning - not your particular form of truth, not your limited, inner voice which has no meaning at all. The man who talks about his inner voice is obviously giving out his personal conclusion - psychologically, all these are very explainable.
So before we go into this whole religious spirit, we have to enquire really deeply into it, not verbally but actually, not in any sense of seeking some kind of comfort or an opiate. This observation is absolutely necessary so that the mind can look, can listen, can observe without any sense of conflict, at itself, at its own misery, at its own anxiety, at its own frustration, and at the frustration of man throughout the world. Because if you are not capable of looking at this vast complex problem of human existence, if you will not be able to observe it without conflict, without judging, then whatever the answer you will find out will be superfluous. But if you can observe it without conflict, then you will find out; you will begin to enquire into and discover for yourself the religious spirit.
For me, revolution is absolutely necessary - not at the economic or social level; that is no revolution at all. I am talking of a religious revolution. Please, we have to understand these two words `religious' and `revolution'. And this revolution is instantaneous - it must be instantaneous; if it has duration, if you say it will happen in a few years, then it is not revolution. It must be instantaneous and immediate. And I am going to go into it and also into what we mean by the word `religious'.
First of all, to enquire and to find out what is true, you must negate. You must see what is false and put it away immediately - not according to your convenience, not when you want to put it away or when it suits you. Religion is not belief; religion is not a hypothesis, a convenience, a reasoned end of a mind which is conditioned with fear, hope and despair. The religious mind has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with any dogma, with any belief, with any idea or command or sanction of another. Please see the importance of this. The religious mind has no authority and therefore does not belong to any organized religion - Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or any other organized religion. After all, all the organized religions are merely propaganda. You have been told over and over again from childhood that you are a Hindu, you are a Muslim, you are this or you are that, you must believe and you must not believe; and you repeat it. And in your fear, in your misery, in your anguish, you hope there is God or you believe in God. To find out if there is God you must destroy completely all belief - which means all fear must cease. So religion is not belief; religion cannot be organized; religion, is not the everlasting repetition of either the `mass' or the `puja', or the everyday whispering of words.
When you listen, how do you listen? Are you listening objectively, observing the fact without conflict? A religious mind stands completely alone and therefore is not dependent on society, or on dogmas, or on rituals, or on the paraphernalia of so-called religion - how do you listen to that? Most of you, being a Hindu or a Sikh or whatever you are, will listen, will naturally react and say, "How can you say such a thing?". Therefore you have established a conflict between what is a fact and what you want that fact to be. To find out - not to be told, not to repeat everlastingly - if there is something which is beyond words, beyond the measure of time, beyond all thought, you must obviously negate completely everything you have been told. They may all be wrong, including your gurus, your saints, your ancestors, the sacred books. Why should you accept them? You only accept when you have not understood, when you are frightened, when you want some comfort in this dark, mad, confused world.
So religion is not the repetition of words; nor is it belief in God or no God. The communists are trained, are educated, not to believe, as you are educated to believe. There is not much difference between the two. You are no more religious because you believe. Probably you are worse, because you don't care, you don't see the ugly brutality of this monstrous world that is going on round you - the utter indifference, the callousness, the insensitivity.
Now, how do you deny matters normally? If you deny all the so-called religions without deeply understanding the whole significance of this psychological structure, if you merely deny them, then you are back again in the same problem, you have not answered it. But if you understand it - that is, if you understand the whole structure of fear, the whole anatomy of authority, whether it is the authority of the past or of the present, the authority of a particular guru or of the books, or the authority involving this extraordinary sense of obedience - then, you can look; then your denial will have meaning, and therefore you are out of it, not eventually but immediately; on the instant you are out. The moment you see something false, the moment you see a dangerous snake or a dangerous animal, you are gone, you are finished with it and you never touch it again. This means: the mind is no longer confused about things, is no longer in conflict between the false and the true. The false has gone completely; so the mind has purged itself, emptied itself, of the false. So religion is something that can only come about through the negative approach - not through the positive, dogmatic, assertive, propagandistic approach. You can only come to religion negatively. But the negative approach is the most positive; the other approach is not at all positive, it is nothing. And in the very act of denying you are discovering what is false, and out of that you begin to see what is true.
Now we mean by revolution something that is not an idea separated from action. It is not a planned revolution. The very term `planned revolution is contradictory in itself. It has no meaning. A planned revolution is merely conforming to a pattern established by another, whoever it is. That is not a revolution; it is only an action based on an idea formulated according to a certain pattern - which is a reaction according to which you must act. You approximate your action according to that reaction, and therefore it ceases to be action; there, the idea is more important than action - than to do, to act, to function. The revolution of which we are talking is not an idea carried out in action; therefore, in the action brought about by this revolution, there is no conflict, no approximation, no imitation of an idea. Please do see this. Perhaps it is something now which you have not read or heard, and therefore you are a little bit bewildered, and you say, "How can you act without an idea?"
You know what love is? Love is not an idea. Love is not a formula according to which you live. Love is not a concept according to which you approximate your action. Love is something in action, immediately. And when you bring an idea, it is no longer love. We have an idea of what love should be. Therefore we have stopped, we have ceased to love. We know the idea of what love should be: it must be chaste, it must be non-physical, it must be divine, it must be this, it must be that. All such ideas are established in words, in patterns, in formulas; and we do not know what it means to love, to care, to have real feeling for people, for things, for trees, for animals. We have divorced love, because we are so crowded with ideas of what love should be - that is the very depth of our existence.
The saints have told you that, to find God, you must renounce, you must have no sexual relationship, you must not look, you must not have feelings, you must suppress, you must subjugate, you must destroy. What happens when you sit on a feeling? It pops up in another direction. You are boiling inside and you suppress; you say, "In order to find God, I must live a bachelor's life; and so you go round and round in a circle, never finding God and never understanding the whole problem. So idea and action create real hell in our lives, real misery in our lives, when we separate the two.
Is it possible to act without idea? It is possible. And it is only possible when you observe without conflict, and therefore there is action instantly. And that action is not conformity. That action is an extraordinary releasing process and therefore that action is revolutionary. Now we begin to see what is the religious spirit. The man who has ideals is not religious. Take the question of non-violence. You love that word in this country; you don't mean a thing about it. It is just a word to cover up your violence, because you are violent. If you are not violent, do you think you would allow even for a minute all the things that are going on round us - the brutality, the callousness, the indifference, the complete lack of respect? By `respect' I do not mean the respect that you have for your bosses - that is not respect, I mean: when you have respect, you have respect for everybody, not for the ugly people in power. So the religious mind is really the revolutionary mind, because it is acting without idea and therefore instantly. It is only such a mind that is new, fresh, innocent, decisive, young. It is only the young mind that can decide, that can say, "That is so", not out of impetuosity, not out of some personal opinion, but because it sees actually without contradiction, and observes what is true; it is only the innocent mind, the young mind, that can do this.
And the religious mind, the religious spirit, is not divorced from beauty. We will have to examine semantically the meaning of this word `beauty'. Look at your religion! There is not even one atom of beauty in it. Is there? Look at it. Beauty implies the highest form of sensitivity - not for pictures, but the sensitivity of a mind that is alive, fresh. And therefore for that mind everything, even the most ugly thing, has its own beauty - this is not an idea. We have in this country divorced beauty from religion and therefore we have ceased to be religious. Because your saints have said, "Beauty implies the woman or the man; therefore do not be sensitive, but suppress, hide, run away; don't look; suppress your passions; you may be boiling inside, but suppress it".
To find God, you must have an extraordinary energy. You do need an energy of which I am going to talk presently. Having divorced beauty from religion, you have ceased to be religious. For you, things like the tree, the colour of the sky, the light on the water, or a bird on its wings, do not matter. But you repeat the word `God', quote the Gita, this and that, endlessly. So your lives have become harsh, brutal. And the saints have insisted on austerity. So you say, "I must suppress". But you know, austerity is the most lovely thing, not the austerity practised by your saints and the rest of the gang - I am using that word `gang' purposely without any disrespect. To feel the sense of austerity is a lovely thing. It is not harsh. And you can be austere only when there is sensitivity. To be sensitive - to have all your nerves, your eyes, your ears, function at the highest level - requires an astonishing awareness of every movement of your thought, whether you are suppressing, why you are suppressing. Then you are alive, you are watching every word, every gesture, every movement of your body and eyes. And out of this astonishing awareness, sensitivity, there comes an austerity without harshness, without bigotry, without cruelty. Therefore out of this comes the religious revolution, which in essence is the highest form of intelligence - which is: to be highly sensitive, not to have your particular likes and dislikes which everybody has, but to be sensitive to the whole human existence with all the complexities, with all the problems, with all the despairs, anxieties, sorrows; to be aware of them, to watch them. And in the very process of such observation there is discipline; and that discipline is austere, without any sense of suppression. Then the religious spirit, the religious mind, is in a constant state of revolution - I have explained that; I won't go back. It is only that mind that can find this energy.
There is an energy, a source of energy, which can never be touched by a mind in conflict, by the so-called religious mind - do what it will. Man is seeking this energy, because that is the source, the origin. Don't give it a name; it has no name. It is an energy. And it is only that energy that is creative - not the painter, not the writer, not the people who are trying to be creative, to think creatively; they are not creative. It is only the religious mind that is in a state of revolution, that is clear. It is only such a mind that can find the source of this energy in action, because that energy comprehends the whole. That energy does not comprehend, nor tries to answer, in particular fragments; but it deals entirely with the whole problem of man - not at one particular level of his particular problem. You have lost that energy - not lost; probably you never had it. You have really to discover it - not to be told like a lot of infants - , really to find it out through the religious revolution, through the sense of the highest beauty.
This demands all your attention, and that attention is virtue. The cultivated virtue is no longer a virtue; it is just a habit formed to function in a particular pattern. Virtue is something out of time. It cannot be cultivated - you are virtuous, or you are not. Think of cultivating humility! just think of that absurdity: a vain man trying to cultivate humility! He will remain at the end still vain. He has learnt the word humility and has covered it up have this humility you have to destroy completely, consciously as well as unconsciously, all vanity or pride, and on the instant, not gradually.
So the religious mind has no time. Therefore it has no idea as a psychological idea according to which it is functioning. The religious mind is acting - not socially, economically, politically. It is acting, because it has found, it has discovered, that source which is uncontaminated by thought, uncontaminated by conflict. It is only the mind that understands the true religious spirit, that can find that thing which is beyond all words.
November 13, 1963
New Delhi 1963
New Delhi 7th Public Talk 13th November 1963
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