Bombay 6th Public Talk 26th February 1964
If you permit me, I would like to talk, this evening, about the meaning and the nature of meditation. To go into it rather deeply, one must not only use reason and see the limits of reason, but also one must have passion. For most of us passion is a thing that is derived or aroused; and we do not know passion without a motive, which is not aroused. For most of us, with our daily activities, with our innumerable responsibilities and commitments, much of our energy is absorbed, taken away, experiences, wrangles, miseries, conflicts and sorrows. We have very little energy to take us very deeply into anything; we are satisfied merely to skip on the surface of things and be satisfied with a few phrases, limited experiences and certain beliefs.
But really to go into something that demands our complete attention and our total energy, requires reason, as a beginning. We would rather avoid not only that word, but the implication of that word. We think it is not quite spiritual - if I may use that word `spiritual' - when we bring reason into it; we would rather be vague, sentimental, emotional, devotional, believing, living in a hypnotic state, and from there imagine, or have, some formula about God and all the rest of it. So we try to avoid reason.
We are using the word `reason', not in a philosophical sense with all its implications; we are giving to that word the simple meaning of great honesty in thought, sanity, a sense of clear insight, perception, where there is no deception or self-delusion. Without reason as a beginning, you cannot go very far. Because, without reason, you are inevitably led to all forms of delusions, misconceptions, fears and all the rest of it. To understand the nature and the meaning of meditation, it is absolutely necessary to reason step by step, so that your mind is sharpened, your brains are clear, without any distortion, without any pressure. It does not demand any belief, any system; but it requires a brain that is sensitive, sharpened, clear, that can go step by step, not illogically, not jumping, but with rationality, with sanity.
Without reason, passion becomes merely lustful, pleasurable. Passion which is aroused, which has a motive, becomes pleasure; and pleasure breeds pain, anxiety, fear. We are talking of a passion that is not aroused, that has no cause. Because such passion implies the fire of complete attention, complete giving oneself over to something logically, sanely, reasonably, in which there is no commitment, no belief, no dogma. Without that passion one cannot go very far.
If you see a beautiful sunset on a lovely evening, if there is not that complete attention, that passion, when you look at it, it becomes merely another evening without much significance. If you look at the branch of a tree in sunlight just as the sun is setting, and if you are not capable of feeling tremendously, the beauty, the extraordinary quality - not aroused by the branch, by the sunlight, but because you are in that state of passion - then every event, every incident, every scene, every experience becomes merely another routine, without much meaning, without much significance. And if we do not understand the meaning and the nature of meditation which is astonishingly important in life, we shall miss not only the depth, but the beauty and the truth of life.
We are going to talk this evening about meditation and the meditative mind. To go into it very deeply, one must first lay the foundation, the foundation being self-knowing. Without knowing yourself completely, totally, without knowing yourself with all the intricacies of the mind, all the secret recesses of your heart and your desires, secret hopes and longings, you have no basis from which to start clearly, sanely and widely. That foundation is absolutely necessary, because otherwise you will deceive yourself; otherwise meditation becomes merely a hypnosis, a hypnotic, self-suggestive state where you have visions, excitement and every kind of delusion.
As we are going to take together a journey into this extraordinary thing called meditation, you and I have to lay that foundation. To lay that foundation there is no method. You have to understand yourself: your thoughts, your feelings, your activities, the way you speak, the way you talk, your gestures, your relationship, your jealousy, your anxieties, your fears, your guilts, and the innumerable escapes that you have established for yourself. You have to understand the totality of all this. Either you understand it in a flash completely - which can be done, and which does not demand time; and that is the only way - , or you understand by a slow process of analysis, self-critical awareness, a process of elimination, a gradual exploration. This process, if you do that, will not, under any circumstances, establish righteousness; what it establishes is a peripheral action. Such action, however wide, however deep, is an action merely at the border, merely at the periphery of one's own being; and you can spend years, months, days, polishing it - that has very little value, except socially. Such action has no value whatsoever when you want to go into this question of finding out for yourself what is truth, if you are really enquiring into the source, the origin, the beginning of all things.
That foundation is not laid through the cultivation of the periphery. As it is necessary to take a bath every day, the peripheral cleanliness is necessary: a certain morality, a certain cleanliness of thought, action. But merely by everlastingly cleaning the periphery, the outward circle, the border, one will never find, or come to the centre of things. So virtue is not of time, but yet the mind must be extraordinarily virtuous. Virtue is not a thing to be cultivated. Because the moment you cultivate a thing, it ceases to be virtue; it becomes a vice.
You cannot cultivate humility. It is only the vain man, the man who is proud, vain, arrogant - he cultivates virtue as a cloak to hide, as a mask behind which he can have full play for his vanity. But yet, there must be humility: in the sense, a mind that does not obey, that does not follow, that has no pattern, no formula, no system, but is willing to learn; a mind that never climbs the ladder; but even if it has taken two steps, it comes down and begins again. There must be that sense of humility, not humbleness, not grovelling, not the worshipping of a guru, but that quality of mind that has understood the nature of fear, the anatomy of authority that seeks some one to give it comfort, position, security. In the understanding of these things comes that sense of humility which is absolutely necessary if one would learn the nature of meditation, the nature of truth, the meaning of reality.
First of all, for most of us, life, the everyday living is a drab, shallow, ugly, petty, little thing. The quarrels, the office with its boredom, sex and its repetitive pleasures, the daily efforts, struggles - we want to escape from all that. And meditation, for most people, becomes an easy escape; they practise, they sit down and follow a system of thought, of ideas, and a formula which again becomes very repetitive. And they do not mind such repetitive activity of the mind, because they ultimately hope to achieve or gain or understand something which that system promises. That is not meditation at all, it is merely an escape from actuality, from `what is', into self-hypnotic states.
And most people are satisfied with this formula of meditation, the repetition of words. If you go into it, you will observe that, if you repeat over and over and over again a name or a sentence or a mantram or whatever you do, obviously such repetition dulls the mind, it puts the mind to tranquillity, to sleep; and that state of self-hypnotic, suggestive sleep is considered an extraordinary state that you have achieved. It is a form of hypnosis, and it is a very well-known phenomenon. In that state of hypnosis you may have visions which are the projections of your own background, of your own fears, of your own conditioning; and you get terribly excited about those. But that is not meditation. And if one would go very deeply into this whole question of meditation, one has to drop that formula of meditation completely and totally. You cannot play with it. Because there must be no breath of any suggestion, any self-hypnosis, any directive; the mind must be completely clear, without any pressure, without any conditioning.
You know, as a Hindu, as a Muslim, as a Christian, or what you will, you may see your gods; those are the projections of your own background, your own desires; you will see your Masters, your saints, your saviours, your Krishnas and your Ramas and all the rest of it; those are all juvenile, immature. To enquire into meditation, they must be entirely put aside, not forcefully, not surgically, but because you understand yourself.
And that is why self-knowing is extraordinarily important for a man who would go very deeply into meditation. And what is important is also to break down immediately the whole psychological condition of man, the psychological structure imposed by society, and by you through society - the psychological structure of greed, envy, ambition, the desire to be secure in a belief, in an idea, in a formula. And that breaking down of your conditioning as a Hindu, as a Christian, or what you will, can only be done instantly, when you bring the conditioning into a crisis, and that crisis demands your attention. Every crisis demands your attention - attention being that you give your complete energy, your complete thought, all your feelings, everything that the crisis demands.
You know, when you lose your job, when you are suddenly thrown out, or when there is sudden death or you are faced with a real problem - not an imaginary, speculative problem, but an actual problem - , that demands your attention. It is a big crisis and you have to answer it; you cannot avoid it, you cannot run away from it; it demands attention.
So one can bring the whole conditioning - I mean by the conditioning, the past of the race, of the family, of the name, of the culture, the superficial moralities - all that into a crisis in the present. And that is the only way to break down the conditioning of the mind; then the brain is sharpened and clear and free.
So really for a mind that would go very deeply into meditation, these are absolutely, inevitably necessary; otherwise, you are fooling yourself with a lot of things that have no meaning whatsoever.
Then there comes the question of prayer. That is supplication; somebody is going to do something. A higher entity, a superior wisdom, a Master, a guru, a saviour, somebody outside of your own clarity, understanding, is going to do something for you, for your people, for your race. That again leads to delusion. You may, through prayer, receive something - it is a well-known psychological phenomenon; it is not the moment now to go into that. You can pray for a refrigerator and you will probably get it - that is a very well-known phenomenon. So, that has to be abandoned too, that has to be completely put aside.
If you are following what we are talking about - and I hope you are doing it, not merely listening verbally, hearing the words, but actually following it step by step as the speaker is unfolding it - , you will find that your mind now, your brain, is no longer functioning at the periphery, at the edge, at the boundary, but it is beginning to sharpen itself; it is beginning to clear itself of all the debris, of all the accumulation of the past; and therefore it is capable of looking, observing, listening.
Then there is the question of control of thought. Every form of control - every form, physically, psychologically and mentally - is detrimental, is destructive. Please listen to all this. Don't say, "Must I not control?", but listen to the very end of this expla- nation. Every form of control implies subjugation, imitation, forcing, compelling. And in that is involved a great deal of effort: I must become that, I must discipline myself to that. When you do that, the mind and the brain are perverted; they are not clear. Only the mind that is not perverted, the brain that is not twisted, that has no pressure of any kind in any direction - it is only such a mind, such a brain, that can understand what is truth; not a brain, not a mind that is shaped through compulsion, through force, through imitation, through fear.
So one has to understand this whole problem of controlling thought. Everybody controls thought; every schoolboy is taught how to control, how to concentrate. One has accepted it as an axiom, as you all accept so many things in life. You never question, you never say `no' to anything that is serious. You may say `no' to some little things, but you never deny; and it is only through denial that you find out.
We are going now into this question of control and what is involved in it. Where there is control there is waste of energy. You need tremendous energy to go to the very end of meditation, and therefore there must be no wastage of energy. This energy is not brought about through so-called sexual abstinence - that is only a peripheral cleanliness. This energy which you have to have, can only come through clarity, when the mind is absolutely free, without any distortion, when the brain is highly sensitive - sensitive to everything, to every reaction, to the beauty of a sunset, to the cawing of a crow, to the squalor and the dirt on the road, to the intimations of your own unconscious, to your relationships to the quiet night when you are by yourself either in a pleasant room or an ugly room; to be totally sensitive. And that can only be brought about naturally, spontaneously, easily, when we understand this question of control.
There is for most people `the thinker and the thought; so there is a division between thought and that entity who is separate from thought. Observe yourself, please. You are not listening to my description and applying that description to yourself you are actually watching yourself. If you observe yourself you will see that there is the thinker apart from your thought, there is the observer of the tree and the tree - not the word but the actual fact; the word tree is not the tree. So there is `the observer and the observed', `the thinker and the thought'. And the thinker is always trying to shape thought, always trying to control, to guide thought - this is the origin of all effort, of all control; I must be this, I must not be that, I must not smoke though I have the habit, and so on and on.
The I and the thing observed, the thinker and the thought - unless you understand this thing, you are wasting your energy in control. You need every breath of energy, every unit of energy, and therefore there must be no effort. A machine, if there is any friction, wears itself out; it is not performing, functioning beautifully; it is not picking up. In the same way, if there is any kind of effort, at any level, it is a wastage of energy. And to understand the wastage of energy and to free the mind and the brain from this effort, one has to understand this division: the thinker and the thought.
You accept this division, because you think the thinker is a permanent entity, a spiritual entity, the Atman, the Higher-Self - the names that one gives to this. If you observe that very carefully, the so-called Higher Self or the so-called Atman with all the rest of the things. that you use and imply, is still within the field of time. Because man has thought of it - man, whether it be Sankara or your pet guru or somebody else, has thought of it - , he has brought it into the realm of thought. And thought has created this superself the super-Atman, the Higher self, which is guiding, which is shaping, which is controlling, which is creating this division.
Now, is there such an entity? The speaker says there is no such entity. it does not matter who says it - what there is is thinking, thought and nothing else. Thought creates the entity as the thinker. Because if you have no thought, if you are in a state of amnesia, without memory, completely blank, then there is no thinker who has identified himself with innumerable experiences, ideas, beliefs, dogmas. So a man who would go very far into the understanding of the nature of meditation, must understand this whole problem of thought, not controlling, not shaping not guiding thought.
So one has to enquire into this whole question of memory, memory accumulated as knowledge, as experience, and stored up through association and all the rest of it, as in the mechanical computer - in the mechanical computer, in the electronic brain, man has built a series of memories, layers, banks of memories; and when those are called upon, the computer begins to think. The memory becomes the I, from which there is thought, from which there is reaction as thought. If you understand that, then there is only thinking. Therefore, there is no control of thought. Then you see the whole mechanism of thinking. Then you can proceed from there and enquire into this whole question of experience.
This is all part of meditation, from the very beginning of this talk till now. We are understanding the nature and the meaning of meditation, we are in a state of meditation. Don't say at the end, "What do you mean by meditation?". You are actually going through, with the speaker, taking the journey actually, into this extraordinary thing called `meditation'. Don't stop half-way. If you are tired then that is all right. But you must go into it very very deeply, because life is very deep, not the shady thing that you call life - that is not life at all; that is just mechanical existence, a brutal, ugly. superficial thing that we call life. you want to go into this extraordinary phenomenon of life and the depth and beauty of meditation, you have to take a tremendous journey. And we are taking it together.
So you have to enquire into this question of experience, which is still, like thought, a part of consciousness. Experience means going through something, however small, however immediate, however deep. That is, to every challenge there is a response. The challenge may be a tremendous crisis, and you respond adequately or inadequately or totally to that challenge or to that crisis. For most of us, the challenges are merely superficial, and we hardly know that there are challenges at all; because our whole life is so mechanical, so superficial, so casual. And a man who has been through a hundred experiences, a thousand experiences, wants a new experience. Don't you know? Don't you all pray for something new to happen in your life, a new experience, or a new vision - a new way of looking at a tree, a new, way of looking at your wife, at your husband, to see in a new way the beauty of the sunset, the blue of the sky? Because we are so exhausted, we are so bored with our everyday experience. And every experience is within the consciousness of `the me', of the thinker.
Thought, when pushed to the very extreme, steps beyond the borders of consciousness, because there are no words, there is no memory - but that is a different matter. Most of us pray for new experiences. Please bear in mind that this is a part of your meditation, and we are taking the journey, together.
The mind, the brain, your being, wants something new to happen; and you want a new experience. You want to expand your consciousness, and so you take a drug - there are many new drugs that give you the sense of expansion of consciousness. When in that state, you see things immaculately, you see everything afresh - the tree, the branch, the leaf - as you have never seen it before; for the first time, you see the splendour of light, the beauty of a leaf as it falls to the ground; because that drug has made your brain highly sensitive. There are drugs like L.S.D. 25 and so on. And in that state, according to your conditioning you respond. In that state, if you are a Christian, you see God; whatever it is, it is still within the field of the known, highly sensitized and therefore highly perceptive of a particular conditioning. Therefore mere experience has no value in meditation. Please, I am going to go a little bit into this.
There is always challenge and response, challenge from the outside and response from you. If you are aware of this challenge outwardly, then perhaps you will also be aware of rejecting the outer and becoming a challenge to yourself, all the time questioning - a challenge to yourself; nobody puts a challenge, not society, not incident, not environment; but you yourself are challenging everything you are doing and responding. You follow? There is the outward challenge to which you respond. And then there is the challenge which you yourself offer to yourself, questioning, asking, demanding, forcing, enquiring, pushing, driving. Then if you go still further into this question of experience, is it possible to live without experience at all, in which there is no challenge and no response, in which there is no crisis, big or small? Is it possible? It is possible only when the mind is so terribly awakened. How can there be a challenge to life?
So in meditation, there is no search for experience at all. Please follow all this. There is no search at all, not only for experience but for every form of seeking, asking, questioning. Because only when there is no seeking and no asking, when there is no directive conditioning, when the brain has been sharpened to its highest sensitivity, when there is no sense of control but complete awareness, out of this comes the stillness of the mind - not the stillness that you are seeking, that you are cultivating, that is death, that is stagnation.
Out of this awareness of all that has been said till now, during this evening - awareness of those crows, awareness of the speaker, awareness of your reactions to the speaker and the words he is using, choicelessly, negatively observing, being so totally aware - , out of this awareness there is attention. You cannot attend if you are not silent. You listen to those crows, actually listen, give your attention - not resistance. Listen to those crows and listen to the speaker simultaneously - not two different things. And to pay complete attention to the crows and to the speaker, and to watch your own mind, how it is working, you need that attention which comes out of complete silence. Otherwise, you are merely resisting the crows and trying to listen to the speaker; so there is a division, there is a conflict; so there is a pushing away, an exclusion - which is what most people do, which is concentration.
In concentration, if you observe, there are several things involved, as in the case of a child. Give the child a toy; the toy is so interesting that he is completely absorbed by the toy; he is not mischievous, he spends hours, days, in that toy; he loves it; the toy is so exciting, the toy has taken him over. That is part of concentration; nothing exists except the toy.
Part of concentration is this self-absorption, identified with the Masters, with the guru, with somebody, with your gods. You want to concentrate on your ideas, on your Masters, on your gurus, on your pictures - you know all that business man has invented. In that concentration there is exclusion; you are not aware, you are not attentive; you do not look at the tree, the bird, the passer-by, the colour of the sari; you are totally unaware.
And it is only the mind that is completely aware, that is completely attentive. And this attention and this awareness can only come when there is total stillness. That stillness is absolutely necessary.
Perhaps some of you have really taken the journey with the speaker so far; you have actually, factually, walked step by step on this journey, till now. If you have done it, you will see that your mind is extraordinarily quiet. Please I am not hypnotizing you - it is so immature a trick of a clever charlatan. We are actually going through, actually living it, there is no pretension. Either you are there or you are not there. If you are not there, you have to begin right from the beginning, and go through it.
So there is no sense of being hypnotized by somebody else, by his ideas or by his words or by your own longing to find the silence. It comes inevitably, as the sun rises in the east of a morning, when the mind has completely gone through all this and understood. Because it is the mature mind - the mind that is capable of looking at itself pitilessly, without any self-pity, without tears, without hope, without fear, the mind that is stark naked - that is capable of standing completely alone, not only in this world but in the psychological world which is inside the skin, without looking for anybody, for any support, for any way of conduct, to be encouraged.
If you have gone that far, then you will see the mind is completely silent. In that silence there is no reflection. When you look into a well which is rich with water and quietness, you see your own face; the reflection of your own face is there in the water; and you can go on improving that reflection ad nauseam, changing it, modifying it. In that silence there is no reflection; as there is no thinker, there is no thought; it is devoid of all experience, but it is tremendously alive; it is energy, not death, not decay.
Now, so far, we can use words up to there. But to go further into this extraordinary silence, you not only have to proceed non-verbally, non-abstractly, but actually. And you cannot proceed actually unless you have come, step by step, where we are now. Perhaps some of you have gone through it, and you and you now begin to understand the nature and the meaning of meditation, and so are able to be actually in that silence, unimagined, not provoked, not premeditated - it is there.
In that silence, there is no onlooker, there is no entity that says, "I am silent". There is only silence, an immense space in which there is emptiness. Because unless the mind is empty, it cannot possibly see the new. When the mind is empty - not induced emptiness - when there is the sense of complete void, which is alive, vibrating, strong, potent, not dormant, not a state of blankness, then you will see that there is quite a different movement of creation.
You may say, "Are you not, when you are talking about that silence, observing that silence?". What we are saying is merely the word, but not the thing. The word tree is not the tree. The speaker is only describing; the word, the description, is not the effect. Therefore you can forget the word, forget the description, and be actually there.
If you are there, if the mind is totally aware in that quality of pure clarity, then out of that there is creation - creation not in the mundane sense of the word: painting a picture, writing a poem, creating the baby. Because the world is in a state of creation, the universe is, it is exploding. And only in that extraordinary silence which has no border, which has no depth, no height, no measure, out of this immense silence, one knows the origin, the beginning of all things.
February 26, 1964
Bombay 6th Public Talk 26th February 1964
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