Saanen 8th Public Talk 27th July 1965
I would like this morning to go into a question which I think is most important in the lives of all of us: the question of love and death. But before I go i;into that, I would like to make certain things clear.
Communication is comparatively easy when we both-know the same language, and give the same meaning to the same word. If both of us have the same reference, and it is constant, then communication becomes possible, as was demonstrated by the Mariner II, which passed fairly close to Mars and sent photographs and messages back to earth. As long as verbal communication is necessary, we must both be very clear in the understanding and use of words.
But communion I think is much more difficult, because in communion we are not sharing - even though that word, according to the dictionary, implies sharing, partaking. I think sharing is possible only with regard to things, experiences, ideas; but if you go beyond all that, sharing becomes really impossible. You and I can't share the beauty of those mountains. One may talk about them, one may write a book about them, or put words together to make a poem; but you and I can't share their extraordinary beauty. That beauty is there for each one of us to look at, to delight in, but we are not sharing that beauty. Beauty cannot be shared, because beauty is not a stimulus. If we understand the meaning of that word `sharing', we can see very clearly that sharing implies that one who has experience, or knowledge, is willing to allow another to partake of it with him. That is generally what is called `sharing' - and with that goes the whole hierarchical system of division. Sharing implies that you know, and I don't know, does it not? You share with me what I do not know, what I have not experienced, what I have never felt. You are good or generous enough to be willing to share something with me.
But pure beauty cannot be shared, because you can't own it, and I can't own it. It isn't an item of personal property; it isn't a thing which you or I can possess, and then share with another. Beauty is simply there, like the sunset, like the mountain, like the flowing of a river,like the quietude of an evening. Because beauty is there, you can look at it and delight in it; but you cannot share that beauty with another. The other also must be deeply aware, he must be equally sensitive, intelligent. Then beauty is not to be shared, but rather to be looked at, to, be enjoyed. It is there for each one to revel in, to take delight in.
So when we use the word `share `, it generally implies that one possesses and another does not, that one has something.and another has not. That attitude, that feeling of sharing, reflects the hierarchical approach to life: the ' top brass' and the common soldier; the Pope and the ordinary priest; the cardinal in his magnificent robe, and the lowly monk in his black cloth; the one who knows, and the one who does not know. Such a=i attitude breeds authority, ambition, struggle, great pain and infinite sorrow.
Please listen to all this very carefully, because we are going into something which cannot be shared, and therefore there is no partaking. You must really understand this dreadful evil - if I may use the word - of the hierarchical division of life as the one who knows and the one who does not know. Truth cannot possibly be divided as the high and the low; therefore there is no authority, no hierarchical approach. The hierarchical division of life is a poisonous, dreadful thing.
So what we are going to do this morning is not a matter of sharing, but both of us are going to inquire; we are I going to move together into something which we don't know. Please do not wait for me to tell you, or to share something with you which you have not; do not wait for me to give you enlightenment, or freedom. No one can give you freedom, nor can anyone share it with you. But most of us are used to this attitude of someone giving and another receiving, and it creates a division in life which brings about authority with all its evils. In truth there is not the follower and the one who leads, there is neither the teacher nor the taught; and that is a marvellous thing, if you realize it for yourself. In that there is great beauty, in that there is freedom, in that there is the ending of sorrow, because one has to work, to inquire, to break through, to destroy all that is false, and thereby find out for oneself.
Now, this morning we are going to inquire into two things which for most of us are of the utmost importance in life: love, and the thing called death. To inquire, to find out, to discover, there must obviously bc freedom - not freedom at the end, but freedom right from the beginning. Without freedom you can't look, you can't inquire, you can't move into the unknown. For a mind that would inquire, whether in the complicated field of science, or in the complex and subtle field of human consciousness, there must be freedom. You can't come to it with your knowledge, with your prejudices, with your anxieties and fears, for these factors will shape your perception, they will push you in different directions, and therefore all real inquiry ceases. Similarly, when we are trying to see what this extraordinary thing means - this thing that we call love - we cannot come to it with our personal prejudices, with our conclusions, with our preconceived notions that it must be this way, or it must be that way; we cannot say that love must be expressed in the family, between husband and wife, or that there is profane love and spiritual love, because all this prevents us from going into the question profoundly, freely, and with a certain breathless pursuit.
So, to inquire we need freedom, and therefore we must be aware from the very beginning of how condition&d we are, how prejudiced we are; we must be aware of the fact that we look at life through the desire for pleasure, and thereby prevent ourselves from seeing what actually is. And when we are free of these things, then perhaps we can inquire into this extraordinary thing called love. We live in this world in a state of relationship - relationship between man and woman, between friends, between ourselves and our ideas, our property, and so on. Life demands relationship, and relationship cannot exist when the mind is isolating itself in all its activities. Please watch this process in yourselves. When there is self-centred activity, there is no relationship. Whether you are sleeping in the same bed with another, or going in a crowded bus, or looking at a mountain, as long as your mind is caught up in self-centred activity, obviously it can only lead to isolation, and therefore there is no relationship.
Now, it is from this turmoil of self-centred activity that most of us begin to inquire into what love is, and this again prevents real inquiry, because all self-centred activity is based on the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. As long as we are inquiring from a centre which exists for its own pleasure, our inquiry will be useless and vain. To really inquire, there must be freedom from this self-centred activity - and that is extremely difficult. It requires great intelligence, great understanding, great insight, and therefore one has to have a very good mind: a mind that is not sentimental, not emotional, not carried away by enthusiasm, but a mind that is very clear, aware, sensitive all around. It is only such a mind that can begin to inquire into what we call love.
Now, what is love for most of us, actually, not what we would like it to be? What we would like love to be is merely an idea, a concept, a formula, and therefore it has no validity at all. We must start with what is, and not with what should be. We must start with the fact, and not with opinions, conclusions. Conclusions, opinions, formulas, are utterly misleading and destructive. A marvellous Utopia conceived or formulated by a few, clever, cunning minds, can twist and destroy the lives of thousands and millions of people because they are willing to kill or be killed for that one idea. And we do the same, inwardly, with ourselves. We have a formula, a feeling, a belief that to love we should be this or that, and we torture our lives, live in agony, because we are trying to approximate the fact of what we are to the ideal of what we should be, which is an illusion, a mere invention of the mind which has no reality.
So we are now going to inquire, not from what should be, but from what is. What actually is our love? There is in it pleasure, pain, anxiety, jealousy, attachment, possessiveness, domination, and the fear of losing that which we possess. There in the love which exists in the relationship between two people, and there is the love of an idea, of a formula, whether it be the nation, a Utopia, or God. Now, when we talk about love, we are only talking about the love that actually exists in relationship, and not about the poisonous thing called love for one's country, that nationalistic patriotism which is exploited by the politician and the priest. We are talking about the fact of love as it actually exists between human beings. In that love there is pain, there is the torture of uncertainty, jealousy, the fear of loneliness, and therefore the urge to possess, to dominate to hold. These are facts, are they not? And therefore we have the legal marriage, which society has established for the protection of the children. But the family as a unit is opposed to every other family unit. `My family' is competing with all the other families of the world. And in the family itself there is a battle going on incessantly: the desire to possess, to dominate, and hence fear, jealousy anxiety over whether you are loved or not loved, and so on and so on. That is what we call love. And though one must have a family, we try in various ways to escape from this torture, through social activity, or by becoming terribly religious, which means that we join some ugly little organization and believe in a particular formula about God, or Jesus, or Buddha, or what you will. Or else we treat the whole of family relationship as something very superficial, just a passing burden which we have to put up with, so we grit our teeth and carry on.
All this is what we call love. Becoming dissatisfied with so-called family love, we turn to the love of God, or the love of humanity, or the love of one's neighbour. We don't really know what love is, but we love God, we love our neighbour - at least we say we do. And all the while we are destroying our neighbour through ruthless ambition, through cunning business practices, through all the competitiveness of modern society. Then there is the so-called love of parents for their children - and you know the real structure, the torture of that possessive game.
Now, if one is at all sensitive, watching, feeling, looking, one knows all this. One is intimately and painfully aware of it all; and then one asks: is it possible to live in a family, to live with one's wife or husband, with one's children, without this torture? If one can do that, then perhaps one begins to find out what love is. Love demands, really, all that we see the actuality of our daily life, doesn't it? The petty everyday incidents that take place in the family, in the office, on the bus, in the car, on the road; the disrespect we feel for people - knowing the torture of all this, is it possible to let it all go, actually and not just theoretically? Is it possible actually not to be attached, not to be possessive, not to dominate or be dominated? And if your wife or your husband wants to go away with someone else, is it possible not to be jealous, not to feel hate, antagonism? Surely it is only then that there is a possibility of something unknown coming into being.
The love that we have is the known, with all its misery, its confusion; there is in it the torture of jealousy, the ugliness and pain of violence, the pleasure of sex. That is all we know, and we are unwilling to face that fact - the fact of what we know.
You know, you can live with the beauty of those mountains, and get very used to it. After a week or ten days" you will no longer even notice that beauty. You will be like the villagers, who don't look at the mountains for a second, they are so used to them. We get used to beauty, as well as to ugliness. What is important is not the beauty or the ugliness, but the fact of getting used to anything. We get used to our own lives, to our tortures, to our miseries, to our petty little houses, to all the ugliness of our narrow little minds. We don't want to look beyond, we don't want to tear through all this confusion and find out, so we just get used to it. And when one gets used to anything, it doesn't matter what it is - whether it is beauty, or torture, or anxiety, or ugliness - the mind becomes dull, insensitive, unaware, and in that state it occupies itself with all kinds of things: with God, with religion, with entertainment, with social work, with gossip, with accumulating knowledge, or looking at television.
So what is important is to be aware of the facts of our life, of the tortures, the possessiveness, the domination, the interference, the constant corrections, the criticisms, the demands - to live with all that and not get used to it, to be aware of it and not just accept it. I do not mean that we should put up with it, embrace it, but that we should look at it and not avoid or escape from it. We should look at the facts of our daily relationships without giving reasons why this should be and that should not be. To look at the facts of your own life in this manner, demands great energy, and you have that energy only when you are not escaping from those facts, either through belief, through explanations, through trying to find the cause, or in any other way. If you are completely aware of what is, which is to know all the intricacies, all the subtleties of it, if you are totally familiar with the known, then perhaps there is a possibility of being free of the known.
If we do not know what love is, then we shall never know what death is. we have got used to death. Hundreds are now being killed in Vietnam. We have had two terrible world wars, and untold thousands of people have been killed in Russia for the sake of ideas. We have got used to all this killing, and to the starvation, the poverty and the degradation in Asia, which exist side by side with the prosperity in Europe and America. We have got used to this thing called death, and we accept it. We say that death is man's inevitable end - old age, disease, and finally the grave or the crematorium, whichever you prefer. We don't revolt against death, because we can't; it is coming nearer every day, as we grow older. We have misused the physical organism, so there is disease. One may die young, or die old, but either way there is disease, pain, torture. Through the demand for good health people may eventually live for 150 or even 200 years, but there is always death at the end of it.
Knowing that death is inevitable, most of us have faith in reincarnation, in resurrection, or in some other form of continuity after death, because continuity is all we want; so belief, formula, hope, dogma again play an extraordinarily important part in our life. We are not concerned with the fact of death, but with whether there is a life hereafter. We say, "What is the point of struggling, cultivating virtue, trying to become God-like" - you know all that silly stuff that one does - " only to end in death?" Therefore we say that there must be something hereafter.
Now, what is the `something' that we want to continue? Do you understand? In different words, in different spheres, in different types of hope, and so on, all the religions throughout the world promise some kind of continuity after death. But when we put all that away, what is it that we want to continue? It is our daily life, isn't it? The life that we know. And what is the life that we know? It is the life of companionship, the life of daily torture, uncertainty, hope; the agony of loneliness, the quarrels, the going to the office day after day for thirty or forty years; the petty little mind that we have, the conditioned life, the pleasures of travelling and seeing something new; the disease, the pain, the empty boredom of our existence - that is all we know. And now we also know how to go to Mars and take photographs. We know more and more of external things.
So, what is it that we so desperately cling to? Obviously, it is the memory of things that have been; and is it not a terrible thing to realize that we cling to something that is past, gone, finished, dead? That is all we know, and to that we cling. We cling to the known. One's character, one's books, the paintings one has done, the experiences, the pleasures, the anxieties one has had, the guilt one has felt - all that is the past, and that is what we are clinging to. That is all we know, and so we want that to continue after death. If I have lost my wife, I want to meet her on the other side, and so on. So what we are afraid of is losing the known, which is the past - the past which, moving through the present, creates the future; and that is what we are clinging to.
Please do listen to this. I am not doing propaganda for something, I am just pointing out the facts.
Now, when you cling to something that is past, then your mind, your heart, your whole being is already dead. It may have been a deep delight, a thrilling pleasure, but the moment you cling to it, your mind becomes an ugly little thing that cannot really live. And that is our life. B;in afraid that our so-called life is going to end, we invent or we hope for a continuity after death. But when you are aware of all that, and are no longer escaping; when you are looking, observing, listening, being choicelessly aware of everything that is going on inside you, then you are faced with the question of death, which is actually the unknown. You don't know death, you merely have ideas about it. You have ideas, fears, anxieties, and there is this tremendous sense of loneliness, of being alone, in solitude. And when one is aware of all that, then one asks oneself, "Can I die to everything known? Can I die to the past, not bit by bit, not keeping the pleasurable and rejecting the unpleasant, but dying to pleasure as well as to pain, which is to end the past without argument?"
You know, when death comes you don't argue, you don't say, "Give me a few more days". When death is there, you have gone. In the same way we must empty the mind of all the past. In emptying the mind willingly, naturally, effortlessly, then perhaps there is freedom from the known, and therefore there is an understanding of the unknown.
Most of us don't know what love is. We know the pain and the pleasure of love, but we don't see the fact of love as we see the fact of a mountain; so for us love is something unknown, as death is. But when the mind is free of the known, then there is the coming into being of that which is not knowable through words, through experience, through visions, through any form of expression. Without knowing love, without knowing the extraordinary fullness, the richness of death, we shall never know what it is to live without torture, without anxiety, without the pain of everyday travail.
Shall we discuss, or will you ask questions on what I have talked about this morning?
Questioner: What is the origin of continuity?
Krishnamurti: It is fairly simple, isn't it? You have had a pleasure, you want it to continue, and thought gives it the nourishment to continue. If thought did not interfere with that pleasure, it would have no continuity, no endurance. Do see this, it is so simple. Let us say you have written a book and put your name to it. That gives you pleasure, because you have become known; you are praised, criticized, publicized, and all the rest of that nonsense, which you like, and so you think about it. You meet your friends, who say, "What a marvellous book you have written", you delight in it, you think about it, and all this gives continuity to your pleasure. It is really very simple. What matters is to be aware of this total process, and then you can put your name to the book, or not put your name to it, and it has no meaning. Then you function as a human being, anonymously; and anything that is great must be anonymous.
Since you are not asking any more questions, I would like to ask you a question. By now you must be asking yourself, "How is one to die to anything?" Do you understand? How is one to die to a pleasure that one has had, or to the insults that one has received? How does one put away, easily, happily, without the least effort, the remembrance of an experience that has given one tremendous pleasure? It is easy to put away something that has given pain - one forgets it very quickly. The pain you had a week ago when your tooth was bothering you, you have already forgotten. You have forgotten the intense pain you had when your baby was born; but the pleasure of that baby, the delight in seeing it grow and all that business, you cling to. Now, how is one to die to all of the known, the pleasurable as well as the painful, and yet live and function in this world reasonably, efficiently, going to the office, and all the rest of it? Don't you want to know Why don't you ask? Is it that you have merely accepted all this? You see, there is great sorrow in not asking, in not finding out. It is not a matter of finding out from me, but of finding out for ourselves by asking fundamental questions and going through to the very end of the problem, whatever it is, irrespective of your family, and of all the paraphernalia of society that surrounds you.
How does one totally reject the past - which, after all, is dying?
You know, forgiveness is a dreadful thing. Do you understand? No? All right, I will explain. First you accumulate the insults, the angers, and after accumulating all that, you forgive. But if you never accumulate, there is nothing to forgive, is there? So the first thing to find out is whether it is at all possible never to accumulate the past. If you don't accumulate the past, there is no need to die to the past. In the same way, if you don't accumulate the pain, the insults, the angers, then there is nothing to forgive. A mind that is forgiving is a cruel mind. So that is one problem: how not to accumulate the past, as most of us do, but to reject it instantly and totally? To use time as a means of dying to the past, or of rejecting it bit by bit - that is the greatest sorrow of man. One can do it in a completely different way. We will go into that presently.
Please, I am not giving you a method or a formula. Don't say, "I have learned something, and I am going to apply it". If you have learned some formula from what I have been saying, and you are going to apply it, then you are like the man who accumulates and forgives, and therefore you are back again in the same old torture of conflict and effort.
Now, I have accumulated pleasure in different forms; I have remembrances of pleasure in its different aspects, its different nuances, subtleties; and how am I to end all that? We know how to get rid of pain; the mind somehow always gets rid of pain quickly, because it is pursuing pleasure. Its main concern is pleasure, all its evaluations are based on pleasure, and therefore it can very quickly reject anything that is not pleasurable; it happens almost unconsciously. But how am I, who have accumulated pleasure, with all its subtleties and values, to die to that pleasure, to reject it, not piecemeal, but totally? Do you understand my question?
Questioner: By letting go.
Krishnamurti: Who am I to let go? Who is it that is letting go?
Questioner: The maker of that habit.
Krishnamurti: Who is the maker of that habit? It is still the essence of pleasure. You don't listen to yourself as you are saying things, you don't learn from what you are saying. You say, "Let go". Who is it that is letting go? The image that is the essence of pleasure says, "I will let that go because I want a greater pleasure, which is the understanding of the unknown". Previously it was the toy, the house, the wife, sex, the family, the nation; and now, because you are a little older, a little bit senile and fed up with the whole thing, you say, "Well, I'll let go to get the unknown".
No, sirs, you are not learning. You are not learning from your own observation. Please just listen to me. I know all the questions you would like to ask. I have talked for an hour, I am. sorry, and I don't want to be the only person who talks; but please just listen quietly to what is being said.
How am I, who have gathered so, much pleasure, and have thereby invited so much pain - how am I to die to all that, let it drop away? First of all, why should I let it drop away? Why should I drop my pleasure? Is it because someone has told me that pleasure breeds pain? Or do I see for myself the significance, the nature, the structure of pleasure? Seeing the nature of pleasure is like seeing the nature of a tree, and how it grows, One does not see it verbally, as an idea, but one is actually living with it. One is not accepting or denying pleasure, one is not thinking about it, or pushing it away. No positive action is taking place: one is merely looking at it. One is looking at the memory of pleasure, completely; quietly, without any movement of the mind. Do you understand?
Sirs, when you look at that mountain, if you look at it very quietly, it will tell you a lot of things. You then look more deeply, you feel the nature of it, you see the beauty of its soaring peak and curving lines. But if your mind is chattering, asking, demanding, pushing - you know all that it does - then you are not looking.
So, to understand and therefore to be free of the past, you must know the nature, the structure, the whole meaning of pleasure. To watch, to be aware of pleasure, is not to say, "I will keep this pleasure and throw away that pleasure". just watch the whole structure of it. Then you will see that pleasure no longer has any significance. You have to remember certain things, but pleasure has nothing to do with it, and therefore you die to the things that have given pleasure. You must have a certain amount of technical knowledge, and you may have to add more to it, but that accumulation of knowledge does not give you pleasure, even though technical knowledge can be used to derive pleasure. For the mind that is alertly aware of itself, that is fully conscious of its own activities, there is self-knowing; and self-knowing is the beginning of wisdom. Self-knowing brings freedom; and when there is freedom from the known, which is the very image of pleasure, then the mind enters into quite a different state, into quite a different dimension.
July 27, 1965
Saanen 8th Public Talk 27th July 1965
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