New Delhi 1965
New Delhi 2nd Public Talk 11th November 1965
We were saying the other day when we met here how we can change, that there should be a radical mutation of the human structure psychologically, because outwardly there are so many changes taking place, not only in size - economic and so on - with which we are all quite familiar. But apparently after these many many centuries our human mind has undergone very little change. We are what we have always been - violent, ambitious, greedy, seeking power, prestige and so on. We can change outwardly and adjust ourselves to environmental conditions. And perhaps through pressure, economic and so on, we can bring about in ourselves a little change, be less greedy, be more free, be less afraid, be less anxious and feel less guilty. And perhaps we can remove some of the strains. But it seems to us that such superficial changes are not good enough. We need a tremendous revolution in ourselves: and to bring about such a great revolution psychologically in the mind we must go, it seems to me, beyond the limits of our own mind. And whether that is at all possible is what we are going to discuss this evening.
We live a life of mediocrity. Our lives are very repetitive, of sex and family, and within that we ask questions. When anything disturbs us, we think that we are concerned with it. And all our questions are answered from that narrow, limited, conditioned feeling of our own human mind. We never ask fundamental questions and we never meet the challenges that life presents all the time to each other. And when we do meet, we meet them according to our limited knowledge, our limited experience and information. But it seems to me that we have to meet all these challenges quite differently - the challenges of poverty.
What is implied in radical change, mutation in the human mind? What is implied in being free? What does it mean to be greedy? What is mutation and what is death? These are the challenges which all of us are confronted with every day, and we respond rather casually or indifferently, or let it go by. You have had this great challenge, in this country, of the war on the border, and you have responded like every other country in the world. There have been, since 1945, forty wars. Do you understand? Forty wars! And we are still going on thinking in terms of war.
And so, man who has lived for so many millennia has not been able to solve this problem, the immense problem of poverty, war, violence, what it means to be free, if there is God or no God, what is implied in religion. All these things are pressing on us constantly. And we apparently have neither the time nor the inclination to respond to them seriously; and we assert vaguely that we must change, that the human mind must undergo a tremendous mutation to meet all these challenges. And such a change is merely verbal, or when we do answer these challenges, we answer them theoretically, or with a tradition in which we have been brought up - either the tradition of the past, the immense past, or the tradition of a few years, according to the pattern in which we have been brought up, or according to a particular activity - Communist, Socialist and so on - to which we are committed. But such answers are not sufficient, because what we are, we are: we are violent, envious, greedy, fearful, feeling occasionally guilty; and we face death when we must and casually enquire or believe in God.
So seeing all this, not theoretically, but factually - because we are dealing with facts and not with theories, not with beliefs and opinions - seeing all this one must obviously demand how a human mind can undergo a tremendous change. And that change is urgent; it will not admit of time. And so we have to find out what is implied in the question of change, that is, if you and the speaker see the urgent necessity of change, of bringing about within himself a mutation. Then the question arises, how is a human mind - yours and mine - to undergo this transformation?
First of all, what do we mean by change? For us mostly it means a modified continuity, what has been is modified in the present and changed a little bit in the future. And in this change there are the influences, social pressures, economic strains and so on and so on. Outwardly there are so many pressures taking place, straining us, that we invariably modify or adjust ourselves to the pressures. Surely that is not change at all. That is, you can be forced through propaganda, through environmental influence, through economic conditions to change yourself a little. Because in that change there is a motive, the motive of fear, the motive of a better life, the motive of more comfort. All these motivations, however necessary, do not bring about a radical change. And, I think, this we must understand very clearly. What makes one change? What makes you do something voluntarily? If you do it through fear, it is not a change at all, is it? If you do it through compulsion, it is no longer a change. So one must find out how to bring about a mutation in the human mind without a motive, without a purpose, without an ideal as means of bringing about a change, because all these admit time.
So one has to enquire into this question of time Please , I do not know if one is interested in all this - because this is a very serious matter which we are talking about - and whether one is really capable, or has a deep intention to understand these problems. Because our life is petty,shallow,empty,repetitive. There is great sorrow, not only individual sorrow but the sorrow of the world; there is pain; there is suffering. And apparently we have not been able to be rid of them. We have not thrown off the shackles - the pain, the misery, the suffering. We are talking about psychological suffering, not merely physical suffering only. So to understand mutation in the human mind, we have to understand this whole question, the structure of time, the significance of and what importance it has in relation to action as change.
We know time as duration, that is yesterday - the experiences, the memories, the knowledge of yesterday - functioning through today forming a tomorrow. That is duration. That is one type of time. Then there is time as will: I am this, I should be that; and to become that I need time. That is, through gradualness, through tomorrow, through day-after tomorrow I shall achieve, I shall become. Then there is time as effort. That is, to become that, to change ourselves according to some ideal, some utopia, some pattern, we make an effort and that involves time. And there is time as thought.
So we are going to examine these; first of all, our mind which is the machinery of thought. Thinking is the result of time, obviously. The brain, the whole structure of the brain is the result of time, many, many - two million - years. And it has taken time to be what we are. And thought - the whole process of thinking - is based on time, time being knowledge, experience, the accumulated information as memory. So when any challenge, any question is asked, we respond according to our knowledge, information which is memory, and that process involves time.
Please, you have to understand this. I mean by that word "understand" not intellectually, because you can listen intellectually, agree or disagree or add more to it; but such understanding is not total comprehension. When you understand something from that understanding, that very understanding is action. There is not first understanding and then action. When you understand, that very understanding is action. So what we are doing is not intellectually, verbally discussing this question of time. We are trying to find out whether it is possible for a human being as he is, living in this world, functioning in this world, to find out how to comprehend and act totally - not in the past, not as an artist, as a scientist, as an economist, as a Communist, as a religious person and so on and so on, broken up in fragments.
So what we are trying is to investigate and discover for ourselves, not theoretically, but actually - which is, factually find out for each one - how a mind, so heavily conditioned as a Communist, as a Socialist, as a Hindu, as a Muslim and all the rest of it, how such a mind can transform itself, break away from the conditioning totally. Because only then in that freedom is it possible to find out what truth is. And it is only in that freedom there can be peace and order, not through disorder or violence, not through the fragmentation of human minds as the Communist, the Socialist, the Catholic and the Hindu and so on, not through nationalism. It is our world. You have to live in it as human beings, not as Americans, Russians, Hindus, or Muslims. And to live peacefully there must be order. And order can only come about through freedom. And this freedom can come only when we understand this whole psychological structure of the human mind.
So it is important, I think, that one should listen to all this, neither agreeing nor rejecting, just listen. You know one of the most difficult things in this act of listening is that we are incapable of giving attention to anything for a period, for a length of time. You come after a long day of work in ugly offices, doing routine things which have little meaning, tired out, and you try to understand what is being said. To understand what is being said, you need a fresh mind, a mind that is active, clear, sane, not committed, not going through any pattern of action - because if you are, you are incapable of examining, looking, observing; then you are prejudiced.
So what we are trying to do this evening is to find out for ourselves actually the nature of time because we are so conditioned to think in terms of time: that we must go through certain stages like going through nationalism and eventually coming to internationalism and later on to something else; that is, thesis, antithesis and synthesis; all that takes time. And if we examine the whole structure of time, you will find that time breeds disorder, not order. And therefore to bring about order in ourselves and in society there must be an immediate action, not action in terms of time as duration.
So, as we have said, thought is time. The whole machinery of thinking is the result of time. Thinking is the response of memory. That memory is experience, tradition, the established routine, the condition in which we have been brought up. And with that background we respond to any challenge. And therefore these responses are always conditioned, limited. And we have to free the mind from these limited responses, because the challenges are immense; and we have to respond to these challenges totally, not partially. And it is only when we respond to these challenges partially, inadequately, that there is conflict, there is pain, there is suffering. It is only the mind that can respond totally to a challenge, which means adequately - it is only such a mind that can be free from sorrow, from conflict.
So all our thinking is never free. It is always conditioned by the past, by our experience, by our knowledge - thinking in words, or thinking non-verbally. And thinking is a duration in time. That is, any response we give to any challenge, if it is familiar, is immediate. I ask you something you know very well, and your response is immediate. "What is your name; where do you live?" And you respond very quickly, because you are already familiar and therefore your answer is immediate. But if you are asked something much more complex, your response will take time, there is a lag. During that interval thought is operating as memory, looking, asking demanding, trying to find out the answer. In that interval is thinking. And that thinking is based on our knowledge, on the past, on the information and experience that we have had.
So thinking is always limited. We are not saying that you must not think. Please do not jump to the other conclusion. On the contrary, you have to think tremendously to find out the limitations of thought. You have to think rationally, sanely, logically. And when you understand this whole structure of thinking, then perhaps you will understand a state of mind in which there is only perception and no action. That is a fact, like poverty, war, hate, violence - which are facts and not opinions. Facts do not need opinions, judgments, evaluation. Facts demand that you look at them. And to look at them, opinions and experiences do not matter. What matters is that you look at them clearly.
Look, sirs, there is this question of poverty, this appalling, destructive, degrading poverty in this world with which we are all familiar. It is a fact. And we deal with that fact through opinions, through political parties, as a Communist would deal with it, or as a Socialist, or as a Congressman, or as this and that. We are not concerned with poverty. What we are concerned with is how to deal with poverty, what to do about poverty in terms of our prejudice, of our inclinations, of our political bias. After all poverty can only be solved on a world basis, not as a Hindu, not as a nationalist. So to remove this poverty one has to be non-nationalist, not committed to any party - because then you are concerned with a method of solving it, and therefore other methods are opposed to your method and so on and so on; and in the meantime poverty goes on. So what is necessary is to see the fact, not in terms of your prejudice, of your nationality, of your religion, of your particular upbringing. And when you look at a fact actually, then you will find that in that perception there is love, not an intellectual formula of how to solve the problem.
So time is a fact in our life. Time is necessary at a certain level; otherwise you will miss your bus, otherwise you will not be able to go to your office and so on and so on. But time becomes destructive, time creates disorder when we use it as a means of bringing about a change within ourselves. Look, I am greedy. Let us suppose you are greedy and you create the ideal of non-greed and you hope through that to change yourself. That is, the fact is you are greedy, and through time, through many days, through many months you hope to achieve that result. Now, what has happened between what is and what should be? There are many other elements entering into it, many other factors. And these other factors, elements create disorder. Look, this country has preached non-violence for many, many years, many decades. That has been a tremendous ideal, something irrational. An ideal has no meaning whatsoever. What has meaning is the fact, not ideals. The fact is human beings are violent. Why do you need an ideal? You use an ideal as a means, as a lever, to uproot violence. You use an idea, a concept, a formula to change the fact. You use a myth to wipe away what is, and it is never possible. You have talked of non-violence, but actually you are violent and you can only deal with violence non-idealistically. You can only deal with it actually, find out why you are violent and go into it with all your being. And ideals are merely an escape from facts, from what is, from what you are. It is only when we can look at what we are that it is possible to bring about a radical transformation within ourselves.
So thought is never free. And thought is always making an effort determined according to a pattern, according to a norm, according to an ideal, to achieve a change. So time is necessary for such thinking as a means to bring about a change. I hope I am making myself clear. As we said in the beginning, we are not agreeing or disagreeing; we are examining. We can go into it much more in detail; but this is not the occasion to go into very deep detail.
So thought implies will, the will to change; the determination implies effort. That is, I am this and I will become that. And to become that there must be an effort, which is will. That is all we know. And will is resistance. And through resistance, through conformity, through compulsion we hope to bring about a change within ourselves. And that is why we are making everlasting efforts, in the office, at home, in schools; all the time we are making effort, effort.
And is there a different way of living in which effort is not involved? That is an essential question, because effort implies violence, effort exists only when there is a contradiction. Please do not listen to the speaker merely verbally; but listen so that it reveals your own mind and heart, so that you see what actually is within yourself, inside your skin. Because the psychological change is far more important than the outward change. The outward changes are not possible fundamentally unless there is a radical transformation, a revolution within the psyche. The outward changes, reformations, reforms are necessary; but they are always destroyed by the inward state of confusion, disorder, violence.
So if we would bring about order in the world outwardly, there must be order within. And this order cannot possibly be brought about through any form of will, through any form of thought - will being effort, thought being time. So what is one to do? Do you understand the problem?
Look, sir; let me put it differently. There is the unconscious and the conscious. You all know that. The unconscious is the residue of the past - tradition, racial inheritance, the innumerable experiences of man, deeply hidden, which give occasional intimation through dreams and all the rest of it. And there is the conscious mind, the mind that functions every day, going to the office, struggling, adjusting, acquiring new techniques, learning capacities and so on and so on. Between the conscious and the unconscious there is a conflict. Obviously, the greater the tension, the greater is the conflict and the greater the neurosis. And in that tension you may produce great literature, you may write poems, you may compose; but it is the outcome of this tremendous contradiction which is in each one.
You know what I mean by contradiction - thinking one thing and doing another; thinking marvellous thoughts, how you should be this and that and the other, and living contrary to them. So there is this contradiction. The more intellectual, verbal, theoretical, political you are, the greater is the contradiction: because you are living in theories, but not in facts. So this contradiction breeds conflict. Doesn't it?
Do examine, sir, do listen to what is being said. We are dealing with your life. You are not concerned with my life. We are concerned with the life of each one of us, because each one of us has to live in relationship, and relationship is life. And when there is conflict in that relationship, then it is destruction, it is disorder. And in that contradiction, in that conflict, love is not possible. It only produces more fear, more anxiety, more guilt. So in our lives there are contradictions, various, obvious and subtle forms of contradiction - doing one thing and thinking another. And being in conflict indicates, brings about, effort. A man who is not in conflict with himself or with society - he has no conflict and therefore he is essentially peaceful. Because a human being has produced the society in which he lives: and society is the human being. So the two are not separate. And this contradiction in our life breeds disorder.
So, we see all this - effort, contradiction, imitation, conformity to a pattern, this everlasting thinking, thinking which has very little meaning; that is our daily life, our daily problem of anxiety, of fear, of greed, of envy. Seeing all this how is a human mind which is the result of time, which is the result of violence - how is such a mind to bring about a mutation within itself? And you will say: what importance has this mutation of a human being in relationship to the whole? How will one human being bring about a change within himself so radically, and how will it affect society? Inevitably that is asked. That is one of the most stupid questions asked. Because when you radically change, you are not changing because of society, you are not changing because you want to do good or you want to reach heaven or God or whatever it is. You are changing because it is necessary for itself. And if you love a thing for itself, then it brings about tremendous clarity, and it is this clarity that is going to bring about salvation to man - not doing good works and reforms.
So this challenge is demanding your complete attention. What is the challenge? The challenge is: one observes all this, this complex way of life inwardly; one may be outwardly very simple; one may have a few clothes or eat one meal a day, but inwardly may be boiling - as most saints and most religious people do; outwardly they garb themselves in simple things and inwardly they are in turmoil - how can a mind observing this extraordinary, complex phenomenon, bring about order; or rather, how can such a mind live in a state of mutation? Do you understand my question?
First of all, having put that question to yourself, find out how you respond. Because mutation is necessary, a revolution, a psychological revolution is absolutely necessary. Because the world is much too chaotic, disorderly; there is tremendous violence and hatred all of which breeds disorder. And so seeing all this, this question is imperative; and you have to answer it. You cannot say, "It is not my business, it is for the religious, it is for the philosopher, for the scientist" - this is an escape. It is your problem. How will you answer it? How do you answer it? How are you answering it?
Now, what is necessary is to answer a challenge so completely that your answer is adequate to the challenge? Otherwise your answer will only breed some more conflict. It must correspond to the challenge. Do you understand? You know what is meditation? I do not mean the stupid repetition of some words, sitting cross-legged and breathing and all the rest of that business. Meditation is something entirely different. Meditation is not self-hypnosis, as most people indulge in, seeing visions, stimulating various forms of excitement, taking drugs. For example, you can take a certain drug and that produces extraordinary results, much greater results than self-hypnotic meditation.
Now to answer this question adequately, completely with all your being - that is the only way you can answer a fundamental question - you have to give your complete attention, not partially, not when it suits you. To answer it completely the mind must be in a state of meditation, which means that the mind must be tremendously active - not the stimulated activity of an idea, or of an examination. You know the mind is capable of anything, as we said the other day. And a mind when opposed, when challenged with this problem, can only look at that problem in silence. A problem which you have never put to yourself, a question which you have never asked yourself - you cannot answer it except out of silence. Can you? You know what I mean? Look, there are the religious people throughout the world who want to know if there is God. I am not talking of those people who believe in God. They are not religious people at all. It is just an idea. They go to a temple, church, mosque or whatever it is. That is merely a form of conditioning. They may attend innumerable ceremonies, twiddle their thumbs and all the rest of it, attend mass and all that. That is not religion at all. That is just an escape from the facts of life.
Now, to find out whether there is a Reality called God or some other thing, your mind, which is only petty, small, conditioned, when it meets such a problem, must be completely silent. Do you understand what I am saying, sir? Look: this is an immense problem which we are putting to you, a very complex problem which we cannot answer with yes or no in a minute. To meet this challenge, you need a mind that is completely quiet. That is, sir, take for example a complex, mathematical problem, or a scientific issue. You have thought about it, you have investigated it, you have pulled it into pieces, enquired, searched, asked, examined and you cannot find an answer. Which means what? Your mind has been tremendously active in the sense of looking, asking, searching, examining to find out the answer and it has not been able to find it. Therefore it becomes quiet. It leaves that problem alone. But the problem is still there. So out of that silence you have the answer to that problem.
So this question can only be met by a mind that is meditating, that is a mind that is completely quiet, not induced to be quiet, not made quiet, not disciplined to be quiet. When the mind has examined this problem widely, a problem which is so complex, in the very examination of that problem there is a process of discipline. And that examination and that discipline which is not conformity, which is not compulsion, which is not pursuing a pattern, which is not drilling the mind to think in a certain way - only such a mind can answer this question. For a mind to examine this very closely, attentively, to be aware of all the implications of all the things like time, change, sensitivity, what is implied in effort, to examine it factually, not according to one's opinions - that demands attention. And an attentive mind has its own discipline. And, therefore, a mind that is attentive is a silent mind.
To put it very simply, when you look at anything, that microphone or that tree, when you look at your wife, your children, or your husband, you can look through your memories; you can look at your wife or your husband through the past memories of hurts and all the rest of it. Or you can look without the interference of the past. To look without the interference of the past is to look in complete silence. And out of that silence comes about a mutation, not thought out, not planned, not conditioned. And it is only such a mutation that can bring about order in the world.
November 11, 1965
New Delhi 1965
New Delhi 2nd Public Talk 11th November 1965
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