New Delhi 1965
New Delhi 3rd Public Talk 14th November 1965
I think one of our big problems is communication. Words in a sentence are sounds leading to an idea. And when we use a word each one of us has a different association with that word. A word is after all a sound, and each sound is associated with a memory, with a prejudice, with a concept. And so when we use words, which is perhaps the only way to communicate with one another, each one of us creates, or has an image associated with that word, or with that sound. And so communication becomes extraordinarily difficult, and especially so when we are dealing with problems that need clear, objective thinking - observation.
And communication becomes still more difficult not only when we are dealing with abstract problems, but when most of us refuse to think clearly, directly and simply, because we are very complicated human beings. We have so many concepts, formulas, experiences, according to which we function, according to which we act. And as these talks here are meant not merely to convey an idea, but rather to participate in what the speaker is trying to convey, the problem becomes still more difficult. Because we have to walk together After all that is the function of any good, sane talking over, together - that you and I, both of us, walk together, share together, partaking in what is being said, not merely verbally but actually. Because you have to walk and I have to walk. But most of us when we go to a meeting of this kind, a gathering of this kind, refuse to walk together, but listen casually, accepting or denying and so on. But when your responsibility is as great as the speaker's, when we are walking together, then our communication becomes much more intense, much more vital and significant.
Communication is not merely verbal; but if we penetrate the word, - not merely the meaning of it, just the dictionary meaning of that particular word, - if we could go beyond, penetrate, delve deeply into the significance of the word, then I think communication becomes extraordinarily easy and simple. Because after all, we are not only trying to communicate with each other, talk over together the various human problems, but also we are trying to be in communion.
I think there is a difference between communication and communion. When you are in communion with something, you are very intimate with it, you are partaking of it, you are not merely intellectually examining it but your whole being flows with it. That is when you commune with yourself, if you ever do - which is quite an art - that is when you are quiet, observing yourself, watching your thoughts, your feelings, your activities, objectively as well as inwardly, not denying or accepting but merely watching, flowing with it, with a sense of ease, a sense of great affection, care and attention: in that there is a communion, not only with yourself inwardly but also outwardly - like watching a tree.
I do not know if you have ever watched a tree - or perhaps you are too busy and occupied with your own problems. If you have ever watched a tree, you have watched it botanically, giving it a name, the species it is; but if you want to commune with it, be with it, really see the beauty of it, enjoy it, see the lovely shape of it, the feel of it, the vitality, the intensity of the tree, then you have to be in communion with it, you have to flow with it. And you can only flow with it when there is no barrier between you and the tree: which is after all a sense of great affection, a sense of great sympathy, love. And it is only in that state of communion that there is real penetration of the problem, of the word, of understanding feeling something most profoundly. And from that sense of communion there is action, and that action is never contradictory. And that is what we are going to try this evening, to talk over together.
I may put it into words: the speaker may put it into words, into sentences, into ideas. But those ideas, those sentences, the sound, the word, have very little meaning, if we are only in communication with the meaning of those words; but if we could together commune, that is together feel the problem, we see the complexity of the problem, we see what are the implications. And you cannot see the implications, the intentions, the beauty, the quality, the inwardness of something, unless you are in communion with it, unless it is a problem to you - not to be resolved, not quickly to find an answer, which is too immature; but you enquire into it, flow in it, let it open as a flower opens in the morning, showing all its beauty, its perfume.
So, similarly, if we could together this evening commune with each other, not think together - you cannot think together, that is the ugliness of thought; but we can commune together, which takes place only when you and I are both vitally concerned, responsive, eager to feel the problem, to touch it, to smell it, to taste it, to go deeply into it - then communication has an extraordinary significance. It is like communing with oneself, so that in that communication, in that communion you see the hidden things, you see the beauty which you had never felt before, you see the quality, the intensity. Then from that communion action takes place. And in that action there is no contradiction, because that action is not based on an idea.
So, what we are going to talk over, commune over together, this evening, is this question of contradiction. Because it is only possible with a mind that is mature, when there is not only a state in which there is no contradiction, but also there is in it a movement as a whole. Now, there is a contradiction not only outwardly but also inwardly, contradiction as violence and peace, the family and the community, good and evil, the truth and the false. And we all know the various forms of this contradiction, the individual and the collective, tyranny and freedom and so on and on. please remember what I said, that we are in communion with each other. That is, you are observing, you are in communion with yourself, not with the speaker. The speaker is irrelevant, because if we could totally eliminate inwardly and therefore outwardly this sense of contradiction, then life is a movement, then life is something to be lived with joy, with tremendous attention and vitality.
And one has to become aware of this contradiction. The fragmentation of our lives as the bureaucrat, as the family man as the politician, as the religious man, as the man who has given up the world, as the man who is caught in the world, as the businessman, as the artist - they are all contradictions, There we live in departments and each department is in contradiction with the other. And so our life is a series of contradictions and therefore conflicts, therefore misery and confusion. One knows this.
If one is at all aware of the whole structure of one's own mind, the meaning of that structure not only verbally but non-verbally, not only psychologically but objectively, then one asks oneself - is there an action, a total action which is never contradictory? And merely to ask that question is not enough. One has to find it. One has to work very hard to find it. It is much harder than going to the office and working there nine hours a day. This requires tremendous enquiry. Because we must find an action that is not contradictory - right through life, not at an occasional moment when the action seems to flow without any resistance, without any contradiction - but is an action that is full, rich, complete, a movement right through without contradiction. To find that out requires great awareness, great attention. We are using the word "awareness" in its very simplest form, meaning to be aware: to be aware of that sound, of that hammering. You cannot be aware of that hammering, if you resist that sound because you want to listen to the speaker. Therefore, there is a contradiction. You want to listen to the speaker and at the same time that hammering disturbs you. So, there is a resistance against that noise and so that resistance is a contradiction which prevents you from being aware of the noise, of the movement of the person sitting next to you and also listening at the same time. It is after all what is attention: that is, to be attentive to what is being said without resistance, to listen to the sound of that hammering without resistance; so, that attention is a state of non-contradiction. If you can listen, if you can see without any form of resistance, then out of that observation, out of that listening, out of that perception and understanding comes action which is not contradictory.
Now there is contradiction, not only within but outwardly. All our life is a terrible, brutal contradiction. And so one asks oneself: is there a source, a something, a state of mind, from which - having touched it, having seen it, felt it - all action flows inevitably without contradiction, without resistance? And that is what we are going to find out this evening.
But to find out one has to enquire very very deeply. One has not only to enquire into what is desire and pleasure but also to enquire into the thinker and the thought - in which there is also contradiction. And perhaps that is the very essence of contradiction. Because, you see, we live in a world where there are national, linguistic, religious divisions, where there are wars going on, where man is killing man in the name of peace, in the name of country, in the name of God, in the name of - dozens of names! There is violence all over the world. And observing that one feels that human beings walking along that path can never find peace, can never be in a state of mind where there-is love, where there is sanctity of being, unless they solve this problem as human beings, not as Muslims, Hindus, Pakistanis, Indians, or Russians, but as human beings. And unless we solve this problem for ourselves, we shall always be in a contradiction and conflict and therefore in sorrow. A man who would resolve and end sorrow has to understand this contradiction. And what we do is to try to put the fragments of these contradictions together and make a something whole out of it. Do you understand? We live - our life is in fragments and we say, let us bring about integration between the fragments, let us put all the fragments together and make a whole out of it - which is not possible. Because a fragment will always remain a fragment, even though you add other fragments to it. It is only possible - this sense of non-contradiction - when the mind works as a whole.
So we are going to enquire, commune together, over this question of pleasure and desire. Because most of us function, live, act through pleasure. Pleasure for most of us is tremendously important: the pleasure of belonging to a country, to a particular group, the pleasure of domination, the pleasure of a certain prestige, the pleasure of having capacity, the sexual pleasure, the pleasure of having talent, being a genius and so on. To us pleasure is the ultimate evaluation.
Please don't deny it. If you deny it. we are not in communion with each other: not that the speaker is persuading you to think along his lines. I belong to a certain political party, why? Essentially it gives me pleasure; through joining that party I hope to achieve all kinds of things. I go to the temple or the mosque or the church, because it gives me an extraordinary sense of pleasure, excitement and sensation. I associate myself with some form of political activity, or religious activity, or social activity; I commit myself to something, to a formula, to a concept, because deep down I like it. The like, the pleasure, is not according to facts, but the facts create an image in me of the pleasure. Watch it in yourselves. If you are a Communist, if you are a Socialist, if you are a Hindu, if you are this or that, why? There is not only the fear of being thrown out of it, of standing alone, but also in it there is the Pleasure of belonging. So one has not only to see the significance of pleasure but also to understand what gives continuity to pleasure. Do you understand? I look at a sunset, or a beautiful face, or a quiet evening, and there is tremendous enjoyment, there is great joy in it. If I do not feel that joy, that intensity, that beauty, I am dead, my senses are paralysed. I must see the beauty of a tree. If I don't, something is wrong with me. But when the perception of that beauty becomes a pleasure and that pleasure demands a continuity, a duration, a lengthening of that pleasure, then our problems begin. I hope I am making myself clear.
So one has to find out the nature of pleasure, what gives it continuity and the whole structure of desire. What is desire? Do you understand? We are not saying that desire is wrong, that you must suppress desire, that you must kill it, that you must be free from desire. We are talking about something entirely different, because if you suppress desire, as the so-called religious people do, then you are in perpetual battle with yourself, you are boiling within yourself your desire, and each suppression only strengthens that particular desire. So one has to understand desire, neither control it - please listen very carefully - neither control it, nor suppress it, nor make it conform to a particular pattern which you have established as righteous behaviour, or twist it according to a certain form, a certain pattern.
So this requires tremendous understanding. And that very understanding of desire is its own discipline, in which there is no conformity, no suppression. Because a mind that has suppressed, disciplined, twisted, tortured itself - such a mind is a worthless mind, it is not a good, rich, sane mind. And you need a sane, healthy, clear mind, a good mind, to find out what Reality is. So what we are talking about is the understanding of desire and not the suppression, not the control, not putting it aside. So this requires investigation, attention seeing all the intricacies of desire. Now what is desire? Probably most of us have not gone into it. Or when that question is put to you, you say such and such a philosopher or a teacher has said this, or a psychologist says that, and you trot that out as though you have understood it. But if you have put away all that others have told you about desire, then you have to find out for yourself. And that is what we are going to do, because to discover something for yourself, you have to be free of all authority, not only the authority of the past, of the teachers, but the authority of a mind that has remembered its own experience and translates according to that experience the fact which occurs now. So you need a very sharp mind, not a dull mind, not a tortured mind. You need a very, very sensitive mind.
So what we are going to do is to find out for oneself the nature of pleasure, what gives it continuity and therefore where there is pleasure, there is its contradiction as non-pleasure, and from that contradiction there is sorrow. And the very essence of this sorrow is this feeling of loneliness in which there is no pleasure. And to find out what desire is, one has to observe oneself in action. You know, what we are talking about is something with which there is neither agreement nor disagreement. As I said, we are in communion with the question. Therefore, there is no question - either you agree, or disagree - but enquiry. You say, "What is desire? How does it come about? How does it arise? And why have people said - the so-called teachers and all the rest of it, why have they said - destroy, suppress, control, or sublimate it?" Why? Why do you do it? Not what they have said - what they have said has very little meaning. Because we think desire breeds trouble, breeds various forms of anxieties; desire expends itself in waste of energy and desire to us is something ugly, something to be put away. So to understand desire one needs clarity. And that is what we are going to proceed with.
What is desire? How does it arise? There is a car outside your window, a nice, polished, new car, a long line, good cylinders, many cylinders, working beautifully, driving perfectly. You see that. There is this seeing, then there is that sensation out of that seeing. Then there is contact with the object which we have seen and from that contact sensation, that sensation is desire. It is very simple. Don't complicate it. Perception, contact, sensation and desire: this is what is happening instantly with all of us. I see the flag - the English flag, your flag, the Communist flag, or some other flag. Then there are the associations with that flag, the pleasure of that flag, the commitment to that flag and all the rest of the phenomena of pleasure, pain, desire and everything. I see a beautiful tree in another's garden and I want to possess that tree in my garden. I see a beautiful face and I want to be equally beautiful. I see somebody very clever, high in position, prestige and I want that - perception, sensation, contact, desire. That is happening constantly all the time, consciously or unconsciously. When you become conscious of it and the desire and when that desire gives you pleasure, you want it to continue. Sex, there is the act, there is the thought, and that thought gives desire a continuity.
So we are enquiring to find out what gives to a desire a duration, a continuity, what makes it continue day after day. Surely, it is thought. There is the seeing of that car, the desire, and you say, "I wish I had it" - thought giving to desire a continuity as pleasure. Now, why should you suppress it, why should you say it is wrong or right, "I must have it" or "I must not have it"? What becomes enervating, what is disturbing, what is destructive is to give to desire thought as pleasure. Do you understand? Am I making myself clear? I can look at that tree, see the beauty, enjoy the shade, the depth, the colour, the proportions, the symmetry of it. But the moment desire comes in and says I must have that pleasure continuous, then begins the problem of how to retain it, how to capture it, hold it and all the rest of it, and effort and pain come in. And so one can observe the tree without the interference of thought.
So this very observation, if you are at all aware of all this, this seeing of the interference of thought with desire - how thought interferes with desire and gives it a strength, a continuity, a dynamic quality - this seeing is in itself discipline, and that discipline is much more vital. Because that discipline gives energy, but the other forms of discipline only diminish this quality of energy that you need for action.
Then there is also this contradiction between the thinker and the thought. In all of us there is this duality. It is important to understand this. You may be a Communist, or a Socialist. If we have to create a new world, a new society, a new human being, a society must live in a state of non-contradiction; to flower in goodness, there must be peace, you understand?, not war, not hate. And you will live in hate, you will live in agony, despair, anxiety, if action is not a total action.
So now we are enquiring into this contradiction between the thinker and the thought - the thinker who says I must control thought, the thinker who is the censor, the thinker who is the experiencer, who is the observer - the observer and the thing observed. Unless we understand this - that is, the rich and the poor, my wanting to be bigger than the other fellow, having more prestige, more power and so on - unless we understand the structure of this, human beings will always live in pain and misery, in contradiction and conflict. And the inward contradiction only produces a society in which there are greater, more violent contradictions. So the reformation of a society, however necessary, however imminent, can only begin within oneself, for oneself is the society. The two are not separate.
You know what beauty is, the beauty of a tree, the beauty of a sunset, the flow of a river, the sunlight on it, a beautiful building, well-proportioned. Is beauty in the object, or is beauty in the observer? If the observer sees beauty in the object, then the observer himself has the pattern, the design of beauty. Perhaps we will discuss that too, the whole question of what is beauty, because without beauty man cannot live. Your saints, your religions have denied beauty. They write about beauty in some sacred book, that beauty is associated with desire. And desire, apparently, for a religious man is a curse, something to be destroyed. And we are saying that unless you and I as human beings living in society which is so contradictory, so terrible in its ugliness and monstrosity - unless you and I understand the nature of this contradiction, we shall always live in sorrow. And a man who will end sorrow must end this contradiction. And one of the roots of this contradiction is this division between the thinker and the thought. Why is there a thinker at all? Don't ask the question whether the thinker came first and thought afterwards, or thought first and the thinker afterwards. That is one of our pet ways of discussing which is rather immature, if I may point out.
Is there a thinker at all without thought? Do you understand? Is there space without the object? Do you understand? There is this object, the microphone in front, it creates space round it and it is in space. Please, I am not going off the subject. You have to understand this too, this whole, very extraordinary question of space. There is the object which creates space round it, and that object also lives in space. Do we know space without the object? Unless you know space without the object, your mind will always remain in limitation and therefore there is never freedom. In the same way you have to find out - you have to be in communion with yourself, to find out - whether there is a centre which is the thinker, the censor, without thinking. Surely, there is only thinking, which creates the centre, not the other way round. If there is the other way round, that there is a centre, a censor, a thinker, then that is an object which creates space round itself and therefore is never free.
As I was saying the other day, meditation - when there is meditation - is the most extraordinary thing: don't get excited about that word. We do not know how to meditate. To meditate is not only to find out this question of thinker and thought, pleasure and pain, but also to go beyond thought, so that there is no centre at all - which means no centre which creates space round itself, and therefore its space is always limited, therefore it is always living in a prison which it calls space. So there is only thinking. That is, I ask you a question. You reply; you reply according to your prejudice, your knowledge, your experience, your background. Your background, your experience, your knowledge is the centre from which you are replying. That centre is created by thought as memory and so on and so on. And that centre thought has created, because in that centre there is security, there is certainty - I exist, I am good, I am bad, I must reach whatever it is I reach.
So one has to understand again this structure of thought, not deny it. When you deny something, or when you suppress something, you create contradiction. But when you understand something then there is no contradiction. So one has to understand the nature of thinking. And the nature of thinking is the background, the tradition, the experience from which you react; and that reaction is based on pleasure or pain, or on facts which will give you pleasure. And according to that pleasure you respond and the response is thought. And thought is a process like desire cultivated.
So you see the nature of pleasure and desire; and what gives it continuity, is thought: thought which has established a centre as the observer, the censor, the background from which there is operation in action. And so action is always divided as the idea and action, the formula, the concept and action. If you are a Communist you have a concept, you have ideas according to Marx or Engels. And this concept you try to fulfil in action. And this concept becomes the utopia which gives the person who is operating in that framework the pleasure to bring about that utopia in the world. It does not matter what it means, he wants that to be carried out. And if you are associated - a Socialist, a Hindu and God knows what else may be the labels that one has - you are also operating the same way. So, our action is based on an idea, a concept, a formula, and then from that formula we act, from that idea we act. And so there is a contradiction. I feel I should be noble - an idea which is rationalized thought. Then according to that idea I try to live. By living is contradictory to what should be. So I never throw out of the window that idea, the formula, the concept, the conclusion. But I keep that and try to act according to that. Observe it, you are doing it all the time. But if you threw that out of the window completely - the concept - then you would only be in a state of acting, the present participle acting, and not have acted or will act. So, that action is not contradictory, because you are dealing with facts with opinions, not with conclusions, not with what Sankara or Buddha or Marx or somebody else has told you.
So you will find, if you enquire into this, that action without idea, that is, without concept, is possible, when you are only dealing with facts and not with conclusions. And when you are only dealing with thought and not what thought should be and when you are aware of the nature of pleasure and desire, then you will find that maturity is action, in which there is no contradiction. You are not going to tell me that I am in contradiction or not, nor will somebody else tell me. Because I have investigated it, gone deeply within myself, I have found out how to live in this monstrous, stupid world of destructive violence, how to live without contradiction. And to find out, one has to go through all this; and to enquire into this is meditation, not sitting in some corner and breathing deeply and holding your nose and repeating some silly words. Because it is only the mature mind that does not function in fragments, as a Communist, as a Socialist, as a religious man, as a non-religious man, as a Muslim and all the rest of that human invention which has separated man and destroyed man.
It is only this mature mind that does not function in fragments. It is only such a mind that can bring about a different world. It is only such a mind that can have love. And love is not a thing to be cultivated. Either it is, or it is not - like humility. But you come upon it darkly without your knowing it, when you have been in communion with yourself infinitely and deeply; and then out of that comes the joy of love.
November l4, 1965
New Delhi 1965
New Delhi 3rd Public Talk 14th November 1965
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