Madras 5th Public Talk 5th January 1966
There was a preacher once, who used to give sermons, every morning, to his disciples. And one morning when he got on the rostrum, a bird came and sat on the window-sill there and began to sing. And presently he flew away. So. the wise man turned to his disciples and said, "The morning-sermon is over", and went off. I wish we could do the same! (The singing of a bird preceded Krishnaji's talk, and so he smiled and made the above observation).
I would like to talk over this evening something which I think is rather important. And the importance of it lies. not in verbal communication but rather in that each one of us can discover, examine and understand the reality of it for ourselves. One is apt, I am afraid, to be satisfied with mere explanation, to take the word for the thing and go away with a stimulated feeling that one has gathered some knowledge, understanding, for oneself. One cannot gather understanding from another; because the understanding, the truth of the matter can be gone into, examined and felt for oneself. And so verbal communication becomes only important to convey a certain meaning, a certain depth. But one has to examine very closely, for oneself, that which is being said, neither accepting nor rejecting, but closely examining. And to examine really deeply, one needs to have a certain attention. And attention seems to be one of the most difficult things, because when we want to attend, we are distracted - thought interferes, and so we resist the thought and the distraction. But actually there is no distraction at all. The idea that we are distracted when we want to concentrate, only implies that you resist what you call distraction; but actually there is no distraction. When your thought wanders off, give your whole attention to that thought, don't call it distraction.
Because, to attend means great energy. To give one's whole attention demands total energy. Sirs, may I request you to listen, rather than take notes? Because when you take notes, you are not listening, you are not being attentive. Attention is now, not when you get home and read over the notes. This is not a lecture, the speaker is not a professor delivering a lesson. But rather, we are trying together to understand this very complex problem of living. And to understand it one needs attention, one needs the full intention to understand. And you cannot understand, listen attentively, when you are taking notes. And when you look at the sunset or the tree, or listen to that bird, it is not a distraction. It is part of this total attention. If you merely resist the noise that bird is making, and feel disturbed, or, if you do not want to look at that sunset because you want to give your whole attention to something that is being said, then you are merely concentrating and therefore resisting. Whereas if you listen to that bird, watch the sunset, hear the hammering across the road, and see the sunlight on the leaf, then it is a part of total attention; then it is not a distraction. To attend so completely you need energy. And that is what I am going to discuss this evening.
Energy is force. And very few of us have the energy to bring about a radical transformation in ourselves. The force, the energy, the drive, the passion, the deep intention - very few of us have it. And to gather that energy, to have that energy, in which is included this tremendous intensity, passion, drive, force, we think that certain forms of habit are necessary - a certain establishment of a behaviour, morality, a certain resistance to sensation, with which we are all quite familiar. We have lived for so long, for so many generations, for so many thousands of years; yet we have not found the energy which will transform our ways of living, our ways of thinking, feeling. And I would, if I may, like to go into this question, because, it seems to me, that is what we need - a different kind of energy, a passion which is not mere stimulation, which does not depend on, which is not put together by, thought.
And to come upon this energy, we have to understand inertia - understand not how to come by this energy, but understand the inertia which is so latent in all of us. I mean by inertia `without the inherent power to act' - inherent in itself. There is, as one observes, within oneself a whole area of deep inertia. I do not mean indolence, laziness, which is quite a different thing. You can be physically lazy, but you may not be inert. You may be tired, lazy, unwilling - that is entirely different. You can whip yourself into action, force yourself not to be lazy, not to be indolent. You can discipline yourself to get up early, to do certain things regularly, to follow certain practices and so on. But that is not what we are talking about. That can be easily dealt with and understood; we can come back to it a little later, if time allows.
What we are concerned with is this inertia which is so inherent in all of us, which very few of us come upon and actually do something about. We know what to do about laziness, we know what to do about a mind that is dull. You can sharpen it, polish it, freely discuss it; but that is not what we are talking about. We want to go into this question of inertia, which is without the power to act, which is so inherent in all of us, deep down. This inertia is essentially the result of time. This inertia is the result of accumulation. And what is accumulated is time. One needs time not only to gather information, knowledge, experience, but also to act according to that experience, knowledge, information.
So there is this accumulative process going on, of which most of us are little conscious. Both in the unconscious as well as in the conscious, this accumulative process is going on, all the time. As you are listening to me, you are gathering, you are accepting, accumulating. That very accumulation is going to result in inertia. You watch it. You will see, if you examine this a little bit closely. I learn a technique, and it takes time by the watch, by the day, by the year; and I store it up. And according to that knowledge, according to that technique, I function. But also at a deeper level this accumulative process is going on as knowledge, as tradition, as my own experience, or what I have read and so on. There is also that accumulative process going on of which I am not conscious at all.
Please don't merely, if I may request you, listen to the words, but actually go through what is being said, actually open the door so that you will see this process going on.
Look! If you are a Hindu, you have gathered tremendous knowledge about God, about this, about that. You have accepted it. You have accepted it for various reasons, which are obviously fear, conformity, public opinion and so on. You have accepted it; it is there, both in the conscious as well as in the unconscious - not that there is a division between the two; it is a total movement. This accumulation is inertia, and this inertia is time. To accumulate you must have time, otherwise you cannot gather Please don't say, "How am I not to accumulate?" When you say, "How am I not to accumulate?", you are again accumulating inevitably. Please, this needs very careful subtle thinking out, going into.
This inertia is without the power of inherent action. Inherent action is: not acting from what one has accumulated as knowledge, as an idea, as a tendency, as a temperament, as a capacity or a gift or a talent. Essentially a gift, a talent, knowledge, is inertia; and we strengthen this inertia through various forms of resistance. I resist any form of change, both outwardly and inwardly; I resist it through fear of insecurity and so on - one does not have to go into this in great detail. So there is inertia through accumulation, through resistance and through commitment to a particular course of action. Please follow this a little bit. Inertia, which is the lack of the power to act in itself, is also the result of having motives. Right? That is fairly simple. So this inertia is built, put together, through motivation, through accumulation as knowledge, as information, as tradition, outwardly as well as inwardly, as a technique, and also through commitment to a series of actions. There is the communist, the socialist, a particular type who meditates in a certain way; one is thus committed, and therefore that commitment strengthens the inertia. though one may be terribly active outside, walk up and down the lane, pursue every reform and do all kinds of things, it is still an activity which is strengthening inertia. And inertia is built through resistances: I like, I don't like; I like you and I don't like you; this pleases me, this doesn't please me. So there is this inertia built up through conformity, through activity and so on. You see this happening in yourself. I am not saying something fantastic. This is what is going on in all of us, all the time.
So we enlarge that field of inertia through various forms of knowledge, commitment, activity, motive, resistance. And becoming conscious of this, you say, "I must not", "I will not commit myself to any action", or "I will try not to have motives", or "I will try not to resist." Please follow this. The moment you say, "I will not" or "I should", you are only strengthening the inertia. That is fairly clear. That is, the positive process is the strengthening of the inertia, as is the negative process also. So we have to realize this fact that all our life, all our activity, all our thinking, strengthens this inertia. please follow this. You are not accepting a theory, you are not disputing an idea with your own opinion. This is a fact, a psychological fact, which you can observe if you look at yourself very deeply. If you cannot look, don't agree or disagree, but examine.
So what is one to do? How is this inertia to be broken up? First, I must be conscious of it. I can't say, "I am inert" - which means nothing. You will translate it in terms of laziness, or insufficient physical activity, or mental pursuit, or stimulation. And that is not what we are talking about. We are talking of something at a much deeper level, which is: the whole of consciousness is inert, because the whole of consciousness is based on imitation, conformity, acceptance, rejection, tradition, gathering, and acting from that gathering as knowledge, as technique, or as experience. Ten thousand years of propaganda is consciousness. A mind that realizes this extraordinary state - what is it to do?
What is a mind to do, which has become aware of this inertia, and which knows, not verbally but actually, that the whole of consciousness is essentially inert? It can act within the field of its own projection, of its own concepts, of its own knowledge, of its own information, of its own tradition, of its own experience which is being gathered. The gathering, which is consciousness, is inherently inert. Right? Please, you are not accepting what is being said. If you look at it very deeply, you will see that it is so. You may invent, you may think out that there is a state of mind which is beyond being inert - God or whatever you call it. But it is still part of that consciousness. So, what is one to do? Can one do anything at all?
Now, to find out what to do and what not to do is meditation. Now I am going to go into that. First of all, that word `meditation' is very heavily loaded. Especially in this country and to the east of this country, that word brings all kinds of reactions. You begin immediately to sit more straight - I see it happening. You pay a little more attention; you react according to your tradition. Or because you have practised - whatever it is you practise - for years, thinking about a mantram or a phrase, repeating it, and all that, at the very mention of that word, all this surges up, and you are caught in the thought. To the speaker, that is not meditation at all; it is a form of pleasure, of self-hypnosis, a form of worshipping a projection of your own mind, conditioned as a Hindu, as a Buddhist, or as a Christian; and you can get caught up in that marvellous vision, seeing Christ, Buddha, your own gods and all the rest of it. But that is not meditation at all. You can sit in front of a picture everlastingly, and you will never find anything beyond the picture. You can invent.
You know, there is a story, where a patriarch is sitting alone, under a tree; and a disciple, a seeker, comes and sits in front of him, cross-legged, with the back straight and all the rest of it. And presently the patriarch says, "What are you doing, my friend?" The disciple says, "I am trying to reach a higher level of consciousness." And the patriarch says, "Carry on." presently the patriarch takes up two pieces of stone and rubs them, making a noise. The disciple then says, "What are you doing, Master?" The patriarch replies, "I am rubbing these two stones to produce a mirror!" And the disciple laughs and says, "Master, you can do this for the next thousand years, you will never produce a mirror. "The patriarch then says, "You can sit like that for the next million years." So meditation is something entirely different. If you would go into it, you have naturally to abandon all your concepts of meditation, all your formulas, your practices, your disciplines, your concentration, because you are entering into a field which is something totally new. But your practices, your visions, your disciplines, are all the result of accumulated activity and therefore lead essentially to deeper inertia. So, what we are concerned with is: what is a mind to do, that is aware of this inertia and how it has come about? Can it do anything? Knowing that any activity on its part is still the result of this inertia which is consciousness, how is that mind to be totally still and yet completely awake? You understand the question? That is, one sees deeply within oneself this field of inertia. And one realizes that any activity on the part of the brain - any activity, any movement in any direction - is still within the field of consciousness and therefore imitative, accumulative, and therefore strengthens the inertia. One also realizes that, not to strengthen that inertia, one cannot practise, one cannot say, "I will not be inert" - which is part of the same old Then one sees what is necessary: a inaction which becomes action in silence.
Now, how is the mind to be still? When I use the word `how', it is not a method or a system. I am asking, "Is it possible for the mind, for the brain also, to be totally awakened, totally still?" The brain is the result of time with all its accumulated knowledge, information, reactions and conditioning. And the brain will respond much too quickly for you to control it, because it has been trained for centuries to react. So the brain cells have to be quiet, for the total mind to be quiet. Do you see the difficulty of the problem? Do not just say, "I will force myself, I will control my thoughts" - it becomes too silly, too immature; it has no meaning.
So, one sees that any movement in any direction, at any level of consciousness, conscious or unconscious, only strengthens this quantum, this field, this area of inertia; and therefore the mind has to be totally still, and also the brain. And it is only when there is the totality of silence, that there is action which is not of inertia. But if you say, "I must make my mind silent", and practise all kinds of tricks, if you take drugs, practise and do all kinds of things, then you are still building within the field of that inertia. Only when the mind - including the brain, including the body naturally - is totally still, is there a mind which is not of the inert. Obviously, silence is outside the field of consciousness; and that silence has not been put together by consciousness, by thought, by desire, by resistance, by practice, by any trick that one plays. You are following all this? So, that silence is something entirely different; and that silence can only come about when the brain, the mind, realizes that any movement within it is strengthening inertia.
So meditation is not tradition; it has nothing whatsoever to do with all that nonsense. I call it nonsense, because any grown-up man can see the basic fact of what is involved in the ordinary, traditionally accepted meditation, which is self-hypnosis, a habit of doing something over and over again, and so the mind becomes dull, stupid, ugly. We are not talking about that. We are talking of meditation as something entirely different; and in that meditation there is great fun, there is tremendous joy, there is a new state altogether. And that can only come about, not sought - you cannot seek it, you cannot pursue it, you cannot ask, "How am I to get it?; all that has no meaning. Meditation then is the understanding, or being aware, of the total process of consciousness, and not doing a thing about it - which means dying on the instant to the past.
Let me go into this question of death a little bit. Man has never understood death, he has worshipped it. He has lived in order to die, he has made death much more important than living. Cultures have done it, societies have done it. And people have various ways of escaping from death - reincarnation, resurrection, immortality, all kinds of things. The people who believe in reincarnation, whether factual or not - if they really believe in it, they will obviously be concerned with what kind of life they lead now, not tomorrow. If you lead a righteous life now, a tremendously full life, there is no tomorrow; and if there is a tomorrow, the field is much greater to play with. We neither believe in reincarnation, nor in anything else; but we just play with those words. Because if we really believe, then every word, every thought, every deed, everything is mow. So man has never understood this extraordinary phenomenon of death. Not physical dying. I don't mean that; that obviously takes place, though scientists are trying to prolong life and are saying that perhaps human life can be prolonged indefinitely - then we can indefinitely carry on with our miseries, with our pettiness, with our unfulfilled ambitions, going to the office for the next hundred years!
And we have various ways and means of facing death - rationalizing it, escaping from it, belief, dogma, hope and all the rest of it. But we have never really understood it, we have never felt what it means to die. Unless we understand this phenomenon psychologically, not physiologically, we can never understand this sense of a new action born out of total silence. Do you understand? That is why one has to die to everything one knows, which is consciousness, which is the past, which is the accumulated result of time. Because it is only in death, in total death, that there is something new, that there is a total silence in which a different kind of life can be led. I am not hypnotizing you. Please listen carefully. Total death means: Can one die - not to something which one has accumulated, which is comparatively easy - so that nothing enters into that silence? You understand it?
Sir, look! There is this whole question of forgiveness. I think, to forgive is something essentially false. Listen to this till I finish. You receive a hurt, an insult. You examine it, and then say, "I forgive the man. "But if you don't receive the hurt at all, there is no forgiveness. You understand? It does not mean that you have built a barrier around yourself so that nothing penetrates - which is what most people do anyhow. But it means that you have to be so alive, so sensitive, so clear, that nothing enters - nothing which needs to be stored up, to be examined and then acted upon as forgiveness or compassion or action based on an idea. You are following?
So, to die to the past implies, doesn't it?, not only that the past ceases, but also that the present does not enter and accumulate and create a consciousness and inertia. I do not know if you are following all this. Sir, Look! That which is tremendous light has no shadow; it is clear. Out of that clarity there is an action, which is entirely different from the action which is born of confusion, accumulation and all the rest of it. So we are talking of dying to everything known, and functioning in light - going to an office and so on - functioning from that freedom from the known.
Look, sirs! Can you die to a pleasure - not argue or control or suppress, but just die to it? You like something; and without argument, without any mental process, without any talk, just die to it, just drop it. Now, when you do that, a different quality of mind has come into being. I do not know if you have done it? It is not something fantastically difficult; to give up something without any motive. When you see something very clearly, the seeing, the examination, creates the light, and the light acts - not `you decide' or `you don't decide'. When you see something very clearly, there is action which is entirely different from the action which has been put together by thought.
So we are talking of a dying to the things that one has experienced, known, accumulated, so that the mind is fresh, the mind becomes young. Because it is only the very young mind that can be silent - not the dead, old mind. The scientists are saying that the child is born already conditioned and all the rest of it; but I am using the word `young' in a different sense.
So, silence, meditation and death are very closely related. If there is no death to yesterday, silence is not possible. And silence is necessary, absolutely necessary, for an action which is not accumulative, and in which, therefore, there is no inertia being built up. Death becomes an ugly, frightful thing when you are going to lose what you have accumulated. But if there is no accumulation at all, all through life, from now on, then there is no - what you call - death; living then is dying, and the two are not separate.
The living which we know is a misery, confusion, turmoil, torture, effort, with an occasional, fleeting glance at beauty and love and joy. And that is the result of this consciousness which is inert, which is in itself incapable of new action. A man who would find a new life, a new way of living, must enquire, must capture this extraordinary quality of silence. And there can be silence only when there is death to the past, without argument, without motive, without saying, "I will get a reward." This whole process is meditation. That gives you an extraordinary alertness of mind; there is not a spot in it, where there is darkness; there are no unexamined recesses which nothing has touched - meaning that there are no recesses which you have not examined.
So, meditation is an extraordinary thing; it is a tremendous joy in itself. For, then, in that is silence which in itself is action; silence is inherent in itself, which is action. Then life, everyday living, can be lived out of silence, not out of knowledge - except technological knowledge. And that is the only mutation that man can ever hope to come by. Otherwise, we lead an existence that has no meaning except sorrow and misery and confusion.
January 5, 1966
Madras 5th Public Talk 5th January 1966
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