Talks and Dialogues Sydney 1970 5th Public Talk 29th November, 1970
I SEE MANY of you have no coats. May I take my coat off too?
We were going to talk about religion and if there is such a thing as God - if there is or if there is not; to find out the truth, which doesn't depend on any organized belief. Obviously, no religion as it exists, right throughout the world, can honestly and truly claim to understand what truth is. This morning, if we may, we will go into this whole question, rather deeply, and find out through perception, through seeing, what is and what is not truth.
First of all, one has to find out what action is, an action that would be total, complete, non-fragmentary, because our life, as it is now, is fragmented. There is the action of the business man apart from the artist and the artist apart from the scientist and the scientist apart from the so-called religious man and the religious man apart from the labourer and so on. There are the various fragmentations of religions, the fragmentations of political, national division, economic, moral. The morality which society sustains is no morality at all, it is really, actually, immoral.
So one has to find out for oneself an action that covers all this; non-fragmentary, but something complete, total, non-contradictory, that will apply both to the artist and the businessman, that will be true, consistent, constant and alive. We have to find such an action, because all our life is a movement in action. All living is relationship in action and if that action is contradictory, broken up, it must inevitably breed conflict, pain, sorrow, a great deal of mischief and antagonism. So one has really, basically to find out if there is an action that will be whole, total, never contradictory. I think that is one of the primary issues, if one really wants to find out what religion is.
First, the religion that one has - a vast machinery of propaganda, is no religion at all; it's merely a mass hypnotism, an instrument of very clever, cunning propaganda, insisting on its tradition, on rituals, on authority, on the hierarchical principle. I do not know if you have noticed all this. Whatever religion that exists on this earth at this moment is based on repetition, rituals, authority, hierarchical outlook, sustaining a morality which is not moral at all. Whether it is in India or Asia or in Europe or in America or here in Australia, it's a religion that says one thing and does another. It says `love your neighbour' and sustains the machinery of war.
Probably one of the few religions in the world that has not shed blood is Buddhism and perhaps after it Hinduism, but the rest have brought about a great many wars and destruction; and most of these religions are based on belief.
Please let us be clear that we are not attacking any of these so-called religions. We are merely stating what actually is taking place, merely observing the actual facts; not stating what religions should be, that's an abstraction and, therefore, no value at all. We are only examining what actually is and therefore it's not an attack. It's not an assertion of another system of religious thought. It is only pointing out - and the speaker is not pointing out but all of us observing that throughout the world there can be seen this plain and simple fact; authority, propaganda, hypnotism, a repetitive ritual stimulus and belief.
Belief is the acceptance of things that may be true, accepting things that may be.
A man who would really go into the question of what actually, religion is, to find out deeply, not according to his temperament or his idiosyncrasy or his culture, his conditioning, but actually to find out if there is such a thing as God, as truth, such a man must set aside all belief, obviously, and all rituals, because they are merely repetitive, meaningless stimuli, as any other stimuli. He must set aside, also, all the authoritarian hierarchical outlook. To find out, all this must be totally, completely set aside, because the mind must be free. Freedom is absolutely necessary. Without a free mind, a mind that's not distorted, that's not crippled by the cultural conditioning, without such a mind which is free, one cannot possibly perceive what is truth.
Therefore, it is absolutely essential that a mind be free to enquire, to observe and to understand.
There is freedom from something; freedom from anger, freedom from competitive, aggressive drive. Freedom `from' is one thing, and freedom is another. Freedom `from' something is a reaction, a contradiction, pursuing the opposite; whereas, there is such a thing as freedom, not `from' something. This may be rather difficult to comprehend but we have to understand it. We are always thinking in terms of freedom from something, freedom from tyranny, freedom from attachment, and so on. Actually, if you go into it, you will see that that is not freedom at all. In that there is always suppression, conformity or adjustment, because the opposite always contains its own opposite, whereas freedom is something entirely different.
Freedom has no opposite. If I want to see something very clearly, the mind must be totally free to observe and that freedom is not a reaction or response from what is.
In trying to find out what religion is one must understand the nature of belief, authority, conformity and the utter inanity of rituals. In understanding these there is, naturally, freedom; not freedom `from' rituals. We are trying to find out if there is an action which is not contradictory in itself an action that is always consistent, has no hypocrisy involved in it, an action that covers the whole movement of life, like a thread running through a necklace.
If we don't find such an action, our actions will be contradictory, hypocritical and therefore involved with various forms of strains, distortions; such a mind cannot possibly be free.
Then, there is the question of search, seeking, seeking truth. Search implies: searching `for' something that you can find. What you can find is what is recognizable. You set out to find out what truth is and you seek, you ask, you enquire into the various structures and organizations which believe in religion and so on. You are seeking. Seeking implies that you will find and what you find must be known, must be recognizable; that is so. If you can recognise something it is already known. Therefore it is not new. Therefore it's not true.
This is rather an important question. Why do we seek at all? If life, the living, were something extraordinarily beautiful, or something in which there was no pain, no sorrow, if the thing in itself were profound, you wouldn't seek.
Because we are shallow, rather empty, lead a rather sordid life, we want to seek something more. The more is what we call the truth and when you seek and you hope to find, what you hope to find must already have been experienced, otherwise you can't recognise it. Therefore, a mind that seeks will never find truth.
I hope we are sharing this together, not agreeing or disagreeing but seeing the validity, the reason, the logic of this, because we must use reason, not your reason or my reason but reason.
A mind that is moving away from itself is a movement towards what it considers is bigger, nobler or truer. This movement away from itself is what is called searching. Therefore, search becomes an escape from what is; but in the understanding of what is, you enter into quite a different movement, not away from. There are two different kinds of movement - the movement away, leading away, and the movement that is not away but entering in itself, entering into what is.
It is not an inward look opposed to the outward look. The outward look is the extrovert look, going away, outward, and the introvert is looking within which is merely the opposite of the outward. But this, what we are talking about, is neither of these, it is a movement that understands the outer, that understands the opposite which is the inward and therefore it is entirely different.
You see, the speaker doesn't prepare these talks, therefore he comes to it fresh, he's enquiring, he's going into it with you and if you don't follow, if you don't share it it's no fun.
One must understand this question of seeking. Then you will ask, can a mind that doesn't seek and therefore has no challenge (challenge which depends on seeking, questioning, demanding, enquiring), can such a mind keep awake? Most of us need challenges, challenges in different forms and if we have no challenge most of us will go to sleep; and when there is a challenge we respond inadequately because we are so living in the past and the past responds to challenge which is always new and so the response must inevitably be inadequate and contradictory.
We depend on challenge. That's what is happening in the world, everybody is questioning the value, the truth of Catholicism, Protestantism, the social structure, the immorality of the social order, questioning everything. But, this challenge has to be answered with a mind that is new, not a mind that is steeped, living in the past. Searching implies challenge also, so can a mind be totally awake without challenge? We will go into that. We'll come to it presently if we have time. We are asking: what is religion? What is action that is whole, complete? What is a mind that has actually set aside, intelligently because it understands, belief, the hierarchical outlook, authority, the inanities of rituals and so on, completely set aside all that? Belief implies acceptance of something as being true. We accept because our own life is rather uncertain, confused, and if we have belief in something, it doesn't matter what it is, how true or false, a belief in something, accepting something as true, gives us a certain quality of stability. This means we are frightened, we are lost without a belief an ideal.
When you have a belief, an ideal, it must be contrary to what is. All your ideals, obviously, are the opposite of what is, and therefore inevitably there is conflict which leads to hypocrisy. That's one thing; then we have to enquire into the whole question of what meditation is.
Meditation is a word that has been used recently in the West and has become rather fashionable, unfortunately. There are various exponents of what meditation is and each exponent offers a system, a system that will lead to enlightenment. One has to find out the significance of system, not of any particular system or method, but system. They say by practising a certain system day after day you will come to that state of mind that will receive, whatever it will receive. System implies repetition, repeating over and over and over that which somebody has said is the system, and you follow it, hoping to achieve. This means the mind becomes repetitive, mechanical. How can a mechanical mind see something which is non-mechanical, which is something extraordinarily alive, which is constantly in movement? If you see the truth of this fact, that any system, whether in the scientific or in the technological world or in the world of meditation, must make the mind dull, must make the mind so insensitive, so, if I may use the word - stupid - (it's only the stupid mind that accepts systems) - if you see the truth of that, then your mind is no longer pursuing a practice but becomes constantly aware, constantly alive, non-mechanical.
There are the Zen systems - you know Zen? Do you know about all this? What a waste of time, isn't it? Because they all offer systems and when once you have seen the truth of a system you'll never touch it - it doesn't matter who offers it. Then there is, again, a recent fashion of so-called transcendental meditation, which is absolute nonsense because - need I go into all this? You know, a dull mind repeating a certain word, hoping it will achieve some extraordinary state, will still remain a dull mind. No? You know, there is this whole system in India, and I assure you when I go to India I have to battle with all these stupidities - there is a system in India called Mantra Yoga which is the repetition of a secret word given unto the disciple and he repeats that word 10,000 times a day, or whatever it is. Through that repetitive word he hopes to achieve a tremendous experience. Now that has been brought to this country - and elsewhere, and one of the odd things about it is that you pay for it. The more secret it is the more expensive it is. Don't laugh, please. See, the church has done this too. We are so eager to be exploited.
There are two things involved in this. First of all, a repetition of a word, it doesn't matter what word it is, Sydney, Sydney, Sydney would do just as well as another word. If you repeat that word; do it yourself, it's rather fun sometimes, play with it a little bit, the repetition creates a certain sound. The tonality of that sound without the word becomes vibrant, and that sense of vibrancy gives you a certain quality of intoxication. That intoxication is as good as taking whisky; any stimulus is as good as another. You hope to achieve an experience. One has to understand that word `experience'. We all want deeper, wider, nobler, vaster experiences. That is all we are craving. Everybody wants a transcendental, marvellous experience, because our own life, the daily life, is so petty, so small, so shallow, so meaningless. Therefore we want deep experiences, and when you do experience something, unless you recognise it as an experience, it has no validity. The moment you recognise it, it's already the old, therefore it's not really, basically an experience in freedom. Have you heard that word Yoga? The word Yoga in Sanskrit means something, which we needn't go into and I think it is a wrong interpretation. Yoga is a form of exercise. Through that exercise you hope to achieve all kinds of states, but a stupid mind practising yoga will still remain stupid.
We were travelling once in India on a train and it stopped at a station. Just outside the window a man was doing yoga on the ground. Marvellously it was done, with such grace, with such ease, with such perfection, and people were throwing coins to him. He was a beggar. You see the significance of it? No? That's all.
You see we give importance to things that are not important at all. And also in the question of this meditation and experience is involved drugs, LSD, marijuana, various forms of `Speeds' and so on. It has been going on in India and in Asia for thousands of years, taking drugs, and now it is relegated to the lowest social strata. The poorest, the uneducated - you've no idea, because taking drugs brings about nostalgic remembrances of things that have happened, of psychedelic states. But it's all chemical formula which has no validity at all.
A dull, cunning, stupid mind taking drugs, being conditioned, will experience a great many things, but when the drug wears off he's back to his own backyard. So, a man who is enquiring into the question of what is a religious mind must be free of all this, completely; free of drugs, alcohol, any form of stimulus, so that his mind remains clear, without any distortion. Then one can ask, what is meditation? You understand, we are enquiring into what is religion, what is action which is total, whole, complete, without any distortion, without the trivialities that man has invented, the various systems in order to achieve a quality of mind which is religious. Such a mind must be free of all the things that make it dull, because you need a very clear mind, a mind that is capable of reason and you cannot possibly reason if there is any form of prejudice, if your reason is not objective, or is personal. A mind must be completely sane, which means healthy.
Then we can proceed to enquire. We have laid the foundation. The mind can then proceed to enquire, what is discipline, what is virtue? Discipline, the word, means to learn, not to conform, not to imitate, not go through the drill. To learn what is disorder. It is not discipline imposed upon you by society or by yourself or by your culture or by your guru, by your teacher. All that is really a form of suppression, therefore contradiction and therefore conflict.
Such disciplines make the mind dull, insensitive. Whereas, we are going to enquire into the very meaning of that word discipline, it means to learn, and we are going to learn what virtue is. Do we know what disorder is? There is disorder, not only outwardly but also inwardly. There is confusion outwardly, confusion inwardly. Watch yourself, if you care to and you will see how disorderly your thinking is, your activity is, how contradictory, how confusing. In the understanding of this disorder, by observing it, not bringing a blueprint to correct the disorder, but watching it, being aware of it, becoming sensitive to it, then out of this disorder comes order, which is virtue; not the practising of some stupid quality, but simply becoming aware, highly sensitive to the disorder: the political, economic, social, the religious disorder, outwardly; and the disorder within oneself, the contradictions, the miseries, the confusion, the ambitions, the whole drive from a self-centred activity. All that is disorder and in becoming aware of all that you will find there is a different kind of order, and that it's a living order, not an order which is imposed through compulsion. Virtue, like humility is not something you learn, it's not something you practise, but you see that vanity, pride, all that creates disorder, and in the observing of that disorder comes real humility. Do it, please, as you go along, you will see.
After laying the foundation, which is order, virtue, and setting aside all the trivial inventions that man has built in himself and around himself as a religious structure, which is no religious structure at all, we can ask and find out together now, what is meditation.
You know it is one of the most extraordinary things if you know what meditation is. First of all we have to understand what awareness is: to be aware, aware outwardly, the colours, the proportions of this hall, aware of the various colours that you have on, aware without any choice, just to watch. And also to be inwardly aware of all the movement of thought, the movement of your gestures, the way you walk, the things you eat, the habits you have formed, again without choice - merely to observe attentively. You cannot be aware if there is a division between the observer and the observed, because that division creates a contradiction.
You also have to understand what attention is. I do not know if you have ever given complete attention to anything. To attend means to give your mind, your heart, your nerves, completely. In that attention there is no observer, there is no me. When we are completely attentive the `me' doesn't exist at all. The `me' is the censor which is the past. So, there is a quality of attention which is completely different from concentration because concentration implies exclusion, building a barrier, a wall, putting away everything and concentrating on one thing. That`s fairly simple and fairly easy to achieve, every schoolboy does that. But attention implies the understanding of concentration and attending so that in that attention there are no borders, no frontiers because there is no centre from which you are attending.
Meditation implies a quality of mind that can completely attend, therefore, a mind that can be completely still. The mind is always chattering, always talking, either to itself, within itself or to somebody, always in movement. How can such a mind which is everlastingly chattering, how can it perceive anything? Only a mind that is completely attentive has the total energy to observe: because you need tremendous energy to observe. The religious monks and others say that you cannot waste energy, therefore no sex if you want to be a saint. And when you become a celibate and have taken vows of celibacy there is havoc in you, because you are denying the whole biological system and there is a wastage of energy, you're battling, battling, battling. Or you go to the other extreme, indulge, which is another form of wasting energy. Whereas, if you are attentive it is the greatest form of all summation of energy. It means intensity, passion, and you cannot be passionate if you are wasting. Without any effort the mind can become completely quiet and therefore full of energy without any distortion.
That is the beginning or rather that is the continuation of meditation which we began this morning. We began by asking what is religion. We began by asking if there is an action that is so complete, that is never contradictory, and therefore a life that is totally harmonious and we discarded the various systems because systems mean, as I explained, repetition. The mind, observing from the beginning of this talk till now, becomes extraordinarily sensitive. Being sensitive implies great intelligence, totally attentive and therefore completely quiet. Meditation is a movement of understanding of every action, a mind that is truly religious, that has no belief, that doesn't belong to any group, to any community, that stands completely alone.
There is a difference between aloneness and isolation. Isolation leads to neuroticism, various forms of it, because in isolation there is exclusion, separateness, but a mind that is completely attentive, is completely alone, is therefore, capable of seeing what is true. So far one can verbalize, put into words, but after that nothing can be said. The man who says `I know' does not know. He does not know that which lies beyond, that which is not put together by thought, by our conditioning. Meditation is just opening the door. What lies beyond it can never be expressed in words and anybody who expresses it in words is not aware, does not know. The mind is a religious mind that has compassion, love, that has no fear, that is capable of standing completely alone. Therefore, it finds a reality which is not measurable.
If you want to, ask any questions about all this.
Questioner: You said yesterday that `When we perceive danger, physical danger, there is immediate action'. In that action is there any violence involved? And, if we see psychological dangers and there is instant action is there not also in that instant action violence?
Krishnamurti: What is violence? Resistance is a form of violence isn't it? Conformity is a form of violence. Denying what is, but conforming, is violence. Fear does breed violence. There is violence in a crowded city because there is no space. Man requires space both outwardly and inwardly and when the outward space is denied, which is being denied more and more through overpopulation, there must be violence, especially in cities. So you ask: if one sees psychological danger, is there not violence, an action which is violent? Is it violence if you see danger and act? Bearing in mind that any form of resistance is violence, any form of conformity is violence, that fear breeds violence: when you really understand that completely, and when you see danger, the psychological, inward danger of greed, the danger of nationalism, the danger of division between people, is there violence in that action at all? Obviously not.
Now, I hear that siren. Listen to it. Either you listen to it with no resistance at all, or you listen to it with resistance. If you resist that noise then there is violence. But if there is no resistance at all, but complete attention to that siren, listening to it completely, is that violence? Obviously not.
Questioner: Why not silence?
Krishnamurti: Why not silence? I don't know why not. Do you know what silence means? Is silence between two noises? Is silence between two thoughts? Is silence the result of control, suppression? Does silence come about because you have drilled yourself to be silent? Or is silence natural? Silent; to be completely quiet, not only physically but inwardly without any movement of thought. You know you can speak out of silence; that is, an action which is total, complete, non-fragmentary, non-contradictory, comes about out of complete emptiness of silence. But, we don't know really what it means to be silent.
Questioner: You didn't answer the question.
Krishnamurti: I am answering it sir. We are not silent. You mean to say, sir, that we can sit here quietly for an hour and a quarter, silently? Have you ever sat quietly for a few minutes without a movement of your eyes, without movement of thought? When you ask `Why not silence?', it's very simple to answer, because you are noisy. [Applause]
Questioner: Why not renunciation?
Krishnamurti: I beg of you, don't applaud. It has no meaning at all. If it releases your energy by clapping, do it when we are not here.
The gentleman asked `why not complete renunciation?' What do you mean by that word renunciation? To renounce, to give up? Have you ever given up, renounced, one pleasure? Have you? Have you ever completely, easily put away something? Renunciation implies, doesn't it, that you give up something with pain, as a sacrifice, as something you have to do. Surely, that is not renunciation at all.
Questioner: Please answer the question.
Krishnamurti: I am answering it sir. You ask why not renunciation?
Questioner: Why don't you renounce?
Krishnamurti: Who? Are you asking me, why don't you renounce? Is that it? What have I to renounce? Look at it quietly. What have I to renounce and what have you to renounce? The gentleman asked why don't you renounce, which is me, the speaker. What have I to renounce? Property - because I haven't got any.
Krishnamurti: I'm coming to that, sir.... patience. Have I to renounce publicity? Have I to renounce you sitting there and I sitting here? It doesn't mean to me whether I talk or don't talk because I've gone through that. There's nothing to renounce. And you say 'renounce words'. It is very easy to renounce words, put aside words. Then we must communicate in silence. You understand? How? We can communicate in silence, which means that you must be completely silent. We have done this for 45 years and more, it isn't just one day's idea of something we pick up. To communicate implies not only verbally but non-verbally. Now after verbalizing, if you are silent, completely attentive, then there is a communion which is not verbal.
Questioner: If you do not carry over the past, would there be any creative action as dance, as painting?
Krishnamurti; What does that word mean, creative, to create? When the housewife bakes bread is it creation? Why not? When the painter draws something on a canvas and says he is creative, what does that mean? That he is fulfilling himself on the canvas? Can there be creativity? As long as there is no self-fulfilment, me fulfilling, me acting, me wanting to be silent, me wanting to renounce; as long as there is not that movement, then there is creation.
Questioner: As one uses a crutch when one is lame, when one is weak, just beginning, should not one use this mantra yoga - that is, repetition of a word?
Krishnamurti: Who tells you that you are weak, that you are lame? Who tells you, sir? Or, have you found yourself that you are weak? And therefore, you need a crutch, therefore you need a mantra which is a repetition of a word
Why do you assume that you are weak and therefore you need this which will ultimately lead you to strength, and therefore freedom? Do you follow what's involved in this?.... a gradualness: I am stupid now but gradually I will become intelligent, and while I am stupid I will use all the things that will make me still more stupid. The yoga, mantra yoga, repetition of words, rituals. Really what we want is to find pleasure. What we want is pleasure. We don't say we want pleasure, we say we want to achieve some noble thing, but when you repeat a word hoping that it will lead you to some extraordinary state, what you are seeking is pleasure.
You have been hypnotized for so many generations and now you are also being hypnotized by this word mantra yoga, the repetition of a word. Sir, why do you make so much of it? Repeat a word like 'pepsi cola' or 'coca cola', that's good enough, you don't have to pay thirty or one hundred dollars. Pick up any word, 'ava maria' or any other word and repeat it and you will see what happens to your mind.
Do it, sir. And also some time pick up a piece of stone with some shape to it or a piece of stick with some curve in it, put it on the mantelpiece, put flowers to it every day, with some respect, and you will see at the end of a month you are completely hypnotized by that stick, because you have given your devotion, your reverence, your love to that piece of stone and that becomes a habit and you are hypnotized. It's a form of self-hypnosis with which most of us are familiar, though we're unconscious of it.
Questioner: You are using words to hypnotize us.
Krishnamurti: Am I?
Questioner: To de-hypnotise us.
Krishnamurti: Oh, I'm using words to de-hypnotise you? I'm not sir. I'm neither hypnotizing you nor de-hypnotising you. The speaker is not interested in doing anything to you. All that he says is, observe yourself, know yourself, observe what happening around you, look at yourself, the misery, the tortures, the agonies that you go through. Learn about yourself, not from somebody, including the speaker, but learn about yourself by watching yourself. There's great beauty in that. Then you will find out in watching what it means to be aware, to be attentive, and a mind that is so attentive is a religious mind, is a clear mind and from that you can act totally. That's all he is saying. Do what you want, and you are inevitably going to do what you want, but be aware of what you want to do, for in that awareness your mind becomes sensitive, intelligent and from that intelligence there is an action which is total.
Talks and Dialogues Sydney 1970 5th Public Talk 29th November, 1970
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.