Masonic Auditorium, San Fransisco 1975
2nd Public Talk Masonic Auditorium San Francisco 22th March 1975
I would like, if I may, to repeat again what we said the other day when we met here. This is not a one sided affair, you and I, the speaker...
Audience: We can't hear.
K: Is that better? It is not better? Is it any better now?
We are sharing the thing together, we are not just merely gathering some ideas from the speaker, some conclusions or some philosophical concepts. We are dealing with `what is', what is actually going on outside and also what is going on within ourselves, what actually is going on, not what we would like to think is going on. And so, if I may repeat again, we are sharing this thing together and so it is your responsibility also to work, to listen, to find out what the speaker is saying without agreement or disagreement, but closely examine together `what is' and if it is possible to transform, to go beyond `what is'.
As we were saying the other day, when we last met here, that knowledge conditions the mind, and through knowledge we look at all the phenomenon of the world, both outward and inward. Knowledge is the accumulation of experience, and from that arises memory, and the response of memory is thought. So thought is a material process. And this knowledge that one has accumulated through centuries, ever since man began, that knowledge however good, however necessary and so on, that knowledge shapes our minds, our hearts, our activities, and as long as we live within that field of knowledge, knowledge is always in the past, there is no freedom, freedom from the known. And as we are going to talk about several things, like fear, pleasure, relationship, love, we are going to examine all these together and see for ourselves directly their significance, their structure and their nature. Then perhaps, if you are serious, if one goes into it very, very deeply, not urged by circumstances, by some influence, but go into ourselves, look at it, then perhaps there might be a total psychological transformation, psychological revolution, which is so essential to bring about a different culture, a different society. That is the whole meaning of this morning's investigation, that the society, the culture in which we live has conditioned our minds, our hearts, our activities, our daily life in relationship. And that society, that culture is created by each one of us, by our parents, by our forefathers, by the ancient people and so on, that society with all its economic, social problems, has shaped our minds and that shaping, that conditioning is essentially through knowledge, through constant repetition. Like a computer, you programme it and what you tell it, it will respond instantly. And our brains have been conditioned for millennia. And whether it is at all possible to uncondition that mind so that there is a psychological revolution, so that we can live on this earth happily, intelligently, with compassion, without any sense of violence, conflict. That is the problem that faces most of us who are at all deeply concerned with what is going on in the world, the violence, the starvation, the wars, the national divisions, religious separations and so on.
So we must enquire, if you will, and we will share together, what is the place of knowledge, if it conditions, as it does, the human mind - I mean by that word `mind' the intellect, which is the capacity to reason logically, sanely, and the mind includes the heart, the emotions, the totality of the human entity, at least we are using that word `mind' in that sense, the totality of human activity, human responses, feelings, the various thoughts, desires, purposes, conclusions, the incessant suffering, all that is the mind. And that mind has been conditioned, and we are asking whether it is at all possible to uncondition the mind because a conditioned mind is not a free mind, it is a mechanical mind, it is a repetitive mind, and when faced with a totally different kind of challenge it responds according to its old knowledge and therefore its response is not adequate, and hence the inadequacy brings about conflict. I hope we are following each other.
Our question is: what place has knowledge? And what is the relationship of knowledge to the transformation of man, psychological man and therefore the outward man? Really there is no, if you go into it very deeply, there is no outer and inner, there is only this constant movement of thought and its activity, which expresses itself, outwardly and inwardly. And what place has thought in the transformation of man? What place has thought in bringing about a totally different quality of mind? And therefore heart, and therefore that sense of compassion, what place has thought in all that? Thought being the response of memory, experience and knowledge; and knowledge, as we said, is essentially the past. I think this is fairly obvious so we needn't labour the point. So what place has knowledge, and therefore thought, in bringing about a radical revolution psychologically, and therefore society, has it a place at all? Or no place? And therefore we must examine, again together, share together, journey together, it isn't that the speaker is just talking to himself, we are sharing this very, very serious thing together and therefore it is neither agreeing nor disagreeing, we are two friends talking over together their problems, and therefore there is no authority. The speaker is not a Delphic Oracle. But two affectionate, friendly, companionable people talking over their many problems and being friends they are aware of each other, they are aware of their prejudices, their short comings, their impulses, their desires, their pettiness, and their merits and their arrogance, but in spite of all that, talk over, not only casually, hesitantly but also seriously the problem that is in their heart and in their mind.
So what is thought? What is this process of thinking upon which all our civilization, all our culture, religion, activity is based on? Thought has produced this world both outwardly and inwardly. And again that is a fact, that is what is going on actually. Can thought transform man? And man has to change radically. That change is not according to a certain pattern, or according to certain ideals, certain conclusions, philosophies, because those philosophies, conclusions, ideals are the product of thought. Thought has put together the skeleton of what is called religion, with their saviours, with their masters, with their heaven and hell, and as one observes both historically and actually what is going on, thought has bred all this, and yet we think through thought, thinking rationally, quietly, deeply that thought can somehow, through some mysterious process, change our minds and our hearts. And we are saying, the speaker is saying that thought cannot possibly transform man, however subtle, however erudite, however cunning, however insane it is. Thought has no possibility whatsoever in bringing about a psychological revolution which is so absolutely necessary.
So then what place has knowledge if thought cannot bring about a change of great depth, of great beauty, of compassion, which are necessary in this world, both as a human being and in the collective? Then what place has thought? Do you understand my question? Please at the end of the talk, if you will, ask questions, but now is not the moment.
You know the western civilization sprang from the Greeks who maintained that measure, measurement is essential, and measurement is thought. And the ancient Greeks with their philosophies exploded over Europe. That is a fact. They said rational, clear thinking based on knowledge and measurement is necessary. And if you observe all our technological knowledge and activity, everything in the west is based on thought, both its religions, its national divisions, its economic status and so on. And India, ancient India not modern India which is as corrupt, rotten as here, ancient India said, and then again very few, that measurement is illusion, to find the immeasurable, and that is the search of man, that is the everlasting enquiry of man, thought must be suppressed, thought must be controlled in order to go beyond the illusory structure of thought to find, or to come upon that which is not measurable, the eternal, the infinite. But they too, the ancient Indians, used thought, though they tried to suppress thought, the very suppression is the process of thought. So both the west and the east are in the same position. The one trying to solve the human problem in terms of thought. And we are saying - please listen to it if you will, neither agreeing nor disagreeing but seeing actually the fact of `what is', that thought in no way can change man. Thought has its place, in the technological world, in the world of action, in the world of skill, in the world of everyday activity. If one wants to learn cycling you have to learn, memorize, learn balance and so on, knowledge has its place. But it cannot bring about a psychological revolution in man. Then what will? You understand the problem?
So to find out what will, one must go into this question of fear. You understand what we are saying? That thought has its place, knowledge has its place, but knowledge, thought through centuries though it has tried to transform itself, has not done so, and so thought, whatever it will do, however much it may control, discipline itself, however much it may run after the gurus, saviours and all the rest of it, is not capable, utterly irrelevant in the transformation of man. And if thought cannot, what will? What is the energy, not some mysterious energy, not some energy to be awakened through a series of mechanical practices and so on and on, but what is that energy that will change man? And to find that energy, to go into it, we must first find out whether the mind can be free from fear, because fear in all its forms limits energy, confines it, darkens it. And our life, a great portion of our life unfortunately is based on fear, fear of poverty, fear of not achieving what we want, success, and in this country success is worshipped as a god, fear of physical pain, fear of old age, fear of death, fear of what somebody says about you - you know the innumerable fears that the mind has collected, both conscious as well as unconscious. And we are asking: that fear, whether it be casual, superficial or deeply rooted, whether that fear can be completely set aside, can the mind be totally free from it? Don't say, `It can never be free'. If you say it can never be free then you are blocking yourself. Or if you say, `Yes, it can be free', then you have already come to a conclusion. But if you begin to enquire, to find out whether the mind so deeply entrenched in fear, whether it is at all possible for it to be free, not at different levels of consciousness but completely.
Now how do you enquire into it? Please bear in mind this is not a group therapy which I have a horror of, nor a collective enquiry; you are enquiring, your personal problem, it is your issue, you have a dozen fears of which you may be conscious or unconscious. And you know very well what it does both in relationship with another, fear of the past, fear of physical pain, fear of old age and death and disease. And if you are aware, as you are sitting there, if you are aware, that is, if you are conscious of one fear, at least one, by enquiring into that one fear, that enquiry will reveal the whole structure of fear, if you are aware. That is, to be aware means to look without distortion, without prejudice, without the desire to go beyond fear, just to observe, as you observe the sunset. You can't do anything about the sunset, or yesterday's storm, you just observe, look at it, see what it is doing. And to be so choicelessly aware that awareness opens the book of fear, the whole book, not the many chapters or one or two pages, but the fear from the beginning to the end. That means whether you are capable, as you are sitting there listening, to be aware. Not go to school or college, or go to somebody to learn how to be aware. It is like those people who are learning to be sensitive, which is absurd.
One is afraid of a physical pain that one has had last week, and one hopes it will not recur again, and in that there is fear. One is afraid of death, that everlasting thing that is waiting for all of us. One is afraid of one's wife or husband, or girl or boy - there are so many fears. And if you invite one as you are sitting there, what is the cause of fear?
We are going to say something that perhaps you have not gone into. If you have please forgive the repetition of it. What is the cause of fear, the deep roots of fear and also the casual fears? If you have gone into it as we are doing it now, you have to find out, not from the speaker - as we said yesterday the speaker has no authority whatsoever, you have to find this out for yourself, and therefore examination of this fact together - together, you understand, you and I examining, not you accepting or denying, and memorizing the words, the ideas, the conclusions. Together we are looking at this enormous thing called fear. What is the root cause of it, whether it is the fear of physical pain, fear of losing a job, fear of poverty if you are rich, if you are well off, fear of, for heaven's sake, you know all the fears that one has - what is the cause of it, what is the essence of it? If you are looking for a cause that is a waste of time, that is a process of analysis. And having discovered the cause, if you can, through analysis, where are you at the end of it? So the investigation into the cause of fear, the cause is not only irrelevant but a wastage of time and energy. But if you ask: what has brought about, not the cause, this abiding, this sense of agony, this sense of loneliness that brings about fear? How has it flowered? If you ask it, and I am asking for you, the speaker is asking for you, then you will find that it is thought that has brought this about, thinking. Thinking, as we said, is the product of memory, experience, knowledge. That is a fact. I think I might lose my job. I had pain last week and I don't want it today, it might happen, which is again the movement of thought. And nobody can deny this fact that thought, which is a material process, that thought conditioned by knowledge, invariably must produce fear of tomorrow, uncertainty. And we are living in a world, in the modern world, where everything is uncertain, and we want certainty, both outwardly and inwardly. And the groping after this certainty, whether religiously, economically or socially and all the rest of it, is the movement of thought; and thought must and does create fear. And one hasn't time to go into it much more deeply because we have to talk about several other things this morning.
And I do not know if you have noticed how our mind is always pursuing pleasure in different forms, pleasure of possession, having power, economically, politically, socially or individually and so on, power over others, power which that knowledge gives, power of awakening certain capacities, all that, and the pursuit of all that is pleasure. The sexual pleasure - I do not know if you have noticed how the mind, thought is always pursuing this. Not only pleasures in domination, but also pleasures in relationship. The pleasure and the delight of seeing a clear mountain against the blue sky and the delight of that moment is registered in the brain cells as memory, and the repetition of that delight, the demand of that through thought of that delight is pleasure. When you actually see that mountain, in the lovely clear blue sky, at that instant there is no thought of pleasure, there is only observation, the beauty, the loveliness, the shadows, then thought comes along and says, `I must have it again tomorrow'. That is what you do sexually, a repetition, the boredom, the mechanicalness. We are not saying that you must suppress pleasure, that is for the priests! (Clapping) Don't waste your time sirs, clapping or agreeing, just listen. Because that is what you are caught in, not only the denial of pleasure, the resistance of certain forms of pleasure but the intent of pleasure, the direction of pleasure, which again is the product of thought. So thought creates both fear and the pursuit of pleasure. This again is a fact, that is what actually is. And can you observe, be aware of this, of fear, pleasure as the product of thought? And not deny it? Not suppress it? Therefore out of that arises the question: what is discipline and control? You understand? I have pleasure in over eating, pleasure in so many different ways. Pleasure of possession, pleasure of domination, pleasure of power.
So what is discipline? And what is control? Has control any place at all? Please listen carefully. We are not advocating no control, that is what you are doing any way! But we are asking: what is the place of discipline and control where pleasure and fear are concerned? Control and discipline, again is the movement of thought, resistance and acceptance. The word `discipline' means to learn, it comes from the word disciple - disciple who is learning from the master, from the teacher. Not suppression, conformity, imitation, which now signifies that word discipline. Discipline means to learn, and the very act of learning has its own discipline. You understand this? If I want to learn Italian, the very learning of it brings about order in the mind - that is so, isn't it? Are you all following each other? Or are you all on a clear lovely morning wishing to be somewhere else? So discipline means the act of learning from moment to moment, not gathering knowledge and acting according to that knowledge, which is what is generally understood as being discipline. Right? Can I proceed? Can I go on? I hope you understand all this. If you don't, I am sorry.
Control implies resistance, in that there is the controller and the controlled. The pleasure of possession, the pleasure of domination and the power that comes with domination, and you say, `I must control that desire'. Which means resist that desire, build a wall psychologically against that desire, and so on. Now is it possible - please listen carefully - is it possible not to have any control at all but to learn all the implications of pleasure, the structure and the nature of fear and pleasure. And when you observe then you will see that the observer is the observed and therefore the necessity of control totally disappears. You might say, `You, as the speaker, do you actually do this?' The speaker says, `Yes, he has had no control whatsoever in his life.' Which doesn't mean he does what he likes, but order is necessary. Oh Lord, there is so much to talk about! When there is order in yourself, not the mechanical order of discipline, control and imitation and conformity, when there is order in yourself, which means no confusion but direct perception and action, then there is order, not artificially brought about, conforming to a blueprint; but this order comes when you understand the whole nature of disorder in which we live. In our lives there is such disorder, and to understand that disorder, then you will see out of that disorder comes an order which is absolute, mathematically clear, and such a mind has no need for control or discipline in the sense of suppression, conformity and so on.
And now there is the next question: is love pleasure? Do you understand my question? Is love desire? Is love sex? And that word unfortunately, `love', has been so misused, trodden on, made dirty, both by religions and by modern permissiveness. So we must find out, if you are at all serious, because if you have no love in your hearts you are dead human beings, you may have pleasure, any amount, any amount of sex, any amount of possession, you might be the most powerful man in the world with a lot of money, but you are a human being, a mechanical entity, repetitive, inconsistent, contradictory and in conflict. So you must find out, not accept, deny, find out for yourself for god's sake what love means. That word has been spoiled by religions - for the love of god, love of human beings, love of whatever you love. So we are asking: is love pleasure? And we have made in this modern world, and probably in the Victorian era too, only they did it under cover, pleasure is identified with love. And when there is no pleasure in love there is fear. So fear, pleasure go together, they are two sides of the same coin. So you have to ask yourself what is this strange thing which man, throughout the ages, sought after, suffered for it, called it chastity, denied all the pleasures, all the sensitivities, all tastes and gone off into a monastery and labelled himself as being chaste.
So we have to go into the question of what is chastity? A mind that evokes pictures of pleasure, sexual or otherwise is an unchaste mind - not the act but the pictures, the imaginations, the fancy, the demands, the constant repetition, such a mind is an unchaste mind. And a mind that is pursuing pleasure and avoiding fear, can it come upon love? And an ambitious man, can he love? You are ambitious aren't you? All of you, in one way or another. When you follow somebody, your guru, you teacher, you are ambitious, you want to gain what he has, or what he thinks he has. The man who says he knows heaven, he does not know heaven. So you are ambitious, greedy, violent and can that man know what love is? Come on sirs, answer it yourself. Can a man who is competitive, who is always comparing himself with another, physically, psychologically, intellectually, and so on, can he know what love means? And yet he talks about love, `I love my family, I am responsible because I love my wife and my children' - is that love? In relationship between human beings, is there love? Question it sirs and ladies, don't accept a thing, find out, because relationship is one of the most important things in life: to be related to another, how you are related to another brings about a society, a culture. So you have to find out what this relationship means between two human beings, and is there love in that relationship? Or is it a matter of routine, sexual pleasure, or the frustration in sex, you know all the battles that go on in this mad, crazy world? So when you say, `I am related', what are you related to? You are related, are you not, to the image that you have built about her and she has built about you. The relationship is between these two images, which is verbal, which is memory, which is knowledge, which is the past.
So is love memory? So love is none of these things. And can you, as a human being, put aside your ambitions, your images about others, your conclusions, and be simple, clear, and then you will know what love is, and therefore compassion. You talk a great deal about love. You kill animals for your food, whales are disappearing, the earth is being destroyed for your pleasure. So you have to understand this whole structure of thought which has produced human beings that have no love, though they may talk everlastingly about it, no compassion, compassion means passion for all human beings, for all living things. They have no love between themselves, between a wife and husband, girl and boy, they are just living on images, memories, the past, the future memory projected from the past; though they may talk about love they are ambitious, greedy, violent, selfish. Can you, as a human being, put aside all this, easily, quietly, without great demonstration of your sacrifice? And then perhaps you will come upon that extraordinary thing, without which life has no meaning.
Tomorrow and on the other - we have got two more meetings - tomorrow we will talk about suffering and the enormous problem of death. And also what is meditation, because we are concerned with the whole of life, not with one segment of life, one part, but the whole of it. The whole of it is death, relationship, fear, action, and whether the mind can come upon that which is eternal, all that is the whole of life from the very beginning to the end. And therefore we must, if one is at all given to earnestness, we must enquire into all these matters.
Do you want to ask any questions? Or is that enough for this morning? You remember there is a lovely story of a preacher, every morning he talked to his disciples, a sermon. And one day as he was getting on the rostrum and about to speak, a bird sat on the window sill and began to sing. It was a lovely morning, clear, soft air and everything was rejoicing. And the bird sang its song and flew away. And the preacher said, `The sermon for this morning is over'. Do you want to ask any questions after that? (Laughter)
Q: Sir, I have listened to you and I believe if I could fully understand I could live a much better life. But still I find this gap between what I can do, I don't know what to do.
K: I understand. You have heard the question, so I won't repeat it. When we say we understand, what do we mean by that word? Is it an intellectual understanding, a verbal understanding? The grasp of the meaning of words which signifies what one wants? Is that understanding at all? Or is understanding something which is not a mental process, a verbal dissertation, a verbal examination, for the word is not the thing. If I say, `I understand, I have got what you mean', then you must examine, look into this `I have understood' - meaning you have really understood verbally, which is no understanding at all. So understanding implies instant action, not understand verbally and later on act. There is no division between understanding and action.
Good lord! Are you all going to ask questions?
Q: If worldly life implies reflection of our inward spiritual life, then it seems to me outward and inward material poverty is a reflection of spiritual poverty, and material well-being is a reflection of spiritual well-being. Can you comment on this?
K: What is the question sir?
Q: I am curious about the fact that the...
K: I understand, I have got it. Quite, quite. I understand.
It is the responsibility of all governments, isn't it, to see that man, whether in America, Europe or India, or Asia, to see that man has food, clothes and shelter. It is necessary. Those are absolutely necessary. Now science says we can have that. Every man can have food, clothes and shelter. Why is it not possible? What is preventing this? Which means the well being of man, physical well being, what is preventing it? The communists say, `Follow my system, I have got a system', the communists say, `that will solve the problem - dictatorship of ideas, dictatorship by the few controlling the many. And the socialist has his own system, so have the capitalists. And the world is divided into nationalities, with their national prestige, with their sovereign governments and armies and so on and so on. This division of ideas, ideals, systems, nationalities is preventing the unity of man, deeply. Until you solve that problem, we have discussed this with politicians, with economists, with others, they can't go beyond their specialization. We are human beings to live on this earth, all of us happily. It is our earth, not the communist's world, earth, nobody possess this earth, it is ours. We are destroying it because we are divided amongst ourselves, the rich and the poor, the intellectual, the architect and so on and so on. So until that takes place, which means you must be free of this division, and then only can we have a system that will be happily accepted by all. That is enough sirs, I can't go deeply into it.
Q: Sir, when you observe yourself do you see a meaning in or behind your life?
K: When you observe yourself - do you what sir?
Q: Do you see a meaning?
K: I don't quite get it.
Q: Purpose, meaning.
K: Do I have a purpose? You are asking? Do you have a purpose, the speaker. Do you have a goal. I am afraid I haven't. Isn't that enough? Do all of you want to ask questions? Go ahead.
Q: I want to ask a question. You make it sound so simple to be free. But in society how can we be free from fear?
K: I pointed it out. First I pointed out the nature of fear and to look at it, be aware of it choicelessly, without resisting, without accepting, just look at it.
K: That is what you are educated to be competitive. All your social structure is based on that, but somebody must start the other thing going. That is enough. Isn't that enough sirs? All right. Go ahead.
Q: Thank you. I would like to communicate with you first if I may briefly.
K: Yes, go ahead with your question.
Q: You have to understand what I am talking about before you can understand what concerns me. Can I share that with you briefly first?
K: Yes. Whatever you want to say.
Q: I personally see that our way of life of which you have spoken of as being a state of corruption and a monstrous way of life, is virtually the way of life for the entire world, and so on. And it seems to me that this monstrous and poisonous way of life, I have watched the earth, the air and water.
K: Sir could you kindly make your question brief because there are two or three others waiting. So what is your question sir?
Q: It is a question that concerns me. You would not understand my question if you did not understand me.
K: The question is you, isn't it?
Q: We talk about our simple way of life. My father heard you speak four years ago and said he respected you very much because of your ability to cut through the appearance to the underlying germs. And I am disappointed because I don't hear anyone addressing what I would call the germs to our sick way of life. I see our sick way of life is on a throne, it is a throne and the throne is perched on circumstances which we are going to.
K: So sir, you have to do something about it, haven't you?
Q: I am trying to share it first, that is why I am at this microphone.
K: What is the question sir?
Q: The question is to be understood by you if you are going to answer me. You announced in your talks about the Indian traditions, and the Greeks how they tend to measure things.
K: Yes sir, but what is the question sir? Forgive me.
Q: If you will forgive me I'll make it clear to you, because if I don't make it clear to you then I won't be addressing you, I'll be wasting my breath too. (Inaudible)
K: Sir you have not understood what I said. I said in India and here the human beings are the same. They go through torture, anxieties, fears, traditions, all that, we human beings are similar.
Q: But what is the germ of their way of life which is corrupt and sick as ours is? (Inaudible)
K: Therefore we must change. Change ourselves into what I have been talking about.
Q: But what are the germs of our sickness?
K: Ah! If you have got germs that are making you sick, take some kind of medicine. Homeopathic, allopathic, and there are different kinds of remedies. Sir, this is not what we are talking about, for god's sake. Please give the other fellow a chance, sir.
Q: Thank you, sir. I am sorry you couldn't understand my question.
Q: You said in the very beginning that if anyone didn't understand, or didn't follow what you were saying, he should speak up. Well, I didn't quite understand exactly what you were trying to get across about thought and conflicts. And as a result of that I have some questions for you.
K: What are you talking about, the questioner says, I don't understand what you mean by the process of thought. That is what he didn't understand. Must I go into it all again?
K: It is not OK, sir.
Q: What I would like to know is how does one divorce oneself from thought?
K: Ah! How does one free oneself from thought. How does one control thought? How does one understand what place has thought? Thought, as I have explained, has its place, when you go from here to your house, you know where it is, the memory tells you where it is and you go there. So technologically, in skill, and in other ways, thought, memory, experience is necessary. Right, sir?
Q: That is what I was going to say. I felt that. It seems to me that you have advanced to such a point, in our society, that it is necessary. The only thing that we have is thought, but it cannot change us psychologically.
K: I understand, sir, that is what we said. Thought cannot change psychologically man. So one has to go into it and find out for oneself what place has thought, because thought must be used. When I speak English I am using the words which I have learnt, memory, and so on.
Q: It is really a waste of time.
K: I am sorry. I'll have to stop, if you don't mind.
Masonic Auditorium, San Fransisco 1975
2nd Public Talk Masonic Auditorium San Francisco 22th March 1975
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