Madras 2nd Public Question & Answer Meeting 7th January 1981
I see there are several questions here, and before we go into them may I point out that we seem to live on explanations. You put a question, and if there is an answer to it we are either satisfied or dissatisfied, and explanations, descriptions and commentaries are really a lot of words, a lot of theories. And we seem to live on those, on words, and it is like living on ashes. So we are generally starved, if we live on words, both physically, psychologically and intellectually. So if one may point out this, that we are together going into these questions, and the explanation, if it is merely the investigation of words then I am afraid we shan't get very far.
Do you want to deal with that question first, investigation into death, that somebody asked? Or shall we begin with this first? Shall I begin with this and later on answer your question, sir?
1st QUESTION: We are medical students in college, why is it we never notice things in the way you do? Why are we not serious enough to change ourselves?
Does this only apply to medical students? Or does it apply to most of us? We never notice the morning clouds, the parrots and their wayward flight. We never notice the dog on the wayside, or the goats that lie in the middle of the road. Or we never notice the beauty of a tree. And why is it, the questioner says, that we do not change. What is the root of all this? A civilization like in India, which has probably existed for three to four thousand years, a culture that has almost disappeared, which has now become extraordinarily mundane, worldly, money-minded, corruption, and all the rest of it, why it is that we don't change? Ask yourself, if you are serious enough, ask yourself, why is it I don't change, what is it that prevents us. Is it financial security, which we are seeking; physical stability? That's one point. Is it that we are intellectually, that is able to discern, to distinguish, to understand, to be critical, to sustain sceptical outlook on life, intellectually, which we don't do. Is it emotionally we are starved? We are very sensuous people, sex, pleasure, therefore the demand for money, position, power, ambition, and all the rest of it - is this what is preventing us? Because we are all of us from childhood, from the moment the baby is born it seeks security - physical, psychological security. It wants to be safe with the mother; if anyone dislikes the mother the baby feels it. This has been tested out - in the West, not here.
The question is, why, realizing all this, do we not change? Or we never realize this fact? We just carry on in the good old tradition - Rama, Seti and all the rest of it - and our brains have become so accustomed to this pattern of living, so it refuses to change because it is very comfortable to live in a pattern. Is that the reason why we don't change? Is it that we have not enough energy - both physical, psychological energy? We have plenty of energy, you go to the office everyday for the rest of your life, that indicates a great deal of energy. The energy that we waste through quarrels, cruelty, indifference. We have got plenty of energy. And again, why don't we change, we know all this? Some of you perhaps have heard the speaker for the last thirty, forty, fifty years and there is very little change, why? Answer it yourselves, sirs. Why is it that we have become so dull? Is it the tradition, your religion, your sacred books? I am asking you, please investigate with me. Are all these the reasons why we don't change?
It's natural and healthy to want security; you need food, clothes and shelter, everyone does, that's natural. And is there security psychologically, which we want? We want security in our relationship, however intimate or not, we want to be quite sure my wife, my husband, remains with me. We are so terribly attached. If one could understand the nature of attachment with all its consequences, and see the very danger of such an attachment, which denies love, if one really saw that and dropped it immediately, then perhaps some change can take place. But we don't. You hear this, that attachment in any form, to anything, is very, very corrupting, destructive. The explanation, we can go into it, when you are attached to somebody or to a principle, or to an ideal, to a belief, you are not only separating yourself from another but from that attachment to a belief, to a person, to an ideal, there is fear, there is jealousy, there is anxiety, a sense of possessive pleasure, and therefore always in a state of uncertainty inwardly. One knows the consequences of attachment.
Now, would you change that immediately? Or just listen, fold your hands most respectfully, and turn up the next day while we talk about attachment. You understand my question? Why? Why are we so sluggish? You ask it, sirs.
One realizes that basically, deeply, one doesn't want to change, and therefore there are various forms of escape. There are not only drugs, chemical drugs one takes in order to escape from one's narrow, ugly, sloppy life, one takes them to have more experience and have a different vision, through alcohol, LSD, marijuana, all those things that are going on in this world. Why is our mind so dull that we don't see danger and change immediately, why? Do please, go on, sirs. This is real sorrow. You understand? This incapacity to bring about a change in ourselves and therefore in society, in our relationship, this incapacity makes one not only time-bound but we don't flower, we don't grow, we don't move. So what is one to do? Do you want more shocks, more pain, more suffering to make one change?
So there are those people who say, as human beings will not change, therefore create a society that will control the human being - the communist world, the totalitarian world, the socialist world. The more we are uncertain, as is now taking place in the world, more insecure, we turn to tradition, we turn to gurus, or join some political party. All this is going on, if you have realized. So at the end of all this, why don't we change? You understand? Why? Is it the utter unwillingness, the utter stupidity?
When you observe all this right through the world, it is a very sad affair. There is marvellous technology, which is growing at such immense speed, and man cannot keep up with it psychologically, and so he is going to destroy human beings. I don't know if you are aware of all this. So what are you going to do? Carry on as before? Probably you will.
2nd QUESTION: Having been recently hurt, and having heard you saying, when you tread on the image you have created for yourself, about yourself, can we not record the hurt. Can we get rid of the image? How can this be done?
Shall we go into it deeply, together? I hope the questioner is here: one generally puts the question and goes away, because one hasn't the time, the energy, the interest, but only the sense of being hurt.
We are hurt from childhood. This is a fact. The scolding of the parents, the constant, 'do this', 'don't do that', 'it must be like this and it must not be like that' - the constant reproach, that hurts the child. And in schools, the constant comparison through examinations; in college, university, the process goes on all the time. And as you get a little older you are hurt by your wife, or your husband, you are afraid of public opinion, you are hurt by a gesture, by a look, by a word. And you carry this hurt throughout life. And the questioner asks, how am I to be free of the hurt. It may be recent, or long, deeply established. Are you interested in this question? Do you know, sir, are you hurt? Or you are totally unaware of it?
What is being hurt when you say, 'I am hurt' - not physically but psychologically, inwardly, when you say, 'I am hurt by what you said, by not invited to lunch', by not having a good position and so on, what is it that is hurt? Go on sir, we are investigating, don't go to sleep, it's too early in the morning. What is it that is hurt? Is it you that is hurt? What is the 'you'? Please think together, work together. What is the 'you' who is hurt? You have an image about yourself, that you are a Hindu, Brahmin, non-Brahmin, you know, you have an image about yourself: you are very clever, or dull, competing with somebody, you are a clever lawyer. You follow, you have got a certain image, a certain picture about yourself. Right? That's obvious, isn't it? If I have a picture about myself, that I am rather a great man, that I am very well known, that I am a great something or other, somebody comes along and says, 'You are a bit of an ass, you are rather silly', I naturally get hurt because I think I am a big person. You come and say, 'Don't be silly, don't be an idiot', I get hurt. What is the thing that gets hurt? Is it my picture about myself? The image that I have built about myself, that I am very clever, that I can do this or that, that I have a large audience, and somebody comes along and says, 'You audience is old, gaga, a dead audience, you ought to consider bigger audience', I get hurt. You understand? This is the normal process that goes on in life - rather, an unnatural process that goes on in life.
So we are asking, what is it that gets hurt? The picture, the image, the concept I have about myself, which we all have, therefore it gets trodden upon, somebody puts a pin into it, somebody calls it by a name, and that image gets hurt. That image is you. Then you say, I am hurt. Right? Is this clear?
Then the questioner says, how am I to be free of the image. Right? How am I not to record the hurt? How am I to be free so that there can be no hurt whatsoever? The consequences of being hurt are that I build a wall round myself. Right? Because I don't want to be hurt more, so I build a wall. Building a wall round myself makes me more isolated. Right? And the consequences of that isolation are that I have actually no relationship at all with another. I may have a physical, sensuous response, or intimacy with another, but actually I have no relationship. So when I am hurt I build a wall round myself which creates more fear, makes me a little more vulnerable, and so I keep that hurt for the rest of my life. This is what is happening. So what shall we do?
Why do we create images about ourselves? I am a PhD, I am the president of some idiotic company, I am a high bureaucrat, or I am the archbishop of something or other. You see how society is built on this principle. I do not know if you are aware of it in yourself. And as long as you have that image somebody is going to put a pin into it. So the question is: not only how to be free of the image, but also is it possible not to record? You understand? The brain is recording, recording that crow, the noise of the crow, recording various things in life, all the time recording. I don't know if you see. This is the function of the brain. If you don't record you are not able to continue in action. You understand? So there must be recording going on. We record in order to be secure. The recording is to learn a language so that I can communicate. The recording is to become a lawyer, a surgeon, a politician. There is this constant process of recording. In that process there is a sense of security, which is, in becoming something one feels secure. I wonder if you are following all this. It's your life, please follow all this. So the brain is trained through millennia to record. And when you call another an idiot, or a foolish person, it is recorded. So that is one of the problems: is it possible not to record; only record what is necessary, and not to record anything else? I wonder if you follow all this?
So the question is: when you are not invited to a luncheon where important people are you get hurt, and not to record the invitation, and not being invited there. You follow? Not to record it. Is that possible? You understand my question? It is possible only when you have no image about yourself. Is that possible? Living in this world, which is very competitive, ruthless, totally indifferent to what happens to another, merciless, to live in this world, go to the office, a good lawyer, a good surgeon, etc., not to have an image about oneself - is that possible? If you have an image you are going to be hurt. If you have an image somebody is going to smash it. You have an image that you are a religious person, and somebody says, are you really, or is it just a lot of words. You follow? Is it possible not to have an image and live in this world? It is possible, completely possible. Which means you are nobody. To live in this world and be nobody, except to be a good lawyer, to be a good engineer. You understand? That's our livelihood, to be an excellent teacher, excellent - efficiency of any kind, there you need a capacity, not an image, to be efficient doesn't mean that you have an image. But psychologically, inwardly, not to have a single shadow of image, then nobody can hurt you. There is no hurt. Right?
This concept that you must become something, that is, in the world you are a clerk, then you become a manager, you become an executive, you become the top boss. An apprentice carpenter, then learn, spend several years and then you can become a master carpenter. You are the priest, then you become the top priest, then you become the higher priest, then you become, god knows what else. So this is the process that is going on. That same process is moved to the psychological world, that you must become something - reach heaven. You understand? That ultimately you will attain, god knows what. So the same process has moved to the psychological world. Right? The becoming. So as long as you are becoming something you are going to be hurt. Right?
Now, you have heard all this, logically, reasonably, sanely, put before you. You have exercised your mind, your brain, in looking at it, in considering it. Now, will you drop your image? No, sir. If you don't you are going to be hurt, and being hurt you are going to be isolated, and in isolation there is greater fear, and in isolation there is no love. So it's up to you.
3rd QUESTION: When I love someone I find myself deeply attached. When I really love someone I am intensely concerned, and deeply interested in the person, which always involves attachment. How can we be so intensely concerned and yet not be attached?
What do you mean when you love someone? Go on, sir, investigate it. Is it attraction? Don't be ashamed. We are going to go into this. Is it attraction, a sensual attraction, sexual attraction? You are young, all your glands are functioning, you are healthy, and the natural urge, sexual urge for procreation and all the rest of that, there is this 'falling in love' as it is called. Right? And in that love there is the sexual urge, there is the pleasure of companionship. Am I telling you all this? You already know all this.
So there is the sexual attraction, the pleasure of companionship, the escape from loneliness. Right? And you say, 'I love that person intensely'. After a few years, you know what takes place. We are not being cynical, we are just pointing out. And you get bored, tired, the same old repetitive sexual reactions, seeing the same person who was nice looking at the beginning, and now has become coarse, vulgar, stupid. And you yourself are growing old, ugly, stupid, and that love goes overboard. Right? And what are you attached to? To the person, deeply concerned about the person? Are you really deeply concerned about the person? Which means what? Go on, sir, examine it, for god's sake, your life this is. When you are deeply concerned about a person what do you do? You don't want to hurt her or him. You won't nag, you won't get angry, you won't scold, you won't bully, you won't use her for your sexual purposes. Therefore one questions whether one is deeply concerned about anything at all. Probably you are deeply concerned with only one thing, money, position, power.
And the questioner says, in this so-called love I am attached. Attached to what? To the person? Please watch it carefully. To the person? Or to the image you have about that person? Go on, sir, think it out. You have built an image about that person: the sexual image, the image of endless chattering. Right? The image of being kind, comfortable, flattering and nagging, you know the whole thing that goes on. And you have built this marvellous image about her, and she about you and there you are. And you are attached not to her, the image you have about her, or him.
Then the questioner says, to be deeply concerned and yet not be attached. Silly! If you are really concerned, are you attached? No, sir, you are never attached if you are really concerned about another.
4th QUESTION: What is your stand with regard to miracles? We are told that even you have performed what would normally be called miracles. Do you deny that fact?
How do you know the speaker has performed miracles? How do you know? Somebody told you about it? Naturally. And is it very important? In the Christian world miracles are very important. Right? Jesus is supposed to have performed many miracles, and that has become one of the factors. Is it very important to perform miracles? That is, to change something out of nothing, to cure somebody without medicine, without surgery, without going through all that misery, to heal somebody. Which is more important, to heal physically somebody or heal psychologically? You are not interested in all that. You are interested only in miracles that will give your more money.
Sir, do you see how sad all this is, how childish all this is? Isn't it very sad what human beings have reduced themselves to, to be so easily satisfied by miracles. Obviously you can produce miracles. What? What's important about it? The speaker has probably healed somebody. All right. Physically. All right, what? A doctor heals somebody, they do, surgeons heal people. Right? You don't give them importance. But a man who does something without medicine, without this and without that, that's a miracle and you are astonished and worship that person. You follow, it is all becoming so childish, immature.
So one asks, not what is the fact, but why have we become so childish about all these matters? You understand, sir? You understand, the world is going to pieces, you understand, in this country there is such degeneration, you are degenerating, you understand? You are corrupt, you are making things ugly in life. To change that is the miracle. Not some silly person doing some kinds of tricks. This is the greatest miracle that can happen to a human being, to completely change and flower into something extraordinary. That's possible. But you are not interested. You want somebody to do everything for you. Nobody is going to help you psychologically.
5th QUESTION: You say, sir, that one should look at things totally and not fragmentarily, and that such observation is possible only when the brain is completely attentive. What should I do now to make the brain behave rightly?
Good lord! First of all, sirs, isn't it obvious that we look at things partially? Right, that's clear. You look at your wife, your husband, your friend partially. And our life is fragmented. Right? Say one thing, do another, go to all the temples with their nonsense, and be a very good lawyer. The two are incompatible. You follow? I don't know if you follow all this. So we live a life of hypocrisy. You may not like to have that pointed out, but that's a fact. The pretensions that we have of being very religious, and yet be ambitious, be competitive, ready to kill another, violence, and all the rest of it. So there's great contradiction in our life. And that contradiction shows our brain thinks in contradictions, which is fragmentation. Right? You understand this? So is it possible for the brain to observe totally? It's not possible when you are living a fragmentary life, you cannot possibly see totally. That's so simple. Right? So can you not live a hypocritical life? It's very simple, a simple question, which is, can you live with great integrity, never, never saying something you don't really understand, which you have not lived, experienced. You understand? Don't repeat what others have said, have ideals and never live those ideals, that is hypocrisy. Right? A man who says, I am violent but I am trying to be non-violent - that is hypocrisy. Right? Right sirs? You don't agree with that? You are all very silent.
Q: It is only a metaphor.
K: Oh, no, it's not a metaphor. To live a life, as we do, it is fragmentary. Right? It is so obvious. And therefore our outlook on life is fragmentary, broken up. And that indicates saying one thing and doing another. You know this, don't you? So how can a mind - a brain, which is fragmentary, and thought is fragmentary - right, would you agree to that? Oh, for god's sake - thought which is fragmentary, and anything thought does is fragmentary because thought is the result of experience, knowledge, memory, and the response of memory is thought. And thought brings its action, which is fragmentary and this fragmentary process of thought must create hypocrisy. Right? Say one thing, do another, think one thing and pretend to say, to do something else. This is the nature of thought. I do not know if you realize thought can never be honest. Right? Because thought in itself is fragmentary.
And the questioner asks, as the brain cannot perceive the whole, then what is one to do? Quieten the brain, have patience with it, don't pretend. That's all. Don't put on masks; when you meet an important person you put on a mask, and are very, very respectful, and when you meet your servant you kick him. So to have a brain not fragmented, means it has to slow down, watch, be patient, look at it, observe what is happening to you. Then to see something wholly, completely, you can only do that when you hear completely. You understand? Are you listening to what the speaker is saying now completely? No, you are not. That is, to listen without translating what he is saying to suit your own condition, or to listen, or listening you say, 'Well I have heard that before', or when you listen, not say, 'This is what I have read in books', which all indicates that you are not listening. Obviously. So to listen completely, that means you have to give attention to what you are listening to, which means that you are facing the problem. Right? Are you? Or your mind is wandering off, you are doing all kinds of tricks.
So sir, to be aware, to be aware of yourself, choicelessly, to look at yourself, the gestures you are making, the positions you are taking, the way you sit and look, to observe entirely, totally, without any motive, direction. That is possible.
6th QUESTION: Is there any survival after death? When man dies full of attachments, sorrow, regrets, what happens to this residue?
I don't quite understand, to this residue of what? Is there any survival after death - that is the real question, isn't it sir? No? You want to talk about death? Shall we go into it? Are you interested in it? Probably not, are you? Are you? You are not interested in death? What a lot of fuss you make when somebody dies close to you. Have you noticed that? Everybody else cries with you, you know what goes on in India when somebody dies, the appalling fuss they make about it. Not that it doesn't happen elsewhere. Let's go into it.
First of all, do you perceive, do you actually realize that your consciousness is the consciousness of mankind? Do you realize that? Is that a fact to you? As factual as somebody puts a pin into your arm, you feel the pain of it, is it as actual, not the pain, but the fact? That is, your brain has evolved through time and that brain is the result of a million years, and that brain may be conditioned if it lives in one part of the world, under a different culture, different climate, but it is the common brain of mankind. Right? Be quite sure of that. It's not your individual brain. That brain has inherited various responses, that brain with its genes which is also partly inheritance, partly of time, that is the common factor of mankind. Right? Do you understand this? It's not your brain. Thought may say, it is my brain, thought may say, I am the individual. Right? That's our conditioning. Are you an individual? Go into it, sirs. Are you an individual? You have a name, you have a different form, a different name, different form, a different face, short, tall, dark, etc., etc., does that make individuality? Does your belonging to a certain type, or a group, or a community, or a country, does that make you different, or make you an individual? Come on, sirs, move.
So what is an individual? An individual is one who is not fragmented. But since you are all fragmented you are not individuals. You are the result of the climate, etc., etc., with all its trappings. If that fact is soaked into your blood, that it is a fact. You may consider yourself an individual, but that's merely the expression of thought. Thought is common to all mankind, based on experience, knowledge, memory, stored up in the brain. Right? The brain is the centre of all the sensory responses, which is common to all mankind. I don't know if you are following all this. This is all logical.
So when you say, what happens to me after I die - right, have you understood sir, that's what you are interested in, me that is going to die. What is 'me'? Your name, how you look, how you are educated, the knowledge, the career, the family tradition, and the religious tradition, the beliefs, the superstitions, the greed, the ambition. Right? Look at it, sir. All the chicanery that goes on, the ideals that you have, all that is you. Right? Which is your consciousness. That consciousness is common to all mankind because they all so greedy, they are all so envious. Right? They are frightened, they want security, they are superstitious, they believe in one kind of god and you believe in another kind of god. Some are communists, some are socialists, some are capitalists. Right? So it is all part of all that. So that is the common factor that you are the rest of mankind. Right? You may agree, say, yes that's perfectly right, but you go on acting as individuals. That's what is so ugly, so hypocritical.
Now what is it that dies? You follow? If my consciousness is the consciousness of mankind, modified, etc., etc., it is the consciousness which I think is me is the common consciousness of man - right? - then what happens when I die? The body is burnt, or buried, or burnt up in an accident, what happens? The common consciousness goes on. I wonder if you realize it. Therefore when there is a perception of that truth then death has very little meaning. There is no fear of death then. There is fear of death only when I, as an individual, which is the tradition, which the brain has been programmed like a computer, saying, I am an individual, I am an individual, I believe in god, I believe this, I believe that - the computer can do all that. You understand? Can repeat.
So you see sirs, there is one factor that you miss in all this: love knows no death, compassion knows no death. It's only the person that doesn't love, or has no compassion, is afraid of death. Then you will say, 'How am I to love?' Right? How am I to have compassion, as though you can buy it in the market. But if you saw, if you realized that love alone has no death, sir that is real illumination, that is beyond all wisdom, all words, all kinds of intellectual trappings.
So, shall we have some more questions? It is a quarter to nine. You have heard the speaker on several occasions, probably read something he has written or said - I don't know why you read books, we live on other people's ideas. Right? We never read the book which is ourselves. We are the history of mankind. Right, that's obvious. That book is us. And to read that book carefully, never skipping a word, a page, a chapter, but to read the whole book, and the reading of that book cannot be taught by another, no guru, no saviour, no master, no psychologist, no professor, nobody is going to help you read that book. That's the first thing to realize. That you are to read that book by yourself, which is you, you are that book, to read that. Either you read it slowly, page by page, year after year, until you die, therefore you have never read it completely, you understand, or you read it with one glance, the whole book. And that can be done only when the brain is so sharp, so alert, without any motive, without any direction, alert, awake, in which there is no contradiction, no sense of hypocrisy. Then you can read that book without even looking at it, the book is over. Then you will find out for yourself what lies beyond the book.
Madras 2nd Public Question & Answer Meeting 7th January 1981
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