Rishi Valley 1982
Rishi Valley 1st Talk with Students 8th December 1982
Krishnamurti: What shall we talk about? What would you like me to talk about? Jumping over the moon? No, you don't know what that means. Well, what would you like me to talk about? All right, if you have no suggestions I'll carry on, shall I?
Student: Sir, you may talk about anything.
K: Of course, that's the easiest, isn't it? If I was married, which I am not, and if I had children, which I haven't, what would I want my son or daughter to become, to be in life? Do you understand my question? Suppose I have a son or a daughter, I would like my son and daughter, perhaps one of you is my son and daughter, I would like first of all that they should be highly sensitive. You know what that word sensitive means - to have all your senses, your touch, your seeing, your hearing, highly developed. Because unless one becomes very, very sensitive when you touch, feel, see, your brain will not be greatly active. The senses are part of the brain. Is this too difficult? Could I go on like that?
Oh, I forgot something. The Foundation has appointed as the Secretary of the Executive committee, and the Director of Studies, Radhikaji, there she is sitting over there. She is going to be the executive secretary and Director of Studies. Probably some of you know her already. She has an MA in Sanskrit, Ma in Philosophy, and Phd. That's enough about her!
As I was saying, if I had a son and a daughter here, what would I want them to be, to become, to flower into?
S: A great man.
K: I don't know what you mean by a great man. A great man may be a swimmer, a man who runs one kilometre in two seconds, and so on. I don't know what you mean by `great man'. Either he is a great scientist, a great archaeologist, or a great professor - I don't know what you mean by `great'. Do you mean a great national hero?
K: I thought so. (Laughter). A national hero is the last person to be great. You don't understand it, do you? So I would like a boy or a girl for whom I am responsible to be highly sensitive. I'll go into that presently. So that his brain - that's the only instrument we have, an instrument which is capable of extraordinary things, what it has done in the technological world, it is extraordinarily capable and to be sensitive, and to have a brain that is highly active, not suffocated, atrophied by so-called modern education. Sorry! Do you understand what I am saying? Am I boring you?
S: No, sir.
K: What does that mean? Yes? Why? And I would like that boy or girl to have an excellent body, a very healthy body, pliable, swift, strong, eating the right food, right exercise, clothed properly, with good taste. No response! All right. And to have a good mind, a good brain. You know we have an extraordinary body which has evolved through thousands upon thousands of years. It is an extraordinary instrument, if we don't abuse it, if we don't overeat, over exercise, over indulge, then it can last for a very, very long time, over a hundred years. And to have a good body is essential. Right? You agree to all this? Will you have a good body? Eat right food, exercise, walk so the your body becomes extraordinarily alive, not just a lot of lumpy flesh. Is this all too much? Do you understand what I am talking about? All of you understand English? Yes? I don't speak Tamil, Telegu, Hindi or any other Indian language, but I know French - you know what French is? - I know Italian, I used to know Spanish. I am beginning to forget most of them. My mother tongue has become English. So I am afraid I have to speak in English so I hope you will understand it. And one must have a very good brain. So let's talk about that. Apart from the body, apart from having a good sensitive appreciation of nature - you know all the trees around you. Have you ever looked at any of the trees, have you? Go on, answer it. Have you looked at trees or have you pulled the branches off?
S: We did both. Sometimes we look at them and at the same time pull out some leaves.
K: I know. It is like pulling your hair out. The tree doesn't like it. But have you looked at it actually? Look at it one day after you leave here. Look at a tree. How extraordinarily beautiful it is, so symmetrical, the last highest leaf has extraordinary vitality. Look at it and don't do anything to harm the tree. Have you ever looked at the heavens, at the sky? Have you looked at it, not just casually look at it and go off and do something else, but actually take time to look at the sky, the clouds, the light in the clouds and the shape of the clouds and the moving clouds, how they cast shadows on the hills and how the shadows move? Have you watched all these?
S: Yes sir.
K: No. I am afraid you have not. Probably you are too busy pulling out somebody's hair, too busy talking, chattering, so you never have time to look at the extraordinary world we live in, the beauty of this valley, the ancient hills and the dried river, the stream. Have you looked at all this, every day, as though you are looking at it for the first time? You can't look at it as though for the first time if you say, well, that's a stream, dead, you know. The moment you name it, it is not new. I wonder if you understand this?
So, I would have that child, that boy, that girl, highly sensitive, and that helps the brain to be also very alive, sensitive, active. You know modern education right throughout the world is making the brain dull because it has stuffed with a lot of knowledge, information, specialized career as an engineer, as a doctor, as a chemist or devoting time to research so that the brain becomes conditioned, shaped by the study you do. Right? Are you understanding some of this? Don't you discuss with me, can't you talk? Have you noticed how your brain is conditioned? You call yourself a Hindu. That is a conditioning. You call yourself a Muslim. That is conditioning. Or a Christian or a Communist or a Marxist. Do you understand? Our brain is programmed as a computer. I wonder if you understand all this? Aren't you programmed, haven't you been told from when you were little that you are a Hindu, that you have your own gods, that you have your own particular rituals? Haven't you been told all that? So by constant repetition of that: you are a Hindu, you are a Christian, you are a Muslim and so on, your brain gradually becomes conditioned, shaped, and all the rest of your life, you say I am a Muslim, I am a Hindu, I am a Christian, I am a Catholic, I am this or that. That's conditioning. Isn't it? Am I talking to a lot of dead people, not thinking people? Are you all cynical up there?
S: Whatever we do, aren't we in some way or the other being conditioned? In the way you mean, you look at a tree, you look at something without naming it, otherwise it seems we become conditioned. If we learn to look at it that way aren't we being conditioned?
K: Sir, suppose I want to be a good carpenter. None of you do that. Of course you all want to be lawyers, engineers. Right? But none of you want to be a good master carpenter. I watched one of them in California. He was really a most extraordinarily skilled person. Now, if I want to be a carpenter, I have to study the nature of the wood, I have to study the nature of the implements and the grain of this wood and so on. I have to familiarise myself with the various types of wood. And also the instruments I use I must handle them properly. Right? Now, that actually makes my brain somewhat conditioned in a particular direction as a carpenter. If I want to be an engineer, the same thing happens. Or a scientist or a philosopher or a religious maniac. So - please listen to this - does knowledge condition the brain?
K: No, don't say, yes immediately. Think of it, talk it over. I go to school, pass examinations if I am lucky or if I am fairly brainy - not brainy - fairly good at memorizing. Then go to college, university and then a career. I have acquired knowledge about mathematics. That knowledge, is it conditioning my brain? Enquire into it. Let us talk about it. Don't keep silent.
S: Conditioning will mean your thought process is going in a particular direction.
K: Yes. So, if I specialize in one subject, does that condition my brain? Apparently it does. A surgeon, a very good top surgeon, he has had ten years or fifteen years of medical study, gets a degree, practises till be becomes a top surgeon. And such a surgeon obviously being a specialist, his brain is conditioned. Right? Some of you are going to be engineers and some of you are going to be lawyers and so on. Your brain is already being conditioned by the idea that you will be an engineer, a doctor and so on. Is that right? Would you agree to that? Now, is knowledge, which is that, I have a great deal of knowledge as a surgeon, a great deal of experience, I have operated on the heart dozens and dozens of times, and my hands are skilful, I know the precise instrument to use and so on, so my brain is conditioned. So we are asking a further question which is, does knowledge condition the brain? Go on sir, answer it. That's what you are doing, you are acquiring knowledge in this school, getting a lot of information and you are memorizing it, it is stored up in the brain. In the very brain cells, you study, mathematics, whatever it is you study it is stored there as memory, that memory of a particular subject does condition the brain. You agree to that? Not `agree', do you see the fact? S: Well my question now is, you just said, sometime back, look at anything without naming it, otherwise you become conditioned. Isn't that too a kind of gaining knowledge?
S: He said even when I look at something, as you are asking us to do, in that process also he says we are getting conditioned.
K: Now, when you look at a tree, do you name the tree?
S: I don't, because I don't know the name.
K: Right. You don't know the name. So you look at it. When you look at it without using the word `tree' or a special kind of tree, then you are looking at something very alive. Does that condition you? Obviously not. The moment you name it, the moment you recognize it as a particular species, then with that conditioning you are looking at the tree. You understand the difference? Go into it further. Can you look at your friend without the word, without the picture that you have built about the friend, without the image that you have carefully gathered - without the image, without the picture, without the word, can you look at your friend? The word, the picture, the image is the conditioning. You are following this? So, can you look at something, look at your friend, or look at the speaker, at me, without the image, without the picture you have built about him or the name, or the word, just look. Can you do that? Because if you name it, have an image about it, or the picture you have constructed or put together or put together through reputation, then that is your conditioning. But if you have no picture, then there is no conditioning. Clear? You follow it?
S: I can't do it. How do I decondition my mind?
S: I follow it, but how do you do it?
K: That's an excellent question, `how do you do it?' Why do you ask that?
S: Because I am interested.
K: You want to achieve that, you want to have that kind of look.
K: Yes. So you are asking, how. Now watch your brain, how it operates. When you ask the `how' you want a system.
K: That's your conditioning. You understand? The `how' is your conditioning, but to see the fact, to see the truth, that conditioning operates only when there is the naming, the picture, the image that you have built about her or him. That's your conditioning. Just be aware of that, don't say, how am I to get out of it. Just be aware of this fact. Do you understand? Aware. Are you aware of all the trees, of the hills, the shape of the hills, the rocks? Are you aware of all that? If you are not aware of all that, it is very, very difficult to be aware of your conditioning and to see how that conditioning acts. So one has to be aware of the whole environment around you.
S: How do you get along with him, with that person, if you don't have a name, or if you have no image about him?
K: If I have no image, picture, or idea about him, what is my relationship with him - is that it? Have you tried it? Then why do you ask that question? Do tell me please, I am not being impudent.
S: I cannot try it.
K: Why can't you? Look, how many years have you spent in a school or college or university? Years. Right? And to do this you do not even spend half an hour at it, investigating it. You don't spend even ten minutes to find out whether it is possible or not. So your brain is conditioned by your slackness, by your laziness. The moment you pay attention it becomes alive.
S: Our brain itself naturally seeks conditioning and can't help it.
K: Sir, our brain has evolved from the ape and so on, till man, which is about 40,000 years ago, and that's what the scientists say. It has passed through every kind of experience, every kind of incident. Right, sir? So it has gathered enormous information, experience and the brain itself is conditioned. Because it has in the very nature of growth become conditioned. Now, we are saying the conditioning is the word, the picture, the memory, the accumulated information stored in the brain as memory. These are the factors that condition the brain, and more, there are other factors but there isn't time to go now into the various other factors like fear, greed, pain and so on. All these are the contributory causes of the conditioning. So we must ask the question: is it possible to uncondition the brain? You understand my question? There are many scholars, many professors and writers like the existentialists and so on - they say it cannot be unconditioned, that it can only be modified.
S: Logically speaking, those people who say it cannot be unconditioned are right.
K: Maybe, but I have to find out. Why should I accept it?
S: No, you yourself said so.
K: I said that sir. It has evolved from the ape till now, and there is a very great deal of ape in us. Now the fact is it is conditioned. Is it possible to free that conditioning? Otherwise evolution has no meaning. If I am violent from the moment, from the ape till now, I will be violent till the very end of all time. So is it possible to change the whole psychological structure of the brain? Is it possible for you to be completely free of fear? Because, that is one of the factors of conditioning.
S: It is awesome.
K: Of course it is awesome. Why do you call it awesome?
S: Sir, you want to decondition the brain. There is a whole lot of things to get rid of.
K: You young fellows are being rather restive. We ought to discuss this very carefully, step by step going into it. Do you want to do that? Not just with words, not just intellectually spin along, but actually step by step going into it and as you take each step finish with it so that at the end there is total freedom from fear. Will you do that?
The next question is: our knowledge which we are acquiring through books, through conversations, through dialogues, through reading various books is making our brain full of knowledge without having an original experience. You understand what I am saying? I happened to know a very great writer, a literary man. He is dead now, he was a great friend of mine. One day he told me, because I knew him very well, we were great friends, on a walk in the hills, he said: `Look, I can speak about science, I can speak about painting, piano, music, I can talk about Vedanta, I can talk about Buddhism, because he had studied it, Tao and all that, I am full of knowledge, my brain has studied, acquired knowledge about so many things-encyclopedic knowledge. And I wonder if I will ever have an original experience'. Do you understand what I said? So your brains are now over-loaded and you will never have, unless you understand the nature of conditioning, never have something totally original. Then you are just a mediocre human being. You know what that word `mediocre' means? According to the dictionary, which is the common usage of the English language, if it is an English dictionary, it means going up the hill half way, never reaching the top but always going just a few steps up. That's what it means to be mediocre. And most of us are mediocre. We never go to the very end of anything. So look what is happening to you: you are being educated to be mediocre; to have a job, to get married, children and for the rest of your lives - for fifty, sixty years - work, work, work. Go to the office, to the factory or tilling the land. You understand all this? Then you will say, how am I to earn more money, I must have food, shelter and clothing. Naturally.
S: Do you mean to say we must reach the top of the hill? Aren't we ambitious then?
K: No. To reach human excellence, that's the top of beyond the Everest-you understand? - that does not mean ambition. Ambition destroys love. You don't know all this. But to have a brain that is excellent, that means say exactly what you mean, not have double meaning, not to be cynical, not to be bitter, not to hate. Are you interested in all this? Or we are just having a talk on a weary morning when we ought to be out in the sun, with the green leaves and the beauty of the earth? Are you bored with this, are you? If you are bored, and perhaps you are, what would you like to do? Not just sit there and look at the speaker, that's no fun.
S: If I may go back, as you said knowledge leads to conditioning.
K: I said, does knowledge lead to conditioning? I asked a question. I don't say it. I want you to find out.
S: Knowledge does lead to conditioning, but knowledge is important in life. K: Of course.
S: Where do we draw the line?
K: Find out. Do you want me to draw the line and then you accept it? Look: I drive a car. To drive a car I must be taught. That means I must drive with a good driver beside me to tell me what to do, how to change gears, how to put on the brake, the accelerator and so on. I learn. Through learning about driving I become a good driver or a bad driver. That is, I have acquired knowledge to drive a car; I have acquired knowledge to speak English or Hindi, whatever it is, I acquire knowledge to be a good carpenter - I prefer to be a carpenter than an engineer. You understand, I prefer that, not that I am a carpenter. So knowledge is necessary, otherwise you cannot live. So find out for yourselves where knowledge is necessary and where knowledge is not necessary. May I help you in this?
S: Yes, sir.
K: Don't say, yes, sir, and then relax and go to sleep. But find out where knowledge is essential, where it is necessary, where it is important, and also find out where it is not important at all. So, you have got this problem. Now what is a problem? Do you know the meaning of that word `problem'? It is something thrown at you, that's what problem means. The actual meaning, the etymological meaning of that word means something thrown at you, something that you are challenged with.
S: But that's my problem sir, no one has thrown it at me.
K: Oh yes, I have thrown it at you.
S: No but...
K: I have said, sir, find out where knowledge is necessary and where knowledge is not necessary. Find out. And I added to that: may I help you to find out? Not direct you to find out. You understand the difference? By talking together, having a dialogue together, let's enquire into it. Will you accept that? So, knowledge is necessary, isn't it? Physical knowledge - how to ride a bicycle, how to drive a car, how to write, what to do if I am an engineer, carpenter. There it is necessary. That is the way the whole social structure is built now, that I must work to earn a livelihood. To work I must have knowledge about whatever I do. Now where is it not necessary? Probably you have never asked this question. Now I am asking you where is it not necessary? Come on sirs. You have all studied, you are good, clever, come on sirs.
S: Do you have fear?
K: Do I have fear? You or me?
K: I am glad it is a direct question at last. Do I have fear? What do you mean by fear? Passing examinations, a snake biting me, fear of something? Now, there is either physical fear, which is, I walk in the dark, I may be bitten by a snake. Therefore I have to be careful when I walk. And there is the other kind of fear, which is, I might not succeed in my career. Right? I want to be a good doctor, but I may not be capable of being a good doctor, and I am afraid of that. So when you asked me, are you frightened, have you fear, I say to you in humility that I have no inward fear of any kind. You understand what I am saying? I am not afraid of my reputation, you understand, what people say about me. I don't care. Right? What else? I am not afraid to die. What are you afraid of - your wife, or your husband, or your father and mother? As I have no father, no mother, nor a wife, I am not frightened of family. You understand?
Now, sirs, we have got ten minutes more so let's finish the subject you have raised. Are you interested in this? Tell me. It is important for you to find out. You may become an engineer but you have to find out, you have to learn, so learn about this also - where knowledge is necessary, important, essential, to go from here to Madras you must know the route you follow, you must have knowledge. Now where is knowledge an impediment? S: Thought.
K: What do you mean by thought?
S: I am limited by knowledge.
K: Which means what?
S: I am always bounded in a certain area in which to live. And I am limited by what I know.
K: We agree to that. I am asking a different question sir. We agree that we must have knowledge to go from here to Delhi you need knowledge. You need knowledge to write a book, knowledge to drive a car. Right? To become a good chemist, good scientist you must have a great deal of knowledge.
Now we are asking a question where knowledge is not necessary. Is there any place where knowledge is an impediment?
S: Knowledge is not necessary when you want to be considerate to others. K: Are you saying where there is love, knowledge is not necessary? Have you understood what I am saying? Are you saying that where there is affection, care, love, compassion, knowledge is not necessary?
K: Look, sir, I will indicate some things for you to pursue it or not, as you wish. Knowledge is not necessary in a relationship. And if I am married, I have a wife, I have built an image about her. Are you following this? And she has built an picture about me. Don't you know all this? You are not married but you have got a teacher, haven't you? An educator, you have a picture about him, haven't you? Right sir? Don't be shy.
S: Right, sir.
K: Good. You have a picture about him. So your picture you have built since you have been here, about him. So your picture, your image about him is not the actual him. He may be different. He may have contributed to that picture. This requires much more investigation, I can't go into it now, but I am pointing out if I may, that in relationship knowledge is a detriment. Knowledge is what divides people, man, woman and all the rest of it. It is knowledge that is dividing the Hindu and the Muslim. Agreed? It is the knowledge that says, I am a Jew, you are an Arab, and because of this division, we kill each other.
Is that enough for this morning? Yes sir? Now before we go, will you sit very quietly for a few minutes. That is, if you want to. Sit very quietly, close your eyes and see what your thoughts are doing. Will you do that?
Rishi Valley 1982
Rishi Valley 1st Talk with Students 8th December 1982
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