Madras 1st Public Talk 31st December 1983
This is not entertainment, this is not a lecture either. A lecture is intended to convey information on a particular subject, to be informed about it. So this is not a lecture but a conversation between us, friendly, serious. And if it is possible to communicate with each other deeply and go if we can together for a long journey - a journey that covers, we hope, the entire human status, not with the view of a particular country or a particular group of people or community, nor are we concerned with any particular philosophy, and if one is waiting to be instructed, informed, told what to do, I am afraid you will be disappointed. So together we are going to take a very long journey, not only outwardly, in the physical world, but also in the psychological world, in the world that lies inside us, inside the skin, as it were. A world that few of us have taken seriously, or have gone into it very, very deeply. So together bearing in mind, that we are not giving a lecture nor a sermon, I hope, so don't get bored.
And also one would like to point out that in listening to someone, as to the speaker, one has to listen not only with the hearing of the ear, but also listen, and that is an art, to listen to somebody, freely, intelligently, but also today, without any interpretation, without any conclusion, but as two friends talking over together not only about the world situation, but also about their own problems, their own behaviour, their own ways of thinking, their prejudices, opinions, conclusions. So one hopes that you will so listen not only to the network of words, but also to the deeper issues of life.
It seems to one religion and to have peace in the world are the two most important things in one's life. Religion, the etymological meaning of that word is not very clear. But it is generally accepted religion to be that which is going on in the world, the Christian religion, the Muslim, the Islamic, the Hindu, the Buddhist, and so on, with their temples and mosques and churches or cathedrals and all the rituals that go on inside them. And all the things that are in the temples, churches, mosques, and having certain faiths, belief, and the repetition of certain phrases, doing puja, rituals and so on, the whole structure of superstition. But generally what is understood to be religion, to the speaker that is not religion, it is all put together by thought. Thought is a material process and that which thought has created, given sanctity, tradition, then that very thought turns to worship that which it has created. This is a fact not a theory. (We wait for that aeroplane).
And also there is no peace in the world. And the preparations for war by all nations, especially the present crisis, nuclear war and the destruction of the whole of mankind. So there is no peace in the world, nor is there peace in ourselves. To be a religious human being requires a great deal of intelligence and also to live peacefully in this world, without conflict, without problems, without this divisive process, that also requires a great deal of intelligence. Not repetition of some slogans, not following some guru. All that is gone, finished because man is no longer, if he is at all aware, intelligent and conscious of what is going on, he has put aside all that rubbish. You may not agree, but please listen to the very end of it if you have the patience and if you want to face facts. Because facts do not need opinions, they are so. How you don't translate facts depends on your background, on your prejudices, on your conditioning, but facts remain facts. Like there is war in certain parts of the world, though they are preparing both sides, right and left, one hopes there will be no war.
And religion has no longer any meaning at all, except for sentimental, sensory excitement and emotional titivation, but otherwise religion in the deeper sense of that word, which is to live a righteous life, a life of freedom, responsibility for one's own actions, independent of environment and so on, which we will go into during these four talks. So please from the very beginning of these talks, if you are willing, listen not only to what the speaker is saying, but also listen to your own interpretations of what the speaker is saying, how you receive or accept or react to what is being said. So this requires a constant communication with each other to be aware of not only the word, the significance of the word of the speaker, but also to be aware of one's own responses. So you see responsibility (noise of music) - lovely, this is modern civilization. Shall we go on? Oh, let's shout a little more than they do.
So we are going to take a long friendly, not dogmatic, journey, both outwardly and inwardly. It is far more difficult to take a journey inwardly. It is fairly easy if you are well informed of what is going on in the world. But one must have a criteria to evaluate, as in a mirror, to see things as they are, to see what is happening in the world, in the outer world. It is really not an outward world at all, it is a world which we have created. It is like a tide, going out and coming in, it is the same water. But we have unfortunately divided the world as the outer and the inner, so it is this eternal movement of action and reaction, challenge and response, problem after problem. And these problems are increasing more and more, not only created by the politicians and also by all the religious people, but also the problems which we have created for ourselves. It is a society which we have created, it hasn't suddenly come into being. This is what we are. If our house is burning, disorderly, competitive, ruthless, we have created such a society where there is brutality, cruelty, injustice, and so on. It is our responsibility, not to change the society but to see in our journey which we are going to take together, whether in that very movement of taking that journey there is the possibility of changing ourselves fundamentally - a psychological revolution, not a physical revolution. So let us go together.
The world geographically, nationally, religiously is divided, economically, tribalism, the world is broken up, fragmented. That fragmentation has taken place through nationalism which is glorified traditionalism and each country is concerned with itself. But politicians and those people who are leaders forget that we are all human beings, we are one people, though you may call yourself a Muslim, or a Hindu, or a Buddhist, or a Christian, we are one humanity. You may belong to a certain sect, assert your own personal ambitions but behind all that we are one entity. The whole of humanity is us. But unfortunately for various reasons of security, our own search for security, through the family, through the community, through the nation, we have separated the world as the Americans, the Russians, the French, the Indian, the Arabs, the Jew and so on. This separation has been, this division, this fragmentation has been one of the causes of war, destroying each other in the name of god, in the name of religion, in the name of ideologies. We all know this. And this process has been going on from the most ancient of times, this division of tribalism, economic division, religious division, social division, and so on, traditions. So where there is division, fragmentation, there must be conflict, that is a fact. It is not the speaker's conclusion. This is what is going on: one ideology going against another ideology, the conservation ideology against the liberal, the socialist against the communist, the fascist against everybody else. There is racial division, linguistic division and so on.
So please, we are taking a journey together. Don't merely listen to the speaker, but see the facts, not according to the speaker, but what is taking place actually, daily in our life. Unless that division ceases completely, that you are no longer a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Muslim, a Christian or belonging to different ideologies, communist, socialist, capitalist and so on, you are bound to create war, that means killing other human beings by the thousands, by the millions. If this nuclear war is to take place we will all disappear, the earth will be burnt out. Probably you know all this if you have read the newspapers or talked to certain scientists, and the argument goes on. It has been like this for a million years or actually forty five thousand years, human beings have existed on this earth according to the archaeologist and the biologist. And man has struggled, struggled, struggled, fought, killed, and as it has been before, it shall be now, and also that is the future of mankind, everlasting struggle, everlasting quarrels, destruction. This is what you are facing, not only you but your grandchildren. And we accept it. If you are a Jew, you ascertain that you are a Jew, or a Hindu or some other stupid title. So we are sustaining, nourishing, the destruction of human beings. That is what is going on, and the politicians cannot solve this problem, on the contrary, they are adding more and more problems. In the very solution of one problem, they multiply a dozen other problems. You see all this.
And our brains are crowded with problems. And inwardly, that is the outward world, and inwardly if you have examined at all, if one is aware of what is going on, we are very primitive people. Though we have lived on this earth for 45,000 years, we are very barbarous people, cruel people. We have been more or less what we have been from the beginning of time, hating, jealous, frightened and in our fear create all kinds of horrors, and this is the world in which we live, outwardly and inwardly. No philosophy, no guru, no politicians, nobody has solved our human problems. You can escape from them by joining some monastery, by taking certain vows or joining some cult, and no authority has ever solved our human problems. We have reached a point where one does not believe in anything. We have reached a point when we are utterly confused, because those who are certain at the beginning end up with uncertainty. Do you understand all this? I wonder if you understand what the speaker is talking about. If I start believing firmly in god or in some kind of mystical affair, if I am intelligent, somewhat intelligent, as I grow up I begin to doubt everything. So one must begin with uncertainty, doubting, questioning, having a sceptical mind, then one comes to a place where there is absolute certainty. Because after all both outwardly and inwardly we are seeking security, that's why we have invented god, because that is the ultimate security. Don't be shocked please, you are all believers in god, probably the majority of you, god or some higher principle and so on. All that is invented by thought. Thought is a material process. So anything created by thought in the world of religion is still materialistic, as technology is.
So together we are taking the journey to find out if we human beings can radically bring about a change in ourselves, not through compulsion, not through some enticement or some promise, but seeing things as they are, the frightening, the desperate state man has reached, the confusion that really thinking man is in, because he has been told so many things all his life, all contradicting. So we are confused human beings, whether you admit it or not. Confused not only consciously but deeply, in the deep layers of the consciousness, we are confused. The world has reached that point, where you believe neither in the scientists nor in politicians, nor in any of the so-called these thoughtless gurus. Man has not changed and when one has reached this stage of confusion deeply, then that very confusion demands right action, that very confusion brings a crisis in our life. The crisis is not out there but the crisis is in our consciousness, in our being.
So we are asking ourselves whether it is possible to bring about a deep psychological revolution in ourselves, not an outward revolution. The outward revolutions have failed: the recent revolutions, the French and the communist revolution, they have failed utterly. What is important is that there should be a psychological mutation, a fundamental change in the very cells of the brain. Because our brains are conditioned, that is, the cells in the brain are conditioned. The speaker is not a specialist in the structure of the brain and so on, but he has discussed with a great many scientists and so on, it is not important. But one can watch it in oneself, much more important than talking to innumerable scientists and their authority, and their contradictions, one can see in oneself how our brains are conditioned as a Hindu, a tradition, as the Jew, as the Muslim, as the Christian. Nationally, linguistically, religiously, economically our brain is conditioned. And we are asking whether that very brain which has been conditioned through knowledge, through education, whether those very cells can bring about a mutation in themselves? You understand? Do we understand each other, the problem? Suppose the speaker has been trained as a Muslim, repeating the Koran from boyhood, and his brain naturally has adjusted itself to the words, to the content of the words, to the meaning of the words and so on, so the brain becomes conditioned by the climate, by the food, by the tradition, by your education. So knowledge itself becomes the conditioning factor. Right? I wonder if you see this. Do you see this? Are we meeting each other somewhere? Please tell me, otherwise we can't...
Knowledge is the outcome of experience and experience and knowledge are limited. Look at the scientists, what they are doing, after two hundred years they have gradually accumulated knowledge, bit by bit, through hypothesis, through various forms of experiments, acquired a great deal of knowledge about matter and so on. So knowledge is never complete, it is always limited, whether the knowledge of the Koran, or your sacred books, or the Bible because it is based on experience, and experience is always limited. When once you grasp that fact, the reality of that, then all thinking is limited. Right? All thinking, thinking is the reaction of memory, memory is stored in the brain, in the very cells and those cells have been conditioned through centuries of human living and experience and struggle, those cells are conditioned, limited. And we are asking whether those cells themselves can undergo a fundamental mutation so that a man, a human being is entirely different, no longer conditioned? You might say, that is not possible - that would be a natural reaction, it is not possible, we have lived this way for so many centuries and you are saying, how can that change take place, that mutation. That's what we are going to enquire together. That requires a great deal of enquiry, a great deal of attention, energy, passion to find out. But if you are lethargic, as most of us are, occupied with so many things, occupied with our living, frightened with what is going to happen, frightened of the past, frightened of the future, frightened of the present, and if our brain is so clogged up, as most brains are, then the first question is, is it possible to solve problems, to have no problems. We will go into that.
Our brains are conditioned from childhood to solve problems, the child goes to the school, he has got mathematical problems, how to read, write. Right? I am not saying anything strange, so don't look so surprised, or bored. From childhood through school, through college, through university if you are lucky, or unlucky, to go through all that, your brain, the physical brain, the cells, are trained, educated to solve problems. Right? So you treat the whole of living as a problem to be solved, and you approach everything as a problem - sexual problems, problems of relationship, economic problems, religious problems, political problems, you follow, and we are solving them with a brain that is conditioned to solve problems. So the problems are never solved. Have you realized that? These are facts. You may solve one problem happily, but in the very solution of that problem you have another problem. Look what is happening politically in the world, in the western world, in the communist world, they have got so many problems, economic problems, the political problem, the desire to be President, to be the top man, you know, they are all problems. You have problems with your wife and with your husband, you have problems with your children, you have problems with your guru. And we are not making a problem for you. The speaker is not creating a problem for you. All that he is saying is, look at things as they are, first, without any prejudice, without any conclusion, and if you have conclusions, opinions, judgements, put them aside because it is only a brain that is free that can look.
So can you put aside all those opinions, judgements, evaluation, tradition and look at things as they are? Not as a politician, not as a foreigner, not a person who has read a great deal and can speak endlessly, but as a human being. But our brains are conditioned to solve problems, so the brain itself has a problem. Do you understand this? Do understand this, please. And therefore whatever it meets turns into a problem. So our question is whether it is possible not to have a brain that is conditioned to the solution of problems. To have a brain that is free to look and not make a problem of what it looks at. Right?
So we are asking whether the brain cells themselves, without any compulsion, without any instigation, without any pressure, outwardly or inwardly, can bring about a change, a mutation in itself? So we are going to find out in these four discussions, conversations, really a dialogue - one can't have a dialogue with so many people but one can have a dialogue with you, not with all of you, with each one of you. And we are saying, religion is the most important thing in life, not the thing (noise of crows) - the crows are going to bed, the last trumpet. We were saying, a new culture, a new civilization cannot come about through economic adjustments, political action, through various forms of institutions and foundations. Religion is the only factor and that religion is our enquiry to find out whether the human brain can be really religious. We mean by religion, absolute freedom: freedom from fear, freedom from conflict, freedom from problems, freedom from sorrow, so that it is a brain that is completely free, it is only then there is that quality of love and compassion. Then that state alone can find out what is sacred. And in the understanding of that truth or that perception of that which is true then there is peace, peace in oneself, in one's own psyche. That means no conflict whatsoever. Now is this possible? If you say, it is not possible, then that becomes a block, that prevents you from looking at the possibility, the possibility of opening the door to look. Or if you say, it is possible, then you are merely talking theoretically, then you have shut the door. So you must have the quality of a brain that is enquiring, looking, searching, asking, questioning, doubting. Not only doubting of others, of your books and so on, but doubting what your own thinking is, questioning your own responses, your own reactions, that requires an alertness of mind.
So we are now on our journey going to enquire together the first thing, which is, what is thinking. Because we live by thinking, all our actions are based on thinking, our relationship with each other is part of thinking, the images that you have built about your wife or your husband, your guru, your leaders and so on, are put together by thought as an image. We will go into that presently. So thinking is our fundamental instrument. It may think devotionally, romantically, imaginatively, but it is still thinking, whether you are a scientist, or a philosopher, mathematician, biologist or just ordinary human beings, even the most uneducated person thinks, the villager. So our first enquiry on the journey is to find out what is thinking, why thinking has become so extraordinarily important, knowing that thinking is a material process because knowledge and memory and experience is stored up in the brain cells and that knowledge, experience, memory and so thought is limited. This is a fact. There is no complete knowledge about anything. You may think god is complete knowledge, or some extra principle, outside agency, and you all like to believe that in all of us there is something of that quality, which is again thought.
So we must understand very clearly the nature of our thinking. Please observe your own thinking, not what the speaker is telling you, but observe your own thoughts, how they arise, how limited they are. Each one of us is concerned about himself basically, self-centred and you may try to hide it behind all kinds of words, but it is still there. And that self-centred thinking is limited. When you think about yourself, your achievements, your desires, your purposes, your wanting to build temples in the west and temples here, it is still limited. Right? Whatever is limited must bring about conflict, must bring about division. That's a law. If I am divided against you, thinking about myself all day long, it is a very limited process. That's what we are all doing, happily, miserably, successfully, but that's what we are doing. So thinking being limited has made our whole outlook limited. Right? I wonder if you get all this? Are you getting tired? Or are you asleep? I don't mind if you go to sleep, it's your affair. And this thinking has created, because of its very limitation, nationalities, hoping to find security in nationalities, in tribalism, in tribal gods, and you haven't found security. And one thought there would be security in communities, there has been no security there either. So where is security? You follow? Where is security for us? Not through division, not through calling yourself a Hindu, Muslim and all the rest of it.
So when you see danger - you understand what I am talking about, for god's sake move, I don't mean get up and go; perhaps you want to get up and go, but I am talking of your outlook, your way of looking. What will make you change? You have had sorrow, you have had pain, you have had wars, you have had every kind of toil and travail, and yet we go on as we are. What will make us change? Reward? Reward in heaven, reward on this earth? When you are seeking for a reward there is always the other side of it, punishment. Reward and punishment is one of our principles. So it becomes very important to find out if thought is the only instrument that we have, and it has created such havoc in the world. Do you realized that? Look what the scientists have produced, not only medicine and surgery and fast communication, and those happy, convenient things, but also that produced most diabolical things, the nuclear war, nuclear instruments, the atom bomb, the submarine, you follow, the whole technological world of warfare is the product of thought - going to the moon is a product of thought, and putting a flag up there is a product of thought. And our relationship with each other is based on thought. So let's for the moment talk over together the question of relationship. Don't be nervous. I'm not going to attack you.
You are related, life is a process of relationship, living is relationship. You cannot possibly live by yourself even though you may retire for the rest of your life to the Himalayas or to a community or to a monastery you are still in contact with humanity, you are related. You may not be related to a person but you are related to a tradition, related to knowledge, related to all kinds of things. So relationship is one of the basic factors of life. The husband and the wife and the children. And in that relationship with their conflicts, with their sexual demands, with their pleasures, with their pains, with their flattery, with their insults, with their nagging, you know all that goes on in relationship. Don't you know all that? Or you pretend it doesn't exist? You are all so silent, aren't you? In that relationship you have created - thought has created the image about your wife and the wife has created an image about you. That's a fact. And the relationship is between these two images: I know my wife, and the wife says, `I know my husband', you really don't know each other, all that you know is the image you have about her and she has an image about you. That is built through time. Right? These are facts, sir, don't dodge the issue. And where there is a relationship between two images there is actually no relationship at all. That's again a fact. And that's why there is such conflict in relationship. There are very, very, very few people living together who are really related, happy, not adjusting to each other, or tolerating each other, or exploiting each other.
So the question is whether it is possible to live without a single image, and who is it that creates the images? There you are, you are sitting there, all of you, and you have an image about the speaker, haven't you? Otherwise you wouldn't be here. That's a fact. Right? The image that you have built about the speaker is not the speaker. Right? But you worship that image. Or you may not worship it, or you might kick it, or disregard it but still you have created an image about the speaker and so your relationship is with the image and not with the speaker at all. Because to have a relationship with the speaker we must meet each other at the same level, at the same time, with the same intensity. Right? You understand my point? Isn't that love? When you meet somebody at the same level, at the same time, with the same intensity, not sexually, I am not talking of that, but with all your human being, with your whole being, then that is love. And there is no love if you have the images about each other. And where there is love there is no time. Where there is love there is no conflict. And to understand that extraordinary thing called love you must have great intelligence, and not fear, not ambition, not greed, not jealous, hatred.
So we are asking: why has thought become so important in our lives, realizing what thought has done, technologically what it has done, immense things, both appalling, fearful, dangerous, diabolical things and also thought has created medicine, surgery, communication, and also thought has created war, divided people as the Hindu, the Buddhist, and all that nonsense. Unless thought has been totally understood, and thought has its place, and thought may not have any place at all psychologically. Do you understand what I am saying? As we said, thought is limited because knowledge is limited, experience is limited, and in relationship if thought is the means of communication with each other there must be conflict. And also thought is necessary for you to get home, to take the bus, to go to your office, not tomorrow, Sunday, but Monday, and to go to the office for the rest of your life, day after day, day after day. This is all the product of thought. I know you have to go, one knows you have to go to your office, to your factory, to your business and so on, there thought is necessary, but is thought necessary in relationship? Enquire into it, go into it, and you will find out.
So as our brains are conditioned by thought, through thought, is it possible - please listen to this - is it possible to find a totally different movement which is not of thought, which is not put together by thought, thought being the activity of time, a material process? Don't go off into meditations and all that kind of stuff, we will deal with that presently. But to find out, if thought is the only instrument we have then we are condemned for ever. You understand this? Because then all our action becomes limited, then whatever we do, religiously, politically, economically, will always be limited and therefore perpetual conflict and more problems. But thought is necessary, if I want to write a letter to you I must employ thought, to go from here to your house you need thought and so on. So we are asking, is thought necessary in relationship with each other? And to discover for oneself, not be told everlastingly, but to discover for oneself an instrument - not an instrument - a process of living in which thought doesn't come in. This requires enormous enquiry. This requires a great deal of your attention because knowledge has become so important to you - knowledge about the Gita, about the Upanishads, and all the Commentaries - you worship knowledge. You have goddesses of knowledge, don't you? But knowledge has its place. Truth isn't knowledge, it isn't something put together by thought, it is something that comes into being when the brain is totally free, uncontaminated, pristine, original. And to discover that is part of meditation, not this stupid repetition.
So we must stop now, we will continue. But please we are not talking about something theoretically, hypothetically but we are dealing with facts. Facts are that which is happening now, that which has happened before, not that which is going to happen, that is not a fact. The fact is what you are thinking, doing, now. And the fact of what you have done before. Those are facts. But ideals are not facts. But you all have ideals therefore you live in illusory worlds. When a brain lives in an illusory world you are bound to create conflict for yourself and for others. But when you are dealing with facts day after day, not supposition of facts, not saying, because to me my opinion is a fact and I stick to that fact - it's so obvious, your opinion like any other opinion is not a fact. But what you do out of that opinion, out of that conclusion, out of that theory is a fact. You understand? If you have an illusion and act according to that illusion that becomes a fact, and your illusion is a fact too. You understand?
So one has to be aware, look, question, doubt to find out. The other day in California, a few months ago when I was there, a car in front of us had on the bumper a sticker which said, `Question all authority'. Will you question all authority? Your own authority first and the authority of your religion, of your gods, of your temples, question the politicians, everything question, doubt so that your own brain begins to be active. But most of us don't question because we are frightened. We would rather be told what to do - you know better than I do so please tell me. And where there is authority, power, position, status, there is evil. It leads to such misery. But to have humility, that humility can only come naturally, uninvited, easily when you begin to question your own thoughts, your own relationship, your own desires, your own achievements, then out of that comes this quality of humility. When there is humility you are then learning. Learning is infinite, knowledge is limited. And that humility - not bowing down to somebody, that's not humility, not touching somebody's feet, that's not humility, going to the temple, all that is rubbish - to have humility, saying I don't know, let's find out. To be so free to look and to have that great simplicity, not the simplicity of a loin cloth but the simplicity of a clear mind and clear heart. Then only that which is beyond time comes into being.
Madras 1st Public Talk 31st December 1983
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