Madras 2nd Public Talk 1st January 1984
There are a lot of people, aren't there, large audience. I wonder why you come. It's very good of you to come but I wonder why. Do you take what is being said by the speaker seriously, or is it something that you attend for a weekend and forget the rest of the week? It would be rather interesting to find out why human beings are lectured to, why they attend meetings, why hearing so many things, contradictory, very learned, and full of information and knowledge, at the end of it all you remain more or less what you were before, with our own problems, with our own petty little lives, unhappy, and struggle from the moment we are born until we die, constant strife, conflict, struggle. I wonder if you come here just to pass the time of the day, or you come because of the reputation, or you are really serious people? Serious not in the sense, not easily convinced, for we are not doing any kind of propaganda, not trying to convince you of anything whatsoever. Nor is the speaker your guru. Thank god! Nor are you his followers. You are both the teacher and the person who learns. When we are learning that very act of learning makes you into a teacher. So you are both the disciple and the guru.
If you listen very seriously you should consider, if one may point out, we are going to talk about many things together this evening, and the next two meetings that are to follow next weekend, and you may hear so many things which probably you have not heard before, and if you have heard or read what the speaker has said, merely to repeat what he has said has very little meaning. But in the very act of listening, that very act helps one to understand and live, apply, not, `I will try to apply', but one applies, as you do if you are a student in a college or university, you work. If you want to learn mathematics, history and so on, you have to study, you have to enquire, you have to have a good brain. But most unfortunately so-called religious people never use their brains. Am I saying something extravagant? They never enquire, they accept so easily, gullible, and specially when the world is in such a mess, so much destructive activity going on, we try to find someone who will help us to understand all this mess and so get entangled.
Whereas here, this evening and the following two evenings, we are going to talk over together, a conversation, to converse about the things that are quite common to mankind, quite accepted, which we are struggling to understand, to resolve and perhaps go beyond. So this evening we are going to talk over together why human beings right throughout the world are what they are actually after such a long duration of evolution, why we are so primitive psychologically, though technologically we may be marvellous, you may have excellent degrees and so on, but psychologically, inwardly, we are rather barbarous primitive people, brutal, violent, cruel, lacking any sense of great beauty, moral rectitude and so on. One wonders why we have become like this. Why we look to others to help. Why we want leaders. We have had leaders galore, and they have lead us to all kinds of troubles. So we are always looking for the best leader, for the super leader, both in the political, economic world and also in the religious world. And unfortunately we never find them, unless you have found your own particular little guru round the corner.
So this evening we are going to talk over together many problems. And one of the problems is, why human beings have ideals at all? This is really a quite important question: why human beings right throughout the world cling to some form of ideals. The ideals are not facts, they are not actuality. What is actuality is what is happening now. The `now' contains all the past, the present and the future. We will go into that.
So we are asking why we have become like this, so narrow, selfish, brutal, concerned with ourselves, you know all the rest of it, what we are. And we never seem to be free to look at the world and our own little world afresh, anew, unless we have the capacity to wipe out all the past, to have a clean slate and start from there. It would be a marvellous world but unfortunately we can't wipe out the past, and the past is a very complicated process of time. Time is one of the factors of our life, daily life: the time that has past, the time as the present, and the time as the future, both biologically as well as physically. All the remembrances, the remorse, the guilt, all that is a movement of time, which is the past. And the time of the past is the present in which - or the now - all time is contained. This is going to be rather difficult, we will go into it step by step.
Because we live by time: I hope to see you tomorrow, I hope to achieve, I want to be better than I am, in my job, in my way of living and so on. There is always a becoming, a growing, and that which is always growing is always ending. Are we together in all this? And the future is now. You understand? What we are now we will be tomorrow, and a thousand tomorrows. That's a fact. But if we change radically now, psychologically, inwardly, then the future is now. Do you understand? We will go into it presently, in much more detail. You all look so puzzled, it's not so very complex, but we make everything terribly complex. We are not simple people, we are full of knowledge, and perhaps that's one of our difficulties. Knowledge conditions the brain, and knowledge is time. And to understand something like violence, which most human beings are, violent human beings, and to understand this whole process of violence the knowledge which you have acquired about violence and the knowledge - not knowledge - the theory of non-violence that is also part of knowledge and so we are never free from violence. Let me go into it a little bit more.
Let's take an example of violence. We are violent people. We may have a quiet life, you may not quarrel with your wife and husband, which is rather rare, but deeply we are violent people, anger, aggression. Violence isn't merely physical action, violence is part of imitation, conformity. And we have these opposites, non-violence. And in this country they are talking a lot about non-violence, and in the recent war which you have had in this country, there isn't one person, I was told, who stood up against war. But that's irrelevant. What is important is, is it possible to understand the whole nature of violence and be free of it, and not pursue non-violence? You understand? Are we meeting each other? Yes? I am violent, suppose. The speaker has only once been angry. It sounds rather strange. And at that moment when he was angry it seemed so absurd, so silly to be angry about something, and when you see the stupidity of anger it is gone, you don't try to control it, you don't try to suppress it, you say, yes, it's absurd getting angry about anything. And that's the end of it. You think about it. To observe, to be aware, to give your full attention that you are angry, at that moment you see the whole nature of anger.
So violence, for example, what is violence? It's a fact. The non-fact is non-violence. Right? Would you agree to that? The pursuit of non-violence which may take all your life, and in the pursuit of that ideal you are all the time being violent, you try to control it, you try to suppress it, you act upon it. But you are part of that violence. Aren't you? You, when you get angry, you are that, you are part of that anger, you are the anger. When you are greedy, that feeling is not separate from you. Right? You are that. But when we try to suppress or analyse or control, you separate yourself from the fact and then try to dominate it, or suppress it and all the rest of it. But one realizes you are that. I wonder if you see. When I realize completely that I am violent, then I remain with that fact, I don't pursue stupidly the idea of non-violence. It's a fact I am violent, mad, angry, brutal. And that's a fact and I realize there is no violence separate from me. I am violence, because I am angry, I am competitive, ambitious, brutal and so on. And also I imitate, I conform, that's part of anger, violence. So the observer who says, `I am violent', the observer is part of that. So there is no contradiction. Where there is contradiction there must be conflict.
I wonder if you have ever gone into the question, not a problem, the question whether one can live in this world normally, healthily, sanely, not neurotically or in other directions, without a single shadow of conflict. I wonder if you have ever questioned to find out if you can live actually, whatever the circumstances are, whatever the environment, whatever the pressures, the limitations, whether one can live a life in which there is not a single conflict. Have you ever questioned it? Oh, come on! Or it has never occurred to you, you accept conflict as the way of life, as corruption in this country, and other countries, is a way of life. So we accept it, it is past, we get on with it. So conflict makes the mind, the brain dull. The brain is a machine. Like a good car you must keep it in perfect condition, tuned, give proper oil and change the oil every two thousand miles, if you are lucky, to make the engine last long; so the brain is matter, a material thing, a machine, with all its extraordinary capacities, which is really quite infinite. But if that brain is in constant struggle, conflict, going round and round with its own problems, with its own miseries, that very conflict degenerates the brain. It's worn out. And so we are incapable of meeting life afresh.
I wonder if you get this? Are we together when the speaker is talking about all this? Are you taking an interest in it, or is it just another meeting you go to and you are being lectured at? Not understanding, investigating yourself, your own life, the way your live?
So it is possible to be free of total violence, not in the future, which is the ideal, and the pursuit of the ideal has lead people nowhere, but if one is taking violence and going into it, not analytically - that's another question: who is the analyser? Who is the entity that analyses any reaction that you have, like violence? Violence is a reaction, and who is the entity that analyses violence? Because you are violence, but when you separate yourself from violence then you can analyse it. Right? So the separation by the analyser away from the analysed creates a division and therefore in that division there must be conflict. Whereas - please listen to this, just even for fun, just listen to it - whereas the analyser is the analysed. Right? I am violent, the analyser is also part of me, who is also violent. And one violence examines, analyses another violence. So there is always this contradiction. There is no contradiction if there is no division. So the analyser is the analysed; like the thinker is the thought, the thought is not separate from the thinker. I wonder if you see this. The experiencer is not different from the experience, but we are always seeking experience as though experience is something different from me. So there is no duality at all. I wonder if you understand this, in spite of your adwaitee and all that kind of business, in spite of all your philosophy and all your teachers about adwaitee, is it, that's good enough that word. They have all theorized about duality, only the enlightened escape from all duality and all that kind of stuff. But the actual fact is if you go into it, there is only `what is', there is only violence, there is no opposite to it. You understand? But our brains are conditioned to the opposite, therefore our brain is struggling to achieve the opposite. And therefore in that there is conflict, suppression and so on. But whereas the fact is there is only this, that is `what is', which is violence. Right? And if you give your attention to the fact of violence and look at it without any analytical process then you will see it's like a map that is being slowly revealed, then you see the whole content of that word. Are we meeting each other? Are we together in this? All right, we'll go on.
Sir, we ought to talk over together fear because that is part of our life, probably the major part of our life. Fear, what's the cause of fear? Not the object which creates fear, not something the word evokes. You understand? The word may bring about fear, the word `fear' may arouse fear, but when you have no word, but only observe the reaction which you call fear, what is the root of it? This requires a great deal of exploration, and one hopes that you are willing to go into this with the speaker. Fear is time. I am going to go into it. Fear is a movement in time. So first let us examine carefully what is time. Time as rising and setting, the sun rises and sets, the interval between the sun rising and the sun setting is time. There is time to cover a distance from point to point; there is time which is for you from here to go to your home, it takes time, whether an instant or an hour. So there is physical time, which is, to learn a language takes time, to learn to drive a car takes time, if you want to be a pilot, it takes months and so on. So there is physical time. Right? You understand? And also there is psychological time: I will be, I will become, I am a clerk but I will become the manager one day, I am ignorant but one day I will be enlightened. That is, I am this, I will be that. That is psychological time.
There is physical time, the sun rises and the sun setting, covering, moving from one point to another point, and there is psychological time, which is, I am, I will not be. I am living, but I will die. That's a tremendous interval. I am fifteen - I am not - I am fifteen but I will die one day when I am eighty, that is the movement of that long interval which is psychological time. Right? And also there is time as the future. I have a job now, I might lose that job; I am quarrelling with my wife but one day we will all be happy together. So there is time as the past, time as the present - please listen carefully, if you don't mind, if you are interested - there is the time as the past, time as the present, now, and time as the future. Right? But the time now is the future. Right? The time now is what I am now, but the future is what is present. Right? Got it? So in the now all the past and the future are contained. Right? So the future and the past exist now. I am the result of all the past, modifying itself in the present, and the future is the present. Right? Unless I radically bring about - or rather, there is a mutation in my brain cells, I will be what I am now, unless there is tremendous psychological revolution. Right? So the present is the past and the future, contained now. Right? That is time. Right?
What relationship has time to fear? Because that's what we are going to discuss, talk over together. Because most human beings are frightened, have innumerable forms of fear: fear of darkness, which is neurotic, psychopathic and so on, fear of dying, fear of living, fear that you might lose what you have, fear of your wife and your husband - is that rare in this country? I wonder if you are all saints! You don't seem to react to anything. If there is fear of what you possess, you might lose, fear of growing old and dying. So human beings right throughout the world have tremendous anxiety, which is part of fear: anxiety of not fulfilling, anxiety of not being yourself, anxiety what other people might do to you, and so on. All that is a form of fear. So what is the relationship between fear and time? And shall we in our conversation trim the branches of fear, take one branch after another, or shall we deal with the root of fear? Have you understood my question? I may be frightened of my wife, or I may be frightened of darkness, and I want that particular problem solved. But also I have other problems of fear, it is not just only one I have, fear of dying, fear of growing old, fear that my brain will degenerate, fear that god won't give me what I want unless I go to a particular temple. You know we were told the other day, there is a temple nearby, two hundred or one hundred and fifty miles away, where every three days they have a million dollars. God is very profitable! Yes, sir, you laugh at it. But your gods are very demanding of your pocket. That is, you give him something and he gives you something in return. Reward and punishment. And that's what you call worshipping god. You are a strange crowd all right.
So what is the relationship between fear and time? And also what is the relationship of fear with thought? You understand? I am afraid, afraid of so many things but I want to understand the root of it, because if I can understand, see the quality, the nature, the structure of fear then it is finished. But if I merely trim the branches then fear will continue. So our concern is not how to be rid of fear, that's one of our fallacies, but if one can go, delve deeply into the nature of fear then we shall be able to be free of it entirely. And we are going to talk about it this evening, and if you apply your brains, not the explanation which the speaker is going to give but the actual investigation on your part, not just listen or hear and forget all about it, but if you actually listen, apply as you are sitting there, and go with the speaker investigating it, not accepting what he is saying, but investigate it, question, asking yourself, then you might get up so utterly free of fear and then there will be no gods. When man is free of all fear he needs no comfort, he needs no reward, he doesn't seek something that will help him. This is the burden which mankind has carried for a million years, fear. So let's go into it.
We said time is a factor of fear. Time, again the remembrance of an incident which caused fear - please follow this if you don't mind, if you are interested in it - remembrance of an incident that caused fear which is registered or recorded in the brain, and that record is still there and I now have fear. So the record remembers the fact of fear. So from the past I recognize the fear. You understand? Am I making myself clear? The knowledge of a past incident which caused fear is registered in the brain, as on a tape. So the brain has knowledge of fear. Right? Knowledge of fear. So knowledge is fear. You understand this? Go into it, sir, see the beauty of it and then you will see what it means. So when fear arises now memory steps in and says, `Yes, I know that is fear'. Right? Which means the knowledge which you have had with regard to fear, that knowledge says, `That is fear'. So knowledge itself becomes fear. Right? You understand this? And the word, the word `fear' may also contribute to fear. So knowledge is the word and the word may cause fear. So can you look - please listen to it - is there an observation of fear without the knowledge of other fears so that there is perception of fear without the movement of knowledge? You understand?
So fear is the movement of knowledge as the past, and that knowledge is time. Right? So fear is also part of thought: I might die tomorrow, I might lose my job, I am this but I will become that - it's all the movement of thought. Right? No? I have a job now, I work in a factory, or I am a cook, a carpenter, not your big top people, I am just an ordinary person, even the top people have a great deal of fears I assure you, and I am a carpenter and I might lose my job tomorrow. The `tomorrow' is time and thought says, `I might lose it, lose my job'. So thought, time are movements, movements of knowledge. I am discovering this myself as I am going along. Which is, can the brain not record? You understand? I'll show you. Listen to it. You flatter me, the brain immediately records it and you insult me, the brain again records. It's a machine that is recording all the time. Right? And that becomes our knowledge and from that knowledge we act. Now if you do not record, you flatter me the brain doesn't record, I don't say, you are a great friend of mine, or you insult me, neither insult nor flattery is recorded. You understand? Then knowledge is not necessary which might create fear. But I must have knowledge, how to write a letter, how do to do business, if I am crooked or otherwise, I must have knowledge. If I am an accountant I must have knowledge. I don't know if you are following all this? But the psychological knowledge which is recorded, is it possible not to record psychologically? You understand? Find out, sir, don't agree with me. Find out whether it is possible psychologically not to record. Which means the brain has seen the fact of it therefore it is unconditioning itself.
So fear is a movement of time and thought. Right? Now don't please ask, how am I to stop thinking. Now if the speaker is silly enough to give you a system, in that very system there is inherent decay, whether it is bureaucratic system or a particular system of meditation, system of thought. You understand? In the very structure of a system, inherent in it there is decay, it's called entropy, but I won't go into all that. The physicists know this, wastage of energy which can be measured. And the brain is now burdened with a great deal of knowledge and that knowledge has become our conditioning. And therefore that very knowledge prevents us from seeing something new, fresh. Whereas if you can look at fear as it arises for the first time, then it is something entirely different, it's a reaction, a physical reaction and a psychological reaction. So fear, the root of fear, is the movement of time and thought. But if you understand the nature of time, not intellectually but actually, the nature and the structure of time, and also understand the nature and the structure of thought - understand, that means investigate it, be completely familiar with the thing, the movement of time and the movement of thought, which are the basis of fear, then fear, because you are so completely holding this thing in your hands, as it were, it requires your attention, that very attention burns away fear. I wonder if you understand this?
Now how can you love if you have fear? You are all frightened of your gods, aren't you? You are all asking rewards of your god, you pray, you do puja, some rituals, all that indicates, doesn't it, I am just asking most respectfully, doesn't it indicate that you are frightened? Frightened of living, frightened of your problems and so you are asking the gods, which you have invented - right, do you agree to that? Your thought has invented these gods - would you agree to that? Or you are too holy to admit such a thing? You understand, sirs? Thought - please understand this thing for yourself, I am not dictating, I am not doing propaganda, it's your life - and out of this fear thought has created the most marvellous churches, cathedrals, marvellous, architecturally, great beauty, great weight and strength of a building, but thought has created the cathedrals, the temples, the mosques, and also thought has created all the things that are in it, the rituals, the dresses, the incense, the words, those are all the result of thought. And thought is a material process, isn't it? Because memory, the cells in the brain hold memory, that's a fact, and that memory is based on knowledge and experience, so this whole movement is a movement of matter. So thought has invented the god, or the goddesses, gods - I believe there are over three hundred thousand gods in India and only one or two in Europe, they are unfortunate people because you can choose any number of them because there are so many of them. You can have a great deal of fun going from one god to another. Don't think I am sacrilegious. Those gods that thought has created are not sacred, though we worship them. What is sacred is not in the temples, not in the mosques, or in the churches. What is sacred exists only in a mind that is free from fear, free from conflict, free from violence. But having violence, fear, anxiety, we only have a multiplication of these gods.
So thought and time are the same. Right? Because knowledge, to have knowledge, scientific knowledge or any kind of knowledge, requires time. And time and thought are the root of fear, and time and thought are now, are in the present. And out of this arises a very serious question, whether there is a time which does not belong to thought or the movement known as time. You understand?
So if one has listened, not merely heard what we have talked about for an hour, if you actually have listened, absorbed, as you absorb on a hot day a cold drink, if you have absorbed what has been said or listened to what has been said and seen the truth of it, that very perception - and perception is not of time. I wonder if you understand this. No, we must also talk over briefly - it is time to stop - perception, to see. You see that tree. Do you really see the tree at all ever? Do you really ever see the beauty of a sunrise? Or the sunset? Or you are too occupied with yourself that you never see the beauty of the earth? When you see that tree, what takes place? The word `tree' interferes so that you don't actually look at it. Have you noticed? All right, come much nearer: when you say, it is my wife, have you ever looked at your wife? You look at her, or your husband, your girl friend, whatever you have, you look with the word, with the image, with the pictures that you have about her or him, so this acts as a barrier, you never look. So you never become sensitive. Right? There is dirt and squalor all around Madras, you never look, do you? Or you are so accustomed to it you put up with anything, any government, any bureaucracy, any gods, anything goes. Sir, one has to have great sensitivity, that sensitivity is not to be cultivated, it comes into being when you look at the beauty of a single star in the sky, when you see the new moon, when you see the sea. But when you only employ one or two sensory responses, that very limitation creates narrow outlook. But if you look with all your senses, at a tree, at a sky, at a cloud of an evening full of light and great beauty, with all your senses, then in that observation there is no self, the `me'. It's only when there are partial responses of the senses, then that very partiality, limitation, creates the `me'.
So fear can come to an end completely when you understand the nature of time and thought.
Madras 2nd Public Talk 1st January 1984
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.