Bombay 2nd Public Question & Answer Meeting 7th February 1985
Before we answer these questions or explore these questions, how do we approach a question, a crisis, a challenge, something that we have to investigate? How do we approach it? I think the approach matters perhaps much more than the question itself, because if we approach it negligently, casually then the question itself has very little meaning. But if we approach it without any bias, without any desire for the comforting solution or a sense of conquering a question, being top of the crisis, then I think we'd make the question rather trivial and not so serious. So the approach matters enormously. So we ought to really talk over together how we approach, what is our motive, how do we regard, receive any challenge, any question. Right? Let's go into it.
Suppose I have a problem. First I question what is a problem? A problem, the etymological meaning of that word, is 'something thrown at you'; that is the actual meaning of that word, problem - something thrown or something that challenges you. How do we look at that problem? What is our immediate response to that problem? Either it is shrinking away from the problem or trying to conquer the problem. I hope we are all together in this, are we a little bit, though it's rather early in the morning. Or we try to find an answer to a problem that would be circumstantially pleasant, gratifying, or we look at the problem as though it were something new, fresh.
Is any problem old? Is this all right? Can I go on like this? Are we together a little bit in this? Is any problem, crisis, question, is it something new, or is it a problem that has been repeated over and over again? All right? If it is a repetitive problem, why has it become repetitive? Is our brain repetitive and so on? Right? Are we together a little bit in all this. It's up to you.
1st QUESTION: You often tell us to exercise our brain. And also you suggest to merely listen without acting upon what we listen to. These two statements appear contradictory. Kindly, explain.
You often tell us to exercise our brain. We are exercising our brain most of the time, when you are earning money, you are exercising it all the time. But when we listen to somebody who is saying something totally different from what you think, what you are used to, we hardly listen to a statement made by another which may not be the usual statement. So when the speaker suggested, use your brain, use the entire brain, not just part of it - you understand - and also to listen. He has suggested that we should listen. And he explained what it means to listen. There is not only the hearing with the ear, but also there is a hearing behind the ear. You understand what I mean? You listen to a word. As we said listening is an art. Art also means to put everything in its right place. And to listen requires attention, requires a sense of care, a sense of receiving or listening to something that may have a meaning or may not have a meaning. It may be a false statement and to see, to hear, in that false statement the truth of that false statement. You are following all this? Hearing implies a great deal of sensitivity, not just hearing, translating according to your own pleasure or displeasure or according to what you already know. But to listen as though you were listening for the first time to something that is being said. That is the art. Like any other art it requires a great deal of capacity to listen. Right? To listen to your wife, to your husband, to a friend, to listen to your children or to a bird and so on and so on, so that one becomes extraordinarily sensitive. That is the art of listening. And he says, the question is contradictory. That is, the hearing and the activity of the brain - isn't it? Is hearing something different from the activity of the brain? Are you interested in this question or shall we skip it?
Have you noticed how our brain works? Our brain, not according to scientists, biologists and so on, but have you ever observed your own brain working? Have you? Why it thinks certain things? Why there is always the repetition of a problem? Why is it prejudiced? Why it holds on to a belief, to an idea and so on? Have you ever watched it in operation? Not you watching it, but as it arises, looking at it. I wonder if you follow all this? Have you ever tried all this? No, you haven't. So let us now, if I may most respectfully suggest, when you are listening to the speaker, are you listening as though for the first time? He uses English words and apparently you and the speaker understand English. Now when you listen to a word, the word has a sound. Right? And the sound is transmitted to the brain. And the brain then translates the meaning of that word and the significance of that word and the comprehension of that word. Right sir? So, are you listening now as though for the first time? Or you have already heard the speaker talk about many of these things, you've probably read or heard the tapes and so on. Can you put all that aside and listen as though for the first time to what is being said? Or look at the sunrise or the sunset for the first time when you look at the sea, so that the brain doesn't get used to things. You understand what I'm saying sirs? The brain doesn't get accustomed to the sunset, to the sunrise, to your wife, to your husband and all the rest of it - so that everything is new, fresh. That is the art of listening, the art of seeing something as though you are looking at it for the first time. Which means, memory is withheld. This is a discipline, not the discipline of obedience, but the discipline to learn how to look, how to listen.
The word 'discipline' means etymologically a 'disciple who is learning' - not from his master or from his guru or from the one who knows - but one who is learning. That means, as though he did not know anything before but he is now learning. That is the meaning of that word 'discipline', coming from the word disciple. Now if we are learning all the time, then you become the guru and the disciple at the same time. You follow all this? Are you if I may ask, learning from the speaker?
K: Are you really learning? Don't bother who said it sir. If you are learning, what does that word mean, learning? Memorizing? Or there is no additive process? You understand what I'm saying? No adding to what you already have accumulated but rather you are not accumulating, but learning, moving. Probably you haven't done any of these things, it's all new. So, learning, hearing and seeing is a great art. To see everything as it is, not only outwardly but specially inwardly - to see things exactly as they are. That's real honesty. In that there is no deception. Because we are so apt to deceive ourselves willingly or unwillingly.
Q: Sir, may I request you to permit spoken questions and a dialogue together, an intimate dialogue. Rather than reading the written question.
K: What sir? I am afraid I haven't heard it properly.
Q: He wants a dialogue. He's asking for a direct dialogue.
K: You want a dialogue?
K: Do you know what that word means?
Q: We'll learn from you.
K: It is a conversation between two people. And to have a really good dialogue with another we must be equally interested or committed to that which we are discussing, having a talk over together, a conversation. That means, you and the other must be on the same level, have the same interest, same passion. Otherwise you cannot have a dialogue. It's good to have a dialogue. I wish we could. But with an audience, with so many people it's not possible to have a good dialogue. It's a marvellous thing if you can do it. I'm not preventing you sir from asking questions. But to have a good, deep dialogue requires that you and the speaker move in the same direction, with the same meaning, with the same immediacy of understanding.
Q: Sir, I want to have a clarification of what you said just now. You said, true or false statements. What is truth and false?
K: Truth? What is a true statement or a false statement? How are you going to find out? From another? What is a false statement? False - and what do you mean by false? Say for example, many people accept - it's a very ordinary example - many people accept that nationalism is a marvellous fact. We must be nationalistic. Is that a false statement or a true statement? How do you look at it? How do you find out? Say for instance, most of you in the world believe in god. Don't you? All right. You believe in god. Is it a false statement or a true statement? How do you find out? You can believe in anything you like, in any illusion, in any fanciful, romantic, sentimental concept. And belief may not necessarily be true. No belief is. So, how do you find out these things? How do you find out if there is god? To find out you must have a free mind, not a believing mind. You must have a mind that is capable of investigating, looking, doubting, questioning - not be afraid. So fear can create that which is false as true and that which is true as false. Right? This is happening in the world. So sirs, to find out what is true, what is truth, there must be a great sensitivity, a sense of freedom - not just the idea of freedom but actual freedom, freedom from fear and so on. Most of us have many illusions and those illusions have become truth, real. And to be free of illusion is one of the most necessary and arduous work - to be totally free of all illusions, then only you can find out what is true and what is false.
2nd QUESTION: Since you say that there is no such thing as god and you also condemn idol worship, then the question of how we are born and how nature came into existence comes into the picture. Kindly explain.
I don't have to have explain. Scientists say we came from water, from the cells, from the animal, the ape, and all that is part of nature. It has taken three and a half million years or more or less to become a human being - which is what we are now. Either that's so, or you believe god has made us. Right? You follow this question? Either you believe in the scientific theory or the scientific facts, or you believe that god has made us. Right? Or that there is god in us - whatever game you like to play. The scientists have proved as a fact, that we've come as a tiny cell multiplying itself from the water and gradually becoming earth-bourn, and from the ape we have become what we are. That is, we are part of nature, the whole world is part of us. And if you believe that some creator has made you, that creator must be rather silly, rather blind, idiotic man or woman - because look at us, what we are. (Laughter) Now you laugh, but all the temples, the mosques and the churches are filled with this. We are not made in the image of god but we have made god our image. You understand the difference?
Sirs, to find out, to discover or to come upon that which is not the word, not memory, not tradition, which is not of time and so on, we must understand what we are first. Why we have become like this, barbarious, violent, greedy, envious, money-minded, hating each other, you know all the things that are going on in the world. That's far more important to find that out first rather then to say, who made us? We are what we are now - blind, rather stupid, gullible, frightened, lonely, depressed, sorrowful - all that is what we are. And to understand this whole structure of the human psyche is far more important than merely talk about god, or do some repetitive ritual or go to a temple and worship a piece of stone.
Sir, the speaker doesn't condemn anything. Forgive me pointing this out. He just shows what we human beings are doing. He's acting as a mirror for you to look into. That mirror is not the authority. It has no authority. It's just a mirror. And that mirror, when you see it clearly, understand what you see in that mirror, then throw away the mirror, break it up - don't make another idol of it or another personal worship, as most Indians are apt to do.
So first, what is important is to find out how we live. Why we are so narrow, limited, so self-centred, full of self-interest. It may sound absurd, repetitive but that is the most important factor. That shapes all our lives.
3rd QUESTION: What is the mind? Is it ever possible for it to look at itself without the perceiver? It doesn't seem to be so simple as looking at a flower without the centre.
All right? Have you understood the question? Yes? Would you kindly tell me?
K: What is the mind and what is the brain? Is the brain the mind, or the mind is the brain? That's one question. The other is, is it possible for the brain, for thought to see itself in action, in movement? That is the second question. And is it possible ever to observe, to look, to see, without the perceiver? Right? Those are the three questions involved in this. Are you interested in this?
K: Sirs, don't please me. I can get up and go; it wouldn't matter. I hope you are interested in it. Or you're concerned about it - not interested - concerned. Is the mind different from the brain? This is a very important question, because we have discussed this matter with several scientists and all the rest of it. The brain is the centre for all our nervous responses - the centre of all action and reaction. Response and not responding. It is the centre of fear, of jealousy, hate, violence, sorrow, loneliness, anxiety, depression, sorrow and so on. It is the centre of all movement, of time and thought. Right sirs? And that brain is conditioned by thought, by fear, by suffering and also it is conditioned by knowledge. Right? Are you following all this?
Q: Yes, yes.
K: So the brain which has lived on this earth for over three and a half or four million years - not as man but as an animal, and so on - only within the last million or fifty thousand years it has become a human being, the brain which is contained in the human being now. This is what the scientists say, that this brain has existed eight thousand BC, and perhaps even longer. So this brain is conditioned. Right? That's a fact - conditioned by thought, by time. And it can only act in a limited way, partially. Right? If you are specialized as an engineer, for the rest of your life it's functioning in a particular direction. If you are interested in money it is working in that direction. Right? If you are a scholar, a Pandit, then you'll gather information and your brain is stuck in that knowledge.
So the brain is conditioned by experience, by knowledge, by memory, which is thought and time. This is an obvious fact. Is the mind within the brain? You understand my question?
Q: Yes sir.
K: Is the mind within the brain or outside the brain? I won't go into it - it would take too long - we cannot have a dialogue about this sir. I wish we could.
You see sir, is love within the brain? Answer this question. Is love compassion, not sympathy or empathy or tenderness and all that? Love may have all that. But the brain is limited, conditioned. And if love is within the brain, love is then conditioned, limited. Right? And is love limited? Is compassion, with its infinite intelligence, is it within the brain? Or outside it?
K: No sir, don't say 'yes'. Please, this is a very serious question. You have to go into it - one has to go into it very, very deeply. The brain can only find out if it is aware of its own limitation, and realizing, being attentive to that limitation, then it becomes utterly free and therefore quiet. Then the mind has a possibility of contacting with the brain and not the brain with the mind. I don't know if you understand all this? Are you following a little bit of all this?
Q: Yes sir.
K: Really? (Laughter) Do you know what it means sir, to understand your own way of daily living, and see the truth and the false in your daily living, and see how that daily operation, daily existence is conditioned, narrow, limited, based on self-interest? And whether it is possible to be free of that self-interest. And then see what happens - not imagine what might happen. All that requires, either you take many years or capture it in one instant. This is a very serious matter because the mind is an extraordinary thing if you go into it, if it exists at all, that is, if love exists at all. Love is not conditioned. I can love my wife or my father, mother or my son and yet that perfume can be always there, it's not personal.
4th QUESTION: For the understanding of human problems such as fear, loneliness and sorrow, your statement, 'the observer is the observed', seems to be all important. However, the logic of that statement doesn't seem to go beyond the intellectual level. Why is it that certain facts remain mere concepts?
What do we mean by understanding, the word 'understanding'? When you say, 'I understand', what do you mean by that? Do you understand the meaning of the words, or do you mean understanding the implication of the words, which is the sound of the words, or you understand it so-called intellectually? That is, you have understood the meaning of the words and the meaning remains as a concept in the brain. Right? So understanding, does it mean merely a verbal comprehension or an understanding? Which is, you have investigated, observed, searched, questioned, doubted and you come to a point, say, 'Yes, I've got it'. Which is it when you use the word 'understand'? And that's our difficulty. You hear a statement, as we have made it just now, and you make from that statement an abstraction - the juice of that statement - and then make it into an idea. And the idea becomes all important, not the fact. Right? Are we together in this, a little bit? Aren't you doing that now? Aren't you, when the speaker says, 'What do you mean by understanding', is it merely words grasping the meaning intellectually, the significance, the verbal connotations and so on? You grasp it intellectually - which is only a very small part of understanding. Intellect has a part, but when that part becomes all important, then you neglect every other part. So, when you understand something, that understanding is action - not just understanding. Say for example, I understand the nature of violence, not only physical violence but the whole complex nature of violence. I not only understand it, I see the consequences of all violence, and the implications, the different forms of violence. I look at the whole of it, not just a part of it; how we escape into this fanciful idea of non-violence. I include all that and look at it. Then, when the looking takes place, you are giving attention to it and therefore going beyond it. Right?
Now, 'For the understanding of all human existence, problems, such as fear, loneliness and sorrow, your statement 'the observer is the observed' seems to be all important.' Let's go into that, shall we? The observer and the observed. Have you ever looked at the moon, the full moon or the new moon? The beauty of a new moon, the slender sliver of light in the western sky or the full moon of the other night? Have you looked at it? When you look at it, who is looking at it? Please, follow this if you don't mind, a little bit. Don't be bored, just follow it. I look at that new moon. Do I look at it as though for the first time, or I look at it saying, 'That's the new moon, it's going to be a full moon in a fortnight's time'? So, I immediately put what I see into words. Right sir? Can I look at that new moon without the word? Right? Because the word is not the moon. The word 'moon' is not the actual moon in the sky. But we, when we look at something, our immediate reaction is to put it into words. This is obvious sir. When I look at my wife, I say, 'she's my wife'. We never look at her as though for the first time, without the word, without the memory, without all the implications of a wife or a husband. So can you - to make it very simple - can you look at a tree or a flower without the word? Have you ever tried it? Have you ever done it without the word? Then you will see how the word distorts the fact. Right? When you say, 'she is my wife' or 'he is my husband' or 'girlfriend' and so on, that very verbalization of a human being - who is living - you have put that human being into a word. Therefore that word is limited. You understand all this? Are we understanding a little bit of all this?
So can you look at something without the word? Can you look, as you are sitting there, looking at this figure, can you look at this figure without the word, without the image, without the reputation, without all that nonsense? Can you look at him? Is not the word the observer? Do you understand it? Is not the word and the image, the memory, is not all that the observer? Is not the background of being a Hindu with all the superstitions, with all the beliefs, with all the implications, or if you are a Muslim with all that background. It is the memory that gives the observer as though it was different from the thing observed. Right? Are you following this a little bit? Are we wasting time? So can you look, observe, without the background, without the past memories impinging upon the thing being observed? When you do that there is only that thing which is being observed. There is no observer observing, seeing the thing observed. Have you understood this? Sir, when there is a difference between the observer or the one who witnesses, between the observer and the observed, when there is a division between the two - as we said before - wherever there is division, there must be conflict. Right? And to understand why human beings live in conflict from the moment they are born till they die, is to find out why this division exists between the observer and the observed and so on, or is there only the thing observed.
Sir, what we are saying is, wherever there is a division there must be conflict. That's a law. An eternal law. Where there is separation, a division, a breaking up into two parts there must be conflict. And that conflict becomes ultimately war, killing people. As is being shown now in the world, in America, in Russia, in Lebanon, the Muslims, the Islamic world and the non-Islam world, they are in conflict. So to understand and so be free of conflict, really be free of it, is to understand why the observer becomes so dominant, separate from him, or her, the thing being observed. Right, sir? When I observe, if I am married or have a girl friend, there is a division between us, an actual not only physical division but traditional division, the authority of the parent, the authority of someone, so there is division always in our relationships and therefore there is always conflict between human beings. There are very few human beings in the world who have a relationship in which conflict doesn't exist. And that conflict exists because we have separated the observer from the observed. I am different from my anger. Right? I am different from my envy, I am different from my sorrow, therefore being different, there is conflict. That is, 'I must get rid of sorrow'. 'Tell me how to overcome sorrow'. 'Tell me what to do with my fear'. So there is conflict, conflict all the time. But you are sorrow. You are not different from sorrow, are you? You are not different from anger, are you? You are not different from your sexual desires, are you? You are not different from the loneliness you feel - you are lonely. But we say, 'Yes, I'm lonely but I must escape from that'. So I go to the temple or be entertained and so on. You are not different from the quality of which you are; the quality is you. I am anger. I am sorrow. I am lonely, depressed. Now, before, when I separated, I acted upon my sorrow. You understand? If I am lonely I then escape from loneliness, try to overcome it or analyze it and try to fill the loneliness with all kinds of amusements or religious activity. But if I am lonely, I can't do anything about it. Right? You understand this fact? No? Right? Please tell me. If I am lonely and I am lonely - not, I am lonely as something different from me - I am that. Before I acted upon it, now I can't act upon it because I am that.
So what happens when the observer is the observed? You understand? When the anger is me, then what takes place? Have you enquired into this or you just say, 'Yes, I am the observer and the observed'? Meaningless. But to find out or experience, go into it and find out if anger is always different from you. That has been the tradition; that has been the conditioning, saying, 'I am different from my anger', therefore you acted upon it. But if when you realize you are anger, then what do you do, what happens?
First, all conflict ceases. Right? Are you following this a little bit? All conflict ceases when you realize you are that. I am brown - finished. It's a fact. Light brown or dark brown or purple or whatever colour it is. So you eliminate altogether this divisive process which brings conflict in yourself.
And why is it, the questioner asks, that we make an abstraction of a fact? The fact is I am anger. I am jealous, I am lonely. Why do we make that into an idea, an abstraction of it? Is it easier to make an abstraction rather than to face the fact? Because I can play with the idea. I say, 'Yes, this is a good idea', 'This is a bad idea', 'Convince me about it', 'Not convince me'. You follow? I can go on. But when there is no abstraction but the fact, then I have to deal with it. And then I separate myself and then say, 'I am going to do something about it'. But when one realizes there is no separation - you are that, you are 'what is: you are a Hindu, you are a Muslim, you are a Christian; you are a business man, you are ugly, you are brutal; you are all that - then you have eliminated altogether the sense of division in you and therefore no conflict. Do you know what the brain is like when there is no conflict? When the brain is in perpetual conflict, as most people's brains are, what happens to that brain? It's wounded, right? It's wounded, hurt.
Q: May I ask you one question?
K: Sir, I am in the middle of a... Sit down, come up here sir. Sir, poor chap, he's come all that way, let him ask a question - a little later sir, let me finish.
Probably you have lived so long with conflict, with pain and sorrow, fear, and this conflict, you've said, 'It's part of my life. I'll accept conflict', and you've gone on that way. But you've never enquired what conflict does to the brain, to a human being, to the psyche. You know it's being perpetually beaten. If one is constantly beaten, physically, do you know what happens? Constantly bombarded with conflict, what happens to the brain? It shrinks. It becomes very small, limited, ugly. That's what is happening to all of us. So the fairly intelligent man asks, 'Why should I live in conflict for the rest of my life'? So he begins to enquire what is conflict. Conflict must exist where there is division - inside as well as outside. And this division basically, deeply, fundamentally is the 'me', the observer, and the thing observed. Two separate activities going on, which is not true, because you are anger, you are violence. So if you come to that point and realize that the observer is the observed, then there is a totally different activity going on.
Now sir, what did you want to say?
Q: You are telling me, I am the anger because the anger is a condition of my mind. And sorrow is also a condition of my mind. Happiness and unhappiness, anger, these are all conditions of my mind. Because I know my mind. Because I am not my mind. My mind is different from me because it is my mind.
K: I understand sir.
Q: Mind is entirely different from me.
Q: So I know the conditions of my mind. Because this is in some sense in happy conditions, it is sometimes unhappy conditions, it is sometimes sorrow conditions. Because when I get one thought previously in the world of memory...
K: Yes sir.
Q:.. I may recollect.
K: Yes sir, yes sir.
Q: Immediately my mind goes on recollecting that memory.
K: Yes sir, yes sir. Why? I understand it very well. Do you want to come here and give us a talk?
Q: Sir, what I mean is, if I know my anger, it will not be anger. When I won't identify...
K: Yes sir, yes sir. Come over. Bring him up on to the platform. Now give them a lecture, sir. (Laughter).
Q: No, no, sir. Excuse me sir.
K: Say it.
Q: No, no sir. Sir when I know my anger, it is not an anger. Why? Because I am knowing my anger. When I identify myself with anger, immediately the action will come out. Is it correct or not? Please understand me, I am not discouraging anybody.
K: Try to understand sir, we were...
Q: Mr Krishnamurti, don't misunderstand.
K: Sir, sit here quietly.
Q: No, no, because I just...
K: Sir, sit here quietly, Sit down sir. Now that you are here, sit down. It's time to stop.
Sir, you've heard what K has been talking about this morning. You've heard various responses, various answers to questions and we go away rather confused, not clear. But if we listen to each other - I've listened to this gentleman, really listened, and there is no conflict between the speaker and himself, because he's listened, he know what he has to say. If we could just for one day or one hour, see what conflict is, why we human beings are caught in conflict, with all the pain and the anxiety, loneliness, all that - then perhaps we may be able to live a life with a brain that has never been harmed, never had any wound, any shock, so that it's a free brain. And it's only then that perhaps the mind - which is love - can contact the brain. That's all.
Bombay 2nd Public Question & Answer Meeting 7th February 1985
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