Last talks at Saanen 1985
Last Talks at Saanen 1985 1st Public Talk Sunday, 7th July, 1985
If one may, one would like to point out that we are a gathering of serious people who are concerned with daily life. We are not concerned whatsoever with beliefs, ideologies, suppositions, theoretical conclusions or theological concepts, nor are we trying to found a sect, a group of people who follow somebody. We are not, let's hope, frivolous but rather we are concerned together with what is happening in the world - all the tragedies, the utter misery, poverty - and our responsibility to it.
One would also like to point out, if one may, that you and I, the speaker, are walking, taking a journey, together, not in an aeroplane high up at 30,000 or 40,000 feet, but walking along a quiet road, a long endless road all over the world where one sees appalling terrorism, the killing of people for no purpose, threatening people, kidnapping them, highjacking, murdering, wars. We don't seem to care very much. It is only when it happens very close to us that we become concerned, worried, fearful. When it is far away from us, we are more indifferent.
This is what is happening in the world - economic division, religious division, political division and all the religious, sectarian divisions. There is a great deal of danger, hazard. One doesn't know what is going to happen in the future, not only in our own lifetime but in our children's and grandchildren's. The whole world is in a great state of crisis and the crisis is not only out there but also in each one of us. If you are at all aware of all this, what is the responsibility for it on the part of each one of us? One must have asked this question of oneself very often: what is one to do? Where should one begin? What should each one of us do, facing this terrible society in which we live, each concerned with himself, with his own fulfilment, with his own sorrow, with his own misery, economic struggle, and so on and so on? Each one of us is concerned with himself. What shall we do? Shall we pray to God - repeat prayers over and over and over again? Or belong to some sect, follow some guru, escape from the world, put on some medieval dress or modern robes of a peculiar colour? Can we withdraw from the world at all, like monks?
Seeing all this, observing it intimately - not as something you have read about in the newspapers, or been told about by journalists, novels, television - what is the role of each one of us, the responsibility?
As we said, we are not trying to entertain you, or trying to tell you what you should do - what each one of us should do. We have had leaders galore, political, economic, religious, sectarian, and they have been utterly helpless, they have their own theories, their own way, and there are thousands of people who are following them, all over the world. They have really enormous wealth, not only the wealth of the Roman Catholic Church but also the wealth of the gurus. It all ends up in money.
So, if one may ask: what shall we do together? Or what shall we do as a single human being? Are we at all concerned, or are we seeking some peculiar satisfaction, gratification for ourselves? Are we committed to a certain symbol, religious or otherwise, and clinging to that, hoping that what lies behind that symbol will help us? This is a very serious question. It is becoming much more serious now, for there is the threat of war and then total uncertainty.
May I, may the speaker, inform you of a conversation he had with a Mr X which continued for several days? Mr X has travelled all over the world, more or less, he told the speaker. He is fairly well read, has been to various institutions, sometimes joining them, and with a rush getting out of them. He followed one guru or another and gave them up. And for a few weeks he tried to become a monk, and that too he gave up. And he looked at the various political parties, at the whole spectrum of political activities, and at last he said, `I have come to talk with you. I would like to have a conversation with you, at the same level as I am, not that you are pretentious. I don't know your real position or what you are, though I have read something about you.' May I go on with this conversation? Does it interest you?
And he said, `Let's talk things over together like two friends, you and l - like two friends who have lived together in the world, been through every kind of travail. What is it all about? Why is man born like this? Why has he become after many, many, many millennia what he is now - suffering, anxious, lonely, despairing, with disease, death and always the gods somewhere about? Let's forget all about those gods and talk together as two human beings, living in this world, in this marvellous country, on the earth which is so beautiful, which is the mother of all things.'
And so this Mr X gave something of his inward thoughts, his outward activities. And he said, `What is all this about? Why are human beings, who are sophisticated, have educated themselves, who have become experts in technology and can argue the hind legs off a donkey, who can invent gods and goddesses and everything - why are human beings all over the world in perpetual conflict - not only with the environment, not only with their governments whom they have elected, or with some dogma invented by ancient priests? Why does each human being everlastingly, from the moment he is born till he dies, live in this conflict?' This was the first question he asked, this Mr X. Why? What is the cause of this conflict, not only outwardly but also most deeply, inwardly, subjectively, inside the skin as it were - why is he in conflict?
Centuries before Christianity, the religions have talked endlessly about peace - be peaceful, be quiet, be gentle, generous, affectionate, loving. In spite of their propaganda this conflict goes on. Is there an answer to this question, a final, irrefutable answer? That is, can human beings in this world, living their daily life, going to the office, keeping a house, sex, children and all that, and also with this search, this longing for something much more than the mere material things of life - can they cease from conflict? Can this question ever be solved? Apparently man has not solved it, though he has lived on this earth for so many million years as a human being.
`We have gathered tremendous experience,' Mr X was telling the speaker. `We have gathered a great deal of knowledge; we have gathered an immense amount of information technologically, but inwardly we remain barbarians, trying to kill each other, trying to compete with each other, to destroy each other.'
So Mr X came all that way, a long distance by bus, train, aeroplane, and he said, `Answer this question: is there a cause for this conflict? And if there is a cause then let's discover what the cause is. Not that you are going to lead me or that you will tell me and I will accept, or that I will go and think about it and come to some kind of conclusion of my own, but rather together as two human beings - not one sitting on a platform and the other sitting down below - but together as two human beings who have gone through a great deal of life, the loneliness, the desperation, the anxiety, the uncertainty, wanting love and not finding it, or loving and not being satisfied with that, always pushing, pushing, pushing, always wanting to achieve something, whether it is heaven or illumination or enlightenment or to become a multimillionaire, which is more or less the same thing, never content, never knowing what peace is, never sitting quietly under a tree looking at the mountains, the rivers, the blade of grass and the beauty of the earth and sunlight, and the glory of an early morning - two human beings asking if there is a cause of this conflict.'
So Mr X said to the speaker, `Let's talk, let us question each other, never accepting what the other says. I won't accept a thing from you, nor will you accept a thing from me. We are on the same level. You may be very clever, you may have a reputation which is nonsense, you may go round the earth, or a certain part of the earth, all that doesn't count. It has no value.' With which the speaker agreed whole-heartedly. `So let us explore this curse which man has borne from the beginning of time: why man, which includes woman please, lives this way; why man is in conflict in his own intimate relationships, sexually, in a family - the whole network of conflict.'
So Mr X came again the next day, and we continued. We sat on the veranda on a beautiful day overlooking the valley with the great mountains round us, snow-capped, marvellous valleys, blue and lovely azure skies, and the sun glittering on the leaves, the dappled earth. Everything seemed so marvellously alive, pulsating, full of energy. There we were, he and the speaker, watching this great beauty and never being with the beauty, always watching it, never feeling the beauty with one's heart and mind, never being utterly sensitive to all the glory of the earth. He said, `We won't talk about beauty, this is your business, you tell me about it.' The speaker said he would a little later. `First let us explore together this question of conflict. We are asking: must human beings bear with it, get accustomed to it, hold it, never, never be able to put it completely aside, so that their brains can function as they should, completely untethered, completely free, not programmed, not conditioned?'
So now the speaker is putting this question to you. And we also discussed, talked over, debated this point: what is the cause of it? We are taking a journey together, not my asking you to tell me, or I telling you. What is the cause of it? Every where there is struggle. You might say there is struggle in nature, the big animal lives on the smaller animal and so on. In a forest the little tree is struggling against the gigantic trees for light. You might say everywhere on earth, in nature, there is conflict, some kind of struggle going on, so why shouldn't we also go on in that way because we are part of nature? What human beings call conflict, may not be conflict out there; it may be the most natural way for nature to act: the hawk, the eagle kill the rabbit, bears kill salmon, the tiger kills something swiftly, or the cheetah; in nature killing, killing, killing goes on, and one might say that we are part of nature so it is inevitable that we should be in constant struggle. If one accepts that it is natural, inevitable, there is nothing more to be said about it; if we say it is natural, we will go on in that way because we are part of the whole earth, but if one begins to question it then where are you? Are you willing together to find out because we are supposed to be a little more active, intelligent than the trees, the tigers, the elephants (fortunately the elephants don't kill too many things, but they destroy trees).
So, if we do not accept that conflict is the way of life, then what is one to do? Where does one start to understand the whole movement of conflict? How does one feel one's way into all this? One way, the speaker said to Mr X, is to analyse very carefully all the factors of conflict, one after the other - through self-analysis or being analysed by another, or accepting the advice of professors, philosophers, psychologists. But will analysis bring about the discovery of the cause, though it may bring you certain intellectual conclusions, or you may put all the analytical factors together and see the whole? Is that possible? Or is there a different approach to the question?
I wonder if Mr X understands what the speaker is saying? The speaker is telling Mr X that analysis implies one who is the analyser - right? Therefore there is an analyser and the analysed, the subject and the object. Is there such a difference in oneself as the subject and the object? That is a question the speaker asks Mr X. You are Mr X. The analyser has been encouraged through education, through conditioning, through being programmed, to believe that he, the analyser, is completely different from that which he analyses, but the speaker says, `I am going to question this whole attitude towards analysis.' The speaker says, `I am not accepting what the professionals, including those people who come from Vienna, or the latest American psychologists, say about analysis.' The speaker tells Mr X, `I am not accepting any of those. I question it; I question not only the activity of analysis but who is the analyser. If you can understand the analyser first then what need is there for analysis?' You understand, sir? Am I going too fast? May we go together into this?
I analyse myself. I have been angry, or greedy, or sexual, whatever it is, and in analysing it, that is, breaking it up and looking at it very carefully step by step, who is the observer? Is not the observer, the analyser, all the accumulated past remembrances? He is conditioned through experience, through his knowledge, his way of looking at life, his peculiar tendencies, his prejudices, his religious programming: all this is the past, all this is the background of his life, from childhood. He is the observer, he is the analyser, whether or not that background includes communal remembrance, racial remembrance, racial consciousness, he is the observer. And then the observer breaks it up into the observed and the observer, so that very division in analysis creates conflict. Are we together? You are Mr X, I am the speaker. Are we taking the same journey together? The speaker says that the moment there is a division between the analyser and the analysed there must inevitably be conflict of some kind, subtle, fatuous, without meaning, but it is a conflict - to overcome, conquer, suppress, transcend - all these are efforts in minor or major form.
So one discovers that where there is division between the Swiss and the Germans, the French and the English, I and you, we and they - wherever there is division there must be conflict. Not that there is not division; the rich are very powerful. But if we create subjectively a division - I belong to this and you belong to that, I am a Catholic, you are a Protestant, I am a jew and you are an Arab - then there is conflict.
So wherever there is division between two people, between man and woman, between God and earth, between `what should be' and `what is' - I wonder if Mr X is following all this, not only verbally, intellectually, which is meaningless, but with his heart, with his being, with his vitality, energy and passion - wherever there is division there is conflict. So one begins to discover the root of conflict. Is it possible for a human being living in a modern world, going to a job, earning a livelihood, business there, family here, aggressive in business and submissive to his wife - is it possible for him to live so that his life does not become a contradiction? Can that contradiction end? If not one will live in conflict, one becomes a hypocrite. If one likes to be a hypocrite, that is all right too, but if one wants to live very honestly, which is absolutely necessary, to live with great austere honesty, not to someone, not to one's country, not to one's ideal, but to say exactly what one means and mean what one says, not what others have said and which you repeat, or believe in something and do quite the opposite, that is not honesty - if one wants to live very honestly there can be no contradiction.
Everyone talks about peace. Every government, every religion, and every preacher, including the speaker, talks about peace. And to live peacefully demands tremendous honesty and intelligence. So is it possible, living in the twentieth century, to live inwardly first, psychologically first, subjectively, and not have in oneself any kind of division? Please do enquire, search, ask with passion. Passion doesn't include fanaticism, passion doesn't demand martyrdom. It is not something you are so attached to that that very attachment gives you passion - you understand? That is not passion, it is being tied to something which gives you the feeling of passion, energy, like a donkey tied to a post; it can wander round and round and round but it is still held there.
So could we, Mr X and the speaker, not telling each other what they should do, discover for themselves in all honesty, without any sense of deception, without any sense of illusion, whether it is possible to live in this world - in which you know all the horrors that are going on - without conflict, without division? Don't go to sleep, please, it is too early in the morning. If you are asked - you are Mr X - what would your answer be inwardly? If you are a Swiss, a Hindu, a Muslim, or follow some clique, or some group, or are the follower of some guru wouldn't you have to abandon all that completely? You may have a Swiss passport (the speaker has an Indian passport but he is not an Indian - they don't like that in India but we have told them several times not to belong to any cult, to any guru, to anything) - you are going to find this terribly difficult. At the end of it you stand alone, but there is the comprehension, the inward awareness, insight, into all that which is really nonsensical. Belonging to something, belonging to a group, belonging to some sect, may give one momentary satisfaction but that is all becoming rather weary, wretched and ugly.
So can one not be attached to any of this - especially including what the speaker is saying? Strangely, your brain, though not the brain of another, is also the other - you understand? Your brain is like the brain of every other human being. It has immense capacity, immense energy. Look what they have done in the technological world. All the scientists in America are now concerned with Star Wars. We won't go into all that. The brain has this extraordinary energy if you concentrate on something, give your attention to something. They have given attention to killing other human beings, so the atom bomb came into being. Our brains are not ours, they have evolved through a long period of time, and in that evolution we have gathered tremendous knowledge, experience, but in all that there is very little of what is called love. I may love my wife, or my children, or my country. My country has been divided by thought, geographically, but it is the world. The world in which one lives is the entire world. So my brain which has evolved through a long period of time, that brain with its consciousness is not mine because my consciousness is shared with every other human being.
Mr X is saying, `I have read something about what you have said, I am not repeating what you have said, but this is what I also feel. I see, wherever I have been, in every corner of the earth, that there are human beings who suffer pain, anxiety, desperate loneliness, and so our consciousness is shared by all other human beings.' Do you realize this - not intellectually but actually? If one really feels this, then there will be no division. I ask Mr X, `Do you see this reality, not a concept of it, not an idea of it, not the beautiful conclusion but the actuality of it? The actuality is different from the idea of actuality - right? You are sitting there, that is actual, but I can imagine that you are sitting there which is totally different.'
So, our brain, which is the centre of our consciousness, with all the nervous responses, sensory responses, the centre of all our knowledge, all our experience, all our memory (your memory may be from another, but it is still memory; you may be highly educated, the other may have no education at all, may not even know how to read and write, but it is still part of the whole) - so your consciousness is shared by every human being on this earth. Therefore you are entire humanity. Do you understand, sirs? You are in actuality, not theoretically or theologically, or in the eyes of God - probably gods have no eyes! - but in actuality there is this strange irrevocable fact that we all go through the same mould, the same anxiety, hope, fear, death, loneliness that brings such desperation. So we are mankind. And when one realizes that deeply, conflict with another ceases because you are like me.
So that is what we talked about, Mr X and Mr K. And we also continued about other things, for he was there for several days. But we first established a real relationship which is so necessary when there is any kind of debate, any kind of communication, not only verbal, for words don't convey profoundly what one desires to convey. So, at the end of the second day, we said, where are we? You, Mr X and Mr K, where are we in this? Have we brought about, not change, change implies time (we will go into that another time) - or have we merely gathered as we gather the harvest? We sow - that is, you have come here, which is part of sowing, and you have listened to K and Mr X - what have you gathered? Gathering means accumulation. You have gathered so much information - please follow this, we will stop presently, don't get sleepy or nervous. You have gathered so much information from professionals, from psychologists, from psychiatrists - gathered, gathered, gathered. The brain is like a magnet, gathering. And K asks Mr X, `Have you gathered also? If you have gathered then this becomes like any other meeting.' So K asks Mr X, `What have you gathered? Or are you free from gathering?' Please, if you have the patience, listen to this.
Do we ever stop gathering? For practical things in life one has to gather, but to see where gathering is not necessary, that is where the art of living comes. Because if we are gathering, our brain is never free, is never empty - we won't go into the question of emptiness because that is a different matter - but are we aware that we are gathering, gathering, gathering as we gather habits? And when you have gathered so much it is very difficult to get rid of it. This gathering conditions the brain. Born in India, belonging to a certain type of people, tradition, religious, or very, very orthodox, you have gathered all that. And then to be free of all that takes immense enquiry, searching, looking, watching, awareness. So is it possible not to gather at all? Please consider this, don't reject it. find out. You have to gather knowledge to go to your house, to drive a car, to speak a foreign language, but inwardly is it necessary to gather at all? Enlightenment is not gathering. On the contrary it is total freedom from all that. Which is, after all, love, isn't it? I don't love you because I have gathered you. I have been sexually satisfied with you, or you are companionable, or I am lonely and therefore I depend on you; then that becomes a marketable thing; then we exploit each other, use each other, sell each other down the river. Surely that is not love, is it? Love is the quality of a brain that doesn't gather anything at all, and then what it says will be what it has discovered, not what other people have said. And in that there is tremendous passion, not lust, passion. But it is not fanaticism. I don't suddenly become a strict vegetarian or won't touch salt. The fanatics all have passion of a certain type but they have become violent, inclined to martyrdom, and all the rest of that business.
So, the speaker, K, is asking Mr X to find out if you can live without gathering. You can't be told about it. We can enquire into it together, but the actuality of never gathering, the accumulated memory never operating, is really very subtle; it requires a great deal of enquiry.
May we stop now? We have talked for an hour. You haven't talked but K has talked. We have established the basis of a communication with each other in which there is no superior and no inferior, one who knows and one who does not know.
Last talks at Saanen 1985
Last Talks at Saanen 1985 1st Public Talk Sunday, 7th July, 1985
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