Truth and Actuality
Part 2, Public Talks Brockwood Park 1975
Truth and Actuality Part II Chapter 8 3rd Public Talk Brockwood Park 13th September 1975 'Suffering; the Meaning of Death'
May we go on with what we were discussing the other day? We were saying that the crisis in the world is not outward but the crisis is in consciousness. And that consciousness is its content: all the things that man has accumulated through centuries, his fears, his dogmas, his superstitions, his beliefs, his conclusions, and all the suffering, pain and anxiety. We said unless there is a radical mutation in that consciousness, outward activities will bring about more mischief, more sorrow, more confusion. And to bring about that mutation in consciousness a totally different kind of energy is required; not the mechanical energy of thought, of time and measure. When we were investigating into that we said there are three active principles in human beings: fear, pleasure and suffering. We talked about fear at some length. And we also went into the question of pleasure, which is entirely different from joy, enjoyment, and the delight of seeing something beautiful and so on. And we also touched upon suffering.
I think we ought this morning to go into that question of suffering. It is a nice morning and I am sorry to go into such a dark subject. As we said, when there is suffering there can bc no compassion and we asked whether it is at all possible for human minds, for human beings right throughout the world, to put an end to suffering. For without that ending to suffering we live in darkness, we accept all kinds of beliefs, dogmas, escapes, which bring about much more confusion, more violence and so on. So we are going this morning to investigate together into this question of suffering, whether the human mind can ever be free from it totally; and also we are going to talk about the whole question of death.
Why do we accept suffering, why do we put up with it psychologically? Physical suffering can be controlled or put up with; and it is important that such physical suffering does not distort clarity of thought. We went into that. Because for most of us, when there is physical pain, a continued suffering, it distorts our thinking, it prevents objective thinking, which becomes personal, broken up, distorted. If one is not actively aware of this whole process of physical suffering, whether remembered in the past, or the fear of having it again in the future, then neurotic habits, neurotic activities take place. We spoke of that briefly the other day.
We are asking if it is at all possible for human beings to end suffering at all levels of their existence, psychological suffering. And when we go into it in ourselves deeply, we see one of the major factors of this suffering is attachment - attachment to ideas, to conclusions, to ideologies, which act as security; and when that security is threatened there is a certain kind of suffering. Please, as we said the other day, we are sharing this together, we are looking into this question of suffering together. You are not merely listening to a talk, if I may point out, and gathering a few ideas and agreeing or disagreeing, but rather we are in communication, sharing the problem, examining the question, the issue, actively; and so it becomes our responsibility, yours as well as the speaker's, to go into this question.
There is also attachment to persons; in our relationships there is a great deal of suffering. That is, the one may be free from this conditioning of fear and so on, and the other may not be and hence there is a tension. The word attachment means "holding on", not only physically but psychologically, depending on something. In a relationship, one may be free and the other may not be free and hence the conflict; one may be a Catholic and the other may not be a Catholic, or a Communist and so on. Hence the conflict that breeds continuous strain and suffering.
Then there is the suffering of the unknown, of death; the suffering of losing something that you were attached to in the past, as memory. I do not know if you have not noticed all these things in yourself? And is it possible to live in complete relationship with another without this tension, which is brought about through self-interest, through self-centred activity, desire pulling in different directions, and live in a relationship in which there may be contradictions, for one may be free, the other may not be? To live in that situation demands not only what is called tolerance - that absurd intellectual thing that man has created - but it demands a much greater thing, which is affection, love, and therefore compassion. We are going to go into that.
We are asking whether man can end suffering. There are various explanations: how to go beyond it, how to rationalize it, how to suppress it, how to escape from it. Now we are asking something entirely different: not to suppress it, not to evade it, nor rationalize it, but when there is that suffering to remain totally with it, without any movement of thought, which is the movement of time and measure.
One suffers: one loses one's son, or wife, or she runs away with somebody else; and the things that you are attached to, the house, the name, the form, all the accumulated conclusions, they seem to fade away, and you suffer. Can one look at that suffering without the observer? We went into that question of what the observer is. We said the observer is the past, the accumulated memory, experience and knowledge. And with that knowledge, experience, memory, one observes the suffering, so one dissociates oneself from suffering: one is different from suffering and therefore one can do something about it. Whereas the observer is the observed.
This requires a little care and attention, the statement that, "the observer is the observed". We don't accept it. We say the observer is entirely different; and the observed is something out there separate from the observer. Now if one looks very closely at that question, at that statement that the observer is the observed, it seems so obvious. When you say you are angry, you are not different from anger, you are that thing which you call anger. When you are jealous, you are that jealousy. The word separates; that is, through the word we recognise the feeling and the recognition is in the past; so we look at that feeling through the word, through the screen of the past, and so separate it. Therefore there is a division between the observer and the observed.
So we are saying that when there is this suffering, either momentary, or a continuous endless series of causes that bring about suffering, to look at it without the observer. You are that suffering; not, you are separate from suffering. Totally remain with that suffering. Then you will notice, if you go that far, if you are willing to observe so closely, that something totally different takes place: a mutation. That is, out of that suffering comes great passion. If you have done it, tested it out, you will find it. It is not the passion of a belief, passion for some cause, passion for some idiotic conclusion. It is totally different from the passion of desire. It is something which is of a totally different kind of energy; not the movement of thought, which is mechanical.
We have a great deal of suffering in what is called love. Love, as we know it now, is pleasure, sexual, the love of a country, the love of an idea, and so on - all derived from pleasure. And when that pleasure is denied there is either hatred, antagonism, or violence. Can there be love, not just something personal between you and me or somebody else, but the enormous feeling of compassion - passion for everything, for everybody. Passion for nature, compassion for the earth on which we live, so that we don`t destroy the earth, the animals, the whole thing... Without love, which is compassion, suffering must continue. And we human beings have put up with it, we accept it as normal. Every religion has tried to find a way out of this, but organized religions have brought tremendous suffering.
Religious oganizations throughout the world have done a great deal of harm, there have been religious wars endless persecution, tortures, burning people, especially in the West - it wasn't the fashion in those days in the East. And we are speaking of - not the acceptance of suffering, or the putting up with suffering - but remaining motionless with that suffering; then there comes out of it great compassion. And from that compassion arises the whole question of creation.
What is creation, what is the creative mind? Is it a mind that suffers and through that suffering has learnt a certain technique and expresses that technique on paper, in marble, with paint - that is, is creativeness the outcome of tension? Is it the outcome of a disordered life? Does creativeness come through the fragmentary activity of daily life? I don't know if you are following all this? Or must we give a totally different kind of meaning to creativeness, which may not need expression at all?
So one has to go into this question within oneself very deeply, because one's consciousness is the consciousness of the world. I do not know if you realize that? Fundamentally your consciousness is the consciousness of the speaker, of the rest of the world, basically. Because in that consciousness there is suffering, there is pain, there is anxiety, there is fear of tomorrow, fear of insecurity, which every man goes through wherever he lives. So your consciousness is the consciousness of the world, and if there is a mutation in that consciousness it affects the total consciousness of human beings. It is a fact. So it becomes tremendously important that human beings bring about a radical transformation, or mutation in themselves, in their consciousness.
Now we can go into this thing called death, which is one of the major factors of suffering. As with everything else in life we want a quick, definite answer, an answer which will be comforting, which will be totally satisfactory, intellectually, emotionally, physically, in every way. We want immortality, whatever that may mean, and we want to survive, both physically and psychologically. We avoid death at any price, put it as far away as possible. So we have never been able to examine it closely. We have never been able to face it, understand it, not only verbally, intellectually, but completely. We wait until the last moment, which may be an accident, disease, old age, when you can't think, when you can't look, you are just "gaga". Then you become a Catholic, a Protestant, believe in this or that. So we are trying this morning to understand, not verbally, but actually what it means to die - which doesn't mean we are asking that we should commit suicide. But we are asking, what is the total significance of this thing called death, which is the ending of what we know as life.
In enquiring into this we must find out whether time has a stop. The stopping of time may be death. It may be the ending and therefore that which ends has a new beginning, not that which has a continuity. So first can there be an ending to time, can time stop? - not chronological time by the watch, as yesterday, today, and tomorrow, the twenty-four hours, but the whole movement of time as thought and measure. That movement, not chronological time, but that movement as thought, which is the whole process of comparing, of measurement, can all that process stop? Can thought, which is the response of memory, and can experience as knowledge - knowledge is always in the past, knowledge is the past - can that whole momentum come to an end? Not in the technological field, we don't even have to discuss that, that is obvious. Can this movement come to an end? Time as hope, time as something that has happened to which the mind clings, attachment to the past, or a projection from the past to the future as a conclusion, and time as a movement of achievement from alpha to omega - this whole movement in which we are caught. If one said there is no tomorrow, psychologically, you would be shocked, because tomorrow is tremendously important: tomorrow you are going to be happy, tomorrow you will achieve something, tomorrow will be the fulfilment of yesterday`s hopes, or today's hopes, and so on. Tomorrow becomes extraordinarily significant - the tomorrow which is projected from the past as thought.
So we are asking, can all that momentum come to an end? Time has created, through centuries, the centre which is the "me". Time is not only the past as attachment, hope, fulfilment, the evolving process of thought until it becomes more and more refined. But also that centre around which all our activities take place, the "me", the mine, we and they, both politically, religiously, economically and so on. So the "me" is the conclusion of time, adding to itself and taking away from itself, but there is always this centre which is the very essence of time. We are asking, can that movement come to an end. This is the whole problem of meditation, not sitting down and repeating some mantra, some words, and doing some tricks - that is all silly nonsense. I am not being intolerant but it is just absurd. And it becomes extraordinarily interesting to find this out, enquire into this.
Then what is death? Can that be answered in terms of words, or must one look at it not only verbally but non-verbally? There is death, the organism dies, by misuse, by abuse, by overindulgence, drink, drugs, accident, all the things that the flesh is heir to - it dies, comes to an end, the heart stops, the brain with all its marvellous machinery comes to an end. We accept it - we are not afraid of the physical organism coming to an end but we are afraid of something totally different. And being afraid of that basically, we want to resolve that fear through various beliefs, conclusions, hopes.
The whole of the Asiatic world believes in reincarnation, they have proof for it - they say so at least. That is - watch this, it is extraordinary - the thing that has been put together by time as the "me", the ego, that incarnates till that entity becomes perfect and is absorbed into the highest principle, which is Brahman, or whatever you like to call it. Time has created the centre, the "me", the ego, the personality, the character, the tendencies, and so on, and through time you are going to dissolve that very entity, through reincarnation. You see the absurdity? Thought has created something as the "me", the centre, and through the evolutionary process, which is time, you will ultimately dissolve that and be absorbed into the highest principle. And yet they believe in this tremendously. The other day I was talking to somebody who is a great believer in this. He said, "If you don't believe it you are not a religious man", and he walked out. And Christianity has its own form of continuity of the "me", the resurrection - Gabriel blowing the trumpet and so on (laughter). When you believe in reincarnation, what is important is that you are going to live another life and you suffer in this life because of your past actions. So what is important is, if one is actually basically committed wholly to that belief, it means that you must behave rightly, accurately, with tremendous care now. And we don't do that. That demands superhuman energy.
There are several problems involved in this. What is immortality and what is eternity - which is a timeless state - and what happens to human beings who are still caught in this movement of time? We human beings live extraordinarily complex, irresponsible, ugly, stupid lives, we are at each other's throats, we are battling about beliefs, about authority, politically and religiously, and our daily lives are a series of endless conflicts. And we want that to continue. And because our lives are so empty, so full of meaningless words, we say there is a state where there is no death, immortality - which is a state where there is no movement of time. That is, time through centuries has created the idea of the self, of the "me" evolving. It has been put together through time, which is a part of evolution. And inevitably there is death and with the ending of the brain cells thought comes to an end. Therefore one hopes that there is something beyond the "me", the super-consciousness, a spark of God, a spark of truth, that can never be destroyed and that continues. And that continuity is what we call immortality. That is what most of us want. If you don't get it through some kind of fame, you want to have it sitting near God, who is timeless. The whole thing is so absurd.
Is there something which is not of time, which has no beginning and no end, and is therefore timeless, eternal? Our life being what it is, we have this problem of death; and if I, a human being, have not totally understood the whole quality of myself, what happens to me when I die? You understand the question? Is that the end of me? I have not understood, if I have understood myself totally, then that is a different problem, which we will come to. If I have not understood myself totally - I am not using the word "understand" intellectually - but actually to be aware of myself without any choice, all the content of my consciousness - if I have not deeply delved into my own structure and the nature of consciousness and I die, what happens?
Now who is going to answer this question? (laughter). No, I am putting it purposefully. Who is going to answer this question? Because we think we cannot answer it we look to someone else to tell us, the priest, the books, the people who have said, "I know", the endless mushrooming gurus. If one rejects all authority - and one must, totally, all authority - then what have you left? Then you have the energy to find out - because you have rejected that which dissipates energy, gurus, hopes and fears, somebody to tell you what happens - if you reject all that, which means all authority, then you have tremendous energy. With that energy you can begin to enquire what actually takes place when you have not totally resolved the structure and the nature of the self, the self being time, and therefore movement, and therefore division: the "me" and the "not me" and hence conflict.
Now what happens to me when I have not ended that conflict? You and I and the rest of the world, if the speaker has not ended it, what happens to us? We are all going to die - I hope not soon but sometime or other. What is going to happen? When we live, as we are living, are we so fundamentally different from somebody else? You may be cleverer, have greater knowledge or technique, you may be more learned, have certain gifts, talents, inventiveness; but you and another are exactly alike basically. Your colour may be different, you may be taller, shorter, but in essence you are the same. So while you are living you are like the rest of the world, in the same stream, in the same movement. And when you die you go on in the same movement. I wonder if you understand what I am saying? It is only the man who is totally aware of his conditioning, his consciousness, the content of it, and who moves and dissipates it, who is not in that stream. Am I making this clear? That is, I am greedy, envious, ambitious, ruthless, violent - so are you. And that is our daily life, petty, accepting authority, quarrelling, bitter, not loved and aching to be loved, the agonies of loneliness, irresponsible relationship - that is our daily life. And we are like the rest of the world, it is a vast endless river. And when we die we'll be like the rest, moving in the same stream as before when we were living. But the man who understands himself radically, has resolved all the problems in himself psychologically, he is not of that stream. He has stepped out of it.
The man who moves away from the stream, his consciousness is entirely different. He is not thinking in terms of time, continuity, or immortality. But the other man or woman is still in that. So the problem arises: what is the relationship of the man who is out to the man who is in? What is the relationship between truth and reality? Reality being, as we said, all the things that thought has put together. The root meaning of that word reality is, things or thing. And living in the world of things, which is reality, we want to establish a relationship with a world which has no thing - which is impossible.
What we are saying is that consciousness, with all its content, is the movement of time. In that movement all human beings are caught. And even when they die that movement goes on. It is so; this is a fact. And the human being who sees the totality of this - that is the fear, the pleasure and the enormous suffering which man has brought upon himself and created for others, the whole of that, and the nature and the structure of the self, the "me", the total comprehension of that, actually - then he is out of that stream. And that is the crisis in consciousness. We are trying to solve all our human problems, economic, social, political, within the area of that consciousness in time. I wonder if you see this? And therefore we can never solve it. We seem to accept the politician as though he was going to save the world, or the priest, or the analyst, or somebody else. And, as we said, the mutation in consciousness is the ending of time, which is the ending of the "me" which has been produced through time. Can this take place? Or is it just a theory like any other?
Can a human being, can you actually do it? When you do it, it affects the totality of consciousness. Which means in the understanding of oneself, which is the understanding of the world - because I am the world - there comes not only compassion but a totally different kind of energy. This energy, with its compassion, has a totally different kind of action. That action is whole, not fragmentary.
We began by talking about suffering, that the ending of suffering is the beginning of compassion; and this question of love, which man has reduced to mere pleasure; and this great complex problem of death. They are all interrelated, they are not separate. It isn't that I am going to solve the problem of death, forgetting the rest. The whole thing is interrelated, inter-communicated. It is all one. And to see the totality of all that, wholly, is only possible when there is no observer and therefore freedom from all that.
Questioner: I'd like to ask a question. You said towards the beginning that it is important for each individual to transform his consciousness. Isn't the fact that you say that it is important an ideal, which is the very thing to be avoided ?
Krishnamurti: When you see a house on fire, isn't it important that you put it out? In that there is no ideal. The house is burning, you are there, and you have to do something about it. But if you are asleep and discussing the colour of the hair of the man who has set the house on fire...
Q: The house on fire is in the world of reality, isn't it? It is a fact. We are talking about the psychological world.
K: Isn't that also a factual world? Isn't it a fact that you suffer? Isn't it a fact that one is ambitious, greedy, violent - you may not be, but the rest - that is a fact. We say the house is a fact, but my anger, my violence, my stupid activities are something different; they are as real as the house. And if I don't understand myself, dissolve all the misery in myself, the house is going to become the destructive element.
Q: Sir, as I understand it, your message and the message of Jesus Christ seem to reach towards the same thing, although stated differently. I had always understood your message and Jesus Christ's message to be quite different in content. About two years ago I was a Christian, so it is very difficult to get rid of statements that Jesus made, such as, "No man cometh to the Father but by me". Although I find more sense in your message at the moment, how do you equate this?
K: It is very simple. I have no message. I am just pointing out. That is not a message.
Q: But why are you doing it?
K: Why am I doing it? Why do we want a message? Why do we want somebody to give us something? When everything is in you.
Q: It is wonderful.
K: No, it is not wonderful (laughter). Please do look at it. You are the result of all the influences, of the culture, the many words, propaganda, you are that. And if you know how to look, how to read, how to listen, how to see, the art of seeing, everything is there, right in front of you. But we don't have the energy, the inclination, or the interest. We want somebody to tell us what there is on the page. And we make that person who tells us into an extraordinary human being. We worship him, or destroy him, which is the same thing. So it is there. You don't need a message. Do look at it please. Is the book important, or what you find in the book? What you find in the book, and after you have read it you throw it away. Now in these talks, you listen, find out, go into it, and throw away the speaker. The speaker is not at all important. It is like a telephone.
The other question is, "Why do you speak?" Does that need answering? Would you say to the flower on the wayside, "Why do you flower?" It is there for you to look, to listen, to see the beauty of it and come back again to look at the beauty of it. That is all.
Q: (partly inaudible) We have the same message, the same words, we have it in ourselves, the guru. Q: (repeating) We have a guru in ourselves.
K: Have you? Guru means in Sanskrit, the root meaning of that word means "heavy".
Q: He said heaven.
K: Heaven, it is the same thing, sir. Have you a heaven in yourself? My lord, I wish you had! (laughter). In yourself you are so confused, so miserable, so anxious - what a set of words to use - heaven! You can substitute God into heaven, heaven as God and you think you are quite different. People have believed that you had God inside you, light inside you, or something else inside you. But when you see actually that you have nothing, just words, then if there is absolutely nothing there is complete security. And out of that, everything happens, flowers.
Truth and Actuality
Part 2, Public Talks Brockwood Park 1975
Truth and Actuality Part II Chapter 8 3rd Public Talk Brockwood Park 13th September 1975 'Suffering; the Meaning of Death'
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