Bombay 2nd Public Talk 11th February 1953
As we were saying last Sunday, the conscious effort made to bring about alteration in one's attitude to values or ideals does not fundamentally or radically bring about a change. I may have to go deeply into that problem because I feel it is very important that we understand this question of how to bring about a fundamental change, what is the process and how it can come about. Most of us consciously endeavour, in one way or another, to conform to a certain pattern of action - political, religious or so-called spiritual. Consciously we make an effort with deliberate intention to bring about a certain change, either within oneself or within society, economically or culturally. We make every kind of effort, consciously, at the upper level of our mind, to bring about what we call a change. Is such a change a radical revolution: Or does it merely bring about a temporary effect at the superficial level - which is not fundamental transformation. The more we see, the more we observe in the world and in ourselves this superficial change, we see that it only produces more problems, not only within ourselves but in our relationships, in society.
I think it is fairly obvious, if you think it out a little more deeply, that the more we make an effort consciously to change, to bring about a transformation within ourselves, the more problems we have. That is, I want to change: I am angry or I am greedy or what you will. I make a conscious effort to change; and in the process of that change there are various forms of resistances, of suppressions and sublimations; there is constant effort made, and thereby there are more problems involved in the very desire to bring about a change in myself.
I do not know if you have noticed that the more we make an effort the more the complications, the more the problems. So perhaps there is a different form of approach to this question. However much the conditioned mind may make an effort to change itself, does it not produce further conditions, responses and activities which further increase our problems? So, if we realize that, there must be a different approach to this problem of change, a radical transformation within ourselves. I suggested last Sunday that this transformation, this revolution can only be at the unconscious level, not at the conscious level at all; because all effort is a process of imitation, and therefore there is no fundamental change.
There is only fundamental change, radical transformation, when the conscious mind has ceased to make all effort, which means really that there is understanding at the unconscious level. That is why I said that it is very important how we listen to everything about us, not only to what I am saying but to every incident, to every thought, to the sounds about you, to the voice of the bird, to the noise of the sea, so that as you listen you begin to understand without any conscious effort. The moment you make a conscious effort, the process of imitation is set going, the imitation being conformity to the pattern which is already being established through the experience, through the ideal, through the desire to achieve a result. If we really comprehend this, I think there will be a fundamental revolution in ourselves. If we comprehend that all psychological effort, in any form, leads to imitation, to conformity, we see that when we desire to be efficient, directive, purposeful in our effort, there must be a process of imitation, conformity; and so, there is no change at all; there is only a change of the pattern of action, from one pattern to another, from one reaction to another; and therefore we only increase our problems.
Is it possible to bring about a revolution outwardly as well as inwardly, without effort? Please, this is not a cynical question to be brushed off easily. We see that every effort we have made has not produced the thing we have searched out and longed for, worked for - politically, religiously or economically. Therefore that approach must be utterly wrong. If that is not the right approach, there must be a different approach to all our problems.
Can the mind which is the result of time, of imitation, of the desire to seek security and conformity, can such a conditioned mind ever - however much it may make an effort - bring about a change? Can such a mind bring about a revolution within itself? That is, to put the question differently, will conscious effort, the action of will, bring about a change? We are used to the action of will - `I must or I must not; `I shall be or I shall not be; `there must be good'. `there must be bad; `there must be a different state of society, a different pattern of action; `I am violent, and I must be non-violent; and so on and on. This is the conscious effort made by will. In that very process of `must be' and `must not be', there are innumerable problems of control and of suppression, various forms of psychological desires that arise from suppression and from control, various efforts made, and the struggles, failures, frustrations in the process of achieving that which you think is truth. If you have at all thought about it, if you are aware of it, this is our problem, not only individually, but collectively, socially in the world. How is a serious person whose intention is to bring about a change fundamentally within himself, to bring about the change? Through conscious effort or by listening to the truth of the falseness of effort?
Seeing the truth of the whole implication of effort, can you just listen without translation, without interpretation, to what is being said? All effort is a process of imitation, imitation is always conditioning, and the conditioned mind can never find the truth of any problem. Can I, can you, listen to that without any interpretation, without any judgment? Can I look, see, hear the truth of it? That can only be done, not at the conscious level but at the unconscious level, when the mind is not struggling to understand, when the mind is not making an effort to imitate. That can only happen when the conscious mind, the mind which is so active all day and all night, ceaselessly building, destroying, altering shaping, when that mind is quiet for a few seconds and hears what is Truth. I think that is our problem, and not what to do, how to feed the poor or how to bring about an economic revolution or what kind of gods and rituals we should have.
Fundamentally our problem is to bring about a revolution in our ways of thinking psychologically, fundamentally. Such a change cannot be brought about by any conscious effort because, as I said, the conscious mind is built around tradition, by experiences which are the outcome of conditioned action. So, a mind that is thinking out, planning out, and acts according to that plan, through compulsion, through conformity, through imitation, such a mind cannot find an answer to all our problems. We have been brought up from our childhood to cultivate our memories. Memory is essential at a certain level of our existence; but memory does not give the true answer to any problem; it can only translate the problem according to its condition, its experience. After all, if you, as a Hindu, experience something, you will translate it according to your conditioned mind; or if you are a Communist, you will meet the experience or translate the experience in terms of dialectical materialism or what you will. So you are never meeting the experience without a conditional mind; and the conditioned mind creating a pattern, an action, only further creates more problems, more sufferings, more misery. That is what we have to realize. I think it is very important to see that effort in any form, inwardly, is a process of imitation; effort is imitation, conformity; and through conformity there can be no radical transformation.
Now, is it possible for me to hear a statement of that kind and to see the truth of that? I say life is a process of imitation. The very language which I am using is the result of imitation, the cultivation of memory, knowledge. The acquisition of information is a process of imitation. The very desire to be good is the result of fear which urges me to conform. I see that memory, experience, knowledge are essential at certain levels of our existence; because, if I did not know how to use language, I would not be able to communicate. But when I make effort to bring about a change psychologically, inwardly to be different, the very process of becoming different creates other problems. So I am caught in a net of innumerable problems, and there is no release. But there is a release at the unconscious level if I can hear without translation or without interpretation, the truth of anything that is being said. You can experiment with this yourself and you will find the truth of this.
Sirs, this is not a discussion meeting. This meeting is not open to any kind of discussion.
Here is a very difficult problem; the mind has cultivated memory for centuries upon centuries, and that is the only instrument we have; and we have used that instrument to solve our problems; we worship intellect - which does not mean that we must become sentimental or devotional or sloppy. It is very difficult to see the limitations of the mind. It is very difficult to see that our problems cannot have an answer through the mind, through the application of the process of thought, because thought is always conditioned. There is no freedom of thought, because thought which is memory, which is the result of various past experiences, is conditioned, is limited; and such a thought when used to solve our problems can only increase the problems further, add more problems. Can I realize the truth of that thought, and allow a revolution to take place at the unconscious level? Because, in the unconscious level, there is no limitation, there is no conformity, because the mind there is not interfering to search for a result; there, the mind is not trying to suppress or to be anything; it is only there; the mind can understand what is Truth. Truth is not the process of analysis, nor the mere observation of knowledge. What is Truth can only be understood at the unconscious level. when the mind is very quiet, non-interfering, non-translating. If we once realize this fundamentally, we will see there is a radical change in our ways of thought. But, as I said, the mind is trained to interfere, to constantly seek a result in action. It is only at the unconscious level there can be love. And it is love that can alone bring about revolution.
Question: Who is the truly religious man? By what will his action be known?
Krishnamurti: What is religion? Before we define what a religious man is, what is religion? Is religion the performance of certain rituals, the acceptance of certain dogmas, the conditioning from childhood by certain beliefs to be a Hindu, a Christian, a Buddhist, or a Mussulman? Does the conditioning of the mind by a belief constitute religion? Because I call myself a Hindu or what you will, does that make me religious? Or, is religion the state of mind in which there is an experiencing which is not of memory, which is a state in which all conditioning by time has ceased? Is religion the belief in God? Is the man who does not believe in God, is he non-religious? And is the man who does good works, who is socially active - feeding the poor, everlastingly active in the performance of his duty, concerned with reform, with the pattern of the betterment of man - is he a religious person? The man who is pursuing virtue, the virtue of non-violence, the virtue of non-greed, is he a religious man? Or is he merely conforming to a particular pattern, projected for his own self-satisfaction? So, must we not first find out what it is that we mean by religion?
Surely the realization of Truth does not depend on any belief; on the contrary, belief acts as a barrier to the realization of Truth. A man who believes, who is caught in dogma can never know what is the real. He can never experience that state of ecstasy, of love. Dogma, belief and experience stand in the way; for experience is merely the continuance of memory. A man who is well-seasoned in memory, in experience, in knowledge, can never find out what God is; nor can the man who professes continually his belief in God find Reality. Reality comes into being only when the mind is free, when the mind is still, not compelled, not coerced, not disciplined. When the mind is still, then at the unconscious level there is revolution.
Can you judge a man's action by his good work? By that, will you know whether he is religious or not? How will you judge him? Please, this is not a sophisticated, clever argumentation. By what standards, by what conditioning, will you judge him? If he does good work for his neighbour, if he feeds the poor, puts on ashes, puts on a saffron robe, shaves his head, if he renounces, would you call him religious? Renunciation is intoxication, and a man who is intoxicated through his own actions will never find what Truth is. It is only when there is the complete cessation of `the me', of `the I', of the ego, which cannot come about through any effort, any will, through any conscious act, it is only when there is love, that there is a possibility of such a mind being religious.
But to say what is love, to question whether love shall be this or that, to cultivate love, is not love. All this requires a great deal of understanding, great penetration. The penetration of the conscious mind is only to create further entanglement. But when I am aware of this whole process of `the me', of `the I' trying to become something - religiously, politically, socially - I see that as long as `that me' is becoming virtuous or non-violent, it is only conforming to the pattern of respectability, and `that me' which renounces in order to achieve God is only a man intoxicated by his own imagination, and such a man can never find what is love, what is truth.
We know this in our hearts; we have felt deep down in the unconscious that there must be the realization of this; but the world is too much with us. The pressures, the traditions, the examples, are too much, and we are carried away by the things that are trivial, because from childhood we are brought up to follow the example, the hero, the great man; so we ourselves become trivial, we ourselves become petty, and we shall never find what truth is. That which is truth, which is the only religion, can only be found - or rather, it can only come into being - when the mind is utterly still, not wanting, not projecting, not desiring to do or not to do; this does not mean withdrawal from the world, there is no withdrawal; there is no isolation. To be related is life; and in that relationship we shall find out what Truth is, what love is.
Question: I am a writer; I heard you some years ago and since then I no longer feel the urge to write. Is the dearth of outward expression the inevitable result of self-knowledge?
Krishnamurti: Why do you write? Do you write in order to fulfil? Do you write in order to become famous? Do you write in order to earn a livelihood? Or do you write for no purpose - because, inwardly you are so alive, so rich, that it is a natural expression, not a vocation, not a means of self-fulfilment. If it is a means of self-fulfilment, then the more you know yourself, the more you study yourself, the more there is self-knowledge, the less outcome there is in words. As long as you are fulfilling through a state, through politics, through religion, through activity, through doing good, through writing a poem or painting a picture, as long as you are fulfilling yourself through a particular action, the more you know yourself, then the less there is of that activity. Where there is action through which you gain satisfaction, through which you rejoice, through which you become something professionally, a politician, a great man, a well-known man, as long as you are using the outward activities as a means for your aggrandisement, then the more there is self-knowledge, there is the diminution of that activity. This is very important to understand, because most of us are fulfilling through something, through the wife or the husband, through the children, through virtue. If by addressing a large audience, by writing a poem, you are becoming something, as long as `the me' is becoming something, the more you have self-knowledge, the less is the becoming. There is no fulfilment of `the me' through any action.
But you see, from childhood we are brought up to fulfil. We have innumerable heroes, a great many saints, so many authorities to follow, and gurus who will give us what we want; so we are everlastingly caught in the net of our own self-fulfilment. Where there is self-fulfilment there is frustration, and with frustration there is fear; and so we are caught in the net again. But there is a release of creativity which is not the outcome of self-fulfilment. If we really understood this, there would be a tremendous change in our activity. Through our activities, at present, we are not releasing that creative energy; through our social reforms, through our writing, through our building bridges, or through painting pictures, we are not creating. After all, are you not fulfilling when you call yourself a Hindu or a Christian or Communist? When you are active as a Communist or a Socialist or a religious person, does not that activity give you - you, `the me' - the urge to become, to act, to be, to continue in that activity? Do you not create problems? Are you not ruthless, do you not divide, destroy, liquidate, have concentration camps and so on? It may be religion to you and release to you; but in that process of releasing, you are creating misery, not only for yourself but for others. Surely, that is not creativity, that is not the real release of the mind from the desire to fulfil.
I say there is a different release, a creativity which is not hedged by conditioned action; that creativity can only come when I understand the process of effort, when there is no imitation. All effort is imitation, and imitation exists when I am trying to become something. It is only when there is the cessation of `the me', when I am absolutely nothing - which is not a virtue, which is not to be striven after - that a state comes when I understand the whole process of self-knowledge. It is only then that there is a fundamental, timeless release in which there is creativity.
Question: Man is driven to action according to his inherent nature; it is as if he is forced to sin though reluctantly; what is this that drives him to wrong action?
Krishnamurti: What is sin? What is the thing that we call wrong action or good action? Please, Sirs, do listen to this. By listening find out a release from all these words, so that in that release, in that creativity, there is no sin, there is no wrong action, there is only a state of being, a state of love, which is never wrong. Since we do not have that, we have hedged our minds and our activity by what is good and what is bad; we are caught in this duality; and having been caught, we are trying to escape and create another antithesis of duality. To most of us, morality is tradition. We are slaves to circumstances, to society, to tradition, to what our neighbour, the boss, the government, the party says. Any form of deviation from the party lines is a sin, whether the party be religious or political. Any deviation, any wandering away from the traditional, from the respectable, is considered evil. And we have been nur- tured, brought up from our childhood in that state; and so, the desire to go against that which is traditional we call sin. There is also the urge to conform, and the conformity is considered good, to be respectable.
So, our problem is: not what is good, what is bad, what is sin and what is truth; but to be free from fear. The man who is free from fear shall know love; and the man who loves knows no sin, is not compelled by any action or by anything except love. You cannot have love if there is fear; and fear will exist as long as the mind is seeking security - security in the State, security in religion, in belief, in your wife, in your name, in your child, in your property, in your bank account. As long as there is security there must be fear; and a man who is secure, psychologically secure, certain, imbedded in knowledge, such a man in his heart is afraid. Such a man shall always know what sin is, what good is; and he is caught up in the conflict of duality. But the man without fear has a mind that is not seeking security; in such a mind there is love.
It is only when a man loves, he is free from sin, free from all urges which create antisocial activities; for love is the only true revolution. But that is very difficult to come by. When you use the word love, it will have very little meaning if there is fear which expresses itself through conformity, through acceptance of authority. The mind that is traditionally bound by knowledge, that is always seeking a result, such a mind can never be free from fear. That which is darkness, which is fear, can never find light.
Question: I have been very close to death. The danger has passed for the time being, but I know its inevitability. Teach me how to face death.
Krishnamurti: Sir, it is not a question of being taught. I cannot teach you; do not be disciples of anyone; do not follow anyone, however comforting, however satisfying he may be. Now, this is a very complex question.
What do we mean by death? Dying, ceasing to be. When are you not dying? When do you know you are not dead? Are you ever aware that you are not dying, that you are living? Please follow this. Are you ever aware that you are living? When do you know, when are you conscious that you are living? Are you ever conscious of it? You are only conscious of living when there is friction, are you not? Are you conscious, are you aware when you are joyous, when you are happy, when you love? Can you ever say at any moment that you are happy? And the moment you are aware that you are happy, has not that happiness ceased? It has already become a memory. Please follow all this, Sirs. It is not just an argument, just clever words.
There is a state which is beyond death, and I am trying to convey that, to show that - not to tell you how to get there, but so that you find out for yourself, so that you experience. You cannot accumulate experiences which will guarantee you that state, because the moment you have accumulated experiences, then you are dying, then there is death.
When are you conscious of life, of living? Only when there is disease, only when you know you are unhealthy. When you are healthy, you are utterly unconscious of your health; it is only when you are in friction, in sorrow, in conflict, in this constant becoming, then you know, then you are aware that you are in a state of friction, in the state of living. When you are well, when everything is smoothly flowing, running without any friction, without any impediment, without any hindrance, then there is no consciousness of living.
So our life is a process of friction. We only live knowing strife, sorrow, pain, misery; and that is our life; we know when we are jealous; we know when we are greedy, when we are running after things - that is our life; and we call that living. The fear of losing a job, the fear of not being, the fear of not accomplishing the thing which we started out to do, the fear of not enjoying tomorrow, or not seeing the one whom we love, all that we call love; that is all we know. We do not know anything else. When we do know of something which we call joy, it is already a thing of the past. We live in memory, the thing that is past; and so the young and the old die. So with us, death is always there. We are always dying, we are always afraid of death. Death is with us; that is all we know. Because, everything that we do, every action, everything our hand is put to is deteriorating. There is a shadow of destruction always accompanying us. The thing that we love we destroy. The thing we admired has gone. The thing which we have cherished is corrupt. Everything we have touched deteriorates. This is not just a fancy, this is an actuality. So we know death only - the decaying, the deterioration - and that is our life. It is only when we realize it, when we actually see it, as it is, and not try to run away from it, when we are with it and see what it is, that there is a possibility of going beyond this mind, beyond memory; because, what is continuous must invariably hold within it the seed of deterioration, of destruction.
Please listen to this. We are concerned only with continuity. We want to continue in name, in property; we want to fulfil through the country, the State, through our son; we want things to go on. A thing that has continuity is destructive; in it, there is the seed of deterioration. There is renewal, there is creativity only in things that come to an end. I could have renewal, if I could experience without continuity, if there is an experiencing without memory - which is very very arduous, because anything that we experience, the sunset or the single star in the heaven, is immediately stored away as memory; because the mind wants to accumulate, to store up, to hold together; and the mind is afraid of losing that.
What is it that we are? We are a mass of confusion, of burning desires, of conflicts, of everlasting travail. Since we are dying all the time, because with us death is always there, we are only concerned with continuity. And if you really hear this without interpreting, without comparing it with the Bhagavad Gita or the Upanishads; if you listen to what I am saying; if you directly experience this thing even for a second - direct experiencing is that state in which the mind is not caught in time, in which there is no experience as memory, in which time is not, in which the mind is just quiet - then you will see there is no death, because every moment is an ending. This is not a poetical phrase. This is an actuality which you can experience; and the experiencing of it does not come about through any pattern of action, through any pursuit of virtue. It must come to you. Truth can only come to you, you cannot invite it. It can only come when you are open, when you do not want anything. It is only when your cup is empty, completely empty, when you know you are dead, that there is that state when the cup is full, when it can never be empty. Then there is only Love which can never come to an end.
February 11, 1953
Bombay 2nd Public Talk 11th February 1953
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