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Madras 1953

Madras 1st Public Talk 5th December 1953

I think you must all be concerned with how to bring about a different world, a world in which we have a totally different set of values, a world in which man is not against man and in which wars have come to an end. We must have thought about these things, at least those who are serious and well intentioned. Is there an answer to all these innumerable problems? The problems at different levels of which we are conscious, our activities and the various crises that occur, offer an opportunity to discover, for ourselves, the ways of our thinking. If we are earnest, perhaps we follow a particular leader, a particular system of philosophy or action, forming groups which are in conjunction with other groups. Seeing all this wide confusion, not only in this unfortunate country but also throughout the world, what is our own individual response? Do we say someone else will solve these problems? We turn to the politicians, communists or others; and if we are not at all inclined socially, we turn to religious gurus, masters, or to the various systems of philosophy, and hope that by following them studiously and earnestly we might be able to resolve or at least give a helping hand in this utter confusion and sadness of the world. Surely, we must have thought about all these. How are we to rebuild, if we are at all thoughtful? Will this mad confusion bring about a transformation, a revolution, not merely at one particular level but a total revolution? I think that is really the problem.

If I may add, it is very important to listen rightly. Because most of us are confronted with problems, we want an answer; the answer is always applicable, and must be applicable, to the immediate issue; so we are answer-conscious. Please listen to what I am talking as I feel very strongly that if you can listen rightly, transformation will take place without the conscious effort of our conscious everyday mind. But we do not know how to listen. We hear, but the hearing is only superficial. We have to listen without seeking an answer; we have merely to be confronted with the problem. There is no answer, there is only the problem. Please listen to what I am saying. Because, all of us have been trained from childhood to seek an answer; we put a question, wait and sit back hoping that some one else is going to answer our question. If you will examine in your mind, you will see how conscious we are of this constant demand to find an answer. So we are never confronted with the problem itself. We do not know how to look at the problem even.

If you can establish relationship between you and me, you are not expecting an answer from me with such infantile immature demand; but you and I together are going to look at the problem which is enormously complex. The problem must be understood. The man who is seeking an answer to any problem is shallow minded like a school boy who finds an answer at the end of the book - which indicates a great laziness and the fear of going wrong. We are all concerned that we do not make a mistake in the discovery of what is truth. So we go from continent to continent, leader to leader; we hear persons talking or giving lectures how to do things or what to do in this mad, chaotic confusion? One should be very alert of such people. They are really misleading because they have pet schemes - whether they are communists, socialists, capitalists, or any of the recent organizations with their leaders, with their masters, with their gurus because they have all answers. A man who is seeking an answer will find an answer accord- ing to his demand; therefore, his answer will always be limited.

So let us, from the beginning of these talks, establish a right relationship between you and myself. If you are seeking an answer, you should not be here because you will be utterly disappointed. But if you are willing to confront, to face, the problem, then together we can examine, because the problem itself contains the answer. It requires an astonishing insight, a great deal of understanding, patience, to understand this complex problem of living.

What is the problem? Is the problem merely economic? That is what most of the world is pursuing at the present time. All the economic conditions give immediate effect to certain problems. That is the way of the politician and that is what most of us are satisfied with. The immediate remedy is reform. Is the problem intellectual, verbal or is the problem a total revolution of one's own being at all levels of our existence - socially, morally, educationally and religiously? Because, it is only when there is a total revolution that we can find out what is the truth, and it is the truth that will build and not those who labour in vain to build something which is traditional, which is of the immediate. Please listen to all this. There is a village next door. Those who are socially minded reform it and do something about it, which further increases the problems. So whatever reforms we bring about only increase and give more problems to man. We must be aware of this always. We want to stop war and yet we are doing every thing to produce wars. So looking at all this vast confusion, we see the false leadership that exists. Later on, we shall go into whether there should be any leadership at all.

Surely considering all this, is not a total revolution in man necessary? Not only a change of thought, change of ideas, change of morals and so on, but a complete unconscious revolution, because a conscious revolution is still conditioned and limited. Because our training from childhood is limited and conditioned, we are either communists, or Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and so on. Any conscious change by the upper levels of the mind - however desirous, however urgent, however cunning, inviting - will not solve the problem; because, our mind is conditioned, and a conditional mind concerned with this enormous problem can only have a conditional response. If you see that, you will never be caught up by any of the leaders. Politics is not going to solve our problems. No religious leaders, no hidden masters, no secret societies - none of them are going to solve the problem. Because, they are all conscious effort by the limited mind seeking to answer the enormous problem, and such a mind can only give an answer either traditional, reactionary, or something opposed to that tradition. So, if the conscious mind cannot give a total answer, a total comprehension to the problem, then what is one to do? Do you understand the problem? We will discuss this in the coming weeks.

Let us begin at the very beginning to see how to look at, how to grapple with, a problem. If I, as a Hindu or a Catholic or a communist, am confronted with this problem of existence, not only at the level of the bread but also at all the levels of my consciousness, my response will be according to my conditioning; and my conditioning will dictate my action with regard to that problem. Being a Hindu or a communist or what not, I will gather those people who will accept my particular response; because I am a strong personality or because of some kind of trick, or dress or some woman or some kind of charm, I call, I gather people and I build. My action as an Indian or as a Christian or as a communist must be conditioned, and that will create further confusion, further misery. So neither the capitalist, nor the communist who is a reactionary essentially against something, nor a religious person who believes, nor the man who does not believe - none of these people will solve the problem, because their approach is a conscious, deliberate approach which is conditioned. So at least some of us, even two or three, have to see, and not accept, what I am saying, namely that a man who is conditioned can never approach this problem and resolve it and go beyond it, or transform it. All the politicians, all the builders, all the do-gooders who are collecting money for various schemes from the Government and are putting up new buildings, they are all reformers with a conditioned mind, and their reforms only produce more sorrow, more misery.

So then, my problem is entirely different, is it not? There is only the problem. I am not responding because my response, my conscious response, will always be limited - such as, becoming anti-brahmin or some other stupid nonsense. So it behoves us, as human beings trying to understand this vast complex existence, to look at it without any conditioned response, to comprehend it. It is a most difficult thing to do. Is it not? Because, I must look at all this with out a background. You understand? Can I look at this problem without a background, without the back ground of Krishnamurti, or of a Catholic or communist, of the `me' who has a vested interest in some property or in a society or in a system which offers a solution? Because we are not capable of looking at the problem without all this background, we jump into action which is a conditioned response; so we pile misery upon misery. So until we understand the ways of conditioning, how the mind is caught in it and how to bring about liberation from this conditioning, whatever we do will create more misery. So is it not essential for those who are really serious - we must be really serious because the problems are appalling, complex and serious - to consider the answer in a way of action, not what to do or whom to follow or what philosophy to accept or reject, but to understand this consciousness which is so conditioned and in understanding to try and find out if there is a state of consciousness or a state of being in which there is no conditioning at all? That requires a great deal of investigation but not acceptance, a great deal of enquiry, talking it over.

To build many are needed, many to understand the problem; and the understanding is not given by a leader, by a guru or by a master. These are all childish enquiries. Understanding comes when we know how to still the conscious mind, how a conscious mind, by facing the problem, becomes still. It is only when the mind is conscious. when the mind is utterly quiet without a back ground, without striving for its own vested interests, that there is a possibility of total revolution: and it is only in that state of total revolution it is possible to build, and the builder will not be in vain.

So if we know how to listen not only to what I am saying but to the problem itself - we can only listen rightly, deeply if we understand the conditioning of our own mind - the very understanding of our conditioning frees the mind. Be aware that you are a Hindu; you can never solve the problem as a Hindu with all your systems of philosophy, Be cause they are all man-made and therefore conditioned. So one can only listen and look at the problem truly and in a revolutionary manner only when the mind is capable of not capable of not being anchored in any background. Memory is the anchoring of the mind to a condition. All knowledge becomes the vested interest of the mind in its use for its own importance, either for its own or identified with a particular group. So, the mind must be astonishingly free, free of the vested interest of the self and the anchorages of knowledge, free so as to look at the problem and thereby bring about a total revolution. It is this total revolution, in its activity, that will create a new world. With out that total revolution all labour to build a new state, a new society, a new religion is in vain. Therefore it is very important for you and me to understand this revolution and bring it about in ourselves. We must begin small, unobtrusively, quietly because everything we begin is small. There must be no search for success, for membership, for show; such a search is the response of a conditioned mind eager to achieve a result, which is again seeking the answer to the problem. So, if we can during the coming weeks discuss patiently, not throwing ideas at each other but going to the problem meticulously, wisely, intelligently, then you will see that, without your making a concerted effort, the revolution takes place. That revolution comes about because the truth is perceived, and it is that truth that liberates and not the conscious mind seeking an answer.

I have some questions and before I answer them or discuss them, perhaps it might be better if you can try to naturally ask what you think and not discuss it with me. Any problem you have, we will discuss on Monday morning at 7:30. But here, this evening, if something arises out of this talk, perhaps you would be good enough to ask, not to discuss and not to make long perorations; perhaps that would be worthwhile. If not, I have got questions.

You know asking questions is very easy. The question arises, you put it down and ask, and there you are. Your response to the answer, if there is an answer, depends, on whether you like it or not, whether it tallies with your knowledge, with your experience or with your conditioning. You ask not to find out but, whether you agree or disagree, to confirm. So, merely asking questions has very little value. But what has value is to enquire, which requires an astonishing freedom on your side as well as on the other. If I rely on any authority or on my knowledge or my experience and so on to convince you, then it is mere propaganda; it is not an enquiry which will open the mind to truth.

So it is very important in asking your question how you regard the answer if there is an answer. Because our minds are small, we look through particular gaps, avenues of thought - such as communist, socialist, religious, economist or spiritualist. Through that avenue we want an answer. We think that, by piling up answers, we come to the whole. The whole is not perceived or understood through the part. The whole can be understood only when the mind is capable of being the whole itself.

Question: Living as I do in the United States, appeals are made for financial help to various activities. Should one refuse to give any such help because they imply, according to what the lady says, conscious effort?

Krishnamurti: I will discuss that question. But, watch your own mind in operation. Here is a problem: must help, because there is starva- tion, there is war and there are so many things demanding my charity, my generosity should I withhold all these because they imply not only superficial reformation but more intrinsically a conscious effort on my part to do something? What is your response? How is your mind operating? Because, it is your problem and not that lady's only. Should you support the division of a country, of a State, of immediate action in a village, such as giving medical aid and doing innumerable other thing; as human beings living in daily contact with misery? What is your response? Do not answer me but watch the functioning of your mind. We have made this world consciously, deliberately, by our acquisitive discontent. We have separated peoples - India and Pakistan, America and Russia. We have broken up the world - you and I, and not some idiotic politicians - because that is what we want. We want to be separate and meet a world in which all these things exist and where charity is necessary, where you have to act in order to stop some kind of misery. There is thus a conscious world produced by us consciously. Should we withhold all conscious action in order to understand the unconscious? Is it that till I understand and till there is a total revolution in me, I will not act? Is that possible? You do have your desire or ambitions and various forms of envious discontent. Is it not more important to stop those than not to give?

To understand this problem of conscious action, you are not going to do it in one talk. It requires a great deal of meditation to uncover, to go deep into the problem; and in the discovery and in the unfolding of that problem, you will solve the problem. I do not know if I am making myself clear. In uncovering a conscious problem, looking at it, investigating it, I shall come upon the unconscious revolution; and that is going to act, that is going to create. But in the meantime I cannot just sit and wait; I must use my intelligence what to support and what not to support which are totally and traditionally destructive. All that enquiry requires patience, intelligence, understanding, insight. Does it not? That very insight, understanding, unfolding is the problem of the unconscious.

You know listening is very difficult because I have put to you a lot of ideas and you cannot absorb all of them; you remember at least one idea; so you have consciously excluded the comprehension of the whole. You are merely capturing one idea, living with it and examining it, hoping to understand the whole. The tree is not just the leaf. You cannot take home a leaf and understand the whole beauty of the tree. You have to look at the whole tree, and you cannot look at the whole tree if you are paying attention only to one part. That is why it is so enormously difficult to listen.

Question: Why is it that, in spite of your talks, no one has been transformed? If no one is transformed, what is the use of your talking to us?

Krishnamurti: Do you think that by listening to a talk or to a number of talks you are going to be transformed. Do you know what it means to be transformed? If you knew, then you can judge. If you knew, would you be transformed? Please follow all this. A man who says `I know,' is the most destructive human being because he really does not know. What does he know? So, when you are conscious you are transformed, when you are aware that you are transformed, you are not. You must begin from the very beginning. To think that, by listening to talks by some one, this extraordinary revolution is going to take place is purely infantile. Is it not? Because, this revolution requires not just a day's, half an hour's and one hour's casual listening; but a great deal of attention must be paid to the whole process of self-knowledge. Some of you are lawyers, some of you are doctors, or businessmen or engineers. Could you tell me how to become an engineer in half an hour? Do not laugh at it. That is what we all want, a quick remedy. Transformation is something that cannot be caught by mere listening, by mere hearing of a few talks. If you know really how to listen - that is the beauty of listening - then you will see how your mind becomes astonishingly still and, in that stillness, a revolution takes place, a total revolution. But we do not know how to listen. You may hear me year after year, unfortunately as most of you do, without any deviation from your daily habitual and stupid way of life. Then you say "Why am I not changed and why is there no transformation in me?" We do not know how to look at the stars or the sun or the beauty of the sky. We have never listened except when we are told to listen. We look at things professionally as experts tell us. We never see a smile or tear. But to have that something which is not habitual and which is a constant revolution requires an enormous awareness, an awareness in which there is no choice, no judgment, but mere awareness without translation. If you can look, you can listen. In such a way, I assure you, there is transformation. Transformation implies complete revolution, total revolution. How can there be total revolution if you are anchored to any belief? If your mind is working in a system, if it is caught up in a particular philosophy whether it is of Marx or of Sankara, or if your mind is caught in acquisitive discontent, how can it be transformed? But if you be aware of this acquisitive discontent without condemning it, without judging it, be merely aware of it, listen to it totally, then you will see an extraordinary thing happens. That is the truth of the transformation. The truth is not caught by the conscious mind. It must come to you darkly, unknowingly. Then such a mind is in a state of total revolution.

Question: Will it be correct to say, Sir, that an unconditioned mind will have no problem?

Krishnamurti: Sir, why speculate? That is one of our most extraordinary habits. After all, all our religious books are speculation. Are they not? They may be experience for some people. But the moment you read them, they become speculations to you. Please listen to what I am saying. The gentleman wants to know if an unconditioned mind has no problem or can have no problems. Is that so? If I were to say `yes' or `no', then where are you, of what value is it to you? Sir, all such questions indicate that you are not hungry. You look from the outside on the food inside and speculate about the food. But if you are hungry, you would be inside and you would not be asking questions about what it is. It would be like that if an unconditioned mind has no problem.

We think that by asking such a question our minds are active. We think we are intelligent, we are aware. Please I am not personally answering that gentleman. Please do not think I am criticizing. I am talking about the problem of speculation. Is it not one of the characteristics of a lazy mind to speculate and think that it is active? Either you experience or you do not. Why speculate? Is not specu- lation itself a hindrance to direct understanding? You see that opens up a vast problem of what it is to experience. I do not want to go into it now, but we can see how the mind prevents itself from discovering for itself. Speculation can never be true. Hypothesis is always a hypothesis. The mind has gone beyond it. As long as the mind is caught in a hypothesis, in a speculation, it is creating a barrier for itself. Such a state of mind is not an active mind. An active mind is a mind that is free from thought. For, all thinking is merely a verbalization of memory. A mind merely memorizing is not an active mind. An active mind is a mind that is free from all the process of thought. Please think it over, look into it, do not reject it; and you will see that when the mind is free from thought, how extraordinarily active it is. It is the mind that is always thinking that is a dull mind because thought is always springing from its own conditioning.

So what is important is how to listen to everything about one; then the mind becomes astonishingly sensitive. The mind is not sensitive if it is constantly judging comparing, balancing. A sensitive mind is necessary to enquire and find out what truth is.

Question: What about the various systems of thought in India, which lead a man to liberation or Moksha?

Krishnamurti: Do you think that any system can liberate you? The very idea that a system can liberate you is conditioning. Is it not? Sir, surely this is an obvious question. Is it not? Do you mean to say a man who has no system cannot free himself except through systems? Will any system, thought out consciously and laid out, bring liberation?

What is implied in a system? Conformity. Why do you conform? Because, you want to gain liberation. As a man wants money, you want liberation. He must conform to certain rules in order to gain money; similarly, you say that, in order to attain liberation, you must follow a system; then, that system has engaged you or captured you. How can that system give you liberation? For centuries we have imitated, we have followed. Systems compete with each other, butcher each other and liquidate each other. You say that one system is better than another. Can such immature thinking lead you to liberation? No revolution which is based on a system has produced happiness for man - the communist, the French or any other revolution merely following a particular system of thought. Sir, to find reality, God, the mind must be free and not anchored to a system. If you are led through a system to discover it, then what you discover is not true. How can you be led to discover? It is a contradiction if I lead you to discover something; you have to discover for yourself. Because I have discovered, how can you be led to it? That is not liberation. That is conformity born of fear.

That is why I say that total revolution is necessary, not the superseding of one system by another, by the very latest system. That requires enormous freedom, freedom from fear, freedom from desire to be successful. If you search your heart and mind, you will see that we all want success; every leader - communist or religious - wants a great many followers. To discover what truth is, the mind must be fearless, the mind must be free from all imitation; and that requires a great deal of understanding. December 5, 1953.


Madras 1953

Madras 1st Public Talk 5th December 1953

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