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Madras 1953

Madras 2nd Public Talk 6th December 1953

As I was saying yesterday, what is important is the understanding of the problem and not the search for the solution of the problem. I think it is very important to understand this fundamentally, not superficially but to see the whole implications involved in such an idea when our whole mind is geared or trained or conditioned to think in terms of seeking a solution. Because, the revolution is not so much in trying to find out a new answer, a new solution, but rather in the capacity to look at the problem without a particular background to which we are accustomed. If we are communists, we look at the problem with the particular conditioning, with the particular training, with the particular system or ideas of Marxism; and all our vested interests or the backgrounds of our approach are from that point. Similarly, if you are a capitalist or a religious person, our background dictates the solution to the problem. Problems always occur. There is no solution at all for the problem which is manifest in the world in the present time. If you observe the various activities, the various ideologies that are in conflict with each other, this is the process which is going on.

The revolution of which I have been talking does not lie in a new solution or in a new system of philosophy but rather in a complete freedom to approach the problem anew. Our problems are not only the materialistic welfare of each individual, the welfare state and so on but also the psychological well-being of man because that ultimately shapes the physical well-being of man, which again is fairly obvious to those who have given thought at all to this whole problem. So how is one to liberate oneself from the background? What is this background? You understand that there is this problem, the problem of material welfare for every human being - whether they are communists, capitalists or people with vested interests - for the well-being of every people in the world whether in the East or in the West. In our approach to the material problem, the problem of material welfare, the emphasis of our whole attention on material things will produce various new problems which are involved in it. Until we fundamentally alter our approach to the material problem, we will use the material as a psychological means to self-aggrandizement.

I hesitate here because most of us think that the psychological problem is irrelevant to the material problem. We are anxious to bring about material welfare, and so say `Let us organize, let us act, let us do something immediately, or plan to bring about material welfare,' totally forgetting the whole psychological structure of the human being. So if we emphasis one at the expense of the other, we distort man's conduct towards life. What we are dealing with is a difficult problem, a very complex problem, which needs attention; and most of us do not give attention. We hear very casually certain ideas and respond to those ideas depending upon our prejudices, our bias and our conditioning. It is very difficult in a group like this to discuss problems deeply, with attention because, if you do not follow carefully and if you miss certain points, the whole thing becomes a distortion.

As I said yesterday, it is important to know how to listen. Though I repeat it often, listening is the problem. If I can listen to this whole problem of man's existence, material welfare, psychological well-being, creativeness, creative reality, ultimate reality, and so on, if I can listen to this whole structure of man's endeavour or of man's struggle without interpreting it, without translating it in terms to suit me or my desires, if I can see this vast picture without immediately taking a particular route and travelling on that - which means not having an immediate urge for a result - then it is possible to look at this whole picture and comprehend it totally. It is this totality of understanding that is important and not a particular part of the picture. Do please see that. What is important is to see the whole structure and not the part, not one particular culture or one particular aspect of our whole existence. Because, if we take one part, discuss it, act upon it, it will produce problems which will be in constant conflict with all the other structure of the human being.

So what is important is not education, not peace, not the immediate social action, not the problem of war or peace or starvation, but the approach to these problems, totally, as a whole. That requires enormous insight. As most of us are politicians in one form or another, we want an immediate action, immediate response, immediate results. So our whole outlook, our whole approach to this problem, is perverted. There is starvation of which we know very well. We need not discuss it. There are various organizations dealing with it; and in the very solution of that particular problem, we are introducing various other problems, such as the liquidation of man. Because certain leaders, certain dominant, urgent, strong personalities say that this should be done, they organize and liquidate others who do not fit in; or they create confusion in order to bring about a certain state when a group of people can control it and so on. There is the multiplication of problems one after another because we never approach this whole human existence as a totality. If we can, during these talks, merely approach the problem totally without seeking an answer, we shall have done a great deal, because then we shall act totally and not partially.

We know we have many problems of sex, of love, of reality, of God; what is after death; the whole implication of action and ideation; the problem of deterioration; the problem of not being able to create; the problem of not knowing what is creation, which is God, which is truth. Seeing all these problems, how is it that we approach it? In understanding how we approach it the problem will be dissolved. Please listen to this. There is this whole complex problem of existence; and each leader, each specialist, each person who has had any thought or any experience translates these problems and gives a system and says "Do these things and you will resolve them". The religious specialist, the economist, the psychologist and so on - each is giving us a system to be followed, to be practiced, to be lived out; and we, in our ignorance, in our stupidity, follow them because we want a result. Whereas, if we can look at the problem totally, then the problem will have an entirely different meaning.

So how is one to look at the problem totally? That is the problem - not the problem of life or death or God or starvation but how can you and I look at this vast problem totally and not partially? That is the problem. Because, after all, a great artist is one who sees the whole and not the part. He paints or writes poems, or creates a marvel because he sees the whole and then works out the details. What is it that is preventing deeply, fundamentally, the perception of the whole, of the total problem? Why is it that you cannot and I cannot see the whole picture? If we can answer that, not merely verbally but see the truth of it, then our approach to the problem will be entirely different. So our enquiry then is not how to answer this vast problem of existence, with all its cruelties, with its joys, with its ups and downs, with its loneliness, imitation, shades and brightness, but how to approach that problem totally and to see what is preventing us from approaching it entirely, completely and wholly. So that is our enquiry and that is the only enquiry; because, small men, narrow men, men seeking answer, will translate; the problem according to their limitations.

So our enquiry then is not the solution of the problem but what it is that prevents each one of us from looking at the problem totally. Is it not fundamentally the `self', the `me', the `I' which is the background? After all, what is preventing me and you from looking at the problem totally and therefore approaching it from a wholly different point of view? Is it not the `me', the mind which is the state of `me'? So without understanding the process of the mind - the total process of the mind, the psychological process, the conscious as well as the unconscious, merely to approach this vast complex problem by a mind which does not understand itself, creates more problems, more miseries, more destruction. So what is important is not the problem but the understanding of the mind which is creating the problem. The mind, conscious as well as unconscious, is always creating a background, is always creating tradition from which it is acting. The background of tradition is the habit, the practice, the memory, the conclusion, the idea, and from that idea conclusion, memory, tradition, practice. This is how the mind is acting. Realizing this, people say, `Let us control the mind, let us shape the mind to a particular action; and if it does not yield, we will wash the brain in order to conform.' I hope you are following all this.

The mind acts from an anchorage, from a fixed point which is elastic; but always there is a centre from which it acts. It is always tethered to a point, the point being the `me'. The `me' is the idea. The idea translated is the State, or identified with the State or God. So the mind, which is tethered, which is anchored, which has a background, which has a tradition, which is the memory, such a mind can never approach the problem totally. How can I, anchored in my aggressive discontent or acquisitive discontent - for all discontent with us is acquisitive - how can such a mind look at this whole problem of life? When it does, it looks at it from the point of view of acquisitive discontent and translates this vast problem of existence in terms of `what I want' consciously or unconsciously. So the enquiry then is how to free the mind from the `me', from the background; and until we do that completely and totally, we shall have misery after misery vast destruction, savage brutality and every form of coercion and compulsion. This is what is happening in the world at present.

How is the `I' which is the `me', which is the whole process of our thinking, to come to an end? You see the problem? We think the `I', the `me', comes to an end when we identify ourselves with the State; the State then becomes all important. Does the `I' disappear because I put the State in front of me as the most important? No; only I have substituted another ideation, another tradition. So until each one of us, through the understanding of the whole process of relationship as from a mirror, discovers oneself or one's activities and one's thought, and is aware of this whole process of the `me' - which is self-knowledge - our struggle to merely reform, which reaches only the surface, has very little meaning. On the contrary, it only creates more mischief.

So the enquiry then is the understanding of the `me' the `self', the mind. To understand something requires no judgment. To understand the working of the mind conscious as well as unconscious, demands no comparison. You must take it as it is and begin as it is. But it is very difficult to begin as it is because we are always comparing with something else. We have been fed on ideology, on ideals which are merely a substitution of `what should be' for the reality of `what is'. So to understand the mind, the workings of the mind have to be watched in relationship. Is it not? Going into the meaning and dwelling with it in the mind has very little significance. Then you can deceive yourself, most extraordinarily. To watch constantly from day to day, from moment to moment, without drawing the conclusion or living in that conclusion, to watch in relationship without judgment, without comparison, but with constant awareness requires a great deal of persistency. Without doing that, all study of sacred books, all systems, have very little meaning; on the contrary, they are harmful to the mind which is stuffing itself with other people's ideas.

So only a man who has understood the way of the mind can know what is reality, what is God. whatever the name by which you call it. The mere repetition of the word `God' or `love', the practicing of rituals have very little meaning; they only deviate the mind. But if you and I study this whole problem of the mind, enquire into the seat of the `I', then you will see that in that enquiry comes the stillness of the mind, which is not induced, which is not disciplined, but which comes into being spontaneously, naturally, freely; and in that stillness, the totality is seen, and that totality, will resolve the problem. It is that totality that will build, and not those who labour in vain not knowing the totality.

Perhaps, as I suggested yesterday, out of this talk there are questions you might ask me, if you are willing, but not discuss them because we shall have a discussion tomorrow. But if you are inclined after hearing this talk, there might be questions. If not, I have some questions written down.

Question: What is the function of a true educator?

Krishnamurti: Now, you have asked a question and you are waiting for an answer; because, you can then dispute with the answer like a clever lawyer, the pros and cons. That is what I am not going to do. That is infantile, immature. But you and I are going to find out, to discover, the functions of a true educator. You are not going to be told `It is this', for you just to agree or to disagree. But you and I will investigate, will discover together that which will be truth; and it is the truth that matters. Please listen to this because these problems are very important nowadays, because the world is going to greater sorrows, greater misery, and those who are listening have the responsibility. You have taken the trouble to come here. Therefore, you should listen to find out the truth of the matter and not indulge in mere speculative opinion or answer or judgment of another. What is important is that you should find out what the truth of the matter is. Then you are the liberator of man and not an imitator.

What is the true function of an educator? What is education? Why are we educated? Are we educated at all? Because you pass a few examinations, have a job, competing, struggling, brutalizing ambition, is that education? What is an educator? Is he one who prepares the student for a job, merely for a job, for technical achievement in order to earn a livelihood? That is all we know at present. There are vast schools, universities where you prepare the youth, boy or girl, to have a job, to have technical knowledge so that he or she can have a livelihood. Is that alone the function of a true educator? There must be something more than that, because it is too mechanical. So you say that the educator must be an example. You agree with that? You will have to follow the truth of the matter, to go into it. When you go into it you will see the truth of it, namely, no example is necessary. Put aside your conclusions or conditioning, and enquire. You say a teacher should be an example. What do you mean by that? An example, a hero, so that the boy or the girl imitates him? After all, there are many examples - Christ, Buddha, Gandhiji; and if you go to the other extreme, Lenin, Stalin, and God knows what not, and the various saints, heroes.

What is the implication of an example? If the functioning of a teacher is that he is to be an example, then is he not consciously or unconsciously imposing a pattern on the boy, on the student? Does conformity to a pattern however noble, however well thought out, planned out, free the individual from fear? Because, after all, you are educating a student to face life, to understand life, not to meet it as a communist or capitalist or some other stupid conditioned individual. You are helping him to meet life. To meet life, there must be no fear; and that is a very rare thing. To be without fear implies no example, no hero. If there is no hero, no example, will the student go astray? That is the fear of the older people, is it not? So they say, `Because he will go astray, there must be an example. He must be compelled consciously or unconsciously'. So we create a mediocre human being who has no initiative but who is a conforming entity, a machine, who is afraid to think out, to live, to find out. Does not an example imply the engendering of fear in the understanding by the student through himself of his own problems, and also in the attempt of the educator to help him to understand them. If the educator himself becomes the guide, the example, the hero, then is he not instilling fear in the boy, in the student? So surely the educator of the right kind is not an example, nor does he inspire a student because inspiration implies dependence.

Please listen. You may virtually be bored with it because you think you are past the age for education. What has age got to do with education? Education is a whole process of life and not just at the college age only. So if we are to create a different world - which your sons or your daughters may create but not you, because you have made a mess of it - to bring about a new world we must create a different kind of intelligence which is not fearful. A student who is afraid because he has the example of saints, heroes, innumerable patterns of established thought, of tradition, cannot create a new world; he will create the same ugly world, mischievous and misery-creating world. So the true function of a teacher is not to be an inspirer, is not to be an example, but to awaken the intelligence in the child - which does not mean he becomes the awakener. If the teacher becomes the awakener, the student will immediately make him into a guru because he will depend upon the awakener; thus, the student allows himself to become dull because he has some one on whom to rely and who is going to awaken him.

So the teacher is not an awakener, the teacher is not an inspirer, not a guide not a hero, not an example. The true function of a teacher is entirely different, namely, to help, to educate the student to see all these problems. The student cannot see these problems if there is fear - economic, social or religious fear. He is not a true teacher who is always comparing the student with somebody else, with his elder brother or with the brightest boy in the class, because that very comparison destroys the person with whom the comparison is made. Please follow all this. Such a teacher does not exist in any of the schools at present. So we have to educate the educator, and that is your responsibility because the State is not going to do that. The State is only concerned with conformity, with producing mass results.

Is not the true educator, the parent, the mother and the society about him - not a specialized entity who had a particular way? So it is your responsibility, is it not?, to counteract it at home if there is no proper teacher, to see that there is the awakening of the intelligence in the child without fear, without comparison to look at life, to understand all the conditioning influences so that he, as an intelligent human being without fear, with out competition, without comparing, can create a new world in which there will be no wars no appalling social miseries; or he can create a world of his own worse than ours; it is up to him. So the true function of a teacher is to create an atmosphere, an environment in which the student will grow to fruition without fear.

Sirs, Ladies, you have heard this. It would be very interesting to find out your response. You will say `This is not practical, this is utopian and only Rishis can do it. We need to have jobs to earn our livelihood. What is to happen to me in my old age if my sons do not support me?' If this is your response, you have not understood the truth of the matter. If you have understood the truth of this question, it will act in spite of your cunning mind. It is very important to see the truth of it.

Question: Do you work on the conscious of your listeners or on their unconscious?

Krishnamurti: What is a conscious mind and what is an unconscious mind? Again, please find out, do not depend upon my answer or my definition. For that you can look in a dictionary. So let us find out, let us discover the truth of the matter.

What is the conscious mind? It is the every day mind, is it not?, every day mind of the lawyer, every day mind of the General, the Policeman, the specialist; every day mind of the acquisitive intent; the mind that is discontented and wants to find contentment; the mind that is escaping from the problems; the mind that practices rituals, stupidly pursuing something other than facing what is; the mind that is gregarious; the mind that is committed to a certain conclusion; the mind that is traditional, copying; the mind that is following a particular pattern of action. It is the conscious mind that judges, evaluates, compares, seeking its own ambitious results. That is the conscious mind of every day activity, is it not? That mind, seeking security, may place that security on an extraordinary level; but still, it is the conscious mind, whether in the bank, or in Nirvana, or in Moksha, where you will. That is the conscious mind.

What is the unconscious? Do we know that there is the unconscious except that you might have read about it. If you are a psychologist, you might be slightly interested in it. Are we aware that there is a whole process of the unconscious deep down, hidden, very difficult to get at? Are we aware of it? I am afraid we are not because all our conscious effort is directed to the upper levels, and there we remain. Our ambitions, our social activities, our discontents, our jealousies, envies, comparing and judging, there we are. Do we know anything of the unconscious, do we really know any thing about it except perhaps in a dream on a still night? The battles, the conflicts, are they between the unconscious and the conscious, or only between the various conscious desires? Do you understand all this, please? When you ask a question of that kind, you must know what is the conscious as well as what is the unconscious. Is the revolution, the total revolution, to take place at the conscious level or at a level which is not controllable by the conscious? The mind can control the conscious. If it can also control the unconscious with a view to bring about a revolution, then it is no revolution; that is merely a conditioning of the unconscious.

Can a conscious mind delve into the unconscious? Can it see what the unconscious is? Let us consider collective tradition; you call your selves Hindus, Mussalmans, Christians, or what you will - which is the conditioning of the unconscious, of which you are not conscious. You are calling yourself a Hindu; and to call yourself a Hindu, centuries of conditioning of the deeper layers of consciousness have been going on. Is it not so? To call yourself a Christian, it has taken centuries of social, economic and religious influences. For centuries, till now, you say consciously `I am a Christian or a Hindu or a Mussalman. Now you hear that statement and you say that it is so. But you, as a conscious mind, have not discovered it, have not penetrated the processes and the causes of that conditioning. Are you getting tired of this? This requires thought, and probably you are not used to this attentive talk for an hour and therefore you are not listening any more; you are just hearing words which have very little meaning now. It is very important to understand this question because great many things are involved in it. I wish you could follow it, follow it not as I describe it, not my description, but follow the workings of your own mind; otherwise, it is merely my description which you are trying to follow. If you are interested, if you are attentive, if you are truly listening, then you will follow the things operating in your own mind; you will discover for yourself the whole process of consciousness.

We know what the conscious is; we know we live, move, function from day to day, keep going on without knowing like a machine which is running down the hill or up the hill. When this is pointed out to you, the conscious mind then begins to watch itself. But there are hidden layers of the unconscious, which control the conscious, because the deeper layers are much more vital and much more active than the so called superficial mind. Is not the so called unconscious mind the residue of all the struggles, pursuits of all humanity, which expresses itself outward, as in the Hindu, with its big tradition of custom and culture? You understand? Let us take, for instance, `culture'. Everybody is talking about it nowadays - the Eastern culture, the Indian culture, the Western culture. Some say, that we must have a pure Indian culture and that we must build buildings for that work. What does culture mean? Please follow this. Do not say `yes' or `no' but enquire. Is there such a thing as Indian Culture or European Culture? There may be an expression of that culture, which is Indian or European. That feeling, that ecstasy, that appreciation of beauty may translate itself in a particular manner in India, in the East; the West may translate and express it in an entirely different way. But the content, the depth of feeling, is common, is it not? It is not Indian or English - which is simply stupid - though the expression may be Indian or So if one wants to understand the whole process of culture, one must go into the unconscious and not into the conscious. Culture may be something, not traditional at all; it must be something totally creative and not imitative. Because culture, the so called culture, has now become traditional, we are not creative.

So in the enquiry after what is culture, you have to go deeper and deeper, have you not? It is important to find out what is the unconscious. Do not read books. They will only describe what is the unconscious. But their description will prevent you from discovering it. But if you begin to enquire into it intelligently not judging not saying `This is it' or `That is not it' but watching the whole process of the mind - which is meditation - , then you will see that there is very little difference between the unconscious and the conscious. The conscious is merely an expression, the outward action of the unconscious. There is no gap. It is one process, the deeper process controlling the outer, shaping, guiding it. The conflict is between the various desires in that consciousness.

The questioner wants to know if I am speaking to the conscious or the unconscious. Obviously in talking, in using words you may remember the words and your acknowledging these words is a conscious process. Sirs, are you following all this? I find that some of you seem to be a little bit sleepy. I am not awakening you. I am not interested. If you want, you can have your sleep. That is for you. I am not your awakener. But together we can find the truth of this matter. It is the truth that will liberate. If you are awake, you can let it come to you. So what is happening is not that I am talking to the conscious or to the unconscious, but the truth is being uncovered which lies beyond the conscious and the unconscious, which means bringing about an extraordinary stillness of the mind. Do not make your minds still. Do not close your eyes and become silent. Truth cannot be found by the conscious or the unconscious. Only when the mind is conscious, we know of both the conscious and the unconscious with all its workings, noises, striving. When all that comes to an end, there is stillness. This stillness is not the product of the consciousness at all. It is only the stillness that is creative, that is eternal. In that stillness, that which is everlasting can be found, that comes into being. But for that silence to be, the whole process of consciousness must be understood - the workings of it and not the explanations of it. That is why these meetings will be worthwhile if you can pay attention and if you can listen rightly so that we can both be in that state of stillness in which truth can be. But that is not easy because you have the job, your wife, your husband, all the traditions, all the nauseating smells of life. They must be understood and quietened. That requires awareness of all things, of the trees, of the books, of the women, of the smiles, of your daily mischievous actions, pujas, appetites, passions. Of all these one must be aware; and to be aware is not to condemn, but to look at and to observe them without judgment. Then only it is possible to have self-knowledge which is not taught in books, which you cannot learn by attending one or two talks. It comes into being when you watch and understand all your feelings and thoughts, from moment to moment, every day. The totality of that understanding will resolve the problems of your life. December, 6, 1953.


Madras 1953

Madras 2nd Public Talk 6th December 1953

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