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Madras 1953

Madras 5th Public Talk 19th December 1953

You may remember last week we were trying to discuss the problem of change. It seems to me that is one of the most fundamental issues that is confronting the present world at the present moment, because we do not know what to change to. Because we do not know, all the professional religious people turn to the Vedas, or quote authorities or follow a particular philosophical system of thought hoping actually, if you observe, to divert in a particular direct action. The leaders themselves, like the followers, are very confused. They may profess that they are following a philosophy, that they know what they are talking about. But if you closely observe, you will see that fundamentally they are very confused. Is it not right that those of us who are really earnest, should enquire into this problem of what is change and towards what? I discussed that last week. But I think, if we can go into it from a different point of view, then perhaps we shall be able to understand the deeper significance of the idea, of the word, `to change'. Perhaps if we are able to enquire into what is religion, then we shall be able perhaps to understand what it is to change. But without understanding the whole significance of religion, mere outward reformation is most unrealistic, as it has been shown to us by all recent revolutions and reforms. Let us, if we can, seriously enquire into what is religion; and perhaps in understanding it, not at the verbal level but as we go into it, as we actually experience the significance of that word, then perhaps we shall be able to understand the meaning of the word `to change' and to bring about a revolution which, as we are discussing for the last two or three weeks, is essential.

Things go on as they are; and those people who are well-established in position in the religious or in the social order, or who have the means of power in their hands obviously do not want a revolution; they want the things as they are to continue in a modified form. But if we are really serious in our intention to enquire into what is religion, obviously we must approach it without any vested interest. You know what is meant by vested interest, the vested interest in an organization. It means all the profits which accrue from it in the name of something, the personal benefits which soon become the personal racket of the leader though he uses it in the name of peace, master, philosophy, or any particular political ideology. So really to enquire into the significance of what is religion, is it not necessary to begin not with what God is but with what the mind is that thinks of God? You understand? A mind that thinks of God or believes in God and practices various forms of discipline and rituals, will never know God or truth, because the mind that believes projects that which is most satisfactory to itself. That is a psychological fact. So a mind that believes in God or in truth or in something, is obviously incapable of real enquiry because such a mind has vested interest in that belief. From that belief it acquires security, hope, satisfaction, a sense of moral and physical well-being. So such a mind can never find it, it will deceive itself and others. It can never find what is real, because psychologically it has committed itself to a certain pattern of action. Yet, most people who are religious - so-called religious - are steeped in beliefs, in rituals, in dogmas; and this is because they find this world to be very troublesome, to be very, very painful. All relationship leads to conflict. In the ordinary daily life there is no mystery. So the mind must have a mystery, something supernatural - either the worship of the State according to Marx or somebody, or the worship of an image made by the hand or by the mind in some dogma. The dogma then becomes mysterious, as it is placed by the mind and treated by the mind as mystery; and it cannot be touched because it is too mysterious for the mind to understand; but still, it is an invention of the mind, of the psychological urgency. I hope you are following all this. I am not describing anything but the mind of each one of us, the mind that is caught in routine, in the daily boredom of existence. There is no mystery in our personal relationship, in sex, in nature. We have explored all that but we want mystery, we want something beyond, further than what the mind can invent, than what the mind can project. But that very projection of the mystery is the process of the mind. So the mind gets caught in that mystery which is a dogma - whether dogma of the State, dogma of a Catholic, dogma or the belief of a Hindu, or the Master living somewhere beyond, mysteriously behind a hill. So the mind must have a mystery to worship, created either by the hand or by the mind, which has an idea round it. Round that idea, that image, grows a vested interest of property, power, position and authority. So knowing all these - which is an everyday fact - it is only the knave and the thoughtless that fall into the trap by jobs, by personal vanity and by personal ambition.

So, can a mind find that reality? After all, religion implies that search of reality; and can a mind which is steeped in all forms of superstitious personal ambitions and which believes in dogmas, ever find that reality? Please do listen. If you are to build a new world it must be built on quite a different foundation, not on your or my personal ambition clothed in the name of the Master, in the name of the State or in the name of an ideology. It must be built totally differently, because otherwise we shall have to go on from war to war at different levels, not only physical war but also psychological, inner war with each other in order to bring about a radical revolution. In all that, must not there be a freeing of the mind - freeing of your mind and my mind and the minds of every one, of all of us who are capable, who are earnest, who listen and see the urgency? Is it not important to strip ourselves totally from all these dogmas, rituals and superstitious nonsense, and begin to find out how to enquire? This means really that each one of us must, in our daily life, strip ourselves away from the past, from the tradition, from the usual routine of ritual, the things on which we have been brought up. After all, they are essentially based, are they not?, on our desire to be secure psychologically and physiologically. We want to be safe, and the mind cannot tolerate a moment when it is not safe, when it is uncertain. So the mind must have something to cling to; and the more mysterious, dark, fearful, unimaginable it is, the more and more it clings to that. So is it not necessary in order to build a new house that the house should be built on truth, on reality, with the perfume of the eternal? Must it not be built, not on dogmas but on the understanding of the whole process of the mind that is trying to build, that is destroying and at the same time building, that is deteriorating and bringing something into being? So the problem is not a new philosophy, a new system, a new economic order. We see divisions, armies, political or physical power do not create a new world. To think in those terms is quite out of order. The mind is a total being, and on the understanding of the mind we must build. So, can we not strip ourselves away from all those dogmas, and face what actuality is - which is, we are ambitious, we are envious, we are seeking personal security, personal immortality? That is all we are concerned with. You may clothe it in all kinds of sweet high sounding words; but, in essence, all we want is physical security, psychological well-being. The physical well-being is destroyed by the psychological demand. So the psychological demand is far greater, far more urgent, far more significant than mere physical demand for security.

So, is it not possible for the mind to understand this problem of envy because our society is based on that, on acquisitive discontent? Is it not possible for the mind to free itself from it? That requires enormous persistent enquiry, to free the mind from the more, from the demand for the more, so that the mind does not project, does not demand. When the mind does not project, it is active and yet still; it is only in that stillness can reality come into being; and it is only such a mind that can build a new world. Please follow this. Do not be deceived by your leaders - political, religious or social. Do not be caught in organizations; they will not lead you to truth because they eventually become personal rackets. So a man who is really seeking the truth must be free from all organizations, the so-called spiritual organizations. Then when he is free of these outward compulsions which he has created, then he can begin to strip his mind of those ambitions, those personal antagonisms, envies. That is quite an enormous problem in itself, I assure you.

How is one to free the mind from acquisitiveness? For us acquisitiveness means to have more clothes, to have more houses, larger bank accounts; but that is not mere acquisitiveness, that is an expression of something much deeper. Until we understand the deeper impulses, the deeper compulsion, mere reformation in regard to our possessions - how much we should have and what we should not have - will have no result because the approach is totally wrong. But for the mind to be free from the demand for the more, from the demand to be acquisitive, is extraordinarily difficult because until the mind is simple, innocent, it can not know what truth is, and innocence can never exist and come into being when there is this acquiring instinct of the mind. Please follow all this and listen to all this. Do not say that this is not practical.

The mind has to be free from the beginning and not at the end, because there is no freedom at the end if there is no freedom at the beginning. You cannot go from slavery to freedom, from compulsion to freedom. So religion is surely a state of mind in which the `ME', the `I', is absent; and into that absence of the `I' comes reality. But that `I' is not something mysterious; that `I' is made up of our jealousies, ambitions, envies, desire for power, position and intrigues. If one can really think about it, one can dissolve it without constant battle within oneself. So those who would really build a new house cannot build that new house, and their effort will be in vain, unless they understand this problem of revolution, the inner revolution. The outward revolution will not affect the inner; it may find a different substitution. This inward revolution is not to be learnt from another. You are not going to get this by joining a party. It can be brought about only by constant working, enquiry, and searching. Only then is the mind capable of that freedom in which there is silence, in which there is no movement, but in which there is a stillness and wholeness; the mind is then no longer seeking and therefore still, no longer wanting and therefore completely free from all discontent. Only into such a mind can reality come into being, and it is only that reality that can build a new house.

Would you like to ask, before I answer these written questions, anything that arises out of this talk?

Question: In a private conversation you said that the party system, single or multiple, is not democratic. Will you please go into this a little?

Krishnamurti: Let us consider the question and not wait for an answer. You understand? Let us together find out, rather than you wait for me to answer and then you contradict or accept. Most of us are concerned, in political or any other action, with ideas first, aren't we? A political party is formed on an idea, on a system; and another party is formed either in opposition to it or totally different but still based on an idea, on a system, on a philosophy, on vested interest either in philosophy or in property. So the parties are not concerned with people. They are concerned with a system that will help the people, a system based on an idea, on some philosophy which is essentially a conditioned reaction. You are a communist, I am a socialist or a capitalist; you have a system, I have a system, the communist has a system, which is going to help the people, if they, meaning `I and my group are put into power. So, we - I, my group, your group have thought out what to do according to certain systems. My group is the outcome of my conditioned reactions, and yours also is similar. So neither of us are concerned with the people, I assure you. We are concerned with systems and how to carry out those systems, because the systems offer the means, either personal or utopian. You understand all this? I say, my party says, `We know what is good; and if I get into power, I will be ruthless totally and then I will liquidate all the parties except me and mine; because, we know we have the approval of Providence who is going to tell us what is going to happen, and you are going to fit into that plan.'

So long as we have systems, we are not concerned with the people. That is an obvious fact, is it not? If you are really concerned with the people - that is you and I, a poor man - you would not have systems, but you would all be doing, acting, thinking what is good for the whole, and not on an idea. Surely, neither a single nor a multiple party system is democratic, because none of them are concerned with the people and their well-being. They want the people and their well-being according to a certain pattern of action. If every one of us, you and I and others, is concerned not with ideas but how to live rightly, how to find out the true relationship between each other - between you and me and between different parts of humanity - that does not require any system of thoughts, utopian or religious. That requires search and enquiry, not based on an idea and how to carry out that idea, but into how to live together. That requires a total revolution again. So none of us enquire sufficiently deeply into these matters, because we think that by carrying out the idea immediately we shall have a result, and with results we are concerned; and we are not concerned whether the results multiply more miseries, more problems. So to bring about a revolution in our political thinking also, surely there must not be any action based on an idea or philosophy at the totalitarian religious or political behest, but a quite different approach to the problem, which is not based on an idea but on an enquiry into the ways and means of living together directly.

Question: How can there be any kind of education without some form of discipline, imposed either externally or from within?

Krishnamurti: What is the function of education? Are we educated? Why do you send your children to school? Please think, and let us think together. Again, there must be a revolution in our approach to the problem.

What is the function of education? Is it not to help the student, the boy or the girl, to face life intelligently, being without fear? My mind is clouded with fear when there is competition. There is fear when I do not know how to meet this whole complex problem of living, There is fear when I am ambitious. A man who is happy is never ambitious, and it is only people who are ambitious that are unhappy. So is it not the function of education to help the student to grow without fear so that he can face life intelligently, not according to your intelligence or my intelligence, not according to your particular religious idiosyncracies or political or economic condition; so that he can grow fully, integrally, as a whole human being. The questioner asks then `How is it possible to bring up a child, youth or student without some form of discipline?' What is the purpose of discipline, even for the old or for the young? Why do we discipline ourselves, imposed by another or self-imposed? Why do we discipline children? What is the function of discipline in a school? You are parents, fortunately or unfortunately and you should know. In life what place has discipline? Is not discipline the cultivation of resistance? Discipline implies resistance, and that resistance brings about fear, does it not? Look, you have a large class of students, 40 or 60. How can you keep order in such a large group? You cannot. Therefore you resort to discipline. You are not interested in education. All that you are interested in is that you wish to give them some information so that they will pass the examination and get jobs in which only the parents are interested. The parents are not interested in education, and, to most of us, education ceases after we pass an examination. Probably none of us ever touch a book. If you do not, you stop thinking also. You just have burnt yourself out and are just living automatically. So, if we are to understand what is the function of education, is it not important to find out how we can bring a student, a youth, up without compelling, with out coercing, without persuading him, without disciplining him, so that he can function as a total human being. That requires surely a very small school, a small class with teachers who are capable of understanding this whole process of how to bring about this intelligence without compulsion, without everlasting competition of marks and examination, all this process of burning oneself up in these beastly examinations.

Sirs, you believe in souls; you believe in individual progress; you believe in all the rest of it; and yet you are doing the very opposite of that, are you not? So, there must be a total revolution in our education. A boy or student not only has technical knowledge which will help him to acquire a job but there must be also something different, a human being, an integrated human being - and not a human being with constant battle within himself - so that he can be a creative human being. You cannot be creative if you are competitive. There can be no reality if you are afraid; and in everything that we are doing, in our education, in our political action, in following the various gurus and in all the rest of it, there is fear, there is no creativeness, there is no happiness but an inward anxiety. How can such people create a new world and a new being? So the question of discipline implies so much; and a teacher, an educator, who does not understand this will naturally resort to discipline because it is the easiest way to control a large group. As the Governments are only interested in mass education, the education that you know prevents revolution, does it not? You are all very educated, are you not? You know how to read, write and read the morning paper. You will never revolt because you always see so many sides that you never see what is true. Therefore, to bring about the right education which demands a revolution on the part of the parent, on the part of the teacher, there must be an understanding of this whole problem of what is an integrated human being - not a definition, but the enquiry, the constant searching out of this integrated whole. Such a search obviously begins with being free from fear, psychological depths of fear, conscious and unconscious fears. The freeing of the mind from fear is meditation.

Question: India has won home rule by practicing the ideal of non-violence. How then can you be up against ideals?

Krishnamurti: Do you really believe that you won freedom by practicing non-violence? Historical events brought about the weakness of the ruling people, and so they had to withdraw. Hitler and the previous wars weakened Europe. After you have won your so-called freedom by your so-called non-violence, has there not been violence, Mussalman against Hindu? It is said that six million people have been either displaced or murdered. I suppose you do not call that violence. The problem of ideas is entirely different. Ideals are fictitious, they are not realities, they are the projection of the mind. Please follow this carefully because there also we must have a fundamental revolution in order to create a different world, not this hypocritical, constant, idealistic world with such appalling cruelties. You have the ideal of brotherhood, the ideal of non-violence, the ideal of love, the ideal of being kind. Why? Because, obviously you are not kind, is it not? Otherwise you will not have ideals. Obviously you are violent, fearful, hating. So you have all these marvellous ideals; and you think that, by following these ideals, you will acquire love, you will be non-violent, you will have brotherhood. Surely, by following an ideal, you are avoiding `what is', are you not? 'I hate, or I am violent; I am practicing non-violence; it is my ideal'. How stupid it is! Why can't I deal with `what is', and not with `what should be'? You understand, Sirs? Can a mind strip itself of these ideals? You put that question to yourself and see what your response is. How fearful you are the moment you put the question to yourself, because you think ideals are keeping you within bounds, without over spilling. You say `What shall I do if I have no ideals?' You are doing nothing and you will do nothing if you have ideals. If you have no ideals then there will be no projection of the mind to escape from realities, and you will tackle what is - greed, envy - actually as it is; then there is the possibility of freeing the mind from the ideal. Sir, we have the ideal of brotherhood preached and not practiced; and yet, we have had no stoppage of war. So why not be away from all our ideals, all our examples and be very realistic - which is to understand what is? As it is, I am envious, I am ambitious, I am cruel, violent; and how can that be levered out? We think ideals are levers by which `what is', is shaped, moved, and so we are always having a conflict between `what is' and `what should be.' That is our problem, is it not?

I am greedy, I am envious and ambitious; and I should not be so. I am therefore struggling, there is a battle going on within me. This creates hypocrisy between `what I am' and `what I should be.' Cannot I strip myself of `what I should be?' What I should be is an invention of the mind and an escape from the fact, from what I am. That is the standard according to which I am trying to live, and the standard has no authority at all because, psychologically, it is an escape. The fact, `what is', is one thing, and `what should be' is totally different; and we are fed on what should be. The more ideals you have, the more wonderful, the more noble you consider yourself to be. But if you are really facing what is, then there is the possibility of dissolving, going beyond. But none of us want to, because we find profit in ambition, we find vested interest in envy. So we have ideals, and we are everlastingly practicing ideals, but never facing what is. It requires a tremendous revolution, does it not?, to break away from this illusion of ideals on which we have been fed and on which the whole world is feeding, and to realize what is and be simply with that, to know that you are envious, that you are angry or violent, not to deceive yourself, and not to create this conflict between what is and what should be. Then you can put your whole energy in understanding what is, without escaping into `what should be' which is utopian, which is nothing and never achieved. it is like a man practicing virtue month after month, taking each virtue and meditating upon it. Virtue is something, Sirs, which cannot be practiced. If you practice it, it is no longer virtue. For, virtue is something unconscious and not to be cultivated by the mind; if it is, it is merely another coat, another colour, behind `the me', `the I'.

Please listen to what I am saying, and let it penetrate beyond your conscious minds so that there would be revolution, so that you and I can create a new world. It is not possible for one man to create a new world. This world is ours, yours and mine. We must build it together. To build it together, we must be very realistic, not phony, not idealistic but to see things as they are and to go beyond them. To go beyond them requires a great deal of perception, insight into what is. Instead of spending our time, our energy, our thoughts and our days in the understanding of what is, we are losing, wasting, destroying ourselves with ideals. You will listen to all this and you will be temporaly assured to see the truth of what I am saying, or rather, not the truth but the logical verbal conclusions; and you will go away and talk tomorrow of ideals. Leave that to the leaders, to the gurus, to those who have vested interest in philosophies - which means really in property. Let us be simple, you and I, innocent with what is and not with what should be. The innocence of seeing what is and the beauty of that innocence brings about freedom from what is.

Question: I am full of hate, Please teach me how to love.

Krishnamurti: Why do you laugh? Is it not a very sad question? See that question. The questioner is quite conscious of what he is, which most of us are not. Those of you who live are unconscious of yourself. You also hate, you are full of envy, bitterness and everlasting discontent. But the questioner, happily or unfortunately for him, is aware and he says `teach me how to love'.

Can love be taught? Can you go to school and learn how to love? Can you be taught wisdom, though there are schools for wisdom? Please listen. Is wisdom to be learnt? Is love to be learnt? Can you go to another and learn what love is? Does not that very question bring tears to your eyes? I am not being emotional and hypnotizing you into a state of emotionality. You see how you are, Sirs, empty in yourselves and therefore everlastingly searching for wisdom, love, kindliness and understanding. You go from school to school, from people to people, to be taught, because in yourselves you are empty and you want to fill that emptiness by words without much meaning.

Love cannot be taught to you, nor wisdom. Wisdom comes into being when the mind is free from experience. Please listen to what I am saying. When the mind is free from experience, there is wisdom. But as long as there is the mind that is seeking experience, there must be the experiencer who is seeking it; such a mind can never be wise. Similarly, a heart which is seeking to fill itself with love, will only fill it with words without much meaning; it will be just empty words without meaning or conclusion. But one hates; that is the reality. One is miserable; that is what is. One is envious, ambitious; and that is the fact. How do you approach the fact? If I know I hate, it is very important to know how to approach it; if I know how to approach, then there is the possibility of its dissolution. But if I do not know, then there is merely the suppression of that fact, which introduces another fact. So what is important is to understand the fact; and you cannot understand the fact if you condemn, judge, the fact. You would understand your child, only when you do not condemn him; you have to study him, which means, you must never condemn, never judge, never identify the child with yourself. If you similarly look at hate, ambition, there must be awareness without choice, without judgment; and that is extremely arduous because all our conditioning is to judge, condemn, to throw out, in order to get some other factor. So what we are doing everlastingly is finding a substitution to what is.

Only when there is freedom from hate, freedom from ambition and envy, then you will know what love is. Then also you will know what wisdom is; for, perhaps, love is wisdom. You cannot learn from another what love is, so also you cannot learn what wisdom is. No school, no book, no Master can teach you. It comes into being when you know all the secret recesses of your heart and that can only happen when the mind is very still.

December 19, 1953


Madras 1953

Madras 5th Public Talk 19th December 1953

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