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Banaras 1954, Rajghat School

Banaras, India 8th January 1954 5th Talk to Students at Rajghat School

For several days we have been talking about fear and the various causes that bring about fear. I think one of the most difficult things which most of us do not seem to apprehend is the problem of habit. You know, most of us think that when we are young we should cultivate good habits as opposed to bad habits, and we are told all the time what are bad habits and what are good habits; we are always; told of the habits that are worthwhile cultivating and the habits which we should resist or put away. When we are told that, what happens? We have so-called bad habits and we want to have good habits. So, there is a struggle going on between what we have and what we should have. What we have are supposed to be bad habits and we think we should cultivate good habits. So, there is a conflict, a struggle a constant push towards good habits towards changing from bad habits into good habits.

Now, what do you think is important? Good habits? If you cultivate good habits, what happens? Is your mind any more alert, any more pliable, any more sensitive? After all, habits imply, do they not?, a continuous state in which the mind is no longer disturbed. If I have good habits, my mind need not be bothered about them, and I can think about other things. So, we say, we should have good habits. But, in the process of cultivating good habits, does not the mind become dull because it functions in habit? If you have so-called good habits and let your mind function, move along these rails called good habits, your mind is not pliable, is it? It is fixed. So, what is important is not good habits or bad habits, but to be thoughtful. To be thoughtful is much more difficult, because the moment you are thoughtful, alert, aware, then it is no longer a problem of cultivating good habits. The thoughtful mind is sensitive and therefore capable of adjustment; whereas, a mind that is functioning in habit is not sensitive, is not pliable, is not thoughtful. One of the difficulties of a mind that is mediocre, small, petty, is that it functions in habit; and once the mind is caught in habit, it is extremely difficult to free itself from it. So, what is important is not the cultivation of habits, good or bad, but to be thoughtful, not along a particular direction but all round. Because, habit is thoughtlessness in a particular direction.

I hope you're following all this. Perhaps it may be a little difficult; if it is, do please ask your teachers, and when they talk next time of cultivating good habits, discuss with them, not to catch them in argument but to understand what they mean by good habits.

Good habits are also thoughtless. A mind that is caught in habit is not capable of quick adjustment, quick thought or alertness. To be thoughtful, not merely superficially but inwardly, is far more important than the cultivation of good habits. The mind is a living thing; but it is bound, held, hedged about, controlled, shaped, pushed by various forms of habit. Belief, tradition is habit. My father believes in something and he insists that I also believe. He does not put it that way but he creates an environment, an atmosphere, in which I have got to follow. He does puja which is a habit, and I naturally imitate him and thus cultivate a habit.

Your mind is always trying to live in habit so that it won't be disturbed, so that it has not got to think anew or afresh, to look at problems differently. So, the mind likes to live in a half-awakened state; and habits come in very useful, like tradition, because you do not have to think, you do not have to be sensitive. Tradition says something and you follow - such as the tradition of putting something on your forehead, the tradition of turbans, the tradition of growing beards. When you accept and follow a tradition, you are not disturbed, your mind is dull and likes to be dull. That is our education. We learn mathematics, geography or science in order to get a job and settle down in that job for the rest of our life. You are a Christian or a Hindu or a Mussulman or whatever you call yourself, and there you function like a machine without any disturbance. You have disturbances, but you explain them away by your habitual thinking, so that your mind is never thoughtful, never alert, never questioning, never uncertain, always half asleep, put to sleep by tradition, by habits, by customs. That is why, if you notice, when you are in a school, you just disappear in the mass of people. You are just like anybody else. You are educated, you are a B.Sc. or an M.A. You have children, a husband a car; or you have no car and want a car. Thus you function, thus you live and gradually die and are burnt on the ghats. That is your life, is it not? You are trained to be thoughtless, not to revolt, not to question. Any little occasional quiver of anxiety you may have is soon explained away. This you consider to be a process of education.

Surely, it is very important, is it not?, that while you are at this school you try and experiment with all this so that when the time comes for you to leave this place, you do so not with a mind that is functioning in habits, in tradition, in fear, but with a mind that is thoughtful. This thoughtfulness is not to be along any particular direction, communist thoughtfulness or congress thoughtfulness or socialist thoughtfulness; the moment it is labelled, it is no longer thoughtfulness. the moment you belong to something to some society, to some group, to some political party, you have ceased to think; for you think only in habit and that is not thoughtfulness. The chief concern of a school of this kind must be to create an atmosphere in which there is no fear, in which students are not compelled or coerced or compared with one another, so that there is freedom. This does not mean that the students are free to do what they want to do, but they have the freedom to grow, to understand, to think, to live, so that the mind can never function in habit, so that the mind becomes very active, not with the activity of gossip, not with the activity of mere reading, but with the activity of enquiry, of finding out, of searching for what is real, for what is true. So, the mind becomes an astonishing thing, a creative thing.

Surely, that is the function of education, is it not?, not to give you good or bad habits, not to let your mind live in traditions but to break away from all habits and traditions, so that your mind is free from the very beginning to the very end, very active, alive, seeing things anew. You know, when you watch the river of a morning or of an evening, after you have watched for about a week, you lose all appreciation of its beauty, because you are used to it. Your mind becomes habituated to it, your mind is no longer sensitive to the green fields and the moving trees; you see them and you pass them by. You are no longer sensitive, no longer thoughtful. You see those poor women go by day after day, and you do not even know that they wear torn clothes and carry so much weight. You do not even notice them because you are used to them. Getting used to something is to grow insensitive to it. This is destructive as such a mind is a dull mind, a stupid mind. So the function of education is to help the mind to be sensitive, thoughtful so that it does not function in habit or tradition, so that it does not get used to anything, so that it is always fresh, alive. That requires a great deal of insight, a great deal of understanding.

Question: Why do we get angry?

Krishnamurti: It may be for many reasons. It may be due to ill health, to not having slept properly, to not having the right kind of food. It may be purely a physical reaction, a nervous reaction; or it may be much deeper. Because you feel frustrated, you feel caught, held, bound and you have no outlet, you let off steam, you get angry. Anger is not just a matter of control. The moment you control, you have created a habit. You know, the so-called meditation of most people is the cultivation of habit; when they are meditating they are cultivating a mind which will not be disturbed, which will function in habit; and such a mind will never find what is truth, what is God. If you merely control anger, the process is to cultivate a habit. Perhaps you do not understand what I am saying. Perhaps if the older people understand, they could explain this carefully to the children, not haphazardly, not impatiently, but explain the whole process of control, that it makes for habit and so makes the mind dull. They could explain why there is anger, not only the physical reasons but also the psychological reasons; how the mind which is sensitive, makes itself dull, insensible, through fear, through various forms of desires and fulfilments; and how such a mind can only think in terms of habit, control, suppression.

A mind that is very alert, watchful, may lose its temper, but that is not important. What is important is to watch the mind, to see that it does not function in habit, that it does not become insensitive, dull, weary and ready to die.

Question: Stray thoughts prevent me from concentration and, without concentration, I cannot read.

Krishnamurti: You do not read, not because of stray thoughts but because you are not interested in what you are reading. You read a detective story or a novel; at that time your thoughts do not stray. Do they? If you are interested in what you are reading, it gives you enjoyment; then you are not disturbed by any thought are you? On the contrary, it is very difficult to let the book go. Do you read detective stories? Do you read novels? No? Then what do you read? What you are told to read in the class, is it not? Naturally, you are not interested in those things, you are forcing yourself to read them. When you force yourself to read, your mind goes off - which shows wrong education. But if you, from childhood, are given an opportunity to find out what you are interested in, then you will have natural, easy concentration without any effort to concentrate. But unfortunately for the older students this has not been possible, because they have been brought up in the old style, forced to read and to study. When your mind wanders, the problem arises. `How can I control my thoughts?' You cannot. Do not control your thoughts but find out what you are interested in. You have to pass your examinations, unfortunately. That is what is expected of you. But if you really want to understand the ways of your mind, the mind has to find out what it is interested in, vitally, for the rest of its life and not for ten days or for a few years. For such a mind, when it has found what it is interested in, there will be no problem of concentration; it naturally becomes concentrated.

Question: What is the outcome of meditation?

Krishnamurti: The outcome generally is what you want your meditation to be. You understand? If I meditate on peace, I will get peace. But it will not be real peace; it will be something which my mind has created. If I am a Christian, I meditate in a Christian way, and my mind will create a picture. If I am a Hindu devotee and I meditate, my mind will create an image and I will see it as a living image. My mind projects whatever it desires, and sees the thing as living; but it is self-delusion. The mind deceives itself. If I am a Hindu, I believe in innumerable things and my beliefs control my thinking. Don't they? Suppose I am a devotee and I sit down and meditate on Krishna, what happens? I create an image of Krishna. Don't I? My mind brought up in Hinduism has a picture of Krishna and that picture I meditate on; and that meditation is the process of my conditioned thinking. So, it is no longer meditation, it is just a continuous habitual form of thinking. I might see Krishna dancing, but it will still be the result of my tradition. So long as I have this tradition, the real thing cannot be perceived. So, my mind must free itself from tradition. That is real meditation.

Meditation is the process of the mind freeing itself from all conditioning, either of the Hindu or the Christian or the Mussulman or the Buddhist or the Communist. Then when the mind is free, reality can come into being. Otherwise, meditation is merely self-deception.

Question: Why do we feel sorry for the beggar when he comes to us and why do we feel angry when he leaves us?

Krishnamurti: I am not sure whether you are putting the latter part of the question rightly. Perhaps you have a different meaning when you say you hate when they leave. Do you get angry merely because he leaves the place or because he leaves the place with a curse because you do not give. I go to you as a beggar and you give me something; and in the giving, you feel happy, you feel that you are somebody because you have given. For the majority of us, there is vanity in giving, is there not? Suppose you do not give, what happens? The beggar curses you and goes away. He gets angry and in return you also get angry. Perhaps you do not want to be disturbed and so you get angry.

I really do not understand this question. Is this what you are trying to say? You feel kindly when you see a person, a beggar, because your sympathies are aroused and you feel it good to have this natural sympathy; but, at the same time, you feel disturbed because of his poverty and your being well off; you do not like to be disturbed and so you get agitated. Is this what you mean? There are several things taking place - the natural outgoing sympathy to give something; the feeling of anxiety; the feeling of anger, of irritation that you cannot do anything, that society is rotten and you cannot help; your own natural fears that you might catch his disease. I do not see what you mean when you say you get angry when the beggar goes away.

Question: The habit of getting angry and the habit of getting vindictive - are they different psychological processes, or are they the same but varying in degree?

Krishnamurti: Anger may be immediate but it passes and is forgotten. I think vindictiveness implies the storing up, the remembering of a hurt, the feeling that you have been frustrated, that you have been blocked, hindered. You store that up and eventually you are going to take it out, you are going to be violent. I think there is a difference. Anger may be immediate and forgotten and vindictiveness implies the actual building up of anger, of annoyance, of the desire to hit back. If you are in a powerful position and you say harsh things to me, I cannot get angry, because I may lose my job. So, I store it up, I bear all your insults and when an occasion arises, I hit back.

Question: How can I find God?

Krishnamurti: A little girl asks how she can find God. Probably he wants to ask something else and she has forgotten it already.

In answer to the question, we are talking to the little girl, and also to the old people. The teachers will kindly listen and tell the girl in Hindi, as the question is important to her.

Have you ever watched a leaf dancing in the sun, a solitary leaf? Have you watched the moonlight on the water and did you see the other night the new moon? Did you notice the birds flying? Have you deep love for your parents? I am not talking of fear, of anxiety, or of obedience, but of the feeling, the great sympathy you have when you see a beggar or when you see a bird die or when you see a body burnt. If you can see all these and have great sympathy and understanding - the understanding for the rich who go in big cars blowing dust every where and the understanding for the poor beggar and the poor ekka horse which is almost a walking skeleton. Knowing all that, having the feeling of it, not merely in words but inwardly, the feeling that this world is ours yours and mine - not the rich man's nor the communist's - to be made beautiful. If you feel all this, then behind it there is something much deeper. But to understand that which is much deeper and beyond the mind, the mind has to be free quiet, and the mind cannot be quiet without understanding all this. So you have to begin near, instead of trying to find what God is.

Question: How can we remove our defects for ever?

Krishnamurti: You see how the mind wants to be secure. It does not want to be disturbed. It wants for ever and for ever to be complete;y safe; and a mind that wants to be completely safe, to get over all diffi- culties for ever and for ever is going to find a way. It will go to a guru, it will have a belief, it will have something on which to rely and cling; and so, the mind becomes dull, dead, weary. The moment you say `I want to get over all my difficulties for ever' you will get over them, but your whole being, your mind, will be dead.

We do not want to have difficulties, we do not want to think, we do not want to find out, to enquire. I wait for somebody to tell me what to do, because I do not want to be disturbed, I go to somebody who, I think, is a great man or a great lady or a saint and I do what he tells me to do, like a monkey, like a gramophone which is repeating. In doing so, I may have no difficulties superficially because I am mesmerized. But I have difficulties in the unconscious, deep down inside me, and these are going to burst out eventually, though I hope they will never burst out. You see, the mind wants to have a shelter, a refuge, a something to which it can go and cling - a belief, a master, a guru, a philosopher, a conclusion, an activity, a political dogma, a religious tenet. It wants to go to that and hold on to it when it is disturbed. But a mind must be disturbed. It is only through disturbance, through watching, through enquiry, that a mind understands the problem.

The lady asks `Can a disturbed mind understand?' A man that is disturbed and is seeking an escape from the disturbance will never understand. But a mind that is disturbed and knows it is disturbed and begins to patiently enquire into the cause of disturbance without condemning, without translating the causes, such a mind will understand. But a mind which says `I am disturbed, I don't want to be disturbed, and so I am going to meditate on non-disturbance,' is a phony mind, a silly mind.

Question: What is internal beauty?

Krishnamurti: Do you know what is external beauty? Do you know a beautiful building? When you see a beautiful building or a beautiful tree, a beautiful leaf, a lovely painting, a nice person, what happens to you? You say it is beautiful. What do you mean by `beautiful'? There must be something beautiful in you to see the beauty outside. Must there not? You understand? Please tell that boy. The teacher who is responsible, his housemaster, will please listen to this and take the trouble to tell these boys and girls what we are discussing. This is far more important than the usual classes.

Please listen. The boy wants to know how to be free for ever from all trouble. The other boy wants to know what is internal beauty; and when I ask if you know what external beauty is, you all laugh. But if you know that which is beautiful, if you have a feeling for beauty, you have sympathy, you have sensitivity, an appreciation of what you see - a magnificent mountain or a marvellous view - and no reaction. To have the appreciation of beauty, there must be something in you to appreciate and that may be inward beauty. When you see a good person, when you see something lovely, when you feel real kindness, love and when you see it outside, you must have it inside you. When you see the curve of the railway bridge across the Ganges, there must also be something in you which sees the beauty of a curve. Most of us do not see beauty outside or inside, because we have not got it inside; inside, we are dull, empty, heavy and so we do not see the beauty in anything, we do not hear the noise on the bridge, which has its own beauty. When you get used to anything, it has no meaning to you.

January 8, 1954


Banaras 1954, Rajghat School

Banaras, India 8th January 1954 5th Talk to Students at Rajghat School

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