Banaras 1954, Hindu University
Banaras, India 10th January 1954 1st Talk at Banaras Hindu University
I think it is very important to find out for ourselves what the function of education is. There have been so many statements, so many books, so many philosophies and systems that have been invented or thought of by so many people, as to what the purpose of education is, what we live for. Apparently, every system so far has failed, including the very latest, because they have produced in the world neither peace among human beings nor deep cultural advance - the cultivation of the mind and the full development of the mind. Is it necessary to have this system?
It seems to me it is very important for each one of us to find out what the function of education is, specially in an University, why we are educated and at what level is our education. Obviously, when you look round the world, you find education has failed because it has not stopped wars, it has not brought peace to the world nor has it brought about any kind of human understanding. On the contrary, our problems have been increased, there are more devastating wars, and greater misery. So, is it not important for each of us to find out what the whole intention of being educated is? Great authorities tell us what education is or what it is not or what it should be; but such authorities, like all specialists, do not give the true meaning of education. They have a particular point of view and, therefore, it is not a total point of view. Therefore, it seems to me, it is very important to put aside all authority of specialists, of educationists, and to find out for ourselves what the meaning of education is, why we are educated and at what level this education is to take place. Is education to take place at the technological level - that is, to have a job, to pass through various examinations in order to have a job - or is education a total process, not merely at the bread and butter level and the organization level of that kind?
Is it not important for each one of us to find out what this education implies, the total education of man? If we can find out, not as a group of people but as individuals, what this education implies, what the principles of this total education of man are, we can create a different world. We see that so far, no form of revolution has produced peace in the world - even the communist revolution has not brought about great benefit to man - nor has any organized religion brought peace to man. Organized religions may give an illusory peace to the mind, but real peace between man and man has not been produced. So, is it not very important for each one of us to find out how to improve this state of affairs?
We may pass examinations, we may have various kinds of jobs; but in an overpopulated country like India where there are so many linguistic and religious divisions, there is always a threatening of wars, there is no security, everything about us is disintegrating. In order to solve this problem, is it not important to enquire - not superficially, not argumentatively, not by putting one nation against another or one idea against another - and to find out, for each one of us, the truth of the matter? Surely, truth is entirely different from information, from knowledge. Neither battles nor the latest atomic destructive weapons, nor the totalitarian systems of thought, either political or religious, have solved anything. So we, you and I, cannot rely on any system or any opinion, but really try to find out what the whole purpose of being educated is. After all, that is what we are concerned with.
Does education cease when you pass an examination and have a job? Is it not a continual process at all the different levels and processes of our consciousness, of our being, throughout life? That requires not mere assertion of information, but real understanding. Every religion, every school teacher, every political system, tells us what to do, what to think, what to hope for. But is it not now very important that each one of us should think out these problems for ourselves and be a light to ourselves. That is the real need of the present time - how to be a light to ourselves, how to be free from all the authoritative, hierarchical attitude to life, so that each one of us is a light to oneself. To be that, it is very important to find out how to be, how to let that light come into being.
So, is it not the function of education to help man to bring about a total revolution? Most of us are concerned with partial revolution, economic or social. But the revolution of which I an talking is a total revolution of man, at all the levels of his consciousness, of his life, of his being. But, that requires a great deal of understanding. It is not the result of any theory or any system of thought. On the contrary, no system of thought can produce a revolution; it can only produce a particular effect which is not a revolution. But the revolution which is essential at the present time, can only come into being when there is a total apprehension of the process in which man's mind works - not according to any particular religion or any particular philosophy like Marxian or any system like the capitalist system - the understanding of ourselves as a total process. It seems to me, that is the only revolution that can bring about lasting peace.
Surely, such a thing implies, does it not?, the unconditioning of the mind, because we are all conditioned by the climate, by the culture, by the religion, by the political or economic system, by the society in which we live. Our minds are shaped from the very beginning till we die; and so, we meet the problems of life either as a Hindu or as a Christian or as a communist or something else. Life is full of complications, it is all the time moving. Yet the way of our living is made by a conditioned mind and the conditioned mind translates the problems of life according to its own limitations. So, is it not important, if we would solve this problem, to find out how to uncondition the mind so that the meeting of the problem becomes much more important than. the mere solution of the problems?
Most of us seek an answer to a problem. But, what is more important is how to meet the problem. If I know how to meet a problem, then I may not seek an answer. It is because I do not know how to meet the problem - the economic, the social, the religious, the sexual - that we are confronted with, my mind immediately seeks an answer, a way of how to resolve it. But if I know, if I am capable of meeting the problem, then I do not seek an answer. I shall meet and resolve it, or I shall know what to do with it. But as long as I do not know or have the capacity to find out, I go to another, to a guru, to a system, to a philosophy. All the gurus, all the teachers of philosophy, have completely failed because they make us into automatons, they tell us what to do. In the very process of following them in what we do, we have created more problems.
So, is it not very important to find out how to think - but not what to do - and how to free the mind from all conditioning? A conditioned mind will translate the problems, will give significance to the problems, according to its conditioning, and the problems, when met with a limited mind, only are increased. It is therefore important to enquire if it is at all possible to free the mind from its own self-created limitations so as to be able to meet the complications, problems of living? I think the real issue is not whether you are a communist or a socialist or what not, but to be able to meet the very very complex problems of living, totally anew, with a new mind, with a mind that is not burdened, a mind that has no conclusions with which it meets the problems.
Is it possible to have a new mind, a fresh mind, a clear mind, a mind which is not polluted, so as to meet this very living problem of existence? I say it is possible. Most of us think that it is impossible to free the mind of conditioning. We only think that the mind can be conditioned better, in a better pattern, in a better mould of action; but, we have never asked ourselves if the mind can totally uncondition itself. I do not know if you have ever thought about it, because most of us are thinking of how to improve, how to modify, how to change - the change, the modification and the improvement being a better condition, a better social relationship, a modified capitalism, a change in our attitude. But we never ask ourselves if it is possible for the mind to be totally free from all conditioning, so that it can meet life - life being not only an earning of livelihood, but the problem of war and peace, the problem of reality, of God, of death. Can all this, the whole process, be understood by a mind which is totally unconditioned? Or is not the function of education, from the very beginning till we pass out of the University, to help us to understand the conditioning influences and to know how to improve them, so that we shall be human beings in total revolution all the time?
It is very important to find out how the mind works. After all, education is to understand how the mind works, and not merely to pass some examinations which will give us a job. It is the working of the mind that is creating the mischief; that is what is producing wars. Though we have scientific knowledge sufficient to help man to live sanely with health and with all the things that he needs, such living is almost impossible because the mind of man, which is conditioned as a Christian, as a Hindu, as an Indian, as a Pakistani, as a communist, as a socialist, as the believer and the non-believer, is preventing it. So, is it not important for each of us to understand the mind, not according to Sankara or Buddha or Marx, but according to ourselves, to see how our mind works? If we can understand, that will be the greatest revolution and, from there, a new series of action can take place.
So, how is one to understand the mind? What does that word `understanding' mean? Is it merely the verbal understanding, is it merely superficial or is it the understanding that comes when, through the process of the activities of the mind, there is awareness, knowledge, there is no judgment, there is no comparison, but an observation in which there is the cessation of the movement of the mind? You understand?
There is this problem of problems, the problem of war. There is the problem of hate, the problem of love and if there is reality, if there is God. How is one to understand these problems? One can only understand them if we can approach them with a free, quiet mind - not a mind that has a conclusion, not a mind that says `I know how to deal with the problem', but a mind that is capable of suspending all judgment, all com- parison. You see, the difficulty is, is it not?, our minds have been trained to function along a certain line. We know there is the conscious and the unconscious mind, and most of our activity is at the conscious level; we do not know the unconscious process of our mind. We have to earn a livelihood, or we do puja, or we imitate - all with the superficial mind. Is it not very important to understand the unconscious mind, because that is the directive? To understand the unconscious mind requires that the conscious mind shall be still; and this is only possible when through self-knowledge, through understanding the mind in relationship in daily life, I discover the process of my mind, being aware of the words I use, my habits, the way I talk, the customs, the rituals, those which I can see only in relationship with another.
So, to understand the mind, I have to discover the total process of myself. It is that discovery in relationship with another - which is, after all, society - that brings about a total revolution in me; and it is that revolution that can meet these constant conflicts of life, these troublesome and extraordinary conflicts of existence.
Perhaps, some of you would like to ask questions. There are no answers. There is only the problem, and if we are looking for an answer, we shall never understand the problem. If my mind is concerned with the solution of the problem, then I am not investigating the problem, I am only concerned how to find out, how to resolve it.
You ask a question hoping I would give an answer. To me, there is only the problem, no answer. I will show you why. If I can understand the problem, I do not have to seek an answer. But the understanding of the problem requires an astonishing intelligence which is denied when I am concerned with an answer. If I can meet, for example, the problem of death, if I can understand the whole implication of it, the problem ceases to exist; but I can understand it when there is no fear.
A gentleman asks how far I agree with Sankara who says `Eliminate the mind completely'. Not having read Sankara, I cannot answer. But I think it is very important to find out for ourselves, and not repeat Sankara or Buddha. Sirs, the difficulty with most of us is that we have read, we know what other people have said, but we do not know at all what we ourselves think. Truth is not something given to you through a book, through a teacher; you must find it out for yourself. Truth is not the ultimate truth but the simple truth of living, the truth of how to solve this economic problem which cannot be solved by merely having a revolution on that level.
So, it is very important to find out for ourselves how to think. You cannot think if your mind is burdened with authority, with other beliefs. The truth of the Buddha or of the Christ or of Sankara is not your truth. Truth does not belong to any of us. It must be found. It can only be found when I understand the total process of my mind. For, the mind is the result of time and as long as I am thinking in time, I cannot find truth. So, if you compare what I say with what Sankara or Buddha has said, you will never find the truth of the matter. But you will find the truth of the matter if you can pursue your own mind in operation; that alone is the liberating factor, not an economic revolution or a social revolution.
Question: Is there such a thing as an absolute truth, timeless, measureless and permanent.
Krishnamurti: Is not truth something that is to be found from moment to moment - not a thing which is continuous, absolute, permanent? Those very words, `absolute', `permanent', `continuous', imply time and that which is of time cannot be true. That which is true is only from moment to moment and it cannot be continuous. What is continuous is memory. And memory can project anything any kind of illusion. But to find what is true, mind must be free from the process of time, from memory, from the experiencer and the experienced. To find out what is truth, the mind must be from moment to moment without continuity.
Question: In your talk just now, you said that truth is beyond knowledge. Is knowledge of an unconditioned mind truth or falsehood?
Krishnamurti: I do not understand the question.
One of our difficulties is, we want to go into abstractions immediately. We want to know what truth is, we want to know what God is; but we do not know how to live without acquisitiveness. Instead of understanding that, we want to discuss what truth is; but a man who is acquisitive can never find out what truth is. But if I can begin to understand the whole process of acquisition, the demand for the more, the experience for the more, then perhaps, I shall understand what reality is.
Question: To think for oneself is to think like others. Is it so?
Krishnamurti: Is that not life? Is our thinking now so very different from others'? To think for oneself now is to think like anybody else, because we are all patterned after one type or another of belief or disbelief; so, we do not think individually, creatively; we all think alike. You think like a communist, if you are a communist; if you are a Hindu, you think like a Hindu. To think freely, you have to be aware of thinking alike, to understand all the implications of thinking alike, why you think alike, why you are conditioned. Obviously to think freely, completely, revolutionarily means great danger, is it not? You might lose your job.
So, to think freely is to be unconditioned. But we are all conditioned in our own peculiar limited ways. So, If I know I am conditioned as a Hindu and if I free myself from that conditioning, then only is it possible for me to be entirely revolutionary, to be not like this or like that. But first I must know that I am conditioned, which very few of us are willing to admit. To know one is conditioned and to set about freeing the mind from that conditioning requires a great deal of insight, persistence, constant watchfulness, a watchfulness in which there is no judgment, no comparison. Then you will find the mind becomes very quiet, very still. Then only is it possible for the mind to know what truth is, what freedom is.
Question: Man lives in poverty and fear. The gods of such a society are bread and security. What else can earnest men offer?
Krishnamurti: To bring about a revolution in which bread and security are given to all, is that revolution? Is revolution merely at the economic level? You understand?
We see there is poverty, hunger, every kind of economic misery. Earnest men want to see the necessity for change now. At what level is this change to be brought about? On the economic level only? Or is it necessary to have a total revolution in man's thinking? If such a total revolution is possible - I say it is possible - that is the only way of solving our problems.
There can be real revolution only when you understand the total process of your being - which is, your thinking, the ways of your living - and cease to be a Hindu or a Christian when you are a total human being. Then only will the economic problem be solved, and not otherwise.
Question: What is personality? How can it be built?
Krishnamurti: You talk about personality as though it were something like building a house. The very desire of building a personality brings about self-enclosure. We are talking of something totally different from building a personality - coat, tie and trousers and clever talk, all that. We are talking of something entirely different, not of self-improvement, but of the cessation of the self - the self as a Hindu, the self as a professor, the self as a political or religious leader, the self that says `I must save the country', the self that says `I know the voice of God'. It is that self that must totally cease in order the world can live.
Question: Agreeing that the mind is to be unconditioned, how is one to achieve it?
Krishnamurti: If you agree that the mind must be unconditioned, how are you to achieve an unconditioned mind?
I think most of us see the importance of the mind which is not conditioned. But actually most of us feel that the mind can be made better, with a better state of conditioning. That is one of the great fallacies. The problem is not how your mind and my mind are to be unconditioned, but how the conditioning of the mind takes place.
The conditioning of the mind takes place through education, does it not?, through tradition, through family, through society, through religion, through belief. But, behind tradition, belief, experience, there is a desire; there is a mind that is constantly acquiring, possessing, dominating desire; it is that that conditions. Then, you will say `How am I to stop desire?' You cannot. But, if you understand the process of desire, then there is a possibility of desire coming to an end.
Sirs, these problems are much too complex, to be discussed casually. You see again what is happening. We want to deal with abstractions. We do not see the importance of living from moment to moment, without authority, without fear, without the desire to find out that one is acting rightly.
To find for oneself from moment to moment the way of living - the way you treat your servants, the way you talk to your superiors, the way you think and feel - it is there that the truth lies, not somewhere behind the Himalayas. But you see, we are not interested in all that. We are interested in discussing Sankara and other deep philosophies; that is an escape. But if I know the workings of my mind, the ways of my heart, then there is a possibility of bringing about a total revolution, and it is that revolution that can bring peace and security to the world.
January 10, 1954
Banaras 1954, Hindu University
Banaras, India 10th January 1954 1st Talk at Banaras Hindu University
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