Banaras 1954, Rajghat School
Banaras, India 12th January 1954 7th Talk to Students at Rajghat School
Have you ever sat still? You try it sometimes and see if you can sit very quietly, not for any purpose, but just to see if you can sit quietly. The older you grow, the more nervous, fidgety, agitated, you become. Have you noticed how old people keep jogging their legs? Even little ones do it all the time. It indicates, foes it not? a nervousness, a tension. We think this nervousness, this tension, can be dispelled by various forms of discipline. You know what that word means? Your teachers talk to you about discipline. The religious books talk to you about self imposed discipline. Our life is a process of continuous discipline, control, suppression. We are held, blocked, restrained, so that we never know a moment in which there is a freedom, a spontaneity. We are controlled, self-enclosed. Listen to your teachers and ask them what these words mean.
Did you, as I suggested yesterday, spend ten minutes of your class-time discussing these things? Did some of the teachers talk to you about all these things before the class begin? Why don't you insist on it? Why don't you make the teachers talk to you about it? The teachers and the grownup people are all anxious to get on with their class, with their job. They never have the time to look round. But if you insist, every morning that you spend ten minutes of your class-time talking about more important things, you will learn a great deal.
As I was saying, we never know a moment of real freedom and we think that freedom comes through constant discipline, training, control. I do not think discipline leads to freedom. Discipline leads only to more and more self-enclosed minds. I know I am saying something which probably you have not heard before.
You have always heard that you must have discipline to have freedom. But if you enquire, if you look into that word into the meaning and significance of that word, you will find that discipline means resistance against something, the building of a wall, and the enclosing of yourself behind that wall of ideas. That is foolish because the more you become disciplined, the more you control, the more you suppress, restrain, the more your mind becomes narrow, small. Have you not noticed that those people who are very disciplined, have no freedom? They have no spontaneous feelings, no width of understanding. The difficulty with most of us is that we want freedom and we think discipline will lead us to it; and yet, we cannot do what we want. To do exactly what you please is not freedom because we have to live with others, we have to adjust, we have to see things as they are.
We cannot always do what we want. We really are not able, freely, spontaneously to do what we want; there is a contradiction, a conflict, between what we want to do and what we should do. Gradually, what we want to do begins to give way, to disappear, and the other thing remains - what we should do, the ideal - what others want us to do, what the teachers, the parents, the boys or girls want us to do. Deep down within me, there is a feeling, there is an urge, there is a demand to do something just really out of myself. But to find out what that action out of myself is, requires a great deal of understanding. It is not just doing what I like. Everybody in a self-imposed prison does what he likes, but that is a superficial action.
To find out and do something which you feel deeply, inwardly spontaneously, easily, is very difficult, because we are suppressed. Have you noticed how people say `Do this and do not do that'? Are they not always telling you that? So, gradually you get into the habit of doing things without much thought. So, you become automatic like a machine that functions but without much vitality, without energy, without a great deal of thought, insight, love, affection, sensitivity. So, you have difficulty in finding out and doing something that you love to do. Also, your education does not help you to discover what you really, deeply, inwardly want to do, because your teachers and your parents find it so much easier to impose, through education, through control, something that you should do. What they consider to be your duty, your Dharma, your responsibility, is forced on you and, gradually, the things of beauty, the things that you yourself feel you could do if given an opportunity, are destroyed. So with most of us, there is inwardly a conflict going on all the time, between the thing that I want to do deeply - in which I am interested and which demands a great deal of understanding, a great deal of putting things aside which are worthless - and what I should do, what society demands, what the teachers have told me, what tradition has said. So, there is conflict between the two, and we think that freedom comes through controlling one against the other, through disciplining ourselves to a particular pattern of thought.
In a school of this kind, is it not very important to understand the question of discipline? We must have order when there are three hundred or one hundred or even ten boys and girls. But to bring order amongst many is very difficult, because every boy and girl wants to do something of his or her own. The students here are well-fed, young, full of vitality and pep and they want to burst out; the teachers want to hold them, to keep them in order, to make them study, to regularise their life.
Now is it not very important for the educator and also for you to find out what discipline means, what it implies? Certainly we must have order, but order requires explanation, intelligence, understanding, not suppression and the `Do this and do not do that. If you do not do that, you will get less marks, you will be reported to the Principal, to the guardian, to the parents'. Suppression does not bring order: that really brings chaos, that really produces a revolt of the ugly mind. Whereas, if we took trouble, if we had the patience to explain the importance of having order, then, there will be order. For instance, if you do not all turn up for a meal at the right time, think what a lot of trouble you will give to the cook. Your food will get cold, it will be bad for you to eat cold food. Also, you will become more and more inconsiderate. That is really the problem. If you are considerate, if you are thoughtful - both the old and the young - then you will have order. Unfortunately, the old people are not considerate, they are concerned about themselves, about their problems, their difficulties, their jobs.
In this school, right from the beginning, we have intelligently to understand what discipline is. Discipline comes naturally out of consideration. Discipline is not resistance; it is really adjustment, is it not? When you consider somebody, you adjust; and that adjustment is natural, because it is born out of thought, care, affection. Whereas, if you merely say `You must be very punctual for a meal; otherwise you will have no meal, and will be punished', there is no understanding, no consideration. Suppose a boy does not get up early in the morning, the housemaster disciplines him and says `You must get up early; otherwise you will be punished; or he persuades the boy through love; these are all forms of fear, of inconsideration. The teacher has to find out why the boy is lazy. It may be that the boy wants to attract the teacher, or probably he has had no love at home and therefore wants protection, or he is not getting the right food or enough rest or enough exercise. Without going into all this, the problem of discipline becomes very trivial.
So, what is important is not discipline, control or suppression, but the awakening of that which will regard all these problems intelligently, without fear. That is very difficult, because there are very few teachers in the world who understand all these things. Surely, it is the job of the Rajghat School and the Foundation to see that this thing is done, so that when the students leave this place, they are real human beings with consideration, with the intelligence that can look at everything without fear, who will not function thoughtlessly, but who will understand and be able to fit even into a society which is rotten. All these questions should be thought over every day, not by mere lectures given by the teachers but by discussion between the teachers and the students so that when the students leave this place and enter life, they are prepared to face life so that life becomes something happy and not a constant battle and misery.
Question: It is said science has produced benefit as well as misery. Is science really beneficial to man?
Krishnamurti: Before I answer that question, I should like to know if you listened to what I was saying? The very question came right on top of what I said. There was no gap, no interval. I am not criticizing you. I am not saying you are right or wrong. But is it not important to find out what the other man is saying? You really were not listening to what I was saying, because your question was going on in your mind. You know, I have said this half a dozen times so far and yet you go on doing it. Does it not show a lack of consideration? If you were really interested in what was being said, you would have listened. It requires thought, because we are dealing with difficult subjects and so if you want to listen, you cannot jump into the question. May I suggest that tomorrow you write out your questions? Take the trouble to put them down on a piece of paper. Then when I have spoken, wait a few minutes or seconds and then ask. This will help you to see how your own mind is working. What I am saying is not very complicated. I am putting into words the operation of your mind. If you want to understand, if you want to see how your mind works - that is the only way we can look at life - it is very important to understand my words.
You say science has brought great benefits to man and also great misery and destruction. Is it on the whole beneficial or destructive? What do you think? Communication has improved. You can send letters to America in a couple of days. You can have the latest news from all over the world tomorrow morning or this evening. Extraordinary miracles are going on in surgical operations. At the same time, there are warships and submarines which are most destructive. The latest submarines can go around the world indefinitely, underwater, never coming to the top, run by automatic power. There are aeroplanes with bombs that can destroy thousands of human beings in a few seconds. Is it science that is wrong or the human beings that use science? I am a Hindu or a Mussulman or a Christian; so I have a particular idea which I think is more important than anybody else's idea and I am very nationalistic. You know what that means. I feel I want to dominate, I want to control, not only individuals but also groups of people. So I use destructive means, I use science. It is me that is misusing science, not that science in itself is wrong. Jet planes are not wrong in themselves, but how America or Russia or England uses them. Is this not so?
Can human beings change? Can they cease to be Hindus, Mussalmans? There is a division between India and Pakistan, between Russia and America, England and Germany, France and other countries. Can we be human beings, without being Frenchmen or Indians, so that we can live together? Can we have a government which looks after all of us, not India or America only but all of us together as human beings?
When human beings misuse science, we blame science. It is you and I, the Russian and the American, the French and the German, that are responsible for all this. That is why in a school of this kind, there should be no feeling of nationality, no feeling of class, no feeling that you are a Brahmin and I am an untouchable. We are all human beings whether we live in Banares or New York or California or Moscow. It is our world. This world is ours, yours and mine, not the Russians' or the English', not the Indians' or the Pakistanis'. It is ours; and with that feeling, science will become an extraordinary thing; but without that feeling we are going to destroy each other.
Question: You say old people are fidgety and bite their nails. Have you not marked younger people also doing these things? Then how is it that the poor old people who have many drawbacks are pointedly mentioned that they are fit for nothing?
Krishnamurti: Why do I point out the ugly habits of the older and not point out the ugly points of the young?
Now, you know, young people are great imitators, are they not? They are like monkeys, imitating. They see somebody doing something and they immediately do it. Have you not noticed that children want to dress alike? In some countries, children put on uniforms, and a boy or girl who does not put on an uniform feels out of place, feels something is wrong with him. The imitative process is strong in young people, and when they watch older people, they begin to copy. The old people as well as the young people are not aware of what they are doing, and so the circle goes on increas- ing. The old people put on a sacred thread and the young people also put on a sacred thread. Some old person puts on a turban and the young men also put on turbans. I was not criticizing the older generation. It is not my business, and it would be impudent on my part to do so. But what is important is for you to watch, to be aware of yourself, to be aware of your actions - such as, when you bite your finger nails, when you scratch or when you pick your nose. Then you will stop doing them. You have to be conscious of all the things that are happening in you and outside of you, so that you do not become an imitative machine.
Question: How can we suppress the inner conflicts?
Krishnamurti: We have conflicts. Why do you want to suppress them? Do listen carefully. I am not trying to argue with you, but trying to find out, trying to understand the problem. So, I am not taking your side or my side.
We have conflicts, have we not? If we can understand them, then there would be no suppression. We suppress, when we do not understand. The old person suppresses the child, because the old person has no time or he has got other things to do. So, he says `Do not, or do', which is a form of suppression. But if the older person took time, had patience and explained, went into the question with the child, then there would be no problem of suppression. In the same way, you can look at your conflicts without fear, without saying `This is right; this is wrong; I must suppress; I must not suppress.' If you see a strange animal, it is no good throwing a stone at it. You have to look at it. You have to see what kind of animal it is. In the same way, if you can look at your feelings and your conflicts without throwing bricks at them, without condemning them, then you will begin to understand.
Right education from the very beginning should eliminate this inner conflict. It is the fault of education that makes us have these inward struggles, inward battles, inward conflicts. Do not suppress, but try to look at the conflict, try to understand it. You cannot understand it if you want to push it aside, if you want to run away. You have to put it, as it were, on a table and look; and then, out of that watching comes understanding.
Question: What is real simplicity?
Krishnamurti: That lady asks for a definition. What is simplicity? What is love? What is truth? What is a good world and so on? I have explained every day and I shall explain again how our minds want a definition and how by having a definition we think we understand.
The same question could be put differently. Let us discuss what is simplicity and then find out what is real simplicity. The meaning of the two words, real and simplicity, you can find in the dictionary. But, to understand what is simplicity, requires a great deal of thinking, a great deal of enquiry. Perhaps that lady meant that, I do not know. So, she wants to talk about it, she wants to enquire, to find out what is simplicity - not real or false simplicity, but simplicity. What is simplicity? Is there real simplicity as distinct from false simplicity? There is only simplicity - not false or true. Now, what is simplicity? Does it consist in having a few clothes, just one or two saris, dhotis, or kurtas, living in mud houses, putting on a loin cloth and talking all the time about simplicity? Is that simplicity? Please find out. Do not say `yes, or `no'. A man who has a great deal - power, position, clothes, houses - can also be very simple. Can't he? More clothes, more outward appearances do not indicate that a man is not simple. Simplicity is something entirely different. Obviously, it must begin from within and not from without. You understand? For instance, I may have very few clothes only a loin cloth, I may live in a mud hut; I may live as a sannyasi; but inwardly, if I have conflicts, if I have fears, if I have gods, puja, rituals, mantrams, is that simplicity? I may put on ashes, I may go to temples; but inwardly, I may be extraordinarily complex, ambitious. I may want to be the governor, or I may want to reach moksha - which are both the same thing. For, in both the cases there is the seeking for security. But you call the man who seeks moksha a religious person, and the man who wants to become a governor a worldly person.
Though outwardly very very simple, sleeping a couple of hours, washing his clothes, living a hermit's life, a man may be inwardly a very complex person; he may be very ambitious, and so he will discipline himself, force himself, struggle with himself to achieve the perfect ideal. Such a person is not a simple person. Simplicity comes when you are really inwardly simple, when you have no struggles, when you do not want to be anybody, when you do not want moksha, when you have no ideals, when you are not craving for anything. Being simple implies to be nobody here, in this world or in the next world. When there is that feeling, whether you live in a palace, or have only a few clothes is of very little importance.
We have a tradition of simplicity, on which people live and which they exploit. The tradition is that you must have few clothes, you must get up very early in the morning, you must do some meditation - which is really an illusion - , you must go round trying to improve the world, you must not think about yourself. But inwardly, you are thinking about yourself, from morning till night, because you want to be the most perfect human being. And so, you have ideals of violence and non-violence, you have ideals of peace. Inwardly you have battling feelings, you struggle; and outwardly, you are a very simple person. This is not simplicity. Simplicity comes when there is a feeling of not wanting anything - which is quite arduous, which requires a great deal of intelligence. Real education is the education of simplicity, not the tradition of having few things. Now that I have answered this question, I want to know whether the lady has understood and how it will operate in her daily life. Is she now going to say `I do not care very much whether I have ten saris or a great many things; first of all, I must be very simple inside'?
What are you going to do? Can you leave the outside and say `It does not matter, I must begin from within'? It is all one process, is it not? Because I understand the full significance of simplicity, the thing comes into being. I do not have to struggle to be simple. To struggle to be simple is `not to be simple.' But if I see the truth that the outward and the inward are one process, one thing, then I am simple; then, I do not have to struggle to be simple; that very struggle brings complexity.
Question: Why do we exist and what is our mission in life?
Krishnamurti: You exist because your father and mother have produced you, and you are the result of centuries of man, not only of Indian man but of man in the world, are you not? You are the result of the whole of India, of the whole of the world. You are not born out of any extraordinary uniqueness; because you have all the background of tradition, you are a Hindu or a Mussulman. I hope you are not insulted when you are called a Mussulman or a Christian. You are the product of the climate, the food, the social and cultural environments, the economic pressures. You are the result of innumerable centuries, the result of time, of conflicts, of pain, of joy, of affection. Each one of you, when you say you have a soul, when you say you are a pure Brahmin, is merely following it, the tradition, the idea, the culture, the heritage of India the heritage of centuries of India.
You ask what is your mission in life. If you do not understand your background, if you do not understand the tradition, the culture, the heritage, if you do not understand the picture, then you take an idea, a twist, out of the background, you take and call that your mission. Suppose you are a Hindu and you have been brought up in that culture. Then, out of Hinduism, you can pick up an idea, a feeling, and make that into your mission, cannot you? Do you think differently, totally differently, from any other Hindu? To find out what the innate, potential being or urge is, one must be free of all these outward pressures, outward conditions. If I want to get at the root of the thing, I must remove all the weeds - which means, I must cease to be a Hindu or a Mussulman, and there must be no fear, there must be no ambition, no acquisitiveness. Then I can go in much deeper and see what the real potential thing is. But without removing all this, I cannot assume something potential. That only leads to illusion, and is a philosophical speculation.
Question: How can this be materialised?
Krishnamurti: How can this come to fruition?
First, there must be the centuries of dust removed and that is not very easy. It requires a great deal of insight. You have to be deeply interested in it. The removal of the condition, of the dust of tradition, of superstition, of cultural influences, requires understanding of oneself, not learning from a book or from a teacher. That is meditation.
When the mind has cleansed itself of all the past, then you can talk of the potential being. You asked that question. Now go on with it, keep on operating on it till you find whether there is a real, original, incorruptible thing. Do not say `Yes, there must be' or `There is no such thing.' Keep on working at it, but not to find out, with a mind that is corrupt, something which is not corrupted. Can the mind cleanse itself? It can. If the mind can purify itself, then you can see, then you can find out. The purgation of the mind is meditation.
Question: Why do we weep in sorrow and why do we laugh in happiness?
Krishnamurti: Do you know what sorrow is? I am sorrowful when my brother or sister or father or mother dies. I have sorrow when I lose somebody whom I love. That acts on my nervous system, does it not? I cry, there are tears, I weep. I laugh when I feel very happy. It is the same reason, the laughter being the nervous reaction.
Sorrow and happiness - are they different? When you hurt yourself, when the pain is very bad, you cry, don't you? You have tears in your eyes. The pain is so strong that it brings tears. That is one kind of sorrow - pain, physical pain. But there is also the pain when you lose somebody, when death comes and takes away the person whom you like. That gives you a shock, that gives you a sense of loneliness, a sense of separation, a sense of being left alone. That shock, the reaction of it, brings tears. You laugh when you see a smile. When you feel joyous, you dance, you laugh, you smile. These are obvious reasons.
We are human beings. We want to have constant happiness; we do not want to suffer; we do not want to have tears in our eyes; but we always want smiles on our lips, and so the trouble begins. We want to discard sorrow and have happiness, and so we are in constant struggle, constant battle. But happiness is not something that you get. It comes when you are not seeking. If you seek happiness for itself, it will never come. But if you do something which you feel is right, which you feel is true, which you really love to do, in the very doing of it comes happiness.
January 12, 1954
Banaras 1954, Rajghat School
Banaras, India 12th January 1954 7th Talk to Students at Rajghat School
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