Banaras 1954, Rajghat School
Banaras, India 14th January 1954 9th Talk to Students at Rajghat School
We have been discussing for several days the question of fear. We shall now consider what I think is one of our greatest difficulties: how to prevent the mind from becoming imitative.
We see there are obvious imitations - copying, learning a thing, eating in a certain way, putting on certain clothes, learning to ride a bicycle or a motor, learning a technique and so on. These are the superficial, the obvious imitations which are necessary, which are useful and essential. But, through tradition, the mind becomes an instrument which merely functions in the groove of imitation.
Perhaps I am going to talk of something that is difficult. If you find it difficult, talk it over with your teacher. Ask them questions, because it is very important to free the mind from crystallising, from becoming dull, from merely functioning as a machine without much creative release.
It is very important to understand how the mind creates for itself tradition - the tradition which has been imposed upon it, through social, environmental pressures, or the tradition created by conditions, patterns, barriers. The way of imitation, is what we have to think about, and not how to free the mind or how the mind can free itself from its own imitative process.
For most of us, experience is tradition, experience becomes a tradition. Do you understand what I mean by `experience'? You see a tree; the seeing, the perception creates an experience, does it not? You see a car; the very seeing is the experiencing, and the experience creates a tradition. Your mind is bound by tradition, tradition being memory; and the older the people, the older the race, the more oppressive are the traditions. The mind lives in tradition, functions in tradition, acts in tradition. The mind becomes an imitative mind, because it is experiencing all the time - seeing a bird, seeing a man, seeing a woman, having pain, seeing death and disease, seeing an aeroplane, a bullock cart, a donkey with a huge bundle on its back, an over loaded camel, or a bull charging at another. All these are experiences. When the mind is stirred up, it creates, out of every experience, a tradition, a memory; and so, the mind becomes a factor of imitation. The problem is: to be really free from imitation, from the accumulation of tradition, because without that freedom there is no creativity.
Practically everybody in the world has so little freedom to live, to create, to be. I do not mean having children or writing a few poems, but the creative release of the mind in freedom from tradition, freedom from the experience which makes for tradition, freedom from memory. This is, as I said, rather difficult; but you should listen to all this, as you would listen to music as you would see the beauty of the river and the lovely trees that are old and heavy and full of shade. You should see all this as you see the beautiful pictures in a museum, the lovely statues of the Greeks and of the Egyptians. Similarly you should listen to all this and if you are at all serious, at all enquiring, you have to come to this freedom, because an imitative mind, a traditional mind can never be creative.
You function in tradition because you are afraid of what people say, of what the neighbours, or your parents or your guardians, or your priests, say. You are afraid. So you act in the old way of thinking. You are a Brahmin or something else and you keep on being the same till you die, moving in the same circle, in the same pattern, in the same framework. That is not freedom. The mind is not then free from thought which is born of experience, of traditions, of memory; it is anchored in the past and therefore it cannot be free.
We talk a great deal about freedom of thought. There are books written about how thought must be free. But thought can never be free. The mind is experiencing all the time, consciously or unconsciously, whether you are looking out of the window, or whether you have closed your eyes, or whether you are sleeping. it is experiencing various influences, the pressure of people, of climate, of food. Various beliefs and thoughts keep on impinging on the mind; the mind keeps on accumulating and, from that accumulation, from that tradition, from the innumerable memories, it acts. To expect such a mind to be free is like telling a man who is dying to be free. A dying man can never be free, he can never see anything new, because of his memory. Memory is the result of yesterday; and to see anything new, to create anything totally new, that which is anchored to the past, that which is the past, must come to an end; then only there can be freedom to think.
Of course, you must have freedom to think; but tradition, governments, party politics - these do not allow you to think. They want you to think in a particular direction, and that thinking is a limited thing. To break away from it and to think differently is still limited. Say, for instance, I am a Mussulman and I break away from the Mussulman habits, traditions, habits of thought, and become a Christian or a communist. Such a breaking away is still thinking; it is still the process of imitation, the process of experience, the process of memory; and to think in the new pattern of the communist instead of the old pattern of the Mussulman is still limited thinking.
So, our question is: `Can the mind be free', not free from experience but be free to experience and not accumulate? To be free from experience is not possible; you might as well be dead. Can the mind, in the very experiencing, cease to create tradition? Suppose you see a nice, new, polished bicycle with chromium handles; you see the beauty of the design, you see the polish and you are attracted; you want it and you get it. The very getting of a cycle is an experience to you, and that experience is stamped in your mind, and you say `It is mine'. You polish it for a few days or weeks and then forget about it. But it has created in your mind, the experience which has become a tradition, and that tradition holds your mind; then, from that, you want a car; if you have a car, you want an aeroplane if you are rich enough to buy one, and so on and on, all within the field of imitation. This movement from wanting a cycle to wanting a jet plane is still in the same pattern, this is not freedom.
Freedom comes when the mind experiences without creating tradition. Do not say `How is that possible'? `How can I do it'? When you ask such a question you have already created the pattern. `The how' means the pattern. `The how' implies the way of getting towards that pattern, and in the very process of copying the method, the mind has created tradition and has been caught in it. So, there is no `how' to freedom, there is no way to freedom. But if you merely observe, see and be conscious of the way the mind experiences and creates tradition and is caught in it, if you just be aware of it and realize the process, out of that realization, comes something entirely different, a freedom which is not tethered to experience.
This is important to understand because, in schools, in our education, all we are taught is the cultivation of memory, the learning of formulae; the mind is trained only in the process of imitation. When you read History, when you learn Science, Physics, Philosophy or Psychology, the teacher is merely functioning in imitation; you learn from him and you also imitate. So, from childhood till you die, this process of imitation, this cultivation of memory goes on. You are just living in a groove of imitation, of tradition. That is all you know, that is your culture and so there are very few creative human beings. To drop all that, to see whether memory is essential, or whether it is a detriment, a hindrance - that is the function of education. But we begin at the wrong end; we first cultivate memory and then say `How am I to get to the other'? But if the other was emphasized or talked about, seen, investigated, felt - which is real education - then the leaning of some technique for some particular job becomes immaterial, though necessary.
Is not the function of education primarily to free the mind from its own experiences that are conditioned, so that there can be creative life, that creative something which we call God or truth?
Question: Why do we hate anybody and from where does this feeling of hatred come into being? Krishnamurti: Why does one hate and from where does this feeling come?
Why does one hate? Do you hate anybody? Or, is it merely an academic question, just a casual question? Do you dislike anybody? I am sure you do. First of all, you dislike some persons because they have done some harm to you, they have insulted you, they have called you names, or they have taken away your toy, or you do not like their face, or they do not smile nicely, or they are crude, vulgar, heavy. So, your natural reaction is to say `Do not come near me'. That is just a natural reaction, is it not? There is nothing wrong in this.
To condemn anything is the most stupid form of action. You must not condemn hatred, but examine how dislike, hatred, comes into being. If you say `To hate is wrong, it is stupid', then it is your condemnation that is stupid. But if you begin to question how dislike comes into being, like a flower in sunshine, then you can do something. If you merely condemn it and push it aside, it is still there.
You dislike for many many reasons. It may be because of a personal reason - because you have been hurt, you have been called names, or something has been taken away from you, or you have been humiliated, or you feel jealous, envious of another and you hate the other. You may dislike somebody who is nice clean, nice looking, because you are no that, you want to be like that but you are not. You have asked how hatred comes into being. I am trying to show you how it comes into being. You plant a tender tree; another boy comes along and pulls it out; and you dislike that boy because something which you love, which you care for has been destroyed.
Our life, from childhood up to old age, is a constant process of envy, jealousy, hatred and frustration, a sense of loneliness, of ugliness. But if the teacher, the parent, the educator, took the trouble to show to the student how hatred comes into being, not that it is right or wrong, not how to get over it - that is all a stupid way of dealing with it - but to create intelligence, to bring about clarity so that the student will see how hatred comes into being; he will then see the conflict within himself, which is an indication that he himself is struggling, fighting, and that fighting will lead nowhere. The understanding of all these problems and of the whole process involved therein is education.
Question: How to be free from indignation?
Krishnamurti: What do you mean by indignation? You mean when a man beats a heavily laden donkey, you feel angry? You say you feel righteously angry when some big man beats a little boy. Is there such a thing as righteous indignation?
You asked a question, and I am not at all sure you are interested in finding out what it means. Most of us get angry for various reasons and we try to find out after getting angry how to get over it. But what is important is to find the way of anger, how it comes into being and to stop it before the poison takes place. You understand what I am saying? How anger arises is our problem, not how to be free from anger, do you understand? I feel jealous, because you have something which I have not got; your wife is more beautiful than mine and I feel jealous; I struggle and I feel most ugly to myself, I feel bitter with myself. Then I say `I must not be angry, I must conquer anger. How am I to do it?' As I do not know how to prevent it, how to prevent the arising of jealousy, how to put an end to the feeling before it arises, I go to some guru. The problem is still there.
Is it possible to understand how jealousy arises so that the feeling does not arise? You know, it is much better to eat healthy food and be healthy rather than to eat wrong food fall ill and go then to the doctor. We eat wrong food all the time; then we take pills or go to the doctor. But if we took the right food, we would never need to go to the doctor.
So, what I am saying is: `Let us find out how to eat right food, how to look at all this, so that these problems do not arise.' Surely education is this, the prevention of the problem rather than finding a cure for it.
Question: Does constant suffering destroy man's sensitivity and intelligence?
Krishnamurti: What do you think? A mind that is constantly occupied with something, with puja, with following somebody, with suffering, with a theory, with a philosophy, with its own sorrow, with its own beauty, with its own suffering, with its own failures and successes - surely such a mind becomes insensitive. You know, if your mind, if your attention, is fixed on something all the time you have no occasion to look around. Can such a mind be sensitive?
`To be sensitive' implies to be looking all around, to see beauty, ugliness, death, sorrow, pain, joy.' So, a mind that is suffering obviously becomes insensitive, because suffering is its occupation; the mind uses suffering as a means for its own protection. My son dies. or my husband dies and I am left alone; I have no companion and I feel my life has been blotted out. So I keep on suffering, and my mind now is not concerned with freedom from suffering; but I make suffering into another means of my existence. You understand? The mind uses suffering as it uses joy to enrich itself, because the mind thinks that without being occupied it is poor, it is empty, dull. This very occupation of the mind creates its own destruction. Sorrow is not a thing to be occupied with, any more than joy. The mind must understand why there is sorrow, and not keep on being occupied with sorrow. The mind wants security, whether it is in suffering or in joy. So, sorrow becomes the way of security. This is not a harsh thing I am saying; for, if you think about it, if you look into it, you will see how the mind plays a trick on itself. It is only the unoccupied mind that is intelligent, that is sensitive.
It is no use asking how the mind can be unoccupied. In the very `how' the mind is playing a trick on itself.
Question: How can one differentiate between memory that is essential and memory that is detrimental?
Krishnamurti: The mind creates through experience, tradition, memory. Can the mind be free from storing up, though it is experiencing? You understand the difference? What is required is not the cultivation of memory but the freedom from the accumulative process of the mind.
You hurt me, which is an experience; and I store up that hurt; and that becomes my tradition; and from that tradition, I look at you, I react from that tradition. That is the everyday process of my mind and your mind. Now, is it possible that, though you hurt me, the accumulative process does not take place. The two processes are entirely different. If you say harsh words to me, it hurts me; but if that hurt is not given importance, it does not become the background from which I act; so it is possible that I meet you afresh. That is real education, in the deep sense of the word. Because, then, though I see the conditioning effects of experience, the mind is not conditioned.
Question: But why does the mind accumulate?
Krishnamurti: You have asked the question `Why does the mind accumulate?' Why do you think it accumulates? Listen to this carefully. Do you know the answer? Are you waiting for me to answer, so that you can say `yes'? If you do not wait for an answer from me, then the problem, `why does the mind accumulate?', brings about a creativity in you.
There is the problem, `why does the mind accumulate?' You have asked it because you do not know the answer. But if you are actually confronted with the problem, your mind becomes alert and has to find an answer. The asking of that question therefore awakens your own initiative, your creativity; and a release to find out comes out of you and that awakens the capacity to discover, to have the initiative, to be creative, to have a totally different outlook.
The problem is `why does the mind accumulate'? Please look at the problem. Probably some religious book or some teacher or some psychologist has told you why the mind accumulates. Whether it has been said by Ramanuja or by Sankara or by Jesus, it is what other people have said, it is not your discovery. Do you understand? You have to discover. For you to discover, what other people have said must be put aside. Must it not? So, you have to put aside all that you have been told about it, all that you have read about it. Then, you can find out why the mind accumulates.
To begin very simply, why do you accumulate clothes? For convenience, is it not? Apart from the necessity which is convenience, you also feel the gratification that goes with having many clothes, the feeling that you have a cupboard full of clothes, the feeling from which you get a sense of well-being, a sense of security. First there is a necessity which is convenience; from convenience it becomes a psychological elation; and from that feeling, the cupboard of clothes gives you the sense of `I have got something, I am somebody.' The cupboard is your security. So, the mind gathers knowledge, information, reads a great deal, talks a great deal, knows a great deal. So, knowledge, this gradual storing up in the cupboard of your mind becomes your security. Is it not so? So, the mind accumulates because it wants to feel safe?
Don't you feel very proud that you know lots of things? You know History, Science, Mathematics. You know how to drive a car. Does not the capacity to do something give you security and satisfaction? That is why the mind accumulates. When you cultivate the virtue of being good or kind or loving or being generous, the cultivation is the process of accumulation and in that accumulation which you call virtue, you feel very secure. Your mind is all the time gathering in order to be secure, to be safe. It has various cupboards. It has always a cupboard in which it can feel completely safe. But such a mind is an imitative mind, an uncreative mind. If you watch the mind in operation and understand the process of accumulation, then your mind will cease to collect. You will have memory because it is necessary. But you will not use it to feel secure, to feel that you are somebody.
There are memories which are necessary. It is stupid to say `I have built bridges for 35 years and, now, I must forget how to build a bridge'. I was talking of the process of the accumulation of the mind, from which tradition, the background, is built, from which thought arises. Such and it is only when the mind has no accumulation and there is no thinking from accumulation, that his mind can be creative.
Question: Why does a man leave society and become a sannyasi?
Krishnamurti: You know life is complicated and so one wants a simple life. The more cultured, the more beautiful, the more watchful, the more alert one is, the greater is one's demand for a simple life. I am not talking of the phony sannyasi who merely puts on coloured robes and has a beard, but of the real sannyasi who sees the complexity of life and puts it aside. Unfortunately, this sannyasi begins at the wrong end. Simplicity is at the other end. The two ends must meet together. You cannot begin from the outer. The feeling of simplicity arises, comes into being, when the mind is free of accumulation.
Generally, a sannyasi who leaves the world, says `The world is too stupid, too complicated; there are too many things to worry about, the family, the children and the jobs that they will get or will not get, and so on,. So, he says `I won't have anything to do with all this', and he withdraws from the so-called worldly life. He puts on a saffron cloth and says `I have renounced the world'. But he is still a human being with all his sexual and other appetites, with all his prejudices, with all his illusions. So, his mere renouncing of the world is nothing.
How easily we are deceived! We think we leave the `worldly life' by merely putting a saffron cloth, which is the easiest thing to do. But simplicity comes only in understanding the complex process of desire, of belief, of pain, of sorrow, of envy, of accumulation. One may have much of worldly possessions or little; one may have children or no children. Simplicity does not lie in possessing little. The understanding of inward beauty brings simplicity, the inward richness. And without that inward richness, the mere giving up of some possessions or putting on of a yellow robe means nothing.
Do not be deceived by saffron or yellow robes. Do not worship the mere outward show of renunciation, which has no meaning. What has meaning can never be had, can never be learnt, from another. You can find it yourself when you are really simple - when you have, not the ashes of outward renunciation, but the inward freedom from all conflicts suppressions, ambitions, imitations. Such a person is really a creative human being who will really help the world - not a sannyasi who sits, caught in his own dreams, on the bank of a river.
January 14, 1954
Banaras 1954, Rajghat School
Banaras, India 14th January 1954 9th Talk to Students at Rajghat School
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