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New Delhi 1956

New Delhi 5th Public Talk 28th October 1956

I think one of our greatest difficulties is the incapacity to resolve our human problems. We have many human problems, one after another, and most of us seem to be utterly incapable of resolving them. And is it possible to gather this capacity through the process of time, or does it come into being, not so much through the process of time, but with the immediate comprehension of the problem? It seems to me that it is not a matter of cultivating capacity, but rather of applying an attention which is not distracted. I will explain what I mean.

We all have many conflicting human problems, social, economic, religious, and so on; and we are aware of these problems, not only individually, in our private lives, but also collectively. We see that the present society is everlastingly in conflict with itself, and that within it there is always the factor of deterioration; and we also see that in our own minds, however eager, alert, there is this same process of deterioration going on.

Now, is it possible for the mind to tackle all these problems as a whole, and not partially, one by one? Do you understand? We are confronted with this complex of problems and we think we can resolve it by tackling the problems one by one, trying to do something about the part unrelated to the whole. The politician, for example, always deals with a part and not with the whole, so he can never bring about peace, though he may talk about it. It is like pruning a branch when the whole root system of the tree is without proper nourishment, insufficiently watered, and so on.

So what is important is to see that the complex problem of human existence is not to be solved little by little, one part at a time, but must be attacked totally, as a whole, and I think that is where our difficulty lies. Through education, through tradition, we have created the division of a religious life and a worldly life, a spiritual formula and a material technique, and with this fragmentary outlook we are trying to resolve our many conflicts. It is this fragmentary outlook, I think, which is the real cause of the multiplication of our conflicts, and not the lack of capacity to deal with the problem. We think we lack that capacity and so we look to some authority to help us, we practise discipline in various forms, and so on; but I don't think that is the issue. The issue is not the cultivation of a particular technique, or the following of a particular path, but to see that we are not approaching life as a totality.

There is no such thing as an isolated existence. Nothing can exist in isolation, for everything is related to something else. If we can actually feel the truth of this and not just grasp it intellectually, that is, if the mind can look at the whole complex of existence and see it as an interrelated totality, which is not to create a series of divisions and partial understandings, then I think we shall deal with our problems from a completely different point of view.

So, can the mind empty itself of its Hindu, Christian, or Buddhist way of thinking? Can it cease to think as a politician, an ambitious man, a virtuous man, and so on, and not function in part all the time? Can it stop looking at life fragmentarily? Can you free yourself, for example, from the idea that you are an Indian, an American, a Russian, or a Communist - free yourself, not just from the word, but from the whole content of the word, from the whole tradition and outlook - , and think as a human being who has got to deal with the complex problem of existence? Surely, life must be dealt with, not according to any particular pattern, system or ideology, but as an integrated whole; and the question invariably arises, "How am I to do it, what is the method?"

Now, there is no `how'. There is a `how' in the cultivation of the fragmentary outlook; but the outlook which is complete, which sees the whole problem of existence at once, cannot be cultivated through any method. So what is one to do? Surely, what is necessary is that you, who were born in this or that country, who have been educated or conditioned according to certain traditions and beliefs, should see that your education, your conditioning, does interfere with the perception of the whole - the whole being man with his many problems. That is, you must be capable of dealing with the problems of life, not as the Communist, the Socialist, the Hindu, or the so-called religious person would deal with them, but as a human being who is constantly responding to the challenge anew. A mind that does not respond fully and adequately to the challenge of life soon finds itself in a state of deterioration. Only the mind that is capable of meeting the challenge totally, adequately, that responds fully to what is demanded of it - only such a mind is not deteriorating.

As long as the mind thinks in terms of the part and does not respond to the whole complex of existence, it can never resolve our many problems, however clever it may be in the political, economic, or so-called religious field. A mind whose thinking is fragmentary, partial, cannot respond to the challenge of life with freshness, with clarity; its response is incomplete, inadequate, and it is such a mind that has within it the deteriorating factor. If you and I realize this fact, really see the truth of it, then is a technique necessary? Do you understand the issue?

What is important, surely, is to see the necessity of approaching life anew, not with the bias of Hinduism, Communism, and all the rest of the stupid stuff - which means that one's mind must not think in terms of the old, nor create a future pattern based on the old. One must be capable of approaching the problem, whatever it be, with a mind that is entirely devoid of any fragmentary separative, or partial outlook, and I think this is the basic issue confronting the world. We are neither Indians, nor Americans, nor Hungarians, but human beings. This is our earth, to be lived on totally, and we cannot live a total life if we are thinking as Christians, Buddhists, Communists, or what you will.

Now, if you have really listened to this, if you really see it, feel completely the necessity of it, then your mind is already free from the conditioning of the past; and when that conditioning does arise, you will know how to deal with it, because your mind is thinking in terms of the whole and not of the part. To respond anew to any challenge - and challenge is always new - , the mind must totally empty itself of the past. The past cannot be revived. The idea of reviving an old religion, however fascinating, is really detrimental. A thing that is dead cannot be revived, and religion is not a matter of revival. Religion is something entirely different from the social conditioning of the mind. A man who is a Hindu, a Buddhist, or a Christian, and who seeks reality along that path, will never find it. There is no path to God. Paths have been invented by man for his convenience, and however assiduously he may follow the path to which his mind has been conditioned, he will never find reality because he is thinking in part; and that is why he does not know the quality of love. Love is not a thing of the mind, and one can understand the totality of love only when the mind can look at life as a whole and not as a part.

There are several questions which we are going to consider, and in doing so we are not trying to find an answer to the problem, but rather to think out the problem together. We seek an answer when we don't understand the problem. If you and I understand the problem, no answer is necessary; but a mind that is seeking a solution, expecting an answer, will only increase the problem, because it is moving away from the problem and is not concerned with the problem itself.

This is something which I think it is very important to understand and to feel the truth of: that the answer, the solution to a problem lies in the problem itself and not away from it. A mind which looks for an answer is not concerned with the problem, it is concerned with the answer; therefore it is incapable of looking at the problem and understanding it. Nor is the mind capable of understanding the problem if it starts with a conclusion. Surely, the mind that thinks from a conclusion is not thinking at all. If I have a conclusion about what love should be and what it should not be, and start my thinking process from there, my mind is obviously not thinking; it is only moving from one conclusion to another, which is what most minds do. Having never understood what it is to love, they function only in the intellectual realm of conclusions, and therefore their world is barren.

So, in considering these questions, we are not looking for an answer, and please bear this in mind. An answer is very cheap to come by; you can find it in any book, or buy it from any authority - give him a garland, or a few rupees, and there is your answer. The man who really wishes to understand the problem has to put aside all temptation to find an answer; but that is not the only difficulty. He has also to start without any conclusion. The mind that is burdened with a conclusion is incapable of looking at the problem, therefore it can only increase and multiply the problem.

Question: Sleep is a period of rest for both the mind and the body. What is it that actuates dreams?

Krishnamurti: What is a dream, and why do we dream? And is it possible not to dream at all? We know that we dream and that there are various kinds of dreams. Some dreams are very superficial, while others have a deep significance, the implications of which we are incapable of understanding, so we turn to a psychologist for an interpretation; but the interpreter of dreams obviously interprets according to his conditioning, which means that we become slaves to the interpreter. I hope you see all this. First there is a dream, and then the effort to find out the meaning or significance of the dream; and finally there is the question of whether the mind need dream at all - which may be the really important issue, and not the other.

Please, we are trying to think out this problem together. Watch your own mind at work, do not merely listen to my words. I am describing the process of dreaming, but if you are content with the description, at the end of it you will not understand and you will be left with the mere ashes of words.

We dream. What does that mean? When the physical organism goes to sleep, the mind is still working, and this working of the mind in sleep is indicated by dreams - which does not mean that the mind is not functioning when we don't dream. The mind is not merely the upper levels of consciousness, it is also the unconscious, and in sleep it begins to dream. Why?

Now, what is happening during the day, when the mind is not dreaming - at least when it thinks it is not dreaming? What is actually taking place? On the superficial levels the mind is very occupied with a job, with learning a particular technique, or what you will; it is busy, active, constantly occupied with many things. Being occupied during the day, the superficial mind is not open to the intimations of the unconscious, obviously; because as long as it is occupied, how can it listen to anything but its own occupation? It is closed, not only to the unconscious, but also to the extraordinary beauty of the skies, to the marvels of the earth, to the appalling poverty and squalor that exist about us. A mind that is occupied is incapable of being sensitive. But when the physical organism goes to sleep and the superficial mind, being tired out with the many occupations of the day, is relatively quiet, then in that quietness it is capable of receiving the intimations of the unconscious. These intimations take the form of symbols, visions, ideas, dreams. This is actually what happens, there is nothing mysterious about it. We may think we are having extraordinary experiences, meeting the Master and all that nonsense, but it is nothing of the kind. The unconscious is as conditioned as the conscious, and it projects certain ideas in the form of dreams. That is actually what is going on. The conscious mind, which is occupied during the day, is quiet during sleep, so the intimations of the unconscious are projected into it; and when you wake up you say, "I have had a dream". Then you want to find out the meaning of the dream, so you turn to some authority, or you try to interpret it yourself.

That is one process. There is also another process, though I don't know if it has ever happened to you: one dreams, and as one dreams the interpretation is going on at the same time, so that when one wakes up there is no necessity for any further interpretation.

Are you following all this just verbally, or are you actually feeling your way into it? If you don't really feel it, then you are merely listening to words and you will say at the end of it, "I have listened to you but I have not got anything". Perfectly right, because you will not have listened with the intention to find out for yourself, watching your own mind in operation.

So the unconscious - which is a storehouse of racial memories, of cultural patterns, of innumerable experiences, individual as well as collective - wants to tell the conscious mind something; but the conscious mind, being active, occupied during the day, is incapable of receiving intimations from the unconscious except in the form of dreams when the physical organism sleeps.

Now, the next question is, need the mind dream at all? If your mind is aware during the day - do you understand, sirs? It is not a matter of how to be aware - , just aware, actively alert and not merely occupied, watching the movement of a tree, or a bird, seeing the smile of a child, the attitude of a beggar, observing your own occupation, your routine, your reaction to what the boss says, how you treat your servants and curry the favour of the rich - if you watch all that, if you are really sensitive to all that, then you are receiving intimations from the unconscious all the time. It is not a very complicated process. You are awake on the superficial level, and at the same time the unconscious, which is the residue of the past, is telling you things like an encyclopedia. The conscious is no longer a thing separate from the unconscious, into which the unconscious has to project certain ideas during sleep. So, to the extent that you are alert, watchful, what is the necessity of dreaming at all? Is that clear? The mind is then astonishingly sensitive during the day, receiving and understanding from moment to moment, not withholding, not accumulating. Please listen to this. The moment you accumulate you have a residue which becomes a dream that must be interpreted. A sensitive mind is not an accumulative mind; but the mind which has accumulated is insensitive, and this accumulation is the unconscious which must unburden, cleanse itself, and so it begins to project symbols and all the rest of it.

If you are alert, sensitive, not only to what is happening in your own process of thinking, but to everything about you; if when you read the newspapers, or your sacred books, you are aware of all the stupidities contained in them; if, when you listen to your particular authority, you see his assumptions, his desire for power, position, knowing at the same time your own desire for power, position, authority - if you are awake to all that, then you will find that there is no longer a division between the conscious and the unconscious. Then experience leaves no residue, which means that there is no necessity for dreaming and the interpretation of dreams.

What happens to a mind that is so astonishingly sensitive during the day that it is not withholding, not accumulating? What happens to such a mind when it goes to sleep? Is it asleep? Do you understand? The physical organism sleeps, naturally, because it must rest. But need the mind rest that has been so intensely alert all during the day? Or does such a mind continue in that state of sensitivity, but without the many impressions from outside, so that it is able to penetrate to great depths without any motivation, and is therefore capable, when the physical organism wakes up, of seeing something totally new?

These are just words to you, naturally, because you have never experimented with all this. You have never been sensitive during the day, really active - which is not to be active in the sense of chattering, gossiping, being caught up in a routine, and all the rest of it. A mind that is really active is acutely sensitive to both the beautiful and the ugly, and for such a mind there is no longer the division of waking and sleeping, the conscious and the unconscious. Then the mind functions totally, as an integrated whole.

Question: We all have moments of inward clarity, but we seem unable to relate these glimpses of light to our personal, national and international problems. Unless we can establish a relationship between clarity and action, of what value is this clarity?

Krishnamurti: We all have moments of clarity, but that clarity is a rare thing and most of our life is spent in a state of contradiction, confusion and struggle. And the questioner asks "How can I, who know moments of clarity, apply this clarity to the confusion in which I live? Of what value is clarity if I don't relate it to my daily action?"

Now, that is a wrong question, is it not? And if you put a wrong question, you will have a wrong answer. The question is, "Can our moments of clarity help us to bring order into our activities and live a better life?" I say that is a wrong question, because you have clarity only when confusion is not. You cannot relate clarity to confusion. When you do, you are still more confused. Do you understand? Clarity comes only when the mind is not occupied with itself, with its virtues, with its gods, with its little quarrels, ambitions and the whole petty business of its existence. When the mind is not occupied, there is clarity. Having felt that clarity, you say, "How can I relate it to my ambition?" Obviously you cannot. That clarity is of no value in terms of your ambition, yet that is what all the religio-political leaders say - that God must intervene in your life, must guide you, show you how to be free or spiritual. But God is not interested in your petty little mind, obviously, because it is only when the mind ceases to function in its own frame that there is clarity.

So our function is not to pursue clarity. A petty mind cannot see the immeasurable. All that it can do is to free itself from pettiness - which is to cease to be ambitious. An ambitious man may talk of God, but that is merely a political trick of the exploiter. It is only when we cease to be envious, greedy, when we have real love and not ideas about love - it is only then that there is a clarity unrelated to that which is petty. Do you understand, sirs? How can a petty mind, a mind which is confused, contradictory, ambitious, vain, stupid, mediocre, understand that which is sweeping, limitless? We have occasional glimpses of something wide, full, rich, and we say, "How can I relate that state to the petty mind?" When we put a wrong question, we shall have a wrong answer; and our life is full of wrong answers, because we are always putting wrong questions.

Question: Our most constant fear throughout life is the fear of death. Are we afraid of dying because we do not want to part with life, or because we do not know what lies beyond?

Krishnamurti: Sir, this is a very complex question involving many problems: the problem of karma or cause-effect, the problem of complete loneliness, and the whole problem of seances, materialization, of trying to meet again an individual whom you have known and who you think lives on the other side. Then there is also involved the belief in reincarnation, or in some form of resurrection. So this question has many side issues, and we cannot go into all of them now. Perhaps we can discuss them another time. Let us tackle the main issue, for if we can understand that, we shall be able to deal with the secondary issues.

Again, please listen, not just to my words, but to the whole feeling of what is being said; because it is your life you are concerned with, not my life. I shall be going away from here in a few days, which is probably a good thing, and your concern is not with me but with your own daily existence, with the misery, the fear, the turmoil, the anxiety, and the innumerable other things that make up your life. So this is your problem and you have to deal with it, therefore you are not merely listening to my words.

Now, what is living and what is dying, and why do we divide living from dying? Is living apart from the process of dying? That is the primary issue involved in this question, is it not? If I really understand the primary issue, then I can go after the side issues with a full heart and resolve them; but unless I understand the primary issue, I cannot deal with the secondary. The primary issue is, do I know what living is? And if I know what living is, then will I be frightened of dying? Surely, if I know what living is, then in that very living my mind will understand the full significance of dying. So we are now going to find out what is living.

What do we mean by living? And are we living? Living for most of us is a routine, a series of repetitious happenings: going to the office, sex, repeating some mantram, following an authority, accumulating and translating in our own terms other people's experience and knowledge, thinking it is something original, and so on. That whole process is what you call living, and if you are aware of it, watch it critically, you will see there is nothing in it that is original, pristine, unpremeditated. You are full of the Gita, of the Bible, you merely repeat what Christ or Krishna has said; you are driven by sex, or by the desire to fulfil some ambition with all its frustration and ugly horror. You beget a child, and through the child, through property, you try to find immortality; your child is important because he is carrying on your name. Do you understand, sirs? All that is what you call living.

Now, is that living? Is living a process of satisfaction and sorrow, a mere series of events, or is living something entirely different? And what do we mean by dying? Seeing that the physical organism dies through long use, disease, or accident, the mind says, "I have accumulated, I have suffered, I have acquired virtue, I have worked for my country, for God; and what will happen to me when the physical organism dies? Is there a continuity in the hereafter?" There is a continuity in our living which is mere repetition. Do you understand, sirs? If you look into your own mind, into your own heart, do you see anything living, or merely a process of repetition? There is a repetition, a continuity in so-called living, and you say, "When I die, that repetition, that centre of continuity must go on". Is it not so?

To put it differently, the `me' that has learned, suffered, accumulated, has not fulfilled, and you say, "Must it not have another chance?" So the `me' is a complex entity made up of accumulated memory, and that is what you want to continue. You may think there is an Atman, an entity beyond time, but that is still within the field of thinking and therefore part of the whole process of continuance. What you are concerned with, then, is a continuance, and therefore you are frightened of an ending. You say, "I have lived, worked so much, and if I shall come to an end at death, what is the good of it all?" So either you become a rationalist, brushing death away intellectually, or you invent a comforting theory called reincarnation and continue in that. I am not against reincarnation. I am showing you the whole process of how the mind operates.

I want to know what death is, as I know what living is. I see that repetition, in which there is the burden of tradition, memory, is not living; and because I see the falseness or the truth of not living,

I know what living is. Are you getting what I am talking about? Is this clear? A mind that is caught in the net of repetition is not living. I see the truth of that; therefore, seeing the truth of that, I am free of repetition. Please listen. I know that living is not a repetition; it is something incredibly new every minute, something which has never been experienced before. And as I know what living is in the real sense of the word, I must also know what dying is. Now, can I experience dying as I know what living is? Through living, can I also experience dying? If I don't, I am not living. Do you understand? Dying is part of living, and if I understand only one part I am insensitive to the whole. Therefore I must understand, know what death means, experience it, not in moments of accident or disease, when the physical mechanism wears out, but while I am living, healthy, active.

Sirs, this is not a theory, this is not oratory, nor is this a meeting for you to be intellectually stimulated by; if you are, you will be dull human beings afterwards.

So I want to know what it means to die. Dying is a coming to an end, is it not? - not only of the physical organism, but of the mind which thinks in terms of continuity. To die is to cease to be; it is the cessation of being as we know it, which is a continuity. Do you understand, sirs? `My house', `my property', `my job', `my wife', `my virtues', and all the rest of it, is a continuity; and death may be the ending of that continuity. Can I end consciously, with the full feeling of what I am doing, this whole process of continuity?

Sirs, don't agree or disagree with me, don't say, "I can" or "I cannot", because you don't know what it means. You don't know what it means to live, if you did, you would never put this question about what it means to die, because then there would be no continuity. Death is this living without continuity. Surely, a mind that is living invites or enters the house of death, because it must also know the meaning, the whole significance of that word. Such a mind is not concerned with reincarnation, whether it is true or false, because it is thinking in a different field altogether.

Surely, that which has continuance is not capable of being creative. Only in that which ends is there a possibility of renewal. Do you understand, sirs? A mind that lives, that has continuance in memory - what can such a mind know of anything new? It can only know its own vanity, its own projections. There is renewal only for the mind that dies to all its yesterdays, literally dies, so that it has no sense of property. You may then live in a house, but it has no value as yours; you keep it tidy, but you have no identification with it. Similarly with your son, your daughter, your wife. This non-identification is love. Therefore a mind that has no identification through continuance is a mind that is really creative - which is not the creativeness of writing books, inventing new schemes, and all the rest of that nonsense. A mind that is creative is limitless, and only such a mind is not afraid of living and therefore not afraid of dying.

October 28, 1956


New Delhi 1956

New Delhi 5th Public Talk 28th October 1956

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