Bombay 6th Public Talk 3rd March 1957
I think it would be a waste of time. and utterly futile if we merely listened to all these talks either to refute or to accept Intellectually any statements that are made. But if we can directly experience what is being said, that is, if one is able to follow the operations of one's own mind, then I think these talks will be really worth while. Because we are concerned, not with abstractions and idealizations, but with ordinary daily living, with all its sorrows, pains and pleasures; and it seems to me that what is important is to bring about, sanely and rationally, a radical change in our daily existence, and that merely to cling to theories, to ideologies, or make intellectual assertions, is utterly futile and has no value at all in a world that demands on the part of each individual a direct, responsible action. To bring about a radical change in our daily living, we must surely understand the whole process of becoming as distinct from being.
All our thinking and activity is based on becoming, is it not? I am using that word `becoming' very simply, not philosophically but in the ordinary sense of wanting to become something either in this world or in the so-called spiritual world. If we can understand this process of wanting to become some thing, then I think we shall have understood what sorrow is; because it is the desire to become that gives to the mind the soil in which sorrow can grow. And as our lives, with rare moments of happiness, are filled with anguish, sorrow, pain, fear, with every form of conscious and unconscious conflict, I think it is important to understand this whole issue of becoming.
In our desire to become, we give importance to secondary things like politics, social reform, ideologies, and to. the various forms of organized religion which offer comfort through the process of becoming. After all, that is what we are doing, is it not? We are struggling to become something, either politically or socially, outwardly or inwardly. We have never a moment when there is no becoming and only being - that being which is nothing. But that being which is nothing cannot possibly be understood if we do not fully grasp the significance of becoming.
All comparative thinking is a form of becoming. Envy, ambition, and the various kinds of fulfilment with there frustrations, are essentially a process of becoming, through which sorrow takes root in the mind. Again, the word `sorrow' is not a philosophical term, but one which we all understand; and we cannot be free of sorrow until we understand this process of becoming.
All of us are trying in different ways to become something: more noble, less greedy, non-violent; we are trying to fulfil ourselves through work, through God, through family, through property, through identification with an idea, and so on. In innumerable ways we are trying to become something, to fulfil ourselves, and I think in this process lies the whole web of sorrow. Being caught in that web we say, "How am I to get rid of sorrow?" We are only concerned with getting rid of sorrow, and we do not understand the process of becoming.
Now, why is it that all of us in different ways have persisted through centuries in this path of becoming? Why does each one of us want to be something? If I am ugly, I want to be beautiful; if I am stupid, I want to be clever; if I am envious, I want to be free from envy. So there is a constant battle between what I am and what I think I should be. The `should be' is the aim of every person who wants to become, and in this process there is infinite struggle, pain, fear, frustration. And seeing this process, being aware that my mind is caught in the web of sorrow, how am I to be free from sorrow?
When we put that question to ourselves, most of us say, "I must discipline myself against desire, against envy". We don't see that resistance is another form of becoming, and that though resistance we are giving importance to secondary issues. That is, being in sorrow, I try in various ways to escape from the pain of sorrow, and in escaping I give importance secondary issues. The escape, which is the secondary issue, offers a means of fulfilment without eradicating sorrow.
Look at what is happening in the world. Secondary issues - like politics, like social reform, or the identification of oneself with reformatory movement - are assuming primary values in our life. Why? Is it not because they offer to the individual a means of fulfilling himself? That is they offer a way in which I can become something though I continue to create sorrow around me and in myself. The urge to become something, this egotistic desire to expand is so strong, so vital, that it must find ways and means of expressing itself, and that is why the secondary issues dominate our present-day existence.
Every morning the newspapers are full of these secondary issues, and the noise they make drowns out the whisper of the primary, which is something totally different. The primary is the understanding of the not-becoming, of the being which is nothing - that nothing which is truth, reality, God, or what you will, shows itself in its totality. But the mind that is seeking in different ways to become, to fulfil - through memory, through identification with the family, with the country, with an ideology - can never find the other; and with out the other, all ideologies, political activates and reformatory movements only breed further sorrow, further confusion. We don't seem to realize this, because we are always concerned with the immediate satisfaction, the immediate fulfilment of ourselves through secondary issues. So, if we are at all aware of ourselves, we will see how important in our lives certain movements, certain activities, certain ideologies and economic theories have become. And it is important to understand these things as secondary values, for then perhaps we shall approach them with a different feeling, that is, without the desire to become.
There is a religious revolution which takes place in the individual when there is no becoming of any kind, that is, when I inwardly see the fact of what I am without any form of distortion: the fact that I am envious, acquisitive, Utterly lacking in humility. If I am aware of the fact of what I am and do not approach it with an opinion, with a judgment, with an evaluation - because opinion, judgment and evaluation are based on the intention of transforming the fact, which is the desire to become something - then that fact itself brings about a transformation in which there is no becoming at all. To be aware of the fact that one is envious without condemning it, is extraordinarily difficult, because the very word `envy' has a condemnatory significance. But if you can free the mind from that condemnatory evaluation, if you can be aware of the feeling without identifying the feeling with the word, then you will find that there is no longer the urge to change it into something else. A feeling without verbalization, without evaluation, has no quality of becoming. And you will also find that when there is a feeling without verbalization, there is no desire for its fulfilment. There is a desire for the fulfilment of a feeling only when there is identification of that feeling with a word, with an evaluation.
So it is becoming that gives soil to the root of sorrow; and if you go into it very deeply, really think it out so that the mind frees itself from the whole process of becoming, then you will find that you have eliminated sorrow altogether. It is only such a mind that is concerned with the primary, which is reality, and because it is concerned with the primary, its action on the secondary will have its own significance.
Merely to be concerned with the secondary will never lead to the primary. It is like putting a room in order, cleaning and decorating the room, all of which is essential; but it has no meaning without that which comes into the room. Similarly, virtue is essential. A mind that is virtuous, austere, has put itself in order; and the mind must have order, it must have clarity. But order, clarity, humility, austerity, have no significance in themselves; they have significance only because the mind that has them is: capable of proceeding without the experiencer who is gathering further experience, and therefore there is no becoming but only being. That is, the mind is completely empty of all ideas based on the experiencer, on the thinker, on the observer who is always becoming. It is only in emptying the mind of this whole process of becoming that there is being, which has its own movement unrelated to becoming; and a man who, while becoming, seeks that state of being, will never find it. The man who is pursuing ambition, fulfilment, who desires to become something, will never find reality, God. He may read all the sacred books, do puja every day, go to all the temples in the world, but sorrow will be his shadow.
So it seems to me very important to understand in oneself this process of becoming - and such understanding is essentially self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is the understanding of becoming, which is the `me; and without that understanding, the mind can never be empty and hence free to understand the real, which is something totally different. But when there is understanding of the real, then you will find that our social activities, our political actions, our everyday relationships with each other, have an entirely different quality. Then they will not be the soil in which sorrow can grow and flourish.
It is very important, then, for a religious man to understand himself, the `himself' who is always pursuing the path of becoming; and when, through self-knowledge, becoming ceases, there is within him a religious revolution. This is the only revolution that can bring about a different world in every way - economically, politically, and in our ,social relationships.
To understand reality, effort is not necessary. Effort exists only when there is a becoming, that is, when I use discipline as a means of attainment, of reaching happiness, and hence there is a struggle to achieve, to fulfil, which is a process of resistance. All that is the path of becoming, in which there is sorrow; and a man who would understand reality must be free of this path of becoming, not verbally or ideologically, but actually. He must understand this whole problem through self-knowledge. When the mind is free from becoming, you will find that it has an extraordinary activity of its own, an activity which ,cannot be verbalized, which cannot be described or communicated to another; and that activity is reality, it is the movement of creation itself.
There are three questions this evening, and as I have explained, I am not going to answer these questions, because life has no answers. Life must be lived, and a man who merely sits on the bank wanting to swim, who only asks a question in order to receive an answer, is not living. But if you are living, you will find the answer at every step, and that is why it is very important to understand the problem itself and not seek an answer, a solution to the problem.
Question: Reality has been defined as SATYAM, SHIVAM, SUNDARAM, or truth, goodness and beauty. All religious teachers have stressed truth and goodness. What place has beauty in the experiencing of reality?
Krishnamurti: Is there a difference, between goodness, truth and beauty? Are they three different things, or really one thing which can be called by these three different names? To understand truth, goodness, or beauty, we have tried to suppress desire, to discipline, control, or find a substitute for desire. Finding that desire is tremendously active, volcanic in its operation, and that it brings extraordinary sorrow, pain and joy, we say we must be free of desire. That is what all religions have maintained, that we must be free of desire in order to find truth, beauty, goodness; so for centuries we have proceeded to suppress desire, and in the very suppression of desire we have lost sensitivity to goodness, to truth, to beauty.
What is beauty? It is really a very complex question, and books have been written about it. But if you and I, who are simple people, not erudite or scholarly, want to find out what beauty is, how are we to set about it? How am I to find out what beauty is, not verbally or theoretically, but actually to experience the feeling of that extraordinary thing called beauty?
Most of us know only the beauty that has been made up or put together, do we not? For most of us, beauty is a reaction, a response. And I am asking myself: Is there a feeling which may be termed beauty, goodness, or truth, and which is not a response, not merely a reaction?
I see that tree and I say, "How lovely it is". The tree is something that has been created, and I respond to it, I say it is beautiful and pass by. Similarly, I see that building, which again is something that has been put together, and I say, "How ugly it is". That also is a response. And is beauty merely a response, a reaction to something which has been created? Or is there a state of mind which may be called beauty and which is not the result of a reaction?
After all, our minds are the result of reaction, of challenge and inadequate response to challenge, and therefore there is struggle, there is pain. On this whole process the mind is based, extensively or very narrowly; and when I see a tree a bird, a nice-looking person, a child, or when I see poverty, squalor, ugly buildings, I say "How beautiful!" or "How ugly!" depending on my reaction and on the kind of attention I give. When I am fully attentive, in that full attention is there a reaction? And is there attention when there is an object of attention? Do you understand, sirs, or is this too complex? I don't think it is complex if you follow it carefully.
As I have said, attention with an object is no attention at all, because the object absorbs you. But if I am fully attentive, with the totality of my being, then in that state is there a reaction? In that state is there what is called the beautiful and the ugly?
After all, there is ideological beauty, the beauty laid down by the ideal, and there is the beauty of experience, the essence of experience. Now, I am asking myself - and I think it is a legitimate question - , is there a state in which the mind is fully aware of and understands its own reaction to beauty as well as to ugliness, and does not call it beautiful or ugly because it is giving that complete attention in which there is the totality of experience? And in that state of total attention, is there an entity who says, "I have experienced beauty" or "I have experienced ugliness", or is there only a feeling, an experiencing which is not a reaction, not the result of a cause?
So, can the mind - without losing its sensitivity to the ugliness and to the beauty created by man in a building or in a statue - experience that totality of attention in which it does not create the beautiful and the ugly? Do you understand? Surely, it is only the mind that is in conflict, that is caught up in its own desires, in its own fulfilments and frustrations - it is only such a mind that creates what is called the beautiful and the ugly.
Sirs, as I said, this is a very complex question, and to understand really, not merely verbally, what is beauty, or goodness, or truth, the mind must be empty of the word and its reaction to that word. Then you will find that there is a totality of experience, and not an experiencer who is experiencing the totality. In that state there is a creativeness which has nothing to do with the creations of a contradictory mind which must find a release through building, through architecture, through the writing of poems, essays, and so on. Listening to all this, you may say, "Are you not talking in order to find release, in order to fulfil?" I don't think so, because the truly religious man is not seeking fulfilment. As I explained, fulfilment is the soil in which sorrow grows.
Question: To you, love is the solvent of all human problems. I have no love, and yet I have to live. But love can never be cultivated. Does this mean that my problems can never be solved?
Krishnamurti: We will come to the feeling of what love is if we understand how we live. Most of us want a definition of love, or we seek that state of love which we call universal, cosmic, godly, and all the rest of it, without understanding our daily existence. Don't we know in our daily living any kind of friendliness, kindliness, gentleness? Are we never generous, compassionate? Have we never the feeling of being good to another without motive, have we never a sense of great humility? Are not these the expressions of love? And when you love another, is there not a total feeling in which the `I' is non-existent?
What generally happens is that we identify ourselves with another, or with a family, with a nation, with a party or an ideology, and in this identification of ourselves with something, there is an intensity of feeling, of action; but we have not really forgotten ourselves. On the contrary, through identification we have expanded ourselves. The movement the party, the ideology, the church, or whatever it be with which the mind has identified itself, is an extension of the `I'. The man who has consciously or unconsciously identified himself with something, has no love, though he may talk of love. When you talk about loving your country, you don't love the country, which is made up of people, human beings; what you love is the idea of the country with which you have identified yourself, and for which you are willing to kill, to die.
So, when the mind consciously or unconsciously identifies itself with something - with a movement, with a party, with an ideology, with a family, with a religion, with a guru - , such a mind is incapable of loving; and I think it is very important to understand this, because good people get lost through identification, and they don't see the falseness of it. And if the identification which we call love, is not love, then what is love?
Surely, love is the state of mind in which the `me' has no importance. To love is to be friendly. Do you understand, sirs? When you love you have no enmity, you cause no enmity. And you do cause enmity when you belong to religions, to countries, to political parties. When you have a great deal of land, immense wealth, while others have little or nothing, you cause enmity, though you may go to temples, or build temples with your wealth. You have no friendliness when you are seeking position, power, prestige.
Yes, you will all nod your heads and agree with me, but you are going to pursue your ancient ways; and the tragedy is, not that you have no love, but that you have no understanding of the ways of your own life, you do not see the significance of the way you are actually living. If you understood that, really felt it, then you would be generous. Surely, the generosity of the hand and of the heart is the beginning of friendliness; and where there is friendliness, there is no need for justice by law. Where there is friendliness there is goodness, a compassion without motive. You have been friendly occasionally, when you were not thinking about yourself, when you were not so concerned about your own country, your own problems. And when you go beyond all that, there comes something entirely different - a state in which the mind is compassionate and yet indifferent.
We know indifference in the sense of detachment, which is the result of calculation; it is an act thought out by the mind in order to protect itself from pain. We also know the indifference of a mind which says, "I have been through a great deal of pain, misery, and now I am going to be indifferent". Again, that is an action of will. But I am talking of an indifference which is totally unrelated to the intellectual indifference brought about by a mind that wishes to resist pain. There is an indifference which is the outcome of compassion; the mind is compassionate and yet indifferent. Have you ever felt that way? When you see something in pain you help it, and yet you are indifferent in the very process of helping. But what is it that we generally do? We feel compassionate because we see suffering, and we want to change things, bring about a reform, so we are full of action; but the mind is so bent on producing a result that it loses the sense of compassion.
So, if you observe yourself, the functioning of your own mind, you will find that all these things exist in your daily life. You know moments of compassion, moments of love, of generosity, but they are very rare. All our calculated actions are based on this process of becoming something important, and only the mind that is free from becoming can know that love which is the solvent of our many problems.
Question: If, as you say, God or reality is beyond the mind, then has God any relationship to my everyday life? Krishnamurti: Sir, what is our everyday life, not theoretically or ideologically, but actually? It is confused, miserable, ambitious, envious, stupid, is it not? We quote a lot of books containing the experiences of others about which we know nothing, we repeat what we have been taught, we struggle, suffer, and occasionally there is a movement of joy which is gone before we can feel the depth of it. That is our life: a vain process of lying, cheating, trying to become something important, struggling to dominate, to suppress. And do you think such a life has anything to do with reality, with goodness, with beauty, with God, with something which is not man-made? Yet, knowing what our daily life is, we want to bring that reality into it, so we go to temples, we read the sacred books, we talk about God, we say that we are seeking salvation, and so on. We want to bring that immensity, that which is measureless, into the measurable. And is such a thing possible?
Do you see how the mind deceives itself? Can you bring the unknown, that which cannot be experienced, into the conditioned, into the realm of the known? Obviously not. So don't try it. Don't try to find God, truth, for it has no meaning. All you can do is to observe the operation of your own mind, which is the area of conflict, misery, suffering, ambition, fulfilment, frustration. That you can understand, and its narrow borders can be broken down. But you are not interested in that. You want to capture God and put him in the cage of what you know, the cage you call the temple, the book, the guru, the system, and with that you are satisfied. By doing that you think you are becoming very religious. You are not. You are just hypocrites, robbing, cheating, lying within the cage.
So, a man who is aware of all this is not concerned with reality, with the immeasurable, the unknowable; he is concerned with the ending of envy, with the ending of sorrow, with the ending of this whole process of becoming. That you can do - you can do it every day by being alert to your envy, watchful of the way you talk, the way you show respect which is no respect, the way you acquire, accumulate. Through self-knowledge the mind can liberate itself from its limitations, its conditioning, and this liberating of itself from conditioning is meditation. Do not try to meditate on reality, because you cannot; that is an impossibility. Meditation on God has no meaning. How can a mind which is conditioned, small, petty, envious, meditate on something unknowable? All the mind can do is to free itself from the known - the known of everything that you have been taught, of your ambitions, your identifications, your greeds. Freeing the mind from the memory of all this, is meditation. And when the mind is free, then you will find that there comes an extraordinary quietness, a stillness in which there is no experiencer who is always measuring, remembering, calculating, desiring. Then the mind is aware of something totally different, a state which is in itself a blessing, which has within itself a movement that has no centre and therefore no beginning and no ending. A mind that is capable of this total attention without the entity who is experiencing what is taking place, will find there is a reality, a goodness, a beauty which is not a reaction, which is not an opposite, which is without a cause, and is therefore something in itself. But the realization of that immensity cannot come about unless the mind is totally empty of the known.
March 3, 1957
Bombay 6th Public Talk 3rd March 1957
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