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Bombay 1958

Bombay 1st Public Talk 26th November 1958

Communication is at all times quite difficult, and especially so, when one is concerned with the very complex problem of living and the extensive implications of one's daily activities. To talk about that and to communicate all the implications involved in the process of living is very, very difficult. If you want to communicate an idea to some one else, that in itself is quite complex, but it is more particularly so when one is dealing with what we call Life. Life includes, does it not?, every act of living every subtlety of thought, the nuances, differences, the struggles, the joys, the extensive depths of thought, and to communicate all this is extremely difficult, especially when most of us are not used to thinking along this particular line.

I want to say something to you, and for you to listen. to what is being said requires, naturally, a verbal comprehension. You have to understand English, the actual words, so that there is communication at the verbal level, and the verbal level then leads to the intellectual comprehension of what is being said. Through the medium of words what is said is conveyed to the intellect. Then the intellect either rejects or accepts what is being said. But before it accepts or rejects, naturally it must weigh, balance, reason, exert its capacity to discover what is false and what is true, and that takes time, and in the meanwhile the speaker has gone on with a new set of ideas, a new thought, and so you are left behind and it is difficult to catch up with what he is saying. You are always behind and he is always going ahead, and communication becomes extremely difficult.

So, there is communication at the verbal level, there is communication at the intellectual level and also there is communication at the emotional level; and the emotional level is much easier. When one appeals to emotions it is comparatively easy for you to be carried along on that wave of sensation.

The problem of communication is extraordinarily difficult and one must realize the difficulty and be able to pierce through the words; because then only is there communion. Communication leads to communion, and communion means sharing, partaking. This is not a discourse on what to do or what not to do; it is an experiment in communing with each other. We are going to commune with each other at all levels - verbal, intellectual, emotional - and therefore it means partaking, sharing with what the speaker is saying. This does not mean that you must agree or disagree. One can only agree or disagree with ideas and opinions. When you are dealing with facts - facts which reveal Truth - there is no agreement or disagreement. The sharing comes in when you and I can see the fact, and see the truth, or falseness in the fact. And in the process of this communion with each other, I hope we shall be able to discard that which is false and see very clearly, very precisely that which is true. The perception is as important as action. To me, perception is equal to action.

What I am going to speak about now and in the coming Talks is not a matter of ideas, of dealing with opinions, conclusions and all the intellectual accumulations of the mind, in order for you to refute or accept. What we are doing now is to share together, commune with each other about the whole process of life. And life is so extensive; in it is involved work, pleasure, sorrow, death, joy, meditation, the whole process of thinking, following, fear, the accumulations of memory, the responses of memory, as well as the extraordinary beauty of the evening when clouds gather towards the sunset over the horizon. All that is life. Life is not just the small section of your personal joys, your own little family, your particular ambitions, your sexual pleasures, and so on. Life is all the laughter of the world, all the tears, sorrows, miseries, toil, conflicts, struggle, and the extraordinary delight of seeing something beautiful. All that is life, and we must partake of that, commune with each other about it, but not theoretically, speculatively or abstractly, not quoting from some idiotic or so-called sacred book. That has no value. We are dealing directly with life, not with ideas about life, and there is a vast difference between the two. We are not dealing with ideas or theories, we are dealing actually with life - the life that covers this full earth, the life of everyday existence, the life of our toil, our ambitions, our deceptions and corruption. This is a fact; and if we approach it with opinions, ideas or theories we shall not see the fact. Merely to collect opinions about the fact has no value at all, obviously.

So, being very clear as to what we are going to talk about, our relationship with each other must also be established. In a large audience like this it seems almost impossible to single out the individual and talk to the individual, but that is what I want to do. I want to talk to each one of you as an individual, not as a part of a large audience with many different ideas, many opinions, many conclusions. If you and I, as two individuals, can commune with each other at all levels, intellectual, verbal, emotional, then we shall be able to understand each other. Surely that is the act of understanding, is it not? When with all our being, not just one broken part of ourselves, we listen to each other, then there is communion. So can you listen with all your being - intellectual, verbal, emotional, physical - with all your senses, all your feeling for beauty and all your awareness of evil? For then there is communion, then there is an understanding.

But the difficulty is, is it not?, that we have never listened like that to anything. We listen only partially to the song of a bird, we look only partially at the moon; we never really look at a tree or a flower - we glance and pass by, thinking of other things. We never look at something totally, with complete fullness, but it is only then that there is communion. So, what we are going to talk about requires total attention with all our being. If you listen merely verbally, intellectually, obviously there is no communion; neither is it there if you merely react emotionally. Then you are throwing up the barrier of sensation, or the barrier of words, opinions or ideas, and so there is no comprehension. If you want to understand something you must give your whole being to it - your body, your mind, your heart, everything - and then only is there the possibility of complete understanding. But that is a very difficult thing to do because most of you have reserves of accumulated opinions, conclusions, ideas, experiences, what you have learnt, your stored-up hurts and pleasures, and all these act as barriers. So what we are going to do is to examine these barriers, not only the conscious barriers but the unconscious ones also, because they prevent total comprehension.

As I said, I am talking to you, the individual, because I think it is very important that you should find out for yourself the ways of your thinking, the ways of your feeling, how you react, because it is urgently important that there be an individual. As we can see in the world, individuality is being totally crushed out. We will go into what I mean by the word `individual' and what you mean by it, a little later on. We must first see what is happening throughout the world, how the powers that-be are trying to capture the mind. That is what is taking place everywhere - a getting hold of the mind. Religions have done it - the Christians, Catholics, Buddhists, Hindus, Moslems and so on. They have captured the mind and implanted in it certain ideas, opinions, beliefs and doctrines, certain conceptions of what is true and what is false, and what God is. They have captured the mind, which is an obvious fact. If you will observe your own mind you will see that you are either captured by your particular religion or you are captured by a political slogan or by a particular system of thought, and so on. And throughout the world, as one can observe, the different governments through various means are capturing the mind so that the individual has really ceased to be.

You are not really an individual, are you? You are merely a collection of ideas and opinions implanted by a religion, a political party, by books, newspapers and propaganda of all kinds; you are just a series of ideas, a series of memories. We can see also that in this world there is overpopulation, over-organization and mass communication, and that these three things are destroying the individual because they destroy freedom. We do not realize these extraordinarily subtle things which are going on around us. In a country like this which is overpopulated there is endless suffering, starvation and poverty; so, obviously there is a revolt against the system and a demand for a new system that will satisfy and that will give food, clothing and shelter. And so you get mass communication and from that, control of your mind. So through various processes - conscious and unconscious - through subtle propaganda, psychological pressures, the mind is being captured, as it has been captured before. But now it is done much more expertly, more cunningly, as they know all the tricks of psychology, and the psychologists are helping to show the powers that-be how to capture the mind of man. I do not know if you as an individual are aware of all this. Do not say, `yes, but what can I do about it?'. Perhaps you cannot do anything about it, but first, what matters is, are you actually aware of it? Perhaps you will never ask what to do about it because you will do the right thing if once you are aware of what is taking place actually. You never ask what to do when you face a dangerous snake. The trouble is that you do not see the extraordinary things that are going on in the world, the effort that is going on to capture the mind and make the mind a slave to certain systems of thought, to certain religions, to certain patterns.

So our problem is, is it not?, how to release the individual energy. Because obviously, when your mind is not free there is no release. That is why one merely functions in habit, with a certain set of ideas, with certain fixed opinions and conclusions, repeating the same words, looking at life the same way, pursuing the same enjoyments and falling into the same despairs. You know the routine pattern, and obviously the mind becomes a machine doing the same thing over and over again. Such a mind cannot have a creative revolt. What is actually wanted now is not more scientists, more agriculturalists, more bridge-builders, engineers and technicians - though of course you will have them because at a certain level they are obviously necessary; but what the world actually needs is individuals who are explosively creative, who are not merely mechanical, repeating endlessly, imitating the same thing over and over again. That is why this country is dead. Though you may have new machines, dams, factories and plans for more and better food, inwardly you are dead. Because you are not an explosive individual, therefore all the forces around you tend to make your mind slavish to a particular pattern of thought. And so, religious, economic and political tyrannies abound.

One of the chief difficulties is that you and I have never given thought to the discovery of what an individual actually is. I am not talking of the individual as opposed to the community, or of the rugged individual who just barges ahead from ambition, but can we find out actually what we mean by an individual and find out whether it is possible for the mind to free itself from all these compulsions and influences, and be free? Obviously if the mind is not free there is no possibility of creativeness; you will merely continue to act as a machine. So is it possible for you, the single human being, actually to discover for yourself what it is to be an individual - that is, to find out if the mind can be free? In the past your mind identified itself with certain ideals, like `Freedom for India' - for which you sacrificed yourself, went to prison and did all kinds of things. Nowadays you will probably not do that kind of thing any more because not only have you seen what ideals lead to - how people who went to prison could not get jobs, - but you have seen the falseness of such ideals, have you not? So you will no longer pursue a leader who promises all kinds of absurd things because your mind is beginning to think, to look, to watch and enquire. All over the world ideals, sacrifices, Utopias are beginning to disappear from the thoughtful, intellectual mind.

So, seeing what is actually taking place in the world, the problem is, is it not?, to find out for oneself clearly, very deeply, if the mind can be free. And one can only find that out by first recognizing that the mind is a slave to society, the product of a particular culture. Look, Sirs, you may be a bridge-builder, an engineer, a scientist, a pen-pusher - but whatever it is you are, it is your whole life, is it not? You may have a few little pleasures, a few worries, a family, sex, and so on, but most of your life you are a technician of one kind or another. Now, when you remove that technique and when your mind is freed from your little worries, what are you? Nothing at all, are you? You are an empty shell. And, being an empty shell you are frightened, so you run after gurus, read books, go to a cinema turn on the radio or do a hundred other things. Inwardly you are bursting with ambition even though you are caught in routine, and it is all destroying your mind.

So what is necessary, obviously, is to free the mind. And you cannot free your mind if you do not first understand it. That is an extraordinarily arduous task, but that is real meditation. That is real discipline, because to understand the whole process of the mind demands attention, and the attention is, in itself, discipline. You do not have to impose a discipline on the mind in order to be free. Without freedom you can never find out what is true or what is false; without freedom you can never find if there is God or if there is no God. Of course you can speculate, you can believe that there is God or that there is not, but that is all immature, totally infantile. But for the mind to enquire into this whole problem of freedom and all the implications of freedom, to discover, to find out for yourself, you have to give your whole being to it; and you cannot give your whole being to it if you are not free. So the mind must be free, and that requires self-knowledge, to know yourself, to know all the reactions of the mind, to know what you think and the sources of your thought; not speculating, not asserting that there is the Atman or the Higher-Self, which is only another escape. To actually find out about yourself - about your ambitions, your greed, your envy, vanity, struggle, cruelty, the thoughtless acts, the way you talk, the way you look at people - to know the whole of that is very difficult. It means constant alertness, constant watchfulness, it means knowing why you identify, why you condemn, why you judge. This does not mean you have to analyze yourself, because analysis does not reveal the truth. What brings about perception is to actually experience what you are.

Look, Sirs, you believe, do you not?, that there is God. If you are a proper, respectable, petty Hindu or Christian you believe in God because you have been taught to believe from childhood. Now to find out is quite a different matter. It has nothing to do with belief, it has nothing to do with books or what you have been told. To discover if there is Reality, man must be free from the ideas he has about Truth, about God. And to be free from that idea you must first examine why you have that idea, you must look. When you look at it, ardently, eagerly, the explanation is there; the answer is there. I will show you what I mean and I hope I can make myself clear.

Most of us want security - economic, social, ideational - and if it cannot be found, then we try to find security at another level, the level of beliefs. We assert that there is some permanent entity called God and we take comfort, solace, security in that idea. Why do we do this? Because inwardly we want something that will be enduring, inwardly we are poverty-ridden, empty, so we put all our thoughts, our devotion, our love, our hopes on this thing called God. Whether the idea is real or unreal we do not enquire because it satisfies, it gives us a sense of safety. So we never examine what we do and why we do it but just accept it, because inwardly we want to be completely secure.

Now if you see that, if you understand it actually, without analyzing, then you have understood the fact that the mind seeks security, and also that there is no such thing as security. Then the mind is free, and only then can the mind discover if there is God, if there is Truth. But that requires arduous work, does it not? For you who believe in God it is hard work to be free from that belief, is it not? Because if that belief goes, where are you? You are lost, you are miserable, you are like a leaf driven by the wind and you want a refuge. Whether the refuge has any reality, you do not enquire, and so you have all this confusion about gurus, saviours, paths, systems - the misery of all that enslavement. So you see all that, actually, because I have explained it, whether you like it or not. Without deep analysis you can see it at a glance, swiftly; but you cannot see anything at all if you merely cling to a belief, to a conclusion. So, what I am suggesting is that in order to find out if there is Truth, if there is Reality, if there is something which is beyond the measure of the mind, the mind must first be free.

If you go very deeply into yourself - and the ultimate depth is the whole universe - then you will discover that which is timeless. If you take one thought, one single thought and go into it to the end, completely, wholly, with all your being then you will come to that which is timeless; because in the process of delving deeply into yourself the mind is freeing itself. That means that you have to be aware of your thoughts all the time. But most of you, unfortunately, are so occupied with your daily living that you have no time for anything else; you are too tired at the end of the day. So you think you will find Reality by swallowing a tablet, a belief, which is only a tranquillizer that will put you to sleep. And society wants you to be asleep, because society does not want a dangerous man, society does not want an explosive revolutionary. The economic revolutionary and the social revolutionary - they are merely reactionaries. They do not consider the whole of man, they only take a part and make the part the most important. The part is useful, but emphasis on the part, giving the part the significance of the whole, will never bring happiness to man.

So, that is one of our difficulties, is it not?, to see the whole Truth - not just a leaf, a branch, but the whole tree. If once you see the totality, then you can look at the particular. But if you examine the particular without the perception of the whole, then it has no meaning - and that is exactly what is taking place in the world. The village reformer, the scientist, the bureaucrat, the technician, the politician, they are all concerned with the little reform, with the immediate, with the part, and they are making an awful mess of the world. The world is the whole earth, with its vastness, its riches, its beauty - in which every little field is included, the fields called Russia, America, England, India and so on. But without seeing the totality of that, merely to concentrate on one little field and get very excited about it leads to destruction.

So our problem is, is it not?, how to see the whole; I hope you understand, Sirs, what I mean by the whole? I mean the whole of man, the totality of man, not only his little comforts, the security of his house, but the totality of his struggle, his ambition, his frustrations, his joys and miseries. To see all that and go beyond that, requires deep attention. I am sure you have never seen anything totally. You have never looked at a flower with all your being have you? You have never really looked at your wife, your son, your neighbour - with all your being. You either look at your wife physically, or as a useful being in the kitchen, as someone to bear your children, or as a comfort. Your whole time is taken up by the office, by earning your bread and butter. Your whole life is broken up into sectional fragments, and every society, every system, every group is trying to solve the problems which the broken pieces have created. And that process only gives rise to more problems. Do please be aware of this and you will see how simple it is.

All the politicians and the reformers are concerned with the improvement, the betterment of the fragments, and not of the whole. And that is what you also want because you are so immediately concerned with your bread and butter, your security, your frustrations and your little joys. So a mind that is so broken up, that is in fragmentation, - how can such a mind see the whole? You understand, Sirs, what I mean? You think partially, do you not? You think in fragmentation - your job, your family, your house, your nation, do you not? You never think of the earth itself, our earth, of which India, or your country is just a little coloured part. You never think of Man, you think of `me'. You think of your wife but not of the woman. You think of a virtue, of non-greed, but you do not think of the totality of virtue, its actual significance.

So all our thinking is in fragmentation, and can such a mind, which is broken up, which is in pieces, see the whole? If you understand my question, how will you answer?... Now, you see, we are communing with each other, we are partaking together in the understanding of the problem. You are not now merely hearing my words but we are actually partaking in this problem together. So you are not waiting for an answer from me, waiting for the solution; we are together sharing the problem. Am I making myself clear? The problem is this: How can a mind which is fragmented, broken up, which works in unrelated sections - it thinks of God and kicks the servant; it wants to be kind and is unkind - how can such a mind see the Whole? I am sure you have never put this question to yourself before, but now you are asking yourself, and what is your first reaction?

The first reaction, I think, is how to bring the fragments together, is it not? You think that by putting all the fragments together you can make the whole. You think you can gather the broken pieces and put them together, and integration will take place. But integration will never take place that way because the entity who is gathering and examining these fragments is a broken entity. Please follow this, Sirs. The mind that says: `I must bring all these broken pieces together and make them integrated', is itself only a fragment; it is not the whole mind, is it? When you see the truth of that, then what takes place? You see we are trying to communicate with each other and unless you are experiencing as I am talking, it has no value at all.

So, your being is in fragments, and the mind is also another fragment. Now what are you going to do? What is your reaction? I am talking to you, the individual, and I hope you are examining your own mind, examining your life, looking at the whole of it - your wife, your child, the society, your ambition, your quarrels, your worries, your vanities, your joys, - all the little bits, fragments, broken pieces, and how you give emphasis to one piece and neglect the others. This is actually your life, is it not? I am talking about your individual life. Now, how is such a life, all broken up as it is, disintegrated, how is that life, that mind to see this enormous wholeness - life as a whole? Because unless you see the totality, there is no answer to the fragment. Surely it is very important for you to understand this? Unless you see the totality of your life, the whole of it - in which joy, pleasure, anger, distress, misery, struggle, everything is included, and unless you see the whole of this Earth as one, and not just the piece called India or whatever it is, - your search to find an answer from the fragment will have no meaning; it will only lead to more misery. It is only the man who sees the whole who has an eternal answer. The capacity to see the whole is Reality, is God, is everything in the Universe.

So how is a broken mind to see the whole? First we must see the truth that a mind broken up can never see the whole. The village reformer, the politician, the technician, the guru, the seeker after truth are all, as you know, broken parts, each functioning in his own limited way and trying to give importance to the part; they will never see the Truth. They all have partial answers but the partial answer is most destructive. The total answer is only found by a mind which is not in fragmentation.

If you see that a total response is the only answer then you will no longer fight over all the things you now fight over - your family, your position, your authority, your land, your country. So then you have discovered something, have you not?, - that integration cannot take place by putting all the fragments together; that the fragments, though relatively important are not the total answer; that all the sayings of the guru, the teacher, all beliefs are giving importance to the little fragments when they have no importance at all. So you cease to be a follower - which is a marvellous thing, a glorious thing. Therefore you are beginning to see the quality of the mind which is free. You are beginning to experience, to feel the quality of the mind which sees the place of fragments but does not give the fragments all-importance. So your mind is already freeing itself from the fragmentations. I hope you are following with your whole being so that you see and can say: "By Jove, how true it is!"

When you see a beautiful moon, when you see the lovely sunset, you do not argue about it, your whole being is with it completely. And the same when you see the truth of this. When you approach it with your whole being - there it is. When you see that through the fragment there is no answer, when you really feel it deeply as when you look at the sunset, at a beautiful flower, a lovely face, a bird on the wing - then what happens?

So what is necessary is not the struggle of putting the fragments together but seeing the truth that the fragments hold no answer. And to see the truth of that means giving yourself totally to it. In giving yourself totally to something, you are acting as a whole being - which you do when you see something as true. So the perception of truth demands passion, intensity, an explosive energy, not a mind that is crushed through fear, through discipline, through all the horrors of cultivated virtue; those are all the partial pursuits of the broken mind. When you see this thing then your whole being is in it. Only the mind that is passionate, that knows the passion of freedom, such a mind alone can find that which is measureless.

November 26, 1958


Bombay 1958

Bombay 1st Public Talk 26th November 1958

Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
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