New Delhi 1961
New Delhi 1st Public Talk 8th January 1961
I think, before we begin, it should be made clear what we mean by discussion. To me it is a process of discovery through exposing oneself to the fact. That is, in discussing I discover myself, the habit of my thought, the way I proceed to think, my reactions, the way I reason, not only intellectually but inwardly. It is really exposing oneself not merely verbally but actually so that the discussion becomes a thing worth while - to discover for ourselves how we think. Because, I feel if we could be serious enough for an hour or a little more and really fathom and delve into ourselves as much as we can, we shall be able to release, not through any action of will, a certain sense of energy which is all the time awake, which is beyond thought.
Surely, this discussion is related to our daily living - they are not two separate things. And as most of us have become so extraordinarily mechanical in our attitudes and conclusions, unless we break up the pattern of our thinking, we live so partially, we hardly live at all - live in the total sense of that word. And is it possible to live with all our senses completely awakened, with a mind that is not cluttered, with a perception that is total, a seeing that is not only visual but is beyond the conditioned thinking? If we could, it would be worth while to go into all that. So, if that interests you, we could discuss this sense of awareness, of total awareness of life, and thereby perhaps release an energy that will be awake all the time in spite of our shallow existence.
Do observe, watch your own mind when you are listening to what is being said. Then you learn.
Question: Sir, what do you mean by `learn'?
Krishnamurti: I think if we could understand learning, then perhaps it would be a benefit. Is learning merely an additive process? Perhaps I add to something which I already have, or to the knowledge which I already possess. Is that learning? Is learning related to knowledge? If learning is merely an additive process through that which I already know, is that learning?
Then what is learning - like what is listening? Do I listen if I am interpreting, if I am translating, if I am merely corroborating to myself that which I am listening to, contradicting or accepting, or denying? Does learning consist in transforming one's conclusions, altering one's conclusions, or adding more, or expanding one's conclusions? Surely, if one has to understand what is listening, what is learning, one has to explore somehow, isn't it? Or is learning, or listening, or seeing unrelated to the past, and it is not a question of time at all? That is, can I listen so completely, so comprehensively that the very act of listening is perceiving what is true, and therefore the very perception has its own action without my interpreting what is seen into action?
Question: Aren't you using "learning" in a very special sense? As we understand learning, it has a relation to knowledge - that is, getting more and more knowledge. There is no other meaning which can be put into that word "learning". Are you not using it in a very special sense?
Krishnamurti: Probably we are using that word in a special sense. To me it is exploring and asking. I want to find out how to discuss this. Is a discussion merely an exchange of ideas, a debate, an exposition of one's own knowledge, cleverness, erudition, or is a discussion in spite of knowledge a further exploration into something which I do not know? Is it a scientific exploration where the scientist, if he is really worthy at all, enquires, there is not a conclusion from which he enquires?
What are we trying to do? We are just laying the foundation for a right kind of discussion. If it is merely a schoolboy debate, then it is not worth it. If it is merely opposing one conclusion to another then it does not lead very far. If you are a Communist and I a Capitalist, we battle with words, political activities and so on; it does not get us anywhere. If you are entrenched as a Hindu or a Buddhist or whatever you are, and I am something else - a Catholic - , we just battle with words, with conclusions, with dogmas; and that does not get us very far.
And if I want to go very far, I must know, I must be aware that I am discussing from a position, from a conclusion, from a knowledge, from a certainty; or that I am really not entrenched. If I am held to something and from there I proceed or try to find out, then I am so conditioned that I cannot think freely. All this is a self-revealing process, isn't it?
Discussions of that kind would be worthwhile, if we could do that. Now what shall we discuss?
Question: Total living.
Krishnamurti: A gentleman wants to know how to live completely.
Question: Sir, I am interested in understanding the mechanism of thinking. At times thought seems to come from the bottom of conclusions, and at times from the top surface like a drop from above. I am confused. I do not know thought apart from the background. I am unable to evaluate what the word "thought" really means.
Krishnamurti: Yes, Sir, shall we discuss that?
Thought is the mechanism of thinking. Is thinking merely a response to a question, to a challenge? If thinking is merely a reaction, is that thinking at all? I think perhaps I am going too fast. Somebody should tell me if I am going too fast.
Question: I think we can understand you, Sir.
Krishnamurti: All right, Sir.
You asked me a question and I replied. The reply is provoked by your challenge, and I reply according to the content of my memory. And that is the only thinking I know. If you are an engineer and I ask you a question, you reply according to your knowledge. If I am a yogi, a Sanskrit scholar, or this or that, then I reply according to that, according to my condition. Isn't that so, Sir?
So, is thinking - thinking as we know it - a reaction to a challenge, to a question, to a provocation, according to my background? My background may be very complex; my background may be religious, economic, social or technical; my background may be limited to a certain pattern of thought - according to that background I reply. The depth of my thinking may be very superficial; if I am educated in the modern system, then I reply to your question according to my knowledge. But if you probe a little deeper, I reply according to the depth of my discovery into my unconscious. And if you still ask me further, probe, enquire more deeply, I reply either saying "I don't know", or according to some racial, inherited, acquired, traditional answer. Isn't that so, Sir? That we all know, more or less. Thoughts are all mechanical responses to a challenge, to a question. The mechanism may take time to reply. That is, there may be an interval between the question and the answer, to a greater or lesser extent; but it will be mechanical.
Now if I am aware of all that process - which few of us are; if I may, I am taking it for granted that we are aware - , I realize that my whole response to a question, which is the process of thinking, is very mechanical and shallow; though I may reply from a very great depth it is still mechanical. And we think in words, don't we?, or in symbols. All thought is clothed in words, or in symbols, or in patterns. Is there a thinking without words, without symbols, without patterns?
And so the problem arises, doesn't it, Sir; whether all our thinking is merely verbal. And can the mind dissociate the word from thought? And if the word is dissociated, is there a thought? Sirs, I do not know if you are experiencing or merely listening.
Question: What is thinking?
Krishnamurti: I ask you a question, how do you reply to that?
Question: From my background. Thinking is the most natural process.
Krishnamurti: I ask you, "Where do you live?" And your response is immediate. Isn't it? Because where you live is very familiar to you, without a thought you reply quickly. Isn't that so, Sir? And I ask you a further complex question. There is a time-lag between the reply and the challenge. In that interval one is thinking. The thinking is looking into the recesses of memory. Isn't it?
I ask you, "What is the distance between here and Madras?" You say, "I know it, but let me look up". Then you say, the distance is so many miles. So you have taken an interval of a minute; during that minute, the process of thinking was going on - which is, looking into the memory and the memory replying. Isn't that so, Sir? Then if I ask you a still more complex question, the time interval is greater. And if I ask a question the answer to which you don't know, you say, "I don't know", because you have not been able to discover the reply in your memory. However, you are waiting to check, you ask a specialist, or go back home and look into a book and tell. This is the process of your thinking, isn't it?, waiting for an answer. And if we proceed a little further, if we ask a question of which you don't know the answer at all, for which memory has no response, there is no waiting, there is no expectation. Then the mind says, "I really do not know, I cannot answer it."
Now can the mind ever be in such a state when it says, "I really do not know" - which is not a negation, which isn't still saying, "I am waiting for an answer"? I ask you what truth is, what God is, what "X" is, and you will reply according to your tradition. But if you push it further and if you deny the tradition because mere repetition is not discovery of God, or Reality or what you will, a mind that says, "I don't know" is entirely different from a mind which is merely searching for an answer. And isn't it necessary that a mind should be in such a state when it says "I really do not know"? Must it not be in that state to discover something, for something new to enter into it?
Question: Sir, we have come to this point: we think in terms of words, symbols, and we have to dissociate thought from the words and symbols.
Krishnamurti: Sir, have we experienced directly that all thinking, as we know, is verbal? Or, it may not be verbal. I am just asking. And what has that to do with daily existence? Going to the office, meeting the wife, quarrelling, jealousy, you know the whole business of daily existence, the appalling boredom and the fear and all that - what has that got to do with this question? Is thinking verbal? I feel we should not go too far away from the actual living - then it becomes speculative. But if we could relate it to our daily living, then perhaps we shall begin to break down some factors in our life which are distracting. That is all.
Sir, let us begin again. Words are very important to us, aren't they? Words like India, God, Communist, Gita, Krishna, and also words like jealousy, love are very important to us. Aren't they?
Question: Yes. The meaning of the word is very important.
Krishnamurti: That is what I mean, the meaning of the word. And can the mind be free of the word which so conditions our thinking? Do you understand, Sir?
Question: That cannot be.
Krishnamurti: Sir, it may be an impossible thing, it may not be possible at all; but we are slaves to words. You are a Theosophist, or you are a Communist, or you are a Catholic with all the implications in the significance of those words. And if we do not understand those words and their meaning and their inwardness, we are just slaves to words. And should not the mind, before it begins to explore, to enquire, break down this slavery to words? Do you understand, Sir? The Communist uses the word "democracy" in one sense - People's Government, etc - and somebody else uses the same word in a totally different sense. And so a man begins to enquire what the truth is in this matter, when he finds two so-called intelligent people using the same word with diametrically opposite meanings. So one becomes very very cautious of words.
Can the mind break down the conditioning imposed by words? That is the first thing obviously. If I want to find God, I have to break down everything - simple ideas, conclusions about it - before I can find it. And if I want to find out what love is, must I not break down all the traditional meaning, the separative, dividing meaning of love - such as, the carnal, the spiritual, the universal, the particular, the personal? How does the mind free itself from words? Is it possible at all? Or do you say, "It is never possible"?
Question: Sir, can we temporarily suspend opinions from conclusions?
Krishnamurti: Sir, in regard to discussing anything, what do you mean by "temporarily suspend"? If I temporarily suspend that I am a Communist and discuss communism, then there is no meaning, no discovery.
Question: Sir, is it not like that one can go into the dark without even a torch?
Krishnamurti: Yes, Sir, probably; then its exploring may be like that. Real thinking is opposed to mechanical thinking. I do not know what mechanical thinking is and what real thinking is. Is your mind mechanical? To you, is thinking mechanical? Should not the mind be really interested in breaking down the words, the difficulties in problems, the danger of confusion created by words? Should not the mind be really interested, not intellectually, in the life and death problems of the world? Unless the interest is there, how will you start breaking down the accepted academical meaning? If you are enquiring into the question of freedom, into the question of living, must you not enquire into the meaning of those words? Merely to be aware that a mind is slave to words is not an end in itself. But if the mind is interested in the question of freedom, in the question of living and all the rest of it, it must enquire.
Question: If the mind is not interested, how is the mind to get it? Krishnamurti: How am I, who is not interested, to be interested? I must sleep, and how am I to keep awake? One can take several drugs, or counsel someone to keep oneself awake. But is that keeping awake?
Question: When I see a thing, my seeing is automatic; then interpretation comes in and also condemnation.
Krishnamurti: Sir, what do you mean by "seeing"? There is a visual seeing; I see you and you see me; I see the things that are very near, very close, and I also see visually things very far. And I also use that word "seeing" to mean understanding; I say, "Yes, I see that very clearly now." And the interpretative process is going on in the very seeing. And we are asking, if all seeing is interpretation, what is the principle which says that seeing is not interpretation? Can I look at something without interpreting? Is that possible?
Can I look at something without interpreting that which I see? I see a flower, a rose. Can I look at it without giving it a name? Can I look at it, observe it? Or in the very process of observing, is the naming taking place, the two being simultaneous and therefore not separable? If we say they are immediate, not separable, then there is nothing that can bring about the cessation of interpretation.
Let us find out if it is possible to look at that flower without naming it. Have you tried it, Sir? Have you looked at yourself without naming, not only in a casual way but inwardly? Have you looked at yourself without interpreting what you are? I see I am bad, I am good, I love, I hate, I ought to be this, I ought not to be that. Now have I looked at myself without condemning or justifying?
Question: The difficulty is, Sir, that we cannot just see ourselves without judging our action. Also when we judge, immediately we stop action.
Krishnamurti: Then it is not a difficult thing. You see the fact. The difficulty arises only when you don't see the fact. I see very clearly that when I see myself as I am, I condemn; and I realize that this condemnatory process stops further action. And if I do not want further action it is all right. Isn't it? But if there is to be further action, this condemnatory process has to cease. Then where is the difficulty?
I see myself lying, not telling the truth. Now if I do not want to judge it, then there is no problem; I just lie. But if I want to challenge it, then there is contradiction. Isn't there? I want to lie and I do not want to lie, then the difficulty arises. Isn't that so?
If I see that I am lying and I like it, I go on with it. But if I don't like it, if it does not lead anywhere, then I don't say it is difficult. Because it doesn't lead anywhere, because to me this is a serious matter, I stop lying. Then there is no contradiction, there is no difficulty.
Words have condemnatory or appreciative meanings. As long as my mind is caught in words, either I condemn or accept. And is it possible for the mind not to accept or deny but observe without the word and the symbol interfering with it?
Question: But is action separate from that word?
Krishnamurti: Is observing a thought process? Can I observe without the word, which we said is either condemnatory or appreciative?
Question: How is observing different from thinking, Sir?
Krishnamurti: I am using the word, "observing". Stick to that word "observing." I observe you and you observe me. I look at you and you look at me. Can you look at me without the word "me", the prejudice, your like and dislike? You are putting me on a pedestal and I am putting you on a bigger pedestal. Can you look at me and can I look at you without this interpreting process?
Question: It is not possible to observe without the thought process, which is memory coming into being.
Krishnamurti: Then what? If that is so, then we are perpetual slaves to the past and therefore there is no redemption. There is no redemption for a man who is always held a slave to the past. If that is the only process I know, then there is no such thing as freedom; then there is only the expansion of conditioning, or the narrowing down of conditioning. Therefore, man can never be free. If you say that, then the problem ceases.
Question: My response to you now is one thing and my response when I go outside is another. For maintaining my family and myself certain basically essential things are necessary. In getting them, I also feel the need to ensure the continuity of these material things - food, clothing and shelter - in future also. My needs also tend to grow. Thus, greed steps in, and it develops. How is my mind to stop greed at any level?
Krishnamurti: How is greed to go when I am living in this world of constant growth in needs? Is not that it, Sirs? I think there are certain things I need and those needs must continue. Why have I apprehension about them? I wonder if we cannot tackle this whole problem - fear, total living, what is thinking?, and the things that we discussed - , if we could discuss that awareness which awakens intelligence. I am putting it very briefly. If we could discuss how to be aware intelligently all through the day - not sporadically, not for ten minutes - , then I think this problem would be answered for ourselves by ourselves. Is it possible for me to be aware - in the sense of being intelligently alert, wherever I may be, whether high or low, whether I have little or much - so that my mind ceases to be in a state of apprehension? Now is it possible to be aware intelligently?
What is it to be intelligent? Unless I understand that word and the meaning of that word, the significance, the inward sense of that word, we can ask thousands of questions and there will be thousands of answers, but we shall remain as before. Now I am asking myself, "Can I understand this feeling, the being intelligent, so that if I have that feeling of being intelligent, then there is no problem, as I will tackle everything as it comes along."
January 8, 1961
New Delhi 1961
New Delhi 1st Public Talk 8th January 1961
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