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New Delhi 1962

New Delhi 4th Public Talk 31st January 1962

I want to talk this evening about discipline, knowledge and sorrow. But before I go into it, I think we must be clear that we are not dealing with ideas, theories or abstractions, because they have no value at all. When you are concerned with actual life, with everyday facts, mere theories, abstractions and ideations have little or no meaning at all. And we must be very clear that what we are going to talk about is not merely translated into ideation, formulated into some kind of vague abstractions, because we are dealing with the whole problem of life - the life that is lived every day, the life that is great pain, great travail, in which there is such agony, despair, frustration.

We are not dealing with words. A man who really understands, who is really serious and learning, must go through beyond words. Words generally are a hindrance, because we take the symbol for the actual, we take the word for the thing. But the thing is not the word. The word tree is not - the actual tree. But the word tree becomes all important when we are dealing with words, with ideations. But when we are dealing with facts, the tree, apart from the word, has an immense significance. Similarly, we are not concerned with words, nor with ideas, nor with abstractions. We are concerned with the actual daily life with its miseries, little successes and constant anxiety with norms of hard work. So we are dealing with life and not with words.

For most of us discipline is merely imposed by circumstances - going to the office, passing examinations, leading a certain kind of life, following certain ideas, imposing a certain discipline. And most of us, not merely the so-called religious people, do this constant discipline. The man who goes to the office has to get up at a certain time, he has to be there in the office, punctually; and the boy who wants to pass an examination has to study, he is forcing himself to conform to a pattern - as most of us do - and that pattern is either imposed by society or self-imposed.

And if you observe closely you will see that this imposition of a pattern implies every form of suppression, conscious and unconscious - not only suppression but resistance. When you suppress, you cultivate resistance. If you are angry, you discipline yourself not to be angry. If you are lustful, you discipline, control yourself not to be lustful - that is to resist. Or if resistance is not possible, you find a substitution, you cultivate some form of resistance - to resist anger by an idea. If you observe yourself closely, you will see that is what you are doing all day. You want to do something spontaneously, naturally, freely; but society with its norms of established order, with its regard for respectability which is a horror - is all the time controlling, shaping you. And so gradually discipline becomes a form of suppression, resistance, or a substitution - and escape from the fact.

Please, you are not merely listening to the speaker, you are observing yourself. Because, it is much more interesting, much more alive, much more significant when you are watching yourself through the words which the speaker is using, so that you get to know yourself. And the knowledge of oneself - what actually is taking place - is far more important than merely to follow a verbal discourse. So if you observe yourself not only at the conscious level but also at the deep, unconscious level - which is perhaps much more significant than the mere conscious pursuit of an idea - , you will find that discipline is a resistance, a suppression. And the moment you suppress, you resist what is taking place psychologically, inwardly. Outwardly one can see suppression as it is. But inwardly, when you are forcing, compelling, controlling, shaping, suppressing what is actually taking place, that is called discipline.

You will find, if you go sufficiently deeply into yourself, that there is a contradiction between the fact of `what is' and the idea of `what should be'. The fact is that you are angry, and the non-fact is the idea that you should not be angry; so the adjustment to the pattern which is not the fact is called discipline. The adjustment to an ideation is discipline - that is, if you are violent, you have an idea, an ideal, a belief in non-violence and you are adjusting yourself to that. This adjustment, this constant process of trying to bridge the gap between the fact of `what is' and the ideal of `what should be' is called discipline. In that process of disciplining oneself to an idea, to a pattern, to a belief, one invariably develops psychological contradictions, and therefore there is a continuity of more conflict, not less conflict. A mind in conflict is a dull mind; a mind in conflict soon wears itself out, like any machine which is in constant friction, and loses all its power.

So discipline is really, if you observe very carefully, the process not only of creating a contradiction within oneself but also of dissipating that energy which is necessary to learn. After all, learning is far more important than discipline; if you learn about something, in the very act of learning there is a discipline which is not imposed. I mean by learning not an additive process. Learning is not adding to something all the time; in that there is no learning; that is merely accumulating. Adding to what is already known, which is knowledge, is not learning. Learning is a constant living process: observing, being aware of things actually as they are taking place. And from that your mind becomes alert, learning, watching. If you are merely accumulating knowledge and translating or comparing what you already know with what is actually taking place, then you are merely accumulating from the fact of `what is', adding to that which you already know. And that process is not learning.

To learn one must have humility; to learn the mind must be in a state of not knowing. Not knowing is the essence of humility. A mind which has accumulated knowledge, which knows, has no humility. It is only the mind that has the essence of humility that learns, and therefore that humility never accumulates. If you observe yourself sometimes, you will see that the moment you use learning as a means of accumulating, from that accumulative acting there is invariably psychological contradiction, because that learning is a static process, that knowledge is static; and from that staticity you are trying to understand or control or shape a thing which is alive and therefore there is a contradiction: therefore there is a conflict. Learning is never a conflict. If your mind is very alert, very sharp, watching, learning, that very learning brings about its own extraordinarily subtle discipline which is not controlled; therefore the mind is always young, innocent, fresh.

So, there is discipline when one controls the fact by what one has already known. Do please listen to what the speaker wants to say. I mean by listening not listening with what already you know. If you are listening from a centre of knowledge, from your book, from your learning, from your experience, from the Gita, from your environmental experience and all the rest of it, from a centre which you already know - if you are listening from all that, you are not actually listening. All that is the screen through which you are listening to the words of the speaker. But if you are actually listening, you have no screen, you are not starting from something which you already know. Therefore, your mind has become extraordinarily alert; therefore the mind is in a state of humility - not in terms of only disciplining, but in terms of learning, trying to understand, seeing what is true - not in terms of what has been.

So, you see, discipline is now practised by the so-called religious people - who are not at all religious - trying to conform to the pattern of a religious life which has been laid down. Discipline is also practised by the office-worker or by the labourer, getting out, going every morning to his work - which must be utterly boring. And this practice of discipline is out of a desire to succeed, to arrive; and therefore it brings about conflict; and being in conflict leads to suppression, resistance. All this is called discipline, either for a religious life or for a successful life through ambition.

So a disciplined mind as it is understood now, is incapable of learning; it is incapable of understanding; it is not sufficiently subtle, free, young. But if you begin to understand this whole process, then you will see that knowledge has quite a different meaning, it has quite a different place. Knowledge is necessary. A good bureaucrat or a good scientist or a good mechanic or a good professor must have knowledge. And his learning is merely an addition to what he already knows; it is a new way of looking at something; it is a new scientific discovery; and he adds to what he has already known, his learning is accumulated. But such a mind, which is accumulating knowledge and from that knowledge experiences and gathers more knowledge in order to add more to itself, is not a creative mind. So knowledge is never creative.

Let us look at it a little more. The world is growing more and more; it is superficially acquiring more information, more knowledge; and knowledge is expanding more and more and more. And most of the minds are being trained either scientifically, mechanically, or to function in a factory. Such knowledge is obviously necessary; otherwise the affairs of the world cannot be run properly, efficiently - anyway, it is not done properly; so it does not matter, one way or the other. But efficiency implies knowledge, and an efficient person is concerned with accumulating knowledge to be more efficient. And that is what most of us are concerned with, becoming more and more efficient - which mechanically makes the man more and more ruthless.

Do watch your own mind. You are not listening to me. That is not important. What is important is your own life; watch it. But when knowledge becomes all-important, learning ceases. It is only the mind that is capable of learning that begins to have the feeling of what it is to be creative, because in a sense it has humility. So a mind that is not acquiring knowledge and therefore not disciplining itself according to the desire to acquire, is capable of learning. But most of us are practising discipline - the ambitious politician is disciplining himself, in his crooked way; the man who wants to be rich is disciplining himself in his crookedness. But we are not talking of such disciplines. We are talking of a much more radical discipline that comes when there is the essence of learning without accumulation - which demands a mind that is very alert and very sharp, that watches.

The more you accumulate anything the more you become dull. Have you not noticed it? The moment you have a secure job, the moment you have a family - secure, made respectable by man, by law, by children, family, everything - you have become dull. You may smile; but the actual fact is your sharpness is gone; your watching, your looking, seeing, learning is completely gone, because you have established yourself in respectability. A mind that is being made respectable by society, by a discipline which is in conformity to the pattern established by society - such a mind obviously can never find what is true, can never find if there is such a thing as God or no God.

To enquire, to learn about sorrow is a very extraordinary thing. We have to learn about sorrow, because for most of us there is sorrow - sorrow of not having a good job, sorrow caused by death, sorrow through disease, sorrow brought about by self-pity. We are not talking about the cause of sorrow, we are trying to understand the whole problem of sorrow. But to understand the problem of sorrow there must be no escape from sorrow. To understand something you must look at it; you must know all the content, all the beauty, all its significance, its depth, its height, its violence - everything you must know. But you cannot know if you are trying to avoid it. You cannot know, you cannot understand the depth of sorrow, if you are trying merely to cover it up with a lot of belief, if you are trying to run away, if you are merely using abstractions, beliefs, ideations as screens between yourself and the fact. And most of us have sorrow of some kind or other - through death, frustration, injustice in this world, the husband leaving the wife or the wife leaving the husband, realizing the incapacity of oneself, living in darkness, in anxiety, in fear, in loneliness, living with a petty little mind everlastingly comparing itself with something else. These are all the symptoms, these are all the causes, but there is sorrow.

But how is one to understand sorrow? Because, unless you understand sorrow, you cannot be free of it. You can deny it, you can rationalize and think it out and push it away from you, go to the temple, or pick up a book, or tune in the radio, or take a drink; do what you will, it is always there like a shadow. You may read all the sacred books, study everlastingly the Upanishads, the Bible, the Koran, or what you will; sorrow is always there like a festering sore. But how are you to understand it?

Now, why do you make a problem of sorrow, why should sorrow be a problem for man, something that is not resolved, that is not understood? For most of us sorrow is a problem; you don't know how to break it, how to be free of it, how to put it aside. A dull mind will never resolve it, it will only be in deterioration; and every person is caught in it and, being caught in it, makes of it a problem. Why? I mean by a problem something that is not resolved, something which has a continuity as memory.

First of all, sorrow is an indication of a dull mind. Please listen to it; do not accept, do not deny; just listen. Sorrow is an indication that a mind has gone to sleep. Sorrow is an indication that there is self-pity - that is pitying oneself. Sorrow is an indication of the strength of your memory which is the past. You want things as they were, or things as they should be; or you want a continuity, a fulfilment of your ambition which makes you frustrated; or you have felt the death of someone. We are not talking of death; we will talk about it another time. We are talking about sorrow, to know that it is in our minds, in our hearts, deep down, suppressed, never revealing it to ourselves. We may become occasionally aware of it. But we want to forget it, we want to escape from it as quickly as possible, we want to get rid of it.

Neither the altar nor the chemist can ever solve sorrow. Sorrow has to be understood. It has got to be completely exposed. And you cannot expose it, if you are running away from it, if you are only giving an explanation - because it is so easy to give an explanation: and that explanation becomes a cover behind which you lurk, behind which you take shelter. Please watch all this in yourself. We are exposing ourselves. So the essence of sorrow is self-pity, memory of what has been and of what should be, and the hope that you will gain what should be. The essence of sorrow is this knowing, self-pitying, comparing always yourself with what has been or what should be, comparing yourself with others - always the others who are more powerful, more rich, more happy, more this and more that. And comparison is psychological, is based on self-pity. So you have to look at this fact of sorrow, and not try to interpret sorrow, not try to explain it away - you cannot, it is there - , not try to take shelter in a temple, in a book, in the family, in pictures, in drink, or anything else; you have to see it, to feel it.

It is very difficult to see the fact of sorrow, because the word `sorrow' interferes with the fact. If you want to know, to learn and understand if there is or if there is not that extraordinary thing called God, you must go beyond the word `God'. The word is not the reality, surely. So, if a man wants to discover, he must go to the very end, he must discard the word, he must discard everything that he has known about God - all the doctrines, all the beliefs, all the dogmas - he must totally discard them to find out. Similarly, the word `sorrow' itself has an extraordinary weight, has an extraordinary significance. We have made it respectable, we have made it into something great. `The man of sorrow, how the Christians have made that an extraordinary thing! They worship sorrow. Yet sorrow is too emotional to be disregarded; it has to be understood and pushed aside completely. So can sorrow be put aside completely, so that the mind is never oppressed with the weight of sorrow? Otherwise life will become so empty, so shallow. Have you not noticed your own mind in sorrow, have you not noticed other people's minds in sorrow? How shallow they are - how empty and incapable of depth! They can discuss very cleverly; but sorrow slowly makes the mind small, dull.

Now, is it possible to be free of sorrow? All that you can find out is: not that it is, or that it is not, possible; but you can learn about it. Please follow what I am going to say - follow, not in the sense of disciples listening to some guru, follow it step by step in yourself inch by inch. Observing the facts you will find that we are being trained - through education, through religions, through environmental influences - never to view a thing directly. We are all sidestepping, always avoiding the fact. Is that how one suffers? One can give a thousand explanations why there is sorrow in this world - like ignorance. I mean by ignorance not lack of knowledge, but the ignorance of what psychologically is going on inwardly; that is real ignorance, not to be aware of the total process of what is going on in the consciousness in yourself, inside the skin. So there can be a thousand explanations, but at the end of it you will still be in sorrow.

Now, how is one to be free of sorrow? Or, is that a wrong question? If you say, ` How am I to be free of it?', the 'how' then becomes a problem. And a mind that has a problem is in sorrow, because it is in a state of contradiction, of trying to conform in order to avoid sorrow. Please follow this. The moment you say `how', you have introduced a problem. And a mind ridden with problems is a sorrowful mind, a mind that has no problems has no sorrow. There is such a mind which has no problem, and it can meet problems. But if you begin to ask, `How am I to be free from sorrow?' you have already introduced a problem which will prevent you from understanding. This is not logic. Do not be intellectually caught by the logical sequence of it. It is not so.

To put a wrong question: how to be free?, invariably brings you a wrong answer. But to look at the fact that the mind is in sorrow, to look without interpretation, without an opinion, without a conclusion, merely to observe - that looking, that observation, demands attention. And the moment you attend, the moment you give your whole attention, then there is no problem. It is only the mind that does not give total attention that creates the problem. When you give attention with your body, with your mind, with your heart, with all your senses, totally - in that there is no problem.

But we never give to anything our complete attention, because we have been trained to think with a motive. You pay attention, because you want to be a big man, or you want a little more money or a better job. You want to be a greater partner, a greater poet, a well-known person; therefore you give attention. That is not attention. When you have a motive behind it which makes you attend, then the motive is much more important than the attention; so there is a contradiction; so there is conflict; and therefore you will never give complete attention to anything. And when you give your complete attention to something, you have no problem, and therefore your mind is capable of paying complete attention to the fact of sorrow.

You will find, if you so pay attention, from that attention there is energy. You know, only in attention there is virtue, only in attention there is goodness; there is no other virtue or goodness. The incomplete attention that one gives when one tries to cultivate virtue is immorality; it is not virtue. But the mind that gives complete attention - I mean by that attention: it not only observes, sees, listens but also feels with all its organs highly awakened, not dull - has sensitivity; attention implies sensitivity. You cannot be attentive, if you are insensitive - insensitive to the squalor; insensitive to your children, to your clothes, to the food you eat, to the manner of your sitting, walking, talking; insensitive to the birds, to the trees, to all the things about you.

If you are insensitive, you cannot possibly give your whole attention. Just listen to all this, do not say,`How am I to become sensitive?'. That is a wrong question. You have to know, to be aware, to recognize that you are not sensitive - not find an explanation. The fact is that you are insensitive; otherwise this poor and unfortunate country would not be in this appalling state, a country ruled by politicians. And this insensitivity will be there only when you are not aware. There must be the recognition of the fact, the seeing of the fact - not the accepting - because the moment you accept something there is a dual process, there is a contradiction and therefore a conflict.

So, similarly, when you observe, when you see that there is sorrow, when you see the fact that in that sorrow is implied self-pity, the misery of self-pity, the loneliness of self-pity, and the weight of memory that gives rise to sorrow - when you observe all this, see all this, then you will see that you are completely, totally, out of sorrow. Sorrow is, surely, a problem; and if the problem takes root in the mind, the greater is the sorrow. But as the thing is presented to you, if immediately you meet it, if immediately you see it completely with all your being, then the mind becomes entirely different.

A sorrowful mind has no love. It may have sympathy, it may show kindliness, tenderness for others; but it has no love, because it is concerned with itself and has the problem of sorrow. It is only when the mind is free from sorrow that there is love. When it is gripped with sorrow, do what it will, there is no love - not the love of God and love of ideas; all that is not love; that is just ideation, that has no meaning at all. Love is not something abstractive. It is that extraordinary vitality, extraordinary energy with extraordinary depth, which comes when you have understood sorrow.

You cannot understand sorrow and the vast immense thing called life, if there is no humility. And knowledge prevents humility. A mind that is learning, watching, seeing, never accumulating - such a mind is in a state of humility - not the humility of the saints, not the humility of the politicians, not the humility of the very learned man trying to pretend that he is very humble; but that humility that has never climbed the ladder of success, that humility that has never acquired, that humility that has never strengthened itself in knowledge.

It is only when there is freedom from the known that there is the unknown.

January 31, 1962


New Delhi 1962

New Delhi 4th Public Talk 31st January 1962

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