Bombay 1st Public Talk 21st February 1962
It must be fairly obvious to most people that there must be throughout the world a tremendous revolution - a revolution not of words, not of ideas; not the exchange of beliefs or dogmas; but a change, a total mutation in thought. Because, in the world which is our world - the world we live in, the world that you and I inhabit - the companions, the relationships, the work, the ideas and the beliefs and the dogmas that we hold, have produced a monstrous world, a world of conflict, misery and perpetual sorrow. There is no denying it. Though every one of us is aware of this extraordinary state of things in the world, we accept it as a normal condition, we put up with it day after day, we never enquire into the necessity, the urgency of a revolution that is neither economical nor political but much more fundamental. And it is that we are going to discuss, we are going to talk about together, to explore together, during these three weeks.
But to explore, there must be freedom. To explore really, deeply, lastingly, you must leave your books, your ideas, your traditions; because without freedom no exploration is possible. No enquiry is ever possible when the mind is tethered to any kind of dogma, to a tradition, to a belief and so on. The difficulty with most of us is: not that we are not capable of enquiring, not that we are incapable of investigating, but we are apparently totally incapable of letting things go, putting things aside, and therefore, with a fresh mind, with a young mind, with an innocent mind, looking at the world and all the appalling things that are taking place in it.
To investigate, to enquire into all the questions that touch our lives - death, birth, marriage, sex, relationship, if there is or if there is not something beyond the measure of the mind, what is virtue - that requires freedom to pull down, because it is only when you can destroy completely everything that you have held sacred or right or virtuous, that you can find out what is truth. We are going to enquire into everything, question everything, tear down the house that man has built through the centuries, to find out what is truth. And that requires freedom, a mind capable of enquiring, a mind which is serious. I mean by `seriousness' a quality of pursuing a thought to the very end, a questioning that is not afraid to face the consequences. Otherwise there is no enquiry, otherwise there is no investigation. We remain merely on the surface and play with words, with ideas. And if one has observed sufficiently the things that are happening - not only mechanically, technically, but also in our relationships between people - when one observes that progress throughout the world is denying freedom, when one observes the strength of society in which the individual has completely ceased to be, and when one observes how nationalities are dividing themselves more and more, especially in this unfortunate country, one will see that some kind of deep revolt must come about.
It seems to me that the first thing to enquire into is `society' - what is the structure, and what is the nature of society - because we are social beings. You cannot live by yourself; even if you withdraw into the Himalayas, or become a hermit or a sannyasi, you cannot live by yourself; you are in relationship with another, and relationship with another creates the structure which we call 'society'. That structure controls relationship - that is, you and I have relationship, we are in communion with each other; in that communion, in that relationship, we create, we build a structure called society. That society controls our minds, shapes our hearts, shapes our actions - whether you live in a Communist society, or a Hindu society, or a Christian world. Society with its structure shapes the mind of every human being, consciously or unconsciously. The culture in which we live, the traditions, the religions, the politics, the education - all that, the past as well as the present, shapes our thought. And to bring about a complete revolution - there must be a revolution, a crisis in consciousness - you must question the structure of society.
If I may add here, words lose their significance if you merely use them as symbols, and not go beyond the words. Most of us are slaves to words; whether we call ourselves Hindus, Parsis, or Mussalmas, we are slaves to words. And as long as words remain important, we cannot go beyond the words. When we talk about society, its culture, its structure, they are merely words; and to go beyond these words one must see oneself in relation to the structure, in relation to what is actually taking place in the world, and in relation to what is actually taking place in one's own life. Words are merely a means to communicate; but if we stop merely at words, all communication ceases, except verbal communication.
We are not dealing with ideas, we are not dealing with various beliefs or dogmas. We are concerned with bringing about a different action, a different mind, a different entity as a human being; and to go into that really, profoundly, we must not be slaves to words. This is very important to understand right from the very beginning, because the word is never the thing. The word `bird' is not the bird. They are two different things. But most of us are satisfied with the word and not with seeing beyond the word. We are satisfied to call ourselves individuals, and talk of society and the structure of society; but is there an individual at all? Because we are the result of environmental influence, we are the society, we are the result of that structure which we call society. It is only when you completely, totally, break away from society that you are an individual; but you are not now an `individual' at all, you are the result of your environmental influence. You are being brought up as a Hindu, as a Buddhist, or what you will; you are the result of the influence of a particular society. So we must be greatly aware of the influence of words, and discover for ourselves to what extent, to what depth, we are slaves to words.
These meetings, these gatherings, are not entertainment; they are not propaganda; they are not for an exchange of ideas. But what we are concerned with, essentially and deeply, is to bring about a radical, religious revolution. And that requires a tremendous investigation into oneself; that requires a questioning of everything that man has built, every attitude, every value, every tradition, every relationship; and we are going to do that, we are not going to leave one stone unturned. There is nothing holy, there is nothing sacred. And therefore, to investigate, you need a very sharp, clear, precise mind - not a mind befogged with ideas, with words, with sentiments. And to think very clearly there must be freedom; otherwise you cannot think freely. If you are a Hindu or a Parsi or what you will, if that is the basis of your thought - or from that you begin to think - it is absolutely impossible to think, because you are not free. So the first essential necessity of enquiry is freedom; because then you can begin to question.
There are two ways of questioning. One is: to question with a motive and therefore try to find an answer to the question. The other is: to question without a motive, and therefore seeking no answer. It is really important, if you would follow what is being said, to understand the difference between these two questionings.
Most of us do question, and our questioning is a reaction. I do not like something, and I question and reject it, or modify it; my questioning is, according to the urge or the demand of what I want. So, that kind of questioning has a motive behind it; and that questioning is a reaction. We know what a reaction is: I do not like something and I revolt against it. That revolt is merely a reaction, a response to something which I do not like. But there is a different questioning which is without a motive, which is not a reaction, which is: to observe, to question the thing which is a fact.
I do not like to take any examples, because examples do not get us very far. Similes are dangerous things; but they might be somewhat helpful in order to explain the difference between the two kinds of questioning - the questioning which seeks an answer, and the questioning that has no answer but is merely questioning. You take the fact of what is happening in this country; nationalism and caste prejudices are prevalent. That is a fact. The worship of the flag is an abomination, because it separates people, it brings war. This worship of the flag with a nationalistic spirit is a fact; it is actually going on in this country. Now, you can question it to find out why it is happening, the truth of it, without a motive and therefore without defence, without attacking it, but merely questioning it sharply to find out. Or, you can question it, having accepted nationalism - which is accepting the division of people as castes, as classes, as groups - and when you so question, there is a motive behind it, and that questioning does not reveal the truth of that matter.
There are two ways of questioning the whole process of living. One is: questioning with a motive, which seeks a result, which is a response, which is a reaction - therefore you will not find the truth of that questioning. The other is: questioning without a motive, without seeking an answer - and that is what we are going to do. The moment you seek an answer, it will invariably be a conclusion of words, but not of facts. We are going to question the whole structure of society. We are going to question the whole relationship of man and man, his relationship with ideas, with his conceptual existence, his abstractions, his everyday conduct. And out of this questioning we shall discover for ourselves what we actually are. Because, without knowing yourself you cannot go very far; without knowing what you are, consciously or unconsciously, what you think, what you feel, every movement of ideas, every feeling, without uncovering, without discovering and understanding the processes, the motives, the impulses, the compulsions, the frustrations, the failures, the hopeless loneliness, despairs, anxieties, guilt, you cannot go very far. That is the foundation and that requires freedom.
Freedom is not at the end but at the beginning, so as to be capable of looking at yourselves actually as you are, what you are in your relationship; and that relationship is the structure of society. There must be a complete change in our relationship, because all relationship is action. Relationship is action, and your relationship is mostly based on an idea. Your relationship with your wife is not an idea; but your relationship with your neighbour, with your country, with your gods, is an idea. Your relationship with your wife, with your children may be based on an idea, what you want your wife and children to be; but the fact is you are actually related to the person through your feelings, through your sexual, protective demands.
So, society is relationship. And that social structure, as it is now, is based on ambition, greed, envy, seeking power, position, prestige and all the things that man has set up as extraordinarily significant in life. That is the actual fact - not your gods, not the Gita, not your guru, not your saints and saviours; but the daily life in which you are, which is your ambition, your greed, your envy, your pursuit of power and wealth and position which you want. And without altering that radically, without breaking down the whole system, you cannot have a religious revolution. A religious revolution is the only revolution that has significance, because every other revolution has failed. The French and the Communist revolutions have completely, totally, failed, because those revolutions were reactionary revolutions; they were a reaction against `what is'. The Communist revolution was the reaction to Capitalism - the actual reaction. And when you react, it produces the same pattern in a different form. A religious revolution is not concerned with reaction at all. It is concerned with dealing with a fact and destroying that fact - that is, being aware that our relationship, that our social structure, is based on this extraordinary sense of values, on ambition, greed, envy; and destroying that completely in ourselves, totally, wholly eradicating it. That is the beginning of a religious revolution - not the pursuit of an idea, which you call God.
Without laying the foundation, how can you go far, how can you find out if there is something beyond words, beyond divisions, beyond the conditioning of man? Surely, sirs, this thing which we call the morality of society - which admits that you can be ambitious, envious, greedy, powerful and all the rest of it, which it calls moral - you pursue; and how can you, with that morality, with that virtue, find something which is beyond all virtue, which is beyond all time?
There is something beyond all time, there is something immeasurable, timeless; but to find that, to uncover that, you must lay the foundation; and to lay the foundation you must shatter society. I mean by society not the outward structure, not blowing up buildings, not discarding clothes and putting on a sanyasi's robe, or becoming a hermit - that does not break down society. When I talk about society, I mean the psychological structure, the inward structure of our minds, of our brain, the psychological processes of our thinking; those need to be completely destroyed to find out, to create a new mind. You need a new mind, because, if you observe what is taking place in the world, you will see more and more that freedom is being denied by the politicians, by progress, by organized religions, by mechanical, technical processes. More and more the computers are taking over the function of man, and they are quite right to do that. Virtue is being brought about by chemicals: by taking a certain chemical you can be free of anger, irritability, vanity; you can make your mind quiet by taking a tranquillizer, and you can become very peaceful. So, your virtue is being changed by chemicals; you don't have to go through all the tyranny of discipline in order to be virtuous. All that is going on in the world. And so, to bring about a new world, not chemically, not industrially, not politically; but spiritually - if I may use that word `spiritually' so hackneyed, so spoiled by the politicians, by the religious beings. You cannot be spiritual if you belong to any religion, to any nationality. If you call yourself a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Parsi, a Mussulman, or a Christian, you can never be spiritual. You can only be spiritual when you destroy the social structure of your being - which is the world in which you live, the world of ambition, greed, envy, seeking power. For most of us that world is reality, and nothing else; it is that which we all want; from the highest politician to the lowest person in the street, from the biggest saint to the daily worshipper, that is what everybody wants. And without breaking that, do what you will, you will have no love, you will be no nearer happiness, you will always have conflict, misery.
So, as I said, we are going to enquire into the structure of society. The structure of society is brought about through thought; the structure of society has resulted in the brain which we now have - the brain which is now used to acquire, to compete, to become powerful, to gain money crookedly or rightly. The brain is the result of the society in which we live, the culture in which we are being brought up, the religious prejudices, dogmas, beliefs, traditions; all that is the brain which is the result of the past. Please examine yourself, please do not merely listen to what is being said.
You know, there are two ways of listening. One way is: you merely hear the words and pursue the meaning of words - which is to listen, to hear comparatively; which is to compare; which is to condemn, translate, interpret what is being said. That is what most people do; that is how we listen. When something is said, your brain immediately translates it, as a reaction, into your own terminology, into your own experiences; and you either accept what pleases, or reject what does not please. You are merely reacting, you don't listen. And then there is the other way of listening; and that requires immense attention, because in that listening there is no translation, there is no interpretation, no condemning, no comparison; you are just listening with all your being. A mind that is capable of so attentively listening, understands immediately; it is free of time and of the brain which is the result of the social structure in which we have been brought up. As long as that brain has not become completely still, but is intensely alive, active, every thought, every experience is translated by that brain according to its conditioning, and therefore every thought, every feeling prevents total enquiry, total investigation.
Look, sirs, the majority of people who are listening here are either Parsis, Hindus, or Christians. You have been told you are a Hindu, from your childhood; that memory is held through association in the brain cells; and every experience, every thought is translated according to that conditioning, and that conditioning prevents your total understanding of life. Life is not the life of a Hindu, or of a Christian; life is something much more vast, much more significant - which a conditioned mind cannot possibly understand. Life is going to the office; life is sorrow; life is pleasure; life is this extraordinary sense of beauty; life is love; life is grief, anxiety, guilt - the totality of all that. And without understanding that, you cannot find. There is no way out of sorrow. And to understand the totality of life, the brain has to be completely quiet - the brain which is conditioned by the culture in which you have been brought up, by every thought which is the reaction to your memory, by every experience which is the response to a challenge, the response of the past which is all centred in the brain. Without understanding this whole process, the brain can never be quiet. And to bring about a new mind, it is absolutely essential for the brain to understand itself, to be aware of its own responses, to be aware of its own dullness, stupidity, conditioned influence. The brain must be aware of itself, and therefore, it must question itself without seeking an answer, because every answer will be projected from its own past. And therefore when you question seeking an answer, the answer is still within the boundaries of the conditioned mind, the conditioned brain. Therefore when you question - that is when you are aware of yourself, of your activities, of your ways of thinking, feeling, of the way you talk, of the way you move, of everything else - don't seek an answer, but look at it, observe it. And then out of that observation you will see that the brain begins to lose its conditioned state. And when you do that, then you are out of society.
So, enquiry, investigation, is into yourself, first and foremost - not into what Sankara, Buddha or your guru has told you, but enquiry into yourself, into the ways of your mind, of your brain, into the ways of your thought.
And mutation is different from change. Please, listen, give your attention. Change implies time, change implies gradualness, change implies a continuity of what has been; but mutation implies a complete breaking and something new taking place. Change implies time, effort, continuity, a modified change that implies time. In mutation there is no time, it is immediate. We are concerned with mutation and not with change. We are concerned with a complete cessation of ambition immediately, and the immediacy of breaking down ambition is mutation - immediately, not admitting time.
We will discuss this further as we go on. But just capture the significance of this: we have so far lived through centuries of time, gradually changing, gradually shaping our minds, our hearts, our thoughts, our feelings; in that process we have lived constantly in sorrow, constantly in conflict; there has never been a day, there has never been a moment of complete freedom from sorrow; and sorrow has always been there, hidden, suppressed. And now what we are talking about is complete ending and therefore total mutation, and that mutation is the religious revolution. We are going to explain it a little this evening.
What is important to understand is the quality of seeing, the quality of listening. There are two ways of seeing - only two ways. Either you see with knowledge, with thought; or you see directly without knowledge, without thought. When you see with knowledge, with thought, what is actually taking place is that you are not seeing, but you are merely interpreting, giving opinions, preventing yourself from seeing. But when you see without thought, without knowledge - which does not mean that, when you see, your mind becomes blank; on the contrary, you see completely - that seeing is the ending of time, and therefore there is immediate mutation. For instance, if you are ambitious, you say you will gradually change - that has been the habit which society approves; society has invented all kinds of ways and means to get rid of your ambition slowly - and yet at the end of your life you are still ambitious, you are still in conflict - which is so utterly infantile, immature. What is maturity is to face the fact and end it immediately. And you can end it immediately when you observe the fact without thought, without knowledge.
Knowledge is the accumulation of the past from which thought springs; and therefore thought is not the way to bring about mutation, thought prevents mutation. Please, you have to go into this very carefully, not just accept it or deny it. I am going into it during these talks; but first just capture the significance, the perfume of it. Because, for me there is only mutation, no change. Either you are or you are not - not that, when you are ambitious, you are trying to become less ambitious; it is like the politicians who talk about the ending of politics and power, and continue to be in politics. That is double talk. What we are concerned with is immediate ending, so that a new mind can come into being.
And you need a new mind because a new world has to be created - not by the politicians, not by the religious people, not by the technicians, but by you and me who are just ordinary average persons; because it is we that have to change completely, it is we that have to bring about a mutation in our minds and hearts. That can be brought about immediately, only when you can see the fact and remain with the fact - not try to find excuses, dogmas, ideals, escapes; but remain with the fact totally, completely. Then you will see that complete seeing ends the conflict. Conflict must end. It is only when the mind is completely quiet, and not in a state of conflict - it is only then that the mind can go very far into the realms that are beyond time, beyond thought, beyond feeling.
February 21, 1962
Bombay 1st Public Talk 21st February 1962
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