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Varanasi 1964

Varanasi 1st Public Talk 20th November 1964

Don't you think it would be wise if I talked for a little while - say for about half an hour or twenty minutes - and then we could discuss what we have talked about?

I mean by `discussion' not merely answering a question that is put, but rather to explore together a problem. Not that I explore it for you, but you and I together investigate, uncover the problem or the particular issue that we are going to talk about or discuss, this morning. And to discuss really intelligently and with significance, one has to put away altogether the idea that someone knows and you don't know; that the speaker knows and he will tell you what to do. On the contrary, there is no authority here at all. And I think that is one of the principal things to realize: that every form of authority prevents enquiry. And to discuss intelligently and deeply, every form of assertion, dogmatism, or the maintenance of a particular theory must be put aside as they deny exploration.

That is what we are going to do during all these talks here: we are going together to explore. Therefore there is no person who says, "I know", nor the other who says, "I don't know, teach me". There is no teaching, there is only learning. One cannot learn if one is merely asserting that someone else knows, someone else has realized. But if you and I together learn, then this whole question of authority disappears altogether: there is not the one who maintains a certain position and the other a mere follower - which denies the very enquiry into what is truth. So bearing that in mind, if you will, we shall discuss in the sense we mean, after twenty minutes or so of talking.

I think most of us realize that there must be a radical revolution which will bring about a different-dimensional thought, or thinking at a different level altogether, because we can't go on as we are, as we have been, repeating a pattern and functioning within a pattern. A behaviour or conduct within a concept - whether this be so-called religious or political, whether of the centre, or of the extreme left, or of the extreme right - when one functions within a pattern, it is a continuity of what has been; and I think most of us are aware that this repetitive revolution is no revolution at all.

And one observes in the world - perhaps more so in this country - the deterioration that is going on at all the levels of our existence. And observing this phenomenon unemotionally and in no way sentimentally, one naturally enquiries if there is not a different way, a different approach to this whole issue of human existence and relationship, a revolution that will project the whole process of thinking in a different dimension altogether. First of all, I think most of us here and outside in the world are quite clear that there must be some kind of deep radical change in human behaviour, in human relationship, and therefore in human thinking.

And how, in what way is this revolution to take place and at what level? You see what is happening in this country: industrially, probably it is advancing a great deal; scientifically, a little behind, perhaps a great deal behind the rest of the West; but morally, intellectually and religiously,it is stagnant - I am not saying something foreign, something extraordinarily outrageous; but this is an obvious, daily fact. And also one observes that the mind, the brain itself, is mechanical and therefore repetitive: teach it a certain behaviour pattern, teach it certain ways of conduct, attitudes, desires, ambitions and so on, and it will function in that groove, in that pattern. You see all this - we are not going into details, because it is not significant to go into details, because you can find the details if you observe, if you read a few papers, if you look about you - the squalor, the dirt, the inefficiency, the complete lack of concern about anybody, the utter lack of affection, love, the perpetual repetition of phrases, ideas, theories that there is God or that there is no God, the socialist pattern, the religious pattern, the communist pattern and so on.

Now, seeing all this, one realizes that there must be a radical change in the quality of the brain itself. The brain, as the anthropologists say, is about two million years old. And we can go on functioning for another two million years repeating the same pattern of sorrow, pain, wife, family, children, husband, quarrels, nationalities, the left, the right, the assertion that there is God, the assertion that there is no God, that we must be virtuous, that we must be this. We can go on indefinitely repeating, repeating, repeating the same pattern - modified slightly, altered, but repeating.

So one can see that the nature of the brain itself must undergo a tremendous revolution - not as an individual who is concerned about his particular little brain, but as a human being. I do not know if one can differentiate between the individual and a human being - at least I want to differentiate. When we are talking about change, we are always talking about the individual change. That is, you change and I change in our little brain bringing about a different activity, establishing a different pattern - as an individual in a particular position, in a particular relationship; is an individual who has been struggling, struggling, struggling to become a little better, having a little more character, having a little more brain, being a little more kind, having a better job and so on; as an individual functioning in the limited field of his own consciousness. That is what is generally called an individual; and in that little conditioned existence, if he is at all alert, aware, he does something to bring about a transformation by an action of the will, by control, by suppression; he is doing something all the time within the limited field of his own existence. And that is what we call the individual, who is opposed to the collective - the collective being the many, society, the nation, the race, and so on and so on.

Now, is there such an individual at all, or is there only an artificial division between the collective and himself? If one observes within oneself, without any passion, without any emotional impact or reaction, one sees what one is: one is the collective. You are the collective; you are the result of your environment, of your society, of your religious dogmas, of your religious pressures, the climate, the food, the sun - not you as an individual, but as the collective, the group. There is only a total human being outside this pattern of the collective and the individual. You observe it; it is not a matter of your agreeing or disagreeing with me - that has no meaning at all. Because we are not here discussing theories or opinions with which you agree or disagree. We are looking at facts; and about facts you can't dispute - either you say you don't see the fact, or you don't want to see the fact; because your own mind is so comfortably settled in a particular groove and keeps on repeating that it does not wish to see anything further. By examining the fact, you may come upon something quite different: which is neither the individual, nor the collective, but beyond, something far beyond either of these two. And it is only the discovery of that, we feel, that brings about the tremendous mutation in the brain itself.

We are using the brain now in this limited sense: as an individual trying to do something about the collective, or the collective controlling the individual, society shaping the brain in a particular pattern, with religious beliefs, economic beliefs, social beliefs and so on. And these activities of consciousness within this particular field, however extensive they may be, are still limited, and therefore that consciousness is not truly individual at all. The real individuality, which is the real human being, lies beyond this, and one has to discover it. To discover it, one has to understand the whole mechanism of the brain; and in the very understanding of that brain, there is a mutation - not in time but out of time. This is what I feel to be the most important thing to discuss and to understand. I mean by understand not merely verbally but actually understand, actually realize it, not theoretically, not argumentatively or intellectually or verbally, but actually live with that.

So the question then is really: is it possible for you and me to bring about this mutation in the use of the brain itself, a revolution which is not a gradual process in time, but a revolution, a mutation that takes place immediately, because it understands immediately? After all, when we talk about understanding we mean - don't we? - that we understand something immediately, not that "we will understand it the day after tomorrow". We generally mean by that word "understand", understand it immediately. Therefore it implies the non-existence of tomorrow. You understand, not philosophically, not ideationally, but actually; you understand something immediately or not at all. The ideational approach implies that there is time, a period, a distance which has to be travelled to attain understanding, to become good, to become non-violent. The idea is there; there is the distance; and to cover that distance you must have time, and therefore the gradual process - that is one of the factors of a mind that has been so conditioned by time that it thinks that it will achieve something through time.

Of course one needs time to build a road, to learn a language, to go from here to another place. That is a time which is absolutely necessary. But the ideological time that there as a perfection, a God, or whatever you will; an idea, and that idea is to be achieved only through time - that is one of the old-established patterns of our thought, which is established in the brain itself. And to see the falseness of that is the understanding of the immediate importance of complete mutation now.

I do not know if you have ever thought about it: if there is no tomorrow actually, psychologically, inwardly, then your whole attention is in the present; your whole attitude toward life is so completely integrated, so completely whole, not fragmentary. And that is one of the greatest mutations that can take place. When you see the implication of this whole approach that there is tomorrow and that through tomorrow we will become or we will find out, and when you see the truth that there is no tomorrow psychologically, then the whole mental, emotional, psychological brain structure undergoes a tremendous change. We feel that is the only revolution that is possible now-a-days, or perhaps always.

Don't translate what we are talking about in terms of your own Sanskrit words, or what somebody has said; don't say, "By Jove, what he is saying is the same as what somebody has said in the Puranas, Vedas, Upanishads, or whatever it is". When you translate what you hear in terms of what you have already read, you have stopped understanding. Naturally, you are not listening - what you are listening to is what you already know, and you are comparing it with what you hear to see if they both tally; that is all. And if the thing that is being said agrees with what some religious person has said, you get terribly excited, and say, "We are all right, safe!". We are not talking about safety - on the contrary. What we are talking about is the necessity of a tremendous revolution, a revolution which is obviously religious.

I mean by religious revolution a complete, total, non-fragmentary revolution; it is the whole entity. It is not the economic entity, the social entity, the psychological entity - those are fragmentary entities. And any revolution in the fragment will always lead to the repetition of what has been, only modified - which is being proved over and over again. The French Revolution, the Communist Revolution - they are going back to the same old pattern, coming round about; after killing millions and millions of people, they come to the same old pattern, a little higher or a little lower. So if you have observed not only yourself but a social revolution, an economic revolution - not ideationally or theoretically, but actually observed it in yourself and about you - you will undoubtedly come to the understanding that a complete mutation must take place in the mind, in the brain, if man is to live peacefully, not only with this threat of the atom bomb but also with all these stupid divisions of nationalities, religious divisions. And one must inevitably see the extraordinary importance of this, not as an individual but as man as a whole. Man means you, not an individual. In that man there must be a complete revolution. Now how is it to be brought about?

One sees the necessity of such a revolution; one sees the urgency, the maturity and the energy that is demanded for such a revolution. And how is that maturity and that energy to be brought about? You are mature - not in terms of time, old age, all the rest of it - ripe, rich, full, when you have looked, observed, lived without any bitterness, without any fear, without any desire to fulfil - all that is immature. Belonging to a certain class of people, certain religions, certain nationalities - all that is infantile; that has no meaning at all. Because it is only when you slough off all that nonsense, that your mind is mature. Then you must have energy - the energy to bring about this tremendous mutation.

So to boil down what we have talked about this morning, it comes to this: that there must be an immediate maturity and that intense energy which goes with that maturity, which alone can bring about this immediate mutation. Now how is it to be done? I have put the problem, perhaps not too clearly, not in too many details - because we can go into it everlastingly, describe the details; but that will get us no further. How is this maturity and energy to be brought about? Or, is it not to be brought about at all? I do not know if you are following all that we are talking about, or am I talking too fast or too generally?

So, if you will, let us this morning limit ourselves to the thing that we have said. We see that a fundamental revolution in the very structure of the brain is necessary - structure not in the biological sense, but the structure in our thinking, the pattern of our thoughts, pursuits, demands. To bring about a fundamental revolution, it needs a great deal of energy; and that energy can only come about when there is maturity - not the maturity of many fragments being put together which, we think, becomes mature. So how is this to be brought about? Perhaps we can discuss this point.

Am I imposing this problem on to you? Would you kindly tell me, am I pushing this problem on to you? No? Just a minute, sir, you say "no". If it is a problem to you, not imposed by another, what is your answer to it? Please, do listen to what we are saying. If it is your problem, not my problem which I have transferred to you, what will you do with it? You know, if you have a problem of hunger or a problem of sex, you do something about it - you don't say, "Let us sit down and talk about it". If you are really hungry and food is demanded, you do something. So what will you do with this? Or, rather, what are you doing with it? Or, would you say that it is a problem with you but you don't know what to do - that is more like it, isn't it?

Right, sir? Don't agree with me, please. You see this problem and you say to yourself, "I know all this; I read the newspapers, the magazines, the talks and all the rest of it; I listen to all that, I read it, I know it; but I don't know what to do". Is that right, sir? Now, who is going to tell you what to do about it? Do you have faith in any leader, including this person who is sitting on the platform? No, don't laugh, sir! Surely, you have given your trust to the politicians, to the teachers, to the religious people; you have put your trust in the books - sacred this and sacred that - and they have no meaning any more, have they? Wars are going on; there is hate, there is misery, there is confusion, there is starvation; and the politicians have their own heaven. And unfortunately, you have nobody you can really trust - actually, not theoretically. So, what will you do? What are you going to do?

Questioner: I shall deal with it in the light of my experience.

Krishnamurti: Is it a matter of experience - what we are talking about? I am pointing out to you, Madam. Is it a matter of experience? You see this outside you, and you see this within. What is there to experience? It is there, right in front of your nose - the squalor, the misery, the whole human mess and misery. You know it is there. Why should you have to experience in order to go through it and thereby understand it and do something about it. It is there.

Sir, look at the issue! What is involved in it? There is a problem, and you want somebody to solve it. Really that is the crux of the whole matter. And is there somebody to solve it for you? You are hungry, and someone is well fed and talks about the nice meal he had. Would that satisfy you? And you are in that position, aren't you? So isn't it important to realize that there is nobody that can help you? It is rather despairing. Can it not be realized that you have yourself to fight through to find out, and that you cannot possibly rely on anybody. You have relied on your gurus, teachers, books, politicians, leaders, your saints, your mahatmas; and where are you now at the end of it all, after two million years? Just the same, old petty minds. So what will you do, sir? It is your problem, and you have to do something about it. Please go on with it and you will see what's going to be the outcome of this discussion.

When you understand, realize, that there is no one outside that can help you - no gods, no gurus, no politicians, nobody can help you - aren't you already in a state of maturity? That means you are already free of the fear of making a mistake, free from the fear of not doing the right thing. Aren't you?

So that's the first difficulty we have to face, haven't we?, that no system, a religious system or a communist system, nobody, a religious dictator or a political dictator, is going to help us. When one realizes that actually, not theoretically, already there is a revolution in the brain, is there not?

Questioner: A teacher can help us to awaken our intuition.

Krishnamurti: You have had umpteen teachers, haven't you? Actually what is the function of a teacher?

Questioner: To give us more light.

Krishnamurti: The questioner says, "To give us more light". Now wait a minute, sir. There are different kinds of teachers, are there not? Take the teacher in a class. If the teacher in an educational system is worth his salt, he is not teaching; he is encouraging the student to learn. Obviously! If he says, "I know the distance between here and the moon; and I know the molecules and the atom, and all the rest of it", the boy will repeat after him, but the boy is not learning. A good teacher helps the student to learn, doesn't he? Ask the teachers here and you'll find out. Then there are the teachers who merely assert that there is God, or say, "Do this; they are not teachers, they are really exploiters, they are really repeaters, and therefore they are in the social pattern. Then there are the teachers whom man establishes as the teacher, like Karl Marx - according to his particular economic, social, religious tendencies, hoping to learn, to find out, from that teacher. This is all obvious.

Now what is the function, apart from all this, of a teacher? What can the teacher do? The teacher says, "Do look in this direction, there may be something in there. Look!" The teacher can't force you, he can't browbeat you; he can only say, "Look, my friend! If you look in that direction, perhaps you will understand things differently." But you must have the energy to look, you must not be afraid to look - so it depends on you. I can go on repeating, as I have been doing for the last forty years; and you come and repeat the same old question to me: a guru is necessary, he gives us light, he gives us intuition. And where are you at the end of it? So all that one can do is to learn, isn't it, sir?

Questioner: If the learning appeals, sir.

Krishnamurti: The gentleman says, "If the learning is pleasurable, gratifying, I learn". But I'm afraid you have to learn about it, whether it's gratifying or painful - that is life. If it is all pleasure, then you do nothing you don't learn about anything, you just enjoy yourselves.

Sir, look! One suffers - we are not going to discuss suffering right now. You suffer; and you can escape from suffering, by going to the temples, by turning on the radio, by taking a drink; a dozen things you can do in order to escape from suffering. But suffering keeps on going after you, like a shadow; and whether you like it or not, you have to learn about it, haven't you? Whether it is gratifying or not, you say, "By Jove, I have to learn about this suffering. What does it mean?" You may not like it, but you have to learn about it. Your pleasure and displeasure doesn't enter into this question at all.

So one of the qualities of maturity is that it does not depend on pleasure and pain, but on facts, on what is actually. One of the factors of what is is that you have trusted so many people, so many politicians, so many books, and they have lost all meaning. Everyone, unless one is blind, unless one wants to keep on repeating the same old pattern - any contemporary, average mind says, "What nonsense all this is, guru and all that!", and throws it all overboard. So is it not one of the signs of maturity that the mind is not dependent on anybody for its understanding?

Questioner: I do not see the difference between the individual who is conditioned and man who is not an individual but a human being.

Krishnamurti: The gentleman says that he does not see the difference between the individual who has been conditioned and a man who is thinking not in terms of individuality, but as a human being.

You see the difference, sir, don't you? I can think about myself as an individual. Seeking my own salvation, digging in the backyard, looking after my own character, cultivating virtue, doing all the individual things that we do; pursuing ambition, greed, envy; cultivating my particular quality, gift and so on. All this is still within the very limited field of what we call an individual. But that individual is also the result of the mass. Every individual all over the world is doing the same thing, and every individual all over the world is the result of his society, his group, his family, his religion and so on. And to bring about a change in that is no change at all. The change in that is merely a modified change in the pattern, but it is not a radical change, a radical revolution. The radical revolution lies beyond the individual and the mass.

Questioner: How is this immediate mutation to take place? If we don't know this, we are utterly in despair. Krishnamurti: Are you in despair, sir? Unfortunately, these are all a lot of words to you, sir - if I may most respectfully point out. A man in despair - do you know what he does?

Now the question is, how is this mutation to take place? First of all, sir, look at the difficulty. If the speaker were to offer you a method, would that bring about a mutation? Sir, if the speaker were to give you a pattern which will bring about a mutation, would that mutation be the right thing?

Questioner: No.

Krishnamurti: Why do you say "no?" But yet, that's what you are all doing in daily life, aren't you? The mind says, "I must change, and how am I to change?" and so it immediately seeks a pattern through which it can bring about this change, a system. Right? One has to understand the futility of the pattern, and reject it completely. Because the moment you see something as false, it drops away. So you have to understand the falsity of a pattern, and that will help you to bring about a mutation.

Now, see what is implied in this. When you say that a pattern, a method, a system will bring about a mutation, two things are implied: one, that you know what mutation implies; and the other, that a method will help you to arrive at that mutation. Do you know what mutation means? Obviously not. Verbally you repeat, but do you know what it means, what is involved in it?

Questioner: Is there anything like a cosmic mind?

Krishnamurti: Now, who is asking it and who is going to reply to it? Suppose I explained, sir, would you understand it? You must also have a cosmic mind to understand what a cosmic mind is. I am not being clever.

Sir, take this simple thing. Most of you, fortunately or unfortunately, believe in God. I don't know why, but you do. Society and various other things have conditioned you to believe or not to believe, and you say, "I would like to reach God". And so people have methods to reach God: you must be a bachelor, you must be this, you must be that; you must control, you must suppress, you must meditate; and a dozen things are laid down, to find God. But who knows God? Does the man who lays down the system know what God is?

Questioner: We believe that.

Krishnamurti: You believe in it, because the gentleman says that he knows God! You are all rather naive, aren't you?, Sirs.

To find out God requires an extraordinary mind, doesn't it? First of all you do not say that you believe or that you do not believe. God can't be static. It is only when a thing is static that there can be a method that will lead to it, isn't it? If it is something that is living, moving, changing, undergoing mutation all the time, you can't have a system that will lead you to it.

Questioner: I do not know what God is; but I want to know God.

Krishnamurti: The gentleman says he doesn't know what God is, but he is after it.

Why? Because I'm miserable; my life is frustration; I don't know this existence except through sorrow: this constant flux, uncertainty, the misery, the confusion - I want to escape from all that. I don't want to understand it, to resolve it and put it away; but I want to escape from that to God, who is permanent.

That's all you want. Why do you want God? How can you find God unless you understand life, sir? Life may be God. You can only know it, sir, by being free from all confusion, obviously. If I want to understand you, I must not be in conflict within myself; I must be able to listen to you tranquilly. That's all. Therefore, first bring about order in your life, not according to somebody, but just "order".

Questioner: To bring about order, we try one pattern after another till we succeed.

Krishnamurti: That is, you go after one pattern after another until you realize. Right, sir?

Questioner: We do not know what to do, Sir.

Krishnamurti: The gentleman says that he does not know a thing about anything. That's the only healthy state of mind, isn't it? - to say, "1 don't know, but I'm going to learn". And can you learn through a pattern? When you're going to follow patterns, one after another, you will find a hundred patterns according to a hundred men. Do you follow them?

Questioner: One after another, till we find the right pattern.

Krishnamurti: Well, sir, good luck to you! Finally for you, sir, there will be at the end of it, death or insanity. So what will you do? There's no use talking, sir; you haven't even thought about it, you just repeat.

Now, let us go back to our question: how do we bring about instant maturity? And with that maturity goes energy. how will you bring it about? Or, is there no method at all, but only seeing the truth: that to depend on anybody, on any system, on any philosophy, on a guru is immature - seeing the truth of it, instantly.

To see the truth of something instantly, one has not to say, "I like or I don't like", as though one knows a great deal and can distinguish, but one has to put away everything and look. Sir, one has to look - for example, to, look at that river, look at it. Probably you have never looked at that river. You have seen it; but you have never looked at it, because you have associated with that river, not only the name but the vast history contained in that river: that river is the Ganga; and that means so much to a Hindu. Therefore all that tradition prevents you from looking very simply at that beautiful river. You have to look at it without all its history which prevents you from looking. In the same way, you have to look at all your misery, at all the confusion, without any pattern, without any idea, without any concept. Surely, that is part of maturity.

I say, it's going to be very difficult to discuss - that is to enquire. You know, to enquire is quite an art. It's not like saying, "I believe and I want to do this, or I am going to do this". To enquire - that is the scientific method of looking, observing, sensing, taking facts. When you say, "I want to reach God, I'll do this", then, you are immature, you are not a scientific mind. A scientific mind never accepts; it looks, observes, considers. And it is only such a mind that can find.

So, please, as we are going to spend sometime together, please understand very clearly what we mean by discussion and enquiry: which is, I want to find out whether the pattern which I accept is right or wrong, not that I want God and therefore accept the pattern - that has no meaning. I can only enquire if there is freedom; otherwise I can't enquire.

Sir, to find out if there is God, you must be free of the idea of God. To find out, you have to enquire, search out, question, ask. Surely, that is a part of maturity. To ask right questions, to enquire rightly demands energy. Questioner: Is it possible to look at something without naming?

Krishnamurti: Why are you asking if it is possible? Try it. Look at a flower. Look at it.

To look at a flower means that there is no verbal interference between your look and the flower. You understand it verbally, first; then also don't name the flower as this species or that species; then don't say, "I like it or I don't like it". Don't give it a name, don't give it a colour; but just look. And that's an extraordinarily difficult thing to do, most people don't do this.

Questioner: One may look in that way only at very rare moments, but not permanently.

Krishnamurti: Sir, why do you want permanency? If you have permanency, you are not looking either. You look from moment to moment. Look at the flower; go, look at it! This is a tremendous art, sir, not just a matter of two words. Then you have to be completely in contact with that flower. And you cannot be in contact with that flower if there is "you" who is the word, you who says, "I like, I don't like". And when you are in contact with the flower, it is not a permanent contact - then there is not a contact at all; then you are merely reducing that contact, in terms of time.

Questioner: I feel happy, sir, then.

Krishnamurti: Sir, when you observe a flower, when the mind is intimately in contact with that flower, there is no happiness or unhappiness. That moment is of the highest importance. Leave it at that. Don't say that moment must last all the time. If it continues it is merely a memory.

Look, sir! Yesterday evening, the light over the river was very beautiful; it was first silver, then it was gold, then it became deeper gold. At the moment when one was looking at it, there was no naming; one merely observed, and there was not the observer or the thing observed. Don't agree, sir, you know nothing about this. It is one of the most difficult things to do. It was a moment out of time. When the mind which has known that moment says, "I wish it could continue, the desire for that moment to continue becomes memory; and that memory is going to interfere the next time it looks at that river.

So the problem is: to look out of time and not demand any further experience at all, just to look. If it remained forever, it would not be the moment when there is no thought. If it is a continuum, then it becomes a thought.

November 20, 1964


Varanasi 1964

Varanasi 1st Public Talk 20th November 1964

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

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48 Laws of Power

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