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Madras 1965

Madras 2nd Public Talk 26th December 1965

If we may, we will continue with what we were talking about the other day. We said: man, in recorded history, has had wars beyond memory; and man has had no peace at all, both outwardly and inwardly. In some part of the world or other there has always been a war, people killing each other in the name of nationality and so on and so on. And we have accepted war as the way of life, both outwardly and inwardly. The inward conflict is much more complex than the outward conflict. And man has not been able to resolve this problem at all. Religions have preached peace - `don't kill' - for centuries. No religion has stopped war! And as human beings, not as individuals, we have not faced this problem, and we have to see if it cannot be resolved totally.

I think we have to differentiate between the individual and the human being. The individual is localized, a local entity with his particular customs, habits, conditions - with his narrow conditioning, geographical, religious and so on. But man belongs to the whole world with its conditioning, with its fears, with its dogmas. So, we can see that man, whether he lives in India or in Russia or in China or in America, has not been able to solve this problem. And it is a major problem, a problem that each one of us, as human beings, has to resolve.

To resolve a problem, one must see the problem very clearly. Clarity and observation are necessary To observe there must be clarity, light - artificial light or sunlight. Outwardly, if you would see a leaf clearly, you need light and you must visually observe it. It is fairly easy to observe a leaf objectively, given a light - artificial or otherwise. But it becomes much more complex when you go inwardly, where one needs also clarity to observe. We may wish to observe the whole phenomenon of human beings - his sorrows his miseries, his everlasting conflict within himself; the greed, the despairs, the frustrations, the mounting problems, not only mechanical but human. There, too, one needs clarity, which is light, to see this mechanism within the human being. And to observe, choice is not necessary. When you see something very clearly, as you do this microphone or that tree or your neighbour sitting next to you, there choice is not necessary, conflict is not necessary. What brings about conflict within and without is when we do not see clearly, when our prejudices, our nationalities, our peculiar tendencies and so on block clarity, prevent light. And when there is light, you can observe.

Observation and light go together, otherwise you cannot see. You cannot see that tree, the trunk, the sides, the nature of it, the curve of it, the beauty of it, and the quality of it, unless there is a great deal of light. And your observation must be attentive. You may casually look at that trunk and pass it by. But you have to look at it, to observe it in detail, carefully, with a great deal of care and affection and tenderness; only then can you observe.

Then, observation with clarity needs no choice. I think we must understand this very clearly, because we are going to go into problems or issues that need a great deal of observation, a great deal of detailed perception, seeing, listening. We always deal with symptoms - like war, which is a symptom. And we think we understand the symptoms, if we examine the cause or understand the cause. So between the symptom and the cause we are everlastingly vacillating, backward and forward, not knowing how to deal with the cause; and even if we know how to deal with the cause, there are the innumerable blocks, the innumerable influences that prevent action.

So our issue then becomes very simple: to see very clearly you need a great deal of light; and the light does not come except through observation, when you can see minutely every movement of your thought, of your feeling; and to see clearly, there must be no conflict, no choice.

Because we have to find a way of living in which war, inwardly or outwardly, is totally abolished. And it is a strange fact, a phenomenon, that in a country like this which has preached for millennia "don't hate, don't kill, be gentle, be non-violent", there has not been one individual who has stood for what he thinks is right - which is, not to kill - who has swum against the current and gone, if necessary, to prison, or got shot. Please think about it, and you will see what an extraordinary thing it is, how much it reveals that not one of you said, "I won't kill" - not whisper to each other, "War is wrong. What is one to do?", but say it out and if necessary go to prison, be shot and killed! Then you will say, "What will that solve?" It solves nothing, but at least you are behaving; your conduct then is dictated by affection, by love, not by an idea. Do think about this in your spare time, why you have not stood for something which you have felt in your heart. Your scriptures, your culture, everything has said, "Be gentle, don't kill another". It indicates - does it not? - that we live on ideas and words! But the word or the explanation is not the fact. The fact is: there is conflict within and war without. There have been two and a half wars every year in the recorded history of man! The first woman must have cried and hoped that would be the last war; and we are still going on with wars! Here in the South you may feel perfectly safe and say; "Let them fight it out in the North", or "Let them fight in Vietnam", "Let others weep", as long as you are safe!. But this is your problem, a human problem: how to bring about a change in the human mind and heart.

As we were saying, this problem, like every other problem, with its symptoms and causes, can never be solved unless we enter into a different area, a different field altogether. You understand? Inwardly, human beings have been caught in this wheel of everlasting suffering, conflict, misery; and they have always, tried to solve it in relation to the present, in relation to the social, environmental, religious conditions. They have always dealt with the symptoms, or tried to discover the causes - which means resistance, and when you resist, there is still conflict.

So, the problems which every human being has, with their symptoms, with their causes, cannot be solved unless each human being moves to a different dimension altogether, to a different enquiry. And that is what we propose to do. We know there are wars. We know that as long as there are sovereign governments, politicians, geographical divisions, armies, nationalism, religious divisions - Muslim, Hindu, this or that - you are going to continue wars, even though computers are coming in to tell you, "Don't do it; it is no longer profitable to kill somebody else for your country". Computers, the electronic brains, are going to dictate what you should or should not do; and your activity is altogether different when a machine dictates!

So our problem then is: Is it possible to look and to live and to understand all these problems from a different area altogether, from a different field, from a different dimension? Please don't draw a conclusion: God, inner Self, Higher Self, or the Atman! All those words have no meaning at all! Because you have had them for thousands of years; all your scriptures have talked about them; and yet you, as a human being, are in conflict, in misery; you are at war, outwardly and inwardly. The war inward is competition, greed, envy, trying to get more. The battle is going on everlastingly within you. And you try to answer these problems, these symptoms, by trying to find out their causes and hoping by some chance to resolve those causes - the communist's way of doing it, the socialist's way of doing it, or the religious way of doing it. But the fact is that the human being has never, except perhaps for one or two, resolved the problem of conflict.

And to understand this problem we must have a different mind - not this stale, dead mind. The mind is always active about symptoms, answering the symptoms and saying that it has resolved the problem! We need a new mind, a new mind that sees; and it can only see when there is light - which means a mind that has nowhere, consciously or unconsciously, any residue of conflict. Because it is this conflict within that brings darkness - not your intellectual capacity for observation. You are all very clever to observe! You know what are the causes of war, you know what are the causes of your own inward conflict. They are very, very simple to observe intellectually. But action does not spring from the intellect. Action springs from a totally different dimension. And we have to act. We cannot go on, as we are going on, with this nationalism, wars, conflict, competition, greed, envy, sorrow. You know, all that has been going on for century upon century! The computer is going to take charge of all the drudgery of man, in the office and also politically; it is going to do all the work for human beings, in the factories. And so man will have a great deal of leisure. That is a fact. You may not see it in the immediate, but it is there, coming. There is a tremendous wave, and you are going to have a choice to make: what you will do with your time.

We said `choice' - to choose between various forms of amusement, entertainment, in which is included all the religious phenomena, temples, mass, reading scriptures. All these are forms of entertainment! Please don't laugh; what we are talking about is much too serious. You have no time to laugh when the house is burning. Only we refuse to think of what is actually taking place. And you are going to have the choice - this or that? And when choice is involved, there is always conflict. That is, when you have two ways of action, that choice merely produces more conflict. But if you saw very clearly within yourself - as a human being belonging to the whole world, not just to one petty, little country in some little geographical division, or class division, or Brahmin, or non-Brahmin and all the rest of it - if you saw this issue clearly, then there would be no choice. Therefore an action which is without choice does not breed conflict.

And to see very clearly, you need light. Please follow this a little; even if you do it intellectually, it is good enough, because something will take root somewhere. And you cannot have clarity if you do not realize that the word, the explanation, is not the thing. The word `tree' is not the tree! And to see that fact, the word is not necessary. We point to an objective thing; you touch it, you feel it; then you see it very clearly. But inwardly, when you go totally within, it becomes much more subtle, much more untenable; you cannot get hold of it; and for that, you need much more clarity. Clarity comes when you begin to see that the word is not the thing, that the word does not produce the reaction of thought - thought being the response of memory, of experience, of knowledge and so on.

So, to observe clarity is essential. But the inward clarity must be firsthand, not secondhand. And most of us, most human beings, have secondhand clarity, secondhand light, which is the light of tradition, the light of scriptures, the light of the politicians, the environmental influence, the communist doctrine, and so on - which are all ideas giving light artificially: and by that light we try to live, and so there is always contradiction in us. That is, the idea is entirely different from the fact - as the word `tree' is not a tree, the word `greed', or `sorrow' is not the fact. And to observe the fact, the word which produces the thought with its associations, memories, experiences, knowledge and so on, must not bring a reaction. I will go into it, and you will see clearly.

What we are talking about is a life in which there is no conflict at all, a life on this earth - not in heaven, not in some Utopia; but actual daily living in which there is not a symptom or a shadow of conflict. Because it is only when there is peace that goodness can flower, not when you are in conflict, not when you are trying to become good, not when you are idealistically pursuing the idea of being good. When there is peace, it flowers. And therefore when there is clarity, there is no choice and therefore there is no action of will. Because what you see, you see very clearly, and there is no need for choice or will. Choice and will breed conflict. And yet we have lived on choice and will. Will means resistance, control, suppression; and suppression, control and resistance depend on choice. And when there is no choice, there is no exertion of will.

So, is it possible to function as a human being, living in this world, without any form of conflict which comes into being when there is choice and when there is will? First of all, to, understand this, one has to understand, to look into, to observe, not only the conscious mind but also the unconscious mind. We are fairly familiar with the conscious mind - the daily activities of what you do, what you say, your going to an office day after day for the next forty years, getting the mind more and more dull, heavy, stupid, bureaucratic, continuing a life of routine, a mechanical life. And that superficial consciousness, the outward consciousness, it is fairly easy to observe and to understand. But we are not just the outward layers of consciousness; there is a great depth to it and without understanding that merely establishing a superficial tranquillity does not solve the problem. So one has to understand this whole consciousness of man, not only the superficial but the deeper layers of it.

When we observe - without reading psychologists, the Freuds, the Jungs, and all the rest of the modern philosophers and psychologists - we know what the unconscious is: the racial residue, the experience of the race, the social conditions, the environment, the tradition, the culture - culture being political, religious, educational - which are all deeply embedded in the unconscious.

Now, can you look at it, can you observe it, if there is no light? You understand my question? To observe, you must have light; and to observe the unconscious, you must have light, clarity. How can you have clarity about something of which you do not know? You have an idea, only a concept, but not the actuality. And without understanding the unconscious, the mere adjustment on the surface will not bring about the freedom to live peacefully. Please, we are not talking some deep philosophy; it is very simple. Consciousness is a word - isn't it? Now, the word is not the thing. The word `consciousness', if you observe, through association sets thought in action, and you say that consciousness is this or that or something else. If you are so-called religiously minded, you will say that there is a spiritual entity and so on. If you are not, you say that it is merely the environmental thought. That is all. But the word is not the thing - as the word `tree' is not the fact. So consciousness, which is the word, is not the fact. Please follow this.

So, to have clarity you have to observe the fact without the word - which means you observe without the machinery of thought in operation. And the machinery of thought is consciousness. Right? Look, sirs! The speaker says that killing is wrong. Now what has happened? He has made a statement, and you respond to that statement according to your conditioning, according to your immediate demands, according to the pressure of the other countries and so on. So you have got the machinery of thinking going, through reaction, and therefore you are not listening to the fact, you are not seeing the fact; but your thought is reacting. Right? That is very simple. So, the word is not the thing. So the investigation of the unconscious becomes totally unnecessary, has no meaning whatsoever, if the word is not the thing and yet you are observing - then what takes place is complete attention. Total attention is the essence of the consciousness and beyond. That is, you are only conscious when there is friction; otherwise there is no consciousness. `That is, when you are challenged, you respond. If the response is totally adequate to the challenge, there is no conflict, there is no friction. It is only when the challenge is inadequately responded to, that there is friction. It is this friction that causes, that brings into being, consciousness.

Please observe it within yourselves, and you will see that, if you could find a way of avoiding death - I am taking that as an instance; we will talk about death another time - if you could find a way of overcoming death, medically, scientifically, or in some other way, then you will never be afraid. Therefore there is no conflict between living and dying and therefore you will be totally unconscious of death. It is only when there is friction - which is fear - that consciousness is produced, and that consciousness says, "I am afraid to die".

So what we are talking about is a state of mind in which conflict has become totally eliminated - not through choice; not through will; not through any form of assertion or acceptance of a doctrine or commitment to a particular action which breeds in you the absence of self-identification with that issue or with that commitment, and you then think you are living peacefully, whereas you are not, as it is still the operation of resistance going on.

So, is it possible to live in this world knowing that you cannot possibly solve your problems through suppression, through acceptance, through obedience, through conformity, through imitation - which man has done for centuries? Is it possible to live a different kind of life altogether? Now, when you put that question to yourself, when you respond to that challenge, what is your answer? Obviously, the first answer - if you are at all intelligent - is that you do not know. Or you will assert that it is not possible. Or you will reply according to your tradition, according to your ideas. Therefore your response is inadequate to the challenge. You have to listen to the question: is it possible to live in this world, not in isolation, not in a monastery, not as a monk, but as a human being, in great peace both outwardly and inwardly, especially inwardly? If we can live peacefully inwardly, then every action is peaceful, and therefore there will be no war. So, to find out if it is possible to live without a conflict, first of all one has to understand what conflict is - not the symptom. You understand? One can show you the symptom and the cause; But the seeing of the cause or the symptom is not going to dissolve the symptom or the cause. Obviously, you have to come directly into contact with it - which we never do. Let me explain.

Man has suffered; man inwardly, has lived always in a battlefield there is the self-centred activity - the 'me' first, and everybody, else the second. `Me' first - my concern, my safety, my pleasure, my success, my position, my prestige. `Me' first - identified with the country, with the family, with the doctrine. And we hope that through identification we will dissolve the `me'! We know the cause - the cause is egotism; to put it brutally, the cause is self-centred activity. We all know that. We also know what the result is, what it will produce outwardly in the world - namely, war. War is the ultimate expression of the inner conflict. There is war going on all the time, in the business world, in the political world, in the world of the religious people, between the various gurus, the various sects, the various dogmas. We know this. Intelligence tells you that this is so; but yet we do not live peacefully!

So peace cannot be brought about through the mere analysis of the cause or the symptom. So one has to enter into a different area, a different dimension.

Now to enter into a different dimension - if you will do it with me now, you will find out for yourself how to come to it. Not intellectually, not emotionally, not verbally. Because you have done all that, you have played with the intellect, your brain is as sharp as a needle; but you have not solved the problem. You cry over it, if your son or husband or brother is killed; you are sentimental, emotional; but you have not solved it. So intellect, emotion, mere assertion of words, reading the Gita everlastingly, all the stupid stuff one does in the name of religion, the circus that goes on - all this has not prevented man from killing man. You kill, not with bayonets and guns only, but also with words, with gesture, when you compete with another in the office, when you are aggressive, brutal, seeking your own success - all those are wars. So, intellect, emotion, ideas which are organized words, have never solved any of your problems: you have to find a different way of living in which there is no conflict whatsoever.

How is this to come about? Because time is disorder any way. If you say, "I will get it tomorrow, or in the next life", all that becomes immaterial. When a man is suffering, he does not think about tomorrow or the next life, he wants an answer. And if you don't find the answer, you live on words, beliefs, dogmas - and they have no value at all, they become escapes! We know all that.

How do you enter into a life, now, not tomorrow, so that the past drops away from you completely? You know, when we are confused, we either worship the past, return to the past, or cultivate a Utopia, hoping that thereby we will solve it! Economic revolutions, social revolutions, have had this idea of Utopia, and they have never brought it about, either in Russia or in any other place! So words have no meaning any more, nor ideas. Unless you put away this from your mind - the word, the idea, emotionalism, intellectualism - you will not be able to follow what we are talking about next.

So what takes place when you are not looking to the future? There is no tomorrow - except there is a tomorrow when you have to go to the office, or keep an appointment and so on. Psychologically there is no tomorrow. I will explain to you why there is no tomorrow, intellectually, in detail. There is no tomorrow actually, because it is an invention of thought, psychologically to give a certainty of continuity, for one's own well-being. Actually there is only the now, the present living; and you cannot live now if you are burdened with the past.

So what brings about a total mutation in the mind? You understand, sir? We have shown you the map of the human life, though not in detail. We have shown you the map, and we all say, "There must be a new mind, a new way of living". How is this to come about? Please listen to this. How is this to come about? How do you find it? Are you waiting for me to tell you? Don't laugh, be serious. Are you waiting for the speaker to tell you? If you are, then that is going to create another friction; therefore you will not be free of friction; therefore there will be conflict. But if you understand that neither word, nor emotion, nor intellect has any answer, what happens? All the doors which you have invented - socialist doors, communist doors, religious doors, psychological doors - are closed, there is no way out. When you know that, what happens to you?

Now begins the real meditation. You understand, sirs? Now begins a mind that is no longer driven by any outward or inner influence, a mind that is no longer controlled by any idea, by any pleasure, by any values which it has created for itself as a guide. All those are gone; they have all failed miserably, they have no meaning any more. So, if you are actually doing it, what has happened? You do not again say, "I will think about it tomorrow, agree or disagree" - then you and I are not in communication with each other. But if you actually understand this very clearly, what takes place? What actually takes place is light, clarity. And clarity, light, is always negative, because the very description of it as well as the imitation of the description is the positive action that prevents light.

I hope you and I are both working together. What takes place when you listen, not to the word, not to your reactions, not to your agreement or disagreement to an opinion? When you are quiet, you learn; your mind, your whole being, is alert, aware, and you are listening. Then something happens when you see. Now in that attention, in that listening, there is clarity.

(It began to rain, and the talk came to an end.)

Deccmber 26, 1965


Madras 1965

Madras 2nd Public Talk 26th December 1965

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

ancient Chinese treatise by Sun Tzu

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48 Laws of Power

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