Madras 4th Public Talk 2nd January 1966
If we may, we will continue with what we were talking about the other day when we met here.
We were saying how greatly important it is that there should be a mutation in the mind - not mere reformation, not mere improvement, but a total change. As we pointed out, man his lived for so many centuries with sorrow, with misery, with confusion. And the human being does not seem to be able to find a way out of this. He is caught in a web of circumstances of his own making, and has not been able to transform himself totally. He has been more or less civilized - which has been the function of most religions, to tame him down from the vicious animal - but there is still a great deal of the animal in most of us. And as there is so much decay, corruption - moral, spiritual, ethical, as well as aesthetical - it obviously is necessary to bring about, or rather to be aware of the factors that need, a radical change in our thinking and feeling.
And it is necessary to bring about this mutation, primarily inwardly. Though most societies, most governments, are concerned with the improvement of external matters, making life a little more comfortable - having more food, more clothes and all the rest of it - very few are concerned with bringing about this inward revolution.
This evening, we would like to talk about a change that must always be instantaneous. All mutation is instantaneous. It cannot be thought about, with a structure built round the change; nor can it be carefully planned out step by step, what man should do. We went into that more or less, last time.
So, I would like to discuss, talk over together, this question of time. But before we go into that, I think it is necessary to examine what is learning. Because both of us are going to learn about time. And perhaps if we could understand what is involved in this matter of time, then we could see the implication and the intimation or the hint that is intrinsically in the question of how to bring about a change.
For most of us, to learn is to accumulate knowledge or a technique, or to commit to memory certain ideas through experience, through being taught; and that process is what we call learning. That is, to cultivate memory; and having cultivated it, having gathered enough experience, knowledge, having stored it up, from there to act: that is what we generally, call learning. It is always in the past: that is, having learnt, I then apply. Having accumulated, added to my information, to my knowledge, to my experience, having stored it up, from there I proceed to act; that is, having learnt, from that knowledge I function.
But I think there is a vast difference between, learning and having learnt. The one is always in the active present, and the other is always in the past. The learning process is always going on, infinitely. But if one has learnt and then adds to it what one is learning, then learning ceases. I think one has to go into this a little bit, so that both of us understand this clearly.
Learning, which is the active present, is the doing, is the acting. The doing, the acting, is in the learning. Acting is not separate from learning. I learn, as I do, as I act - not having learnt, I act. The two are different states altogether. This we must clearly see from the very beginning if we are to understand this question of time. That is, one learns a technique, studies it, stores it up in memory; and having stored it up, having cultivated it through experience, through study, through memory, one acts. That action is entirely different from the action which comes in the act of learning. I act as I am learning - not having experienced, I act. I hope this is clear. The two are entirely different. The one is mechanical; that is what the computers, the electronic brains, do. The computer has been given all the information necessary about a particular subject; and when a particular question with regard to that subject is put to that machine, the machine gives a prompt answer. And that is what we do. Therefore, in that, there is no freedom.
So, one begins to discover that knowledge does not give freedom. Only learning gives freedom. Because that is not mechanical, you are learning all the time; and from that learning, there is acting all the time. So, if that is very clear, we can proceed to examine this whole question of time.
We use time as a means to bring about change. We are talking about psychological time, not time by the watch. Time by the watch is necessary. Otherwise you will not be here, I will not be here; you will not be able to catch your bus and go to your office tomorrow morning, and so on. Chronological time is absolutely necessary; that brings about some order and some efficiency.
Now, is there psychological time at all? And what do we mean by time in that sense? We understand what we mean when we say, `yesterday', `to-day', `tomorrow', by the watch. I have to catch a train, a bus, or an aeroplane in a few days, and so on; that is very simple. But when we are talking about a time which is altogether in a different dimension - which is psychological time - is there such a thing? And if there is, what is it? And we have to understand that in relation to what we mean by mutation, by this tremendous, radical revolution. If we do not understand the whole significance of time, we shall not be able to understand the implication of mutation.
Chronological time is a fact, there is no question of doubting it. But is there any other time? And if there is, what do we mean by that? To investigate that, to go into that really very deeply, you have to consider something entirely different - which is: there is a division, a separation, a fragmentation between the observer and the observed. Please, this is not an abstract subject, so don't go to sleep, don't become vague. This needs very clear thinking on your part, neither agreeing nor disagreeing. A really clear mind that wants to find out, neither agrees nor disagrees; it follows, examines - not on the basis of one's prejudices, likes and dislikes. So it needs a mind that is willing to think this out, right to the end. It is only such a mind that is a serious mind; and it is only the serious mind that is going to find the answer - not the mind that discusses philosophically the question of time.
So, what do we mean by time, if there is such a thing as time? And is it possible to put an end to time? We are used to thinking in terms of a gradual process: I will change, I will be good, I should be, I must not be, and so on. All that involves time. That is: I will, in the future, do it. 'The very action of 'will' is time. Please look at it very carefully. The action of `should' and `should not' is time, because there is an interval between what is and what should be, and to arrive at what should be involves time. Chronologically there is time involved, when you have to get from here to your house. And equally, when you want to change what is, you think of it in terms of time - which is, I should do that. Therefore the `should' implies time - which is, after gathering experience, having learnt, I act. It is not learning and acting. I will go into it. Perhaps it is not clear to you for the moment. If it does not become clear, I am sorry. One has to explain this very carefully and go into it step by step; and your mind must be equally alert and aware, and follow the implications, otherwise you will miss it. So, the time that we know, that is psychological, involves 'will' - the `should' and `should not', `I must' and `must not' - which obviously is: to move from one centre to another centre, a distance to be covered by time. So you invent an excuse for tomorrow and so on. Therefore, wherever there is an action of will, time is involved. And when you have time, there are other factors entering into it, other influences which modify what should be. So the cause produces the effect, and the effect then becomes the cause. Look, sirs! If I may suggest, please do not translate what you hear into your own terminology, don't translate what is being said in terms of Sanskrit or your own particular language; because your language, your Sanskrit words are loaded, and therefore you will not understand directly what the speaker means. So do not interpret what is being said into your own words; just follow - even intellectually, if you will.
As we said, unless we understand this question of time, mutation becomes meaningless. Then we are only concerned with self-improvement, with becoming better, nobler, more kind, less kind, this, or that - which involves time. So we see that where there is the function of knowledge as will, time is involved. And when time is involved between the actor and the action, there are other factors coming into being, therefore the action is never complete. I intend to give up something - that is, I will do it tomorrow. What is taking place between now and tomorrow? There is an interval, a lag of time. In that space, there are other factors coming in, other pressures, other strains. Therefore what should be is modified already, and so is my action. So the action is never complete. I start out to do something tomorrow, inwardly - give up, do, conform, imitate, and so on - and there are other factors, other pressures, other strains, other circumstances that come and interfere; therefore there is always, between what is and what should be, the action which is being modified all the time, and therefore such action is never complete.
Then also, through habit, through tradition, through acquiring knowledge technologically, we are used to say, we have got the habit of saying to ourselves, "I will do it another day", "I will change gradually". So again, this idea of gradualness involves time; in that is involved the whole business of modification. So one has to find out much more deeply what time is.
We see chronological time. We see time as will in action. We also see that the mind - through laziness, through indolence - has invented time to postpone action; which is, the idea and the action. There is the idea based on organized thought, according to tradition, knowledge, information; and according to that idea, there is action - which involves gradualness. Again, that is a very, very superficial thing, and one has to go much deeper into this question. I hope I have made this, up to now, fairly clear.
We have to find out if there is time at all. Because if I can understand it, or if there is an ending to time, there is immediate action. The mind, then - the brain - is not indolent, it has not the energy to be indolent. If I know I am going to die tomorrow, I will act immediately. So I have to brush aside this superficial explanation of time. This is what we have done, verbally. And if you treat this explanation as an explanation and merely as words, then it is not a fact. Then what has taken place? Then you are merely adding this to the knowledge which you have already, and from that knowledge you are going to act and therefore you are never free to learn.
Is there time? Because if there is no ending to time, there is no freedom, there is no end to sorrow; then life is merely one series of continuous reactions, responses and so on. So, is there an ending to time? If the mind can discover it, understand it, then action has a totally different meaning. Right? Sir, if you are told that your house is on fire, you will not be sitting here! If you are told that there is no tomorrow, you will be horrified! There is a tomorrow chronologically, but there will be no psychological tomorrow. And if there is no tomorrow, it is a tremendous revolution inwardly. Then love, action, beauty, space, freedom - these have a totally different meaning.
So that is what we are going to discover - discover; not learn, not accumulate some information from the speaker, with which you agree or disagree. You are going to discover it, feel your way into it. And then it will set, you free from time. You know, the feeling which is not stimulated by thought, is entirely different from the feeling brought about by a stimulus. Do listen to this a little bit. The feeling about space is entirely different from the word `space' in relation to what you think or feel or know about space. You understand, sirs, what it is to feel something, to look at something? Feel that sunset, do look at it; and also that tree, with its leaves; see the intensity, the extraordinary light, the beauty of that. To feel it is entirely different from the mere stimulation which that sunset gives you - there, you are dependent; there you say that it is a beautiful sunset which awakens in you memories, feelings, ideas and so on, But to come to that beauty with immense feeling which is not stimulated is entirely different.
So we are going to go into this question of time, non-verbally. To communicate, words are necessary; otherwise you will not know what we are talking about. You and I do know, I hope, English. So words are necessary. The word is not the thing. That light - unless you feel it and see it, the mere word `light' or `beauty' has no meaning. So one has to feel one's way into what we are going into. We are enquiring into this question of time.
Time by the watch, we know is a fact. We also know time as will, which is also a fact. We know also the gradual process when thought says, "Do it tomorrow, that is good enough" - which again is time. We know this is also a fact. Now what is time beyond this? Is there such a thing as time? To find out - not merely theoretically or intellectually or emotionally, but actually to feel your way into it - one has to go into this question of the observer and the observed. For instance, when you look at that sunset, there is the observer and the fact, the observed; there is a division between the observer and the observed. That division is time.
Now, the observer is not a permanent entity. Don't say that the observer existed first. Please let me here caution you. Look at it all as though you have never read a single sacred book - sacred books are not important anyhow. Look at it as though you are looking at it for the first time. Do not translate what Sankara or somebody else said: that there is the original observer, the original entity which is the silent watcher! You can spin a lot of words and theories, but don't do it, because then you are missing the whole point.
As you watch anything - a tree, your wife, your children, your neighbour, the stars of a night, the light on the water, the bird in the sky, anything - there is always the observer - the censor, the thinker the experiencer, the seeker - and the thing he is observing; the observer and the observed; the thinker and the thought. So, there is always a division. It is this division that is time. That division is the very essence of conflict. And when there is conflict, there is contradiction. There is `the observer and the observed' - that is a contradiction; there is a separation. And hence where there is contradiction, there is conflict. And when there is conflict, there is always the urgency to get beyond it, to conquer it, to overcome it, to escape from it, to do something about it, and all that activity involves time.
So, as long as there is `the observer and the observed' as two separate entities, there is always time. This does not mean that the observer identifies himself with the observed; in that process of identification too time is involved. If you say you believe in God - belief, not the truth - then you try to identify yourself with that. To identify yourself with that involves time. Obviously, because you have to make an effort, to struggle, to give up this, to do that, and all the rest of it. Or, you blindly identify yourself and you end up in an asylum.
So, one sees this division within oneself. And one sees that as long as this division exists, time will inevitably continue, time can never come to an end. And is it possible for this division to cease to exist? - which is, the observer is the observed, the seeker is the sought. Don't translate it into your own terminology: the seeker is God, a spiritual entity, or whatever it is; therefore, thought says, "I am the Atman or some other entity like that". If you say all this, you are deceiving yourself, you are not feeling your way into discovery, you are merely stating or asserting something which has no validity at all.
So, how is it possible - again, the 'how' is not the method; we are just asking - for this division between the observer and the observed to come to an end? As long as there is this division, time will go on, and time is sorrow. And a man who will understand the end of sorrow, must understand this, must find, must go beyond this duality between the thinker and the thought, the experiencer and the experienced. That is, when there is a division between the observer and the observed, there is time, and therefore there is no ending of sorrow. Then, what is one to do? You understand the question? I see, within myself, the observer is always watching, judging, censoring, accepting, rejecting, disciplining, controlling, shaping. That observer, that thinker, is the result of thought, obviously. Thought is first; not the observer, not the thinker. If there was no thinking at all, there would be no observer, no thinker; then there would only be complete, total attention.
So, how is it possible for this division between the thinker and the thought, the observer and the observed, to come to an end? Here no time must be involved. You understand? If I do certain practices in order to break down this division, time is involved; and therefore I perpetuate, continue, the division as the thinker and the thought. So, what is one to do? You put that question, not verbally, but with astonishing urgency. You are urgent, only when you feel something very strongly; when you have got violent, physical pain, you act, there is an intensity. There is this question of sorrow - not only individual sorrow, but the sorrow of man who has lived for so many millennia, suffering, tortured, never finding a way out. And to find a way out is an immensely urgent question. So, one must understand this, question very deeply - which is to listen to it, listen to what has been said.
You know what it is to listen? To listen to that breeze among the leaves. without any resistance, without interpretation, without distraction. There is no such thing as distraction when you are listening. When you listen to that breeze among the leaves, you listen with complete attention, and therefore there is no time involved at all. You are listening; you are not translating, not interpreting, not agreeing or disagreeing, not saying, "I will think about it tomorrow". You are in a state of actual listening - which means you are so concerned, if I may use that word, because you are in sorrow. So you give your whole mind, your whole body, your whole nerves, everything you have, to listen.
Now, if you have listened that way, then we can go to another problem which will help the understanding of that division and the ending of that division between the observer and the observed. We must have order, there must be order - not only social order, but outward order, order in the room, order in the street, cleanliness. Without order you cannot function. All order is virtue; order is righteousness, and without order you cannot function efficiently. So order, both in society and also inwardly, is essential. Society and the human being are not two different entities; when there is order in the human being, there will be order externally. Because there is disorder in all of us, there is disorder outwardly. And the mere patching up of order outside, social order - and there must be social order - will not solve this inward disorder.
So, order is virtue, and virtue cannot be cultivated any more than you can cultivate humility. If you cultivate humility, you are only covering up your vanity. Humility is something that must blossom naturally. And without humility, there is no learning. So order is virtue, and virtue cannot be cultivated. Do please listen to it. When you cultivate virtue, it is no longer virtue. You cannot cultivate love - can you? You can cultivate hate, greed, envy; you can be more polite, more gentle, more kind, more generous, but that is not love. Love is something which is not of time, nor of memory. And that quality of love is compassion, in which is included tenderness, kindness, generosity, and so on. But generosity is not love, kindliness is not love. As you cannot cultivate love or humility, so you cannot possibly cultivate virtue. And yet all our habits, all our tradition, is to cultivate virtue - which is merely resisting the fact. The fact is: in spite of what you have said for centuries, you are violent. You may not hit another, because you are afraid to go to jail. But you are violent, because you are ambitious, greedy, envious, and when your country is attacked, you sit up and take notice, and you identify yourself with the country and you are going to shoot another - which is all the animal, inherent violence.
Now, to bring order in violence is to end violence, and the ending of violence must be immediate - not tomorrow. The ending of violence, which is order, does not involve time. Please understand this. If time is involved, which is will, which is postponement, which is gradualness - gradually, through ideas, through conformity, I will get rid of violence - you are not really free of violence. To be free of violence is now, not tomorrow.
So, there must be the feeling of righteousness, which comes into being without motive when you understand the nature of time. You understand, sirs? When you are good, because you are going to be punished or because you are going to be rewarded, then there is a motive; therefore it is not goodness, it is fear. So righteousness is always without motive. And in that field of human relationship, of righteousness, time does not exist. When you love somebody, what does it mean? To love somebody, an animal, a human being, a tree, the sky, the open space - when you love something, what does it mean? It means, surely, not intellection, not the reaction of memory, but an intensity between two individuals or between two objects, an intensity at the same level and at the same time; then there is a communication, non-verbal, non-intellectual, non-sentimental. Love is not sentiment, love is not emotion, love is not devotion.
So when one understands the nature of time, what is involved in it, virtue then is order, which is immediate. When you understand this virtue, which is order, which is immediate, then you are beginning to see that the division between the observer and the observed is non-existent. Therefore time has come to a stop. And it is only such a mind that can know what is new.
Look, sir! We know space only because there is the object which creates the space around it. There is this microphone; because of that there is space round it. Do listen. There is space inside the house because of the four walls, and there is space outside the house, which the house as an object creates. So, when there is space which an object has created, then there is time.
Is there space without the object? You understand the question? You have to discover this. This is a challenge. Not that you must respond or not respond - you have to find out. Because one's mind is so petty, small, it is always functioning within the limits of its own self-centred activities. All the activities are within that centre and round that centre, in the space which the centre creates within itself and round itself, as this microphone does. Therefore when there is space which an object or a thought or an image has created, that space can never give freedom, because in that space there is always time.
So time ceases only when there is space without the object, without the centre, without the observer and therefore without the object. It is only such a mind that can know what beauty is. Beauty is not a stimulant; it is not brought about, or put together, by architecture, by painting, by looking at the sunset, or by seeing a beautiful face. Beauty is something entirely different; it can only be understood when the experiencer is no longer there, and therefore experience ceases to exist. It is like love - the moment you say verbally, or feel, that you love, you cease to love. Because then love is merely a mentation; love then is merely a feeling, an emotion, in which there is jealousy, hate, envy, greed.
So, you have to understand the nature of time, not theoretically, intellectually, but actually, inwardly. Because when you understand the nature and the structure of time, then action is immediate; therefore there is the ending of sorrow - now, not tomorrow. And to understand time, you have also to understand space and also beauty. There is very little beauty in the world - there are a lot of decorations - and without beauty there is no love.
So one has to understand all these things, and it is only time that prevents living. If you have gone into this very deeply, not verbally but actually, as we are discussing, as we are talking, then you will see that this sense of timelessness. comes into being without your asking. It comes into being because you have listened without any resistance, without any knowledge, because there was not you listening as a listener, but there was only listening. Then, when time has stopped, you will find that sorrow, conflict and contradiction come to an end.
January 2, 1966
Madras 4th Public Talk 2nd January 1966
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