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Bombay 1966

Bombay 2nd Public Talk 16th February 1966

If we may, we will continue with what we were talking about the other day. We were saying how important it is that there should be a radical revolution, a revolution not merely in the outward structure of society but also deep within the human mind and heart, a revolution that is not planned, that is not an ideological revolution or a revolution brought about by circumstances. It is really a very complex problem, because several things are involved in it. First we must examine the issue and understand as deeply and widely as possible the implications of this change. We all demand certain forms of change, outwardly, socially. We want, don't we?, a society that is more capable of dealing with human affairs; politically, economically, we want more efficiency. And also deep within oneself one realizes that superficial things - however necessary, however good they are - somehow do not seem to answer the total demand of man.

We need something far deeper, far greater. And man has always been hunting after it, seeking it, through temples, through reforms, through various forms of social edicts and religious sanctions. One has wandered through the maze of all this. If one is aware of this situation, apparently one does not get anywhere. And invariably one falls in a kind of despair, lives with that despair and rationalizes it, and gives to that despair intellectual significance. Or one accepts traditional beliefs, going back to the past and living in that sanctuary, unthinking, blind, unquestioning, accepting, because that gives great comfort, because it pacifies an enquiring mind. And an intelligent, capable, enquiring mind rejects all this, because there is no truth in the past, nor in the future. Truth is beyond the field of time; and so, going back to what has been said by the ancients - however wise, however true - has no meaning whatsoever in the present; but yet the mind clings to it, because it has a certain fascination, it gives a certain hope. And most of us demand something to lean upon, something to hold on to, something created by the mind, or an image that hands have made, or a philosophy that gives us satisfaction. But when one has wandered through all this, the central problem still remains.

One sees that there must be order in society and there must be freedom in the widest sense of that word. And one also demands order within oneself. You cannot have order through compulsion - then that becomes merely a military affair. If you compel yourself, distort your mind, force it, suppress it, hoping thereby to bring about order, surely it brings about disorder. So force, compulsion, determination, a compulsive urge to bring about the change will not bring about a change at all; it brings about only greater disorder - which is obvious to anybody who has observed. We need social order and also we need an inward order. And if we look at it deeply, the two are not different. We divide life, unfortunately, into the outer and the inner. Either we neglect the outer and concentrate on the inner, or we discard the inner and accept the world as it is and make the best of it outwardly. We do not say that it is a single unitary movement, the outer and the inner. Unless there is outward order, there is no inward order. And to bring about inward order, the outward world must be understood and not treated as something illusory, not discarded as irreligious or as something a religious person will not touch. The two go together, they cannot be divorced at any time.

So, seeing this, how is one, a human being, to come upon this total revolution? And we mean by this `total revolution' not a revolution which is merely superficial, intellectual, moral, ethical, artistic and so on; it is a total revolution, right through one's being. Because, if there is no sense of beauty and therefore no sense of love, however much one may outwardly bring about a reform in one's behaviour, in one's conduct, in one's attitude and value, such conduct, value and behaviour have little meaning. So beauty and that strange word that we all call `love' cannot be manufactured, cannot be put together by force, cannot be the result of any form of outward compulsion. And that quality of beauty in its very essence is sensitivity, and a mind that is not sensitive, alert, watchful, aware, cannot respond totally.

So our question is: how can a brain as well as the mind, that is the total human being, physiologically, neurologically, completely change? How can the human being completely change? Such a change is necessary - one sees that. And unless there is a change, there will always be war - one nation against another, one nationality against another, all that terrible brutality of war, your country against another country, the linguistic differences, the economic differences, the social differences, the moral differences and the everlasting battle, outward and inward. There must be change. Now how is one to bring it about?

Please see the extraordinary complexity of this question, what is involved in it. Man has tried so many ways - gone away to the mountains, renounced the world and taken sannyasa, gone into the woods and meditated, fasted, become a celibate, has done everything that he could possibly invent, has mesmerized himself, has forced himself, has examined, analysed his consciousness, the conscious and the unconscious - he has done everything to bring about a radical revolution within himself. And he has been ruthless therefore in himself, not only as an individual but as a human being - the two are entirely different. The individual is a local entity: a Parsi, a Buddhist, a Muslim and so on. The individual is conditioned by the environment. But the human being is beyond that; he is concerned with the total man - not about his country, the linguistic differences, his little wars and quarrels, his petty little gods and so on - he is concerned with the whole state of man, his conflict, his despair. When you see the whole, then you can understand the particular. But the particular cannot possibly understand the whole. So, for the constantly introspective individual, enquiry has no meaning at all, because he is still concerned with the pattern of his own existence conditioned by society - in which is included religion and all the rest of it. Whereas man - as a human being who has lived for two million years - has suffered, has thought, has enquired, has borne, whether in Russia, in China, in America, or here.

And man, the human being, has done everything to bring about a radical change; and yet, fundamentally, man has not changed at all. We are what we have been for two million years! The animal is very strong in us. The animal with all its greed, envy, ambition, anger, ruthlessness still exists deep down in our hearts and mind. And we have through religion, through culture, through civilization, polished the outer; we have better manners - perhaps a few of us have better manners. We know a little more. Technologically we have gone very far. We can discuss western and eastern philosophy, literature; we can travel all over the world. But inwardly, deep down, the roots are very firmly embedded.

Seeing all this, how is one - you as a human being and I as a human being - how are we to change? Certainly not through tears, certainly not through intellection, not through following an ideological Utopia, not through external tyranny, nor through self-imposed tyranny. So one discards all this; and I hope you have also discarded all this. Do you understand? To discard one's nationality; to discard one's gods, one's own tradition, one's beliefs; to discard all the things that we have been brought up to believe in - to discard all this is a very difficult thing to do. We may intellectually agree, but deep down in the unconscious there is the insistence on the importance of the past to which we cling. Now you know the problem. We have sufficiently examined it, and it is useless to go into it in greater detail.

So the question is: how is one, a human being, to bring about such a tremendous change in himself that one still remains in this world, functions technologically and is able to reason sanely, rationally, healthily? Will, that is desire strengthened, does not bring about change; because will is the result of, is based on, desire, and desire is a part of pleasure. Follow this a little. I need to change as a human being. What am I to do? I can see that exercising the will to control, to suppress, to have a drive - a positive assertive direction which the will does give - does not bring about this change. Because in that exercise of the will, there is conflict; and wherever there is conflict, obviously there cannot be a change. A conflict cannot produce a change. If you and I were in conflict about some issue - as you are, as your country is, with another country - in that conflict there is no understanding, there is no harmony, there is no coming together. Wherever, at whatever state, at whatever level, there is conflict, there can be no change. So change cannot be brought about through conflict, and the very nature of will not only is the product of conflict but also creates conflict. Please listen. You must understand this before you proceed further.

You see, pleasure is the very principle upon which our brain functions. All our values are based on pleasure. Our concern, our motive, our principle, our morality - all this is essentially based on pleasure. All your gods, your hopes and the whole structure of your values and evaluations are based on pleasure. Please do not deny. We are exploring. Do not accept, but examine. If you say, "No, some of my values are tremendously noble", then examine. If you examine that which you call `noble', you will see that, essentially, behind it there is the principle of pleasure.

So the change brought about through will and pleasure is no change at all. That is, through determination, through an idea, through a conflict, change is not possible; it is merely a reformation, a movement within the same field, and therefore not a radical revolution. So one has to see that the application of will has no meaning at all when we are thinking of change. Will implies suppression, resistance, conformity, acceptance, obedience, the authority of another or of yourself. So, when you examine, you will see that if you are concerned with a radical revolution in the total existence of man, will has no place at all. But most of us, most of the human beings throughout the world have accepted will as a means of change. When you discard will - or rather, when you understand the whole structure and the nature of will, and therefore it has no importance whatever any more - then what are you faced with? Do you understand my question?

Man has used energy, which is after all `will; that will creates conflict, which is still energy. And man has lived in conflict and has accepted that as the role of life, as the pattern of life, as the pattern of existence. That is, we accept conflict as inevitable. Man has lived for two million years in conflict; and so we have got used to that and we say that it is inevitable - the conflict between man and wife, between man and man, between country and country and all the rest of it. We say that conflict is inevitable; but it is still the action of energy, surely. If you had no energy, there would be no conflict at all. If you had no energy to quarrel, to wrangle, to discuss, there would be no conflict. So, how is one to find the release of energy, such that that energy does not create conflict at all? You understand? Am I making myself clear?

Look, sir! Energy is life. Whatever we do, think, or feel is part of that energy. Without energy we would be dead. And that energy is creating conflict all the time. That is how we live. Our thoughts, our feelings, our ambitions and all that we do, breed conflict. Is it possible to release this energy, such that in the very release of it conflict ceases?

Take a simple example. If you look at a tree, there are two ways of looking at it. Either you look at it with thought; or you look at it without thought and yet you are intensely aware of that tree. That is, when you look at a tree, what takes place? There is visual perception; then there is the naming of the tree and generalizing it, and so not actually looking at it. You try to look at that tree. When you look at that tree, you immediately say it is a mango tree, it is this or that. That very activity of naming that tree is the process of bringing about conflict. Whereas if you had not named, but actually observed, then there would be no conflict between you and that. Please do it sometime when you are quiet in your room. Look at a flower. Do it. You will discover it for yourself - first of all, how difficult it is to look at something. To look at something you must give your total attention. And to give your total attention there must be no verbalization, because that becomes inattention. When I look at that flower and say, "It is a rose, I like it", or "I don't like it, I wish it were something else" and so on, I am inattentive. Therefore I am not looking. Whereas to look or to listen I must be completely attentive. Listen to those crows. Either you listen inattentively, or you listen with complete attention. If you listen with complete attention, there is no irritation, there is no conflict; you do not say, "I wish they would go away". It is only when you are inattentive - that is, when you want to listen to the speaker and discard that noise of the crows - that, in that state of inattention, there is conflict. This is simple, and you can work it out for yourself.

So conflict comes into existence only when there is inattention. please listen to this. You cannot train yourself to be attentive. But you can be aware that you are inattentive. And when you are aware that you are inattentive, you are attentive. So what we are concerned with is to bring about this change without any conflict - conflict in the conscious mind or at the lower levels of consciousness, totally right through one's being. And the fundamental change cannot be brought about under any circumstances through conflict. Therefore if you see that, then will, discipline, control, subjugation and adjustment have no meaning whatsoever. When you understand very clearly that there is no radical revolution in conformity, in obedience, in suppression, or in acceptance, then you will find out for yourself if you are really deeply interested in this radical revolution of the human being. Then, you have to find out whether it is possible to live in this world using your brain completely, rationally, sanely and yet not have conflict at any level. I am going to go into that.

You know, there is so little beauty in our life. We have slowly become so insensitive to nature; because we are so occupied with our own problems, with our own interests and issues, our minds, our hearts and our brains have become insensitive. We have accepted conflict as the way of life. And where there is conflict there is no feeling. Conflict and love cannot go together. And yet the way of our life - in the office, in the temple, in the church, on the street - is a series of either casual or important conflicts. And if we would change all that, we must understand not only how to look at a tree, how to listen to the silence of an evening, but also to live in a society which is so corrupt, which in its very essence is disorder.

To understand all this we must understand the nature of our thinking. Our brain is the machinery of thought, and that thought is the result of a great many experiences. Before I go into this, please listen - not agreeing, because there is no agreement about this. I am not doing any propaganda. I am not trying to make you change into something else. If you are observant, you yourself will bring about this change. Please listen. As you are listening to those birds, as you see of a night the beauty of the sky and the quiet tranquillity of a rich river, in the same way listen - not intellectually, not merely to words, but to the implications of the words. Very few of us are capable of listening, because we have already our prejudices, our conclusions. We think we know. We are never learning.

To learn there must be listening, and when you listen there is attention. And there is attention only when there is silence. So, to learn there must be silence, attention and observation. And that whole process is learning - not. accumulating - learning as you are going, learning in doing - not having learnt, doing. We are learning as we are going, as we are doing; not having learnt, doing - the two things are entirely different. We are learning as we are examining, as we are observing - not that we have learnt and then we observe. The two movements are entirely different.

Now what we are doing is learning in doing, because you are not being taught. There is no teacher or pupil. There is no guru. Because one has to walk by one's own light, not in the light of another. If you walk in the light of another, it leads to darkness. And it is very important to understand this: that you are learning. And to learn there must be silence. How can you learn if your mind is chattering, how can you look, how can you attend? Look at a boy who is learning in a school! If he is really interested in his subject, he is essentially quiet and giving his attention; and from this attention he is learning. Even if he wants to look out of the window, that very act, to look, is part of that learning.

So what we are doing is: learning. And to learn there is no teacher who teaches; all that one needs is attention, that sense of simple, quiet silence, and then one learns. Then, in that, there is no book, no teacher, no one to point out to you; the whole thing is happening.

So we are concerned with a way of life in which all conflict has ceased. We are going to learn. Not `what am I to do in order to live without conflict?' That is the most immature, childish question; and the moment you ask it, you create the man who will teach you what to do, and therefore you are caught. Whereas you have to see that learning is in doing; whether there is a mistake or no mistake - that is irrelevant.

Learning is in doing, not in being taught - except technologically; technologically, I need to be helped about the electronic brain and so on. But there is no one to teach you, and the learning has to begin. What another teaches is not truth. The follower destroys truth as the guru does. So you have to learn; and learning is in doing - that is the beauty of learning. That learning becomes a joy, a delight, not boredom, not something that you will have to do.

So to go into this question of how to live without conflict at all the levels of our being, intellectually, in our emotions, in our feelings, in our physical ways, we have to learn. Though the speaker may explore for you, you have to learn; and this means that you are exploring with him. Therefore learning is always together - which means learning is always a process of relationship. Please understand the beauty of this. You cannot learn by yourself. Learning is in doing, and the doing is in relationship - not withdrawing, examining analysing and then learning. Learning is an act of relationship and relationship is life. And life is this tremendous movement of everyday existence which is relationship. And to find a way of living in which there is no conflict is the greatest discovery, the greatest way.

So, before we begin to examine - which we will do probably at the next meeting - the first thing to realize is that conflict, however much it is part of our life, cannot possibly produce under any circumstances a life of deep awareness, silence and beauty. A man in conflict cannot possibly love. An ambitious man has no love at all. How can he have? He is in conflict, he is being frustrated, he wants to fulfil, his drive is towards that. Therefore, there is no beauty, no affection, no tenderness. He may have sentimentality emotionally, but that is not love.

So the deep realization that conflict in any form, under any circumstances, however much one is used to it, however much one has lived in it, destroys, perverts - a mind that realizes that, has learnt the implication of conflict and begins to learn a way of life in which there is no conflict at all, and yet it will be tremendously alive, will not go to sleep, will not become lethargic, inactive, dull, stupid. It is the man in conflict who leads a dull, stupid, insensitive life - not the man who is free from conflict.

But to understand and to come upon this extraordinary state of mind in which there is no conflict, one has to understand the structure and the nature of conflict, and see actually, objectively, the whole business of it. Then, seeing that, one can move to the next. But without seeing that you can never go beyond it. It is like a man who talks about the beauty of life, listens to music, goes to the theatre, sees the trees of an evening against the setting sun, but does not notice the filth of the street. Because he has got used to the filth of the street, the dirt, the squalor, the poverty, he is not really a man who loves beauty. To love beauty you must also be aware of the dirt, the squalor, the poverty and the inhumanity.

February 16, 1966


Bombay 1966

Bombay 2nd Public Talk 16th February 1966

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Art of War

ancient Chinese treatise by Sun Tzu

free to read online

48 Laws of Power

a different universe by Robert Greene?

free summary online