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Bombay 1967

Bombay 2nd Public Talk 22nd February 1967

If we may, we will continue with what we were talking about the other day when we met here. We were saying that a radical revolution is necessary, a revolution that is not merely economic or social, but at much greater depth, at the very root of consciousness. We were saying that not only do the world conditions demand that this revolution take place, but also throughout the world there is a steady decline, not technologically but in a sense "religiously", if I may use that word cautiously and with a great deal of hesitancy. Because the word `religion' has been so thoroughly misused; the intellectual people discard it totally, they deny it, they run away from that word; the scientists, the intellectuals, even the humanitarians, will have nothing to do with that word, with that feeling, or with those organized beliefs which are called religion. But we are talking of a revolution, in the very nature of the psyche itself, in the very structure of consciousness that has been put together through millennia, through many many experiences, through many conditions.

We are going into this question: whether it is possible for a human being living in this world - in this brutal, violent, rather ruthless world that is becoming more and more efficient and therefore more and more ruthless - to bring about a revolution, not only outwardly in his social relationship but also much more in his inward life. It seems to me that unless there is a fundamental revolution in the whole of consciousness - that is in the whole field of thinking - man will not only deteriorate and so perpetuate violence, sorrow, but also create a society that will become more and more mechanical, more and more pleasure-giving, and therefore he will lead a very very superficial life. If one observes, that is what is actually taking place.

Man is having more and more leisure through automation, through the development of cybernetics, through electronic brains and so on. And that leisure is going to be used either for entertainment - religious entertainment or entertainment through various forms of amusements - or for more and more destructive purposes in relationship between man and man; or, having that leisure, he is going to turn inwardly. There are only these three possibilities. Technologically he can go to the moon, but that will not solve the human problem. Nor will the mere use of his leisure for a religious or some other amusement solve it. Going to church or temple, beliefs, dogmas, reading sacred books - all that is really a form of amusement. Or man will go deeply into himself and question every value that man has created through the centuries, and try to find out if there is something more than the mere product of the brain. There are whole groups of people, throughout the world, that are revolting against the established order by taking various forms of drugs, denying any form of activity in society and so on

So, what we are talking about is whether it is possible for man living in this world to bring about a revolution, a psychological revolution which will create a different kind of society, a different kind of order. We need order: for there is a great deal of disorder. The whole social structure, as it is, is based on disorder, competition, rivalry, dog eating dog, man against man, class divisions, racial divisions, national divisions, tribal divisions and so on, so that in the society as it is constructed there is disorder. There is no question about it. Various forms of revolution - the Russian and other forms of revolution - have tried to bring about order in society and they have invariably failed, as is shown in Russia and in China. But we need order, because, without order we cannot live. Even animals demand order. Their order is the order of property and sexual order. And also with us, human beings, it is the same order in property and sexual order - and we are willing to give up sexual order for rights over property; and in this field we are trying to bring about order.

Now, there can be order only when there is freedom - not as it is interpreted. Where there is no freedom there is disorder, and therefore there is tyranny and there are ideologies imposed upon man to bring about order which ultimately bring about disorder. So, order implies discipline. But discipline, as is generally understood, is the discipline based on conformity, on obedience, on acceptance, or brought about through fear, through punishment, through a great deal of tyrannical power to keep you in order. We are talking of a discipline that comes through the very understanding of what freedom is. The understanding of what freedom is brings about its own discipline.

So, we have to comprehend what we mean by these two words "freedom" and "understanding". Generally we say, "I understand something" - that is intellectually, verbally. When anything is clearly stated either in your own language or in a foreign language which we both understand, then you say, "I understand". That is, only a part of the human totality is used when you say, "I understand". That is to say, you understand the words intellectually, you understand what the speaker means. But we do not mean, when we use the word "understand", an intellectual comprehension of a concept. We are using that word "understand", totally - that is, when you understand something, you act. When you understand that there is some danger, when you see a danger very clearly, there is immediate action. The action of understanding is its own discipline. So, one has to grasp the significance of this word "under - stand" very clearly. When we understand, realize, comprehend, see the thing as it is, there is action. And to understand something you have to apply not only your mind, your reason, your capacity, but also your total attention; otherwise there is no understanding. I think that is fairly clear.

So, we are seeing that the understanding of freedom is entirely different from revolt. A revolt is a reaction against the established order - like the revolt of the people who grow long hair and so on. They are revolting against the set pattern; but when they revolt, they accept the pattern in which they are caught. We are talking of freedom which is not a revolt. It is not a freedom from something, but a freedom which is in the very understanding of disorder. Please follow this clearly. In the very understanding of what is disorder there comes freedom which brings about order, in which there is discipline.

That is, to understand negatively is to bring about a positive act. Not through pursuing a positive pattern will order come. There is disorder. This disorder is caused by man pursuing a certain pattern - a social pattern, an ethical pattern, a religious pattern, a pattern which is based on his own personal inclination or pleasure, and so on. That is, this society is built on an acquisitive approach to life, on competitiveness, on obedience, on authority - which has brought about disorder. Each man is out for himself. The religious man is out for himself; the politician is out for himself, though he talks about "for the good of the country; and the businessman is out for himself. Each man is out for himself - that is obvious. And therefore he creates disorder. There are ideologists who say that man is working for himself and therefore he must work for the country, for society as a community and so on. Therefore, order is imposed upon us - which brings disorder. This is fairly obvious, historically. So in understanding disorder - how each human being creates disorder - not verbally, not intellectually but actually, in seeing actually the fact of what he is doing, then out of that perception, out of that observation of actually what is, and in the understanding of that, there is a discipline which brings about order.

So we have to understand, comprehend the word "freedom", the word "understand", and also the word "see". Do we see anything, or do we see it through the image which we have about that thing? When you look at a tree, you are looking at the actual fact of the tree through the image you have about the tree. Please observe it yourself, watch yourself. How do you look at the tree? Do it now, as we are talking. You look at it with thought; you say, "It is a palm tree", "It is this tree or that tree". The thought prevents you from looking at the actual fact of that tree. Move a little more subjectively, more inwardly. You look at your wife or your husband through the image you have created about that person. Obviously; because you have lived with her or with him for many years and you have cultivated an image about her or him So you look at her or him through the image you have, and the relationship is between these two images that you have cultivated - not between two human beings. So you do not actually see, but one image is seeing the other image.

And this is very important to realize, because we are dealing with human relationships throughout the world. As long as these images remain, there is no relationship; hence the whole conflict between man and man. It is an actual fact that each one of us is creating an image about the other and that when we look at the other, we are looking at the image we have about him or he has about us. You have to see this fact. To see is different from verbalizing about it. When you are hungry, you know it. Nobody needs to tell you that you are hungry. Now, if somebody were to tell you that you are hungry, and you accept that statement, it has quite a different significance other than your being actually hungry. Now, in the same way, you have actually to realize that you have an image about another, and that when you look at another as a Hindu, as a Muslim, as a Communist, and so on, all human relationship ceases, and you are only looking at the opinion you have created about another.

So we are asking whether it is at all possible to bring about a revolution in this image-making. Please follow this and see the extraordinary implications involved in it. Human beings are conditioned by society, by the culture in which they live, by the religion, by the economic pressures, by the climate, by the food, by the books and by the newspapers they read. They are conditioned, their whole consciousness is conditioned. And we are going to find out if there is anything beyond that conditioning. But you can find out if there is anything beyond that conditioning, only when you realize that all thinking is within the pattern of consciousness. Is this clear? Now I will proceed to explain a little more. You see, man has always sought something beyond himself, an otherness; and he called it "God", he called it "Superconsciousness" and all kinds of names. He has started from a centre which is the totality of his consciousness. Look, sir, we will put it differently. The consciousness of man is the result of time. It is the result of the culture in which he lives, the culture being the literature, the music, the religion and all that, that has conditioned him. And he has built the society to which he is now a slave. Is that clear? so, man is conditioned by the society which he has built, and that society further conditions him; and man is always seeking a way out of this, either consciously or unconsciously. Consciously, you meditate, you read, you go to religious ceremonies and all the rest of it, trying to escape from this conditioning. Unconsciously or consciously, there is a groping, there is a seeking for something beyond the limitations of consciousness.

Thought which is the result of time, is always enquiring whether it can go beyond its own conditioning, and saying that it cannot or it can, or asserting that there is something beyond. So thought which is the result of time, thought which is the whole field of consciousness - whether it is conscious or unconscious - can never discover the new. Because, thought is always the old. Thought is the accumulated memory of many millennia. Thought is the result of the animal inheritance. Thought is the experience of yesterday as memory. So thought can never go beyond the limitation of consciousness.

So, when you look at a tree, you are looking at the image which thought has created about that tree. When you look at your wife or your husband, or at your political leader, or a religious guru and all that, you are looking at the image that thought has created about that person. Therefore you are never seeing anything new. And thought is controlled by pleasure. We function on the principle of pleasure - into which we went a little bit the other day. What we are asking now is whether it is at all possible to go beyond this limited consciousness. And to enquire into thought is a part of meditation which demands a tremendous discipline - not the discipline of control, suppression, imitation, following a method and all the rest of that silly stuff.

Now, I am going to go into this process of enquiry. The speaker is going into it; but if you want to take the journey with the speaker, you have not only to follow him verbally - follow him in the sense not authoritarian - but also just to pursue with him, not verbally but actually.

We are going to discover whether there is a field of innocence, an innocence that has not been touched by thought at all. Whether I can look at that tree as though for the first time, whether I can look at the world with all its confusion, miseries, sorrow, deceptions, brutality, dishonesty, cruelty, war, at the whole conception of the world, as. though for the first time - this is an important matter. Because if I can look at it as though for the first time, my action will be totally new. Unless the mind discovers that field of innocence, whatever it does - whatever the social reforms, whatever the activity - will always be contaminated by thought, because it is the product of thought, and thought is always old.

And we are asking whether consciousness being limited, any movement in that consciousness is a movement of thought, conscious or unconscious. When you seek Cod, truth, it is still thought seeking and therefore projecting itself in terms of recognition of what it has known, and therefore what you are seeking is already known; and therefore you are not seeking at all. This is very important to understand. Therefore, all seeking must totally cease - which means really, you must see actually what is. That is, when you see that you are angry, jealous, competitive, greedy, selfish, brutal, violent, when you see what is actually as it is, not in terms of an ideal, then you remove conflict altogether. A mind that is in conflict of any kind, at any level, becomes dull. Like two people quarrelling all the time - they are dull, stupid, they have become insensitive. Any conflict makes the mind dull. But when you see actually `what is' without its opposite, then there is no conflict at all.

I will show you what we mean. The animal is violent. Human beings who are the result of the animal, are also violent; it is part of their being to be violent, to be angry, to be jealous, to be envious, to seek power, position, prestige and all the rest of it, to dominate, to be aggressive. Man is violent - this is shown by thousands of wars - and he has developed an ideology which he calls `non-violence'. Please follow this closely. This country, India, has talked endlessly about it; it is one of its fanciful, ideological nonsense. And when there is actual violence as a war between this country and the next country, everybody is involved in it. They love it. Now, when you are actually violent and you have an ideal of non-violence, you have a conflict. You are always trying to become non-violent - which is a part of the conflict. You discipline yourself in order not to be violent - which, again, is a conflict, friction. So when you are violent and have the ideal of non-violence, you are essentially violent. To realize that you are violent is the first thing to do - not try to become non-violent. To see violence as it is, not try to translate it, not to discipline it, not to overcome it, not to suppress it, but to see it as though you are seeing it for the first time - that is to look at it without any thought.

I have explained already what we mean by looking at a tree with innocence - which is to look at it without the image. In the same way, you have to look at violence without the image which is involved in the word itself. To look at it without any movement of thought is to look at it as though you are looking at it for the first time, and therefore looking at it with innocence.

I hope you are getting this, because it is very important to understand this. If man can remove conflict within himself totally, he will create a different society altogether; and that is a radical revolution. So we are asking whether man, this conditioned entity, can break through all his conditioning so that he is no longer a Hindu, a Muslim, a Communist, or a socialist with opinions or ideologies, and all that has gone. It is only possible when you begin to see things actually as they are.

You have to see the tree as the tree, not as you think the tree is. You have to look at your wife or your husband actually as she or he is, not through the image that you have built about the person. Then you are always looking at the fact, at what is, not trying to interpret it in terms of your personal inclination, tendency, not guided by circumstances. We are controlled by circumstances, we are guided by inclination and tendency; and, therefore, we never look at "what actually is." To look at "what actually is" is innocence; the mind then has undergone a tremendous revolution.

I do not know whether you are following this. You teach a child that he is a Hindu, you teach a child that he is a dark man or a black man, and the other a Christian. You teach him and so you control him, and condition him. Now what we are saying is that to break through this conditioning it is necessary never to think in terms of a Hindu, a Muslim, a Communist, or a Christian, but as a human being who sees things actually as they are - which means really to die.

You know, "death" is, for most of us, a frightful thing. The young and the old are equally frightened of death for various reasons. Being frightened, we invent various theories - reincarnation, resurrection - and all kinds of escapes from the actual fact that there is death. Death is something unknown. As you really do not know your husband or wife but only know the image you have of the husband or the wife, so also you really do not know anything about death. You understand this? Death is something unknown, something frightening. The entity that is you, has been conditioned and is full of his own anxieties, guilt, miseries, suffering, his little creative capacity, his talent to do this or that; he is all that and he is frightened to lose what he knows, because his censor is the very essence of thought. If there is no thinking, there is no "me", there is no fear at all. So, thought has brought about this fear of the unknown.

There are two things involved in death. There is not only the physical ending, but also the psychological ending. So man says that there is a soul that continues, that there is something permanent in me, in you, that will continue. Now this permanent state is created by thought, whether the thought was produced by some ancient teacher, a writer, a poet, or a novelist - whom you may call `a religious man' full of theories; he has created this idea of soul, of the permanent entity, by thought. And we pursue that thought and are caught by that conditioning. Like the Communists - they do not believe in anything permanent; they have been taught and are thinking accordingly. In the same way as you have been taught to believe that there is something permanent, they have been taught to believe that there is nothing permanent. You are both the same, whether you believe or do not believe. You are both conditioned by belief.

Then there is another issue involved in this, which is: whether thought has a continuity. Thought continues when you give strength to it. That is, thinking every day about yourself, about your family, about your country, about your work, about going to a job, working, working, thinking, thinking - by doing this you have created a centre which is a bundle of memories as thought. And whether that has a continuity of its own has to be enquired into. We won't go into it now, because there is no time for it.

Death is something unknown. Can we come to it with innocence? You understand? Can I look at the moon shining through those leaves, and listen to those crows, as though I am seeing or listening for the first time, with complete innocence of everything I have ever known? That is to die to everything I have known as yesterday. Not to carry the memory of yesterday is to die. You have to do it actually - not theorize endlessly about it. You will do it when you see the importance of it. Then, you will see there is no method, there is no system; because as soon as you see something dangerous, you act immediately. In the same way, you will see that a mind that has merely a continuity of what has been, can never possibly create anything new. Even in the field of science it is only when the mind is completely quiet, that it discovers something totally new. So to die to yesterday, to the memories, to the hurts, to the pleasures, is to become innocent; and innocency is far more important than immortality. Innocency can never be touched by thought, but immortality is clothed with thought.

The machinery of image-making comes into being through energy, the energy whose principle is to seek pleasure. That is what we are doing. Are we not? We all want pleasure. On that principle we act. Our morality, our social relationship, our search for the so-called `God', and the rest of it - all that is based on pleasure and the gratification of that pleasure. And pleasure is the continuation, by thought, of desire.

Madam, please do not take notes. This is not an examination where you take notes, go home, think about it, and then answer it afterwards. We are doing it together. You are acting and you have no time. When you are actually living, it is now, not tomorrow. If you are following this intensely, you have no time to take notes. Please listen.

Listening means learning; and learning is not accumulation. That is, when you have learned, you act from what you have learned; such learning is merely an accumulation. Again, having accumulated, according to what you have accumulated, you act; and therefore, you are creating friction. If you listen, there is nothing more to do. All that you have to do is to listen. Listen as you would look at that tree, or at that moon, without any thought, without any interpretation. Just listen: there is great beauty in it. And that listening is total self-abandonment. Otherwise you cannot listen.

It is only when you are passionate you listen; and there is no passion when you cannot abandon yourself totally about anything. In the same way, if you are listening with total abandonment, you have done everything you can possibly do, because then you are seeing the truth as it is, the truth of every day, of every action, of every thought, of every field. If you do not know how to see the truth of everyday movement, everyday activity, everyday word, everyday thought, you will never go beyond that, you will never find out what is beyond the limitations of consciousness.

So, as we said, the understanding of freedom brings its own discipline, and that discipline is not imitation, is not conformity. For example, you look at that moon very attentively, and keep on looking, that very looking is discipline. Consciousness, as we said, is limited, and this limitation is within the reach of thought. Thought cannot break through this limitation; no amount of psychoanalysis, no amount of philosophy, no physical discipline will break through this conditioning. This can only be broken through, when the whole machinery of thought is understood Thought, as we said, is old and can never discover the new. When thought realizes that it cannot do anything, then thought itself comes to an end. Therefore, there is a breaking through of the limitation of consciousness.

And this breaking through is dying to the old. This is not a theory. Don't accept it or deny it. Don't say, "It is a very good idea". Do it. Then you will find out for yourself that in dying to yesterday there comes innocency. Then from that innocency there is a totally different kind of action. As long as human beings have not found that, do what they will, all the reforms, all the nothing, all the escapes, the worship of wealth - they have no meaning at all.

Where there is innocency which can only come about through self-abandonment, there is love. Without love and innocency there is no life; there is only torture, there is only misery, there is only conflict. And when there is innocency and love, you will know there is a totally different dimension, about which nobody can tell you. If they tell you, they are not telling the truth. Those who say they know - they do not know. But a man who has understood this, comes, darkly, unknowingly, on something which is of a totally different dimension - like removing the space between the observer and the observed; that state is entirely different from the state in which the observer is different from the observed.

February 22, 1967


Bombay 1967

Bombay 2nd Public Talk 22nd February 1967

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