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Rishi Valley 1967

Rishi Valley 1st Public Talk 4th November 1967

One has to use words to communicate and exchange not only ideas but something much more worthwhile and, I feel, profound. In using words we notice that certain words have special significance and are loaded; when one hears these words one translates them according to the associations which one has formed in relation to one's particular inclination and tradition. When one uses a Sanskrit word, that word, obviously, is heavily loaded. It has its own associations and when one hears it one falls back into the traditional meaning of that word, and one thinks one understands that word when one translates it or interprets it in traditional terms; one thinks one has really understood what that word means. But fortunately we are not using any Sanskrit words, we are speaking in ordinary English and without any particular jargon, so there is little possibility of interpreting or translating any word according to a particular traditional background. When one uses the word awareness, one understands - if one is at all inclined to go into it - what it means; but the corresponding word in Sanskrit immediately awakens, in those people who are traditionally conditioned by Sanskrit, all kinds of associated ideas. So I would suggest that when we are communicating with each other - as we shall be, during these talks and discussions - one should not translate these words of special significance into Sanskrit or Tamil, or whatever one is used to, and interpret them according to one's tradition. Accept these words freely, examine them critically, - that examination and understanding has extraordinary vitality. But if one merely, translates these words into a particular idiomatic, linguistic, traditional meaning, then I am afraid communication becomes rather difficult. After all, you have taken the trouble to come all this way to listen to a series of talks and discussions and we must communicate with each other - you have to understand the speaker and the speaker has to understand you. So we have a common language like English, and when we use certain English words they are ordinary English words without all the loaded associations of tradition - they can be used freely.

Now having stated that, we can proceed to examine the primary, essential issue, the crisis that is taking place in the world. I feel that this crisis is not a momentary crisis. There is always a crisis if one is willing to look at life freely, but as most of us are unwilling to look critically, unemotionally, objectively, we pass such crises by. A special crisis, a special challenge, has to arise to make us change. We are confronted with a series of crises throughout the world - there is the extraordinary crisis of violence, brutality, hatred, fear and so on - there is the economic crisis, not only as it is in this country but in different forms in other countries - there is a social crisis, and the crisis in the relationship between man and man. And there is also a religious crisis, because through education one examines and questions belief, - belief has gone, belief has become a superstition. And those people who are really serious, not just accepting a double standard of life, have rejected all ideologies, systems and formulas.

There is a crisis all through our existence, and observing closely one finds the crisis is not only in the outside world of phenomena, but also inwardly. Inwardly we are very confused, we have not any longer a belief which will hold us, a standard to guide us, no longer any principles; so inwardly - if one is at all conscious of this problem - there is a great deal of contradiction and confusion. One may not observe this, one may not be aware of it, but it is there, and one may not acknowledge to oneself that all religions and systems have failed - whether the Communist or other forms of systems - they have not produced what they have promised, they no longer have any meaning. Whether one is aware of it or not there is, inwardly, psychologically, in the totality of our consciousness, a great deal of disturbance. When one is aware of this extraordinary disturbance one sees it both outwardly and inwardly. Now, when one uses the word `disturbance' how does one listen to it? Does one merely hear the word with all its associations, or, does one hear that word without any contradiction, without any dual process of association taking place? I hope I am making myself clear on this question. If I hear that word `disturbance' with all its associations and its contradictions, that is, being disturbed I want peace, I want quietness, I want tranquillity, a state of non-disturbance and so on - then I am not listening at all. I am hearing certain associated ideas which the word awakens in me. Isn't it so? No? The associated acts of hearing prevent me from listening. There are two acts when you hear a word like disturbance, there is the act of listening, and then there is the hearing of the reaction to that word, the reaction being the idea of tranquillity, peace, quietness and all the rest of it. That word awakens certain associated ideas and if one is caught in the associated ideas, one is actually not listening. I don't know if you are - actually listening - now?

Look, when you use the word `God', immediately you have a series,of reactions about it - that you believe or you don't believe, that it is stupid or idiotic to believe, or that there is God whose protection we must seek - which prevent you from the act of listening. For when you truly listen, there is no interpretation, there is no reaction at all, there is just the act of listening. Such act of listening demands a great deal of discipline in order not to be caught in verbal associations with all the duality that that implies. Such an act of listening is an act as positive as the act of hearing and being carried away emotionally by a particular word. If one can listen without being caught in any process of duality, conflict, emotional attachment or sentimental demand, then one can look very clearly at the whole issue; this is what we are going to discuss. We are not concerned with bringing about more ideas, more formulas, or the denial of formulas or systems. What we are concerned with is the act of listening which will see the truth and which will see the false by actual perception without any judgement.

Is this at all clear, or am I talking Greek, Chinese - is it clear, somewhat?

Understanding, in ordinary relationships, can only come about when one is actually listening, not when one is arguing, not when one is trying to influence another, not when one is contradicting or when we are annoyed with each other. We understand each other when we are actually listening to each other, and that is only possible when there is a certain quality of affection and attention, otherwise you cannot possibly listen. If you have already an image about the speaker and the speaker has an image about you, then we are not listening to each other - each image, which is an idea, is in communication with the other image and that is utterly idiotic. But if we could understand each other, we could not only hear the word, but listen beyond the word, listen with that state of mind which sees very clearly what is true and what is false; and such perception of what is true and what is false has nothing whatsoever to do with ideas, with systems. When you see something clearly, it is so, it is like seeing something dangerous, poisonous, you see the nature of the danger and it demands your complete attention.

So we see in the world and in ourselves a great confusion, conflict, misery and innumerable problems that demand solution - that's an obvious fact both outwardly and psychologically. And seeing this whole content of the human situation one asks - is it possible to change completely? That is our question, our primary question. Can you and I - who have built a society which is brutal, which is aggressive violent, competitive, which engenders wars and class divisions and all the rest - can we bring about in ourselves - without any influence, without any persuasion, without any punishment or the fear of punishment - a total revolution, so that we are no longer brutal, violent, anxious, fearful, greedy, envious and so on? That is the real issue, because if we can fundamentally and radically change, then we will create a different society, then we will no longer live on words, on beliefs, on systems which have produced so much catastrophe and disaster in the world.

So, can I, seeing this whole situation, not verbally but actually, can I easily, spontaneously, without any persuasion, bring about a complete transformation of myself? That is the real issue - is it possible? What is, I wonder, the reaction to such a statement, is there agreement that there must be change in the psyche, a total mutation in the human mind, or do you say that it is not possible, or "How am I to do it?" If you say it is not possible you accept things as they are - perhaps slightly modified - then you don't want any mutation, any change, and most people don't, specially those who are fairly secure economically or socially, or secure in certain dogmatic beliefs, there is for them no question. If you say "I don't want to change" - either you crudely put it that way or you subtly say, "Well, that's too difficult, it's not for me" - you have already blocked yourself, you have already ceased to enquire and it is no good going any further. But if you say "Is it possible to change?" - change in the sense of seeing the fundamental necessity of a human revolution inwardly, if you say, "Is it possible?" - then the next question is, "How am I to do it?" - " Tell me of a system, a method, help me towards it". Then of course you are not concerned with change but with what will help you to bring about change - you are not really interested in a fundamental revolution, you want to know how to do it, you are seeking a system, a method. Now, when one seeks a method or a system, what takes place? - let's go into it - what actually takes place? If the speaker were foolish enough to give a system what would happen - psychologically what would take place? If you were equally foolish enough to follow the system, then you would be merely copying, imitating, conforming. You would conform, imitate, accept, because you would have set up in yourself the authority of another and hence there would be a conflict between yourself and the authority in you, - the authority that says you must do this and yet you find you are incapable of doing it - you have your own particular inclination, tendency, pressure of circumstance against which there is the authority of the system that says you must do this or that, so there is contradiction, You will lead a double life, the ideology of the system against the actuality of your daily life - so you develop a hypocritical attitude towards life. In imitating you suppress yourself, you say "By Jove, the ideology is much greater than I am, much truer, I must conform to that" - but what is actually true is what you are, not the ideology. So if you can brush aside the ideology, then what have you left? Please observe this in yourself. You no longer say "I will follow a Saint" - we'll leave that person completely out because that person is already dead, a Saint is a complete wash-out, is finished. But the man who, says "I want to change, tell me what to do" - such a man seems to be very earnest, very serious, but he is not. He wants to be told what to do, he wants to set up an authority which he hopes will bring about order within himself.

Can authority bring about order, at all? Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini and all the world leaders have said that by creating an ideological authority there will be order. But one has observed throughout life that where there is any form of authority, ideological or individual, it breeds disorder, as may be perceived in Russia, in China, everywhere where there is the worship of authority. I don't know if you see it? You may intellectually see this, but do you actually apply it so that the mind is no longer projecting an authority, the authority of a book, of a guru, of a wife or a husband, of society and so on? We have always functioned within the pattern of a formula which becomes the ideology and the authority. You can observe this phenomena very closely, directly, in India where you see that they have talked about non-violence for the last forty years, endlessly, up and down the land, and when there was a war, a local war between Pakistan and India, there wasn't one human entity in India - an Indian - who followed non-violence, who stood up against it and said "This is wrong - it is terrible to kill". Though the Indians talked a great deal about 'ahimsa' and all that nonsense the actual fact is that not one of them lived what he said, - they lived by words and you cannot live by words; the words create the system, the ideology. So, can one put away this demand - "I see the necessity of change but how am I to do it?" The moment you put the `how' you have already set in process the authority, whether the authority is yourself, your own experience, or the authority of another. If you see this very clearly you have finished with it for ever. When you see the necessity of radical change and you are not asking the question `how' - I do not know if you see this central point - then what takes place? That is the real crisis - you follow Sirs? - you are no longer seeking ways and means of changing, because when you seek a way to change, that becomes the authority. If you change according to the Gita then that becomes the authority. So if you can put away all that, then what are you confronted with? I don't know if you see this point very clearly, because if you miss this point then we shall have to go back and back, and over and over again - which will be a waste of time.

I see that I must change completely from the very roots of my being; I can no longer depend on any tradition, - because tradition has destroyed, tradition has brought about this colossal laziness, acceptance, obedience - also I see that I cannot possibly look to another to help me to change - no guru, no God, no belief, no systems, no outward pressure or influence, - all that. When I reject all that, what has taken place? When you reject something false, that is, looking to another to help you, and also when you have no longer the authority of your particular little experience - when you reject all that - what takes place? First of all, can you reject it? - which means you are no longer afraid. When you reject something false, which you have been carrying about with you for generations, when you throw off a burden of any kind, what takes place? You have more energy haven`t you? You have more capacity, you have more drive, you have greater intensity, vitality. Now does that actually take place? - if it doesn't, you have not thrown off the dead weight of authority. And when you have this energy - in which there is no fear at all, the fear of making a mistake, of not doing right or doing wrong - then is not that energy itself the mutation?

One needs a great deal of energy, yet we dissipate energy through fear - through the fear of not achieving, not being successful outwardly, or the psychological fears, the fears that are caused by acceptance, by obedience. Fear dissipates energy and when we see that, - not theoretically or verbally, but actually see that as a danger, - then you have the energy. Then when there is that energy, - which has thrown off every form of fear - that energy itself produces the radical revolution. You don't have to do a thing about it. If you change according to a pattern it is merely a superficial change. Have you not noticed the gradual change that is taking place in Russia, they are becoming more and more bourgeois, like the rest of the world, because they have tried to function according to a formula or an ideology, but you can't fit the human mind into an ideology, it breaks away from it and as it breaks away it becomes more and more like the rest of the world.

So one observes in oneself the same process that one sees in the world, chaos, brutality, aggression and so on. There is no separate outer and inner; the outer is related to the inner, the inner is related to the outer, there is intercommunication, it is a unitary process. And observing this one demands, - if one is at all intelligent, aware, inclined to be charitable, - that a fundamental mutation shall take place in the human mind. And if you are not satisfied with things as they are you may see the need of a change, but because you have a job, a house, a family, dependence of some kind, you'll say "Who will help me to change?" One realizes that we have depended on others throughout the millennia, on saviours, masters, gurus and philosophers and that they have not brought about a fundamental change in man - so you reject them totally, you don't play with them any more. So you are left with yourself, that is the actual state for a man who is very serious about all this. You are no longer looking to anybody for help, or assistance, therefore you are already free to look. And when there is freedom there is energy; and when there is freedom there is never the doing of something wrong. Please understand this very clearly, because freedom is entirely different from revolt - rather there is no such thing as doing right or wrong when there is freedom. You are free and from that centre you act - hence there is no fear, and a mind that has no fear is capable of great love and it can do what it will. But a mind that is caught in fear lives in darkness and confusion, - "what to do?" - "tell me, what is the right course to follow?" - then from that there is aggression, violence and all the rest.

So if one demands, as one must, a total revolution in the psyche, one has to be aware of what is actually taking place in the world, not the world of America, or Russia or China but the world in which you are living, the world of aggression, your aggression, your desire for dominance, your desire for power, position, your corruption, that little world whether you live in Montpelier, Madras, Delhi or in Moscow or wherever - so, be aware of it and from there move.

Would you like to ask any questions?

Questioner: What is the Sanskrit word for awareness?

Krishnamurti: I really don't know, I don't want to know. I have explained, just now, what takes place in your mind when you use the word `awareness' and the equivalent in Sanskrit. This gentleman says `Jagrat' - you hear that word, what takes place? You think you understand the meaning of that word in Sanskrit but you really don't. To understand that word we should be aware, that is, be aware of the people round you, their faces, of how they sit, how they yawn, how they scratch, how bored they are - be aware of the flowers, of the trees, the skies, the hills, and from there move inwardly to your reactions to the hills, to the colours, to the trees, to the skies, to the dry sand of the river and to why you have these reactions: and all this can be immediately understood, observed, without going step by step. But if you say, "Tell me the meaning of that word in Sanskrit", you are not actually aware, - you may have understood the word but who cares what word you use as long as you understand in action.

One of our difficulties, it seems to me, is to ask a right question, and if you do see the right question to ask, probably you will never ask it. Because in order to ask the right question you must have already gone into it very deeply and when you have enquired deeply into a question, the answer is there, already. But most of us are not sufficiently serious, we would rather rely on somebody who is an authority, - at least on somebody whom we think is an authority, - to tell us the answer. To a really fundamental question there is no answer - anybody who answers it, offers an opinion, is a fool. And if you follow an opinion you are equally foolish. How does one ask a right question? - or rather - what is a right question? - not `how', but `what', is a right question? A right question, it seems to me, must be directly related to yourself, it does not come from a dialectical search for opinions and the truth of opinions. So, can one ask the right question? - which doesn't mean that we are trying to prevent you from asking questions at all.

Questioner: Can we face violence with fearlessness?

Krishnamurti: It is rather, - what has produced violence? - not, can we face it? Why are we, as human beings, violent, and why have we been violent for millennia, not merely just now - why are we violent, not how can we face it? Violence is part of the animal which we have inherited. Animals are violent - haven't you noticed them? - the bigger dog attacking the lesser dog. There is the violence of animals protecting their territorial rights and their sexual rights, - haven't you noticed it? And territorial rights are much more important to them than their sexual rights although they are exactly the same. Attack your property - my lordy, you are all as violent as animals. Your wife looks at somebody else, - you become violent. So violence is inherited and is part of the structure of human beings. One has to become aware of that, one has to know one is violent, not `how to face it'. If you can eliminate violence there is no need to face it at all.

We are also violent because we live in crowded societies, crowded urban cities; man demands space both outwardly and inwardly, but we have no outward space and obviously we have no inward space. You know they are conducting research into the question of how much space human beings demand, must have. In crowded cities like Tokyo, London, New York and other cities like Bombay, there is very little space, - yet like birds and animals, we need space, otherwise we will lose all sense of proportion. So one of the causes of violence is that lack of space, both outwardly and inwardly. Also there is violence because we are, like the ants, so colossally greedy, acquisitive, we want power, we want position, each of us wants to be the chief man in the village or the chief of whatever it is. So these are the causes of violence and you can enlarge on them and go into them. Unless the mind frees itself from all that, it is no good talking about how to face violence. You can't resist violence, - you have tried to resist violence with non-violence and you haven't succeeded at all, you have only developed hypocrisy. But if you actually face violence in your daily life, observe the causes of violence, - when you dominate your wife or the wife dominates you, for that is a form of violence, you will then see if it is at all possible to be free from such violence, - one has to be aware of every movement of feeling, thought, action.

Questioner: If you have self-energy....

Krishnamurti: Sir, you can't assume that you have this self-energy, as you call it, you know nothing about it, it's just an idea. If you have not actually rejected all authority, then every other form of enquiry with regard to freedom from authority is obviously a verbal statement, it has no actuality. Look, Sir, we want order in the world. Order is necessary but there is great disorder outwardly and inwardly, right? Now what is, perhaps, the major cause of this disorder? You seek an authority that will bring about order in the disorder, don't you? - either the authority is a system, or a formula, a dictator, a law. Will such authority bring order - or will it only increase disorder? Obviously, authority will only increase disorder. And when you see that actually, then you see that there is no authority to clear this disorder, you see also this disorder is brought about by each one of us. So, can I clear up this disorder, by no longer seeking any form of authority, in any direction? - for when I no longer seek authority to help to bring about order, I alone am responsible. You understand, - I am responsible for this disorder, nobody else. So what causes disorder? - one of the major factors is the acceptance of authority and following the authority - another, and complementary cause, is the desire for power, position, prestige and the rest of it. So, can I eliminate all that inside myself? - if I do, there is actual energy, not theoretical energy.

November 4, 1967


Rishi Valley 1967

Rishi Valley 1st Public Talk 4th November 1967

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