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Varanasi 1967

Varanasi 2nd Talk to Students 14th December 1967

May we continue with what we were talking about the other day when we met here? We were talking about violence, and I think we ought to approach this question from a different angle - from a total perception of the problem; understanding it comprehensively, totally - not a peripheral understanding, a fragmentary approach. We look at our problems - whether it be violence, or nationalism, or sensuality, or corruption, or our own shortcomings, our own tempers and bad manners - from a limited, fragmentary point of view. We look at each problem as though it were something separate, like meditation, for example. We think meditation is totally unrelated to daily living. We practise some mantra, hoping that, by repeating this or something of the kind, we shall reach paradise, (or whatever we like to call it). Again, this is all very fragmentary, not a total comprehension. And I think this question of violence and all other problems are related to one another; they are not separate. One cannot solve these problems or understand them by themselves, as though they were in watertight compartments. They all have to be tackled together from a central understanding; that is, if one is able to look at any problem totally, then I think we shall be able to solve all our problems.

Now the question is, what is total seeing? How does one see anything totally? - not in broken up little parts? How does one see something wholly? I think this is an interesting question because our minds function in fragments. How can a mind that works, thinks, acts, feels, in broken up parts, in fragments - how can such a mind see the whole issue of life, not just a particular issue? We must understand this question if we are to communicate with one another further about this.

Take, for instance, starvation. There is starvation in this country, with appalling poverty, callousness, brutality, total indifference, insensitivity. Those are obvious facts. And we want to solve the problem of starvation by a particular little plan, whereas it is an issue which involves the whole world, not merely India. You must have a feeling for man totally, a passion for man, whether the individual is an Indian, Muslim, Christian, communist, socialist, or what you will. Unlike enthusiasm, which is passion for a fragment, and soon fades and is replaced by something else, this intensity, this total passion, is never fragmentary.

So the question is; how can a mind which is so broken up see the whole of life as a unit? Now the mind functions differently in different states, at different demands, under different stresses and strains. It is one thing in the office, it is another thing when it meditates, and another thing with the family, the neighbour, and so on; that is, it is broken up. So what is the state of mind that sees the whole of life as a total unit? - because, unless one really sees life as a total unit, sees life totally, merely tackling the problem of violence has very little meaning. In the very process of understanding violence you will create another problem.

So the question is clear; how can a mind that operates, acts, thinks in fragments, (and thought is always fragmentary) - how can such a mind see the whole of life and understand it as a total act? When one puts a question of this kind to oneself, how does one respond to the question? Or is this too difficult for you, for the children? A little bit, perhaps, but it doesn't matter, it can't be helped.

You understand what that word 'understanding' means? To understand something - what does that word mean? Is it an intellectual understanding of a concept or of an idea? Does understanding come intellectually, verbally - or is it something emotional, sentimental? Or does understanding take place when you see the whole problem? And when does that understanding, as an act, come into being? Surely understanding comes only when the mind is very quiet, when it is not having an opinion, making a judgement or an evaluation - saying "This is right", "This is wrong; when it is not prejudiced, angry, agitated, and so on. It is only when the mind is completely quiet - unenforced, not twisted to be made quiet - that in that quietness there is an understanding.

Look, if you want to understand what the speaker is talking about you have to listen to him, but you cannot if your mind is looking out of the window, or there are innumerable other thoughts, other activities going on, or if your mind is chattering, wishing that you weren't here, but were playing in the garden instead. If those things are happening then you can't possibly listen to the speaker. You can only understand when your mind is really quiet in listening.

So, a total comprehension, a total understanding or seeing something, takes place as an act only when the mind is completely quiet. And this quiet is not produced, put together, by thought. You cannot say, "Well, I'll be very quiet, I'll force myself to be quiet and listen", for then you cannot listen because there is a conflict. So, to understand totally the whole of life, with all its complexities, with all its despairs, agonies, tortures, frustrations, miseries, and the beauty of the earth and the sky and the land and the river, one must look at everything from a mind that is completely at rest.

Now, to understand violence, which is so prevalent throughout the world - violence on the least provocation, as when one bursts into anger, fury, about nothing at all - every type of violence; to understand it, as we said, let us try to approach it differently.

You know, one of the most difficult things in life is to be honest. To be honest to what? - you understand my question? I want to be honest - honest being the word, not the actual state of mind that is honest. The meaning of that word, the semantic meaning, is - to think very clearly, precisely, and to say exactly what you mean; not to say one thing, think another thing, and do still another thing. That is what most idealists do. They think one thing, do another thing, and say something else. To me that is total dishonesty. Honesty exists only when you say exactly what you mean, without double meaning, double thinking, and not conforming to any pattern, any principle, any ideal. Then you are honest to yourself; what you think, what you do, is not contradictory to what you feel, what you assert, and so on.

Most of us are quite dishonest to ourselves because we adjust ourselves very quickly to what other people want, to what other people say. We suppress our own feelings, our own ideas, our own intentions because we meet somebody who is bigger and more popular and influential; so we become hypocritical. You can observe this very clearly in the politicians throughout the world - and there is a politician in each one of us. So, is it possible to be totally honest? - not honest to an ideal or a principle, for that is not honesty. If I practise an ideal I am leading a double life. Observe it in yourself. If I practise non-violence because I am violent, what takes place inwardly, psychologically? The fact is one thing, the ideal is the other. Actually I am violent and I am trying not to be violent, but in doing so I am sowing the seeds of violence - for the fact is one thing, the ideal another. This may be a very drastic saying, but look at it, examine it. An idealist is dishonest. The man who follows a principle is a dishonest man. When a man is practising something which he is not, then he is dishonest. But when he acknowledges what he is, then he is very honest. So the problem is - how to go beyond what is. You understand? Say, for instance, you are sensual, with all its complexity, and you try not to be sensual, because you have read, or have been told, that if you are sensual you cannot possibly come to truth, that you cannot be this or cannot be that. You try to suppress sensuality, but the fact is you are sensual. And when you try not to be sensual you are playing a dishonest game with yourself. Then the question arises - how is it possible to go beyond this sensuality? That is the question; not how to become nonsensual. If a man is angry and says, "I will not be angry", he is not playing an honest game with himself. But if he says, "I am angry; I acknowledge it; I see that I am angry. How am I to go beyond it?" - that is an honest question. Not how to become, but how to have a mind which is not capable of anger. You understand?

So the question is; here we are, human beings who are callous, indifferent, insensitive, dishonest, caught up in so many travails and miseries - how is it possible for us to go beyond and above all these fragmentary things? You understand my question?

Suppose I want to meditate. I really do not know what it means to meditate, but I have heard some yogis and others say, "If you meditate properly, rightly, you will receive an extraordinary, transcendental experience". I do not know what it all means but it seems to say something which appeals to me - I like something about it. So I try to meditate, force myself to control, to suppress, my desires, and so on. Now, what actually takes place? There is a contradiction between what is and what should be, isn't there? No? You understand the question, sirs?

Let us take it very simply. I am angry. That is a fact. Why should I create its opposite, which is, "I must not be angry", why? Will it help me to get over my anger to say "I must not be angry"? Apparently it does not, for we are still angry, we are still violent, we are still brutal. So if I can face the fact that I am angry, without any excuse, without any justification, just seeing the fact that I am angry, then I can deal with it. But I cannot deal with it if I am struggling with its opposite. So, is it possible to brush aside its opposite and deal only with what is - which is that I am angry? The opposites not only create conflict but act as a distraction from what is, so that I do not have a total perception of what is. Can you go along?

Look, sirs; conflict in any form, whether on the battlefield, or between neighbours, or within oneself, is a process of distortion. Conflict of any kind, within or without, makes the mind unclear, distorts the mind, perverts the mind. That is an obvious fact. I can only see something very clearly when there is no distortion within the mind itself. So can I face anger, look at anger, without any distortion - which means without trying to overcome it, justify it, explain it - just observing it? When I am capable of such observation I am looking at anger totally, at the whole structure and nature of anger, and therefore it is not a fragmentary issue but a total issue.

After all, most of us are rather callous, insensitive. Let's stick to that one thing and work to the very end of it. We are not sensitive, and the highest form of sensitivity is intelligence. We are not sensitive to nature, to the birds, to the trees, to the beauty of the earth. We do not watch, we are not sensitive to that bird - to that crow which is calling. We do not hear it. We are not sensitive enough to be in communion with nature, which means that we are callous. And we are also callous with regard to people. We are not sensitive to other peoples' reactions, to what other people say or feel. We are not sensitive to the poverty, to the degradations of the poor, to the squalor on the road, in the house, in ourselves. We are insensitive, which is to be callous. And also we are not sensitive to perceive a new way of looking at life, because we are traditionally bound, or because we have our own peculiar little ideas, our own peculiar tendencies, our own conditioning, which prevent us from being sensitive. We are not sensitive to ideas, to people, or to nature, to our surroundings, so we become callous, we are callous. And a mind that is callous can worship God, upside down, stand on its head, breathe, do all kinds of tricks, but it will obviously never understand the beauty of truth. It can be most learned, can quote all the Shastras, the Gitas, the Bibles or the latest Prophets and all that tommy rot, but such a mind is really essentially a stupid mind.

Now, one sees that; one sees how callous, brutal, insensitive one is because one can see the results of it in the world. If one were very sensitive, alert, intelligent, we should have a different world altogether. Now it is a fact that human beings are self-concerned - concerned about their own particular inclinations and tendencies. They are conditioned by society, by their culture, by the climate, by the food they eat, and so on - they are all that. And how is one to become totally sensitive to the whole thing and not to the fragments? How is one to become so highly sensitive? - for it is only a very sensitive mind that is capable of love and therefore capable of beauty. How, then, is a mind that has become so brutalized, so twisted, so small, petty, shoddy - how is such a mind, on the instant, to become something entirely different, to be something totally other than what it is? You understand? A dull mind, trying to become a sensitive mind, takes time - please follow this a little bit. I am dull, my mind is dull, and I wish it were a bright, clear, sensitive, precise mind with tremendous feelings, passions, and I say it will take time to become this. So I will polish it every day, I will feel more and more sensitively each day; that is, it will take many, many days, which is a time interval - you are following? So we think time is necessary to bring about radical change within the mind itself.

We see that to learn a language or mathematics or any technological subject will take time; naturally. I don't know Russian, let's say, so I will take lessons, read, study, and it will take perhaps a year and a half to learn the language - that is, to accumulate the words, to know how to use the verbs and the adjectives, how to put sentences together, and so on. In the same way we think that through time we are going to bring about a change in ourselves, that is, through time we shall be sensitive. But time doesn't help us to be sensitive; on the contrary, time only makes us more and more insensitive - I do not know if you see that?

Change can only take place instantly, not in the field of time. Then how is this total mutation, this psychological revolution, to take place out of time? That is the only way anything happens, any fundamental change takes place - when the change is out of time. Now, how is that change to take place? The mind is insensitive and it sees the fallacy of time, it sees the fallacy of using time as a means of becoming sensitive. But does it actually see the fallacy of that, or does it merely intellectually suppose it to be a fallacy? You understand the question? Does the mind actually see the fallacy of using time as a means to bring about a mutation within itself?

You see, man has invented time as a means of improvement. We say, "Well, at least in the next life I'll be different", or, "Give me another year to work at myself and by the end of the year I'll be different". We have used time as a means of accumulating knowledge, and through that knowledge we hope to bring about a change. But knowledge does not bring about change at all; on the contrary. We all know the terrible brutality of wars, but though man has been through thousands and thousands of wars he has not changed. So time, as a means to bring about a change, a psychological mutation, is an utter, gross fallacy. So what will make it change? And it must be immediate. I don't know if you see this? When you see this, what takes place? When you are no longer thinking in terms of time at all - time also being comparing, as when we say, `I am this and I will be that', or `I was that and I am different today', (for all measurement is a process of time) - can the mind then look at that insensitivity without measurement, without the time factor at all?

Please, sirs, these are not just ideas with which you agree or disagree. Unless you do it yourself a mere collection of ideas is completely useless. Unless you see for yourself, directly, the fallacy of time, you cannot take the next step. Or rather, when you see the fallacy of time, that is itself the first step. The question then is; when the mind says "I am insensitive", how does it know it is insensitive? You understand? The mind has become callous by circumstance, by culture, by the way it lives, and so on. It has become deeply insensitive because it is so concerned with itself, but it sees the necessity of becoming completely sensitive because, without sensitivity, there is no intelligence and therefore no love. When there is no love there is no beauty. So how is this realization to take place?

Now this is real meditation. This is not a trick I am playing. This is the real act of meditation - when you have seen for yourselves the structure and the nature of time, and discarded it completely, because time is thought and thought cannot possibly change a mind that has become insensitive; on the contrary, it is thought that has made the mind insensitive. Thought is the outcome of the past, the past being memories, experiences, knowledge. Thought has made the mind insensitive and thought cannot possibly make the mind sensitive. So, does one see this fact? - not the idea that the mind is sensitive or not sensitive, but the actual fact? You will see, if you do not bring a time element into it at all, and have understood the structure and nature of thought, that the mind, no longer using measure, has become sensitive. The moment you have no measure the mind is sensitive. I wonder if you are meeting this? No?

So, sirs, let's put it differently. Thought cannot possibly cultivate love - obviously - and without love you cannot be sensitive. Love is not emotionalism, love is not sentimentalism, love is not jealousy. Obviously, when you are jealous it is a fact that you are no longer loving; you are like a man who is hating, who is angry with another; you cannot possibly love. And as thought cannot possibly cultivate love how is that state to come into being? It is only when there is real affection that you will never be callous, never be indifferent; so how is that thing to happen to you? Only when you see for yourself that hate, jealousy, anger, brutality, violence, competition, greed, the desire for position, power, and all that, must be completely discarded - only then is there the other. You do not have to search for it, you do not have to look for it; the thing just takes place. It is like leaving the window open; the air comes in when it will. But we want to keep the window closed, and still talk about love.

Perhaps some of us might like to discuss or ask questions about what we have been saying?

Questioner: Sir, free will is the characteristic of the human organism and becomes for each an ideal. Why are you opposed to its becoming an ideal?

Krishnamurti: Yes, sir, we have understood. I wonder, sir, if you listened to the talk. After all, to ask a right question is one of the most difficult things. We must ask questions. We must never, under any circumstances, accept any authority, whether the authority of the guru, the Bible, the Gita, the Upanishads - any authority. They have all led mankind to this present misery, because we merely want to follow, obey; we do not want to find out the truth for ourselves. To ask a right question, about anything, at any time, is always right. When you ask a right question it means that you have already thought a great deal about that problem, or felt your way into it; and when you ask a right question you have already heard the answer - you don't have to ask anybody.

So that gentleman asks a question, which is - is not free will one of the fundamental elements of man? Right, sir?

Questioner: Yes, sir.

Krishnamurti: Is that so? You take it for granted that man is free. Is he?

Questioner: Yes, sir, in comparison with other animals, birds and beasts and as you say....

Krishnamurti: Just a minute, sir! Look at it, look at it! Leave the other organisms alone. Are you free? I am not asking you personally, sir. Are you free? You are conditioned by your culture, by your climate, by your religion, by your books; are you free? You might like to be free, you might talk endlessly about free will, but have you a will that is free? - and can the will ever be free? Will is the strings of desire which have become the cord, so the will, essentially, can never be free. This is not just something I am saying, sir - you do not have to accept what I am saying; that is irrelevant. But look at the fact. How can a man steeped in tradition be free? - though he might talk about it endlessly. How can a man who is frightened to be free talk about free will? Are you free from nationalism, free from brutality, anger, violence? So talking about free will is of very little importance because you are not free.

It is one of the fallacious concepts that man is free. Of course man is free to choose, but when he chooses he is already in confusion. When you see something very clearly then you do not choose. Please look at this fact in yourselves. When you see something very clearly where is the necessity of choice? There is no choice. It is only a confused mind that chooses, that says, "This is right, this is wrong, I must do this because it is right", and so on; not a clear precise mind that sees directly, for such a mind there is no choice. You see, we say that we choose and therefore we are free. That is one of the absurdities we have invented, but we are not basically free at all. We are conditioned, and it requires an enormous understanding of this conditioning to be free.

When you choose to go from one guru to another, from one state to another, all that indicates a mind that is uncertain, unclear. Therefore is it possible, (which is the right question), is it possible for a mind to be unconfused, so that it sees truth as truth and false as false, and sees the truth in the false? When it so sees there can be no choice, there can be no mistake. So the fundamental question is: can the mind which has been so conditioned for centuries upon centuries, through propaganda, through books, through authority, through fear - can such a mind free itself from its own conditioning? That is the real question. And if you say, "Yes, it can", how do you know? Or if you say, "It cannot", then you are already blocking yourself. All that you can do is to be aware of your own conditioning and go through it immediately, not play with it.

Questioner: What is the future of democracy in India and what type of political system would be beneficial to India?

Krishnamurti: Sir, to be really a democrat, not in the political sense, or in the party sense, but to be really a democrat, means that you must think for yourself and not be persuaded by propaganda, nor by any leader, or guru. You must be capable of thinking directly for yourself, unpersuaded, uninfluenced by these crooked politicians or by these clever gurus. To think individually, each human being for himself, not persuaded through propaganda, radio, television, books, newspapers, is one of the most difficult things, because we are all susceptible to influence. Only then can one call oneself a true democrat. And to be a true democrat a man must have right education - not merely a technical education. He must be a total human being, intellectually capable of reasoning clearly, precisely, without any personal projection into his thinking. But you are not having such education at all - even in this school you are not having it - this total development f each human being. And it is only if you are a total human being that you can be a democrat. If you are a democrat in this sense, then you will create the right administration not for India only but for the whole world.

Sir, you cannot possibly separate yourself as an Indian, as a Muslim, as a Christian or as a communist. We are all human beings and we must plan for the whole of mankind, not just for an India. There must be universal planning, and it is only then that a true democrat can do such things. A true democrat is one who loves man, not a system.

Questioner: Sir, how can we make our minds completely quiet? (Laughter)

Krishnamurti: Quite right, sir. I wonder why everybody laughed? Why did you all laugh? Because a little boy asked how one can have a completely quiet mind - is that why you laughed? Does that question depend on age? Would you have laughed if an older man had asked that question? I am afraid you would not have. You laugh because a small boy asked it. But, you know, a small boy can put the right question just as well as a grown-up man.

The little boy asks - how can one have a quiet mind? First of all, why do you want a quiet mind? Please think it out with me, go into it with me. Why do you want a quiet mind? Because it will give you greater pleasure, greater profit, or because you will see more? If you want a quiet mind out of greed then it will not be a quiet mind. Do you want a quiet mind because you are frightened? Then you are escaping from fear and therefore it is not a quiet mind. Please follow all this carefully. It is through negation that you are going to come to a quiet mind, and not by a positive process of practising a system, a method, which promises a quiet mind. Do not accept such promises from anybody, because a quiet mind is not possible if you are frightened, if you are angry, if you think yourself as more important than somebody else. You cannot possibly have a quiet mind if you are an Indian, or a Muslim, or a Christian, or a communist, for that means that you have segregated yourself, separated yourself in a shoddy little mind - and that is the mind that wants to be quiet. A little mind thinking about God is still a little mind.

So, through denial, through negation, of all those disturbing factors, like anger, jealousy, brutality, violence, ambition, which prevent the fact of a quiet mind, through negation of all these you may come to it. A quiet mind must have immense space - and we have no space at all. One's mind is cluttered up with so many things - with knowledge, with fears, with hopes, with despairs, with ambitions. It is full of these things and therefore there is no space at all within itself. A mind that is completely empty of all that it has gathered; a mind, therefore, that has immense space within itself; only such a mind is a quiet mind. Do you see? You listen to this but you have never really tried to empty the mind of one particular desire, or rather of one particular pleasure, or to empty it of a fear. If you had you would see that space is as important as the word.

For us the word is extraordinarily important. The word is the symbol. The word `God' is a symbol but not the fact. The word `door' is not the actual door, but because it is a symbol the word becomes extraordinarily important for us. And when the word is no longer important it means that the symbol is no longer important; therefore it can be put aside. Then you will find that the mind which is free of the word - which is free of the image - can look, and you can only look when there is space - not a little space but immense space, space that is not measurable. Then, in that space you can see what is true and you do not need to have perception, there is no need for seeking.

Questioner: Sir, what is the more creative state - the quiet mind or the process that leads to this quiet mind?

Krishnamurti: Is the quiet mind more creative than the mind that is in process of becoming quiet? Is that right sir?

Now, what do we mean by that word 'creative'? Look, there are three questions involved in this. First, is the quiet mind creative? Then, does not creativeness lie in the very process of becoming quiet. These are the three questions involved in this; is the mind creative, or is the process itself creation, and what we mean by that word `creative'.

So let us settle first the meaning, or the feeling, of that word `creative'. Is an artist who paints a picture or writes a poem, creative? He expresses what he feels, on the canvas, or in the words of the poem. So, is creativeness expression? You are following all this? When I feel creative must I express myself in ten different ways on canvas? And is the expression of that feeling of creativeness really creative? One must go into this very clearly, very slowly. I see a tree, the beauty of it, but only when my mind is completely quiet do I see the totality of that beauty. And why should I express it on canvas, in music, or in verse - why? Which is important - the expression of what I have seen, or the seeing? And the other question is - in the very process of becoming quiet, is that process creative? Right, sir? Now, is it a process? That is, process is gradually becoming, and can the mind gradually, slowly, through different methods, systems, persuasions, strains, stresses, conflicts, become quiet?

But there is no process at all. There is only the actual state, not a way to it. If there is a way to it then it is static. That is the state of mind that is peaceful is static, it is not alive, it is not dynamic, it is not moving, alive, passionate, and it is only to something that is static, dead, that there is a process. And the other question is - if there is no process at all, (as obviously there is not), then how is the mind to empty itself totally and be peaceful in that extraordinary state, which in itself is creative, and has no need for expression? You understand? How is a mind to come upon this quietness without any effort or conflict, effort and conflict being distortion? It can only come upon it when it has understood the total negation of that which is false, when it denies time and the process - the process through which it obtains pleasure. When you totally deny all that, then it will be there, you will not have to look for it.

Questioner: Is denial not itself a process?

Krishnamurti: Sir, how can it be a process? I see something false, dangerous, and I discard it - how can it be a process? Process involves time, gradualness.

Sir, instead of a peaceful mind put the word `love' in it; forget `peace'. Do you have love through process? Can you love through the cultivation of not hating, not having desire, and so on? Gradually, as a process, will you come upon love? Or is love something which has nothing whatsoever to do with process?

Sir, most of you believe in God - I do not know why, but that is your conditioning, just as the fact that the communists do not believe in God is their conditioning. Now, you believe in God; do you think that you can come to that thing gradually, by working every day and then dying and then reincarnation and then rebirth, and so on? If there is a way to that then both the way and that are fixed, aren't they? They are static, not living. It is only to a dead thing that there is a way, not to a living thing, not to a moving thing.

Questioner: How can a man be honest if he is doing the work of dishonesty?

Krishnamurti: But you see, my dear child, we do not acknowledge that we are doing something dishonest. You think I am doing something dishonest but I think I am doing something very honest. But for me to realize that I am dishonest is one of the most difficult things, because we do not want to acknowledge to ourselves that we are dishonest. I do not acknowledge to myself that I am not telling the truth, so I find various excuses, judgements - it's your fault, circumstances have forced me, and so on and so on. I never say to myself, "By Jove, I am not telling the truth!" It is only when I see that I am not telling the truth that I am honest to myself. Then I will act honestly.

December 14, 1967


Varanasi 1967

Varanasi 2nd Talk to Students 14th December 1967

Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.

Art of War

ancient Chinese treatise by Sun Tzu

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48 Laws of Power

a different universe by Robert Greene?

free summary online