Talks and Dialogues Sydney, Australia A.b.c. Television Interview 20th November, 1970
THE INTERVIEW BEGAN with the reading of a passage from a Krishnamurti publication, `The Penguin Reader'.
Interviewer: `Our problem then, as I see it, is that we are bound, weighed down by belief, by knowledge. And is it possible for a mind to be free from yesterday and from the beliefs that have been acquired through the process of yesterday? Is it possible for me, as an individual, and you as an individual to live in this society and yet be free from the belief in which we have been brought up? Is it possible for the mind to be free from all that knowledge, all that authority?
Krishnamurti: Are you saying here that it is wrong to believe in what you have found to be true? Krishnamurti: Sir, is belief necessary at all? Why do we have beliefs? Probably you believe in something because you don't actually see what is. If you see actually what is - what is, in the sense, what is actually going on, both outwardly in the outward phenomenon and inwardly - then what is the necessity for a belief at all? You don't believe the sun is rising. It is there, you have seen it. The whole problem of beliefs seems to be so utterly erroneous. It has no place for a person who is actually observing the whole structure and the nature of thinking, living, suffering, the agony of existence, the sorrow and all the rest of it. Belief appears as a means of escape from the reality of what is. To understand what is, one has to be rid of all these extraneous beliefs and fears and hopes, and be able to look actually, not theoretically, not abstractly, but actually to look at what is taking place: first in the world outside with all the racial conflicts, with wars, the division between religions, the Catholic and Protestant, the Hindu, the Moslem, all the divisions that have created such havoc in the world. And by observing all that one sees actually how this has come about; because, in oneself, one is conditioned by society, by the culture one lives in. If you live in India you become a Hindu or a Moslem, if you live in Europe you're a Catholic or a Protestant.
It's the environment that conditions, the culture that shapes the mind; the culture being the knowledge, the tradition, the various beliefs. And surely a mind that is conditioned as a Communist or as a Catholic, as a Hindu or what you will, is incapable of being free to observe. The mind must be free to observe the extraordinarily complex structure of society and also the still more complex psychological structure of oneself; because oneself is the world. We have created the world, and the world is me and you. We cannot separate the two, and so, to understand the world one has to understand oneself. To change the social structure which obviously needs colossal change, one has to change oneself because one is part of this society.
The change must begin with the human being, not with the outward structure. The human being is confused, the human being is conditioned. He believes, and therefore there is a contradiction in himself. He is really, deeply confused and if he wants to change the social structure, the change from confusion only breeds more confusion. Whereas, if he could bring about clarity within himself, and from that clarity act, then such an action is really a deep psychological revolution. That revolution is absolutely necessary. Interviewer: This means, doesn't it, a completely different view of education? For, after all, education is implanting belief.
Krishnamurti: Obviously. Education as it now is, is really the cultivation of a corner of a vast field. We are concerned with that little corner, with its technological knowledge, conditioning the mind with information and neglecting the whole field; and therefore there is an imbalance. Technologically we have gone very far, and psychologically we are very primitive. We are still at the stage of tribal conflict with our beliefs, with our gods, our separate nationalities, and armies and all the rest of it, which is really a continuation of the tribal existence. Apparently we don't see in education that it's immensely important to cultivate, to understand the whole field and not just one corner of it.
Interviewer: The other thing about this, Krishnamurti, is how can an individual who is part of the system get outside the system in order to observe it and himself?
Krishnamurti: You know, Sir, the word `individuality', the individual, means indivisible, an entity who is in himself indivisible; which means non-contradictory in himself. But the individual human being is contradictory in himself, he is not an individual, he is broken up, he is fragmented. And being contradictory, being divided in himself, his activity, his social structure, his morality, is obviously fragmentary, contradictory. Therefore he becomes a hypocrite.
So, the problem is how to change the individual? Can the human being, who is part of this vast structure, which he himself has created, can that human being radically, psychologically change? Not change the society; the society is the relationship between individuals. Can the human mind, which is so conditioned after so many centuries, can it uncondition itself completely? Be free from being a Catholic, a Hindu, a Communist, a Socialist, and see that he is part of this human structure, part of the world, and not the Catholic world or the Communist world.
Interviewer: How can we do this, If we can see this, how can we do it?
Krishnamurti: That's the problem. How can one see? First of all one has to be aware of what is going on both outwardly and inwardly; aware, not theoretically, not intellectually, or aware according to some philosopher or psychologist; then he is aware according to their ideas, to their conditioning. One has to be aware of what he is, actually: his problems, his misery, his sufferings, his extraordinary sense of brutality, and violence: to be aware of all that; and from that awareness comes clarity. That means he must be tremendously interested in life, not in some awful, absurd theories; whether it be the theory of the Catholics or the Hindus.
Interviewer: Well then, how do you get people to be aware in your sense?
Krishnamurti: I don't think you can get people to be aware. If they are interested they will be. But if you force them to be interested, through propaganda, then propaganda becomes all-important, not the people. After all, all religions have done that. They are instruments of propaganda. Christianity, with its belief with its Saviour, with its Virgin and Saints is the result of 2000 years of propaganda, dinning into people every day believe, believe, believe. You are saved, you are this, you are that. The other day when I was in Rome, I speak Italian, the priest was absolutely mesmerizing the people, by repeating, repeating, repeating; it went on for a half an hour. Naturally the people are mesmerized into belief.
All that has to be set aside, which means facing the fear, fear to stand alone. Fear to discard all this absurdity, all this, if I may use the word, circus which has become religion. To discard all that implies that a man must be aware, and so be - very sensitive and very alert, and therefore intelligent. It is that intelligence that is going to change society, not his throwing a bomb at it. The response to a challenge as violence is a most primitive form of response.
Therefore, the question really is whether the human mind as it is, living in this world, with wars, with the economic inequalities, with the immorality of society - and society is immoral - whether it can, whether he can be totally good; good in the sense, being free from violence, free of aggression. And violence is a form, is an outward expression of fear. I don't know if you have noticed that when whole cities are crowded as they are now, overpopulated, the lack of space makes people violent. The very lack of space is making everything violent.
I think one has to really go into all this, not as an idea, not as a belief, but one has to search, to understand all this in oneself; one must have tremendous passion to find out. For self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom, and wisdom you can't buy in a book, or from another.
Interviewer: In your travels round the world, Krishnamurti, have you found that the younger generation have got this kind of thirst for awareness and self-knowledge?
Krishnamurti: I think, from what one has observed in America and Europe and India there is a sense of a revolt, which most young people have. It is a revolt because... what has society to offer them, actually, except going to business, or joining the army, or going to the moon or where you will? But actually, what has society, the culture to offer? Nothing, if you look at it. Therefore the more intelligent, the more sensitive, the more alert say, `This is all wrong. We must change the very fabric of education.' The vested interests won't have it. The vested interest says, `We must go slow.'... You know the old business. Therefore there is this conflict. After all, the human mind does seek more than bread and butter. It wants something beyond, which has meaning, which has significance, which has depth, and passion and interest. But society, the culture says you need to become a businessman, or a professor, or become a soldier. And therefore the revolt, all through the world. The young may not express it at such depth, but there are indications. But unfortunately they want to change society by throwing bombs and violence. Any physical revolution, as one has observed, must lead inevitably to tyranny, to dictatorship, either of the few or of the bureaucracy. So, this psychological revolution of which we are talking is the most important thing, that will bring about a change in the world.
Interviewer: You've been rather critical of religions. You yourself must have a religious view of life. Could you tell me your own particular outlook on religion?
Krishnamurti: Sir, what is religion? Actually, what is religion? First of all to find out what is religion we must negate what it is not. What it is not; then it is. It's like seeing what is not love. Love is not hate, love is not jealousy, love is not ambition, love is not violence. When you negate all that, the other is, which is compassion. In the same way if you negate what is not religion then you find out what is true religion; that is, what is the truly religious mind. Belief is not religion, and the authority which the churches, the organized religions assume, is not religion. In that there is all the sense of obedience, conformity, acceptance, the hierarchical approach to life. The division between the Protestant, the Catholic, the Hindu, the Moslem, that's not religion. When you negate all that, which means you are no longer a Hindu, no longer a Catholic, no longer belonging to any sectarian outlook, then your mind questions, asks what is true religion? This is free from their ritual, without their masters, without their Saviour; all that is not religion. When the mind discards that, intelligently, because it has seen that it's not religion, then it can ask what is religion. Religion is not what I think, but religion is the sense of comprehension of the totality of existence, in which there is no division between you and me. Then if there is that quality of goodness which is virtue, real virtue not the phony virtue of society, but real virtue, then the mind can go beyond and find out, through meditation, through a deep, quiet silence, if there is such a thing as reality. Therefore a religious mind is a mind that is constantly aware, sensitive, attentive, so that it goes beyond itself into a dimension where there is no time at all.
Interviewer: What you are saying, Krishnamurti, seems to be that man has no need of any power outside of himself
Krishnamurti: Obviously not, Sir. The power of the outside agency is self-created. I can't live properly in this world
and I hope somebody outside is going to help me. But as a human being I have created the social structure, the misery, the confusion, the enormous suffering. We have created this, and unless we change it, no outside agency is going to change it, either the Communist outside agency, the Politbureau, or the Hindu centre, or the Catholic centre. One has to have the clarity to observe all this. Interviewer: And what do you make of death?
Krishnamurti: Sir, that is an immense question. You see, we have made life - living - into a hideous thing. Life has become a battle, which is an obvious fact, the constant fight, fight, fight. And we have divorced that living from death. We separate death as something horrible, something to be frightened about. And this living, which is misery, we accept. If we don't accept this existence as misery then life and death are the same movement. Like love, death and living are one. One must totally die to find what love is. To go into this question of what is death, what lies beyond death, whether there is reincarnation, whether there is resurrection; all that becomes rather meaningless if you don't know how to live. If the human being knows how to live in this world without conflict, then death has quite a different meaning. To understand death really, one has to go into the question: what is it that dies? The physical organism obviously is going to end. We have misused it, we have really destroyed the intelligence of the organism itself. And to us death is something to be avoided. But, as it exists we believe in something beyond.
There is something beyond far greater than any of our beliefs. There is something tremendously great which the mind, which is in such chaos, which is in such contradiction, cannot possibly grasp.
Interviewer: Krishnamurti, way back in 1919, that's forty odd years ago now, you dissolved the Order of the Star of the East and I would like to read the words, some of the words, you said at that time. You said, `I maintain that truth is a pathless land and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. I do not want followers' you said, `I mean this. If there are only five people who will listen, who will live, who have their faces turned towards eternity it will be sufficient. Or what use is it to have thousands who do not understand, who are fully embalmed in prejudice, who do not want the new but would rather translate the new to suit their own sterile, stagnant souls?' You said, `I desire those who seek to understand me to be free, not to follow me, not to make out of me a cage which will become a religion, a sect, but rather they should be free from all fears, from the fear of religion, from the fear of salvation, from the fear of spirituality, from the fear of love, from the fear of death, from the fear of life itself
Forty-one years later how would you summarize your aims.
Krishnamurti: I think that's true! Human beings, whether they live in India or America or in the West are really unhappy beings. They are frustrated, they feel life has very little meaning. The more intellectual you are the more you see it has no meaning at all. Therefore they begin to invent meanings. Whereas if one really understood oneself which is so conditioned, oneself which is so small, petty, bourgeois, then out of that understanding flowers goodness.
Interviewer: So you're not setting yourself up as a great teacher.
Krishnamurti: No, no, Sir. On the contrary, I say: be your own teacher. Be your own light. Don't look to somebody else.
Interviewer: And where do you find truth?
Krishnamurti: Only when a mind, and not only a mind, a life is completely harmonious, not contradictory. It's only such a mind which is religious that can find truth, can observe truth. Truth isn't something abstract, it's there.
Talks and Dialogues Sydney, Australia A.b.c. Television Interview 20th November, 1970
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