Madras 1st Public Dialogue 30th December 1978
I hope you will not mind if I do not speak as was intended this afternoon at 5 o'clock under the trees, because as it is raining it is impossible, so I hope you won't mind if we turn this into a discussion, or a dialogue. Would that be all right?
K: Yes, good. First of all what shall be talk about together? Not some fanciful, theoretical, superstitious ideals but rather something that is actually in our daily life that we can live with and bring about a different quality of mind in ourselves. So if I may ask what would you like to talk about, discuss. It is easy to ask questions, quite easy, but in the very asking of the question, if it is really a question which is serious, demanding a great deal of attention, care, such a question is worthwhile; but if you ask some kind of superficial rather obvious question then I am afraid it won't be. And to ask the right question is also very difficult, because if you ask the right question one is apt to get the right answer. So what shall we talk about?
Q: You said, give me a way of life in which there is no need for transformation.
K: Is there a way of life which doesn't demand transformation. Any other questions? That isn't the only question surely?
Q: What is the quality of innocence, and its relationship to intelligence?
K: The quality of innocence and its relationship to intelligence. Is there a way of life which doesn't demand transformation - transformation being change; and what is the relationship between intelligence and innocence. Won't you all play the game, it's in your court.
Q: How do we know transformation instantly?
K: Is that a serious question, sir - how to bring about transformation instantly.
Q: Has healthy competition a place?
K: Has healthy competition a place in society.
Q: What is death?
K: Perhaps you would ask this audience!
Q: What is the reason for poverty?
K: What is the reason for poverty.
Q: What is the purpose of life?
K: What is the purpose of life.
Q: In spite of listening to Krishnaji for a number of years violence is persisting in me, how am I to get over it?
K: I have listened to you for a number of years, why isn't there a radical change in me?
Q: Violence persists.
K: Violence still goes on. I have listened to you for a number of years - most unfortunately - and violence still goes on in my life.
Now that's enough of these questions. So let us see which is the best of them and try to answer all the questions perhaps by choosing one of them, if we could go into it seriously. You said, can there be a change, a way of living, without transformation; what is the relationship between innocence and intelligence; what is death; and what is the purpose of life, and so on. Now which of these questions would you like to take and go into it in detail seriously, if you are so inclined? Because after all this is a serious meeting, not just an afternoon to be spent in a room when it is raining.
I think if we could take the question: is there a possibility, a way of life which doesn't demand any kind of change. Could we take that? Would that be worthwhile? Isn't the question itself rather absurd? Because one wants to live, one wants to find a way of life which doesn't demand effort, change, transformation. Which means one must be totally satisfied with one's own way of living, or a way of life in which there is no conflict, no pain, no suffering. Is that it? Do you want to discuss that? Is that what you want, to find a way of living where - in which, rather - there is no need for any kind of change?
Q: Sir, why do you say that in that particular life there would be no conflict - why do you speculate?
K: I don't speculate.
Q: You said that just now.
K: I know. I said is there a way of life in which...
Q: There is no need for transformation.
K:... there is no need for transformation.
Q: It need not be so. That is the problem.
K: Just a minute, sir. I am going into the question. A way of life in which there is no need for change. Aren't most of us satisfied with our way of living? You might be a little discontented, dissatisfied, and there are slight peripheral changes, but most of us prefer, don't we, I am just asking, for things to remain as they are, status quo, hoping that it will remain that way. If you are a Hindu, or a Muslim, or a Catholic, or whatever it is, we don't want to be disturbed. We want to have our beliefs, our homes, our families completely secure. And we are satisfied with that. And that doesn't demand any kind of transformation, we are satisfied as we are. But the moment you begin to question the way we are living, the society in which we live, the so-called culture, the so-called beliefs, the moment you begin to question those you inevitably bring about a sort of disturbance. Don't we? And most of us don't like to be disturbed.
So we should in answering this question, go into why human beings remain in a narrow groove of their own beliefs, of their own rituals, of their own gods, of their own conclusions, either communist, socialist, liberal, conservative, or various forms of political principles and dogmas. Why do we live that way? Would that be a right question? Why do we accept to live a life in which there is absolutely no security, in which there is constant struggle, competition, uncertainty, confusion and so on - infinite divisions, why do we live that way? And when we perceive that, don't we ask ourselves, if we are at all serious, is there a possibility of changing all that?
Q: (In French)
K: The gentleman asks, sir, is there a way of living which doesn't demand transformation. So I am asking first, to find out if there is a way of living which doesn't demand transformation, we must begin with the life that we lead everyday. From that can we find out the way we live with all its complexities and see if there is a possibility of living a life which is totally different, without any question of transformation. So shouldn't we begin - to go very far shouldn't we begin very near? Would you accept that?
Q: Yes. The complexity is there, it is a reality.
K: What do you mean?
Q: The complexities of our life, it is there. I am not perceiving that. When I question it, I believe there must be another way.
K: No, sir.
Q: I am not postulating, when I postulate I begin to think there must be another way, whereas just seeing the complexity is there, because you are trying to speculate.
K: No, sir I am not. I am not trying to speculate anything. I am saying first, if there is a way - to answer your question - if there is a way of life which doesn't demand transformation. So I am examining the way of our life, present life, now: the way we live, the way we think, we way we feel, all our life is a constant struggle - which is an obvious fact. Now can all that be changed without any effort? That is the basic question, sir, if I understand it rightly. All right, sir?
Can we say, sir, that most of our lives, our everyday life, which is not a speculation, not a theory, not something that should be, but actually what is our daily life, and can that daily life with all its complexities be changed. Right? Do you want to go into that? Sir, please, do you want to?
Q: I don't think that is his question.
K: Then what is his question?
Q: I think his question is why don't we deal with the problems as they are, why do we change at all.
K: Why should we change at all. Don't!
Q: I don't think...
K: Sir, I said before, if you are satisfied with things as they are, be satisfied, there is nothing more to be said. But if one is enquiring into this whole human structure, human behaviour, human conduct, human way of living, if we want to enquire into that seriously, let's discuss that. That's all. If you don't, if you say, let everything remain as it is and you are satisfied with it, there is nothing more to be said.
So can we discuss, have a dialogue, a conversation between two friends who have met seriously and say, we have problems in life, various types - political, religious and so on - can we talk about those problems seriously and try to find out if these problems can be eradicated. That is the reason of this dialogue. If you are not interested in that, then what are you interested in; and if I can answer what you are interested in, let's do it.
Q: Sir, there is discontentment existing in our life all the time. And it is also pointed out that there is a discontentment existing in itself, and from that there could be a right action.
K: The same thing which we are going into now. Most of us are discontented, most of us are dissatisfied, most of us want to find a way of living where discontent, conflict, violence doesn't exist, all that doesn't exist. Now first of all, what is it we are discontented with? Is the discontentment superficial - I am asking, sir, I am just enquiring, going into the question - is it superficial in the sense, I want a better house, or more money, or better position, I want to become the Prime Minister, this or that. So I would call all those things rather superficial. But we are discontented not only with the superficial things, but also deeply, if one is serious and concerned, one is deeply discontented with things as they are - with society, with politics, with religion, in our relationship with each other, almost with everything, if one is enquiring, serious, one is totally dissatisfied.
Q: We are discontented.
K: So let's find out if one is so seriously discontented, what shall we do? Shall we become communists? Shall we become...
K: Listen, sir, let me go on a little bit and you will see. Shall we become communists, or join a new sect, a new guru, a new ideologist, a new Lenin, a new Marx, a new Mao, or go back to the Upanishads, the Gita, or go back to some theory? So what shall we do? You understand my question, sirs?
Q: We have come to rather a dead end.
K: I am going into it, sir. Suppose I am dissatisfied, I don't know what about, but I am dissatisfied. Suppose, I am taking that as an example. So I say, being dissatisfied I am trying to find satisfaction. That's the reaction to my dissatisfaction. So I start out with dissatisfaction, discontent, a burning sense of revolt, and I want to act, I want to do something about it. Then I join either a party, a political party, a socialist party, or ideological group and I begin to identify my dissatisfaction with that, and so hope to lose thereby my dissatisfaction. I hope you are following all this. If you are not interested, it's all right. That is, being dissatisfied I identify myself with a group, with a community, with some principle, with some belief, with some society, with some guru, or a political principal. And thereby I hope I will lose my discontent. This is generally what happens in the world. One must be aware of this, surely.
And this very identification out of dissatisfaction brings about a great division between people. Right? Please, sir, this is a discussion, this is not a discourse by me.
Q: Is this a primary identification with dissatisfaction itself?
Q: I think the suggestion is of dissatisfaction itself.
K: Of course, of course. When we say - I am going into it slowly, sir, let's go into it slowly and we will come to this question. Why do we, as human beings, identify ourselves with something? You understand? Why? Don't you identify yourself with a class of people? As a Brahmin, non-Brahmin, as an Indian, a Muslim, a Christian, a Buddhist - that's a form of identification, why do we do this? Sir, why don't you discuss this?
Q: We think we have security in that, that's why we identify.
K: So you identify yourself with the nation, as Indians, because in that there is security. And you identify yourself with a group, hoping thereby to find a security. Or identify yourself with a guru, and so on and so. So this identification is born out of the desire for security. Right? Would you accept that?
Q: Also for satisfying material needs.
K: Yes, it means that.
Q: Not only psychological needs.
K: Not only material needs but also psychological needs. If you are in a country that is purely Catholic, or communist, you identify yourself with it in order to earn a livelihood, if you don't you are thrown out, or put into a camp, or tortured, or whatever it is. So this constant desire to identify oneself with a principle, with an idea, is to find security. Now when each one of us does that, what is the result of it, the consequences of it? I identify myself with India and you identify - no. I identify myself with a Muslim, and you are a Hindu, or a Buddhist, or whatever it is, what takes place between us?
Q: We are broken up.
K: Just watch it, sir, what is happening in the world.
Q: You form a suppression, and I form a suppression.
K: What happens, what is the consequence?
Q: We are not meeting at all.
Q: There is a division, sir.
K: That's right, sir, just hold that. There is a division. And when there is a division what takes place?
K: You see what is happening, sir. China, Russia - that's what is going on, there is division. Though they talk about being communist, in that very monolithic idea there is division. Where there is division there must be conflict - the Hindu, the Muslim, the Jew, the Arab, and so on and so on. Where there is division there must be conflict, it is inevitable. So seeing that, why do you identify yourself with India, or identify yourself with a particular group of people as the Brahmins, or non-Brahmins, anti-Brahmin, pro-Brahmin, this or that - why? Knowing that it will create division, and that division will bring about conflict which will destroy your security. You start out wanting security, and identify yourself with some group, and thereby bring about a division, and that division implies conflict, violence, brutality, torture, and so your desire for security is denied. This is obvious, isn't it sir? No?
K: Then why do you call yourself a Hindu?
Q: I don't, sir.
K: Wait, sir, I am asking. You don't call yourself a Hindu, all right. What do you say sir?
K: Sir, can you be totally unidentified with any belief, with any society, with any group, can you remain that way? That means being absolutely alone. Can you? Answer sir, you started out discussing.
Q: It is possible to remain like that provided you know that all conflict stems from identification.
K: Sir, I have just explained that all conflict arises, part of it, through division. You hear that statement, that where there is division between man and woman, between human beings, black, white, purple, whatever their colour is, wherever there is division there must be conflict. That's a law. You hear that statement, you hear it with the ear, and what does it mean to you? You understand my question, sir? You hear a statement of that kind: where there is division there must be conflict, there must be violence. That's a statement, that's a law. And you hear that, and what do you do with it? Please, tell me. I am enquiring. We are enquiring, we are having a conversation with each other. What do you do with it?
Q: You compare it with our own experience.
K: No, sir, I am asking. You compare what is being said with your own experience? You know what you are saying? I tell you something, would you listen to it, or do you say, I must compare what you say with something else? So you actually are not listening. Your whole mind is occupied with comparison, so you are actually not listening - are you?
Q: Can one do anything about it?
K: Shouldn't you, if you want to live safely, to live peacefully.
Q: What could one do?
K: I am going to tell you. Don't be a Hindu; or a Muslim, or belong to any society, any group of people. That's what is happening in the world, sir.
Q: Looking into myself I find that this kind of identification is very rigorous in our daily life, that is why we are going into things.
K: God is very vigorous in one's life - what did you say sir?
Q: No. Looking into myself I find in my daily life that this kind of identification arises only in a very small measure.
K: Yes, sir, that's what I am saying.
Q: He says it exists in a very small measure in our daily life.
Q: Discontentment and conflict arises when we get into the groove that we already belong.
K: Yes, sir, agree. But I am asking you, sir, if I may, most respectfully, you hear a statement of that kind, the kind which has just been repeated: where there is division there must be conflict, there must be violence and destruction and therefore there is no security in division. And yet we maintain that division in our daily life, why do we do this, knowing division is corrupt, division brings about violence and all the rest of it, why do we keep to that division?
Q: We are not capable.
Q: There is some difficulty because of the fear of insecurity.
K: Sir, look, sir, I have asked a question and you don't reply to it, you go off saying something else. I am asking sir, most gently and respectfully, you hear a statement of this kind, that where there is division there must be conflict and so the destruction of security - you hear that, what do you do with it? Do you still remain a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Vishnu-ite, or some other little god or this or that, do you?
Q: A good Christian can never be a threat to a Hindu or a Muslim.
K: Oh gosh, you see how clever we are. So you remain a good Christian and he will remain a good Hindu. And the division is kept. Sir, please, just listen, sir. Why do you waste your time? You are not interested in this, are you? To wipe away division. This is a very important question, sir. This is what is happening in the world.
Q: Sir, I remain with the division because I do not know what else to do.
K: I'll show you. First I'll go into it carefully, sir. First you must listen to it, mustn't you? You must listen to this statement. Do you listen to the statement? Or do you say, yes, that statement sounds right because some other guru has said it, or some book said it - so you are not actually listening. Are you? So first, please, I beg of you since you have come on a rainy day and are uncomfortable and all the rest of it, I am pointing out that where there is division there must be conflict and war. Now you hear that statement.
Q: The reason of this division does not encourage conflict if there is no self and we have evolved.
K: If there is no selfishness then everything would be perfect. But there is selfishness. It's a lovely theory. You see, sir, this is what I am saying, you indulge in theories - if we were gods everything would be all right. But we are not gods. So I am just asking you sir, do you listen to what is being said? Then we can proceed after having listened carefully to what you are saying, then we can investigate how to live a life in which there is no division. First I must listen. It's like a seed planted in the earth, the earth must have good soil. You can't plant a seed on a rock. It is important that we understand this. And having listened carefully then we can proceed, from facts only, not from theories. The fact being you are a Hindu, and I am a Muslim. Why does this take place? Why am I a Muslim? Why are you a Hindu? Is it our conditioning? You understand my question? From childhood I have been told I am a Muslim - Muslim, Muslim - or whatever it is. And you are told from childhood, that you are a Hindu - or a Parsi, or a Christian, or whatever it is. So this division exists because we are both conditioned as a Muslim, as a Hindu - conditioned. Do you see that sirs? It is a vast propaganda. Would you agree to that?
Q: Sir, nothing and nobody can exist except with identification and in duality, and nothing can exist in unity. What can we do about it?
K: You are talking about duality, what can we do about it.
Q: He said, nothing can exist without identification, nothing can exist without duality, what can we do about it.
K: I am doing, I am pointing out something. We can do a great deal to put away this division. We are going into it. You are not. Are you interested in this, sirs? Or is it just words, words, words? If I am a Hindu or a Muslim, and I realize that it is bringing about conflict, being reasonable, sane, healthy minded, I say, 'I won't be a Hindu' - it is finished. There is no conflict involved in it because it is so reasonable, so logical, so sane. So I put away my insanity, which is my saying, I am a Muslim. Will you do that?
Q: We are content with one conflict.
K: Wait, I am just asking that question, don't, if you don't mind, go off into another question. You have heard a reasonable, logical, sane statement, and will you put that away, being a Hindu, will you drop it?
Q: I don't know. The difficulty for me would be dropping away being a Christian. The moment I drop it I fear I am something else.
Q: I am not a Christian, but I am something else.
K: The moment I say I am dropping it I feel a certain sense of emptiness, a certain sense of loneliness, a certain sense of having no relationship with others who identify themselves with something else. You understand this? My question is, sir, if you will kindly answer it, will you drop your being a Hindu? Or a Christian, or a Buddhist, or across the river, or this or that, will you drop it?
Q: We should drop it.
K: The gentleman says, we should drop it. Sometime in the future when it is convenient! Sir, you understand how serious this all is, sir. You must know what is happening in the world: every little business, every little community, every little state is breaking away, separate, they are bringing about fragmentation in the world. Where there is fragmentation there can never be any question of living peacefully. And apparently you are not interested in it. So I am asking what is your mind, what is the quality of your mind that you won't even act when it is logical, sane, reasonable? Why don't you? What is the quality of your mind, sirs? You have taken the trouble to come all the way in the rain, and all the rest of it, and you are sitting in a hot room, I am asking, why don't you do something.
Q: I find that after many times of being asked by Indians what my religion is, when I try to explain that I identify with no one religion, I find this often causes conflict in the Indians because they identify with being a Muslim, or Hindu or Buddhist. Whereas if I say that I am Hindu or Buddhist, then it doesn't bring a conflict, because I find many people cannot understand not identifying with any one religion.
Q: He says when he is asked what religion he belongs to, and he says I belong to no religion, there is always conflict in the other because they are either Hindus or Muslims.
K: When I say I do not belong to any religion, or any political party, this or that, it causes conflict in the other. It should! I am glad it causes conflict in the other. At least he is awakening to something that he hasn't thought about it. You haven't answered my question, sir. You see, puja, which probably many of you do, is so nonsensical, meaningless. Right? Would you agree it is unreasonable, illogical, superstitious, a routine, like repeating something which you don't know the meaning of, offering some prayers to some god which you have invented - the gods are your invention - no?
Q: No, sir, they serve a purpose.
K: Are you saying your gods serve a purpose?
K: Sir, I give up! If one realizes the dreadful things that are going on in the world - I won't enumerate them because I have been in America, Europe and all over the world, except Russia and China, the things that are happening in the field of war, preparing for wars, the defence mechanism and all the rest of it, the appalling things that are taking place, of which very few people seem to know, or be aware of, human beings must do something about all this insanity that is going on - the insanity that is going on in this country, the lawlessness, the disorder. And when you see all this, one asks, why do human beings put up with all this? They are supposed to be intelligent.
Q: How can we be aware, know, investigate into ourselves?
K: How can you be aware, know, investigate into yourself. You understand my question, sir? This is what Mrs Jayakar is asking. How am I, who have never thought about any of these things, as most people have not, how am I going to learn? Learn, not repeat, learn how to be aware. May we discuss that a little? Would that interest you? If it doesn't, it doesn't matter.
I want to learn to know myself. Learn, I mean not imitate what other people have said about me - the psychologists, the analysts, the professors, all the gurus and all the rest of it. I want to know what I am, I want to learn about myself. Now learning is one of the most difficult things in life because we learn as a way of memorizing, learning to us is memorize, and with that memory we try to understand ourselves. You understand what I am saying? Are you following this sirs? So we must be very clear when we talk about learning what we mean by that word, and is it possible to learn without being told how to learn, what to learn, and be free of the outside influences that teach me how to learn. You understand my question, because I want to know myself, I am not interested in what Sankara, or Buddha or XYZ said, I want to know what I am. So how shall I begin? Where shall I begin? You understand my question, sirs? No?
Q: What do you mean by free myself from outside influences?
K: I am going to show it to you in a minute, sir.
Q: I mean they are there. Because when you put that technique you separate them in your mind.
K: No, not in the least. It's in your mind, it is not in my mind. I am very clear about it. I said I want to know myself. I want to know my thoughts, why I do certain things, I want to learn about myself, sir. I am curious. I am very curious to find out why I do this, why I don't do that, why I go to church, or don't go to church, why I do all these things, why I belong to a political party, why I am a Hindu - all that. Because all that is me. Right? I wonder if you understand this. So I want to be aware, learn what I am. Which means I am not going to accept any authority. Right? The authority of Freud, Jung, or your guru, or the Upanishads, the Gita, nothing, I am not going to accept a single authority. Because all these books have led me to a miserable life. Look at your faces, that's enough.
So where am I to begin to learn? I begin to learn where I can look, observe, not theories, not speculations, when I can observe. I can observe in my relationship with another. Do you understand? My relationship with my wife, if I have one, or with my husband, with my girl friend, or my friend, I observe myself in relationship to another. Because in that observation I see my reaction, that I lie, that I am greedy, that I am envious, that I am frightened, that I am lonely, miserable. In that reaction I find myself. Right? Right, sirs? So I begin to learn about myself in relationship to another, and the relationship awakens my reactions - I am jealous when I see my wife, or my husband looking at somebody else, or having fun with somebody else, so I become jealous. So I am - please listen - I am learning what jealousy is. Are you doing that as we are talking? Or are you just listening? Are you listening as I am explaining?
In my reactions with regard to my relationship with another, intimate, or not intimate, I begin to find out the state of my responses, so I discover that I am jealous, I discover I don't like people, I discover I am envious. So what am I to do? I discover that I am envious - aren't you? Aren't you envious? Don't be ashamed to acknowledge something which is so common. Now envy implies measurement, doesn't it? Or is that too difficult? I envy you because you have got a bright mind. I envy you because you have got a car. I envy you because you have got a status in a rotten society. I envy you because you write books, you talk, you are brilliant, and I am not. What does that comparison mean?
K: I am leading to something, follow it, sir, please. Which is, in comparing myself with you who have got a house, a car, a position, money, I am envious. And envy implies comparison. Right? Right? Can I live - please listen - can I live without comparison? Have you ever tried to live without comparison? No comparison whatsoever.
Q: What happens when you are hungry?
K: You eat, if you can. Oh, you are so silly, you people.
Q: I am dominated by others.
K: You are dominated by others. Wait, you have discovered. Now just a minute, sir. You are dominated by others, your mother, your father, your wife, your husband, or whatever it is, you are dominated. Why? You learn about it, sir. Don't say it is right or wrong, you learn, find out why you are dominated. Why? Go on, sir, explain. You are dominated, aren't you?
Q: Because we are weak. I am weak.
K: Sir, I am asking.
Q: Because I am afraid of them, and I have no security.
K: Please sir, don't go back to security everlastingly. We have gone through that. I want to know myself, not according to books, not according to Isvara, or Buddha or anybody. I want to know about myself, because if I don't know myself I have no basis of any kind of lasting relationship with another. You understand? What is the matter with you? Are you all tired?
Q: Learning to know yourself implies violence.
K: I am going to point out something so please kindly listen, it may be something new you have not heard. I first said envy arises through comparison. Right? Do you dispute that?
K: Good. Why do you compare? I compare myself with you, and I said you are more bright, more brilliant, clever, nice looking and all the rest of it. And by comparing myself with you I make myself imitate you. Right? I want to be like you. So what does that make me? You understand? If I want to be like you what have I done to myself? Oh, for god's sake.
Q: The moment you ask that question, if I may say so, you are condemning the factor of envy.
K: I am not.
Q: If you are not condemning it and you are just learning about envy, and you are just exploring into the discovery of what I am, then envy is, it comes into being from several factors, it exists. Are you saying, can I be free of envy at this stage?
K: Yes, I think at this stage.
Q: Then you are bringing into it a totally new set of...
K: Of ideas.
Q:... of ideas and action.
Q: If you are only learning...
K: I am only learning, the very learning is the very action. I am not separating learning from action.
Q: That is what I think.
K: Yes, I know. Sir, there are two ways of learning. Learning by accumulating knowledge, and acting from knowledge. That is, I learn to be an engineer, all the complications of accumulating knowledge of being an engineer, then I go out in the world and apply that knowledge skilfully or unskilfully. There is the other way, which is, go out, act, from that action accumulate knowledge. You understand? You have understood? So both spring from knowledge. You understand? Is this clear?
Q: Yes, it's clear.
K: Thank god, thank god somebody understands. So that is, knowledge is always in the past. Right? There is no knowledge of the future, unless you project what you have known, modified, and that becomes the future. I won't go into it.
So I am learning about envy, and I see measurement, comparison, is the beginning of envy. I am learning. And in the very act of learning there is action to end envy. I don't separate learning from action. I don't learn, accumulate knowledge, and then act. But in the very act of learning I see the enormous implications of envy and therefore end it. You understand?
Q: I hope you are not trying to end and therefore learn. In the very process of learning you have dropped envy.
K: You haven't understood what I said. Sir, you hear a statement, and from that statement you make an idea of it, don't you, and act according to that idea. Whereas pure observation, the very observation is the acting. When you see a cobra, or some poisonous animal, you don't speculate about it, you don't draw a conclusion, you act. The very perception is the action. With most of us there is perception, an interval of time, which is the idea, and the idea is not actual and so on, we get lost in that. So I am pointing out that most people are envious, envy arises through comparison, and learn to live without comparison and see what happens. Learn, and therefore act from that learning.
Q: May I ask you something?
Q: Is this learning separate from observation?
K: No Oh lord. Sir, I don't want to go into all this, it is too difficult. There are three arts one must learn: the art of observation, the art of hearing, the art of learning; they are not three separate things but we divide them for convenience. There's the art of listening, which means, I listen to what you say, I don't bring in my own ideas, my own prejudices, my own opinions, I listen to find out what you want to say to me. And I observe, I don't bring opinions about what I observe. Right? So there is only observation, not my opinion about what I am observing. And the art of learning is not merely accumulating knowledge and to act, but the act of listening, the act of observing implies learning and acting, they are all one. Is this all Greek to you?
Q: That means that way of looking is a way of life?
K: Yes, sir. If you do it, that is the way of life. If you listen to your wife, or you say, 'I know her, it doesn't matter'. But if you listen to her she will tell you lots. That's why life, sir, is a way of listening, perceiving, learning. And when you know those three arts, then you live a life of complete awareness.
Now, all right. You have heard all this, where are you? Just as before? You haven't changed, or moved, you haven't learnt, or heard, are you just carrying on? I am asking sir, please kindly - I have talked, so kindly talk to me.
Q: We have learnt envy arises out of comparison. Now the moment the envy arises, then I see what happens, then I am rather confused, I want the end of envy.
K: Learning is never ending.
Q: The immediate reaction is to drop it.
K: Sir, first of all, I say please listen, sir. Listen. Not how to drop envy. Just listen. Have you ever listened to your wife? Or your husband, or your girl friend, or whatever it is, have you listened to any friend? All right. I am your friend, will you listen to me? I am not trying to convince you of a thing. I am not a propagandist. I don't care if you listen, don't listen, but since you have taken the trouble to come here have the goodness, the courtesy to listen. To listen implies you don't interject your opinions, your conclusions, your beliefs, you want to learn, you want to hear what I have to say. You know what you think, what you feel but you haven't listened to what I have to say. So first learn to listen. Can you?
K: Oh, no, sir. Sir, you say, yes. It is one of the most...
K: Now, because I have put you in a corner.
Q: Put me in a corner.
K: I don't want to put you in a corner. We are learning. We are not putting anybody in a corner, forcing anybody, we are learning: learning about envy, the whole complexity of envy. When you say, I compare this building with another building, when you say, I compare this picture with another picture, when you compare this picture with that picture you are not looking at the picture, one picture, you are always comparing, comparing.
So can you live a life - listen to it, listen to it - can you live a life without comparing at all?
Q: Is it possible to see without opinions?
K: Of course, sir. Look. This is a microphone, isn't it? We both agree this is a microphone. Why do I have to have an opinion about it? Facts...
Q: I cannot see without my opinions when I look at you.
K: Why should I have an opinion about you and you have an opinion about me, why? Why do you have a conclusion about me? Otherwise you wouldn't be here, would you? Just enquire, sir, whether you can observe something, observe yourself, observe another, without saying he is a Greek, he is a Roman, he is a Jew, he is an Arab, just to observe without an opinion. Can you? Then you observe, but if you interject between your observation and the thing you are observing, your prejudice, you don't observe. It's so simple. That is the art of learning, sir.
Q: When you see humanity without comparing, without what you know before, you can't see.
K: You can. You see, please sir, you have learnt to compare, that's our conditioning from childhood. 'A' is compared with 'B', 'B' gets better marks, he is more intelligent, so 'A' is sacrificed and 'B' becomes important, and on that conditioning we are brought up. And I am saying, look, such conditioning is destructive, because perhaps if you don't compare you will find out what you are actually. But if I say, I must be like Mr 'D', I hope not, I am just imitating, conforming. You don't understand all this.
Q: Reaction comes instantly.
K: The reaction comes instantly. Sir, if you are learning about your reactions, learning, they never come quickly. You are watching, learning. You understand? I wish you would understand. I wish we could communicate with each other, it is so simple, all this. I am learning about my reactions: I am jealous, I am envious, greedy, or I want power, position, or domination, and so on. Now when I am learning every reaction, you follow, there is no quickness about it, it comes slowly as I move in it. No? Have you ever tried it?
Q: In learning what is the role of talking?
K: What is the role of talking. It is half past six. Shouldn't we stop? An hour and a half. You must be nearly asleep, aren't you? At the end of the day.
Q: What about the mind?
K: What about the mind. You will hear it tomorrow, or Sunday, Monday, another time. First mind - I'll just explain quickly - mind includes the brain, all the retentive memories, experiences, knowledge of humanity, mind includes your feelings, your sensitivity, it includes your love, your affection, your compassion, all that, the whole totality of human existence is the mind. You might say, that is not the mind, that is the intellect. All right, include the intellect also in the mind. The intellect, the emotions, the sensations, all the accumulated knowledge, both scientific knowledge, technological knowledge, all the generations upon generations that have accumulated experiences, all that is part of the mind. And if that mind is not totally unconditioned it is no longer a mind, it is just a machine operating. That's enough.
Madras 1st Public Dialogue 30th December 1978
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