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Krishnamurti on Education

Talks to Teachers

Krishnamurti on Education Talk to Teachers Chapter 6 'On Fear'

Krishnamurti: How would you, as an educator, tackle the problem of the eradication of fear in the student? Can you set about it as you would set about teaching mathematics? First, you must understand fear for yourself before you can help another. You have to understand the implication of fear, how fear comes about. Just as you know Hindi or some other subject, you have to know something of fear. Society is doing everything to inculcate fear by laying down standards, religious ideals, class distinctions, ideas of success, the sense of the inferior and the superior, the rich man and the poor man. Society is doing everything possible to breed distorted values.

The question is not only for the teacher to go deeply into fear but also to see that fear is not transmitted and for the student to be able to recognize the causes that breed fear. As teachers, would this not be a problem to you? We have very little love in our lives, not only to receive but to give; love not in any mystical sense but the actual feeling of love, pity, compassion, generosity, an action which does not emanate from a centre. And as you have very little love, what would you do with the student, how would you help him to have this flame?

Does religion mean anything to you? Not ceremonies, but the religious feeling, the religious benediction, the sacredness of something? Religion, fear, love - are they not very interrelated? You cannot understand the one without the other. There is fear, there is this appalling dearth of love - I mean the passion of it, the intensity of it - and then there is this feeling of benediction which is not mere recompense, which is not a reward for righteous action, which has nothing to do with religious organizations.

Do you walk in the evening and have you noticed those villagers crossing the fields? How beautiful it all is? And the villager is totally unconscious of the beauty of the land, of the hills, of the water. For the villager returning to his unhealthy home there is nothing. There is fear, there is the immense problem of love and the feeling of sympathy when you see the poor villager go by. Don't you feel a tremendous surging in yourself, a despair at the colossal misery of it all? What can one do? There is the ability to receive and to give, to feel, and to have generosity, kindness, humility. What does it mean to you? How do you awaken this thing in yourself or awaken it in another? Can there be an approach that is not an isolated critical comprehension but an understanding that is total - of fear, love, the religious feeling?

Now how am I to approach the problem? Am I to take each problem one by one, to take fear, look at it, and then study love? How am I to capture the whole thing? If you have the feeling of a sound, you have the feeling of a song and if you have a feeling for the silence between sounds you have the delight of the movement of a song. Song is not just the word, just the sound, it is the peculiar combination of the sound, the silence and the continuation of the sound. To understand music surely there must be comprehension of the whole thing. And in the same way, is fear an isolated problem which has to be comprehended by itself and love by itself and the religious feeling by itself, or is there an approach to the whole, a total thing?

Have you ever watched a rain drop? The rain drop contains the whole of the rain, the whole of the river, the whole of the ocean. That drop makes the river, makes the ravines, excavates the Grand Canyon, becomes a vibrant thundering waterfall. In the same way can my mind look at fear, love, religion, god, as a movement, rather than as an isolated introspection, an analytical examination, a dissection?

Teacher: What is the relationship between fear and love?

Krishnamurti: If I am afraid, how can I have sympathy for anybody? An ambitious man does not know about the earth and the brotherhood of man. An ambitious man knows no love. Can a man who is afraid of death, of what his neighbours might say, of his wife, security, job, have sympathy? The one excludes the other.

Teacher: We operate only in parts, we try through parts to apprehend the whole.

Krishnamurti: What will transform fear? Teacher: Understanding.

Krishnamurti: What brings the transformation and who is to transform? I have observed my mind which says, "I am afraid" and I want to get at what my mind is trying to do. What is effort and who is the maker of effort? Unless one goes into it very deeply, the mere saying "I must get rid of fear" has very little meaning.

There is fear, there is love, and this feeling of immensity. I can analyse fear step by step. I can go into the causes of fear, the effects of fear, I can go into why I am afraid, and who is the maker of effort and whether the maker of effort is different from the thing which is making effort. And I can enquire into whether there is a mind which can observe effort, the maker of effort and the thing upon which he is making an effort, not only objectively but inwardly. At the end of it all, there is still lurking fear. I can go very analytically into this question of religion, dogma, belief, superstition but at the end of this analyzing still where I am. I have learned the techniques of analysis and at the end of it, my mind is so sharp that it can follow every movement of fear. But fear still lurks.

Now what is the nature of the mind that takes in the whole, digests it at one sweep and throws out what is not worthwhile?

There must be an approach which will give one a total comprehension, a total feeling with which one can approach each problem. Can I capture the whole meaning of something, of love, fear, religion, that extraordinary feeling of immensity, of beauty and then approach each problem individually? You have seen trees. Do you take in the whole tree or do you merely look at the branch ar,d the leaves and the flower? Do you see the whole tree inside you? After all, a tree is the root, the branch the flower, the fruit, the sap, the whole of the tree. Can you grasp the feeling, the significance, the beauty of the whole tree and then look at the branch? Such an observation will have tremendous significance.

When you look at a tree next time, see the shape of it, the symmetry of it, the depth, the feeling, the beauty, the quality of the whole thing. I am talking of the feeling of the whole. In the same way you have a body: you have feelings, emotions; there is the mind, there are memories - the conscious and unconscious traditions, the centuries of accumulated impressions, the family name - can you feel the whole of that? If you do not feel the whole of that but merely dissect your emotions, it is immature. Can you feel within yourself this whole thing and with that feeling of the whole being, attack fear?

Fear is an immense problem. Can you approach it with an immensity to meet an immensity?

Teacher: It is not always possible, sir, we often get lost in our immediate problems.

Krishnamurti: But once you have the feeling of this immensity, life has a different colouration, it has a different quality.

Teacher: You are only conscious of this immensity at times.

Krishnamurti: I do not think you have ever thought of it, have you?

Teacher: Yes, I have, once in a way, by detaching myself from the immediate problem and looking at it.

Krishnamurti: I do not mean that. I mean to have the feeling of all time, not today, tomorrow, the day after day, but the feeling of all time. To think in terms of man, the world, the universe is an extraordinary feeling. And with that feeling can one approach the particular problem? Otherwise we are going to land in an intellectual or emotional chaos.

What is the difficulty in this? Is it the incapacity, the narrowness of the mind, the immediate occupation, the immediate concern for the child, the husband, the wife which so takes up your time that you have no time to think of it? Take the word, "immediate". There is no immediate, it is an endless thing. You make it into an immediate problem; that problem is the result of a thousand yesterdays and a thousand tomorrow's. There is no immediacy. There is fear, love and man's urge for the immense. Can you capture some of the quality of the feeling and say, "Let me look at fear"?

What significance has fear, and how will you proceed to help the student? You should prepare the student for the whole of life, and life is an extraordinarily vast thing. And when you use the word "life" it is all the oceans and the mountains and the trees and all of human aspirations, human miseries, despairs, struggles, the immensity of it all. Can you help the student to apprehend that immensity of life? Must you not help the student to have this feeling?

Do any of you meditate? Not only to sit still, not only to examine the ways of the mind but also to invite the conscious and the unconscious and to push further into silence and see what happens further and further. If you do not do this, are you not missing a lot in life?

Meditation is a form of self-recollected awareness, a form of discovery, a form of cutting loose from tradition, from ideas, conclusions, a sense of being completely alone, which is death. With that sense of the total, can you meet the immediate?

Let us become a little more practical. How do we set about to help the student actually to be free from fear?

Teacher: I wouLd see that my relationship with the student is friendly. It would be stupid to discuss fear if I were not friendly with him. I would create situations, both practical and intellectual, where he would understand what fear actually means, intellectually explain the causes and effects of fear because the mind needs to be sharpened, and I would see if I could make him experience this wholeness of outlook and feeling.

Krishnamurti: Be factual. In the class, how will you teach? How will you help the student to understand? There is a gap between the child and the total feeling, how would you lead up to that?

Teacher: It should be possible to awaken in him a curiosity which is of a subtle type. The next thing I would like to do with him is to get him to appreciate quality in work, in playing a game, in mathematics or other subjects. I would find out what his interests were, how he reacted, and if I were able to progress further, I would see whether something more happened between me and the student.

Krishnamurti: You have done the obvious things which are necessary. You would talk to him, you would show him how fear comes into being and all that. What next? Factually how will you help the student to be free from fear? I think that is the real issue. When there is an opportunity, would you be in a meditative, reflective self-recollected state which might help the student to see clearly what fear is? You see that is the necessary thing, but you leave that thing hanging.

What would you actually do? What would you do factually?

Teacher: Meditation would help the mind to deal with the situation.

Krishnamurti: I may have a feeling for all this. Now how am I to translate it into action? What am I to do with those dozen children?

Teacher: The feeling will translate itself. It is a link of love with the children which will help.

Krishnamurti: First have affection, then use every occasion to help the student to be free from fear, explain to him the causes of fear and use every incident to show how he is afraid, In the class, in the very teaching of history, mathematics, talk to him about it. But what next? Proceed.

Teacher: In doing all this I am also watchful to see that what I am doing to him is not also being undone.

Krishnamurti: What is the total effect on the child of what you have said, the fact of your affection, your explanations? Is it not making him turn inward, and what does that do?

Teacher: It helps him face some immediate problems.

Krishnamurti: You have helped the student to look at himself, you have helped him to be aware of this fear and to turn inward in the sense that he feels more conscious of the fear. You have to balance it by something else.

Teacher: Do you mean, sir, that this process of internal introspection is likely to lead to some complications in the child? Krishnamurti: It is bound to lead to a kind of self-conscious feeling. "Am I doing the right thing or the wrong thing?" There would be nervousness or self importance, or the showing off in "How fearless I am!" How will you balance that? Think it out, use your mind very carefully. At this stage I think the problem again requires a different kind of approach. Otherwise you will be helping the child by concentrated attention to become self-conscious, self-assertive, arrogant, and with an authoritarian outlook.

Teacher: There should be an opportunity for the child to be sensitive to other things which are not within.

Krishnamurti: It appears to me, you will unconsciously strengthen egotism, a sense of self-importance, a sense of being offensive, aggressive, rude.

You have so far dealt with the movement of the mind. The tide is moving in, the tide also moves out. If it remains inward it is like the backwaters of a bay, but if the tide has a movement inward, then it has to have an outward movement. You have dealt so far only with an inward movement. How will you help the student to move out?

Teacher: When you spoke of the outward movement, I felt I was not looking from the point of the whole but from the development of the partial movement.

Krishnamurti: If I had not kept on pushing and therefore made you realize it was only a partial answer, you would not have moved. You only talk of the inner movement but it is a movement of the tide both inward and outward. It is a movement you have created in one direction and you do not know how to treat the inner and the outer as one movement. Teacher: Is it not possible right from the beginning to move both inward and outward?

Krishnamurti: What is the outward movement that is going to give the balance?

Teacher: Not only the balance, but a sense of humility that comes now and then.

Krishnamurti: There are hills, trees, the river, the sands. That is the outward movement. The perception, the seeing, that is the outward movement. Nature has provided you with the beauty of all this, the rivers, trees, the arid land. So there has to be movement both outward and inward, the everlasting movement.

Krishnamurti on Education

Talks to Teachers

Krishnamurti on Education Talk to Teachers Chapter 6 'On Fear'

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