BEYOND VIOLENCE PART I CHAPTER 1
SANTA MONICA 1ST PUBLIC TALK 1ST
MARCH 1970 ‘EXISTENCE’
I WOULD LIKE to talk about the whole problem of existence.
Probably you know as well as the speaker what is actually taking
place in the world – utter chaos, disorder, violence, extreme forms
of brutality, riots ending up in war. Our lives are extraordinarily
difficult, confused and contradictory, not only in ourselves – inside
the skin as it were – but also outwardly. There is utter destruction.
All the values are changing from day to day, there is no respect, no
authority, and nobody has faith in anything whatsoever; neither in
the Church, nor in the establishment, nor in any philosophy. So one
is left absolutely to oneself to find out what one is to do in this
chaotic world. What is the right action? – if there is such a thing as
I am sure each one of us asks what is the right conduct. This is a
very serious question, and I hope those of you who are here are
really serious, because this is not a gathering for philosophical or
religious entertainment. We are not indulging in any theory, in any
philosophy, or bringing from the East some exotic ideas. What we
are going to do together, is to examine the facts as they are, very
closely, objectively, non-sentimentally, unemotionally. And to
explore in that way, there must be freedom from prejudice,
freedom from any conditioning, from any philosophy, from any
belief; we are going to explore together very slowly, patiently,
hesitantly, to find out. It is like good scientists looking through a
microscope and seeing exactly the same thing. Because if you are a scientist in the laboratory using a microscope, you must show what
you see to another scientist, so that both of you see exactly what is.
And that is what we are going to do. There is not your microscope,
or the speaker’s: there is only one precision-instrument through
which we are going to observe and learn in the observation – not
learn according to your temperament, your conditioning, or to your
particular form of belief, but merely observe what actually is, and
thereby learn. And in the learning is the doing – learning is not
separate from action.
So what we are going to do first, is to understand what it means
to communicate. Inevitably we have to use words, but it is much
more important to go beyond the words. Which means that you and
the speaker are going to take a journey of investigation together,
where each one of us is in constant communion with the other; that
is sharing together, exploring together, observing together. For that
word communication means partaking, sharing. Therefore there is
no teacher or disciple, there is not the speaker to whom you listen,
either agreeing or disagreeing – which would be absurd. If we are
communicating, then there is no question of agreement or
disagreement, because both of us are looking, both of us are
examining, not from your point of view, or from the speaker’s point
That is why it is very important to find out how to observe, how
to look with clear eyes, how to listen so that there is no distortion.
It is your responsibility as well as the speaker’s to share together –
we are going to work together. This must be very clearly
understood from the beginning: we are not indulging in any form
of sentimentality or emotionalism. If this is clear, that you and the speaker, being free from our
prejudices, from our beliefs, from our particular conditioning and
knowledge, are free to examine, then we can proceed; bearing in
mind that we are using a precision instrument – the microscope –
and that you and the speaker must see the same thing; otherwise it
will not be possible to communicate. As this is a very serious
matter, you must not only be free to examine it but free to apply it,
free to test it out in daily life; not keep it merely as a theory or as a
principle towards which you are working.
Now let us look at what is actually going on in the world; there
is violence of every kind, not only outwardly but also in our
relationship with each other. There are infinite nationalistic and
religious divisions between people, each against the other, both
politically and individually. Seeing this vast confusion, this
immense sorrow, what are you to do? Can you look to anybody to
tell you what to do? – to the priest, to the specialist, to the analyst?
They have not brought about peace or happiness, joy, freedom to
live. So where are you to look? If you assume the responsibility of
your own authority as an individual, because you no longer have
any faith in outward authority – we are using the word `authority’
advisedly in a particular sense of that word – then you as an
individual, will you look for your own authority inwardly?
The word `individuality’ means `indivisible’, not fragmented.
Individuality means a totality, the whole, and the word `whole’
means healthy, holy. But you are not an individual, you are not
sane, because you are broken up, fragmented in yourself; you are
in contradiction with yourself, separated, therefore you are not an
individual at all. So out of this fragmentation how can you ask that one fragment assume authority over the other fragments?
Please do see this very clearly, this is what we are examining;
because we see that education, science, organized religion,
propaganda, politics, have failed. They have not brought about
peace, though technologically man has advanced incredibly. Yet
man remains as he has been for thousands of years, fighting,
greedy, envious, violent, and burdened with great sorrow. That is
the fact; that is not an assumption.
So to find out what to do in a world that is so confused, so
brutal, so utterly unhappy, we have to examine not only what
living is – actually as it is – but also we have to understand what
love is; and what it means to die. Also we have to understand what
man has been trying to find out for thousands of years: if there is a
reality which transcends all thought. Until you understand the
complexity of this whole picture, to say, `What am I to do with
regard to a particular fragment?’ has no meaning whatsoever. You
have to understand the whole of existence, not just a part of it;
however tiresome, however agonizing, however brutal that part is,
you have to see the whole picture – the picture of what love is,
what meditation is, if there is such a thing as God, what it means to
live. We have to understand this phenomenon of existence as a
whole. Only then can you ask the question, `What am I to do?’ And
if you see this whole picture, probably you will never ask that
question – then you will be living and then the living is the right
So first we are going to see what is living, and what is not
living. We have to understand what that word `to observe’ means.
To see, to hear and to learn – what does it mean `to see’ ? When we are together looking at something, it doesn’t mean
`togetherness’. It means that you and the speaker are going to look.
What does that word `to look’ mean? It is quite a difficult thing to
look; one has to have the art. Probably you have never looked at a
tree; because when you do look, all your botanical knowledge
comes in and prevents you from observing it actually as it is.
Probably you have never looked at your wife or your husband or
your boyfriend or girlfriend, because you have an image about her
or him. The image that you have built about her or him, or about
yourself, is going to prevent you from looking. Therefore when
you look there is distortion, there is contradiction. So when you
look there must be a relationship between the observer and the
thing observed. Please do listen to this because it needs great care.
You know, when you care for something you do observe very
closely; which means you have great affection; then you are
capable of observing.
So looking together means to observe with care, with affection,
so that we see the same thing together. But first, there must be
freedom from the image that you have about yourself. Please, do it
as it is being said; the speaker is merely a mirror and therefore
what you see is yourself in the mirror. So the speaker is in no way
important; what is important is what you see in that mirror. And to
see clearly, precisely, without any distortion, every form of image
must go – the image that you are an American or a Catholic, that
you are a rich man or a poor man, all your prejudices must go. And
all that goes the moment you see clearly what is in front of you,
because what you see is much more important than what you
`should do’ from what you see. The moment you see very clearly, there is action from that clarity. It is only the mind that is chaotic,
confused, choosing, that says, `What am I to do?’ There is the
danger of nationalism, the division between peoples; that division
is the greatest danger because in division there is insecurity, there
is war, there is uncertainty. But when the mind sees the danger of
division very clearly – not intellectually, not emotionally, but
actually sees it – then there is a totally different kind of action.
So it is very important to learn to see, to observe. And what is it
we are observing? Not the outer phenomenon only, but the inward
state of man. Because unless there is a fundamental, radical
revolution in the psyche, in the very root of one’s being, mere
trimming, mere legislation on the periphery, has very little
meaning. So what we are concerned with is whether man, as he is,
can radically bring about a transformation in himself; not
according to a particular theory, a particular philosophy, but by
seeing actually what he is. That very perception of what he is, will
bring about the radical change. And to see what he is, is of the
highest importance – not what he thinks he is, not what he is told
that he is.
There is a difference between when you are told that you are
hungry and actually being hungry. The two states are entirely
different; in one you know actually through your own direct
perception and feeling that you are hungry, then you act. But if you
are told by somebody that you might be hungry, quite a different
activity takes place. So similarly, one has to observe and see for
oneself actually what one is. And that is what we are going to do:
know oneself. It has been stated that to know oneself is the highest
wisdom, but very few of us have done it. We have not the patience, the intensity or the passion, to find out what we are. We have the
energy, but we have given that energy over to others; we have to be
told what we are.
We are going to find this out by observing ourselves, because
the moment there is a radical change in what we are, we shall bring
about peace in the world. We shall live freely – not do what we
like, but live happily, joyously. A man who has great joy in his
heart has no hatred, no violence, he will not bring about the
destruction of another. Freedom means no condemnation
whatsoever of what you see in yourself. Most of us condemn, or
explain away or justify – we never look without justification or
condemnation. Therefore the first thing to do – and probably it’s the
last thing to do – is to observe without any form of condemnation.
This is going to be very difficult, because all our culture, our
tradition, is to compare, justify or condemn what we are. We say
`this is right’, `this is wrong’, ‘this is true’, `this is false’, `this is
beautiful’, which prevents us from actually observing what we are.
Please listen to this: what you are is a living thing, and when
you condemn what you see in yourself, you are condemning it with
a memory which is dead, which is the past. Therefore there is a
contradiction between the living and the past. To understand the
living, the past must go, so that you can look. You are doing this
now, as we are talking; you are not going back home to think about
it. Because the moment you think about it you are already finished.
This is not group therapy, not a public confession – which is
immature. What we are doing is to explore into ourselves like
scientists, not depending on anybody. If you trust anybody you are
lost, whether you trust your analyst, your priest, or your own memory, your own experience; because that is the past. And if you
are looking with the eyes of the past at the present, then you will
never understand what the living thing is.
So we are examining together this living thing, which is you,
life, whatever that is; that means we are looking at this
phenomenon of violence, first at the violence in ourselves and then
at the outward violence. When we have understood the violence in
ourselves then it may not be necessary to look at the outward
violence, because what we are inwardly, we project outwardly. By
nature, through heredity, through so-called evolution, we have
brought about this violence in ourselves. That is a fact: we are
violent human beings. There are a thousand explanations why we
are violent. We will not indulge in explanations, because we can
get lost, with each specialist saying, `This is the cause of violence’.
The more explanations we have, the more we think we understand,
but the thing remains as it is. So please bear in mind all the time
that the description is not the described; what is explained is not
what is. There are many explanations which are fairly simple and
obvious – overcrowded cities, overpopulation, heredity and all the
rest of it; we can brush all that aside. The fact remains that we are
violent people. From childhood we are brought up to be violent,
competitive, beastly to one another. We have never faced the fact.
What we have said is: `What shall we do about violence?’
Please do listen to this with care, that is with affection, with
attention. The moment you put that question: `What shall we do
about it?’ your answer will always be according to the past.
Because that is the only thing you know: your whole existence is
based on the past, your life is the past. If you have ever looked at yourself properly, you will see to what an extraordinary extent you
are living in the past. All thinking – into which we shall go
presently – is the response of the past, the response of memory,
knowledge and experience. So thinking is never new, never free.
With this process of thinking you look at life, and therefore when
you ask, `What shall I do about violence?’ you have already
escaped from the fact.
So can we learn, observe, what violence is? Now, how do you
look at it? Do you condemn it? Do you justify it? If you do not,
then how do you look at it? Please do this as we are talking about it
– it is tremendously important. Do you look at this phenomenon,
which is yourself as a violent human being, as an outsider looking
within? Or do you look at it without the outsider, without the
censor? When you look, do you look as an observer, different from
the thing you look at – as one who says, `I am not violent, but I
want to get rid of violence’? When you look that way you are
assuming one fragment to be more important than the other
When you look as one fragment looking at the other fragments,
then that one fragment has assumed authority, and that fragment
causes contradiction and therefore conflict. But if you can look
without any fragment, then you look at the whole without the
observer. Are you following all this? So sir, do it! Because then
you will see an extraordinary thing taking place, then you will have
no conflict whatsoever. Conflict is what we are, what we live with.
At home, in the office, when you are asleep, all the time, we are in
conflict, there is constant battle and contradiction.
So until you understand the root of this contradiction yourself – not according to the speaker, not according to anybody – you can
have no life of peace and happiness and joy. Therefore it is
essential that you understand what causes conflict and therefore
contradiction, what the root of it is. The root is this division
between the observer and the thing observed. The observer says, `I
must get rid of violence’, or `I am living a life of non-violence’
when he is violent – which is a pretence, hypocrisy. So to find out
what causes this division is of the highest importance.
You are listening to a speaker who has no authority, who is not
your teacher, because there is no guru, there is no follower; there
are only human beings, trying to discover a life without conflict, to
live peacefully, to live with a great abundance of love. But if you
follow anybody you are destroying yourself and the other.
(Applause.) Please do not clap. I am not trying to entertain you, I
am not looking for your applause. What is important is that you
and I understand, and live a different kind of life – not this stupid
life that one leads. And your applause, your agreement or
disagreement does not change that fact.
It is very important to understand for oneself, to see, through
one’s own observation, that conflict must exist everlastingly as long
as there is a division between the observer and the observed. And
in you there is this division, as the `I’, as the `self’, as the `me’ that
is trying to be different from somebody else. Is this clear? Clarity
means that you see it for yourself. This is not just a verbal clarity,
hearing a set of words or ideas; it means that you yourself see very
clearly, and therefore without choice, how this division between
the observer and the observed creates mischief, confusion and
sorrow. So when you are violent, can you look at that violence in yourself without the memory, the justification, the assertion that
you must not be violent – but merely look? Which means that you
must be free of the past. To look means that you must have great
energy, you must have intensity. You must have passion, otherwise
you cannot look. Unless you have great passion and intensity you
cannot look at the beauty of a cloud, or the marvellous hills that
you have here. In the same way, to look at oneself without the
observer needs tremendous energy and passion. And this passion,
this intensity, is destroyed when you begin to condemn, to justify,
when you say, `I must not’, `I must’, or when you say, `I am living
a non-violent life’, or pretend to live a non-violent life.
That is why all ideologies are most destructive. In India they
have talked about non-violence from time immemorial. They have
said, `We are practising non-violence’ and they are just as violent
as anybody else. The ideal gives them a certain sense of
hypocritical escape from the fact. If you can put aside all
ideologies, all principles and just face the fact, then you are dealing
with something actual, not mythical, not theoretical.
So that is the first thing: to observe without the observer; to
look at your wife, at your children, without the image. The image
may be a superficial image or deeply hidden in the unconscious;
one has not only to observe the image that one has put together
outwardly, but also the images that one has deep down inwardly –
the image of the race, of the culture, the historical perspective of
the image that one has about oneself. So one must observe not only
at the conscious level, but also at the hidden level, in the deep
recesses of one’s own mind.
I do not know if you have ever observed the unconscious. Are you interested in all this? Do you know how difficult all this is? It
is very easy to quote somebody, or to repeat what your analyst, or
the professor has told you; that is child’s play. But if you do not
merely read books about these things, then it becomes
extraordinarily arduous. It is part of your meditation to find out
how to look at the unconscious; not through dreams, not through
intuition, because your intuition may be your wish, your desire,
your hidden hope. So you have to find out how to look at the image
that you have created about yourself outwardly – the symbol – and
also to look deeply within yourself.
One must be aware not only of outward things, but also of the
inward movement of life, the inward movement of desires,
motives, anxieties, fears, sorrows. Now, to be aware without choice
is to be aware of the colour that somebody is wearing, without
saying, `I like it’ or, `I don’t like it’, but just to observe; as you sit in
a bus, to observe the movement of your own thought without
condemning, without justifying, without choosing. When you so
look you will see there is no `observer’. The observer is the
`censor’, the American, the Catholic, the Protestant; he is the result
of propaganda; he is the past. And when the past looks, it must
inevitably separate, condemn or justify. A man who is hungry, who
is really in sorrow, does he say, `If I do this, will I get that?’ He
wants to be rid of sorrow or he wants to fill his stomach; he never
talks about theories. So sir, first, if I may suggest, rid yourself of
the idea of `if’. Do not live somewhere in the future; the future is
what you project now. The now is the past; that is what you are
when you say, `I am living now’. You are living in the past,
because the past is directing and shaping you; memories of the past are making you act this way or that way.
So `to live’ is to be free of time; and when you say `if’, you are
introducing time. And time is the greatest sorrow.
Questioner: How can we be ourselves to each other?
Krishnamurti: Listen to that question: `to be ourselves’. What is
`yourself’ may I ask? When you say `ourselves to another’, what is
yourself? Your anger, your bitterness, your frustrations, your
despairs, your violence, your hopes, your utter lack of love – is that
what you are? No, sir, do not say, `How can I be myself with
another?’ – you don’t know yourself. You are all this, and the other
is also all that – his misery, his problems, his moods, his frustration,
his ambitions; each lives in isolation, in exclusion. It is only when
these barriers, these resistances, disappear that you can live with
another happily. Questioner: Why do you separate the conscious
from the unconscious when you do not believe in separation?
Krishnamurti: That is what you do – I don’t! (Laughter.) You
have been taught, during the last few decades, that you have an
unconscious, and volumes have been written about it; the analysts
are making fortunes out of it. Water remains water: whether you
put it in a golden jug or in a earthenware pot, it is water. In the
same way, not to divide but to see the whole: that is our problem,
to see the whole of consciousness, not a particular fragment as the
conscious or the unconscious. To see the whole if it is one of the
most difficult things to do, but to see a fragment is fairly easy. To
see something whole, which means to see it sanely, healthily,
wholly, you must have no centre from which to look – the centre as
‘the me’, as ‘the you’, as ‘the they’, as ‘the we’.
This is not a discourse, this is not a talk or a lecture to which you listen casually and go away. You are listening to yourself; if
you have the ears to hear what is being said you cannot agree or
disagree – it is there. Therefore we are sharing it together, we are
communicating, we are working together. In that there is great
freedom, great affection, compassion, and after all, out of that
BEYOND VIOLENCE PART I CHAPTER 2
SANTA MONICA 2ND PUBLIC TALK 4TH
WE WERE SAYING how important it is that there should be a
fundamental change in the human psyche and that this change can
only come about through complete freedom. That word ‘freedom’ is
a most dangerous word unless we understand completely and
absolutely what it means; we have to learn the full implications of
that word, not just its meaning according to the dictionary. Most of
us use it according to our particular tendency, or fancy, or
politically. We are going to use that word neither politically not
circumstantially, but rather go into the inward, psychological
meaning of it.
But before that, we have to understand the meaning of the word
‘learn’. As we said the other day, we are going to communicate
together – which means partake, share together – and learning is
part of this. You are not going to learn from the speaker, but you
learn by observing, by using the speaker as a mirror to observe
your own movement of thought, of feeling, your own psyche, your
own psychology. There is no authority involved in this at all;
though the speaker has to sit on a platform, because it is
convenient, that position does not give him any authority
whatsoever. So we can brush that aside completely and consider
the question of learning – not from another, but using the speaker to
learn about oneself. You are learning from observing your own
psyche, your own self – whatever it is. To learn, there must be
freedom, there must be a great deal of curiosity and there must be intensity, passion, an immediacy. You cannot learn if there is no
passion, no energy to find out. If there is any kind of prejudice, any
bias, of like or dislike, of condemnation, then one cannot possibly
learn, one only distorts what one observes.
The word `discipline` means to learn from a man who knows;
you are supposed not to know, so you learn from another. The
word `discipline’ implies that. But here we are using the word
`discipline’ not as learning from another, but as the observing of
oneself, which demands a discipline which is not suppression,
imitation or conformity, or even adjustment, but actually
observing; that very observation is an act of discipline – which is
learning through observation. That very act of learning is its own
discipline, in the sense that you have to give a great deal of
attention, you have to have great energy, intensity, and the
immediacy of action.
We are going to talk about fear, and in going into that we have
to consider a great many things, because fear is a very complex
problem. Unless the mind is absolutely free from fear, every form
of action brings about more mischief, more misery, more
confusion. So we are going to enquire together into the implication
of fear and whether it is at all possible to be completely free of it –
not tomorrow, not at some future date, but so that as you leave this
hall, the burden, the darkness, the misery and the corruption of fear
no longer exists.
To understand this you have to examine also the idea that we
have of gradualness – that is, the idea of gradually getting rid of
fear. There is no such thing as gradually getting rid of fear. Either
you are completely free of it, or not at all; there is no gradualness, which implies time – time not only in the chronological sense of
that word, but also in the psychological sense. Time is of the very
essence of fear, as we shall point out presently. So in
understanding and being free of fear and the conditioning in which
one is brought up, the idea of doing it slowly, eventually, must
completely come to an end. That is going to be our first difficulty.
If I may point out again, this is not a lecture; it is rather that two
friendly, affectionate people, enquire together into a very difficult
problem. Man has lived with fear, he has accepted it as part of his
life and we are enquiring into the possibility, or rather the
`impossibility’, of ending fear. You know, what is possible is
already done, is already finished – is it not? If it is possible you can
do it. But what is impossible becomes possible only when you
understand that there is no tomorrow at all – psychologically
speaking. We are confronted with the extraordinary problem of
fear, and man apparently has never been able to be rid of it
completely. Not only physically, but inwardly, psychologically, he
has never been rid of it; he has always escaped from it through
various forms of entertainment, religious and otherwise. And the
escapes have been an avoidance of `what is’. So we are concerned
with the `impossibility’ of being free from it completely – therefore
what is `impossible’ becomes possible.
What actually is fear? The physical fears can be understood
comparatively easily. But the psychological fears are much more
complex, and to understand them there must be freedom to enquire
– not to form an opinion, not a dialectical enquiry into the
possibility of ending fear. But first let us go into the question of
physical fears, which naturally affect the psyche. When you meet danger of any kind there is instant physical response. Is that fear?
(You are not learning from me, we are learning together;
therefore you have to pay a great deal of attention, because it is no
good coming to a gathering of this kind and going away with a few
sets of ideas, or formulas – that doesn’t free the mind from fear. But
what does free the mind from fear completely and absolutely, is to
understand it totally now – not tomorrow. It is like seeing
something wholly, completely; and what you see you understand.
Then it is yours and nobody else’s.)
So there is physical fear, like seeing a precipice, meeting a wild
animal. Is the response to meeting such a danger, physical fear, or
is it intelligence? You meet a snake, and you respond immediately.
That response is the past conditioning which says `be careful’ and
your whole psychosomatic response is immediate, though
conditioned; it is the result of the past, for you were told that the
animal is dangerous. In meeting any form of physical danger, is
there fear? Or is it the response of intelligence to the necessity of
Then there is the fear of having again a previous physical pain
or illness. What takes place there? Is that intelligence? Or is it an
action of thought, which is the response of memory, fearing that
the pain which one had in the past might happen again? Is this
clear, that thought produces fear? There are also the various forms
of psychological fears – fear of death fear of society, fear of not
being respectable, fear of what people might say, fear of darkness
and so on.
Before we go into this question of psychological fears, we have
to understand something very clearly: we are not analysing. Analysis has nothing whatsoever to do with observation, with
seeing. In analysis there is always the analyser and the thing
analysed. The analyser is a fragment of the many other fragments
of which we are compounded. One fragment assumes the authority
of the analyser and begins to analyse. Now, what is involved in
that? The analyser is the censor, the entity who assumes that he has
knowledge and therefore he has the authority to analyse. Unless he
analyses completely, truly, without any distortion, his analysis has
no value at all. Please do understand this very clearly, because the
speaker does not maintain the necessity of any analysis
whatsoever, at any time. It is rather a bitter pill to swallow, because
most of you either have been analysed, or are going to be analysed,
or have studied what analysis is. Analysis implies not only an
analyser separate from the analysed, but it also implies time. You
have to analyse gradually, bit by bit, the whole series of fragments
of which you are, and that takes years. And when you analyse, the
mind must be absolutely clear and free. So several things are
involved: the analyser, a fragment who separates himself from
other fragments and says, `I am going to analyse’, and also time,
day after day, looking, criticizing, condemning, judging,
evaluating, remembering. Also implied is the whole drama of
dreams; one never asks if it is necessary to dream at all – though all
the psychologists say you must, otherwise you will go mad.
So who is the analyser? He is part of yourself, part of your
mind, and he is going to examine the other parts; he is the result of
past experiences, past knowledge, past evaluation; he is the centre
from which he is going to examine. Has that centre any truth, any
validity? All of us function from a centre and what is that centre? That centre is a centre of fear, anxiety, greed, pleasure, despair,
hope, dependency, ambition, comparison – it is that from which we
think and act. This is not a supposition, not a theory, but an
absolute, observable, daily fact. In that centre there are many
fragments and one of the fragments becomes the analyser – which
is absurd, because the analyser is the analysed. You must
understand this, otherwise you will not be able to follow when we
go into the question of fear much more deeply. You have to
understand it completely, because when you leave this hall you
must be free of it so that you can live, enjoy and look at the world
with different eyes; so that you can have your relationships no
longer burdened with fear, with jealousy, with despair; so that you
become a human being, not a violent, destructive animal.
So the analyser is the analysed, and in the separation between
the analyser and the analysed is the whole process of conflict. And
analysis involves time: by the time you have analysed everything,
you are ready for the grave and you have not lived at all.
(Laughter.) No, do not laugh; this is not an entertainment, it is
dreadfully serious. It is only the earnest, serious person who knows
what life is, what living is – not the man who seeks amusement.
Therefore this demands a great deal of earnest inquiry. The mind
must be completely free of the idea of analysis, because it has no
meaning. You must see this not because the speaker says so, but by
seeing the truth of the whole process of analysis. And the truth will
bring understanding; truth is understanding – of the falseness of
analysis. Therefore when you see what is false, you can put it aside
completely. It is only when we do not see, that we are confused.
Now can we look into fear as a whole – not into the multitudinous psychological fears, but into fear? – there is only one
fear. Though there may be different causes of fear, brought about
through various reactions and influences, there is only fear. And
fear does not exist by itself, it exists in relation to something,
which is fairly simple and obvious. One is afraid of something – of
the future, of the past, of not being able to fulfil, afraid of not being
loved, of living a lonely, miserable life, of old age and death.
So there is fear, both recognizable and hidden. What we are
enquiring into is not any particular form of fear but the totality of
it, the conscious as well as the hidden. How does it happen? In
asking that question you also have to ask: what is pleasure?
Because fear and pleasure go together. You cannot discard fear
without understanding pleasure; they are the two sides of one coin.
So in understanding the truth about fear, you also understand the
truth about pleasure. To want only pleasure and have no fear, is an
impossible demand. Whereas if you understood both, you would
have quite a different appreciation, a different understanding of
them. Which means that we have to learn about the structure and
the nature of fear as well as of pleasure. You cannot be free of one
and hold on to the other.
So what is fear and what is pleasure? As you can observe in
yourself, you want to get rid of fear. All life is an escape from fear.
Your gods, your churches, your moralities are based on fear, and to
understand that you have to understand how this fear comes about.
You have done something in the past and you do not want another
to find out; that is one form of fear. You are afraid of the future
because you have no job, or you are frightened of something else.
So you are afraid of the past, and you are afraid of the future. Fear comes when thought looks back to things that have happened in the
past, or to events that may happen in the future. Thought is
responsible for this. You have very carefully avoided – especially
in America – thinking about death; but it is always there. You do
not want to think about it, because the moment you do, you are
afraid. And because you are afraid, you have theories about it; you
believe in resurrection, in re-incarnation – you have dozens of
beliefs – all because you are afraid and all of which arise from
thought. Thought creates and sustains the fear of yesterday and of
tomorrow, and thought also sustains pleasure. You have seen a
beautiful sunset; at that moment there is great joy, the beauty of the
light on the water and the movement of the trees; there is great
delight. Then thought comes along and says, `How I wish I could
have it again’. You begin to think about it and you go to that place
again tomorrow and you do not see it. You have sexual pleasure
and you think about it, you chew on it, you build images, pictures;
and thought sustains that. There is thought sustaining pleasure and
thought sustaining fear. So thought is responsible. This is not a
formula for you to learn, but an actuality to understand together;
therefore there is no agreement or disagreement.
So, what is thought? Thought is obviously the response of
memory. If you had no memory there would be no thought. If you
had no memory of the road to your house, you would not get home.
So thought not only breeds and sustains fear and pleasure, but
thought is also necessary to function, to act, efficiently. See how
difficult it becomes: thought must be employed completely,
objectively, when you function technologically, when you do
anything, and thought also breeds fear and pleasure and therefore pain.
So one asks oneself the question: what place has thought?
Where is the border-line between where thought must be employed
completely and where it must not interfere – as when you see the
most beautiful sunset and live it at the moment and forget it at that
moment. The whole process of thinking is never free because it has
its roots in the past; thought is never new. There is no question of
freedom in choice because thought is in operation when you
choose. So we have a very subtle problem, which is: one sees the
danger of thought which brings about fear – fear destroys, perverts,
makes the mind live in darkness, in misery – yet one sees that
thought must be used efficiently, objectively, without emotion.
What is the state of your mind – as you observe this fact?
Look, sirs, it is most important to understand this very clearly,
because it is no good your sitting there listening to a lot of words
that have no meaning, when at the end of it, you are still afraid.
When you leave there must be no fear, not because you hypnotize
yourself that there is no fear, but because you have understood
actually, psychologically, inwardly, the whole structure of fear.
That is why it is very important to learn, to look. What we are
doing is to observe very closely how fear comes into being. When
you think about death, or about losing your job, when you think
about a dozen things, either of the past or of the future, there is the
inevitability of fear. When the mind sees the fact that thought must
function and also sees the danger of thought, what is the quality of
the mind that is seeing this. You have to find out, not wait for me
to tell you.
Please listen carefully; it is so simple, really. We said analysis is no good, and we explained why. If you saw the truth of it you have
understood it. Before, you accepted analysis, as part of your
conditioning. Now, when you see the futility, the falseness of
analysis, it has dropped away. So what is the state of the mind that
has put aside analysis? It is freer, is it not? Therefore it is more
alive, more active and therefore much more intelligent, sharper,
more sensitive. And when you have seen the fact, as to how fear
comes into being, have learnt about it and watched also the process
of pleasure, then watch your state of mind, which is becoming
much more acute, much clearer, therefore tremendously intelligent.
This intelligence has nothing whatsoever to do with knowledge,
with experience; you cannot arrive at this intelligence by going to
college and learning how to be sensitive. This intelligence comes
when you have observed very closely the whole structure of
analysis and what is implied in it – the time involved and the
stupidity of thinking that one fragment is going to clear up the
whole process – and when you have seen the nature of fear and
understood what pleasure is.
So when fear – which has become a habit – comes upon you
tomorrow, you will know how to meet it and not postpone it. And
the very meeting of it is the ending of it at that moment, because
intelligence is in operation. That means ending not only the known
fears, but also the deep, hidden fears.
You know, one of the most strange things is the ease with which
we are influenced. From childhood we are brought up to be
Catholic, Protestant, American, or whatever it is. We are the result
of repeated propaganda and we keep on repeating it. We are
secondhand human beings. Therefore be on your guard not to be influenced by the speaker, because you are dealing with your life,
not his life.
Going into the question of pleasure, one also has to understand
what real enjoyment is, for it has nothing to do with pleasure. Has
pleasure, desire, anything to do with love? To understand all this
one has to observe oneself. One is the result of the world; one is a
human being who is part of the other human beings, who all have
the same problems, perhaps not economic or social, but human
problems – all fighting, making tremendous efforts and saying to
themselves that life has no meaning whatsoever as it is lived. So
one invents formulas for living. All that becomes utterly
unnecessary when you understand the structure of yourself, and of
fear, pleasure, love, and the meaning of death. Then only can you
live as a total human being and never do anything wrong.
So, if you want to, ask questions, bearing in mind that the
question and the answer is within yourself.
Questioner: If fear is generated by an unknown and you say that
using thought is a wrong way of going about understanding it..?
Krishnamurti: You say you are frightened of the unknown,
either of the unknown of tomorrow, or of the real unknown. Is it
that you are frightened of something you do not know? Or are you
frightened of something you do know, to which you are attached?
Therefore are you frightened of leaving the known? Have you
understood, sir? When you are frightened of death, are you
frightened of the unknown? Or are you frightened of all the things
you have known coming to an end, your pleasures, your family,
your achievements, your success, your furniture? How can one be
frightened of something one does not know? And if you are frightened of it, thought wants to take it into the field of the known,
therefore it begins to imagine. Therefore your God is the product of
your imagination or your fear. Sir, therefore do not speculate about
the unknown. Understand the known and be free of the known.
Questioner: I have read the expression `Father, I believe, help
my disbelief’. How can we accomplish anything with this apparent
conflict of belief and doubt?
Krishnamurti: Why do you believe anything that you read? It
does not matter whether it is in the Bible or in the Gita or in the
sacred books of other religions. Do look at it – why do you believe?
Do you believe in the sunrise tomorrow? You believe in a sense –
you think it will arise. But you believe in heaven, you believe in a
Father, you believe in something – why? Because you are afraid,
you are unhappy, lonely, because of fear of death, you believe in
something that you think is permanent. How can a mind that is
burdened with beliefs see clearly? How can it be free to observe?
How can such a mind love? You have your belief and another has
his belief. In understanding the whole problem of fear, one has no
belief whatsoever. The mind then functions happily, without
distortion and therefore there is great joy, ecstasy.
Questioner: I have read your books and I listen to you speak and
I hear you say beautiful things. I hear you speak of fear and how
we should eliminate it; but the nature of the mind is to be full of
desire, to be full of thoughts. How are we to experience freedom of
mind as long as the mind is constantly active? What is the system?
Krishnamurti: Sir, what is desire? Why does the mind chatter so
Questioner: Dissatisfaction. Krishnamurti: Please do not answer, find out. Look: you want a
system, a method, a discipline to quieten the mind, to understand
this or that or to put aside desire. The practising of a system means
a mechanical routine, doing the same thing over and over again;
that is what a system implies. What takes place when the mind
does that? It becomes a dull, stupid mind. One has to understand
why the mind chatters, why the mind goes from one thing to
I do not think I can go into it this evening – are you not tired?
(Cries of`no’.) You have had a long day in the office; there it was
routine. Here you say you are not tired, which means you have not
been working. (Laughter.) You have not been sustaining a serious
investigation. That means you are just
being entertained and will go away with your fears. And for
God’s sake, sirs, what is the point of it?
BEYOND VIOLENCE PART I CHAPTER 3
SANTA MONICA 3RD PUBLIC TALK 7TH
WE WERE CONSIDERING the extraordinary complexity of
everyday life, the strife, the conflict, the misery and the confusion
one is in. Until one really understands the nature and the structure
of this complexity, how one is caught in this trap, there is no
freedom – neither the freedom to enquire nor the freedom that
comes with great joy in which there is total self-abandonment.
Such freedom is not possible if fear exists in any form, either
superficially or in the deep recesses of one’s mind. We pointed out
the relationship between fear, pleasure and desire. To understand
fear one must also understand the nature of pleasure.
This morning we shall talk about the centre from which our life
and our activities arise and whether it is at all possible to change
that centre. Because change, a transformation, an inward
revolution, is obviously necessary. To realize that transformation,
one must examine very closely what our life is, not escape from it,
not indulge in theoretical beliefs and assertions, but observe very
closely what our life actually is, and see whether it is possible to
transform it completely. In the transformation of it you may affect
the nature and the culture of society. There must be change in
society, because there are so many evils and social injustices, there
is an appalling travesty of worship and so on. But the change in
society is of secondary importance; that will come about naturally,
inevitably, when you as a human being in relationship with
another, bring about this change in yourself. This morning we are going to consider three essential things:
what is living? – the life that we lead every day; what is
compassion, love? and the third, what is death? They are closely
related – in understanding the one, we will understand the other
two. As we have seen, you cannot take fragments of life, choose a
part of life you think worthwhile or which appeals to you, or that
your tendency demands. Either you take the whole of life – in
which is involved death, love and living – or you merely take a
fragment of it which might seem satisfactory, but which will
inevitably bring about greater confusion. So we must take the
whole of it and in considering what living is we must bear in mind
that we are discussing a whole, sane and holy affair.
One observes in the daily life of relationships that there is
conflict, pain and suffering; there is constant dependence on
another, in which there is self-pity and comparison; this is what we
call living. Please let me again repeat: we are not concerned with
theories, we are not propagating any ideology – for ideologies
obviously have no value whatsoever; on the contrary, they bring
about greater confusion, greater conflict. We are not indulging in
opinion, in evaluation, nor in condemnation. We are solely
concerned with the observation of what actually takes place to see
if that can be transformed.
One can see very clearly in one’s daily life how contradictory,
how confused it is; one’s life as it is lived now, is absolutely
meaningless. One may invent a meaning; the intellectuals do invent
a meaning and people follow that meaning – which may be a very
clever philosophy, but is produced out of nothing. Whereas if one
is only concerned with `what is’, without inventing some significance, or escape, or indulging in theories or ideologies, if
one is tremendously aware, then one’s mind is capable of facing
`what is’. Theories and beliefs do not change one’s life – man has
had them for thousands of years and he has not changed; they have,
per- haps, given him a superficial polish; he is, perhaps, less
savage, but he is still brutal, violent, capricious, incapable of
sustaining seriousness. We live a life of great sorrow from the
moment we are born till we die. That is a fact. No amount of
speculative theories about that fact will affect it. What does affect
`what is’ is the capacity, the energy, the intensity, the passion with
which one looks at that fact. And one cannot have passion and
intensity, if one’s mind is running after some delusion, some
We are going into something rather complex for which you
need all your energy, all your attention – not only while you are
here in this hall, but also throughout life, if you are at all serious.
What we are concerned with is the changing of `what is’, the
sorrow, the conflict, the violence, the dependence on another – not
the dependence on the grocer, the doctor, or the postman, but the
dependence in our relationship with another, both psychologically
and psychosomatically. This dependence on another invariably
breeds fear: as long as I depend on you to sustain me, emotionally,
psychologically or spirituality, I am your slave and therefore there
is fear. This is a fact. Most human beings depend on another and in
this dependence there is the self-pity which comes about through
comparison. So, where there is psychological dependence on
another – on your wife, or on your husband – there must not only be
fear and pleasure, but also the pain of it. I hope you are observing this in yourself, and are not merely listening to the speaker.
You know, there are two ways of listening: to listen casually, to
hear a series of ideas, agreeing or disagreeing with them; or there is
another way of listening, which is not only to listen to the words
and the meaning of those words, but also to listen to what is
actually taking place in yourself. If you listen in this way, then
what the speaker says is related to what you are listening to in
yourself; then you are not merely listening to the speaker – which is
irrelevant – but to the whole content of your being. And if you are
listening in that way with intensity, at the same time and at the
same level, then we are both of us partaking, sharing together, in
what is actually taking place. Then you have the passion which is
going to transform that which is. But if you do not listen that way,
with all your mind, with all your heart, then a meeting of this kind
becomes utterly meaningless.
In understanding`what is’,the actual,terrible life one leads, one
sees that one is leading an isolated life – though one may have a
wife and children, yet in oneself there is a self-isolating process
going on. The wife, the girlfriend or the boyfriend, each is actually
living in isolation; though living together in the same house, each
one is isolated, with his own ambitions, with his own fears, with
his own sorrow. Living like this is called relationship. Again, this
is a fact: you have your image about her and she has her image
about you and you have your own image about yourself. The
relationship is between these images and is not an actual
relationship. So first one must find out how these images are
constructed, how they come into being, why they should exist, and
what it means to live without such images. I do not know if you have ever considered whether a life in which there is no image, no
formula, is possible and what a life without images would mean.
We are going to find out.
We have many experiences all the time. We are either conscious
or unaware of them. Each experience leaves a mark; these marks
build up day after day and they become the image. Someone insults
you and at that moment you have already formed the image about
the other. Or someone flatters you and again an image is formed.
So inevitably each reaction builds an image. And having created it,
is it possible to end it?
To end an image we must first find out how it comes into being;
and we see that if we do not respond adequately to any challenge it
must leave an image. If you call me a fool, immediately you
become my enemy, or I do not like you. When you call me a fool I
have to be intensely aware at that moment, without any choice,
without any condemnation, just listening to what you are saying. If
there is no emotional response to your statement, then you will see
that no image is being formed.
So one has to be aware of the reaction and not give it time to
take root; because the moment that reaction takes root it has
formed an image. Now, can you do it? To do it you need attention –
not just dreamily wandering through life – attention at the moment
of a challenge, with all your being, listening with your heart and
with your mind, so that you see clearly what is being said – be it
insult or flattery or an opinion about you. Then you will see there is
no image at all. The image is always of what has happened in the
past. If it is a pleasurable image, we hold on to it. If it is painful,
we want to get rid of it. So desire comes into being; one thing we want to hold, the other we want to reject; and desire brings conflict.
If you are aware of all this, giving attention to it without any
choice, merely observing, then you can find out for yourself, then
you are not living according to some psychologist or some priest or
some doctor. To find out truth you have to be completely free of all
that, to stand alone. And standing alone is to turn your back on
If you have observed yourself carefully, you will see that a part
of your brain, which has evolved for many thousands of years, is
the past – the past being experience, the memory. In that past there
is safety. I hope you are watching all this in yourself. The past
always responds immediately; and to delay the response of the past
when you meet a challenge, so that there is an interval between the
challenge and the response, is to end the image. If this does not
take place, we will always be living in the past. We are the past and
there is no freedom in the past. So, that is our life, a constant battle,
the past, modified by the present moving into the future – which is
still the movement of the past, though modified. As long as this
movement exists, man can never be free, he must always be in
conflict, in sorrow, in confusion, in misery. Can the response of the
past be delayed, so that there is not the immediate formation of an
We have to look at life as it is, at the endless confusion and
misery and the escape from that into some religious superstition or
into the worship of the State, or into various forms of amusement.
We have to look at how one escapes into neuroses – because a
neurosis offers an extraordinary sense of security. The man who
`believes’ is neurotic; the man who worships an image is neurotic. These are neuroses in which there is great safety. And that does not
bring about a radical revolution in oneself. To do that you have to
observe choicelessly, without any distortion of desire or of pleasure
or of fear – just observe actually what you are without escape. And
do not name what you see, merely observe. Then you will have the
passion, the energy, to observe, and in that observation there comes
a tremendous change.
What is love? We talk a great deal about it – love of God, love
of humanity, love of country, love of the family – yet strangely,
with that love goes hatred. You love your God and hate another’s
God, you love your nation, your family, but you are against another
family, against another nation. And more and more, throughout the
world, love is associated with sex. We are not condemning, we are
not judging, we are not evaluating; we are merely observing what
is actually taking place; and if you know how to observe that gives
you tremendous energy.
What is love and what is compassion? The word `compassion’
means passion for everybody, care for everything – including the
animals you kill to eat. First let us look at what actually is – not
what should be – seeing what actually is, in daily life. Do we know
what it means to love, or do we only know pleasure and desire,
which we call love? – of course with the pleasure, with the desire,
goes tenderness, care, affection and so on. So is love pleasure,
desire? Apparently for most of us it is. One depends on one’s wife,
one loves one’s wife, yet if she looks at somebody else, one is
angry, frustrated, miserable – and ultimately there is the divorce
court. That is what you call love! – and if your wife dies you take
another, so great is dependency. One never asks why one depends on another (I am talking about psychological dependency). If you
look into it, you will see how lonely you are, deep down, how
frustrated and unhappy. You do not know what to do with this
loneliness, this isolation, which is a form of suicide. And so, not
knowing what to do, you depend. That dependence gives you great
comfort and companionship but when that companionship is
slightly altered you get jealous, furious.
Would you send your children to war if you loved them? Would
you give them the kind of education they have now, only educating
them technologically, to help them to get a job, to pass some
examinations, and neglect the rest of the whole of this marvellous
life? You look after them till they are five so carefully and after
that you throw them to the wolves. That is what you call love. Is
there love, when there is violence, hatred, antagonism?
So what will you do? Within this violence and hatred is your
virtue and your morality; when you deny that, then you are
virtuous. That means seeing all the implications of what love is;
then you stand alone and you are capable of loving. You listen to
this because it is the truth. If you do not live it, truth becomes a
poison; if you hear something true and neglect it, that brings about
another contradiction in life and therefore more misery. So either
listen with your heart and with your complete mind or do not listen
at all. But since you are here, you are listening, I hope!
Love is not the opposite of anything. It is not the opposite of
hate or of violence. Even if you do not depend on anybody and live
a most virtuous life – do social work, demonstrate up and down the
street – if you have no love it has no value at all. If you love, then
you can do what you will. For the man who loves there is no error – or if there is an error, he corrects it immediately. A man who loves
has no jealousy, no remorse; for him there is no forgiveness,
because there is not a moment in which a thing that has to be
forgiven arises. All this demands deep investigation, great care and
attention. But you are caught in the trap of modern society; you
have created that trap yourself and if anybody points it out to you,
you disregard it. And so wars and hatred go on.
I wonder how you consider death; not theoretically, but actually
what it means to you – not as something that is going to come
inevitably either through accident, from a disease or from old age.
That happens to everybody: old age and the pretensions that go
with old age, of trying to be young. All theories, all hope, mean
you are in despair; being in despair you look to something to give
you hope. Have you ever looked at your despair to see why it
exists? It exists because you are comparing yourself with
somebody, because you want to fulfil, become, be, achieve.
One of the strange things in life is that we are conditioned by
the verb `to be’. For in that there is the past, the present and the
future. All religious conditioning is based on that verb `to be; on it
are based all heaven and hell, all the beliefs, all the saviours, all the
excesses. Can a human being live without that verb – which means
to live and to have no past, no future? It does not mean `living in
the present’ – you do not know what it means to live in the present.
To live completely in the present you must know what the nature
and the structure of the past is – which is yourself. You must know
yourself so completely, that there is no hidden corner; `yourself’ is
the past, and that self thrives on that verb `to be’, to become, to
achieve, to remember. Find out what it means to live without that verb psychologically, inwardly.
What does death mean? Why are we all so dreadfully frightened
of it? Throughout Asia people believe in reincarnation; in that there
is great hope – I don’t know why – and people go on talking and
writing about it. When you look at the thing that is going to
incarnate, what is it? – all the past, all your misery, all your
confusion, all that you are now? And you think the `you’ (here you
use the word `soul’) is something permanent. Is there anything in
life that is permanent? You would like to have something
permanent and so put death into the distance far away from you,
never look at it, because you are scared. Then you have `time’ –
time between what is and what will inevitably take place.
Either you project your life into tomorrow and continue as you
are now, hoping that there will be some kind of resurrection,
incarnation, or you die each day; die each day to yourself, to your
misery, to your sorrow; you put aside that burden each day so that
your mind is fresh, young and innocent. The word `innocence’
means `incapable of being hurt’. To have a mind that is not capable
of being hurt, does not mean that it has built up a lot of resistance –
on the contrary, such a mind is dying to everything that it has
known in which there has been conflict, pleasure and pain. Only
then is the mind innocent; that means it can love. You cannot love
with memory, love is not a matter of remembrance, of time.
So love, death and living, are not separate but a total whole, and
there is sanity. Sanity is not possible when there is hate, anger,
jealousy, when there is dependency which breeds fear. Where there
is sanity, life becomes holy; there is great joy and you can do what
you will; what you do then is virtuous, is true. We do not know all this – we only know our misery – and not
knowing, we try to escape. If only we did not escape, but could
actually observe, never moving away even a fraction from `what is’
by naming it, by condemning or judging it – but could just watch it.
To watch something you need care – care means compassion. A life
that is lived so splendidly and completely can then go into
something we shall talk about tomorrow, which is meditation.
Without laying such a foundation, meditation is self-hypnosis.
Laying this foundation means that you have understood this
extraordinary life, so you have a mind that is without conflict and
you lead a life that has compassion, beauty and therefore order.
Not the order of a blueprint, but the order which comes when you
understand what disorder is – which is your life. Your life is in
disorder. Disorder is contradiction, the conflict between opposites.
When you understand that disorder which is in yourself, then out of
that comes order – the order which is precise, mathematical, in
which there is no distortion. All this demands a meditative mind, a
mind that is capable of looking silently.
Questioner: In one of your books you say that miracles are one
of the easiest things to do. Will you please explain about the
miracles you mentioned.
Krishnamurti: I wish you would not quote from a book –
including the speaker’s. (Laughter.) I really mean it, seriously. Do
not quote anybody. Living on other people’s ideas is one of the
most terrible things to do. And ideas are not truth. `In one of the
books it is said that miracles are the easiest things in the world’ –
are they not? Is it not a miracle that you are sitting there and I here
and we are talking to each other? Because if you listen without effort you will know what it means to live completely, wholly; if
you live that way, there is a miracle, the greatest miracle of all.
Questioner: I have been away for twenty-seven years and have
come back about three months ago. I find tremendous fears
developing here. From my own observation and from the
observation of my friends I believe there is the take-over of the
Mafia and the development of a complete police state. Can you
help us as individuals, give us the key to fight against such
conditions? I realize that to fight will be difficult, I also realize that
if we fight we could go to jail. What can each individual do for
himself to combat these awful forces?
Krishnamurti: Sir, this is not an avoidance of the question, but:
can you as an individual be peaceful? Are you an individual at all?
You may have your bank account, you may have a separate house,
a separate family and so on, but are you an individual? Individual
means indivisible in himself, not fragmented. But we are
fragmented, broken up, so we are not individuals. What society is,
we are. We have made this society. So how can a broken up human
being do anything but come to that state in which he is completely
whole? Then a totally different kind of action will take place. But
as long as we are acting in fragments, we are bound to create more
chaos in the world. I am sure this answer satisfies nobody; you
want the key and the key is in yourself. You have to forge that key.
Questioner: But time is short and I do not seem to be able to
find out how exactly to go about this.
Krishnamurti: `Time is short’ – can you change immediately?
Not change gradually or tomorrow. Can you have this perception
of a `whole’ life in which there is love – all that we have talked about this morning – immediately? The speaker says that is the
only thing to do – to change completely, radically, immediately. To
do that, you have to observe with all your heart and mind; not
escaping into anything, nationalism or your beliefs; put all these
aside with one breath and become completely aware. Then there is
a radical change, immediately, and from that immediate
transformation you will act completely differently. Questioner:
Does love have an object? Can one love only one person in one’s
Krishnamurti: Have you heard the question? Can you love one
at the same time as the many? What a strange question to ask. If
you love, you love the one and the many. But we do not love. Sir,
many can smell a flower that has perfume – or only one can smell it
– but the flower does not care, it is there. And that is the beauty of
love: it can give to one or to many. That is only possible when
there is compassion, when there is no jealousy, no ambition, no
success; and that is the denial of all that man has built in himself or
around himself. Through negation the positive comes into being.
BEYOND VIOLENCE PART I CHAPTER 4
SANTA MONICA 4TH PUBLIC TALK 8TH
WE SAID WE would talk about religion and meditation this
evening. They form a really quite complex subject, needing a great
deal of patience and hesitant enquiry, never assuming anything,
never accepting or believing anything. Man has always sought
something more than the daily living, with its pain, pleasure and
sorrow; he has always wanted to find something more permanent.
And in his search for this unnameable thing, he has built temples,
churches, mosques. Extraordinary things have been done in the
name of religion. There have been wars for which religions are
responsible; people have been tortured, burned, destroyed; for
belief was more important than truth, dogma more vital than the
direct perception. When belief becomes all-important, then you are
willing to sacrifice everything for that; whether that belief is real or
has no validity does not matter as long as it gives comfort, security,
a sense of permanency.
It is very easy, if you seek something, to find it; but that means
that before one begins to search one must have a basis, an idea of
what is sought. In seeking, there are several processes involved;
there is not only the desire and the hope that what you recognise
will be the truth, but there is also the motive behind that search. If
there is a motive of escape from fear, a longing for comfort and
security, then you will inevitably find something that will gratify
you; it may be the most absurd belief, but as long as it is
satisfactory and completely comforting, however ridiculous the illusion be, you cling to it. So there is great danger for those who
are seeking to find.
If there is fear of any kind, hidden or open, searching becomes
an evasion, a flight from the actual. And if in your search you
discover something, that discovery is based on recognition – you
must recognise it, otherwise it has no value. But recognition, if you
observe, is of past memory, of something you have already known,
otherwise you cannot possibly recognise it. All this is involved in
this everlasting search for what one considers to be the truth; but
something that is beyond the measure of the mind, is not based on
Religion, in the accepted sense of that word, has now become a
matter of propaganda, of vested interest, with much property, with
a great hierarchical, bureaucratic system of `spirituality’. Religion
has become a matter of dogma, belief and ritual – something which
is totally divorced from daily living. You may, or you may not,
believe in God, but that belief has very little meaning in daily life,
where you cheat, where you destroy, are ambitious, greedy,
jealous, violent. You believe in God or in a saviour, or in some
guru, yet keep that far away so that it does not actually touch your
Religion, as it is now, has become an extraordinary
phenomenon which has no validity at all. The Christian, for the last
two thousand years, has been conditioned to believe. Please
observe in yourself, not criticizing, not condemning, just
observing. One may not like it, but one must face the fact that one
is, if one is a Christian, as conditioned as the Communist or the
atheist. The believer and the non-believer are both conditioned by the culture of their time, by society, by the extraordinary process of
propaganda. It has also been going on in Asia for thousands of
All the physical structure, the psychological assertions, the
strong beliefs, for which one is willing to destroy and be destroyed,
are based on dialectical, assertive opinion, as to how to find out
what is true; but `true opinion’, however clever, however
argumentative, has no reality whatsoever: it remains merely an
opinion. Religions throughout the world now are utterly
meaningless. We want to be entertained spiritually and so we go to
the church or the temple or the mosque and that has nothing
whatsoever to do with our daily sorrow, confusion and hatred. A
man who is really serious, who really wants to find out if there is
something more than this terrible thing called existence, must
obviously be completely free from dogma, from belief, from
propaganda, he must be free from the structure in which he has
been brought up to be a `religious man’.
Through the negation of `what is’, in the so-called religions, you
come to the positive. We are going to find out, if we can, what the
thing is that man has sought – not through any belief, not through
any saviour or through a guru, or through the speaker. We are
going to find out for ourselves if there is, or if there is not,
something that is not the projection of one’s own hopes, of one’s
own fears, something that is not invented by a cunning mind or is
bred from our intense loneliness.
To find out, one must be free of belief; for belief is the quality
of mind that invests in something that will give it some hope,
comfort, security, a sense of permanency. To be free to enquire, one must be free from fear, from anxiety, from the desire to be
psychologically secure. These are the obvious requirements for a
very earnest and serious person who wants to find out.
The instrument that is capable of enquiry is a mind that is clear,
that has no distortions, or prejudice of conclusion, of formula, or
belief. See how extraordinarily difficult it is to have a mind that is
not in conflict; for it means a mind that has understood conflict and
is free from it.
The mind – which means not only the mind but also the heart,
the whole psychosomatic nature of man – must be highly sensitive;
for sensitivity implies intelligence. We are going to go into that a
little, because all this is laying the foundation for meditation. If you
do not lay the foundation of order, then meditation – which is one
of the most extraordinary things in life – becomes merely an escape
leading to self-delusion, self-hypnosis. A shoddy mind can learn
the tricks, can practise so-called meditation, but it will still remain
a shoddy, stupid mind.
Most of us have very little energy; we spend it in conflict, in
struggle, we waste it in various manners – not only sexually, but
also a great deal of it is wasted in contradictions and in the
fragmentation of ourselves which brings about conflict. Conflict is
definitely a great waste of energy – the `voltage’ decreases. Not
only is physical energy necessary, but so also is psychological
energy, with a mind that is immensely clear, logical, healthy,
undistorted, and a heart that has no sentiment whatsoever, no
emotion, but the quality of abundance of love, of compassion. All
this gives a great intensity, passion. You need that, otherwise you
cannot take a journey into this thing called meditation. You may sit cross-legged, breathe, do fantastic things, but you will never come
The body must be extraordinarily sensitive; that is one of the
most difficult things, because we have spoiled the intelligence of
the body through drink, through smoking, through indulgence,
through pleasure; we have made the body coarse. Look at the body
which should be extraordinarily alive and sensitive, and you will
see what we have reduced it to! The body affects the mind and the
mind affects the body, and for this reason, sensitivity of the body,
the organism, is essential. This sensitivity is not brought about
through fasting, through playing all kinds of tricks on it. The mind
has to watch it dispassionately. (I hope you are doing it now, as the
speaker is going into the problem – not tomorrow or the next day –
because as we said, we are partaking together in the journey, in the
Observation of `what is’, is the understanding of that event.
Understanding is derived from the observation of `what is; testing
it out in everyday living leads to the understanding of experience.
Most of us want great experiences because our own lives are so
limited, so unspeakably dull. We want deep, lasting, beautiful
experiences. But we have not even understood what that word
`experience’ means, and the mind that is seeking an experience is
incapable of understanding what truth is. The life that we lead
every day has to be transformed; there must be an end to this
hatred, this violence in oneself, the anxiety, the guilt, the drive to
succeed, to be somebody; and without changing all that radically,
to try to seek some `experience’ has no meaning whatsoever.
A mind that hopes to see truth through drugs, to have extraordinary experiences, or to be entertained through drugs,
becomes a slave to them and they ultimately make the mind dull
We are inquiring together into the question of the religious
mind – not what religion is – but what a mind is that is religious,
that is capable of finding out truth. The root meaning of the word
`religion’ is rather uncertain; we can give any meaning to it we like,
and we generally do. But to have no opinion of what religion is, is
to be free to enquire into it, into the quality of the mind that is
religious. That quality of mind is not separated from the daily
living of pain, pleasure, sorrow and confusion.
To enquire into this, there must be freedom from all authority.
You are alone to find out, there is no book, nobody to help you.
Please see how important it is, because we have given our trust, our
faith to others – to the priest, to the saviours, to the teachers and so
on – and having given over our faith, we have looked to them to
lead us and they have led us nowhere.
In this enquiry there is no question of authority – you are
enquiring, like a true scientist, without seeking a result. When there
is no authority whatsoever, then there is no system, no practice. A
system, a method, implies a routine, a forming of habit. If you
practise a certain system daily, your mind invariably becomes dull.
This is so simple and obvious. So systems, methods, practices,
must completely disappear. See what is happening to a mind that is
not afraid, that is not seeking pleasure or pursuing entertainment, a
mind that has no dependence on authority, but is really enquiring;
to a mind that does not depend on anything there is no fear and
therefore it can enquire. Such a mind has already become extraordinarily sharp, alive, intense, earnest. (When we use the
word ‘mind’, we mean the whole of it, including the organism, the
heart.) That quality of mind has beauty; using no method, it is
clear, enquiring, observing and learning as it is observing. Learning
is not different from action. To learn is to act. If you learn about
nationality, the danger of separation, of division of people, if you
observe it and understand it, then the very understanding of it puts
an end to this division in action. So observation is astonishingly
You probably all know about yoga. There are so many books
written about it, every Tom, Dick and Harry who has spent some
months in India and taken a few lessons, becomes a `yogi’. That
word `yoga’ has many meanings; it implies a way of life, not just
the practising of some exercises to keep young. It implies a way of
life in which there is no division and therefore no conflict – which
is the way the speaker looks at it. Of course regular exercise of the
right kind is good, it keeps the body supple. The speaker has done
a great deal of it for years, not to achieve some extraordinary state
through breathing and all the rest of it, but to keep the body supple.
You must have the right kind of exercise, the right food, not
stuffing yourself with a lot of meat – with all the brutality and
insensitivity that that inevitably brings about. Each one has to find
out the right diet for himself, he has to experiment and test it out.
Then there is this trick that has been foisted on you: Mantra
Yoga. For five, or thirty dollars, you have been taught some mantra
– a repetition of words, especially in Sanskrit. The Catholics have a
rosary and repeat Ave Maria – or whatever they repeat. Do you
know what happens when you constantly repeat a series of words? You mesmerize yourself into tranquillity. Or you ride on the tone
of the word. When you keep on repeating a certain word it
produces a sound, inwardly; and that inward sound keeps going – if
you listen to it; it becomes extraordinarily alive and you think that
is a most marvellous thing. It is nothing of the kind, it is a form of
self-hypnosis. That too has to be rejected completely.
Then we come to something quite different, which is: awareness
and attention. I do not know if you have gone into this – not by
reading books, not by being taught how to be aware in a school in
Asia, in some monastery – but if you have, you will see for yourself
what it means not to be taught by another. You have to learn for
yourself what awareness means; to be aware of the hall in which
you are sitting, to be aware of the proportion of the hall and the
colours that it contains; not saying it is ugly or beautiful, just
observing. As you walk down the street, be aware of the things that
are happening around you, observing the clouds, the trees, the light
on the water, the bird in flight. Be aware without any interference
by thought which says: `this is right’, `this is wrong’, `this should
be’, or `should not be’. Be aware of the things that are happening
outside, then also be aware inwardly – watch every movement of
thought, watch every feeling, every reaction; that makes the mind
There is a difference between concentration and attention.
Concentration is a process of exclusion, a process of resistance and
therefore a conflict. Have you ever watched your mind when you
are trying to concentrate on something? It wanders off and you try
to pull it back and so a battle goes on; you want to focus your
attention, to concentrate on something, and thought is interested in looking out of the window, or in thinking about something else. In
this conflict there is such a waste of energy and time.
One enquires why the mind chatters, talks endlessly to itself or
to somebody else, or wants to be occupied everlastingly, in reading
a book, turning on the radio, keeping active. Why? If you have
observed, there is a habit of restlessness, your body can never sit
still for any prolonged time, it is always doing something or
fidgeting. The mind also chatters; otherwise what would happen to
it? – it is frightened, so it must be occupied. It must be occupied
with social reform, with this or that, with some belief, with some
quarrel, with something that has happened in the past – it is
As we were saying: attention is entirely different from
concentration. Awareness and attention go together – but not
concentration. A mind that is intensely attentive can observe very
clearly, without any distortion, without any resistance, and yet
function efficiently, objectively. What is the quality of such a
mind? (I hope you are interested in this, because it is part of life. If
you reject all this, you reject the whole of life also. If you do not
know the meaning and the beauty of meditation you do not know
anything of life. You may have the latest car, you may be able to
travel all over the world freely, but if you do not know what the
real beauty, the freedom and the joy of meditation is, you are
missing a great part of life. Which is not to make you say, ‘I must
learn to meditate’. It is a natural thing that comes about. A mind
that is enquiring must inevitably come to this; a mind that is aware,
that observes ‘what is’ in itself, is self-understanding, self-
knowing.) We are asking: what is the quality of a mind that has come so
far, naturally, without any effort? If you look at a tree or a cloud,
the face of your wife or your husband or your neighbour, it is only
out of silence that you can observe very clearly. You can only
listen when there is no self-projected noise. When you are
chattering to yourself, comparing what is being said with what you
already know, then you are not listening. When you are observing
with your eyes and all kinds of prejudices and knowledge are
interfering, you are not really observing. So when you really
observe and listen, you can only do so out of silence.
I do not know if you have ever gone that far. It is not something
you cultivate, take years to come upon, because it is not the
product of time or of comparison; it is the product of observation in
daily life, the observations of your thoughts and the understanding
of thought. When the mind is completely aware it becomes
extraordinarily silent, quiet; it is not asleep, but highly awake in
that silence. Only such a mind can see what truth is, can see if there
is something beyond or not. Only such a mind is a religious mind,
because it has left the past completely – though it can use the
memory of the past. Religion then is something that cannot
possibly be put into words; it cannot be measured by thought – for
thought is always measuring; it is, as we said, the response of the
past. Thought is never free; it is always functioning within the field
of the known.
So a mind that is capable of understanding what truth is, what
reality is – if there is such a thing as reality – must be completely
free of all the human tricks, deceptions and illusions. And this
takes a lot of work. It means an inward discipline; a discipline which is not imitation, conformity or adjustment. Discipline comes
in the observation of ‘what is’ and learning about it; this learning
about itself is its own discipline. Therefore there is order and with
it the end of disorder in oneself. All this, from the beginning of
these talks till now, is part of meditation.
Only if you know how to look at a cloud or see the beauty of the
light on the sea, how to look at your wife – or the boy, or the girl –
with a fresh eye, with an innocent mind that has never been
harmed, that has never shed a tear, can the mind see what truth is.
Questioner: A while ago I had verified for myself what you say
– that the key to inner freedom is to experience that the observer
and observed are one. I had very laborious and tedious work to
perform, for which I developed a great resistance. I realized that I
was this resistance and that only resistance looked at resistance.
Then suddenly that resistance was gone – it was like a miracle – and
I had even physical strength to finish my work.
Krishnamurti: Are you trying to confirm what I am saying,
giving me or the audience encouragement? (Laughter.)
Questioner: It needs enormous energy before one comes to the
point of seeing that observer and observed are one.
Krishnamurti: The gentleman says that the observer is the
observed; that is: when there is fear, the observer is part of that
fear. He is not identifying himself with fear; the observer is part of
that very fear itself. To realize that is fairly simple. Either you
realize it verbally, theoretically – understanding the meaning of the
words – or you actually see that the observer and the observed are
one. If you see that actually, it does make a drastic difference in
your life; it ends conflict. When there is a division between the observer and the observed, a gap, there is a time interval and
therefore there is conflict. When you actually see and test by
observing that the observer and the observed are actually one, then
you end all conflict in life, in all relationships.
Questioner: When we realize that the past, as the memory, is
interposed between something deeper and the outside, what can we
do? We cannot stop it – it keeps going on.
Krishnamurti: The memory interposes itself between the outer
and the inner. There is the inner, and the outer, and the mind as
memory as something separate, as the past. So there are three
things now, the inner, the outer, and the mind as the past. Please,
sir, do not laugh – this is our life, this is what we are doing; though
you may put the question differently, this is actually what is going
on in our daily li fe. You want to do something; the mind says, `Do
not do it, or, do it some other way’, so there is a battle going on.
The mind is interfering; the mind as the thought, thought being the
past. Thought comes in between the actual, the inner and the outer;
so what is one to do? The function of thought is to divide; it has
divided life as the past, the present, and the future. Thought has
also divided the inner from the outer. Thought says: `How can I
bridge the two and act as a whole’. Can thought do this? – being
itself the factor of division?
Questioner: Where there is a will there is a way.
Krishnamurti: No, sir: you have your way in the world; you
have your will to destroy people and you have succeeded, you have
found the way. We are not concerned with will; will is the most
destructive thing, for will is based on pleasure, on desire, and not
on free joy. You are asking how thought can be kept quiet. How can thought
be silent? Is that the right question? – because if you put the wrong
question you invariably get the wrong answer. (Laughter.) No, sir,
this is not a laughing matter. You must put the right question. Is it
the right question to ask: `How can thought end’? Or must one find
out what the function of thought is? If you put an end to thought –
if that is at all possible – then how will you operate when you have
to go to the office? Thought, apparently, is necessary.
We are saying thought is dangerous in a certain direction,
because it divides; and yet thought must function logically, sanely,
objectively, healthily, in another direction. How is this possible?
How can thought not interfere? You see the problem? It is not
`how to end thought’. When you have put the question very clearly,
you will see it for yourself. Thought, which is the response of the
past, interferes, divides as the outer and the inner and destroys
unity. So we say, `Let us destroy thought, let us kill the mind.’ This
is a totally wrong question. But if you enquired into the whole
structure of thought, saw what its place is, where it is not
necessary, then you would find out that mind will operate
intelligently when thought does not function as also when thought
Questioner: Why is it that you have a greater awareness of
`what is’ than I have? What is your secret?
Krishnamurti: I have really never thought about it. Just look: is
humility something to be cultivated? If you cultivate humility, it is
still vanity. If you cultivate awareness of ‘what is’, you are not
being aware. But if you are aware when you sit in a bus, or drive a
car, when you look, talk, or are enjoying yourself, then out of that, naturally, easily, comes the awareness of ‘what is-‘. But if you try
to cultivate paying a great deal of attention to ‘what is’, thought is
operating, not awareness.
Questioner: Did you say: to be free we should have no teachers?
Did I understand it rightly!
Krishnamurti: What is the function of a teacher? If he knows a
subject like medicine, science, how to run a computer and so on,
his function is to instruct another about the knowledge and the
information he has. That is fairly simple. But if we are talking
about the teacher who says he knows, and wants to instruct the
disciple, then be suspicious, for the man who says he knows, does
not know. Because truth, the beauty of enlightenment, whatever
you call it, cannot ever be described – it is. It is a living thing, a
moving thing, it is active, it is weightless. Only about a dead thing
can you say what it is; and the teacher who teaches you about dead
things is not a teacher.
Questioner: How can we put concentration, discipline and
Krishnamurti: The word `discipline’ means to learn from
another. The disciple is one who learns from the teacher, Have you
ever considered or gone into the question of what learning is? ‘The
active present of the verb `to learn’ – what does it mean? Either you
are learning in order to add to what you already know, which
becomes knowledge – like science – or there is learning which is
not an accumulation of knowledge but a movement. Do you see the
difference between the two? I either learn in order to acquire
knowledge, to be efficient, technologically and so on, or I am
learning all the time something which is always new and therefore action is always new. Please listen to this: I want to know, I want
to learn about myself. I am a very complex entity, there is both the
hidden and the obvious. I want to know about the whole totality of
myself. So I watch myself and I see I am afraid; I see the cause of
that fear; in watching I have learnt and that has become my
knowledge. But if the next time fear arises, I look at it with the
previous knowledge, then I have stopped learning. I am only
looking at it with the past and am not learning about what is
actually going on. To learn about myself, there must be freedom,
so that there is constant observation without the past interfering –
without thought interfering.
So `learning’ has two meanings: learning to acquire knowledge
with which I can operate most efficiently in certain fields, or
learning about oneself, so that the past – which is thought – does not
interfere all the time; in that way I can observe, and the mind is
Questioner: I would like to ask you if you eat meat or fish?
Krishnamurti: Does it really interest you? All my life I have
never touched meat or fish – I have never tasted it, have never
smoked or drunk; it does not appeal, there is no meaning to it. Will
that make you also a vegetarian? (Laughter.) It won’t! You know,
heroes, examples, are the worst things you can have. Find out why
you eat meat, why you indulge in smoking and drinking, why you
cannot lead a simple life – which does not mean one suit of clothes,
or one meal a day, but a quality of mind that is simple, without all
the distortions of pleasures and desires, ambitions and motives – so
that you can look directly and perceive the beauty of the world.
Questioner: I just wanted to ask what humour is. Krishnamurti: I suppose it means really, to laugh at oneself. We
have so many tears in our hearts, so much misery – just to look at
ourselves with laughter, to observe with clarity, with seriousness
and yet with laughter, if one can.
BEYOND VIOLENCE PART II CHAPTER 1 SAN
DIEGO STATE COLLEGE 2ND PUBLIC TALK
6TH APRIL 1970 ‘FEAR’
ONE HAS TO be serious, for only those who are vitally serious
can live a life that is complete and whole. And that seriousness
does not exclude joy, enjoyment; yet as long as there is fear one
cannot possibly know what it means to have great joy. Fear seems
to be one of the most common things in life; strangely we have
accepted it as a way of life – just as we have accepted violence in
all its various forms as a way of life – and we have become used to
being psychologically afraid.
We should, I feel, go into the question of fear completely,
understand it fully, so that when we leave this place we shall be rid
of it. It can be done; it is not just a theory, or a hope. If one gives
complete attention to this question of fear, to how one approaches
it, looks at it, then one will find that the mind – the mind that has
suffered so much, that has endured so much pain, that has lived
with great sorrow and fear – will be completely free of it. To go
into this it is absolutely essential that one has no prejudice which
will prevent one from understanding the truth of `what is’. To take
this journey together implies neither acceptance nor denial; neither
saying to oneself that it is absolutely impossible to be rid of fear,
nor that it is possible. One needs a free mind to enquire into this
question; a mind that, having reached no conclusion, is free to
observe, to enquire. There are so many forms of psychological and
psychosomatic fear. To go into each one of these various forms of
fear, into every aspect, would take an enormous amount of time. But one can observe the general quality of fear; one can observe
the general nature and structure of fear without getting lost in the
detail of a particular form of one’s fears. When one understands the
nature and structure of fear as such, then one can approach, with
that understanding, the particular fear.
One may be afraid of the dark; one may be afraid of one’s wife
or husband, or of what the public says or thinks or does; one may
be afraid of the sense of loneliness, or of the emptiness of life, the
boredom of the meaningless existence that one leads. One may be
afraid of the future, of the uncertainty and insecurity of tomorrow –
or of the bomb. One may be afraid of death, the ending of one’s
life. There are so many forms of fear, the neurotic as well as the
sane rational fears – if fear can ever be rational or sane. Most of us
are neurotically afraid of the past, of today and of tomorrow; so
that time is involved in fear.
There are not only the conscious fears of which one is aware,
but also those that are deep down, undiscovered in the deep
recesses of one’s mind. How is one to deal with conscious fears as
well as those that are hidden? Surely fear is in the movement away
from `what is; it is the flight, the escape, the avoidance of actually
`what is; it is this flight away that brings about fear. Also, when
there is comparison, of any kind, there is the breeding of fear – the
comparison of what you are with what you think you should be. So
fear is in the movement away from what is actual, not in the object
from which you move away.
None of these problems of fear can be resolved through will –
saying to oneself, `I will not be afraid.’ Such acts of will have no
meaning. We are considering a very serious problem to which one has to
give one’s complete attention. One cannot give atten- tion if one is
interpreting or translating or comparing what is being said with
what one already knows. One has to listen – an art one has to learn,
for normally one is always comparing, evaluating, judging,
agreeing, denying, and one does not listen at all; actually one
prevents oneself from listening. To listen so completely implies
that one gives one’s whole attention – it does not mean one agrees
or disagrees. There is no agreement or disagreement when we are
exploring together; but the `microscope’ through which one looks
may not be clear. If one looks through a precision instrument then
what one sees is what another will also see; therefore there is no
question of agreement or disagreement. In trying to examine this
whole question of fear one has to give one’s whole attention; and
yet, until fear is resolved it deadens the mind, makes it insensitive,
How does it happen that the hidden fears are exposed? One can
know the conscious fears – how to deal with them will come
presently – but there are hidden fears which are perhaps much more
important. So how will one deal with them, how will one expose
them? Can they be exposed through analysis, seeking their cause?
Will analysis free the mind from fear, not a particular neurotic fear,
but the whole structure of fear? In analysis is implied, not only
time but the analyser – taking many, many days, years, even the
whole of one’s life, at the end of which perhaps you have
understood a little, but you are ready for the grave. Who is the
analyser? If he is the professional, the expert who has a degree, he
will also take time; he also is the result of many forms of conditioning. If one analyses oneself there is implied the analyser,
who is the censor, and he is going to analyse the fear which he
himself has created. In any event analysis takes time; in the interval
between that which you are analysing and its ending many other
factors will arise which give it a different direction. You have to
see the truth that analysis is not the way, because the analyser is a
fragment among the many other fragments which go to make up
the `me’, the I, the ego – he is the result of time, he is conditioned.
To see that analysis implies time and does not bring the ending of
fear means that you have completely put aside the whole idea of
progressive change; you have seen that the very factor of change is
one of the major causes of fear.
(To me, to the speaker, this is a very important thing, therefore
he feels very strongly, he speaks intensely; but he is not doing
propaganda – there is nothing for you to join, nothing for you to
believe; but observe and learn and be free of this fear.)
So analysis is not the way. When you see the truth of that, it
means you are no longer thinking in terms of the analyser who is
going to analyse, going to judge and evaluate, and your mind is
free of that particular burden called analysis; therefore it is capable
of looking directly.
How are you to look at this fear; how are you to bring out all its
structure, all its hidden parts? – through dreams? Dreams are the
continuation of the activity of waking hours during sleep – are they
not? You observe in dreams that there is always action, something
or other is happening in dreams as in the waking hours, a
continuation which is still part of one whole movement. So dreams
have no value. You see what is happening: we are eliminating the things to which you are accustomed, analysis, dreams, will, time;
when you eliminate all those, the mind becomes extraordinarily
sensitive – not only sensitive but intelligent. Now with that
sensitivity and intelligence we are going to look at fear. (If you
really go in to this, you turn your back on the whole of the social
structure in which time, analysis and will is in operation.) What is
fear? – how does it come? Fear is always in relation to something;
it does not exist by itself. There is fear of what happened yesterday
in relation to the possibility of its repetition tomorrow; there is
always a fixed point from which relationship takes place. How
does fear come into this? I had pain yesterday; there is the memory
of it and I do not want it again tomorrow. Thinking about the pain
of yesterday, thinking which involves the memory of yesterday’s
pain, projects the fear of having pain again tomorrow. So it is
thought that brings about fear. Thought breeds fear; thought also
cultivates pleasure. To understand fear you must also understand
pleasure – they are interrelated; without understanding one you
cannot understand the other; this means that one cannot say `I must
have only pleasure and no fear; fear is the other side of the coin
which is called pleasure.
Thinking with the images of yesterday’s pleasure, thought
imagines that you may not have that pleasure tomorrow – so
thought engenders fear. Thought tries to sustain pleasure and
thereby nourishes fear.
Thought has separated itself as the analyser and the thing to be
analysed – they are both parts of thought playing tricks upon itself.
In doing all this it is refusing to examine the unconscious fears; it
brings in time as a means of escaping fear and yet at the same time sustains fear.
Thought nourishes pleasure – which has nothing whatever to do
with joy; joy is not the product of thought, it is not pleasure. You
can cultivate pleasure, you can think about it endlessly; you cannot
do that with joy. The moment you think about joy it has gone, it
has become something from which you derive pleasure and
therefore something which you are afraid to lose.
Thought engenders loneliness but condemns it and so invents
ways of escaping from it, through various forms of religious or
cultural entertainment, through the everlasting search for deeper
and wider dependences.
Thought is responsible for all these daily observable facts; they
are not the speaker’s invention, or his peculiar philosophy or
theory. What is one to do? You cannot kill thought, you cannot
destroy it, you cannot say, `I’ll forget it’, you cannot resist it; if you
do, it is again the action of another form of thought.
Thought is the response of memory: that memory is needed to
function in daily life, to go to your office, your home, to be able to
talk; memory is the storehouse of technological knowledge. So you
need memory and yet you see how memory through thought
sustains fear. Memory is needed in all purity and clarity of thought
in one direction – technologically, to function daily, to earn a
livelihood and so on – and yet you see the fact that it also breeds
fear. So what is the mind to do? How will you answer this
question, after having gone through the various facts of analysis, of
time of escape, of dependency, having seen how the movement
away from `what is’ is fear; the movement itself is fear? After
observing all that, seeing the truth of all that – not as opinion, not as your casual judgment – what is your answer to this question? How
can thought function efficiently, sanely and yet that very thought
not become a danger, because it breeds fear?
What is that state of the mind that has gone through all this?
What state of understanding has the mind, that has examined all
these various factors which we have exposed, which have been
explained or observed? – what is the quality of your mind now? –
because on that quality depends your answer. If you have actually
taken the journey, step by step, and gone into everything that we
have discussed, then your mind, you will see, has become
extraordinarily intelligent, live and sensitive, because it has thrown
off all the burden that it had accumulated. How do you now
observe the whole process of thinking? Is there a centre from
which you think? – the centre being the censor, the one who judges,
evaluates, condemns, justifies. Do you still think from that centre?
– or is there no centre from which to think at all, yet there is
thought? Do you see the difference?
Thought has created a centre as the `me’ – `me’, my opinion, my
country, my God, my experience, my house, my furniture, my
wife, my children, you know, `me’,`me’,`me’. That is the centre
from which you act. That centre divides. That centre and that
division are the cause of conflict, obviously – when it is your
opinion against somebody else’s opinion, my country, your
country, that is all division created by thought. You observe from
that centre and you are still caught in fear, because that centre has
separated itself from the thing it has called fear; it says, `I must get
rid of it,’ `I must analyse it’, `I must overcome it’, `resist it’ and so
on; thereby you are strengthening fear. Can the mind look at fear without the centre? – can you look at
that fear without naming it? – the moment you name it `fear’, it is
already in the past. The moment you name something, you divide it
off. So, can you observe without that centre, not naming the thing
called fear, as it arises? It requires tremendous discipline. Then the
mind is looking without the centre to which it has been accustomed
and there is the ending of fear, both the hidden and the open.
If you have not seen the truth of it this evening, do not take it
home as a problem to think about. Truth is something which you
must see immediately – and to see something clearly you must give
your heart and your mind and your whole being to it immediately.
Questioner: Are you saying that, rather than trying to escape
from fear – what is in essence fearing fear – we should accept fear?
Krishnamurti: No, sir. Do not accept anything. Do not accept
fear but look at it. You have never looked at fear, have you? You
have never said, `Well, I am afraid, let me look.’ Rather you have
said, `I am afraid, let me turn on the radio’ – or go to Church or pick
up a book, or resort to a belief – any movement away. Having
never looked at fear you have never come directly into
communication with it; you have never looked at fear without
naming it, without running away, without trying to overcome it.
just be with it, without any movement away from it and if you do
this, you will see a very strange thing happen. Questioner: After
you meet fear, can you become it?
Krishnamurti: You are fear; how can you become it? You are
fear, only thought has separated itself from fear, not knowing what
to do with it, resisting it; dividing it from fear it becomes the
‘observer’ of that fear which resists or escapes from it. But the ‘observer’, that which resists, is also fear.
Questioner: Sir , a great deal of frustration exists because people
are not permitted to tape record lectures, privately. Could you tell
us why, please?
Krishnamurti: Sir: I will tell you – it is very simple. First of all:
if you are taking a recording of this talk, it is very disturbing to
your neighbour – you are fiddling with the instruments, all the rest
of it. Secondly, what is more important: to listen, directly, now, to
what is being said, or to take home a recording and listen to it at
leisure? When the speaker is saying, ‘Do not allow time to
interfere’, you say, on the contrary, ‘Well, I’ll record what you are
saying and take it home.’ Surely fear is now; you have it in your
heart, in your mind now.
Questioner: If that is true then why does the Foundation sell
Krishnamurti: Is that not the most important thing: to listen
directly to what is being said now, while you are here? You have
taken all the trouble to come here and the speaker has taken all the
trouble to come here also. We are trying to communicate together,
trying to understand something now, not tomorrow. And the
understanding ‘now’ is of the highest importance, therefore you
must give all your attention to it. You cannot give all your attention
if you are taking notes, if you are giving half your attention to a
You may not understand all this immediately, so you may want
to listen to it again. Then buy a tape, or do not buy a tape, a book
or not a book – that is all. If you can take in all that has been said
this evening during an hour and ten minutes, completely, so that you absorb it wholly, with your heart and mind, it is finished. You
have not done it, unfortunately; you have not given your mind to
all this before; you have accepted fear, you have lived with fear
and your fear has become habit. What the speaker is saying is to
shatter all that. And the speaker says, ‘Do it now, not tomorrow’.
Our minds are not used to seeing the total nature of fear and what
is implied in it. But if you could see it immediately, you would
leave this hall with ecstatic mind. But most of us are not capable of
it, and therefore the tapes.
Questioner: You observe fear and find yourself moving away
from it. What are you to do?
Krishnamurti: First of all, do not resist moving away. To
observe fear you must give attention, and in attention you are not
condemning, not judging, not evaluating, but just observing. When
you move away, it is because your attention has wandered, you are
not attending – there is inattention. Be inattentive, but be aware that
you are inattentive – that very awareness of your inattention is
attention. If you are aware of your inattention, be aware of it, do
not do anything about it, except be aware that you are inattentive;
then that very awareness is attention. It is so simple. Once you see
this you will eliminate conflict altogether; you are aware without
choice. When you say, ‘I have been attentive, but now I am not
attentive and I must become attentive’, there is no choice. To be
aware means to be aware without choice. Questioner: If, as you
say, fear and pleasure are related, can one remove fear and so enjoy
Krishnamurti: Lovely, wouldn’t it be? Take away all my fears so
that I can enjoy myself in my pleasures. Everybody right through the world wants the same thing, some very crudely, some very
subtly – to escape fear and hold on to pleasure. Pleasure – you
smoke, it is a pleasure, yet there is pain within it because you may
get a disease. You have had pleasure, whether as man or woman,
sexually or otherwise, comfort and so on: when the other looks
away you are jealous, angry, frustrated, mutilated.
Pleasure inevitably brings pain (we are not saying we cannot
have pleasure; but see the whole structure and you will know then
that joy, real enjoyment, the beauty of enjoyment, the freedom of
it, has nothing whatsoever to do with pleasure or therefore with
pain or fear. If you see that, the truth of it, then you will understand
pleasure and give it its proper place.
BEYOND VIOLENCE PART II CHAPTER 2 SAN
DIEGO STATE COLLEGE 3RD PUBLIC TALK
7TH APRIL 1970 ‘VIOLENCE’
WHAT SHALL WE discuss this morning? The word `discussion’
is not right, it is more a dialogue. Opinions will lead us nowhere
and indulging in mere intellectual cleverness will have very little
meaning, because truth is not to be found through the exchange of
opinions or of ideas. So if we are to talk over together any problem
it must be on the level which is not intellectual, emotional or
Questioner: I think the war against Communism is in a certain
sense justified. I would like to find out with you if I am right or
wrong. You must understand, I lived ten years under communism,
I was in a Russian concentration camp, I was also in a Communist
prison. They understand only one language which is power. So my
question is: is this war self-protection or not?
Krishnamurti: I believe that every group that brings about war
always says that it is a self-protective war. There have always been
wars, offensive or defensive; but there are wars which have been a
peculiar, monstrous game throughout the centuries. And we are,
unfortunately, so-called educated and cultured, yet still we indulge
in the most savage forms of butchery. So could we go into the
question of what this deep violence, this aggression in man, is? –
could we see whether it is at all possible to be free of it?
There have been those who have said, `Under no circumstance
express violence; that implies leading a peaceful life although
surrounded by people who are very aggressive, violent; it implies a kind of nucleus in the midst of people who are savage, brutal,
violent. But how does the mind free itself of its accumulated
violence, cultured violence, self-protective violence, the violence
of aggression, the violence of competition, the violence of trying to
be somebody, the violence of trying to discipline oneself according
to a pattern, trying to become somebody, trying to suppress and
bully oneself, brutalise oneself, in order to be non-violent – how is
the mind to be free of all such forms of violence?
There are so many different kinds of violence. Shall we go into
each kind of violence or shall we take the whole structure of
violence? Can we look at the whole spectrum of violence, not just
at one part of it?
The source of violence is the `me’, the ego, the self, which
expresses itself in so many ways – in division, in trying to become
or be somebody – which divides itself as the `me’ and the `not me’,
as the unconscious and the conscious; the `me’ that identifies with
the family or not with the family, with the community or not with
the community and so on. It is like a stone dropped in a lake: the
waves spread and spread, at the centre is the `me’. As long as the
`me’ survives in any form, very subtly or grossly, there must be
But to ask the question, `What is the root cause of violence?’, to
try to find out what the cause is, is not necessarily to get rid of it.
I think, if I were to know why I am brutal, that I would have
finished with it. Then I spend weeks, months, years, searching for
the cause, or reading the explanations given by experts, of the
various causes of violence or aggression; but in the end I am still
violent. So, do we enquire into this question of violence through the discovery of the cause and the effect? – or do we take the whole
and look at it? We see that the cause becomes the effect and the
effect becomes the cause – there is no cause and no effect so
markedly different – it is a chain, a cause becoming the effect and
the effect becoming the cause – and we go along this process
indefinitely. But if we could look at this whole problem of
violence, we will comprehend it so vitally that it will come to an
We have built a society which is violent and we, as human
beings, are violent; the environment, the culture in which we live,
is the product of our endeavour, of our struggle, of our pain, of our
appalling brutalities. So the most important question is: is it
possible to end this tremendous violence in oneself? That is really
Questioner: Is it possible to transform violence?
Krishnamurti: Violence is a form of energy; it is energy utilized
in a certain way which becomes aggression. But we are not for the
moment trying to transform or change violence but to understand it
and comprehend it so fully that one is free of it; the mind has gone
beyond it – whether it has transcended it or transformed it, is not so
relevant. Is it possible? – is it not possible? – it is possible – these
words! How does one think about violence? How does one look at
violence? Please listen to the question: how does one know that
one is violent? When one is violent, is one aware that one is
violent? How does one know violence? This question of knowing
is really complex. When I say, `I know you’, what does `I know’
mean? I know you as you were when I met you yesterday, or ten
years ago. But between ten years ago and now you have changed and I have changed, therefore I do not know you. I know you only
as of the past, therefore I can never say `I know you’ – do please
understand this simple thing first. Therefore I can only say, `I’ve
been violent, but I do not know what violence is now.’ You say
something to me which irritates my nerves and I am angry. A
second later, you say, `I’ve been angry.’ At the moment of anger
you do not recognise it, only later do you do that. You have to
examine the structure of recognition; if you do not understand that
you will not be able to meet anger afresh. I am angry, but I realize I
am angry a moment later. The realization is the recognition that I
have been angry; it is taking place after I have been angry –
otherwise I do not know it as anger. See what has happened: the
recognition interferes with the actuality. I am always translating the
present actuality in terms of the past.
So can one, without translating the present in terms of the past,
look at the response anew, with a fresh mind? You call me a fool
and my whole blood comes to the surface and says, `You’re
another.’ And what has taken place, in me, emotionally, inwardly? I
have an image about myself as something which I think is
desirable, noble, worthwhile; and you are insulting that image. It is
that image that responds, which is the old. So the next question is:
can the response not be from the old? – can there be an interval
between the `old’ and the new actuality? – can the old be hesitant,
so as to allow the new to take place? I think that is where the whole
Questioner: Are you saying that all violence is just the division
between what is not and what is?
Krishnamurti: No, sir. Let us begin again. We are violent. Throughout existence, human beings have been violent and are
violent. I want to find out, as a human being, how to transcend this
violence, how to go beyond it. What am I to do? I see what
violence has done in the world, how it has destroyed every form of
relationship, how it has brought deep agony in oneself, misery – I
see all that. And I say to myself, I want to live a really peaceful life
in which there is deep abundance of love – all the violence must go.
Now what have I to do? First I must not escape from it; let us be
sure of that. I must not escape from the fact that I am violent –
`escaping’ being condemning it or justifying it, or the naming of it
as violence – the naming is a form of condemnation, a form of
I have to realize that the mind must not be distracted from this
fact of violence, neither in seeking the cause nor in the explanation
of the cause, nor in naming the fact that I am violent, nor in
justifying it, condemning it, trying to get rid of it. These are all
forms of distraction from the fact of violence. The mind must be
absolutely clear that there is no escape from it; nor must there be
the exercise of will which says, `I will conquer it’ – will is the very
essence of violence.
Questioner: Basically, are we trying to find what violence is by
finding the order in it?
Krishnamurti: No, sir. How can there be order in violence? –
violence is disorder.
There must be no escape from it of any kind, no intellectual or
explanatory justification – see the difficulty of this, for the mind is
so cunning, so sharp to escape, because it does not know what to
do with its violence. It is not capable of dealing with it – or it thinks it is not capable – therefore it escapes. Every form of escape,
distraction, of movement away, sustains violence. If one realizes
this, then the mind is confronted with the fact of `what is’ and
Questioner: How can you tell whether it is violence if you do
not name it?
Krishnamurti: When you name it you are relating it through the
name to the past, therefore you are looking at it with the eyes that
are touched by the past, therefore you are not looking at it afresh –
that is all. Do you get the point?
You look at violence, justifying it, saying that the violence is
necessary in order to live in this monstrous society, saying that
violence is part of nature – `look, nature kills’ – you are conditioned
to look with condemnation, justification or resistance. You can
only look at it afresh, anew, when you become aware that you are
identifying what you see with the images of what you already
know and that therefore you are not looking at it afresh. So the
question then arises: how are these images formed, what is the
mechanism that forms images? My wife says to me, `You are a
fool.’ I do not like it and it leaves a mark on my mind. She says
something else; that also leaves a mark on my mind. These marks
are the images of memory. Now when she says to me, ‘You are a
fool’, if at that very minute I am aware, giving attention, then there
is no marking at all – she may be right.
So inattention breeds images; attention frees the mind from the
image. This is very simple. In the same way, if when I am angry I
become completely attentive, then there is not that inattention
which allows the past to come in and interfere with the actual perception of anger at the moment.
Questioner: Is that not an act of will?
Krishnamurti: We said: `Will is in essence violence.’ Let us
examine what will is: `I want to do that’ – `I won’t have that’ – `I
shall do that’ – I resist, I demand, I desire, which are forms of
resistance. When you say, `I will that’, it is a form of resistance and
resistance is violence.
Questioner: I follow you when you say that we avoid the
problem by seeking an answer; that gets away from ‘what is’.
Krishnamurti: So, I want to know how to look at `what is’.
Now, we are trying to find out if it is possible to transcend
violence. We were saying: `Do not escape from it; do not move
away from that central fact of violence.’ The question was asked:
`How do you know it is violence?’ Do you know it only because
you are able to recognise it as having been violence? But when you
look at it without naming, without justifying or condemning (which
are all the conditioning of the past) then you are looking at it afresh
– are you not? Then is it violence? This is one of the most difficult
things to do, because all our living is conditioned by the past. Do
you know what it is to live in the present?
Questioner: You say,`Be free of violence’ – that includes a lot
more; how far does freedom go?
Krishnamurti: Go into freedom; what does it mean? There are
all the deep down angers, frustrations, resistances; the mind must
also be free of those, must it not? I am asking: can the mind be free
of active violence in the present, be free of all the unconscious
accumulations of hate, anger, bitterness, which are there, deep
down? How is this to be done? Questioner: If one is free of this violence in oneself, then when
one sees violence outside of oneself, is one not depressed? What is
one to do?
Krishnamurti: What one is to do is to teach another. Teaching
another is the highest profession in the world – not for money, not
for your big bank account, but just to teach, to tell others.
Questioner: What is the easiest way to…
Krishnamurti: What is the easiest way?…. (Laughter.)… A
circus! Sir, you teach another and by teaching you are learning
yourself. It is not that first you have learnt, accumulated, then you
inform. You yourself are violent; understanding yourself is to help
another to understand himself, therefore the teaching is the
learning. You do not see the beauty of all this.
So, let us go on. Do you not want to know from your heart what
love is? Has it not been the human cry, for millenia, to find out
how to live peacefully, how to have real abundance of love,
compassion. That can only come into being when there is the real
sense of ‘non-me’, you understand. And we say: Look, to find that
out – whether it is from loneliness, or anger, or bitterness – look,
without any escape. The escape is the naming of it, so do not name
it, look at it. And then see – not naming – if bitterness exists.
Questioner: Do you advocate getting rid of all violence, or is
some violence healthy in one’s life? I do not mean physical
violence, but getting rid of frustrations. Can this be helpful, trying
to keep from being frustrated?
Krishnamurti: No, Madame. The answer is in the question: Why
be frustrated? Have you ever asked yourself why you are
frustrated? And to answer that question have you ever asked: What is fulfilment? – why do you want to fulfil? Is there such a thing as
fulfilment? What is it that is fulfilling? – is it the ‘me’, the ‘me’ that
is violent, the ‘me’ that is separating, the ‘me’ that says, ‘I am bigger
than you’, that pursues ambition, fame, notoriety? Because it wants
to become bitter. Do you see that there is such a thing as the ‘me’
wanting to expand itself, which, when it cannot expand, feels
frustrated and therefore bitter? – that bitterness, that desire to
expand, is violence. Now when you see the truth of that, then there
is no desire for fulfilment at all, therefore there is no frustration.
Questioner: Plants and animals are both living things, they both
try to survive. Do you draw a distinction between killing animals to
eat and killing plants to eat? If so why?
Krishnamurti: One has to survive, so one kills the least sensitive
thing that is available, I have never eaten meat in all my life. And I
believe some scientists are gradually coming to that point of view
also: if they do, then you will accept it!
Questioner: It seems to me, that everyone here is used to
Aristotelian thinking, and you are using non-Aristotelian tactics;
and the gap is so complete I am amazed. How can we commune
Krishnamurti: That is the difficulty, sir. You are used to one
particular formula or language, with a certain meaning, and the
speaker has not that particular view. So there is a difficulty in
communication. We went into that: we said, the word is not the
thing, the description is not the described, the explanation is not the
explained. You keep on sticking to the explanation, holding on to
the word; that is why there is difficulty.
So: we see what violence is in the world – part of fear, part of pleasure. There is a tremendous drive for excitement: we want that,
and we encourage society to give it to us. And then we blame
society; whereas it is we who are responsible. And we are asking
ourselves whether the terrific energy of this violence can be used
differently. To be violent needs energy: can that energy be
transformed or moved in another direction? Now, in the very
understanding and seeing the truth of that, that energy becomes
Questioner: Are you saying then that non-violence is absolute? –
that violence is an aberration of what could be?
Krishnamurti: Yes, if you want to put it that way.
We are saying that violence is a form of energy and love is also
a form of energy – love without jealousy, without anxiety, without
fear, without bitterness, without all the agony that goes with so-
called love. Now, violence is energy, and love hedged about,
surrounded with jealousy, is also another form of energy. To
transcend both, go beyond both, implies the same energy moved in
a totally different direction or dimension.
Questioner: Love with jealousy is actually violence?
Krishnamurti: Of course it is.
Questioner: So you have the two energies, you have the
violence and the love.
Krishnamurti: It is the same energy, sir.
Questioner: When should we have psychic experiences?
Krishnamurti: What has that to do with violence? When should
you have psychic experiences? Never! Do you know what it means
to have psychic experiences? To have the experience, extrasensory
perceptive experience, you must be extraordinarily mature, extraordinarily sensitive, and therefore extraordinarily intelligent;
and if you are extraordinarily intelligent, you do not want psychic
Do give your heart to this, please: human beings are destroying
each other through violence, the husband is destroying the wife and
the wife is destroying the husband. Though they sleep together,
walk together, each lives in isolation with his own problems, with
his own anxieties; and this isolation is violence. Now when you see
all this so clearly in front of you – see it, not just think about it –
when you see the danger of it, you act, do you not? When you see a
dangerous animal, you act; there is no hesitation, there is no
argument between you and the animal – you just act, you run away
or do something. Here we are arguing because you do not see the
tremendous danger of violence.
If you actually, with your heart, see the nature of violence, see
the danger of it, you are finished with it. Now how can one point
out the danger of it, if you do not want to see? – neither Aristotelian
nor non-Aristotelian language will help you.
Questioner: How do we meet violence in other people?
Krishnamurti: That is really quite a different problem, is it not?
My neighbour is violent: how shall I deal with it? Turn the other
cheek? He is delighted. What shall I do? Would you ask that
question if you were really non-violent, if there were no violence in
you? Do listen to this question. If in your heart, in your mind, there
is no violence at all, no hate, no bitterness, no sense of fulfilment,
no wanting to be free, no violence at all, would you ask that
question about how you meet the neighbour who is violent? Or
would you know then what to do with your neighbour? Others may call what you do violent, but you may not be violent; at the
moment your neighbour acts violently you will know how to deal
with the situation. But a third person, watching, might say, `You
are also violent’. But you know you are not violent. So what is
important is to be for yourself completely without violence and it
does not matter what another calls you.
Questioner: Is not the belief in the unity of all things just as
human as the belief in the division of all things?
Krishnamurti: Why do you want to believe in anything? Why
do you want to believe in the unity of all human beings? – we are
not united, that is a fact; why do you want to believe in something
which is non-factual. There is this whole question of belief; just
think, you have your belief and another has his belief; and we fight
and kill each other for a belief.
Why do you have any belief at all? Do you have belief because
you are afraid? No? Do you believe that the sun rises? – it is there
to see, you do not have to believe in that. Belief is a form of
division and therefore of violence. To be free of violence implies
freedom from everything that man has put to another man, belief,
dogma, rituals, my country, your country, your god and my god,
my opinion, your opinion, my ideal. All those help to divide human
beings and therefore breed violence. And though organized
religions have preached the unity of mankind, each religion thinks
it is far superior to the other.
Questioner: I interpreted what you were saying about unity to
mean that those who preach unity are actually aiding the division.
Krishnamurti: Quite right, sir.
Questioner: Is the purpose for living just to be able to cope with existence? Krishnamurti: You say, `Is this the purpose of living?’ –
but why do you want a purpose for living? – live. Living is its own
purpose; why do you want a purpose? Look: each one has his own
purpose, the religious man his purpose, the scientist his purpose,
the family man his purpose and so on, all dividing. The life of a
man who has a purpose is breeding violence. It is so clear and
BEYOND VIOLENCE PART II CHAPTER 3 SAN
DIEGO STATE COLLEGE 4TH PUBLIC TALK
9TH APRIL 1970 ‘MEDITATION’
WHAT IS MEDITATION? Before we go into that really quite
complex and intricate problem we ought to be very clear as to what
it is that we are after. We are always seeking something, especially
those who are religiously minded; even for the scientist, seeking
has become quite an issue – seeking. This factor, of seeking, must
be very clearly and definitely understood before we go into what
meditation is and why one should meditate at all, what is its use
and where does it get you.
The word `seek’ – to run after, to search out – implies, does it
not, that we already know, more or less, what we are after. When
we say we are seeking truth, or we are seeking God – if we are
religiously minded – or we are seeking a perfect life and so on, we
must already have in our minds an image or an idea. To find
something after seeking it, we must already have known what its
contour is, its colour, its substance and so on. Is there not implied
in that word, `seeking’, that we have lost something and we are
going to find it and that when we find it we shall be able to
recognise it – which means that we have already known it, that all
we have to do is to go after it and search it out?
In meditation the first thing we realize is that it is no use to
seek; for what is sought is predetermined by what you wish; if you
are unhappy, lonely, in despair, you will search out hope,
companionship, something to sustain you, and you will find it,
inevitably. In meditation, one must lay the foundation, the foundation of
order, which is righteousness – not respectability, the social
morality which is no morality at all, but the order that comes of
understanding disorder: quite a different thing. Disorder must exist
as long as there is conflict, both outwardly and inwardly.
Order, which comes of understanding disorder, is not according
to a blueprint, according to some authority, or your own particular
experience. Obviously this order must come about without effort,
because effort distorts – it must come about without any form of
We are talking about something very difficult in saying that we
must bring about order without control. We must understand
disorder, how it comes into being; it is the conflict which is in
ourselves. In observing it, it is understood; it is not a matter of
overcoming it, throttling it, suppressing it. To observe without any
distortion, without any compulsive or directive impulse, is quite an
Control implies either suppression, rejection or exclusion; it
implies a division between a controller and the thing controlled; it
implies conflict. When one understands this, control and choice
come totally to an end. All this may seem rather difficult and rather
contradictory to everything you have thought about. You may say:
how can there be order without control, without the action of will?
But, as we have said, control implies division, between the one
who controls and the thing that is to be controlled; in this division
there is conflict, there is distortion – When you really understand
this, then there is the ending of the division between the controller
and the controlled and therefore comprehension, understanding. When there is understanding of what actually is, then there is no
need for control. So there are these two essential things that must
be completely understood if we are to go into the question of what
meditation is: first, there is no use in seeking; second, there must
be that order which comes from the understanding of disorder
which comes from control, with all the implications of the duality
and the contradiction which arises between the observer and the
Order comes when the one who is angry and tries to get rid of
anger sees that he is anger itself. Without this understanding you
really cannot possibly know what meditation is. Do not fool
yourself with all the books written about meditation, or with all the
people who tell you how to meditate, or the groups that are formed
in order to meditate. For if there is no order, which is virtue, the
mind must live in the effort of contradiction. How can such a mind
be aware of the whole implication of meditation?
With one’s whole being one must come upon this strange thing
called love – and therefore be without fear. We mean love that is
not touched by pleasure, by desire, by jealousy love that knows no
competition, that does not divide, as my love and your love. Then
the mind – including the brain and the emotions – is in complete
harmony; and this must be, otherwise meditation becomes self-
You must work very hard, to find out the activities of your own
mind, how it functions, with its self-centred activities, the `me’ and
the `not me; you must be quite familiar with yourself and all the
tricks that the mind plays upon itself, the illusions and the
delusions, the imagery and the imagining of all the romantic ideas that one has. A mind that is capable of sentimentality is incapable
of love; sentiment breeds brutality, cruelty and violence, not love.
To establish this deeply in yourself is quite arduous; it demands
a tremendous discipline, to learn by observing what is going on in
yourself. That observation is not possible if there is any form of
prejudice, conclusion or formula, according to which you are
observing. If you are observing according to what a psychologist
has said to you, you really are not observing yourself, therefore
there is no self-knowing.
You need a mind that is able to stand completely alone – not
burdened by the propaganda or the experiences of others.
Enlightenment does not come through a leader or through a
teacher; it comes through the understanding of what is in yourself –
not going away from yourself. The mind has to understand actually
what is going on in its own psychological field; it must be aware of
what is going on without any distortion, without any choice,
without any resentment, bitterness, explanation or justification – it
must just be aware.
This basis is laid happily, not compulsively, but with ease, with
felicity, without any hope of reaching anything. If you have hope,
you are moving away from despair; one has to understand despair,
not search out hope. In the understanding of `what is’ there is
neither despair nor hope. Is all this asking too much of the human
mind? Unless one asks what may appear to be impossible, one falls
into the trap, the limitation, of what is thought to be possible. To
fall into this trap is very easy. One has to ask the utmost of the
mind and the heart, otherwise one will remain in the convenient
and the comfortable possible. Now are we together still? Verbally, probably we are; but the
word is not the thing; what we have done is to describe, and the
description is not the described. If you are taking a journey with
the speaker you are taking the journey actually, not theoretically,
not as an idea but as something that you yourself are actually
observing – not something you are experiencing; there is a
difference between observation and experience.
There is a vast difference between observation and experience.
In observation there is no `observer’ at all, there is only observing;
there is not the one who observes and is divided off from the thing
observed. Observation is entirely different from the exploration in
which analysis is involved. In analysis there is always the
`analyser’ and the thing to be analysed. In exploring there is always
an entity who explores. In observation there is a continuous
learning, not a continuous accumulation. I hope you see the
difference. Such learning is different from learning in order to
accumulate so that from that accumulation one thinks and acts. An
enquiry may be logical, sane and rational, but to observe without
the `observer’ is entirely different.
Then there is the question of experience. Why do we want
experience? Have you ever thought about it? We have experience
all the time, of which we are either cognizant or ignorant. And we
want deeper, wider, experiences – mystical, profound,
transcendental, godly, spiritual – why? Is it not because one’s life is
so shoddy, so miserable, so small and petty? One wants to forget
all that and move into another dimension altogether. How can a
petty mind, worried, fearful, occupied with problem after problem,
experience anything other than its own projection and activity? This demand for greater experience is the escaping from that which
actually is; yet it is only through that actuality that the most
mysterious thing in life is come upon. In experience is involved the
process of recognition. When you recognise something, it means
you have already known it. Experience, generally, is out of the
past, there is nothing new in it. So there is a difference between
observation and the craving for experience.
If all this, that is so extraordinarily subtle, demanding great
inward attention, is clear, then we can come to our original
question: what is meditation? So much has been said about
meditation; so many volumes have been written; there are great (I
do not know if they are great) yogis who come and teach you how
to meditate. The whole of Asia talks about meditation; it is one of
their habits, as it is a habit to believe in God or something else.
They sit for ten minutes a day in a quiet room and `meditate’,
concentrate, fix their mind on an image, an image created by
themselves, or by somebody else who has offered that image
through propaganda. During those ten minutes they try to control
the mind; the mind wants to go back and forth and they battle with
it – that game they play everlastingly; and that is what they call
If one does not know anything about meditation, then one has to
find out what it is, actually – not according to anybody – and that
may lead one to nothing or it may lead one to everything. One must
enquire, ask that question, without any expectation.
To observe the mind – this mind that chatters, that projects
ideas, that lives in contradiction, in constant conflict and
comparison – I must obviously be very quiet. If I am to listen to what you are saying I must give attention, I cannot be chattering, I
cannot be thinking about something else, I must not compare what
you are saying with what I already know, I must listen to you
completely; the mind must be attentive, must be silent, quiet.
It is imperative to see clearly the whole structure of violence;
looking at violence the mind becomes completely still – you do not
have to `cultivate’ a still mind. To cultivate a still mind implies the
one who cultivates, in the field of time, that which he hopes to
achieve. See the difficulty. Those who try to teach meditation, say,
`Control your mind, make your mind absolutely quiet’. You try to
control it and everlastingly battle with it; you spend forty years
controlling it. The mind that observes does not control and
The very act of seeing or listening is attention; this you do not
have to practise at all; if you practise, you immediately become
inattentive. You are attentive and your mind wanders off; let it
wander off, but know that it is inattentive; that awareness of that
inattention is attention. Do not battle with inattention; do not try,
saying, `I must be attentive’ – it is childish. Know that you are
inattentive; be aware, choicelessly, that you are inattentive – what
of it? – and at the moment, in that inattention, when there is action,
be aware of that action. Do you understand this? It is so simple. If
you do it, it becomes so clear, clear as the waters. The silence of
the mind is beauty in itself. To listen to a bird, to the voice of a
human being, to the politician, to the priest, to all the noise of
propaganda that goes on, to listen completely silently, is to hear
much more, to see much more. Such silence is not possible if your
body is not also completely still. The organism, with all its nervous responses – the fidgeting, the ceaseless movement of fingers, the
eyes – with all its general restlessness, must be completely still.
Have you ever tried sitting completely still without a single
movement of the body, including the eyes? Do it for two minutes.
In those two minutes the whole thing is revealed – if you know how
The body being still, the flow of blood to the head becomes
more. But if you sit crouched and sloppy, then it is more difficult
for the blood to go to the head – you must know all this. But, on the
other hand, you can do anything and meditate; when in the bus, or
when you are driving – it is the most extraordinary thing, that you
can meditate while you are driving – be careful, I mean this. The
body has its own intelligence, which thought has destroyed.
Thought seeks pleasure, and in this way thought leads to
indulgence, overeating, indulging sexually, it compels the body to
do certain things – if it is lazy, it forces it not to be lazy, or it
suggests taking a pill to keep awake. That way the innate
intelligence of the organism is destroyed and it becomes
insensitive. One needs great sensitivity, therefore one has to watch
what one eats – if one overeats, one know what happens. When
there is great sensitivity, there is intelligence and therefore love;
love then is joy and timeless.
Most of us have physical pain, in some form or another. That
pain generally disturbs the mind which spends days, even years,
thinking about it – ‘I wish I did not have it’, ‘Shall I ever be without
it?’ When the body has pain, watch it, observe it, do not let thought
interfere with it.
The mind, including the brain and the heart, must be in total harmony. Now, what is the point of all this, this kind of life, this
kind of harmony, what good is it in the world, where is so much
suffering? If one or two people have this ecstatic life, what is the
point of it? What is the point of asking this question? – it has none
whatsoever. If you do have this extraordinary thing going in your
life, then it is everything; then you become the teacher, the
disciple, the neighbour, the beauty of the cloud – you are all that,
and that is love.
Then comes another factor in meditation. The waking mind, the
mind that is functioning during the day along the lines in which it
has been trained, the conscious mind with all its daily activities,
continues these activities during sleep in dreams. In dreams there is
action going on, of some kind or other, some happening, so that
your sleep is a continuation if the waking hours. And there is a lot
of mysterious hocus-pocus about dreams – that they need to be
interpreted, hence all the professionals interpreting dreams – which
you can observe yourself very simply, if you watch your life during
the daytime. Yet why should there be dreams at all? (Though the
psychologists say that you must have dreams, otherwise you will
go insane.) But when you have observed very closely your waking
hours, all your self-centred activities, the fearful, the anxious, the
guilty, when you are attentive to that all day then you will see
when you sleep, you have no dreams. The mind has been watching
every moment of thought, attentive to its every word, if you do it,
you will see the beauty of it – not the tired boredom of watching,
but the beauty of watching; you will see then that there is attention
in sleep. And meditation, the thing that we have talked about
during this hour, becomes extraordinarily important and worthwhile, full of dignity and grace and beauty. When you
understand what attention is, not only during waking hours but also
during sleep, then the whole of the mind is totally awake. Beyond
that, every form of description is not the described; you do not talk
about it. All that one can do is point to the door. And if you are
willing to go, take a journey to that door, then it is for you to walk
beyond; nobody can describe the thing that is not nameable,
whether that nameable is nothing or everything – it does not matter.
Anybody who describes it does not know. And one who says he
knows, does not know.
Questioner: What is quietness, what is silence? Is it the ending
Krishnamurti: Sound is a strange thing. I do not know if you
ever listen to sound – not to sounds which you like or do not like –
but just to listen to a sound! Sound in space has an extraordinary
effect. Have you ever listened to a jet plane that is passing
overhead? – have you, to the deep sound of it, without any
resistance? Have you listened and moved with that sound? It has a
Now, what is silence? – is it the ‘space’ you produce, which you
call silence, by control, by suppressing noise? The brain is all the
time active, responding to stimuli with its own noise. So what is
silence? You understand the question now? Is silence the cessation
of that self-created noise? – is it the cessation of chattering, of
verbalization, of every thought? Even when there is no more
verbalization and thought seemingly comes to an end, the brain is
still going on. Is not silence therefore not only the end of noise but
the complete cessation of all movement? Observe it, go into it, see how your brain, which is the result of millions of years of
conditioning, is responding to every stimulus instantly; see whether
those brain cells, everlastingly active, chattering, responding, can
Can the mind, the brain, the whole organism, this total
psychosomatic thing, be completely still? – not forced, not
compelled, not driven, not out of greed saying `I must be still in
order to have the most marvellous experience’? Go into it, find out
and see whether your silence is a mere product, or whether it is
perhaps because you have laid the foundation. If you have not laid
the foundation, which is love, which is virtue, which is goodness,
which is beauty, which is real compassion in the depth of your
whole being, if you have not done that, your silence is only the
ending of noise.
Then there is the whole problem of drugs. In India, in ancient
times, there used to be a substance called `soma’. It was a kind of
mushroom of which they drank the juice which produced either
tranquillity or all kinds of hallucinatory experiences; those
experiences being the result of conditioning. (All experiences are
the result of conditioning; if you believe in God, obviously you
have the experience of God; but that belief is based on fear and all
the agony of conflict; your god is the result of your own fear. And
so the most marvellous experience of God is nothing but your own
projection.) But they lost the secret of that mushroom, that
particular thing called soma. Since then, in India, as here, there are
various drugs, hashish, L.S.D., marihuana, you know the
multiplicity of them all, tobacco, drink, heroin. Also there is
fasting. If you fast, certain chemical actions take place producing a certain clarity and there is delight in that.
If one can live a beautiful life without taking drugs, why take
them? But those who have taken them tell us that certain changes
take place; a certain vitality, an energy arises and the space
between the observer and the observed disappears; things are seen
much more clearly. One drug taker says he takes them when he
goes to a museum, for then he sees colours more brilliantly then
ever before. But you can see those colours in such brilliance
without the drug when you pay complete attention, when you
observe without the space between you the observer and the thing
observed. When you take drugs you depend on them, and sooner or
later they have all kinds of disastrous effects.
So there it is – fasting, drugs, which it is hoped will satisfy the
desire for great experience, which will produce everything that you
want. And what is wanted is such a tawdry affair; some petty little
experience, which is blown up into something extraordinary. So a
wise man, a man who has observed all this, puts aside all the
stimulants; he observes himself and knows himself. The knowing
of himself is the beginning of wisdom and the ending of sorrow.
Questioner: In right relationship, do we really help others? Is it
sufficient to love them?
Krishnamurti: What is relationship? What do we mean by
relationship? Are we related to anybody? – except sanguinary
relationship. What do we mean by that word `relationship’? Are we
ever related to anything when each one of us lives a life of
isolation – isolation in the sense of self-centred activity, each with
his own problems, his own fears, his own despairs, his desire to
fulfil – all enclosing properties. If he is, so-called, related to his wife, he has added images. It is these images that have relationship,
and that relationship is called love! Relationship exists only when
the image, the isolating process, comes to an end, when you have
no ambition for her and she has no ambition for you, when she
does not possess you or you possess her, or you depend on her or
she on you.
When there is love you will not ask whether it helps or not. A
wayside flower, with its beauty, with its perfume, is not asking you
who are passing by to come and smell it, to look at it, to enjoy it, to
see the beauty, the delicacy, the perishable nature of it – it is there
for you to look or not to look. But if you say `I want to help
another’, that is the beginning of fear, the beginning of mischief.
BEYOND VIOLENCE PART III CHAPTER 1
LONDON 1ST PUBLIC TALK 16TH MAY 1970
‘CONTROL AND ORDER’
THERE ARE SO many frightening things happening in the world;
there is so much confusion, violence and brutality. What can one
do, as a human being, in a world that is torn apart, in a world where
there is so much despair and sorrow? And in oneself there is so
much confusion and conflict. What is the relationship of a human
being with this corrupt society, where the individual himself is
corrupt? What is the way of life in which one can find some kind
of peace, some kind of order and yet live in this society which is
corrupt, disintegrating? I am sure you must have asked these
questions of yourself; and if one has found the right answer, which
is extremely difficult, perhaps one can bring about some kind of
order in one’s life.
What value has one individual who leads an orderly, sane,
whole, balanced life in a world that is destroying itself, a world that
is constantly threatened by war? What value has individual
change? How will it affect this whole mass of human existence? I
am sure you have asked these questions. But I think they are wrong
questions, because one does not live and act rightly for the sake of
somebody else, for the benefit of society. So one must find out, it
seems to me, what order is, so as not to be dependent on
circumstance, on a particular culture – economic, social or
otherwise – because if one does not find out for oneself what order
is and the way to live without conflict, one’s life is wasted, it has no
meaning, As we are living now in constant travail and conflict, life has very little meaning; it actually has no significance at all.
Having a little money, going to the office, being conditioned,
repeating what others say, having very strong, obstinate opinions
and dogmatic beliefs – all such activity has very little meaning.
And since it has no meaning, the intellectuals throughout the world
try to give it a meaning. If they are religious they give it a
particular slant; if they are materialistic they give it another, with a
particular philosophy or theory.
So it seems very important – not only now but at all times, if one
is at all serious – to find a way of life for oneself, not as a theory,
but actually in daily life, a way to live without conflict of any kind
at every level of one’s being. To find that out one must be serious.
These meetings here are not a philosophical or religious
entertainment. We are here – if we are serious, and I hope we are –
to find out together a way of life not according to any particular
formula or theory or principle or belief. Communication implies
sharing together, creating together, working together, not merely
listening to a lot of words and ideas; we are not dealing with ideas
at all. So from the beginning it must be very clear that we are
seriously giving our mind and heart to find out if man – if you – can
live completely at peace, ending all conflict in all relationships.
To find out, one must look at oneself not according to a
particular philosophy or a particular system of thought, or from any
particular religious point of view. I think one has to discard all that
completely, so that one’s mind is free to observe itself in relation to
society, in relation to ourselves, to our families, to our neighbour;
for only then, in the observation of what is actually going on, is
there a possibility of going beyond it. And I hope that is what we are going to do during these talks.
We are not professing a new theory, a new philosophy, nor
bringing a religious revelation. There is no teacher, no saviour, no
master, no authority – I really mean this – because if you are going
to share in what is being said, you must also put aside totally every
form of authoritarian, hierarchical outlook; the mind must be free
to observe. And it cannot possibly observe if you are following
some system, some guide, some principle, or are tethered to any
form of belief. The mind must be capable of observing. That is
going to be our difficulty, because for most of us knowledge has
become a dead weight, a heavy stone round our necks; it has
become our habit, our conditioning. The mind that is serious must
be free to observe; it must be free of this dead weight which is
knowledge, experience, tradition – which is accumulated memory,
So to observe actually `what is’, to see the whole significance of
`what is’, the mind must be fresh, clear, undivided. And that is
going to be another problem: how to look without this division –
the `me’ and the `not me’, and `we’ and `they’.
As we said, you are observing yourself, watching yourself
through the words of the speaker. So the question is: how are you
to observe? I do not know if you have ever gone into that question
at all. How do you look, hear, observe? – not only yourself, but the
sky, the trees, the birds, your neighbour, the politician. How do you
listen and observe another, how do you observe yourself? The key
to this observation lies in seeing things without division. And can
that ever happen? All our existence is fragmented. We are divided
in ourselves, we are contradictory. We live in fragmentation – which is an actual fact. One fragment of these many fragments
thinks it has the capacity to observe. Although through many
associations it has assumed authority, it is still a fragment of the
many fragments. And that one fragment looks and says, `I
understand; I know what right action is.’
So being fragmented, broken up, contradictory, there is conflict
between the various fragments. You know this as a fact, if you
have observed it. And we come to the conclusion that nothing can
be done about it, that nothing can be changed. How can this
fragmentation be made whole? We realize that to live a
harmonious, orderly, sane, healthy life, this fragmentation, this
division between the ‘you’ and the `me’ must come to an end. But
we have concluded that this is not possible – that is the dead weight
of ‘what is’. So we invent theories, we wait for `grace’ from
something divine – whatever you call it – to come and miraculously
release us. Unfortunately that does not happen. Or you live in an
illusion, invent some myth about the higher self, the Atman. This
offers an escape.
We are easily persuaded to escape because we do not know how
this fragmentation can be made whole. We are not talking of
integration, because that implies that somebody brings about
integration – one fragment bringing the other fragments together. I
hope you see the difficulty of this, how we are broken up into
many fragments, conscious or unconscious. And we try many
ways. One of the fashionable ways is to have an analyst to do this
for you; or you analyse yourself. Please do follow this carefully:
there is the analyser and the thing to be analysed. We have never
questioned who the analyser is. He is obviously one of the many fragments and he proceeds to analyse the whole structure of
oneself. But the analyser himself, being a fragment, is conditioned.
When he analyses there are several things involved. First of all,
every analysis must be complete or otherwise it becomes the stone
round the neck of the analyser when he begins to analyse the next
incident, the next reaction. So the memory of the previous analysis
increases the burden. And analysis also implies time; there are so
many reactions, associations and memories to be analysed that it
will take all your life. By the time you have completely analysed
yourself – if that is ever possible – you are ready for the grave.
That is one of our conditionings, the idea that we must analyse
ourselves, look at ourselves introspectively. In the analysis there is
always the censor, the one who controls, guides, shapes; there is
always the conflict between the analyser and the thing to be
analysed. So one has to see this – not as a theory, not as something
that you have accumulated as knowledge; knowledge is excellent
in its own place but not when you are trying to understand the
whole structure of your being. If you use knowledge through
association and accumulation, through analysis, as a means of
understanding yourself, then you have stopped learning about
yourself. To learn there must be freedom to observe without the
We can see this going on in ourselves, actually, as `what is’,
night and day, endlessly. And seeing the truth of it – the truth, not
as an opinion – the futility, the mischief, the wastage of energy and
time, then the whole process of analysis comes to an end. I hope
you are doing this as you are listening to what is being said.
Because through analysis there is the continuation of the endless chain of association; therefore one says to oneself, `One can never
change; this conflict, this misery, this confusion is inevitable, this
is the way of life.’ So one becomes mechanical, violent, brutal, and
stupid. When one really observes this as a fact, one sees the truth
of it; one can only see this truth when one actually sees what is
going on – the `what is’. Do not condemn it, do not rationalize it –
just observe it. And you can only observe when there is no
association in your observation.
As long as there is the analyser there must be the censor who
brings about this whole problem of control. I do not know if you
have ever realized that from the moment we are born till we die,
we are always controlling ourselves. The `must’ and the `must not’,
the `should be’ and the `should not’. Control implies conformity,
imitation, following a particular principle, an ideal, eventually
leading to that appalling thing called respectability. Why should
one control at all? – which does not mean you entirely lose all
control. One has to understand what is implied in control. The very
process of control breeds disorder; just as the opposite – lack of
control – also breeds disorder.
One has to explore, understand, look at what is implied in
control and see the truth of it; then one lives a life of order in
which there is no control whatsoever. Disorder is brought about by
this contradiction caused by the censor, the analyser, the entity that
has separated himself from the various other fragments, and who is
trying to impose what he thinks is right.
So one has to understand this particular form of conditioning,
which is: that we are all bound and shaped by control. I do not
know if you ever asked yourself why you control anything at all. You do control, don’t you? Why? What makes you control? What
is the root of this imitation, this conformity? Obviously one of the
factors is our conditioning, our culture, our religious and social
sanctions, as `you must do this’ and `not do that’. In this control
there is always the will, which is a form of urgent desire that
controls, that shapes, that directs. Observe this, please, as you are
listening; actually observe it and you will see that something quite
different comes about. We control ourselves, our tempers, our
desires, our appetites, because it is always safe. There is great
security in control, with all its suppressions and contradictions,
with all its struggles and conflicts; there is a certain sense of safety.
And also it assures us that we shall never fail.
Where there is division between the controller and the thing
controlled, there is no goodness. Goodness does not lie in
separation. Virtue is a state of mind in which there is no separation,
therefore there is no control which involves division. Control
implies suppression, contradiction, effort, the demand for security –
all in the name of goodness, beauty, virtue; but it is the very denial
of virtue, and is therefore disorder.
So can one observe without division, without the observer
opposed to the thing to be observed, without the knowledge which
the observer has acquired, which separates him when he looks? For
the observer is the enemy of the good – though he desires order,
though he attempts to bring about righteous behaviour, to live
peacefully. The observer who separates himself from the thing
observed is the very source of all that is not good. Do you see all
this? Or are you just being casually entertained on a Saturday
afternoon? Do you know what all this means? – that the mind is no longer analysing but actually observing, seeing directly and
therefore acting directly. It means a mind in which there is no
division whatsoever; it is a total, whole mind – which means being
sane. It is the neurotic who has to control; when he comes to the
point of having controlled himself totally, he is completely neurotic
so that he cannot move, is not free.
See the truth of this! The truth is not `what is’ – the `what is’ is
the division, the Black and White, the Arab and the Jew, all the
mess that is going on in this frightful world. Because the mind has
divided itself it is not a whole, sane, healthy, holy mind. And
because of this division in the mind itself, there is so much
corruption, so much disorder, so much violence and brutality. So
the question then is: can the mind observe without division, where
the observer is the observed? To look at a tree, at a cloud, at the
beauty of the lovely spring, to look at yourself, without the burden
of knowledge; to look at yourself and learn at the moment of
observation, without the accumulation of learning, so that the mind
is free all the time to observe. It is only the young mind that learns,
not the mind that is burdened with knowledge. And to learn means
to observe oneself without division, without analysis, without the
censor dividing the good from the bad, the what `should be’ from
the `should not be’. This is one of the most important things,
because if you so observe, the mind will discover that all conflict
comes to an end. In that there is total goodness. It is only such a
mind that can act righteously, and in that there is great joy – not the
joy stimulated through pleasure.
I wonder if you would care to ask any questions? You must
question everything, including your pet beliefs, your ideals, your authorities, your scriptures, your politicians. Which means there
must be a certain quality of scepticism. But scepticism must be
kept on the leash; you must let it go when necessary, so that the
mind can see freely, run rapidly. When you question, it must be
your own particular problem, not a casual, superficial question that
will entertain you; it must be something of your own. If this is so,
then you will put the right question. And if it is the right question
you will have the right answer, because the very act of putting that
right question shows you the answer in itself. So one must – if I
may point this out – put the right question. Then in putting the right
question we can both of us share, partake together, in that problem.
Your problem is not different from other people’s problems. All
problems are interrelated, and if you can understand one problem
completely, wholly, you have understood all other problems.
Therefore it is very important to put the right question. But even if
it is the wrong question, you will find that in putting the wrong
question you will also know when to ask the right question. You
must do both: then we shall come to putting always the
fundamental, real, true question.
Questioner: What is the ultimate reason or purpose of human
Krishnamurti: Do you know any purposes? The way we live has
no meaning and no purpose. We can invent a purpose, the purpose
of perfection, enlightenment, reaching the highest form of
sensitivity; we can invent endless theories. And we are caught in
those theories, making them our problems. Our daily life has no
meaning, no purpose, except to make a bit of money and lead an
idiotic kind of life. One can observe all this, not in theory but actually in oneself; the endless battle in oneself, seeking a purpose,
seeking enlightenment, going all over the world – specially to India
or to japan – to learn a technique of meditation. You can invent a
thousand purposes but you need not go anywhere, not to the
Himalayas, to a monastery, or to any Ashram – which is another
form of concentration camp – because everything is in you. The
highest, the immeasurable, is in you, if you know how to look. Do
not assume it is there – that is one of the stupid tricks we play upon
ourselves, that we are God, that we are the `perfect’ and all the rest
of that childish stuff. Yet through the illusion, through `what is’,
through the measurable, you find something that is immeasurable;
but you must begin with yourself, where you can discover for
yourself how to look. That is: to look without the observer.
Questioner: Would you please define, in the context of which
you were speaking, control in relation to restraint.
Krishnamurti: One has to understand the full meaning of that
word control, not only according to the dictionary, but how the
mind has been conditioned to control – control being suppression.
In that there is the censor, the controller, the division, the conflict,
the restraining, the holding, the inhibiting. When one is aware of
all this, the mind then becomes very sensitive and therefore highly
intelligent. We have destroyed that intelligence, which is also in
the body, in the organism; we have perverted it through our
pleasurable tastes and appetites. Also the mind has been shaped,
controlled, conditioned through centuries by the culture, by fear, by
belief. When one realizes this, not theoretically but actually, when
one is aware of this, then one will find sensitivity responds
intelligently without inhibition, control, suppression or restraint. But one has to understand the structure and the nature of control,
which has bred so much disorder in ourselves – the will, which is
the very centre of contradiction and therefore of control. Look at it,
observe it in your life and you will discover all this and more. But
when you make your discovery into knowledge, into some dead
weight, then you are lost. Because knowledge is the accumulation
of associations, an endless chain. And if the mind is caught in that,
then change is impossible.
Questioner: Can you explain to me how the mind overcomes the
body so that it can levitate?
Krishnamurti: Are you really interested in this? I do not know
why you want to levitate. You know, sirs, the mind is always
seeing something mysterious, something hidden, which nobody
else will discover except yourself, and that gives you a tremendous
sense of importance, vanity, prestige – you become the `Mystic’.
But there is real mystery, something really sacred, when you
understand the whole of this life, this whole existence. In that there
is great beauty, great joy. There is a tremendous thing called the
immeasurable. But you must understand the measurable. And the
immeasurable is not the opposite of the measurable.
There have been photographs of people who have levitated. The
speaker has seen it and other forms of unimportant things. If you
are really interested in levitation – I do not know why you should
be, but if you are – you have to have a marvellous, highly sensitive
body; you must not drink, nor smoke, nor take drugs, nor eat meat.
You must have a body that is utterly pliable, healthy, that has its
own intelligence, not the intelligence imposed by the mind on the
body. And if you have gone through all that, then you may find that levitation has no worth in it!
BEYOND VIOLENCE PART III CHAPTER 2
LONDON 3RD PUBLIC TALK 27TH MAY 1970
THERE ARE SEVERAL things we should talk about, such as
education, the significance of dreams, and whether it is at all
possible, living in a world that has become so mechanical and
imitative, for the mind ever to be free. We may approach the
problem by going into the question of whether the mind can be free
from all sense of conformity. We have to deal with the whole
problem of existence, not one part of it, not only the technical side
of life and the earning of a livelihood, but also we have to consider
this whole question of how to transform society; whether this is
possible through revolt, or if there is a different kind of inward
revolution which will inevitably bring about a different kind of
society. I think we should go into that and then come upon the
question of meditation. Because – if you will forgive me for saying
so – I do not think you know what is implied in meditation. Most of
us have read about it or have been told what it is and we have tried
to practise it. What the speaker has to say about meditation may be
quite contrary to all that you know or practise or have experienced.
One cannot search for truth; therefore one must understand the
meaning of seeking. So it is a very complex question; meditation
requires the highest form of sensitivity, a tremendous quality of
silence, not induced, not disciplined, not cultivated. And that can
only be, or come about, when we understand, psychologically, how
to live, because our life as we live it daily, is in conflict; it is a
series of conformities, controls, suppressions, and the revolt against all that.
There is the whole question of how to live a life without
violence of any kind; for without really understanding and being
free from violence, meditation is not possible. You can play with it,
go to the Himalayas to learn how to breathe and sit properly, do a
little bit of yoga and think you have learnt meditation, but that is all
rather childish. To come upon that extraordinary thing called
meditation, the mind must be completely free of all sense of
violence. Therefore it may be worthwhile to talk about violence
and see if the mind can actually be free of that; not go off
romantically into some kind of stupor called meditation.
Volumes have been written as to why man is aggressive.
Anthropologists give explanations and each expert puts it in his
own way, contradicting or enlarging on what most of us know
rationally: that human beings are violent. We think violence is
merely a physical act, going to war and killing others. We have
accepted war as the way of life. And accepting it, we do nothing
about it. Casually or devotedly we may become pacifists in one
part of our own life, but for the rest we are in conflict; we are
ambitious, we are competitive, we make tremendous efforts; such
effort implies conflict and therefore violence. Any form of
conformity, any form of distortion – purposely or unconsciously –
is violence. To discipline oneself according to a pattern, an ideal, a
principle, is a form of violence. Any distortion, without
understanding actually ‘what is’ and going beyond it, is a form of
violence. And yet, is it at all possible to end violence in oneself
without any conflict, any opposition?
We are used to a society, a morality, that is based on violence. We all know this. From childhood we are brought up to be violent,
to imitate, to conform – consciously or unconsciously. We do not
know how to get out of it. We say to ourselves it is impossible,
man must be violent, but violence can be done with gloves on,
politely and so on. So we must go into this question of violence,
because without understanding violence and fear, how can there be
love? Can the mind which has accepted conformity to a society, to
a principle, to a social morality which is not moral at all, a mind
that has been conditioned by religions to believe – accepting the
idea of God, or rejecting it – can it free itself without any form of
struggle, without any resistance? Violence begets more violence;
resistance only creates other forms of distortion.
Without reading books or listening to professors or `saints’, one
can observe one’s own mind. After all, that is the beginning of self-
knowledge: to know oneself, not according to some psychologist or
analyst, but by observing oneself. One can see how heavily the
mind is conditioned – there is nationalism, racial and class
differences, and all the rest of it. If one is aware of it one becomes
conscious of this conditioning, this vast propaganda in the name of
God, in the name of Communism or what you will, which has
shaped us from childhood, during centuries upon centuries.
Becoming aware of it, can the mind uncondition itself, free itself
from all sense of conformity and therefore have freedom?
How is this to be done? How can I, or you, become aware,
knowing one’s mind is solidly conditioned not only superficially
but deep down? How is this conditioning to be broken down? If
this is not possible we shall live everlastingly in conformity – even
if there is a new pattern, a new structure of society or a new set of beliefs, new dogmas and new propagandas, it is still conformity.
And if there is to be any kind of social change, there must be a
different kind of education – so that children are not brought up to
So there is this question: how is the mind to free itself from
conditioning? I do not know if you have ever tried it, gone into it
very deeply, not only at the conscious level but at the deeper layers
of consciousness. Actually, is there a division between the two? Or
is it one movement, in which we are only conscious of the
superficial movement which has been educated to conform to the
demands of a particular society or culture?
As we said the other day: we are not merely listening to a few
sets of words, because that has no value at all. But by partaking in
what is being said, sharing it, working together, you will find out
for yourself how to observe this total movement, without
separation, without division; because wherever there is any kind of
division – racial, intellectual, emotional, or the division of the
opposites, the `me’ and the `not me’, the higher self and the lower
self and so on – it must inevitably bring about conflict. Conflict is a
waste of energy and to understand all that we are discussing you
need a great deal of energy.
The mind being so conditioned, how can it observe itself,
without division into the observer and the thing observed? The
space between the observer and the observed, the distance, the time
interval, is a contradiction and the very essence of division.
Therefore when the observer separates himself from the thing
observed, he not only acts as a censor but brings about this duality
and hence conflict So can the mind observe itself without the division of the
observer and the observed? Do you understand the problem? When
you observe that you are jealous, envious – which is a very
common factor – and are aware of it, there is always the observer
who says `I must not be jealous.’ Or the observer gives a reason for
being jealous, justifying it – is that not so? There is the observer
and the thing observed; the former observes jealousy as something
separate from himself which he tries to control, which he tries to
get rid of; hence there is a conflict between the observer and the
thing observed. The observer is one of the many fragments which
Are we communicating with each other? Do you understand
what we mean by communicating? It is sharing together, not just
understanding verbally, intellectually seeing the point. There is no
intellectual understanding of anything; especially when we are
concerned with great fundamental human problems.
So when you really understand the truth, that division of any
kind must inevitably breed conflict, you will see that it is a waste
of energy and therefore causes distortion and violence and
everything else that follows from conflict. When you really
understand this – not verbally but actually – then you will see how
to observe without the time interval and the space between the
observer and the thing observed; you will see how to observe the
conditioning, the violence, the oppression, the brutality, the
appalling things that are going on in the world and in oneself. Are
you doing it as we are talking? Do not say `yes’ because it is one of
the most difficult things, to observe without the observer, without
the verbaliser, without the entity that is full of knowledge which is the past, without that space between the observer and the thing
observed. Do it – observe a tree, a cloud, the beauty of the spring,
the new leaf – and you will see what an extraordinary thing it is.
But then you will see that you have never seen the tree before,
When you observe, you are always observing with an image or
through an image. You have an image, as knowledge, when you
look at the tree or when you look at your wife or husband; you
have the image of what she is or what he is, which has been built
up for twenty, thirty or forty years. So one image looks at another
image and these images have their own relationships; therefore
there is no actual relationship. Do recognise this very simple fact,
that we look at almost everything in life with an image, with a
prejudice, with a preconceived idea. We never look with fresh
eyes; our mind is never young.
So we must observe ourselves – who are part of violence – and
the immense search for pleasure with its fears, with its frustrations,
with the agony of loneliness, the lack of love, the despair. To
observe this whole structure of oneself without the observer, to see
it as it is without any distortion, without any judgment,
condemnation or comparison – which are all the movement of the
observer, of the `me’ and the `not-me – demands the highest form
of discipline. We are using the word `discipline’ not in the sense of
conformity or coercion – not as discipline brought about through
reward and punishment. To observe anything – your wife, your
neighbour or a cloud – one must have a mind that is very sensitive;
this very observation brings about its own discipline, which is
nonconformity. Therefore the highest form of discipline is no discipline.
So to observe the thing called violence without division,
without the observer, to see the conditioning, the structure of
belief, the opinions, the prejudices, is to see what you are; that is
`what is’. When you observe it and there is a division, then you say,
`It is impossible to change.’ Man has lived like this for millennia
and you go on living in this way. Saying`It is not possible’ deprives
one of energy. Only when you see what is possible in the highest
form, then you have plenty of energy.
So one has to observe actually `what is’, not the image you have
about `what is’, but what you actually are; never saying `it is ugly’
or `beautiful’. You know what you are only through comparison.
You say, `I am dull’ compared to somebody who is very intelligent,
very alive. Have you ever tried to live a life without comparing
yourself with anybody or anything? What then are you? Then,
what you are is `what is’. Then you can go beyond it, find out what
truth is! So this whole question of freeing the mind from
conditioning lies in how the mind observes.
I do not know if you have ever gone into the question of what
love is, or have thought about it or enquired into it. Is love
pleasure? Is love desire? Is love something to be cultivated, a thing
made respectable by society? If it is pleasure, as it apparently is,
from everything that one has observed – not only sexual pleasure
but the moral pleasure, the pleasure of achievement, of success, the
pleasure of becoming, of being somebody, implying
competitiveness and conformity – is that love? An ambitious man,
even the man who says, `I must find truth’, who pursues what he
considers to be truth, can he know what love is? Should we not intelligently enquire into this? – that is, seeing
what it is not; through negation come to the positive. Denying what
love is not. Jealousy is not love; the memory of a pleasure, sexual
or otherwise, is not love; the cultivation of virtue, the constant
effort of trying to be noble, is not love. And when you say, `I love
you’, what does it mean? The image you have about him or her, the
sexual pleasures and all the rest of it, the comfort, the
companionship, never being alone and frightened to be alone,
always wanting to be loved, to possess, to be possessed, to
dominate, to assert, to be aggressive – is all that love? If you see the
absurdity of it, not verbally but actually as it is, all the nonsense
that one talks about love – love of one’s country, love of God –
when you see all the sensuality of it – we are not condemning sex,
we are observing it – when you actually observe it as it is, you see
that your love of God is love out of fear, your weekend religion is
fear. And to observe it totally, implies no division. Where there is
no division there is goodness; you do not have to cultivate
goodness. So can the mind – the mind including the brain, the
whole structure – totally observe the thing that it calls love with all
its mischief, with all its pettiness and its bourgeois mediocrity? To
observe that, there must be the denial of everything that love is not.
You know, there is a great difference between joy and pleasure.
You can cultivate pleasure, think about it a great deal and have
more of it. You had pleasure yesterday and you can think about it,
chew on it and you will want it repeated tomorrow. In pleasure
there is a motive in which there is possessiveness, domination,
conformity and all the rest of it. There is great pleasure in
conformity – Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and so on, made people conform, because there is great security and safety in it. So when
you see all that, when you are free of it – actually, not verbally,
never to be jealous, never to dominate or be possessed – when the
mind has swept away all that, then you know what love is – you do
not have to seek it.
When the mind has understood the meaning of the word love,
then you are bound to ask: what is death? Because love and death
go together. If the mind does not know how to die to the past, it
does not know what love is. Love is not of time, it is not a thing to
be remembered – you cannot remember joy and cultivate it; it
So what is death? I do not know if you have observed death, not
someone dying, but yourself dying. It is one of the most difficult
things, not to identify yourself with something. Most of us identify
ourselves with our furniture, with our house, with our wife or
husband, with our government with our country, with the image
that we have about ourselves, identifying with something greater –
the greater may be a greater tribalism, which is the nation; or you
identify yourself with a particular quality or image. Not to identify
with your furniture, with your knowledge, with your experiences,
with your techniques and your technological knowledge as a
scientist or engineer, to end all identification, is a form of death.
Do it sometime and you will find out what it means: not bitterness,
not hopelessness, not a sense of despair, but an extraordinary
feeling – a mind that is completely free to observe and therefore
Unfortunately we have divided life and death. What we are
frightened of is `not to live’ – this `living’ which we call life. And when you actually examine what this living is, not theoretically,
but observe it with your eyes and your ears, with everything you
have, you see how shoddy it is, how small, petty, shallow; you may
have a Rolls-Royce, a big house, a lovely garden, a title, a degree,
but inwardly life is an everlasting battle, a constant struggle, with
contradictions, opposing desires, multiple wants.
That is what we call living and to that we cling. Anything that
puts an end to that – unless you are tremendously identified with
your body – we call death; though the physical organism ends too.
And being afraid of ending, we have all kinds of beliefs. They are
all escapes – including reincarnation. What matters is how you live
now, not what you will be in the next life. Then the question is
whether the mind can live entirely without time. One must really
understand this question of the past – the past as yesterday, through
today, shaping tomorrow from what has been yesterday. Can that
mind – which is the result of time, of evolution – be free of the
past? – which is to die. It is only a mind that knows this, that can
come upon this thing called meditation. Without understanding all
this, to try to meditate is just childish imagination.
Truth is not `what is’, but the understanding of `what is’ opens
the door to truth. If you do not actually understand `what is’, what
you are, with your heart, with your mind, with your brain, with
your feelings, you cannot understand what truth is.
Questioner: Whatever I hear you say in this Hall becomes so
simple and easy to understand. But the moment I am outside I am
at sea – and I do not know what to do when I am alone.
Krishnamurti: Sir, look: what the speaker has said is very clear.
He is pointing out to you ‘what is’ – it is yours, it is not in this Hall, it does not lie with the speaker; the speaker is not making any
propaganda, he does not want a thing from you, neither your
flattery, nor your insults nor your applause. It is yours, your life,
your misery, your despair; that you have to understand, not just
here, because here you are being pushed into a corner, you are
facing yourself perhaps for a few minutes. But when you leave the
Hall, that is where the fun begins! We are not trying to influence
you to act, to think, to do this or that – that would be propaganda.
But if you have listened with your heart and with a mind that is
aware – not influenced – if you have observed, then when you go
outside it will go with you wherever you are because it is yours,
you have understood.
Questioner: What is the role of the artist?
Krishnamurti: Are artists so very different from other human
beings? Why do we divide life into the scientist, the artist, the
housewife, the doctor? The artist may be a little more sensitive,
may observe more, he may be more alive. But he also has his
problems as a human being. He may produce marvellous pictures,
or write lovely poems, or make things with his hands, but he is still
a human being, anxious, frightened, jealous and ambitious. How
can an `artist’ be ambitious? If he is, he is no longer an artist. The
violinist or the pianist who uses his instrument to make money, to
gain prestige – just think of it – is not a musician. Or the scientist
who works for governments, for society, for war, is he a scientist?
That man who is seeking knowledge and understanding has
become corrupt like other human beings. He may be marvellous in
his laboratory or he may express himself on a canvas most
beautifully, but he is torn inside like the rest, he is petty, shoddy, anxious, frightened. Surely an artist, a human being, an individual,
is a whole, indivisible, complete thing. Individual means
undivided; but we are not, we are broken up, fragmented, human
beings – the businessman, the artist, the doctor, the musician. And
therefore we lead a life – Oh, I do not have to describe it, you know
Questioner: Sir, what is the criterion in choosing between
Krishnamurti: Why do you choose at all? When you see
something very clearly, what is the need for choice? Do please
listen to this. It is only a mind that is confused, uncertain, unclear,
that chooses. I am not talking of choosing between red and black,
but choosing psychologically. Unless you are confused, why
should you choose? If you see something very clearly without any
distortion, is there any need for choosing? There are no
alternatives; alternatives exist when you have to choose between
two physical roads – you may go one way or the other. But
alternatives exist also in a mind that is divided in itself and is
confused; therefore it is in conflict, therefore it is violent. It is the
violent mind that says it will live peacefully and in its reaction it
becomes violent. But when you see the whole nature of violence
very clearly, from the most brutal to the most subtle form of
violence, then you are free of it.
Questioner: When can you ever see it all?
Krishnamurti: Have you observed a tree totally?
Questioner: I do not know.
Krishnamurti: Sir, do it some time if you are interested in this
kind of thing. Questioner: I always thought I had, until the next time.
Krishnamurti; To go into it, let us being with the tree, which is
the most objective thing. Observe it completely, which means
without the observer, without the division – which does not mean
you identify yourself with the tree, you do not become the tree, that
would be too absurd. But to observe it implies to look at it without
the division between you and the tree, without the space created by
the observer with his knowledge, with his thoughts, with his
prejudice about that tree; not when you are angry, jealous, or in
despair, or full of a thing called hope – which is the opposite of
despair, therefore it is not hope at all. When you observe it, see it
without the division, without that space, then you can see the
whole of it.
When you observe your wife, your friend, your husband or
whatever you will, when you look without the image, which is the
accumulation of the past, you will see what an extraordinary thing
takes place. You have never seen anything like that before in your
life. But to observe totally implies no division. People take L.S.D.
and other drugs in order to destroy the space between the observer
and the observed. I have not taken it; and once you start that game
you are lost, you are everlastingly dependent on it and it brings its
Questioner: What is the relationship between thought and
Krishnamurti: What is thought in relationship to time, thought
in relationship to what is measurable and what is immeasurable?
What is thought? Thought is the response of memory – obviously.
If you had no memory you would not be able to think at all, you would be in a state of amnesia. Thought is always old, thought is
never free, thought can never be new. When thought is silent there
may be a new discovery; but thought cannot possibly discover
anything new. Is this clear? Please do not agree with me. When
you ask a question and you are familiar with that question, your
response is immediate. `What is your name’? – you reply
immediately. `Where do you live’? – you reply instantly. But a
more complex question takes time. In that interval thought is
looking, trying to remember.
So thought in its desire to find what truth is, is always look- ing
in terms of the past. That is the difficulty of search. When you
seek, you must be able to recognise what you have found; and what
you find in terms of your recognition is the past. So thought is time
– obviously – this is so simple, is it not? You had an experience
yesterday of great delight, you think about it and you want it
repeated again tomorrow. Thought thinking about something that
has brought pleasure, wants it tomorrow; therefore `tomorrow’ and
`yesterday’ make the time interval in which you are going to get
that pleasure, in which you are going to think about it. So thought
is time. And thought can never be free because it is the response of
the past. How can thought find out anything new? This is possible
only when the mind is completely silent. Not because it wants to
find something new, for then that silence is brought about by a
motive and therefore it is not silence.
If you understand this you have understood the whole thing and
even answered your question. You see, we are always using
thought as a means of finding, of asking, of enquiring, looking. Do
you mean to say thought can know what love is? Thought can know the pleasure of what it has called love and demand that
pleasure again in the name of love. But thought, being the product
of time, the product of measure, cannot possibly understand or
come upon that thing which is not measurable. So then the question
arises: how can you make thought silent? You cannot. Perhaps we
will go into that another time.
Questioner: Do we need rules to live by?
Krishnamurti: Madame, you have not heard all that I have been
saying during this talk! Who is going to lay down the rules? The
Churches have done it, tyrannical governments have done it, or you
yourself have laid down the rules for your own conduct, for your
own behaviour. And you know what that means – a battle between
what you think you should be and what you are. Which is more
important: to understand what you should be, or what you are?
Questioner: What am I?
Krishnamurti: Let us find out. I have told you what you are –
your country, your furniture, your images, your ambitions, your
respectability, your race, your idiosyncrasies and prejudices, your
obsessions – you know what you are! Through all that you want to
find truth, God, reality. And because the mind does not know how
to be free of all this you invent something, an outside agency, or
give significance to life.
So when you understand the nature of thought – not verbally,
but are actually aware of it – then when you have a prejudice, look
at it and you will see that your religions are a prejudice, the
identification with your country is a prejudice. We have so many
opinions, so many prejudices; just observe one completely, with
your heart, with your mind, with love – care for it, look at it. Do not say ‘I must not’ or `I must, – just look at it. And then you will see
how to live without any prejudice. It is only a mind that is free
from prejudice, from conflict, that can see what truth is.
BEYOND VIOLENCE PART III CHAPTER 3
LONDON 4TH PUBLIC TALK 30TH MAY 1970
‘THE RELIGIOUS MIND’
SHALL WE TALK about meditation? Talking about something
and doing it are quite different things. If we are going to go into
this complex problem, we not only have to understand the meaning
of words, but also, it seems to me, we must go beyond the words.
There are several things involved in meditation. To really
understand it, to actually do it, not merely intellectually or verbally
or theoretically, requires a peculiar kind of seriousness in which
there must be a great deal of intelligence and humour.
First of all, one must enquire into what the religious mind is; not
what religion is, but that quality of the mind and the heart that is
religious. One can give a great many meanings to that word
‘religion’, depending on one’s conditioning – either accepting it
emotionally, sentimentally or devotionally, or totally denying the
whole question of a religious attitude, a religious way of life, as a
great many people do. One is rather ashamed even to talk about
religious matters. But the religious mind has nothing whatsoever to
do with belief in God – it has no theory, philosophy, or conclusion,
because it has no fear and therefore no need for belief.
A religious mind is difficult to describe – the description can
never be the thing described. But if one is sensitive, aware and
serious, one can feel one’s way into it.
First of all, one cannot belong to any organized religion. I think
that is one of the most difficult things for most human beings; they
want to cling to some kind of hope, belief, some kind of theory or conclusion, or an experience of their own, giving it a religious
significance. Any kind of attachment and therefore dependence on
one’s particular, secret experience or the accumulated experience of
the so-called saints, the mystics, or your own particular guru or
teacher, all that must be completely and wholly set aside. I hope
you are doing it, because a religious mind is not burdened with
fear, or seeking out any form of security and pleasure. A mind that
is not burdened with experience is absolutely necessary to find out
what meditation is. In seeking experience lies the way to illusion.
Not to seek any form of experience is very difficult; most of our
lives are so mechanical, so shallow, that we want deeper
experiences because we are bored with the superficiality of life.
We want, or rather crave for, something that will have a meaning, a
fullness, depth, beauty, loveliness, and so the mind is seeking. And
what it seeks it will find; what it finds will not be the truth. Are you
accepting all this, or rejecting it? Please do not accept or deny – this
is not a matter of your pleasure or my pleasure, because in this
there is no authority whatsoever, neither that of the speaker nor of
anybody else. You see, most of us want someone to lead us, to
guide us, to help us and we invest faith, trust, in that person or in
that ideal or principle or image. Therefore we depend on another.
A mind that is dependent on authority and therefore incapable of
standing alone, incapable of understanding, incapable of looking
directly, such a mind must inevitably have fear of going wrong, of
not doing the right thing, of not reaching the ecstasy that is
promised or that one hopes for. All such forms of authority must
absolutely come to an end; which means to have no fear, no
dependency on another (there is no guru) and a mind that is not seeking experience. Because when one wants an experience, it
indicates that one wants – great pleasure, call it what you like –
ecstasy, enjoyment, seeking truth, finding enlightenment.
Also, how does the seeker know what he has found and if what
he has found is the truth? Can the mind that is seeking, searching,
find something that is alive, moving, that has no resting place? The
religious mind does not belong to any group, any sect, any belief,
any church, any organized circus; therefore it is capable of looking
at things directly and understanding things immediately. Such is
the religious mind, because it is a light to itself. Its light is not lit
by another – the candle that is lit by another can be put out very
quickly. And most of our beliefs, dogmas, rituals, are the result of
propaganda which has nothing whatsoever to do with a religious
life. A religious mind is a light to itself and therefore there is no
punishment or reward.
Meditation is the emptying of the mind, totally. The content of
the mind is the result of time, of what is called evolution; it is the
result of a thousand experiences, a vast accumulation of
knowledge, of memories. The mind is so burdened with the past
because all knowledge is the past, all experience is the past, and all
memory is the accumulated result of a thousand experiences – that
is the known. Can the mind, which is both the conscious as well as
the unconscious, empty itself completely of the past? That is the
whole movement of meditation. The mind being aware of itself
without any choice, seeing all the movement of itself – can that
awareness totally empty the mind of the known? Because if there is
any remnant of the past the mind cannot be innocent. So meditation
is the total emptying of the mind. So many things are said about meditation, especially in the East;
there are so many schools, so many disciplines, so many books
written on how to meditate, what to do. How do you know if what
is being said is true or false? When the speaker says meditation is
the complete emptying of the mind, how do you know it is true?
What tells you? Your personal prejudice, your particular
idiosyncrasy of liking the face of the man who speaks? – or his
reputation, or because he has got some empathy, a certain
friendliness? How do you know? Must you go through all the
systems, all the schools, have teachers who teach you how to
meditate, before you find out what meditation is? Or can you find
that out if you have none of these people to tell you what to do?
I am saying this most undogmatically: do not listen to anybody –
including the speaker, especially the speaker – because you are
very easily influenced, because you are all wanting something,
craving for something, craving for enlightenment, for joy, for
ecstasy, for heaven; you are caught very easily. So you have to find
it out completely by yourself. Therefore there is no need to go to
India, or to any Zen Buddhist monastery, to meditate, or to look to
any teacher; because if you know how to look, everything is in
you. Therefore you put aside completely all authority, all looking
to anybody, because truth does not belong to anybody, it is not a
personal matter. Meditation is not a private, personal pleasure or
One can see that one needs great harmony between the mind,
the heart and the body, if you can so divide it – psychosomatically,
if you prefer it. Obviously there must be complete harmony,
because if there is any contradiction, any division, then there is conflict. Conflict is the very essence of waste of energy and you
need tremendous energy to meditate. Therefore harmony is
necessary so that the mind, the brain, the organism and the depth of
the heart are whole, not broken up; you can see that for yourself,
nobody need teach you that. How to bring about that harmony is
quite a different matter. Complete harmony means that the mind as
well as the organism must be extraordinarily sensitive; therefore
one has to go into the whole question of diet, exercise, and living
properly. Because we do not want to think about it or look into it,
we turn to somebody else to tell us what to do. And if we look to
somebody else we limit our energy, because then we ask whether it
is possible or not possible. If we say it is impossible, our energy
becomes very limited; if we say it is possible in terms of what we
already know, it becomes very small and so on.
So one realizes the necessity of this complete harmony, because
if there is any kind of discord, there is distortion. And there must
be discipline. Discipline means order – not suppression, not
conformity to a principle or to an idea, to a conclusion, to a system
or to a method.
Order is not a design, a pattern according to which you are
living. Order comes only when you understand the whole process
of disorder – going through what is the negative to come to the
positive. Our life is disorder, which means contradiction, saying
one thing, doing another and thinking something entirely different.
It is a fragmentary existence, and in this fragmentation we try to
find some kind of order. We think this order comes about through
discipline and control. A mind that is controlled, disciplined in the
sense of conforming to a pattern, whether established by oneself, or by society, or by a particular culture, such a mind is not free, it is a
distorted mind. Therefore one has to enquire into this question of
disorder. And through the understanding of what disorder is, how it
comes about, there comes order – a living thing.
What is the very essence of disorder? Our lives are disorderly,
divided; we live in different compartments; we are not a whole,
unbroken entity. The essence of disorder is contradiction, and
where there is contradiction in ourselves there must be effort and
therefore disorder. (This is very simple. Probably you do not like
simple things. One can make it very complex!) One sees how
disorderly one’s own life is, how the contradictions of various
desires, purposes, conclusions, intentions, are tearing at each other;
being violent, wanting to live peacefully; being ambitious, greedy,
competitive and saying that one loves; being self-centred, egotistic,
limited and talking about universal brotherhood. We pretend, and
thus there is great hypocrisy. So order is necessary and the very
understanding of disorder brings about its own discipline, which is
order in which there is no suppression, no conformity. I hope the
speaker is making it clear, at least verbally. Discipline means to
learn, not to accumulate mechanical knowledge – to learn about the
disorderly life one leads and therefore not to come to any
conclusion at any moment. Most of our actions are based on
conclusions or on ideals or approximation to an ideal. So our
actions are always contradictory and therefore disorderly. This one
can see very easily. If one is looking at this in oneself, there will
naturally come about order, freedom from all authority and
therefore freedom from fear. One can make a mistake but correct it
immediately. How can the mind not be caught in illusion? – because you can
`meditate’ endlessly, creating your own illusions. We met a man
the other day who had meditated for twenty-five years – not
casually – he had given up everything, his good position, money,
family, name, and for twenty-five years he practised meditation.
Unfortunately somebody brought him to one of the Talks and the
next day he came to see the speaker and said: `What you said about
meditation is perfectly true: I have been hypnotizing myself,
having my own visions, having my own personal delight in these
visions according to my conditioning.’ If one is a Christian, one has
visions of Christ and so on; if one is a Hindu one has one’s own
particular God and is directly in communication with him, which
means, according to one’s conditioning.
So the question is, how can the mind be totally free of illusion?
One has to ask this question very seriously and deeply. A great
many people listen to all kinds of yogis and teachers who tell them
what to do, giving them some slogan, some mantra, some word that
will give them extraordinary experiences – you know what the
speaker is talking about. Have you ever listened so completely to a
tone of music, that every other sound dies away except that one
sound? If the mind pursues that sound, goes with it, you get
extraordinary results. But that is not meditation, that is a kind of
trick that one can play upon oneself and it is another form of
Also taking drugs in order to have a `transcendental experience’
can, through chemistry, bring about certain results; just as, if you
fast a great deal, you have a certain sensitivity and your mind
becomes much more alert, watchful, sharp and clear – or if you go in for breathing properly. These are various forms of tricks,
bringing about their own illusion. And the mind clings to those
illusions, because they are very satisfactory, they are your private,
personal achievement. But when the world is suffering, going
through agony, distortion, corruption, your particular little vision in
a small corner of the field has no value.
So, one can brush aside all that as being immature and childish.
Besides, it leads to stupor, it makes the mind dull. Now, how is the
mind to be free of all illusion? – bearing in mind that if there is any
effort and any contradiction there must be illusion. How can that
state of contradiction, that confusion, distortion, the various forms
of corruption – social, religious and personal corruptions – how can
all that which induces various forms of delusions and illusions be
completely wiped away? This can only happen when the mind is
completely still, because any movement of thought is a movement
of the past. Thought is the reaction of memory, of accumulated
experience, knowledge and so on – it is the past. And as long as
that movement of the past exists in the whole structure of the mind
– which includes the brain – there must be distortion.
So the question is: how can thought be totally absent in
meditation? Thought is necessary; the more it is logical, sane,
healthy, objective, unemotional, impersonal, the more effective and
efficient it is. You must use thought to function in life. And yet the
mind must be capable, must be completely free of any sense of
distortion to find out what is true, what is sacred. There must be
harmony between the living functioning in thought and the
freedom from thought. This is logical. this is not some cryptic,
personal theory. To see anything that is true, that is new to be discovered, new to be perceived, something that has not been
created or done before, the mind must be free from the known. And
yet one has to live in the known. The man who came upon the jet
engine, must have been free of the knowledge of the internal
combustion engine. So in the same way, for the mind to come upon
something that is totally new, there must be no illusion, there must
be complete, total silence; not only in the movement of thought,
but also in the very activity of the brain cells themselves with their
That is quite a problem, is it not? Do you understand the way
we live in formulas, in conclusions, in prejudices? We live
mechanically, in the routine of earning a livelihood, the routine of
function from which we try to derive a position and prestige. Our
life is a series of conformities; there is either the conformity of fear
or the conformity of pleasure. Such a mind cannot possibly come
upon anything new. Therefore any teacher, any method, any
system that says, `Do this and you will find it’, is telling you a lie.
Because anyone who says he knows, he does not know. What he
knows is the routine, the practice, the discipline, the conformity.
So the mind and the brain and the body in complete harmony
must be silent – a silence that is not induced by taking a
tranquilliser or by repeating words, whether it be Ave Maria or
some Sanskrit word. By repetition your mind can become dull, and
a mind which is in a stupor cannot possibly find what is true. Truth
is something that is new all the time – the word `new’ is not right, it
is really `timeless’.
So there has to be silence. That silence is not the opposite of
noise or the cessation of chattering; it is not the result of control, saying `I will be silent’, which again is a contradiction. When you
say `I will’, there must be an entity who determines to be silent and
therefore practices something which he calls silence; therefore
there is a division, a contradiction, a distortion. All this requires
great energy and therefore action. We waste a great deal of energy
in accumulating knowledge. Knowledge has its own place – you
must have knowledge, the more of it the better. But when it
becomes mechanical, when knowledge makes the mind feel that no
more is possible, when we come to the conclusion that it is not
possible to change, then we have no energy.
There is the idea of sexual control in order to have more energy
to find God, and all the religious implications of it. Think of all
those poor saints and monks, what tortures they go through to find
God! And God – if there is such a thing – does not want a tortured
mind, a mind that is torn apart, distorted or that has become dull
and lives in stupefaction.
Silence of the mind comes naturally – please do listen to this – it
comes naturally, easily, without any effort if you know how to
observe, how to look. When you observe a cloud, look at it without
the word and therefore without thought, look at it without the
division as the observer. Then there is an awareness and attention
in the very act of looking; not the determination to be attentive, but
looking with attention, even though that look may last only a
second, a minute – that is enough. Do not be greedy, do not say, `I
must have it for the whole day’. To look without the observer
means looking without the space between the observer and the
thing observed – which does not mean identifying oneself with the
thing that is looked at. So when one can look at a tree, at a cloud, at the light on the
water, without the observer, and also – which is much more
difficult, which needs a greater attention – if you can look at
yourself without the image, without any conclusion, because the
image, the conclusion, the opinion, the judgment, the goodness and
the badness, is centred round the observer, then you will find that
the mind, the brain, becomes extraordinarily quiet. And this
quietness is not a thing to be cultivated; it can happen, it does
happen, if you are attentive, if you are capable of watching all the
time, watching your gestures, your words, your feelings, the
movements of your face and all the rest of it. To correct it brings
contradiction, but if you watch it, this brings about alteration by
So silence comes about when there is profound attention, not
only at the conscious level but also at the deeper levels of
consciousness. Dreams and sleep are of great importance; it is part
of meditation to be awake in sleep, to be aware, attentive while the
mind and the body – the organism – is asleep. (Please, do not accept
anything the speaker says – the speaker is not your guru, your
teacher or your authority. If you make of him your authority, you
are destroying yourself and the speaker.)
We said: meditation is the emptying of the mind; not only the
conscious mind but also all the hidden layers of the mind, which
are called the unconscious. The unconscious is as trivial and absurd
as the conscious. And during sleep there are various kinds of
superficial dreams, not even worth thinking about – dreams that
have no meaning at all. I am sure you know all about this, do you
not? Then there is the dream which has meaning, and that meaning can be understood as it is being dreamt. This is only possible when
during the day you are attentive, watching, listening to every
movement of your thoughts, motives, feelings and ambitions.
Watching does not tire you, does not exhaust you, if you do not
correct what you watch. If you say, `This must not be’ or, `It must
be’, then you get tired and bored. But if you watch choicelessly, are
aware without like or dislike during the day, then when you dream
and those dreams have some significance, at the very moment of
dreaming – all dreams are active, there is always some action
taking place – that very action is understood. So when you have
done all this, the mind in sleep becomes extraordinarily awake and
you do not have to go to an analyser of dreams. That wakefulness
of the mind sees something which the conscious mind can never
see. So silence is not a thing to be practised – it comes when you
have understood the whole structure and the beginning and the
living of life. We have to alter the structure of our society, its
injustice, its appalling morality, the divisions it has created
between man and man, the wars, the utter lack of affection and
love that is destroying the world. If your meditation is only a
personal matter, a thing which you personally enjoy, then it is not
meditation. Meditation implies a complete radical change of the
mind and the heart. This is only possible when there is this
extraordinary sense of inward silence, and that alone brings about
the religious mind. That mind knows what is sacred.
Questioner: How can we make this complete change?
Krishnamurti: Sir, can knowledge bring about a total
revolution? – can the past, which is knowledge, bring about a
complete change in the quality of the mind? Or must there be freedom from the past, so that the mind is in constant revolution, in
constant movement of change? The centre of knowledge, of
experience, of memory, is in the observer, is it not? Please do not
accept this, just watch it for yourself. There is the censor, the ego
in each one, who says, `This is right’, `This is wrong’, `This is
good’, `This is bad’, `I must’, `I should not’. That censor is
observing. He is the observer and he divides himself from the thing
he observes. The censor, the observer, is always the past and the
`what is’ is always changing, new. As long as there is this division
between the observer and the observed, no radical revolution is
possible: there will always be corruption. You can see what the
French Revolution or what the Communist Revolution has done –
corruption comes in all the time. As long as this condition exists,
goodness is not possible. Then you will say, `How is this division
to come to an end? ‘ How can the observer, who is the accumulated
past as knowledge, come to an end? It cannot come to an end
because you need the `observer’ when you are functioning
mechanically. You need knowledge when you go to the office or to
the factory, or to the laboratory. But that knowledge, tied to the
censor who is ambitious and greedy, becomes corrupt; he uses
knowledge for corruption. This is so simple!
When there is a realization of this, then the ‘observer’ comes to
an end; it is not a matter of time, of the observer gradually coming
to an end. We are conditioned to think, ‘Gradually we will get rid
of the observer, gradually we will become non-violent.’ But in the
meantime we sow the seeds of violence.
So when we see very clearly how the ‘observer’ distorts
everything – the observer being the ego, the ‘me’ – how it separates and distorts, in that flash of perception the observer is not.
Questioner: Is it possible for continuous harmony to exist in this
Krishnamurti: Continuous harmony in this life is a
contradiction, is it not? The idea that it must be continuous
prevents the discovery of anything new. Only in ending is there a
new beginning. So the desire to have continuous harmony is a
contradiction. You are harmonious – full stop. We are slaves to the
word ‘to be’. If anything which you call harmony has continuity, it
is disharmony. Therefore, sir, do not wish for anything continuous.
You want your relationship with your wife to be continuous,
happy, lovely – all the romantic things. And it never happens. Love
is not something that is of time. So do not let us be greedy.
Harmony is not a thing that can continue. If it continues it becomes
mechanical. But a mind that is harmonious is – not ‘will be’ or ‘has
been’. A mind that is harmonious – again, ‘is’ is the wrong word – a
mind that is aware that it is harmonious does not ask the question,
‘Will I have it tomorrow?’ Questioner: Sir, how are things related to
the verbal content of the mind?
Krishnamurti: It is very simple, is it not? When we understand
that the word is not the thing, that the description is not the
described, the explanation is not the explained, then the mind is
free of the word. If one has an image about oneself, the image is
put together by words, by thought – thought is the word. One thinks
oneself as big, or small, clever, or a genius or whatever you will –
one has an image about oneself. That image can be described, it is
the result of description. And that image is the creation of thought.
but is the description, the image, part of the mind? What relationship has the content of the mind to the mind itself? Is the
content the mind itself? – is that the question, sir? Of course it is. If
the content of the mind is furniture, books, what people say, your
prejudices, your conditioning, your fears, that is the mind. If the
mind says there is a soul, there is God, there is hell, there is
heaven, there is a devil, that is the content of the mind. The content
of the mind is the mind. If the mind can empty itself of all that, it is
something entirely different; then the mind is something new and
Questioner: What is the sign of a man who has begun to
Krishnamurti: I’m sorry, I want to be funny about it – he doesn’t
carry a red flag! Look, sir, first of all, as we said, it is not a matter
of development, it is not a matter of slow growth. Does it need
time to understand something? What is the state of the mind that
says, ‘I’ve understood’ – not verbally but totally? When does it say
this? It says it when the mind is really completely attentive to the
thing it is looking at. Being attentive at that moment it has
understood completely, it is not a matter of time.
Questioner: There is so much suffering; having compassion,
how can one be at peace?
Krishnamurti: Do you think you are different from the world?
Are you not the world? – the world that you have made with your
ambition, with your greed, with your economic securities, with
your wars – you made it. The torture of animals for your food, the
wastage of money on war, the lack of right education – you have
built this world, it is part of you. So you are the world and the
world is you; there is no division between you and the world. You ask, ‘How can you have peace when the world suffers?’ How can
you have peace when you are suffering? This is the question,
because you are the world. You can go all over the world, talk to
human beings, whether they are clever, famous or illiterate, they
are all going through a terrible time – like you. So the question is
not, `How can you have peace when the world is suffering?’ You
are suffering and therefore the world suffers; therefore put an end
to your suffering, if you know how to end it. Suffering with its self-
pity comes to an end only when there is self-knowing. And you
will say, `What can one human being do who has freed himself
from his own sorrow, what value has that human being in the
world?’ Such a question has no value. If you have freed yourself
from sorrow – do you know what that means? – and say, `What
value has the individual in a suffering world?’,that is a wrong
Questioner: What is madness?
Krishnamurti: Oh, that is very clear. Most of us are neurotic, are
we not? Most of us are slightly off balance, most of us have
peculiar ideas, peculiar beliefs. Once we were talking to a very
devout Catholic and he said, `You Hindus are the most
superstitious, bigoted and neurotic people; you believe in so many
abnormal things.’ He was totally unaware of his own abnormality,
his own beliefs, his own stupidities. So who is balanced?
Obviously, the man who has no fear, who is whole. Whole means
sane, healthy and holy; but we are not, we are broken up human
beings, therefore we are unbalanced. There is only balance when
we are completely whole. That means healthy, with a mind that is
clear, that has no prejudice and that has goodness. (Applause.) Please do not clap, your applause has no meaning to me – I mean it.
If you have understood it, because you have seen it for yourself,
then there is no need to applaud – it is yours. Enlightenment does
not come through another, it comes through your own observation,
your own understanding of yourself.
BEYOND VIOLENCE PART IV CHAPTER 1
BROCKWOOD PARK 3RD PUBLIC TALK 12TH
SEPTEMBER 1970 ‘THE UNCONDITIONED
IF YOU ARE at all serious, the question whether it is possible to
uncondition the mind, must be one of the most fundamental. One
observes that man, in different parts of the world, with different
cultures and social moralities, is very deeply conditioned; he thinks
along certain lines, he acts and works according to pattern. He is
related to the present through the background of the past. He has
cultivated great knowledge; he has millions of years of experience.
All this has conditioned him – education, culture, social morality,
propaganda, religion – and to this he has his own particular
reaction; the response of another form of conditioning.
One has to be sufficiently attentive to see the whole significance
of this conditioning, how it divides people, nationally, religiously,
socially, linguistically. These divisions are a tremendous barrier,
they breed conflict and violence. If one is to live completely at
peace, creatively – we will go into the words `peace’ and
`creatively’ presently – if one is to live that way, one must
understand this conditioning which is not only peripheral or
superficial; but also very deep, hidden. One has to discover
whether the whole structure of this conditioning can be revealed.
And when that is discovered, what is one to do, to go beyond it?
If one observes that one is conditioned and says, `One can never
possibly uncondition the mind’, the problem ends. If you start out
with a formula that one will never be unconditioned, all enquiry ceases, one has already resisted and answered the problem and
there it ends; then one can only further decorate the conditioning.
But if one goes into this fairly deeply and one becomes aware of
the whole problem, then what is one to do? How does one respond
if this is a very, very serious challenge and not something that one
just brushes aside? If it is something vital and tremendously
important in one’s life, what is one’s response?
If you have discovered this conditioning then what is the
manner of your observation? Have you observed it for yourself or
has somebody told you about it? This is really quite an important
question to answer. If you have been told about it and you say,
`Yes, I am conditioned’, then you are responding to a suggestion; it
is not real, it is only a verbal concept which you have accepted,
with which you agree; that is quite different from the discovery of
it for yourself, for then it is tremendously vital and you have the
passion to find the way out of it.
Have you discovered that you are conditioned because you have
enquired, searched and looked into it? If so: `who’ has discovered
it? – the observer, the examiner, the analyser? – `who’ is observing,
examining, analysing the whole mess and the madness that this
conditioning is causing in the world? `Who’ by observing has
discovered the structure of this conditioning and its result? By
observing what is happening, outwardly and inwardly – the
conflicts, the wars, the misery, the confusion in oneself and outside
oneself (the outside is part of what one is) – by observing this very
closely (all over the world this thing is happening) I have
discovered that I am conditioned and have found the consequence
of this conditioning. So: there is the `observer’ who has discovered that he is conditioned, and the question arises: is the `observer’
different from that which he has observed and discovered, is that
something separate from himself? If there is separation, then again
there is division and therefore conflict as to how to overcome this
conditioning, how to free oneself from this conditioning, what to
do about it and so on. One has to discover whether there are two
separate things, two separate movements, the `observer’ and that
which is observed. Are they separate? Or is the `observer’ the
observed? It is tremendously important to find this out for oneself;
if one does, then the whole way one thinks undergoes a complete
change. It is a most radical discovery as a result of which the
structure of morality, the continuation of knowledge, has, for
oneself, quite a different meaning. Find out if you have discovered
this for yourself, or whether you have accepted what you have been
told as fact, or whether you have discovered this for yourself
without any outside agency telling you `It is so’. If it is your
discovery, it releases tremendous energy, which before had been
wasted in the division between the `observer’ and the observed.
The continuation of knowledge (psychological conditioning) in
action is the wastage of energy. knowledge has been gathered by
the `observer’ and the `observer’ uses that knowledge in action, but
that knowledge is divided from action; hence here is conflict. And
the entity that holds this knowledge – which is essentially his
conditioning – is the `observer’. One must discover this basic
principle for oneself; it is a principle, not something fixed; it is a
reality which can never be questioned again.
What happens to a mind that has discovered this truth, this
simple fact, that the `observer’ is the observed – psychologically speaking? If this is discovered, what takes place to the quality of
the mind – which has for so long been conditioned by its concepts
of the `Higher Self’ or the `Soul’ as something divided from the
body? If this discovery does not open the door to freedom it has no
meaning; it is still just another intellectual notion, leading nowhere.
But if it is an actual discovery, an actual reality, then there must be
freedom – which is not the freedom to do what you like or the
freedom to fulfil, to become, to decide, or the freedom to think
what you like and act as you wish. Does a free mind choose?
Choice implies decision between this and that; but what is the need
of any choice at all? (Please, sirs, these are not verbal statements;
we have to go into it, we have to live it daily and then will be
found the beauty of it, the vigour, the passion, intensity of it.)
Choice implies decision; decision is the action of will; who is the
entity that exercises will to do this or that? Please follow this
carefully. If the `observer’ is the observed, what need is there for
decision at all? When there is any form of decision
(psychologically), depending on choice, it indicates a mind that is
confused. A mind that sees very clearly does not choose, there is
only action – the lack of clarity comes into being when there is
division between the `observer’ and the observed.
Questioner: Factually there has to be this choice, this division
does there not?
Krishnamurti: I choose between brown cloth and red cloth – of
course. But I am talking psychologically.
If one understands the effects of choice, the effects of division
and decision, then the choosing becomes a very small affair. For
example: I am confused; in this world I have been brought up as a Catholic, or as a Hindu; I am not satisfied and I jump into another
religious organization that I have `chosen’. But if I examine the
whole conditioning of a particular religious culture, I see that it is
propaganda, a series of acceptances of beliefs, all arising through
fear, through the demand for security, psychologically; because
inwardly one is insufficient, miserable, unhappy, uncertain, one
puts one’s hope in something that can offer security, certainty. So
when the particular religion to which I belong fails, I jump into
another, hoping to find that security there; but it is the same thing
under another name, whether called `X’ or `Y’. When the mind is
very clear about this, it understands the whole situation and it has
no need of choice; then the whole response of action according to
`will’ comes completely to an end. `Will’ implies resistance and is a
form of isolation; a mind that is isolated is not a free mind.
A mind that is caught up in the acquisition of knowledge as a
means to freedom does not come to that freedom. Why has
knowledge become such an extraordinarily important thing in life?
– knowledge being the accumulated experience of that which other
people have discovered – scientific, psychological and so on,
together with the knowledge one has acquired for oneself through
observation, through learning. What place has knowledge in
freedom? Knowledge is always of the past; when you say `I know’,
it is implied that you have known. Knowledge of every kind,
scientific, personal, communal, whatever it is, is always of the past;
and as one’s mind is the result of the past, can it be free at all?
Questioner: What about self-knowledge?
Krishnamurti: See, first, how the mind accumulates knowledge
and why it does so; see where knowledge is necessary, and where it becomes an impediment to freedom. Obviously to do anything
one must have knowledge – to drive a car, to speak a language, to
do a technological job – you must have abundance of knowledge,
the more efficient, the more objective, the more impersonal, the
better – but we are speaking of that knowledge which conditions
The `observer’ is the reservoir of knowledge. The `observer’
therefore, is of the past, he is the censor, the entity that judges from
accumulated knowledge. He does this with regard to himself.
Having acquired knowledge about himself from the psychologists,
he thinks he has learnt about himself and with that knowledge he
looks at himself. He does not look at himself with fresh eyes. He
says, `I know, I have seen myself, parts are extraordinarily nice,
but the other parts are rather terrible.’ He has already judged and he
never discovers anything new about himself because he, the
`observer’, is separated from that which is observed, which he calls
himself. That is what we are doing all the time, in all relationships.
Relationships with another or relationships with the machine are all
based on the desire to find a place where we can be completely
secure, certain. And we seek security in knowledge; the keeper of
the knowledge is the `observer’, the thinker, the experiencer, the
censor, always as being different from the thing observed.
Intelligence is not in the accumulation of knowledge. The
accumulation of knowledge is static – one may add to it but the
core of it is static. From this static accumulation one lives, one
functions, one paints, one writes, one does all the mischief in the
world and one calls that freedom. So can the mind be free of
knowledge, of the known? This is really quite an extraordinary question, if one asks it not merely intellectually, but really very,
very deeply; can the mind ever be free of the known? Otherwise
there is no creation; there is nothing new under the sun then; it is
always reformation of the reformed.
One has to find out why this division between the `observer’ and
the observed exists; and can the mind go beyond this division, so
as to be freed from the known to function in a different dimension
altogether? – which means that intelligence will use knowledge
when necessary and yet be free of knowledge.
Intelligence implies freedom; freedom implies the cessation of
all conflict; intelligence comes into being and conflict comes to an
end when the `observer’ is the observed, for then there is no
division. After all, when this exists there is love. That word, so
terribly loaded, one hesitates to use; love is associated with
pleasure, sex and fear, with jealousy, with dependency, with
acquisitiveness. A mind that is not free does not know the meaning
of love – it may know pleasure and hence know fear, which are
certainly not love.
Love can only come into being when there is real freedom from
the past as knowledge. Is that ever possible? Man has sought this in
different ways; to be free of the transiency of knowledge. He has
always sought something beyond knowledge, beyond the response
of thought; so he has created an image called God. All the
absurdities that arise around that! But to find out if there is
something that is beyond the imagery of thought there must be
freedom from all fear.
Questioner: Are you differentiating between the brain as
intellect and the mind; the mind being something other, an awareness?
Krishnamurti: No, we are using the word ‘mind’ as meaning the
total process of thought, as memory, as knowledge, including the
Questioner: Including the brain cells?
Krishnamurti: Obviously. One cannot separate the brain cells
from the rest of the mind, can one? The brain – what is the function
of the brain? A computer?
Questioner: Yes, I think so.
Krishnamurti: A most extraordinary computer, put together over
thousands of years; it is the result of thousands of years of
experience, to secure survival and safety. And one has so much
knowledge of everything that is happening in the outer world, but
very little knowledge about oneself.
Questioner: Could not creation depend on memory and
therefore depend on the past? You said earlier that there is in fact
nothing new under the sun. Krishnamurti: `There is nothing new
under the sun, – at least the Bible, Ecclesiastes, says so. Are we not
confusing creation with expression – and whether a creative person
needs expression? Do think it out: `I need to fulfil myself in
something that must be expressed’, `I have a feeling that I am an
artist and I must paint, or write a poem.’ Does creation need
expression at all? And does the expression of an artist indicate a
mind that is free in creation? You understand? One writes a poem
or paints a picture – does that indicate a creative mind? What does
creativeness mean? Not the mechanical repetition of the past!
Questioner: I think creativeness does need expression or we
would not have a world. Krishnamurti: Creativeness does need expression? What does
creativeness mean? What is the feeling of the mind that is creative?
Questioner: When the mind is inspired; when it can make
something good and beautiful.
Krishnamurti: Does a creative mind need inspiration?
Must not the mind be free to be creative – free? Otherwise it is
repetitive. In that repetitiveness there may be new expressions but
it is still repetitive, mechanical; a mind that is mechanical, can it be
creative? The mind of a human being in conflict, in tension,
neurotic – though writing marvellous poems, marvellous plays –
can it be creative?
Questioner: It must be `in the now’ and not…
Krishnamurti: What does it mean, to be `in the now’? It cannot
be mechanical. It cannot be burdened with all the weight of
knowledge, of tradition. It means a mind that is really, profoundly
free – free of fear. That is freedom, is it not?
Questioner: But surely it must still seek safety; that is the
function of the brain.
Krishnamurti: Of course, it is the function of the brain to seek
security. But is it secure when it conditions itself as to nationality
and religious belief, in saying this is mine, that is yours and so on?
Questioner: It seems to me that without opposition there is no
growth. It is part of neurology.
Krishnamurti: Is it?
Questioner: Without high there is no low, or without wide there
is no narrow.
Krishnamurti: Let us find out. We have lived that way, between
the good and the bad, between hate, jealousy and love, between tenderness and brutality, between violence and gentleness, for
millions of years. And we say we have accepted that because it is
something real; is it, to live like that? The quality of mind that
wavers between hate and jealousy and pleasure and fear, can it
know what love means? Can a mind that is always seeking
expression, fulfilment, seeking to become famous, to be recognised
– which we call becoming, being, which is part of the social
structure, part of our conditioning – can such a mind be creative?
When a mind is caught in always becoming something, in the verb
‘to be’, ‘I will be’, ‘I have been’, there is the fear of death, the fear of
the unknown, so it clings to the known. Can such a mind ever be
creative? Can creation result from stress, opposition, strain?
Questioner: Creativeness is joy, imagination.
Krishnamurti: Do you know what joy means? Is joy pleasure?
Krishnamurti: You say ‘no; but that is what you are seeking, are
you not? You may have a moment of great ecstasy, great joy, and
you think about it. Thinking about it reduces it to pleasure. We all
so easily come to conclusions, and a mind that has reached
conclusions is not a free mind. Find out whether one can live
without any conclusions; live daily a life without comparisons.
You conclude because you compare. Live a life without
comparison; do it and you will find our what an extraordinary thing
Questioner: If there is just the experience and the experience is
fear, or anger, what happens?
Krishnamurti: If one lives only in an experience without that
experience being recorded and recognised in the future as an experience, what happens? I think one has first to find out what we
mean by that word ‘experience’. Does it no mean ‘to go through’?
And does it not imply recognition, otherwise one would not know
that one had had an experience? If I did not recognise the
experience, would it be experienced?
Questioner: Can there not just be the experience?
Krishnamurti: Go a little further. Why do we need experience at
all? We all want experience; we are bored with life, we have made
life into a mechanical affair and we want wider, deeper
experiences, transcendental experiences. So there is the escape
from boredom, through meditation, into the so-called divine.
Experience implies recognition of what has happened; you can
only recognise if there is a memory of that thing which has already
happened. so the question is: why do we seek experience at all? To
wake us up, because we are asleep? Is it a challenge to which we
respond according to our background, which is the known?
So, is it possible to live a life in which the mind is so clear,
awake, a light to itself, that it needs no experience? That means to
live a life without conflict; that means a mind that is highly
sensitive and intelligent, which does not need something to
challenge it or to awaken it.
BEYOND VIOLENCE PART IV CHAPTER 2
BROCKWOOD PARK 4TH PUBLIC TALK 13TH
SEPTEMBER 1970 ‘FRAGMENTATION AND
ONE OF THE most important problems to solve is that of bringing
about a complete unity, something beyond the fragmentary self-
centred concern with the `me’, at whatever level it be, social,
economic or religious. The `me’ and the `not me’, the `we’ and
`they’ are the factors of division.
Is it ever possible to go beyond the activity of self-centred
concern? If something is ‘possible’ then one has a great deal of
energy; but what wastes energy is the feeling that it is not possible,
so that one just drifts – as most of us do – from one trap to another.
How is this possible? – recognising that in a human being there is a
great deal of the animal aggression and violence, a great deal of the
stupid mischievous activity; recognising how he is caught in
various beliefs, dogmas and separatist theories and how he revolts
against one particular system or establishment and falls into
So, seeing the human situation as it is, what is one to do? This, I
think, is the question that every human being who is sensitive,
alive and aware of the things that are happening around him, must
inevitably ask. It is not an intellectual or hypothetical question but
something arising from the actuality of living. It is not something
for the few rare moments but something that persists throughout
the day and night, through the years and until one lives a life that is
completely harmonious, without conflict in oneself and with the world.
Conflict, as one observes, arises from self-centred concern,
which gives such tremendous importance to the appetites. How
does one go beyond this petty, shoddy, little self? (It is that, though
one may call it the soul, the Atman – such pleasant sounding words
that one invents to cover a corruption). How is one to go beyond?
Not being capable of inward changes, psychologically, we turn
to outside agency – change the environment, the social and
economic structure, and man will inevitably also change! That has
proved utterly false – though the communists insist on that theory.
And religious authorities have said: believe, accept, put yourself in
the hands of something outside and greater than yourself. That too
has lost its vitality because it is not real, it is merely an intellectual
invention, a verbal structure which has no depth whatsoever. The
identification of oneself with the nation, that too has brought
dreadful wars, misery and confusion – ever-increasing division.
Seeing all this, what is one to do? – escape to some monastery,
learn Zen meditation, accept some philosophical theory and
commit oneself to that, meditate as a means of escape and self-
hypnosis? One sees all this – actually, not verbally or intellectually
– and sees that it leads nowhere; does one not inevitably throw it all
aside, deny it all, completely, totally?
One sees the absurdity of all forms of self-identification with
something larger, of expecting the environment to shape man; one
sees the falseness of it all; one sees the superficiality of beliefs,
noble or ignoble; then does one not set all that aside, actually, not
theoretically? If one does – and it is quite a task – it implies a mind
that is capable of looking at things completely, as they are, without any distortion, without any interpretation according to one’s like or
dislike; then what takes place to the quality of the mind? Is there
not immediate action? – action that is intelligence; the seeing of the
danger and acting; intelligence in which there is no division
between seeing and acting. In the very perception is action. When
one does not act, insanity begins, imbalance takes place; then we
say, `I cannot do that, it is too difficult, what shall I do?’
When there is a concept according to which action is
determined, psychologically, there is division and there must be
conflict. This conflict between the idea and action is the most
confusing factor in life. Is it not possible to act without the ideation
taking place? – which is, seeing and the action taking place
together; for when there is great physical danger, a crisis, that is
what we do, act instantly. Is it possible to live like that? That is: is
it possible to see clearly the danger, say, of nationalism, or of
religious beliefs, which separate man against man, so that the very
seeing of it is the understanding that it is false? – it is not a question
of believing that it is false. Belief has nothing whatever to do with
perception; on the contrary, belief prevents perception; if you have
a formula, a tradition, or a prejudice, you are a Hindu, a Jew, an
Arab or a Communist and so on, then that very division breeds
antagonism, hate, violence, and you are incapable of seeing the
actuality. In any division between the concept and action there
must be conflict; this conflict is neurotic, insane. Can the mind see
directly so that in the very seeing is the doing? That demands
attention, that requires an alertness, a quickness of the mind, a
One sees this – that one needs to have a clear, sharp, sensitive, intelligent awareness – and then one asks, ‘How am I to get it, to
capture it?’ – in that question there is already division. Whereas,
when you see the actual fact of what is going on, then the very
seeing of it is the action – I hope this is clear.
Every form of conflict, inwardly or outwardly – and there is
really no division as the outer or the inner – is distortion. I do not
think that one realizes this sufficiently clearly. One is so
accustomed to conflict and struggle; one even feels that when there
is no conflict one is not growing, not developing, not creating, that
one is not functioning properly. One wants resistance, yet not
seeing the implication of resistance, which is division. So, can the
mind act without resistance, without conflict, seeing that any form
of friction, any form of resistance, implies division bringing about
a neurotic, conflicting state?
When there is perception and action without concept, the
activity of the centre, of the `self’, the `me’, the ‘I’, the `ego’, the
`libido’ – whatever word one uses to describe that which is inside –
the `observer’, the censor, the controller, the thinker, the
experiencer and so on, comes to an end. The centre of all
psychological ideation is the `me’ (not practical and scientific
knowledge and so on). When there is any challenge, then the
response from the centre as the `me’ is the response of the past.
Whereas, in the instant seeing and the instant acting the ‘self’ does
not enter at all.
The centre is the Hindu, the Arab, the Jew, the Christian, the
Communist and so on; when that centre responds, it is the response
of his past conditioning, is the result of thousands of years of
propaganda, religious and social; and when it responds there must be conflict.
When one sees something very clearly and acts there is no
division. One does not learn this from books; it is something one
can only learn through self-knowing, something learnt direct, not
Can man, realizing the transiency of all things, find something
that is not of time? The brain is the result of time; it has been
conditioned through thousands of years. Its thought is the response
of memory, knowledge, experience; that thought can never
discover anything new because it is from that conditioning; it is
always the old; it is never free. Anything that thought projects is
within the field of time; it may invent God, it may conceive a
timeless state, it may invent a heaven, but all that is still its own
product and therefore of time, of the past, and unreal.
So man, as one observes, realizing the nature of time – the
psychological time in which thought has become so extraordinarily
important – has everlastingly sought something beyond. He sets out
to find this; he becomes trapped in belief; through fear he invents a
marvellous deity. He may set out to find it through a system of
meditation, a repetitive affair, which may make the mind
somewhat quiet and dull. He may repeat mantras endlessly. In such
repetition the mind becomes mechanical, rather stupid; it may fly
off into some mystical, supernatural, transcendental something or
other that it projects for itself. That is not meditation at all.
Meditation implies a mind that is so astonishingly clear that
every form of self-deception comes to an end. One can deceive
oneself infinitely; and generally meditation, so-called, is a form of
self-hypnosis – the seeing of visions according to your conditioning. It is so simple: if you are a Christian you will see
your Christ; if you are a Hindu you will see your Krishna, or
whichever of the innumerable gods you have. But meditation is
none of these things: it is the absolute stillness of the mind, the
absolute quietness of the brain. The foundation for meditation has
to be laid in daily life; in how one behaves, in what one thinks. One
cannot be violent and meditate; that has no meaning. If there is,
psychologically, any kind of fear, then obviously meditation is an
escape. For the stillness of the mind, its complete quiet, an
extraordinary discipline is required; not the discipline of
suppression, conformity, or the following of some authority, but
that discipline or learning which takes place throughout the day,
about every movement of thought; the mind then has a religious
quality of unity; from that there can be action which is not
And also, in all this: what part do dreams play? The mind is
never still; the incessant activity that goes on during the day
continues during sleep. The worries, the travails, the confusion, the
anxiety, the fears and the pleasures go on when one sleeps; they
become more acutely symbolized in dreams. Can the mind be
completely still during sleep? This is possible, but only when the
travail of the day is understood at each minute so that it is finished
and not carried over. If one is insulted or praised, finish with it as it
happens, so that the mind is constantly freed of problems. Then as
you sleep, a different kind of quality comes into being, the mind is
completely at rest, one is not carrying over the business of the day,
one ends it with each day.
If one has gone through all this one sees that meditation is that quality of mind that is completely free from all knowledge – but
such a mind uses knowledge; because it is free from `the known’ it
can use `the known; when it uses `the known’ it is sane, objective,
impersonal, not dogmatic.
And so it happens that in this silence of the mind there is a
quality which is timeless. But, as we said, the explanation, the
description, is not that which is explained or described. Most of us
are satisfied with explanations or descriptions; one must be free of
the word, for the word is not the thing. When one lives that way,
life has quite a different beauty; there is great love which is neither
pleasure nor desire; for pleasure and desire are related to thought,
and love is not the product of thought.
Questioner: When I observe myself, I see a very rapid
movement of thought and feeling and I am unable to watch one
thought to its conclusion.
Krishnamurti: There is always a chain of events going on. What
are you to do? When you watch and try to understand one thought,
go to its very end, another arises; this goes on all the time. There is
your problem: as you are watching you are the multiplication of
thoughts, and you cannot finish one thought to its end. What are
you to do? Put the question differently; why does the mind
endlessly chatter – why does this soliloquy go on? What happens if
it does not go on? Is the chattering the result of wanting to be
occupied with something? If you are not occupied, what takes
place? If you are a housewife you are occupied with housekeeping,
or you are occupied as a businessman – occupation has become a
mania. Why is the mind demanding this occupation, this
chattering? What happens if it does not chatter, if it is not occupied? – is there fear behind it? Fear of what?
Questioner: Of being nothing?
Krishnamurti: Fear of being empty, being lonely, fear of
becoming aware of all the turmoil in itself; therefore it must be
occupied with something, as the monk is occupied with his saviour,
his prayers; the moment he stops he is just like anybody else, there
is fear. So you want to be occupied, and this implies a fear of
finding out what you are. Until you solve that problem of fear you
Questioner: As I watch myself the fear increases.
Krishnamurti: Naturally. So the question is: not so much how to
stop the increase of fear, but rather, can fear end?
What is fear? You may not feel fear as you are sitting here, so
perhaps you may not be able to take that and examine it and learn
from it now. But you can immediately perceive that you depend,
can you not? You depend on your friend, on your book, on your
ideas, on your husband; psychological dependency is there,
constantly. Why do you depend? Is it because it gives you comfort,
a sense of security and of well-being, companionship? When that
dependency fails you become jealous, angry and all that follows.
Or, you try to cultivate freedom from dependency, to become
independent. Why does the mind do all this? Is it because in itself
it is empty, dull, stupid, shallow? – through dependency it feels that
it is something more.
The mind chatters because it has to be occupied with something
or other; this occupation varies from the highest occupation of the
`religious’ man to the lowest occupation of the soldier and so on.
The mind is obviously occupied because otherwise it might discover something of which it is deeply afraid, something which it
may not be able to solve.
What is fear? does it not relate to something I have done in the
past, or something that I imagine might happen in the future? – the
past incident and the future accident; the past illness and the future
recurrence of the pain of it. Now it is thought that creates this fear;
thought breeds fear, just as thought sustains and nourishes
pleasure. Then can thought end? – can it come to an end so that it
no longer gives a continuity to fear or to pleasure? We want
pleasure, we want it to continue; but fear, let us put it away. We
never see that the two go together.
It is the machinery of thinking that is responsible, that gives the
continuity to pleasure and fear. Can this machinery stop? When
you see the extraordinary beauty of a sunset, see it; but do not
qualify it with thought, saying, `I must treasure it in the memory,
or have it again’. To see it and so end it, is action. Most of us live in
inaction, therefore there is endless chattering.
Questioner: But when the chattering does go on, do you just
Krishnamurti: That is, become aware of this chattering – without
choice. Which means: do not try to suppress it, do not say `it is
wrong, or right’, or `I must get beyond’. As you watch chattering,
you discover why it goes on. When you learn about chattering, it is
finished, there is no resistance to chattering. Through negation you
have the positive action.
BEYOND VIOLENCE PART V CHAPTER 1
TALK AT ROME CINEMA PASQUINO 21ST
OCTOBER 1970 ‘PSYCHOLOGICAL
LIFE IS SERIOUS; one has to give one’s mind and one’s heart to
it, completely; one cannot play with it. There are so many
problems; there is so much confusion in the world; there is the
corruption of society and the various religious and political
divisions and contradictions. There is great injustice, sorrow and
poverty – not only the poverty outside but the poverty inside. Any
serious man – fairly intelligent and not just sentimentally emotional
– seeing all this, sees the necessity of change.
Change is either a complete psychological revolution in the
nature of the whole human being, or it is a mere attempt at the
reformation of the social structure. The real crisis in the life of
man, you and I, is whether such a complete psychological
revolution can be brought about – independent of nationality and of
all religious division.
We have built this society; our parents, and their parents before
them, have produced this corrupt structure and we are the product
of that. We are society, we are the world, and if we do not change
ourselves radically, really very, very deeply, then there is no
possibility of changing the social order. Most of us do not realize
this. Everyone, especially the younger generation, says: ‘We must
society’. We talk a great deal but we do nothing about it. It is we
ourselves that have to change, not society – do please realize this.
We have to bring about in ourselves, at the highest and at the deepest levels, a change in our whole way of thinking, living,
feeling; then only is the social change possible – mere social
revolution, the change of the structure of society outwardly by
physical revolution, inevitably brings about, as has been seen,
dictatorship or the totalitarian state, which deny all freedom.
To bring about such a change in ourselves is a lifetime’s work –
not just something for a few days then to be forgotten – it is a
constant application, a constant awareness of what is going on,
within and without.
We have to live in relationship; without it we cannot possibly
exist. To be related means to live totally, wholly; for this there
must be in ourselves a radical transformation. How shall we
radically transform ourselves? If this seriously interests you then
we shall have communication with each other; we shall think
together, feel and understand together. So: how can man, you and
I, totally change? That is the question and nothing else is relevant –
it is a question not only for the young but also for the old.
In this world there is tremendous agony, immense sorrow, war,
brutality and violence; there is starvation of which you know
nothing. One realizes that there is so much that can be done but for
the vast fragmentation that there is, in the political world with its
many parties and in the many religions; they all talk about peace
but deny it, for there can only be peace, reality and love, when
there is no division.
So again, seeing this vast fragmentation both inwardly and
outwardly, the only issue is that a human being must radically,
profoundly, bring about in himself a revolution. This is a very
serious problem, it is an issue that affects one’s whole life; in it is involved meditation, truth, beauty, love. These are not just words.
One has to find a way of living where they come into reality.
One of the most important things in life is love. But what is
called love is associated with sex, which has become so
tremendously important; everything seems to revolve around sex.
Why do human beings right through the world, whatever their
cultures be, whatever religious sanctions say – find sex so
extraordinarily important? – and with it is associated the word
`love’ – why?
When you look at your own life, you see how it has become
mechanical; our education is mechanical; we acquire knowledge,
information, which gradually becomes mechanical. We are
machines, secondhand people. We repeat what others have said.
We read enormously. We are the result of thousands of years of
propaganda. We have become psychologically and intellectually
mechanical. In a machine there is no freedom. Sex offers freedom;
there for a few seconds is freedom, you have completely forgotten
yourself and your mechanical life. So sex has become enormously
significant; its pleasure you call love. But is love pleasure? Or is
love something entirely different, something in which there is no
jealousy, no dependency, no possessiveness?
One has to give one’s life to find out what love means, just as
one has to give one’s whole life to find out what meditation is and
what truth is. Truth has nothing whatsoever to do with belief.
Belief comes into being when there is fear. One believes in God
because in oneself one is so completely uncertain. One sees the
transient things of life – there is no certainty, there is no security,
there is no comfort, but immense sorrow – so thought projects something with the attribute of permanency, called God, in which
the human mind takes comfort. But that is not truth.
Truth is something that is to be found when there is no fear.
Again, one has to give a great deal of attention to understand what
fear is – both physical and psychological fear. One has these
problems in life which one has not understood, which one has not
transcended; thereby one continues a corrupt society, whose
morality is immoral and in which virtue, goodness, beauty, love, of
which we talk so much, soon become corrupt.
Will the understanding of these problems take time? Is change
immediate? Or is it to be brought about through the evolution of
time? If time is taken – that is to say, at the end of your life you
have reached enlightenment – then in that time you continue to sow
seeds of corruption, war, hatred. So can this radical inward
revolution happen instantly? It can happen instantly when you see
the danger of all this. It is like seeing the danger of a precipice, of a
wild animal, of a snake; then there is instant action. But we do not
see the danger of all this fragmentation which takes place when the
`self’, the `me’, becomes important – and the fragmentation of the
‘me’ and the `not me’. The moment there is that fragmentation in
yourself there must be conflict; and conflict is the very root of
corruption. So, it behoves one to find out for oneself the beauty of
meditation, for then the mind, being free and unconditioned,
perceives what is true.
To ask questions is important; it is not only that one exposes
oneself, but in asking questions one will find for oneself the
answer. If one puts the right question the right answer is in the
question. One must question everything in life, one’s short hair or long hair, one’s dress, the way one walks, the way one eats, what
one thinks, how one feels, everything must be questioned: then the
mind becomes extraordinarily sensitive, alive and intelligent. Such
a mind can love; such a mind alone knows what a religious mind
Questioner: What is the meditation of which you speak?
Krishnamurti: Do you know anything of what meditation means
even? Questioner: I know there are various forms of meditation,
but I do not know which one you speak of.
Krishnamurti: A system of meditation is not meditation. A
system implies a method, which you practise in order to achieve
something at the end. Something practised over and over again
becomes mechanical – does it not? How can a mechanical mind –
which has been trained and twisted, tortured to comply to the
pattern of what it calls meditation – hoping to achieve a reward at
the end – be free to observe, to learn?
There are various schools, in India and further East, where they
teach methods of meditation – it is really most appalling. It means
training the mind mechanically; it therefore ceases to be free and
does not understand the problem.
So when we use the word `meditation’ we do not mean
something that is practised. We have no method. Meditation means
awareness; to be aware of what you are doing, what you are
thinking, what you are feeling, aware without any choice, to
observe, to learn. Meditation is to be aware of one’s conditioning,
how one is conditioned by the society in which one lives, in which
one has been brought up, by the religious propaganda – aware
without any choice, without distortion, without wishing it were different. Out of this awareness comes attention, the capacity to be
completely attentive. Then there is freedom to see things as they
actually are, without distortion. The mind becomes unconfused,
clear, sensitive; such meditation brings about a quality of the mind
that is completely silent – of which quality one can go on talking,
but it will have no meaning unless it exists.
Questioner: Will not this way lead to more isolation, more
Krishnamurti: First of all: are not most human beings terribly
confused? Are you not very confused? – see the fact, know whether
you are confused or not. A mind that is confused, whatever it does,
brings about confusion. A mind that is confused says `I will
practise meditation,’ or `I will find out what love is’ – how can a
confused mind find anything, except its own projection of
confusion. If one has realized this fact, then what shall one do?
One is confused and one tries to bring about a state of mind
which is not confused. One tries this, that, ten different things –
drugs, drink, sex, worship, escapes – you follow – throw bombs,
anything. The first thing is to stop action, to stop doing something.
Also, one must stop all movement away from confusion so that
there is no action springing to, or away from, confusion. So all
action then stops, there is only confusion. There is no escape from
it, neither is there trying to find a way out of it, nor trying to
replace that confusion by clarity; there is no movement of thought
away from this, causing further confusion; thought is not
concerned with action for the moment. Then the question arises:
are you aware of this confusion as being something outside of you
as the `observer’, or are you part of this confusion? Is the `observer’ different from the thing observed – the confusion? If the `observer’
is differentiated from the thing observed then there is a
contradiction – that very contradiction is the cause of confusion.
So, how the mind looks at this confusion is important. Does it
observe it as something apart, separated from itself, or is the
`observer’ the observed? Please do understand this most important
thing. Once you have understood this you will see what a
tremendous difference it makes in life; all conflict is removed. The
`observer’ no longer says: `I must change it’, `I must bring about
clarity’, `I must overcome it’, `I must try to understand it’, `I must
escape from it’. All such activity is that of the `observer’ who has
separated himself from the confusion and has generated conflict
between himself and the confusion. Questioner: I admit my
Krishnamurti: Ah! The moment you say `I admit my confusion’,
there is an entity who admits it. You do not see the importance of
this. I observe; in observing do I find I am observing as an
outsider, or as part of this confusion? If I am part of the confusion
the mind becomes completely quiet, there is no movement, I am
still, I do not move away from it. Therefore, when there is no
division between the `observer’ and the observed there is complete
cessation of confusion.
And the other question that was asked: `If I am to learn from
myself, what happens when the world around me controls me,
conscripts me, takes me to war, tells me what to do politically,
economically, religiously? There are the psychologists and the
gurus from the East – they all tell me what to do. If I obey – which
is what they all want me to do, promising Utopia at the end of it, or Nirvana, Enlightenment or truth – then I become mechanical. The
root meaning of the word `obey’ is to hear. By hearing constantly
what other people tell me, I gradually slip into obedience. If I learn
from myself, I also learn about others. And if the government ask
me to join the army, I will do what I think is right at the moment I
am asked. A free mind does not obey. A free mind is free because
in itself there is no confusion. Then you will say, `What is the good
of having one individual, one human being, with such a mind when
all about it there is corruption, confusion?’ Do you think you would
ask such a question if you had such a mind?
What is the meaning of having a mind so completely clear and
Questioner: Surely there will be no words any more?
Krishnamurti: Those are all your speculations, are they not?
How do you know? Questioner: Words are the basis of ideas.
There would be no ideas any more and the mind would be free;
then we would not have relationships, we would not seek any
more. We would have silence, complete silence and we would
understand. Everybody can have a free mind.
Krishnamurti: I understand what you are saying very clearly.
But, first of all: are we concerned with the world as something
separate from ourselves? Is the world `you’ actually – not
theoretically `you’? Do you feel the quality of a mind that says, `I
am the world, the world is me, the me and the world are not two
separate entities’? The `self’ is divided from the community, the
`self’ is against the world, the `self’ is against your friend, against
your wife, your husband. The `self’ is important, is it not. And that
`self’ is asking the question, `What will the world be if there is no self’? Find out if you can live without the `self’ and then you will
see the truth of it. Also there is the previous question: what is the
good of one human being in the world having a clear, unspotted
mind, free – what is the point of it? Now who is asking the
question? He who is confused or he whose mind is clear,
unconfused, free? `Who’ is asking this question? Does the flower
ask this question? Does love ask this question? Do you ask a
question of this kind when you are confronted with a tremendous
issue? Do you ask this question: what value is it if I know what it
means to love when the others do not know what it means to love?
You just love. You do not ask this question. When you have no
fear, psychologically, and everyone around you has this fear, will
you then ask: `What is the good of my having no fear when all the
others have fear?’ Then what do you do? You have no fear and
others have fear – what do you do? – you try to help me to learn the
whole structure of fear.
Questioner: How do you prevent language creating division?
Each language has its own peculiar structure, a certain pattern, and
language becomes a barrier.
Krishnamurti: So, how does one get over this barrier? Is it not
fairly clear that the word is not the thing? Whether you use an
Italian word or an English word or a Greek word, that word is not
the thing. The word `door’ is not the door. The word, the
description, the explanation, is not the thing explained or
described: if this is seen, then there is no longer a dependency on
the mere word. Now thought is manufactured of words; thought is
always responding, according to memory, in verbal structures.
Thought is limited by words, is the slave of words. Can one listen without the word interfering? You say to me `I love you’, but what
happens there? The words do not mean anything at all; but there
may be a feeling of relationship which has not been brought about
by the response of thought to the words; there may be a direct
communication. So the mind, being aware that the word is not the
thing, that the word, which is thought, interferes, listens freely,
without prejudice – as it does when you say `I love you’.
Can you listen without interpreting, without your prejudices
interfering, twisting – listen as you may listen to the song of a bird?
(In Italy there are so few birds; they kill them. What monstrous
people we are.) Can you listen to the song of the bird without
verbal comment, without naming it, saying, `It is a blackbird’, `I
would like to go on listening to it; can you listen without any of
that interference, just listen – eh? You can, can you not? Now: can
you listen equally to what goes on in yourself? – without prejudice,
without a formula, without distortion – just as you may listen to
that bell (noise of bell without any association, just listening to the
pure sound of it; then you are the sound, you are not listening to
the sound as something separate. Questioner: To do this we need to
Krishnamurti: To so listen you need to practise! Somebody
must teach you! The moment somebody teaches you, you have the
guru and the disciple, the authority and the learner. Now when that
bell rang, did you listen to it – without any interpretation, with
complete attention? If you saw that you said to yourself, `It is mid-
day’, `What time is it?’, `It is meal time’, then you saw that you
were not actually giving complete attention to that sound; so you
learnt – you were not taught – that you were not listening. Questioner: There is a difference between a bell ringing or a
bird singing, on the one hand, and a word in a sentence which is
interlaced with other words. I can isolate the sound of a bird, but a
word in a sentence I cannot isolate.
Krishnamurti: Listening to a bird is objective, outside. But can I
listen to myself using a word in the context of a sentence; can I
listen to the word and be free of the word and its context?
You may say: `That is a beautiful table.’ You have given that
table certain appreciation; you have called it beautiful. I may look
at it and say: `What an ugly table.’ So the word denotes your
feeling; it is not the actual thing; it comes into being as an
associated idea. Can you look at your friend without the image you
have created about that friend – the image being the word, the
symbol? We cannot, because we do not know how that image has
been built. You tell me something, which is pleasurable, and I
create an image out of that, that you are my friend; another tells me
something which is unpleasant, similarly I build an image; when I
meet you it is as a friend, when I meet another it is not as a friend.
But can the mind not build an image at all, though you say pleasant
or unpleasant things? It can stop building the image when I give
attention; then there is no image-formation; I can listen – listen
without any image.
Questioner: Would it be possible to go back to what you were
saying at the beginning, about changing ourselves in society? How
is it possible to really change yourself when you are obliged to
conserve your relationships. I am in the Capitalist world and all my
relations have to be capitalistic otherwise I would starve.
Krishnamurti: And if you lived in the Communist world, you would also adjust yourself there.
Krishnamurti: So what will you do?
Questioner: How can I change?
Krishnamurti: You have put the question: if I live in a capitalist
society I have to adjust myself to the Capitalist demands; yet if I
lived in a Communist society, totalitarian, bureaucratic society, I
would also have to do exactly the same things – so what will I do?
Questioner: I do not think it would be the same thing.
Krishnamurti: But it is the same pattern. There you might have
short hair and you would have to go to work, do this or that. But it
is within the same whirlpool. What will you do? A human being,
realizing that change within himself is of primary importance –
whether he lives here or there – where is his concern? He must
change himself: what does this change imply? Freedom from
psychological fear, freedom from greed, envy, jealousy,
dependency; freedom from the fear of being lonely, from the fear
of conformity – right? If you have all these things working inside
you – realising no conformity – you live as well as you can, there or
here. But, unfortunately for us, the important thing is not
revolution inwardly but change this and that externally.
Questioner: And then what happens if someone kills you?
Krishnamurti: Ah! No one can kill a free man. They can put his
eyes out; inwardly he is free, nothing can touch that freedom.
Questioner: Would you give a definition of egoism?
Krishnamurti: If you want a definition look it up in a dictionary.
`Definition’ – please, I have said very carefully that the description
is not the described. What is this self that is isolating itself all the time? Even though you love somebody, whether you sleep with
that somebody, etc., there is always this self which is separate –
with its ambitions, its fears, its agonies, with its occupation with
itself in self-pity. As long as that self exists there must be
separation, as long as that exists there must be conflict – right?
How is that self to disappear – without effort? The moment you
make an effort, there is the `Higher Self’, so-called, that is
dominating the `lower self.’ How can the mind dissipate this thing
called `the self’? What is the self? – is it a bundle of memories? – or
is it something permanent? If it is a bundle of memories, it is of the
past; that is the only thing you have, it is nothing permanent. The
self is the `me’ that has accumulated knowledge and experience, as
memory, as pain; and that becomes the centre from which all
action takes place. See it actually as it is.
Every religion, every society and culture, realizes that `the self’
wants to express itself; in art, self-expression is tremendously
important; it is also very important in its assertion to dominate.
Every religion has tried to destroy the self – `Do not bother about
the self,’ `Put God in its place, or the State in its place’. And that
has not succeeded. The self has identified itself with God –
whatever that is – and so it remains. We are saying: observe that
self in operation, learn about it, watch it, be aware of it, do not
destroy it, do not say, `I must get rid of it’ or `must change it’, just
watch it, without any choice, without any distortion; then out of
that watching and learning, the self disappears.
Rome. 21 October 1970.
SAN DIEGO STATE COLLEGE, CALIFORNIA
3RD PUBLIC TALK 7TH APRIL, 1970 ‘THE
VIOLENCE IN OUR LIVES’
I would like, if I may, this evening, to talk about the implications
of meditation and what is necessary for a mind that is capable of
really true meditation – what is the first step, as it were.
First of all, I think one has to understand the meaning of the
word freedom. For most of us, freedom implies freedom to express
ourselves, or freedom to do what we like in society; or freedom to
think what we like; or freedom from a particular tiresome habit or a
particular idiosyncrasy and so on. To understand what is freedom –
because that seems to me absolutely necessary for a mind that is
capable without any distortion to be able to meditate.
For most of us we demand freedom politically or religiously or
to think what we like, and there is the freedom of choice. Political
freedom is all right and one must have it, but for most of us we
never demand and find out whether it is at all possible to be free
inwardly. Our mind is a slave to its own projections, to its own
demands, to its own desires and fulfillments. The mind is a slave to
its cravings, to its appetites. And apparently we never ask whether
it is at all possible to be free inwardly. But we are always wanting
freedom outwardly – to go against the society, against a particular
structure of society. And this revolt against society, which is taking
place all over the world, is a form of violence which indicates that
one is concentrating on an outward change without the inward
So, violence plays an extraordinary part in our life, we never ask whether the mind can be completely and utterly free from
violence. We have accepted it as part of life, as we have accepted
war as a way of life. And we have our favourite wars – you may not
like this particular war, but you don’t mind having other kinds of
wars. And there will be always wars – and there have been for
5,000 years, wars, because man has accepted violence as a way of
life. And we never question whether the mind can be really and
truly, deeply free of violence. And the permissive society in which
we live, the culture in which this is gradually coming out of this
society, to do what one likes or choose what one likes, is still an
indication of violence. Where there is choice there is no freedom.
Choice implies confusion, not clarity. When you see something
very clearly there is no choice, there is only action. It is only a
confused mind that chooses. And choice is an indication of the lack
of freedom and therefore in choice there is resistance, conflict.
And so our life as it is now is based on violence. Our life is
conditioned by the verb ‘to be’. Please, this is important to
understand, how our life is guided and conditioned by the verb ‘to
be: one has been, one is, and one will be. The idea in that verb is to
arrive, to succeed, to achieve, to become, gradually attain peace,
gradually get rid of the things that hinder us. So the verb ‘to be’ is
the conditioning of the mind in time. Do please follow this.
Because enlightenment is not of time at all. Understanding is
not a matter of gradual sensitivity; either one understands it
immediately or not at all. As long as the mind is conditioned by
that verb, and as most minds are, all our modern structure is based
on that. I will be good, I will gradually achieve a certain state of
mind and so on. So one has to be aware of this dangerous word. And find out whether the mind can be free of the word, because the
word is never the thing, the description is never the described. And
we are satisfied with the description, with the explanations.
So, as I said, we are going to go into this question of not only
what is meditation – and I believe that is a new word that you have
learned in this country, brought from the East, and one doesn’t
know the full meaning of that word. But before we go into that,
which is a very complex and most important thing, meditation is
the most beautiful thing in life, if you know what meditation is. But
before one can meditate one must understand what is living, what
is love and what is death. If you don’t understand that your
meditation is merely an escape, is a form of self-hypnosis.
So you must lay the foundation, not gradually. There must be
order before the mind can fully comprehend the significance of
what meditation is, there must be complete order. Which means,
the end of all conflict, all disturbance, all disorder within oneself,
otherwise your sitting down in a corner by yourself for ten minutes
a day and thinking you’re going to meditate or achieve
enlightenment, is nonsense, if you don’t mind my saying so.
So one has to understand what living is. And one can
understand that only by observing what actually it is, not in
opposition to a concept, to a formula, to an ideology, but actually
what it is. So one must be free to observe actually what our life is,
not what it should be. If you are thinking in terms of what it should
be, then you are totally avoiding what your actual life is.
So what is this life that we are living, this life, the actual daily
life is disorder, isn’t it? There is conflict, there is driving ambition,
there is battle in ourselves, opposing contradictory desires and words, endless frustrations. And there is frustration because we
have never understood what fulfillment is, and if there is such a
thing as fulfillment. What is there to fulfil? One’s own particular
little ambition, one’s own appetites, envies, ambitions to be
somebody? And what is that centre that demands all this? Is not
that very centre the cause of disorder? Please, as I said the other
day, and I hope you won’t mind the repetition of it, you are not
merely listening to a few words or ideas of the speaker. That has no
value whatsoever. What has significance and worthwhileness, is
that through these words of the speaker you are observing yourself,
you are observing your life, your daily life as it is lived. And
without bringing about order in that life, complete mathematical
order, life has very little meaning – going to the office every day
for the next 60 years, 40 years, living in this constant battle
between ‘what is’ and ‘what should be’, between the frustrated
ambitions and the simple, clear, beautiful life; the images that one
has built about oneself and about others, the self-centred activity
that is going on all the time, which is isolating each one, and
And what is our life, a life of conflict, a life that has really no
meaning as it is, a life that is a battlefield, not only in yourself but
also in your relationship, a life of division, contradiction, routine,
monotony. And a life that is, when you look at it very deeply,
utterly lonely, a life that has no beauty. And that is our life and we
are not exaggerating it, if you observe yourself very carefully,
without any prejudice, bias, when you look at every human being,
right through the world, the saint, the priest, the specialist, the
careerist, the ordinary layman are all caught in this. And we want to escape from it. And so you escape through
nationalism, through beliefs, through dogmas, through innumerable
forms of entertainment, in which is included the religious
entertainment. That is our life, comparing ourselves with
something that should be, comparing ourselves with the greater,
with the nobler, with the more intelligent, with the more spiritual
and so on and on. Therefore conflict and fear. This is our life, a
battle for security and in the very search for security, psychological
as well as physical, we bring about destruction. These are obvious
And from this we want to escape, because man has lived like
this for thousands and thousands of years, with sorrow, confusion
and great misery and mischief. And without changing all that,
completely, radically, mere outward revolution, changing a
particular system for another system, does not solve this aching
agony. There is only one revolution, the inward revolution.
So, spitting on society, blaming society for your condition, is
obviously blaming something which you have created – it is your
society, you have built it, by your greed, envy, ambition,
competitiveness, comparison, by one’s own inward hatreds,
violence. So that is our life, a really quite insane life.
Now the question is, how can that life be changed, not
gradually, but immediately, otherwise you’re sowing the seed of
violence, though you may want peace, you are actually sowing the
seeds of enmity, misery.
So seeing all this non-verbally, not as an explanation, not as an
idea but seeing it actually as it is, feel it, as you feel hunger,
therefore being intimately related to it. And you cannot be deeply, beautifully related to this living, which we call life, as long as you
have any form of escape from it, any form of distortion.
So, awareness without choice, to be aware of this whole
phenomenon of existence, not someone else’s existence, not being
aware of this, of our life according to somebody, some
philosopher, some guru, some psychologist, but being aware of it
actually, because you yourself see it. If one is so completely aware
of it, and one must be, because one cannot possibly live as we are
living – we are talking inwardly, psychologically, a life that is so
torn. And if we want order, and order is virtue, order demands
discipline, that is to learn, not to conform, not to imitate, but to
learn. And to learn about a disorder, which is our life, to observe it,
to learn, and in that observation comes an extraordinary discipline,
not imposed by anybody, because the very observation itself has its
own discipline. In the very act of observing you are learning, and
therefore the learning is the discipline. Please do see this because
we have imposed on ourselves so many disciplines – the business
discipline, the religious discipline, the family discipline – of course
the military discipline is the most absurd kind of discipline.
But we’ve got so many disciplines – the must and the must nots,
all this conforming, imitating, suppressing, and being suppressed,
wanting to fulfil – all that is disorder. So to understand order, to
learn about order, not what order should be, but to learn about it,
one must learn about disorder. Are we following each other or are
you slowly being mesmerized by words, because if you are, tant
pis, it’s up to you.
We said, one must learn about disorder, which is our life, which
is our mind, our heart, our very core of our being, is disorder, because if you say, there is a soul, there is, according to the
Hindus, the Atman and so on, they are just theories. Philosophy has
nothing to do with living, and we are trying to understand what
living is, and we are seeing that in living is disorder, utter disorder,
the battle, the misery, the confusion, the agony, the guilt, the fear.
So one has to observe without any choice, this disorder which is
you, which is me – to observe it, not what you want it to be, then
you create conflict between ‘what is’ and ‘what should be’. And
when there is conflict there is disorder. Please do understand this
thing very simply – once you understand this you will find that by
observing disorder in oneself, without any distortion, without
wanting to bring about order out of this disorder, trying to impose
what you think is order on disorder, but observe it without any
choice, without any distortions. Then out of that observation comes
supreme order, the highest good.
And in that there is a total revolution. And from that inward
radical change, then there comes outward order, not the other way
round. We want outward order first and this has never been
possible – every revolution including the Communist revolution,
says forget about the inward order, let’s have State order. And you
know what is happening, every revolution has done this, try to
bring about outward order without paying any attention whatsoever
to this psychological, supreme order within oneself.
And order means also not only virtue but love. And what is
love? I wonder if you have ever asked that question, what love is –
have you? What is love, how will you find out? You will find out
what it is through what it is not, through negation the positive
comes. But if you pursue the positive, then it is the pursuit of the projection of the mind. So when you deny all the projections of the
mind, by denying in the sense, setting it aside, negating, then you
will find out what it is.
So that is what we are going to do, find out what it is not, to
find out what it is. We said, what is love – you know, that is one of
the most important things in life. If one has love you can do what
you like, then there is no conflict, then there is no evil, there is
great bliss, but to imagine what bliss is and pursue that, is not love.
So we are going to see what it is not, and therefore come upon
what it is. Therefore it is not a question of searching out love, nor
cultivating love – how can you cultivate love, all cultivation is the
product of the mind, product of thought; it is like a mind that
pursues humility, it says, I know vanity and I must cultivate
humility. And then the mind that is proud and vain cultivates
humility it is still vain. It is like those saints that are pretending to
be humble, because they have cultivated humility.
So what we are going to do is to find out what it is not, not
through me, not through the speaker at all, but by listening to
yourself and finding out what it is not and if it is not that, wipe it
away instantly. If you don’t wipe it, if it doesn’t disappear, then you
are caught in time, you are a slave to the word and the verb ‘to be’.
And therefore there is no love.
So first we are asking what it is not. Obviously it is not
jealousy, it is not envy, and your love is hedged about, a prisoner to
jealousy, envy. And when you see that, that what you call love is
entangled with the ugly brutality of jealousy, see, actually observe
it, and in that observation jealousy goes, and you will never be
jealous again, never envious. Please do this as we are talking. Envy comes only when there is
comparison. And is love comparison? So again, you put aside all
comparison, which means all envy. Then, is love pleasure? This is
going to be a little more difficult. For most of us, love is pleasure –
there is love, sexual love, love of God or love of – God knows what
else. It is based on pleasure. The love of respectability is the very
essence of the bourgeois mind.
So is love pleasure? Do observe it, please. We were saying
yesterday evening what pleasure is – the product of thought, having
had pleasure of different kinds yesterday, you think about it, you
have image upon image built and that stimulates you and that gives
you pleasure, sexual or otherwise, and that you call love. And is it
love, because in pleasure there is frustration, there’s pain, there’s
agony, there is dependency? Don’t you depend psychologically on
another? And when you do, when you depend on your wife or your
husband, whatever it is, and you say, «I love you», is that love?
And in that dependence is there not fear?
You are the product of your conditioning, you’re the product of
your society, you’re the product of propaganda, religious and
otherwise – for two thousand years, as in India ten thousand or five
thousand years they have been told what to believe, what to think.
You repeat what others have said. All your education is that, the
repetition of what you have learnt from a book. And you’re that,
you’re conditioned, you are not free, happy, vital, passionate
human beings. You are frightened human beings and therefore
secondhand, you’re full of authority of others; or your own
particular little authority, of your own knowledge – you know
something about something and you become an authority. So you’re not free. And intellectually – look – are you free? Not
repeat what others have said, not what you’ve been taught in the
university or what you have learnt from a book. And what have
you experienced? Go into it, you will see what you have
experienced. You have experienced something that you will always
recognize, otherwise it is not an experience. Therefore your
experience is always old, like thought is always old – thought is
never new, because it is the response of memory.
So you – if you will forgive my repeating it – you are
secondhand human beings, intellectually, emotionally. You go to
places to learn how to be sensitive. Lovely, idea, isn’t it, be taught
by another how to think.
So morally, intellectually, deeply, you are not free, and
therefore you are only free in your sexual expression. And that is
why it has become so extraordinarily important. There you are full,
there you are free, though it has its own problems and its own
neurotic attitudes and actions. So sex becomes important when
everything else becomes unimportant, when life, the whole of it,
not just sex, life includes living, life includes what love is, what
death is, the whole movement of living, when that has no meaning,
then one fragment which you call sex, becomes extraordinarily
important and vital. When you are not passionate about freedom,
inwardly, then you are lustfully passionate about sex, that’s all.
And with that you associate love, pleasure. And with that you
associate tenderness, gentleness, you may be sexually very tender,
very kind, considerate, but outwardly you destroy, you kill
everything round you, animals to eat, to hunt. So your love is based
on pleasure and therefore is it love? Love, surely, is something that is none of all this; compassion means passion for everybody, not to
your particular little desire.
So when you understand what disorder is by observing very
closely, out of that comes order. And order has its own discipline
which is its own virtue, therefore that order is the supreme good
and therefore love, which has nothing whatsoever to do with
pleasure, because pleasure has pain. Love is enjoyment, love is joy,
not the puny thing that man has made it. To find that out, what love
is, you must also understand what death is. Do you really want to
understand what death is? Yes? I doubt it, very much, because you
are all so scared of death, aren’t you? Or you have a belief in an
after life, therefore you are not frightened. You have rationalized
your life, knowing that it is going to come to an end, the puny,
shoddy little life that one lives, and one is frightened of that,
therefore you say, let’s rationalize, it, think about it, clarify it – you
know, all the rest of it.
Or, you have a belief in an after life. The whole of Asia believes
in an after life, millions believe in reincarnation. But they never
question what it is that incarnates. They believe that there is a
permanent entity that is going to incarnate and so on, I won’t go
into all that. If you believe in reincarnation, then what matters is
how you live today, because you are going to pay for it next life.
How you live, what you do, what you think, what your morality is.
So, even though you may believe in reincarnation, what matters is
how you live now. So you have to face death, not postpone it till
old age, some accident, disease and so on – you have to meet it,
you have to understand it, not be afraid of it.
So we say, we must understand life and avoid death. But if you see life as a whole in which there is this living and this
extraordinary thing called love, and death, as a total unit, not three
separate things, then what is death? The organism, by usage,
disease and all the rest of it, comes to an end – it comes to an end
quicker when there is conflict. All your heart failures and all the
business of it, is the result of this extraordinary emotional,
contradictory way of living. The organism comes to an end. And
either you can say, that is the end, finish; or, which we do say, the
end of the whole structure and the nature of the ‘me’, the ‘me’ which
has divided itself as us and they, we and them, we and you, that
‘me’ is the centre of conflict.
Now can that ‘me’ die, not eventually but every day, then you
will know what death is, so that the mind is always fresh tomorrow
because you have death to the past. Do it, not follow it. Die to your
pleasure, die to your furniture – that’s what you are, your furniture:
whether the chair or the furniture that you have accumulated in
your mind, which you call knowledge. So that you die every day to
everything that you have accumulated. And that’s what is going to
happen to you anyhow. That means, to empty the mind of
everything known, which means the mind becomes utterly
innocent. And it is only such a mind that has this extraordinary
religious quality of purity that can come upon what is called
SAN DIEGO STATE COLLEGE, CALIFORNIA
2ND PUBLIC TALK 6TH APRIL, 1970 ‘THE
STRUCTURE OF FEAR’
If we may, we will continue with what we were talking about the
other day. I don’t quite know where to begin, because what we are
going to talk about is such a complex problem and needs
considerable investigation. So I hope that we can go together easily
with some hesitation into this question.
One has to be serious. It is only those who are really, vitally
serious, can live properly, can live a life that is complete and
whole. And that seriousness doesn’t exclude joy, enjoyment. But as
long as there is fear, one cannot possibly be serious, or enjoy, or
know what it means to have great joy. And fear seems to be one of
the most common things in life, and strangely we have accepted it
as a way of life, as we have accepted violence in all its various
forms as a way of life, we have also accepted and got used to being
psychologically as well as physically afraid.
And this evening, if we can, we should go into this question.
We should, I feel, go into it so completely that we understand it so
fully that when we leave the hall, or this place, we shall be rid of
this fear. I think it can be done, it isn’t just a theory, or a hope, but
if one gives, as we shall presently, complete attention to this
question of fear, I’m quite sure that in exploring the causes of fear
and also how to approach it, how to look at it, how to completely
end it, so that our mind, the human mind that has suffered so much,
that has endured so much pain, that has lived with great sorrow and
fear, such a mind can completely be free of this thing called fear. And to understand it, we must communicate with each other
quite easily. Communication implies, the very word means,
creating together, understanding together, working together; not
that you merely listen to the speaker, hear a few words or ideas, but
with the speaker take a journey together, and understand this very
complex problem of fear. And to communicate, to take this journey
together implies neither acceptance nor denial, not saying to
oneself, it’s absolutely impossible to be rid of fear, or rationalize
fear, or accept it – you need a free mind to enquire into this
question, a mind that has no conclusion, that doesn’t say, this is
possible or it’s not possible. Because we are enquiring, exploring
together. So you must be free to observe, to enquire. And that’s
absolutely essential. So that one has no prejudice to find out,
prejudice which will prevent the understanding of the truth of it, of
You see, there are so many forms of fear, both physical as well
as psychological, psychosomatic fears. And to go into each one of
these various forms of fear requires enormous time, demands a
great many days to go into every aspect of every fear. But I think
one can observe the quality of fear, the general fear, not a
particular fear, observe the nature of fear, the structure of fear, not
get lost in a detail or in a particular form of one’s own fear.
Because when we understand the nature and the structure of fear,
then we can apply that understanding, or come with that
understanding, or approach with that understanding, our particular
fear. One may be afraid of the dark, physically, or one may be
afraid of one’s wife or husband, or what the public says or thinks or
does. Or one may be afraid of this sense of loneliness, or the emptiness of life, the boredom of a meaningless existence that one
leads. Or one may be afraid of the future, the tomorrow, the
uncertainty, the insecurity, the bomb. Or one may afraid of death,
the ending of one’s life.
So there are various forms of fear, neurotic as well as sane,
rational fears. If fear can ever be rational or sane. But most of us
apparently are neurotically afraid of both the past, of today and of
tomorrow; the things that one has done in the past or the ill health
that one has had in the past with all its pain and agony and not
wanting it repeated and is one afraid of that, tomorrow. One is
afraid of time, growing old, getting senile, depending on another.
So there is fear of time, fear of the past and of the future. And
this fear of loneliness, of death, of public opinion, of not
conforming, not being able to succeed, not being able to fulfil, not
being somebody in this stupid world, and so on. And now one is
afraid of the draft, the conscription. And there are so many fears,
not only conscious fears, fears that one is aware of, but also there
are fears deep down, undiscovered, unexplored, in the deep
recesses of one’s own mind.
So the question is, not only how to deal with the conscious fears
as well as those that are hidden, the fear of time, that is yesterday,
of the things that one has done, the repetition of that misery, of
tomorrow, the uncertainty, the insecurity, both psychological as
well as physical. And there are the fears of great loneliness and the
escape from that loneliness. Surely fear is a movement away from
‘what is’, the flight, the escape, the avoidance of actually ‘what is’,
the movement, the flight away brings about fear. That is, when
there is comparison of any kind, it breeds fear – comparing oneself with another whom you think is greater or wiser, nobler etc., etc.
And the comparison of what you are with what you should be.
So fear is a movement away from the actual, the ‘what is’, the
movement, not the object from which you escape. And fear comes
about through comparison. And there is the fear, deeply hidden in
oneself, of which one is not aware. So that these problems are all
very complex. And none of these problems of fear can be resolved
through will, saying to oneself, I will not be afraid. An act of will
has no meaning. I hope you are following all this – it isn’t a game I
am playing with you, nor you playing a game with me. We are
considering very serious problems and therefore you have to give
your attention to it. And you cannot give attention if you are
interpreting or translating or comparing what is being said with
what you already know – you have to listen. And the art of listening
one has to learn, because one doesn’t listen at all, one is always
comparing, evaluating, judging, denying. Therefore you prevent
yourself from actually listening. To listen so completely to another
implies that you give your whole attention – it doesn’t mean you
agree or disagree, because there is no agreement or disagreement
when we are exploring together. Only the microscope through
which you look may be dull, may not be clear. So if you have a
precision instrument then what you see, is what another will also
see. Therefore there is no question of agreement or disagreement or
So we are trying to examine this whole question of fear, so you
will have to give your attention, its your life, because fear deadens
the mind, makes the mind insensitive, dull. How can a mind that is
afraid love? A mind that depends, what can it know of joy, except fear?
So there are conscious as well as hidden fears. How do you –
first enquire – how do you expose those hidden fears? And when
you do expose them, how will you be free of them, how can the
mind be free of them? That is the first question. Please do follow
this – you yourself are doing this, you yourself are observing it, the
speaker is only pointing out.
How does it happen that the hidden fears are open, exposed?
One can know the conscious fears and how to deal with them will
come presently. But there are the hidden fears, perhaps much more
important. So how will you deal with them, how will you expose
Would you permit me to take my coat off? You don’t mind? It’s
so dreadfully hot, isn’t it? I am working, you are not, and that’s the
pity of it. If you are working as hard as the speaker to go into this
question, your whole attitude and attention would be entirely
different, if you don’t mind my saying so.
So we are considering, how the deep layers of fear, hidden, can
be exposed. Can they be exposed through analysis – analysing,
seeing their causes? Will analysis free the mind from fear, not a
particular neurotic fear but the whole of fear, the whole structure of
fear – analysis? In analysis is implied, not only time, taking many,
many days, years, the whole of one’s life, at the end of it perhaps
you may understand a little but you are ready for the grave. And
also in analysis implies the analyser. Who is the analyser? Is he the
professional, the expert, who has a degree, going to analyse your
deep, hidden fears? And he will also take time, and therefore also
your money. So analysis implies the analyser who is the censor, who is the
result of many forms of conditioning. And he is going to analyse
the fear which he himself has created. I hope you are following all
this, because our intention is that when you do leave this rather
warm hall, that you no longer have any form of fear. It can be
done. And you will know quite a different kind of life, you’ll know
what tremendous joy is, a mind that is completely free of this
terrible thing called fear. And to be free of that you have to walk
together, you are going to work as hard as the speaker is working.
So analysis implies time and an analyser. Please see the truth of
this, not your opinion as opposed to the speaker’s opinion or
somebody else’s opinion or knowledge – see the truth of it, that it
takes time. And the interval between that which you are analysing
and the ending of that will involve time and therefore many other
factors which give it a different direction. [I hope this film, film-
making is not disturbing you.] You have to see the truth that
analysis is not the way, because the analyser is the result of time,
the analyser is conditioned, the analyser is a fragment among many
other fragments which go to make up the ‘me’, the ‘I’, the ego.
So he becomes the analyser, assumes the authority of the
analyser, and his analysis must be complete each time, otherwise
what is the point of analysis at all. So analysis, which implies time
is not the ending of fear. Is this somewhat clear? To see this means
that you have completely put aside the whole idea of progressive
change, because the very factor of change is one of the major
causes of fear. Are you all being mesmerized? Because to me, to
the speaker, this is a very important thing, therefore he feels very
strongly, he speaks intensely, he is not doing propaganda – there is nothing for you to join, nothing for you to believe; but to observe
and learn and be free of this fear.
So analysis is not the way. Do you understand what that means,
when you see the truth of that? It means that you are no longer
thinking in terms of the analyser, who is going to examine, who is
going to analyse, going to judge, evaluate, therefore your mind is
free of a particular burden called analysis, therefore it is capable of
And if analysis is not the way and therefore false, how are you
to look at this fear, how are you to bring out all the structure, all
the hidden parts of fear? Through dreams? Dreams are the
continuation of waking hours, through sleep – aren’t they? I don’t
know if you have observed that in dreams there is always action,
doing something or something is happening, which is the same in
the waking hours, a continuation of the waking hours, when there
is sleep, through dreams it is still part of the whole movement. So
dreams have no value. Are you accepting all this? Great Scott, I
hope not – I’m sure you don’t – it doesn’t matter. Because you see
what is happening, we are eliminating the things to which you are
accustomed: analysis, dreams, will, time, so that when you
eliminate, the mind becomes extraordinarily sensitive. And through
this elimination it has become not only sensitive but intelligent.
Now with that sensitivity and intelligence we are going to look
at fear. Are we going together? You know this is great fun, if you
really go into this, because then you turn away, you turn your back
on the whole of the social structure in which time, analysis, will is
So what is fear? What is fear, how does it come? Fear is always in relation to something, it doesn’t exist by itself: in relation to
something that is permanent to another thing that is also
permanent. There is fear of what happened yesterday, the repetition
of that tomorrow, whether it is pain or some other form, there is
always a fixed point from which relationship takes place. We’ll go
into that in a minute.
So as we were saying, fear exists only in relationship with some
other thing, otherwise there is no fear. Related to the past, in
memory of the past pain and not wanting that, the repetition of that
pain tomorrow or today. Relation to something that has happened.
And what is fear – you have had pain yesterday, that is obvious,
you have had it. Or there is some hope tomorrow which might not
So there is fear of yesterday, there is fear of tomorrow. How
does that fear come about? You are asking the question, not I. So
you are working hard. I’ve had pain yesterday, obviously, and there
is the memory of it, and not wanting it again tomorrow. How does
fear come into this? Thinking about the pain of yesterday, thinking,
the memory of yesterday’s pain projects the fear of tomorrow, of
having pain again tomorrow. So thought brings about fear.
Thought, thought brings about fear, breeds fear, and also thought
cultivates pleasure. To understand fear you must also understand
pleasure, because they are interrelated, without understanding one
you can’t understand the other, which is, you can’t say I must have
only pleasure and no fear, because fear is the other side of the coin
which is called pleasure.
So there was pleasure yesterday, sexual or different kinds of
pleasures, you think about it, the image, chew the cud of pleasure, which is thinking about it. And you may not have it tomorrow. So
thought engenders fear. I think that’s fairly clear, isn’t it?
So thought not only sustains pleasure, it also nourishes fear, and
thought has separated itself as the analyser, the thing to be analysed
is also part of thought. So it is playing tricks upon itself. So then
the question is: if thought is doing all this, thought that refuses to
examine the hidden, unconscious fears, the thought that has set the
analyser separate from the thing to be analysed, thought that has
brought in time as a means of escaping fear, but sustaining fear,
and thought also nourishing pleasure, which has nothing
whatsoever to do with joy, because joy is not the product of
thought, it is not pleasure. You can cultivate pleasure, you can
think about it endlessly and derive great pleasure, but you can’t do
that with joy. The moment you do that it has gone, it has become
something from which you derive pleasure and therefore which
you are afraid to lose.
So thought is responsible for pleasure, pain, fear. And also
thought is afraid of being completely lonely. Thought has already
condemned it, and so thought invents a way of escaping from that
loneliness through various forms of religious entertainments or
cultural something or other, the everlasting search for deeper and
So thought is responsible. Then what is one to do? What is one
to do when one realizes that thought, which is the response of
memory to any challenge, minor or major, which sustains both
pleasure and fear, these are all facts, not the speaker’s invention, or
his peculiar philosophy or theory, these are absolute daily
observable facts. Then the next question is, what is one to do? There is thought, you can’t kill it, you can’t destroy it, you can’t say,
well, I’ll forget it, you can’t resist it – if you do, that’s another form
of thought. Thought is the response of memory. And you need that
memory to function daily, to go to your office, to go to your home,
to be able to talk – memory is the storehouse of your technological
knowledge. So you need memory, completely.
And also you see how memory sustains fear through thought,
having had pleasure yesterday, seeing the beauty of that lovely
sunset, and you want that again repeated, that same experience,
either through drug or through going to that particular spot to look
at that exquisite light. And when it doesn’t happen there is pain,
there is disappointment, frustration. So thought. You need memory
with all the purity and clarity of thought in one direction,
technologically, to function daily, to earn a livelihood and so on.
And also you see there is the fact that thought also breeds fear.
So what is one to do, what is the mind to do? You’ve understood
the question? Is it clear? You are putting the question to yourself,
I’m not putting the question to you. If you are accepting my
question, the speaker’s question, then it’s not your question. If it is
your question, which it must be, after this examination, if it is not,
you are asleep. If it is your own, then how will you answer it, how
will you answer this question, after having gone through the
various facts of analysis, of time, of escape, of dependency, seeing
that a movement away from ‘what is’ is fear, the movement itself is
fear. After observing all that, seeing the truth of all that, not
opinion, not your casual judgement, what is your answer to this
question that thought must function most efficiently, sanely, and
yet that very thought becomes a danger because it breeds fear? Now before you answer that question, what is the state of the
mind that has gone through all this? You understand what I mean?
What is the state of the understanding of your mind, the mind that
has examined all these various forms which we have being
exposed, which have been explained or observed, what is the
quality of your mind now, because on that quality you’re going to
answer? If you have not taken the journey you have no answer; but
if you have actually taken the journey step by step and gone into
everything that we have discussed, then your mind, you will see,
has become extraordinarily intelligent, live, sensitive, because it
has thrown off all the burden that it has accumulated.
Then the question is, how do you observe this whole process of
thinking? Is there a centre from which you think? Do follow all
this, please. The centre being the censor, the one who judges,
evaluates, condemns, justifies – do you still think from that censor?
Or there is no centre from which to think at all, but you think? You
see the difference? Is this getting all too much – do tell me, please.
No? I’m surprised – you’re merely listening, I’m afraid.
Look sirs, thought has created a centre as the ‘me’ – me, my
opinions, my country, my God, my experience, my house, my
furniture, my wife, my children, you know, me, me, me. That is the
centre from which you act, think. That centre divides. And because
of that centre and that division, there must be conflict, obviously.
When it is your opinion against somebody else’s opinion, my
country, your country and all that – division. Which means, the
centre is always divided. And if you think from that centre and
observe from that centre fear, you’re still caught in fear, because
that centre had separated itself from the thing it has called fear, and therefore it says, I must get rid of it, I must analyse it, I must
overcome it, resist it and so on. So you are strengthening fear.
So can you look, can the mind look at fear, which we will go
into a little bit more, without the centre? Can you look at that fear
without naming it, because the moment you say – fear – it is already
in the past, because you have named it. You are following all this?
The moment you name something, don’t you divide it? The white
and the black, and the brown and the Communist – don’t you? And
so that very division is a form of resistance, conflict and fear. So
the question is, to observe without that centre, and not to name the
thing called fear, as it arises. All this requires tremendous
discipline. You know, the word discipline means to learn, to learn
from somebody – you’re not learning from the speaker, you’re
learning from yourself.
And to observe all this very closely, with care, which means
with affection and attention, then the mind is looking without the
division as the centre, to which it has been accustomed. Therefore
there is the ending of fear, both the hidden and the open. If you
haven’t done it this evening, don’t take it home and think about it.
Truth is something which you must see immediately. And to see
something clearly and immediately you must give your heart and
your mind and your whole being.
Now perhaps you’d ask questions, if you’d care to.
Q: Is what you are trying to say that, rather than trying to escape
from fear, in essence, fearing fear, we should accept fear instead?
K: No, sir. Don’t accept anything. You see sir, I don’t know how
to make it simple. Not to accept, sir, but to look at fear. You have
never looked at fear, have you? You’ve never said, well, I am afraid, let me look. Have you done that? Or you’ve said, I am
afraid, let me turn on the radio, or go to Church or pick up a book,
or resort to a belief – a movement away. So you have never looked
at fear, you have never come directly into communication with it,
you have never come directly in contact with it. The moment you
say, my wife, see what you have done – the image that you have
built about her or the husband, that image is in contact with the
other image, therefore relationship is between image and image. In
the same way, to look at fear without naming it, without running
away, without trying to overcome it, just to be with it, without any
movement away from it. You do it. And if you do it you will see
very strange things happen.
Q: After you meet fear do you become it?
K: After you meet fear, can you become it? You are fear, how
can you become it? Sir, I don’t know how to explain this. You are
fear, only the mind, thought, has separated itself from the fear, not
knowing what to do with it, therefore it resists it; therefore having
divided itself from fear, it becomes the observer of that fear and
resists that fear or escapes from that fear. But the observer, the one
who resists, is also fear.
Q: Sir, a great deal of frustration exists because people are not
permitted to tape-record lectures, privately. Could you tell us why,
K: I’ll tell you – very simple.
Q: First of all, psychologically, why do they want to take notes;
and secondly is the physical part of it, why are they not allowed to
K: First of all, if you are taking a recording of this talk, it is very disturbing to your neighbour – you’re fiddling with it, and all the
rest of it. Second, what is important, to listen, directly, now, to
what is being said, or take it home and later listen to it? Which is
important, when the speaker is saying, time, don’t allow time to
interfere? And you say, well, I’ll record what you’re saying and
take it home. Surely fear is now, you have it in your heart, in your
mind, may be not actually at this moment – but it is there.
Q: Sir, if that is true then why does the Foundation sell tapes?
K: Wait sir, wait sir, look at it, sir – forget the Foundation, why
they tape, and so on, kick it all overboard. Just listen, sir. Which is
important: to listen directly to what is being said, while you are
here? Is that the most important thing? Because you have taken all
the trouble to come here and the speaker has also taken the trouble
to come here. And we are trying to communicate together, now.
Wait, sir – listen for two minutes. You are trying to understand it
now, not tomorrow. And the understanding of that now is of the
highest importance and therefore you must give all your attention
to it. And you cannot give all your attention if you are taking notes.
If you are paying half attention to your tape recorder, holding the
beastly thing up and all the rest of it.
Now you may not understand all this immediately. So you may
want to listen to it again. Then buy a tape, or don’t buy a tape, a
book or not a book. That’s all. If you take all this that has been said
this evening, in an hour and ten minutes, completely, absorb it
wholly with your heart and mind, it’s finished. You haven’t done it,
unfortunately. Have you? Because you haven’t given your mind to
all this before, because you have accepted fear, you have lived with
fear, your fear has become your habit. And what the speaker is saying is to shatter all that. And the speaker says, do it now, not
tomorrow. Just a minute, sir. So that is clear, because our minds are
not used to seeing the total nature of fear, what is implied. And if
you could see it immediately, you’ll be out of this hall with ecstatic
mind. But most of us are not capable of doing that immediately,
and therefore the tapes. Finished. Right, sir?
Q: What about observing fear, and then you find yourself
moving away, like you said. You said, observe it directly, but what
if you observe it but then you find yourself moving away, what do
K: You observe fear and find yourself moving away from it.
What are you to do? First of all, don’t resist moving away. Move
away, go with it, and come back to fear again. Look, to observe
fear – please listen to this very simple fact – you must give
attention, mustn’t you? You must give attention, attention being,
don’t condemn, don’t judge, don’t evaluate, just observe. And when
you move away, your attention has wandered. Right? Hasn’t it?
Which is, you’re not attending, there is inattention. Be inattentive,
but be aware that you are inattentive. Right? That very awareness
of your inattention is attention. Have you got this?
Please look what is implied – to observe fear you must give your
whole attention, which means, to look without judgment but not to
condemn it, not to resist it, to look at it with your heart, with your
mind; as you are looking, you are wandering off, which is, you
become inattentive. Now, don’t resist inattention, don’t try to
become attentive, then you fight it, then there is conflict. But if you
are attentive, if you are aware of your inattention, be aware of it,
don’t do anything about it, but be aware that you are inattentive, then that very awareness is attention. Got it? It’s so simple. Once
you get this, you will eliminate conflict altogether. You see, you
are aware with choice. When you say, I have been attentive and
now I am not attentive and I must become attentive – there is a
choice. And to be aware means to be aware without choice.
Therefore when you are inattentive, be inattentive, and know that
you are inattentive – that very knowledge that you are inattentive is
Q: Sir, about fear and freedom from fear. Now somehow I can
only be free from fear in itself. I am frightened of what fear
actually is. For instance, some people may say they are so afraid of
themselves, they try to escape from themselves. Up to about eight,
eleven, I was afraid of thunder storms. And whenever there was
one I would want to get in my parents’ bed and I had fear. One day,
it was a day I was up in the mountains and there was a thunder
storm and there was fear, and I came to realize that a thunder storm
couldn’t possibly do any harm to me.
K: What are you saying, madam?
Q: Well, just that as I was afraid of a thunderstorm, as I was
saying why I was afraid of that thunderstorm and why I was
K: Madam, this is not…
Q: It’s a pretty common fear. Why is this fear so common?
K: We’ve been through all that this morning. This is only a part
Q: I’ve got a problem that I’ve been in school for 23 years now,
twenty four years, and I don’t know anything else, it’s my whole
life. So the problem comes as to whether or not I’m dependent on the school, on its immediate affairs. And now I am free to leave
school and to go out into the world – I’m afraid. And yet I also tell
myself that well this is simply the situation, the situation I’ve
always known, therefore I shouldn’t leave it, it’s my language. So
the question is, am I in fear, or is it only my dependency here
working, doing what my professors want me to do?
K: Sir, I am not answering your question, but I am asking
myself, why we depend on anything. I depend on the milkman, the
postman, the policeman, and all the rest of it. But there are other
forms of dependencies, depending on my job, psychologically,
depending on my profession, depending on the audience sitting in
front of me, because if I depend on the audience sitting in front of
me, I realize certain pleasure from it, it sustains me, and therefore I
depend. And then there is fear.
So the question is, can the mind be free of dependency,
psychologically? Not to depend means to have no fear. When you
depend on another, is it love? And most people depend on another,
on the wife, husband, whatever it is, and therefore love goes
overboard, pleasure takes its place and fear comes in. And then one
dominates the other and all the rest of the nasty business of a
family. Whereas when there is no dependency at all, family has
quite a different meaning.
Q: Pleasure and fear are related: if we remove fear do you think
we should enjoy pleasure?
K: If as you say, fear and pleasure are related, can one remove
fear and so enjoy completely pleasure. Lovely, wouldn’t it be!
Lovely question and a lovely idea. Take away all my fears so that I
can enjoy myself in my pleasures. That’s what everybody right throughout the world asks the same thing, some very crudely, some
very subtly – can you escape, can you get rid of fear and hold on to
pleasure? Pleasure – you smoke, it is a pleasure, there is pain within
it, because you may get a disease. Pleasure, you’ve had pleasure,
whether the man or the woman, sexually or otherwise, comfort and
so on. And when that person looks away you are jealous, angry,
So pleasure inevitably brings pain. And we are not saying we
cannot have pleasure. See the whole structure and you will know
then that joy is not pleasure, real enjoyment, the beauty of
enjoyment, the freedom, has nothing whatsoever to do with
pleasure, and therefore with pain or fear. If you see that, the truth
of it, then you will understand pleasure and give it its proper place.
Q: I think that there are always times in life when we are
confronted with a duty and sometimes this duty takes every ounce
of energy that we have, both physical energy and spiritual energy.
For example, a job or a family and so forth. My question is, how
can one maintain the spirit of recollection beyond fragmentation
that you were discussing yesterday, while being involved with
K: I wonder why we use the word duty – it is such an ugly word.
Isn’t there a difference between duty and affection and love? Isn’t
there responsibility with love, not duty? Duty is an ugly word used
by the politicians and the priests. And you use that word to
condemn yourself, which means that you are no longer loving,
being affectionate. So to find out, sir, what love is, is as important
to find out what fear is. When there is the ending of fear, then there
is the beginning of love. Then you can never use the word duty. Q: Just two questions. At the beginning of the talk you said one
must be serious in order to realize properly. There are other men
that would say, one must have a sense of humour concerning all
aspects of life. Is your statement differing, entirely opposite to this
K: To be serious means also to laugh.
Q: So I’m not serious – O.K. The second question is, sir. you
find a kind of fear but aren’t there some fears that are useful at least
for survival? For example, I’m very much afraid of jumping from
the Empire State building.
K: Surely. When physically you face a danger, the natural
response is self-protection. Physical survival – is that fear or is it
intelligence? Now we don’t apply that same intelligence with
regard to fear, the inward fears, the psychological fears. Look at
this sir, very simply. The world has divided itself into nationalities
and religious groups and political groups. This division is bringing
about war, hatred. And that very war is destroying us, though we
think through nationalism we shall have security. So when one
realizes all this, intelligence becomes extraordinarily important.
And you know when that intelligence is operating, and it can
operate only when there is no fear. Enough, sirs.
May I request you not to clap. Do what you like, but don’t clap
because you are not entertaining me, you’re not applauding me. If
you want to clap go outside or do it when I’m not here.