IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION PART I CHAPTER 1
1ST PUBLIC TALK SAANEN 16TH JULY 1970
‘THE ACT OF LOOKING’
In a world that is so utterly confused and violent, where there is
every form of revolt and a thousand explanations for these revolts,
it is hoped that there will be social reformation, different realities
and greater freedom for man. In every country, in every clime,
under the banner of peace, there is violence; in the name of truth
there is exploitation, misery; there are the starving millions; there
is suppression under great tyrannies, there is much social injustice.
There is war, conscription and the evasion of conscription. There is
really great confusion and terrible violence; hatred is justified;
escapism in every form is accepted as the norm of life. When one
is aware of all this, one is confused, uncertain as to what to do,
what to think, what part to play. What is one to do? join the
activists or escape into some kind of inward isolation? Go back to
the old religious ideas? Start a new sect, or carry on with one’s own
prejudices and inclinations? Seeing all this, one naturally wants to
know for oneself what to do, what to think, how to live a different
kind of life.
If during these talks and discussions we can find a light in
ourselves, a way of living in which there is no violence
whatsoever, a way of life which is utterly religious and therefore
without fear a life that is inwardly stable, which cannot be touched
outward events, then I think they will be eminently worthwhile.
Can we give complete and sensitive attention to what we are going
to discuss? We are working together to find out how to live in peace. It is not that the speaker tells you what to do, what to think –
he has no authority, no `philosophy’.
There is the difficulty that one’s brain functions in old habits,
like a gramophone record playing the same tune over and over
again. While the noise of that tune, of that habit is going on, one is
not capable of listening to anything new. The brain has been
conditioned to think in a certain way, to respond according to our
culture, tradition and education; that same brain tries to listen to
something new and is not capable of it. That is where our difficulty
is going to lie. A talk recorded on a tape can be wiped out and
begun again; unfortunately the recording on the tape of the brain
has been impressed on it for so long that it is very difficult to wipe
it out and begin again. We repeat the same pattern, the same ideas
and physical habits, over and over again, so we never catch
I assure you one can put aside the old tape, the old way of
thinking, feeling, reacting, the innumerable habits that one has.
One can do it if one really gives attention. If the thing one is
listening to is deadly serious, tremendously important, then one is
bound to listen so that the very act of listening will wipe out the
old. Do try it – or rather do it. You are deeply interested, otherwise
you would not be here. Do listen with full attention, so that in the
very act of listening the old memories, the old habits, the
accumulated tradition, will all be wiped away.
One has to be serious when confronted with the chaos in the
world, the uncertainty, warfare and destruction, where every value
has been thrown away in a society which is completely permissive,
sexually and economically. There is no morality, no religion; everything is being thrown away and one has to be utterly, deeply
serious; if you have that seriousness in your heart, you will listen.
It depends on you, not on the speaker, whether you are sufficiently
serious to listen so completely as to find out for yourself a light
that can never be put out, a way of living that does not depend on
any idea, on any circumstance, a way of life that is always free,
new, young, vital. If you have the quality of mind that wants to
find out at any price, then you and the speaker can work together
and come upon this strange thing that will solve all our problems –
whether they be the problems of the daily monotony of life or
problems of the most serious nature.
Now how do we go about it? I feel there is only one way, that
is: through negation to come to the positive; through understanding
what it is not, to find out what it is. To see what one actually is and
go beyond that. Start looking at the world and all the events of the
world, at the things that are going on; see if one’s relation to that is
either with or without separation. One can look at the world’s
events as though they did not concern one as an individual, yet try
to shape them, try to do something about them. In that way, there is
a division between oneself and the world. One can look that way
with one’s experience and knowledge, with one’s particular
idiosyncrasies, prejudices and so on; but it is looking as one
separated from the world. One has to find out how to look so that
one sees all the things that are happening, outside or inside oneself,
as a unitary process, as a total movement. Either one looks at the
world from a particular point of view – taking a stand verbally,
ideologically, committed to a particular action and therefore
isolated from the rest – or one looks at this whole phenomenon as a living, moving process, a total movement of which one is a part
and from which one is not divided. What one is, is the result of
culture, religion, education, propaganda, climate, food – one is the
world and the world is oneself. Can one see the totality of this not
what one should do about it? Does one have this feeling of the
wholeness of mankind? It is not a question of identifying oneself
with the world, because one is the world. War is the result of
oneself. The violence, the prejudice, the appalling brutality that is
going on, is part of oneself.
It depends on how you look at this phenomenon, both inwardly
and outwardly, and also on how serious you are. If you are really
serious, then when you look, the old momentum – the repetition of
the old patterns, the old ways of thinking, living and acting – come
to an end. Are you serious to find out a way of life in which all this
turmoil, this misery and sorrow does not exist? For most of us the
difficulty lies in being free of the old habits of thought: `I am
something’, `I want to fulfil myself’, `I want to become’,`I believe
in my opinions’, `This is the way’, `I belong to this particular sect’.
The moment you take a stand you have separated yourself and
have therefore become incapable of looking at the total process.
As long as there is the fragmentation of life, both outwardly and
inwardly, there must be confusion and war. Do please see this with
your heart. Look at the war that is going on in the Middle East.
You know all this; there are volumes written explaining it all. We
are caught by the explanations – as though any explanation is ever
going to solve anything. It is essential to realize that one must not
be caught in explanations, it does not matter who gives them.
When you see `what is’ it does not demand an explanation; the man who does not see `what is, is lost in explanations. Please do see
this; understand this so fundamentally that you are not caught by
In India it is the custom to take their sacred book, the Gita, and
explain everything according to that. Thousands upon thousands
listen to the explanations as to how you should live, what you
should do, how God is this or that – they listen enchanted and yet
carry on with their usual life. Explanations blind you, they prevent
you from actually seeing `what is’.
It is vitally important to find out for yourself how you look at
this problem of existence. Do you do so from an explanation, from
a particular point of view, or do you look non-fragmentarily? Do
find out. Go for a walk by yourself and find out, put your heart into
finding out how you look at all these phenomena. Then we can
work out the details together; and we will go into the most infinite
details to find out, to understand. But before we do that you must
be very clear that you are free from fragmentation, that you are no
longer an Englishman, an Ameri- can, a Jew – you follow? – that
you are free from your conditioning in a particular religion or
culture, which tethers you, according to which you have your
experiences, which only lead to further conditioning.
Look at this whole movement of life as one thing; there is great
beauty in that and immense possibility; then action is
extraordinarily complete and there is freedom. And a mind must be
free to find out what reality is, not a reality which is invented
imagined. There must be total freedom in which there is no
fragmentation. That can only happen if you are really completely
serious – not according to somebody who says `This is the way to be serious; throw that all away, do not listen to it. Find out for
yourself, it does not matter whether you are old or young.
Would you like to ask questions? Before you ask, see why you
are asking and from whom you expect the answer. In asking are
you satisfied merely with the explanation which may be the
answer? If one asks a question – and one must enquire always
about everything – is one asking it because in that very asking one
is beginning; to enquire and therefore share, move, experience
together, create together?
Questioner: If there is someone, say a madman, loose and
killing people, and it is within one’s power to stop him by killing
him, what should one do?
Krishnamurti: So let us kill all the Presidents, all the rulers, all
the tyrants, all the neighbours, and yourself! (Laughter) No, no, do
not laugh. We are part of all this. We have contributed by our own
violence to the state the world is in. We don’t see this clearly. We
think that by getting rid of a few people by pushing aside the
establishment, we are going to solve the whole problem. Every
physical revolution has been based on this, the French, the
Communist and so on and they have ended up in bureaucracy or
tyranny. So my friends, to bring about a different way of living is
to bring it about not for others but for oneself; because the `other’ is
oneself, there is no `we’ and `they’, there is only ourselves. If one
really sees this, not verbally, not intellectually, but with one’s heart,
then one will see there can be a total action having a completely
different kind of result, so there will be a new social structure, not
the throwing out of one establishment and the creating of another.
One must have patience to enquire; young people do not have patience, they want instant results – instant coffee, instant tea,
instant meditation – which means that they have never understood
the whole process of living. If one understands the totality of living
there is an action which is instantaneous, which is quite different
from the instant action of impatience. Look, see what is going on in
America, the racial riots, the poverty, the ghettos, the utter
meaninglessness of education as it is – look at the division in
Europe, and how long it takes to bring about a Federated Europe.
And look at what is happening in India, Asia, Russia and China.
When one looks at all that and the various divisions of religion,
there is only one answer, one action, a total action, not a partial or
fragmentary action. That total action is not to kill another but to see
the divisions that have brought about this destruction of man.
When one really seriously and sensitively sees that, there will be
quite a different action.
Questioner: For someone who is born in a country where there
is complete tyranny so that he is totally suppressed, having no
opportunity of doing anything himself – I feel most people here
cannot imagine it – he is born in this situation and so were his
parents, what has he done to create the chaos in this world?
Krishnamurti: Probably he has not done anything. What has the
poor man done who lives in the wilds of India, or in a small village
in Africa, or in some happy little valley, not knowing anything that
is happening in the rest of the world? In what ways has he
contributed to this monstrous structure? Probably he has not done
anything, poor fellow, what can he do?
Questioner: What does it mean to be serious? I have the feeling
that I am not serious. Krishnamurti: Let us find out together. What does it mean to be
serious – so that you are completely dedicated to something, to
some vocation, that you want to go right to the end of it. I am not
defining it, do not accept any definition. One wants to find out how
to live quite a different kind of life, a life in which there is no
violence, in which there is complete inward freedom; one wants to
find out and intends giving time, energy, thought, everything, to
that. I would call such a person a serious person. He is not easily
put off – he may amuse himself, but his course is set. This does not
mean that he is dogmatic or obstinate, that he does not adjust. He
will listen to others, consider, examine, observe. He may in his
seriousness become self-centred; that very self-centredness will
prevent him from examining; but, he has got to listen to others, he
has got to examine, to question constantly; which means that he
has to be highly sensitive. He has to find out how and to whom he
listens. So he is all the time listening, pursuing, enquiring; he is
discovering and with a sensitive brain, a sensitive mind, a sensitive
heart they are not separate things – he is enquiring with the totality
and the sensitivity of all that. Find out if the body is sensitive; be
aware of its gestures, its peculiar habits. You cannot be sensitive
physically if you overeat, nor can you become sensitive through
starvation or fasting. One has to have regard for what one eats. One
has to have a brain that is sensitive; that means a brain that is not
functioning in habits, pursuing its own particular little pleasure,
sexual or otherwise.
Questioner: You have told us not to listen to explanations. What
is the difference between your talks and explanations?
Krishnamurti: What do you think? Is there any difference or is it just the same verbiage going on?
Questioner: Words are words.
Krishnamurti: We explain, giving the description of the cause
and the effect, saying, for example: man has inherited brutality
from the animal. Someone points that out; but if in the very
pointing out you act, you cease to be violent, is there not a
difference? Action is what is demanded; but will action come about
through explanations, through words? Or does this total action
come about only when you are sensitive enough to observe, see the
whole movement of life, the whole of it? What are we trying to do
here? Give explanations of `why’ and the cause of `why’? Or are we
trying to live so that our life is not based on words but on the
discovery of what actually is – which is not dependent on words.
There is a vast difference between the two – even though I point it
out. It is like a man who is hungry; you can explain to him the
nature and the taste of food, show him the menu, show him through
the window the display of food. But what he wants is actual food;
and explanations do not give him that. That is the difference.
16th July 1970
IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION PART I CHAPTER 2
2ND PUBLIC TALK SAANEN 19TH JULY 1970
There are many things we have to talk over, but first, it seems to
me, we have to consider very deeply what freedom is. Without
understanding freedom, not only outwardly, but specially inwardly,
deeply and seriously – not merely intellectually, but actually feeling
it – whatever we talk about will have very little meaning.
The other day we were considering the nature of the mind. It is
the serious mind that really lives and enjoys life – not the mind that
is merely seeking entertainment, some particular gratification or
fulfilment. Freedom implies the total abnegation and denial of all
inward psychological authority. The younger generation thinks
freedom is to spit in the face of the policeman, to do whatever it
wants. But the denial of outward authority does not mean complete
freedom from all inward, psychological authority. When we
understand inward authority, the mind and heart are wholly and
completely free; then we will be able to understand the action of
Freedom of action outwardly, depends entirely on a mind that is
free from inward authority. This requires a great deal of patient
enquiry and deliberation. It is a matter of primary importance; if it
is understood, then we will approach other things which are
involved in life and daily living with quite a different quality of
According to the dictionary the meaning of the word `authority’
is: `one who starts an original idea’, `the author of something entirely new’. He sets up a pattern, a system based on his ideation;
others follow it, finding some gratification in it. Or he starts a
religious mode of life which others follow blindly, or intellectually.
So patterns, or ways of life, of conduct are set up, politically or
psychologically, outwardly and inwardly. The mind, which is
generally very lazy and indolent, finds it easy to follow what
somebody else has said. The follower accepts `authority’ as a
means to achieve what is promised by the particular system of
philosophy or ideation; he clings to it, depends on it and thereby
confirms the `authority’. A follower then, is a secondhand human
being; and most people are completely secondhand. They may
think they have some original ideas with regard to painting, writing
and so on, but essentially, because they are conditioned to follow,
to imitate, to conform, they have become secondhand, absurd
human beings. That is one aspect of the destructive nature of
As a human being, do you follow somebody psychologically?
We are not talking of outward obedience, the following of the law –
but inwardly, psychologically, do you follow? If you do, then you
are essentially secondhand; you may do good works, you may lead
a very good life, but it all has very little meaning.
There is also the authority of tradition. Tradition means: `to
carry over from the past to the present’ – the religious tradition, the
family tradition, or the racial tradition. And there is the tradition of
memory. One can see that to follow tradition at certain levels has
value; at other levels it has no value at all. Good manners,
politeness, consideration born out of the alertness of the mind that
is watching, can gradually become tradition; the pattern having been set, the mind repeats it. One opens the door for someone, is
punctual for meals, and so on. But it has become tradition and is no
longer born out of alertness, sharpness and clearness.
The mind which has cultivated memory, functions from
tradition like a computer – repeating things over and over again. It
can never receive anything new, it can never listen to anything in a
totally different way. Our brains are like tape recorders: certain
memories have been cultivated through centuries and we keep on
repeating them. Through the noise of that repetition one is unable
to listen to something new. So one asks: `What am I to do?’ `How
am I to get rid of the old machinery, the old tape?’. The new can be
heard only when the old tape becomes completely silent without
any effort, when one is serious to listen, to find out, and can give
So there is the authority of another on whom we are dependent,
the authority of tradition, and the authority of past experience as
memory, as knowledge. There is also the authority of the
immediate experience, which is recognized from one’s past
accumulated knowledge; and being recognized, it is no longer
something new. How can a mind, a brain, which is so conditioned
by authority, imitation, conformity and adjustment, listen to
anything completely new? How can one see the beauty of the day,
when the mind and the heart and brain are so clouded by the past as
authority. If one can actually perceive the fact that the mind is
burdened by the past and conditioned by various forms of
authority, that it is not free and therefore incapable of seeing
completely, then the past is set aside without effort.
Freedom implies the complete cessation of all inward authority. From that quality of mind comes an outward freedom – something
which is entirely different from the reaction of opposing or
resisting. What we are saying is really quite simple and it is
because of its very simplicity that you will miss it. The mind, the
brain, is conditioned through authority through imitation and
conformity – that is a fact. The mind that is actually free, has no
inward authority whatsoever; it knows what it means to love and to
In understanding freedom one understands also what discipline
is This may seem rather contradictory because we generally think
freedom means freedom from all discipline. What is the quality of
mind that is highly disciplined? Freedom cannot exist without
discipline; which does not mean that you must first be disciplined
and then you will have freedom. Freedom and disci- pline go
together, they are not two separate things. So what does `discipline’
mean? According to the dictionary, the meaning of the word
`discipline’ is `to learn’ – not a mind that forces itself into a certain
pattern of action according to an ideology or a belief. A mind that
is capable of learning is entirely different from a mind which is
capable only of conforming. A mind that is learning, that is
observing, seeing actually `what is’, is not interpreting `what is,
according to its own desires, its own conditioning, its own
Discipline does not mean suppression and control, nor is it
adjustment to a pattern or an ideology; it means a mind that sees
`what is’ and learns from `what is’. Such a mind has to be
extraordinarily alert, aware. In the ordinary sense, `to discipline
oneself’ implies that there is an entity that is disciplining itself according to something. There is a dualistic process: I say to
myself, `I must get up early in the morning and not be lazy» or `I
must not be angry’. That involves a dualistic process. There is the
one who with his will tries to control what he should do, as
opposed to what he actually does. In that state there is conflict.
The discipline laid down by parents, by society, by religious
organizations means conformity. And there is revolt against
conformity – the parent wanting one to do certain things, and the
revolt against that, and so on. It is a life based on obedience and
conformity; and there is the opposite of it, denying conformity and
to do what one likes. So we are going to find out what the quality
of the mind is that does not conform, does not imitate, follow and
obey, yet has a quality in itself which is highly disciplined –
`disciplined’ in the sense of constantly learning.
Discipline is learning, not conforming. Conformity implies
comparing myself with another, measuring myself as to what I am,
or think I should be, against the hero, the saint, and so on. Where
there is conformity there must be comparison – please see this. Find
out whether you can live without comparison, which means, not to
conform. We are conditioned from childhood to compare – `You
must by like your brother, or your great-aunt; `You must by like
the saint’, or `Follow Mao’. We compare in our education, in
schools there is the giving of marks and the passing of
examinations. We do not know what it means to live without
comparison and without competition, therefore non-aggressively,
non-competitively, non-violently. Comparing yourself with another
is a form of aggression and a form of violence. Violence is not only
killing or hitting somebody, it is in this comparative spirit, `I must be like somebody else’, or `I must perfect myself’. Self-
improvement is the very antithesis of freedom and learning. Find
out for yourself how to live a life without comparing, and you will
see what an extraordinary thing happens. If you really &come
aware, choicelessly, you will see what it means to live without
comparison, never using the words `I will be’.
We are slaves to the verb `to be’, which implies: `I will be
somebody sometime in the future’. Comparison and conformity go
together; they breed nothing but suppression, conflict and endless
pain. So it is important to find a way of daily living in which there
is no comparison. Do it, and you will see what an extraordinary
thing it is; it frees you from so many burdens. The awareness of
that brings about a quality of mind that is highly sensitive and
therefore disciplined, constantly learning – not what it wants to
learn, or what is pleasurable, gratifying to learn, but learning. So
you become aware of inward conditioning resulting from authority,
conformity to a pattern, to tradition, to propaganda, to what other
people have said, and of your own accumulated experience and
that of the race and the family. All of that has become the
authority. Where there is authority, the mind can never be free to
discover whatever there is to be discovered – something timeless,
A mind that is sensitive is not limited by any set pattern; it is
constantly moving, flowing like a river, and in that constant
movement there is no suppression, no conformity, no desire to
fulfil. It is very important to understand clearly, seriously and
deeply, the nature of a mind that is free and therefore truly
religious. A mind that is free sees that dependency on something – on people, on friends, on husband or wife, on ideation, authority
and so on – breeds fear; there is the source of fear. If I depend on
you for my comfort, as an escape from my own loneliness and
ugliness, from shallowness and pettiness, then that dependence
breeds fear. Dependence on any form of subjective imagination,
fantasy, or knowledge, breeds fear and destroys freedom.
When you see what it all implies – how there is no freedom
when there is dependence inwardly and therefore fear, and how it
is only a confused and unclear mind that depends – you say: `How
am I to be free from dependency?’ Which is again another cause of
conflict. Whereas, if you observe that a mind that depends must be
confused, if you know the truth, that a mind that depends inwardly
on any authority only creates confusion – if you see that, without
asking how to be free of confusion – then you will cease to depend.
Then your mind becomes extraordinarily sensitive and therefore
capable of learning and it disciplines itself without any form of
compulsion or conformity.
Is all this somewhat clear – not verbally but actually? I can
imagine, or think that I see very clearly, but that clarity is very
short-lived. The real quality of clear perception comes only when
there is no dependency, and therefore not that confusion which
arises when there is fear. Can you honestly, seriously, bring your.
self to find out whether you are free from authority? It needs
tremendous enquiry into yourself, great awareness. From that
clarity comes a totally different kind of action, an action that is not
fragmentary, that is not divided politically or religiously – it is a
Questioner: From what you have said, it seems that an action which at one point can be thought to be a reaction to some outward
authority, can be a total action at another point, by another
individual. Krishnamurti: Intellectually, verbally, we can compete
with each other, explain each other away, but that does not mean a
thing; what to you may be a complete action may appear to me as
incomplete action – that is not the point. The point is whether your
mind, as that of a human being, acts completely. A human being of
the world – you understand? – is not an individual. `Individual’
means indivisible. An individual is one who is undivided in
himself, who is non-fragmentary, who is whole, sane, healthy; also
`whole’ means holy. When you say `I am an individual’, you are
nothing of the kind. Live a life of no authority, of no comparison,
and you will find out what an extraordinary thing it is; you have
tremendous energy when you are not competing, not comparing
and not suppressing; you are really alive, sane, whole and therefore
Questioner: What you are saying is not very clear to me. What
can I do?
Krishnamurti: Either what is said is not very clear in itself or
you may not understand English properly, or you are not sustaining
attention all the time. It is very difficult to sustain attention for an
hour and ten minutes; there are moments when you are not giving
complete attention and then you say, `I have not quite understood
what you are talking about’. Find out whether you are sustaining
attention, listening, watching, or if you go wandering off,
vagabonding. Which is it?
Questioner: Do you think it is possible to learn all the time?
Krishnamurti: When you ask that question of yourself, you have already made it difficult. By putting a question of that kind you are
preventing yourself from learning – you see the point? I am not
concerned with whether I am going to learn all the time, I’ll find
out. What I am concerned with is: am I learning? If I am learning, I
am not concerned as to whether it is `all the time’ – I don’t make a
problem of it. The question becomes irrelevant if I am learning.
Questioner: You can learn from anything.
Krishnamurti: That is, if you are aware that you are learning.
This is very complex: may I go into it a little?
`Can I learn all the time’? Which factor is important here?
`Learning’, or `all the time’? – obviously it is `learning’. When I am
learning I am not concerned with `the rest of the time’, the time
interval and so on. I am only concerned with what I am learning.
Naturally the mind wanders off, it Gets tired, it becomes
inattentive. Being inattentive, it does all kinds of stupid things. So
it is not a question of how to make the inattentive mind attentive.
What is important is for the inattentive mind to become aware that
it is inattentive. I am aware, watching everything, the movement of
the trees, the flow of the water, and I am watching myself – not
correcting, not saying this should be or this should not be – just
watching. When the mind that is watching gets tired and becomes
inattentive, suddenly it becomes aware of this, and tries to force
itself to become attentive; so there is a conflict between inattention
and attention. I say: do not do that, but become aware that you are
inattentive – that is all.
Questioner: Could you describe how you are aware that you are
Krishnamurti: I am learning about myself – not according to some psychologist or specialist – I am watching and I see
something in myself; but I do not condemn it, I do not judge it, I do
not push it aside – I just watch it. I see that I am proud – let us take
that as an example. I do not say, `I must put it aside, how ugly to
be proud’ – but I just watch it. As I am watching I am learning.
Watching means learning what pride involves, how it has come
into being. I cannot watch it for more than five or six minutes – if
one can, that is a great deal – the next moment I become
inattentive. Having been attentive and knowing what inattention is,
I struggle to make inattention attentive. Do not do that, but watch
inattention, become aware that you are inattentive – that is all. Stop
there. Do not say, `I must spend all my time being attentive’, but
just watch when you are inattentive. To go any further into this
would be really quite complex. There is a quality of mind that is
awake and watChing all the time, watching though there is nothing
to learn. That means a mind that is extraordinarily quiet,
extraordinarily silent. What has a silent, clear mind to learn?
Questioner: Could not communicating with words, with ideas,
become a habit, a tradition?
Krishnamurti: They become a habit, a tradition, only when they
become important as words. There must be verbal communication,
which is to share whatever we are looking at together – like fear;
that means you and the speaker are both at the same level, at the
same time, with the same intensity, observing, co-operating,
sharing. That brings about a non-verbal communion which is not
Questioner: How is it possible for a total, whole, sane
individual, who is not fragmented but indivisible, to love another? How can a whole human being love a fragmented human being?
Further, how can a whole individual love another whole
Krishnamurti: You cannot be whole if you do not know what
love is. If you are whole – in the sense we are talking about – then
there is no question of loving another. Have you ever watched a
flower by the roadside. It exists, it lives in the sun, in the wind, in
the beauty of light and colour, it does not say to you: `Come and
smell me, enjoy me, look at me’ – it lives and its very action of
living is love.
19th July 1970
IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION PART I CHAPTER 3
3RD PUBLIC TALK SAANEN 21ST JULY 1970
It is really quite important to understand the whole problem of
living: from the moment we are born till we die, we are always in
conflict. There is always a struggle, not only within ourselves, but
outwardly in all our relationships, there is strain and strife; there is
constant division, and a sense of the separate individual existence
in opposition to the community. In the most intimate relationships,
each one is seeking his own pleasure, secretly or openly; each one
is pursuing his own ambition and fulfilment, thereby generating
frustration. What we call living, is turmoil. In this turmoil we try to
be creative. If one is gifted one writes a book or a poem, composes
a picture and so on, but all within the pattern of strife, grief and
despair; yet this is what is considered creative living. In going to
the moon, living under the sea, waging wars, there is this constant
bitter strife of man against man. This is our life.
It seems to me that we should go into this matter very seriously,
very deeply, and if we can, feel our way into a quality of mind
where there is no strife whatsoever, both at the conscious level and
also in the layers that lie below the conscious.
Beauty is not the result of conflict. When you see the beauty of
a mountain or of swift running water, in that immediate reception
there is no sense of striving. In our lives there is not much beauty
because of the battle that is going on.
To find a quality of mind that is essentially beautiful and clear,
that has never been touched by strife, is of the greatest importance; in the understanding of that – not merely verbally or intellectually,
but in actually living it in daily life – we may have some kind of
peace within ourselves and in the world. Perhaps this morning we
shall be able, hesistantly and with sensitive watchfulness, to
understand this battle we live in, and be free of it.
What is the root cause of this conflict and contradiction? Ask
this question of yourself. Do not try to put into words an
explanation, but simply enquire non-verbally, if you can, into the
basis of this contradiction and division, this strife and conflict.
Either you enquire analytically or you perceive immediately the
root of it. Analytically, you may unravel bit by bit and come upon
the nature, the structure, the cause and effect of this strife within
ourselves, between the individual and the State. Or you may
perceive the cause of it instantly. In this way we may find out
factually the cause of all this conflict and perceive the truth of it
Let us understand what it means to analyse, to attempt to
discover intellectually, verbally, the cause of this conflict. Because
once you understand the analytical process – see the truth or the
falseness of it – you will be completely free of it for ever; which
implies an understanding in which your eyes, your mind, and your
heart perceive immediately the truth of the matter. We are used to,
conditioned to, the analytical process and the philosophical and
psychological approach to the various specialists; it has become a
habit. We are conditioned to trying to understand this whole
complex process of living analytically, intellectually. This is not to
advocate its opposite – emotional sentimentality. But if you
understand very clearly the nature and the structure of the analytical process, then you will have quite a different outlook; you
will be able to direct the energy which had been given to analysis
in a totally different direction.
Analysis implies division. There is the analyser and that which
is to be analysed. Whether you analyse yourself, or it is done by a
specialist, there is division, therefore there is already the beginning
of conflict. We can do tremendous things only when there is great
passion, great energy, and it is only this passion that can create a
totally different kind of life in ourselves and in the world. That is
why it is very important to understand this process of analysis in
which the human mind has been caught for centuries.
Of the many fragments into which we are divided, one assumes
the authority of the analyser; the thing that is to be analysed is
another. That analyser becomes the censor; he, with his
accumulated knowledge, evaluates the good and the bad, what is
right and what is wrong, what should or should not be suppressed,
and so on. Also, the analyser must make every analysis complete,
otherwise his evaluation, his conclusion, will be partial. The
analyser must examine every thought – everything which he thinks
should be analysed, and that will take time. You may spend a
whole lifetime analysing – if you have the money and the
inclination, or if you can find an analyst with whom you are in
love, and all the rest of it. You can spend all your days analysing
and at the end of it you are where you were, with still more to be
We see that in analysis there is the division between the
analyser and the analysed, and also that the analyser must analyse
accurately, completely, or his conclusions will impede the next analysis. We see that the analytical process takes an infinite time
and during that time many other things may happen. So when you
see the whole structure of analysis, then that seeing is actually a
denial, a negation of it; seeing what is involved in it, there is the
negation of that action – which is complete action.
Questioner: What do you mean by action?
Krishnamurti: Action according to an idea, an ideology, one’s
accumulated experience. Action is always approximating itself to
the ideal, to the prototype, so there is a division between action and
ideal. Such action is never complete, analysis is never complete;
the negation of that incomplete action is total action. When the
mind has seen the futility, the meaninglessness of analysis, with all
the problems which are involved, it will never touch it; the mind
will never seek to understand `true’ analysis.
The mind that has looked into the process of analysis has
become very sharp, alive, sensitive, because it has rejected that
which we had considered to be the way and means of
If you see very clearly for yourself – not forced or compelled by
the argument and reasoning of another – the falseness or the truth
of analysis, then your mind is free and has the energy to look in
another direction. What is the `other direction’? It is the immediacy
of perception that is total action.
As we said, there is division between the analyser and the thing
to be analysed, division between the observer and the thing
observed: this is the root cause of conflict. When you observe, you
always do so from a centre, from the background of experience and
knowledge; the `me’ as the Catholic, the Communist, the `specialist, and so on, is observing. So there is a division between
`me’ and the thing observed. This does not require a great deal of
understanding, it is an obvious fact. When you look at a tree, at
your husband, or wife, there is this division. It exists between
yourself and the community. So there is this observer and the thing
observed: in that division there is inevitably contradiction. That
contradiction is the root of all strife.
If that is the root cause of conflict, then the next question is: can
you observe without the `me’, the censor, without all the
accumulated experiences of misery, conflict, brutality vanity pride,
despair, which are the `me’? Can you observe without the past – the
past memories, conclusions and hopes, without all the background?
That background – as the `me’, the `observer’ – divides you from the
observed. Have you ever observed without the background? Do it
now, please. Play with it. Look at the outward things objectively;
listen to the noise of the river, look at the lines of the mountains,
the beauty, the clarity of it all. That is fairly easy to do without the
`me’, as the past, observing. But can you look at yourself inwardly,
without the observer? Do, please, look at yourself, your
conditioning, your education, your way of thinking, your
conclusions, your prejudices, without any kind of condemnation or
explanation or justification – just observe. When you so observe
there is no `observer’ and there. fore no conflict.
That way of living is totally different from the other – it is not
the opposite, not a reaction to the other, it is entirely different. And
in it there is tremendous freedom and an abundance of energy and
passion. It is total observation, complete action. When you have
completely seen and understood, your action will always be clear. It is like looking at the total extent of the map, not the detail of
where you want to go.
So one finds out for oneself, as a human being, that it is possible
to live without any kind of conflict. This implies an enormous
revolution in oneself. That is the only revolution. Every form of
physical, outward revolution – political, economic, social – always
ends up in dictatorship, either of the bureaucrats or of the idealist
or of some conqueror. Whereas this inward, complete and total
revolution, which is the outcome of the understanding of all
conflict, which is caused by the division between the observer and
the observed, brings about a totally different kind of living.
Now please let us go into it further, if you will, by asking
questions about it.
Questioner: How can one divorce oneself from problems, when
one lives in a world full of problems?
Krishnamurti: Are you different from the world? You are the
world – are you not?
Questioner: I am just a person who lives in the world.
Krishnamurti: `Just a person who lives in the world’ – dis-
associated, unrelated to all the events that are taking place in the
Questioner: No, I am part of that. But how can I divorce myself
Krishnamurti: You cannot possibly divorce yourself from the
world: you are the world. If you live in Christendom, you are
conditioned by the culture, by the religion, by the education, by the
industrialization, by all the conflicts of its wars. You cannot
possibly separate yourself from that world. The monks have tried to withdraw from the world, enclosing themselves in a monastery,
but nevertheless, they are the result of the world in which they live;
they want to escape from that culture by withdrawing from it, by
devoting themselves to what they consider to be the truth, to the
ideal of Jesus and so on.
Questioner: How can I look into myself with all the worries that
are on my mind, with making money, buying a house, and so on?
Krishnamurti: How do you look at your job? How do you
Questioner: I consider it as a means to survive in the world.
Krishnamurti: `I must have a livelihood in order to survive., The
whole structure of society, whether here, or in Russia, is based on
survival at any price, doing something which society has set up.
How can one survive safely, lastingly, when there is division
between ourselves? When you are a European and I am an Asian,
when there is division between ourselves, each one competing to
be secure, to survive, therefore battling with each other
individually and collectively, how can there be survival? A
temporary survival? So the real question is, not that of survival, but
whether it is possible to live in this world without division; when
there is no division we shall survive, completely, without fear.
There have been religious wars; there have been appalling wars
between the Catholics and the Protestants – each saying,’We must
survive’. They never said to themselves, `Look, how absurd this
division is, one believing this and the other believing that; they
never saw the absurdity of their conditioning. Can we put the
whole energy of our thinking, our feeling, our passion, into finding
out whether it is possible to live without this division, so that we shall live fully, in complete security? But you are not interested in
all that. You just want to survive. You don’t your survival is in
spite of non-survival.
Look Sirs, sovereign governments, each with their own army,
have divided the world and are at each other,s throats, maintaining
prestige and economic survival. Computers, without the politicians,
in the hands of good men, can alter the whole structure of this
world. But we are not interested in the unity of mankind. Yet,
politically, that is the only problem. That can only be solved when
there are no politicians, when there are no sovereign governments,
when there are no separate religious sects – and you, who are
listening to this, you are the people to do it.
Questioner: Does it not need conscious analysis to arrive at that
Krishnamurti: Is it a conclusion, resulting from analysis? You
just observe this fact. Look at how the world is divided by
sovereign governments and religions; you can see it – is that
Questioner: Don’t you think that in order to change all that, we
also need an outward revolution?
Krishnamurti: An inward and an outward revolution at the same
time. Not first one and then the other; it must be simultaneous. It
must be an instant inward and outward revolution without
emphasizing one or the other. How can that take place? Only when
you see the complete truth, that the inward revolution is the
outward revolution. When you see that, then it takes place – and not
intellectually, verbally, ideally. But is there in you a complete
inward revolution? If there is not and you want outer revolution, then you are going to bring chaos into the world. And there is
chaos in the world.
Questioner: You speak of Governments, and Churches, and
Nationalism,they have what we consider to be the power.
Krishnamurti: The bureaucrats want power and they have it.
Don’t you want power – over your wife or your husband? In your
conclusions as to what you think is right, there is power; every
human being wants some kind of power. So don’t attack the power
that is vested in others, but be free of the demand for power in
yourself; then your action will be totally different. We want to
attack the outward power, tear that power away from the hands of
those who have it and give it to somebody else; we do not say to
ourselves, `Let us be free of all dominance and possession’. If you
actually applied your whole mind to be free of every kind of power
– which means to function without status – then you would bring
about quite a different society.
Questioner: If you are hungry you can’t even begin to deal with
Krishnamurti: If you were really hungry you would not be here!
We are not hungry and therefore we have time to listen, time to
observe. You may say, we are a small group of people, a drop in
the ocean, what can we do? Is that a valid question when we are
confronted with this enormously complex problem of the world in
which we live? As a human being, a simple individual, what can I
do? If you were really confronted with the problem would you put
that question? You would just be working – you understand Sir?
When you say,’What can I do?’, in that is already a note of despair.
Questioner: A lot of people are hungry, they have to take immediate steps to survive. What does all this mean to them?
Krishnamurti: Nothing. When I am hungry Sir, I want food –
and all this has very little meaning. So what is your question?
Questioner: We are a minority, a small group. The vast
majority, in India, in Asia, in parts of Europe and America, are
really hungry. How can what we are saying here, affect all these
Krishnamurti: It depends on you, on what you do, even as the
small minority. An enormous revolution in the world is created
because a minority in themselves have changed. You are concerned
with the misery of the world, the poverty, the degradation, the
starvation, and you say,’What can I do?’ Either you thoughtlessly
join an outward revolution, try to break it all up and create a new
kind of social structure – and in the process of that you will again
establish the same misery or you will consider a total revolution,
not partial, not merely physical, in which the inward structure of
the psyche will act in an entirely different relationship with society.
Questioner: You speak as though inward revolution happens
suddenly – does it really take place that way?
Krishnamurti: Is the inward revolution a matter of time, of
gradual inward change? This is a very complex question. We are
conditioned to accept that through gradual inward revolution there
will be a change. Does it take place step by step, or does it happen
instantly when you see the truth of the matter? When you see
instant danger there is instant action is there not? Then your action
is not gradual or analytical; when there is danger, there is
immediate action. We are pointing out the dangers – the dangers of
analysis, the danger of power, of postponement, of division. When you see the real danger of it not verbally, but actually, physically
and psychologically – then there is instant action, the action of an
instant revolution. To see these psychological dangers you need a
sensitive, alert, watchful mind. If you say, `How am I to have a
watchful, a sensitive mind?’ you are again caught in gradualness.
But when you see the necessity as when confronted by danger –
and society is danger, all the things you are involved in are
dangerous – then there is a total action.
21st July, 1970.
IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION PART I CHAPTER 4
4TH PUBLIC TALK SAANEN 23RD JULY 1970
Krishnamurti: When we face our innumerable problems we are
inclined to try to solve each problem by itself. If it is a sexual
problem, we treat it as though it were something totally unrelated
to other problems. Equally with the problem of violence or
starvation, which we try to solve politically, economically or
socially. I wonder why we try to solve each problem by itself. The
world is ridden with violence; the various powers that be try to
solve each problem as though it were something apart from the rest
of life. We do not consider these problems as a whole, seeing each
problem related to other problems and not in isolation.
Violence, as one can see in oneself, is part of our animal
inheritance. A great part of us is animal, and without understanding
the structure of ourselves as whole human beings, merely trying to
solve violence by itself only leads to further violence. I think this
must be clearly understood by each of us. There are thousands of
problems which appear to be separate, which we never seem to see
as interrelated, but no problem can be solved in isolation by itself.
We have to deal with life as a continuous movement of problems
and crises, great or small. Let us go into this very carefully,
because unless it is clearly understood when we discuss the
questions of fear, love, death, meditation and reality, we shall not
understand how they are all interrelated. For the beauty of life, the
ecstasy, the thing that is immeasurably vast, is not separate from
our daily problems. If you say,`I am only concerned with meditation and with truth’, you will never find it, but do understand
how all problems are interrelated. For instance starvation, which
cannot be stopped by itself, for it is a problem involving the
national, political, economic, social, religious and psychological
divisions between man and man. And we have the problem of
personal relationship, the problem of suffering – not only physical
but psychological suffering – problems of intense sorrow, not only
personal sorrow but the sorrow of the world, its misery and
confusion. If we try to find an answer to each particular problem,
then we only bring about further division, further conflict. If you
are at all serious and mature you must have asked why the mind
tries to solve each problem as though it were unrelated to other
problems. Why does the human mind, the brain, always divide as
`me’ and `mine’,’we’ and ‘they’, religion and politics and so on?
Why is there this constant division with all the effort to solve each
problem by itself in isolation?
To answer that question we have to enquire into the function of
thought, its meaning, substance and structure; because it may be
that thought itself divides, and that the very process of trying to
find an answer through thinking, through reasoning, causes
People want a physical revolution in order to bring about a
better order, forgetting all the implications of physical revolution,
forgetting the whole psychological nature of man. So one has to
ask this question. And what is the response? Is it the response of
thought, or is it the response of understanding the totality of this
vast structure of human life?
We want to find out why this division exists. We went into it the other day, as the `observer’ and the `observed’. Let us put that
aside and approach it differently. Does thought create this division?
If we find it does, it is because thought tries to find an answer to a
particular problem separated from other problems.
Do not, please, agree with me; it is not a question of agreement,
it is a question of seeing for yourself the truth or the falseness of it.
Under no circumstances accept what the speaker says at any time.
There is no authority, neither you nor the speaker have authority;
both of us are investigating, observing, looking, learning.
If thought, by its very nature and structure, divides life into
many problems, trying to find an answer through thought will only
lead to an isolated answer, therefore we see that it breeds further
confusion, further misery. One has to find out for oneself, freely,
without any bias, without any conclusion, if thought operates this
way. Most of us try to find an answer intellectually or emotionally,
or say we do so intuitively. One must bc very careful of that word
`intuition; in that word lies great deception, because one can have
intuition dictated by one’s own hopes, fears, bitterness, wishes and
so on. We try to find an answer intellectually or emotionally, as
though the intellect were something separate from emotion and
emotion something separate from the physical response. Our
education and culture together with all our philosophical concepts
are based on this intellectual approach to life; our social structure
and our morality are based on this division.
So if thought divides, how does it divide? If you actually
observe it in yourself you will see what an extraordinary thing you
will discover. You will be a light to yourself, you will be an
integrated human being, not looking to somebody else to tell you what to do, what to think and how to think. Thought can be
extraordinarily reasonable; it must reason consecutively, logically,
objectively, sanely; it must function perfectly, like a computer
ticking over without any hindrance, without any conflict.
Reasoning is necessary; sanity is part of the reasoning capacity.
Can thought ever be new, fresh? Every human problem – not the
technical and scientific problem – but every human problem is
always new and thought tries to understand it, tries to alter it, tries
to translate it, tries to do something about it. If we deeply feel love
for each other – not verbally but really then all this division would
come to an end. That can only take place when there is no
conditioning, when there is no centre as the `me’ and the ‘you’. But
thought, which is the activity of the brain, of the intellect, cannot
possibly love. Thought has to be understood and we ask whether
thought can see anything new; or is it that the `new’ thought is
always old, so that when it faces a problem of life which is always
new – it cannot see the newness of it because it tries to translate it
in terms of its own conditioning.
Thought is necessary, yet we see that thought divides, as the
`me’ and `not me; it tries to solve the problem of violence in
isolation, unrelated to all other problems of existence. Thought is
always of the past: if we had not the brain, which like a tape-
recorder has accumulated all kinds of information and experience,
we would not be able to think or respond. Thought, meeting a new
issue, must translate it in its own terms of the past and therefore
Leave everything aside for the moment and observe your
thinking: it is the response of the past. If you had no thought there would be no past, there would be a state of amnesia. Thought
inevitably divides life into the past, present and future. As long as
there is thought, as the past, life must be divided into time.
If I want to understand the problem of violence completely,
totally, so that the mind is altogether free from violence, I can only
understand it by understanding the structure of thought. It is
thought that breeds violence: `my’ house, `my’ wife, `my, country,
`my’ belief, which is utter nonsense. Who is the everlasting `me’
opposed to the rest? What causes it? Is it education, society, the
establishment, the church? They are all doing it and I am part of all
that. Thought is matter; it is in the very structure, in the very cells
of the brain so when the brain operates whether psychologically,
socially, or religiously – it must invariably operate in terms of its
past conditioning. We see that thought is essential and must
function absolutely logically, ob- jectively, impersonally, and yet
we see how thought divides.
I am not pushing you to agree, but do you see that thought must
inevitably divide? Look what has happened: thought sees that
nationalism has led to all kinds of war and mischief, so it says, `Let
us all be united, form a league of nations’. But thought is still
operating, still maintaining the separation – you, as an Italian,
keeping your Italian sovereignty and so on. There is talk about
brotherhood yet the maintaining of separation, which is hypocrisy.
It is characteristic of thought to play double games within itself.
So thought is not the way out – which does not mean kill the
mind. What then is it that sees every problem as it arises in its
totality? A sexual problem is a total problem, related to culture, to
character, to the various issues of life – not a fragment of the problem. What mind is it that sees each problem totally?
Questioner: I have understood, but still there remains a
Krishnamurti: When you have understood what thought does, at
the highest and at the lowest level, yet when you say there is still
another question, who is it that is asking that question? When the
brain, the whole nervous system, the mind – which covers all of
that – says, `I have understood the nature of thought’, then the next
step is: one sees whether this mind can look at the entirety of life
with all its vastness and complexity, with its apparently unending
sorrow. That is the only question and thought is not putting that
question. The mind has observed the whole structure of thought
and knows its relative value; can this mind look with an eye that is
never spotted by the past?
This is really a very serious question, not just an entertainment.
One must give one’s energy, passion, one’s life to find out; because
this is the only way out of this terrible brutality, sorrow,
degradation, everything that is corrupt. Can the mind, the brain
which is itself corrupt through time be quiet, so that it can see life
as a whole and therefore without problems? A problem only arises
when life is seen fragmentarily. Do see the beauty of that. When
you see life as a whole then there is no problem whatsoever. It is
only a mind and a heart that is broken up in fragments that creates
problems. The centre of the fragment is the `me’. The `me’ is
brought about through thought; it has no reality by itself. The`me’ –
`my, house, `my’ disappointment,`my’ desire to become somebody
– that `me’ is the product of thought which divides. Can the mind
look without the `me’? Not being able to do this, that very `me’ says: `I will dedicate myself to Jesus’ – `to Buddha, to this, to that’ –
you understand? – `I will become a Communist who will be
concerned with the whole of the world’. The ‘me’ identifying itself
with what it considers to be greater, is still the ‘me’.
So the question arises: can the mind, the brain, the heart, the
whole being, observe without the `me’. The `me’ is of the past;
there is no `me’ in the present. The present is not of time. Can the
mind be free of the `me’ to look at the whole vastness of life? It
can, completely, utterly, when you have fundamentally, with all
your being, understood the nature of thinking. If you have not
given your attention, everything you have, to find out what
thinking is, you will never be able to find out if it is possible to
observe without the `me’. If you cannot observe without the `me’
the problems will go on – one problem opposing another. And all
these problems will come to an end, I assure you, when man lives a
different life altogether, when the mind can look at the world as a
Questioner: At the beginning of the talk you were asking what
made us try to solve problems separately. Is not urgency one of the
reasons which cause us to try to solve problems separately?
Krishnamurti: If you see danger you act. In that action there is
no question of urgency, no impatience – you act. The ur- gency and
the demand for immediate action, takes place only when see the
danger as a danger to the `me’ as thought. When you see the total
danger of thought dividing the world, that seeing is the urgency
and the action. When you really see starvation, such as there is in
India, and see how the starvation has been brought about, the
callousness of people, of governments, the inefficiency of the politicians, what do you do? Tackle one area of starvation by
itself? Or do you say `This whole thing is a psychological issue, it
is centred in the `me’ which is brought about by thought’? If that
starvation in all its forms is completely, totally, understood – not
only physical starvation, but the human starvation of having no
love – you will find the right action. The very change is urgency; it
is not that change will come about through urgency.
Questioner: You seem to say that thought has to function, at the
same time you say it cannot.
Krishnamurti: Thought must function logically, non-personally
and yet thought must be quiet. How can this take place?
Do you actually see, or understand, the nature of thinking – not
according; to me or to a specialist – do you yourself see how
thought works? Look Sir: when you are asked a question on a
matter which is utterly familiar to you, your response is immediate,
is it not? When you are asked a little more complicated question
you take more time. If the brain is asked a question to which it
cannot find an answer having searched all its memories ind books
it says, `I do not know’. Has it used thought to say `I do not know’?
When you say, `I do not know’, your mind is not seeking, not
waiting, not expecting; the mind which says `I do not know’ is
entirely different from the mind which operates with knowledge.
So can the mind remain completely free of knowledge and yet
operate functionally in the field of the known? The two are not
divided. When you want to discover something new you have to
put the past aside. The new can take place only when there is
freedom from the known. That freedom can be constant; which
means that the mind lives in complete silence, in nothingness. This nothingness and silence is vast, and out of that, knowledge –
technical knowledge – can be used to work things out. Also, out of
that silence can be observed the whole of life without the `me’.
Questioner: You were saying in the beginning of the talk, that to
want to change things from the outside, would lead to the
dictatorship of a group or person. Don’t you think that we are now
living under the dictatorship of money and industry?
Krishnamurti: Of course. Where there is authority there is
dictatorship. To bring about a social, a religious or a human
change, there must be first understanding of the whole structure of
thought as the `me’, which is seeking power – whether it is I, or the
other who is seeking power. Can the mind live without seeking
power? Answer this, Sir.
Questioner: Is it not natural to seek power?
Krishnamurti: Of course it is so-called natural. So is the dog
seeking power over other dogs. But we are supposed to be
cultured, educated, intelligent. Apparently after millennia we have
not learnt to live without power.
Questioner: I wonder whether the mind can ever put a question
about itself to which it does not already know the answer.
Krishnamurti: When the mind, as the `me’, as the separate
thought, puts to itself a question about itself, it has already found
the answer, because it is talking about itself; it is ringing the same
bell with a different hammer, but it is the same bell.
Questioner: Can we act without a `me’? – do we not then live in
contemplation? Krishnamurti: Can you live in isolation, in
contemplation? Who is going to give you your food, your clothes?
The monks and the various tricksters of religions have done all this. There are people in India who say, `I live in contemplation,
feed me, clothe me, bathe me, I am so disconnected’ it is all so
utterly immature. You cannot possibly isolate yourself, for you are
always in relationship with the past or with the things around you.
To live in isolation, calling it contemplation, is mere escape, self-
23rd July, 1970
IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION PART I CHAPTER 5
5TH PUBLIC TALK SAANEN 26TH JULY 1970
‘FEAR AND PLEASURE’
The last time we met we were talking about the structure of
thought and its activities, about how thought divides and thereby
brings about great conflict in human relationship. I think this
morning we should consider – not intellectually or verbally – the
nature of pleasure and fear, and whether it is at all possible to be
totally free of sorrow. Enquiring into that, we have to examine very
carefully the whole question of time. It is one of the most difficult
things to convey something, which not only demands the accurate
use of words, but also an accuracy of perception that lies beyond
those words, and a feeling, a sense, of intimate contact with a
In listening to the speaker, if you merely interpret the words
according to your personal like and dislike, without being aware of
your own tendencies of interpretation, then the word becomes a
prison in which most of us, unfortunately, are caught. But if one is
aware of the meaning of the word and of what lies behind the
word, then communication becomes possible. Communication
implies not only a verbal comprehension, but also going together,
examining together, sharing together, creating together. This is
very important, especially when we are talking about sorrow, time,
and the nature of pleasure and fear. These are very complex
questions. Every human problem is quite complex and needs a
certain austerity, a simplicity, for its perception. By the word
`austere’ is not meant harshness, which is the usual meaning given to that word, not the sense of dryness of discipline and control. We
mean the austere simplicity that there must be in the examination
and in the understanding of what we are going to talk about. The
mind must be really sensitive. Sensitivity implies intelligence
which is beyond the interpretation of the intellect, beyond
emotionalism and enthusiasm. In examining, in listening, in
looking, in learning about time, pleasure, fear and sorrow, one has
to have this quality of sensitivity which gives the immediate
perception of something as true or false. That is not possible if the
intellect, in its activity of thought, divides, interprets. I hope you
understood, the last time we talked here, how thought, by its
nature, divides human relationship – though thought is necessary,
as reason, as sane, clear, objective thinking.
For most of us, fear is a constant companion; whether one is
aware of it or not, it is there, hidden in some dark recess of one’s
mind; and we are asking if it is at all possible for the mind to be
completely and totally free of this burden. The speaker may
suggest this question, but it is you who must answer it, it is your
problem; therefore you have to be sufficiently persistent, and
sufficiently subtle, to see what it is and to pursue it to the very end,
so that the mind – when you leave this tent this morning is literally
free of fear. Perhaps that is asking a great deal, but it can be done.
For a mind that has been conditioned in the culture of fear, with all
the neurotic, complicated consequences of its actions, to even put
the question of the possibility of being completely, absolutely, free
of fear, is in itself a problem. A problem exists only when it is not
solvable, when you cannot go through with it and it keeps on
recurring. You think you have solved this question of fear, but it keeps on repeating in different forms. If you say, `It is impossible»
you have already blocked yourself. One has to be very careful not
to block oneself, not to prevent oneself from going into this
question of fear and its complete resolution.
Any sense of fear generates all kinds of mischievous activity,
not only psychologically and neurotically, but outwardly. The
whole problem of security comes into being, both physical and
psychological security. Do follow all this, because we are going to
go into something which requires attention; not your agreement,
not your interpretation, but your perception, your seeing the thing
as it is. You do not need an interpreter; examine for yourself, find
out for yourself.
Most of us have had physical fears, either fear of an illness,
with all its anxiety and the boredom of pain, or when facing
physical danger. When you face physical danger of any kind, is
there fear? Walking in wild parts, of India or Africa or America,
one may meet a bear, a snake or a tiger; then there is immediate
action, not conscious deliberate action, but instinctive action. Now
is that action from fear, or is that intelligence? We are trying to
find an action that is intelligent, as compared with action which is
born of fear. When you meet a snake, there is only instant physical
response, you run away, you sweat, you try to do something about
it; that is a conditioned response, because you have been told for
generations to be careful of snakes, of wild animals. The brain, the
nervous system, responds instinctively to protect itself; that is a
natural intelligent response. To protect the physical organism is
necessary; the snake is a danger and to respond to it in the sense of
protection is an intelligent action. Now look at physical pain. You have had pain previously and
you are afraid that it might return. The fear is caused by thought,
by thinking about something which happened a year ago, or
yesterday, and which might happen again tomorrow. Go into it,
watch your own responses and what your own activities have been.
There, fear is the product of conscious or unconscious thought –
thought as time, not chronological time, but thought as time
thinking about what has happened and generating the fear of it
happening again in the future. So thought is time. And thought
produces fear: `I might die tomorrow’, `I might be exposed about
something I have done in the past; the thinking about that breeds
fear. You have done something which you do not want exposed, or
you want to do something which you do not want exposed, or you
want to do something in the future which you will not be able to
do; all that is the product of thought as time.
Can this movement of thought, which breeds fear in time, and
as time, come to an end? Have you understood my question? There
is the intelligent action of protection, of self-preservation, the
physical necessity to survive, which is a natural, intelligent,
response. There is the other: thought, thinking about something and
projecting the possibility of it occurring, or not occurring in the
future, and so breeding fear. So, the question is: can this movement
of thought, so immediate, so insistent, so persuasive, naturally
come to an end? Not through opposition; if you oppose it, it is still
the product of thought. If you exercise your will to stop it, it is still
the product of thought. If you say, `I will not allow myself to think
that way’, who is the entity who says, `I will not’? It is still thought
hoping by stopping that movement, to achieve something else, which is still the product of thought. Thought may project it and
may not be able to achieve it; therefore again there is fear involved.
So we are asking whether the whole activity of thought, which
has produced psychological fear not just one fear, but many, many
fears can it come to an end naturally, easily, without effort. If you
make any effort it is still thought and therefore productive of fear
and it is still of time. One has to find a way in which thought will
naturally come to an end and so no longer create fear.
Are we communicating with each other, not merely verbally?
Perhaps you have seen the idea clearly, but we are not concerned
with verbally understanding the idea, but with your involvement in
fear in your daily life. We are not concerned with the description of
your life; that which is described is not the actual, the explanation
is not that which is explained, the word is not the thing. Your life,
your fear, is not exposed by the speaker’s words; but in listening, it
is you who have to expose that which is fear, and see how thought
creates that fear. We are asking whether the activity of thought –
which engenders, breeds, sustains and nourishes fear – can come to
an end naturally without any resistance. Before we can discover the
true answer, we have also to enquire into the pursuit of pleasure;
because again it is thought that sustains pleasure. You may have
had a lovely moment, as when you looked at the marvellous sunset
yesterday, you took a great delight in it; then thought steps in and
says, `how beautiful it was, I would like to have that experience
repeated again tomorrow’. It is the same whether it is a sunset, or
whether somebody flatters you, whether it is a sexual experience,
or if you have achieved something which you must maintain,
which gives you pleasure. There is a pleasure which you derive through achievement, through being a success, the pleasure in the
anticipation of what you are going to do tomorrow, from the
repetition of something which you have experienced, sexually, or
Social morality is based on pleasure and therefore it is no
morality at all: social morality is immorality. One finds that out;
but it does not mean that by revolting against the social morality,
one is going to become moral – doing what one likes, sleeping with
whom one likes. If one is going to understand and be free of fear,
one should also understand pleasure; they are interrelated. Which
does not mean that one must give up pleasure. All the organized
religions – and they have been the bane of civilisation – have said,
one must have no pleasure, no sex, one must approach God as a
tortured human being. They have said one must not look at a
woman, or anything which might remind one of sex and so on.
Saying that one must not have pleasure, means one must not have
desire. So one picks up the Bible when desire arises and loses it in
that; or one repeats some words from the Gita – which is nonsense.
Fear and pleasure are the two sides of a coin: you cannot be free
of one without being free of the other also. You want to have
pleasure all your life and yet be free of fear – that is all you are
concerned about. But you do not see that you feel frustrated if
tomorrow’s pleasure is denied, you feel unfulfilled, angry, anxious
and guilty, and all the psychological miseries arise. So you have to
look at fear and pleasure together. In understanding pleasure you
also have to understand what joy is. Is pleasure joy? Is not the
delight of existence something totally different from pleasure?
We were asking whether thought, with all its activities which breed and sustain fear and pleasure, can come naturally to an end,
without effort. There are the unconscious fears which play a much
greater part in one’s life than the fears of which one is aware. How
are you going to uncover these unconscious fears expose them to
the light? By analysis? If you say, `I will analyse my fears,’ then
who is the analyser? Is he not a part, a fragment of fear? His
analysis of his own fears will therefore have no value at all. Or if
you go to an analyst he, like you, is also conditioned, by Freud,
Jung or Adler: he analyses according to his conditioning, therefore
he does not help you to be free of fear. As we said previously,
analysis is a negation of action.
Knowing analysis has no value, how are you going to uncover
the unconscious fear? If you say, `I will examine my dreams’, again
the same problem arises. Who is the entity that is going to examine
the dreams – one fragment of the many fragments? So you must ask
a quite different question which is: `why do I dream at all’? Dreams
are merely the continuation of the daily activity; there is always
action going on, of some kind or another. How can that activity be
understood and come to an end? That is, can the mind during the
daytime be so alert as to watch all its motivations, all its urges, all
its complexities, its prides, its ambitions and frustrations, its
demand to fulfil, to be somebody, and so on? Can all that
movement of thought during the day be watched without `the
observer’? Because if there is `the observer’ who is watching, that
observer is part of thought, which has separated itself from the rest
and assumed the authority to observe. If you observe during the
day the whole movement of your activities, your thoughts and
feelings without interpretation, then you will see that dreams have very little meaning. Then you will hardly ever dream. If you are
awake during the daytime, and not half asleep, if you are not
caught in your beliefs, your prejudices, your absurd little vanities,
in your petty knowledge, you will see that there will not only be
the end to dreams, but also that thought itself begins to subside.
Thought is always seeking, or sustaining, or avoiding fear; it is
also producing pleasure, continuing to nourish that which has been
pleasurable. Being caught in fear and pleasure – which produce
sorrow – how can it all come to an end? How can the machinery of
thought – which produces all this movement of pleasure and fear –
naturally come to an end? That is the problem. What will one do
with it? Give it up, or go on as one has been, living in pleasure and
pain – which is the very nature of the bourgeois mind – though you
may have long hair, sleep on the bridge, revolt, throw bombs, cry
`peace’ yet fight your favourite war? Do what you will, it is of the
very nature of the bourgeois mind to be caught in fear and
pleasure. Face it! How will you resolve this problem? You must
resolve it if you want a totally different kind of life, a different kind
of society, a different kind of morality; you must solve this
problem. If you are young, you may say, `It is not important’, `I
will have «instant» pleasure, «instant» fear.’ But all the same, it
builds up and then one fine day you find yourself caught. It is your
problem, and no authority can solve it for you. You have had
authorities – -the priests and the psychological authorities and they
have not been able to solve it; they have given you escapes, like
drugs, beliefs, rituals and all the circus that goes on in the name of
religion; they have offered all this to you but the basic question of
fear and pleasure they have never solved. You have got to solve it. How? What are you going to do? put your mind to this – knowing
that nobody is going to solve it for you. In the realization that
nobody is going to solve it for you, you are already beginning to be
free of the bourgeois world. Unless you solve this problem of fear
and pleasure, sorrow is inevitable – not only your personal sorrows,
but the sorrow of the world. Do you know what the sorrow of the
world is? Do you know what is happening in the world? Not
outwardly – all the wars, all the mischief of the politicians and so
on – but inwardly, the enormous loneliness of man, the deep
frustrations, the utter lack of love in this vast, uncompassionate,
callous world. Unless you resolve this problem, sorrow is
inevitable. And time will not solve it. You cannot say, ` I will think
about it tomorrow» `I will have my «instant» pleasure and all the
fear that comes out of it,’ `I will put up with it.’ Who is going to
answer you? After raising this question, seeing all the complexity
of it, seeing that nobody on earth, or any divine force such as we
have relied on before, is going to resolve this essential problem,
how do you respond to it? What do you say, Sirs? You have no
answer, have you? If you are really honest, not playing the
hypocrite, or trying to avoid it, not trying to side-step when you are
faced with this problem, which is the crucial problem, you have no
answer. So, how are you going to find out how it can naturally
come to an end? – without method, for obviously method implies
time. If somebody gives you a method, a system, and you practice
it, it will make your mind more and more mechanical, bring more
and more conflict between `what is’ and that system. The system
promises something, but the fact is you have fear; by practising the
system you are moving further and further away from `what is; and so conflict increases, consciously or unconsciously. So what will
Now, what has happened to the mind, to the brain, that has
listened to all this – not merely heard a few words, but actually
listened, shared, communicated, learnt? What has happened to your
mind that has listened with tremendous attention to the complexity
of the problem, with awareness of its own fears, and has seen how
thought breeds and sustains fear as well as pleasure? What has
happened to the quality of the mind that has so listened? Is the
quality of this mind entirely different from the moment when we
began this morning, or is it the same repetitive mind, caught in
pleasure and fear? Is there a new quality? Is it a mind that is not
saying, `One must put an end to fear or pleasure’, but a mind that is
learning by observing? Has your mind not become a little more
sensitive? Before, you were just carrying this burden of fear and
pleasure. By learning about the weight of the burden, have you not
slightly put it aside? Have you not dropped it – and therefore you
are now walking very carefully?
If you have really followed this merely by observing – not
through determination or effort – your mind has become sensitive
and therefore very intelligent. Next time fear arises – as it will
intelligence will respond to it, but not in terms of pleasure, of
suppressing or escaping. This intelligence and sensitivity has come
about by looking at this burden and putting it aside. It has become
astonishingly alive; it can ask quite a different question, which is:
if pleasure is not the way of life, as it has been for most of us, then
is life barren? Does it mean I can never enjoy life?
Is there not a difference between pleasure and joy? You lived before in terms of pleasure and fear – the `instant’ pleasure of sex,
drink, killing an animal and stuffing yourself with its meat, and all
the rest of that `pleasure’. That has been your way of life and you
suddenly discover, by examining, that pleasure is not the way at
all, because it leads to fear, to frustration, to misery, to sorrow, to
sociological and personal disturbances and so on. So you ask quite
a different question now: `Is there joy which is untouched by
thought and pleasure?’ For if it is touched by thought, it again
becomes pleasure and therefore fear. So having understood
pleasure and fear, is there a way of daily living which is joyous –
not the carrying over of pleasure and fear from day to day? To look
at those mountains, the beauty of the valley, the light on the hills,
the trees and the flowing river and to enjoy them! But not when
you say, `How marvellous it is,’ not when thought is using it as a
means of pleasure.
You can look at that mountain, the movement of a tree, or the
face of a woman, or a man, and take tremendous delight in it.
When you have done that, it is finished. But if you carry it over in
thought, then pain and pleasure begin. Can you so look and finish
with it? Be very careful, watchful, of this. Can you look at that
mountain and the delight in it is enough? Not carry it over in
thought to tomorrow; which means you see the danger of that. You
may have some great pleasure and say, `It is over; yet, is it over? Is
not the mind, consciously or unconsciously, thinking about it,
wishing it to happen again?
So one sees that thought has nothing whatsoever to do with joy.
This is a tremendous discovery for yourself not something you
have been told, not something to write about, interpreting it for somebody to read. There is a vast difference between delight, joy
and bliss, on the one hand, and pleasure on the other.
I do not know if you have noticed, that the early religious
pictures in the Western world avoid any kind of sensuous pleasure;
there is no scenery at all, only the human body being tortured, or
the Virgin Mary and so on. There is no landscape because that was
pleasure, and might distract you from being concerned with the
figure and its symbolism. Only much later was there the
introduction of scenery, which in China and India was always part
You can observe all this and find the beauty of living in which
there is no effort, of living with great ecstasy, in which pleasure
and thought and fear do not enter at all.
Questioner: When I dream, I sometimes see something
happening in the future, which is accurate. I dreamt that I saw you
come into this meeting and put the brown coat there and adjust the
microphone; this was definitely a dream of what was going to
happen the next morning. Krishnamurti: How do you account for
that? First of all: why do you give such tremendous importance to
what is going to happen in the future? Why? The astrologers, the
fortune tellers, the palmists, what marvellous things they say are
going to happen to you! Why are you so concerned? Why are you
not concerned with the actual daily living, which contains all the
treasures – you do not see it! You know, when the mind, because
you have been listening here, has become somewhat sensitive – I
do not say completely sensitive, but somewhat sensitive – naturally
it observes more, whether of tomorrow or today. It is like looking
down from an aeroplane and seeing two boats approaching from opposite directions on the same river; one sees that they are going
to meet at a certain point – and that is the future. The mind, being
somewhat more sensitive, becomes aware of certain things which
may happen tomorrow, as well as of those which are happening
now. Most of us give so much more importance to what is going to
happen tomorrow and so little to what is actually happening now.
And you will find, if you go into this very deeply, that nothing
`happens’ at all: any `happening’ is part of life. Why do you want
`experience’ at all? A mind that is sensitive, alive, full of clarity,
does it need to have `experience’ at all? Please answer that question
Questioner: You tell us to observe our actions in daily life but
what is the entity that decides what to observe and when? Who
decides if one should observe?
Krishnamurti: Do you decide to observe? Or do you merely
observe? Do you decide and say, `I am going to observe and learn’?
For then there is the question: `Who is deciding?’ Is it will that
says, `I must’? And when it fails, it chastises itself further and says,
`I must, must, must; in that there is conflict; therefore the state of
mind that has decided to observe is not observation at all. You are
walking down the road, somebody passes you by, you observe and
you may say to yourself, `How ugly he is; how he smells; I wish he
would not do this or that’. You are aware of your responses to that
passer-by, you are aware that you are judging, condemning or
justifying; you are observing. You do not say, `I must not judge, I
must not justify’. In being aware of your responses, there is no
decision at all. You see somebody who insulted you yesterday.
Immediately all your hackles are up, you become nervous or anxious, you begin to dislike; be aware of your dislike, be aware of
all that, do not `decide’ to be aware. Observe, and in that
observation there is neither the `observer’ nor the `observed’ – there
is only observation taking place. The `observer’ exists only when
you accumulate in the observation; when you say, `He is my friend
because he has flattered me’, or, `He is not my friend, because he
has said something ugly about me, or something true which I do
not like,. That is accumulation through observation and that
accumulation is the observer. When you observe without
accumulation, then there is no judgement. You can do this all the
time; in that observation naturally certain definite decisions are
made, but the decisions are natural results, not decisions made by
the observer who has accumulated.
Questioner: You said in the beginning, that the instinctive
response of self-protection against a wild animal is intelligence and
not fear, and that the thought which breeds fear is entirely
Krishnamurti: Are they not different? Do you not observe the
difference between thought which breeds and sustains fear, and
intelligence which says `Be careful’? Thought has created
nationalism, racial prejudice, the acceptance of certain moral
values; but thought does not see the danger of that. If it saw the
danger, then there would be the response not of fear, but of
intelligence, which would be the same as meeting the snake. In
meeting the snake there is a natural self-protecting response; when
meeting nationalism, which is the product of thought, which
divides people and is one of the causes of war, thought does not see
the danger. 26th July, 1970.
IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION PART I CHAPTER 6
6TH PUBLIC TALK SAANEN 28TH JULY 1970
‘THE MECHANICAL ACTIVITY OF THOUGHT’
We were talking of the importance of thought and yet of its
unimportance; of how thought has a great deal of action and within
its own field only limited freedom. We spoke of a state of mind
that is totally unconditioned. This morning we can go into this
question of conditioning; not only the superficial, cultural
conditioning, but also why conditioning takes place. We can
enquire about the quality of mind that is not conditioned, that has
gone beyond conditioning. We have to go into this matter very
deeply to find out what love is. And in understanding what love is,
perhaps we shall be able to comprehend the full significance of
So, first we will find out whether the mind can be totally and
completely free of conditioning. It is fairly obvious how we are
superficially conditioned by the culture, the society, the
propaganda around us, and also by nationality, by a particular
religion, by education and through environmental influences. I
think it is fairly clear and fairly simple to see how most human
beings, of whatever country or race, are conditioned by the
particular culture or religion to which they belong. They are
moulded, held within a particular pattern. One can fairly easily put
aside such conditioning.
Then there is the deeper conditioning, such as an aggressive
attitude towards life. Aggression implies a sense of dominance, of
seeking power, possessions, prestige. One has to go very deeply to be completely free of that, because it is very subtle, taking many
different forms. One may think one is not aggres- sive, but when
one has an ideal, an opinion, an evaluation, verbal and non-verbal,
there is a sense of assertiveness which gradually becomes
aggressive and violent. One can see this in oneself. Behind the very
word `aggression’ though you may say it very gently – there is a
kick, there is a furtive, dominant, compulsive action which
becomes cruel and violent. That aggressive conditioning one has to
discover, whether one has derived it from the animal, or has
become aggressive in one’s own self-assertive pleasure. Is one
aggressive in the total sense of that word, which means `stepping
Another form of conditioning is that of comparison. One
compares oneself with what one thinks is noble or heroic, with
whit one would like to be, as opposed to what one is. The
comparative pursuit is a form of conditioning; again, it is
extraordinarily subtle. I compare myself with somebody who is a
little more intelligent or more beautiful physically. Secretly or
openly, there is a constant soliloquy, talking to oneself in terms of
comparison. Observe this in yourself. Where there is comparison
there is a form of aggression in the feeling of achievement; or,
when you cannot achieve, there is a sense of frustration and a
feeling of inferiority. From childhood we are educated to compare.
Our educational system is based on comparison, on the giving of
marks, on examinations. In comparing yourself with somebody
who is cleverer, there is envy, jealousy, and all the conflict that
ensues. Comparison implies measurement; I am measuring myself
against something I think is better or nobler. One asks: `Can the mind ever be free of this social and cultural
conditioning, of the mind measuring and comparing, the
conditioning of fear and pleasure, of reward and punishment?’ The
whole of our moral and religious structures are based on this. Why
is it that we are conditioned? We see the outward influences which
are conditioning us and the inward voluntary demand to be
conditioned. Why do we accept this conditioning? Why has the
mind allowed itself to be conditioned? What is the factor behind it
all? Why do I, born in a certain country and culture, calling myself
a Hindu, with all the superstition and tradition imposed by the
family, the society, accept such conditioning? What is the urge that
lies behind this? What is the factor that is constantly demanding
and acquiescing, yielding to or resisting this conditioning? One can
see that one wants to be safe and secure in the community which is
following a certain pattern. If one does not follow that pattern one
may lose one’s job, be without money, not be regarded as a
respectable human being. There is a revolt against that, and that
revolt forms its own conditioning – which all the young people are
going through now. One must find out what is the urge that makes
one conform. Unless one discovers it for oneself, one will always
be conditioned one way or the other, positively or negatively. From
the moment one is born until one dies, the process goes on. One
may revolt against it, one may try to escape into another
conditioning, withdrawing into a monastery as do the people who
devote their life to contemplation, to philosophy, but it is the same
movement right through. What is the machinery that is in constant
movement, adjusting itself to various forms of conditioning?
Thought is everlastingly conditioned, because it is the response of the past as memory. Thought is always mechanical; it falls very
easily into a pattern, into a groove, and then you consider you are
being tremendously active, whether you are confined to the
Communist groove, the Catholic groove, or whatever it is. It is the
easiest, the most mechanical thing to do – and we think we are
living! So although thought has a certain limited freedom in its
field, everything it does is mechanical. After all, to go to the moon
is quite mechanical, it is the outcome of the accumulated
knowledge of centuries. The pursuit of technical thinking takes you
to the moon, or under the sea and so on. The mind wants to follow
a groove, wants to be mechanical and that way there is safety,
security, there is no disturbance. To live mechanically is not only
encouraged by society, but also by each one of us, because that is
the easiest way to live.
So thought being a mechanical, repetitive pursuit, accepts any
form of conditioning which enables it to continue in its mechanical
activity. A philosopher invents a new theory, an economist a new
system, and we accept that groove and follow it. Our society, our
culture, our religious prompting, everything seems to function
mechanically; yet in that there is a certain sense of stimulation.
When you go to Mass, there is a certain excitement, emotion, and
that becomes the pattern. I do not know if this is something you
have ever tried – do it once and you will see the fun of it: take a
piece of stick or a stone, any odd piece with a little shape to it, put
it on the mantlepiece and put a flower beside it every morning.
Within a month you will see that it has become a habit, as a
religious symbol, and you have begun to identify yourself with
that. Thought is the response of the past. If one has been taught
engineering as a profession, one adds to and adjusts that
knowledge, but one is set in that line; similarly if you are a doctor
and so on. Thought is somewhat free within a certain field, but it is
still within the limits of mechanical functioning. Do you see that,
not only verbally and intellectually, but actually? Are you as aware
of it as when you hear that train? Sound of passing train.)
Can the mind free itself from the habits it has cultivated, from
certain opinions, judgments, attitudes and values? Which means,
can the mind be free of thought? If this is not completely
understood, then the next thing which I am going to talk, about will
have no meaning. The understanding of this leads to the next
question, which is inevitable, if you go into it. If thought is
mechanical, if it inevitably conforms to the conditioning of the
mind, then what is love? Is love the product of thought? Is love
nurtured, cultivated by thought, dependent on thought?
What is love? – bearing in mind that the description is not the
described, the word is not the thing. Can the mind be free of the
mechanical activity of thought so as to find out what love is? For
most of us love is associated, or equated, with sex. That is a form
of conditioning. When you are enquiring into this really very
complex, intricate and extraordinarily beautiful thing, you must
find out how that word `sex’ has conditioned the mind.
We say we will not kill – we will not go to Vietnam or some
other place to kill, but we do not mind killing animals. If you
yourself had to kill the animal which you eat, and saw the ugliness
of it, would you eat that animal? I doubt it very much. But you do
not mind the butcher killing it for you to eat; in that there is a great deal of hypocrisy.
So one asks not only what love is, but also what is compassion.
In the Christian culture the animals have no soul, they are put on
earth by God for you to eat; that is the Christian conditioning. In
certain parts of India to kill is wrong, whether to kill a fly, an
animal or anything else. So they do not kill the least thing, they go
to the extreme of exaggeration; again, that is their conditioning.
And there are people who support antivivisection, yet wear
marvellous furs: such hypocrisy goes on!
What does it mean to be compassionate? Not merely verbally,
but actually to be compassionate? Is compassion a matter of habit,
of thought, a matter of the mechanical repetition of being kind,
polite, gentle, tender? Can the mind which is caught in the activity
of thought with its conditioning, its mechanical repetition, be
compassionate at all? It can talk about it, it can encourage social
reform, be kind to the poor heathen and so on; but is that
compassion? When thought dictates, when thought is active, can
there be any place for compassion? Compassion being action
without motive, without self-interest, without any sense of fear,
without any sense of pleasure.
So one asks: `Is love pleasure?, – sex is pleasure, of course. We
take pleasure in violence, we take pleasure in achievement, in
assertion, in aggression. Also we take pleasure in being somebody.
And all that is the product of thought, the product of measurement
– `I was that’ and `I will be this’. Is pleasure, in the sense in which
we have been speaking, is that love? How can a mind which is
caught in habit, in measurement and comparison, know what love
is? One may say, love is this or that but that is all the product of thought.
From that observation arises the question: what is death? Whit
does it mean, to die? It must be the most marvellous experience! It
must imply something that has completely come to an end. The
movement that has been set going the strife, struggle, turmoil, all
the despairs and frustrations – all that suddenly comes to in end.
The man who is trying to become famous, who is assertive, violent,
brutal – that activity is cut off! Have you noticed how anything that
continues psychologically becomes mechanical, repetitive. It is
only when psychological continuance comes to an end, that there is
something totally new – you can see this in yourself. Creation is not
the continuation of what is, or what was, but the ending of that.
So psychologically can one die? You understand my question?
Can one die to the known, die to what has been – not in order to
become something else – which is the ending of and the freedom
from the known? After all, that is what death is.
The physical organism will die, naturally; it has been abused,
kicked around, frustrated; it has eaten and drunk all kinds of things.
You know how you live and you go on that way till it dies. The
body, through accident, through old age, through some disease,
through the strain of constant emotional battle within and without,
becomes twisted, ugly, and it dies. There is self pity in this dying
and also pity for oneself when somebody else dies. When
somebody dies whom we consider we love, is there not in that
sorrow a great deal of care? For you are left alone, you are exposed
to yourself, you have nobody to rely on, nobody to give you
comfort. Our sorrow is tinged with this self-pity and fear and
naturally in this uncertainty one accepts every form of belief. The whole of Asia believes in reincarnation, in being reborn in
another life. When you enquire what it is that is going to be born in
the next life, you come up against difficulties. What is it?
Yourself? What are you? a lot of words, a lot of opinions,
attachments to your possessions, to your furniture, to your
conditioning. Is all that, which you call the soul, going to be reborn
in the next life? Reincarnation implies that what you are today
determines what you will be again in the next life. Therefore
behave! – not tomorrow, but today, because what you do today you
are going to pay for in the next life. people who believe in
reincarnation do not bother about behavior;t all; it is just a matter
of belief, which has no value. Incarnate today, afresh not in the
next life! Change it now completely, change with great passion, let
the mind strip itself of everything, of every conditioning, every
knowledge, of everything it thinks is `right’ – empty it. Then you
will know what dying means; and then you will know what love is.
For love is not something of the past, of thought, of culture; it is
not pleasure. A mind that has understood the whole movement of
thought becomes extraordinarily quiet, absolutely silent. That
silence is the beginning of the new.
Questioner: Sir, can love have an object?
Krishnamurti: Who is asking the question? Thought or love?
Love is not asking this question. When you love, you love! – you
do not ask, `Is there an object, or no object, is it personal or
impersonal?’. Oh, you do not know what is means, the beauty of it!
Our love, as it is, is such a trial; our relationship with each other is
such a conflict. Our love is based on your image of me and my
image of you. Look at it very carefully, at the relationship between these two isolated images which say to each other, `We love’. The
images are the product of the past, of memories, memories of what
you said to me and I said to you; and this relationship between the
two images must inevitably be an isolating process. That is what
we call relationship. To be related means to be in contact not
merely physically which is not possible when there is an image,
when there is the self-isolating process of thought, which is the
`me’, and the`you’. We say: `Has love an object? Or is love divine
or profane?, – you follow? Sir, when you love, you are neither
giving nor receiving.
Questioner: When one goes behind these words, `beauty’ and
`love’, don’t all these divisions disappear?
Krishnamurti: Have you ever sat, not day-dreaming, but very
quietly, completely aware? In that awareness there is no
verbalization, no choice, no restraint or direction. When the body is
completely relaxed, have you noticed the silence that comes into
being? That requires a great de;l of investigation, because our
minds are never still but endlessly chattering and therefore divided.
We divide living into fragments.
Can all this fragmentation come to an end? Knowing that
thought is responsible for this fragmentation, we ask: `Can thought
be completely silent yet respond when it is necessary, without
violence, objectively, sanely, rationally – still let this silence
pervade?’ That is the only way: to find for oneself this quality of
the mind that has no fragments, that is not broken up as the `you’
and the `me’.
Questioner: Sir, is the killing of a fly on the same level as the
killing of an animal or a human being? Krishnamurti: Where will you begin the comprehension of
killing? You say you will not go to war, kill a human being ( I do
not know if you say it or not, it is up to you), but you do not mind
taking sides your group and my group. You do not mind believing
in something and standing by what you believe. You do not mind
killing people with a word, with a gesture – and you will be careful
not to kill a fly! Some years ago the speaker was in a country
where Buddhism is the accepted religion. If you are a practising
Buddhist, it is one of the accepted principles not to kill. Two
people came to see the speaker and said, `We have a problem: we
do not want to kill. We are ardent Buddhists, we have been brought
up not to kill; but we like eggs and we do not want to kill a fertile
egg – so what are we to do?’ You understand? Unless inwardly you
are very clear as to what killing implies – not only with a gun, but
by a word, by gesture, by division, by saying `my country’, `your
country’, `my God’, `your God» there will inevitably be killing in
some form. Do not make a lot of ado about killing a fly and then go
and `kill’ your neighbour with a word.
The speaker has never eaten meat in his life, does not know
what it tastes like even, and yet he puts on leather shoes. One his to
live,and although in your heart you do not want to kill anything,
hurt anybody – and you really mean it – yet you have to `kill’ the
vegetable which you eat; for if you do not eat anything you come
very quickly to an end. One has to find out for oneself very clearly
without any choice, without any prejudice, one has to be highly
sensitive and intelligent and then let that intelligence act – not say,
`I will not kill flies’, yet say something brutal about one’s husband.
28th July, 1970.
IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION PART I CHAPTER 7
7TH PUBLIC TALK SAANEN 30TH JULY 1970
I think this morning we should talk over together the problem of
religion. Many people do not like that word, they think it is rather
old fashioned and has very little meaning in this modern world.
And there are those who are religious at the weekend; they turn out
well dressed on Sunday morning and do all the mischief they can
during the week. But when we use the word `religion’ we are not in
any way concerned with organized religions, churches, dogmas,
rituals, or the authority of saviours, representatives of God and all
the rest. We are talking about something quite different.
Human beings, in the past, as in the present, have always asked
if there is something transcendental, much more real than the
everyday existence with all its tiresome routine, its violence,
despairs and sorrow. But not being able to find it, they have
worshipped a symbol, giving it great significance.
To find out if there is something really true and sacred I am
using that word rather hesitantly – we must look for something not
put together by desire and hope, by fear and longing; not dependent
on environment, culture and education, but something that thought
has never touched, something that is totally and incomprehensibly
new. Perhaps this morning we can spend some time in enquiring
into this, trying to find out whether there is a vastness, an ecstasy, a
life that is unquenchable; without finding that, however virtuous,
however orderly, however non-violent one is, life in itself has very
little meaning. Religion in the sense in which we are using that word, where there is no kind of fear or belief – is the quality that
makes for a life in which there is no fragmentation whatsoever. If
we are going to enquire into that, we must not only be free of all
belief, but also we must be very clear about the distorting factor of
all effort, direction and purpose. Do see the importance of this; if
you are at all serious in this matter it is very important to
understand how any form of effort distorts direct perception. And
any form of suppression obviously also distorts, as does any form
of direction born of choice, of established purpose, created by one’s
own desire; all these things make the mind utterly incapable of
seeing things as they are.
When we are enquiring into this question of what truth is,
whether there is such a thing as enlightenment, if there is
something that is not of time at all, a reality that is not dependent
on one’s own demand, there must be freedom, and a certain quality
of order. We generally associate order with discipline, discipline
being conformity, imitation, adjustment, suppression and so on;
forcing the mind to follow a certain course, a pattern that it
considers to be moral. But order has nothing whatsoever to do with
such discipline; order comes about naturally and inevitably when
we understand all the disturbing factors, the disorders and conflicts
going on both within ourselves and outwardly. When we are aware
of this disorder, look at all the mischief, the hate, the pursuit of
comparison – when we understand it then there comes order; which
has nothing whatsoever to do with discipline. You must have
order; after all, order is virtue (you may not like that word). Virtue
is not something to be cultivated; if it is a thing of thought, of will,
the result of suppression, it is no longer virtue. But if you understand the disorder of your life, the confusion, the utter
meaninglessness of our existence, when you see all that very
clearly, not merely intellectually and verbally, but not condemning
it, not running away from it, but observing it in life, then out of that
awareness and observation comes order, naturally which is virtue.
This virtue is entirely different from the virtue of society, with its
respectability, the sanctions of the religions with their hypocrisy; it
is entirely different from one’s own self-imposed discipline.
Order must exist if we are to find out if there is or is not – a
reality that is not of time, something incorruptible, not depending
on anything. If you are really serious about this, in the sense that it
is a part of life as important as earning one’s livelihood, as seeking
pleasure, that it is something tremendously vital, then you will
realize that it can only be found through meditation. The dictionary
meaning of that word is to ponder over, to think over, to enquire; it
means to have a mind that is capable of looking, that is intelligent,
that is sane, not perverted or neurotic, not wishing for something
Is there any method, any system, any path which you can pursue
and come to the understanding of what meditation, or the
perception of reality, is? Unfortunately people come from the East
with their systems, methods and so on; they say `Do this’ and
`Don’t do that’. `Practice Zen and you will find enlightenment.’
Some of you may have gone to India or Japan and spent years
studying, disciplining yourself, trying to become aware of your toe
or your nose, practising endlessly. Or you may have repeated
certain words in order to calm the mind, so that in that calmness
there will be the perception of something beyond thought. These tricks can be practised by a very stupid, dull mind. I am using the
word stupid in the sense of a mind that is stupefied. A stupefied
mind can practise any of these tricks. You may not be interested in
all this, but you have to find out. After you have listened very
carefully you may go out into the world and teach people, that may
be your vocation and I hope it is. You have to know the whole
substance, the meaning, the fullness, the beauty, the ecstasy of all
A dull mind, a mind that has been stupefied by `practising’,
cannot under any circumstances whatsoever understand what
reality is. One must be completely, totally, free of thought. One
needs a mind that is not distorted, that is very clear, that is not
blunted, that is no longer pursuing a direction, a purpose. You will
ask: `Is it possible to have this state of mind in which there is no
experiencing?’ To `experience’ implies an entity who is
experiencing; therefore, there is duality: the experiencer and the
thing experienced. the observer and the thing observed. Most of us
want some kind of deep, marvellous and mystical experience; our
own daily experiences are so trivial, so banal, so superficial, we
want something electrifying. In that bizarre thought of a
marvellous experience, there is this duality of the experiencer and
the experience. As long as this duality exists there must be
distortion; because the experiencer is the accumulated past with all
his knowledge, his memories. Being dissatisfied with that, he
wants something much greater, therefore he projects it as idea, and
finds that projection; in that there is still duality and distortion.
Truth is not something to be experienced. Truth is not
something that you can seek out and find. It is beyond time. And thought, which is of time, cannot possibly search it out and grasp
it. So one must understand very deeply this question of wanting
experience. Do please see this tremendously important a thing.
Any form of effort, of wanting, of seeking out truth, demanding
experience, is the observer wanting something transcendental and
making effort; therefore the mind is not clear, pristine, non-
mechanical. A mind seeking an experience, however marvellous,
implies that the `me’ is seeking it – the `me’ which is the past, with
all its frustrations, miseries and hopes.
Observe for yourself how the brain operates. It is the storehouse
of memory, of the past. This memory is responding all the time, as
like and dislike, justifying, condemning and so on; it is responding
according; to its conditioning, according to the culture, religion,
education, which it has stored. That storehouse of memory, from
which thought arises, guides most of our life. It is directing and
shaping our lives every minute of every day, consciously or
unconsciously; it is generating thought, the `me’, which is the very
essence of thought and words. Can that brain, with its content of
the old, be completely quiet – only wakened when it is necessary to
operate, to function, to speak, to act, but the rest of the time
Meditation is to find out whether the brain, with all its activities,
all its experiences, can be absolutely quiet. Not forced, because the
moment you force, there again is duality, the entity that says, `I
would like to have marvellous experiences, therefore I must force
my brain to be quiet’ – you will never do it. But if you begin to
enquire, watch, observe, listen to all the movements of thought, its
conditioning, its pursuits, its fears, its pleasures, watch how the brain operates, then you will see that the brain becomes
extraordinarily quiet; that quietness is not sleep but is
tremendously active and therefore quiet. A big dynamo that is
working perfectly, hardly makes a sound; it is only when there is
friction that there is noise.
One has to find out whether one’s body can sit or lie completely
still, without any movement, not forced. Can the body and the
brain be still? – for they are interrelated psychosomatically. There
are various practices to make the body still, but again they imply
suppression; the body wants to get up and walk, you insist that it
must sit quietly, and the battle begins – wanting to go out and
wanting to sit still.
The word `yoga’ means `to join together’. The very words `join
together’ are wrong, they imply duality. Probably yoga as a
particular series of exercises and breathing was invented in India
many thousands of years ago. Its intent is to keep the glands, the
nerves and the whole system functioning healthily, without
medicine, and highly sensitive. The body needs to be sensitive,
otherwise you cannot have a clear brain. You can see the simple
fact, that one needs to have a very healthy, sensitive, alert body,
and a brain that functions very clearly, non-emotionally, not
personally; such a brain can be absolutely quiet. Now, how is this
to be brought about? How can the brain, which is so tremendously
active – not only during the day-time, but when you go to sleep – be
so completely relaxed and completely quiet? Obviously no method
will do it, a method implies mech- anical repetition, which
stupefies and makes the brain dull; and in that dullness you think
you have marvellous experiences! How can the brain, which is always chattering to itself, or with
others, always judging, evaluating, liking and disliking, turning
over all the time – how can that brain be completely still? Do you,
for yourself, see the extraordinary importance that the brain should
be completely quiet? For the moment it acts it is response of the
past, in terms of thought. It is only a brain that is completely still
that can observe a cloud, a tree, a flowing river. You can see the
extraordinary light on those mountains, yet the brain can be
completely still you have noticed this, have you not? How has that
happened? The mind, facing something of extraordinary
magnitude, like very complex machinery, a marvellous computer,
or a magnificent sunset, becomes completely quiet even if only for
a split second. You have noticed when you give a child a toy, how
the toy absorbs the child, the child is so concerned with it. In the
same way, by their greatness, the mountains, the beauty of a tree,
the flowing waters, absorb the mind and make it still. But in that
case the brain is made still by something. Can the brain be quiet
without an outside factor entering into it? Not `finding a way’.
people hope for the Grace of God, they pray, have faith, become
absorbed in Jesus, in this or in that. We see that this absorption by
something outside occurs to a dull, a stupefied mind. The brain is
active from the moment you wake up until you go to sleep; and
even then the activity of the brain is still going on. That activity in
the form of dreams is the same movement of the day carried on
during sleep. The brain has never a moment’s rest, never does it
say, `I have finished’. It has carried over the problems which it
accumulated during the day into sleep; when you wake up those
problems still go on – it is a vicious circle. A brain that is to be quiet must have no dreams at all; when the brain is quiet during
sleep there is a totally different quality entering into the mind. How
does it happen that the brain which is so tremendously,
enthusiastically active, can naturally, easily, be quiet without any
effort or suppression? I will show it to you.
As we said, during the day it is endlessly active. You wake up,
you look out of the window and say to yourself, `Oh, awful rain’,
or`It is a marvellous day, but too hot’ you have started! So at that
moment, when you look out of the window, don’t say a word; not
suppressing words but simply realizing that by saying, `What a
lovely morning’, or `A horrible day’, the brain has started. But if
you watch, looking out of the window and not saying a word to
yourself – which does not mean you suppress the word just
observing without the activity of the brain rushing in, there you
have the clue, there you have the key. When the old brain does not
respond, there is a quality of the new brain coming into being. You
can observe the mountains, the river, the valleys, the shadows, the
lovely trees and the marvellous clouds full of light beyond the
mountains you can look without a word, without comparing.
But it becomes much more difficult when you look at another
person; there already you have established images. But just to
observe! You will see when you so observe, when you see clearly,
that action becomes extraordinarily vital; it becomes a complete
action which is not carried over to the next minute. You
One has problems, deep or superficial, not sleeping well,
quarrelling with one’s wife, and one carries these problems on from
day to day. Dreams are the repetition of these problems, the repetition of fear and pleasure over and over again. That obviously
stupefies the mind and makes the brain dull. Now is it possible to
end each problem as it arises? – not carrying it over. Take j
problem: somebody has insulted me, told me I am a fool; at that
moment the old brain responds instantly, saying `So are you’. If,
before the brain responds, I am completely aware of what has been
said something unpleasant – I have an interval, a gap, so that the
brain does not immediately jump into the battle. So if you watch
the movement of thought in action during the day, you realize that
it is breeding problems, and that problems are things which are
incomplete, which have to e carried over. But if you watch with a
brain that is fairly quiet, en you will see that action becomes
complete, instantaneous; there is no carrying over of a problem, no
carrying over of the insult or the praise – it is finished. Then, during
sleep, the brain no longer carrying on the old activities of the day,
it has complete rest. And as the brain is quiet in sleep, there takes
place a rejuvenation of its whole structure. A quality of innocency
comes into being – and the innocent mind can see what is true; not
the complicated mind, not that of the philosopher, or the priest.
The innocent mind implies that whole in which are the body,
the heart, the brain and the mind. This innocent mind which is
never touched by thought, can see what truth is, what reality is, it
can see if there is something beyond measure. That is meditation.
To come upon this extraordinary beauty of truth, with its ecstasy,
you must lay the foundations. The foundation is the understanding
of thought, which breeds fear and sustains pleasure, and the
understanding of order and therefore virtue; so that there is
freedom from all conflict, aggression, brutality and violence. Once one has laid this foundation of freedom, there is a sensitivity which
is supreme intelligence, and the whole of the life one leads
becomes entirely different.
Questioner: I think that understanding you is very important to
our understanding of what you say. I was surprised to hear what
you said about Yoga, how you practise it regularly two hours a
day. To me this sounds like a definite form of discipline. More
important than that though, is the question of innocence – I am
interested in the innocence of your mind.
Krishnamurti: To see the innocency of the mind, whether it is
yours or mine, you must first be innocent. I am not turning the
tables on you, Sir. To see the innocency of the mind you need to be
free, you need to have no fear and a quality that comes with a brain
that is functioning without any effort. Is practising Yoga regularly
every day for two hours, not a form of discipline? You know the
body tells you when it is tired; the body says to you, `Don’t do it
this morning’. When we have abused the body by driving it in all
kinds of ways, spoiling its own intelligence – by wrong food,
smoking, drink, all the rest of it – the body becomes insensitive.
And thought says, `I must force it’. Such driving of the body,
forcing it, compelling it, becomes a discipline. Whereas, when you
do these things regularly, easily, without any effort, the regularity
of it depends on the sensitivity of the body. You do it one day and
the next day the body may be tired and you say, `All right, I won’t
do it’. It is not a mechanical regularity. All this requires a certain
intelligence, not only of the mind, but of the body, and that
intelligence will tell you what to do and what not to do.
Questioner: We may want our minds to be quiet, but sometimes we have to take decisions,. this makes for difficulty and causes
Krishnamurti: If the mind cannot decide clearly, then problems
arise; the very decision is a problem. When you decide, you make a
decision between this and that – which means choice. When there is
choice there is conflict; from that arise problems. But when you see
very clearly, there is no choice, therefore there is no decision. You
know the way from here to where you happen to live very well;
you follow the road which is very clear. You have been on that
road a hundred times, therefore there is no choice, although you
may find a short cut which you may take next time. That is
something mechanical there is no problem. The brain wants the
same thing to happen again so that it may function automatically,
mechanically, so that problems do not arise. The brain demands
that it operate mechanically. Therefore it says, `I will discipline
myself to function mechanically’, `I must have a belief, a purpose,
a direction, so that I can set a path and follow it; and it follows that
groove. What happens? Life will not allow that, there are all kinds
of things happening; so thought resists, builds a wall of belief and
this very resistance creates problems.
When you have to decide between this and that, it means there
is confusion: `should I, or should I not do this?, I only put that
question to myself when I do not see clearly what is to be done.
We choose out of confusion, not out of clarity. The moment you
are clear your action is complete.
Questioner: But it cannot always be complete,
Krishnamurti: Why not?
Questioner: Often it is a complex choice and you have to take time you have to look at it.
Krishnamurti: Yes Sir, take time, have patience to look at it.
You have to compare; compare what? Compare two materials, blue
and white; you question whether you like this colour or that colour,
whether you should go up this hill or that hill. You decide. `I prefer
to go up this hill today and tomorrow I’ll go up the other’. The
problem arises when one is dealing with the psyche, what to do
within oneself. First watch what decision implies. To decide to do
this or that, what is that decision based on? On choice, obviously.
Should I do this, or should I do that? I realize that when there is
choice there is confusion. So I see the truth of this, the fact, the
`what is’, which is: where there is choice there must be confusion.
Now why am I confused? Because I don’t know, or because I
prefer one thing as opposed to another which is more pleasant, it
may produce better results, greater fortune, or whatever it is. So I
choose that. But in following that, I realize there is also frustration
in it, which is pain. So I am caught again between fear and
pleasure. Seeing I am caught in this, I ask, `Can I act without
choice?’ That means: I have to be aware of all the implications of
confusion and all the implications of decision; fur there is duality,
the `decider’ and the thing decided upon. And therefore there is
conflict and perpetuation of confusion.
You will say, to be aware of all the intricacies of this movement
will take time. Will it take time? Or can it be seen instantly and
therefore there is instant action? It only takes time when I am not
aware of it. My brain, being conditioned, says, `I must decide’
decide according to the past; that is its habit. `I must decide what is
right, what is wrong, what is duty, what is responsibility, what is love’. The decisions of the brain breed more conflict which is what
the politicians throughout the world are doing. Now, can that brain
be quiet, so that it sees the problem of confusion instantly, and acts
because it is clear? Then there is no decision at all.
Questioner: Can we learn from experience?
Krishnamurti: Certainly not. Learning implies freedom,
curiosity, enquiry. When a child learns something, he is curious
about it, he wants to know, it is a free momentum; not a
momentum of having acquired and of moving from that
acquisition. We have innumerable experiences; we have had five
thousand years of wars. We have not learnt a thing from them
except to invent more deadly machinery with which to kill each
other. We have had many experiences with our friends, with our
wives, with our husbands, with our nation – we have not learnt.
Learning, in fact, can only take place when there is freedom from
experience. When you discover something new, your mind must be
free of the old, obviously. For this reason, meditation is the
emptying of the mind of the known as experience; because truth is
not something that you invent, it is something totally new, it is not
in terms of the past `known’. Its newness is not the opposite of the
old; it is something incredibly new: a mind that comes to it with
experience cannot see it.
30th July, 1970.
IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION PART II CHAPTER 1
1ST PUBLIC DIALOGUE SAANEN 2ND AUGUST
Krishnamurti: We are going to have seven discussions here, in
which each one of us shares. It is not merely a matter of hearing a
few words from each other and holding onto our opinions and
judgments; but in discussing, in talking things over together, we
will begin to find out for ourselves how we think, from what point
of view we look at life, how formulas and conclusions sway or
control our minds. During these seven discussions we can go into
many problems, taking each morning a particular subject and going
into it as completely and as thoroughly as possible so that both of
us understand it entirely, not only verbally, intellectually (which of
course is not understanding) and go beyond it. So what shall we
take this morning?
Questioner (1): Shall we talk about the roots and origin of
Questioner(2): Could we go into the difference between the
mind and the brain?
Questioner (3): Can one find a system of meditation in oneself
or is it a method?
Questioner (4): Do we make the right use of our personal
faculties and capacities?
Questioner (5): Could you say something about relationship
Questioner (6): Could we discuss letting go and giving up all
conditioning? Questioner (7): What is enlightenment?
Questioner (8): Why is it so difficult for us to attain a state of
bliss based on truth and beauty? Krishnamurti: Can we put all these
questions together? I think if we could discuss what self-
knowledge is, wouldn’t all these questions be answered? Such
questions as: what is meditation – is it a system? What is the
difference between the mind and the brain? Why is it so difficult to
attain or understand what is enlightenment? Why is it that most of
us have to struggle in various forms? Could we take self-knowing
in which all this would be included? Is there a method or system by
which one can know oneself? Is there a way of finding out for
oneself the answer to all the questions that we have put this
morning without asking anybody? That is possible only if I know
for myself the mechanism of thought, how the brain works, how
the mind is caught in conditioning, how it is attached, how it wants
to free itself. There is a constant struggle within oneself and also
outwardly. So to answer all the questions that one puts to oneself
and to solve the problems that exist outwardly, is it not important
to understand oneself? Could we discuss this?
First of all how do I observe myself? Do I look at myself
according to what authorities, the specialists, the psychologists
have said, which has obviously conditioned my mind? I may not
like Freud, Jung, Adler and the more recent psychologists and
analysts, but as their very statements have penetrated into my
mind, I am looking at myself with their eyes. Can I look at myself
objectively without any emotional reaction, just to see what I am?
And to see what I am, is analysis necessary?
All these questions are involved when I say that I must know myself; without knowing myself completely I have no basis for any
action. If I don’t know myself and am confused, whatever action I
take must lead to further confusion. So I must know myself. I must
profoundly find out the structure of my nature. I have to see the
scaffold of my activities, the patterns in which I function, the lines
which I follow, the directions which I have established for myself
or society. I have to understand this drive which makes me do
things consistently or contradictorily. To understand all these
problems about whether there is a God, whether there is truth, what
meditation is, who is the meditator which is much more important
than meditation I must know myself completely. Do you see the
importance of knowing for yourself what you are? Because without
knowing yourself, whatever you do will be done in ignorance,
therefore in illusion, in contradiction: so there will be confusion,
sorrow and all the rest of it. Is that clear? One must know oneself
not only at the conscious level but in the deep layers of oneself.
This must be clear and you must know it for yourself not because I
Now, how shall I know myself? What is the procedure? Shall I
follow the authorities, the specialists who apparently have
investigated and have come to certain conclusions which later
psychologists or philosophers may alter or strengthen? Don’t say
`No’. If I don’t, how shall I understand myself? All the
investigations of the past philosophers and teachers – the Indian
mind has gone into this at great depth as well as of the modern
ones is imprinted on my mind, consciously or unconsciously. So
shall I follow because I am just beginning and they have gone
ahead of me and then go further than they have gone? Or won’t I follow anybody but look at myself? If I can look at myself as `what
is’, then I am looking at myself who is the result of all the sayings
of these philosophers, teachers and saviours. Therefore I don’t have
to follow anybody. Is this clear? Do see this, please, don’t come
back to it later.
My mind is the result of what they have said. It has not only
been accepted; these things have flowed in like a wave, not only
from the present but also from the past and through a great many
teachers. I am the result of all that. So all that I have to do is to
observe myself, read the book which is myself. How am I to read,
how am I to observe so clearly that there is no impediment? I may
have coloured glasses, I may have certain prejudices, certain
conclusions which will prevent me from looking at myself and
seeing all that is implied in looking at myself. So what shall I do?
As I am conditioned I cannot look at myself in complete freedom,
therefore I must be aware of my conditioning. So I have to ask:
What is it to be aware?
Now let’s proceed. I cannot look at myself wholly in freedom
because my mind isn’t free. I have a dozen opinions and
conclusions, an infinite number of experiences, I have had an
education all that is part of my conditioning; therefore I must be
aware of these conditionings which are part of me. So first I must
know, I must understand, what it means to be aware. What does it
mean to you to be aware? The other day the speaker said `Don’t
take notes, please’ you heard that and several people went on taking
notes. Is that to be aware?
Questioner: I know already that I can’t be aware for more than
two minutes and then disorder begins. Krishnamurti: We will come to whether this awareness can be
extended or is only possible for a very short period. But before we
answer that question let’s find out what it means to be aware. Am I
aware of the noise of that stream? Am I aware of all the different
colours the men and women wear in this tent? Am I aware of the
structure and shape of the tent? Am I aware of the space around the
tent, the hills, the trees, the clouds, the heat – am I objectively,
outwardly aware of all these things? How are you aware?
Questioner: We are aware inwardly and outwardly at the same
Krishnamurti: Please go step by step. Are you aware of this tent,
of the various colours of the people’s dresses, are you aware of the
hills, the trees, the meadows? Are you aware in the sense of being
conscious of it? You are aren’t you?
Questioner: When I put my attention on it I am aware of it.
Krishnamurti: When you put your attention on it you are aware.
Therefore you are not aware when you are inattentive. So only
when you pay attention, are you aware. Please follow this closely.
Questioner: When I pay attention to one thing, I am absorbed, I
cannot pay attention to the other things around me.
Krishnamurti: You become absorbed in one particular thing and
the rest fades away. Are you aware that when you are looking
attentively at the tent, the trees, the mountains, that you are shaping
into words what you see? You say, `That’s a tree, that’s a cloud,
that’s a tent, I like this colour, I don’t like that colour’ – right?
Please take a little trouble over this – don’t get bored. Because if
you go into this very deeply, when you leave the tent you will see
something for yourself. So when you watch, are you aware of your reactions?
Questioner: It seems as if attention expands.
Krishnamurti: I am asking something and you reply to some-
thing else. I am aware of that dress. My reaction says, `How
nice’ or `How ugly’. I am asking: when you look at that red colour
are you aware of your reactions? Not of a dozen reactions, but of
that particular reaction when you see a red colour? Why not? Isn’t
that part of awareness?
Questioner: When you put a name to a thing you are not aware.
Krishnamurti: I am going to find out Sir, what it means. You
don’t bite into this! I want to be aware and I know I am not aware.
Occasionally I am attentive, but most of the time I am half asleep. I
am thinking about something else whilst I am looking at a tree or a
colour. As I have said, I want to know myself completely because I
see that if I don’t know myself I have no basis to do anything. So I
must know myself. How do I become aware, how do I observe
myself? In observing I shall learn. So learning is part of awareness.
Am I going to learn about myself according to somebody else? –
according to the philosophers, the teachers, the saviours, the
priests? Is that learning? If I learn according to what others have
said I have stopped learning about myself, haven’t I? So the first
thing is, I have to learn about myself. Now what does this learning
about myself mean? Investigate it, go into it, find out what it means
to learn about oneself.
Questioner: Seeing my reaction.
Krishnamurti: No, Madame, I don’t mean that. What does it
mean to learn?
Questioner: It seems that one desperately looks for a practical system to come to such an awareness. At one time I thought we
could try to educate ourselves by writing down all our thoughts and
afterwards when reading them, see them like a film. Maybe in this
way we could learn something.
Krishnamurti: The questioner says, we see the reason for
knowing ourselves, we are desperate to find out how to do this, but
out of this desperation we want a system, to find some method,
because we don’t know what to do with ourselves. So we want
somebody to tell us, `Do these things and you will know yourself’.
Now Sirs, please do listen to me. Here I am: I am the result of
the society, of the culture in which I live, of religions, the business
world, the economic world, the climate, the food – I am the result
of all that, of the infinite past and of the present. I want to know
myself, that is, I want to learn about myself. What does the word
`learn’ mean? See the difficulty in this. I don’t know German,
which means I have to learn the meaning of words, memorize the
verbs, and learn the syntax. That is, I have to accumulate
knowledge of words and all the rest of it and then I may be able to
speak German. I accumulate and then act, verbally or in any other
way; there learning meant accumulation. Now what happens if I
learn about myself? I see something about myself and I say, `I have
learnt that’. I have seen `that is so’, I have learnt about it. That has
left a residue of knowledge and with that knowledge I examine the
next incident. And that again adds further accumulation. So the
more I observe myself and learn about myself, the more I am
accumulating knowledge about myself. Right?
Questioner: I am changing.
Krishnamurti: I am accumulating knowledge and in the process I am changing. But I am accumulating knowledge and experience
by observing. Now what happens? With that knowledge I look at
myself. So knowledge is preventing fresh observation. I don’t know
if you see this? For instance you have said something to hurt me.
That is my knowledge, and the next time I see you, that knowledge
of having been hurt comes forward to meet you. The past comes to
meet the present. So knowledge is the past and with the eyes of the
past I am looking at the present – do you understand? Now, to learn
about myself, to look at myself, there must be freedom from past
knowledge. That is, the learning about myself must be constantly
fresh. Do you see the difficulty?
Questioner: I would say there are constants in life which don’t
Krishnamurti: We’ll come to the problem of change later. I am
watching, I want to learn about myself. `Myself’ is movement,
`myself’ is not static, it’s living, active, going in different
directions. So if I learn with the mind and the brain that is the past,
that prevents me from learning about myself. If you once see that,
then the next question is: how is the mind to free itself from the
past so as to learn about itself, which is constantly new? See the
beauty of it, the excitement of it!
I want to learn about myself and `myself’ is a living thing, not
something dead. I think this way one day, and the next day I want
something else; this is a living constant, moving thing. And to
observe, to learn about it, the mind must be free. Therefore if it is
burdened with the past it cannot observe. So what is it to do?
Questioner: It is not a question of amnesia, but of being free
from the effects of the past. Krishnamurti: Yes Sir, that is what we mean. Now what shall I
do? I see this happen: I see that red colour and I say, `I don’t like
it’. That is, the past responds. The past acts immediately and
therefore stops learning. So what is one to do?
Questioner: One must forget how to think – not have thoughts.
Krishnamurti: You are not following what I am saying. You
have come to a conclusion when you say `not to have thoughts’.
You are not really learning.
Questioner: We have to empty ourselves.
Krishnamurti: That is another conclusion. How do you empty
yourself? Who is the entity that is going to empty the mind?
Questioner: You have to empty that too. You must empty
Krishnamurti: Who is going to empty it? You see Sir, you are
not listening to what is being said – if you will forgive me for
saying so. I said I want to learn about myself. I cannot learn about
myself if the past interferes. Learning implies the active present of
the word to learn; `learning’ means active in the present; and that is
not possible when the mind, when the brain, is burdened with all
the past. Now tell me what to do.’
Questioner: I have to be attentive.
Krishnamurti: You see! How am I to be attentive?
Questioner: I have to live in the present.
Krishnamurti: How am I to live in the present when my past is
Questioner: By being aware of the process that is taking place.
Krishnamurti: Which means what? To be aware that the past is
interfering and therefore preventing the brain from learning? Go slowly, Sir. Are you aware of this movement as we are talking?
Then, if you are aware of it as we are talking, what takes place?
Don’t guess! Don’t say `should be’, `should not be’ that has no
meaning. What is actually taking place when you are aware of this
movement, which is the past interfering with the present and
therefore preventing learning in the sense we are using that word?
When you are aware of this whole process going on what takes
Questioner: You see yourself as the effect of the past.
Krishnamurti: We see that is a fact. We have asked what is the
outcome, what happens when you are aware that you are the effect
of the past and that is preventing you from learning in the present?
Don’t guess. What takes place in you, when you are aware of this
Questioner (1): The movement stops.
Questioner (2): There is no more thought.
Questioner (3): There is fear. Krishnamurti: One says there is no
more thought, another says there is silence, yet another says there
Questioner: There seems to be nothing but the present.
Krishnamurti: Now which of these statements is true?
Questioner: We arc confused.
Krishnamurti: That’s right, we are confused.
Questioner (1): You are aware.
Questioner (2): You learn.
Questioner (3): I feel that there is a contradiction which has to
be destroyed by direct action.
Krishnamurti: Look Sirs, I beg of you, don’t come to any conclusion, because conclusions will prevent you from learning.
And if you say, `Direct action must happen’ that is a conclusion.
We are learning. I see that I am the effect of the past. The past may
be yesterday or the last second that has left a mark as knowledge.
That knowledge, which is the past, is preventing me from learning
in the present; it is a momentum, it is happening all the time. Now
when I am aware of this movement, what takes place? I don’t want
your conclusions. If I accept your conclusions, you will be the new
philosopher! I don’t want any new philosopher! I want to learn;
therefore what I have to see is what actually takes place when the
brain is aware of this movement. Can the brain be aware of this
movement or is it frightened to be aware of something new?
Questioner: The movement will stop.
Krishnamurti: Then what? Have I learnt? Is there a learning?
Questioner: If I am quiet enough I think I can see what I
perceive and what comes out from myself. Krishnamurti: Yes Sir,
please do observe this. I want to learn about this movement; to
learn I must have curiosity. If I merely come to a conclusion my
curiosity stops. So there must be curiosity to learn; there must be
passion, and there must be energy. Without this I can’t learn. If I
have fear I have no passion. So I have to leave that alone and ask:
why am I frightened to learn about something that may be new? I
have to investigate fear. I have left the momentum of the past and
am now going to learn about fear. Are you following all this? Now,
why am I frightened?
Questioner: We are afraid to lose the image of ourselves.
Krishnamurti: I am afraid to lose the image which I have built
about myself – who is full of knowledge, who is a dead entity. No Sir. Don’t give me the explanation. I realize I am frightened – why?
Is it because I see that I am dead? I am living in the past and I don’t
know what it means to observe and live in the present; therefore
this is something totally new and I am frightened to do anything
new. Which means what? That my brain and my mind have
followed the old pattern, the old method, the old way of thinking,
living and working. But to learn, the mind must be free from the
past – we have established that as the truth. Now, look what has
happened. I have established the fact as truth that there is no
learning if the past interferes. And also I realize that I am
frightened. So there is a contradiction between the realization that
to learn, the mind must be free of the past, and that at the same
time I am frightened to do so. In this there is duality. I see, and I
am afraid to see.
Questioner: Are we always afraid to see new things?
Krishnamurti: Aren’t we? Aren’t we afraid of change?
Questioner: The new is the unknown. We are afraid of the
unknown. Krishnamurti: So we cling to the old and this will
inevitably breed fear because life is changing; there are social
upheavals, there is rioting, there are wars. So there is fear. Now
how am I to learn about fear? We have moved away from the
previous movement; now we want to learn about the movement of
What is the movement of fear? Are you aware that you are
afraid? Are you aware that you have fears?
Questioner: Not always.
Krishnamurti; Sir, do you know now, are you aware of your
fears now? You can resuscitate them, bring them out and say, `I am afraid of what people might say about me’. So are you aware that
you are frightened about death, about losing money, about losing
your wife? Are you aware of those fears? Also of physical fears –
that you might have pain tomorrow and so on. If you are aware,
what is the movement in it? What takes place when you are aware
that you are afraid?
Questioner: I try to get rid of it.
Krishnamurti: When you try to get rid of it, what takes place?
Questioner: You repress it.
Krishnamurti: Either you repress it or escape from it; there is a
conflict between fear and wanting to get rid of it – isn’t there? So
there is either repression or escape; and in trying to get rid of it
there is conflict which only increases fear.
Questioner: May I ask a question? Isn’t the `me’ the brain itself?
The brain gets tired of always seeking new experiences and wants
Krishnamurti: Are you saying that the brain itself is frightened
to let go and is the cause of fear? Look Sir, I want to learn about
fear; that means I must be curious, I must be passionate. First of all
I must be curious and I cannot be curious if I form a conclusion. So
to learn about fear I mustn’t be distracted by running away from it;
there mustn’t be a movement of repression, which again means a
distraction from fear. There mustn’t be the feeling `I must get rid of
it’. If I have these feelings I cannot learn. Now have I these feelings
when I see there is fear? I am not saying you shouldn’t have these
feelings – they are there. If I am aware of them what shall I do? My
fears are so strong that I want to run away from them. And the very
movement away from them breeds more fear – are you following all this? Do I see the truth and the fact that moving away from fear
increases fear? Therefore there is no movement away from it –
Questioner: I don’t understand this, because I feel that if I have a
fear and I move away from it, I am moving towards something that
is going to end that fear, towards something that will see me
Krishnamurti: What are you afraid of?
Krishnamurti: You are afraid of losing money, not of money.
The more the merrier! But you are afraid of losing it – right?
Therefore what do you do? You make quite sure that your money
is well placed, but the fear continues. It may not be safe in this
changing world, the bank may go bankrupt and so on. Even though
you have plenty of money there is always this fear. Running away
from that fear doesn’t solve it, nor suppressing it, saying, `I won’t
think about it: for the next second you are thinking about it. So
running away from it, avoiding it, doing anything about it
continues fear. That is a fact. Now we have established two facts:
that to learn there must be curiosity and there must be no pressure
of the past. And to learn about fear there must be no running away
from fear. That is a fact; that is the truth. Therefore you don’t run
away. Now when I don’t run away from it what takes place?
Questioner: I stop being identified with it.
Krishnamurti: Is that what learning is? You have stopped.
Questioner: I don’t know what you mean.
Krishnamurti: Stopping is not learning. Because of the desire
not to have fear, you want to escape from it. Just see the subtlety of it. I am afraid, and I want to learn about it. I don’t know what is
going to happen, I want to learn the movement of fear. So what
takes place? I am not running away, I am not suppressing, I am not
avoiding it: I want to learn about it.
Questioner: I think about how to get rid of it.
Krishnamurti: If you want to get rid of it as I have just
explained who is the person who is going to get rid of it? You want
to get rid of it, which means you resist it therefore fear increases. If
you don’t see the fact of that, I am sorry I can’t help you.
Questioner: We must accept fear.
Krishnamurti: I don’t accept fear who is the entity who is
Questioner: If one cannot escape, one must accept.
Krishnamurti: To escape from it, to avoid it, to pick up a novel
and read what other people are doing, to look at television, go to
the temple or to church all that is still avoidance of fear, and any
avoidance of it only increases and strengthens fear. That is a fact.
After establishing that fact I won’t run away, I won’t suppress. I am
learning not running away. Therefore what takes place when there’s
an awareness of fear?
Questioner: Understanding of the process of fear.
Krishnamurti,We are doing it. I am understanding the process, I
am watching it, I am learning about it. I am afraid and I am not
running away from it now what takes place?
Questioner: You are face to face with fear.
Krishnamurti: What takes place then?
Questioner: There is no movement in any direction.
Krishnamurti: Don’t you ask this question? Please just listen to me for two minutes. I am not running away, I am not suppressing, I
am not avoiding, I am not resisting it. There it is, I am watching it.
The natural question arising out of that is: who is watching this
fear? Please don’t guess. When you say, `I am watching fear, I am
learning about fear’, who is the entity that is watching it?
Questioner: Fear itself.
Krishnamurti: Is fear itself watching itself? Please don’t guess.
Don’t come to any conclusion, find out. The mind isn’t escaping
from fear, not building a wall against fear through courage and all
the rest of it. What takes place when I watch? I ask myself
naturally: who is watching the thing called fear? Don’t answer me
please. I have raised the question, not you. Sir, find out who is
watching this fear: another fragment of me?
Questioner: The entity who is watching cannot be the result of
the past, it must be fresh something that happens at this moment
Krishnamurti: I am not talking about whether the watching is
the result of the past. I am watching, I am aware of fear, I am
aware that I am frightened of losing money, of becoming ill, of my
wife leaving me and God knows what else. And I want to learn
about it, therefore I am watching and my natural question is: who
is watching this fear?
Questioner: My image of myself.
Krishnamurti: When I ask the question: `who is watching’, what
takes place? in the very question there is a division, isn’t there?
That is a fact. When I say, `Who is watching,’ it means the thing is
there and I am watching, therefore there is a division. Now why is
there a division? You answer me this, don’t guess, don’t repeat
what somebody else has said, including myself. Find out why this division exists at the moment when you ask the question: `who is
watching’? Find out.
Questioner: There is a desire on my part to watch.
Krishnamurti: Which means the desire says, `Watch in order to
escape’ – you follow? You said before, `I have understood that I
mustn’t escape’, and now you find that desire is making you escape
subtly; therefore you are still watching fear as an outsider. See the
importance of this. You are watching with an intention to get rid of
fear. And we said a few minutes ago, to try to get rid of fear means
first censoring fear. So your watching implies trying to get rid of
fear; therefore there is a division which only strengthens fear. So I
am again asking the question: who is watching fear?
Questioner: Isn’t there also another point: who is asking the
question `who is watching fear’?
Krishnamurti: I am asking that question Sir.
Questioner: But who is asking the question?
Krishnamurti: The same thing, only you push it further back.
Now please listen: this is the most practical way of going about it.
You will see if you follow this very carefully that the mind will be
free of fear, but you are not doing it.
I am frightened of losing money and therefore what do I do? I
escape by avoiding thinking about it. So I realize how silly it is to
avoid it, because the more I resist it the more I am afraid. I am
watching it and the question arises: who is watching it? Is it the
desire that wants to get rid of it, go beyond it, be free of it, that is
watching? It is. And I know watching it that way only divides and
therefore strengthens fear. So I see the truth of that, therefore
desire to get rid of it has gone – you follow me? It’s like seeing a poisonous snake: the desire to touch it is finished with. The desire
to take drugs is finished when I see the real danger of them; I won’t
touch them. As long as I don’t see the danger of it, I’ll go on. In the
same way, as long as I don’t see that running away from fear
strengthens fear, I’ll go on running away. The moment I see it I
won’t run. Then what happens?
Questioner: How can a person look who is afraid of being
involved? One is scared.
Krishnamurti: I am pointing it out to you. The moment you are
scared of looking at fear, you won’t learn about it, and if you want
to learn about fear, don’t be scared. It is as simple as that. If I don’t
know how to swim I won’t plunge into the river. When I know that
fear cannot possibly be ended if I am afraid to look and if I really
want to look – I’ll say, `I don’t care, I’ll look’.
Questioner: It was said, it is desire to get away from fear thaI
constantly breeds more fear. When I’m afraid I want to get away
from it, so what I always do is to let it be relative so that I can
identify with it, so that I can unify myself.
Krishnamurti: You see that! It is all these tricks that we are
playing on ourselves. Do listen Sir. Who is saying all this? You
make an effort to identify yourself with fear.
Questioner: I am that fear.
Krishnamurti: Ah! Wait. If you are that fear, as you say you are,
then what happens?
Questioner: When I come to terms with it, it begins to diminish.
Krishnamurti: No. Not coming to terms! When you say that you
are fear, fear is not something separate from you. What takes
place? I am brown. I am afraid to be brown, but I say, ‘Yes, I am brown’ and that’s the end of it, isn’t it? I am not running away from
it. What takes place then?
Krishnamurti: Do I accept it? On the contrary, I forget that I am
brown. You don’t even know all this, you are just guessing. I want
to learn about myself. I must know myself completely,
passionately, because that is the foundation of all action; without
that I’ll lead a life of utter confusion. To learn about myself I
cannot follow anybody. If I follow anybody I am not learning.
Learning implies that the past does not interfere, because `myself’
is something extraordinary, vital, moving, dynamic; so I must look
at it afresh with a new mind. There is no new mind if the past is
always operating. That is a fact, I see that. Then in seeing that I
realize I am frightened. I don’t know what will happen. So I want
to learn about fear – you follow? I am moving all the time in the
movement of learning. I want to know about myself and I realize
something – a profound truth. I am going to learn about fear, which
means I mustn’t run away from it at any price. I mustn’t have a
subtle form of desire to run away from it. So what happens to a
mind that is capable of looking at fear without division? The
division being, trying to get rid of it, subtle forms of escape,
suppression and so on; what happens to the mind when it is
confronted with fear and there is no question of running away from
it? Please find out, give your mind to it.
2nd August, 1970
IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION PART II CHAPTER 2
2ND PUBLIC DIALOGUE SAANEN 3RD AUGUST
Krishnamurti: Yesterday we were talking about fear and the
necessity of knowing oneself. I don’t know if one sees the great
importance of understanding the nature and structure of oneself. As
we said, if there is no comprehension, not intellectual or verbal, but
an actual understanding of what one is and the possibility of going
beyond it, we must inevitably bring about confusion and
contradiction in ourselves, with activities that will lead to a great
deal of mischief and sorrow. So it is absolutely essential that one
should understand, not only the superficial layers of oneself, but
the total entity, all the hidden parts. –
And I hope in communicating with each other, in understanding
this whole problem together, we shall be able to see, actually, not
theoretically, if through self-knowledge the mind can go beyond its
own conditioning, its own habits, its own prejudices and so on.
We were also talking about learning about oneself. Learning
implies a non-accumulative movement; there is no movement if
there is accumulation. If the flowing river ends up in a lake there is
no movement. There is movement only when there is a constant
flow, a strong current. And learning implies that; learning not only
about outward things and scientific facts, but also learning about
oneself, because `oneself’ is a constantly changing, dynamic,
volatile being. To learn about it past experiences in no way help;
on the contrary, the past puts an end to learning and therefore to
any complete action. I hope we saw this very clearly: that we are dealing with a constantly living movement of life, a movement
which is the `me’. To understand what `me’, which is so very
subtle, there needs to be an intense curiosity, a persistent
awareness, a sense of non-accumulative comprehension. I hope we
are able to communicate with each other about this whole question
That is where our trouble is going to be, because our mind likes
to function in grooves, in patterns, from a fixed conclusion or a
prejudice, or from knowledge. The mind is tethered to a particular
belief and from there it tries to understand this extraordinary
movement of the `me’. Therefore there is a contradiction between
the`me’ and the observer.
We were also talking about fear, which is part of this total
movement of the `me; the `me’ which breaks up life as a
movement, the `me’ which separates itself as the `you’ and the `me’
We asked, `What is fear?’ We are going to learn non-
accumulatively about fear; the very word `fear’ prevents coming
into contact with that feeling of danger which we call fear. Look,
Sirs, maturity implies a total, natural development of a human
being; natural in the sense of non-contradictory, harmonious –
which has nothing to do with age. And the factor of fear prevents
this natural, total development of the mind. I’ll go on a little and
then we will discuss all this.
When one is afraid, not only of physical things, but also of
psychological factors, in that fear what takes place? I am afraid;
not only of physically falling ill, of dying, of darkness – you know
the innumerable fears one has, both biological as well as
psychological. What does that fear do to the mind, the mind which has created these fears? Do you understand my question? Don’t
answer me immediately, look at yourselves. What is the effect of
fear on the mind, on one’s whole life? Or are we so used to fear,
have we accustomed ourselves to fear, which has become a habit,
that we are unaware of its effect? If I have accustomed myself to
the national feeling of the Hindu, to the dogma, to the beliefs, I am
enclosed in this conditioning and totally unaware of what the
effects of it are. I only see the feeling that is aroused in me, the
nationalism, and I am satisfied with that. I identify myself with the
country, with the belief and all the rest of it. But we don’t see the
effect of such a conditioning all around. In the same way, we don’t
see what fear does – psychosomatically, as well as psychologically.
What does it do? Sirs, this is a discussion, you have to take part in
Questioner: I become involved in trying to stop this thing from
Krishnamurti: It stops or immobilizes action. Is one aware of
that? Are you? Don’t generalize. We are having all these
discussions in order to see what is actually happening within us;
otherwise these dialogues have no meaning. In talking over what
fear does and becoming conscious of it, it might be possible to go
beyond it. So if I am at all serious I must see the effects of fear. Do
I know the effects of it? Or do I only know them verbally? Do I
know them as something which has happened in the past, which
remains a memory and that memory says: `These are the effects of
it’? So that memory sees the effects of it, but the mind doesn’t see
the actual effect. I don,t know if you see this? I have said
something which is really quite important. Questioner: Could you say it again?
Krishnamurti: When I say I know the effects of fear, what does
that mean? Either I know it verbally, that is intellectually, and I
know it as a memory, as something that has happened in the past,
and I say: `This did happen’. So the past tells me what the effects
are. But I don’t see the effects of it at the actual moment. Therefore
it is something remembered and not real. Whereas `knowing’
implies non-accumulative seeing – not recognition – but seeing the
fact. Have I conveyed this?
When I say `I am hungry’, is it the remembrance of having been
hungry yesterday which tells me, or is it the actual fact of
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hunger now? The actual awareness that I am hungry now, is
entirely different from the response of a memory which tells me I
have been hungry and therefore I may be hungry now. Is the past
telling you the effects of fear, or are you aware of the actual
happening of the effects of fear? The actions of the two are entirely
different – aren’t they? The one, being completely aware of the
effects of fear now, acts instantly. But if memory tells me these are
the effects, then the action is different. Have I made myself clear?
Now, which is it?
Questioner: Can you distinguish between a particular fear and
actually being aware of the effects of fear as such – apart from
remembering the effects of a fear?
Krishnamurti: That’s what I was trying to explain. The action of
the two are entirely different. Do you see that? Please, if you don’t
see it don’t say `yes’, don’t let’s play games with each other. It is
very important to understand this. Is the past telling you the effects of fear, or is there a direct perception or awareness of the effects of
fear now? If the past is telling you the effects of fear, the action is
incomplete and therefore contradictory; it brings conflict. But if
one is completely aware of the effects of fear now, the action is
Questioner: As I am sitting in the tent now I have no fear
because I am listening to what you are talking about, so I am not
afraid. But this fear may come up as I leave the tent.
Krishnamurti: But can’t you, sitting here in this tent, see fear,
which you may have had yesterday, can’t you invoke it, invite it?
Questioner: It may be life fears.
Krishnamurti: Whatever the fear may be, need you say, `I have
no fears now, but when I go outside I’ll have them’. They are there!
Questioner: You can invoke it – as you say – you can remember it.
But this is the point you made about bringing in memory, the
thought about fear.
Krishnamurti: I am asking: need I wait until I leave the tent to
find out what my fears are? Or, sitting here, can I be aware of
them? I am not afraid at this moment of what someone might say
to me. But when I meet the man who is going to say these things,
that will frighten me. Can’t I see the actual fact of that now?
Questioner: If you do that, you are already making a practice of
Krishnamurti: No, it is not a practice. You see, you are so afraid
of doing anything which might become a practice! Sir, aren’t you
afraid of losing your job? Aren’t you afraid of death? Aren’t you
afraid of not being able to fulfil? Aren’t you afraid of being lonely?
Aren’t you afraid of not being loved? Don’t you have some form of fear?
Questioner: Only if there is a challenge.
Krishnamurti: But I am challenging you! I can,t understand this
Questioner: If there is an impulse you act, you have to do
Krishnamurti: No! You are making it so complicated. It is as
natural as hearing that train roar by. Either you can remember the
noise of that train, or listen actually to that noise. Don’t complicate
Questioner: Aren’t you in a way complicating it by talking about
invoking fear? I don’t have to invoke any of my fears – just being
here I can survey my reaction.
Krishnamurti: That’s all I am saying.
Questioner: In order to communicate here we must know the
difference between the brain and the mind.
Krishnamurti: We have discussed that before. We are now
trying to find out what fear is, learn about it. Is the mind free to
learn about fear? Learning being watching the movement of fear.
You can only watch the movement of fear, when you are not
remembering past fears and watching with those memories. Do you
see the difference? I can watch the movement. Are you learning
about what is actually taking place when there is fear? We are
boiling with fear all the time. We don’t seem to be able to get rid of
it. When you had fears in the past and were aware of them, what
effect had those fears on you and on your environment? What
happened? Weren’t you cut off from others? Weren’t the effects of
those fears isolating you? Questioner: It crippled me.
Krishnamurti: It made you feel desperate, you didn’t know what
to do, Now, when there was this isolation, what happened to
Questioner: It was fragmentary.
Krishnamurti: Do listen to this carefully please. I have had fear
in the past and the effects of those fears were to isolate me, to
cripple me, to make me feel desperate. There was a feeling of
running away, of seeking comfort in something. All that we will
call for the moment isolating oneself from all relationship. The
effect of that isolation in action is to bring about fragmentation.
Didn’t this happen to you? When you were frightened you didn’t
know what to do, you ran away from it, or tried to suppress it, or
reason it away. And when you had to act you were acting from a
fear which is in itself isolating. So an action born out of that fear
must be fragmentary. Fragmentation being contradictory, there was
a great deal of struggle, pain, anxiety no?
Questioner: Sir, as a crippled person walks on crutches, so a
person who is numbed, crippled by fear, uses various kinds of
Krishnamurti: That’s what we are saying. That’s right. Now you
are very clear about the effect of past fear: it produces fragmentary
actions. What is the difference between that and the action of fear
without the response of memory? When you meet physical danger
what takes place?
Questioner: Spontaneous action.
Krishnamurti: It is called spontaneous action – is it
spontaneous? Please do enquire, we are trying to find out something. You are in the woods by yourself, in some wild part
and suddenly you come upon a bear with cubs – what happens
then? Knowing the bear is a dangerous animal what happens to
Questioner: The adrenalin is increased.
Krishnamurti: Yes, now what is the action that takes place?
Questioner: You see the danger of transmitting your own fear to
Krishnamurti: No, what happens to you? Of course if you are
afraid you transmit it to the bear and the bear gets frightened and
attacks you. This is all very simple, you are missing the whole
point. Have you ever faced a bear in the woods? Questioner: There
is someone here who has.
Krishnamurti: I have. That gentleman and I have had many of
these experiences during certain years. But what takes place? There
is a bear a few feet away from you. There are all the bodily
reactions, the flow of adrenalin and so on; you stop instantly and
you turn away and run. What has happened there? What was the
response? A conditioned response, wasn’t it? People have told you
generation after generation, `Be careful of wild animals’. If you get
frightened you will transmit that fear to the animal and then he will
attack you. The whole thing is gone through instantly. Is that the
functioning of fear – or is it intelligence? What is operating? Is it
fear that has been aroused by the repetition of: `be careful of the
wild animals’, which has been your conditioning from childhood?
Or is it intelligence? The conditioned response to that animal and
the action of that conditioned response is one thing. The operation
of intelligence and the action of intelligence is different; the two are entirely different. Are you meeting this? A bus is rushing by,
you don’t throw yourself in front of it; your intelligence says,
`Don’t do it’. This is not fear – unless you are neurotic or have taken
drugs. Your intelligence, not fear, prevents you.
Questioner: Sir, when you meet a wild animal don’t you have to
have both intelligence and a conditioned response?
Krishnamurti: No Sir. See it. The moment it is a conditioned
response there is fear involved in it and that is transmitted to the
animal; but not if it is intelligence. So find out for yourself which is
operating. If it is fear then its action is incomplete and therefore
there is a danger from the animal; but in the action of intelligence
there is no fear at all.
Questioner (1): You are saying that if I watch the bear with this
intelligence, I can be killed by the bear without experiencing fear.
Questioner (2): If I hadn’t met a bear before, I wouldn’t even know
it was a bear.
Krishnamurti: You are all making such complications. This is
so simple. Now leave the animals alone. Let us start with
ourselves; we are partly animals too.
The effects of fear and its actions based on past memories are
destructive, contradictory and paralysing. Do we see that? – not
verbally but actually; that when you are afraid you are completely
isolated and any action that takes place from that isolation must be
fragmentary and therefore contradictory, therefore there is struggle,
pain and all the rest of it. Now, an action of awareness of fear
without all the responses of memory is a complete action. Try it!
Do it! Become aware as you are walking alone when you go home;
your old fears will come up. Then watch, be aware whether those fears are actual fears, or projected by thought as memory. As the
fear arises watch whether you are watching from the response of
thought, or whether you are merely watching. What we are talking
about is action, because life is action. We are not saying only one
part of life is action. The whole of living is action and that action is
broken up; the breaking up of action is this process of memory
with its thoughts and isolation, Is that clear?
Questioner: You mean the idea is to experience totally every
split second, without memory entering?
Krishnamurti: Sir, when you put a question like that, you have
to investigate the question of memory. You have to have memory,
the clearer, the more definite, the better. If you are to function
technologically, or even if you want to get home, you have to have
memory. But thought as the response of memory, and projecting
fear out of that memory, is an action which is entirely different.
Now, what is fear? How does it happen that there is fear? How
do these fears take place? Would you tell me please? Questioner:
In me it is the attachment to the past.
Krishnamurti: Let’s take that one thing. What do you mean that
Questioner: The mind is holding on to something.
Krishnamurti: That is, the mind is holding on to some memory.
`When I was young, how lovely everything was.’ Or, I am holding
on to something that might happen; so I have cultivated a belief
which will protect me. I am attached to a memory, I am attached to
a piece of furniture, I am attached to what I am writing because
through writing I will become famous. I am attached to a name, to
a family, to a house, to various memories and so on. I have identified myself with all that. Why does this attachment take
Questioner: Isn’t it because fear is the very basis of our
Krishnamurti: No Sir; why are you attached? What does that
word attachment signify? I depend upon something. I depend on
you all attending, so that I can talk to you; I am depending on you
and therefore I am attached to you, because through that
attachment I gain a certain energy, a certain elan, and all the rest of
that rubbish! So I am attached – which means what? I depend on
you; I depend on the furniture. In being attached to the furniture, to
a belief, to a book, to the family, to a wife, I am dependent on that
to give me comfort, to give me prestige, social position. So
dependence is a form of attachment. Now why do I depend? Don’t
answer me, look at it in yourself. You depend on something, don’t
you? On your country, on your gods, on your beliefs, on the drugs
you take, on drink!
Questioner: It is part of social conditioning.
Krishnamurti: Is it social conditioning that makes you depend?
Which means you are part of society; society is not independent of
you. You have made society which is corrupt, you have put it
together. In that cage you are caught, you are part of it. So don’t
blame society. Do you see the implications of dependency? What
is involved? Why are you depending?
Questioner: So as not to feel lonely.
Krishnamurti: Wait, listen quietly. I depend on something
because that something fills my emptiness. I depend on knowledge,
on books, because that covers my emptiness, my shallowness, my stupidity; so knowledge becomes extraordinarily important. I talk
about the beauty of pictures because in myself I depend on that. So
dependence indicates my emptiness, my loneliness, my
insufficiency and that makes me depend on you. That is a fact isn’t
it? Don’t theorize, don’t argue with it, it is so. If I were not empty,
if I were not insufficient, I wouldn’t care what you said or did. I
wouldn’t depend on anything. Because I am empty and lonely I
don’t know what to do with my life. I write a stupid book and that
fills my vanity. So I depend, which means I am afraid of being
lonely, I am afraid of my emptiness. Therefore I fill it with material
things or with ideas, or with persons.
Aren’t you afraid of uncovering your loneliness? Have you
uncovered your loneliness, your insufficiency, your emptiness?
That is taking place now, isn’t it? Therefore you are afraid of that
emptiness now. What are you going to do? What is taking place?
Before, you were attached to people, to ideas, to all kinds of things
and you see that dependence covers your emptiness, your
shallowness. When you see that, you are free aren’t you? Now what
is the response? Is that fear the response of memory? Or is that fear
actual do you see it?
I work hard for you, don’t I? (Laughter) There was a cartoon
yesterday morning: a little boy says to another boy, `When I grow
up I am going to be a great prophet, I am going to speak of
profound truths but nobody will listen’. And the other little boy
says, `Then why will you talk, if nobody is going to listen?’ `Ah’,
he said, `us prophets are very obstinate’. (Laughter)
So now you have uncovered your fear through attachment,
which is dependency. When you look into it you see your emptiness, your shallowness, your pettiness and you are frightened
of it. What takes place then? See it Sirs?
Questioner: I try to escape.
Krishnamurti: You try to escape through attachment, through
dependency. Therefore you are back again in the old pattern. But if
you see the truth that attachment and dependency cover your
emptiness, you won’t escape, will you? If you don’t see the fact of
that, you are bound to run away. You will try to fill that emptiness
in other ways. Before, you filled it with drugs, now you fill it with
sex or with something else. So when you see the fact of that, what
has happened? Proceed Sirs, go on with it! I have been attached to
the house, to my wife, to books, to my writing, to becoming
famous; I see fear arises because I don’t know what to do with my
emptiness and therefore I depend, therefore I am attached. What do
I do when I get this feeling of great emptiness in me?
Questioner: There is a strong feeling.
Krishnamurti: Which is fear. I discover I am frightened,
therefore I am attached. Is that fear the response of memory, or is
that fear an actual discovery? Discovery is something entirely
different from the response of the past. Now which is it with you?
Is it the actual discovery? Or the response of the past? Don’t
answer me. Find out, Sir, dig into yourself.
Questioner: Sir, in that emptiness surely there is openness
towards the world? Krishnamurti: No, I am asking something
entirely different. The fear of emptiness, of loneliness and all that
insufficiency which you have not been able to understand
sufficiently to go through with it and finish it has brought about
fear. Is it your discovery now, here in the tent? Or is it recognition of the past? Have you discovered that you are attached because you
depend, and that you depend because of fear of emptiness? Are you
aware of your emptiness and of the process this implies? Becoming
aware of that emptiness, is there fear involved in it or are you
merely empty? Do you merely see the fact that you are lonely?
Questioner: If you can see that, you are not alone any more.
Krishnamurti: We’ll go step by step if you don’t mind. Do you
see that? Or are you going back to the old dependency, the old
attachment, to the regular pattern being repeated over and over
again? What is going to take place?
Questioner: Sir, isn’t this the whole human predicament I don’t
think I am as well off as a small dog, who hasn’t got all these
Krishnamurti: Unfortunately we are not dogs. I am asking
something which you don’t answer. Have you discovered for
yourself the fear that takes place when you see your emptiness,
your shallowness, your isolation? Or, having discovered it are you
going to run away, get attached to something? If you don’t run
away through dependency and attachment, then what takes place
when there is this emptiness?
Krishnamurti: Do look at it, it’s quite a complex problem, don’t
say it is freedom. Before, I was attached and I covered
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up my fear. Now, by asking that question, I discover this
attachment was an escape from the fear which came into being
when I was aware of my emptiness for a split second. Now I have
finished with running away. Then what takes place? Questioner: I was going to say that after that split second there
is another escape.
Krishnamurti: Which means you don’t see the futility of
escapes. Therefore you keep on escaping. But if you do see, if you
are aware of your emptiness, what takes place? If you are watching
very carefully, what generally takes place is, you ask: `who is
aware of this emptiness?’.
Questioner: The mind.
Krishnamurti: please don’t jump into it. Go step by step. Who is
aware of it? The mind? A part of the mind is aware of another part
which is lonely? Do you see my question? I have suddenly become
aware that I am lonely. Is it a fragment of my mind which says `I
am lonely?’ In that there is a division. As long as there is a division
there is an escape. You don’t see this!
Questioner: What happens when you experience the emptiness?
When you experience this loneliness, you are no longer aware of it.
Krishnamurti: Look sir. Please listen. You need here a persistent
observation, not any conclusion, or anything that you think should
be. That is, I am aware of my emptiness. Before, I have covered it
up, now it has been stripped and I am aware. Who is aware of this
emptiness? A separate segment of my mind? If it is, then there is a
division between emptiness and the thing that is aware that it is
empty; then what takes place in that emptiness in that division? I
can’t do anything about it. I want to do something about it and I
say, `I must bring it together’, `I must experience this emptiness’, `I
must act’. As long as there is a division between the observer and
the observed, there is contradiction and therefore there is conflict.
Is that what you are doing? A separate segment of the mind watching an emptiness which is not part of itself? Which is it? Sirs,
you have to answer this! If it is a part that is watching, then what is
Questioner: Is it intelligence born out of energy?
Krishnamurti: Don’t complicate it, it is complex enough. Don’t
bring in other words. My question is very simple. I asked: when
you are aware of this emptiness from which you have escaped
through attachment, and you are no longer running away from it,
who is aware? It is for you to find out.
Questioner: This awareness that you are empty is another
escape and you see you are nothing else but all these things put
Krishnamurti: When you say, «I am aware of my emptiness’, it
is another form of escape and we are caught in a network of
escapes. That’s our life. If you realize that attachment is an escape,
then you drop that escape. Are you going from one escape to
another? Or do you see one factor of escape and there. fore you
have understood all the factors of escape?
Sirs, you cannot possibly sustain a continuous watchfulness for
more than ten minutes and we have talked for an hour and fifty
minutes. So we had better stop. We will continue with the same
thing tomorrow, until it becomes real to you not because I say so;
it’s your life.
3rd August 1970.
IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION PART II CHAPTER 3
3RD PUBLIC DIALOGUE SAANEN 4TH AUGUST
Krishnamurti: Yesterday we were talking about dependency, its
attachments and fear. I think this may be an important issue in our
life, so we should really go into it rather deeply. After all, one can
see that freedom cannot possibly exist when there is any form of
dependency. There is physiological and psychological dependence,
the biological dependence on food, clothes and shelter, which is a
natural dependency. But there is an attachment that arises through
the biological necessity, like having a house to which one is
psychologically attached; or one is attached to certain forms of
food, or to compulsive eating, because of other factors of fear
which have not been discovered, – and so on.
There are physical dependencies of which one can fairly easily
be aware, like depending on smoking, on drugs, on drink, on
various forms of physical stimulations on which one depends
psychologically. Then there are the psychological dependencies.
One has to watch this very carefully, because they flow into each
other, they are interrelated. There is dependence on a person, or a
belief, or on an established relationship, on a psychological habit of
thought. I think one can be aware of all this fairly easily. And
because there is dependence and attachment, both physical or
psychological, the fear of losing that to which one is attached
brings about fear.
One may depend on belief, or on an experience, or on a
conclusion attached to a particular prejudice; how deeply does this attachment go? I do not know if you have observed it in yourself.
We were watching it all throughout the day, to find out if there is
any form of attachment coming here regularly, living in a
particular chalet going to one country after another, talking
addressing people, being looked up to, criticized, exposed. If one
has watched throughout the day one discovers naturally how
deeply one is attached to something, or to someone, or not at all. If
there is any form of attachment – it doesn’t matter what it is – to a
book, to a particular diet, to a particular pattern of thought, to a
certain social responsibility – such attachment invariably breeds
fear. And a mind that is frightened, though it may not know it is
because it is attached, obviously is not free and must therefore live
in a constant state of conflict.
One may have a particular gift, like a musician, who is
tremendously attached to his instrument or to the cultivation of his
voice. And when the instrument or the voice fails, he is completely
lost, his days are ended. He may insure his hands or his fiddle, or
he can become a conductor, but he knows through attachment the
inevitable darkness of fear is waiting.
I wonder if each one of us – if we are at all serious – has gone
into this question, because freedom means freedom from all
attachment and therefore from all dependency. A mind that is
attached is not objective, not clear, cannot think sanely and observe
There are the superficial, psychological attachments and there
are deep layers in which there may be some form of attachment.
How do you discover those? How does the mind, which may
consciously observe its many attachments and realize the nature of those attachments, see the truth and the implications of that truth?
It may have other forms of hidden attachments. How are you going
to uncover those concealed, secret attachments? A mind that is
attached goes through the conflict of realizing it must be detached,
otherwise it suffers pain and then gets attached to something else
and so on. This is our life. I find I am attached to my wife and I
may see all the consequences of it, Being attached to her I realize
there must inevitably be fear involved in it. Therefore there is the
conflict of detachment and the trial of relationship, the conflict in
relationship. That is fairly easy to observe clearly and expose to
Our question is, how deeply is one attached to some form of
tradition in the hidden recesses of one’s mind, whatever it is. Please
follow, because you will see freedom implies complete freedom
from all this, otherwise there must be fear. And a mind that is
burdened with fear is incapable of understanding, of seeing things
as they are and going beyond them.
How does one observe the hidden attachments? I may be
stubborn, thinking I am not attached; I may have come to the
conclusion that I am not depending on anything. That conclusion
makes for stubbornness. But if one is learning, seeking, watching,
then in that act of learning there is no conclusion. Most of us are
attached to some form of conclusion and according to that
conclusion we function. Can the mind be free from forming
conclusions? – all the time, not just occasionally.
`I like long hair, I don’t like long hair’, `I like this, I don’t like
that’. Intellectually, or through some experience, you have come to
a way of thinking, whatever it is. Can the mind act without conclusion? That is one point. Secondly can the mind reveal to
itself the hidden attachments, patterns and dependencies? And
thirdly, seeing the nature and structure of attachment, can the mind
move within a way of life which is not isolating but highly active
and yet not fixed at any point. We’ll go into it.
First of all, are we aware that we are biologically, physically
and psychologically attached. Are you aware that you are
physically attached to things? And are you also aware of the
implications of those attachments? If you are attached to smoking,
see how extraordinarily difficult it is to give it up. For the people
who smoke – to whom it has become a habit it is incredibly
difficult; not only does it act as a stimulant, a social habit, but there
is the attachment to it. Is one aware of the attachment to drinks, to
drugs, to various forms of stimuli? If you are, can you drop it
instantly? Suppose I am attached to whiskey and I am aware of
that. It has become a tremendous habit, the body demands it, it has
got used to it, it can’t do without it. And you have come to the
conclusion that you mustn’t drink, it is bad for you, the doctors
have asked you to cut it down. But the body and the mind have
fallen into the habit of it. Watching this habit, can the mind drop it
completely, immediately? See what is involved in it. The body
demands it because it has got into the habit, and the mind has said,
`I must give it up’. So there is a battle between the bodily demands
and the decision of the mind. What are you going to do? Instead of
whiskey, take your own habits; perhaps you don’t drink whiskey,
but you have other physiological habits, like frowning, watching
with your mouth open, fiddling with your fingers. Please, Sir, let’s
discuss this. The body is attached to drink and the mind says, `I must be free of it; and also you realize that when there is conflict
between the body and the mind it becomes a problem, a struggle.
What will you do? Please, Sirs, come on! You must be
extraordinarily free of all habits, if you can’t discuss this!
Questioner: Either you stop it or you go on drinking.
Krishnamurti: What do you actually do? Please don’t play with
this, because if you once understand it, you will see how
extraordinarily vital it becomes, how important it becomes to act,
to be without any form of effort, which means, without any
Questioner: I realize that I am my habit.
Krishnamurti: Yes. Then what will you do? I realize I am my
habit, my habit is me.
Questioner (1): Must we not go to the roots of these habits?
Questioner (2): We must begin by stopping resistance to it.
Krishnamurti: Sir, may I say something? Don’t let’s theorize,
don’t let’s speculate. Don’t tell me what to do, but let us find out, let
us learn not only how to look, but how from that very looking
action takes place.
I have a particular habit of scratching my head, fiddling with
my fingers, watching things with my mouth open, very physical
things. Now how do I bring it to an end without the least effort?
We are discussing habits to which we are attached, consciously or
unconsciously. I am taking the most trivial habits, like scratching
my head, or pulling my ears, or fiddling with my fingers. How
does the mind stop it without any kind of effort, knowing that
effort implies duality, implies resistance, condemnation, a desire to
go beyond it – when I either suppress or escape, verbally or non-verbally. So bearing all that in mind, understanding those facts,
how do I stop a physical habit without effort?
Questioner: You observe it in its entirely.
Krishnamurti: Wait, Sir, that statement may answer all our
questions. You observe it in its entirety. What does that mean? Not
just one habit, like scratching, or fiddling with your fingers, but the
whole mechanism of habits. The whole of it, not a fragment of it.
Now, how does the mind watch the whole of the habits in which it
Questioner: With passive awareness or passive observation.
Krishnamurti: You are quoting the speaker. I’m afraid that won’t
do. Don’t quote anybody, Sir!
Questioner: Is it the mind forming the habit?
Krishnamurti: Do look, Sir, that question is really quite
important, if you go into it. Can the mind watch, not only a
particular little habit, but be aware of this whole mechanism of
forming habits. Please don’t say yes, don’t come to any con-
clusion. Look what is implied in this question. There are not only
small habits like fiddling with one’s fingers, but also sexual habits,
habits of patterns of thought, various activities. I think this, I
conclude this, and that has become a habit. I live in habits, my
whole life is a structure of habits. How is the mind to be aware of
the entire mechanism of habit?
One has a thousand and one habits, the way you brush your
teeth, comb your hair, the way you read, the way you walk. One of
the habits is wanting to become famous, wanting to become
important. How is the mind to become aware of all these habits? Is
it to become aware of one habit after another? Do you know how long that would take? I could spend the rest of my days watching
each habit and yet not solve it. I’m going to learn about it, I’m
going to find out, I’m not going to leave it. I am asking, is it
possible for the mind to see the whole network of habits? How is it
to do it? Don’t guess, don’t come to a conclusion, don’t offer an
explanation – I’m not interested, it doesn’t mean a thing to say, `Go
and do something’. I want to learn about it now. What do I do?
Questioner: Can one be aware of the waste of energy in
pursuing a particular pattern of habit – or many patterns – and
thereby liberate oneself?
Krishnamurti: I’ve come to all of you and I say: Please help me
to find this out. I’m hungry, don’t give me a menu, but give me
food! I am asking: what will you do?
Questioner: Understand one habit, totally, then possibly one
could discard all habits.
Krishnamurti: How do I watch one habit, which is twiddling my
fingers, and see all the other habits? Is that possible with such a
small affair? I know I do it because of tension. I can,t get on with
my wife, and so I develop this peculiar habit, or I do it because I
am nervous, shy, or this or that. But I want to learn about the whole
network of habits. Am I to do it bit by bit, or is there a way of
looking at this whole network instantly? Please answer me.
Questioner: The structure of habits consists of two parts….
Krishnamurti: There are two parts, the habits, and the observer
who is concerned with those habits. And the observer is also a
habit. So both are habits. I fiddle with my fingers and the
observation comes from an entity which is also the result of habits.
Obviously! So it is all habits. Please, Sirs, how will you help me, teach me, to learn about it?
Questioner: My whole life is habit, my mind is a habit, it is the
state of mind that I have to change.
Krishnamurti: Who is the `I’ that is going to change it? The `I’ is
also a habit, the `I’ is a series of words and memories and
knowledge, which is the past, which is a habit.
Questioner: As we are all caught in habits, we obviously don’t
Krishnamurti: Therefore why don’t you say, `I don’t know’,
instead of throwing in a lot of words? If you don’t know, then let’s
learn together. But first be clear that you don’t know; and don’t
quote anybody. Are we in the position to say, `I really don’t know’?
Questioner: But why do we have these habits?
Krishnamurti: It’s fairly simple. If I have a dozen habits, get up
every morning at eight o’clock, go to the office, come back home at
six o’clock, take a drink, and so on, I don’t have to think very
much, be alive very much. The mind likes to function in grooves,
in habits: it is safe, secure. That doesn’t need a great deal of
explanation. Now how is the mind to observe this whole network
of habits? Questioner: Maybe we can pay attention every moment,
as far as our energies allow.
Krishnamurti: You see, that is just an idea. I am not interested.
Sir, you made a statement, which was: can the mind see the whole
structure and nature of the mechanism of habit and when it sees the
totality, there may be a different action. That’s what we are
enquiring into – may I go into it now? We are going to find out
How is the mind, including the brain, to see something totally? not only habit, but see anything totally. We see things
fragmentarily, don’t we? Business, family, community, individuals,
my opinion and your opinion, my God, your God we see
everything in fragments. Isn’t that a fact? Are you aware of it? If
the seeing is fragmentary, then you cannot see the totality. If I see
life in fragments because my mind is conditioned, then obviously it
cannot see the totality of the human being. If I separate myself
through my ambition, through my particular prejudices, I cannot
see the whole. Am I aware that I am looking at life partially – the
`me’ and the `not-me’, `we’ and`they’? Do I look at life that way? If
I do, then obviously I can’t see anything totally. Then arises my
question: how is the mind, which is so caught up in this habit of a
fragmentary outlook and activity, to see the whole? Obviously it
can’t. If I am concerned with my particular fulfilment, ambition,
competition and my desire to achieve, I can’t see the whole of
mankind. So what am I to do? Wanting to fulfil, wanting to be
somebody, wanting to achieve something is a habit: a social habit
as well as a habit that gives me pleasure. When I go down the
street people look at me and say, `There he goes’. That gives me
great pleasure. As long as the mind is operating in that field of
fragmentation, obviously it can’t see the whole. Now my question
is: what is the mind to do, functioning in fragments and realizing
that it cannot possibly see the whole? Is it to break down every
fragment, understand every fragment? That would take a long time.
Are you waiting for an answer from the speaker?
Questioner: There must be total silence.
Krishnamurti: Oh, he is quoting somebody.
Questioner: If we could see all our habits right now, as they ar are really happening and see the process which is preventing us
from seeing this actually now…
Krishnamurti: We are doing that, aren’t we? You don’t go any
further, you go back over and over again. I am caught in a habit
now; I fiddle with my fingers, I listen to what is being said with my
mouth open and I see that it is habit; my question is: can I
understand this whole machinery of habit now. You don’t pay
attention. Look, Sir, a mind that is in fragments cannot possibly see
the whole. So I take one habit and through learning about that one
habit, I see the whole mechanism of all habits. What habit shall I
Krishnamurti: All right. I am not analysing: do you understand
the difference between analysis and observation? Analysis implies
the one who analyses and the thing to be analysed. The thing to be
analysed is smoking and to analyse that, there must be an analyser.
The difference between analysis and observation is this:
observation is seeing directly, without analysis, seeing without the
observer, seeing the red, pink, or black dress as it is, without saying
I don’t like it. Do you follow? In seeing there is no observer. I see
the colour red and there is no like or dislike, there is observation.
Analysis implies, `I don’t like red because my mother who
quarrelled with my father…’ taking it back to my childhood. So
analysis implies an analyser. Please realize that there is a division
between the analyser and the thing analysed. In observation there is
no division. There is obser- vation without the censor, without
saying, `I like’, `I don’t like’,`this is beautiful’,`this is not beautiful’,
`this is mine’, `this is not mine’. You have to do this, not just theorize about it, then you’ll find out.
As I said, we are not analysing, we are merely observing the
habit of smoking. In observing, what is revealed? not your
interpretation of what it shows. Do you see the difference? There is
no interpretation, there is no translation, no justification, no
condemnation. What does the habit of smoking reveal?
Questioner: It reveals that you are drawing smoke into your
Krishnamurti: That is one fact. Second, what does it tell you? It
is going to tell you the history of smoking, if you don’t interpret. If
you can listen, if you can watch smoking, the picture is going to
tell you all it wants.
Now what does it tell you? – that you are drawing a lot of smoke
into your lungs? What else?
Questioner: That you are dependent.
Krishnamurti: Is shows you that you are dependent on a weed.
Questioner: That inside you are empty.
Krishnamurti: That is your translation. What does it tell you?
Questioner: I see that it is just a mechanical thing, I don’t think
much about it I just do it.
Krishnamurti: It tells you that you are doing something
mechanically. It tells you that when you first smoked it made you
sick; it was not pleasant, but as other people did it, so you did it.
Now it has become a habit.
Questioner: Doesn’t it tell you that it tranquilizes you to a
certain extent? Krishnamurti: It tells you that it puts you to sleep,
helps you to drug your self, it quietens your nerves, cuts your
appetite, so that you don’t get fat. Questioner: It tells you are bored with life.
Krishnamurti: It tells you that it makes you relax when you
meet others and feel nervous. It has told you a lot.
Questioner: It tells me that I am inattentive.
Krishnamurti: That is your translation – it is not telling you that
you are inattentive.
Questioner: It gives me a certain satisfaction, especially after
Krishnamurti: Yes, it helps you, it is telling you all this. And
why are you doing it? Just listen, Sir – don’t answer me so quickly
please. Why are you accepting all that it has revealed to you?
Television tells you what to do, what kind of soap to buy and all
the rest of it. You have all seen those commercials! You are being
told all the time – why do you accept it? The sacred books tell you
what you should do and what you should not do. Why do you
accept the propaganda of churches or politicians?
Questioner: Because it is easier to follow a system.
Krishnamurti: Why do you follow it? Is it for the sake of
security? To feel companionship with others? To be like the rest of
the people? Which means, you are frightened not to be like other
people. You want to be like everybody else, because in that there is
perfect safety. If you are a non-Catholic in a Catholic country you
find it very difficult. If you are in a Communist country and don’t
follow the party-line, you’ll find it difficult. Now look what the
picture of that weed has revealed and why I am caught in the habit.
It is the interrelationship between the cigarette and me. This is
habit, this is the way my whole mind is working: I do something
because it is safe. I get into a habit – trivial or important because I don’t have to think about it any more. So my mind feels that it is
safe to function in habits. I see the whole mechanism of this habit-
formation. Through the one habit of smoking, I have discovered
the whole pattern; I have discovered the machinery that is
Questioner: I didn’t quite understand how through listening to
one habit you can see the whole mechanism of habit.
Krishnamurti: I’ve shown it to you, Sir. Habit implies
functioning mechanically and from the observation of the
mechanical habit of smoking, I see how the mind functions in
Questioner: But are all habits mechanical?
Krishnamurti: They must be – the moment you use the word
habit, it must be mechanical.
Questioner: Aren’t there deeper dependencies than just
Krishnamurti: The moment we use the word habit, it implies
mechanical repetition – establishing a habit which means doing the
same thing over and over again. So there is no good or bad habit:
we are concerned only with habit.
Questioner: If I have the habit of power, or the habit of comfort
for instance, or the habit of property, isn’t that something deeper
than just a mechanical habit?
Krishnamurti: The habit of power, the demand for power,
position, domination, aggression, violence – all that is implied in
the desire for power. To do what one wants to do, like a child, or
like a grown-up man; that has become a habit.
Questioner: Or wanting security… Krishnamurti: I said it gives you safety and so on. In examining
that one habit I have seen that all the other habits are based on that.
Since habits are mechanical, repetitive, when I say, `I would like to
be a great man’, then I become caught because in that habit I find
security and I pursue that. Deep down – we are not discussing good
or bad habits, only habit – all habits are mechanical. Anything that I
do repetitively, which is doing something from yesterday to today
to tomorrow, must be function a little more smoothly, but it is still
habit, is still repetitive – that’s obvious.
Questioner: Would you say that certain creative efforts are
Krishnamurti: Let’s answer that question. Would you say
creativeness is a habit?
Questioner: Creativity implies freshness. One can’t make an
effort to be creative.
Krishnamurti: Are you saying all this because you are creative
or are you just guessing at it? One has to ask what you mean by
creativeness. This is a tremendous question – and you brush it
aside. You paint a picture; either you do it because you love
painting, or because it brings you money, or you want to find some
original way of painting and so on. What does it mean to be
creative? A man who writes a poem because he can’t get on with
his wife or with society, is he creative? The man who is attached to
his violin and makes a lot of money out of it, is he creative? And
the man who is in great tension in himself, and out of that tension
produces plays of which the world says,`How marvellous’ – would
you call that creative? The man who drinks and out of that writes a
marvellous poem full of rhythm – is he creative? Questioner: How can you judge?
Krishnamurti: I am not judging.
Questioner: But that is the question you pose. If I say someone
is or isn’t creative, I am judging.
Krishnamurti: I am not judging, Sir, I am asking, I am learning,
I look at all the people who write books, who write poems or plays,
who play the violin. I see this in front of me, I don’t say: this is
good, this is bad; I say: what is creativeness? The moment I say,
`This is right’ I am finished, then I can’t learn. And I want to learn,
I want to find out what it means to be creative.
Questioner: Perhaps it is to have an innocent universality…
Krishnamurti: I don’t know perhaps I want to find out, I want to
Questioner: It is to be alive.
Krishnamurti: I go to a museum and see all those pictures,
admire them, compare them and I say, `What marvellously creative
people they are’. So I want to find out what it is to be creative.
Must I write a poem, paint a picture, write a play, to be creative?
Which means, does creativeness demand expression? Please listen
carefully. Is the woman who bakes bread in a hot kitchen creative?
Questioner: We generally call these activities creative.
Krishnamurti: I am questioning it. I don’t say they are not – I
don’t know. I want to learn. Questioner: If I make bread and I have
never done it before – I’m creative.
Krishnamurti: I am asking you, Sir, what is creativeness.
Questioner: We are creative at this moment.
Krishnamurti: No, no. Observing all the things man has called
creative I ask myself, what is creativeness? Must it have an expression? – like baking bread, painting a picture, writing a play,
making money. Does it demand expression?
Questioner: Yes, I think we are being creative now.
Krishnamurti: That is not my point. My point is, whether you
are creative or merely listening to somebody who points out all
Questioner: I think you create when you observe uncritically.
Krishnamurti: Not `I think’. You see, Sir, I passionately want to
Questioner: The moment you see that you are attached, in that
very moment you see and act. That is the moment of creation.
Krishnamurti: Therefore you are saying, seeing is acting and at
that moment there is creation. That is a definition.
Questioner: Is not creativity one’s harmony with Nature.
Krishnamurti: Are you in harmony with nature? You miss the
point. I want to find out, I am hungry, I have observed all the great
painters, I have seen all the great plays and so on. I ask what is
creation? What is it to be creative? Do not give a definition, I want
to learn! Questioner: Doing something new is creative.
Krishnamurti: What does that mean? Something totally new and
fresh, without a decision? That means the past must end. Has it
ended with you? Or are you just talking about creation as you talk
about a book. If you are, I don’t want to play a part in it. I want to
learn, I am passionate, I want to shed tears over it! One can live
creatively without doing any of these things, neither baking bread,
painting a picture, or writing a poem. You can only do that when
the mind is non-fragmentary, when there is no fear, when the mind
is free of all the implications of the past, when the mind is free of the known.
Questioner: For me, creativity isn’t a thing, it’s a movement.
Krishnamurti: Not for you, Sir, nor for me – you are all making
it personal. It is not an opinion. I am hungry and you feed me with
a lot of words. Which means, you are not hungry. Yesterday, after
talking about attachment, I was watching it; the mind was watching
all day, whether it was attached to anything, to sitting on a
platform, talking, wanting to tell people, writing something, or
being attached to a person, to ideas, to a chair. One has to find out
and in finding out one discovers enormous things, the beauty of
freedom and the love that comes out of that freedom. When we are
talking of creation, it means a mind that has no aggression.
So to find out about the machinery, the network of habit, one
has to be aware, go into it, let it flow through you, like that river
which is moving. Let this enquiry carry you all day and you will
discover enormous things.
4th August 1970.
IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION PART II CHAPTER 4
4TH PUBLIC DIALOGUE SAANEN 5TH AUGUST
Krishnamurti: We have been talking about attachment, which
inevitably leads to fear. And we talked about the various forms of
fear; both the conscious and the unconscious fear one has. We are
asking whether one can see the whole network of fears and escapes
without analysis but rather observe them without any analytical
process at all. I think we ought to go into this matter very deeply
because a mind that is not free from fear and the different forms of
escape from that fear will inevitably be crippled, made
unintelligent, even though it may follow various systems of
meditation and so on, which is utterly childish and immature, as
long as there is not complete freedom from fear.
So could we go into it much more deeply and find out and learn
about the mind? Not only about the superficial layers but also
penetrate the deep, hidden layers of the mind in which there are
fears. As most people are attached to something or other, that
attachment indicates an escape from one’s own loneliness, one’s
own frustrations, emptiness and shallowness. Now when one is
aware of this whole movement of fear which is a movement away
from the fact of emptiness – can one see this total process as a
whole and not partially? That is what we are talking about.
To see something whole, the fragmentary process of the mind
that seeks success must come to an end. `I want to be free from
fear in order to achieve something else’, or `I will follow certain
systems of meditation in order to arrive at enlightenment; `I will discipline, control, shape myself in order to see something most
extraordinary.’ Such a way of thinking, living and acting is
fragmentary. I don’t know if we see all that clearly.
Can we look at the network of fear from which our whole being
runs away, and the various escapes from it? Can we see these
complicated, very subtle forms of escapes which are the very
nature of fear? Can we see that to act from any form of conclusion
is fragmentary, because it stops further learning; you may have
started to learn, but the moment there is a conclusion from that
learning it becomes fragmentary. What makes for fragmentation?
We have discussed fear when we find ourselves attached to
something and the cultivation of detachment in order to overcome
fear. That is fragmentary thinking. What is it that makes for
fragmentation in our life? Please Sirs, don’t draw any conclusions
from what you hear. I really want to communicate with you to tell
you that one can become completely, r, totally and utterly free of
fear; not only of the biological, physical fears, but of the deep
down psychological fears.
Fear is a form of fragmentation. Attachment is a form of
fragmentation. And seeing attachment, the attempt to be detached
is a movement in fragmentation. I am attached to my family; then I
discover that causes pain or pleasure. If it is painful I want to
detach myself from it and fight attachment. So it is a movement in
fragmentation and therefore there is no resolution in that
fragmentation. What is the basis, the mechanism, of this
fragmentation in life? Not only inwardly but outwardly – this
breaking up into different nationalities, religions, practices?
Through one of these fragments one hopes to arrive at a synthesis, at a completeness, at enlightenment whatever you like to call it.
That is, through fragmentation you hope to achieve non-
fragmentary mind. Is that possible? The yogis, the rishis and the
various gurus promise all these things. So one has to find out why
fragmentation comes into being, what its mechanism is. Not
conclude verbally or intellectually, what the process of it is, but
actually see the whole mechanism of it non-analytically. I don’t
know if I am conveying this to you? If I am not, please let’s stop
and discuss it.
Questioner: These wise men, these rishis as you call them, aren’t
they enlightened men?
Krishnamurti: What do you think? You are asking my opinion?
Only fools give opinions! (Laughter) How do you know who is
enlightened? You never ask that. I may sit on the platform and say
I am the wisest, most enlightened, most divine human being, but
how do you know? This is what is happening in the world. A man
comes and makes these assertions, says do certain things and you
will have enlightenment. `I have got it, I will give it to you.’ How
do you know whether he is enlightened? Why do you bother about
who is enlightened or who is not enlightened?
Questioner: You can experience yourself if you do certain
things, you can have a method.
Krishnamurti: No, Sir, there is no method. We are not showing
you a method at all, we are learning. Learning is not a method; you
can learn through a method, but it only conditions the mind to that
particular system. If you are learning, you observe. If you observe
that one system conditions the mind and makes it mechanical, then
all systems are the same; you learn what a system does. Through some system you can have a most extraordinary experience, but it
is still a very limited experience this is so obvious.
Questioner: Couldn’t it be that to start off with, you could use a
system, just to get an idea of it, even if it is only partial, and then
from there go on to get the big thing.
Krishnamurti: Wouldn’t it be helpful to begin with the crutches
and later on throw them off? Our question is, why do you hold on
to any strings when you can observe, learn from watching yourself
the whole phenomenon of existence and go beyond it? Sir, you
want to be helped; if I may point out most respectfully that is the
greatest impediment. You have the idea somebody can teach you,
therefore you begin right off with a fragmentation; this division is a
fragmentation – you and the teacher, you and the enlightened being
– obviously there is a division.
Questioner: But aren’t you teaching?
Krishnamurti: Am I? From the beginning the speaker has said
there is no teacher and no disciple. He has been saying this for
forty-five years, not out of foolishness or as a reaction, but because
he perceived the truth that nobody can teach enlightenment to
another through any system, nor through meditation, nor through
any discipline. One saw that forty-five years ago. And you ask: are
you a teacher or not? I’ve shown it to you. A teacher implies one
who has accumulated knowledge and transmits it to another; like a
professor and a student. We are not in that relationship here at all.
We are learning together, we have made that very clear. All
communication means learning together, creating together,
watching together. If that is understood then our communication is
entirely different. But if you have a feeling that because the speaker sits on the platform he knows better, he is the enlightened
one, I say: please don’t attribute things to the person who is sitting
on the platform. You know nothing about enlightenment. If you
knew it or if you understood it, lived it, you wouldn’t be here. It is
one of the most extraordinary things to find out, to learn about; not
`to be taught’ – you don’t pay a hundred dollars to be taught this.
Just to think – paying money to learn the truth! What are you all
So, Sirs, we are trying to find out, to learn what is implied in
fragmentation. The teacher and the disciple – that is a
fragmentation. The higher self and the lower self, the soul and the
body, this constant division.
Questioner: Thought is only capable of giving attention to one
thing at a time. Are you saying that thought is the cause of
fragmentation? If thought can only give attention to that and
discard all the rest, then thought must breed fragmentation; the
very process of thinking is fragmentation.
Krishnamurti: We are going to learn about it – please don,t draw
a conclusion. I am asking why we live in fragmentation, how does
it happen? And what is behind the demand for this fragmentation?
Let’s take a very simple fact. You are the teacher and I am the
disciple; why is there this division between you and me? Do I want
to learn, or do I want to follow the authority which you represent,
which you have invested in yourself? You say you know, you are
enlightened. And I want to have that, I am greedy, I want
something that will give me happiness. So I follow you, the
teacher, as the disciple; fragmentation exists when I follow you. I
have never asked why I follow you. What is the reason, what is the basis of accepting you as my authority? You may be a crazy
neurotic, you may have had some little experiences which you
have blown up to be a tremendous thing, and I am incapable of
judging because you fascinate me by your beard or your eyes, or
whatever it is, and I just follow. Whereas I want to learn, I won’t
accept you as the authority, because the moment you become the
authority you have already brought about fragmentation. Please do
It doesn’t matter whether it is the spiritual, or the political, or the
military authority. The moment there is the assumption of authority
– the assumption that you know and I don’t know – there is
fragmentation. And that will inevitably lead to conflict between
you, the teacher, and me. Is this clear? So that means I will never
follow anybody. Questioner: If he does good to you, Sir, why
shouldn’t you do it? Isn’t it better to have something fragmentary
Krishnamurti: The teacher tells me something and I do it and in
the doing of it I have great delight, great pleasure; I have
understood. What is implied in that? My craving for experience,
my craving to understand – not myself, but what the guru is saying.
If the guru said, `Understand yourself» that is far more important
than anything else. Don’t try to understand me, but understand
yourself. You would rather follow than understand yourself! So
why is there this fragmentation?
Questioner: Because we are made of fragmentary processes, our
faculties are fragmentary. Each faculty has a partial activity.
Krishnamurti: You have a faculty for engineering. Why should
fragmentation arise from that faculty? I have a faculty for playing the piano. Why should that bring about a fragmentation? Aren’t
you putting the cart before the horse? Is it the faculty that brings
about fragmentation, or is the mind broken up and using one of the
fragments, one of the faculties and therefore further strengthening
the division? Do you understand what I am saying?
I want to learn about this fragmentation. If I could once solve
that, my action would be altogether different, it would be non-
fragmentary; so I must find out. I am not going to come to any
conclusion or start with any conclusion. There is fragmentation –
the teacher and the disciple, the authority, the follower, the man
who says he is enlightened, the man who says, `I don,t know’, the
Communist, the Socialist why? How does it happen? If I could
really understand it, learn all about it, I would be finished with it.
Then my relationship with another will be entirely different, then
my activities will be total each time. So I must learn about it. What
do you say, Sirs?
Questioner: We live in expectation and desire. Krishnamurti:
We live in expectation, and that very expectation is a form of
fragmentation. What are you expecting? Is that the real reason for
fragmentation? It is one of the effects of fragmentation, like
wanting success. Is wanting success the effect of my
fragmentation? That is tremendously important. I want success –
through painting or writing, through this or that. So what is the
basis of this fragmentation?
Questioner: It is because each of our faculties is limited, our
view is limited, our senses and our intelligence are limited; one has
not the possibility of seeing the whole at once.
Krishnamurti: My view is in one direction only, if I had eyes at the back of my head I would see the whole thing. Is that what we
are discussing? And saying my view is limited? Of course my
physical view is limited, I can’t see the whole Alpine range –
perhaps I could if I went up in an aeroplane. But surely that is not
what we are discussing? We are discussing why the mind, the
Questioner: It is not possible to think of the whole world at
Krishnamurti: So you are saying, fragmentation exists as long
as there is thought, which cannot think about the whole thing at
once; that is the cause of fragmentation.
Questioner: Yes, our communication with other people is also
fragmentary; right now we are thinking about self-knowledge and
not about mountain climbing. You can’t put everything together.
Krishnamurti: Now let’s be clear what we are talking about. Not
climbing the mountain – as you point out, Sir – or having eyes at
the back of the head. But we are talking of our mind, of our ways
of thinking, looking, listening, coming to conclusions. Why is there
this process which inevitably brings about fragmentation? That is
what we are discussing.
Questioner: Discussing all this is already fragmentary.
Krishnamurti: So discussing this very issue is a fragmentation.
But we are asking why this fragmentation exists. Why can’t I
communicate with you completely and you convey to me
completely? Let’s find out, let’s go into this slowly. What is the
process, the mechanism, the cause of this fragmentation?
Questioner: Because we cling to our ideas about ourselves and
to our ideas about certain things. Krishnamurti: Yes, we cling to a conclusion, and that is the
reason of fragmentation. Why do we cling to a conclusion?
Questioner: I still think it is due to communication. For
instance, at school you receive lessons in French and English and
Geography. From the beginning education is fragmentary.
Krishnamurti: You are saying, our education is fragmentary and
therefore our mind is already conditioned from childhood by this
Questioner: The process of thinking is to form conclusions; you
can’t think without forming a conclusion.
Krishnamurti: So you are all saying, in more or less different
words, that thought is the source of all fragmentation.
Questioner: Thought is a fragment of ourselves.
Krishnamurti: Yes, thought, which is thinking, is fragmentary.
It is a fragment of ourselves. Questioner: The result of all our
thinking our conclusions, must result in further fragmentation.
Krishnamurti: That’s right, Sir. So you are saying to me, who
am learning as you are learning, that thought is the source of all
fragmentation. Find out, don’t say yes or no. Thought is the result,
or the response of memory and memory is the past. And that
memory of the past is always divided – obviously. The past, today
and tomorrow; the past experience, the present experience and the
future. The past that says, `I haven’t learnt, I don’t know, and I am
going to learn from you’. Isn’t that the of cause of fragmentation?
What do you say, Sirs?
Questioner: You already said so when you were speaking about
time. The awareness of time is taking our attention away from the
present so it divides. Krishnamurti: Time divides surely. What is time? Find out, Sir.
There is chronological time: I have to go to the station to catch a
train which goes at a certain time. And there is time as
achievement, as success, as `you know’, `I don’t know’, `I’m going
to learn’. All that involves psychological time. That is, thought
says, `I am going to learn step by step’. Gradually I am to climb all
the steps and eventually come to that marvellous state; so there is a
division created by thought which wants success. The success not
being money this time, but enlightenment or faith.
So are you saying that thought is the mechanism that brings
about this fragmentation? The thought that has said, `You are a
Hindu’, `You are a Catholic’, `You are brown’, `You are black’, and
`You are pink’. Thought has conditioned the values of a particular
society and culture, which says everybody who does not belong to
that culture is a barbarian. This is all clear, isn’t it? If thought is
responsible for this fragmentation, what are you going to do about
it? I have to earn a livelihood – I have to in order to live, I have a
family. And also there is `me’, with my problems, with my
ambitions, with my successes.
So there is the livelihood, there is the family, there is the
function and the desire to derive status from that functioning and
the me – all fragmented. Now what am I to do? I see thought is
responsible for all this. Is that so or not? We are learning if the
speaker is wrong, tell him, find out!
Questioner: But we are thinking all the time, we are thinking at
this very moment.
Krishnamurti: Wait, we are going to find out. That is the whole
point. We are thinking and we say, `I have to earn a livelihood, there is the family, enjoyment, success, wanting to find
enlightenment, the guru, authority, all that,. And there is me
muddling through all this. And you tell me that thought is
responsible for this. I have thoughts which have brought about a
certain culture and that culture has conditioned me. Thought has
done this and thought also has to earn a livelihood. Thought says
you must earn money for your family, for your children. So
thought is responsible for it. Are you sure you are right? Don’t say
afterwards it is not like that be quite sure, learn.
Questioner: One has the feeling that there is something even
Krishnamurti: We’ll come to that. First see what we are dealing
with. But you can’t come to what is behind thought without
understanding the whole machinery of thought; otherwise you’ll be
merely escaping from thought. Now is that the truth not your truth
or my truth, not my personal opinion or your opinion is it the fact,
that thought divides? Thought divides the living now and dying
tomorrow. I will die tomorrow, but thought says, `You’ll die’,
`You’ll get frightened!’ Or thought says, `That was a marvellous
pleasure, I must have more of it’. And thought says, `I am
frightened of what I have done, be careful, don’t let it occur again
don’t let it be discovered’. So thought is breeding fear, pain and
pleasure. Thought divides. That is the truth, whether you see it or
not. So knowing thought brings about fragmentation and therefore
sustains division – what are you going to do?
Questioner: Does thought itself divide, or is it the way we use
Krishnamurti: Who is the `we’? Who is the `I’ that uses thought which divides?
Don’t come to any conclusion, first listen to what the speaker is
saying. Livelihood has to be earned so thought must be employed
there. I come back home and thought says, `my family’, `my
responsibility’. Or it says, `I have great pleasure in sex’, `I am in
great pain my wife may run away’. Thought is in operation all the
time, breeding fragmentation – the teacher, the disciple, the
success. What are you going to do, knowing that thought brings
about fragmentation, which means fear, which means conflict?
Fragmentation means that there will be no peace whatsoever. You
may talk about peace, join an organization that promises peace, but
there will be no peace as long as there is fragmentation by thought.
So faced with that fact, what is going to happen?
Questioner: I identify myself with the thought.
Krishnamurti: Who is the `I’ who identifies itself with thought?
Has not thought created the `I’? The `I’ being my experiences, my
knowledge, my success – which is all the product of thought. And
if you say it is the higher self, God, it is still thought; you have
thought about God. So what will you do?
Questioner: Thought must end. Krishnamurti: How is it to end?
Listen, Sir, thought must operate when you do something
mechanical, even to drive a car. You say thought must end
altogether. Then you can’t earn a livelihood, you can’t go home,
you won’t be able to speak. Sir, watch yourself, find out, learn
about this! Thought must be used and thought also sees that it
breeds fragmentation. So what is thought to do?
Questioner: It seems that we come to this point in almost every
discussion. My question is: is that a question that can be answered? Krishnamurti: We’re going to find out.
Questioner: I become afraid, because I see the deadlock of it.
Krishnamurti: Now knowing that you don’t know what to do,
will you learn Sir?
Questioner: If it is possible.
Krishnamurti: Why do you say `if it is possible’? My question is
not whether it is possible or not, but I said, `Will you learn about
this?’ To learn – what does it imply? Curiosity doesn’t it? Don’t
disagree casually. Are you eager, passionate to learn about this?
Because this may solve all our problems. Therefore you must be
intense, curious, passionate to find out. Are you? Or are you going
to say, `I am going to wait, so far I have functioned with
conclusions, I’ll form another conclusion and act from that’.
If you want to learn, these three things are absolutely necessary:
curiosity, eagerness and you must have energy; that energy gives
you the passion to find out, to learn. Do you have these things? Or
do you just want to talk about this casually?
Questioner: Is it one-pointedness? Krishnamurti: No Sir,
learning is not one-pointed learning. Learning means to have a
mind that wants to learn, that wants to find out; like a child that
says, `I want to know what the mountain is made of’.
Questioner: I may become attached to learning.
Krishnamurti: Sir, why do you translate what has been said into
your own words? I said one must have a great deal of energy, one
must be curious to find out, and one must be persistent; not just one
minute be full of curiosity and the next say, `Sorry, I’m too tired,
I’m bored, I want to go out and smoke’. Then you can’t learn.
Questioner: I have a need for certainty. I am afraid if I have no certainty.
Krishnamurti: Listen to that question: `I will learn if it
guarantees me complete certainty for the rest of my life’.
Questioner: This fragmentation gives me a feeling of security
and I need this illusion.
Krishnamurti: And you come along and disturb my security! I
am therefore frightened, I don’t want to learn. This is what you are
all doing! I have found great delight in writing a book and I know I
function from fragmentation, but that book gives me fame, money,
position. Don’t talk to me, the house is burning, but don’t disturb
Let’s proceed from this. If thought is the source of all
fragmentation and yet thought has to be used, what is to take
place? How is thought not to function and yet to function?
Thought is responsible for fragmentation and all conclusions are
fragmentations. Please see that. `I must be secure’, `I am frightened
of uncertainty’. But there may be a way of living which will give
you physical security – which is what you want – yet psychological
freedom. That freedom will bring about complete physical security,
but you don’t see this; so we are going to learn.
If thought is responsible for fragmentation and yet thought must
function in order to survive, then what is thought to do? Do you
understand my question? If you don’t understand it, please let’s go
into this question itself. I must use thought to go from here to
where I live, to earn money, to go to my job and function there
properly. And yet thought itself sees that it is the cause of
fragmentation and therefore conflict. Thought sees it must
function, and thought sees itself bringing about fragmentation. Questioner: Is seeing the fragmentation actually a linkage
between the fragments?
Krishnamurti: No Sir, it is not a linkage, you cannot put
fragments together and make them a whole. The many spokes of
the wheel don’t make the wheel it’s how you put the spokes
together that makes the wheel.
Questioner: As we have to use thought, and as we don’t want
fragmentation, can’t we just become conscious of the tendency of
thought to produce this fragmentation?
Krishnamurti: If you are conscious that thought brings about
fragmentation, the very consciousness of this whole precess brings
about a different quality altogether. Is that what you are saying? Is
that what is happening to you? Be careful Sir, go very slowly into
this. Thought must be exercised, and thought also realizes that it
breeds fragmentation and therefore conflict and fear and all the
misery in the world. Yet thought itself you are suggesting – must be
conscious of this whole process. Now see what happens. We said
thought is the basis of fragmentation; therefore when thought
becomes conscious of itself and how it breeds fragmentation,
thought divides itself into this and into that.
Questioner: We must use thought and must be conscious of the
sort of thought which is causing fragmentation.
Krishnamurti: Go into this slowly. What do you mean by that
Questioner: To see.
Krishnamurti: What do you mean by `seeing’? Do you see this
process mechanically? Because you have heard the words, you
have intellectually understood, and you see with the intention of applying these words and the intellectual conclusion to seeing. Be
careful, don’t say `no’. Are you seeing with a conclusion or are you
merely seeing? Have you understood?
Questioner: At the point where you were asking this question,
were you yourself actually asking the question? Because it seems
to me, that if there is a question at this point, it is again a
Krishnamurti: The lady suggests, if you are asking the question,
then you are again beginning a fragmentation.
Questioner: And if so, what has this whole investigation been?
What validity has it had?
Krishnamurti: I’ll explain it to you. You come to this point and
ask the question. And the lady says, `Who is asking this question?’
Is it thought that is asking the question? If it is, then it is again a
fragmentation. I am asking it because you are not learning.
Therefore I am going to find out. I have this picture – the mind sees
that much – how thought has fragmented; thought must function
and sees this. If you really see this completely, there is no more
question. You can only see this if there is no conclusion, no desire
to solve it, to go beyond it. Only when you see this whole
mechanism of thought completely how it operates, how it
functions, what is behind all this – then the problem is solved. Then
you are functioning all the time non-fragmentarily; even though
you go to the office, it is a non-fragmentary action if you see the
whole of it. If you don’t then you divide into the office, the family,
the you, the me. Now, do you see the whole of it?
Questioner: Sir, are you suggesting it is possible to carry on a
non-dualistic life and still function in society? Krishnamurti: I am showing it to you, Sir, if you see this whole
mechanism of thought, not just one part of it, the whole nature and
structure and the movement of it.
Questioner: How can you learn it more quickly?
Krishnamurti: By listening now! You see, again there is the
desire to achieve! That means you are not listening at all; your
eyes, your ears, are fixed on getting somewhere.
So, Sir, my question then is, asking as a friend, do you see this
whole thing? And the friend says: `You must see it, otherwise
you’re going to live a terrible, miserable existence you’ll have wars,
you’ll have such sorrow – for God’s sake see this!, And why don’t
you? What is preventing you? Your ambition? Your laziness? The
innumerable conclusions that you have?
Now, who is going to answer it?
Questioner (1): Why answer it? Just do it.
Questioner (2): I know I have conclusions, but I can’t get rid of
them, they go on. Questioner (3): How can we ever be secure?
Krishnamurti: It is the same old question. Tell me how to be
secure; that is the everlasting question of man.
Questioner: Maybe it is good to become more aware that we are
living now and not yesterday or last year. A lot of our attention is
taken away by living in the past and dreaming of the future.
Krishnamurti: Can you live in the present? Which means living
a life that has no time.
Questioner: Physically, I am alive.
Krishnamurti: I am asking you, Sir, can one live in the present?
To live in the present there must be no time, no past, no future, no
success, no ambition. Can you do it? Questioner: Just a bit. (Laughter) The very process of building
something, let’s say a house, means there must be a programme.
Krishnamurti: Of course, Sir. To build a house you must have
an architect, the architect makes a design, and the contractor builds
according to that plan. In the same way, we want a plan. You are
the architect, give me the plan and I will function according to that
Questioner: I wasn’t saying that. I said we want to build a house
which is a concrete thing to do. We must plan certain things…
Krishnamurti: So you use thought.
Questioner: So we cannot live only in the present.
Krishnamurti: I never said that, Sir. When you look at this question
really carefully, you will never ask, `How am I to live in the
present?’. If you see the nature and the structure of thought very
clearly, then you will find that you can function from a state of
mind that is always free from all thought, and yet use thought. That
is real meditation, Sir, not all the phoney stuff.
Now the mind is so crowded with the known, which is the
product of thought. The mind is filled with past knowledge, past
experience, the whole of memory which is part of the brain – it is
filled with the known. I may translate the known in terms of the
future or in terms of the present, but it is always from the known. It
is this known that divides, `knowing the past’, `I don’t know’, `I
shall know’. This past, with all its reservoir of memory says, `Do
this, don’t do that’, `This will give you certainty, that will give you
So when this whole mind, including the brain, is empty of the
known, then you will use the known when it is necessary, but functioning always from the unknown – from the mind that is free
of the known. Sir, this happens, it’s not as difficult as it sounds. If
you have a problem, you think about it for a day or two, you mull it
over, and you get tired of it, you don’t know what to do, you go to
sleep. The next morning, if you are sensitive, you have found the
answer. That is, you have tried to answer this problem in terms of
what is beneficial, what is successful, what will bring you
certainty, in terms of the known, which is thought. And after
exercising every thought, thought says, `I’m tired’. And next
morning you’ve found the answer. That is, you have exercised the
mind, used thought to its fullest extent, and dropped it. Then you
see something totally new. But if you keep on exercising thought
all the time, form conclusion after conclusion – which is the known
– then obviously, you never see anything new.
This demands a tremendous inward awareness, an inward sense
of order; not disorder, but order. Questioner: Is there not a method
Krishnamurti: Look, Sir – I get up, walk a few paces and go
down the steps. Is that a method of procedure? I just get up and do
it naturally, I don’t invent a method first and follow it – I see it. You
can’t reduce everything to a method!
Questioner: Can you ever empty this storehouse of impressions
which you have had?
Krishnamurti: You’ve put a wrong question. It is a wrong
question because you say `Can you ever’. Who is the `you’ and
what do you mean by `ever’? Which means: is it possible?
Sirs, look, we never put the impossible question – we are always
putting the question of what is possible. If you put an impossible question, your mind then has to find the answer in terms of the
impossible – not of what is possible. All the great scientific
discoveries are based on this, the impossible. It was impossible to
go to the moon. But if you say, `It is possible’ then you drop it.
Because it was impossible, three hundred thousand people co-
operated and worked at it, night and day – they put their mind to it
and went to the moon. But we never put the impossible question!
The impossible question is this: can the mind empty itself of the
known? – itself, not you empty the mind. That is an impossible
question. If you put it with tremendous earnestness, with
seriousness, with passion, you’ll find out. But if you say, `Oh, it is
possible’, then you are stuck.
5th August 1970.
IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION PART II CHAPTER 5
6TH PUBLIC DIALOGUE SAANEN 7TH AUGUST
Krishnamurti: We are going to talk over together this morning
what lies below the conscious. I do not know if you have enquired
into it at all, or have merely accepted what the analysts and the
psychologists have said. But if you go into it fairly deeply – as I
hope we shall this morning – one or two major fundamental
questions have to be asked. One has to discover, explore, learn for
oneself, the whole content of consciousness. Why does one divide
the unconscious and the conscious? Is it an artificial division
brought about by the analysts, the psychologists, the philosophers?
Is there a division at all? If one is to enquire into the whole
structure and the nature of consciousness, who is it that is going to
enquire? A fragment of the many fragments? Or is there an entity,
an agency, that is beyond all this which looks into consciousness?
Can the conscious mind, the daily operative mind, observe the
contents of the unconscious or deeper layers? And what are the
frontiers of consciousness? What are the limits?
This is a very serious subject. I think in the understanding of it
most human problems will be resolved. It isn’t a thing that you take
up as a hobby to study for a couple of weeks superficially and then
drop it to go on with your daily life. If one is to go into this deeply,
it is a way of life. It is not that you understand that and leave it
there. You can only understand the whole content of consciousness
and the limits of consciousness if it is a daily concern. It isn’t a
thing you can play with. It must be your whole life, your whole calling, your vocation. Because we are enquiring into the very
depths of the human mind, not according to your opinion, or the
speaker’s opinion, but learning the fullness of it and seeing what
lies beyond it – not just scratching the surface and thinking you
have understood it. It isn’t a thing that you learn from a book, or
from another. Please do let us realize this: it isn’t a thing that you
acquire as knowledge from books and then apply it. If you do that
it will have no value, it will be secondhand. And if you merely
treat it as a form of intellectual, spiritual or emotional
entertainment, then equally it will have no effect at all in your life.
We are concerned with the fundamental revolution of the mind, of
the whole structure of oneself – for the mind to free itself of all its
conditioning. So that we are not just educated and sophisticated,
but real, mature, deep human beings.
This morning we are going to learn together, if we can, what is
below the conscious, and seeing the many layers (or the one layer)
to discover for ourselves the content of consciousness: whether that
content makes up the conscious, or whether the conscious with its
frontier contains `what is’. Does the content of consciousness make
up consciousness? Do you follow? Or do all these things exist in
the content? Do you see the difference? I am just investigating, I
am moving slowly, so let us travel together. Don’t ask me
afterwards `Please repeat what you said’ – I can,t.
First, why is there this division between the conscious and the
so-called unconscious or the deeper layers? Are you aware of this
division? Or does this division exist because we have got so many
divisions in our life? Which is it? Is the conscious movement a
separate movement and have the deeper layers their own movement, or is this whole thing an undivided movement? This is
very important for us to find out, because we have trained the
conscious mind, we have drilled it, educated it, forced it, shaped it,
according to the demands of society and according to our own
impulses, our own aggression and so on. Is the unconscious, the
deeper layer, uneducated? We have educated the superficial layers;
are we educating the deeper layer? Or are the deeper layers utterly
untouched. What do you say?
In the deeper layers there may be the source and means of
finding out new things, because the superficial layers have become
mechanical, they are conditioned, repetitive, imitative; there is no
freedom to find out, to move, to fly, to take to the wind! And in the
deeper layers, which are not educated, which are unsophisticated
and therefore extraordinarily primitive – primitive, not savage there
may be the source of something new.
I do not know what you feel, what you have discovered. Is the
superficial mind so heavily conditioned that it has become
mechanical? If I am a Hindu or Christian I function as a Hindu or
Christian, or whatever it is. And below that, is there a layer which
education has not touched? Or has it, and therefore the whole
content of consciousness is mechanical? Are you following?
Questioner: Sir, how can we know about the unconscious?
Krishnamurti: All right Sir, let’s begin. When we use the word
`know’, what do we mean by that? I am not being merely verbal,
but we must move into this very carefully. What do you mean
when you say, `I want to know’?
Questioner: I haven’t any experience of it.
Krishnamurti: Keep to that one word, go into it, don’t introduce other words. What do you mean by that word `know’?, When you
use that word, what does it mean? `I know something that has
happened yesterday.’ All knowledge is the past isn’t it? Don’t agree
please, just see. I know you because I met you yesterday. I didn’t
meet the whole of you, I only met you when you were saying
something; therefore knowing implies within a certain period of
time. So knowledge always implies the past. When I say, `I know
that is an aeroplane flying’, though the flying is taking place at this
moment, the knowledge that it is an aeroplane is of the past. How
can the superficial mind learn about the deeper layers? How can
that superficial mind learn about the other?
Questioner: Keep the superficial mind still, then it can learn
about the deeper levels.
Krishnamurti: What is there to learn in the deeper layers? You
assume there is something to learn; are you actually aware of the
operations of the conscious mind? How it is ticking over? What its
responses are? Is there an awareness of the conscious mind? Find
out how extraordinarily difficult this is. The mind has to watch this
entire movement very closely. You say in the unconscious there
are many things. That’s what all the professionals say – are there?
The moment you divide the conscious from the deeper layers, the
question arises: how is this superficial mind to enquire into the
other? If there is no division at all, it is a total movement in which
one is only aware of a fragmentary movement. This fragmentary
movement asks: what are the contents of the unconscious? If it is a
total movement you won’t ask this question. Is the speaker making
this clear? Be quite sure, not verbally but actually.
The moment you divide consciousness into fragments, one fragment says: `what are the other fragments?’ But if it is a total
movement then there is no fragmentation, therefore the question
doesn’t arise. This is really important to find out about. Then you
go beyond all the specialists. Do you see consciousness as a whole,
or do you see with one fragment which examines the other
fragments? Do you see it partially, or wholly as a total movement,
like a river that is moving? You can dig a ditch along the bank and
call it the river – it isn’t. In the river there is the whole movement.
Then what is this movement? How is one to observe without
Questioner: May I say something please? You speak about an
unconscious mind. But is there an unconscious mind? You cannot
speak about something which is not. But we can speak about the
conscious. Please define conscious and unconscious. The question
is: are we now unconscious?
Krishnamurti: We asked this question earlier: are we aware of
the frontiers of consciousness? Or are we aware of the many
fragments that compose the conscious? Does one fragment become
aware of the many other fragments? Or are you aware of the total
movement of consciousness without any division?
Questioner: Both ways are conscious. Intellectually we are
dividing ourselves into parts.
Krishnamurti: Please see we are not analysing. Where there is
analysis there is the analyser and the thing analysed – one fragment
assuming the authority of analysis and examining the other part.
And in this division arise the conscious and the unconscious. Then
we put the question: can the conscious mind examine the
unconscious? – which implies that the conscious mind is separate from the rest. We say that from this false question you can answer
this through dreams, through various forms of intimations and
hints. All arising from a false assumption that the superficial mind
is separate from the other; which means we have never seen or felt
or learnt about the movement of consciousness as a whole. If you
do, this question doesn’t arise at all. I don’t know if you see this?
Questioner: Obviously some people are suffering from neurosis
without knowing the origin of it. Isn’t that in the unconscious?
Krishnamurti: Do you suffer from a neurosis? Please, this is not
a silly question. Are you aware that you are neurotic in some form
or another? Questioner: Who decides if one is neurotic?
Krishnamurti: Don’t you know when you are neurotic? Has
somebody got to tell you that you are neurotic? Do please listen to
this. When there is any exaggeration of any fragment then neurosis
takes place. When you are highly intellectual that is a form of
neurosis, though the highly intellectual is greatly regarded. Holding
on to certain beliefs, Christian, Buddhist, Communist, attachment
to any belief, is a form of neurosis. Sir, look at it, go slowly. Hold
on to your question. Any fear is a form of neurosis, any conformity
is a form of neurosis, and any form of comparing yourself with
something else is neurotic. Aren’t you doing all this?
Krishnamurti: Therefore you are neurotic! ( Laughter) No, no,
please Sir, this is very serious. We have learned something from
this. Any exaggeration of any fragment of the whole consciousness
as we see it – which contains many fragments – any emphasis on
any fragment is a form of neurosis. Sirs, get it into your hearts, feel
it, move, take time, get involved in it, apply it to yourself, and you will see the next question.
As we are, we have divided consciousness; in this division there
are many fragmentations, many divisions: the intellectual,
emotional and so on; and any emphasis on that division is neurotic.
Which means that a mind emphasizing a fragment not see clearly.
Therefore the emphasis of a fragment brings about confusion. I am
asking you to see for yourself whether there is not a fragmentation
in you; that fragmentation laying emphasis on one thing, on its
issues, on its problems, and disregarding the other fragments leads
not only to conflict but to great confusion, because each fragment
demands an expression, each demands an emphasis, and when you
emphasize the one the others are clamouring. This clamour is
confusion and out of that confusion come neurotic impulses, all
forms of desire to fulfil, to become, to achieve. Questioner:
Sometimes what you suffer from is not the apparent thing. If
somebody doesn’t dare to cross a square, it is obviously not the
square he is frightened of. Or if one is afraid to be alone, it may be
something in the unconscious which causes the fear.
Krishnamurti: Yes. The neurosis is only a symptom, the cause
could be in the unconscious. Obviously this could be so and
probably is. Then what is the question?
Questioner: It’s a neurosis.
Krishnamurti: When we have understood this whole structure,
then we can go into the particular; but to start with the particular
will lead nowhere. Do you see that any emphasis on the fragment
is a form of neurosis? There is the intellectual, the emotional, the
physical, the psychosomatic; most of us have laid stress on one
aspect of the many fragments. Out of that exaggeration, out of that disharmony, other factors of disharmony arise. Such as: `I can’t
cross a street’, or `I am frightened in the dark; and the explanation
is that in my childhood my mother didn’t treat me properly!
Now our question is not why I can’t cross the street, which I
shall answer without going to the analyst, if I understand the
fragmentation of consciousness. The moment I have understood
that, then the problem of crossing the street doesn’t exist at all. Are
we meeting each other? When we see the greater, the totality, the
immensity, the lesser disappears. But if we keep on emphasizing
the little, then the little brings about its own little problems.
Questioner: But when you talk about seeing the totality of
consciousness, what does `seeing’ mean? For instance, sometimes I
know something but I don’t know how I know it.
Krishnamurti: No Sir, just look. Do you listen to the movement
of that river totally? Just do it Sir. Don’t speculate. Listen to that
river and find out if you are listening completely, without any
movement in any direction. Then after having listened, what do
Questioner: Recognition plays no part in it.
Krishnamurti: That’s right. Recognition plays no part in it. You
don’t say, `That is the stream to which I am listening; nor are you
as an entity listening to the stream; there is only the listening to the
sound. You don’t say, `I know it is a river’. So let’s go back. I want
to go into this so much, please, let’s move together.
Questioner: Is the emphasis on fragmentation the essence of
neurosis, or is it the symptom?
Krishnamurti: It is the very essence and the symptom.
Questioner: Being intellectual is the essence as well as the symptom?
Krishnamurti: Isn’t it? Look Sir. I emphasize my intellectual
capacity. I think it is marvellous, I can beat everybody at an
argument, I have read so much, I can correlate all that I have read,
and I write wonderfully clever books. Isn’t that the very cause and
the symptom of my neurosis?
Questioner: It seems to be a symptom of our deeper disturbance.
Krishnamurti: Is it? You are saying that is a symptom, not the
cause. I say, let’s look. Is the mind whole, undivided, and therefore
are the cause and the effect the same? See it, Sir. What was the
cause becomes the effect, and the effect becomes the cause of the
next movement; there is no definite demarcation between cause
and effect. What was cause yesterday has become the effect, and
the effect of today becomes the cause tomorrow. It is a movement,
it is a chain.
Questioner: But isn’t it essential to see this whole process, rather
than just cause and effect? Krishnamurti: That’s what we are doing
and that is not possible if you emphasize the intellectual, the
emotional, the physical, the spiritual, and so on.
So my question, which was the first question, is: why have we
divided the mind? Is it artificial, or necessary? Is it just the
invention of the specialist to which we have become slaves, which
we have accepted, as we accept most things so easily? We say,
`Great people say this’ and we swallow it and repeat it. But when
we see the fragmentation and the emphasis on this fragmentation;
and when we see out of that arises the whole cause-effect chain and
that it is a form of neurosis, then the mind sees the totality of the
movement without division. Well Sir, do you see it? Questioner: When there is no identification with the fragment.
Krishnamurti: Yes. If you identify yourself with any one of the
fragments, obviously it is the same process. That is, the process of
being identified with the one, and disregarding the rest, is a form of
neurosis, a contradiction. Now put the next question. Can you
identify yourself with the rest of the fragments? You, a fragment,
identifying with the many other fragments. Do you see the tricks
we are playing with this question of identification?
Questioner: I can only say that after the identification with one
fragment; because then I feel that I am incomplete…
Krishnamurti: That’s right. You feel you are incomplete,
therefore you try to identify yourself with many other fragments.
Now who is the entity that is trying to identify itself with the
many? It is one of the fragments, therefore it is a trick – you
follow? And we are doing this all the time: `I must identify myself’.
Questioner: Isn’t it better to identify yourself with many
fragments so that you are more complete?
Krishnamurti: No, not better. Look Sir, first let me explain it
again. There are many fragments of which I am. One of the
fragments says it brings about confusion to identify myself with a
single fragment. So it says: `I’ll identify myself with the many
other fragments’. And it makes a tremendous effort to identify itself
with the many fragments. Who is this entity that tries to identify
itself with the other fragments? It is also a fragment, isn’t it?
Therefore it is only playing a game by itself. This is so simple!
Now let’s proceed, there is so much in this, we are just remaining
on the very surface of it all.
We see there is no actual division at all. I see it non-verbally. I feel it that the observer is a fragment which separates itself from
the rest of the fragments and is observing. In that observation there
is a division, as the observer and the observed, there is conflict,
there is confusion. When the mind realizes this fragmentation and
the futility of separating itself, then it sees the movement as a
whole. If you cannot do this you cannot possibly put the next
question, which is: what is beyond the conscious? What is below,
above, beside? – it doesn’t matter how you put it.
So if you are serious, you have to find out what consciousness is
and when you are aware that you are conscious. Do you understand
my question? I am doing all the work! Sir, look, you have to learn
about all this and when you learn you help others to learn. So learn
now, for God’s sake! That is your vocation. We are asking what is
this thing called consciousness? When do you say, `I am
Questioner: When there is thought.
Krishnamurti: Come nearer.
Questioner: When there is duality.
Krishnamurti: What do you mean? Come closer. You begin too
Questioner: When you are in fragmentation. Krishnamurti: Sir,
just listen. When are you at all aware that you are conscious? Is
this so very difficult?
Questioner: When I am in pain.
Krishnamurti: The lady suggests you are conscious when there
is pain, when there is conflict, when you have a problem, when you
are resisting; otherwise you are flowing smoothly, evenly,
harmoniously. Living without any contradiction, are you conscious at all? Are you conscious when you are supremely happy?
Questioner: What does that word `being conscious’ mean?
Krishnamurti: You don t have to ask me, you’ll find out. The
moment you are conscious that you are happy, is happiness there?
The moment you say, `How joyous I am’, it has already moved
away from you. Can you ever say that?
Questioner: You are then conscious of that.
Krishnamurti: Which is the past! So you are only conscious of
something that has happened, or when there is some conflict, some
pain, when there is the actual awareness that you are confused.
Any disturbance in this movement is to be conscious and all our
life is a disturbance against which we are resisting. If there were no
discord at all in life would you say, `I am conscious’? When you
are walking, moving, living without any friction, without any
resistance, without any battle, you don’t say `I am’. It is only when
you say, `I will become, or,I am being’, then you are conscious.
Questioner: Isn’t this state that you are talking about still a
process of identification with the tree…
Krishnamurti: No Sir. I explained identification. When I see a
tree I don’t mistake it for a woman or for the church: it is a tree.
Which doesn’t mean identification. Look Sir, we have discovered
something, we have learned something. There is consciousness
only when there is `becoming’, or trying `to be something’.
Becoming implies conflict: `I will be’. Which means conflict exists
as long as the mind is caught in the verb `to be’ please see that. Our
whole culture is based on that word `to be’. `I will be a success’, `I am a failure’, `I must achieve’, `This book is mine, it is going to
change the world’. You follow? So as long as there is a movement
of becoming, there is conflict and that conflict makes the mind
aware that it is conscious. Or the mind says, `I must be good’ not `I
will be good’. To be good. Also it is a form of resistance: being
good. Being and becoming are the same.
Questioner: Can one be conscious of conflict?
Krishnamurti: Of course Sir, otherwise you wouldn’t be
Questioner: Can’t you be so caught up in conflict that you don’t
see that you are in conflict?
Krishnamurti: Of course, it is a form of neurosis. Sir, look.
Have you ever been to a mental hospital, any of you? I wasn’t there
as a patient, I was taken by an analyst, and all the patients from the
top floor, where the most violent ones are caged in, down to the
lowest floor where they are more or less peaceful, they are all in
conflict an exaggerated conflict do you understand? Only they are
inside the building and we are outside – that’s all.
Questioner: I am trying to distinguish between consciousness
Krishnamurti: Both are the same. Being aware implies
awareness of division. To be aware without division and choice is
not to be caught in the movement of becoming or being. Have you
understood? The whole movement of consciousness is either to
become or to be: becoming famous, becoming a social worker,
helping the world. After looking at the fragmentation, after looking
at the movement of consciousness as a whole, you find that this
whole movement is based on that: `to become’, or `to be’. You have learned it, Sir – not by agreeing with me.
Then you ask a totally different question, which is: what is
beyond this movement of `becoming’ and `to be’? You are not
asking that question. But I am asking it. Do you understand my
question Sir? Looking at this problem of consciousness, both from
the analytical and the philosophical point of view, I have realized
that division has been created through `becoming’, or `to be’. I want
to be a Hindu, because it promises me not only outward success
but also spiritual achievements. If I reject that, I say I must `be’
something else: I am going `to be myself’, identify myself with
myself. Again this is the same process. So I observe, I see that the
total movement of consciousness is this movement of being
something, or becoming, or `not to be’, or `not to become’. Now
how do I see this? Do I see it as something outside myself, or do I
see it without the centre, as the `me’, which observes the
`becoming’ and the `not becoming’? Have you understood my
question? No, I don’t think so.
I realize that all consciousness is this movement. When I say `I
realize it’, am I realizing it as something that I have seen outside of
me, like looking at a picture hanging on the wall, spread out before
me; or do I see this movement as part of me, as the very essence of
me? Do I see this movement from a centre? Or do I see it without
the centre? If I see it from a centre, that centre is the self, the `me’,
who is the very essence of fragmentation. Therefore when there is
an observation from the centre, I am only observing this movement
as a fragment, as something outside of me, which I must
understand, which I must try to grasp, which I must struggle with
and all the rest. But if there is no centre, which means there is no `me’, but merely an observing of this whole movement, then that
observation will lead to the next question. So which is it you are
doing? Please this is not group therapy, this is not a weekend
entertainment, this isn’t a thing you go to learn from somebody,
like `how to become sensitive’, or `how to learn creative living; put
all that aside. This is hard work, this needs deep enquiry. Now,
how are you observing? If you don’t understand this, life becomes a
torture, a battlefield. In that battlefield you want to improve the
cannon, you want to bring about brotherhood and yet keep to your
isolation. We have played that game for so long! Therefore you
have to answer this question if you are really profoundly serious.
Are you watching this whole movement of consciousness, as we
have seen it, as an outsider, unrelated to that which he is watching?
Or is there no centre at all from which you are watching? And
when you watch that way, what takes place?
May we sidestep a little? All of you dream a great deal, don’t
you? Have you ever asked why? Not how to interpret dreams, that
is an irrelevant question which we’ll answer presently. But have
you ever asked a relevant question, which is: why do we dream at
Questioner: Because we are in conflict.
Krishnamurti: No Sir, don’t be so quick. Look at it. Why do you
dream? The next question is: is there a sleep without any dream at
all? Don’t say `Yes’, Sir.
You all dream; what are those dreams, why do you dream?
Dreams, as we said the other day, are the continuing movement of
the daily activity, symbolized, put into various categories, but it is
the same movement. Isn’t that so? Don’t agree or disagree, find out! It is so obvious. If dreams are a continuing movement of the daily
action, then what happens to the brain if there is constant activity,
Questioner: It never rests.
Krishnamurti: What happens to it?
Questioner: It gets exhausted. It wears out. Krishnamurti: It
wears itself out, there is no rest, there is no seeing of anything new.
The brain doesn’t make itself young. All these things are implied
when there is a continuous movement of daily activity, which goes
on in the brain during sleep. You may foretell what might happen
in the future, because while you sleep there is a little more
sensitivity, a little more perception and so on; but it is the same
movement. Now, can this movement, which goes on during the
day, end with the day? Not be carried over when you sleep? That
is, when you go to bed the whole thing is ended. Don’t answer my
question yet. We are going to go into it.
Doesn’t it happen to you when you go to bed, that you take
stock of what you have done during the day? Or do you just flop
into bed and go to sleep? Don’t you review the day and say, this
should have been done, this should not have been done? And ask
yourself the meaning of this or that? Follow this very carefully.
You are bringing order. The brain demands order, because
otherwise it can’t function efficiently. If you dream, if the
movement of the daily activity goes on in your sleep, there is no
order. As the brain demands order, the brain instinctively brings
about order while you are asleep. You wake up a little fresher
because you have a little more order. The brain cannot function
efficiently if there is any form of conflict, any form of disorder. Questioner: Aren’t there other kinds of dreams in which
communications of a different kind are transmitted?
Krishnamurti: First listen to this. Understand order. The
movement of daily life continues through sleep because in this
daily movement there is contradiction, there is disorder,
disharmony. And during sleep, through dreams, through various
forms of non-dreams, the brain tries to bring order into its own
chaos. If you make order during the day, the brain does not need to
put things in order during sleep. See the importance of this.
Therefore the brain becomes rested, quiet, alive, fresh. I do not
know if you have noticed that when you have a problem and you
go on thinking it out during the day, and it is still going on during
the night, you worry about it and you wake up the next morning
weary of the problem; and during the next day you still worry
about that problem, like a dog biting a bone. You are at it all day
and still when you go to bed again; until the brain is exhausted.
Then perhaps in that exhaustion you see something fresh.
What we are saying is something entirely different. It is this: to
end the problem as it arises, not to carry it over to the next day or
to the next minute – end it! Somebody has insulted you, hurt you –
end it! Somebody has deceived you, somebody has said unkind
things about you. Look at it, don’t carry it over, don’t bear it as a
burden. End it as it is being said, not afterwards.
Disorder is a neurotic state of the brain and ends up by
producing a mental case. Order implies the ending of the problem
as it arises, and therefore the movement of the daytime through the
night ends and there are no dreams, because you have solved
everything as you are moving. I don’t know if you see the importance of this. Because then you can ask the next question,
which is: what is beyond all this? We will deal with that tomorrow.
7th August 1970.
IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION PART II CHAPTER 6
7TH PUBLIC DIALOGUE SAANEN 8TH AUGUST
Krishnamurti: We’ll go on where we left off yesterday when we
were considering the nature and the structure of consciousness.
One realizes that if there is to be a radical change in the human
mind, and therefore in society, we have to consider this question.
We have to delve deeply into it to find out whether there is a
possibility of this consciousness undergoing a metamorphosis, a
complete change in itself. Because one can see that all our actions,
superficial or profound, serious or flippant, are the outcome of, or
born out of this consciousness. And we were saying within this
consciousness there are many fragments; each fragment assuming
dominance at one time or another. If one does not understand the
content of consciousness – and the possibility of going beyond it
any action, however significant it may be, must produce confusion
without the understanding of the fragmentary nature of our
consciousness. I think this must be very clear. It’s like giving a
great deal of attention to one fragment, like the intellect, or a
belief, or the body, and so on. These fragmentations, which
compose our consciousness, from which all action takes place,
must inevitably bring about contradiction and misery. Is this clear
at least verbally? To say to oneself, all these fragments must be put
together or integrated has no meaning, because then the problem
arises of who is to integrate them, and the effort of integration. So
there must be a way of looking at this whole fragmentation with a
mind that is not fragmented. And that is what we are going to discuss this morning.
I realize that my mind, including the brain, all the physiological
nervous responses, the whole of that consciousness is fragmentary,
is broken up, conditioned by the culture in which one lives. That
culture has been created by past generations and the coming
generation. And any action, or the emphasis on one fragment over
the others, will inevitably bring about immense confusion. Giving
emphasis to social activity, to a religious belief, or intellectual
concept, or Utopia, must inevitably be contradictory and therefore
bring about confusion. Do we see this?
So one asks the question: is there an action which is not
fragmentary and which does not contradict another action which is
going to take place in the next minute?,
We see that thought plays an extraordinary part in this
consciousness. Thought being not only the response of the past, but
of all our feeling, all our neurological responses, the future hopes,
fears, pleasures, sorrows – they are all in this. So does the content
of consciousness make for the structure of consciousness? Or is
consciousness free from its content?
If consciousness is made up of my despair, my anxiety, fears,
pleasures, the innumerable hopes, guilts and the vast experience of
the past, then any action springing from that consciousness can
never free this consciousness from its limitations. Don’t agree with
this, it isn’t just schoolboy stuff! Please share it with me which
means work, observe it in yourself – and then we can proceed
further. I’m just talking as an introduction.
My consciousness is the result of the culture in which I have
lived. That culture has encouraged, and discouraged various activities, various pursuits of pleasure, fear, hopes and beliefs that
consciousness is the `me’. Any action springing from that
consciousness which is conditioned, must inevitably be
fragmentary and therefore contradictory, confusing. If you are born
in a Communist or a Socialist or a Catholic world, the culture in
which that particular mind brain – is born, is conditioned by this
culture, by the standards, the values, the aspirations of that society.
And any action born from this consciousness must inevitably be
fragmentary. Don’t ask me any questions yet just watch yourself.
First listen to what the speaker has to say, don’t bring in your
questions or your thoughts. Then after having listened very quietly,
then you can begin to put questions, then you can say, `You’re
wrong, you’re right’, and so on. But if that questioning is going on
in your mind, then you are not listening. Therefore our
communication comes to an end, we are not sharing together, and
as the thing into which we are enquiring is a very complex, subtle
problem, you first have to listen.
We are trying to find out what is consciousness. Is it made up of
the many things that it contains, or is it something free of its
content? If it is free of its content, then the action of that freedom is
not dictated by the content. If it is not free, then the content dictates
all action; that is simple. Now we’re going to learn about it.
I realize, watching in myself, that I am the result of the past, the
present, the hopes of the future. The whole throbbing quality of
consciousness is all this, with all its fragmentations. Any action
born of this content must inevitably be not only fragmentary, but
through that there is no freedom whatsoever.
So can this consciousness empty itself and find out if there is a consciousness which is free, from which a totally different kind of
action takes place? Am I conveying to you what I am talking
All the content of consciousness is like a shallow, muddy little
pool, and a little frog is making an awful noise in it. That little frog
says: `I’m going to find out’. And that little frog is trying to go
beyond itself. But it is still a frog in the muddy pool. Can this
muddy pool empty all the content of itself? My little muddy pool is
the culture in which I have lived and the little `me’, the frog, is
battling against the culture, saying `I must get out’. But even if it
gets out, it is a little frog and whatever it gets out into, is still a
little muddy pool which it will create. Please see this. The mind
realizes that all the activity it indulges in, or is forced into, is the
movement within the consciousness with its content. Realizing
this, what is the mind to do? Can it ever go beyond this limited
consciousness? That is one point.
The second point is: this little pool with the little frog may
expand and widen. The space it creates is still within the borders of
a certain dimension. That little frog – or better, that little monkey –
can acquire a great deal of knowledge, information and experience.
This knowledge and experience may give it a certain space to
expand; but that space has always the little monkey at its centre.
So the space in consciousness is always limited by the centre. If
you have a centre, the circumference of consciousness, or the
frontier of consciousness, is always limited, however it may
expand. The little monkey may meditate, may follow many
systems, but that monkey will always remain; and therefore the
space it will create for itself will always be limited and shallow. That is the second question-
The third is: what is space without a centre? We are going to
find this out.
Questioner: Can this consciousness with its limitations go
Krishnamurti: Can the monkey with all its intentions and
aspirations, with all its vitality, free itself from its conditioning and
go beyond the frontiers of consciousness which it has created?
To put it differently, can the `me’, which is the monkey, by
doing all kinds of things meditating, suppressing, conforming, or
not conforming being everlastingly active, can its movement take it
beyond itself. That is, does the content of consciousness allow the
`me’ – and therefore the attempt on the part of the monkey – to free
itself from the limitation of the pool? So my question is: can the
monkey be completely quiet to see the extent of its own frontiers?
And is it at all possible to go beyond them?
Questioner: At the centre there is always the monkey, so there is
not empty space, no space for freedom.
Krishnamurti: Sir, do you notice for yourself that you are
always acting from a centre? The centre may be a motive, the
centre may be fear, may be ambition – you are always acting from a
centre, aren’t you? `I love you’, `I hate you’, `I want to be powerful’
– all action as we know it, is from a centre. Whether that centre
identifies with the community or with a philosophy, it is still the
centre; the thing identified with becomes the centre. Are you aware
of this action always going on, or are there moments when the
centre is not active? It happens – suddenly you are looking, living,
feeling without a centre. And that is a totally different dimension. Then thought begins to say, `What a marvellous thing that was, I’d
like to continue with it?’ Then that becomes the centre. The
remembrance of something which happened a few seconds ago
becomes the centre through thought. Are we aware of the space
that centre creates round itself? – the isolation, resistance, escapes.
As long as there is a centre, there is the space which the centre has
created and we want to expand this space, because we feel the
expansion of space is necessary to live extensively. But in that
expansive consciousness there is always the centre, therefore the
space is always limited, however expanded. Observe it in yourself,
don’t listen to me, watch it in yourself, you will discover these
things very simply. And the battle in relationship is between two
centres: each centre wanting to expand, assert, dominate – the
monkeys at work!
So I want to learn about this. The mind says, `I see that very
clearly; the mind is learning. How does that centre come into
being? Is it the result of the society, the culture, or is it a divine
centre – forgive me for using that word `divine’ – which has always
been covered up by society, by the culture? The Hindus and others
call it the Atman, the Great Thing inside which is always being
smothered. Therefore you have to free the mind from being
smothered, so that the real thing, the real monkey can come out.
Obviously the centre is created by the culture one lives in, by
one’s own conditioned memories and experiences, by the
fragmentation of oneself. So it is not only the society which creates
the centre, but also the centre is propelling itself. Can this centre go
beyond the frontiers which it has created? By silencing itself, by
controlling itself, by meditating, by following someone, can that centre explode and go beyond? Obviously it can’t. The more it
conforms to the pattern, the stronger it gets, though it imagines that
it is becoming free. Enlightenment, surely, is that state, that quality
of mind in which the monkey never operates. How is the monkey
to end these activities? Not through imitation, not through
conformity, not through saying, `Somebody has attained
enlightenment, I’ll go and learn from him’ – all those are monkey
Does the monkey see the tricks it plays upon itself by saying,
`I’m ready to help, to alter society, I am concerned with social
values and righteous behaviour and social justice’. You answer this,
Sir! Don’t you think it is a trick that it plays upon itself? It is so
clear, there is no question about it. If you’re not sure, Sir, please
let’s discuss, let’s talk it over.
Questioner: You talk sometimes as if helping society, doing
social service, was something done for somebody else. But I have
the feeling that I’m not different from society, so working in social
service is working for myself; it’s the same thing, I don’t make a
Krishnamurti: But if you don’t make the distinction – I’m not
being personal, Sir – I’m asking, does the centre remain?
Questioner: It should not.
Krishnamurti: Not `should not’. Then we enter into quite a
different field `should, should not, must, must not’ – then it
becomes theoretical. The actual fact is, though I recognise that `me’
and society are one, is the centre, the `me’, the monkey, still
My question is: I see that as long as there is any movement on the part of the monkey, that movement must lead to some kind of
fragmentation, illusion and chaos. To put it much more simply: that
centre is the self, it is the selfishness that is always operating;
whether I am godly, whether I am concerned with society and say,
`I am society’ is that centre operating? If it is, then it is
The next question is: how is that centre to fade away? Through
determination, through will, through practice, through various
forms of neurotic compulsion, dedication, identification? All such
movement is still part of the monkey, therefore, consciousness is
within the reach of the monkey and the space within that
consciousness is still within arm’s length of the monkey. Therefore
there is no freedom.
So the mind says, `I see this very clearly’ `seeing’ in the sense of
a perception, like seeing the microphone, without any
condemnation, just seeing it. Then what takes place? To see, to
listen to anything, there must be complete attention, mustn’t there?
If I want to understand what you are saying, I must give all my
attention to it. In that attention is the monkey operative? Please
I want to listen to you. You are saying something important, or
unimportant, and to find out what you are saying, I must give my
attention, which means my mind, my heart, my body, my nerves,
everything must be in harmony to attend. The mind is not separate
from the body, the heart is not separate from the mind and so on; it
must be a complete harmonious whole that is attentive. That is
attention. Does the mind attend with such complete attention to the
activity of the monkey? – not condemning it, not saying `This is right or wrong’, just watching the tricks of the monkey. In this
watching there is no analysis. This is really important Sirs, put
your teeth into it! The moment it analyses one of the fragments, the
monkey is in operation. So does the mind watch in this way, with
such complete attention to all the movements of the monkey? What
takes place when there is such complete attention? Are you doing
Do you know what it means to attend? When you are listening
completely to that rain there is no resistance against it, there is no
impatience. Now when you are so listening, is there a centre with
the monkey operating? Find out, Sir, don’t wait for me to tell you –
find out! Are you listening to the speaker with complete attention?
Which means, not interpreting what he is saying, not agreeing or
disagreeing, not comparing or translating what he is saying to suit
your own particular mind; when any such activity takes place there
is no attention. To attend completely means the mind is completely
still to listen. Are you doing that? Are you listening to the speaker
now with that attention? If you are, is there a centre there?
Questioner: We are passive.
Krishnamurti: I don’t care whether you are passive or active. I
said, Sir, are you listening? Listening means being attentive. And
in that attention is the monkey working? Don’t say yes or no – find
out, learn about it. And what is the quality of that attention in
which there is no centre, in which the monkey isn’t playing tricks?
Questioner: Is it thoughtless?
Krishnamurti: I don’t know, Sir, don’t put it into words like
`thoughtless’, `empty’. Find out, learn, which means sustained
attention – not a fleeting attention – to find out the quality of the mind that is so completely attentive.
Questioner: The moment you say the mind is not there, it is
Krishnamurti: No, Sir – when you say it is not there to
communicate through words, then the memory is there. But I am
asking: when you are so completely attentive, is there a centre? Sir,
surely this is simple!
When you are watching something that is really amusing and
makes you laugh, is there a centre? If there is something that
interests you, and if you are not taking sides and are just watching,
in that watching is there a centre, which is the monkey? If there is
no centre, then the question is, can this attention flow, move – not
just one moment and then become inattentive – but flow naturally,
easily, without effort? Effort implies the monkey coming into
being. Do you follow all this?
The monkey has to come in if there is some functional work to
be done. But does that operation on the part of the monkey spring
from attention, or is that monkey separate from attention? Going to
the office and working in the office, is that a movement of
attention, or is it the movement of the monkey which has taken
over, the monkey who says, `I must be better than the others, I
must make more money, I must work harder, I must compete, I
must become the manager’ – whatever it is. Go into it, Sir. Which is
it in your life? A movement of attention, and therefore much more
efficient, much more alive; or is the monkey taking over? Answer
it Sir, for yourself. If the monkey takes over and makes some kind
of mischief – and monkeys do make mischief – can that mischief be
wiped away and not leave a mark? Go on, Sirs, you don’t see the beauty of all this!
Yesterday somebody said something to me which was not true.
Did the monkey come into operation and want to say, `You’re a
liar’? Or was it the movement of that attention in which the monkey
is not operating? – then that statement which is not true doesn’t
leave a mark. When the monkey responds, then it leaves a mark.
So I am asking: can this attention flow? Not, `how can I have
continuous attention’, because then it is the monkey who is asking.
But when there is a movement of attention all the time, the mind
just moves with it.
You must answer this; it is really an extraordinarily important
question. We only know the movement of the monkey and only
occasionally do we have this attention in which the monkey doesn’t
appear at all. Then the monkey says, `I want that attention; then it
goes to Japan to meditate, or to India to sit at someone’s feet, and
We are asking: is this movement of attention totally unrelated to
consciousness as we know it? Obviously it is. Can this attention, as
a movement, flow as all movements must flow? And when the
monkey becomes active, can the monkey itself become aware that
it is active and so not interfere with the flow of attention?
Somebody insulted me yesterday and the monkey was awake to
reply; and because it has become aware of itself and all the
implications of the monkey tricks, it subsides and lets the attention
flow. Not, `how to maintain the flow’ – this is really important – the
moment you say `I must maintain it’, that is the activity of the
monkey. So the monkey knows when it is active and the sensitivity
of its awareness immediately makes it quiet. Questioner: In this movement of attention there is no self
interest, therefore there is no resistance, no waste of energy.
Krishnamurti: Sir, attention means the height of energy, doesn’t
it? In attention all the energy is there, not fragmented. The moment
it is fragmented and action takes place, then the monkey is at work.
And when the monkey, which is also learning, has become
sensitive, has become aware, it realizes the waste of energy and
therefore, naturally, becomes quiet. It i s not `the monkey’ and
`attention’ it is not a division between the monkey and attention. If
there is a division the attention then becomes the `higher self’ you
know all the tricks the monkeys have invented – but attention is a
total movement, It is a total action, not opposed to attention.
Unfortunately the monkey also has its own life and wakes up.
Now, when there is no centre, when there is the complete
apogee of attention, will you tell me what there is? What has
happened to the mind that is so highly attentive, with not a breath
of energy wasted. What takes place? Come on Sirs – I am talking
all the time!
Questioner: There is total silence. There is no self-
Krishnamurti: No monkey tricks! What has happened? Not only
to the intellect, to the brain, but to the body. I have talked but you
don’t learn! If the speaker doesn’t come any more, if he dies, what
is going to happen? How are you going to learn? Will you learn
from some yogi? No, Sir, therefore learn now! What has happened
to a mind that has become highly attentive, in which all the energy
is there what has happened to the quality of the intellect?
Questioner: It sees. Krishnamurti: No, you don’t know! Please don’t guess.
Questioner: It is totally quiet.
Krishnamurti: Look, Sir the brain which has been operating,
working, which has invented the monkey – doesn’t that brain
become extraordinarily sensitive? If you don’t know, please don’t
guess. And there is your body when you have got such tremendous
energy, unspoiled, unwasted, what has happened to the whole
organism, to the whole structure of the human being? That is what
I am asking.
Questioner: It wakes up and it becomes alive, it learns…
Krishnamurti: No. Sir, it has to become alive to learn, otherwise
you can’t learn. If you’re asleep and say, `I believe in my prejudice,
I like my prejudice, my conditioning is marvellous, – -then you’re
asleep, you are not awake. But the moment you question, begin to
learn, you are beginning to be alive. That is not my question. What
has happened to the body, to the brain?
Questioner: There is complete interaction, there is no division,
but total awareness.
Krishnamurti: Sir, if you are not wasting energy fiddling, what
has happened to the machinery of the brain, which is purely a
Questioner: It is alive.
Krishnamurti: Please, sir – do watch yourself. Pay attention to
something so completely, with your heart, with your body, with
your mind, with everything in you, with every particle, every cell
and see what takes place.
Questioner: At that time you don’t exist.
Krishnamurti: Yes, Sir. But what has happened to the brain, not to you? I agree the centre doesn’t exist, but the body is there, the
brain is there what has happened to the brain? Questioner: It rests,
Krishnamurti: What is the function of the brain?
Krishnamurti: Don’t repeat after me, for God’s sake!
What is the brain? it has evolved in time, it is the storehouse of
memory, it is matter, it is highly active, recognising, protecting,
resisting, thinking, not thinking, frightened, seeking security and
yet being uncertain, it is that brain with all its memories – not just
yesterday’s memories, but centuries of memories, the racial
memories, the family memory, the tradition – that whole content is
there. Now what has happened to that brain when there is this
Questioner: It is new…
Krishnamurti: I don t want to be rude, but is your brain new? Or
is it just a word you are saying? Please, what has happened to this
brain that has become so mechanical; don’t say it has become non-
mechanical. The brain is purely mechanical, responding according
to its conditioning, background, fears, pleasure and so on. What
has happened to this mechanical brain when there is no wastage of
energy at all?
Questioner: It is getting creative…
Krishnamurti: We’ll leave it till tomorrow.
8th August 1970.
IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION PART II CHAPTER 7
8TH PUBLIC DIALOGUE SAANEN 9TH AUGUST
Krishnamurti: During the last five weeks that we have met here, we
have been discussing and talking over together the many problems
which touch our lives, the problems we create for ourselves and the
society that creates them for us. We also saw that we and the
society are not two different entities – they are a interrelated
movement. If any person seriously concerned with and actively
involved in social change – its pattern, its values, its morality is not
aware of his own conditioning, then this conditioning makes for
fragmentation in action; and therefore there will be more conflict,
more misery, more confusion. We went into that pretty thoroughly.
We were also discussing what fear is, and whether the mind can
ever be completely and utterly free of this burden, both
superficially and deeply. And we discussed the nature of pleasure,
which is entirely and wholly different from joy, from delight. We
also went into the question of the many fragmentations which
make up our structure, our being. We saw in our discussion that
these fragmentations divide and keep separate all human
relationship, that one fragment assumes the authority and becomes
the analyser, the censor of the other fragments.
Yesterday in talking over together the nature of consciousness
we went into the question of what is attention. We said, this quality
of attention is a state of mind in which all energy is highly
concentrated; and in that attention there is no observer, there is no
centre as the `me’ who is aware. Now we are going to find out, learn together, what happens to
the mind, to the brain, to the whole psychosomatic being, when the
mind is tremendously attentive. To understand that very clearly, or
find out about it for oneself, one must first see that the description
is not the described. One can describe this tent, everything that is
involved, but the description is not the tent. The word is not the
thing, and we must be absolutely clear from the beginning that the
explanation is not the explained. To be caught in description, in
explanation is the most childish form of living, and I’m afraid most
of us are. We are satisfied with the description, with the
explanation, with saying, `that is the cause’ and just float along.
Whereas what we are going to do this morning, is to find out for
ourselves what has happened to the mind the mind being the brain,
as well as the whole psychosomatic structure when there is this
extraordinary attention, when there is no centre as the observer or
as the censor.
To understand that, to really learn about it, not merely to be
satisfied with the speaker’s explanation of it, to find out, one has to
begin with the understanding of `what is’. Not what `should be’, or
what `has been’, but `what is’.
Please go with me, let’s travel together, it is great fun if we
move together in learning. Obviously there must be tremendous
changes in the world and in ourselves. The ways of our thought
and our action have become utterly immature, so contradictory, so
diabolical – if one can say so. You invent a machine to kill and then
there is an anti-machine to kill that machine. That’s what they are
doing in the world; not only socially but also mechanically. And a
mind that is really concerned, involved in the seriousness of psychological as well as outward change, must go into this
problem of the human being with his consciousness, with his
despairs, with his appalling fears, with his ambitions, with his
anxieties, with his desire to fulfil in some form or another. So to
understand all this we must begin with seeing `what is’. `What is’ is
not only what is in front of you, but what is beyond. To see what is
in front of you, you must have a very clear perception,
uncontaminated, not prejudiced, not involved in the desire to go
beyond it, but just to observe it. Not only to observe `what is’, but
what has been – which is also what is. The `what is’ is the past, is
the present, and is the future. Do see this! So the `what is’ is not
static, it is a movement. And to keep with the movement of `what
is’, you need to have a very clear mind, you need to have an
unprejudiced, not a distorted mind. That means, there is distortion
the moment there is an effort. The mind can’t see `what is’, and go
beyond it, if the mind is in any way concerned with the changing of
`what is’, or trying to go beyond it, or trying to suppress it.
To observe `what is’, you need energy. To observe anything
attentively you need energy. To listen to what you are saying I
need energy, that is, I need energy when I really, desperately want
to understand what you are saying. But if I am not interested, but
just listen casually, then one only needs a very slight energy that
soon dissipates. So to understand `what is’ you need energy. Now,
these fragmentations, of which we are, are the division of these
energies. `I’ and the `not I’, `anger’ and `not anger’, `violence’ and
`not violence’ they are all fragmentations of energy. And when one
fragment assumes authority over the other fragments, it is an
energy that functions in fragments. Are we communicating? Communicating means learning together, working together,
creating together, seeing together, understanding together; not just
that I speak and you listen, and saying `intellectually I grasp it; that
is not understanding. The whole thing is a movement in learning
and therefore in action.
So the mind sees that all fragmentations, as my God, your God,
my belief and your belief, are fragmentations of energy. There is
only energy and fragmentation. This energy is fragmented by
thought and thought is the way of conditioning – which we won’t
go into again now, because we must move further.
So consciousness is the totality of these fragmentations of
energy. And we said, one of those fragments is the observer, is the
`me’, is the monkey who is incessantly active. Bear in mind that the
description is not the described, that you are watching yourself
through the words of the speaker. But the words are not the thing,
therefore the speaker is of very little importance. What becomes
important is your observation of yourself, of how this energy has
been fragmented. Can you see that – which is `what is’ without the
fragment of the observer? Can the mind see these many
fragmentations which make up the whole of consciousness? These
fragments are the fragmentations of energy. Can the mind see this,
without an observer who is part of the many fragments? It is
important to understand this. If the mind cannot see the many
fragments without looking through the eyes of another fragment,
then you will never understand what attention is. Are we meeting
The mind sees what fragmentation does outwardly and
inwardly. Outwardly the sovereign governments, with their arms race and all the rest of it, the division of nationalities, beliefs,
religious dogmas. The division in social and political action the
Labour party, the Conservatives, the Communists, the Capitalists –
is all created by the desire of thought which says, `I must be
secure’. Thought thinks it will be secure through fragmentation and
so creates more fragmentation. Do you see this? Not verbally, but
actually as a fact. The young and the old, the rich and the poor,
death and living – do you see this constant division, this movement
of fragmentation by thought, which is caught in the conditioning of
these fragments? Does the mind see this whole movement without
a centre that says, `I see it’. Because the moment you have a centre,
that centre becomes the factor of division. `Me’ and `not me’ which
is you. Thought has put together this `me’ through the desire, or
through the impulse, to find security, safety. And in its desire to
find safety it has divided the energy as `the me’ and the `not me’,
therefore bringing to itself insecurity. Can the mind see this as a
whole? It cannot, if there is a fragment which observes.
We are asking: what is the quality of the mind that is highly
attentive, in which there is no fragmentation? That is where we left
off yesterday. I don’t know if you have enquired, or learned from
yesterday; the speaker is not a professor teaching you or giving you
information. To find that out, there must be no fragmentation – –
obviously – which means, no effort. Effort means distortion, and as
most of our minds are distorted, you cannot possibly understand
what it is to be completely attentive and find out what has
happened to a mind that is so utterly aware, utterly attentive.
There is a difference between security and stability. We said it
is the monkey which is the everlasting `me’ with its thoughts, with its problems, with its anxieties, fears and so on. This restless
thought – the monkey – is always seeking security, because it is
afraid to be uncertain in its activity, in its thoughts, in its
relationships. It wants everything mechanical, which is secure. So
it translates security in terms of mechanical certainty. Is stability
different not opposite – but in a different dimension from security?
We have to understand this. A mind that is restless and seeking
security, in that restlessness it can never find stability. To be stable
– firm is not the word to be unshakeable, immoveable, and yet to
have the quality of great mobility! The mind that is seeking
security cannot be stable in the sense of being mobile, swift, and
yet immensely immovable.
Do you see the difference? Which is it you are doing in your
life, in your everyday life? Is thought the monkey, seeking in its
restlessness to find security, and not finding it in one direction,
going off in another direction, which is the movement of
restlessness? In this restlessness, it wants to find security; therefore
it can never find it. It can say, `There is God’, which is still the
invention of thought, the image brought about through centuries of
conditioning. Or it is conditioned in the Communist world which
says: `there is no such thing’, which is equally conditioning.
So what is it that you are doing – seeking security in your
restlessness? The desire to be secure is one of the most curious
things. And that security must be recognised by the world; I don’t
know whether you see this. I write a book and in the book I find
my security. But that book must be recognised by the world,
otherwise there is no security. So look what I’ve done – my security
lies in the opinion of the world! `My books sell by the thousand’, and I have created the value of the world. In seeking security
through a book – through whatever it is I am depending on the
world which I have created. So it means I am deceiving myself
constantly. If you saw this! So the desire for thought to be secure is
the way of uncertainty, is the way of insecurity. When there is
complete attention in which there is no centre, what has happened
to the mind that is so intensely aware? Is there security in it? Is
there any sense of restlessness in it? Please don’t agree – it is a
tremendous thing to find this out.
You see, Sirs, most of us are seeking a solution for the misery
of the world, a solution for the social morality – which is immoral.
We are trying to find out a way of organizing a society in which
there will be no social injustice. Man has sought God, truth,
whatever it is, throughout centuries, never coming upon it, but
believing in it. But when you believe in it, you naturally have
experiences according to your belief, which are false. So man in
his restlessness, in his desire for safety, for security, to feel at ease,
has invented all these imaginary securities projected by thought.
When you become aware of all this fragmentation of energy – and
energy is therefore no more fragmented what has taken place in the
mind that has sought security? Because it was restless, it was
moving from one fear to another? Then what do you do, what is
Questioner: One is not isolated, there is no fear. Krishnamurti:
We’ve been through all this, Sir. Unless it really is so with you,
don’t say anything, because it has no meaning. You can invent, you
can say, `I feel this’ – but if you are really serious, if you want to
learn about this, then you have to go into it, it is your vocation, it is your life – not just for this morning.
You know, as we were going through the village, all the people
were going to church – weekend religion. This is not a weekend
religion. This is a way of life, a way of living in which this energy
is not broken up. If you once understood this thing, you would
have an extraordinary sense of action.
Questioner: Sir, the moment you say, `what do you do with
this’, the monkey within us starts up. It triggers off the question and
the question triggers off the monkey.
Krishnamurti: I am only putting that question to see where you
Questioner: Only one fragment acts.
Krishnamurti: Yes. So there is one of the fragments of this
broken up energy restlessly seeking security – that is actually `what
is’. That is what we are all doing. That restlessness, and that
constant search and enquiry, joining one society, then taking up
another society – the monkey goes on endlessly – all that indicates a
mind that is pursuing a way of life in which it is only concerned
Now when that is seen very clearly, what has happened to the
mind that is no longer concerned with security? Obviously it has
no fear. That becomes very trivial when you see how thought has
fragmented the energy, or fragmented itself, and because of this
fragmentation there is fear. And when you see the activity of
thought in its fragmentation, then you meet fear, you act. So we are
asking, what has happened to the mind that has become
extraordinarily attentive? Is there any movement of search at all?
Please, find out. Questioner: The mechanical activity stops completely.
Krishnamurti: Do you understand my question? When you are
so attentive, is the mind still seeking? Seeking experience, seeking
to understand itself, seeking to go beyond itself, seeking to find out
right action, wrong action, seeking a permanency on which it can
depend permanency in relationship, or in belief, or in some
conclusion? Is that still going on, when you are so completely
Questioner: The mind does not seek anything any longer.
Krishnamurti: Do you know what that means, when you make a
statement of that kind so easily? Not to seek anything – which
Questioner: It is already to receive something new that it cannot
Krishnamurti: No, madam, you really have not understood. My
question is, the mind has seen the activity of the monkey in its
restlessness. This activity – which is still energy thought has broken
up in its desire to find a permanent security, a certainty, safety.
And so it has divided the world as the `me’ and the `not me’, `we’
and `they’, and is seeking truth as a way of security. When one has
observed all this, is the mind seeking anything at all any more?
Seeking implies restlessness I haven’t found security here, and I go
there, and I haven’t found it there so I go elsewhere.
Questioner: The mind then is not concerned with search.
Krishnamurti: A mind which is without a centre is not
concerned with search. But is it taking place with you?
Questioner: At the moment you are attentive it is taking place.
Krishnamurti: No, Sir. Questioner: All sorts of things happen to the mind when it stops
Krishnamurti: Have you ever known, walking or sitting quietly,
what it means to be completely empty? Not isolated, not
withdrawn, not building a wall around yourself and finding you
have no relationship with anything – I don’t mean that. When the
mind is completely empty, it does not mean that it has no memory,
the memories are there, because you are walking to your house, or
are going to your office. But I mean the emptiness of a mind that
has finished with all the movement of search.
Questioner: All is and I am. What is `I am’? Who is `I am’? Who
is this `I` that says `am’? The monkey?
Krishnamurti: Don’t repeat what the propagandists have said,
what the religions have said, what the psychologists have said.
Who says, `I am’? – the Italian, the Frenchman, the Russian, the
believer, the dogma, the fears, the past, the seeker, and the one who
seeks and finds? Or the one who is identified with the house, with
the husband, with the money, with the name, with the family –
which are all words! No, you don’t see this. But it is so! If you see
that you are a bundle of memories and words, the restless monkey
comes to an end.
Questioner: If your mind is completely empty when you are
walking to the office, why are you walking to the office? Why are
you still doing this?
Krishnamurti: You have to earn a livelihood, you have to go to
your home, you will be going out of this tent.
Questioner: Surely the question is, how can I be empty if
memory is operating. Krishnamurti: Now look, Sir, I want to tell you a very simple thing: there is no such thing as security. This
restless demand for security is the part of the observer, the centre,
the monkey. And this restless monkey – which is thought has
broken up this world and has made a frightful mess of it, it has
brought such misery, such agony! And thought cannot solve this,
however intelligent, however clever, erudite, capable of efficient
thinking, thought cannot possibly bring order out of this chaos.
There must be a way out of it which is not thought. I want to
convey to you that in that state of attention, in that movement of
attention, all sense of security has gone, because there is stability.
That stability has nothing whatsoever to do with security when
thought seeks security it makes it into something permanent,
immovable, and therefore it becomes mechanical. Thought seeks
security in relationship. In that relationship thought creates an
image. That image becomes the permanent and breaks up the
relationship – you have your image and I have mine. In that image
thought has established and identified itself as the permanent thing.
Outwardly this is what we have done: your country, my
country, and so on. When the mind has left all that, left it in the
sense that it has seen the utter futility, the mischief of it, it has
finished with it. Then what takes place in the mind which has
completely finished with the whole concept of security? What
happens to that mind which is so attentive that it is completely
stable, so that thought is no longer seeking security in any form
and sees that there is no such thing as the permanent? I’m pointing
it out to you; the description is not the described.
See the importance of this; the brain has evolved with the idea
of being completely secure. The mind, the brain wants security, otherwise it can’t function. Without order it will function
illogically, neurotically, inefficiently, therefore the brain is always
wanting order and it has translated having order in terms of
security. If that brain is still functioning, it is still seeking order
through security. So when there is attention, is the brain still
Questioner: Sir, there is only the present.
Krishnamurti: Sir, I am trying to convey something to you. I
may be totally wrong. I may be talking complete nonsense, but you
have to find out for yourself if I am talking nonsense.
Questioner: I get the sensation that at the moment I am
attentive, I am not seeking. But that attention may cease; then I am
Krishnamurti: Never! That’s the whole point. If thought sees
that there is no such thing as permanency, thought will never seek
it again. That is, the brain, with its memories of security, its
cultivation in a society depending on security, with all its ideas and
its morality based on security, that brain has become completely
empty of all movements towards security.
Have you ever gone into this question of meditation, any of
you? Meditation is not concerned with meditation but with the
meditator – do you see the difference? Most of you are concerned
with meditation, what to do about it, how to meditate step by step
and so on – that is not the question at all. The meditator is the
meditation. To understand the meditator is meditation.
Now if you have gone into this question of meditation, the
meditator must come to an end, by understanding, not by
suppressing, not by killing thought. That is, to understand oneself is to understand the movement of thought; thought being the
movement of the brain with all its memories – the movement of
thought seeking security, and all the rest of it.
Now the meditator is asking, can this brain become completely
quiet? Which is, can thought be completely still, and yet operate
out of this stillness not as an end in itself. Probably all this is too
complicated for you it’s really quite simple. So the mind that is
highly attentive has no fragmentation of energy. Please see that;
there is no fragmentation of energy, it is complete energy. And that
energy operates without fragmentation when you go to the office.
Questioner: Maybe a real understanding could be arrived at
without the help of the word; it’s a kind of direct contact with the
thing you are trying to understand. And consequently there is no
need for words, which are an escape.
Krishnamurti: That’s it. Can you communicate without words?
Because words hinder.
Krishnamurti: Look, Sir, can I communicate with you without
words about the quality of the mind that is so extraordinarily
attentive, and yet functions in the world without breaking the
energy into fragments? You’ve understood my question?
Krishnamurti: Now, can I communicate that to you without the
word? How do you know I can? What are you all talking about!
Questioner: I think you can.
Krishnamurti: Look, one has talked for nearly five weeks,
explained everything, gone into it in detail, poured one’s heart into
it. Have you understood it verbally even? And you want to understand something non-verbally! It can be done if your mind is
in contact with the speaker with the same intensity, with the same
passion, at the same time, at the same level, then you will
communicate. Are you? Now listen to that train! Without the word
communication has been established, because we are both of us
listening to the rattle of that train, at the same moment, with the
same intensity, with the same passion. Only then is there direct
communion. Are you intense about this at the same time as the
speaker? Of course not. Sir, when you hold the hand of another,
you can hold it out of habit or custom. Or you can hold it and
communication can take place without a word, because both are at
the given moment intense. But we are not intense, not passionate
Questioner: Not all the time.
Krishnamurti: Don’t say that, not even for a minute!
Questioner: How do you know?
Krishnamurti: I don’t know. If you are, then you will know what
it means to be aware, to be attentive, and therefore no longer
seeking security; therefore you are no longer acting or thinking in
terms of fragmentation. Look what has happened to a mind that has
gone through all the things which we have been talking about, all
the discussions and exchange of words. What has happened to the
mind that has really listened to this?
First of all, it has become sensitive, not only mentally but
physically, It has given up smoking, drinking, drugs. And when we
have talked over this question of attention, you’ll see that the mind
is no longer seeking anything at all, or asserting anything. And
such a mind is completely mobile and yet wholly stable. Out of that stability and sensitivity it can act without breaking life or
energy up into fragments. What does such a mind find, apart from
action, apart from stability? Man has always sought what he
considered to be God, truth; he has always striven after it out of
fear, out of his hopelessness, out of his despair and disorder. He
sought it and he thought he found it. And the discovery of that he
began to organize. So that which is stable, highly mobile, sensitive,
is not seeking; it sees something which has never been found,
which means, time for such a mind does not exist at all – which
does not mean one is going to miss a train. So there is a state which
is timeless and therefore incredibly vast.
This is something most marvellous if you come upon it. I can go
into it, but the description is not the described. It’s for you to learn
all this by looking at yourself – no book, no teacher can teach you
about this don’t depend on anyone, don’t join spiritual
organizations, one has to learn all this out of oneself. And there the
mind will discover things that are incredible. But for that, there
must be no fragmentation and therefore immense stability,
swiftness, mobility. To such a mind there is no time and therefore
this whole concept of death and living has quite a different
9th August 1970.