J. KRISHNAMURTI THE FLAME OF ATTENTION

THE FLAME OF ATTENTION INTRODUCTORY
PAGE

‘Observation, like a flame of attention, it wipes away hate.’
‘Observation is like a flame which is attention, and with that
capacity of observation, the wound, the feeling of hurt, the hate, all
that, is burnt away, gone.’
THE FLAME OF ATTENTION CHAPTER 1 1ST
PUBLIC TALK AT NEW DELHI 31ST OCTOBER
1981

I would like to point out that we are not making any kind of
propaganda, for any belief, for any ideal or for any organization.
Together we are considering what is taking place in the world
outside of us. We are looking at it not from an Indian point of
view, or from a European or American, or from any particular
national interest. Together we are going to observe what actually is
going on in the world. We are thinking together but not as having
one mind. There is a difference between having one mind and
thinking together. Having one mind implies that we have come to
some conclusion, that we have come to certain beliefs, certain
concepts. But thinking together is quite different. Thinking
together implies that you and the speaker have a responsibility to
look objectively, non-personally, at what is going on. So we are
thinking together. The speaker, though he is sitting on a platform
for convenience, has no authority. Please, we must be very clear on
this point. He is not trying to convince you of anything. He is not
asking you to follow him. He is not your guru. He is not
advocating a particular system, particular philosophy, but that we
observe together, as two friends who have known each other for
some time, who are concerned not merely about our private lives,
but are together looking at this world which seems to have gone
mad. The whole world is arming, spending incredible amounts of
money to destroy human beings, whether they live in America,
Europe, or Russia, or here. It is taking a disastrous course which cannot possibly be solved by politicians. We cannot rely on them;
nor on the scientists they are helping to build up the military
technology, competing each against another. Nor can we rely on
the so-called religions; they have become merely verbal, repetitive,
absolutely without any meaning. They have become superstitions,
following mere tradition, whether of five thousand years or two
thousand years. So we cannot rely on the politicians who are
throughout the world seeking to maintain their position, their
power, their status; nor can we rely on the scientists, who each
year, or perhaps each week, are inventing new forms of
destruction. Nor can we look to any religion to solve this human
chaos.
What is a human being to do? Is the crisis intellectual,
economic, or national, with all the poverty, confusion, anarchy,
lawlessness, terrorism and always the threat of a bomb in the
street? Observing all that, what is our responsibility? Are you
concerned with what is happening in the world? Or are you merely
concerned with your own private salvation? Please consider all this
very seriously, so that you and the speaker observe objectively,
what is taking place, not only outwardly, but also in our
consciousness, in our thinking, in the way we live, in our actions. If
you are not at all concerned with the world but only with your
personal salvation, following certain beliefs and superstitions,
following gurus, then I am afraid it will be impossible for you and
the speaker to communicate with each other. We must be clear on
this point. We are not concerned at all with private personal
salvation but we are concerned, earnest- ly, seriously, with what
the human mind has become, what humanity is facing. We are concerned as human beings, human beings who are not labelled
with any particular nationality. We are concerned in looking at this
world and what a human being living in this world has to do, what
is his role?
Every morning, in the newspapers, there is some kind of
murder, bomb outrage, destruction, terrorism, and kidnapping; you
read it every day and you pay little attention to it. But if it happens
to you personally then you are in a state of confusion, misery and
asking somebody else, the government or the policeman, to save
you, to protect you. And in this country, when you look, as the
speaker has for the last sixty years, watching all the phenomena in
this unfortunate country, you see the poverty, which never seems to
be solved, the over population, the linguistic differences, one
community wanting to break away from the rest, the religious
differences, the gurus who are becoming enormously rich, with
their private aeroplanes which you are accepting blindly you see
that you are not capable of doing anything about it. This is a fact.
We are not dealing with ideas, we are dealing with facts, with what
is actually taking place.
And, if we are to observe together, we must be free of our
nationalism. We human beings are interrelated, wherever we live.
please realize this, how serious, how urgent it all is. For in this
country people have become lethargic, totally indifferent to what is
going on, utterly careless, only concerned about their own little
salvation, little happiness.
We live by thought. What is the operation, or the process and
the content of thinking? All the temples result from thought; and
all that goes on inside the temples, the images, all the puja, all the ceremonies, are the result of thought. All the sacred books
Upanishads, the Gita and so on are the result of thought, the
expression of thought in print, to convey what somebody else has
experienced or thought about. And the word is not sacred. No book
in the world is sacred, simply because it is the result of man’s
thought. We worship the intellect. Those who are intellectual are
seen as apart from you and me who are not intellectual. We respect
their concepts, their intellect. Intellect, it is thought, will solve our
problems, but that is not possible, it is like developing one arm out
of proportion to the rest of the body. Neither the intellect, nor the
emotions, nor romantic sentimentality, are going to help us. We
have to face things as they are, to look at them very closely and see
the urgency of doing something immediately, not leaving it to the
scientist, the politician and the intellectual.
So, first of all, let us look at what the human consciousness has
become; because our consciousness is what we are. What you
think, what you feel, your fears, your pleasures, your anxieties and
insecurity, your unhappiness, depressions, love, pain, sorrow and
the ultimate fear of death are the content of your consciousness;
they are what you are they are what makes you, the human being.
Unless we understand that content and go beyond it if it is possible
we shall not be able to act seriously, fundamentally, basically, to
bring about a transformation, a mutation, in this consciousness.
To find out what right action is we must understand the content
of our consciousness. If one`s consciousness is confused,
uncertain, pressurized, driven from one corner to another, from one
state to another, then one becomes more and more confused,
uncertain, and inse- cure; from that confusion one cannot act. So one depends on somebody else which man has done for thousands
of years. It is of primary importance to bring about order in
ourselves; from that inward order there will be outward order. We
are always seeking outward order. We want order in the world
established through strong governments, or through totalitarian
dictatorships. We all want to be pressurized to behave rightly;
remove that pressure and we become rather what we are in the
present India. So it becomes more and more urgent on the part of
those who are serious, who are facing this terrible crisis, to find out
for ourselves what our consciousness is and to free that
consciousness of its content, so that we become truly religious
people. As it is we are not religious people, we are becoming more
and more materialistic.
The speaker is not going to tell you what you are, but together,
you and the speaker, are going to examine what we are and find out
whether it is possible to radically transform what we are. So we are
going to observe first the content of our consciousness. Are you
following all this? Or are you too tired at the end of the day? You
are under pressure all day long, all the week long pressure at home,
pressure in your job, economic and religious pressure, pressure
from government and from the gurus who impose their beliefs,
their idiocy, on you. But here we are not under pressure. Please
realize this. We are as two friends talking over together our
sorrows, our hurts, our anxieties, our uncertainty, insecurity and
how to find security, how to be free of fear and whether our
sorrows can ever end. We are concerned about that. Because if we
do not understand that and look at it very clearly, we will bring
about more confusion in the world, more destruction. perhaps all of us will be vaporized by an atom bomb. So we have to act urgently,
seriously, with all our heart and mind. This is really very, very
important, for we are facing a tremendous crisis.
We have not created nature, the birds, the waters, the rivers, the
beautiful skies and the running streams, the tiger, the marvellous
tree; we have not created them. How that has come about is not for
the moment under review. And we are destroying the forests, we
are destroying the wild animals; we are killing millions and
millions of them every year certain species are disappearing. We
have not created nature the deer, the wolf but thought has created
everything else. Thought has created the marvellous cathedrals, the
ancient temples and mosques and the images that are in them.
Thought having created these images in the temples, the cathedrals,
the churches, and the inscriptions in the mosques, then that very
thought worships that which it has created.
So, is the content of our consciousness brought about by
thought which has become so all-important in our lives? Why has
the intellect, the capacity to invent, to write, to think, become
important? Why have not affection, care, sympathy, love, become
more important than thought?
So first let us examine together what thinking is. The structure
of the psyche is based on thought. We have to examine what
thinking is, what thought is. I may put it into words but you see it
for yourself; it is not that the speaker indicates and then you see it,
but in talking over together you see it for yourself. Unless we
understand very carefully what thinking is we shall not be able to
understand, or observe, or have an insight into the whole content of
our consciousness, that which we are. If I do not understand myself, that is, my consciousness, why I think this way, why I
behave that way, my fears, my hurts, my anxieties, my various
attitudes and convictions, then, whatever I do will bring more
confusion.
What is thinking to you? When somebody challenges you with
that question, what is your response? What is thinking and why do
you think? Most of us have become secondhand people; we read a
great deal, go to a university and accumulate a great deal of
knowledge, information derived from what other people think,
from what other people have said. And we quote this knowledge
which we have acquired and compare it with what is being said.
There is nothing original; we only repeat, repeat, repeat. So that
when one asks: what is thought? what is thinking? we are
incapable of answering.
We live and behave according to our thinking. We have this
government because of our thinking, we have wars because of our
thinking all the guns, the aeroplanes, the shells, the bombs, all
result from our thinking. Thought has created the marvels of
surgery, the great technicians and experts, but we have not
investigated what thinking is.
Thinking is a process born out of experience and knowledge.
Listen to it quietly, see if that is not true, actual; then you discover
it for yourself as though the speaker is acting as a mirror in which
you see for yourself exactly what is, without distortion; then throw
the mirror away or break it up. Thinking starts from experience
which becomes knowledge stored up in the cells of the brain as
memory; then from memory there is thought and action. Please see
this for yourself, do not repeat what I say. This sequence is an actual fact: experience, knowledge, memory, thought, action. Then
from that action you learn more; so there is a cycle and that is our
chain.
This is the way we live. And we have never moved away from
this field. You may call it action and reaction, but we never move
away from this field the field of the known. That is a fact. Now the
content of our consciousness is all the things which thought
generates. I may think, oh, so many ugly things; I may think there
is god in me; which is again the product of thought.
We must take the content of our consciousness and look at it.
Most of us from childhood are hurt, wounded, not only at home but
at school, college and university and later in life, we are hurt. And
when you are hurt you build a wall around yourself and the
consequence of that is to become more and more isolated and more
and more disturbed, frightened, seeking ways not to be hurt further;
your actions from that hurt are obviously neurotic. So that is one of
the contents of our consciousness. Now what is it that is hurt?
When you say, `I am hurt` not physically but inwardly,
psychologically, in the psyche what is it that is hurt? Is it not the
image you have, or the picture you have, about yourself? All of us
have images about ourselves, you are a great man, or a very
humble man; you are a great politician with all the pride, the
vanity, the power, the position, which create that image you have
of yourself. If you hold a doctorate or if you are a housewife, you
have a corresponding image of yourself. Everyone has an image of
himself, it is an indisputable fact. Thought has created that image
and that image gets hurt. So is it possible to have no image about
yourself at all?       When you have an image about yourself, you create a division
between yourself and another. It is important to understand very
deeply what relationship is; you are not only related to your wife,
to your neighbour, to your children, but you are related to the
whole human species. Is your relationship to your wife merely
sensory, sexual relationship, or is it a romantic, convenient
companionship? She cooks and you go the office. She bears
children and you work from morning until night for fifty years,
until you retire. And that is called living. So you must find out very
clearly, carefully, what relationship is. If your relationship is based
on hurt then you are using the other to escape from that hurt. Is
your relationship based on mutual images? You have created an
image about her and she has created an image about you; the
relationship then is between these two images which thought has
created. So, one asks; is thought love? Is desire love? Is pleasure
love? You may say no, and shake your head, but actually you never
find out, never investigate and go into it.
Is it possible for there to be no conflict at all in relationship? We
live in conflict from morning until night. Why? Is it part of our
nature, or part of our tradition, part of our religion? Each one has
an image about himself: you have an image about yourself and she
has an image about herself, and many other images her ambition,
her desire to be something or other. And also you have your
ambitions, your competitiveness. You are both running parallel,
like two railway lines, never meeting, except perhaps in bed, but
never meeting at any other level. What a tragedy it has become.
So it is very important to look at our relationships; not only
your intimate relationships but also your relationship with the rest of the world. The world outside is interrelated, you are not separate
from the rest of the world. You are the rest of the world. People are
suffering, they have great anxieties, fears, they are threatened by
war, as you are threatened by war. They are accumulating vast
armaments to destroy each other and you never realize how
interrelated we are. I may be a Muslim and you may be Hindu; my
tradition says, `I am a Muslim’ I have been programmed like a
computer to repeat `I am a Muslim’ and you repeat `I am Hindu’.
You understand what thought has done? The rest of the world is
like you, modified, educated differently, with different superficial
manners, perhaps affluent or not, but with the same reactions, the
same pains, the same anxieties, the same fears. Please give your
mind, your heart, to find out what your relationship is with the
world, with your neighbour and with your wife or husband. If it is
based on images, pictures, remembrances, then there will
inevitably be conflict with your wife, with your husband, with your
neighbour, with the Muslim, with the Pakistani, with the Russian
you follow? And the content of your consciousness is the hurt
which you have not resolved, which has not been completely
wiped away; it has left scars and from those scars you have various
forms of fears which ultimately lead to isolation. Each one of us is
isolated, through religious traditions, through education, through
the idea that you must always succeed, succeed, succeed, become
something. And also beyond our relationship with each other,
intimate or otherwise, we are interrelated whether you live here or
anywhere else in the world. The world is you and you are the
world. You may have a different name, different form, different
kind of education, different position, but inwardly we all suffer, we all go through great agonies, shed tears, are frightened of death,
and have a great sense of insecurity without any love or
compassion.
So how do you listen to this fact? That is, how do you listen to
what is being said? The speaker is saying that you are the rest of
mankind, deeply; you may be dark, you may be short, you may put
on saris, but those are all superficial; but inwardly the flow,
whether I am an American, a Russian or Indian, the flow is the
same. The movement of all human beings is similar. So you are the
world and the world is you, very profoundly. One has to realize
this relationship. You understand I am using the word `realize’ in
the sense that you must be able to observe it and see the actual fact
of it.
So from that arises the question: how do you observe? How do
you look at your wife or your husband, or your Prime Minister?
How do you look at a tree? The art of observation has to be learnt.
How do you observe me? You are sitting there, how do you look at
me? What is your reaction? Do you look at the speaker, thinking he
has a reputation? What is your reaction when you see a man like
me? Are you merely satisfied by the reputation he has which may
be nonsensical, it generally is by how he has come to this place to
address so many people, by whether he is important and what you
can get out of him. He cannot give you any government jobs, he
cannot give you money because he has no money. He cannot give
you any honours, any status, any position, or guide you, or tell you
what to do. How do you look at him? Have you looked at anybody,
freely, openly, without any word, without any image? Have you
looked at the beauty of a tree, at the flutter of its leaves? So can we learn together how to observe? You cannot observe, visually,
optically, if your mind is occupied as most of our minds are
occupied with the article you have to write next day, or with your
cooking, your job, or with sex, or occupied about how to meditate,
or with what other people might say. How can such a mind, being
occupied from morning until night, observe anything? If I am
occupied with becoming a master carpenter, then I have to know
the nature of various woods, I have to know the tools and how to
use them, I have to study how to put joints together without nails,
and so on. So my mind is occupied. Or, if I am neurotic, my mind
is occupied with sex, or with becoming a success politically or
otherwise. So how can I, being occupied, observe? Is it possible
not to have a mind so occupied all the time? I am occupied when I
have to talk, when I have to write something or other, but the rest
of the time why should my mind be occupied?
Computers can be programmed, as we human beings are
programmed. They can, for instance, learn, think faster and more
accurately, than man. They can play with a grand chess master.
After being defeated four times, the master beats the computer four
times, on the fifth or sixth time the computer beats the master. The
computer can do extraordinary things. It has been programmed you
understand? It can invent, create new machines, which will be
capable of better programming than the previous computer, or a
machine that will be ultimately `intelligent’. The machine will
itself, they say, create the ultimate `intelligent’ machine. What is
going to happen to man when the computer takes the whole thing
over? The Encyclopaedia Britannica can be put in a little chip and
it contains all that knowledge. So what place will knowledge then have in human life?
Our brains are occupied, never still. To learn how to observe
your wife, your neighbour, your government, the brutality of
poverty, the horrors of wars, there must be freedom to observe. Yet
we object to being free because we are frightened to be free, to
stand alone.
You have listened to the speaker; what have you heard, what
have you gathered words, ideas, which ultimately have no
meaning? Have you seen the importance for yourself of never
being hurt? That means never having an image about yourself.
Have you seen the importance, the urgency, of understanding
relationship and having a mind that is not occupied? When it is not
occupied it is extraordinarily free, it sees great beauty. But the
shoddy little mind, the secondhand little mind, is always occupied
about knowledge, about becoming something or other, enquiring,
discussing, arguing, never quiet, never a free unoccupied mind.
When there is such an unoccupied mind, out of that freedom comes
supreme intelligence but never out of thought.
THE FLAME OF ATTENTION CHAPTER 2 4TH
PUBLIC TALK AT NEW DELHI 8TH
NOVEMBER 1981

Before we go into the question of meditation we ought to discuss,
or share together perhaps that is the right word the importance of
discipline. Most of us in the world are not disciplined, disciplined
in the sense that we are not learning. The word `discipline’ comes
from the word disciple, the disciple whose mind is learning not
from a particular person, a guru, or from a teacher, or preacher, or
from books but learning through the observation of his own mind,
of his own heart, learning from his own actions. And that learning
requires a certain discipline, but not the conformity most
disciplines are understood to require. When there is conformity,
obedience and imitation, there is never the act of learning, there is
merely following. Discipline implies learning, learning from the
very complex mind one has, from the life of daily existence,
learning about relationship with each other, so that the mind is
always pliable, active.
To share together what meditation is, one must understand the
nature of discipline. Discipline as ordinarily understood implies
conflict; conforming to a pattern like a soldier, or conforming to an
ideal, conforming to a certain statement in the sacred books and so
on. Where there is conformity there must be friction, and therefore
wastage of energy. One`s mind and one’s heart, if in conflict, can
never possibly meditate. We will go into that; it is not a mere
statement which you accept or deny, but something we are
enquiring into together.       We have lived for millennia upon millennia in conflict,
conforming, obeying, imitating, repeating, so that our minds have
become extraordinarily dull; we have become secondhand people,
always quoting somebody else, what he said or did not say. We
have lost the capacity, the energy, to learn from our own actions. It
is we who are utterly responsible for our own actions not society or
environment, nor the politicians we are responsible entirely for our
actions and for learning from them. In such learning we discover so
much because in every human being throughout the world there is
the story of mankind; in us is the anxiety of mankind and the fears,
loneliness, despair, sorrow and pain; all this complex history is in
us. If you know how to read that book then you do not have to read
any other book except, for example, books on technology. But we
are negligent, not diligent, in learning from ourselves, from our
actions, and so we do not see that we are responsible for our
actions and for what is happening throughout the world and for
what is happening in this unfortunate country.
One must put one’s house in order, because nobody on earth, or
in heaven, is going to do it for one, neither one’s gurus, nor one’s
vows, nor one’s devotion. The way one lives, the way one thinks,
the way one acts, is disorderly. How can a mind that is in disorder
perceive that which is total order as the universe is in total order?
What has beauty to do with a religious mind? You might ask
why all the religious traditions and the rituals never referred to
beauty. But the understanding of beauty is part of meditation, not
the beauty of a woman or a man or the beauty of a face, which has
its own beauty, but about beauty itself, the actual essence of
beauty. Most monks, sannyasis and the so-called religiously inclined minds, totally disregard this and become hardened towards
their environment. Once it happened that we were staying in the
Himalayas with some friends; there was a group of sannyasis in
front of us, going down the path, chanting; they never looked at the
trees, never looked at the beauty of the earth, the beauty of the blue
sky, the birds, the flowers, the running waters; they were totally
concerned with their own salvation, with their own entertainment.
And that custom, that tradition, has been going on for a thousand
years. A man who is supposed to be religious, must shun, put aside,
all beauty, and his life becomes dull, without any aesthetic sense;
yet beauty is one of the delights of truth.
When you give a toy to a child who has been chattering,
naughty, playing around, shouting, when you give that child a
complicated toy he becomes totally absorbed in it, he becomes
very quiet, enjoying the mechanics of it. The child becomes
completely concentrated, completely involved with that toy; all the
mischief has been absorbed. And we have toys, the toys of ideals,
the toys of belief, which absorb us. If you worship an image of all
the images on earth none is sacred, they are all made by man’s
mind, by his thought then we are absorbed, just as the child is
absorbed in a toy, and we become extraordinarily quiet and gentle.
When we see a marvellous mountain, snowcapped against the blue
sky and the deep shadowed valleys, that great grandeur and
majesty absorb us completely; for a moment we are completely
silent because its majesty takes us over, we forget ourselves.
Beauty is where `you’ are not. The essence of beauty is the absence
of the self. The essence of meditation is to enquire into the
abnegation of the self.       One needs tremendous energy to meditate and friction is a
wastage of energy. When in one’s daily life there is a great deal of
friction, of conflict between people, and dislike of the work which
one does, there is a wastage of energy. And to enquire really most
profoundly not superficially, not verbally one must go very deeply
into oneself, into one’s own mind and see why we live as we do,
always wasting energy, for meditation is the release of creative
energy.
Religion has played an immense part in man’s history. From the
beginning of time he has struggled to find truth. And now the
accepted religions of the modern world are not religions at all, they
are merely the vain repetition of phrases, gibberish and nonsense, a
form of personal entertainment without much meaning. All the
rituals, all the gods specially in this country where there are, I do
not know how many, thousands of gods are invented by thought.
All the rituals are put together by thought. What thought creates is
not sacred; but we attribute to the created image the qualities that
we like that image to have. And all the time we are worshipping,
albeit unconsciously, ourselves. All the rituals in the temples, the
pujas, and all that thought has invented in the Christian churches, is
invented by thought: and that which thought has created we
worship. Just see the irony, the deception, the dishonesty, of this.
The religions of the world have completely lost their meaning.
All the intellectuals in the world shun them, run away from them,
so that when one uses the words the `religious mind’, which the
speaker does very often, they ask: `Why do you use that word
religious?’ Etymologically the root meaning of that word is not
very clear. It originally meant a state of being bound to that which is noble, to that which is great; and for that one had to live a very
diligent, scrupulous, honest life. But all that is gone; we have lost
our integrity. So, if you discard what all the present religious
traditions, with their images and their symbols, have become, then
what is religion? To find out what a religious mind is one must find
out what truth is; truth has no path to it. There is no path. When
one has compassion, with its intelligence, one will come upon that
which is eternally true. But there is no direction; there is no captain
to direct one in this ocean of life. As a human being, one has to
discover this. One cannot belong to any cult, to any group
whatever if one is to come upon truth. The religious mind does not
belong to any organization, to any group, to any sect; it has the
quality of a global mind.
A religious mind is a mind that is utterly free from all
attachment, from all conclusions and concepts; it is dealing only
with what actually is; not with what should be. It is dealing every
day of one’s life with what is actually happening both outwardly
and inwardly; understanding the whole complex problem of living.
The religious mind is free from prejudice, from tradition, from all
sense of direction. To come upon truth you need great clarity of
mind, not a confused mind.
So, having put order in one’s life, let us then examine what
meditation is not how to meditate, that is an absurd question. When
one asks how, one wants a system, a method, a design carefully
laid out. See what happens when one follows a method, a system.
Why does one want a method, a system? One thinks it is the easiest
way, does one not, to follow somebody who says, `I will tell you
how to meditate’. When somebody tells one how to meditate he does not know what meditation is. He who says, `I know’, does not
know. One must, first of all, see how destructive a system of
meditation is, whether it is any one of the many forms of
meditation that appear to have been invented, stipulating how you
should sit, how you should breathe, how you should do this, that
and the other. Because if one observes one will see that when one
practices something repeatedly, over and over again, one’s mind
becomes mechanical; it is already mechanical and one adds further
mechanical routine to it; so gradually one’s mind atrophies. It is
like a pianist continually practicing the wrong note; no music
comes of it. When one sees the truth that no system, no method, no
practice, will ever lead to truth, then one abandons them all as
fallacious, unnecessary.
One must also enquire into the whole problem of control. Most
of us try to control our responses, our reactions; we try to suppress
or to shape our desires. In this there is always the controller and the
controlled. One never asks: who is the controller, and what is that
which one is trying to control in so-called meditation? Who is the
controller who tries to control his thoughts, his ways of thinking
and so on? Who is the controller? The controller surely is that
entity which has determined to practice the method or system. Now
who is that entity? That entity is from the past, is thought based on
reward and punishment. So the controller is of the past and is
trying to control his thoughts; but the controller is the controlled.
Look: this is all so simple really. When you are envious you
separate envy from yourself. You say: `I must control envy, I must
suppress it’ or you rationalize it. But you are not separate from
envy, you are envy. Envy is not separate from you. And yet we play this trick of trying to control envy as though it was something
separate from us. So: can you live a life without a single control?
which does not mean indulging in whatever you want. Please put
this question to yourself: can you live a life which is at present so
disastrous, so mechanical, so repetitive without a single sense of
control? That can only happen when you perceive with complete
clarity; when you give your attention to every thought that arises
not just indulge in thought. When you give such complete attention
then you will find out that you can live without the conflict which
arises from control. Do you know what that means to have a mind
that has understood control and lives without a single shadow of
conflict? it means complete freedom. And one must have that
complete freedom to come upon that which is eternally true.
We should also understand the qualitative difference between
concentration and attention. Most of us know concentration. We
learn at school, in college, in university, to concentrate. The boy
looks out of the window and the teacher says, `Concentrate on your
book.’ And so we learn what it means. To concentrate implies
bringing all your energy to focus on a certain point; but thought
wanders away and so you have a perpetual battle between the
desire to concentrate, to give all your energy to look at a page, and
the mind which is wandering, and which you try to control.
Whereas attention has no control, no concentration. It is complete
attention, which means giving all your energy, your nerves, the
capacity, the energy of the brain, your heart, everything, to
attending. Probably you have never so completely attended. When
you do attend so completely there is no recording and no action
from memory. When you are attending the brain does not record. Whereas when you are concentrating, making an effort, you are
always acting from memory like a gramophone record repeating.
Understand the nature of a brain that has no need of recording
except that which is necessary. It is necessary to record where you
live, and the practical activities of life. But it is not necessary to
record psychologically, inwardly, either the insult, or the flattery
and so on. Have you ever tried it? It is probably all so new to you.
When you do, the brain, the mind, is entirely free from all
conditioning.
We are all slaves to tradition and we think we are also totally
different from each other. We are not. We all go through the same
great miseries, unhappiness, shed tears, we are all human beings,
not Hindus, Muslims, or Russians those are all labels without
meaning. The mind must be totally free; which means that one has
to stand completely alone; and we are so frightened to stand alone.
The mind must be free, utterly still, not controlled. When the
mind is completely religious it is not only free but capable of
enquiring into the nature of truth to which there is no guide, no
path. It is only the silent mind, the mind that is free, that can come
upon that which is beyond time.
Have you not noticed if you have observed yourself that your
mind is eternally chattering, eternally occupied with something or
other? If you are a Sannyasi your mind is occupied with god, with
prayers, with this and that. If you are a housewife, your mind is
occupied with what you are going to have for the next meal, how to
utilize this and that. The businessman is occupied with commerce;
the politician with party politics; and the priest is occupied with his
own nonsense. So our minds are all the time occupied and have no space. And space is necessary.
Space also implies an emptiness, a silence, which has immense
energy. You can make your mind silent through taking a drug; you
can make your thought slow down and become quieter and quieter
by some chemical intake. But that silence is concerned with
suppressing sound. Have you ever enquired what it is to have a
mind that is naturally, absolutely, silent without a movement, that
is not recording except those things that are necessary, so that your
psyche, your inward nature, becomes absolutely still? Have you
enquired into that; or are you merely caught in the stream of
tradition, in the stream of work and worrying about tomorrow?
Where there is silence there is space not from one point to
another point as we usually think of it. Where there is silence there
is no point but only silence. And that silence has that extraordinary
energy of the universe.
The universe has no cause, it exists. That is a scientific fact. But
we human beings are involved with causes. Through analysis you
may discover the cause of poverty in this country, or in other
countries; you may find the cause of over population, the lack of
birth control; you may find the cause why human beings are
divided between themselves as Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims and so on.
You may find the cause of your anxiety, or the cause of your
loneliness; you may find these causes through analysis but you are
never free from causation. All our actions are based on reward or
punishment, however finely subtle, which is a causation. To
understand the order of the universe, which is without cause, is it
possible to live a daily life without any cause? That is supreme
order. Out of that order you have creative energy. Meditation is to release that creative energy.
It is immensely important to know and to understand, the depth
and beauty of meditation. Man has always been asking, from
timeless time, whether there is something beyond all thought,
beyond all romantic inventions, beyond all time. He has always
been asking: is there something beyond all this suffering, beyond
all this chaos, beyond wars, beyond the battle between human
beings? Is there something that is immovable, sacred, utterly pure,
untouched by any thought, by any experience? This has been the
enquiry of serious people, from the ancient of days. To find that
out, to come upon it, meditation is necessary. Not the repetitive
meditation, that is utterly meaningless. There is a creative energy
which is truly religious, when the mind is free from all conflict,
from all the travail of thought. To come upon that which has no
beginning, no end that is the real depth of meditation and the
beauty of it. That requires freedom from all conditioning.
There is complete security in compassionate intelligence total
security. But we want security in ideas, in beliefs, in concepts, in
ideals; we hold on to them, they are our security however false,
however irrational. Where there is compassion, with its supreme
intelligence, there is security if one is seeking security. Actually
where there is compassion, where there is that intelligence there is
no question of security. So there is an origin, an original ground,
from which all things arise, and that original ground is not the
word. The word is never the thing. And meditation is to come upon
that ground, which is the origin of all things and which is free from
all time. This is the way of meditation. And blessed is he who finds
it.
THE FLAME OF ATTENTION CHAPTER 3 2ND
PUBLIC TALK AT BENARAS 26TH NOVEMBER
1981

The speaker is not giving a lecture; you are not being talked at, or
being instructed. This is as a conversation between two friends,
two friends who have a certain affection for each other, a certain
care for each other, who will not betray each other and have certain
deep common interests. So they are conversing amicably, with a
sense of deep communication with each other, sitting under a tree
on a lovely cool morning with the dew on the grass, talking over
together the complexities of life. That is the relationship which you
and the speaker have we may not meet actually there are too many
of us but we are as if walking along a path, looking at the trees, the
birds, the flowers, breathing the scent of the air, and talking
seriously about our lives; not superficially, not casually, but
concerned with the resolution of our problems. The speaker means
what he says; he is not just being rhetorical, trying to create an
impression; we are dealing with problems of life much too serious
for that.
Having established a certain communication between ourselves
unfortunately it has to be verbal communication, but between the
lines, between the content of the words, there is, if one is at all
aware, much deeper, more profound relationship we ought to
consider the nature of our problems. We all have problems sexual,
intellectual, the problems of relationship, the problems which
humanity has created through wars, through nationalism, through
the so-called religions. What is a problem? A problem means something thrown at you, something that you have to face, a
challenge, minor or major. A problem that is not resolved demands
that you face it, understand it, resolve it and act. A problem is
something thrown at you, often unexpectedly, either at the
conscious level or at the unconscious level; it is a challenge,
superficial or deep.
How does one approach a problem? The way you approach a
problem is more important than the problem itself. Generally, one
approaches a problem with fear or with a desire to resolve it, to go
beyond it, to fight against it, escape from it, or totally neglect it, or
else one puts up with it. The meaning of that word approach is to
come as close as possible, to approximate. Having a problem, how
does one approach it? Does one come near it, close to it, or does
one run away from it? Or does one have the desire to go beyond it?
So long as one has a motive, the motive dictates one’s approach.
If one does not approach a problem freely one is always
directing the solution according to one’s conditioning. Suppose one
is conditioned to suppress a certain problem, then one’s approach is
conditioned and the problem is distorted; whereas, if one
approaches it without a motive and comes very close to it, then in
the problem itself is the answer, an answer which is not something
away from the problem.
It is very important to see how one approaches a problem,
whether it be a political problem, a religious problem or a problem
of intimate relationship. There are so many problems; one is
burdened with problems. Even meditation becomes a problem. One
never actually looks at one`s problems. Yet why should one live
burdened with problems? Problems which one has not understood and dissolved, distort all one`s life. It is very important to be aware
of how one approaches a problem, observing it and not trying to
apply a solution; that is, to see in the problem itself, the answer.
And that depends upon how one approaches it, on how one looks at
it. It is very important to be aware of one`s conditioning when one
approaches it and to be free of that conditioning. What is
perception, what is seeing? How do you see that tree? Look at it for
the moment. With what sight do you see it? Is it solely an optical
observation, just looking at the tree with the optical reaction,
observing the form,
the pattern, the light on the leaf? Or do you, when you observe a
tree, name it, saying, `That is an oak’ and walk by? By naming it
you are no longer seeing the tree the word denies the thing. Can
you look at it without the word?
So, are you aware how you approach, how you look at, the tree?
Do you observe it partially, with only one sense, the optical sense;
or do you see it, hear it, smell it, feel it, see the design of it, take
the whole of it in? Or, do you look at it as though you are different
from it of course, when you look at it you are not the tree. But can
you look at it without a word, with all your senses responding to
the totality of its beauty? So perception means not only observing
with all the senses, but also to see, or be aware of whether there is
a division between you and that which you observe. Probably you
have not thought anything about all this. It is important to
understand this, because we are going to discuss presently the
approach to fear and the perceiving of the whole content of fear. It
is important to be aware of how you approach this burden which
man has carried for millennia. It is easier to perceive something outside of you, like a tree, like the river, or the blue sky, without
naming, merely observing, but can you look at yourself, the whole
content of your consciousness, the whole content of your mind,
your being, your walk, your thought, your feeling, your depression,
so that there is no division between all that and you?
If there is no division there is no conflict. Wherever there is
division there must be conflict: that is a law. So in us, is there a
division as between the observer and the thing observed? If the
observer approaches fear, greed, or sorrow, as though it was
something different from himself which he has to resolve,
suppress, understand, go beyond, then division and all the struggle
comes into it.
Then how do you approach fear; do you perceive fear without
any distortion, without any reaction to escape, suppress, explain, or
even analyse? Most of us are afraid of something or of many
things; you may be afraid of your wife or your husband, afraid of
losing a job, afraid of not having security in old age, afraid of
public opinion which is the most silly form of fear afraid of so
many things darkness, death and so on. Now we are going to
examine together, not what we are afraid of, but what fear is in
itself. We are not talking about the object of fear, but about the
nature of fear, how fear arises, how you approach it. Is there a
motive behind one’s approach to the problem of fear? Obviously
one usually has a motive; the motive to go beyond it, to suppress it,
to avoid it, to neglect it; and one has been used to fear for the
greater part of one’s life so one puts up with it. If there is any kind
of motive one cannot see it clearly, cannot come near it. And when
one looks at fear does one consider that fear is separate from oneself, as if one was an outsider looking inside, or an insider
looking out? But is fear different from oneself? Obviously not nor
is anger. But through education, through religion, one is made to
feel separate from it, so that one must fight it, must get over it. One
never asks if that thing called fear is actually separate from oneself.
It is not, and in understanding that, one understands that the
observer is the observed.
Supposing one is envious. One may think the envy is different
from oneself but the actual fact is that one is part of it. One is part
of the envy, as one is part of greed, anger, suffering, pain; so that
pain, suffering, greed, envy, anxiety or loneliness is oneself. One is
all that. First see that logically it is so. And seeing it logically, does
one make an abstraction of what one sees, so that it becomes an
idea, a mere semblance of the fact? One makes an abstraction, an
idea that one should escape from it, and then one works on the
basis of that idea; and that prevents one from observing very
closely what fear is. But if one does not make an abstraction but
sees it as a fact, then one approaches it without any motive. One
observes it as something not different from oneself; one
understands the combination. One observes it as part of oneself,
one is that, there is no division between oneself and that; therefore
one`s observation is that the observer is the observed; the observed
is not different from oneself.
So what is fear? Come very close to it. Because one can only
see it very clearly if one is very near. What is fear? Is it time as a
movement of the past, the present modified and continued? One is
the past, the present and also the future. One is the result of the
past, a thousand years and more; one is also the present with its impressions, its present social conditions, its present climate, one is
all that and also the future. One is the past, modified in the present,
continued in the future; that is inward time. And also there is
outward time, time by the watch, by the rising and setting of the
sun; the succession of the morning, the afternoon, the evening. It
takes outward time to learn a language, to learn the skill to drive a
car, to become a carpenter, an engineer, or even a politician. There
is time outwardly, to cover the distance from here to there, and
there is also time as hope, inward time. One hopes to become non-
violent which is absurd. One hopes to gain, or avoid, pain or
punishment, one hopes to have a reward. So there is not only time
outwardly, physically, but there is also time inwardly,
psychologically. One is not this but one will become that; which
means time. The physical time is actual, it is there, it is eleven
o`clock or twelve o`clock, now. But inwardly, psychologically one
has assumed there is time: that is, `I am not good but I will be good.
` Now one is questioning that inward time, questioning whether
there need be such inward time. When there is time inwardly there
is fear. One has a job, but one may lose that job, which is the
future, which is time. One has had pain and hopes one will never
have such pain again. That is the remembrance of the pain, and the
continuation of that memory, hoping there will be no future pain.
So one asks, is not time part of fear? Is not inward time fear?
And is not another factor of fear thought? One thinks about one’s
pain, which one had last week, and which is now recorded in the
brain; one thinks one might have that pain again tomorrow. So
there is the operation of thought, which says: `I have had that pain,
I hope not to have it again.` So thought and time are part of fear. Fear is a remembrance, which is thought and it is also time, the
future. I am secure now, I may be insecure tomorrow, fear arises.
So time plus thought equals fear. Now just see the truth of it in
yourself, not listening to me, to the speaker and verbalizing and
remembering it; but actually see that is a fact, not an abstraction as
an idea. You have to be aware of whether it is by hearing you have
made up an idea, made an abstraction of what you have heard into
an idea, or whether you are actually facing the fact of fear, which is
time and thought.
Now, it is important how you perceive the whole movement of
fear. Either you perceive by negating it, or you perceive it without
the division as me and fear, perceiving that you are fear, so you
remain with that fear.
There are two ways of negating fear; either by totally denying
it, saying, `I have no fear’ which is absurd or negating it by
perceiving that the observer is the observed so that there is no
action. We normally want to negate fear, negate it in the sense of
getting over it, running away from it, destroying it, finding some
way of comforting ourselves against it all forms of negation; such
negation is acting upon it. Then there is a totally different form of
negation, which is the beginning of a new movement, in which the
observer is the observed, fear is `me’. The observer is fear.
Therefore he cannot do anything about it; therefore there is a
totally different kind of negation which means a totally different
beginning. Have you realized that when you act upon it you
strengthen it? Running away, suppressing, analysing, finding the
cause, is acting upon it. You are trying to negate something as if it
was not you. But when you realize you are that and that therefore you cannot act or do anything about it, then there is non-action and
a totally different movement taking place.
Is pleasure different from fear? Or is fear pleasure? They are
like two sides of the same coin when you understand the nature of
pleasure, which is also time and thought. You have experienced
something very beautiful in the past and it is recorded as memory
and you want that pleasure repeated; just as you remember the fear
of a past event and want to avoid it. So both are movements of the
same kind although you call one pleasure and the other fear.
Is there an end to sorrow? Man has done everything possible to
transcend sorrow. He has worshipped sorrow, run away from
sorrow, has held sorrow to his heart, has tried to seek comfort away
from sorrow, has pursued the path of happiness, holding on to it,
clinging to it in order to avoid suffering. Yet man has suffered.
Human beings have suffered right through the world throughout
ages. They have had ten thousand wars think of the men and
women who have been maimed, killed and the tears that have been
shed, the agony of the mothers, wives, and all those people who
have lost their sons, their husbands, their friends through wars, for
millennia upon millennia, and we still continue, multiplying
armaments on a vast scale. There is this immense sorrow of
mankind. The poor man along that road will never know a good
clean bath, clean clothes or ride in an aeroplane; all the pleasures
that one has, he will never know. There is the sorrow of a man who
is very learned and of a man who is not very learned. There is the
sorrow of ignorance; there is the sorrow of loneliness. Most people
are lonely; they may have many friends, a lot of knowledge, but
they are also very lonely people. You know what that loneliness is, if you are at all aware of yourself a sense of total isolation. You
may have a wife, children, a great many friends, but there comes a
day or an event that makes you feel utterly isolated, lonely. That is
tremendous sorrow. Then there is the sorrow of death; the sorrow
for someone you have lost. And there is the sorrow which has been
gathering, which has been collecting, through the millennia of
mankind’s existence.
Then there is the sorrow of one’s own personal degeneration,
personal loss, personal lack of intelligence, capacity. And we are
asking whether that sorrow can ever end? Or does one come to
sorrow with sorrow and die with sorrow? Logically, rationally,
intellectually, we can find many reasons for sorrow, there are all
the many explanations according to Buddhism, Hinduism,
Christianity or Islam. But in spite of the explanations, the causes,
the authorities that seek to explain it all away, sorrow still remains
with us. So, is it possible to end that sorrow? For if there is no end
to sorrow there is no love, there is no compassion. One has to go
into it very deeply and see if it can ever end.
The speaker says there is an end to sorrow, a total end to
sorrow; which does not mean that he does not care, that he is
indifferent or callous. With the ending of sorrow there is the
beginning of love. And you naturally ask the speaker: how? How is
sorrow to end? When you ask `how?’ you want a system, a method,
a process. That is why you ask. `Tell me how to get there. I will
follow the path, the road.’ You want direction, when you say: `How
am I to end sorrow?’ That question, that demand, that enquiry says,
`Show me.’ When you ask how, you are putting the wrong
question, if I may point out, because you are only concerned with getting over it. Your approach to it is: tell me how to get over it. So
you never come near it. If you want to look at that tree you must
come near it to see the beauty of it, the shade, the colour of the
leaf, whether or not it has flowers you must come near it. But you
never come near sorrow. You never come near it because you are
always avoiding it, running away from it. So, how you approach
sorrow matters very greatly, whether you approach it with a motive
to escape, to seek comfort and avoid it, or whether you approach
and come very, very close to it. Find out whether you come very
close to it. You cannot come close to it if there is self pity or if
there is the desire to somehow find the cause, the explanation; then
you avoid it. So it matters very much how you approach it, come
near it, and how you see it, how you perceive sorrow.
Is it the word `sorrow’ that makes you feel sorrow? Or is it a
fact? And if it is a fact do you want to come close to it so that
sorrow is you? You are not different from sorrow. That is the first
thing to see that you are not different from sorrow. You are sorrow.
You are anxiety, loneliness, pleasure, pain, fear, the sense of
isolation. You are all that. So you come very close to it, you are it,
therefore you remain with it.
When you want to look at that tree you come to it, you look at
every detail, you take time. You are looking, looking, looking, and
it tells you all its beauty. You do not tell the tree your story, it tells
you, if you watch it. In the same way if you come near sorrow,
hold it, look at it, not run away from it, see what it is trying to tell
you, its depth, its beauty, its immensity, then if you remain with it
entirely, with that single movement, sorrow ends. Do not just
remember that and then repeat it! That is what your brains are accustomed to do: to memorize what has been said by the speaker
and then say, `How shall I carry that out?’ Because you are it, you
are all that and therefore you cannot escape from yourself. You
look at it and there is no division between the observer and the
observed, you are that, there is no division. When there is no
division you remain entirely with it. It requires a great deal of
attention, a great deal of intensity, clarity, the clarity of the mind
that sees instantly the truth. Then out of that ending of sorrow
comes love. I wonder if you love anything. Do you? Do you love
anything? Your wife, your children, your so-called country; do you
love the earth, love the beauty of a tree, the beauty of a person? Or
are you so terribly self-centred that you never have any perception
of anything at all? Love brings compassion. Compassion is not
doing some social work. Compassion has its own intelligence. But
you do not know anything of all that. All that you know are your
desires, your ambitions, your deceptions, your dishonesty. When
you are asked most profound questions, which stir you up, you
become negligent. When I ask you a question of that kind, whether
you love somebody, your faces are blank. And this is the result of
your religion, of your devotion to your nonsensical gurus, your
devotion to your leaders not devotion, you are frightened, therefore
you follow. At the end of all these millennia you are what you are
now; just think of the tragedy of all this! That is the tragedy of
yourself, you understand. So ask yourself, if one may suggest it,
walking along that path with you as a friend: do you know what
love means? Love that does not demand a thing from another. Ask
yourselves. It does not demand a thing from your wife, from your
husband nothing, physically, emotionally, intellectually is demanded from another. Not to follow another, not to have a
concept, and pursue that concept. Because love is not jealousy,
love has no power in the ordinary sense of that word. Love does
not seek position, status, power. But it has its own capacity, its own
skill, its own intelligence.
26 November 1981
THE FLAME OF ATTENTION CHAPTER 4 2ND
PUBLIC TALK AT MADRAS 27TH DECEMBER
1981

We were talking yesterday about conflict. We were saying that we
human beings have lived on this beautiful earth, with all its vast
treasures, with its mountains, rivers and lakes, during millennia and
yet we have lived in perpetual conflict. Not only in outward
conflict with the environment, with nature, with each other, but
also inwardly, so-called spiritually. And we are still in constant
conflict, from the moment we are born until we die. We put up
with it; we have become accustomed to it; we tolerate it. We find
many reasons to justify why we should live in conflict; we think
conflict, struggle, everstriving, means progress outward progress,
or inward achievement towards the highest goal. There are so
many forms of conflict: the man who is struggling to achieve some
result, the man who is struggling with nature, trying to conquer it.
What we have reduced this world to! Such a beautiful world it
is, with its lovely hills, marvellous mountains, tremendous rivers.
After three thousand years of human suffering, human struggle,
obeying, accepting, destroying each other, this is what we have
reduced it to; a wilderness of wild thoughtless human beings who
do not care for the earth, nor for the lovely things of the earth, nor
the beauty of a lake, a pond, of the swift running river; none seem
to care. All that we are concerned with is our own little selves, our
own little problems, and this, after three to five thousand years of
so-called culture.
We are going to face facts this afternoon. Life has become extraordinarily dangerous, insecure, utterly without any meaning.
You may invent a lot of meaning, of significance, but actual daily
Life, be it lived for thirty, forty or a hundred years, has lost all
meaning except to gather money, to be somebody, to be powerful
and so on. I am afraid this has to be said.
No politician, nor any form of politics, whether of the left, right
or centre, is going to solve any of our problems. Politicians are not
interested in solving problems; they are only concerned with
themselves and with keeping their position. And the gurus and the
religions have betrayed man. You have read the Upanishads, the
Brahma sutras, the Bhagavad Gita to no effect. It is the guru’s game
to read them aloud to audiences that are supposed to be
enlightened, intelligent. You cannot possibly rely on the
politicians, on the government, nor upon the religious scriptures,
nor upon any guru whatsoever, because they have made this
country what it is now. If you seek further for leadership it will
also lead you up the wrong path. And, as no one can help you, no
one, you have to be responsible for yourselves totally, completely
responsible for your conduct, for your behaviour, for your actions.
It is necessary and important to find out whether we can live
without any conflict in our lives both inwardly and outwardly. We
must ask, why, after all these millennia, human beings have not
solved the problem of conflict, with each other and in themselves?
This is a very important question to ask: why do we submit to, and
succumb to conflict, which is the struggle to become something, or
not to become something, the struggle to achieve a result, personal
advancement, personal success, trying to fulfil something of your
desires, the conflict of war, the preparations for war of which you may not be aware? There is conflict between man and woman,
sexually and in their daily relationships. Apparently, this conflict is
not only at the conscious level, but also deep down in the very
recesses of the mind. There is conflict in pretension, in trying to be
something which you are not and the conflict that exists in trying to
achieve heaven, god, or whatever you like to call that thing that
you adore and worship; the conflict in meditation, struggling to
meditate, struggling against lethargy, indolence. Our life from the
very beginning, from the time we are born until we die, is in
perpetual conflict.
We must find out together why man, you as a human being,
representing all the world, has tolerated conflict, put up with it,
become habituated to it. We are considering together most
seriously whether it is possible to be completely free of all conflict;
because conflict, consciously or unconsciously, inevitably brings
about a society that is ourselves extended, a society in conflict.
Society is not an abstraction, it is not an idea, society is
relationship between man and man. If that relationship is in
conflict, painful, depressing and anxious, then we create a society
which represents us. It is a fact. The idea of society, the idea, is not
actual society. Society is what we are with each other. And we are
asking whether this conflict can ever end?
What is conflict? When we do not accept that which actually is,
when we escape to something called an ideal, the opposite of that
which is, then conflict is inevitable. When one is incapable of
looking at and observing what one is actually doing and thinking,
one avoids that which is and projects an ideal, then there is conflict
between `that which is’ and `what should be’. I am not talking for my own pleasure but to convey, if you are serious, that there is a
way of living in which there is no conflict whatever. If you are
interested in it, if you are concerned about it, if you want to find
out a way of living that is without that sense of vain effort, then
please do listen carefully, not to what the speaker is saying, but
listen to the fact, the truth of what is being said, so that it is your
own observation. It is not that the speaker is pointing something
out but that we are looking together. It is no use for the speaker just
to talk to blank faces, or to people who are bored. Since you have
taken the trouble to come and sit here under the beautiful trees,
then do pay attention, for we are talking over together serious
matters.
We were saying: conflict exists when we disregard what is
actually taking place and translate what is taking place into terms
of an ideal, into terms of `what should be’, into a concept which we
have accepted, or which we ourselves have created. So when there
is this division between ‘what is’ and ‘what should be’ there must
inevitably be conflict. This is a law not the speaker’s law but it is a
law. So we are going to investigate why human beings have never
faced that which is and have always tried to escape from it.
This country has always talked about non-violence. Non-
violence has been preached over and over again, politically,
religiously, by various leaders that you have had non-violence.
Non-violence is not a fact; it is just an idea, a theory, a set of
words; the actual fact is that you are violent. That is the fact. That
is `what is’. But we are not capable of understanding `what is` and
that is why we create this nonsense called non-violence. And that
gives rise to the conflict between `what is’ and `what should be’. All the while you are pursuing non-violence you are sowing the
seeds of violence. This is so obvious. So, can we together look at
‘what is’ without any escape, without any ideals, without
suppressing or escaping from `what is’? We are by inheritance from
the animal from the ape and so on violent. Violence takes many
forms, not merely brutal action, striking each other. Violence is a
very complicated issue; it includes imitation, conformity,
obedience; it exists when you pretend to be that which you are not.
We are violent. That is a fact. We get angry, we conform, we
imitate, we follow, we are aggressive and aggression takes many
forms, the polite, gentle aggressiveness, with a kid glove,
persuading you through affection. That is a form of violence.
Compelling you to think along a particular line, that is violence.
Violence is also the acceptance of yourself as something that you
are not. Understand that violence is not just getting angry or
beating each other up, that is a very shallow form of violence.
Violence is very, very complex and to understand it, to go into the
very depths of it, one must see the fact first and not just affirm `We
should be non-violent’.
There is only that which is, which is violence. Non-violence is
non-fact, not a reality, it is a projection of thought in order to
escape from, or to accept violence and pretend that we are
becoming non-violent. So, can we look at violence free from all
that, free from escape, free from ideals, from suppression, and
actually observe what violence is?
So we have to learn together how to observe. There is no
authority in this investigation, but when your mind is crippled by
authority, as it is, it is very difficult to be free and so able to look at violence. It is important to understand how to observe, to observe
what is happening in the world the misery, the confusion, the
hypocrisy, the lack of integrity, the brutal actions that are going on,
the terrorism, the taking of hostages and the gurus who have their
own particular concentration camps. Please, do not laugh, you are
part of all that. It is alI violence. How can anyone say: `I know,
follow me’. That is a scandalous statement. So we are asking: what
is it to observe? What is it to observe the environment around you,
the trees, that pond in the corner there, made beautiful within this
year, the stars, the new moon, the solitary Venus, the evening star
by itself, the glory of a sunset? How do you watch such beauty, if
you have ever watched it at all? You cannot watch, observe, if you
are occupied with yourself, with your own problems, with your
own ideas, with your own complex thinking. You cannot observe if
you have prejudice, or if there is any kind of conclusion which you
hold on to, or your particular experience that you cling to it is
impossible. So how do you observe a tree, this marvellous thing
called a tree, the beauty of it, how do you look at it? How do you
look now, as you are sitting there, surrounded by these trees? Have
you ever watched them? Have you seen their leaves, fluttering in
the wind, the beauty of the light on the leaf; have you ever watched
them? Can you watch a tree, or the new moon, or the single star in
the heavens, without the word, moon, star, sky without the word?
Because the word is not the actual star, the actual moon. So can
you put aside the word and look that is, look outwardly?
Now can you look at your wife, your husband, without the
word, without all the remembrance of your relationship, however
intimate it has been, without all the built up memory of the past, be it ten days, or fifty years? Have you ever done it? Of course not. So
will you please let us learn together how to observe a flower. If you
know how to look at a flower, that look contains eternity. Do not
be carried away by my words. If you know how to look at a star, a
dense forest, then you see in that observation that there is space,
timeless eternity. But to observe your wife, or your husband,
without the image you have created about her or him you must
begin very close. You must begin very close in order to go very
far. If you do not begin very close you can never go very far. If you
want to climb the mountain, or go to the next village, the first steps
matter, how you walk, with what grace, with what ease, with what
felicity. So we are saying that to go very, very far, which is
eternity, you must begin very close, which is your relationship with
your wife and husband. Can you look, observe, with clear eyes,
without the words `My wife’, or `My husband’, `My nephew’, or
‘My son’, without the memory of all the accumulated hurts, without
all the remembrance of things past? Do it now as you are sitting
there, observe. And when you are capable of observing without the
past, that is observing without all the images you have built about
yourself and about her, then there is right relationship between you
and her. But now, as you have not observed each other, you are
like two railway lines, never meeting. That is your relationship. I
wonder if you are aware of all this?
We are learning together how to observe that tree, to sit next to
your neighbour observing the colour of his shirt, the colour of her
sari, the type of face; observing without criticism, without like or
dislike, just observing. Now with such observation can you look at
your violence, that is, at your anger, irritation, conformity, acceptance, getting used to the dirt and the squalor around your
houses, can you so observe all that? When you do you bring all
your energy to observing; and when you so observe your violence
you will find, if you have gone into it, if you do it, that that
violence because you have brought all your energy to observe
totally disappears. Do not repeat if I may most respectfully request
do not repeat what you have just heard. By repeating what the
speaker has said it becomes secondhand; just as by repeating the
Upanishads, the Brahmasutras and all the printed books, you have
made yourselves secondhand human beings. You do not seem to
mind, do you? You are not even ashamed of it, you just accept it.
That acceptance is part of this complex problem of violence.
So we are saying that when there is no duality it is possible to
live without conflict. There is no actual duality when you reach a
certain state of consciousness there is only ‘what is’. Duality only
exists when you try to deny, or to escape from, `what is’ into `what
is not’. Is this clear? Are we all together in this matter? People have
talked to me a great deal about all these matters, your philosophers,
Vedanta pundits and scholars. But these, like ordinary people, live
in duality. (Not physical duality, man and woman, tall and short,
light and dark skin, that is not duality.) And there is the idea that
conflict is necessary because we live in duality and therefore those
who are free from the opposites are the enlightened people. You
invent a philosophy around that. You read about it, accept it; you
read all the commentaries and you are stuck where you are.
Whereas the speaker is saying there is actually no duality now;
freedom from duality is not when you reach some `spiritual
heights; you will never reach `spiritual heights’ if you have dualities now, nor yet in some future reincarnation or at the end of
your life. The speaker is saying there is only `what is’, there is
nothing else. `What is’ is the only fact. Its opposite is non-fact, it
has no reality. I hope this is very clear, even if only logically, with
reason. If you are exercising your reason, your capacity to think
logically, `what is’, is obviously more important to understand than
`what should be’. And we cling to `what should be` because we do
not know how to deal with `what is’. We use the opposite as a lever
to free ourselves from ‘what is’.
So there is only `what is’ and therefore there is no duality. There
is only greed and not non-greed. When you understand the depth of
violence without escaping from it, without running away to some
idiotic ideals of non-violence, when you look at it, when you
observe it very closely, which is to bring to it all the energy you
have wasted in pursuing the opposite when you try to suppress it, it
is a wastage of energy which is conflict there is no conflict. Please
understand this.
Suppose one is envious, envious of another who is very clever,
bright, intelligent, sensitive, who sees the beauty of the earth and
the glory of the sky, who enjoys this lovely earth, yet to oneself it
means nothing. One wants to be like him. So one begins to imitate
him, the way he walks, the way he looks, the way he smiles; yet
one is still greedy. Though one has been educated from childhood
not to be greedy one has not understood that `not’ is merely the
opposite of what one is. One has been educated, conditioned; the
books one has been given have said there is duality, and one has
accepted that. It is very difficult to break that conditioning. One’s
conditioning from childhood prevents the understanding of this very simple fact, which is: there is only ‘what is’. Good is not the
opposite of bad. If good is born out of bad then the good contains
the bad. Think it out, work at it, exercise your brains, so as to live
always with `what is’, with that which is actually going on,
outwardly and inwardly. When one is envious, live with that fact,
observe it. Again, envy is a very complex process, it is part of
competition, the desire for advancement, politically, religiously
and in business. One has been brought up with that, and to break
that tradition, demands a great deal of observation; not making of it
the opposite of tradition; just observe what tradition is. I hope the
speaker is making it very clear. You are all traditional people and
you repeat psychologically, even intellectually, what you have
been told; your religions are based on that.
So when once you see the fact, that there is only `what is’, and
observe with all the energy that you have, then you will see that
‘what is` has no value or importance, it is totally non-existence.
One has been told from childhood to be good. The word `good’
is an old fashioned word, but it is really a beautiful word. Good
means to be correct, correct in your speech, correct in your
behaviour not according to an idea of what is correct. Correct
means to be precise, accurate, not pretentious. But one is not good.
And one’s parents, teachers and educators say, `Be good’, so there
is created a conflict between what one is and what one should be.
And one does not understand the meaning of that word; that word
is again very, very subtle, it demands a great deal of investigation.
Good means also to be completely honest, which means one
behaves not according to some tradition or fashion, but with the
sense of great integrity, which has its own intelligence. To be good also means to be whole, not fragmented. But one is fragmented,
brought up in this chaotic tradition. What is important is not what
goodness is, but why one`s brain is caught in tradition. So one has
to understand why the brain, which is again very subtle, which has
great depth in itself, why such a brain has followed tradition. It has
followed it because there is safety, security, because one is
following what one’s parents have said and so on. That gives one a
sense of safety, protection a false safety and protection. One thinks
it is safe but it is unreal, it is illusory. One will not listen to the
speaker because one is frightened to be without tradition and to
live with all one’s attention.
Your belief in god is your ultimate security. See what thought
has done! It has created an image of god which you then worship.
That is self-worship. Then you begin to ask who created the earth,
who created the heavens, the universe and so on. So your tradition
begins to destroy the human mind. It has become repetitive,
mechanical, it has no vitality, except to earn money, go to the
office every morning for the rest of your life and then die at the end
of it. So it is important to find out whether you can be free of
tradition and so live without a single conflict, living every day with
`what is’ and observing ‘what is’, not only out there but inwardly.
Then you will create a society that will be without conflict.
27 December 1981
THE FLAME OF ATTENTION CHAPTER 5 5TH
PUBLIC TALK AT BOMBAY 6TH FEBRUARY
1982

The average person wastes his life; he has a great deal of energy
but he wastes it. He spends his days in the office, or in digging the
garden, or as a lawyer or something, or he leads the life of a
sannyasi. The life of an average person seems, at the end, utterly
meaningless, without significance. When he looks back, when he is
fifty, eighty, or ninety, what has he done with his life?
Life has a most extraordinary significance, with its great beauty,
its great suffering and anxiety, the accumulating of money in
working from eight or nine in the morning until five for years and
years. At the end of it all, what have we done with life? Money,
sex, the constant conflict of existence, the weariness, the travail,
unhappiness and frustrations that is all we have with perhaps
occasional joy; or perhaps you love someone completely, wholly,
without any sense of self.
There seems to be so little justice in the world. Philosophers
have talked a great deal about justice. The social workers talk
about justice. The average man wants justice. But is there justice in
life at all? One is clever, well placed, with a good mind and is good
looking; having everything he wants. Another has nothing. One is
well educated, sophisticated, free to do what he wants. Another is a
cripple, poor in mind and in heart. One is capable of writing and
speaking; a good human being. Another is not. This has been the
problem of philosophy with its love of truth, love of live. But
perhaps truth is in life, not in books, away from life, not in ideas. Perhaps truth is where we are and in how we live. When one looks
around, life seems so empty and meaningless for most people. Can
man ever have justice? Is there any justice in the world at all? One
is fair, another is dark. One is bright, aware, sensitive, full of
feeling, loving a beautiful sunset, the glory of a moon, the
astonishing light on the water; one sees all that and another does
not. One is reasonable, sane, healthy and another is not. So one
asks, seriously, is there justice in the world at all?
Before the law all are supposedly equal, but some are `more
equal’ than others who have not sufficient money to employ good
lawyers. Some are born high, others low. Observing all this in the
world there is apparently very little justice. So where is justice
then? It appears that there is justice only when there is compassion.
Compassion is the ending of suffering. Compassion is not born out
of any religion or from belonging to any cult. You cannot be a
Hindu with all your superstitions and invented gods and yet
become compassionate you cannot. To have compassion there
must be freedom, complete and total freedom, from all
conditioning. Is such freedom possible? The human brain has been
conditioned over millions of years. That is a fact. And it seems that
the more we acquire knowledge about all the things of the earth
and heaven, the more do we get bogged down. When there is
compassion, then with it there is intelligence, and that intelligence
has the vision of justice.
We have invented the ideas of karma and reincarnation; and we
think that by inventing those ideas, those systems about something
that is to happen in the future, that we have solved the problem of
justice. Justice begins only when the mind is very clear and when there is compassion.
Our brains are very complex instruments. Your brain, or the
speaker’s brain, is of the brain of humanity. It has not just
developed from when you were born until now. It has evolved
through endless time and conditions our consciousness. That
consciousness is not personal; it is the ground on which all human
beings stand. When you observe this consciousness with all its
content of beliefs, dogmas, concepts, fears, pleasures, agonies,
loneliness, depression and despair, it is not your individual
consciousness. It is not the individual that holds this consciousness.
We are deeply conditioned to think that we are separate
individuals; but it is not your brain or mine. We are not separate.
Our brains are so conditioned through education, through religion,
that we think we are separate entities, with separate souls and so
on. We are not individuals at all. We are the result of thousands of
years of human experience, human endeavour and struggle. So, we
are conditioned; therefore we are never free. As long as we live
with or by a concept, a conclusion, with certain ideas or ideals, our
brains are not free and therefore there is no compassion. Where
there is freedom from all conditioning which is, freedom from
being a Hindu, a Christian, a Muslim or a Buddhist, freedom from
being caught up in specialization (though specialization has its
place) freedom from giving one’s life entirely to money then there
can be compassion. As long as the brain is conditioned, which it is
now, there is no freedom for man. There is no ‘ascent’ of man, as
some philosophers and biologists are saying, through knowledge.
Knowledge is necessary; to drive a car, to do business, to go to
from here to your home, to bring about technological development and so on, it is necessary; but not the psychological knowledge that
one has gathered about oneself, culminating in memory which is
the result of external pressures and inward demands.
Our lives are broken up, fragmented, divided, they are never
whole; we never have holistic observation. We observe from a
particular point of view. We are in ourselves broken up so that our
lives are in contradiction in themselves, therefore there is constant
conflict. We never look at life as a whole, complete and indivisible.
The word `whole’ means to be healthy, to be sane; it also means
holy. That word has great significance. It is not that the various
fragmented parts become integrated in our human consciousness.
(We are always trying to integrate various contradictions.) But is it
possible to look at life as a whole, the suffering, the pleasure, the
pain, the tremendous anxiety, loneliness, going to the office,
having a house, sex, having children, as though they were not
separate activities, but as a holistic movement, a unitary action? Is
that possible at all? Or must we everlastingly live in fragmentation
and therefore for ever in conflict? Is it possible to observe the
fragmentation and the identification with those fragments? To
observe, not correct, not transcend, not run away from or suppress,
but observe. It is not a matter of what to do about it; because if you
attempt to do something about it you are then acting from a
fragment and therefore cultivating further fragments and divisions,
Whereas, if you can observe holistically, observe the whole
movement of life as one, then conflict with its destructive energy
not only ceases but also out of that observation comes a totally new
approach to life.
I wonder if one is aware of how broken up one’s daily life is? And if one is aware, does one then ask: how am I to bring all this
together to make a whole? And who is the entity, the `I’, who is to
bring all these various parts together and integrate them? That
entity, is he not also a fragment? Thought itself is fragmentary,
because knowledge is never complete about anything. Knowledge
is accumulated memory and thought is the response of that
memory and therefore it is limited. Thought can never bring about
a holistic observation of life.
So, can one observe the many fragments which are our daily life
and look at them as a whole? One is a professor, or a teacher, or
merely a householder, or a sannyasi who has renounced the world;
those are fragmented ways of living a daily life. Can one observe
the whole movement of one’s fragmented life with its separate and
separative motives; can one observe them all without the observer?
The observer is the past, the accumulation of memories. He is that
past and that is time. The past is looking at this fragmentation; and
the past as memory, is also in itself the result of previous
fragmentations. So, can one observe without time, without thought,
the remembrances of the past, and without the word? Because the
word is the past, the word is not the thing. One is always looking
through words; through explanations, which are a movement of
words. We never have a direct perception. Direct perception is
insight which transforms the brain cells themselves. One’s brain
has been conditioned through time and functions in thinking. It is
caught in that cycle. When there is pure observation of any
problem there is a transformation, a mutation, in the very structure
of the cells.
We have created time, psychological time. We are masters of that inward time that thought has put together. That is why we
must understand the nature of time which man has created
psychological time as hope, time as achievement. Why have
human beings, psychologically, inwardly, created time – time when
one will be good; time when one will be free of violence; time to
achieve enlightenment; time to achieve some exalted state of mind;
time as meditation? When one functions within the realm of that
time one is bringing about a contradiction and hence conflict.
Psychological time is conflict.
It is really a great discovery if one realizes the truth that one is
the past, the present and the future; which is time as psychological
knowledge. One creates a division between our living in our
consciousness and the distant time which is death. That is, one is
living with all one’s problems and death is something to be
avoided, postponed, put at a great distance which is another
fragmentation in one’s life. To observe holistically the whole
movement of life is to live both the living and the dying. But one
clings to life and avoids death; one does not even talk about it. So
not only has one fragmented one’s life, superficially, physically,
but also one has separated oneself from death. What is death; is it
not part of one’s life? One may be frightened, one may want to
avoid death and to prolong living, but always at the end of it there
is death.
What is living? What is living,which is our consciousness?
Consciousness is made up of its content; and the content is not
different from consciousness. Consciousness is what one believes,
one’s superstitions, ambitions, one’s greed, competitiveness,
attachment, suffering, the depth of loneliness, the gods, the rituals all that is one’s consciousness, which is oneself. But that
consciousness is not one’s own, it is the consciousness of
humanity; one is the world and the world is oneself. One is one’s
consciousness with its content. That content is the ground upon
which aIl humanity stands. Therefore, psychologically, inwardly,
one is not an individual. Outwardly one may have a different form
from another, yellow, brown, black, be tall or short, be a woman or
a man, but inwardly, deeply, we are similar perhaps with some
variations, but the similarity is like a string that holds the pearls
together. We must comprehend what living is, then we can ask
what dying is. What is before is more important than what happens
after death. Before the end, long before the last minute, what is
living? Is this living, this travail and conflict without any
relationship with each other? This sense of deep inward loneliness;
that is what we call living. To escape from this so-called living,
you go off to churches, temples, pray and worship, which is utterly
meaningless. If you have money you indulge in extravagance the
extravagance of marriage in this country. You know all the tricks
you play to escape from your own consciousness, from your own
state of mind. And this is what is called living. And death is the
ending. The ending of everything that you know. The ending of
every attachment, all the money you have accumulated which you
cannot take with you; therefore you are frightened. Fear is part of
your life. And so whatever you are, however rich, however poor,
however highly placed, whatever power you have, whatever kind
of politician you are, from the highest to the lowest crook in
politics, there is the ending, which is called death. And what is it
that is dying? The `me’ with all the accumulations that it has gathered in this life, all the pain, the loneliness, the despair, the
tears, the laughter, the suffering that is the `me’ with all its words.
The summation of all this is `me’. I may pretend that I have in ‘me’
some higher spirit, the atman, the soul, something everlasting, but
that is all put together by thought; and thought is not sacred. So this
is our life; the `me’ that you cling to, to which you are attached.
And the ending of that is death. It is the fear of the known, and the
fear of the unknown; the known is our life, and we are afraid of
that life, and the unknown is death of which we are also afraid.
Have you ever seen a man or a woman frightened of death? Have
you ever seen closely? Death is the total denial of the past, present
and the future, which is `me’. And being frightened of death you
think there are other lives to be lived. You believe in reincarnation
probably most of you do. That is a nice, happy projection of
comfort, invented by people who have not understood what living
is. They see living is pain, constant conflict, endless misery with an
occasional flare of smile, laughter and joy, and they say `We will
live again next life; after death I will meet my wife’ or husband, my
son, my god. Yet we have not understood what we are and what we
are attached to. What are we attached to? To money? If you are
attached to money, that is you, the money is you. Like a man
attached to old furniture, beautiful l4th century furniture, highly
polished and of great value, he is attached to that; therefore he is
the furniture. So what are you attached to? Your body? If you were
really attached to your body you would look after that body, eat
properly, exercise properly, but you don’t. You are just attached to
the idea of the body the idea but not the actual instrument. If you
are attached to your wife it is because of your memories. If you are attached to her she comforts you over this and that, with all the
trivialities of attachment, and death comes and you are separated.
So one has to enquire very closely and deeply into one’s
attachment. Death does not permit one to have anything when one
dies. One’s body is cremated or buried, and what has one left?
One`s son, for whom one has accumulated a lot of money which he
will misuse anyway. He will inherit one’s property, pay taxes and
go through all the terrible anxieties of existence just as one did
oneself; is that what one is attached to? Or is one attached to one’s
knowledge, having been a great writer, poet or painter? Or is one
attached to words because words play a tremendous part in one’s
life? Just words. One never looks behind the words. One never sees
that the word is not the thing, that the symbol is never the reality.
Can the brain, the human consciousness, be free of this fear of
death? As one is the master of psychological time, can one live
with death not separating death off as something to be avoided, to
be postponed, something to be put away? Death is part of life. Can
one live with death and understand the meaning of ending? That is
to understand the meaning of negation; ending one’s attachments,
ending one’s beliefs, by negating. When one negates, ends, there is
something totally new. So, while living, can one negate attachment
completely? That is living with death. Death means the ending.
That way there is incarnation, there is something new taking place.
Ending is extraordinarily important in life to understand the depth
and the beauty of negating something which is not truth. Negate,
for example one`s double talk. If one goes to the temple, negate the
temple, so that your brain has this quality of integrity.
Death is an ending and has extraordinary importance in life. Not suicide, not euthanasia, but the ending of one’s attachments, one’s
pride, one’s antagonism, or hatred, for another. When one looks
holistically at life, then the dying, the living, the agony, the despair,
the loneliness and the suffering, they are all one movement. When
one sees holistically there is total freedom from death not that the
physical body is not going to be destroyed. There is a sense of
ending and therefore there is no continuity there is freedom from
the fear of not being able to continue.
When one human being understands the full significance of
death there is the vitality, the fullness, that lies behind that
understanding; he is out of the human consciousness. When you
understand that life and death are one they are one when you begin
to end in living then you are living side by side with death, which
is the most extraordinary thing to do; there is neither the past nor
the present nor the future, there is only the ending.
THE FLAME OF ATTENTION CHAPTER 6 1ST
PUBLIC TALK AT NEW YORK 27TH MARCH
1982

It should be understood that we are not trying to convince you of
anything. We are not making any kind of propaganda; nor putting
forward new ideas or some exotic theory or fantastic philosophy;
nor are we putting forward any kind of conclusion, or advocating
any kind of faith. Please be quite convinced of that. But together,
you and the speaker are going to observe what is happening in the
world, not from any particular point of view, nor from any
linguistic, nationalistic or religious attitude. We are together, if you
will, going to observe, without any prejudice, freely, without
distorting, what is actually happening throughout the world. It is
important that we understand that we are simply observing, not
taking sides, not having certain conclusions with which to observe;
but observing freely, rationally, sanely, why human beings
throughout the world have become what they are, brutal, violent,
full of fantastic ideas, with nationalistic and tribalistic worship,
with all the divisions of faiths, with all their prophets, gurus and all
those religious structures which have lost all meaning.
Such observation is not a challenge, nor does it bring you the
experience of something. Observation is not analysis. Observation,
without distortion, is seeing clearly, not from any personal or
ideological point of view; it is to observe so that we see things as
they are, see both outwardly and inwardly, what is actually taking
place externally and how we live psychologically. We are talking
over together as two friends walking in a quiet lane, on a summer’s day, observing and conversing about their problems, their pain,
sorrows, miseries, confusions, uncertainties, the lack of security,
and seeing clearly why human beings throughout the world are
behaving as they do; we are asking why, after millennia upon
millennia, human beings continue to suffer, to have great pain
psychologically, to be anxious, uncertain and frightened, having no
security, outwardly or inwardly.
There is no division between the outer and the inner, between
the world which human beings have created outwardly, and the
movement which is taking place inwardly it is like a tide, going out
and coming in, it is the same movement. There is no division, as
the outer and the inner, it is one continuous movement. To
understand this movement we must examine together our
consciousness, what we are, why we behave the way we do, being
cruel and having no actual relationship with each other. We must
examine why, after millennia upon millennia, we are living in
constant conflict and misery and why religions have totally lost
their meaning.
We are going to take our human existence as it is and observe it
and actually find out for ourselves if there is any possibility of a
radical change in the human condition not superficial change, not
physical revolution, none of which has brought about a
fundamental, radical, change in the psyche. And we are going to
find out whether it is possible for the conflict, struggle, pain and
the sorrow of our daily life to end. We are going to observe
together and see if it is possible to be radically free of all this
torture of life, with its occasional joy.
This is not a lecture; you are partaking, sharing, in this observation. We are not using any particular jargon, or any special
linguistic references. We are using simple, daily English.
Communication is only possible when both of us are together one
must emphasize the word `together’ all the time as we examine our
lives and why we are what we have become.
What place has knowledge in the transformation of man? Has it
any place at all in that transformation? Knowledge is necessary in
daily living, going to the office, exercising various skills and so on;
it is necessary in the technological world, in the scientific world.
But in the transformation of the psyche, of which we are, has
knowledge any place in it at all?
Knowledge is the accumulation of experience not only personal
experience but the accumulation of past experience which is called
tradition. That tradition is handed down to each one of us. We have
accumulated not only individual, personal, psychological
knowledge, but the psychological knowledge that has been handed
down and conditioned man through millennia. We are asking
whether that psychological knowledge can ever transform man
radically, so that he is a totally unconditioned human being.
Because if there is any form of conditioning, psychically, inwardly,
truth cannot be found. Truth is a pathless land, and it must come to
one when there is total freedom from conditioning.
There are those who accept and say that the conditioning of man
is inevitable, and that he cannot possibly escape from it. He is
conditioned and he can no more than ameliorate or modify that
conditioning. There is a strong element of Western thought that
maintains this position. Man is conditioned by time, by evolution,
genetically and by society, by education, and by religion. That conditioning can be modified but man can never be free from it.
That is what the Communists and others maintain, pointing out
historically and factually that we are all conditioned, by the past,
by our education, by our family and so on. They say that there is no
escape from that conditioning, and therefore man must always
suffer, always be uncertain, always follow the path of struggle,
pain and anxiety.
What we are saying is quite different; we are saying that this
conditioning can be totally eradicated, so that man is free. We are
going to enquire into what this conditioning is, and what freedom
is. We are going to see whether that conditioning, which is so
deeply rooted, in the deep recesses of the mind, and also active
superficially, can be understood, so that man is totally freed from
all sorrow and anxiety.
So first we must look at our consciousness, what it is made of,
what is its content. We must question whether that content of
consciousness, with which we identify ourselves as individuals, is
in fact individual consciousness. Or is this individual
consciousness, which each one of us maintains as separate from
others, individual at all? Or is it the consciousness of mankind?
Please, listen to this first. You may totally disagree. Do not reject,
but observe. It is not a question of being tolerant tolerance is the
enemy of love; just observe, without any sense of antagonism what
we are saying: the consciousness with which we have identified
ourselves as individuals, is it individual at all? Or is it the
consciousness of humanity? That is, consciousness, with all its
content of pain, remembrance, sorrow, nationalistic attitudes, faith,
worship, is constant right throughout the world. Everywhere you go, man is suffering, striving, struggling, anxious, full of
uncertainty, agony, despair, depression, believing all kinds of
superstitious religious nonsense. This is common to all mankind,
whether in Asia or here or in the West.
So, your consciousness, with which you have identified yourself
as your `individual’ consciousness, is an illusion. It is the
consciousness of the rest of mankind. You are the world and the
world is you. Please, consider this, see the seriousness of it, the
responsibility that is involved in it. You have struggled all your
life, as an individual, something separate from the rest of
humanity, and when you discover that your consciousness is the
consciousness of the rest of mankind, it means you are mankind,
you are not individual. You may have your own particular skill,
tendency, idiosyncrasy, but you are actually the rest of mankind,
because your consciousness is the consciousness of every other
human being. That consciousness is put together by thought. That
consciousness is the result of millennia upon millennia of thought.
Thought has always been most extraordinarily important in our
lives. Thought has created modern technology, thought has created
wars, thought has divided people into nationalities, thought has
brought about separate religions, thought has created the
marvellous architecture of ancient cathedrals, temples and
mosques. The rituals, the prayers, all the circus if I may use that
word that goes on in the name of religion, is put together by
thought.
Consciousness is the activity of thought and thought has
become so immensely important in our lives. We have to observe
what thinking is, that has brought about such extraordinary confusion in the world. Thought plays a part in our relationships
with each other, intimate or not. Thought is the source of fear. We
have to observe what place thought has in pleasure, what place it
has in suffering and whether thought has any place at all in love. It
is important to observe the movement of thought per se.
Observing the movement of thought is a part of meditation.
Meditation is not just some absurd repetition of words, spending a
few minutes at it morning, afternoon an and evening. Meditation is
part of life. Meditation is to discover the relationship of thought
and silence; the relationship of thought and that which is timeless.
Meditation is part of our daily life, as death is part of our life, as
love is part of our life.
It is fairly simple, when you are asked a question, which is
familiar, to reply immediately. You are asked your name, your
reply is instantaneous; because you have repeated your name so
often it comes easily. But if you are asked a complicated question,
there is an interval between the question and the answer. During
that interval, thought is investigating and finally finding an answer.
But when you are asked a very deep question and you reply, `I do
not know’, there is an end to thought. Very few people actually say,
`I do not know’, they pretend to think they know. Probably many of
you believe in god. That is the last hope, the last pleasure, the
ultimate security. And when you actually ask yourself the question,
seriously, with great earnestness: do you really know god, do you
really believe? then if you are honest, you say `Really, I do not
know.` Then your mind is really observing.
The accumulation of experience stored up in the brain as
memory is knowledge and the reaction to that memory is thought. Thought is a material process there is nothing sacred about
thought. The image we worship as sacred, is still part of thought.
Thought is always divisive, separative, fragmentary, and
knowledge is never complete, about anything. Thought, however
sublime or however trivial, is always fragmentary, is always
divisive, because it is derived from memory. All our actions are
based on thought, therefore all action is limited, fragmentary,
divisive, incomplete it can never be holistic. Thought, whether of
the greatest genius, of daily activity of thought, is always limited,
fragmentary, divisive. Any action born out of that thought must
bring about conflict. There are the nationalistic, tribal divisions, to
which the mind clings in its search for security. That very search
for security brings about wars. The search for security is also the
activity of thought; so there is no security in thought.
The essence of the content of our consciousness is thought.
Thought has brought about a structure in consciousness, of fear, of
belief. The idea of a saviour, faith, anxiety, pain all that is put
together by thought and is the content of consciousness. We are
asking whether that content of consciousness can be wiped away so
that there is a totally different dimension altogether. It is only in
that dimension that there can be creativeness; creativeness not
within the content of consciousness.
So, let us look at one of the contents of our consciousness,
which is relationship between human beings. Between a man and a
woman, why is there such conflict in that relationship, such misery,
and constant division? It is important to enquire into this, because
man exists in relationship; there is no saint, hermit or monk, who is
not related, though he may withdraw into a monastery or go to some Himalayan cave he is still related. It is important to
understand why human beings never live in peace in relationship,
why there is this terrible struggle and pain, jealousy, anxiety, and
to see whether it is possible to be free of all that and therefore be in
real relationship. To find out what real relationship is demands a
great deal of enquiry, observation. Observation is not analysis. This
is again important to understand, because most of us are
accustomed to analysis. We are observing the actual relationship of
man to man and woman, between two human beings; asking why
there should be so much struggle, anxiety, pain. In the relationship
of two human beings, be they married or not, do they ever meet,
psychologically? They may meet physically, in bed, but inwardly,
psychologically, are they not like two parallel lines, each pursuing
his own life, his own ambition, his own fulfilment, his own
expression So, like two parallel lines, they never meet, and
therefore there is the battle, the struggle, the pain of having no
actual relationship. They say they are related, but that is not true,
that is not honest, because each one has an image about himself.
Added to that image each one has an image of the person he lives
with. Actually we have two images or multiple images. He has
created an image about her, and she has created an image about
him. These images are put together through the reactions which are
remembered, which become the image, the image you have about
her and she has about you. The relationship is between these two
images which are the symbols of the remembrances, the pain. So
actually there is no relationship.
So one asks: is it possible not to have any image about another
at all? So long as one has an image about her and she has about oneself, there must be conflict, because the cultivation of images
destroys relationship. Through observation can one discover
whether it is possible not to have an image about oneself or about
another completely not to have images? As long as one has an
image about oneself, one is going to get hurt. It is one of the
miseries in life, from childhood through school, college, university
and right through life, one is constantly getting hurt, with all its
consequences and the gradual process of isolation so as not to get
hurt. And what is it that is hurt? It is the image that one has built
about oneself. If one were to be totally free of all images, then
there would be no hurt, no flattery.
Now most people find security in the image they have built for
themselves, which is the image that thought has created. So we are
asking, observing, whether this image built from childhood, put
together by thought, a structure of words, a structure of reactions, a
process of remembrances long, deep, abiding incidents, hurts,
ideas, pain can end completely for only then can you have any kind
of relationship with another. In relationship, when there is no
image, there is no conflict. This is not just a theory, an ideal; the
speaker is saying it is a fact. If one goes into it very deeply, one
finds that one can live in this monstrous world and not have a
single image about oneself; then one’s relationships have a totally
different meaning there is no conflict whatsoever.
Now please, as you are listening to the speaker, are you aware
of your own image and the ending of that image? Or are you going
to ask: ‘How am I to end that image?’ When you ask ‘how’, see the
implication in that word. The `how’ implies that somebody will tell
you what to do. Therefore that somebody, who is going to tell you what to do, becomes the specialist, the guru, the leader. But you
have had leaders, specialists, psychologists, all your life; they have
not changed you. So do not ask `how’ but find out for yourself
whether you can be free of that image, totally. You can be free of it
when you give complete attention to what another says. If your
wife or your friend, says something ugly and if at that moment you
pay complete attention, then in that attention there is no creation of
images. Then life has a totally different meaning.
We are observing our consciousness, with its content. The
content, like the hurt, like relationship, makes our consciousness.
Another content of our consciousness is fear; we live with fear, not
only outwardly but much more deeply, in the dark recesses of the
mind, there is deep fear, fear of the future, fear of the past, fear of
the actual present. We ought to talk over together whether it is
possible for human beings, living in this world as it is at the present
time threatened by wars, living our daily life to be totally,
completely, free of all psychological fear. Probably most of you
may not have asked such a question. Or you may have done so and
tried to find a way of escaping from fear, or suppressing it, denying
it, rationalizing it. But if you are really observing deeply the nature
of fear, then you have to look at what fear is, actually see what the
contributing causes of fear are. Most of us are frightened,
frightened of tomorrow, frightened of death, frightened of your
husband or your wife or your girlfriend; of so many things are we
frightened. Fear is like a vast tree with innumerable branches; it is
no good merely trimming the branches, you must go to the very
root of it and see whether it is possible to eradicate it so completely
that you are free of it. It is not a question of whether we will always remain free of fear; when you have really eradicated the
roots, when there is no possibility of fear entering into your
psychological life.
One of the reasons for fear is comparison, comparing oneself
with another. Or comparing oneself with what one has been and
what one would like to be. The movement of comparison is
conformity, imitation, adjustment; it is one of the sources of fear.
Has one ever tried never to compare oneself with another, either
physically or psychologically? When one does not compare then
one is not becoming. The whole of cultural education is to become
something, to be something. If one is a poor man one wishes to
become a rich man if one is a rich man one is seeking more power.
Religiously or socially one is always to become something. In this
wanting, in this desire to become, there is comparison. To live
without comparison is the extraordinary thing that takes place
when one has no measure. As long as one measures
psychologically there must be fear, because one is always striving
and one may not achieve.
Another reason for fear is desire. We have to observe the nature
and structure of desire and why desire has become so
extraordinarily important in our lives. Where there is desire, there
must be conflict, competition, struggle. So it is important, if you
are at all serious and those who are serious, really live, for them
life has tremendous significance, responsibility to find out what
desire is. Religions throughout the world have said, `Suppress
desire’. Monks not the sloppy religious people, but those who have
committed themselves to a certain form of religious organization in
their particular faith have tried to transfer or sublimate desire in the name of a symbol, a saviour. But desire is an extraordinarily strong
force in our lives. We either suppress, run away from or substitute
the activities of desire, we rationalize, seeing how it arises, what is
the source of it. So let us observe the movement of desire. We are
not saying it must be suppressed, run away from, or sublimate
whatever that word may mean.
Most of us are extraordinary human beings. We want
everything explained, we want it all very neatly set out in words or
in a diagram, and then we think we have understood it. We have
become slaves to explanations. We never try to find out for
ourselves what the movement of desire is, how it comes into being.
The speaker will go into it, but the explanation is not the actuality.
The word is not the thing. One must not be caught in words, in
explanations. The painting of a mountain on a canvas is not the
actual mountain. It may be beautifully painted, but it is not that
extraordinary deep beauty of a mountain, its majesty against the
blue sky. Similarly the explanation of desire is not the actual
movement of desire. The explanation has no value so long as we
do not actually see for ourselves.
Observation must be free, without a direction, without a motive,
in order to understand the movement of desire. Desire arises out of
sensation. Sensation is contact, the seeing. Then thought creates an
image from that sensation; that movement of thought is the
beginning of desire. That is, you see a fine car and thought creates
the image of you in that car and so on; at that moment is the
beginning of desire. If you had no sensation you would be
paralysed. There must be the activity of the senses. When the
sensation of seeing or touching arises, then thought makes the image of you in that car. The moment thought creates the image
there is the birth of desire.
it requires a highly attentive mind to see the importance of total
sensation not one particular activity of the senses followed by the
activity of thought creating an image. Have you ever observed a
sunset with the movement of the sea with all your senses? When
you observe with all your senses, then there is no centre from
which you are observing. Whereas, if you cultivate only one or two
senses then there is fragmentation. Where there is fragmentation
there is the structure of the self, the ‘me’. In observing desire as one
of the factors of fear, see how thought comes in and creates the
image. But if one is totally attentive then thought does not enter
into the movement of sensation. That requires great inward
attention with its discipline.
Another of the factors of fear is time psychological time, not
time as sunrise and sunset, yesterday and today and tomorrow, but
psychological time, as yesterday, today and tomorrow. Time is one
of the major factors of fear. It is not that time as movement must
stop but that the nature of psychological time be understood, not
intellectually or verbally but actually observed psychologically,
inwardly. We can be free of time or be slaves of time.
There is an element of violence in most of us that has never
been resolved, never been wiped away so that we can live totally
without violence. Not being able to be free of violence we have
created the idea of its opposite, non-violence. Non-violence is non-
fact violence is a fact. Non-violence does not exist except as an
idea. What exists, `what is’, is violence. It is like those people in
India who say they worship the idea of non-violence, they preach about it, talk about it, copy it they are dealing with a non-fact, non-
reality, with an illusion. What is a fact is violence, major or minor,
but violence. When you pursue non-violence, which is an illusion,
which is not an actuality, you are cultivating time. That is, `I am
violent, but I will be non-violent`. The `I will be’ is time, which is
the future, a future that has no reality, it is invented by thought as
an opposite of violence. It is the postponement of violence that
creates time. If there is an understanding and so the ending of
violence, there is no psychological time. We can be masters of
psychological time; that time can be totally eliminated if you see
that the opposite is not real. The ‘what is’ has no time. To
understand `what is’, requires no time, but only complete
observation. In the observation of violence, for example, there is
no movement of thought but only holding that enormous energy
which we call violence, and observing it. But the moment there is a
distortion, the motive of trying to become non-violent, you have
introduced time.
Comparison, with all its complexity, desire and time, are the
factors of fear deep-rooted fear. When there is observation, and
therefore no movement of thought merely observing the whole
movement of fear there is the total ending of fear; and the observer
is not different from the observed. This is an important factor to
understand. And as you observe, completely, there is the ending of
fear, the human mind then is no longer caught in the movement of
fear. If there is fear of any sort, the mind is confused, distorted and
therefore it has no clarity. And there must be clarity for that which
is eternal to be. To observe the movement of fear in oneself, to
watch the whole complexity, the weaving of fear, and to remain with it so completely, without any movement of thought, is the
total ending of it.
27 March 1982
THE FLAME OF ATTENTION CHAPTER 7 1ST
PUBLIC TALK AT OJAI 1ST MAY 1982

From the very beginning, understand that we are not instructing
anybody about anything; we are not bringing up some kind of idea,
belief or conclusion, to convince you of anything; this is not
propaganda. Rather, I think it would be good if we could, during
these talks, think over together, observe and listen together to the
whole movement of one life, whether it is in South Africa, South
America, North America, Europe or Asia. We are dealing with a
very complex problem that needs to be studied most carefully,
hesitantly, without any direction, without any motive, so as to
observe, if we can, the whole outward happening of our life. What
is happening outside of us is the measure by which we will be able
to understand ourselves inwardly. If we do not understand what is
actually going on in the external world, outside the psychological
field, we will have no measure by which to observe ourselves.
Let us together observe without any bias, as American,
Argentinian, British, French, Russian, or Asian; let us observe
without any motive which is rather difficult and see clearly, if we
can, what is going on. As one travels around the world, one is
aware that there is a great deal of dissension, discord,
disagreement, disorder; a great deal of confusion, uncertainty. One
sees the demonstrations against one particular form of war and the
extensive preparations for war; the spending of untold money on
armaments; one nation against another preparing for eventual war.
There are the national divisions. There is the national honour, for
which thousands are willing and proud to kill others. There are the religious and sectarian divisions: the Catholic, the Protestant, the
Hindu, the Mohammedan, the Buddhist. There are the various
sects, and the gurus, with their particular following. There is the
spiritual authority in the Catholic and the Protestant world, there is
the authority of the book in the Islamic world. So everywhere there
is this constant division leading to disorder, conflict and
destruction. There is the attachment to a particular nationality, a
particular religion, hoping thereby to find some kind of outward or
inward security. These are the phenomena that are taking place in
the world, of which we are all part I am sure that we all observe the
same thing. There is isolation taking place, not only for each
human being, but the isolation of groups which are bound by a
belief, by a faith, by some ideological conclusion; it is the same in
totalitarian states and in the so-called democratic countries with
their ideals. Ideals, beliefs, dogmas and rituals are separating
mankind. This is actually what is going on in the external world
and it is the result of our own inner psychological living. We are
isolated human beings and the outward world is created by each
one of us.
We each have our own particular profession, our own particular
belief, our own conclusions and experiences, to which we cling and
thereby each one is isolating himself. This self-centred activity is
expressed outwardly as nationalism, religious intolerance, even if
that group consists of seven hundred million people, as in the
Catholic world and at the same time each one of us is isolating
himself. We are creating a world divided by nationalism, which is
a glorified form of tribalism; each tribe is willing to kill another
tribe for their belief, for their land, for their economic trade. We all know this; at least, those who are aware, who listen to the radio,
see the television, the newspapers and so on.
There are those who say that this cannot be changed, that there
is no possibility of this human condition being transformed. They
say that the world has been going on like this for thousands and
thousands of years and is created by the human condition and that
condition can never possibly bring about a mutation in itself. They
assert that there can be modification, slight change, but that man
will ever be basically what he is, bringing about division in himself
and in the world. There are those all over the world who advocate
social reform of various kinds, but they have not brought about a
deep fundamental mutation in the human consciousness. This is the
state of the world.
And how do we look at it? What is our response to it, as human
beings? What is our actual relationship, not only with each other
but with this external world; what is our responsibility? Do we
leave it to the politicians? Do we seek new leaders, new saviours?
This is a very serious problem which we are talking over together.
Or do we go back to the old traditions; because human beings,
unable to solve this problem, return to the old habitual traditions of
the past. The more there is confusion in the world, the greater is the
desire and urge of some to return to past illusions, past traditions,
past leaders, past so-called saviours.
So if one is aware of all this, as one must be, what is one’s
response, not partial, but total response, to the whole phenomenon
that is taking place in the world? Does one consider only one’s own
personal life, how to live a quiet, serene, undisturbed life in some
corner; or is one concerned with the total human existence, with total humanity? If one is only concerned with one’s own particular
life, however troublesome it is, however limited it is, however
much it is sorrowful and painful, then one does not realize that the
part is of the whole. One has to look at life, not the American life
or the Asiatic life, but life as a whole; holistic observation; an
observation that is not a particular observation; it is not one’s own
observation, but the observation that comprehends the totality, the
holistic view of life. Each one has been concerned with his own
particular problems – problems of money, no job, seeking one`s
own fulfilment, everlastingly seeking pleasure; being frightened,
isolated, lonely, depressed, suffering, and creating a saviour
outside who will transform or bring about a salvation for each one
of us. This has been the tradition in the Western world for two
thousand years; and in the Asiatic world the same thing has been
maintained in different words and symbols, different conclusions;
but it is the same individual’s search for his own salvation, for his
own particular happiness, to resolve his own many complex
problems. There are the specialists of various kinds, psychological
specialists, to whom one goes to resolve one`s problems. They too
have not succeeded.
Technologically the scientists have helped to reduce disease, to
improve communication; but also they are increasing the
devastating power of the weapons of war; the power to murder vast
numbers of people with one blow. The scientists are not going to
save mankind; nor are the politicians, whether in the East or West
or in any part of the world. The politicians seek power, position,
and they play all kinds of tricks on human thought. It is exactly the
same thing in the so-called religious world; the authority of the hierarchy; the authority of the Pope, the archbishop, the bishop and
the local priest, in the name of some image which thought has
created.
We, as human beings separated, isolated, have not been able to
solve our problems; although highly educated, cunning, self-
centred, capable of extraordinary things outwardly, yet inwardly,
we are more or less what we have been for thousands of years. We
hate, we compete, we destroy each other; which is what is actually
going on at the present time. You have heard the experts talking
about some recent war; they are not talking about human beings
being killed, but about destroying airfields, blowing up this or that.
There is this total confusion in the world, of which one is quite sure
we are all aware; so what shall we do? As a friend some time ago
told the speaker: ‘You cannot do anything; you are beating your
head against a wall. Things will go on like this indefinitely;
fighting, destroying each ocher, competing and being caught in
various forms of illusion. This will go on. Do not waste your life
and time.’ Aware of the tragedy of the world, the terrifying events
that may happen should some crazy person press a button; the
computer taking over man’s capacities, thinking much quicker and
more accurately what is going to happen to the human being? This
is the vast problem which we are facing.
One’s education from childhood as one passes through school,
college and university, is to specialize in some way or another, to
accumulate a great deal of knowledge, then get a job and hold on to
it for the rest of one’s life; going to the office, from morning till
evening and dying at the end of it all. This is not a pessimistic
attitude or observation; this is actually what is going on. When one observes that fact, one is neither optimistic nor pessimistic, it is so.
And one asks, if one is at all serious and responsible: what is one to
do? Retire into a monastery? form some commune? Go off to Asia
and pursue Zen meditation or some other form of meditation? One
is asking this question seriously. When one is confronted with this
crisis it is a crisis in consciousness, it is not over there outside of
one. The crisis is in oneself. There is a saying: we have seen the
enemy and the enemy is ourselves.
The crisis is not a matter of economics, of war, the bomb, the
politicians, the scientists; the crisis is within us, the crisis is in our
consciousness. Until we understand very profoundly the nature of
that consciousness, and question, delve deeply into it and find out
for ourselves whether there can be a total mutation in that
consciousness, the world will go on creating more misery, more
confusion, more horror. Our responsibility is not in some kind of
altruistic action outside ourselves, political, social or economic; it
is to comprehend the nature of our being. to find out why we
human beings who live on this beautiful earth have become like
this.
Here we are trying, you and the speaker, together, not
separately, together, to observe the movement of consciousness
and its relationship to the world, and to see whether that
consciousness is individual, separate, or if it is the whole of
mankind. We are educated from childhood to be individuals, each
with a separate soul; or we have been trained, educated,
conditioned to think as individuals. We think that because we each
have a separate name, separate form, that is, dark, light, tall, short,
and each with a particular tendency, that we are separate individuals with our own particular experiences and so on. We are
going to question that very idea, that we are individuals. It does not
mean that we are some kind of amorphous beings, but actually
question whether we are individuals, though the whole world
maintains, both religiously and in other ways, that we are separate
individuals. From that concept and perhaps from that illusion, we
are each one of us trying to fulfil, to become something. in that
effort to become something we are competing against another,
fighting another, so that if we maintain that way of life, we must
inevitably continue to cling to nationalities, tribalism, war. Why do
we hold on to nationalism with such passion behind it? which is
what is happening now. Why do we give such extraordinary
passionate importance to nationalism which is essentially
tribalism? Why? Is it because in holding on to the tribe, to the
group, there is a certain security, an inward sense of completeness,
fullness? If that is so, then the other tribe also feels the same; and
hence division and hence war, conflict. If one actually sees the
truth of this, not as something theoretical and if one wants to live
on this earth which is our earth, not yours or mine then there is no
nationalism at all. There is only human existence; one life; not your
life or my life; it is living the whole of life. This tradition of
individuality has been perpetuated by the religions both of the East
and the West; salvation for each individual, and so on.
It is very good to have a mind that questions, that does not
accept; a mind that says: `We cannot possibly live any more like
this, in this brutal, violent manner’. Doubting, questioning, not just
accepting the way of life we have lived for perhaps fifty or sixty
years, or the way man has lived for thousands of years. So, we are questioning the reality of individuality. Is your consciousness
really yours? to be conscious means to be aware, to know, to
perceive, to observe the content of your consciousness includes
your beliefs, your pleasures, experiences, your particular
knowledge which you have gathered either of some particular
external subject or the knowledge you have gathered about
yourself; it includes your fears and attachments; the pain and the
agony of loneliness, the sorrow, the search for something more
than mere physical existence; all that is the content of your
consciousness. The content makes the consciousness; without the
content there is not consciousness as we know it. Here there is no
room for argument. It is so. Now, your consciousness which is very
complex, contradictory, with such extraordinary vitality is it yours?
Is thought yours? Or is there only thinking, which is neither
Eastern nor Western thinking, which is common to all mankind,
whether rich or poor, whether the technician with his extraordinary
capacity or the monk who withdraws from the world and is
consecrating himself to an idea?
Wherever one goes, one sees suffering, pain, anxiety,
loneliness, insanity, fear, the seeking after security, being caught in
knowledge and the urge of desire; it is all of the ground on which
every human being stands. One’s consciousness is the
consciousness of the rest of humanity. It is logical; you may
disagree; you may say, my consciousness is separate and must be
separate; but is it so? If one understands the nature of this then one
sees that one is the rest of mankind. One may have a different
name, one may live in a particular part of the world and be
educated in a particular way, one may be affluent or very poor, but when one goes behind the mask, deeply, one is like the rest of
mankind aching, lonely, suffering, despairing, neurotic; believing
in some illusion, and so on. Whether in the East or the West, this is
so. One may not like it; one may like to think that one is totally
independent, a free individual, but when one observes very deeply,
one is the rest of humanity.
One may accept this as an idea, an abstraction, as a marvellous
concept; but the idea is not the actuality. An abstraction is not what
is actually taking place. But one makes an abstraction of that which
is, into an idea, and then pursues the idea, which is really non-
factual. So; if the content of my consciousness and yours is in itself
contradictory, confused, struggling against another, fact against
non-fact, wanting to be happy, being unhappy, wanting to live
without violence and yet being violent then our consciousness in
itself is disorder. There is the root of dissension. Until we
understand that and go into it very deeply and discover total order,
we shall always have disorder in the world. So a serious person is
not easily dissuaded from the pursuit of understanding, the pursuit
of delving deeply into himself, into his consciousness, not easily
persuaded by amusement and entertainment which is perhaps
sometimes necessary pursuing consistently every day into the
nature of man, that is, into himself, observing what is actually
going on within himself. From that observation, action takes place.
It is not: what shall I do as a separate human being but an action
which comes out of total holistic observation of life. Holistic
observation is a healthy, sane, rational, logical, perception that is
whole, which is holy. Is it possible for a human being, like any one
of us who are laymen, not specialists, laymen, is it possible for him to look at the contradictory, confusing consciousness as a whole; or
must he look at each part of it separately? One wants to understand
oneself, one’s consciousness. One knows from the very beginning
that it is very contradictory; wanting one thing, and not wanting the
other thing; saying one thing and doing another. And one knows
that beliefs separate man. One believes in Jesus, or Krishna or
something, or one believes in one’s own experience which one
holds on to, including the knowledge which one has accumulated
through the forty or sixty years of one’s life, which has become
extraordinarily important. One clings to that. One recognizes that
belief destroys and divides people and yet one cannot give it up
because belief has strange vitality. It gives one a certain sense of
security. One believes in god, there is an extraordinary strength in
that. But god is invented by man. God is the projection of our own
thought, the opposite to one’s own demands, one’s own
hopelessness and despair.
Why does one have beliefs at all? A mind that is crippled by
belief is an unhealthy mind. There must be freedom from that. So,
is it possible for one to delve deeply into one’s consciousness not
persuaded, not guided by psychologists, psychiatrists and so on to
delve deeply into oneself and find out; so that one does not depend
on anybody including the speaker? In asking that question, how
shall one know the intricacies, the contradictions, the whole
movement of consciousness? Shall one know it bit by bit? Take for
instance the hurt that each human being suffers from childhood.
One is hurt by one’s parents, psychologically. Then hurt in school,
in university through comparison, through competition, through
saying one must be first-class at this subject, and so on. Throughout life there is this constant process of being hurt. One
knows this and that all human beings are hurt, deeply, of which
they may not be conscious and that from this all the forms of
neurotic action arise. That is all part of one’s consciousness; part
hidden and part open awareness that one is hurt. Now, is it possible
not to be hurt at all? Because the consequences of being hurt are
the building of a wall around oneself; withdrawing in one’s
relationship with others in order not to be hurt more. In that there is
fear and a gradual isolation. Now we are asking: is it possible not
only to be free of past hurts but also never to be hurt again, not
through callousness, through indifference, through total disregard
of all relationship? One must inquire into why one is hurt and what
is being hurt. This hurt is part of one’s consciousness; from it
various neurotic contradictory actions take place. One is examining
hurt, as one examined belief. It is not something outside of us, it is
part of us. Now what is it that is hurt and is it possible never to be
hurt? Is it possible for one to be a human being who is free, totally,
never hurt by anything, psychologically, inwardly?
What is it that is hurt? One says, that it is I who am hurt. What
is that ‘I’? From childhood one has built up an image of oneself.
One has many, many images; not only the images that people give
one, but also the images that one has built oneself; as an American,
that is an image, or as a Hindu or as a specialist. So, the I is the
image that one has built about oneself, as a great or a very good
man and it is that image that gets hurt. One may have an image of
oneself as a great speaker, writer, spiritual being, leader. These
images are the core of oneself; when one says one is hurt, one
means the images are hurt. If one has an image about oneself and another comes along and says: don’t be an idiot, one gets hurt. The
image which has been built about oneself as not being an idiot, is
`me’ and that gets hurt. One carries that image and that hurt, for the
rest of one’s life always being careful not to be hurt, warding off
any statement of one’s idiocy.
The consequences of being hurt are very complex. From that
hurt one may want to fulfil oneself by becoming this or that so as
to escape from this terrible hurt; so one has to understand it. Now
is it possible to have no image about oneself at all? Why does one
have images about oneself? Another may look very nice, bright,
intelligent, clear-faced, and one wants to be like him; and if one is
not, one gets hurt. Comparison may be one of the factors of being
hurt, psychologically; then, why does one compare?
Can one live a life in the modern world without a single image?
The speaker may say it is possible that it can be done. But it
requires a great deal of energy if one is to find out whether it is
possible never to be hurt and further whether it is possible to live a
life without a single belief; for it is belief which is dividing human
beings so that they are destroying each other. So, can one live
without a single belief and never have an image about oneself?
That is real freedom.
It is possible, when one is called an idiot and has an image
about oneself, to give total attention to that statement as it is said,
for when one has an image about oneself and one is called an idiot,
one reacts instantly. As the reaction is immediate, give attention to
that immediacy. That is, listen very clearly to the suggestion that
one is an idiot, listen to it attentively, when one listens with
complete attention, there is no reaction. It is the lack of listening acutely that brings up the image and hence the reaction. Suppose I
have an image about myself, because I have travelled all over the
world, etcetera. You come along and say, look, old boy, you’re not
as good as the other guru, or the other leader, or some other
teacher, some other idiot; you are yourself an idiot. I listen to that
completely, give complete attention to what is being said. When
there is total attention, there is no forming of a centre. It is only
inattention that creates the centre. A mind which has been slack, a
brain which has been confused, disturbed, neurotic, which has
never actually faced anything, which has never demanded of itself
its highest capacity, can it give such total attention? When there is
total attention to the statement that one is an idiot it has totally lost
all significance. Because when there is attention there is not a
centre which is reacting.
1st May 1982
THE FLAME OF ATTENTION CHAPTER 8 3RD
PUBLIC TALK AT SAANEN 15TH JULY 1982

Apparently we are always concerned with effects; psychologically
we are always trying to change or modify these effects, or results.
We never enquire very deeply into the cause of these effects. All
our ways of thinking and acting have a cause, a ground, a reason, a
motive. If the cause were to end, then what is beyond?
One hopes you will not mind being reminded again that the
speaker is completely anonymous. The speaker is not important.
What is important is to find out for yourselves if what is being said
is true or false, and that depends on intelligence. Intelligence is the
uncovering of the false and totally rejecting it. Please bear in mind
that together, in co-operation, we are investigating, examining,
exploring into these problems. The speaker is not exploring, but
you are exploring with him. There is no question of following him.
There is no authority invested in him. This must be said over and
over again as most of us have a tendency to follow, to accept,
especially from those whom you think somewhat different or
spiritually advanced all that nonsense. So please, if one may repeat
over and over again: our minds and our brains are conditioned to
follow as we follow a professor in a university; he informs and we
accept because he certainly knows more of his subject than perhaps
we do but here it is not a matter of that kind. The speaker is not
informing you or urging you to accept those things that are said;
but rather we should together, in co-operation, investigate into
these human problems, which are very complex, need a great deal
of observation, a great deal of energy and enquiry. But if you merely follow you are only following the image that you have
created about him or about the symbolic meaning of the words. So
please bear in mind all these facts. We are going to enquire
together into what intelligence is. Is thought, our thinking, the way
we act, the whole social, moral, or immoral, world in which we
live, the activity of intelligence? One of the factors of intelligence
is to uncover and explore; explore into the nature of the false,
because in the understanding of the false, in the uncovering of that
which is illusion, there is the truth, which is intelligence.
Has intelligence a cause? Thought has a cause. One thinks
because one has past experiences, past accumulated information
and knowledge. That knowledge is never complete, it must go hand
in hand with ignorance, and from this ground of knowledge with its
ignorance thought is born. Thought must be partial, limited,
fragmented, because it is the outcome of knowledge, and
knowledge can never be complete at any time. Thought must
always be incomplete, insufficient, limited. And we use that
thought, not recognizing the limitation of it; we live endlessly
creating thoughts, and worshipping the things that thought has
created. Thought has created wars and the instruments of war, and
the terror of war. Thought has created the whole technological
world. So, is thought, the activity of thought, which is to compare,
to identify, to fulfil, to seek satisfaction, to seek security which are
the result of thinking intelligent? The movement of thought is from
the past to the present to the future which is the movement of time
and thought has its cunningness, with its capacity to adjust itself, as
no animal does except the human being.
So thought has causation, obviously. One wants to build a house; one wants to drive a car; one wants to be powerful, well-
known; one is dull, but one will be clever, one will achieve, one
will fulfil; all that is the movement of the centre from which
thought arises. It is so obvious. Through the obvious we are going
to penetrate to that which may be difficult. But first we must be
very clear about the obvious. There is a cause and an effect, an
effect that may be immediate or postponed. The movement from
the cause to the effect is time. One has done something in the past
which was not correct; the effect of that may be that one pays for it
immediately, or perhaps in five years’ time. There is cause
followed by an effect; the interval, whether it is a second or years,
is the movement of time. But, is intelligence the movement of
time? Think it over, examine it, because this is not a verbal
clarification, it is not a verbal explanation; but perceive the reality
of it, the truth of it.
We are going into the various aspects of our daily living not
some Utopian concept, or some ideological conclusion according
to which we shall act we are investigating our lives, our lives
which are the lives of all humanity; it is not my life or your life;
life is a tremendous movement; and in that movement we have
separated off parts which we call individual selves.
We are saying that where there is a cause, the effect can be
ended with the ending of the cause. If one has tuberculosis it is the
cause of one’s coughing and loss of blood; that cause can be cured
and the effect will disappear. All one’s life is the movement of
cause and effect: you flatter me, I am delighted and I flatter you.
You say something unpleasant, I hate you. In all this movement
there is cause and effect. Of course. We are asking: is there a life, a way of living, without causation? But first we must understand the
implications of ending. One ends anger or greed in order to achieve
something else; that ending leads to further cause. What is it to
end? Is ending a continuation? One ends something and begins
something else which is another form of the same thing. To go into
this very deeply one has to understand the conflict of the opposites,
the conflict of duality. One is greedy and for various social or
economic reasons one must end it. In the ending of it one wants
something else, which then is a cause. The something else is the
result of the greed. In ending the greed one has merely replaced it
by something else. One is violent by nature; violence has been
inherited from the animal and so on. One wants to end violence
because one feels it is too stupid. In trying to end violence one is
trying to find a field which is non-violent, which has no shadow of
violence in it. But one has not really ended violence, one has only
translated that feeling into another feeling, but the principle is the
same.
If we go into this matter very carefully, deeply, it will affect our
daily life; it may be the ending of conflict. Our life is in conflict,
our consciousness is in conflict, it is confused, contradictory. Our
consciousness is the result of thought. Thought is subject to
causation, our consciousness is subject to causation. One observes
that all one’s complex life with its contradictions, its imitation and
conformity, its various conclusions with their opposites, is all a
movement of causation. Can one end that causation by will, by a
desire to have an orderly life? If one does, then that life is born out
of causation because one is disorderly. Discovering the
disorderliness of one’s life and wishing to have an orderly life, is in the chain of causation, one sees, therefore, that it will not be
orderly.
What is order? There is obviously the order of law which is
based upon various experiences, judgements, necessities,
conveniences, in order to restrain the ill-doer. That which we call
social order, ethical order, political order, has essentially a basis of
cause. Now we are asking, inwardly, psychologically, has order a
cause? Do we recognize, see, that our lives are disorderly,
contradictory, conforming, following, accepting, denying what we
may want and accepting something else? The conflict between the
various opposites is disorder. Because we accept one form of
thought as order, we think its opposite is disorder. The opposite
may create disorder, so we live always within the field of these
opposites. So, will disorder end completely in our lives if we want
order? One wants to live peacefully, to have a pleasant life with
companionship and so on; that want is born out of disorder. The
cause of the opposite is its own opposite. One hates, one must not
hate; therefore one is trying not to hate, not to hate is the outcome
of one’s hate. If there is no hate it has no opposite.
Thought has created disorder. Let us see that fact. Thought has
created disorder in the world through nationalism, through faiths,
one is a Jew another is an Arab one believes and another does not
believe. Those are all the activities of thought, which in itself is
divisive; it cannot bring unity because in itself it is fragmented.
That which is fragmented cannot see the whole. One discovers that
one’s consciousness is entirely in disorder and one wants order,
hoping thereby one will end conflict. There is a motive; that motive
is the cause of my desire to have an orderly life. The desire for order is born there out of disorder. That desired order perpetuates
disorder which is happening in political, religious and other fields.
Now one sees the cause of disorder; one does not move away
from disorder. One sees the cause of it, that one is contradictory,
that one is angry; one sees the confusion. One sees the cause of it.
One is not moving away from the cause or the effect. One is the
cause and one is the effect. One sees that one is the cause and that
things that happen are oneself. Any movement away from that is to
perpetuate disorder. So, is there an ending without a future? An
ending of `what is` that has no future? Any future projected by my
demand for order is still the continuation of disorder. Is there an
observation of my disorder and an ending of it without any cause?
One is violent. There is violence in all human beings. The cause
of that violence is essentially a self-centred movement. Another is
also violent because he is self-centred. Therefore there is a battle
between us. Thought is not pursuing non-violence, which is a form
of violence. If one sees that very clearly then one is only concerned
with violence. The cause of that violence may be so many
contradictory demands, so many pressures and so on. So there are
many causes and one cause of violence is the self. The self has
many aspects, it hides behind many ideas; one is an idealist
because that appeals to one and one wants to work for that ideal,
but in the working for that ideal one is becoming more and more
important and one covers that up by the ideal; the very escape from
oneself is part of oneself. This whole movement is the cause of
violence. An idealist wants to kill others because by killing them
there may be a better world-you know all that goes on.
Our life is conditioned by many causes. Is there a way of living, psychologically, without a single cause? Please enquire into this. It
is a marvellous enquiry; even to put that question demands some
deep searching. One wants security, therefore one follows a guru.
One may put on his robes or copy what he says, but deeply one
wants to be safe. One clings to some idea, some image. But the
image, the idea, the conclusion, the guru, can never bring about
security. So one has to enquire into security. Is there such a thing
as security, inwardly? Because one is uncertain, confused and
another says he is not confused, one holds on to him. One’s demand
is to find some kind of peace, hope, some kind of quietness in one’s
life. He is not important but one’s desire is important. One will do
whatever he wants and follow him. One is silly enough to do all
that but when one enquires into the cause of it one discovers,
deeply, that one wants protection, the feeling of being safe. Now,
can there ever be security, psychologically? The very question
implies the demand for intelligence. The very putting of that
question is an outcome of intelligence. But if one says there is
always security in one’s symbol, in one’s saviour, in this, in that,
then one will not move away from it. But if one begins to enquire,
to ask: is there security..? So, if there is a cause for security, it is
not secure, because the desire for security is the opposite of
security.
Has love a cause? We said intelligence has no cause, it is
intelligence, it is not your intelligence, or my intelligence. It is
light. Where there’s light there is not my light or your light. The
sun is not your sun or my sun; it is the clarity of light. Has love a
cause? If it has not, then love and intelligence go together. When
one says to one’s wife or one’s girl friend, `I love you’, what does it mean? One loves god. One does not know anything about that
being and one loves him; because there is fear, there is a demand
for security, and the vast weight of tradition and the ‘sacred’ books
encourage one to love that about which one knows nothing. So one
says `I believe in god’. But if there is the discovery that intelligence
is total security, and that love is something beyond all causation,
which is order, then the universe is open because the universe is
order.
Let us go into the question of what intelligent relationship is;
not the relationship of thought with its image. Our brains are
mechanical – mechanical in the sense that they are repetitive, never
free, struggling within the same field, thinking they are free by
moving from one corner to the other in the same field, which is
choice, and thinking that choice is freedom, which is merely the
same thing. One’s brain, which has evolved through ages of time,
through tradition, through education, through conformity, through
adjustment, has become mechanical. There may be parts of one’s
brain which are free but one does not know, so do not assert that.
Do not say: `Yes, there is part of me that is free; that is
meaningless. The fact remains that the brain has become
mechanical, traditional, repetitive, and that it has its own
cunningness, its own capacity to adjustment, to discern. But it is
always within a limited area and is fragmented. Thought has its
home in the physical cells of the brain.
The brain has become mechanical, as is exemplified when I say,
`I am a Christian or I am not a Christian; I am a Hindu; I believe; I
have faith; I do not have faith, it is all a mechanical repetitive
process, reaction to another reaction, and so on. The human brain being conditioned, has its own artificial, mechanical intelligence
like a computer. We will keep that expression mechanical
intelligence. (Billions and billions of dollars are being spent to find
out if a computer can operate exactly like the brain.) Thought,
which is born of memory, know- ledge, stored in the brain, is
mechanical; it may have the capacity to invent but it is still
mechanical invention is totally different from creation. Thought is
trying to discover a different way of life, or a different social order.
But any discovery of a social order by thought is still within the
field of confusion. We are asking: is there an intelligence which
has no cause and which can act in our relationships not the
mechanical state of relationship which exists now?
Our relationships are mechanical. One has certain biological
urges and one fulfils them. One demands certain comforts, certain
companionship because one is lonely or depressed and by holding
on to another perhaps that depression will disappear. But in one’s
relationships with another, intimate or otherwise, there is always a
cause, a motive, a ground from which one establishes a
relationship. That is mechanical. It has been happening for
millennia; there appears always to have been a conflict between
woman and man, a constant battle, each pursuing his or her own
line, never meeting, like two railway lines. This relationship is
always limited because it is from the activity of thought which
itself is limited. Wherever there is limitation there must be conflict.
In any form of association one belongs to this group and another
belongs to another group there is solitude, isolation; where there is
isolation there must be conflict. This is a law, not invented by the
speaker, it is obviously so. Thought is ever in limitation and therefore isolating itself. Therefore, in relationship, where there is
the activity of thought there must be conflict. See the reality of it.
See the actuality of this fact, not as an idea, but as something that is
happening in one’s active daily life divorces, quarrels, hating each
other, jealousy; you know the misery of it all. The wife wants to
hurt you, is jealous of you, and you are jealous; which are all
mechanical reactions, the repetitive activity of thought in
relationship, bringing conflict. That is a fact. Now how do you deal
with that fact? Here is a fact: your wife and you quarrel. She hates
you, and also there is your mechanical response, you hate. You
discover that it is the remembrance of things that have happened
stored in the brain, continuing day after day. Your whole thinking
is a process of isolation and she also is in isolation. Neither of you
ever discovers the truth of the isolation. Now how do you look at
that fact? What are you to do with that fact? What is your
response? Do you face this fact with a motive, a cause? Be careful,
do not say, `My wife hates me’, and smother it over although you
also hate her, dislike her, don’t want to be with her, because you are
both isolated. You are ambitious for one thing, she is ambitious for
something else. So your relationship operates in isolation. Do you
approach the fact with reason, with a ground, which are all
motives? Or do you approach it without a motive, without cause?
When you approach it without a cause what then happens? Watch
it. Please do not jump to some conclusion, watch it in yourself.
Previously you have approached this problem mechanically with a
motive, with some reason, a ground from which you act. Now you
see the foolishness of such an action because it is the result of
thought. So, is there an approach to the fact without a single motive? That is, you have no motive, yet she may have a motive.
Then if you have no motive how are you looking at the fact? The
fact is not different from you, you are the fact. You are ambition,
you are hate, you depend on somebody, you are that. There is an
observation of the fact, which is yourself, without any kind of
reason, motive. Is that possible? If you do not do that you live
perpetually in conflict. And you may say that that is the way of
life. If you accept that as the way of life, that is your business, your
pleasure. Your brain, tradition and habit, tell you that it is
inevitable. But when you see the absurdity of such acceptance then
you are bound to see that all this travail is you yourself; you are the
enemy, not her.
You have met the enemy and discovered it is yourself. So, can
you observe this whole movement of `me’, the self, and the
traditional acceptance that you are separate which becomes foolish
when you examine the whole field of the consciousness of
humanity? You have come to a point in understanding what
intelligence is. We said that intelligence is without a cause, as love
is without a cause. If love has a cause, it is not love, obviously. If
you are `intelligent’ so that the government employs you, or
`intelligent’ because you are following me, that is not intelligence,
that is capacity: Intelligence has no cause. Therefore, see if you are
looking at yourself with a cause. Are you looking at this fact that
you are thinking, working, feeling, in isolation and that isolation
must inevitably breed everlasting conflict? That isolation is
yourself; you are the enemy. When you look at yourself without a
motive, is there `self’? self as the cause and the effect; self as the
result of time, which is the movement from cause to effect? When you look at yourself, look at this fact, without a cause, there is the
ending of something and the beginning of something totally new.
15 July 1982
THE FLAME OF ATTENTION CHAPTER 9 3RD
PUBLIC TALK AT BROCKWOOD PARK 4TH
SEPTEMBER 1982

Consider what is happening on this earth where man has brought
about such chaos, where wars and other terrible things are going
on. This is neither a pessimistic nor an optimistic point of view; it
is just looking at the facts as they are. Apparently it is not possible
to have peace on this earth or to live with friendship and affection
for each other in our lives. To live at peace with oneself and with
the world, one needs to have great intelligence. It is not just to have
the concept of peace and strive to live a peaceful life which can
merely become a rather vegetating life but to enquire whether it is
possible to live in this world, where there is such disorder, such
unrighteousness if we can use that old fashioned word with a
certain quality of mind and heart that are at peace within
themselves. Not a life everlastingly striving, in conflict, in
competition, in imitation and conformity; not a satisfied or a
fulfilled life; not a life that has achieved some result, some fame,
some notoriety, or some wealth; but a life that has a quality of
peace. We ought to go into it together to find out if it is at all
possible to have peace not just peace of mind which is merely a
small part to have this peculiar quality of undisturbed though
tremendously alive tranquillity, with a sense of dignity and without
any sense of vulgarity. Can one live such a life? Has one ever
asked such a question, surrounded as one is by total disorder? One
must be very clear about that fact; that there is total disorder
outwardly every morning one reads in a newspaper of something terrible, of aircraft that can travel at astonishing speed from one
corner of the earth to the other without having to refuel, carrying a
great weight of bombs and gases that can destroy man in a few
seconds. If one observes all this and realizes what man has come
to, one may feel that in asking this question one has asked the
impossible and say that it is not at all possible to live in this world
inwardly undisturbed, having no problems, living a life utterly
unself-centred. Talking about this, using words, has very little
meaning unless one finds, or comes upon, through communicating
with each other, a state that is utterly still. That requires
intelligence, not phantasy, not some peculiar day-dreaming called
meditation, not some form of self-hypnosis, but intelligence.
What is intelligence? It is to perceive that which is illusory, that
which is false, not actual, and to discard it; not merely to assert that
it is false and continue in the same way, but to discard it
completely. That is part of intelligence. To see, for example, that
nationalism, with all its patriotism, isolation, narrowness, is
destructive, that it is a poison in the world. And seeing the truth of
it is to discard that which is false. That is intelligence. But to keep
on with it, acknowledging it as stupid, is essentially part of
stupidity and disorder it creates more disorder. Intelligence is not
the clever pursuit of argument, of opposing contradictory opinions
as though through opinions, truth can be found, which is
impossible but it is to realize that the activity of thought, with all
its capacities, with all its subtleties, with its extraordinary ceaseless
activity, is not intelligence. Intelligence is beyond thought.
To live peacefully one has to examine disorder. Why do we
human beings, who are supposed to be extraordinarily evolved, extraordinarily capable in certain directions, why do we live with
and tolerate such disorder in our daily lives? If one can discover
the root of this disorder, its cause and observe it carefully, then in
the very observation of that which is the cause is the awakening of
intelligence. Observation of disorder, not the striving to bring
about order. A confused disorderly mind, a state of mind which is
contradictory, yet striving to bring about order, will still be
disorder. One is confused, uncertain, going from one thing to
another, burdened with many problems: from such a way of living,
one wants order. Then what appears to be order is born out of one’s
confusion and therefore it is still confused.
When this is clear, what then is the cause of disorder? It has
many causes: the desire to fulfil, the anxiety of not fulfilling, the
contradictory life one lives, saying one thing, doing something
totally different, trying to suppress one thing and to achieve
something else. These are all contradictions in oneself. One can
find many causes, the pursuit of causes is endless. Whereas one
could ask oneself and find out if there is one root cause. Obviously
there must be. The root cause is the-‘self’ the ‘me’, the `ego’, the
personality put together by thought, by memory, by various
experiences, by certain words, certain qualities which produce the
feeling of separateness and isolation; that is the root cause of
disorder. However much the self tries not to be the self it is still the
effort of the self. The self may identify with the nation, but that
very identification with the greater is still glorified self. Each one
of us does that in different ways. The self is put together by
thought; that is the root cause of this total disorder in which we
live. When one observes what causes disorder and one has become so accustomed to disorder and has always lived in such disorder,
that one accepts it as natural one begins to question it and go into it
and see what is the root of it. One observes it, not doing anything
about it, then that very observation begins to dissolve the centre
which is the cause of disorder.
Intelligence is the perception of that which is true; it puts totally
aside that which is false; it sees the truth in the false and realizes
that none of the activities of thought is intelligence. It sees that
thought itself is the outcome of knowledge which is the result of
experience as memory and that the response of memory is thought.
Knowledge is always limited that is obvious-there is no perfect
knowledge. Hence thought, with all its activity and with all its
knowledge, is not intelligence. So one asks: what place has thought
in life considering that all our activity is based on thought?
Whatever we do is based on thought. All relationships are based on
thought. All inventions, all technological achievement, all
commerce, all the arts, are the activity of thought. The gods we
have created, the rituals, are the product of thought. So what place
have knowledge and thought in relation to the degeneration of
man?
Man has accumulated immense knowledge, in the world of
science, psychology, biology, mathematics and so on. And we
think that through knowledge we will ascend, we will liberate
ourselves, we will transform ourselves. Now, we are questioning
the place of knowledge in life. Has knowledge transformed us,
made us good? again, an old fashioned word. Has it given us
integrity? Is it part of justice? Has it given us freedom? It has given
us freedom in the sense that we can travel, communicate from one country to another. We have better systems of learning, as well as
the computer and the atom bomb. These are all the result of vast
accumulated knowledge. Again we ask: has this knowledge given
us freedom, a life that is just, a life that is essentially good?
Freedom, justice and goodness; those three qualities formed one
of the problems of ancient civilizations, who struggled to find a
way to live a life that was just. The word `just’ means to have
righteousness, to act benevolently, with generosity, not to deal with
hatred or antagonism. To lead a just, a right kind of life, means to
lead a life not according to a pattern, not according to some
fanciful ideals, projected by thought; it means to lead a life that has
great affection, that is true, accurate. And in this world there is no
justice; one is clever, another is not; one has power, another has
not; one can travel all over the world and meet prominent people;
another lives in a little town, in a small room, working day after
day. Where is there justice there? Is justice to be found in external
activities? One may become the prime minister, the president, the
head of a big intercontinental corporation, another may be for ever
a clerk, way down below. So, do we seek justice externally, trying
to bring about an egalitarian state all over the world that is being
tried, thinking that it will bring about justice or, is justice to be
found away from all that?
Justice implies a certain integrity, to be whole, integral, not
broken up, not fragmented. That can only take place when there is
no comparison. But we are always comparing better cars, better
houses, better position, greater power and so on. Comparison is
measurement. Where there is measurement there cannot be justice.
And where there is imitation and conformity, there cannot be justice. Following somebody, listening to these words, we do not
see the beauty, the quality, the depth of these things; we may
superficially agree but we walk away from them. But the words,
the comprehension of the depth of them must leave a mark, a seed;
for justice must be there, in us.
Talking to a fairly well known psychologist the speaker used
the word goodness. He was horrified! He said: `That is an old-
fashioned word, we do not use it now.’ But one likes that good
word. So what is goodness? It is not the opposite of that which is
bad. If it is the opposite of that which is bad then goodness has its
roots in that opposite. So goodness is not related to the other, that
which we consider bad. It is totally divorced from the other. One
must look at it as it is, not as a reaction to the opposite. Goodness
means a way of life which is righteous, not in terms of religion, or
morality or an ethical concept of righteousness, but in terms of one
who sees that which is true and that which is false, and sustains
that quality of sensitivity that sees it immediately and acts.
The word `freedom’ has very complex implications. When there
is freedom there is justice, there is goodness. Freedom is
considered to be the capacity to choose. One thinks one is free
because one can choose to go abroad, one can choose one’s work,
choose what one wants to do. But where there is choice, is there
freedom? Who chooses? And why does one have to choose? When
there is freedom, psychologically, when one is very clear in one’s
capacity to think subjectively, impersonally, very precisely, not
sentimentally, there is no need for choice. When there is no
confusion then there is no choice. So what is freedom? Freedom is
not the opposite of conditioning; if it were, it would merely be a kind of escape. Freedom is not an escape from anything. A brain
that has been conditioned by knowledge is always limited, is
always living within the field of ignorance, is always living with
the machinery of thought so that there can be no freedom. We all
live with various kinds of fear – fear of tomorrow, fear of things
that have happened in many yesterdays. If we seek freedom from
that fear, then freedom has a cause and is not freedom. If we think
in terms of causation and freedom, then that freedom is not
freedom at all. Freedom implies not just a certain aspect of one’s
life but freedom right through; and that freedom has no cause.
Now, with all this having been stated let us look at the cause of
sorrow and enquire whether that cause can ever end. All have
suffered in one way or another, through deaths, through lack of
love, or, having loved another, receiving no return. Sorrow has
many, many faces. Man from the ancient of times, has always tried
to escape from sorrow, and still, after millennia, we live with
sorrow. Mankind has shed untold tears. There have been wars
which have brought such agonies to human beings, such great
anxiety and apparently they have not been able to be free from that
sorrow. This is not a rhetorical question, but, is it possible for a
human brain, human mind, human being, to be totally free from the
anxiety of sorrow and all the human travail with regard to it?
Let us together walk along the same path to find out if we can,
in our daily life, put an end to this terrible burden which man has
carried from time immemorial. Is it possible to come upon the
ending of sorrow? How do you approach such a question? What is
your reaction to that question? What is the state, the quality of your
mind, when a question of that kind is put to you? My son is dead, my husband is gone, I have friends who have betrayed me; I have
followed in great faith, an ideal and it has been fruitless after
twenty years. Sorrow has such great beauty and such pain in it.
How does one react to that question? Does one say,`I don’t want
even to look at it. I have suffered, it is the lot of man, I rationalize
it and accept it and go on.’ That is one way of dealing with it. But
one has not solved the problem. Or one transmits that sorrow to a
symbol and worships that symbol, as is done in Christianity; or as
the ancient Hindus have done, it is one’s lot, one’s karma. Or in the
modern world one says one’s parents are responsible for it, or
society, or it is the kind of genetically inherited genes that have
caused one’s suffering, and so on. There have been a thousand
explanations. But explanations have not resolved the ache and the
pain of sorrow. So, how do you approach this question? Do you
want to look at it face to face, or casually, or with trepidation?
How do you approach, come near, very near, such a problem? Is
sorrow different from the observer who says,-I am in sorrow:
When he says, `I am in sorrow’, he has separated himself from that
feeling, so he has not approached it at all. He has not touched it.
Can you cease to avoid it, not transmute it, not escape from it, but
come with greatest closeness to it? Which means, you are sorrow.
Is that so?
You may have invented an ideal of freedom from sorrow. That
invention has postponed, separated you further from sorrow; but
the fact is, you are sorrow. Do you realize what that means? It is
not that somebody has caused you sorrow, not that your son is dead
therefore you shed tears. You may shed tears for your son, for your
wife, but that is an outward expression of pain or sorrow. That sorrow is the result of your dependence on that person, your
attachment, your clinging, your feeling that you are lost without
him. So, as usual, you try to act upon the symptom, you never go to
the very root of this great problem, which is sorrow. We are not
talking about the outward effects of sorrow if you are concerned
with the effects of sorrow you can take a drug and pacify yourself.
We are trying together to find for ourselves, not be told and then
accept, but actually find for ourselves the root of sorrow. Is it time
that causes pain the time that thought has invented in the
psychological realm? You understand my question?
Questioner: What do you mean by psychological time?
K: Do not ask me what psychological time is. Ask that question
of yourself. Perhaps the speaker may prompt you, put it into words,
but it is your own question. One has had a son, a brother, a wife,
father. They are gone. They can never return. They are wiped away
from the face of the earth. Of course, one can invent a belief that
they are living on other planes. But one has lost them; there is a
photograph on the piano or the mantelpiece. One’s remembrance of
them is in psychological time. How one had loved them, how they
loved me; what help they were; they helped to cover up one’s
loneliness. The remembrance of them is a movement of time. They
were there yesterday and gone today. That is, a record has been
formed in the brain. That remembrance is a recording on the tape
of the brain; and that tape is playing all the time. How one walked
with them in the woods, one’s sexual remembrances, their
companionship, the comfort one derived from them. All that is
gone and the tape is playing on. This tape is memory and memory
is time. If you are interested, go into it very deeply. One has lived with one’s brother or son, one has had happy days with them,
enjoyed many things together, but they are gone. And the memory
of them remains. It is that memory that is causing pain. It is that
memory for which one is shedding tears in one’s loneliness. Now,
is it possible not to record? This is a very serious question. One
enjoyed the sunrise yesterday morning, it was so clear, so beautiful
among the trees casting a golden light on the lawn with long
shadows. It was a pleasant lovely morning and it has been
recorded. Now the repetition begins. One has recorded that which
happened, which caused one delight and later that record like a
gramophone or tape recorder is repeated. That is the essence of
psychological time. But is it possible not to record at all? The
sunrise of today, look at it, give one’s whole attention to it, the
moment of golden light on the lawn with the long shadows, and not
record it, so that no memory of it remains, it is gone. Look at it
with one’s whole attention and not record; the very attention of
looking negates any act of recording.
So, is time the root of sorrow? Is thought the root of sorrow? Of
course. So memories and time are the centre of one’s life, one lives
on them and when something happens which is drastically painful,
one returns to those memories and one sheds tears. One wishes that
he or she whom one has lost had been here to enjoy that sun when
one was looking at it. It is the same with all one’s sexual memories,
building a picture, thinking about it. All that is memory, thought
and time. If one asks: how is it possible for psychological time and
thought to stop? it is a wrong question. When one realizes the truth
of this not the truth of another but your own observation of that
truth, your own clarity of perception will that not end sorrow?       Is it possible to give such tremendous attention that one has a
life without psychological recording? It is only where there is
inattention that there is recording. One is used to one’s brother, son
or wife; one knows what they will say; they have said the same
thing so often. One knows them. When one say ‘I know them’ one
is inattentive. When one says, `I know my wife’, obviously one
does not really know her because you cannot possibly know a
living thing. It is only a dead thing, the dead memory, that one
knows.
When one is aware of this with great attention, sorrow has a
totally different meaning. There is nothing to learn from sorrow.
There is only the ending of sorrow. And when there is an ending of
sorrow then there is love. How can one love another love, have the
quality of that love when one’s whole life is based on memories; on
that picture which one has hung over the mantelpiece or placed on
the piano; how can one love when one is caught in a vast structure
of memories? The ending of sorrow is the beginning of love.
May I repeat a story? A religious teacher had several disciples
and used to talk to them every morning about the nature of
goodness, beauty and love. And one morning, just as he is about to
begin talking, a bird comes on to the window,sill and begins to
sing, to chant. It sings for a while and disappears. The teacher says:
`The talk for this morning is over’.
NEW DELHI 1ST PUBLIC TALK 31ST
OCTOBER, 1981

If one may I would like to point out that we are not doing any kind
of propaganda for any belief, for any ideal, for any organization.
We are together considering what is taking place in the world
outside of us. We are looking at it not from an Indian point of
view, or from a European or American, or from any conclusion, or
any particular national interest, but together we are going to
observe what actually is going on in the world.
We are thinking together but not having one mind. There is a
difference between having one mind and thinking together. Having
one mind implies that we have come to some conclusion, that we
have come to certain beliefs, certain concepts. That is implied,
more or less, in having one mind. But thinking together is quite
different. Thinking together implies that you and the speaker have
a responsibility to look objectively, non-personally, at what is
going on. So we are thinking together. The speaker though he is
sitting on a platform for convenience has no authority. Please we
must be very clear on this point. He is not trying to convince you
of anything. He is not asking you to follow him. He is not your
guru, thank god! He is not advocating a particular system,
particular philosophy, but to observe together, as two friends who
have known each other for some time, who are concerned not
about their private life, which we will discuss later on, but together
they are looking at this world which seems to have gone mad. The
world that is preparing for war, where each nation is piling up
armaments, spending millions and millions and millions of dollars, or rupees, or whatever it is. There is the atom bomb, the nuclear
bomb, and also the computer. There are these two problems which
we have to face together. That means you and the speaker, non-
personally, not attached to any particular belief, to any nation, but
to observe clearly, objectively, what is happening.
The whole world is arming, spending incredible amounts of
money to destroy human beings, whether they live in America,
Europe, or Russia, or here. They are taking a disastrous course
which cannot possibly be solved by politicians. The politicians
throughout the world are making a mess of things. So we cannot
possibly rely on them, nor on the scientists. They are helping to
build up the military technology, armaments; competing one
country against another. Nor can we rely on so-called religions,
they have lost all their meaning. They have become merely verbal,
repetitive, absolutely without any meaning. It has become a
superstition, following mere tradition, whether it be five thousand
years or two thousand years. So you cannot rely on politicians who
are throughout the world seeking to maintain their position, their
power, there status. Nor can we rely on scientists because they are
inventing each year, or perhaps each week, new forms of
destruction. Nor can we look to any religion to solve this human
chaos. I hope we understand that.
And what is a human being like us to do? Is the crisis
intellectual, economic; or national, with all the poverty, confusion,
anarchy, lawlessness, terrorism, always the threat of a bomb in the
street? Realizing all that, observing all that, what is our
responsibility?
I am not at all sure that you are interested in all this. Whether you are concerned with what is happening in the world. Or are you
merely concerned with your own private salvation? Please do
consider all this very seriously. To think together, that is you and
the speaker observe objectively what is taking place not only
outwardly, but also in our consciousness, in our thinking, in the
way we live, in our action. If we are not at all concerned with the
world but only with our personal salvation, following certain
beliefs and superstitions, following gurus, then I am afraid it will
be impossible for you and the speaker to communicate with each
other. We must be clear on this point. We are not concerned at all
with private personal salvation, but we are concerned earnestly,
seriously, with what the human mind has become, what humanity
is facing, that is human beings, human beings who are not Indians,
or Russians, or Americans, human beings who are not labelled as
Indians and so on. We are concerned in looking at this world and
what part a human being living in this world has to do, what is his
role?
I do not know if you are aware, though you may read a great
deal in the newspapers, and every morning in the newspapers there
is some kind of murder, bomb, destruction, terrorism, kidnapping,
and you read it every day and you pay little attention to it. But if it
happens to you personally then you are all in a state of confusion,
misery and asking somebody else, the government or the
policeman to save you, to protect you. Right? And in this country
when you look, as the speaker has been here for the last sixty years
watching all this phenomena that is going on in this unfortune
country, poverty, which never seems to be solved, over population,
the linguistic differences, one community wanting to break away from the rest of the community, the religious differences, the gurus
who are becoming enormously rich, private aeroplanes; and you
are following all this blindly, accepting it, not being capable to do
anything about all this. These are facts. And we are not dealing
with ideas, we are dealing with facts, what is actually taking place.
And, if we are to think together, look together, observe, we
must be free of our nationalism. We are interrelated. That is, we
are human beings whether we live in America, here or anywhere.
Please realize this, how serious, urgent it all is. And has this
country become lethargic, totally indifferent to what is going on,
utterly careless, only concerned about their own little salvation,
little happiness? So in order to observe and so discover what to do,
we must think together.
The question then is: what is thinking? You understand? What
is the operation, or the process, or the content of thinking? Because
we live by thought. All the temples are put there by thought. The
inside of the temples, the images, all the puja, all the ceremonies,
are the result of thinking. All the sacred books that you have –
Upanishads, Gita and so on – are the result of thought, the
expression of thought into words, to convey what somebody else
has experienced or thought about. So the word is not sacred. No
book in the world is sacred because it is the result of thinking, of
thought. Right? That is clear. And we worship the intellect. Those
who are intellectual are apart from you and me who are not
intellectual. Their ideas, their concepts, the way they write, we
respect their intellect. And they either become bitter, angry, or
attacking, because intellect they think will solve our problems, but
it is not possible because it is like developing one arm out of proportion to the rest of the body. So neither the intellect, nor
emotions, nor romantic sentimentality is going to help us. We have
to face things as they are, to look at it very closely and the urgency
of it, we have to do something immediately, not leave it to any
scientist, politician and so on.
So are we, you and the speaker, thinking together, not agreeing
together, not having the same opinion, or judgement, but looking at
this world that human beings, you, your grandparents, we all have
contributed to this? Right?
So first of all let us look at what the human consciousness has
become, because our consciousness is what we are. What you
think, what you feel, your fears, your pleasures, your anxieties,
insecurity, your unhappiness, depressions, love, pain, sorrow and
the ultimate fear of death. That is the content of our consciousness,
which you are. Right? Your content of your consciousness makes
the human being. Unless we understand the content of that and go
beyond it, if it is possible, we shall not be able to act seriously,
fundamentally, basically, to bring about a transformation, a
mutation in this consciousness.
I hope we are communicating with each other because I am not
talking to myself. If I want to talk to myself I can do it in my room.
But please for god’s sake please let’s both of us look at all this and
find out for ourselves what to do, what is our responsibility in this
chaos. To find out what is right action we must understand the
content of our consciousness. That is clear.
If my consciousness is confused, uncertain, pressurized, driven
from one corner to the other, from one state to another, I become
more and more confused, uncertain, insecure, and from that confusion I cannot act. So I depend on somebody else, which we
have done for millions of years. I do not know if you have noticed
that as long as you are under somebody’s thumb you behave. You
were under the thumb of the British at one time, you behaved
extraordinarily well because there was fear behind that. When you
remove the thumb, we have anarchy, confusion, everybody doing
what he likes. An engine driver arrives two hours late – nobody
cares. So our thinking is based on reward and punishment. If you
are rewarded you behave properly, or if you are punished you
behave properly. Right? This is the traditional conduct of a human
being right throughout the world; it is not only in this country but
everywhere. But here it is worse, nobody seems to care.
And to bring about order, not only in ourselves, which is the
primary importance because from that order there will be outward
order. I do not know if you have noticed we are always seeking
outward order. We want order in the world established through
dictatorships, or strong governments, or through totalitarianism
dictatorship. We all want to be pressurized to behave rightly.
Remove that pressure and we become rather what we are in the
present India.
So please this is a serious talk, it is not a lecture as it is
commonly understood. This is a talk of two friends, or several
friends sitting together amicably, with affection, with care, with
their hearts and minds looking, trying to find out what they have to
do in this world, the world that has gone mad, insane, a country
like this which is so appallingly poor. You are buying four hundred
thousand million dollars worth of aeroplanes from France. You
know all this. You read it in all your papers every morning and you feel irresponsible. We feel it has gone out of our hands, out of our
control. So it becomes more and more serious on the part of the so-
called intellectuals, on those who are serious, who are facing a
terrible crisis, it becomes more and more urgent, necessary, that we
find out for ourselves, not from books, not from your gurus, or
from your ancient books, but to find out what our consciousness is
and to be able to free the content of that consciousness so that we
become truly religious people. We are not religious people, we are
becoming more and more materialistic.
So together, and the speaker means together, we are going to
examine, investigate, the content of our consciousness. That
content makes you what you are. And without understanding the
content of that you cannot possibly bring about right action, not
possibly able to face the crisis that is in front of us. Please
understand this. The speaker is not trying to convince you of
anything. This is a terribly serious matter.
So what is the content of your consciousness? What are you?
We are going to learn together what we are. The speaker is not
going to tell you what you are, but together, you and the speaker,
are going to examine what we are. Whether it is possible to
radically transform what we are. So we are going to observe first
the content of our consciousness. Right? Are you following all
this? Or are you tired at the end of the day? You know you are
under pressure all day long, all the week long: pressure at home,
pressure in your jobs, economic pressure, religious pressure,
government pressure, the gurus who impose their beliefs, their
idiocy on you. We are under pressure. And here we are not under
pressure. Please realize this. We are two friends talking over together our sorrows, our hurts, our anxieties, our uncertainty,
insecurity, and how to find security, how to be free of fear, whether
our sorrows can ever end. We are concerned about that. Because if
you don’t understand that, look at it very clearly, we will bring
about more confusion in the world, more destruction. Perhaps all of
us will be vaporized by an atom bomb. So we have to act urgently,
seriously, with all our hearts and mind. This is really very, very
important, we are facing a tremendous crisis. So together let us
look.
We have looked at the world, the world which we have created,
which thought has brought about. We must understand something
too: we have not created nature – the trees, the birds, the waters, the
rivers, the beautiful skies and the running streams, the tiger, the
marvellous tree, we have not created them. Who created it is a
different matter – don’t say god created it. How it has come about is
a different matter, it is not for the moment under view, but we have
created everything else. We have destroyed the forests, we are
destroying animals, the wild animals, millions and millions of them
we are killing every year. Certain species are disappearing. So we
have not created nature: the deer, the wolf, but thought has created
everything else. Thought has created the marvellous cathedrals, the
ancient temples and mosques and the things that are in them. And
thought having created the image in the temple, in the cathedral, in
the churches, and the inscription in the mosques, then that very
thought worships that which it has created. Do you understand all
this? You are following all this? Well, it is up to you.
So is the content of our consciousness brought about by
thought? You understand my question? Why has thought become all important in our lives? Why has thought, which is the intellect,
the capacity to invent, to write, to think, to do, thought, why has it
become important? Why has not affection, care, sympathy, love,
why have those not become extraordinarily more important than
thought? We are going to find out.
So first let us examine together what is thinking, because our
structure, both the psyche as well as outwardly is based on thought,
thinking. Please, right? So we have to examine what is thinking,
what is thought. Right? Don’t go to sleep. I may put it into words
but you are observing it, seeing it for yourself, not the speaker
indicates and then you see, it but in talking over together you see it
for yourself. Right? You all understand English, don’t you? I am
afraid I don’t speak any other language, any other Indian language.
I speak several European languages but no Indian languages. So
what is thinking? Unless we understand what is thinking very
carefully we shall not be able to understand, or observe, or have an
insight into the whole content of our consciousness, of which we
are. If I don’t understand myself, that is, my consciousness, why I
think this way, why I behave that way, my fears, my hurts, my
anxieties, my various attitudes and convictions, if I don’t
comprehend all that whatever I do will bring more confusion.
Right? That is clear.
So first I have to understand what is thinking. How do you
answer it? What is thinking to you? When I ask you that question,
somebody challenges you with that question, what is your
response, what is thinking? Why do you think? You know most of
us have become secondhand people because we read an awful lot,
go to university if you are lucky, accumulate a great deal of knowledge, information, what other people think, what other
people have said, and you quote them. You compare what is being
said with what you have already learnt. There is nothing original
but repeat, repeat, repeat. Right? So when one asks: what is
thought, what is thinking, you are incapable of answering.
Questioner: But sir, there is the problem…
K: Yes, sir, yes sir, we will go into problems presently. This is a
tremendous problem: what is thinking? And we live, act, behave
according to our thinking. We have set up this government
according to our thinking, we have wars because of our thinking –
all the cannons, the aeroplanes, the shells, the bombs, everything is
put there by thought. Thought has created the marvellous surgeons,
the extraordinary technicians, marvellous carpenters, plumbers,
thought has brought about these experts, but we have never
investigated what is thinking. So we are going to do it together. I
am not the expert, I am not your guru. I am sitting here, a little
higher up for convenience. I am not your authority or your guru.
But we are thinking together, investigating together.
So thinking is a process born out of knowledge, experience.
Listen to it quietly, first listen to me and then see if that is not true,
actual, then you discover it for yourself as though the speaker is
acting as a mirror in which you see for yourself exactly what is,
without distortion, then you can throw the mirror away or break it
up. You understand? Thinking is first, experience, knowledge,
knowledge stored up in the brain as memory, from memory the
reaction is thought and action. Experience, knowledge, memory,
stored in the brain, in the cells of the brain, then thought and
action. Right? No, please see this for yourself, not repeat what I say. This is an actual fact: experience, knowledge, memory,
thought, action; from that action you learn more. So you are caught
in this cycle. Right? You are following this? Experience,
knowledge, memory, thought, action, and from that action learning
more, so we are caught in this cycle. That is our chain. Right?
Questioner: That is reaction, not action.
K: Sir. I beg your pardon.
Questioner: That is reaction, not action.
K: It doesn’t matter. Call it reaction, action, it doesn’t matter.
This is the way we live. And we have never moved away from this
field. You may call it action, reaction, whatever you like but we
have never moved away from this field. We have always lived
within the field of the known. That’s a fact. Now the content of our
consciousness is all the things which thought has put in it. I may
think – oh, so many ugly things – I may think there is god in me,
which is again the product of thought. I may think that whatever
you think is there. So I am going to take one by one the content of
our consciousness and look at it. Most of us from childhood are
hurt, wounded, not only at home but at school, college, university
and later in life we are all wounded, hurt. And when you are hurt
you build a wall round yourself. Are you following all this? And
the consequences of that hurt are to become more and more
isolated, more and more disturbed, frightened, not to be hurt
further, and your actions from that hurt are obviously neurotic. So
that is one of the contents of your consciousness.
So what is it that is hurt? When you say, ‘I am hurt’ – not
physically but inwardly, psychologically, the psyche, what is it that
is hurt?       Questioner: I have built an image of myself and that is hurt.
K: How do you know? Are you repeating?
Questioner: No. Because I have such an image.
K: All right. Now I mustn’t enter into discussion because there
are too many people. Right sir. If you and I were alone then we can
discuss, have a dialogue, but you cannot possibly have a dialogue
with so many people, so I hope you do not mind if I do not answer
your particular question.
We are asking: what is it that is hurt? The image that you have,
or the picture that you have about yourself. All of us have images
about ourselves. Right? Either you are a great man, or a very
humble man, or you are a great politician, you follow, the pride,
the vanity, the power, the position, etc., that creates an image of
you. Or if you are a PhD, you have a certain image; if you are a
housewife you have a certain image about yourself. Everybody has
an image about himself. Right? That is an indisputable fact. And
that image gets hurt and thought has identified or created that
image. Right? And that image gets hurt. You are following all this?
So is it possible – please listen – is it possible not to have an image
about yourself at all? See what happens when you have an image
about yourself: you create a division between each other. Look at it
carefully. I will go into it.
What is your relationship with your wife? Have you any
relationship with your wife, with your neighbour, with your rulers?
When you ask what is relationship – suppose I am married – thank
god I am not – but suppose I am married – please listen, this is
important. Don’t laugh it away, for god’s sake look at it carefully, it
is your life. We are wasting our lives, we are destroying our lives. It is important to understand relationship because we are
interrelated to the world. You are not only related to your wife, to
your neighbour, to your children but you are related to the whole
human species. One has to understand very deeply what is
relationship. Is it merely sensory, sexual relationship? Or is it
merely romantic, convenient companionship? You cook and I go to
the office. You bear children and I work from morning until night
for the next fifty years, until I retire, in a beastly little office. And
that is called living. So I must find out very clearly, carefully, what
is relationship. Because if my relationship is based on hurt then I
am using the lady or the man to escape from that hurt. Right? I
wonder if you see all this. So I must look at relationship. If I am
married, what is my relationship to my wife? Is it based on mutual
images? You understand? I have created an image about her and
she has created an image about me, and the relationship is between
these two images which thought has put together. Right? Do you
understand all this? So is thought love? Is desire love? Is pleasure
love? You may say, no, no, you shake your head but actually you
never find out, never investigate, go into it.
So together we will discover what is relationship, and in that
relationship can there be no conflict at all? You understand my
question? We live in conflict from morning until night, why? Is
that part of our nature, part of our tradition, part of our religion? Or
each one has an image about himself: my wife has an image about
herself, and I have an image about myself, she has not only an
image about herself, she has other images: her ambition, the desire
to be something or other. And also I have my ambitions, my
competitiveness. You follow? So we are running parallel, like two railway lines running parallel, never meeting, except perhaps in
bed but never meeting at any other level. You are understanding all
this? What a tragedy it has become. For god’s sake wake up.
Questioner: (Inaudible)
K: Oh, golly, how eager you are to ask questions. You don’t
even listen. You are ready to ask. You don’t look at yourself. You
don’t want to find out what your relationship is. What your
relationship to the world is.
Questioner: (Inaudible)
K: Sir, please forgive me, we cannot possibly answer your
question, or this gentleman’s question, remarks, if I do then we
enter into something quite different. We are two friends, talking
over together. So please it is important to understand this question
of relationship. The world outside is interrelated, you are not
separate from the rest of the world. You are the rest of the world.
They are suffering, they have great anxieties, fears, they are
threatened by war, as you are threatened by war. They are
accumulating vast armaments to destroy each other and we never
realize how interrelated we are. I may be a Muslim and you may be
a Hindu, but my tradition says, ‘I am a Muslim’ – which is I have
been programmed like a computer to repeat ‘I am a Muslim’ and
you repeat ‘I am a Hindu’. You understand what thought has done?
So it is very important to look at our relationship, not only my
intimate relationship but also my relationship with the rest of the
world. The rest of the world is like you, modified, educated
differently, superficial manners, perhaps affluent or not but the
same reactions, the same pains, the same anxieties, the same fears.
That is why, please give your mind, your heart to find out what your relationship is with the world, with your neighbour and with
yourself, with your wife or husband. If it is based on images,
pictures, remembrances then there will be inevitably conflict with
your wife, with your husband, with your neighbour, with the
Muslim, with Pakistan, with Russia. You follow? You don’t see the
urgency of all this. And the content of your consciousness is the
hurt which you have not resolved, which has not been completely
wiped away, it has left scars and from those scars you have various
forms of fears which ultimately leads to isolation, because each
one of us is isolated, through tradition, religious traditions, through
education, through this idea that you must always succeed,
succeed, succeed, become something. And also in our relationship
with each other, intimate or otherwise, whether you live here or
live in America or Russia, we are interrelated. So the world is you
and you are the world. You may have a different name, different
form, different kind of education, different position, but inwardly
we all suffer, we all go through great agonies, shed tears,
frightened of death, great sense of insecurity, without any love,
compassion.
So how do you observe, or listen to this fact? You understand?
That is, how do you listen to what is being said? The speaker is
saying that you are the rest of mankind deeply, you may be dark,
you may be short, you may put on saris, but those are all
superficial educated traditions, but inwardly the common, the flow,
whether I am an American, a Russian or Indian, the flow is the
same. The movement of human beings is similar. Right? So we are
the world and the world is you very profoundly. And one has to
realize this relationship. You understand I am using the word ‘realize’ in the sense that you must be able to observe it and see the
actual fact of it.
So from that arises the question: how do you observe? How do
you look at things? How do you look at your wife? Or your
husband, or your Prime Minister? How do you look at a tree? You
understand? Because the art of observation has to be learnt. Oh
god, there is so much to talk about. All right. How do you observe
me? You are sitting there, how do you look at me? What is your
reaction? Do you look at me, at the speaker because he has got a
reputation? What is your reaction when you see a man like me? Or
are you merely satisfied by looking at the reputation he has, which
may be nonsensical, it generally is, how he has come to this point
to address so many people, whether he is important and what you
can get out him. He can’t give you any government jobs, he can’t
give you money because he has no money. He can’t give you any
honours, any status, any position, or guide you, tell you what to do.
How do you look at him? Have you looked at anybody freely,
openly, without any word, without any image?
Questioner: Probably never.
K: Never. Have you looked at a tree, the beauty of a tree, the
flutter of the leaves? So can we learn together how to observe?
You cannot observe, not only visually, optically, if your mind is
occupied. Right? As most of our minds are occupied: the article I
have to write next day, I am occupied with my cooking, I am
occupied with my job, I am occupied about sex, I am occupied
about how to meditate, I am occupied about what other people
might say. So my mind is occupied, from morning until night. Now
can such a mind, being occupied, observe anything? You are following? If I am occupied with becoming a marvellous carpenter,
not a politician, not a guru – just a carpenter, a master carpenter,
not one of your amateur carpenters who is not really an artist – if I
want to be a first-class carpenter I have to know the texture of the
wood, I have to know the instruments, how to use the instruments,
I have to study how to put joints together without a nail and so on
and so on. So my mind is occupied. Or if I am neurotic my mind is
occupied with sex, or becoming a success. So how can I, being
occupied, observe? Right? So is it possible not to be occupied all
the time? I am occupied when I have to talk, when I have to write
something or other, but the rest of the time why should I be
occupied? You understand this?
This leads to a very important question, which is – you know
something about computers, you have heard of them? The
computers can be programmed as we human beings are
programmed, the computers can be programmed. Take for
instance, it can learn, think faster, more accurately than man. It can
play with a grand chess master. After being defeated four times,
the master beats the computer four times, on the fifth time or sixth
time the computer beats the master. The computer can do
extraordinary things. I won’t go into all that. It has been
programmed. You understand? It can invent, create new machines
which will be better programmed than the first programme. A
machine that will be ultimately intelligent, not created by man. The
machine will itself create the ultimate intelligent machine. You
don’t know anything. Please, the speaker has been talking,
discussing with a great many computer experts in California and
other places, and what is going to happen to man. You understand? What is going to happen to man, or to woman, when the computer
takes the whole thing over? The Encyclopaedia Britannica can be
put in a little chip and it contains all that knowledge. So what place
has knowledge in a human life?
So we are saying our brains are occupied, never still. So to learn
how to observe your wife, your neighbour, your government, the
poverty, the brutality of poverty, the beastliness of wars, there must
be freedom to observe. You see we object to being free because we
are frightened to be free, to stand alone. So that is one of the things
in our consciousness: hurt, relationship, this immense occupation.
Now you have listened to the speaker for nearly an hour and a
quarter. Right? What have you heard? Or what have you gathered?
Words, ideas, which ultimately have no meaning? Right? But what
have you gathered? Have you seen for yourself, never to be hurt?
That means never to have an image about yourself. And have you
seen the importance, the urgency of understanding the relationship
and having a mind that is not occupied? You understand? When it
is not occupied it is extraordinarily free, it sees great beauty. But
the shoddy little mind, the secondhand little mind is always
occupied, about knowledge, about becoming something or other,
enquiring, discussing, arguing, never a quiet, free, unoccupied
mind. When there is such a mind, out of that freedom comes
supreme intelligence, not out of thought.
So tomorrow we will continue with the content of our
consciousness.
NEW DELHI 4TH PUBLIC TALK 8TH
NOVEMBER, 1981

This is the last talk. We were going to talk over together the
question of meditation. Before we go into that question, the last
three talks have been, if you have followed them earnestly and
seriously, bringing about order in our house. The order in which
we do not live, we live in disorder, as we talked about it yesterday;
and we went into the question of desire, freedom from fear, and the
nature of pleasure, and also we talked yesterday about the ending
of sorrow, and from that ending passion, not lust, passion, love and
compassion arise, with the ending of sorrow. And that compassion
has its own immense energy, great intelligence. That is what we
talked about yesterday evening.
We ought to discuss or share together, perhaps that is the right
word, share together what is discipline. Because most in the world
are not disciplined in the sense that they are not learning. The word
‘discipline’ comes from the word disciple, the disciple who learns,
whose mind is learning, not from a particular person, a guru, or
from a preacher, or teacher, or from books, he is learning through
the observation of his own mind, of his own heart, learning from
his own actions. And that learning requires certain discipline, not
conformity as most disciplines are understood. Conformity,
obedience and imitation, so that you are never in the act of
learning, you are merely following. Whereas the word discipline is
to learn, learn from the very complex mind one has, from life of
daily existence, learn about relationship with each other so the
mind is always pliable, active. So we ought to understand when we are going to share together what meditation is, we must understand
this question of discipline.
Ordinary discipline implies conflict: conforming to a pattern,
like a soldier, conforming to an ideal, conforming to a certain
statement in the sacred books and so on and so on. Where there is
conflict there must be friction, there must be wastage of energy. I
hope we are sharing all this together. It is not a question of
agreeing or disagreeing with what is being said. But together we
are sharing in this question of discipline and responsibility. And in
understanding conflict, a mind, or your heart, if it is in conflict it
can never possibly meditate. We will go into that. It is not a mere
statement which you accept or deny, but we are enquiring together
into this question.
We have lived for millennia upon millennia in conflict,
conforming, obeying, imitating, repeating, so that our minds have
become extraordinarily dull. We have become secondhand people
because we are always quoting somebody else, what somebody
said or did not say. So we have lost the capacity, the energy to
learn from our own actions, for which we are utterly responsible,
not society or environment, or politicians, we are responsible
entirely for that, and from there learn. And in learning we discover
so much more because we are after all, every human being
throughout the world, in him is the story of mankind; the mankind
is his anxiety, his fears, his loneliness, his despairs, his sorrows,
pain, this tremendous complex history is in us, If you know how to
read that book then you don’t have to read a single book except
books on technology. But we are negligent, we are not diligent in
learning from ourselves, from our actions. And so we are not responsible for our actions, we are not responsible for what is
happening throughout the world and what is happening in this
unfortunate country. So if we share together this question of
discipline then we can go to the next problem, the next question.
As we said, we must put our house in order and nobody on
earth, or in heaven, is going to put our house in order, neither your
gurus, nor your vows, nor your devotion because our house is in
disorder: the way we live, the way we think, the way we act.
Unless that house is in order, which is to understand disorder,
which we went into yesterday, how can a mind that is in disorder
perceive that which is total order, as the universe is in total
complete order?
And also we ought to share together the question of beauty. You
might ask what has beauty to do with a religious mind? You might
ask all our tradition, our rituals and so on have never talked about
beauty. So meditation is part of the understanding of beauty, not
the beauty of a woman or a man, but what is beauty? We must
understand this very deeply because it doesn’t exist except in
tradition, in ancient sculpture in this country. We only too willingly
destroy trees, birds, flowers. So we must enquire together, share
together, this question of what is beauty. We are not talking about
the beauty of a person, a face, it has its own beauty, but what is
actually the essence of beauty? Because most monks and sannyasis
and those religiously inclined minds totally disregard this. They
become hardened towards their environment. Once it happened
that we were staying in the Himalayas with some friends and there
were a group of sannyasis in front of us, going down the path,
chanting; they never looked at the trees, never looked at the beauty of the earth, the beauty of the blue sky, the birds, the flowers, the
running waters, but were totally concerned with their own
salvation, with their own entertainment. And that custom, that
tradition, has been going on for a thousand years. A man who is
supposed to be religious must shun, put aside all beauty; and our
lives become dull, without any aesthetic sense because beauty is
one of the delights of truth.
So what is beauty? I hope you have the energy this evening to
sit quietly to go into it even though we may speak an hour and a
half because we have to deal with a great many things this evening.
Have you ever noticed when you give a toy to a child who has
been chattering, naughty, playing around, shouting, when you give
a child a complicated toy he is totally absorbed in it, he is very
quiet, enjoying the mechanics of it. There the toy has absorbed the
child. Follow all this please, step by step, if you will, because we
are sharing this thing together. The toy has absorbed the mischief
of the playing of the child, he becomes completely concentrated,
completely involved with that toy. And we grown-up people, we
have toys of belief, we have toys of ideals, we have toys of every
kind, which absorb us. If you worship some image, and all images
are created by the hand or the mind, there is no image on earth
which is sacred because they are all made by your hand and by
your mind, by your thought. And when we are so absorbed, as the
child is absorbed in a toy, we become extraordinarily quiet, gentle.
And when you see a marvellous mountain, snowcapped against the
blue hills, blue sky and the deep shadow in the valleys, that great
grandeur, majesty of a mountain absorbs you completely, for a
moment you are completely silent because the majesty of that mountain takes you over, you forget yourself by the beauty of that
line against the blue sky.
So surely beauty is where you are not. You understand what has
been said? The essence of beauty is the absence of the self. And the
question of meditation is having put the house in order to meditate,
that is the word to ponder over, to think over, to enquire into the
abnegation of the self.
And also we ought to share together the energy, the energy that
is required in meditation. You need tremendous energy to meditate.
So we ought to go into that question of energy. Friction is not
energy. When we are in our daily life there is a great deal of
friction, conflict between people, the work which we don’t like to
do, there is a wastage of energy. Please we are sharing together,
this is not a lecture. This is a conversation between us, a
conversation between two friends who are enquiring into this
complex problem of meditation and what is religion? And to
enquire really most profoundly, not superficially, not verbally, but
go very deeply into oneself, into one’s mind, why we live as we do,
wasting immense energy.
Meditation is the release of creative energy, which we will go
into. So first let us look at what we call religion. Religion has
played an immense part in history. From the beginning of time man
has struggled to find out what truth is. And the accepted religion of
the modern world is no religion at all, it is merely vain repetition of
phrases, gibberish nonsense, it is a form of personal entertainment
without much meaning. All the rituals, all the gods, specially in
this country where there are I don’t know how many thousands of
gods, all the gods are invented by thought, all the rituals are put together by thought. And what thought creates is not sacred, but we
attribute what thought has created in the image the qualities that we
like that image to have. So we are worshipping unconsciously
ourselves. You understand this? What thought has created in the
temples, in the rituals, in the pujas, and all that business, and what
thought has invented in the Christian churches, is all put together
by thought, invented by thought. And that which thought has
created we then worship it. Just see the irony, the deception, the
dishonesty of this!
So the religions of the world have completely lost their
meaning. All the intellectuals – forgive me using that word – all the
intellectuals in the world shun it, run away from it. And when you
use the words the ‘religious mind’, which the speaker uses very
often, they say, ‘Why do you use that word religion?’
Etymologically the root meaning of that word is not very clear.
Originally it meant to bind, to bind with that which is noble, with
that which is great, and to be bounded to that which is great you
had to live a very diligent, scrupulous honest life. All that is gone.
We have lost our integrity. So what is religion? If you discard all
the present existing religious traditions and their images, their
symbols, then what is religion? To find out what is a religious
mind, your mind to have the sense of religiosity, one must find out
what truth is. Truth has no path to it. There is no path. You have to
find out. Your mind with compassion, with its intelligence, will
come upon that which is eternally true. But there is no direction,
there is no captain to tell you in this ocean of life, or give you
direction. You, as a human being, have to discover this. So you
cannot belong to any cult, to any group, whether they are Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, or whatever they are, you have to abandon all that
if you want to come upon truth. And it is the religious mind that
doesn’t belong to any organization, to any group, to any sect, it has
the quality of a global mind.
So religion, a religious mind is a mind that is utterly free from
all attachment, from all conclusions, concepts, it is dealing only
with what actually is, not, what should be, what must be. It is
dealing everyday of one’s life with what actually is happening both
outwardly and definitely inwardly, to understand the whole
complex problem of living. So the mind must be free from
prejudice, from tradition, from all the sense of direction too,
because to come upon truth you need a clarity of mind, not a
confused mind.
So we have talked about discipline, we have talked about
beauty, which doesn’t exist in our hearts or in our minds. How can
one live without this quality of beauty, which is love. You may
accumulate all the pictures in the world, go to all the museums, see
the latest painter, or read the latest poem, but if you have no beauty
in your heart, in your mind, which is the essence of love, one has
wasted one’s life.
So having put order in our life, let’s then examine, share
together, what is meditation? Not how to meditate, that is an
absurd question. When you ask how, you want a system, a method,
a design carefully laid out. See what happens – please do pay
attention to all this – see what happens when you are following a
method, a system. Why do you want a system, a method? It is the
easiest way isn’t it, to follow somebody who says, ‘I will tell you
how to meditate’. When anybody tells you how to meditate he doesn’t know what meditation is. The man who says, ‘I know’,
doesn’t know. But in enquiring into this really very, very complex
question of meditation we must first of all see how destructive a
system of meditation is, whether it is Zen meditation, or the dozen
forms of meditation that apparently you have invented, or in the
West they are all concerned with the form of meditation – how you
should sit, how you should breathe, how you should do this, that
and the other. And we poor fools follow them. Because if you
observe that when you practise something repeatedly over and over
again your mind becomes mechanical, which already is mechanical
and you add more mechanical routine to it. So gradually your mind
atrophies. Please do pay attention to what the speaker is saying. It
is like a pianist practising the wrong note. So if you see the truth
that no system, no method, no practice, will ever lead to truth, then
you abandon all these as fallacious, unnecessary.
So we must also enquire when we meditate, when you do, if
you do, this whole problem of control. Most of us control our
responses, our reactions, we try to suppress, control desires, we try
to shape our desires. There is always the controller and the
controlled. We never ask: who is the controller, and what is that
that we are controlling in so-called meditation? Who is the
controller, who tries to control his thought, his ways of thinking
and so on? Who is the controller? The controller surely is that
entity which has determined to practise, to control, the entity. Now
who is that entity? That entity is put there by the past, by thought,
by reward and punishment. So the controller is the past. Right? Are
you following all this? That controller is trying to control his
thoughts but the controller is the controlled. Do you see this? Look: this is all so childish really. When you are envious, jealous, violent,
when you are envious you have separated envy from yourself.
Then you say, ‘I must control envy, I must suppress it’ – or
rationalize and so on. But you are not separate from envy, you are
envy. Envy is not separate from you. Right? That is so obvious.
And yet we play this trick, that we try to control envy as though it
was something separate from us. So please listen: can you live a
life without a single control, which doesn’t mean indulging in
whatever you want. Please put this question to yourself: whether
you can live a life, which is already so disastrous, so mechanical,
so repetitive, whether you can live without a single sense of
control. That can only happen when you perceive clearly every
action. When you give your attention to every thought that arises,
not just indulge in it, every reaction. When you give complete
attention to all that then you will find out that you can live a life
without a single conflict. Do you know what that means to a mind
that has never had conflict, or understood conflict and lives without
a single shadow of conflict? It means complete freedom. And one
must have that total freedom to enquire or come upon that which is
eternally true.
And also we should talk over, share together, the qualitative
difference between concentration and attention. Most of us know
concentration. We learn it at school, in college, in university, to
concentrate. The boy looks out of the window in the school and the
teacher says, ‘Concentrate on your book.’ And so we know what it
means. To concentrate implies bringing all your energy to focus on
a certain point, and thought wanders away, so you have a perpetual
battle between the desire to concentrate, to give all your energy to look at a page, but your mind is wandering, and you try to control
it. Whereas attention has no control, no concentration. It is
complete attending, which means giving all your energy, your
nerves, your capacity of the energy of the brain, your heart,
everything, giving attention to something. Probably you have never
done it. Probably you have never so completely attended. You
know when you attend so completely there is no recording. You
understand my statement? For god’s sake! When you are attending
the brain doesn’t record. Whereas when you are concentrating,
making effort, the brain is recording and therefore you are always
acting from memory, like a gramophone record repeating. You
understand all this?
Whereas if you know, if you understand the nature of a brain
that needs no recording except what is necessary. It is necessary to
record where I live. It is necessary to record various activities of
life. But not to record psychologically, inwardly, either the insult,
the flattery, all that, nothing to record inwardly. Have you ever
done it? Have you ever tried it? It is all so new to you. So that the
brain and the mind is entirely free, entirely free from all
conditioning, because our brains, our minds are conditioned
through education, through culture, through environmental
influences, by the food, by the clothes, by the climate, our minds
are conditioned. We are Hindus, or Muslims, or Sikhs, or some rot
like that.
So we are all slaves to tradition and we think we are all so
totally different from each other. We are not. We all go through
great miseries, unhappiness, shed tears, we are all human beings.
not Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Russians and all the rest of it – those are all labels without meaning.
So the mind must be totally free. That means one has to stand
completely alone. And to stand alone we are frightened.
And meditation apparently is a lot of repetition of mantras,
prayers, and all that. You mean to say by repeating some words, a
mantra, you are going to achieve something? What happens when
you constantly repeat, repeat, repeat? You might just as well repeat
Coco Cola, only you pay for them more than for the Coco Cola, or
Pepsi Cola, or whatever it is. No, please see what your mind has
become, for god’s sake look at it. So none of those, whatever the
mantra, whatever the word – the word is never the thing, the
symbol is never the actual – so the mind must be free from all that.
Then we can proceed. Then the mind becomes utterly still, not
controlled. And meditation then is a mind which is completely
religious, not this phoney religion, but a mind that is not only free
but enquiring into the nature of truth. There is no guide to truth, no
path to truth. And it is only the silent mind, the mind that is free,
that can find out, can come upon what which is beyond time.
There are different forms of silence: the silence between two
noises, the silence between two notes, the silence between two
thoughts, the silence that you desire, that you cultivate, by practice,
by control, those are all artificial, cultivated silences of thought and
desire. So one must enquire into what is silence? Have you noticed,
if you have observed yourself that your mind is eternally
chattering, eternally occupied with something or other. If you are a
Sannyasi your mind is occupied with god, with prayers, with this,
with that. If you are a housewife, it is occupied with the next meal,
what you are going to have, how to utilize this and that, it is occupied. If you are a businessman, you know what that is. And if
you are a politician, then you also know exactly what they are.
(Laughter) Don’t laugh please, it is not a matter of laughing. You
are not observing your own life. And the priest is occupied with his
own nonsense. So our minds are all the time occupied. An
occupied mind has no space. And space is necessary.
So let’s find out what space is. Space is from one point to
another point, which is from here to there, space also implies time.
Right? Space implies an emptiness. And that which is empty has
immense energy. So we have to enquire, share together, the nature
of silence. You can make your mind silent through a drug, by some
chemical pill, you can make your thought slow down by some
chemical intake so the thought becomes quieter and quieter. Those
are all experimental ways of making the mind quiet, silent. But that
silence is concerned with sound. Are you all interested in all this?
Does it means anything to you, all this? Or am I just prattling to
myself? Have you ever enquired what it is to have a mind that is
absolutely silent without a movement, a mind that is not recording
except those things that are necessary? So that your psyche, your
inward nature becomes absolutely still. Have you enquired into all
that? Or are you merely caught in the stream of tradition, in the
stream of work, labour, and worrying about tomorrow?
So where there is silence there is space, not from one point to
another point. Where there is silence there is no point but only
silence. And that silence has that extraordinary energy of the
universe. Just a minute, I will go into it.
The universe – you know what the word universe is – it has no
cause, it exists. This is a scientific fact. No cause. But we human beings have causes. And through analysis you can discover the
cause of poverty in this country, or in other countries, you can find
out the cause of over population, the lack of birth control, you can
find out the cause why human beings have divided themselves into
Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus, and all the rest of it. You can find out the
cause of your anxiety, you can find out the cause for your
loneliness. But you may find the cause through analysis but you
never are free from the causation. You are following? All our
action is based on reward or punishment, however finely subtle,
however deeply flattering. That is, our actions are based on that,
which is a causation, a cause.
So to understand order of the universe, which is without cause,
is it possible to live a daily life without any cause? And that is
supreme order. Then out of that order you have creative energy.
The technicians, the inventors, the scientists have certain limited
energy of creation. Have you ever noticed the scientists of this
world? They are specialized, they know their subject extraordinary
well, and in that area, in that field they live. They may have wives
and children and all the rest of it, but that is all secondhand, that is
all part of a necessary life but the mind is occupied, inventive,
theorizing, a hypothesis, testing it, moving it further. And we are
talking about creative energy, not the scientific inventive energy.
Meditation is to release that creative energy, not through some
kind of awakening of Kundalini, and all that kind of stuff, those
who talk about Kundalini don’t know what it is. You don’t talk
about those things.
So we have to enquire what is this creative energy, because we
have lost it. We have lost it completely. Have you ever noticed that those who go out of this country, some of them, the Indians, are
doing extraordinarily well: they are great scientists, great
businessmen away from this country. Haven’t you noticed it? There
are a great many writers now, outside. I do not call those creative
energy. Creative energy is necessary for a religion, because
religion transforms social order, historically it is so. Every culture
is born anew out of a new religion, not in the old repetition of dead
tradition. So it is immensely important to know, to understand the
depth and the beauty of meditation.
And man has always been asking, from timeless time, whether
there is something beyond all thought, beyond all romantic
inventions, beyond all time? He has always been asking is there
something beyond all this suffering, beyond all this chaos, beyond
the wars, beyond the battle between human beings, is there
something that is immovable, sacred, utterly pure, untouched by
any thought, by any experience? This has been the enquiry of
serious religious people, from the ancient of days. To find that out,
to come upon it, meditation is necessary. Not the repetitive
meditation, that is utterly meaningless. There is a creative energy
which is truly religious energy, when the mind is free from all
conflict, from all the travail of thought. Thought has its place – I
couldn’t go from here to the house if I didn’t think. Thought is
necessary, as knowledge is necessary at a certain level. But in the
enquiry into the origin of all things, the beginning of all things, we
say, ‘Yes, God’ – that is an easy word but god is the invention of
man, the invention of thought, you have created god, god hasn’t
created you. If god created you to lead a miserable life, god is not
worth it. You understand? Apparently god wants you to live a rotten life, but god is the invention of thought. We have attributed
to it all our noble sentiments. But to find out beyond god, to come
upon that which has no beginning, no end, that is the real depth of
meditation and the beauty of it. That requires freedom from all
conditioning.
So what is the origin of all this? What is the origin of all our
sorrows, what is the origin of all our suffering, aching, anxiety,
seeking security? There is complete security in compassionate
intelligence. Total security. But we want security in ideas, in
beliefs, in concepts, in ideals, we hold on to them, that is our
security. However false, however irrational it is. So where there is
compassion there is supreme intelligence, there is security, if one is
seeking security. When you are compassionate, when there is that
intelligence, there is no question of security.
So there is an origin, the original ground from which all things
start, and that original ground is not the word. The word is never
the thing. And meditation is to come upon that ground, which is the
origin of all things, and which is free from all time. This is the way
of meditation. And blessed is he who finds it.
MADRAS 2ND PUBLIC TALK 27TH DECEMBER
1981

May we continue with what we were talking about yesterday
evening? I am afraid that noise has been going on all day, you will
have to put up with it. Appropo of that so-called music, you have
had Muslim rule over seven hundred years in this country. They
didn’t make any dent on the Hindu mind. Then you have had one
hundred and fifty years of British rule. Perhaps they made a little
dent on the Hindu mind. Since you have had freedom for the last
nearly forty years you have torn everything to pieces. You have
had five to three thousand years of so-called culture, and the
moment you have had freedom, whatever that word may mean to
most of you, you have torn that cloth that was woven during those
three thousand, five thousand years, torn it all to pieces, and you
are living in a state of chaos, without any kind of culture, without
any kind of responsibility, without any integrity. And that is the
result: worshipping local gods, tribal superstitions, even the so-
called fairly educated people.
So after having said that with regard to that noise, which is
called music, let’s proceed with what we were talking about
yesterday. I hope that is all right. Unfortunately the wind is
blowing from that direction.
We were talking yesterday about conflict. We were asking
whether human beings who have lived on this beautiful earth, with
all the vast treasures of this earth, with their mountains, rivers and
lakes, during all these millennia human beings have lived in
perpetual conflict. Not only outwardly with the environment, with nature, but also with each other, and inwardly, so-called spiritually,
we have been in constant conflict, from the moment we are born
until we die we are in conflict. And we put up with it; we have
become accustomed to it; we tolerate it. We find many reasons
why we should live in conflict, because we think conflict, struggle,
ever striving means progress: outward progress, or inward
achievement towards the highest goal. There are various forms of
conflict: the man who is struggling to achieve some result, the man
who is in conflict, struggles with nature, trying to conquer it.
(Noise of music) I am so sorry – what you have reduced this
country to, such a beautiful country, India is: lovely hills,
marvellous mountains, tremendous rivers. Three thousand to five
thousand years of human suffering, human struggle, obeying,
accepting, destroying each other, and this is what we have reduced
it to: a wilderness of wild thoughtless human beings, who do not
care for the earth, nor for the lovely things of the earth, nor the
beauty of a lake, a pond, of the swift running river, none of us
seem to care. All that we are concerned with is our own little
selves, our own little problem. And this, after three to five
thousand years of so-called culture. I wonder if you realize what
you as human beings have done in this country. It is most
unfortunate that all this has to be said. One wants to cry with what
we are doing in this country; what other countries are doing,
perhaps more or less the same – the other countries also have loud
music, nonsensical entertainments, but when we are concerned
with this country we shouldn’t compare with other countries. That
is a political escape, not facing facts.
And we are going to face facts this afternoon. Because life has become extraordinarily dangerous, insecure, utterly without any
meaning. You may invent a lot of meanings, significance, but
actual daily life – it may be lived for thirty, forty, hundred years it
has lost all meaning except to gather money, to be somebody, to be
powerful and so on. I am afraid this has to be said.
As we were saying yesterday, no politicians, or any politics,
whether it is left, right or centre, is going to solve any of our
problems. Politicians are not interested in solving problems. They
are only concerned with themselves and keeping their position.
And the gurus and religions have betrayed man. You have
followed the Upanishads, read them rather, the Upanishads, the
Brahmasutras and Bhagvad Gita, and it’s the guru’s game to read
them aloud to an audience that are supposed to be enlightened,
intelligent. So you cannot possibly rely on the politicians, that is,
government; nor upon the religious scriptures, not upon any guru
whatsoever because they have made this country what it is now. If
one seeks further leadership they will also lead you up the wrong
path. That is what we were saying yesterday afternoon. And as no
one can help us, no one, we have to be responsible for ourselves
totally, completely: responsible for our conduct, for our behaviour,
for our actions and all that.
And we are going to talk about conflict this afternoon: whether
it is possible to live in a world that is becoming more and more
chaotic, more and more insecure and dangerous, whether we can be
free of conflict both outwardly and inwardly. Please, as we said
yesterday, this is not a lecture but rather that we are together,
perhaps with my little help, we are together investigating,
exploring whether we can live without a single conflict in our life. And it is necessary and important to find out if we can so live.
(More loud noise of music) I think the wind will die down!
One must ask after all this millennia, why human beings have
not solved the problem of struggle, conflict amongst themselves,
with each other, in themselves? This is a very important question to
ask: why we admit to and succumb to conflict? You know what
conflict is? The struggle to become something, or not to become
something, the struggle to achieve a result, personal advancement,
personal success, try to fulfil something of your desires; the
conflict of war, the preparations for war, of which you may not be
aware. They are inventing dreadful machines to kill each other, kill
us, and the competition involved in our desires to succeed. The
conflict between man and woman, sexually in their daily
relationship. Apparently this conflict is not only conscious, if one
is at all aware but also deep down in the very recesses of our mind:
conflict of pretension, trying to be something when you are not,
conflict that exists in trying to achieve heaven, god, or whatever
you like to call that thing that you adore, worship, conflict in
meditation, struggle to meditate, struggle against lethargy,
indolence. So our life is from the very beginning, from the time we
are born until we die, it is a perpetual conflict. We are in conflict
with that. (Noise of music) And they don’t care whether other
human beings suffer from their music, to their noise. It is not
music.
So we must find out together why man, you as a human being,
representing all the world – we went into that a little yesterday, you
are the rest of the world – why we human beings have tolerated, put
up with, become habituated to conflict? Please don’t go to sleep. We are thinking over together most seriously whether it is possible
to completely be free of all conflict; because conflict, consciously
or unconsciously will inevitably bring about a society that is
ourselves extended. Society is not an abstraction, it is not an idea,
society is relationship between man and man. If that relationship is
in conflict, painful, depressing, anxious, painful, then we create a
society which represents us. It is a fact. Please look at it carefully.
Society isn’t something out there. Society, the idea of society, the
idea is not actual society; society is what we are with each other.
And we are asking whether this conflict can ever end?
What is conflict? When conflict is, when we do not accept what
actually is, and escape to something called an ideal, the opposite of
‘what is’, then conflict is inevitable. Are we meeting each other?
That is, when I am incapable of looking actually and observing
what actually I am doing, thinking, acting, this is ‘what is; and I
project an ideal, so there is conflict between ‘what is’ and ‘what
should be’. You are following all this? I hope so. Sir, I am not
talking for my pleasure. I am not trying to fulfil myself in talking,
or build up a kind of reputation. I don’t believe in any of those
things. We are talking to convey, if we are serious, that there is a
way of living in which there is not a spot of conflict. If you are
interested in it, if you are concerned about it, if you want to find
out a way of living that is without that sense of vain effort, then
please do listen carefully, not to what I am saying, not to what the
speaker is saying, but listen to the fact, the truth of what is being
said, which is your own observation because we are together
investigating. It is not what the speaker is pointing out but together
we are looking. Please do pay attention to this. It is no fun for the speaker just to talk to blank faces, or people who are bored. Since
you have taken the trouble to come and sit here under the beautiful
trees, it is nice, but we are here to talk over together serious
matters.
So we were saying conflict exists when we disregard what is
actually taking place and translate what is taking place in terms of
an ideal, in terms of ‘what should be’, in a concept which we have
accepted, or which we ourselves have created. So when there is a
division between ‘what is’ and ‘what should be’ there must
inevitably be conflict. This is a law. Not the speaker’s law but it is
the law; like an apple or a fruit falls from the tree, that is a law; so
similarly this is a law. So we are going to investigate why human
beings have never faced ‘what is’ and are always trying to escape
from that.
This country has always talked about non-violence. That is
right, isn’t it? (Noise of birds) Even the birds agree! This has been
preached over and over again, politically, religiously, by all the
various leaders that you have had – non-violence: which is not a
fact, just an idea, a theory, a set of words, but the actual fact is that
you are violent. That is the fact. That’s what is. And we are not
capable of understanding ‘what is’ and that is why we create this
nonsense called non-violence. Right? So that becomes a conflict
between ‘what is’ and ‘what should be’. And while you are pursuing
non-violence you are sowing the seeds of violence all the time.
That is again so obvious. So can we together look at ‘what is’
without any escape, without any ideals, without suppressing or
escaping from ‘what is’? We are by inheritance from the animal,
from the ape and so on, we are violent. Violence takes many forms, not merely brutal action, hitting each other; violence is a very
complicated issue. Violence is imitation, conformity, obedience;
violence is when you are not and pretend what you are supposed to
be; that is a form of violence. Please see the reason of all this, the
logic of all this. It is not just that we are making statements for you
to accept or deny. We are walking down a path, in a forest, in the
lovely woods, together and investigating, talking over together like
two friends, about violence. And so we are talking about it
amicably, without any persuasion, without any sense of resolution
of the problem. We are talking together, we are observing together.
We are walking along the same path, not your path or my path but
the path of investigation into these problems.
We are violent. That is a fact. We get angry, we conform, we
imitate, we follow, we are aggressive and aggression takes many
forms – a polite, gentle aggressiveness, with a kid glove,
persuading you through affection. That is a form of violence.
Compelling you to think along a particular line, that is violence.
Violence is the acceptance of something that you are not. So please
understand violence isn’t just getting angry or beating up each
other, that is nothing, that is a very shallow form of violence.
Violence is very, very complex and to understand it, to go into the
very depths of it, one must see the fact first and not, «We should be
non-violent». I hope this is very clear. We are communicating with
each other, therefore if there is no understanding in our
communication we must stop and go back. Communication means
understanding together of a particular problem, using the words, as
we are talking in English, that we both understand.
There is only ‘what is’, which is violence, and not non-violence, that is non-fact, not a reality, it is a projection of thought to escape,
or to accept violence and pretend that we are becoming non-
violent. This country has played that game for centuries. So can we
look at violence freed from all that: from escape, from ideals, from
suppression, but actually observe what violence is.
So we have to learn together how to observe. We are not
teaching you, you are not the speaker’s followers, he is not your
guru, thank god; but we are merely walking together, investigating,
there is no superior or inferior in this investigation. There is no
authority in this investigation, but when your mind is crippled with
authority, as you are, it is very difficult to be free of all that and
look at violence. So it is important to understand how to observe.
To observe what is happening in the world: the misery, the
confusion, the hypocrisy, the lack of integrity, the brutal actions
that are going on in the world, the terrorists, the people who are
taking hostages and the gurus who have their own particular
concentration camps. Please, don’t laugh, you are part of all that. It
is all violence. How can anyone say, «I know, follow me»? That is
a scandalous statement. So we are together observing what
violence is. So we are asking: what is it to observe? What is it to
observe the environment around you; the trees, that pond in the
corner there, made beautiful within this year, the stars, the new
moon, the solitary Venus alone, the evening star by itself, the glory
of a sunset, how do you watch it, if you have ever watched at all?
You cannot watch, observe if you are occupied with yourself, with
your own problems, with your own ideas, with your own complex
thinking, you cannot observe. Right? You cannot observe if you
have prejudice, or if there is any kind of conclusion which you hold on to, or your particular experience that you cling to, then it is
impossible to observe. So how do you observe a tree, this
marvellous thing called a tree, the beauty of it, how do you look at
it? How do you look at it now as you are sitting there surrounded
by these trees? Have you ever watched them? Have you seen their
leaves, fluttering in the wind, the beauty of the light on the leaf,
have you ever watched it? So can you watch a tree, or the new
moon, or the single star in the heavens, without the word, the
moon, the star, the sky, without the word? Because the word is not
the actual star, the actual moon. So can you put aside the word and
look? Right? That is outwardly.
Can you look at your wife without the word? Without all the
remembrance of your relationship however intimate it has been,
without all that builtup memory of ten days, or ten years, or fifty
years, can you look at your wife, or your husband, without the
memory of the past? Have you ever done it? Of course not. So will
you please let us learn together how to look, how to observe a
flower. If you know how to look at a flower, that contains eternity.
Don’t be carried away by my words. If you know how to look at a
star, a dense forest, then you see in that observation there is space,
timeless eternity. So we must together find out how to observe: to
observe your wife or your husband without the image you have
created about her or about him. You must begin very close – you
understand – you must begin very close in order to go very far. But
if you don’t begin very close you can never go very far. If you want
to climb the mountain or go to the next village on your feet, the
first steps matter, how you walk, with what grace, with what ease,
with what felicity. So we are saying that to go very, very far, which is eternity, you must begin very close, which is your relationship
with your wife and husband. Can you look, observe with clear eyes
your wife or your husband, without the words ‘My wife’, or ‘my
husband’, ‘My nephew’, or ‘My son’, without the word, without all
the accumulated hurts with all the remembrance of things past, can
you look? Do it now as you are sitting there, observe. And when
you are capable of observing without the past, that is all the images
you have built about yourself and about her, then there is right
relationship between you and her.
Now, as we have not observed each other, it is like two railway
lines never meeting. That’s our relationship. I wonder if you are
aware of all this? If you are aware what actually our relationship is.
We are together learning how to observe that tree, sitting next to
your neighbour, the colour of the shirt, the colour of the sari, the
type of the face, observe without criticism, without like or dislike,
just to observe. Now when such observation takes place can you
look at your violence; violence being anger, irritation, conformity,
acceptance, getting used to some noise, some dirt, the squalor
around your houses, can you look at all that? So when you so look
you bring all your energy, you bring all your energy to observe,
and when you so observe your violence you will find, if you have
gone into it, if you do it, that violence because you have brought all
your energy to observe, that violence totally disappears. Don’t
repeat, if I may most respectfully request, don’t repeat what you
have heard. By repeating what the speaker has said you become
secondhand human beings. By repeating the Upanishads, the
Brahmasutras and all the printed books, you have made yourself
secondhand human beings. You don’t seem to mind, do you? You are not even ashamed of it, you just accept it. That acceptance is
part of this complex problem of violence.
So we are saying that it is possible to live without conflict,
when there is no duality. There is no duality now, not when you
reach a certain state of consciousness. There is no actual duality,
there is only ‘what is’. You understand? Duality only exists when
you deny, or try to escape from ‘what is’ into ‘what is not’. Is this
clear? Are we all together in this matter? I know your philosophy,
Vedanta and all that stuff, I don’t know anything about it, but
people have talked to me a great deal about all these matters,
pundits, scholars and ordinary people, they live in duality. Right?
Not physical duality, there is man, woman, tall, short, light skin,
dark skin, you know all that, that is not duality. But the idea that
conflict is necessary because we live in duality and therefore those
who are free from the opposite are the enlightened people. You
invent a philosophy around that. And you read about it, accept it,
read all the commentaries and you are stuck where you are.
Whereas the speaker is saying there is no duality actually; not
when you reach spiritual heights, you will never reach spiritual
heights if you have dualities now, not in some future incarnation or
at the end of your life. The speaker is saying there is only ‘what is’,
there is nothing else. ‘What is’ is the only fact. Its opposite is non-
fact, it has no reality. I hope this is very clear, even logically, with
reason. If you are exercising your reason, your capacity to think
logically, ‘what is’ is more important to understand than ‘what
should be’. And ‘what should be’ we cling to because we don’t
know how to deal with ‘what is’. We use the opposites as a lever to
free ourselves from ‘what is’. You are following all this? I hope you are.
So there is only ‘what is’ and therefore there is no duality, there
is no opposite: there is only greed and not non-greed. When you
understand the depth of violence without escaping from it, running
away to some idiotic ideals, as non-violence, when you look at it,
when you observe it very closely, which is to bring all the energy
which you have wasted in pursuing the opposite, which is a
wastage of energy, when you try to suppress it, it is a wastage of
energy which is conflict. But when you observe ‘what is’ there is no
conflict. Please understand this.
Suppose I am envious, envious of you who are very clever,
bright, intelligent, sensitive, see the beauty of the earth and the
glory of the sky, and I don’t see it. And you enjoy this lovely earth
and to me it means nothing. Then I want to be like you. So I begin
to imitate you, the way you walk, the way you look, the way you
smile, the way you look at the heavens. I am greedy. Right? But I
have been educated from childhood not to be greedy. The ‘not’ is
the opposite of what I am. I have been educated, conditioned, all
the books have said there is duality, or some books – that is not
important, the books have said it. And I have accepted it. And it is
very difficult for me to break that conditioning, so I begin to
discuss with you, cleverly; there is duality, books have said it, my
guru has told me. So my conditioning from childhood prevents the
understanding of this very simple fact, which is, there is only ‘what
is’. Goodness is not the opposite of the bad. If good is born out of
the bad then goodness contains the bad. You understand? Think it
out sirs, work at it. Let’s exercise our brains. So to always live with
‘what is’, with what actually is going on outwardly and inwardly. When I am envious, I live with that fact, I observe it. Again envy is
a very complex process, part of competition, the desire for
advancement, politically, religiously, business. And I have been
brought up in that; to break that tradition in which I have been
brought up demands a great deal of observation, not run away to
the opposite of tradition. Just to observe what tradition is. You
understand all this? I hope the speaker is making it all very clear.
You are all traditional people. That is, you are repeating
psychologically, even intellectually what you have been told. Your
whole religion is based on that. And there they are.
So when once you see the fact, that there is only ‘what is’, and to
observe with all the energy that you have, that fact, then you will
see that fact has no value or importance, it is totally non existent.
You are following this?
Look sirs: one has been told from childhood to be good. The
word ‘good’ is an old fashioned word, but it is really a beautiful
word. Good means to be correct; correct in your speech, correct in
your behaviour, not according to an idea of what is correct. Correct
means to be precise, accurate, not pretentious. I am not good –
suppose I am not. And my parents, my teacher, my educator says,
«Be good» – so I have created a conflict between I am and what I
should be. I don’t understand the meaning of that word, because
that word again is very, very subtle, it demands a great deal of
investigation into that word. Good means also to be completely
honest, to have great integrity, which means one behaves not
according to some tradition, fashion, but behaving with the sense
of integrity, which has its own intelligence.
And also goodness means to be holistic, to be whole, not fragmented. I am all that, fragmented – suppose I am – fragmented,
traditional, brought up in this chaotic tradition. What is important
is not what is goodness, why my brain is caught in tradition – that
is more important than being good. You understand? So I have to
understand why the brain, which is again very, very subtle, has
great depth to it in itself, why such a brain has followed tradition. It
has followed because it is safe, there is security because I am
following what my parents have said and so on, that gives one a
sense of safety, protection – a false protection: I think it is safe but
it is unreal, it is illusory, and I won’t listen to you because I am
frightened to be without tradition. Which means to live with all
your attention.
So it is possible, if you go into it very carefully, to live a life
without a shadow of conflict. Because those of you who believe in
god, I am sure you all do, don’t you, if god created you he must
have meant that you must have a rotten life – right? But you have
created god; that is a fact. God is your ultimate security and you
believe in that. See what thought has done: created an image of god
and then you worship that god which is self worship. You
understand? Oh, you people don’t. Then you begin to ask who
created the earth, who created the heavens, the universe and so on.
So your tradition begins to destroy the human mind. It is a
repetition, it becomes mechanical, it has no vitality, except to earn
money, go to the office every morning for the rest of your life and
then die at the end of it.
So it is important to find out whether you, as a human being,
who is the rest of humanity – we went into that the other day, your
consciousness is the consciousness of the rest of man because every man throughout the world suffers, is anxious, depressed,
lonely, uncertain, confused like you; your consciousness is like any
other consciousness. And so when you live without a single
conflict but only living everyday with ‘what is’ and observing ‘what
is’, not only out there but inwardly, then you will create a society
that will be without conflict. Right sirs.
OJAI 1ST PUBLIC TALK 1ST MAY 1982

I would like to point out, if I may, this is not a weekend
entertainment. We are going to deal with the whole of life, with all
its complex problems, and not a particular subject. This is not a
lecture; that is, to talk about a particular subject in view of giving
information.
I think it would be good if we could, from the very beginning of
these talks – and there will be, I believe, six of them and four
question and answer meetings – if we could from the very
beginning understand that we are not instructing anybody anything;
we are not bringing up some kind of ideas or beliefs or some
conclusions to convince you of anything. This is not a propaganda;
but rather, if we could, during all these talks, think over together,
observe together, listen to the whole movement of one life, whether
it is in South Africa, South America, Europe or America or Asia.
We are dealing with a very, very complex problem that needs to be
studied very carefully, hesitantly, without any direction, without
any motive, to observe, if we can, the whole outward happening of
our life. Because if we don’t understand what is happening outside
of us, which is the measure by which we will be able to understand
ourselves, if we do not understand what is actually going on in the
world, the external world, outside the skin as it were, outside the
psychological field, we will have no measure by which to observe
ourselves.
So first, if we may, let us together observe. I mean by that word
to look carefully without any bias, as an America or Argentine or
British, or French or Russian, to observe – or Asia, forgot, sorry – to observe without any motive; which is rather difficult. To see
clearly, if we can, what is going on. As one observes and travels
around the world, there is a great deal of dissension, discord,
disagreement, disorder; a great deal of confusion, uncertainty; there
are the demonstrations against one particular form of war. There is
terrorism; the preparation for wars; spending untold money on
armaments. There are the national divisions: one nation against
another preparing for eventual war. And there are the religious
sectarian divisions: the Catholic, the Protestant, the Hindu, the
Islamic world, the Buddhist. And there is this constant division in
the world. Where there is division there must be dissension,
conflict. We see this all over the world.
And there is the national honour, for which one is proud and
willing to kill others. There are the various sects, gurus, with their
particular following. There is the spiritual authority: the Catholic
world, the Protestant world, not so much in the Buddhist and the
Hindu world, but there is the authority of the book in the Islam. So
wherever there is this dissension, disorder, there is not only
conflict, destruction of each other, and the attachment to a
particular nationality, hoping thereby to find some kind of security,
physical outward security. This is the phenomenon that is taking
place in the world, of which one is sure that we all observe the
same thing: one group against another group. And so there is
isolation taking place, not only for each human being, but the
isolation of groups. Which is, bound by a belief, by a faith, by
some ideological conclusion, as in the totalitarian states and in the
so-called democratic world with their ideals; so the ideals, beliefs,
dogmas, rituals are separating mankind.       This is actually what is going on in the world. The external
world is the result of our own psychological world. This outward
world is created by each one of us. Because we are isolated human
beings. We have our own particular profession, our own particular
belief, our conclusions and experiences, to which we cling, and so
gradually each one is isolating himself. There is self-centred
activity, which is expressed outwardly as the nation, belonging to
some religious group, whether that group has 700 million people as
the Catholic world has, each one of us is isolating himself. And so
we are producing or creating a world externally through
nationalism, which is a glorified form of tribalism; and each tribe is
willing to kill another tribe for their belief, for their land, for their
economic trade and so on, and so on, and so on.
We all know this; at least, those of us who are aware; who listen
to all the radios, television, newspapers and so on. And there are
those who say, this cannot be changed at all, there is no possibility
of human conditioning being transformed. The world has been
going on like this for thousands and thousands of years and this
world is created by the human condition and that condition can
never possibly be transformed, bring about a mutation in itself.
They assert that there can be modification, slight change, but man
will ever be what he is; in conflict with each other, murdering each
other; and bringing about a division in himself and in the world.
And there are those who have tried social reform of various
kinds all over the world; but they too have not brought about deep
fundamental mutation in the human consciousness. This is the state
of the world. And how do we look at it? What is our response to it,
as human beings? Not to the technological world; the computers, and all those extraordinary things the human brain is inventing; but
what is actually our relationship, not only with each other but with
this external world; what is our responsibility? Do we leave it to
the politicians? Do we seek new leaders? Please, this is a very
serious problem which we are discussing, talking over together.
New saviours, or go back to the old tradition, because human
beings, unable to solve this problem, return to the old habitual
tradition of the past? Which is also what is happening. The more
there is confusion in the world, the more desire and urge to return
to some past illusions, past tradition, past leaders, past so-called
saviours.
So if one is aware of all this, as one must; what is our response
to all this? Not a partial but total response to the whole phenomena
that is going on, taking place in the world. Do we only consider our
own personal lives? How to live a quiet, serene, undisturbed life in
some corner; or are we concerned with the total human existence,
with the total humanity? If we are only concerned with our own
particular life, however troublesome it is, however limited it is,
however much it is sorrowful and painful, then one does not realize
the part is the whole. So one has to look at life, not the American
life or the Asiatic life, but life as a whole; holistic observation. The
observation that is not a particular observation; it’s not my
observation or your particular observation, but the observation that
comprehends the totality, the holistic view of life. Each one of us
has been concerned with his own particular problems: problems of
more money, no job, seeking one’s own fulfillment, seeking
everlastingly pleasure; frightened, isolated, lonely, depressed,
suffering, and creating, being personal, a saviour outside who will transform or bring about a salvation for ourselves, for each one of
us. This tradition has been going on in the Western world for two
thousand years: and the Asiatic world, which is probably the
explosion from India or the East, has also maintained the same
thing in different words, different symbols, different pictures,
different conclusions: but it is the same individual’s search for his
own salvation, for his own particular happiness, to resolve his
many complex problems. That what each one of us is trying to do.
If we cannot solve our particular problem, there are the
specialists of various kinds, psychological specialists to whom one
goes to resolve our problems. They too have not succeeded. Nor
the scientists. On the contrary. Technologically the scientists have
helped enormously – less disease, better communication, sanitation
and so on and so on. And also the scientists are maintaining the
war. Scientists are responsible for all the gadgets of war. They are
responsible for murdering millions and millions of people at one
blow. So scientists are not going to save mankind, nor the
politicians, whether in the East or West, or in the middle part of the
world. They seek power, position, and they play all kinds of tricks
on human thought. You know all this. And in the Western world
we elect them – god knows how we elect them. And in the Russian
world you don’t, they are a totalitarian dictatorship, complete
prison. And it is exactly the same thing in the religious world, so-
called religious world. The authority of the hierarchy, the authority
of the pope, the bishops, the archbishop and the local priest in the
name of some image which thought has created. And we, as human
beings separated, isolated, we haven’t been able to solve our
problems. We are highly educated, cunning, self-centred, capable of extraordinary things outwardly. But inwardly we are more or
less what we have been for a million years: we hate, we compete,
we destroy each other; which is what is going on actually at the
present moment. You have heard the experts talking about the
recent war, they are not talking about human beings being killed,
but destroying airfields, blowing up this or that. So there is this
total confusion in the world, of which one is quite sure we are all
aware of.
And from that arises the question: what shall we do? As a friend
once some time ago told the speaker, you can’t do anything. You
are beating your head against a wall. It will go on like this for the
next million years; fight, kill, destroy each other, competition,
caught in various forms of illusion. This will go on. Don’t waste
your life and time. This tragedy, the terrifying events that may
happen by some crazy person pressing a button; or the computer
taking over man’s capacities, thinking much quicker, more
accurately; and the computer too may destroy the human being, the
human mind, the human brain; because the computer, the robot can
do all kinds of things as they are doing in Japan. So what is going
to happen to human beings? So this is the vast problem which we
are facing.
And our education from childhood till we pass, if we are lucky,
through college, university, is to specialize in some form or
another, accumulate a lot of knowledge, store it up in the brain and
act, get a job and hold on to the job skilfully, if you can, for the rest
of one’s life; going to the office, from morning till the evening and
dying at the end of it all. This is not a pessimistic attitude or
observation; this is what actually is going on. When one observes the actuality, the fact, one is neither depressed, optimistic or
pessimistic, it is so.
And one asks, if one is at all serious and responsible: what is
one to do? Retire into monasteries? Form some commune? Go off
to Asia and pursue Zen meditation or other forms of meditation?
One is asking seriously this question. When you are confronted
with this crisis in consciousness, the crisis is not over there outside
of us. The crisis is in us. You know that saying, «we have seen the
enemy and the enemy is us».
So the crisis is not economic, war, the bomb, the politicians, the
scientists, but the crisis is within us, the crisis is in our
consciousness. Until we understand very profoundly the nature of
that consciousness, and question, delve deeply into it and find out
for ourselves whether there can be a total mutation in that
consciousness, the world will go on creating more misery, more
confusion, more horror. So our responsibility is not some kind of
altruistic action, political, or economic, but to comprehend the
nature of our being; why we human beings, we have lived on this
beautiful lovely earth, why we have become like this.
So if you are willing, if it is your responsibility, we can perceive
together the nature of our consciousness, the nature of our being.
This is not, as we said, a lecture. A lecture being a dissertation on a
particular subject giving or pointing out information; that’s what
one means by a lecture. But here we are trying together, you and
the speaker together, not separately, together, to observe the
movement of this consciousness and its relationship to the world,
whether that consciousness is individual, separate, or that
consciousness is the whole of mankind. Do you understand? We are educated from childhood to be individuals, with your separate
soul – if you believe in that kind of stuff – or you have been trained,
educated, conditioned to think as an individual. We think because
you have a separate name, separate form, that is dark, light, tall,
short, fair, black, and so on, and your particular tendency, we think
we are separate individuals, our own particular experiences and so
on. Now we are going to question that very idea: whether we are
individuals.
It doesn’t mean that we are a kind of amorphous beings, but
actually are we individuals, though the whole world maintains,
both religiously and in other ways, that we are separate individuals.
And from that concept, and perhaps from that illusion, each one of
us trying to fulfil, become something. In that becoming something
we are competing against another, fighting another. So if we
maintain that way of life, we must inevitably cling to nationalities,
tribalism, war. Why do we hold on to nationalism? The passion
behind it; which is what is happening now – the British against the
Argentines, the Jew against the Arab, Arab against the Jew, and so
on. Why do we give such extraordinary passionate importance to
nationalism; which is essentially tribalism? Why? Is it because in
tribalism, holding on to the tribe, to the group, there is certain
security; not only physical security but psychological security,
inward sense of completeness, fullness. If that is so, then the other
tribe also feels the same; and hence division and hence war,
conflict.
If one actually sees the truth of this, not theoretically; and if one
wants to live on this earth, which is our earth, not yours or mine,
American or the Russian or the Hindu, it’s our earth to live on, then there is no nationalism at all. There is only human existence. One
life; it’s not your life or my life, it’s living the whole of life. And
this tradition of individuality has been perpetuated by religions
both in the East and in the West; individual saviour for each
individual, and so on, so on. Now is this so? You know, it is very
good to doubt, very good to have a mind that questions, doesn’t
accept; a mind that says, we cannot possibly live any more like
this, in this brutal, violent manner. So doubt, questioning, has
extraordinary importance; not just accept the way of life one has
lived perhaps for 50, 60 or 30 years, or the way one has lived for a
million years. So we are questioning the reality of individuality. Is
your consciousness – do we understand by the meaning of that
word, to be conscious, the content of your consciousness, to be
conscious means to be aware, to know, to perceive, to observe – is
your consciousness with its content, the content being your belief,
your pleasure, your experience, your particular knowledge which
you have gathered, either through some particular external subject
or the knowledge you have gathered about yourself, your fears, the
attachments, the pain, the agony of loneliness, the sorrow, the
search for something more than mere physical existence; all that is
one’s consciousness with its content, the content makes the
consciousness. Without content there is not the consciousness as
we know it. Here there is no room for argument. It is so. Your
consciousness, which is very complex, contradictory, with such
extraordinary vitality, that consciousness, is it yours? Is thought
yours? Or there is only thinking, which is neither East nor West,
there is only thinking, which is common to all mankind, whether
they are rich or poor, technically, technicians with their extraordinary capacity, or the monk who withdraws from the world
and is consecrating himself to an idea, is still thinking.
Is this consciousness common to all mankind – common in the
sense not degrading? Is this consciousness yours or also the rest of
mankind? Wherever one goes, one sees suffering, pain, anxiety,
loneliness, insanity, fear, seeking security, caught in knowledge;
the urge of desire, loneliness, it is common, it is the ground on
which every human being stands. Your consciousness is the
consciousness of humanity, the rest of humanity. It’s logical; you
may disagree; you may say, my consciousness is separate, and it
must be separate; but is it so? If one understands the nature of this,
that you are the rest of mankind, though we may have a different
name, we may live in different parts of the world, educated in
different ways, affluent or very poor, when you go behind the mask
deeply, you are like the rest of mankind: aching, loneliness,
suffering, despair, neurotic; belief, believing in some illusion, and
so on. Whether you go to the East or West, this is so. You may not
like it; you may like to think that you are totally independent, free
individual. But when you observe very deeply, you are the rest of
humanity. You may accept this as an idea, an abstraction, as a
marvellous concept; but idea is not the actual. An abstraction is not
what actually is taking place. But most of us make an abstraction
of ‘what is’ into an idea, and then pursue the idea, which is really
non-factual.
So, if that is so, that is, if my consciousness and yours, with all
its content – the content in itself is contradictory, confused,
struggling against each other; fact and non-fact; wanting to be
happy, being unhappy; wanting peace, living without violence and yet being violent – our consciousness in itself is disorder. It is the
root of dissension. And until we understand, go into it very deeply,
and discover total order, we shall have always disorder in the
world.
So a serious person, I mean by that word, not easily dissuaded
from the pursuit of understanding, the pursuit of delving deeply
into himself, into his consciousness, which is the common
consciousness of all man; a man who is not easily persuaded by
amusement, entertainment, which is perhaps sometimes necessary,
but to pursue consistently every day into the nature of man, that is,
into yourself, to observe what is actually going on within oneself;
and from that observation action takes place. Not, what shall I do
as a separate human being, but action which comes out of total,
holistic observation of life. By that word holistic we mean, a
healthy, sane, rational, logical, and a perception that is whole,
which is holy, h-o-l-y. We are using that word in that sense,
holistic. Now is this possible? Is it possible for a human being like
us who are laymen, not specialists, laymen, is it possible for us to
look at this, look at the contradictory, confusing consciousness as a
whole; or must we take each part of it? Please just listen for a few
minutes, if you are interested.
I want to understand myself, my consciousness. I know from
the very beginning it’s very contradictory; wanting one thing, and
not wanting the other thing; saying one thing and doing another. I
know belief separates man. I believe in whatever it is, Jesus or
Krishna or something, or I believe in my own experience which I
hold on to; or the knowledge which I have accumulated through 60
years or 40 years or 10 years, that becomes extraordinarily important. I cling to that. So I recognize belief destroys and divides
people. And yet I can’t give it up because belief has strange vitality.
It gives me a certain sense of security. I believe in god, there’s an
extraordinary strength in that. But god is invented by man. If we
are all, as some people believe, we are all the children of god, god
must be an extraordinary human being, extraordinary person,
because if we observe what we are, we are miserable entities, and
god must be also rather miserable about all this.
So god is the projection of our own thought, our own demands,
our own hopeless despair and opposite of all that. Or I believe in
some form of gurus, you know, all that, belief. Why do we have
beliefs at all? A mind that is crippled by belief is an unhealthy
mind. There must be freedom. That’s again a very complex
problem; what is freedom? – which we won’t go into now. So, is it
possible for me, for you, to delve deeply into this consciousness,
not persuaded, not guided by psychologists, psychiatrists and so
on, to delve deeply into ourselves and find out; so that we don’t
depend on anybody, including the speaker. In asking that question,
how shall we know the intricacies, the contradictions, the whole
movement of consciousness? Shall we know it bit by bit, take for
instance, we took just now belief. And also in our consciousness,
we are hurt. Each human being from childhood is hurt. Is hurt by
the parents, psychologically I am talking about. Hurt in the school,
through comparison, through competition, through saying, you
must be first-class at this subject, and so on, in college, university,
and life, this constant process of being hurt. We all know this. We
are all human beings, we are hurt, deeply; of which we may not be
conscious. And, from that hurt, there are all forms of neurotic actions. That’s part of our consciousness; part of our hidden or
open awareness that one is hurt.
Now is it possible not to be hurt at all? Because it’s a very
important question to ask. Because the consequences of being hurt
are building a wall round oneself, withdrawing in our relationship
with each other in order not to be hurt more. In that there is fear, a
gradual isolation. Now we are asking: is it possible not only to be
free of past hurts but also never to be hurt again; not through
callousness, through indifference, through total disregard of all
relationship, but rather enquire why and what is it that is being
hurt? This hurt is, as we said, part of our consciousness; from
which various neurotic contradictory actions take place. So we are
examining, as we examined belief, we are examining hurt, which is
part of our consciousness – please, it is not something outside of us,
it’s part of us. Now what is it that is hurt and is it possible never to
be hurt? Do you understand, a human being that’s free, total, never
to be hurt by anything psychologically, inwardly? Isn’t it an
important question? And what is that is hurt? We say, that is me, I
am hurt. What is that me? From childhood one has built up, built
an image of oneself. We have many, many images; not only the
images that people give us, but also the images that we ourselves
have built: as an American, that’s an image; as a Hindu, as a
specialist. So, the ‘me’ is the image that I have built about myself,
as a great man, or I am very good at this or that, and that image
gets hurt. Right?
You have an image: you are a marvellous cook, a marvellous
carpenter, great talker; I am not! Great talker, writer, spiritual
being, a leader; we have created these images for ourselves. We have other images, which we won’t go into for the moment. These
images are the whole of me; when I say I am hurt, we mean the
image is hurt. If I have an image about myself – which I have not –
if I have one, you come along and tell me, don’t be an idiot, I get
hurt. That is, the image which I have built about myself as not
being an idiot, a silly ass, you come along and say, you are, and
that hurts me. And I carry that image, that hurt, for the rest of my
life. Careful not to be hurt, warding off any statement of my idiocy.
(Laughter) Don’t laugh; it’s your problem, not mine. Please, it’s
very serious, because the consequences of being hurt are very
complex. And from that hurt we may want to fulfil, we may want
to become this or that to escape from this terrible hurt. So one has
to understand it. And is it possible not to have an image about
oneself at all? Why do you have images about yourself? You may
look very nice, bright, intelligent, clear-faced, and I want to be like
you; and if I am not, I get hurt. So comparison may be one of the
factors of being hurt, psychologically. Then, why do we compare?
You understand all these questions?
So can one live a life in the modern world without a single
image? The speaker may say, it is possible; it can be done. But that
requires the understanding of relationship. What is relationship? –
Have we got time to go into that? We have talked over an hour.
You must be tired. If you are treating this as an entertainment,
intellectual or otherwise, then it is just an amusement, something to
do on Saturday morning. But if you are serious, in the deep sense
of that word, committed to the solution of the human problems,
then your brain must be as active as that of the speaker, not just
accept a lot of words. Perhaps some of you are not used to all of this; because we think along the old traditional lines, habits, and
take the easiest way of life. But this requires a great deal of energy;
so that you find out whether it is possible never to be hurt. And
whether it is possible to live a life without a single belief; which is
dividing the world and human beings and so destroying each other.
The South Americans believe in one thing and the Asiatic, the
Western world believes something else. The ideas, the ideals, the
ideologies, are destroying human beings. So whether one can live
without a single belief; and to discover, never to be hurt, which
means not to have an image about yourself; as a Hindu, as a
Buddhist, as a Catholic, as a Protestant, as a professor; you may
profess, you may teach, you may inform, but the image you have
created about yourself as a professor, not what you profess, you
understand? Is that possible? That’s real freedom.
And it is possible when I am called an idiot, because I’ve an
image about myself, if I have one – to give total attention to that
statement as it is said. You understand? When I have an image
about myself, and you call me an idiot, I react instantly. The
reaction is immediate. As the reaction is immediate, to give
attention to that immediacy. You understand? Am I making myself
clear? That is, to listen very clearly to the idea that I am an idiot.
You called me an idiot; to listen to it attentively, when you listen
completely, there is no reaction. It is the lack of listening acutely
that creates the image. Have you understood this? Suppose I have
an image myself about myself, because I have travelled all over the
world etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. I have an image about myself.
You come along and say, look, old boy, you’re not as good as the
other guru, or the other leader, or some other teacher, some other idiot. You are in yourself an idiot. I listen to that completely, give
complete attention to what is being said. When there is total
attention, there is no forming of a centre. It’s only inattention that
creates the centre. You have understood this?
Can one give such attention? You understand? A mind which
has been so slack, a brain which has been confused, disturbed,
neurotic, which has never actually faced anything, which has never
demanded of itself its highest capacity; which is total attention.
And when there is total attention to the statement that I am an idiot,
it has lost totally all its significance. Because when there is
attention there is not a centre which is reacting.
I have finished for this morning. I believe we meet tomorrow
morning. May I get up please?
SAANEN 3RD PUBLIC TALK 15TH JULY 1982

May we continue where we left off the day before yesterday? We
were talking about causation and the effects of that cause. We
always apparently are concerned with the effects, the results, and
try to change or modify the results, the effects. But apparently we
never enquire very deeply into the cause of these effects. We went
into that a little bit the other day and I think it is important to go
into them quite deeply.
We also said that intelligence has no cause. And all our actions,
our ways of thinking have always a ground, a reason, a motive.
And if one ends the cause then what is beyond cause? That’s what
we were talking about the day before yesterday. One hopes you
will not mind being reminded again that the speaker is totally,
completely anonymous. The speaker is not important. What is said
is important and to find out for oneself if what is being said is true
or false depends on one’s intelligence. We said intelligence is the
uncovering of the false and totally rejecting the false. So please
bear in mind during all these talks and question and answer
meetings that together, in co-operation, we are investigating,
examining, exploring into these problems. The speaker is not
exploring but you are exploring with him. So there is no question
of following him. There is no authority invested in him. I think this
must be said over and over again as most of us are prone, have a
tendency to follow, to accept, specially from those whom you think
somewhat different or spiritually advanced, or all that nonsense. So
please, if one may repeat it over and over again, because our minds
and our brains are conditioned to follow, as you follow a professor in a university, he informs you and you accept because he certainly
knows mathematics more than perhaps we do. But here it is not a
matter of that kind. We are not informing you. We are not urging
you to accept those things that are said, but rather together in co-
operation investigate into these human problems, which are very
complex, need a great deal of observation, a great deal of energy
and enquiry. But if you merely follow you are only following the
image that you have created about him or about the symbolic
meaning of the words. So please bear in mind all these facts.
So we are going to enquire together what is intelligence? We
are not defining what is intelligence. The dictionary probably has
several meanings to it. Intelligence according to accepted good
dictionaries, says it is gathering together information, reading
between the lines, which are all the activity of thought. And is
thought intelligent? Is thought, our thinking, the way we act, the
whole social, moral world in which we live, or immoral world in
which we live – is all that the activity of intelligence? Then we
begin to enquire into what is intelligence? We said one of the
factors is to uncover, explore, not say this is false and reject it, but
explore the nature of the false because in the understanding of the
false, in the uncovering of that which is illusion, there is the truth
which is intelligence.
So we have inquired together, together, into the nature of
intelligence. Has intelligence a cause? Thought has a cause – right?
One thinks because one – the very word ‘because’ implies causation
– one thinks because one has past experiences, past accumulated
information and knowledge, that knowledge is never complete, that
knowledge must go hand in hand with ignorance, and from this ground of knowledge with its ignorance thought is born. And that
thought must be partial, limited, fragmented because it is the
outcome of knowledge, and as knowledge can never be complete at
any time, therefore thought must be incomplete, insufficient,
limited. And we use that thought not recognizing the limitation of
it, and living in thought and creating thoughts, the things which
thought has created and worshipping the things that thought has
created. Thought has created wars and the instruments of war.
Thought has created the whole technological world, the terror and
so on. We have gone into that previously.
So is thought, the activity of thought, which is to compare, to
identify, to fulfil, to seek satisfaction, to seek security, which is the
result, the cause of thinking – and is thought intelligent? Please,
you understand my question? Don’t wait for the speaker to tell us;
we are together looking at this question of thought, its place, its
activity in relationship to intelligence. We live by thought,
yesterday, tomorrow and today. Is this movement from the past
through the present, to the future, which is the movement of time
and thought, that movement with its cunningness, with its capacity
to adjust itself as no other animal does except a human being – is
that movement of thought born of the past, is that intelligence?
Will that produce confusion?
So thought has a causation, obviously. I want to build a house; I
want to drive a car; I want to be powerful, well-known. I am dull,
but I’ll be clever. I will achieve, I will fulfil – all that is the
movement of the centre from which thought arises. Right? It is so
obvious. Through the obvious we are going to penetrate which may
be different. But first we must be very clear of the obvious, that which has a cause and an effect, that effect may be immediate or
postponed. The movement from the cause to the effect is time. Are
you listening?
I have done something in the past which was not correct; it is
not correct because of various causes, and the effect of that may be
that I pay for it immediately, or perhaps five years later. So where
there is a cause and there is an effect, the interval, whether it is the
shortest interval, a second or years, is the movement of time. So is
intelligence the movement of time? Please think it over, examine it
because this is not a verbal clarification, it is not a verbal
explanation, but the perception of the reality of it, the truth of it.
Because we are going to go into various aspects of our life, our
daily living, not some Utopian concept, or some ideological
conclusion according to which we shall act, but in investigating our
lives, our lives are the lives of all humanity, it is not my life or
your life, life is a tremendous movement and in that movement we
have separated a part of it and call ourselves individuals. We went
into that the other day very carefully.
So we are saying, asking, where there is a cause there is an
ending. If I have tuberculosis the cause is my coughing and the
blood and all the rest of it, and that cause can be cured and the
effect will disappear. Please follow this carefully, examine this
carefully – I won’t use the word follow, forgive me. We are saying
where there is a cause the effect can be ended with the ending of
cause. Right? And all our life is the movement of causation: I like
you, you are my friend. You flatter me, I am delighted. I flatter
you. You say something unpleasant, I hate you. In all this
movement there is a causation – right? Of course. We are asking: is there a life, a living without causation? We must understand first
the implications of ending. You understand? I end anger or greed
in order to achieve something else. I love you because you are my
audience. That is, you flatter me, I fulfil myself in talking to you,
and I feel sad or depressed when there is no audience. So there is
always a cause and an ending. So we are enquiring: what is it to
end? Is ending a continuation, a continuation? I end something and
begin something else, which is another form of the same thing. Are
you following? We must go slowly, we must go into it very
carefully.
You see to go into this very deeply one has to understand the
conflict of the opposites – right? The conflict of duality. I am
greedy, one is greedy and for various, social, economic, moral
reasons one must end it. In the ending of it there is a cause because
I want something else. The something else is the result of the
cause. I have not really ended the greed, but I have replaced the
greed by something else – right? I am violent, one is violent by
nature because that violence has been inherited from the animal
and so on, we won’t go into that. We are violent human beings. The
cause of that violence may be very complex but the result of that
complex causation is violence. I want to end violence because I
think it is too stupid. And so in ending I am trying to find a field
which is non-violent, which has no shadow of violence in it. But I
haven’t really ended violence, only I have transmuted or translated
that feeling into another feeling but the feeling is the same. Have
you got it? I wonder if you capture this? Are we co-operating
together in this? We will put it in ten different ways.
You see if thought has cause, which it has, then the ending of cause doesn’t mean thoughtlessness. Or something totally different.
If it is something totally different then it has no cause – right?
Please understand this. Don’t go to sleep please. This is not an
intellectual entertainment or verbal exchange, but if we go into it
very carefully, deeply, it will affect our daily life because that may
be the ending of conflict. Because our life is in conflict, our
consciousness is in conflict, it is messy, confused, contradictory.
And our consciousness is the result of thought – right? And because
thought has a causation our consciousness has a cause. And what
has a cause, and the movement of that cause as effect is time. We
went into that. Is there a way of observing without cause? You
understand my question? I want to observe all my complex life, my
contradictions, one’s imitation, conformity, the various conclusions
with their opposites, all that is a movement of causation – right? Of
course. I can end that causation by will, by a desire to have an
orderly life. The orderly life may be born out of a causation – right?
Because I am disorderly. So when discovering the disorderliness of
my life and wishing to have an orderly life that orderly life has a
causation, and therefore it is not orderly – right? Is this clear?
It is a very complex subject and I hope you will have patience to
go into it.
So has intelligence a cause? Obviously not. Right? I will go into
it. What is order? There is the order of law based upon various
experiences, judgements, necessities, convenience, to keep out the
ill-doers and so on. So what we call order, social order, ethical
order, political order and so on has essentially a basis, a
background, a cause. Now we are asking: has order a cause? We
are going to investigate together. Now do we recognise, see, how our lives are disorderly? Disorderly being contradictory,
conforming, following, accepting, denying what we may want and
accepting something else. The conflict between the various
opposites, that is disorder. Right? Because I accept one form of
thought as order, but I think also its opposite. The opposite may
create disorder so I am living always within the field of these
opposites – right? So will disorder end, completely end in my life,
in our lives, if I want order? I want to live peacefully, I want to
have a pleasant life, companionship and so on and so on, that
desire is born out of this disorder. Get it? So the opposite is born
out of this, out of its own opposite. I am angry, I hate, I mustn’t
hate, therefore I must try not to hate, and not to hate is the outcome
of my hate – right? If there is no hate it has no opposite – right? So
the ending of hate has no result. I wonder if you capture all this? I
see not.
You see thought has created disorder. Let’s see that fact.
Thought has created disorder in the world through nationalities,
through division, I am a Jew, you are an Arab, I believe and you
don’t believe – you follow? Those are all the activities of thought,
which in itself is divisive, in itself, it can’t bring unity, because in
itself it is divisive, fragmented. That which is fragmented cannot
see the whole – right? So I discover that my consciousness is
entirely in disorder and I want order, hoping thereby I will end
conflict. There is a motive. That motive is the cause of my desire to
have an orderly life – right? So order is born there out of disorder –
right? Therefore that order perpetuates disorder, which is
happening in the political, religious and other fields. I wonder if
you see that?       Now let’s go back. Now I see the cause of disorder. I don’t want
to move away from disorder. I see the cause of it, that I am
contradictory, that I am angry, the confusion, I see it. I see the
cause of it. I am not moving away from the cause or the effect. I
am the cause and I am the effect. Do you see that? I am the cause
and the things that happen is myself also. So any movement away
from that is disorder – right? I wonder if you get it?
So the ending without a future – right? The ending of ‘what is’
has no future. Any future projected by my demand for order is still
the continuation of disorder. So is there an observation of my
disorder and the ending of it without any cause? You get it? You
understand? I am violent. One is violent. One wants to be famous.
One wants so many things. And there is violence in human beings.
The cause of that violence is essentially a self-centred movement –
right? Right? You want, you are violent because you are self-
centred. I am also violent because I am self-centred. Therefore
there is a battle between us – right? This is obvious. So there is
violence in you. Thought is not pursuing non-violence, which is a
form of violence. If you see that very clearly then there is only the
concern with violence. The cause of that violence, as we said, may
be so many contradictory demands, so many pressures and so on
and so on, we can go into all that but I don’t want to go into all that
for the moment. So there are many causes. One cause of violence is
this self. The self being, it has many aspects, it hides behind many
ideas, I am an idealist because that appeals to me and I want to
work for that ideal, but in the working for that ideal I am becoming
more and more important, or I cover up that by the ideal and the
very escape from myself is part of myself – right? This whole movement is the factor of violence. I want to kill others because by
killing them there may be a better world – you know all the stuff
that goes on.
So is there an observation of disorder, seeing the cause of that
disorder, and the ending of it without ending of it? You understand
my question? Is this clear or not? Perhaps I smoke. It is a habit. A
habit which I want to break, I want to break it because I want to be
healthy, it is affecting my heart and my brain, my activity and so
on and so on, therefore I want to end it. There is a motive behind it
– right? I am really not ending it. I substitute smoking for
something else, which is habit – right? So is there an ending of
habit, an ending of it completely? Not replacing it by something
else? Goodness, I have explained it in ten different ways. Is this
clear? Can we move away from that?
So our life has many causes, the living. Is there a way of living
without a single cause? Please enquire into this. It is a marvellous
enquiry even, to put that question demands some deep searching to
find out. I want security therefore I follow my guru. I am not
following, I want security, I may put on his robes or copy what the
man says and so on and so on but deeply I want to be safe. And I
cling to some idea, some picture, some image. And the image, the
idea, the conclusion, the person can never bring about security. So
I have to enquire into security. Is there such a thing as security?
Not physically, outwardly, there must be outwardly, inwardly I am
talking about. Because I am uncertain, confused and you say, you
are not confused, I will hold on to you. Because my demand is to
find some kind of peace, hope, some kind of quietness in my life.
You are not important but my desire is important. I worship you. I will do whatever you want to say, I will follow you. I am silly
enough to do all that but the moment I enquire into the cause of it I
discover deeply I want this protection, this feeling «I am safe».
Now is there security psychologically – or rather can there ever be
security psychologically? The very question implies the demand
for intelligence. You understand? Putting that very question is an
outcome of intelligence. But if you say, «No, there is always
security in my symbol, my saviour, in this, in that» – then you won’t
move away from it. But if you begin to enquire, look, then you are
bound to ask is there security?
So if there is a cause for security, it is not secure – right?
Because the cause is more important than the desire for security.
So has intelligence a cause? We have come back to that. Right? Of
course not.
So has love a cause? Come on, you must answer this question.
Look at it sirs, please take time, look at it very closely, let us go
into it very carefully. We said intelligence has no cause, therefore
it is not your intelligence and my intelligence, it is intelligence. It is
light. Where there is light there is no your light or my light; the sun
is not your sun or my sun. It is light, the heat, the clarity of light.
Has love a cause? If it has not then love and intelligence go
together. You follow? You see this? When one says to one’s wife
or one’s girl-friend, «I love you», what does it mean? I love god –
one loves god. Why? You don’t know anything about that bird and
you love him, because there is fear, there is a demand for security,
there is the vast weight of tradition, the book says so, it gives you
comfort – right? So you say, «I believe in god». But if there is no
fear and the discovery that intelligence is total security, and that love is something beyond all causation – you understand? – which
is order. And then the universe is open, because the universe is
order – right? This is all clear.
Let us go into the question of what is intelligent relationship?
Not the relationship of thought with its image. We will go into that.
We will have to go into this a little more. Our brains are
mechanical – right? Mechanical being repetitive, never being free,
struggling within the same field, thinking it is free by moving from
one corner to the other in the same field, which is choice, and
thinking that choice is freedom, which is repeated. «I am free
because I can choose to go to Zurich.» But if I lived in Russia I
cannot. Whatever place I wanted to go to there. Right?
So one’s brain, which has evolved through time – right? – of
course, that brain is not yours or mine, it is brain. Right? And that
brain has become through ages, through tradition, through
education, through conformity, through adjustment, mechanical.
You can observe this in yourself. There may be parts of brain
which may be free but we don’t know. Don’t assert that. Don’t say,
«Yes, there is part of me that is free», that is meaningless. But the
fact remains that the brain has become mechanical, traditional,
repetitive which has its own intelligence – right? Isn’t it? Do you
see that? No? It has – I won’t use the word intelligence – it has its
own cunningness, its own capacity to adjustment, to discern. But it
is always within a limited area because thought itself is
fragmented. And thought has its home in the brain, in the cells and
so on. So, scientists are saying the same thing in different words.
Now, the brain has become mechanical. I am a Christian. I am a
Hindu, I believe, I have faith, and I don’t have faith, I am not a Christian – you follow? Which is all repetitive process, which is
reaction to another reaction, which is mechanical. Now this brain,
the human brain, has been conditioned, and being conditioned it
has created its own artificial, mechanical intelligence. I will keep
that word – mechanical intelligence. Like a computer. They are
trying to investigate, spending billions and billions of dollars and
money to find out if a computer can be exactly like the brain.
Probably they will. So we are asking: is thought, which is born out
of my memory, knowledge and so on, in the brain, and so thought
is mechanical – right? It may invent but it is still mechanical.
Invention is totally different from creation. I mustn’t enter into that.
So the brain being almost, with an occasional flare, totally
different from the mechanical process, but essentially it is
repetitive, mechanical. And thought is trying to discover a way of a
different life, a different social order. Thought is trying to discover
it – right? And the discovery of a social order by thought is still
within the field of confusion – right? We are asking then: is there
an intelligence which has no cause and therefore from that
intelligence act in our relationship, and not the mechanical state of
relationship which exists now?
Are you all getting tired? (Audience: No.) It is too easy to say
you are not tired.
Look sirs: our relationship is mechanical. I have certain
biological urges and you fulfil them. I demand certain comforts,
certain companionship because I am lonely, I am depressed and by
holding on to you perhaps that depression will disappear. That is
my relationship with you, intimate or otherwise, has a cause, a
motive, a ground from which I establish a relationship with you – right? Biological, sex and so on. That is mechanical. This has been
happening for a million years, which is, there is a conflict between
a woman and a man, a constant battle, each pursuing his own line,
never meeting, like two railway lines which never meet. This
relationship is the activity of thought and therefore limited. And
wherever there is limitation there must be conflict – right? Any
form of association, I belong to this group, and you belong to
another group – association. You belong to this group – so where
there is separate associations there is solitude, isolation, where
there is isolation there must be conflict – right? This is a law, not
invented by the speaker, it is so. Right?
So thought is ever in limitation and therefore isolating itself.
Therefore in relationship where there is activity of thought there
must be conflict. Get it? No, but see the reality of it. See the
actuality of this fact, not as an idea, as a something that is
happening in my life, in one’s active daily life: divorces, quarrels,
hating each other, jealousy. You know all about it. The misery of it
all. The wife wants to hurt you, is jealous of you, and you are
jealous – you follow? Which are all reactions, which are repetitive
and therefore the activity of thought in relationship must be
mechanical and therefore brings conflict. Right? That is a fact.
Now how do you deal with a fact? Do you understand my
question? Here is a fact: my wife and I quarrel. She hates me. And
also – you follow? – the response, the mechanical response, the
hate. And I discover that it is the remembrance of things that have
happened and that memory is stored in the brain, it continues day
after day. And my whole thinking is a process of isolation – right?
And she also is isolating. We never discover the truth of the isolation. That wherever there is isolation of any kind, putting on
purple robes, or green robes – you follow? – must be a factor of
isolation, nationalism and so on, and it must breed conflict. Now
that is a fact. Now how do I look at that fact? What am I to do with
that fact? You understand my question? Please, I am not
answering, you are answering, you are questioning it, you are
putting this question to yourself. What is your response? How do
you face this fact? With a motive? With a cause? Please, be
careful, don’t say, «No». My wife hates me. And I smother it over
but I also hate her, dislike her, don’t want to be with her, because
we both of us are isolated. That is a fact. I am ambitious, she is
ambitious, for something else. So we are operating in our
relationship in isolation. Now what happens? I face the fact. You
are facing the fact, not I. You are facing the fact. Do you approach
it, the fact, with reason, with a ground, with a motive? So how do
you approach it? Without a motive? Without cause? When you
approach it without a cause what then happens? Please watch it.
Please don’t jump to something, watch it in yourself. So far I have
mechanically approached this problem with a motive, with some
reason, a ground from which I act. And I see the foolishness of
such an action because it is the result of thought and so on. So then
is there an approach to the fact without a single motive? That is, I
have no motive. She may have a motive, or I may have a motive
and she has not. Then if I have no motive how am I looking at the
fact? The fact is not different from me – right? I am the fact. I am
ambition, I am hate, I depend and so on, dependent on somebody, I
am that. So there is an observation of the fact which is myself. And
the observation of the fact, which is myself, without any kind of reason, motive. Is that possible?
If I don’t do that I live perpetually in conflict. And you may say
that is the way of life. If you accept that is the way of life, that is
your business. That is your pleasure. That is what your brain,
tradition, habit tells you, that is the inevitable. But when you see
the absurdity of such acceptance then you are bound to ask this
question. All this travail is myself, I am the enemy, not you. I have
met the enemy and discovered it is me. So can I observe this whole
movement of me, the self, separate, isolated, tradition, the
acceptance that I am separate, which becomes foolish when you
examine the whole field of consciousness of humanity. I am the
entire humanity, which we went into, consciousness, my
consciousness is common.
So I have come to a point in understanding what is intelligence.
We said intelligence is without a cause, as love is without a cause.
If love has a cause, it is not love, obviously. If I am intelligent
because the government asks me, I am intelligent because I am
following you, I am intelligent because I have worked in a factory,
I have a great skill. We don’t call all that intelligence, that is
capacity. Intelligence has no cause. Therefore am I looking at
myself with a cause? You understand? Are you following this? An
I looking at this fact that I am thinking, working, feeling, in
isolation? And that isolation must inevitably breed everlasting
conflict. And that isolation is myself. I am the enemy, not the
Argentines, or the Russians. I am the enemy. Now how do I look at
myself without a motive? When I look at myself without a motive,
is there myself? Myself is the cause, the effect, myself is the result
of time, which is movement from cause to effect. So when I look at myself, at this fact, without any cause, there is the ending of
something and the beginning of something totally new. Right? We
had better stop now.
BROCKWOOD PARK 3RD PUBLIC TALK 4TH
SEPTEMBER 1982

We have got two talks, today and tomorrow morning. I think we
ought to talk over together whether it is at all possible to live at
peace in this world. Considering what is happening on the earth,
where man is living, he has brought about a great deal of chaos –
wars and the terrible things that are going on in the world. This is
not a pessimistic or optimistic point of view but just looking at the
facts as they are. Apparently it is not possible to have peace on this
earth, to live with friendship, with affection, with each other in our
lives. And to live at peace, to have some peace with oneself and the
world, one needs to have a great deal of intelligence. Not just the
word peace and strive to live a peaceful life, which then becomes
merely a rather vegetating life, but to enquire whether it is possible
to live in this world where there is such disorder, such
unrighteousness – if we can use the old fashioned word – whether
one can live at all with a certain quality of a mind and a heart that
is at peace with itself. Not everlastingly striving, striving in
conflict, in competition, in imitation and conformity but to live not,
a satisfied life, not a fulfilled life, not a life that has achieved some
result in this life, some fame or some notoriety, or some wealth but
to have a quality of peace. We ought to talk about it together. We
ought to go into it co-operatively to find out if it is at all possible
for us to have such peace, not peace of mind, that just will be a
piece, a small part, but to have this peculiar quality of undisturbed
but tremendously alive, undisturbed, tranquil, quiet, with a sense of
dignity, without any sense of vulgarity, whether one can live such a life.
I do not know if one has asked such a question, surrounded by
total disorder. I think one must be very clear about that: there is
total disorder outwardly, every morning you read a newspaper
there is something terrible. Aeroplanes that can travel at such
astonishing speed from one corner of the earth to the other without
having to refuel, carrying great weight of bombs, gases that can
destroy man in a few seconds. To observe all this and to realize
what man has come to, and in asking this question you may say
that is impossible. It is not at all possible to live in this world
utterly, inwardly undisturbed, to have no problems, to live a life
utterly not self centred. How shall we talk about this? Talking,
using words, has very little meaning but to find out through the
words, through communicating with each other, to find or discover,
or come upon, a state that is utterly still. That requires intelligence,
not a phantasy, not some peculiar day dreaming called meditation,
not some form of self hypnosis but to come upon it, as we said,
requires intelligence.
So we have to ask: what is intelligence? As we said the other
day, to perceive that which is illusory, that which is false, not
actual, and to discard it, not merely assert that is false and continue
in the same way, but to discard it completely. That is part of
intelligence. To see, for example, nationalism, with all its peculiar
patriotism, isolation, narrowness, is very destructive in this world,
it is a poison in the world, and seeing the truth of it is to discard
that which is false. That is intelligence. But to keep on with it,
acknowledging it is stupid but keep on, that is essentially part of
stupidity and disorder. It creates disorder. So intelligence is, is it not, we are talking over together, I am not saying it is, or it is not,
we are investigating very seriously into this question: what is
intelligence which alone can bring about in one’s life complete
order and peace? And we said that can come about only when there
is this extraordinary quality of intelligence. And intelligence is not
the clever pursuit of argument, of opposing knowledge,
contradictory opinions and through opinions find truth, which is
impossible but to realize that the activity of thought, with all its
capacities, with all its subtleties, is an extraordinary waste of
thought. It is not intelligence. Intelligence is beyond thought.
Please don’t agree with the speaker. We are looking at it, going into
it.
So one has to find out in order to live peacefully what is
disorder? Why we human beings, who are supposed to be
extraordinarily evolved, which I doubt, extraordinary capable in
certain directions, why they live and tolerate disorder in their daily
life. If we can discover the root of this disorder, the cause, and
observe it carefully, that very observation of that which is the
cause, in that observation there is the awakening of intelligence.
Not that there should be order and striving to bring about order.
That is, a confused disorderly mind, brain or activity of one’s life,
that disorder, that state of mind which is contradictory, opposing,
such a mind seeking order will still be disorder. I don’t know if we
comprehend it? I am confused, uncertain, going from one thing to
another, burdened with many problems, such a life, such a mind,
such a way of living, from there I want order. Then my order is
born out of my confusion, and therefore it is still confused. I don’t
know if we see this? Right?       When I chose order out of disorder, the choice is still based on
disorder. When this is clear, then what is disorder, the cause of it?
As we said, it has many causes, the desire to fulfil, the anxiety of
not fulfilling, the contradictory life one lives, saying one thing,
doing totally different things, trying to suppress and to achieve
something. These are all contradictions in oneself. And one can
find out many causes but the pursuit of searching, of search of
causes is endless. Whereas if we could ask ourselves: is there one
cause out of all these many causes, is there one root cause?
Obviously there must be. And we are saying that the root cause of
this is the self, the me, the ego, the personality, which in itself is
put together by thought, by memory, by various experiences, by
certain words, certain qualities and so on. That feeling of
separateness, isolation, that is the root cause of this disorder.
However that self tries not to be self it is still the pursuit of the self
– right? The self may identify with the nation, that very
identification with the larger is still glorified self. And each one of
us is doing that in different ways. So there is the self, which is put
together by thought, that is the root cause of this total disorder in
which we live. If you say it is impossible to get rid of the self, that
is a wrong question. But when we observe what causes disorder,
and as one has become so accustomed to disorder, one has lived in
such disorder, we accept it as natural but when we begin to
question it and go into it, and see that is the root of it, to observe it,
not to do anything about it, then by that very observation begins to
dissolve the centre which is the cause of disorder. Right? Are we
following all this together?
And we said intelligence is the perception of that which is true, putting aside totally that which is false, and seeing the truth in the
false, and realizing all the activities of thought is not intelligence
because thought itself is the outcome of knowledge, which is the
result of experience, as memory and the response of that memory is
thought. And so knowledge is always limited. That is obvious.
There is no perfect knowledge. So thought, with all its activity and
with its knowledge is not intelligence. Right? So what we are
asking is: what place has knowledge in life? Because all our life is
based on thought. Whatever we do is based on thought. That is
clear. All our activities are based on thought, our relationship is
based on thought. Our inventions, the technological and the non-
technological is still the activity of thought. The gods we have
created, and the rituals, the mass and the whole circus of all that is
the product of thought. So what place has knowledge in the
degeneration of man? Please you must go into this. You must ask
this question. Can we proceed?
We have accumulated immense knowledge, in the world of
science, psychology, biology, mathematics and so on and so on, a
great deal of knowledge. And we think through knowledge we will
ascend, we will liberate ourselves, we will transform ourselves.
And we are questioning what is the place of knowledge in life? Has
knowledge transformed us, made us good? – again, an old
fashioned word. Has it given us integrity? Is it part of justice? Has
it given us freedom? Of course it has given us freedom in the sense
that we can travel, communicate from one country to another. It is
all based on knowledge and thought. Better communication, better
systems of learning and so on, the computer and the atom bomb.
All that is the result of a great deal of accumulated knowledge. And has this knowledge given us freedom, a life that is just, a life
that is essentially good?
So we are again examining those three words: freedom, justice
and goodness. This has been one of the problems, those three
words, in the ancient people who have always struggled to find out
if you can live a life that is just. That word ‘just’ means to be
righteous, to have righteousness, to act benevolently, to act with
generosity, not deal with hatreds, antagonisms. You know what it
means to lead a just, a right kind of life? Not according to a pattern,
not according to some fanciful projected ideals by thought, but a
life that has great affection, a life that is just, true, accurate. And in
this world there is no justice. You are clever, I am not. You have
power, I haven’t. You can travel all over the world, meet all the
prominent people, and I live in a little town, work day after day,
live in a small room. Where is there justice there? And is justice to
be found in external activities? That is, you may become the prime
minister, the president, the head of a big intercontinental business,
great corporations. I may be for ever a clerk, way down below, a
soldier. So do we seek justice out there, which is, we are trying to
bring about an egalitarian state, all over the world they are trying it,
thinking that will bring about justice. Or justice is to be found
away from all that. Please when I am asking, you are asking this
question, not the speaker. The speaker is only putting into words
that which we are enquiring into. Justice involves a certain
integrity, to be whole, integral, not broken up, not fragmented,
which can only take place when there is no comparison. But we are
always comparing, better cars, better houses, better position, better
power and so on. That is measurement. Where there is measurement there cannot be justice. You are following all this?
Please see it. Where there is imitation, conformity, there cannot be
justice, following somebody. We listen to these words, we don’t
see the beauty, the quality, the depth of these things, and we may
superficially agree and walk away from it. But the words, the
comprehension of the depth of it must leave a mark, a seed, justice
must be in there, in us.
And also the word ‘goodness’, it is a very old fashioned word.
One hardly ever uses that word any more. The other day we were
talking to some psychologist, fairly well known and one used that
word. He was horrified! He said, «That is an old fashioned word,
don’t use that word.» But one likes that good word. So what is
goodness? It is not the opposite of that which is bad. If it is the
opposite of that which is bad then goodness has its roots in
badness. I don’t know if one realizes this. Anything that has an
opposite must have its roots in its own opposite – right? So
goodness is not related to that which we consider bad. It is totally
divorced from the other. So we must look at it as it is, not in a
reaction to the opposite, as a reaction to the opposite. Right?
Goodness implies a quality of deep integrity. Integrity is to be
whole, not broken up, not inwardly fragmented. And goodness also
means a way of life which is righteous, not in terms of church, or
morality or ethical concept of righteousness, but a person who sees
that which is true and that which is false, and sustains that quality
of sensitivity that sees it immediately and acts. And the word
‘freedom’ is a very complex word. When there is freedom there is
justice, there is goodness. So we have to enquire together what is
freedom?       Please sirs, we are going together in this, not just you are
listening to the speaker. If you are merely listening to the speaker
and getting some ideas out of it – I hope you are not – if you are
merely listening to it then it becomes another lecture, another
sermon and one is fed up with all that kind of stuff. Why don’t you
just go to church? But if the words ring a bell, if the words awaken
the depth of that word, if the word opens up a door through which
you see the enormity of that word, not, «I want to be free from my
anger» – that is all rather… or «I have a headache and I must be free
from it». or I have a relationship which is rather tiresome, boring
and I want to get a divorce. Freedom for us has been the capacity
to choose. Because one chooses one thinks one is free – right? That
is so. Because you can choose to go abroad, you can choose your
work, you can choose what you want to do, but in the Totalitarian
world you cannot do all that. There they stamp it all down, they
want you to conform, obey, follow. In the so-called Democratic
world there is still the choice of so-called freedom. Where there is
choice, is there freedom? Please go into it. Who chooses? And why
does one have to choose? When one is very clear in one’s capacity
to think objectively, impersonally, not sentimentally, very precise,
there is no need for choice, when there is freedom. That is, when
there is no confusion then there is no choice. It is only a confused
mind that chooses. This is so. Look at yourself. When you choose
between two parliamentarians, you don’t know for whom to vote,
so you choose one whom you like, who sounds rather good
verbally, but you know all that game.
So what is freedom? Freedom is not the opposite of
imprisonment – right? Then again it becomes a totally different kind of escape. So freedom is not escape from anything. That
means a brain that has been conditioned by knowledge, knowledge
is always limited and therefore always living within the field of
ignorance, such brains which is the machinery of thought, through
thought there can be no freedom. I wonder if we understand all
this? That is, we all live with a certain kind of fear – fear of
tomorrow, fear of things that have happened in many yesterdays.
And we seek freedom from that fear. So freedom has a cause. That
is, «I am afraid», I have found the cause of that fear and now I have
got rid of that fear, therefore I am free. Where there is a cause the
effect can end, like a disease, if one has, and the enquiry into that
disease and the cause of that disease, then that disease can be
cured. So if we think in terms of causation and freedom, then that
freedom is not freedom at all. Freedom implies not just in a certain
period of one’s life but freedom right through one’s life, and
therefore freedom has no cause. Are you following this?
Now with all this being stated let’s look at the cause of sorrow
and whether that cause can ever end. Because man, all of us, have
suffered in one way or another, through deaths, through lack of
love, or having love for another and not receiving in return, sorrow
has many, many faces. And man has tried to escape from sorrow,
from the ancient of times. And we still live after all these million
years, we still live with sorrow. Man has shed, or woman too, man
has shed untold tears. There have been wars which have brought
such agony to human beings, great anxiety and apparently we have
not been able to be free from that sorrow. This is not a rhetorical
question but is it possible for a human brain, human mind, human
being, to be totally free from the anxiety of sorrow and all the human travail with regard to it?
So let’s go together, walk along the same path to find out. Along
the same road, let’s walk together to see if we can in our daily life
end this terrible burden which man has carried from the time he has
lived until now. How do you approach such a question? We are
asking, the question is: the ending of sorrow. How do you
approach it? What is your reaction to that question? What is the
state of your mind, your quality when a question of that kind is put
to us? My son is dead, my husband is gone, I have friends who
have betrayed me, I have followed and it has been fruitless after
twenty years. Sorrow has such a great beauty and pain in it. Now
how does each one of us react to that question? Do we say, «I don’t
want even to look at it. I have suffered, it is the lot of man, I
rationalize it and accept it and go on.» That is one way of dealing
with it. But you haven’t solved the problem. Or you transmit that
sorrow to a symbol, and worship that symbol, as is done in
Christianity. Or as the ancient Hindus have done, it is your lot,
your karma. Or in the modern world you say your parents are
responsible for it, or your society, or you inherited genetically
some kind of genes and you have to suffer for it, and so on. There
have been a thousand explanations. But these explanations have
not resolved the ache and the pain of sorrow.
So how do I approach this question? Do we want to look at it
face to face? Or casually? Or with trepidation? How do I approach
such a problem. Approach means come near to the problem, very
near. That is, is sorrow different from the observer who says, «I am
in sorrow.» When he says, «I am in sorrow» he has separated
himself from that feeling, so he has not approached it at all. He has not touched it. So can we not avoid it, not transmit it, not escape
from it, but come with such closeness to it, which means, I am
sorrow? Is that so? Like I am anger. I am envy. But I have also
invented an idea of non-envy. That invention has postponed, put it
off further but the fact is I am envy, I am sorrow. Do you realize
what that means? Not somebody has caused me sorrow, not my son
is dead therefore I shed tears. I will shed tears for my son, for my
wife, for whoever it is, but that is an outward expression of that
pain of loss. That loss is the result of my dependence on that
person, my attachment, my clinging to it, my feeling I am lost
without him. So as usual we try to act upon the symptoms, we
never go to the very root of this enormous problem which is
sorrow. So we are not talking about the outward effects of sorrow.
If you are you can take a drug and pacify yourself very quietly, or
take a pill and pass off for the rest of your life – not for the rest of
your life, you can end it. But we are trying together to find for
ourselves, not be told and then accept, but actually find for
ourselves the root of it.
Is it time that causes pain? Time not by the watch, or by the
day, or sun rise, sunset, but the time that thought has invented in
the psychological realms? You understand my question?
Questioner: What do you mean by psychological time?
K: I will explain sir, have a little patience. We are asking a very
serious question. You are not asking me what is psychological
time. You are asking that question yourself. Perhaps the speaker
may prompt you, put it into words but it is your own question. I
have had a son, a brother, a wife, father, whatever it is, mother, and
I have lost. They are gone. They can never return. They are wiped away from the face of the earth. Of course I can invent they are
living on other planes, you know all that. But I have lost them,
there is a photograph on the piano, or the mantelpiece. My
remembrance of them is time. How they loved me, how I loved
them. What a help they were. And they helped to cover up my
loneliness. And the remembrance of them is a movement of time.
They were there yesterday and gone today. That is, the record has
taken place in the brain – you understand? A remembrance is a
recording on the tape of the brain – right? And that record is
playing all the time. How I walked with them in the woods, my
sexual remembrances, their companionship, the comfort I derived
from them, all that is gone and the recording is going on. And this
recording is memory, memory is time. Please listen to this, if you
are interested, go into it very deeply. If you are interested, I am not
asking you to. I have lived with my brother, my son, I have had
happy days with them, enjoyed many things together but they are
gone. And the memory of them remains. It is that memory that is
causing pain, for which I am shedding tears in my loneliness. Now
is it – please find out – is it possible not to record? This is a very
serious question. I have enjoyed the sun yesterday morning early,
so clear, so beautiful among the trees, casting a golden light on the
lawn with long shadows. It has been a pleasant, lovely morning.
And it has been recorded. And I have enjoyed the morning. How
beautiful it was. Now the repetition begins. You understand? I have
recorded that which has happened which caused me delight and
that record, like a gramophone or tape recorder, it is repeated. That
is the essence of time. And is it possible not to record at all? That
sunrise of yesterday, look at it, give your whole attention to it, and not record it, it has gone, that moment of light, that golden light on
the lawn with long shadows is gone, but the memory of it remains.
Look at it and not record. The very attention of looking wipes
away recording.
So we are asking is time the root of sorrow? Is thought the root
of sorrow? Of course. So thought and time are the centre of my life
– right? I live on that. And when something happens which is so
drastically painful, I return to that pattern, to those memories and I
shed tears. I wish he had been here to enjoy that sun when I was
looking at it. Don’t you know all this? It is the same with all our
sexual memories, building a picture, thinking about it. All that is
part of time and thought. If you ask how it is possible for time and
thought inwardly to stop – again that is a wrong question. But when
one realizes the truth of this, not the truth of another but your own
observation of that truth, your own clarity of perception, will that
end sorrow? That is, part of sorrow is my loneliness. I may be
married, have children, responsibilities, belong to a club, play golf
and all the rest of it, if one is lucky. And there I must record,
recording there is knowledge, I must have knowledge. But that
sunrise in the cloudless sky and the blue, and the shadows,
numberless – I am not quoting Keats! – what need there be to
record that? It is ended.
So to find out how to live a life without psychological recording
– do you understand? To give such tremendous attention. It is only
where there is inattention there is recording. I am used to my
brother, to my son, to my wife, to my mother. I know what they
will say. They have said so often the same thing. They have
repeated, they have scolded. I know them. When I say «I know them» I am inattentive. When I say, «I know my wife», obviously I
don’t really know her because a living thing you cannot possibly
know. It is only a dead thing that you can know. That is the dead
memory that you know.
So when one is aware of this with great attention, sorrow has
totally a different meaning. There is nothing to learn from sorrow.
There is only the ending of sorrow. And when there is an ending of
sorrow then there is love. How can I love another, have the quality
of that love, when my whole life is based on memories, on that
picture which I have hung on the mantelpiece, put up on the piano,
how can I love when I am caught in a vast structure of memories?
So the ending of sorrow is the beginning of love.
Tomorrow I think we ought to talk over together the nature of
death and meditation. That is enough for this morning.
May I repeat a story? A teacher, a religious teacher, had several
disciples and used to talk to them every morning, about the nature
of goodness, beauty, love. And one morning he gets on the rostrum
and as he is just about to begin talking a singing bird comes, alights
on the window sill and begins to sing, chant. And he sings for a
while and disappears. So the teacher says, «The sermon for this
morning is over.» May I get up please?
NEW DELHI 3RD PUBLIC TALK 6TH
NOVEMBER, 1982

If one may point out that we are probing together, questioning
together, doubting, asking, and this is not a lecture. We are
together enquiring, taking a walk together into the whole field of
existence, not dealing with a particular problem but the problem of
man, the problem of human beings. And one of the factors in our
existence is that we live in disorder. And apparently after thirty,
forty thousand years or more we have not been able to live in total
order, like the universe which is in complete order, absolute order,
not relative order, but order that under all circumstances, wherever
we live, socially, politically, and so on, to have within oneself
order. And we are going to probe into that question, together.
Please bear in mind, if I may repeat again and again, the person,
the speaker, is in no way important. The personality of the speaker
has no place in this whatsoever. But what is important is that we,
you and I, the speaker, should unfold the causes of disorder, not
merely listen to the explanation or the description which the
speaker might offer, but together think, observe, go into ourselves,
not in any way selfishly, or self-centredly, egotistically, but to look
at our lives, to look what we have made of the world, why man, the
human being, lives in perpetual disorder outwardly and inwardly.
One may like to live in disorder, then that’s quite a different matter,
but to enquire if it is possible to live inwardly first, then outwardly,
not the other way round, but first inwardly, deep within ourselves,
if we can live in complete order.
And also we should be able to discuss, talk over together this evening, the problem of suffering, and this enormous mystery of
death, because we have only one more gathering here. After
tomorrow we disperse, so if we have time this evening we will talk
about all these things.
Beauty is complete order. But most of us have not that sense of
beauty in our life. We may be great artists, great painters, expert in
various things, but in our own daily life, with all the anxieties and
miseries, we live, unfortunately, a very disordered life. That’s a
fact. Even the great scientists, they may be very good, expert in
their subject, but they have their own problems, struggles, pain,
anxiety, like the rest of us. So we are asking together, is it possible
to live in complete order within. Not imposed, disciplined,
controlled, but to enquire into the nature of this disorder, what are
the causes of it, and to dispel, move away, wash away the causes,
then there is a living order like the universe. Order is not a
blueprint, a following of a particular pattern of life, or following
certain systems, blindly or openly, but to enquire into ourselves
and discover for ourselves, not be told, not to be guided, but to
unfold in ourselves the real causes of this disorder.
So, please, this is a talk between you and the speaker, an
exchange. We can’t exchange with words with so many people, but
we can each one of us think together. Not think according to my
way or your way, but the capacity to think clearly, objectively, non-
personally so that we both are capable of meeting each other so
that we can communicate with each other happily, easily, with
some sense of affection and beauty.
So we are asking, you and the speaker, are asking what are the
causes of this chaos, not only in the world outside of us, which is the result of our own inward psychological mess, confusion,
disorder, which has produced disorder outwardly, what are the
causes of it. Would you consider desire is one of the factors? We
are going to go into this: desire, fear, pleasure and thought. We will
go into it step by step, slowly, we will take time. So we have to
enquire closely and rather hesitantly, is desire one of the factors.
So we are asking, what is desire. For most of us desire is a potent
factor, desire drives us, desire brings about a sense of happiness or
disaster. Desire varies in its search, desire changes with the objects
of its desire. You are following all this, I hope. So we have to think
together.
Is desire one of the causes? And what is desire? Why is it that
all religions, all so-called religious people have suppressed desire?
All over the world the monks and the sannyasis have denied desire,
though they are boiling inside the fire of desire is burning, they
deny it by suppressing it, or identifying with a symbol, with a
figure, and surrendering that desire to that figure, to that person,
but it is still desire. I hope you are all following all this. And most
of us have, when we become aware of our desires, either we
suppress or indulge, or come into conflict with it – desire for this
and desire not to have it. The battle that goes on with all of us
when there is the drive of desire.
So we should together happily, if we can, easily enquire into the
nature of desire. We are not advocating either to suppress it or to
surrender to it, or to control it, that has been done all over the
world by every religious person, you know, all the rest of it. So we
are examining it very closely so that your own understanding of
that desire, how it arises, its nature, out of that understanding, self-awareness of it, one becomes intelligent. Then that intelligence
acts, not desire. So we are going to go into this carefully.
First of all are we aware, each one of us, as two people talking
together, of the extraordinary power of desire – desire for power,
desire for certainty, desire for god – if you like that kind of stuff –
desire for enlightenment, desire to follow some system. Desire has
so many aspects, it is as intricate as the weaving of a great master
weaver. So one has to look at it very, very simply, and then the
complexity arises. But if you start with complexity then you will
not go any further. You understand? If you start simply then you
can go very far.
So we are looking at it, at the root and the beginning of desire.
Have you ever noticed how our senses operate? Does one become
aware of our senses – not a particular sense by the totality of the
senses? You understand my question? Senses, the feeling, the
tasting, the hearing, to have all those senses in operation fully. And
when all your senses are active, functioning, have you ever looked
at a tree in that way, have you ever looked at the sea, the
mountains, the hills and the valleys with all your senses? Do you
understand my question? If you do then there is no centre from
which you are looking at things. The whole of your sensory
reactions are complete, not controlled, shaped, suppressed. Unless
you understand this very clearly it is a dangerous thing to say this
because for most of us our senses are partial, either we have very
good taste for clothes and rotten taste for furniture. You know all
this. So our senses are limited, as we now live. Nobody, no
religious or other philosophers have said this: unless you allow all
the senses to flower and with their flowering perceive the beauty of the world.
Then one of the causes of desire is disorder. I am going to go
into it – we are going to go into it very carefully. Up to now it is
clear, is it, we are together in this. What is desire? What is the
cause of it, how does it arise? It doesn’t arise by itself. It arises
through sensation, through contact, through seeing something,
seeing a man or a woman, seeing a dress in the window, seeing a
beautiful garden with the great hills, there is immediate sensation.
That’s clear. Then what happens? It is natural, healthy to have such
sensation, such response. Then what takes place? I see a beautiful –
what would you like? – a beautiful woman, a beautiful man, a
beautiful house, a beautiful dress – I see it – a beautiful shirt, made
most delicately. I go inside and touch the material: seeing, then
contact, from that contact sensation. Right? Then – please listen to
this – then what happens? Enquire with me. We are enquiring,
please enquire. You have touched the shirt, you have the sensation,
of its quality, its colour. Up to now there has been no desire. There
has been only sensation. Right? Then what happens? Now, you are
waiting for me to tell you. Please look at it carefully – don’t answer
me – please look at it for yourself. Because you see unless you
discover this with your heart and mind it is not yours, you just
repeat what somebody has said. That’s what is destroying this
country. You all quote other people – the Gita, the Upanishads or
some other book. I was going to say, ‘rotten book’. And you repeat,
but you never discover, it’s never yours, it’s somebody else’s,
therefore you become secondhand human beings. Whereas if you
discover it yourself it is an extraordinary freedom that comes.
So we are asking when the senses discover a nice dress, shirt, or a car, then what takes place? You have touched that shirt or dress,
then thought – please listen – then thought creates the image of you
in that shirt, in the car, in that dress; when thought creates that
image that is the moment desire is born. You are following all this?
You are following all this, sirs? I am not telling you, you are
discovering it. That is, desire begins when thought creates the
image. I see a beautiful violin, a Stradivarius, I want to have that,
the beauty of that sound that the violin makes, I would like to
possess it. I look at it, touch it, the sense of that old structure and I
would like to have it. That is, the moment thought enters into the
field of sensation, creates the image then desire begins. Now the
question then is – please listen to it – whether there can be a hiatus,
that is, the sensation and not let thought come and control the
sensation. That’s a problem. You understand? Not the suppressing
of desire. Why has thought created the image and holds that
sensation? You understand? Is it possible to look at that shirt, touch
it, sensation and stop, not for thought to enter into it? Have you
ever tried any of this? No, I’m afraid you haven’t.
When thought enters into the field of sensation – and thought is
also a sensation, which we will go into presently – when thought
takes control of sensation then desire begins. And is it possible to
only observe, contact, sensation, and nothing else? You understand
my question? If you put that question to yourself and discover that
discipline has no place in this, because the moment when you
begin to discipline that’s another form of desire to achieve
something. You are following all this?
So one has to discover the beginning of desire. And see what
happens. Don’t buy the shirt immediately, or the dress, but see what happens. You can look at it, but we are so eager to get something,
to possess something, the shirt, the man or a woman or some
status, we are so eager. We have never time, quietness to look at all
this. So desire is one of the factors of our disorder. We have been
trained either to control, suppress, change desire, the object of
desire. But we have never looked at the movement, the flowering
of desire. So that’s one of the causes of our disorder in life. Please
bear in mind we are not trying to control desire, that’s been tried by
all the so-called saints and all the rest of it, nor indulge in desire,
but to understand it, like looking at a flower, how it grows. You
understand all this. Are you all asleep?
Then is fear one of the causes of disorder? Obviously. Fear: fear
of failure, fear of not being able to fulfil, fear of losing, fear of not
gaining. We have every kind of fear – fear of the guru. Have you
ever noticed how you crawl in front of a guru? You kind of
become, I don’t know, inhuman, you are afraid, you want
something from him, so you worship him, and in the worship there
is fear. So there are multiple forms of fear. We are not taking one
particular form. We are asking what is the root of fear, if we can
discover the root of fear then the whole tree is dead. You
understand? But if I am concerned with my particular little fear of
darkness, or of my husband, or something or other, my brain is not
involved in the discover of the whole root of it. This is clear, so we
can go on.
So what is the root of fear? How does it arise? It’s a very
complex problem. And every complex problem must be
approached very simply, the simpler the better. The simpler means,
I don’t know how to deal with the root of fear, I don’t know. Then you begin to discover. But if you have already come to a
conclusion, the root of fear is this, this, that, then you never
discover what the root is – but if you approach fear very simply, the
trunk and the root of fear, not the branches.
So we are asking what is the cause, or the causation of fear.
Would you say time is a factor of fear – Time. That is, I am living,
I might die tomorrow, which is time. Time to go from here to your
house, that requires time. So there are only two kinds of time, time
by the sunrise and sunset, time by the watch, time by the distance
you have to cover, time, that is, physical time. Right? Is that clear?
That is, time by the watch, by the sunrise and sunset, darkness and
dawn. That’s physical time. There is the other time which is
psychological, inward: I am this but I will be that. I am violent, but
I am practising non-violence, which is nonsense. I am brutal but
give me time I will get over it. So there is psychological time. You
understand this? I hope I will meet my friend tomorrow, hope
implies time. You understand all this? Are we thinking together?
There is time by the watch, time, psychological becoming,
climbing the ladder of becoming. That is, creating an ideal, and
then try to reach that ideal. You understand this? Of course. All
that implies psychological time. Right? Is this clear? I am this, but
tomorrow I will be different. I haven’t reached the position of
power, but give me time I will get it.
So one of the factors of fear is time: I am living but I might die
in a week’s time. Right, is this clear? So what is time? Am I
making this complex? Are you following all this? So we must ask,
what is time, not by the watch, but time that we have – I hope, I
will, which is measurement. You are following all this? You understand? Hope implies measurement. Now time is a movement,
isn’t it. Are you following all this? Does it interest you, all this?
Because we will come to a point presently when you begin to
understand that there can be an end to fear, completely, inwardly.
Begin always inwardly, but not outwardly. That there is a
possibility of being totally free from fear. And to find that out one
must begin to enquire.
So we say desire is one of the factors of disorder, fear is one of
the factors, fear is time, isn’t it. Are you quite sure you understand
this because otherwise we can’t go further. Time is a movement
from one point to another point, both physically and
psychologically. Right? I need time to learn a language, it may take
me a month, or two moths, or three months, to go from here to
London takes time, to drive a car I need time. So – please watch
this in yourself – we need time there so we use that time to become
something inwardly. You understand? We have moved over from
the physical fact of learning a language and I also say to myself, as
I need time there I need time also to evolve, to become, to be less
violent. Right? You understand this question? I need time to learn a
language, and also I think I need time to get over violence, to bring
about peace in the world. So that is a movement in measurement.
Right? I wonder if you understand all this.
So what is movement, which is thought. Right? You are
following all this? Thought is a movement, and thought has created
time, not to learn a language, but to become something. Right?
That is, I want to change ‘what is’, and to change that I need time,
as I need time to learn a language. You have understood this?
Gosh, are you all asleep?       So time – desire, time, thought, are the factors which bring
about fear. I have done this something wrong two years ago, and it
has caused pain, and I hope I will – hope – I will not do the same
thing again. You understand this? Clear? So desire, time, thought.
Now what is thought? The whole world is moving in the realm of
thought, all the technological world with all its extraordinary
complexity is brought about by thought. Right? They have built the
most extraordinary complicated machines, like the computer, like
the jet, and so on, it’s all put together by thought. Right? All the
great cathedrals are put together by thought, all the temples, and all
the things that are in the temples, in the cathedrals are put together
by thought. The rituals are invented by thought. Right? The guru is
invented by thought. Right? You are a Sikh and I am not, but when
you say, ‘I am a Sikh’ it is thought conditioning itself as a Sikh and
operating there. So thought has become the most important factor
in our life. In our relationship thought dominates. I don’t know if
you have noticed all this. Thought has created the problems of war.
Right? And thought then says, I must have peace also – which is
contradiction. You understand? So we must understand why
thought has become so extraordinarily important in the world. And
that’s the only instrument we have, at least we think we have.
Right? Are we together so far? Yes sir?
Q: I understand.
K: Good luck to you!
So what is thought? What is the origin and the beginning of
thought? And why man so depends on thought, all the great
intellectuals, great scientists, great philosophers, all the books that
have been written are all the results, whether it is the Bible, the Koran, or your Upanishads and so on, even Marx, are based on
thought. And thought – what is thought, by which we live? Now we
will explain it, but you are discovering it, I am not telling you, so
don’t wait to be told, for god’s sake, don’t wait, then you become
worthless human beings.
So is there thought without knowledge? You understand my
question? What is knowledge? There are really several kinds of
knowledge but we will take two. Knowledge you have by going to
a school, college, university, or becoming an apprentice, and
gradually accumulating skill. If I want to be a carpenter I must
learn the grain of the wood, what kind of wood and so on, the
instrument I use, I must learn, acquire a great deal of knowledge.
Are you following all this? If I want to be a scientist I must have
tremendous knowledge. Right? Knowledge is born of experience.
Right? One scientist makes an experience, that is, discovers
something, another scientist adds to it, or detracts from it, so there
is a gradual accumulation of knowledge. Right? Now is knowledge
complete? Or is knowledge always limited? You understand my
question? Please answer yourself. Can the human thought, which is
born of knowledge, can that knowledge be total, complete about
everything? Of course not. Right? Knowledge can never be
complete about anything. So knowledge is always limited. The
master weavers of this country, they produce the most marvellous
things but they are learning, adding, learning. So knowledge is
always limited. The Gita, the Upanishads, the Bible, they are all
the knowledge of history that people have written and so on. That’s
irrelevant. So knowledge, whether it is given by a saint, by a
politician, by a philosopher, is limited. So don’t worship knowledge.
So if it is limited, as it is, then knowledge always lives with
ignorance. You follow all this? So thought is born out of
knowledge. Right? That is, I experience a motor accident, and it is
recorded in the brain as painful, or whatever it is, and that memory,
that experience is stored in the brain as memory, and next time I
drive I am jolly careful. Right? That is, experience, knowledge,
from that experience, stored in the brain as memory, and from that
memory, thought. If there is no memory at all, what happens? You
follow, you are in a state of amnesia. You understand? So thought
is always limited. Right? There is no supreme thought, noble
thought, or ignoble thought, it is limited, and because it is limited
whatever it does must produce conflict in human relationship. You
understand this? Are you working as hard as the speaker is doing,
or are you just listening casually?
If you understand the very complexity of thought, the delicacy
of thought, the extraordinary capacity of thought – capacity of
thought in one direction. Look what thought has done
technologically. Have you ever looked at any marvellous
machinery, a dynamo, a piston engine, the jet? Technologically we
are progressing with lightening speed because partly we want to
kill each other. So thought has created wars, thought has created
the instruments of war, thought has also created all the
extraordinary good things of life – sanitation, health, surgery,
communication and so on. Thought is responsible for all this, but
also thought has created problems. Right?
So we are asking if thought is the only instrument we have, and
that instrument is becoming blunt and creating problems, and the problems it has created are being solved by thought. You
understand? Therefore it creates more problems. You understand
all this? So we are asking – I don’t know if you will understand this
– we are asking if there is another kind of instrument which is not
thought? You understand my question? Thought is limited, and
thought is not your thought or my thought, it is thought, it is not
individual thinking, it is thinking, whether you are rich, a great
scholar, or poor village person who doesn’t know how to read a
book, how to read or write, but he still thinks.
So now we see that disorder in our life, at whatever level we
live, you may have the greatest power on earth as a politician, as a
guru, they live in disorder inwardly, and therefore whatever they
touch they bring disorder. You see that all over the country
politically. And the many factors of disorder are desire – we went
into it carefully – time, and thought. And if you exercise thought to
create order you are still creating disorder. Is this clear? I wonder if
you understand all this? Our whole life is based on discipline, like
soldiers which are disciplined day after day, month after month, we
discipline ourselves to do this and not to do that. The word
‘discipline’, the root of it, is to learn, not from somebody, to learn
from oneself, one’s own reactions, one’s own observation, one’s
own activities and behaviour. But discipline never brings about
intelligence. What brings about intelligence is observation and
being free from fear – being free from. Now understanding the
nature of desire, for example, if you understand it, see its nature
and its structure, its vitality and find out for yourself the sensation
and when thought enters into it, when you become aware of that,
you are beginning to have intelligence, which is not your intelligence or my intelligence, it is intelligence.
So is it possible after listening to this talk, both of us, is it
possible to be free of fear, which is a tremendous burden on
humanity? Now you have listened to it, are you free from it? If you
are honest you are not, why? Go on, enquire, why. Because you
have not really investigated, gone into it step by step, and said, let’s
find out, put your passion, your guts, your vitality into it, not
accept it. You haven’t done that, you have just listened casually,
you haven’t said, look, I am afraid of my husband, my wife,
whatever it is you are afraid of. Look at it, bring it out and look at
it. But we are afraid to look at it, and so we live with it, like some
horrible disease, we live with fear. And that’s causing disorder. If
you see that you are already operating from intelligence.
It is now nearly seven o’clock, shall we have time to enquire
further into what is suffering, what is love, what is compassion,
and also we ought to enquire into what is death.
Q: How can we achieve thoughtlessness?
K: How to achieve thoughtlessness – you have achieved it! You
have perfectly achieved it, you have become machines, you never
think properly, you have never gone into it. And you want to find
out how to be still further asleep, how to be really thoughtless
which is a wrong question. If you understand the nature of thought,
the intricacies, the subtleties, the beauty of thought, from that
understanding, the unfolding of a flower, nothing matters then.
You don’t say, how am I to gain this or that, it is unfolding, like a
flower and you see the beauty of it. Do you see the beauty of a
flower, of the mountain, of a full moon on a leaf, the light, silver,
on a piece of rock?       So one has also to enquire, what is beauty – not in a painting or
something, beauty in our life. There are too many things to talk
about. We haven’t touched sorrow and the ending of that burden,
putting away sorrow altogether, then only you have compassion. If
you suffer, if you have pain of anxiety, ambition and so on, you
don’t know what love is. But you want to be ambitious, you want to
have power, position, better house, better cars, better, better, better.
Have you ever understood that a man who is ambitious has no love
in his heart. How can he? And we are all very ambitious, to
achieve nirvana, or to become the bank manager. Both the same
thing. You understand? To reach nirvana, or moksha, heaven, is the
same as becoming manager of a bank, because both are ambitious.
So to live a life of intelligence which means no ambition, but yet
be tremendously active. You people don’t know anything about all
this.
So, sir, we have to talk over together the ending of sorrow, what
are the implications of death, and what is religion. Without religion
you cannot create a new structure, a new society, but what we have
as religion is utter nonsense, meaningless nonsense in our life. We
repeat some shloka, or whatever you do, that’s not religion; reading
the Gita everyday until you die is not religion, or quoting some
book is not religion, or following a guru is not religion, or doing
some rituals day after day, day after day. So we have to enquire
into the depth of that word because a new culture, a new
civilization can be born only out of a really true religion, not all
this paraphernalia that goes on in the name of religion. So I don’t
know when we are going to do it.
Q: (Inaudible)       K: You see how angry we get.
Q: What is the real meaning of life?
K: No, sir, please listen, sir, just listen. How angry you get, how
defensive you get, you don’t even look at your repetitions, or
whatever you repeat, you don’t say, why am I doing this, what is
the reason, what lies behind all this. You follow tradition and
therefore you think that is religion. You know in India somebody
calculated three hundred thousand gods. It is perhaps better than
having one god, you can choose anything you like. But god – the
worship of god, or saying, ‘I believe in god’, is not religion.
Religion is something entirely different. To have a religious life
means to have compassion, love, the ending of sorrow, to find right
relationship with each other, but you are not interested in all that.
Really you are not deeply, profoundly, passionately interested in
order to find out. What most people want is not to be disturbed
with their own particular pattern, way of life. And you get angry,
or violent, when you say, look, just look at what you are doing.
Have you ever noticed the totalitarian states, what they are doing:
anybody who dissents, disagrees, is sent to somewhere or other.
You do exactly the same thing. So please consider, give your
energy, your capacity to find out if there is a different way of living
on this earth.
So perhaps when we meet tomorrow…
Q: One question.
Q: I have one too.
K: He is the first!
Q: My question is I don’t think it is possible for a human being
to live without desire, fear…       K: Sir, I have understood. Have it your own way, sir. You have
said it is not possible, I never said live without desire, I never said
it. I have said understand desire, look into the nature of desire,
explore, probe into this urge of desire. And you translate it as, ‘to
live without desire’. I never said that.
You were going to say something, sir?
Q: Why should tradition be discouraged? Why should not the
religious books, the Gita be read, they should be read and then
meditated upon.
K: Why do you take for granted that they are all true? Why is a
book, printed, a book is always printed lines, why do you take it all
as though something terribly serious? Ask yourself, sir, why. Why
is a book, the Koran, your own particular book, or the Bible, and so
on, that gentleman’s saint’s books, why do you take it all to
dreadfully serious? Has it affected your life?
Q: It has affected the life of many of us.
K: Oh yes, sir, look at the catastrophe that is going on in this
country. This is so hopeless. And you have poverty, incredible
poverty in this country, anarchy, disorder, your own lives are in
disorder and you talk about some book. Those books haven’t in the
least affected your lives. You don’t love anybody, do you? You do?
If you loved somebody this country wouldn’t be in chaos as it is,
and in the world there would be no wars if we loved people. So
your books, your rituals, have no meaning whatsoever because you
have lost the most precious thing in life, you have never probably
had it, to love without jealousy, without possession, possessing.
Love is not attachment. If we all loved, all of us under this tent, if
you all loved it would be a different India tomorrow.       Q: But last time you said…
K: Oh, please, sir, just listen. You people don’t even listen, you
are all so intellectual. No, sorry, I withdraw that word. You are all
so verbal, you just use words. But to find out why your life is
empty, shallow, why you have no love, why there is no
compassion, why you are a Hindu and a Sikh and a Muslim, you
never ask these questions. Sir, meditation is to ask these questions.
Meditation is to find out the reality of these questions, the truth that
lies behind these questions. Right, sirs.
NEW DELHI 4TH PUBLIC TALK 7TH
NOVEMBER, 1982

This is the last talk. I wonder if you are glad of it!
We ought to talk over together, as we have done in the last three
meetings, about isolation of nationalities, which are creating one of
the causes of war, and the isolation of each individual from the rest
of mankind. We also talked about how hatred, specially in this
country, is spreading more and more. We also discussed how
human beings get hurt, and that wound we carry all our lives, and
its consequences, we went into that too. And we talked about
relationship, which is the most important thing in life. Why in that
relationship there is always conflict. Without relationship there is
no life, life is a movement in relationship. We went into that very
carefully. And we talked about various images and illusions and
myths that man has created, and how these images, illusions, are
destroying humanity – the illusion of nationality, the illusion of our
own special gods, the illusions of past people who have given some
kind of advice, which we don’t live. And also yesterday we talked
about fear, whether it is possible for humanity, for each one of us,
to entirely and completely be free of fear. We went into that very,
very carefully: what are the contributory causes of fear, and we
pointed out the various streams that bring the great river of fear.
And humanity, which has lived on this earth for millions of years,
perhaps not as we are now, but perhaps only forty thousand years,
we have never been able to be rid of fear; we have pursued
pleasure, not only sexual pleasure, the pleasure of possession,
domination, the pleasure of attachment, the pleasure of power.       And I think it is necessary this evening to talk about suffering,
whether there is an end to suffering, or must humanity, that is you
and all of us, maintain and nourish suffering. And also we ought to
talk over together, if time will allow, the meaning of death, because
that is part of our life. And we should go into the question of
religion, what is implied in religion, what is a religious mind, and
meditation.
So we will talk over together as two friends, friends who have
known each other for some time, not opposing each other, not
defending, or accusing, but enquiring, probing, gently because it is
only one discovers what is truth when there is no certainty. Those
who begin with certainty end up in uncertainty. Those who begin
with uncertainty, questioning, asking, doubting, probing, those
only end up with absolute certainty, not relative certainty, but
absolute certainty. So please as two friends don’t start with
certainty, don’t be sure that god exists, that your particular religion
is all right, that all the books, the so-called sacred books are right,
and hold on to them. They have no meaning in life.
We are enquiring together into the question of suffering. What
is suffering, whether it can end, and if there is suffering can there
be love. And human beings throughout the world have suffered
incredibly, the last two world wars and the previous five thousand
years in which there have been wars practically every year. Man,
woman, has shed innumerable tears. This is not sentiment, or
romantic imaginary state, this is actuality. Man has suffered, and
he is going on suffering: the poor in this country, the disease, the
pain and the anguish of human existence. Life isn’t pleasant, life is
a turmoil, agony. One becomes more and more aware of all this. One begins to see very clearly that all human beings bear the same
burden, share the same sorrow, not a particular sorrow, not the
sorrow of one’s son dying, or brother dying, or the wife or the
husband leaving, but the sorrow which man has accumulated for
thousands of years. We are concerned with the understanding of
that sorrow. Please don’t translate this statement that we are
concerned with individual, my sorrow. Your sorrow is the sorrow
of mankind, the sorrow of all human beings whether they live in
Russia, America, or China, or in this unfortunate country. We are
dealing, questioning, asking, the cause of sorrow, the pain of
sorrow, the grief, the anxiety that comes with sorrow, the utter
loneliness of sorrow. You understand?
Like pleasure, sorrow is narrowed down as mine, but we forget
when we are concerned with our own particular sorrow, we
neglect, we disregard, we are not concerned with the sorrow of
mankind. Because our consciousness, as we talked about some
meetings ago, our consciousness is the consciousness of humanity.
One must understand this very clearly because in understanding the
nature of our consciousness, that is what we are, our pain, our
loneliness, our depression, our joys, our beliefs, are shared by all
humanity. They may believe in one kind of god and you may
believe in another kind of god, but belief is common, belief is
general, and that is our consciousness, that’s what you are – the
language you speak, the food you eat, the climate, the clothes, the
education, the constant repetition of certain phrases, the loneliness,
the ultimate fear of death, is the ground on which all humanity
stands. And you are that humanity. My friend and I are talking
together, and I am pointing out to my friend who is sitting with me, as you are sitting there, that this consciousness is not individual, it
is the consciousness of all mankind, with their myths, superstitions,
with their images, fears and so on. This is important to understand,
not intellectually, not verbally, but to understand this with your
heart, with your mind. Because when we come to the question of
what is death we must first understand the nature of our
consciousness, the nature of what you are actually, not what you
should be – what you actually are in daily life. And that actuality is
shared by all and every human being in the world.
So when we are enquiring into the nature of sorrow we are not
discussing your particular narrow little pain and agony, but the
agony of mankind of which you actually are. So this enquiry is not
selfish, this enquiry opens up tremendous possibilities. So please
kindly listen, find out for yourself the nature of sorrow, why
human beings all over the world have gone through torture of
sorrow.
What is sorrow? And why has mankind never put it off, thrown
it off? Please ask this question of yourself: why you must have
some kind of sorrow, some kind of grief, pain, the sorrow of
loneliness, though you may be married, have children, we are
lonely people, we have separated ourselves so enormously that we
feel when there is a great grief you realize how lonely you are. So
we are asking, is one of the causes of sorrow, this loneliness.
Please enquire, go into it with the speaker. Loneliness is the result
of our daily life, each one of us is completely convinced that he is a
separate soul, separate entity, and all his activity is self-centred,
from the highest to the lowest it is self-centred, selfish. And the
daily activity of this self-centredness, will inevitably bring about sorrow, loneliness, separatism, division. And we are asking, is this
isolation in our way of thinking, in our way of life, is that one of
the causes of sorrow? And is attachment the cause of sorrow? I am
attached to my wife, to my son, to my memories, to my beliefs, to
my experience, I am attached to them. I believe, and I am attached
to that belief, and when that belief is questioned, doubted, shaken,
there is uncertainty, pain. And is that one of the causes of sorrow?
So is it possible to be free of all beliefs, not one particular
belief, or one particular ideal, but to be totally free of all ideals, all
beliefs? Please don’t say, if one is free of beliefs and ideals what do
you replace it by. That’s a wrong question. See the truth that any
belief, any ideal, divides people. It is not an actuality. I don’t
believe the sun rises and the sun sets, it is so, it is a fact. But I
believe that god exists, or doesn’t exist, I believe in certain
ideologies – communism, socialist, conservatism, whatever it is,
capitalist – I believe in certain ideology for which I am willing to
fight, kill people. So to be entirely, completely free of all beliefs
because that is freedom. And we believe because it gives us a sense
of security. You may believe in god, as most of you do, because it
gives you a sense of protection, guidance, security. The mind has
invented, the brain has invented various forms of security –
nationalism, religious figures, the various so-called sacred books,
they all give a certain quality of security. And actually there is no
security in it at all, it is an illusion. So to realize that belief, ideals
and so on are very, very destructive, they separate man from man.
And to see the truth of it is to become intelligence. And only in
intelligence there is complete security, not in your beliefs, in your
myths and ideas.       So to discover this intelligence, and that intelligence is not
yours or the speaker’s, it is intelligence. That is, to see the false as
false, and end the false. To see ‘what is’ actually, not imaginatively,
don’t run away from it, to see actually what we are, and explore
into it. And in that exploration there is the awakening of
intelligence.
So we are asking is sorrow, the cause of sorrow, the pain, the
anguish, is it brought about by our isolation of mind, of thought, of
action? And is sorrow the result of our daily attachment, how we
are attached to people. Please wake up to all this, see the truth of
all this. And to explore what is the nature of attachment: it breeds
anxiety, fear, pain, jealousy, hatred, all these are the consequences
of attachment. If I am attached to my wife, or to my husband, see
the consequences of it, you depend on each other, and so that
dependence gives a form of security, and when that person leaves,
or dies, or runs away from you, you are then in pain, in agony of
suspicion, hatred, and sorrow. Don’t you know all this? This is
nothing new, all this, this is the everyday fact of life. It may not
happen to you but it is happening to others, millions of others. In
their relationship there is sorrow, fight, agony. And we are asking
is attachment one of the causes of this sorrow. I am attached to my
son and he dies, and then I invent various forms of comfort. I never
remain with sorrow. You understand all this? To remain with it,
not escape with it, not seek comfort, not run off to some form of
entertainment, religious or otherwise, but to look at it, live with it,
understand it, the nature of it. When you do, sorrow opens the door
to passion – not to lust, passion. You are not passionate people
because you have never understood the nature of sorrow and the ending of sorrow. We have become very dull, we accept things, we
accept sorrow, we accept fear, we accept being dominated by
politicians, by your guru, by all the books and tradition. That
means you never want to be free. And you are frightened to be
free, frightened of the unknown, so you invent various forms of
consoling illusory images and hopes.
Now after saying all this about sorrow, looking at it, when my
son dies, I realize why I am attached to him, that I have lost him
for ever, and remain with that sorrow. You understand? It is like a
flower, it blooms, it opens up and it withers away, it dies at the end
of the day – it may die at the end of a week, but it withers away.
You must give it an opportunity to flower: the flowering of sorrow
and the ending of sorrow, then you have passion, you have vitality,
energy, drive.
Where there is sorrow there can be no love. Your books may
talk about it, your Gita – do they talk about love? I question it – do
they? Just investigate sir, don’t tell me they do, that means nothing.
A mind, a brain that is in agony, that is lonely, self-centred, how
can it love? Love is not emotion, love is not sentiment, a romantic,
fanciful, comforting thing. It is tremendously vital, as strong as
death. And when there is sorrow, love is not. And as most human
beings in the world suffer, and never resolve the problem of
suffering, so they do not know what it is to love. We have now
reduced love to pleasure – sexual, attachment, and so on, various
forms of pleasure. So we have to ask is love pleasure, is love
desire, is love thought, can love ever be cultivated? Of course not.
And without love, this sense of compassion, the flame of it, the
intelligence of it, life has very little meaning. You may invent a purpose for life, perfection, and you know, all the rest of that
business, but without this fundamental beauty of life, life has no
meaning. Actually your life, when you look at it, going to the
office every day for the next fifty years, what does it all mean?
Getting a little money, a little power, breeding children, the wrong
kind of education, and so perpetuating this incredible cruelty in the
world. You may read all the books in the world, all the museums in
the world, listen to talks like this from a different kind of speaker,
but if there is not this quality, that extraordinary sense of beauty
with its great sensitivity, life has very little meaning; even for the
top people, the princes of the land, the people in power, without
this they become more and more mischievous, more and more
chaotic in the world. You hear all this, and do you love anybody?
Or does that love contain jealousy, possessiveness, domination,
attachment? Then that’s not love, it’s just a form pleasure,
entertainment.
So where there is sorrow there cannot be love, and therefore no
intelligence. Love has its own intelligence, compassion has its
quality of this pure unadulterated intelligence. When there is that,
this intelligence operates in this world. That intelligence is not the
result of thought. Thought is a small affair. So when you hear all
this, when you see the truth of all this, if you do, does the perfume,
the sense of loving completely another, or will you go back to the
old routine?
And also we ought to talk over together the question of death.
Which is not a morbid question, which is not a useless question;
like love, like pain, sorrow, fear, death is part of our life. You may
postpone it, you may say, I have ten years more to live, but at the end of it there is death waiting. Again all humanity fears death, or
they rationalize it away, saying that death is inevitable, what comes
out of the earth dies in the earth. And together you and the speaker
are going to enquire into the nature of dying, what does it mean,
why we are so frightened of it.
First, as we said, to understand the depth and the full
significance of that extraordinary incident which is called death,
we must enquire, or rather we must understand the nature of our
own consciousness. Do you understand this? The nature of what
you are. If you don’t understand what you are actually, not
descriptively or merely explanatory, but actually what you are, if
you don’t understand that then death becomes a dreadful thing.
Then you may worship death in different forms, which some do.
So first before we can go into the question of death we must
understand ourselves, what we are. What are you? A name, a form,
man or woman, with certain qualities, certain tendencies,
idiosyncrasies, desires, pain, anxiety, uncertainty, confusion, and
out of this confusion you invent something permanent, the
absolute, the Brahman, or god. But what actually you are is the
movement of thought. That thought may invent that you have got
the spark of divinity in you, but it is still the movement of thought.
So what are you, apart from your physical reactions, man and
woman, differently educated, rich and poor, actually when you
look at yourself, what are you? Aren’t you all these things? Don’t
invent something, that you have some great divinity in you – that’s
just an invention, it’s not an actuality. If there is something
permanent in you, then why seek permanency somewhere else?
You understand my question? Oh, you don’t follow all this.       So as we said, begin with uncertainty, begin with not knowing,
which is what we are. You know that very well. You know your
face when you look in the mirror, that’s what you are. But also
inwardly you are all the struggle, the pain, the conflict, the misery,
the confusion, that’s what you are actually. That is the state of all
human beings. So your consciousness is not yours. It is the
common ground on which all human beings stand and share. If that
is clearly, the truth of it is clearly seen, then what is death? You
follow all this? Death is the ending of everything – my pleasure,
my memory, my experience, my attachments, ideals, beliefs, all
that ends. That’s what you are. That ends. But we don’t like the
ending. To us ending is pain. So we begin to invent, search for
comfort in reincarnation. That’s what most of you believe, don’t
you. You have never asked what it is that incarnates next life. What
is it that incarnates? Your memories? Your experiences? Your
hopes? A better life, better house, becoming a great ruler? This is
what you are now, you are going to incarnate next life. If you
really actually, deeply believed, felt that the next life you are going
to be born, then what you are doing now is all important. Right?
What you are doing now, what you think, what you feel, how you
react, because that is going to be born rightly, correctly, happily
next life. You don’t believe, you just believe in reincarnation, it’s
not an actuality. Actuality is your life now, and we are unwilling to
face it.
So death is something to be avoided. We always ask, what
happens after death, but we never ask what happens before death.
You understand my question? What happens now in our life, what
is our life? Working, working, working, office, money, pain, striving, climbing the ladder of success. That’s our life. And death
puts an end to all that. So please listen to all this. Is it possible
while living to end – end your attachment, end your belief. I know
you can’t end your bank account, if you have one, but to end. You
understand the beauty of ending something voluntarily, without
motive, without pressure.
So in ending there is a new beginning. If you end, the doors are
open, but you want to be sure before you end that the door will
open so you never end. End your motive. So the understanding of
death is to live a life psychologically, begin inwardly, end it.
And also now we ought to talk over together religion and
meditation. What is religion? The origin of that word is rather
doubtful, etymologically speaking, the origin, the beginning, the
root meaning of that word, is very doubtful. One has looked up
various dictionaries, but the root meaning of it is uncertain. So we
will accept the word religion, what we generally call religion. What
is religion for most of you? Belief, rituals – if you are a Christian,
belief in a saviour, in a particular saviour, with all the rituals, with
all the marvellous dressing, the beautiful architecture inside the
churches, the great cathedrals. I do not know if you have seen a
cardinal performing a mass, it is really a great sight, great beauty,
the utter precision, to impress the poor people. And that’s belief,
dogma, rituals, your daily puja, if you do puja daily, and above all
you believe in god. That’s what you call religion, which has
absolutely nothing whatever to do with your daily life. All
religions, organized or unorganized religions, have said, don’t kill,
love somebody. So you go on killing, you go on worshipping false
gods, which is your nationalism, your tribalism, the Sikh, the Muslim, the Hindu, it’s all tribalism. So you are killing each, and
that’s what you all call religion. Isn’t that so?
So to find out the nature of a religious mind you must put away
all those childish things. Will you? Of course not. You will go on,
do your puja, your ceremonies, become slaves to the priests.
Religions has become a form of entertainment. That entertainment
may be very sacred, as you consider, but it is still entertainment
because it is not affecting your life in any way. So can you put
away all that and not belong to any so-called religion, neither be a
Christian, a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Muslim, leave all that – that’s
propaganda of centuries. Like a computer you have been
programmed. Of course you are. When you say, ‘I am a Hindu’,
you have been programmed for the last five thousand years. So
when you are enquiring into the nature of religion, you must be
free from all this. Will you? No, of course not. Because then when
there is freedom from all that is false, illusory, then you begin to
enquire into what is meditation – not before. You understand? A
mind in conflict, a brain in struggle, cannot possibly meditate. You
may sit down quietly for twenty minutes every day, or every
afternoon, night, whatever it is, but if the brain is in conflict, pain,
anxiety, lonely, sorrow, what is the value of your meditation?
So we are going to enquire into what is meditation. Not how to
meditate, you have asked how to meditate, which is to give you a
system. Right? A method, a practice. Do you know what practising
does every day to your brain? Repeating, practising, your brain
becomes dull, mechanical, not active, alive, full of vitality – it is
tortured, making effort to achieve some silence, some state of
experience. That’s not meditation, that’s just another form of achievement, like a politician becoming a minister. In your
meditation you want to achieve illumination, silence, it’s the same
pattern repeated only you call it religious, the other calls it political
achievement – not much difference.
So we are going to enquire together, it doesn’t matter if we go
over an hour, what is meditation. Are you tired?
Q: No.
K: You must be, don’t tell me you are not – well, it’s up to you.
What is meditation? What does that word mean? The word, the
meaning of the word. If you look up in a dictionary you will find it
means to ponder over, to think over, to be concerned, to look, to
ponder over. That’s what it means. That’s what the dictionary says.
And the word ‘meditation’ also implies measurement, to measure.
Right? We are going to go into this. First the word implies to be
able to think clearly, not with confusion, not personally, but
objectively, clearly, to think, which we have done, if you have
followed very carefully, during the last three talks. So it needs
clarity. And meditation also means measurement, to measure. We
are always measuring, which is comparing – I am this, I will be
that, which is a form of measurement. I will be better – the word
‘better’ is measurement. You are following all this? You so easily
nod your heads, please don’t. That is to compare yourself with
another is a measurement. When you tell your son, or somebody,
you must be like your elder brother, that’s measurement. So we live
by measurement. We are always comparing. That’s a fact, isn’t it.
So our brain is conditioned to measure – I am this today, I hope I
will be different in a year’s time – not physically but
psychologically. That is a measurement.       Now to live without measurement is part of meditation, totally
completely free of all measurement. Not, I am practising this, I will
achieve something in a year’s time – that is measurement, which is
the very nature of one’s egotistic activity. In schools we compare,
in universities we compare, and we compare ourselves with
somebody who is more intelligent, more beautiful physically.
There is this constant measurement going on. Either you know it
consciously, or you are not aware of this movement of
measurement.
So meditation is the ending of measurement, ending of
comparison, completely. You understand this? See what is implied
in it. That there is no psychological tomorrow. Yes sir. Tomorrow
is the measurement of ‘what is’ in time. Do you understand all this?
So measurement, comparison, and the action of will must end
completely – there is no action of will in meditation. Every form,
every system of meditation is an activity of the will – will, I will
meditate, I will sit down quietly, control myself, narrow down my
thoughts, practise – that is the action of desire which is the essence
of will.
So in meditation there is no activity of the will. You understand
the beauty of all this? When there is no measurement, no
comparison, not achieving, not becoming, there is the silence of the
negation of the self. There is no self in meditation, not, ‘tell me
how to meditate, I have tried the Zen meditation, the Tibetan form
of meditation, the Buddhist form of meditation, the Hindu, and the
latest gurus who offer systems of meditation’, they are all forms of
the action of will, which is a form of desire.
So a mind, a brain that is in the act of meditation, which is the whole of life is meditation, not one period when you meditate –
meditation is the whole movement of living. But we have separated
– at least you have separated meditation from your life. It is a form
of relaxation, take a drug. If you want to repeat, repeat Coca-Cola,
or any other Cola, it is the same effect, it dulls the mind. Whereas
meditation, when there is no measurement, when there is no action
of the will, and the brain is in entirely free from all systems, then
there is great sense of freedom. And in that freedom there is order,
absolute order, and that you must have in life. Then in that state of
mind there is silence, not invented silence, not the seeking of
silence, not wanting, desiring to have a quiet mind. That’s too
childish. But when there is this freedom from measurement, which
is the activity of the self, to become something more and more and
more, then in that freedom of absolute order there is silence.
Then is there something sacred, not invented by thought? There
is nothing sacred in the temples, in the mosques, in the churches –
they are all the inventions of thought. So when you discard all that,
is there something sacred? That is, nameless, timeless, something
that is the outcome of great beauty, and total order, which begins in
our daily life. That’s why meditation is the movement of living, it’s
life. If you don’t understand the basis of all this, that is, our life, our
everyday reactions, our behaviour, all that, your meditation has no
meaning whatsoever. You can sit on the banks of the Ganga, or
some kind of place, do all kinds of tricks with yourself, that’s not
meditation. Meditation is something that is of daily life, it is a
movement of life. And when there is in that movement freedom,
order, and out of that flowers a great silence and then only then, if
you have come to that point, one finds there is something absolutely sacred.

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