– Chapter 1, Discussion With Buddhists –
Chapter 1 Discussion With Buddhists Varanasi 13th November 1978
Illusion And Intelligence
Rimpoche: Sir, when the observer observes, he is the matrix of thought, of
memories. So long as the observer is observing from this matrix, it is not
possible for him to see without naming, because that naming arises out of that
matrix. How then can the observer free himself from this matrix?
Krishnamurti: I would like to know whether we are discussing this as a
theoretical problem, an abstraction, or as something that has to be faced
directly without theories?
Jagannath Upadhyaya: This question is directly connected with one’s daily
K: Sir, who is the observer? We take it for granted that the observer is born
of the matrix, or that he is the matrix. Or, is the observer the whole movement
of the past? Is this a fact to us or an idea? Does the observer himself realize
that he is the whole movement of the past? And that as long as he is
observing, that which is being observed can never be accurate? I think this is
an important question. Can the observer, who is the whole movement of the
past, with all his conditioning, ancient and modern, be aware of himself as
Achyut Patwardhan: The observer when he looks at a fact, looks with his
old conditioning, samskar. And so he cannot see the fact as it is.
J.U.: Can we accept this? K: Are we all on the same level as Rimpocheji,
who has asked this question: The observer is made up of the past and as long
as he is rooted in the past, is he able to see the truth of a fact? If he is not
aware of himself as the observer who is conditioned, there will be a
contradiction between himself and the thing which is being observed,
contradiction being a division. 4
A.P.: As long as he does not see this clearly, there will be conflict in the act
K: Sir, the question arises then: Is it possible for the observer to understand
himself and discover his limitations, his conditioning, and so not interfere with
RMP: That is the basic problem. Whenever we try to observe, the observer
is always interfering in the observation. I would like to know whether there is a
method to cut off the `me’ which is interfering.
K: The observer is the practice, the system, the method. Because he is the
result of all past practices, methods, experiences, knowledge, the routine, the
mechanical process of repetition, he is the past. Therefore, if you introduce
another system, method, practice, it is still within the same field.
RMP.: Then how can it be done?
K: We are coming to that. Let us first see what we are doing. If we accept a
method, a system, the practising of it will make the observer more mechanical.
Any system will only strengthen the observer.
J.U.: Then this leads to a deadlock.
K: No. On the contrary. That is why I said, does the observer realize he is
the result of all experience, of the past and the present. In that experience is
included methods, systems, practices, the various forms of sadhana. And you
now ask, is there a further series of practices, methods, systems, which means
that you are continuing in the same direction. J.U.: I feel that it is not only
possible to reject the past totally but the present as well. The past can be
negated by observation, but the power of the present will not go unless the
past is negated. One is concerned with the present moment.
A.P.: The present and the past are actually one. They are not separate.
J.U.: Therefore, we should negate the present. The roots of the past will be
negated when the present is broken. 5
A.P.: You mean by the present, this moment, this present moment of
K: This present moment in observation is the observation of the whole
movement of the past. What is the action necessary to put an end to that
movement? Is that the question?
J.U.: What I am saying is, it is on this moment of time that the past rests
and on this moment that we build the edifice of the future. So, to be completely
free of either the past or the future, it is necessary to break the moment in the
present, so that the past has no place in which to rest and no point from which
the future could be projected. Is this possible?
K: How is this movement of the past which is creating the present,
modifying itself as it moves, and which becomes the future, to end?
J.U.: By the process of observation we negate the past. By negating the
past we also negate the present. And we cease to build the future based on
the desires created by the past. Only observation remains. But even this
moment of observation is a moment. Unless we break that, we are not free
from the possibility of the rising of the past and the creation of the future.
Therefore, the present moment, the moment of observation, has to be broken.
K: Are you saying, sir, that in the state of attention now, in the now, the past
ends; but that the very observation which ends the past has its roots in the
J.U.: This is not what I am saying. I do not accept the position that the past
creates the present or the present the future. In the process of observation,
past and future history are both dissolved. But the question is that again the
histories of the past and the future touch on this moment, this existent
moment. Unless this moment itself is negated, the past and the future are
again restored to activity.
To make it clear, I would like to call it `existence’, the moment of `is’-ness.
One has to break this moment of `is’ ness, and then all these tendencies,
whether they reflect the past or project the future, are broken. Is this possible? 6
K: This question has special relevance for you. I want to understand the
question before I answer. I am just asking, not answering: The past is a
movement. It has stopped with attention. And with the ending of the past, can
that second, that moment, that event, itself disappear?
J.U.: I would like to make it more clear: This moment is an `existent’
K: The moment you use the word `existence’, it has a connotation. We must
look at it very carefully.
Pupul Jayakar: It is not stable.
J.U.: I would like to call this moment kshana bindu, the moment of time.
The `suchness’ of the moment, the `is’ ness of the moment, has to be broken.
Is this possible? In the movement of observation there is neither the past nor
the possibility of the future. I do not even call it the moment of observation
because it does not have any power of existence. Where there is no past or
future, there cannot also be any present.
K: May I put this question differently? I am the result of the past. The `me’ is
the accumulation of memories, experience, knowledge – which is the past. The
`me’ is always active, always in momentum. And the momentum is time. So,
that momentum as the `me’ faces the present, modifies itself as the `me’ but is
still the `me’, and that `me’ continues into the future. This is the whole
movement of our daily existence. You are asking, can that movement as the
`me’, the centre, cease and have no future? Is that right, sir?
K: My question is, does the `me’, which is consciousness, recognise itself
as the movement of the past, or is thought imposing it as an idea – that it is the
J.U.: Could you repeat the question?
K: I, my ego, the centre from which I operate, this self-centredness is
centuries old, millions of years old. It is the constant pressure of the past, the
accumulated result of the past. The greed, the envy, the sorrow, the pain, the 7
anxiety, the fears, the agony, all that is the `me’. Is this `me’ a verbal state, a
conclusion of words, or is it a fact as this microphone is a fact?
J.U.: Yes, it is so; yet it is not absolutely so. It is not self-evident.
A.P.: Why? On what is it dependent?
J.U.: When I say it is so, it is only in terms of the past or future. It is neither
in the past nor in the future. I do not accept it as transcendental truth. I may
accept it at the level of a day-to-day order of reality.
A.P.: But you are saying it is the creator of the context.
J.U.: `This’ is a creation of the past. What is the meaning of `this’? The `me’
is the history of the past.
K: Which is the story of man who has been in travail, who has struggled,
who has suffered, who is frightened, who is in sorrow and so on.
P.Y. Deshpande: It is the story of the universe, not of `me’. K: It is `me’.
Don’t let us pretend it is of the universe.
J.U.: The `me’ is history, which can be broken by observation.
A.P.: He is saying that these facts are unrelated to the centre as the
K: Existence has no self-existence. It is a descriptive statement in
observing; it is not a fact.
J.U.: It is history. It has nothing to do with observation.
P.J.: He says, I am this, I am that, I am history. This is a descriptive
statement. In observing, it has no existence.
K: Let us go into it quietly. The `me’ is the movement of the past, the story
of humanity, the history of man. And that story is `me’. It expresses itself all the
time in my relationship with another. So, that past in my relationship with my
wife, husband, child or friend, is the operation of the past with its images, with
its pictures, and it divides my relationship with another. 8
J.U.: This exists prior to awareness. With awareness the moment will be
broken and with it all relationships.
P.Y.D.: At the point of attention everything dissolves.
K: You are saying that at the point of attention everything disappears. But
does it disappear in my relationship with my wife?
J.U.: No. This is not my experience. I have no history; I have not made any
history. History is independent of the `me’ or the `I’.
A.P.: He says he is the product of history, and he has accepted this identity.
K: But if you are the product of history, you are the result of the past. That
past interferes with your relationship with another. And my relationship with
another brings about conflict. My question is, can that conflict end now? J.U.:
Yes. It will end because the moment is broken.
P.J.: It will end in the instant of attention, and with it the totality of the past.
Radha Burnier: This is absolutely theoretical.
J.U.: I am speaking from experience. Attention is an experience, a special
experience – and it denies the past.
A.P.: Attention cannot be an experience because it would then be
imaginary. It is a part of the past because there is an observer separate from
the observed and so there is no attention.
K: That is why, sir, I began by asking in the beginning, are we discussing
theories or facts of daily life?
Rimpocheji, I think your first question was, can this past history, this past
movement, which is always exerting its pressure on our minds, our brains, our
relations, on all our existence, end, so that it does not prevent pure
observation? Can the sorrow, the fear, the pleasure, the pain, the anxiety,
which is the story of man, end now, so that the past does not interfere or
prevent pure observation?
RMP.: Yes. That was the original question. 9
K: You asked, if I understood rightly, is there a practice, a method, a
system, a form of meditation, which will end the past?
RMP.: Whenever we try to observe the past, the past intervenes. At that
moment, observation becomes useless. That is so according to my own
K: Of course, obviously.
RMP.: Now, how to observe without the interference of the observer?
K: What is the quality or nature of the observer? When you say the
observer is all the past, is he aware of himself as the past?
RMP.: I don’t think so. K: No, he is not aware.
R.B.: Or is he partially aware that he is the past?
RMP.: No. At the moment of observation he is not aware of the past.
K: For the moment we are not observing; we are examining the observer.
We are asking if the observer can be aware of himself.
RMP.: You mean at the moment of observation?
K: No. Not at the moment of observation; forget the observation. I am
asking whether the observer can know himself.
RMP.: Yes. He can understand the past, he can understand his
K: Can he understand his conditioning as an outsider observing it, or is he
aware of himself as being conditioned? You see the difference, sir?
RMP.: Observation by the mind of the real man, whether it is dual or it is
itself – that is not clear. The awareness of self – is it a duality?
K: I don’t know about duality. I don’t want to use words which we don’t
understand. To make it much simpler: Can thought be aware of itself?
R.B.: Is it the same as saying, is one aware of envy, anger, etc., as other
than oneself? 10
K: Am I aware that I am angry? Is there awareness of anger as it arises? Of
course, there is, I can see the awakening of envy. I see a beautiful carpet, and
there is envy, there is the greed for it. Now, in that knowing, is thought aware
that it is envy or is envy itself aware? I am envious, I know what the meaning
of the word `envy’ is. I know the reaction, I know the feeling. Is that feeling the
word? Does the word create that feeling? If the word `envy’ did not exist, then
is it envy? So, is there an observation of envy, the feeling without the word?
We don’t know it exactly, but is there something to which we later give a
P.J.: Naming which creates the feeling?
K: That is what I am saying. The word has become more
important. Can you free the word from the feeling? Or does
the word make the feeling? I see that carpet. There is perception,
sensation, contact and thought, as the image of owning that carpet, and so
desire arises. And the image which thought has created is the word. So, is
there an observation of that carpet without the word, which means there is no
interference of thought?
RMP.: Observation of a carpet, an outside object… It can be seen without
K: Now, is it possible to observe without the word, without the past, without
remembrance of previous envies?
RMP.: It is difficult.
K: If I may point out, sir, it does not become difficult. First, let us be clear:
The word is not the thing; the description is not the described. But for most of
us the word has become tremendously important. To us the word is thought.
Without the word, is there `thinking’, in the usual usage of that word? The word
influences our thinking, language moulds our thinking, and our thinking is with
the word, with the symbol, with the picture, and so on. Now, we are asking,
can you observe that feeling that we have verbalized as envy, without the
word, which means without the remembrance of past envies? 11
RMP.: That is the point we do not see. As soon as observation starts, the
past as thought always interferes. Can we make any observation without the
interference of thought?
K: I say `yes’, absolutely.
J.U.: The clue to all these lies in seeing that the walker is not different from
walking. Walking itself is the walker. K: Is that a theory?
J.U.: This is not a theory. Otherwise it is not possible to have a dialogue.
K: Is this so in daily life?
J.U.: Yes. When we sit here, it is only on that level of relationship. We are
here to see the fact of `what is’, we are separating the actor from action. It
becomes history. When we understand that the actor and acting are one,
through observation, then we break history as the past.
A.P.: Are we definitely clear that there is no distinction between relationship
and the fact of relationship?
J.U.: I must make myself clear. There is a bullock cart and it is loaded. All
that is loaded on the cart, where does it rest, what does it stand on? It is
resting on that point of the earth, the point of the wheel which is in contact with
the point of the earth. It is on that point that the whole load rests. Life is a point
on which history as the past rests – past and future. That present existent
moment, when I hold it in the field of observation, is broken. Therefore, the
load and the bullock cart are broken.
A.P.: When you say it is broken, is that attention your experience? If what
you say is a fact, then Rimpoche’s question should have been answered. If his
question has not been answered, then what has been said is theoretical.
RMP.: This does not answer my question.
K: Sir, your question in the beginning was, can the past end? It is a very
simple question because all our life is the past. It is the story of all humanity,
the enormous length, depth, volume, of the past. And we are asking a very
simple but very complex question: Can that vast story with all its tremendous 12
volume, like a tremendous river with a great deal of water flowing, come to an
First of all, do we recognise the immense volume of it – not the words, but
the actual volume of it? Or is it just a theory that it is the past? Do you
understand my question, sir? Does one recognise the great weight of the
past? Then the question arises, what is the value of this past? Which is, what
is the value of knowledge?
RMP.: It is the point of realization.
A.P.: The factual realization is impossible because at this point thought
K: There is no realization because thought interferes. Why? Why should
thought interfere when you are asking me the question: What place has
knowledge in my life?
RMP.: It may have its own utility.
K: Yes, knowledge has its limited place. Psychologically, it has no place.
Why has knowledge, the past, taken over the other field?
P.J.: Sir, what is it that you seek by this question? I am asking this because
the receiving of this question is also in the field of knowledge.
K: No. That is why I am asking you a very simple question: Why should
knowledge take a place in my relationship with another? Is relationship with
another a remembrance? Remembrance means knowledge. My relationship
with her, or with you, becomes a remembrance – as, for instance, `You have
hurt me; `She has praised me; then `She is my friend’, `You are not my friend’.
When relationship is based on memory, remembrance, there is division and
conflict. Therefore, there is no love. How is this memory, remembrance, which
prevents love, to come to an end in relationship?
A.P.: The original question that we started with has ended in a new
K: I am doing it now: What is the function of the brain? 13
RMP.: To store memory. K: Which means what? To register, like a tape-
recorder. Why should it register anything except what is absolutely necessary?
I must register where I live, how to drive a car. There must be registration of
the things that have utility. Why should it register when she insults me, or you
praise me? It is that registration that is the story of the past – the flattery, the
insult. I am asking, can’t that be stopped?
RMP.: When I am thinking, it is very difficult…
K: I am going to show you it is not difficult.
RMP.: Sir, you say why not register only what is necessary, but the brain
does not know what is necessary. That is why it goes on registering.
K: No, no.
RMP.: The registering is involuntary.
K: Of course.
RMP.: Then how can we register only that which is necessary?
K: Why has it become involuntary? What is the nature of the brain? It needs
security – physical security – because otherwise it cannot function. It must have
food, clothes and shelter. Is there any other form of security? Thought has
invented other forms of security: I am a Hindu, with my gods. Thought has
created the illusion and in that illusion the brain seeks shelter, security. Now,
does thought realize that the creation of the gods, etc. is an illusion, and,
therefore, put it away, so that I don’t go to a church, perform religious rituals,
because they are all the products of thought in which the brain has found
some kind of illusory security?
J.U.: The moment of self-protection is also the past. To break that habit of
self-protection is also a point. It is that point on which the whole of existence
rests. This atma which is samskriti must also be negated. This is the only way
K: For survival, physical survival, not only of you and me but of humanity,
why do we divide ourselves as Hindu, Muslim, communist, socialist, Catholic? 14
RMP.: This is the creation of thought, which is illusory.
K: Yet we hold on to it. You call yourself a Hindu. Why?
RMP.: It is for survival, a survival reflex.
K: Is it survival?
A.P.: It is not, because it is the enemy of survival.
P.J.: At one level we can understand each other. But it does not end that
K: Because we don’t use our brains to find out, to say this is so: I must
P.J.: You say the brain is like a tape-recorder recording. Is there another
function of the brain, another quality?
K: Yes, it is intelligence.
P.J.: How is it awakened?
K: Look, I see there is no security in nationalism, and, therefore, I am out: I
am no longer an Indian. And I see there is no security in belonging to any
religion; therefore, I don’t belong to any religion. Now what does that mean? I
have observed how nations fight each other, how communities fight each
other, how religions fight each other, the stupidity of it, and the very
observation awakens intelligence. Seeing that which is false is the awakening
P.J.: What is this seeing?
K: Observing outwardly England, France, Germany, Russia, America, are
at each other’s throats, I see how stupid it is. Seeing the stupidity is
R.B.: Are you saying that as one sees this, the unnecessary recording
comes to an end? 15
K: Yes. I am no longer a nationalist. That is a tremendous thing. Sunanda
Patwardhan: You mean if we cease to be nationalists, all unnecessary
K: Yes, with regard to nationalism.
R.B.: Do you mean to say that when one sees that security or survival is an
absolute minimum and eliminates everything else, then the recording stops?
K: Of course, naturally.
J.U.: One song has ended and another has started; a new song has been
recorded on the old. It will go on. The old destructive music will keep on
breaking and the new music which is good, which is right, will take over. Is this
the future of humanity?
K: No, you see, this is theory. Have you stopped being a Buddhist?
J.U.: I don’t know. The past as history has shaped the image in my brain.
My being a Buddhist is the past – a historical past.
K: Then drop it – which means you see the illusion of being a Buddhist.
J.U.: That is correct.
K: Seeing the illusion is the beginning of intelligence.
J.U.: But we would like to see that when one thing breaks another does not
K: Could we tackle this differently? We are surrounded by false illusory
things. Must we go step by step, one after another? Or is there a way of
looking at this whole illusion and ending it? To see the whole movement of
illusion, the movement of thought which creates illusions and, seeing it, to end
it – is that possible?
J.U.: This is possible.
K: Is it a theory? The moment we enter into theory, then it is meaningless.
J.U.: If we can break the self-protective process, then this is possible. The
form of this process will then undergo a change; but the self-protective process
itself will not end. When we think that something has existence, even that is an 16
illusion. Thousands of such illusions break and thousands of new ones come
into being. That is not sadhana; this happens all the time. So far we have been
talking only of the gross illusions; these certainly break. But a new image is
continually shaping itself. It is making its own thought structures.
A.P.: What he is saying is that this process of negating gives place to the
arising of new, subtler illusions.
K: No. Thought being limited, whatever it creates is limited – whatever:
gods, knowledge, experience, everything is limited. Do you see that thought is
limited and its activity is limited? If you see that, it is finished; there is no
illusion, no further illusion.
RMP.: This point, this thought, again arises.
K: That is why I said, sir, thought must find its own proper place, which is
utility, and it has no other place. If it has any other place, it is illusion. Thought
is not love. Does love exist? You agree thought is limited, but do you love
people? I don’t want theories. What is the point of all this? What is the point of
all your knowledge, Gita, Upanishads, and all the rest of it? Have we made
ourselves clear, or are we still at the verbal level?
RMP.: No, not at the verbal level.
K: When we have really discovered the limitations of thought, there is a
flowering of something else. Is it really happening? Does that take place?
RMP.: I can now recognise the limitations of thought more poignantly. 17
– Chapter 2, Seminars Madras 1981 –
Chapter 2 Part 1 In Listening Is Transformation
1st Seminar Madras 14th January 1981
Achyut Patwardhan: Reflective minds have come to realize that there is a
certain degeneration at the very source of the human brain. Would it be
possible for us to explore this source of degeneration?
Is it possible for us to start our exploration with a mind which says, `I see
the fact of degeneration, I don’t know its causes, I am willing to explore’?
Brij Khare: I am wondering whether we can discover the tools we are going
to use in order to explore; what really are the tools we need to enter into such
P.J.: Is the brain the tool of enquiry and are we enquiring into the
movement of the brain? Does the tool then enquire into itself?
B.K.: Is it characteristic of the human brain or mind to be an observer of
A.P.: Is it possible to cleanse the brain of the source of pollution?
P.J.: Can we take these two questions together? Are the tools which are
available to us adequate to explore the nature of this movement? If they are of
the essence of pollution, can they investigate pollution? Therefore, should we
not investigate the tools?
B.K.: I was also wondering, is it really a question of tools or can we directly
see disorder? We can then ask what evolves from that. Degeneration
somehow seems to imply a time scale. Clearly there is disorder. Q: Will the
examination of the tools by itself take us anywhere?
P.J.: I do not think the two questions are independent of each other.
A.P.: I discover that the tools are inadequate, and I put them aside, I say I
can only see that there is this very rapid process of degeneration which
threatens human survival. Now, how do we understand this? 18
P.J.: We said there is a state of degeneration, both outside and within, that
this is part of the very condition of man, the degenerative process having
accelerated and, therefore, degeneration being at our doorstep and within one.
We start with the query, with what instruments do we enquire. Unless one asks
this question we will keep on going round the circle of degeneration.
K.: I think all of us agree that there is degeneration, that there is corruption –
moral, intellectual and also physical. There is chaos, confusion, misery,
despair. To think is to be full of sorrow. Now, how do we approach this present
condition? Do we approach it as a Christian, as a Buddhist, or a Hindu or
Muslim, or as a communist? Or do we approach the problem without taking a
stand, a position? The communist agrees that sorrow is the burden of
mankind, but if one is to change that sorrow one must recondition society. If
we could put aside all our stands, positions, then perhaps we can really look at
the problem of degeneration.
The problem is very serious. Knowledge either of the technological world or
of the psychological world, or knowledge handed down through tradition,
books and so on, appears to be at the root of all degeneration. Let us discuss
this. I see this chaos throughout the world, there is uncertainty, utter confusion
and despair. How do we approach it? It is quite clear that I have no answer to
this problem of degeneration within me. I imagine I have read Vedanta and the
answer is in that; I imagine I am a Marxist and that there is an answer in that,
and that only some modifications in the system are necessary. These positions
would vitiate enquiry. Therefore, I don’t want to say anything beyond what is
based on observable fact.
P.J.: Krishnaji has brought an element into this enquiry which demands a
great deal of examination, which is that knowledge per se – technological
knowledge, skill, all that the human brain has acquired through millennia – is
itself the source of degeneration. First, I must see that challenge. And how do I
see the challenge, how do I respond to it?
Q: The challenge may be utterly false.
P.J.: I must discover the truth or untruth of it. 19
B.K.: I still say that perhaps we are anatomically, biologically,
physiologically, inadequate to deal with the situation and we do not have
appropriate tools. What I am enquiring is, is there a root cause for all this?
K: What is the root cause? Can we find out what is? We are not examining
the symptoms; we all know the symptoms. Can we find out through sceptical
investigation what is the effect of knowledge on our minds, on our brains? This
has to be examined, and then the root cause will be uncovered. Can we find a
J.U.: There are two points from which we look at this problem: one is that of
the individual and the other is that of society. Problems arise because the
individual feels he is intrinsically free, but at the same time there is a
dimension of him which is in interaction with society. The individual himself is,
partly, an entity but, largely, he is the product of society. In order to examine
the question, we have to draw attention to the problems of the individual and
society separately. The individual in relation to himself on the one hand, and
the individual in relation to society on the other, are really processes within
society. I would not like to go back to the ancient past – I am confining myself
to the last three to four hundred years of civilization. I want to stress that the
problem lies in the nature of the relationship between the individual and
society. There are moments when the individual acquires a greater
importance, and moments when society acquires greater importance. What is
the nature of the relationship of one to the other, and how are the balances
disturbed? Is it in the transmission of knowledge or experience that one has to
see the relationship between them?
K: I question whether there is an individual, whether society is not an
abstraction. What is actual is human relationship. You may call that
relationship society, but the fact is, it is relationship between you and another,
intimate or otherwise. Let us find out whether we are individuals or we are
programmed to think we are individuals. I am questioning very deeply whether
the concept of the individual is actual. You think you are an individual and you
act as one and from this arise problems and then you pose the question of 20
relationship between society and the individual. But society is a total
abstraction. What is real, actual, is the relationship between two human beings
– which is society.
J.U.: Do you say that the individual is not? There are two levels of delusion
at which one is working.
P.J.: Upadhyayaji says that the individual is not, but he deludes himself that
he is. Society is not, but there is a delusion that society is. While the two
delusions – of individual’s existence and society’s existence – `exist’, ,there is
conflict between the two which must also be resolved.
G. Narayan: Though the individual is an illusion and society is an illusion,
we have made a reality out of them and all the effects are there.
K: Are you saying that the brain has been programmed as the individual,
with its expressions, freedom, fulfilment, with society opposed to the
individual? Are you admitting that the brain has been programmed? Don’t call
it a relationship; it is programmed to think in that way. Therefore, it is not
illusion. Programming is an illusion, not what is programmed.
A.P.: To say that the individual is an illusion or society is an illusion is to say
that we have created an imaginary problem which we are discussing
speculatively. Actually, we are discussing the condition of man. The condition
of man is a fact; he is degenerating, he is selfish, unhappy, in conflict, and is
on the point of destroying himself. This cannot be denied. Krishnaji says to the
traditionalists and to the Marxists that they are programmed.
P.J.: Achyutji, you are missing the point. Krishnaji says, don’t call it illusion,
it is not an illusion in that sense. The brain has not created it. The brain itself is
that, because it has been programmed to be that.
K: If you call it illusion, then the programmed is the illusion. So if you stop
programming the brain, which is illusion, you wipe out the whole thing. The
computer is programmed and we are programmed.
J.U.: If I wipe that out, then what is relationship? 21
K: Not ifs and buts. Do we actually see the fact, not the theory of the fact,
that we are not individuals?
RMP.: Whenever we speak of relationship, we are taking for granted that
there are two points, between which we speak of relationship. My assumption
is that before we examine relationship, we must examine the two points. To
speak about relationship without the two points becomes merely academic.
B.K.: Does it include the animal, animalistic mind? If yes, then we cannot
talk about the last three or four hundred years only – we must go back to the
time when we were living in trees.
K: What is the point, sir?
P.J.: The whole point is in your saying that the brain is programmed. Where
do we go from there? You have been saying that self-centred activity, the
individual as he is, elaborated a little more, has to be negated at every point.
But when we observe, whether it is the outer or the inner – sometimes the
outer predominates, sometimes the inner – the interaction between the two is
always evident. You can call it individual and society, or anything else, but
there are always the two; I create it. This is the point. Therefore, as Rimpocheji
says, we cannot wipe out the individual and just talk of relationship, we cannot
because we have to examine the two points.
K: I question that. I am saying there is only relationship.
P.J.: Are you taking relationship out of the context of the two?
K: Yes. That is, the brain relating itself to the past. The brain is the past.
P.J.: Then, who is relating to whom?
K: It is not relating to anybody. It is functioning within its own circle, within
its own area. This is obvious.
S.P.: But, sir, this brain is relating to other brains with which it has certain
P.J.: Sunanda, did you hear what he said – that you are never relating to
another, that the brain itself creates the `other’ and then relates to that? 22
K: Can you repeat what I said?
G.N.: You are saying that there is no relationship because the brain creates
the `other’ and then relates to it. In fact, there is only the human brain.
K: The brain is only concerned with itself, its own security, its own
problems, its own sorrow, and the `other’ is also this. The brain is never related
to anything. There is no `other’. The `other’ is the image created by thought
which is the brain.
R.B.: Are you saying that relationship itself is part of the programming? K:
No. Let us move from that word `programme’.
R.B.: There is no `other’ and no relationship.
K: No. Relationship is always between two.
S: Do you mean to say there is no `other’?
K: You exist, but my relationship with you is based on the image I have
created of you. Therefore, my relationship is with the image which I have.
B.K.: But part of the brain is also questioning it.
K: Let us get this clear. My relation to you is based on the thought which I
have about you, the image that I have created about you. The relationship is
not with you, but with the image that I have. Therefore, there is no relationship.
B.K.: What I do not understand is, how does the programming come in?
K: Sir, the computer is programmed. It will believe in god, it will believe in
the Vedas, believe in anything it has been told. My brain has also been
programmed that I am a Hindu, I am Christian, I believe in god, I don’t believe
in god. Leave it for the moment. We are saying there is no `other’. Therefore,
there is no relationship with `other’.
A.P.: I question this.
K: I am examining this. My brain is the common brain of humanity; it is not
my brain. The common brain, which has existed for five to ten million years,
has through experience, knowledge, etc., established for itself an image of the
world – and also of my wife. My wife is only there for my pleasure, my 23
loneliness; she exists as an image in me which thought has created.
Therefore, there is no relationship. But if I actually see that and change the
whole movement, then perhaps we may know what love is. Then relationship
is totally different.
A.P.: You have stated something. Is this a description or a fact? K: It is a
description to communicate a fact. Question the fact, not the description.
A.P.: I am questioning the fact. I say the fact is that the world is full of
people. They are divided into nationalities, etc. I cannot permit an
oversimplification of a situation in which the problem itself is reduced to what is
happening in the brain – because I say something is happening outside,
something is happening within me and there is an interaction, and that, that is
K: You are saying that there is an interaction between my psychological
world and the world. I am saying there is only one world – my psychological
world. It is not an oversimplification; on the contrary.
Q: You said that my relationship with my wife is my ideal or image, but how
does that image come about? For the coming into being of the image, you as
an individual are necessary. I have created the image of her but for that she
has to be out there as an object. Something has to trigger it off.
Q: You have taken away the object.
K: I have not.
P.J.: We are talking of degeneration. Anyone who has observed the mind in
operation sees the validity of what Krishnaji says, that you may be physically a
human being but you exist in terms of an image in my mind and my relation is
to that image in my mind.
K: Therefore, there is no interaction. Therefore, there is no `you’ for the `I’
to interact with.
A.P.: I have a difficulty. Unless you accept the existence of the other
individual, you are by implication devaluing or negating what arises as a
challenge from the `other’, which is as great a reality as my urges or 24
responses. My urges and responses are no more valid than those of the other
Q: You are taking away the object which sets something in motion, which is
a reality. G.N.: The brain creates its own image which prevents real
relationship. In fact, when the brain is relating to its own image, all the
A.P.: Is the movement arising from the image sui generis, or is the brain a
response to a challenge from outside? I say it is a response to a challenge
P.J.: The response is in the brain.
K: The brain is the centre of all the sensory reactions. I see a woman and
all the sensory responses awaken. Then the brain creates the image – the
woman and the man sleeping, sex, all that business. The sensory response is
stored in the brain. The brain then reacts as thought, through the senses,
memory and all the rest of it. Then this sensation meets a woman and all the
responses, the biological responses, take place. Then the image is created.
The image then becomes all-important, not the woman. The woman may be
necessary for my pleasure, etc., but there is no relationship with her except the
physical. This is simple enough.
A.P.: There is a certain fear lurking in my mind: Is this a process of refined
K: It is. I am saying that.
B.K.: Can we take one more step? Can there be a mental relationship?
Images can be refined, modified, manipulated. So, can there be mental
K: Of course, the brain is doing that all the time.
P.J.: The real question then arises, what is the action or challenge or that
which triggers the ending of this image-making machinery so that direct
contact is possible? The trap we are caught in is, we see it is so but we
continue in the same pattern. 25
K: This is so. Why is the brain functioning so mechanically?
P.J.: What is the challenge, what is the action which will break this
mechanical functioning so that there is direct contact?
R.B.: Contact with what?
P.J.: Direct contact with `what is’.
K: Let us get this clear. The brain has been accustomed to this sensory,
imaginary, movement. What will break this chain? That is the basic question.
J.U.: The implication is that everything that arises, arises out of the senses.
Nothing arises out of outer challenges.
K: I said there is no outer, there is only the brain responding to certain
reactions, which is knowledge.
S.: Are you saying that there is no outer and inner, but only the brain?
J.U.: You have made a statement. I have listened to what you said. It is not
part of my brain – that there is no outer challenge, that the image is born out of
the image-making machinery of the brain itself, that the self projects the
images of the other. All that you have said is not part of my brain.
J.U.: It is something new to me.
B.K.: It is programmed differently.
P.J.: The question is, what is your relationship to me or to Upadhyayaji or to
Y? Are you not a challenge to me?
K: What do you mean by `you’?
P.J.: Krishnaji’s statement or the way he has asked, or what he has been
saying, to which I am listening, is it not a challenge to this very brain?
K: It is. 26
P.J.: If it is so, then there is a movement which is other than the movement
of the brain.
K: K makes a statement. It is a challenge to you only when you can
respond to it. Otherwise it is not a challenge. P.J.: I don’t understand that.
A.P.: You see, someone walking on the road makes no impression on me;
there is no record and, therefore, there is no response. There is a possibility of
something happening and of my not responding in any way; and there is
another, that he says something and immediately it evokes a reaction.
K: Now, this is a challenge. How do you respond to challenge? As a
Buddhist, as a Christian, as a Hindu, Muslim, or as a politician, etc? Either you
respond at the same intensity as the challenge or you don’t respond at all. To
meet a challenge you and I must face each other, not bodily, but face each
J.U.: If you are a challenge, then why are you denying there can be a
challenge from the outer?
K: That is entirely different. The outside challenge is a challenge which
thought has created. The communist challenges the believer. The communist
is a believer therefore, he is challenging another belief; so, it becomes a
protection, a reaction against belief. That is not a challenge. The speaker has
no belief. From that point he challenges, which is different from the challenge
from the outside.
P.J.: What is the challenge of the no-centre?
K: If you challenge my reputation or question my belief, then I react to it
because I am protecting myself and you are challenging from your image. It is
a challenge between two images which thought has created. But if you
challenge K, which is the challenge of absoluteness, that is entirely different.
P.J.: We need to go back to where we started…
S: My brain which is the image-making machinery responds to the other in
the same way as the challenge created by a person like you. Does it not
respond in the same way? 27
P.J.: It is so. But the question is, how is this movement to end? K: How is
this cycle of experience, knowledge, memory, thought, action – action again
going back to knowledge, the circle in which you are caught – to end?
P.J.: It is really asking, how is the stream of causation to end? This process
you have shown – challenge, sensation, action – does the learning of that
action return and get stored?
K: Of course. Obviously. This is what we are doing.
J.U.: Does that which goes out return, or does something new return?
P.J.: It acts, and in between many causes have flowed into it. The whole
thing comes back and is stored again.
G.N.: We have been saying the programme works this way – experience,
knowledge, memory, action. Action further strengthens experience and this is
J.U.: In that process, what goes does not come back as it was, but
something special is added to it. What is the special quality of what is added?
RMP.: In the whole thinking process, according to Upadhyayaji, there is this
fixed point, which is the inner and outer. If we can discuss this, then perhaps it
will be easier to understand.
G.N.: We are not denying the reality of the outer world, but there is nature,
there are other human beings, there are things. Everything is real; war is real,
nationality is real, the other person is real. But what we imply is: There is really
no contact; only contact with our own image and this makes for no contact.
P.J.: It implies that at no point is there real freedom because, caught in this,
there can be no freedom.
G.N.: This does not deny the existence of the outer world. Otherwise we go
back to the me and society.
A.P.: You are not denying the outer world as things, you are denying the
reality of the outer world as persons. P.J.: No, you are denying the reality of
the images that your mind has made of the outer world. 28
J.U.: I have accepted this, that he who makes the images is responsible for
this process. He has gone that far only through a process of causation. When
he returns, he returns with new experience, desires and urges. What is this
new factor; from where does it come?
P.J.: How has this accumulation of knowledge taken place? That which was
green has turned yellow as in a leaf, as in a fruit.
K: Sir, all that I am saying is, knowledge as it exists now, psychological
knowledge, is the corruption of the brain. We understand this process very
well. You ask, how is that chain to be broken? I think the central issue is
psychological knowledge which is corrupting the brain and, therefore,
corrupting the world, corrupting the rivers, the skies, relationships, everything.
How is this chain to be broken?
Now, why do you ask that question? Why do you want to break this chain?
This is a logical question. Has the breaking of the chain a cause, a motive? If it
has, then you are back in the same chain. If it is causing me pain and,
therefore, I want to be out of it, then I am back in the chain. If it is causing me
pleasure, I will say, please leave me alone. So I must be very clear in myself. I
cannot persuade you to be clear, but in myself I must have no direction or
Satyendra: It is a central question and people keep on asking, `How do I
break the chain?’ But the question I ask is, given the brain that I have, is it
possible to end the chain?
I am conscious of myself. Can I ask the question in this way – is it basically
a way of looking at things? Is it a matter of reason, logic?
K: No, it is not a matter of analysis, but of plain observation of what is going
Sat: Without the mind forming an image? K: The brain is the centre of all
sensory responses. The sensory response has created experience, thought
and action, and the brain being caught in that which is partial, is never 29
complete. Therefore, it is polluting everything it does. If you admit that once,
not as theory but as a fact, then that circle is broken.
P.J.: Practically every teaching which is concerned with the meditative
processes has regarded the senses as an obstruction to the ending of this
process. What role do you give to the senses in freeing the mind?
R.B.: I think what you are saying is not correct. All of them have never
regarded the senses as obstruction because when they said `senses’ they
included the mind. They never separated the mind from the senses.
P.J.: After all, all austerities, all tapas, all yogic practices, were meant, as I
have understood them, to see that the movement of the senses towards the
object was destroyed.
K: I don’t know what the ancients have said.
Kapila Vatsyayan: I think, at least in what is broadly called Hindu or ancient
Indian thought, the senses are not to be denied. That is very crucial to the
whole culture, and where it all began was with the Katha Upanishad, with
sensory perception. The image they have is the chariot and horses. Yes,
horses are primary; senses are primary and they are not to be destroyed. They
are to be understood, controlled. They are the factors of the outer reality. They
do not deny the outer.
P.J.: I am asking, what is the role of the senses,
K: The senses, as thought, create desire. Without the interference of
thought they have very little importance.
P.J.: Senses have no importance?
K: Senses have their place. If I see a beautiful tree, it is beauty; the beauty
of a tree is astonishing. Where does desire interfere with the senses? That is
the whole point;not whether the senses are important or unimportant, but
where desire begins. If one understands that, then why give such colossal
importance to it?
R.B.: It sounds as if you are contradicting yourself. 30
R.B.: Sir, you have said, not just now but earlier, `if you can observe with all
your senses’… Therefore, you cannot deny the importance of the senses.
K: I did not deny the senses. I said if you respond to that tree, look at that
tree with the sunlight on it after the rain, it is full of beauty, there is a total
response, there is no `me’, there is no thought, there is no centre which is
responding. That is beauty, not the painting, not the poem, but the total
response of all your senses to that. We don’t so respond because thought
creates an image from which a desire arises. There is no contradiction in what
I have said.
P.J.: If I may ask Upadhyayaji, how would the Vedantin regard the senses?
J.U.: According to Vedanta, without the observer there can be no
P.J.: What about the Buddhist?
S: There is seeing only when the seer is not. There is no difference
between the seer and the seeing.
K: The observer is the observed. Just look what is happening here. We
stick to the Vedantist attitude, the Buddhist attitude; we do not move out of the
field. I am not criticizing. Let us come back. This is the whole point: The brain
is caught in this movement. And you are asking, how is the chain which is built
by thought – thought being limited because it is born of knowledge, which is
incomplete – to be broken?
Knowledge has created this chain. Then you ask the question, how is the
chain to break? Who is asking this question? S: The prisoner is asking.
K: You are that. Who is asking the question?
S: That which is itself incomplete is asking itself.
K: Just look at it. The brain is caught in this. Is the brain asking the
question, or is desire asking, `How am I to get out of it?’ I don’t ask that 31
question. Do you see the difference? A.P.: That I understand. When you say,
is the brain asking that question, or is desire asking it, I am bogged.
P.J.: Don’t we ask the question?
K: There is only this chain. That is all. Don’t ask the question. The moment
you ask the question, you are trying to find an answer, you are not looking at
the chain. You are that; you can’t ask any question. I am coming to the next
point which is, what happens when you do that? When you do that, there is no
movement. The movement has created this, and when there is no movement,
that ends. There is totally different dimension. So, I have to begin by not
But is the chain a fact to me? This chain is desire – desire in the sense of
sensory responses. If all the senses respond, there is no desire. But only when
the sensory responses are partial, then thought comes in and creates the
image. From that image arises desire. Is this a fact, that this is the chain the
brain works in? Whatever it does must operate in this?
B.K.: How can one be more in touch with that observation?
K: Look, I have physical pain; I immediately take a pill, go to a doctor and
so on. That same movement is taken over by the psyche; the psyche says:
`What am I do? Give me a pill, a way out.’ The moment you want to get out,
there is the problem. Physical pain I can deal with, but with psychological pain,
can the brain say that it is so, I won’t move from that? it is so. Then see what
happens. Sceptical research, sceptical investigation is the true spiritual
process. This is true religion. 32
Chapter 2 Part 2 In Listening Is Transformation
2nd Seminar Madras 15th January 1981
J.U.: In Varanasi, you have been speaking over the years. Two types of
people have been listening to you. One group is committed to total revolution
at all levels and the other to the status quo, that is to the whole stream of
tradition as it flows. Both go away, after listening to you, satisfied. Both feel
that they have received an answer to their queries.
You say that when all thought, all self-centred activity, the movement of the
mind as the `me’ has ended totally, there is a state of benediction, endless joy,
bliss, which is beauty, love, a state which has no frontiers. Now the man
listening to you with the mind rooted in the status quo, takes a stand on what
you have said regarding the eternal, goes back to the tradition of the great
teachers who have also posited a state of eternal bliss, joy, beauty, love. He
then posits that that alone is important. For him a transformation of society
today is unnecessary. You can make a slight change here and there, but these
changes are transient and of no importance. Neither a transformation in man
nor in society is important. But you go on to say that when all thought, all self-
centred activity, has ended, then there is a direct contact with the great river of
sorrow, which is not the sorrow of individual man. From this will arise a karuna,
compassion, beauty and love, which will demand transformation here and
now. Only this will end the emphasis on eternal bliss which ultimately is an
illusion. I do not feel that there is a place for the concept of eternal bliss,
benediction, in your teaching.
K: Just what is the question?
P.J.: Today more and more people are hearing you and they see a
contradiction – that the man who stands for the status quo and the one who
stands for revolution, takes your teachings and amalgamates it into his. That
contradiction needs clarification. What does your teaching stand for? 33
K: Let us take it one by one. J.U.: I am a student. I am learning, and in this
process of learning I see a contradiction when you posit a state which is
K: Cut that out..
J.U.: I can’t cut that out; it figures very much every time you speak. When
you posit a state beyond, which is bliss, etc., that is the contradiction.
Therefore, I say that the stream of sorrow and the compassion which arises
upon direct contact with that stream is the only reality.
K: I don’t quite see the contradiction. I would like that contradiction
explained to me.
A.P.: What I feel is that Upadhyayaji goes with you up to the point that there
is no such thing as personal sorrow because personal sorrow posits the
personal sufferer. So, there is the substance of human existence as sorrow.
Out of this perception, arises compassion which becomes love. He is bogged
down when you say that the perception of sorrow is the birth of compassion.
P.J.: No, no. He is seeing the contradiction in Krishnaji making any
statement about the `otherness’, because the mind picks on that.
K: First of all, I don’t quite see the contradiction, personally. I may be
wrong, subject to correction. One thing is very clear, that there is this
enormous river of sorrow. That is so. Can that sorrow be ended and, if it ends,
what is the result on society? That is the real issue. Is that right?
J.U.: There is this vast stream of sorrow. No one can posit when this sorrow
will totally end.
K: I am positing it.
J.U.: There can be a movement for the ending of sorrow but no one can
posit when that sorrow of mankind can end.
A.P.: We know life as irreparably built on the fabric of sorrow. Sorrow is the
very fabric of our existence, but you have said that the ending of sorrow can
be attained. 34
K: Yes, there is an ending to sorrow.
A.P.: This is not a statement about the sorrow of man ending at a certain
time and date; it has no future or past. It is a statement that this state can end
K: I don’t understand all this.
P.J.: Sir, Upadhyayaji says there is a contradiction in your positing the
`other’, and he is asking why is there this contradiction?
K: I don’t think it is a contradiction. I think we all agree that humanity is in
the stream of sorrow and that humanity is each one of us. Humanity is not
separate from me; I am humanity, not representative of humanity. My brain,
my psychological structure, is humanity. Therefore, there is no `me’ – and a
stream of sorrow. Let us be very clear on that point.
P.J.: Are you saying that there is no stream of sorrow independent of the
human? Upadhyayaji suggests that there is a stream of sorrow which is
independent of sorrow as it operates in individual consciousness.
K: No, no. The brain is born through time. That brain is not my brain. It is
the brain of humanity in which the hereditary principle is involved, which is
time. My consciousness is the consciousness of man; it is the consciousness
of humanity because man suffers, he is proud, cruel, anxious, unkind, this is
the common ground of man. There is no individual at all for me. The stream of
sorrow is humanity; it is not something out there.
G.N.: I see a child being beaten. That perception is the moment of pity.
How do you say that when I see a person beating a child I am also that
K: Before we move to the specific, let us get the ground clear. The ground
is, there is no individual suffering. Pleasure, fear, anxiety, vanity, cruelty, etc.,
all that is common to humanity. That is the psychological structure of man.
Where does individuality come into this?
G.N.: I am different from that suffering of the child. 35
K: What are you trying to say?
G.N.: I am saying that there is a stream of sorrow; there is violence. I see
something out there.
K: Outside yourself? Let us stick to that. It is outside me. Which is what?
What are you? You are part of that stream.
P.J.: The fact is that I see myself separate from that child, that man. The
state of consciousness within me which leads to that perception is also the
state of consciousness which in another situation acts in a violent way.
G.N.: I see a certain action going on in front of me. The perception of the
fact that a child is being beaten gives rise to another action. Therefore, there
are two actions.
K: We are not talking about actions.
P.J.: The problem arises because we see ourselves as a fact, we see
ourselves seeing the child being beaten, but we don’t see the same
consciousness in being rude to someone else.
K: But humanity is part of that child, part of the act of beating that child. We
are part of all this.
J.U.: Krishnaji has said something which is of utmost importance. That is,
there is no such thing as individual sorrow, that individual sorrow is the sorrow
of mankind. Now, that should be investigated, understood, not as a theory but
as an actuality. One sees the stream of sorrow, the stream of mankind, one
sees that it has a direction, it has movement.
K: That which is moving has no direction. The moment it has a direction,
that direction creates time.
J.U: A stream which is flowing may appear as a stream, but it is made up of
individual drops, and when the energy of the sun falls on that stream, it draws
up individual drops, not the whole stream.
P.J.: You see what is implied in it? It is a very interesting question. Does it
mean that when there is the ending of sorrow, does it arise in the individual 36
drop or in the whole stream? Upadhyayaji says that when the light of the sun
falls on the stream of water which is flowing, which is composed of individual
drops, it draws up drop by drop.
K: Take a river; it has a source. The Rhine, the Volga, the Ganga, all the
rivers of the world have a source. The source is sorrow, not the drops of water.
Has our sorrow a source, not the source of individual drops that make up the
stream but is the very stream the source of our sorrow? To me, individuality
does not exist. My body may be tall, dark, light, pink, whatever colour; it may
have certain inherited genetic trappings. Basically, there is no such thing as an
individual. If you accept that as a fact, you cannot then say that the source is
made up of individual drops.
B.K.: You said the source is sorrow. If we translate this into human terms,
that really means human beings are born of sorrow, and are condemned also.
K: No. I am not condemning. I am saying what is a fact. You cannot
condemn a fact.
P.J.: You say there is the stream of sorrow. I am questioning it.
K: I want to start with a clean slate. I am not a Vedantist, Hindu, Buddhist,
Muslim. And I watch, I observe what is happening around me. I observe what
is happening inside me. I observe that the `me’ is that.
P.J: I observe what?
K: I observe what is going on. I observe how war is being fought, why it is
being fought, I read about it, investigate it, think about it. Am I a Hindu against
the Muslim? If I am, I produce war. I am going step by step. So I am the result
P.J.: You have leaped.
K: No. I am the result of experience, knowledge stored up in memory, that
is, I am the result of thousands of generations. That is a fact. I have
discovered that as a fact, not as a theory. 37
Sat: When I say I know, that I have gone through the whole of mankind,
who is saying it?
K: Am I saying that as an idea or as a fact which is happening in me, in my
brain cells? I am only concerned with I what is happening around me and in
me. In me is what is happening out there. I am that. The worries, the anxieties,
the misery, the confusion, the uncertainty, the desire for security, the
psychological world which thought has built, is mankind.
P.J.: Sir, if it were so simple; we would be floating in the air. How is sorrow
important? The importance is in the movement of sorrow, the movement of
violence, as it arises in me. How is it important whether that movement is part
of mankind or part of my brain cells?
K: I quite agree. You are concerned with sorrow; I am concerned. My
brother dies and I shed tears. I watch my neighbour whose husband has gone;
there are tears, loneliness, despair, misery, which I am also going through. So
I recognise a common thread between that and my woe.
P.J.: How is it important?
K. It is important because when I see there is a common factor, there is
immense strength. Have you understood that? I say that if you are only
concerned with your individual sorrow, you are weak. You lose the tremendous
energy that comes from the perception of the whole of sorrow. This sorrow of
the individual is a fragmentary sorrow and, therefore that which is fragmentary
has not the tremendous energy of the whole. A fragment is a fragment and
whatever it does, it is still within a small radius and, therefore, trivial. If I suffer
because my brother is dead and I grow more and more involved, shed more
and more tears, I get more and more depleted, I lose contact with the fact that
I am part of this enormous stream.
P.J.: When my brother is dead and I observe my mind, I see the movement
of sorrow; but of that stream of human sorrow, I know nothing.
K: Then stop there. We are not talking of the stream of sorrow. My brother
dies and I am in sorrow, I see this happening to my neighbour on the left and 38
on the right. I see this happening right through the world. They are going
through the same agony, though not at the moment I go through it. So, I
discover something, that it is not only me that suffers but mankind. What is the
P.J.: I don’t weep at the world’s sorrow.
K: Because I am so concerned with myself, my life; my relationship with
another is myself. So I have reduced all this life to a little corner, which I call
myself. And my neighbour does the same; everybody is doing the same. That
is a fact. Then I discover that this sorrow is a stream. It is a stream that has
been going on for generations.
J.U.: The particular and the stream, are they one?
K: There is no particular.
J.U.: The particular is experienceable, is manifest, but even when we say
we see the stream, we see it as particulars put together. As long as the self is,
the particular will have to be.
K: I understand that. I keep to this fact: My brother dies; I shed tears; I am
desperate. It is a fact. It is not a theory, and I see my neighbour going through
the same thing as I am. So, what happens? Either I remain caught in my little
sorrow or I perceive this enormous sorrow of man. J.U.: Even when I see this
in a man who is a thousand miles away, I see it as separate.
P.J.: What is the factor, the instrument, which enables one to see directly?
K: See what has happened to my mind, my brain. My brain has been
concerned with the loss of the brother. The visual eye sees this enormous
suffering in my neighbour here or a thousand miles away. How does it see it?
How does it see the fact that my neighbour is me, who is going through hell?
The neighbour all over the world is my neighbour. This is not a theory; I
recognise it, see it. I walk down the streets; there is a man crying because he
has lost his son. I see it as a fact, not a theory.
J.U.: When Krishnaji talks of a thousand miles away, seeing people dying
and the sense of sorrow which he sees as sorrow, it is not individual. He can 39
do it because he has negated the self totally; K has negated time totally. There
is no movement which is fragmentary in him. When my brother dies, I can’t see
with the same eyes. K is standing on the bank of the river and watching and I
am floating in the river.
K: What has happened? Go through the actuality of it. My brother dies and I
am shocked. It takes a week or two to get over it. When that shock is over, I
am observing. I see this thing going on around me. It is a fact.
P.J.: You still have to tell me with what eyes I must see.
Mary Zimbalist: The stream of sorrow is so intense that in it there is not the
fact of being particular. There is pain and sorrow; it is so strong, and one is
part of the universality, not the individual or whatever it is that is causing
sorrow. One can perceive in some extraordinary way, transforming it. One can
at that moment see the enormity of it because it is enormous, and not enclose
K: Am I so enclosed that I don’t see anything except me and something
outside of me? That is the first thing to be established. I want to go back to this
point – sorrow of my brother dying – there is only sorrow. I don’t see it as a
stream of sorrow; there is this thing burning in me, I see this happening right
and left and it is happening to all human beings. I see that too, theoretically.
Why can’t I see it as a fact, as me suffering and, therefore, the world suffering?
Why don’t we see it? That is the point we have come to.
P.J.: I don’t see it, the sorrow of another. That passion, that intensity which
is born in me when there is sorrow arising in me, does not arise when I see the
sorrow of another.
K: All right. When you suffer, you close your ears and eyes to everything
else. Actually, when my brother dies, everything is shut out and that is the
whole point. If the brain says, `Yes, I won’t move from that, I won’t seek
comfort,’ there is no movement. Can I hold it, perceive it? What happens to the
mind? That is my point. If you remain with sorrow, you have denied everything.
J.U.: That is so only for Krishnaji. 40
K: Panditji, throw K away. This is a fact. We never remain with anything
completely. If the brain remains completely with fear, everything is gone. But
we don’t, we are always searching, moving, asking, questioning. Sir, my
brother dies, I shed tears, do all kinds of things, and suddenly realize that
there is no answer in reincarnation, going to the gods, doing this, doing that,
nothing remains except the one thing. What happens then to the brain that has
been chattering, making noises about sorrow, chasing its own tail?
B.K.: There is always some other interference.
K: There is no interference when you observe something totally; to observe
totally is not to allow thought to interfere with what is being perceived totally.
J.U.: Sorry for going back to my original question. You have said when all
duality has ended, when sorrow has ended, happiness will be there.
K: When sorrow has completely ended, then there is compassion.
J.U.: The perception that human existence is sorrow gives rise to
J.U.: The perception of the fact that human existence is sorrow is the
ending of sorrow, and without the ending of sorrow, there is no compassion.
That is your position.
K: I will make my position very clear. There is only the stream of mankind.
A.P.: The perception of the stream is not compassion; the ending of sorrow
is that perception.
J.U.: Is there bliss after ending sorrow? Will everyone be happy?
K: No. I never said that. I said the ending of sorrow is the beginning of
compassion, not bliss.
S.P.: He is objecting to your talking about the `other’.
K: All right. I won’t talk about the `other’. It is irrelevant, I agree. 41
P.J.: You must take the question as Upadhyayaji stated it in the beginning.
He said people come to hear your talks, and at the end of the talk you say,
`Then there is benediction, then there is a state of timelessness.’ He says that
makes them go away thinking that that is the final state.
K: To them `that’ is a theory which they have accepted.
A.P.: Sir, I will go a step further. I can say that Upadhyayaji has listened to
the fact that the substance of human existence is sorrow and the perception of
this is compassion. This is also a theory and he seeks corroboration of this
when you say this, and that also gives him satisfaction. I say this satisfaction
and that satisfaction are on the same level.
K: I quite agree. I would like to ask something: Are we discussing this as a
theory, as something to be learnt, studied, informed about, or is it a fact in our
lives? At what level are we discussing all this? If we are not clear on this, we
will mess it up.
The speaker says sorrow is an endless thing that man has lived with,
whether it is his neighbour or a child being beaten and so on. And can it end?
You come along and tell me it can end. I either treat it as a theory or I say,
`Show me the way, show me how to end it, the manner in which it can end.’
That’s all I am interested in. We never come to that point. He says to me I will
show it to you. Am I willing to listen to him completely? I am willing to listen to
him because I want to end this thing. So he says to me, `Sorrow is the stream,
remain with the stream. Don’t be in it, don’t be of it, under it or over it, but
remain with it without any movement because any movement is the cause of
sorrow.’ I don’t know if you see that. So he says, `Remain with it. Don’t
intellectualize, don’t get emotional, don’t get theoretical, don’t seek comfort,
just remain with the thing.’ That is very difficult and, therefore, we play around
with it. And he also tells us that if you go beyond this, there is some beauty
that is out of this world. I listen to the `out of this world’ and create a
contradiction. Do you follow?
Sir, I still insist it exists; it is not a contradiction. I don’t know why you say it
is a contradiction. If you found something astonishingly original which is not in 42
books, not in the Vedas, if you discovered something of an enormous nature,
would you not talk about that, knowing that man will do exactly what he has
done before – catch on to that and neglect this? He would do it, sir, because it
is a part of the whole thing; it is not there and here. It is part of the tree. The
tree is the hidden roots, and if you look at the beauty of the roots, you talk
about them. It is not that you are escaping, not that you are contradicting, but
you say the tree is the root, the trunk, the leaf, the flower, the beauty of the
whole thing. 43
Chapter 2 Part 3 In Listening Is Transformation
3rd Seminar Madras 16th January 1981
P.J.: Rimpocheji has asked a question: In listening to you over the years,
one feels that the door is about to open but it does not. Is there something
A.P.: We live in time. Do we find that the door to perception is closed
because perception is not?
P.J.: Many of us have had this feeling that we are at the threshold.
B.K.: It is true for all of us, but part of the problem also – and perhaps it is
implied in the question – is that we are afraid to open the door because of what
we might find behind it.
P,J.: I did not say that.
A.P.: What you say would imply that there is somebody who opens the
door. It is not like that.
K: What is it that prevents one, after exercising a great deal of intelligence,
reason, rational thinking and watching one’s daily life; what is it that blocks us
all? That is the question, isn’t it?
P.J.: I would go beyond that. I would say there has been diligence,
seriousness, and we have discussed this over the years.
K: But yet something does not click. It is the same thing. I am an average
man, fairly well educated, with the capacity to express myself, to think
intellectually, rationally and so on; there is something totally missing in all this
and I can’t go any further – is that the question? Further, do I perceive that my
whole life is so terribly limited?
P.J.: I say we have done what has to be done. We have taken the
K: All right. What is it that a man or a woman can do who has studied K,
talked all these years but finds himself up against a wall? 44
P.J.: I am neither here nor there; I am in-between. I am in the middle of the
stream. You can’t say you are there nor can you say that you have not started.
You must take this into account, sir, even though you say there is no gradual
K: Then what is the question?
P.J.: It is as if something is at the point of opening, but it does not open.
K: Are you like the bud which has moved through the earth; the sun has
shone on it but the bud never opens to become a flower? Let us talk about it.
G.N.: Biological time propels action because of the innate energy in it. You
say, in the same way psychological time also propels a certain kind of action.
Is psychological time a deposit like biological time?
K: You are mixing up the two questions. Pupulji says this: I have done most
things, I have read. I have listened to K, I have come to a certain point where I
am not entirely with the world nor with the other. I am caught in between. I am
half way and I don’t seem to be able to move any further.
B.K.: I think the answer has been suggested by you for several years and
that is the intellectual answer we give.
P.J.: I am not prepared to accept that. When I put K this question, all this I
have seen and gone through. B.K.: The rational part of the mind is repressed.
P.J.: No, it is not so. I have observed time. I have gone into the process of
time – psychological time. I have seen its movement. Some of the things K
says seem so to me. I can’t say that they are totally unknown to me. But there
seems to be a point at which some leap is necessary.
K: In Christian terminology, you are waiting for grace to descend on you.
K: Or are you looking for some outside agency to break this? Do you ever
come to the point where your brain is no longer saying, `I am seeking,
searching, asking,’ but is absolutely in a state of not-knowing? Do you 45
understand what I am saying? When the brain realizes, `I don’t know a thing’
except the technological – do you ever come to that point?
P.J.: I do not say that, but I do know a state in which the brain ceases to
function. It is not that it says, `I don’t know,’ but all movement ends.
K: You are missing my point.
P.J.: I am not.
K: I am afraid I am not making myself clear. A state of not-knowing – I think
that is one of the first things that is demanded. We are always arguing,
searching; we never come to the point of utter emptiness, of not-knowing. Do
we ever come to that, so that the brain is really at a standstill? The brain is
always active, searching, asking, arguing, occupied. I am asking, is there a
state of the brain when it is not occupied with itself? Is that the blockage?
M.Z.: in emptiness, there is a tremendous openness where nothing is being
stored, where there isn’t any movement, where the state of openness of the
brain is at its greatest.
K: I would not introduce all these words for the moment. I am just asking, is
there a moment when the brain is totally unoccupied?
S.P.: What do you mean by `totally unoccupied’?
B.K.: It does not think at that moment. It is blank.
K.: See the danger, because you are all translating what I have said.
J.U.: All action is bound within a time-space framework. Are you trying to
bring us to the point where we see that all action as we know it is bound by
time and space, is illusion, and so has to be negated?
K: Yes. It is negated. Is that a theory or an actuality?
J.U.: Are you speaking of that state which lies between two actions?
K: Shall we begin by enquiring into action? What is action?
J.U.: In reality, there is no action. 46
K: You are all theorizing. I want to know what action is, not according to
some theory but the action itself, the doing.
J.U.: Action is the movement of thought from one point in space to another
or one moment of time to another…
K: I am not talking about thought moving from one point to another point,
but of action, of the doing.
P.J.: What is the fundamental question?
K: I am trying to ask the fundamental question which you raised at the
beginning: What is keeping us not flowering? I am using the word, however,
with its beauty, its perfume, delight. Is it basically thought? I am enquiring. Is it
time, or is it action, or have I not really, deeply, read the book which is myself?
I have read certain pages of the chapter but I have not totally finished with the
P.J.: At this point, I say I have read the book. There is no saying I have
read the book completely because every day, every minute, a chapter is being
K: No, no. Here we are – at last. I am asking a question: Have you ever
read the book, not according to Vedanta or Buddhism or Islam, or according to
modern psychologists, but read the book?
P.J.: Can one ever ask: Has one read the whole book of life?
K: You will find, if you have read the book at all, that there is nothing to
J.U.: You have been saying that if there is perception of the instant in its
totality, then the whole instant is.
K: But that is just a theory. I am not criticizing, sir. Pupulji said I have
listened to K. I have also met various gurus, I have meditated. At the end of it,
there is just ashes in my hand, in my mouth.
P.J.: I won’t say there are ashes in my hand.
K: Why? 47
P.J.: Because I don’t see them as ashes.
M.L.: We have come to a certain point. We have explored.
K: Yes, I admit it. You have come to a certain point and you are stuck there.
Is that it?
P.J.: I have come to a certain point and I do not know what to do, where to
go, how to turn.
R.B.: You mean that the breakthrough does not come?
K: Why don’t you be simple? I have reached a point and that point is all that
we have said, and from there I will start.
P.J.: You must understand one thing. There is a difference, Krishnaji – to
take a journey and then say we are in despair. I do not say that. K: You are not
P.J.: No. I am also awake enough to see that having travelled, the flower
has not blossomed.
K: So you are asking, why does the flower not blossom, the bud open up –
put it any way.
A.P.: Just to take it out of the personal context – when you speak to us
there is something within us which responds and says this is the true, right
note, but we are not able to catch it.
P.J.: I have wept in my time. I have had despair in my time. I have seen
darkness in my time. But I have also had the resources to move out and,
having moved out of this, I have come to a point when I say, `Tell me, I have
done all this. What next?’
K: I come to you and ask you this question, `With all that you have said just
now, what would be your answer? Instead of asking me, what would you tell
me? How would you answer?,
P.J.: The answer is tapas.
A.P.: Tapas means that you have to keep on, which involves time. 48
P.J.: It means, burn the impurities which are clouding your sight.
K: You understand the question? `Thought is impure’ – can we go into this?
R.B.: This is very interesting: Thought is impure – but there is no impurity.
K: When you admit thought is impure, impure in the sense that it is not
R.B.: Yes, that is what corrupts.
K: No. Thought is not whole. It is fragmented, therefore, it is corrupt,
therefore it is impure or whatever word you would like to use. That which is
whole is beyond the impure and pure, shame and fear. When Pupulji says,
burn impurity, do please listen that way. Why is the brain incapable of
perception of the whole and from that wholeness, of acting? Is the root of it –
the block, the inhibition, the not flowering – the thought that is incapable of
perceiving the whole? Thought is going round and round in circles. And I am
asking myself, suppose I am in that position, I recognise, I see, I observe that
my actions are incomplete and, therefore, thought can never be complete.
And, therefore, whatever thought does is impure, corrupt, not beautiful. So,
why is the brain incapable of perceiving the whole? If you can answer that
question, perhaps you will be able to answer the other question.
RMP.: You have correctly interpreted our question.
K: So, could we move from there, or is it not possible to move from there?
That is, we have exercised thought all our life. Thought has become the most
important thing in our life, and I feel that is the very reason there is corruption.
Is that the block, the factor, that prevents this marvellous flowering of the
human being? If that is the factor, then is there the possibility of a perception
which has nothing to do with time, with thought? Have you understood what I
am saying? I realize, not only intellectually but actually, that thought is the
source of all ugliness, immorality, a sense of degeneration. Do I actually see
that, feel it in my blood? If I do, my next question is: Since thought is
fragmented, broken up, limited, is there a perception which is whole? Is that
the block? 49
J.U.: My mind has been trained in the discipline of sequence. So, there is
no possibility of saying, can this be? Either it is so or it is not.
K: I have been trained in the sequence of thought – thought which is logic.
And my brain is conditioned to cause-effect. J.U.: I agree that thought is not
K: The moment you agree that thought is incomplete, whatever thought
does is incomplete. Whatever thought does must create sorrow, mischief,
A.P.: Thought will only take you up to a point. It will only move to a degree.
J.U.: We have certain other instruments, certain processes, but you seem
to dispense with them. You dissolve whatever we have acquired. Supposing
we have a disease, you cannot heal it, no outside agency can do that. We
ourselves have to be free of the disease. So, we have to discover an
instrument which can open the door from disease to good health. That door is
only thought which, in one instant, breaks the grip of the false, and in the very
breaking, another illusion or the unreal comes into being. Thought again
breaks that, and in this fashion, is negating the false again and again. There is
a process of the dissolution of thought and thought itself accepts this and goes
on negating. Thus the nature of thought itself is to perceive that it can dissolve
The whole process of thought is discrimination. It leaves a thing the
moment it discovers that it is the false. But that which perceived it as false is
K: Of course.
J.U.: Therefore, the process of perception is still riding the instrumentality of
K: You are saying perception is still thought. We are saying something
different – that there is a perception which is not of time, not of thought.
RMP.: We want to know your position more clearly. Please elaborate. 50
K: First of all, we know the ordinary perception of thought: discriminating,
balancing, constructing and destroying, moving in all the human activities of
choice, freedom, obedience, authority, and all that. That is the movement of
thought which perceives. We are asking – not stating – is there a perception
which is not thought?
P.J.: I often wonder what is the value of a question like that. You see, you
pose a question; you say no answer is possible.
P.J.: Is an answer possible?
K: Yes. We know the nature of thought. Thought discerns, distinguishes,
chooses; thought creates the structure. There is a movement of thought in
perception to distinguish between the right and the wrong, the false and the
true, hate and good. We know that and, as we said, that is time-binding. Now,
do we remain there, which means, do we remain in perpetual conflict? So, you
ask, is there an enquiry which will lead us to a state of non-conflict? Which is
what? Is there a perceiving which is not born of knowledge, knowledge being
experience, memory, thought, action? I am asking, is there an action which is
not based on remembrance, remembrance being the past? Is there a
perception which is totally denuded of the past? Would you enquire with me
that way? I know this, and I realize that this implies everlasting conflict.
A.P.: This process of thinking in the field of cause and effect has no way of
escaping out of the chain reaction. It is only a bondage. Therefore, observing
this, we let go of it here and now. Next we ask the question, is there a
perception which does not touch the past, does not get involved in the past,
the past being all that we have done and been concerned with?
K: It is a rational question to ask whether this can end; not an illogical
A.P.: Because we have learnt by experience that thinking through the
medium of cause and effect cannot free us from the wheel of sorrow. J.U.:
Whatever instrument we had, you have broken that. Before an ailment afflicts 51
us, you have removed it, which means, before a disease grips you, it is
removed. The sick man will continue to live. Therefore, when he wants to be
free from disease, it is necessary to point out to him some process by which
he achieves this. Even after renouncing the chain of cause-effect, he needs to
be shown its futility. I accept it is difficult to do this.
A.P.: No. What you are saying amounts to an assertion that we cannot let
go the wheel of time.
J.U.: No, this is not what I am saying. Cause and effect is a movement in
time, and if you say that at the end of this a `process’ still remains, it must be a
form of mental activity. Whatever that be, the question is: Can the patient be
allowed to die before the ailment is cured? I accept the fact that the cause and
effect chain is incomplete. I also understand that till we can break that, this
dilemma cannot be broken; but the question is very simple, that the patient has
to be restored to health and not be allowed to die. The disease will have to be
cured without killing the patient.
K: If you say life is conflict, then you remain where you are.
P.J.: The metaphor Upadhyayaji uses is, he understands the whole
movement of conflict in time and sees the inadequacy of it. But the ill man, the
suffering man who wants to be cured, cannot kill himself before he is cured.
What you are asking is for him to kill himself.
K: You are making a case which is untenable.
P.J.: He may put it in a different way. Don’t also forget that conflict is the `I’.
Ultimately society and all can go down the drain. Ultimately it is `I’. All
experience, all search, centres round that which is thought, caught in time as
K: So `I’ is conflict.
P.J.: I see it is so in an abstract way. K: No, not in an abstract way. It is so.
P.J.: Maybe this is the ultimate thing which is stopping us…
K: Let us be very simple. I recognise conflict is my life. Conflict is `me’. 52
A.P.: After accepting the futility of cause and effect, What remains is an
identification with a certain habit reflex. Does that identification break or not? If
it does not break, then our dialogue is only at the theoretical level.
K: Don’t introduce more words. When you say conflict ends, the `me’ ends,
there is the block.
P.J.: I know conflict.
K: You don’t know it. You can’t know it.
P.J.: How can you say that?
K: That is just a theory. Do you actually realize that you are conflict? Do I
realize in my blood, in my heart, in the depth of `me’, `I am conflict’, or is it just
an idea which I am trying to fit into?
J.U.: If you accept that the chain of causality includes the impact of time,
space and circumstance, we must recognise that this is a major problem. This
is like a wheel, and any movement of this wheel is not going to dissolve the
problem. We accept this by logic and experience. What I was seeking to
explain by the simile is that a process must remain which is within the wheel of
sorrow. If the disease is not, and the wheel of sorrow is not, still some life
principle must be left.
A.P.: Process is continuity.
J.U.: Then, what is it? Is it immutable?
A.P.: When perception and action are not related to the past, then there is a
cessation of continuity.
K: I only know my life is a series of conflicts till I die. Can man admit this?
This is our life, and you come along and say to me, must you go on doing this?
Find out if there is a different way of looking, acting, which does not contain
this. That is the continuity, that is all I am saying. Next, I am a reasonable man,
thinking man, and I say, must I go on this way. You come along and tell me
that there is a different way which is not this and he says I will show it to you. 53
J.U.: I accept that this circle of continuity in which I am moving is not taking
us anywhere. I come with you up to there. Where it is a matter of experience, I
clear my position with the help of an example. But you cut the ground under
that example by saying that I must discard the continuity. If continuity is cut,
the question itself disappears. So how can I accept the proposition that I
renounce continuity altogether?
A.P.: Therefore you must let go of examples or similes. Let go of all
anchorages of the past.
J.U.: If I give up the simile, it does not bring a termination; unless there is
an ending, how can there be a new beginning?
K: Who is saying that?
A.P.: You have said that this is time; you say negate time.
R.B.: What Upadhyayaji is saying is this: Life is conflict, time, thought. He
accepts they have to go.
K: I am not asking anything to go.
J.U.: If that goes, then what is the connection between that and what is to
K: I am not talking about any connection. I am a man who is suffering, in
conflict, in despair, and I say I have been with this for sixty years. Please show
me a different way of living. Would you accept that very simple fact? If you
accept it, then the next question is, is there a way of looking or observing life
without bringing in all the past, acting without the operation of thought which is
remembrance? I am going to find out. What is perception? I have perceived
life as conflict; that is all I know. He comes along and tells me, let us find out
what is true perception. I don’t know it, but I am listening to what he says. This
is important. I have not brought into listening my logical mind; I am listening to
him. Is that happening now? The speaker is saying that there is a perception
without remembrance. Are you listening to it or are you saying there is a
contradiction, which is, you are not listening at all. I hope you have got it. I say, 54
Achyutji, there is a way of living without conflict. Will he listen to me? Listen,
and not translate it immediately into a reaction – are you doing that?
A.P.: When a question is asked, when you are faced with a challenge, there
must be listening without any reaction. Only in such a state can there be no
relationship whatsoever with that which is the past.
K: Therefore there is no reaction, which means what? You are already
seeing. You get it?
J.U.: I have not understood the state. For instance, at the same moment if
one observes with attention all illusions, then in the light of that attention the
whole process of illusion is dispelled. And that same moment of attention is the
moment of true observation. Is that so? That means one observes `what is’ as
P.J.: Krishnaji is asking us whether you can listen without the past, without
bringing in the projections of the past. Only then, in such listening, is there
J.U.: That is why I was saying that if the moment which is loaded with
illusion can be seen with full attention, then it becomes the true moment of
perception because the illusion is seen for what it is. To give an example: I see
a coin on which there is the seal of the Ashoka chakra. The other side of the
coin is different, but they are two sides of the same coin. Is the seeing, the
perception which was caught in the past, the same seeing?
K: No. Now sir, you are a great Buddhist scholar. You what the Buddha has
said, all the intricacies of Buddhist analysis, exploration, the extraordinary
structures. Now, if the Buddha came to you and said, `Listen,’ would you listen
to him? Please don’t laugh; this is much too serious. Sir, answer my question:
If the Buddha comes to you today, now, sitting there in front of you, and says,
`Please sir, listen,’ would you listen? And he says to you, `If you listen to me,
that is your transformation.’ Just listen. That listening is the listening to the
You can’t argue with the Buddha. 55
J.U.: This pure attention is the Buddha and this attention is action, which
itself is the Buddha. That is why I gave you the instance of the coin, which has
one seal on one side whereas the other side has another seal.
K: Would you listen? If the Buddha talked to me, I would say, `Sir, I listen to
you because I love you. I don’t want to get anywhere because I see what you
say is true, and I love you.’ That is all. That has transformed everything.
A.P.: When I am aware that this is the word of the Buddha, it is the truth.
This truth wipes out every other impression.
K: Nobody listened to him; that is why there is Buddhism.
J.U.: There is no Buddha; there is no speaking of the Buddha. There is only
listening and in the right listening the quintessence of that wisdom which
transforms is there. The word Buddha or the word of the Buddha is not the
truth. Buddha is not the truth. This attention itself is the Buddha. The Buddha
is not a person; he is not an avatara and there is no such thing as the word of
Buddha. Attention is the only reality. In this attention, there is pure perception.
This is prajna, intelligence; this is knowledge. That moment which was
surrounded by the past, that moment itself, under the beam of attention,
becomes the moment of perception.
K: Now, just listen to me. There is conflict. A man like me comes along. He
says, there is a way of living without knowledge. Don’t argue. Just listen – listen
without knowledge, which means without the operation of thought.
A.P.: That moment of attention is totally unrelated to the thought process,
K: I know my life is conflict. And I am saying, is there a way of looking,
listening, seeing, which has no relationship to knowledge. I say there is. And
the next question is, as the brain is full of knowledge, how can such a brain
understand this statement? I say that the brain cannot answer this question.
The brain is used to conflict, habituated to it, and you are putting a new
question to it. So the brain is in revolt; it cannot answer it. 56
J.U.: I want to know this. The question that you have put is my question.
You have posed it with clarity.
K: The speaker says, don’t be in revolt,. listen. Try to listen without the
movement of thought, which means, can you see something without naming.
The naming is the movement of thought. Then find out what is the state of the
brain when it has not used the word in seeing, the word which is the
movement of thought. Do it.
R.M.P.: That is very important.
A.P.: Your perception is that.
J.U.: This is right.
P.J.: The truth is to see the brain’s incapacity.
K: My whole life has changed. Therefore there is a totally different learning
process going on, which is creation.
P.J.: If this is itself the learning process, this is creativity.
K.: I realize my life is wrong. Nobody has to point that out; it is so. That is a
fact and you come along and tell me that you can do something instantly. I
don’t believe you. I feel it can never happen. You come and tell me this whole
struggle, this monstrous way of living, can be ended immediately. My brain
says, sorry, you are cuckoo, I don’t believe you. But K says, look, I will show it
to you step by step. You may be god, you may be the Buddha, but I don’t
believe you. And K tells you, listen, take time, in the sense, have patience.
Patience is not time. Impatience is time. Patience has no time.
S.P.: What is patience which is not time?
K: I said life is conflict. I come along and tell you there is an ending to
conflict and the brain resists. I say let it resist, but keep on listening to me,
don’t bring in more and more resistance. Just listen, move. Don’t remain with
resistance. To watch your resistance and keep moving – that is patience. To
know the resistance and to move along, that is patience. So he says, don’t
react but listen to the fact that your brain is a network of words and you cannot 57
see anything new if you are all the time using words, words, words. So, can
you look at something, your wife, the tree, the sky, the cloud, without a single
word? Don’t say it is a cloud. Just look. When you so look, what has happened
to the brain?
A.P.: Our understanding, our total comprehension, is verbal. When I see
this, then I put aside the word. That which I see now is non-verbal. What then
happens to the accumulated knowledge?
K: What actually happens, not theoretically, when you are looking without
the word? The word is the symbol, the memory, the knowledge and all that.
A.P.: This is only a perception. When I am observing something, keeping
aside verbal knowledge and watching that which is non-verbal, what reaction
does the mind have? It feels its whole existence is threatened.
K: Watch it in yourself. What happens? It is in a state of shock, it is
staggering. So have patience. Watch it staggering, that is patience. See the
brain in a staggering state and be with it. As you are watching it, the brain
quietens down. Then look with that quiet brain at things, observe. That is
A.P.: Upadhyayaji, K is saying that when you observe the instability of the
mind, when you see that is its nature, then that state disappears.
K: Has it happened? The bond is broken. The chain is broken. That is the
test. So, sir, let us proceed. There is a listening, there is a seeing and there is
learning, without knowledge. Then what happens? What is learning? Is there
anything to learn at all? Which means you have wiped away the whole self. I
wonder if you see this. Because the self is knowledge. The self is made up of
experience, knowledge, thought, memory; memory, thought, action – that is the
cycle. Now has this happened? If it has not happened, let us begin again. That
is patience. That patience has no time. Impatience has time.
J.U.: What will come out of this observing, listening? Does this state go on,
or will something come out of it which will transform the world? 58
K: The world is me, the world is the self, the world is different selves. That
self is me. Now what happens when this takes place, actually, not
theoretically? First of all, there is tremendous energy, boundless energy, not
energy created by thought, the energy that is born out of this knowledge; there
is a totally different kind of energy, which then acts. That energy is
compassion, love. Then that love and compassion are intelligence and that
A.P.: That action has no root in the `I’.
K: No, no. His question is, if this really takes place, what is the next step?
What happens? What actually happens is, he has got this energy which is
compassion and love and intelligence. That intelligence acts in life. When the
self is not, the `other’ is. The `other’ is compassion, love and this enormous,
boundless energy. That intelligence acts. And that intelligence is naturally not
yours or mine. 59
– Chapter 3, Seminars New Delhi 1981 –
Chapter 3 Part 1 The Future Of Man
Seminar New Delhi 4th November 1981
Achyut Patwardhan: Sir, there is a general feeling of a deepening crisis.
This feeling is due to various factors in the environment – the arms race,
pollution, economic problems, underlying all this is a deep feeling of moral
decline; in a country like India, this feeling is quite overpowering. It would be
valuable to understand the relationship between this inner moral crisis and its
outer manifestations which threaten the survival of man. The problem is: Can
we discover for ourselves the relationship of the crisis within man and the
Romesh Thapar: Sir, I would just like to add a word to what Achyutji has
said. I, as a person who has been analysing problems, presenting a
perspective within a time-span of about twenty-five to thirty years, look at the
world and see it shrinking. When I look at the problem in my country, I see that
I have to texture by the year 2000 A.D. a society for a thousand million people.
I know that the texturing of that society cannot be done in the way in which
other societies have been textured. If I want to be honest to my people, the
texturing has got to be a special kind; the civilizational underpinning has to be
of a special kind. But with the world shrinking and with communications playing
the role that they do, value systems towards which I grope are constantly
under attack and may even be destroying those modernizing elements that
exist within society. Now I ask myself; Is it possible to work out some system
of thought which will protect me from this horrendous scenario? For, if I am
unable to retexture my society on just principles, and in isolation from what
corruption is taking place elsewhere, I will establish a society which is very
brutal and unjust.
T.N. Madan: I would like to seek a clarification regarding the first question
which was raised. I do not know of any age, time, culture or country when
people have not felt there was a moral crisis. The question, therefore, seems 60
to be that one should first define what is the nature of our moral crisis;
otherwise, we come much too close to our immediate problems and immediate
surroundings and think that ours is the worst of times, that the best of times
were in the past; or we think in terms of utopias. So, in the first place, could we
define the nature of the moral crisis? And a clue to that might lie in what Mr.
Thapar was saying. We adhere to the values we think were good, but perhaps
those values no longer exist because the world has shrunk. The values of the
village community will not serve the world community. We seem to be caught
in a split – a split represented by changes which are being forced upon us, and
value systems which we have inherited and which we naturally think are
precious. How do we resolve this dilemma between a shrinking world which
we have to accept and the world of values which we do not want to leave, do
not want to get away from?
Rajni Kothari: Sir I would say that a feeling of moral crisis has from time to
time arisen essentially when institutions are breaking down. There are many
views about the present crisis. One is that we are going through a period of
such rapid transformation that this crisis is bound to occur; we will have, as a
result, to restructure all this at some point. I don’t clearly see the outlines of an
alternative system, a new way of restructuring human activity or the human
intellect, and as there is nothing taking the place of what is crumbling, this
sense of a moral crisis has come in.
Ashish Nandy: Frankly, I do not see any real moral crisis. But there is a
moral crisis in people like us, and this has been manifest for many years. I am
a great votary of the common man, and I don’t think he suffers from a moral
crisis; he suffers from a crisis of survival.
Q: One of the most significant facts is that today we have some
technological tools which will make a big impact on the future of man. I happen
to be a computer scientist and I am aware of some of the very important things
that are taking place in the computer business. And what I would very much
like to learn from this seminar is how to quantify and think about these value
systems so that machines that are going to come about in the future, 61
electronic computers which will have the ability to think and learn, will be able
to make the right kind of choices.
Sudhir Kakkar: I question the feeling of moral crisis, also the pessimism
expressed by previous speakers.
P.J.: I wonder why we are using the word `moral’. Is the crisis facing the
human being of the same nature as the crises in the past? Or, because of a
special set of circumstances, due to the pressures generated by the action of
human beings – genetic engineering, computer engineering and the limitless
possibilities of the computer taking over the functions of the human mind – is
the crisis of a totally different order? It is not only a moral crisis; we have had
moral crises in the past, but the crisis which strikes at the roots of the human
mind is of a very different order. I think it is time we brought into this aspect,
that the crisis that man faces today is the crisis of survival. With the growth of
modern genetics and computer technology, methods will be forthcoming which
will take over the functions of the human mind; the distinct possibility of the
human mind itself atrophying is something which we can no longer disregard.
If this is so, then shouldn’t we start thinking of the crisis we face today? A few
years later it may be beyond consideration. If there is a threat to the very root
of the human mind, to the survival of what is called human, then what is the
action of man? Is there such a threat? Is it possible to meet it? If it is possible
to meet it, with what tools, what instruments of our own being, do we meet it?
A.P.: May I explain the point I raised? Consider Sakharov, the scientist,
who, under pressure of circumstances, was responsible for inventing the
hydrogen bomb but, later, finding that he was responsible for a colossal threat
to human survival, sought ways to meet the crisis. This may be dramatic in the
case of scientists. But the crisis exists as much for the farmer in the village as
for the ordinary citizen in the town. There is a challenge to his integrity, created
by the pressure of the environment.
J.U.: There is a political, scientific, social and also a moral crisis. What is
the resolution of this crisis? Is it faith? 62
Jai Shankar: We have all talked about a moral crisis. The question is: Does
it exist for all people? I don’t think a moral crisis exists, for instance, for makers
of computers, or for the makers of armaments and those who buy them, or for
the people who wield political power at all cost. And at the other end of the
spectrum, as Dr. Nandy said, the poor don’t face any moral crisis; they face a
crisis of survival. So what is the crisis we are talking about? The crisis is really
not a moral crisis per se, but the result of dissociating morality from
K.V.: Apropos of all that has been said, does fear play a part in this amoral
P.J.: I don’t think anyone will question the premise that a tool is neither
moral or immoral. It is only the application of the tool which is moral or
immoral. Nobody can stop tools being made; but their application, the way
they are used, can be controlled.
R.K.: I think Mr. Jai Shankar was referring to an integral part of the nature
of modern science, whose motive, dynamic force, is manipulation, conquest of
nature, the re-ordering of society; and it is not that there is no moral
perspective behind modern science. There is a moral perspective which has
led today to our becoming aware of the manipulative kind of knowledge which
turns out to be amoral. I think Achyutji has already pointed this out in the case
of Sakharov: it is also true of Einstein. After what they invented, they felt sorry
for what had happened as a consequence. I think Jai Shankar is talking of
something inherent in the nature of modern knowledge, which tends to make
science and technology amoral.
J.S.: When does the tool cease to be a tool and become the master? That
is the question. You presume that at all times tools can be controlled. I think
that there could be tools that could overtake you; in fact, tools have already
overtaken you; they control you, and there is very little freedom that is left to
O. V. Vijayan: I was wondering whether this crisis is modern at all, whether
it is not the repetition of a perennial crisis with a contemporary, modern
reference. What causes the collapse of morality?
J.U.: It is true that scientific and political developments have affected
human consciousness. However, I feel that if human consciousness or that
which is at the centre of human consciousness is strengthened, then it would
always be possible for human consciousness to be the master of all the tools
that it creates. The problem is awakening human consciousness so that it can
master the tool it creates.
K. V.: At what point do tools become masters?
R.K.: There is a fantastic stirring of consciousness at the level of the
ordinary person. In fact, the shrinkage that Romesh spoke of is not only the
shrinkage that telecommunication and technology have brought about; it is
also a shrinkage between the bottom and top layers of society. And that
shrinkage gives rise to forms and issues that the mind has discovered. I have
no answers to these two issues; it is an extremely complicated process. A
process of the transformation of consciousness is on in such a radical manner
that it makes me pretty nervous.
K: If I may point out, I don’t think the crisis is in morality or values at all. I
think the crisis is in consciousness and knowledge. Unless human beings
radically transform this consciousness, we are going to end up in bloody wars.
Has knowledge transformed man at all, at any time? This is the real crisis.
Man has lived for twenty-five thousand years, from what modern discovery has
shown. During these two hundred and fifty centuries, he has not radically
changed. Man is anxious, frightened, depressed, unhappy, aggressive, lonely,
all that. The crisis is there, and the crisis is in modern knowledge. What havoc
has knowledge played? Has it any place at all in the transformation of man?
That is the real question. We have to understand, not intellectually, not
verbally, but deep down in our being the nature of our consciousness and this
tremendous accumulation of knowledge in the last hundred and fifty years, 64
whether that has brought about the destruction of man, or the ascent of man,
or if it has any place at all in the transformation of man.
P.J.: What kind of knowledge are you talking about? When you ask, `What
place has knowledge in the transformation of man?’ should we not clarify your
conception of knowledge?
T.N.M.: We surely have a problem here of communicating with each other
and understanding each other, I was trying to explain to myself what Krishnaji
meant by his observation about knowledge, and suggesting that perhaps what
he meant was the will to be human through experience, to convert knowledge
into experience. Now, this could be knowledge at any level. This could be the
knowledge of the scientists. Let me, for a moment, be the devil’s advocate and
say that the rubric of the scientist is bad enough but his moral righteousness
can be worse. And one must remember that the scientist who produces the
computer does not do it in the name of bringing about human freedom. I think
we should try to find out whether the problem is one of moral crisis or in the
nature of knowledge or in the acquisition of knowledge.
P.J.: We seem to be going round and round this factor of knowledge. You
spoke of consciousness, which contains not only knowledge about machines,
computers, etc., but of more potent things, fear, greed, sorrow, envy,
loneliness. This is not knowledge in the ordinarily recognised sense of the
word, though you may consider all this part of the process of knowledge
because it arises out of experience.
K: I would like to discuss what consciousness is, and what is the nature of
knowledge. These two factors apparently are dominating the world. Thought is
knowledge. Knowledge is experience. Knowledge, memory, thought, action –
this is the cycle man has been caught in for twenty-five thousand years. I think
there is no dispute about that. This cycle has been a process of accumulating
knowledge and functioning from that knowledge, either skilfully or unskilfully.
The process is stored in the brain as memory, and the memory responds in
action. This is the cycle in which man is caught; always within the field of the
known. Now what will change man? That is one problem. 65
The other is consciousness. Consciousness is its content; its content
makes up consciousness. All the superstitions, beliefs, the class divisions, the
brahmanic impressions, all that falls within consciousness. The idol, the belief,
the idea of god, suffering, pain, anxiety, loneliness, despair, depression,
uncertainty, insecurity, all that is within human consciousness. It is not my
consciousness; it is human consciousness, because wherever you go,
America or Russia, you meet the same problem. Human beings carry this
complex burden of consciousness which contains all the things that thought
has put together.
R.K.: I would like a definition of the content of consciousness. Is it all that
thought has put together? Do you say both are co-terminous?
K: We will come to that presently. When you examine your own
consciousness, whether you are a doctor, a scientist, a philosopher, a guru,
you find your own anxieties, your uncertainties – all that is your consciousness.
And that consciousness is the ground on which all humanity stands. J.S.: Is
that all? Is all this added up the sum of consciousness; or is consciousness
more than this sum?
G.N.: If you say that the content of consciousness is the sum of man’s past
thoughts, of the things that man has known, then there is nothing that is added
through aggregation. The question is: Is consciousness the sum of its past
thoughts, knowledge, all that is put together, or, is there something more to it?
K: Is that the question?
R.K.: Is there something in consciousness which is not just an aggregation
of anxiety and fear?
J.S.: There has been talk in our tradition about pure consciousness as well,
a consciousness which is not an aggregate of anxiety, pain, despair. That one
is more than the sum of these parts is a possibility that must be considered.
K: Even positing something as pure consciousness is part of our
consciousness. Would you agree so far: whatever thought has put together,
whether it is super-consciousness, ultimate consciousness, pure 66
consciousness, is still part of our consciousness, is still part of thought, and
thought is born of knowledge, and, therefore, completely limited? All
knowledge is limited. There is no complete knowledge of the computer or of
the atom bomb or of anything.
P.J.: Is consciousness a putting together of many fragments of different
types, or has it a holistic quality in it?
T.N.M.: Consciousness must be integrated.
K: If it is limited, it is not holistic.
T.N.M.: If consciousness is not holistic, what about knowledge?
K: Consciousness is knowledge. Would you not say that our whole
existence is experience? From experience – whether it is scientific, emotional
or sexual – we acquire knowledge. And that knowledge is stored in the brain as
memory. The response of memory is thought. Put in any way, the process is
S.K.: Thought is born of fear.
K: Fear is the product of thought, not the other way round. Would you admit
that thought arises from knowledge, that knowledge can never be complete
about anything? Therefore, thought is always limited, and all our actions –
scientific, spiritual, religious – are limited. So the crisis is in knowledge, which is
P.J.: The question which has been raised is: Is fear independent of
thought? Does thought arise as a reaction to fear? How does fear arise?
J.S.: You had said that thought arises out of knowledge.
K: It is a fact.
S.K.: Well, I was suggesting that there is an intermediate step, that out of
knowledge first comes fear; fear is the father of thought rather than the other
way round. 67
J.U.: Knowledge constructs itself through a process: previous knowledge is
replaced by new knowledge, there is conquest of knowledge by knowledge;
knowledge rides on its own shoulders.
K.V.: Does that then constitute consciousness or does it not? Upadhyayaji
said `yes’, some of us certainly say `no’.
K: I don’t quite follow the argument.
P.J.: We are not communicating; perhaps if you open up the whole problem
of knowledge, thought, consciousness, it may be simpler to come to a meeting
K: Sir, what is reality? I would like to explore that question. What is nature,
the tree, the tiger, the deer? Nature is not created by thought; what is not
created by thought is reality. Thought has created everything that I know – all
the temples, the churches, the mosques. There is nothing sacred about
thought; the rituals, the mass, the namaz, the prayers, all that is the invention
of thought. Then I ask myself: What is thinking? If you ask my name, I respond
immediately because I am familiar with it. But if you ask me something which
is more complex, it takes time to investigate, to answer. That is, I look to my
memory and try to find the answer or I consult books or talk to somebody to
find the answer.
So there are: an immediate response, a response of time, and the
response which says, `I really do not know.’ We never say, `I do not know.’ We
are always responding from memory. That memory is in the cells of my brain,
derived through tradition, education, experience, perception, hearing and so
on. I am all that. Born in India, educated abroad, the content of my
consciousness is the result of Indian culture, European culture, Italian culture,
so on and so forth; the content of my consciousness is the result of
innumerable talks, discussions with scientists, religious people. My
consciousness is me; I am not different from my consciousness. So the
observer is the observed. That is a fact. My consciousness is the
consciousness of humanity; it is not separate. And this consciousness has
known conflicts, pain. It has invented god. Human beings have lived for 68
twenty-five thousand years in this misery, inventing technology, using that
technology to destroy each other.
Seeing all that, what am I to do? What I am is the rest of the world; I am the
world. This is no intellectual idea, but fact. I am an ordinary man, not a highly
intellectual type. I have looked to the gurus; they have not helped me; the
politicians have not helped me; the scientists have not helped me; on the
contrary they have destroyed me, apart from technological convenience,
communication and all that. Their atom bombs, their military technology, are
perpetually creating wars. For the last five thousand years we have had wars
every year. This is a historical fact. However, will all this accumulation of
tremendous knowledge help me to change all that? That is the real crisis. I
have relied on everyone to help me. I have to discard all that help totally. I feel
the crisis is there, and not in the world of technology or in the intellectual world
or in the totalitarian world.
R.K.: Are you not ascribing a certain homogeneity to everything? You are
giving the same character to different civilizations, different religious systems,
systems of modern science and systems of thought that create wars all over
K. Of course, I don’t see any difference.
R.K.: I have no difficulty in seeing that a human being is a result of all those
factors. But to give the same kind of character to all that without differentiation,
that I don’t see.
K: Physically you are taller, I am shorter; and psychologically there are
certain characteristic tendencies depending on different cultures, following
T.N.M.: At a certain level we are different. But at the level of what we are, I
think he has a point. Whether you are living in the Amazonian jungle or in a
modern town, here is a basic universality to the human predicament. But
surely in terms of what we have, whether we have the computer or the sewing
machine, there is a difference. 69
R.K.: The question is not of differentiation but about the stream of
consciousness that have gone on in the past. You talk in terms of twenty-five
thousand years. Can the modern, scientific, homocentric view of knowledge
and its impact on consciousness be put on a par with some of the ancient
streams of consciousness? In other words, do experience and the
accumulation of experience offer no choices to us at this moment of history, or
are we doomed?
P.J.: As long as we continue within our known consciousness, its concern
with the little better, the little worse, we are still caught in the grip of something
from which we do not seem to be able to get out. Krishnaji is hinting at a
quantum leap, and we are still within the structure of time. Perhaps tomorrow
we may see clearly, but can we do so with the instruments with which we see
the world, which are the instruments we have? Can we somehow come to this
point from which we see? Otherwise, we will go round and round; we can be
better, more moral, less moral, less destructive or more destructive, but we will
still be caught within this framework. I think that is the problem.
J.S.: Sir, I understand your anguish. But I do not understand the problem. If
this is the way we have been for the last twenty-five thousand years without
any change, then we cannot go back to a period or a state where things would
be more desirable than they are. If that is what we are, I don’t see how we can
make the quantum leap.
R.K.: That was exactly my point.
K: My question is: At the end of twenty-five thousand years I am what I am.
We all see that. Hitler has left his imprint on us; the Buddha also has; if Jesus
ever lived, he also has. The result of all that is my conditioning. Is it possible to
be totally unconditioned? I say `yes’, it is possible to be completely
Chapter 3 Part 2 The Future Of Man
Seminar New Delhi 5th November 1981 Morning Session
P.J.: Can we start laying the landscape of the future of man, the problems
which he faces and what lies in the matrix of the human mind which makes it
impossible for him to break free?
K: What is the future of man? The computer can out-think man, learn faster
than man, record much more extensively than man. It can learn, unlearn,
correct itself, according to what has been programmed. Computers exist that
can programme other computers and so keep going, learning more. So, what
is the future of man when everything that he has done or will do, the computer
can outdo? Of course, it cannot compose like Beethoven, it cannot see the
beauty of Orion on an evening in the sky. But it can create a new Vedanta, a
new philosophy, new gods and so on. What then is man to do? Either he
seeks entertainment, enters more and more into the world of sports, or seeks
religious entertainment. Or he goes inward. The human mind is infinite. It has
got an immense capacity; not the capacity of specialization, not the capacity of
knowledge. It is infinite.
This is perhaps the future of mankind: Scientists have started asking what
is going to happen to man when the computer takes charge of the whole of
man. The brain is occupied now; it is active. When that brain is not active, it is
going to wither and the machine is going to operate. We may all become
zombies, lose our extraordinary inward capacity or become superficially
intellectual, seeking the world of entertainment. I do not know if you have
noticed that more and more time is given on the T.V. to sport, especially in
Europe. So, is that the future of man? The future of man may depend on the
atom bomb, the neutron bomb. In the East, in India, war may seem very far
away. But if you live in Europe, there is tremendous concern about the bomb;
war is very close there. So there are these two threats: war and the computer.
So what is the future of man? Either he goes very deeply inward, not through
delving into the depth of his mind, into the depth of his heart. Or he will be 71
entertained. Freedom of choice, freedom from dictatorship, freedom from
chaos, are problems that man has to face.
In the world, there is great disturbance, corruption; people are very very
disturbed. It is dangerous to walk on the streets. When we are talking about
freedom from fear, we want outward freedom, freedom from chaos, anarchy,
or dictatorship. But we never demand or enquire if there is an inner freedom at
all: freedom of the mind. Is that freedom actual or theoretical? We regard the
State as an impediment to freedom. Communists and other totalitarian people
say there is no such thing as freedom; the State, the government, is the only
authority. And they are suppressing every form of freedom. So what kind of
freedom do we want? Out there? Outside of us? Or inward freedom? When we
talk about freedom, is it the freedom of choice between this government and
that, here and there, between outer and inward freedom? The inner psyche
always conquers the outer. The psyche, that is, the inward structure of man –
his thoughts, emotions, his ambitions, his actions, his greed – always conquers
the outer. So, where do we seek freedom? Could we discuss that? Can there
be freedom from nationality which gives us a sense of security? Can there be
freedom from all the superstitions, dogmas and religions? A new civilization
can only come about through real religion, not through superstition, dogma or
P.J.: You have asked a question: What is the choice that man has in the
world of the outer when the world of the inner is not participating in the
movement of freedom? That is, without knowing whether the mind is free or in
bondage, is there a choice possible in the outer? Is it possible for a mind which
is unexplored, to make a choice in the outer?
S.K.: Sir, you talked about the computer and the possibility of the human
brain withering away from lack of activity. Do you then foresee the possibility of
man becoming extinct and being replaced by a non-biological entity?
K: Perhaps, but my point is, we must take things as they are and see if we
can’t bring about a mutation in our brain itself. 72
S.K.: I would like to ask you a little more about freedom of the mind when it
is in bondage. We only know relative freedom. There is a complete distinction
between inner and outer freedom and bondage; they somehow confuse me.
For example, we are talking about greed and the aggression of the mind. To
me it makes man human. This is what makes a distinction between a
computer and man. I would like you to throw a little more light on this freedom.
Is it relative freedom? Does it include all the emotions we are talking about?
How can one be with them, live with them? It seems that somewhere there are
some boundaries set by those customs and to try to transcend them is to try to
transcend humanity itself.
K: The human mind has lived in fear for so many millions of centuries. Can
that fear possibly come to an end? Or, are we going to continue with it for the
rest of our lives?
P.J.: What Dr. Kakkar said was that it is these very elements of fear, envy,
anger, aggression, which make up humanness. What is your response to that?
K: Are they? We accept them as human nature. We are used to that. Our
ancestors and the present generation have accepted that as the condition of
man. I question that. Humanity, a human being, may be entirely different.
P.J.: If you question it, then you must be able to show what it is that makes
it possible to quench these elements so that the humanness which you speak
about can flower totally. How is it possible?
R.T.: It also means that there can be no such thing as freedom unless you
have quenched these elements.
K: Yes sir, as long as I am attached to some conclusion, to some concept,
some ideal, there is no freedom. Should we discuss this?
P.J.: This is after all the core of the whole problem of mankind.
J.S.: May I stretch the question further by suggesting that in the statement
or the question which Dr. Kakkar asked, there is implied another concept of
freedom, where you obtain freedom not by getting rid of fear, anxiety, greed, 73
so on and so forth, but by integrating them, incorporating them within a larger
K: Integrating in a larger awareness of consciousness.
Swami Chidanand:. Learning successfully to cope with them.
S.K.: May I elaborate? There are two things; fear is a part of humanness;
the elimination is also part of humanness. If you talk only of elimination of
desire or of quenching it, reaching another state is, to me, leaving out the other
part. And this is very important to me for a strategy. My strategy is that I
believe that envy, greed, etc., are part of humanness because that is what
makes man. Man has to live with them, but he has to make friends with them
and use them. Then he will see that fears are not as great as we think; that
greed is not really that frightening. To have fear reduced, lessened, used – that
is my strategy.
P.J.: Dr. Kakkar is right; you cannot take only the dark elements in man. It
is the same centre which talks of transformation of the good, which talks of all
the elements which are today considered the opposites. The total thing makes
up man – the dark and the light. Is it possible to integrate the dark and the
light? And who integrates them? So the problem is really a central one. That
is, is there an entity who can choose, integrate?
K: Why is there this division; dark, light; beauty, ugly? Why is there in
human beings this contradiction?
Shanta Gandhi: Without contradiction one can hardly live. Life is full of
contradictions. An outcome of life is contradiction.
K: Oh! You consider life a contradiction. Contradiction implies conflict. So to
you life is an endless conflict. You reduce life to a perpetual conflict.
S.G.: Life, as we know it, certainly is.
K: We have accepted life to be a conflict. That may be our habit, our
tradition, our education, our condition. S.G.: My difficulty is that my tool for
attaining this awareness is also my own mind. It is the sum total of that which
is conditioned by what has gone by. And I can only start from that point. 74
K: So we start with the human condition. Some say it is impossible to
change that condition; you can only modify it. The existentialists say that you
cannot possibly uncondition that. Therefore, you must live perpetually in
conflict. We are contradicting ourselves, that is all.
S.K.: What I feel is, there are two conditions; this is part of human growth
and development. There are two conflicts which are inescapable. One is
separation, the awareness of `I am’ as different from my parents. This is part of
human evolution. And the second is differentiation, when one learns sex
differentiation – I am male and the other one is female; these are part of human
evolution, faces of contradiction, of differences, and they are the basic
anxieties which are inescapable in the human mind.
K: So what is integration?
S.K.: Trying to get them together.
K: Can you bring the opposites together? Or is there no opposite at all?
May I go into that? I am violent; human beings are violent. That is a fact. Non-
violence is not a fact. Violence is `what is; the other is not. But all your leaders,
philosophers, have tried to cultivate non-violence. Which means what?
Through the cultivation of non-violence I am being violent. So non-violence
can never be. There is only violence. Why do I, the mind, create the opposite?
As a lever to escape from violence? Why cannot I deal only with violence and
not be concerned with non-fact? There is only violence; the other is merely an
escape from this fact. So there is only `what is; not `what should be; ideals,
concepts, all that goes.
A.P.: When you say that non-violence is only an idea and violence is the
fact, then the enquiry must logically proceed a step further and ask: Can
K: Surely. First we should understand what violence is. What is violence?
Conformity is violence. Limitation is violence.
S.K.: I would like to understand this a little more. 75
K: What do I call violence? Anger, hatred, hitting another, killing another for
an ideal, for a concept, for the word `peace’. And is violence an idea or a fact?
When I get angry, it is a fact. Why do I call it violence? Why do I give it a
name? I give a name to a reaction which is called violence. Why do I do that?
Look, there is a squirrel on the roof. Do I have to name it? Do you follow my
question? Do I do it for purposes of recognition, thereby strengthening the
present reaction? Of course. So the present reaction is caught up in the past
remembrance and I name the past remembrance as violence.
S.K.: Yes, sir, I also discover that violence is violating. I was saying `yes’ to
you without understanding what violence is.
S.C.: When you speak of violence, we of course know of violence; one
refers to anger; there is also subjective violence.
K: I was coming to that. What is violence? Doing harm to others, hurting
another psychologically by persuasion and through reward and punishment; by
making him conform to a pattern by persuading him logically, affectionately, to
accept a certain framework – all that is violence. Apparently that is inherent in
man. Why do we call that violence? That is happening all the time. Tradition
does it; the whole religious world does it; the political world does it; the
business world does it; the intellectual world does it, enforcing their ideas, their
concepts, their theories.
S.G.: Is all education violence? K: No. I won’t use that word `education’ for
the moment. Is there a mind which cannot be persuaded, a mind that sees
very clearly? That is the point.
K: Why do you say `no’?
S.K.: Because the question you asked is whether there is a mind that
cannot be persuaded. My point is there is no such mind.
K: We are the result of persuasion; all propaganda, religious or political, is
persuading, pressurizing, dragging us in a certain direction. 76
S.K.: So deep is that persuasion that it cannot be reached by us. It wears
so many masks that those masks cannot be seen by us any more.
K: Can we be free from that violence? Can we be free from hatred?
Obviously we can.
P.J.: You cannot leave it there and say, `Obviously you can be free.’
K: Have we agreed up to that point?
S.K.: That we hate, yes. But can we be free from that hate? No.
K: We will go into that. What is the cause of hate? Why do you hate me
when I say something which you don’t like? Why do you push me aside, you
being stronger, intellectually more powerful, etc? Why do I get hurt?
Psychologically, what is the process of being hurt? What is hurt? Who is hurt?
The image I have of myself is hurt. You come and tread on it and put a pin into
it; I get hurt. So the image I have about myself is the cause of hurt. You say
something to me, call me an idiot, and I think I am not an idiot; you hurt me
because I have an image of myself as not being an idiot.
S.K.: With one proviso – when you say that the image is hurt when it is
called an idiot, it means it is not you who is hurt but something which you have
K: We are the result of every hurt.
S.K.: It is not you who is hurt.
K: No. Suppose I think I am a great man. You come along and say, don’t be
silly, there are many greater men than you. I get hurt. Why? Obviously, I have
an image of myself as a great man. You come and say something contrary to
that. I get hurt. You are not hurting me; you are hurting my image of myself.
The image which I have built about myself gets hurt. So the next question is:
Can I live without an image of myself?
P.J.: Where, in what dimension, do I discover that I am making an image of
K: I don’t discover; I perceive.
K: What do you mean by where? You pointed out to me just now that I have
an image about myself. I have not thought about it, I have never seen my
image. You point it out; you make a statement that I have an image. I am
listening to you very carefully, very attentively, and in that very listening I
discover the fact that I have an image of myself. Or, do I see an image of
P.J.: I don’t think I am making myself clear. If I don’t see it as an
abstraction, then that image-making machinery is the ground on which this is
seen. Let me go into it a little further. There is a ground from which the image-
making machinery rises.
K: Why do you use the word `ground’?
P.J.: Because, in talking and responding, there is a tendency to become
conceptual. If one comes out of the con- ceptual to the actual, then the actual
is the process of perceiving.
K: That is all. Stop there.
P.J.: I cannot stop there. I ask you further: I don’t perceive it in your
statement; then where do I perceive it?
K: You perceive it as it is taking place.
P.J.: When you say `as it is taking place’, where do I perceive it? Do I
perceive it outside or in my imagination?
K:. I saw that squirrel walking about. I perceive it, I perceive the fact, I
watch the fact that I have an image.
P.J.: This is not very clear.
K: It is very very clear. You tell me that I am a liar. I have told a lie. I realize
that I am a liar.
P.J.: Is there a difference between realizing that I am a liar and perceiving
that I am a liar? 78
K: I have perceived that I am a liar. I am aware – let us use the word `aware’
– that I am a liar. That is all.
P.J.: Can you open up this seeing of the movement within the mind? I think
this is the core of the whole thing.
K: We were talking about freedom from fear. We want to discuss the whole
movement of fear. It begins with desire, with time, with memory; it begins with
the fact of the present movement of fear. All this is involved in the whole river
of fear. Either the fear is very, very shallow or it is a deep river with a great
volume of water. We are not discussing the various objects of fear, but fear
itself. Now is it an abstraction of fear that we are discussing, or actual fear in
my heart, in my mind? Is it that I am facing the fear? I want to be clear on this
point. If we are discussing abstract fear, it has no meaning to me. I am
concerned only with the actual happening of fear. I say in that fear all this is
involved, the desire and the very complexity of desire, time, the past impinging
on the present, and the sense of wanting to go beyond fear. All this must be
perceived. I don’t know if you follow. We have to take a thing like the drop of
rain which contains all the rivers in the world, see the beauty of that one drop
of rain. One drop of desire contains the whole movement of fear.
So what is desire? Why do we suppress it? Why do you say it has a
tremendous importance? I want to be a minister; my desire is for that, or my
desire is for god. My desire for god and my desire to be a minister are one and
the same thing – it is desire. So I have to understand the depth of what desire
is, why it drives man, why it has been suppressed by all religions.
One asks what is the place of desire and why the brain is consumed with
desire. I have to understand it not only at the verbal level through explanation,
through communication, but to understand it at its deepest level, in my guts.
What is the place of thought in desire? Is desire different from thought? Does
thought play an important part in desire? Or is thought the movement of
desire? Is thought part of desire or does thought dominate desire, control and
shape desire? 79
So I am asking: Are thought and desire not like two horses? I must
understand not only thought, but the whole movement of thinking, the origin of
thought; not the end, but the beginning of thought. Can the mind be aware of
the beginning of thought and also of the beginning of desire?
I have to go into that question: What is desire and what is thought? First,
there is perception, contact, sensation. That is, I see a blue shirt in the
window. I go inside and touch the texture, then out of that touching, there is
sensation. Then thought says, how nice it would be if I put on that blue shirt.
The creation by thought of the image of that shirt on me is the beginning of
S.K.: You said, you feel in the guts. I think that is where desire resides. K:
We understand desire, how it arises, where thought creates the image and
desire begins. Then what is time? Is time a movement of thought? There is
time, the sun rises, the sun sets at a certain time; time as the past, present
and the future; time as the past modifying itself, becoming the future
physically; time as covering a distance; time as learning a language. Then
there is the whole area of psychological time. I have been, I am, I will be. That
is a movement of the past through the present modifying into the future. Time
as acquiring knowledge through experience, memory, thought, action – that is
also time. So there is psychological time and physical time.
Now, is there psychological time at all? Or, has thought as hope created
time? That is, I am violent, I will be non-violent, and I realize that that process
can never end violence. What will end violence is confronting the fact and
remaining with it, not trying to dodge it or escape from it. There is no opposite;
only `what is’.
And what is thinking? Why has man given a tremendous importance to the
intellect, to words, theories, ideas? Unless I discover the origin of thinking, how
it begins, can there be awareness of thought arising? Or, does awareness
come after it has arisen? Is there awareness of the movement of the whole
river of thought? Thought has become extraordinarily important. Thought
exists because there is knowledge, experience, stored up in the brain as 80
memory; from that memory there is thought and action. In this process we live,
always within the field of the known. So desire, time, thought, is essentially
fear. Without this there is no fear. I am afraid inwardly, and I want order out
there – in society, in politics, economics. How can there be order out there if I
am in disorder here?
P.J.: Can I bring order within, me if there is disorder outside? I am
deliberately posing this problem which lay in your early dichotomy between the
outward and the inward. The outward is compared to the computer on the one
hand and the atom bomb, which I think is taking over.
J.U.: We cannot realize that freedom without relating ourselves to the
outside where there is dukh (sorrow), where there is so much turmoil. We
cannot understand the process of freedom without relating the inward and the
K: Have I understood the question rightly? You are saying that the division
between the outer and the inner is false. I agree with you. It is a movement like
a tide, going out and coming in. So what is outside is me; me is the outside.
The outer is a movement of the inner; the inner is the movement of the
outer. There is no dichotomy at all. But by understanding the outer, that
criterion will guide me to the inner, so that there is no deception; because I do
not want to be deceived at the end of it. So the outer is the indicator of the
inner and the inner is the indicator of the outer. There is no difference. My part
is not to put away the outer; I say I am responsible for that. I am responsible
for everything that is happening in the world. My brain is not my brain: it is the
brain of humanity, which has grown through evolution and all the rest of it. So
there is responsibility, political, religious, all along the line. 81
Chapter 3 Part 3 The Future Of Man
Seminar New Delhi 5th November 1981
P.J.: Most people see that in the human mind there is a shrinkage of space
available to us to explore because of the various pressures which operate on
it, an incapacity to face complex situations, the violence and terror. I would
suggest that we do not go into specific problems of fear or the future of man,
but lay bare the structure of the human mind, bringing us face to face with the
structure of thought. It is only then that it is possible for each one of us to
investigate into these complexities which occupy our consciousness.
K: We have talked over the movement of fear together. How do you listen
to those statements? How do you read those statements? What is the impact
of those statements on you? We said desire, time, thought, the hurts, the
whole of that is fear, and you tell me that very clearly in words which are
common. You have communicated to me the truth of it, not the verbal
description of it. How do I listen to that statement? I am not opposing it or
comparing what you say with something I already know, but I am actually
listening to what you say. It has entered into my consciousness, that part of
consciousness which is willing to comprehend entirely what you are saying.
What is the impact? Is it a verbal impact or a logical one, or have you talked to
me at a level where I see the truth of what you have said? What does it do to
P.J.: We are speaking of the future of man, the danger of technology taking
over man’s functions. Man seems paralysed. You have said there are only two
ways open to him: either the way of pleasure or the way of an inner
movement. I am asking you the `how’ of the inner movement.
K: When you ask `how’, you are asking for a system, a method, a practice.
That is obvious. Nobody asks `how’ otherwise. How am I to play the piano? It
is all implied – practice, a method, a mode of acting. Now when you ask `how’,
you are back again to the same old pattern of experience, knowledge,
memory, thought, action. 82
Now, can we move away from the `how’ for the moment and observe the
mind, or the brain? Can there be a pure observation of it, which is not
analysis? Observation is totally different from analysis. In analysis there is
always the search for a cause; there is the analyser and the analysed. That
means the analyser is separate from the analysed. That separation is
fallacious; it is not actual, the actual being that which is happening now.
Observation is totally free of analysis. Is it possible just to observe without any
conclusion, any direction, any motive – just pure, clear looking? Obviously, it is
possible when you look at these lovely trees; it is very simple. But to look at
the operation of the whole movement of existence, to observe it without any
distortion, is entirely different from analysis. In that observation the whole
process of analysis has no place. You go beyond it. That is, I can look at that
tree without any distortion because I am looking optically. Now, can I look at, is
there any observation of the whole activity of fear without trying to find the
cause, or asking how to end it, or trying to suppress it, or running away from
it? Is it possible just to look and stay with it, stay with the whole movement of
fear? I mean by staying with it, to observe without any movement of thought
entering into my observation. Then I say, with that observation comes
attention. That observation is total attention. It is not concentration; it is
attention. It is like focusing a bright light on an object, and in the focusing of
that energy which is light on that movement, fear ends. Analysis will never end
fear; you can test it out. That is, is my mind capable of such attention, which is
to bring all the energy of my intellect, emotion, nerves, to look at this
movement of fear without any opposition or support, or denial?
P.J.: Thought arises in observation, and does not stay with observation of
fear. Then what happens to thought? Does one push it aside? What does one
do? Thought does arise, which is also a fact.
K: Just listen. The speaker explained not only the personal fears but the
fears of mankind in which is this stream, in which is included thought, desire,
time and the desire to end it, to go beyond it, all that is the movement of fear. 83
Can you look at it, observe it without any movement? Any movement is
P.J.: You may say movement is fear, but in that observing, thought arises,
which is also a fact. K: Please listen. I said, desire, time, thought; thought is
time, and desire is part of thought. You have shown the whole map of fear, in
which thought is included. There is no question of suppressing thought; that is
impossible. I said, first look at it. We don’t give attention to anything. You have
just said something about thought. I listened to it very, very carefully; I was
attending to what you were saying. Can you so attend?
P.J.: For an instant of attention thought is not; then thought arises. This is
the state of mind. There is no doer because that is pretty obvious. It is neither
possible to remain immovable nor to say that thought will not arise. If it is a
stream, it is a stream which flows.
K: Are we discussing what is observation?
P.J.: Yes, we are discussing observation. In that observation I have raised
this problem because that is the problem of attention, of self-knowledge, the
problem of our minds, that in observing, thought arises. So, then what? What
does one do with thought?
K: When in your attention thought arises, you put aside fear totally, but you
pursue thought. I do not know if I am making myself clear. I observe the
movement of fear. In that observation, thought arises. The movement of fear is
not important, but the arising of thought and total attention on that thought.
There is this stream of fear. Tell me what to do: How am I, caught in fear, to
end it? – not the method, not the system, not the practice, but the ending of it.
You say analysis will not end it; that is obvious. So, what will end it – a
perception of the whole movement of fear, a perception without direction?
J.U.: You made a statement about observing the movement of fear. I do not
accept the distinction you have made between analysis and observation. I do
not agree with your rejection of analysis. It is only through analysis that the
entire structure of tradition and the weight of memory can be broken. It is only 84
when that is broken that an observation is possible. Otherwise, it would only
be a conditioned mind which would be observing. By your insistence on
observation as distinct from analysis, perhaps there is the possibility or
probability of the type of accidents or sudden happenings occurring, of which
other people have spoken. Therefore, there can be the opportunity in which
the shaktipata, the transmission of power takes place.
P.J.: Is that the nature of looking at fear? I am answering part of this
question. Is the nature of observing or looking at fear or listening to fear of the
same nature as looking at a tree, or listening to a bird? Or are you talking of a
listening and a seeing which is optical observing plus? And if it is plus, what is
A.P.: I see a great danger in what Upadhyayaji has said. He says there
cannot be observation unless it is accompanied by analysis, and if there is
observation without analysis then that observation may have to depend upon
an accidental awakening of an insight. He speaks of that as a possibility. My
submission to him is that unless observation is cleansed of analysis, it is
incapable of freeing itself from the fetters of conceptualism, the processes in
which we have been reared, the process where observation and conceptual
understanding go together. It is difficult to bring simultaneously into operation,
unconsciously and consciously, a process of conceptual comprehension. Now,
observation that is not cleansed of wordy comprehension distinguishes itself
from pure observation. Therefore, in my opinion, it is very necessary to
establish that analysis is an obstacle to observation. We must see this as a
fact that analysis prevents us from observing.
K: Sir, do we clearly understand that the observer is the observed? I
observe that tree, but I am not that tree. I observe various reactions as greed,
envy and so on. Is the observer separate from greed? The observer himself is
the observed, which is greed. Is it clear, not intellectually, but actually, that you
can see the truth of it as a profound reality, a truth which is absolute? When
there is such observation, the observer is the past. And when I observe that
tree, all that past association with that tree comes into being. I name it as oak, 85
or whatever it is; there is like or dislike. Now, when I observe fear, that fear is
me. I am not separate from that fear. So the observer is the observed. In that
observation there is no observer to observe because there is only the fact: the
fear is me, I am not separate from fear. Then, what is the need for analysis? In
that observation, if it is pure observation, the whole thing is revealed, and I can
logically explain everything from that observation without analysis.
We are not clear on this particular point that the thinker is the thought, the
experiencer is the experience. The experiencer, when he experiences
something new, recognizes it. I experience something. To give to it a meaning,
I must bring in all the previous records of my experiences; I must remember
the nature of that experience. Therefore I am putting it outside me. But when I
realize that the experiencer, the thinker, the analyser, is the analysed, is the
thought, is the experience, in that perception, in that observation, there is no
division, no conflict. Therefore, when you realize the truth of that, you can
logically explain the whole sequence of it.
K: Let us go slowly. I am angry. At the moment of anger, there is no `me’ at
all; there is only that reaction called anger. A second later, I say, I have been
angry. I have already separated anger from me.
K: So, I have separated it a moment later; there is me and anger. Then I
suppress it, rationalize it. I have already divided a reaction which is me, into
`me’ and `not-me’, and then the whole conflict begins. Whereas anger is me, I
am made up of reactions. Right? Obviously. I am anger. What happens then?
Earlier, I wasted energy in analysing, in suppressing, in being in conflict with
anger. That energy is now concentrated; there is no waste of energy. With that
energy which is attention, I hold this reaction called fear. I do not move away
from it because I am that. Then, because I have brought all my energy to it,
that fact which is called fear disappears.
You wanted to find out in what manner fear can end. I have shown it. As
long as there is a division between you and fear, fear will continue. Like the 86
Arab and the Jew, the Hindu and the Muslim, as long as this division exists
there must be conflict.
P.J.: But, sir, who observes?
K: There is no `who observes’. There is only the state of observation.
P.J.: Does it come about spontaneously?
K: Now, you have told me it is not analysis, it is not this, it is not that, and I
discard it. I don’t say I’ll discuss it. I discard it. My mind is free from all the
conceptual, analytical process of thought. My mind is listening to the fact that
the observer is the observed.
P.J.: You see, sir, there are two things in this. One is that when one
observes, when there is the observing of the mind, one sees the extraordinary
movement in it. It is beyond anyone’s control or capacity to even give direction
to it. It is there. In that state, you say, bring attention on to fear.
K: Which is all your energy…
P.J.: Which actually means, bring all attention on to that which is moving.
When we question in our minds, the response immediately arises. In your
mind responses do not arise; you hold it. Now, what is it that given you the
capacity to hold fear in consciousness? I don’t think we have that capacity.
K: I don’t think it is a question of capacity. I don’t know. What is capacity?
P.J.: I will cut out the word `capacity’. There is a holding of fear.
K: That is all.
P.J.: That is, this movement which is fluid becomes immovable.
K: That is it.
P.J.: Fear ends. With us that does not happen.
K: Can we discuss a fact? Can we hold anything in our minds for a few
seconds, or a minute? Anything? I love; can I remain with that feeling, that
beauty, that clarity which love brings? Can I hold it; not say what is love, what
is not love, but just hold it, which is like a vessel holding water? You are all
sceptical. You see, sir, when you have an insight into fear, fear ends. The 87
insight is not analysis, time, remembrance, all that. It is immediate perception
of something. We do have it. Often we have this sense of clarity about
something. Is this all theoretical?
J.U.: Sir, I find that when you speak of clarity, there is that moment of
clarity. I accept that. But it must come as a result of something that happens. It
must move from period to period, from level to level. My clarity cannot be the
same as your clarity.
K: Sir, clarity is clarity, it is not yours or mine. Intelligence is not yours or
P.J.: Sir, I would like to go into something different. I will start with one
statement: In observing the movement of the mind there is no point at which
you say I have observed totally and it is over.
K: You can never say that.
P.J.: So, you are talking of an observation which is a state of being; that is,
you move in observation, your life is a life of observing…
K: Yes, that is right. P.J.: Out of that observing, action rises; analysis
arises; wisdom comes. Is that observing? Unfortunately, we observe and then
enter into the other sphere of non-observing and therefore have always this
dual process going on. None of us knows what this observing is. None of us
can say we know what a life of observing is.
K: No. I think it is very simple: Can’t you observe a person without any
K: Without any concept? What is implied in that observation? You observe
me, or I observe you. How do you observe? How do you look at me? What is
your reaction to that observation?
P.J.: With all the energy I have, I observe you. No, sir, it becomes very
personal. Therefore, I won’t pursue this.
K: So I move away from it. 88
P.J.: I can’t say that I do not know what it is to be in a state of observing
without the observer.
K: Could we take this example? Say I am married. I have lived with my wife
for a number of years. I have all the memories of those twenty years or five
years. In what manner do I look at her? Tell me. I am married to her; I have
lived with her, sexually and all the rest of it. When I see her in the morning,
how do I look at her? What is my reaction? Do I see her afresh, as though for
the first time, or do I look at her with all the memories flooded into my mind?
Q: Either is possible.
K: Anything is possible, but what happens actually? Do I observe anything
for the first time? When I look at the moon, the new moon coming up with the
evening star, do I look at it as though I have never seen it before? The wonder,
the beauty, the light, do I look at anything as though for the first time? Q: Can
we die to our yesterdays and our past?
K: Yes, sir. We are always looking with the burden of the past. So, there is
no actual looking. This is very important. When I look at my wife, I do not see
her as though I have seen her for the first time. My brain is caught in memories
about her or about this or that. So I am always looking from the past. Is it
possible to look at that moon, at the evening star, as though for the first time
without all the associations connected with them? Can I see the sunset which I
have seen in America, in England, in Italy and so on, as though I am seeing it
for the first time? Don’t say `yes’. That means my brain is not recording the
previous sunsets I know of.
Q: Very rare. How does one know that it is so? You are asking, can you
see the moon and the evening star? Maybe it is the memory of the first time
which makes you look.
K: I know what you are asking; that leads you to another question. I am
asking, is it possible not to record, except what is absolutely necessary? Why
should I record the insult I may have received this morning, or the flattery? 89
Both are the same. You flatter me saying it is a good talk, or she comes and
says you are an idiot. Why should I record either?
P.J.: You ask a question as if to say we have the choice of whether to
record or not to record.
K: There is no choice. I am asking a question to investigate. Because the
brain was registering the squirrel on the parapet this morning, the kites flying,
all that you said in our discussion at lunch, so it is like a gramophone record
playing over and over again. The mind is constantly occupied, isn’t it? Now, in
that occupation you cannot listen; you cannot see clearly. So one has to
enquire why the brain is occupied. I am occupied with god, he is occupied with
sex, she is occupied about her husband, somebody is occupied with power,
position, politics, cleverness, etc. Why? Is it that when the brain is not
occupied there is the fear of being nothing? Because occupation gives me a
sense of living? But if I am not occupied, I say I am lost. Is that why we are
occupied from morning till night? Or is it a habit, sharpening itself? This
occupation is destroying the brain and making it mechanical. Now, does one
see that one is occupied actually? And seeing that, remain with it, not saying, I
don’t want to be occupied, it is not good for the brain? Can you just see you
are occupied? See what happens then.
When there is occupation there is no space in the mind. I am the collection
of all the experiences of mankind. The story of all mankind is me if I know how
to read the book of me. You see, we are so conditioned to this idea that we are
all separate individuals, that we all have separate brains, and the separate
brains with their self-centred activity are going to be reborn over and over
again. I question this whole concept that I am an individual; not that I am the
collective. I am humanity, not the collective. 90
– Chapter 4, Seminars Madras 1979 –
Chapter 4 Part 1 The Nature Of A Religious Life
1st Seminar Madras 2nd January 1979
Achyut Patwardhan: What is the nature of a religious life? A paradoxical
situation has developed during the last fifty years or more; there has been an
explosion of knowledge that has led to specialization, with the result that the
wholeness of life is lost in the multiplicity of information. The problem has
become more acute because development of knowledge leads us further away
from the religious life. Can we explore this problem?
P.J.: Is the problem one of perception which is total? When there was not
this plethora of knowledge, was man’s capacity to see the whole greater than it
is today? Is it the extension of the frontiers of knowledge which has made the
problem more difficult, or is it that knowledge which has made the problem
more difficult, or is it that the basic problem of man is his incapacity to see in a
total sense? Is it that the very nature of seeing is fragmentary, whether there is
vast knowledge or limited knowledge?
G.N.: There is also the modern view that with knowledge we are ascending
in terms of living conditions, comfort, equality, which some people feel has
made for a greater sense of well-being and awareness. This is the ascent of
man through knowledge, through specialization.
P.J.: But Achyutji’s statement suggests that when knowledge was not so
intricate, so complex, then man’s capacity to see wholly was to that extent
A.P.: What I felt was that there is an assumption that if we could know
more, we would come nearer to the heart of wholeness. The assumption itself
is totally illusory because the greater the knowledge, the further away we
move from the centre.
P.J.: But when you say illusory, is it actually illusory or conceptually
David Shainberg: I think that is a completely erroneous assumption. I don’t
think anyone ever thought that technology or knowledge would bring greater
happiness. It is all within the operation of knowledge – more knowledge, more
technology, leading to an instant response, a greed, a curiosity. Curiosity is a
form of greed. Knowledge operates from one greed to the next: You want to
know more and more. It is the same with technology. This I think is complete
illusion. We don’t think technology will ever provide happiness. An engineer is
infatuated with creating more and more. With the facility of aeroplane
designing, we can get from Delhi to London in a few hours. Nobody thinks that
this is going to make you happier.
P.J.: Today, in a developing country like India, in making technology
available to a vaster number of people, there is an inbuilt assumption that you
are going to bring happiness.
D.S.: I think you will have to evaluate what you mean by happiness.
P.J.: Happiness is not the same thing as seeing this wholeness. These two
are totally different.
D.S.: That’s it. Technology may not be looking for a deeper form of
happiness, but looking for more comfortable living.
P.J.: What is the basic question here?
S.P.: Are we saying that in the pursuit of a so-called religious life, we are
using the intellect, and the intellect itself is fragmentary and, therefore, it
cannot comprehend the holistic? A.P.: I don’t want to start with the assumption
that the intellect is an inadequate tool. I say it is the only tool I have. Whatever
powers of understanding I have, have been secured largely by the
development of my intellect, and I say that whatever I have gained through the
intellect seems to lead me away from my religious base, from that centre.
K: What do you mean by a religious life, and why do we deny the influence
of knowledge on a religious life? Bronowski maintains that only through
knowledge is there the ascent of man. He traced the development from the
stone age to the modern age and pointed out that man has evolved from 92
savagery. That is, the ascent of man is only possible through knowledge, and
you are saying knowledge is detrimental, or prevents or distorts a religious life.
A.P.: A religious life is absolutely essential to restore sanity to human
existence. When we approach the question of a religious life in the context of
contemporary society, we are not seeking a religious life in terms of what the
church did or the people who went in search of Brahman did.
K: Sir, would you define what you mean by a religious life, the nature of a
mind that is religious?
A.P.: A religious life is that perception which gives us a view of human well-
being undistorted by contradictory, self-destructive tendencies. We are not
seeking some kind of a theoretical moksha, or a metaphysical moksha. What
we want is a capacity to see human well-being as an indivisible fact, and
ourselves as agents of that human well-being.
K: You are saying that a religious life is concerned with human dignity,
human well-being, human happiness. Right?
A.P.: Yes, sir. Development of the human potential.
K: When you use the word `religious’, I wonder what the depth of that word
is, the significance of that word, the quality of the mind which says that it is
enquiring into a religious life. Sir, you said that knowledge is the major factor
which prevents a religious life. Let us hold on to that for a few minutes. Does
knowledge interfere with a religious life? Does a religious life have no
knowledge, or, having knowledge, does not allow that knowledge to interfere
with a holistic life?
A.P.: Without a religious life, knowledge seems to lose its direction.
K: Yes sir, you have more or less defined what you mean by knowledge.
But I have not quite understood what you mean by a religious life.
A.P.: A religious life is a life in which one feels that no harm would come to
another through one’s knowledge, one’s capacity. It really means that you are
part of humanity, that through you humanity is fulfilling itself. 93
P.J.: I find this very difficult to understand.
K: We are discussing not what a religious life should be, we are
investigating, exploring into the nature of a religious life. Therefore, you cannot
presuppose that you must not hurt another.
A.P.: Sir, it is out of deep anguish – when you see that man’s knowledge is
becoming an instrument of his own destruction – that you come to a religious
P.J.: I cannot say that. I would say that what has led me to even enquire
has been sorrow, loneliness, inadequacy. These are the three things which
have led me to enquire. I don’t even know the nature of a religious life.
K: I think we are not enquiring. We are making statements. What do you
mean when you say that we must not hurt another human being?
A.P.: Is it possible for knowledge not to be a source of destruction?
P.J: Achutji, before you can come to this question, what do you do with the
nature of the self which is so inadequate that it cannot even pose this
question? It cannot pose the question about humanity.
A.P.: I feel that for a man like me who is witness to appalling cruelty,
appalling threats to human well-being arising out of human knowledge, there is
no self here at all. I am not bothered about the self. I am bothered about a
situation of which I am an integral part. I cannot separate myself. I am part of
Ravi Ravindra: I find all this a little too abstract. I say I wish to be religious,
and also I wish to be in contact with some knowledge or at least not be
destroyed by it. So, this is a problem of knowledge. This is one way in which I
would like to raise it, because the question of general human knowledge is too
abstract. Now, how can I be religious and still be a physicist? As a physicist,
there are certain sets of laws, certain operations that I teach and I see that
some of these relationships in terms of energy or time do not necessarily
relate to my sense of time or energy or momentum, as I experience it inwardly.
And one way of understanding a religious life is by a balancing of what I see 94
as external time or energy, and what I see as the flow inwardly; time and
energy moving. In the rare moments I can see them related to each other. At
the moment, I am in touch with the religious life. Now, the question that arises
from this is, how does one continue with activities like physics and lead a
K: I would like first of all to find out what you mean by a religious life.
Achyutji has pointed out, that it is not to hurt a human being and also that it
has to be holistic, if you can use that word; that is, a life that is complete,
whole and not fragmented. And he also said that knowledge misused, as it is
now, is destroying humanity, and knowledge also prevents or becomes a
distraction to a religious life. But we have not yet gone into the question of
what you mean by a religious life.
D.S.: Krishnaji, is there not something wrong with even the whole of
religious life? If I take the proper drug, I am going to be religious; the religious
life is traditional nonsense.
K: I would like to go into it a little more. Achyutji has pointed out that man
wants happiness. Happiness at what level? Physical level? At the
psychological level so that he has no problems, no conflicts and so on? And at
a still higher level, if you can so call it, a sense of absolute relaxed peace?
Would you call that a religious life? Is that what we want? That is what every
human being craves for because he knows what knowledge has done in the
world. Then the question is, what place has knowledge in our human
existence, in our human daily life? Let us for the moment forget the religious
life; let us find out if it is possible to live a daily life here on this earth, which is
ours, with an extraordinary sense of freedom from all problems. Can you start
P.J.: My only query would be, is it valid that there should be a movement
`towards’, once you posit this movement?
K: I am not positing anything; I am enquiring. 95
P.J.: I was saying, is it valid for any movement `towards’? To meet the
movement `towards’ is a denial of the religious life.
S.P.. I would put it this way: That I who am in contradiction, moving from
this to that, want to end the conflict. So, it is a very valid thing which I am
seeking, and when you say a movement from here to there is an invalid
movement, I ask the question: How do I end this whole turmoil?
P.J.: But there is a movement.
K: I am not moving from here to there.
P.J.: There is no movement `towards’?
D.S.: Krishnaji, you are moving in the sense that you are saying: Can we
live in peace?
K: No. All that I am saying is, this is my life. S.P.: It is not finished. I will say
a person who says this is my life, this is not how I want to live, naturally asks
the question: Is there something different? That movement is valid.
K: I do not even ask if there is something different. I live in conflict, misery,
confusion. This constant battle is going on inside and outside. It is terrible to
live that way, and I say, please help me to live differently.
S.P.: Seeing that, most people ask the question: Is there anything different?
K: The validity lies in their escape from it.
S.P.: Before they escape, the movement is there.
K: The movement away from the fact is an escape.
S.P.: So, that is the insight which man has to have. But before he has that
insight, both are facts.
K: I am facing facts. The facts are, my life is in a dreadful mess. That is all.
R.R.: Sir, the fact also is that I wish to change it.
K: First, I must acknowledge the fact. To change it may be an escape from
the fact. 96
D.S.:Is not your statement, `My life is a dreadful mess,’ a kind of value
judgment that you make?
K: I am not making a value judgment. It is a fact. I get up at six o’clock, go
to office for the rest of my life, ten hours a day. There is insecurity, the terrible
mess of living. That is not a value judgment; it is a fact.
D.S.: I think there is a kind of judgment in it the way you say, `It is a terrible
K: It is not a value judgment. It is a fact which I observe in my life. There is
a constant struggle, there is fear. That is a fact which I call a mess. P.J.: I say
that is a fact. Now what relationship has the query about the religious life to
S.P.: There have been people who have talked about the religious life, and
I see a person who I think leads a religious life, and when I see, I cannot
remove that impression from my consciousness.
K: That may be your tradition, your wish, an illusion you are living in
because it is tradition.
Rajesh Dalal: Sir, there is an actual position of a man who is in
contradiction. Recognising the contradiction as a fact, he says I want to
change it, but does not know what to change into.
K: The changing into is a movement away from the fact. I find I am in
conflict with my wife or husband or whatever it is, and I want to understand the
nature of the conflict, not change it into something else. Now, how do I change
this fact that I cannot get on with my wife? To me a religious life is a life in
which all these problems have completely ceased.
D.S.: That is an assumption.
K: No. It is not a fact to you; it is a fact to me. So I say, don’t let us jump into
what a religious life is. Here I am, a human being, caught up in this rat race,
and I say to myself: How am I to change this? Not into something else,
because I am intelligent enough to know that changing into something else is
an avoidance of `what is’. 97
D.S.: That is where the subtle leap takes place. Is the mind or the brain
changing into something better?
K: I am not changing into something better. Better is the enemy of the
D.S.: You are dodging this subtle point that right here it happens.
K: Sir, I see very clearly, logically, rationally, that the movement away from
the fact does not bring about the understanding of the fact. That is all my point.
R.R.: But sir, I see my conflict, I have also heard J. Krishnamurti say, there
is a state of non-conflict. Perhaps that is my trouble – I have heard that.
K: He has always said, `Face the fact, don’t move away from the fact.’
There is another way of living. This man says very clearly the other way
cannot be found or come upon or reached or moved into unless you have
faced the fact and resolved the fact.
S.P.: But the true state is that this statement has been conceived by the
mind as an idea.
K: Therefore, it is valueless. As long as it is an idea, it is valueless. Let us
be clear. The fact is I am afraid: I don’t face the fact that there is this feeling
arising, but I create an idea about the fact and act according to that idea. I say
don’t do that, look at the fact without making it into an abstraction. Stay with
fact, don’t move away under any circumstances.
S.P.: I don’t act from that idea, but the idea is there. It is in my
K.: Our conditioning is, hearing a statement and making that statement into
an idea. Now, you make a statement to me; I hear it and from that form a
conclusion or an idea. I say don’t do that, but just listen to what is being said.
M.Z.: Suffering as such is not an idea; suffering is real.
K: No. I want to go into it more clearly and not say real or not real. When
there is suffering, is that suffering a concept, an idea, a remembrance, or is it
an actual moment of suffering? Please find out. At the moment of sorrow, 98
there is nothing else. It is possible to remain with that movement without
making an abstraction of it and say, `I am suffering.’
M.Z.: Sir, would you say that it is a continuation of suffering the moment it
moves into an abstraction?
K: It is not suffering; it is just an idea of suffering. I am very clear. A.P.: If we
may compare this suffering with pain, there is an impulse of pain followed by
another impulse of pain, followed by a third impulse of pain, etc. Therefore,
that pain may be intermittent but it is repetitive and, therefore, it can never
become an idea. It is a physical pain.
K: Physical suffering is of a different nature. Repetition of psychological
pain is the memory of that which has happened. Go into it slowly. You have
physical pain; you have a toothache and you do something to stop it, but it
recurs. Now, the continuation of pain is the registration of a first pain in the
mind, in the brain. It is simple enough, isn’t it?
P.J.: It can become psychological.
A.P.: The moment you register, it becomes psychological.
P.J.: But the physical pain as such is of a different nature from
psychological pain. The psychological pain seems to be the shadow of
physical pain. It does not arise for any one particular reason. It shows itself
with many faces: One day I am depressed, one day I am alone, one day I feel
inadequate. These are all manifestations of that deep, inner inadequacy, pain,
which is psychological. The point is, Krishnaji posits that at the very instant
when pain arises, there is action which comes through the cord of continuity,
that which connects this pain or suffering to the next pain. And he implies that
there can be a cutting of it the instant it arises. Now, I would like to go into the
nature of this cutting.
M.Z.: Can you say that the cutting is between the actual pain and the leap
K: Is that what you are saying, Pupul? 99
P.J.: I say, sir, that you seem to imply that at the instant of the arising of
psychological suffering, there is a cutting so that continuity ends.
K: No, there is no cutting. P.J.: Is there no action at all?
K: I think it is fairly simple. Are we discussing physical pain or psychological
pain? I sat in a dentist’s chair for four hours – drilling, all the rest of it. When I
got out of that chair, there was no registration of that drill.
D.S.: But you remember it now.
K: Suffering is an actual fact. It takes place at the moment of arising.
Apparently we don’t seem to be able to see anything else but that suffering.
When you are not moving away from it at all, there is no registration of it. Have
you listened to the statement? That is, when there is no movement away from
that moment, that thing called suffering, there is no registration of that, no
remembrance. Can the mind, the brain, remain absolutely with that feeling of
suffering and nothing else?
S.P.: At this moment, I have no quality of suffering in my mind. When you
ask this question, there is no reality to it. The mind is operating, but it does not
catch the quality of it. You are asking, can the brain remain with the moment of
suffering? It is not an idea, it is an actual fact that all human beings are
suffering. It is not I alone who am suffering.
R.R.: Sir, are you suggesting that this fact does not register for you
because you are not running away from it?
K: In the second of suffering there is no registration. It is only when thought
takes it up and moves away from the second that registration takes place. At
this movement you are not suffering but there is suffering around you, there is
immense suffering. Are you in contact with that? Or is it an idea that human
beings are all suffering?
S.P.: There is no contact.
Krishnan Kutty: It is only an idea that humanity suffers. 100
K: Explore that. What does it mean? An idea is not factual. Then why do
you have it? S.P.: What is the nature of this contact?
D.S.: How are we in contact with that?
K: We are not in contact with that. It is there. Let us put it differently: Do you
feel that you are the rest of mankind, that you are the whole of mankind?
K: I am not talking about sometimes, sir.
P.J.: I would like to go back. There is something else at the moment of
suffering. Can there be no movement away from it? That is what K said. The
movement away from there is the movement of registration.
K: The movement is the registration.
D.S.: I want to raise another question: To what degree is the very act of
being in the condition of suffering, or conflict, some implication of movement?
Someone suffers because someone who was important to him dies. He is
already caught in a movement. You suggest to Dr. Ravindra to look at it as a
fact, a condition in which there is no conflict.
K: No. I am saying, sir, all human beings suffer. That is a fact, and in
investigating the whole thing – or rather, not investigating, but having an insight
into it, which is not an investigation – you see that suffering continues. When it
is registered, then the whole problem arises: How am I to escape from
suffering, and all the rest of it? I am asking, investigating: Is it possible for a
non-registration to take place?
D.S.: I am not arguing with you. The fact of suffering, to me, seems to be
already the act of registration.
K: Of course, that is our conditioning. If I am aware of this conditioning,
aware of what is actually taking place, then the very perception of that ends it.
D.S.: That is the paradox. K: Not paradox; that is a fact.
P.J.: You have asked whether there can be an insight into the movement of
suffering. Then the question arises, can there be a total non-movement away 101
from it? What is the nature of this insight? Let us negate what it is not. It is
obvious that it is not in the nature of thought.
K: Go on step by step. It is not a movement of thought. It is not a movement
of memory. It is not a movement of remembrance. Which means what? A
complete freedom from the known.
P.J.: How does this freedom from the known arise which is insight? How
does insight take birth?
K: Freedom from the known can only take place when one has observed
the whole phenomenon of working in the field of the known. Then, in the very
investigation of the known, from that comes freedom from the known. It is not
the other way round.
P.J.: What is the nature of this insight?
K: I say, the nature of this insight is freedom from the known first, which
implies no remembrances of the past. It is not a state of amnesia; it is
complete, total attention in which there is no memory operating, no experience
D.S.: Sir, the movement that I come upon is the tangle of a movement of
registration; it is the movement of memory. You will register it if you are
K: I have an image about myself and you come along and insult me, and
that is immediately registered. If I have no image, you can call me anything
M.Z.: But sir, we were talking about the pain of sorrow.
K: Shock, a psychological shock.
M.Z.: Am I correct in understanding that in the registration of pain there is
the impact, the shock, and we experience it as pain ? K: It is the continuation
of remembrance of that shock.
M.Z.: There is the fact of registration. So, what you suggested was that the
blow as pain remained, without the vibration entering into it as registration. 102
Then something else happens. Would you call this the action of insight? You
also talked about remaining with the pain, with the blow, not moving into
K: Consider a millpond which is absolutely quiet, and you drop a stone into
it. There are the waves, but when the waves are over, it is completely quiet
again; the normality is the non-registration, because there is no stimulus at
M.Z.: Normality is not quiet. Why don’t you call the waves normality?
K: I purposely used the word `mill-pond’. That is its natural state –
quietness. You drop something into it and there are waves. It is an outside
M.Z.: Take the fact, you have a shock for various reasons. Can the mind
remain with that shock, not let waves arise – which is the registration – but
remain with the shock?
S.P.: Normally what happens is that there is a shock and the observation of
that shock is in the nature of duality, the observer feeling the shock.
K: I have a shock. For the moment I am paralysed; I can’t move. My son is
dead. That’s tremendous shock and a day or so later begins the whole
movement of saying, `I have suffered, I have lost, I am lonely.; that movement
takes days. I am suggesting, can one remain entirely with that pain? Then the
waves won’t come in.
S.P.: Do you mean to say, if it is understood there would not be loneliness,
K: No. I am only saying, do you look at suffering holistically, which includes
everything, or do you break it up as suffering, pain, pleasure, fear, anxiety.
That’s why I am suggesting that a religious life is a life which is holistic, in
which there is total insight into the whole structure and nature of
consciousness and the very ending of that. Have we answered this question or
not at all?
P.J.: We have started probing into the question. 103
K: Where are we now after probing? After probing I must come to
P.J.: I can remain with the nature of probing.
K: Which means I probe into the whole nature of knowledge and place it,
put it in its right place, and, therefore, it is no longer interfering with my
perception. Knowledge is creating havoc in the world, destroying humanity,
and without living a religious life, knowledge inevitably destroys humanity.
We are saying that the very ascent through knowledge is the destruction of
man, and to prevent that destruction, knowledge must be put in its right place,
and in the very placing of it, is the beginning of the religious life. That is what
our investigation so far has come to. 104
Chapter 4 Part 2 The Nature Of A Religious Life
2nd Seminar Madras 3rd January 1979
K: We said that according to scientists like Bronowski and others there is
the ascent of man only through knowledge. Achyutji pointed out that
knowledge is destroying the world. We were enquiring into this question of
what is a religious mind and what you would consider a religious life.
A.P.: Sir, the trouble is that with the advancement of technology, knowledge
has become diversified, specialized; the mind tends to lose the sense of
wholeness with the result that the fragmented mind of man is the source of
mischief. Knowledge is preventing us from seeing the whole. Is it possible for
us to understand the process by which we can glimpse the religious mind?
K: Sir, you said just now that knowledge is preventing a holistic outlook,
holistic in the sense of an outlook that is whole. I wonder if that is so. Or is it
that the intellect has become so supremely important that it has brought about
a deep fragmentation? Is it that the worship of the intellect with all its activities
has brought about a sense of the breaking up of the whole nature of man? I
am just putting that forward to be discussed, not as a theory. Would you
accept that? Because, the intellect implies the whole movement of thought, the
cognition through, the understanding through, thought. When you use that
word, the implication is, thought has understood what is being said. Thought
which is the instrument of the intellect, being essentially limited, has brought
about this cleavage, this fragmentation of man. Thought is not the movement
of a religious mind.
D.S.: You said thought is not the movement of a religious mind. Certainly
the religious mind thinks.
K: Let me explain that. Thought, I said, cannot contain the religious mind.
Thought in itself being a fragment, whatever it does will bring about
fragmentation, and a religious mind is not fragmentary.
P.K. Sundaram: Knowledge, in so far as it is mediated by the mind, must be
considered essentially as transitive – it always wants an object. It is intentional, 105
it must go forth from itself to find an object for itself. When it does so, naturally
it dissects. Thought always dwells on dualities without which it cannot even
live. So, the religious mind must transcend duality, the duality between thought
K: I am questioning whether there is duality at all.
P.J.: Sir, what do you mean when you question the fact of duality? K: I
question whether duality exists.
S.P.: But we are living in duality.
K: The opposite may be an illusion.
S.P.: The thinking process itself functions in duality.
K: Let me expand it a little more. Has the fact an opposite?
S.P.: Will you say thought is a fact?
K: Thought is a fact. What it has invented, apart from technology, is an
illusion – the gods, the rituals. What is considered a religious mind – is an
illusion, illusion being a perception with a certain direction, a prejudice, a
fixation. We are saying that a fact, that is, anger or envy, has no opposite.
P.J.: I question this whole business of duality and fact. We use the word
`illusion’ because you have introduced the word.
K: I use the word `illusion’ in the sense – sensory perception of external
objects which is coloured, which is destroyed by belief, by prejudice, by
opinion, by a conclusion. I would call that an illusion.
P.J.: I will use a phrase which you used in another context. My face is
observable in the mirror; Achyutji’s face is also observable. I divide my face
from that of Achyutji’s face; there are two. That too is a part of consciousness
within me. How can you say that the two which are within me are an illusion? It
is this separation which divides us, which brings into being the problem of
becoming which moves away from being. It is in this movement to become that
all the other processes of comparison, opposites, want, not want, the more,
the less, exist. 106
K: How do you perceive Achyutji, how do you observe him? How do you
look at him?
P.J.: When you ask that question, the response comes from the thirty years
I have been hearing you. K: Put away all the thirty years. How will you now
observe Achyutji? What is the process of observation? If that observation is
pure – in the sense, without any kind of motive, distortion, prejudice, so that
there is nothing between your perception and the object which you perceive –
then that very perception denies duality.
R.R.: I don’t have that pure perception.
K: That’s the problem. The whole question to me is: there is only the fact. A
fact has no opposite. But we accept duality: I am angry; I must not be angry.
R.R.: But in my perception I see Achyutji separate.
K: Which means what? Your perception is conditioned. Can you observe
putting aside that conditioning?
S.P.: Would you say that so long as there is conditioning, there is duality?
K: I would.
S.P.: Then is not duality a fact?
K: No. It is the conditioning that decides duality.
P.J.: It decides?
K: It says there is duality.
P.J.: You used a phrase: put aside. What is implied in it?
K: Putting aside implies there is no `you’ to put aside.
R.D.: Is putting aside an illusion?
K: No. Let me explain. The perception of sorrow and the moving away from
that perception is the continuation of sorrow. That continuation which is
memory, which is remembrance of an incident which was sorrow, creates
And can the observation be so complete that there is no observer and the
thing observed, only observation? `Putting away’ means to be aware of this
whole movement away from the fact, which creates duality. Then there is pure
observation in which there is no duality.
D.S.: Krishnaji, are you saying that in the act of seeing Achyutji, there is an
awareness of the very act of making the separateness?
K: Yes, that means your awareness is conditioned by the past and tradition
and all that, therefore there is duality.
D.S.: But is there an awareness of this whole movement?
R.R.: What you have just said is a theoretical idea to me.
K: Why is it a theoretical idea?
D.S.: Because that is not my perception.
K: How would you get that perception – not my perception, but perception?
If you would examine that, then perhaps we could go into the question of non-
movement in which there is non-movement of perception.
R.R.: Non-movement of perception? You mean a perception that does not
move? Please explain that.
K. We are saying that when there is perception without the observer, then
there is no duality. Duality occurs when there is the observer and the
observed. The observer is the past. So, through the eyes of the past the
observation takes place and that creates a duality.
P.J.: The only point in question then is, when you said `When there is
perception without the observer,’ you used the word `when’.
K: Yes, because he says to me that it is a theory to him.
P.J.: That’s why I ask: How is a person to come to a state in which the
`when’ has ceased? 108
Uma: I am observing, I find my observation is interrupted and I also know
that it is interrupted because I don’t have the energy to be in that state of
observation. K: Why don’t you have that energy? Perception does not need
energy. You just perceive.
D.S.: There is validity when she says you lose energy. But is it a question
of losing energy or is there a subtle kind of commitment when I look at
Achyutji, much as I am attached in some way to creating duality? In other
words, I want him to be there so that somehow or the other I can go on relating
to him as a separate entity? That’s where I think the energy is dissipated,
because I am attached to creating him as an object. It is something I need; the
mere presence of him is a duality, is a drug which satisfies me. That is where
my energy gets dissipated. It is because in most cases it is a commitment to
K: Not commitment. It is your tradition or conditioning. Your whole outlook
D.S.: It is much easier for me in some sense to create the duality because
then I know.
P.J.: Still we have not come to the core of the problem.
G.N.: There is a core of memory functioning. We are trained in memory
functioning and it is always in some way associated with knowledge, and when
you have memory functioning and knowledge, duality occurs.
K.K.: Why is it that all these are becoming problems? We are all the time
converting facts into problems. We are all the time in the world of duality
because we are all the time ordered by ideas. For me it is quite simple; I see
that we can’t remain with the fact because we are haunted by ideas.
G.N.: The difficulty is, we are acquiring knowledge all the time and
knowledge is being converted into memory, and in this process there is duality
creeping in. It may be a problem, it may not be. There is something more than
A.P.: I see that man can survive only as an indivisible whole, but the weight
of my knowledge and the requirements of my daily living are stressing
separateness, and separateness is so overpowering that it seems to eclipse
the perception that man’s well-being is indivisible. Do you think I am creating a
problem because I am stating it? The problem is implicit in the human
K: What is a problem? What is the meaning of the word?
A.P.: A contradiction.
K: No. A problem is something not resolved, something that you have not
worked out, something which is bothering you, worrying you, that goes on day
after day, for many years. He is asking: Why don’t we resolve something that
arises as a problem immediately and not carry on and on?
P.J.: Sir, what he has said is unacceptable. There are many other issues
involved here. The issues are that it does not need Krishnaji to tell me that
there is a source of energy, perception, which I have not touched. Without
touching that, this partial solution of the problem keeps on existing, keeps me
within the framework of time, for eternity. I know that the very imperatives of
the human situation demand that there must be a source of energy which,
once touched, will physically transform our ways of thinking.
K.K.: Will that become an ideal, an idea?
K: What do you call an idea?
D.S.: An idea is a thought that displays or presents a constructive
perception. It presents or shows the way of ordering of a perception. It has to
do with display, with show.
K: The root meaning is `to observe’. Look up a dictionary; you will see it
means `to perceive’, which means, to perceive that flower and not make an
idea of that.
R.R.: It is not the sense in which it is generally used. 110
P.J.: Even if you take its present usage, idea is something which I move
K. I hear a statement from you or from Dr. Shainberg. Why should I make
an idea of it? Why can’t I see a flower, that thing that is there and only observe
it? Why should there be an idea?
P.K.S.: Without seeing it as a fly, I don’t see the fly at all.
K: That thing that is moving there, sir, I may not call it a fly; I may call it
something else but it is that thing.
D.S.: The whole act of perception in the nervous system is by an
organization of that form.
K: Organization, yes. Not of that form. But I name it a fly.
S.P.: Are you saying you can see the form without naming?
K: Why can’t you?
P.K.S.: Sir, is not the perception of the form on the same level as the
perception of the fly?
K: Can I observe you or you observe me without forming a conclusion,
without forming an idea of me?
P.K.S.: That is possible.
K: We started out discussing the place of knowledge in religious life. Let us
start from here again and move around. We said knowledge is destroying the
world without this religious mind. Then we started asking what is a religious
mind. Now, what is a religious mind?
P.J.: The first question that arises out of that is, what is the instrument I
K: First of all, I use intellect, reason, logic. I do not accept any authority.
P.J.: And the senses? 111
K: Of course, that’s implied. Logic, reason, all that is implied, sanity without
any illusion, without a belief dictating my enquiry. That means a mind that is
free to look.
P.J.: The difficulty is in your very statement of what you have said; you
have annihilated the whole premise. K: Which is what?
P.J.: Which is the structure of human consciousness.
K: So, what is human consciousness?
P.J.: The structure of human consciousness is thought, belief, movement,
K: And dogma. So, consciousness is the whole movement of thought with
its content. I am a Hindu, I believe in puja, I worship, I pray, I am anxious, I am
afraid – all that is this whole spectrum of movement.
P.J.: What place has the word `sanity’ which you use in this totality?
K: One’s consciousness is an insane consciousness.
G.N.: Do you imply that sanity is not caught in make-believe?
K: Sanity means sane, healthy, no make-believe. I don’t pretend I am
healthy, I don’t pretend that I do puja and that it will lead me to some heaven. I
say that is nonsense. So, sanity means a healthy mind, a healthy body, a
G.N.: If one is not sane, can one enquire?
K: How can I be sane when I am a businessman and go off to do puja? It is
P.J.: Are you saying that this consciousness which has all these elements
can never enquire?
K: That is what I am saying. So, my consciousness is a bundle of
contradictions, a bundle of hopes, illusions, fears, pleasures, anxiety, sorrow
and all that. Can that consciousness find a religious way of life? Obviously it
S.P.: You say sanity is necessary for the mind to start enquiry, but this
consciousness which is enquiring is full of contradictions. K: Such a mind
cannot even understand or even be capable of enquiry. So, I’ll drop the
enquiry into a religious life, and enquire into consciousness. Then my enquiry
is sane, logical.
P.J.: In all the traditional ways of approaching this whole content of
consciousness, it is symbolized by one word `I’, and the enquiry is into the
nature and the dissolution of the `I’.
K: All right. Let us work at it. We say in religious life there is a total absence
of the self. Then my enquiry is whether the self can be dissolved. So I say:
What is my consciousness? I begin from there and see if it is possible to
empty totally that consciousness.
P.J.: What is the nature of that emptying?
K: I am doing it now. Can I be free from my attachment? Can I be free from
my absurd daily puja ? Can I be free from my nationalism? Can I be free from
following some authority? I go on, and my consciousness is totally stripped of
its contradictions. I hope that silences you.
Let us start enquiring whether it is possible to be aware totally, holistically,
of our consciousness. If it is not possible, let us take fragment by fragment –
but will that bring about comprehension of the total perception of
P.K.S.: Will you not be open to the charge of being intellectual in your
K: No. I put my heart into it. With my whole being I am enquiring. My heart,
my affection, my nerves, my senses, my intellect, my thought, everything is
involved in this enquiry.
R.R.: Sir, will you state the conditions of this enquiry?
K: You are a scientist. You observe and that very observation changes that
which is being observed. Why can’t you do that with yourself? 113
R.R.: Because my attention wanders. K: Which means what? When you
are looking, in spite of your acquiring knowledge, you put that aside when you
are watching. The very watching is the transformation of that which is being
R.R.: Sir, maybe I am not expressing it rightly. If I observe myself, I think it
is a fact for me that my attention wanders.
K: Let us begin step by step. I am watching myself. I can only watch myself;
`myself is a bundle of reactions. I begin with things which are very near to me,
such as puja. I see it, I look at it, I watch it, and I don’t say, `Well, it pleases me
because I am used to it.’ I see it is absurd and put it away for ever.
R.R.: It does not seem to work like that.
K: Is it because of your habit?
R.R.: Yes, that is right.
K: So go into habit. Why do you have habit? Why do you have a mind
functioning in habit which means a mechanical mind? Why is it mechanical? Is
it because it is very safe to be mechanical, secure? And has this repetition of
puja which gives you security, any real security in it or have you invested
security in it?
R.R.: I give it security.
K: Therefore, wipe it away.
R.R.: This is where the difficulty is. I can see my mind is mechanical or
caught in habit, but that does not seem to lead to what you seem to suggest,
of cutting away.
K: Because your mind is still functioning in habit. Do you have a habit? Are
there good habits or bad habits, or are there only habits? And why are you
caught in them?
So let us come back. We are saying, consciousness that is in turmoil, in
contradiction, wanders from one thing to another. There is a battle that is going
on. So long as that consciousness is there, you can never pure perceiving. Is it 114
possible to bring about in consciousness a total absence of this movement of
S.P.: I can see the truth of repetitiveness, the mechanical action of puja,
and it is out of my system. Speaking of other things, many fragments, the truth
of them can be seen and negated. Even then the problem remains, which is
the ending of the content of consciousness. There can be an ending of a
fragment but the problem is that of ending the totality of consciousness.
K: Are you saying that sequentially you see fragment by fragment? Then
you can never come to the end of the fragmentation.
S.P.: That is what we see after ten, fifteen years of observing.
K.: You can’t. Therefore, you must say, is there an observation which is
total? I hear the statement that through fragmentation, through examining the
fragmentation in my consciousness which is endless, it cannot be resolved
that way. Have I listened to it? Have I understood it deeply in my heart, in my
blood, in my whole being, that examining fragmentation will never solve it? I
have understood that; therefore, I won’t touch it. I won’t go near a guru. All that
is out because they all deal with fragments – the communists, the socialists,
the gurus, the religious people, everything is fragmented, including human
S.P.: Have I to see all the implications at this point or have I to work it out?
K: No, no. Working out is a fragmentation. I can’t see the whole because
my whole being, thinking, living, is fragmented. What is the root of this
fragmentation? Why has one divided the world into nations, religions? Why?
S.P.: The mind says it is the `I-ness’ which acts.
K: No, that is intellectual. I said to you, listen. How do you listen to that
statement? Listening with the intellect is frag- mentation. Hearing with the ear
is fragmentation. Do you listen with your whole, entire being, or do you just say
`Yes, it is a good idea’?
George Sudarshan: I feel very stagnant, checkered by this attack on
knowledge. It is not knowledge which is causing fragmentation but its function. 115
So, let me go back to the question: What is a religious life? It is cessation of
the contradiction between causality and spontaneity. Most of the world around
is causal: That is, this being so this happens, if this has happened, it must
have been because of such and so. All this is comparison, copying. If you can’t
copy a system, then you cannot talk about a law or the system, and, therefore,
there is much of the world which is of our experience, which we talk about in
terms of causality. On the other hand, fortunately, we are also subject to the
experience of spontaneity, experiences of movement with no cause, without
time, in which there is only functioning. Much of the problem of life is, in fact,
reconciling these two things because, somehow or the other, one feels these
two are both real experiences and one would like to resolve the contradiction.
As far as I have observed, it appears to me that when you are in the
spontaneous mode of functioning, there is in fact no possibility of it being
broken down. When you are happy, you are happy; then there is no question
of anxiety about it. If at any time you feel that you would like to continue this
mode, then, of course, the mode has already ceased. When you want to
maintain an experience which you already have in time, corruption has set in,
and it is only a matter of time before it will come to an end. Therefore, the
whole question of how to end fragmentation is wrong. We cannot logically
conceive it, we cannot dictate the rules, we cannot legislate it, we cannot write
a manual about it. Therefore, in a certain sense, when it comes, it comes by
itself. That is, in fact, the only true mode of existence.
K: So, what do we do? Say I am fragmented and carry on?
G.S.: It is not a question of `I am fragmented and let us carry on’. In the
fragmented mode you try to perceive.
K: Being fragmented, I live a fragmented life and recognise it, and so leave
G.S.: Would you tell me how to end fragmentation, the process?
K: I will tell you, sir. 116
G.N.: No, not ending fragmentation by process, because once you say
process, it can become mechanical.
K: Quite right.
S.P.: What Krishnaji is talking about is the ending of time as a factor to end
D.S.: One of the things that is emerging clearly for me is that something
about the very framework of thought conditions and limits and fragments it.
K: Right sir, thought is fragmentary.
D.S.: And that framework?
K: Thought is not in that framework. Thought is always fragmentary. So,
what is the root of fragmentation? Can thought stop?
G.S.: Just stop?
K: Not periodically, occasionally, spontaneously. To me all that implies a
movement in time.
G.S.: As long as you are thinking, that is movement.
K: I said so. Thought is the root of fragmentation. Thought is a movement
and so time is a movement. So, can time stop?
G.S.: May I make a slight distinction? You say thought is the cause of
fragmentation. I ask, where did that thought arise – in the unfragmented state
or the fragmented?
K: In the fragmented state. We answer always from a fragmented mind.
K: I said, generally. And is there a speaking which comes of a non-
G.S.: I am not sure I am following your terminology.
K: We said thought is fragmented, that it is the cause of fragmentation.
G.S.: What I am saying is that we see fragmentation and thought together.
To say that one is the cause of the other is not true. 117
K: Cause and effect are the same.
G.S.: So, they are aspects of the same entity?
K: Thought and fragment are the same movement, which is part of time. It
is the same thing, whether it is one or the other. So, I can ask, can time stop?
Can psychological time, inward time, stop? Can the whole movement stop
completely? There is a cessation of time. Time is not. I don’t become time or
my being is not in time. There is nothing, which means, love is not of time. 118
Chapter 4 Part 3 The Nature Of A Religious Life
3rd Seminar Madras 4th January 1979
N. Vasudevan Nair: What is the choice before mankind, sir? In the enormity
of his grief, man faces the world, which is a very devastating experience. He
crawls on all fours to catch a blade of grass, he suffers, he is lost. Can there
be a complete rebirth or has he to undergo the pain of one birth after another?
K: Are you asking, sir, what is the challenge before mankind? N. V.N.: What
is his choice? To be born or not to be born? To be or not to be?
K: Would you say that is a real question: What is the challenge for mankind
in the present crisis?
N. V.N: No. That is not the real question. The real question is, to be or not
K: I don’t quite understand the question, sir. Please explain. What is the
real question which we have been discussing for the last two days? We all
see, quite obviously, the deterioration of mankind not only in this country but in
every country, and we have not only to stop it but also to bring about a re-birth
– not the old pattern but a totally different way of life. Is that the question we
are asking? We also see that science, Karl Marx, Gita, the Upanishads, Mao
and all the organizational propaganda and institutions have completely failed.
And we are asking: Is there a way of living which is totally religious in the
sense that we are using the word? And we are trying to investigate what is that
religious life. Because historically, as one observes, a new culture, a new way
of painting, music, living, comes out of a deep, profound religious life. What is
that religious life which is not sentimental, romantic, devotional, because all
that is utterly meaningless? What is a truly religious mind? That is what we are
trying to investigate in this group.
As Achyutji pointed out, knowledge, whether it is Marxian or scientific or the
accumulated knowledge of mankind in any field, is destroying man, and to end
that destruction, a new way, a religious way, has to be found. Is it possible to 119
find a religious way in the modern world with all the technological
advancement, with all the crumbling relationships?
P.K.S.: Earlier we came to the conclusion that a religious life is the very
antithesis of fragmentation. We spoke of two things which are mutually
incompatible as far as I can see: One, complete emptying of the mind, and the
other, the removal of fragmentation. But fragmentation is the opposite of
totality. Totality is richness, not emptiness. You spoke of emptying the mind.
Are we going to fill the mind or empty the mind? This incompatibility I am not
able to follow.
Prof. Sanjivi: Now, that is the pertinent question which I also wanted to
pose before you. Is emptying the mind practicable? Is it possible, relevant, in
K: We are trying to examine a way of life which is non-fragmentary, which is
holistic, whole, and perhaps that would lead us to a truly religious life. We said
that because thought in itself is limited, all its movements are fragmentary.
Thought itself is fragmented. Would you accept that?
San: Sir, there is one difficulty in accepting this. Even this thought is the
result of a fragmentary thought. Is it not?
K: No. This is not a thought; it is a statement.
A.P.: It is an insight.
San: Even if you call it an insight, is it not the result of a fragmentary
K: No, sir.
G.N.: We have a lot of knowledge, and from that knowledge there is a way
of functioning. What is the difference between knowledge and insight? What is
the nature of insight? A religious life, you say, is a sane life. There is some
connection between that and insight which is not just knowledge, which is not
a memory function. Is it possible to communicate this distinction? 120
A.P.: I would like to add that insight is different from conclusion. When there
is knowledge, there is conclusion. When there is insight, it opens a door. So,
we must also understand the difference between a conclusion which comes
from knowledge and an insight, which is qualitatively different.
K: Are we trying now to explore what is insight? D.S.: We should also
discuss the question of how a fragmented mind can investigate.
K: First, let us see that the movement of thought must inevitably be a
broken up process. You are asking whether this statement is not also a
fragmentary statement. It is.
Uma: I see the movement of thought; I am observing it, I am perceiving it.
Even as I observe, I become very silent. But at the same time, I see the need
for change, the urgency of change, and the very content of observation
prevents that. There is conflict because I want to change and I see it is all in
the movement of thought.
K: All that is the movement of thought, and that very movement is a
fragmentary movement. The point and the question is, can that fragmentary
movement end? What do you say, sir?
D.S.: Krishnaji, I am rattled. Even the question `Can this end?’ comes out of
K: She used the word `perception’. She watches, she perceives her own
life, and in that perception she discovers that there is conflict, that there is
fragmentation, and the need for change in herself. So, the essential point here
is perception, the seeing of this whole movement of thought. Is that what you
are trying to say? Could we then discuss what perception is, not theoretically
but actually? Could we go into that and move from there?
San: I think the relevant and useful thing for us to discuss today will be
what the technique behind it is and how it is possible as a practicable solution
in day-to-day life.
P.J.: Sir, could we start the investigation into the religious mind with the
query, how can thought end? 121
San: I, for the time being, accept you suggestion that the solution to all the
problems would be the cessation of thought, the stopping of the thought
process. How does one achieve that? K: Would you say a religious life is the
ending of all movement of thought, the ending of all problems?
San: That’s how I have understood you.
K: Sir, it is much more complex. Shall we discuss that?
R.D.: One difficulty arises in almost all of us – that is, the `I’ and thought.
When we use the word `thought’, we seem to externalize it as if it is there as a
kind of object we don’t perceive. Insight is to see from within. Is it possible for
one to see from within?
K: You have put so many questions. Where shall we start? Do we all see or
understand, either verbally or intellectually or deeply, that thought, in itself
being limited whatever its activity, is broken up? Do we see it, or intellectually
agree with it? The next question that arises would be, is it possible to stop
thought, and if it is stopped, then what is my activity in my daily life? Can
thought be stopped, and who is it that stops it? If there is an entity which can
stop it, that entity is either outside the field of thought or created by thought
itself. I am an outside agency and I am going to stop it. If that agency is
outside – heaven or god or whatever – then that very outside agency is created
by thought. So, our problem then is: Can thought realize itself as limited, and,
therefore, being limited, limit itself to a certain activity in daily life? Now, the
next question is: Can thought become aware of itself, and in that very
awareness put itself in a particular corner, as it were, and from that corner act?
But it can’t.
D.S.: Let us look at it from another angle then. If I want to put a nail in the
wall, I take a hammer and hit the nail. If I want to go rowing in a boat I use an
oar and row. What happens to thought? Thought does not see itself in such a
fashion. In other words, thought has a function like a nail to a hammer or an
oar to a boat. What happens if thought arrogates or takes on more than it is
supposed to take on? You were saying thought has a limited function. K: No
sir. This is the question: Can thought become aware of itself as being limited? 122
R.D.: Can thought intellectually think that it is limited?
K: It is still another thought that says I am limited. So, let us move out of
that for a while. Can your consciousness become aware of itself?
P.J.: What is the difference between thought becoming aware of itself and
consciousness becoming aware of itself? Does consciousness itself have a
capacity to reflect itself?
K: Has consciousness the capacity to observe itself, not reflect itself? Is
there in consciousness a seeing or an element that observes itself as is? It is
very important to find out if there is observation. Is there an observer
observing, or there is only pure observation?
P.K.S.: If consciousness can observe itself, then I think we are introducing
a duality within consciousness itself.
K: Sir, consciousness is full of duality. I do, I don’t, I must not, fear, courage
– the whole of that is consciousness. That’s why it is so difficult. I say one
thing, you say another. We never meet.
M.Z.: Are we admitting that thought is capable of recognising a fact?
S.P.: Is awareness of consciousness part of consciousness?
K: I would like to discuss it. Is there an observation without the observer?
Because if there is, then that observation operates on the whole of
consciousness. It is important to discuss this question of observation. We are
missing a very important thing, which is, there is only observation, not the
D.S.: If I know that there is observation without the observer, I have already
introduced an observer. K: Why is there not pure observation? It is because
you are introducing an observer into observation. So, who is the observer? Am
I introducing the observer into observation? I am saying: As long as there is an
observer different from his observation and what is observed, there must be
duality. As most of us observe with the observer, we, therefore, have to 123
examine what the observer is. I want to come to a point where I can carry this
out in my daily life. How can I observe without the observer? Can I observe my
actions, my wife, my husband, my children, the whole cultural tradition, without
the observer? Who is the observer to whom you give so much importance?
P.K.S.: Sir, you seem to be dogmatically accepting the distinction between
the observer and observation as though there is an observer apart from
K: No. I said we have established this in our life – the observer, `I am
observing’, `I am looking’, `My opinion is that’, and so on. That is the whole
build-up through generations, the idea that the observer is different from that
which he is observing. I observe this house. Obviously the home is different
from me, from the observer.
P.K.S.: The object is different from the observer but observation is not.
K: I am coming to that. There is an observation of that thing called a tree.
There is an observation, and I say it is a tree, and so on. Now, we are talking
about psychological observation. In that observation, there is a duality – I and
the thing I am observing. It is the observer who brings about this distinction.
Now, what is the observer?
S.P.: The whole collection of experience and identification is the observer.
The observer has many depths.
K: That is, knowledge, the past; the past being accumulation of knowledge,
experience of mankind – racial, non-racial. The observer is the past. A.P.: With
one addition – the observer is the past plus the sense of continuity.
K: The continuity is the observer who is the past meeting the present,
modifying itself and continuing the present.
San: The observer has depths which are very difficult to fathom.
K: I don’t think so. I know the observer has depth, the depth being
knowledge of centuries. 124
P.J.: The nature of the observer is the field of consciousness. What is the
totality of the observer, the totality of consciousness?
K: You talked about totality of consciousness and whether there can be an
observation without the observer. Now, when you say there are depths to the
observer, I say the observer himself is the field of consciousness. The totality
of the observer is itself the field of observation. You can keep on expanding
the observer endlessly.
Look, Pupulji. Make it very simple: Can I observe my wife or my husband
without all the accumulation that I have had during my twenty years of life with
her or him?
P.J.: I may say `yes’.
K: That would just be agreeing. We are not meeting the point. Can I
observe my wife or husband with whom I have lived, and about whom, during
the course of those twenty years, I have accumulated knowledge, as she has
about me? Can I observe her without the accumulated knowledge?
San: As it is, it is not possible.
K: The observer is the past, whether it is the totality of consciousness,
infinite depth and so on. Can you observe your wife, husband, as though you
are seeing a human for the first time? Then your whole relationship changes.
S.P.: There is one difficulty. There have been occasions when one can see
a husband or a friend without any move- ment of the past. So, one sees it is
possible to see that way. When you say the entire relationship is changed for
ever, then the difficulty arises.
K: All right. Have we communicated to each other that the observer who is
the past and, therefore, time-bound creates the distinction between himself
and his wife – dominating her, pushing her? So, the past is always operating.
And, therefore, his relationship with her is based not on affection, not on love,
but on the past.
S.P.: We have affection. 125
K: I question it. Can we have affection if there is the operation of the past?
San: There is only one way out.
K: I am not seeking a way out. I want to understand the problem in which I
live. There is no way out. All I am concerned with is how I approach a problem,
because the approach is going to dictate the understanding of the problem.
P.K.S.: Then the question arises: Is the observer able to observe the past?
K: That constitutes the ego, the `I’, the self, the `me’.
P.J.: You say: Can the observer observe the past? That is the essential
nature of the enquiry. Is it possible for an observation to be there without the
San: Is that the question or something different: (a) Can you make an
observation without the burden of the past; or (b) Can there be an observation
without the observer? I find a world of difference between the two.
K: Sir, this is the problem with all of us. Can I observe a thing without all the
burden of the past? Because, if it is possible to observe totally, then that
observation is not time-bound, it is not a continuity. The moment you do it,
don’t you fall into a new mode of existence; something totally irrevocable?
P.J.: How is it possible?
S.P.: At this point, what does the mind do? What can it do? There is no
movement of thought.
K: That’s why I am enquiring into the process of observing the observer.
The observer is the past. Can the observer see the movement of the past as it
operates? Is there an observation of the past – the hurt, for example? Is there
an observation of the movement of hurt, the whole cycle of hurt,
psychologically, biologically, physically and so on, the hurt which involves
resistance, agony, pain, all that? Can there be an observation of that hurt, that
observation telling the story of the hurt, revealing itself? Is it impractical?
S.P.: Again, we are taking a fragmentary view of the whole thing. 126
D.S.: Everything you see in some way is the action of the observer. So,
every question arises in the condition of the observer.
K: If I tell you a simple fact, that love is not of time, then duality, the
observer, everything ends. Now, what is a religious life? Obviously, all things
that go on in the name of religion are not religion – all the rituals, the puja, the
gods, all that is out. Then what will it be? All that is thrown out, which means
you are throwing out yourself, the `me’. So, the essence of religion is the total
absence of the `me’, of the `self.
San: What is it you mean by self? Is it ego?
K: Ego, which means my characteristics, my desires, my fears.
San: But is it not the mechanism of observation – an instrument to observe?
A.P.: Would you accept it if I say that the self is only an adhesive, it has the
quality of making things stick to it. K: The description is not the self. I want to
see what the self is. Can that self be washed off? Can I get rid of my jealousy,
anger? As long as that is there – fear of this or that – I have no religious mind. I
can pretend to be religious by going to a temple. You have to see that you are
selfish. The self is jealousy, envy, greed, authority, power, position,
domination, attachment. End it. And can you be selfless, can you live without
the self and live in this world? Is that what you asked?
San: Not exactly that. We left at the point that the solution of all problems is
to stop thinking, stop the whole process of thinking. It will be more fruitful if we
find a technique for this.
K: Sir, the word `technique’ signifies practice, a continuous repetition and
that makes the mind mechanical. A mechanical mind can never have love.
Please see that any system will make the mind mechanical. If you see it
intellectually, probe it further. We have had systems galore and nobody has
come to anything with these systems.
D.S.: The fact is that we have talked about it many times. Inevitably the
question is: Is there a system? In the very nature of the observer arise the
questions: How can I be religious, how can I be unselfish, how can I be this, 127
how can I be that? Everybody wants to get another drug; everybody is trying to
K: Yes sir, every body wants to be something else. Everybody is doing
something. So, all I say is: Start where you are.
D.S.: You stick to that?
K: I do.
D.S.: But you talk of being unselfish.
M.Z.: Envy, jealousy and all this is where you are.
D.S.: In all that he has said, there is a subtle suggestion that you can get rid
of jealousy, envy. K: No sir. That is your comprehension, rather
misinterpretation. I am saying: Start near. Because, if you know this whole
history of man which is you, it is finished.
D.S.: You just don’t change that.
K: It is a book, a vast book, and I read it. I am not trying to change it. I want
to read the whole history instantly.
S.P.: Without movement in time, how can you read?
K: I just want to know the whole content of myself. My whole consciousness
is its content. And I am investigating. You can investigate something when you
are free, when there is no prejudice, belief, conclusion.
R.D.: Then there is no investigation at all of the history. The history is the
prejudice, and you are saying, `Read it.’
K: Then it is finished. I have come to the end of the chapter.
S.P.: Then you are not really interested in investigating the content but in
R.D.: There are people who are seeking systems. I see intellectually that a
system will not end the problem at all. So, I don’t seek. Now the question is,
what do I do? I am learning and observing, but my tool of observation is still
the intellect. And I am sitting and observing with you. The tool is inadequate – 128
investigation through knowledge. I see this now; I see something very
practical. I have denied systems, denied practice. Where am I?
K: If you have put away systems, practice, what is the quality of your mind?
R.D.: It is enquiring, investigating.
K: You are not answering my question. What is the state of your mind when
you have put away systems? Look, sirs, you have seen something false, and
you have dropped it. You have put away systems. Why have you put them
away? Because you see they are silly, you logically see it. Which means
what? Your mind has become sharper, more intelligent. That intelligence is
going to observe, put away everything that is false. That intelligence sees
fragmentarily or sees the wholeness of it. When you put away something false,
your mind is lighter. It is like climbing a mountain and throwing away that which
you don’t need. Your mind becomes very, very clear. So your mind has the
capacity of perceiving that which is true and that which is false.
Discard everything that is false, which is, everything that thought has put
together. Then the mind has no illusion. Sir, that is the whole book, I am not
reading anything but the book. I began with the first chapter which says: Be
aware of your senses. And the next chapter says: Human beings have their
partial senses, exaggerating one sense and denying the others. The third
chapter says: See that all the senses can operate; that means there is no
centre of a particular sensory operation. And the fourth chapter and so on. I
am not going to read the book for you. Read it and explore the nature of the
religious life. 129
– Chapter 5, Seminars Madras 1978 –
Chapter 5 Part 1 Insights Into Regeneration
1st Seminar Madras 13th January 1978
Sunanda Patwardhan: The present century is witness to tremendous
advances in technology and the expansion of the frontiers of knowledge, and
yet this does not seem to have brought about a better society or happiness to
man. Serious people all over the world are increasingly questioning the role of
technology and knowledge in society. It is in this context of the values in
culture and in human consciousness that we have to search for the roots of
regeneration and of human progress. Mankind can no longer be looked upon
as an entity in mass. Though we are meeting in Madras which is just a part, a
corner, of this great ancient earth, I feel that our perspective and approach to
the problems should have a global dimension.
A.P.: Modern society developed during the last two hundred years. It has
certain clear postulates – that the problems that affect human society arise
from a lack of material resources, from poverty, disease, squalor; and that
these can be remedied by control over the material environment. This view
persists in men’s minds, particularly in countries like India where there is so
much poverty. Similarly, the institutional patterns of ownership of property and
social resources have been treated as one of the principal factors of social
disorder. It is becoming increasingly obvious that these postulates are a facile
oversimplification. Misuse of resources are a peril to human survival. The
criminal misdirection of scientific and technological skill for the production of
lethal weapons, atomic and others, and pollution are grave risks to human
survival. Science and technology by themselves have no defence against their
own misuse. Similarly, the developments in the communist world clearly
expose the naive optimism that changes in the ownership pattern will
automatically lead to the creation of a society of free and equal men. Marxism
and science were the gods of my generation but they have failed to avert the
crisis in which human society is caught. Today we question the validity of
unrestricted growth of the gross national product as the index of economic 130
well-being. The oil crisis and the energy crisis have lent great weight to this
A wider question arises about whether the growth of knowledge itself is not
equally irrelevant to the central predicament of modern man. Man is tethered
to a fragmented view of human development which aggravates the crisis. We
are, therefore, once again moving away from the periphery to explore whether
human consciousness is capable of a radical regeneration which makes
possible a new perspective and a sane and humane relationship. We need to
go beyond our present resources of knowledge to come upon that wisdom
which is also compassion. So long as we treat the ego as a semi-permanent
entity, it appears that love is locked out and we live in a field of
Regeneration of man in society is tied up with the problem of self-knowing.
We now find that no solution can arise out of a social perspective.
P.J.: Can we indicate the pressures, the challenges, which man faces today
within and without? There is no answer to the problem of self-regeneration
unless man comprehends the sense of humanness. Does this understanding
come through knowledge, through technological processes? In what direction
does man search? I would suggest, therefore, that it is only through
discussion, dialogue, that the nature of our thinking can be laid bare. This
would bring to light not only the predicament but also the solution.
Ivan Illich: One of our concerns in the last ten years has been that a
challenge which previously was regional has become worldwide. For instance,
the need to seek joy, peace, enlightenment, satisfaction through the
acceptance of limits; and an austerity, a renunciation which previously might
have been considered merely a personal task for individuals in certain kinds of
cultures, based on their personal convictions, is becoming the absolutely
necessary condition for survival. The need for this can be operationally
verified, demonstrated scientifically.
We are gathered here from very different cultures and traditions. During the
last generation, we have come – one nation after another, one representative 131
group after another, parties, professions like medicine or teaching – to accept
as the purpose of public obligation certain concepts which were not really
around when I was born only fifty years ago. Progress, development, in the
sense in which we use these terms today is a post-World War II concept.
Economic growth, GNP are words which some of the older amongst us still
have some difficulty in grasping. Progress, growth, development, have come
to be understood essentially as the substitution of things which people
previously did on their own. Its use-value is being substituted by the
commodity. In this process, politics has become mainly a concern of providing
for everybody equal outputs of commodities. The equal protection of people’s
power and ability to make, to do things on their own, to be autonomous, the
struggle for productive freedoms as opposed to productive rights, has been
almost forgotten, submerged, rendered impossible by the various systems
within which we live.
If, as you say, Pupulji, there is one canvas, one analytical tool, one way of
looking at the peculiar mutation in front of which we stand, this is what I
propose: For a hundred years – and in a very intensive way for thirty years –
progress had been conceived of as enrichment, which inevitably destroyed
those conditions in the environment which make autonomy possible. This is
the real environmental destruction, in my opinion, deeper even than the
destruction of the physical environment through poisons, through the
aggressive overuse of the earth’s resources. It is the destruction in the
environment of those conditions – social, physical, mental – which make
autonomy possible. When you live in a large city almost anywhere in the world,
such simple things as giving birth or dying autonomously become impossible.
The apartment, the rhythm of life, is not arranged for it. People have lost even
the basic skills which any midwife would have or any human being had who
stood next to another when he died.
Most of us – unless we are lucky to live perhaps in the suburbs of Benares
or in the countryside of India – are not allowed to die. I am using the transitive
term `to die’. We will cease to exist under an action, which I shall call 132
`Medicare’. It is not murder, but man is made into a vegetable for the benefit of
a hospital. The rhythm of this development is of a grasping, accumulative
society, a society in which men are being led to believe that modern
techniques require such a society, where technical progress means the
incorporation of new inventions into the commodity production processes.
Printed books are tools for teachers; ball bearings are means to accelerate
motorized vehicles even to a point where the car pushes the bicycle off the
Now, it is an illusion that technical progress could be used in order to
render a modern society use-value intensive. In a commodity-intensive
society, goods which can be produced in a machine are at the centre of the
economy. And what people can do on their own is permitted marginally, is
tolerated as long as it does not interfere with the process of enrichment; in a
society in which we inverse this use-value intensive and get modern, we
welcome technical devices only when we increase the ability of people to
generate use-values which are not destined for the markets and we consider
commodities very valuable only when we increase people’s ability to do or
make things on their own. In the kind of society in which we live, legitimate
production is overwhel- mingly the result of employment. I buy part of your
time and energy, paying for it, and make you work under my administration.
Now in a use-value oriented society,just the opposite would be true. Besides
the work there would be equal access to tools, opportunities for making or
doing things without being employed. Any employment would be considered a
condition which is necessary.
Now, how do we experience what it means to be human? In summarizing a
similar revolution in the darkest of the middle ages in Europe, my teacher,
Lerner, points out three concepts of revolution, of turning around: One, which
goes back to the Golden Age and then starts again; the second, the turning of
this world into a golden age; and the third, the organistic view. Lerner carefully
worked out these three ideas and said that in the sixth or seventh century, a
fourth view came about through a marriage between the Christian message 133
and the monastic tradition which came from the East into Europe – that each
man is responsible for his own revolution. And that the only way for the world
to be transformed is by the transformation of each man, principally guided by
the idea of basic virtue. The first virtue to cultivate in the process of true
revolution is austerity or poverty of spirit. And austerity was defined by a 13th
century philosopher as that particular part of the virtue of balance or prudence,
which is the basis of friendship, because it does not eliminate all pleasures,
but only those pleasures or things which would enter between me and you or
that which distracts me or you from each other. Therefore, austerity is the
basic condition of virtue for him who wants to balance gracefully and joyfully.
K: May I add something to what Dr. Illich has said? I am only adding, not
contradicting. I think most people, thoughtful people, have rejected every form
of system, institution; no longer are they trustful of communism, socialism,
liberalism, the left, right, politically or religiously. I think man has come to a
point where he feels – and I am sure Dr. Illich feels the same – that one must
have a new mind, a new quality of mind. I mean by mind the activities of the
brain consciousness, sensory perception and intelligence. Is it possible before
man destroys himself completely, to bring about a new mind? That is the major
question that is confronting most serious and thoughtful people. One has
rejected completely the notion that any system, institution, dogma or religious
belief is going to save man; and one demands or requires a revolution not only
sociologically, but inwardly, with clarity and compassion. Is it possible for
human beings to bring about a totally different category or dimension of the
P.K.S.: The crisis in consciousness, so far as I can see, is an ever-recurring
phenomenon in history. I think, therefore, that it must be genetically viewed. It
is possible to find a general pattern in this crisis. One form is man against
nature, man finding himself a stranger in a world which he perhaps considers
inimical to him. Therefore, man has to fight against the forces of nature, and
this brings about a crisis in his heart. Another form is much deeper and
perhaps more significant for human history – man versus man. This arises 134
because man considers another man as an objective phenomenon and,
therefore, alien. That is, an individual poses a danger, a threat, a challenge to
his own security, completeness. The third aspect of this crisis is man against
himself. He does not know what is the inspiration of his own life, mind, thought.
Very frequently, he carries on a battle in his own heart; there is a dialogue
between the good and the bad, the moral and the immoral, the progressive
and the regressive, the civilized and the uncivilized, the mechanical and the
inspired. In my view the solution lies in the heart of man, which brings us back
to consciousness. The examination now becomes rather internal: From the
Indian point of view, certainly, there has been time when inwardness – aavritta
chakshu – has been a progressive attitude against outwardness, where
objectification yielded place to examination. Nandishwara Thero: Is it possible
to find the solution from theories of knowledge or should knowledge come from
K: Are we having a dialogue theoretically or in abstraction?
I.I.: I think what has been said is the kernel of the matter. We have
industrialized gurus and, as a consequence, the minds of a very large
percentage of people have been industrialized. Knowledge is considered
competence, awareness, valuable. In the West, the largest professional body
are the self-appointed bureaucrats with the guru function, called pedagogues,
and people who are afraid to trust their latent powers. I don’t think there has
been such a time when people all over the world with the desire to trust their
latent powers have been so totally repressed.
K: Yes, sir, I know. But I keep on asking, are we having a dialogue on
theories or on actualities, the actual being what is taking place now, not only
outwardly but inside ourselves. At what level are we having a dialogue –
theoretical, philosophical or concerned with our daily existence, our
relationship to each other and to our daily activity?
Talking about consciousness, are we individuals? Human beings are
fragmented. Do we have consciousness which is common, every man going
through suffering, agonies of loneliness, the whole business of existence? Is 135
that not universal consciousness? It seems to me that our consciousness is
the consciousness of all man because every human being goes through fear,
anxiety and so on. So our consciousness is the consciousness of the world.
Therefore, I am the world and the world is me; I am not an individual. We are
not individual in the real sense of the word. To me the idea of individuality is
non-existent. Theoretically, we talk about individuals. It sounds marvellous, but
actually, are we individuals or repetitive machines? When we look at
ourselves, deeply, seriously, are we individuals? If I may point out, either we
discuss in abstraction, in theory, or we are concerned with revolution, a
psychological revolution. A revolution, mutation, a deep radical change in man
lies in his consciousness. Can that consciousness be transformed? That is the
P.J.: If you are speaking of the actual state as it is, each one of us sees
within us an individual consciousness separate from the consciousness of
another. We have to start with what actually is. And when we talk of a crisis in
society and in man, the two being in a sense interchangeable, we realize that
we are society. The problem then arises: How does one come to the
realization of whether one is an individual or not? How does one proceed?
Does one proceed through knowledge or through the negation of knowledge?
And if there is negation of knowledge, what are the instruments required for
K: One has to ask what is one’s consciousness made up of, what is its
P.K.S.: When you say individual consciousness, are you referring to the
K: No, sir, I asked what is one’s consciousness. Apparently, in that
consciousness there is a deep crisis. Or is it asleep, pressurized or totally
industrialized, as Dr. Illich says, by the guru industrialization, so that we are
just non-existent, we just survive? I would like to ask, is one aware of one’s
total consciousness, not partial, not fragmentary, but the totality of one’s own 136
existence which is the result of society, culture, family name? And what is the
origin of all thinking? That may be the beginning of our consciousness.
What is my consciousness? My consciousness is made up of culture,
ideas, traditions, propaganda, etc. The content makes up consciousness.
Without content, there is no consciousness. If there is, it is a totally different
dimension, and one can only apprehend or come upon that consciousness
when the content is wiped away. So one has to be clear about what one is
discussing: whether one is discussing theoretically or by taking up one’s own
consciousness and investigating it. That is the challenge.
N. T.: Is consciousness part of our experience?
N. T.: If it is part of our experience, is it not individualistic?
K: Is your experience individual?
N.T.: The experience concerns oneself only.
K: What does that word `experience’ mean to you?
N.T.: To experience is to feel; it is feeling.
K: No. The content, the structure, the semantic meaning of that word is `to
go through’. But we go through and make what we have gone through into
N.T.: This `going through’ is individualistic, is it not?
K: Is it individualistic to experience? If I am a Hindu or Buddhist or
Christian, I experience what I have been told. That is not individuality. If I am a
devout orthodox Catholic, I experience Virgin Mary and I think it is my personal
experience. It is not; it is the result of two thousand years of propaganda.
S.P.: You seem to suggest that the word itself means indivisible and also,
thereby, that any experience is a denial of individuality.
K: I did not say that. 137
S.P.: It is implied. Any experience, personal or collective, whether out of
collective consciousness or personal consciousness, and the multiplicity of
experiences put together create the feeling of the individual in each human
being. This cannot be denied.
K: Of course. But if I may ask, what is the function of the brain? I.I.: But
would you consider it disrespectful if I use the noun in English and say I have
knowledge of Krishnamurti? I have knowledge of you, but I don’t know you.
K: Can I ever say `I know you’? When we use the word `knowledge’, we are
using it in so many categories, so many complicated ways. I am using it in a
very simple way – I know you, I recognise you, because I met you last year.
But do I know, however intimately, my wife? I have slept with her, she has
borne my children, but do I actually know her? That is, I do not know her
because I have an image of her. I create all kinds of sexual sensory pictures
and those pictures prevent me from knowing her, though I am very intimate
with her physically. So I can never say to myself, I know somebody. I think that
it is a sacrilege, an impudence. I know you the moment I have no barriers, no
pictures of you as an individual, as a Doctor of Linguistics. So, if I approach
you with a sense of compassion, in the deep sense of that word, then there is
no knowing, there is only sharing.
I.I.. I have to accept that, as the word `compassion’ is used here.
K: Compassion means passion for all.
A.P.: But do we know ourselves? That is the ultimate question.
K: That’s it, sir. Do we know ourselves, and how do we know ourselves?
What is the manner of knowing oneself?
A.P.: The problem here is our incapacity to know ourselves directly, to deal
with it with a compassionate response. When I see a cyclone in Andhra
Pradesh, I feel personally involved because it is happening in the state in
which I am living. When I read about a cyclone in Bangladesh, it is just an item
of news for me. Now, when we say one world, it does not actually become
experiential for us. This is really a part of the alienation process – alienation 138
being a name to the fact that we do not know ourselves. Because we do not
know ourselves, our relationship with the world also is a more distant
P.J.: Let me put it this way. Is it a question of learning what the instruments
of learning are? The deep-seated instruments of knowing are seeing, listening,
feeling and learning. The probing into the significance of these instruments
itself may throw some light not only on the nature of the instruments but also
on the manner in which these instruments have been perverted to block their
K: Sir, would you agree that instead of using consciousness as a noun, you
use it as a movement of time?
I.I.: I would accept it for discussion, but then, if I may comment, I live in a
world where I see a beautiful sunset as a picture postcard. I have made a
complete study on the use of words. I found that one of the ten words heard by
the typical person was a word heard as a member of a crowd, as public. And
nine out of ten were words spoken to him or overheard by him while spoken to
another. Today, for example, nine out of ten words heard by young people,
according to this study, are words which have been programmed and only one
is a personal word. I heard recently from a lady who wrote that she has taken
credits for nineteen hours of consciousness. I am just saying – everything in
this culture in which I live is industrialized. It is an additive way of education.
P.J.: That is really the problem of knowledge – the additive process.
I.I.: The danger of knowledge, not as a flow but as an additive process,
makes me standardized.
K: Sir, what is the relationship of consciousness to thought? What is the
beginning of thought? How does that come into existence? What is the spring
from which thought arises? There is perception, sensation, contact, then
thought, desire and imagination involved in that. That is the origin of desire.
So, is that the origin of thought, the beginning of thought, the movement of
P.J.: Is not thought the reaction to challenge?
K: Yes. If I see the challenge, if I am aware of the challenge. If I am not
aware, there is no challenge.
P.J.: What is the reaction to challenge?
K: Memory reacts.
R.B.: But for thought to be aware of itself as a trap, is it necessary to see
the origin of thought?
K: Yes. Then you only register that which is absolutely necessary and not
psychological structures. Why should I register your flattery or your insult? But
I do. That registration emphasizes the ego.
S.P.: What is that state of mind in which registration does not take place?
K: You see, that is a theoretical question.
S.P.: No. It is an actual problem. Otherwise one is in a trap. There is
memory responding, and memory itself is registered even before I am aware.
K: Then you are acting on reward and punishment.
R.B.: Registering by long habit is so instantaneous. How can we learn to
slow down the whole process?
K: Have you ever tried writing down objectively every thought, not just
those which are pleasant or unpleasant – I don’t like that man, I like that
woman, the whole business? Then you will find that you can slow down
thought tremendously. Sir, my question is, why do we register psychologically
at all? Is it possible to register only that which is absolutely, physically,
necessary and not build up the psyche through registration? I.I.: I only know
that by becoming older and working at it, one can cut down on registration.
K: But that has nothing to do with age…
I.I.: It has to do with living.
K: That means it is a slow `process’. I object to that. 140
I.I.: That’s all I know. Sometimes one has the experience of a flash, lifting
you to another level, being transformed, even like a phoenix from the ashes.
K: Is it possible to accelerate the non-registering process that does not
depend upon age, circumstances, environment, poverty, riches, culture? Can
one see, have an insight into, the whole question of registration and end it
I.I.: I have to be corrected by you. It seems to me that there are several
very great and very small schools, each projecting, suggesting, a certain way.
K: And then we are back to systems.
I.I.: I said I stand to be corrected. I would imagine that these offer us a
ladder. Some ladders are too short for the level which some people have to
reach, while others are so long that we can jump off the ladder earlier than the
ladder ends. This is not for all, but for some people they are rather useful in
the beginning. I can even imagine that they are useful in many instances –
wisdom not to choose, not to search, during their whole life for the best ladder
but to take one which does the job which luckily I have at my disposal.
K: But I question whether it is a gradual movement.
1.I.: My school, my institution, my language, say to me the development of
the gifts of the spirit are like the riverside of this struggle for virtue. At certain
moments we must struggle, practise what you spoke of as virtue. But moments
come in when suddenly a bubble comes and I am lifted out of my yesterday as
if for ever. That does not mean my life must go on in the same direction to
struggle again, but I do go back. I do know that there are some schools of
thought, perhaps equally consistent, useful, for others where this will be
considered very differently.
K: If I may say so sir, there are no schools. One sees the logical reason of
registration, the necessity of physical registration. If one sees clearly, has an
insight into the psychological futility of registration, realizes it, it is finished. It is
as thought if you see danger, a precipice, it is over. In the same way, if one 141
profoundly sees the danger of psychological registration, then the thing is
I.I.: Is it not possible that for some people enlightenment comes in several
ways? The Arabs have seven words for seven states, and for others it comes
bang like sunrise, the sun comes out and there it is.
K: I don’t think it is a matter for the few or for the many. How do you listen?
You tell me there are schools, degrees and I accept that. And another comes
along and tells me it is not at all like that and I reject it because of my
conditioning. Whereas, if I listened to him and to you, I can see with clarity that
in the very act of listening, I have understood the implications of both
statements. Do you understand? The listening itself frees me from both of you. 142
Chapter 5 Part 2 Insights Into Regeneration
2nd Seminar Madras 14th January 1978
P.J.: Could we discuss regeneration, its nature, and whether it is essential
to man? And if it is essential to man and society then what is the place of self-
knowing in this whole field?
A.P.: The importance of our discussions so far has been to establish the
limits of knowledge. I feel that the relevance of knowledge to the entire
process of self-knowing has already been outlined in limits of growth, limits of
P.J.: Is knowledge and its limits dependent on the process of self-knowing?
The problem of regeneration is not contained in the limits of knowledge; the
latter is only one of the factors of regeneration. Self-knowing is also integral to
it. Are these two independent?
A.P.: Our approach has been to negate that which appeared to assume
preponderant importance in our own development. It takes the form of pursuit
of knowledge, a very subtle process which goes on inhibiting, distracting or
distorting the mind from direct confrontation.
P.J.: We are familiar with the additive process. In a sense the additive
process is the extension of the field of knowledge. I am talking of knowledge
as information. Are we talking of the limits of knowledge, independent of self-
knowing or regeneration?
A.P.: Of course not.
P.K.S.: The problem of the regeneration of man is mostly connected with
the limits of knowledge. We assume knowledge is information, not that kind of
experience which is self-knowing, and we are asking, what can we know? The
question also concerns the origins of knowledge.
K: I don’t know what you mean by regeneration – to be made anew, made
afresh? We are talking about the transformation of man, the ending of his
anxiety – his whole way of life; a life which is ugly – and out of that ending, a 143
new thing being born. Is that what we mean by regeneration? If that is so, what
is the relationship between knowledge and regeneration? Is knowledge a fixed
point? Is it static, additive? Is the process of self-knowledge additive and does
it, thereby, bring about regeneration? Is that what we are asking? Can
knowledge which is accumulative, probably infinite, bring about regeneration?
Then there is the understanding of oneself, the `Know Thyself’. The Hindus
have said it, the Buddhists have said it in a different way, all religions have
said it. Is that knowing yourself additive? Is the very substance of the self,
knowledge, knowing being experience stored up as memory, all the things
man has accumulated? What is it we are asking?
Can we begin with the question, `Can I know myself?’ Not according to
some philosophers, but can I know myself? I would like to examine the word
`to know’. Dr. Illich pointed out yesterday, `I have knowledge of you but I don’t
know you.’ I have knowledge in the sense that I have met you, and so on. I
have knowledge of you but can I ever know you? In the same way, I have
knowledge about myself, limited knowledge, fragmentary knowledge,
knowledge brought about by time. But can I know myself fundamentally,
R.B.: What do you mean `irrevocably’?
K: A tree is a tree; it is irrevocable. A pear tree does not become an apple
A.P.: This is where my difficulty arises. Even with regard to knowing
oneself, verbalizing has a very important place. If that is taken away, will we
have the capacity to know anything?
I.I.: I am asking the same question. Knowledge, insight, which comes in a
flash and can be interpreted logically later on, can be referred to in words; is
that knowledge in your terminology?
A.P.: The channel of insight may be non-verbal but our normal movement is
perceiving and naming, and with naming comes recognition and what we call 144
knowledge. So, actually, naming plays a preponderant part in knowledge. Self-
knowledge may be in the field of insight.
K: Are you asking if there is no verbalization, whether the `me’ exists at all?
I would say if verbalization does not exist, the self, the `me’, the ego, ceases,
comes to an end. Can there be a knowing that the word is not the thing? The
word is not the thing, obviously. The word `tree’ is not the actual fact. So if
there is no verbalization, then what is the fact, what remains? Is it still the self?
P.J.: How does one answer this?
A.P.: You have jumped.
G.N.: There are forms of knowledge akin to insight and some forms of
insight which cannot be converted into knowledge through the additive
process. The way one approaches it is very significant. Some types of
knowledge have the taste of insight but they get reduced to knowledge.
K.: We said we understood the meaning, the significance, of regeneration.
How is man to regenerate, completely renew himself, like a phoenix? Does he
depend on environment – social, economical? Or has regeneration as knowing
nothing whatever to do with environmental pressures? We must go into that.
We will come to a different kind of knowledge presently. Do we agree on the
meaning of regeneration as a total, psychological, profound, revolution, in the
sense that something new is born out of it?
Now, is knowing oneself the central factor of regeneration? If that is so,
then how am I to know myself – knowing that the word is not the thing, the
description is not the described? If there is no verbalization, then what next?
You have cut away, if you don’t verbalize, the whole area of morality, ethics.
To us words have become very important. Take the word violence; if I don’t
use that word and am free from verbalization with all its significance, what
Sir, why do I verbalize? I verbalize my feeling for you because I want to
communicate to you.
A.P.: Also with myself. That is the greatest danger. 145
K: I am coming to that. First I verbalize what I feel to myself and then I
verbalize to communicate. A.P.: In this there is a big trap. I feel the
phenomenon of sorrow. I see somebody in pain, I can express that without
feeling compassion in my heart. I live on words. Therefore, words are my
biggest protection and they also become a barrier to self-knowledge. Unless I
am able to deal with words, I cannot move. The human brain stores images,
creates images, symbols, etc.
K: Does it mean all our relationships – intellectual, sexual, between two
human beings – are based on words, images, pictures?
Is there thinking without verbalization? When I say to somebody I love you,
do the words convey what I feel? The words are not the thing, but they need to
be expressed and I use the words as a medium of communication. Now we
are asking, how is man to regenerate himself without any cause, without any
motive, without any influence of the environment – social, political, moral,
religious. I think we ought to settle that and then proceed. What do you say,
I.I.: I would like to ask you a question. Are words also part of the
I.I.: Therefore, when I use words, I also do something to the environment,
besides being influenced by it.
K: The word is also the environment and the word influences my thinking. If
I am born in this particular part of the country, my whole cultural, development,
progress, is based on this culture. The language itself is affecting me; it may
be a barrier between you and me.
I.I.: Like anything it can destroy two people.
K: So, realizing that language can also become a barrier, I cut it. It is
finished. I use it only to communicate. 146
I.I.: Is there anything within me which has not been affected by language in
the same way as my body is affected by breathing? Is there a point
somewhere in me which the environment has not touched?
K: Do you see what is happening, sir? We are already in communication
with each other. Your question, `Is there something in this «me» which is not
affected, touched, shaped, moulded by the environment’ has already put us in
communication. The Hindus say there is something. Dr. Illich wants to know if
there is in `me’ the structure of existence which is the `me’, some spot,
something which is not shaped, moulded, contaminated, pressurized by the
environment. You are a scholar, a pundit – what would be your answer?
P.K.S.: Those parts which are supposed to be affected by language, etc.
are only the psychological `me’. That is the empirical development of the ego.
But even before the development of the empirical ego, there should be a basis
for this development. Otherwise language as environment would be futile. The
word as environment affects me. It is not brought about after it has been
affected by the environment; rather something is there already which is
supposed to be affected. Now, if there is something prior to being affected by
the environment, what is its character, can it be increased or decreased by the
environment? If you believe that the environment makes the self, at the same
time pre-supposing something which is prior to the influence of language, you
are contradicting yourself. I think something exists prior to the environment
K: I don’t quite follow you.
R.B.: Prof. Sundaram says there is a substratum, essential nature, on
which thought builds, the psychological, the empirical, `me’. Therefore,
logically, there is an area which is unaffected by thought.
K: So you are saying that there is in me, in my existence, in my life, an
uncontaminated, unshaped state. Does that satisfy you? I.I.: I accept your
words, I won’t use other terms, and yet, since it cannot be affected by
language, I can only speak in negative terms. This particular spot, something
which is light, which throws sparks, is yet something about which there is no 147
proof, that I can grasp. And when I speak about it, I dare to capture it in a
word. Would you accept that?
K: I don’t think so, sir.
P.J.: How do we explore this then? How do I find out whether one
statement or the other is real?
K: May I put it differently? I don’t even ask that question, `Is there
something in me which is not shaped by the environment?’ All that I know is,
unless a human being finds the springs of regeneration, and not the idea, the
new is not possible. So my concern, then, is the word `environment’, culture,
society – all that is `me’ and I am the product of all that. I am the entire product
of all influences – religious, psychological, social. Regeneration is possible only
when the influences from the outside or the influences which I am creating as
a reaction come to an end. Then I can answer it. Until then I can only
speculate. So I begin. I say it is absolutely necessary as a human being to
bring about a revolution in the whole structure. Not at the biological level,
because I can’t grow a third arm; but is there a possibility of a total
regeneration? You tell me `Know yourself,’ that is, to have knowledge about
yourself. I see the danger of knowledge, knowledge being accumulative,
progressive, dependent on the environment and so on. Therefore, I
understand the limitations of knowledge. I say to myself, I have understood
this. So when I use the words `know myself’, I see that knowledge, when
verbalized, may be the cause which prevents me from enquiring deeply into
myself. So I ask, can my brain, my mind, my whole structure, be free of
A.P.: I think this is where the limits of knowledge lead you.
K: Achyutji, you are missing the point. We have said knowledge is
accumulative. Knowing myself may not be accumulative at all.
A.P.: Verbalization is the quintessence of knowing.
K: Can I use the word `knowledge’ where necessary and in my enquiry be
free of the word? Is that possible? 148
S.P.: Are you saying there is an enquiry without the word?
K: That’s it.
A.P.: When we enquire, the word is inevitable and it is an obstacle.
K: Obviously. Dr. Illich’s difficulty is, we are using a language which he is
not used to. To us knowledge means something and to him it means
something else. And he says, I don’t follow you. So we must establish a
linguistic, semantic communication.
So I come to the point that I don’t know the substratum, the foundation on
which `I am’. I won’t pre-suppose anything; I won’t accept any authority
including my own hope. So I ask, how am I to enquire into myself, what is the
movement, the elan, `to know yourself? Not to have knowledge of yourself?
P.J.: Could you explain a little more the distinction between knowledge of
myself and knowing myself?
K: I have knowledge of myself through my reactions, my feelings, through
my responses to another in my relationship. I have been jealous, sensuous,
angry. These are all reactions, but it is much more than that. All that I know is
based on verbalization. I say I have been jealous; the word jealousy, with all its
connotations prevents observation of that feeling which I have named as
jealousy. So is it possible to observe without the word? Can there be only the
feeling without the word, the word being the environment?
There is feeling. In that feeling is the observer. In that there is division. That
is, is the observer different from the observed? He divides the two. I am
different from the thing observed. But in observing myself so long as the word
is associated with the thing I am observing, it distorts the observation. So I
ask, can I observe, be aware of the feeling, without naming it?
Can I just observe? Can there be only observation without identification
with the word? If so, we remove altogether all division as the opposite. So I
eliminate one of the traditional factors that this division brings about – me and
jealousy – and, therefore, observation is not verbal; there is only observation.
A.P.: I have not come to that. 149
K: Then how shall we communicate with each other? You have not wiped
out the word. You have said verbalization is the barrier. How am I to tell you of
that central factor in which there is no conflict, only observation?
P.J.: Can one wipe out the word? How does one wipe out the word?
K: I realize the word is not the thing. That is a deep understanding. When I
say I love you, it is not just a word; it is beyond the word. Therefore, I am not
caught in the word. I cannot wipe it out; words are necessary to communicate.
But I am saying one eradicates it in oneself or it falls away when one sees the
observer is the observed, the thinker is the thought, the experiencer is the
experienced. Division comes to an end totally and, therefore, conflict comes to
A.P.: It is like the halting of the traffic light. I say that verbal communication
stops like a traffic light and comes back again.
K: Are you saying, I see this for an instant but then I am back again in the
R.B.: Can we put it another way? You mentioned jealousy. There may be a
movement of jealousy, and if one watches it without the word, at that moment
there is an abeyance of that thing. In self-knowing, there is not only the
movement of jealousy but of an enormous content which has been built up.
How is one to catch the whole thing without the word?
K: Do you realize, actually, not theoretically, that the word is not the thing?
R.B.: I do realize it at certain moments.
K: That is not realization. It is like danger, like a bus hurtling down on you.
R.B.: We are all conditioned to mix the two. It is a longstanding thing. I can
say that at this moment the word is not the thing.
K: No, it is the eternal truth. If that is so, and the word `jealousy’ is not the
state, can we look at jealousy without the word? Without all the association of
the word? Look at it as though you were looking at it for the first time and not
bring in all the associations connected with it? That requires great alertness, 150
awareness. It has its own extraordinary discipline, it is uninfluenced. We are
concerned with regeneration – whether a human being, without outside
influence, can bring about this extraordinary quality of regeneration in his
brain, his mind, his feeling.
To understand that deeply, you must `know yourself’. So I ask, what is the
word `know’ apart from knowledge? You are already limiting it by saying, `I
know.’ Now, can I observe myself without the word, language, knowledge or
recognition? Do you understand? I watch myself, and I am watching without
analysis. I have this feeling of jealousy; it arises. There is an instant reaction, a
verbalization of that feeling, which means I have brought into it the
remembrance of that which has happened before and so I recognise it. If there
is no recognition, then it is something new and that is the beginning of
A.P.: I notice in observing, the arising of recognition through the word, and I
say it is the word which is giving stability to what I am observing because I am
not different from that which I am observing.
R.B.: But Krishnaji is saying there is no recognition because memory is
eliminated and, therefore, the new is there.
K: You say, `know yourself.’ But how am I to know myself, observe what I
am? Do I bring into that observation past memories, the hurts, the
remembrances, and with those memories look at myself? That is my point. If I
bring in these memories, then I am not looking, memories are looking, and
memories are in action.
Can there be an abeyance, can I put memories aside and observe? That
may be the factor of regeneration because in that observation there is a
breaking away from the past.
S.P.: Once for all?
K: That is greed. Look at it. I want to know myself because otherwise I have
no foundation for anything. I know the limits of words. There is an observation
of the word and an observation of the limits of knowledge. I see that when I 151
use the words `know myself’, I have already put it in a cup, blanketed it. So I
don’t use those words. Is there an observation of the movement of the self
without the word, without recognition, without the previous experience which in
observation distorts what is happening?
I.I.: I can’t, truly, humanly, look without being totally myself in looking. And,
therefore, I can put the word in abeyance. But at times I need crutches.
K: The moment you use the words `I need crutches’, you will need them.
I.I.: I accept your criticism of the word `need’. Now and then I find myself
using crutches, and I won’t, for this reason, despair.
K: Achyutji, you were speaking of the red traffic light that stops you for the
moment. Can all the past stop? But it is so strong that it comes back. Dr. Illich
also says the same thing, that he needs crutches at moments.
To know myself is very important. I see the limitations of knowledge, I see
very, very clearly that the very word `know’ is a dangerous word in the sense
that it has tremendous associations with knowledge. So what have I left? I
have understood the limitations of knowledge, I also see the Anglo-European
word `feeling’ and the danger of that word because I can invent a lot of feeling
and a whole lot of froth. So I can also see the limitations of that. And at the end
of this, where am I?
I started out with regeneration, came to the limitations of knowledge, the
limitations of feeling, the dangers associated with that and, at the end of it, I
ask, `Do I know myself?’ For, `myself’ is the limitation of knowledge, limitation
of the word `to know’, the feeling and the entity who says I have to get rid of
this and asks, `Who am I?’ All this is the self, with its associations, with all the
extravagant, fragmentary things involved in it. At the end of it, where am I?
I can honestly then say with genuine affirmation – in the sense that I am not
inventing it – that I am not accepting the authority of somebody else, that there
is nothing to know. Which does not mean there is something else. All that I can
say is there is nothing, which means there is not a thing, which means not a
single movement of thought. So there is an ending, a stopping, to thought. 152
There is not a thing. On that we have built all this – my attachments, my
beliefs, my fears. On this nothing, everything is. Therefore that is unreal;this is
So I have found a key to regeneration, the key being emptying the mind of
all the past which is knowledge, the limitations of knowing, feelings and the
content of my feelings. Would you call this meditation?
I.I.: When I do it for myself, yes.
K: Myself is a word. I.I.: When I do it, yes.
K: Is that doing progressive or immediate?
I.I.: It seems to be immediate and not progressive.
K: That is right, keep it there.
I.I.: But I agree there is a temptation to make it progressive, to transform it
again into something you want.
K: What does the word temptation mean? One of our difficulties is that we
see all this intellectually and then make an abstraction of it, which is an idea, a
conclusion, and then work with the conclusion. Have I really understood
deeply the limitations of knowledge, knowledge meaning institutions, systems,
I would like to ask you, is there a regeneration taking place? Forgive me if I
put you in a corner. We have all listened and say, this is true. I see
regeneration is tremendously important. Have I captured it, tasted it, has it a
perfume? Have I got it? Not in the sense of holding it. If we have not, then
what are we all talking about? Are we merely ploughing in sand and never
sowing? Dr. Illich, are we in communication with each other linguistically?
I.I.: I think so. May I ask a question? I don’t want to seem impudent. When
you ask the question, is there a regeneration going on, I wanted to answer! I
listen very attentively to the crow up there on the tree.
K. Yes sir. I have also been listening to it. 153
Chapter 5 Part 3 Insights Into Regeneration
2nd Seminar Madras 14th January 1978
P.J.: Could we discuss the problem of the sorrow of man, the nature of
compassion and meditation? I feel we are in a trap: being in sorrow and not
understanding the nature of compassion.
K: May I ask, what are your ideas or concepts about sorrow, meditation and
A.P.: Sorrow is an inescapable part of life. We are helpless victims when a
part of humanity is forced to live a subhuman life, with no hope of change in
their way of life. Unless one sees some affirmative process, one feels
P.J.: You can’t talk about the sorrow of another.
A.P.: But it is my sorrow. I am not talking about another’s.
P.J.: Sorrow is something integral to one.
A.P.: I am talking about sorrow. It is integral. Nothing can be more integral
than the fact that there is no compassion in me as an authentic response.
When I witness the sorrow of another, I am part of that sorrow.
K: Sir, is there such a thing as my sorrow, your sorrow and his sorrow?
P.J.: Sorrow is not a concept, not an idea. It is deeply in me.
K: I wonder what we mean by the word `sorrow’. Let us go slowly, because
it is rather important. What do we mean by sorrow, grief, pain? Every human
being goes through this ugly business of sorrow. Some people think that it is a
cleansing process, an enlightening process. Some give explanations which
appear to satisfy them – you did something in the past, you are paying for it
now. Strip away all these words; what remains is the actuality, the feeling of
sorrow; not the word; not the connotation of that word, not the evocation of the
images that word brings up. Now, what is this deep feeling that we call
sorrow? My son dies, and there is a tremendous feeling. Is that sorrow?
P.J.: It is sorrow. 154
K: In that is involved self-pity, loneliness, a sudden realization that I have
lost somebody and I am left alone. I suffer because he has not lived as long as
I have lived and so on. But the root of this enormous sorrow is what man has
carried through timeless centuries.
P.K.S.: As a preliminary definition of the word `sorrow`, not the connotative
definition, what is actually felt when you are in sorrow? I think there is some
sense of privation, a want, and this produces a state of mind, a pang which is
called sorrow. In it is a sense of limitation, finitude, helplessness.
A.P.: If I may suggest, we human beings know pain, physical pain. Physical
pain is a condition which we have to accept; we can do nothing about it.
Sorrow is the exact equal of that – psychologically; that is, we are totally unable
to do anything about it. We have to just take it and be with it.
K: Sir, you meet the poor people next door, you have great sympathy for
them. Perhaps you may feel guilty because you get used to their poverty, their
endless degradation. Perhaps you may have great affection for them. Would
you call the fact, man living in this appalling way, sorrow?
I.I.: I do. I, at least, know that there are different kinds of sorrow in my life.
One of them is that sorrow of which we speak: sorrow when I do something
violent to somebody else, which takes away from somebody else. I live in
society. So many things I cannot undertake without taking away big chunks
from others. For instance, tomorrow morning I take the jet plane from Madras
to Delhi and on this plane which I take for my benefit, I have calculated that I
will grab out of the atmosphere more oxygen than a little herd of elephants
from birth to their death can breathe. I will be co-responsible for an exploitation
of many thousands of Indians, each one who in a sensible way pays his taxes
and lives in a world dominated by the planes so that some of us can have that
sense of importance of flying in a jet today. I do something which if I didn’t, I
would have to radically, totally change the way I live. I have not yet decided to
make that change. In fact, I create for myself legitimate reasons by word-
constructions for taking that plane, and in this sense I feel a very particular 155
kind of sorrow which is the one about which I would want you to enlighten me
K: We will discuss it, sir. As you said, there are different kinds of sorrow.
There is your kind, what you described; then there is somebody losing a son, a
father and mother; seeing appalling ignorance, and seeing that there is no
hope for man in a country like this. And there is the sorrow, the deep agony of
realizing you are nothing. There is also the sorrow of how man treats man and
so on. Now, what does all this sorrow mean? According to Christian terms or
Hindu terms, is there an end to sorrow or is it an everlasting thing? Is there an
end to any sorrow at all?
I.I.: Certainly there is no end to this sorrow as long as I am willing to
participate in violence.
K: Then I shut myself up. If I narrow down my life, `I won’t do this, I don’t do
that,’ then I would not be able to move at all. For myself I have faced this. I can
see from what you say, that we exploit people. So what can I do? Before I
answer, before we can discuss that question, could we ask what is love?
Perhaps it may solve the problem and answer this question.
I am asking what is love. Biologically, life is reproduction and all the rest of
it. Is that love? I would like to go into it, if you don’t mind; then, perhaps, we
shall be able to answer the fundamental question, which is, whatever I do at
present causes some kind of sorrow to another. The very clothes I wear is
making somebody work for me. So I would like to approach this question from
a different angle. The word `love’ is loaded; misused, vulgarized, sexualized,
anything you like. What then is love, because that may answer this gradual
inaction that arises when I say, `I can’t do this; if I do this, I am depriving
somebody of that, I am exploiting somebody,’ and out of that comes sorrow;
perhaps we can have a dialogue about this feeling of love.
Do I love my wife? Sir, let us go into it a little bit because this may resolve
our problems of sorrow, exploitation, using other people, narrowing down our
lives. I am trying to prevent myself from being reduced to narrow activity. So I 156
want to ask this question, is everything biological? Is my love for my wife
R. Krishnaswamy: Yes.
K: Would you say that to your wife?
K.S.: Yes, sir.
K: I am not being rude. I am not being personal. Then you are reducing it to
a purely sensory reaction.
K.S.: Yes, it begins like that and then we begin to verbalize it, romanticize
K: Yes, it begins there and then you build up the picture, the image. Is that
K.S.: I think that is true. The primitive man, the hunter, did not have any of
these problems which we are facing now. Is my love for my child also this? Is
this an extreme form of selfishness, because we want to perpetuate
K: You are saying, sir, that this state is not only biological, it is sensory.
Sensory love may begin with desire, desire being seeing, perception, contact,
sensation, thought, the image and desire; that is the process. You are saying
love is desire, it is biological. I want to find out whether love exists at all apart
from the sensory, apart from desire, attachment, jealousy and, therefore, hate.
Is that love? If I told my wife it is all sensory, and if she is at all intelligent, she
would throw something at me. We have reduced love to such a limited, ugly
thing. Therefore, we don’t love.
Love implies much more than the word. It implies a great deal of beauty. It
does not rest in the woman I love, but in the very feeling of love, which implies
a relationship with nature, love of stars, the earth, stones, the stray dog, all
that, and also the love of my wife. If you reduce it to desire and sensation, if
you call it a biological movement, then it becomes a tawdry affair. Your wife
treats you, and you treat her, as a biological necessity. Is that love? So I am
asking, is desire, pleasure, love? Is sexual comfort love? 157
I.I.: Is love communion?
K: How can I commune with another if I have an image of her?
I.I.: An image may be an obstacle to communion?
K: Can I be free of the image I have of you, of my wife, of the professor,
doctor and so on? Only then is there a possibility of communion. I don’t have
to use words.
I.I.: And love, perhaps, is free communion?
K: I would not like to say so, yet. We will come to it presently.
P.K.S.: In a fundamental sense, love is the opposite of desire. What I mean
is, desire insists on getting. Love insists on giving.
K: You see, sir, you are categorizing, conceptualizing, you have already put
it in a cage.
P.K.S.: I only wanted to suggest that love is not merely biological; it is much
more than that. It is giving, a sacrifice.
K: Sir, if I have a wife, what is my relationship to her apart from sexual,
apart from attachment, apart from all the rest of the traditional meanings of
relationship? Am I really related to the lady? Relationship means to be in
contact at all levels, not just the physical level which is desire, pleasure. Does
it not imply, when I say, `I love you,’ and I mean it, that you and I meet at the
same level, meet with the same intensity, at the same moment?
K: That happens apparently only sexually, at the biological level. I question
this whole approach to life, life in which there is this immense thing called love.
Now, are we not concerned to find out what it is? Does not your heart, mind,
say that you have to find out? Or, is everything reduced to a verbal level?
N. T.: If love is sensual pleasure and based on the pursuit of desire, it is not
love; love has to be based on compassion.
K: But what is compassion? 158
N.T.: Compassion itself is love.
K: Sir, you have freedom with words.
N.T.: Love is universal.
K: I want to find out, I want to have this sense of love. As a human being it
is like breathing; I must have it.
N.T.: That sense of love is universal, not moved by desire.
K: All right sir, don’t think me impudent, don’t think me rude. Have you got
that love, or is this just theory?
N.T.: It does not arise in the human mind.
K: That is verbalizing it. I want to know as a human being, do you love
N. T.: Not through a possessive type of love.
K: Oh, no. You are all theorizing.
N.T.: No, sir.
K: You are a priest, you are a monk; I come to you and say, please, for
god’s sake, let me have the perfume of that which is called love. And you say
love is compassion, compassion is love, you go around it.
N.T.: Love in the absolute sense is present in all human beings.
K: Is it there when you kill somebody, when Stalin kills twenty million
people, when India fights Pakistan? Is there love in every human being?
N.T.: Love is there in every human being.
K: If there were love in every human being, do you think India would be like
this – held in poverty, degradation, dishonesty, corruption? What are you all
Prof. Subramaniam: Sir, if love means being related to another person at all
levels, when I don’t understand myself and when I don’t love myself, how is it
possible to love another? I am not talking about self-love. I don’t find that I am 159
relating myself at all levels to myself. When that is so, I realize that I am not
related to another person, whether it is my wife or another, at all levels.
K: So, as a human being, don’t you want to come upon this, don’t you want
to find out? Don’t you want to have a sense of this great thing? Unless you
have it, I don’t see the point of all these discussions, pujas, and all that is going
on in this country.
R.B.: I think the point is that when there is no relatedness inside oneself,
when there are warring elements within oneself, there can’t be love.
K: Sir, I would rather put the question this way: If this thing, love, is merely
a biological process and one sees it even intellectually as a shoddy little affair,
and a human being has never had this perfume, don’t you want to find out this
love, this state of passion; don’t you want to drink at that extraordinary
fountain? Or have we mesmerized ourselves verbally so that we have become
incapable of any movement outside the field of our own particular
verbalization? The Christians, Dr. Illich will tell you much more easily than I,
have said, `Love Jesus, love Christ, love your neighbour as you would love
yourself,’ and so on. I question that any religious approximation or dictum is
love. One may go to the church, one may go to the temple and love god, if god
exists. Is that love?
R.B.: Sir, you started with the question of what is sorrow and followed it up
with the question of what is love. Could you say what is the relationship
between the two questions?
K: Is love this constant battle, words, theories and living at that level? I
personally can’t imagine any human being not having this love. If he does not
have it, he is dead.
A.P.: Is that not the crux of the problem of regeneration?
K: Yes, sir. If you haven’t got love, how can you regenerate anything? If you
don’t look after the plant that you have just put in the earth, if you don’t give it
water, air, proper nourishment, affection, see that there is plenty of light, the 160
plant won’t grow. Let us leave love for the moment. Shall we go into what is
P.J.: Without comprehending sorrow and love, we cannot know what is
R.B.: But is that itself not the problem? Millions of people are not even
asking what is love.
I.I.: Is it, perhaps, also something so secret, hidden, personal? But it is so
different because of its being concrete in each one of us. You spoke about our
loving each other, some kind of close existence.
K: Sir, I can belong to a community, a commune, and then feel close to the
others because we are there at the same time.
I.I.: Yes, but that has nothing to do with it.
K: Yes. I.I.: But somewhere at the very deepest level, the marvellous,
glorious thing which I believe makes for love is that, your life and my life at that
moment are both made sacred, the forms of renewal of mutual presence.
K: Forgive me, I wouldn’t say that. I would say: When there is love, there is
no `you’ or `me,.
I.I.: Sir, that could be easily understood. I know you don’t mean it that way,
but love is a symbiosis.
I.I.: There is no `you’ and there is no `me’, but on the other hand, there is
more of you and more of me.
K: Sir, when there is great beauty like a mountain, the majesty of it, the
beauty of it, the shade, the light, `you’ don’t exist. The beauty of that thing
drives away the `you’. Do you follow what I am saying?
I.I.: I follow what you are saying.
K: At that moment, when there is no `me’ because of the majesty of the hill,
there is only that sense of great wondering glowing beauty. So, I say: Beauty 161
is when I am not, with my problem, with my gods, with my biological love and
all the rest of it. When I am not, the other is.
I.I.: And yet – correct me if I am wrong – at that moment the transparent
flame is burning higher and the stream of life is clearer, fresher, and the
renewal of this world goes on.
K: At that moment there is a new rejuvenation taking place, if you like to put
it that way. I am putting it this way, that there is a sense of an otherness than
I.I.: Yes. That otherness implies…
K: The otherness is not the opposite.
P.J.: May I then ask, what is it that makes the spring, the stream flow?
K: I have seen the birth of the great river right in the hills. It starts with a few
drops and then collects, and then there is a roaring stream at the end of it. Is
P.J.: What is it that makes the stream flow fully?
K: I come to you and say, `Look, I don’t know what love is, please teach
me, help me, or let me learn what love is.’ I say, attachment is not love, the
mere biological pleasure with all its movements, with all its implications, is not
love. So can you be free of attachment, negate it completely? Through
negation you may come to the positive, but we won’t do that. I come to you
who are learned, who have studied, who have lived, suffered, who have
children, and I say: `Please teach me, help me to understand love.’ Don’t say,
`Love is consciousness without words,’ and all that. I want this thing in me.
Don’t give me ashes.
P.J.: What is the relationship of sorrow to love? Is there any relationship?
K: You must relate sorrow, love and death. If you end attachment, end it.
Do not say, `I will end it today but pick it up tomorrow.’ End it completely and
also jealousy, greed. Do not argue, but end it, which is death. Both biologically
and psychologically the ending of something is death. So, will you give up, 162
renounce – to use a traditional term – your status, position, attachments,
beliefs, gods? Can you throw them into the river and see what happens? But
you won’t do this. Will renunciation give love, help you to understand the
beauty of it? Please, sir, you are monks, you have studied, please tell me.
P.K.S.: Renunciation, sir, can be of many kinds. Renunciation of
selfishness certainly won’t be love.
K: Will my becoming a monk, giving up the world, taking a vow of celibacy,
give me love?
P.K.S.: No. One can be a monk, take vows and yet not have love.
K: So what am I to do? You are a philosopher, you teach all this.
Philosophy means love of truth. Are you giving me life? Are you giving me,
helping me, to understand truth?
P.K.S.: From your observations we obtained certain descriptions of love.
K: I don’t want descriptions of love. I want food.
P.K.S.: We have got certain characteristics of love. One of these is
unselfishness, the other is non-possessiveness. These are all positive
aspects. Certain characteristics that you mention are positive, but the very
nature of ourselves is that there is jealousy and greed.
K: Right, sir. I am your disciple; I come to learn from you because you are a
philosopher. I am not being rude, but I ask, sir, are you living it or are these
only words? If you are, then there is a communion between us. I am fighting
for a breath of this. I am drowning. What am I to do?
I say to myself, nobody can help me. No guru, no book, nothing, will help
me. So I discard the whole thing; I won’t even touch it. Then I ask, what is
love? Let me find out because if I don’t have that flame, that love, life means
nothing; I may pass examinations, become a great philosopher, but it is
nothing. I must find out. I can only find out something through negation.
Through negation I come to the positive; I don’t start with the positive. If I start
with the positive, I end up with uncertainty. If I start with uncertainty, then
something positive occurs. I say, I know love is not merely a biological thing. I 163
put the biological movement, desire, in its right place. So I am free from the
biological explanation of love. Now, is love pleasure which means desire, will,
pursuit of an incident which happened yesterday, the memory of that and the
cultivation of that? Pleasure implies enjoyment, seeing the beauty of the world,
seeing the beauty of nature; I put that also in its place. Then what is love? It is
not attachment, obviously; it is not jealousy, possessiveness, domination; so I
discard all that.
Then I ask, what place has thought in relationship? Has it any place at all?
Thought is remembrance, the response of knowledge, experience from which
thought is born. So thought is not love. In that there is a denial of the total
structure which man has built. My relationship to my wife is no longer based on
thought, event, sensory desire, biological demand or attachment; it is totally
new. Will you go through all this? Now I ask, what is love? It is the ending of
everything that man has created in his relationship with another – country,
race, language, clan. Does that ending mean death?
P.K.S.: It is knowing the completion of life.
K: No, no. I said the ending of thought in relationship. Is not that death?
I.I.: Sir, could we not say I have never loved enough until the moment of my
K: I want to invite death, not commit suicide. So death means an ending. I
am attached to my wife and death comes and says, look, that is all over.
Ending means death; ending of attachment is a form of death. The ending of
jealousy, biological demands, is also death, and out of that may come the
feeling called love. We are educated to believe that death is something at the
end of our life. I am saying death is at the beginning of life, because death
means ending. This ending is the ending of my selfishness. Therefore, out of
this comes that extraordinary bird called love, the phoenix. I think if one has
that sense of love, I can take the aeroplane. It doesn’t matter if I take a bullock
cart or an aeroplane, but I won’t deceive myself. I have no illusions.
I.I.: Is it also the end of sorrow? 164
K: Yes. Sir, do you know the Latin word for sorrow? In it is involved
passion. I know most human beings know what lust, biological pleasure and all
the rest of it is. Are they actually aware of what sorrow is? Or is it something
that you know, recognise, experience after it is over? Do I know sorrow at the
moment my brother, my son, my wife, dies? Or is it always in the past? I.I.: I
do not know the sorrow of my own injustice, which I feel is connected like the
shadow of my own action. A single bullock cart – that’s a very small affair.
K: So I won’t reduce it to that. Sir, you are saying, if I take the jet, specially
the Jumbo, I am up there; when I take the bullock cart, I am down here. And if
I walk, I am still further down.
I.I.: Would it not be wisdom to learn, to act with sorrow and, therefore, keep
sorrow also in its place? If I have the courage to act with the sorrow which I
understand, then at the very same time, I will progressively eliminate from my
life all those things which cast a very long shadow of sorrow.
K: Sir, why should I carry sorrow?
I.I.: Because I do injustice; otherwise how can I justify that which cannot be
K: No, I won’t justify. I want to find out what is right action, not justify, not
say I won’t fly by jet. I want to find out what is right action under all
circumstances. Right action may vary in different things, but it is always right.
We are using the word `right’ – correct, true, non-contradictory, not the action
of self-interest; all that is implied in that word «right action». What is my right
action? If I can find that out I have solved it, whether I go by aeroplane or by
bullock cart or whether I walk. But what is right action in my life? Right action
will come about when the mind is not concerned with the `me’.
P.K.S.: Can I ask for the definition of meditation? Is it constant awareness?
I.I.: There is no exercise of the mind about it but an awareness.
K: The word `meditation’ implies, according to the dictionary, to think over,
ponder, to reflect upon, to enquire into something mysterious; not what we
have made of it. P.K.S.: But could it not be applied to cases where something 165
has been known to be true and ascertained to be true without any shadow of
K: How can I ascertain something to be true?
P.K.S.: For example, practice of love.
K: Love is not something to practise.
I.I.: No, in the sense of being aware of.
K: No sir, I said ending of something. There is no practising the ending of
something. I end my jealousy. I want to find out what love is. Obviously love is
not jealousy. So end it without argument. Because my whole urge, my whole
concern is to find this thing, I will come upon it. In the same way, I want to
know what meditation is: Zen meditation, Burmese meditation, Indian
meditation, Tibetan meditation, Hinayana meditation. Must I go through all this
to find out what meditation is? Must I go to Japan, spend years in monasteries,
practise, go to Burma, go to India, to all the gurus?
I want to know what you understand by meditation. Would you agree, sir,
that the basic principle, the essence of all this meditation is control? If you ask
a Christian what is meditation, he will tell you one thing; if you ask an Indian
guru, he will tell you something else. If you ask a man who has practised
meditation for twenty-five years, he will tell you something else again. So, what
is meditation? Is it control of the mind, or thought, and, therefore, control of
action? Control implies choice. Choice implies no freedom at all. If I choose,
there is no freedom.
P.K.S.: Control is an important element in meditation.
K: So you are saying control is part of meditation. Then who is the
controller, the Higher Self, the atman, the super-consciousness, which are all
put together by thought? Now, can I live a life without control? I.I.: Sir, for the
purpose of this conversation, could we not say that meditation is the rehearsal
of the act of dying?
K: Forgive me, why should I have a rehearsal? 166
I.I.: One day I will be called upon for a last time, and before I could really
engage in that supreme activity which is to die…
K: So why not die now?
I.I.: Now, if it is the act of dying, I will be happy to put it that way. Only if I
say to somebody that meditation means dying, and if I say that tomorrow
morning I will have breakfast with you, people won’t understand me; that is the
reason I suggested the term.
K: No, sir. I don’t think we are meeting each other. The word `meditation’
has now become the fashion in Europe. It is vulgarized, industrialized, money
is made out of it. Wipe away all that. Is not meditation to come upon something
sacred, not put together by thought which says, `This is sacred’? I mean
sacred in the sense of something that is not contaminated by time, by the
environment, something that is original. I am shy of these words, but please
accept it. Is meditation an enquiry into that?
I.I.: Into that of which we speak shyly?
K: Yes, into that. My enquiry then must be completely undirected, unbiased.
Otherwise, I will go off at a tangent. If I have a motive for meditation because I
am unhappy and, therefore, I want to find that, then my motive dictates. Then I
go off into illusions.
I.I.: If I said the same thing in different terms: Meditation is the readiness for
radical surprise, will you accept it?
K: Yes, I accept it. So my concern in meditation is – have I a motive? Motive
means movement. So I have a motive in meditation. Do I want a reward? I
must be very clear that there is no search for reward or punishment, which
means there is no direction. And also I must be very clear that no element
creates an illusion. Illusion comes into being when there is desire, when I want
something. I see the fact that the mind in meditation must be tremendously
aware that it is not caught in any kind of self-hypnosis, self-created illusion. So
part of meditation is to wipe away the illusory machine. And, if there is control,
it is already directed. Therefore, it means, can I live a daily life in which there is 167
absolutely no control? That means, no censor, saying `do this, do that’. All our
life, from childhood, we are educated to control, to suppress, to follow. So can
I live a daily life, not an abstract life, with my wife, with my friends, without any
control, without direction, without movement?
That is the beginning of meditation. 168
– Chapter 6, Seminars Rishi Valley 1980 –
Chapter 6 Part 1 Intelligence, Computers And The
Seminar Rishi Valley 1st February 1980
K: We have been talking about the relationship between the brain and the
computer: are they similar or intrinsically different, and what is the difference?
There is very little difference as far as I understand. The brain which is the
storehouse of memory, knowledge, is programmed according to a particular
culture, religion, economic conditions and so on. The computer is also
programmed by human beings. So there is great similarity between the two.
The computer people are enquiring, if I understand it rightly, what is the
difference then between the brain and the computer which also has been
programmed, which is learning, correcting itself and learning more and more?
It also is the storehouse of a certain kind of knowledge. Then, what is the
essential difference between that and the brain? Or is there a totally different
activity of the brain which is not comparable to the computer?
Q: No computer has feelings. There is a difference between animate matter
and inanimate matter. No computer has feeling of any kind or consciousness.
So, there is a fundamental difference between the two.
K: Then what is consciousness?
Sriram: They have produced a computer programme and it was a
psychiatrists’ programme. They set up a booth into which people could go and
communicate with this computer through the screen and they would say things
to the computer such as I am having difficulties with my wife, she doesn’t
understand me; and the computer would produce answers and questions and
psychoanalyse them. And when these people came out they were convinced
that the computer understood them better than anyone else. And they wanted
to go back to it, to be analysed by it again, and this was a machine which was
not supposed to have feelings or understanding. 169
K: But there are people who say the brain has a quality which is totally
different from the computer. I accept it, and if I may explain it a little more, our
brain works on the basis of experience and knowledge, and the brain or
thought has created the psychological world. So the brain and the psyche are
the same essentially but we have divided them. Thought has created the
psyche with all psychological problems. Knowledge is the basis of all this. And
the computer can produce exactly the same thing.
Sir, could we for the moment forget the computer and examine the brain in
ourselves – how it operates, what is the relationship between the capacity to
think and the psychological structure – and then go back to the computer? As
far as I see, I start with scepticism; for scepticism is the essential capacity to
doubt what you are observing, what you are feeling. Now, I have this brain
which has been cultivated through millennia. It is not my brain; it is the brain of
humanity. Therefore, it is not I who am investigating. There is no `me’ at all. I
don’t know if you have come to that point.
A.C.: Sir, the brain is the only instrument we have for investigation. The
brain as you have said is Limited, stupid. It is good with memory responses.
K: Which is generally called intelligence.
A.C.: Even people who work with the computer know how stupid it is.
K: Don’t bring in the computer yet.
A.C.: Once you see the similarity between the brain and the computer, and
you see how stupid the computer is, it is very easy to see the limitations of the
brain. But the human brain is the only instrument we have. How can it possibly
investigate what is beyond it?
K: Absolutely not.
A.C.: Then what exists?
K: Only the movement of thought.
A.C.: Which is the brain?
K: Which is the brain, limited. 170
A.C.: How can it investigate?
K: Wait. First let us recognise that the brain has evolved from the primitive
up to now. It is not my individual brain; it is the brain of humanity. It is so,
logically. Therefore, the idea of the `me’ is imposed by thought to limit itself to
A.C.: The idea of the `me’ as an individual?
K: To limit itself because it cannot possibly conceive the totality of
humanity. It can conceive in theory but in reality it cannot see the wholeness of
it. So, we recognise that thought which has created and cultivated the psyche
is more important than the operations of the brain.
A.C.: The cultivated brain is much more dangerous because the psyche
has at its disposal a very efficient instrument.
K: Psyche in the dictionary means the soul, the ecclesiastical concept of an
entity which is not material. Thought has created the psyche and thought has
also imagined or conceived that psyche as different from the brain. For me
both are the same. The brain with all the activity of thought born of knowledge,
etc. has created the psyche.
A.C.: Are you saying the brain is also the seat of emotion? K: Of course,
the seat of fear, anxiety, etc. The brain and the psyche are one. Follow the
consequences. Do you see factually, not theoretically, that the brain with all
the activity of thought, born of knowledge, is part of the same movement as
the `psyche’ and that thought has created the `I’, the `me’, separate from the
rest of humanity, and thought has made the `me’ more important than anybody
G.N.: Are you saying that thought creates the psyche and thought divides
the brain from the psyche, but brain and psyche go together?
K: That is right, and in that process is created the `I’.
G.N.: And that makes the brain mechanical? 171
K: All knowledge is mechanical. Knowledge is a mechanical process of
acquisition. I mean by mechanical, repetitive, which is experience, knowledge,
thought, action. From that action you learn and you are back again. This
repetitive process is mechanical, my brain is mechanical. Now is my psyche
Q: Why are we making the division between the psyche and the brain?
K.: Thought controls the psyche – `I must not feel this.’ `I must become that.’
So the becoming is the psychological process invented by thought. And so the
whole process is mechanical.
A.P.: There is a mystique about human existence.
K: I have no mystique.
A.C.: I think the crucial thing is why the brain, the psyche, is mechanical. I
find no difficulty in accepting this.
K: They have also found that the brain, when it is in danger, produces its
own mechanical reaction which will protect it. These are material processes.
So, thought is a material process. Do you agree? Do you agree that the
psyche is a material process? That is the crux. A.C.: I think what he is saying
is that when the brain sees the totality, then thought ceases, the `I’ ceases.
K: I don’t think the brain can see the totality. That is the point. The brain is
evolved through time, time being knowledge, from the most primitive to the
highly sophisticated. There is evolution in time, in knowledge. That is a
material process. That thought has created the `I’ with its psychological mess. I
am not saying it is mystical and all that. Would you agree?
SAT.: Now, what could be a non-material process?
K: That which is non-matter, that which is no-knowledge, that which is not
of time, that which has nothing to do with the brain. But it is speculation for
you. Let us start with something factual.
So, do we admit that all thinking in any form is a material process, whether
we think of the eternal, of god or the supreme principle, it is material process? 172
If you agree, then we can proceed. It takes a long time to come to this: The
psyche, the brain, the I, are all a material process.
A.C.: I want to know where you are taking me.
K: I am going to help you to take the first step. I have only come to a point
which is very simple. I said that the brain has evolved in time. Therefore, it is
evolved with knowledge. So, knowledge is time, and time and knowledge are a
mechanical process. And thought has created the psyche. Follow it; if
everything is movement, thought, psyche, time – it is all a material movement –
the brain cannot stand this constant movement. The brain functions with
knowledge, and it must have security. See how the brain rejects the idea of
constant movement. Watch it, watch yourself. You want a place where you can
rest. The brain says I must have some place where I can stay put. So that
becomes the `I’. Sir, if I am a beggar everlastingly wandering, there must be
some place where I can rest, some place where there is security. Can the
brain accept this constant, endless movement? It cannot accept it; in that there
is no security. It is eternally moving within the area of time, knowledge.
A.C.: Is it a question of accepting?
K: No. See how the brain works. As a child needs security, the brain says, I
can’t keep this eternal movement. So, I must have some point where I can stay
`quiet’. That is all.
A.C.: That point you call the `I’.
K: A fixed point. It does not matter; a house, a belief, a symbol, an
attachment. Do you get it? So, whether it is illusory or actual, it needs a fixed
A.C.: Then what?
K: The brain cannot live with perpetual movement. Therefore, it must have
a fixed point. There is danger in not accepting the movement which is life. See
physically what happens. Can you accept life as a perpetual movement within
the area of time and knowledge? Verbally you can, but actually can you say
life is constant movement? 173
Q: Is the brain itself responsible for this movement?
K: It is. The brain is thought, knowledge and the psyche.
Q: It creates the movement which it cannot stand.
K: It is movement itself.
Q: The instinct of the brain is to move towards security; and it is this instinct
to avoid danger and to attach itself to security which makes it fix on something.
K: Of course. Would you accept this whole movement within this area as
energy caught within this?
Q: Is it energy or does it require energy?
K: It is energy, caught in movement. Right? And that energy is a material
process. And a human being cannot live in the world and have a brain that is
constantly in movement – he would go mad.
A.C.: It seeks permanence, does not find it any more.
K: Realizing this constant movement, it seeks security, a movement where
it can be sure. That is all I am saying.
A.C.: Is it important?
K: It is important to establish that the `I’ is the centre where it finds security.
Call it whatever you like. Then it begins to discover it is insecure, and,
therefore, it finds another security. There is only search for security. Take a
child with a toy, and the other child says I must have that toy. That attachment
to that toy and the pleasure of the toy is the beginning. The beginning is from
the beginning of man.
A.C.: The question is that energy.
K: No, I said energy trapped.
A.C.: How can you open the door in which energy is trapped?
K: Now comes the real question. How long we have taken to come to this!
Can we proceed from here? 174
A.C.: You said energy is trapped in knowledge. Are yon making a
distinction between energy and thought?
K: No. The whole thing is energy trapped. Thought is energy, knowledge is
energy, the whole movement is within the area of knowledge and time. That is
all I am saying.
A.C.: Then the next question obviously is that since thought and knowledge
are limited, can energy stop expressing itself as thought?
K: No, no, it cannot. Otherwise, I can’t go to the office.
A.C.: I talk of energy expressing itself as psychological memory.
K: I know what you are trying to say, which is, can the psyche have no
existence at all? Don’t agree. If there is no content to the psyche – anxiety,
attachment, fear, pleasure, which makes the psyche, which are all the
products of thought – then what is life?
A.C.: Which is the product of energy?
K: Which is the product of energy trapped in time. You see that clearly.
Therefore, thought is saying I must create order in this area. Therefore, that
order is always limited; therefor, it is contradictory; therefore, it is disorder.
A.C.: I am still not clear about energy and thought. It appears to me that
you were saying that thought is limited but energy is not.
K: I said energy is trapped. I didn’t say any more than that.
A.C.: You are saying energy is trapped, but if it is not trapped, it would be
different. That is what I am asking. There is difference between energy and
K: That is theory.
N.S.: Are you saying there is an energy which is not trapped in thought?
K: I am going to show it to you. That question can only arise when we have
seen this in its completeness. I am not sure we see this.
N.S.: You said that thought is energy and that energy is trapped in thought. 175
K: No, I didn’t say that. The brain is the product of time, time is knowledge,
experience – time, knowledge, thought. Thought is a material process. All that
is energy. All that energy, that whole movement, is endless within this area.
Therefore, the brain cannot stand it. It must have security. It finds it in
knowledge or in illusion, or in an idea, whatever it is. It is always moving within
this area. What is the next question? A.C.: The next question is energy is
trapped, and is there an opening for that trapped energy?
K: It is trapped. I don’t say there is an opening.
A.C.: Does it not imply that?
K: No, sir. A trap is set to catch a fox.
A.C.: It implies that something outside the trap can set the fox free.
K: No. You miss my point. In here thought is trying to create order; that very
order becomes disorder. That is what is happening actually – politically,
religiously; that is the whole point. It is becoming disorder, more and more,
because we are giving importance to thought. Thought is limited. Now, does
the brain realize this? Does the brain realize that whatever it does is within its
own limitation and, therefore disorder? We are stating it. And the next question
is, is that theory or actual realization?
A.C.: How can the brain which is all this realize it actually?
K: Realize its limitation, that is all. Sir, what do you mean by the word
A.C.: What I mean is, the brain is only capable of thought; it realizes it as
K: Do you, as Asit, realize it in the sense that you realize pain? I know I
have pain, there is complete knowledge of pain. Does the brain see its
tremendous limitation? Let us begin again. What is perception? What is
seeing? There is intellectual seeing; I understand, comprehend, discern. Then
there is seeing through hearing, verbal hearing and capturing the significance.
Then there is optical seeing. Now, is there a different perception which doesn’t
belong to any of these three? I am asking; I am not saying there is. I am 176
sceptical. First see this: I see how my mind operates – intellectually, through
hearing, optically. That is all I know. So, through these media, I say I
understand or I act, which is a material process. Get the point? That is all.
Now, is there any other perception which is not a material process?
Sriram: Therefore, that is not part of the brain.
K: I don’t want to say that yet.
Sriram: Is there another kind of perception which is not of the brain?
K: Look, I understand through the intellect, reason and logic, and then there
is hearing which is not only verbal but going beyond the words. Go step by
step: Intellectual, audio, visual, optical, then touching or gestures, all these are
material processes. That is all I am saying. Then I am asking myself, is there a
perception which is not this? There may not be, but I am sceptical, so I am
asking. Answer it.
A.C.: I can ask this question, but I can’t answer it.
K: You will answer it presently. I want to find out. Don’t say you can’t
answer. I won’t accept it. Because by saying that you have already blocked
A.C.: May I ask a question? In order to see something you have to be
outside of it.
K: We are coming to that. Look, so far we have said this is the only medium
through which we understand. I don’t know anything else. But I want to be
quite sure this is the only way I understand.
A. C.: When you say that, after you have understood completely that this is
the only perception we know, that very statement has put you outside.
Otherwise what does the word `understanding’ mean?
K: Is that the only medium through which I understand? Punishment,
reward, all that is implied in this intellectual, optical, audio… all that. I know that
these are the factors that help my brain to say, `Yes, I understand.’ 177
A.C.: Are you saying that understanding is also the same process? K: Wait
sir. It is all within that. I see this is a material process and, therefore, it is still
here. Don’t go back to that, we are pushing away from it. So, I come to that
point, my brain comes to that point, and it stops. Because it is questioning. It
has questioned all this and that is the only thing – the brain, the material
process. Now you come along and say let us enquire if there is any other
process. And I say, `This is the only process I know. There may be no other
process. Show it to me.’ Don’t repeat. You are going to repeat the same thing
over and over again. I am trying to stop you from repetition. So, you are stuck.
Remain stuck there. See what we have done? We have activated the brain to
a tremendous extent. I don’t know if you follow this. I wonder if you see.
Alan Hooker: Taking the brain to its limit.
K: Yes, we are taking it to its very limit. So, it is a tremendous thing. Now
A.H.: What is the question?
K: Is there a perception which is not of time? Perception so far has created
disorder in our life. Is there a perception which will clear all that? Which
means, is there a perception out of time? I am asking you.
Q: We are stuck.
K.: Be stuck there, be stuck. I wish you were. When you are really stuck,
another perception is taking place.
Q: But we are generally trying to get out of it.
K: No, that is still the same old process – you are not stuck.
Sarjit Siddhoo: After listening to you, there has been a great movement
within the mind, in the brain, but as you have brought us to this point, this
movement seems to have stopped.
K: Is that it? Movement means time. Is there no movement in the brain?
You get my point? Are you still moving? When you say you are stuck, it means
all movement has stopped. Do you see it? 178
Q: In trying to answer this question, does it not continue that movement?
K: No, if you are stuck, there is no movement. It is like being stuck in
quicksand – the body can’t move.
S.S.: Unfortunately, that movement has stopped and that silence is there
very briefly. Then we are back again in the same movement.
K: No, no. Then you are not stuck.
Q: Are you suggesting that stopping is a permanent state?
K: I am not suggesting anything. I am just saying you come to the point
when your brain is being so tremendously activated that you can’t go any
further, you can’t move back or forth.
A.C.: Only one question remains. Have you activated the brain?
K: Are you asking whether K has activated the brain, the brain which is not
yours, nor mine, nor his? What do you say? Yes, we have activated it. 179
Chapter 6 Part 2 Intelligence, Computers And The
Seminar Rishi Valley 4th December 1980
K: Asit and I have been talking about the relationship of the human mind to
the computer. He is involved in the manufacture of computers. And we have
been trying, in different parts of the world, wherever we met, to find out what is
intelligence. Is there an action which the computer cannot possibly do,
something far more penetrating than anything man can do externally. And our
conversation has been going on for several years. So I thought this morning
we should meet and go into this matter.
A.C.: The Americans are developing super computers, and we as human
beings have to, in a sense, do the same thing. We have to be more intelligent
than the technology of the Americans to counteract the threat of that
technology. And the technology is not only in computers, it is also in genetic
engineering, cloning, biochemistry, etc. They are trying to control genetic
characteristics completely. Since the brain has no nerves, during brain surgery
the patient is conscious. One can communicate with him. I’m sure it’s a matter
of time before computer-brain interfaces are created. Then, in Russia, there is
a great deal of research being done on the ability to read thoughts and
transmit them to someone else. I would like to speculate a little bit, I am using
the word `speculate’ in the sense of seeing certain problems now which are
solvable technologically in the next few years. I think it is important to do this
because you are not merely talking to us but you are also talking to those in
the centuries to come, to whom all this will be a reality. For example, consider
the role of the teacher today. You can get a small computer, you put a
magnetic strip in it and it will communicate in French with you, put another strip
in and it is fluent in Arabic, Japanese, instantaneously. Suppose the strip could
be put into a human brain; the problem is only the interface between the brain
and the strip, because the brain operates as an electrical circuit. Then what
happens to the role of the teacher? The next point is that in affluent societies,
because of the tremendous increase in physical appliances like motor cars 180
and washing machines, the body has deteriorated. Now, since more and more
mental functions are going to be taken over by computer, the mind is going to
deteriorate not only at the level of what you are talking about, but even in
ordinary functioning. I see this as an enormous problem. How does one face
this problem in a world which is moving in this direction?
K: If learning can be done instantaneously, if I can be a linguist when I
wake up in the morning, then what is the function of the brain? What is the
function of the human being?
P.J.: Is it not a problem of what is humanness? What is it to be a human
being apart from all this?
K: Apparently, a human being, as he is, is a mass of accumulated
knowledge and reactions according to that knowledge. Would you agree to
that? And as the machine, the computer is going to take charge of all that,
what then is the human being? What is the function of a school then? Think a
great deal about this. This is not something that needs quick response. This is
tremendously serious. What is a human being if his fears, his sorrows, his
anxieties are all wiped away by chemicals or by some implanted electric
circuitry? Then what am I? I don’t think we get the fullness of it.
P.J.: If you take a strong tranquillizer, your anxieties are temporarily over.
That is not arguable. But if you can clone, you can do anything. We are
missing something in all this. I don’t think we are getting to the central thing.
There is something else also involved in this.
K: Look, Pupulji, if my anxieties, fears, sufferings can be allayed and my
pleasure increased, I ask then what is a human being? What is our mind?
A.P.: Do I understand that while, on the one hand, man has developed
these extraordinary capacities, there is also a corresponding process of
deterioration in the mind which is a side-effect of super mechanization?
A.C.: If you have a car and you stop walking, your body will deteriorate. So,
if the computer takes over mental functions, the mind deteriorates. I mean just
K: I don’t think we understand the depth of what is happening. We are
arguing over whether it can happen. It is going to happen. Then what are we?
What is a human being then? And then, when the machine, the chemicals – I
am using the word `computer’ to include all that – when the computer is going
to take us over completely and we no longer exercise our brains, they
physically deteriorate, how shall we prevent that? What shall I do? I must
exercise my brain. Now it is being exercised through pain, through pleasure,
through suffering, anxiety, all the rest of it. But it is working. And when the
machine and chemicals take over, it will cease to work. And if it is not working,
it will deteriorate; because we have problems, it acts.
Can we start with the assumption that these things are going to happen,
whether we like it or not? They are happening, unless we are blind or
uninformed. Then, let us enquire if the mind is deprived chemically of its
problems or by the computer, whether it can survive at all.
A.P.: I am not quite clear about one point. There is in each human being a
feeling of a void, of emptiness, which needs to be filled.
K: It will be filled by chemicals.
A.P.: It cannot be filled. No, sir.
K: Oh yes, it will be.
A.P.: I am questioning that. There is a strange void in every human being.
There is a seed that is groping.
R.B.: What he is saying is that there will be other forms of LSD without the
side-effects which will fill that gap.
K: Take a pill and you will never feel the void.
A.P.: At some point you have to see that there is something which will
A.C.: What if you don’t find that?
A.P.: Before you come to that, the finding of that, at least you must posit a
need for that. 182
K: I am positing a need.
A.P.: What is the need?.
K: The need is for chemicals, and the computer is going to destroy me,
destroy my brain.
A.C.: I am saying something slightly different, that is, if this technology
continues, there won’t be any void in any human beings because eventually
they may die out as a species. At the same time, as a human being, I feel
there is something else which I don’t know but want to find out. Is there
something which is different, which needs to be preserved? Can I understand
intelligence? How am I going to preserve that against all these dangers?
K: Asit, it may not be preservation at all. Look, sir, let us take for granted
that chemicals – the computer – is going to take man over. And if the brain is
not exercised as it is being exercised with problems of anxieties, fears, etc.,
then it will inevitably deteriorate. And deterioration means man gradually
becoming a robot. Then I say to myself, as a human being who has survived
several million years, is he to end like this? It may be so – and probably will.
A.C.: It seems to me that the movement of this technology is a very evil
thing because there is a certain goodness which is being destroyed.
A.C.: The technology is created by human beings. There seems to be a
movement of evil, and the evil thing is going to take over.
K: Is that evil? Why do you call it evil?
A.C.: Evil because it is destroying the world.
K: But we are destroying ourselves. The machine is not destroying us. We
are destroying ourselves.
A.C.: So the question is how is man to create this technology and yet not
be destroyed by it.
K: That is right. The mind is deteriorating because it will not allow anything
to penetrate its values, dogmas. It is stuck there. If I have a strong conviction 183
or opinion, I am deteriorating. And the machine is going to help us deteriorate
faster. That is all. So, what is a human being to do? Then I ask, what is a
human being, deprived of all this, if he has no problems and is only pursuing
pleasure? I think that is the root of it. This is what man seeks now, in different
forms. And he will be encouraged in that by the machine, by the drug. The
human being will be nothing, but involved in the pursuit of pleasure.
A.C.: And the computer and television will provide the pleasure right in his
home. We are saying there are not only computer scientists but there are also
genetic scientists and multinationals engaged in entertainment electronics and
they are going to converge to a point where man will end up either by
destroying the capacity of the human brain or as a human being in a constant
state of pleasure without any side-effects. And the pleasure will be obtained
through the computer and chemicals, and direct relationships with other
human beings will gradually disappear.
K: Perhaps no chemists, no computer experts have gone so far as yet but
we have to be ahead of them. That is what I feel. So, what is it that man has
pursued all through his existence? From time immemorial what is the stream
he has always followed? Pleasure?
A.C.: Pleasure, but also the ending of sorrow. K: Pleasure, avoid the other,
but essentially pleasure.
A.C.: He pursues pleasure and at some point he sees the need not merely
for pleasure, but in the negative sense, the ending of suffering.
K: Which means pleasure.
A.C.: Is the ending of suffering pleasure?
K: No. You are missing my point. I want pleasure at any price and suffering
is an indication to me that I am not having pleasure. Dispute it; don’t accept it.
A.C.: What I am saying is, historically man has always pursued pleasure.
K: Which means what? Go on, analyse it.
A.C.: The self has pursued it. 184
A.P.: When you say `self’, are you talking of the physical self or the
K: Both. I want to survive physically and psychologically, and to survive, I
must do certain things, and to do certain things, they must be pleasurable. Sir,
look into this very carefully. Ultimately man wants pleasure. The pursuit of god
is pleasure. Right? Is that what is going to be encouraged by the machine,
drugs – that man will be merely an entity that is concerned with pleasure? Is
the conflict to find a balance between the two? Pleasure is the most
destructive thing in life.
I don’t think you understand the significance of this. The conflict between
good and evil has existed from time immemorial. The problem is to find a
balance or a state where this conflict does not exist, which is pleasure. And
pleasure is the most destructive thing in life. Right?
A.P.: In terms of what you are saying, does the search for freeing the mind
from bondage come into the realm of pleasure? A.C.: We, in fact, reduce
everything to that: That is what human beings have done. Attachment,
bondage create suffering. That is why we want freedom. Can we see that all
human actions ultimately end in wanting happiness or pleasure, and they are
enormously destructive? They have ended up in a technology which is also a
pursuit of pleasure, which is self-destructive. There must be some other
movement of the mind which is not seeking pleasure, which is not self-
destructive, I don’t know if there is, but there must be.
K: Asit, let us get this clear between ourselves, you and I. It is a fact that
human beings historically up to now have always been in conflict between
good and bad; their ancient paintings indicate a struggle. The spirit of
conquering pervades, which ends up in pleasure. I have looked at it and I
realize instantly that the whole movement of man has been this. I don’t think
anybody can dispute this. I am saying the whole of it, not only physical, but
also psychological. Self-preservation is also part of that movement. That is a
fact. Is that destructive of the mind, of the brain? 185
R.B.: Sir, what do you mean by good and evil when you say it is trying to
balance the good and evil which is pleasure?
K: You have seen those cave paintings, fifty thousand years old, paintings
in the caves of France and Spain. There you see man struggling against the
R.B.: Yes. It exists everywhere in some form or other.
K: Yes. This conflict between the two – what is called good, what is called
evil – has existed from time immemorial. Right? And man has invented the
good and the evil. Watch it, watch your own mind. Don’t theorize. Look at
yourself if you can, and see what is good and what is evil. The fact is never
evil. Right? Anger is anger. But I say it is evil, Therefore, I must get rid of
anger. But anger is a fact. Why do you want to name it bad and good?
R.B.: Whether you name it bad or not, it can be terribly destructive. K: It can
be very destructive, but the moment I have called it bad, it is something to be
avoided, right? And the conflict begins. But it is a fact. Why do you call it
P.J.: Take the pursuit of black magic. Would you say the pursuit of that in
its very nature is evil or not?
K: What do you call black magic?
P.J.: Black magic is the pursuit of something with the intention of destroying
K: Which is what we are doing, though we may not call it black magic; but
what is war?
P.J.: Let me go slowly; you are rushing us. What I speak about brings into
operation, supposedly, powers which are not physical powers.
K: I had seen here at Rishi Valley some years ago, under a tree, a figure of
a man or a woman in which they had put pins. I asked what it was about, and
they explained it to me. Now, there was the intention to hurt somebody.
Between that and the intention to go to war, what is the difference? 186
You are losing an awful lot, you are missing an awful lot. You are all so
damn clever, that is what is wrong with you. Light is neither good nor bad.
Which means what? Look, sir, the computer, the chemicals, are taking over
man. This is neither good nor bad – it is happening. Of course, there is cruelty;
of course, there is kindness. It is obvious. The mother beating up a child and
somebody having compassion and saying, don’t hurt anyone – there is a
difference, that is obvious. Why do you call it good or bad? Why do you call it
evil? I am objecting to the word, that is all.
Can we move to something else, which is, pleasure is always in the known.
I have no pleasure today but day after tomorrow it might happen. I like to think
it will happen. I don’t know if you see what I mean. Pleasure is a time
movement. Is there pleasure that is not based on knowledge? My whole life is
the known. I project the known into the future modifying it but it is still the
known. I have no pleasure in the unknown. And the computer, etc. is in the
field of the known. Now the real question is whether there is freedom from the
known. That is the real question because pleasure is there, suffering is there,
fear is there, the whole movement of the mind is the known. And it may project
the unknown, theorize, but that is not a fact. So, computers, chemicals,
genetics, cloning are all the known. So, can there be freedom from the known?
The known is destroying man. The astrophysicists are going to space from the
known. They are pursuing the investigation of the heavens, the cosmos,
through instruments constructed by thought, and they are looking through
those instruments and discovering the universe, watching what it is; it is still
P.J.: A very interesting thing struck me just now. The present mind of man,
in the way it is functioning, is threatened. It is being destroyed. Either the
machine takes it over and it is destroyed, or the other freedom from the known
will also destroy its present functioning. The challenge is much deeper.
K: Yes. That is what I said. You got it. What Pupul is saying is, if I
understand rightly, the known in which our minds are functioning is destroying 187
us. The known is also the future projections as the machine, drugs, genetics,
cloning all that is born out of these. So both are destroying us.
A.C.: She is also saying the mind of man has always moved in the known,
in pursuit of pleasure. That has resulted in technology which will destroy it.
Then she is saying that the other movement, which is freedom from the
known, will also destroy the mind as we know it now.
K: Yes. Freedom from the known? What are you saying?
A.C.: There are two movements, she says. The movement of the known is
leading to greater and greater destruction of the mind. The way out is freedom
from the known, which is also destroying the movement of the known.
K: Wait. Freedom is not from something. It is an ending. Do you follow?
A.C.: Are you saying, sir, that this freedom from the known is of such a
nature that you are not destroying this movement, that thought has its place,
mind has its place? Are you saying in that there is freedom?
K: I say there is only freedom, but not from the known.
P.J.: I say the mind is functioning in a particular way, what we call the
human mind operates in a certain way. That human mind is put under
pressure by technological advances. This other, freedom from the known, also
is totally destructive of this function of the mind. Therefore, a new mind –
whether born of technology or one which is free of the known – is inevitable.
They are the only two things; the present position is out.
K: Let us be clear. Either there must be a new mind or the present thing is
going to destroy the mind. Right? But the new mind can only exist actually, not
theoretically; it can only exist when knowledge ends. Knowledge has created
the machine and we live on knowledge. We are machines; we are now
separating the two. The machine is destroying us. The machine is the product
of knowledge; we are the product of knowledge. Therefore, knowledge is
destroying us, not the machine. So, the question then is, can knowledge end?
Not can there be freedom from knowledge? Then you are avoiding or escaping
from knowledge. 188
A.C.: The question is, can knowledge or the action born of knowledge end?
Action out of knowledge can end. Knowledge can’t end.
K: It can.
A.C.: Action out of knowledge?
K: Action is freedom from knowledge. A.C.: Knowledge can’t end.
K: Yes, sir.
P.J.: What do you mean when you say all knowledge ends
K: Knowledge is the known, except technological knowledge. Can that
knowledge end? Who is to end knowledge? The person who ends knowledge
is still part of knowledge. So there is no entity apart from knowledge, which
can end knowledge. Please go slowly.
A.C.: There is only knowledge?
K: There is only knowledge, not the ending of knowledge. I don’t know if I
am making myself clear.
A.C.: So, sir, there is the tremendous force of self-preservation and there is
only knowledge. And you are asking, can knowledge end, which means self-
K: No, I understand what you are saying. I am leaving now, for the moment,
the ending of the self. I am saying the computer, which includes all technology,
and my life are based on knowledge. So there is no division between the two.
A.C.: I follow that.
K: This is a tremendous thing. And so long as we are living in knowledge,
our brain is being destroyed through routine, the machine, etc. So, the mind is
knowledge. There is no question of saying it must free itself from knowledge.
See that. There is only the mind which is knowledge.
I am going to tell you something. You see, you have blocked yourself. Don’t
say it is impossible. If you say it is impossible, you couldn’t have invented the
computers. Move from there. The mind when it says it must be free, whatever 189
it does, it is within the field of knowledge. So, what is the state of the mind that
is completely aware, or knows, or is cognizant that it is entirely knowledge?
I have moved. Don’t you see it? Now what has taken place? Apparently
knowledge is movement. Knowledge has been acquired through movement.
So, knowledge is movement. So, time, all that, is movement.
A.C.: You are speaking of the state of mind when time comes to a stop.
K: That is freedom. Time is movement. Which means what? It is very
interesting, sir. Let me put it together. Mind has invented the computer. I have
used the word to include all that technology, genetics, cloning, chemicals. That
is born from the knowledge which man has acquired. It is still the known, the
product of the known, with its hypotheses, theory and refuting the theory and
all that. Man has also done exactly the same thing as the machine. So, there is
no division between the two. The mind is knowledge. Whatever it does will be
born of knowledge – man’s gods, his temples are born of knowledge.
Knowledge is a movement. Can the movement stop?
That is really freedom. That means perception is free from knowledge and
action is not of perception, not out of knowledge. Perception of the snake, the
danger is action, but that perception is based on centuries of conditioning
about the snake. The perception that I am a Hindu, which has gone on for
three thousand years is the same movement. And we are living in the field all
the time. That is destructive, not the machine. Unless that machine of the mind
stops – not the computer – we are going to destroy ourselves.
So, is there a perception which is not born out of knowledge? Because
when this movement stops, there must be action.
A,C.: In other words, it is to act in the world, but nothing sticks, no marks
are left. Nothing takes root.
K: Which means what? A perception which is not of knowledge. Is there
such perception? Of course, there is perception which cannot be
computerized. Is this enquiry born out of the instinct for pleasure? We are all
enquiring. P.J.: I don’t know whether it is for pleasure or for something else. 190
A C.: It doesn’t matter whether the computer can do it or not. It is essential
that we do it.
P.J.: Which leads to the position that there is something to enquire into.
K: You see how deep-rooted it is!
A.C.: The question is, what is the mechanism of the mind, what is the
structure of the mind which operates with perception, with insight, with no
K: But look what we have done – to come to that point, which is perception
without record, how long it has taken. Why? Because we function in time.
A.C.: In other words, what you are saying is that you don’t have to go
through this process. If we have come to this point, and do not act, it is very
dangerous, much more dangerous than not having a discussion at all.
K: That is what I am saying. It is a tremendous danger. Have you come to a
point where you see what the mind has invented? – the machine which is the
computer, drugs, chemicals, cloning, all this. It is the same as our minds. Our
minds are as mechanical as that. And we are acting always in that area. And,
therefore, we are destroying ourselves. It is not the machine that is destroying
P.J.: One can say at the end of it, tapas, tapas, tapas. It means we have
not done our homework.
K: I am not sure if you are not back in time. You know, sir, a pianist once
said, if you practise, you are practising the wrong thing.
P.J.: It is not a question of practice.
K: Pupulji, there are all the teachers. What are they going to do? Drop a
bomb here? You follow what I mean? We are handling a bomb. It may go off
any moment. I don’t know if you realize this. It is a tremendous thing.
A.C.: It is far more dangerous.
K: This is really frightening. I wonder if you realize it. What will you do? This
is real revolution. 191
A.C.: And not only for teachers and students.
K: Of course, of course.
A.C.: I wanted to ask you, does the mind which has gone with you up to a
point, the mind which reaches this point, become much more vulnerable to
K: I understand what you mean. We won’t discuss it now. So, sir, the
question is stopping movement, ending movement, not ending knowledge.
This is the real question. 192
Chapter 6 Part 3 Intelligence, Computers And The
Seminar Rishi Valley 30th December 1980
K: Would you accept that intelligence is not the product of thought? If
intelligence is the product of thought, then intelligence is mechanical. Thought
can never be non-mechanical.
A.C.: Intelligence can be the product of thought. The computer scientists
K: That’s why they are investigating intelligence through thought.
A.C.: They want to know what is intelligence, and therefore, they want to
know what is the thinking process, because the thinking process for them is
linked to intelligence.
K: I am not saying it is so, or not. A.C.: So we have to enquire into what is
thought and what is intelligence?
K: If you once admit that intelligence is not the product of thought, then the
thinker has no importance.
A.C.: I think you are going too fast. If intelligence is not the product of
thought, then thought has no importance. But negatively, it is important
because, without understanding it, intelligence cannot come about.
K: Yes. Thought is a mechanical process; therefore, keep it in its right
place. But you want to find out what is intelligence. Don’t introduce thought into
it. Can we go into what that intelligence is which is never touched by thought?
A.C.: Yes, I understand, How does one enquire into what is intelligence?
K: Not by using thought to enquire. If you use thought you are blocking
A.C.: I follow, in the sense that you are saying, don’t use thought or the
thinking process to enquire into what is intelligence.
K: Because intelligence is not the product of thought. 193
A.C.: I don’t know that. If you say, don’t use thought to enquire, then what
do you want?
K: That’s just it. Let us go into it. But let us be quite sure that thought cannot
produce intelligence. Thought has produced the atom bomb, it has produced
war. But you are enquiring into something which thought cannot enquire into.
You are enquiring into what is intelligence. We say it is not a product of
thought. If it is, you are operating with thought.
A.C.: I accept this; that’s clear. I accept that you cannot use the tool – the
thought process – to enquire into intelligence. Then how do you enquire? K:
But first we must be quite sure that we accept that.
A.C.: I can see that Now – for then everything would be intelligence,
everything that is thought. And it is not intelligence.
K: Of course.
A.C.: I see that there is no such thing as inefficient thought, good thought,
bad thought, that is quite clear.
K: What the computer experts are doing in Japan is to enquire into thought.
A.C.: That is why they are stuck because they never reach intelligence.
K: Yes The Indians have tried to suppress thought, control thought.
A.C.: Why have they said that?
K: Because they feel if thought stops, the other may exist. Meditation to
them is that.
A.C.: That means they had an insight into this other thing?
K: No. Look sir, perhaps the Buddha may have seen that intelligence is not
thought. The other have spoken of how to suppress thought, control it. To
them that is meditation. Which means what? That which is intelligence cannot
be found through thought; therefore, suppress it.
A.C.: Do you feel that they have some insight into this whole thing? If
someone told you, suppress thought, contain it, wouldn’t you feel that the
person had some insight into it? Can one refine thought? 194
K: Thought is as the child of a barren woman. Which means what?
A.C.: It’s not creative. The computer scientists are trying to create a
computer like the human brain, but they can`t do it because they don’t know
the thinking process. I wonder whether Indians who are supposed to have
investigated for five thousand years into the human mind, nirvana and the
other, could get together to create this.
K: Which two getting together?
A.C.: The Indian mind and the mind of technology.
K: Listen, the Buddha might have said there is intelligence that has nothing
to do with thought. The rest of them read it or heard it; they translated that or
A.C.: So, there is no meaning to their investigation.
K: It is the original man who said, `Look, I don’t know what it is all about, but
I’m going to find out.’ That is research.
A.C.: I follow; you have answered my question. We come back. You are
saying the computer scientist is approaching it wrongly; he is approaching
intelligence through the thinking process and he can never find it and,
therefore, he is stuck.
K: Which means the thinking process is mechanical.
K: Ah, be careful. Because thinking is based on knowledge. Right?
Knowledge is limited.
A.C.: Even if they understand the thinking process, they still want to
understand intelligence. So we come back to the question: How does one
enquire into intelligence?
K: You can’t because your enquiry is with the brain. The brain is
conditioned to think. Is this clear? 195
A.C.: Are you saying that if you really saw this clearly you don’t enquire
using the thought process? Then, is there any enquiry into intelligence?
Intelligence is, it exists.
K: No, no. Then you have to enquire into what it is to investigate. Can I
discard the use of the brain, of thought – which is the brain, which is
mechanical? There may be a part of the brain which is not mechanical – I don’t
know – but we can leave that for the moment. Intelligence is not the product of
the brain as thought.
A.C.: Then one discards thought.
K: Not discards, one can’t discard that. I want a baby. I can’t produce a
baby. So, what have you left when you are no longer using the brain to
A.C.: But you talk of seeing and listening. Would you call that the use of the
K: Seeing is not the use of the brain. But I have seen the world through my
thinking. I have seen what it has done in the word – atom bombs, destruction,
etc., which is all the movement of thought. It has done evil things and good
things. We will use evil and good for the moment. But that is not intelligence.
A.C.: I follow.
K. Thought can never beget intelligence. Therefore, I say to myself: I
wonder whether I am approaching it wrongly.
A.C.: You have shown me that you cannot reproduce human intelligence
that way but you can simulate thought that way, and you can get to know the
thought process that way.
K: Yes, that’s simple.
A.C.: That in itself could be dangerous.
K: That’s what is happening. The computer will be able to think much
A.C.: That in itself is dangerous. 196
K: The fighter pilots have something inside the brain or outside. The
moment they think and look, they shoot accurately.
A.C.: Yes, they will look at the target and then the shooting takes place. K:
If you are really clear that thought under no circumstances can have
intelligence, then what is the instrument that will investigate? We have used
thought to investigate; now I have discarded thought, in the sense that thought
has its place but when I am enquiring into intelligence thought has no place.
Thought cannot investigate into intelligence. If you tell this to computer experts
they will say, what the hell are you talking about? Then what is the instrument
which is not thought that can perceive, investigate, look into intelligence?
A.C.: Seeing? Observing?
K: Don’t use those words. Use your own words. Then it will have more
A.C.: There is nothing else except thought.
K: That’s it. So the battle. And that’s why they are stumped; they are
moving in the same circle. They use thought and they want to enquire into the
process of thought. The process of thought is very clear – it is based on
memory, memory is based on knowledge and so on. The brain is conditioned
to that; it has operated for a million years on that basis and now these experts
come along and try to investigate intelligence with their brains which are highly
trained. But their enquiry is still based on knowledge which is limited.
Therefore, their investigation can never find out. Now, is there any instrument
that will see what intelligence is – or is there no instrument at all? Do you see
what I am talking about? I have so far used the instrument of thought to
investigate. Now we have discarded that. But I am still searching for an
instrument to investigate. That means I am still in the same groove.
A.C.: There is only thought.
K: There is no process of investigation. Now, what is it that is not
contaminated by thought, that has no past, no future, no time element in it? 197
The time element is thought. The quality of mind that is not of time, not of
tomorrow, not of yesterday, not of memory – that mind is an intelligent mind.
A.C.: Why do you call it that?
K: That is intelligence.
A.C.: Why is that intelligence?
K: I will show you in a moment. First of all we have given up thought, and
there is no instrument that can investigate.
A.C.: Yes, for the instrument would be thought.
K: Thought may be waiting surreptitiously, unconsciously, to catch
something. It cannot investigate that. If you admit that once, then what has
happened to your brain? What has happened to your enquiry? You want to
discuss intelligence. The moment you deny thought totally, that is intelligence.
A.C.: I don’t know what intelligence is.
K: Why does one think one doesn’t know?
A.C.: Because obviously…
K: Ah no, you are not answering my question. Because you are saying
thought must know what intelligence is. But thought can never know.
K: Knowing means feeling, accumulating, acting.
A.C.: I see that.
K: If you follow that, there is no instrument of enquiry.
A.C.: I follow that.
K: Therefore, what? That state of the mind that has put away thought; it is
not enquiring. So, what has happened? We will use another word – insight.
Insight is not remembrance, it is not the accumulated knowledge which is
thought. It has nothing to do with time. To see something instantly has nothing
to do with time. A.C.: I see that. Are you saying that intelligence – insight – that
state of mind does not exist if you approach it through the thought process? 198
K: If you are clear – as clear as in the knowledge that a cobra is poisonous –
that thought can never under any circumstances reach intelligence, you wipe
away all enquiry. These people are using thought to create a machine that can
think, a super computer, artificial intelligence. They are working to create a
brain which will be like ours, which will be mechanical. They are using their
brain, with their tremendous knowledge of the brain, to produce a brain which
is based on thought.
A.C.: In fact, they are using the model of the human brain to copy it.
K: Which is thinking. I follow that. Do you see this as a fact? To see it as a
fact is to see that thought under no circumstances can have the other. If
thought is no longer the instrument of enquiry, then you have nothing else with
which to enquire. You can’t enquire. Then what is intelligence, that is not
based on enquiry? Look sir, I want to enquire into truth. I don’t know anything
about it. I don’t want to depend on anyone to find out. So, I have to discard all
the past. I want to find out what is supreme intelligence – that is what they all
want to find out – not casual intelligence. We want to find out what is supreme
intelligence. So, can I discard everything that I know? The only instrument I
have is thought. I can think clearly because I have been trained to think, not
sentimentally but objectively. Thinking which can produce so-called
intelligence is then on the same level as thinking that has produced war.
Therefore, it is not intelligence. So, under no circumstances will thinking have
a perception of that. I must be absolutely clear. If I am not clear,
unconsciously, deeply, then thought is going to interfere.
Before anything else, I want to clear the board. Is that possible? I see that
what they are doing won’t get them there. They will create mechanical, artificial
intelligence which is like human intelligence that is capable of destroying the
world. Right? Thinking, and all the instruments thought has invented to
investigate into that – meditation, various types of silence, various types of self-
denial – are out. The technologies won’t accept that but true enquiry is that.
And they haven’t found it. They are anchored to Jesus or to the saint, which is
thought, and from there they move through thought. They won’t accept that 199
thought can under no circumstances come to that. Then what have I left to see
that thought, under any circumstances, can produce intelligence?
A.C.: I understand that. It is not enough to see that thinking is not
K: That is fairly simple, but the implications of it, the inwardness of it…
A.C.: When you say that intelligence is not the product of thought, it is
K: Because you have applied your brain.
A.C.: But that is not enough. It does not mean that thought has found its
proper place. To see something is not enough.
K: No. To see that you don’t know – we all think we know – to see that
thought cannot produce intelligence which is non-mechanical, you didn’t use
thought. Thought is limited. You accepted the fact; there was no thinking; you
A.C.: I understand. My problem is slightly different. It is not enough to see
that thinking is not intelligence.
K: To accept that is fairly simple, but the implications of it?
A.C.: That’s what I want to know.
K: If you pointed this out to the computer scientists, what would their
reaction be? They would treat it as mystical. Yet, these are the people trying to
find out. A.C.: Yes. These people are trying to find intelligence. But other
people are also trying to find that – the people whom you have been talking to.
K: They can’t, they haven’t. They react with thought. You have to apply your
A.C.: To see something is not enough.
K: To see that you don’t know – they all say they know. Progress in the last
twenty years has been so rapid. They know; they wouldn’t accept they don’t
know. I want you to see this. 200
A.C.: The person who has listened to you, who sees what you say, does
not become intelligent. I am talking of myself.
K: But you don’t have to investigate; it is all there. They want to investigate
the point they want to reach. Their minds want to investigate where they want
to go. When you see that thought is not the instrument, what will produce
intelligence? Are you seeing the whole of it? Or are you seeing only in one
direction? I don’t know whether I am conveying something. That means, can
the brain observe something whole without any kind of fragmentation?
Intelligence is not fragmentation. The brain that investigates is fragmented,
broken up. Whatever words you use, it functions in a very small field of
knowledge. So, this cannot see it. Do you really feel this in your blood?
A.C.: What does that mean, sir?
K: This is something in which organized religions have no place. Why?
A.C.: Because we see what has happened with organized religions.
K: No, that means you are approaching it through reason – you see what is
happening and from there you come to a conclusion.
A.C.: I follow what you are saying; it is possible. K: You don’t have the
insight to see that is wrong. So, when you say that you are using reason, logic,
you are turning to thought and through thought you come to a conclusion. Can
you have insight which says without logic this is wrong? And having seen that
it is wrong, use logic then?
A.C.: I follow that.
K: In the same way, sir, thought cannot do this. We use logic to
communicate and we say it is quite clear. It is not Logic has made it very clear;
so what do you do? We may have discussed it, gone into it, but you are still
following the same way of thought – logic, reason, facts. Right? Do you see
A.C.: In order to see that… 201
K: First see that clearly and then it comes naturally. Don’t put it the other
way round. Don’t say, to live like that I must do this.
A1.C.: To see needs the right environment.
K: This is our environment. Wherever you are, that is your environment. If
you are in a hotel room in London, that’s our environment.
A.C.: If I am with you, it’s different. If I am not with you, it’s totally different.
K: Of course.
A.C.: The environment is different.
K: No, not the environment. Here I am forcing you to look. «Forcing’, in
quotes, pushing you. There no one is pushing; they are all thinking the same
A.C.: So, it becomes very important, and that is the trap: to have to be
K: Yes. It is very important to go to a doctor, a right doctor if I can find him. I
am stimulated. When the stimulation is one you are back to what your
environment is. To see this is no stimulation. Either you see it or you don’t see
it. We have discussed this for over an hour and we are beginning to see the
nature of it. If you had another couple of days here, steadily working, thinking,
you’d be in it.
A.C.: That’s what I meant when I was talking to you, that’s what I meant by
K: But if you treat it as a-drug…
A.C.: Of course, I see that when I am with you it is different from when I am
not with you. When I am away, it is completely overwhelmed and
overpowered, but it does come back when I am with you. What can I do to see
that it stays?
K: As you have other things to do, I would meet you very often till you are
soaked in it, soaked in the sense that you understand what I mean, not just 202
repeat what I say. You are born in it. How will you transmit this to your
associates? Would they listen to you?
A.C.: No, they won’t listen. This research into artificial intelligence will go
on. Through thought they are going to produce a super computer better than
`most people’s brains’. They will do it and they will end up creating a world
which will make the human mind obsolete. That is the threat to the human
K: Will they consider that they have reached the mystery of intelligence
A.C.: Yes. They will be able to reproduce anything that is mechanical,
reproduce the thought process. That is the human brain, and that is
frightening. What is most exciting is to investigate the nature of this intelligence
and what can happen, not artificial intelligence. And I have been asking why in
this environment I can feel a total change taking place.
K: Suppose we were to discuss every day, could you stand it?
A.C.: Yes. K: Careful.
A.C.: I could stand it, but to carry it out is the problem. The problem is when
I go out of the door.
K: That means you haven’t seen this. To see the danger of that, of thought,
of the whole mechanistic process, the inwardness of it, is the very source of
Chapter 6 Part 4 Intelligence, Computers And The
Seminar Madras 31st December 1982
Asit Chandmal: Sir, for the last two and a half years we have been talking
about computers, the way they are progressing and the impact technology
could have on the human mind and, therefore, the species. We have
discussed its sociological impact and whether the computer can ever be like
the human mind. The Government and the top computer scientists of Japan
have decided to create a computer which will replicate the processes of the
human brain and they have earmarked hundreds of millions of dollars for this
project. They call it the fifth generation of computers. They say that they will do
it by 1990 and that the computer will speak and understand many languages.
Now, the problem they are facing is this: They don’t know what is intelligence.
There is enough knowledge about the hardware with which computers are
built. The brain is matter made up of hydrogen, carbon and other molecules
and it operates essentially as an electrical circuit and through chemical
reactions. The computer is made of silicon molecules and it also operates
essentially as a collection of electrical circuits of chips. So they can now make
these chips smaller and smaller and faster and faster, they can put away more
memory, more logic, than human beings ever can. They can put in a
tremendous amount of logic circuits, but still the computer cannot, does not
respond the way a human being does because it thinks out things sequentially;
it cannot perceive immediately, it can’t work in parallel.
So they say that if we can understand how the human mind works, we can
simulate it in a computer. They admit they do not understand the human mind,
the brain or intelligence. They say in order to understand intelligence, we must
understand the thinking process, because then we could understand
intelligence. They also do not understand how creativity operates. What is
creativity? Most people say that the human mind has the ability to make a
leap. So they are looking into what is intelligence and what is the thinking
process and what is creativity because they feel that if they can understand 204
this, they can reproduce it in a computer and that will give it intelligence and
creativity. And you are saying that intelligence has nothing to do with thought.
We know only the thinking process and they are going to find out about that
and put it into a computer.
K: You are almost certain they will do it?
A.C.: They call it a major attack on the unknown, which is the mind, and
they say this is our perception of the future – future industry, future technology
and all that. The Americans are very worried about it. So IBM, all of them, are
putting hundreds of millions of dollars in similar research.
K: The Americans are doing it too!
A.C.: There is an organization in America which most people don’t know
about, the National Security Agency. It has ten square miles covered with
computers. It is so big it has its own university. It has more Ph.D’s than all the
universities in Europe, all geared towards defence work. They are also working
on such computers but they don’t get publicity. There is an incredible amount
of money, and highly educated specialists are working on creating a machine
which will perform like the human mind. So what I want to ask you is this: If
they succeed in doing this, then as I see it, the present human mind has to
eventually die out: it is obsolete; it cannot compete. In terms of evolution, it
can’t survive. So what is our response to this? Then again, if the present
human mind is different from merely being a thinking machine, what is the
difference? Is it creativity, is it intelligence, and if so, then what is creativity and
what is intelligence? So shall we take the first question sir: Are our minds
merely programmed thinking machines, are our minds mechanical?
K: Where do we start in discussing, in exploring this?
A.C.: I think we should start from the way we actually operate in our daily
life. All action is based on thought and thought is a material process. It seems
to me fairly clear that such a mind has to die out because it will be replaced by
superior technology. 205
K: Would you differentiate between the mind and the brain or would you
only use the word `mind’ to convey the wholeness of the human mind?
A.C.: I am using the word `mind’ in terms of what a human being is. He has
a brain with thought, emotions and all the reactions.
K: So you are using the word `mind’ in the sense that it includes all the
reactions, emotions, remembrances, the confusion, desire, pleasure, sorrow,
affection. If all that is the mind, then what is the relationship between that and
A.C.: What do you mean by the brain ?
K: Is that brain an individual brain, or a result of the entire evolutionary
process of the human being?
A.C.: Physically, it is a separate brain. But are you saying that the cells in
my brain or someone else’s brain have the same content?
K: Is the brain, which has evolved, my brain or the brain of this tremendous
evolution? A.C.: It is obviously evolution.
K: So it is not my brain; not my thinking. It is thinking. Whether it is a poor
man or a rich man or a professor, it is thinking. You may think differently, I may
think differently, but it is still thinking. Are you saying then that thinking is an
integral part of the brain?
A.C.: It seems to be.
K: That is, that thinking has created all the human problems as well as
technological problems. And thinking is trying to solve those problems and
finds that it cannot.
A.C.: And it says that it cannot because I am not thinking well enough.
K: Thinking itself says that: It is general to all mankind, whether it is the top
scientist or the poor ignorant villager, and that thinking has created war,
division of people, churches, temples, mosques. It has created all those
divisions and it tries to create one god, who is not divisible. In human
relationship thought has created problems and it has not solved them. It 206
cannot because thought itself is limited. Thought is the result of experience,
knowledge, memory. Knowledge is never complete. Therefore, thought can
never be complete.
As knowledge is limited, thought must be limited, and that limited thought
creates the problems. All limitations must create problems and then that very
thought which has created the problem tries to solve the problem. So it cannot
solve the problem.
A.C.: Are you saying that problems are created because knowledge is
limited and the instruments of knowledge are limited?
K: And thought is limited because of knowledge.
A.C.: Are you saying that thought is limited because it has not been able to
know everything? K: Thought is the result of vast experience, memory, all that.
You have seen the computer. It is a form of computer which has had a great
deal of experience, a great deal of knowledge, and thought and knowledge are
P.J.: What is the distinction between thought and mind?
K: They are both the same movements.
A.C.: In other words, you are saying that all new knowledge is essentially
contained in the old knowledge and is a result of thought.
K: Of course. All knowledge is the result of thought.
A.C.: Are you saying that discovering a new thing in physics or
mathematics is not creativity; is the same limited knowledge increasing?
K: Look, we must keep creation out for the moment, for it may have
different meaning to you or to her. Let us be clear; all knowledge is limited.
Scientists are adding; that will go on for the next thousand years, but still
whatever is being added to must be limited because there is always something
more to be added.
A.C.: Is it limited at any given point of time? 207
K: Of course. So, knowledge must always go with ignorance. Thought is
born of knowledge. If you have no knowledge, you wouldn’t think. You may
reach a total state of amnesia or whatever it is called; you will be completely
A.C.: As you are saying that all knowledge is limited, I have to ask this
question of creativity as we know it. Today, if somebody composes a new
symphony or writes a new equation in physics, would you say that it is not
creativity in the true sense?
K: I won’t call that creativity. I may be wrong. I am not laying down the law.
A.C.: In that case, sir, you are in fact saying that our minds, as we know
them and as they operate in our daily life, are entirely mechanical. In which
case, that is what the Japanese are going to do – build a computer which has a
vast storehouse of knowledge, and an extremely `intelligent’, logical –
deductive and inductive – brain much better than the human brain. So, what
happens to our brain?
P.J.: The human mind – which Krishnaji says is both the individual mind and
the mind of mankind – has itself been a storehouse for the mind of mankind to
probe into and draw out of. The memory bank of the computer can never be
the memory bank of the racial mind.
A.C.: Why do you say that?
Q: The racial mind is the result of evolution. So, in a sense, while all the
options within it may still be limited, all the options of the memory of mankind
are available to it.
A.C.: It may have more options, more memory than the computer, but
essentially it is still doing the same thing – operating out of memory and
K: Of course, of course.
A.C.: Computer scientists are saying that we can put a much vaster
storehouse of knowledge in the computer by networking computers, etc. Now,
superficially, that is true; no human being can remember everything in the 208
encyclopaedia. So, outwardly, the memory of the computer is much better. In a
much deeper sense, since it does not have subconscious or racial memories,
the human brain can have much more access to knowledge and more
memory, but it is still the same thing – access to more memory.
K: Yes, sir, move from there.
A.C.: And you say any act of that mind is not creative including the
composing of symphonies, Einstein’s discovery, writing poetry – none of that. It
is all a projection of knowledge, memory, may be just permutations and
combinations. K: Of course, of course.
A.C.: The moment you accept that, the computer will definitely become
superior to man, the human mind, in this function.
A.P.: What you say is tantamount to saying that the evolutionary process of
the brain has come to an end.
A.C.: That is correct.
A.P. Now, I question this.
A.C.: I am saying that the mind as it is, the brain as it is, has come to an
end because that particular brain is going to be replaced by a brain, the
computer, which can perform these functions.
A.P.: This is just a hypothesis.
A.C.: It is not a hypothesis. Already it is performing a lot of functions far
better than the human mind. It can’t do all of them, so they are working on that.
Why should you believe that matter made of hydrogen and carbon molecules
is inherently superior to something made of silicon molecules or that the
human brain’s electrical circuits are inherently and forever superior to those of
K: Achyutji, Asit, would you agree on one point – that the computer has a
cause as the human brain has a cause? Then what has a cause, has an end.
Now, is there something which is causeless? If there is such a thing as a
movement which is causeless, that is creation. 209
R.R.: What you are saying is that there is an extraordinary mind.
K: No I have not gone into it, yet. After forty or fifty thousand years, we
have reached this point – the brain. The computer has reached this point.
Between the two, there is not much difference; both are created by thought.
A.P.: I am not willing to concede that that which the human brain has
created has come into total possession of all the faculties of its creator: Is that
what you are saying, Asit?
K: No, sir. He does not say that. The computer cannot see the stars and
look at the beauty of the stars.
R.R.: But it can simulate it.
K: Of course. But it hasn’t the perception of the human eye looking at the
heavens and saying what a marvellous night this is.
R.R.: Why do you concede that point, Asit?
A.C.: I did not concede it. In fact, they can simulate all that.
K: Of course, they can simulate it.
R.R.: Are you saying that because emotions are also the result of sensory
perception and thought?
K: Is there a perception which is not the product of thought?
A.C.: Does the human mind have such a thing?
K: Probably not.
A.C.: The computer hasn’t got it either. But they will have in twenty or thirty
years’ time – the computer will be superior to human beings.
K: Of course, I am inclined to agree with you.
P.J.: I am inclined to question you, sir.
A.P.: If we observe the human mind which has gone into the making of the
computer, you are assuming that it has exhausted its potential by creating the
computer: Having created, having given birth to the baby, the mother dies.
That is what you are saying. 210
K: No, no.
A.P.: I refuse to accept it. A.C.: Why do you refuse to accept it? Having
given birth to nuclear weapons… those weapons will wipe out human beings.
A.C.: So, having given birth to computers which are now designing and
making new computers which will make better and faster computers, why do
you say that they won’t be able to destroy man who has made them?
R.R.: And even if they did not destroy, why cannot the baby have all the
potentialities of the mother?
Rupert Sheldrake: So why do I need, the Japanese need, all the top
computer scientists and the Japanese Government and twenty-five
international companies need, to produce these computers if computers can
already do it?
A.C.: This is the target. Computers cannot already do it.
R.S.: The fact is, it is a target but it is nothing. Alchemists for the past so
many years have tried to create gold but they have failed. We are talking about
what amounts to in the mind as fantasy.
A.C.: Do you know what they are trying to do? Genetic scientists have got
together with computer scientists. They are saying, why are you using silicon?
The human brain has hydrogen and carbon molecules. So let us take
hydrogen and carbon molecules, let us use brain cells to make computers:
Another approach is: Our genes are programmed so that some cells become
an eye, others become the nose and so on. If you can break that genetic code,
you could programme it to become a brain or a computer. There is a lot of
research going on in that.
R.S.: I know about this research. I regard that as fantasy too, because I
think the whole thing is based on false premises about the nature of the brain,
about the nature of life and so on. But this would be sidetracking the main
issue. I think I would rather come back to the point that in relation to producing
bigger and better computers which may supersede certain powers of human 211
beings, what is involved is human activity, call it thought or whatever you like.
And these computers are the product of human activity. There is no doubt that
many things human beings make exceed human capacities, but there is a
limit. Machines can do many things which human beings can’t do.
Nevertheless, they are the products of human beings and it seems to me
unlikely that in any sense these things would supersede human beings. They
may supersede particular faculties of human beings.
A.C.: What are the things they will not be able to supersede?
R.S.: They have not yet superseded the ability to invent the fifth generation
A.C.: Yes, but the Japanese cannot do it without computers. It is being
done by the Japanese and by computers. And, if you actually measure it,
perhaps 20 per cent of the effort will be human, 80 per cent will be that of the
R.S.: Well, everything we do today in the modern world is aided by
A.C.: What is it in a human being that you think cannot be done by
machines in the next twenty-five or fifty years?
R.S.: Well, it is a subject which we are now coming to – creativity. Let us
take a smaller point – humour. And one of the most striking things is that most
of us are not behaving like desiccated calculating machines. Most people lead
their lives with a certain sense of humour. You see people laughing about all
sorts of things. I have never seen a computer laugh.
A.C.: If you heard the computer laugh, would you accept that it can do what
human beings can?
R.S.: No. You can get a tape recorder to laugh.
A.C.: What will convince you? R.S.: Nothing.
A.C.: You have made up your mind.
R.S.: I am prejudiced. 212
A.C.: Why are you prejudiced? If you see a baby, you will say that the baby
will be capable, when it grows, of doing a lot of things which computers cannot
do. But if a group of people design a new type of computer, you will say a
priori that computers will never be able to do what the baby can do. Why?
What is it in that baby that persuades you?
R.S.: You see, there are a lot of things which we recognise and understand
directly without being able to put everything into explicitly stored-up recognition
programmes. I can recognise many different kinds of flowers, trees and
animals. If I have to say how I recognise them, what is it that makes me
recognize them, it will be very difficult for me to tell you. I think it will be difficult
for you, too.
K: But, sir, when you recognize, it is based on memory.
A.C.: They are working on pattern recognition. There is tremendous
research going into it today. Computers are beginning to recognise some
R.S.: But there is a certain intuitive sense.
A.C.: What is intuition?
R.S.: It is notoriously difficult to say what intuition is.
A.C.: It is just a word. Unless you know what it means, you cannot use that
R.S.: No. You don’t have to be able to spell out in mathematical formula
whatever words mean.
A.C.: Spell it out in words. What is intuition?
R.S.: Intuition is grasping something more, seeing something more, insight
into something which involves a direct kind of knowledge which does not have
to go through a process of words, thought and action. A. C.: How do you know
it has not gone through the process of word or thought? It could have done it
subconsciously in your mind, the brain has been working on it, and it emerges 213
instantaneously, and you call it intuition. It does not mean that it has not gone
through the process of thought.
R.S.: It may have gone through such processes. If, for everything I say, you
are going to postulate hidden processes…
A.C.: I am not postulating.
R.S.: Yes, you are.
P.J.: Sir, the problem seems to be that if the brain is a closed circuit only,
then what Asit says is true. But the `but’ comes in because the whole reason
for our being here is, can there be an acceleration of the very capacity of the
brain so that it ceases to be a process? Is the brain a closed circuit?
R.S.: The trouble is, it takes a long time to answer these questions. I have
my own theory about biology which would deny most of these basic premises.
You see, the conventional theory of biology, including the conventional theory
of the brain, starts from the assumption that there are simply mechanical,
chemical or physical processes within the organism. Now, only 99 per cent of
biology is based on this assumption, and therefore, the kind of language in
which we speak is based on that kind of thinking.
I disagree with the assumption, firstly, that the brain is a closed circuit.
Secondly, that it works entirely mechanically or chemically or electrically and
so on. So, I think we have a theory of life which says that living organisms are
nothing but machines, and then we have a theory which says it has nothing to
do with machines. Why can’t we model them by machines? This is the basis of
your argument, and it seems quite reasonable on the face of it, but there are a
number of assumptions.
P.J.: He posited three things: Whether the brain as it is today is a closed
circuit; what is intelligence; and what creativity is.
A.C.: I didn’t say the brain was a closed circuit.
K: May I ask a question, sir? Would you consider that the brain has infinite
capacity? Don’t say `no’ right away. Let us use the word `capacity’. I don’t like
the word `capacity’ because for us capacity is educated knowledge and all 214
that. But if I can use that word, the brain has infinite capacity. Look what it has
done in the technological world, including the computer.
A.C.: You can’t say that thought is limited and then say that the brain has
K: Yes, I am going to come to that. Thought has limited the brain, has
conditioned the brain. Would you agree? I am a Hindu, I believe in all the
superstitions, all the nonsense. Right?
A.C.: You are separating thought and brain.
K: No no I want to find out if the brain can ever be free from its own
limitation, thought, knowledge, emotion. All right, call it thought. Can the brain
which has been conditioned by thought, if that conditioning is somehow freed,
it has got…
A.C.: You can’t say that.
K: It may. You are understanding now? You have been to the moon, the
brain has created cruise missiles, it has had extraordinary technological
movement. Agreed? Now, is there an instrument which is not thought? This is
not romantic speculation. I am just asking; I am not saying there is or there is
not. You understand my question? Thought is a worn-out instrument. I think it
has reached its limit, tether, because it has not solved the human problem. So,
is there a way of looking which is not thought but which can instead of going
out there, going to the heavens and all that, turn inwards? That inward
movement is the infinite: R.R.: Still it has not solved the human problem.
K: I am going to show it will. No, thought will not solve the human problems.
Either it is a fact or it is not a fact. On the contrary, it is increasing human
Q: Your question is: Is there anything other than thought which could be an
K: Yes, you may not agree with what I am going to say presently. Then,
perhaps, that instrument can look both outward and inward, and that is infinite. 215
Q: Psychologists try to discover what is within; at least they profess to do
K: I know, sir, what they say is all mechanical.
Q: I accept what you say.
K: Don’t accept, sir. I hesitate to accept what I say too. I want first to be
quite clear that thought has not solved human problems. It has solved
technological, not human problems – my relationship with my wife, my
relationship with the community, my relationship with the heavens, and all the
rest of it. And thought tries to resolve these problems and it has made things
worse. It is so obvious. So I am now asking, is there something which is not
thought, which is not mechanical?
A.C.: You are asking in other words what Pupulji was asking the other day:
Is there a sensory perception without thought?
K: Yes: Will you listen to something? Life is a movement, going out and
coming in, like the tide. I create the world, and the world then controls me. And
I react to the world. It is movement. Would you agree to that? Now, if you see
the same thing as I see – not that you must – it is a movement out and in, this is
our life, action and reaction, reward and punishment. Can this movement
stop? P.J.: You have to move out of your closed circuit of the computer to
even face that question.
K: No not move out of the circuit. This is our life. Now, as long as this
movement exists, I am caught in time, that is evolution.
R.S.: Why not just say that is life, evolution?
K: Yes, and that is: I am evolving. This movement gets better, worse, it is
always movement. So, as long as this movement exists, I am mechanical.
Q: Only mechanical?
K: Yes, I see a woman and I want her: I see a garden, I want it. It is action
and reaction, reward and punishment, punishment and reward. Where is 216
intelligence in that? As long as you are caught in that, your intelligence is out;
it is a mechanical intelligence: You hate me and I hate you back.
A.C.: I follow that.
K: If you accept that, intelligence is something totally different from thought.
R.S.: If what you are saying is what I think it is, perhaps you could say it is
cause and effect, action and reaction, instead of `mechanical’.
K: Yes, yes.
R.S.: Now there is a certain kind of low level activity, what people ordinarily
call intelligence, which perhaps we can better call ingenuity, where, in order to
get something you want – but you may not be able to get it in a straightforward
way – you may have to resort to some fairly original way, some new kind of
competence, making some bogus documents and so on. There is a certain
kind of ingenuity which is not purely mechanical. It is subsumed down to a
certain mechanical set of desires and within that is the framework of certain
inventiveness. So the framework may be one of action-reaction but within that
we exhibit considerable ingenuity and inventiveness.
K: I would not call that intelligence.
R.S.: No. But in ordinary language it is often called intelligence. An
intelligent businessman is one who would think of ways of getting more of what
K: Yes. I would not call that intelligence.
R.S.: I would call it ingenuity or inventiveness.
K: Call it inventiveness. I won’t call it intuition because that is a different
R.S.: No, ingenuity.
K: To be ingenious is solving problems of god, problems of heaven,
problems of painting, etc. It is within the same area, in the same field. I may
move from one corner to the other corner of the same field and I call that 217
ingenuity and I say all that has nothing to do with intelligence. Intelligence is
something totally different.
Q: Will you elaborate on what we call intelligence?
K: I don’t want to elaborate. Ingenuity, choice, cleverness, moving from one
point to another, from one corner to another but within the same field, that is
what we are doing.
P.J.: That is the field of the known.
K: Yes, yes. I don’t want to use that word for the moment.
A.C.: I was just wondering why we have evolved like that.
K: It is essentially based on reward and punishment.
A.C.: But I am asking what is the reason in particular that we have evolved
K: What was the cause of it? A.C.: It must have had tremendous
K: Of course, it is completely secure. Secure in the sense, at least for the
time being, but the time being creates wars. So we don’t have to elaborate.
Would you go along up to this point that this is not intelligence?
K: Right. Then let us enquire what is intelligence. If this is not a theory, if it
is out of my system, that means the movement of reaction has stopped, and
that is the movement of time. Agreed?
A.C.: When you say time, I don’t understand.
K: Time in the sense I have evolved in this process.
Q: That is the movement of life.
K: Yes. And that is unintelligence. Therefore, don’t call it intelligence. So,
what is intelligence? As long as I am in this field there is no intelligence; it is
A.C.: But one has to respond. 218
K: We will find out. If this is not intelligence, then we have to go into
something quite different. Agreed? If I totally deny, not verbally but actually,
this is not intelligence, then what happens to the mind which has been caught
in this? Do you understand my question? As long as we are functioning in
time, cause, effect, action, reaction, which is this movement of the tide going
out and coming in, as long as my whole attitude to life is that and I refuse to
move out of that, there is nothing to be said. But if I see that, that will not solve
the problems of humanity; then I have to look in another direction.
P.J.: What is this looking?
K: My eyes have always been seeing in this direction only. And you come
along and tell me, look in other directions. I can’t because my eyesight has
been so conditioned that I don’t even turn round to look. So I must be first free
of this. I can’t look in any other direction if I am not free of this.
P.J.: I want to ask you a question. Can I look at my own instrument? Can
perception look at its own instrument? Can perception, which is a flow, see
K: Don’t call it an instrument.
P.J.: A faculty.
K: No, I won’t even call it a faculty.
P.J.: Can perception perceive itself?
K: Can perception see itself as perceiving? Perception seeing itself in
action, in seeing itself a perception.
P.J.: Don’t bring in action.
K: Perception seeing itself perceiving – then it is not perception.
P.J.: You see, you posed a question which is totally unanswerable – that
this movement, which is moving, reflects the movement… can I see the falsity
of it and end it? I have always thought that a wrong question. It can never see
that because perception is self-contained.
K: Would you say this movement is the wandering of desire? 219
P.J.: Yes. This movement is the wandering of desire.
K: Can this desire be seen as a whole, not the object of desire, but desire
itself? Can it see itself as a movement of attraction?
P.J.: Instead, even without bringing in attraction, can desire see itself?
K: To understand if desire can see itself, one must go into desire. Desire
exists only when thought comes into sensation.
A.C.: This question is very important. We are operating in that field.
Anything operating in that field… P.J.: Can never deny that field.
K: Of course. There is this movement. As long as I am in that movement,
you cannot ask me to see it as the false and deny it.
P.J.: Therefore, where do I look?
K: You don’t have to look. The thing is, stop this movement. Find out,
discover for yourself how to end this movement. Is that possible at all?
P.J. I think it is possible to cut.
K: Be careful when you use the word `cut’. Who is the cutter?
P.J.: Without the cutter.
K: Therefore, what does that mean? Go on. Don’t complicate the issue.
Just see who is the cutter. There is no cutter. Then what happens? If there is
no entity who can cut, stop, then…
P.J.: It is just perceiving.
K: That is all. There is only perceiving. There is not the perceiver perceiving
nor the perceiver investigating what he is perceiving. There is only perception,
right? Perception of that which is false.
P.J.: The perceiving throws light on the false. There is only perceiving.
K: There is only perceiving. Stick to that. Then we will enquire into what is
perceiving. What is perception without the word, without the name, without
remembrances, perceiving something which one calls intuition? I don’t like to
use that word, forgive me. Perception is direct insight. P.J.: Is the question one of being completely awake?
K: Would you call that attention?
P.J.: To be completely awake is attention. K: That is all.
P.J: That the computer can never do.
K: Asit is taking it in, he is not answering. Sir, is there an end to thought?
Time must have a stop, right?
A.C.: I understand.
R.R.: Can I ask you a question: What happens when we perceive with
K: There is this perception of insight and the brain cells themselves change.
Can your thought ever stop when your brain has been conditioned in time, in
this movement… cause, effect, action, reaction and all that suddenly stops?
Hasn’t the brain undergone a radical change? Of course it has.
R.R.: I have to ask you this question again. If there is such a seeing that the
brain cells change, what happens after perceiving it?
A.C.: Only the physical brain has changed and I am afraid it dies.
K: That is why we are going into the question of consciousness.
A.C.: Does this end with death? Then all that will be different from the
K: Sir, how will you translate all this to your friends who are computer
A.C.: They are going to continue doing what they are doing – trying to
P.J.: The question then comes in. How can man so accelerate the other to
bring into being this new perception?
A.C.: One can only see this movement and do nothing else.
K: That is all.