– 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
being conditioned?
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
of seeing.
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
the observation?
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?
J.U.: Yes.
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?
RMP.: No.
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
comes in.
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
of intelligence.
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
recording stops?
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
an enquiry?
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
different approach?
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
the problem.
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
problems arise.
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
from outside.
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?
K: Yes.
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.
K: Why?
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
K: No.
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
asking questions.
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
this instant.
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
of thought.
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
K: No.
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
inhibiting us?
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.
P.J.: Perhaps.
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
in despair?
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,
agony, conflict.
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
also thought.
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.
K: No.
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,
from causality.
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
intelligence acts.
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
crisis outside?
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
knowledge ?
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
you.    63
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
the world.
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
certain values.
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
unconditioned.    70
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
traditional religions.
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
violence end?
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.
S.K.: No.
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?
S.K.: No.
P.J.: Where, in what dimension, do I discover that I am making an image of
myself?    77
K: I don’t discover; I perceive.
P.J.: Where?
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
my consciousness?
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
the plus?
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.
P.J.: Yes.
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
P.J.: Yes.
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
illusory?    91
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
religious life?
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
from that?
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
of abstraction?
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?
R.R.: Sometimes.
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
you like.
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
that point.
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
and object.
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
duality.    107
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?
K: Yes.
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
is that.
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
that.    109
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,
becoming, identity.
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
healthy inwardness.
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
cannot.    112
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.
G.S.: No.
K:  I  said,  generally.  And  is  there  a  speaking  which  comes  of  a  non-
fragmented mind?
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
to be.
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
day-to-day life?
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
another fragment.
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?
K: No.
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
get there.
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
real question.
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
individual mind?
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?
K: Absolutely.
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
real function.
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
thought?    139
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,
Dr. Illich?
I.I.:  I  would  like  to  ask  you  a  question.  Are  words  also  part  of  the
K: Yes.
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
affecting it.
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
an end.
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
old grooves?
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
completely lost.
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?
I.I.: Yes.
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
talking about?
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.
K: No.
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
that love?
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
Mechanical Mind
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
an action.
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
answer it.
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
Mechanical Mind
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
that.    181
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
remain untouched.
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.
K: Agreed.
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
psychological self?
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
anything else?
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
the known.
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
Mechanical Mind
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
believe it.
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
repeated that.
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.
A.C.: Yes.
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
better, quicker.
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.
A.C.: Yes.
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
intelligence.    203
Chapter 6 Part 4 Intelligence, Computers And The
Mechanical Mind
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
the brain?
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.P.: Agreed.
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
of computers.
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
things visually.
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
infinite capacity.
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
problems. Right?
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
he wants.
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
like that?
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?
A.C.: Yes.
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
produce super-computers.
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.


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