«THE WORLD OF PEACE» BROCKWOOD
PARK 1ST PUBLIC TALK 27TH AUGUST 1983
First of all, if one may remind you, this is not an entertainment, it
is not an intellectual feast, or intellectual stimulation, or some kind
of romantic, sentimental nonsense. We are going to deal with the
very, very complex problem of living together in this world – this
world that has gone almost mad; there is such chaos and misery,
the threat of war. And religions have played very little part in all
this, in our daily life. And I think we ought to go together –
together, not that the speaker will talk about various things – but
together we ought to go into these matters, not that you listen and
the speaker talks, but together. And so if we are going to work
together, think together, perceive together and act together, one
must, it appears, listen very carefully, not only to what is being
said, but also to listen to our own reactions to what is being said –
our reactions of approval or disapproval, our sense of restrictions,
our resistances, our fears, and all the complexities of our reactions
to any form of stimulation. And so the act of listening is very
important if we are going together to explore, to think together,
into the whole problem of our present day existence.
We are very circumscribed, limited. Our brains have been so
programmed and conditioned, so limited that most of us are
unaware of this. We are conditioned linguistically, whether we are
or not, that’s a very serious subject into which we will go if we
have time. We are conditioned, shaped, moulded by the
environment, by tradition, by religion, by the solitude of our own
illusions, our own imaginations, the solitude of our own aspirations, circumscribed, limited. So our brain – not that the
speaker is an expert at it, but having listened to a great many
people talk about the brain, specialists and others, one perceives
that through this long process of evolution our brains are very, very
limited. Apparently only a very small part of it acts or thinks or
lives – the rest is in abeyance. That is what some of the specialists
who have studied the quality of the brain and the workings of the
brain have said.
And also we can see for ourselves, without relying on the
experts, that our life is very small. We are so concerned with
ourselves, with our success, with our miseries, and all the turmoil
of one’s own limited life – the sorrow, the pain, the anxiety, the
various forms of reactions which arise from our prejudices, our
bias, our tendencies. All this does condition our brain, and so we
never have the awareness of the whole of life, the whole of
existence which is vast, immeasurable and tremendously potent.
And if we could together, this morning, go easily and happily,
and enquire into the quality of our own life – if you are willing –
into the nature of our behaviour, into the whole process of our
thought, if we could enquire together into all this. And not only
enquire, but through the very enquiry, apply. Enquiry by itself has
very little meaning. Enquiring into ourselves, into our
environment, into the state of the world – mere enquiry, either
intellectual or the enquiry of curiosity, of information, and so on,
has very little effect on our lives. But if we enquire into ourselves,
into the way of our thinking, why we think this way – why human
beings who have lived on this beautiful earth for so many millenia
are still what they are – unhappy, violent, ready to kill each other for some idiotic reasons. If we could go together into all this – and
in the process of going together on this path, on this road which has
no end and no beginning, then perhaps our meeting here will be
worthwhile. But to merely listen year after year and not apply, has
very little meaning. It is a waste of time and energy.
So could we, this morning, be serious enough for at least an
hour to look at this whole world in which we live, the world which
we have created. This society is the result of our own complex life.
You are conditioned by health, by environment, by our culture, by
nationalism, and so on. Unless we break through all this
conditioning, we will go on as we have been going on for
thousands of years. And so violence will go on, corruption, each
one seeking his own fulfillment and pursuing his own ambitions –
isolated, and where there is isolation there must be conflict. And so
could we this morning go into all this. One is asking this seriously
because you have taken the trouble to come here. And it’s no good
merely talking about the ideas, the expressions, the reactions, but
go into this with tremendous energy, vitality and see if it is
possible to break down this conditioning so that the brain will have
It has the capacity now, extraordinary capacity in the
technological world – in the computers, the biological chemistry,
genetic engineering and various forms of other activities from the
outside to affect the brain. I don’t know if you are aware of all this.
Scientists in the various disciplines are trying desperately to bring
about a change in man. And such change has been from the outside
– I hope we understand each other. They are trying through genetic
engineering, to change the very genes themselves so that the human being is something entirely different. And the computer is
taking over perhaps a great deal of our activity – again from the
outside. The Communists have tried that, tried to control, changed
the environment, hoping that man would change, through
authority, through discipline, through complete obedience, and
they have not succeeded. On the contrary, they are creating great
misery in the world. So we are asking a most fundamental
question, whether it is possible, not to be affected from the outside
– I hope we understand when I use the word the ‘outside’, whether
the outside be god, music, art, or the external laws that are
established by governments, and so on – all these outside agencies
in various forms and disciplines are trying to force man to
conform, to bring about a radical change in their behaviour so that
man will live without wars, and so on.
And also, on the other side, they are preparing for wars. Every
government throughout the world is armed, ready to kill and be
killed. So this is going on all the time around us. I am sure most of
us are aware of all this.
We are asking a totally different question. Religions have tried
to change man, to tame him down – through fear, heaven and hell,
and all the rest of it. And they have not succeeded either. These are
all facts. It is not the speaker’s imagination or bias. This is what is
going on in the world around us, affecting through propaganda,
through various forms of chemical engineering, and so on, to force
man. And they have never succeeded, and they will never succeed
because the psyche is far too strong, far too cunning,
extraordinarily capable. So we are asking – you and the speaker are
asking – I am not asking you, you are asking this question: since all outside influences, including the idea of god and ideologies,
various forms of historical dialectical conclusions have not
changed man, whether it is possible for human beings to change
radically, fundamentally, without the external influence at all? You
understand? Gurus throughout the world have not succeeded. They
are all pretentious and seeking money. They can be put aside
completely. They are not important. But what is important and
essential to ask is, what will make each one of us, intellectuals,
whether we are scientists, whether we are artists or various forms
of activities, whether we are capable, fundamentally, deeply, to
bring about a mutation in the very brain cells themselves? Have I
made this question clear?
We were talking the other day in New York to some scientists.
After a great deal of discussion – it lasted over two hours – I asked
them what would bring about a mutation in the brain cells
themselves, not from the outside – genetic engineering,
biochemistry – you follow all that. What will change the brain cells
themselves which have been conditioned for thousands of years? I
hope you are putting this question to yourselves. What would be
your answer? If you are serious and earnest and passionate enough
to put this question, what would be your answer? If you have
thought a great deal about all this – either you would say, it is not
possible, and so close the door for your further enquiry, or you
would say, I really don’t know, is it possible? We are in that
position. We are not closing the door by saying, it is not possible –
it’s impossible. How can man, who has been so conditioned for
thousands and thousands of years, through vast knowledge,
experience – how can that brain transform itself? It’s not possible! If you are serious and answer that way – «It’s not possible» – then
you have closed completely the avenue of enquiry. But if you are
enquiring into it – that is, whether the brain, which has such
extraordinary capacity in one direction, and so utterly limited,
circumscribed, conditioned, programmed, to be a Catholic,
Protestant, to be British, French and English, you know, and all the
rest of it – whether that brain can be totally free – not free to do
what you like. We’re all doing that anyhow – pursuing our own
pleasures, our own solitary ambitions, our own salvation if you are
at all religiously minded, our own isolated pleasures and illusions.
We do that every day of our life. That’s a common occurrence for
all of humanity, pursuing their own isolated, solitary illusions,
stimulations, aspirations and ideologies. And that is what they call
freedom. Surely, that is not freedom. Freedom requires a great deal
of discipline. Please understand what we mean by that word. We
will go into it in a minute – freedom implies great humility, innate
inward discipline and work. We’ll go into those three.
Most of us are so arrogant because we rely so much on our
knowledge. We are certain; our beliefs, our conclusions our desires
are so strong that we have lost all sense of deep, natural humility.
Again, it is a fact – how strong when a Frenchman says, «I’m a
Frenchman» or when you say, «I’m British». I don’t know if you
have noticed – god-given race – and everyone feels this in every
country. The other day an Indian was talking to us. He said, «We
have the greatest culture in the world. We are the most highly
civilized people.» I said, «Yes, you are corrupt. You’re
superstitious. Your beliefs have no value at all. Your ideals, your
religions are just a stack of words.» He said, «Oh, but we are still the highest culture.» I said, «All right.» No, no. Please don’t laugh.
This applies to you too.
So, when we identify ourselves with a country, with certain
ideologies, with conclusions, concepts, then we are incapable of
being humble. Because then only when you are enquiring in
humility, you learn, you find out. And humility is necessary. Then
you see things as they are, around you and in yourself. And
discipline is constantly watching, watching your own reactions,
continual observation, seeing what the source of your thought is,
why you react in certain ways, what your biases are, your
prejudices, your hurts, and so on. Constant watching brings its own
natural discipline, order. That’s what we mean by discipline. Not
conformity, not following a certain pattern either established by
society or by yourself, but the eternal watching of the world and of
yourself. Then you see there is no difference between the world
and yourself. That brings about naturally a sense of order.
Therefore order is discipline, not the other way round. And work,
not only physical work, which unfortunately most of us have to do
– not if you are unemployed in this country – but also work in the
sense of applying what you see to be true – apply it, not give a
period of time between perception and action. If one sees, as the
speaker has seen many, many years ago, as a boy, that nationalism
was a poison – I hope you don’t mind my saying all this – that he
was no longer a Hindu, he just walked, he was no longer a Hindu –
finished with all those superstitions and you know all that rubbish
that goes on in every nationality.
So, to live on this earth peacefully, in spite of the governments,
requires a great deal of enquiry. To live peacefully demands great intelligence. Right sir? Can we go on like this? It is easy for the
speaker to talk about all these things because that’s his life. But
merely listening to what is being said seems so futile. But the
moment you apply: if you see something to be true – instant
application, then that removes conflict altogether.
Conflict exists only when there is a gap, a division between
what you see to be actual, to be true, and all the implications of
fear of your action. So there is an interval, a gap, a hiatus which
brings about conflict. I hope you understand all this. May I go on?
Or am I going on for myself? Are we following each other a little
bit? We are not doing any kind of propaganda. We are not trying to
convince you of anything – on the contrary, one must have doubt,
scepticism, question, not only what the speaker is saying but
question your own life, question, doubt your own beliefs. If you
begin to doubt it gives certain clarity. It doesn’t give you a feeling
of great importance to yourself. Doubt is necessary in our
exploration, in our enquiry into this whole problem of existence.
And the question whether it is possible for human beings, who are
perhaps somewhat neurotic, whether that neuroticism can be wiped
away, become sane, rational – with such a brain, enquire.
We are enquiring whether the brain cells can, without any
influence from outside – governmental, environmental, religious
and all the rest of it – can bring about a mutation in the brain cells?
Is this question clear? Are we putting this question to ourselves?
This is a serious problem. This cannot be answered by yes or no,
affirmative or negative. One must look at this whole question as a
whole; not as British, French or some kind of religious,
superstitious nonsense, or according to your own particular discipline or profession. You must look at the whole of life as one
unitary movement. You understand all this? If we do, then we can
begin to ask – is it possible? And if we do ask that question, what
difference does it make if a few of us bring about, perhaps, a
mutation? What effect has it on the world? You know, that’s the
usual question. Right? I may change and you may change. A few
of us may bring about a mutation, but what effect has that on the
mass of people, on the governments, will they stop wars, and so
I think that’s a wrong question to put – what effect has it on
others? That’s a wrong question. Because then you are not doing
the thing for itself, but how it will effect others? After all, beauty
has no cause. Right? To do something for itself – for the love of
itself, then it has an extraordinary effect – may or may not have.
For example, we have talked for the last sixty years, unfortunately
or fortunately – need I answer the question any further? One might
ask, «How has it affected the world? You go to various parts of the
world, has it changed anybody at all?» I think that is rather a
foolish question. We might ask, «Why does a flower bloom? Why
is there a solitary star in the heavens in the evening?» The man who
has freed himself from his conditioning never asks that question.
For in it there is compassion, with its great intelligence.
So let us proceed. Can we proceed? You are not too tired?
First of all, do we realize that we are conditioned; aware
without any choice, aware that my brain is conditioned? Or you
accept what another says and therefore say, «My brain is
conditioned.» You see the difference? If I am aware that my brain
is conditioned, that has a totally different quality. But if you tell me that I am conditioned and then I realize that I am conditioned, then
it becomes very, very superficial. I hope you are following all this.
So are we aware that we are conditioned – as a Britain, by our
experiences – we are not saying that it is right or wrong, we are
going to find out – by our culture, by our tradition, by our
environment, by all the religious propaganda for two thousand
years as Christianity, or as Buddhism two thousand five hundred
years ago, or Hinduism, perhaps longer? Are we aware? If you are
aware, then you ask, why?
Why is the brain conditioned? What is the nature of
conditioning? Is it essentially experience and knowledge? Please
go slowly with this. Experience conditions the brain. Right?
Obviously. Do we meet each over there? And experience means
knowledge – right? To learn to drive a car you need experience.
You get into a car, drive it and gather through that experience
knowledge, how to drive a car. Please listen carefully, if you will,
kindly: is knowledge the basic factor of our conditioning?
Knowledge being the repetition of certain tradition – right – and so
on. Knowledge is necessary. Otherwise you couldn’t go home, you
couldn’t drive a car, you couldn’t go back to a job, if you have a
job. So knowledge in one area, physical knowledge is necessary.
But knowledge also conditions our brain – , knowledge being
tradition, the being programmed as we are, by newspapers, by
magazines, by constant repetition that you are British, British,
British. Or when you go to France, it’s the same old thing, French,
French. Again when you go to India, again, Indian – this constant
repetition. So the brain becomes dull, repetitive, mechanical. And
perhaps that’s a safe way of living but it’s got tremendous danger. This repetition of various cultures, countries, is an isolating process
and therefore division, therefore war – that’s only one of the reasons
for war. So are we aware that our brain is being programmed?
Please don’t look at others: look at yourself. If one is aware that
one is programmed, conditioned, then one asks, «Is it knowledge?»
And apparently it is knowledge. Then why do we live
psychologically, why is the structure of the psyche essentially
based on knowledge? You understand? Have I made the question
clear? The psyche, the ‘me’, the self, is essentially a movement in
knowledge, a series of knowledge which is a series of memories.
Right? So we are a series of memories – so we are memory. Do you
see that fact? Not that we are divine and, you know, all that blah
that is trotted out by religion. But the actual fact is that we are
nothing but memories. Most unpleasant discovery, isn’t it! Or do
you say, «Look, there is part of me which is not memory.» The
moment that you say that, it’s already memory. I don’t know if you
see that. When I say I am not wholly the result of memories, that
very statement implies that there is part of me which is not. And
that part of me when I look at it, is also memory. So memories are
the past, projected perhaps in the future, but it is still memory.
Those memories are modified by the present and continue into the
future, but is still a series of memories.
Please don’t let’s become sentimental about all this – that’s so
meaningless or romantic. These are facts. What are you without
memory, without all the remembrances of your achievement, of
your wife, of your son, of your brother, family, memories of your
travels, what you have done, what you have achieved? Right? They
are all in the past. So memories are dead things. On those dead things we live. Right? Do see all this. Please we are not trying to
persuade you to look at this, we are not trying to persuade you or
convince you of anything. The speaker is not your guru. So don’t
follow anybody including the speaker. But look at these facts.
Then the question arises: is it possible to live psychologically
without a single memory? You understand? Put this question,
please, to yourself. My brother, son, wife, husband, is dead. I
remember all the incidents, happiness, you know, all the rest of it,
intimate relationships. It is a vast reminiscence of the past,
memory. And I live on that. I have a picture, photograph, and there
is this constant stimulation from the photograph. So the ‘me’, the
self, the ego is a movement of identification with memory. Right? I
am a Christian, I am a Hindu, a Buddhist, an American, and so on.
How tremendously attached we are to our identifications. That’s
our conditioning. And when you see that, not verbally, not as an
idea, but actually see the fact, then there is action. Like when you
have a violent toothache, there is action because it’s there. But if
you imagine you have a toothache, then that’s quite a different
So do we see clearly, without being persuaded, without being
pushed into a corner, do we see very clearly for ourselves what we
are – which is our conditioning, which is our consciousness. And
seeing that, what is one to do? Clear? Can we go on from that?
We’ve got another ten minutes. Have we reached that point?
Please, have we all of us, or at least some of us, reached that point
when we realize completely that we are conditioned and that
conditioning is a vast series of movements, of memories. And
memories are always the past, remembrance of things past which are then projected into the future, modified by the present, but still
it is a movement of memories. Right? And these memories we call
Then how does one look at these memories? You understand
my question? How does one observe these memories? We have
thousands of memories. Right? From childhood we have gathered
them – pleasant, unpleasant, memories that are of our aspirations,
memories of achievements, memories of pain, fear, great sorrow.
These are all memories.
And do we see these memories as different from the observer?
You understand the question? We are observing. I am observing
that I am a long series of memories. I’ve stated that – that I am
memories; but there is in me the feeling that I’m not all that, there’s
something else that’s observing. Right? Are you following? Are we
together in this? So is the observer different from the observed?
This is an old theme. Many of you probably have heard of it. «Ah,
you say, well, you’re trotting that out.» But when you realize this
fact, something extraordinary happens – not something mysterious,
not parapsychological, and so on, and so on – something which
ends conflict which is far more important then anything else.
As long as there is division between the memories and the
observer, this division creates conflict. Right? Division between
the Arab and the Jews, between the British and the Falklands – may
I mention the Falklands? Right? Between the Hindu and the
Islamic world. Wherever there is division there must be conflict.
Right? No, no, pursue that please. Wherever there is isolated
action, isolated solitary pleasure, solitary aspirations, that very
solitude is an act of separation. Therefore, that very person who pursues his particular ambition, his particular fulfillment, his
aspirations, and so on, must inevitably create conflict, not only for
himself but for others.
So from this arises the question whether conflict of every kind,
in our very being, can end? Because we live with conflict. You
might say, «Well, all nature is in conflict. A single tree in a forest is
fighting to achieve light, is struggling, fighting, squeezing out
others. And human beings, born from nature, are doing the same
thing.» If you accept that, then you accept all the consequences of
conflict – wars, confusion, brutality, ugliness, the nastiness of war.
As long as you are British, French or an Indian you are inevitably
going to create wars. Right? But you see this, and we don’t do
anything about it.
So, to end conflict, which means to live with that peace which
requires tremendous intelligence, is to understand the nature of
conflict. I must stop for now. We will continue tomorrow morning,
may we? Sorry to stop at this point. Not that it is an enticement for
you to come tomorrow.
Q: Can you just say something about when a memory comes it
seems to come from outside and then you react. Say, you are
embarrassed, then you remember something – at least I do. Do you
K: The gentleman says – memory is outside, comes from
outside. You react to that memory and you strengthen that memory
or you put aside that memory. Right? Are you different from
memory? You see, that’s the whole point. We are the result of this
movement from the outer to the inner. Right? From the inner to the
outer. Right? Have you not noticed – like the sea going out and coming in. We have created this monstrous society, and that
society controls us. Right? And we try to change that society,
through law, through governments, through all kinds of strikes, and
all the rest of it, and then react to that. So it’s a constant movement
from the outer to the inner, from the inner to the outer. Right? It is
one movement. It’s not separate movement – water is water. It goes
out and comes in. It’s salt water.
Now, the question arises from that, whether this movement can
stop – action and reaction – you hit me and I hit you back. If you
hate me, I hate you back. I own this particular piece of land and
you fight for it. And I defend and I attack. You follow? This has
been going on for millions of years – the ebb and flow of reaction.
If you will, kindly put the question whether this movement can
end. If that wasp stings me, I react, naturally. But why should I
react if you flatter me, or insult me?
So to ask this question, whether this movement of action and
reaction can stop – to find an answer to that, one has to go a great
deal into it.
«THE WORLD OF PEACE» BROCKWOOD
PARK 2ND PUBLIC TALK 28TH AUGUST 1983
May we go on where we left off yesterday. We were talking about
conflict, not only in ourselves, but in the society in which we live –
conflict between nations, between groups, between the various
gurus, between ideologies, the communist ideology and the so-
called democratic ideology. Apparently man has lived, throughout
these centuries, in a state of constant conflict, struggle, fighting
each other, killing each other, destroying that which he created and
then rebuilding it again. This has been the historical process for the
last five thousand years or more. Religions have also, except
perhaps Buddhism and Hinduism, have created wars – a hundreds
heretics, burnt them, destroyed them. And so man has lived on this
earth without any peace. And to live in peace appears to be almost
impossible – to live without conflict, without aggression, not only
in personal relationships, but also with those with whom we don’t
agree, or have not the same belief, the same concepts, the same
culture. There is this constant, endless, struggle, conflict. And one
asks whether it is possible to live in this world utterly peacefully.
Because it is only in peace that a flower can flower. It’s only in
peace that the human mind, the human brain can really be free.
And why has man who has learned so much, who has acquired
such extraordinary knowledge, experience, why can he not live in
As we said yesterday, this is not a talk, a lecture on a particular
subject, to be informed, to be instructed. But we are together
exploring this question. Not that the speaker explores, and you listen, but together, you and the speaker investigate, sanely without
any bias, without any definite conclusions, to find out why we
human beings cannot live on this beautiful earth with peace and
without conflict. That is where we left off yesterday.
There are various forms of chemical injections to make man
peaceful. They are doing it now: in the totalitarian states they send
them to hospitals, psychotherapeutic hospitals where they are
drugged, kept peaceful. And also belief has also drugged us
tremendously, to be peaceful. We all believe, if you are Christians,
in some form of saviour. And that belief has kept us somewhat
There have been attempts of every kind, throughout the world to
help man to live peacefully. They have said: meditate, follow,
obey, conform, don’t hurt, love another – the whole religious
instructions throughout the world. And yet, in spite of all that, and
perhaps because of all that, man has not lived at peace with himself
or created a society that’s peaceful. Why? We are asking, you are
also asking the question not only me.
Are we different, each one of us, from the world outside of us?
Are you, as British, or French or American, Russian or whatever
nationality, group to which one belongs, or Indian, are we the rest
of humanity – or separate individuals, struggling, separate souls,
each one seeking his own fulfilment, his own happiness, his own
salvation, identifying himself with something, noble, illusory,
imaginary, and so on? Are we living in isolation on this earth, each
one of us isolated, separated from the rest of mankind? And this
separation, this so-called ‘individualism’ may be one of the causes
why human beings do not live at peace, either in their relationships, or with his neighbour who might be next door, or a
thousand miles away.
Please, you and the speaker are putting these questions. I am not
– the speaker is not putting the question for you to answer. This is a
question which all of us have to face. Either we face it intelligently,
rationally, sanely, or escape into some form of illusory peace.
Peace can only exist if we have complete security, both
outwardly and inwardly, psychologically and environmentally. We
all want security, even the greatest scientist and the poorest very
uneducated villager – all of us want security. Like every animal,
every living thing needs security. And apparently we don’t have
security. We have sought it in religions, in beliefs, in ideologies, in
some form of authority – followed them, and yet we remain
separate. We are asking, is that one of the basic causes why human
beings, thinking they are separate, isolated entities, each one
seeking his own particular form of security, must inevitably come
into conflict with others who are also seeking their own particular
form of security?
So we are asking a question, which is, are we separate from the
rest of humanity? You understand my question? Are you separate?
Are you an individual so that you as an individual are seeking your
own happiness, your own pleasures, solitary in your illusions, in
your particular form of imaginative hope? So this is a question that
must be answered very carefully, gone into, by both of us. Because
if that is the cause of it, it is, either the cause is rational, real, actual
and then we have to deal with that, or it is really illusory. Each one
of us has been brought up to think that we are individuals, separate.
Is that a fact? Is our consciousness – which contains our behaviour, our reactions, our pleasures, fears, anxieties, sorrow and all the
experiences, knowledge, all that is our consciousness, what you
are, what each one of us is – is that consciousness different from
the rest of humanity? You understand my question?
When you travel around, when you observe without even
travelling around, when you observe the world, all humanity goes
through, more or less the same forms of suffering, anxiety,
insecurity, they believe in some kind of illusory nonsense, full of
superstitions, fears, and all the rest of it. Everywhere every human
being goes through all this. Right? Insecure, uncertain, fearful,
constantly in conflict, burdened with great sorrow – like those who
live in this country. Right? This is a fact. So is your consciousness
different from the rest of mankind?
I may be an Arab, with my peculiar Islamic tradition, and as a
human being, apart from the label as an Arab, I go through all the
turmoil of life, like you do – pain, sorrow, jealousy, hate. So is
there a difference, apart from labels, apart from culture, between
you and me, as an Arab. Please consider all this. As we said
yesterday, we are not trying to convince you of anything, doing
any kind of propaganda, any kind of persuasion or stimulation.
Because if you are capable of being persuaded, then another will
come and persuade you differently. If you depend on propaganda,
the same thing, another type of propaganda will show you. So one
must be clear for oneself, absolutely, upon this matter. It is your
psyche. And the psyche is the content of its own consciousness.
And that consciousness is shared by all human beings, though
outwardly you may have a different culture, different environment,
different food, different clothes, more affluent, but essentially, deeply, most profoundly we are the rest of the world, and the world
is us. Right? Be quite clear on this point. You may not like it
because we have been brought up from childhood, perhaps right
before childhood, in the very genes, that we are separate
individuals. We are questioning that very thing, not only
subjectively but objectively.
If you examine without any bias, without any tradition, if your
brain is eager to find out whether it is possible to live in this world
with complete freedom and peace and therefore with order. One
has to put this question. You may be a great scientist, a great
painter, a marvellous poet, like Keats, but the scientist, the poet,
the painter have their own sorrow, pain, anxiety like the rest of us.
And as long as we think we are separate, conflict must exist –
between the Arab and the Jew, as is happening in Beirut, between
the black and the white, between the Muslim and the rest of the
world. So please, consider this question seriously – exercise our
brains, not accept.
And if that is one of the causes of war, one of the causes of
conflict between human beings, this fallacy that each one of us is
entirely different, we are questioning that very thing. And if we are
not, then we are the rest of mankind. You are the rest of mankind.
With that goes tremendous responsibility which you may not like
to have. We like to avoid responsibility.
As long as one is violent, aggressive, you contribute to the rest
of the world, to the rest of mankind’s aggression, violence. This is
natural, all this. So the question is, if you are the rest of mankind,
you are the mankind, not part of mankind, you are the entire world
– if you have that feeling, that truth of that, then your whole outlook is entirely different. Then you have totally abolished all
division. Right? I wonder if you see the truth of this? Not the
sentimentality of it, not a romantic, Utopian concept but the
actuality of it, the fact of it.
So let us examine it much more closely. Conflict exists as long,
as we said, there is separation: between me and you, we and they.
Conflict must exist in our relationships, between man and woman,
of which we all know. Right? Between you and your wife, the wife
and the husband, the family against the community, the community
against the larger community and so on.
So why is there conflict in our relationships? Please answer
these questions. One is married, with children, or unmarried and all
the human relationships – conflict exists as long as the husband or
the wife or the man is pursuing his own sense of fulfilment, both
sexually and in the world. Right? This is a fact, isn’t it? The wife
pursues her own particular form of pleasure and the man pursues
his own, so actually they never meet, except perhaps in bed. That’s
Now is it possible to be free of this separation? Then one begins
to enquire into the nature of what is called affection, into the nature
of what is love – if you are interested in all this. If it bores you, you
can always get up and go. But if you are serious, as we must be
considering what the world has become – insane, disorderly,
corrupt, heaven knows all the ugly things that are going on. If you
are at all serious, looking at all this, one must inevitably ask: why,
in close relationship where there is a sense of affection, tolerance,
acceptance, there is conflict, divorce, hate – you know, the whole
field of turmoil? Is it possible to live with another completely at peace? You are all married probably, aren’t you, or have girl
friends. What do you say to all this? It’s your life; not the life of the
speaker. It’s your life and you have to answer these really serious
questions, not evade them.
As long as we are caught in this illusion of individuality
however close our relationship with another, however intimate,
however personal, companionship, escape from loneliness, this
question must be answered. Because all life is relationship, with
nature, with the universe, and with the tiniest little flower in the
field; and also relationship with another human being. We cannot
live without relationship. Even the monk, who has taken various
forms of vows, is related. And in this relationship conflict seems to
be all-pervasive. Therefore we must start very near to go very far.
We must start where we are, with our family, with ourselves –
whether we can live without conflict and therefore with peace.
From this arises the question: how do you observe all this? How
do you observe, when I say ‘you’, I’m not being personal, how do
you observe this conflict – the present state of the world, the
present relationship with each other – how do your observe it? It is
very important to understand the nature and the structure of the
observer. Right? May we go on with this? Are we together in all
this, or am I talking to myself? I really would like to know. Are we
going along the same path, along the same lane, taking a journey
together, or you are ahead or I am far behind? Or are we walking
together, perhaps hand-in-hand. If we are walking together, with
the same step, looking at the world together, looking at our
relationship together, and as friends we can question each other, we
can doubt what we’re saying without hurting each other because we’re friends. And out of this friendship, we can understand the
depth and the beauty of relationship in which there is no conflict.
So relationship is extraordinarily important. It’s our life. And as
long as there is conflict, relationship becomes most destructive.
Suppose I realize that – I am married, I’m not – suppose I realize
that I am living with a woman and actually we are separate human
beings, following parallel lines but never meeting inwardly,
psychologically. Now, how do I observe that – the fact that we two
are separate, each with his own ambition, his own greed, his own
particular form of irritation you know, and all the rest of it – how
do I observe it? Because in my observation, I may be biased,
prejudiced. And so it is very important for me to find out the nature
of the observer. Right? If I am not clear how to observe, in what
manner to look, I may distort the whole thing. So I must enquire
into the nature of the observer. Right?
A great scientist – they all think they are great – a scientist,
unless he is very clear both subjectively and objectively, when he
looks through a microscope and all the rest of it, that he is
observing without any bias, without any prejudice, the self doesn’t
enter into his observation, otherwise his observation will be
distorted, untrue, non-factual. Right? So similarly, we have to be
very clear of the nature of observation, who is the observer? Are
we together in this? Who is the observer? You look at those trees, a
field full of cows or sheep, you see the horizon lit up by the
morning sun. How do you observe all that? – if you ever do! When
you look at a tree or a house, your very perception of looking is
blocked by the word you use. Right? You understand? I can look at
a Frenchman and say, «Oh, he is a Frenchman.» That means that all my prejudices, all my knowledge of the French comes in between
me and observing a man who calls himself French. Right? So can I
look at him without all the prejudices, antagonisms? Can you?
So the observer is the past. Right? Are you following this? So
the observer is full of his past knowledge, whether that knowledge
is absurd, silly or actual, that knowledge is blocking my
observation. Right? Are we following this?
Now, to observe my relationship with my wife or husband, I
must observe without any previous, accumulated incidents,
knowledge, all that. Is that possible? You understand my question?
Otherwise, I never see my wife for the first time. You understand?
I’m always looking at her with all the memories of a thousand days.
Now, is that a fact, that I am looking at another from the past
knowledge – a living thing can never be observed with a limited
knowledge. And knowledge is always limited. You understand? A
living thing must be observed freely, without all the accumulation,
experiences, knowledge. So is it possible for me to look at my wife
or husband, or the girl friend or whatever you like, without the
Have you ever tried to look at a tree without the word ‘tree’, to
look at a flower without the label so that you are actually observing
what actually is, in which there is no subjective reaction? You are
following all this? Are you? Or is this Greek or Chinese, better
You see, our brain is a network of words, a network of
remembrances. It is never free to look because it has been
conditioned through identification. To us, identity is very
important. I am Hindu, whatever that silly word may be, but it gives me a sense of assurance, a sense of security. I have roots in
that – like the British, like the French, German, you know, the rest
of the world. And can we look, observe, without any identity? You
understand? Are you doing it now? Or are you going to try and do
it when you go home? If, when you are listening to this and doing
it now, perhaps you are sitting next to your wife, or husband – to do
it now, the very action of perception is to destroy that division.
Right? If you do it now, which means, action is not of time. You
follow this? Look sir, I’ve heard this. I have paid attention to what I
have heard. I am sitting next to my wife. I’m a serious person and I
hope she is too. And I see that I am not looking at her freely,
without any past incidents and all the rest of it. And to me it is
important to have a relationship with her, or with him, in which
there is no conflict because if I can live that way, I have peace in
my heart and brain. So the very moment I hear this, the actual
perception that I am in conflict and I am looking at her, or him,
with all the accumulated memories which are all dead anyhow; and
so I am looking at her.
Action is the moment of perception of the fact, and not allowing
time to interfere with the action. You understand? Am I conveying
something? So for most of us, action implies conflict. I have to do
something. I don’t want to go to the office today from nine to five –
god knows why you go anyway. See sir, what we’re doing, how we
are giving up an extraordinary life, life that is immense, is
extraordinarily beautiful, that has great depth, unfathomable depth,
and we spend our lives from nine to five. And our society demands
that, governments demand it, and our wives demand it, because to
be at home is rather a bore. So the whole structure of society is that our ethos is to work, and we miss the great width and the depth of
So can I look at her, or him without any past remembrances?
Will you do it now? See what it entails – do it, and you will find
out how tremendously we are bound to the past. Our life is the
past, that is, past memories. And apparently they have such a
strong hold on our brain. And we say «It’s impossible to look
without the knowledge of yesterday». And so we give up and
pursue the old way, quarrelling, nagging, fighting, miserable,
unhappy – you know, the whole business of it. Whereas, if one
actually sees the fact that conflict must exist between two human
beings, and therefore with the rest of humanity, as long as there is
this concept of ‘individual’, with his own particular memories. And
seeing that is to act, not postpone action. When you postpone
action, time is involved. Right? And during that postponement,
other things take place; other complexities arise. I wonder if you
are following all this? So action is perception and instant action so
that your brain is not cluttered with problems.
I do not know if you have gone into the question of problems.
Why human beings have problems at all? The word ‘problem’
means something thrown at you. That’s the actual meaning, the
etymological meaning of that word, something thrown at you,
which is a challenge. Our brains, from childhood, are trained to
solve problems. Right? Poor child, at the age of two now they are
teaching babies to count, how to learn a language. I don’t know if
you have followed all that. From childhood through school,
college, university, business, family – everything has become a
problem which must be solved. So we treat life as a vast problem, because our brain is trained that way. I don’t know if you see all
this. We never meet anything easily, happily, but it becomes a
dreadful problem to be solved. So relationship has become a
problem. You understand, sir. Are we together in all this? For god’s
sake, tell me, yes. And when we try to solve a problem – because
our brains are trained that way, to solve problems – in the solution
of that problem, we have other problems from that very solution. I
don’t know if you have noticed all this. Politically that is what is
happening. You have the Falklands war and innumerable problems
arising from it.
So can you look at life, not as a problem, though problems exist,
but have a mind that is free from problems? You understand the
difference? Problems exist. I have a toothache, I have to go to the
doctor. Problems of tax, follow? Problems exist. But if my brain is
free of problems, then I can deal with those problems easily. But if
my brain is trained, conditioned to deal with problems, I increase
problems. Right? I wonder if you see this?
There is a question, for example, about god. It’s a problem,
whether god exists or not. Most Christians believe that there is god.
And Buddhists have no idea of god. He doesn’t exist in their
religious philosophy, and all the rest of it. But they make Buddha
into a god, that’s a different matter. Now, that’s a problem. You
believe and suppose I don’t believe. Are you willing to look why
god exists, if he does exist. Because I have no belief, one way or
the other – suppose – actually I have no belief about it. Can you
look at that question and find out why, throughout the ages, man
has invented god – invented, I’m using that word purposely. I hope
you won’t get hurt. Man has invented it because he is frightened. He wants somebody, an outside agency to protect him, to give him
security, to feel somebody out there is looking after you. That
concept gives you great comfort. Whether that is an illusion or an
actuality, doesn’t matter. But as long as you have that kind of
belief, it gives you great comfort. Now, if you strongly believe in
all that, would you doubt it, question it, find out? Or are you so
frightened, you won’t even think about it. You understand?
So, to find out whether there is something beyond man’s
measure, one must be free to enquire. As we enquired into
relationship, one must be free to enquire, to observe. And if the
observer, the enquirer is prejudiced, is convinced deeply, though he
may pretend outwardly to examine, then his examination will be
according to his conviction. So can the brain be free to look – to
look at my wife, husband, to look at all the governments, my guru,
the whole world around us – to look so carefully without the
background of my tradition, values, judgements? The brain then is
acting wholly, not in fragments. You understand?
Scientists are saying, probably you know all this – if you know
it, please forgive me for repeating it – only one very small part of
the brain is functioning with most people and therefore this outlook
on life is fragmentary. You understand? Only one part of my brain
is actively sharing or actively operating throughout my life, only a
part. And therefore the brain is not functioning wholly. Right? You
understand the question? If it interests you, you want to find out
whether the brain can operate holistically, completely, not just a
part. Are you interested in that kind of question? Why? Is it
curiosity, or just to argue about it? Or are you serious enough to
say, I want to find out whether the brain which is now very limited – because all knowledge is limited. Right? You must be quite sure
of that – all knowledge, whether it be the knowledge of the past or
the knowledge of the future, knowledge is everlastingly limited.
They are discovering more and more and more in the scientific
world. No scientist can ever say, «My knowledge is complete».
So knowledge is always incomplete. And knowledge being
incomplete, thought is incomplete. Because thought is born out of
knowledge as memory and thought is limited. Right? Without
memory you have no thought, without knowledge there is no
existence as thought. And we only function, now, with the limited
thought. Right? You understand? I wonder if you are following all
My thought and your thought, the thought of the great scientist
or the uneducated individual, his thinking is similar. Thinking is
similar. They may express it differently but that thought is limited.
So as long as our thinking is the basis of our action, the basis of our
life, the brain can never function as a whole. Right? Logically see
this, please. Our lives are fragmentary: I’m a businessman. I’m a
scientist, I am a painter – right? – and so on and so on. We are all
put in categories. Therefore our life is fragmentary because our
thinking is limited and therefore it must inevitably be fragmentary.
Would you accept this? Not accept it – see the fact of it, would
you? You are all so doubtful, aren’t you? Because we are cutting at
the very root of our life, which is thinking. And we have built
marvellous cathedrals, great architecture, great implements of war,
the computers and so on, all the product of thought. And all the
things in the cathedrals and the church are the product of thought. Right? Nobody can deny this – all the vestments, all the robes the
priests put on, are copied, or part of it, from the Egyptians –
thought has produced all this. And thought has also invented god.
Now, the question is whether to eliminate thought altogether.
And who is the entity who is going to eliminate all thought? It is
still thought. Right? I wonder if you see that? Your meditation, if
any of you indulge in that kind of stuff, is to eliminate thinking.
But you never examine who is the eliminator, who is saying, «I
mustn’t think»? It’s still thought who says «By Jove, if I don’t think
I might get something.» And yet thought is necessary, knowledge is
necessary in certain areas otherwise you can’t get home, you can’t
write letters, you couldn’t speak English and so on and so on.
So thought has been the instrument of our fragmentation. And
to so observe that, not say, «How to get rid of thought» but to
observe the fact that thought is necessary in certain areas, and
thought in the psychological world may not be necessary at all. In
our relationship with each other, if thought is the instrument, which
it is, then that very thought is the factor of divisiveness. To see it,
not what to do about it. To see the danger of this, then you move
away from danger. Like a precipice, like a dangerous animal, you
run away. Similarly, thought is dangerous in the psychological
world. I wonder if you see this? Though it is necessary in certain
areas. Then, if you observe this very carefully, without any bias,
then thought begins to realize its own place.
«THE WORLD OF PEACE» BROCKWOOD
PARK 1ST PUBLIC QUESTION & ANSWER
MEETING 30TH AUGUST 1983
We have to go into these questions. First of all if one may ask most
respectfully, from whom do you expect the answers? It is good to
question, not only the speaker or to question your friends, your
wives and your husbands, question, to doubt, to enquire, to be
sceptical. And when one puts a question, which is a challenge, to
whom or from whom do you expect that challenge to be answered?
Is it a challenge to oneself? Or are you challenging the speaker?
There is a great deal of difference: when you are putting the
question to yourself, to oneself, then you are really probing into it,
putting your teeth into it. And if one is earnest and really deeply
concerned then the answers can only be found in the question. The
answer is not, if one may point out, separate from the question, it is
not somewhere the answer is, and the question is somewhere else.
So we are saying that in the very questioning is the answer. I hope
we understand that.
So we are together going to enquire into these questions. And in
enquiring together we will find the answer. It is not that the
speaker is going to answer, like a politician, he has got all kinds of
answers, but here we are together enquiring into these questions.
The question is far more important, is it not, than the answer. Why
do I put a question to myself, or to the world, or to my friend? If I
put a question rather superficially the answer will inevitably be
superficial because my question is really not very important, to
myself or to the world. But if I put a question and try to find the nature, what lies behind the question, then I am opening the
question. It is like digging in a well, the more you dig the more
water. So we are together, if I may point out again, we are going
together to go into these questions. Is that all right?
1st QUESTION: How do you know what you are saying is true?
Why do you ask me that question? Isn’t it true that as long as
there is national division, economic division, racial division,
religious division, there must be conflict. That is a fact. Right?
Would you accept that? So it is not what I say to be true, but the
fact itself. Facts themselves show what the truth is. As we talked
the other day about relationship: as long as there is this separation
between two human beings, psychologically, there must be
conflict. That is a fact. It is not what I say – how do I know what I
say is true, but it is a fact that as long as I am ambitious and
pursuing my particular form of pleasure, particular fulfilment, and
my wife or husband, or girl friend does the same, we must
inevitably end up in conflict. That is a fact. So it is not, how do I
know what truth is. First of all let us look at facts.
We are greatly prejudiced people. We have a great many
prejudices. We have cultivated them, we have strengthened them
by public opinion and so on, that our prejudices prevent
understanding other people. Right? That is a fact. So can one be
free of prejudices, free of certain opinions which become so very
strong in our lives. And the question then arises: how is it possible
for human beings to be free of prejudices? That we can discuss.
That we can have a conversation, a dialogue and say, look I have
prejudices, suppose I have them, and you have them, and so these
prejudices, whether they are idealistic prejudices, capitalist prejudices, totalitarian prejudices, religious prejudices, they divide
people. Right? This is a simple fact. And where there is division
there must be conflict – the Arab and the Jew, the Islamic world
and the rest of the world, those who are terribly bigoted and those
who are not, must be in conflict. It is a fact. I have nothing to do
with it. It isn’t how do I know what I am saying is true, we are just
Now what is a fact? What do you think is a fact? That which
has happened before, an incident, a car accident, that is a fact. Or
what is happening now, sitting here, is a fact. But what will happen
in the future may not be a fact. So fact implies that which has
happened before: yesterday, walking along the lane, I met a viper, I
saw it, it didn’t bite me. That is a fact. And what is happening now,
what I am thinking, what I am doing now, is a fact. And what I will
do may not be a fact. It might happen, or might not happen. So if
we are clear on what is a fact, and then what is an idea. You
understand? Is an idea a fact? And the word ‘idea’, the Greek and
so on, Latin, means to observe. The root meaning of that word
‘idea’ is to observe, to perceive, to see. What we do is see a fact and
make an abstraction of it and then pursue the idea. Which means
there is always the fact and a conclusion from the fact, and pursue
the fact, pursue the conclusion, not the understanding of the fact.
Am I making myself clear?
So please it is not how do you know what you are saying is true,
the speaker is merely pointing out facts. Those facts are not
personal. If I say I am a Hindu and I stick to it, that is a fact.
Whether it is an illusion, whether it is some kind of superstitious
sentimental nonsense, that also is fact. You understand? Fact can be an illusion, or actual. But most of us live with illusions. I am an
Indian – that is an illusion. And you are, if I may most gently point
out, you are British – that is also an illusion. This tribal insular
worship is destroying the world. That is a fact. As long as I am an
Arab and you are something else, I am going to destroy you
because I believe by destroying you I will go to heaven. Right?
That is an illusion which they have accepted as a fact, and for that
illusion they are willing to fight and kill, and destroy. Right? So
can we always deal with facts? I am asking: can we always be with
facts? Not translate the facts according to my prejudice, according
to my belief, according to my neurotic illusions, however noble
they are, can I look at these facts and understand what those facts
are telling, saying? Suppose I had an accident in a car, can I look at
that fact that I was rather careless, driving too fast, not paying
complete attention to what I was doing because I was talking to my
friend next to me – that is a fact. But I then say, «No, it is your
fault» – you know, the other fellow is a fool!
Now, it is a fact that we have ideals. Right? Don’t you all have
ideals? No? I wish we could have a dialogue, friendly, talk to each
other. Don’t you have ideals? I am afraid you do. Ideals. What are
those ideals? Are they facts? The ideal that we must live
peacefully. Right? The ideal that we must be – whatever it is, non-
violent, or the ideals of a communist, which are drawn from
historical study, but those studies are prejudiced by my
conditioning, so why do we have ideals at all? I know this is a
dangerous thing to say because most of us live with these
extraordinary ideals. We are questioning, please I am not saying
you should or should not have ideals. I am saying, why do we have ideals, faiths, beliefs, as a Christian, as a Buddhist, as a Hindu, I
am an American, you are British, you know, all the rest of it –
why? Is it our brain is incapable of living without any illusion?
What do you say to that? Is my brain capable, strong, vital, to
understand things as they are and not create a future ideal? Ideal is
non-existent. Right? All Christians and all religious people believe
that you must not kill. Right? And probably the Christians have
killed more than anybody else. Right? And the British. And the
Islamic world have killed more – not so many as the Christians.
And probably the Buddhists and the Hindus come on a lower scale
because they are barbarians, they are uncivilized people. And so it
goes on. And we know that ideals of every kind, faith, belief,
divide people. That is a fact.
So, can we be free of ideals, of faith, of being identified with
one group and against another group which identifies with another
group. You follow? Be free of all this. Could we – or is that
impossible? If we could have a dialogue about this then we would
exchange views – yes, it is possible, it is not possible, why is it not
possible – you understand? Could we do that now? To have a free
mind, free brain, that is not cluttered up with a lot of rubbish, a lot
of illusions, is that possible? And some of you may say, no, it is
not possible because I can’t live without my beliefs. I must have
my ideals, my faith, otherwise I am lost – with your faiths, with
your beliefs, ideals you are already lost. That is a fact. You are
very lost people. But whereas if we could have a dialogue,
conversation, and say, why do I cling to my particular prejudice,
particular ideal, and so on, why have I identified myself with
them? Why do I identify myself with anything? You follow? Push it. Push it deeply to find out why we do all these things. Why we
have allowed ourselves to be programmed. Why are we afraid of
public opinion and so on and so on.
So the question: how do you know what you are saying is true?
I am afraid it has very little meaning. Truth is not something that is
mysterious, truth is where you are. From there we can begin. Truth
is I am angry, I am jealous, I am aggressive, I quarrel. That is a
fact. So one must begin, if one may most respectfully point out,
where one is. That is why it is important to know oneself, to have
complete knowledge of oneself, not from others, not from
psychologists, brain specialists and so on, but to know what you
are. Because you are the story of mankind. Do you understand all
this? If you know how to read that book which is yourself, then
you know all the activities and the brutalities and the stupidities of
mankind because you are the rest of the world. Right? Is that
2nd QUESTION: Is desire something fundamental in human
beings? Without desire could we function in this world at all?
Could we talk about this? Have a conversation: what is desire,
why desire has become so important in our lives and why desire
dominates and why desire changes its object from year to year.
Right? You understand? Why? And all the various monks
throughout the world, they are supposed to be serious people,
dedicated, committed, they suppress their desires, they are tortured
by their desires. Right? They may worship whatever symbol,
whatever person, but desire is there burning like a fire. Right? This
is a common fact. And to understand the whole nature of desire
one must go into it very, very carefully. Let’s talk about it together, shall we? Join me please.
Why have human beings yielded to desire, to do everything that
they wanted to do, on one side; and there are other human beings
who say you must suppress desire? You understand this? The
monks, the sannyasis of India, and the Buddhist monks, all say you
must control your desire, or transform your desire to god. Do you
understand all this? Turn your desire to the worship of your
saviour, turn this desire that is so strong, take vows against it –
vows of celibacy, vows of silence, vows of one meal a day. You
understand? Have you ever been in a monastery? No? I was in one
for some time for fun. And I watched, I listened, slept there, did the
things they did. It was really a cruel affair. Take a vow of silence
and never speak again – you understand what it means? Never look
at a woman. Do you understand all this? Never look at the sky, the
beauty of trees, the solitary tree in a field, never communicate what
you are feeling to another. Do you understand all this? In the name
of service, in the name of god, human beings have tortured
themselves to find illumination, to find enlightenment, to find
something or other, heaven. And that is a tremendously torturing
affair. And desire is at the root of all this. Right? I wonder if you
understand all this.
Human beings in India, in the West, and the Far East, they have
done everything to suppress this flame. I once met a man, an
Indian, highly educated, he had been to the West, talked excellent
English, very learned, and yet he had taken a vow never to enter
into a married couple’s house. Please, you may laugh at it. Because
he said sex is an abomination; and when he said it is an
abomination you could feel the tortures he had been through. You understand all this? Does it mean anything to you, all this?
So to go into this question: what is desire? Why are there these
two elements in life, the suppression, the control, and the other side
to do what you want. There are the gurus who say do what you
want, god will bless you, and of course they are very, very popular.
And thousands go, offer everything they have – you know all that is
happening in the world. So we must go into this question: what is
desire and whether it is the fundamental urge of life, of living. Is
this quite clear, up to now?
So let’s go into it. What is desire? You understand? We
expanded desire, what is taking place in the world, night clubs, sex,
free sex, do what you want to do, gurus help you to do what you
want to do, really it releases all your inhibitions. Counter groups –
you know. God, this world is mad all right! But they never ask the
question apparently, I may be mistaken: what is the nature of
desire? What is that entity that controls desire? You understand?
The urge to have something, to possess something, and the entity
that says, «Don’t». Right? There is this battle going on: one desire
opposing another desire. Right? Are we together in this? We are
having a conversation, I am not making a sermon. We are having a
dialogue together. Which is: why is there in human beings this dual
process going on, opposite processes, wanting and not wanting,
suppressing and letting go? You understand my question? Why is
there this contradiction in us? Does the contradiction exist because
we are not facing facts? Facts have no contradiction, it is a fact. I
wonder if you understand? I am angry. That is a fact. I am violent.
I am jealous, greedy. That is a fact. But when I say, «I am violent»,
there is immediately an idea I must not be violent. Right? And I must not be violent becomes the ideal, which is non-violence. So
there is a battle between violence, which I am, and trying to be non-
violent. Why have we done this? The non-violence is non-fact. I
know it is a fashion brought about through Tolstoy in India and so
on, that we must all be non-violent. Whereas we are actually
violent human beings. Would you admit that? Therefore why do
we have its opposite? You understand? Is that an escape from fact?
And if it is an escape from fact why do we escape? Is it because we
do not know how to deal with the fact? I escape from something
because I don’t know what to do about it, but if I know what to do I
can deal with it.
So let’s find out – oh, that takes too long! I will go into it. Let’s
find out how to deal with the fact only, not with its opposite. I am
violent. And I have no opposite. Because that is non-fact, that has
no validity at all. What has validity, what is truth, what is a fact, is
I am violent. Right? And what does violence mean? Not only to do
harm to another, throw a bomb and all the rest of things that are
going on in the world, it also means comparison. Right? When I
compare myself with you, who are clever, bright, noble and all the
rest of it, then what takes place when I am comparing with you?
Through comparison I make myself dull. Right? I wonder if you
follow all this? Is this too much? Why do we compare? Of course
you have to compare, if you have the money, between two cars, or
between dresses and so on, that is inevitable. But why do I
psychologically compare myself with anybody? Is it because I do
not know how to deal with myself? You understand? When you
say to a boy, you must be like your elder brother, as most parents
do, what happens to that boy, who is B? When you are comparing B with A, what happens to B? Have you ever thought about it? I
have two sons, A and B – or two girls, whatever it is. I am
comparing A, the youngest boy to the older, and say, «You must be
like him.» What does that do to A? You understand? When I say
you must be like B, what happens to A? Then he is imitating,
conforming. You have set a pattern and this comparison is a form
of violence. Right? I wonder if you see that. No? So imitation is
violence. You have to go into this to see all the subtleties of it.
So when you look at violence it opens itself more and more,
what the content of that word is, and it reveals most extraordinary
things. But if you are pursuing non-violence, which is illusory,
which is non-factual, it has no meaning. I wonder if you see this?
So, let’s come back. Which really means: how do you observe
violence? Is the observer different from the thing called violence?
You understand? I am violent. That word indicates the reaction,
and I have used that word because I have repeated it so often – to
identify that particular reaction. Are you following? And by using
that word constantly I am strengthening that feeling. So can I be
free of the word and look? Do you understand all this? No, you
don’t. So let’s come back. What is desire? How does it happen?
And can that be understood, lived with, so that there is no
suppression, no condemnation, or indulging in it? Right? To look
at it, to understand it, so that when you understand something very
clearly then it becomes simple. If I know how to dismantle a car,
which I have done, not the modern cars, they are too complicated,
then it is fairly simple to deal with any misbehaving, or something
faulty. So it never frightens one. So let’s look at this very carefully.
What is desire? What is the root and the beginning of desire? Right sirs? Can we have a dialogue on it?
We are asking what is the root of desire and can we observe that
root and remain with that root? You understand? Not say it is right,
or wrong, it is good to have desire, or what will human beings do
without desire, and all that kind of question.
Q: I have an answer to your question. I think separation from
the mother is the root of desire.
K: From the mother? The baby gets desire from the mother?
Q: No, desire from the separation.
K: Desire from the separation from the mother? Is that so? Is
that true, a fact? We don’t know. Don’t go back to babies and
children and mothers, and all that. That is a different question. We
will deal with it when it arises.
We are asking: what is the root of desire? You see something
beautiful, a nice picture, a beautiful piece of furniture, jewelry.
You see it in the window. What takes place? Let’s go slowly. You
see the particular jewel in the window. There is a reaction to that.
Right? You go inside the shop and you ask the man to show you
that particular jewel. You touch it. The you have a certain
sensation. Right? That is, seeing, going inside and contact with
your fingers, then sensation. Right? Seeing, contact, sensation.
Then – please go slowly, you will see it for yourself – then thought
imagines how lovely you would look with that jewel, on your
hand, or round your neck, or in your ears. Right? So at that
moment desire is born. Am I making myself clear? That is, it is
natural to have this sensation – seeing that jewel in the window,
going into the shop, handling it, sensation, a feeling. Then thought
comes along, it is all done in a flash of a second, but thought comes along and says, «How lovely that would be on my finger. How
lovely it would be if I owned that marvellous piece of jewelry.» At
that moment desire is born. Right? I wonder if you understand? If
we could approach desire slowly, step by step, then we see how
desire is born – seeing, contact, sensation. Then thought sees that
car, touches it, goes round it, feels it, opens it up and then,
sensation. Then thought says, «I’d like to have that car, sit in it,
drive it.» You understand? All this takes place instantly, now we
are separating it step by step.
So if you are aware of this whole process – seeing, contact,
sensation, thought imagining you in the car and driving it off. You
understand that? That moment is the birth of desire, when thought
interferes with sensation. Got it? Is this a fact? Not what you say, is
it true, is this a fact? This is a fact. You see a blouse, or a skirt, or a
nice shirt in the window and you know, you go through the whole
process in a flash of a second. But when you slow it down, like in a
film, step by step, you see the whole movement of it – seeing,
contact, sensation, thought with its image, then desire is born.
Right? Are we clear on this? Not I am saying this, don’t say, «What
right have you to tell me that?» It is a fact. Then let’s find out why
thought does this. Why thought captures the sensation and makes
an image of it. You understand what I am saying? Why? Now you
see, why does thought do this?
Q: Trapped in memory which likes to repeat itself.
K: Yes, no. This is the habit, isn’t it? This is our unconscious,
unaware movement. Right? I see something, immediately – we
never separate thought from sensation. You understand what I am
saying? I wish you could. Am I talking sense or nonsense? You judge – please, you question what I am saying. So thought is more
dominant than desire. Right? I wonder if you see that? Which is,
thought shapes sensation. Right? You have had sex last night and
thought is going on – the image, the picture, the wanting.
So desire and thought go together. Right? Are you following? Is
that so? Or is desire something totally different from thought? Or
they are always going together like two horses. And then like two
horses trotting along together, then thought says, «I must control». I
wonder if you understand?
So when one is aware of this movement of seeing, contact,
sensation and thought capturing the sensation, creating an image, at
that moment desire is born. Now can there be a hiatus, a gap, an
interval, between sensation and the moment when thought captures
sensation? You understand what I am saying? I see – one sees a car,
a very good model, beautifully polished, beautiful lines and
aerodynamic and all the rest of it. And you see it. The seeing,
going round it, touching it, sensation. Why don’t you stop there?
Why does thought take over so quickly? If you are aware of this
whole movement then there can be observation very clearly when
thought begins to come in. Right? When you observe it so closely
then thought hesitates. You follow? I wonder if you follow all this?
So attention to all this denies totally any control. I wonder if
you understand all this? After all, when I control my desire, the
controller is another form of desire. Right? So one desire is in
conflict with another desire. But if we understand the whole
movement of desire then – you understand – there is a certain
quality of discipline, not control. But the awareness, or the
attention to this whole movement is its own discipline. Am I talking to myself? No, you haven’t done any of this. It is all totally
Q: Can I ask you a question about thought? When we go now
from this tent, what do we do with our thoughts that they don’t
K: I explained this madam the other day. Thought is necessary
in certain areas otherwise you and I couldn’t speak English.
Thought is necessary for you to go home, to do your job, your skill.
Thought has built the extraordinary things of the world, cathedrals,
atom bomb, the marvellous submarines. And also thought has
created all the things that are in the cathedrals, the vestments, the
robes – and all the rest of it, and also thought has created war – my
country, your country, my tribe and your tribe. So all that we are
saying is: thought is necessary in certain places, it is not necessary
in other areas. That requires a great deal of observation, attention,
care, to find out where thought is not necessary. Right? But we are
so impatient, we want to get at it quickly, like taking a pill for a
headache. But we never find out what is the cause of the headache.
You understand? And all the rest of it. So if this is very clear, the
origin and the beginning of desire, then that very clarity is its own
order, then there is no discipline, desire.
Right? Have I made this somewhat clear?
Q: What is the difference between clarity of desire of buying
something or to look for truth?
K: The desire for a blue suit, blue shirt, blue blouse, whatever it
is, and desire for truth are exactly the same, because they are both
desire. I might desire a beautiful car, and you might desire for
heaven, what is the difference? We are trying to understand desire, not the objects of desire. Your object may be to sit next to god, my
object of desire may be to have a nice garden. But desire is
common to both of us and we are trying to understand desire, not
your heaven and my garden. If I understand desire then whether
you have heaven – you follow?
3rd QUESTION: Jealousy and mistrust are poisoning my
relationship with someone. Is there any solution other than
isolating myself from every other human being except him?
I wonder why you laughed. This is a common everyday human
life. Right? How do you answer this question? If I put this question
to you, how would you deal with it? What would be your reaction,
your response to this question? Would you laugh? Would you say,
«I am not jealous»? So let’s go together into this very complex
question, which is a human question. It is not something about
heaven, or nirvana, or illumination. You know, sir, unless we keep
our house in order, meditation and other things have no value.
Right? If my house, which is me, is not in complete order, without
any conflict, what is the point of meditation? It is another escape,
another illusion. But when my house is in order, completely,
without any shadow in my house, then meditation is something
entirely different. But we think by meditating, god knows what,
then your house will be in order. See how deceptive we are. So let’s
go into this.
Jealousy and distrust, poisoning one’s life, have I to isolate
myself to be with her, or him? Why do we possess people? Right?
Why? We are having a dialogue please. Why do I possess my
wife? And my wife delights in possessing me. Why?
Q: I need the status and there is a fear of being alone. K: Which means what? Sir, look: we are asking this question, to
end jealousy, not just to go on and on and on for the rest of our life.
Like desire, to understand it so fully, it becomes very simple. So I
want to find out why I am jealous. Why I am jealous of my wife, or
she is jealous of me. Is it that we want to possess each other? What
does that mean? What am I possessing? The body? Please enquire
with me sirs. The body, the organism and what is implied in
possession? To dominate. Right? Doesn’t it? Oh, come on sirs. I
want to possess her – go into it: why do I want to possess? Because
I am lonely, she gives me comfort, she is mine, legally, morally,
the church has blessed it, or the Registrar has blessed it, and I hold
her – why? Is it because I am lonely? If I am lonely I want to
escape from that tremendous void of the word which I use, ‘lonely’,
to escape from it – to which I escape too becomes all important.
You understand? I escape from life by inventing god and I hold to
that god because that is the only thing I have.
So, I possess her, and what does that mean, in possessing
somebody? Dominating, identifying myself with her – go slowly,
enquire slowly. And it gives me a sense of power. Right? And at
the end of all this I say she is mine. People like to be possessed –
don’t you? No? Can you say to your wife, «I don’t possess you»?
Oh, you people have never done anything. And I am jealous, which
is, she is depriving me of my stability, my security when she goes
away and talks to somebody else, or looks at somebody else, or
does something or other with somebody else – I am at a loss. She
has deprived me of my identity, driven me to my loneliness. And I
hate all that. So I am jealous of her. Which means, jealousy implies
hate, anger, violence, beating – god, don’t you know all this? And I can’t let her go and she can’t let me go, and we live like that.
Jealousy, distrust, feeling lonely deeply inside but trying to escape
from it, that’s my life, and that is what we call relationship, and that
is what we call love. You understand sirs?
So one asks a much deeper question: is love desire? Go on sirs.
Is love pleasure? You have to answer that question, not I. It is your
life not my life. And can each of us see this fact, what possession,
domination, power, does to each of us? You – the man may see it
first, or the woman may, then will she help him to see all this? And
is he willing to listen to all this? You are following all this, or is
this all strange to you? Will he, or she listen to each other, the basis
of it, being afraid to lose – you understand? Afraid of losing one’s
security in relationship. And when that security is shaken I am
jealous. Will my wife listen to me? And I say to her, «Look, old
girl, I love you but I don’t possess you» – could you say that? My
golly! «I am free of you and you are free of me.» Which doesn’t
mean free love and going off, you know, changing every year a
new man or a new woman. But seeing the whole problem, not just
jealousy, how to get rid of jealousy, or distrust, but seeing the
whole problem of relationship, which is very complex, which
demands subtlety, sensitivity.
Q: I can see it.
K: But will you do something about it? One can intellectually
understand all this, verbally, which you call intellectually. What
value has it when I carry on with jealousy for the rest of my life
and that jealousy creates wounds in me psychologically? I am hurt
inwardly and I carry on with that hurt, with that jealousy, with that
distrust – is this the way to live? So merely to see it all intellectually has very little meaning. But if you say, «Look, I am
jealous. Let’s go into it. Let’s find out whether it can end» – which
means do I possess anything at all? Am I attached to anything?
Attached to my wife, husband, attached to ideals, my future
success – you know, attachment. When you are attached then there
is jealousy, there is anxiety, there is pain. If you see that very
clearly then the thing becomes very simple. But you don’t want to
see it clearly because we want to live the way we have lived for a
million years. Right?
Can we go on to the next question? Or do you want to escape
from these questions?
Q: Can I ask a question? How does one break free of habits?
Once one has intellectually reached an understanding from such as
one has just discussed, how does one break free of habit then?
K: When one understands something verbally, so-called
intellectually, how does one break that habit. That is the question
the gentleman asked.
What is habit? It is a repetition, isn’t it? Cleaning one’s teeth
every morning, afternoon and evening, it becomes a routine, you
don’t pay attention, you just do it very quickly and get off. So the
brain establishes a pattern, drinking, sex, whatever it is, it
establishes a pattern, then repeats it, then it becomes mechanical.
Right? Are you following all this? So the brain through constant
habits has become what it is now – not active, alive. So the
gentleman asks: how do you break a habit, whatever the habit? A
habit to search for god, to go to some exotic guru who promises
you everything and lets you do what you like – you know all the
crazy things that are going on in the world. Now how do you break a habit? Without conflict – right? You understand? Let’s say I have
a habit, of what – give me a habit, would you please.
K: Smoking is such an easy affair, that is an easy affair to stop.
Q: Always giving the same answer.
K: I hope I am not giving the same answer. It doesn’t matter. I
have a habit, smoking, scratching my head, keeping my mouth
open, habit of thinking the same thing over and over and over
again, or the habit of chattering. Let’s take chattering.
I am not only chattering with myself but I am always endlessly
talking with others. Right? The other day somebody came to see
me, it was an interview. I don’t give interviews anymore but she
insisted, she came. The moment she entered – please, it is none of
you here – she began to talk, talk, talk, and when she left, «I am
glad to have met you.» We all chatter endlessly; not only some go
back and forth but also chatter inwardly. That has become an
extraordinary habit for most people, they can never be quiet, never
be silent. Silence in the sense the brain completely still, but that is
a different matter, we can go into it later. So this habit of
chattering. How do I stop it? First of all, who is to stop it? Another
chatterer who says, «I must stop this chattering but I will have my
own chattering» – you understand? So who is to stop chattering?
Fear? Seeing that it is a wastage of energy, chattering, chattering,
then will you stop that?
So we have to ask a question which is more serious: is there an
entity outside of you, or inside of you, that will act as a brake upon
chattering, that will say, «No I will not chatter»? Is it – please listen
carefully – is it will, the decision not to chatter? And if it is will, what is will? The quintessence of desire – right? Right? Are you all
K: All right. How quickly you answered.
So, how do you stop a habit of chattering? First of all, if you
stop it through will, through desire, that creates another conflict,
doesn’t it? And to stop chattering without conflict – you understand
my question? – is that possible? I chatter. First of all I am not aware
I am chattering. You point it out to me and say, «Old chap do stop
chattering so much.» And I get rather hurt by it but if I go beyond
that and I say, «Now, in what manner am I to stop it?» Then I have
got the orthodox means of will, or taking a drug that will quieten
me down, and having been quietened I take another drug to keep
me awake – and I keep on that routine. So I want to find out how to
stop a habit, like chattering, keeping your mouth open, scratching
yourself, all kinds of things, without any kind of effort. You
understand my question? This is an important question. To do
something without effort. Does it amuse you, it’s fun. Will you do
this? Find out your particular habit, aware of it, and say, now, can
it be ended without any action of will, decision, compulsion,
reward – you understand – reward and punishment they are the two
elements we live on. So can I break that habit without any side
effects. Right? Can we go into this? I will go into it.
First of all am I aware of my habit, not that you point it out to
me and then I realize it, but am I aware of my habits without
somebody telling me of my habits. You understand? See the
difference. If you tell me my habit then I either resist it, or say, yes,
I must stop it. But if I see it for myself I am a step ahead, if I can so put it. Right? Now are we aware of our particular habit, chattering,
we took that? Now what does that awareness mean? Awareness
means to look at something without any reaction, without any
choice. I am aware that I am chattering, that is first. Then to be
aware, to watch it without any condemnation, justification or
explanation, just to watch it. Will you do that? So that the old
reactions don’t come in, the old tradition doesn’t come in and say,
«I must stop it», I must do this, I must do that. So to watch the
chattering very carefully. To watch it means without any reaction
of past memories. This becomes very difficult. You understand? If
I watch that tree in movement in the wind, it is a beautiful thing,
And I don’t like wind therefore I won’t watch it. Similarly in a
certain way, I can watch my chattering. The watcher is not
different from chattering. So the watcher is not the structure of
words, memories, he is just watching. You understand? Please this
is rather complex and requires a great deal of enquiry.
We watch things with our prejudices, with our opinions, with
our memories, the whole structure of words. Right? We watch
everything that way. Now can you watch without all that memory,
structure? That is where the art comes in, the art of watching. Now
I watch – there is a watching of my chattering. I am aware and in
that awareness I am not seeking any reward or punishment, I am
just watching. Which means what? I am giving complete attention
at that moment. Right sirs? At that second all my energy, all my
capacity and attention is there. Which means when there is
complete attention, complete, not attention brought about by any
form of desire, through any form of reward or punishment, just
complete attention, then that habit has no place. You understand? Do it please, try it once. Now, you will say, yes, for the moment it
is possible, I can see that can end, if I give complete attention to
something there is an ending to it, but it comes back. Right? Are
you following? It comes back, the chattering comes back. Then
what is your reaction? I did it once, gave complete attention, and it
seems to subside for the second, now if I give the same attention it
will subside again. So you have become mechanical. I wonder if
you see this? Do you understand this? I gave attention, complete
attention, to my chattering. That flame of attention wiped away for
a few minutes chattering. I have seen the thing works. Then the
next moment, or next hour, whatever period of time, you begin to
chatter and suddenly catch yourself and say, «I must pay attention.»
So again you repeat, again it disappears. So gradually what you are
learning is paying attention, which means you are not attending.
Have you understood what I am saying? If you are constantly
reminding yourself to attend, it is not attention. But attention has
no time – oh, I won’t go into all this.
If you give your complete attention, which means there is no
wastage of energy, then the thing goes away. So your concern is
not attention but wasting energy – you follow? We waste energy in
a thousand ways, chattering is one of the ways. So, all right, I don’t
pay attention any more about chattering, but I am going to see how
I waste my energy – right? I am going to pursue that. I am going to
watch, learn, see where I am wasting energy. Oh, there are so many
ways. Right? So my mind now is not becoming mechanical by the
repetition that I must attend but it is moving. Right? All the time
picking up new things. I wonder if you see all this? So that the
brain becomes extraordinarily alert, and when it is so alert habits have no place.
«THE WORLD OF PEACE» BROCKWOOD
PARK 2ND PUBLIC QUESTION & ANSWER
MEETING 1ST SEPTEMBER 1983
There are several questions here and I hope this morning we can go
through them. These questions are really problems. And to resolve
problems a mind, or rather the brain, unless it is free from
problems in itself, it cannot possibly solve the problems without
raising other problems. Right? That is what politicians throughout
the world are doing. They have got innumerable problems, war,
atomic bombs and all the rest of it, their own position, their
ambition, they represent the voter and so on and so on, their brains
are full of their problems. And such a brain, as our brains also, are
cluttered with so many problems, to resolve other problems, how
can you solve them unless your brain is free from problems? I hope
I am making this clear. If my brain is clouded with several
problems, scientific, medical, health, sexual – so many problems
human beings have, and other problems arise, how can I meet
them? I only meet them with a brain that is not only trained to
resolve problems but also heavy with problems. So shouldn’t one
enquire whether it is possible to be free of problems? And then any
problem that arises we can meet freely. Is that possible? You
understand my question?
Suppose I have several personal problems, and my brain is
worried and concerned and thinking about it all the time, and I
meet other problems – problems being something thrown at me – I
can only meet them according to my brain which is already heavy
with problems. Right? Isn’t it important – I am just asking – to have a mind, a brain which is really free from problems. Then life has
problems, you can meet them freely. Am I making my position
clear? This, as we said the other day, this is a dialogue between us,
not a monologue by me but a dialogue where two of us are talking
things over. Neither is trying to impress the other, or convince the
other, or subtly persuading the other, but two friends talking over
together. And I hope we are doing this, together look at these
problems. If our brain is not free, then whatever problems arise we
will meet them with the problems that we already have. So we are
asking: is it possible for a brain to be free of problems? Is this all
right? Am I putting a wrong question? Now how is a brain to be
free of problems so that it can meet problems? How do you meet
it? How do you meet problems with a free mind, a free brain? Do
please let’s talk it over together.
From childhood we are trained to have problems, the whole of
education is a series of problems, mathematical, relationship,
teacher and the student, examinations – you know, the whole
educational system becomes a problem. And we are trained to
resolve problems. So our brain is trained, educated. Now can one
uncondition the brain which has been trained to solve problems and
is therefore never free? Am I making my question clear so that we
are both understanding each other? Right? Is that possible? Please.
Q: Is it not necessary first to free ourselves from very strong
K: Sir, it is not a question of attachment for the moment. But I
am just asking my brain from childhood, and your brain, is trained
to have problems and to resolve problems. That is a fact. Such a
brain meeting problems will always meet them with a brain that is cluttered. Right? Shouldn’t it be free to meet problems? No? Now
how do you propose to be free? What will you do?
Q: Could it be that first we should recognize that by asking that
question we are making it another problem.
K: Not asking that person, yourself. Is it possible for me, for my
brain, not to have a single problem so that it can meet the problems
of life freely? This is really a very, very serious question.
K: Yes? It is so easy as that?
Q: You have to look.
K: Is your brain free from problems? Are you free from
problems – health problems, mathematical, if you are a technician,
you know, the whole world of technology with their problems,
personal problems, problems of relationship, political problems,
whether it should be a democratic or republican, a communist or a
socialist, whether you believe in god or don’t believe in god,
whether you – you follow, our brain is so loaded. The more serious
you are the more the burden becomes.
So in what manner can the brain be entirely free from
problems? You see we haven’t thought about this at all. Does one
demand the brain to be free from problems so that it can meet
Q: I have thought about it but that seems to create another
K: Yes, that is just it. You have thought about it and the very
thinking about it creates another problem.
Q: One has to ask whether thought can solve problems.
K: Whether thought solves the problem and so on. Does this mean anything to each one of us? Or is it something that you
haven’t really given your mind to it?
Q: A great many people enjoy their problems and they would
find life very boring if they didn’t have problems.
K: Oh well that is a different matter. If you enjoy your problems
good luck! That is a kind of neuroticism.
Shall we go into this matter before answering all the questions –
there are here about eight questions? Problems have conditioned
our brain. Right? Have limited the brain. And do we see the
importance that a brain that has been working on problems,
problem after problem, is incapable of meeting any problem at all?
Are we clear on that point, verbally even, intellectually?
Q: I am not sure about that one. The brain has a stack of
problems, you are saying it is incapable of meeting another
problem freshly, coming to that problem.
K: If the brain has problems and meets another problem, what
Q: It copes with it as it does cope with it – more or less badly, or
better or worse.
K: That is what is happening in the world.
Q: That is the case. You cannot therefore say the brain cannot
deal with problems just because it has problems.
K: No, it can only deal with problems partially, limited.
Q: Yes, I agree.
K: And therefore more problems.
Q: Yes, all right.
K: That’s all we are saying. Look at all the politicians in the
world, that is a perfect example. They are creating one problem after another and merely never solving any problems. You have
perfect examples here.
Q: Yes, but what is it that we are demanding when we want
some sort of absolute kind of solution?
K: We are going to find out sir if there is, or there is not.
Q: Oh, all right, fair enough.
K: Or must we always live with increasing problems,
multiplying problems? So can the brain be aware of itself – this is a
very serious question if you want to go into it – can the brain be
aware? – it has problems, personal, health, scientific, and so on and
so on, multiple problems, many, many problems. And can we put
aside and look at those problems first objectively, unemotionally,
not taking sides and so on, without bias? Can we do that?
Q: I don’t know about the old mind, there is something
happening which you can’t cope with and making it into a problem
K: Sir, you are not meeting my question – forgive me for
Q: The problem is only for our ego.
K: Problems exist for the sustenance of our ego. All right. But
what will you do about it? Oh, I see you can’t deal with this. All
right, let’s go to our questions.
Q: No, no.
K: We will come back to it perhaps at the end of it. May we?
Q: Is it possible that our problem is that we always want
answers to the questions? As we sit here you are putting a question
into this whole gathering and immediately many people are creating a duality by wanting an answer to the question, which is
the way we always live?
K: All right. You are going to get them.
1st QUESTION: What is the relationship between
consciousness, mind, brain, thought, intellect, meditation and
intelligence? Is awareness, attention still there when thought is not?
Is awareness beyond time?
Now how do you meet this problem? This is a problem. Right?
This is a question – how do you meet that? Because this is a
question that all of us put, if you are at all serious, if you have gone
into all this, you say, what is the relationship of intellect, brain,
mind, intelligence, consciousness and so on? How do you meet this
problem? What is your approach to this problem, to these
questions? Right? What is your approach? Either you say there is
no relationship, each is something separate. Or, there is a
relationship between them all. That remains a mere verbal
statement. But to find out actually what is your answer? How do
you respond to that question?
Q: To observe your own conditioning.
K: Yes, which means what? One has to ask who is the observer,
is the observer different from the observed? So let’s begin.
Is awareness beyond time? That is the question. Is one aware of
the relationship between consciousness, intellect, intelligence,
brain and so on? What is awareness? Are we aware when we are
sitting here of the tent – of the marquee – the number of poles there
are holding up the marquee, aware of the person sitting next to us,
the colour of the shirt, the skirt, whatever it is? Are we aware of all
this? Or, not aware of it at the same time? You are aware of it partially, from time to time. Is that awareness? Or do you take the
whole thing, observe the whole marquee, see the number of poles
there are and so on, all together, and observe the various colours?
So isn’t awareness – begin very near. Right? I am aware of the
room I live in, or the flat I live in, the single room, aware of the
trees, the sky, the birds, the flowers, the beauty of the land and so
on. Are we aware of all this? Or we are aware very, very rarely? If
we are aware is it a partial awareness, see one thing only? Or being
aware you see the causation and the consequences and the ending
of the cause? You follow all this? Isn’t all that implied in being
aware? I am aware of my wife or husband. I’d better come back
down back to that. There we begin to understand much more. I am
aware of my wife. Is this awareness the memory of my wife?
Please answer. You understand? I am aware of my wife – which
means all the images I have built about my wife. Right? The
various incidents, flatteries, sex, companionship and so on, all that
is a continuous memory, adding all the time. Am I aware of these
memories? Or those memories are so strong, so embedded, that
there is no awareness of it objectively? You understand my
question? Are we going along with each other? Is this too
complex? No. All right.
So am I aware of the memories which interfere, block, the
awareness of my wife? So I ask naturally: can this block be put
aside, wiped away so that I can be aware of my wife sensitively?
So that the memories don’t interfere all the time. If one sees the fact
that in awareness if memory is functioning, then I am not aware at
all? Memory is acting all the time. If I am aware that the memories
are operating all the time, then I see how they block my relationship with my wife and therefore if I like the block, if I like
it because it is much better, it is easier to live that way, then I keep
it, but if one sees it is not necessary, it is dangerous in relationship,
then the very fact of the danger puts away the block, the barrier. Is
Now let’s proceed from there. What is the relationship between
consciousness, mind, brain, thought and so on, intelligence,
intellect? What is relationship – to be related to something? Is it
identification? I am related to my husband. Is that identification, or
relationship? Please. If it is identification then it is not relationship.
If I am identified as a Hindu there is no relationship in that
identification. If I am identified with a particular island called
Britain I have no relationship. So we have to distinguish, or
separate, identification and relationship. Right?
Now, are you doing it? So to find out what is relationship,
without identification, that is very serious. You understand? Is that
possible? I have identified with my wife, or with certain ideas and
conclusions, and it is almost impossible to break that identification.
I am that idea, I am that concept, therefore to ask such a question:
what is the relationship between consciousness, mind, brain and so
on, one has to go into this question, what is relationship? If it is not
identification, then what is the relationship between consciousness,
yours, mine or someone else’s, what is the relationship between
consciousness, the mind and so on? Now, first of all we have to
enquire what is consciousness? To be conscious, not only to what
is taking place around me but also to be consciousness inwardly,
what are my reactions, the beliefs, the fears, the faiths, the hopes,
the various forms of identification. Right? Suffering, pain, health, ill health, and so on. All that is my consciousness. Right sirs?
Would you agree to that? Not agree, do we move together? Your
consciousness, my consciousness, or someone else’s consciousness,
is all its content. Without its content consciousness, as we know it
now, cannot be. Right? Agreed? We go along with that?
Then we ask: what is the content? If I am a Hindu, or a
Christian, or British, my consciousness is made up of British
tradition, the Empire, the Queens and the Kings. Right? There are
various traditions, culture, linguistic control, and I believe, I have
faith, and so on. Right? That is the content of my consciousness if I
am British, a Frenchman and so on. If I am not of the Western
world then my consciousness also is faith, belief, suffering, pain,
anxiety, like the rest of the world. So the question is: is my
consciousness different from yours? If I suffer, if I have anxiety, if
I believe in something – I may believe in something else, and you
may believe, being Christian, in something else – but belief is
common to both of us. Right? Suffering we all share. It is not my
suffering only but you also suffer and so on. So consciousness
apart from the physical environmental impressions, which are also
part of consciousness, you may be tall, I may be short, I may be
lighter skinned than you, or you may be lighter skinned than me,
that is a superficial coating, but inwardly we are similar. Right? I
know you will not like this but that is a fact. Right? Do we go as
far as that? No.
Q: Yes, yes.
K: Verbally we will go.
Q: No, beyond verbally.
K: Intellectually you see the reason, the logic of it, but to feel it, to see the truth of it.
Q: You have to trust us more.
K: It is not a question of I trusting you, or you trusting me, it is
a question – you see how we…
Q: You are saying we don’t see it. Maybe we are seeing it. I
don’t see how you can say that we are only seeing it intellectually.
K: I don’t know. I am asking sir.
Q: Well I feel it is not only intellectual.
K: Then sir, that means the idea of individual separation,
psychologically, is non-existent. That means you have tremendous
responsibility for the whole. If I feel tremendous responsibility I
will not kill a Brazilian, an Arab, because he is part of me. I don’t
know if you go as far as that. And that is not pacifism – that is
another conclusion. The fact is our consciousness is shared by all
Now what is the relationship between consciousness, mind,
brain and all the rest of it – meditation included, all right, include
everything – what is the relationship between them all? Is the cord
of relationship thought? As the pearls are held together by a thin
nylon thread, are all these, consciousness, mind, brain and so on,
held together by thought? Thought is the thin line, thin fibre that
holds all this together? Please. So one has to go into the very
question: why has thought become so extraordinary vibrant, alive,
and full of activity? Right? Why? Is thought feeling? Is thought
emotion? Of course it is. If I do not recognize an emotion, which is
the activity of thought to recognize, then that emotion is not. You
understand all this? So thought apparently is the main thread that
holds the whole thing together? Is that so? Then what is the mind – this is really a very, very serious
question – what is the mind? Is it part of the brain? Or is it outside
of the brain?
Q: Is it both?
K: No. Sir don’t be quick. Please this is much to serious a
question to say yes, both, it is, it is not. How am I to find out?
Q: Well, when you drive a motor car the actual passage of the
motor car going across a road, along a road, the actual miles
covered, do you say «Is that in the engine»?
K: Yes sir. When you are driving a car you have to be aware of
not only the approaching car but also you have to be aware of the
side roads, you are aware or see three hundred or four hundred feet
Q: Sir, I am not saying that at all. What I am saying is – it is
getting a bit slack now I have made you lose your point, I am sorry.
But what I interrupted by saying was, that when you are driving a
car along the road the actual passage of the car going along the
road, the actual miles covered, we don’t normally talk about that as
being inside the engine. Yet when we are discussing as we are
now, talking about different functions of the mind, body, brain,
organism, that sort of thing, we try to vitalize them, yet normally
they proceed in sort of almost automatic sense as if the car is going
K: Yes sir, I know they are automatic, they all work together.
Now I want to understand when we use the word mind, when we
use the brain, when we use the word consciousness, like an engine
they are all working together.
Q: Yes, with more or less degrees of functioning. Sometimes they are functioning very badly, other times in the same life time
they are functioning very well.
K: I would like to, if I may most respectfully point out, first of
all are we aware that there is no separation between all this? Like
driving a car the engine is working, taking you along.
Q: Is it possible to be aware of no separation?
K: Yes sir, that is what I am asking sir, is it all a single
movement, a unitary movement in which there is no separation?
You see you can’t answer these questions.
Q: The separation is only in thought. It isn’t real.
K: I would like to find out for myself, what is the mind? Is it
part of the brain? How do I find out? Unless my brain is
unconditioned I can’t find out. Right? I can’t find out anything
unless there is freedom to look. But I am not free. My brain is
conditioned as a Catholic, Protestant, Communist, Socialist,
Democrat, or religiously and so on and so on, environmentally. As
long as that is conditioned I can never find out what the mind is. I
can say the mind is part of the brain or it is separate from the brain.
This matter we have discussed with several so-called scientists.
Some of them agree that it is outside the brain. Do you understand
K: No, sir. Please sir, please sir, don’t verbally, say yes. But the
implication that it is something outside the brain and that the brain
can only understand that when it is itself totally free. So I am not
concerned whether it is outside, inside, far away or near, my chief
concern is whether the brain can be free from its conditioning.
Then there will be discovery of that which is true, not just invention.
So I am asking – we are asking: what is the connection between
them all? Is it all one single movement? To find that out one must
begin very near, which is what I am. Right? What my thoughts are.
What are you? May I ask that simple question, which is very
complex, but we will start very simply – what are you?
K: That is understood. No, sir. Seriously what are you? You are
your name. Right? You are your tradition, you are your memories.
Right? And so on. So you are all that. Right? Which is, you are
consciousness. Right? You believe in, you don’t believe, you have
faith, your gods, your fears, pleasures, suffering, pain, and
emotionalism and so on and so on, you are all that. Right? We
agree to that? Or do we think we are something totally different?
Q: That is what we are. It is a fact.
K: That is a fact. Now what does that mean? When I say my
name is K, I belong to India, or Britain, or this or that, I have faith
and so on, what does all that mean? Does it all mean memory?
K: Which means, if you see that, or if you don’t see it, we are
the past. Right? Would you go along with that, even verbally? We
are the past. The past is knowledge. Right? The past is memory.
K: You are not learning anything from me please. I am just
pointing out. So we are the series of movements in memory. Right?
K: See the implications of it. That we are not actively living human beings. You may go to the office every day for the next ten
years, fifty years, or a factory, or do something or other. You are
all that too. If I am a scientist I have accumulated knowledge
through books, through experiments, through discussions, through
various forms of hypothesis and conclusions, all those are the past.
So I am the past. Right sir? I am memories. I am a dead entity
psychologically. I wonder if you see that?
Q: The moment I see that…
K: Wait. Do we just see it, or is it just an idea? Sir this requires
a great deal of work, a great deal of observation, patience, looking
at things very, very carefully, impartially, objectively, without any
sense of subjective reactions to it. That when once I realize that I
am the whole movement of the past, not only it is a sudden shock
to me but also the realization that there is nothing new in me.
Q: You haven’t proved it yet.
K: I seem to be probing, you are not probing.
Q: Sir, if you saw this a long time ago, how come it is a sudden
shock to you?
K: I said sir, suppose – sorry. Right?
Q: Isn’t the arc narrowed down very much whenever you do
anything? When you talk about being aware of all the tent and
everything, if I have to start vacuuming the carpet I have to narrow
it all down, and gradually as I do that I get wrapped up in
everything I am doing so that it is continually narrowing down.
K: So we are narrowing down – the gentleman asks why do you,
K, narrow down all this? It is the same thing sir, never mind. Sir,
putting light, a strong electric light on a small thing you see very
clearly – right – and from there move. But if you stay only there then it remains very, very small.
Question: We can learn more from each other than by listening
to K. Why don’t you encourage people to hold group discussions
on particular topics and have organized activities to facilitate
dialogue and relationship?
Q: Excuse me, we didn’t quite finish the last question, I thought.
Because you were saying we are the past and we are all these
things, but what is that? It is like a lot of stuff on a table. What is
the basis of that? That is what we should really get to. Not all that
memory, that dead stuff.
K: Sir, if I acknowledge that I am memory – right – then I
remain with that memory – right – not just one particular memory
but the whole movement of memory – right – then in that
observation there is a perception that one asks: is it possible to live
a life without memories except where it is necessary?
Q: It is, yes. I was aware of that even as a child.
Q: That it is possible just to be without memories. I have been
aware of this.
K: Is that so?
Q: Yes, it is a fact.
K: All right sir, then we have solved the problem.
Q: Good, good. Go on to the next question.
K: Then we have solved the problem that the brain, which has
been conditioned by memory for a million, or forty or fifty
thousand years, can live, function, act, in all relationship of life
without bringing in this terrible past. If you can live that way, it is a
most extraordinary thing to live that way. Right? 2nd QUESTION: We can learn more from each other than by
listening to K. Why don’t you encourage people to hold group
discussions on particular topics and have organized activities to
facilitate dialogues and discussions?
Are you listening to K? Or are you listening to yourself? K is
pointing out: listen to yourself, see how conditioned you are, not, I
am telling you that you are conditioned but by listening to yourself
you learn infinitely more than by listening to a lot of other people,
including K. But when you listen to K he is not instructing you. He
is putting up a mirror in front of you to see yourself. Right? And
when you see yourself very clearly you can break the mirror, and
the man who holds up the mirror. Right? So do we clearly see
ourselves? If we depend on relationship, depend, or on dialogue or
on associations and institutions to teach us, to help us, to make
things clear – what we are – then we depend. And when we depend
on others, whether it is on institutions, encounter groups, small
groups and so on, what are you learning? And what do you mean
by learning? Please this is again a very serious question. Learning,
as we know, is accumulating knowledge. I have learned about
myself – that I am all this, all the pain, the misery, the confusion,
the extraordinary travail of life – I am all that. I have learnt it. That
is, somebody has told me, or I have learnt about myself. So
learning, as far as we know now, learning at school, learning about
ourselves, is accumulating knowledge about ourselves. Right? And
K says knowledge is the very root of disorder. Go slowly.
Knowledge is necessary in the field of technology, in daily life,
but psychologically knowledge is the very root of disorder, because
knowledge is the past. Right? Knowledge is always, whether in the future or in the past, or in the infinite future, is always limited,
always. Right? Because it is based on experience, hypothesis,
conclusions, a chain – it is a constant addition instead of taking
away therefore it is very limited. So can I look at myself without
the previous knowledge or conclusion when I looked at myself?
You understand my question? I have looked at myself all
yesterday, or a few hours of yesterday and I find that I am this,
that, the other thing; I am depressed by it or I am elated by it. All
that is going on. That becomes yesterday’s knowledge. And with
that knowledge I observe myself again. Right? We do this. Right?
So knowledge is bringing about constant repetition – mechanical,
psychologically. And also if you go into the matter very carefully
among the scientists and so on, they are also beginning to discover
knowledge is a hindrance in certain areas of discovery. Right?
So you are not learning or discovering anything from K. You
are the storehouse of past history. That is a fact. You are the
history of mankind. Right? And if you know how to read that book,
you don’t have to depend on anybody, on discussions, on
relationship, or organized groups and all that kind of thing. Right?
I am not saying you should not discuss, you should not have
relationship, you should not have this or that. All that one is
pointing out is that as long as you depend for your understanding
yourself on others then you are lost. You have had leaders, haven’t
you? Religious leaders, political leaders, every kind of specialist
who will tell you what to do, how to raise your children, how to
have sex, you have had every kind of leader for the last hundred
thousand years or more. And where are you at the end of it? Do ask
these questions please. We are what we are because we have depended on others – somebody to tell us what to do, what to think,
which means we are being programmed all the time. And to
understand ourselves there is every opportunity through
relationship, through discussions, but if you depend on them you
are lost. Is this clear, this question? Not that you must agree with
the speaker. But see the consequences of depending on others –
depending on governments to bring order in this chaotic world,
depending on a guru, depending on the priest, whether it is the
pope or the local priest. You understand?
So the question is really: one is the storehouse of all mankind.
Right? One is the rest of mankind and if one looks at that very
closely, with a great deal of hesitation, affection, then you begin to
read what you are, which then is a flowering. But if you depend
then you live with pain and anxiety and fear.
3rd QUESTION: While understanding what is being said and
wanting to live differently, how is one to approach the problem of
livelihood in this world of unemployment and limited
K: Have different governments, which means a government
which is not limited to a particular group. Right? French
government, English government, each concerned with is own
limited area. So there it is. Sir, what is preventing us all working
together – you understand – as one human being? We are divided
by nationalities, religion, by the tradition and we hold on to that.
There is no world economy. You understand, sir. I wonder if you
have thought about all this. There is no world economy. Each
country is concerned with its own economy – right – with its own
laws, with its own individual identity to a particular piece of land. There can never be united Europe. Right? Because each nation will
suffer something or other. Therefore unless we have a government
which is not local, not insular – right – there will be unemployment,
lack of opportunities and so on. But also another factor is coming
into being, which is the computer. Computer is beyond all
nationalities, all governments. It can outthink us. It can create its
own god which we shall worship. There is a good joke about it, but
it is not worth it. Shall I repeat it?
K: A man says to the computer there is no god, I have never
believed in god. The computer says, «You have it now».
So as long as we are Americans, British, French, Italians,
Hindus, Communists and Socialists, we will never have peace in
the world. There will always be unemployment, there will always
be wars. For god’s sake see all this. When you see the truth of it
you are no longer identified with any country, with any group, with
any religion. But one must have passion behind it, not just
intellectual concepts. So as things are, problems of livelihood
become more and more difficult. As things are, you will have more
wars. I don’t know if you have heard – I was only told about it the
other day – in Russia a certain atomic bomb blew up and for twenty
five thousand years an area of several hundred miles can never be
cultivated, you can never approach it. You understand what I am
saying? This is humanity. And nobody cares. You may have
demonstrations, but the politicians know how to use those
demonstrations. But unless each one of us who is listening really
sees the danger of separation, like the Jew, the Arab, the Hindu, the
Muslim, the British, we are going to live in perpetual insecurity, perpetual wars.
Q: What is the difference between a university and a lunatic
K: I don’t know, you had better find out. Professors will object
Q: A professor is someone who professes to know.
K: Sir, don’t let’s go off to universities and all that. Here is a
Q: They are the ones who make the atom bomb.
Q: Will you shut up talking about nonsense.
Q: Atom bombs are nonsense?
Q: He is talking about it, we are coming there with him. I turn
myself sick because I really do care sometimes. Shut up. Find out
where we are going to put them.
K: Again may I remind you, if you don’t mind, may I remind
one that we are talking about division, separation, between nations,
between groups, between religions, between individuals. As long
as this separation exists there is going to be more and more
unemployment, not less. More wars. As long as we hold on to our
ideologies, separate and so on. So if you want to live that way, live
Q: But even if we have no separate identity we have got to have
some form of government surely?
K: Of course sir. I said Sir some form of government which is
not based on separative governments.
Q: Who are going to be the politicians?
K: Oh sir, first have, you see we want to organize it right away.
You know there is a story – I think probably the speaker invented this story. I’ll repeat it. Two people were walking along the road,
they were friends. They had been talking about the world and so on
and how dismal everything was, how boring, how tiresome, how
vicious everything had become. They were talking about things
and as they go along one of them sees something on the pavement
and picks it up. And the very looking at it transforms him. He
becomes extraordinarily vital, happy, a sense of tremendous
energy. And the other fellow says, «What have you found? What
was it that made you so extraordinarily beautiful suddenly». He
said, «I have picked up truth.» And the other fellow says,
«Marvellous. Let’s go and organize it.»
First sir, begin with ourselves, not what kind of governments
will be, who the prime minister and who the chief treasurer will be,
how many parliamentary governments. You follow? First let’s
begin with ourselves. If all of us who are here in this marquee
really felt this in their heart, in their blood, we would have different
governments in the world. We would put an end to wars, we
wouldn’t work for wars.
Look, I am not saying anything, we are only pointing out one
thing – our brains are conditioned. Whatever is conditioned is
limited. Whatever is conditioned is separated, and this separation,
this conditioning, is causing havoc in the world, which is a fact.
And to stop that havoc in the world one must begin with oneself,
not how to organize a new government. Am I conditioned? Am I
thinking about myself endlessly from morning until night? In
meditation – you follow? – in exercise, in doing all kinds of things.
Right? I am more important then anybody else. I want all my
desires fulfilled. I want to be somebody, recognized, so I am occupied with myself. The scientist may be occupied with his
experiments but he is occupied with himself. Right? He is also
ambitious, wants a marvellous position, recognized by the world,
Nobel Prize. I know some of them, I have met them. One didn’t get
the Nobel Prize and the other got it – you ought to see the other
fellow who didn’t get it. How upset he was. Bitter, angry. You
know, just like you and me, everybody else. Right?
So sirs and ladies if you really want to live on this peaceful
earth one has to begin very near which is yourself.
4th QUESTION: You talk about violence and freedom. But you
say very little about law. Why is that? No civilized society can
exist without laws. And laws sometimes have to be backed by
force which means violence. What do you do when terrorists hold
hostages? Do you let them be killed, or storm the building? Where
does freedom come into all this.
Laws. What is law? Law, doesn’t it mean order basically? Either
a society establishes certain laws, which are to bring about order,
those very laws are broken by cunning people, by criminals, by
criminals who employ excellent lawyers. You know all this, don’t
you? Now where does law, order begin? In the courts, with the
police, with the superintendents and the intelligence group? Where
does order begin? Please ask. Society is in disorder. Right? It is a
fact. Corrupt, immoral and almost chaotic. And governments are
trying to bring order in all that. We, you and another – we live in
disorder – right – confused, uncertain, seeking our own security, not
only one’s own security but the security of one’s own family and so
on. Each one is creating through isolation, disorder – no? And
where is law? With the police officer? With the lawyers? I have met several of them. They will protect the murderer, it is their job.
A criminal pays them enormous sums. You understand all this sirs,
don’t you? Where is order, law in all this? So shouldn’t we first
face disorder? That is a fact, that we live in disorder and society is
in disorder, governments are in disorder – no? If you have talked to
some of the politicians, prime ministers, high up in the hierarchy of
government, each one is after power – right sir – and position, hold
on to certain concepts, identify with those concepts, ideologies and
all the rest of it. All of us are working separately for oneself. We
will come together in a great crisis like war. But the moment the
crisis is over we are back to our old pattern. Right? So wouldn’t
you – I am just suggesting this – wouldn’t you begin to find out if
law which means complete order, whether you can live in complete
order without any confusion. Sirs, put this question to yourself. So
there is no contradiction, say one thing, do another, think one thing
and act in another way. As long as we live in disorder, the society,
the governments will be in disorder.
Law implies justice. Right? Is there justice in the world? You
are rich, I am poor. You have got bright minds, you can travel, you
go abroad. You can do all kinds of things and I can’t. Right? You
are born to riches, you become the Prince of a country and for the
rest of your life you are safe. And the poor chap down in the East
End or the West End, he is poor – you know. So where is justice? Is
there justice in the world? Examine all this. Justice implies
equality. We all say equality before law. But that equality is denied
by employing the highest paid lawyer and I can’t afford the highest
paid lawyer, so there is immediately inequality. So where do you
find justice, law and order? There arises a very complex question, which is: admitting
factually that there is no justice in the world – you are well placed,
good reputation, cars, houses, mistresses and all the rest of it,
marvellous furniture, and I live in a small hut. There is no equality.
So one asks after facing the fact, one asks where does it exist at
all? You are asking that question. I am not asking you to ask that
question, you are asking that question. Where there is compassion
there is equality, there is justice. Compassion implies intelligence.
When there is that marvellous flame then there is no difference
between the poor and the rich, between the well placed and those
people who have nothing on god’s earth.
Q: As I asked the question may I ask another part of it? If one
has this compassion, you say, then one also must accept the fact
that for this compassion you will be killed.
K: I will be killed. All right. I will be killed. What is wrong with
Q: But most people would say that when you are dead you are
not in a position to do something.
K: Are we in a position to do something now?
K: What? To stop this threat of war; the neutron bombs
exploding in a part of the country and you can never come near it
for the next twenty five thousand years?
Q: The peace groups, and people who have this compassion
appear to be the first victims to be wiped out.
K: I am not sure. The speaker has been threatened many times.
Q: But you are not living in Central America.
K: I am not. I have been there many years ago. But I am not there, neither in Honduras, Nicaragua or San Salvador. I can’t do
anything there. But I can do something here. Sir you are going off.
I said compassion implies great intelligence. Compassion cannot
possibly exist if you are identified with a group, with a particular
form of worship or religious organization, if you go out to India
and do some kind of social work, being attached to some church.
That is not compassion. That is pity, sympathy. This is happening
So first let’s find out if we can be compassionate. To come to
that point one must be extraordinarily alert to all the human
frailties, to all the human limitations, which is one’s own limitation
because you are not separate from the rest of mankind. If once you
see the truth of that then your whole attitude toward life and action
and employment changes completely.
«THE WORLD OF PEACE» BROCKWOOD
PARK 3RD PUBLIC TALK 3RD SEPTEMBER
May we continue where we left off last Sunday. First of all, if one
may remind oneself, this is not a lecture on a particular subject
with the intention of being informed, instructed. It’s not a lecture.
We are talking over together our human problems, not only the
daily problems of our life, with all the travail of existence, but also
we should go very much deeper, perhaps go together in the
enquiry, what is beyond all time; what is the source, the origin, of
all creation? And to enter into all that area one must begin, surely,
with all the contents of our consciousness, with what we are – our
reactions, our anxieties, loneliness, depression, elation, fears, the
continuity of pleasure. And enquire also if it is possible to end all
And also we should enquire this morning, and perhaps
tomorrow morning, the nature of dying, what is religion,
meditation, and the whole limitation of time. We’ve got to cover a
great deal in these two talks. So we must go very deeply into this
matter, because we can always scratch on the surface as we
generally do and find very little. But if we could go very, very
deeply into the whole question of whether the content of our
consciousness can ever come to an end; that is, the ending of all
our wounds, psychological hurts, fears, beyond all the memories to
which we cling, and the pain, the pleasure, the great deal of grief
and sorrow – all that makes up our consciousness which is what we
are. As most of us are concerned with ourselves, with our own
achievements, with our own successes, failures and giving
ourselves great importance in doing little things – whether all that
can end and discover something totally new. Not only discover, but
experience. One must be very careful in the usage of that word
‘experience’. There is really nothing to experience. If you go
beyond time, if that is possible, and beyond fear and so on, is there
anything to experience? We are going to go into all this this
morning and tomorrow morning, together. You are not merely
listening to the speaker, to a lot of words, a lot of words put
together into a sentence and ideas, but together we are going to
enquire into all this and see if our brains which have been so
heavily conditioned, programmed, whether those programmes can
come to an end and no longer be programmed any more.
All this requires a great deal of serious intention and
considerable attention. And if we are willing, this morning and
tomorrow, to give our interest, not only superficially but deeply
give our attention to it, perhaps we can go together into all this and
see if there is something infinite beyond all time. Can we do that
this morning and tomorrow?
First of all, do we realize that thought is a material process and
therefore is limited? And any action based on that limitation must
inevitably create conflict. And so thought is a material process.
Matter is limited energy. And the whole content of our
consciousness is the result of the material process of thought.
Right? We have said over and over again for the last umpteen years
that thought is a material process. And the content of our
consciousness, with all the reactions and responses, and so on, are put together by the material process of thought which is limited. So
our consciousness, which is what we are – whatever we think we
are – is always limited.
When one is concerned with oneself, with one’s problems, with
one’s relationships, with one’s status in society, and so on, this
concern with oneself is a very small affair, a limited affair. Right?
Do we actually see this or is it just an idea to be pursued, enquired
into and then come to a conclusion, and accept that conclusion and
say: «I am that». Or do we see immediately, instantly, that all the
self-centred activity is very, very limited – whether it be in the
name of religion, in the name of peace, in the name of leading a
good life, and so on – this self-centred activity is always limited
and therefore the cause of conflict. Do we actually realize that? Or
is it merely an idea? Do we see the difference between the actuality
and the idea?
If one pursues the idea, then you are following some kind of
illusion. But if one actually realizes the self-centred, egotistic
activity is very, very, very small and separate and therefore the
basic cause of conflict is the self. I wonder how many of us hear
this and actually realize it. And the self, the psyche, the persona, is
the whole content of our consciousness – which is our conditioning,
which is our being programmed for millenia upon millenia, which
is the whole structure of knowledge.
Are we together in all of this? Or am I speaking Russian or
Chinese? If the speaker is not indulging in Chinese or in a peculiar
language and therefore there is no communication between us, but
there should be clarity and communication when we are both
looking at these enormous, complex problems of existence of our daily life – monotonous, boring, exciting, indulging, pursuing
various forms of pleasure – and ultimately, whether one has a jolly
good life or a miserable life, ultimately ending in death. Right?
So our life generally is rather shallow. We try to give meaning
to that shallowness, but that meaning too, that significance, is still
shallow. So could we this morning, realizing all this, go and find
out for ourselves, not be informed by the speaker, not be instructed
by the speaker, but together explore what we are actually, and
break down this limitation and go, if possible, further? Is this clear
– what we are doing this morning and tomorrow – together?
The content of our consciousness – one of the factors – is fear.
And most of us know what fear is – whether it is superficial or
deeply embedded in one’s own recesses of our brain. We are all
afraid of something. Right? So can that fear end psychologically?
Begin with that. Then we can ask whether there are physical fears
also and their relation to the psyche, psychological fears. So we are
enquiring together into the nature of fear – not the various forms of
fear. One may be afraid of death, one may be afraid of one’s wife
or husband, one may be afraid of various things. But we are
concerned with fear itself, not fear of something or fear of the past
or the future, but the actual reaction which is called fear.
Are we together?
So what is the cause, the root of fear? Is it thought and is it
time? We must cover a great deal so we must be brief. Is it thought
– thinking about the future or thinking about the past? And so, is
thought one of the causes of fear? And is time also the cause –
time, as growing old, as most of us are. The moment we are born
we are already growing old. And time as future – not by the watch, by the day or by the year – but time as a movement from ‘what is’ to
‘what should be’, ‘what might be’, ‘what has been’, we said the
whole movement of time, the psychological process of time – is
that one of the causes of fear? The memory of some pain, both
physical and psychological, which might have happened a couple
of weeks ago; and remembering that and being afraid that it might
happen again – which is the movement of time and thought.
So time and thought – are they the causes of fear? Right? And
this time which is thought, because thought as we said is the
response of memory which is knowledge and experience, so
knowledge is of time, and knowledge may be one of the causes of
fear. I wonder if you are following – right?
So we are saying, time, thought, knowledge, which are not
separate, which is an actual unitary movement, that may be the
cause of fear. And it is the cause of fear. Right? Then, when one
realizes that, even intellectually, verbally, is it possible to end that
fear? Right? What’s your answer? You’re waiting for me to instruct
you. Therefore we are not working, thinking, investigating
together. Right? You are waiting for the speaker to answer that
question. And that means our brains have been conditioned,
trained, educated to learn from somebody else, be instructed by
another. And here we refuse to instruct you or to tell you what to
do. We have no authority to tell you what to do, not like these ugly,
So we are together. Please, this is important to understand what
it means, ‘together.’ Not you and I separately working – together
look at it. Together see the whole movement of fear, what is
involved in it. Why humanity has borne this fear for thousands of years and they have not solved it. They have transmitted it and
accepted it as the norm of life, as a way of living. But if you begin
to question, as we are doing now, question whether fear can ever
end at all psychologically. Therefore we must understand the
cause. And where there is a cause, there is an end. If one has some
kind of disease and if, after diagnosis you find the cause, it can be
ended. Similarly, if we can find the cause, the basic cause, the
fundamental cause, then fear can end. Right?
So together we are saying that time-thought, not two separate
things, is the root of fear. Right?
Q: Is not fear always preceded by desire?
K: Desire is also part of fear. We went into that very carefully
the other day – the nature of desire. Do you want me to go into it
K: Why do you say no? Have we understood the nature and the
whole movement of desire? You see, please, we don’t listen, not to
the speaker, to ourselves. We never say, «What is desire? Why are
we slaves to desire?» We said desire is sensation. That sensation –
seeing, contact, sensation – then desire comes in. Which is, thought
creates the image out of that sensation, then at that moment,
second, desire is born. Clear? No, and I won’t go into all of that
because we went into it the other day very, very carefully and
deeply – into the whole nature of desire. And desire also is one of
the factors of fear.
Desire is thought with its image. If you have a desire without
any image, there is no desire. The seeing of a blue shirt or a skirt or
whatever it is in the window, and entering into the window and touching it, sensation. Then thought creates the image of you
having that shirt, then desire at that moment is born. So thought is
essentially the movement of desire, and time-thought is the root of
Now, does one realize this actual fact? Then how do you
observe that fact? I realize – suppose, I realize that thought, with all
its complexity, and time also, is the root of fear. Then how do I
realize it, feel it, be aware of it? You understand my question? Do I
see it as something separate from me, time-thought, something
separate from me or I am that? Is it all becoming rather complex?
I am anger, am I not? Anger is not something separate from me.
I am greed, envy, anxiety. Right? I like to think that is something
separate over which I have control. But the actual fact is I am all
that – even the controller is me. Right? So there is no division
between greed, anger, jealousy, and so on – that is me, that is the
observer. Right? Now, so how do I observe, how does one observe
this fact that time-thought is fear? How do you observe it? You
understand? How do you look at it – as something separate from
you, or you are that? If you are that, and it’s not separate from you –
right – all action ceases, doesn’t it? Before, I controlled, I
suppressed, I tried to rationalize fear. Right? Now one sees that one
is all that and therefore the whole movement of time and thought
Are we together, one of us or two of us? You see we are all so
eager to act. One must act, but here you have to watch the whole
thing without any sense of doing something. Right? Just to observe
without any reaction or response to what you observe. Right?
Then also we should go into the question why man has suffered. And whether there is an ending to suffering, not only the personal
sorrow, but the sorrow of vast humanity. Right? Don’t let’s get
sentimental about this, but actually all of us suffer in one way or
another. The dull man suffers, the most intellectual, learned man,
every human being on earth, including the leaders in Russia – every
human being suffers. And we are asking a very serious question,
whether that suffering can end. Or some of us enjoy suffering
which becomes neurotic. So don’t let’s bother about the people who
enjoy suffering, thinking that suffering in some way will help us to
understand this universe, to understand life, and so on. Right?
So, one suffers. My son is dead, gone. But the memory of it
remains, the memory of his companionship, of my affection, love
for him, and so on. Memory remains. And is that memory sorrow?
Please, enquire together. I have lost my wife, or I am not as clever
as you are, I am not as alert, sensitive, as you are and I suffer
through that. Or I suffer in ten different ways. And is suffering, the
shedding of tears, is that the loss, the actual loss, or the loss that
brings about various memories, remembrances. You follow all
Is that one, or perhaps the major cause of suffering? Man,
including woman, man from the beginning of man, has had wars,
has killed people. That has been our pattern of existence – war after
war, killing thousands of people. Humanity has suffered. And we
are still pursuing that path of war that has brought about
tremendous sorrow for mankind. Right? And we have our own
personal sorrow. Sorrow is the same whether it is yours or mine. I
like to identify myself with my sorrow, and you like to identify
yourself with your sorrow. But sorrow of yours and sorrow of mine is the same. The objects of sorrow may vary, but sorrow is sorrow –
therefore it is not personal. I wonder if you realize this? Right? No,
it is very difficult for one to see the truth of this.
If you suffer and I suffer – you suffer for one reason and I suffer
for another, and we identify ourselves with my particular one and
you with yours, we divide ourselves and then find ways and means
to suppress it, rationalize, and so on. But if we realize that sorrow
is sorrow of all mankind, all humanity – and we are the rest of
humanity because we have fears, sorrow, pleasure, anxiety, like the
rest of mankind – if we realize sorrow is not my sorrow, that
becomes such a small affair. Which is, we are the whole of
mankind, we are the rest of mankind, and when there is suffering,
suffering is man’s suffering. Then you have a totally different
approach to the problem. You understand? Not my suffering –
‘Please god help me how to get over it, how to understand it,’ – I
pray, and it all becomes so personal, a shoddy little affair. Right?
But when it is the rest of mankind that has suffered, then suffering
becomes an extraordinary thing that one has to look at very
carefully. And if one human being understands the nature of
suffering and goes beyond it, he then helps the rest of mankind.
Now is suffering a remembrance? The mother or the father
whose son has been killed in your particular little war, recent war,
Falklands – killed there. And the mother and the father remember
all the things that he did – the death, the birth, the pictures, the
photographs, all the incidents and accidents, and laughter, tears,
scolding – you follow? So we are asking, please find out for
yourselves whether sorrow is part of this continuity of memory. And if it is memory, don’t reduce memory just to a few words. It is
a tremendous content. And if it is memory, can that memory, not
only of my particular son, but the memory of mankind’s sorrow –
memory which is sorrow – can that memory come to an end? You
Therefore one has to enquire, not into a particular memory, but
the whole movement of memory. Right? We live on memories – we
are memories. We are the word, the reaction to that word, the
pleasure derived from the word, the remembrance of all the things
that were. that symbol, that incident, accident has awakened, has
stored up in the brain which is awakened when an incident takes
place. Right? And memory is the past. Right? So we are the past.
Can this whole movement of the past, which is time, which is
thought, end? Not thought in our daily life, we’re not talking of
that, we’re not talking when thought is used to drive a car, to write
a letter, to write a poem, write this or that. There thought,
knowledge is absolutely necessary. We are talking of this whole
psychological movement which is based on memory.
So we are asking a much deeper question which is: can the self,
the ‘me’, the ego, all this self-centred activity which is the
movement of memory, can that self end? Not by discipline, by
control, by suppression or identification with something greater,
which is still the movement of the self. Can that self end? You
might then ask – if the self ends, what place is there, for me in
society? What shall I do? Right? Right sir? First end it and then
find out – not the other way around.
This is a very, very serious question. Nobody can tell you in the
world or beyond the world – perhaps most of us try to get instructions beyond the world. Nobody on earth can tell you how to
end it. But if one observes all these facts without any reactions – I
observe the fact that I am hurt psychologically because my
daughter, my son, my father has done something which hurts me –
if I can observe that hurt without a single resistance, without any
action that I should not be hurt, or keep the hurt – most people do,
all through their life they carry their hurt. But to observe this hurt,
psychological wound, without any reaction to it, then one sees that
hurts disappear altogether. Right? So in the same way, just to
observe, to observe memory as it arises, see the nature of it, the
evolution of it. The whole nature of activity of our daily life is
based on this. And memory is very, very limited. Thought may
invent the infinite, but thought being itself limited, its infinity is
also limited, finite, but may pretend that it is infinite.
So, all this implies complete freedom. Right? Not only freedom
from something, but the quality of freedom that is not based on any
reaction, any reward or punishment. To enquire into that also, one
must understand the nature of death, dying. Are you interested in
all this? Does it even amuse you? You see one must enquire very
quietly, not hysterically, into this very complex problem. Dying or
coming to an end is what we are concerned about, talking about,
because it is part of our life. Not only are we born and all the
education and all the troubles and all anxieties, and so on, but also
death is part of our life – it is there, whether you like it or not;
whether you are British or French – it is there; whether you are
young, middle aged or old, disease, accident – it is there. And one
must understand what it is, as one must understand life before
death. We have been trying to understand together what is before death – fear, wounds, sorrow, pain, anxiety, labour, going to the
office from morning till night. All that is part of our life, living,
and also the ending of all that.
One may have had a very good life, pleasant, successful, been
somebody in the world, power, position, money, but the thing is
there at the end. We like to postpone it as long and as far away as
possible, put it away.
So we are together going to enquire. The organism dies,
naturally. It will live as long as possible if we treat it properly. We
won’t go into the question of health. I know you are all interested in
health but we won’t go into it now.
What is it to die? Not jump over the bridge, not do something to
kill yourself, but living as we are now, sitting here in the marquee,
what is death – apart from the whole physical organism, the brain
lacking oxygen withers away and there is death? But we are
asking, is death an ending? Right? An ending to everything that
I’ve had – my wife, my children, my books, my status, my power,
my position – you know – all that is going to come to an end. And
also, we must enquire into the question, which is the question of
the East, which is reincarnation, to be reborn next time. So a series
of lives till you reach whatever you reach – you know, the highest
principle, and so on. They believe in that very strongly, but they
don’t deeply enquire what it is that continues. Right?
Is it the ‘me’ that is going to continue or is there something
beyond the ‘me’ that is going to continue? Right? And if there is
something beyond ‘me’, my ideas, my opinions, my conclusions,
and so on, which we talked about earlier. If that ‘me’ is the word,
the name, the remembrances – is that going to continue? Right? Or there is a spiritual entity, the soul in the Christian world and the
Buddhist world, the Hindu world have different words – will that
continue? Then that thing which is beyond me or which is in me
but the ‘me’ covers it up. Then if that is a spiritual entity, it must be
beyond time and beyond death. Right? Therefore that cannot
reincarnate. Right? So people like to believe all that because it is a
great comfort. I shall be born next life. I’ve had a poor life – next
life I’ll have a better house. In another life I’ll live in a bigger house
or I’ll be a king – or some rot or other.
So if we put aside all that kind of illusory pursuits and face the
fact that psychologically there is an ending, a complete ending. The
‘me’, with all its memories, has come to an end – that is dying. And
we don’t like that. And so we seek various forms of comfort,
beliefs faith, resurrection and – you know, all that. Now, while
living, can we end something without any cause, without any
future – end something? You understand my question? Take for
example: will you end all attachment – attachment to your name,
attachment to your furniture, attachment to your wife, to your
husband, to your garden, attachment to your ideas, prejudices, end
all attachments while living? That is what is going to happen when
you actually die. Right? So do it now and see what it means. That
ending is tremendous, has tremendous quality behind it. There is
no attachment to anything. That is freedom, and when there is that
kind of freedom death has no fear. You understand? Because you
are already living with death. The two are going together, living
and dying. Do you see? No you don’t. Do you understand the
beauty of that? The quality of complete freedom from all fear.
Because where there is attachment there is jealousy, anxiety, hate. And the more you are attached the more pain there is. You know
all this. If you went and told your wife or husband, ‘I am no longer
attached to you,’ what would happen? Does it deny love? Does it
deny relationship? Is attachment love? Go on, enquire into all this
and the deeper you enquire, the more vitality and security and
strength one has. It hasn’t derived from any drugs, any stimulation.
We’ll have to stop now and continue tomorrow morning. Please
we are going to discuss tomorrow morning, very carefully what is
the origin of all this, the beginning of all this. Why man has to go
through all this misery, confusion, occasional pleasure and joy.
Unless one understands creation from the very beginning, and in
the understanding of that is tremendous sense of no time and no
beginning and no end.
«THE WORLD OF PEACE» BROCKWOOD
PARK 4TH PUBLIC TALK 4TH SEPTEMBER
This is the last dialogue together. We began this series of talks by
asking why human beings living on this earth, such a beautiful
earth, except on a rainy day like this – why we cannot live at peace
with each other, why must we have wars, the economic, social,
racial differences, and why we cannot live with each other –
intimately or otherwise, with tranquility, a certain quality of
serenity? And apparently that is not possible, because the vast
majority of people throughout the world are very violent. They
don’t want peace – neither do the governments. They talk a great
deal about it, but they are all preparing for everlasting war. And
religions too have not given man peace. The tribal divisions, local
gods and saviours, the religious hierarchy, all that has prevented –
or we have created all this and therefore there is no peace on earth.
Pacem in terris.
And we have been talking over together if we can in our daily
life, end conflict within ourselves, be free of any shadow of fear,
end suffering, move away entirely from the self-centred activity
which is one of the, perhaps, or the major causes of conflict – not
only outwardly but also inwardly. And very, very few seem to be
serious enough to go into this deeply and perhaps realize that there
is a totally different way of living. And this morning, if we will,
together, go into this question, not only of peace, but as we said,
what is the origin, the beginning of all existence? Why man has
become what he is – why we are, after millenia upon millenia, very, very primitive psychologically, barbarous. And technologically we
are advanced tremendously. And that very technology is going
perhaps to destroy us too. And we ought to go together this
morning and enquire seriously: is it man’s lot inevitably that he
lives this way? Or has something gone wrong with the whole
human evolution? Or is there something outside, beyond human
measure, that if one can understand, go into it deeply, may perhaps
open the door, open our eyes and perhaps our hearts, too, so that
we may naturally, easily live a happy, serene life? That is what we
are going to enquire into together this morning.
First of all, we must understand the word ‘experience’.
Experience is a process of acquiring knowledge, becoming familiar
with something. And this knowledge may be one of the
fundamental reasons of our conflict, of our ignorance. Not the
knowledge of outside, technological knowledge, scientific
knowledge, medical knowledge, and so on, but the accumulated
knowledge of humanity which is the whole burden of the past. That
may be one of the basic causes of conflict. We have talked a bit
about it and we’ll go further into it.
We ought to enquire together whether there is an outside agency
beyond the measure of man – beyond man himself as a measure –
an outside agency that we can appeal to, pray to, ask guidance. Or
be with that so basically that we are that so that there is no outside
agency. I hope we are together in this. This is, as we said the other
day, and we have been repeating this many, many times – this is
not a lecture, nor a sermon on Sunday morning – god forbid! Nor
try to instruct, convince you, or do some kind of silly propaganda.
If we could, both of us travel together, walk along together and see things as they are, and go beyond. Is man the measure of all
things? Man being his consciousness, reactions, his memories – is
he the measure? Or there is something outside of him that, if we
can come into contact, may help us? Right? This has been the
activity of religion. Throughout the world, from ancient of days,
man sought something outside of himself, or has said: there is
something divine in me, in the human, but it is covered over with
his greed, with his envy, with his ambitions and cruelty, bestiality,
and that can be stripped away, then that will be the abiding factor
of righteous behaviour. Right? Are we together in this, following
each other? And to strip away all the layers of our ugly, brutal,
anxious, ambitious, aggressive life, there have been many, many
systems, many incantations, many forms of rituals, magic. They
have tried every form of physical torture – fasting, denying every
sensory response, to come to this point where man can understand
and live a different way of life.
Scientists are also trying, through genetic engineering, through
chemistry, other forms of drugs, to change man. And man has
looked in every direction outwardly, and perhaps never inwardly.
He may have superficially scratched the surface of his existence.
But man has perhaps never, except for a few, deeply concerned and
gone into himself for he is both matter and the movement of
thought, which is also matter. And the instrument of investigation
has been thought – to go in himself. And thought is not the right
instrument, because thought itself is limited. Right? So religions
throughout the world, organized and not organized, individual,
separate groups and every form of attempt has been made to
become enlightened – if I may use that word which has been so corrupted by the gurus. If we can put aside all the religious
dogmas, faiths, systems, symbols, figures, rituals and all those
incantations which have very little meaning now – perhaps they
never had it – if we could put aside completely all of that and not
belong to any group, to any spiritual authority – those two words
‘spiritual authority’ is the denial of spirituality. So if we could
shove off all that, which means, be able to stand completely free,
unafraid, so that we can enquire into the actual, if there is a
dimension that is not the invention of thought. And then, what is
religion? Right? We are going to go into all of this.
What is the origin and the beginning of all existence, from the
minutest cell to the most complex brain? Whether there was a
beginning at all, and is there an end to all this? And also we are
going to enquire together: what is creation? Now, to find out all
this, to uncover all this, what kind of brain does one need? You
understand? What kind of capacity, what kind of energy, what kind
of passion is needed to really probe into all of this? You
understand? To probe into something totally unknown, not
preconceived, not caught in any sentimental, romantic illusion,
there must be a quality of brain that’s completely free. Right? Free
from all its conditioning, from all its programming, from every
kind of influence, and therefore highly sensitive and tremendously
active. Right? Is that possible? Do you, taking part in a dialogue,
do you have such a brain? Or is it very sluggish, lazy and living in
its own self-conceit? Which is it? Because we are going to enquire
into something that demands a mind, a brain that is extraordinarily
alive, not caught in any form of routine, mechanical. Is that
possible? Have we such a brain in which there is no fear, no self-interest, no self-centred activity? Otherwise it is living in its own
shadow all the time. Right? It’s living in its own tribal, limited
environment, field. It’s like an animal tied to a stake – the tether
may be very long or very short, but it is tied to a post therefore its
movement is limited. You may give it a very, very, very long rope,
but the very length is an indication of limitation.
A brain must have space. So what is space? Not only the space
between here and there – space indicates ‘without a centre’. Right?
If you have a centre, and you move away from the centre to the
periphery, however long, wide the periphery is, it is still limited.
Right? Are we following each other? So, space indicates, does it
not, where there is no centre and there is no periphery, there is no
boundary. Have we such a brain that one doesn’t belong to any
thing, attached to anything – attached to one’s experience,
conclusions, hopes, ideals, and so on, so that the brain is really,
completely free? Right? If it is burdened, you can’t walk very far,
you can’t go very far. If it is crude, vulgar, self-centred, it cannot
have measureless space. And space indicates – one is using the
word very, very carefully – emptiness. Are you following? Does it
interest you at all this? Are you sure, coming here in spite of the
awful rain and wind, we are communicating with each other?
We are trying to find out, aren’t we, if it is possible to live in
this world without any fear, without any conflict, with a
tremendous sense of compassion which demands a great deal of
intelligence. You cannot have compassion without intelligence.
And that intelligence is not the activity of thought. One cannot be
compassionate if one is attached to a particular ideology, to a
particular narrow tribalism, or to any religious concept, for that limits. And compassion can only come, or be there, when there is
the ending of sorrow, which is the ending of self-centred
So space indicates emptiness, nothingness. And that space,
because there is not a thing put by thought, that space has
tremendous energy. This is what the scientists too are saying, only
it is their conclusion, it is not the actual living of the scientist,
because the scientist, like everybody else, every other human
being, is greedy, out for himself, or he represents a government, or
he is ambitious, and so on. He is just like anybody else, but he has
got an extraordinary capacity for accumulating knowledge in a
So the brain must have the quality of complete freedom and
space. That is, one must be nothing. Whereas we are all something
– analysts, psychotherapists, doctors – that’s all right. But when we
are therapists, when we are biologists, technicians, that very
identification limits the wholeness of the brain. Right? Can we
proceed from there?
And then we can ask, only then can we ask really, what is
meditation? Because if you ask what is meditation or try to
meditate and follow all the systems whether it is Zen, a Buddhist
form of meditation, Tibetan form of meditation, the Hindu, the
Christian form which is rather limited, and all the latest gurus with
their peculiar invitations to mysterious meditations, only on a
condition you pay a lot of money for it. And there are all these
forms of meditation. They are all based on making thought silent,
making thought quiet, not rampant thought. Right? That is, there is
a controller who is going to control through systems, through practice, through daily allotted time for quietness, and so on, and
so on. There is always the controller watching. And the controller
himself is the activity of thought. Right? So they are going round
and round in a circle like a cat chasing its own tail. And that’s
Now, meditation is something entirely different. Unless one has
laid the foundation of order in our life – you understand, order,
there cannot be order if there is fear, there cannot be order if there
is any kind of conflict, unless our house, not the outer house,
unless our inward house is in complete order, so there is great
stability, no waffling around, great strength in that very stability,
therefore in that order – then only one can ask what is true
If the house is not in order, your meditation has very little
meaning. Right? You can invent any kind of illusion, any kind of
enlightenment, any kind of daily discipline – it will be still limited,
illusory, because it is born out of disorder. Right? This is all
logical, please, sane, rational. It is not something the speaker has
invented for you to accept. Unless there is this kind of – may I use
the word – ‘undisciplined order’ (that’s a good word, I’m glad I
thought of it just now!) – unless there is undisciplined order,
meditation becomes very shallow and meaningless.
So then, what is order? Thought cannot create order, because
thought itself is disorder. Would you accept that? Do you see that?
Because thought, based on knowledge, which is based on
experience, all knowledge is limited, and so thought is also limited.
And when thought tries to create order, it brings about disorder.
Right? Do we see this actual fact? – not as a theory. Thought has created disorder, that is, it has created disorder
through conflict of ‘what is,’ and ‘what should be’. Right? The
actual and the theoretical; yet there is only the actual and not the
theoretical. And thought looks at the actual from a limited point of
view. Right? And therefore its action must inevitably create
disorder. Do we see this as a truth, as a law – or just an idea? You
understand? I am greedy, suppose I am greedy, envious – that’s
‘what is; the opposite is not. But the opposite has been created by
human beings, by thought as a means of understanding ‘what is’,
and also as a means of escaping from ‘what is’. Right? Are we
walking together, communicating with each other? So there is only
‘what is’. And when you perceive ‘what is’ without its opposite,
then that very perception brings order. Are we together?
As we were saying – our house must be in order. And this order
cannot be brought about by thought. Thought creates its own
discipline – do this, don’t do that, follow this, don’t follow that, be
traditional or not traditional, and so on. Thought is the guide. One
hopes to bring about order, but thought itself is limited, therefore it
is bound to create disorder. If I keep on repeating for the rest of my
life – I’m a British, British, or French, French, or would you like
any other nationality, or a Hindu or Buddhist, whatever it is – that
tribalism is very limited. And that tribalism is causing great havoc
in the world. We don’t go to the root of it, that is, to end tribalism,
not how to create better wars.
So similarly, we are saying, order can only come into being
when thought, which is necessary in certain areas, has no place in
the psychological world. And therefore in that world, that world
itself is in order when thought is absent. Are we meeting each other?
So meditation – the very word meditation means to measure –
measure between ‘what is’ and ‘what should be,’ between ‘what I
am,’ and, through meditation, ‘what I will be’. So meditation, both
in Sanskrit and Latin, and so on, is the quality of measurement,
right – which is comparison. And comparison is disorder. Right?
Do you need explanation of that? When I am comparing myself
with you, which is, I am competing with you, I am trying to be
better than you, then this is a constant conflict, isn’t it? So is it
possible to live without any comparison, not only biologically,
physically, but much more psychologically, inwardly – never to
compare oneself with anything, with anybody, so that the mind, the
brain is free from this conflict of arrogance. Right?
So then we can ask, what is meditation? Because it is necessary
to have a brain that is absolutely quiet. The brain has its own
rhythm – please, I am not a scientist, brain specialist but one has
watched all this in oneself – which doesn’t mean that the speaker is
extraordinary. Don’t let’s become sentimental and personal.
The brain is endlessly active, chattering from one subject to
another, from one thought to another, from one association to
another, from one state to another – it’s constantly occupied. One is
not aware of it generally. But when one is aware without any
choice, choiceless awareness of this movement, then that very
awareness, that very attention ends that chattering. Please do it, and
you will see how simple it all is.
So the quality of the brain is that it must be free – space and
silence, silence psychologically. One is talking now. You and I are
hearing each other, talking to each other. There, thought is being employed because we are all speaking English. But to speak out of
this silence – do you understand what I am saying? Don’t, please go
off into some kind of fanciful imagination.
This brings the question of language. Does language condition
the brain? Have you ever thought about all this? Or is it all
something totally new? Does English or French or whatever,
Russian or Chinese, does the very usage of those words, does it
shape the brain so that it becomes conditioned? Language does
condition the brain. Right? If you talk to a Russian or to a
Frenchman – of course if you talk to a British or an American
speaking English – if you watch, their whole outlook is limited by
the language they use. Right? Have you noticed all this? So to be
free of the network of words! Right, sir? To use a language like
English and not allow it to shape our outlook on the whole of
I see you haven’t done any of these things, so it’s all something
fanciful. So, not to be caught in the network of words, that’s quite
complex too. When you say, «I am a Communist», your whole
reaction is different. As you have had a recent war in the Falklands,
when you talk about Argentina, the label is more important than
the person. So there must be freedom from the word. Then the
brain is utterly quiet though it has its own rhythm. Right?
Now what is, then, creation, what is the beginning of all this?
Right? We are enquiring into that – the origin of the beginning of
all life – not only our life, but the life of every living thing; the deep
down whales, the dolphins, the little fish, the minute cells, the vast
nature, the beauty of a tiger. Have you ever seen a tiger in a forest?
No, of course you haven’t seen it. It’s really the most extraordinary animal. I won’t go into it, that is, not this time. I nearly touched it,
wild. And the living of man, from the minutest cell to the most
complex man, with all his inventions, with all his illusions, with his
superstitions, with his quarrels, with his wars, with his arrogance,
vulgarity, with his tremendous aspirations and his great
depressions – what is the origin of all this? Right?
Now, meditation is to come upon this – not you come upon it –
in that silence, in that quietness, in that absolute tranquility. The
beginning – is there a beginning? And if there is a beginning, there
must be an ending. Right? That which has a cause must end. If I
have cancer, the cause is the disease, I must be operated on, then
that would be the end of it or it would kill me. Right? Wherever
there is a cause there must be an end. That’s a law, that’s natural. So
is there a causation at all for the creation of man, the creation of all
the way of life? You understand my question? Is there a beginning
of all this? How are we going to find out?
Religions have said there is god – god is the beginning and the
end of all things. That’s a very easy way of solving the problem.
The Hindus have said it in one way, perhaps the Buddhists too, and
Christianity said, god. Only the fundamental belief – man has been
created four thousand, five hundred years ago. Right? It seems
rather absurd because four thousand, five hundred years ago, the
Egyptians invented the calendar, which means they must have been
extraordinarily advanced, and so on. And if you are a
fundamentalist, then you’ll get angry with what is being said. And I
hope none of us are any kind of fundamentalist.
So what is creation – not the painter who creates the picture, not
the poet, not the man who makes something out of marble? Those are all things manifested. Right? Is there something which is not
manifest? Is there something, because it is not manifested, that
thing has no beginning and no end? That which is manifested has a
beginning, has an end. Right? We are the manifestations, aren’t
we? Not of divine something or other, we are the result. We are the
result of thousands of years of so-called evolution, growth,
development, and we also come to an end. That which is
manifested can always be destroyed. But that which is not, has no
Now we are asking is there such a thing as something beyond
all time? This has been the enquiry of philosophers, scientists, and
religious people – to find out that which is beyond the measure of
man, which is beyond time. Because if one can find, come,
discover that, or see that, that is immortality. Right? That’s beyond
death. I wonder if you understand all this? Are you following all
this? A little bit at least? Try to encourage me, please. I don’t want
your encouragement but you see this man has really sought, in
various ways, in different parts of the world, through different
beliefs. Because when one discovered that, or realized that, life
then has no beginning and no end. Therefore it is beyond all
concepts, beyond all hope. Do you follow? It is something
Now to come back to earth – you see we never look at life as a
tremendous movement, our own life as a tremendous wide – with a
great depth, a vastness. We have reduced our life to such a shoddy
little affair. And life is really the most sacred thing in existence. To
kill somebody is the most irreligious horror. To get angry, to be
violent with somebody – the speaker has been angry only once and the person with whom he was angry has been reminding him, so he
still carries on with the anger. You understand? Really?
You see we never see the world as a whole because we are so
fragmented, we are so terribly limited, so petty. And we never have
this feeling of wholeness, you follow, where the things of the sea,
things of the earth, the nature and the sky, is the universe, is part of
us. Not imagined – you can go off in some kind of fanciful
imagination and imagine that we are the universe, then you become
cuckoo! But, to break down this small self-centred interest, to have
nothing of that, then from there you can move infinitely.
And meditation is this. Not just sitting cross-legged, or standing
on your head, or doing whatever one does, but to have this feeling
of complete wholeness and unity of life. And that can only come
when there is love and compassion.
You know, one of our difficulties is we have associated love
with pleasure, with sex. And love also, for most of us, means
jealousy, anxiety, possessiveness, attachment. That is what we call
love. So is love attachment? Is love pleasure? Is love desire? Is
love the opposite of hate? If it is the opposite of hate, then it is not
love. Right? Do you see this? All opposites contain its own
opposite. Right? When I try to become courageous, that courage is
born out of fear. Right? I wonder if you understand this? No? So
love cannot have its opposite. Love cannot be where there is
jealousy, ambition, aggressiveness.
And where there is that quality, then from that arises
compassion; where there is that compassion there is intelligence.
Not the intelligence of self-interest, not the intelligence of thought,
not the intelligence of a great deal of knowledge, but compassion has nothing to do with knowledge. Then only is that intelligence
which gives humanity security, stability, vast sense of strength.
So we have come to the end of our dialogue and one hopes we
shall meet again next year.