J KRISHNAMURTI WASHINGTON DC TALKS 1985

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Foreword By Mary Zimbalist
In  spite  of  his  many  years  of  giving  public  talks  in  the  United  States,
Krishnamurti had not spoken in Washington, D.C. When he agreed to do so in
April  1985,  it  was  in  a  sense  to  a  new  audience,  one  to  which  in  the
compression of only two talks he wished to convey as much of his teaching as
possible.
On both days the hall was filled with a varied, seriously-interested audience
and as Krishnamurti spoke there seemed an intangible response, a quality in
which  the  listeners  joined  in  his  communication.  Krishnamurti  felt  it  and
although  there  were  to  be  other  talks  before  his  death  ten  months  later,  on
those two days in April 1985, at the age of ninety, Krishnamurti spoke from the
summit of his life and teaching.    4
1st Public Talk
20th April 1985
In the Present Is the Whole of Time
This  is  not  a  lecture  on  any  particular  subject  according  to  certain
disciplines,  scientific  or  philosophical.  Lectures  are  meant  to  inform  on  a
particular subject or instruct, but we are not going to do that. So this is not a
lecture,  nor  is  it  a  form  of  entertainment.  In  this  country  especially,  one  is
greatly accustomed to being entertained, amused. Rather in these talks, this
afternoon  and  tomorrow  morning,  we  are  going  to  talk  together  about  the
whole of our existence from the moment we are born until we die.
In that period of time, whether it be fifty years, ninety years or a hundred
years, we go through all kinds of problems and difficulties. We have economic,
social,  religious  problems;  problems  of  personal  relationship,  problems  of
individual fulfilment, wanting to find one’s roots in some place or other; and we
have innumerable psychological wounds, fears, pleasures, sensations. There
is a great deal of fear in all human beings, a great deal of anxiety, uncertainty,
and  a  pursuit  of  pleasure,  and  also  all  human  beings  on  this  beautiful  earth
suffer  a  great  deal  of  pain,  loneliness.  We  are  going  to  talk  about  all  that
together. And about what place religion has in modern life. We are also going
to talk over together the question of death; and what is a religious mind and
what  is  meditation;  is  there  anything  that  is  beyond  thought  and  is  there
anything sacred in life, or is everything matter so that we lead a materialistic
life?
So, as we said, this is not a lecture. This is a conversation between you
and the speaker a conversation in which there is no implication of conversion,
making  propaganda  that  would  be  too  terrible  or  introducing  new  theories,
ideas  and  exotic  nonsense.  We  are  going  to,  if  you  will  kindly,  talk  over
together our problems as two friends. Though we don’t know each other, we
are going to talk, discuss, have a conversation which is much more important
than being lectured at or being told what to do, what to believe, what to have
faith in, and so on. On the contrary, we are going to observe dispassionately,   5
impersonally, not anchored to any particular problem or theory, what mankind
has done to the world and what we have done to each other. We are going to
take a very long, complex journey together, for it is your responsibility, as well
as  that  of  the  speaker,  that  we  walk  together,  investigate  together,  look
together at the world we have created.
The society in which we live is put together by man. Each one of us has
contributed  to  it.  And  if  you  are  willing,  and  apparently  you  must  be  willing
because you are here and I am here, we will take this long complex journey.
Life  is  very  complex.  We  like  to  look  at  complexity  and  get  more  and  more
complex.  We  never  look  at  anything  simply  with  our  brains,  with  our  hearts,
with  our  whole  being.  So  let  us  take  the  journey  together.  The  speaker  is
putting  into  words  what  is  happening,  objectively,  clearly,  and  totally
dispassionately.
We  have  lived  on  this  earth  for  many  millennia.  And  during  those  long
periods  of  time  mankind  has  suffered  loneliness,  despair,  uncertainty,
confusion,  multiple  choices  and  therefore  multiple  complexities;  and  there
have  been  wars  not  only  physical  bloody  wars  but  also  psychological  wars.
And mankind has asked if there can be peace on earth. But apparently this
has  not  been  possible.  There  are  about  forty  wars  going  on  at  the  present
time, ideological, theoretical, economic, social. During historical times, perhaps
about  five  thousand  to  six  thousand years, there  have been wars practically
every  year.  And  also  we  are  preparing  for  wars  now.  Two  ideologies  the
Communist and the so-called democratic at war over what kind of implements
we should use, control of armaments and all the rest of it. War seems to be the
common  lot  of  mankind.  One  observes  all  over  the  world  the  piling  up  of
armaments, from the tiny little nation or tribe to the highly sophisticated affluent
society like yours. How can we have peace on earth? Is it at all possible?
It has been said that there is no peace on earth, only in heaven. This is
repeated  in  different  ways,  both  in  the  East,  and  the  West.  Christians  have
killed more than anybody else on earth. We are observing these facts, these
actualities,  not  taking  sides.  And  then  there  are  the  different  religions:  in   6
Buddhism there is no god; in Hinduism somebody calculated there are about
three  hundred  thousand  gods.  That’s  rather  fun,  you  can  choose  whichever
god  you  like.  In  Christianity  and  Islam  there  is  only  one  god,  based  on  two
books  the  Bible  and  the  Koran.  So  religions  have  divided  man,  just  as
nationalism, which is a form of glorified tribalism, has divided man nationalism,
patriotism,  religious  ardour.  And  fundamentalists  both  in  India,  here  and  in
Europe, are reviving their religious traditions. I wonder if you have ever looked
at  the  word  ‘reviving’?  You  can  only  revive something that is dead or dying.
You can’t revive a living thing.
Man has always been in conflict, as everyone in this world goes through all
kinds of misery, all kinds of sorrow, pain, desperate loneliness; and we long to
escape from all that, So we are going to observe together this extraordinary
phenomenon:  how  man,  after  these  thousands  of  years,  still  remains  a
barbarian cruel, vulgar, full of anxiety and hatred. And violence is increasing in
the world. So one asks, can there be peace on this earth? Because without
peace,  inwardly,  psychologically  first,  the brain cannot flower, human beings
cannot live completely holistically.
So why are we, after this long evolution – during a period in which we have
gathered immense experience, knowledge, a great deal of information – why
are  we  as  human  beings  perpetually  in  conflict?  That’s  the  real  question.
Because  when  there  is  no  conflict  there  is  naturally  peace.  And  man  that
includes the woman, please; when I use the word ‘man’ I am not shutting out
the  woman  don’t  get  excited  about  it.  And,  if  one  may  point  out,  don’t  get
angry, irritated with what we are investigating together. It’s your responsibility
to  enquire,  not  merely  intellectually,  verbally,  but  with  your  heart,  with  your
brain, with all your being, and find out why we are what we are.
We have tried various religions, various economic and social systems, and
yet we live in conflict. Can this conflict in each one of us end completely, not
partially, not occasionally? It’s a very serious question. It demands a serious
answer.  Not  say  it’s  possible  or  not  possible,  but  enquire  very  deeply  why
human  beings,  including  you,  and  the  speaker  perhaps,  live  in  perpetual   7
conflict,  with  problems  and  divisions  why  we  have  divided  the  world  into
nationalities, religious groups, social behaviours and all the rest of it? Can we
seriously  this  afternoon  enquire  whether  it’s  possible  to  end  conflict?  First
psychologically,  inwardly,  because  if  there  is  a  certain  quality  of  freedom
inwardly, then we shall produce a society in which there will be no conflict. So
it  is  our  responsibility  as  human  beings,  as  so-called  individualities,  to
seriously  put  our  brains,  our  energy,  our  passion  into  discovering  for
ourselves, not according to any philosopher, or some psychiatrist, but find out
for ourselves whether this conflict between human beings can end.
What is conflict? Why have we lived with conflict? Why have we problems?
Please enquire with the speaker into these questions. What is a problem? The
etymological meaning of that word is ‘something thrown at you’, a challenge,
something you have to answer.
When you are a child, you are sent to school; there you have the problems
of writing, mathematics, history, science, chemistry, and all the rest of it. So
from childhood you are trained to have problems. Please have patience. Look
at it carefully. Your brain is conditioned, trained, educated to have problems.
Observe it for yourself, and don’t please merely listen to the speaker. We are
together  investigating,  looking  into  the  problems  that  we  have.  So  from
childhood we are trained, educated, conditioned to have problems; and when
new problems arise, which they inevitably do, our brain, being full of problems,
tries to solve another problem and thereby increases them, which is what is
happening  in  the  world.  The  politicians  all  over  the  world  are  increasing
problem after problem. And they have found no answer.
So is it possible to have a brain that is free so that you can solve problems?
Not  a  cluttered  brain  full  of  problems.  Is  that  possible?  If  you  say  it  is  not
possible or it is possible, you have stopped investigating. What is important in
this  enquiry  is  that  one  must  have  a  great  deal  of  doubt,  scepticism,  never
accepting  anything  at  its  face  value  or  according  to  your  pleasure  or
gratification. Life is much too serious.    8
So we should enquire not only into the nature of conflict and problems, but
also perhaps into something which may be much more important: go all over
the  world,  wherever  you  will,  every  human  being  on  this  earth,  wherever  he
lives, goes through all kinds of sorrow. Millions have had tears and occasional
laughter. Every human being on this earth has had great loneliness, despair,
anxiety, been confused, uncertain, like you every human being, black, white,
purple or whatever colour you like. Psychologically this is a fact, an actuality,
not invented by the speaker. This is observable; you can see it on every face
on this earth. And so psychologically you are the rest of mankind. You may be
tall,  short,  black  or  white,  but  psychologically  you  are  mankind.  Please
understand this not intellectually or ideologically or as an hypothesis, but as an
actuality,a  burning  reality,  that  you  psychologically  are  the  rest  of  mankind.
Therefore  psychologically  you  are  not  individuals.  Although  religions,  except
perhaps parts of Hinduism and Buddhism, have entertained, encouraged the
sense  of  individual  growth,  saving  individual  souls  and  all  that  business,  in
actuality, your consciousness is not yours. It is the rest of mankind’s, because
we all go through the same mill, the same endless conflict. When you realize
this, not emotionally, not as an intellectual concept but as something actual,
real, true, then you will not kill another human being; you will never kill another,
either  verbally  or  intellectually,  ideologically  or  physically,  because  then  you
are killing yourself. But individuality has been encouraged all over the world.
Each one is struggling for himself, his success, his fulfilment, his achievement,
pursuing his desires and creating havoc in the world. Please understand this
very  carefully.  We  are  not  saying  that  each  individual  is  important:  on  the
contrary. If you are concerned with global peace, not just your own little peace
in the backyard nations have become the backyard if you are really concerned,
as most serious people must be concerned, that you are the rest of humanity
that’s a great responsibility.
So we must go back and find out for ourselves why human beings have
reduced the world to what it is now. What is the cause of all this? Why have
we  made  such  a  mess  of  everything  we  touch?  Why  is  there  conflict  in  our
personal relationships? Why is there conflict between gods your god and the   9
other’s god? So we must enquire together whether it is possible to end conflict.
Otherwise we’ll never have peace in this world.
Long  before  Christianity  they  talked  about  peace  on  earth.  Long  before
Christianity  they  worshipped  trees,  stones,  animals,  lightning,  the  sun;  there
was never any sense of god because they considered the earth as the mother
to  be  worshipped,  to  be  preserved,  spared,  not  destroyed  as  we  are  doing
now.
So let us enquire together into all this please, I mean together, not I enquire
and you casually listen, agreeing or disagreeing. Could we this afternoon put
aside this whole idea of agreeing or disagreeing? Will you do that so that we
can all of us look at things as they are not as you think they are, not your idea
or  concept  of  what  is,  but  just  look  at  it?  Look  at  it  non-verbally,  if  that’s
possible. That’s much more difficult.
First of all, this is the actual world we live in. You cannot possibly escape
from  it  through  monasteries,  through  religious  experiences  and  one  must
doubt all one’s experiences. Man has done everything on earth possible to run
away from the actuality of daily living with all its complexities. Why do we have
conflict in relationship between man and woman sexual, sensory division? In
this peculiar relationship man is pursuing his own ambition, his own greed, his
own  desires,  his  own  fulfilment,  and  the  woman  is  doing  the  same.  I  don’t
know  if  you  have  noticed  all  this  for  yourself.  So  there  are  two  ambitious,
driving  beings,  driven  by  desire,  two  parallel  lines  never  meeting  except
perhaps sexually. How can there be a relationship between two people when
each one is pursuing his own desires, ambitions, greeds?
In  this  relationship,  because  there  is  this  division,  there  is  no  love.  That
word  ‘love’  is  spoilt,  spat  upon,  degraded;  it  has  become  merely  sensuous,
pleasurable.  Love  is  not  pleasure.  Love  is  not  something  put  together  by
thought;  it  is  not  something  dependent  on  sensation.  So  how  can  there  be
right, true relationship between two people when each one considers his own
importance? Self-interest is the beginning of corruption, destruction, whether it   10
be in the politician or the religious man; self-interest dominates the world and
therefore there is conflict.
Where  there  is  duality,  separation,  as  the  Jew  and  the  Arab,  as  the
Christian who believes in some saviour and the Hindu who doesn’t believe in
all  this,  there  is  this  division:  national  division,  religious  division,  individual
divisions. Where there is division there must be conflict. That’s a law. So we
live  our  daily  life  in  a  little  circumscribed  self,  a  limited  self.  Self  is  always
limited and that is the cause of conflict. That is the central core of our struggle,
pain, anxiety, and all the rest of it.
One  becomes  aware  of  it,  as  most  people  must  naturally,  not  because
you’re told to or because you read some philosophical book or psychology, but
because it’s an actual fact. Each one is concerned with himself. He lives in a
separate world all to himself. And therefore there is division between you and
another, between you and your religion, between you and your god, between
you and your ideologies. So is it possible to understand not intellectually but
deeply,  that  you  are  the  rest  of  mankind?  Whatever  you  do,  good  or  bad,
affects the rest of mankind, because you are mankind.
Your  consciousness  is  not  yours.  Your  consciousness  is  made  up  of  its
content. Without the content there is no consciousness. Your consciousness
like  that  of  the  rest  of  humanity  is  made  up  of  beliefs,  fears,  faith,  gods,
personal  ambitions.  Your  whole  consciousness  is  made  up  of  all  this,  put
together by thought.
One hopes that we have taken the journey together, that together we are
walking the same road not that you are listening to a series of ideas. We are
not pursuing ideas or ideologies, but facing actuality, because in actuality and
going beyond that actuality is the truth. And when there is truth it’s the most
dangerous  thing.  Truth  is  very  dangerous  because  it  brings  a  revolution  in
oneself.
It’s good to ask questions. But of whom are you asking the question? Are
you asking the question of the speaker? That means you are waiting for an
answer  from  the  speaker.  Then  you  depend  on  the  speaker.  Then  you   11
establish  gurus.  Have  you  ever  gone  into  the  question  of  why  we  ask
questions? Not that you should not, but we are enquiring. Suppose you ask
the speaker a question and he answers it: either you accept it or deny it. If it is
satisfactory  to  you  according  to  your  conditioning  or  your  background,  then
you say, ‘Yes, I agree with you entirely.’ Or if you don’t agree, you say, ‘What
nonsense.’ But if you begin to enquire into the question itself, is the answer
separate from the question? Or does the answer lie in the question itself? The
perfume  of  a  flower  is  the  flower.  The  very  flower  is  the  essence  of  that
perfume. But we depend on others so much to be helped, to be encouraged,
to solve our problems; therefore out of our confusion we create authority, the
gurus, the priests. So please, it’s good to ask questions. I don’t know if you
have  gone  into  this.  You  know,  we  have  lost  the  art  of  investigation,
discussion: not taking sides but looking at things. It very complex, maybe this
is not the right occasion to go into it.
You should also enquire why from childhood we are hurt psychologically.
Most of us psychologically are wounded, and from that wound, whether one is
conscious of it or not, many of our problems arise. The wound to a child is by a
scolding,  by  saying  something  ugly,  brutal,  violent.  When  you  say  ‘I  am
wounded’ who is it that is wounded? Is it the image that you have built about
yourself that is wounded the psyche? Please, the speaker has not read any of
the psychology books or philosophy or religious books, he’s just investigating
with you. The psyche is the ‘me’ and the me is the image I have built about
myself. There is nothing spiritual about it. That’s another ugly word spiritual. So
that  image  gets  hurt  and  we  carry  that  image  right  through  our  life.  If  one
image  is  not  pleasant,  we  put  together  another  image  which  is  pleasant,
encourage it; it is worthwhile, significant, giving intellectual meaning to our life.
Is it possible to live on this earth not having a single image, about anybody,
including  god,  if  there  is  such  an  entity  no  image  about  your  wife  and  your
children and your husband, and so on? Not to have a single image? Then it is
possible never to be hurt.    12
And also, as our time is limited, we ought to enquire carefully whether it is
possible to be free of fear. This is really an important question to ask. Not that I
am asking for you, but you are asking this of yourself: whether it is possible,
living in a modern society with all the brutality, with all the tremendous violence
that  is  on  the  increase,  to  have  freedom  from  fear?  This  is  entirely  different
from analysis. Just to observe without any distortion: to observe this hall, for
example, how many tiers there are to observe your neighbour’s dress, face,
how  he  talks;  just  to  observe,  not  to  criticize,  not  to  evaluate,  judge,  but  to
observe.  Observe  a  tree,  observe  the  moon  and  the  swift-running  waters.
When you so observe then you ask yourself, what is beauty?
They talk a great deal about beauty in the magazines: how you must be
beautiful, your face, your hair, your complexion and all the rest of it. So what is
beauty?  Is  beauty  in  the  picture,  in  the  painting,  in  the  strange  modern
structure?  Is  beauty  in  a  poem?  Is  beauty  merely  in  the  physical  face  and
body? Have you ever asked this question? If you are an artist or a poet or a
literary  person,  you  may  describe  something  very  beautiful,  paint  something
that’s lovely,write a poem that really stirs your very being. So what is beauty?
Have you ever noticed that when you give a nice toy, a complicated toy, to a
child who is being naughty, shouting, playing, he gets completely absorbed in
it and all his naughtiness stops because he is absorbed? Being absorbed in a
poem, in a face, in a picture is that absorption beauty? When you look at a
marvellous  mountain  with  a  snowcap  of  eternal  snows,  the  line  against  the
blue sky, for a second the immensity of that mountain drives away the self, the
‘me’, with all my problems, all my anxiety. In the majesty of the great rocks and
the lovely valleys and the rivers, at that moment, that second, the self is not.
So the mountain has driven away the self, as the toy quietens the child. That
mountain, that river, the depth of the blue valleys, dispel for a second all your
problems, all your vanities and anxieties. Then you say, ‘How beautiful that is.’
But  is  there  beauty  without  being  absorbed  by  something  outside?  That  is,
beauty is where the self is not.    13
Don’t go to sleep, please. You might have had a good lunch, I hope you
did, but this is not the place to go to sleep. It is your problem, your life, not the
speaker’s life; it is your life, your vanities, your despairs, your sorrows we are
talking about. So keep awake for another twenty or thirty minutes, if you are
interested.
So beauty is when the self is not. And that requires great meditation, great
enquiry,  a  tremendous  sense  of  discipline.  The  word  ‘discipline’  means  the
disciple  who  is  learning  from  the  master.  Learning  not  disciplining  as  in
conforming,  imitating,adjusting,  but  learning.  Learning  brings  its  own
tremendous  discipline,  and  for  an  inward  sense  of  austerity  discipline  is
necessary. So we must enquire together into what is fear.
And  now  we  must  enquire  together  into  what  is  fear.  What  is  fear?
Humanity  has  put  up  with  fear,  has  never  been  able  to  solve  fear.  Never.
There are various forms of fear; you may have your own particular fear: fear of
death, fear of gods, fear of the devil, fear of your wife, fear of your husband,
fear of the politicians god knows how many fears humanity has. What is fear?
Not  the  mere  experience  of  fear  in  its  multiple  forms,  but  the  reality,  the
actuality of fear? How is it brought about? Why has humanity, which is each
one of us, accepted fear as a way of life violence on the television, violence in
our daily life and the ultimate violence of organized killing, which is called war?
Is not fear related to violence? We are enquiring into fear the actual truth of
fear, not the idea of fear you understand the difference? The idea of fear is
different  from  the  actuality  of  fear;  right?  So  what  is  fear?  How  has  it  come
about?
What is the relationship of fear to time, to thought? One may be frightened
of tomorrow, or of many tomorrows; the fear of death the ultimate fear or fear
of what has happened before, in the past; or fear of what is actually going on
now.  So  we  must  enquire  together  please,  the  speaker  keeps  on  repeating,
together; it’s no fun talking to myself. Is fear brought about by time? Someone
has done something in the past to hurt you, and the past is time. The future is
time. The present is time. So we are asking, is time a central factor of fear?   14
Fear  has  many  many  branches,  many  leaves,  but  it’s  no  good  trimming  the
branches; we are asking, what is the root of fear? Not the multiple forms of
fear, because fear is fear. Out of fear you have invented gods, saviours. If you
have  absolutely  no  fear  psychologically,  then  there  is  tremendous  relief,  a
great sense of freedom. You have dropped all the burdens of life. So we must
enquire very seriously, closely, hesitantly, into this question: is time a factor?
Obviously. I have a good job now, I may lose it tomorrow so I’m frightened.
When  there  is  fear  there  is  jealousy,  anxiety,  hatred,  violence.  So  time  is  a
factor of fear. Please listen to the end of this, don’t say, how am I to stop time?
That’s not the problem; that’s a rather absurd question to ask.
Time is a factor and thought is a factor: thinking about what has happened,
what might happen; thinking. Is thinking a factor in fear? Has thinking brought
about fear? As one sees, time has brought fear, right? Time: not only time by
the clock, but psychological time, the inward time: ‘I am going to be; ‘I am not
good, but I will be; ‘I will get rid of my violence’, which is again the future. All
that implies time. We ought to enquire, what is time?
Are you prepared for all this? Do you want to go into all this? Really? I’m
rather surprised, because you’ve all been instructed, you’ve all been informed,
you’ve  been  told  what  to  do  by  the  psychologists,  by  the  priests,  by  your
leaders; always seeking help and finding new ways of being helped. So one
has  become  a  slave  to  others.  One  is  never  free  to  enquire,  to  stand
psychologically completely by oneself.
So  we  are  now  going  to  enquire  into  time.  What  is  time?  Apart  from  the
clock,  apart  from  the  sunrise  and  the  sunset,  the  beauty  of  the  sunrise,  the
beauty of the sunset; apart from the light and the dark, what is time? Please, if
one really understands the nature of time inwardly, you will find for yourself an
extraordinary sense of having no time at all.
Time  is  the  past,  right?  Time  is  the  future  and  time  is  the  present.  The
whole cycle is time. The past your background, what you have thought, what
you  have  lived  through,  your  experiences,  your  conditioning,  as  Christian,
Hindu, Buddhist or all the rest of it: without the past you wouldn’t be here. You   15
have been programmed for two thousand years, and the Hindus for three to
five thousand years. Like a computer, they repeat, repeat, repeat. So the past
is the present; what you are now is the result of the past. And tomorrow, or a
thousand tomorrows, is what you are now, so the future is now. In the now all
time is contained. This is a fact too, an actuality, not a theory. What you are is
the result of the past and what you will be tomorrow is what you are now. If I
am  violent  now»  tomorrow  I’ll  be  violent.  So  tomorrow  is  in  the  now,  in  the
present, unless I radically, fundamentally bring about a mutation. Otherwise I’ll
be  what  I  have  been.  We  have  had  a  long  evolution,  evolving,  evolving,
evolving to what we are now. And if we carry on that game we will be violent,
we will be barbarous next day. So as all time is contained in the now which is a
fact, an actuality can there be total mutation now in all our behaviour and our
way of living, thinking, feeling? Because if we don’t radically, psychologically
bring about a mutation then we will be exactly what we have been in the past.
So is it possible to bring about this psychological mutation at all?
You  know,  when  you  have  been  going  north  all  your  life,  following  a
particular  direction,  or  no  direction,  just  wobbling  as  most  people  do,  if
somebody  comes  along  and  tells  you  most  seriously  that  going  north  leads
nowhere, there is nothing at the end of it, you listen seriously, not only with the
hearing of the ear but deeply. Go east or south, you are told, and you say, ‘I
will do it.’ At that moment you have taken a new turn and there is a mutation.
The speaker is making it very simple. But it is a very complex problem, which
is: to realize deeply that we have been going on this way for centuries and we
have not changed at all. We are still violent, brutal, and all the rest of it. If we
actually perceive that, not intellectually or verbally but deeply, then we turn in
another direction. At that second there is the mutation in the very brain cells
themselves.
The  speaker  has  discussed  these  matters  with  some  neurologists.  Of
course they don’t agree completely, but they go part of the way. It’s always a
game,  you  understand.  We  treat  life  as  a  game:  partially  right,  and  partially   16
wrong; you may be right and you may be wrong. But we never ask ourselves:
what is the art of living? which is greater than any art in the world.
Can  you  put  up  with  this?  We’ll  finish  this  question.  After  that  we’ll  meet
again tomorrow if you are willing; I’m not inviting you, it’s up to you.
We said time is important because we live by time, but we don’t live time as
a whole, which is the present. In the present all time is contained: the future
and the past. If I’m violent today, I’ll be violent tomorrow. And can I end that
violence today completely, not partially? I can. And also, is fear brought about
by thought? Of course it is. Don’t accept the speaker’s word for it, look at it. I
am secure today, but I am frightened of what might happen tomorrow; there
might be war, there might be some other catastrophe. So time and thought are
the root of fear.
Now  what  is  thinking?  You  understand my question? If time and thought
are the root of fear which they are in actuality what is thinking? Why do we
live, act, do everything, on the basis of thought? The marvellous cathedrals of
Europe, the beauty, the structure, the architecture have been put together by
thought.  All  religions  and  their  paraphernalia,  their  dress,  their  mediaeval
robes, are put together by thought. All the rituals are contrived, arranged, by
thought. And our relationship with each other, man and woman, is based on
thought. When you drive a car, it’s based on thought. Recognition is thought.
So one has to enquire, if you are not too tired and we’ll stop after this what is
thinking? Probably very few people have asked this question. The speaker has
been asking this question for sixty years. What is thought? If you can find out
what  is  the  origin,  the  beginning  of  thought,  why  thought  has  become  so
extraordinarily  important  in  our  life,  there  may  be  in  that  very  enquiry  a
mutation  taking  place.  So  we  are  asking  what  is  thought,  what  is  thinking?
Don’t wait for me to answer. Look at it, observe it.
Thinking  is  the  word;  the  word  is  important,  the  sound  of  the  word,  the
quality of the word; the depth, the beauty of a word. Especially the sound. I
won’t go into the question of sound and silence. Thinking is part of memory,
isn’t it? Investigate it with the speaker, please, don’t sit there comfortably, or   17
uncomfortably. Thinking is part of memory, isn’t it? If we had no memory at all,
would  we  be  able  to  think?  We  wouldn’t.  Our  brain  is  the  instrument  of
memory:  memory  of  things  that  have  happened,  experience,  and  so  on,  the
whole  background  of  memory.  Memory  arises  from  knowledge,  from
experience  right?  So  experience,  knowledge,  memory,  and  the  response  of
memory is thought. This whole process of experiencing, recollecting, holding,
becomes our knowledge. Experience is always limited, naturally.
Is experience different from the experiencer? Give your brains to this, find
out! If there is no experiencer, is there an experience? Of course not. So the
experience  and  the  experiencer  are  the  same,  like  the  observer  and  the
observed.  The  thinker  is  not  separate  from  his  thoughts.  The  thinker  is  the
thought.
So experience is limited, as you can observe in the scientific world or any
other  field.  They  are  adding  more  and  more  and  more  every  day  to  their
knowledge  through  experience,  through  experiment  on  animals  and  all  that
horror that is going on. And that knowledge is limited because they are adding
to  it.  So  memory  is  limited.  And  from  that  memory  thought  is  limited.  So
thought, being limited, must invariably bring about conflict. Just see the pattern
of it not accept what the speaker is saying, that’s absurd. He’s not an authority,
he’s not a guru, thank god. But we can observe this fact together, that thought
and time are the root of fear. Time and thought are the same, they are not two
separate movements. See this fact, this actuality, that time and thought, time-
thought, are the root of fear just observe it in yourself. Don’t move away from
the reality of it, from the truth of it that fear is caused by time and thought. Hold
it,  remain  with  it,  don’t  run  away  from  it.  It  is  so.  Then  it  is  like  holding  a
precious jewel in your hand. You see all the beauty of that jewel. Then you will
see for yourself that fear psychologically completely ends. And when there is
no fear you are free. And when there is that total freedom you don’t have gods,
rituals, you are a free man.
I don’t know why you clap. Perhaps you are clapping for yourself. You are
not  encouraging  the  speaker  or  discouraging  him.  He  doesn’t  want  a  thing   18
from  you.  When  you  yourself  become  both  the  teacher  and  the  disciple  –
disciple  being  a  man  who  is  learning,  learning,  learning,  not  accumulating
knowledge – then you are an extraordinary human being.    19
2nd Public Talk
21st April 1985
To Live With Death
May we continue where we left off yesterday? We were talking about fear
and  the  ending  of  fear.  And  also  we  were  talking  about  the  responsibility  of
each one of us facing what is happening in the world, the appalling, frightening
mess  we  are  in.  We  are  all  responsible,  individually,  collectively,  nationally,
religiously, for all we have made of the world. After millennia upon millennia we
have  remained  barbarians,  hurting  each  other,  killing  each  other,  destroying
each other. We have had freedom to do exactly what we liked and that has
created havoc in the world. Freedom is not to do what one likes, but rather it is
to be free from all the travail of life, from our problems, from our anxieties, from
our fear, from our psychological wounds, from all the conflict that we have put
up with for so many millennia.
And also we said that this meeting is not a lecture on any particular subject,
to  inform,  to  instruct.  Rather  it  is  about  our  responsibility,  together,  to
investigate,  to  explore  into  all  the  problems  of  our  daily  life  not  some
speculative  concepts  or  philosophies,  but  to  understand  the  daily  pain,  the
boredom, the loneliness, the despair, the depression, and the endless conflict
with which man has lived.
This  morning  we  have  to  cover  a  great  deal  of  ground.  We  pointed  out
yesterday  that  this  is  not  a  meeting  in  which  the  speaker  stimulates  you
intellectually,  emotionally,  or  in  any  other  way.  We  depend  a  great  deal  on
stimulation;  it’s  a  form  of  commercialism:  drugs,  alcohol,  and  all  the  various
means of sensation. And we want not only sensation but excitement. But this
is  not  that  kind  of  meeting.  We  are  here  together  to  investigate  our  life,  our
daily life; that is, to understand oneself, what one is actually, not theoretically,
not according to some philosopher or some psychiatrist. If we can put aside all
that and observe, look at ourselves, actually as we are, and not get depressed
or elated, we will understand the whole psychological structure of our being, of
our existence.    20
We said yesterday that one of the things human beings go through all their
life is a form of fear. We went into it very carefully: that time and thought are
the root of fear. And we went into what time and thought are. Time is not only
the past, the present and the future, but in the now. In the present all time is
contained  because  what  we  are  now  we  will  be  tomorrow  unless  there  is  a
great,  fundamental  mutation  in  the  very  psyche  itself,  in  the  very  brain  cells
themselves.
If one may point out, you and the speaker are taking a journey together, a
long, complicated journey. To take that journey one mustn’t be attached to any
particular form of belief for then that journey is not possible nor to any faith, nor
to some conclusion or ideology or concept. It’s like climbing Everest or some of
the other great, marvellous mountains of the world; one has to leave a great
deal  behind,  not  carry  all  one’s  burdens  up  the  steep  hills.  So  in  taking  the
journey together and the speaker means together, not that he is talking and
you  are  agreeing  or  disagreeing  if  we  could  put  those  two  words  aside
completely,  then  we  can  take  the  journey  together.  Some may want to walk
very rapidly and others may lag behind, but it is a journey together.
We  also  ought  to  talk  over  together  why  human  beings  have  always
pursued  pleasure.  We’ve  never  investigated  what  pleasure  is,  why  we  want
everlasting  pleasure  in  different  ways:  sexual,  sensory,  intellectual,  the
pleasure  of  possession,  the  pleasure  of  acquiring  a  great  skill,  the  pleasure
one  derives  from  having  a  great  deal  of  information,  knowledge,  and  the
ultimate gratification of what we call god. Please don’t get angry or irritated or
want to throw something at the speaker. This is a violent world. If you don’t
agree they kill you. This is what is happening. And here we’re not trying to kill
each other, we’re not doing any kind of propaganda or trying to convince you
of anything.
But  we  are  going  to  face  the  truth  of  things,  not  live  in  delusions.  With
delusions  it’s  very  difficult  to  observe.  If  you  are  deluding  yourself  and  not
facing actualities, then it becomes impossible to look at oneself as one is. But
we  like  delusions,  illusions,  every  form  of  deception,  because  we  are   21
frightened to look at ourselves. To look at ourselves very clearly, accurately,
precisely, is only possible in a mirror of relationship; that’s the only mirror we
have.  When  you  look  at  yourself  combing  your  hair  or  shaving  or  doing
whatever you are doing to your face that mirror reflects exactly how you look.
Psychologically  is  there  such  a  mirror  in  which  you  can  see  exactly,
precisely, actually what you are? As we said, there is such a mirror which is
one’s relationship, however intimate it be, whether it’s with a man, or a woman;
in that relationship you see what you are if you allow yourself to see what you
are. You see how you get angry, your possessiveness, all the rest of it.
Man has pursued pleasure endlessly, in the name of god, in the name of
peace, in the name of ideology, and then there is the pleasure of power having
power  over  others,  political  power.  Have  you  noticed  that  power  is  an  ugly
thing,  when  one  dominates  another  in  any  form?  Power  is  one  of  the  evil
things  in  life.  And  pleasure  is  the  other  side  of  the  coin  of  fear.  When  one
understands deeply, profoundly, seriously the nature of fear we went into that
yesterday,  so  we  won’t  go  into  it  again  then  pleasure  is  delight:  seeing
something  beauti-  ful,  seeing  the  sunset  or  the  morning  light,  the  dawn,  the
marvellous colours, the reflection of the sun on the waters; that’s delight. But
we cultivate that memory as pleasure.
And also, I don’t know if you have gone into the question of action. What is
action?  We  are  all  so  active  from  morning  till  night,  not  only  physically  but
psychologically,  the  brain  everlastingly  chattering,  going  from  one  thing  to
another endlessly. During the day and during the night in dreams the brain is
never at rest, it is perpetually in motion. What is action, the doing? The very
word ‘doing’ is in the present, it’s not having done or ‘I will do’. Action means
the doing now, accurately, completely, holistically if I can use that word action
that is whole, complete, not partial. When action is based on some ideology,
it’s  not  action,  is  it?  It’s  conformity  to  a  certain  pattern  which  you  have
established and therefore it’s incomplete action, according to some memory,
some  conclusion.  If  you  act  according  to  a  certain  ideology,  pattern  or   22
conclusion,  it  is  still  incomplete;  there  is  a  contradiction  in  it.  So  one  has  to
enquire into this very complex problem of action.
Is  action  related  to  disorder  or  to  order?  You  understand?  We  live  in
disorder, our life is disorderly, confused, contradictory: saying one thing, doing
another; thinking one thing and doing quite the opposite. So what is order and
disorder? Perhaps you have not thought about all these matters, so let us think
together about this, and please don’t let me talk to myself. It’s still early in the
morning and you have a whole day in front of you; so let us be aware together
of this question: what is order and what is disorder and what is the relationship
of action to order and disorder?
What  is  disorder?  Look  at  the  world  if  you  will;  the  world  is  in  disorder.
Terrible things are happening. Very few of us know actually what is happening
in the scientific world, in the world of the art of war, all the terrible things that
are going on in other countries; and the poverty in all countries, the rich and
the terribly poor, always the threat of war, one political group against another
political group. So there is this tremendous disorder. That’s an actuality, it’s not
an invention or an illusion. We have created this disorder, because our very
living is disorderly. And we are trying to bring about order through all the social
reforms  and  so  on.  Without  understanding  and  bringing  about  the  end  of
disorder, we try to find order. It’s like a confused mind trying to find clarity. A
confused mind is a confused mind, it can never find clarity. So can there be an
end  to  disorder  in  our  life,  our  daily  life?  Not  order  in  heaven  or  in  another
place,  but  in  our  daily  life  can  there  be  order?  Can  there  be  the  end  of
disorder? When there is the end of disorder there is naturally order. That order
is living, it’s not according to a certain pattern or mould.
So we are investigating, looking at ourselves and learning about ourselves.
Learning is different from acquiring knowledge. Please, if you will kindly give
your  attention  to  this  a  little  bit  that  learning  is  an  infinite  process,  limitless
process, whereas knowledge is always limited. And learning implies not only
observing visually, optically, but also observing without any distortion, seeing
things exactly as they are.    23
That requires the discipline of one who is learning, not the terrible discipline
of  orthodoxy,  tradition,  or  following  certain  rules,  dictates,  and  so  on.  It  is
learning,  learning  through  clear  observation,  hearing  exactly  what  the  other
fellow  is  saying  without  any  distortion.  And  learning  is  not  accumulative
because you’re moving. You understand all this? So in learning what disorder
is  in  ourselves,  order  comes  about  very  naturally,  easily,  unexpectedly.  And
when there is order, order is virtue. There is no other virtue except complete
order, that is complete morality, not some imposed or dictated morality.
Then we ought also to talk over together this whole question of sorrow. You
don’t  mind?  Because  men  and  women  and  children  throughout  the  world,
whether they live behind the Iron Curtain, which is most unfortunate for them,
or whether they live in Asia, Europe or here every human being, whether rich
or poor, intellectual or just ordinary laymen like us, goes through every form of
suffering. Have you ever looked at people that have cried through centuries?
Through thousands of wars? There is immense sorrow in the world. Not that
there is not also pleasure, joy, and so on, but in understanding and perhaps
ending sorrow we’ll find something much greater.
So we must go into this complex question of sorrow, whether it can ever
end or whether man is doomed forever to suffer – suffer not only physically but
psychologically. Inwardly we have suffered enormously without perhaps saying
a word about it, or crying our heart out. During all this long evolution of man
from  the  beginning  of  time  until  now,  every  human  being  on  this  earth  has
suffered. Suffering is not merely the loss of someone you think you like or love,
but also the suffering of the very poor, the illiterate. If you go to India or other
parts of the world, you see people walking miles and miles to go to a school,
little girls and little boys. They will never be rich, they will never ride in a car,
probably  never  have  a  hot  bath.  They  have  one  sari  or  one  dress  whatever
they wear and that’s all. And that is sorrow. And the man who goes by in a car,
who looks at this, is in sorrow if he’s at all sensitive, aware. And, there is the
sorrow of ignorance; not ignorance of writing and literature and all the rest of it,   24
but the sorrow of a man who doesn’t know himself. There are multiple ways of
sorrow.
We are asking, can this sorrow end for each one? There is the sorrow in
oneself  and  the  sorrow  of  the  world.  Thousands  of  wars,  people  maimed,
appalling cruelty. Every nation on earth has committed cruelties. It is appalling
and  we’re  still  perpetuating  that  cruelty.  Cruelty  brings  enormous  sorrow.
Seeing all this not from a book, not from a traveller who goes abroad to have a
good  time  but  travelling  as  a  human  being,  just  observing,  being  aware
sensitively of all this, sorrow is a terrible thing. And can that sorrow end?
Please,  ask  yourself  that  question. The speaker is not stimulating you to
feel sorrow, the speaker is not telling you what sorrow is; it is right in front of
us, right inside you. Nobody needs to point it out if you keep your eyes open, if
you  are  sensitive,  aware  of  what  is  happening  in  this  monstrous  world.  So
please ask yourself this question: whether sorrow can ever end? Because like
hatred,  when  there  is  sorrow  there  is  no  love.  When  you  are  suffering,
concerned with your own suffering, how can there be love? So one must ask
this question, however difficult it is to find not the answer, but the ending of
sorrow.
What is sorrow? Not only the physical pain and the enduring pain, a person
who  is  paralysed  or  maimed  or  diseased,  but  also  the  sorrow  of  losing
someone: death. We’ll talk about death presently. Is sorrow self-pity? Please,
investigate. We’re not saying it is or it is not, we’re asking, is sorrow brought
about  by  self-pity,  is  that  one  of  the  factors?  Sorrow  brought  about  by
loneliness,  feeling  desperately  alone?  Not  alone  the  word  ‘alone’  means  ‘all
one’ but feeling isolated, having in that isolation no relationship with anything.
Is sorrow merely an intellectual affair to be rationalized, explained away?
Or can one live with it without any desire for comfort? You understand? To live
with  sorrow,  not  escape  from  it,  not  rationalize  it,  not  find  some  illusive  or
exclusive  comfort  some  religious  or  illusory  romantic  escape  but  live  with
something  that  has  tremendous  significance.  Sorrow  is  not  only  a  physical
shock, when one loses one’s son or husband, wife or girl, whatever it is; that is   25
a tremendous biological shock; one is almost paralysed with it. Don’t you know
all this?
There is also the sense of desperate loneliness. Can we look at sorrow as it
actually is in us, and remain with it, hold it, and not move away from it? Sorrow
is not different from the one who suffers. The person who suffers wants to run
away, escape, do all kinds of things. But to look at it as you look at a child, a
beautiful child, to hold it, never escape from it then you will see for yourself, if
you really look deeply, that there is an end to sorrow. And when there is an
end to sorrow there is passion; not lust, not sensory stimulation, but passion.
Very  few  have  this  passion,  because  we  are  so  consumed  with  our  own
griefs, with our own pains, with our own pity and vanity. We have a great deal
of  energy  look  what  is  happening  in  the  world  tremendous  energy  to  invent
new things, new gadgets, new ways of killing others. To go to the moon needs
tremendous energy and concentration, both intellectual and actual. We have
tremendous  energy,  but  we  dissipate  it  by  conflict,  through  fear,  through
endless chattering about nothing. And passion has tremendous energy. That
passion is not stimulated, it doesn’t seek stimulation, it is there, like a burning
fire. It only comes when there is the end of sorrow.
When you have the ending of this sorrow, it is not personal, because you
are the rest of humanity, as we said yesterday afternoon. We all suffer; we all
go through loneliness; every human being on this earth, rich or poor, learned
or  ignorant,  goes  through  tremendous  anxieties,  conscious  or  unconscious.
Your consciousness is not yours, it is human consciousness. In the content of
that consciousness is all your beliefs, your sorrows, your pities, your vanities,
your  arrogance,  your  search  for  power,  position.  All  that  is  your
consciousness, which is shared by all human beings. Therefore it’s not your
particular  consciousness.  And  when  you  really  realize  that,  not  verbally  or
intellectually or theoretically or as a concept, but as an actuality, then you’ll not
kill  another,  hurt  another,  but  you’ll  have  some  other  thing  which  is  totally
different, of a different dimension altogether.    26
We ought to talk over together too, this great question of what is love. We
use the word ‘love’ so loosely, it has become merely sensuous, sexual; love is
identified with pleasure. And to find that perfume one must go into the question
of what is not love. Through negation you come to the positive, not the other
way round. Am I making myself clear? Through negation of what is not love,
you come to that which is immensely true, which is love.
So love is not hate: that’s obvious. Love is not vanity, arrogance. Love is
not  in  the  hand  of  power.  The  people  who  are  in  power,  wanting  power  it
doesn’t matter if it’s over a small child or over a whole group of people or a
nation that surely is not love. Love is not pleasure, love is not desire. Love is
certainly not thought. So can you put aside all that: your vanity, the sense of
power however little it is, it’s like a worm? And the more power you have, the
more  ugly  and  therefore  in  that  there  is  no  love.  When  you  are  ambitious,
aggressive, as you are all brought up to be to be successful, to be famous, to
be known, which is all so utterly childish, from the speaker’s point of view how
can there be love?
So love is something that cannot be invited or cultivated. It comes about
naturally, easily, when the other things are not. And in learning about oneself
one  comes  upon  this:  where  there  is  love,  there  is  compassion;  and
compassion has its own intelligence. That is the supreme form of intelligence,
not the intelligence of thought, intelligence of cunning, deceptions and all the
rest of it. It’s only when there is complete love and compassion that there is
that excellence of intelligence which is not mechanical. Then we ought to talk
about death. Shall we? Are you interested in finding out what death is? What is
the meaning of that word death the dying, the ending? Not only the ending but
what  happens  after  death? Does one carry the memories of one’s own life?
The whole Asiatic world believes in reincarnation. That is I die, I have led a
miserable life, perhaps done a little good here and there, and next life I’ll be
better, I’ll do more good. It’s based on reward and punishment, like everything
else in life. And in Christianity there is resurrection and so on.    27
So if we can put aside for the moment all that, really put it aside, not cling to
one thing or the other, then what is death? What does it mean to die? Not only
biologically,  physically,  but  also  psychologically:  all  the  accumulation  of
memories, one’s tendencies, the skills, the idiosyncrasies, the things that one
has gathered, whether it be money, knowledge, friendship, whatever you will;
all  you  have  acquired.  And  death  comes  and  says,  ‘Sorry,  you  can’t  take
anything with you.’
So what does it mean to die?  Can we go into this question? Or are you
frightened?  What  is  death?  How  do  we  enquire  into  it?  You  understand  my
question? I am living, I go along every day, it is routine, mechanical, miserable,
happy,  unhappy,  you  know  the  whole  business.  And  death  comes,  through
accident, through disease, through old age, senility what is senility? Is it only
for the old? Is not senility when we’re just repeating, repeating, repeating when
we act mechanically, thoughtlessly? Isn’t that also a form of senility?
Because  we  are  frightened  of  death,  we  never  see  the  greatness  of  this
extraordinary  thing.  A  child  is  born  a  new  human  being  comes  into  being.
That’s an extraordinary event, and that child grows and becomes whatever you
have all become, and then dies. Death is also something most extraordinary; it
must  be.  And  you  won’t  see  the  depth  and  the  greatness  of  it  if  you  are
frightened.
So what is death? I want to find out what it means to die while I am living.
I’m not senile, I’ve all my wits about me, I’m capable of thinking very clearly,
perhaps  I  occasionally  go  off  the  beam  but  I’m  active,  clear.  So  I’m  asking
myself I’m not asking you I’m only observing; and will you observe also what is
death?  Death  means  surely  the  ending  of  everything:  the  ending  of  my
relationships,  the  ending  of  all  the  things  I’ve  put  together  in  my  life,  all  the
knowledge,  all  the  experience,  the  idiotic  life  I’ve  led,  a  meaningless  life,  or
trying  to  find  intellectually  a  meaning  to  life.  Then  death  comes  and  says,’
That’s the end.’ But I am frightened, it can’t be the end. I’ve got so much, I’ve
collected so much, not only furniture or pictures. When I identify myself with
the furniture or the pictures or the bank account, I am the bank account, I am   28
the pictures, I am the furniture. Right? When you identify with something so
completely,  you  are  that.  Perhaps  you  don’t  like  all  this,  but  please,  kindly
listen.  So  I’ve  established  roots,  I’ve  established  a  great  many  things  round
me, and death comes and makes a clean sweep of all that. So I ask myself, is
it possible to live with death all the time? Not at the end of ninety or a hundred
years  the  speaker  is  ninety  sorry.  Not  at  the  end  of  my  life  but  with  all  my
energy, vitality, and all the things that go on, can I live with death all the time?
Not commit suicide,I don’t mean that that’s too silly but live with death, which
means the ending every day of every thing I’ve collected; the ending.
I do not know if you have gone into the question of what is continuity and
what is ending. That which continues can never renew itself, be reborn. It can
revive  itself.  The  word  ‘revive’  means  something  that  has  withered,  is  dying
and you revive it. There is the religious revival they are shouting about. I don’t
know if you have noticed but organized religions and the gurus and all the rest
of them are tremendously rich people with great property. There is a temple in
the  south  of  India:  every  third  day  they  collect  one  million  dollars.  You
understand? God is very profitable. This is not cynicism, this is actuality. We
are facing actuality, and you can’t be cynical or despairing, it is so; be neither
optimistic nor pessimistic. You have to look at these things.
So can I live with death, which means that everything that I have done and
collected ends? Ending is more important than continuity. The ending means
the beginning of something new. If you merely continue, it is the same pattern
being repeated in a different mould. Have you noticed another strange thing?
We have made a tremendous mess in the world, and we organize to clear up
that  mess,  politically,  religiously,  socially  and  economically.  And  when  that
organization or institution doesn’t work, we invent another organization, never
clearing  up  the  mess  but  bringing  about  new  organizations,  new  institutions
and  this  is  called  progress.  I  don’t  know  if  you  have  noticed  all  this.  This  is
what we are doing making thousands of institutions.
The  other  day  we  talked  at  the  United Nations. War is going on, they’ve
never stopped it, but they are reorganizing it. You are doing exactly the same   29
thing  in  this  country.  We  never  clear  up  the  mess.  We  depend  on
organizations  to  clear  it  up;  or  new  leaders,  new  gurus,  new  priests,  new
faiths,  and  all  that  rubbish.  So  can  I  live  with  death?  That  means  freedom,
complete, total, holistic freedom. And in that freedom there is great love and
compassion, and that intelligence which has not an end, which is immense.
And we ought also to talk over together what is religion. May we go on?
You are not too tired? The speaker is not trying to convince you of anything,
please believe me: nothing! He’s not trying to force you, through stimulation,
through some other means. We are both looking at the world, your personal
world and the world about you.  You  are  the  world,  the world is not different
from  you.  You  have  created  this  world  and  you  are  responsible  for  it,
completely,  totally,  whether  you  are  a  politician  or  an  ordinary  man  in  the
street.
So to talk over together what is religion. Man has always sought something
beyond  all  this  pain,  anxiety  and  sorrow.  Is  there  something  that  is  sacred,
eternal, that is beyond all the reaches of thought? This has been a question
from  the  most  ancient  of  times.  What  is  sacred?  What  is  that  which  has  no
time,  that  which  is  incorruptible,  that  which  is  nameless,  that  which  has  no
quality, no limitation the timeless, the eternal? Is there such a thing? Man has
asked this for thousands and thousands of years. So he has worshipped the
sun, the earth, nature, the trees, the birds; everything that’s living on this earth
man  has  worshipped  since  ancient  times.  The  Vedas  and  the  Upanishads
never mention god. That which is supreme, they said, is not manifested.
So are you asking that question too? Are you asking, is there something
sacred? Is there something that is not put together by thought, as all organized
religions  are,  whether  Christianity,  Hinduism,  Buddhism,  or  any  other?  In
Buddhism there is no god. Among the Hindus, as I said, there are about three
hundred gods. It’s great fun to have so many. You can play with them all. And
there are the gods of books, the god according to the Bible, the god according
to the Koran. I don’t know if you have noticed that when religions are based on
books, like the Bible or the Koran, you have people who are bigoted, narrow,   30
intolerant,  because  the  book  says  so.  Haven’t  you  noticed  all  this?  This
country  is  having  the  Fundamentalists  who  go  back  to  the  book.  Don’t  get
angry, please, just look at it.
So we are asking, what is religion? Not only what is religion, but what is the
religious  brain,  religious  mind?  To  enquire  into  that  deeply,  not  superficially,
there  must  be  total  freedom.  Not  freedom  from  one  thing  or  the  other,  but
freedom as a whole, per se. So we are asking, when there is that freedom, is it
possible,  living  in  this  ugly  world,  to  be  free  from  pain,  sorrow,  anxiety,
loneliness?
Then  you  have  also  to  find  out  what  is  meditation:  contemplation  in  the
Christian sense, and meditation in the Asiatic sense? Probably meditation has
been  brought  to  this  country  by  the  yogis, gurus and all those superstitious,
traditional people, and therefore it’s mechanical. So we’ll have to find out what
is meditation. Do you want to go into it? Does it just amuse you or do you want
really to go into it? Is meditation a form of entertainment? First let me learn
meditation, and then I’ll act properly. You understand the game one plays? But
if  there  is  order  in  one’s  life,  real  order,  as  we  explained,  then  what  is
meditation?  Is  it  following  certain  systems,  methods:  the  Zen  method,  the
Buddhist  meditation,  the  Hindu  meditation,  and  the  latest  gurus  with  their
medi- tation? They are always bearded, full of money, you know all the rest of
that.
So  what  is  meditation?  If  it  is  determined,  if  it  is  following  a  system,  a
method,  practised  day  after  day,  what  happens  to  the  human  brain?  It
becomes more and more dull. Haven’t you noticed this? You repeat, repeat,
repeat  it  may  be  the  wrong  note,  but  you’ll  repeat  it.  So  is  meditation
something  entirely  different?  It  has  nothing  whatever  to  do  with  method,
system,  practices,  therefore  it  can  never  be  mechanical.  It  can  never  be
conscious meditation. Do please understand this. It’s like a man consciously
wanting  money  and  pursuing  money.  Consciously  you  meditate,  wanting  to
achieve  peace,  silence,  and  all  that.  Therefore  they  are  both  the  same:  the   31
man  who  pursues  money,  success,  power,  and  the  man  who  pursues  so-
called spirituality.
So is there a meditation which is not determined, practised? There is, but
that requires enormous attention. That attention is a flame and that attention is
not something that you come to much later; it is attention now to everything,
every  word,  every  gesture,  every  thought:  to  pay  complete  attention,  not
partial. If you are listening partially now, you are not giving complete attention.
When you are completely attentive there is no self, there is no limitation.
The brain now is full of information, cluttered up, there is no space in it, and
one  must  have  space.  Space  means  energy;  when  there  is  no  space  your
energy is very, very limited. The brain is now so heavily laden with knowledge,
with theories, with power, position, so everlastingly in conflict and cluttered up,
that it has no space. And freedom, complete freedom, is to have that limitless
space. The brain is extraordinarily capable, has infinite capacity, but we have
made it so small and petty.
So when there is that space and emptiness and therefore immense energy
– energy is passion, love and compassion and intelligence – then there is that
truth which is most holy, most sacred; that which man has sought from time
immemorial. That truth doesn’t lie in any temple, in any mosque, in any church.
And it has no path to it except through one’s own understanding of oneself,
enquiring, studying, learning. Then there is that which is eternal.    32
– Longer, Unedited Versions –
Washington d.c. 1st public talk 20th april 1985
This  is  not  a  lecture  on  any  particular  subject  according  to  certain
disciplines,  scientific  or  philosophical.  Lectures  are  meant  to  inform  on  a
particular  subject  or  instruct.  But  we  are  not  going  to  do  that.  This  is  not  a
lecture. Nor is it a form of entertainment. Especially in this country, where one
is greatly accustomed to being entertained; amused; awaken one’s sensations.
Rather [in] these talks, today and tomorrow morning, we are going to talk over
together in conversation about the whole of our existence from the moment we
are born until we die.
In that period of time, whether it be 50 years or 90 years or hundred years,
we  go  through  all  kinds  of  problems  and  difficulties.  You  have  problems,
economic,  social,  religious;  problems  of  personal  relationship,  problems  of
individual fulfilment; wanting to find one’s roots in some place or other. And we
have  innumerable  psychological  wounds,  fears,  pleasures,  sensations.  And
also there is a great deal of fear in all human beings; great deal of anxiety,
uncertainty,  and  a  pursuit  of  pleasure.  And  also  all  human  beings  on  this
beautiful  earth  suffer  a  great  deal  of  pain,  loneliness.  We  are  going  to  talk
about all that together. And what place has religion in modern life? And also
we are going to talk over together the question of death; what is a religious
mind;  and  what  is  meditation;  and  if  there  is  anything  that  is  beyond  all
thought, there is anything sacred in life, or everything is matter and therefore
we  lead  a  materialistic  life.  We  are  going  to  talk  over  together  all  these
problems this afternoon and tomorrow morning.
So, as we said, this is not a lecture. This is a conversation between you
and the speaker. A conversation in which there is no implication of conversion,
doing propaganda or introducing new theories, ideas and exotic nonsense. We
are going to, if you will kindly, talk over together our problems as two friends,
though  we  don’t  know  each  other,  we  are  going  to  talk,  discuss,  have  a
conversation.  Which  is  more  important  than  being  lectured  at  or  being  told
what to do, what to believe, or have certain faith, and so on. On the contrary,   33
we  are  going  to  observe  dispassionately,  impersonally,  not  anchored  to  any
particular problem or theory, but we are going to look together what mankind
has done to the world and what we have done to each other.
So this is not entertainment, a romantic, sentimental journey. Not only is [it]
intellectually important, which is part of our being, but also we must look at all
these problems, the thousand issues that mankind has, not from any point of
view,  not  from  the  particular  belief  or  faith,  but  rather  explore  together,
investigate together. The speaker is not trying to do any kind of propaganda –
that would be too terrible. Or to convert any person to a particular ideation. Or
to  a  particular  belief.  So  we  are  going  to  take  a  very  long,  complex  journey
together. It’s your responsibility, as well as that of the speaker, that we walk
together, investigate together; look at the world we have created.
The  society  in  which  we  live  is  put  together  by  man,  whether  it  be
economic, social, the rich and the poor, and so on. The society in which we
live. Each one contributed to it. And if you are willing, and apparently you must
be  willing  because  you  are  here  and  I  am  here,  to  take  this  long  complex
journey – because life is very complex. And we like to look at complexity and
get more and more complex. But we never look at anything simply. With our
brains,  with  our  heart,  with  our  whole  being.  So  let  us  take  the  journey
together. The speaker may be voicing, putting into words what is happening:
objectively, clearly, and totally dispassionately.
Mankind has lived on this earth perhaps for a million or 50,000 years. We
have lived on this earth for many, many millennia. And during those periods of
long  time  mankind  has  suffered  pleasure,  loneliness,  despair,  uncertainty,
confusion,  multiple  choices,  therefore  multiple  complexities;  and  there  have
been  wars.  Not  only  physical  bloody  wars  but  also  psychological  wars.  And
mankind has asked if there can be peace on earth – pacem in terris – the Latin
of peace on earth. And apparently this has not been possible. There are about
40 wars going on at the present time. Both ideological, theoretical, economic,
social.  And  during  the  historical  times,  perhaps  about  5,000  to  6,000  years,
there  have  been  wars  practically  every  year.  And  also  we  are  preparing  for   34
wars  now.  One  ideology,  that  of  the  Communists,  the  tyrannical,  the  brutal
world of Russia, and the democratic, so-called democratic world of the West.
Two  ideologies  at  war.  What  kind  of  implements  we  should  use,  control  of
armament and all the rest of it. War seems to be the common lot of mankind.
And also one observes all over the world piling up of armaments; the tiny little
nation or tribe to the highly sophisticated affluent society like yours. And how
can we have peace on earth? Is that at all possible?
And also we have said, there is no peace on earth, only in heaven. This is
repeated different ways, both in East, in India, and here. Christians have killed
more than anybody else on earth. So we are observing, not taking sides, these
are facts, actualities. And there are these religions: Christianity, Islamic world,
the  Fundamentalists.  And  Hinduism  and  Buddhism.  And  the  various  sects
within  organized  Christianity,  and  also  in  India  and  Asia;  they  believe  in  the
Buddha – in Buddhism there is no god; in Hinduism somebody calculated there
are about 300,000 gods. That’s rather fun, you can choose whichever god you
like. And in Christianity and Islam there is only one god, based on two books,
the Bible and the Koran. So religions have divided man. As nationalism, which
is  a  form  of  glorified  tribalism,  has  divided  man.  Nationalism,  patriotism,
religious ardour, the fundamentalists both in India, here and in Europe, going
back, reviving their religious tradition.
I wonder if you have ever looked at the word ‘reviving’. You can only revive
something that’s dead or dying. Nothing living, you can’t revive a living thing.
And  in  this  country  they  are  reviving  religion.  Also  they  are  doing  the  same
thing in different parts of the world. And there is division between nationalities,
religion, economic, and so on.
And  man  has  always  been  in  conflict,  as  everyone  in  this  world  goes
through all kinds of misery, all kinds of sorrow: pain, desperate loneliness. And
we long to escape from all this. But we are going to look together, observe this
extraordinary  phenomena:  what  man  has  made  after  these  thousands  of
years, he still remains a barbarian: cruel, vulgar, full of anxiety and hatred. And
violence is increasing in the world. And so one asks, can there be peace on   35
this  earth?  Because  without  peace,  inwardly,  psychologically  first,  the  brain
cannot flower. Human beings cannot live completely holistically.
So  why  are  we,  after  this  long  evolution  –  during  that  period  we  have
gathered immense experience, knowledge, great deal of information – why are
we as human beings perpetually in conflict? That’s the real question. Because
when there is no conflict there is naturally peace. And man – that includes the
woman, please, when I use the word ‘man’ I am not shutting out the woman.
Don’t get excited about it. (Laughter) Nor, if one may point out, don’t get angry,
irritated,  with  what  we  are  investigating  together.  It’s  your  responsibility  to
inquire, not merely intellectually, verbally, but with your heart, with your brain,
with  all  your  being.  And  find  out  why  we  are  what  we  are.  We  have  tried
various  religions,  various  economic  systems,  social  differences;  and  yet  we
live  in  conflict.  Can  this  conflict  in  each  one  of  us  end?  Completely,  not
partially, not occasionally.  It’s  a  very  serious  question.  It  demands  a  serious
answer. Not it’s possible or not possible, but to inquire into it very deeply, why
human beings, including you, the speaker perhaps, live in perpetual conflict,
problems, divisions. Why we have divided the world into nationalities, religious
groups, social behaviour and all the rest of it. Can we seriously this afternoon
inquire  whether  it’s  possible  to  end  conflict.  First  psychologically,  inwardly,
because  if  there  is  [a]  certain  quality  of  freedom  inwardly,  then  we  shall
produce a society in which there will be no conflict. So it’s our responsibility as
human beings, as so-called individualities, that we seriously put our brains, our
energy,  our  passion  into  discover[ing]  for  ourselves,  not  according  to  any
philosopher,  not  according  to  some  psychiatrist  and  so  on,  but  to  inquire,
observe, find out for oneself whether this conflict between two human beings,
whether they be intimate or not, whether it could end.
What is conflict? Why have we lived with conflict? Why have we problems?
What is a problem? Please inquire with the speaker [into] this question. What
is  a  problem?  The  etymological  meaning  of  that  word  means  ‘something
thrown at you’. A problem is a challenge, something you have to answer.    36
But if you begin to inquire into the whole nature of a problem, whether it’s
most  intimate  or  a  world  problem  –  as  we  said,  the  meaning  of  that  word
etymologically means something propelled, something thrown at you.
I wonder if we have noticed from this question of problems, when you are a
child, you are sent to school. There you have the problem of writing; problem
of mathematics, problem of history, science, chemistry, and all the rest of it. So
from childhood we are trained to have problems. Please have patience. Look
at it carefully. So our brain is conditioned, trained, educated to have problems.
Observe it for yourself. And don’t please merely listen to the speaker. We are
together  investigating,  looking  into  the  problems  that  you  have.  So  from
childhood we are trained, educated, conditioned to have problems: and when
new problems arise, which they inevitably do, our brain, being full of problems,
tries to solve another problem and thereby increase more problems; which is
what  is  happening  in  the  world.  The  politicians  all  over  the  world  are
increasing,  problem  after  problem.  And  they  have  found  no  answer.  So  is  it
possible – please listen if you will – is it possible to have a brain that is free
from  problems  so  that  you  can  solve  problems.  Not  a  cluttered  brain  full  of
problems. Is that possible?
And also – if you say it is not possible or it is possible, you have stopped
investigating. What is important in this inquiry is that one must have a great
deal  of  doubt;  scepticism.  Never  accepting  anything  at  its  face  value  or
according to your pleasure or gratification. Love is much too serious.
So we should inquire not only into the nature of conflict, problems, but also
– perhaps this may be much more important – go all over the world, wherever
you will, every human being on this earth, every human being whether he live
in Russia, China, Asia, India, Europe or here, goes through all kinds of sorrow.
Thousands  and  millions  have  shed  tears  and  occasional  laughter.  Every
human  being  on  this  earth  has  had  great  loneliness,  despair,  anxiety,
confused,  uncertain  –  like  you.  Every  human  being,  black,  white,  purple  or
whatever  colour  you  like.  And  psychologically  this  is  a  fact,  actuality;  not
invented by the speaker. This is (inaudible; you can see it on every face on   37
this earth. And so psychologically  you  are  the  rest of mankind. You may be
tall, short, black or white, or what colour you may be, but psychologically you
are mankind.
Please understand this – not intellectually or ideologically or a hypothesis,
but  it  is  an  actuality,  burning  reality,  that  you  psychologically  are  the  rest  of
mankind. Therefore psychologically you are not individuals. Though religions,
[except]  perhaps  parts  of  Hinduism  and  Buddhism,  have  entertained,
encouraged the sense of individual growth, saving individual souls and all that
business,  but  in  actuality,  in  your  consciousness,  your  consciousness  is  not
yours. It’s the rest of mankind’s. Because we all go through the same mill, the
same endless conflict and so on. When one realizes this, not emotionally, not
as an intellectual concept but as something actual, real, true, then you will not
kill  another  human  being.  You  will  never  kill  another,  either  verbally  or
intellectually, ideologically or physically, because then you are killing yourself.
But  individuality  has  been  encouraged  all  over  the  world.  Each  one  is
struggling for himself: his success, his fulfilment, his achievement, pursuing his
desires and creating havoc in the world.
Please  understand  this  very  carefully.  We  are  not  saying  that  each
individual is important: on the contrary. If you are concerned with global peace,
not  just  your  own  little  peace  in  the  backyard  –  nations  have  become  the
backyard.  [If]  You  are  really  concerned,  as  most  serious  people  must  be
concerned, that you are the rest of humanity – that’s a great responsibility. So
we must go back and find out for ourselves why human beings have reduced
the world to what it is now. What is the cause of all this? Why have we made
such  a  mess  of  everything  we  touch,  both  in  our  personal  relationship,
between man and woman, between each other; why there is conflict between
gods: your god and the other’s god; so we must inquire together whether it is
possible to end conflict. Otherwise we’ll never have peace in this world.
Long  before  Christianity  they  talked  about  peace  on  earth.  Long  before
Christianity,  in  Hinduism,  they  worshipped  trees,  stones,  animals,  nature,
lightning,  the  fire;  there  was  never  any  sense  of  god  before,  because  they   38
considered  the  earth  as  the  mother  to  be  worshipped,  to  be  conserved,
preserved, spared, not destroyed as we are doing now.
So  let’s  inquire  together  –  please,  I  mean  together,  not  I  inquire  and  you
casually  agreeing  or  disagreeing.  Could  we  this  afternoon  put  aside  all  this
idea of agreeing or disagreeing. Will you do that? So that we can both of us
look  at  things  as  they  are,  not  what  you  think  they  are;  not  your  idea  or
concept  of  what  is,  but  just  look  at  it.  Look  at  it  non-verbally  even,  if  that’s
possible. That’s much more difficult. (Sigh)
First of all, this is the actual world we live in. You cannot possibly escape
from  it  through  monasteries,  through  religious  experiences  (and  one  must
doubt  all  one’s  experiences).  Man  has  done  everything  on  earth  possible  to
run away from the actuality of daily living, with all its complexities. Why do we
have  conflict  in  relationship,  between  man  and  woman:  sexual,  sensory
division. And in this peculiar relationship man is pursuing his own ambition, his
own greed, his own desires, his own fulfilment, and the woman too is doing the
same. I don’t know if you have noticed all this for yourself. So there are two
ambitious, driving – being driven by desire and so on, two parallel lines never
meeting except perhaps sexually. So how can there be a relationship between
two people when each one is pursuing his own desires, ambitions, needs (?).
In this relationship, because there is this division, there is no love. Please,
hold  to  your  seats.  That  word  ‘love’  is  polluted,  spat  upon,  degraded;  it  has
become  merely  sensuous,  pleasurable.  Love  is  not  pleasure.  Love  is  not
something put together by thought, it’s not something dependent on sensation;
we’ll talk about that a little later. So how can there be right, true relationship
between  two  people  when  each  one  considers  his  own  importance.  Self-
interest is the beginning of corruption, destruction, whether it be in a politician,
or  the  religious  man,  and  so  on;  self-interest  dominates  the  world  and
therefore there is conflict.
Where there is duality, separation, as the Greek and the Muslim, or the Jew
and the Arab, as the Christian who believes in some saviour and the Hindu
who doesn’t believe in all this, there is this division: national division, religious   39
division,  individual  divisions,  where  there  is  division  there  must  be  conflict.
That’s a law. So we live our daily life in a little circumscribed self, a limited self.
Not by the higher self, delimited (?; self is always limited; and that’s the cause
of conflict. That’s the central core of our struggle, pain, anxiety, and all the rest
of it.
If  one  becomes  aware  of  it,  as  most  people  must  naturally,  not  because
you’re told to or because you read some philosophical book or psychology, but
it’s an actual fact. Each one is concerned with himself. He lives in a separate
world all to himself. And therefore there is division between you and another,
between you and your religion, between you and your god, between you and
your ideologies. So is it possible to understand – not intellectually but deeply,
that you are the rest of mankind. Whatever you do, good or bad, affects the
rest of mankind, because you are mankind.
Your  consciousness  is  not  yours.  Your  consciousness  is  made  up  of  its
content. Without the content there is no consciousness. Your consciousness
like  the  rest  of  humanity  is  made  up  of  beliefs,  fears,  faith,  gods,  personal
ambitions and all the rest of fears and all that; your whole consciousness is
made up of all this, put together by thought. One hopes that you have taken
the journey together. Together we are walking the same road, not that you are
listening  to  a  series  of  ideas.  We  are  not  pursuing  ideas  or  ideologies,  but
facing  actuality.  Because  in  actuality  and  going  beyond  that  actuality  is  the
truth.  And  when  you  discover,  when  there  is  truth  it’s  the  most  dangerous
thing. Truth is very dangerous because it brings a revolution in oneself.
WOMAN: Excuse me – would it be possible to turn up the volume?
K:  Please  –  sorry,  sorry  –  forgive  me,  forgive  the  speaker  if  he  doesn’t
answer questions. Because then we get too distracted.
You  know,  it’s  good  to  ask  questions.  And  whom  are  you  asking  the
question, to whom? Are you asking the question to the speaker? That means
you  are  waiting  for  an  answer  from  the  speaker.  Then  you  depend  on  the
speaker. Then you establish gurus. Have you ever gone into the question why
we ask questions? Not that you should not, but we are inquiring. Suppose you   40
ask the speaker a question and he answers it: either you accept it or deny it. If
it is satisfactory to you according to your conditioning or your background, then
you say, «Yes, I agree with you entirely.» Or if you don’t agree, you say, «What
nonsense.»  But  if  you  begin  to  inquire  into  the  question  itself,  is  the  answer
separate from the question? Or does the answer lie in the question itself? The
perfume  of  a  flower  is  the  flower.  The  very  flower  is  the  essence  of  that
perfume. But we depend on others so much to be helped, to be encouraged,
to solve our problems; therefore out of our confusion we create authority, the
gurus, the priests. So please, it’s good to ask questions. I don’t know if you
have  gone  into  this.  You  know,  we  have  lost  the  art  of  investigation,
discussion: not taking sides but looking at it. It very complex, maybe not the
right occasion to go into this.
You  also  should  inquire  why  from  childhood  we  are  hurt  psychologically,
wounded. Most of us psychologically are wounded, and from that wound either
one is conscious of it or not, or many of our problems arise. The wound as a
child by a scolding, by saying something ugly, brutal, violent, we are wounded.
When you say «we are wounded» who is it that is wounded? Is it the image that
you have built about yourself that’s wounded; the psyche? Please, the speaker
has  not  read  any  of  the  psychology  books  or  philosophy  or  religious  books,
he’s just investigating with you. The psyche, with is the ‘me’ – and the me is the
image  I  have  built  about  myself,  there  is  nothing  spiritual  about  it  (that’s
another  ugly  word,  spiritual)  –  that  image  gets  hurt  and  we  carry  that  image
right  through  our  life.  If  one  image  is  not  pleasant,  we  put  together  another
image  which  is  pleasant,  encourage  it  –  worthwhile,  significant,  giving
intellectual meaning to our life. This is the world (?) we have (?) brought about
in the image that one has built about oneself.
Is it possible to live on this earth not having a single image, about anybody,
including  god,  if  there  is  such  an  entity,  no  image  about  your  wife  and  your
children and your husband, and so on. Not to have a single image. Then it is
possible never to be hurt.    41
And also, as our time is limited, because we are only – this half-talk in the
afternoon and tomorrow morning – we ought to inquire carefully whether it is
possible to be free of fear. This is really an important question to ask. Not that I
am asking for you, but you are asking this of yourself. Whether it is possible,
living in a modern society with all the brutality, with all the tremendous violence
that is on the increase, is there freedom from fear? Which is entirely different
from analysis. Just to observe without any distortion: to observe this hall, for
example, how many tiers there are (five of them, four of them), to observe your
neighbour’s  dress,  face,  how  he  talks,  just  to  observe,  not  to  criticize;  not
evaluate,  judge,  but  to  observe  a  tree;  to  observe  the  moon  and  the  swift-
running waters. When you so observe then you ask yourself, what is – I’ll come
back to fear presently – what is beauty?
They talk a great deal about beauty in the magazines: how you must be
beautiful, your face, your hair, your complexion and all the rest of it. So what is
beauty?  Is  beauty  in  the  picture,  in  the  painting,  in  the  strange  modern
structure?  Is  beauty  in  a  poem?  Is  beauty  in  merely  the  physical  face  and
body? Have you ever asked this question? If you are an artist or a poet or a
literary  person,  you  may  describe  something  very  beautiful,  paint  something
that’s  lovely,  a  poem  that  really  stirs  your  very  being.  So  what  is  beauty?
Because  freedom  means  –  etymologically  the  word  ‘freedom’,  in  that  word
‘freedom’  there  is  love.  The  word  ‘freedom’,  in  that  word  there  is  the
etymological meaning also which is love. What is the relationship between love
and beauty? When we talk about love, perhaps later on, what is beauty? Is it in
the eye of the beholder?
Have you ever noticed, give a nice toy, a complicated toy, to a child – he’s
being  naughty,  shouting,  playing,  and  when  you  give  him  a  toy  he  gets
completely absorbed in that and all his playfulness stops, naughtiness, if I can
use  that  word,  because  he  is  absorbed.  Is  being  absorbed  in  a  poem,  in  a
face,  in  a  picture,  being  absorbed  in  it  or  attracted  by  it,  is  that  absorption
beauty?  When  you  look  at  a  marvellous  mountain  with  a  snowcap,  eternal
snows,  the  line  against  the  blue  sky,  for  a  second  the  immensity  of  that   42
mountain drives away the self, the ‘me’, with all my problems, all my anxiety;
that majesty of the great rocks and the beautiful, lovely valleys and the rivers;
at that moment, that second, the self is not. So the mountain has driven away
the self, like the toy, with [it] the child is quiet. So that mountain, that river, the
depth  of  the  blue  valleys,  dispels  for  a  second  all  your  problems,  all  your
vanities  and  anxieties.  Then  you  say,  «How  beautiful  that  is.»  So  is  there
beauty without being absorbed by something outside? That is, is there beauty,
or beauty is where the self is not. You understand this?
Don’t go to sleep, please. (Laughter) You might have had a good lunch, I
hope you did, but this is not the place to go to sleep. It’s your problem, your
life,  not  the  speaker’s  life,  it’s  your  life:  your  vanities,  your  despairs,  your
sorrows we are talking about. So keep awake for another quarter of an hour,
twenty minutes, thirty minutes, if you are interested.
So  beauty  is  when  the  self  is  not.  And  that  is  requires  great  meditation,
great  inquiry,  a  tremendous  sense  of  discipline.  The  word  ‘discipline’  means
the  one  disciple  who  is  learning  from  the  master.  Learning,  not  disciplining,
conforming, imitating; adjusting, learning. Learning brings its own tremendous
discipline. And that inward sense of austerity, discipline is necessary. So we
must inquire together into what is fear. What is the time, sir? May we go on?
You aren’t tired?
What is fear? Again, humanity has put up with fear. Has never been able to
solve  fear.  Never.  There  are  various  forms  of  fear;  you  may  have  your  own
particular form of fear: fear of death, fear of gods, fear of your wife, fear of your
husband, fear of the politicians, god knows how many fears humanity has, the
devil, and so on. What is fear? Not the mere experience of fear in its multiple
forms, but actually, the reality, the actuality of fear. How is it brought about?
Why has man, woman, why has humanity and each one accepted fear as a
way  of  life?  As  you  accept  violence  as  the  way  of  life;  violence  in  the
television,  violence  of  war,  violence  of  your  daily  life.  Why  do  we  accept
violence? The ultimate violence is to go into organized killing, which is called
war.    43
Is not fear related to violence? So in inquiring into fear, the actual truth of
fear, not the idea of fear – you understand the difference? The idea of fear is
different from the actuality of fear; right? Right. So what is fear? How has it
come about?
What  is  the  relationship  of  fear  to  time,  to  thought?  Fear  –  one  may  be
frightened  of  tomorrow,  or  many  tomorrows;  fear  of  death, the  ultimate  fear;
fear of what has happened before, in the past; fear of what is actually going on
now. So we must inquire together – please, the speaker keeps on repeating,
together; otherwise it’s no fun talking to myself. Is fear brought about by time?
Someone has done something in the past, hurt you, and the past is time. The
future is time. The present is time. So we are asking, is time a central factor of
fear? Fear has many many branches, many leaves, but it’s no good trimming
the branches; we are asking, what is the root of fear? Not the multiple forms of
fear, because fear is fear. Out of fear you have invented gods, saviours. If you
have  absolutely  no  fear  psychologically,  then  there  is  tremendous  relief,  a
great sense of freedom. You have dropped all the burdens of life. So we must
inquire very seriously, closely, hesitantly, into this question: is time a factor?
Obviously. Have a good job now, I may lose it tomorrow, I’m frightened. And I
may be married, I am frightened. When there is fear there is jealousy, anxiety,
hatred, violence. So time is a factor of fear. Please listen to the end of it, don’t
say,  how  am  I  to  stop  time,  that’s  not  the  problem.  That’s  a  rather  absurd
question to ask.
Time is a factor and thought is a factor: thinking about what has happened,
what might happen; thinking. Is thinking a factor in fear? Has thinking brought
about fear? As one sees time has brought fear, right? Time. Not only time by
the clock, but psychological time, the inward time: I am going to be; I am not
good, but I will be. I will get rid of my violence, which is again the future. Or, I
have been violent, but I won’t be. All that implies time.
We ought to inquire, what is time? Are you prepared for this? Do you want
to go into all this? Really? I’m rather surprised. (Laughter) Because you’ve all
been instructed, you’ve all been informed, you’ve been told what to do by the   44
psychologists, by the priests, by your leaders; always seeking help and finding
new  ways  of  being  helped.  So  one  has  become  a  slave  to  others.  We  are
never free to inquire, to stand psychologically completely by oneself.
So  we  are  going  now  to  inquire  into  time.  What  is  time?  Apart  from  the
clock,  apart  from  the  sunrise  and  the  sunset,  the  beauty  of  the  sunrise,  the
beauty of the sunset, apart from the light and the dark, what is time? Please, if
one  really  understands  this,  the  nature  of  time  inwardly,  you  will  find  for
yourself an extraordinary sense of having no time at all. We’ll come to that.
Time  is  the  past,  right?  Time  is  the  future,  and  time  is  the  present.  The
whole cycle is time. The past – your background, what you have thought, what
you  have  lived  through,  your  experiences,  your  conditioning,  as  Christian,
Hindu, Buddhist, all the rest of it – or you put aside all that nonsense and say,
I’m going to live this way, which is the past. So the past is the present, right?
Without  the  past  you  wouldn’t  be  here:  your  background,  your  conditioning,
your brain being programmed as a Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, and all the rest
of it. We have been programmed for two thousand years. And the Hindus for
three to five thousand years. Like a computer, they repeat, repeat, repeat. So
the  past  is  the  present;  what  you  are  now  is  the  result  of  the  past.  And
tomorrow, or a thousand tomorrows, is the future. So the future is what you are
now.  Right?  You  have  understood?  I  mustn’t  ask  you  that  because  that’s
(inaudible), it’s up to you.
So the future is now. In the now all time is contained. This is a fact too,
actuality, not a theory. What you are is the result of the past and what you will
be tomorrow is what you are now. If I am violent now tomorrow I’ll be violent.
So tomorrow is in the now, in the present, unless I radically, fundamentally
bring about a mutation. Otherwise I’ll be what I have been. That is, we have
had  a  long  evolution,  evolving,  evolving,  evolving.  And  we  have  evolved  to
what we are now. And if you carry on that game you will be violent, you will be
barbarous next day. So as all time is contained in the now – which is a fact,
actuality – can there be total mutation now in all our behaviour and our way of
living, thinking, feeling? Not being an American, Hindu, Buddhist, none of that.   45
Because if you don’t radically, psychologically bring about a mutation then you
will be exactly what you have been in the past. So is it possible to bring about
this psychological mutation at all?
You  know,  when  you  have  been  going  north  all  your  life,  following  a
particular direction or not having a direction, just wobbling all over the place,
as most people do – if you are going north and somebody comes along and
tells  you  most  seriously,  and  you  listen  to  him  seriously,  not  only  here  with
hearing of the ear but also hearing deeply, when you hear [him] say, the way
you are pursuing, north, leads you nowhere, there is nothing at the end of it;
but go east or west or south. And you listen and you say, I will do it. When the
moment you say, you have taken a new turn, there is a mutation. The speaker
is making it very simple. But it’s a very complex problem, which is: to realize
deeply that one has been going on this way for centuries upon centuries and it
has not changed that at all. We are still violent, brutal, and all the rest of it. If
one really actually perceives that, not intellectually or verbally but deeply, then
you turn in another direction. At that second there is the mutation in the very
brain cells themselves.
Because the speaker has discussed these matters with some neurologists.
Of course they don’t agree completely, but they go partially, a way. It’s always
a game, you understand. We treat life as a game: partially right, and partially
wrong; partially correct and you may be right and you may be wrong. But we
never  ask  ourselves,  what  is  the  way  of  living,  the  art  of  living,  which  is  the
greatest  art,  greater  than  any  art  in  the  world,  the  art  of  living.  And  –  quelle
heure –
MAN: 3:57.
K: Have I talked an hour?
MAN: A little more than an hour.
K: Can you put up with this?
AUDIENCE: (Laughter) Yes.    46
K: We’ll finish this question. After that we’ll meet again tomorrow. If you are
willing, I’m not inviting you, it’s up to you. (Laughter)
We said time is important because we live by time, but we don’t live time as
a whole, which is the present. In the present all time is contained: the future
and the past. If I’m violent today, I’ll be violent tomorrow. And can I end that
violence today completely, not partially. It can. We’ll go into it. And also, is fear
brought about by thought?
Of course it is. Don’t accept the speaker’s word for it, look at it. I am this, I
am frightened of tomorrow, what might happen. I am secure today, and there
might be war, there might be this, there might catastrophe, I am frightened. So
time and thought are the root of fear.
So what is thinking? You understand my question? If time and thought are
the root of fear – which they are [in] actuality – what is thinking? Why do we
live, act, do everything, on the basis of thought? The marvellous cathedrals of
Europe, the beauty, the structure, the architecture: it has been put together by
thought.  All  religions  and  their  paraphernalia,  their  dress,  all  the  medieval
robes, are put together by thought. All the rituals are connived, arranged, by
thought.  And  in  our  relationship  with  each  other,  man  and  woman,  the
relationship is based on thought. When you drive a car, it’s based on thought.
Recognition, all that, is thought. So one has to inquire, if you are not too tired –
and  we’ll  stop  at  the  end  after  this  –  what  is  thinking?  Probably  nobody  has
asked this question. Very few people do. We have been asking this question
for sixty years. What is thought? Because if you can find out what is the origin,
the beginning, why thought has become so extraordinarily important in our life,
there may be in that very inquiry a mutation taking place. So we are asking
what  is  thought,  what  is  thinking?  Don’t  wait  for  me  to  answer  it.  Look  at  it,
observe it.
Thinking is the word; word is important, the sound of the word, the quality of
the word; the depth, the beauty of a word. Especially the sound. I won’t go into
the  question  of  sound  and  silence,  we’ll  talk  about  it  perhaps  tomorrow.
Thinking  is  part  of  memory,  isn’t  it?  Investigate  it  with  the  speaker,  please,   47
don’t sit there comfortably, or uncomfortably. Thinking is part of memory, isn’t
it? If you had no memory at all, would you be able to think? You wouldn’t. Our
brain  is  the  instrument  of  memory:  memory  of  things  that  have  happened,
experience, and so on, the whole background of memory. Memory arises from
knowledge, from experience, right? So experience, knowledge, memory, and
the  response  of  memory  is  thought.  This  whole  process  of  experiencing,
recollecting,  holding,  which  becomes  our  knowledge.  Experience  is  always
limited, naturally. Because – it’s a complicated question, because – oh, gosh,
everything is complicated. (Laughter)
Is experience different from the experiencer? Give your brains to this, find
out. If there is no experiencer, is there an experience? Of course not. So the
experience  and  the  experiencer  are  the  same.  Like  the  observer  and  the
observed,  the  thinker  is  not  separate  from  his  thoughts.  The  thinker  is  the
thought.
So experience is limited, as you can observe in the scientific world or any
other  field.  They  are  adding  more  and  more  and  more  every  day  to  their
knowledge  through  experience,  through  experiment  on  animals  and  all  that
horror that is going on. And that knowledge is limited because they are adding
to  it.  So  memory  is  limited.  And  from  that  memory  thought  is  limited.  So
thought being limited must invariably bring about conflict. Just see the pattern
of  it.  Not  accept  what  the  speaker  is  saying,  that’s  absurd.  He’s  not  an
authority, he’s not a guru, thank god. But if we can observe this fact together,
that thought and time are the root of fear.
Time  and  thought  are  the  same,  they  are  not  two  separate  movements.
When  you  see  this  fact,  this  actuality,  that  time  and  thought  are  the  root  of
fear,  time  thought  –  just  to  observe  it  in  yourself,  not  move  away  from  the
reality of it, from the truth of it, that fear is caused by this, time and thought; to
hold it, remain with it, not run away from it, not rationalize, it is so. And then it’s
like holding a precious jewel in your hand. You see all the beauty of that jewel.
Then you will see for yourself that fear psychologically completely ends. And
when there is no fear you are free. And when there is that total freedom you   48
don’t  have  gods,  rituals,  you  are  a  free man. We’ll continue tomorrow if you
don’t mind. (Applause)
I  don’t  know  why  you  clap.  (Laughter)  Perhaps  you  are  clapping  for
yourself.  (Laughter  and  applause)  You  are  not  encouraging  the  speaker  or
discouraging  him.  He  doesn’t  want  a  thing  from  you.  When  you  yourself
become  both  the  teacher  and  the  disciple  –  disciple  being  a  man  who  is
learning,  learning,  learning,  not  accumulating  knowledge  –  then  you  are  [an]
extraordinary human being.    49
Washington d.c. 2nd public talk 21st april 1985
May we continue where we left off yesterday. We were talking about fear
and  the  ending  of  fear.  And  also  we  were  talking  about  the  responsibility  of
each one of us facing what is happening in the world, the appalling, frightening
mess we are in. And for that we are all responsible, individually, collectively,
nationally,  religiously,  and  all  the  affairs  of  the  world  we  have  made  after
millennia  upon  millennia,  long  evolution,  we  have  still  remained  barbarians,
hurting  each  other,  killing  each  other,  destroying  each  other.  We  have  had
freedom to do exactly what we liked and that has created havoc in the world.
Freedom is not to do what one likes, but rather to be free from all the travail of
life,  from  the  problems,  which  we  went  into  yesterday  morning,  from  our
anxieties, from our psychological wounds, from all the conflict that we have put
up  with  for  many  many  many  millennia.  And  also  to  be  free  from  fear.  We
talked about all these things yesterday afternoon.
And  also  we  said  these  gatherings,  this  meeting  is  not  a  lecture  on  any
particular  subject,  to  inform,  to  instruct,  to  put  it  into  a  certain  pattern.  But
rather  it  is  our  responsibility,  together,  to  investigate,  to  explore  into  all  the
problems  of  our  life,  our  daily  life.  Not  some  speculative  concepts  or
philosophies, but to understand the daily pain, the boredom, the loneliness, the
despair,  the  depression,  and  the  endless  conflict  which  man  has  lived  with.
And  this  morning  we  have  to  cover  a  great  deal  of  ground.  And  also  we
pointed out yesterday this is not a meeting in which the speaker stimulates you
intellectually,  emotionally,  or  in  any  other  way.  We  depend  a  great  deal  on
stimulation;  it’s  a  form  of  commercialism:  drugs,  alcohol,  and  all  the  various
means  of  sensation.  And  we  want  also  not  only  sensation  but  excitement,
stimulation. So this is not that kind of meeting. We are together to investigate
our life, our daily life; that is, to understand oneself, what one is actually, not
theoretically, not according to some philosopher or some psychiatrist, and so
on. If you can put aside all that and look at ourselves actually, what we are,
and not get depressed or elated, but to observe, which is to understand the
whole psychological structure of our being, of our existence.    50
And we talked about it yesterday as one of the things that human beings go
through all their life, is a form of fear. And we went into it very carefully: that
time and thought are the root of fear. We went into that, what time and thought
is. Time is not only the past, the present and the future, but in the now, in the
present, all time is contained. Because what we are now we will be tomorrow
unless there is a great, fundamental mutation in the very psyche itself, in the
very brain cells themselves. We talked about it.
And  we  also  should  talk  this  morning,  talk  over  this  morning  together  –
please, one may point out, you and the speaker are taking a journey together,
a long, complicated journey. And to take that journey one mustn’t be attached
to  any  particular  form  of  belief.  Then  that  journey  is  not  possible.  Or  to  any
faith,  or  to  some  conclusion  or  ideology,  or  concepts.  It’s  like  climbing  the
Everest or some of the great, marvellous mountains of the world; one has to
leave  a  great  deal  behind,  not  carry  all  your  burdens  up  the  steep  hills,
mountains.  So  in  taking  the  journey  together  –  and  the  speaker  means
together, not that he is merely talking and you agreeing or disagreeing; if we
could  put  those  two  words  aside  completely,  then  we  can  take  the  journey
together. Some may want to walk very rapidly or the others may lag behind,
but it is a journey all the same together.
We  ought  also  to  talk  over  together  why  human  beings  have  always
pursued  pleasure  as  opposed  to  fear.  We’ve  never  investigated  what  is
pleasure, why we want everlasting pleasure in different ways: sexual, sensory,
intellectual, the pleasure of possessions, the pleasure of acquiring a great skill,
the  pleasure  that  one  derives  from  having  a  great  deal  of  information,
knowledge.  And  the  ultimate  gratification  is  what  we  call  god.  As  we  said,
please don’t get angry or irritated or want to throw something at the speaker.
(Laughter) This is a violent world. If you don’t agree they’ll kill you. This is what
is happening. And here we’re not trying to kill each other, we’re not doing any
kind of propaganda or convinc[ing] you of anything.
But we are going to face the truth of things, not live in illusions. And without
illusions it’s very difficult to observe. If you are deluding yourself and not facing   51
actualities, then it becomes impossible to look at oneself as one is. But we like
delusions,  illusions,  every  form  of  deception,  because  we  are  frightened  to
look  at  ourselves.  As  we  said,  to  look  at  ourselves  very  clearly,  accurately,
precisely, it’s only possible in a mirror of relationship; that’s the only mirror that
we have. When you look at yourself when you’re combing your hair or shaving
or doing whatever you are doing to your face – sorry. (Laughter) You look at
your  mirror  –  sorry  –  (K  laughs  –  more  laughter)  (K  laughs  –  laughter  and
applause) – when you are shaving you look at your face or comb your hair; that
mirror reflects exactly what you are, your face is, how you look.
And  psychologically  is  there  such  a  mirror  in  which  you can see exactly,
precisely, actually what you are? As we said, there is such a mirror which is
one’s  relationship,  however  intimate  it  be,  whether  it’s  man,  woman;  in  that
relationship you see what you are if you allow yourself to see what you are.
You see how you get angry, your possession, all the rest of it.
So pleasure man has pursued endlessly in the name of god, in the name of
peace, and in the name of ideology and the pleasure of power, having power
over  others,  political  power.  Have  you  noticed  power  is  an  ugly  thing,  when
one dominates another, in any form: when a wife dominates the husband or
the husband dominates the woman. Power is one of the evil things in life. And
pleasure is the other side of the coin of fear. When one understands deeply,
profoundly, seriously the nature of fear (as we went into it yesterday we won’t
go  into  it  again),  then  pleasure,  that  is  delight,  seeing  something  beautiful,
seeing the sunset or the morning light, the dawn, the marvellous colours, the
reflection  of  the  sun  on  the  waters,  that’s  a  delight.  But  we  make  that  as  a
memory and cultivate that memory as pleasure.
And also, as we said – but just look at it, not do something about it. I don’t
know if you have gone into the question of action. What is action? We’re all so
active from morning ’til night, not only physically but psychologically, the brain
everlastingly chattering, going from one thing to another endlessly, during the
day and during the night, the dreams, the brain is never at rest, it’s perpetually
in motion. I do not know if you have gone into that question of action. What is   52
action, the doing? The very word ‘doing’ is the present, it’s not having done or
will  do.  Action  means  the  doing  now,  correctly,  accurately,  completely,
holistically – if I can use that word – action that is whole, complete, not partial.
When action is based on some ideology, it’s not action, is it? It’s conformity to
a  certain  pattern  which  you  have  established  and  therefore  it’s  incomplete
action or according to some memory, some conclusion. If you act according to
[a]  certain  ideology,  pattern  or  conclusion,  it  is  still  incomplete;  there  is  a
contradiction in all this. So one has to inquire into this very complex problem of
action.
Is  action  related  to  disorder  or  to  order?  You  understand?  We  live  in
disorder, our life is disorderly, confused; contradictory: saying one thing, doing
another; thinking one thing and quite the opposite in our actions. So what is
order and disorder? Perhaps you have not thought about all these matters, so
let us think together about all this, and look, please don’t let me talk to myself.
It’s still early in the morning and you have a whole day in front of you; so let us
be  aware  together  of  this  question:  what  is  order  and  what  is  disorder  and
what is the relationship of action to order and disorder?
We more or less explained what is action; the very word ‘to act’ means the
present, acting: you are sitting there. And what is the relationship [to] disorder.
What is disorder? Look at the world if you will; the world is in disorder. Terrible
things are happening. Very few of us know actually what is happening in the
scientific world, in the world of the art of war, and all the terrible things that are
happening in Russia; and the poverty in all countries, the rich and the terribly
poor;  always  the  threat  of  war,  one  political  group  against  another  political
group.  So  there  is  this  tremendous  disorder.  That’s  an  actuality,  it’s  not  an
invention or an illusion. And we have created this disorder, because our very
life, living, is disorderly. And we are trying socially to bring about order, through
all  the  social  reforms  and  so  on,  so on.  Without  understanding  and  bringing
about the end of disorder, we try to find order. It’s like a confused mind trying
to find clarity. A confused mind is a confused mind, it can never find clarity. So
can there be an end to disorder in our life, our daily life? Not order in heaven   53
or  in  another  place,  but  in  our  daily  life  can  there  be  order?  The  end  of
disorder, and when there is the end of disorder there is naturally order. That
order is living, it’s not according to a certain pattern or a mould.
So we are investigating looking at ourselves and learning about ourselves.
Learning is different from acquiring knowledge. Please this is rather – if you will
kindly give your attention to this a little bit – that learning is an infinite process,
limitless process, whereas knowledge is always limited. And learning implies
not only observing visually, optically, but also observing without any distortion,
seeing things exactly as they are.
That  requires  that  discipline  –  please,  the  word  ‘discipline,’  as  we  said
yesterday, means – the word comes from the word ‘disciple.’ ‘Disciple’ is one
who is learning, not the terrible discipline of orthodoxy, tradition, or following
certain  rules,  dictates,  and  so  on,  it’s  learning;  learning  through  clear
observation without distortion. Hearing things exactly what the other fellow is
saying without any distortion. And learning is not accumulative because you’re
moving. You understand all this? So in learning what is disorder in ourselves,
then order comes about very naturally, easily, unexpectedly. And when there
is order, order is virtue. There is no other virtue except complete order, that is
complete morality, not some imposed or dictated morality.
Then we ought also [to] talk over together this whole question of sorrow.
You  don’t  mind?  Because  man  and  woman,  children  throughout  the  world,
whether they live behind the Iron Curtain (which is most unfortunate for them),
whether  they  live  in  Asia  or  India  or  Europe  or  here,  every  human  being,
whether  rich  or  poor,  intellectual  or  just  ordinary  layman  like  us,  we  all  go
through  every  form  of  suffering.  Have  you  ever  looked  at  people  that  have
cried through centuries? Through thousands of wars? The husband, the wife,
the children. There is immense sorrow in the world. Not that there is not also
pleasure, joy, and so on, but in understanding and perhaps ending sorrow we’ll
find something much greater.
So we must go into this complex question of sorrow. And whether it can
ever end or man is doomed forever to suffer; suffer not only physically, which   54
depends  how  ordinary  [a]  life  one  leads,  whether  your  body  is  drugged:
alcohol,  tobacco,  nicotine,  alcohol,  and  all  that,  whether  the  body  has  been
destroyed.  Psychologically,  inwardly  we  have  suffered  enormously  without
perhaps not saying a word about it. Or crying your heart out. And during all this
long  evolution,  evolution  of  man  from  the  beginning  of  time  ’til  now,  every
human  being  on  this  earth  has  suffered.  Suffering  is  not  merely  the  loss  of
someone you think you like or love, but also the suffering of the very poor, the
illiterate. If you go to India or other parts of the world, you see people walking
miles and miles to go to a school, little girls and little boys. They’ll never be
rich, they will never ride [in] a car, probably never have a hot bath. They have
one sari or one dress, whatever they wear and that’s all they have. And that is
sorrow. Not for the man who goes by in a car, but the man in the car looks at
this  and  he’s  in  sorrow  if  he’s  at  all  sensitive,  aware.  And  the  sorrow  of
ignorance;  not  ignorance  of  writing,  literature,  and  all  the  rest  of  it,  but  the
sorrow of a man who doesn’t know himself. There are multiple ways of sorrow.
And we are asking, can this sorrow end with each one? There is the sorrow
of oneself, in oneself, and the sorrow of the world. Thousands of wars, people
maimed, hurt, appalling cruelty: not a particular form of cruelty of which you
are  talking  a  great  deal,  a  particular form  and  you  are  rebelling  against  that
particular form, but you never ask, is there an end to cruelty. Every nation on
earth  has  (coveted?  cultivated?)  cruelties,  appalling.  And  we’re  still
perpetuating that cruelty. And cruelty brings enormous sorrow. Seeing all this –
not from a book, not from a traveller, not from a tourist (tourists go abroad just
to amuse themselves, see sights and having a good time, a holiday), but if you
are travelling as a human being, just observe it, being aware sensitively to all
this, sorrow is a terrible thing. And can that sorrow end?
Please,  ask  yourself  that  question. The speaker is not stimulating you to
feel sorrow, the speaker is not telling you what sorrow is, it’s right in front of us,
right inside you. Nobody needs to point it out, if you keep your eyes open, if
you  are  sensitive,  aware  of  what  is  happening  in  this  monstrous  world.  So
please ask yourself this question: whether sorrow can ever end. Because like   55
hatred,  when  there  is  sorrow  there  is  no  love.  When  you  are  suffering,
concerned with your own suffering, how can there be love? So one must ask
this question, however difficult it is to find – not the answer, but the ending of
sorrow.
What is sorrow? Not only the physical pain and the enduring pain, a person
who  is  paralysed  or  maimed  or  diseased,  but  also  the  sorrow  of  losing
someone: death. We’ll talk about death presently. Is sorrow self-pity? Please,
investigate. We’re not saying it is or it is not, we’re asking, is sorrow brought
about  by  self-pity,  one  of  the  factors?  Sorrow  brought  about  by  loneliness?
Feeling desperately alone, lonely; Not alone: the word ‘alone’ means ‘all one.’
But feeling isolated, having in that loneliness no relationship with anything.
Is sorrow merely an intellectual affair? To be rationalized, explained away?
Or to live with it without any desire for comfort. You understand? To live with
sorrow, not escape from it, not rationalize it, not find some illusive or exclusive
comfort: religious or some illusory romantic escapes, but to live with something
that has tremendous significance. Sorrow is not only a physical shock, when
one loses one’s son or husband, wife or girl, whatever it is, it’s a tremendous
biological shock. One is almost paralysed with it. Don’t you know all this?
There is also the sense of desperate loneliness. Can one look at sorrow as
it  is  actually  in  us,  and  remain  with  it,  hold  it,  and  not  move  away  from  it.
Sorrow  is  not  different  from  the  one  who  suffers.  The  person  who  suffers
wants to run away, escape, all kinds of things. But to look at it as you look at a
child, a beautiful child, to hold it, never escape from it. Then you will see for
yourself, if you really look deeply, that there is an end to sorrow. And when
there is an end to sorrow there is passion; not lust, not sensory stimulation, but
passion.
Very  few  have  this  passion,  because  we  are  so  consumed  with  our  own
griefs, with our own pains, with our own pity and vanity and all the rest of it.
We  have  a  great  deal  of  energy  –  look  what  is  happening  in  the  world  –
tremendous  energy  to  invent  new  things,  new  gadgets,  new  ways  of  killing
others. To go to the moon needs tremendous energy and concentration, both   56
intellectual and actual. We’ve got tremendous energy,  but  we  dissipate  it  by
conflict, through fear, through endless chattering about nothing. And passion
has  tremendous  energy.  That  passion  is  not  stimulated,  it  doesn’t  seek
stimulation, it’s there, like a burning fire. It only comes when there is the end of
sorrow.
And when you have this sorrow, the ending of it, it’s not personal, because
you are the rest of humanity, as we said yesterday afternoon. We all suffer.
We all go through loneliness, every human being on this earth, rich or poor,
learned or ignorant, everybody goes through tremendous anxieties, conscious
or  unconscious.  Our  consciousness  is  not  shared,  it’s  not  yours,  it’s  human
consciousness.  In  the  content  of  that  consciousness  is  all  your  beliefs,  your
sorrows,  your  pities,  your  vanities,  your  arrogance,  your  search  for  power,
position,  and  all  that.  All  that  is  your  consciousness,  which  is  shared  by  all
human beings. Therefore it’s not your particular consciousness. And when one
really realizes that, not verbally or intellectually or theoretically or as a concept,
but as an actuality, then you’ll not only [not] kill another, hurt another, but you’ll
have  some  other  thing  which  is  totally  different,  of  a  different  dimension
altogether.
We ought to talk over together too what is love. I hope all this is not boring
you. (Laughter) If you want to take a breather, it’s all right. As the speaker said,
we ought to go into this great question of what is love. We use the word ‘love’
so  loosely,  it  has  become  merely  sensuous,  sexual;  love  is  identified  with
pleasure. And to find that perfume one must go into the question what is not
love.  Through  negation  you  come  to  the  positive,  not  the  other  way  around.
Am  I  making  myself  clear?  Through  negation  of  what  is  not  love,  then  you
come to that which is immensely true, which is love.
So love is not hate: that’s obvious. Love is not vanity, arrogance. Love is
not  in  the  hand  of  power.  The  people  who  are  in  power,  wanting  power,  it
doesn’t matter [if it’s] over a small child or wanting power over a whole group
of people or a nation, that surely is not love. Love is not pleasure, love is not
desire. I don’t know if you have time to go into the question of desire. Perhaps   57
we  may.  Love  is  certainly  not  thought.  So  can  you  put  aside  all  that:  your
vanity, the sense of power – however small, however little it is, it’s like a worm.
And the more power you have, the more ugly – and therefore in that there is no
love. When one is ambitious, aggressive, on which you are all brought up: to
be aggressive, to be successful, to be famous, to be known, which is all so
utterly childish – from the speaker’s point of view. (Laughter) How can there be
love?
So love is something that cannot be invited or cultivated. It comes about
naturally, easily, when the other things are not. And in learning about oneself
one  comes  upon  this:  where  there  is  love,  there  is  compassion;  and
compassion has its own intelligence. That is the supreme form of intelligence,
not the intelligence of thought, intelligence of cunning, deceptions and all the
rest of it. It’s only when there is complete love and compassion there is that
excellence of intelligence which is not mechanical.
Then we ought to talk about death. Shall we? Are you interested in finding
out – (Laughter) – what death is? What’s the meaning of that word; the dying;
death; the ending. Not only the ending, what happens after death? Does one
carry  the  memories  of  one’s  own  life?  The  whole  Asiatic  world  believes  in
reincarnation. That is, I die, I have led a miserable life, perhaps done a little
good here and there, and next life I’ll be better, I’ll do more good. It’s based on
reward and punishment, like everything else in life. I will do good this life, and I
will be better next life. It’s based on the word ‘karma,’ probably you have heard
of it. The word ‘karma’ means in Sanskrit ‘action’ – I won’t go into it. So there is
this whole belief that when one has lived this life, next life you have a better
chance,  depending  what  kind  of  life  you  have  led  now:  the  reward  and
punishment.  And  in  Christianity  there  is  this  whole  sense  (?)  of  resurrection
and so on.
So if we can put aside for the moment all that, really put aside, not cling to
one thing or the other, then what is death? What does it mean to die? Not only
biologically,  physically,  but  also  psychologically:  all  the  accumulation  of
memories, one’s tendencies, the skills, the idiosyncrasies, the things that one   58
has gathered, whether it be money, knowledge, friendship, whatever you will;
all that you have acquired. And death comes and says, «Sorry, you can’t take
anything with you.»
So what does it mean to die?  Can we go into this question? Or are you
frightened? So what is death? How do we inquire into it? You understand my
question? I am living – I’m taking my[self] as an example – I’m living, I go along
every  day,  routine,  mechanical,  miserable,  happy,  unhappy,  you  know  the
whole business. And death comes, through accident, through disease, through
old age, senile – what is senility? Is it only for the old? Is it not senility when
we’re  just  repeating,  repeating,  repeating?  When  we  act  mechanically,
thoughtlessly? Isn’t that also a form of senility?
So death – because we are frightened of it, we never see the greatness of
it, the extraordinary thing, like a child, baby being born: a new human being
has come into being. That’s an extraordinary event. And that child grows and
becomes  whatever  you  have  all  become.  And  then  dies.  Death  is  also
something, most extraordinary it must be. And you won’t see the depth and the
greatness of it if one is frightened.
So what is death? I want to find out what it means to die while I am living.
I’m not senile, I’ve all my wits about me, I’m capable of thinking very clearly,
perhaps occasionally go off the beam – (Laughter) – but I’m active, clear, all the
rest of it. So I’m asking myself – I’m not asking you – I’m only observing; if you
will observe also what is death. Death means surely the ending of everything:
the ending of my relationship, [the] ending of all the things I’ve put together in
my life; all the knowledge, all the experience, idiotic life I’ve led, a meaningless
life,  or  trying  intellectually  to  life;  I’ve  lived  that  way  (not  personally,  but  I’m
taking that example). And death comes and says, «That’s(?) the end.» But I am
frightened. It can’t be the end. I’ve got so much, I’ve collected so much, not
only  furniture  –  (Laughter)  –  or  pictures  –  when  I  identify  myself  with  the
furniture or the pictures or the bank account, I am the bank account, I am the
picture,  I  am  the  furniture.  Right?  When  you  identify  with  something  so
completely,  you  are  that.  Perhaps  you  don’t  like  all  this,  but  please,  kindly   59
listen. So I’ve established roots, I’ve established [a] great many things round
me, so death comes and makes a clean sweep of all that. So I ask myself, is it
possible to live with death all the time, not at the end of 90 years or 100 years –
the speaker is 90 – sorry. (Laughter) Not at the end of one’s life but can I, with
all my energy, vitality, and all the things that go on, can I live with death all the
time?  Not  commit  suicide,  don’t  mean  –  that’s  too  silly.  But  live  with  death,
which means ending every day of every thing I’ve collected; the ending.
I do not know if you have gone into the question of what is continuity and
what is ending. That which continues can never renew itself, reborn, clear. It
can divide itself, that which is continuous – like you are doing in this country
(inaudible) of religion. As we said, the word ‘revive’ means something that has
withered, dying and you revive it.
Which  is  happening  in  this  country,  religious  revival,  they  are  shouting
about  it.  And,  I  don’t  know  if  you  have  noticed,  organized  religions  and  the
gurus and all the rest of them are tremendously rich people. (Laughter) Great
property. You can do – religious. There is a temple in the south of India: every
third  day  they  have  one  million  dollars.  You  understand?  God  is  very
profitable.  (Laughter)  This  is  not  cynicism,  this  is  actuality.  We  are  facing
actuality, and you can’t be cynical or despairing, it is so; neither be optimistic
or pessimistic. You have to look at these things.
So  can  I  live  with  death,  which  means  every  thing  that  I  have  done,
collected – pain, sorrow – end[s]. Ending is more important than continuity. The
ending means the beginning of something new. If you merely continue, it is the
same pattern being repeated in a different mould. Have you noticed another
strange thing? We have made a great deal of mess in the world – tremendous
mess,  and  we  organize  to clear  up  that  mess,  politically,  religiously,  socially
and economically. And when that organization or institution doesn’t work, we
invent  another  organization.  And  never  clearing  up  the  mess  but  bringing
about  new  organizations,  new  institutions  –  and  this  is  called  progress.
(Laughter)  I  don’t  know  if  you  have  not  noticed  all  this.  This  is  what  we  are
doing – thousands of institutions.    60
The  other  day  we  talked  at  the  United Nations. War is going on, they’ve
never stopped it, but they are reorganizing it. (Laughter) You are also doing
exactly the same thing in this country. We never clear up the mess. And we
depend  on  organizations  to  clear  that  up;  or  new  leaders,  new  gurus,  new
priests, new faiths, and all that rubbish that’s going on. So can I live with death
– that means freedom, complete, total, holistic freedom. And therefore in that
freedom there is great love and compassion, and that intelligence which has
not an end, which has immense – And also we ought to talk over together what
is religion. May we go on? You are not too tired? The speaker is not trying to
convince you of anything, please believe me: nothing! He’s not trying to force
you through stimulation, through some other means. We are both looking at
the world, your personal world and the world about you. You are the world, the
world  is  not  different  from  you.  You  have  created  this  world  and  you  are
responsible  for  it,  completely,  totally,  whether  you  are  a  politician  or  an
ordinary man in the street like us.
We  also  [ought  to]  talk  over  together  what  is  religion.  Man  has  always
sought something beyond all this pain and anxiety, sorrow. Is there something
that is sacred, eternal, that’s beyond all the reaches of thought. This has been
one of the questions from ancient of times. What is sacred? What is that which
has no time, that which is incorruptible, that which nameless; that which has
no quality, no limitation, the timeless, the eternal? Is there such a thing? Man
has asked this thousands and thousands of years ago. So he has worshipped
the sun, the earth, nature, the trees, the birds; everything that’s living on this
earth  man  has  worshipped  [since]  ancient  times.  If  you  have  heard  of  the
Vedas and the Upanishads and so on, they never mention god. That which is
supreme, they said, is not manifested, and so on, I won’t go into all that.
So are you asking that question too. Are you asking the question, is there
something sacred? Is there something that is not put together by thought, as
all  religions  are,  organized  [religion],  whether  it’s  Christianity,  Hinduism,
Buddhism, and so on. In Buddhism there is no god. Among the Hindus, as I
said, there are about 300,000 gods. It’s great fun to have so many. (Laughter)   61
You  can  play  with  them  all.  And  there  are  the  gods  of  books,  the  god
according to the Bible, the gods according to the Koran, the Islamic world. I
don’t  know  if  you  have  noticed  when  religions  are  based  on  books,  like  the
Bible or the Koran, then you have Fundamentalists, then you have people who
are bigoted, narrow, intolerant, because the book says so. Haven’t you noticed
all this? This country is having the Fundamentalists, go back to the book. Don’t
get angry please, just look at it.
So  we  are  asking,  what  is  religion?  Not  only  what  is  religion,  but  the
religious  brain,  religious  mind.  To  inquire  into  that  deeply,  not  superficially,
there must be total freedom, complete freedom. Not freedom from one thing or
the other, but freedom as a whole, per se. Then we have to ask also – sorry –
the world ‘religion’ etymologically has no, they can’t explain that word. It had
different  meanings  at  different  times  and  different  ages.  So  we  are  asking,
when there is that freedom, is it possible, living in this ugly world, is it possible
to be so free from pain, sorrow, anxiety, loneliness and all the rest of it.
Then  you  have  to  find  out  also  what  is  meditation:  contemplation  in  the
Christian  world,  sense,  and  meditation  in  the  Asiatic  sense.  Probably
meditation has been brought to this country by the yogis, gurus and all those
superstitious people, traditional people; and therefore they’re mechanical. So
we’ll  have  to  find  out  what  is  meditation.  Do  you  want  to  go  into  it?  Does  it
amuse  you,  or  do  you  want  to  do  it  really?  Is  it  a  form  of  entertainment,
meditation?  First  let  me  learn  meditation,  find  out,  and  then  I’ll  act  properly.
You  understand  the  game  one  plays?  Or,  if  there  is  order  in  one’s  life,  real
order,  as  we  explained,  then  what  is  meditation?  Is  it  following  certain
systems,  methods:  the  Zen  method,  the  Buddhist  meditation,  the  Hindu
meditation, and the latest guru with his meditation? They are always bearded,
full of money, you don’t know all the rest of that business.
So what is meditation? If it is determined, if it following a system, a method,
practising day after day, day after day, what happens to the human brain? It
becomes  more  and  more  dull.  Haven’t  you  noticed  this?  When  you  repeat,
repeat, repeat – it may be [the] wrong note, but you’ll repeat it. Like a pianist, if   62
he repeats by himself and he plays the wrong note, he’ll keep on playing the
wrong  note  all  the  time.  So  is  meditation  something  entirely  different?  It’s
nothing whatever to do with method, system, practices; therefore it can never
be mechanical. It can never be conscious meditation. You understand what I
am  saying?  Do  please  understand  this.  It’s  like  a  man  consciously  wanting
money  and  pursuing  money;  what’s  the  difference  between  the  two?
Consciously  you  meditate,  wanting  to  achieve  peace,  silence,  and  all  that.
Therefore  they  are  both  the  same,  the  man  who  pursues  money,  success,
power,  and  the  man  who  pursues  so-called  spiritually  –  So  is  there  a
meditation  which  is  not  determined,  practised?  There  is,  but  that  requires
enormous  attention.  That  attention  is  a  flame  and  that  attention  is  not
something  that  you  come  [to]  much  later,  but  attention  now  to  everything,
every  word,  every  gesture,  every  thought:  to  pay  complete  attention,  not
partial. If you are listening partially now, you are not giving complete attention.
When you are so completely attentive there is no self, there is not limitation.
And – briefly, I must stop – the brain now is full of information, cluttered up,
there is no space in it, and one must have space, there must be space. Space
means energy; when there is no space your energy is very very limited. And
the brain – the speaker is not a specialist on the brain, though he has talked
about  it  a  great  deal  with  other  scientists  and  so  on  –  not  that  that’s  a
recommendation  –  they  experiment  on  animals,  on  theories,  on  the
accumulation of knowledge; but we are not scientists, we are laymen, ordinary
people,  humble,  wanting  to  find  out.  There  is  a  meditation  which  is  not
determined, put into a mould – I won’t go into it. So the brain, which is now so
heavily laden with knowledge, with theories, with power, position, all the rest of
it,  everlastingly  in  conflict  and  (chatter?  clutter?),  which  has  no  space.  And
freedom,  complete  freedom,  is  to  have  that  limitless  space.  The  brain  is
extraordinarily  capable,  infinite  capacity,  but  we  have  made  it  so  small  and
petty.  So  when  there  is  that  space  and  emptiness  and  therefore  immense
energy – energy is passion, love and compassion and intelligence – then there
is that truth which is most holy, most sacred; that which man [has] sought from
time immemorial. And that truth doesn’t lie in any temple, any mosque, in any church.  And  it  has  no  path  to  it  except  through  one’s  own  understanding  of
oneself, inquiring, studying, learning. Then there is that which is eternal.

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