Jiddu Krishnamurti You Are The World

– Brandeis University –
Chapter 1 1st Public Talk
At Brandeis University 18th October 1968
AS  ONE  TRAVELS  one  is  very  much  aware  that  human  problems
everywhere, though apparently dissimilar, are really more or less similar; the
problems of violence and the problem of freedom; the problem of how to bring
about a real and better relationship between man and man, so that he may live
at peace, with some decency and not be constantly in conflict, not only within
himself but also with his neighbour. Also there is the problem, as in the whole
of Asia, of poverty, starvation and the utter despair of the poor. And there is
the  problem,  as  in  this  country  and  in Western Europe, of  prosperity;  where
there  is  prosperity  without  austerity  there  is  violence,  there  is  every  form  of
unethical luxury – the society which is utterly corrupt and immoral.
There  is  the  problem  of  organized  religion  –  which  man,  throughout  the
world is rejecting, more or less – and the question of what a religious mind is
and what meditation is – which are not monopolies of the East. There is the
question of love and death – so many interrelated problems. The speaker does
not  represent  any  system  of  conceptual  thinking  or  ideology,  Indian  or
otherwise. If we can talk over together these many problems, not as with an
expert or a specialist – because the speaker is neither – then possibly we can
establish right communication; but bear in mind that the word is not the thing,
and that the descrip- tion, however detailed, however intricate, however well-
reasoned out and beautiful, is not the thing described.
There are the whole separate worlds, the ideological divisions of the Hindu,
the Muslim, the Christian and the Communist, which have brought about such
incalculable  harm,  such  hatred  and  antagonism.  All  ideologies  are  idiotic,
whether religious or political, for it is conceptual thinking, the conceptual word,
which has so unfortunately divided man.    4
These ideologies have brought about wars; although there may be religious
tolerance,  it  is  up  to  a  certain  point  only;  after  that,  destruction,  intolerance,
brutality, violence – the religious wars. Similarly there are the national and tribal
divisions  caused  by  ideologies,  the  black  nationalism  and  the  various  tribal
Is it at all possible to live in this world non-violently, in freedom, virtuously?
Freedom is absolutely necessary; but not freedom for the individual to do what
he likes to do, because the individual is conditioned – whether he is living in
this country or in India or anywhere else – he is conditioned by his society, by
his culture, by the whole structure of his thought. Is it at all possible to be free
from  this  conditioning,  not  ideologically,  not  as  an  idea,  but  actually
psychologically, inwardly, free? – otherwise I do not see how there can be any
democracy  or  any  righteous  behaviour.  Again,  the  expression  «righteous
behaviour» is rather looked down upon, but I hope we can use these words to
convey what is meant without any derogatory sense.
Freedom is not an idea; a philosophy written about freedom is not freedom.
Either one is free or one is not. One is in a prison, however decorative that
prison is; a prisoner is free only when he is no longer in prison. Freedom is not
a  state  of  the  mind  that  is  caught  in  thought.  Thought  can  never  be  free.
Thought is the response of memory, knowledge and experience; it is always
the  product  of  the  past  and  it  cannot  possibly  bring  about  freedom  because
freedom is something that is in the living active present, in daily life. Freedom
is not freedom from something – freedom from something is merely a reaction.
Why has man given such extraordinary importance to thought? – thought
which formulates a concept according to which he tries to live. The formulation
of ideologies and the attempted conformity to those ideologies is observable
throughout the world. The Hitler movement did it, the Communist people are
doing  it  very  thoroughly;  the  religious  groups,  the  Catholics,  the  protestants,
the Hindus, and so on have asserted their ideologies through propaganda for
two  thousand  years,  and  have  made  man  conform  through  threats,  through   5
promises.  One  observes  this  phenomenon  throughout  the  world;  man  has
always  given  thought  such  extraordinary  significance  and  importance.  The
more specialized, the more intellectual, the more thought becomes of serious
import. So we ask: Can thought ever solve our human problems?
There is the problem of violence, not only the student revolt in Paris, Rome,
London and Columbia, here and in the rest of the world, but this spreading of
hatred and violence, black against white, Hindu against Muslim. There is the
incredible brutality and extraordinary violence that human hearts carry – though
outwardly  educated,  conditioned,  to  repeat  prayers  of  peace.  Human  beings
are  extraordinarily  violent.  This  violence  is  the  result  of  political  and  racial
divisions and of religious distinctions.
This violence that is so embedded in each human being, can one actually
transform it, change it completely, so that one lives at peace? This violence
man has obviously inherited from the animal and from the society in which he
lives. Man is committed to war, man accepts war as the way of life; there may
be  a  few  pacifists  here  and  there,  carrying  anti-war  slogans,  but  there  are
those  who  love  war  and  have  favourite  wars!  There  are  those  who  may  not
approve of the Vietnamese War but they will fight for something else, they will
have another kind of war. Man has actually accepted war, that is, conflict, not
only within himself but outwardly, as a way of life. What the human being is,
totally,  both  at  the  conscious  as  well  as  at  the  deeper  levels  of  his
consciousness, produces a society with a corresponding structure – which is
obvious. And one asks again: Is it at all possible for man, having accustomed
himself through education, through acceptance of the social norm and culture,
to bring about a psychological revolution within himself? – not a mere outward
Is it at all possible to bring about a psychological revolution immediately? –
not in time, not gradually, because there is no time when the house is burning;
you do not talk about gradually putting out the fire; you have no time, time is a
delusion. So what will make man change? What will make either you or me as   6
a  human  being,  change?  Motive,  either  of  reward  or  punishment?  That  has
been tried. Psychological rewards, the promise of heaven, the punishment of
hell, we have had in abundance and apparently man has not changed, he is
still  envious,  greedy,  violent,  superstitious,  fearful  and  so  on.  Mere  motive,
whether  it  is  given  outwardly  or  inwardly,  does  not  bring  about  a  radical
change. Finding, through analysis, the cause why man is so violent, so full of
fear, so greatly acquisitive, competitive, so violently ambitious – which is fairly
easy  –  will  that  bring  about  a  change?  Obviously  not,  neither  that  nor  the
uncovering of the motive. Then what will? What will bring about, not gradually,
but immediately, the psychological revolution? That, it seems to me, is the only
Analysis  –  analysis  by  the  specialist,  or  introspective  analysis  –  does  not
answer the issue. Analysis takes time, it requires a great deal of insight, for if
you analyse wrongly the following analysis will be wrong. If you analyse and
come to a conclusion and proceed from that conclusion then you are already
stymied, you are already blocked. And in analysis there is the problem of the
«analyser» and the «analysed».
How  is  this  radical,  fundamental,  change  to  be  brought  about
psychologically,  inwardly  if  not  through  motive,  or  through  analysis  and  the
discovery  of  the  cause?  One  can  easily  find  out  why  one  is  angry,  but  that
does not stop one from being angry. One can find out what the contributory
causes  of  war  are,  be  they  economic,  national,  religious,  or  the  pride  of  the
politicians,  the  ideologies,  the  commitments  and  so  on,  yet  we  go  on  killing
each other, in the name of God, in the name of an ideology, in the name of
country, in the name of whatever it is. There have been 15,000 wars in 5,000
years! – still we have no love, no compassion!
In penetrating this question one comes upon the inevitable problem of the
«analyser»  and  that  which  is  «analysed»,  the  «thinker»  and  the  «thought»,  the
«observer»  and  the  «observed»,  and  the  problem  of  whether  this  division
between the «observer» and the «observed» is real, real in the sense of being   7
an actual problem and not something theoretical. Is the «observer» – the centre
from which you look, from which you see, from which you listen – a conceptual
entity who has separated himself from the observed? When one says one is
angry,  is  the  anger  different  from  the  entity  who  knows  he  is  angry?  –  is
violence separate from the «observer»? Is not violence part of the observer?
Please,  this  is  a  very  important  thing  to  understand.  The  central  thing  to
understand,  when  we  are  concerned  with  this  question  of  immediate
psychological change – not change in some future state or at some future time.
Is the «observer», the «me», the «ego», the «thinker», the «experiencer», different
from  the  thing,  the  experience,  the  thought,  which  he  observes?  When  you
look at that tree, when you see the bird on the wing, the evening light on the
water,  is  the  «experiencer»  different  from  that  which  he  observes?  Do  we,
when we look at a tree, ever «look» at it? Please do go with me a little. Do we
ever look directly at it? – or do we look at it through the imagery of knowledge,
of the past experience that we have had? You say, «Yes, I know what a lovely
colour it is, how beautiful the shape is.» You remember it and then enjoy the
pleasure derived through that memory, through the memory of the feeling of
closeness to it and so on. Have you ever observed the «observer» as different
from the observed? Unless one goes into this profoundly what follows may be
missed.  As  long  as  there  is  a  division  between  the  «observer»  and  the
«observed» there is conflict. The division, spacial and verbal that comes into
the mind with the imagery, the knowledge, the memory of last year’s autumnal
colours, creates the «observer» and the division from the observed is conflict.
Thought brings about this division. You look at your neighbour, at your wife, at
your husband or your boyfriend or girlfriend, whoever it be, but can you look
without the imagery of thought, without the previous memory? For when you
look  with  an  image  there  is  no  relationship;  there  is  merely  the  indirect
relationship between the two groups of images, of the woman or of the man,
about each other; there is conceptual relationship, not actual relationship.    8
We live in a world of concepts, in a world of thought. We try to solve all our
problems, from the most mechanical to psychological problems of the greatest
depth, by means of thought.
If there is a division between the «observer» and the «observed» that division
is the source of all human conflict. When you say you love somebody, is that
love? For in that love is there not both the «observer» and the thing you love,
the observed? That «love» is the product of thought, divided off as a concept
and there is not love.
Is  thought  the  only  instrument  that  we  have  to  deal  with  all  our  human
problems? – for it does not answer, it does not resolve our problems. It may be,
we are just questioning it, we are not dogmatically asserting it. It may be that
thought  has  no  place  whatsoever,  except  for  mechanical,  technological,
scientific matters.
When the «observer» is the «observed» then conflict ceases. This happens
quite normally, quite easily: in circumstances when there is great danger there
is no «observer» separate from the «observed; there is immediate action, there
is instant response in action. When there is a great crisis in one’s life – and one
always  avoids  great  crises  –  one  has  no  time  to  think  about  it.  In  such
circumstance the brain, with all its memories of the old, does not immediately
respond,  yet  there  is  immediate  action.  There  is  an  immediate  change,
psychologically,  inwardly,  when  the  division  of  the  «observer»  from  the
«observed»  comes  to  an  end.  To  put  it  differently:  one  lives  in  the  past,  all
knowledge is of the past. One lives there, one’s life is there, in what has been –
concerned  with  «what  I  was»  and  from  that,  «what  I  shall  be».  One’s  life  is
based  essentially  on  yesterday  and  «yesterday»  makes  us  invulnerable,
deprives us of the capacity of innocency, vulnerability.  So  «yesterday»  is  the
«observer; in the «observer» are all the layers of the unconscious as well as the
The whole of humankind is in each one of us, in both the conscious and the
unconscious,  the  deeper  layers.  One  is  the  result  of  thousands  of  years;   9
embedded in each one of us – as one can find if one knows how to delve into
it, go deeply inside – is the whole history, the whole knowledge, of the past.
That is why self-knowledge is immensely important. «Oneself» is now second –
hand; one repeats what others have told us, whether it be Freud or whoever
the specialist. If one wants to know oneself one cannot look through the eyes
of the specialist; one has to look directly at oneself.
How can one know oneself without being an «observer»? What do we mean
by  «knowing»?  –  I  am  not  quibbling  about  words  –  what  do  we  mean  by
«knowing», to «know»? When do I «know» something? I say I «know» Sanskrit, I
«know» Latin – or I say I «know» my wife or husband. Knowing a language is
different from «knowing» my wife or husband. I learn to know a language but
can I ever say I know my wife? – or husband? When I say I «know» my wife it is
that  I  have  an  image  about  her:  but  that  image  is  always  in  the  past;  that
image prevents me from looking at her – she may already be changing. So can
I  ever  say  I  «know»?  When  one  asks,  «Can  I  know  myself  without  the
observer?, – see what takes place. It is rather complex: I learn about myself; in
learning  about  myself  I  accumulate  knowledge  about  myself  and  use  that
knowledge, which is of the past, to learn something more about myself. With
the accumulated knowledge I have about myself I look at myself and I try to
learn something new about myself. Can I do that? It is impossible.
To learn about myself and to know about myself: the two things are entirely
different.  Learning  is  a  constant,  non-accumulative  process,  and  «myself»  is
something changing all the time, new thoughts, new feelings, new variations,
new intimations, new hints. To learn is not something related to the past or the
future; I cannot say I have learnt and I am going to learn. So the mind must be
in a constant state of learning, therefore always in the active present, always
fresh; not stale with the accumulated knowledge of yesterday. Then you will
see,  if  you  go  into  it,  that  there  is  only  learning  and  not  the  acquiring  of
knowledge; then the mind becomes extraordinarily alert, aware and sharp to
look.  I  can  never  say  I  «know»  about  myself:  and  any  person  who  says,  «I
know», obviously does not know. Learning is a constant, active process; it is   10
not  a  matter  of  having  learnt.  I  learn  more  in  order  to  add  to  what  I  have
already learnt. To learn about myself there must be freedom to look and this
freedom to look is denied when I look through the knowledge of yesterday.
Questioner:  Why  does  the  separation  between  the  «observer»  and  the
«observed» lead to conflict?
Krishnamurti: Who is the maker of effort? Conflict exists as long as there is
effort,  as  long  as  there  is  contradiction,  So,  is  there  not  a  contradiction
between  the  «observer»  and  the  «observed»  –  in  that  division?  This  is  not  a
matter of argument or opinion – you can look at it. When I say «this is mine» –
whether property, whether sexual rights, or whether it is my work – there is a
resistance which separates and therefore there is conflict. When I say «I am a
Hindu», «I am a Brahmin», this and that, I have created a world around myself
with  which  I  have  identified  myself  which  breeds  division.  Surely,  when  one
says  one  is  a  Catholic,  one  has  already  separated  oneself  from  the  non-
Catholics. All division, outwardly as well as inwardly, breeds antagonism. So
the problem arises, can I own anything without creating antagonism, without
creating  this  definite  contradiction,  which  breeds  conflict?  Or  is  there  a
different dimension altogether where the sense of non-ownership exists, and
therefore there is freedom?
Questioner:  Is  it  possible  to  act  at  all  without  having  mental  concepts?
Could you have even walked into this room and sat down in that chair without
having a concept of what a chair is? You seem to be implying that there need
be no concepts at all.
Krishnamurti: Perhaps I may not have explained it in sufficient detail. One
must have concepts. If I ask you where you live, unless you are in a state of
amnesia,  you  will  tell  me.  The  «telling  me»  is  born  of  a  concept,  of  a
remembrance  –  and  one  must  have  such  remembrances,  concepts.  But  it  is
the concepts that have bred ideologies which are the source of mischief – You,
an American, I, a Hindu, Indian. You are committed to one ideology and I am
committed to another ideology. These ideologies are conceptual and we are   11
willing to kill each other for them though we may co-operate scientifically, in
the laboratory. But in human relationship, has conceptual thinking any place?
This is a more complex problem. All reaction is conceptual, all reaction: I have
an idea and according to that idea I act; that is, first an idea, a formula, a norm,
and  then  according  to  that  an  action.  So  there  is  a  division  between  the
concept,  or  idea,  and  the  action.  The  conceptual  side  of  this  division  is  the
«observer». The action is something outside us and hence the division, conflict.
That  raises  the  question  as  to  whether  a  mind  that  has  been  conditioned,
educated, brought up socially, can free itself from conceptual thinking and yet
act  non-mechanically.  Can  a  mind  be  in  a  state  of  silence  and  act,  can  it
operate without concepts? I say it is possible; but it has no value because I
say so. I say it is possible and that that is meditation: To resolve this question
as  to  whether  the  mind  –  the  whole  mind  –  can  be  utterly  silent,  free  from
conceptual thinking, free from thinking altogether, so that only when thought is
necessary  does  it  think.  I  am  talking  English,  there  is  an  automatic  process
going on. Can you listen to me completely silently, without any interference of
thought?  –  seeing  that  the  moment  you  try  to  do  this  you  are  already  in
thought. Is it possible to look – at a tree, at the microphone – without the word,
the word being the thought, the concept? To look at a tree without a concept is
fairly easy. But to look at a friend, to look at somebody who has hurt you, who
has flattered you, to look without a word, without a concept is more difficult; it
means that the brain is quiet, it has its responses, its reactions, it is quick, but
it is so quiet that it can look completely, totally, out of silence. It is only in that
state that you understand and act with an action that is non-fragmentary.
Questioner: Yes, I think I know what you are saying.
Krishnamurti: Good, but you have to do it. One has to know oneself; then
arises  the  problem  of  the  «observer,  and  the  «observed»,  «analyser»  and
«analysed»  and  so  on.  There  is  a  look  without  all  this,  which  is  instant
understanding.    12
Questioner:  You  are  trying  to  communicate  with  words  something  which
you say it is impossible to do with words.
Krishnamurti: There is verbal communication because you and I, both of us,
understand English. To communicate with each other properly you and I must
both be urgent and have the capacity, the quality of intensity, at the same time
– otherwise we do not communicate. If you are looking out of the window and I
am  talking,  or  if  you  are  serious  and  I  am  not  serious,  then  communication
ceases. Now, to communicate something which you or I have not gone into is
extremely  difficult.  But  there  is  a  communication  which  is  not  verbal,  which
comes about when you and I are both serious, both intense and immediate, at
the  same  time,  at  the  same  level;  then  there  is  «communion»  which  is  non-
verbal. Then we can dispense with words. Then you and I can sit in silence;
but  it  must  be  not  my  silence  or  your  silence,  but  that  of  both  of  us;  then
perhaps there can be communion. But that is asking too much.    13
Chapter 22nd Public Talk
At Brandeis University  21st October 1968
WE  HAVE  SO  many  complex  problems;  unfortunately  we  rely  on  others,
experts  and  specialists,  to  solve  them.  Religions  throughout  the  world  have
offered various forms of escape from them. It was thought that science would
help  to  resolve  this  complexity  of  human  problems;  that  education  would
resolve  and  put  an  end  to  them.  But  one  observes  that  the  problems  are
increasing throughout the world, they are multiplying and becoming more and
more  urgent,  complex,  and  seemingly  endless.  Eventually  one  realizes  that
one  cannot  depend  on  anyone,  either  on  the  priests,  the  scientists  or  the
specialists.  One  has  to  «go  it  alone»  for  they  have  all  failed;  the  wars,  the
divisions  of  religion,  the  antagonism  of  man  to  man,  the  brutalities,  all
continue; constant and progressive fear and sorrow exist.
One sees that one has to make the journey of understanding by oneself;
one  sees  that  there  is  no  «authority».  Every  form  of  «authority»  (except,  at  a
different level, the authority of the technocrats and the specialists,) has failed.
Man  set  up  these  «authorities»  as  a  guide, as a means of bringing  freedom,
peace, and because they have failed they have lost their meaning and hence
there is a general revolt against the «authorities», spiritual, moral and ethical.
Everything  is  breaking  down.  One  can  see  in  this  country,  which  is  quite
young,  perhaps  300  years  old,  that  there  is  already  a  decay  taking  place
before maturity has been reached; there is disorder, conflict, confusion; there
is inevitable fear and sorrow. These outward events inevitably force one to find
for  oneself  the  answer;  one  has  to  wipe  the  slate  clean  and  begin  again,
knowing  that  no  outside  authority  is  going  to  help,  no  belief,  no  religious
sanction, no moral standard – nothing. The inheritance from the past, with its
Scriptures, its Saviour, is no longer important. One is forced to stand alone,
examining, exploring, questioning, doubting everything, so that one’s own mind
becomes clarified; so that it is no longer conditioned, perverted, tortured.    14
Can  we  in  fact  stand  alone  and  explore  for  ourselves  to  find  the  right
answer?  Can  we,  in  exploring  our  own  minds,  our  own  hearts  which  are  so
heavily  conditioned,  be  free,  completely  –  both  unconsciously  as  well  as
consciously? Can the mind be free of fear? This is one of the major issues of
life. Can the human mind ever be free from the contagion of fear? Let us go
into  it,  not  abstractly,  not  theoretically,  but  by  actually  being  aware  of  one’s
own fears, physical as well as psychological, conscious as well as the secret
hidden fears. Is that possible? One may be aware of the physical fears – that is
fairly  simple.  But  can  one  be  aware  of  the  unconscious,  deeper  layers  of
fears?  Fear  in  any  form  darkens  the  mind,  perverts  the  mind,  brings  about
confusion  and  neurotic  states.  In  fear  there  is  no  clarity.  And  let  us  bear  in
mind  that  one  can  theorize  about  the  causes  of  fear,  analyse  them  very
carefully, go into them intellectually, but at the end one is still afraid. But if one
could go into this question of fear, being actually aware of it, then perhaps we
could be free of it completely.
There are the conscious fears: «I am afraid of public opinion; «I might lose
my job; «my wife may run away; «I am afraid of being lonely; «I am afraid of not
being loved; «I am afraid of dying». There is fear of the apparently meaningless
boredom of this life, the everlasting trap in which one is caught; the tedium of
being  educated,  earning  a  livelihood  in  an  office  or  in  a  factory,  bearing
children,  the  enjoyment  of  a  few  sexual  interludes  and  the  inevitable  sorrow
and death. All this engenders fear, conscious fear. Can one face all this fear,
go through it so that one is no longer afraid. Can one brush all that aside and
be free? If one cannot, then obviously one lives in a state of perpetual anxiety,
guilt, uncertainty, with increasing and multiplying problems.
So what is fear? Do we really know fear at all, or do we know it only when it
is over? It is important to find this out. Are we ever directly in contact with fear,
or is our mind so accustomed, so trained,  that  it  is  always  escaping  and  so
never  coming  directly  into  contact  with  what  it  calls  fear?  It  would  be
worthwhile  if  you  could  take  your  own  fear  and  as  we  go  into  it  together
perhaps we may learn directly about fear.    15
What is fear? How does it come about? What is the structure and nature of
fear?  One  is,  for  example,  afraid,  as  we  said,  of  public  opinion;  there  are
several things involved in that: one might lose one’s job and so on. How does
this fear arise? Is it the result of time? Does fear come to an end when I know
the  cause  of  fear?  Does  fear  disappear  through  analysis,  in  exploring  and
finding out its cause? I am afraid of something, of death, of what might happen
the  day  after  tomorrow,  or  I  am  afraid  of  the  past;  what  sustains  and  gives
continuity  to  this  fear?  One  may  have  done  something  wrong,  or  one  may
have said something which should not have been said, all in the past; or one is
afraid  of  what  might  happen,  ill  health,  disease,  losing  one’s  job,  all  in  the
future. So there is fear of the past and there is fear of the future. Fear of the
past is the fear of something which has actually taken place and fear of the
future is the fear of something which might happen, a possibility.
What sustains and gives continuity to the fear of the past and also to the
fear for the future? Surely it is thought, – thought of what one has done in the
past,  or  of  how  a  particular  disease  has  given  pain  and  one  is  afraid  of  the
future repetition of that pain. Fear is sustained by memory, by thinking about it.
Thought,  in  thinking  about  past  pain  or  pleasure,  gives  a  continuity  to  it,
sustains  and  nourishes  it.  Pleasure  or  pain  in  relation  to  the  future  is  the
activity  of  thought.  I  am  afraid  of  something  I  have  done,  its  possible
consequences  in  the  future.  This  fear  is  sustained  by  thought.  That  is  fairly
obvious.  So  thought  is  time  –  psychologically.  Thought  brings  about
psychological  time  as  distinct  from  chronological  time.  (We  are  not  talking
about chronological time.)
Thought,  which  puts  together  time  as  yesterday,  today  and  tomorrow,
breeds fear. Thought creates the interval between now and what might happen
in the future. Thought perpetuates fear through psychological time; thought is
the origin of fear; thought is the source of sorrow. Do we accept this? Do we
actually  see  the  nature  of  thought,  how  it  operates,  how  it  functions  and
produces the whole structure of the past, present and the future? Do we see
that  thought,  through  analysis,  discovering  the  causes  of  fear,  which  takes   16
time, cannot dissolve fear? In the interval between the cause of fear and the
ending of fear there is the action of fear. It is like a man who is violent and has
invented the ideology of non-violence; he says «I will become non-violent, but
in the meantime he is sowing the seeds of violence. So, if we use time – time
which is thought – as a means of being free of fear, we will not resolve fear.
Fear is not to be resolved by thought because thought has bred fear.
So what is one to do? If thought is not the way out of this trap of fear – do
understand this very clearly, not intellectually, not verbally, not as an argument
with which you agree or disagree, but as one who is concerned, involved in
this question of fear, deeply as we must be if we are at all serious – then, what
is  one  to  do?  Thought  is  responsible  for  fear;  thought  breeds  both  fear  and
pleasure. If one sees very clearly that thought breeds this enormous sense of
fear  and  that  thought  cannot  possibly  solve  this  fear,  then  what  is  the  next
step? I hope you are asking this question of yourself and not waiting for me to
answer it. If you are not waiting for me to answer it, then you are up against it,
it is a challenge and you must answer it. If you answer that challenge with the
old responses, then where are you? – you are still afraid. The challenge is new,
immediate: thought has bred fear and thought cannot possibly end fear; what
will you do?
First  of  all,  when  one  says  «I  have  understood  the  whole  nature  and
structure of thought», what does one mean by that? What does one mean by «I
understand», «I have understood it», «I have seen the nature of thought»? What
is the state of the mind, which says, «I have understood»?
Please  follow  carefully,  do  not  assert  anything.  We  are  asking:  does
thought  understand?  You  tell  me  something,  you  describe  for  example  the
complexity  of  modern  life  very  carefully,  minutely,  and  I  say,  «I  have
understood»,  not  merely  the  description  but  the  content,  the  depth,  so  that  I
see  how  human  beings  caught  in  it  are  in  a  nervous,  neurotic,  terrible  state
and  so  on.  I  have  understood  with  feeling,  with  my  nerves,  with  my  ears,
everything, so that I am no longer caught in it. It is as when I have understood   17
that a cobra is dangerous – then, finished, I won’t go near it. My action if I do
meet it will be entirely different now that I have understood it.
So, is one in a state of understanding the nature of thought and the product
of thought, which is fear and pleasure? Has one come to grips with it? Has one
seen,  actually,  not  theoretically  or  verbally  or  intellectually,  how  it  operates?
Or, am I still with the description, am I still with the argument, with the logical
sequence, and not with the fact? If I am merely content with the description,
with  the  verbal  explanation,  then  I  am  just  playing  around  with  it.  When  the
description has led me to the thing described there is direct perception of it;
then there is quite a different action. (It is like a hungry man who wants food,
not a description of food or the conclusion as to what would happen if he ate;
he wants food.)
When  one  sees  how  thought  breeds  fear,  then  what  takes  place?  When
one is hungry and someone describes how lovely food is, what does one do,
what is one’s response? One will say, «Don’t describe food to me, give it me».
The action is there, direct, not theoretical. So when one says «I understand», it
means that there is a constant movement of learning about thought and fear
and  pleasure;  from  this  constant  movement  one  acts;  one  acts  in  the  very
movement  of  learning.  When  there  is  such  learning  about  fear  there  is  the
ending of fear.
There are fears which the mind has never uncovered, hidden, secret. How
can the conscious mind uncover them? The conscious mind receives the hints
of those fears through dreams; when one has these dreams, have they to be
interpreted? As one cannot understand them for oneself easily one may have
an  outside  interpreter,  but  he  will  interpret  them  according  to  his  particular
method  or  specialization.  And  there  are  those  dreams  that,  as  one  is
dreaming, one is interpreting.
Why should one dream at all? The specialists say one must dream or one
will go crazy; but I am not at all sure that one must dream. Why cannot one,
during the day, be open to the hints and intimations of the unconscious, so that   18
one does not dream at all? While this constant struggle of dreaming goes on in
sleep, one’s mind is never quiet, never refreshed, never renewed. Cannot the
mind during the day be so open, so alert, awake and aware, that the hints and
intimations of the hidden fears can come out and be observed and absorbed?
Through awareness, through attention during the day, in speech, in act, in
everything  that  takes  place,  then  both  the  hidden  and  the  open  fears  are
exposed; then when you sleep there is a sleep that is completely quiet, without
a  single  dream  and  the  mind  wakes  up  the  next  morning  fresh,  young,
innocent, alive. This is not a theory – do it and you will find out.
Questioner:  How  is  it  possible  to  bring  the  hidden  fears  out  into
Krishnamurti: One can observe within oneself if one is alert, quick, watchful,
that the unconscious is, amongst other things, the repository of the past, the
racial inheritance. I was born in India, raised in a certain class as a Brahmin,
with all its prejudices, superstitions, its strict moral life and so on, together with
all  the  racial  and  the  family  content,  the  tradition  of  ten  thousand  years  and
more, collective and individual, it is all there in the unconscious. That is what
we  generally  mean  by  the  unconscious;  the  specialist  may  give  it  another
meaning but as laymen we can observe it for ourselves. Now, how is all that to
be exposed? How will you do it? There is the unconscious in you; if you are a
Jew there is all the tradition, hidden, of Judaism; if you are a Catholic, there is
all that there, hidden; if you are a Communist it is there in a different way, and
so on. Now how will you, without dreaming – it is not a puzzle – how will you
bring all that into the open? If during the day you are alert, aware of all the
movement of thought, aware of what you are saying, your gestures, how you
sit, how you walk, how you talk, aware of your responses, then all the hidden
things come out very easily; and it will not take time, it will not take many days,
for you are no longer resisting, you are no longer actively digging, you are just
observing,  listening.  In  that state of awareness everything  is  exposed.  But  if
you say, «I will keep some things and I will discard others», you are half asleep.   19
If  you  say,  «I  will  keep  all  the  «goodness»  of  Hinduism  or  Judaism  or
Catholicism and let the rest go», obviously you are still conditioned, holding on.
So one has to let all this come out, without resistance.
Questioner: That awareness is without choice,?
Krishnamurti: If that awareness is «choosing», then you are blocking it. But if
that awareness is without choice, everything is exposed, the most hidden and
secret demands, fears and compulsions.
Questioner: Should one attempt to be aware for one hour a day?
Krishnamurti: If I am aware, if I am attentive, for one minute, that is enough.
Most of us are inattentive. To become aware of that inattention is attention; but
the cultiva- tion of attention is not attention. I am aware for a single minute of
everything that is going on in me, without any choice, observing very clearly;
then I spend an hour not giving attention; I take it up again at the end of the
hour.    20
Chapter 3 3rd Public Talk
At Brandeis University 22nd October 1968
I  was  told  the  other  day  that  meditation  has  no  place  in  America  at  the
present  time;  that  the  Americans  need  action,  not  meditation.  I  wonder  why
this  division  is  made  between  a  contemplative,  meditative  life  and  a  life  of
action.  We  are  caught  in  this  dualistic,  fragmented  way  of  looking  at  life.  In
India there is the concept of various ways of life; the man of action, the man of
knowledge,  the  man  of  wisdom  and  so  on.  Such  division  in  the  very  act  of
living must inevitably lead to conformity, limitation and contradiction.
If we are to go into this question of meditation – which is an extraordinarily
complex and, for the speaker, most important thing – we have to understand
what we mean by that word. The dictionary meaning of that word is «to ponder
over», «think over», «consider», «inquire thoughtfully», and so on. India and Asia
seem  to  have  monopolized  that  word  as  though  meditation  in  all  its  depth,
meaning and the very end of it, is under their control; the monopoly apparently
is with them – which of course is absurd. When we speak of «meditation» we
must be clear as to whether it is with the intent to escape from life – the daily
grind,  the  boredom,  anxiety  and  fear  –  or  as  a  way  life.  Either,  through
meditation, we seek to escape altogether from this mad and ugly world or it is
the very understanding, living and acting in life itself. If we want to escape then
there are various schools: the Zen Monasteries in Japan and the many other
systems. We can see why they are so tempting, for life, as it is, is very ugly,
brutal, competitive, ruthless; it has no meaning whatsoever, as it is. When the
Hindus offer their systems of Yoga, their mantras, the repetition of words and
so on, we may obviously be tempted to accept rather easily and without much
thought, for they promise a reward, a sense of satisfaction in escape. So let us
be  very  clear;  we  are  not  concerned  with  any  escape,  either  through  a
contemplative, visionary life, through drugs or the repetition of words.
In India, the repetition of certain Sanskrit words is called mantra; they have
a special tonality and are said to make the mind more vibrant, alive. But the   21
repetition of these mantras must make the mind dull; maybe that is what most
human beings want, they cannot face life as it is, it is too appalling and they
want to be made insensitive. The repetition of words and the taking of drugs,
drink and so on, does help to dull the mind. The dulling of the mind is called
«quietness»,  «silence»,  which  it  obviously  is  not.  A  dull  mind  can  think  about
God  and  virtue  and  beauty  yet  remain  dull,  stupid  and  heavy.  We  are  not
concerned in any way with these various forms of escape.
Meditation  is  not  a  fragmentation  of  life;  it  is  not  a  withdrawal  into  a
monastery or into a room, sitting quietly for ten minutes or an hour, trying to
concentrate,  to  learn  to  meditate,  and  yet  for  the  rest  being  a  hideous,  ugly
human being. One brushes all that aside as being unintelligent, as belonging
to  a  state  of  mind  that  is  incapable  of  really  perceiving  what  truth  is;  for  to
understand what truth is one must have a very sharp, clear, precise mind; not
a cunning mind, not tortured, but a mind that is capable of looking without any
distortion, a mind innocent and vulnerable; only such a mind that can see what
truth is. Nor can a mind that is filled with knowledge perceive what truth is; only
a mind that is completely capable of learning can do that; learning is not the
accumulation of knowledge; learning is a movement from moment to moment.
The mind and the body also must be highly sensitive. You cannot have a dull,
heavy body, loaded with wine and meat, and then try to meditate – that has no
meaning. So the mind – if one goes into this question very seriously and deeply
– must be highly alert, highly sensitive and intelligent, not the intelligence born
of knowledge.
Living in this world with all its travail, so caught up in misery, sorrow and
violence, is it possible to bring the mind to a state that is highly sensitive and
intelligent?  That  is  the  first  and  an  essential  point  in  meditation.  Second:  a
mind that is capable of logical, sequential perception; in no way distorted or
neurotic. Third: a mind that is highly disciplined. The word «discipline» means
«to learn», not to be drilled. «Discipline» is an act of learning – the very root of
the  word  means  that.  A  disciplined  mind  sees  everything  very  clearly,
objectively, not emotionally, not sentimentally. Those are the basic necessities   22
to discover that which is beyond the measure of thought, something not put
together by thought, capable of the highest form of love, a dimension that is
not the projection of one’s own little mind.
We have created society and that society has conditioned us. Our minds
are  tortured  and  heavily  conditioned  by  a  morality  which  is  not  moral;  the
morality  of  society  is  immorality,  because  society  admits  and  encourages
violence,  greed,  competition,  ambition  and  so  on,  which  are  essentially
immoral. There is no love, consideration, affection, tenderness, and the «moral
respectability» of society is utterly disorderly. A mind that has been trained for
thousands of years to accept, to obey and conform, cannot possibly be highly
sensitive  and  therefore  highly  virtuous.  We  are  caught  in  this  trap.  So  then,
what is virtue? – because that is necessary.
Without the right foundation a mathematician does not go very far. In the
same way, if one would understand and go beyond to something which is of a
totally  different  dimension,  one  must  lay  the  right  foundation;  and  the  right
foundation is virtue, which is order – not the order of society which is disorder.
Without order, how can the mind be sensitive, alive, free?
Virtue is obviously not the repetitive behaviour of conforming to a pattern
which  has  become  respectable,  which  the  establishment,  whether  in  this
country or the rest of the world, accepts as morality. One must be very clear
on  this  point  as  to  what  virtue  is.  One  comes  upon  virtue;  it  cannot  be
cultivated any more than one can cultivate love, or humility. One comes upon it
– the nature of virtue, its beauty, its orderliness – when one knows what it is
not; through negation one finds out what is positive. One does not come upon
virtue  by  defining  the  positive  and  then  imitating  it  –  that  is  not  virtue  at  all.
Cultivating  various  forms  of  «what  should  be»,  which  are  called  virtue  –  like
non-violence  –  practising  these  day  after  day  until  they  become  mechanical,
has no meaning.
Virtue, surely, is something from moment to moment, like beauty, like love –
it is not something you have accumulated and from which you act. This is not   23
just a verbal statement for acceptance or non-acceptance. There is disorder –
not only in society but in ourselves, total disorder – but it is not that there is
somewhere in us order and the rest of the field is in disorder; that is another
duality  and  therefore  contradiction,  confusion  and  struggle.  Where  there  is
disorder there must be choice and conflict. It is only the mind that is confused
that  chooses,  but  for  a  mind  that  sees  everything  very  clearly  there  is  no
choice. If I am confused, my actions will be confused.
A mind that sees things very clearly, without distortion, without a personal
bias, has understood disorder and is free of it; such a mind is virtuous, orderly
– not orderly according to the Communists, the Socialists or the Capitalists or
any  church,  but  orderly  because  it  has  understood  the  whole  measure  of
disorder  within  itself.  Order,  inwardly,  is  akin  to  the  absolute  order  of
mathematics. Inwardly, the highest order is as an absolute; and it cannot come
about through cultivation, not through practice, oppression, control, obedience
and conformity. It is only a mind that is highly ordered that can be sensitive,
One has to be aware of disorder within oneself, aware of the contradictions,
the dualistic struggles, the opposing desires, aware of the ideological pursuits
and their unreality. One has to observe «that which is» without condemnation,
without  judgment,  without  any  evaluation.  I  see  the  microphone  is  the
microphone – not as something I like or dislike, considering it good or bad – I
see it as it is. In the same way one has to see oneself as one is, not calling
what one sees bad, good – evaluating (which does not mean doing what one
likes). Virtue is order; one cannot have a blueprint of it; if one does, and if one
follows it, one has become immoral, disorderly.
Questioner: Is order simply not disorder?
Krishnamurti:  No.  We  said  that  the  understanding  of  what  disorder  is  –
understanding not verbally, not intellectually – is actually to be free of disorder,
which  is  the  conflict,  the  battle  of  duality.  Out  of  that  understanding  comes
order, which is a living thing. That which is alive you cannot put on a piece of   24
paper and try to follow it – it is a movement. Our minds are tortured, our minds
are twisted, because we are making such tremendous efforts to live, to do, to
act, to think. Effort in any form must be a distortion. The moment there is an
effort to be aware, it is not awareness. I am aware as I enter this hall; I do not
make an effort. I am aware of the size of the hall, the colour of the curtains, the
lights, the people, the colour of what they wear – I am aware of it all, there is no
effort. When attention is an effort it is inattention.
Questioner: Something takes me from inattention.
Krishnamurti: Nothing takes you from inattention to attention. One is mostly
inattentive. If you know you are inattentive and be attentive at the moment of
knowing inattention you are attentive.
To look at something objectively, without any judgment, is fairly easy. Look
at a tree, at a flower, or the cloud, or the light on the water, to look at it without
any  judgment  or  evaluation  is  fairly  easy  –  because  it  does  not  touch  us
deeply.  But  to  look  at  my  wife,  at  my  professor,  without  any  evaluation,  is
almost impossible, because I have an image of that person. That image has
been put together through a series of incidents over days, months and years –
with their pleasure, pain, sexual delight and so on. It is through that image that
I  look  at  that  person.  See  what  happens:  when  I  look  at  my  wife  or  my
neighbour – or the neighbour may be a thousand or ten thousand miles away –
I look at her or him through the images I have built and through the images
which  propaganda  has  built.  Have  I  any  relationship?  –  is  there  any
relationship between the husband and the wife when both of them have their
images? The images have relationship – the memories of the experiences, the
nagging, the bullying, the dominating, the pleasure, this and that – which have
been accumulated for years.  Through  these  memories,  these  images,  I  look
and I say, «I know my wife», or she says she knows me. But is that so? I know
merely  the  images;  a  living  thing  I  cannot  know  –  dead  images  are  what  I
know.    25
To look clearly is to look without any image, without any symbol or word.
Do it and you will see what great beauty there is.
Questioner: Can I look at myself that way?
Krishnamurti:  If  you  look  at  yourself  with  an  image  about  yourself,  you
cannot learn. For instance, I discover in myself a deep-rooted hatred and I say,
«How terrible, how ugly». When I say that, I prevent myself from looking. The
verbal statement, the word, the symbol, prevents observation. To learn about
myself there must be no word, no knowledge, no symbol, no image; then I am
actively learning.
Questioner: Is it possible to observe all the time?
Krishnamurti: I wonder why one asks such a question. Is it a form of greed?
You  say:  «If  I  could  do  that  my  life  would  be  different»  –  therefore  you  are
greedy. Forget whether you can do it all the time – you will find out. Begin and
see how extraordinarily difficult it is to be attentive. Questioner: (Inaudible on
Krishnamurti:  Through  the  senses  of  my  body  there  is  visual  sight;  and
there  is  also  psychological  sight;  I  see  visually,  why  should  I  introduce  the
sight of psychological memories into what I am seeing?
All this is meditation. You cannot say there is all this and that meditation is
at the end of it! All this is the way of living which is meditation and that is the
beauty of it; beauty, not as in architecture, in the line and curve of a hill, of the
setting sun or the moon, not in the word or in the poem, not in a statue or a
painting – it is in a way of living, you can look at anything and there is beauty.
Is  it  possible  for  a  mind  that  is  twisted,  broken,  fragmentary,  to  see
everything clearly and innocently? We are tortured human beings, there is no
question  about  it,  our  minds  have  been  tortured  and  are  tortured  –  how  can
such  a  mind  see  things  very  clearly?  To  find  that  out  –  because  we  are   26
learning, not stating things – to find that out one must go into the question of
Every experience leaves a mark, a residue, a memory of pain or pleasure.
The  word  «experience»  means  to  go  through  something.  But  we  never  «go
through»  something  so  it  leaves  a  mark.  If  you  have  a  great  experience,  go
through the greatness of it, completely, so that you are free of it, then it does
not leave marks as memory.
Why is it that every experience that we have had leaves a remembrance,
conscious or unconscious? – because it is this that prevents innocency. You
cannot  prevent  experiences.  If  you  prevent  or  resist  experience,  you  build  a
wall around yourself, you isolate yourself; that is what most people do.
One must understand the nature and structure of experience. You see a
sunset such as it was yesterday evening – lovely, the light, that rose-coloured
light on the water and the top of the trees bathed in marvellous light. You look
at  it,  you  enjoy  it,  there  is  a  great  delight  and  beauty,  colour  and  depth;  a
second later you say, «How beautiful it was». You describe it to somebody, you
want it again, the beauty of it, the pleasure of it, the delight of it. You may be
back tomorrow, at that time and hour and you may see the sun- set again – but
you will look at it with the memory of yesterday’s. So the freshness is already
affected by the memory of yesterday. In the same way, you may insult me, or
flatter me, the insult and the flattery remain as marks of pain and pleasure. So
I am accumulating, the mind is accumulating through experience, thickening,
coarsening, becoming more and more heavy with thousands of experiences.
That  is  a  fact.  Now,  can  I  when  you  insult  me,  listen  with  attention  and
consider your insult, not react to it immediately, but consider it? When you say
I am a fool, you may be right, I may be a fool, probably I am. Or when you
flatter  me,  I  also  watch.  Then  the  insult  and  the  flattery  leave  no  mark.  The
mind is alert, watchful, whether of your insult or flattery, of the sunset and the
beauty of so many things. The mind is all the time alert and therefore all the
time free – though receiving a thousand experiences.    27
Questioner: If somebody insults you and you really listen to what they are
saying, after you have heard it… well, are they right or are they wrong?
Krishnamurti:  No,  you  can  see  it  instantly,  the  mind  being  free  from  the
past, the psychological accumulation of knowledge and experience. You can
be innocent.
Questioner: Then it must be attentive…
Krishnamurti: Of course. And in that there is great joy. In the other there is
not; there the mind is twisted, tortured by experience, and therefore can never
be innocent, fresh, young, alive.
There is the whole question of love. Have you ever considered what it is? Is
love  thought  or  its  product?  Can  love  be  cultivated  by  thought  –  become  a
habit?  Is  love  pleasure?  Love  as  we  know  it  is  essentially  the  pursuit  of
pleasure. And if love is pleasure, then love is also fear – no?
What  is  pleasure?  We  are  not  denying  pleasure;  we  are  not  saying  you
must not have pleasure; that would be absurd. What is pleasure? You saw that
sunset  yesterday  evening;  at  the  moment  of  perception  there  was  neither
pleasure nor pain, there was only an immediate contact with that reality. But a
few minutes later you began to think about it; what a delightful thing that was.
It  is  the  same  with  sex.  You  think  about  it  by  building  images  and  pictures;
thinking about it gives you pleasure. In the same way, thinking about the loss
of  that  pleasure,  you  have  fear  –  thinking  about  not  having  a  job  tomorrow,
being lonely, not being loved, not being capable of self-expression and so on.
This machinery of «thinking about it» causes both pleasure and fear.
Is  love  to  be  cultivated  as  you  would  cultivate  a  plant?  Is  love  to  be
cultivated by thought? – knowing that thought breeds pleasure and fear. One
has to learn what love is, learn, not accumulate what others have said about
love – what horror! One has to learn, one has to observe. Love is not to be
cultivated by thought; love is something entirely different.    28
From  the  sensitivity  and  intelligence,  from  the  order  born  when  the  mind
understands  how  this  disorder  comes  into  being  and  is  free  of  it,  from  the
discipline which comes in the understanding of disorder, one comes upon this
thing  called  love  –  which  the  politicians,  the  priests,  the  husband,  the  wife,
have destroyed.
To understand love is to understand death. If one does not die to the past,
how can one love? If I do not die to the image of myself and to the image of
my wife how can I love?
All  this  is  the  marvel  of  meditation  and  the  beauty  of  it.  In  all  this,  one
comes  upon  something:  the  quality  of  mind  which  is  religious  and  silent.
Religion  is  not  organized  belief,  with  its  gods,  with  its  priests.  Religion  is  a
state of mind, a free mind, an innocent mind and therefore a completely silent
mind – such a mind has no limit.
Questioner: What happens to people who do not have this type of mind?
Krishnamurti:  Why  do  we  say:  «If  people  do  not  have  it»?  Who  are  «the
people»? If I do not have it – that is all. If I do not have such a sharp, clear
mind, what am I to do? Is not that the question? Our minds are confused, are
they not? We live in confusion. What should one do? If I am stupid, Sir, it is no
good trying to polish stupidity, trying to become clever. First I must know I am
stupid, that I am dull. The very awareness of my dullness is to be free of that
dullness. To say «I am a fool», not verbally but actually say «Well, I am a fool»,
then you are already watchful, you are no longer a fool. But if you resist what
you are, then your dullness becomes more and more.
In this world the apogee of intellect is to be very clever, very smart, very
complex, very erudite. I do not know why people carry erudition in their brains –
why not leave it on the library shelf? The computers are very erudite. Erudition
has nothing whatsoever to do with intelligence. To see things as they are, in
ourselves, without bringing about conflict in perceiving what we are needs the
tremendous simplicity of intelligence. I am a fool, I am a liar, I am angry and so   29
on: I observe it, I learn about it, not relying on any authority, I do not resist it, I
do not say «I must be different», it is just there.
Questioner:  When  I  attempt  to  pay  attention  I  realize  that  I  cannot  give
Krishnamurti: Is attention born of inattention?
Questioner: No: what produces it – how does it come?
Krishnamurti: First of all, what is attention? When you attend, that is, when
you  give  your  mind,  your  heart,  your  nerves,  your  eyes,  your  ears,  there  is
complete  attention;  it  takes  place,  does  it  not?  Total  attention  is  that.  When
there is no resistance, when there is no censor, no evaluating movement, then
there is attention – you have got it.
Questioner: But it seems so seldom.
Krishnamurti: Ah! – we are back again. «this happens so seldom»! I am just
pointing  out  something,  which  is:  most  of  us  are  inattentive.  Now,  next  time
you  are  conscious  of  inattention,  you  are  attentive,  are  you  not?  So  be
conscious of inattention. Through negation you come to the positive. Through
understanding inattention, attention comes.    30
– University Of California, Berkeley –
Chapter 4 1st Public Talk
At University Of California Berkeley 3rd February 1969
WHAT IS IMPORTANT is to listen, not only to the speaker, but also to our
reactions to what is being said, because the speaker is not going to deal with
any particular philosophy, he is not in any way representing India, or any of its
philosophies. We are concerned with human problems, not with philosophies
and beliefs. We are concerned with human sorrow, the sorrow that most of us
have, the anxiety, the fear, the hopes and despairs, and the great disorder that
exists  throughout  the  world.  With  that  we  are  concerned  as  human  beings,
because  we  are  responsible  for  this  colossal  chaos  in  the  world,  we  are
responsible for the disorder, for the war that is going on in Vietnam, we are
responsible  for  the  riots.  As  human  beings  living  in  this  world  in  different
countries and societies we are actually responsible for everything that is going
on. I don’t think we realize how serious this responsibility is. Some of us may
feel it and so we want to do something, join a particular group, or a particular
sect or belief, and devote all our lives to that ideology, that particular action.
But that does not solve the problem nor absolve our particular responsibility.
So we must be concerned first with understanding what the problem is, not
what to do; that will come later.
Most  of  us  want  to  do  something,  we  want  to  commit  ourselves  to  a
particular course of action and unfortunately that leads to more chaos, more
confusion, more brutality. We must, I think, look at the problem as a whole, not
at a particular part of that problem, not at a segment or a fragment of it, but at
the whole problem of living, which includes going to the office, the family, love,
sex, conflict, ambition and the understanding of what death is; and also if there
is  something  called  God,  or  truth,  or  whatever  name  one  might  give  it.  We
must understand the totality of this problem. That is going to be our difficulty,
because we are so used to act and react to a given problem and not to see
that  all  human  problems  are  interrelated.  So  it  seems  that  to  bring  about  a   31
complete psychological revolution is far more important than an economic or
social revolution – upsetting a particular establishment, either in this country or
in France, or in India – because the problems are much deeper, much more
profound  than  merely  becoming  an  activist,  or  joining  a  particular  group,  or
withdrawing into a monastery to meditate, learning Zen or Yoga.
Before you ask the speaker questions, first let us look at the problem. This
is not something that you come to listen to for an hour or so and then forget
about. We are concerned with human problems. You and I have to work very
hard this evening. You are not here merely to gather a few ideas with which
you agree, or disagree, or to try to find out what the speaker has to say. You
will find that he has to say very little, because both of us are going to examine
the  problems,  not  taking  any  decision,  but  understanding  the  problems;  and
that  very  understanding  will  bring  about  its  own  action.  So  please  –  if  I  may
suggest  –  listen,  neither  agreeing  nor  disagreeing,  not  coming  to  any
conclusion. Listen without any prejudice, without preconceived ideas, because
for  centuries  we  have  played  this  kind  of  game  with  words,  with  ideas,  with
ideologies and they have led nowhere – we still suffer, we are still in turmoil,
we are still seeking a bliss that is not pleasure.
As  we  said,  we  are  concerned  with  the  whole  problem  of  living,  not  one
particular part or portion of it. So first let us see what our problems are, not
how to solve them, not what to do about them, because the moment we under-
stand what the problem is, that very understanding brings about its own action;
I  think  that  is  very  important  to  realize.  Most  of  us  look  at  problems  with  a
conclusion,  with  an  assumption;  we  are  not  free  to  look,  we  are  not  free  to
observe  what  actually  is.  When  we  are  free  to  look,  to  explore  what  the
problem  is,  then  out  of  that  observation,  that  exploration,  there  comes
understanding. And that understanding itself is action, not a conclusion leading
to action. We will go into it and perhaps we will understand each other as we
go along.    32
You know, wherever one goes in the world, human beings are more or less
the same. Their manners, behaviour and outward pattern of action may differ,
but psychologically, inwardly, their problems are the same. Man throughout the
world is confused, that is the first thing one observes. Uncertain, insecure, he
is groping, searching, asking, looking for a way out of this chaos. So he goes
to teachers, to yogis, to gurus, to philosophers; he is looking everywhere for an
answer and probably that is why most of you are here, because we want to
find a way out of this trap in which we are caught, without realizing that we, as
human  beings,  have  made  this  trap  –  it  is  of  our  own  making  and  nobody
else’s. The society in which we live is the result of our psychological state. The
society is ourselves, the world is ourselves, the world is not different from us.
What  we  are  we  have  made  the  world  because  we  are  confused,  we  are
ambitious,  we  are  greedy,  seeking  power,  position,  prestige.  We  are
aggressive,  brutal,  competitive,  and  we  build  a  society  which  is  equally
competitive,  brutal  and  violent.  It  seems  to  me  that  our  responsibility  is  to
understand ourselves first, because we are the world. This is not an egotistic,
limited point of view, as you will see when you begin to go into these problems.
What is the problem when we observe the actual world around us and in
us?  Is  it  an  economic  problem,  a  racial  problem,  Black  against  White,  the
Communists against the Capitalists, one religion opposed to another religion –
is  that  the  problem?  Or  is  the  problem  much  deeper,  more  profound,  a
psychological problem? Surely it is not merely an outward, but much more an
inward problem.
As we said, man by nature is aggressive, brutal, competitive, dominating;
you can see this in yourself if you observe yourself. And if I may suggest, what
we  are  going  to  talk  over  together  this  evening  and  during  the  next  three
evenings, is not a series of ideas to which you listen. What the speaker has to
say is a psychological fact which you can observe in yourself. So if you will,
use the speaker to observe yourself. Use the speaker as a mirror in which you
see yourself without any distortion and thereby learn what you actually are.    33
So  what  is  important  is  to  learn  about  yourself,  not  according  to  any
specialist, but to learn by actually observing yourself. And there you will find
that you are the world: the hatreds, the nationalist, the religious separatist, the
man who believes in certain things and disbelieves in others, the man who is
afraid  and  so  on.  By  observing  the  problem  we  are  going  to  learn  about
ourselves. What is the problem that confronts each one of us? Is it a separate,
particular problem, an economic or a racial problem, or the problem of some
particular fear or neurosis, of believing or disbelieving in God, or of belonging
to  a  particular  sect  –  religious,  political  or  otherwise?  Do  you  look  at  the
problem of living as a whole, or take a particular problem and give all your life
to it, all your energy and thought? Do we take life as a whole? Life includes our
conditioning  brought  about  by  economic  pressures,  by  religious  beliefs  and
dogmas,  by  national  divisions,  by  racial  prejudices.  Life  is  this  fear,  this
anxiety,  this  uncertainty,  this  torture,  this  travail.  Life  also  includes  love,
pleasure,  sex,  death,  and  the  question  which  man  has  been  asking
everlastingly,  which  is:  Is  there  a  reality,  a  something  «beyond  the  hills»,
something  which  can  be  found  through  meditation?  Man  has  always  been
asking this question and we cannot merely brush it aside as having no validity
because we are only concerned with living from day to day; we want to know if
there is an eternal thing, a timeless reality. All this is the problem, there is not
one particular problem. When you observe this, you will find that all problems
are  interrelated.  If  you  understand  one  problem  completely,  then  you  have
understood all the problems.
As human beings, looking at this map of life, one of our major problems is
fear. Not a particular fear, but fear: fear of living, fear of dying, fear of not being
able to fulfil, of failure, fear of being dominated, suppressed, fear of insecurity,
of death, of loneliness, fear of not being loved. Where there is fear, there is
aggression. When one is afraid one becomes very active, not only to escape
from fear but that fear brings about an aggressive activity. You can observe
this in yourself if you care to. Fear is one of the major problems in life. How is it
to be solved? Can man be free of fear forever, not only at the conscious level   34
but also at the hidden, secret levels of his mind? Is that fear to be resolved
through analysis? Is that fear to be wiped away by escaping? So this is the
question:  How  is  a  mind  that  is  afraid  of  living,  afraid  of  the  past,  of  the
present, of the future, how is such a mind to be completely free of fear? Will it
be free of it gradually, bit by bit – will it take time? And if you take time – many
days, many years – you will get old and fear will still continue.
So how is the mind to be free of fear, not only of physical fear, but also of
the structure of fear in the psyche, of psychological fears? You understand my
question? Is fear to be dissolved completely, freed instantly, or is fear to be
gradually understood and resolved little by little? That is the first question. Can
the  mind,  which  has  been  conditioned  to  think  that  it  can  gradually  resolve
fear,  by  taking  time,  through  analysis,  through  introspective  observation,
gradually  become  free  of  fear?  That  is  the  traditional  way.  It  is  like  those
people who, being violent, have the ideology of non-violence. They say, «We
will gradually come to a state of non-violence when the mind will not be violent
at all». That will take time, perhaps ten years, perhaps a whole lifetime, and in
the meantime you are violent, you are sowing the seeds of violence. So there
must be a way – please do listen to this – there must be a way to completely
end  violence  immediately;  not  through  time,  not  through  analysis,  otherwise
we are doomed as human beings to be violent for the rest of our lives. In the
same way, can fear be ended completely? Can the mind be freed wholly from
fear? Not at the end of one’s life but now?
I do not know if you have ever asked such a question of yourself. And if you
have, probably you have said, «It cannot be done» or «I don’t know how to do
it».  And  so  you  live  with  fear,  you  live  with  violence  and  you  cultivate  either
courage or resistance or suppression or escape, or pursue an ideology of non-
violence.  All  ideologies  are  stupid  because  when  you  are  pursuing  an
ideology,  an  ideal,  you  are  escaping  from  «what  is»,  and  when  you  are
escaping  you  cannot  possibly  understand  «what  is».  So  the  first  thing  in
understanding fear is not to escape, and that is one of the most difficult things.
Not trying to escape through analysis, which takes time, or through drink, or by   35
going to church, or various other kinds of activities. It is the same whether the
escape is through drink, through a drug, through sex or through God. So can
one cease to escape? That is the first problem in understanding what fear is
and in dissolving it and being free from it entirely.
You know, for most of us freedom is something we don’t want. We want to
be  free  from  a  particular  thing,  from  the  immediate  pressures  or  from
immediate  demands,  but  freedom  is  something  entirely  different;  freedom  is
not  licentiousness,  doing  what  you  like  –  freedom  demands  tremendous
discipline, not the discipline of the soldier, not the discipline of suppression, of
conformity.  The  word  «discipline»  means,to  learn;  the  root  meaning  of  that
word  is  «to  learn».  And  to  learn  about  something  –  it  doesn’t  matter  what  –
demands discipline, the very learning is discipline; not, you discipline yourself
first, and then learn. The very act of learning is discipline, which brings about
freedom from all suppression,  from  all  imitation.  So can  you  be  free  of  fear,
from  which  springs  violence,  from  which  spring  all  these  divisions,  religious
and national, such as «my family» and «your family»?
Fear, when one knows it, is a dreadful thing. It makes everything go dark,
there is no clarity, and a mind that is afraid cannot see what life is, what the
real  problems  are.  So  the  first  thing,  it  seems  to  me,  is  to  ask  ourselves
whether one can actually be free of fear, both physically and inwardly. When
you meet a physical danger you react, and that is intelligence; it is not fear,
otherwise you would destroy yourself. But when there are psychological fears –
fear of tomorrow, fear of what one has done, fear of the present – intelligence
does not operate. If one goes into it psychologically, inwardly, one will find for
oneself  that  our  whole  social  structure  is  based  on  the  pleasure  principle,
because  most  of  us  are  seeking  pleasure  and  where  there  is  the  pursuit  of
pleasure  there  is  also  fear. Fear goes with pleasure. This  is  fairly  obvious  if
you examine it.
How is the mind to be free of fear so completely that it sees everything very
clearly? We are going to find out whether the mind is capable of freeing itself   36
from  fear  altogether.  You  understand  the  question?  We  have  accepted  fear
and lived with it, as we have accepted violence and war as the way of life. We
have had thousands and thousands of wars and we are everlastingly talking
about peace; but the way we live our daily life is war, a battlefield, a conflict.
And  we  accept  that  as  being  inevitable.  We  have  never  asked  ourselves
whether we can live a life of complete peace, which means without conflict of
any  kind.  Conflict  exists  because  there  is  contradiction  in  ourselves.  That  is
fairly  simple.  In  ourselves  there  are  different  contradictory  desires,  opposing
demands,  and  this  brings  conflict.  We  have  accepted  all  these  things  as
inevitable, as part of our existence; we have never questioned them.
One must be free of all belief, which means of all fear, to find out if there is
such a thing as reality, a timeless state. To find that out there must be freedom
–  freedom  from  fear,  freedom  from  greed,  envy,  ambition,  competition,
brutality;  only  then  is  the  mind  clear,  without  any  complication,  without  any
conflict. It is only such a mind that is still and it is only the still mind that can
find out if there is such a thing as the eternal, the nameless. But you cannot
come  to  that  stillness  through  any  practice,  through  any  discipline.  stillness
comes  only  when  there  is  freedom  –  freedom  all  this  anxiety,  fear,  brutality,
violence, jealousy. So can ind be free – not eventually, not in ten or fifty years,
I  wonder,  if  you  ask  that  question of yourself, what your answer will be?
Whether you will say that it is possible, or not? If you say it is impossible, then
you have blocked yourself, then you can’t proceed further; and if you say it is
possible, that also has its danger. You can only examine the possible if you
know what is the impossible – right? We are asking ourselves a tremendous
question,  which  is:  «Can  the  mind,  which  throughout  centuries  has  been
conditioned politically, economically, by the climate, by the church, by various
influences,  can  such  a  mind  change  immediately?»  Or  must  it  have  time,
endless  days  of  analysis,  of  probing,  exploring,  searching?  It  is  one  of  our
conditioning’s  that  we  accept  time,  an  interval  in  which  a  revolution,  a
mutation, can take place. We need to change completely, that is the greatest   37
revolution – not throwing bombs and killing each other. The greatest revolution
is whether the mind can transform itself immediately and be entirely different
tomorrow.  Perhaps  you  will  say  such  a  thing  is  not  possible.  If  you  actually
face the question without any escape and have come to that point when you
say it is impossible, then you will find out what is possible; but you cannot put
that  question  «What  is  possible?»  without  understanding  what  is  impossible.
Are we meeting each other?
So we are asking whether a mind that is afraid, that has been conditioned
to be violent, to be aggressive, can transform itself immediately. And you can
only  ask  that  question  (please  follow  this  a  little)  when  you  understand  the
impossibility and the futility of analysis. Analysis implies the analyser, the one
who  analyses,  whether  it  be  a  professional  analyst  or  yourself  analysing
yourself. When you analyse yourself there are several things involved. First,
whether the analyser is different from the thing he analyses. Is he different?
Obviously,  when  you  observe,  the  analyser  is  the  analysed.  There  is  no
difference between the analyser and the thing he is going to analyse. We miss
that point, therefore we begin to analyse. I say «I am angry, I am jealous» and I
begin to analyse why I am jealous, what are the causes of this jealousy, anger,
brutality; but the analyser is part of the thing he is analysing. The observer is
the observed and as one sees that, sees the futility of it, one will never analyse
again. It is very important to understand this, to really see the truth of this – not
verbally: verbal understanding is not understanding at all, it is like hearing a lot
of words and saying, «Yes, I understand the words». To actually see that the
analyser, the observer, is the observed, is a tremendous fact, a tremendous
reality;  in  that  there  is  no  division  between  the,  analyser  and  the  thing
analysed  and  therefore  no  conflict.  Conflict  exists  only  when  the  analyser  is
different from the thing he analyses; in that division there is conflict. Are you
following this? Perhaps you will ask questions afterwards.
Our life is a conflict, a battlefield, but a mind that is free has no conflict and
to be free of conflict is to observe the fact 48 of the observer, the analyser, the
thinker. There is fear and the observer says «I am afraid» – please do follow   38
this a little bit, you will see the beauty of it – so there is a division between the
observer and the thing observed. Then the observer acts and says, «I must be
different», «Fear must come to an end», he seeks the cause of the fear and so
on; but the observer is the observed, the analyser is the analysed. When he
realizes that non-verbally, the fact of fear undergoes a complete change.
Sirs,  look,  it  is  not  mysterious.  You  are  afraid,  you  are  violent,  you
dominate, or you are dominated. Let’s take something much simpler. You are
jealous,  envious.  Is  the  observer  different  from  that  feeling  which  he  calls
jealousy?  If  he  is  different,  then  he  can  act  upon  jealousy  and  that  action
becomes  a  conflict.  If  the  entity  that  feels  jealousy  is  the  same  as  jealousy,
then what can he do? I am jealous; as long as jealousy is different from «me» I
am in a state of conflict, but if jealousy is me, not different from me, then what
am I to do? I don’t accept it, I say «I am jealous». That is a fact. I don’t evade it,
I don’t run away from it, I don’t try to suppress it. Whatever I do is still a form of
jealousy. Therefore what happens? Inaction is total action. Inaction with regard
to  jealousy  on  the  part  of  the  observer  as  the  observed,  is  the  cessation  of
jealousy. Are you getting this? Are we communicating with each other?
Audience: Yes.
Krishnamurti:  Go  easy,  don’t  say  «Yes».  It  is  quite  difficult.  (Laughter)
Because if you really understand this you are free of jealousy, you will never
again be jealous. That is why it is very important to understand the whole of
this  conflict,  this  struggle  that  is  going  on  inwardly,  which  expresses  itself
outwardly as violence. So can the mind be completely free of envy, which is
jealousy?  It  can  be  free  only  when  there  is  49  the  realization  that  the
observation  is  the  observed  and  therefore  there  is  no  division.  You
understand? Look, Sirs, there is conflict in what we call relationship, between
persons, between neighbours and so on. All relationship as it is now, is conflict
–  right?  I  think  that  is  fairly  obvious.  Our  relationships  between  each  other,
between human beings throughout the  world, are based on an image which
we have built about ourselves or about another. The husband builds an image   39
about the wife and the wife builds an image about the husband – the image of
pleasure, pain, insult, nagging, domination, jealousy, irritability, whatever it is.
Gradually  through  many  years  an  image  has  been  built  about  the  wife,  or
about  the  husband.  The  two  images  have  relationship.  Relationship  means
actual  contact.  To  be  related  means  to  be  in  touch  with  something  and  you
cannot be related to another if you have an image about him – obviously. So is
it  possible  to  live  without  an  image  and  yet  be  related?  Relationship  brings
con- flict because we are not related; our relationship is between the images.
Is it possible for a mind to be free of all image-making? You understand the
I’ll show you how it is possible. Don’t accept it verbally but do it, then you
will see what relationship actually means. It is the most extraordinary thing to
be related. Then there is no pain, no conflict. What is the machinery that builds
these images, about the President, or your wife, or your neighbour, or about
God, or whatever it is? What is the structure and nature of this image which we
have about ourselves or another? If I were married – which I am not – I would
build  an  image  about  my  wife,  what  she  has  said,  what  she  has  done,  the
pleasures she has given me sexually or otherwise, the fears, the domination,
the nagging, all that. Gradually, day after day, I have built an image about her
and she has built an image about me. This is a fact, not a supposition, and
now I am asking myself whether I can be free of these of these images. You
can only be free of the image when whatever is said – whether in anger, or in
jealousy, in irritation, in flattery, or as an insult – you are completely aware at
the moment of it being said, so that when you are flattered or insulted you see
the  truth  of  it  and  you  are  free  of  it.  Which  means  that  the  mind  must  be
completely  attentive,  so  that  it  does  not  retain  the  particular  experience  of
pleasure or pain which builds the image; that is, to be attentive at the moment
when  the  wife  or  the  husband  says  something  pleasant  or  unpleasant.  That
attention, that choiceless awareness, gives freedom to look, to see the truth or
the  falseness  of  what  is  being  said»  then  the  mind  no  longer  records  it  as
memory. I do not know if you have ever tried it – probably you have not. The   40
mind becomes extraordinarily active, alert, sensitive; then relationship, which
is really one of the major problems of life, has quite a different meaning. Then
relationship is the beauty of love without the image. However much one may
say «I love you», love is not there. Love is something entirely different, love is
not  pleasure,  love  is  not  desire.  To  understand  love  one  must  understand
pleasure and pleasure goes with fear, with pain – you cannot have one without
the other.
So those are our problems. Those are the problems of every human being
whether he lives in an affluent or primi- tive society. Man is suffering, man is in
travail, and our problem, our question, is: whether the mind can transform itself
completely, totally and thereby bring about a deep, psychological revolution –
which  is  the  only  revolution.  Such  a  revolution  can  bring  about  a  different
society, a different relationship, a different way of living.
Would you like to ask any questions? You know it is one of the most difficult
things to ask questions. We have got a thousand questions we must ask, we
must doubt everything. We mustn’t obey or accept anything; we must find out
for  ourselves,  we  must  see  the  truth  for  ourselves  and  not  through  another.
And  to  see  that  truth  one  must  be  completely  free.  One  must  ask  the  right
question to find the right answer, because if you ask the wrong questions you
will inevitably receive wrong answers. So to ask the right question is one of the
most difficult things – which doesn’t mean the speaker is preventing you from
asking  questions.  You  must  ask  a  question  deeply,  with  great  seriousness,
because life is dreadfully serious. To ask such a question means that you have
already explored your mind, already gone into yourself very deeply. So only
the  intelligent,  self-knowing  mind  can  ask  the  right  question  and  in  the  very
asking  of  it  is  the  answering  of  it.  Please  don’t  laugh.  This  is  most  serious,
because you always look to another to tell you what to do. We always want to
light our lamp in the light of another. We are never a light to ourselves: to be a
light to ourselves we must be free of all tradition, all authority, including that of
the speaker, so that our own minds can look and observe and learn. To learn   41
is one of the most difficult things. So to ask a question is fairly easy, but to ask
the right question and to receive the right answer is something quite different.
Now, Sir, what is the question? (Laughter)
Questioner: I came here tonight with a prepared question, which I gave up
in the course of your talk because I began to see some of what you are getting
at. I was going to ask you about Gandhi. I was going to ask your opinion, but
now I have another question. Krishnamurti: What, Sir?
Questioner: It may seem hard to some of the audience…
Krishnamurti: Ask anything you like, Sir.
Questioner: When the equipment wasn’t working properly and the people at
the back couldn’t hear, it seemed to me that a man of your experience would
have  known  what  to  do  in  those  circumstances.  One  wondered,  were  you
feeling some residual fear yourself?
Krishnamurti:  He  is  asking,  when  the  loudspeakers  didn’t  function  was  I
afraid? Why should I be afraid? It was a fault of the machinery and why should
I be concerned about myself? I am afraid there was no fear. (Laughter) You
see, Sir, the gentleman asked, «Would you offer an opinion about Gandhi?», or
about X Y Z. Only fools offer opinions. Why should one have an opinion about
another?  It  is  such  a  waste  of  time  and  energy.  Why  should  one  clutter  up
one’s brain, one’s mind, with opinions, judgments, conclusions? They prevent
clarity and that clarity is denied when the mind observes with a conclusion.
Questioner: Our mind is clean, our mind is not involved in thought when it is
perceiving only. It feels inside what is going on, it feels fear, or not, in another
person, inside the person, without thinking what he is doing, what’s going on.
Krishnamurti: The questioner is saying – if I understand it rightly – «What is
the mind, what is this mind that understands?» Is it thought that understands?
Is that the question, Sir?    42
Questioner: Yes.
Krishnamurti:  We’ll  explore  it,  you  will  see  it.  When  one  says  that  one
understands something, what is the state of the mind that says «I understand»?
The  word  «understanding»  can  be  used  in  two  different  ways.  Either  I
understand  verbally  what  you  are  saying,  that  is  I  hear  the  words  and  I
understand the meaning of the words, because you and I both speak English,
use certain words which have a certain meaning and we say we understand
those  words.  When  understanding  actually  takes  place  –  which  is  action  in
which there is feeling – there is attention, everything is involved when you say
«I understood something very clearly». What is that state of mind that says «I
have understood»?
Questioner: Total awareness.
Krishnamurti:  Now  go  into  it  a  little  bit  more,  Sirs.  Doesn’t  awareness,
doesn’t understanding take place when the mind is not drawing a conclusion,
has no opinion, when the mind is attentively listening, and then it says «I have
understood»? We are asking what is the state of that mind which says «I have
understood»  and  therefore  acts  immediately.  Surely  such  a  state  of  mind  is
complete silence in which there is no opinion, in which there is no judgment,
no evaluation. It is actually listening out of silence. And it is only then that we
understand something in which thought is not involved at all. We won’t now go
into what thought is and the whole process of thinking; that will need a lot of
time and this is not the occasion. When we talk about understanding, surely it
takes place only when the mind listens completely – the mind being your heart,
your nerves, your ears – when you give your whole attention to it. I do not know
if you have ever noticed that when you give total attention there is complete
silence. And in that attention there is no frontier, there is no centre, as the «me»
who is aware or attentive. That attention, that silence, is a state of meditation.
We can’t go into what is implied by that word and how to come upon it, but we
will go into it if we have time during the coming evenings.    43
when you are listening to somebody, completely, attentively, then you are
listening not only to the words, but also the feeling of what is being conveyed
to the whole of it not part of it.
Questioner: I find certain very serious contradictions in what you have said.
I think that to begin with you said that only fools give opinions, that it is stupid.
Krishnamurti:  The  gentleman  says  that  I  am  giving  opinions,  evaluations,
which contradict what I am saying. Have I given an opinion, a conclusion, a
judgment? I have only said: look at the facts. It is not my fact or your fact, but
the  fact  that  man  is  violent.  That’s  not  an  opinion,  that’s  a  fact.  Man  is  a
frightened animal, that’s a fact. Man is jealous, man lives in conflict, his life is a
battlefield and so on. These are not opinions, not judgments, this is actually
what is going on inwardly in each one of us. How you translate it, what you do
about it and whether you bring to it certain prejudices and conclusions, that is
offering opinions. But we are only concerned with facts.
Questioner: I have a question here which I must ask. What is the basis of
learning, which you say is difficult? You find yourself engaged in a specific task
which is difficult. What is the basis for an action if you dispense with will and
faith. How do you endure?
Krishnamurti:  I  think  I  have  understood.  The  questioner  says,  «What  is
learning?» Is learning different from action? Right, Sir?
Questioner: No. The question is: Why do you choose life or death! It is a
matter  of  life  and  death  if  you  engage  in  this  activity.  Where  do  you  find  in
yourself the reservoir of strength to do a specific task which allows you to stay
Krishnamurti: I understand. Where do you find the energy – I am putting it
differently – where do you find the energy to live rightly? Right?
Questioner: Yes. You don’t will a thing, it comes by itself, if you do it with an
undivided self.    44
Krishnamurti: That’s right.
Questioner: (Inaudible)
Krishnamurti: I understand, Sir. That’s just it. How do you live without will –
right? – without contradiction, with- out the opposites? How do you live without
conflict at all and at the same time act?
Questioner: Yes. You can choose to die.
Krishnamurti: You can’t choose to die, you have to live but…
Questioner: The question is how!
Krishnamurti: Wait, Sir. The questioner says, «What is the method, what is
the system I can learn which will help me to live without contradiction, to live
actively, in a state of constant learning?» Is that the question?
First of all, what do we mean by learning? I am not offering an opinion, I am
looking at the fact. Is learning a process of accumulation of knowledge? From
that  knowledge  I  act;  that  is,  I  have  stored  up  experiences,  memories,  and
from  that  I  act.  Or  is  learning  a  constant  process  without  accumulation  and
therefore learning is acting? Go slowly. We’ll go into it. It is not that I first learn
and  then  act  according  to  what  I  have  learnt,  but  learning  is  acting;  the
learning is not separate from acting. One is going to learn about fear, or about
what 56 to do, how to live. But if you have a system that tells you how to live,
or a method that says, «Live this way», then you are conforming to the method
which is established by somebody else. Therefore you are not learning, you
are conforming and acting according to a pattern, which is not action at all, it is
just  imitation.  So  if  you  learn  what  are  the  implications  of  methods,  or  of
systems, then you will put away methods and systems; then you are learning
about what you are doing and the very learning about life is the activity of life –
right? Have I made it clear? Living, learning and acting are not three separate
things, they are indivisible.    45
Questioner:  I  did  not  get  the  point  why  it  is  detrimental  for  oneself  to
analyse; it’s a difficult point.
Krishnamurti: Aren’t you tired after an hour and a half? Questioner: Not at
Krishnamurti: Not at all? Why not? (Laughter) Wait a minute, Sir. Why not?
If you had been listening attentively – I am not criticizing you – you»d be tired,
wouldn’t you?
Questioner: I don’t think so.
Krishnamurti: Sir, the speaker has been working and to keep up with him
you have to work too. It is not «he speaks» and «you listen» but we are taking
the journey together, learning about ourselves, about the world, about what is
happening in relationship with the world. And to learn about all this, obviously
your mind must be tired after a long day’s work and sitting here. You must be
tired! But it doesn’t matter, I’ll go into this question and after that we’ll stop.
The speaker said, that in the process of analysis several things are implied
–  time,  for  one  thing.  Obviously,  to  analyse  implies  spending  day  after  day
doing it. Secondly the analyser must analyse very, very carefully, otherwise he
will  go  wrong.  In  order  to  analyse  correctly  he  must  be  free  from  prejudice,
from conclusions, from fear. If in the process any distortion takes place, that
analysis  will  only  create  further  limitations.  And  we  also  explained  that  the
analyser is not different from the thing he analyses. When you understand all
this, not just one part of it – the time, the process of analysis, the decisions, the
conclusions  which  will  prevent  you  from  proceeding  further  with  a  clear
analysis,  and  seeing  that  the  analyser  is  the  analysed  –  when  you  see  the
totality of this you will never analyse again. When you don’t analyse, then you
see  things  directly  because  the  problem  becomes  intense,  urgent.  It’s  like  a
man who has an ideology of nonviolence and is therefore concerned with how
to become nonviolent, but not how to be free, now, from all violence. We are
concerned with freedom from violence now, not tomorrow.    46
When one observes this whole process of analysis – which has become the
fashion – and sees what is implied in it, not only verbally but deeply, then one
rejects it. When you deny something false you are free to look; then you see
what truth is. But you must first deny what is false.    47
Chapter 5 2nd Public Talk
At University Of California Berkeley 4th February 1969
CONSIDERING  THE  CHAOS  and  disorder  in  the  world  –  both  outwardly
and inwardly – seeing all this misery, starvation, war, hatred, brutality – many of
us must have asked what one can do. As a human being confronted with this
confusion, what can I or you do? When we put that question, we feel we must
be committed to some kind of political or sociological action, or some kind of
religious  search  and  discovery.  One  feels  one  must  be  committed,  and
throughout the world this desire to be committed has become very important.
Either one is an activist, or one withdraws from this social chaos and pursues
a vision. I think it is far more important not to be committed at all, but to be
totally  involved  in  the  whole  structure  and  nature  of  life.  When  you  commit
yourself,  you  are  committed  to  a  part  and  therefore  the  part  becomes
important  and  that  creates  division.  Whereas,  when  one  is  involved
completely, totally, with the whole problem of living, action is entirely different.
Then action is not only inward, but also outward; it is in relationship with the
whole  problem  of  life.  To  be  involved  implies  total  relationship  with  every
problem, with every thought and feeling of the human mind. And when one is
so  completely  involved  in  life  and  not  committed  to  any  particular  part  or
fragment  of  it,  then  one  has  to  see  what  one  can  actually  do  as  a  human
For most of us, action is derived from an ideology. First we have an idea
about what we should do, the idea being an ideology, a concept, a formula.
Having formulated what we should do, we act according to that ideology. So
there is always a division, and hence a conflict between action and what you
have formulated that action should be. And as most of one’s life is a series of
conflicts,  struggles,  one  inevitably  asks  oneself  whether  one  can  live  in  this
world being completely involved with it, not in some isolated monastery.
Inevitably  this  brings  about  another  question,  which  is:  What  is
relationship?  Because  it  is  in  that  that we are involved – man in relationship   48
with another man – that is the whole of life. If there were no relationship at all, if
one actually lived completely in isolation, life would cease. Life is a movement
in relationship. To understand that relationship and to end the conflict in that
relationship is our entire problem. It is to see whether man can live at peace
not  only  within  himself,  but  also  outwardly.  Because  then  behaviour  is
righteous  and  we  are  concerned  with  behaviour,  which  is  action.  You  might
ask,  «What  can  one  individual,  one  human  being  do,  confronted  with  this
immense  problem  of  life  with  its  confusion,  wars,  hatred,  agony,  suffering?»
What can one human being do to bring about a change, a revolution, a radical
state,  a  new  way  of  looking,  living?  I  think  that  is  a  wrong  question,  to  say,
«What  can  I  do  to  affect  this  total  confusion  and  disorder».  If  you  put  that
question, «What can I do, confronted with this disorder», then you have already
answered it; you can’t do anything. Therefore it is a wrong question. But if you
are  concerned,  not  with  what  you  can  do  confronted  with  this  enormity  of
misery, but with how you can live a totally different life, then you will find that
your  relationship  with  man,  with  the  whole  community,  with  the  world,
undergoes a change. Because after all, you and I as human beings, we are
the entire world – I’m not saying this rhetorically, but actually: I and you are the
entire  world.  What  one  thinks,  what  one  feels,  the  agony,  the  suffering,  the
ambition,  the  envy,  the  extraordinary  confusion  one  is  in,  that  is  the  world.
There must be a change in the world, a radical revolution, one can’t live as one
is living, a bourgeois life, a life of super facility, a life of shoddy existence from
day to day, indifferent to what is happening. If you and I, as human beings, can
change totally, then whatever we do will be righteous. Then we will not bring
about  a  conflict  within  ourselves  and  therefore  outwardly.  So  that  is  the
problem.  That  is  what  the  speaker  wants  to  talk  over  with  you  this  evening.
Because as we said, how one conducts one’s life, what one does in daily life –
not  at  a  moment  of  great  crisis  but  actually  every  day  –  is  of  the  highest
importance. Relationship is life, and this relationship is a constant movement,
a constant change.    49
So  our  question  is:  How  am  I,  or  you,  to  change  so  fundamentally,  that
tomorrow  morning  you  wake  up  as  a  different  human  being  meeting  any
problem that arises, resolving it instantly and not carrying it over as a burden,
so that there is great love in your heart and you see the beauty of the hills and
the  light  on  the  water?  To  bring  about  this  change,  obviously  one  must
understand  oneself,  because  self-knowledge,  not  theoretically  but  actually,
whatever you are, is of the highest importance.
You know, when one is confronted with all these problems, one is deeply
moved; not by words, not by the description, because the word is not the thing,
the  description  is  not  the  described.  When  one  observes  oneself  as  one
actually is, then either one is moved to despair because one considers oneself
as  hopeless,  ugly,  miserable;  or  one  looks  at  oneself  without  any  judgment.
And  to  look  at  oneself  without  any  judgment  is  of  the  greatest  importance,
because  that  is  the  only  way  you  can  understand  yourself  and  know  about
yourself. And in observing oneself objectively – which is not a process of self-
centredness, or self-isolation, or cutting oneself off from the whole of mankind
or from another human being – one realizes how terribly one is conditioned: by
the economic pressures, by the culture in which one has lived, by the climate,
by  the  food  one  eats,  by  the  propaganda  of  the  so-called  religious
organizations or by the Communists. This conditioning is not superficial but it
goes down very deeply and so one asks whether one can ever be free of it,
because  if  one  is  not  free,  then  one  is  a  slave,  then  one  lives  in  incessant
conflict and battle, which has become the accepted way of life.
I hope you are listening to the speaker, not merely to the words but using
the words as a mirror to observe yourself. Then communication between the
speaker and yourself becomes entirely different, then we are dealing with facts
and not suppositions, or opinions, or judgments, then we are both concerned
with this problem of how the mind can be unconditioned, changed completely.
As we said, this understanding of oneself is only possible by becoming aware
of  our  relationships.  In  relationship  alone  can  one  observe  oneself;  there  all
the  reactions,  all  the  conditionings  are  exposed.  So  in  relationship  one   50
becomes  aware  of  the  actual  state  of  oneself.  And  as  one  observes,  one
becomes aware of this immense problem of fear.
One sees the mind is always demanding to be certain, to be secure, to be
safe. A mind that is safe, secure, is a bourgeois mind, a shoddy mind. Yet that
is what all of us want: to be completely safe. And psychologically there is no
such  thing.  See  what  takes  place  outwardly  –  it’s  quite  interesting  if  you
observe it – each person wants to be safe, secure. And yet psychologically he
does everything to bring about his own destruction. You can see this. As long
as there are nationalities with their sovereign governments, with their armies
and  navies  and  so  on,  there  must  be  war.  And  yet  psychologically  we  are
conditioned  to  accept  that  we  are  a  particular  group,  a  particular  nation,
belonging to a particular ideology, or religion. I do not know if you have ever
observed  what  mischief  the  religious  organizations  have  done  in  the  world,
how they have divided man. You are a Catholic, I am a Protestant. To us the
label  is  much  more  important  than  the  actual  state  of  affection,  love,
kindliness.  Nations  have  divided  us,  nationalities  have  divided  us.  One  can
observe this division, which is our conditioning and which brings about fear.
So we are going to go into the question of what to do with fear, Unless we
resolve  this  fear  we  live  in  darkness,  we  live  in  violence.  A  man  who  is  not
afraid is not aggressive, a man who has no sense of fear of any kind is really a
free,  a  peaceful  man.  As  human  beings  we  must  resolve  this  problem,
because  if  we  cannot,  we  cannot  possibly  live  righteously.  Unless  one
understands behaviour, conduct in which is involved virtue – you may spit on
that word – and unless one is totally free of fear, the mind can never discover
what  truth  is,  what  bliss  is,  and  if  there  is  such  a  thing  as  a  timeless  state.
When  there  is  fear  you  want  to  escape,  and  that  escape  is  quite  absurd,
immature. So we have this problem of fear. Can the mind be free of it entirely,
both at the conscious as well as at the so-called unconscious, deeper levels of
the mind? That is what we are going to talk over this evening, because without
understanding  this  question  of  fear  and  resolving  it,  the  mind  can  never  be   51
free.  And  it  is  only  in  freedom  that  you  can  explore,  discover.  It  is  very
important, it is essential, that the mind be free of fear. So shall we go into it?
Now  first  of  all  do  please  bear  in  mind  that  the  description  is  not  the
described, so don’t be caught by the description, by the words. The word, the
description, is merely a means of communicating. But if you are held by the
word you cannot go very far. One has to be aware not only of the meaning of
the word, but also one has to realize that the word is not actually the thing. So
what is fear? I hope we are going to do it together. Please don’t just listen and
disregard it; be involved, entirely live it. Because it is your fear, it’s not mine.
We are taking a journey together into this very complex problem of fear. If one
doesn’t  understand  it  and  become  free  of  it,  relationship  is  not  possible:
relationship remains conflict, travail, misery.
What is fear? One is afraid of the past, of the present, or of something that
might happen tomorrow. Fear involves time. One is afraid of death; that is in
the future. Or one is afraid of something that has happened. Or one is afraid of
the pain one has had when one was ill. Please follow this closely. Fear implies
time: one is afraid of something – of some pain that one has had and which
might  happen  again.  One  is  afraid  of  something  that  might  take  place
tomorrow, in the future. Or one is afraid of the present. All that involves time.
Psychologically  speaking,  if  there  were  no  yesterday,  today  and  tomorrow,
there would be no fear. Fear is not only of time but it is the product of thought.
That is, in thinking about what happened yesterday – which was painful – I am
thinking  that  it  might  happen  again  tomorrow.  Thought  produces  this  fear.
Thought  breeds  fear:  thinking  about  the  pain,  thinking  about  death,  thinking
about the frustrations, the fulfilments, what might happen, what should be, and
so on. Thought produces fear and gives vitality to the continuance of fear. And
thought,  by  thinking  about  what  has  given  you  pleasure  yesterday,  sustains
that pleasure, gives it duration. So thought produces, sustains, nourishes, not
only  fear  but  also  pleasure.  Please  observe  it  in  yourself,  see  what  actually
goes on within you.    52
You  have  had  a  pleasurable  or  so-called  enjoyable  experience  and  you
think about it. You want to repeat it, whether it is sex or any other experience.
Thinking  about  that  thing  which  has  given  a  pleasurable  moment,  you  want
that pleasure repeated, continued. So thought is not only responsible for fear,
but also for pleasure. One sees the truth of this, the actual fact that thought
sustains pleasure and nourishes fear. Thought breeds both fear and pleasure;
the two are not separate. Where there is the demand for pleasure, there must
also  be  fear;  the  two  are  unavoidable  because  they  are  both  the  product  of
Please let’s bear in mind that I am not persuading you of anything, I’m not
making  propaganda.  God  forbid!  Because  to  make  propaganda  is  to  lie;  if
someone is trying to convince you of something, don’t be convinced. We are
dealing  with  something  much  more  serious  than  being  convinced,  or  with
offering opinions and judgments. We are dealing with realities, with facts. And
facts,  which  you  observe,  don’t  need  an  opinion.  You  haven’t  got  to  be  told
what the fact is, it is there, if you are capable of observing it.
So one sees that thought sustains and nourishes fear as well as pleasure.
We want pleasure continued, we want more and more pleasure. The ultimate
pleasure for man is to find out if there is a permanent state in heaven which is
God; to him God is the highest form of pleasure. And if you observe, all social
morality – which is really immoral – is based on pleasure and fear, reward and
Then one asks, when one sees this actual fact – not the description, not the
word,  but  the  thing  described,  the  actual  state  of  how  thought  brings  this
about:  «Is  it  possible  for  thought  to  come  to  an  end?»  The  question  sounds
rather  crazy,  but  it  is  not.  You  saw  a  sunset  yesterday,  the  hills  were
extraordinarily lit in the evening sun and there was a glory, a beauty that gave
you great enjoyment. Can one enjoy it so completely that it comes to an end,
so  that  thought  doesn’t  carry  it  over  to  tomorrow?  And  can  one  face  fear,  if   53
there is such a thing as fear? This is only possible when you understand the
whole structure and nature of thought. So one asks, «What is thinking?»
For  most  of  us  thinking  has  become  extraordinarily  important.  We  never
realize that thought is always old, thought is never new, thought can never be
free.  We  were  talking  about  freedom  of  thought,  which  is  sheer  nonsense,
which means you may express what you want, say what you like; but thought
in itself is never free, because thought is the response of memory. One can
observe  this  for  oneself.  Thought  is  the  response  of  memory,  experience,
knowledge. Knowledge, experience, memory, are always old and so thought is
always old. Therefore thought can never see anything new. Can the mind look
at the problem of fear without the interference of thought? Do you understand,
I am afraid. There is fear of what one has done. Be completely aware of it
without the interference of thought – and then is there fear? As we said, fear is
brought about through time; time is thought. This is not philosophy, not some
mystical  experience;  just  observe  it  in  yourself,  you  will  see.  One  realizes
thought must function objectively, efficiently, logically, healthily. When you go
to the office, or whatever you do, thought must operate, otherwise you cannot
do  anything.  But  the  moment  thought  breeds  or  sustains  pleasure  and  fear,
then  thought  becomes  inefficient.  Thought  then  breeds  inefficiency  in
relationship and therefore causes conflict. So one asks whether there can be
an ending of thought in one direction, and yet with thought functioning in its
highest capacity. We are concerned with whether thought can be absent when
the  mind  sees  the  sunset  in  all  its  beauty.  It  is  only  then  that  you  see  the
beauty  of  the  sunset  not  when  your  mind  is  full  of  thoughts,  problems,
violence. That is, if you have observed it, at the moment of seeing the sunset
thought is absent. You look at this extraordinary light on the mountain, it is a
great delight and at that moment thought has no place in it at all. But the next
moment thought says: «How marvellous that was, how beautiful, I wish I could
paint it, I wish I could write a poem about it, I wish I could tell my friends what a
lovely  thing  it  is.»  Or  thought  says:  «I  would  like  to  see  that  sunset  again   54
tomorrow.»  Then  thought  begins  its  mischief.  Because  thought  then  says:
«tomorrow I will have that pleasure again», and when you don’t have it there is
pain. This is very simple, and because of its very simplicity it gets lost. We all
want  to  be  terribly  clever,  we  are  all  so  sophisticated,  intellectual,  we  read
such a lot. The whole psychological history of mankind (not who was king and
what  kind  of  wars  there  were  and  all  the  absurdity  of  nationalities)  is  within
oneself. When you can read that in yourself you have understood. Then you
are a light to yourself, then there is no authority, then you are actually free.
So  our  question  is:  Can  thought  cease  to  interfere?  And  it  is  this
interference  that  produces  time.  Do  you  understand?  Take  death.  There  is
great beauty in what is involved in death, and it is not possible to understand
that beauty if there is any form of fear. We are just showing how frightened we
are  of  death,  because  it  might  happen  in  the  future  and  it  is  inevitable.  So
thought thinks about it and shuts it out. Or thought thinks about the fear that
you  have  had,  the  pain,  the  anxiety,  and  that  it  might  be  repeated.  We  are
caught  in  the  mischief  made  by  thought.  Yet  one  also  realizes  the
extraordinary importance of thought. When you go to the office, when you do
some- thing technological, you must use thought and knowledge. Seeing the
whole process of it from the beginning of this talk till now – seeing the whole of
that – one asks, «Can thought be silent?» Can one look at the sunset and be
completely involved in the beauty of that sunset, without thought bringing into it
the question of pleasure? Please follow this. Then conduct becomes righteous.
Conduct  becomes  virtuous  only  when  thought  does  not  cultivate  what  it
considers to be virtue, which then becomes unholy and ugly. Virtue is not of
time or of thought; which means virtue is not a product of pleasure or of fear.
So now the question is: How is it possible to look at the sunset without thought
weaving  round  it  pleasure  or  pain?  Can  one  look  at  this  sunset  with  such
attention,  with  such  complete  involvement  in  that  beauty,  so  that  when  you
have seen that sunset it is ended and not taken over by thought, as pleasure,
for tomorrow?
Are we communicating with each other? Are we?    55
(Audience.. Yes, yes.)
Krishnamurti:  Good,  I’m  glad,  but  don’t  be  so  quick  in  answering  «Yes».
(Laughter) For this is quite a difficult problem, To watch the sunset without the
interference  of  thought  demands  tremendous  discipline;  not  the  discipline  of
conformity, not the discipline of suppression or control. The word «discipline»
means  «to  learn»  –  not  to  conform,  not  to  obey  –  to  learn  about  the  whole
process  of  thinking  and  its  place.  The  negation  of  thought  needs  great
observation.  And  to  observe  there  must  be  freedom.  In  this  freedom  one
knows the movement of thought, and then learning is active.
What do we mean by learning? When one goes to school or college one
learns a great deal of information, perhaps not of great importance, but one
learns. That becomes knowledge and from that knowledge we act, either in the
technological  field,  or  in  the  whole  field  of  consciousness.  So  one  must
understand very deeply what that word «to learn» means. The word «to learn»
obviously  is  an  active  present.  There  is  learning  all  the  time.  But  when  that
learning becomes a means to the accumulation of knowledge, then it is quite a
different  thing.  That  is,  I  have  learned  from  past  experience  that  fire  burns.
That is knowledge. I have learned it, therefore I don’t go near the fire. I have
ceased  to  learn.  And  most  of  us,  having  learned,  act  from  there.  Having
gathered  information  about  ourselves  (or  about  another)  this  becomes
knowledge; then that knowledge becomes almost static and from that we act.
Therefore action is always old. So learning is something entirely different.
If one has listened this evening with attention, one has learned the nature
of fear and pleasure; one has learned it and from that one acts. You see the
difference, I hope. Learning implies a constant action. There is learning all the
time.  And  the  very  act  of  learning  is  doing.  The  doing  is  not  separate  from
learning. Whereas for most of us the doing is separate from the knowledge.
That is, there is the ideology or the ideal, and according to that ideal we act,
approximating the action only to that ideal. Therefore action is always old.    56
Learning,  like  seeing,  is  a  great  art.  When  you  see  a  flower,  what  takes
place? Do you see the flower actually, or do you see it through the image you
have of that flower? The two things are entirely different. When you look at a
flower, at a colour, without naming it, without like or dislike, without any screen
between  you  and  the  thing  you  see  as  a  flower,  without  the  word,  without
thought, then the flower has an extraordinary colour and beauty. But when you
look at the flower through botanical knowledge, when you say: «this is a rose»,
you have already conditioned your looking. Seeing and learning is quite an art,
but you don’t go to college to learn it. You can do it at home. You can look at a
flower and find out how you look at it. If you are sensitive, alive, watching, then
you will see that the space between you and the flower disappears and when
that  space  disappears  you  see  the  thing  so  vitally,  so  strongly!  In  the  same
way when you observe yourself without that space (not as «the observer» and
«the thing observed») then you will see there is no contradiction and therefore
no  conflict.  In  seeing  the  structure  of  fear,  one  also  sees  the  structure  and
nature of pleasure. The seeing is the learning about it and therefore the mind
is not caught in the pursuit of pleasure. Then life has quite a different meaning.
One lives – not in search of pleasure.
Wait a minute before you ask questions. I would like to ask you a question:
What have you got out of this talk? Don’t answer me, please. Find out whether
you got words, descriptions, ideas, or if you got something that is true, that is
irrevocable, indestructible, because you yourself have seen it. Then you are a
light to yourself and therefore you will not light your candle at any other light;
you are that light yourself. If that is a fact, not a hypocritical assumption, then a
gathering of this kind has been worthwhile. Now, perhaps, would you like to
ask questions?
As we said yesterday, you are asking questions to find out, not to show that
you  are  more  intelligent  than  the  speaker.  A  person  who  compares  is  not
intelligent;  an  intelligent  man  never  compares.  Either  you  ask  a  question
because by asking you would reveal yourself, expose yourself to yourself and
thereby  learn,  or  you  ask  a  question  to  trip  up  the  speaker  –  which  you  are   57
perfectly welcome to do. Or you ask a question to have a wider view, to open
the door. So it depends on you what kind and what quality of question you are
going to ask. Which doesn’t mean, please, that the speaker does not want you
to ask questions.
Questioner:  What  is  one  to  do  when  one  notices  the  sunset  and  at  the
same time thought is coming into it?
Krishnamurti: What is one to do? Please understand the significance of the
question. That is, you see the sunset, thought interferes with it, and then you
say «What is one to do?, Who is the questioner who says «What is one to do?»
Is it thought that says what am I to do? Do you understand the question? Let
me  put  it  this  way.  There  is  the  sunset,  the  beauty  of  it,  the  extraordinary
colour, the feeling of it, the love of it; then thought comes along and I say to
myself: «Here it is, what am I to do?» Do listen to it carefully, do go into it. Is it
not thought also that says «What am I to do?» The «I» who says «What am I to
do?», is the result of thought. So thought, seeing what is interfering with this
beauty, says: «What am I to do?»
Don’t do anything! (Laughter) If you do something, you bring conflict into it.
But when you see the sunset and thought comes in, be aware of it. Be aware
of the sunset and the thought that comes into it. Don’t chase thought away be
choicelessly aware of this whole thing: the sunset and thought coming into it.
Then you will find, if you are so aware, without any desire to suppress thought,
to  struggle  against  the  interference  of  thought,  if  you  don’t  do  any  of  those
things then thought becomes quiet. Because it is thought itself that is saying
«What am I to do?» That is one of the tricks of thought. Don’t fall into the trap,
but observe this whole structure of what is happening.
Questioner:  We  are  conditioned  how  to  look  at  the  sunset,  we  are
conditioned how we listen to you as the speaker. So through our conditioning
we look at everything and listen to everything. How is one to be free of this
conditioning?    58
Krishnamurti: When are you aware of this conditioning, of any conditioning?
Do please follow it a little bit. When are you aware that you are conditioned?
Are you aware that you conditioned as an American, as a Hindu, as a Catholic,
Protestant,  Communist,  this  and  that?  Are  you  aware  that  you  are  so
conditioned, or are you aware of it because somebody has told you? If you are
aware because someone has pointed out to you that you are conditioned, then
that is one kind of awareness. But if you are aware that you are conditioned
without being told, then it has a different quality. If you are told that you are
hungry, that is one thing; but if you are actually hungry that is another. Now
find out which it is: whether you were told you are conditioned and therefore
you  realize  it;  or  because  you  are  aware  because  you  are  involved  in  this
whole,  process  of  living  and  because  of  that  awareness  you  realize  for
yourself, without being told, that you are conditioned. Then that has a vitality,
then it becomes a problem that you have to understand very deeply. One sees
that one is conditioned, not because one is told. The obvious reaction to it is to
throw  away  that  conditioning,  if  you  are  intelligent.  Becoming  aware  of  a
particular  conditioning,  you  revolt  against  it,  as  the  present  generation  is
revolting  –  which  is  merely  a  reaction.  Revolt  against  a  conditioning  forms
another kind of conditioning. One becomes aware of one’s conditioning as a
Communist,  a  Protestant,  a  Democrat,  or  a  Republican.  What  takes  place
when there is no reaction but only awareness of what this conditioning actually
is?  What  takes  place  when  you  are  choicelessly  aware  of  this  conditioning,
which you have found for yourself? There is no reaction. Then you are learning
about  this  conditioning,  why  it  comes  into  being.  Two  thousand  years  of
propaganda  have  made  you  believe  in  a  particular  form  of  religious  dogma.
You are aware of how the church through centuries upon centuries, through
tradition,  repetition,  through  various  rituals  and  entertainments,  has
conditioned  our  minds.  There  has  been  the  repetition  day  after  day,  month
after  month,  from  childhood  on;  we  are  baptized  and  all  the  rest  of  it.  And
another form of the same thing takes place in other countries like India, China
and so on.    59
Now when you become aware of it, what happens? You see how quickly
the mind is influenced. The mind being pliable, young, innocent, is conditioned
as a Communist, Catholic, Protestant and so on. Why is it conditioned? Why is
it so shaped by propaganda? Are you following this? Why are you persuaded
by propaganda to buy certain things, to believe in certain things, why? Not only
is there this constant pressure from the outside, but also one wants to belong
to something, one wants to belong to a group, because belonging to a group is
safe.  One  wants  to  be  a  tribal  entity.  And  behind  that  there  is  fear,  fear  of
being alone, of being left out – left out not only psychologically, but also one
may not get a job. All that is involved in it and then you ask whether the mind
can be free of conditioning. When you see the danger of conditioning, as you
see the danger of a precipice or of a wild animal, then it drops away from you
without any effort. But we don’t see the danger of being conditioned. We don’t
see the danger of nationalism, how it separates man from man. If you saw the
danger of it intensely, vitally, then you would drop it instantly.
So  the  question  then  is:  Is  it  possible  to  be  so  intensely  aware  of
conditioning that you see the truth of it? – not whether you like or dislike it, but
the  fact  that  you  are  conditioned  and  therefore  have  a  mind  incapable  of
freedom. Because only the free mind knows what love is.
Questioner:  Is  it  true  that  the  past  should  be  consumed  by  the  fire  of
present total involvement?
Krishnamurti: What is the present? Do you know what it is? You say: «Live
in the present», as many intellectuals advocate – they advocate it because to
them the future is bleak (laughter), meaningless, therefore they say, «Live in
the  present,  make  the  best  of  the  present,  be  completely  «with  it».  We  must
find out what the present is. What is «the now? Do you know what «the now» is,
what the present is? Is there such a thing as the present? No, please, don’t
speculate about it, observe it. Have you ever noticed what «the now» is? Can
you be aware of «the now», know what it is? Or do you only know the past, the
past  which  operates  in  the  present,  which  creates  the  future?  Are  you   60
following?  When  you  say  «live  in  the  present»  you  must  find  out  what  that
present actually is. Is there such a thing? To understand if there is such a thing
as the actual present, you must understand the past. And when you observe
what you are as a human being, you see you are completely the result of the
past.  There  is  nothing  new  in  you,  you  are  secondhand.  You  are  the  past
looking  at  the  present,  translating  the  present.  The  present  being  the
challenge,  the  pain,  the  anxiety,  a  dozen  things  which  are  the  result  of  the
past,  and  you  are  looking  at  it  getting  very  frightened  and  thinking  about
tomorrow,  which  again  creates  another  pleasure  –  you  are  all  that.  To
understand,the now, is an immense problem of meditation – that is meditation.
To understand the past totally, see where its importance lies, and to see its
total unimportance, to realize the nature of time – all that is part of meditation.
Perhaps we can go into it another evening. But Sirs, before you can meditate
there must be the foundation of righteousness, which means no fear. If there is
any  kind  of  fear,  secret  or  obvious,  then  meditation  is  the  most  dangerous
thing,  because  it  offers  a  marvellous  escape.  To  know  what  the  meditative
mind is, is one of the greatest things.    61
Chapter 6 3rd Public Talk
At University Of California Berkeley 5th February 1969
AS WE WERE saying yesterday, we are not concerned with theories, with
doctrines, or speculative philosophy. We are concerned with facts, with what
actually is. And in understanding «what is», non-sentimentally, non-emotionally,
we can go beyond, transcend it. What is important in all these talks is not the
idea, or the negation of the idea, but rather to be involved in the complexities
of life, in the sorrow, with hopelessness and the lack of passion. The root of
the  word  passion  means  «sorrow».  We  are  using  that  word  not  with  the
implication of sorrow, or of the energy that comes through anger, through hate,
through  resistance,  but  rather  in  the  sense  of  passion  that  comes  naturally
without  effort  when  there  is  love.  This  evening  we  would  like  to  talk  about
death, life and love.
We are not merely concerned with the description, with the explanation, but
rather  with  the  deep  understanding  of  the  problem,  so  that  we  are  totally
involved in it, so that it is the very breath of our life, not mere intellectualization.
Can we look, understand and see what this whole problem of living is? Can we
really  come  to  grips  with  life,  love  and  death  –  not  analytically,  not
theoretically? To speculate about what lies beyond seems to me to be so vain,
it has no value whatsoever. To understand the whole significance of life one
has to examine what living is. Clever people throughout the world have sought
a significance beyond the living. The religious people have said this life is only
a  means  to  an  end;  and  those  who  are  not  religious  say  that  life  is
meaningless, Then they proceed to invent some significance according to their
intellect, their conditioning. We are not going to do that this evening. We are
going  to  look  at  living  as  it  is  –  not  emotionally,  nor  sentimentally  –  but  see
actually what it is. And I think it is meaningful when one can look at the whole
totality of living, not just at one fragment of it. Then perhaps, by not giving a
meaning  or  a  significance  to  life,  we  will  see  the  beauty  of  living,  the  very
vastness of it. And that beauty, the extraordinary quality of living, can only be   62
understood, or felt deeply, if we examine profoundly what we call living, what
we  are  actually  doing.  Without  understanding  what  living  is,  we  shall  not  be
able to understand what dying is, nor what love is.
One uses the words «love», «death», and «living» so loosely – every politician
talks about,love» and every priest has that word on his lips. Love and death,
both are of immense importance, and I  say that without understanding  what
death is, there is no understanding of love. To understand what death is, one
has to understand most profoundly, with great earnestness, what living is; one
must examine freely, actually without any hope. It doesn’t mean we must be in
a state of despair to examine. A mind that is in despair becomes cynical; nor
can a mind that is burdened with hope examine properly, it is already biased.
So to examine what we call living, the daily act of living, needs clarity, not of
thought, but clarity of perception: the clarity of seeing actually «what is».
The seeing of «what is», that very act is passion! For most of us passion is
always derived from hatred, from sorrow, anger, tension; or there is passion
that is brought about through pleasure which becomes lust. Such passion is
incapable of the energy that is required to understand this whole process of
living. Understanding really is passion; without passion you can’t do anything.
Intellectual  passion  is  not  passion  at  all.  But  to  examine  the  whole  of  living
needs  not  only  extraordinary  clarity  of  perception,  but  also  the  intensity  of
So what is it that we call living? Not what we would like it to be – that’s just
an idea, it has no reality, it’s merely the opposite of «what is». The opposite of
«what is» creates division and in that division there is conflict. In looking at what
living  is,  we  should  utterly  banish  the  idea  of  what  «should  be»,  for  that  is
escaping into ideological seeing, which is totally unreal. We are only going to
examine  what  living  actually  is;  and  the  quality  of  examination  is  more
important than the examination itself. Any clever person can examine, given a
certain sharpness of mind, a certain sensitivity. But if the exploration is merely
intellectual it loses that sensitivity which comes when there is a certain quality   63
of  compassion,  affection,  care.  To  have  that  quality  of  mind  that  looks  very
clearly, there must be this care, this quality of affection and compassion, which
the intellect will deny. We must be alert to the prompting of the intellect in the
examination  of  what  is  actually  going  on  in  our  daily  life  –  one  needs  some
warning,  if  I  may  use  that  word,  to  know  that  the  description  is  never  the
described, nor the word the thing.
As we said, without understanding what living is, we shall never understand
what dying is, and without understanding what death is, love merely becomes
pleasure and therefore pain. What is it that we call living? As one observes in
daily  life,  in  every  relationship  with  people,  with  ideas,  with  property,  with
things, there is great conflict. To us, all relationship has become a battlefield, a
struggle.  From  the  moment  we  are  born  till  we  die,  living  is  a  process  of
accumulating problems, never resolving them, of being burdened with all kinds
of  issues.  Basically  it  is  a  field  in  which  man  is  against  man.  So  living  is
conflict. Nobody can deny that, we are all in conflict, whether we like it or not.
We want to get away from this everlasting conflict, so we invent all kinds of
escapes – from football to the image of God. Each of us knows not only the
burden  of  that  conflict,  but  also  the  sorrow,  the  loneliness,  the  despair,  the
anxiety, the ambition and the frustration, the utter boredom, the routine. There
are  occasional  flashes  of  joy  to  which  the  mind  immediately  clings  as
something extraordinary and wants repeated; then that joy becomes a mem-
ory, ashes. That is what we call living. If we look at our own life – not verbally
or  intellectually,  but  actually  as  it  is  –  we  see  «how  empty  it  is.  Think  of
spending forty, fifty years going to the office every day, to accumulate money
to  sustain  a  family  and  all  the  rest  of  it.  That’s  what  we  call  living  –  with
disease,  old  age  and  death.  And  we  try  to  escape  from  this  misery  through
religion, through drink, through erudition, through sex, through every form of
entertainment,  religious  or  otherwise.  That  is  our  life  despite  our  theories,
ideals and philosophy; we live in conflict and sorrow.
Our life has brought about a culture, a society, which has become the trap
in which we are caught. The trap is built by us; for that trap each one of us is   64
responsible. Though we may revolt against the established order, that order is
what we have made, what we have built. And merely to revolt against it has
very little meaning, because you will create another established order, another
bureaucracy. All this, with the national, racial, religious differences, the wars
and the shedding of blood and tears, is what we call living, and we don’t know
what  to  do.  We  are  confronted  with  this.  Not  knowing  what  to  do,  we  try  to
escape, or we try to find somebody who will tell us what to do, some authority,
guru, teacher, someone who will say, «Look, this is the way».
The teachers, the gurus, the mahatmas, the philosophers, have all led us
astray, because actually we have not solved our problems, our lives are not
different. We are the same miserable, unhappy, sorrow-laden people. So the
first thing is never to follow another, including the speaker. Never try to find out
from another how to behave, how to live. Because what another tells you is not
your life. If you rely or depend on another you will be misled. But if you deny
the  authority  of  the  guru,  the  philosopher,  the  theoretician  –  whether
Communist or theological – then you can look at yourself, then you can find the
answer. But as long as one relies and depends on another, however wise he
may be, one is lost. The man who says he knows, does not know. So the first
thing is never to follow another and that is very difficult because we don’t know
what to do; we have been so conditioned to believe, to follow.
In examining this thing called «living», can we actually – not theoretically –
put aside every form of psychological following, every urge to find somebody
who will tell us what to do? How can a confused mind find somebody who will
tell the truth? The confused mind will choose somebody according to its own
confusion.  So  don’t  rely  or  depend  on  another.  If  we  do,  we  carry  a  heavy
burden, the burden of dependence on books, on all the theories of the world;
that is a tremendous burden and if you can put it aside then you are free to
observe,  then  you  have  no  opinion,  no  ideology,  no  conclusion,  but  can
actually  see  «what  is».  Then  you  can  look,  then  you  can  say:  «What  is  this
conflict that one lives with?    65
As one observes – and I hope you are also observing, not depending on the
words  of  the  speaker  –  you  will  see  this  conflict  exists  as  long  as  there  is
contradiction in oneself, the contradiction of opposing desires; as long as there
is the opposite, the «what is» and the «what should be». The «what» should be»
is the opposite of «what is» and «what should be» is shaped by «what is». So the
opposite  is  also  «what  is».  Living  is  a  process  of  conflict  in  which  there  is
violence; that is «what is», the fact. The opposite is «non-violence», a state in
which  there  is  no  conflict,  no  violence.  The  man  who  is  violent  is  trying  to
become non-violent. It may take him ten years, or it may take him all the rest
of his life to become non-violent, but in the meantime he is sowing the seeds
of  violence.  So  there  is  the  fact  of  violence  and  the  non-fact,  which  is  non-
violence, which is the opposite. In this contradiction there is conflict: the man
trying  to  become  something.  When  you  can  banish  the  opposite,  not  try  to
become  nonviolent,  then  you  can  actually  face  violence.  Then  you  have
energy  which  is  not  dissipated  through  conflict  with  the  opposite.  Then  you
have  the  energy,  the  passion,  to  find  out  «what  is».  Am  I  making  this  clear?
You know, communication is quite arduous, but what is much more important
than  communication  is  communion:  to commune  together  over  this  problem;
that is, both of us at the same time, at the same level being intent to observe,
to learn, to find out. Only then is there communion between two people, which
goes  beyond  communication.  We  are  trying  to  do  both;  we  are  not  only
establishing  communication,  but  also  at  the  same  time  we  are  trying  to
commune  together  over  this  problem.  This  is  not  propaganda,  we  are  not
trying to dominate you, or persuade you, or influence you, but merely ask you
to observe.
Now I see that to observe, to see actually «what is», is not possible when
there is the opposite. The ideal is the cause of the contradiction and therefore
of the conflict. When you are angry and you say «I should not be angry», the
«should  not»  brings  about  a  contradiction  and  therefore  there  is  a  division
between anger and the pretence that one should not be angry. To admit your
anger and to be aware, to see the significance of that anger, you need energy   66
and  that  energy  is  dissipated  through  conflict  and  through  the  pursuit  of  the
opposite.  So  can  you  leave  the  opposite  altogether?  This  is  very  difficult,
because  the  opposite  is  not  only  the  ideal  but  also  it  is  the  process  of
measuring  and  comparing.  When  there  is  no  comparison  then  there  is  no
You  know,  we  are  trained  and  conditioned  to  compare,  to  measure
ourselves against the hero, the saint, the big man. To observe «what is», the
mind must be free of all comparison, of the ideal, of the opposite. Then you will
see that what actually «is», is far more important than what «should be». Then
you  have  the  energy,  the  vitality,  to  put  aside  the  contradiction  which  is
brought  about  by  the  opposite.  To  be  free  of  the  process  of  comparison
requires discipline and that discipline comes in the very act of understanding
the futility of the opposite. To observe this closely, to see the whole structure
and nature of this conflict, this very act of looking demands discipline; it is dis-
cipline. Discipline means learning and we are learning – not suppressing, not
trying to become something, not trying to imitate, to conform. This discipline is
extraordinarily pliable, sensitive.
Each  one  of  us  is  examining  this  conflict.  We  said  it  arises  through  the
opposite. The opposite is part of «what is». The opposite is also «what is». And
as  the  mind  cannot  understand  or  resolve  «what  is»,  it  escapes  into  «what
should  be».  When  you  have  put  aside  all  that,  then  the  mind  is  observing
closely,  what  is»,  which  is  violence  (we  are  taking  that  as  an  example).  So
what  is  this  thing  we  call  violence?  When  there  is  no  opposite  to  violence,
when you are actually faced with that fact of anger, the feeling of hatred – then
is there violence, is there anger? Go into it, if I may suggest, you will see it in
yourself.  I  can’t  go  into  it  in  too  much  detail  because  we  have  got  to
understand what death is, what love is; so we must proceed rather rapidly.
What we call living is conflict and we see what that conflict is. When we
understand that conflict, «what is» is the truth and it is the observation of the
truth that frees the mind from «what is». There is also much sorrow in our life   67
and we do not know how to end it. The ending of sorrow is the beginning of
wisdom.  Without  knowing  what  sorrow  is  and  understanding  its  nature  and
structure, we shall not know what love is, because for us love is sorrow, pain,
pleasure, jealousy. When a husband says to his wife that he loves her and at
the  same  time  is  ambitious,  has  that  love  any  meaning?  Can  an  ambitious
man  love?  Can  a  competitive  man  love?  And  yet  we  talk  about  love,  about
tenderness,  about  ending  war,  when  we  are  competitive,  ambitious,  seeking
our own personal position, advancement and so on. All this brings sorrow. Can
sorrow end? It can only come to an end when you understand yourself, which
is actually «what is». Then you understand why you have sorrow, whether that
sorrow is self-pity, or the fear of being alone, or the emptiness of your own life,
or the sorrow that comes about when you depend on another. And all this is
part  of  our  living.  When  we  understand  all  this  we  come  to  a  much  greater
problem,  which  is  death.  Please  bear  in  mind  that  we  are  not  talking  about
reincarnation, about what happens after death. We are not talking about that,
or giving hope to those people who are afraid of death.
Yesterday we went into the question of fear. When the mind is free of fear,
then  what  is  death?  There  is  old  age  with  all  its  troubles:  disease,  loss  of
memory,  a  thousand  ailments,  the  fear  of  ageing.  In  this  country  all  the  old
people  are  called  young!  A  woman  of  about  eighty  is  called  a  young  lady!
People are frightened and when there is fear there is no understanding; when
there is self-pity there is no end to sorrow. So what is it to die? The organism
comes to an end, obviously. Man lives for ninety years, and if the scientists
discover some medicine he might live one hundred and fifty – and God knows
why he wants to live to one hundred and fifty, the way we live! But even then,
even if you live for one hundred years, the organism wears out, because we
live  so  utterly  wrongly:  in  conflict,  fear,  tension,  killing  animals  and  human
beings.  What  a  mess  we  make  of  our  lives!  So  old  age  becomes  a  terrible
thing. Yet there is always death – for the young, for the middle-aged or for the
old.  What  do  we  mean  by  dying,  apart  from  physical  death,  which  is
inevitable?  There  is  a  deeper  meaning  to  death  than  merely  the  physical   68
organism  coming  to  an  end;  that  is,  psychologically  coming  to  an  end  –  the
«me»,  the  «you»,  coming  abruptly  to  an  end.  The  «me»,  the  «you»,  that  has
accumulated  knowledge,  suffered,  lived  with  memories  pleasurable  and
aching, with all the travail of the known, with the psychological conflicts, the
things that one has not understood, the things that one wanted to do and has
not done. The psychological struggle, the memories, the pleasure, the pains –
all that comes to an end. That is actually what one is afraid of, not what lies
beyond death. One is never afraid of the unknown; one is afraid of the known
coming to an end. The known being your house, your family, your wife, your
chil-  dren,  your  ideas,  your  furniture,  your  books,  the  things  with  which  you
have identified yourself. When that is gone you feel completely isolated, lonely,
that is what you are afraid of. That is a form of death and that is the only death.
Seeing  that  –  not  theoretically,  but  actually  –  seeing  that  one  is  afraid  of
losing everything that one has owned or created or worked for, one asks: «Is it
not  possible  to  die  psychologically,  every  day,  to  everything  that  one  has
known?» Can one die every day, so that the mind is fresh, young and innocent
each  day?  Actually  do  it  and  you  will  find  out  what  extraordinary  things
happen. The mind then becomes innocent. An old mind, however experienced,
is never innocent. Only a mind that has shed all its burdens every day, that
has  ended  every  problem  every  day,  is  an  innocent  mind.  Then  life  has  a
different  meaning  altogether.  Then  one  can  find  out  what  love  is.  Obviously
love  is  not  pleasure;  as  we  said  yesterday,  pleasure  brings  pain  because
pleasure, like fear, is the process of thought. If love is the process of thought,
then is it love? Most of us are jealous, envious, and yet we talk about love.
Can  an  envious  mind  love?  When  one  says  one  loves,  is  it  love?  Or  is  the
mind protecting its own pleasure and therefore cultivating fear? Can love be
cultivated  when  there  is  fear  and  pleasure,  which  is  thought?  And  with  it
comes the problem of sex. (Laughter) Why do you laugh? I’m glad you laugh,
but why?
We have to explore this question, as we have explored fear and what living
is. Why have we made sex into such a big issue. Why has sex become such a   69
problem? Apparently everything revolves around it, not only now, but also in
the past. It has become such an extraordinarily important thing Why? Would
you please find out? We are not offering an opinion, we are examining. It has
become  so  colossally  important,  first,  because  intellectually  we  are
secondhand  people.  We  know  what  others  have  done  and  do,  we  repeat
others have said – the Buddha, Christ, and all the others – we theorize. That is
not  intellectual  freedom,  which  is  freedom  from  thought.  We  are  bound  by
thought, and thought is always old, it is never new; so intellectually there is no
freedom  in  the  deep  sense  of  that  word,  because  thought  can  never  bring
about  that  freedom.  Intellectually  we  are  bound  and  emotionally  we  are
shoddy,  ugly,  sentimental,  false,  hypocritical.  So  in  life  we  have  lost  all
freedom, except sex. That is probably the only free thing that you have. And
with it goes pleasure, the image which thought has created about the act and
we chew that image, that pleasure, like a cow chews the cud, over and over
again. That is the only thing you have in which you are really free as a human
being.  Everywhere  else  you  are  not  free,  because  we  are  slaves  to
propaganda whether it is Christian, Catholic, or Communist. Lacking freedom
everywhere, there is only this freedom and that too is not freedom, because
you  are  caught  by  pleasure  and  the  responsibility  of  pleasure,  which  is  the
family. But if you really loved the family, the children, if you really loved with
your heart, do you think you would have a single day of war?
Your  security  is  in  pleasure  and  therefore  in  that  security  there  is  pain,
sorrow  and  confusion;  and  so  in  everything,  including  sex,  there  is  pain,
torture,  doubt,  jealousy,  dependence.  The  one  thing  you  have  in  which  you
feel free has also become a bondage. So seeing all this – actually, not verbally,
not carried away by description, because the description is never the thing that
is described – seeing it with your eyes, with your heart, with your mind, with
complete attention, you will know what love is. And also you will know what
death is, and what living is.    70
Chapter 7 4th Public Talk
At University Of California Berkeley 6th February 1969
MAN IS SEARCHING for something more than the transient. Probably from
time  immemorial  he  has  been  asking  himself  if  there  is  something  sacred,
something that is not worldly, that is not put together by thought, by the intel-
lect. He has always asked if there is a reality, a timeless state not invented by
the  mind,  not  projected  by  thought,  but  a  state  of  mind  where  time  does
actually not exist: if there is something «divine», «sacred», «holy» (if one can use
those  words),  that  is  not  perishable.  Organized  religions  seem  to  have
supplied  the  answer.  They  say  there  is  a  reality,  there  is  a  God,  there  is
something  which  the  mind  cannot  possibly  measure.  Then  they  begin  to
organize  what  they  consider  to  be  the  real  and  man  is  led  astray.  You  may
remember the story about the devil who was walking down the street with a
friend;  they  saw  a  man  ahead  stoop  down  and  pick  up  something  from  the
road. And as he picked it up and looked at it there was a great delight in his
face; the friend of the devil asked what it was that he had picked up and the
devil said, «It is truth». The friend said, «Isn’t that a very bad business for you?»
The devil answered, «Not at all, I am going to help him organize it,. (Laughter)
The worship of an image made by the hand or by the mind and the dogmas
and  rituals  of  organized  religion,  with  their  sense  of  beauty,  have  become
something very holy, very sacred. And so man, in his search for that which is
beyond all measure, all time, has been caught, trapped, deceived, because he
always  hopes  to  find  something  which  is  not  entirely  of  this  world.  After  all,
what actually have traditional, bureaucratic, capitalist, or Communist societies
to offer? Very little except food, clothes and shelter. Perhaps one may have
more opportunities for work or can make more money, but ultimately, as one
observes, these societies have very little to offer; and the mind, if it is at all
intelligent  and  aware,  rejects  it.  Physiologically  one  needs food,  clothes  and
shelter,  that  is  absolutely  essential.  But  when  that  becomes  of  the  greatest
importance, then life loses its marvellous meaning. So this evening it might be   71
worthwhile  spending  some  time  to  find  out  for  ourselves  if  there  really  is
something  sacred,  something  which  is  not  put  together  by  thought,  by
circumstances, which is not the result of propaganda. It would be worthwhile, if
we could, to go into this question, because unless one finds something that is
not  measurable  by  words,  by  thought,  by  any  experience,  life  –  that  is,
everyday  living  –  becomes  utterly  superficial.  Perhaps  that  is  why  (though
maybe  not)  the  present  generation  rejects  this  society  and  is  looking  for
something beyond the everyday struggle, ugliness, brutality.
Can we inquire into the question, «What is a religious mind? What is the
state of the mind which can see what truth is? You may say «there is no such
thing as truth, there is no such thing as God, God is dead, we must make the
best of this world and get on with it. Why ask such questions when there is so
much confusion, so much misery, starvation, ghettos, racial prejudices; let’s be
concerned with all that, let’s bring about a humanitarian society». Even if this
were done – and I hope it will be done – this question must still be asked. You
may ask it at the end of ten, fifteen, fifty years, but this question will inevitably
be asked. It must be asked: whether there is a state which puts an end to time.
First of  all  there  must be freedom  to  look,  freedom  to  observe  if  there  is
such a state or not; we cannot possibly assume anything. So long as there is
any  assumption,  any  hope,  any  fear,  then  the  mind  is  distorted,  it  cannot
possibly see clearly. So freedom is absolutely necessary in order to find out.
Even in a scientific laboratory you need freedom to observe; you may have an
hypothesis, but if it interferes with the observation then you put it aside. It is
only  in  freedom  that  you  can  discover  something  totally  new.  So  if  we  are
going to venture together, not only verbally but nonverbally, then there must be
this freedom from any sense of personal demand, any sense of fear, hope or
despair; we must have clear eyes, unspotted, unconditioned, so that we can
observe out of freedom. That is the first thing.
In the past three talks we have found that there is the question of fear and
pleasure. If that is no clear and if one has not applied oneself to the question   72
of fear, then it will not be possible to follow further into what we are going to
explore.  Obviously  our  minds  are  conditioned  by  beliefs  –  Christian,  Hindu,
Buddhist and so on. Unless there is complete freedom from belief of any kind,
it is not possible to observe, to find out for oneself if there is a reality which
cannot  be  corrupted  by  thought.  And  one  must  also  be  free  from  all  social
morality, because the morality of society is not moral. A mind that is not highly
moral, a mind that is not embedded in righteousness, is not capable of being
free. That’s why it is important to understand oneself, to know oneself, to see
the  whole  structure  of  oneself  –  the  thoughts,  the  hopes,  the  fears,  the
anxieties,  the  ambitions,  and  the  competitive,  aggressive  spirit.  Unless  one
understands and deeply establishes righteous behaviour, there is no freedom,
because  the  mind  gets  confused  by  its  own  uncertainty,  by  its  own  doubts,
demands, pressures.
So  to  enquire  into  this  fundamental  question  as  to  what  is  the  religious
mind, and whether there is such a thing, there must be this freedom, not only
at the conscious level, but also at the deeper levels of one’s consciousness.
Most  of  us  have  accepted  that  there  is  an  unconscious,  that  it  is  something
hidden, dark, unknown. Without understanding the totality of that unconscious,
merely to scratch the surface by analytical examination has very little meaning,
whether it is done by the professionals or through one’s own enquiry. So one
has to look into this also, into the conscious mind as well as into the mind that
is deep down, secret, hidden, which has never been exposed to the light of
intelligence, to the light of enquiry. Can we also go into the question whether
the conscious mind – that is the everyday mind, the mind that has sharpened
itself through competition, through so-called education – whether such a mind
can examine the deeper, unconscious layers.
What is this treasured unconscious which everybody talks about? Must one
go through all the volumes written by the specialists to find out? Must one go
to an expert to tell us what it is? Or can one find out for oneself – completely,
not partially, not in fragments? It is said that you must dream, otherwise you
will go mad, because dreams are the hints, the intimations of the unconscious   73
and  the  secret,  unexplored  layers  of  the  mind.  Dreams  therefore  are  an
expression of these deeper layers, and in this way, if you or the analyst are
capable  of  interpreting  the  dreams,  then  you  can  expose,  empty  the
unconscious. No one has ever asked why one should dream at all. It is said
that  you  must  dream,  that  it  is  healthy,  normal;  but  one  can  question  the
validity  of  that  statement  because  one  must  doubt  everything.  (This  doubt
gives you energy, vitality, passion to find out.) We must ask why one should
have dreams at all, because if the mind is working all the time, is endlessly in
movement night and day, then it has no rest, it cannot refresh itself, it cannot
make itself anew. It is like a machine that is constantly working; it wears itself
out. So one asks, as we are doing now, «What is the need for dreams?» It may
be possible not to dream. After asking that question we are going to find out if
it is possible not to dream, because the unconscious is the storehouse of the
past,  the  racial  and  family  inheritance,  the  tradition  of  society,  the  various
formulas,  sanctions  and  motives,  the  inheritance  from  the  animal  –  it  is  all
there. Through dreams these are revealed bit by bit and one must be capable
of  interpreting  them  rightly.  That,  of  course,  is  quite  impossible.  There  are
experts  who  will  translate  all  those  dreams  –  but  according  to  their
conditioning, according to their knowledge, according to the information which
they have derived from others.
So we are asking: is there a need for dreams? Is it possible not to dream?
Consciousness  is  obviously  not  only  of  what  is  above,  but  also  of  what  is
below – the total thing. If during the waking day the content of the mind can be
observed,  watched,  then  when  you  sleep  there  will  be  no  necessity  for
dreams. That is, if during the waking hours you are aware of your thoughts, of
your feelings, of your reactions, your motives, the tradition, the inhibitions, the
various  forms  of  compulsion,  the  tensions  –  if  you  watch  them,  not  correct
them, not force them to be different, not translate them, but if you are actually
choicelessly aware during the day – then the mind is so alert, so sensitive to
every  reaction,  to  every  movement  of  thought,  that  the  motives,  the  racial
inheritance and all the rest of it are thrown up and exposed. Then you will see,   74
if you do it seriously, with intensity, with a passion to find out, that your nights
are peaceful, without a dream, so that the mind upon waking is fresh, clear,
without  distortion.  The  personal  element  is  dissolved  so  that  it  can  observe
completely; this is possible, not by applying what the experts say, but through
studying yourself as you watch yourself in the mirror when you shave, or when
you comb your hair. Then you will find out that the whole of the unconscious is
as petty, shallow, dull, as the superficial mind; there is nothing holy about the
unconscious. Then the mind, being free from fear, from all the pain brought by
pleasure, is not looking for pleasure. Bliss is not pleasure, bliss is something
entirely different. Pleasure, as we pointed out, brings with it pain and therefore
fear,  but  the  mind  is  looking  for  pleasure  –  ultimate  pleasure  –  because  the
pleasures that we have in this world are so worn out, they have become so
dull and faded, and so one is always looking for new pleasures. But such a
mind is always in a state of fear. A mind that is seeking everlasting pleasure,
or  wanting  experiences  that  will  assure  great  pleasure,  such  a  mind  is  in
darkness. You can observe this as a very simple fact.
So the mind, without being free from fear and the search for the deepening
and  the  widening  of  pleasure  –  which  brings  pain  and  anxiety  and  all  the
burden  and  travail  of  pleasure  –  such  a  mind  is  not  free.  And  a  mind  which
believes that there is a God, or that there is no God, is equally a conditioned,
prejudiced mind.
I hope you can do all that! The speaker is emphatic but don’t be persuaded
by him, for he has no authority at all. In this matter of finding out, there is no
authority, there is no guru, there is no teacher. You are the teacher and the
disciple  yourself.  If  only  one  could  put  all  authority  aside,  for  that  is  the
greatest difficulty – to be free and yet be established in righteousness, in virtue,
because virtue is order. We live in great disorder; the society in which we live
is  in  utter  disorder,  with  social  injustice,  racial  differences,  economic,
nationalistic divisions. As you observe in yourself, we are also in disorder, and
the  disordered  mind  cannot  possibly  be  free.  So  order,  which  is  virtue,  is
necessary; order, not according to some blueprint or according to the priests   75
or those who say «We know and you don’t know». Order is virtue and this order
can  only  come  about  when  we  understand  what  is  disorder.  Through  the
negation of what is disorder, order comes into being. In denying the disorder of
society  there  is  order,  because  society  encourages  acquisitiveness,
competition,  envy,  strife,  brutality,  violence.  Look  at  the  armies,  the  navies  –
that is disorder! When you deny – not society, but inwardly in yourself – fear,
ambition,  greed,  envy,  the  search  for  pleasure  and  prestige  –  which  breeds
inward disorder – then in the total denial of that disorder there comes the order
which is beauty, which is not merely the result of environmental pressures or
environmental behaviour. There must be order and you will find that order is
If  one  has  done  all  this  –  and  one  must  –  then  one  can  ask:  «What  is
meditation?»  It  is  only  the  meditative  mind  that  can  find  out,  not  the  curious
mind,  not  the  mind  that  is  everlastingly searching.  It  is  a  peculiar  thing,  that
when  the  mind  is  searching,  it  will  find  what  it  is  searching  for.  But  what;  it
searches  for  and  finds  is  already  known,  because  what  it  finds  must  be
recognizable  –  mustn’t  it?  Recognition  is  part  of  this  search,  and  experience
and  recognition  come  from  the  past.  So  in  the  experience  which  comes
through  search  in  which  recognition  is  involved,  there  is  nothing  new,  it  has
already been known. That’s why people take drugs of various kinds; this has
been done in India for thousands of years, it is an old trick to bring about the
sharpening  of  the  mind,  to  have  new  experiences;  but  one  has  never
examined  what  experience  itself  means.  One  says  one  must  have  new
experience; new visions. When one has an experience, a new vision, say of
Christ  or  of  Buddha  or  Krishna,  that  vision  is  the  projection  of  your  own
conditioning. The Communist, if he has visions at all, will see the perfect state
all  beautifully  arranged  where  everything  is  bureaucratically  laid  down.  Or  if
you are a Catholic, you will have your visions of Christ or the Virgin and so on;
it all depends on your conditioning. And when you recognise that vision, you
recognise it because it his already been experienced, already known. So there
is nothing really new in the recognition of a vision. A mind that is influenced by   76
drugs,  Though  it  may  temporarily  become  sharp  and  see  something  very
clearly, what it sees is its own conditioning, its own pettiness, enlarged.
If you have done all this – and I hope you have done it for your own sake –
we  are  now  ready  to  enter  into  something  that  demands  a  great  sense  of
perception, beauty and sensitivity. The word «meditation» has been brought to
this country from the East. The Christians have their own words, contemplation
and  so  on,  but  «meditation»  has  now  become  very  popular.  It  is  said  by  the
yogis  and  gurus  that  meditation  is  a  means  to  discover,  to  go  beyond,  to
experience the transcendental. But have you asked who is the experiencer? Is
the  experiencer  different  from  the  thing  he  experiences?  Obviously  not,
because  the  experiencer  is  the  past  with  all  its  memories  and  when  he
experiences,  transcends  through  meditation,  or  through  taking  a  drug,  he
projects from the past, recognizes it and says, «this is a marvellous vision». It is
nothing of the kind, because a mind burdened with the past cannot possibly
see what is new.
We have now come to the point of finding out what meditation is. When you
examine a method, a system, what is implied in it? Somebody says «Do these
things, practise them day after day, for twelve, twenty, forty years and you will
ultimately  come  to  reality».  That  is,  practise  a  method,  whatever  it  is,  but  in
practising a method what happens? Whatever you do as a routine every day,
at a certain hour, sitting cross-legged, or in bed, or walking, if you repeat it day
after day your mind becomes mechanical. So when you see the truth of that,
you see that what is implied in all that is mechanical, traditional, repetitive, and
that  it  means  conflict,  suppression,  control.  A  mind  made  dull  by  a  method
cannot possibly be intelligent and free to observe. They have brought Mantra
Yoga  from  India.  And  you  also  have  it  in  the  Catholic  world  –  Ave  Maria
repeated a hundred times. This is done on a rosary and obviously for the time
being quiets the mind. A dull mind can be made very quiet by the repetition of
words and it does have strange experiences, but those experiences are utterly
meaningless. A shallow mind, a mind that is frightened, ambitious, greedy for
truth or for the wealth of this world, such a mind however much it may repeat   77
some so-called sacred word remains shallow. If you have understood yourself
deeply, learnt about yourself through choiceless awareness and have laid the
foundation  of  righteousness,  which  is  order,  you  are  free  and  do  not  accept
any so-called spiritual authority whatsoever (though obviously one must accept
certain laws of society).
Then  you  can  find  out  what  meditation  is.  In  meditation  there  is  great
beauty, it is an extraordinary thing if you know what meditation is – not «how to
meditate».  The  «how»  implies  a  method,  therefore  never  ask  «how;  there  are
people only too willing to offer a method. But meditation is the awareness of
fear,  of  the  implications  and  the  structure  and  the  nature  of  pleasure,  the
understanding of oneself, and therefore the laying of the foundation of order,
which  is  virtue,  in  which  there  is  that  quality  of  discipline  which  is  not
suppression,  nor  control,  nor  imitation.  Such  a  mind  then  is  in  a  state  of
To meditate implies seeing very clearly and it is not possible to see clearly,
or  be  totally  involved  in  what  is  seen,  when  there  is  a  space  between  the
observer and the thing observed. That is, when you see a flower, the beauty of
a face, or the lovely sky of an evening, or a bird on the wing, there is space –
not only physically but psychologically – between you and the flower, between
you  and  the  cloud  which  is  full  of  light  and  glory;  there  is  space  –
psychologically. When there is that space, there is conflict, and that space is
made  by  thought,  which  is  the  observer.  Have  you  ever  looked  at  a  flower
without space? Have you ever observed something very beautiful without the
space  between  the  observer  and  the  thing  observed,  between  you  and  the
flower? We look at a flower through a screen of words, through the screen of
thought,  of  like  and  dislike,  wishing  that  flower  were  in  our  own  garden,  or
saying «What a beautiful thing it is». In that observation, whilst you look, there
is the division created by the word, by your feeling of liking, of pleasure, and so
there is an inward division between you and the flower and there is no acute
perception. But when there is no space, then you see the flower as you have
never  seen  it  before.  When  there  is  no  thought,  when  there  is  no  botanical   78
information about that flower, when there is no like or dislike but only complete
attention, then you will see that the space disappears and therefore you will be
in complete relationship with  that  flower,  with  that  bird on the wing, with the
cloud, or with that face.
And when there is such a quality of mind, in which the space between the
observer  and  the  thing  observed  disappears  and  therefore  the  thing  is  seen
very clearly, passionately and intensely, then there is the quality of love; and
with that love there is beauty.
You  know,  when  you  love  something  greatly  –  not  through  the  eyes  of
pleasure or pain – when you actually love, space disappears, both physically
and psychologically. There is no me and you. When you come so far in this
meditation, then you will find that quality of silence which is not the result of
«thought seeking silence». They are two different things – aren’t they? Thought
can  make  itself  quiet  –  I  don’t  know  if  you  have  ever  tried  it.  We  struggle
against thought because we see very well that unless it is quiet there is neither
peace in the world nor inwardly – there is no bliss. So we try in various ways to
quiet  the  mind  through  drugs, through tranquilizers,  through  the  repetition  of
words.  But  the  silence  of  the  mind  that  is  made  quiet  by  thought  is  not
comparable with the silence which freedom brings – freedom from all the things
that we have talked about. In that silence, which is of quite a different quality
than the silence brought about by thought, there is a different dimension. This
is a different state which you have to find out for yourself; nobody can open the
door  for  you,  and  no  word,  no  description  can  measure  that  which  is
immeasurable. So unless one  actually  takes  this  long  journey  –  which  is  not
long at all, it is immediate – life has very little meaning. And when you do it you
will find out for yourself what is sacred.
Do you want to ask any questions? Isn’t this silence better than questions?
If you are inwardly quiet, isn’t that better than any question and answer? If you
are really quiet, then you have love and beauty – the beauty that is not in the
building, in the face, in the cloud, in the wood, but in your heart. That beauty   79
cannot  be  described,  it  is  beyond  expression.  And  when  you  have  that,  no
question need ever be asked.    80
– Stanford University –
Chapter 8 1st Public Talk
At Stanford University 11th February 1969
IT  IS  BECOMING  more  and  more  difficult  to  live  peacefully  in  this  world
without  withdrawing  into  a  monastery  or  some  self-enclosing  ideology.  The
world  is  in  such  disorder,  and  there  have  been  so  many  theories  and
speculative  suggestions  on  how  to  live  and  what  to  do.  Philosophers  have
been  at  it  for  so  long,  spinning  out  their  ideas  of  what  man  is  and  what  he
should do. As one travels throughout the world – not being a philosopher or a
human  being  crowded  in  with  many  ideologies  and  having  no  belief
whatsoever about anything – one asks oneself whether it is at all possible for
human beings to change.
When one asks that question (and I’m sure those of us who are somewhat
thoughtful and serious do ask it), one hears it said that we should first change
the world – that is, change the social structure with its economy – and that it
must  be  a  global  change,  a  global  revolution,  not  a  change  affecting  only  a
part of the world. Then, it is said, there will be no need for the individual human
being to set about changing at all: he will change naturally. Circumstances will
then  bring  about  right  occupation,  leisure,  right  relationship,  consideration,
love,  understanding  and  so  on.  So  there  are  those  who,  reasoning  thus,
advocate changing the environment – and it must be global – so that man, who
is  the  creature  of  his  environment,  will  also  change,  naturally.  We  have  this
division,  then,  between  the  inner  and  the  outer,  the  outer  being  the
environment, the society. Bring about a deep revolution in the latter, they say,
and  this  will  98  result  in  changing  the  individual:  the  you  and  the  me.  This
division has been maintained for thousands of years, the separation between
what is called spirit, and that which is of the world, matter – the religious and
the so-called worldly. And this division, in itself, is most destructive, because it
breeds separateness and a series of conflicts: how the inner can adjust itself
to the outer and the outer shape the inner. This has always been the problem.   81
The whole Communist world denies the inner; they say, «do not bother about
it,  it  will  look  after  itself  when  everything  is  perfectly  and  bureaucratically
One observes also that man, with all his anxieties, violence, despair, fear,
acquisitiveness,  his  incessant  competitiveness,  has  produced  a  certain
structure  which  we  call  society,  with  its  morality  and  its  violence.  So,  as  a
human being, one is responsible for whatever is happening in the world: the
wars, the confusion, the conflict that is going on both within and without. Each
one  of  us  is  responsible,  but  I  doubt  whether  most  of  us  feel  that  at  all.
Intellectually,  verbally,  perhaps,  we  may  accept  it;  but  do  we  feel  actually
responsible for the war that is going on in Vietnam or in the Middle East, for
the starvation in the East, and all the misery, division and conflict? I doubt it. If
we did, our whole educational system would be different. As we do not feel it,
we obviously do not love our children. If we did, there would be no war at all
tomorrow; we would see to it that a different culture, a different education, was
brought about.
So  our  question  is  whether  a  human  being  can  be  made  to  feel  –  not
forcibly nor through sanctions and fear – that he must change completely. If he
does  not  change,  he  will  create  a  world  (or,  rather,  perpetuate  a  world)  in
which there is misery, suffering, death and despair; and no amount of theory,
theological  speculation  or  bureaucratic  sanctions  are  going  to  solve  this
problem.  So  what  is  one  to  do?  Faced  with  all  this  confusion,  strife,  this
antagonism, violence and brutality, what is a human being to do? How is he to
act? I wonder if one asks this question seriously of oneself – not sentimentally,
romantically,  nor  merely  in  an  enthusiastic  moment,  but  as  a  question
constantly  present  in  all  its  seriousness.  And  I  wonder  how we will answer?
We might declare that it is not possible to change so deeply, immediately and
fundamentally, as to create a new society. But the moment you say it is not
possible, then it is settled: you have blocked yourself. If one says it is possible,
then  one  is  confronted  with  the  question  of  how  to  bring  about  the
psychological  revolution  in  oneself.  So,  what  is  one  to  do?  Escape  by   82
subscribing  to  some  sectarian  belief  or  by  running  away  into  a  monastery
where  you  practice  Zen  Buddhism?  By  joining  a  new  cult  or  sect  which
promises everything you want?
Seeing  the  extraordinary  division  of  the  world  into  nationalities  and
religions,  the  Hindus,  the  Buddhists,  the  Christians,  the  Catholics  and  the
divisions of races with all their prejudices; seeing that our minds are so heavily
conditioned  by  the  propaganda  of  the  church,  of  the  sacred  books,  of  the
philosophers and the theoreticians – facing all that – one asks oneself,»What
am I, a single human being in relationship with the world, to do – what can I
do?»  When  one  puts  that  question  to  oneself,  one  must  also  ask,  «What  is
action?» We ask «What am I to do and in relationship to what?» Must we deal
with only a segment, a fragment of this total existence? Commit ourselves to
only one part of this whole total existence, this whole life, and act according to
that fragment as a specialist? Seeing this whole life – the life of human sorrow,
the human confusion, the utter lack of relationship, the self-isolating process of
thought, the violence, the brutality of our life with all the fears, anxieties, tears,
death and utter lack of compassion – seeing all this shall I and shall you deal
with the whole of that, or with only a part of it? To deal with the whole of that,
to be totally involved, we must be aware of ourselves as we are – not as we
should  like  to  be;  aware  of  our  minds,  aware  that  we  are  violent,  brutal,
acquisitive  human  beings,  and  ask  whether  that  can  be  transformed
The ideological state, which is non-violence, freedom, love, doesn’t exist:
that’s just an idea. What exists is what is. Can «what is»be transformed? – but
not  by  becoming  «what  should  be».  We  are  conditioned  to  pursue  the  «what
should be»,the ideal, and it seems to me such a waste of time to pursue the
ideal, the perfect, the extraordinary state that one imagines. When you pursue
the ideal, the «what should be», it is a waste of energy, an escape from «what
is».  So,  can  the  mind,  which  has  been  so  heavily  conditioned  to  accept  the
ideal, discard it completely and face «what is»? Because when we discard that
which  is  false,  we  have  the  energy  of  the  truth  of  «what  is».  That  is,  man’s   83
nature, inherited from the animal, is aggressive, violent, angry, full of hate and
jealousy, whereas the ideal is to be non-violent. This ideal, in turn, is put away
at a great distance. And, if we are at all serious, we spend our time and energy
in  trying  to  become  non-violent.  One  can  observe  in  oneself  how  heavily
conditioned one is. There is this conflict between «what is» and «what should
be»,  as  there  is  always  conflict  when  there  is  any  form  of  division  or
separateness.  There  is  conflict  in  our  relationships  because  each  one  is
isolating himself in his activities.
So, how is a mind that has been so heavily conditioned and which is now
faced with «what is» – which is violence, hatred, anger and all the rest of it –
how is that mind to be transformed? That, really, is the basic question affecting
every one of us, psychologically. And how is this sense of separateness to end
so that we can have real relationship? For it is only when there is no division
that there will be no conflict.
We see that in endeavouring to transform that which is, man has invented
an outside agency. Knowing that he is violent, brutal, angry and jealous, and
that it will take too long to become perfect, he does not know what to do. So he
invents  an  outside  agency  full  of  authority:  God,  an  ideal,  a  guru,  a  teacher
and so on – someone who will tell him what to do so that he can live in great
peace, without conflict. But, when one discards all authority – and one must,
because authority implies fear – when one discards the guru, the teacher, the
outside  agency,  one  is  left  alone  with  oneself.  And  that  is  a  most  fearsome
thing: to be alone with oneself-without becoming neurotic or having all kinds of
emotional  upsets.  When  one  has  discarded  all  authority  –  thus  becoming  a
teacher and disciple to oneself and not to another – then where is one? When
you have no ideals and have nobody to guide you –  because all the people
who have tried to guide  have led man astray, leaving him still unhappy, still
confused, anxious and frightened – when you have come that far, where are
you? When one discards the guru, the teacher, the authority, the ideal – when
you actually do not depend on somebody psychologically – then what is one to
do? Is there anything one can do?    84
You know, to communicate verbally is fairly easy. When we use the same
language  and  give  definite  meanings  to  words,  then  it  is  fairly  easy  to
communicate. But what is more important, it seems to me, is to commune with
one  another  about  these  problems.  Over  this  problem  of  life  and  living,
therefore, there must not only be verbal communication but also, at the same
time,  a  communion  with  one  another.  Then  understanding  becomes
comparatively easy.
There is this question of fear, which is surely one of the most complex and
confusing  issues  in  our  life.  However  much  one  may  explain  the  causes  of
fear, describe the structure of fear, we must know that the word is never the
thing, the description never the thing described. And not to be caught by the
word or by the description, but to actually come into contact with that which we
call  fear,  or  with  that  which  we  call  violence,  means  really  to  have  direct
relationship with what is. So one has to go into this question of the relationship
between  the  observer  and  the  thing  observed.  Take  fear:  is  the  observer
different from the thing he observes? When the observer is the observed, then
relationship  is  direct  and  possesses  an  extraordinary  vital  quality  which
demands action. But when there is a division between the observer and the
thing  observed,  then  there  is  conflict.  All  our  relationships  with  other  human
beings – whether intimate or not – are based on division and separateness. The
husband  has  an  image  of  the  wife  and  the  wife  an  image  of  the  husband.
These images have been put together over many years through pleasure and
pain,  through  irritation  and  all  the  rest  of  it  –  you  know,  the  relationship
between a husband and wife. So the relationship between the husband and
the wife is actually the relationship between the two images. Even sexually –
except in the act – the image plays an important part.
So  when  one  observes  oneself,  one  sees  that  one  is  constantly  building
images in relationship and therefore creating division. Hence there is actually
no relationship at all. Although one may say one loves the family or the wife, it
is the image, and therefore there is no actual relationship. Relationship means
not  only  physical  contact  but  also  a  state  in  which  there  is  no  division   85
psychologically. Now when one understands that – not verbally but actually –
then what is the relationship between the observer who says, «I’m afraid», and
the thing called fear itself? Are they two different things? This brings us to the
question as to whether fear can be wiped away through analysis. Does all this
interest you?
Audience: Yes.
Krishnamurti: Because if it doesn’t, I’ll get up and go and you can go. To me
this  is  dreadfully  serious.  I’m  not  a  philosopher,  not  a  lecturer,  nor  am  I
representing some ancient philosophy from India – God forbid! (Laughter)
Having travelled the world over very often and talked to many people, one
is  confronted  not  only  with  the  misery  of  the  world  but  also  with  the  utter
irresponsibility  of  human  beings,  and  one  naturally  becomes  very,  very
serious.  This  does  not  mean  to  be  without  humour,  but  one  does  become
extraordinarily  serious  and  intense.  And  one  has  to  be  very  serious  and
intense to solve these problems in oneself, because in oneself is the world, in
oneself is the whole of mankind – costumes and customs.
So, when one is serious, one is faced with the problem of whether the mind
can actually be free of fear forever, and whether fear can be got rid of through
analysis – through analysing oneself day after day, or going to the professional
to be analysed, perhaps for the next ten years, paying out large sums if you
have  the  money.  Or  is  there  a  different  way,  a  different  approach  to  this
problem, so that fear can end without analysis? Because in analysis there is
always the observer and the thing observed; that is, the analyser and the thing
analysed.  And  the  analyser  must  be  extraordinarily  awake,  unconditioned,
without bias or distortion in order to analyse; if he is at all twisted in any way,
then whatever he analyses will also be biased, twisted. So that is one problem
in  analysis.  The  other  is  that  it  will  take  a  great  deal  of  time,  gradually  and
slowly, bit by bit, to remove all the causes of fear – by then one would be dead
(Laughter).  In  the  meantime  one  lives  in  darkness,  miserable,  neurotic,
creating mischief in the world. And, even after you have discovered the cause   86
(or causes) of fear, will it have any value? Can fear disappear when I know
what I am afraid of? Is the intellectual search for the cause able to dissipate
fear? All these problems are involved in analysis because, as we admit, there
is  this  division  between  the  analyser  and  the  thing  analysed.  Therefore
analysis is not the way – obviously not – because one has seen the way and
why not, one has seen the falseness of it, that it takes time and one has no
time. Psychologically speaking there is no tomorrow: we have invented it. And
so, when you see the falseness of analysis, when you see the truth that the
observer is actually the observed, then analysis comes to an end.
You are faced with this fact that you are fear – not an observer who is afraid
of  fear.  You  are  the  observer  and  the  observed;  the  analyser  and  the  thing
analysed. You know, when you see a tree, when you have actually looked at a
tree – not verbally but actually – then you see that between you and the tree
there is not only physical space but also psychological space. That space is
created by the image you have of the tree, as «the oak», or whatever it is. So
there  is  a  separation  between  the  observer  and  the  observed,  which  is  the
tree. Can this separateness or space disappear? – not that you become the
tree,  that  would  be  too  absurd  and  have  no  meaning  –  but  when  the  space
between the observer and the tree disappears, then you see the tree entirely
differently. I do not know if you have ever tried it.
Questioner: What exactly do you mean by the space between you and the
tree disappears?
Krishnamurti:  Just  a minute,  Sir,  let  me  finish,  and  then  you  can  ask  me
questions  afterwards.  I  hope  you  will.  Analysis  implies  this  space,  and
therefore there is no direct contact or relationship between the analyser and
the  analysed.  And  it  is  only  when  there  is  immediate  contact  with  the  thing
called fear, that there is totally different action. Look, Sir, when you observe
another  –  your  wife,  friend,  husband  –  is  that  observation  based  on  your
accumulated  knowledge  of  the  person  concerned?  If  so,  that  knowledge
makes  for  separateness,  it  divides:  hence  there  is  conflict  and  therefore  no   87
relationship. So, can you look at another – now of course you can look at the
speaker because he is going away and has no direct relationship with you –
but can you look without that space at your wife, your children, your neighbour
or  your  politician?  If  you  can  do  that,  then  you  will  see  things  entirely,
You know, I have been told by those who are fairly serious and who have
taken certain drugs – not for amusement, excitement or visions, but who have
taken them to see what actually takes place – they have told me that the space
between  those  who  have  taken  it  and  the  vase  of  flowers  on  the  table
disappears, and that therefore, they see the flower, the colour, most intensely,
and that there is a quality in that intensity which never existed before. We are
not advocating – at least I am not – that you should take drugs, but, as we were
saying,  as  long  as  there  is  space  in  relationship  –  whether  between  the
analyser and the analysed, the observer and the observed, or the experiencer
and the thing experienced – there must be conflict and there must be pain. So,
when this thing is really understood – not as an idea, not as a verbal exchange
but actually felt – you will see that violence, which was experienced before as
between the observer and the thing observed, that feeling of anger and hatred,
undergoes a tremendous change: it is not what it was, a constant conflict from
childhood  to  death,  an  everlasting  battlefield  in  relationship,  whether  in  the
office  or  in  the  family.  Being  in  conflict  without  being  able  to  resolve  it,  fear
comes  into  being.  Fear  also  exists  where  there  is  pleasure.  We  are  ever  in
pursuit of pleasure: that is what we want, greater and greater pleasure. And
when we pursue pleasure, inevitably there must be pain and fear.
So our question this afternoon is whether the human mind can transform
itself,  not  in  time  but  out  of  time.  That  is,  whether  there  can  be  a  great
psychological revolution inwardly without the idea of time. Thought, after all, is
time,  isn’t  it?  Thought,  which  is  the  response  of  memory,  knowledge,
experience, is from the past. One can observe this for oneself as an actuality,
not as a theory. Thought thinks about that of which it is afraid, or about that
which has given pleasure, and the thinking  about  the  pleasure  and  the  pain   88
lies  within  the  field  of  time.  Obviously.  One  experiences  pleasure  when  one
sees the sunset, or through various other forms of excitement and enjoyment,
and so on. Thought thinks about that which has given excitement, enjoyment.
Please do watch this: you can see it for yourself, it is so simple. Thinking about
it  gives  continuity  to  that  which  one  has  enjoyed.  Yesterday  there  was  that
lovely sunset. Instead of finishing with that sunset, which was over yesterday,
we continue thinking about it, and the very activity of thought in regard to that
incident  breeds  time.  That  is,  I  am  hoping  I  shall  have  that  pleasure  again
tomorrow. So thought breeds both pleasure and pain. Then, from this, arises a
much deeper question: whether thought can be quiet at all. For it is only then
that there is actual transformation.
Now do you care to ask any questions?
Questioner:  You  spoke  about  being  responsible,  but  I  may  not  be
responsible  for  my  thought.  Any change I want to make must be made with
thoughts and perhaps I’m not responsible for my thoughts. I cannot determine
what I think.
Krishnamurti: Sir, what do we mean by that word «responsible»? And is that
feeling of responsibility the product of thought?
Questioner: No, and at the same time, yes.
Krishnamurti: Look, Sir, is love the result of thought?
Questioner: No.
Krishnamurti: Ah, wait! Go slowly Sir (Laughter). Then, if you say no, what
place has thought when you love?
Questioner: This would presuppose my understanding love.
Krishnamurti: Ah, wait, Sir! – that is why I asked if love was pleasure. If it is
pleasure  then  it  is  a  product  of  thought.  Then  pleasure  can  be  cultivated
indefinitely  –  which  is  what  we  are  doing.  But  love  cannot  be  cultivated.   89
Therefore love is not the product of thought. And when there is love, what is
responsibility? Please go slowly. When responsibility is based on thought and
pleasure, then there is duty involved in it, and all the rest of it. But when love is
not pleasure – and one has to go into this very, very carefully – then has love (if
I  may  use  that  word),  has  love  responsibility  in  the  accepted  sense  of  that
word? I love my family, therefore I am responsible for my family. Is that love
based  on  pleasure?  If  it  is,  then  that  word  responsibility  takes  on  quite  a
different meaning: then the family is mine, I possess it, I depend on it I must
look after it. Then I am jealous, for wherever there is dependency, there is fear
and jealousy. So we use this word «love» when we say, «I love my family, I’m
responsible for it; but when you observe a little more closely, you find children
being  trained  to  kill,  being  educated  in  that  peculiar  way  so  that  they  are
always able to earn a livelihood, get a job, as though that was the end of life.
So  is  all  that  responsibility?  Questioner:  We  can’t  really  have  will,  because
what we will is determined by our conditioning.
Krishnamurti:  Sir,  what  is  will?  Please  see  that  these  questions  need  a
great deal of explanation, and everybody is getting bored or has to go away.
We had better stop.
Audience:  They  just  have  to  leave  –  they  are  not  bored.  Family
Krishnamurti:  You  are  not  responsible  for  the  people  leaving?  (Laughter)
Right!  You  see,  Sirs,  we  have  exercised  will:  I  must,  I  must  not;  I  should,  I
should  not.  You  have  exercised  will  to  succeed,  to  achieve  power,  position,
prestige. You have exercised will to dominate. Will has played a great part in
our lives. And, as you say, that is the result of the society, the environment, the
culture in which we live. But the culture in which we live is, in turn, made by
human beings, and so we must ask whether will has any place at all? Because
will implies conflict, struggle, the contradiction: «I am this and I must be that.
And  to  become  that,  I  must  exercise  will,.  We  are  asking  if  there  is  not  a
different way of acting altogether, without will?    90
Questioner: If you don’t use will, must you not then exercise thought?
Krishnamurti: Look, I’ll show you something. When you see danger, is there
the exercise of thought or will? There is immediate action. That action may be
the result of past thought. When you see a precipice, a snake, a dangerous
thing,  you  act  instantly.  That  action  may  be  the  result  of  past  conditioning.
Right? You have been told that it is dangerous to approach a snake, and that
has  become  memory,  conditioning,  and  you  act.  Now  when  you  see  the
danger  of  nationality  –  which  breeds  war,  the  nations  with  their  separate
governments, separate armies and all the rest of these terrible divisions which
are going on in the world – when you see the actual danger of nationality – see
it,  that  is,  not  intellectually  or  verbally  but  actually  see  the  danger  of  it,  the
destructive nature of it – is there an action of will? Does perception – the seeing
of something as false or as true – does that demand thought? Is goodness the
result of thought – or beauty, or love? And can thought ever be new? – because
love  must  be  new,  love  cannot  be  something  that  goes  on  day  after  day
between the family and in the family, as a sort of private possession. Thought,
on the other hand, is always old. So, can we, without the exercise of will, see
things so clearly that there is no confusion and that there is therefore complete
Questioner: Complete action may be aesthetically pleasing.
Krishnamurti: I don’t know what you mean by «complete action». Why do we
say aesthetically beautiful, while at other times it may also be very dangerous?
What  do  we  me  by  «complete  action»?  Sir,  take  a  very  simple  thing:  when
there is comparative action – that is, comparing which course of action is better
– then there is measurement and good comes to an end. Right? No? When
there is comparison, the good comes to an end. And, to be good – note that we
are not using that word in the bourgeois sense – to be good completely means
giving  complete  attention;  when  your  whole  body  –  eyes,  ears,  heart,
everything – is given to attention. Sir, when you love, there is no less or more.
That is complete action.    91
Questioner: Can I change my ideas or thought when, for example, every
day when I go to the office they expect me to be ambitious, greedy and fearful.
They put pressure on me to be that way and they show me that indeed I am
petty, greedy, ambitious and fearful. Can I change if I see that this is not what I
wish to be?
Krishnamurti: Can I, belonging to a structure that demands that I be afraid,
aggressive, acquisitive, can I go to the office without being ambitious? If I am
not ambitious, if I am not greedy, completely – that is, actually and completely
non-greedy,  not  just  verbally  –  then  nothing  is  going  to  make  me  greedy,
because I have seen the truth and the falseness of greed. When I have seen
that clearly, cannot I go to the office and not be destroyed? It is only when I am
partially  greedy  (Laughter)  that  I  am  caught.  That  is  why  one  has  to  be
complete  –  that  is,  completely  attentive,  so  that  in  that  attention  there  is  a
goodness  which  is  not  comparative,  not  measurable.  When  the  mind  is  not
greedy, no structure is going to make it greedy.
Questioner:  How  do  I  maintain  attention  in  a  painful  situation,  when
instinctively my wish is to block out that painful incident?
Krishnamurti:  First  of  all,  I  do  not  want  to  block  out  anything.  Neither
pleasure nor pain. I want to understand it, look at it, go into it. To block out
something is to resist; and where there is resistance, there is fear. The brain,
the mind, has been conditioned to resist. So, can the mind see the truth that
any resistance is a form of fear? Which means I must give attention to what is
called resistance, be completely attentive to resistance: which is to block out,
escape,  take  a  drink,  take  drugs;  any  form  of  escape  or  resistance  –  be
completely alert to it.
Questioner: How long can you do that, Sir?
Krishnamurti: It is not a question of duration, of time, of how long. Do you
see? – you are still thinking in terms of how long.
Questioner: My conditioning.    92
Krishnamurti: Well, watch it, Madame, please do watch it. You flatter me or
insult me: pleasurable or painful. I want the pleasurable and discard or resist
the painful. But if I am attentive, I will be aware when the insult or the flattery is
offered; I will see the thing very clearly. Then it is finished, isn’t it? Next time
you  flatter  me  or  insult  me,  it  will  not  affect  me.  It’s  not  a  question  of
maintaining  attention.  When  you  desire  to  maintain  attention,  then  you  are
maintaining inattention. Right? Do please go into it a little bit. An attentive mind
does  not  ask,  «How  long  will  I  be  attentive?»  (Laughter).  It  is  only  the
inattentive mind that has known what it is to be attentive, which says, «Can I be
attentive all the time?» So, what one has to be attentive to is inattention. Right?
To be aware of inattention, not how to maintain attention. Just to be aware that
I am inattentive, that I say things that I don’t mean, that I am dishonest; just to
be attentive. Inattention breeds mischief, not attention. So, when the mind is
aware of inattention, it is already attentive – you do not have to do any more.
Questioner: How can you tell when you have true perception of what you
should do, when one line of action is going to hurt someone and yet will benefit
Krishnamurti: When you see something clearly as being true – and clarity is
always true – there is no other action but the action of clarity. Whether it hurts
or  doesn’t  hurt  is  irrelevant.  Look,  nationality  is  poison:  it  has  bred,  and  will
continue to breed, wars and hatred. Now to be no non-nationalistic will hurt a
whole group of people: the military, the politician, the priest, all the flag-wavers
of the world. And yet I know it is the most dreadful thing, I see it as poison.
What  am  I  to  do?  I  myself  will  not  touch  it.  In  myself  I  have  wiped  out  all
nationality completely. But the military will say, «You are hurting us». When one
sees  that  is  false  and  what  is  true,  and  acts,  then  there  is  no  question  of
hurting or pleasing anybody. If you see that organized religion is not religion,
then what will you do? Go to church to please people? It might hurt my mother
if I don’t. Sir, what is important is not what hurts and what pleases, but to see
what is true. And then that truth will operate, not you.    93
Chapter 9 2nd Public Talk
At Stanford University 12th February 1969
WE WERE SAYING yesterday that all our life is a constant struggle. From
the moment we are born until we die, our life is a battlefield. And one wonders,
not in the abstract but actually, whether that strife can end and if one can live
completely at peace not only inwardly but also outwardly. While in actual fact
there is no such division as the inner and the outer – it is really a movement –
this division is regarded as existing, not only as the world inside and outside
the skin, but also as the division between me and you, we and they, the friend
and the enemy, and so on. We draw a circle round ourselves: a circle around
me and a circle around you. Having drawn the circle – whether it is the circle of
me and you, or the family, or the nation, the formula of religious beliefs and
dogmas,  the  circle  of  knowledge  one  weaves  round  oneself  –  these  circles
divide us and so there is this constant division which invariably brings about
conflict. We never go beyond the circle, never look beyond it. We are afraid to
leave our own little circle and discover the circle, the barrier, around another.
And I think that therein begins the whole process, the structure and the nature
of  fear.  One  builds  a  barrier  around  oneself,  enclosing  a  private  world  very
carefully made up of formulas, concepts, words and convictions. Then, living
within  those  walls,  one  is  afraid  to  go  outside.  This  division  not  only  breeds
various forms of neurotic behaviour, but also a great deal of conflict. And, if we
abandon one circle, one wall, we build another wall around ourselves. So there
is  this  constant,  enduring  resistance  built  of  concepts,  and  one  wonders
whether it is at all possible not to have any division at all – to end all division
and thus bring an end to all conflict.
Our  minds  are  conditioned  by  formulas:  my  experiences,  my  knowledge,
my family, my country, like and dislike, hate jealousy, envy, sorrow, the fear of
this and the fear of that. That is the circle, the wall behind which I live. And I
am not only afraid of what is within, but even more so of what is beyond the
wall. One can observe this fact very simply in oneself without having to read a   94
great many books, study philosophy and all the rest of it. It may very well be
because one reads so much of what others have said that one knows nothing
about  oneself,  what  one  actually  is,  and  what  is  actually  taking  place  in
oneself.  If  we  looked  in  ourselves  ignoring  what  we  think  we  should  be  but
seeing what we actually are, then, perhaps, we would discover for ourselves
the existence of these formulas and concepts – which are really prejudices and
bias – that divide man against man. And so, in all relationships between man
and man, there is fear and conflict – not only the conflict of sexual rights, of
territorial  rights,  but  also  the  conflict  between  what  has  been,  is  and  what
should be.
When one observes this fact in oneself – not as an idea not as something
that you look in at from outside the window – but actually see in yourself, then
one  can  find  out  whether  it  is  at  all  possible  to  uncondition  the  mind  of  all
formulas,  of  all  beliefs,  prejudices  and  fears  and  thereby,  perhaps,live  at
peace. We see that man, both historically and in present times, has accepted
war as a way of life. So how to end war not any particular war but all wars –
how to live utterly at peace without any conflict, becomes a question not only
for the intellect, but one that must be answered totally, not fragmentarily or in
specialized  fields.  Can  man  –  you  and  I  –  live  completely  at  peace  –  which
doesn’t mean living a dull life, or one that has no active, driving energy – can
we find out if such a peace is possible? Surely it must be possible, otherwise
our life has very little meaning. The intellectuals throughout the world try to find
a significance or assign a meaning to life. All the religious say that existence is
only a means to an end, which is God – God being the real significance. If you
happen not to be a religious person, then you will substitute the State for God,
or invent some other theory out of despair.
So our quest, really, is to find out if man can live at peace; actually live it,
not theoretically, not as an idea, not as your formula according to which you
are going to live peacefully. Such formulas again become walls – my formula
and  your  formula,  my  concept  and  yours,  with  resulting  division  and
everlasting  battle.  Can  one  live  without  a  formula,  without  division,  and   95
therefore without conflict? I do not know if you have ever put that question to
yourself  in  all  seriousness:  whether  the  mind  can  ever  be  free  of  these
divisions of the me and the not me? The me, my family, my country, my God;
or, if I have no God, the me, my family, the State; and if I have no State: me,
my family, and an idea, an ideology.
Is it possible to free oneself from all this, not eventually, but overnight? If
we entertain the eventual theory we are not living at all: «eventually» we will be
free, or «eventually» we will live at peace. Surely that is not good enough: when
a man is hungry, he wants to be fed immediately. What, then, is the act that
will free the mind from all conditioning – the act, not a series of acts? Here we
have  this  self-centred  activity  which  creates  these  divisions:  the  self-centred
activity round a principle, an ideology, a country, a belief, round the family, and
so  on.  This  self-centred  activity  is  separative  and  therefore  causes  conflict.
Now, can this movement of the formula – which is the «me» with its memories,
which  is  the  centre  around  which  the  walls  are  built  –  can  that  «me»,  that
separate entity with its self-centred activity, come to an end, not by a series of
acts but by one act completely? You know, we try to break down the conflicts
little by little, chopping the tree little by little and never getting at the root of it.
So one asks if it is at all possible, by one act, to end this whole structure of
division, the separateness, the self-centred activity – all breeding conflict, war
and strife. Is it possible?
When  one  asks  that  question  in  all  seriousness,  does  one  wait  for  an
answer from another? After having that question put to you, are you waiting for
an answer from the speaker? It is not that the speaker is avoiding answering,
but are you waiting to be answered? If you are at all serious – and as we said
yesterday,  one  must  be  because  it  is  only  a  serious  person  that  knows  life,
who  knows  what  it  is  to  live  –  will  you  wait  for  an  answer?  If  you  await  an
answer  from  the  speaker,  then the answer will be so many ashes, so many
words,  so  many  ideas,  another  series  of  formulas  which,  in  themselves,  will
then  become  another  cause  for  division:  the  Krishnamurti  formula  or
somebody else’s formula. But, if we do not wait for an answer from anybody –   96
the speaker included – then we can take the journey together. Then it is your
responsibility  as  well  as  the  speaker’s.  Then  you  are  not  merely  listening  to
words,  to  ideas.  Then  we  are  both  walking  together,  which  I  think  very
important as we get rid of this division between the speaker and yourselves;
we  are  together  discovering,  understanding,  acting,  living  –  not  according  to
any formula. Then there is direct relationship between us in taking a journey,
because we are both feeling our way into reality: the reality – not the words, the
description, the explanation or the philosophies of the cunning mind.
So, presuming that one is sufficiently serious, what is our problem? How to
live our daily life here – not in a monastery or in some romantic dream world,
not in some emotional, dogmatic, drug ridden world – but here and now, every
day; how to live at great peace, with great intelligence, without any frustration
or fear, to live so completely, so in a state of bliss – which, of course, implies
meditation – that, really is the basic problem. And also whether it is possible to
understand  this  whole  life,  not  in  fragments,  but  completely:  be  completely
involved in it and not committed to any part of it; to be involved with the total
process of living without any conflict, misery, confusion or sorrow. That is the
real question. For only then can one bring about a different world. That is the
real  revolution,  the  inward  psychological  revolution  from  which  springs  an
immediate outward revolution. Let us, then, take the journey together – and I
mean  together,  not  you  sitting  there  and  I  sitting  on  the  platform  –  to  look
together at this whole field of life so that we understand it; not for someone
else to understand it and then tell us how to understand it. Then only will we
be both teacher and disciple.
We see that these divisions, these formulas of the «me» and the «not me»,
and the «we» and the «they», behind which we live, breed fear. And if one can
be  aware  of  this  overall  fear,  this  total  fear,  then  one  can  understand  a
particular fear. Merely trying to understand a particular, silly little fear, however
garnished,  will  have  no  meaning  until  you  understand  the  entire  question  of
fear.  Fear  destroys  freedom.  You  may  revolt,  but  it  is  not  freedom.  Fear
perverts all thought. Fear in oneself destroys all relationship. Please, these are   97
not just words: this is evident in one’s whole life – fear from the beginning to the
end.  Fear  of  public  opinion,  fear  of  not  being  successful,  fear  of  loneliness,
fear of not being loved, the measuring of ourselves against the hero of what
«should be» and thus breeding more fear. This fear, moreover, lies not only at
the obvious level of the mind but it also runs deep down. And we ask whether
this fear can come to an end – not gradually, not bit by bit, but completely.
What is this fear? Why is one afraid? Is it because of what lies beyond the
circle, or within the circle, or is it because of the circle? You follow what we
mean? We are not trying to find out the particular cause of this fear, because,
as  we  said  yesterday,  the  discovery  of  the  cause,  the  analytical  process  of
understanding the cause and the effect, does not necessarily end fear – one
has played that game for so long. But when one sees this fear – as one sees
this microphone, actually what it is – is it within the wall, on the other side of the
wall, or does it exist because of the wall? Surely it exists because of the wall,
because of the division and not because you are within the wall or that you are
afraid  to  look  beyond  the  wall.  It  exists  factually  as  it  is,  as  you  observe  it;
because of the wall. Now, how does this wall come into being?
Here please remember that we are taking the journey together and that you
are  not  waiting  for  an  answer  from  the  speaker.  We  are  taking  the  journey
together,  holding  hands,  and  there  is  no  point  in  your  suddenly  separating,
taking  away  your  hand  and  saying,  «You  walk  ahead  of  me  and  tell  me  all
about  it».  In  journeying  together,  our  verbal  communication  becomes  more
than  mere  communication:  it  becomes  a  kind  of  communion  where  there  is
affection,  com,  passion  and  understanding  because  it  is  concerned  with  our
common human problem. It is not that it was my problem and that I’ve resolved
it  and  that  therefore  you  have  to  accept  my  verdict.  It  is  our  problem.  How,
then, does this wall of resistance, division and separation come into being? In
everything we do, in all our relationships however intimate they be, there is this
division bringing confusion, misery and conflict. How has this barrier come into
being? If one could really understand it  – not verbally, not intellectually – but
actually see it and feel it, then one would find that it comes to an end. Let us   98
go  into  it.  We  asked  how  this  wall  has  come  into  being.  I  wonder  what  you
would say had you to answer that. Now each one of us has an opinion or will
offer an opinion – my opinion being right and your opinion wrong. Dialectically
we can examine it, but we are not concerned with dialectical examination and
reaching  a  definite  conclusion.  Truth  is  not  to  be  found  in  opinion  or
conclusion.  Truth  is  something  that  is  always  new  and  therefore  the  mind
cannot come to it with a conclusion, with an opinion, a judgment; it must be
free. So when we ask this question as to how this wall of resistance has come
into being, we are not asking for an opinion or for some clever, erudite person
to  tell  us  how  –  because  there  is  no  authority.  We  are  watching  it  together,
examining it together, feeling our way into it.
Surely  the  wall  has  come  into  being  through  the  mechanism  of  thought.
No? Please do not reject it: just observe it: thought. If there were no thinking
about death, you would not be afraid of death. If you were not brought up to be
a Christian, Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist or God knows what else: if
you  were  not  conditioned  by  propaganda,  by  words,  by  thought,  you  would
have  no  barrier.  And  one  can  see  how  thought,  as  the  «me»  and  the  «you»,
brings  this  about.  So  thought  not  only  creates  this  wall  with  its  self-centred
activities, but it also creates your own activity within your wall. So it is thought,
in  bringing  about  division,  that  creates  fear.  Thought  is  fear,  as  thought  is
pleasure. I see something very beautiful: a beautiful face, a lovely sunset, an
enjoyable event of yesterday; thought thinks about it: how nice it was. Please
do observe this: how lovely that experience, and thought, by the very act of
thinking, gives to that experience the continuity of pleasure. So thought is not
only responsible for fear but also for pleasure. That is fairly clear, obviously.
Because you have enjoyed the meal this afternoon, you want it repeated; or
you have had some sexual experience, and thought thinks about it, mulls over
it, chews it over, creates the picture, the image, and wants it repeated. This is
pleasure repeated, which you call love. And thought, having created this circle,
the barrier, the resistance, the belief, is afraid lest it be broken down, letting in
something from beyond the wall. So thought breeds both fear and pleasure.   99
You  cannot  possibly  have  pleasure  without  fear;  they  both  go  together,
because they are the children of thought. And thought is the barren child of a
mind  that  is  only  concerned  with  pleasure  and  fear.  Please  do  observe  it.
Again  let  me  remind  you  that  we  are  taking  the  journey  together:  you  are
examining yourself, watching yourself in the mirror of the words.
So fear, pain and pleasure are the result of thought. And yet thought must
function  logically,  sanely,  healthily  and  objectively  where  it  is  needed  in  the
technological world – not in human relationship, because the moment thought
enters  human  relationship  there  is  fear;  then,  in  that,  there  is  pleasure  and
pain. I am not saying anything crazy: you can see this for yourself. Thought is
the response of memory, experience and knowledge and so is always old and
therefore  never  free.  There  is  «freedom  of  thought»,  certainly:  that  is,  to  say
what  you  want.  But  thought  itself  is  never  free  and  can  never  bring  about
freedom. Thought can perpetuate either fear or pleasure but not freedom. And
where there is fear and pleasure, love ceases to be. Love is neither thought
nor pleasure. But to us love is pleasure and therefore fear.
When one is aware of this whole business of life as it is – not as we would
like it to be, not according to some philosopher or holy priest, but actually as it
is – one asks whether thought can have its right place and yet not interfere at
all in every relationship. This does not mean a division between the two states
of thought and non-thought. You see, Sirs, one has to live in this world, earn a
livelihood, unfortunately, and go to the office. If ever there should come about
a decent government of one world, then perhaps we might have no need to
work more than a day, thereafter leaving the computers to take over, allowing
us  some  leisure.  But  as  long  as  that  doesn’t  happen,  one  has  to  earn  a
livelihood and earn it efficiently and fully. However, the moment that efficiency
becomes  ugly  through,  for  example,  greed,  or  through  this  terrible  desire  to
succeed  and  become  somebody,  the  barrier  of  the  «me»  and  the  «not  me»
springs into being, bringing about competition and conflict. Realizing all this,
how  are  we  to  live  decently,  efficiently,  without  ruthlessness  and  yet  in
complete relationship, not only with nature but also with another human being,   100
in which there is no shadow of the «me» and the «you» – the barrier created by
When one actually sees this thing that we are talking about – not verbally
but actually – the very seeing, the actual seeing, is the act that brings down the
wall of separation. When you see the danger of anything, such as a precipice
or a wild animal and so on, there is action. Such action may well be the result
of conditioning, but it is not the act of fear: is the act of intelligence.
Similarly, to see intelligently this whole structure, the nature of this division,
the conflict, strife, misery, the self-centeredness – to actually see the danger of
it means the ending of it. There is no «how». So, what is important is to take the
journey into all this – not led by another, for there is no guide – but seeing the
world as it is: the extraordinary confusion, the unending sorrow of man, seeing
it actually. Then the seeing of the whole structure of it is the ending of it.
Perhaps,  if  you  care  to,  we  can  talk  the  thing  over  by  asking  questions.
Yes, Sir? Questioner: What does it mean to «actually» see something?
Krishnamurti: Do you see your wife or your husband actually, or do you see
them  through  an  image,  through  a  veil  of  opinions  and  conclusions  –  and
therefore  not  at  all?  If  so,  no  relationship  can  exist,  for  relationship  means
contact, to be related to. If the husband is ambitious, greedy, envious, seeking
success, worried, beaten down, living in his own circle, and the wife also living
in hers, where is the relation ship? And yet that is what we call relationship: my
family  opposed  to  the  rest  of  the  world.  If  I  see  that,  see  the  actual  image
through which I look – not an invented image but the actual image as it is – that
very act of seeing the truth dispels the image.
You know, it is one of the most difficult things to ask a question. But we
must  ask  questions,  we  must  doubt  everything  on  this  earth:  doubt  our
conclusions, our ideas, opinions, the judgments – doubt everything – and yet
also know when not to doubt. As with a dog on a leash, you must let him go
sometimes, because out of freedom alone one discovers the truth. But to ask a   101
question, the right question, needs a great deal of alertness, intelligence and
awareness of the problem. I can ask casually without really entering into the
problem, casually seeking an answer, but if I enter into the problem with my
whole heart and mind, not trying to escape from it, in the very looking into that
problem  lies  the  answer.  And  therefore,  when  one  asks  a  question  –  which
doesn’t mean that the speaker is preventing you from asking a question – when
one asks a question one must be responsible not only for the asking but also
for  the  receiving  of  the  answer.  How  you  receive  the  answer  is  much  more
important than how you ask the question, because the answer may be such
that you do not like it at all. You may reject it because it does not, for the time
being, please you, or because you do not see the value of it, or that you are
thinking in terms of profit.
Questioner:  I  am  not  sure  of  the  difference  between  thought,  feeling,
sensation and emotion.
Krishnamurti: Sir, what is sensation? A stimulus. You see a beautiful face, a
lovely  colour.  This  perception  is  followed  by  sensation,  then  contact,  then
desire, with thought finally coming in and saying, «Ah! I wish I could have that!»
There we have this whole movement of perception, sensation, contact, desire –
which is strengthened by thought: «I want it», or «I do not want it; «it is mine»
and  «it  is  not  mine».  The  question  then  arises  as  to  whether  there  can  be
perception  of  a  beautiful  face  or  a  lovely  sunset,  without  the  interference  of
thought, or, in other words, can there be a state of non-experience, but only
perception – which is greater than all experiences. Have I explained it or am I
saying something which sounds not very plausible and rather crazy? Look, Sir,
there  is  the  perception  of  a  beautiful  car,  (laughs,  joined  by  audience),  –
perhaps a beautiful face may be better, laughter) – then there is sensation: you
want to touch it, look at it. Finally thought comes in and the whole machinery of
pleasure and pain begins. Now, can there be observation that face without the
interference  of  the  pain  and  pleasure  principle?  You  understand  what  I’m
talking about? Sir, this really is a very interesting problem.    102
We depend so much on others, psychologically. That dependence is based
on fear and pleasure. Knowing the pain of dependence, one tries to cultivate
freedom from dependence, but that very cultivation breeds other forms of fear,
pain and conflict. One never asks why one depends, psychotically, on another.
You  depend  on  the  milkman,  the  postman,  and  so  on,  but  that  is  quite  a
different  matter.  But  why  this  dependence  psychologically,  inwardly?  Is  it
because  one  is  lonely,  that  one  has  nothing  in  oneself,  is  insufficient  to
oneself?  The  very  thing  on  which  you  depend  is,  is  it  not,  the  product  of
sensation  and  pleasure;  therefore  dependence  is  both  the  product  and  the
cause of thought. Right? Which goes to show that experience is a complicated
matter.  And  yet  all  of  us  are  seeking  greater  and  more  meaningful
experiences. We have never stopped to question the need, psychologically, of
an  experience.  We  have  accepted,  as  we  accept  so  many  things,  that
experience  is  necessary  for  enlightenment,  for  understanding,  for  bliss,
whereas, on the contrary, it is only a mind that is innocent that is capable of
bliss – not a mind burdened with experiences. Moreover these experiences are
based  on  this  division  of  fear  and  pleasure,  with  every  experience  being
discarded except those we like or dislike.
Questioner: Does true love require growth?
Krishnamurti: Is there a false love? (Laughter). Sirs,do not laugh – it is so
easy to laugh about things that touch one deeply. By laughter we put it away.
Do  we  know  what  love  is?  Or  do  we  know  only  the  pain,  the  pleasure,  the
jealousy,  the  travail  of  that  which  we  call  love?  Can  an  ambitious  man,  a
competitive man, can a man who has specialized, know what love is? Can the
man  who  is  afraid  of  being  a  failure,  or  is  struggling  to  become  a  success,
know what love is? Can you ever have love and jealousy at the same time?
Can a man or a woman who loves ever be jealous, ever dominate, possess,
hold, be dependent? Actually all that we know is the pleasure and the pain of
what we call love, which is generally translated into sex. So sex becomes an
extraordinary  problem.  Not  that  we  are  against  it  –  it  would  be  terrible  to  be
against anything – but one sees it for what it is. You know only the pain and the   103
pleasure  of  what  we  call  love,  and  therefore  it  is  not  love.  Love  cannot  be
cultivated – if it could, it would be marvellous; to cultivate it like a plant, water it,
nourish it, look after it. If you could do that with love it would be very simple,
but unfortunately it does not work that way. To love is quite a different thing in
which there is no pain or pleasure. Therefore one must understand this fear
and pleasure and all the rest of it, so that there is no division.
Questioner:  The  fact  is  that  the  world  is  in  disorder  and  man  in  despair.
That is the fact. What then can change man? Is it even possible?
Krishnamurti: Sir, is the world separate from us? Are we not, each one of
us, in disorder, confused – not merely superficially but in conflict: the conflicts
of the opposites, the contradictions, the opposing desires? All that is disorder.
And you ask whether it is worth changing all that. Is that the question?
Questioner: No, not exactly. There is this desire to change, but, confronted
with  the  fact  of  the  disorder  in  the  world,  what  can  be  the  nature  of  the
Krishnamurti: The nature of the change is the negation of disorder. Disorder
cannot  be  made  into  order.  But  the  denial  of  disorder  is  the  nature  of  the
change: the very denial is the change. The negation of disorder is the positive
nature of change. That is, I see disorder in myself: anger, jealousy, brutality,
violence, suspicion, guilt – you know what human beings are. I’m aware of it.
The mind is totally aware of all this disorder. Can it completely negate it, put it
away? When it does so, through negation, the nature of change is the positive
order.  The  positive  can  only  come  through  the  negative.  Look,  Sir,  I  see
nationalism, the division of religions, the separateness that belief brings about,
all the conflict, the disorder: I see that actually, feel it in my blood. And I put it
away, not verbally, but actually: in myself I belong to no country, to no religion,
subscribe to no dogma, no belief. Then that negation of what is false, which is
the nature of the change, is truth.    104
Questioner:  Doesn’t  this  contradict  what  you  said,  that  when  you  find
jealousy within you, that you don’t deny it, but that you become that jealousy?
Krishnamurti: No, Madam. I said the observer is the observed. When there
is the separateness on the part of the observer who says, «I am different from
jealousy», then there is conflict between the observer and the thing observed.
Let  us  go  slowly.  Like  everything  else,  the  human  problem  is  really  quite
complex. So let us play with it a little bit and see it for ourselves. You know,
when the wife is not me but is separate from me, there is no relationship. Then
the  «me»  observes  the  wife  as  a  separate  entity,  which  division  leads  to
conflict.  That  is  clear.  When  the  «me»  is  separate  from  its  jealousy,  there  is
conflict; such as: «how to get rid of it, it is right to be jealous, it is enjoyable to
be jealous, it is part of love to be jealous», and all the rest of it. But when there
is no division between the observer and the thing he calls jealousy, he is that.
He does not become jealousy, he is it. Then what will you do? You understand
the problem?
Audience:  That  is  what  the  lady  is  asking,  Sir.  She  asks  how  can  you
negate that which you are. You said to negate disorder is change and the lady
asks: «If I am the disorder, how can I negate it?»
Krishnamurti: Ah! I will explain. How can I negate disorder if I am disorder?
I am the nation, I am the belief, the disorder. If the «I» negates disorder, that
very I, which is separate, will create yet another form of disorder. That is your
question, Madam? Right. When you say»negate disorder», what do you mean
by that? Who is there to negate disorder? Please follow this slowly, step by
step. This disorder is the cause of thought: my belief and your belief, my God
and  your  God,  my  formula  and  your  formula,  my  prejudice  opposed  to  your
prejudice.  So  I  am  that  disorder  and  thought  is  that  disorder,  because  I  am
thought. Right? Thought is me and the «me» is disorder. So, when one negates
this, one negates thought, not disorder: not «I» negate it. Look, I am disorder.
This  disorder  is  created  by  thought,  which  is  me  and  which  brings  about
separation. That’s a fact. What, then is the negation of this fact? Who is it that   105
is  going  to  deny  this  disorder  and  put  it  aside?  What  is  it  that  is  going  to
change  this?  Is  that  clear?  Now  the  negation  of  disorder  is  silence.  Any
movement of thought will only breed further disorder. Then you will ask, how
thought is to come to an end, who is to bring to a stop this perpetual motion
that is going on night and day?
Thought itself must deny itself. Thought itself sees what it is doing – right? –
and  therefore  thought  itself  realizes  that  it  has  to  come  of  itself  to  an  end.
There  is  no  other  factor  than  itself.  Therefore  when  thought  realizes  that
whatever it does, any movement that it makes, is disorder (we are taking that
as an example), then there is silence. The nature of the change from disorder
is silence. I do not know if you’ve ever seen or felt the quality of silence: when
the mind and the body are extraordinarily quiet. That is, when you want to see
something very clearly, when you want to hear something that is being said
with all your heart and mind, your body is quiet and your mind is quiet. It is not
a trick. It is quiet. In the same way, disorder and the manner of change are
resolved  only  when  there  is  complete  silence.  it  is  silence  that  brings  about
order, not thought.
Questioner: Does man always try to possess that which is pleasurable to
Krishnamurti: Don’t we all do that? Don’t we all want to possess that which
has given us pleasure – a picture on the wall, a building, a woman, a man? So,
when we possess a piece of furniture that we like, we are the furniture. And
pain is involved in that possession as it might get lost. That is why we cling to
our husband, our wife, the family. The marvellous circle is woven around the
family, bringing it into battle with the rest of the world. One asks whether the
family could exist without the circle, without the wall. Those of you who have a
family  should  try  it  and  see  what  happens.  You  will  see  something  totally
different taking place. Then perhaps you will know what love is and see with
your own eyes the nature of the change that love brings about.    106  107
Chapter 10 3rd Public Talk
At Stanford University 13th February 1969
OF THE MANY things we might talk over together, one of the most obvious
and important is about why we do not change. We may change a little bit, here
and there, in patches, but why do we not fundamentally change our whole way
of behaviour, our way of life, our daily nature? Technologically the world about
us is advancing with extraordinary speed, while inwardly we remain more or
less the same as we have been for centuries upon centuries. Caught as we
are in this trap – and it is a dreadful trap – one wonders why we don’t break
through, why we remain heavy and stupid, empty, shallow-minded, superficial
and  rather  dull.  Is  it  because  we  do  not  know  ourselves?  Leaving  aside  the
ideas of the various specialists, with their peculiar as- sertions and dogmas,
we see that we have never really investigated ourselves, gone into ourselves
deeply  to  find  out  what  we  actually  are.  Is  that  the  reason  why  we  do  not
change? Or is it that one has not got the energy? Or because we are bored –
not only with ourselves but also with the world, a world which has very little to
offer  except  motor  cars,  bigger  bathrooms  and  all  the  rest  of  it?  So  we  are
bored outwardly and, probably, also with ourselves because we are caught in
the trap and don’t know how to get out of it. It is also likely that we are very
lazy. Furthermore, in knowing ourselves there is no profit, no reward at the end
of it, whereas most of us are conditioned by the profit-motive.
These, then, may be some of the reasons why we do not change. We know
what  the  trap  is,  we  know  what  life  is,  and  yet  we  go  trudging  along
monotonously and wearily until we die. That seems to be our lot. And yet, is it
so difficult to go into ourselves very deeply and transform ourselves? I wonder
if one has ever looked at oneself, known oneself? From ancient times this has
been reiterated over and over again: «Know thyself». In India it was postulated,
the ancient Greeks repeated the advice, while modern philosophers are also
attempting to say it, complicated only by their jargon and their theories.    108
Can  one  know  oneself  –  not  only  at  the  conscious  level  but  also  at  the
deeper, secret levels of the mind? Without self-knowledge, surely, one has no
basis for any real, serious action, no foundation upon which to build clearly. If
one doesn’t know oneself, one lives such a superficial life. You may be very
clever,  you  may  know  all  the  books  in  the  world  and  be  able  to  quote  from
them, but if you do not know yourself, how can you go beyond the superficial?
Is it possible to know oneself so completely that, in the very observation of that
total self, there is a release? Perhaps we can go into this question together
this afternoon, and, in so doing, we may also come upon what love is and what
death is.
As human beings, I think we should be able to find out what death is while
still living; and also what love is, because that is part of our life, our daily living.
Can we inquire into ourselves without any fear or bias, without any formula or
conclusion, to find out what we are? Such an inquiry demands freedom. One
cannot inquire into oneself, or into the universe of which one is a part, unless
there  is  freedom  –  freedom  from  hypotheses,  theories  and  conclusions,
freedom from bias. Moreover, to inquire one needs a sharp mind, a mind that
has been made sensitive. But the mind is not sensitive if there is any form of
bias, thus rendering it incapable of any real inquiry into this whole structure of
the  self.  So  let  us  go  into  this  question  together,  not  only  through  verbal
communication but also non-verbally, which is much more exciting and which
129 demands a much greater energy of attention. When one is free to inquire,
one  has  the  energy.  One  has  not  got  the  energy,  the  drive,  the  necessary
intensity, when one has already reached a conclusion, a formula. So, for the
time  being,can  we  put  away  all  our  formulas,  conclusions  and  biases  about
ourselves – what we are, what we should and should not be and all the rest of
it – put these aside and actually observe?
One can only observe oneself in relationship. We have no other means of
seeing ourselves because (except for those who are completely neurotic) we
are not isolated human beings: on the contrary, we are related to everything   109
about us. And in that relationship, through observing one’s reactions, thoughts
and motives, one can see, non-verbally, what we are.
Now what is the instrument of observation, what is the thing that observes?
About this we must also be very clear. Is it an observation from outside the
window  looking  in,  as  at  a  shop  window,  or  are  you  watching  yourself  from
within and not from without? If you watch yourself from the outside, then you
are not related to «what is». I think one should be very clear about this. One
can  observe  oneself  looking  over  the  wall,  as  it  were,  in  which  case  such
observation  is  rather  superficial,  unrelated,  inconsequential  and  not
responsible. When one analyses oneself, there is always the analyser and the
thing  analysed.  The  analyser  is  the  one  looking  over  the  wall,  judging,
evaluating,  controlling,  suppressing  and  so  on.  But  can  one  watch  oneself
intimately,  actually  as  one  is?  That  is,  can  one  watch  oneself  without  the
thinker, the observer? – the observer who is always outside, who is the censor,
the entity that evaluates, saying, «this is right», «this is wrong», «this should be»,
«this should not be» – all of which renders one’s observation very limited and
merely according to the social, environmental and cultural conditioning.
So  we  have  this  very  real  problem:  how  to  observe  –  not  as  an  outside
observer  who  has  already  come  to  certain  conclusions  about  himself  –  but
merely  to  observe.  To  be  choicelessly  aware,  without  a  directive,  without
deciding  what  one  should  or  should  not  do,  but  merely  to  observe  what  is
actually  going  on.  To  do  that  there  must  be  freedom  from  every  form  of
conclusion and commitment. So, to observe non-verbally, to observe without
the barrier of an outsider who is looking in, there must be freedom from all fear
and  all  sense  of  correction.  If  one  has  such  an  instrument,  then  one  can
proceed to find out. But, because one has already banished all the things that
make for a centre from which an observer looks at the observed, what is there
to find out?
One wants to look at oneself with clear eyes, with unspotted eyes, without
the interference of the conventional, respectable social morality – which is no   110
morality at all. When one has put aside the conclusion and the formula, fear,
any desire to be other than what one is, then what is there? What we are is a
series of conclusions. What we are is actually a series of experiences based
on pleasure and pain, memories, the past. We are the past; there is nothing
new in us. When one thus observes oneself freely – and to be free, one has to
have set aside all these things – what is one actually? I wonder if you have
ever put that question to yourself? What is one’s relationship with this whole
business  of  what  is  called  living?  And  what  is  living,  as  it  is?  One  can,  of
course,  readily  see  what  it  actually  is:  an  everlasting  struggle,  a  battlefield
which we call living, conflict – not only with another but also within ourselves –
pain, fleeting moments of great joy, fear, despair and a series of frustrations;
the contradictions in ourselves both at the conscious and the deeper levels; a
state of non-relationship; great sorrow – which is generally self-pity – loneliness
and  boredom.  Then  the  escape  from  all  this  into  religious  beliefs:  your  God
and my God. That is our life as it actually is. Going to the office for forty years –
you know, so proud about all this; aggressive, competitive, brutal. That is our
life and we call that living. And we don’t know how to change it. We are eager
to change the superficial structure of society – a new bureaucracy instead of
the old one, and so on. However, the outward change has meaning only when
there  is  deep  inward  revolution:  then  the  outer  and  the  inner  are  the  same
movement not two separate movements.
So, seeing all this, the insanity of it, why do we not change it? I wonder if
one  really  does  see  this,  our  living  as  it  actually  is;  or  does  one  see  it  only
verbally – and here one must realize that the description, the explanation, is
never that which is described or explained. Knowing all this, seeing all this vast
confusion, misery and travail, why do we accept it, why do we go on with it?
Do we look to another to help us out of it? There have been teachers, gurus,
saviours – oh, an innumerable number of these – but here we still are. So one
loses, or has lost, all faith in another. And I hope you have. This doesn’t mean
that  one  becomes  cynical,  bitter  and  hard,  but  that  one  sees  the  actual  fact
that, inwardly, no one can help us. Recognising all this, the actuality of life as   111
we live it everyday, the torture and the aching misery of it, why doesn’t one
apply oneself completely and utterly to the understanding of it all and break
through it? What is education for if we do not do this? What is the good of your
becoming Ph.D.’s and all the rest of it, if all this is not fundamentally changed?
We must now ask what is the nature of the energy that is required to break out
of  this  trap,  this  vicious  circle  in  which  one  is  caught.  What  provides  the
necessary  drive?  Obviously  it  cannot  be  verbal,  nor  can  it  stem  from  the
assertions or conclusions of another. The nature of this energy is freedom –
the  demand  to  be  free.  By  freedom  we  do  not  mean  doing  what  you  like,
licentiousness, revolt, undisciplined activity and so on. Freedom is not lack of
discipline:  on  the  contrary,  freedom  demands  great  discipline.  Please  note
here that while the word «discipline» is an ugly word for most people, it actually
means to learn. That is the root meaning of the word: to learn, not to conform;
not to imitate but to learn; not to obey but to find out. Learning or finding out, in
itself,  brings  its  own  discipline.  Therefore  discipline,  which  is  to  learn,  is  a
constant  movement  and  not  mere  conformity  to  some  pattern.  When  one
understands that – not verbally but actually, sees the truth of it, feeling it in your
very bones then you will have the energy to break through this conditioning of
fear, this anxiety, these aching sorrows.
In  the  understanding  of  this  whole  psychological  structure  of  ourselves,
there are these two vital questions: what is living – which we have tried to find
out – and also what are love and death. For that is part of our living, and the
sanctity of living lies in the discovery of what love is and what death is. Such
sanctity comes only of living in the now – not having lived or living in the future
– and in that we can perhaps discover what love is and what death is. Then
again, without knowing what love and death are, we cannot know what living
What is death, of which most of us are so frightened? Can a living human
being,  sane,  rational,  healthy  and  not  morbid,  find  out  what  dying  means?  –
and here we do not mean when one is old and decrepit, diseased and on the
point  of  slipping  away  unknowingly.  Does  this  question  have  any  interest  at   112
all? Not so much to the older generation, perhaps, as we have had most of our
time,  but  it  is  a  question  that  really  applies  to  everybody  –  the  young,  the
middle-aged, the aged and the dying. Just as we tried to find out what living is
–  and  which,  not  being  this  battlefield,  this  conflict,  this  misery,  becomes
therefore something extraordinarily sacred (if I may use that word without your
attempting to belittle it) – in the same way, to find out what death is.
I wonder what your reaction is to this question. Either you are afraid, or you
have  theories,  or  you  believe:  believe  in  the  life  hereafter – reincarnation for
example,  which  the  whole  of  the  East  believes  in.  They  believe  in
reincarnation,  but  they  don’t  behave  in  this  life;  only  it  is  a  very  comfortable
theory in that you will have another chance. But putting that aside altogether,
to understand the now, one must understand the past. You cannot say, «I’m
going to live in the now» – it has no meaning because the now is the passage-
way of the past to the future. When you say to yourself, «I’m going to live in the
present», the «you» who is going to live is the result of the past. You may draw
a circle around yourself, saying, «this is the now or the present», but the entity
that is living in the now is the result of the past: he is entirely the past. To live
now,  in  the  present  –  not  ideologically,  not  from  a  conclusion  nor  as  an
assertion – but actually to live completely in the present, means that one must
be unconditioned and free.
Asking  oneself  what  it  means  to  die,  what  death  is,  is  not  a  neurotic
question:  on  the  contrary,  it  shows  that  one  is  very  healthy,  sane  and
balanced,  otherwise  one  wouldn’t  ask  the  question.  It  means  that  one  is  no
longer frightened to find out. Obviously the body goes, the organism collapses
through  constant  wear  and  tear.  It  can  be  made  to  last  a  little  longer  if  one
lives  fairly  sanely,  without  too  much  pressure,  strain  or  excitement.  Or  the
doctors  and  the  scientists  may  invent  a  pill  or  something  that  will  give  you
another forty or fifty years – although I do not see the point of living another fifty
years in this trap. In asking what dying is, one must also ask what it means to
actually live – if one can so live-without all the travail: that is, to end the way of
living as we know it. Be- cause that is what is going to happen when one dies:   113
the end of everything. The soul, or the Atman the Hindus call it, is just a word.
One  doesn’t  know  if  there  is  a  soul,  a  permanent  «something».  Is  there
anything  permanent  in  us,  or  do  we  only  wish  there  were  something
permanent?  When  one  observes  oneself,  there  is  nothing  permanent:
everything is in movement, in a state of flux. And when one dies, one dies to
everything that one has known: the family, the children, the job, the books that
one wanted to write or has written, the experiences, all the accumulations that
one has piled up, and the responsibilities. There is the ending, psychologically
as  well  as  physically,  of  all  that  is  known.  That  is  death.  I  think  most  of  us
would agree to that.
Now,  can  one  die  every  day  to  everything  that  one  knows  –  except,  of
course, the technological knowledge, the direction where your home is, and so
on; that is, to end, psychologically, every day, so that the mind remains fresh,
young  and  innocent?  That  is  death.  And  to  come  to  that  there  must  be  no
shadow of fear. To give up without any argument, without any resistance. That
is dying. Have you ever tried it? To give up without a murmur, without restraint,
without resistance, the thing that gives you most pleasure (the things that are
painful, of course, one wants to give up in any case). Actually to let go. Try it.
Then,  if  you  do  it,  you  will  see  that  the  mind  becomes  extraordinarily  alert,
alive  and  sensitive,  free  and  unburdened.  Old  age  then  takes  on  quite  a
different meaning, not something to be dreaded.
One also has to find out for oneself what love is. That word is one of the
most loaded of words; everybody uses it and its usage ranges from the most
cunning to the most simple. But what is it actually? What is the state of the
heart  and  the  mind  that  loves?  Is  love  pleasure?  Please  do  ask  these
questions of yourself. Is love desire? If it is pleasure, then with it must go pain.
If pleasure and pain are associated with love, then it is obviously not love. As
you will recall, we saw that pleasure is the product of thought. Thinking about
the sexual experience that you had – chewing it over, the building of the image
–  is  to  sustain  the  pleasure  of  that  experience.  Thought  engenders  pleasure
and it also breeds fear; fear of tomorrow, fear of the past, thinking about what   114
one did, thinking about the physical pain that one has experienced and fearing
a recurrence. So thought breeds pleasure, fear and pain and are these to be
called love? But that is all 135 we know. That is what we call love. I love my
wife and when that wife, on whom I depend for sex, for cooking my meals and
running the family, when she turns and looks at another. I am angry furious
and jealous – and this is called love. Then man invents the love of a God – a
God  who  doesn’t  demand  anything,  who  doesn’t  turn  his  back  on  you.  You
have  him  in  your  pocket  and  are  sure  he  is  there  protecting  you  in  your
jealousies, in your anxieties, leading you on to even greater cruelty.
All  this  is  called  «love»,  but  is  it?  Obviously  not,  because  love  is  not
something  that  is  the  product  of  thought.  Love  cannot  be  cultivated.  Love
cannot  be  bought  through  pleasure.  How  can  an  aggressive,  ambitious,
competitive man love? And if he wants to find out what it is – actually and not
theoretically  –  he  has  to  end  his  ambition,  his  greed,  his  hate  of  another,
putting aside completely all that which is not love. But, you see, we play with
all  these  things  and  then  talk  about  love.  We  are  really  not  very  serious
people, and because we are not serious, our life is what it is. So, without dying
there is no love, for love is always new and not a routine matter of sex and
pleasure.  For  most  of  us,  throughout  the  world,  sex  has  become  an
extraordinary problem, or, rather, a problem in which we delight. Do you never
wonder why this is so? It would seem as though it has just been discovered for
the first time, being featured in every magazine and all the rest of it. Why has it
become such a persistent and continuing problem with which the word «love»
is associated? Probably the clever ones will put up many arguments as to why
man gets so excited about this one thing. But, leav- ing aside all the experts
and the intellectual gurus, can one see why one is so caught up in this thing?
You  will  have  to  answer  this  question;  you  cannot  just  brush  it  aside,
because it is a part of our life, part of this thing called life which has become
such a battle and such a misery. Why has sex become a problem? Or should
we rather ask why it is apparently the only thing left to man in which he is free?
Therein  he  loses  himself  totally:  at  that  moment  he  is  no  longer  all  the   115
miseries, all the memories, the tortures, the competition, the aggression, the
violence and the battling. He simply is not there. So, because he is absent, it
has become important; then there is no longer the division between «me» and
«you»,  «we»  and  «they».  Such  division  comes  to  an  end,  and  at  that  moment
perhaps  you  find  great  freedom.  Probably  it  has  become  so  extraordinarily
important just because it is the only thing we have left in which we can find
such  freedom.  In  everything  else,  we  are  not  free.  Intellectually,  emotionally
and  physically,  we  are  constrained  and  restricted  secondhand  people,
thoroughly moulded by our technological society. So, with no freedom except
in sex, sex has become important and, because of that, a problem. We are not
saying you should not have sex – that would be absurd. But can we cease to
be slaves, secondhand human beings endlessly repeating what we have been
told about things that actually do not matter very much, endlessly living in an
ideological world – that is, living with formulas and therefore not actually living
at all? Then, when one is free all round, both intellectually and in one’s heart,
perhaps this problem won’t be so serious.
Observing all this, from the beginning to the end and noting that we do not
change at all, one must ask why one has not got the energy to change. We
have the tremendous and extraordinary energy required to go to the moon but
not enough, apparently, to change ourselves. And yet I assure you that it is
one of the easiest things to do, and that it becomes easy when you know how
to  look.  When  you  can  actually  see  «what  is»,  without  trying  to  change  it,
suppress  it,  go  beyond  it  or  escape  from  it,  then  you  will  see  that  «what  is,
undergoes a tremendous change. That is, when the mind is completely silent
in observation, then there is radical change. And the watching of all this, the
observing  of  it  deeply  in  oneself,  brings  us  to  one  more  question,  which  is:
What  is  meditation?  –  because  a  mind  which  is  not  meditative  cannot
understand this whole structure and chain of our life. Perhaps we can discuss
tomorrow the state of the mind which is religious, not belonging to some stupid
organization but remaining free and therefore religious; that is, the state of the   116
mind which is in the act of meditation. This is not an invitation for you to come
tomorrow (Laughter).
Perhaps, if you care to, we will now have some questions,
Questioner: Why does each one of us have the «I» structure? What is its
Krishnamurti:  The  questioner  asks  why  there  is  a  separate  «me».  Why  is
there  this  peculiar  entity  that  thinks  it  is  so  very  different  from  the  other
entities? Why is there this «me» with all its problems, and the «you» with all your
problems  –  which  is  also  the  «me»?  The  «me»  is  not  different  from  the  «you»
because you have the same problems, only you clothe them in different words,
using different ways of expressing them. But it is still the «me», expressing itself
differently. I, born in India and educated abroad, and you here and educated
here,  with  your  problems;  and  if  I  have  problems,  what  is  the  difference
between you and me? – not physically, of course: you may have a bigger bank
account, a bigger house and a nice car. You may have more abundance of
things  than  the  other,  but,  apart  from  a  better  superficial  education  and  the
chance of expressing it, a better job and all that, is there any basic difference?
If there is no difference, why all this fuss about it – you and me, they and I, we
and they, the black and the white, the yellow and the brown – why? There is
great  pleasure  in  being  separate,  all  the  vanity  of  it:  I  am  original,  unique,
marvellous, and you say exactly the same thing, only putting it in a minor key.
This vanity that each of us is so extraordinarily unique, gives great pleasure.
Are  we  unique?  You  have  sorrow  and  so  has  the  other;  you  are  as
confused as the other; uncertain, anxious, aggressive, brutal, suspicious, guilty
as is the other. So when we free ourselves from this basic division of the «I»
and  «you»,  the  «we»  and  «they»,  is  there  then  any  division  at  all?  Is  not  the
observer then the observed, which is you? In that there is vast compassion. It
is only when I have built a wall around myself and you have built a wall around
yourself,  leading  to  resistance,  that  the  whole  misery  begins.  The  social
structure, too, encourages this «me» and this «you». Can we not be free of this   117
division  in  our  thoughts  and  in  our  society,  which  our  own  vanity  has
cultivated? Then, if you have gone that far, you will probably find out what love
Questioner: Would you say something about the effort that sometimes gets
in the way when one tries to be aware?
Krishnamurti: What is effort? Why should we make effort? I know it is the
accepted  tradition  that  you  must  make  an  effort,  otherwise  you  will  be  a
nobody,  just  a  God-knows-what.  So,  at  all  costs,  make  an  effort:  that  is  the
conditioning, the tradition, the accepted norm. Now, Sir, what is effort and why
do we have to make an effort? This is a very important question. Is there any
effort  when  there  is  no  contradiction?  PLease  follow  this.  When  the  «me»  is
«you» – which really requires a tremendous depth of feeling and understanding:
you  cannot  just  state  that  the  «me»  is  «you»,  as  it  would  have  no  meaning  –
when they are one in relationship and thus without contradiction, what need is
there  for  effort?  There  is  no  effort.  There  is  effort  only  when  there  is  a
psychological  contradiction,  that  is:  the  «what  is»  over  and  against  the  what
should  be»,  the  opposite  –  which  is  the contradiction.  The  «what  is»  trying  to
become the «what should be», violence trying to become non-violent – in this
lies  the  contradiction  and  therefore  the  effort,  the  endeavour  to  become
something which is not. So, basically, effort implies contradiction: I am this but
I will be that; I am a failure but, by Jove, I’m going to become a success; I am
angry  but  I  will  cease  being  angry,  and  so  on.  A  series  of  corridors  of
opposites and, hence, conflict.
Speaking  psychologically,  is  there  an  opposite?  Or  is  there  always  only
«what  is»?  Because  the  mind  does  not  know  how  to  deal  with  «what  is»,  it
invents the opposite, the «what should be». If it knew how to deal with «what is»,
there would be no conflict. If the mind could cease measuring itself against the
hero, the perfect, the glorious and all that, it would be what it is. Then, free of
all comparison, free of the opposite, the «what is» becomes something entirely
different. In that there is no effort involved at all. Effort means distortion and   118
effort is a part of will, which distorts. But to us will and effort are our bread and
butter;  we  are  brought  up  on  it:  you  must  be  better  than  that  boy  in  the
examination – all that. And in being brought up like that lies great mischief and
misery. So, to see «what is» and to be aware of that without any choice, frees
the mind from the contradiction of the opposites.
Questioner: You said yesterday that if one could get rid of the circle round
the family, that an extraordinary thing would happen. I would like very much to
understand that.
Krishnamurti: First of all, is one aware – not verbally – that there is a wall
around oneself? Each one of us has a wall round himself: a wall of resistance,
of fear and anxiety. The «me» built around myself, thus making the wall; this
«me» in the family, each member of which is also surrounded by his own wall.
Then  the  whole  family  with  a  wall  around  itself  and  similarly,  with  the
community  and  the  society.  Now  is  one  aware  of  this?  Do  we  not  feel  that
living in this world, it is necessary, otherwise the «me» will be destroyed and so
will the family? So we maintain the wall as the most sacred thing. Now if one is
aware of it, what happens? If one removes altogether this wall round oneself,
round the family, does the family end? What then happens to the competition
between the «me», the family, and the rest of the world? We know very well
what  takes  place  when  there  is  a  wall  –  then  we  have  resistance,  conflict,
everlasting  battle  and  pain,  because  any  separative  movement,  any  self-
centred activity, does breed conflict and pain. When there is an awareness of
the whole nature and structure of this circle, this wall, and an understanding of
how  it  has  come  into  being  –  that  is,  the  immediate  realization  of  the  whole
thing – then what happens? When we remove the division between the «me»
and  the  «you»,  the  «we»  and  the  «they»,  what  happens?  Only  then  and  not
before,  can  one  perhaps  use  the  word  «love».  And  love  is  that  most
extraordinary  thing  that  takes  place  when  there  is  no  «me»  with  its  circle  or
wall.    119
Questioner: When I try to observe myself, why do I find myself observing
from the outside, as it were?
Krishnamurti: Have you ever observed a cloud? If you have watched it, you
will see that there is not only the physical separation from it, with distance and
time, but also that inwardly there is a division. That is to say, your mind is so
occupied with other things that you do not give real attention to it; you know all
the  words  one  uses,  «how  beautiful»,  how  lovely»,  but  all  these  verbal
statements act as a barrier which prevents you from really looking at the cloud.
Right? Now can one look at that cloud non-verbally, that is, without the image
that one has about clouds? Since it is an objective thing over there, perhaps
one  may  do  it  fairly  easily,  but  can  one  look  at  oneself  non-verbally?  This
means  to  remove  the  barriers  of  criticism,  judgment  and  condemnation  and
just observe. With a mind free of condemnation and judgment and all the rest
of it, then surely the space between you and the thing observed disappears:
then you are not there, looking over the wall. You are that. And when you are
that, there comes a difficulty. Before, you observed it as something separate
from  yourself,  whereas  now  you  observe  it  without  that  separation.  But  any
movement  you  make  with  regard  to  that  must  still  be  a  movement  from  the
outside.  But  if  you  look  at  it  without  any  movement  –  that  is,  look  at  it  in
complete silence – then that which is observed out of silence is not the same
as it was when you looked at it over the wall.
Questioner: (inaudible). Krishnamurti: A man who is poor and has to work
ten hours a day is obviously conditioned, and although he may change slightly,
there is no inward revolution because he is stamped by the society in which he
lives. Now what is that man to do? Is that your question, Sir?
Questioner: What am I to do in relation to that man?
Krishnamurti:  You  ask what your relationship is  to  that  man.  May  I  put  it
differently? What is the relationship between you and me? I have talked, as I
have done most of my life, and the day after tomorrow I go away. Now what is
our relationship? Have we any relationship? You will obviously have an image   120
of the speaker: what he said or didn’t say, whether you agreed or disagreed,
and  so  on.  Is  there  any  relationship  at  all?  And  is  there  actually  any
relationship between a man who is alive, alert, active, inwardly aflame and the
man  who  says,  «Please  leave  me  alone, for  God’s  sake,  I  am  caught  in  the
trap of society and cannot change». One’s relationship to such a man can be
either  affectionate  or  compassionate  –  not  patronizing.  If  one  is  alive  and
aware  of  all  these  things  that  are  happening  inside  and  outside,  one  does
change oneself. And it is always the intelligent minority which, in turn, changes
the structure of society and the world. Then, perhaps, there may be a chance
for another.
Questioner:  This  inward  psychological  revolution  that  you  have  talked
about: it hasn’t taken place in me or in any of my friends, nor, as far as I can
see, in many people in history. When I try to look at «what is» and when I see
«what  is»,  it  still  doesn’t  happen.  Yet  you  seem  to  hold  out  hope  that  it  can
happen and this hope of yours seems to me, therefore, to be in contradiction
to «what is».
Krishnamurti: I hope I am not offering anybody any hope (Laughter). That
would be a most terrible thing. If you are looking for hope – from me or from
another  –  then  you  are  avoiding  the  despair  which  is  what  actually  is.  Do
please follow this. Can you look at that despair, which is what actually is – not
the hope which is merely a supposition, something you wish for – but actually
look  at  the  fear  and  despair?  Can  you  look  at  it  without  hope  and  without
condemnation? Can you see it actually as it is, be directly in contact with it?
This means looking at it non-verbally, without any fear, without any distortion.
Can you do it? If you can look at «what is» absolutely without any distortion,
you  will  see  that  the  whole  thing  undergoes  a  tremendous  change:  it  is  no
longer despair, it is something entirely different. But, unfortunately, most of us
are conditioned and we are always hoping for the ideal, which is an escape.
Putting  away  all  escapes,  all  hopes  –  not  in  bitterness  or  with  cynicism  but
because you see that there is only this fear and despair – then you are left free
to look. And when the mind is free, is there despair?    121
Questioner: Is sex always an escape?
Krishnamurti: I wouldn’t know. (Laughter) Is it to you? You see, that’s just it:
it becomes an escape when it is the only thing wherein you feel free of your
daily misery, effort and contradiction; and so it becomes a door through which
you can escape. And if you do so escape, that very escape breeds fear. But if
you are aware that it is an escape, then everything changes.    122
Chapter 11 4th Public Talk
At Stanford University 14th February 1969
THIS  IS  OUR  last  talk.  Do  you  still  wish  the  subject  of  meditation  to  be
talked about, as was previously suggested?
Audience: Yes.
Krishnamurti: Before we go into it, I think we should consider the question
of passion and beauty. The word «passion» is derived from a word meaning «to
suffer», but we are using that word in a sense different from either sorrow or
lust. Without passion one cannot do very much, and passion is necessary to
go into this very complex question of what meditation is. In the sense we mean
–  and  perhaps  we  may  be  giving  it  a  different  significance  –  passion  comes
when there is the total abandonment of the «me» and the «you», the «we» and
the  «they»,  and  when,  with  that  abandonment,  there  is  a  deep  sense  of
austerity.  We  do  not  mean  the  austerity  of  the  priest  or  the  monk,  whose
austerity is harsh, directed and sustained through control and suppression. We
are  talking  about  a  passion  that  is  the  outcome  of  an  austerity  which  is  not
harsh.  An  austere  mind  is  really  a  beautiful  mind.  Beauty,  again, is rather a
complex question. In our lives there is so little of it: we live here in a beautiful
building surrounded by a lovely wood with marvellous old trees, with the skies
blue  and  with  lovely  sunsets,  but  beauty  is  not  the  essence  of  experience.
Beauty  is  not  in  the  thing  that  man  alone  has  created.  To  perceive  what  is
deeply beautiful, there must not only be a silence of the mind but also great
space in the mind. I hope all this does not sound rather absurd, but I think it
will become intelligible as we go along.
We have so very little space in ourselves. Our minds are limited, narrow,
shallow,  concerned  about  ourselves  and  committed  to  various  forms  of
activities – social, personal, idealistic and so on. While there is a certain space
between the observer and the thing observed and also around and within this
wall of resistance which constitutes the «me», there is another space that is not   123
bound  by  either  the  centre  or  by  the  wall  of  resistance.  And  that  space,
together  with  beauty  and  passion,  is  essential  for  an  understanding  of  what
meditation is. And, if you will, we will go into that.
Now the West has its own word, «contemplation», but I do not see this as
being the same as meditation as it is understood in the East. First of all, then,
let us discard what is generally understood by the word meditation, that is, that
through meditation one receives a great result, a great experience. Later we
may  examine  the  truth  or  falseness  of  that  idea.  The  meaning  of  the  word
meditation is to ponder, think over, consider, examine in a deeper sense, to
feel  one’s  way  into  something  not  completely  understood,  to  feel  one’s  way
into the mystery and the secret recesses of one’s own unexplored mind and
depths of feeling. Meditation then, in the real meaning of that word, has its own
peculiar  beauty,  and  we  are  also  talking  about  it  as  quite  one  of  the  most
extraordinary  things  in  life  –  if  one  knows  all  that  it  means.  Such  meditation
transcends all experience. It is not a mystical, romantic or sentimental affair; it
needs, rather, a tremendous foundation of righteousness, of virtue and order.
Also, one has to understand the whole question of experience. And so one has
to  go  not  only  verbally  into  it,  but  also  feel  one’s  way  into  something  that
cannot  be  conveyed  by  mere  words.  It  is  not  some  visionary,  mystical  state
induced by thought, but something that comes about naturally and easily when
the  foundation  of  righteous  behaviour  is  laid.  Without  that  foundation,
meditation becomes merely an escape, a fantasy, a thing that one enjoys as a
means to some fantastic measures and experiences.
So  we  are  going  to  go  into  this  question  of  meditation.  And  one  should,
because  it  is  as  important  as  love,  death  and  living  –  perhaps  much  more  –
because  out  of  that  meditative  mind  there  comes  an  understanding  of  what
truth is. Initially we should, I feel, be quite clear as to the falseness or truth of
what is generally accepted about meditation both in the East and, lately, here
in this country. In the East, it is generally understood as a practice in which
there is control of thought, such control being based on a particular method or
system. There are numbers of these systems in India and also in the Buddhist   124
world,  including  Zen.  Systems  and  methods  are  offered  in  the  practising  of
which one comes to that state of silence in which reality is revealed. That, in
general, is what is understood by the various forms of meditation.
Are you interested in all this? I cannot think why because I am really not
interested in it all (Laughter).
There are systems invented by the swamis, yogis, maharishis and all the
rest of them; meditations upon a series of words and their meanings, or on a
phrase,  a  picture,  an  image  or  some  quotation  which  is  supposed  to  have
great meaning. And there is also what is called «mantra yoga», which has been
introduced  into  this  country  and  in  which  you  repeat  certain  Sanskrit  words
which the guru gives to the disciple in secrecy. These you repeat three or four
times a day, or a hundred or a thousand times, whatever it is, thus quieting the
mind and enabling you to transcend this world into a different world. Obviously
the repetition of a series of words – whether in Sanskrit, Latin, English, or even,
if you will, Greek or Chinese – would produce a certain quietness in the mind, a
certain quality in the repetitive word tending to make a mind, which is already
dull,  even  duller  (Laughter).  No,  Sirs,  please  don’t  laugh;  it  is  quite  serious
because this is one of the things, with variations, that is practised a great deal
in the East, the idea being that a mind that wanders endlessly is made quiet by
repetition. So then the word becomes very important, especially when it is in
Sanskrit,  because  that  is  an  extraordinary  language,  possessing  a  certain
tonality and quality; and it is hoped that thereby you achieve something. Now
you can repeat a word like «Coca-Cola» or «Pepsi-Cola, – whatever you will –
and you will also have an extraordinary feeling (Laughter). So you can see that
such repetition as is being done not only in the East, but also in the Catholic
churches and monasteries, makes the mind rather shallow, empty and dull. It
does not bring to it a sensitivity, a quality of perception. Again, the man who
repeats, sees what he wants to see. So we can discard that particular form of
what  is  called  meditation  –  and  discard  it  intelligently, not because someone
says so, but because one can see that, by repetition, the mind obviously must
become rather dull and insensitive. Please know that the speaker is in no way   125
persuading you to any particular method or system – he doesn’t believe in it;
there is no method for meditation, as you will see presently,
Then again, other systems lay down a whole series of postures, as a result
of which, if you sit rightly, cross-legged and breathing deeply, you will silence
the  mind.  There  is  a  story  of  a  great  teacher  who  is  pottering  about  in  the
garden  when  a  disciple  approaches  and  sits  down,  assuming  the  ordained
posture,  and  looks  to  the  master  to  instruct  him  further.  So  the  master  sits
beside him and, as he sits, he watches the disciple who, by now, has closed
his  eyes  and  begun  to  breathe  deeply.  Whereupon  the  teacher  asks,  «What
are  you  doing,  my  friend?»  The  disciple  replies,  «I  am  trying  to  reach  the
highest consciousness». Then the teacher picks up two pebbles and begins to
rub them together. And as he rubs, the disciple, who is on the highest plane of
consciousness, opens his eyes and, upon observing what the master is doing,
asks,  «Master,  what  are  you  doing?»  The  master  replies,  «I  am  rubbing  two
stones together to make one of them into a mirror». So the disciple laughs and
says, «Master, you can do that for the next ten thousand years and you will
never make a mirror out of a stone». Whereupon the master retorts, «You can
sit like that for the next ten thousand years and you will never achieve what
you want!»
So  there  are  these  systems  of  breathing  and  right  posture.  It  is  obvious
that,  in  sitting  straight  or  lying  down  flat,  the  blood  flows  more  easily  to  the
head, whereas too much bending tends to restrict the flow – that is the idea of
sitting straight. Breathing regularly does bring about more oxygen in the blood
and  therefore  quieting  the  body,  and  we  can  gauge  the  importance  or
unimportance of it. The idea is that if you practise the method laid down by the
guru, you will daily achieve a greater degree of understanding, or of silence,
getting closer to heaven, closer to the greatest thing on earth or beyond the
earth.  The  guru  is  supposed  to  be  enlightened  and  knows  more  than  the
disciple.  The  word  «guru»  in  Sanskrit  means  the  one  who  points;  like  a
signpost, he just points. He doesn’t tell you what to do. He doesn’t even take
you by the hand and lead you: he just points the way, leaving you to do with it   126
what  you  will.  But  that  word  has  become  corrupted  by  those  who  use  it  for
themselves, because such gurus offer methods.
Now, what is a method, a system? Please follow this closely because by
discarding what is false – that is, through negation – one finds out what is true.
That  is  what  we  are  doing.  Without  negating  totally  that  which  is  obviously
false, one cannot arrive at any form of understanding. Those of you who have
practised certain systems or forms of meditation can question it for yourselves.
When you practise something regularly  day after day, getting up at two and
three  in  the  morning  as  the  monks  do  in  the  Catholic  world,  or  sitting  down
quietly at certain times during the day, controlling yourself and shaping your
thought according to the system or the method, you can ask yourself what you
are achieving. You are, in fact, pursuing a method that promises a reward. And
when  you  practise  a  method  day  after  day,  your  mind  obviously  becomes
mechanical. There is no freedom in it. A method implies that it is a way laid
down by somebody who is supposed to know what he is doing. And – if I may
say so – if you are not sufficiently intelligent to see through that, then you will
be  caught  in  a  mechanical  process.  That  is,  the  daily  practising,  the  daily
polishing, making your life into a routine so that gradually, ultimately – it may
take  five,  ten  or  any  number  of  years  –  you  will  be  in  a  state  to  understand
what truth is, what enlightenment and reality are and so on. Quite obviously no
method  can  do  that  because  method  implies  a  practice;  and  a  mind  that
practises  something  day  after  day  becomes  mechanical,  loses  its  quality  of
sensitivity  and  its  freshness.  So  again  one  can  see  the  falseness  of  the
systems offered. Then there are other systems, including Zen and the various
occult systems wherein the methods are revealed only to the few. The speaker
has met with some of those but discarded  them  right  from  the  beginning  as
having no meaning.
So,  through  close  examination,  understanding  and  intelligence,  one  can
discard the mere repetition of words and one can discard altogether the guru –
he who stands for authority, the one who knows as against the one who does
not  know.  The  guru  or  the  man  who  says  he  knows,  does  not  know.  You   127
cannot ever know what truth is because it is a living thing, whereas a method,
a path, lays down the steps to be taken in order to reach truth – as though truth
is something that is fixed and permanent, tied down for your convenience. So
if you will discard authority completely – not partially but completely, including
that of the speaker – then you will also discard, quite naturally, all systems and
the mere repetition of words.
Having discarded all that, perhaps we can now proceed to find out what the
meditative mind is. As we pointed out, there must be a foundation of righteous
behaviour,  not  as  the  pursuit  of  an  idea  which  is  considered  righteous,  the
practising of which in daily life becomes mere respectability and therefore far
from righteous. That which is respectable, accepted by society as moral, is not
moral: it is unrighteous. Do you accept all this?
Do you know, Sirs,  what  it  means  to  be  moral,  to be virtuous? You may
dislike those two words, but to be really moral is to end all respectability – the
respectability which society recognizes as being moral. You can be ambitious,
greedy, envious, jealous, full of violence, competitive, destructive, exhorted to
kill, and society will consider all that moral and therefore very respectable. We,
however,  are  talking  of  a  different  morality  and  virtue  altogether,  something
which  has  nothing  to  do  with  social  morality.  Virtue  is  order,  but  not  order
according  to  a  design  or  blueprint,  something  laid  down  by  the  church,  by
society  or  by  your  own  ideological  principles.  Virtue  means  order.  Order
means the understanding of what disorder is and freeing the mind from that
disorder – the disorder of resistance, of greed, envy, brutality and fear. And out
of that comes a virtue which is not something cultivated by thought, as humility
is something that cannot be cultivated by thought. A mind which is vain can
endeavour  to  cultivate  humility,  hoping  thereby  to  mask  its  own  vanity,  but
such  a  mind  has  no  humility.  Similarly  virtue  is  a  living  thing  that  is  not  the
result of a practice, that is not dependent on environmental influence; it is a
behaviour  which  is  righteous,  true  and  deeply  honest.  Most  of  us  are
dishonest. Those who have ideals and pursue them are essentially dishonest
because they are not what they are pretending to be. So, one has to lay this   128
foundation,  and  the  manner  in  which  it  is  laid  is  of  greater  importance  than
understanding  what  meditation  is:  indeed,  this  very  manner  of  laying  is
meditation.  If  in  that  laying,  there  is  any  resistance,  suppression  or  control,
then it ceases to be righteous because in all that effort is involved; and effort,
as we said yesterday, comes about only when there is contradiction in oneself.
So, is it possible for the mind to recognise that the morality practised in the
world is not really moral at all; and, in the understanding of that, the seeing of
its envy, greed and acquisitiveness, to be free of it without effort? Do I make
myself clear? That is, seeing the totality of envy, not just a particular form of it
but the whole meaning of it, seeing it not only as an idea but in actuality, then
that  very  act  of  seeing  frees  the  mind  from  envy.  And  therefore,  in  that
freedom, there is no conflict. Righteousness, then, cannot be the outcome of
conflict  and  is  not  the  result  of  a  drilled  mind.  In  a  mind  which  understands
what it is to learn (which is the understanding of «what is»), the learning itself
brings about its own discipline; and such discipline is extraordinarily austere.
So  there  it  is:  if  you  have  laid  the  foundation  in  that  manner,  then  we  can
proceed,  but  if  you  are  not  virtuous  in  that  deep  sense  of  the  word,  then
meditation becomes an escape, a dishonest activity. Even a stupid mind, a dull
mind, can make itself quiet through drugs or the repetition of words, but to be
righteous demands a great sensitivity and therefore a great austerity – not of
the ashes and loincloth variety, which again is a pretension and an outward
show – but to be inwardly and deeply austere. Such austerity has great beauty:
it is like fine steel.
In  the  understanding  of  ourselves,  obviously,  lie  the  beginnings  of
meditation.  This  understanding  of  oneself  is  quite  a  complex  affair.  There  is
the conscious mind and the unconscious – the so-called deep or hidden mind. I
don’t know why such great importance has been given to the unconscious. It is
the  treasure  of  the  past  –  if  that  can  be  called  a  treasure.  The  racial
inheritance, the tradition, the memories, the motives, the concealed demands,
urges,  desires,  pursuits  and  compulsions.  The  conscious  mind  obviously
cannot,  through  analysis,  explore  all  the  unconscious,  those  deep,  hidden,   129
secret  layers  of  the  mind,  because  it  would  take  many  years.  Moreover,  a
conscious  mind  that  undertakes  to  examine  the  unconscious  must  itself  be
extraordinarily  alert,  unconditioned,  sharp  and  of  unbiased  perception.  So  it
becomes quite a problem. It is said that the unconscious reveals itself through
dreams  and  intimations,  and  that  you  must  dream,  otherwise  you  would  go
mad. Does one ever ask why one should dream at all? We have accepted that
we must dream. As you know, we are the most tradition-bound people; despite
being very modern and greatly sophisticated, we accept tradition and are «yes-
sayers». We never say «no», never doubt, never question. Some authority or
specialist comes along and says this or that and we promptly agree, saying,
«Right,  Sir,  you  know  better  than  we  do».  But  we  are  going  to  question  this
whole matter of the unconscious, the conscious and dreams.
Why  should  you  dream  at  all?  Obviously  because  during  the  day  your
conscious mind is so occupied with the job, with the quarrels, with the family,
the  various  items  of  possible  amusement.  All  the  time  it  is  chattering  away
endlessly, talking to itself, counting – you know all that it does. And so at night,
when the brain is somewhat quieter, and the whole body more peaceful, the
deeper layers are supposed to project their contents into the mind, giving hints
and intimations of what it hopes you will understand, and so on. Have you ever
tried, during the day, to be watchful without correction, aware without choice,
watching your thought, your motives, what you are saying, how you are sitting,
the manner of your usage of words, your gestures – watching? Have you ever
tried? If, during the day, you have watched without attempting to correct, not
saying to yourself, «What a terrible thought that is, I mustn’t have it», but just
watching,  then  you  will  see  that  having  uncovered,  during  the  day,  your
motives, demands and urges, when you come to sleep at night, your mind and
your brain are quieter. And you will also find, as you go into it very deeply, that
no dreams are possible. As a result, when it wakes up, the mind finds itself
extraordinarily alive, active, fresh and innocent. I wonder if you will attempt to
do all these things or whether all this is just a lot of words. Then there is the
other  problem.  The  mind,  as  we  have  it,  is  always  calculating,  comparing,   130
pursuing,  driven,  endlessly  chattering  to  itself  or  gossiping  about  somebody
else – you know what it does every day and all day long. Such a mind cannot
possibly  see  what  is  true  or  perceive  what  is  false.  Such  perception  is  only
possible when the mind is quiet. When you want to listen to what the speaker
is  saying  –  if  you  are  interested  –  your  mind  is  naturally  quiet:  It  ceases  to
chatter  or  think  about  something  else.  If  you  want  to  see  something  very
clearly – if you want to understand your wife or your husband, or to see the
cloud  in  all  its  glory  and  beauty  –  you  look,  and  the  looking  must  be  out  of
silence,  otherwise  you  cannot  see.  So,  can  the  mind,  which  is  so  endlessly
moving, chattering, chasing and taking fright, ever be quiet? Not through drill,
suppression or control, but just be quiet?
The professional mediators tell us to control. Now control implies not only
the one who controls but also the thing controlled. As you watch your mind,
your thought wanders off and you pull it back; then it wanders again and again
you  pull  it  back.  So  this  game  goes  on  endlessly.  And  if,  at  the  end  of  ten
years or whatever it is, you can control so completely that your mind does not
wander  at  all  and  has  no  thoughts  whatever,  then,  it  is  said,  you  will  have
achieved a most extraordinary state. But actually, on the contrary, you will not
have achieved anything at all. Control implies resistance. Please follow this a
little. Concentration is a form of resistance, the narrowing down of thought to a
particular point. And when the mind is being trained to concentrate completely
on  one  thing,  it  loses  its  elasticity,  its  sensitivity,  and  becomes  incapable  of
grasping the total field of life.
Now is it possible for a mind to have this sense of concentration without
exclusion, and yet without resorting to subjugation, conformity or suppression
for purposes of control? It is very easy to concentrate; every schoolboy learns
it – though he hates doing it, he is forced to try to concentrate. And when you
do  concentrate,  you  are  surely  resisting;  your  whole  mind  is  focussed  on
something  and  if  you  train  it  day  after  day  to  concentrate  on  one  thing,
naturally it loses its sharpness, its width, its depth, and it has no space. So the
problem then is: can the mind possess this quality of concentration – although   131
that really isn’t the word – this quality of paying attention to one thing without
losing the total attention? By «total attention» we mean that attention which is
given with your whole mind, in which there is no fear, no pain, no profit-motive,
no pleasure – because you have already understood what the implications of
pleasure are. So when the mind thus gives attention completely – that is, with
your heart, your nerves, your eyes, your whole being – then such attention can
also include attention given to one small item. When you wash dishes, you can
give  complete  attention  to  it  without  this  resistance,  this  narrowing  down
associated with ordinary concentration.
So, having seen the necessity for laying the foundation naturally, without
any  distortion,  without  any  effort  and  discarding  all  authority,  we  can  now
consider the search by the mind for experience. Most of us lead such a dull,
routine  life  of  obviously  very  little  meaning,  that,  through  various  forms  of
stimuli  including  drugs,  we  constantly  seek  wider  and  deeper  experiences.
Now,  when  one  has  an  ex-  perience,  the  recognition  of  it  as  an  experience
shows that you must already have had it, otherwise you would not recognise it.
So the Christian, conditioned as he is to the worship of a particular Saviour,
when taking drugs or seeking some great experience through different ways,
will obviously see something coloured by his own conditioning, and therefore
what  he  sees  will  be  his  own  projection.  And  although  that  may  be  most
extraordinary, with great luminosity, depth and beauty, it will still be his own
background being projected. Therefore the mind that seeks experience as a
means  of  giving  significance  and  meaning  to  life,  is,  in  reality,  projecting  its
own background, whereas the mind that is not seeking because it is free, has
quite a different quality.
Now all that has been observed, from the beginning of this talk until now, is
part of meditation; to see the truth as we go along; to see the falseness of the
guru, the authority, the system; to lay the foundation of a behaviour which is
not the mere outcome of environment and in which there is no effort at all. All
that  implies  a  quality  of  meditation.  When  one  is  at  that  point,  having
understood this whole business of living in which there is no conflict at all, one   132
can then proceed to inquire into what silence is. If you inquire without having
done all the previous things, your silence will have no meaning whatsoever, for
without a true understanding of beauty, of love, of death and of virtue, a mind
must remain shallow, and any silence that it produces will be silence of death.
But if you have taken the journey with the speaker this evening, as I hope you
have,  then  we  can  proceed  to  ask,  «What  is  silence,  what  is  the  quality  of
silence?» Remember that if one wants to see anything very clearly, without any
effort and without any distortion, the mind must be quiet. If I want to see your
face, if I want to listen to the beauty of your voice, if I want to see what kind of
person you are, my mind must be quiet and not chatter. If it is chattering and
wandering all over the place, then I am  unable  to  see  either  your  beauty  or
your ugliness. So silence is necessary for such seeing, as night is necessary
for the day; also that silence is neither the product of noise nor of the cessation
of noise. That silence comes naturally when all the other qualities have come
being. You know, Sirs, in that silence there is space, but not the space that
exists  between  the  observer  and  the  thing  observed  –  as,  for  instance,
between  me  and  this  microphone  (without  which  I  could not see it). A silent
mind has great space not created by either the object or the observer. I do not
know if you have ever watched what space is: there is space displaced by and
around this microphone; there is space around the «me» and around the «you».
Whenever we say «we» and «they», there is this space which we have created
around  ourselves.  When  you  say  you  are  Christian,  Catholic,  Protestant  or
Communist, there is space according to how you thus limit yourself, and that
space  inevitably  breeds  conflict  because  it  is  limited  and  because  it  divides.
But  when  there  is  silence,  there  is  not  the  space  of  division,  but  quite  a
different  quality  of  space.  And  there  must  be  such  space,  as  only  then  can
come that which is not measurable by thought – that immensity, that which is
supreme and which cannot be invited. A petty mind, practising indefinitely, still
remains petty. Most people who are seeking truth are actually inviting truth, but
truth cannot be invited. The mind has not enough space and is not sufficiently
quiet. So meditation is from the beginning to the end, and in meditation lies the
skill in action.    133
So, all this is meditation. If you can do this, the door is open, and it is for
you to come to it. What lies beyond is not something romantic or emotional,
something  that  you  wish  for,  something  to  which  you  can  escape.  But  you
come  to  it  with  a  full  mind  which  is  intelligent,  sensitive  and  without  any
distortion.  You  come  to  it  with  great  love,  otherwise  meditation  has  no
Questioner:  In  the  middle  of  your  talk  you  mentioned  that  although
meditation wasn’t what you wanted to talk about, it was necessary to talk about
it. Was there some other subject?
Krishnamurti;  Sir,  what  didn’t  interest  me  was  the  explanation  of  the
obvious, the obvious being the methods, the systems, the repetition of words,
the gurus – all so obvious. What is important is not to follow anybody but to
under-  stand  oneself.  If  you  go  into  yourself  without  effort,  fear,  without  any
sense of restraint, and really delve deeply, you will find extraordinary things;
and you don’t have to read a single book. The speaker has not read a single
book  about  any  of  these  things:  philosophy,  psychology,  sacred  books.  In
oneself lies the whole world, and if you know how to look and learn, then the
door is there and the key is in your hand. Nobody on earth can give you either
that key or the door to open, except yourself.
Questioner: Is there a reason for being?
Krishnamurti:  Why  do  you  want  a  reason  for  being?  (Laughter).  You  are
here. And because you are here and don’t understand yourself, you want to
invent a reason. You know, Sir, when you look at a tree or the clouds, the light
on the water, when you know what it means to love, you will require no reason
for  being:  you  are,  there  is.  Then  all  the  museums  in  the  world  and  all  the
concerts will have only secondary importance. Beauty is there for you to see, if
you have the mind and the heart to look – not out there in the cloud, in the tree,
in the water, in the thing, but in yourself.    134
– University Of California, Santa Cruz –
Chapter 12 3rd Public Talk
At University Of California Santa Cruz 19th February 1969
THIS  EVENING  I  would  like  to  talk  about  several  things  which  are  all
related,  just  as  all  human  problems  are  also  related.  One  cannot  take  one
problem separately and try to solve it by itself; each problem contains all the
other problems, if one knows how to go into it deeply and comprehensively.
I  would,  first  of  all,  like  to  ask  what  is  going  to  become  of  all  of  us,  the
young  and  the  old,  what  will  we  make  of  our  lives?  Are  we  going  to  allow
ourselves to be sucked into this maelstrom of accepted respectability with its
social and economic morality, and become part of the so-called cultural society
with all its problems, its confusion and contradiction, or are we going to make
something entirely different of our life? That is the problem which faces most
people.  One  is  educated,  not  to  understand  life  as  a  whole,  but  to  play  a
particular role in this totality of existence. We are so heavily conditioned from
childhood  to  achieve  something  in  this  society,  to  be  successful  and  to
become  a  complete  bourgeois;  and  the  more  sensitive  intellectual  generally
revolts  against  such  a  pattern  of  existence.  In  his  revolt,  he  does  various
things: either he becomes antisocial, anti-political, takes to drugs and pursues
some narrow, sectarian, religious belief, following some guru, some teacher or
philosopher, or he becomes an activist, a Communist, or he gives himself over
entirely to some exotic religion like Buddhism or Hinduism. And by becoming a
sociologist,  a  scientist,  an  artist,  a  writer  or,  if  one  has  the  capacity,  a
philosopher  and,  thereby,  enclosing  oneself  in  a  circle,  we  think  we  have
solved  the  problem.  We  then  imagine  we  have  understood  the  whole  of  life
and we dictate to others what life should be according to our own particular
tendency,  our  own  particular  idiosyncrasy,  and  from  our  own  specialized
When one observes what life is with its enormous complexity and intricacy,
not  only  in  the  economic  and  social  spheres,  but  also  in  the  psychological   135
sphere, one must ask oneself, if one is at all serious, what part one is to play in
all this. What shall I do as a human being living in this world and not escaping
into some fantasy existence or a monastery?
Seeing this whole pattern very clearly, what is one to do, what is one to
make of one’s life? This question is always there, whether we are well placed
in the establishment or just about to enter into it. So, it seems to me, one must
inevitably ask this question: What is the purpose of life and as a fairly healthy
human being psychologically, who is not totally neurotic and who is alive and
active, what part shall I play in all this? Which role or which part am I attracted
to? And, if I am attracted to a particular fragment or section, then I must be
aware of the danger in such an attraction, because we are back again in the
same old division which breeds effort, contradiction and war. Can I then take
part in the whole of life and not in just one particular segment of it? To take
part  in  the  whole  of  life  obviously  does  not  mean  to  have  a  complete
knowledge  of  science,  sociology,  philosophy,  mathematics,  and  so  on;  that
would be impossible unless one were a genius.
Can one, therefore, bring about psychologically, inwardly, a totally different
way  of  living?  This  obviously  means  that  one  takes  an  interest  in  all  the
outward  things,  but  that  the  fundamental,  radical  revolution  is  in  the
psychological realm. What can one do to bring about such a change deeply
within oneself? For oneself is the society, is the world, is all the content of the
past. So the problem is: How can we, you and I, take part in the totality of life
and not merely in one segment of it? That’s one problem; there are also the
problems of conduct, behaviour and virtue and the problem of love – what love
is, and what death is. Whether we are young or old, we must ask ourselves
these  questions,  because  they  are  part  of  life,  part  of  our  existence;  and
together, if you are agreeable, we must talk over these problems this evening.
We  are  going  into  these  problems  together;  you  are  not  outside  of  all  this,
merely  a  spectator,  a  listener  observing  with  curiosity  and  taking  a  casual
interest. Whether we like it or not, we are all involved in this inquiry – what to
make of our life, what is righteous behaviour, what is love (if there is such a   136
thing), what is the meaning of that extraordinary thing called death, which most
people won’t even discuss. So, seeing the whole of this, one must ask what is
the purpose of all existence.
The life that we lead at present has actually very little meaning, passing a
few examinations, getting a degree, finding a good job and struggling for the
rest of our life until we die. And to invent a meaning to this utter disorder is
equally disastrous. Now  what  is  possible  for  us, seeing  all  this  and  knowing
that there must be a deep, psychological revolution to bring about a different
order, a different society, and at the same time not depending on anyone to
give  us  enlightenment  or  clarity  –  so  what  is  possible?  To  find  out  what  is
possible,  one  must,  first  of  all,  find  out  what  is  impossible.  Now  what  is
impossible or appears to be impossible? It appears impossible for a complete
change, a complete psychological revolution to take place immediately, that is,
tomorrow you wake up and you are completely different, your way of looking,
thinking, feeling is so new, so alive, so passionate, so true, that in it there is no
longer a shadow of conflict or hypocrisy. You say that is impossible because
you  have  accepted  or  become  accustomed  to  the  idea  of  psychological
evolution, a gradual change which may take fifty years; so time is necessary,
not  only  chronological  time  but  psychological  time.  That  is  the  accepted,
traditional way of thinking; to change, to bring about a radical, psychological
revolution, time is necessary. If one suggests, as the speaker does, that it is
possible to change completely by tomorrow, you would say that is impossible,
wouldn’t you? So, for you, that is the impossible; now from knowing what is
impossible, you can find out what is possible. The possibility then is not the
same as it was before: it’s entirely different. Are we following each other?
When  we  say  this  is  possible,  that  is  impossible,  the  possibility  is
measurable, but when we realize something which is impossible, then we see
in  relation  to  the  impossible  what  is  possible;  and  that  possibility  then  is
entirely different from what was possible before. Please, listen carefully, don’t
compare this with what somebody else has said, just watch it in yourself and
you will see an extraordinary thing takes place. The possibility now, as we are,   137
is  very  small;  it  is  possible  to  go  to  the  moon,  to  become  a  rich  man  or  a
professor, whatever it is, but that possibility is very trivial. Now when you are
confronted  with  an  issue  such  as  this,  that  you  must  change  completely  by
tomorrow and therefore become a totally different human being, then you are
faced with the impossible. When you realize the impossibility of that, then in
relation to the impossible, you will find out what is possible, which is something
entirely different; therefore quite a different possibility takes place in your mind.
And it is this possibility that we are talking about, not the trivial possibility, So,
bearing all this in mind, the impossible and the possible in relationship to the
impossible,  and  seeing  this  whole  pattern  of  existence,  what  can  I  do?  The
impossible is to love without a shadow of jealousy and hate.
Most of us, I am afraid, are terribly jealous, envious and possessive. When
you  love  somebody,  your  girlfriend,  your  wife  or  your  husband,  you  are
determined to hold them for the rest of your life; at least you try to. And you
call that «love» – he or she is «mine». And when «the mine» looks away or looks
at another, becomes somewhat independent, then there is fury, jealousy and
anxiety, then all the misery of what is called love begins.
Now, what is it to love without a shadow of all that? No doubt, you would
consider it impossible, you would consider it inhuman, in fact superhuman – so,
to you it is impossible. If you see the impossibility of that, then you will find out
what is possible in relationship. I hope I am making myself clear. That is the
first point.
Secondly,  our  life,  as  it  is  now,  is  struggle,  pain,  pleasure,  fear,  anxiety,
uncertainty, despair, war, hatred – you know what our everyday living actually
is, the competition, the destruction, the disorder. This is actually what is taking
place, not what «should be» or what «ought to be; we are only concerned with
what is. So, seeing all this, we say to ourselves: «It’s too awful, I must escape
from it! I want a wider, deeper, more extensive vision. I want «to become more
sensitive.» Therefore we take drugs.    138
This question of drugs is very old; they have been taking drugs in India for
thousands of years. At one time it was called soma, now it is hashish and pan;
they  haven’t  yet  reached  the  highly  sophisticated  level  of  LSD,  but  they
probably will very soon now. People take hashish and pan in order to become
less  sensitive;  they  get  lost  in  the  perfume  of  it,  in  the  different  visions  it
produces and accentuates. These drugs are generally taken by the labourers,
the manual workers (here you do not have «untouchables» as they are called in
India). They take drugs because their lives are dreadfully dull; they have not
much food, so they haven’t much energy. The only two things they have are
sex and drugs.
The truly religious man, the man who really wants to find out what truth is,
what  life  is  –  not  from  books,  not  from  religious  entertainers,  not  from
philosophers who only stimulate intellectually – such a man will have nothing
whatever  to  do  with  drugs,  because  he  knows  full  well  that  they  distort  the
mind, making it incapable of finding out what truth is.
Here in the Western world many people are resorting to drugs. There are
the  serious  ones  who  have  taken  it  experimentally  for  perhaps  a  couple  of
years, some of whom have come to see me. They have said: «We have had
experiences which appear – from what we have read in books – to resemble
the ultimate reality, to be a shadow of the real.» And because they are serious
people, as the speaker is, they have discussed this problem deeply; ultimately
they have been forced to admit that the experience is very spurious, that it has
nothing  whatever  to  do  with  the  ultimate  reality,  with  all  the  beauty  of  that
immensity.  Unless  a  mind  is  clear,  wholesome  and  completely  healthy,  it
cannot  possibly  be  in  the  state  of  religious  meditation  which  is  absolutely
essential to discover that thing which is beyond all thought, beyond all desire.
Any  form  of  psychological  dependence,  any  kind  of  escape,  through  drink,
through drugs, in an attempt to make the mind more sensitive merely dulls and
distorts it.    139
When you discard all that – as one must if one is at all serious – you are
faced with living inwardly alone. Then you are not depending on anything or
anybody, on any drug, on any book, or on any belief. Only then is the mind
unafraid, only then can you ask what is the purpose of life. And if you have
come to that point, would you ask such a question? The purpose of life is to
live – not in the utter chaos and confusion that we call living – but to live in an
entirely different way, to live a life that is full, to live a life that is complete, to
live that way today. That is the true meaning of life – to live, not heroically, but
to live so complete inwardly, without fear, without struggle and without all the
rest of the misery.
It is possible only when you know what is impossible; you must, therefore,
see whether you can change immediately, say, with regard to anger, hate and
jealousy, so that you are no longer jealous, which is, of course, envious; envy
being  a  comparison  between  yourself  and  another.  Now,  is  it  possible  to
change so completely that envy doesn’t touch you at all? This is only possible
when you are aware of the envy without this division of the observer and the
observed, so that you are envy, you are that: not you and envy as something
separate from you. Therefore, when you see this whole thing completely, there
is no possibility of doing any- thing about it; and when there is this complete
state of envy, in which there is no division and no conflict, then it is no longer
envy; it is something entirely different. One can then ask: What is love? Is love
pleasure?  Is  love  desire?  Is  love  the  product  of  thought,  as  pleasure  is  and
fear is? Can love be cultivated and will love come about through time? And, if I
don’t know what love is, can I come upon it?
Love  is  obviously  not  sentimentality  or  emotionalism,  so  they  can  be
brushed  aside  immediately,  because  sentimentality  and  emotionalism  are
romantic,  and  love  is  not  romanticism.  Now  pleasure  and  fear  are  the
movement of thought and for most of us pleasure is the greatest thing in life;
sexual pleasure and the memory of it, the thought of having had that pleasure,
thinking about it over and over again and wanting it tomorrow – the morality of
society is based on pleasure.  So,  if  pleasure  is  not  love,  then  what  is  love?   140
Please follow this, because you have to answer these questions; you can’t just
wait  for  the  speaker  or  somebody  else  to  tell  you.  This  is  a  fundamental,
human question that must be answered by each one of us, not by some guru
or philosopher who says this is love, that is not love.
Love is not jealousy or envy, is it? You are all very silent! Can you love and
at the same time be greedy, ambitious, competitive? Can you love when you
kill  not  only  animals  but  also  other  human  beings?  Through  the  negation  of
what love is not – it is not jealousy, envy, hate, the self-centred activity of the
«me»  and  the  «you»,  the  ugly  competition,  the  brutality  and  the  violence  of
everyday life – you will know what love is. When you put all these things aside,
not intellectually but actually, with your heart, with your mind, with your… I was
going to say guts, because obviously all this is not love, then you will come
upon love. When you know love, when you have love, then you are free to do
what is right; and whatever you do is righteous.
But  to come  to  that state, to  have  that  sense  of  beauty and compassion
which  love  brings,  there  must  also  be  the  death  of  yesterday.  The  death  of
yesterday means to die to everything inwardly, to all ambition and everything
that psychologically one has accumulated. After all, when death comes, that’s
what  is  going  to  happen  anyway;  you  are  going  to  leave  your  family,  your
house, your goods, your valuables, all the things you possess. You are going
to leave all the books from which you have derived so much knowledge, as
well as the books you wanted to write and have not written, and the pictures
you wanted to paint. When you die to all that, then the mind is completely new,
fresh and innocent. I suppose you will say it is impossible.
When you say it is impossible, then you begin to invent theories; there must
be a life after death; according to the Christians there is resurrection, while the
whole  of  Asia  believes  in  reincarnation.  The  Hindus  maintain  that  it  is
impossible to die to everything while one still has life and health and beauty;
so  fearing  death,  they  give  hope  by  inventing  this  wonderful  thing  called
reincarnation, which means that the next life will be better. However, the better   141
has a string attached to it; to be better in my next life, I must be good in this
one,  therefore  I  must  behave  myself.  I must live righteously; I must not hurt
another;  there  must  be  no  anxiety,  no  violence.  But  unfortunately  these
believers  in  reincarnation  do  not  live  that  way;  on  the  contrary,  they  are
aggressive, as full of violence as everyone else, so their belief is as worthless
as the dead yesterdays.
The important thing is what you are now, and not whether you believe or
don’t  believe,  whether  your  experiences  are  psychedelic  or  merely  ordinary.
What matters is to live at the height of virtue (I know you don’t like that word).
Those  two  words  «virtue»  and  «righteousness»  have  been  terribly  abused,
every priest uses them, every moralist or idealist employs them. But virtue is
entirely different from something which is practised as virtue and therein lies its
beauty; if you try to practise it, then it is no longer virtue. Virtue is not of time,
so  it  cannot  be  practised  and  behaviour  is  not  dependent  on  environment;
environmental behaviour is all right in its way but it has no virtue. Virtue means
to love, to have no fear, to live at the highest level of existence, which is to die
to  everything,  inwardly,  to  die  to  the  past,  so  that  the  mind  is  clear  and
innocent.  And  it  is  only  such  a  mind  that  can  come  upon  this  extraordinary
immensity  which  is  not  your  own  invention,  nor  that  of  some  philosopher  or
Questioner:  Will  you  please  explain  the  difference  between  thought  and
Krishnamurti: Do you mean by «insight» understanding? To see something
very  clearly,  to  have  no  confusion,  no  choice?  I  want  to  understand  in  what
way you are using that word «insight». Is that correct, Sir?
Questioner: Yes.
Krishnamurti: What is thinking? Please, let’s go into this! When I ask you
that question «What is thinking?», what takes place in your mind?
Questioner: Thought.    142
Krishnamurti:  Go  slowly,  Sir,  step  by  step,  don’t  rush  at  it!  What  takes
place? I ask you a question. I ask you where you live or what’s your name.
Your answer is immediate isn’t it? Why?
Questioner: Because you are dealing with something in the past.
Krishnamurti:  Please,  don’t  complicate  the  thing,  just  look  at  it!  We’ll
complicate it presently but, first of all, just look at it. (Laughter). I ask you your
name,  your  address,  where  you  live  and  so  on.  The  answer  is  immediate
because you are familiar with it, you don’t have to think about it. Probably you
thought about it at first, but you’ve been brought up since childhood to know
your name. There is no thought process involved in that. Now, next time I ask
you  something  a  little  more  difficult  and  there  is  a  time-lag  between  the
question and your answer. What takes place in that interval? Go slowly, don,t
answer me but find out for yourself. All right, I’ll ask you a question: What is the
distance from here to the moon, to Mars or to New York? In that interval what
takes place?
Questioner: Searching.
Krishnamurti: You’re searching, aren’t you? Searching where?
Questioner: My memory.
Krishnamurti:  You’re  searching  your  memory,  that  is,  somebody  has  told
you  or  you  have  read  about  it,  so  you  are  looking  in  your  «cupboard».
(Laughter). And then you come up with the answer. To the first question there
was an immediate answer, but you are uncertain about the second question,
so you take more time. In that interval you are thinking, probing, investigating
and eventually you find the right answer. Now, if you are asked a very complex
question like «What is God?»…
Questioner: 1. God is love. Questioner: 2. God is everything. Questioner: 3.
The answer isn’t in my memory.
Krishnamurti: Just listen! «God is love, God is everything…»    143
Questioner: God is the big furniture remover. (Laughter)
Krishnamurti:  And  so  on.  Now  watch  it,  just  look  what’s  happened.  You
never said we don’t know which is the right answer. Please, follow this! It is
very important. Not knowing, you believe! Look what has happened, thought
has  betrayed  you.  First,  a  familiar  question,  then  a  more  difficult  one,  and
finally a question to which the mind says I’ve been conditioned to believe in
God, so I have an answer. And if you were a Communist you would say, «What
are  you  talking  about?  Don’t  be  silly,  there’s  no  such  thing  as  God.  It’s  a
bourgeois  belief  invented  by  the  priests!»  (Laughter).  Now,  we  are  talking
about thought. First of all, to find out if there is or there is not God (and we
must find out, otherwise we are not total human beings), to find that out, all
belief, that is, all conditioning brought about by human thought, which arises
out of fear must come to an end. We then see what thinking is: thinking is the
response of memory, which is your accumulated knowledge, experience and
background, and when you are asked a question, certain vibrations are set up,
and  from  that  memory  you  respond.  That  is  thought.  Please,  watch  it  in
yourself! And thought is always old, obviously, because it responds from the
past,  therefore  thought  can  never  be  free.  (Pause).  You  don’t  go  along  with
that, do you? (Laughter) «Freedom of thought». Please, look at it very carefully,
don’t laugh it off! We worship thought, don’t we? Thought is the greatest thing
in life, the intellectuals adore it, but when you look very closely at the whole
process  of  thought  –  however  reasonable,  however  logical  –  it  is  still  the
response of memory which is always old, so thought itself is old and can never
bring  about  freedom.  Please  don’t  accept  what  the  speaker  says  about
So,  thought  then  brings  confusion.  The  question  was:  What  is  the
difference  between  thought  and  insight  which,  we  agreed,  was  the  same  as
understanding,  seeing  things  very  clearly,  without  any  confusion.  When  you
see something very clearly – we are talking psychologically – then there is no
choice; there is only choice when there is confusion. We say there is freedom
to choose which really means there is freedom to be confused, because if you   144
are not confused, if you see something instantly and very clearly, then where
is the need to choose? And when there is no choice, there is clarity.
Clarity,  insight  or  understanding  are  only  possible  when  thought  is  in
abeyance, when the mind is still. Then only can you see very clearly, then you
can say you have really understood what we are talking about, then you have
direct perception, because your mind is no longer confused. Confusion implies
choice and choice is the product of thought. Shall I do this or that – the «me»
and the «not-me», the «you» and the «not you», «we» and «they», and so on, all
that  is  implied  by  thought.  And  out  of  this  arises  confusion  and  from  that
confusion we choose; we choose our political leaders, our gurus, and so many
other things, but when there is clarity, then there is direct perception. And to be
clear,  the  mind  must  be  completely  quiet,  completely  still,  then  there  is  real
understanding and therefore that understanding is action. It isn’t the other way
Questioner: How do people become neurotic?
Krishnamurti:  How  do  I  know  they  are  neurotic?  Please,  this  is  a  very
serious  question,  so  do  listen!  How  do  I  know  they  are  neurotic?  Am  I  also
neurotic because I recognise that they are neurotic?
Questioner: Yes.
Krishnamurti: Don’t say «yes» so quickly! Just look at it, listen to it! Neurotic,
what  does  that  mean?  A  little  odd,  not clear,  confused,  slightly  off  balance?
And  unfortunately  most  of  us  are  slightly  off  balance.  No?  You  aren’t  quite
sure!  (Laughter).  Aren’t  you  off  balance  if  you  are  a  Christian,  a  Hindu,  a
Buddhist or a Communist? Aren’t you neurotic when you enclose yourself with
your problems, build a wall around yourself because you think you are much
better  than  somebody  else?  Aren’t  you  off  balance  when  your  life  is  full  of
resistance  –  the  «me»  and  «you»,  the  «we»  and  «they»  and  all  the  other
divisions? Aren’t you neurotic in the office when you want to go one better than
the other fellow? So, how does one become neurotic? Does society make you   145
neurotic?  That  is  the  simplest  explanation  –  my  father,  my  mother,  my
neighbour, the government, the army, everybody makes me neurotic. They are
all responsible for my being off balance. And when I go to the analyst for help,
poor chap, he’s also neurotic like me. (Laughter). Please, don’t laugh! This is
exactly  what  is  happening  in  the  world.  Now  why  do  I  become  neurotic?
Everything in the world as it exists now, the society, the family, the parents, the
children  –  they  have  no  love.  Do  you  think  there  would  be  wars  if  they  had
love? Do you think there would be governments that consider it is perfectly all
right for you to be killed? Such a society would never exist if your mother and
father really loved you, cared for you, looked after you and taught you how to
be kind to people, how to live and how to love. These are the outer pressures
and  demands  that  bring  about  this  neurotic  society;  there  are  also  the  inner
compulsions and urges within ourselves, our innate violence inherited from the
past, which help to make up this neurosis, this imbalance. So this is the fact –
most of us are slightly off balance, or more, and it’s no use blaming anybody.
The fact is that one is not balanced psychologically, mentally, or sexually; in
every way we are off balance. Now the important thing is to become aware of
it, to know that one is not balanced, not how to become balanced. A neurotic
mind  cannot  become  balanced,  but  if  it  has  not  gone  to  the  extremes  of
neurosis, if it has still retained some balance, it can watch itself. One can then
become aware of what one does, of what one says, of what one thinks, how
one  moves,  how  one  sits,  how  one  eats,  watching  all  the  time  but  not
correcting. And if you watch in such a manner, without any choice, then out of
that deep watching will come a balanced, sane, human being; then you will no
longer  be  neurotic.  A  balanced  mind  is a  mind  that  is  wise,  not  made  up  of
judgments and opinions.
Questioner: Where does thought end and silence begin?
Krishnamurti: Have you ever noticed a gap between two thoughts? Or are
you thinking all the time without an interval? Do you understand the question?
Questioner: No.    146
Krishnamurti:  Is  there  an  interval  between  two  thoughts?  Is  the  question
Questioner: Yes.
Krishnamurti: Or is this the first time you have been asked such a question!
I want to find out, Sir, what silence is. Is silence the cessation of noise? Is it
like  the  peace  which  exists  between  two wars? Or is it the interval between
two thoughts? Or has it nothing whatever to do with any of this? If silence is
the  cessation  of  thought,  the  cessation  of  noise,  then  it  is  fairly  easy  to
suppress  noise,  that  is,  noise  being  chatter  –  you  stop  chattering.  Is  that
silence?  Or  is  silence  a  state  of  mind  that  is  no  longer  confused,  no  longer
afraid. So where does silence begin? Does it begin when thought ends? Have
you ever tried to end thought?
Questioner: When the mind radically changes speed, it is a quiet mind.
Krishnamurti: Yes, Sir, but have you ever tried stopping thought?
Questioner: How do you do it?
Krishnamurti: I don’t know, but have you ever tried it? First of all, who is the
entity who is trying to stop it?
Questioner: The thinker.
Krishnamurti: It’s another thought, isn’t it? Thought is trying to stop itself, so
there  is  a  battle  between  the  thinker  and  the  thought.  Please,  watch  this
conflict very carefully. Thought says, «I must stop thinking because then I shall
experience a marvellous state», or whatever the motive may be, so you try to
suppress thought. Now the entity that is trying to suppress thought is still part
of thought, isn’t it? One thought is trying to suppress another thought, so there
is  conflict,  a  battle  is  going  on.  When  I  see  this  as  a  fact  –  see  it  totally,
understand it completely, have an insight into it, in the sense that gentleman
used the word – then the mind is quiet. This comes about naturally and easily
when the mind is quiet to watch, to look, to see.       Questioner: When self-centred activity ceases, what motivates action?
Krishnamurti: Find out first what happens when self-centred activity comes
to  an  end,  then  you  won’t  ask  the  question,  then  you  will  see  the  beauty  of
action in itself, then you won’t need a motive, because motive is part of self-
centred activity; when that self-centred activity is not, action has no motive and
is therefore true, righteous and free.


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