THIS BOOK is unique in that it is the only one of Krishnamurti’s
publications which records words spoken into a tape-recorder
while he was quite alone.
After the success of Krishnamurti’s Journal, published in 1982,
he was urged to continue it but, since by then his hand had become
rather shaky (he was eighty-seven), it was suggested that instead of
writing it, which would tire him, he should dictate it to himself.
This idea appealed to him. However, he could not start at once
because he was on the point of flying to India where he would have
no time to himself. On his return to California, in February 1983,
he dictated the first of the pieces contained in this volume into a
new Sony tape-recorder.
All the dictations except one were recorded from his home, Pine
Cottage, in the Ojai Valley, some eighty miles north of Los
Angeles. He would dictate in the mornings, while in bed after
breakfast, undisturbed.
Krishnamurti had first stayed at Pine Cottage with his brother in
1922, when it was lent to him by a friend, and it was there, in
August, ’22, that he underwent a spiritual experience that
transformed his life. Soon afterwards, a Trust was formed to which
money was subscribed to buy the cottage and six acres of
surrounding land. In 1978 a beautiful new house was built
incorporating the cottage in which Krishnamurti retained his original bedroom and a small sitting-room.
His dictations were not as finished as his writings, and at times
his voice would wander away from the recorder to become rather
distant, so, unlike his Notebook and Journal, some slight editing
has been necessary for the sake of clarity. The reader gets very
close to Krishnamurti in these pieces – almost, it seems at
moments, into his very consciousness. In a few of them he
introduces an imaginary visitor who comes to question him and
draw him out.
The gist of Krishnamurti’s teaching is here, and the descriptions
of nature with which he begins most of the pieces may for many,
who regard him as a poet as well as a philosopher, quieten their
whole being so that they become intuitively receptive to what
follows. There are repetitions, but these seem somehow necessary
in order to emphasize his meaning, and they clearly show how
every day was a completely new day to him, free from all burdens
of the past.
Strangely, the last piece, and perhaps the most beautiful, is
about death. It is the last occasion on which we shall ever hear
Krishnamurti discoursing to himself. Two years later he died in
this same bedroom at Pine Cottage.

THERE IS A tree by the river and we have been watching it day
after day for several weeks when the sun is about to rise. As the
sun rises slowly over the horizon, over the trees, this particular tree
becomes all of a sudden golden. All the leaves are bright with life
and as you watch it as the hours pass by, that tree whose name does
not matter – what matters is that beautiful tree – an extraordinary
quality seems to spread all over the land, over the river. And as the
sun rises a little higher the leaves begin to flutter, to dance. And
each hour seems to give to that tree a different quality. Before the
sun rises it has a sombre feeling, quiet, far away, full of dignity.
And as the day begins, the leaves with the light on them dance and
give it that peculiar feeling that one has of great beauty. By midday
its shadow has deepened and you can sit there protected from the
sun, never feeling lonely, with the tree as your companion. As you
sit there, there is a relationship of deep abiding security and a
freedom that only trees can know.
Towards the evening when the western skies are lit up by the
setting sun, the tree gradually becomes sombre, dark, closing in on
itself. The sky has become red, yellow, green, but the tree remains
quiet, hidden, and is resting for the night.
If you establish a relationship with it then you have relationship
with mankind. You are responsible then for that tree and for the
trees of the world. But if you have no relationship with the living things on this earth you may lose whatever relationship you have
with humanity, with human beings. We never look deeply into the
quality of a tree; we never really touch it, feel its solidity, its rough
bark, and hear the sound that is part of the tree. Not the sound of
wind through the leaves, not the breeze of a morning that flutters
the leaves, but its own sound, the sound of the trunk and the silent
sound of the roots. You must be extraordinarily sensitive to hear
the sound. This sound is not the noise of the world, not the noise of
the chattering of the mind, not the vulgarity of human quarrels and
human warfare but sound as part of the universe.
It is odd that we have so little relationship with nature, with the
insects and the leaping frog and the owl that hoots among the hills
calling for its mate. We never seem to have a feeling for all living
things on the earth. If we could establish a deep abiding
relationship with nature we would never kill an animal for our
appetite, we would never harm, vivisect, a monkey, a dog, a guinea
pig for our benefit. We would find other ways to heal our wounds,
heal our bodies. But the healing of the mind is something totally
different. That healing gradually takes place if you are with nature,
with that orange on the tree, and the blade of grass that pushes
through the cement, and the hills covered, hidden, by the clouds.
This is not sentiment or romantic imagination but a reality of a
relationship with everything that lives and moves on the earth. Man
has killed millions of whales and is still killing them. All that we
derive from their slaughter can be had through other means. But
apparently man loves to kill things, the fleeting deer, the marvellous gazelle and the great elephant. We love to kill each
other. This killing of other human beings has never stopped
throughout the history of man’s life on this earth. If we could, and
we must, establish a deep long abiding relationship with nature,
with the actual trees, the bushes, the flowers, the grass and the fast
moving clouds, then we would never slaughter another human
being for any reason whatsoever. Organized murder is war, and
though we demonstrate against a particular war, the nuclear, or any
other kind of war, we have never demonstrated against war. We
have never said that to kill another human being is the greatest sin
on earth.

FLYING AT 41,000 feet from one continent to another you see
nothing but snow, miles of snow; all the mountains and the hills
are covered with snow, and the rivers too are frozen. You see them
wandering, meandering, all over the land. And far below, the
distant farms are covered with ice and snow. It is a long, tiresome
flight of eleven hours. The passengers were chattering away. There
was a couple behind one and they never stopped talking, never
looked at the glory of those marvellous hills and mountains, never
looked at the other passengers. Apparently they were absorbed in
their own thoughts, in their own problems, in their chatterings. And
at last, after a tedious, calm flight, in the dead of winter, you land
at the town on the Pacific.
After the noise and the bustle, you leave that ugly, sprawling,
vulgar, shouting city and the endless shops selling almost all the
same things. You leave all that behind as you go round the coast
highway of the blue Pacific, following the seashore, on a beautiful
road, wandering through the hills, meeting the sea often; and as
you leave the Pacific behind and enter into the country, winding
over various small hills, peaceful, quiet, full of that strange dignity
of the country, you enter the valley. You have been there for the
last sixty years, and each time you are astonished to enter into this
valley. It is quiet, almost untouched by man. You enter into this
valley which is almost like a vast cup, a nest. Then you leave the little village and climb to about 1,400 feet, passing rows and rows
of orange orchards and groves. The air is perfumed with orange
blossom. The whole valley is filled with that scent. And the smell
of it is in your mind, in your heart, in your whole body. It is the
most extraordinary feeling of living in a perfume that will last for
about three weeks or more. And there is a quietness in the
mountains, a dignity. And each time you look at those hills and the
high mountain, which is over 6,000 feet, you are really surprised
that such a country exists. Each time you come to this quiet,
peaceful valley there is a feeling of strange aloofness, of deep
silence and the vast spreading of slow time.
Man is trying to spoil the valley but it has been preserved. And
the mountains that morning were extraordinarily beautiful. You
could almost touch them. The majesty, the vast sense of
permanency is there in them. And you enter quietly into the house
where you have lived for over sixty years and the atmosphere, the
air, is, if one can use that word, holy; you can feel it. You can
almost touch it. As it has rained considerably, for it is the rainy
season, all the hills and the little folds of the mountain are green,
flourishing, full – the earth is smiling with such delight, with some
deep quiet understanding of its own existence.
`You have said over and over again that the mind, or if you
prefer it, the brain, must be quiet, must empty itself of all the
knowledge it has gathered, not only to be free but to comprehend
something that is not of time or thought or of any action. You have
said this in different ways in most of your talks and I find this awfully difficult, not only to grasp the idea, the depth of it but the
feeling of quiet emptiness, if I can use that word. I never could feel
my way into it. I have tried various methods to end the chattering
of the mind, the endless occupation with something or other, this
very occupation creating its problems. And as one lives one is
caught up in all this. This is our daily life, the tedium, the talk that
goes on in a family, and if there isn’t talking there is always the
television or a book. The mind seems to demand that it should be
occupied, that it should move from one thing to another, from
knowledge to knowledge, from action to action with the everlasting
movement of thought.’
`As we pointed out, thought cannot be stopped by
determination, by a decision of the will, or the urgent pressing
desire to enter into that quality of quiet, still emptiness.’ ‘I find
myself envious for something which I think, which I feel, to be
true, which I would like to have, but it has always eluded me, it has
always gone beyond my grasp. I have come, as I have often come,
to talk with you: why in my daily life, in my business life, is there
not the stability, the endurance of that quietness? Why isn’t this in
my life? I have asked myself what am I to do. I also realize I
cannot do much, or I can’t do anything at all about it. But it is there
nagging. I can’t leave it alone. If only I could experience it once,
then that very memory will nourish me, then that very
remembrance will give a significance to a really rather silly life. So
I have come to enquire, to probe into this matter: why does the
mind – perhaps the word brain may be better – demand that it should be occupied?’

THE OTHER DAY as one was walking along a secluded wooded
lane far from the noise and the brutality and the vulgarity of
civilization, right away from everything that was put together by
man, there was a sense of great quietness, enveloping all things –
serene, distant and full of the sound of the earth. As you walked
along quietly, not disturbing the things of the earth around you, the
bushes, the trees, the crickets and the birds, suddenly round a bend
there were two small creatures quarrelling with each other, fighting
in their small way. One was trying to drive off the other. The other
was intruding, trying to get into the other’s little hole, and the
owner was fighting it off. Presently the owner won and the other
ran off. Again there was quietness, a sense of deep solitude. And as
you looked up, the path climbed high into the mountains, the
waterfall was gently murmuring down the side of the path; there
was great beauty and infinite dignity, not the dignity achieved by
man that seems so vain and arrogant. The little creature had
identified itself with its home, as we human beings do. We are
always trying to identify ourselves with our race, with our culture,
with those things which we believe in, with some mystical figure,
or some saviour, some kind of super authority. Identifying with
something seems to be the nature of man. Probably we have
derived this feeling from that little animal.
One wonders why this craving, longing, for identification exists. One can understand the identification with one’s physical needs –
the necessary things, clothes, food, shelter and so on. But inwardly,
inside the skin as it were, we try to identify ourselves with the past,
with tradition, with some fanciful romantic image, a symbol much
cherished. And surely in this identification there is a sense of
security, safety, a sense of being owned and of possessing. This
gives great comfort. One takes comfort, security, in any form of
illusion. And man apparently needs many illusions.
In the distance there is the hoot of an owl and there is a deep-
throated reply from the other side of the valley. It is still dawn. The
noise of the day has not begun and everything is quiet. There is
something strange and holy where the sun arises. There is a prayer,
a chant to the dawn, to that strange quiet light. That early morning,
the light was subdued, there was no breeze and all the vegetation,
the trees, the bushes, were quiet, still, waiting. Waiting for the sun
to arise. And perhaps the sun would not come up for another half
hour or so, and the dawn was slowly covering the earth with a
strange stillness.
Gradually, slowly, the topmost mountain was getting brighter
and the sun was touching it, golden, clear, and the snow was pure,
untouched by the light of day.
As you climbed, leaving the little village paths down below, the
noise of the earth, the crickets, the quails and other birds began
their morning song, their chant, their rich worship of the day. And
as the sun arose you were part of that light and had left behind
everything that thought had put together. You completely forgot yourself. The psyche was empty of its struggles and its pains. And
as you walked, climbed, there was no sense of separateness, no
sense of being even a human being.
The morning mist was gathering slowly in the valley, and that
mist was you, getting more and more thick, more and more into the
fancy, the romance, the idiocy of one’s own life. And after a long
period of time you came down. There was the murmur of the wind,
insects, the calls of many birds. And as you came down the mist
was disappearing. There were streets, shops, and the glory of the
dawn was fast fading away. And you began your daily routine,
caught in the habit of work, the contentions between man and man,
the divisions of identification, the division of ideologies, the
preparations for wars, your own inward pain and the everlasting
sorrow of man.

IT WAS A cool fresh morning and there was the light that
California alone has, especially the southern part of it. It is really
quite an extraordinary light.
We have travelled probably all over the world, most of the
world at least, have seen various lights and clouds in many parts of
the earth. The clouds in Holland are very close; here in California
the clouds against the blue sky seem to hold the light everlastingly
– the light that great clouds have, with their extraordinary shape
and quality.
It was a cool, very nice morning. And as you climbed the rocky
path up to the great height and looked down into the valley and
saw the row upon row of orange trees, avocados and the hills that
surround the valley, it was as though you were out of this world, so
completely lost were you to all things, to the weariness, to man’s
ugly reactions and actions. You left all that behind as you climbed
up and up the very rocky path. You left behind far below you the
vanity, the arrogance, the vulgarity of uniforms, decorations spread
all over your chest, and the vanity and strange costumes of priests.
You left all that behind.
And as you went up you nearly trod on a mother with her dozen
or more little baby quails and they scattered with chirping into the
bushes. As you went on up and looked back, the mother had again
gathered them round her and they were all quite secure under the wings of their mother.
You had to climb hour after hour to reach the great height.
Some days you saw a bear a little way off and it paid no attention.
And the deer across the gully, they too seemed unconcerned. At
last you reached the height of a rocky plateau, and across the hills
to the south-west you saw the distant sea, so blue, so quiet, so
infinitely far away. You sat on a rock, smooth, cracked, where the
sun must for century upon century, without any regret, have
cracked it. And in the little cracks you saw tiny little living things
scurrying about, and there was that utter silence, complete and
infinite. A very large bird – they call it a condor – was circling in
the sky. Apart from that movement there was nothing astir except
these tiny little insects. but there was that silence that exists only
where man has not been before; it was so peaceful.
You left everything behind in that little village so far below
you. Literally everything: your identity, if you had any, your
belongings, the possession of your experiences, your memories of
things that had meant something to you – you left all that behind,
down below there amidst the shining groves and orchards. Here
there was absolute silence and you were totally alone.
It was a marvellous morning and the cool air which was
becoming colder wrapped round you, and you were completely lost
to everything. There was nothing and beyond nothing.
You should really forget the word meditation. That word has
been corrupted. The ordinary meaning of that word – to ponder
over, to consider, to think about – is rather trivial and ordinary. If you want to understand the nature of meditation you should really
forget the word because you cannot possibly measure with words
that which is not measurable, that which is beyond all measure. No
words can convey it, nor any systems, modes of thought, practice
or discipline. Meditation – or rather if we could find another word
which has not been so mutilated, made so ordinary, corrupt, which
has become the means of earning a great deal of money – if you can
put aside the word, then you begin quietly and gently to feel a
movement that is not of time. Again, the word movement implies
time – what is meant is a movement that has no beginning or end.
A movement in the sense of a wave: wave upon wave, starting
from nowhere and with no beach to crash upon. It is an endless
wave. Time, however slow it is, is rather tiresome. Time means
growth, evolution, to become, to achieve, to learn, to change. And
time is not the way of that which lies far beyond the word
meditation. Time has nothing to do with it. Time is the action of
will, of desire, and desire cannot in any way [word or words
inaudible here] – it lies far beyond the word meditation.
Here, sitting on that rock, with the blue sky – it is astonishingly
blue – the air is so pure, unpolluted. Far beyond this range is the
desert. You can see it, miles of it. It is really a timeless perception
of that which is. It is only that perception which can say it is.
You sat there watching for what seemed many days, many
years, many centuries. As the sun was going down to the sea you
made your way down to the valley and everything around you was
alight, that blade of grass, that sumac [a wild bush], the towering eucalyptus and the flowering earth. It took time to come down as it
had taken time to go up. But that which has no time cannot be
measured by words. And meditation is only a word. The roots of
heaven are in deep abiding silence.

IT WAS REALLY a most lovely clear beautiful morning. There
was dew on every leaf. And as the sun rose slowly, quietly
spreading over the beautiful land, there was great peace in this
valley. The trees were full of oranges, small ones but many.
Gradually the sun lit every tree and every orange. When you sat on
that veranda overlooking the valley, there were the long shadows
of the morning. The shadow is as beautiful as the tree. We wanted
to go out, not in a car, but out among the trees, smell the fresh air
and the scent of many oranges and the flowers, and hear the sound
of the earth.
Later on one climbed right to the very top of the hill,
overlooking the wide valley. The earth doesn’t belong to anyone. It
is the land upon which all of us are to live for many years,
ploughing, reaping and destroying.
You are always a guest on this earth and have the austerity of a
guest. Austerity is far deeper than owning only a few things. The
very word austerity has been spoilt by the monks, by the sannyasis,
by the hermits. Sitting on that high hill alone in the solitude of
many things, many rocks and little animals and ants, that word had
no meaning.
Over the hills in the far distance was the wide, shining,
sparkling sea. We have broken up the earth as yours and mine – your nation, my nation, your flag and his flag, this particular
religion and the religion of the distant man. The world, the earth, is
divided, broken up. And for it we fight and wrangle, and the
politicians exult in their power to maintain this division, never
looking at the world as a whole. They haven’t got the global mind.
They never feel nor ever perceive the immense possibility of
having no nationality, no division, they can never perceive the
ugliness of their power, their position and their sense of
importance. They are like you or another, only they occupy the seat
of power with their petty little desires and ambitions, and so
maintain apparently, as long as man has been on this earth, the
tribal attitude towards life. They don’t have a mind that is not
committed to any issue, to any ideals, ideologies – a mind that steps
beyond the division of race, culture, that the religions man has
Governments must exist as long as man is not a light to himself,
as long as he does not live his daily life with order, care, diligently
working, watching, learning. He would rather be told what to do.
He has been told what to do by the ancients, by the priests, by the
gurus, and he accepts their orders, their peculiar destructive
disciplines as though they were gods on this earth, as though they
knew all the implications of this extraordinarily complex life.
Sitting there, high above all the trees, on a rock that has its own
sound like every living thing on this earth, and watching the blue
sky, clear, spotless, one wonders how long it will take for man to
learn to live on this earth without wrangles, rows, wars and conflict. Man has created the conflict by his division of the earth,
linguistically, culturally, superficially. One wonders how long
man, who has evolved through so many centuries of pain and grief,
anxiety and pleasure, fear and conflict, will take to live a different
way of life.
As you sat quietly without movement, a bob cat, a lynx, came
down. As the wind was blowing up the valley it was not aware of
the smell of that human being. It was purring, rubbing itself against
a rock, its small tail up, and enjoying the marvel of the earth. Then
it disappeared down the hill among the bushes. It was protecting its
lair, its cave or its sleeping place. It was protecting what it needs,
protecting its own kittens, and watching for danger. It was afraid of
man more than anything else, man who believes in god, man who
prays, the man of wealth with his gun, with his casual killing. You
could almost smell that bob cat as it passed by you. You were so
motionless, so utterly still that it never even looked at you; you
were part of that rock, part of the environment.
Why, one wonders, does man not realize that one can live
peacefully, without wars, without violence; how long will it take
him, how many centuries upon centuries to realize this? From the
past centuries of a thousand yesterdays, he has not learned. What
he is now will be his future.
It was getting too hot on that rock. You could feel the gathering
heat through your trousers so you got up and went down and
followed the lynx which had long since disappeared. There were
other creatures: the gopher, the king snake, and a rattler (rattle-snake). They were silently going about their business. The morning
air disappeared; gradually the sun was in the west. It would take an
hour or two before it set behind those hills with the marvellous
shape of the rock and the evening colours of blue and red and
yellow. Then the night would begin, the night sounds would fill the
air; only late in the night would there be utter silence. The roots of
heaven are of great emptiness, for in emptiness there is energy,
incalculable, vast and profound.

THIS END OF the valley, particularly on this lovely quiet
morning, was peaceful, there was no sound of traffic. The hills
were behind you and the tallest mountain in this region was over
6,000 feet. This house is surrounded by orchards, bright yellow
oranges, and the sky was blue without a single cloud. You could
hear the murmur of bees among the flowers in the still quiet
morning. The old oak tree [the Californian evergreen holm oak]
behind the house was a great age; the strong winds had broken
many dead branches. It has survived many storms, many summers
of great heat and the cold winters. Probably it could tell you a lot
of stories but this morning it was very quiet, there was no breeze.
Everything around you was full of green and bright oranges,
yellow and shining, and perfume filled the air – the perfume of
This valley is far from all the noise and the bustle of human
traffic, of humanity, of all the ugly things that are going on in the
world. The orange trees were just beginning to show their fresh
young flowers. The scent of it would fill the valley in a week or
two and there would be the hum of thousands of bees. It was a
peaceful morning and beyond all this lay the sick world, a world
that is becoming more and more dangerous, more and more
corrupt, vastly dull in search of entertainment, religious and
otherwise. The superficiality of existence is thriving. Money seems to be the greatest value in life, and with it naturally goes power,
position and the sorrow of it all.
`On such a beautiful morning I want to talk over with you a
rather sad subject, frightening, the sense of apprehension that
pervades humanity and myself. I would really like to understand,
not merely intellectually or descriptively, why, with so many
others, I dread the ending of life.
`We kill so easily – it is called blood sport, shooting birds for
amusement to show off one’s skill, chasing the fox, killing by the
million the things of the sea; death seems to be everywhere. Sitting
on this quiet veranda, looking at those bright yellow oranges, it is
difficult – or rather it seems so unseemly – to talk over something
that is so frightening. Man throughout all the ages has never really
solved or understood the thing called death.
`Naturally I have studied various religious and scientific
rationalizations, beliefs, and they assume realities; some of them
are logical, comforting, but the fact remains that there is always the
fear of the unknown.
`I was discussing this fact with a friend of mine whose wife has
recently died. He was a rather lonely man and he was inclined not
only to live in his memories but also to find out for himself through
seances, mediums and all that whether his wife, whom he really
loved, had just evaporated into thin air, or was there still a
continuity of her in another dimension, in another world than this?
`He said, «Strangely enough I found that at one of these seances
the medium mentioned my name and said that she had a message from my wife. And the message was something only known to her
and me. Of course the medium may have read my thoughts or my
wife may exist. That thought was in the air, the thought of that
secret which was between us. I have asked many people of their
experiences. It all seems so vain and rather stupid, including the
message from my wife which was so trivial, so deeply
meaningless.» I don’t want to discuss with you whether there is an
entity of a person which continues after death. That is not my
interest. Some say there is a continuity, others say there is total
annihilation. This contradiction – annihilation, total ending of a
person or the continuity of that individual – has been in all
literature, from the ancients to the present day. But to me, all this is
beside the point. Its validity is still in the realm of speculation,
superstition, belief and the desire for comfort, hope. I am really not
concerned with all that. I really mean this. I am at least quite
certain of that. But I would like to have a dialogue with you, if I
may, about what is the meaning of it all – this whole business of
living and dying. Is it all utterly meaningless, vague, without any
depth, without any significance whatsoever? Millions have died
and millions will be born and continue and die. I am one of those. I
always ask myself: what is the meaning of living and dying? The
earth is beautiful, I have travelled a great deal, talked to many
people who are supposed to be wise and learned, but they too die.
`I have come a long way so perhaps you would be good enough
to take time and have the quiet patience to talk over this subject
with me.’       `Doubt is a precious thing. It cleanses, purifies the mind. The
very questioning, the very fact that the seed of doubt is in one,
helps to clarify our investigation. Not only doubting what all the
others have said, including the whole concept of regeneration, and
the Christian belief and dogma of resurrection, but also the Asiatic
world’s acceptance that there is continuity. In doubting, questioning
all that, there is a certain freedom which is necessary for our
enquiry. If one can put all that aside, actually, not merely verbally
but negate all that deep within oneself, then one has no illusion.
And it is necessary to be totally free from any kind of illusion – the
illusions that are imposed upon us and the illusions that we create
for ourselves. All illusions are the things that we play with, and if
one is serious then they have no place whatsoever, nor does faith
come into all this.
`So having set aside all that, not for the moment but seeing the
falseness of all that, the mind is not caught in the falsehood that
man has invented about death, about god, about all the rituals that
thought has created. There must be freedom of opinion and
judgement, for then only can one deliberately, actually, hesitantly
explore into the meaning of daily living and dying – existence and
the end of existence. If one is prepared for this, or if one is willing,
or even better if one is actually, deeply concerned to find out the
truth of the matter (living and dying is a very complex problem, an
issue that requires a very careful examination) where should we
begin? With life or with death? With living or with the ending of
that which we call living?’       `I am over fifty, and have lived rather extravagantly, keeping an
interest in many, many things. I think I would like to begin – I am
rather hesitant, I am rather doubtful where I should begin.’
`I think we ought to begin with the beginning of existence,
man’s existence, with one’s existence as a human being.’
`I was born into a fairly well-to-do family, carefully educated
and brought up. I have been in several businesses and I have
sufficient money; I am a single man now. I have been married, had
two children, who all died in a car accident. And I have never
married again. I think I should like to begin with my childhood.
From the beginning, like every other child in the world, poor or
rich, there was a well developed psyche, the self-centred activity. It
is strange, as you look back upon it, that it begins from very early
childhood, that possessive continuity of me as J. Smith. He went
through school, expanding, aggressive, arrogant, bored, then into
college and university. And as my father was in a good business I
went into his Company. I reached the top, and on the death of my
wife and children, I began this enquiry. As happens to all human
beings, it was a shock, a pain – the loss of the three, the memories
associated with them. And when the shock of it was over I began to
enquire, to read, to ask, to travel in different parts of the world,
talking the matter over with some of the so-called spiritual leaders,
the gurus. I read a great deal but I was never satisfied. So I think
we ought to begin, if I may suggest, with the actual living – the
daily building up of my cultivated, circumscribed mind. And I am
that. You see, my life has been that. My life is nothing exceptional. Probably I would be considered upper middle class, and for a time
it was pleasurable, exciting, and at other times dull, weary, and
monotonous. But the death of my wife and children somehow
pulled me out of that. I haven’t become morbid but I want to know
the truth of it all, if there is such a thing as truth about living and
`How is the psyche, the ego, the self, the I, the person, put
together? How has this thing come into being, from which arises
the concept of the individual, the «me», separate from all others?
How is this momentum set going – this momentum, this sense of
the I, the self? We will use the word «self» to include the person,
the name, the form, the characteristics, the ego. How is this self
born? Does the self come into being with certain characteristics
transmitted from the parents? Is the self merely a series of
reactions? Is the self merely the continuity of centuries of
tradition? Is the self put together by circumstances, through
accidents, happenings? Is the self the result of evolution – evolution
being the gradual process of time, emphasizing, giving importance
to the self? Or, as some maintain, especially the religious world,
does the outward shell of the self really contain within itself the
soul and the ancient concept of the Hindus, of the Buddhists? Does
the self come into being through the society which man has
created, which gives strength to the formula that you are separate
from the rest of humanity? All these have certain truths in them,
certain facts, and all these constitute the self. And the self has been
given tremendous importance in this world. The expression of the self in the democratic world is called freedom, and in the
totalitarian world, that freedom is suppressed, denied and punished.
So would you say that instinct begins in the child with the urge to
possess? This also exists in the animals, so perhaps we have
derived from the animals this instinct to possess. Where there is
any kind of possession there must be the beginning of the self. And
from this instinct, this reaction, the self gradually increases in
strength, in vitality, and becomes well-established. The possession
of a house, the possession of land, the possession of knowledge,
the possession of certain capacities – all this is the movement of the
self. And this movement gives the feeling of separateness as the
`Now you can go much further into details: is the you, the self,
separate from the rest of mankind? Are you, because you have a
separate name, a separate physical organism, certain tendencies
different from another’s, perhaps a talent – does that make you an
individual? This idea that each one of us throughout the world is
separate from another, is that an actuality? Or may the whole
concept be illusory just as we have divided the world into separate
communities, nations, which is really a glorified form of tribalism?
This concern with oneself and the community being different from
other communities, other selves – is that in actuality real? Of course
you may say it is real because you are an American, and others are
French, Russian, Indian, Chinese and so on. This linguistic,
cultural, religious difference has brought about havoc in the world
– terrible wars, incalculable harm. And also, of course, in certain aspects there is great beauty in it, in the expression of certain
talents, as a painter, as a musician, as a scientist and so on. Would
you consider yourself as a separate individual with a separate brain
which is yours and nobody else’s? It is your thinking, and your
thinking is supposedly different from another’s. But is thinking
individual at all? Or is there only thinking, which is shared by all
humanity, whether you are the most scientifically talented person
or the most ignorant, primitive?
`All these questions and more arise when we are considering the
death of a human being. So would you, looking at all this – the
reactions, the name, the form, the possessiveness, the impulse to be
separate from another, sustained by society and by religion – would
you in examining all this logically, sanely, reasonably, consider
yourself to be an individual? This is an important question in the
context of the meaning of death.’ `I see what you are driving at. I
have an intuitive comprehension, cognizance, that as long as I
think that I am an individual, my thinking is separate from the
thinking of others – my anxiety, my sorrow is separate from the rest
of humanity. I have a feeling – please correct me – that I have
reduced a vast complex living of the rest of mankind to a very
small, petty little affair. Are you saying in effect that I am not an
individual at all? My thinking is not mine? And my brain is not
mine, separate from others? Is this what you are hinting at? Is this
what you are maintaining? Is this your conclusion?’
`If one may point out, the word «conclusion» isn’t justified. To
conclude means to shut down, to end – conclude an argument, conclude a peace after a war. We are not concluding anything; we
are just pointing out, because we must move away from
conclusions, from finality and so on. Such an assertion limits,
brings a narrowness into our enquiry. But the fact, the observable
rational fact, is that your thinking and the thinking of another are
similar. The expression of your thinking may vary; you may
express something in one way if you are an artist, and another
person, who is not an artist, may express it in another way. You
judge, evaluate, according to the expression, and the expression
then divides you into an artist and a football player. But you, as an
artist, and he, as a football player, think. The football player and
the artist suffer, are anxious, have great pain, disappointment,
apprehension; one believes in god and the other doesn’t believe in
god, one has faith and the other has no faith, but this is common to
all human beings, though each one may think he is different. You
may think my sorrow is entirely different from another’s, that my
loneliness, my desperation, are wholly opposite to another’s. Our
tradition is that, our conditioning is that, we are educated to that – I
am an Arab, you are a Jew, and so on. And from this division there
arises not only individuality but the communal racial difference.
The individual identifying himself with a community, with a
nation, with a race, with a religion invariably brings conflict
between human beings. It is a natural law. But we are only
concerned with the effects, not with the causes of war, causes of
this division.
`So we are merely pointing out, not asserting, not concluding, that you, sir, are the rest of humanity, psychologically, deeply.
Your reactions are shared by all humanity. Your brain is not yours,
it has evolved through centuries of time. You may be conditioned
as a Christian, believe in various dogmas, rituals; another has his
own god, his own rituals, but all this is put together by thought. So
we are questioning deeply whether there is an individual at all. We
are the whole of humanity; we are the rest of mankind. This is not
a romantic, fantastic, statement, and it is important, necessary,
when we are going to talk over together the meaning of death.’
`What do you say to all this, sir?’
`I must say I am rather puzzled by all these questions. I am not
certain why I have always considered myself to be separate from
you or from somebody else. What you say seems to be true but I
must think it over, I must have a little time to assimilate all that
you have said so far.’
`Time is the enemy of perception. If you are going to think over
what we have talked about so far, argue with yourself, discuss what
has been said, analyse what we have talked over together, it is
going to take time. And time is a brand new factor in the
perception of that which is true. Anyhow, shall we leave it for the
He came back after a couple of days and he seemed more quiet
and rather concerned. It was a cloudy morning and probably it was
going to rain. In this part of the world they need much more rain
because beyond the hills there is a vast desert. It gets very cold
here at night because of that. `I have come back after a couple of days of quiet thinking. I have a house by the sea, I live by myself.
It is one of those little seaside cottages and you have in front of you
the beach and the blue Pacific, and you can walk for miles on the
beach. I generally go for long walks either in the morning or
evening. After seeing you the other day I took a walk along the
beach, probably about five miles or more, and I decided to come
back and see you again. I was at first very disturbed. I couldn’t
quite make out what you were saying, what you were pointing out
to me. Though I am rather a sceptical person about these matters, I
allowed what you were saying to occupy my mind. It wasn’t that I
was inwardly accepting or denying it, but it intrigued me, and I
purposely use the word «allow» – to allow it to enter into my mind.
And after some deliberation I took a car and drove along by the
coast and then turned inland and came here. It is a beautiful valley.
I am glad to find you here. So could we continue with what we
were talking about the other day?
`If I understand it clearly, you were pointing out that tradition,
long conditioned thinking, can bring about a fixation, a concept
that one readily accepts, perhaps not with a great deal of thought –
accepts the idea that we are separate individuals; and as I thought
more about it – I am using the word `thought` in its ordinary sense,
thinking, rationalizing, questioning, arguing – it was as though I
was having a discussion with myself, a prolonged dialogue, and I
think I really do grasp what is involved in that. I see what we have
done with the marvellous world we live in. I see the whole
historical sequence. And after considerable to and fro of thought I really do understand the depth and the truth of what you said. So if
you have time I would like to go much further into all this. I really
came to find out, as you know, about death, but I see the
importance of beginning with one’s comprehension of oneself, and
through the door of the self – if one can use the word – come to the
question of what is death.’
`As we were saying the other day, we share, all humanity
shares, the sunlight [he had not said this; that sunlight is not yours
or mine. It is the life-giving energy which we all share. The beauty
of a sunset, if you are watching it sensitively, is shared by all
human beings. It is not yours setting in the west, east, north or
south; it is the sunset that is important. And our consciousness, in
which is included our reactions and actions, our ideas and concepts
and patterns, systems of belief, ideologies, fears, pleasures, faith,
the worship of something which we have projected, our sorrows,
our griefs and pain – all this is shared by all human beings. When
we suffer we have made it into a personal affair. We shut out all
the suffering of mankind. Like pleasure; we treat pleasure as a
private thing, ours, the excitement of it and so on. We forget that
man – including woman, of course, which we needn’t repeat – that
man has suffered from time beyond all measure. And that suffering
is the ground on which we all stand. It is shared by all human
‘So our consciousness is not actually yours or mine; it is the
consciousness of man, evolved, grown, accumulated through
many, many centuries. In that consciousness is the faith, the gods, all the rituals man has invented. It is really an activity of thought; it
is thought that has made the content – behaviour, action, culture,
aspiration; the whole activity of man is the activity of thought. And
this consciousness is the self, is the «me», the I, the ego, the
personality and so on. I think it is necessary to understand this very
deeply, not merely argumentatively, logically but deeply, as blood
is in all of us, is part of us, is the essence, the natural process of all
human beings. When one realizes this our responsibility becomes
extraordinarily important. We are responsible for everything that is
happening in the world as long as the content of our consciousness
continues. As long as fear, nationalities, the urge for success, you
know the whole business of it – as long as that exists we are part of
humanity, part of the human movement.
`This is utterly important to understand. It is so: the self is put
together by thought. Thought is not, as we have said, yours or
mine; thinking is not individual thinking. Thinking is shared by all
human beings. And when one has really deeply seen the
significance of this, then I think we can understand the nature of
what it means to die.
`As a boy you must have followed a small stream gurgling
along a narrow little valley, the waters running faster and faster,
and have thrown something, such as a piece of stick, into the
stream and followed it, down a slope, over a little mound, through
a little crevasse – followed it until it went over the waterfall and
disappeared. This disappearance is our life.
`What does death mean? What is the very word, the threatening feeling about it? We never seem to accept it.’
MARCH 1983)

`MAN HAS KILLED man in different states of mind. He has
killed him for religious reasons, he has killed him for patriotic
reasons, for peace, killed him through organized war. This has
been our lot, killing each other endlessly.
`Sir, have you considered this kind of killing, what sorrow has
come to man – the immense sorrow of mankind which has gone on
through the ages, the tears, the agony, the brutality, the fear of it
all? And it is still going on. The world is sick. The politicians,
whether left, right, centre, or totalitarian, are not going to bring
about peace. Each one of us is responsible, and being responsible
we must see that the slaughter comes to an end so that we live on
this earth, which is ours, in beauty and peace. It is an immense
tragedy which we do not face or want to resolve. We leave it all to
the experts; and the danger of experts is as dangerous as a deep
precipice or a poisonous snake.
`So leaving all that aside, what is the meaning of death? What to
you, sir, does death mean?’
`To me it means that all I have been, all that I am, suddenly
comes to an end through some disease, accident or old age. Of
course I have read and talked to Asiatics, to Indians, for whom
there is a belief in reincarnation. I don’t know whether this is true or not, but as far as I can understand, death means the ending of a
living thing; the death of a tree, the death of a fish, death of a
spider, death of my wife and children, a sudden cutting off, a
sudden ending of that which has been living with all its memories,
ideas, pain, anxiety, joys, pleasures, seeing the sunset together – all
that has come to an end. And the remembrance of all that, not only
brings tears but also the realization of one’s own inadequacy, one’s
own loneliness. And the idea of separation from one’s wife and
children, from the things that one has worked for, cherished,
remembered, held on to, the attachments and the pain of
attachment – all that and more ceases suddenly. I think we
generally mean that; death means that. It is to me the ending.
`There’s a picture of my wife and the children on the piano in
my cottage by the sea. We used to play the piano together. There is
the remembrance of them in the picture on the piano, but the
actuality has gone. Remembrance is painful, or remembrance may
give one pleasure, but the pleasure is rather fading because sorrow
is overriding. All that to me means death.
`We had a very nice Persian cat, a very beautiful thing. And one
morning it had gone. It was on the front porch. It must have eaten
something – there it was, lifeless, meaningless; it will never purr
again. That is death. The ending of a long life, or the ending of a
new born baby. I had a small new plant once which promised to
grow into a healthy tree. But some thoughtless, unobservant person
passed by, trod on it, and it will never be a great tree. That is also a
form of death. The ending of a day, a day that has been poor or rich and beautiful, can also be called death. The beginning and the
`Sir, what is living? From the moment one is born until one
dies, what is living? It is very important to understand the way we
live – why we live this way after so many centuries. It is up to you,
is it not, sir, if it is one constant struggle? Conflict, pain, joy,
pleasure, anxiety, loneliness, depression, and working, working,
working, labouring for others or for oneself; being self-centred and
perhaps occasionally generous, envious, angry, trying to suppress
the anger, letting that anger go rampant, and so on. This is what we
call living – tears, laughter, sorrow, and the worship of something
that we have invented; living with lies, illusions and hatred, the
weariness of it all, the boredom, the inanities: this is our life. Not
only yours but the life of all human beings on this earth, hoping to
escape from it all. This process of worship, agony, fear has gone on
from the ancient of days until now – labour, strife, pain,
uncertainty, confusion, and joy and laughter. All this is part of our
`The ending of all this is called death. Death puts an end to all
our attachments, however superficial or however deep. The
attachment of the monk, the sannyasi, the attachment of the
housewife, the attachment to one’s family, every form of
attachment must end with death.
`There are several problems involved in this: one, the question
of immortality. Is there such a thing as immortality? That is, that
which is not mortal, for mortal implies that which knows death. The immortal is that which is beyond time and is totally unaware
of this ending. Is the self, the «me», immortal? Or does it know
death? The self can never become immortal. The «me», the I, with
all its qualities is put together through time, which is thought; that
self can never be immortal. One can invent an idea of immortality,
an image, a god, a picture and hold to that and derive comfort from
it, but that is not immortality.
`Secondly (this is a little bit more complex): is it possible to live
with death? Not morbidly, not in any form of self-destructiveness.
Why have we divided death from living? Death is part of our life, it
is part of our existence – the dying and the living, and the living
and dying. They are inseparable. The envy, the anger, the sorrow,
the loneliness, and the pleasure that one has, which we call living,
and this thing called death – why separate them? Why keep them
miles apart? Yes, miles of time apart. We accept the death of an
old man. It is natural. But when a young person dies through some
accident or disease, we revolt against it. We say that it is unfair, it
shouldn’t be. So we are always separating life and death. This is a
problem which we should question, understand – or not treat as a
problem, but look at, see the inward implications of, not
`Another question is the issue of time – the time involved in
living, learning, accumulating, acting, doing, and the ending of me
as we know it; the time that separates the living from the ending.
Where there is separation, division, from here to there, from «what
is» to «what should be», time is involved. Sustaining this division between that which is called death and that which is called life, is
to me a major factor.
`When there is this division, this separation there is fear. Then
there is the effort of overcoming that fear and the search for
comfort, satisfaction, for a sense of continuity. (We are talking
about the psychological world not the physical world or the
technical world.) It is time that has put the self together and it is
thought that sustains the ego, the self. If only one could really
grasp the significance of time and division, the separation,
psychologically, of man against man, race against race, one type of
culture against another. This separation, this division, is brought
about by thought and time, as living and dying. And to live a life
with death means a profound change in our whole outlook on
existence. To end attachment without time and motive, that is
dying while living.
`Love has no time. It is not my love opposed to your love. Love
is never personal; one may love another but when that love is
limited, narrowed down to one person, then it ceases to be love.
Where there really is love there is no division of time, thought and
all the complexities of life, all the misery and confusion, the
uncertainties, jealousies, anxieties involved. One has to give a great
deal of attention to time and thought. Not that one must live only in
the present, which would be utterly meaningless. Time is the past,
modified and continuing as the future. It’s a continuum and thought
holds on, clings to this. It clings to something which it has itself
created, put together.       `Another question is: as long as human beings represent the
entire humanity – you are the entire humanity, not representing it,
just as you are the world and the world is you – what happens when
you die? When you or another die, you and the other are the
manifestation of that vast stream of human action and reaction, the
stream of consciousness, of behaviour and so on: you are of that
stream. That stream has conditioned the human mind, the human
brain, and as long as we remain conditioned by greed, envy, fear,
pleasure, joy and all the rest of it, we are part of this stream. Your
organism may end but you are of that stream, as you are, while
living, that stream itself. That stream, changing, slow at times, fast
at others, deep and shallow, narrowed by both sides of the bank
and breaking through the narrowness into a vast volume of water –
as long as you are of that stream there is no freedom. There is no
freedom from time, from the confusion and the misery of all the
accumulated memories and attachments. It is only when there is
the ending of that stream, the ending, not you stepping out of it and
becoming something else, but the ending of it, only then is there
quite a different dimension. That dimension cannot be measured by
words. The ending without a motive is the whole significance of
dying and living. The roots of heaven are in living and dying.’

THE CLOUDS WERE very low this morning. It rained last night,
not too much but it has left the earth watered, rich, nourished.
Considering, on a morning like this with the hills floating among
the clouds and with those skies, the enormous energy that man has
expended on this earth, the vast technological progress in the last
fifty years, all the rivers more or less polluted and the waste of
energy in this everlasting entertainment, it all seems so strange and
so sick.
On the veranda this morning time is not very near to man, time
as movement, time as going from here to there, time to learn, time
to act, time as a means of changing from this to that in the ordinary
things of life. One can understand that time is necessary to learn a
language, to learn a skill, to build an aeroplane, to put together a
computer, to travel around the world; the time of youth, the time of
old age, time as the setting of the sun and of the sun rising slowly
over the hills, the long shadows and the growth of a slowly
maturing tree, time to become a good gardener, a good carpenter
and so on. In the physical world, in physical action, time to learn
becomes necessary and useful.
Is it that we carry over, extend, the same usage of time into the
psychological world? Extend this way of thinking, acting, learning
into the world inside the skin, into the area of the psyche, as hope,
as becoming something, as self-improvement? It sounds rather absurd – the changing from this to that, from `what is’ to `what
should be’. Time is necessary, one thinks, to change the whole
complex quality of violence into that which is not violent.
Sitting quietly by yourself, overlooking the valley, wide and
long, you could almost count the rows of orange trees, the
beautifully kept orchards. Seeing the beauty of the earth, of the
valley, does not involve time, but the translation of that perception
on to a canvas or into a poem needs time. Perhaps we use time as a
means of escaping from `what is’, from what we are, from what the
future will be for ourselves and for the rest of mankind.
Time in the psychological realm is the enemy of man. We want
the psyche to evolve, grow, expand, fulfil, turn itself into
something more than what it is. We never question the validity of
such a desire, of such a concept; we easily, perhaps happily, accept
that the psyche can evolve, flourish, and that one day there will be
peace and happiness. But actually there is no psychological
There is a humming bird going from flower to flower,
brightness in this quiet light, with such vitality in that little thing.
The rapidity of the wings. so fantastically rhythmical, steady; it
seems it can move forward and backward. It is a marvellous thing
to watch it, to feel the delicacy, the bright colour, and wonder at its
beauty, so small, so rapid and so quickly gone. And there is a
mocking bird on the telephone wire. Another bird is sitting on the
top of that tree overlooking the whole world. It has been there for
over half an hour, never moving, but watching, moving its little head to see that there is no danger. And it too has gone now. The
clouds are beginning to move away from the hills, and how green
the hills are.
As we were saying, there is no psychological evolution. The
psyche can never become or grow into something which it is not.
Conceit and arrogance cannot grow into better and more conceit,
nor can selfishness, which is the common lot of all human beings,
become more and more selfish, more and more of its own nature. It
is rather frightening to realize that the very word `hope’ contains
the whole world of the future. This movement from `what is’ to
`what should be’ is an illusion, is really, if one can use the word, a
lie. We accept what man has repeated throughout the ages as a
matter of fact, but when we begin to question, doubt, we can see
very clearly, if we want to see it and not hide behind some image
or some fanciful verbal structure, the nature and the structure of the
psyche, the ego, the `me’. The `me’ can never become a better me.
It will attempt to, it thinks it can, but the `me’ remains in subtle
forms. The self hides in many garments, in many structures; it
varies from time to time, but there is always this self, this
separative, self-centred activity which imagines that one day it will
make itself something which it is not.
So one sees there is no becoming of the self, there is only the
ending of selfishness, of anxiety, of pain and sorrow which are the
content of the psyche, of the `me’. There is only the ending of that,
and that ending does not require time. It isn’t that it will all end the
day after tomorrow. It will only end when there is the perception of its movement. To perceive not only objectively, without any
prejudice, bias, but to perceive without all the accumulations of the
past; to witness all this without the watcher – the watcher is of time
and however much he may want to bring about a mutation in
himself, he will always be the watcher; remembrances, however
pleasurable, have no reality, they are things of the past gone,
finished dead: only in observing without the observer, who is the
past, does one see the nature of time and the ending of time.
The humming bird has come back again. A ray of sunlight
through the broken clouds has caught it, flashing its colours and the
long thin beak and the rapidity of those wings. The pure watching
of that little bird, without any reaction, just watching it, is to watch
the whole world of beauty.
`I heard you the other day saying that time is the enemy of man.
You explained something briefly about it. It seems such an
outrageous statement. And you have made other similar statements.
Some of them I have found to be true, natural, but one’s mind never
easily sees that which is actual, the truth, the fact, I was asking
myself, and I have asked others too, why our minds have become
so dull, so slow, why we cannot instantly see whether something is
false or true? Why do we need explanations which seem so
obvious when you have explained them? Why don’t I, and any of
us, see the truth of this fact? What has happened to our minds? I
would like, if I may, to have a dialogue about it with you, to find
out why my mind isn’t subtle, quick. And can this mind, which has
been trained and educated, ever become really, deeply, subtle, rapid, seeing something instantly, the quality and the truth or the
falseness of it?’
`Sir, let’s begin to enquire why we have become like this. It
surely has nothing to do with old age. Is it the way of our life – the
drinking, the smoking, the drugs, the bustle, the weariness, the
everlasting occupation? Outwardly and inwardly we are occupied
with something. Is it the very nature of knowledge? We are trained
to acquire knowledge – through college, university, or in doing
something skilfully. Is knowledge one of the factors of this lack of
subtlety? Our brains are filled with so many facts, they have
gathered so much information, from the television and from every
newspaper and magazine, and they are recording as much as they
can; they are absorbing, holding. So is knowledge one of the
factors that destroys subtlety? But you can’t get rid of your
knowledge or put it aside; you have to have knowledge. Sir, you
have to have knowledge to drive a car, to write a letter, to carry out
various transactions; you even have to have some kind of
knowledge of how to hold a spade. Of course you do. We have to
have knowledge in the world of everyday activity.
`But we are speaking of the knowledge accumulated in the
psychological world, the knowledge that you have gathered about
your wife, if you have a wife; that very knowledge of having lived
with your wife for ten days or fifty years has dulled your brain, has
it not? The memories, the pictures are all stored there. We are
talking of this kind of inward knowledge. knowledge has its own
superficial subtleties: when to yield, when to resist, when to gather and when not to gather, but we are asking: doesn’t that very
knowledge make your mind, your brain, mechanical, repetitious
from habit? The encylopaedia has all the knowledge of all the
people who have written in it. Why not leave that knowledge on
the shelf and use it when necessary? Don’t carry it in your brain.
`We are asking: does that knowledge prevent the instant
comprehension, instant perception, which brings about mutation,
the subtlety that isn’t in the words? is it that we are conditioned by
the newspapers, by the society in which we live – which, by the
way, we have created, for every human being from past
generations to the present has created this society whether in this
part of the world or any other part? Is it conditioning by religions
that has shaped our thinking? When you have strong beliefs in
some figure, in some image, that very strength prevents the
subtlety, the quickness.
`Are we so constantly occupied that there is no space in our
mind and heart – space both outwardly and inwardly? We need a
little space, but you cannot have space physically if you are in a
crowded city, or crowded in your family, crowded by all the
impressions you have received, all the pressures. And
psychologically there must be space – not the space that thought
may imagine, not the space of isolation, not the space that divides
human beings, politically, religiously, racially, not the space
between continents, but an inward space that has no centre. Where
there is a centre there is a periphery, there is a circumference. We
are not talking of such space.       `And is another reason why we are not subtle, quick, because
we have become specialists? We may be quick in our own
specialization, but one wonders, if one is trained, specialized,
whether there is any comprehension of the nature of sorrow, pain,
loneliness and so on. Of course you cannot be trained to have a
good, clear mind; the word «trained» is to be conditioned. And how
can a conditioned mind ever be clear? `So all these may be the
factors, sir, that prevent us from having a good, subtle, clear mind.’
`Thank you, sir, for seeing me. Perhaps, and I hope that, some
of what you have said – not that I have understood it completely –
but that some of the things you have said may take seed in me and
that I will allow that seed to grow, to flourish without interfering
with it. Perhaps then I may see something very rapidly,
comprehend something without tremendous explanations, verbal
analysis and so on. Good bye, sir.’

AT THE BIRD feeder there were a dozen or more birds chirping
away, pecking at the grains, struggling, fighting each other, and
when another big bird came they all fluttered away. When the big
bird left again they all came back, chattering, quarrelling, chirping,
making quite a lot of noise. Presently a cat went by and there was a
flurry, a screeching and a great to do. The cat was chased away – it
was one of those wild cats, not a pet cat; there are a great many of
those wild ones around here of different sizes, shapes and colours.
At the feeder all day long there were birds, little ones and big ones,
and then a blue-jay came scolding everybody, the whole universe,
and chased the other birds away – or rather they left when it came.
They were very watchful for cats. And as the evening drew close
all the birds went away and there was silence, quiet, peaceful. The
cats came and went, but there were no birds.
That morning the clouds were full of light and there was
promise in the air of more rain. For the past few weeks it had been
raining. There is an artificial lake and the waters were right to the
top. All the green leaves and the shrubs and the tall trees were
waiting for the sun, which hadn’t appeared bright as the Californian
sun is; it had not shown its face for many a day.
One wonders what is the future of mankind, the future of all
those children you see shouting, playing – such happy, gentle, nice
faces – what is their future? The future is what we are now. This has been so historically for many thousands of years – the living
and dying, and all the travail of our lives. We don’t seem to pay
much attention to the future. You see on television endless
entertainment from morning until late in the night, except for one
or two channels, but they are very brief and not too serious. The
children are entertained. The commercials all sustain the feeling
that you are being entertained. And this is happening practically all
over the world. What will be the future of these children? There is
the entertainment of sport – thirty, forty thousand people watching
a few people in the arena and shouting themselves hoarse. And you
also go and watch some ceremony being performed in a great
cathedral, some ritual, and that too is a form of entertainment, only
you call that holy, religious, but it is still an entertainment – a
sentimental, romantic experience, a sensation of religiosity.
Watching all this in different parts of the world, watching the mind
being occupied with amusement, entertainment, sport, one must
inevitably ask, if one is in any way concerned: what is the future?
More of the same in different forms? A variety of amusements?
So you have to consider, if you are at all aware of what is
happening to you, how the worlds of entertainment and sport are
capturing your mind, shaping your life. Where is all this leading
to? Or perhaps you are not concerned at all? You probably don’t
care about tomorrow. Probably you haven’t given it thought, or, if
you have, you may say it is too complex, too frightening, too
dangerous to think of the coming years – not of your particular old
age but of the destiny, if we can use that word, the result of our present way of life, filled with all kinds of romantic, emotional,
sentimental feelings and pursuits, and the whole world of
entertainment impinging on your mind. If you are at all aware of
all this, what is the future of mankind?
As we said earlier, the future is what you are now. If there is no
change – not superficial adaptations, superficial adjustments to any
pattern, political, religious or social, but the change that is far
deeper, demanding your attention, your care, your affection – if
there is not a fundamental change, then the future is what we are
doing every day of our life in the present. Change is rather a
difficult word. Change to what? Change to another pattern? To
another concept? To another political or religious system? Change
from this to that? That is still within the realm, or within the field
of `what is’. Change to that is projected by thought, formulated by
thought, materialistically determined.
So one must enquire carefully into this word change. Is there a
change if there is a motive? Is there a change if there is a particular
direction, a particular end, a conclusion that seems sane, rational?
Or perhaps a better phrase is `the ending of what is’. The ending,
not the movement of `what is’ to `what should be’. That is not
change. But the ending, the cessation, the – what is the right word?
– I think ending is a good word so let’s stick to that. The ending.
But if the ending has a motive, a purpose, is a matter of decision,
then it is merely a change from this to that. The word decision
implies the action of will. `I will do this; `I won’t do that’. When
desire enters into the act of the ending, that desire becomes the cause of ending. Where there is a cause there is a motive and so
there is no real ending at all.
The twentieth century has had a tremendous lot of changes
produced by two devastating wars, and the dialectical materialism,
and the scepticism of religious beliefs, activities and rituals and so
on, apart from the technological world which has brought about a
great many changes, and there will be further changes when the
computer is fully developed – you are just at the beginning of it.
Then when the computer takes over, what is going to happen to our
human minds? That is a different question which we should go into
another time.
When the industry of entertainment takes over, as it is gradually
doing now, when the young people, the students, the children, are
constantly instigated to pleasure, to fancy, to romantic sensuality,
the words restraint and austerity are pushed away, never even
given a thought. The austerity of the monks, the sannyasis, who
deny the world, who clothe their bodies with some kind of uniform
or just a cloth – this denial of the material world is surely not
austerity. You probably won’t even listen to this, to what the
implications of austerity are. When you have been brought up from
childhood to amuse yourself and escape from yourself through
entertainment, religious or otherwise, and when most of the
psychologists say that you must express everything you feel and
that any form of holding back or restraint is detrimental, leading to
various forms of neuroticism, you naturally enter more and more
into the world of sport, amusement, entertainment, all helping you to escape from yourself, from what you are.
The understanding of the nature of what you are, without any
distortions, without any bias, without any reactions to what you
discover you are, is the beginning of austerity. The watching, the
awareness, of every thought, every feeling, not to restrain it, not to
control it, but to watch it, like watching a bird in flight, without any
of your own prejudices and distortions – that watching brings about
an extraordinary sense of austerity that goes beyond all restraint,
all the fooling around with oneself and all this idea of self-
improvement, self-fulfilment. That is all rather childish. In this
watching there is great freedom and in that freedom there is the
sense of the dignity of austerity. But if you said all this to a modern
group of students or children, they would probably look out of the
window in boredom because this world is bent on its own pursuit
of pleasure.
A large fawn-coloured squirrel came down the tree and went up
to the feeder, nibbled at a few grains, sat there on top of it, looked
around with its large beady eyes, its tail up, curved, a marvellous
thing. It sat there for a moment or so, came down, went along the
few rocks and then dashed to the tree and up, and disappeared.
It appears that man has always escaped from himself, from what
he is, from where he is going, from what all this is about – the
universe, our daily life, the dying and the beginning. It is strange
that we never realize that however much we may escape from
ourselves, however much we may wander away consciously,
deliberately or unconsciously, subtly, the conflict, the pleasure, the pain, the fear and so on are always there. They ultimately
dominate. You may try to suppress them, you may try to put them
away deliberately with an act of will but they surface again. And
pleasure is one of the factors that predominate; it too has the same
conflicts, the same pain, the same boredom. The weariness of
pleasure and the fret is part of this turmoil of our life. You can’t
escape it, my friend. You can’t escape from this deep unfathomed
turmoil unless you really give thought to it, not only thought but
see by careful attention, diligent watching, the whole movement of
thought and the self. You may say all this is too tiresome, perhaps
unnecessary. But if you do not pay attention to this, give heed, the
future is not only going to be more destructive, more intolerable
but without much significance. All this is not a dampening,
depressing point of view, it is actually so. What you are now is
what you will be in the coming days. You can’t avoid it. It is as
definite as the sun rising and setting. This is the share of all man, of
all humanity, unless we all change, each one of us, change to
something that is not projected by thought.

IT IS THE second day of a spring morning. It’s lovely. It is
extraordinarily beautiful here. It rained last night heavily and
everything is again washed clean and all the leaves are shining
bright in the sunlight. There is a scent in the air of many flowers
and the sky is blue, dotted with passing clouds. The beauty of such
a morning is timeless. It isn’t this morning: it is the morning of the
whole world. It is the morning of a thousand yesterdays. It is the
morning that one hopes will continue, will last endlessly. It is a
morning that is full of soft sunlight, sparkling, clear, and the air is
so pure here, fairly high up the valley. The orange trees and the
bright yellow oranges have been washed clean and they are shining
as though it was the first morning of their birth. The earth is heavy
with the rain and there is snow on the high mountains. It is really a
timeless morning.
Across the valley the far mountains enclosing this valley are
eager for the sun, for it has been a cold night, and all the rocks and
the pebbles and the little stream seem to be aware and full of life.
You sit quietly far from everything and look at the blue sky, feel
the whole earth, the purity and the loveliness of everything that
lives and moves on this earth – except man of course. Man is what
he is now after many thousands of centuries of time. And he will
go on perhaps in the same manner; what he is now is what he will
be tomorrow and a thousand tomorrows. Time, evolution, has brought him to what he is now. The future is what he is unless, of
course, there is a deep abiding mutation of his whole psyche.
Time has become extraordinarily important to man, to all of us –
time to learn, time to have a skill, time to become and time to die,
time both outwardly in the physical world and time in the
psychological world. It is necessary to have time to learn a
language, to learn how to drive, to learn how to speak, to acquire
knowledge. If you had no time you couldn’t put things together to
bring about a house; you must have time to lay brick upon brick.
You must have time to go from here to where you want to go.
Time is an extraordinary factor in our life – to acquire, to dispense,
to be healed, to write a simple letter. And we seem to think we
need psychological time, the time of what has been, modified now
and continuing in the future. Time is the past, the present and the
future. Man inwardly pins his hope on time; hope is time, the
future, the endless tomorrows, time to become inwardly – one is
`this’, one will become `that’. The becoming, as in the physical
world, from the little operator to the big operator, from the
nonentity to the highest in some profession – to become.
We think we need time to change from `this’ to `that’. The very
words `change’ and `hope’ intrinsically imply time. One can
understand that time is necessary to travel, to reach a port, to reach
land after a long flight to the desired place. The desired place is the
future. That is fairly obvious and time is necessary in that realm of
achieving, gaining, becoming proficient in some profession, in a
career that demands training. There, time seems not only necessary but must exist. And in the world of the psyche this same
movement, this becoming, is extended. But is there psychological
becoming at all? We never question that. We have accepted it as
natural. The religions, the evolutionary books, have informed us
that we need time to change from `what is’ to `what should be’. The
distance covered is time. And we have accepted that there is a
certain pleasure and pain in becoming non-violent when one is
violent, that to achieve the ideal needs an enormous amount of
time. And we have followed this pattern all the days of our life,
blindly, never questioning. We don’t doubt. We follow the old
traditional pattern. And perhaps that is one of the miseries of man –
the hope of fulfilment, and the pain that that fulfilment, that hope,
is not achieved, is not come by easily. Is there actually time in the
psychological world – that is, to change that which is to something
totally different? Why do ideals, ideologies, whether political or
religious, exist at all? Is it not one of the divisive concepts of man
that has brought about conflict? After all, the ideologies, the left,
right or centre, are put together by study, by the activity of thought,
weighing, judging, and coming to a conclusion, and so shutting the
door on all fuller enquiry. Ideologies have existed perhaps as long
as man can remember. They are like belief or faith that separate
man from man. And this separation comes about through time. The
`me’, the I, the ego, the person, from the family to the group, to the
tribe, to the nation. One wonders if the tribal divisions can ever be
bridged over. Man has tried to unify nations, which are really
glorified tribalism. You cannot unify nations. They will always remain separate. Evolution has separate groups. We maintain wars,
religious and otherwise. And time will not change this. Knowledge,
experience, definite conclusions, will never bring about that global
comprehension, global relationship, a global mind.
So the question is: is there a possibility of bringing about a
change in `what is’, the actuality, totally disregarding the
movement of time? Is there a possibility of changing violence – not
by becoming non-violent, that is merely the opposite of `what is’?
The opposite of `what is’ is merely another movement of thought.
Our question is: can envy, with all its implications, be changed
without time being involved at all, knowing that the word change
itself implies time – not even transformed, for the very word
transform means to move from one form to another form – but to
radically end envy without time?
Time is thought. Time is the past. Time is motive. Without any
motive can there be – and we will use the word – change? Does not
the very word motive already imply a direction, a conclusion? And
when there is a motive there is actually no change at all. Desire is
again a rather complex thing, complex in its structure. Desire to
bring about a change, or the will to change, becomes the motive
and therefore that motive distorts that which has to be changed,
that which has to end. The ending has no time.
Clouds are slowly gathering around the mountain, clouds are
moving to blot out the sun and probably it will rain again, as
yesterday. For here in this part of the world it is the season of rain.
It never rains in the summer time; when it is hot and dry, this valley is desert. Beyond the hills the desert lies out there, open,
endless and bleak. And at other times it is very beautiful, so vast in
its space. The very vastness of it makes it a desert. When the spring
disappears it gets hotter and hotter and the trees seem to wither and
the flowers have gone and the dry heat makes all things clean
`Why do you say, sir, that time is unnecessary for change?’
`Let us together find out what is the truth of the matter, not
accepting what one has said, or disagreeing, but together have a
dialogue to explore into this matter. One is trained to believe and it
is the tradition that time is necessary for change. That is correct, is
it not? Time is used to become from what one is to something
greater, to something more. We are not talking about the physical
time, the time necessary to gain a physical skill, but rather we are
considering whether the psyche can become more than what it is,
better than what it is, reach a higher state of consciousness. That is
the whole movement of measurement, comparison. Together we
are asking, are we not, what does change imply? We live in
disorder, confused, uncertain, reacting against this and for that. We
are seeking reward and avoiding punishment. We want to be
secure, yet everything we do seems to bring about insecurity. This,
and more, brings about disorder in our daily life. You can’t be
disordered in business, for example, or negligent. You have to be
precise, think clearly, logically. But we do not carry that same
attitude into the psychological world. We have this constant urge to
move away from «what is», to become something other than the understanding of «what is», to avoid the causes of disorder.’
`That I understand,’ the questioner said. `We do escape from
«what is». We never consider carefully, diligently, what is going
on, what is happening now in each one of us. We do try to suppress
or transcend «what is». If we have a great deal of pain,
psychologically, inwardly, we never look at it carefully. We want
immediately to erase it, to find some consolation. And always there
is this struggle to reach a state where there is no pain, where there
is no disorder. But the very attempt to bring about order seems to
increase disorder, or bring about other problems.’
`I do not know if you have noticed that when the politicians try
to resolve one problem, that very resolution multiplies other
problems. This again is going on all the time.’
`Are you saying, sir, that time is not a factor of change? I can
vaguely comprehend this but I am not quite sure I really
understand it. You are saying in fact that if I have a motive for
change, that very motive becomes a hindrance to change, because
that motive is my desire, my urge to move away from that which is
unpleasant or disturbing to something much more satisfactory,
which will give me greater happiness. So a motive or a cause has
already dictated, or shaped the end, the psychological end. This I
understand. I am getting a glimmer of what you are saying. I am
beginning to feel the implication of change without time.’
`So let us ask the question: is there a timeless perception of that
«which is»? That is, to look at, to observe «what is» without the
past, without all the accumulated memories, the names, the words, the reactions – to look at that feeling, at that reaction, which we
call, let us say, envy. To observe this feeling without the actor, the
actor who is all the remembrance of things that have happened
`Time is not merely the rising of the sun and the setting, or
yesterday, today and tomorrow. Time is much more complicated,
more intricate, subtle. And really to understand the nature and the
depth of time one has to meditate upon whether time has a stop –
not fictitious time nor the imagination that conjures up so many
fantastic, romantic probabilities – but whether time, really, actually,
in the field of the psyche, can ever come to an end? That is really
the question. One can analyse the nature of time, investigate it, and
try to find out whether the continuity of the psyche is a reality or
the desperate hope of man to cling to something that will give him
some sort of security, comfort. Does time have its roots in heaven?
When you look at the heavens, the planets and the unimaginable
number of stars, can that universe be understood by the time-bound
quality of the mind? Is time necessary to grasp, to understand, the
whole movement of the cosmos and of the human being – to see
instantly that which is always true?
`One should really, if one may point out, hold it in your mind,
not think about it, but just observe the whole movement of time,
which is really the movement of thought. Thought and time are not
two different things, two different movements, actions. Time is
thought and thought is time. Is there, to put it differently, the actual
ending of thought? That is, the ending of knowledge? Knowledge is time, thought is time, and we are asking whether this
accumulating process of knowledge, gathering more and more
information, pursuing more and more the intricacies of existence,
can end? Can thought, which is after all the essence of the psyche,
the fears, the pleasures, the anxieties, the loneliness, the sorrow and
the concept of the I – I as separate from another – this self-centred
activity of selfishness, can all that come to an end? When death
comes there is the ending of all that. But we are not talking about
death, the final ending, but whether we can actually perceive that
thought, time, have an ending. `Knowledge after all is the
accumulation through time of various experiences, the recording of
various incidents, happenings, and so on; this recording is naturally
stored in the brain, this recording is the essence of time. Can we
find out when recording is necessary, and whether psychological
recording is necessary at all? It is not dividing the necessary
knowledge and skill, but beginning to understand the nature of
recording, why human beings record and from that recording react
and act. When one is insulted or psychologically hurt by a word, by
a gesture, by an action, why should that hurt be recorded? Is it
possible not to record the flattery or the insult so that the psyche is
never cluttered up, so that it has vast space, and the psyche that we
are conscious of as the «me», which again is put together by
thought and time, comes to an end? We are always afraid of
something that we have never seen, perceived – something not
experienced. You can’t experience truth. To experience there must
be the experiencer. The experiencer is the result of time, accumulated memory, knowledge and so on.
`As we said at the beginning, time demands quick, watchful,
attentive understanding. In our daily life can we exist without the
concept of the future? Not concept – forgive me, not the word
concept – but can one live without time, inwardly? The roots of
heaven are not in time and thought.’
`Sir, what you say has actually, in daily life, become a reality.
Your various statements about time and thought seem now, while I
am listening to you, so simple, so clear, and perhaps for a second
or two there is the ending and stopping of time. But when I go back
to my ordinary routine, the weariness and the boredom of it all,
even pleasure becomes rather wearisome – when I go back I will
pick up the old threads. It seems so extraordinarily difficult to let
go of the threads and look, without reaction, at the way of time.
But I am beginning to understand (and I hope it is not only
verbally) that there is a possibility of not recording, if I may use
your word. I realize I am the record. I have been programmed to be
this or that. One can see that fairly easily and perhaps put all that
aside. But the ending of thought and the intricacies of time need a
great deal of observation, a great deal of investigation. But who is
to investigate, for the investigator himself is the result of time? I
catch something. You are really saying; just watch without any
reaction, give total attention to the ordinary things of life and there
discover the possibility of ending time and thought. Thank you
indeed for this interesting talk.’

IT HAD BEEN raining all day and the clouds hung low over the
valley and the hills and the mountains. You couldn’t see the hills at
all. It is a rather gloomy morning but there are new leaves, new
flowers, and the little things are growing fast. It is spring and there
is all this cloud and gloom. The earth is recovering from the winter
and in this recovery there is great beauty. It has been raining
almost every day for the last month and a half; there have been
great storms and winds, destroying many houses and land sliding
down the hillside. All along the coast there is great destruction. In
this part of the country everything seems to have been so
extravagant. It is never the same from winter to winter, One winter
you may have hardly any rain, and in other winters there may be
most destructive rain, huge monstrous waves, the roads awash, and
though it was spring the elements were never graceful with the
There are demonstrations all over the country against particular
kinds of war, against nuclear destruction. There are pros and cons.
The politicians talk about defence, but actually there is no defence;
there is only war, there is only killing millions of people. This is
rather a difficult situation. It is a great problem which man is
facing. One side wants to expand in its own way, the other is
aggressively pushing, selling arms, bringing about certain definite
ideologies and invading lands.       Man is now posing a question he should have put to himself
many years ago, not at the last moment. He has been preparing for
wars all the days of his life. Preparation for war seems
unfortunately to be our natural tendency. Having come a long way
along that path we are now saying: what shall we do? What are we
human beings to do? Actually facing the issue, what is our
responsibility? This is what is really facing our present humanity,
not what kinds of instruments of war we should invent and build.
We always bring about a crisis and then ask ourselves what to do.
Given the situation as it is now, the politicians and the vast general
public will decide with their national, racial, pride, with their
fatherlands and motherlands and all the rest of it,
The question is too late. The question we must put to ourselves,
in spite of the immediate action to be taken, is whether it is
possible to stop all wars, not a particular kind of war, the nuclear or
the orthodox, and find out most earnestly what are the causes of
war. Until those causes are discovered, dissolved, whether we have
conventional war or the nuclear form of war, we will go on and
man will destroy man.
So we should really ask: what are essentially, fundamentally,
the causes of war? See together the true causes, not invented, not
romantic, patriotic causes and all that nonsense, but actually see
why man prepares to murder legally – war. Until we research and
find the answer, wars will go on. But we are not seriously enough
considering, or committed to, the uncovering of the causes of war.
Putting aside what we are now faced with, the immediacy of the issue, the present crisis, can we not together discover the true
causes and put them aside, dissolve them? This needs the urge to
find the truth.
Why is there, one must ask, this division – the Russian, the
American, the British, the French, the German and so on – why is
there this division between man and man, between race and race,
culture against culture, one series of ideologies against another?
Why? Why is there this separation? Man has divided the earth as
yours and mine – why? Is it that we try to find security, self-
protection, in a particular group, or in a particular belief, faith? For
religions also have divided man, put man against man – the Hindus,
the Muslims, the Christians, the Jews and so on. Nationalism, with
its unfortunate patriotism, is really a glorified form, an ennobled
form, of tribalism. In a small tribe or in a very large tribe there is a
sense of being together, having the same language, the same
superstitions, the same kind of political, religious system. And one
feels safe, protected, happy, comforted. And for that safety,
comfort, we are willing to kill others who have the same kind of
desire to be safe, to feel protected, to belong to something. This
terrible desire to identify oneself with a group, with a flag, with a
religious ritual and so on, gives us the feeling that we have roots,
that we are not homeless wanderers. There is the desire, the urge,
to find one’s roots.
And also we have divided the world into economic spheres,
with all their problems. Perhaps one of the major causes of war is
heavy industry. When industry and economics go hand in hand with politics they must inevitably sustain a separative activity to
maintain their economic stature. All countries are doing this, the
great and the small. The small are being armed by the big nations –
some quietly, surreptitiously, others openly. Is the cause of all this
misery, suffering, and the enormous waste of money on
armaments, the visible sustenance of pride, of wanting to be
superior to others?
It is our earth, not yours or mine or his. We are meant to live on
it, helping each other, not destroying each other. This is not some
romantic nonsense but the actual fact. But man has divided the
earth, hoping thereby that in the particular he is going to find
happiness, security, a sense of abiding comfort. Until a radical
change takes place and we wipe out all nationalities, all ideologies,
all religious divisions, and establish a global relationship –
psychologically first, inwardly before organizing the outer – we
shall go on with wars. If you harm others, if you kill others,
whether in anger or by organized murder which is called war, you,
who are the rest of humanity, not a separate human being fighting
the rest of mankind, are destroying yourself.
This is the real issue, the basic issue, which you must
understand and resolve. Until you are committed, dedicated, to
eradicating this national, economic, religious division, you are
perpetuating war, you are responsible for all wars whether nuclear
or traditional.
This is really a very important and urgent question: whether
man, you, can bring about this change in yourself – not say. `If I change, will it have any value? Won’t it be just a drop in a vast lake
and have no effect at all? What is the point of my changing?’ That
is a wrong question, if one may point out. It is wrong because you
are the rest of mankind. You are the world, you are not separate
from the world. You are not an American, Russian, Hindu or
Muslim. You are apart from these labels and words, you are the
rest of mankind because your consciousness, your reactions, are
similar to the others. You may speak a different language, have
different customs, that is superficial culture – all cultures
apparently are superficial – but your consciousness, your reactions,
your faith, your beliefs, your ideologies, your fears, anxieties,
loneliness, sorrow and pleasure, are similar to the rest of mankind.
If you change it will affect the whole of mankind.
This is important to consider – not vaguely, superficially – in
enquiring into, researching, seeking out, the causes of war. War
can only be understood and put an end to if you and all those who
are concerned very deeply with the survival of man, feel that you
are utterly responsible for killing others. What will make you
change? What will make you realize the appalling situation that we
have brought about now? What will make you turn your face
against all division – religious, national, ethical and so on? Will
more suffering? But you have had thousands upon thousands of
years of suffering and man has not changed; he still pursues the
same tradition, same tribalism, the same religious divisions of ‘my
god’ and `your god’.
The gods or their representatives are invented by thought; they have actually no reality in daily life. Most religions have said that
to kill human beings is the greatest sin. Long before Christianity,
the Hindus said this, the Buddhists said it, yet people kill in spite of
their belief in god, or their belief in a saviour and so on; they still
pursue the path of killing. Will the reward of heaven change you or
the punishment of hell? That too has been offered to man. And that
too has failed. No external imposition, laws, systems, will ever stop
the killing of man. Nor will any intellectual, romantic, conviction
stop wars. They will stop only when you, as the rest of humanity,
see the truth that as long as there is division in any form, there
must be conflict, limited or wide, narrow or expansive, that there
must be struggle, conflict, pain. So you are responsible, not only to
your children, but to the rest of humanity. Unless you deeply
understand this, not verbally or ideationally or merely
intellectually, but feel this in your blood, in your way of looking at
life, in your actions, you are supporting organized murder which is
called war. The immediacy of perception is far more important
than the immediacy of answering a question which is the outcome
of a thousand years of man killing man.
The world is sick and there is no one outside you to help you
except yourself. We have had leaders, specialists, every kind of
external agency, including god – they have had no effect; they have
in no way influenced your psychological state. They cannot guide
you. No statesman, no teacher, no guru, no one can make you
strong inwardly, supremely healthy. As long as you are in disorder,
as long as your house is not kept in a proper condition, a proper state, you will create the external prophet, and he will always be
misleading you. Your house is in disorder and no one on this earth
or in heaven can bring about order in your house. Unless you
yourself understand the nature of disorder, the nature of conflict,
the nature of division, your house, that is you, will always remain
in disorder, at war.
It is not a question of who has the greatest military might, but
rather it is man against man, man who has put together ideologies,
and these ideologies, which man has made, are against each other.
Until these ideas, ideologies, end and man becomes responsible for
other human beings, there cannot possibly be peace in the world.

IT IS A new day and the sun won’t be up for an hour or so. It is
quite dark and the trees are silent, waiting for the dawn and the sun
to rise behind the hills. There ought to be a prayer for dawn. It
comes so slowly, penetrating the whole world. And here in this
quiet secluded house, surrounded by orange trees and a few
flowers, it is extraordinarily quiet. There are no birds as yet singing
their morning song. The world is asleep, at least in this part of the
world, far from all civilization, from the noise, the brutality, the
vulgarity and the talk of politicians.
Slowly, with great patience, the dawn begins in the deep silence
of the night. It was broken by the mourning dove and the hoot of
an owl. There are several owls here, they were calling to each
other. And the hills and the trees are beginning to awaken. In
silence the dawn begins, it gets lighter and lighter, and the dew is
on the leaf and the sun is just climbing over the hill. The first rays
of the sun are caught in those tall trees, in that old oak that has
been there for a very, very long time. And the mourning dove
begins with its soft mournful call. Across the road, across the
orange trees, there is a peacock calling. Even in this part of the
world there are peacocks, at least there are a few of them. And the
day has begun. It is a wonderful day. It is so new, so fresh, so alive
and full of beauty. It is a new day without any past remembrances,
without the call of another.       There is great wonder when one looks at all the beauties – those
bright oranges with the dark leaves, and the few flowers, bright in
their glory. One wonders at this extraordinary light which only this
part of the world seems to have. One wonders as one looks at the
creation which seems to have no beginning and no end – a creation
not by cunning thought, but the creation of a new morning. This
morning it is as it has never been before, so bright, so clear. And
the blue hills are looking down. It is the creation of a new day as it
has never been before.
There is a squirrel with a long bushy tail, quivering and shy in
the old pepper tree which has lost many branches; it is getting very
old. It must have seen many storms, as the oak has in its old age,
quiet, with a great dignity. It is a new morning, full of an ancient
life; it has no time, no problems. It exists and that in itself is a
miracle. It is a new morning without any memory. All the past days
are over, gone, and the voice of the mourning dove comes across
the valley, and the sun is now over the hill, covering the earth. And
it too has no yesterday. The trees in the sun and the flowers have
no time. It is the miracle of a new day.
`We want continuity,’ said the man. `Continuity is part of our
life. Continuity of generation after generation, of tradition, of the
things we have known and remembered. We crave continuity and
we must have it. Otherwise what are we? Continuity is in the very
roots of our being. To be is to continue. Death may come, there
may be an end to many things but there is always the continuity.
We go back to find our roots, our identity. If one has kept one’s beginning as a family, probably one can trace it, generation after
generation for many centuries, if one is interested in that kind of
thing. The continuity of the worship of god, the continuity of
ideologies, the continuity of opinions, values, judgements,
conclusions – there is a continuity in all the things one has
remembered. There is a continuity from the moment we are born
until we die, with all the experiences, all the knowledge that man
has acquired. Is it an illusion?’
`What has continuity? That oak, probably two hundred years
old, has a continuity until it dies or is chopped down by man. And
what is this continuity which man wants, craves for? The name, the
form, the bank account, the things remembered? Memory has a
continuity, remembrances of that which has been. The whole
psyche is memory and nothing else. We attribute to the psyche a
great many things – qualities, virtues, ignoble deeds, and the
exercise of many clever acts in the outer and the inner world. And
if one examines diligently, without any bias or conclusion, one
begins to see that our whole existence with the vast network of
memories, remembrances, the things that have happened before, all
have continuity. And we cling to that desperately.’
The squirrel has come back. It has been away for a couple of
hours; now it is back on the branch nibbling at something,
watching, listening, extraordinarily alert and aware, alive,
quivering with excitement. It comes and goes without telling you
where it is going and when it is coming back. And as the day is
getting warmer, the dove and the birds have gone. There are a few pigeons flying from one place to another in a group. You can hear
their wings beating in the air. There used to be a fox here – one
hasn’t seen it for a long time. Probably it has gone away for ever.
There are too many people about. There are plenty of rodents but
people are dangerous. And this is a shy little squirrel and wayward
as the swallow.
Although there is no continuity except memory, is there in the
whole human being, in the brain, a place, a spot, an area small or
vast, where memory doesn’t exist at all, which memory has never
touched? It is a remarkable thing to look at all this, to feel your
way sanely, rationally, see the complexity and the intricacies of
memory, and its continuity which is, after all, knowledge.
Knowledge is always in the past, knowledge is the past. The past is
vast accumulated memory as tradition. And when you have trodden
that path diligently, sanely, you must inevitably ask: is there an
area in the human brain, or in the very nature and structure of a
human being, not merely in the outer world of his activities but
inwardly, deep in the vast quiet recesses of his own brain,
something that is not the outcome of memory, not the movement of
a continuity?
The hills and the trees, the meadows and the groves, will
continue as long as the earth exists unless man in his cruelty and
despair destroys it all. The stream, the spring, from which it comes,
have a continuity, but one never asks whether the hills and beyond
the hills have their own continuity.
If there is no continuity what is there? There is nothing. One is afraid to be nothing. Nothing means not a thing – nothing put
together by thought, nothing put together by memory,
remembrances, nothing that you can put into words and then
measure. There is most certainly, definitely, an area where the past
doesn’t cast a shadow, where time, the past or the future or the
present, has no meaning. We have always tried to measure with
words something that we don’t know. What we do not know we try
to understand and give it words and make it into a continuous
noise. And so we clog our brain which is already clogged with past
vents, experiences, knowledge. We think knowledge is
psychologically of great importance, but it is not. You can’t ascend
through knowledge; there must be an end to knowledge for the new
to be. New is a word for something which has never been before.
And that area cannot be understood or grasped by words or
symbols: it is there beyond all remembrances.

THIS WINTER THERE has been constant rain, day after day
practically for the last three months. It is rather an extravagance of
California – either it doesn’t rain at all or it rains to drown the land.
There have been great storms and very few sunny days. It has been
raining all yesterday and this morning the clouds are low down on
the hills and it is rather gloomy. All the leaves are beaten down by
the rain of yesterday. The earth is very wet. The trees and that
magnificent oak must be asking where the sun is.
On this particular morning with the clouds hiding the mountains
and the hills almost down to the valley, what does it mean to be
serious? What does it mean to have a very quiet serious mind – or,
if you will, brain? Are we ever serious? Or do we always live in a
world of superficiality, walking to and fro, fighting, quarrelling,
violent over something utterly trivial? What does it mean to have a
brain that is very awake, not limited by its own thoughts, memories
and remembrances? What does it mean to have a brain that is free
from all the turmoil of life, all the pain, all the anxiety and the
endless sorrow? Is it ever possible to have a totally free mind, free
brain, not shaped by influences, by experience and the vast
accumulation of knowledge? Knowledge is time; learning means
time. To learn to play the violin takes infinite patience, months of
practice, years of dedicated concentration. Learning to acquire a
skill, learning to become an athlete or to put together a good engine or to go to the moon – all this requires time. But is there anything to
learn about the psyche, about what you are – all the vagaries, the
intricacies of one’s reactions and actions, the hope, the failure, the
sorrow and joy – what is there to learn about all that? As we said, in
a certain area of one’s physical existence, gathering knowledge and
acting from that knowledge, requires time. Is it that we carry that
same principle, extend that same movement of time into the
psychological world? There too we say we must learn about
ourselves, about our reactions, our behaviour, our elations and
depressions, ideations and so on; we think that all that requires
time too.
You can learn about the limited, but you cannot learn about the
unlimited. And we try to learn about the whole field of the psyche,
and say that needs time. But time may be an illusion in that area, it
may be an enemy. Thought creates the illusion, and that illusion
evolves, grows, extends. The illusion of all religious activity must
have begun very, very simply, and now look where it is – with
immense power, vast properties, great accumulation of art, wealth,
and the religious hierarchy demanding obedience, urging you to
have more faith. All that is the expansion, the cultivation and the
evolution of illusion which has taken many centuries. And the
psyche is the whole content of consciousness, is the memory of all
things past and dead. We give such importance to memory. The
psyche is memory. All tradition is merely the past. We cling to that
and want to learn all about it, and think that time is necessary for
that as in the other area.       I wonder if one ever asks whether time has a stop – time to
become, time to fulfil? Is there anything to learn about all that? Or
can one see that the whole movement of this illusory memory,
which appears so real, can end? If time has a stop, then what is the
relationship between that which lies beyond time and all the
physical activities of the brain as memory, knowledge,
remembrances, experiences? What is the relationship between the
two? Knowledge and thought, as we have often said, are limited.
The limited cannot possibly have any relationship with the
unlimited but the unlimited can have some kind of communication
with the limited, though that communication must always be
limited, arrow, fragmentary.
One might ask, if one is commercially minded, what is the use
of all this, what is the use of the unlimited, what can man profit by
it? We always want a reward. We live on the principle of
punishment and reward, like a dog which has been trained, you
reward him when he obeys. And we are almost similar in the sense
that we want to be rewarded for our actions, for our obedience and
so on. Such demand is born out of the limited brain. The brain is
the centre of thought and thought is ever limited under all
circumstances. It may invent the extraordinary, theoretical,
immeasurable, but its invention is always limited. That is why one
has to be completely free from all the travail and toil of life and
from self-centred activity for the unlimited to be.
That which is immeasurable cannot be measured by words. We
are always trying to put the immeasurable into a frame of words, and the symbol is not the actual. But we worship the symbol,
therefore we always live in a limited state. So with the clouds
hanging on the tree tops and all the birds quiet, waiting for the
thunderstorm, this is a good morning to be serious, to question the
whole of existence, to question the very gods and all human
activity. Our lives are so short and during that short period there is
nothing to learn about the whole field of the psyche, which is the
movement of memory; we can only observe it. Observe without
any movement of thought, observe without time, without past
knowledge, without the observer who is the essence of the past.
Just watch. Watch those clouds shaping and reshaping, watch the
trees, the little birds. It is all part of life. When you watch
attentively, with diligence, there is nothing to learn; there is only
that vast space, silence and emptiness, which is all-consuming

AT THE END of every leaf, the large leaves and the tiny leaves,
there was a drop of water sparkling in the sun like an extraordinary
jewel. And there was a slight breeze but that breeze didn’t in any
way disturb or destroy that drop on those leaves that were washed
clean by the late rain. It was a very quiet morning, full of delight,
peaceful, and with a sense of benediction in the air. And as we
watched the sparkling light on every clean leaf, the earth became
extraordinarily beautiful, in spite of all the telegraph wires and
their ugly posts. In spite of all the noise of the world, the earth was
rich, abiding, enduring. And though there were earthquakes here
and there, most destructive, the earth was still beautiful. One never
appreciates the earth unless one really lives with it, works with it,
puts one’s hands in the dust, lifting big rocks and stones – one never
knows the extraordinary sense of being with the earth, the flowers,
the gigantic trees and the strong grass and the hedges along the
Everything was alive that morning. As we watched, there was a
sense of great joy and the heavens were blue, the sun was slowly
coming out of the hills and there was light. As we watched the
mocking bird on the wire, it was doing its antics, jumping high,
doing a somersault, then coming down on the same spot on the
wire. As we watched the bird enjoying itself, jumping in the air and
then coming down circling, with its shrill cries, its enjoyment of life, only that bird existed, the watcher didn’t exist. The watcher
was no longer there, only the bird, grey and white, with a longish
tail. That watching was without any movement of thought,
watching the flurry of the bird that was enjoying itself.
We never watch for long. When we watch with great patience,
watch without any sense of the watcher, watch those birds, those
droplets on the quivering leaves, the bees and the flowers and the
long trail of ants, then time ceases, time has a stop. One doesn’t
take time to watch or have the patience to watch. One learns a great
deal through watching – watching people, the way they walk, their
talk, their gestures. You can see through their vanity or their
negligence of their own bodies. They are indifferent, they are
There was an eagle flying high in the air, circling without the
beat of the wings, carried away by the air current beyond the hills
and was lost. Watching, learning: learning is time but watching has
no time. Or when you listen, listen without any interpretation,
without any reaction, listen without any bias. Listen to that thunder
in the skies, the thunder rolling among the hills. One never listens
completely, there is always interruption. Watching and listening
are a great art – watching and listening without any reaction,
without any sense of the listener or the see-er. By watching and
listening we learn infinitely more than from any book. Books are
necessary, but watching and listening sharpen your senses. For,
after all, the brain is the centre of all the reactions, thoughts and
remembrances. But if your senses are not highly awakened you cannot really watch and listen and learn, not only how to act but
about learning, which is the very soil in which the seed of
goodness can grow.
When there is this simple, clear watching and listening, then
there is an awareness – awareness of the colour of those flowers,
red, yellow, white, of the spring leaves, the stems, so tender, so
delicate, awareness of the heavens, the earth and those people who
are passing by. They have been chattering along that long road,
never looking at the trees, at the flowers, at the skies and the
marvellous hills. They are not even aware of what is going on
around them. They talk a great deal about the environment, how
we must protect nature and so on, but it seems they are not aware
of the beauty and the silence of the hills and the dignity of a
marvellous old tree. They are not even aware of their own
thoughts, their own reactions, nor are they aware of the way they
walk, of their clothes. It does not mean that they are to be self-
centred in their watching, in their awareness, but just be aware.
When you are aware there is a choice of what to do, what not to
do, like and dislike, your biases, your fears, your anxieties, the joys
which you have remembered, the pleasures that you have pursued;
in all this there is choice, and we think that choice gives us
freedom. We like that freedom to choose; we think freedom is
necessary to choose – or, rather, that choice gives us a sense of
freedom – but there is no choice when you see things very, very
And that leads us to an awareness without choice – to be aware without any like or dislike. When there is this really simple, honest,
choiceless awareness it leads to another factor, which is attention.
The word itself means to stretch out, to grasp, to hold on, but that
is still the activity of the brain, it is in the brain. Watching,
awareness, attention, are within the area of the brain, and the brain
is limited – conditioned by all the ways of past generations, the
impressions, the traditions and all the folly and the goodness of
man. So all action from this attention is still limited, and that which
is limited must inevitably bring disorder. When one is thinking
about oneself from morning until night – one’s own worries, one’s
own desires, demands and fulfilments – this self-centredness, being
very, very limited, must cause friction in its relationship with
another, who is also limited; there must be friction, there must be
strain and disturbances of many kinds, the perpetual violence of
human beings.
When one is attentive to all this, choicelessly aware, then out of
that comes insight. Insight is not an act of remembrance, the
continuation of memory. Insight is like a flash of light. You see
with absolute clarity, all the complications, the consequences, the
intricacies. Then this very insight is action, complete. In that there
are no regrets, no looking back, no sense of being weighed down,
no discrimination. This is pure, clear insight – perception without
any shadow of doubt. Most of us begin with certainty and as we
grow older the certainty changes to uncertainty and we die with
uncertainty. But if one begins with uncertainty, doubting,
questioning, asking demanding, with real doubt about man’s behaviour, about all the religious rituals and their images and their
symbols, then out of that doubt comes the clarity of certainty.
When there is clear insight into violence, for instance, that very
insight banishes all violence. That insight is outside the brain, if
one can so put it.It is not of time. It is not of remembrance or of
knowledge, and so that insight and its action changes the very brain
cells. That insight is complete and from that completeness there
can be logical, sane, rational, action.
This whole movement from watching, listening, to the thunder
of insight, is one movement; it is not coming to it step by step. It is
like a swift arrow. And that insight alone can uncondition the
brain, not the effort of thought, which is determination, seeing the
necessity for something; none of that will bring about total freedom
from conditioning. All this is time and the ending of time. Man is
time-bound and that bondage to time is the movement of thought.
So where there is an ending to thought and to time there is total
insight. Only then can there be the flowering of the brain. Only
then can you have a complete relationship with the mind.

THERE IS A cabin high among the hills, somewhat isolated
although there are other cabins there. The cabin was among those
gigantic marvellous old trees, the sequoias. * Some of them are
said to have existed from the time of the ancient Egyptians,
perhaps from Rameses the Second. They are really marvellous
trees. Their bark is rose-coloured and bright in the morning
sunlight. These trees cannot be burnt; their bark resists fire and I
you can see where the old Indians built a fire round the tree; the
dark mark of fire is still there. They are really quite gigantic in
size, their trunks are enormous and if you sit very still under them
in the morning light, with the sun among the tree tops, all the
squirrels there will come up quite close to you. They are very
inquisitive like the blue-jays, for there are jays too, blue, blue
birds, always ready to scold you, asking why you are there, telling
you that you are disturbing their area and should go away as
quickly as possible. But if you remain quiet, watching, looking at
the beauty of the sunlight among the leaves in the still air, then
they will leave you alone, accept you as the squirrels do.
It was not the season, so the cabins were empty and you were
alone, and at night it was so silent. And occasionally the bears
would come and you could hear their heavy bodies against the
cabin. It could have been quite a savage place, for modern
civilization had not quite destroyed it. You have to climb from the planes, in and out, up and up and up, until you reach this sequoia
forest. There were streams rushing down the slope. It was so
extraordinarily beautiful to be alone among these vast, very tall
great trees, ancient beyond the memory and so utterly unconcerned
with what was going on in the world, silent in their ancient dignity
and strength. And in this cabin, surrounded by these old ageless
trees, you were alone day after day, watching, taking long walks,
hardly meeting anyone. From such a height you could see the
planes, sunlit, busy; you could see the cars like small insects
chasing one another. And up here only the real insects were busy
about their day. There were a great many ants. The red ones
crawled over your legs but they never seemed to pay much
attention to you.
From this cabin you fed the squirrels. There was one particular
squirrel that would come every morning and you had a bag of
peanuts and you would give them to it one by one: it would stuff it
in its mouth, cross over the window-sill and come to the table with
its bushy tail curled up, almost touching its head. It would take
many of these shelled peanuts, or sometimes even the unshelled
ones, and jump back across the window-sill down to the veranda
and along the open space into a dead tree with a hollow in it which
was its home. It would come perhaps for an hour or more wanting
these peanuts, back and forth, back and forth. And it was quite
tame by then, you could stroke it, it was so soft, so gentle, it looked
with eyes of surprise and then friendship. It knew you wouldn’t
hurt it. One day, closing all the windows when it was inside and the bag of peanuts was on the table, it took the usual mouthful and
then went to the windows and the door, which were all closed, and
realized it was a prisoner. It came hopping along to the table,
jumped on to it, looked at one and began to scold. After all, you
couldn’t keep that lively beautiful thing as a prisoner, so you
opened the windows. It jumped down to the floor, climbed over the
window-sill, went back to the dead trunk and came right back
asking for more. From then on we were really great friends. After it
had stuffed that hole full of peanuts, probably for the winter, it
would go along up the trunks of the trees chasing other squirrels
and would always come back to its dead trunk. Then sometimes of
an evening it would come to the window-sill and sit there and
would chatter, looking at me, telling me something of the day’s
work, and as it grew darker it said goodnight and jumped back to
its home in the hole in the dead old tree. And the next morning
early it would be there on the window-sill calling, chattering, and
the day would begin.
Every animal in that forest, every little thing, was doing the
same – gathering food, chasing others in fun and in anger, and the
big animals like the deer were curious and looked at you. And as
you climbed to a moderate height and went along a rocky path, you
turned and there was a big bear, black with four cubs, as large as
large cats. It pushed them up a tree, the four of them, and they
climbed up to safety, and then the mother turned round and looked
at me. Strangely we weren’t afraid. We looked at each other for
perhaps two or three seconds or more and then you turned your back and went down the same path. Only then, when you were safe
in your cabin, did you realize how dangerous had been this
encounter with a mother bear with four cubs.
Life is an endless process of becoming and ending. This great
country was still unsophisticated in those days; it was not so
terribly advanced technologically and there was not too much
vulgarity, as there is now. Sitting on the steps of that cabin you
watched and everything was active – the trees, the ants, the rabbits,
the deer, the bear and the squirrel. Life is action. Life is a series of
continuous, endless action until you die. Action born of desire is
distorted, is limited, and this limited action must invariably, do
what you will, bring about endless conflict. Anything that is
limited must in its very nature breed many problems, crises. It is
like a man, like a human being, who is all the time thinking about
himself, his problems, his experiences, his joys and pleasures, his
business affairs – completely self-centred. The activity of such a
person is naturally very limited. One never realizes the limitation
of this self-centredness. They call it fulfilment, expressing oneself,
achieving success, the pursuit of pleasure and becoming something
inwardly, the urge, the desire to be. All such activity must not only
be limited and distorted but its successive actions in whatever
direction must inevitably breed fragmentation, as is seen in this
world. Desire is very strong; the monks and the sannyasis of the
world have tried to suppress it, tried to identify that burning flame
with some noble symbols or some image – identifying the desire
with something greater – but it is still desire. Whatever action comes out of desire, may it be called noble or ignoble, is still
limited, distorted.
Now the blue-jay has come back; it is there after its morning
meal, scolding to be noticed. And you threw it a few peanuts. It
scolded first, then hopped down to the ground, caught a few of
them in its beak, flew back on to the branch, flew off, came back
scolding. And it too, day by day, became gradually tame. It came
quite close with bright eyes, its tail up, the blue shining with such
brightness and clarity – a blue that no painter can catch. And it
scolded other birds. Probably that was its domain and it didn’t want
any intruders. But there are always intruders. Other birds soon
came. They all seemed to like raisins and peanuts. The whole
activity of existence was there.
The sun now was high in the heaven and there were very few
shadows, but towards the evening there will be long shadows,
shapely, sculptured, dark with a smile.
Is there an action not of desire? If we ask such a question, and
we rarely do, one can probe, without any motive, to find an action
which is of intelligence. The action of desire is not intelligent; it
leads to all kinds of problems and issues. Is there an action of
intelligence? One must always be somewhat sceptical in these
matters; doubt is an extraordinary factor of purification of the
brain, of the heart. Doubt, carefully measured out, brings great
clarity, freedom. In the Eastern religions, to doubt, to question, is
one of the necessities for finding truth, but in the religious culture
of Western civilization, doubt is an abomination of the devil. But in freedom, in an action that is not of desire, there must be the
sparkle of doubt. When one actually sees, not theoretically nor
verbally, that the action of desire is corrupt, distorted, the very
perception is the beginning of that intelligence from which action
is totally different. That is, to see the false as the false, the truth in
the false, and truth as truth. Such perception is that quality of
intelligence which is neither yours nor mine, which then acts. That
action has no distortion, no remorse. It doesn’t leave a mark, a
footprint on the sands of time. That intelligence cannot be unless
there is great compassion, love, if you will. There cannot be
compassion if the activities of thought are anchored in any one
particular ideology or faith, or attached to a symbol or to a person.
There must be freedom to be compassionate. And where there is
that flame, that very flame is the movement of intelligence.

IT IS ABOUT 1,400 feet up here among the orchards, the orange
and avocado, with the hills behind the house. The highest hill
around here is about 6,500 feet. Probably it would be called a
mountain and the old name is Topa Topa. The former Indians lived
here: they must have been very odd and a rather nice race. They
may have been cruel but the people who destroyed them were
much more cruel. Up here, after a rainy day, nature is waiting
breathlessly for another storm, and the world of flowers and the
small bushes are rejoicing in this quiet morning, and even the
leaves seem so bright, so sharply clear. There is a rose bush that is
full of roses, bright red; the beauty of it, the perfume, the stillness
of that flower is a marvel.
Going down in the old car which has been kept well polished,
the engine running smoothly – going down to the village, through
the village, past all those small buildings, schools, and then the
open space filled with avocados – going down through the ravine,
curving in and out on a smooth road, so well made; then going up
and up and up, perhaps over 5,000 feet: there the car stopped and
there we were high up, overlooking all the hills which were very
green, with bushes, trees and deep ravines. It seemed that we were
up among the gods.
Very few used that road, which went on through the desert to a
big town miles away, far to your left. As you face the south you see the very far distant sea – the Pacific. It is so very still here. Though
man has made this road, fortunately there is no imprint of man.
There have been fires up here but that was years ago. You can see
some burnt out stumps, black, but round them it has now become
green. There have been heavy rains and everything is now in
flower, purple, blue and yellow, with here and there bright red
spots. The glory of the earth has never been so deeply passionate as
up here.
We sat on the side of the road which was quite clean. It was the
earth; earth is always clean. And there were little ants, little insects,
crawling, running all over the place. But there are no wild animals
up here, which is strange. There may be at night – deer, coyotes and
perhaps a few rabbits and hares. Occasionally a car passed by, and
that broke the silence, the dignity and the purity of silence. This is
really an extraordinary place.
Words cannot measure the expanse, the rolling hills and the vast
space, nor the blue sky and the distant desert. It was the whole
earth. One hardly dared to talk there was such compelling silence,
not to be disturbed. And that silence cannot be measured by words.
If you were a poet you would probably measure it with words, put
it into a poem, but that which is written is not the actual. The word
is not the thing. And here, sitting beside a rock which was
becoming warm, man did not exist. The rolling hills, the higher
mountains, the great sweeping valleys, deep in blue; there was no
you, there was nothing but that.
From ancient times all civilizations have had this concept of measurement. All their marvellous buildings were based on
mathematical measurement. When you look at the Acropolis and
the glory of the Parthenon, and the hundred and ten floor buildings
of New York, they have all had to have this measurement.
Measurement is not only by the rule; measurement exists in the
very brain: the tall and the short, the better, the more. This
comparative process has existed for time beyond time. We are
always comparing. The passing of examinations from school,
college, university – our whole way of living has become a series
of calculated measurements: the beautiful and the ugly, the noble
and ignoble – one’s whole set of values, the arguments that end in
conclusions, the power of people, the power of nations.
Measurement has been necessary to man. And the brain, being
conditioned to measurement, to comparison, tries to measure the
immeasurable – measuring with words that which cannot ever be
measured. It has been a long process for centuries upon centuries –
the greater gods and the lesser gods, measuring the vast expanse of
the universe and measuring the speed of the athlete. This
comparison has brought a great many fears and sorrows.
Now, on that rock, a lizard has come to warm itself quite close
to us. You can see its black eyes, its scaly back and the long tail. It
is so still, motionless. The sun has made that rock quite warm, and
the lizard, coming out of its cold night and warming itself, is
waiting for some fly or insect to come along – it will measure the
distance and snap it up.
To live without comparison, to live without any kind of measurement inwardly, never to compare what you are with what
you should be. The word `meditation’ means not only to ponder, to
think over, to probe, to look, to weigh; it also has a much deeper
meaning in Sanskrit – to measure, which is `to become’. In
meditation there must be no measurement. This meditation must
not be a conscious meditation in deliberately chosen postures. This
meditation must be totally unconscious, never knowing that you
are meditating. If you deliberately meditate it is another form of
desire, as any other expression of desire. The objects may vary;
your meditation may be to reach the highest, but the motive is the
desire to achieve, as the business man, as the builder of a great
cathedral. Meditation is a movement without any motive, without
words and the activity of thought. It must be something that is not
deliberately set about. Only then is meditation a movement in the
infinite, measureless to man, without a goal, without an end and
without a beginning. And that has a strange action in daily life,
because all life is one and then becomes sacred. And that which is
sacred can never be killed. To kill another is unholy. It cries to
heaven as a bird kept in a cage. One never realizes how sacred life
is, not only your little life but the lives of millions of others, from
the things of nature to extraordinary human beings. And in
meditation which is without measurement, there is the very action
of that which is most noble, most sacred and holy.
The other day on the banks of a river [this is a memory from
when he was at Benares on the banks of the Ganges] – how lovely
are rivers; there isn`t only one sacred river, all rivers throughout the world have their own divinity – the other day a man was sitting
on the banks of a river wrapt in a fawn coloured cloth. His hands
were hidden, his eyes were shut and his body was very still. He had
beads in his hands and he was repeating some words and the hands
were moving from bead to bead. He had done this for many years
and he never missed a bead. And the river rolled along beside him.
its current was deep. It began among the great mountains,
snowclad and distant; it began as a small stream, and as it moved
south it gathered all the small streams and rivers and became a
great river. In that part of the world they worshipped it. One does
not know for how many years this man had been repeating his
mantra and rolling the beads. He was meditating – at least people
thought he was meditating and probably he did too. So all the
passers-by looked at him, became silent and then went on with
their laughter and chatter. That almost motionless figure – one
could see through the cloth only a slight action of the fingers – had
sat there for a very long time, completely absorbed, for he heard no
other sound than the sound of his own words and the rhythm of it,
the music of it. And he would say that he was meditating. There
are a thousand others like him, all over the world, in quiet deep
monasteries among the hills and towns and beside the rivers.
Meditation is not words, a mantram, or self-hypnosis, the drug
of illusions. It must happen without your volition. It must take
place in the quiet stillness of the night, when you are suddenly
awake and see that the brain is quiet and there is a peculiar quality
of meditation going on. It must take place as silently as a snake among the tall grass, green in the fresh morning light. It must take
place in the deep recesses of the brain. Meditation is not an
achievement. There is no method, system or practice. Meditation
begins with the ending of comparison, the ending of the becoming
or not becoming. As the bee whispers among the leaves so the
whispering of meditation is action.

THE CLOUDS ARE still hanging over the hills, the valley and the
mountains. Occasionally there is an opening in the sky and the sun
comes through, bright, clear, but soon it disappears. One likes this
kind of morning, cool, fresh, with the whole world green around
you. As the summer comes on the sun will burn all the green grass,
and the meadows across the valley will be parched, dry, and all the
grass with the bright green will have gone. In the summer all the
freshness has gone.
One likes these quiet mornings. The oranges are so bright and
the leaves, dark green, are shining. And there is a perfume in the
air from the orange blossom, strong, almost suffocating. There is a
different kind of orange to be picked later on before the summer
heat. Now there is the green leaf, the orange and the flower on the
same tree at the same time. It is a beautiful world and man is so
indifferent to it, spoiling the earth, the rivers and the bays and the
fresh-water lakes.
But let’s leave all that behind and walk along a narrow path, up
the hill where there is a little stream which in a few weeks will be
dry. You and a friend are walking along the path, talking now and
then, looking at all the various colours of green. What a variety
there is, from the lightest green, the Nile green, and perhaps even
lighter, bluer, to the dark greens, luscious, full of their own
richness. And as you go along up the path, just managing to walk along together side by side, you happen to pick up something
ravishingly beautiful, sparkling, a jewel of extraordinary antiquity
and beauty. You are so astonished to find it on this path of so many
animals which only a few people have trodden. You look at it with
great astonishment. It is so subtly made, so intricate that no
jeweller’s hand can ever have made it. You hold it for some time,
amazed and silent. Then you put it very carefully in your inside
pocket, button it, and are almost frightened that you might lose it or
that it might lose its sparkling, shining beauty. And you put your
hand outside the pocket that holds it. The other sees you doing this
and sees that your face and your eyes have undergone a remarkable
change. There is a kind of ecstasy, a speechless wonder, a
breathless excitement.
When the man asks: `What is it that you have found and are so
extraordinarily elated by?’ you reply in a very soft, gentle voice (it
seems so strange to you to hear your own voice) that you picked up
truth. You don’t want to talk about it, you are rather shy; the very
talking might destroy it. And the man who is walking beside you is
slightly annoyed that you are not communicating with him freely,
and he says that if you have found the truth, then let’s go down into
the valley and organize it so that others will understand it, so that
others will grasp it and perhaps it will help them. You don’t reply,
you are sorry that you ever told him about it.
The trees are full of bloom. Even up here on the slight breeze
coming up the valley you smell the orange blossom and look down
the valley and see the many orange trees and feel the quiet, still, breathless air. But you have come upon something that is most
precious, that can never be told to another. They may find it, but
you have it, grasp it and adore it.
Institutions and organizations throughout the world have not
helped man. There are all the physical organizations for one’s
needs; the institutions of war, of democracy, the institutions of
tyranny and the institutions of religion – they have had their day
and they continue, and man looks up to them, longing to be helped,
not only physically but inside the skin, inside the throbbing ache,
the shadow of time and the far reaching thoughts. There have been
institutions of many, many kinds from the most ancient of days,
and they have not inwardly changed man. Institutions can never
change man psychologically, deeply. And one wonders why man
created them, for all the institutions in the world are put together
by man, hoping that they might help him, that they might give him
some kind of lasting security. And strangely they have not. We
never seem to realize this fact. We are creating more and more
institutions, more and more organizations – one organization
opposing another.
Thought is inventing all these, not only the democratic
organizations or the totalitarian organizations; thought is also
perceiving, realizing, that what it has created has not basically
changed the structure, the nature of one’s own self. The institutions,
the organizations and all religions are put together by thought, by
cunning, clever, erudite thought. What thought has created, brought
about, shapes its own thinking. And one asks oneself, if one is serious, earnest in one’s enquiry: why has not thought realized its
own activity? Can thought be aware of its own movement? Can
thought see itself, see what it is doing, both in the outer and the
There is really no outer and inner: the inner creates the outer,
and the outer then shapes the inner. This ebb and flow of action
and reaction is the movement of thought, and thought is always
trying to overcome the outer, and succeeds, bringing about many
problems; in solving one problem other problems arise. Thought
has also shaped the inner, moulded it according to the outer
demands. This seemingly endless process has created this society,
ugly, cruel, immoral and violent. And having created it, the inner
becomes a slave to it. The outer shapes the inner and the inner
shapes the outer. This process has been going on for thousands
upon thousands of years and thought seems not to realize its own
activity. So one asks: can thought ever be aware of itself – aware of
what it is doing? There is no thinker apart from thought; thought
has made the thinker, the experiencer, the analyser. The thinker,
the one who is watching, the one who acts, is the past, with all the
inheritance of man, genetically, biologic- ally – the traditions, the
habits and all accumulated knowledge. After all, the past is
knowledge, and the thinker is not separate from the past. Thought
has created the past, thought is the past; then thought divides the
thinker and the thought, which the thinker must shape, control. But
that is a fallacy; there is only thought. The self is the ‘me’, the past.
Imagination may project the future but it is still the activity of thought.
So thought, which is the outcome of knowledge, has not
changed man and will never change him because knowledge is
always limited and will always be limited. So again one asks: can
thought become aware of itself, thought which has put together all
our consciousness – action and reaction, the sensory response, the
sensuality, the fears, the aspirations the pursuit of pleasure, all the
agony of loneliness and the suffering which man has brought upon
himself through wars, through his irresponsibility, through callous
self-centredness? All that is the activity of thought, which has
invented the limitless and the god who lives in the limitless. All
that is the activity of time and thought.
When one comes to this point one asks the old instrument,
which is worn out, whether it can bring about a radical mutation in
man, which is, after all, the brain. When thought realizes itself,
sees where knowledge is necessary in the physical world and
realizes its own limitation, it then becomes quiet, silent. Only then
is there a new instrument which is not put together by time or
thought, totally unrelated to knowledge. It is this instrument –
perhaps the word instrument may be wrong – it is this perception
which is always fresh, because it has no past, no remembrance; it is
intelligence born of compassion. That perception brings a deep
mutation in the very brain cells themselves, and its action is always
the right action, clear, precise, without the shadow of the past and

IT IS A spring morning, a morning that has never been before and
never will be again.
It is a spring morning. Every little blade of grass, the camellias,
the roses, all are blooming and there is perfume in the air.
It is a spring morning and the earth is so alive, and up in this
valley all the mountains are green and the tallest of them so
extraordinarily vital, immovable and majestic. It is a morning that
as you go along the path and look around at the beauty and the
ground squirrels, every tender leaf of the spring is shining in the
sun. Those leaves have been waiting for this the whole winter and
have just come out, tender, vulnerable. And without being
romantic, imaginative, there is a feeling of great love and
compassion, for there is so much beauty, incorruptible. There have
been a thousand spring mornings but never such a morning as this,
so still, so quiet, breathless – perhaps it is with adoration. And the
squirrels are out and so are the lizards.
It is a spring morning and the air is festive; there are festivals all
over the world because it is spring. The festivals are expressed in
so many different ways but that which is can never be expressed in
words. Everywhere, with the song and the dance, there is a deep
feeling of spring.
Why is it that we seem to be losing the highly vulnerable
quality of sensitivity – sensitivity to all the things about us, not only to our own problems and turmoils? To be actually sensitive, not
about something but just to be sensitive, to be vulnerable, like that
new leaf, which was born a few days ago to face storms, rain,
darkness and light. When we are vulnerable we seem to get hurt;
being hurt we withdraw into ourselves, build a wall around
ourselves, become hard, cruel. But when we are vulnerable without
any ugly, brutal reactions, vulnerable to all the movements of one’s
own being, vulnerable to the world, so sensitive that there is no
regret, no wounds, no self-imposed discipline, then there is the
quality of measureless existence.
We lose all this vulnerability in the world of noise and brutality,
vulgarity and the bustle of everyday life. To have one’s senses
sharpened, not any one particular sense but to have all the senses
fully awake, which does not necessarily mean to indulge – to be
sensitive to all the movements of thought, the feelings, the pains,
the loneliness, the anxiety – with those senses fully awakened, there
is a different kind of sensation that goes beyond all the sensory or
sensual responses. Have you ever looked at the sea, or at those vast
mountains, the Himalayas, which stretch from horizon to horizon –
have you ever watched a flower, with all your senses? When there
is such observation there is no centre from which you are
observing, there is no `me’. The `me’, the limited observation of
one or two senses, breeds the egotistic movement. After all, we live
by the senses, by sensation, and it is only when thought creates the
image out of the sensations that all the complexities of desire arise.
On this morning, you look down into the valley, seeing the extraordinary spread of green and the distant town, feeling the pure
air, watching all the crawling things of the earth, watching without
the interference of the images thought has built. Now the breeze is
blowing from the valley up the canyon and you turn as the path
turns. Going down, there is a bob cat right in front of you, about
ten feet away. You can hear it purring, rubbing itself against a
rock, the hair sticking out of its ears, its short tail and
extraordinary, graceful movement. It is a spring morning for it too.
We walked together down the path and it was hardly making any
noise except for its purring, highly enjoying itself, delighted to be
out in the spring sunshine; it was so clean that its hair was
sparkling. And as you watch it, the whole wild nature is in that
animal. You tread on a dead branch which makes a noise, and it is
off, not even looking behind it; that noise indicated man, the most
dangerous of all animals. It is gone in a second among bushes and
rocks and all the joy has gone out of it. It knows how cruel man is
and it doesn’t want to wait; it wants to be away, as far away as
It is a spring morning and it is peaceful. Aware that a man was
behind it, a few feet away, that cat must have instinctively
responded to the image of what man is – the man who has killed so
many things, destroyed so many cities, destroyed culture after
culture, ever pursuing his desires, always seeking some kind of
security and pleasure.
Desire, which has been the driving force in man, has created a
great many pleasant and useful things; desire also, in man’s relationships, has created a great many problems and turmoils and
misery – the desire for pleasure. The monks and the sannyasis of
the world have tried to go beyond it, have forced themselves to
worship an ideal, an image, a symbol. But desire is always there
like a flame, burning. And to find out, to probe into the nature of
desire, the complexity of desire, its activities, its demands, its
fulfilments – ever more and more desire for power, position,
prestige, status, the desire for the unnameable, that which is
beyond all our daily life – has made man do all kinds of ugly and
brutal things. Desire is the outcome of sensation – the outcome with
all the images that thought has built. And this desire not only
breeds discontent but a sense of hopelessness. Never suppress it,
never discipline it but probe into the nature of it – what is the
origin, the purpose, the intricacies of it? To delve deep into it is not
another desire, for it has no motive; it is like understanding the
beauty of a flower, to sit down beside it and look at it. And as you
look it begins to reveal itself as it actually is – the extraordinarily
delicate colour, the perfume, the petals, the stem and the earth out
of which it has grown. So look at this desire and its nature without
thought which is always shaping sensations, pleasure and pain,
reward and punishment. Then one understands, not verbally, nor
intellectually, the whole causation of desire, the root of desire. The
very perception of it, the subtle perception of it, that in itself is
intelligence. And that intelligence will always act sanely and
rationally in dealing with desire.
So without too much talk this morning, without too much thinking, to be entirely enveloped by this spring morning, to live
with it, to walk in it, is a joy that is beyond all measure. It cannot
be repeated. It will be there until there is a knock on the door.

ONE SAW A bird dying, shot by a man. It was flying with
rhythmic beat and beautifully, with such freedom and lack of fear.
And the gun shattered it; it fell to the earth and all the life had gone
out of it. A dog fetched it, and the man collected other dead birds.
He was chattering with his friend and seemed so utterly indifferent.
All that he was concerned with was bringing down so many birds,
and it was over as far as he was concerned. They are killing all
over the world. Those marvellous, great animals of the sea, the
whales, are killed by the million, and the tiger and so many other
animals are now becoming endangered species. Man is the only
animal that is to be dreaded.
Some time ago, staying with a friend high in the hills, a man
came and told the host that a tiger had killed a cow last night, and
would we like to see the tiger that evening? He could arrange it by
building a platform in a tree and tying up a goat, and the bleat of
the goat, of the small animal, would attract the tiger and we could
see it. We both refused to satisfy our curiosity so cruelly. But later
that day the host suggested that we get the car and go into the
forest to see the tiger if we could. So towards evening we got into
an open car with a chauffeur driving us and went deep into the
forest for several miles. Of course we saw nothing. It was getting
quite dark and the headlights were on, and as we turned round,
there it was sitting right in the middle of the road waiting to receive us. It was a very large animal, beautifully marked, and its eyes,
caught by the headlights, were bright, scintillating. It came
growling towards the car, and as it passed just a few inches from
the hand that was stretched out, the host said, `Don’t touch it, it is
too dangerous, be quick for it is faster than your hand.’ But you
could feel the energy of that animal, its vitality; it was a great
dynamo of energy. And as it passed by one felt an enormous
attraction towards it. And it disappeared into the woods.
[Krishnamurti tells of this meeting with a tiger more fully in his
Journal, p.40]
Apparently the friend had seen many tigers and had helped long
ago in his youth to kill one, and ever since he had been regretting
the terrible act. Cruelty in every form is now spreading in the
world. Man has probably never been so cruel as he is now, so
violent. The churches and the priests of the world have talked
about peace on earth; from the highest Christian hierarchy to the
poor village priest there has been talk about living a good life, not
hurting, not killing a thing; especially the Buddhists and Hindus of
former years have said, `Don’t kill the fly, don’t kill anything, for
next life you will pay for it.’ That was rather crudely put but some
of them maintained this spirit, this intention not to kill and not to
hurt another human being. But killing with wars is going on and
on. The dog so quickly kills the rabbit. Or the man shoots another
with his marvellous machines, and he himself is perhaps shot by
another. And this killing has been going on for millennia upon
millennia. Some treat it as a sport, others kill out of hatred, anger, jealousy, and organized murder by the various nations with their
armaments goes on. One wonders if man will ever live on this
beautiful earth peacefully, never killing a little thing, or being
killed, or killing another, but live peacefully with some divinity
and love in his heart.
In this part of the world, which we call the West, the Christians
have perhaps killed more than anyone else. They are always
talking about peace on this earth. But to have peace one must live
peacefully, and that seems so utterly impossible. There are
arguments for and against war, the arguments that man has always
been a killer and will always remain so, and those who maintain
that he can bring about a change in himself and not kill. This is a
very old story. The endless butchering has become a habit, an
accepted formula, in spite of all the religions.
One was watching the other day a red-tailed hawk, high in the
heavens, circling effortlessly, without a beat of the wing, just for
the fun of flying, just to be sustained by the air-currents. Then it
was joined by another, and they were flying together for quite a
while. They were marvellous creatures in that blue sky, and to hurt
them in any way is a crime against heaven. Of course there is no
heaven; man has invented heaven out of hope, for his life has
become a hell, an endless conflict from birth to death, coming and
going, making money, working endlessly. This life has become a
turmoil, a travail of endless striving. One wonders if man, a human
being, will ever live on this earth peacefully. Conflict has been the
way of his life – within the skin and outside the skin, in the area of the psyche and in the society which that psyche has created.
Probably love has totally disappeared from this world. Love
implies generosity, care, not to hurt another, not to make another
feel guilty, to be generous, courteous, and behave in such a manner
that your words and thoughts are born out of compassion. Of
course you cannot be compassionate if you belong to organized
religious institutions – large, powerful, traditional, dogmatic, that
insist on faith. There must be freedom to love. That love is not
pleasure, desire, a remembrance of things that have gone. Love is
not the opposite of jealousy, hate and anger.
All this may sound rather Utopian, idealistic, something that
man can only aspire to. But if you believe that then you will go on
killing. Love is as real, as strong, as death. It has nothing to do with
imagination, or sentiment, or romanticism; and naturally it has
nothing to do with power, position, prestige. It is as still as the
waters of the sea and as powerful as the sea; it is like the running
waters of a rich river flowing endlessly, without a beginning or an
end. But the man who kills the baby seals, or the great whales, is
concerned with his livelihood. He would say, `I live by that, that is
my trade.’ He is totally unconcerned with that something which we
call love. He probably loves his family – or he thinks he loves his
family – and he is not very much concerned with how he gains his
livelihood. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why man lives a
fragmentary life; he never seems to love what he is doing – though
perhaps a few people do. If one lived by the work one loves, it
would be very different – one would understand the wholeness of life. We have broken up life into fragments: the business world, the
artistic world, the scientific world, the political world and the
religious world. We seem to think that they are all separate and
should be kept separate. So we become hypocritical, doing
something ugly, corrupt, in the business world and then coming
home to live peacefully with our family; this breeds hypocrisy, a
double standard of life.
It is really a marvellous earth. That bird sitting on the tallest tree
has been sitting there every morning, looking over the world,
watching for a greater bird, a bird that might kill it, watching the
clouds, the passing shadow, and the great spread of this rich earth,
these rivers, forests and all the men who work from morning until
night. If one thinks at all, in the psychological world, it is to be full
of sorrow. One wonders too if man will ever change, or only the
few, the very, very few. Then what is the relationship of the few to
the many? Or, what is the relationship of the many to the few? The
many have no relationship to the few. The few do have a
Sitting on that rock, looking down into the valley, with a lizard
beside you, you daren’t move in case the lizard should be disturbed
or frightened. And the lizard too is watching. And so the world
goes on: inventing gods, following the hierarchy of god’s
representatives; and all the sham and the shame of illusions will
probably go on, the thousand problems getting more and more
complex and intricate. Only the intelligence of love and
compassion can solve all problems of life. That intelligence is the only instrument that can never become dull, useless.

IT IS A foggy morning, you can hardly see the orange trees which
are about ten feet away. It is cold and all the hills and the
mountains are hidden, and there is dew on the leaves. It will clear
up later. It is early morning yet and the beautiful Californian sun
and cool breeze will come a little later on.
One wonders why human beings have always been so cruel, so
ugly in their responses to any statement they don’t like, aggressive,
ready to attack. This has been going on for thousands of years. One
hardly ever meets nowadays a gentle person who is ready to yield,
totally generous and happy in his relationships.
Last night there was the hooting of the owl; it was a great
horned owl, it must be very large. And it waited for its mate to
reply, and the mate replied from a distance and the hoot went down
into the valley and you could hardly hear it. It was such a perfectly
still night, dark, and strangely quiet.
Everything seems to live in order, in its own order – the sea with
its tides, the new moon and the setting of the full moon, the lovely
spring and the warmth of summer. Even the earthquake of
yesterday has its own order. Order is the very essence of the
universe – the order of birth and death and so on. It is only man that
seems to live in such disorder, confusion. He has lived that way
since the owl began.
Talking to the visitor sitting on the veranda, with the red climbing rose and a young wisteria and the smell of the earth and
the trees, it seemed such a pity to discuss disorder. When you look
around at those dark hills and the rocky mountain and hear the
whisper of a stream which will soon be dry in summer, it all has
such curious order that to discuss human disorder, human
confusion and misery, seems so utterly out of place. But there he
is, friendly, knowledgeable and probably given to thought.
The mocking bird is on the telephone wire; it is doing what it
generally does – flying into the air, circling and landing on the wire
and then mocking at the world. This it does so often and the world
apparently doesn’t care. But the bird still mocks on.
The fog is clearing, there is that spring sunshine and the lizard is
coming out, warming itself on the rock, and all the little things of
the earth are busy. They have their order, they have their pleasure,
amusement. They all seem to be so happy, enjoying the sunshine,
no man near to hurt them, to spoil their day.
`If one may ask,’ the visitor began, `what to you is the most
important thing in life? What to you is the most essential quality
that man must cultivate?’
`If you cultivate, as you cultivate the fields of the earth, then it
is not the most essential thing. It must happen naturally – whatever
happens – naturally, easily, without any self-centred motives. The
most important thing for each human being, surely, is to live in
order, in harmony with all the things around him – even with the
noise of the great towns, even with something that is ugly, vulgar,
without letting it affect or alter the course of his life, alter or distort the order in which he is living. Surely, sir, order is the most
important thing in life, or, rather, one of the most important.’
`Why,’ he asks, `should order be a quality of a brain that can act
correctly, happily, precisely?’
`Order isn’t created by thought. Order isn’t something that you
follow day after day, practise, conform to. As the streams join the
sea, so the stream of order, the river of order, is endless. But that
order cannot be if there is any kind of effort, any kind of struggle
to achieve, or to put aside disorder and slip into a routine, into
various well defined habits. All that is not order. Conflict is the
very source of disorder, is the very cause.’
`Everything struggles, doesn’t it? Those trees, they have
struggled to exist, struggled to grow. The marvellous oak there
behind this house, it has withstood storms, years of rain and hot
sunshine, it has struggled to exist. Life is conflict, it is a turmoil, a
storm. And you are saying, are you not, that order is a state in
which there is no conflict? It seems almost impossible, like talking
in a strange language, something utterly foreign to one’s own life,
one’s own way of thinking. Do you, if I am not impudent, live in
order in which there is no conflict whatsoever?’
Is it very important, sir, to find out if another is living without
effort, without conflict? Or would you rather ask if you, as a
human being, who live in disorder, can find out for yourself the
many causes – or perhaps there is only one cause – of this disorder?
Those flowers know neither order nor disorder, they just exist. Of
course, if they were not watered, looked after, they would die, and dying also is their order. The bright, hot sun will destroy them next
month, and to them that is order.’
The lizard has warmed itself on the rock and is waiting for the
flies to come. And surely they will come. And the lizard with its
quick tongue will swallow them. It seems to be the nature of the
world: the big things live on little things, and the bigger live on the
big. This is the cycle in the world of nature. And in that there is
neither order nor disorder. But we know for ourselves from time to
time the sense of total harmony and also the pain, the anxiety, the
sorrow, the conflict. The cause of disorder is the everlasting
becoming – to become, to seek identity, the struggle to be. As long
as the brain, which is so heavily conditioned, is measuring, `the
more’, `the better’, moving psychologically from this to that, it must
inevitably bring about a sense of conflict, and this is disorder. Not
only the words `more’, ‘better’, but the feeling, the reaction of
achieving, gaining – as long as there is this division, duality, there
must be conflict. And out of conflict is disorder.
Perhaps one is aware of all this, but being negligent of this
awareness, one carries on in the same way day after day all the
days of one’s life. This duality is not only verbal but has the deeper
division as the thinker and the thought, as the thinker separate from
himself. The thinker is put together by thought, the thinker is the
past, the thinker is knowledge, and thought too is born out of
knowledge. Actually there is no division between the thinker and
the thought, they are one inseparable unit; but thought plays a
clever trick upon itself, it divides itself. Perhaps this constant division of itself, its own fragmentation, is the cause of disorder.
Just to see, to realize, the truth of this, that the perceiver is the
perceived, ends disorder.
The mocking bird has gone and the mourning dove is there with
its plaintive cry. And soon its mate joins it. They sit together on
that wire, silent, motionless, but their eyes are moving, looking,
watching for danger. The red-tailed hawk and the predatory birds
who were there an hour or two ago have gone. Perhaps they will
come back tomorrow. And so the morning ends and the sun now is
bright and there are a thousand shadows. The earth is quiet and
man is lost and confused.

IT WAS A pleasant morning, cloudy, a slight nip in the air, and the
hills were covered and quiet. There was a scent of orange blossom,
not very strong but it was there. It is a peculiar, penetrating smell
and it came into the room. And all the flowers this morning were
ready for the sun to come out. The clouds would soon pass away
and there would be bright sunshine later on.
The car went through the little village, past the many small
hamlets, the oil derricks, oil tanks, and all the activity around those
oil fields, and at last you came to the sea. You passed again
through a big town, not too big, past the various lemon and orange
groves, and you came upon, not patches of strawberries, not small
cabbage fields, but acres of them, miles of them – strawberries,
celery, spinach, lettuce and other vegetables – miles of flat rich soil
between the hills and the sea. Here everything is done on a grand
scale, almost too extravagant – miles of lemons and oranges,
walnuts and so on. It is a rich land, beautiful. And the hills were so
friendly that morning.
At last you came to the blue Pacific. It was like a pond this
morning, so quiet, so extraordinarily still, and the morning light
was on it. One should really meditate on that light, not directly on
the sun but on the reflection of the sun on the glittering water. But
the sea is not always like that; a month or two ago it rolled in fury,
smashing the pier, destroying the houses around the beach, bringing havoc, even to the high road along it. Now they were
repairing the smashed pier with all the lumber washed ashore, great
quantities of it. Today, though, like a tamed animal, you could
stroke it, you could feel the depth and the width and the beauty of
this vast sea, so blue. Nearer the shore it was a Nile green. To go
along that road beside the sea in the salty air was a most pleasant
thing, just to see the hills, the waving grass and the vast sea of
All this disappeared into the huge ugly town, a city that has
spread for miles upon miles upon miles. It was not a very pleasant
city, but people lived there and seemed to like it.
I don’t know if, sitting on the beach, you have ever watched the
sea, watched the waves come and go. The seventh wave seems to
be the largest, thundering towards the land. There is very little tide
in the Pacific – at least not here, not like those tides that pull out
many miles and come in so rapidly. Here there is always a little
ebb and flow, coming in and going out, repeated for centuries upon
centuries. If you can look at that sea, the sparkle of the dazzling
light, and the clear water, with all your senses highly awakened to
their excellence, in that observation there is not the centre as you,
watching. It is a beautiful thing to watch that sea, and the sand,
clean, washed every day. No footprint can remain there, even the
little birds of the sea never leave their mark, the sea washes them
The houses along the beach are small, tidy; probably very rich
people live along there. But all that doesn’t count for anything – their riches, their vulgarity, their smart cars. One saw a very old
Mercedes with exhaust pipes outside the bonnet, three on each
side. The owners seemed to be very proud of it, they had polished
it, washed it, taken such great care of it. Probably they had bought
that machine rather than many other things. You could still do a
great many miles in it; it was well put together to last.
Sitting on the shore watching the birds, the sky and hearing the
distant sound of passing cars, it was a most beautiful morning.You
went out with the ebb and came in with the tide. You went out far
and came back again – this endless movement of in and out and out
and in. You could see as far as the horizon where the sky met the
waters. It was a big bay with blue and white water and tiny little
houses all around it. And behind you were the mountains, range
after range. Watching without a single thought, watching without
any reaction, watching without identity, only endlessly watching,
you really are not awake, you are absent minded, not all there; you
are not you but watching. Watching the thoughts that arise and then
fade away, thought after thought, thought itself is becoming aware
of itself. There is no thinker watching the thought, the thinker is the
Sitting on the beach watching the people pass by, two or three
couples and a single woman, it seems that all nature, everything
around you, from the deep blue sea to those high rocky mountains,
was also watching. We are watching, not waiting, not expecting
anything to happen but watching without end. In that watching
there is learning, not the accumulation of knowledge through learning that is almost mechanical, but watching closely, never
superficially but deeply, with a swiftness and a tenderness; then
there is no watcher. When there is a watcher it is merely the past
watching, and that is not watching, that is just remembering and it
is rather dead stuff. Watching is tremendously alive, every moment
a vacancy. Those little crabs and those seagulls and all those birds
flying by are watching. They are watching for prey, for fish,
watching for something to eat; they too are watching. Somebody
passes close by you and wonders what you are watching. You are
watching nothing, and in that nothingness everything is.
The other day a man who had travelled a great deal, seen a great
deal, written something or other, came – an oldish man with a
beard, which was well kept; he was dressed decently without the
sloppiness of vulgarity. He took care of his shoes, of his clothes.
He spoke excellent English, though he was a foreigner. And to the
man who was sitting on the beach watching, he said he had talked
to a great many people, discussed with some professors and
scholars, and while he was in India he had talked to some of the
pundits. And most of them, it seemed, according to him, were not
concerned with society, not deeply committed to any social reform
or to the present crisis of war. He was deeply concerned about the
society in which we were living, though he was not a social
reformer. He was not quite sure whether society could be changed,
whether you could do something about it. But he saw what it was;
the vast corruption, the absurdity of the politicians, the pettiness,
the vanity, and the brutality that is rampant in the world.       He said, `What can we do about this society? – not petty little
reforms here and there, changing one President for another, or one
Prime Minister for another – they are all of the same breed more or
less; they can’t do much because they represent the mediocrity, or
even less than that, the vulgarity; they want to show off, they will
never do anything. They will bring about potty little reforms here
and there but society will go on in spite of them.’ He had watched
the various societies, cultures. They are not so very different
fundamentally. He appeared to be a very serious man with a smile
and he talked about the beauty of this country, the vastness, the
variety, from the hot deserts to the high Rockies with their
splendour. One listened to him as one would listen to and watch
the sea.
Society cannot be changed unless man changes. Man, you and
others, have created these societies for generations upon
generations; we have all created these societies out of our pettiness,
narrowness, out of our limitation, out of our greed, envy, brutality,
violence, competition, and so on. We are responsible for the
mediocrity, the stupidity, the vulgarity, for all the tribal nonsense
and religious sectarianism. Unless each one of us changes
radically, society will never change. It is there, we have made it,
and then it makes us. It shapes us, as we have shaped it. It puts us
in a mould and the mould puts it into a framework which is the
So this action is going on endlessly, like the sea with a tide that
goes far out and then comes in, sometimes very, very slowly, at other times rapidly, dangerously. In and out; action, reaction,
action. This seems to be the nature of this movement, unless there
is deep order in oneself. That very order will bring about order in
society, not through legislation, governments and all that business –
though as long as there is disorder, confusion, the law, the
authority, which is created by our disorder, will go on. Law is the
making of man, as the society is – the product of man is law.
So the inner, the psyche, creates the outer according to its
limitation; and the outer then controls and moulds the inner. The
Communists have thought, and probably still do, that by
controlling the outer, bringing about certain laws, regulations,
institutions, certain forms of tyranny, they can change man. But so
far they have not succeeded, and they never will succeed. This is
also the activity of the Socialists. The Capitalists do it in a different
way, but it is the same thing. The inner always overcomes the
outer, for the inner is far more strong, far more vital, than the outer.
Can this movement ever stop – the inner creating the outer
environment psychologically, and the outer, the law, the
institutions, the organizations, trying to shape man, the brain, to act
in a certain way, and the brain, the inner, the psyche, then
changing, circumventing the outer? This movement has been going
on as long as man has been on this earth, crudely, superficially,
sometimes brilliantly – it is always the inner overcoming the outer,
like the sea with its tides going out and coming in. One should
really ask whether this movement can ever stop – action and
reaction, hatred and more hatred, violence and more violence. It has an end when there is only watching, without motive, without
response, without direction. Direction comes into being when there
is accumulation. But watching, in which there is attention,
awareness, and a great sense of compassion, has its own
intelligence. This watching and intelligence act. And that action is
not the ebb and flow. But this requires great alertness, to see things
without the word, without the name, without any reaction; in that
watching there is a great vitality, passion.

YOU WERE ALREADY fairly high up, looking down into the
valley, and if you climb a mile or more up and up the winding path,
passing all kinds of vegetation – live oaks, sage, poison oak – and
past a stream which is always dry in the summer, you can see the
blue sea far away in the distance, across range after range. Up here
it is absolutely quiet. It is so still there isn’t a breath of air. You
look down and the mountains look down on you. You can go on
climbing up the mountain for many hours, down into another
valley and up again. You have done it several times before, twice
reaching the very top of those rocky mountains. Beyond them to
the north is a vast plain of desert. Down there it is very hot, here it
is quite cold; you have to put something on in spite of the hot sun.
And as you come down, looking at the various trees, plants and
little insects, suddenly you hear the rattle of a rattle snake. And you
jump, fortunately away from the rattler. You are only about ten feet
away from it. It is still rattling. You look at each other and watch.
Snakes have no eyelids. This one was not very long but quite thick,
as thick as your arm. You keep your distance and you watch it very
carefully, its pattern, its triangular head and its black tongue
flickering in and out. You watch each other. It doesn’t move and
you don’t move. But presently, its head and its tail towards you, it
slithers back and you step forward. Again it coils up and rattles and
you watch each other. And again, with its head and tail towards you, it begins to go back and again you move forward; and again it
coils and rattles. You do this for several minutes, perhaps ten
minutes or more; then it gets tired. You see that it is motionless,
waiting, but as you approach it, it doesn’t rattle. It has temporarily
lost its energy. You are quite close to it. Unlike the cobra which
stands up to strike, this snake strikes lunging forward. But there
was no movement. It was too exhausted, so you leave it. It was
really quite a poisonous, dangerous thing. Probably you could
touch it but you are disinclined to, though not frightened. You feel
that you would rather not touch it and you leave it alone.
And as you come further down you almost step on a quail with
about a dozen or more babies. They scatter into the nearby bushes,
and the mother too disappears into a bush and they all call to each
other. You go down and wait, and if you have the patience to
watch, you presently see them all come together under the mother’s
wing. It is cool up there and they are waiting for the sun to warm
the air and the earth.
You come down across the little stream, past a meadow which
is almost losing its green, and return to your room rather tired but
exhilarated by the walk and by the morning sun. You see the
orange trees with their bright yellow oranges, the rose bushes and
the myrtle, and the tall eucalyptus trees. It is all very peaceful in
the house.
It was a pleasant morning, full of strange activities on the earth.
All those little things alive, rushing about, seeking their morning
food – the squirrel, the gopher. They eat the tender roots of plants and are quite destructive. A dog can kill them so quickly with a
snap. It is very dry, the rains are over and gone, to return again
perhaps in four months or more. AIl the valley below is still
glistening. It is strange how there is a brooding silence over the
whole earth. In spite of the noise of towns and the traffic, there is
something almost palpable, something holy. If you are in harmony
with nature, with all the things around you, then you are in
harmony with all human beings. If you have lost your relationship
with nature you will inevitably lose your relationship with human
A whole group of us sitting at table towards the end of the meal
began a serious conversation as has happened several times before.
It was about the meaning of words, the weight of the word, the
content of the word, not merely the superficial meaning of the
word but the depth of it, the quality of it, the feeling of it. Of
course the word is never the actual thing. The description, the
explanation, is not that which is described, nor that about which
there is an explanation. The word the phrase, the explanation are
not the actuality. But the word is used as a communication of one’s
thought, one’s feeling, and the word, though it is not communicated
to another, holds the feeling inside oneself. The actual never
conditions the brain, but the theory, the conclusion, the description,
the abstraction, do condition it. The table never conditions the
brain but god does, whether it is the god of the Hindus, Christians
or Muslims. The concept, the image, conditions the brain, not that
which is actually happening, taking place.       To the Christian, the word Jesus or Christ has great
significance, great meaning, it evokes a deep sentiment, a
sensation. Those words have no meaning to the Hindu, to the
Buddhist, or to the Muslim. Those words are not the actual. So
those words, which have been used for two thousand years, have
conditioned the brain. The Hindu has his own gods, his own
divinities. Those divinities, as the Christians’, are the projections of
thought, out of fear, out of pleasure and so on.
It seems that language really doesn’t condition the brain; what
does is the theory of the language, the abstraction of a certain
feeling and the abstraction taking the form of an idea, a symbol, a
person – not the actual person but a person imagined, or hoped for,
or projected by thought. All those abstractions, those ideas,
conclusions, however strong, condition the brain. But the actual,
like the table, never does.
Take a word like `suffering’. That word has a different meaning
for the Hindu and the Christian. But suffering, however described
by words, is shared by all of us. Suffering is the fact, the actual.
But when we try to escape from it through some theory, or through
some idealized person, or through a symbol, those forms of escape
mould the brain. Suffering as a fact doesn’t and this is important to
Like the word ‘attachment; to see the word, to hold it as if in
your hand and watch it, feel the depth of it, the whole content of it,
the consequences of it, the fact that we are attached – the fact, not
the word; that feeling doesn’t shape the brain, put it into a mould, but the moment one moves away from it, that is, when thought
moves away from the fact, that very movement away, movement of
escape, is not only a time factor, but the beginning of shaping the
brain in a certain mould.
To the Buddhist the word Buddha, the impression, the image,
creates great reverence, great feeling, devotion; he seeks refuge in
the image which thought has created. And as the thought is limited,
because all knowledge is always limited, that very image brings
about conflict – the feeling of reverence to a person, or to a symbol,
or to a certain long-established tradition – but the feeling of
reverence itself, divorced from all the external images, symbols
and so on, is not a factor of conditioning the brain.
There, sitting in the next chair, was a modified Christian. And
when across the table one mentioned Christ one could immediately
feel the restrictive, reverential reserve. That word has conditioned
the brain. It is quite extraordinary to watch this whole phenomenon
of communication with words, each race giving different
significance and meaning to the word and thereby creating a
division, a limitation, to the feeling which mankind suffers. The
suffering of mankind is common, is shared by all human beings.
The Russian may express it in one way, the Hindu, the Christian in
another and so on, but the fact of suffering, the actual feeling of
pain, grief, loneliness, that feeling never shapes or conditions the
brain. So one becomes very attentive to, aware of, the subtleties of
the word, the meaning, the weight of it.
The universal, the global feeling of all human beings and their interrelationship, can only come into being when the words
`nation’, `tribe’, `religion’, have all disappeared. Either the word has
depth, significance, or none at all. For most of us words have very
little depth, they have lost their weight. A river is not a particular
river. The rivers of America or England or Europe or India are all
rivers. but the moment there is identification through a word, there
is division. And this division is an abstraction of the river, the
quality of water, the depth of the water, the volume, the flow, the
beauty of the river.

IT IS DAWN in these northern latitudes. In these latitudes dawn
begins very early and lasts a long time. It is one of the most
beautiful things on earth, the beginning of a dawn and the
beginning of a day.
After a stormy night, the trees battered about, the leaves shaken
and dry branches broken, the long pursuing winds have cleansed
the air, which is dry. The dawn was so slowly creeping over the
earth; it had an extraordinary quality this morning, especially this
morning – it is probably after the winds of yesterday. But this dawn
on this particular day was something more than the dawn of other
days. It was so utterly quiet. You hardly dared to breathe for fear of
disturbing anything. The leaves were still, even the most tender
leaves. It was as though the whole earth were holding its breath,
probably in great adoration. And slowly the sun touched the top of
the mountains, orange, yellow, and there were specks of light on
other hills. And still there was great silence. Then the noises began
– the song of birds, the red-tailed hawk hovering in the sky, and the
dove began its mourning song – but the silence of the dawn was in
the morning, in the whole earth.
If you walk down below the hill, high across the valley, past the
orange groves and some green lawns, past the tall slender
eucalyptus, you come to a hill on which there are many buildings.
It is an institute for something or other, and across the valley there is a long golf course, beautifully kept; we have played on it long
ago. One has forgotten the course, the bunkers, but there it still is,
very carefully maintained. One sees quite a lot of people with
heavy bags playing on it. In the old days one had a bag of only six
clubs but now there are about a dozen. It is getting too
professional, too expensive.
You come over to another hill, and there too there are several
institutions, foundations, organizations of almost every kind. All
over the world there are dozens of institutions, forums, inner and
outer directive groups. Everywhere you go in the so-called free
world there is every kind of institution, organization, forum, to do
this and to do that, to bring peace to man, to preserve the
wilderness, to save the various animals and so on. It is quite
bewildering and quite common now – groups of this and groups of
that, each group with its own leaders, its own presidents and
secretaries, the man who started it and the others who followed
him. It is quite extraordinary, all these little organizations and
institutions. And slowly they begin to deteriorate; probably it is
inherent in all institutions, including the institutions that help man
outwardly, like the institutions for greater knowledge. Those are
probably necessary, but one is rather startled that there are also
these inner directed groups of various types which do different
kinds of meditation. They are rather curious those two words `inner
directed’ – who is the director and what is the direction? Is the
director different from the direction? We never seem to ask
fundamental questions.       There are organizations to help man in the physical world,
controlled by men who in themselves have their problems and their
ambitions and achievements, worshipping success, but that seems
to be almost inevitable and that kind of thing has been going on for
thousands and thousands of years. But are there institutions to
study man or bring peace to man? Do various systems, based on
some conclusion, actually help man? Apparently all the organizers
in the world feel they do, but have they actually helped man to be
free from his sorrow, pain, anxiety and all the travail of life? Can
an outside agency, however exalted, however established in some
kind of mystical ideational tradition, in any way change man?
What will fundamentally bring about a radical change in man’s
brutality, end the wars he has been through and the constant
conflict in which he lives? Will knowledge help him? If you like to
use that word, evolution – man has evolved through knowledge.
from ancient days he has gathered a great deal of information,
knowledge about the world around him, above him, from the
bullock cart to the jet, from the jet to going to the moon, and so on.
There is tremendous advancement in all this. But has this
knowledge in any way put an end to his selfishness, to his
aggressive, competitive recklessness? Knowledge, after all, is to be
aware of and to know all the things of the world, how the world
was created, the achievements of man from the beginning to the
present day. We are all well informed, some more, some less, but
inwardly we are very primitive, almost barbarous, however
cultured we may be outwardly, however well informed about many, many things, able to argue, to convince, to come to some
decisions and conclusions. This can go on endlessly outwardly.
There are dozens and dozens of specialists of every kind, but one
asks seriously: can any kind of outside agency, including god, help
man to end his grief, his utter loneliness, confusion, anxiety and so
on? Or must he always live with that, put up with it, get used to it
and say that it is part of life? The vast majority of mankind
throughout the world tolerate it, accept it. Or they have institutions
to pray to something outside – pray for peace, hold demonstrations
for peace, but there is no peace in the heart of man.
What will change man? He has suffered endlessly, caught in the
network of fear, ever pursuing pleasure. This has been the course
of his life, and nothing seems to change it. Instead of being cynical
about it all, or bitter, or angry, it is like that, life is that, and we ask,
how can all that be changed? Certainly not by an outside agency.
Man has to face it, not avoid it, and examine it without asking for
any aid; he is master of himself. He has made this society, he is
responsible for it, and this very responsibility demands that he
bring about a change in himself. But very few pay attention to all
this. For the vast mass of people, their thinking is so utterly
indifferent, irresponsible, seeking to fulfil their own selfish life,
sublimating their desires but still remaining selfish.
To look at all this is not being a pessimist or trying to be an
optimist. One has to look at all this. And you are the only one who
can change yourself and the society in which you live. That is a
fact, and you can’t escape from it. If you do escape from it then you are never going to have peace on this earth, never an abiding sense
of joy, a sense of bliss.
The dawn is over and a new day has begun. It is really a new
day, a new morning. And when one looks around, one wonders at
the beauty of the land and the trees and the richness of it. It is
really a new day and the wonder of it is, it is there.

IT HAS BEEN raining here for over a month every day. When you
come from a climate like California where the rains stopped over a
month ago, where the green fields were drying up and turning
brown and the sun was very hot (it was over 90′ and would get
hotter still, though they say it is going to be a mild summer) – when
you come from that climate it is rather startling and surprising to
see the green grass, the marvellous green trees and the copper
beeches, which are a spreading, light brown, becoming gradually
darker and darker. To see them now among the green trees is a
delight. They are going to be very dark as the summer comes on.
And this earth is very beautiful. Earth, whether it is desert or filled
with orchards and green, bright fields, is always beautiful.
To go for a walk in the fields with the cattle and the young
lambs, and in the woods with the song of birds, without a single
thought in your mind, only watching the earth, the trees, the sheep
and hearing the cuckoo calling and the wood pigeons; to walk
without any emotion, any sentiment, to watch the trees and all the
earth: when you so watch, you learn your own thinking, are aware
of your own reactions and do not allow a single thought to escape
you without understanding why it came, what was the cause of it.
If you are watchful, never letting a thought go by, then the brain
becomes very quiet. Then you watch in great silence and that
silence has immense depth, a lasting incorruptible beauty.       The boy was good at games, really quite good. He was also
good at his studies; he was serious. So one day he came to his
teacher and said, `Sir, could I have a talk with you?’ The educator
said, `Yes, we can have a talk; let us go out for a walk.’ So they had
a dialogue. It was a conversation between the teacher and the
taught, a conversation in which there was some respect on both
sides, and as the educator was also serious, the conversation was
pleasant, friendly, and they had forgotten that he was a teacher
with a student; the rank was forgotten, the importance of one who
knows, the authority, and the other who is curious.
`Sir, I wonder if you know what all this is about, why I am
getting an education, what part will it play when I grow up, what
role have I in this world, why do I have to study, why do I have to
marry and what is my future? Of course I realize I have to study
and pass some sort of exams and I hope I will be able to pass them.
I will probably live for some years, perhaps fifty, sixty or more,
and in all those years to come what will be my life and the life of
those people around me? What am I going to be and what is the
point of these long hours over books and hearing the teachers?
There might be a devastating war; we might all be killed. If death
is all that lies ahead, then what is the point of all this education?
Please, I am asking these questions quite seriously because I have
heard the other teachers and you too pointing out many of these
`I would like to take one question at a time. You have asked
many questions, you have put several problems before me, so first let us look at perhaps the most important question: what is the
future of mankind and of yourself? As you know, your parents are
fairly well off and of course they want to help you in any way they
can. Perhaps if you get married they might give you a house, buy a
house with all the things necessary in it, and you might have a nice
wife – might. So what is it you are going to be? The usual mediocre
person? Get a job, settle down with all the problems around you
and in you – is that your future? Of course a war may come, but it
may not happen; let us hope it does not happen. Let us hope man
may come to realize that wars of any kind will never solve any
human problem. Men may improve, they may invent better
aeroplanes and so on but wars have never solved human problems
and they never will. So let us forget for the moment that all of us
might be destroyed through the craziness of super powers, through
the craziness of terrorists or some demagogue in some country
wanting to destroy his invented enemies. Let us forget all that for
the moment. Let us consider what is your future, knowing that you
are part of the rest of the world. What is your future? As I asked, to
be a mediocre person? Mediocrity means to go half way up the hill,
half way in anything, never going to the very top of the mountain
or demanding all your energy, your capacity, never demanding
`Of course you must realize also that there will be all the
pressures from outside – pressures to do this, all the various narrow
religious sectarian pressures and propaganda. Propaganda can
never tell the truth; truth can never be propagated. So I hope you realize the pressure on you – pressure from your parents, from your
society, from the tradition to be a scientist, to be a philosopher, to
be a physicist, a man who undertakes research in any field; or to be
a business man. Realizing all this, which you must do at your age,
what way will you go? We have been talking about all these things
for many terms, and probably, if one may point out, you have
applied your mind to all this. So as we have some time together to
go around the hill and come back, I am asking you, not as a teacher
but with affection as a friend genuinely concerned, what is your
future? Even if you have already made up your mind to pass some
exams and have a career, a good profession, you still have to ask, is
that all? Even if you do have a good profession, perhaps a life that
is fairly pleasant, you will have a lot of troubles, problems. If you
have a family, what will be the future of your children? This is a
question that you have to answer yourself and perhaps we can talk
about it. You have to consider the future of your children, not just
your own future, and you have to consider the future of humanity,
forgetting that you are German, French, English or Indian. Let us
talk about it, but please realize I am not telling you what you
should do. Only fools advise, so I am not entering into that
category. I am just questioning in a friendly manner, which I hope
you realize; I am not pushing you, directing you, persuading you.
What is your future? Will you mature rapidly or slowly, gracefully,
sensitively? Will you be mediocre, though you may be first class in
your profession? You may excel, you may be very, very good at
whatever you do, but I am talking of mediocrity of the mind, of the heart, mediocrity of your entire being.’
`Sir, I don’t really know how to answer these questions. I have
not given too much thought to it, but when you ask this question,
whether I am to become like the rest of the world, mediocre, I
certainly don’t want to be that. I also realize the attraction of the
world. I also see that part of me wants all that. I want to have some
fun, some happy times, but the other side of me also sees the
danger of all that, the difficulties, the urges, the temptations. So I
really don’t know where I will end up. And also, as you pointed out
on several occasions, I don’t know myself what I am. One thing is
definite, I really don’t want to be a mediocre person with a small
mind and heart, though with a brain that may be extraordinarily
clever. I may study books and acquire a great deal of knowledge,
but I may still be a very limited, narrow person. Mediocrity, sir, is
a very good word which you have used and when I look at it I am
getting frightened – not of the word but of the whole implications
of what you have shown. I really don’t know, and perhaps in
talking it over with you it may clear things up. I can’t so easily talk
with my parents. They probably have had the same problems as I
have; they may be more mature physically but they may be in the
same position as I am. So if I may ask, sir, may I take another
occasion, if you are willing, to talk with me? I really feel rather
frightened, nervous, apprehensive of my capacity to meet all this,
face it, go through it and not become a mediocre person.
It was one of those mornings that has never been before: the
near meadow, the still beeches and the lane that goes into the deeper wood – all was silence. There wasn’t a bird chirping and the
nearby horses were standing still. A morning like this, fresh,
tender, is a rare thing. There is peace in this part of the land and
everything was very quiet. There was that feeling, that sense of
absolute silence. It was not a romantic sentimentalism, not poetic
imagination. It was and is. A simple thing is all this is. The copper
beeches this morning were full of splendour against the green
fields stretching to the distance, and a cloud full of that morning
light was floating lazily by. The sun was just coming up, there was
great peace and a sense of adoration. Not the adoration of some
god or imaginative deity but a reverence that is born of great
beauty. This morning one could let go all the things one has
gathered and be silent with the woods and the trees and the quiet
lawn. The sky was a pale and tender blue and far away across the
fields a cuckoo was calling, the wood pigeons were cooing and the
blackbirds began their morning song. In the distance you could
hear a car going by. Probably when the heavens are so quiet with
loveliness it will rain later on. It always does when the early
morning is very clear. But this morning it was all very special,
something that has never been before and could never be again.
`I am glad you have come of your own accord, without being
invited, and perhaps if you are prepared, we can continue with our
conversation about mediocrity and the future of your life. One can
be excellent in one’s career; we aren’t saying that there is
mediocrity in all professions; a good carpenter may not be
mediocre in his work but in his daily, inward life, his life with his family, he may be. We both understand the meaning of that word
now and we should investigate together the depth of that word. We
are talking about inward mediocrity, psychological conflicts,
problems and travail. There can be great scientists who yet
inwardly lead a mediocre life. So what is going to be your life? In
some ways you are a clever student, but for what will you use your
brain? We are not talking about your career, that will come later;
what we should be concerned about is the way you are going to
live. Of course you are not going to be a criminal in the ordinary
sense of that word. You are not, if you are wise, going to be a
bully; they are too aggressive. You will probably get an excellent
job, do excellent work in whatever you choose to do. So let us put
that aside for a moment; but inside, what is your life? Inwardly,
what is the future? Are you going to be like the rest of the world,
always hunting pleasure, always troubled with a dozen
psychological problems?’
`At present, sir, I have no problems, except the problems of
passing examinations and the weariness of all that. Otherwise I
seem to have no problems. There is a certain freedom. I feel happy,
young. When I see all these old people I ask myself, am I going to
end up like that? They seem to have had good careers or to have
done something they wanted to do but in spite of that they become
dreary, dull, and they seem never to have excelled in the deeper
qualities of the brain. I certainly don’t want to be like that. It is not
vanity but I want to have something different. It is not an ambition.
I want to have a good career and all that business but I certainly in no way want to be like these old people who seem to have lost
everything they like.’
`You may not want to be like them but life is a very demanding
and cruel thing. It won’t let you alone. You will have great pressure
from society whether you live here or in America or in any other
part of the world. You will be constantly urged to become like the
rest, to become something of a hypocrite, say things you don’t
really mean, and if you do marry that may raise problems too. You
must understand that life is a very complex affair – not just
pursuing what you want to do and being pigheaded about it. These
young people want to become something – lawyers, engineers,
politicians and so on; there is the urge, drive of ambition for power,
money. That is what those old people whom you talk about have
been through. They are worn out by constant conflict, by their
desires. Look at it, look at the people around you. They are all in
the same boat. Some leave the boat and wander endlessly and die.
Some seek some peaceful corner of the earth and retire; some join
a monastery, become monks of various kinds, taking desperate
vows. The vast majority, millions and millions, lead a very small
life, their horizon is very limited. They have their sorrows, their
joys and they seem never to escape from them or understand them
and go beyond. So again we ask each other, what is our future,
specifically what is your`future? Of course you are much too
young to go into this question very deeply, for youth has nothing to
do with the total comprehension of this question. You may be an
agnostic; the young do not believe in anything, but as you grow older then you turn to some form of religious superstition, religious
dogma, religious conviction. Religion is not an opiate, but man has
made religion in his own image, blind comfort and therefore
security. He has made religion into something totally unintelligent
and impracticable, not something that you can live with. How old
are you?’
`I’m going to be nineteen, sir. My grandmother has left me
something when I am twenty-one and perhaps before I go to the
university I can travel and look around. But I will always carry this
question with me wherever I am, whatever my future. I may marry,
probably I will, and have children, and so the great question arises
– what is their future? I am somewhat aware of what the politicians
are doing right throughout the world. It is an ugly business as far as
I am concerned, so I think I won’t be a politician. I’m pretty sure of
that but I want a good job. I’d like to work with my hands and with
my brain but the question will be how not to become a mediocre
person like ninety-nine per cent of the world. So, sir, what am I to
do? Oh, yes I am aware of churches and temples and all that; I am
not attracted to them. I rather revolt against all that – the priests and
the hierarchy of authority, but how am I going to prevent myself
becoming an ordinary, average, mediocre person?’
`If I may suggest, never under any circumstances ask «how».
When you use the word «how» you really want someone to tell you
what to do, some guide, some system, somebody to lead you by the
hand so that you lose your freedom, your capacity to observe, your
own activities, your own thoughts, your own way of life. When you ask «how» you really become a secondhand human being; you
lose integrity and also the innate honesty to look at yourself, to be
what you are and to go beyond and above what you are. Never,
never ask the question «how». We are talking psychologically, of
course. You have to ask «how» when you want to put a motor
together or build a computer. You have to learn something about it
from somebody. But to be psychologically free and original can
only come about when you are aware of your own inward
activities, watch what you are thinking and never let one thought
escape without observing the nature of it, the source of it.
Observing, watching. One learns about oneself much more by
watching than from books or from some psychologist or
complicated, clever, erudite scholar or professor.
`It is going to be very difficult, my friend. It can tear you in
many directions. There are a great many so-called temptations –
biological, social, and you can be torn apart by the cruelty of
society. Of course you are going to have to stand alone but that can
come about not through force, determination or desire but when
you begin to see the false things around you and in yourself: the
emotions, the hopes. When you begin to see that which is false,
then there is the beginning of awareness, of intelligence. You have
to be a light to yourself and it is one of the most difficult things in
`Sir, you have made it all seem so very difficult, so very
complex, so very awesome, frightening.’
`I am just pointing all this out to you. It doesn’t mean that facts need frighten you. Facts are there to observe. If you observe them
they never frighten you. Facts are not frightening. But if you want
to avoid them, turn your back and run, then that is frightening. To
stand, to see that what you have done may not have been totally
correct, to live with the fact and not interpret the fact according to
your pleasure or form of reaction, that is not frightening. Life isn’t
very simple. One can live simply but life itself is vast, complex. It
extends from horizon to horizon. you can live with few clothes or
with one meal a day, but that is not simplicity. So be simple, don’t
live in a complicated way, contradictory and so on, just be simple
inwardly…. You played tennis this morning. I was watching and
you seem to be quite good at it. Perhaps we will meet again. That is
up to you.’
`Thank you, sir.’

ON THAT DRIVE from the airport through the vulgarity of large
towns spreading out for many, many miles, with glaring lights and
so much noise, then taking the freeway and going through a small
tunnel, you suddenly came upon the Pacific. It was a clear day
without a breath of wind but as it was early morning there was a
freshness before the pollution of the monoxide gas filled the air.
The sea was so calm, almost like an immense lake. And the sun
was just coming over the hill, and the deep waters of the Pacific
were the colour of the Nile, but at the edges they were light blue,
gently lapping the shores. And there were many birds and you saw
in the distance a whale.
Following the coast road, there were very few cars that
morning, but houses everywhere; probably very rich people lived
there. And you saw the pleasant hills on the left when you arrived
at the Pacific. There were houses right up among the hills and the
road wound in and out, following the sea, and again came upon
another town, but fortunately the highway didn’t go through it.
There was a naval centre there with its modern means of killing
humanity. And you went along and turned to the right, leaving the
sea behind, and after the oil wells, you drove further away from the
sea, through orange groves, past a golf course, to a small village,
the road winding through orange orchards, and the air was filled
with the perfume of orange blossom. And all the leaves of the trees were shining. There seemed to be such peace in this valley, so
quiet, away from all crowds and noise and vulgarity. This country
is beautiful, so vast – with deserts, snowcapped mountains,
villages, great towns and still greater rivers. The land is
marvellously beautiful, vast, all inclusive.
And we came to this house which was still more quiet and
beautiful, recently built and with the cleanliness that houses in
towns don’t have. There were lots of flowers, roses and so on. A
place in which to be quiet, not just vegetate, but to be really deeply,
inwardly, quiet. Silence is a great benediction, it cleanses the brain,
gives vitality to it, and this silence builds up great energy, not the
energy of thought or the energy of machines but that unpolluted
energy, untouched by thought. It is the energy that has incalculable
capacity, skills. And this is a place where the brain, being very
active, can be silent. That very intense activity of the brain has the
quality and the depth and the beauty of silence.
Though one has repeated this often, education is the cultivation
of the whole brain, not one part of it; it is a holistic cultivation of
the human being. A High school or Secondary school should teach
both science and religion. Science really means the cultivation of
knowledge, doesn’t it? Science is what has brought about the
present state of tension in the world for it has put together through
knowledge the most destructive instrument that man has ever
found. It can wipe out whole cities at one blow, millions can be
destroyed in a second. A million human beings can be vaporized.
And science has also given us a great many beneficial things – communication, medicine, surgery and innumerable small things
for the comfort of man, for an easy way of life in which human
beings need not struggle endlessly to gather food, cook and so on.
And it has given us the modern deity, the computer. One can
enumerate the many, many things that science has brought about to
help man and also to destroy man, destroy the entire world of
humanity and the vast beauty of nature. Governments are using the
scientists, and scientists like to be used by governments for then
they have a position, money, recognition and so on. Human beings
also look to science to bring about peace in the world, but it has
failed, just as politics and the politicians have failed to give them
total security, peace to live and cultivate not only the fields but
their brain, their heart, their way of living, which is the highest art.
And religions – the accepted, traditional, superficial religions,
creeds and dogmas – have brought about great damage in the
world. They have been responsible for wars in history dividing
man against man – one whole continent with very strong beliefs,
rituals, dogmas against another continent which does not believe
the same things, does not have the same symbols, the same rituals.
This is not religion, it is just repetition of a tradition, of endless
rituals that have lost meaning except that they give some kind of
stimulus; it has become a vast entertainment. Religion is something
entirely different. We have often spoken about religion. The
essence of religion is freedom, not to do what you like, that is too
childish, too immature and too contradictory, bringing great
conflict, misery and confusion. Freedom again is something entirely different. Freedom means to have no conflict,
psychologically, inwardly. And with freedom the brain becomes
holistic, not fragmented in itself. Freedom also means love,
compassion, and there is no freedom if there is not intelligence.
Intelligence is inherent in compassion and love. We can go into
this endlessly, not verbally or intellectually, but inwardly live a life
of such a nature. And in a Secondary school or a High school,
science is knowledge. Knowledge can expand endlessly, but that
knowledge is always limited because knowledge is based on
experience and that experience may be a theoretical, hypothetical
result. Knowledge is necessary but as long as science is the activity
of a separate group, or a separate nation, which is tribal activity,
such knowledge can only bring about greater conflict, greater
havoc in the world, which is what is happening now. Science with
its knowledge is not for destroying human beings because
scientists after all are human beings first, not just specialists; they
are ambitious, greedy seeking their own personal security like all
the other human beings in the world. They are like you and
another. But their specialization is bringing great destruction as
well as some benefit. The last two great wars have shown this.
Humanity seems to be in a perpetual movement of destruction and
building up again – destroy and build; destroy human beings and
give birth to a greater population. But if all the scientists in the
world put their tools down and said, `We will not contribute to war,
to destroying humanity’, they could turn their attention, their skill,
their commitment to bringing about a better relationship between nature, environment and human beings.
If there is some peace among a few people, then those few, not
necessarily the elite, will employ all their skill to bring about a
different world, then religion and science can go together.
Religion is a form of science. That is, to know and to go beyond
all knowledge, to comprehend the nature and immensity of the
universe, not through a telescope, but the immensity of the mind
and the heart. And this immensity has nothing whatsoever to do
with any organized religion. How easily man becomes a tool of his
own belief, his own fanaticism, committed to some kind of dogma
which has no reality. No temple, no mosque, no church, holds
truth. They are symbols perhaps but symbols are not the actual. In
worshipping a symbol you will lose the real, the truth. But
unfortunately the symbol has been given far greater importance
than truth. One worships the symbol. All religions are based on
some conclusions and beliefs, and all beliefs are divisive, whether
political beliefs or religious.
Where there is division there must be conflict. And a High
school is not a place for conflict. It is a place for learning the art of
living. This art is the greatest, it surpasses all other arts for this art
touches the entire human being, not one part of him, however
pleasant that may be. And in a school of this kind, if the educator is
committed to this, not as an ideal, but as an actuality of daily life –
committed, let’s repeat again, not to some ideal, some Utopia, some
noble conclusion, he can actually try to find out in the human brain
a way of living that is not caught in problems, strife, conflict and pain. Love is not a movement of pain, anxiety, loneliness; it is
timeless. And the educator, if he would stick at it, could instil in
the students’ acquisition of knowledge this true religious spirit
which goes far beyond all knowledge, which is perhaps the very
end of knowledge – not perhaps – it is the end of knowledge. For
there must be freedom from knowledge to understand that which is
eternal, which is timeless. Knowledge is of time, and religion is
free from the bondage of time.
It seems so urgent and important that we bring about a new
generation, even half a dozen people in the world would make a
vast difference. But the educator needs education. It is the greatest
vocation in the world.

THE PACIFIC DOES not seem to have great tides, at least not on
this side of the Pacific along the coast of California. It is a very
small tide, it goes in and goes out, unlike those vast tides that go
out several hundred yards and come rushing in. There is quite a
different sound when the tide is going out, when the flow of water
is withdrawing, from when it is coming in with a certain sense of
fury, a quality of sound totally different from the sound of the wind
among the leaves.
Everything seems to have a sound. That tree in the field, in its
solitude, has that peculiar sound of being separate from all other
trees. The great sequoias have their own deep lasting ancient
sound. Silence has its own peculiar sound. And of course the
endless daily chatter of human beings about their business, their
politics and their technological advancements and so on, has its
own sound. A really good book has its peculiar vibrations of
sound. The vast emptiness also has its throbbing sound.
The ebb and flow of the tide is like human action and reaction.
Our actions and reactions are so quick. There isn’t a pause before
the reaction takes place. A question is put and immediately,
instantly, one tries to seek an answer, a solution to a problem.
There is not a pause between the question and the answer. After all,
we are the ebb and flow of life – the outward and the inward. We
try to establish a relationship with the outward, thinking that the inward is something separate, something that is unconnected with
the outer. But surely the movement of the outer is the flow of the
inward. They are both the same, like the waters of the sea, this
constant restless movement of the outer and the inner, the response
to the challenge. This is our life. When we first put together from
the inward, then the inner becomes the slave of the outer. The
society we have created is the outer, then to that society the inner
becomes the slave. And the revolt against the outer is the same as
the revolt of the inner. This constant ebb and flow, restless,
anxious, fearful: can this movement ever stop? Of course the ebb
and flow of the waters of the sea are entirely free from this ebb and
flow of the outer and the inner – the inner becoming the outer, then
the outer trying to control the inner because the external has
become all important; then the reaction to that importance from the
inner. This has been the way of life, a life of constant pain and
We never seem to learn about this movement, that it is one
movement. The outer and the inner are not two separate
movements. The waters of the sea withdraw from the shore, then
the same water comes in, lashing the shores, the cliffs. Because we
have separated the external and the inner, contradiction begins, the
contradiction that breeds conflict and pain. This division between
the outer and the inner is so unreal, so illusory, but we keep the
external totally separate from the inner. Perhaps this may be one of
the major causes of conflict, yet we never seem to learn – learn not
memorize, learn, which is a form of movement all the time – learn to live without this contradiction. The outer and the inner are one, a
unitary movement, not separate, but whole. One may perhaps
intellectually comprehend it, accept it as a theoretical statement or
intellectual concept, but when one lives with concepts one never
learns. The concepts become static. You may change them but the
very transformation of one concept to another is still static, is still
fixed. But to feel, to have the sensitivity of seeing that life is not a
movement of two separate activities, the external and the inward,
to see that it is one, to realize that the interrelationship is this
movement, is this ebb and flow of sorrow and pleasure, joy and
depression, loneliness and the escape, to perceive non-verbally this
life as a whole, not fragmented, not broken up, is to learn. Learning
about it is not a matter of time, though, not a gradual process, for
then time again becomes divisive. Time acts in the fragmentation
of the whole. But to see the truth of it in an instant, then it is there,
this action and reaction, endlessly – this light and dark, the beauty
and ugliness.
That which is whole is free from the ebb and flow of life, of
action and reaction. Beauty has no opposite. Hate is not the
opposite of love.

WALKING DOWN THE straight road on a lovely morning, it was
spring, and the sky was extraordinarily blue; there wasn’t a cloud in
it, and the sun was just warm, not too hot. It felt nice. And the
leaves were shining and a sparkle was in the air. It was really a
most extraordinarily beautiful morning. The high mountain was
there, impenetrable, and the hills below were green and lovely.
And as you walked along quietly, without much thought, you saw a
dead leaf, yellow and bright red, a leaf from the autumn. How
beautiful that leaf was, so simple in its death, so lively, full of the
beauty and vitality of the whole tree and the summer. Strange that
it had not withered. Looking at it more closely, one saw all the
veins and the stem and the shape of that leaf. That leaf was all the
Why do human beings die so miserably, so unhappily, with a
disease, old age, senility, the body shrunk, ugly? Why can’t they
die naturally and as beautifully as this leaf? What is wrong with
us? In spite of all the doctors, medicines and hospitals, operations
and all the agony of life, and the pleasures too, we don’t seem able
to die with dignity, simplicity, and with a smile.
Once, walking along a lane, one heard behind one a chant,
melodious, rhythmic, with the ancient strength of Sanskrit. One
stopped and looked round. An eldest son, naked to his waist, was
carrying a terracotta pot with a fire burning in it. He was holding it in another vessel and behind him were two men carrying his dead
father, covered with a white cloth, and they were all chanting. One
knew what that chant was, one almost joined in. They went past
and one followed them. They were going down the road chanting,
and the eldest son was in tears. They carried the father to the beach
where they had already collected a great pile of wood and they laid
the body on top of that heap of wood and set it on fire. It was all so
natural, so extraordinarily simple: there were no flowers, there was
no hearse, there were no black carriages with black horses. It was
all very quiet and utterly dignified. And one looked at that leaf, and
a thousand leaves of the tree. The winter brought that leaf from its
mother on to that path and it would presently dry out completely
and wither, be gone, carried away by the winds and lost.
As you teach children mathematics, writing, reading and all the
business of acquiring knowledge, they should also be taught the
great dignity of death, not as a morbid, unhappy thing that one has
to face eventually, but as something of daily life – the daily life of
looking at the blue sky and the grasshopper on a leaf. it is part of
learning, as you grow teeth and have all the discomfort of childish
illnesses. Children have extraordinary curiosity. If you see the
nature of death, you don’t explain that everything dies, dust to dust
and so on, but without any fear you explain it to them gently and
make them feel that the living and the dying are one – not at the
end of one’s life after fifty, sixty or ninety years, but that death is
like that leaf. Look at the old men and women, how decrepit, how
lost, how unhappy and how ugly they look. Is it because they have not really understood either the living or the dying? They have
used life, they waste away their life with incessant conflict which
only exercises and gives strength to the self, the `me’, the ego. We
spend our days in such varieties of conflict and unhappiness, with
some joy and pleasure drinking, smoking, late nights and work,
work, work. And at the end of one’s life one faces that thing called
death and is frightened of it. One thinks it can always be
understood, felt deeply. The child with his curiosity can be helped
to understand that death is not merely the wasting of the body
through disease, old age and some unexpected accident, but that
the ending of every day is also the ending of oneself every day.
There is no resurrection, that is superstition, a dogmatic belief.
Everything on earth, on this beautiful earth, lives, dies, comes into
being and withers away. To grasp this whole movement of life
requires intelligence, not the intelligence of thought, or books, or
knowledge, but the intelligence of love and compassion with its
sensitivity. One is very certain that if the educator understands the
significance of death and the dignity of it, the extraordinary
simplicity of dying – understands it not intellectually but deeply –
then he may be able to convey to the student, to the child, that
dying, the ending, is not to be avoided, is not something to be
frightened of, for it is part of one’s whole life, so that as the
student, the child, grows up he will never be frightened of the
ending. If all the human beings who have lived before us, past
generations upon generations, still lived on this earth how terrible
it would be. The beginning is not the ending.       And one would like to help – no, that’s the wrong word – one
would like in education to bring death into some kind of reality,
actuality, not of someone else dying but of each one of us, however
old or young, having inevitably to face that thing. It is not a sad
affair of tears, of loneliness, of separation. We kill so easily, not
only the animals for one’s food but the vast unnecessary killing for
amusement, called sport – killing a deer because that is the season.
Killing a deer is like killing your neighbour. You kill animals
because you have lost touch with nature, with all the living things
on this earth. You kill in wars for so many romantic, nationalistic,
political, ideologies. In the name of God you have killed people.
Violence and killing go together.
As one looked at that dead leaf with all its beauty and colour,
maybe one would very deeply comprehend, be aware of, what
one’s own death must be, not at the very end but at the very
beginning. Death isn’t some horrific thing, something to be
avoided, something to be postponed, but rather something to be
with day in and day out. And out of that comes an extraordinary
sense of immensity.



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