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75 - Chapter 3 - Madras, 3rd Public Talk - 14th December 1974
We have been talking about the art of listening and the art of seeing. We said the art of listening implies that you participate, share in what is being said. You cannot share in what is being said if your mind, if your thoughts are wandering all over the place or you are comparing what is being said to what you know or translate what is being said to see if it conforms to what is said. That is not the art of listening. And also we talked about the art of seeing, whether it be a tree, a mountain or the flutter of a leaf in the wind, one must observe; otherwise you do not see at all. And also there is another art which is the art of learning. So there is the art of listening, the art of seeing and the art of learning. For most of us, learning implies committing to memory a technology, a language, a method and so on; that is, acquiring knowledge and storing it up in the brain as memory and using that memory skilfully when the occasion demands. The cultivation of memory for most of us becomes tremendously important. Knowledge is always the past and you act according to the past whether it be tradition, a memory or an experience which you have stored up as information, as a linguistic acquisition. Learning has also another meaning. There is another kind of learning which has nothing whatsoever to do with storing of knowledge. The storing of knowledge in action is mechanical. But there is learning when there is a constant movement. That is the art of learning. I do not know if it is possible to convey this to you through a language. When we have learnt something it is stored up and according to that memory, we act - how to ride a bicycle, drive a car and so on and that is all a mechanical process. Then there is a learning which is the coming to a challenge with a mind that is curious, alert, aware and wanting to understand not only the challenge but the response. It is a mind which is in a state of enquiry, in a state of exploration, a mind that is never satisfied by mere knowledge. One of the factors of degeneracy in this country is the activity and the mechanical way of living in the field of knowledge. Always being told what to do, always referring to a past experience, always looking to somebody to guide, so that we are never in the act of learning; we are always storing up what other people have said and acting according to that.
We want to talk this evening about several things - about death and the meaning of it, the immense sorrow - personal as well as collective and the essential freedom of passion. I hope that we are going together into these questions. Going together, taking a journey together, implies that we must walk at the same speed, with the same intention, with the same intensity, with the same energy; otherwise we can't keep up with each other. These talks, are not merely interpretations of an idea, but are rather the investigation, the enquiry together into this problem of suffering, passion and death. We are so accustomed to sorrow, to suffering, psychological inward suffering, which becomes distorted, if the physical suffering is not properly understood. So, we are talking over together as two people who are serious, who intend to understand this great problem of human suffering and why human beings have no passion; they have lust, which is entirely different from passion. Without passion you cannot create and creation is not merely a repetition or a conformity to a pattern. Creation implies an understanding not intellectually, but deeply having an insight, into this whole question of not only suffering, but the feeling of great intensity. If you are merely functioning mechanically as most people do from memory to action and skill, this quality of passion is never there. In the very enquiry into this question, we must go into the issue of suffering and passion. Both are related linguistically and actually. Together we are going to find out for ourselves what is the meaning of suffering, if there is an end to suffering, not theoretically, but actually, and what takes place when there is this freedom from suffering? Bear in mind all the time that description is not the described. I can describe a tree, a mountain, a river or the beauty of a blue sea, but the actual sea, the actual tree is not the word, is not the description. So, don't get caught up in words; though words are necessary to communicate, one must go beyond the words to grasp the significance or have an insight. When you have insight, learning becomes something entirely different. It is no longer the repetition of memory.
I don't know if you have observed how human beings suffer right throughout the world. That is one of the common factors of our human existence. Young and old, with their anxieties and greeds, have acquaintance with sorrow. Man, which is you and I, has tried to rationalize it, has given so many reasons, explanations for this sorrow. Apparently, our minds are never free from it. If one is at all conscious of one's environment, of the society in which one lives, the culture in which one has been brought up, if one is aware of all that, not only as a community but as a nation, as a group of people, one must inevitably ask if there is an end to sorrow. Can man be ever free from sorrow? Is that possible? Because sorrow like fear is a tremendous burden. It distorts our thinking. It makes us bitter, anxious, frightened and if you observe yourselves, you will see how there is sorrow for various reasons, - whether it is the death of a friend or a son or a wife or a husband or somebody on whom you depended. There is always the sorrow of great loneliness, if one has observed it and had not accepted it as inevitable. One has to find out not merely verbally, intellectually but deeply, inwardly, profoundly, if there is an ending of sorrow and whether sorrow has any meaning at all. Most of us think it has a meaning, has a purpose and makes us more enlightened, that we must go through this area of sorrow. If one is aware, conscious, knows that one suffers, why has one, a human being, to put up with it? Why are we burdened everlastingly with it? No man seems to have resolved it. Not being able to resolve it, we translate it as a part of a period through which we must go through in order to be more wise, more capable, more enlightened. Or we worship a figure who represents suffering. I don't know if you haven't noticed all this in yourself and in others. What we are asking is not only the cause of it, but also the ending of it. One can find quite comparatively easily the cause of the wound, but sorrow goes on. I can tell you or another can tell you that the cause of sorrow is your loneliness, your attachment to somebody and when that something goes away or dies or turns away from you, there is anger, bitterness, anxiety, fear, sorrow. One knows the cause. It does not need great analysis and yet sorrow goes on. So is it worthwhile, is it necessary to spend time and energy in the analysis of finding out the cause? You suffer, don't you? Not from tooth ache, that you can deal with, but psychologically, inwardly, suffer for another, suffer for the stupidity of mankind, suffer in the cruelty of people, the degeneracy, the feeling of utter loneliness, of sorrow, the ignorance of human beings in the real sense of that word, to be ignorant of oneself. All that awakens in one a great sense of sorrow, sadness, if one is at all sensitive. And there is the sorrow of losing somebody, death, You shed tears and you feel great loss, emptiness, a sense of loneliness. These are the various causes of sorrow. So analysis into the cause is inaction, does not produce action. Are we clear about this? Analysis implies the analyser and the analysed, the division, the enormous amount of time spent in trying to find out the cause. Therefore being caught in time, cause becomes the very essence of time. If one sees the truth of all that, has an insight that the cause of suffering is not the ending of suffering, then we can proceed to find out whether it is possible to end sorrow.
I suffer. I am taking this as an example: I suffer: I am not very interested in the cause of that suffering. The actual fact is that I am suffering; my son, my wife, my brother, everything is taken away from me and I am left lonely, isolated, having no relationship with another, bound to my own sorrow. Knowing the cause of it has no value. That is the one discovery I have made; it is firsthand, I have discovered for myself that the mere search for the cause of sorrow is not the ending of sorrow. On the contrary, it is time-binding, takes you away from the fact of sorrow. I see my mind wants to escape from it because I can't understand it. So what is involved, what is the significance, what is the meaning of sorrow? The mind wants to escape from it. Don't you want to escape from it all - your Gods, your entertainments, your rituals, reading the Gita, the Upanishads, whatever book you call sacred? You try to find comfort in something, comfort in an idea, in a picture, in a concept, in some hope. All escapes are a movement away from the fact of "what is", and the very moving away from "what is" is the beginning of sorrow. You understand this? So I see the fact that escape does not solve the problem of sorrow. So a mind having an insight into escape and the futility of escape, comes back to the fact of suffering. Therefore there is no escape. It is not that I have determined not to escape, but I see the futility of escape. Then I also see that any form of overcoming sorrow is still another waste of energy. So, my mind sees the waste of energy in the search for the cause of sorrow, in all the multiple escapes that thought has invented and there are a thousand escapes. Seeing that, seeing the futility of it, my mind says: "all right". Naturally there is no escape. So, there is no overcoming it, there is no rationalizing it, which are all forms of escape. Then what has any mind left? There is the fact of sorrow, not only the personal sorrow, but also this vast sorrow of human beings, the collective sorrow and the collective degeneracy. My mind has had a tremendous sorrow and it is trying to escape from it, run away from it, avoid it. And the escape, the avoidance, the flight away from it, is the wasting of energy. And the mind needs energy, vitality to understand this suffering. So, what takes place? There is no escape, there is no rationalization - I don't say "it is my karma". So there is no escape of any kind, verbally or theoretically or actually. Now what have I left? Is there an entity that is wanting to resolve that sorrow?
Look, I am not escaping at all now, I have finished with all escapes. Is there a movement in me, a thought that says, "I must go beyond sorrow, I cannot tolerate this, I must end it"? That means the entity is different from sorrow. Is there an entity different from sorrow or the entity is sorrow? Therefore, when the entity is sorrow there is no conflict, therefore there is no escape. IT IS. Then what takes place? You have understood my question? It is tremendously important for you to understand this. I wish I could exchange it all with you, but unfortunately, I can't. What takes place when there is no escape? What takes place when all movement of thought which tries to escape from the fact of this ache, of this sense of anxiety, this great acquaintance with grief, ends? From that reality, what comes out?
You know passion is different from lust. Lust is sensuous, having great desire - the compulsory eating, sexual pleasure or other forms of deep enjoyment through sensory perception. The word "passion" has its root in suffering. Passion comes out of this sorrow, and that passion has no cause. That is the beauty of it. It is not personal. It is not personal because sorrow is not limited to a person but there is this great sorrow of humanity. The great sorrow of humanity is totally impersonal. I can only understand the great sorrow of humanity if I have the passion that comes out of understanding or deeply going into this question of sorrow. Then passion is not personal and without that passion, there is no creation. You may paint pictures, you may write poems, you may do all kinds of skilful things with your hands, with your mind, but without that passion which comes out of suffering there is no creation.
In the same way, we are going to investigate together this great problem of death because you will not understand death if there is no passion. If you are frightened, you won't understand it. Passion is free of fear and pleasure. Pleasure is sustained or nourished by desire which is the movement of thought as pleasure and fear. But passion has nothing whatsoever to do with pleasure. and therefore with fear and it is only such a mind that says: "I want to find out; find out what it means to die, why humanity has never solved this problem. The ancient people, the ancient cultures considered death as a way of living for death; death was much more important than living and so on; there are various forms which we need not go into now. Man has tried to avoid in every way this immense mystery called death. You have in this country the comforting belief of reincarnation, you have been brought up in it. That is your tradition and the whole of Asia probably believes in that tradition because at one time India exploded over the whole of Asia, as Greece exploded over the whole of Europe. And the mind, knowing that there is death through accident, disease, old age, and so on, that death is inevitable and knowing that it can't avoid it, gets comfort in a belief. That belief is that you will be born next life under better conditions, if you do the right thing now. But your belief has no validity at all, it is just an idea, but the fact is, there is death.
Now, how do you meet death? Have you ever given thought to this or is this the first time you are listening to all this? Or are you full of knowledge, of what other people have said about this? If you want to find out, you have to put aside all the things that people have said, from the Upanishads down to your guru. To find out what it is to die, you must have passion. Who is dying: the body, the organism which is the brain? That extraordinary brain is going to die, come to an end, stop breathing through pain, through a life that has been absurd, cruel, diseased. The organism, inevitably, by constant use with all the shocks, travail and conflicts, and despairs, that organism comes to an end. The family, the wife, the husband, the children, the jobs to which we are attached, all the knowledge that one has acquired, experiences, all that comes to an end. And is there something permanent in all this which will continue ? Is there in you something permanent, something that must perfect itself, through time, which is incarnate, which takes form in next life? The word "incarnate" comes from carnal, that is, taking flesh. Is there something in you that goes on till you reach Brahman, God or what you will? Is there such a thing? Is there anything permanent in you? Or is there nothing permanent - permanent being everlasting, enduring beyond death ? If there is nothing permanent, why is the mind then attached to everything, attached to the form, to the name, to the bank account, to your wife, to your children, to your furniture, to your books, to all your customs, traditions, to your petty little Gods? All that is your consciousness. Now, is there in that consciousness something real, permanent ? You have to find out, not agree or disagree. You have to give your life to find out as you give your life for money.
Is there anything permanent or is everything in your consciousness put together by thought? Your Atman, your Super-consciousness, etc., all those are the movement of thought. You cannot possibly dispute that. Your attachment to your money, to your tradition, to your food, everything, is in the content of your consciousness. In that consciousness, is there anything permanent, or is every movement thought ? Thought is a material process because thought is the response of memory stored up in the brain. Therefore, can you die to your attachments? You can't take anything with you. Can you die to everything that you have collected, that thought has collected, die to your Gods, to your traditions, to your ways, everything? Have you ever said: "I meet death today? "You have pushed death far away because you are frightened of it and can you find out if you can bring it very close, be intimate with it? That means dying to all your attachments, dying to all the things that you think and have put together. Then what happens? Then what is immortality? If there is nothing permanent, then the 'me' is not permanent; it is just a series of structural words, feelings put together, held together by thought and that has no reality except in words, in attachments. So, is there immortality? When I meet death, when I have abandoned all attachments, when the mind has completely let go everything, then you will find, if you have gone deeply so far, that there is...... No, I won't tell you, because you are copybook minded. Let us approach it differently.
What happens if you invite death? You understand my question? There is a man who says "all right, I want to find out what it means to die. I know the physical organism, the form, the name dies. That is inevitable, and psychologically there is no tomorrow". There is tomorrow only when there is attachment and dependency. In being free, there is no tomorrow. When there is death, there is no tomorrow.
Now, what happens to those who do not enter into that area where death has no meaning any more? What happens to the vast majority of people? What happens to you who are attached, frightened, who cling to your husbands because you are frightened of your loneliness, who think there is a permanent reality because traditionally it has been accepted? Have you ever thought about it? That is, there is a vast stream of humanity caught in this confusion of possession, recognition, attachment, pain, suffering, endless conflict, and that stream is the collective stream. The collective culture, the collective literature, the collective painting, all that is in that stream. What happens to you if you don't step out of that stream? Have you asked yourselves what happens to you if you have never faced the reality of death, not at the end when you are unconscious or gasping for breath but while living, fully alive? What will happen to you if you don't step out of that stream? You will go in that stream, caught in that stream. That is a reality, that is a fact. If you face the fact that you are caught in it, trapped in it, then you will do something, but if you say "all humanity is caught in it, let me also be in it, "then you never step out of that steam and the stream goes on and therein lies enormous sorrow. Where is passion, which is compassion? Sir, if you have a son whom you love - love means to care - to give your heart to your son, feel for him and when you understand the meaning of death and are stepping out of it, what do yon feel for your son? Passion comes with love. Now, when you come to this, what is eternity, what is immortality? That is a state of mind which has no death at all. That is what it means - immortality. Immortality has no death. What is that state of mind that has no death? When the mind knows the sense of complete death of the me, what then is there to find out?
Tomorrow evening we will talk about meditation. You have twenty-four hours from now till that time to find out for yourself whether you are attached, whether you have motives, whether you can free yourselves from attachments. Out of that depth of insight, the truth of being free, out of that comes a flowering of goodness.
Questioner: Is suffering necessary to be passionate?
Krishnamurti: That is what I explained. The fact is, you suffer. That is the only fact and you know nothing about passion. Don't say will suffering help me to be passionate. It will help you to become lustful, not passionate. Sir, look, you want to get something, you want to be rewarded, you want to find a compensation for suffering. So you say "if I suffer or come through that, I hope to have passion".
Questioner: Can't you have passion out of joy?
Krishnamurti: Have you listened to that question? Do you know what joy is? Do you know when you are joyful? Do listen, Sir. Find out what I am asking. Can you be conscious of your joy? Is there a state of consciousness within you with which you can commune? If there is a consciousness which is joyous, blissful and you can commune with it, then it is separate from you.
Questioner: No, I didn't say that. It is a part of myself.
Krishnamurti: Therefore you cannot commune with something which is part of yourself. It is there.
Sir, do you know when you are happy? You haven't even understood what I have said. I am asking when you know you are joyous, is it joy or is joy something that comes without your knowing? You can only know pleasure.
Questioner: Pleasure is for the ordinary man; that is lust, which you spoke of. Pleasure is a kind of dignified love.
Krishnamurti: You haven't answered my question Sir. Pleasure you can know and cultivate. You can spend endless days in the cultivation of pleasure. When you cultivate joy, it ceases to be joy, it becomes pleasure. Examine it. I am walking along in the wood or walking in the street looking at the sun set and suddenly there is a great sense of joy, uninvited. I don't know how it comes. It is there suddenly. Then that moment or that second is registered in the brain as memory. Doesn't it often happen to you, suddenly a delight and then every experience, every impact, every incident is registered in the brain? That is a fact. Then that incident and the pursuit of that incident by thought becomes pleasure. There was that joy uninvited, unexpected. It came because I was not thinking about myself, I was not worried, I was not bothered about my wife, husband, property. It was a moment of complete non-me. At that moment, there was that extraordinary flame, uncalled for ecstasy. It was then registered in the mind as memory and the pursuit of that incident through memory is pleasure. Now the relationship between joy and pleasure is that the one happens and the other you can cultivate. You cannot cultivate joy; you can cultivate pleasure.
Questioner: Can you cultivate goodness ?
Krishnamurti: What is goodness? What does it mean to be good? Cultivation implies time. I will cultivate what I consider goodness. That means time - like you cultivate a plant, water it, look after it so that it gradually grows to its excellence. But is goodness something of time, something dictated by the environment, by the society, by the culture in which you live? If I am vain, I can cultivate humility. But cultivation of humility is still part of vanity. So I can cultivate something which I think is profitable, which I think is worthwhile but goodness is not something that can be bought, sold, cultivated. It is not a matter of time. When I am good, there is no need to be good and therefore there is no need to cultivate the beauty and the flower of goodness.