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75 - Chapter 4 - Madras, 4th Public Talk - 15th December 1974

75 - Chapter 4 - Madras, 4th Public Talk - 15th December 1974

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J. Krishnamurti in India 1974

We have been, during the last three talks, talking over together the question of listening, the art of seeing and the art of learning. Those who have paid a little attention to what was being said must have become aware of one's environment, the social condition, the poverty, the degradation, the degeneration of a whole group of people. One must have become aware, not only of the fact of degeneration which this country is going through, but also what it means to be reborn anew; what it means to have a mind that is not merely a plaything of thought; but a mind that can penetrate, investigate into itself and discover for itself all the movements of thought with all its calamities and destructive nature. And also to understand not only the meaning, but the depth and the beauty and the reality of such a mind, one must come to it through the enquiry of what is religion. Perhaps we could, with profit, see what it is not first. Obviously it is not the product of thought.

All our religions, whether in the west or in the east, are based on thought. The religious structure with its saviours, with its gurus, with its systems, with its beliefs, dogmas and rituals is essentially the product of thought. And thought as we said the other day, is a material process. Thought is matter in the sense that it is the response of memory; memory stored up in the brain through experience and the accumulation of knowledge and so it is essentially a movement of matter, it is essentially material; thought which not only pursues pleasure, but also brings about fear because of its own fragmentary nature. All our religions are based on the movement of thought, fear and hope. All that, if one observes carefully and diligently, is the product of this movement of thought which is material. So there is absolutely nothing spiritual in them.

I hope you are listening carefully. We are sharing, investigating into all this, not accepting or denying, but exploring together and therefore, being in communication with each other. We cannot be in communication or commune with each other if we have our own thoughts, opinions, judgments, our own particular form of belief to which we cling to, and that makes it impossible to investigate, to explore, to examine. When we are communicating together, it is necessary that we understand not only the words, the meaning of the words but also try to find out what lies between the words, to be able to read between the words and listen to the peculiar meaning that lies behind the words. So, observing what is going on in the world, not only the political, economic divisions, the world of division between Arabs and Jews, between Hindus and Muslims and so on, but also looking at the various religions, which have never brought peace to mankind, we ask what is religion, what we mean by that word. We know what it is not. All churches, temples and mosques, the structures that have been put together by thought, however beautiful have nothing whatsoever to do with reality. Can you really, not verbally, discard all that? Not discard because you feel someone knows better than you do; it is merely accepting authority and when you accept authority in spiritual matters, that is the very essence of decay, degeneracy.

Then we can begin to find out, if you are serious, what religion means. Do you understand that the ceremonies, the rituals you perform, the temples you go to, and the vows you take are a compensation for your daily ugly life? You take vows, you go to temples as a compensation, and all that - the beliefs, the dogmas, the rituals, the private worship - have nothing to do with the reality of what religion is. If one is serious, one must find out what religion is. Because religion is the core of a new culture; without religion there is no culture; you may have beautiful paintings, you may write marvellous literature, compose lovely music, that is not culture; that does not bring about a new quality of mind, And we need a new quality of mind, when the whole world around us is collapsing, degenerating. To revive the old religions as some people are trying to do is meaningless. But a man who is deeply concerned with starvation, with wars, with corruption, with hypocrisy, with total dishonesty, must in seriousness find out, what is the true significance of a religious mind. It is only such a mind that can bring about a new culture. Not one religious mind alone, but the religious mind of man, which is you. Have you not observed religious leaders? A leader in the religious world is the denial of religion. Because when there is a religious movement, that very movement is the factor of degeneration, because then you are merely following; you are merely accepting the authority of another. When you understand the nature and structure of authority, have an insight into it, you see that there is no authority in spiritual matters including that of the speaker. Then we can proceed in our enquiry into what is religion. Religion, if you look into a good dictionary, means gathering together energy to be totally good, I am adding the extra words "to be totally good", good in action, good in thought, excellent in the way of life. And that implies diligence, care, attention. Care implies care in your work, in your thoughts, how you bring up your children, how you treat your wife, your husband, care which means affection, love. And most of us are negligent, we are careless, we are inconsiderate, we think goodness is something to be cultivated; goodness is some- thing that may come through time gradually. We never say "be good; there is no "I will be good".

Religion also implies the understanding, the discovery in one's own mind, of what is sacred and also if there is such a thing as the eternal. Religion means beauty, goodness, which means also excellence and the finding or coming upon something sacred. It is also the enquiry into something that is not touched by thought because thought is time, thought is measure. It is also to find out if there is or if there is not something that is nameless, timeless, that has no beginning and no end. All that is religion. Without that quality of mind which is explosive, you cannot have a new culture which is absolutely necessary, a culture not brought about by these few, but by a religious mind, which means being a light to yourself. All that is implied in religion. So meditation is the enquiry into that which is sacred and also to find out if there is eternity, to feel that quality of mind that is really timeless. That is what we are going to do together. We are not going to meditate together; that is another imaginative, romantic nonsense, but we are going together to find out what it means to meditate and what it means to have the capacity of freedom that cares, that comes upon the thing that is sacred and from there move to something that may be timeless. This is a very complex question and what is complex can be understood only when the mind is really very simple, not childish, not immature, but simple. But most of you probably have read or gone to some guru or you have invented your own form of meditation and so you are already burdened with something which you call meditation. To find out what is meditation, you have to enquire, you have to put aside your particular form of meditation; otherwise you can't find out if what you are doing is true or false. To enquire into something that one may call sacred, you cannot possibly accept the authority of any book, any leader, any guru, any system, because your mind must be free to enquire, free to find out. Can you do this as you are sitting there, listening, which is the art of learning, the art of seeing? Can you put aside all that you know about meditation? That will be very difficult because your mind operates in routine, in habit, mechanically and to put away something that you are so accustomed to, becomes extraordinarily difficult because the mind has been conditioned to act mechanically. You have to see the danger of it; then when you see the danger of it, it has no power. When you see a dangerous animal, you have to leave it alone. It is only when you don't see that the danger exists.

I want to find out what is meditation. I know nothing of what other people have said about it. I don't want to know what other people have said about it; not that I am vain, not that I am conceited, not that I want to have original experience, but I don't know if what people said has any validity. They may be as neurotic as myself, stupid, cunning, deceptive, caught in illusion. I am talking as a human being who is enquiring, who sees the reality that religions as they exist have no validity, no meaning or significance whatsoever, with all their rituals, dogmas, superstitions and authority. Such a mind says: "I want to find out; I want to find out what it means to meditate. "Perhaps that may be the environment, the atmosphere which will reveal that which is sacred. Unless you see for yourself the falseness of all the things that you have put together by thought, what you call religion has no meaning at all. If you see that, then you will discard all authority in these matters. So what is meditation and why should one meditate at all? These are the two questions into which we are going to enquire: What is meditation and why should we meditate? Now, the word meditation means to think over, to ponder over and also meditation means the capacity to measure and measure means movement between this and that. You are following all this? We are saying the word "meditation" means to think over, to ponder upon, to investigate, to have this mind that is measuring all the time, which means - progress, which means comparison, which means imitation; all that is implied in that word meditation. So I want to find out whether a mind can be without measure. Can a mind be without the movement of thought which is time? Time is measure, time is direction.

I must go into the problem of time. There is time by the watch, there is time as movement from here to there. Time is necessary to cover from here to there. Time is movement. Is meditation a movement in time? Can time as a movement find out something that is sacred? We said thought is a material process; thought is matter which is a material process and to investigate what is meditation, what place has thought? Thought is time, thought is measure, thought is direction, which is from here to there. Has thought any place at all? If thought has no place at all, then what has the mind to do with thought? And if it has no place in meditation, then what do you do with this extraordinary movement of thought in which the mind is caught up, the mind that is everlastingly chattering, the mind that says: I will achieve, I will gain, I am comparing? You see movement all the time, incessantly. What will you do with that thought? You cannot deny it; it is there. So you begin to say I will control it; I will learn concentration on an object, on an image, on what I think to be sacred and dwell upon that and exclude every other thought. That is what you are doing and so the battle begins, the struggle to concentrate on something and the thought wandering off. This is what you do, don't you, when you meditate? This constant struggle is going on. Concentration implies centring your thought on something that thought has chosen to be noble, to be excellent, to be real. Thought has projected an idea, a picture, an image and thought says: "I am going to concentrate on that. "And in the process of concentration it must exclude everything else. Thought being fragmentary, its exclusion is the movement of fragmentation.

So concentration on an idea, on a picture, on something that thought thinks is necessary is a movement in time, a movement of measurement, a movement in a particular direction; therefore it must be fragmentary. Seeing that, I say, I won't concentrate, it is finished. A mind that is enquiring into the meaning of meditation comes upon this fact that thought is measure, thought is the movement of time, thought sets a direction as will. Thought itself is a fragment, because thought is the response of memory, memory is the accumulation of knowledge as experience which is the past. In investigating what is meditation, one discovers this. The next point is what is one to do with this movement of thought? Should it be controlled and if you are controlling it, who is the controller? If the controller is the controlled then what is to be done with this movement of thought ? You have to find out, the mind has to find out the art of putting thought in its right place. Thought is necessary in the field or in the area of knowledge - to drive a car, to speak, to do your daily job and so on. There knowledge is necessary, and thought must function most efficiently, clearly, non-personally in that area. So in the understanding of what meditation is, mind has discovered that thought has its right place. When it discovers that it has a right place, then you will see that thought is no longer a matter of importance. Then the next question is do systems, the methods, the various practices that you do, have they any validity? Or are they all the cultivation of a mechanical habit which is part of thought ? After all, you have different systems of meditation, haven't you, from the Zen to the modern system? When you practice, what does that imply? It implies a direction. You have set a direction and you are practising daily in order to achieve that end which the guru, the book and other people have laid down as the end. You practice in order to achieve a definite end, a fixed end. If it is living thing, you cannot practice to arrive at it; it is moving all the time. So, when you are practising a method you have set a direction towards which you are moving, That direction and the end is put together by thought, You are not out of thought; you are still in the movement of thought. You will see, that when you have an insight into that end, then there is no direction, which means no will. Will is after all the accentuation, the exaggeration of desire. You desire to have enlightenment, you desire moksha, liberation or heaven or whatever you call it; you desire it and if you are serious, you then set a direction; you say: I will do these things regularly in order to achieve that Moksha, heaven, that liberation. Whatever the goal you have set for yourself is still within the area of thought, within the area of measure. You have not left thought at all, you are still caught in it and a mind that is enquiring into meditation is aware of this fact. Therefore there is no system, no method, no goal, no direction and therefore no will.

The things that thought has put together as sacred are not sacred. They are just words to give a significance to life, because life as you live it is not sacred, it is not holy. The word "holy" comes from being whole, which means healthy, sane. A mind that is functioning through thought, however desirous it be to find that which is sacred, is still acting within the field of time, within the field of fragmentation. So, can the mind be whole, not fragmented? Can the mind which is the product of evolution, product of time, product of so much influence, so many hurts, so many travails, such great sorrow, great anxiety, can such a mind be free of the movement of thought? Can the mind be completely non-fragmented? Can you look at life as a whole? That is, can the mind be whole, which means without a single fragment? Therefore diligency comes into being. A mind is whole when it is diligent, attentive which means to have care, to have great affection, great love. The mind that is whole is attentive and therefore it is cared for and has this quality of deep abiding sense of love; such a mind is whole and that you come upon when you begin to enquire into what is meditation. Then we can proceed to find out what is sacred.

Please listen, it is your life, give your heart and mind to find out a way of living differently which means can the mind abandon all control? It does not mean that you lead a life of doing what you like, yielding to every desire, every lustful glance or reaction, to every pleasure, to every demand of the pursuit of pleasure. To find out whether you can live a daily life without a single control, that is part of meditation. That means one has to have this quality of attention, attention which brings about insight into the right place of thought. Thought is fragmentary and where there is control, there is the controller and the controlled. So to find out a life, a way of living without a single control requires tremendous attention, great discipline, not the discipline that you are accustomed to, which is merely suppression, control, conformity, but we are talking of a discipline which means to learn. The word "discipline" comes from the word "disciple." The disciple is there to learn. Now, here there is no teacher, no disciple, you are the teacher and you are the disciple, and we are learning and that very act of learning brings about its own order. Now thought has found its place, its right place. So the mind is no longer burdened with the movement as a material process which is thought, which means the mind is absolutely quiet. It is naturally quiet, not made quiet. That which is made quiet is terrorized. That which happens to be quiet, in that quietness, in that emptiness a new thing can take place. So, can the mind, your mind, be absolutely quiet, without control, without the movement of thought? It will be quiet. (?)

Do you understand what the words "silence" and "quiet" mean? You know you can make the mind quiet by taking a drug, by repeating a mantra or a word constantly; naturally your mind will become quiet and such a mind is dull, stupid and you call that transcendental meditation or whatever you call it. And there is a silence between two movements of thought; there is silence between two noises; there is silence between two notes; there is silence of an evening when the birds have made their noise, their chattering and have gone to bed, when there is no flutter among the leaves, there is no breeze near the trees or on the banks of a river. There silence descends on the earth and you are part of that silence. So there are different kinds of silence but the silence is not to be bought, it is not to be practised, it is not something you gain as a reward, compensation to an ugly life. It is only when the ugly life has been transformed into a good life - by good I mean not having plenty - but the life of goodness, the flowering of that goodness, in that beauty silence comes.

Now we shall have to enquire into what is beauty. I am afraid, in this country, you have lost touch with nature. Though in your books nature is mentioned, you have lost touch with nature and therefore having lost touch with nature you have also lost touch with man, your neighbour. So you have to find out what beauty is.

What is beauty? Did you look at the sunset behind the speaker this evening, as you where sitting there? Did you look at it? Did you feel the light and glory of that light on a leaf or do you think beauty is sensory, sensuous and a mind which is seeking sacred things cannot be attracted to beauty, cannot have anything with beauty because beauty implies woman in this country; therefore you suppress it and only concentrate on your little image which you have projected from your own thought as God. If you want to find out what meditation is, you have to find out what beauty is, beauty in the face, the beauty of action, the beauty of behaviour, conduct, the inward beauty, the beauty of the way you walk, the way you talk, the way you gesture, all that is beauty and without having that, meditation becomes merely an escape, a compensation, a meaningless action. In beauty there is great austerity, not the austerity of the sannyasi, not the austerity of a mind that has created a pattern of order, for that is not order. Order comes when you understand the whole disorder in which you live. In the understanding of that disorder comes naturally order, which is virtue. Therefore virtue, order is supreme austerity, not the denial of three meals a day or fasting or shaving your head and all the rest of that. So, there is order which is beauty, beauty of love, beauty of compassion. And also there is the beauty of a clean street, of a good architectural form of a building, there is beauty of a tree, a lovely leaf, the great big branches, to see all that is beauty, not merely to go to museums and talk everlastingly about beauty. So silence of a quiet mind is the essence of that beauty. And because it is silent, in that silence comes that which is indestructible, that which is sacred. In the coming of that which is sacred, then life becomes sacred, your life becomes sacred, our relationship becomes sacred, everything becomes sacred because you have touched that thing which is sacred.

Then we shall also find out in meditation if there is something or if there is nothing which is eternal, timeless, which means can the mind which has been cultivated in the area of time, can that mind, come upon the everlasting? It means can the mind be without time, though time is necessary to go from here to there. Can that mind, that very same mind which operates in time, going from here to there, not psychologically, but physically, can that mind be without time which means can that mind be without the past, without the present, without the future? Can that mind be in absolute nothingness? Don't be frightened of that word. Have you ever looked at an empty cup? When you pour coffee into it, before you pour it, have you watched it, have you seen the emptiness of it? Because it is empty, it can receive and because it is empty, it has got vast space. Have you observed in your own mind if you have any space at all there? Is there a little space or is everything crowded, crowded by your worries, by your sex or no sex, by your achievements, by your knowledge, by your ambitions, fears, anxieties, pettiness? And how can such a mind understand or be in that state of enormous space? Space is always enormous. I don't know if you understand all this. A mind that has no space in daily life cannot possibly come upon that which is eternal, that which is timeless. That is why meditation becomes extraordinarily important; not the meditation that you all practice; that is not meditation at all, but the meditation which we are talking about transforms the mind and it is only such a mind that is a religious mind. It is only such a religious mind that can bring about a different culture, a different way of life, a different relationship, a sense of sacredness and therefore great beauty and honesty. All this comes naturally without effort, without battle, without sacrifice, without control, and this is the beginning and the ending of meditation.

Questioner: What is love?

Krishnamurti: The gentleman here wants to know what is love. If the speaker describes what love is, would you have love? If I describe food that you are going to eat when you are hungry, would you be satisfied by the description? Why do you ask what love is, which means you don't have love. Can you find out if you have no love, what love is? All that you can do is to find out what love is not. Right? Love is not jealousy. When you are seeking power, position, when you are pursuing your sexual pleasure, there is no love. When you put money first, as you do, there is no love. So will you, to find out what love is, will you drop your ambition? Will you drop your envies? Will you drop your competitive aggressiveness which does not mean you become docile? I am afraid you don't because to you those are far more important than love and I assure you if you have no love, you have no compassion; your society is doomed, your degeneration is guaranteed and you say: "yes, I don't mind, I will go on with my ambition, with my greed, with my money." All that you are concerned is with your own self.

Questioner: To see, to look, the mind is the only instrument, but the mind is made up of the past.

Krishnamurti: To look, to see, the mind is our only instrument and that instrument has been put together by the past. Therefore, how am I to look without the past? When you look at a tree, what takes place? Immediately you name the tree or you introduce your prejudices or your pleasures about that tree. So between you and that tree, there is the screen of words, the screen of prejudices, the screen of knowledge, the screen of your desires. So you will never, never look at that tree. Can you put aside your screens, can you put all that aside and just look? Can you look at your neighbour, at your politician, at your professor, at your guru, at your wife and your children and at yourself without all the images, the screens, the ideas, the prejudices, the fears? Can you just look, which means you must care to look, you must love to look. You can't look at the beauty of a woman or a man or a child, beauty of heavens, beauty of a bird, beauty of a tree, of a mountain if your mind is burdened with your own desires, burdened with your own sorrows. If you want to look, those burdens must be set aside to look and when you look, there is care, there is affection, there is love to look at the beauty of something.

Questioner: How can a timeless mind operate in this world?

Krishnamurti: How easily you accept such a state - a timeless mind - not knowing anything about it, not even having the breath and perfume of such a mind? You are asking how will such a mind operate here? I said to you Sirs, that we have to create a new world together. Therefore you have to have such a mind, not the speaker, the speaker is not important. What is important is for you to have such a mind. Then you will find out how to operate, how to live a different life, how to have a religious mind and live in this world, But without finding that out to say, "let me speculate about it", I am afraid, you will never find out for yourself. So bring order first in your life, be aware of the life of disorder that you live in every day - to say one thing, do another, think something and profess something else - the dishonesty, the unscrupulous way of living. To be aware of all that is to bring order in your life. Without that order in your daily life, meditation has no place, it is just an escape. And if you are concerned with the transformation of society you have to change. Society needs tremendous change because society is immoral, society is corrupt and collectively you have produced society and collectively you have to change because you are the collective, you are the world and the world is you. If you don't change as the collective, God help you. You are facing great dangers, great disaster, your house is burning and you can't shut your eyes, you may want to, but your children, your grandchildren are going to pay for what you are doing now. So Sirs, you cannot come upon that which is nameless, timeless which is the very essence of beauty and love, if you have no order, beauty and love in your daily life.