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Bombay 10th Public Talk 14th March, 1948
Bombay 10th Public Talk 14th March, 1948
I would like this afternoon to discuss the problem of action, which might be rather abstruse and difficult at the beginning, but I hope by thinking it over, we will be able to see the issue clearly. Because, our whole existence, our whole life, is a process of action. It is an action at different levels of consciousness. Please, I am afraid you will have to pay a little attention to this, because it is going to be extremely difficult if you do not follow it very closely, if your attention is distracted by those who are passing behind me. I shall not be distracted; but you will be, unfortunately, and therefore you will not be able to follow it and will miss its beauty; because, it is quite a difficult problem and needs very close attention.
Most of us live in a series of actions, of seemingly unrelated, disjointed actions, leading to disintegration, to frustration. It is a problem that concerns each one of us, because we live by action; and without action, there is no life, there is no experience, there is no thinking. Thought is action; and merely to pursue action at one particular level of consciousness, which is the outer, merely to be caught up in outward action without understanding the whole process of action itself, will inevitably lead us to frustration, to misery. Therefore, if I may suggest, and though the problem is quite simple, one has to be a little concentrated - not with the concentration of exclusiveness, but with the interest which brings, not exclusion, but attention. That is what is needed: to be attentive with interest. Then you and I will go together; then I won't take the journey alone, and you won't become a mere spectator. And if we can take the journey together, it will be much more creative, much more interesting, more vital and significant, and therefore you will be able to follow it for yourself in daily action.
So, our life is a series of actions, or a process of action at different levels of consciousness. Now, consciousness, as I explained the other day, is experiencing, naming, and recording. That is, consciousness is challenge and response, which is experiencing, then terming or naming, and then recording, which is memory. This process is action, is it not? Consciousness is action; and without challenge, response, without experiencing, naming or terming, and recording, which is memory, there is no action. Whether you are a big executive, a big business man, raking in money and piling up a bank account, or a writer, or just an ordinary man earning an ordinary livelihood, this is the process that is going on: experiencing, naming or terming, and recording; and this whole process is consciousness, which is action.
Now, action creates the actor. That is, the actor comes into being when action has a result, an end in view, If there is no result in action, then the actor is not; but if there is an end or a result in view, then action brings about the actor. So, actor, action, and end or result, is a unitary process, a single process, which comes into being when action has an end in view. Action towards a result, is will. otherwise, there is no will, is there? The desire to achieve an end brings about will, which is the actor - I want to achieve, I want to write a book, I want to be a rich man, I want to paint a picture. Will is action with an end in view, a result to be gained, which brings about the actor, So, the actor or will, the action, and the end or result, is one process. Though we can break it up and observe these factors separately, it is a total, unitary process.
Now, we are familiar with these three states: the actor, the action, and the end. That is our daily existence. I am just explaining what is; but we will begin to understand how to transform what is, only when we examine it clearly, so that there is no illusion, prejudice, no bias with regard to it. Now, these three states, which constitute experience - the actor, the action, and the result - , these three states, surely, are a process of becoming. Otherwise, there is no becoming, is there? If there is no actor, and if there is no action toward an end, there is no becoming; but life as we know it, our daily life, is a process of becoming. I am poor, and I act with an end in view, which is to become rich. I am ugly, and I want to become beautiful. Therefore, my life is a process of becoming something. The will to be is the will to become, at different levels of consciousness, in different states, in which there is challenge, response, naming, and recording. Now, this becoming is strife, this becoming is pain, is it not? It is a constant struggle: I am this, and I want to become that. The becoming is a constant battle - the rich man competing with the richer to maintain his position, the poor man trying to become rich, the artist trying to achieve a result, write a book or a poem, paint a picture. There is always an end in view, a result to be achieved, and in that process of becoming there is a ceaseless battle, a strife, a pain. With that we are familiar - I have not described anything other than what is.
So, then, the problem is: Is there not action without this becoming? That is, is there not action without this pain, without this constant battle? If there is no end, there is no actor, because action with an end in view creates the actor. But can there be action without an end in view, and therefore no actor? Because, the moment there is action with the desire for a result, there is the actor, and therefore the actor is always becoming; therefore the actor is the source of strife, pain, misery. And, to eliminate that strife, can there be action without the actor, that is, without the desire for a result? Only such action is not a becoming, and therefore not a strife. There is a state of action, a state of experiencing without the experiencer and the experience. This sounds rather philosophical, but it is really quite simple. We know that in our daily actions, in our everyday life, there is always the actor or experiencer, the process of experiencing, and the experience; the actor is acting in order to achieve an end, and I know that that process always produces strife, because I live in strife with my wife, with my husband, with my neighbours, with my boss. I know the life of strife and conflict, and I want to eliminate conflict, because I recognize that conflict does not lead anywhere. It is only creative happiness that brings about a revolutionary state. So, to find action without strife, there must be no actor; and there is no actor only when there is no end in view. Can I live in a state of experiencing all the time, without the desire for a result? That is the only way to solve this problem, is it not? As long as action has an end in view, there must be the actor, the experiencer, the observer, and therefore a process of becoming which creates strife, and therefore a state of contradiction. Can one live in action without a state of contradiction? There can be freedom from contradiction only when there is no actor and no end to be achieved, which means a state of constant experiencing without the object of experience, and therefore without the experiencer. Now, we live in that state when the experiencing in itself is intense. Take, for example, any intense experience that you have. In the moment of experiencing, you are not aware of yourself as the experiencer apart from the experience; you are in a state of experiencing. Take a very simple example: you are angry. In that moment of anger, there is neither the experiencer nor the experience; there is only experiencing. But the moment you come out of it, a split second after the experiencing, there is the experiencer and the experience, the actor and the action with an end in view - which is to get rid of or to suppress the anger. So, we are in this state repeatedly, in the state of experiencing; but we always come out of it and give it a term, naming and recording it, and thereby giving continuity to becoming.
Now, the problem is, how can there be freedom from conflict in action? As I said, only when experiencing is lived completely, wholly, all the time. You can live completely, wholly, only when there is no terming, when there is no naming, and therefore no recording, which is memory. Memory is the recorder of the outcome of action with an end in view. Sir, when you have an experience and you are in that moment of experiencing, if you don't term it, f you don't give it a name and therefore record it, put it in the frame of reference which is memory, then that experiencing is joy, that experiencing is creation.
Experiment with what I have said. It is very simple. We know the first process, which is action seeking an end, a result, and bringing into being the actor. The actor, or action with an end in view, is the process of becoming, and this process is constant strife, constant pain. With that we are familiar. To be in strife is essentially a state of contradiction, and in a state of contradiction there can never be the capacity to live fully, because there must always be a struggle, there must always be pain, To be free of pain, there can be only one state, that of experiencing - which is action without the actor, and without a result, an end in view. It is not as crazy as it sounds. If you observe very closely, you will see that, in moments of great ecstasy, you do live in that state of experiencing, without the actor or experiencer, and the object of experience. Most of us have known that state of experiencing; and having known it, we want to continue it, and thereby we give birth again to becoming. That is, we want a result, which is action with an end in view; and therefore we strengthen the framework of reference, which is memory. So, to bring about a state of constant experiencing, which is really extraordinarily revolutionary, we must be aware of this process of action which is always seeking an end, a result, and therefore giving birth to the actor. We must be fully aware of that process; and when we are aware of that and see the truth, the significance, the pain of it, then in that passive awareness we will know the state of experiencing in which there is neither the experiencer nor the experience.
I have about eight questions, and it has been suggested that I answer them briefly, not at length; because, when I answer a question at length, it becomes a lecture, and many of us cannot keep a sustained thought for a long period of time. If I answer each question briefly, perhaps you will be able to grasp it better. So, I am going to try this evening to answer as many of these questions as possible, and see what the result is.
Question: What is the relation between the thinker and his thought?
Krishnamurti: Now, is there any such relation, or is there only one thing, which is thought, and not the thinker? Because, if there are no thoughts, there is no thinker. When you are thinking, when you have thoughts, is there a thinker? If you have no thoughts at all, where is the thinker? Now, having thoughts, seeing the impermanency of thoughts, the thinker comes into being. That is, thought creates the thinker; and because thoughts are transient, the thinker becomes the permanent entity. There is first the process of thought, and then thought creates the thinker, obviously. The thinker then establishes himself as a permanent entity, apart from thoughts. That is, thoughts are transient, they are always in a state of flux, and thought objects to its own impermanency; therefore, thought creates the thinker. It is not the other way round, the thinker does not create thought, If you have no thoughts, there is no thinker; so it is thought that creates the thinker. Then we try to establish a relationship between the thinker, and the thought which has created him. That is, we try to establish a relationship between that which seeks to be permanent, which is the thinker created by thought, and the thought itself, which is transient. But obviously both are transient, Since thought, which is transient, creates the thinker, and though the thinker may imagine himself to be permanent, he also is transient; because the thinker is the outcome of thought.
This is not a conundrum. It is an obvious fact. Pursue a thought completely, go through with it to the end, think it out fully, and you will see what happens. You will find that there is no thinker at all, because it is the thought which creates the thinker. Therefore, there are not two states as the thinker and the thought. The thinker is a fictitious entity, an unreal state. There is only thought; and the bundle of thoughts creates the 'I', the thinker. And the thinker, having given himself permanency, tries to transform thought and thereby maintain himself, which is false; and if you can think out every thought fully, completely, that is, let each thought go right through to the end without resistance, then you will see there is no thinker at all. Therefore, the mind becomes extraordinarily pliable, quiet. And that quiet, that tranquillity, is the state of experiencing. As there is neither the actor nor the end in view, neither the experiencer nor the experience, it is a state of experiencing, which is pure action. Try this and you will see that thought is constantly giving birth to further thought, and therefore maintaining the thinker. But when there is no thinker - which there is not, only a thought process - , that is, when the thought process is completely understood, in that passive awareness when every thought is allowed full scope, full depth, then there is freedom from all thought; and in that freedom, there is experiencing.
Question: I would like to help you by doing propaganda for your teachings. Can you advise the best way?
Krishnamurti: To be a propagandist is to be a liar. (Laughter.) Don't laugh, Sirs. Because, propaganda is merely repetition, and repetition of a truth is a lie. When you repeat what you consider to be the truth, then it ceases to be the truth. Say, for instance, you repeat the truth concerning man's relationship to property, the truth which you have not discovered for yourself; what value has it? Repetition has no value; it merely dulls the mind, and you can only repeat a lie. You cannot repeat truth, because truth is never constant. Truth is a state of experiencing, and what you can repeat is a static state; therefore it is not the truth. Please do see the importance of this. We are so used to being propagandists, to reading newspapers, to telling others about everything. The propagandist is a mere repeater, not a teller of truth; therefore, propaganda does infinite damage in the world. The lecturer who goes out doing propaganda for an idea is really a destroyer of thought, because he just repeats his own or somebody else's experience. But truth cannot be repeated, truth must be experienced from moment to moment by each one. Now, with that understanding, what can you do to help this teaching, to further this teaching? All that you can do is to live it; however little you understand, however tiny a part, live it completely - not superficially, but deeply, fully, as vitally, as intrinsically, as enthusiastically as possible. Then, like a flower in a garden, that very living spreads its perfume. You don't have to do propaganda for the jasmine. The jasmine itself does the propaganda; its beauty, its perfume, its loveliness, tells the story. When you have not that loveliness, that beauty, you do propaganda for it, but the moment you have understood a little, you talk about it, preach it, shout it; because of your own understanding, you help another to understand, and therefore understanding spreads more and more, it moves further and further afield. Surely, that is the only way to do what you call `propaganda' - which is an ugly word. Sir, how does a new thought spread, a living thought, not a dead thought? Surely, not through propaganda. Systems spread through propaganda, but not a living thought. A living thought is spread by a living person, one who lives that thought. Without living it, you cannot spread a living thought; but the moment you live it, you will see. It is like the bees coming to the flower. The flower need not do propaganda for its honey - the bees know it, they come because there is nectar. But without that nectar, to do propaganda is to deceive people, to exploit people, to cause division among people, to create envy and antagonism. But if there is that nectar of understanding, however little, then it spreads like fire. You know how honey is secured, how many journeys a bee makes from the beehive to the flower, how it collects honey a little at a time. Similarly, if there is nectar, if there is beauty, if there is understanding in our hearts, that itself will perform the miracle of completely revolutionizing the world. Understanding is instantaneous, not tomorrow, because there is no understanding tomorrow; there is understanding only today, now. Love is not in the future; you don't say, `I shall love you tomorrow'. You either love now, or never.
Question: The fact of death stares everybody in the face, yet its mystery is never solved. Must it ever be so?
Krishnamurti: Sir, this is an enormous problem, and we have to deal with it in a few minutes. Now, why is there fear of death? There is fear of death because we cling to continuity. I am writing a book, and I might die tomorrow without finishing it; I am accumulating money, and I might die without achieving what I want; I long to be something which I am not. So, there is fear of death. There is fear of death as long as there is a desire for continuity continuity of action, continuity of character, continuity of achievement, continuity of faculty, continuity of a bank account, of a name, of a family. As long as there is the actor, which is action seeking a result, there must be continuity, and therefore fear that there will be no continuity; because, death may put an end to my writing a book, to my bank account, to the qualities, the various characteristics, which I have cultivated. All that is going to come to an end, therefore there is fear. So, there is fear of death as long as there is continuity.
Now, what happens when there is this sense of continuity? We are not discussing whether there is continuity or not, but what the idea of continuity does to the mind. Have you ever noticed what happens to a thing that continues? Surely, that which continues is in a state of constant disintegration, is it not? If you have a problem that continues over a period of years, causing you constant worry, there is disintegration, is there not? Any form of continuity, however noble or ignoble, is a process of disintegration. If we see the truth of that - that any form of continuity is a process of disintegration - , then we see the truth about the false. Therefore, there is liberation from the false, which means that one is living constantly in the present, not in continuity; therefore, there is no longer the fear of death. It is only when the mind is caught in the net of continuity that there is the fear of death; and when the mind recognizes that anything that continues can never renew itself, then there is freedom from the fear of death. How can there be renewal when there is continuity? There can be renewal only when there is an ending, which means when there is death. I don't know if you have noticed that when you have brought an end to a problem, there is a renewal; but while the problem continues, there is decay. Is it not possible to live every day, every minute, seeing each thought through to the end, so that it is not continued? That means, is it not possible to live with death, dying from moment to moment? Then only is there renewal; because, only in ending is there renewal, not in continuity. Renewal and continuity are contradictions. In continuity there is no rebirth, no renewal, no creativeness, but only in ending. When one problem ends, a new problem may arise; but in the interval between two problems, there is renewal. Therefore, there is no fear of death.
To put it differently, death is the state of non-continuity, which is the state of rebirth. Death is the unknown because it is an ending, in which there is renewal. But a mind which is continuous cannot know the unknown; it can only know the known, because it can only act and move in the known, which is the continuous. Therefore, the known, the continuous, is always in fear of the unknown, of death, in which alone there is renewal. In ending there is renewal, not in continuity. So, the unknown can never be known through the continuous. Therefore, death remains a mystery, because we are approaching it all the time through the known, through the continuous. If you can end this continuity from day to day, from moment to moment, you will see there is a renewal; there is death, in which there is renewal. Death, then, is not a thing to be feared; for in ending there is rebirth, and in continuity there is decay, there is disintegration. Think it out, Sirs, and you will see the beauty of it, the truth of it. It is not a theory, but a fact. That which has an ending, has a rebirth; that which is continuous can never know renewal. Death is the unknown, and that which is continuous is the known. The continuous can never know the unknown, and therefore it is afraid, mystified by the unknown. Immortality is not the `I' continued. The `I' is of time, it is the result of time. That which is immortal is beyond time. Therefore, there is no relationship between the `I', and the timeless. We like to think so, but that is another deception of the mind. That which is immortal cannot be encased in the mortal, it cannot be caught in the net of time. Only when the `I', which is continuity, time, comes to an end, is there that state which is imperishable, immortal. After all, we are frightened of death from force of habit, because desire seeks continuity in fulfilment. But fulfilment has no end, because fulfilment is constantly seeking other forms of fulfilment. Desire is constantly seeking further objects of fulfilment, and therefore gives birth to continuity, which is time. But if each desire is understood as it arises, and so comes to an end, then there is a renewal. It may be the renewal of a new desire - it doesn't matter. Go on finishing, give each desire an ending, and you will see that out of this ending from moment to moment there comes a renewal which is not the renewal of desire, but the renewal of truth. And truth is not continuous; truth is a state of being which is timeless. That state can be experienced only when each desire, which gives birth to continuity, is understood and thereby brought to an end. The known cannot know the unknown. The mind, which is the result of the known, of the past, which is founded upon the past, cannot know the immeasurable, the timeless. The mind, the thought process, must come to an end; then that which is the unknowable, the immeasurable, the eternal, comes into being.
Question: I have plenty of money. Can you tell me what is the right use of money? Only don't ask me to squander it by distributing coppers to the poor. Money is a tool to work with, not just a nuisance to be got rid of.
Krishnamurti: Sir, first, how do you have money? How do you accumulate money? Obviously, through exploitation, through cruelty, through barbarity. In the modern world, in which man is out for himself, obviously he must be clever, cunning, dishonest, ruthless, to accumulate money. Don't let us fool ourselves with all this; to be rich implies cruelty. Sir, don't you know that the rich man cannot enter the kingdom of heaven? It is as difficult for him as for the camel to pass through the eye of a needle. When you have accumulated money, what happens? You want to know how to use it; either you become a philanthropist, or you want to use it rightly. That is, you accumulate money wrongly, and then try to use it rightly. (Laughter.) Sirs, this is not a laughable matter. This is what we are doing. Don't laugh at the rich. You want to be rich too. You accumulate, and then want to know how to use money rightly. How can it be done, Sir?
But suppose I have been left money - thank God, I haven't - , suppose I have been left some money. What shall I do with it? What am I to do after getting money, how shall I use it? That is the problem. Shall I give it all away to the poor and become poor also, and be dependent on somebody else? Shall I keep a little, and give the rest away? Shall I use it as a right means to a right end? Shall I become a trustee of it? So, my problem is, having acquired or been left with that thing which is called money, what shall I do with it? Sir, it all depends on your heart, not on your mind; and a mind that has accumulated money is not a generous mind. It is a hard mind, and such a mind cannot deal with that which is material, except on its own level. Therefore, only a heart that knows love can solve this problem, not the mind, not a system. If you have love in your heart, you will know what to do with money - whether to give it all away, because you see it is a nuisance, or to act otherwise, according to the dictates of your heart. But to know the prompting of an affectionate heart is very difficult, especially for those who are rich, because you have never thought in those terms of action. You have always been accustomed to ruthlessness, to hardness; and to look at the problem with affectionate consideration is very difficult. So, more important than money, is love; and when you have money without love, then woe to you. Having money, and realizing that your heart is empty, the problem then is not money, but to awaken the spring, the perfume, the beauty of the heart; and when that is awakened, you will know how to act. Without love, merely to become a philanthropist is another form of exploitation. When there is love, then love will show the way to the rich man and also to the poor man. Because, Sir, love is the solvent; love is the only way out of this contradiction of being rich and knowing what to do with the riches. Without love, mere consideration of what to do with wealth becomes another form of escape from our own misery, our own strife, our own emptiness.
Question: I am a writer, and am faced with periods of sterility when nothing seems to come. These periods begin and end without any apparent reason. What is the cause and cure?
Krishnamurti: That is, Sir, to put the problem differently, there are moments of creativeness, and moments of dullness; moments of sensitivity, and moments of insensitivity. Now, why is there this gap? Why is there not one constant stretch of creativeness? Why is there not constant sensitivity? Obviously, the problem is not how to be creative all the time, but why there is insensitivity. The creative state comes into being, it cannot be invited, it cannot be held by concentration, it cannot be maintained. What we can deal with is insensitivity, those moments of dullness, those moments of uncreativeness. Now, why do they come into being? Why is there no creativeness, why is there insensitivity? Obviously, because we are doing things, thinking things, feeling things, which are in themselves insensitive. How can there be greed, ruthlessness, crudeness, and yet be sensitivity? I write a book. It becomes popular, it is accepted by one of the Hollywood studios, and I have plenty of money. I have lost sensitivity because I am after money, position; or I want to be elected to Parliament as a member of some party. So, obviously, greed brings about insensitivity; and without tackling the causes of insensitivity, we cling to creativeness, we long for creativeness, which is another escape from what is. From the moment I understand and tackle what is, there comes creative being; when I understand what are the many causes that bring about insensitivity and dullness, and liberate thought from those, then there is a creative state.
So, the problem is, first of all, to recognize, to be aware of insensitivity, and of its cause - not to probe into it, but to be passively aware of your insensitivity. That is, Sir, be passively aware of it, recognize it, live with it without contradiction, without denial, without condemnation. In that state of passive awareness, you will see that the cause of dullness is revealed; and when the cause is revealed, there is immediately the state of sensitivity. You can experiment with it and you will see. There is the state of dullness, and you are aware of it. The moment you are passively aware of it, there is a pause, there is a period in which there is no contradiction, no condemnation. Then, in that period, if you don't condemn, the unconscious which holds the cause, is shown; and by being passively aware, the cause and the effect are destroyed. Therefore, there is a state of sensitivity. You don't have to accept my word for it. You can experiment with it, and you will see this actually takes place. If there is passive awareness in which the dullness is perceived, and immediately after the perception there is a period of silence without condemnation, then in that period of observation without condemnation, the cause of insensitivity, of dullness, is revealed. The truth of that perception frees the mind from insensitivity. Therefore, there is a state of creativeness. But, unfortunately, the writer, the painter, the sculptor, has to live. He is not merely satisfied with the beauty of the marble, with the expression of beauty, with the garland of words. He wants a result, he wants cash, he wants food, clothing and shelter. If he merely wanted clothing, food and shelter, then it would be comparatively simple. But he uses food, clothing and shelter as a psychological means to expand himself; his art, his writing, becomes a means of self-expansion, and thereby brings about strife, misery, that dullness which prevents creative being. But if I write a book, though it may be a means of livelihood, if I do not use it as a psychological process of self-expansion, then there can never be a moment of dullness. Then there is a constant renewal, because I am not asking anything; then the `I' is absent. Where there is the absence of the `I', there is no continuity, therefore there is constant ending; therefore there is renewal, there is eternal creation.
Question: Is not the direct effect of your person helpful in understanding your teachings? Do we not grasp better the teaching when we love the teacher?
Krishnamurti: No Sir. You understand better when you love people, when you love your neighbour, not the teacher. When you love your wife, your child, your neighbour, white or brown - for there is no class distinction in love - , when there is a perfume, a song in your heart, then it brings an understanding. Obviously, when you are listening to me, my explaining does help; because I am making myself very clear, and you are listening attentively. You are being forced to listen for a couple of hours, whether you like it or not. You are giving your mind and heart to find out; you would not come here if you didn't want to find out. Therefore, it is mutual. You are seeking, and I am helping. But if you were not seeking, you would not be here, you would not listen to me. Surely, Sir, when a person understands something clearly, and you talk to that person, your own mind becomes clear. But if you make of that person your guru and love him, if you merely love the teacher, then you will have contempt for your servant. Have you not noticed, Sirs, how very respectful you are to me, and how very cruel you are to your servant, to your wife, to your neighbours? Is that not a state of contradiction? I really don't care whether you are respectful or insolent to me; it doesn't matter much. But it matters an awful lot how you treat your wife, your servant. When you respect one and deny that respect to everybody else, then you are in a state of hypocrisy, and such respect, offered to one and denied to others, can never lead you to truth. What brings understanding is respect for man, the love of man. When your own heart is full, then you look for truth everywhere, then you listen to the song of the birds, to the raindrops, you see the smiles, the sorrows of man. In every leaf, in a dead leaf, there is that which is eternal; but we do not know how to look for it because our minds are so full of other things besides this search.
So, mere respect for one is of very little significance when you have no respect for everyone - respect being affection, kindliness, consideration; but when there is love, consideration, generosity, causing no enmity, then you are already very near. Then you are in a state of sensitivity, and that which is sensitive is capable of receiving. You cannot go to truth, you cannot go to the unknown; truth, the unknown, must come to you. But it cannot come to you if your mind is burdened, heavy, forced, ruthless, hard. So, in listening to me, if you are merely being stimulated through hearing, then it will have no significance, because all stimulation is sensual. It can have significance only in your daily action, in your relationships with people, with ideas, and with things. Then you will find out, Sir, whether any of these things have meaning - not by listening to me for a couple of hours. What matters is how you are with your servant, with your wife, with your husband, with your neighbour; because, the moment there is thought, an awakened, intelligent enquiry, then there is devotion; for the very search for truth is devotion. And where there is devotion, where there is love, there is understanding.
March 14, 1948