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Bombay 9th Public Talk 8th March 1953

Bombay 9th Public Talk 8th March 1953

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Perhaps if we can go into the question of initiative then there may be a possibility of understanding self-fulfilment. For most of us fulfilment in some form or other becomes urgent, becomes necessary. In the process of fulfilling, so many problems, so many contradictions, so many conflicts arise; and there is everlasting misery in fulfilment. And yet, we do not know how to escape from it; how to act without fulfilling; for, in the very fulfilment of action there is sorrow.

Action is not merely doing something, but is it not also thinking? Most of us are concerned with doing something; and if that action is satisfactory if it sufficiently guarantees the fulfilment of one's desires, cravings, longings, then we are easily pacified. But if we do not discover the incentive that lies behind the urge to fulfil, surely we shall always be haunted by fear, with frustration; so is it not necessary to find out what this incentive is, that is driving us? It may be clothed in different paints, with different intentions, with different meanings; but perhaps if we can hesitatingly, tentatively explore this question of incentive, then we shall begin to understand an action or a thought which is not always born from this consciousness of fulfilment

Most of our incentives spring from ambitions, from pride, from the desire to be secure or to be well thought of. Now, you may say or I may say that my action is the outcome of the desire to do good, or to find the right values, or to have an ideology, a system that is incorruptible, or to do something that is essentially worthwhile, and so on. But behind all these words, all these pleasant sounding phrases, is not the motive - the urge in some form or another ambition? I seek the Master, the guru; I want to achieve; I want to arrive; I want to have comfort, to know a certainty of mind in which there is no conflict. My incentive is to achieve a result and to be assured of that result, in the same way as the man who accumulates money and who also seeks security; so in both these forces, there is the drive which we call ambition, upon which all our activities, our outlook, our energies, are spent. Is it possible to act without these ambitions, with out these desires to fulfil? That is, I want to fulfil - I want to fulfil through my nation, through my children, through property, through name - I want to be `somebody'. And the pride of being somebody is extraordinary, because it gives extraordinary energy without doing anything, merely the sense of being proud in itself is sufficient to keep me going, to keep me resisting, controlling, shaping.

You watch your own minds in operation. You will see the activities and you will see that, behind them, however much you may cover them up with pleasant words, the drive is for fulfilment, for being somebody, to achieve a result. In this drive of ambition, there is competition, ruthlessness; and our whole structure of society is based on that. The ambitious man is looked upon as being worthwhile, as being somebody who is good for society, who will through his ambition create a right environment and so on and so on. We condemn ambition when it is worldly; we do not condemn it when we call it spiritual. A man who has given up the world, renounced it, and is seeking, he is not condemned. Is he not also driven by ambition to be something?

Everyone of us is seeking fulfilment - fulfilment through ideas, fulfilment through capacity, fulfilment through release in painting, through writing a poem, in loving, in being generous, in trying to be well-thought of. So, are not all our activities the outcome of this urge to fulfil? And behind that urge, is ambition. When I hear that, when I know that, and when I realize that where there is fulfilment there must be sorrow, what am I to do? Do you follow what I mean?

I realize my life is based on ambition. Though I try to cover it up, though I suffer, though I sacrifice myself for an idea, all my activities are an outlet for self-fulfilment. You see me burnt out and you set yourself to do something worthwhile; that `worthwhileness' is still the urge for fulfilment. This is our life, this is our constant urge, our constant pursuit, conscious as well as unconscious. When I realize this, when I know the content of all this struggle, what am I to do?

This urge to fulfil is one of our most fundamental problems, is it not? This urge to fulfil is in little things and in big things to be somebody in my house, to dominate over my wife, my children, and to submit myself in the office, in order to rise, in order some day to be somebody. So, that is the process of my life, that is the process of all our lives. Then how is such a mind to put aside the desire for fulfilment? How am I to free myself from ambition?

I see that ambition is a form of self-fulfilment, and where there is fulfilment there is always the sense of being down and out, of being broken, frustrated; there is fear, a sense of utter loneliness, of despair and everlasting hope. That is our life, is it not? That is our state from day to day. Behind everything there lurks this desire to fulfil, this urge to be ambitious, this ambition for power, position prestige, to be well-thought of. Knowing the whole content of that, what is the mind to do?

Is there any activity, any form of movement of the mind, which is not based on this? Do you understand? If I brush aside, control, shape ambition, it is still ambition, because I say, `It does not pay me to do this; but if I do that, that will pay me'. If I say I must not fulfil, then there is the conflict of not fulfilling, the resistance against the desire; and the very resistance against the desire to fulfil becomes another form of fulfilment.

Why is the mind seeking fulfilment? Why is the mind, the `me', which is the thought, why is it proud, ambitious? Why does it want to be well-thought-of? Can I understand that? Can the mind realize what it is that is pushing outwardly all the time? And when the outward movement of consciousness is cut, then it turns inward, and there again it is thwarted.

So our consciousness is this constant breathing in and out - to be important and not to be; to receive and to reject - this is our daily life of consciousness. And behind it, the mind is seeking a way out. If I can understand that, if the conscious can dwell on it, can know its full significance, then perhaps it is possible to have action which is not of ambition, which is not of pride, which is not of fulfilment, which is not of the mind.

To seek God, to try to find God, is another form of pride; and is it possible for me and you to find out what it is that is making us continuously go out and come in, go out and come in? Are we not aware of a state of emptiness in us, a state of despair, of loneliness, the complete sense of not being able to depend on anything, not having anybody to look up to? Don't we know a moment of extraordinary loneliness, of extraordinary sorrow, without reason, a sense of despair at the height of success, at the height of pride, at the height of thought, at the height of love; don't we know this loneliness? And is this loneliness not pushing us always to be somebody, to be well-thought-of?

Can I live with that loneliness, not run away from it, not try to fulfil through some action? Can I live with it and not try to transform it, not try to shape and control it? If the mind can, then perhaps it will go beyond that loneliness, beyond that despair; which does not mean into hope, into a state of devotion; but on the contrary. If I can understand and live in that loneliness, not run away from it, but live in that strange loneliness which comes when I am bored, when I am afraid, when I am apprehensive, not for any cause or with cause; when I know this sense of loneliness; is it possible for the mind to live with it, without trying to push it away?

Please listen to this; do not just listen to the mere words. As I talk, if you have observed your own minds, you will have come to that state of loneliness. It is with you now. This is not hypnosis because I suggest it; but actually if you have followed the workings of your own mind, you will have come to that state of loneliness; to be stripped of everything, every pretence, every pride, every virtue, every action. Can the mind live with that? Can the mind stay with it without any form of condemnation? Can it look at it without interfering - not as the observer looking at it? Is not then the mind itself that state? Do you follow?

If I look at loneliness, then the mind operates on the loneliness, tries to shape it or control it or run away from it. The mind itself, not as the observer, is alone, lonely, empty. It cannot tolerate for a single minute a state in which it is completely empty, a state in which it does not know, a state in which there is no action of `knowing; so a mind seeing that, is fearful of it; it runs away into some activity of fulfilment.

Now, if the mind can stay in that very extraordinary sense of being cut off from everything, from all ideas, from all crutches, from all dependences, then is it not possible, for such a mind to go beyond, not theoretically but actually? It is only when it can fully experience that state of loneliness, that state of emptiness, that state of non-dependency, then only is it possible to bring about an action which is without ambition. Then only is it possible to have a world in which there is no competition, no ruthless pursuit of self-enclosing activity. Then that action is not the action through the narrow funnel of the `me'. That action is not self-enclosing. You will find that such an action is creative, because it is without motive, without ambition, it is not seeking a result. But to find that, must the mind go through all this? Can it not suddenly jump?

The mind can jump if I know how to listen. If I am listening rightly now, without any barrier, without any interpretation, with an open door to discover, there is freedom; and through freedom alone I can discover.

That freedom is the freedom from fear, the freedom from being well-thought of, the freedom from pride, the freedom from the desire to fulfil. And that freedom cannot come about except through the realization of the complete negation of all thought, when the mind is totally empty, lonely, when the mind is in a state in which there is neither despair, nor fulfilment. Then only is there a possibility of a world in which ruthlessness, brutality, competition can come to an end.

Question: You have been talking of freedom. Does not freedom demand duties? What is my duty to society, to myself?

Krishnamurti: Are freedom and duty comparable? Can the dutiful son be free? Can I be dutiful to society and yet be free? Can I be dutiful and yet be revolutionary in the right sense, not in the economic sense? Can I, if I follow a system, political or religious, ever be free? Or do I merely imitate, copy? Is not this whole system imitation? Being a dutiful son, doing what my father wants me to do, doing the right thing according to society - do these not themselves cannote a feeling of imitation? My father wants me to be a lawyer; is it my duty to become a lawyer? My father says I must join some religious organization; is it my duty to do so?

Does duty go with love? It is only when there is no love, when there is no freedom, that the word `duty' becomes extraordinarily important. And duty then takes the place of tradition. In that state we live,that is our state, is it not? - I must be dutiful.

What is my duty to society? What is my duty to myself? Sirs, society demands a great many things of you: you must obey, you must follow, you must do certain ceremonies, perform certain rituals, believe. It conditions you to certain forms of thought, to certain beliefs. If you are finding what is Real - not what is dutiful to society, not trying to conform to a particular pattern - if you are trying to find out what is Truth, must you not be free?

Being free does not mean that you must throw something aside, that you must be antagonistic to everything: that is not freedom. Freedom implies constant awareness of thought; it implies that which is unfolding the implications of duty, and out of which, but not by merely throwing aside a particular freedom, freedom comes. You cannot understand all traditions, you cannot grasp the full significance of them if you condemn or justify or identify yourself with a particular thought or an idea.

When I begin to enquire what is my duty to myself or to society, how shall I find out? What is the criterion? What is the standard? Or, shall we find out why we depend on these words? How quickly the mind that is searching, seeking, enquiring, is gripped by the word duty! The ageing father says to his son, `It is your duty to support me', and the son feels it his duty to support him. And though he may want to do something else, to paint pictures which will not give him the means of livelihood to support his father and himself, he says his duty is to earn and to put aside what he really wants to do; and for the rest of his life he is caught, for the rest of his life he is bitter; he has bitterness in his heart and he gives money to his father and mother. That is our life, we live in bitterness and we die with bitterness.

Because we really have no love and because we have no freedom, we use words to control our thoughts, to shape our hearts and feelings; and we are satisfied. Surely love may be the only way of revolution, and it is the only way. But most of us object to revolutions, not only superficially, the economic revolutions, but the more essential, the deeper, the more significant revolution of thought, the revolution of creation. Since we object to that, we are always reforming on top, patching up here and there with words, with threats, with ambitions.

You will say, at the end of this question, that I have not answered your question, `What is my duty to society, to my father and to myself'. I say that is a wrong question. It is a question put by a mind that is not free, a mind that is not in revolt, a mind that is docile, submissive, a mind that has no love. Can such a mind which is docile, submissive, without love, with that shadow of bitterness, ever be dutiful to society or to itself? Can such a mind create a new world, a new structure?

Do not shake your heads. Do you know what you want? You do not want a revolt, you do not want a revolution of the mind, you want to bring up your children in the same manner in which you have been brought up. You want to condition them the same way, to think on the same lines, to do puja, to believe what you believe. So, you never encourage them to find out. So, as you are destroying yourselves in your conditioning, you want to destroy others. So the problem is not what is my duty to society, but how to find or how to awaken this love and this freedom. When once there is that love, you may not be dutiful at all.

Love is the most revolutionary thing; but the mind cannot conceive that love; you cannot cultivate it, it must be there; it is not a thing to be grown in your backyard; it is a thing that comes into being with constant inquiry, constant discontent and revolt, when you never follow authority, when you are without fear - which means, when you have the capacity to make mistakes and from the mistake to find out the answer. A mind that is without fear is really not petty, and it is capable of real depth; then such a mind shall find out what love is, what freedom is.

Question: Please explain to us what you mean by Time, and what you mean by the Timeless. Can there ever be freedom from Time?

Krishnamurti: Explanations are comparatively easy. Words put together are explanations, and most of us are satisfied with explanations, with conclusions. But to really experience requires an extraordinarily arduous mind, not a mind that says, `Words are enough for me'.

Surely the mind is the process of time; thought which is the verbalization of a reaction is the result of time; words are of time, as explanation is of time. A mind which is content with words, explanations, with time, tries to go beyond time through explanation, through words, through symbols, through the symbol of eternity. Though the mind tries to use the symbol to go beyond, obviously, it is still within the field of time, time being memory what I remember of yesterday and the projection of yesterday to today and to tomorrow. The yesterday, today and tomorrow is the process of time, is the process of thought.

Then there is time that is implied from childhood, to manhood, to death - time as progress. I will be something tomorrow or in the next life; now, I am a clerk; in three years time I am going to be the boss. There is time as implied in the cultivation of virtue: I am afraid, I am violent; I will cultivate non-violence - which is sweet deception. The mind that is violent can never be non-violent, however much it may practise non-violence. The very practice of non-violence is violence. Sirs, listen. Do not smile.

The very practice of virtue strengthens the violence which is the `me'. That is time. The mind, caught in this time, says, `Please explain to me what is the Timeless; please help me to experience something which is not of myself'. The mind is, in its very essence, the past; the past is time, the past is the future, the past is what is present. Such a mind is enquiring, trying to find out what is the timeless. It can only find what it projects; it cannot find the timeless, because the instrument itself is of time.

The mind can speculate, it can argue, it can project what should be the timeless and so on; but it can never experience the timeless; and if it experiences the state of timelessness for a few seconds, then it expresses it and puts it away into memory. For instance, `I have experienced the beauty of the sunset yesterday; now I must have it again today.' So everything the mind does is the process of capturing that extraordinary movement of life and putting it into the past.

Please listen. The problem now is not to find out what is the timeless, not how I can find the timeless, not how the mind can find the timeless but to find out the state in which the mind can experience the timeless, which is a state of experiencing, not experience. The moment I am conscious that I have experienced, it is already in the past, the particular experience is of the past.

Please listen; you will find out what I am talking about; it is not mysterious. You do not have to go into the deep intoxication of renunciations and pujas and controls; what you have to do is to understand the structure of the mind, the anatomy of thought. When you understand it, when the mind sees how it is caught in time, then the mind becomes fully focussed; it is all full attention, the attention that is not exclusive. In that attention, there is the coming and going of the conscious; there is the reacting to that noise of the train; and the reaction is memory. At the same time, the mind is not concentrated but is fully focussed - focussed not through any volition, not through any action of will; but the mind is fully called to pay attention to itself; on the periphery, on the outskirts, there are always the impression and responses going on.

But when the mind sees what the function of thought is, the whole process of time, then it is completely focussed, completely attentive, not to something but listening, when the mind is completely still, then there is the Timeless. But a man who makes the mind still is caught in the net of time. So it requires enormous vigilance and that state is experiencing, there is no experiencer experiencing, there is only experiencing. At that moment, there is no experiencer, there is only experiencing; a moment later it becomes the experiencer and so we are caught in time.

Can the mind be in a state of experiencing, not in a state of experience which is what we know, which is the accumulative past, which is of time? Please put the question and listen to the question; you will find the answer for yourself. I am not hypnotizing you by words.

Can the mind be in a state of experiencing? That is the state of experiencing what is timeless; and in that experiencing, there is no accumulation, no knowledge, no entity that says, `I am experiencing'. The moment there is the experiencer, he is introducing time.

So, can the mind be in a state of experiencing God? That is meditation - the meditation which is not of pursuit, not of a particular idea, the meditation which is not the mere concentration which is exclusion. In that meditation, there is experiencing without the experiencer. And I assure you it is very arduous. It is not just sitting down and closing the eyes and getting some kind of fancy visions and ecstasy.

If I know how to listen rightly, if I know how to listen to thought, then thought will inevitably bring about this state, the state in which there is no experiencer, therefore no accumulator, the person that gathers, holds. Therefore, experiencing is a state of constant unknowingness; therefore, it is timeless, it is not a thing of the mind.

Question: Modern scientists have placed vast powers of destruction in the hands of political rulers of America and Russia. There seems to be no place for simple kindliness between man and man. What is the meaning of human existence in this age of cruelty?

Krishnamurti: The questioner says: There is no human kindliness, the simple kindliness between man and man. Have you and I that simple kindliness? Because we have not got it, we have created America and Russia. Please don't separate yourself from America and Russia. We have the potential capacities of being Americans and Russians. We are Russians and Americans at heart. We pose in the name of liberty, and given that liberty we become tyrants. Are you not tyrants in your homes, over your children, in your offices, over your wives and the wives over you? (Laughter). Yes Sirs, how easily we laugh at these things!

Though we may live thousands of miles away from Russia and America, we have created this world, you and I; our problem is the world problem, because the `you' is the world. You, Mr. Smith, and you, Mr. Rao, you are the world living in Russia and America; their misery is our misery. Though we might like to separate ourselves, though we may like to condemn them and say that they are politically this and they are politically that, that they are trying to use this and that - you know the things that newspapers cultivate as propaganda - you and I are the Russians and the Americans. We all want power, position, prestige. We are all cruel, we all feel proud, we are all full of pride. Then how can we be kind, unsuspecting, innocent? We cannot. And it is no good condemning Russia and America; and to fight them is to become like them.

So, there must be a revolution in the ways of our thinking. When there is no identification with India, with any political or religious system; when we are common humanity, not labelled as Hindus, Russians, Germans, English, Americans, Christians and so on; then only there is a possibility for peace to be; till then, there is no possibility. Stalin will come and go and others will come. There will be war till there is a real revolution in our heart.

That revolution is not possible through any economic revolution, through any superficial change, because such a change is merely a modified continuity whereas a revolution is not. The revolution that is necessary cannot come about by any compulsion. It must come spontaneously out of ourselves. Because we do not want it, we resort to war, we resort to various forms of reforms which need further reforms; and so, we are everlastingly caught.

Question: What is God? What is Love? What is Death?

Krishnamurti: It is not possible to experiment to find out what is God, what is Love and what is Death? As we are sitting here, can we not find out? Do not just listen to my explanation. I am not going to explain, because explanations do not satisfy the hungry man; the description of food will not satisfy me if I am hungry.

Since I am hungry to find out what is God, what is Love and what is Death, can I find it out? I can only find out if the mind can completely free itself from the known. If the mind can put aside everything it has learnt, the Bhagavad Gita, all its experiences, everything that the Upanishads have said, if all its conditions can completely be wiped out, then only is it possible to know, to experience that state of living.

Can one know what death is? Death is the Unknown. But a mind that clings to the known which is the continuity of what I am from day to day, cannot know the Unknown. The Unknown is Death, is it not? Death has no `knowing'. Though I may have read many descriptions of it, I have to leave all symbols. All words must be put aside, must they not? And can I put them aside - not with any effort, but just as I am listening?

Can I completely enter into the state of `Unknowing'? Then though I am living, there is the `Unknowing' which is death. That means, there must be no fear, no fear of dying - the dying being the ending of continuity. That which continues deteriorates; it is only the ending that is creative.

So, can I know death while I live? `Death' is not the word, not the corpse not the thing that you see being carried down the road to be burnt, but the thing which is not the word, which is a state of `Unknowing'. Surely I can feel it out.

And is God a thing to be found by the mind? God is not of time. I may imagine, I may think this is God, that is not God; but I do not know what God is. The word is not God. So, as I do not know, can the mind be in a state in which there is no ending; when the mind is completely empty, completely still, without any formulations, without any hope to find, innocent, in which there is no demand, no asking? The moment you ask, you are given; and what you are given is given with a curse. The mind can never ask, because it can only hear the answer according to the words, according to the past. So can the mind, listening, be still, without asking, without expecting?

And is not Love also something which is not brought into being by the mind? The moment the mind is conscious that it loves, surely it is no longer love, is it? And can I not feel even for a second, in the stillness of the mind, this thing that we call God - the word and to go beyond the word, and to see and to experience that state in which there is no knowing, which is Death? And that word Love which is not of the mind, which is not of Time, can the mind in its complete stillness feel it, but not be able to recognise, because the moment you recognise it is of time? So, there must be the state of non-recognition, an experience in which there is no experiencer; it is only then in that real stillness of the mind the Unknowable comes into being.

March 8, 1953