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Dialogue 23 - Rishi Valley - 26th January 1971 - ‘Stability and knowledge’
Questioner SW: I perceive a tree. Then an idea arises from memory which says this is a mango tree. This idea comes in the way of my looking at the tree and so I am not able to see the fact of the tree. This screen of ideas interferes with the present and there is no real perception.
Krishnamurti: Are you asking, Sir, what is relationship? What is the relationship between the observed and the observer? What does it mean to be related, to be in contact with? Relationship means to be related: the relationship between two people; the relationship between the concept, the ideal and the conceiver, the maker of the ideal; the relationship of the one with the many; the relationship between one thought and another thought and with the interval between thoughts; the relationship between the present and the future as death; the relationship between the world and myself; all that is involved in relationship, is it not? I may renounce the world, I may live in a cave but I am still related to my whole background and the background is “me”. I think relationship implies all that. (Pause)
A: We always think of relationship in isolation, not as a part of the whole. Relationship is always with something.
Krishnamurti: Can there be a relationship if there is a centre and an observer to which you are related? When the centre feels it is related to something, is that relationship?
A: It has been pointed out that it is only because I feel related to something that the “I” as the centre is strengthened. The centre assumes a cohesive character only through its fragmented parts.
Krishnamurti: How do we discuss this? Let us see. Where do we begin with this vast subject?
A: Would you start with belief, because belief is the basis of all relationship?
Krishnamurti: What does relationship mean to you?
A: To be in communication.
Krishnamurti: What does relationship mean to you? When you look at me, at her, in what way are you related to me, to her? Are you related?
A: I think so.
Krishnamurti: Let us examine it. I look at you, you look at me. What is our relationship? Is there relationship at all except a verbal relationship?
R: There is a feeling of relationship when there is a movement towards something.
Krishnamurti: If both of us are moving towards an ideal, going together to a point, is that relationship? Can there be relationship when each one is in isolation?
SW: The first question you asked was, can there be relationship if there is a centre?
Krishnamurti: If I have built a wall around myself, consciously or unconsciously, a wall of resistance, of self-protection in order to be secure, in order not to get hurt, to be safe, is there any relationship at all? Do look at this. I am afraid, because I have been hurt physically as well as psychologically and my whole being is wounded and I do not want to be hurt any more. I build a wall around myself, of resistance, of defence, of “I know, you do not know”, to feel completely safe from being further hurt. In that what is my relationship to you? Is there any relationship?
A: What do you mean by relationship in our daily normal life?
Krishnamurti: Why do you ask me? Look at yourself. In your normal, daily life, what takes place? There is the going to the office, being bullied, insulted by someone at the top. That is your relationship. With your wounded pride you come home and your wife says you are this, you are that, and you further withdraw and you sleep with her – have you any relationship?
A: That means when the centre is there, there is no relationship at all.
R: But there is ordinary goodwill.
Krishnamurti: But is there goodwill if I have got this wall of resistance, this enclosure within which I live? What is my goodwill towards you? I am polite. I keep a distance. I am always inside the wall.
SW: Even in the life of an ordinary man, there are some relationships which are not always from behind a wall.
A: You say there is no relationship. The fact is I am related in this way because of a feeling of commitment. There is commitment to one another. I am not acting in self-interest, but only in the interest of the other.
Krishnamurti: You say I am acting in the interest of the other; is that so? I follow the leader who hopes to revolutionize society, inwardly and outwardly, and I follow him and obey. I commit myself to a course of action, which both the leader and I have agreed as necessary. Is there a relationship between me and the leader who is working for the same end? What does relationship mean: to be in contact with, to be in close proximity?
A: The crux of this relationship is utility.
Krishnamurti: Our relationship is based on a utilitarian relationship.
R: I see if you apply this test, that there is no relationship.
Krishnamurti: You are not answering the deeper issue, which is, as long as there is the observer who is committing himself to a course of action, is there a relationship between you and me?
A: Is relationship then only an idea?
Krishnamurti: An idea, a formula, a pattern, a goal, a principle, an utopia we both agree upon, but is there a relationship?
A: Is there no relationship between two people?
Krishnamurti: It is really an enormous problem. As I said, what is relationship between one thought and another, one action and another? Or is action a continuous movement, and therefore in action there is no linking and, therefore, one action is not related to another? Look, Sir, am I related when I look at that tree? Relationship is a distance between me as the observer and the tree. The distance may be 5’-2” or a 100 yards, but where there is the distance between the observer and the observed, is there any possibility of relationship? I am married and I have built an image of my wife and she has built an image of me. The image is the factor of distance. Is there any relationship with my wife except the physical? All of us co-operate in order to do something. To do something brings us together but I have my own worries, she has her own agonies – we are working together in that but are we related, though we are working together for an idea?
A: Sir, this point of working together has been understood but not the other.
Krishnamurti: Just a minute. To build the rocket, I believe, it took three hundred thousand people, each man technologically working to create the perfect mechanism. They built a perfect rocket and each man put aside his idiosyncracies and there was what is called co-operation. Is that co-operation? You and I work in order to build a house. We both have a common motive, but you and I are separate human beings. Is that co-operation? When I look at a tree, there is distance between me and the tree and I am not in relationship with the tree. That distance is created, not by physical space, but the distance created by knowledge.
Therefore, what is relationship, what is co-operation, what is the factor of division?
SW: Images in one form or another divide.
Krishnamurti: Go slow. There is that tree. I look at it. The physical distance between me and that tree may be a few yards, but the actual distance between me and that tree is vast. Though I look at it, my eyes, mind, heart, everything is very very far away. That distance is incalculable.
In the same way, I look at my wife and I am very far away. In the same way I am very far away in co-operative action.
SW: Is the word, the image, interfering in all this?
Krishnamurti: We are going to find out. There is the word, the image, and the goal towards which both are co-operating. What is dividing is the goal. What is dividing you and me is the goal.
SW: But there is no goal with regard to the tree.
Krishnamurti: Just stay there. Do not jump. We think working for a goal together has brought us in contact. In fact the goal is separating us.
A: No. How can you say the goal is dividing us?
Krishnamurti: I do not know. I may be wrong. We are investigating. You and I have a goal; we work together.
SW: Is it a question of becoming?
Krishnamurti: Do look at it. I say goals divide people. A goal does not bring people together. Your goal and my goal are separate; they have divided us. The goal itself has divided us, not co-operation, which is irrelevant to the goal.
SW: I see one thing, where two people come together for the joy of something, that is different.
Krishnamurti: No. When two people come together out of affection, love, joy, then what is action which is not divisible, which does not divide? I love you, you love me and what is action out of that love? Not a goal? What is action between two people who love?
A: When two people come together in affection it may produce a result but they are not coming together for the result. Therefore, in any such coming together there is no division. Whereas if two people come together with a goal, that is a divisive factor.
Krishnamurti: We have discovered something. Do go into it. I see that when people come together with affection when there is no goal, no purpose, no utopia – then there is no division. Then all status disappears and there is only function – then I will sweep the garden because it is part of the needs of the place.
R: Love of the place....
Krishnamurti: No, love. Not love of the place. You see what we are missing. Goals divide people; a goal being a formula, a goal being an ideal.
I want to see what is involved. I see what is involved. I see as long as I have a goal, a purpose, a principle, an utopia, I see that very goal, that very principle divides people. Therefore, it is finished. Then I ask myself how I am to live, to work with you and without a goal?
I see that relationship means to be in close contact so that there is no distance between the two. Right? And I see that in the relationship to the tree and myself, the flower and myself, my wife and myself, there is a physical distance and there is a vast psychological distance. Therefore, I see I am not related at all.
So what am I going to do? So I say identify with the tree. Commit yourself with the family; give yourself over; de-own yourself in the goal and work together. All the intellectuals say the goal is more important than you, the whole is greater than you, so give yourself over, be completely involved with your wife, with the tree, with the world.
What am I doing? I love nature. I commit myself to the world of nature, to the family and to an idea that we must all work together, for an end. What is happening, what am I doing in all this?
SW: Isolating myself.
Krishnamurti: No, Sir, look at what is happening.
A: The fact is I am not related. I struggle to build a relationship, to bridge the gap between thought and thought. I have got to build this bridge between thought and thought because unless I do this, I feel absolutely isolated. I feel lost.
Krishnamurti: That is only a part of it. Go into it a little more. What is happening to my mind, when my mind is struggling to commit itself to everything – to family, to nature, to beauty, to working together?
SW: There is a lot of conflict there, Sir.
Krishnamurti: I realize as “A” has pointed out, I am not related to anything. I have come to that point. Then, not being related to anything, I want to be related, therefore, I commit myself, therefore, I involve myself in action and yet the isolation goes on. So, what is going on in my mind?
R: There is a constant struggle.
Krishnamurti: You see you have not moved away from that point. I am not related and then I try to be related. I try to identify myself through action. Now what is taking place in the mind? (Pause.) I am moving into peripheral commitment. What happens to my mind when it moves on the outside all the time?
SW: The mind gets strengthened.
A: I am escaping from myself.
Krishnamurti: Which means what? Do look at it. Nature becomes very important, the family becomes very important, the action to which I have completely given myself over becomes all important and what has happened to me? It has completely externalized everything. Now, what has happened to the mind that has externalized the whole movement of relationship? What happens to your mind when it is occupied with the external, with the periphery?
SW: It has lost all sensitivity.
Krishnamurti: Do look at what happens inside you. In reaction to the externalization, you withdraw, you become a monk. What happens to the mind when it withdraws?
SW: I am incapable of spontaneity.
Krishnamurti: You will find the answer. Look in there. (Pause)
What happens to your mind when you withdraw or when you are committed? What happens when you withdraw into your own conclusions? It is another world. Instead of one world, you create another world which you call the inner world.
SW: The mind is not free.
Krishnamurti: Is that what is happening to your mind?
A: It is always committed.
Krishnamurti: The mind is committed to the outward phenomena and the reaction to that is the inward commitment, the withdrawal. The inward commit- ment is the reaction of your own world of imagination, of mystical experience. What happens to the mind that is doing this?
R: It is occupied.
Krishnamurti: Is that what is going on? She says it is occupied, is that all? Put your guts into it. The mind externalizes its activity and then withdraws and acts. What happens to the quality of the mind, to the brain which is withdrawing and externalizing?
A: It does not face the fact.
R: There is a great fear. It becomes dull.
SW: It is not free to look.
Krishnamurti: Have you watched your mind when it is externalizing all action outwardly and all action inwardly? It is the same movement – the outer and inner. It is like a tide going out and coming in. It is so simple is it not? What happens to the mind going out, coming in?
A: It becomes mechanical.
Krishnamurti: It is a mind that is completely without any bearing, completely unstable, a mind that has no order. It becomes neurotic, unbalanced, disproportionate, inharmonious, destructive, because there is no stability in the whole movement.
A: It is restless.
Krishnamurti: Therefore, there is no stability. Therefore what happens? It invents another outside action or withdraws. And the brain needs order, order means stability. It tries to find order out there in relationship and does not find it; so it withdraws and tries to find order within and again is caught in the same process. Is this a fact? (Pause)
The mind tries to find stability in co-operative action about something. The mind tries to find stability in the family, in commitment and does not find it and so translates, seeks relationship with nature, becomes imaginative, romantic which again breeds instability. It withdraws into a world of infinite conclusions, utopias, hopes and again there is no stability and, therefore, it invents an order in that. The mind being unstable, narrow, not rooted in anything, gets lost. Is that what is happening to you?
R: That explains the cult of the beautiful.
Krishnamurti: Cult of beautiful, cult of the ugly, cult of the hippies.
Is that what is happening to your mind?
Be there. Do not accept what I am saying.
So, a mind that is not stable, in the sense of firm, deeply rooted in order, not an invented order – for an invented order must be death; such a mind is the most destructive mind. It goes from communism to the guru, to Yoga Vashista, to Ramana Maharishi and back again. It is caught in the cult of the beautiful, the cult of the ugly, the cult of devotion, of meditation and so on.
How is the mind to be completely still? From that stillness, action is entirely different. See the beauty of it, Sir.
A: That is the dead-end of the mind.
Krishnamurti: No, Sir. I am asking myself, how is this mind to be completely still? Not stability in the sense of hardness, but a stability that is flexible. A mind that is completely stable, firm, deep, has its roots in infinity. How is that possible? Then what is the relationship with the tree, with the family, with the committee?
I realize my mind is unstable and I understand what it means. I know now for myself, I have understood for myself that this movement is born of instability. I know that and so I negate that. And I ask what is stability? I know instability with all its activity, with all its destruction and when I put that away completely, what is stability? I sought stability in family, in work, and I have also inwardly sought stability in withdrawal, in experience, in knowledge, in my capacity, in God. I see I do not know what stability is.
The not knowing is the stable.
The man who says “I know” and therefore, “I am stable” has led us to this chaos.
The people who say we are the chosen ones, the vast number of teachers, gurus have said “I know”.
Rejecting all that, rely on yourself. Have confidence in yourself. And when the mind puts away all this, when it has understood what is not stable and that it cannot know what is true stability, then there is a movement of flexibility, of harmony, because the mind does not know.
The truth of not-knowing is the only factor from which one can move.
The truth of that is the stable. A mind that does not know is in a state of learning. The moment I say I have learnt, I have stopped learning and that stopping is the stability of division.
So, “I do not know”. The truth is “I do not know”. That is all. And that gives you a quality of learning and in learning there is stability. Stability is in the “I am learning, not I have learnt”. See what it does to the mind. It completely unburdens the mind and that is freedom; the freedom of not-knowing. See the beauty of it – the not-knowing, therefore, freedom. Now what happens to the brain which functions in knowledge? That is its function, is it not? To function from memory to memory. In knowledge the mind has found tremendous security and biologically that security is necessary. Otherwise it cannot survive. Now, what happens to the brain that says I really do not know anything except the biological knowledge of survival? What happens to the rest of the brain? The rest of the brain before was tethered. Now it is not occupied. It will act but it is not occupied.
That brain has never been touched. It is no longer capable of being hurt. There is a new brain born or the old brain is purged of its occupations.