You are here
Dialogue 8 - New Delhi - 26th December 1970 - ‘The backward flowing movement’
Questioner P: I would like to ask you about the backward flowing movement, a state in which there is a drawing in of sight, hearing and the energies of sex. In the Yoga-sutra, there is a word ‘parivritti’, which denotes the state where thought turns back upon itself. Is there such a state as the drawing in of the outward flowing senses and of thought turning back on itself?
Krishnamurti: Like a glove taken inside out? Are you saying that thought looking at itself, or swallowing itself, is the backward flowing movement?
P: What is meant by the word, the content of the word, is a matter of experience.
Krishnamurti: You are asking, is there a state in which hearing, seeing and the sensual energies draw themselves into one and there is a moving backwards? What do you mean by backwards?
Are you saying that the hearing, the seeing and the sensual energies are with drawing without outer propelling?
P: The normal movement of the eyes, ears and the sensual energies is an outer movement, linked with object. Can there be a freeing of the senses from object and a drawing-in of the senses?
Krishnamurti: I wonder if in the drawing in, the no hearing, no seeing and the sensual energy not expanding, there is not a state where there is the hearing of sound, the seeing everything and yet a state of total quiet, a state of being withdrawn, a state where there is no desire.
P: It is not suppression of desire.
Krishnamurti: Is there a state where there is the hearing of sound, the eyes seeing, objects existing, and yet there is no sensuous desire? I think there is such a state. A state where there is sensation, yet there is no desire. Not that one has become old, lost vitality but there is no desire – desire being the seeing, touching, sensation and out of that sensation, the wanting to possess.
P: What happens to the process of hearing when there is no naming?
Krishnamurti: Do you hear that siren? There is the vibration of sound and the interpretation that takes place when you hear the siren. Now can you listen to it without any movement of memory as thought? Can you hear only the sound? Can there be no image, no naming, no interpretation? Can there be only sound?
That is all. And the sound is out of silence. Because the activity of thought has come to an end, there is a hearing of sound out of emptiness. And in the same way can there be a seeing out of emptiness? I see you, I see that bottle; there is no image, no association or movement of thought because there is no image formation. So out of real emptiness, quietness, there is a seeing. Is that what you mean by withdrawing the senses?
P: I am questioning out of the texts. In China and in India, the withdrawing was considered important.
Krishnamurti: It is simple. Are you asking, can you look at a woman or a man or a beautiful object without desire, fulfilment or reaction? It is easy.
P: It is easy for you. See our difficulty.
Krishnamurti: I see a beautiful woman, car, child, furniture and so on. Can it be observed without any movement for acquiring or discarding? It is very simple. It is the same for seeing and listening.
I think they are one movement, not separate movements. Though the instruments of perception and hearing are separate, they are all one movement.
P: Desire existed before God; even before man came into being. The biological urge, the impetus is based on desire. How can you take desire which has its own propelling force and say it has no existence?
Krishnamurti: Let us be clear. I see a beautiful car, a really beautiful car -
P: Let us say I fall passionately in love. I am torn, ravaged by that desire. Can I see that person without desire operating?
Krishnamurti: What is it you are trying to ask?
P: Is there an actual withdrawal of sensory perception?
Krishnamurti: I wonder if we mean the same thing?
P: The car and may be even the woman can be looked at without naming. But we are loaded with questions, with problems of naming. It is not simple.
Krishnamurti: I wonder if the problem of naming is not related to knowledge.
P: Sir, a child is not exposed to knowledge and yet naming is a natural reaction. I am questioning the nature of this inward movement.
Krishnamurti: I am not sure I understand what you are trying to say. There is withdrawing of sensory desires and fulfilment. Why do you use the word “inward”?
P: There are practices to delve deep. With eyes and ears closed, you can delve deep inwardly. Is there any validity to delving?
Krishnamurti: Yes definitely.
What you call delving in is to shut your eyes, to shut your ears; in that state is there a delving or is there a cessation of all movement, which appears as though you were delving in? When you really close your eyes and ears, there is no movement within or without, as desire demanding fulfilment with all its frustrations; when that does not take place, there is complete quietness. The moment you use the word “delving in”, that implies duality.
P: You hear that horn. To you is there no sound at all in it?
P: It is quite extraordinary. To you there is no sound. When you close your ears, is there no inner sound, separate from you? We hear an inner sound, a volume of it which is within us. Do you not hear it? (Krishnamurti closes his eyes and ears.)
Krishnamurti: No. But one must be clear. When the eyes are closed, one generally sees spots. If one observes those spots, they disappear.
P: Is there not an expansion, a contraction?
Krishnamurti: Nothing. When I close my eyes, there is absolutely no movement of any kind.
P: That means your whole consciousness is different. When I close my eyes, so many patterns are there. To you there is no movement of sound or pattern.
Krishnamurti: That is why I want to go into this question of knowledge. This person has not read the Yoga-sutras and the religious books, and to him there is only a complete emptiness.
P: It is not because he has not read any religious books.
Krishnamurti: There is no interference of knowledge.
P: The same phenomenon will not happen to anyone who is ignorant of religious literature. It cannot happen to a communist.
Krishnamurti: It is knowledge as pattern that interferes. Pattern is created by knowledge, experience. When there is no retention of knowledge, then what is there? There is absolute quietness – eyes, ears and desire – no movement. Why do you make this out as something special? The man who is caught in association, idea, thoughts, in patterns, such a man does not have an empty mind.
P: What you say is valid. There are many times when what you say is valid within me.
Krishnamurti: My point is, those people who spoke of inward movement, were they aware of its dualistic nature?
P: They must have been aware. The Yoga-Sutras say that the seer is nothing more than the instrument of seeing. They make an absolute statement like that.
Krishnamurti: Probably the man who saw, perceived the reality said the seer and the seeing are one. Then the followers came along and made theories without experiencing the state.
I cannot separate the observer from the observed. When I close my eyes, there is no observer at all. Therefore, there is no inward movement as opposed to the outward movement.
P: Do you see yourself as a person?
Krishnamurti: If you mean the body – yes. As an ego, as a person talking on the platform, walking, climbing the hill – no.
P: The sense of existence, the sense of “I am; does it operate in you?
Krishnamurti: One of the things I have never had is the sense of the “I”. Never.
P: “I exist” is the central core in all of us. It is the very fabric of our existence.
Krishnamurti: The peripheral expressions of Krishnamurti appear to be a person.
But at the centre there is no person. I really do not know what it means. You are asking, is there in you a centre, the “I am”, the sense of “I am”. No. The feeling of “I am” is not true.
P: It is not as obvious as that. But the sense of existence, the core of the ego within us, is unexplored. There is something which holds it together and as long as it remains, what you are saying – the no centre – has no validity for us.
Krishnamurti: There is no movement of the past as the “me” in the centre, in the person. One has to go into this very carefully. As we said the other day, the first step is the last step. The first perception is the last perception and the ending of the first perception is the new perception. Therefore, there is a total gap between the first perception and the second perception. In that interval, there is no movement of thought. There would be the movement of thought when the memory of the first perception remains, not when it is over. Can the mind not empty itself of every perception? Can it not die to every expression, and when it does, where is the root of the “I am”? When the mind is that, is there any movement of pattern taking place? When eyes, ears and desire are non-existent as movement towards or away from something, then why should the mind have any pattern? The seeing is the seer, in that there is no duality, but those who make that statement into an axiom do not experience it and therefore it remains a theory.
P: The Sutras say there are many types of liberation. Liberation is by birth. Some men are born that way. That is the highest form of liberation. Then there is liberation by drugs which is part of witchcraft; then liberation through the asanas, then liberation through breath control, then liberation by understanding.
I have always felt that you have never been able to explain to us how liberation happened to you.
Was your mind like ours and it underwent mutation? If so, then there is a possibility of seeing for oneself and transforming the self. But even that is not relevant. I see that another’s seeing cannot help me to see. What I see is my own. One has to leave it there. One cannot probe further.
Krishnamurti: As you said, liberation is divided between those born liberated and those liberated through drugs, through yoga, through breath control and understanding. These are just explanations of a very simple fact.
P: Your mind is not like ours, that is a simple fact.
Krishnamurti: There are all these categories – drugs, breathing and the enormous effort involved in understanding – but I do not think it works that way at all.
P: I am not concerned with what the books say. I am very concerned when my mind chatters. In the moment of perceiving, I see that a certain withering away has taken place in me. But I am not free of the desire to end this chattering.
Krishnamurti: Do you really want to end it?
Krishnamurti: Why does it not end? You see, it is very interesting. There is no ending to chattering.
P: That is what my mind refuses to see; that there is no action to end it.
Krishnamurti: Why? Do you want to go into it?
Krishnamurti: First, why do you object if your mind chatters? If you want to end chattering, then the problem starts. Duality is the desire to end “what is”. Why do you object to it? Noises are going on, buses are passing, crows are cawing. Let chattering go on. I am not going to resist it. I am not going to be interested in it. It is there. It means nothing.
P: This is your magnitude. If you ask me what is the greatest thing in your teaching, it is this. To say to oneself, to the chattering mind, leave it there. No teacher has said this before.
Krishnamurti: Which means the peripheral influence has no meaning at the centre.
P: All teachers have talked of putting an end to chattering, to the peripheral influence.
Krishnamurti: Do you not see when chattering does not matter, it is finished? It is strange how it works. I think this is the central thing which the professionals have missed. Would you say from the point of view of the guru that he is concerned only with the peripheral change?
P: No. He is concerned with the central change. To you there is no difference between the centre and the periphery. Within the so-called centre there is the first and the last step. The gurus would say get rid of the peripheral chattering.
Krishnamurti: When the sun is shining, you cannot do anything about it. When it is not there, what are we to do? (Pause) We do not see. (Pause) What will man make of the statement “let it chatter”? The fact is there is no duality and the observer is the observed at all times. The noise of the periphery is the noise of the observer. When the observer is not, the noise is not. When there is resistance, the observer comes into existence. Can one really see that the seer is the seeing and not accept that statement as an axiom, as an interpretation? But we see that the professionals have made that into a slogan.
Is there liberation for the man who takes drugs, who takes to breathing in and out, for years? It may lead to a distorted mind. And the man who analyses and wants to understand, do you think he will find liberation? So if you deny all that, it is there on a silver platter. It is offered. Never repeat anything. Never say anything you do not know, which you have not lived. That brings a tremendous aloneness which is pure, crystal clear.