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Freedom and love

Freedom and love

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Public Talk 1 New Delhi, India - 19 November 1967

Considering there is so much violence, disorder and confusion in the world, not only in this country, but almost everywhere, it becomes more and more important to become very serious. Not serious according to one's own fancy or inclination, or according to any particular plan or system; because systems, organized belief, organized conduct, has completely failed, it has no meaning any more. Unfortunately what apparently has meaning in this world at the present time is lawlessness, and in this country there is inefficiency, corruption, and each man, especially in the political world, is seeking his own fulfilment through ambition.

We all know this and we have become totally indifferent to it. We have lost our moorings, we are confused, and it seems to me that it is very important that each one of us should become extraordinarily serious. One of the things that we are serious about is when our pleasure is threatened or taken away, then we become not only violent, but somewhat serious. But we are talking about seriousness that demands complete attention, attention to what we are doing, what we are thinking, to our way of life. Because as one observes, all leadership has failed, there is no authority to tell us what to do, and if there is, we don't pay attention, we go on in our own pleasant way. Organized belief as religion has no longer any meaning whatsoever. And systems, whether the Communist system, or any other system or religion, or a system that one has developed for oneself according to which one functions and thinks - again these have failed. I think this is fairly obvious. It is obvious to anybody who is at all aware of what is going on in the world; not only in the world outside, but also in the world in which we live, in the family circle, the world of our own secret longings, secret desires and pleasures.

As there is so much confusion and violence, so much disorder and lawlessness, we - at least those of us who are somewhat earnest must commit ourselves, not to any particular belief, not to any particular system, but commit ourselves to a serious enquiry which will help us to live totally differently. Because what is needed, surely, is a way of life that will be completely orderly, which we as individuals and as human beings can find by enquiring, by seeking, questioning, by doubting, by totally discarding. Orderly, not according to a formula, but according to a serious attention which begins to enquire into every activity of our life. Such commitment is essential. I do not know if we realize not only outwardly, but also inwardly, how shoddy our lives are, how empty, meaningless, though we may well repeat some authority, or a religious book over and over again, or follow some religious leader. If we examine the way we live we shall find that it is very empty, lonely, miserable, confused and utterly meaningless. No temple, no book, no leader, no belief of any kind, nor any authority is going to solve this problem for us. Realizing this, seeing what is actually taking place both outwardly and inwardly, one has to become extraordinarily serious and the commitment is to be serious.

I don't think we realize sufficiently clearly or see objectively, what is actually going on outwardly and inwardly both psychologically and objectively. We are incapable of looking because we are so frightened. We think others will do something to take us out of this mire - some political leader or some guru, or by going back to the past, reviving the past, or by forming parties and hating other people. This is what is actually going on. And as one observes there is a general decline, not only morally, ethically, but also intellectually. Intellectually, we repeat what others have said, endlessly. We compare various clever intellectual authorities, specialists, with others. We read endlessly and we think we are very intellectual, when we can compare dialectically one theory with another, one opinion with another. So intellectually we are almost dead. Please do observe, listen to what is being said, neither agree nor disagree, but see the actual fact: how intellectually, mentally we are hedged in. There is no space, there is no mentality of critical awareness. Intellectually one is educated to perform technical jobs, pass some examination, add a few letters after one's name to get a job, and the rest of one's life is totally neglected. But to think clearly, objectively, forcefully, vitally, is denied. Obviously we have no feelings at all, we have become callous, not only in this country but perhaps more so in this country, because of the population, the poverty, the inefficiency. The self-concern prevents strong feelings, passionate desire to understand, to change one's life, and without passion one cannot be serious, without passion one cannot do anything. And you know what is obviously happening in the world, there is starvation, there is physical fear, insecurity, a slow decline intellectually, emotionally and physically.

Will you listen to what the speaker is saying - not to find out whether what he is saying is false or true, or if he is exaggerating - but listen to find out if that is not your own life? Use the speaker as a mirror in which you see yourself actually as you are; otherwise if you merely listen, or hear a few words or a few ideas, then this talk will be utterly meaningless. But listen with care and attention so that as you listen you actually see what you are, how empty your own life is, how dull, how stupid, how meaningless it is - though you go to the office every day - how your thoughts function in a formula, how your whole attitude towards life is conditioned by your circumstances. If in listening you can discover that, discover it for yourself, not because you are told about it, but discover it for yourself, then it will have an extraordinary significance. But if you are told about it and then discover it or agree with it, then it is secondhand, it is not original.

It seems to me that one has to commit oneself to be very serious. I mean by that word "serious", to give attention, and you cannot give total attention if you do not see actually what is taking place in yourself. Attention surely implies care, that is to look with care, to look at one's own life, at one's own way of thinking, one's activities with care; and you cannot care if there is no affection. If there is no love you cannot possibly care. If you have affection then you do not compare, you observe. It is only when there is no love that there is comparison, that there is the drive of ambition. And specially in this country - and when I say "in this country" I am not comparing this country with the West, nor with Russia nor China nor America - I am saying "this country" non-comparatively, there is no love at all. You might think that is a very strong statement, but it is not. And in this country - though you have talked endlessly about violence and non-violence - you are very violent people. Though you have talked endlessly about God and spirituality, going to temples, and having your own sectarian beliefs, you are really not spiritual people at all. Please listen very carefully, I am not criticizing, I am not taking the "Almighty" attitude, I am merely observing the facts as they are. But belief in God is a superstition and you can be superstitious endlessly, and you will never know what reality is. To find out what reality is, there must be the cessation of all superstition including your Gods, your rituals, your temples, your sacred books; to find out, everything must come to an end. And so when you talk about the Gita, the Koran, the various books and are endlessly explaining, commenting, you are obviously escaping from reality and therefore you are not spiritual at all. If you were, this country would be entirely different, then you would know what love is, then you would not be caught in the intellectual dissection of what love is.

There is a general decline morally; it may be because of tradition, because everyone is conditioned in a particular form of tradition - and functioning in a pattern is not morality. There can be no morality if there is no love and as love cannot possibly be cultivated, any more than you can cultivate the sense of beauty, one is lost. One has functioned all one's life in a formula, in an ideal, in an ideology, and you think that to have an ideal is the greatest of all intellectual strivings. But all ideology - whether it is of the left or of the right or of the centre, whether religious, or not - is idiotic, because it does not face the facts. When there is danger, physical danger, you see it actually, it is there, right in front of you, you don't theorize! There is this great danger which we refuse to see, the danger that we are in because of the climate, superstition, tradition, the divisions of religions, caste, the over-population - there are a thousand reasons for not being aware of the implications involved in all this. We think we shall solve this problem by leaving it to somebody else, either to a political leader or to a religious teacher; or by returning to the past which is dead and gone. Those who want to revive the past are dead people. Seeing all this - actually in our life as it is - it seems to me that it is very important to become serious, and in that seriousness commit ourselves. Not to join some particular party, not to follow a particular leader nor a particular course of action, because leaders, systems, activities, have brought man to this terrible confusion, to this extraordinary anarchy and disorder. One has to commit oneself to become serious - so that one lives a totally different kind of life, so that one brings about a total revolution in oneself, a psychological mutation, and that is the only commitment that has deep and vital significance.

To commit oneself to freedom and to find out what love is - those are the only two things that matter - freedom and that thing called `love'. Without total freedom there cannot possibly be love; and a serious man is committed to these two things only, and to nothing else. Freedom implies - does it not? - that the mind frees itself totally from all conditioning. That is, to uncondition itself - from being a Hindu, a Sikh, a Muslim, a Christian or a Communist - the mind must be in complete freedom - because this division between man as the Hindu, the Buddhist, the Muslim, the Christian, or the American, the Communist, the Socialist, the Capitalist, and so on, has brought disaster, confusion, misery, wars.

So what is necessary first of all is for the mind to free itself from conditioning. You may say it is not possible. If you say it is not possible, then there is no way out. It is like a man living in a prison and saying, "I cannot get out". All that he can do is decorate the prison, polish it, make it more comfortable, more convenient, limit himself and his activities within the four walls of his own making. There are many who say it is not possible - the whole Communist world says it is not possible, therefore let us condition the mind in a different way, brainwash it first, then condition it according to the Communist system. And the religious people have done exactly the same thing, from childhood they are brainwashed and conditioned to believe they are Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, Catholics. Religions talk about love and freedom, but they insist on conditioning the mind. So if you say man is not capable of freeing himself from his conditioning, then you have no problem. Then you accept the prison and live in the prison, with the wars, with the confusion, with the conflicts, with the misery, the agony and the loneliness of life, with its violence, brutality and hatred; which is what you actually do. But if you say, `it must be possible to uncondition the mind', then we can go into it; then we are together - not some authority leading you to it, not the speaker taking your hand and leading you step by step, because when there is freedom there is no authority. Freedom is at the beginning as well as at the end, and if you accept an authority at the beginning, you will always be a slave at the end. So one has to enquire together in freedom; please do understand this. The speaker is not telling you what to do, not setting himself up as an authority - you have had authorities, all you can stomach, with all their absurdities, with all their immaturities - but if you are enquiring (and there is no authority when you enquire) then we can take the journey together, sharing together, not being led. A real scientist is not committed to any government; he has no nationality; he is not seeking an end. As a pure scientist, he is investigating objectively right to the end, without projecting his personality, his nationality, his ambitions.

So enquire into this question of freedom, not intellectually, but actually, with your blood, with your mind and with your heart! It is only in freedom that you can live, and only when there is freedom is there peace. Then in that freedom the mind has immense peace to wander; but a mind that is not free, tethered to a belief, tethered to an ambition, tethered to a family or to some petty little god of its own invention, such a mind can never understand the extraordinary beauty or the love that comes out of this freedom. And this Freedom can only come about naturally, easily, when we begin to understand conditioning, and you cannot be aware of this conditioning when you are held tightly by the four walls of your particular religion, or by ambitions; and to enquire into this conditioning one must first become aware. To be aware: this means to observe, to look, to look at your own thoughts, to look at your beliefs, to look at your feelings. But when we do look, we condemn, or justify, or say `that is natural'. We don't look with choicelessness, we are not aware of our conditioning. We are aware of our conditioning with choice, with likes and dislikes of what is pleasurable and what is not pleasurable. But we are not actually aware of our conditioning as it is without any choice at all.

Have you ever observed a tree or a cloud, or a bird sitting on the lawn, or on a branch? Have you observed what actually takes place? What actually do you feel when you see a tree or a bird or a cloud? Do you see the cloud or do you see the image you have about that cloud? Do please, find out. You see a bird and you give it a name, or you say "I don't like that bird; or you say, "How beautiful that bird is". So, when you say these things you are not actually seeing the bird at all; your words, your thoughts - whether you like it or not - prevent you from looking. But there is a choiceless awareness to look at something without all the interference of what you already know. After all, to be in communion with another is only possible when you listen without any acceptance or denial, just listen. In the same way look at yourself as if in a mirror - what you actually are, not what you should be, or what you want to be. We dare not look; if we do look we say, "How ugly I am", or "How angry I am" - this or that. To look, to see and to listen, is only possible when there is freedom from thoughts, emotions, condemnation and judgement.

Probably you have never looked at your wife or your husband without the image that you have about him or about her. Please observe this in your own life. You have an image of him, or she has an image of you and the relationship is between these two images; and these images have been built up, through many years of pleasure and of wrangles, bitterness, anger, criticism, annoyance, irritation, frustration. And so we look at things through the images that we have built about them. You are listening to the speaker, but you have an image about him, therefore you are listening to the image, and you are not directly in contact with him, nor with anything in life. When one is in direct contact, do you know what happens? Space disappears, the space between two people disappears and therefore there is immense peace - and this is only possible when there is freedom - freedom from the making of images, from the myths, the ideologies, so that you are directly in contact. Then, when you are directly in contact with the actual, there is a transformation.

You know what is happening in the world. They are experimenting, taking drugs, and when you take certain drugs, the space between the observer and the observed disappears. Have you ever watched a bouquet of flowers on a table? If you have looked at it attentively, you will have seen that there is a space between you and the thing observed. The space is time, and the drug chemically removes that space and time, therefore you become extraordinarily sensitive, and being very sensitive, you feel much more, because then you are directly in contact with the flower. But such contact is temporary, you have to go on taking drug after drug. When one observes oneself one sees how narrowly one is conditioned, believing in so many things, like a savage with too many superstitions to be directly in contact with things. But you will see if you are directly in contact, that there is then no observer at all. It is the observer that makes the division.

When one is angry, anger is apparently something different from the entity that says "I am angry; so anger is different from the observer. But is that so? Is not the observer himself anger? And when this division comes totally to an end, then the observer is the observed and therefore anger is no longer possible. Anger and violence only exist when there is the division between the observer and the observed. We will go into that another time, because it is a very complex question that requires a great deal of enquiry, penetration, insight. It is only when there is freedom from all conflict that there is peace, and out of that peace comes love. But one cannot possibly know that quality of love unless the mind is aware of itself, and has unconditioned itself and therefore is free.

Perhaps you might like to ask questions and we can go over it together, but to ask questions is one of the most difficult things. To ask the right question implies that you have already thought about it, that you have already enquired, that your mind is already sharp, clear. Anybody can ask a question, but in asking the right question, in the very asking of that question is the right answer. Please see the importance of this. Because we must ask questions, we must doubt everything, criticize everything, find out and not accept; we have accepted for so long, we obey instinctively not only the policeman, but what we are told to do. We are slaves to propaganda, and out of this confusion we ask questions for somebody to clarify. So if you are going to ask questions, first be clear what you are asking and whom you are asking. Are you waiting for an answer from the speaker, or are you asking the question to find out for yourself and therefore exposing yourself? You understand? I can ask, but behind that asking I can hide myself, behind the words I can shelter myself. But if you ask a question, ask it with deliberation, with attention, which means that you are exposing yourself, and it is good to expose oneself, not always live behind a wall of fear.

Questioner: Is this choiceless awareness possible in daily life... when you are doing all the activities of life?

Krishnamurti: Whom are you asking, and who is going to tell you? The speaker has said, choiceless awareness is a state of mind that sees what is actually taking place, factually, without any condemnation or justification, which means that it is very attentive; and you say is this possible in life? Isn't it possible? There are only two states: either you are attentive or you are not attentive, and most of us are inattentive. We are inattentive because we have developed various faults or habits of activity, and we function in those habits and mechanically carry on, which is inattention. To be attentive means to be attentive to inattention, not to cultivate attention. If you cultivate attention, then you are cultivating duality. That is, Sirs, one is inattentive - in the office, or at home, most of the time we are inattentive - day-dreaming, wishing, imagining. Wishing that things were different, complaining of the conditions we live in, feeling envious of somebody else, wishing one were in their position - all that is inattention. If one becomes aware of this inattention, then one says, "I will become attentive, I must cultivate attention". So you begin to cultivate attention, which is not attention at all, it is merely the opposite of inattention. I don't know if I am making myself clear. Wait, I'll show it to you.

Questioner: Sir?

Krishnamurti: Just a minute, sir, I have not finished. You see, sir, we are so eager to ask our questions that we don't even listen to what is being said - and we talk about attention. (Laughter) That's just it, Sir! Look, for many, many years this country with its sayings has preached non-violence. And when there was a war between this country and Pakistan, not one of you stood up against it, right? Although you have preached non-violence, not one of you said, "It is wrong to kill". What was factual was the violence. Human beings are violent because they have inherited animal instincts; animals are violent, and man has developed from the animal. Part of this violence is the animal and instead of tackling violence, looking at it, going into it, understanding it, uprooting it completely in oneself, you escape into `non-violence', into an ideology which is non-existent, it is just an idea. So if you are cultivating attention it is an escape from inattention, because you will still be inattentive; but if you are aware of the nature of inattention, then you are attentive, you don't have to cultivate it. Is this clear or not at all?

Questioner: None of it is clear.

Krishnamurti; Look, sir, is it clear? What do you mean by clear? No please, this is not a clever question. Just enquire when you say, "It is clear", what you mean. Is it clear verbally or have you actually understood it? If you have actually understood it, then you are attentive. Without cultivating attention you are attentive. And being attentive you will know when you are not attentive, which is inattention. You see, Sir, this whole problem of cultivation, of becoming something, is because one is dull and stupid, and one wants to become clever, sharper. This sharpness, this brightness is the opposite of dullness, and therefore the cleverness contains its own opposite. All right, Sir, you don't see it, all right.

As one can observe in one's daily life, one can be choicelessly aware, but not practise choiceless awareness; there is no such thing as practising something which you don't know. What one can know is that one is inattentive. The moment you become aware that you are inattentive, you become attentive, you are attentive, and this is very important to understand; because if you cultivate attention, or if you cultivate bravery, there is an interval between the fact and what you want to be and in that interval there is conflict; in that interval is hypocrisy. If you say, "I am violent, I want to understand it", then there is no hypocrisy. But if you say, "I am violent, I must become non-violent", during the interval between violence and becoming non-violent, you are sowing the seeds of violence.

So what is important is not what others say, but to find out for oneself; to actually observe, see, listen for oneself. In that you will discover reality. Then if one is a liar one will admit: "I am a liar; not pretend and deny and say this and that. When one is angry, one is angry. But to say I must not be angry is an avoidance of anger, because you will be angry again. But if you could go into anger, into the whole question of anger, why you are angry (not why you shouldn't be angry) but why you are angry! Perhaps you have not had enough sleep, you have not had enough calcium, probably you have pet beliefs which are being shaken, questioned: there are probably many reasons why you are angry. But to escape from it and say, "I must not be angry" has no meaning. In the same way, if you begin to enquire into inattention, why you are not attentive in your office, at home, in the street, in the bus, why you are not attentive to watch, to look, then out of that inattention comes an extraordinary fact of attention - quite naturally.

November 19, 1967