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The ground of being, and the mind of man
Krishnamurti: Anything you have to say sir?
David Bohm: Well, I thought that perhaps we could go - we raised several questions after these discussions. One was the nature of this ground that we discussed, whether we could come to it and whether it has any interest in human beings. And also we discussed the possibility that there could be a change in the physical behaviour of the brain.
K: Quite. Could we approach this question from the point of view: why have ideas - because, is the ground an idea? That is what I want first to be clear - why have ideas become so important?
DB: Well, I should say perhaps because the distinction between ideas and what is beyond ideas is not clear. Ideas are often taken to be something more than ideas, that we feel it is not an idea but actually a reality.
K: That is what I want to find out - you follow?
K: Is it an idea, or is it an imagination, an illusion, a philosophic concept? Or, something that is absolute in the sense there is nothing beyond it?
DB: How can you tell that there is nothing beyond it?
K: I am just, I am coming, slowly. I want to see whether we look at that or we perceive that, or have an insight into that from a concept. Because after all the whole Western world, and perhaps also the Eastern world, is based on concepts. Their whole outlook, their religious beliefs, are all based on that, and in the Asiatic world too. But do we approach it from that point of view? A philosophic investigation - philosophic in the sense love of wisdom, love of truth, love of investigation, the process of the mind. Are we doing that when we discuss, or when we want to investigate or explain, or find out what that ground is?
DB: Yes, well perhaps not even all the philosophers have been basing themselves on concepts. Certainly philosophy is taught through concepts.
K: Yes, that's what, I am just questioning that.
DB: Yes, but I mean whether all the philosophers really wanted to base everything on concepts is another question.
K: I didn't say 'all', sir.
DB: Most of them in fact.
K: Most of them! (Laughs)
DB: And certainly it is very hard to teach it except through concepts.
K: So I just want to know. What then is the difference between a religious mind and a philosophic mind? You understand what I am trying to convey? Perhaps I am not doing it properly. Do we investigate the ground from a mind that is disciplined in knowledge?
DB: Yes, well, fundamentally we say that the ground is unknown inherently.
K: That's what I want to know, yes.
DB: Therefore knowledge - we can't begin with knowledge. Many years ago we had a discussion in London suggesting to start from the unknown, you know.
K: Yes, yes. Say for instance 'X' says there is such a ground. And all of us, 'X', 'Y', 'Z' and 'A', 'B', 'C' say what is that ground, prove it, show it, let it manifest itself. And when we ask such questions, is it a mind that is seeking, or rather that has this passion for truth, the love of truth? You follow what I'm saying? Or merely we say let's talk about it.
DB: I think that in that mind there is the demand for certainty which says show itself, I want to be sure. So therefore there is not enquiry, no?
K: No. Suppose you state that there is such a thing, there is the ground, immovable and so on. And 'X' - I take the part of 'X' - 'X' says, 'I want to find out, show it to me. Prove it to me.' How can my mind which has evolved through knowledge, which has been highly disciplined in knowledge even touch that, because that is not knowledge, that is not put together by thought.
DB: Yes, as soon as you say, prove it, you want to turn it into knowledge.
K: That's it. Yes. Prove it to me. Show it to me.
DB: To be absolutely certain, knowledge is what you want.
K: That's it.
DB: So that there could be no doubt. And yet of course there is also the danger of self-deception and delusion, from the other side.
K: Of course, of course. We have been through all that very carefully - right? - from the beginning. We said the ground cannot be touched or whatever it is, as long as there is any form of illusion, which is the projection of desire, pleasure, fear and all that.
DB: Yes. I merely meant to say that the person who says prove it, is also trying to protect this against those illusions.
K: That's it, that's it.
DB: But it is a vain hope.
K: So how do I, as an 'X', perceive that thing? That is what I want... Is the ground an idea to be investigated. Or is it something that cannot be investigated.
K: Because my mind is trained, disciplined, by experience and knowledge, and it can only function there, in that area. And you come along and tell me that this ground is not an idea, is not a philosophic concept, it is not something that can be put together by thought, or perceived by thought.
DB: Yes, or understood by thought.
K: Yes, understood by thought. Then what am I... you are making...
DB: Yes, I think you are even adding more in some sense because the person says I want to find it by experience, not only thought but also experience.
K: Of course.
DB: It cannot be experienced, it cannot be conceived you see, or understood through thought.
K: Yes. So what have I? I have only this mind that has been conditioned by knowledge. How am I, as an 'X', to move away, to move away from all that? Because there are more philosophers than religious people. Sorry! (Laughs)
DB: Well, I mean it depends, there are very few true philosophers too. (Laughs)
K: There are very few religious people too.
DB: Very few of either.
K: I am just making a joke of it.
DB: Yes. Well I don't know, you could say compare the number of people who call themselves philosophers, call themselves religious, far more call themselves religious. (Laughter) It doesn't matter. It doesn't count.
K: So how am I, an ordinary man, educated, read, experienced, to feel this thing, to touch it, to comprehend it?
You tell me words will not convey that. You tell me you must have a mind that is free from all knowledge, except technological, the other kind of knowledge. And you are asking me an impossible thing, aren't you? And if I say, I will make an effort, then that also is born out of the self-centred desire. So what shall I do? I think this is not a spurious question. It is a very serious question. This is what everybody asks - everybody in the sense - I mustn't use this general term - serious people ask.
DB: At least implicitly. They may not say it.
K: Yes, implicitly. So. You on the other side of the bank as it were, tell me that there is no boat to cross. You can't swim across (laughs). In fact you can't do anything. Basically that is what it comes to. So what shall I do? You are asking me to free - you are asking the mind, not the general mind but this mind...
DB: ...the particular mind.
K: Particular mind. You are asking this particular mind to eschew all knowledge. My god, sir! Has this been said in the Christian world, or in the Jewish world?
DB: I don't know about the Jewish world if they have said exactly that. But in some sense the Christians tell you to give your faith to god, to give up all your personal, to give over to Jesus as it were, and let him...
K: No, they have said that, but - only through Jesus, you know. He is the door through which you go.
DB: Yes, that he is the mediator between us, you and god.
K: Yes. But, no, what I am trying to find out is: has, say for instance, Vedanta means the end of knowledge - you know that, of course. The ending of knowledge.
DB: It could mean that I suppose. I don't know Sanskrit that well.
K: Veda, I have discussed this...
DB: Veda by itself means knowledge, doesn't it?
K: That knowledge means the end of that.
DB: That means the end of it, yes.
K: And being a Westerner, I say it means nothing to me. Because from the Greeks and all that, this culture in which I have lived is emphasising knowledge. Last night Bronowski was talking again about evolution of man and all that.
DB: You mean they re-showed it?
K: Yes. When you talk to an Eastern mind - I am talking of the minds who have studied, not just the usual - they know, they acknowledge in their religious life a time must come when knowledge must end. The Vedantism - that is their whole way of looking. They would immediately understand that the mind must be free from knowledge. But it is only a conceptual, a theoretical understanding. But as a Westerner, it means absolutely nothing to me.
DB: Well, in the beginning. I think that there has been a Western tradition which is similar but not as common. Like in the Middle Ages there was a book written called 'The Cloud of Unknowing', which is on that line, but that is not the main line of Western thought.
K: No, that is what I am saying: it is not the main line of Western thought. So what shall I do? How shall I approach the question? I want to find it, not only find it, it gives meaning to life - not my intellect gives meaning to life by inventing some illusion, or some hope, some belief, but I see vaguely, that this understanding, or coming upon this ground, gives an immense significance to life.
DB: Yes, well people have used that notion of god to give significance to life.
K: No, no. God is merely an idea.
DB: Yes but the idea contains something similar to the Eastern idea that god is beyond knowing. At least most people accept it that way.
DB: Though some may not. So there is some sort of similar notion.
K: No, but you tell me this is not created by thought. So you cannot under any circumstances come upon it through any form of manipulation of thought.
DB: Yes, I understand what you are saying. I am trying to say that there is this problem, this danger, delusion, in the sense that in the West people say, 'Yes, that is quite true, it is through a direct experience of Jesus that we come upon it, not through thought' (laughter), you see.
K: I mean after all a direct experience of Jesus...
DB: Well those are my words, they might not even talk that way, I don't know. I am not able to express their views accurately. (Laughs) What? - the grace of god, yes.
K: The grace of god, yes.
DB: Something beyond thought, you see.
K: As a fairly educated man, fairly thoughtful man, I reject all that.
DB: Yes, why do you reject it?
K: Because it has become common, first of all. Common in the sense everybody says that. And also there may be, or perhaps there is, in it a great sense of illusion created by desire, hope, fear.
DB: Yes. Some people do seem to find this meaning there, it may be an illusion but...
K: But if they had never heard of Jesus, never heard of Jesus, they wouldn't experience Jesus.
DB: That seems reasonable. (Laughs)
K: They would experience what they had been taught. In India I mean Jesus...
DB: That seems to be the weak point that the particular form of Jesus must be due to their having heard that idea, or those words, in the pictures and so on.
K: Of course, of course, obviously. When you are daily pounded that, Jesus is your Saviour - I mean, naturally.
DB: That would be interesting if someone who had never heard of Jesus would have this experience. (Laughter) Then that would be some sort of proof there was more to it.
Questioner: But wouldn't you also say that there are some more serious people in all the religions who would say that essentially what they want to say is that also god, or whatever that is, the absolute, or the ground is something that cannot be experienced through thinking or also they might even go so far as to say it cannot be experienced at all.
K: Oh yes, I have said it cannot be experienced. 'X' says it cannot be experienced.
Q: But there are many religions, I think the essence of some religions would say that too.
K: I don't know about all that, all right, I don't know. Here is a person who says there is such a thing. And I listen to him and I see not only does he convey it by his presence, he conveys it also through the word. And he tells me, be careful, the word is not the thing. But he uses the word to convey something to me which I vaguely capture, that there is this something so immense that my thought cannot capture it. And I say, all right, you have explained that very carefully and how am I, whose brain is conditioned that way - in knowledge - disciplined, how is it to free itself from all that?
Q: Could it free itself by understanding its own limitation?
K: Understanding what?
Q: That itself, that whatever thought... Could thought itself understand that whatever it is doing, it is bound by some natural limitation.
K: So you are telling me, thought is limited.
K: Show it to me. Not by saying memory, experience, knowledge, all knowledge is - I understand all that, but I don't capture the feeling that it is limited, because I see the beauty of the earth, I see the beauty of a building, of a person, of nature, I see all that; but when you say thought is limited I don't feel it. It is just a lot of words which you have told me.
Q: Well it would require serious investigation.
K: No, I have investigated it. I have investigated that thought is limited. Obviously. It is so. You don't need the investigation, it is so clear.
Q: I see. You are saying thought sees it normally indirectly.
K: No, no. I am saying, I see that. Intellectually I understand it. It is so obvious. But I have no feeling for it. You understand? There is no perfume in it.
Q: That is what I would say is indirect understanding.
K: No, it is not even understanding - it means nothing.
Q: It is just more knowledge.
K: Yes. It means nothing. How will you show me - not show - how will you help me - not help - aid me to have this feeling that thought itself is brittle, it has no... it is such a small affair, so that it is in my blood - you know, sir? When once it is in my blood I have got it - you don't have to explain it.
Q: But isn't that the possible approach, not to talk about the ground, that at the moment is far too removed.
K: That is far away.
Q: But rather look directly at what the mind can do.
K: Which is thinking.
Q: That's right. The mind is thinking.
K: That is all I have. Thinking, feeling, hating, loving - you know all that. The activity of the mind. I know that very well, you don't have to tell me.
Q: I would say you don't know it, you only think you know it. (Laughs)
K: Oh no. You think so. I know it. I have seen it. I have captured it. I know when I am angry. I know when I am wounded. It is not an idea, I have got the feeling, the hurt is carrying inside me. I want to get at this. You understand sir? Am I conveying anything?
DB: What is it you want to say?
K: I am fed up with the investigation because I have done it all my life. I go to the Hindu business and I say I have investigated, studied it, looked at it, Buddhism, this and the other, Christianity, whatever, Islam and so on. I say these are all just words. How am I as a human being to have this extraordinary feeling about it? You understand? I wonder if I am conveying anything - am I? Because if I have no passion behind it, it is just...
Q: What does the feeling spring from?
K: I am not investigating. I want to have this passion that will explode me out of this little enclosure. You understand what I am saying? I have built a wall round myself - cultured, fairly respectable, educated, a wall, which is myself. And I have lived with this thing for million years. And I have lived trying to get out of it by studying, by reading, by going to gurus, by all kinds of things I have done. And I am still anchored there! And you talk about the ground because you see something that is breathtaking, that seems so alive, extraordinary and so on. And I am here, anchored in here. You, who have 'seen' the ground - seen quotes - must do something that will explode, break up this thing completely.
Q: I must do something, or you must do something?
K: Help me! Not by prayer, all that kind of nonsense. You understand what I am trying to say? I have fasted, I have meditated, I have given up, I have taken a vow of this and vow of that, I have done all those things. Because I have had a million years of life. And at the end of million years I am still where I was, at the beginning - which is a great discovery for me. You understand? I thought I had moved from the beginning, at the beginning, by going through all this, but I suddenly discover I am back at the same point where I started; I have more experience, I have seen the world, I have painted, I have played music, I have danced. You follow? But have come back to the original starting point.
Q: Which is me and not me.
K: Me. And I say to myself what am I to do? And what is the human mind's relationship to the ground? That is what you are saying. Perhaps if I could establish a relationship it might break up this centre, totally. You follow? It is not a motive, it is not a desire, it is not a reward. I see if the mind could establish a relationship with that my mind has become that. Right?
Q: But hasn't that mind then already become that?
K: Oh, no!
Q: But Krishnaji I think you have just wiped away the greatest difficulty in saying there is no desire, there is no...
K: No, no, because I said I have lived a million years.
Q: But that is an insight.
K: No. I won't easily accept insight so easily as that (laughs).
Q: Or let me put it this way: it is something much more than knowledge.
K: No, no, you are missing my point. My brain has lived for a million years. It has experienced everything. It has been a Buddhist, it has been a Hindu, a Christian, it has been a Muslim, it has been all kinds of things, but the core of it is the same. Right?
K: And you come along and say, look there is a ground which is - something. Are you going back to what I have already known? You follow? Hindus, Buddhists. If you do, I reject all that because I say I have been through all that. They are like, to me they are like ashes at the end of it.
DB: Well all of those things were attempts to create a apparent ground by thought. It seemed that through knowledge and thought, through all these, Buddhism, and various other ways, people created what they regarded was the ground. And it wasn't, right?
K: It wasn't. Because I have spent a million years at it.
DB: So as long as knowledge enters the ground that will be false?
K: Of course. So can I - I am just asking - is there a relationship between that and the human mind? In asking that question I am also aware of the danger of such a question.
DB: Yes. Well you may create a delusion of the same kind that we have already gone through. (Laughter)
K: Yes. I have played that before, that song.
Mary Zimbalist: Are you suggesting that the relationship cannot be made by you, but it must come...
K: I am asking that. No, it may be I have to make a relationship. My mind now is in such a state I won't accept a thing!
MZ: But the bridge...
K: No, wait, listen to mind.
MZ: ...if there is such a thing (inaudible) from either side?
K: My mind says I have been through all this before. I have suffered, I have searched, I have looked, I have investigated, I have lived with people who are awfully clever at this kind of thing, and so on, so on. So I am asking this question being fully aware, the danger of that question. Because that is what the Hindus say, god is in you, the highest principle, Brahman is in you, which is a lovely idea. I have been through all that.
So I am asking 'X', if the human mind has no relationship to it, and that it is only a one way passage, from that to me...
DB: Well, that's like the grace of god then.
K: Yes. That's just, you see.
DB: That you have invented.
K: That I won't, I won't accept that.
Q: And also aren't we then again back into the area of ideas?
K: No. There may be. So I am not - I am rejecting the explanation - the grace of god.
DB: You are not saying the relationship is one way, nor are you saying it is not one way.
K: Maybe, I don't know.
DB: You are not saying anything.
K: I am not saying anything. All that I want is - want in quotes - this centre to be blasted. You understand? I'm using - this centre not to exist. Because I see that centre is the cause of all the mischief, all the neurotic conclusions, all the illusions, all the endeavour, all the effort, all the misery, everything is from that core. After a million years, I haven't been able to get rid of it, it hasn't gone. So what is the, is there a relationship at all? What is the relationship between goodness and evil, or bad? Right? It comes to the same thing. There is no relationship.
DB: It depends upon what you mean by relationship, but...
K: All right. Contact, touch, communication, being in the same room.
DB: Having the same root.
K: Yes, same root.
Q: But Krishnaji, are we then saying that there is the good and that there is the evil?
K: No, no. Don't.
Q: I am just trying to become clear.
K: No, no, no. Goodness - use another word, whole, and that which is not whole. It is not an idea. Now, is there relationship between these two? Obviously not.
DB: Yes, well if you are saying that in some sense the centre is an illusion - an illusion cannot be related to that which is true because the content of the illusion has no relation to what is true.
K: That's it, that's it. You see that is a great discovery. I want to establish relationship with that - want, I am using quick, rapid words to convey the same meaning, which is - this petty little thing wants to have relationship with that immensity. It cannot.
DB: Yes, it is not just because of its immensity but because in fact this thing is not actually.
Q: But I don't see that.
K: What do you mean?
Q: He say the centre is not actual. And that is part of my difficulty - I don't see the centre is not actual.
DB: Actual in the sense of being genuine and not an illusion. I mean something is acting but it is not the content which we know.
K: Do you see that?
Q: No. He says the centre must explode. It does not explode because I don't see the falseness in it.
K: No, no, no. No, no! You have missed my point. I have lived a million years, I have done all this. And at the end of it I am still back at the beginning.
Q: Right. And you say the centre then must explode.
K: No, no, no. What I want to... The mind says this is too damn small.
K: And it can't do anything about it. It has prayed, it has done everything. It is still there.
K: And he comes along and tells me there is this thing. I want to establish a relationship with that.
DB: Yes, that's the...
Q: He tells me there is this thing and he also tells me that the centre is an illusion.
DB: Wait, that is too quick.
K: No. Wait. I know it is there. Call it what you like.
K: An illusion, a reality, a fixation - whatever you like. It is there. And the mind says it is not good enough, it wants to capture that. Therefore it wants to have that relationship with it. And that says, 'Sorry, you can't have relationship with me.' That's all!
Q: But Krishnaji, is that mind which wants to be in connection, or which wants to have a relationship with that, is that the same mind which is the 'me'?
K: Yes, yes. No, don't split it up sir. You are missing something which I am trying... I have lived all this. Don't argue with me. I know, I can argue with you, back and forth. I have been... a million years of experience has given me a certain capacity. And I realise at the end of it all, there is no relationship between me and truth. Right? And that's a tremendous shock to me. You follow? It is like you have knocked me out because all my million years of experience says go after that, seek it, search for it, pray for it, struggle for it, cry for it, sacrifice. I have done all that. And suddenly 'X' says, you cannot have relationship with that. You understand? You are not feeling the same as I am. I have shed tears, left my family, everything, for that. And that says, 'Sorry'. So what has happened to me? That is what I want to get at. You understand sir? Do you understand what I am saying? What has happened to the mind that has lived this way, done everything that man has done in search for that, and that says one morning, 'You have no relationship with me'. Sir, this is the greatest thing. Right? I don't know if you follow what I mean.
Q: This is a tremendous shock to the 'me', if you say that.
K: Is it to you?
Q: I think it was and then...
K: Don't - I am asking you: is it a shock to discover that your brain, and your mind, your knowledge is valueless? All your examinations, all your studies, all the things that one has gathered through years and years, centuries, absolutely worthless. Either I go mad, because I say, 'My god, I have done all this for nothing? My virtue, my abstinence, my control, everything, and at the end of it you say they are valueless.' Sir, you understand what it does to me? You don't see it.
DB: Well, I mean if the whole thing goes then it is of no consequence.
K: Because what you have said, which is that absolutely you have no relationship. What you have done, not done, what you... absolutely no value. You understand sir?
DB: Not in any fundamental sense. It has relative value. It has only relative value within a certain framework, and which itself has no value.
K: Yes, thought has relative value, we have fixed it there...
DB: But the framework in general has no value.
K: Yes. That's right. Whatever you have done on earth - in quotes - has no meaning, the ground says. Is that an idea or an actuality? You understand? Idea being that you have told me but I still go on, struggling, wanting, groping, searching. But it is an actuality, in the sense that I suddenly realise the futility of all that I have done. (Pause)
So I must be very careful - when I use the word 'I' it doesn't mean - I must be very careful to see that it is not a concept, or rather that I don't translate into a concept, an idea, but receive the full blow of it! (Laughs)
Where are we?
Q: You see Krishnaji, for hundreds of years, probably since mankind existed, man has pursued this, what he calls god or the ground.
K: As an idea.
Q: As an idea for many people it was very...
K: I know, for all people.
Q: I don't know.
K: It must be.
Q: I don't know. But anyhow then science came along, the scientific mind came along and also told that mind that is just an idea, that is just foolish.
K: No, no, no. Scientific mind says through investigating matter we will perhaps, may come upon the ground.
DB: Many feel that way, yes.
DB: Well, some would even add investigate the brain, you see.
K: Yes. May come upon. After all, that is their purpose for investigating the mind, not to blast each other off, guns and all that. They say as a scientist - we are talking of good scientists, like him and so on - good, not a governmental scientist, but a good scientist says, 'We are examining matter, the brain and all that, to find out if there is something beyond all this.'
Q: And many people, many scientists, would say that well, we have found the ground - the ground is empty, emptiness, it is an energy which is indifferent to man.
K: Now, is that an idea, or an actuality to them, which affects their life, their blood, their mind, their relationship with the world?
Q: Well, I think it is just an idea, essentially.
K: Then, I am sorry, I have been through that. I was a scientist ten thousands years ago! No, no - you follow? - I have been through all that. If it is merely an idea we can both play at that game. I can send the ball to you, it is in your court, and you can send it back to me. Everyone can play that. But I have finished with that kind of game.
DB: All right. Because in general what people discover about matter does not seem to affect them deeply, psychologically.
K: No. Of course not.
DB: Though you might think that if they saw the whole unity of the universe they would act differently, but they don't.
K: Oh my god. I would say sorry. They wouldn't be competing for the Nobel prize and so on.
Q: You could even say that it has affected some of their lives. You see the whole Communist idea is built on the idea of what they think the fact that whatever is, is just a material process, which is essentially empty and then man has to organise his life and he has to organise society according to those dialectic principles.
K: No, no. Dialectical principle is one opinion opposing another opinion, hoping out of opinions to find the truth.
DB: Well, there are different... I think we should leave this aside. There are different ways of looking at, different meanings of the word 'dialectic' - but it also means to see reality as a flowing movement, not to fix things, not to see things fixed but to see them in movement and interconnection. But I think that you could say that whatever way people managed to look at it, after they saw this unity it didn't fundamentally change...
K: ...their lives.
DB: In Russia the same structures of the mind hold as elsewhere, if not worse. And wherever people have tried this it has not actually fundamentally affected the way they feel and think and the way they live.
Q: Well, you see what I wanted to say is that the dismissal of the pursuit of the ground has not had any shocking effect on people.
K: No, no. I am not interested. I am the people. It has given me a tremendous shock to discover the truth, not ideas, discover all the churches, all the prayers, all the books have absolutely no meaning - except they have a meaning so that we can build a better society and so on, so on.
DB: If we could manage to bring this point to order then they would have a great meaning - to build a good society.
K: Yes, sir. From there I start creating a society.
DB: But as long as this disorder is at the centre we can't use that in the right way. I think it would be more accurate to say that there is a great potential meaning in all that but as long as it does not affect the centre and there is no sign that it has ever done so.
Q: You see what I don't understand Krishnaji is that there are many people who have never in their life really pursued what you call the ground, or the religion...
K: They are not interested.
Q: Well I am not so sure. How would you approach such a person? I mean he is just...
K: Sir, I am not interested in approaching any person. I am interested - not interested - all the works I have done, good, everything I have done, the ground says are valueless. And if I can drop all that my mind is the ground. Then from there I move. From there I create society. Sorry! (Laughs)
DB: Well, yes, I think you could say that as long as you are looking for the ground somewhere by means of knowledge then you are getting in the way.
K: So sir, to come back to earth: why has man done this?
DB: Done what?
K: Accumulated knowledge. Apart from the necessity of knowledge in certain areas, why has this burden of knowledge continued for so long?
DB: Well, I would think that it's because in one sense man has been trying to produce a solid ground through knowledge. Knowledge has tried to create a ground. That is one of the things that has happened.
K: Which means what?
DB: It means illusion again.
K: Which means the saints, the philosophers, have educated me in knowledge and through knowledge to find the ground.
DB: Well, I need to find... But in fact even to create a ground by using knowledge...
K: Yes sir, I understand that very well. But 'X' says...
Q: To create a ground, and in a way before, we have had in societies of mankind we've had all these periods where mankind was caught in the craziest superstition and there knowledge was able to do away with that.
K: Oh, no.
Q: To some extent it was.
K: Ah! Knowledge has only crippled me from seeing truth. Sorry, I stick to that. It hasn't cleared me of my illusions. Knowledge may be illusion itself.
Q: That may be but it has cleared up some illusions.
K: I want to clear up all the illusions that I hold - not some. Who cares!
Q: That's a different question.
K: I have got rid of my illusion about nationalism; I have got rid of illusion about belief, about Christ, about this, about that. At the end of it I realise my mind is illusion. Sorry!
You see to me, who have lived for a thousand years, to find it is absolutely worthless, it is something enormous.
DB: When you say you have lived for a thousand years or a million years, does that mean that in a sense all the experience of mankind is...
K: ...is me.
DB: ...is me. Do you feel that?
K: I do.
DB: And how do you feel it?
K: (Laughs) I feel it like - you know, how do you feel anything? Wait a minute, I will tell you. It is not sympathy, or empathy, it is not a thing that I have desired, that I am all humanity, it is a fact, an absolute, irrevocable fact to me.
DB: Yes, well perhaps if we could share that feeling. You see that seems to be one of the steps that is missing, because you have repeated that quite often as a very important part of the whole thing.
K: Which means sir when you love somebody there is no - what? - there is no me, it is love. In the same way, when I say I am humanity, it is so, it is like that finger. It is not an idea, it is not a conclusion, it is part of me.
DB: Well let's say it is a feeling that I have gone through all that, all that you describe, all those million years.
K: Yes, because human beings have been through all that.
DB: Yes, if anybody has gone through it then somewhere I also have gone through it.
K: Of course. But one is not aware of it.
DB: No, we separate.
K: If we admit that our brains are not my particular brain but the brain that has evolved through millennia.
DB: Yes. Well let me say why this doesn't communicate so easily: everybody feels that the content of his brain is in some way individual, that he hasn't gone through all that. Let's say somebody thousands of years ago went through science or philosophy. Now how does that affect me? That is what is not clear.
K: Because I am caught in this self-centred narrow little cell, which refuses to look beyond.
DB: That is the thing which has been going on.
K: Yes. But you come along and tell me, as a scientist, as a religious man, that your brain is the brain of mankind.
DB: Yes and also all knowledge is the knowledge of mankind. So that in some way we have all knowledge.
K: Sir, otherwise - of course.
DB: Not in detail, of course.
K: So you tell me that, and I understand what you mean, not verbally, not intellectually, I know - not know, it is so. But I come to that only when I have given up ordinary things like nationalities, you know.
DB: Yes we have given up the division and we can see that our experience is of all mankind.
K: It is so obvious sir. You go to the most primitive village in India and he will tell you all about his problems, his problems, his wife, lack of children, poverty, and you come here, it is exactly the same thing, only here they are in (laughs) trousers, they have something else there, kimono, or whatever it is. For 'X' it is an indisputable fact, it is so. And he says, all right, at the end of all this, a million years, I suddenly show, discover, or shown that it is empty. You see sir, we don't accept it. We are too clever, we are so soaked with disputations and arguments and knowledge. We don't see a simple fact. We refuse to see it. And 'X' comes along and says, 'See it, it is there', and - prove, immediately the whole machinery of thought begins. So they say, be silent. So I practise silence. I have done that for a thousand years and it has led nowhere.
So there is only one thing and that is to discover that what I have done is useless. They are ashes. You see, sir that doesn't depress one. That is the beauty of it. I think it is like the Phoenix.
DB: Rising from the ashes.
K: Born out of ashes.
DB: Well, in a way it is freedom - right? - to be free of all that.
K: Something totally new is born.
DB: Now what you said before is that the mind is the ground, it is the unknown.
K: The mind. Yes. But not this mind.
DB: No, but I meant, in that case it is not the same mind.
K: Sir, if I have been through all that and come to a point when I have to end all that, it is a new mind.
DB: Yes. That's clear. The mind is its content, and the content is knowledge and without knowledge it is a new mind.
K: Like the three witches, when shall we meet again? (Laughs)
DB: Now what do you suggest? What about Tuesday afternoon?
K: Tuesday. Right.