You are here

Part I, Chapter 3 - Santa Monica, 3rd Public Talk - 7th March 1970

WE WERE CONSIDERING the extraordinary complexity of everyday life, the strife, the conflict, the misery and the confusion one is in. Until one really understands the nature and the structure of this complexity, how one is caught in this trap, there is no freedom - neither the freedom to enquire nor the freedom that comes with great joy in which there is total self-abandonment. Such freedom is not possible if fear exists in any form, either superficially or in the deep recesses of one's mind. We pointed out the relationship between fear, pleasure and desire. To understand fear one must also understand the nature of pleasure.

This morning we shall talk about the centre from which our life and our activities arise and whether it is at all possible to change that centre. Because change, a transformation, an inward revolution, is obviously necessary. To realize that transformation, one must examine very closely what our life is, not escape from it, not indulge in theoretical beliefs and assertions, but observe very closely what our life actually is, and see whether it is possible to transform it completely. In the transformation of it you may affect the nature and the culture of society. There must be change in society, because there are so many evils and social injustices, there is an appalling travesty of worship and so on. But the change in society is of secondary importance; that will come about naturally, inevitably, when you as a human being in relationship with another, bring about this change in yourself.

This morning we are going to consider three essential things: what is living? - the life that we lead every day; what is compassion, love? and the third, what is death? They are closely related - in understanding the one, we will understand the other two. As we have seen, you cannot take fragments of life, choose a part of life you think worthwhile or which appeals to you, or that your tendency demands. Either you take the whole of life - in which is involved death, love and living - or you merely take a fragment of it which might seem satisfactory, but which will inevitably bring about greater confusion. So we must take the whole of it and in considering what living is we must bear in mind that we are discussing a whole, sane and holy affair.

One observes in the daily life of relationships that there is conflict, pain and suffering; there is constant dependence on another, in which there is self-pity and comparison; this is what we call living. Please let me again repeat: we are not concerned with theories, we are not propagating any ideology - for ideologies obviously have no value whatsoever; on the contrary, they bring about greater confusion, greater conflict. We are not indulging in opinion, in evaluation, nor in condemnation. We are solely concerned with the observation of what actually takes place to see if that can be transformed.

One can see very clearly in one's daily life how contradictory, how confused it is; one's life as it is lived now, is absolutely meaningless. One may invent a meaning; the intellectuals do invent a meaning and people follow that meaning - which may be a very clever philosophy, but is produced out of nothing. Whereas if one is only concerned with 'what is', without inventing some significance, or escape, or indulging in theories or ideologies, if one is tremendously aware, then one's mind is capable of facing 'what is'. Theories and beliefs do not change one's life - man has had them for thousands of years and he has not changed; they have, per- haps, given him a superficial polish; he is, perhaps, less savage, but he is still brutal, violent, capricious, incapable of sustaining seriousness. We live a life of great sorrow from the moment we are born till we die. That is a fact. No amount of speculative theories about that fact will affect it. What does affect 'what is' is the capacity, the energy, the intensity, the passion with which one looks at that fact. And one cannot have passion and intensity, if one's mind is running after some delusion, some speculative ideology.

We are going into something rather complex for which you need all your energy, all your attention - not only while you are here in this hall, but also throughout life, if you are at all serious. What we are concerned with is the changing of 'what is', the sorrow, the conflict, the violence, the dependence on another - not the dependence on the grocer, the doctor, or the postman, but the dependence in our relationship with another, both psychologically and psychosomatically. This dependence on another invariably breeds fear: as long as I depend on you to sustain me, emotionally, psychologically or spirituality, I am your slave and therefore there is fear. This is a fact. Most human beings depend on another and in this dependence there is the self-pity which comes about through comparison. So, where there is psychological dependence on another - on your wife, or on your husband - there must not only be fear and pleasure, but also the pain of it. I hope you are observing this in yourself, and are not merely listening to the speaker.

You know, there are two ways of listening: to listen casually, to hear a series of ideas, agreeing or disagreeing with them; or there is another way of listening, which is not only to listen to the words and the meaning of those words, but also to listen to what is actually taking place in yourself. If you listen in this way, then what the speaker says is related to what you are listening to in yourself; then you are not merely listening to the speaker - which is irrelevant - but to the whole content of your being. And if you are listening in that way with intensity, at the same time and at the same level, then we are both of us partaking, sharing together, in what is actually taking place. Then you have the passion which is going to transform that which is. But if you do not listen that way, with all your mind, with all your heart, then a meeting of this kind becomes utterly meaningless.

In understanding 'what is', the actual, terrible life one leads, one sees that one is leading an isolated life - though one may have a wife and children, yet in oneself there is a self-isolating process going on. The wife, the girlfriend or the boyfriend, each is actually living in isolation; though living together in the same house, each one is isolated, with his own ambitions, with his own fears, with his own sorrow. Living like this is called relationship. Again, this is a fact: you have your image about her and she has her image about you and you have your own image about yourself. The relationship is between these images and is not an actual relationship. So first one must find out how these images are constructed, how they come into being, why they should exist, and what it means to live without such images. I do not know if you have ever considered whether a life in which there is no image, no formula, is possible and what a life without images would mean. We are going to find out.

We have many experiences all the time. We are either conscious or unaware of them. Each experience leaves a mark; these marks build up day after day and they become the image. Someone insults you and at that moment you have already formed the image about the other. Or someone flatters you and again an image is formed. So inevitably each reaction builds an image. And having created it, is it possible to end it?

To end an image we must first find out how it comes into being; and we see that if we do not respond adequately to any challenge it must leave an image. If you call me a fool, immediately you become my enemy, or I do not like you. When you call me a fool I have to be intensely aware at that moment, without any choice, without any condemnation, just listening to what you are saying. If there is no emotional response to your statement, then you will see that no image is being formed.

So one has to be aware of the reaction and not give it time to take root; because the moment that reaction takes root it has formed an image. Now, can you do it? To do it you need attention - not just dreamily wandering through life - attention at the moment of a challenge, with all your being, listening with your heart and with your mind, so that you see clearly what is being said - be it insult or flattery or an opinion about you. Then you will see there is no image at all. The image is always of what has happened in the past. If it is a pleasurable image, we hold on to it. If it is painful, we want to get rid of it. So desire comes into being; one thing we want to hold, the other we want to reject; and desire brings conflict. If you are aware of all this, giving attention to it without any choice, merely observing, then you can find out for yourself, then you are not living according to some psychologist or some priest or some doctor. To find out truth you have to be completely free of all that, to stand alone. And standing alone is to turn your back on society.

If you have observed yourself carefully, you will see that a part of your brain, which has evolved for many thousands of years, is the past - the past being experience, the memory. In that past there is safety. I hope you are watching all this in yourself. The past always responds immediately; and to delay the response of the past when you meet a challenge, so that there is an interval between the challenge and the response, is to end the image. If this does not take place, we will always be living in the past. We are the past and there is no freedom in the past. So, that is our life, a constant battle, the past, modified by the present moving into the future - which is still the movement of the past, though modified. As long as this movement exists, man can never be free, he must always be in conflict, in sorrow, in confusion, in misery. Can the response of the past be delayed, so that there is not the immediate formation of an image?

We have to look at life as it is, at the endless confusion and misery and the escape from that into some religious superstition or into the worship of the State, or into various forms of amusement. We have to look at how one escapes into neuroses - because a neurosis offers an extraordinary sense of security. The man who 'believes' is neurotic; the man who worships an image is neurotic. These are neuroses in which there is great safety. And that does not bring about a radical revolution in oneself. To do that you have to observe choicelessly, without any distortion of desire or of pleasure or of fear - just observe actually what you are without escape. And do not name what you see, merely observe. Then you will have the passion, the energy, to observe, and in that observation there comes a tremendous change.

What is love? We talk a great deal about it - love of God, love of humanity, love of country, love of the family - yet strangely, with that love goes hatred. You love your God and hate another's God, you love your nation, your family, but you are against another family, against another nation. And more and more, throughout the world, love is associated with sex. We are not condemning, we are not judging, we are not evaluating; we are merely observing what is actually taking place; and if you know how to observe that gives you tremendous energy.

What is love and what is compassion? The word 'compassion' means passion for everybody, care for everything - including the animals you kill to eat. First let us look at what actually is - not what should be - seeing what actually is, in daily life. Do we know what it means to love, or do we only know pleasure and desire, which we call love? - of course with the pleasure, with the desire, goes tenderness, care, affection and so on. So is love pleasure, desire? Apparently for most of us it is. One depends on one's wife, one loves one's wife, yet if she looks at somebody else, one is angry, frustrated, miserable - and ultimately there is the divorce court. That is what you call love! - and if your wife dies you take another, so great is dependency. One never asks why one depends on another (I am talking about psychological dependency). If you look into it, you will see how lonely you are, deep down, how frustrated and unhappy. You do not know what to do with this loneliness, this isolation, which is a form of suicide. And so, not knowing what to do, you depend. That dependence gives you great comfort and companionship but when that companionship is slightly altered you get jealous, furious.

Would you send your children to war if you loved them? Would you give them the kind of education they have now, only educating them technologically, to help them to get a job, to pass some examinations, and neglect the rest of the whole of this marvellous life? You look after them till they are five so carefully and after that you throw them to the wolves. That is what you call love. Is there love, when there is violence, hatred, antagonism?

So what will you do? Within this violence and hatred is your virtue and your morality; when you deny that, then you are virtuous. That means seeing all the implications of what love is; then you stand alone and you are capable of loving. You listen to this because it is the truth. If you do not live it, truth becomes a poison; if you hear something true and neglect it, that brings about another contradiction in life and therefore more misery. So either listen with your heart and with your complete mind or do not listen at all. But since you are here, you are listening, I hope!

Love is not the opposite of anything. It is not the opposite of hate or of violence. Even if you do not depend on anybody and live a most virtuous life - do social work, demonstrate up and down the street - if you have no love it has no value at all. If you love, then you can do what you will. For the man who loves there is no error - or if there is an error, he corrects it immediately. A man who loves has no jealousy, no remorse; for him there is no forgiveness, because there is not a moment in which a thing that has to be forgiven arises. All this demands deep investigation, great care and attention. But you are caught in the trap of modern society; you have created that trap yourself and if anybody points it out to you, you disregard it. And so wars and hatred go on.

I wonder how you consider death; not theoretically, but actually what it means to you - not as something that is going to come inevitably either through accident, from a disease or from old age. That happens to everybody: old age and the pretensions that go with old age, of trying to be young. All theories, all hope, mean you are in despair; being in despair you look to something to give you hope. Have you ever looked at your despair to see why it exists? It exists because you are comparing yourself with somebody, because you want to fulfil, become, be, achieve.

One of the strange things in life is that we are conditioned by the verb 'to be'. For in that there is the past, the present and the future. All religious conditioning is based on that verb 'to be; on it are based all heaven and hell, all the beliefs, all the saviours, all the excesses. Can a human being live without that verb - which means to live and to have no past, no future? It does not mean 'living in the present' - you do not know what it means to live in the present. To live completely in the present you must know what the nature and the structure of the past is - which is yourself. You must know yourself so completely, that there is no hidden corner; 'yourself' is the past, and that self thrives on that verb 'to be', to become, to achieve, to remember. Find out what it means to live without that verb psychologically, inwardly.

What does death mean? Why are we all so dreadfully frightened of it? Throughout Asia people believe in reincarnation; in that there is great hope - I don't know why - and people go on talking and writing about it. When you look at the thing that is going to incarnate, what is it? - all the past, all your misery, all your confusion, all that you are now? And you think the 'you' (here you use the word 'soul') is something permanent. Is there anything in life that is permanent? You would like to have something permanent and so put death into the distance far away from you, never look at it, because you are scared. Then you have 'time' - time between what is and what will inevitably take place.

Either you project your life into tomorrow and continue as you are now, hoping that there will be some kind of resurrection, incarnation, or you die each day; die each day to yourself, to your misery, to your sorrow; you put aside that burden each day so that your mind is fresh, young and innocent. The word 'innocence' means 'incapable of being hurt'. To have a mind that is not capable of being hurt, does not mean that it has built up a lot of resistance - on the contrary, such a mind is dying to everything that it has known in which there has been conflict, pleasure and pain. Only then is the mind innocent; that means it can love. You cannot love with memory, love is not a matter of remembrance, of time.

So love, death and living, are not separate but a total whole, and there is sanity. Sanity is not possible when there is hate, anger, jealousy, when there is dependency which breeds fear. Where there is sanity, life becomes holy; there is great joy and you can do what you will; what you do then is virtuous, is true.

We do not know all this - we only know our misery - and not knowing, we try to escape. If only we did not escape, but could actually observe, never moving away even a fraction from 'what is' by naming it, by condemning or judging it - but could just watch it. To watch something you need care - care means compassion. A life that is lived so splendidly and completely can then go into something we shall talk about tomorrow, which is meditation. Without laying such a foundation, meditation is self-hypnosis. Laying this foundation means that you have understood this extraordinary life, so you have a mind that is without conflict and you lead a life that has compassion, beauty and therefore order. Not the order of a blueprint, but the order which comes when you understand what disorder is - which is your life. Your life is in disorder. Disorder is contradiction, the conflict between opposites. When you understand that disorder which is in yourself, then out of that comes order - the order which is precise, mathematical, in which there is no distortion. All this demands a meditative mind, a mind that is capable of looking silently.

Questioner: In one of your books you say that miracles are one of the easiest things to do. Will you please explain about the miracles you mentioned.

Krishnamurti: I wish you would not quote from a book - including the speaker's. (Laughter.) I really mean it, seriously. Do not quote anybody. Living on other people's ideas is one of the most terrible things to do. And ideas are not truth. 'In one of the books it is said that miracles are the easiest things in the world' - are they not? Is it not a miracle that you are sitting there and I here and we are talking to each other? Because if you listen without effort you will know what it means to live completely, wholly; if you live that way, there is a miracle, the greatest miracle of all.

Questioner: I have been away for twenty-seven years and have come back about three months ago. I find tremendous fears developing here. From my own observation and from the observation of my friends I believe there is the take-over of the Mafia and the development of a complete police state. Can you help us as individuals, give us the key to fight against such conditions? I realize that to fight will be difficult, I also realize that if we fight we could go to jail. What can each individual do for himself to combat these awful forces?

Krishnamurti: Sir, this is not an avoidance of the question, but: can you as an individual be peaceful? Are you an individual at all? You may have your bank account, you may have a separate house, a separate family and so on, but are you an individual? Individual means indivisible in himself, not fragmented. But we are fragmented, broken up, so we are not individuals. What society is, we are. We have made this society. So how can a broken up human being do anything but come to that state in which he is completely whole? Then a totally different kind of action will take place. But as long as we are acting in fragments, we are bound to create more chaos in the world. I am sure this answer satisfies nobody; you want the key and the key is in yourself. You have to forge that key.

Questioner: But time is short and I do not seem to be able to find out how exactly to go about this.

Krishnamurti: 'Time is short' - can you change immediately? Not change gradually or tomorrow. Can you have this perception of a 'whole' life in which there is love - all that we have talked about this morning - immediately? The speaker says that is the only thing to do - to change completely, radically, immediately. To do that, you have to observe with all your heart and mind; not escaping into anything, nationalism or your beliefs; put all these aside with one breath and become completely aware. Then there is a radical change, immediately, and from that immediate transformation you will act completely differently.

Questioner: Does love have an object? Can one love only one person in one's life?

Krishnamurti: Have you heard the question? Can you love one at the same time as the many? What a strange question to ask. If you love, you love the one and the many. But we do not love. Sir, many can smell a flower that has perfume - or only one can smell it - but the flower does not care, it is there. And that is the beauty of love: it can give to one or to many. That is only possible when there is compassion, when there is no jealousy, no ambition, no success; and that is the denial of all that man has built in himself or around himself. Through negation the positive comes into being.