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Part I, Chapter 4 - Santa Monica, 4th Public Talk - 8th March 1970

WE SAID WE would talk about religion and meditation this evening. They form a really quite complex subject, needing a great deal of patience and hesitant enquiry, never assuming anything, never accepting or believing anything. Man has always sought something more than the daily living, with its pain, pleasure and sorrow; he has always wanted to find something more permanent. And in his search for this unnameable thing, he has built temples, churches, mosques. Extraordinary things have been done in the name of religion. There have been wars for which religions are responsible; people have been tortured, burned, destroyed; for belief was more important than truth, dogma more vital than the direct perception. When belief becomes all-important, then you are willing to sacrifice everything for that; whether that belief is real or has no validity does not matter as long as it gives comfort, security, a sense of permanency.

It is very easy, if you seek something, to find it; but that means that before one begins to search one must have a basis, an idea of what is sought. In seeking, there are several processes involved; there is not only the desire and the hope that what you recognise will be the truth, but there is also the motive behind that search. If there is a motive of escape from fear, a longing for comfort and security, then you will inevitably find something that will gratify you; it may be the most absurd belief, but as long as it is satisfactory and completely comforting, however ridiculous the illusion be, you cling to it. So there is great danger for those who are seeking to find.

If there is fear of any kind, hidden or open, searching becomes an evasion, a flight from the actual. And if in your search you discover something, that discovery is based on recognition - you must recognise it, otherwise it has no value. But recognition, if you observe, is of past memory, of something you have already known, otherwise you cannot possibly recognise it. All this is involved in this everlasting search for what one considers to be the truth; but something that is beyond the measure of the mind, is not based on recognition.

Religion, in the accepted sense of that word, has now become a matter of propaganda, of vested interest, with much property, with a great hierarchical, bureaucratic system of 'spirituality'. Religion has become a matter of dogma, belief and ritual - something which is totally divorced from daily living. You may, or you may not, believe in God, but that belief has very little meaning in daily life, where you cheat, where you destroy, are ambitious, greedy, jealous, violent. You believe in God or in a saviour, or in some guru, yet keep that far away so that it does not actually touch your daily life.

Religion, as it is now, has become an extraordinary phenomenon which has no validity at all. The Christian, for the last two thousand years, has been conditioned to believe. Please observe in yourself, not criticizing, not condemning, just observing. One may not like it, but one must face the fact that one is, if one is a Christian, as conditioned as the Communist or the atheist. The believer and the non-believer are both conditioned by the culture of their time, by society, by the extraordinary process of propaganda. It has also been going on in Asia for thousands of years.

All the physical structure, the psychological assertions, the strong beliefs, for which one is willing to destroy and be destroyed, are based on dialectical, assertive opinion, as to how to find out what is true; but 'true opinion', however clever, however argumentative, has no reality whatsoever: it remains merely an opinion. Religions throughout the world now are utterly meaningless. We want to be entertained spiritually and so we go to the church or the temple or the mosque and that has nothing whatsoever to do with our daily sorrow, confusion and hatred. A man who is really serious, who really wants to find out if there is something more than this terrible thing called existence, must obviously be completely free from dogma, from belief, from propaganda, he must be free from the structure in which he has been brought up to be a 'religious man'.

Through the negation of 'what is', in the so-called religions, you come to the positive. We are going to find out, if we can, what the thing is that man has sought - not through any belief, not through any saviour or through a guru, or through the speaker. We are going to find out for ourselves if there is, or if there is not, something that is not the projection of one's own hopes, of one's own fears, something that is not invented by a cunning mind or is bred from our intense loneliness.

To find out, one must be free of belief; for belief is the quality of mind that invests in something that will give it some hope, comfort, security, a sense of permanency. To be free to enquire, one must be free from fear, from anxiety, from the desire to be psychologically secure. These are the obvious requirements for a very earnest and serious person who wants to find out.

The instrument that is capable of enquiry is a mind that is clear, that has no distortions, or prejudice of conclusion, of formula, or belief. See how extraordinarily difficult it is to have a mind that is not in conflict; for it means a mind that has understood conflict and is free from it.

The mind - which means not only the mind but also the heart, the whole psychosomatic nature of man - must be highly sensitive; for sensitivity implies intelligence. We are going to go into that a little, because all this is laying the foundation for meditation. If you do not lay the foundation of order, then meditation - which is one of the most extraordinary things in life - becomes merely an escape leading to self-delusion, self-hypnosis. A shoddy mind can learn the tricks, can practise so-called meditation, but it will still remain a shoddy, stupid mind.

Most of us have very little energy; we spend it in conflict, in struggle, we waste it in various manners - not only sexually, but also a great deal of it is wasted in contradictions and in the fragmentation of ourselves which brings about conflict. Conflict is definitely a great waste of energy - the 'voltage' decreases. Not only is physical energy necessary, but so also is psychological energy, with a mind that is immensely clear, logical, healthy, undistorted, and a heart that has no sentiment whatsoever, no emotion, but the quality of abundance of love, of compassion. All this gives a great intensity, passion. You need that, otherwise you cannot take a journey into this thing called meditation. You may sit cross-legged, breathe, do fantastic things, but you will never come to it.

The body must be extraordinarily sensitive; that is one of the most difficult things, because we have spoiled the intelligence of the body through drink, through smoking, through indulgence, through pleasure; we have made the body coarse. Look at the body which should be extraordinarily alive and sensitive, and you will see what we have reduced it to! The body affects the mind and the mind affects the body, and for this reason, sensitivity of the body, the organism, is essential. This sensitivity is not brought about through fasting, through playing all kinds of tricks on it. The mind has to watch it dispassionately. (I hope you are doing it now, as the speaker is going into the problem - not tomorrow or the next day - because as we said, we are partaking together in the journey, in the exploration).

Observation of 'what is', is the understanding of that event. Understanding is derived from the observation of 'what is; testing it out in everyday living leads to the understanding of experience. Most of us want great experiences because our own lives are so limited, so unspeakably dull. We want deep, lasting, beautiful experiences. But we have not even understood what that word 'experience' means, and the mind that is seeking an experience is incapable of understanding what truth is. The life that we lead every day has to be transformed; there must be an end to this hatred, this violence in oneself, the anxiety, the guilt, the drive to succeed, to be somebody; and without changing all that radically, to try to seek some 'experience' has no meaning whatsoever.

A mind that hopes to see truth through drugs, to have extraordinary experiences, or to be entertained through drugs, becomes a slave to them and they ultimately make the mind dull and stupid.

We are inquiring together into the question of the religious mind - not what religion is - but what a mind is that is religious, that is capable of finding out truth. The root meaning of the word 'religion' is rather uncertain; we can give any meaning to it we like, and we generally do. But to have no opinion of what religion is, is to be free to enquire into it, into the quality of the mind that is religious. That quality of mind is not separated from the daily living of pain, pleasure, sorrow and confusion.

To enquire into this, there must be freedom from all authority. You are alone to find out, there is no book, nobody to help you. Please see how important it is, because we have given our trust, our faith to others - to the priest, to the saviours, to the teachers and so on - and having given over our faith, we have looked to them to lead us and they have led us nowhere.

In this enquiry there is no question of authority - you are enquiring, like a true scientist, without seeking a result. When there is no authority whatsoever, then there is no system, no practice. A system, a method, implies a routine, a forming of habit. If you practise a certain system daily, your mind invariably becomes dull. This is so simple and obvious. So systems, methods, practices, must completely disappear. See what is happening to a mind that is not afraid, that is not seeking pleasure or pursuing entertainment, a mind that has no dependence on authority, but is really enquiring; to a mind that does not depend on anything there is no fear and therefore it can enquire. Such a mind has already become extraordinarily sharp, alive, intense, earnest. (When we use the word 'mind', we mean the whole of it, including the organism, the heart.) That quality of mind has beauty; using no method, it is clear, enquiring, observing and learning as it is observing. Learning is not different from action. To learn is to act. If you learn about nationality, the danger of separation, of division of people, if you observe it and understand it, then the very understanding of it puts an end to this division in action. So observation is astonishingly important.

You probably all know about yoga. There are so many books written about it, every Tom, Dick and Harry who has spent some months in India and taken a few lessons, becomes a 'yogi'. That word 'yoga' has many meanings; it implies a way of life, not just the practising of some exercises to keep young. It implies a way of life in which there is no division and therefore no conflict - which is the way the speaker looks at it. Of course regular exercise of the right kind is good, it keeps the body supple. The speaker has done a great deal of it for years, not to achieve some extraordinary state through breathing and all the rest of it, but to keep the body supple. You must have the right kind of exercise, the right food, not stuffing yourself with a lot of meat - with all the brutality and insensitivity that that inevitably brings about. Each one has to find out the right diet for himself, he has to experiment and test it out.

Then there is this trick that has been foisted on you: Mantra Yoga. For five, or thirty dollars, you have been taught some mantra - a repetition of words, especially in Sanskrit. The Catholics have a rosary and repeat Ave Maria - or whatever they repeat. Do you know what happens when you constantly repeat a series of words? You mesmerize yourself into tranquillity. Or you ride on the tone of the word. When you keep on repeating a certain word it produces a sound, inwardly; and that inward sound keeps going - if you listen to it; it becomes extraordinarily alive and you think that is a most marvellous thing. It is nothing of the kind, it is a form of self-hypnosis. That too has to be rejected completely.

Then we come to something quite different, which is: awareness and attention. I do not know if you have gone into this - not by reading books, not by being taught how to be aware in a school in Asia, in some monastery - but if you have, you will see for yourself what it means not to be taught by another. You have to learn for yourself what awareness means; to be aware of the hall in which you are sitting, to be aware of the proportion of the hall and the colours that it contains; not saying it is ugly or beautiful, just observing. As you walk down the street, be aware of the things that are happening around you, observing the clouds, the trees, the light on the water, the bird in flight. Be aware without any interference by thought which says: 'this is right', 'this is wrong', 'this should be', or 'should not be'. Be aware of the things that are happening outside, then also be aware inwardly - watch every movement of thought, watch every feeling, every reaction; that makes the mind extraordinarily alive.

There is a difference between concentration and attention. Concentration is a process of exclusion, a process of resistance and therefore a conflict. Have you ever watched your mind when you are trying to concentrate on something? It wanders off and you try to pull it back and so a battle goes on; you want to focus your attention, to concentrate on something, and thought is interested in looking out of the window, or in thinking about something else. In this conflict there is such a waste of energy and time.

One enquires why the mind chatters, talks endlessly to itself or to somebody else, or wants to be occupied everlastingly, in reading a book, turning on the radio, keeping active. Why? If you have observed, there is a habit of restlessness, your body can never sit still for any prolonged time, it is always doing something or fidgeting. The mind also chatters; otherwise what would happen to it? - it is frightened, so it must be occupied. It must be occupied with social reform, with this or that, with some belief, with some quarrel, with something that has happened in the past - it is thinking constantly. 23 As we were saying: attention is entirely different from concentration. Awareness and attention go together - but not concentration. A mind that is intensely attentive can observe very clearly, without any distortion, without any resistance, and yet function efficiently, objectively. What is the quality of such a mind? (I hope you are interested in this, because it is part of life. If you reject all this, you reject the whole of life also. If you do not know the meaning and the beauty of meditation you do not know anything of life. You may have the latest car, you may be able to travel all over the world freely, but if you do not know what the real beauty, the freedom and the joy of meditation is, you are missing a great part of life. Which is not to make you say, 'I must learn to meditate'. It is a natural thing that comes about. A mind that is enquiring must inevitably come to this; a mind that is aware, that observes 'what is' in itself, is self-understanding, self-knowing.)

We are asking: what is the quality of a mind that has come so far, naturally, without any effort? If you look at a tree or a cloud, the face of your wife or your husband or your neighbour, it is only out of silence that you can observe very clearly. You can only listen when there is no self-projected noise. When you are chattering to yourself, comparing what is being said with what you already know, then you are not listening. When you are observing with your eyes and all kinds of prejudices and knowledge are interfering, you are not really observing. So when you really observe and listen, you can only do so out of silence.

I do not know if you have ever gone that far. It is not something you cultivate, take years to come upon, because it is not the product of time or of comparison; it is the product of observation in daily life, the observations of your thoughts and the understanding of thought. When the mind is completely aware it becomes extraordinarily silent, quiet; it is not asleep, but highly awake in that silence. Only such a mind can see what truth is, can see if there is something beyond or not. Only such a mind is a religious mind, because it has left the past completely - though it can use the memory of the past. Religion then is something that cannot possibly be put into words; it cannot be measured by thought - for thought is always measuring; it is, as we said, the response of the past. Thought is never free; it is always functioning within the field of the known.

So a mind that is capable of understanding what truth is, what reality is - if there is such a thing as reality - must be completely free of all the human tricks, deceptions and illusions. And this takes a lot of work. It means an inward discipline; a discipline which is not imitation, conformity or adjustment. Discipline comes in the observation of 'what is' and learning about it; this learning about itself is its own discipline. Therefore there is order and with it the end of disorder in oneself. All this, from the beginning of these talks till now, is part of meditation.

Only if you know how to look at a cloud or see the beauty of the light on the sea, how to look at your wife - or the boy, or the girl - with a fresh eye, with an innocent mind that has never been harmed, that has never shed a tear, can the mind see what truth is.

Questioner: A while ago I had verified for myself what you say - that the key to inner freedom is to experience that the observer and observed are one. I had very laborious and tedious work to perform, for which I developed a great resistance. I realized that I was this resistance and that only resistance looked at resistance. Then suddenly that resistance was gone - it was like a miracle - and I had even physical strength to finish my work.

Krishnamurti: Are you trying to confirm what I am saying, giving me or the audience encouragement? (Laughter.)

Questioner: It needs enormous energy before one comes to the point of seeing that observer and observed are one.

Krishnamurti: The gentleman says that the observer is the observed; that is: when there is fear, the observer is part of that fear. He is not identifying himself with fear; the observer is part of that very fear itself. To realize that is fairly simple. Either you realize it verbally, theoretically - understanding the meaning of the words - or you actually see that the observer and the observed are one. If you see that actually, it does make a drastic difference in your life; it ends conflict. When there is a division between the observer and the observed, a gap, there is a time interval and therefore there is conflict. When you actually see and test by observing that the observer and the observed are actually one, then you end all conflict in life, in all relationships.

Questioner: When we realize that the past, as the memory, is interposed between something deeper and the outside, what can we do? We cannot stop it - it keeps going on.

Krishnamurti: The memory interposes itself between the outer and the inner. There is the inner, and the outer, and the mind as memory as something separate, as the past. So there are three things now, the inner, the outer, and the mind as the past. Please, sir, do not laugh - this is our life, this is what we are doing; though you may put the question differently, this is actually what is going on in our daily life. You want to do something; the mind says, 'Do not do it, or, do it some other way', so there is a battle going on. The mind is interfering; the mind as the thought, thought being the past. Thought comes in between the actual, the inner and the outer; so what is one to do? The function of thought is to divide; it has divided life as the past, the present, and the future. Thought has also divided the inner from the outer. Thought says: 'How can I bridge the two and act as a whole'. Can thought do this? - being itself the factor of division?

Questioner: Where there is a will there is a way.

Krishnamurti: No, sir: you have your way in the world; you have your will to destroy people and you have succeeded, you have found the way. We are not concerned with will; will is the most destructive thing, for will is based on pleasure, on desire, and not on free joy.

You are asking how thought can be kept quiet. How can thought be silent? Is that the right question? - because if you put the wrong question you invariably get the wrong answer. (Laughter.) No, sir, this is not a laughing matter. You must put the right question. Is it the right question to ask: 'How can thought end'? Or must one find out what the function of thought is? If you put an end to thought - if that is at all possible - then how will you operate when you have to go to the office? Thought, apparently, is necessary.

We are saying thought is dangerous in a certain direction, because it divides; and yet thought must function logically, sanely, objectively, healthily, in another direction. How is this possible? How can thought not interfere? You see the problem? It is not 'how to end thought'. When you have put the question very clearly, you will see it for yourself. Thought, which is the response of the past, interferes, divides as the outer and the inner and destroys unity. So we say, 'Let us destroy thought, let us kill the mind.' This is a totally wrong question. But if you enquired into the whole structure of thought, saw what its place is, where it is not necessary, then you would find out that mind will operate intelligently when thought does not function as also when thought must function.

Questioner: Why is it that you have a greater awareness of 'what is' than I have? What is your secret?

Krishnamurti: I have really never thought about it. Just look: is humility something to be cultivated? If you cultivate humility, it is still vanity. If you cultivate awareness of 'what is', you are not being aware. But if you are aware when you sit in a bus, or drive a car, when you look, talk, or are enjoying yourself, then out of that, naturally, easily, comes the awareness of 'what is-'. But if you try to cultivate paying a great deal of attention to 'what is', thought is operating, not awareness.

Questioner: Did you say: to be free we should have no teachers? Did I understand it rightly!

Krishnamurti: What is the function of a teacher? If he knows a subject like medicine, science, how to run a computer and so on, his function is to instruct another about the knowledge and the information he has. That is fairly simple. But if we are talking about the teacher who says he knows, and wants to instruct the disciple, then be suspicious, for the man who says he knows, does not know. Because truth, the beauty of enlightenment, whatever you call it, cannot ever be described - it is. It is a living thing, a moving thing, it is active, it is weightless. Only about a dead thing can you say what it is; and the teacher who teaches you about dead things is not a teacher.

Questioner: How can we put concentration, discipline and attention together?

Krishnamurti: The word 'discipline' means to learn from another. The disciple is one who learns from the teacher, Have you ever considered or gone into the question of what learning is? 'The active present of the verb 'to learn' - what does it mean? Either you are learning in order to add to what you already know, which becomes knowledge - like science - or there is learning which is not an accumulation of knowledge but a movement. Do you see the difference between the two? I either learn in order to acquire knowledge, to be efficient, technologically and so on, or I am learning all the time something which is always new and therefore action is always new. Please listen to this: I want to know, I want to learn about myself. I am a very complex entity, there is both the hidden and the obvious. I want to know about the whole totality of myself. So I watch myself and I see I am afraid; I see the cause of that fear; in watching I have learnt and that has become my knowledge. But if the next time fear arises, I look at it with the previous knowledge, then I have stopped learning. I am only looking at it with the past and am not learning about what is actually going on. To learn about myself, there must be freedom, so that there is constant observation without the past interfering - without thought interfering.

So 'learning' has two meanings: learning to acquire knowledge with which I can operate most efficiently in certain fields, or learning about oneself, so that the past - which is thought - does not interfere all the time; in that way I can observe, and the mind is always sensitive.

Questioner: I would like to ask you if you eat meat or fish?

Krishnamurti: Does it really interest you? All my life I have never touched meat or fish - I have never tasted it, have never smoked or drunk; it does not appeal, there is no meaning to it. Will that make you also a vegetarian? (Laughter.) It won't! You know, heroes, examples, are the worst things you can have. Find out why you eat meat, why you indulge in smoking and drinking, why you cannot lead a simple life - which does not mean one suit of clothes, or one meal a day, but a quality of mind that is simple, without all the distortions of pleasures and desires, ambitions and motives - so that you can look directly and perceive the beauty of the world.

Questioner: I just wanted to ask what humour is.

Krishnamurti: I suppose it means really, to laugh at oneself. We have so many tears in our hearts, so much misery - just to look at ourselves with laughter, to observe with clarity, with seriousness and yet with laughter, if one can.