Krishnamurti: Talk to Students 6
Transcript of Talk to Students 6, Rajghat, 16 December 1952
Perhaps, this morning, we can approach the problem of fear from another angle. Fear does extraordinary things to most of us. It creates all kinds of illusions, problems; and until we really understand it, go into it very very deeply, fear always distorts our actions throughout life; it twists our ideas, the way of our life; it creates barriers between people; it certainly destroys love. So, I think, the more we understand it, the more we go into it, the more we really are free of it, the greater is our contact with what is around us. Our contacts, what we can touch in life, are at a very few points, are they not? But if we can have contacts, wide contacts, deep understanding, deep sympathies, love and consideration, great will be the extension of our horizon. So perhaps we can talk about fear from a different point of view.
I do not know if you have noticed that most of us want some kind of safety. We want some kind of security, somebody on whom to lean. As a small child holds on to the mother’s hand, so we want something to lean on, somebody to love us. Without a feeling of security, without a feeling of safety, without a mental safeguard, we lean, do we not? Because we have leaned on others, looked to others to guide us, to help us, we feel confused, we are afraid, we do not know what to do, what to think, how to act. So, when we are left to ourselves, we are completely lost, we feel insecure, uncertain. From that arises fear, does it not? Now, there are different kinds of safeguards, different kinds of feeling of certainty, the feeling that one is being protected as when the parent protects the child. We want something to give us certainty. So we have outward protections and inward protections, outward securities and inward safeguards. Have we not? When you close the windows and the doors of the house and live inside, you feel very secure, you feel safe, unmolested. But life is not like that. Life is constantly knocking on the door, trying to push the windows open all the time, so that you may see more; but, if there is fear and you close all the windows, the knocking grows louder. So, the more outward securities you cling to, the more life comes and pushes you. The more you are afraid, the more you are enclosed, the greater the suffering, which is knocking, which is dominating, which is the questioning of life. Life won’t leave you alone. You like to be left alone, you like to close all the windows, the lattices, everything completely, to be safe inside. But the more you enclose yourself, the more life comes and breaks your windows; and so the struggle begins. You want to be secure and life says `you cannot’. So, outwardly, you want security; and society, tradition, fathers, wives, husbands, push and break through. And inwardly you seek security, comfort, in an idea. You know what ideas are, how ideas come into being? You have an idea to go out for a walk, to see something. You read a book and you get an idea. You must find out what an idea is, and then see how the idea becomes a means of security, of seeking safety, something to which you cling. Have you ever thought about an idea? If you have an idea and I have an idea, I think my idea is better than your idea, and we struggle, don’t we? I try to convince you and you try to convince me. The whole world is built on ideas; and if you go into it, you will find that merely clinging to an idea has no value. Have you noticed how your fathers, your mothers, your teachers, your aunts cling to what they think?
Now, how does idea come into being? How do you have an idea? When you want to go out for a walk, how does it come? That is an idea, is it not? A very simple idea. The idea that you should go out for a walk, how does that come? It is very interesting to find out how that comes. If I watch it, I see that an idea arises and I cling to it and push everything else aside. So, you must find out, must you not? How that comes, the thought of your going out on a walk. That is a response to a sensation, is it not? Is this too difficult? There is the feeling which is a sensation, and that sensation comes because I have seen something which I want to do. Then, thought is created and then put into action. I see a car. There is a sensation, is there not? It is a beautiful car, it is a Buick, a Ford; there is sensation which comes from the very look of it. The perception creates the sensation. From the sensation there is the idea and then the idea becomes very prominent. I want the car. It is my car.
There are outward securities of ideas and inward securities of ideas. I believe in something, I believe in God, I believe in rituals, I believe that I should be married, I believe that there is reincarnation, life after death; these beliefs are all created by my desires, by my prejudices; and to these beliefs I cling. So, I have outside of me, outside the skin as it were, ideas of security and also inward securities; remove them or question those ideas outside and inside of me, and I am afraid. So, I will battle with you, I will push you away, so that you do not touch my ideas.
Now, can there ever be any security? You understand? We have ideas about security, the feeling of being safe with my father, with my mother, in a job; the way I think, the way of my life, the way I look; with these I feel very satisfied; I feel very content in being enclosed in safe ideas. Can I ever be safe, can I ever be secure, however many the safeguards are which I may have outwardly or inwardly? How can there be security if my bank fails tomorrow, if my father or mother dies tomorrow, if there is a revolution? Inwardly is there any safety within my ideas? I like to think that I am safe in my ideas, in my beliefs, in my prejudices; but is there safety? They are walls which are not real, they are just my ideas, my sensations. I see for myself when I look into both the outward and the inward securities, that there is no safety at all. I like to believe that there is God who is looking after me. I like to think that I am going to be born more rich, more noble. But it may be or it may not be.
Inwardly there is no certainty, and outwardly there is no certainty. If you ask the refugees that have left Pakistan or any of the refugees from Eastern Europe, they will tell you that there is no security. But inwardly they feel that there is security; and so they cling to it. You may remove the outward security; but still inwardly you are very eager and build your security, because you do not want to let that go. That implies greater fear. Supposing tomorrow, or in a few years’ time, your parents tell you to do what they want, to marry or not to marry. Would you be frightened? Of course you would not be frightened, because up to now you have been brought up to do exactly what you were told to do, to think along certain lines, to act in a certain manner, to follow certain ideas. If you are asked to do what you like, would you not be completely at a loss? If your parents told you to marry whom you liked, you would shiver, would you not? Because you have been conditioned – as I explained yesterday, by tradition, by fears – you will soon find that, if you are left to yourself, to be left alone is the greatest danger. You never want to be alone. You never want to think out anything for yourself. You never want to go out for a walk by yourself. You all want to be like active ants, talking, talking, doing something. When you are left alone to think out any problem, to face any of the things that life demands, you who have been brought up sheltered in ideas, sheltered by parents, by priests, by gurus, you are totally at a loss and are frightened; being frightened, you do most chaotic things, most absurd things; you accept like a man with a begging bowl, who will accept anything thoughtlessly.
So, seeing all this, really thoughtful persons begin to be free from any kind of security, inward or outward. This is extremely difficult because it means that you are alone, that you are not dependent. The moment you depend, there is fear; and where there is fear, there is no love. Where there is love, you are not alone. The sense of loneliness is only when you are frightened, when you do not know what to do. When you are controlled by ideas, isolated by beliefs, then there is fear; and when there is fear, you are completely blind. So, in a school of this kind, the teachers and the parents have to solve this problem of fear; but unfortunately, parents are afraid for you and what you are going to do if you do not get married, if you do not get a job. They have fear of what people might say, the fear of your going wrong or right; because of this fear, they make you do something. Their fear is couched, is clothed, in what they call love. They want to look after you, therefore you must do this. But if you go behind that wall, behind the so-called affection and consideration, there is their fear for your safety; and you are also equally afraid because you have depended on people so long. So, you are frightened.
Is it not very important, in a school of this kind, that you should, from the very tender age right through life, break down these feelings of fear and question them, so that you are not isolated; so that you are not in fear; so that you are not enclosed in ideas, in traditions, in habits, but you are free human-beings with creative vitality?
Question: Why are we afraid, though we know that God protects us?
Krishnamurti: You have been told that God protects you. Look what is happening. Your father, your brother, your mother have told you that God protects you, which is an idea, and that idea you cling to; and yet, there is fear. So, you have an idea that God protects you – an idea, a thought, a feeling. But the actual fact is you are afraid. The actual fact is the real thing, not your idea that you are going to be protected because your father, your mother, your tradition, hope that God will protect you. But what is actually happening? Are you being protected? Look at the millions of people who are not protected, who are starving. Look at the villagers who carry weights, who are dirty, smelling, with torn clothes. Are they protected by God? Because you have more money than the rest, because you have got a position, because your father is a Tahsildar or Collector or a merchant who has cheated somebody, should you be protected while there are millions in the world going without food without proper clothes? Really there is no protection even though you like to feel that God will protect you. It is just a nice idea, which is to pacify the fear; so you do not question, but just believe in God. If you really go into the question of fear, then you will find out whether God will protect you or not. To start with, the idea that you are going to be protected by God has no meaning. You start with the hope that the suffering poor starving human being is going to be protected by the State, by his employer, by society, by God, by tradition; but they are not going to protect him.
When there is the feeling of affection, there is no fear; then there is no problem.
Question: What is shyness?
Krishnamurti: Do you not know what it is? Do you not know when you feel shy? If you feel shy, I ask you what is shyness? Here are a large group of people and you are not used to getting up and talking and you feel a little bit sensitive to expose yourself to criticism. You are shy of your bad speech, your incapacity to pronounce English properly and so on. In other words, you are afraid to expose yourself to all of us; we might laugh at you, we might criticize you. It is your shyness, it is your feeling of inadequacy, a feeling that you cannot speak properly that we will all laugh at you. Therefore, you either say you would like to speak in Hindi, or keep quiet. But if you felt very sure, you would express yourself. To be able to express yourself gives you a feeling of a certain assurance, does it not?
Question: What is society?
Krishnamurti: What is society? What is the family?
Let us find out step by step how society is created, how it comes into being. What is the family? When you say, `It is my family’, what do you mean? My father, my mother, my brother, my sister, the feeling of closeness, the feeling that we are living in the same house, the feeling that my father and my mother are going to protect me; the ownership of certain property, of jewels, saris, clothes. That is the beginning of the family. There is another family like that living in another house, feeling the same things I feel, the sense of my house, my clothes, my car, my wife, my husband, my children; and there is another family over there feeling exactly the same thing; so that ten such families living on the same piece of earth, feeling the same thing, have a feeling that they must not be invaded by other families, So, they begin to make laws. The powerful families build themselves into positions, they have big properties, more money, more clothes, more cars. So the ten families get together and frame laws, they tell us what to do. So, gradually, a social entity comes into being, with laws, regulations, policemen, the soldier, the navy, the army. Ultimately, the whole of the earth becomes peopled by various kinds of social entities. Then, people get ideas and want to overthrow those who are established, who have all the means of power. They break down that society and then form another society.
Society is the relationship with people, the relationship between one family and another family, between one group of people and another group, between individuals and society. So, relationship is society; the relationship between individuals, between you and me, is society. If I am very greedy, very cunning, if I have great power, authority, I am going to push you out; and you are going to do the same to me. Then, laws are made by you and me, and others come and break our laws and establish another series of laws; and that goes on all the time. In society and in relationship, there is constant conflict. This is the simple basis of society; it becomes more and more complex as human beings become more and more complex in their ideas, in their wants, in their mechanical institutions, in their industry.
Question: Can you become free, living in this society?
Krishnamurti: While living in society, can you be free? If you depend on society for your security, for your comfort, can you ever be free? If I depend on my father for affection, for money, for initiative to do things, if I depend on him or on my guru, am I free? I am not. If I depend similarly on society – society being the instruments that give me a job, that give me protection, that give me various sets of comforts – am I free? So, is it possible to be free when I am dependent? It is only possible when I have capacity, when I have initiative, when I can think freely, when I am not afraid of what anybody says, when I want to find out something which is true, when I am not greedy, envious, jealous. As long as I am envious, greedy, I am depending; as long as I am depending on society, I am not free; but if I am free from greed, I am free. I do not mind what I do, what kind of job I get; but if I insist that because I have been educated, because I am this or that, I must become only a certain type of worker, a clerk, a glorified clerk under the Government, if I demand that I should work only in certain directions, then of course, I depend on society. Then, I am not free.
Question: Why do people want to live in society? They can live alone.
Krishnamurti: Can you live alone?
Question: I live in society because my father and mother live in society. Krishnamurti: To have a job, to live, to earn a livelihood, to do anything, have you not to live in society? Can you live alone? For your food you depend on somebody; for your clothes you depend on somebody; even if you are a sannyasi, you depend for your food, for your clothes, for your shelter, on someone. You cannot live alone. There is no entity which is completely alone. You are always related; it is only in death that you are alone. In living, you are always related – to your father, to your brother, to the beggar, to the road-mender, to the Tahsildar, to the Collector. You are always related, and because you do not understand that relationship, there is conflict. But if you understood that relationship between one man and another, there is no conflict, and there is no problem of living alone.
Question: When we are related to one another, that means we cannot be free. Is it not absolutely true?
Krishnamurti: We do not understand what relationship is, right relationship. Suppose I have to depend on you; suppose I depend on you for my life, for my comfort, for my security: how can I ever be free? But if I do not depend, I am still related, am I not? I depend on you because I want some kind of emotional or physical or intellectual comfort. I depend on my parents because I want some kind of safety. So, my relationship to my parents is that of dependence; and if I depend, there is fear; and my relationship to my parents is based on fear. So, how can I have any relationship which is free? I can only have relationship which is free, when there is no fear. So, I have to set about freeing myself from that dependency so as to have right relationship; for in that right relationship, I am free.
Question: How can we be free when our parents depend on us?
Krishnamurti: Why do your parents depend on you? Because they are old, they depend upon you to support them. Then what happens? They depend on you, for you to earn a livelihood, for you to clothe them; and if you say, `I want to become a carpenter although I may not earn any money at all’, they say that you must not do so because you have to support them. Just think about it. I am not saying it is good or bad. If I say it is good or bad, then we put an end to thinking. So, the father’s demand that you should provide for him prevents you from living your life, and the living of your life is considered bad, selfish; you thus become the slave of your parents. The State should look after old people through old age pensions, through various means of security. But when there is a country where there is overpopulation, insufficiency, lack of productivity and so on, the State cannot look after old people. So, parents depend on the young, and the young always fit into the groove of tradition and are destroyed. So, it is not a problem to be discussed by me; you have to work it out and you have to think about it. Look, I want to support my parents within reasonable limits. Suppose, I also want to do something which may not pay, which may not bring me money. Suppose I want to become a religious person, to find out what God is, what life is; that way, I may not have much money; and if I pursue it, I may have to give up my family, and they will probably starve like other millions of people. But as long as I am frightened of what people say – that I am not a dutiful son, that I am not a worthy son – I never will be a creative being. To be a happy creative human being, I must have a great deal of initiative.
Question: Will it be good on our part to see our parents starving?
Krishnamurti: You are not putting it in the right way. I want to become an artist, a painter; and I know painting will bring me very little money. What am I to do? Sacrifice my urge to paint and become a clerk? That is what happens. I become a clerk and I am in great conflict, I am in misery; and because I suffer and am frustrated, I will make miserable my wife and children. So, what am I to do? I say to my parents, `I want to paint, I will give you what little I can from the little I have, that is all I can do’.
You have asked questions like `What is society?’, `What am I to do if my parents are dependent on me?’ `What is freedom?’ ‘Can I be free in society?’ And I have answered them. But if you really do not think about them, if you do not go into them for yourself more and more deeply and approach them from different angles; if you do not look at them in different ways, then you will only say `This is good. This is bad. This is duty. That is not duty. This is right. That is wrong; and that will not lead you any further. But if you and I sit down, think about these problems, if you and the teacher discuss them, go into them, then your intelligence is awakened; then when these questions arise in daily life, you will be able to meet them. You will not meet them if you only accept what I am saying. My answers to your questions are only to awaken your intelligence, so that you will think these questions out, so that you will be able to meet life rightly.