Can Thought Realise Its Limitation?


P: Krishnaji, if we go into any aspect of your teaching, it is based on that which is observable. The instruments of hearing, of seeing, are within the field of sensory apprehension. Even though you may talk of not naming, that which is observable is through the instruments of seeing, listening. The instruments of the senses are the only instruments we have with which to observe.

Krishnamurti: We know sensory seeing, sensory hearing, sensory touching and the intellect which is part of the whole structure. Now what is the question?

P: In that sense, the teaching is materialistic as opposed to the metaphysical. Your position is a materialistic position.

F: If you want to stick to facts, the only instrument we have is the brain. Now, is the brain everything or is it an instrument in the hands of somebody else? If you say there is only brain, it will be a materialistic position. If you say the instrument is materialistic then the teaching is not materialistic.

P: The Tantric position and the ancient alchemist position are in one sense similar to Krishnaji’s position. Everything has to be observed. There is nothing that has to be accepted that has not been seen with the eyes of the seer. Seeing this I now ask, ‘what is your view of God’. I feel it is a very legitimate question.

F: Can you explain what God is?

Krishnamurti: What do you mean by God? We have explained energy and matter and now you ask what we mean by God? I never use the word ‘God’ to indicate something which is not God. What thought has invented is not God. If it is invented by thought, it is still within the field of time, within the field of the material.

P: Thought says I cannot go further.

Krishnamurti: But it may invent God because it cannot go further. Thought knows its limitations. Therefore, knowing its limitations, it tries to invent the limitless which it calls God. That is the position.

P: When thought sees its limitations, it is still aware of an existence beyond itself.

Krishnamurti: Thought has invented it. It can only go beyond when thought comes to an end.

P: Seeing the limitations of thought is not the knowing of thought.

Krishnamurti: So we must go into the knowing of thought and not God.

D: When thought sees its own limitation, it practically debunks it.

Krishnamurti: When you say limitation, does thought realize it is limited or does the thinker realize that thought is limited? You see the point. Or does the thinker who is the product of thought realize it?

P: Why do you draw the distinction?

Krishnamurti: Thought has created the thinker. If thought did not exist, there would be no thinker. Does the thinker, observing the limitations, say ‘I am limited’ or does thought itself realize its limitations which are two different positions. Let us be clear in all this. We are exploring. There are the two – the thought and thinker. The thinker, observing thought, sees through reasoning which is the material, which is energy, that energy is limited. In the realm of thought, the thinker thinks this.

D: When the thinker says thought is limited, both the thought and the thinker become question-marks.

Krishnamurti: No, not yet. Thought is memory, thought is the response of knowledge. Thought has brought about this thing called the thinker. The thinker then becomes separate from thought; at least it thinks it is separate from thought. The thinker, looking at reasoning, at the intellect, at the capacity to rationalize, sees that it is very very limited. Therefore, the thinker condemns reason; the thinker says thought is very limited, which is condemnation. Then he says there must be something more than thought, something beyond this limited field. That is what we are doing. We are taking things as they are. Does the thinker think that thought is limited or does thought itself realize it is limited? I do not know if you see the difference.

F: Thought is prior to the thinker.

P: Thought can end. Thought can never feel it is limited. Thought can end – through what reason, do not ask. There is no real reason but thought can end. But how does thought feel it is limited?

Krishnamurti: That is my point. Does the thinker see he is limited or does thought say, I cannot go any further? You see the point?

F: Why do you separate the thinker from the thought? There are many thoughts out of which the thinker is also another thought. The thinker is the guide, helper, censor; he is the most dominant thing.

Krishnamurti: Thought has gone through all this and established a centre from which there is the observer, and the observer looking at thought says thought is limited.

D: In fact, it can only say ‘I do not know’.

Krishnamurti: It does not say that. You are introducing a non-observable fact. First of all, thought is the response of knowledge, thought has not yet realized that it is very limited. What it has done in order to have security, is to put together various thoughts which have become the observer, the thinker, the experiencer. Then we are asking the question: Does the thinker realize that it is limited, or thought itself realizes it is limited? The two are entirely different.

F: We know only a state of thinker thinking thought.

Krishnamurti: That is all we know. Therefore, the thinker invariably says we must go beyond thought; therefore it questions: Can one kill the mind? Does God exist?

F: You are giving existence to the thinker instead of thought.

Krishnamurti: The thinker is modifying, adding. The thinker is not a permanent entity as thought is not permanent, but the thinker is adjusting, modifying.

This is important. I may be mistaken. It is important to find out whether the thinker sees it is limited or whether thought as idea – idea being organized thought – thinks it is limited. Now, who says it? If the thinker says it is limited, then the thinker says there must be something more. Then the thinker says there must be God, there must be something beyond thinking. Right? If thought itself realizes it cannot go beyond its own tether, beyond its own rooted brain cells, the brain cells as the material, as the root of thinking; if thought realizes that, then what takes place?

P: You see, sir, that is the whole point. If you were to leave your teaching at this point, I would understand. If you were to leave it at this point, that thought itself sees this, the brain cells themselves see it and leave it, then there is a total consistency and logic; but you are always moving, going beyond this and you cannot use any words. Thereafter call it what you like, but the feeling of God is introduced.

Krishnamurti: I won’t accept the word ‘God’.

P: You take us by reason, by logic to a point. You do not leave it there.

Krishnamurti: Of course not.

P: That is the real paradox.

Krishnamurti: I refuse to accept it as a paradox.

F: The material of something and the meaning cannot be interchanged. ‘P’ is mixing up the two.

Krishnamurti: It is fairly simple what she says: The thinker and the thought – we can see the whole logic of that, of what you say, but you do not leave it there. You push it further.

P: Into an abstraction. I say that thought and the thinker being essentially one, man has separated them for his own safety, permanency, security. We are asking the question whether the thinker thinks thought is limited and therefore posits something beyond, because he must have security; or does thought say that whatever movement however subtle, however obvious, reasonable, thought is still limited. But K does not say that. K goes further into abstractions.

Krishnamurti: I realize that thought and the thinker are very very limited and I do not stop there. To do so would be a purely materialistic philosophy. That is what many intellectuals in the east and west have come to. But they are always tethered, and being tethered, they expand but remain tied to a pole which is their experience, their belief. Now, if I can answer the question – does thought itself realize the limitations of itself, then what takes place? Knowing thought is energy, thought is memory, thought is the past, thought is time, suffering, then what takes place? It realizes that any movement of thought is consciousness, is the content of consciousness, and without the content there is no consciousness. Now what takes place? Is that observable or not? I do not invent God.

P: I do not say that. I never said you invent God. I say up to this point your position is material, rational, logical; suddenly you introduce another element.

Krishnamurti: No. Look at it. Thought itself realizes – not the thinker who thinks it cannot and therefore posits super-consciousness, a higher self, God or whatever it will – but thought itself realizes that any movement it makes is within the field of time. Then what happens? Then thought becomes completely silent – this is an observable, testable fact. The silence is not the result of discipline. Then what happens?

P: Sir, let me ask you a question. In that state the registering of all noise goes on, the machine which registers, what is that thing?

Krishnamurti: The brain.

P: The brain is the material. So this registering goes on.

Krishnamurti: It goes on all the time, whether I am conscious or unconscious.

P: You may not name it but the sense of existence goes on.

Krishnamurti: No, you are using the word ‘existence’ but recording goes on. I want to make the difference here.

P: Let us not move away. It is not that all existence is wiped out. It would be if thought ends.

Krishnamurti: On the contrary.

P: Existence; the sense of existence ‘is’.

Krishnamurti: Life goes on but without the ‘me’ as the observer. Life goes on, the registration goes on, memory goes on, but the ‘me’ which thought has brought about, which is the content of consciousness, that ‘me’ disappears; obviously because that ‘me’ is the limited. Therefore thought as the ‘me’ says ‘I am limited’. It does not mean the body does not go on, but the centre, which is the activity as the self, as the ‘me’, is not. Again that is logical because thought says I am limited. I will not create the ‘me’ which is further limitation. It realizes it and it drops away.