Pain and Deterioration


Pupul Jayakar (PJ): I wanted to talk about the problems of deterioration and death, about why the mechanism of the mind has a tendency to affect the mechanism of the body, and for there to be an ebbing of energy.

Krishnamurti (K): Why does the body deteriorate?

PJ: The body deteriorates as it ages. There is time, and the body deteriorates, but why does the mind deteriorate so that at the end of it there is death? There is the death of the body and the death of the mind, and the death of the mind can take place even when the body is alive.

K: It can begin at the age of ten.

PJ: If, as you say, the brain cells contain all consciousness, then with the deterioration of the brain cells and the deterioration of the cells of the human body, it is inevitable that the brain cells will also deteriorate.

K: Are we talking of why the whole structure of the mind and brain deteriorates with age, with time?

Maurice Frydman (MF): Biologists have already given the answer.

K: What do they say?

MF: The cells of the brain and the body deteriorate because they don’t eliminate. They are not made for perfect elimination. They don’t completely eliminate the products of their own metabolism. If they are given a chance to wash themselves out completely in an appropriate solution, they will live forever.

K: Yes, that is chemically all right. But the question is, isn’t it, why the brain, which has been active during a certain period of time, deteriorates. And the biologist’s answer to that is: given sufficient cleansing power it can go on living Explorations and insights forever. What is that cleansing element?

MF: Adequate elimination.

K: But it is much deeper than that, surely.

MF: All right. Adequate elimination is the outer expression of the cleansing power.

K: Yes.

Sunanda Patwardhan (SP): Sir, scientists also say that the entropic movement, or the increasing tendency for less and less energy, is true only of physical matter. They are not able to say that with regard to the mind.

K: That is what I want to get at.

PJ: But is the mind separate from the brain cells?

K: So is it the deterioration of energy, or is it that the brain cells deteriorate in their capacity to produce energy? I don’t know if I am making myself clear. We are going to find out something. First put the question clearly.

MF: There are two processes: entropy and extropy. In extropy, energy is accumulated, revived; in entropy it is dissipated. Physical processes are entropic processes. But mental processes may be the other way round— extropic—which means they collect energy.

K: Let’s start, inquire. Entropy and extropy and all the rest of it—let us put all that aside for the moment. The question is: Why does the brain not keep its quality of sharpness, clarity, deep energy and why, as it gets older, it seems to deteriorate? This happens even when one is at the age of twenty. It is already set, already held in a groove, and it gradually peters out. So it’s not a matter of age. I want to find out if it is a matter of age. You can see that certain minds, even though they are quite young, in their teens, have already lost this quality of swiftness. They are already caught in a groove, and the deteriorating factor has already begun. Is that so?

SP: That raises the issue that when we are born, we come with a certain conditioning.

K: Is it a matter of conditioning and breaking through that conditioning which frees energy and therefore the brain can go on indefinitely, as long as the body survives? Or has it to do with a mind that functions in decisions?

SP: What do you mean ‘functions in decisions’?

K: That operates through choice and will. One decides the course of action one is going to take, and that decision is based not on clarity, not on the observation of the total field, but according to one’s satisfaction and enjoyment. It is a fragment of that field; one continues to live in that fragmentation. That is one of the factors of deterioration. I am quite sure it is. I choose to be a scientist and disregard the total field of life, the whole, vast complex field of life, and my decision to be a scientist may be due to environmental influence, family influence, my own desire to achieve success in a certain direction. These many combinations bring about the choice of a particular profession—science, sociology, biology, whatever it is—and that decision, that choice, and the action from that choice, which is to carry this out, is one of the factors of deterioration, because I disregard the rest of the field and live in a particular narrow corner of that field. The brain cells don’t function totally, only in one direction. This is rather interesting. Don’t accept this, please; we are examining it.

PJ: You say they don’t function fully.

K: The whole brain isn’t active, and I think that is the factor of deterioration.

MF: But when we see, it is impossible to see the totality.

K: No, wait. Pupulji asked, ‘What are the factors of deterioration?’ Not whether the mind is capable of seeing the total or not. I have observed for many years that a mind which follows a certain course of action disregarding the whole totality of action, which pursues a profession that is logical, sane or insane, convenient or satisfactory, disregarding the rest, is one of the factors of deterioration.

PJ: Let’s explore that. The brain cells themselves have an inbuilt sense of time, a sense of memory, a sense of instinct. It is all inbuilt in the brain cells themselves. They operate in reflexes. Now, if the very nature of operating in reflexes is that which limits the brain from functioning totally, then we know no other way.

K: You are missing my point. We are trying to find out what the factors of deterioration are. When we see what the factors are, then perhaps we may get into the other—seeing the total.

PJ: That way one can think of twenty factors.

K: No. Not too many.

PJ: Conflict.

K: I’m coming to that. The pursuit of action based on choice, which has its motive in satisfaction or in fulfilment or in the desire to achieve and all the rest of it, must create conflict because it is contrary to all the rest. That is one of the factors.

PJ: And the other is shock.

K: So conflict is one of the factors of deterioration, probably that is the major factor of deterioration.

Questioner: Can you bring it a little close to our life?

K: I’m doing that. Look, sir, I decide to become a politician, I decide to become a religious man, I decide to become an artist, a politician, a sannyasi—anything. That decision is made by a conditioning brought about by a culture which in its very nature is fragmentary. I decide to be a bachelor because I think, from what I have read, from what I have seen, from what I have heard, that to attain God, truth, enlightenment, whatever, I must be a bachelor. I disregard the whole structure of human existence, biological, sociological, all the rest of it. That decision obviously brings about a conflict in me—sexual conflict, the conflict of keeping away from people, all the rest of it. That is one of the factors that brings about deterioration in the brain cells because I am using only one part, I am using only certain cells. The brain has got I don’t know how many millions and trillions of cells. It is only one little part that is operating, not the rest, and therefore there is conflict, and conflict is the factor of deterioration.

PJ: I’d just like to say one thing because sometimes it can be confusing. It doesn’t mean that doing this or doing other things will lead to less conflict. Being a celibate one day, being a married man another day is also going to create conflict.

K: Of course, of course. Any factor that brings about conflict is deterioration. It may be a dozen factors or one factor—marriage, sex, business—any factor that brings conflict. Obviously.

Q: Part of our structure is the deep, hidden contradictions that we can’t see or explore. What is it that makes us part of the decision process?

K: It is fairly clear, isn’t it? I decide to be a politician because I see that by becoming a politician I may succeed, I may have more money, I may have prestige, I may have a certain status. I can cheat, be corrupt, all the rest of it, and I choose that. That very factor of dividing my life as a politician from the rest is a factor of deterioration. That’s all we are saying. It is very simple. So choice and will are the factors of deterioration.

PJ: And yet they are the two instruments of action we have.

K: That’s all, so let’s look at it. It’s very interesting. We are coming upon something. All our life is based on these two factors: discrimination, choice, and the action of will in the pursuit of satisfaction.

SP: Why discrimination?

K: Discrimination is choice: I discriminate between this and that.

PJ: The problem is: is it a question of seeing the important and the peripheral?

K: No. We are trying to see what is the factor of deterioration, the root factor of deterioration. In exploring, we may come upon something different also. I see that choice and will in action are the factors of deterioration, and if you see that, then the question is: is there an action which has not in it these two elements, these two principles? Am I jumping too quickly?

PJ: You are jumping a bit.

K: All right.

PJ: Let’s take the other factors because there are many. There is heredity, there is shock.

K: If I have inherited a rather dull, stupid mind, I am finished. I can fiddle around, go to various temples and various churches, but my brain cells themselves have been affected.

PJ: Then there is the shock of living.

K: Which is what?

PJ: Life itself.

K: Why should life itself produce a shock?

PJ: But it does.

K: Why?

PJ: Death produces a shock.

K: Why? My son dies. It produces a shock because I never realized that my son will die; I suddenly realize he is dead. It is a neurological shock as well as an inward shock.

PJ: It is a physical shock, it is a neurological shock.

K: And psychological shock.

PJ: It’s coming into actual contact with the validity of something which ends physically; it creates a shock.

K: I agree. All right, let’s take it as a shock—the physical, psychological, emotional shock of suddenly losing something, losing somebody, the shock of being alone, of a thing suddenly coming to an end. That is a shock, and the brain cells have received the shock. Now, what will you do? Is that a factor of deterioration?

PJ: Of course it is deterioration.

SP: No. The way we respond may create the deterioration.

K: Yes, that is it. How one responds to the shock is the factor.

PJ: The fact is that one can respond with a total mind, but it is registered at depths which are beyond one to understand.

K: Wait, go slowly. My son is dead, my brother is dead. It is a tremendous shock because we have lived together, played together, all the rest of it. It is a tremendous shock. How you come out of the shock is important—whether that shock has paralysed the mind.

PJ: It paralyses.

K: The shock does, for the time being. Shock is a paralysis of the mind for the time being. How the mind comes out of it is the important factor. How does it come out of it? Does it come out of it with a hurt, with all the implications of hurt, or does it come out of it without a single hurt?

SP: That’s where what she says is relevant. You may not know; consciously you may say you have worked it out.

K: No, no, no.

SP: How do you know that there is not a trace of hurt?

K: We are going to find out. First see. You are all too quick.

P. Y. Deshpande (PYD): Could it be that death or something else ends completely the pattern of mind to which one was…

K: Yes, sir, that’s all implied. When my brother or son dies, my whole life is changed. The change is the shock. I have to go out of this house, I have to earn a different kind of livelihood. I don’t know the dozen things I have to do. All that is implied in the word shock. Don’t let’s enlarge that word, we can go on. Now I am asking whether that shock has left a mark of hurt or not. If it has not left a single mark, a single hurt, a single scratch, or the shadow of sorrow, then the mind comes out of it totally refreshed, totally new. But if it is scratched, hurt, brutalized, then that is the factor of deterioration. And how do I know, how does the mind know consciously that it is not hurt, deeply, profoundly?

PJ: Is it that in whatever way it comes out, if it is hurt deeply, profoundly, there is no hope afterwards, and it is all over? Or is there a way of wiping it out even if it is scratched?

K: We are going into that. The shock is natural because I have been thrown out suddenly on the street, metaphorically speaking. Put it any way. Neurologically, psychologically, inwardly, outwardly, the whole thing has changed. How does the mind come out of this? That is the question. Does it come out with hurt, or does it come out totally purged of all hurts? Are the hurts superficial, or so profound that the conscious mind cannot possibly know at a given moment and therefore the hurts will keep on repeating, repeating, repeating? All this is a wastage of energy. Now, does the mind find out whether it is deeply hurt?

PJ: I think it is possible to deal with the superficial hurts, but the deep hurts which one has…

K: I want to know how you will deal with them. How will you deal with them?

PJ: How does one?

K: Go on, ask, find out how you deal with the deep hurts. How does the mind come upon the deep hurts? What is a hurt?

PJ: Deep pain.

K: Is there a deep hurt?

PJ: Yes.

K: What do you mean by deep hurt?

PJ: When the nature and structure of consciousness undergoes a change…

K: What, what? Make it simpler, please.

PJ: The really deep hurts are when the very nature of your being is on the edge of the sword because of a crisis.

K: Be simple. Don’t you know all these factors? My brother dies, my son dies, or my husband or wife dies. It is a shock. The shock is a kind of hurt. I am asking, ‘Is the hurt very deep, and what do you mean by very deep?’

PJ: I see the conscious responses to it. I see what is being thrown out from the unconscious.

K: What is being thrown out?

PJ: What is being thrown out is pain.

K: Pain, of which you have not been aware before. And the shock reveals the pain. Which is—listen to it carefully—the pain was there, or the cause of pain.

PJ: The cause of pain.

K: That’s it. The cause of pain was there, of which I was not conscious. The shock comes and makes me aware of that pain.

MF: But why can’t you say the shock creates the pain?

K: No. I can’t say that. How can the shock create the pain? Pain was there.

MF: No, no.

K: I’ll show you. Frydman, don’t jump to conclusions, don’t ask questions relevant or irrelevant. My brother is dead; that is absolutely final; I can’t bring him back. The world faces this problem, not just you and I—everybody faces this problem. It is a shock, including all that we have said. That shock is a deep hurt. Was the hurt there before, was the cause of the hurt there before, and has the shock only revealed it? The hurt was there because I had never faced it. I had said I would put all my faith in my brother. I had never faced the sense of loneliness, which is one of the factors of hurt. So before the shock comes, I look at loneliness. Before the shock comes, I know what it means to be alone. Before the shock comes, I go into this question of reliance, dependence, which are all the factors of hurt, the causes of hurt; they are all brought out when the shock comes. So when the shock comes, what happens? I have no hurt. I’m right, this is right.

MF: What made you prepare yourself?

K: I didn’t prepare, I watched life. I watched the implications of attachment or indifference or of trying to cultivate independence because I must not depend. Dependence causes pain; therefore I cultivate independence, and that may also bring pain. So I watched in myself that dependence of any kind must inevitably bring about deep hurt. I have gone into it, I said, ‘Now finished’. So when the shock comes, the cause of hurt is not; a totally different thing takes place. That’s what I want to get at.

PJ: Sir, all these things one has done: one has observed loneliness, one has gone into the problem of fear, one has gone into the problem of attachment. It is not that I am speaking from vanity.

K: Would you say shock is suffering?

PJ: Shock seems to touch the depths of my being which I have never been able to touch before, which I had no access to.

K: What do you mean by that? If you have gone through loneliness, attachment, fear, not seeking independence as an opposite to attachment, of detachment as an opposite to attachment, and all those tricks that one plays, then what has taken place? When the shock of death comes, what takes place? Are you hurt?

PJ: Sir, this is a word which I would like to enlarge.

K: Enlarge it, enlarge it.

PJ: It seems to awaken all the pains I have had.

K: Which means what? You have not resolved those pains.

PJ: Possibly.

K: That’s what I am trying to get at. Of course, you haven’t resolved the pain of loneliness—I am taking that as an example.

PJ: What I want to ask is: is there a resolution of the pain of loneliness, the pain of attachment?

K: Yes, obviously.

PJ: Or is it a complete comprehension of or—whatever word you want to use—an awakening to this total process of pain?

K: Look, suffering is pain. Pain causes suffering. We use that word suffering to cover loneliness, attachment, detachment, independence, conflict—the whole field of man’s escape from suffering and the cause of suffering. We use that word to include all that. Or would you like to use another word? The totality of pain, hidden, observable, the totality of suffering—the pain of the villager, the sorrow of a woman who has lost her husband, the sorrow of a man who is ignorant, unlettered, always in poverty, and the sorrow, the pain of a man who cannot fulfil, who is ambitious, frustrated. All that is suffering, and the shock brings all that pain—not only yours—to the surface. And what takes place? I don’t know how to deal with it, right? I cry, I shout, I pray, and I go to the temple. This is what takes place. I hope I will meet my brother, my son, my husband in the next life or in the astral world. I do everything, trying to get out of this torture of pain.

PJ: Or I sit down and observe pain.

K: Yes. By observing, by talking about it, by crying, through dreams—oh, I go through tortures. Why should the shock reveal all this?

PJ: Because the roots of pain have never been revealed.

K: Why?

PJ: Because one has never plunged at that depth.

K: Why? I am asking. You are not answering my question. The human mind has seen that beggar on the road, leprous, or the villager with his endless work and sorrow—why hasn’t that touched me? Why should shock touch me?

PJ: Is there a why?

K: Oh yes, there is a why.

PJ: It happens.

K: No. Why didn’t that shock of seeing that beggar move me? The rotten society, the whole thing. PYD: The shock attacks the whole structure of the brain cells and makes them act.

K: I am asking you a very simple question. You saw that beggar on the road; why wasn’t it a shock to you, why didn’t you cry? Why do you cry when your son dies?

Questioner 2 (Q2): Because I am identified.

K: No, no. I saw a monk in Rome, I really cried. Sir, you understand? Tied to a post called religion, held there. We don’t cry there and we cry here; why? Not that there is no why. There is a why, obviously there is a why. Because we are insensitive.

S. Balasundaram (SB): The mind is asleep throughout, and the shock wakes it up.

K: The shock wakes it up—that’s the point. The shock wakes it up. And we are awakened to pain, which is our pain. We are not awakened to pain. This is not a theory.

PJ: No, sir. When you make a statement like that, I am awakened to pain. And the pain is the thing; it’s not a question of my pain or someone else’s.

K: Ah, we said that: pain. Now, what do you do with pain? Pain is suffering. What do you do with it?

Q1: Try to get rid of it.

K: We try to get rid of it. We have been through all that. What happens? You get rid of it, don’t get rid of it. What takes place? If you’ve really gone through all that, what takes place?

PJ: If you are in the middle of a storm, you don’t ask what takes place.

K: All right. Now ten days have passed, time has elapsed. My brother died ten months ago or ten years ago. So what? There is no question of escape, there is no question of finding a substitute. There is that pain in my heart, in my mind.

PJ: There is one thing more: it is not the pain of an individual feeling.

K: I said that, Pupul.

PJ: It awakens every pain.

K: I’ve said that. It’s not yours or mine. Pain! I felt pain when I saw that beggar. When I saw that monk I cried. When I saw that villager I was tortured. When I saw the rich man I said, ‘My God, look.’ And there is the society, the culture, the religion, the whole works of man. And the works of man is also the pain of my losing my brother. So it is pain. Now, what do I do with pain? Is it deep or superficial? You say it is very deep, right?

Achyut Patwardhan (AP): Yes, sir, it is very deep. It is deep.

K: What do you mean by deep?

AP: What I mean by deep is that it goes through every part of your being. It is not sectional; it doesn’t operate only in one part of your life.

K: And then what? You say it is very deep, it has no measurement. Don’t call it deep. Pain has no measurement. It is not deep or shallow: pain is pain. Then what? You remain in it? Bear the hurt because I can’t have a child for the rest of my life? Come on, sir, answer.

PYD: Obviously, everyone tries to escape from pain or find a substitute for it.

K: Yes sir.

PYD: If it is not substitutable, he calls it a deep pain.

K: So what shall I do with the pain I have?

Questioner 3 (Q3): Ignore it. There is nothing you can do.

K: Ignore it?

Q3: I am saying you can’t do anything.

K: We are going to find out. Go to the analyst to get rid of that pain? Go to Tirupati or Benares to get rid of that pain? Read a book to get rid of that pain? What shall I do with it? PYD: We have to find out who is having the pain.

K: I’ve got it. What shall I do?

PJ: I’m in the position of standing still.

K: When you say ‘standing still’, you are with the pain.

PJ: I am just there.

K: You are that pain. You remain there, you are there, you hold it. It is your baby, you hold it. And then what? What shall I do? I am that pain—the pain of the villager, the pain of that beggar, the pain of that man who is rich and who goes through agonies in his own way, the pain of the monk, and all the rest of it. I am that pain. What shall I do? SB: Is there a transformation of this pain into wakefulness?

K: That’s what I want to find out. At the moment of death, or after a few days or a month, my whole nervous, biological, psychological system is paralysed. I am not talking of that moment.

SP: That’s over.

K: Don’t go back to it again. Now it has passed, it’s a year old. I’ve been left with this pain. What shall I do?

SB: Suffering doesn’t wake up people because the whole world suffers; they go to sleep, suffer, go to sleep, suffer, go to sleep. Apparently it is a pretty unintelligent operation.

K: A mother has lost her son in Vietnam, and mothers don’t seem to learn at all that their sons might be killed through nationalism or concepts and formulas. They don’t realize it. So that’s a pain. I realize it for them, I suffer. So what happens? I suffer—not I—there is suffering. What shall I do?

Q2: I see what it is.

K: I see what it is. That beggar can never ride in a car, can never become a minister, poor chap—not that he should. And that monk is tortured by his own vows, by his own ideas of God; I see all that. It is so clear; I don’t have to examine more and more. What shall I do? I’m left with this.

Questioner 4 (Q4): The understanding by which the villager’s pain or the beggar’s pain becomes your own pain is already the step towards understanding that pain. Not everybody can see the villager’s pain or the beggar’s pain as his own.

K: I have that pain, sir. What shall I do? I am not concerned about whether everybody sees it or doesn’t see it. People don’t see many things. What shall I do? Your son is dead, somebody’s son is dead; it is pain.

PJ: When it happens you are in the middle of it; you are held.

K: Yes, I am talking of that—being in the middle of it. You saw that beggar singing the other night; it was a terrible scene. You were there. The fact is there, the pain, the suffering. What will you do?

Q4: You act to correct it.

K: What do you act on?

Q4: You act to try and change the condition of the beggar.

K: Oh, my Lord! That’s your idee fixe. And somebody says, ‘Become a religious man, everything will be solved. Give your life to Jesus.’

Q4: I think there is a difference.

K: Not much. You want to do it your way, and somebody else wants to do it another way. And I’m talking of pain.

Q4: The pain goes away if we do constructive action.

K: So action you advocate for the pain to disappear—doing something.

PJ: We have acted and acted and acted.

K: Action is action. You translate it as going to the village, and I translate it as becoming a monk or God knows what else. What’s the difference?

Q4: The pain I feel is the pain of not being able to act. The pain I feel is the pain of frustration.

K: I have said that, sir. We said before: pain of frustration, pain of no success, pain of the beggar, pain of the villager, pain of the monk, pain of the mother who has lost her son in Vietnam, pain of the man who has his leg cut off in a war, which is monstrous. It is not your pain or my pain but includes mine, yours, everybody’s. And you say, ‘Go out to the village and act.’ I ask, what do you mean by action?

PJ: The pain will still be there.

K: Do I cover it up, do I escape from it? They have done all these things: go to Jesus, go to Krishna, go to temples, improve society—a dozen things. They haven’t ended pain. We asked, ‘What are the factors of deterioration of the brain cells and the mind?’ We said one of the major factors is conflict. The other factor is hurt, pain. And what are the other factors? Fear, conflict, suffering, and the pursuit of pleasure—call it God, social service, working for kingdom come; it’s all based on satisfaction, pleasure. So if these are the factors of deterioration, what will you do? Who is to act? What am I to do? Unless the mind solves this, its action will produce more suffering, more pain.

PJ: Then the deterioration will be accelerated.

K: Of course, this is an obvious fact.

SB: People say that with experience you will learn, but nobody learns from experience. This is one of the major factors.

K: I know, I know. We have come to a point; don’t let’s go on elaborating. We have come to the point that pain, hurt, suffering, fear, pleasure, and the pursuit of pleasure are the factors that bring about deterioration. Now, what shall I do? What shall the mind do?

S. W. Sundaram (SWS): By asking this, does not the mind try to become something else?

K: How can it? If it is in pain, what do you do? How can it become something else?

SWS: Become something other than pain.

K: So becoming is another factor of deterioration. Becoming is a factor because then there is conflict. I want to become something else; therefore the becoming is the avoidance of pain, and therefore there is conflict. So what shall I do? I have tried village work, I have tried social work, I have tried joining religions, I have tried books, I have tried cinemas, I have tried sex—and pain remains. What shall I do?

SWS: There must be some way by which the pain should go.

K: Why should it go? All you are concerned with is to let it go. Why should it go?

SWS: From the way we are putting it at present, it appears as if there is no way of letting the pain go.

K: There is no way out, is that it?

SWS: I have to live with it.

K: You have to live with it. How do you live with something which is pain, which is sorrow? How do you live with it?

Q2: Sir, can I at least stop doing anything further?

K: Have you stopped doing anything, or are you just stating a theory? Are you doing it or just talking about it? What is the mind to do with this tremendous hurt which causes pain, suffering, and the other factors that bring about deterioration of the brain cells—this everlasting battle?

SWS: One should try to watch it.

K: Watch what, sir? Is my suffering, pain different from the watcher? Is it?

SWS: No.

K: So what takes place? When the observer is the observed, what takes place?

SWS: There is no relationship.

K: But the observer says, ‘I must get rid of the pain.’ He has done all the tricks before—village, church, drugs, social work, State, God—he has done all these tricks to get rid of the pain, but it is still there at the end of the journey. So what will you do?

MF: We started with this: what is the factor of deterioration? Going round and round, we came to the conclusion that pain is the factor of deterioration. If we don’t want deterioration, if we want to be fresh, bright, we must not suffer pain. Therefore doing away with pain is important, and we cannot say, ‘I am pain, I have to face pain, I have to live with pain.’ This is obnoxious, this is bad. We must cease being able to suffer. Now, what is the secret of it? You tell us. [Laughter]

K: Secret of what?

MF: We must be immune to pain, not insensitive.

K: Ah, for God’s sake. You introduce words which I never use.

MF: They are all in the English dictionary.

K: No. I am using words according to the dictionary. I do not want to be a blank wall which doesn’t feel pain, is immune. Immunity means that.

MF: You didn’t hear my word. Immunity does not mean insensitivity.

K: You haven’t listened to the very end. We all want to get rid of pain; that’s understood. It will be idiotic to say, ‘I must endure pain’, and that is what most people do. And because they endure pain, they do neurotic actions like going off to temples or whatever it is. It is a neurotic action. So it is absurd to say that we must endure pain. On the contrary. Knowing that it is one of the major factors of deterioration, how does this pain come to an end—put it ten different ways—so that the mind at the end of it becomes extraordinarily passionate and is not just a dull, painless mind? [Pause] You want the secret of it?

MF: You know the secret.

K: I’ll tell you. Do you want it? Let’s approach it in a different way. Is it possible for a mind never to be hurt? Education hurts us, the family hurts us, society hurts us; we have been through all that. I am asking, ‘Can the mind, living in a world that is always hurting, hurting, hurting, never be hurt?’ You call me a fool, you call me a great man, you call me an enlightened or a wise or a stupid old man. Call me anything—never to be hurt. It is the same problem put differently.

SP: There is a slight difference. The fact is that the mind is hurt. So when you ask the question, it means that it is possible to wipe out hurt, not allow hurt again.

K: Yes, that’s what I am showing you. That’s the secret. What shall I do? What will you do with all the hurts that human beings have accumulated? My God! If you don’t solve this problem, do what you will, it leads to more sorrow. [Pause] All right, sir, let us proceed. In five minutes the secret has to be told. It can be told in five minutes.

MF: Leave it for the next meeting.

K: Leave it for the next meeting? [Laughter] It is there. We just now said the observer is the observed. Then what is the problem?

SWS: As you said yesterday, there should be an observation without the centre.

K: Yes, sir. Observation without the centre means there is only that thing which you call pain. There is no entity that says, ‘I must go beyond the pain.’ When there is no observer, is there pain? No, sir, this is not just a trick of words. It is the observer that gets hurt. It is the centre that gets flattered. It is the centre that says, ‘It is a shock.’ It is the centre that says, ‘I know pain.’ Now, can you observe this thing called pain without the centre, without the observer? And then is there pain? And if there is no pain, then what takes place? It isn’t a vacuum; it isn’t without something. What takes place?

Q1: The pain changes into feeling.

K: What do you mean by feeling? This is a difficult thing because we are always looking at pain from the centre as the observer, and the observer says, ‘I must do something.’ So action is based on the centre doing something about pain, but when the centre is pain, what do you do? What is there to be done? [Pause] What is compassion? The word means ‘passion for all’. That is the dictionary meaning. How does that come about? By chasing around activity? How does it come about? When suffering is not, the other is. How can a mind that suffers know compassion?

MF: The knowledge that there is pain is compassion.

K: You see, how clever… I never used the word knowledge, I never said, ‘becomes compassion’. We are seeing the fact, the what is. What is is suffering. That is an absolute fact—I suffer. The mind is doing everything it can to run away from it. And when it doesn’t run away, then it observes. Then the observer, if he observes very, very closely, is the observed. And that very pain is transformed into passion, which is compassion. You’ve the words, you haven’t the reality. So don’t escape from suffering, which doesn’t mean becoming morbid. Live with it. You live with pleasure, don’t you? You want it, you sustain it. Why don’t you live with this thing too, completely?

MF: Because you can’t live with pain.

K: You’ve been through all this. Don’t fool around with words.

MF: You can die with pain, but not live with pain.

K: I am showing it to you. When I say live with it, it is not to escape from it, not to do any action about it. You have a baby, what do you do with it? You live with it, don’t you? You see it flower, you see it grow.

MF: You have a thalidomide baby, my dear sir.

K: Wait, sir. The thalidomide baby is crippled because the mother took all kinds of drugs. My mother didn’t take drugs or give me any. My mind is very clear, very sharp. So don’t introduce something else. I’m faced with this fact of suffering; I’m living with it in the sense that I’m not escaping from it. I want to see what takes place. I see what takes place if I live with it, care for it, water it, not run away from it or crush it. The very suffering is transformed into passion, which is something enormous. Full stop. That’s the secret. So from that arises a mind that can never be hurt.