What Is Silence?


Pupul Jayakar: Can we discuss the question of whether silence has many facets and forms, whether there is only one silence which is the absence of thought, or whether the silences which arise through different experiences of different situations are different in nature, dimension, and direction?

Krishnamurti: Where shall we start this? We’ve got so many things.

PJ: What is silence?

K: Are you asking: is there a right approach – we will describe what right is – to silence, and if there is, what is that? That’s what you started out with, didn’t you? Are there varieties of silence, which means different methods by which to arrive at silence? And what is the nature of silence? So shall we go in that order? Is there a right approach to silence? ‘Right’ we will put in quotes. What do we mean by right?

PJ: Is there one approach? Or if all silences are of the same nature, then there may be many approaches.

K: But I am just asking, what do we mean by right approach?

PJ: That’s what I mean by right: the one.

K: The only one?

PJ: The one as against the multiple.

K: Therefore what is the one? What is the true, natural, reasonable, logical, and beyond-the-logic approach? Is that it?

PJ: I don’t know. I don’t know whether I would put it that way. I would say that when consciousness is not operating, when thought is not operating…

K: I would like to go into that.

Sunanda Patwardhan (SP): People define silence as the absence of thought.

K: I can go blank, without any thought, just look at something and go blank – is that silence?

SP: How do you know it is true silence?

K: Let’s begin by asking: Is there a right approach to silence, and what is that ‘right’, and are there many varieties of silence? And is silence an absence of thought? Which implies a great many things, such as I can go blank suddenly: I am thinking a great deal, and I just stop and look at something and go blank, vaguely daydreaming. That is why I would like to approach this question by asking: is there a true approach to silence? You started with that question. I think we ought to take that first and go into the other things afterwards.

SP: You seem to be giving emphasis to the true approach rather than to the nature of true silence.

K: I think so. Because there are those people who have practised silence, controlling thought, mesmerizing themselves into silence, and controlling their chattering mind to such an extent that the mind becomes absolutely dull, stupid, and silent. So I want to start the inquiry from this point of right approach; otherwise we will wander off. I think it is safer to find out if there is a…

Maurice Frydman (MF): …natural approach.

K: …natural, sane, healthy approach. Sanity is health. Is there a healthy, logical, objective, balanced approach to silence? Could we proceed from that? I know a great deal from what people have told me; one has talked a great deal about it too. What is the necessity for silence?

PJ: It is very easy to understand the necessity for silence. During an ordinary day, when a constantly chattering mind, a constantly irritated mind, comes to rest, there is a feeling of being refreshed. The mind is refreshed, apart from anything else. So silence itself is important.

S. Balasundaram (SB): Also, even in the ordinary sense, there is no seeing or listening; there is no seeing of colour, no seeing of things unless there is a certain quality of silence.

K: Of course, yes.

SP: There is also the whole tradition that silence is important, necessary. Therefore there are these systems, whether it is watching the prana or breath or doing pranayama, the various measures which people make use of so that there is a state of silence. It is not an unhealthy state of silence, but there is that state.

K: Suppose you don’t know a thing about what other people have said on why you should be silent, would you ask the question?

PJ: You would still ask. Even at the level of its being a tranquillizer you would ask the question.

K: So you ask the question in order to tranquillize the mind. The mind is chattering, and it is wearisome and exhausting. So you ask, ‘Is there a way of tranquillizing the mind without drugs?’ We know the way of tranquillizing the mind with drugs, but is there another way which will naturally, healthily, sanely, logically bring about tranquillity to the mind? How would you approach this? Being weary, exhausted by the chattering of the mind, I ask myself, ‘Can I, without the use of drugs, quieten the mind? Is there a way of doing it?’ That is natural, I would ask that. Now, is there?

SP: There are many ways.

K: Ah, I don’t know any way. You all say there are many ways. I don’t read anything except detective novels and history books and so on. I come from a land where we don’t know first-hand any of these things. So I ask, can the mind do this without effort? Because, effort implies disturbance of the mind. It doesn’t bring about tranquillity; it brings about exhaustion, and exhaustion is not tranquillity. It’s like a businessman, exhausted at the end of the day, taking a drink to be quiet, to calm his nerves. So conflict will not bring about tranquillity. Conflict will bring about exhaustion, and the exhaustion may be translated as silence by those who are completely washed out at the end of the day; they say, ‘At last, I can go into my meditation room and be quiet.’ So is it possible to bring about tranquillity to the mind, without conflict, without discipline, without distortion? All those are exhausting processes.

SP: I’ll ask a simple thing though it may be absurd. When one does pranayama, there is no conflict in it, but there is silence, and it doesn’t exhaust you. What is the nature of this silence?

K: There you are breathing, getting more oxygen into your system, and the oxygen naturally helps you to be relaxed.

SP: So, that is also a state of silence.

K: We will discuss this state of silence afterwards, but I want to find out whether the mind can become tranquil without any kind of effort, breathing, enforcement, control, direction.

T. K. Parchure (TKP): The mind asks such a question only in its agitated and disturbed state. It asks, is it possible to have tranquillity of the mind without any outside help?

K: No, I didn’t say ‘outside help’. I said: without conflict, without direction, without control, without practice of breathing, without enforcement of any kind. I can take a drug, a tranquillizer, and make the mind very quiet; it is on the same level as pranayama. I can control the mind and bring about silence; it is on the same level as breathing, drugs. So I want to start from the point where the mind is agitated, chattering, exhausting itself by incessant friction of thought, and it asks, ‘Is it possible to be really quiet without any artificial means?’ To me that is the central issue. That’s how I would approach it if I went into it. I would discard anything artificial. If I was investigating, I would consider as artificial, control, drugs, breathing, watching the breath, watching your toe, watching a light, mantras. All those are artificial means which induce a peculiar kind of silence.

Radha Burnier (RB): Would you include in this list the silence induced by nature?

K: It is all a part of it. I would regard all those as artificial enforcements to induce silence.

PJ: When you look at a mountain, the mind becomes silent.

K: When you look at the mountain, what takes place? The greatness, the beauty, the grandeur of the mountain absorbs you and makes you silent but that is still artificial. Like a child who is given a good toy is absorbed by the toy and is for the time being, till it breaks, very quiet. Any form of inducement to bring about silence is artificial–for K.

TKP: The question starts with a motive.

K: I am saying motive too is artificial.

TKP: The motive in bringing about silence is accidental.

K: I want to find out whether it is accidental or whether there is a natural way, without inducement, without motive, without direction.

SP: Though looking at a mountain is a non-dualistic experience, even that, you say, is not silence.

K: I wouldn’t call it silence, because the thing is so great that for the time being the greatness knocks you off.

SP: There is the absence of the ‘me’. It is not at the conscious level, but you say it is there.

K: It is there.

SP: How?

K: You see a marvellous picture, a marvellous sunset, an enormous chain of mountains – and it is like the toy with a child. That greatness knocks out the ‘me’ for the moment, and the mind becomes silent. You experiment with it.

SP: But you say that is not silence.

K: I wouldn’t call that silence because the mountain, the sunset, the beauty of something takes me over for the moment, and the ‘me’ is pushed aside. The moment that is gone, I am back to my chattering or whatever it is. So anything artificial, with a motive, a direction, seems to K a distortion which will not bring about the depth of silence; in that is included practices, disciplines, controls, identification with the greater and thereby making oneself quiet and so on. Then I ask myself, what is the necessity for silence? If it has no motive, would I ask that question?

Questioner (Q): Surely, does the mind which you described feel the silence?

K: I am not describing the mind. In the sense that it has no motive.

K: No. I said inducement in any form, subtle or obvious, doesn’t bring about the depth of great silence. I would consider it all superficial. I may be wrong. We are inquiring.

Q: That state of mind is already a silent mind.

K: Maybe. I don’t know. So what is the natural, healthy approach to tranquillity?

RB: But an approach is a motivation.

K: No. What is the natural way, natural state of tranquillity? How does one come upon it naturally? As Balasundaram said, if I want to listen to what you are saying, my mind must be quiet; that is a natural thing. If I want to see something clearly, the mind mustn’t be chattering; that is a natural thing.

S. W. Sundaram (SWS): Should you use the word ‘natural’ or ‘obvious’?

K: Oh, either doesn’t matter. We have used those two words before, we will use them again: natural, obvious. Then why do we make silence into something tremendous?

PJ: In that is all poise, all sanity. I see that.

K: So I would say the basis for the depth of silence is poise, harmony between the mind, body, and heart, great harmony, the setting aside any artificial methods, including control and all the rest of it. I would say, that is the basis. The real basis is harmony.

PJ: But what is it? It doesn’t solve anything.

K: Wait. We haven’t solved anything.

PJ: You have used another word ‘harmony’.

K: Yes. I will come to that. Therefore I say this is the basis for silence.

SP: Right silence.

K: For right silence.

PJ: But the whole thing is conflict.

K: All right. Therefore don’t talk about silence. Deal with conflict, not with silence. If there is disharmony between the mind, heart, and body, deal with that, not with silence. If you deal with silence, while being disharmonious, then it is artificial. This is so. Now I am getting at it.

TKP: The agitated mind naturally tends towards a state of non-agitation.

K: So be concerned with the agitated mind, not with silence. Deal with what is and not with what might be. This comes logically right; I’ll stick to this.

RB: Are you asking whether the agitated mind can deal with its own agitation?

K: That is a different question. SB: She is saying the agitated mind naturally asks the question: can it subside?

K: Yes. So be concerned, not with silence, but with why it is agitated.

TKP: It conceives of the opposite state of non-agitation.

K: That’s then a conflict, and the opposite has its roots within its own opposite.

RB: Yes. The concept itself is part of the agitation.

K: So I would say complete harmony is the foundation for the purity of silence.

SP: How does one know of this complete harmony?

K: You don’t. Let’s go into that, not into silence. We will later on come to the question of the varieties of silence. So what is harmony? I want to find out what is harmony between the mind, body, and heart. A total sense of being whole, without fragmentation, without the overdeveloent of the intellect, but with the intellect operating clearly, objectively, sanely. And the heart has in it a quality of affection, care, love, compassion, vitality – not sentiment, gooey emotionalism, outbreak of hysteria. And the body has its own intelligence, uninterfered with by the intellect or by taste – the feeling that everything is operating, functioning beautifully like a marvellous machinery, even though it is not physically well. I think this is important. Now, is this possible?

SWS: Is there a centre operating in that harmony?

K: In that harmony, is there a centre? I don’t know. We are going to find out. Can the mind, the brain, function efficiently, without any friction, distortion, as also the intellect, the capacity to reason, the capacity to perceive sharply, clearly? And when the centre is there it is not possible, obviously, because then the centre is translating everything according to its limitation. Am I reducing everybody to silence?

RB: Why does this division arise between the mind…

K: …and the body? Does it arise because of our education, where emphasis is laid on the cultivation of the intellect as memory and reason as a function apart from living.

RB: That is the overemphasis on the mind, but without education there can be an overemphasis on the emotions.

K: Of course, that’s what I’m saying. Man worships the intellect much more than the emotions, doesn’t he? And emotion is translated into devotion, into sentimentality, into all kinds of extravagance, expansion of emotionalism, hysteria, and so on. We have done this all along. No?

TKP: How do we stop mixing up the accumulation of memory for technical or day-to-day purposes with the accumulation of emotional memory?

K: That is very simple. Why does the brain as the repository of memory give such importance to knowledge – technological, psychological, and in relationship? Why have human beings given such extraordinary importance to knowledge? I have an office, I become an important bureaucrat, I have knowledge about doing certain functions, and I become pompous, stupid, dull. Why? Why do I give such importance to knowledge?

TKP: Is it an innate defect or the influence of knowledge?

K: Very simple: security. Obviously.

PJ: Security – to make oneself important.

K: Knowledge gives you status. Human beings have worshipped knowledge, knowledge as identified with the intellect. The erudite scholar, the philosopher, the inventor, the scientist are all concerned with knowledge. And they have created in the world marvellous things – going to the moon, new guns, submarines, Polaris. They have invented the most extraordinary things. And the admiration, the sense of marvel, of knowledge is overwhelming, and we accept it. So we have developed an inordinate admiration, almost verging on worship, for the intellect. All the sacred books and the interpretations are that. And in contrast to that, there is a reaction: ‘For goodness’ sake, let us be a bit more emotional about all this, let me have my feelings. I love being stupid.’ Devotion, hysteria, sentimentality, extravagance in expression, all that arise from this. And the body is neglected. You see this.

SP: And therefore yoga and all that.

K: Then practise yoga to keep your body well, and so you have this division taking place unnaturally. And now we have to bring about a natural harmony where the intellect functions like a marvellous watch, where the emotions and affections, care, love, compassion, all those are functioning healthily, and the body, which has been so despoiled, which has been so misused, comes into its own intelligence. So there is that. Now, how do you do that?

Ghaneshyam Mehta (GM): I adore knowledge because I need it.

K: Of course I made that very clear, don’t let me repeat it. I need knowledge; to talk to you in English I need knowledge of English. I don’t know any Indian language, so I have to use English; that’s knowledge. I have to ride a bicycle, that is knowledge. I have to drive a car; that’s knowledge. I have to drive an engine, a motor; that is knowledge.

SWS: No. There is a sick person, and the doctor can’t cure him, so I go to someone else who is superior in knowledge.

K: Yes, that is still within the field of knowledge. Knowledge is necessary, but when knowledge is misused by the centre as the ‘me’ who has got knowledge, and therefore I feel superior to the man who has less knowledge, then I use it as status for myself. I am more important than the poor chap who has no knowledge.

P.Y. Deshpande (PYD): Now the next question is: do we not make a distinction between knowledge and discovery of the new?

K: Of course. When knowledge interferes in the discovery of the new, there is no discovery of the new. There must be an interval between knowledge and the new; otherwise you are just carrying on the old.

PYD: Exactly. You brush aside knowledge and make an experiment to see what happens when there is no knowledge.

K: That’s all what we are saying. So I want to get back. Radhaji asked just now, ‘Why is there division between the mind, the heart, and the body?’ We see why. Now we as

K: how is this division to come naturally into deep harmony? How do you do it? Enforcement can’t do it, nor the ideal of harmony; therefore I must lessen my intellect. It becomes too silly. So what shall I do?

SWS: Can I bring it about, or has it to come into being by itself?

K: What do you say?

SWS: I can’t bring it about.

K: So what will you do? One is aware of this division, isn’t one? Intellect, emotion, and body – there is this tremendous division between them, a gap. How is the mind to remove all these gaps and be a whole mechanism functioning beautifully? What do the traditionalists say?

MF: Effort, only effort. Clench your teeth.

K: Clench your teeth and bite into it, is that it?

PJ: I think we are getting bogged down.

K: No, I’m not sure.

PJ: I will tell you why: you used the word ‘harmony’.

K: I’m using it. Use another word.

PJ: That’s just it. We had the word ‘silence’.

K: Ah, we won’t touch it.

PJ: We won’t touch ‘silence’. Then you take the word ‘harmony’; we cannot touch the word ‘harmony’.

K: Then what will you do? Then why pursue silence?

PJ: So we come back to only one thing which we know: disharmony.

K: That’s all. That’s all I am coming to.

PJ: But there is this division.

K: Therefore I say let us deal with disharmony and not with silence; when there is the understanding of disharmony, from that may flow naturally silence.

MF: There is a Latin saying: I know what is right, but I don’t follow it.

K: Yes, I understand.

MF: Now, there is a mechanism which seems to deny your statement that if you deal with disharmony, disharmony disappears.

K: Don’t bring in something from Latin; face the thing as it is. Pupul says we started out with silence, and we said, ‘Look, it is no good discussing silence until you find out whether there is a natural way of coming to it.’ The artificial way – we have been through that. Therefore we asked, ‘What is the natural way?’ The natural way is to find out if there is harmony, but we do not know anything about harmony because we are in a state of disorder. So let’s deal with disorder, not with harmony, not with silence, but with disorder.

MF: According to our experience, disorder never yields; disorder remains disorder.

K: We are going to find out; don’t maintain it.

MF: No, I don’t maintain it; that is my observation.

K: Your personal observation of yourself?

MF: My personal observation of myself.

K: That you are disorder.

MF: I observe and observe and observe the disorder…

K: …and it goes on.

MF: …I look at the disorder, and the disorder looks at me.

K: Therefore there is a duality, a division, a contradiction in your observation as the observer and the observed. We can play with this endlessly.

MF: Naturally.

K: Please follow what we have discussed so far. We started out with silence. What is the nature of silence? Are there varieties of silence? Are there different approaches to silence? Pupul also asked, what is the beginning of silence, the approach to silence? We said that perhaps there may be a right way – ’right’ in quotes – and we said let’s find out. Any artificial means to bring about silence is not silence – any artificial means. We made that very clear, don’t let us go back to that. If there is no artificial way, then is it possible to come upon silence naturally, without effort, without inducement, without direction? And in examining, we said ‘harmony’. To that, Pupul says, ‘We don’t know what this harmony is; what we do know is disorder.’ So let us put aside everything else and consider disorder, not what silence is. A mind that is disordered inquires after silence; silence then becomes a means of bringing about order or escaping from disorder; silence then is imposed on disorder. Or we run away from disorder. So we stop all that and ask, ‘Why is there disorder? Is it possible to end disorder?’

PJ: Disorder expresses itself as thought.

K: I don’t know anything about it. I wouldn’t say that.

PJ: I am saying it as a matter of perception. Let’s discuss it, if you think it is wrong.

K: Yes, I’d like to discuss it.

PJ: Is there any other way it can express itself?

K: What is disorder? What is disorder in me?

PJ: Disorder in me is when thought arises and I want something.

K: No. You are attributing a cause, you are looking for a cause. You want to find out what is the cause of disorder, right?

PJ: I don’t.

K: No?

PJ: I don’t.

K: Then?

PJ: I observe the nature of disorder. I don’t look for the cause, I don’t know the cause, I can never find out the cause.

K: You observe disorder, right?

PJ: I observe disorder.

K: You observe disorder in yourself; one observes disorder in oneself, right?

PJ: Yes. And I see that it is manifest as thought.

K: I don’t know. I would like to go into that a little bit. I observe in myself disorder. Why do I call what I observedisorder? Which means I already have an inkling of what order is.

SP: Of course.

K: So I am comparing it with what I have experienced or known as order and thereby calling the what is disorder. I say, ‘Look, don’t do that, don’t compare, just see what disorder is.’ Can I know, can the mind know disorder without comparing itself with order? So can my mind not compare? Comparison may be disorder, comparison itself may be the cause of disorder. Measurement may be disorder, and as long as I am comparing, there must be disorder. I am a bureaucrat and I compare myself with a higher bureaucrat, therefore there is disorder. I compare my disorder of the present moment with a whiff of order which I had smelt, and therefore I call it disorder. So I see that comparison is really important, not disorder. As long as my mind is comparing, measuring, there must be disorder.

RB: But without comparing I look at myself, and I see there is disorder because every part of me is pulling in a different direction.

K: I have never felt I am in disorder.

PJ: We are not talking about you.

K: I know, I know. [Laughter] I have never felt I am in disorder except rarely, occasionally. I ask myself, ‘Why are all these people talking about disorder? Do they really know disorder, or do they know it only through comparison?’

MF: I put it crudely, but it is exactly the fact with me. When I don’t get what I want, I call it disorder.

K: Sir, I don’t call that disorder. I want Rolls Royce, I want to go to the moon, I can’t get it; but I don’t call that disorder.

PJ: You bring in words which, forgive me, I find very difficult to take. There is no conscious comparison in the mind which says, ‘This is disorder and I want order.’

K: No. I am only asking, how do you know disorder?

PJ: I see a sense of confusion: one thought against another thought. You will say the word ‘confusion’ again is comparison.

K: No, no. Contradiction.

PJ: I know nothing about anything else, but I know confusion.

K: You know only contradiction, which is confusion. Stick to that. You say, ‘My mind is in a state of confusion because it is contradicting itself all the time.’

PJ: Yes.

K: All right, proceed from there.

PJ: I say I observe my mind, and I see disorder.

K: Yes. I overeat and there is disorder.

PJ: I see disorder, disharmony. We are not talking of harmony.

K: You see disorder. What will you do? Then what? From there move.

PJ: Then I am bound to ask; it is the nature of the mind to ask.

K: Ask.

PJ: I say there must be a way of finding a way out of this.

K: Yes. Then what?

PJ: And then I observe myself asking that question.

K: Yes.

PJ: And then for the time being it comes to an end.

MF: Where is the fallacy in this?

PJ: There is no fallacy.

K: No fallacy in this so far. I am coming to that.

PJ: This is the nature of the question we started with.

K: Yes, yes.

PJ: These steps we could discuss and come to a conclusion.

K: No, don’t do it.

PJ: But I thought it would be best to go step by step. Now I say there is an ending; maybe it is not a real ending. And I ask, ‘What is the nature of this? Is this silence?’ Then I come back to my question. Is there an undercurrent still operating? When we talk of different qualities and natures and dimensions of silence, it means just this. The traditional outlook is that the gap between two thoughts is silence.

K: That is not silence.

PJ: That’s what I am coming to.

K: The silence between two noises is not silence. Listen to that noise outside, there is a gap; do you call that silence? I say, that is nonsense. That is an absence of noise. Absence of noise is not silence.

PJ: So we are coming now to something – the perception of oneself in a state of disturbance…

K: Pupul, you are not being clear.

PJ: No, I am very clear. The perceiving of disturbance will end disturbance.

K: I am questioning it. I am not at all sure that you know what disorder is. You call it so. I overeat, that is disorder. I overindulge in emotional nonsense, that is disorder.

PJ: I catch myself talking very loud – disorder.

K: That’s disorder. So what? What is disorder? How do you know it is disorder? Just listen. I overeat, I have a tummy ache. I don’t call it disorder. I say, ‘By Jove, I overate, I musn’t eat so much.’ Full stop.

TKP: I know my state of normal health; therefore when the disturbance comes, I say that is disorder.

K: No, no. I don’t go through all these processes. I overeat, I have pain, and I say to myself, ‘By Jove, I must be careful at the next meal.’

PJ: No, Krishnaji. We moved from silence to harmony, and we found that it was impossible to go into the nature of harmony without going into disorder.

K: That’s all. Keep to those three points.

PJ: But you ask, ‘Why do you call it disorder?’

RB: It is not necessarily a recognition of disorder when there is a conflict between the body and the mind.

K: Therefore conflict you associate with disorder.

RB: No. The conflict makes you weary, as you say, and you instinctively feel there is something wrong with it.

K: So what you are saying is, if I understand it rightly, conflict indicates disorder.

RB: Even when you don’t name it as conflict.

K: Conflict indicates disorder. Whether it is two thoughts, whether it is the body, whatever it is, it is conflict. That’s what we’ve been saying. Conflict is disorder.

SWS: Indicates disorder.

K: No. Conflict is disorder. Not indicates. You translate it as disorder.

SP: And you asked, ‘Is there disorder at all?’

PJ: Krishnaji said, ‘It is disorder’, and then he said, ‘You translate it as disorder.’ What is the difference?

K: All right. I am only saying conflict indicates disorder. So then what? From there move. You keep on going round in circles.

PJ: I think there must be a way of being free of this.

K: Of what?

PJ: Of conflict.

MF: Disorder.

K: No. Silence, harmony, conflict – that’s all. Not disorder, conflict.

PJ: Forgive me for saying so. You can take the word ‘disorder’ and go through the same gymnastics with disorder, with conflict, and come to the same query: what do I do about conflict?

K: That’s all we are concerned with: silence, harmony, conflict. How am I to deal with conflict non-artificially? You know nothing. You are listening for the first time; therefore you have to go into it with me. Don’t ask, ‘How do I know it for the first time?’ Somebody comes along and says, ‘Look at this marvellous machinery.’ You look.

SP: I can’t think of silence or harmony when I am in conflict. That much is clear.

K: So is the mind capable of freeing itself from conflict? That is the only thing you can ask.

PJ: Are you asking?

K: I am asking, ‘Is the mind capable of freeing itself from every kind of conflict?’ What is wrong with that question?

RB: Because it is again the mind which is answering.

K: No, no.

PJ: It is exactly of the same nature as the question ‘Can the mind be free of disharmony?’ I don’t see the difference between the two.

K: Now I say: ‘Look, stick to that one thing, don’t let’s go round and round. Stick to that one thing – conflict – and see if the mind can be free of it. And don’t go around and ask ‘How?’ Can the mind, knowing what conflict is and what conflict does, end conflict? Surely that’s a legitimate question. No? Why are you silent?

MF: Because you assume that the mind can be.

K: I don’t know.

Questioner (Q): Can we, when we look into this question of conflict, consider one aspect of it, which is comparison? Because, there is no conflict without comparison.

K: Conflict is contradiction, comparison, imitation, conformity, suppression, all that. Put all that into that one word and accept the meaning of that word as we defined it and ask, ‘Can the mind be free of conflict?’

SP: Of course it can be free of conflict, but the question which arises is: what is the nature of that freedom from conflict?

K: How do you know before you are free? That becomes theoretical.

SP: No. One has known the state where one is free from conflict for the time being. But by going through the conflict there is an ending of that state of conflict, for a while at least.

K: Is there an ending of conflict completely?

SP: Yes, but still I as

K: what is the nature of this ending, and what do you mean by total?

K: We are going to find out.

MF: There is no ending of conflict in the universe as we live in it.

K: In the universe, apparently everything is moving in order. Don’t bring in the universe. Let’s stick to our minds which seem to be endlessly in conflict. That’s all. Now, how is the mind to end conflict naturally? Because every other method or system is a compulsive method, a directional method, a method of control, and therefore all that is out. Now, can the mind free itself from conflict? I say yes. Where are you at the end of it? I say the mind can completely, utterly be without conflict.

SP: Forever.

K: Don’t use that word ‘forever’ because then you are introducing a word of time, and time is a factor of conflict.

PJ: I want to as

K: can that mind be totally conflict?

K: Can the mind be in a state of total conflict? What are you trying to say? I don’t quite understand.

PJ: I feel myself totally helpless in this situation. The fact is there is conflict, and the fact is that any operation of the self on that…

K: We have been through all that. Don’t bring it in.

PJ: So seeing the nature of that, can the mind say, ‘If it is conflict, it is conflict’?

K: I see what you are trying to say: can the mind be aware of the state in which there is no conflict? Is that what you are trying to say?

PJ: No. Be totally in that.

K: Or can the mind know only conflict? Right? Do you know, is your mind totally aware of conflict? Or is it just words? Stick to one thing. Is my mind totally aware that it is in conflict? Or is there a part of the mind that says, ‘I am aware that I am totally in conflict’? Or is there a part of me watching conflict? Or is there a part of me wishing to be free of conflict? Which means, is there any fragment which says, ‘I am not in conflict’? Or is there any fragment which separates itself from the totality of conflict? If there is a separate fragment, that is all foolery. Then that fragment says, ‘I must act, I must do, I must suppress, I must go beyond.’ Please, this is a legitimate question: is the mind totally aware that there is only conflict? That is your question, right? Q: It seems the mind measures itself, as you say, and causes conflict, but the true conflict is that it is caught in conflict.

K: Yes, sir, that is what we are saying. Is your mind totally aware that there is nothing but conflict? Or is there a fragment, a little part, which skips away and says, ‘Yes, I know, I am aware I am in conflict. I am not in conflict, but I know.’ So is conflict a fragment or total? I will keep to the same word, only put in a different word for the time being: is there total darkness or a slight light somewhere?

RB: If that light were not there, can there be awareness?

K: I don’t know anything about it; I am asking you. When there is a fragmentation of the mind, that very fragmentation is conflict. Therefore is it ever aware that there is total conflict? Pupul says yes.

PJ: I don’t know anything about total conflict.

K: Therefore you know only partial conflict.

PJ: I know conflict, whether it is partial or total.

K: No, that is important.

PJ: Where is the total in this?

K: I think it is an important question.

RB: The very awareness of the mind indicates that there is a fragment.

K: That’s all. Therefore you say, ‘I am in conflict partially.’ Therefore you are never with conflict.

SWS: A total conflict cannot know itself unless there is something else to view it.

K: We are going to go into that a little bit.

PJ: I have not made myself clear. Conflict is not a wild, overspreading state. When you say ‘total’, it fills the mind.

K: When the room is full of furniture – forgive me if it’s a wrong example – there is no space to move. I would consider that utter confusion. Is my mind so totally full of this confusion that it has no movement away from this? If it is so completely full of confusion, conflict, and full of this furniture that’s in the room, then what takes place? That’s what I want to get at – not a partial this and a partial that. When the steam is full it must do something: explode. And I do not think we look at this confusion, this conflict so totally. Could I use the word ‘sorrow’? May I? Now, there is no moving away from sorrow. When you move away from sorrow, then it is just an escape from it, or suppression, all the rest of it. Can one be full of sorrow? Not ‘Can one?’ Is there such a thing as being full of sorrow? Is there such a thing as being completely happy? When you are so aware that you are completely happy, it is no longer happiness. In the same way, when you are so completely full of this thing called confusion, sorrow, conflict, it is no longer there. It is there only when there is a division; that’s all.

RB: No. Then it seems to be a hopeless problem because one is always with…

K: That’s why remain with the truth of the thing, not with the conclusion about the thing. The truth of the thing is: until the mind is completely with something, it cannot but create conflict. If I love you and if there is attachment in it, it is a contradiction, and therefore there is no love. So I say, ‘Remain with the fact of that thing, don’t introduce…’ all the rest of it. Is the mind totally full of this sorrow, this confusion, this conflict? I won’t move away till that is so.

MF: There is one peculiarity about your approach. When you draw a picture, there is always a clear, black outline to it; the colours don’t match. In reality there are no outlines; there are only colours merging with one another.

K: This to me is very clear. If the heart is full of love and there is no part of envy in it, the problem is finished. It is only when there is a part that is envious that the whole problem arises.

PJ: Then one is full of envy.

K: Therefore remain with it, remain full of envy, be envious, feel it.

PJ: Then its total nature undergoes…

K: …a tremendous change.

PJ: In itself it undergoes a change.

K: Of course that’s what I am saying. When you say, ‘I am envious and I must not’, when somewhere in the darkcorner is the educational restraint, then something goes wrong. But if you say, ‘Yes, I am envious’, and don’t move from that… Moving is rationalizing, suppressing, all that. Just remain with that feeling.

MF: The Russian mystics say, ‘Without repentance, no salvation.’

K: I don’t repent, I don’t want to be saved.

MF: What is the difference between being fully aware of the conflict and repenting the conflict?

K: Repentance means there is a repenter, there is an entity who repents, who regrets.

RB: But being with envy, feeling it fully…

K: No. Don’t feel it. You are envious, you are just envious.

RB: Then that is not perception.

K: That is perception.

SWS: That can break one down.

K: No, sir. That can break you down only when you are trying to suppress it, go beyond it, rationalize it, and all the rest of it. It is so simple.

MF: When you are in a mess, are you not sorry for yourself?

K: Good God, no. That is an after-thought: ‘I wish I wasn’t in a mess.’ When you are in a mess, be in a mess, see it, don’t move away from it.

MF: That is all in the after-thought. The very idea of not moving away is an after-thought.

K: I am saying that. You are repeating it.

MF: Time is merciless.

K: This is merciless. All the rest is playing tricks. When there is sorrow, be completely with it.

MF: There is no time in the now.

K: I don’t know what you are talking about. I am talking about sorrow, not time. My son is dead. Look at the beggar in there – full of sorrow. I don’t have to invent sorrow: there it is, right in front of my nose. I mean it. I won’t move an inch from it.

MF: But, certainly, does not an action take place?

K: Sir, action has taken place. When you are with something, action has taken place. I don’t have to do something. A total action has taken place, which is the ending of that sorrow.

SWS: How can we find tranquillity when the beggar is in front of us? Is it feeling sorrow since he is full of it? Because we have not done anything for the beggar.

K: Tranquillity is the ending of sorrow.

MF: Is not tranquillity the acceptance of sorrow?

K: No. It is the same then as the worshipping of sorrow.

MF: No, no.

K: Of course it is.

MF: If you accept sorrow…

K: Worshipping sorrow is also a form of accepting sorrow.

MF: You have no business to introduce the word ‘worship’ in this. Acceptance is not worship.

K: No. Why should I accept it?

MF: I accept my crippled child without worshipping him.

K: No. Why should I accept it? It is like that.

MF: Because I am living with sorrow. We have to live together.

K: Acceptance implies an acceptor.

MF: Anything implies an operator, anything.

SWS: Suppose instead of sorrow, one is full of violence. Instead of sorrow we take violence.

K: Be with violence.

SWS: Will not there be destruction?

K: No. That means you are moving away from the fact. When you are violent, be completely with it, which means that doing something violently is a moving away from violence. You got it? Because you have moved away. Suppressing violence is also moving away, trying to overcome violence is still moving away.

SWS: So being fully violent means, mentally, physically, every way.

K: No. A state of violence – you know it. You don’t have to be.

RB: A distinction can be made: not be violent, but be with violence.

K: Yes. Live with it, be with it, not be violent. Of course we are violent; you don’t have to be with it. [Laughter]