Krishnamurti: Talk 3
Transcript of Talk 3, Madras, 5 February 1950
In all our relationships – with people, with nature, with ideas, with things – we seem to create more and more problems. In trying to solve one problem, whether economic, political, social, collective or individual, we introduce many other problems. We seem somehow to breed more and more conflict, and need more and more reform. Obviously, all reform needs further reform, and therefore it is really retrogression. As long as revolution, whether of the left or the right, is merely the continuity of what has been in terms of what shall be, it also is retrogression. There can be fundamental revolution, a constant inward transformation, only when we, as individuals, understand our relationship to the collective. The revolution must begin with each one of us and not with external, environmental influences. After all, we are the collective; both the conscious and the unconscious in us is the residue of all the political, social, cultural influences of man. Therefore, to bring about a fundamental outward revolution, there must be a radical transformation within each one of us, a transformation which does not depend on environmental change. It must begin with you and me. All great things start on a small scale, all great movements begin with you and me as individuals; and if we wait for collective action, such collective action, if it takes place at all, is destructive and conducive to further misery.
So, revolution must begin with you and me. That revolution, that individual transformation, can take place only when we understand relationship, which is the process of self-knowledge. Without knowing the whole process of my relationship at all the different levels, what I think and what I do has no value at all. What basis have I for thinking if I do not know myself? We are so desirous to act, so eager to do something, to bring some kind of revolution, some kind of amelioration, some change in the world; but without knowing the process of ourselves both at the periphery and inwardly, we have no basis for action, and what we do is bound to create more misery, more strife. The understanding of oneself does not come through the process of withdrawal from society, or through retirement into an ivory tower. If you and I really go into the matter carefully and intelligently, we will see that we can understand ourselves only in relationship and not in isolation. Nobody can live in isolation. To live is to be related. It is only in the mirror of relationship that I understand myself – which means that I must be extraordinarily alert in all my thoughts, feelings and actions in relationship. This is not a difficult process or a superhuman endeavour; and as with all rivers, while the source is hardly perceptible, the waters gather momentum as they move, as they deepen. In this mad and chaotic world, if you go into this process advisedly, with care, with patience, without condemning, you will see how it begins to gather momentum and that it is not a matter of time.
Truth is from moment to moment in relationship, it is to see each action, each thought and feeling as it arises in relationship. Truth is not something that can be accumulated, stored up; it has to be found anew in the moment of thought and feeling at every moment which is not an accumulative process and is not therefore a matter of time. When you say you will eventually understand through experience or knowledge, you are preventing that very understanding, because understanding does not come through accumulation. You can accumulate knowledge, but that is not understanding. Understanding comes when the mind is free of knowledge. When the mind does not demand the fulfilment of desires, when it is not seeking out experience, there is stillness; and when the mind is still, then only can there be understanding. It is only when you and I are quite willing to see things clearly as they are that there is a possibility of understanding. Understanding comes, not through discipline, through compulsion, through enforcement, but when the mind is quiet and willing to see things clearly. Quietness of mind is never brought about by any form of compulsion, conscious or unconscious; it must be spontaneous. Freedom is not at the end, but at the beginning; because the end and the beginning are not different, the means and the end are one. The beginning of wisdom is the understanding of the total process of oneself, and that self – knowledge, that understanding, is meditation.
Question: We all experience loneliness, we know its sorrow and see its causes, its roots. But what is aloneness? Is it different from loneliness?
Krishnamurti: Loneliness is the pain, the agony of solitude, the state of isolation when you as an entity do not fit in with anything, neither with the group, nor with the country, with your wife, with your children, with your husband; you are cut off from others. You know that state. Now, do you know aloneness? You take it for granted that you are alone; but are you alone?
Aloneness is different from loneliness, but you cannot understand it if you do not understand loneliness. Do you know loneliness? You have surreptitiously watched it, looked at it, not liking it. To know it, you must commune with it with no barrier between it and you, no conclusion, prejudice or speculation; you must come to it with freedom and not with fear. To understand loneliness, you must approach it without any sense of fear. If you come to loneliness saying that you already know the cause of it, the roots of it, then you cannot understand it. Do you know its roots? You know them by speculating from outside. Do you know the inward content of loneliness? You merely give it a description, and the word is not the thing, the real. To understand it, you must come to it without any sense of getting away from it. The very thought of getting away from loneliness is in itself a form of inward insufficiency. Are not most of our activities an avoidance? When you are alone, you switch on the radio, you do pujas, run after gurus, gossip with others, go to the cinema, attend races, and so on. Your daily life is to get away from yourselves, so the escapes become all-important and you wrangle about the escapes – whether drink, or God. The avoidance is the issue, though you may have different means of escape. You may do enormous harm psychologically by your respectable escapes, and I sociologically by my worldly escapes: but to understand loneliness, all escapes must come to an end – not through enforcement, compulsion, but by seeing the falseness of escape.
Then you are directly confronting what is, and the real problem begins.
What is loneliness? To understand it, you must not give it a name. The very naming, the very association of thought with other memories of it, emphasizes loneliness. Experiment with it and see. When you have ceased to escape you will see that, till you realize what loneliness is, anything you do about it is another form of escape. Only by understanding loneliness can you go beyond it.
The problem of aloneness is entirely different. We are never alone; we are always with people except, perhaps, when we go for solitary walks. We are the result of a total process made up of economic, social, climatic and other environmental influences; and as long as we are influenced, we are not alone. As long as there is the process of accumulation and experience, there can never be aloneness. You can imagine that you are alone by isolating yourself through narrow individual, personal activities; but that is not aloneness. Aloneness can be, only when influence is not. Aloneness is action which is not the result of a reaction, which is not the response to a challenge or a stimulus. Loneliness is a problem of isolation, and we are seeking isolation in all our relationships, which is the very essence of the self, the `me’ – my work, my nature, my duty, my property, my relationship. The very process of thought, which is the result of all the thoughts and influences of man, leads to isolation. To understand loneliness is not a bourgeois act; you cannot understand it as long as there is in you the ache of that undisclosed insufficiency which comes with emptiness, frustration. Aloneness is not an isolation, it is not the opposite of loneliness; it is a state of being when all experience and knowledge are not.
Question: You have been talking for a number of years about transformation. Do you know of anyone who has been transformed in your sense of the word?
Krishnamurti: What is the point of your singing, what is the point of your laughter? Do you laugh, do you smile, in order to convince some body, to make somebody happy? If you have a song in your heart, you sing. So it is with my talking. It is your responsibility to transform yourself, and not mine. You want to know if anyone has been transform ed. I don’t know. I have not look ed to see who has been transformed and who has not been. It is your life of sorrow, of misery, and I am not the judge. You are yourself the judge. Neither you nor I are propagandists. To do propaganda is to tell a lie; to see truth is quite a different matter. If you who are responsible for this misery, chaos, corruption, these degrading wars, do not see that you are responsible and that you must transform yourselves to bring about a revolution in the world, it is your affair. Unless you want to change, you will not change. You cannot be a singer by listening to songs; but if you have a song in your heart, you will not be repetitive.
The important thing in this is to find out why you listen so much and so often, why you come and listen at all. Why do you waste your time if you are not doing anything about it? Why are you not changed? I am not putting this question to you – you should put it to yourself. When you see so much misery, so much corruption – not only in your individual life, but in your social relationship and in every political endeavour – , what do you do about it? Why are you not interested in this? Merely reading the newspaper is obviously no solution. Is it not a vital matter to find out what you are doing and why? Most of us are dull, insensitive to the whole process that is going on around us, though the things in front of us demand action. Why are you dull, insensitive? Is it not because of your worship of authority, political or religious? You have read the Bhagavad Gita and so many other books, which you can repeat like parrots, but you have not even one thought of your own; and the man who can repeat in a nice voice, who explains texts over and over again, you worship. So, authority dulls the mind, and imitation or repetition makes the mind insensitive, unplayable. That is why gurus multiply and followers destroy. You want direction, and the desire for direction is the building up of authority; and being caught in authority, your minds, seeking comfort, seeking satisfaction, become insensitive, dull. The performance of rituals or the constant reading of a so-called sacred book is the same as having a drink. What would you do if there were no books? You would have to think everything out for yourself; you would have to search, find out, enquire every moment to discover, to understand the new. Are you not in that position now? All the social and political systems have come to nothing, though they promise everything; and yet you go on reading religious books and repeating what you have read, which makes your mind dull. Your education is merely the accumulation of book knowledge to pass an examination or to get a job. Thus you yourself have made your mind dull, and your knowledge has corrupted you.
So, your transformation is your own problem. What need have you to find out who has or who has not transformed himself? If you have beauty within you, you do not seek. A happy man does not seek; it is the man who is unhappy that seeks. Unhappiness is not resolved by search, Not only by understanding, by watching every gesture, spontaneously seeing every one of your thoughts and feelings so that it reveals its story. Then only is truth discovered.
Question: You have never talked about the future. Why? Are you afraid of it?
Krishnamurti: What is the importance of the future in our life? Why should it have any importance? What do we mean by the future? The tomorrow, the ideal, the everlasting hope of the Utopia, of what I should be, the pattern in different forms of an ideal society – is that what you mean by the future? We live by hope,and hope is a means of our death. When you hope, you are dead, because hope is an avoidance of the present. You do not hope when you are happy. It is only when you are unhappy, frustrated, restrained, when you are suffering, when you are aching, when you are a prisoner, that you look to the future. When you are really joyous, happy, time is not. We live with hope from birth to death because we are unhappy from the beginning to the very end; and hope is the way of escape, it is not the resolution of our actual state, which is unhappiness. We look to the future as a means of avoiding the present, and the man who avoids the present by going to the past or to the future, is not living; he does not know life as it is lived, he only knows life in relation to the past or to the future. Life is painful, tortuous, so we seek an escape from it; and if we are promised heaven, we are perfectly happy. That is why the party, whether of the left or the right, ultimately wins. The parties always promise something tomorrow, five years later, and we fall for it, we gobble it up; and we are ultimately destroyed. Because we want to escape from the present, if we cannot look to the future, we turn to the past – the past teachers, the past books, the knowledge of what has been said by Sankara, Buddha and others. So we either live in the past or in the future, and a man who lives in the past or in the future has actually the responses of the dead; for all such responses are mere reactions. It is therefore no good talking about the past and the future, about rewards and punishments. What is important is to find out how to live, how to be free from misery in the present. Virtue is not tomorrow. A man who is going to be merciful tomorrow is a foolish man. Virtue is not to be cultivated; it is in the understanding of what is in the present.
How are you to live in the present without the ache, the pain of sorrow? Sorrow is to be resolved, not in terms of time, but by understanding; it can be resolved only in the present – and that is why I don’t talk about the future. There comes an extraordinary activity and vitality when there is a direct observation of what is; but you want to play with things, and when you play with serious things, you get burnt. You are swept away by hopes and rewards, and a man who pursues hope lives in death.
Our problem is whether sorrow can come to an end through the process of time, which is continuity. Sorrow cannot come to an end through time, because the process of time is continuance of suffering, and therefore no resolution of suffering. Sorrow can come to an end instantly; freedom is not at the end, but at the beginning. To understand this, there must be the beginning of freedom, the freedom to see the false as false, the capacity to see things as they are, not in time, but now. You do this when you are vitally interested, when you are in a crisis. After all, what is a crisis? It is a situation which demands your full attention without taking refuge in beliefs. When there is no solution, when there is no response of the mind, when the mind has no ready made answer, no conclusion, and you are unable to resolve the problem – then you are in a crisis. But unfortunately, through your study of books and your following of teachers, your mind has an explanation for every problem – therefore you are never in a moment of crisis. There is a challenge every minute, and a crisis comes when the mind has no ready made answer. When you cannot find a way out, consciously or unconsciously, through words or through escapes, then you are in a crisis. Death is a crisis, though you can explain it away. You are in a crisis when you lose your money, when thousands are destroyed in a single second. Ending is the crisis – but you never end, you always want things to continue. It is only when there is a crisis without avoidance or escape and you are therefore confronted with it directly – it is only then that the problem is resolved. The concern with the future is the avoidance of the crisis; hope is avoidance of what is. To meet the crisis there must be complete denudation of the future and the past; therefore it is no good talking about the future.
Question: What should be the relationship, according to you, between the individual and the State?
Krishnamurti: Do you want a blue print? Now you are back again at what should be. Speculation is the easiest and most wasteful thing that one can indulge in. Beware of the man who offers you hope, do not trust him, he will lead you to death; he is interested in his idea of the future, in his conception of what ought to be, and not in your life.
Are the State and the individual two different processes? Are they not interacting? How can you live without me, without another, and does not our relationship make society? You and I and another are a unitary process, we are not separate processes. The `you’ implies the `me’ and the other. You are the collective, not the single, though you would like to consider yourself single. You are the result of all the collective, and the individual can never be single. You have put a wrong question because you have divided the individual from the State. You are a result of the total process, of all the influences of the collective; and though the result can call itself individual, it is a product of the process which is going on. The understanding of this process is to be found in relationship, whether with the single or with the collective, and that understanding, and the action springing from it, will create a new society, a new order of things; but to paint a picture of what should be and to leave it to the reformers, the politicians, or the so-called revolutionaries, is merely to seek satisfaction in ideas. There can be fundamental revolution only when you meet the crisis directly without the intervention of the mind.
Question: You have talked about relationship based on usage of another for one’s own gratification, and you have often hinted at a state called love. What do you mean by love?
Krishnamurti: We know what our relationship is – a mutual gratification and use, though we clothe it ky calling it love. In usage there is tenderness for and the safeguarding of what is used. We safeguard our frontier, our books, our property; similarly, we are careful in safeguarding our wives, our families, our society, because without them we would be lonely, lost. Without the child, the parent feels lonely; what you are not, the child will be, so the child becomes an instrument of your vanity. We know the relationship of need and usage. We need the postman and he needs us, yet we don’t say we love the postman. But we do say that we love our wives and children, even though we use them for our personal gratification and are willing to sacrifice them for the vanity of being called patriotic. We know this process very well – and obviously, it cannot be love. Love that uses, exploits, and then feels sorry, cannot be love, because love is not a thing of the mind.
Now, let us experiment and discover what love is – discover, not merely verbally, but by actually experiencing that state. When you use me as a guru and I use you as disciples, there is mutual exploitation. Similarly, when you use your wife and children for your furtherance, there is exploitation. Surely, that is not love. When there is use, there must be possession; possession invariably breeds fear, and with fear come jealousy, envy, suspicion. When there is usage, there cannot be love, for love is not something of the mind. To think about a person is not to love that person. You think about a person only when that person is not present, when he is dead, when he has run off, or when he does not give you what you want. Then your inward insufficiency sets the process of the mind going. When that person is close to you, you do not think of him; to think of him when he is close to you is to be disturbed, so you take him for granted – he is there. Habit is a means of forgetting and being at peace so that you won’t be disturbed. So, usage must invariably lead to invulnerability, and that is not love.
What is that state when usage – which is thought process as a means to cover the inward insufficiency, positively or negatively is not? What is that state when there is no sense of gratification? Seeking gratification is the very nature of the mind. Sex is sensation which is created, pictured by the mind; and then the mind acts or does not act. Sensation is a process of thought, which is not love. When the mind is dominant and the thought process is important, there is no love. This process of usage, thinking, imagining, holding, enclosing, rejecting, is all smoke; and when the smoke is not, the flame of love is. Sometimes we do have that flame, rich, full, complete; but the smoke returns because we cannot live long with the flame, which has no sense of nearness, either of the one or the many, either personal or impersonal. Most of us have occasionally known the perfume of love and its vulnerability; but the smoke of usage, habit, jealousy, possession, the contract and the breaking of the contract – all these have become important for us, and therefore the flame of love is not. When the smoke is, the flame is not; but when we understand the truth of usage, the flame is. We use another because we are inwardly poor, insufficient, petty, small, lonely, and we hope that, by using another, we can escape. Similarly, we use God as a means of escape. The love of God is not the love of truth. You cannot love truth; loving truth is only a means of using it to gain something else that you know, and therefore there is always the personal fear that you will lose something that you know.
You will know love when the mind is very still and free from its search for gratification and escapes. First, the mind must come entirely to an end. Mind is the result of thought, and thought is merely a passage, a means to an end. When life is merely a passage to something, how can there be love? Love comes into being when the mind is naturally quiet, not made quiet, when it sees the false as false and the true as true. When the mind is quiet, then whatever happens is the action of love, it is not the action of knowledge. Knowledge is mere experience, and experience is not love. Experience cannot know love. Love comes into being when we understand the total process of ourselves, and the understanding of ourselves is the beginning of wisdom.