The Word Is Not the Thing


Pupul Jayakar: Sir, what is the relationship between your teaching—in quotes—and the actual process of self-knowing? I am using your teaching in the sense of the words you use in your books and talks. In all other ways of arriving at truth, the word of the teacher is taken as an indication of a direction, of something to move towards. Are your words of the same nature and, if so, what is their relationship to the perceptive process of self-knowing?

Krishnamurti: I wonder if we have understood the question? Will I be right if I put it this way: what is the relationship between the word, the actuality, and what K is talking about? Is that it?

PJ: And the process of self-knowing. What K is talking is the word.

Sunanda Patwardhan (SP): Will you illustrate it, Pupulji? For instance, take any word.

PJ: Krishnaji talks of authority, or discipline, or a holistic approach; that is the word. Then there is the actual process of self-knowing and what is revealed in self-knowing. What is the relationship of the word to this?

K: I don’t quite catch the meaning of this.

PJ: You say ‘no authority’; we have a tendency to take that word or that sentence and apply it to our lives without discovering authority in the process of self-knowing, and we try to see whether we can reach a state of ‘no authority’.

SP: This is true of everything.

PJ: Everything. We take your word as truth.

K: I understand, I got it. As Pupul Jayakar points out, when K says ‘no authority’, is it an abstraction of a word and therefore an idea, and do you pursue that idea? Or when he says ‘no authority’, is it self-revealing? Or is it merely a conclusion, a slogan? Is that it?

PJ: It is, but it’s not quite it.

Achyut Patwardhan (AP): There is also another factor: when you say ‘no authority’, does it become a commandment to which one tries the nearest approximation?

K: Yes, that’s right.

AP: That’s the same thing really. One is in the field of action, the other in the field of abstraction.

PJ: You see, there is self-knowing.

K: Could we start with that first?

PJ: Yes. Let me elaborate a little more. There is self-knowing. One does not know what is revealed in the process of self-knowing. Then one hears you speak, and one takes what you say or what one reads in a book and applies it to one’s daily life.

K: Yes.

PJ: Therefore there is a gap between self-knowing and your word. So where does truth lie?

K: Neither in the word nor in the self-revealing: it is completely apart.

PJ: Can we discuss that?

K: I listen to K, and he talks about self-knowing and lays emphasis on self-knowing, on how important it is. Without self-knowing there is no foundation, he says. Self-knowing and… I listen to it. In what manner do I listen to that statement? Do I listen to it as an idea, a commandment, a conclusion? Or, in my self-knowing, I have realized the implications of authority, and therefore what he says tallies with what I have discovered for myself, and I proceed? But if I listen to the word and draw a conclusion about that word as an idea and pursue the idea, then it is not self-revealing; it is merely a conclusion. But when I am studying myself, when I am pursuing my own thoughts and all the rest of it, then whatever he says is a self-discovery. Right?

PJ: Now, is the word of K necessary to self-discovery?

K: No. I am interested in self-knowing because, without that, whatever I think, whatever I do, whatever I proceed with has no basis. So I come to a talk or read a book because I am interested in self-knowing, and I pursue that. And when I hear K talking about no authority, what is the state of my mind when I hear those words? Is it an acceptance, is it a conclusion which I’ve drawn, or is it a fact?

PJ: How does it become a fact? Does it become a fact through the process of self-knowing, through the discovery of that in the perceptive process of revealing itself? Or is it a fact because you have said so?

K: The microphone is a fact. It isn’t ‘I say it is a microphone’; we all agree that it’s a fact.

PJ: But when you say ‘no authority’, it is not…

K: No. The word is not the thing. The description is not the described. So am I clear on that point that the word is never the thing? The word mountain is not the mountain, the description of that mountain is not the mountain. Am I clear on that? Or the description is good enough for me and in it I get entangled? I accept the description, it pleases me, and I want that description. Through the description I want that which is described, and I cling to the idea. I don’t reject the verbal structure altogether.

P.Y. Deshpande (PYD): Man must speak, he being a language animal.

K: I use language to communicate. I want to tell you something. I use English words which we both know, but we both know that the words I use are not the actual feeling I have.

PYD: Right.

K: So the word is not the thing.

PYD: But the fact is that one talks through the linkage with the mental processes, or one talks without the linkage.

K: They are two different points, aren’t they? Either we communicate through words, or we communicate without words.

PYD: No. There would be words, but not of that order. There are two orders of words.

K: I don’t quite follow this.

PYD: For instance, when we listen to you we know you do not talk the way we do. That is quite clear.

K: Why do you say that?

PYD: ‘Why?’ is a difficult question, but there is a definite, positive feeling like seeing the microphone. You do not talk the way I talk. The source of your words lies much deeper than the words we use, which come only from the mental layer. Self-knowing and…

K: I understand, sir.

PYD: You’ve a deeper layer from which the word comes.

K: I can say superficially, ‘I love you.’ But I can also say, ‘I really love you.’ There is quite a difference—in the tone, in the quality of the word, in the depth of the feeling. The words only convey the depth.

PYD: I will go a little further.

K: Go further.

PYD: It really is something like a deep, indefinable feeling which I may call love, but actually I will not state it. I would not know the word for it.

K: I may not know the word. I may hold your hand.

PYD: Yes.

K: I may gesture.

PYD: Yes, that’s true. But between the gesture and the word there is no linkage.

K: I see what you are saying. Is that what you are trying to convey?

PJ: No, that is not what I was going to say. What I have been trying to say is: one of our difficulties in understanding and going beyond is that one takes your word, either the spoken word or the written word, and it does become an abstraction to which one is always approximating. Then there is the process of self-knowing in which the truth of your word can be revealed, but it does not normally happen that way. It has always seemed to me that listening to you without obstacles may bring about a change in the nature of my mind. But the actuality of the words you use can be revealed only in the process of self-knowing.

K: What am I to say to that? I don’t quite follow.

PJ: I think we should, first of all, investigate self-knowing. We have not done it for a very long time.

K: Right. Let’s do that, shall we? Let’s begin with that.

PYD: I would like to say something different. Is there any relationship between self-knowing and the word?

K: We’ll come to that presently. Self-knowing has been talked about for thousands of years—by Socrates, before Socrates, and so on. Now, what is self-knowing? How do you know yourself? What is it to know oneself? Do you know yourself from observation—observation of an experience, observation of a thought? In the observation of one thought, another thought springs up, and we are reluctant to let go the first thought, and so there is a conflict between the first thought and second thought. But self-knowing is to relinquish the first thought and pursue the second thought. Then a third thought arises. Drop the second, follow the third. Drop the third and follow the fourth. So there is a constant alertness or awareness of the movement of thought. Is this all right? Now let’s proceed. I observe myself being jealous. The instinctual response to jealousy is rationalization. In the process of rationalization I’ve forgotten or put aside jealousy. So I am caught in rationalization—the words, the capacity to examine, to rationalize, to suppress, all the rest of it. I see this whole movement as one unit. And the desire arises that I must run away from it. I examine that desire, that escape. Escape into what, I don’t know.

PJ: Escape sometimes into meditation.

K: Of course. Self-knowing and…

PJ: Or what one considers meditation.

K: That’s the easiest trick. So I ask, what is meditation? Is it an escape from what is? Is that meditation? It is not meditation if it is an escape. So I go back and examine my jealousy. Why am I jealous? Because I am attached, because I think I am important, and so on. So this whole process is a revelation. Then I come to the point: is the examiner, the observer, different from the observed? Obviously it is not. So observation is when there is no observer.

PJ: You said, ‘Obviously it is not.’ Please go into that.

K: The observer is the past, because the past is the remembrance, the experience, the knowledge stored up in memory. The past is the observer. And he observes the present, which is my jealousy, my reaction. I observe my jealousy. I use the word jealousy for that feeling because I have recognized it as having happened in the past. So it is a remembrance of jealousy. The word is part of the past. So can I observe without the observer which is the past, observe without the word? Does the word bring that feeling, or is there a feeling without the word? All this is part of self-knowledge.

PJ: How does one observe…

K: …without the word?

PJ: Without the word.

K: Without the observer?

PJ: Without the observer.

K: Without a remembrance? That is very important.

PJ: How does one actually tackle the problem of the observer?

K: I’ll show you.

AP: May I say that in the watching of the observer there is also the disapproval or the approval of the observer of himself?

K: That’s the past, that’s my conditioning. That’s the whole movement of the past, which is contained in the observer.

AP: That condemnation is the barrier.

K: That’s what she is asking. She is asking, ‘How do I observe the observer? What is the process of observing the observer?’ Right?

AP: I spelt out the difficulty in this.

K: Yes, sir. What is the observation of the observer? I hear K say that the observer is the past. Is that so?

T.K. Parchure (TKP): In asking such a question, another observer is created.

K: No, sir. I don’t create anything, I am merely observing. The question is: what is the observer? Who is the observer? I observe this. [Pointing to the microphone] How do I observe this? I observe it through a word, and we have used a word to indicate that it is a microphone. That is registered in the brain as the microphone—remembrance. I use that word to convey that it is a microphone. That’s simple enough. All right?

PJ: Does one observe the observer?

K: I am coming to that. How does one observe the observer? You don’t.

PJ: Is it your inability to observe the observer which gives you an understanding of the nature of the observer?

K: No. You don’t observe the observer. You observe only what is and the interference of the observer. Then you say, ‘I recognize the observer.’ You see the difference? I observe jealousy, there is an observation of jealousy. The observer comes in and says, ‘I have been jealous, and therefore I know what that feeling is.’ So I have recognized it, and it is the observer. Then you see the observer in operation. You cannot observe the observer by itself, only in relation to the observed. There is observation of the observer only in his relationship to the observed. When the observer colours the observation, then there is an awareness of the observer. You cannot observe the observer by itself; you can observe the observer only in relation to something. That is fairly clear, right?

TKP: The past as it exists does not come into play unless it touches the present.

K: Keep it very simple, sir. There is jealousy. At the moment of that feeling, there is no observer or the observed: there is only that state. Then the observer comes in and says, ‘That is jealousy’, and he proceeds to interfere with what is—run away from it, suppress it, rationalize it, justify it, or escape from it. So those movements indicate the observer in relation to that which is.

Fritz Wilhelm (FW): At the moment when the observer exists, is there a possibility of observation of the observer? When the observer exists—like I recognize my jealousy—is there a possibility, at that moment, of observation of the observer?

K: That’s what we are saying. I am angry or greedy or violent. At the moment of violence there is nothing. There is neither you nor the observer nor the observed: there is only that state of violence. Then the observer comes in, which is the movement of thought. Thought is the past; there is no new thought. So thought interferes with the present. That interference is the observer. And you study the observer only through that interference. He is trying to escape from it, rationalize it, justify it, and so on, which are all the traditional approaches to the present. The traditional approach is the observer; that’s all.

PJ: In a sense, therefore, the observer manifests itself only in terms of escape from the present?

K: Escape, rationalization, justification, or…

PYD: …interference.

K: Any form of interference with the present is the action of the observer. Discuss it, don’t accept it, tear it to pieces, find out.

TKP: Is there no past when there is no interference?

K: No, that’s not the point. What is the past?

TKP: The observer which recognizes.

K: No, no. What is the past? What is your past?

TKP: The accumulated, stored-up contents of my experiences.

K: Which is what? Your knowledge, your experiences, inclinations, motives—all that is the movement of the past, which is knowledge. Any movement of the past can take place only through knowledge, which is the past. So the past interferes with the present. Then the observer comes into operation. If there is no interference, there is no observer; there is only observation.

PYD: Or indifference.

K: Only observation, not indifference.

FW: The observation of the observer seems to me a contradiction in itself.

K: No, sir.

FW: You know what I am driving at. In observation there is no observer, and there is not the observed.

K: In observation there is neither the observer nor the idea of observation. This is very important to understand. There is no observer or the idea of not having an observer. Which means there is only pure observation, without the word, without the recollection and association of the past. There is nothing, only observation.

FW: In that way the observation of the observer is possible.

K: No, no. You are putting it wrongly. I said the observation of the observer comes only when the past interferes. The past is the observer. When that past interferes with the present, the observer is in action. It is only then that you become aware that there is an observer. Now, when you see that, have an insight into that, there is no observer; there is only observation. So can I observe—that is her point—’no authority’ per se, not because you have told me?

PJ: I can observe only one thing.

K: Yes, that’s it.

PJ: I can observe the movement of authority.

K: Yes.

PJ: I can never observe ‘no authority’.

K: Of course not. There is the observation of authority, which is the demand from another for enlightenment, the leaning on, the attachment to another; all that is a form of authority. Is there authority in operation in my brain, in my mind, in my being? Authority may be experience, the past which is knowledge, dependence on the past, on a vision. Is there an observation of the movement of authority?

PJ: What is important? The observation of every movement of my consciousness or the attempt to discover in my consciousness the truth of what you are saying, the actuality of what you are saying? You know, it is a very subtle thing. I don’t know how to put it.

SP: Shall I put this way what you are saying? I observe hurt.

K: Wait a minute. You observe hurt because K said it?

SP: No, no.

K: I want to be clear, that’s why.

SP: I will state it and then you ask me. I see that I am hurt, I see the emergence of hurt. The observation of the hurt is something which I can do as part of observation. But where I create authority is: ‘Krishnaji says that once you see the hurt it is over.’ There I project a certain state, a movement towards that state, because I do not want to be caught in the trap of constant observation of hurt. And several other factors come in. But, instead of the constant observation of hurt, I hear a person saying, ‘Once you observe hurt without the observer, if you really see it, the whole thing is wiped out’—that is where I create authority.

K: Ah, I understand.

PJ: Exactly what I was saying.

SP: I don’t know that state, but this process creates an authority because he seems to indicate a state where you can be free of this constant process.

K: I observe the hurt and all the consequences of that hurt, how that hurt has come into being, and so on. I am aware of the whole process of that hurt. And I hear K saying, ‘Once you see it in its entirety, holistically, then it’s over, you will never be hurt.’

SP: It’s there in my consciousness.

K: Wait, wait. He has said that. What is in your consciousness? The word?

SP: Apart from the word, the state he has communicated when he utters that. Because when K is talking, it seems to indicate a state beyond the word, a state which is very difficult to describe.

K: I am hurt, I know I am hurt. And by listening to you, I see the consequences of all that—the withdrawal, the isolation, the violence; all that I see. Do I see it because you have pointed it out to me?

SP: No.

K: Wait, I am coming to that. Or do I see it though you have pointed it out to me?

SP: Yes, obviously. The fact is that you have come into my life in the sense of my having listened to you.

K: No, no. Please just listen quietly. I see the entirety of it. Is it because you have pointed out to me, and therefore I say, ‘By Jove, it is so’? Or though you have pointed it out to me, I see it?

SP: I see it.

K: Then the question arises: K says that once you see it fully, holistically, then the whole of hurt is over; where is the authority in that?

SP: There is authority because that is the state I would like to have.

K: Then examine that state, which is ambition, which is desire.

SP: There are two movements. One is, one genuinely does not want to be caught in this trap of constant movement in this direction, and the other is postulated as freedom.

K: Yes.

PJ: That’s exactly my original question. There are two things I would like to bring in at this stage. One is your use of the word holistic. I’d like to examine that.

K: Yes, examine that.

PJ: If I may state the other also: you also said, ‘Can you hold…

K: …hurt and remain with it?’

PJ: And remain with it.

K: Which is holistic.

PJ: Now let’s move into this. What is involved in this holding?

K: I’ll go into it. I am hurt. I know why I am hurt, I am aware. There is an awareness of the image that is hurt and the consequences of that hurt—the escape, the violence, the narrowness, the fear, the isolation, the withdrawal and, therefore, out of that withdrawal, anxiety, fear, and all the rest of it. Right? How am I aware of it? Is it because you have pointed it out to me, or am I aware of it although you’ve? I see it, I am following you, I am moving with you— in that there is no authority. I am moving with you, I am not separate from what you are saying. That’s where the catch is.

SP: Up to a point there is a movement.

K: I am moving with you.

PYD: So your word becomes like a pointer.

K: No, no. There is no pointer.

SP: So long as you are observing yourself, there is a relationship.

K: The moment I break that relationship, there begins my question, ‘How am I to do it?’ If I am following exactly what you are saying—which is hurt, the image that is hurt, the escape, the violence—I am moving with you. It’s like an orchestra—an orchestra of words, an orchestra of feeling, an orchestra of observation; the whole thing is moving. As long as I am moving with you, there is no trouble, no contradiction, no ‘I want something more than this.’ I am still moving with you. Then you go on to say, ‘Once you see this as a whole, the thing is over’, and I am with you!

SP: It has not happened, it doesn’t happen.

K: I will tell you why: because you haven’t listened.

SP: For twenty years I haven’t listened?

K: Ah, it doesn’t matter. One day is good enough. You haven’t listened. You are listening to the word, to the reaction; you are carrying on. You are not moving with him.

Radha Burnier (RB): Is there a difference between that listening and the holistic view?

K: No. If you listen in the sense of no interpretation, no examination, no comparison…

RB: …no expectation.

K: …nothing. Listening! I am listening, therefore I am following you. It is like two rivers moving together: they are one river. But I don’t listen that way. I have heard him say, ‘Holistically…then it’s over.’ I want to get that, therefore I am already ahead of him because I want that.

RB: Therefore the question of how to remain with whatever it is, is a wrong question, isn’t it?

K: I am remaining with it.

RB: Yes, but the question itself is a movement away from the remaining with it.

K: Of course, of course.

SP: How do you say that?

PJ: I would question that. There is a state of the intensity of sorrow, a feeling of the intensity of sorrow and an observation to see that the sorrow is not dissipated by any movement away from it. In a moment of crisis there is an intensity of arising of energy and its entwining of consciousness totally, and the only action is the refusal to move away from it. Is that valid?

RB: Does it not mean that one can only watch every movement which is away from it, and not ask, ‘How am I to remain with it?’

PJ: What is that state? What actually takes place?

K: Where?

PJ: Take a state of fear or sorrow.

K: Take something, one thing.

PJ: Sorrow arises and fills you. That is the way it operates when it is something very deep. What is the action on that to enable that—I’m using your words now, forgive me—to flower without dissipation?

K: If it fills you actually, if sorrow fills your whole being, which means your whole being is filled with that extraordinary energy called sorrow, and there is no escape, there is no etc., etc.

PJ: There is no escape because of observation?

K: Wait. First of all he says that when there is sorrow, it fills your whole being with that extraordinary energy; but the moment you move away in any way, in any direction, it is a dissipation of that energy. Now, are you filled completely with that energy which is called sorrow, or is there in a part of you, somewhere in you, a loophole?

RB: I think there is always a loophole because there is the fear of any one thing filling one’s being.

K: That’s just the point. So it hasn’t filled your being.

RB: Yes.

K: That’s a fact. So you pursue, not sorrow but the fear— the fear of what might happen, etc. You go into that. Forget sorrow and go into that.

PYD: Sorrow, hurt, jealousy, anger, whatever—the use of the word holistic implies some quantity.

K: No, no!

PYD: And here by hurt you mean that the hurt itself is the whole.

K: No, sir. Let’s understand the meaning of the word holistic. Whole means healthy, physically healthy. Then it means sanity—mentally, psychologically sane; and from that holy. All that is implied in the word whole.

PYD: This is clear for the first time now.

K: Now, when you have very good health—you may be ill but it is a healthy illness—and emotionally, intellectually, everything is very sane, perfectly sane, without any quirks, without any neurotic movement, then all that is the holistic approach. If there is a quirk, an idiosyncrasy, an idiotic something or the other in the brain as a belief and so on, it is not whole. So pursue that neurotic thing, clean it up. Don’t talk about the holistic. The holistic thing happens when there is sanity, health, and the rest of it.

SP: This is where the dilemma comes in. Pursue the fragment, you say. But unless one sees the fragment holistically…

K: Don’t bother about ‘holistically’.

SP: Then how does one observe the fragment? Where is the whole? Put it the other way.

K: Ah no.

SP: Then what is the process involved?

K: I am doing it.

SP: Which comes first?

K: I am doing it. I don’t know a blasted thing about the holistic. I don’t know. I know the meaning of the word, the description of the word, what he conveys, but that is outside my field.

SP: That’s not a fact.

K: That’s not a fact. The fact is I am a fragment; I work, live, act with fragments, in myself. I know nothing about the other. So I take that and go at it.

FW: So this brings us to our initial question: what is the meaning of your words apart from our communication, now, for example? In my daily life when I am hurt, does my remembering that you say one should never be hurt have any meaning?

K: Ah no. I am hurt, that’s all I know. That is a fact. I am hurt because I have an image about myself. Have I discovered that image for myself, or has K told me that the image is hurt? That is very important to find out. Is it that the description has created the image, or do I know that the image exists?

SP: One knows that the image exists.

K: All right. If the image exists I am concerned with the image, not with how to be rid of the image, or how to look at the image holistically. I know nothing about it.

SP: ‘Looking at the image’ seems to imply this concept of the holistic.

K: No. I know nothing of the concept. I only know I have an image. I know. I won’t deal with anything but facts, the what is. The holistic is non-fact.

SP: That I see very clearly. So how does one look at this holistically, totally? That is the question that arises.

PJ: ‘Totally’ is your statement.

K: Of course. Kick it, throw it out.

SP: Then there is no problem because one observes certain symptoms of hurt. There is observation and it ends. This process goes on. I don’t need his…

K: …telling me…

SP: …to observe anything at that level. Every arising in consciousness, the observation of consciousness, and the subsidence—this process we are familiar with.

PYD: In spite of that, one thing remains when listening to him. Every time you listen to him, you have the awareness that you are not there.

AP: That’s why this discussion started at the very crucial point of authority. The point of starting this discussion on authority lies in this that we make an authority of what you say, and then that is a barrier to any perception.

K: Yes, sir, quite. Obviously, obviously.

PYD: Something is missing in this.

K: Look, sir, there is something very interesting out of this. Are you learning, or are you having an insight into it? The learning implies authority. [Laughter] What do you say?

Asit Chandmal (AC): Sir, we keep coming back to this point.

K: That’s just it. Are you learning and acting from learning? I don’t know if you see this? I learn and then act. I learn about mathematics, technology, and so on, and from that knowledge I become an engineer and act. Or I go out into the field, act, and learn. Both are the accumulation of knowledge and acting from knowledge. Therefore knowledge becomes the authority. I know because I am an engineer.

SP: If I may put it this way, learning gives temporary freedom.

K: What?

SP: The act of observation gives temporary freedom.

K: No, nothing. Sorry. You have not listened to what I am saying. You are going on with your idea.

SP: I am expanding the meaning of learning.

K: No, you are going on with your idea. I want to tell you something, so please kindly listen, not with your ideas. Listen to this. We asked, what is learning? Either you accumulate knowledge to act, or you go out, act, and learn. Therefore it is acting according to knowledge. So knowledge becomes the authority, whether it is of the doctor, the scientist, the architect, anybody. The guru says, ‘I know’, which is his authority. Now, somebody comes along and says, ‘Look, that acting according to knowledge is a prison, you will never be free in that. You can’t ascend through knowledge.’ Bronowski and others have been maintaining that man can ascend only through knowledge. Knowledge then becomes mechanical. Somebody like K comes along and says: ‘Look at it differently. Look at action as insight. Not accumulate knowledge and act, but insight, action.’ In that there is no authority.

PJ: You have used the word insight. What is the actual nature of that word?

K: To have sight in, to grasp something instantly. This man says, ‘Listen carefully.’ You don’t listen, that’s all my point. You act, and after learning act. That is, there is accumulation of information, knowledge, and acting according to that knowledge, skilfully or non-skilfully. That is learning, that is the accumulating of knowledge and acting. The other is, going out, acting, learning, which is the same as the other. Both are acting on the basis of knowledge. So knowledge becomes the authority. So where there is authority, there must be suppression and so on. So he says you will never ascend anywhere through that process; it is mechanical. He says that. Now, do you see both, the whole of it, as a mechanical movement? If you see that, that is insight. Therefore you are not acting from knowledge but seeing the implications of knowledge, authority, all that, and acting totally differently. For instance, the man who invented the jet must have known all the movement of the piston, what is implied in the piston, the internal combustion machinery, and he said, ‘Yes, I know that very well. Put it aside. There’s a tremendous feeling that I am on the verge of something. I understand this very well, but there is something else I am feeling after.’ You don’t do it; you are stuck with this and ask, ‘How am I to get out of this?’ So where are we? Self-knowledge and the word of K—if there is a movement together then it is over, it is very simple, you move.

PJ: Is the movement with the word of K essential? Or can the revelation be without the movement of the word?

K: All right. K says, ‘Be a light to yourself.’ Which doesn’t mean he becomes the authority. K says nobody can take you there, you can’t invite that. K says you can listen to K endlessly for the next million years, you won’t get it. But he says, ‘Be a light to yourself’, and you see holistically that thing. [Pause] You see, to know oneself is one of the most difficult things. Because when I see myself, in the observation of myself I have come to a conclusion about what I have seen. And the next observation is through that conclusion. So I never see what actually is; I see through the past conclusions. To observe what is actual—anger—without the conclusion that it is right, wrong, good, bad, I mustn’t have it. No conclusion. And the next time it arises it’s already— you follow? The moment there is no conclusion, you observe holistically.

PYD: Which implies energy.

K: Yes. You observe anger without any conclusion. Can you? Which means no judgement, no rationalization, no condemnation, no comparison, and no recognition as ‘Yes, I remember I’ve been angry before.’ So the non-usage of the word anger—try it!

PYD: This oscillation of energy, high voltage or low voltage.

K: No, there is no high or low. I am angry. Can I observe it without recognition, without the word, without justification? Am I following him, or have I said, ‘Yes, let me look at it’? Can I look at it without any recognition, without the word? Can I do it—look at that feeling of anger without the word? The word is the remembrance of things past, and so association of the past, which means, can I look at it without any recognition, without any conclusion? All that is a conclusion.

PYD: I see it.

K: Ah, no. You don’t see it.

PYD: The question of energy remains. I don’t invite it; it comes and goes.

K: No. Your energy has been dissipated through conclusions. When there is no conclusion, you have all the energy necessary to observe.

Questioner 1 (Q1): Sometimes one is able to look at anger in the way as you want it.

K: Ah, not what I want. Can you observe…?

Q1: Sometimes it is not possible to look at it that way.

K: All right. I can’t look at it because I haven’t the time. I haven’t time this morning because I’ve to go to the office. I pick it up later. I pick it up: I’ve been angry, now I’m going to see. I can observe that without any conclusion. Conclusion is the past, conclusion is the observer. Can I look at it without the observer? So self-knowledge is not knowing oneself, but knowing, watching, every movement of thought. Because the self is the thought, the image—the image of K, the image of me, and all the rest of it. So watch every movement of thought, never letting one thought go without realizing what it is. Try it, do it, and you will see what takes place. As you were saying last night, it gives muscle to the brain. [Laughs]

Q1: In other words, the observer has to be strong enough to see.

K: No. You are going back to your old system. For God’s sake. You are all brought up in tradition! It is not a question of being strong. Strength may be cowardice. So observe. If you are interested, you observe. If you are not interested, don’t force yourself. If I am interested in learning Russian, I play with it, I look at it off and on all day, I am interested. But if I force myself…

SP: In a single thought, is there the essence of the self?

K: Yes. I would say yes. Thought is fear, thought is pleasure, thought is sorrow. And thought is not love, thought is not compassion. The image that thought has created is the ‘me’. The ‘me’ is the image. There is no difference between ‘me’ and the image; the image is ‘me’. Now, I have to look at that image. I observe the image which is ‘me’, which is, I must attain nirvana—all that horrible mess. Which means I am terribly greedy; that is all. Instead of wanting money, I want the other; that’s greed. So I examine greed. Why am I greedy? What is greed? It means the ‘more’. Which is, I want to change what is—the more, the greater—I want to transform what is into something more, therefore that is greed. So I ask, ‘Now why am I doing this? Why do I want more? Is it tradition? Is it habit? Is it the mechanical response of the brain?’ I want to find out. I can find out either with one glance or step by step. I can observe it with one glance only when I have no motive.

Motive is the distorting factor: I love you because you give me sex; I love you because you have got money; I love you because I want something from you, heaven or some beastly little thing. So I want to know myself. I really do. It is most interesting to know yourself, because yourself may be the universe, not a theoretical universe, but the global universe. I want to know myself because I see very clearly that if I don’t know myself, whatever I say is meaningless, is corruption. I see that, not just verbally. It is corruption if I don’t; all my actions become corrupt, and I mean it. I don’t want to live a corrupt life, and I see, without exercising will and all that nonsense, that I must know myself. To know myself I watch. I watch in my relationship to you, to my wife, to my husband. In that watching I see myself reflected in that relationship. I am greedy. I want her because I want sex, I want comfort; she looks after my children, she cooks, so I depend on her. So in my relationship to her I discover the pleasure principle, the attachment principle, the comfort principle, and so on. So there I am. And am I observing it without the past, without any conclusion? Therefore my observation is precise. So the moment you say, ‘Be a light to yourself ‘, you have no authority—gone, all authority, including that of the Gita, the gurus, the ashramas, and all that circus. A question that would be really interesting is: if I am a light to myself, what is my relationship politically, economically, socially? You don’t ask those questions. I have to vote either for Carter or Mr Ford. I am a light to myself. Go on, work it out. I live in Russia, which is a tyrannical world. I am a light to myself, I see that very clearly; I have no authority, no guide. Then how do I act with regard to tyranny—the tyranny of the guru, of the ashrama, the whole works. I know how. How would you act? Which is, ‘a light to oneself’ means to be holistic. Anything that is not holistic is corruption. So a holistic man will not deal with corruption