Krishnamurti on the Mind

Episode Notes

‘A religious mind never thinks in terms of growth and evolution. It is always jumping out of time.’

This week’s episode on The Mind has five sections.

The first extract (2:36) is from the tenth talk in London 1961, titled ‘The shallow mind’.

The second extract (16:26) is from the fourth talk at Brockwood Park in 1980, titled ‘Why is the mind caught in time?’

The third extract (38:28) is from Krishnamurti’s eighth talk in Madras 1961, titled ‘The scientific mind and the religious mind’.

The fourth extract (1:02:12) is from Krishnamurti’s seventh talk in Saanen 1971, titled ‘A mind in harmony’.

The final extract (1:15:00) this in this episode is from the fourth talk in Madras 1974, titled ‘A mind with enormous space’.

Part 1

The Shallow Mind

It is fairly clear that our lives are empty, shallow. A shallow mind is easily satisfied. As soon as it becomes discontented, it follows a narrow groove, establishes an ideal, pursues the ‘what should be’. And such a mind, do what it will – sit cross-legged, meditate upon its navel, or think about the Supreme – will remain shallow because its very essence is shallow. A stupid mind can never become a great mind. What it can do is to realise its own stupidity. The moment it realises for itself what it is, without imagining what it should be, there is a breaking down of stupidity. When one realises that, all seeking come to an end – which does not mean that the mind becomes stagnant, goes to sleep. On the contrary, it faces ‘what is’ actually – which is not a process of seeking but of understanding.

Most people are seeking happiness, God, truth, love everlasting, a permanent abode in heaven, a permanent virtue, a permanent love. And it seems to me that a mind that is seeking is a very superficial mind. I think we ought to be a little clear on this point, we ought to investigate it, we ought to look at the absurdity of a shallow mind and its activities, because we shall not be able to penetrate into what we are exploring if we are still thinking in terms of seeking, making an effort, trying to discover. On the contrary, we need an extraordinarily sharp, quiet, still mind. A shallow mind, when it makes an effort to become silent, will still be only a shallow pool. A petty mind, that is so learned, so cunning, so full of the acquisitive pursuit of God, of truth, or of some saint because it wants to get somewhere, is still superficial because all effort is superficial, is the outcome of a mind that is limited, narrow. Such a mind can never be sensitive. I think one has to face the truth of that. The effort to be, to become, to deny, to resist, to cultivate virtue, to suppress, to sublimate – all that is in essence the nature of a shallow mind. Probably most people will not agree with this, but it does not matter. It seems to me an obvious psychological fact.

When one realises this, when one is aware of it, sees the truth of it actually, not verbally, not intellectually, and does not allow the mind to ask innumerable questions as to how to change it, how to get out of this shallowness – all of which is effort – then the mind realises that it cannot do anything about itself. All it can do is to perceive, to see things ruthlessly as they are, without distortion, without bringing in opinions about the fact; merely to observe. And it is extremely difficult merely to observe because our minds are trained to condemn, to compare, to compete, to justify, or to identify with what is seen. So it never sees things exactly as they are. To live with a feeling as it is, whether it is jealousy, envy, greed, ambition, or what you will, to live with it without distorting it, without having any opinion or judgment about it, requires a mind that has energy to follow all the movements of that fact. A fact is never still; it is moving, it is living. But we want to make it still by capturing it with an opinion, a judgment.

So a mind that is aware, sensitive, sees the futility of all effort. Even in our education, the child, the student who makes an effort to learn, never really learns. He may acquire knowledge, he may get a degree; but learning is something beyond effort. Perhaps we shall be able to learn together without effort, and not be caught within the realms of knowledge.

To be aware of the fact without distortion, without colouration, without giving it any bias, to look at ourselves as we are, with all our theories, hopes, despairs, sufferings, failures and frustrations, makes the mind astonishingly sharp. What makes the mind dull is belief, ideals, habits, the pursuit of its own enlargement, growth, becoming or being. And as I have said, to follow the fact requires a precise, subtle, active mind because the fact is never still.

Krishnamurti in London 1961, Talk 10

Part 2

Why Is the Mind Caught in Time?

So can the mind keep young, never grow senile? After all, innocence means not to hurt and not to be hurt. The meaning of that word is that: not to hurt and not to be hurt. Such a mind which has never been hurt, such a mind can never become senile. And that requires a great diligence of learning about itself.

So, as we were saying – to come back from senility – why have we banished death from our life? Which means: why have we, why have our minds got caught in time? Please, this is not intellectual fireworks; this is inquiring into our complex life. Time is by the day, yesterday, today and tomorrow – 24 hours. But also there is time that is inward. Psychological time. We are asking why the human mind is caught in psychological time.

Please, we are talking over together. I am not talking to myself. We are asking: why has the mind been crippled by yesterday’s memories, regrets, attachments? And strangely, attachments are always in the past, but I won’t go into it now. By yesterday, a thousand yesterdays, today, modified itself, and the future, which is time movement. This movement is time, psychologically. We are asking: why is the mind caught in that, which is time? That is, hope plays an important part in our life. ‘I hope to become,’ ‘I hope to meet you tomorrow’ – psychologically – ‘I will meet you tomorrow’ – I have already projected my desire to meet you and create a hope out of that.

So we are saying: why does the mind live in time? It has evolved in time. To have the present mind that we have, it has evolved through millennia, thousands of years. And that is normal, healthy, obvious. But we are asking: why psychologically, inwardly, has time become so important? You are asking yourself, please. Is it because we are always avoiding ‘what is’ in order to become something else? Moving from this to that. Psychologically I am this, but I should not be this, but that. Psychologically I am unhappy, but I must be happy. The ‘must’ or ‘will’ or ‘shall be’ is the movement of time.

I wonder if you are following. Please, it is your life.

So the mind is caught in time because it is always moving away from this, from ‘what is’. It will change in time – ‘I will be good, give me time,’ which is like developing a muscle. Your muscle may be not sufficiently strong, but if you keep on doing something to strengthen it, it will become strong. With the same mentality, we say, ‘I am this, I will be that, so give me time.’ And shall ‘what is’ be changed through time?

I am anxious. I have great anxiety. Can that anxiety be changed through time? That is, will I become, or be in a state where I have no anxiety? See what I have done. I have anxiety; I have projected a state of not being anxious, and to arrive at that state, I must have time. But I never say: can this anxiety be changed immediately? Not allow time. See what happens. I am anxious. I hope to be not anxious. There is a time interval, a lag. In that lag of time, other activities are going on, other pressures, negligence. So anxiety is never solved. I think I will come to a state where I have no anxiety, so I am struggling, struggling, struggling. It is like a man who is violent. He has invented non-violence, and in that time interval he is violent. So he never reaches non-violence.

So the question is then: can ‘what is’ be transformed immediately? Which means never allowing time to interfere.

Listen to this; you will find out; it is really simple. If we apply our minds, we can solve anything – as has been done: they have been to the moon, built marvellous submarines. Incredible things they have done. Here, psychologically we are so reluctant, so incapable, or have made ourselves incapable.

So if you do not allow time, or never think in terms of time, then the fact is not. I wonder if you see that. Because we allow time, the fact becomes important. If there is no time, it is resolved. Suppose I die this second; there is no problem. When I allow time, I am afraid of death. But if I live without time, which is an extraordinary thing if you go into it – psychologically, never. Time means accumulation. Time means remembrance, time means accumulating knowledge about oneself – all that involves time. But when there is no time at all psychologically, there is nothing.

So we are saying – rather, thinking together – that because we have allowed time as a factor to intervene between living and dying, fear arises. So you must understand the nature of living, and therefore the nature of dying, which can be found in the living.

That is, sir, death is the ending. The ending: the ending of my possessions, my wife, my children, my house, my bank account – especially my bank account! The ending of something. In that ending, there is no argument. I don’t say to death, ‘Please, hold on a minute.’ So where there is ending, there is a beginning.

Suppose I, the speaker, ends attachment completely, not to persons, to ideas – the whole process of attachment, with all the consequences of attachment, when there is an ending to it, there is a totally different state of mind.

I have been attached to my furniture, and that attachment has been a burden. With the ending of that burden, there is freedom. So ending is more important than beginning. So can I, living, end? End my anxiety, my fears, end – not the bank account because that is too risky! No, I mean that – we are not going to end the bank account; I am not talking of that. Ending psychologically. Ending my uncertainty. When I am confused, to end it, not say, ‘I must find out why I am confused, what is the cause of confusion, I must be free from confusion’ – all that is time. That is negligence. Whereas diligence is to be aware of the whole movement of time and to end anxiety immediately. Therefore there is no accumulation psychologically as knowledge.

Now, death is ending, ending of everything. I know what you will say afterwards: ‘What about reincarnation?’ I know all that. We will come to it if we have time. I am not avoiding it. If I don’t know, I say ‘I don’t know.’ I don’t play hypocrisy with all this. Death is an ending, and I am living. We are living, active – business and all the rest of it. Can we psychologically end everything? Can you end your attachment instantly, immediately, your anger, your violence, your greed, your this and that, end while living? Therefore living is dying. Not living and ultimately die. Living means the dying, otherwise you are not alive. And most of us are frightened of dying because we have never been able to live properly. We have never lived. But we have lived in conflict, in struggle, in pain, in anxiety – you know all the rest of it. So we call that living. Living is not all that. So if all that can be ended, then there is living. So you are then living and dying. They go together. Like a flower with perfume, the perfume is not away from the flower; it is there.

And this is the actual ending of senility, if you want to go into it very deeply, so your mind never gets old. A machine with internal combustion, a machine like a car, is always wearing itself out because of friction. But when there is no friction whatsoever, the mind keeps…

But it is not your mind, it is the human mind. Because you, your mind is the result of a million years. Your mind is the mind of the Indian, of the Chinese, the Russian, the other human beings, because they go through similar pain, anxiety, sorrow, pleasures, occasional joys and occasional love. So our brain, our mind is the mind of humanity. If you can understand that one real fact, then we will live without any division.

Krishnamurti at Brockwood Park in 1980, Talk 4

Part 3

The Scientific Mind and the Religious Mind

The really scientific mind and the really religious mind are the only two minds that can exist in the twentieth century, not the superstitious, believing, temple-going, church-worshipping mind. The scientific mind is the mind that pursues fact. And to pursue materialistic fact – which is to discover under the microscope – needs immense accumulated knowledge. And such a scientific mind is the product of the twentieth century. So one begins to see that a scientific mind, the so-called educated mind, the mind that has learnt a certain technique and thinks rationally and with knowledge, always moves from the known to the known, from fact to fact. Such a mind is absolutely necessary because it can reason logically, sanely, rationally, precisely. But such a mind obviously cannot free itself to inquire into what is beyond accumulated knowledge – which is the function of religion.

So, what is the religious mind? You know, there is a way of thinking which is negative, which is the highest form of thinking. That is to see what is false, not what is true. We are trained to think positively – which is to think imitatively, to think according to tradition, according to what has been known, following a particular method, a system, always projected from the past. This is what is called positive thinking. Whereas there is negative thinking, which is to see the false which is the positive, and from there proceed. And that is what we are going to do, to find out what the religious mind is – seeing what is false and denying it totally, not accepting one breath of it. You cannot deny totally if you already know that you will gain something in denying the false. If you know the future, you would not be denying. If I deny all religious organisations as being false, as being without any foundation, and I knew that I deny because I find hope in some other organisation, then that is not a denial. I can only deny not knowing the next step, and that is the real denial, that is the real renunciation – not knowingly, but knowing that which is false. That is negative thinking.

So we are going to inquire into what is a religious mind, negatively. First, the religious mind is obviously not the believing mind, because belief is based on the desire to be secure, to be safe; and so belief in any form prevents right inquiry, right questioning. If I believe in nationalism, then I cannot possibly investigate how to be truly brotherly with another. I must deny nationalism, then I shall find out what it is to live with another amicably, in a brotherly spirit. But most of our religions are beliefs. You believe that there is a god because you have been told for ten thousand years through propaganda that there is a god, that there is an atman – all kinds of verbal statements, spinning theories and words. You believe all that because you have been so brought up, educated. When you go to the other end of the world, to Russia and other parts, you find that they don’t believe, they have been brought up not to believe. There is not much difference between one who believes in God and one who does not believe in God, because they are both slaves to words, to propaganda – one for a thousand years and the other for forty years. I know you will laugh; I know you think it is funny, but you will still believe. A man who really inquires if there is God or if there is not, obviously must totally wipe away all his conditioning, all his belief in God.

So the religious mind is not a mind that believes, not the mind that goes to the temple. You are going to the temple every day, repeating certain phrases, doing mantras and all the rest of it – that does not indicate you are a religious man at all. That may indicate that you are a superstitious man, that you are caught in habit, which society has passed on to you. You may substitute religious rituals for parades, attending football, cricket, sitting by the hour by the radio – it is all the same thing. So, the ritualistic mind, the mind that goes to the temple or church and worships the symbol is not the religious mind at all. Why does one do it? Why do you do it? For various obvious reasons – first, you have been so trained; this has been instilled in you, to believe, to seek shelter in an idea. If you have no God, you have the State to worship, with its priests – one leader or another.

We all want security because we are frightened of life. When we are troubled – someone dies, we lose our job, something happens to us – we do not go into it factually, with a scientific mind, and break through it. We turn easily, quietly and darkly to something that we hope will give us security, some peace. And it does give peace, it does give security. A belief does give security, but that security is just a word, it is empty; it has no psychological security except to keep you completely asleep.

So the temple, the church, the symbol which is used to excite and organise man to worship God has no value at all for a religious mind. To deny that, to deny the whole religious structure in which you have been brought up, with the authority involved in it – the Sankaras, the Buddhas, the gurus, the Gita, the Bible – to deny all that totally is the beginning of the religious mind. That does not mean the mind becomes sceptical or accepts another authority. It denies the authority of any religion or any teacher and therefore of all the books, of all the temples and churches. To deny is very difficult because you may lose your job. There is your mother who cries, and you yourself are so frightened. Can you deny such gods who have been worshipped for so many centuries? And who are you to deny them?

You know the inventions, the tricks we play upon ourselves. To deny and to remain in that denial, that is the beginning of the really religious mind. Because when you deny what is false, your mind becomes very sensitive; when you deny the false, you have energy. You know, you need a great deal of energy to inquire and to discover, to live in that religious mind; you need energy and abundance of it. But you cannot have that energy if you are in conflict – conflict between the fact of what you are and the idea of what you should be. Therefore a religious man has no ideal; he is only facing the fact from moment to moment. And virtue is in facing the fact. Out of facing the fact, you have an uncontrolled discipline – not the deadly practice of what you call discipline, which is habit, a resistance, a suppression.

So a mind which is inquiring into the quality and nature of the religious mind is a mind that is free from the ordained, rigorous, religious, traditional discipline. But it has its own extraordinary unsuppressed and uncontrolled discipline which comes into being when you look at the fact.

You know, to look at a fact requires a great deal of energy. You can only look at a fact when you are not in conflict with the fact – the fact being what you are at a given moment: the fact that you may be jealous, ambitious, greedy, envious, ruthless, heartless. To face the fact, to look at it, requires energy. You cannot live with the fact if you are in conflict with the fact. And when you look at the fact without conflict, that very fact releases energy which brings about its own discipline. And such discipline does not distort the mind because there is no suppression. All our disciplines are a means of suppressing what the fact is because we worship and escape to the idea, which is a contact.

If you are listening – which I hope you are, not merely listening to the words which are very cheap and in abundance – if you are observing yourself through what is being said, you are bound to see the fact. If you are not in conflict with what is actual – which is yourself, not your atman and all the rest of it, which has no meaning at all – then you will see that, as you are watching the fact, out of that watching comes a strange discipline. To watch something very clearly, you don’t condemn, you have no judgment – like a scientific mind watching something dispassionately.

So a religious mind has no authority, and therefore a religious mind is not an imitative mind. You will see also that the religious mind is not caught in time. It does not think in terms of evolution, growth, gradualism – that is the animalistic mind because the brain, some part of the brain is evolved from, grown out of the animalistic instinct. The rest of the brain is still to be developed, and if it develops according to animalistic instincts and experiences, it will still remain in time. Therefore, a religious mind never thinks in terms of growth and evolution; it is always jumping out of time. I think you will understand this, which may be rather new and strange to you, because that is what I mean by mutation.

A changing mind, a changing brain is always moving from the known to the known. But a religious mind is always freeing itself from the known so that it is experiencing the unknown. The unknown is out of time; the known is in time. And so if you have gone very deeply into it, you will see that the religious mind is not a slave to time. If it is aware that it is ambitious or jealous or fearful, it does not think in terms of ideals or postponement; it ends it immediately, at the instant. And the very ending of it is the beginning of that extraordinary, subtle, sensitive discipline which is uncontrolled, which is free.

So the religious mind is the real revolutionary mind. Not the revolution which is a reaction to what has been – like communism which is only a reaction to capitalism; therefore such a revolution is not a revolution at all. No reaction is a revolution, and therefore reaction cannot bring about a mutation. It is only a religious mind, a mind that is inquiring into itself, that is aware of its own movements, its own activity, which is the beginning of self-knowledge – it is only such a mind that is a revolutionary mind. And a revolutionary mind is a mutating mind – which is the religious mind.

Krishnamurti in Madras 1961, Talk 8

Part 4

A Mind in Harmony

What is intelligence? Is intelligence cultivable? Is intelligence innate? And does thought see the truth of conflict, division and all the rest of it, or is it the quality of mind? It is the quality of mind that sees the fact and is completely quiet with the fact, completely silent with the fact, not trying to go beyond it, overcome it, change it, but completely still with the fact. It is that stillness that is intelligence. So intelligence is not thought. Intelligence is this silence, and therefore totally impersonal. It doesn’t belong to any group, to any person, to any race, to any culture.

So I have found, the mind has found that where there is silence, not put together by thought and discipline, practice and all that terrible horror, but seeing; seeing that thought cannot possibly go beyond itself because thought is the result of the past, and where the past is functioning it must create division, and therefore conflict, sorrow, and all the rest of it, seeing that and remaining completely still with that. You know, it is like being completely still with sorrow. Somebody whom you love or for whom you care, whom you have looked after, cherished, loved, been concerned with, when that person dies there is the shock of loneliness, despair, a sense of isolation; everything falls around you. In that sorrow, to remain with it, not seeking explanations, causes, why should he go and why not I – to remain completely still with it. To remain with it, completely still, is intelligence. And that intelligence can operate in thought, using knowledge. And that knowledge and thought will not create division.

So the question arises from that: how is the mind, your mind, which is so endlessly chattering, which is so endlessly bourgeois, caught in a trap, struggling, seeking, going after the masters and, you know, gurus, and disciplining, how is that mind to be completely still?

Now, you know harmony is stillness. Harmony, not discord – harmony between the body, the heart and the mind. Complete harmony. That means the body, your body, must not be imposed upon by the mind, disciplined by the mind – disciplined by the mind when it likes a certain kind of food, tobacco, drugs – the excitement of all that, being controlled by the mind, then it is an imposition. Whereas the body when it is sensitive, alive, has its own intelligence, not spoilt. One must have such a body: terribly alive, sensitive, active, not drugged. And also one must have a heart – not excitement, not sentiment, not emotion, not enthusiasm but that sense of fullness, you know, depth, quality, vigour. That can only be when there is love. And a mind that has immense space. Then there is harmony.

Now how is the mind to come upon this? I am sure you are all asking this, perhaps not sitting there but when you go home, when you walk, when you are looking – how can one have this sense of complete unity, integrity without any sense of distortion, division, fragmentation; the body, the heart and the mind? How do you think you can have it?

Now, you see the fact of this, don’t you? You see the truth that you must have complete harmony in yourself, the mind, the heart, the body. It is like having a clear window, unspotted, without any scratch, unsullied. Then as you can look out through a window, you can see everything without any distortion. Now how can you have that? Who sees this truth? Who sees the truth that there must be this harmony, complete harmony?

As we said, when there is harmony there is silence. When one of the three becomes distorted, there is trouble, there is noise. But when the mind, the heart and the organ are completely in harmony there is silence. Now who sees this fact? Do you see it as an idea, as a theory, as something you ‘should have’? If you do, then it is all the function of thought. Then you will say, ‘Tell me what the system is, what kind of system I must have to get this. I will practise, I will deny, I will discipline, I will cook myself brown.’ All that is the activity of thought. But when you see the truth of this – the truth, not what ‘should be’ – when you see that is the fact, it is so, then it is intelligence that sees it. Therefore it is intelligence that will function and therefore bring about this state, not thought.

So thought is of time, intelligence is not of time. Intelligence is immeasurable – not the scientific intelligence, not the intelligence of a technician, not the intelligence of a housewife, not the intelligence of a man who knows a tremendous lot – those are all within the field of thought and knowledge. It is only when the mind is completely still – and it can be still; you don’t have to practise, control; it can be completely still – and when it is, there is harmony, there is vast space and silence. And only then the immeasurable is.

Krishnamurti in Saanen 1971, Talk 7

Part 5

A Mind With Enormous Space

There is order which is beauty. There is order, there is the beauty of love, the beauty of compassion. Also there is the beauty of a clean street, of good architectural form of a building, there is the beauty of a tree, the lovely leaf, the great big branches. To see all that is beauty, not merely going to museums and talking everlastingly about beauty. The silence of a quiet mind is the essence of that beauty. Because it is silent and because it is not the plaything of thought, then in that silence comes that which is indestructible, which is sacred. And in the coming of that which is sacred, life becomes sacred. Your life becomes sacred, our relationship becomes sacred; everything becomes sacred because you have touched that thing which is sacred.

And then we have also to find out in meditation if there is something or if there is nothing which is eternal, timeless. Which means, can the mind which has been cultivated in the area of time, can that mind find out, come upon or see that thing that is from everlasting to everlasting? So can the mind be without time? Though time is necessary to go from here to there and all the rest of it, can that mind, that very same mind which operates in time, going from here to there, not psychologically but physically, can that mind be without time? Which means can that mind be without the past, without the present, without the future? Can that mind be in absolute nothingness? Don’t be frightened of that word.

Have you ever looked at an empty cup when you pour your coffee into it? Before you pour it, have you watched it, have you seen the emptiness of it? And because it is empty, it can receive, and because it is empty, it has got vast space. Have you observed in your own mind if you have any space at all there, just space, a little space, or is everything crowded? Crowded by your worries, by your sex or no sex, by your achievements, by your knowledge, by your ambitions, fears, your anxieties, your pettiness – it is crowded. And how can such a mind understand or be that state of being, or have that enormous space?

Space is always enormous. I don’t know if you understand all this. And a mind that has no space in daily life cannot possibly come upon that which is eternal, which is timeless. That is why meditation becomes extraordinarily important. Not the meditation you all practise – that is not meditation at all – but the meditation of which we are talking about transforms the mind. And only such a mind is the religious mind. And only such a religious mind can bring about a different culture, a different way of life, a different relationship, a sense of sacredness, and therefore great beauty and honesty. All this comes naturally without effort, without battle, without sacrifice, without control, and this is the beginning and the ending of meditation.

Krishnamurti in Madras 1974, Talk 4

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