Krishnamurti on Order
‘How is your mind to have complete, total order in action, in thought, in every movement, psychologically as well as physiologically?’
This week’s episode on Order has five sections.
The first extract (2:51) is from Krishnamurti’s second talk at Brockwood Park in 1978, titled ‘How is one to have complete order in oneself?’
The second extract (17:48) is from the second talk in Saanen 1971, titled ‘Can control bring order?’
The third extract (33:23) is from Krishnamurti’s third talk in Bombay 1984, titled ‘The art of living in order.’
The fourth extract (45:13) is from the third talk at Rajghat in 1981, titled ‘Putting your house in order’.
The final extract (59:20) in this episode is from a direct recording by Krishnamurti in 1983, titled ‘Order is the very essence of the universe.’ This is an exclusive to the podcast, not heard before outside of the archives.
TheHow Is One To Have Complete Order in Oneself?
We live in disorder, psychologically. We may have an orderly room, do proper exercise, do so-called yoga – I won’t go into that word, what it means, how it began and all the rest of it; it is not the moment. We keep order outwardly, apparently, but there is disorder, astonishing disorder in the world. Perhaps that disorder is brought about by each one’s psychological disorder. Disorder means contradiction in oneself, thinking one thing, doing another, saying one thing and doing the opposite of what you have said, or being uncertain, not clear, contradictory, and so on. All that indicates disorder. Where there is contradiction, there must be effort. Where there is division, there must be conflict and so on. All that is a state of disorder in which we live. That is an obvious fact.
To bring about order psychologically, what is one to do? I hope you are challenging yourself and not just accepting my challenge. Knowing consciously, being aware that one is in disorder psychologically, what is one to do? How is one to bring about order? Without order psychologically as well as outwardly, one must live in chaos – as the world is becoming more and more chaotic, destructive and violent, which shows a great deal of disorder in the world. And perhaps that disorder is projected by each one of us because we live in disorder.
So we are asking: how is one to have complete, total order in oneself? Is that possible? Where there is order, there is tremendous energy. Where there is disorder, there is the dissipation of energy, wastage of energy. So we are going to inquire together – I am not inquiring into myself, but together we are inquiring, exploring into this question: what is order and can there be order without understanding disorder? So we are inquiring together to find out this actual state, the fact that we live in disorder. Is that a fact, not a verbal description of the disorder?
The word is not the thing. The description of the disorder is not the actual disorder. The description of a mountain, however beautifully painted, the beauty of the valley, the light, the snow, the lines against the sky, the whole sense of dignity and beauty of that mountain can be described most beautifully, but the description is not the actual fact. For most of us, description is sufficient. And so we are caught in the description, not with the actual fact. So when we are asking what disorder is, is that an idea of what you think order should be? In comparison with what you think order should be, there is disorder. This is total disorder. So we are going to find out what disorder is, and having an insight, a quick perception of the whole structure of disorder, out of that comes order. That order is not according to a pattern or according to a blueprint or according to some sage or some philosopher or some religious quack – and most religious priests and the hierarchy and all the rest of it are super quacks! Even the new pope, I hope!
So are we aware, first, that we live in disorder? Not the definition of that word but the actual fact of contradiction, of division – me and mine, you and yours, we and they, and all the division that goes on within ourselves, the constant conflict. All that indicates disorder, and how do you observe that disorder? For example, attachment in any form is a factor of disorder, and also a factor, a part of fear. So attachment to a person, to an idea, to a conclusion, to a past memory, to a piece of furniture, and so on and so on, does breed disorder. Do we see that fact?
Freedom from attachment, without becoming isolated, callous, indifferent, does that bring about certain order? What we are talking about is: when we have put everything in order, then there is a great deal of energy, tremendous energy, and one needs that energy to go most profoundly into oneself. So we are asking, discovering for ourselves, first, the disorder in which we live and the nature of that disorder, which is part of attachment, fear and pleasure, and so on, without directing it in a particular direction hoping that will bring order, but just to be aware of this disorder without any movement away from it.
Are we meeting each other? Is the speaker making the thing clear? That is, may I go into it?
Suppose I live in disorder, inwardly. I may have marvellous order outwardly, but inwardly perhaps I am in great disorder. And I ask myself: what am I to do? Is that disorder different from me, or am I that disorder?
Do you understand this question? Please, this is really important to understand because if the disorder is different from me, then I can do something about it, then I can change the pattern, move from one corner to another corner, or bring psychological order by suppressing, by control, by this and by that – I can do something about it. But if the disorder is not different from me, which is a fact – the disorder is me – then the problem arises: what happens then?
Are you following all this? You are not listening to me; you are listening to yourself. Then perhaps you will bring about a change. But if you merely listen to the speaker, you can listen to him for the rest of your life – and I hope you won’t – and if you merely listen to him, you won’t change. But if you yourself see that you live in disorder, and that disorder is not different from you, fundamentally – basically you are that disorder – then what takes place? Before, you could do something about it because you separated yourself from it and you operated on it, and therefore in that there was constant conflict and betrayal – one day you could do it, the next day you couldn’t do it, and so on so on, fluctuating from day to day, whereas the fact is you are that disorder. That is a fact, not a conclusion that the speaker has come to and is trying to impose on you – which he is not. We are not doing propaganda of any kind, trying to convince you of anything. But when the disorder is me, I can’t do anything about it, which means I can’t operate on it as I used to before. So I remain in this total disorder.
Are you doing this as we are talking, or is it just a verbal accumulation?
Which is, I am not different from that disorder. That disorder exists because I have divided myself from what I have called disorder. That is one of the major factors of disorder; I have discovered that. Wherever there is a separation between me and psychologically what I observe, that division is one of the major factors of disorder. That is, when I call myself a Hindu or a Muslim or a Christian, a Catholic or British or French or German, or whatever it is, the division is a factor of disorder. With the Jew and the Arab you have got an obvious example – every day that is happening. So psychologically, when there is division between disorder and myself, I am encouraging and cultivating disorder. Whereas the fact is that disorder is myself, and therefore the realisation, the truth of that brings order.
Krishnamurti at Brockwood Park in 1978, Talk 2
Can Control Bring Order?
First of all, one has to have physical order, be highly sensitive, highly disciplined (if I may use the word ‘disciplined’; we will go into that word), sensitive, alive, not a sloppy body because that reacts on the mind. How is one to have a highly sensitive organism that doesn’t become rigid, hard, forced into a particular pattern which the mind thinks is orderly, and so forces the body to conform to a pattern, a design set by the mind? That is one of the problems; we will come back to it.
Then also there must be order in the whole totality of the mind – the mind being the brain, the mind being the capacity to understand, to observe logically, sanely, not to be caught in contradictory desires, purposes, intentions. This whole quality of mind, how is it to have total order, psychosomatic order, without conformity, without the enforcement of a discipline thought up by the mind, and a mind that can observe very clearly, logically, sanely, and function totally, all round, not fragmentarily? See our difficulty first, what is involved in all this.
One has to have order; that is absolutely essential. That we all agree to. What that order is, we are going to investigate together. In the world, there is the order of the older generation, which is really total disorder as one observes in its activity in the world, in the business world, in the religious world, in the economic world, in the national world – total disorder. And in reaction to that, there is the permissive society, the permissive generation that does quite the opposite of the older generation. Which is also disorder, isn’t it? Please observe this. A reaction is a disorder. And how is the mind, with all the subtleties of thought, with all the images thought has built about itself, the images that it has built, not only about another and what it should be, and therefore living in contradiction – the ‘should be’ and ‘what is’ – how is such a mind to have complete, total order so that there is no fragmentation, no reaction to a pattern which it thinks is right, and is therefore contradictory, opposing, and out of that opposition violent?
Now, seeing all that, how is the mind, your mind, to have complete, total order in action, in thought, in every movement both psychologically as well as physiologically? I hope you see the question, first. Do you understand the question? See how extraordinarily complex it is. And religious people throughout the world have said that you can have order only through belief in higher life, belief in God, belief in something outside, and according to that belief conform, adjust, imitate, force, through discipline, the whole nature and structure of the psyche as well as the physiological state. And there is a whole group of behaviourists who say that the environment forces you to behave: if you don’t behave properly, it destroys you. There is a set of people who believe and conform to that belief, whether it is a communist belief, religious belief or a sociological or economic belief.
So seeing all this, the division, the contradiction in us as well as in society, in the world, and the counterculture against the existing culture, all saying that there must be order in the world. The military says there must be order, the priests say there must be order – and so on. You see it: there must be order.
Is order mechanical? Can order be brought about through discipline? Can order be brought about through conformity, imitation or control? Or order, about which we shall talk, has nothing whatsoever to do with all that. Which is, it has nothing whatsoever to do with control or discipline in the ordinary, accepted sense of that word. It has nothing whatsoever to do with conformity, with adjustment and so on.
Now, let us look at this whole idea of control, and whether it brings order. This doesn’t mean we are speaking against control; we are trying to understand, and because we understand, we discover something entirely different.
You are following all this? Am I going too fast? I hope you are as interested in it as I am, and as passionate about it too – not just casually listening to a theoretical idea. We are not discussing theories at all, nor hypotheses; we are observing actually what is going on. Actually. And seeing what is false, the very perception of seeing what is false is the truth.
So first, what is implied in control? Because that is what our culture is based on – all our education, all the upbringing of children, and in ourselves there is the urge to control. Now, what is implied in that? We have never asked: why should we control at all? Now we are going to go into that whole question. Control implies, doesn’t it, a controller and the thing controlled. Please, do give your attention to this – the controller and the thing controlled. I am angry; I must control anger. Where there is control, there is conflict: I must and I must not – and conflict obviously distorts the mind. A mind is healthy, clear and sane when it has no conflict whatsoever so that it functions without any friction. Then such a mind is a sane, healthy mind. And control denies that because in control there is conflict, there is contradiction, there is the desire to imitate and to conform to the pattern you think you must do.
So control is not order. Please, do you understand? It is very important to understand this. Through control, one can never have order because order implies functioning clearly, seeing wholly, without any distortion. But where there is conflict, there must be distortion. And control implies suppression, conformity, adjustment, and the division between the observer and the observed. Please, as you listen to what is being said, the mind must be freeing itself from the old culture of control.
Krishnamurti in Saanen 1971, Talk 2
The Art of Living in Order
See how important it is to find out a way of living in which conflict and problems don’t exist. Because conflict and problems waste our energy. So one has to find out why problems exist. There are mathematical problems, geographical problems, academic problems, and so on – we are not talking about those problems, we are talking about the problems of human beings. We are first human beings, and afterwards scientists, engineers, businessmen and all the rest of it. First, you are a human being, but when you give importance to other things, you forget that you are a human being. So please, together, let’s find out.
The art of living, doesn’t it mean to lead a life, a daily life, with tremendous precision and the accuracy of order? Order does not mean conformity, following a pattern set and adjusting yourself to that pattern. We will go into this slowly. Does it not mean to become fully conscious, aware of one’s own disorder? Are we aware of that? Or do we think that is merely an environmental difficulty, but inwardly we are perfectly orderly?
We are pointing out together that inwardly we live in disorder, in contradiction. That is a fact. Even the greatest saints – they are generally slightly neurotic – live in disorder because they are trying to become something all the time. The very becoming. You understand what I mean; I hope we are following each other. Becoming: I am this, I will become that – in that endeavour to change ‘what is’ to ‘what should be’, there is an interval, a gap in which conflict takes place. And that conflict is the essence of disorder.
Where there is division, different classes of people, racial divisions, and in ourselves a contradiction, a division: I am this, I must become that – in that there is a division, and that very division is the root of disorder. In that there is a contradiction: I am this but I want to be orderly. When I say, ‘I want to be orderly,’ I recognise I am in confusion, and I attempt to bring about order, so I make a diagram, a sketch of what order is, and then I try to follow that. We are saying, if you will kindly listen together, that that very fact is the cause of disorder.
Have you understood? Are we together in this a little bit? Slightly? Not too much, but just enough.
So, where there is division in us psychologically, there must be conflict and therefore disorder. Now, as long as there is disorder, trying to find order is still disorder.
I am confused. My life is in disorder. I am fragmented, broken up inside, and being confused, out of that confusion I create a pattern, an ideal, a scheme, and I say I am going to live according to that scheme. But the origin of that scheme is born out of my confusion. So I have to understand why I am confused, why I am disorderly. If I can understand that, out of that comprehension, that perception, order naturally comes without a single effort. That is, if I can find the causation of my confusion, then confusion doesn’t exist. Then there is order.
I wonder if you see this. Are we together in this a little bit? Are we? Good. When you say, ‘Yes sir,’ do you really mean it, or is it just verbal assertion? That is dishonesty. If we don’t see things clearly, don’t say yes – say, ‘I don’t see it.’ Then we can together have a dialogue. So please, look at it carefully.
This awareness of confusion – not that we should not be confused – the very awareness of confusion brings about the cause of it, the causation. So what is the cause? If I am ill and I go to the doctor, and the doctor, if he is fairly good, says, ‘You are eating certain things that upset your whole organism.’ So he says, ‘Don’t do this, don’t do that.’ So I change. I eat properly. In the same way, if we can find the cause, then the effect is changed. And if there is a change in the effect, there is a change in the cause.
So, order is only possible when we understand the nature of disorder. And the nature of disorder can be totally wiped out. If I am quarrelling with my wife, or my wife is quarrelling with me, I find out why we are quarrelling. If we like to quarrel, that is a different matter, but if want to stop quarrelling we say, ‘Let’s talk about it, let’s see why we quarrel.’ And then we find we are quarrelling about opinions: I want this, and you want something different. And thereby we begin to communicate with each other and ultimately come to a point where we both agree. So, similarly, together, to live a life, the art of living, so that it is completely orderly. That is the art of living.
Krishnamurti in Bombay 1984, Talk 3
Putting Your House in Order
If I don’t put order in my daily life, that is, inwardly, I cannot have order outwardly. That is very clear.
Society is my relationship with another, or with many. Society is made up like that. If I am greedy, ambitious, corrupt, and you are greedy, ambitious, corrupt, then we produce the society you have now in this country. That is a fact.
I am meditating now. I am meditating, I am not seeking God. God is another invention of my thought. If there is God, then God must wish humanity to have a rotten life. But we human beings have created God in our image.
Meditation is putting my house in order. My house, not the room but the house in which the mind lives. If the mind is not clear, with integrity, consideration and love, how can I possibly meditate? It has no meaning! So my first concern in meditation is whether I can put my house in order. Please see the logic of it first, the reason of it. Then if you understand the logical conclusions, I must begin with myself, my house.
So I am seeking security outwardly and inwardly. That is what all of us are doing. We sacrifice inward security for outward security. We are more concerned with outward security, so we want somebody to guarantee outward security: the government, the business world. If I am a worker, the business world must see I have security. This is what is happening – we want outward security, and the communists, the so-called Marxists say have that first, then the human character, the human mind will change. This means changing the outer, the circumstances, the State, the society, the government, change all that then man will naturally be good. And you have seen the experiment in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe – it doesn’t work because man wants freedom. You cannot suppress him. And because he is free in the Western world and in India and in parts of Asia, his freedom is to choose. He says, ‘I am free because I can choose.’ But his freedom is within the field of knowledge. So he says: within that field, I can choose, go from one corner to another, north, south, east or west, and he thinks he is free.
So there must be freedom of order, which is intelligence. I wonder if you understand all this. So can meditation put the house in order? Or, first put the house in order then that very order is meditation. Do you understand? No, you don’t understand. Don’t agree to something you don’t understand.
Are we aware, without any direction, that we live in disorder? Are we aware of it? Aware in the sense know I live in disorder, that my room is in disorder. Your ordinary room is in disorder. Your relationship is in disorder. My struggle, the very conflict indicates disorder. Am I aware of all that? Or is the speaker telling you and then you become aware of it? See the difference. Then you are not aware of it yourself. Somebody is telling you to be aware. I wonder if you see all this. So when you are aware of the fact that you yourself have seen that your house is in disorder, and out of that awareness see what are the causes of disorder, when you discover the causes of disorder, the causes, then what has a cause can end.
May I go a little bit further? No, don’t say yes – this is not a game we are playing.
We have been saying that the universe has no cause. If it had a cause, it would end. Anything that has a cause must either continue or end – continue in the sense of repetition. Cause, effect. Cause, effect. The effect becomes the cause and the cause becomes the effect. It is like a chain. But the universe has not a cause and therefore it is infinite. Whereas human beings have a cause. Which is, their cause is, their action is based on reward or punishment, which is a cause – I do this because I am rewarded, or I don’t do this because I am punished. This is the common factor in all of us: I will change if you reward me, or, if you punish me I will change. Therefore our existence has a cause, therefore our existence, because it has a cause, can come to an end, which is death.
So can the house be put in order without conflict, without determination – ‘I must have’, which again brings conflict? Or the house can be kept in order, the inward house, by perception. Only perception. That is, to see ‘what is’, not ‘what should be’, to see ‘what is’ and remain with it.
I am in sorrow. Suppose I am in sorrow. That is part of my house. The sorrow, which has come about for various reasons: my son’s death, my brother’s death, my husband’s – whatever it is – death, sorrow – and never to escape from it, never to rationalise it. Because then you are away, you are moving away from the fact of sorrow. That is, when you rationalise it, when you talk about past lives, when you try to analyse it, that is moving away from ‘what is’. If thought doesn’t move away from ‘what is’ then you hold it. Like a vessel that holds water, that sorrow is the water and your mind is the vessel, and it is holding it, not moving away from it, which means you have given complete attention to that which you are holding. When you give total attention, which is total perception, then that which you are holding has no meaning anymore.
I wonder if you understand, even logically. Please even just verbally understand this.
When you begin to realise the depth of it, the beauty of such a thing, then the mind itself is putting order in itself. You are not separate from the mind; you are that. So when you hold it without any movement, the mind itself is in order.
Now, suppose you have put the house in order – which you have not, unfortunately; if you had, we would have a different society, a different government, a different relationship with each other; but since you have not, that is up to you – but if you have put your house in order, complete order by understanding totally what disorder is – not understanding what order is but by understanding what disorder is, out of that comprehension, realisation, awareness, and giving your total attention to the various contributory causes of that disorder, then order comes without your seeking order.
Krishnamurti at Rajghat in 1981, Talk 3
Order Is the Very Essence of the Universe
It is a foggy morning; you can hardly see the orange trees which are about ten feet away. It is cold, and all the hills and mountains are hidden, and there is dew on the leaves. It will clear up later. It is early morning yet, and the beautiful Californian sun and cool breeze will come a little later on.
One wonders why human beings have always been so cruel, so ugly in their responses to any statement they don’t like, aggressive and ready to attack. This has been going on for thousands of years. One hardly ever meets nowadays a gentle person who is ready to yield, totally generous and happy in his relationships.
Last night there was the hooting of the owl; it was a great horned owl; it must be very large. And it waited for its mate to reply, and the mate replied from a distance, and the hoot went down into the valley, and you could hardly hear it. It was such a perfectly still night, dark and strangely quiet.
Everything seems to live in order, in its own order – the sea with its tides, the new moon and the setting of the full moon, the lovely spring and the warmth of summer. Even the earthquake of yesterday has its own order. Order is the very essence of the universe – the order of birth and death and so on. It is only man that seems to live in such disorder and confusion. He has lived that way since the owl began.
Talking to the visitor sitting on the veranda, with the red climbing rose and a young wisteria and the smell of the earth and the trees, it seemed such a pity to discuss disorder. When you look around at those dark hills and the rocky mountains and hear the whisper of a stream which will soon be dry in summer, it all has such curious order that to discuss human disorder, human confusion and misery, seems so utterly out of place. But there he is, friendly, knowledgeable and probably given to thought.
The mockingbird is on the telephone wire; it is doing what it generally does, flying into the air, circling and landing on the wire, and then mocking the world. This it does so often, and the world apparently doesn’t care. But the bird still mocks on.
The fog is clearing; there is that spring sunshine, and the lizard is coming out, warming itself on the rock, and all the little things of the earth are busy. They have their order; they have their pleasure and amusement. They all seem to be so happy, enjoying the sunshine, no man near to hurt them, to spoil their day.
‘If one may ask,’ the visitor began, ‘what to you is the most important thing in life? What to you is the most essential quality that man must cultivate?’
If you cultivate as you cultivate the fields of the earth, then it is not the most essential thing. It must happen naturally, whatever happens, naturally, easily, without any self-centred motives. The most important thing for each human being, surely, is to live in order, in harmony with all the things around him, even with the noise of the great towns, even with something that is ugly or vulgar, without letting it affect or alter the course of his life, alter or distort the order in which he is living. Surely order is the most important thing in life, or, rather, one of the most important.
‘Why,’ he asked, ‘should order be a quality of a brain that can act correctly, happily, precisely?’
Order isn’t created by thought. Order isn’t something that you follow day after day, practise or conform to. As the streams join the sea, so the stream of order, the river of order, is endless. But that order cannot be if there is any kind of effort, any kind of struggle to achieve, or to put aside disorder and slip into a routine, into various well-defined habits. All that is not order. Conflict is the very source of disorder, is the very cause.
‘Everything struggles, doesn’t it? Those trees have struggled to exist, struggled to grow. The marvellous oak there behind this house has withstood storms, years of rain and hot sunshine, it has struggled to exist. Life is conflict, it is a turmoil, a storm. And you are saying, are you not, that order is a state in which there is no conflict? It seems almost impossible, like talking in a strange language, something utterly foreign to one’s own life, one’s own way of thinking. Do you, if I am not impudent, live in order, in which there is no conflict whatsoever?’
Is it very important to find out if another is living without effort, without conflict? Or would you rather ask if you, as a human being who live in disorder, can find out for yourself the many causes – or perhaps there is only one cause – of this disorder? Those flowers know neither order nor disorder; they just exist. Of course, if they were not watered, looked after, they would die. And dying also is their order. The bright, hot sun will destroy them next month, and to them that is order.
The lizard has warmed itself on the rock and is waiting for the flies to come. And surely they will come, and the lizard with its quick tongue will swallow them. It seems to be the nature of the world: the big things live on little things, and the bigger live on the big. This is the cycle in the world of nature. And in that, there is neither order nor disorder. But we know for ourselves, from time to time, the sense of total harmony, and also the pain, the anxiety, the sorrow, the conflict.
The cause of disorder is the everlasting becoming – to become, to seek identity, the struggle to be. As long as the brain, which is so heavily conditioned, is measuring ‘the more’, ‘the better’, moving psychologically from this to that, it must inevitably bring about a sense of conflict, and this is disorder. Not only the words ‘more’ and ‘better’, but the feeling, the reaction of achieving, gaining. As long as there is this division, duality, there must be conflict. And out of conflict is disorder.
Perhaps one is aware of all this, but being negligent of this awareness, one carries on in the same way day after day, all the days of one’s life. This duality is not only verbal but has the deeper division as the thinker and the thought, as the thinker separate from himself. The thinker is put together by thought. The thinker is the past. The thinker is knowledge, and thought too is born out of knowledge. Actually, there is no division between the thinker and the thought; they are one inseparable unit. But thought plays a clever trick upon itself, it divides itself. Perhaps this constant division of itself, its own fragmentation, is the cause of disorder. Just to see, to realise the truth of this, that the perceiver is the perceived, ends disorder.
The mockingbird has gone, and the mourning dove is there with its plaintive cry. And soon its mate joins it. They sit together on that wire, silent, motionless, but their eyes are moving, looking, watching for danger. The red-tailed hawk and the predatory birds who were there an hour or two ago have gone. Perhaps they will come back tomorrow. And so the morning ends, and the sun now is bright and there are a thousand shadows. The earth is quiet, and man is lost and confused.
Order Is the Very Essence of the Universe