Krishnamurti with Alain Naudé 5
This conversation between Krishnamurti and Naudé was recorded in Malibu in 1972. They ask: Is there in us a place where there is no corruption, where there is real, absolute peace and order? The stream of vulgarity in the world has its source in the self, ‘the me’, the ego. When there is no self, there is a responsibility for humanity. What is the relationship between this stream, the self which is perpetuating the stream, and the unknown? How is one who is in the stream to understand instantly, without going through the evolutionary process? One steps out of the stream if one denies time, in the sense of becoming, being, achieving, comparing. Can the mind, without any motive, negate the self?
Alain Naudé was Krishnamurti’s private secretary in the 1960s. He met Krishnamurti in 1963 whilst a music lecturer and concert pianist. He gave up his teaching and performing in 1964 to work with Krishnamurti. Fluent in several languages, he was very helpful at international gatherings and in attracting younger audiences to Krishnamurti’s talks, at a time of cultural change in the West.
Krishnamurti: You know, sir, I would like to ask a question concerning the actual state of affairs in the world. Which is, take the various geographical and national divisions of the world, both religiously, politically and socially, and you see everywhere man is really, basically concerned with food, clothes and shelter.
Alain Naudé: And pleasure.
K: And pleasure. He wants only that, actually, because he can see that, grasp it, taste it, hold it.
AN: Security and pleasure.
K: And the religious people supply it in a different way. The politician does, the technician does.
K: The religious organisations, in their own peculiar, limited way supply that.
AN: Oh, definitely because one even sees that when an Eastern religion comes to the West, they are very concerned to make it acceptable to the West, so a Hindu temple looks like a church, with red plush pews in it and an altar very much like an altar in a Catholic church, and one sees that the taste and preference is very much catered for, even by religion. Therefore, they do please.
K: So, the vast majority of people are concerned with only one thing.
AN: They know what they want and they get it, more or less.
K: Food, clothes and shelter. And what is the function of a man who says, ‘Look, that isn’t the only thing in life’?
AN: In all this disorder, the question arises, sir: What is the ultimate order, which is an order beyond this exterior disorder? What is the order, psychologically? How will a man live in order? How will a religious man function, first of all in his own life, and with regard to all the people around him who are in such complete sorrow and in such vulgarity, as you said yesterday? Yesterday, you said that this was the stream of vulgarity, and I think it’s a very good expression. This stream of vulgarity, we see that it is made up of geographical differences, cultural differences…
K: …national, religious…
AN: Yes, political…
AN: …religious differences, and within all this mess people are struggling along. And one says, ‘There must be another dimension to life’ – and this has been called the religious dimension.
K: Sir, I wonder if they do. Or, they would like to have a different dimension, provided the first dimension is…
K: …assured. Give me bread first…
AN: …and pleasure.
K: …and then we’ll talk about the rest. It’s only very few, very, very few who say, ‘Look, bread is all right, we must have it, but that’s not important.’
AN: Something else is more important.
K: More important.
AN: Yes. Now, what is more important? And then, how will such men work in this world with people who think that bread and pleasure are more important? What is the issue of a serious man, sir?
K: That’s it.
AN: What is the real issue in this complicated, critical situation the world is in? What is the real issue for a serious man, in his own life and in the lives of others? That serious man, to speak quickly, we call him the religious man.
K: I wonder what you would call a serious man. What is a serious man?
AN: A serious man would be someone who looks at all this disorder, who sees that man is born, suffers and dies, he sees the apparent senselessness of all this, he sees how fleeting and shallow it is, and he says, ‘Good gracious, is there no other dimension to existence? Is this what I came into the world for, to reproduce and die; it’s all so silly.’ A serious man says, ‘Is there another dimension?’ because he has intimations of beauty, which sometimes are very faint and vague. Nevertheless, out of the experience one gathers in life, one comes, one must come to ask a question: Is there another dimension; is there something which will give unity to life, and purpose and beauty, something beyond this shallow, transitory mess?
K: I wonder if you would ask that question really. If you were caught in the transitory life, in the misery of it, in the confusion of it, your first question would be: How am I to get out of this? Not into a new state, but how am I to step out of this misery, this terrible chaos?
AN: Yes, this shallowness.
K: Shallowness, and all the rest of it. And is it possible? You follow? If I was that kind of person…
AN: If I were out in the street, as it were.
K: If I was in the stream, that’s the only question I would ask.
K: Not whether gods exist, don’t exist.
AN: I think it’s the same question, when one says, ‘Is there another dimension?’ one is saying in fact, ‘How can one have something other than this dimension?’
K: Yes. You see, sir, I want to get at this in a different way, which is, if I was in the stream, if I’m fairly intelligent and acknowledge the absurdities of this vulgar stream and all the rest of it, I would say to myself: Is there in me – not out there in some faraway place – is there in me a place where there is absolute… where there is no corruption?
K: Where there is real, absolute peace, order.
AN: Order, peace, beauty.
AN: Sensitivity, intelligence.
K: I would like to get at that, in spite of all the misery. I know how to deal with it if once I can get at that, or I can balance it, and so on. My concern would be: Is there, in this chaos, which is me, a deep down, a place where the mind is completely quiet, full of something, beauty and all the rest of it? I think I would ask that question.
AN: Yes, sir.
K: Because I have played with beliefs and with gurus, with saviours and Masters.
AN: I think the first thing is to see that all these structures of thought which offer some kind of salvation are part of the stream.
K: Part of the stream.
AN: The division of being a Sufi, a Catholic, a Muslim, a Jew, a Buddhist, an Indian and so on.
K: I am fairly intelligent; I observed all this.
AN: This division repeats itself also in the so-called spiritual quest – my guru is holier than thy guru.
K: (Laughs) I have seen all that and I say, ‘That’s too absurd.’
AN: The amazing thing is, very few people see this. Very few people see this. They turn from the apparent materialism of the world to what they think is spirituality, and they are caught up in the same competitive divisiveness in religion.
K: I know.
AN: A sect, a guru, a discipline, a saviour, a creed, and so on.
K: Yes, so…
AN: So we must take this into consideration when we speak about the ultimate order in all this.
K: Yes, sir.
AN: Because most of these people will say, ‘That’s exactly what we are saying. The solution of all this is very simple: join our Church,’ or join our ashram.
K: No, no, throw all that out. Throw all that out.
AN: Tibetan Buddhism has the answer.
K: Throw it all out.
AN: Billy Graham every Sunday on television will tell you, ‘We’ve got the answer, Mr Nixon and I.’
K: I know. Sir, look, I throw out all that – not because I’m stupid or I want to belong to my special sect or I want to invent a new sect – I throw out all that.
AN: All these, yes – mine and the other man’s.
AN: Of course.
K: Including the Catholic, Jesus, the myth…
AN: Yes, one must throw out all the things which were cultural…
K: Absolutely, I throw it out.
AN: Even… Yes, it’s very interesting, the Jewish religion. A great deal of it is simply the legal code.
K: Of course, sir. I know all this. So, don’t let’s go… Being fairly intelligent, observant, studied a little bit, suffered, and I see all these religions are more or less the same – they are divisive, they are antagonistic to each other – and I say, ‘Look, I don’t want to join a new sect, or leaving the old sect’ – I throw the whole thing out.
AN: That’s right.
K: I throw it out; it’s not an idea.
AN: Yes. Now this is the message which many people get from your talks, and then they are what the French would call égaré.
AN: They look around and they say, ‘Everything goes and nothing goes.’ You find them dropping out of school, you find them… When you say, for instance, ‘What you are saying now is: All the moralities of society are immoral,’ they throw out the moralities of society and then they are buffeted about in the pursuit of their own fancies, ambitions and pleasures.
K: Of course, of course.
AN: So one must very well understand what you are saying, sir.
K: Yes, sir. So I am saying this, sir: I throw all this out.
AN: I throw out all the directives…
AN: …moralities, beliefs…
K: …concepts, guru, everything out.
AN: All the processes in time which are offered to people to get out of the mess of the material.
K: Absolutely; I throw them out. So what have I left?
AN: Many people have got this far and they are in a mess.
AN: And they run around like…
K: …like chickens without…
AN: …like demons. They don’t know what to do.
K: Now wait a minute. I have thrown them all out – and I actually have thrown them out, not as an idea but inwardly and outwardly I don’t belong…
AN: The things that they don’t exist for one, they have no…
K: I don’t belong to any, or too… Right. Then my next question is: Is there something in me, not invented, not supposed, not a self-created myth, is there in me, or is…
AN: …is there…
K: …is there a peace, a silence, a beauty that is not corruptible, that doesn’t belong to the vulgar stream, that is not an illusion?
AN: That is not simply capitulation and quietism.
K: Sir, those are all, again, tricks of the mind.
AN: Exactly. Yes. Because many people will say, ‘Oh, I’ve found it. I know Jesus.’
K: No, no, no.
AN: A lady said this to me the other day.
K: I have heard this so often. So…
AN: Is there something real in all this mess?
K: Not in the mess. Is there something real when I have discarded the whole human culture and their inventions, their formulas, their gurus, their ideas of virtue – everything out of myself? Is there anything like real, unadulterated peace? Which is not, as you said, quietism, which is not a thing which the mind gets caught in.
AN: Which is not a fancy, which is not created by thought or imagination or belief.
K: Right. I ask that question. I ask the question whether there is, when I have thrown out the whole invention of man, including his gods: Is there a state of mind that is really timeless? A state that is really… which is always renewing itself – not in time, in a process.
AN: No. Which is not influenced, which is not a result.
K: Which is always living, moving, changing.
AN: Which is a source. Is there a source?
K: That’s right.
AN: Is there a perennial source of purity…
K: So that’s what I would like to find out.
AN: …of goodness?
K: That’s what I, as a human being who lived here…
AN: That is the question, the religious question – if we speak quickly.
AN: To use the word religious.
K: That’s what I want to find out. If I was a serious man, rejected the whole thing…
AN: Is there peace, and also freedom?
K: That peace means freedom – all that.
AN: And is it real?
K: Now how do I find out? You see, sir, what happens? A strange thing happens when you ask that question. Because you have thrown out everything your mind instantly has a different quality.
K: The other day, I saw in the cinema a vulgar woman sitting in the yogi posture, with her hands stretched out, legs crossed in the lotus posture and all that, and absolutely still, gazing into outward space, and…
AN: Self-hypnotised. Conceited.
K: It showed that there is an inquiry, even in the most vulgar, this demand for this.
AN: Yes. And there is also in the most vulgar an imitation or a mental reconstruction of the real. People speak about peace and so they think peace. People speak about emptiness and so they imagine and project space.
K: All these signs the boys have – peace and…
AN: They greet each other sometimes with the word peace, and it really feels so…
K: Sir, now, how am I, who have discarded the world – the world being the vulgar stream…
AN: Which is aggression and which is anger and so on.
K: All that – when I have discarded it, hasn’t the mind itself lost its quality of seeking, of wanting to find out, of direction, of a purpose…
AN: …of demanding.
K: The whole thing. You see, that’s very difficult.
AN: Yes, because the mind has always been busy demanding fragmentary things.
AN: Small things – more money, more sex and so on. And now the mind, if it has really understood this vulgar stream, it must see that even when it demands the totality, it’s the same thing, it’s the same fragmentary movement.
K: No, there is no demand.
AN: Therefore, there’s no demand, either about the particular or the whole.
K: That’s it. So we are beginning to see a mind that discards the vulgar stream completely is no longer seeking.
AN: Yes, because it is the seeking which makes the vulgar.
K: Of course. We said that. It is no longer seeking. Therefore, there is no movement, outer or inner. Right? And there is no longer the demand to achieve, to become or not to become. When the mind discards, totally, this vulgar stream, because it is not moving in any direction, it becomes extraordinarily stable.
AN: Oh, yes.
K: No, no – like a mountain, settled.
AN: Not influenced.
K: It is established.
AN: It is itself.
K: No, don’t use those words, because the mind that has discarded the vulgar can never be itself. There is nothing to be itself. In the stream I can say, ‘I am.’
AN: No, but it’s not trying to be anything.
AN: It’s not trying to achieve.
K: No. If there is no movement in direction, seeking, demanding, the mind is not moving outwardly or inwardly, there is a certain quality of stability.
K: Nothing can penetrate it – no influence, no pressure, no reward, punishment – nothing can penetrate it. I don’t know if you see.
AN: Yes, sir – because it doesn’t react.
K: No, there is nothing to react or not – it is established in depth.
AN: That’s right, sir. Yes. It’s clear, sir.
K: And because it has no movement – going out or coming in, seeking or not seeking, wanting or not wanting, being or not being, demanding – it has an extraordinary sense of stillness, doesn’t it?
K: Which is not the stillness of a river, which has battled through great mountains, valleys, cities and now suddenly finds itself quiet in a pool, or in the ocean, or whatever it is.
AN: It is not the stillness of after effort.
K: And the stillness is not a personal experience. I think that’s where our difficulty is going to come in.
The other day in Italy, when I was talking to somebody, a whole group, he said, ‘I don’t want your personal experience.’ He said this. I said, ‘Sir, I’m not talking of my personal experience. I have no personal experience at all.’ Then he said, ‘I’ll listen to you.’ He translated truth as a personal experience. You follow?
AN: Yes, I follow, sir.
K: And all the religious groups…
AN: …they are like that.
K: Like that.
AN: Anything which is an experience is a very limited affair, because it comes from oneself.
K: Of course, of course.
AN: The ant experiences a certain thing and the elephant experiences another thing. Therefore, the experience is the ant and it is the elephant, therefore it’s useless.
K: Of course. So when I said, ‘We are not talking of any personal experience,’ he was rather surprised. You follow?
K: Therefore, what we are talking about is not a personal thing at all.
AN: Yes, that is clear.
K: I think it’s very important to understand that.
AN: It’s very important. Yes. This is what you mean by saying the observer is the observed.
AN: If what you are talking about is observed by a person, then it is the person observing, and then it’s useless.
K: Then it is all too childish, it has no meaning.
AN: Therefore, if anything is real at all, it must be beyond experience. This is what you are saying, sir?
K: Yes, that’s right. So what have I now? When I have discarded this thing, the vulgar stream, all the banks, the beauty on the banks, the saints and the…
AN: …the pleasures, the expectations and the hopes.
K: …the whole business of it, the mind has a quality which it has never had before, and a depth which is really quite unfathomable.
AN: Because as soon as one tries to fathom it, it’s the old game again.
AN: It’s the self. It’s the self acting from a centre, which is determined beforehand.
K: That’s right. So realising that, what relationship has that, that mind, to the stream?
AN: Very interesting. Could you please…? (inaudible)
K: You follow, sir?
K: Say X has got that mind, and the stream is going on.
AN: The stream is there. The milkman is at the door… (inaudible)
K: And the stream says: By Jove, here is a man who seems to have something…
AN: He has a different look in the eye.
K: …and he wants to capture it and put it in the stream.
AN: The other man does.
K: The man of the stream.
AN: Yes. Now, this is a very interesting and important point. The religious man has always said, ‘Get out of the stream and go and sit in the hills.’ Many of the young people today, hearing this, and hearing about this inaction that you speak about, remaining in the stream, are incapable of dealing with life.
K: Of course, sir – poor people.
AN: Therefore, they live on others. Therefore, there is no order, even in their temporal affairs – they drop out of school, they say, ‘Nothing really matters so I take drugs or don’t take drugs. Since there is no morality to which I subscribe I can sleep with everybody in town or not at all.’ So one sees that at this point, even if one has verbally understood what you have said, there are two dangers: There is the danger of the swami, who retreats into realms of fancy in the cave – either a very fancy ashram or a cave – and there is also the danger of what we may call, to speak quickly, the hippie, who retreats into a wild disorder in which he says there are no values, therefore everything goes. So now your question is, sir: Having got to this point where I see that the immutable lies beyond the stream, how will I live in the world where things go on, and with…?
K: No, I would put it round the other way: What is the relationship between that mind, that quality, and this stream?
AN: Yes – the world of events and people.
K: Can the two be brought together? Or can that mind, can that quality of mind enter the stream and change the current of the stream, change the colour of the water, change the colour of the people in it?
AN: Very important.
K: This has been an eternal question – we are not just putting it…
AN: One hears, for instance, a certain ashram in India, where the great guru says, ‘I am not content to enter realms where the Rishis have entered before but I bring those realms down into the world of men and events.’
K: Yes, sir, yes, sir.
AN: So now the question arises: How will one live?
K: Not how one will live.
AN: How will that act within this? How will the immutable act within the stream?
K: Or: What is the relationship between the stream…
AN: …and the sky.
K: …and that, and the sky?
AN: Yes. This is very important, sir.
K: Can I… can one – not I – can one, living in the stream, reach that? Obviously not.
AN: Now, what do you mean, living in the stream?
K: Caught in the stream, caught in the stream of vulgarity – we’ll keep to that phrase because it conveys everything.
AN: Yes. One cannot reach that whilst one is motivated by the pressures which motivate the vulgar man.
K: Sir, while one is living in the stream, can one reach that? Obviously not.
AN: But if you say this, sir, one must be careful to understand what you mean: Living in the stream. One must reach that, living in the city, going to the office, having a wife, having children, paying the rent. When you say one cannot live in the stream and reach that, some people may think you mean one cannot live in the world and reach that.
K: No, no, I don’t mean that.
AN: So we must be sure to understand you, sir.
K: Of course, of course. Sir, look, we have said…
AN: The stream is in fact made of the self – its demands, its appetites, its habits.
K: The stream has its source in the self, in the me, in the ego.
AN: The centre. Yes, that’s right. This me also lives in the physical world but it lives in a particular way in the physical world. Then this other man comes along who says, ‘With the cessation of this me there is the sky.’ Now the question is: If one is not motivated by this me which makes the vulgar world, how will one continue to live in the physical world of people and events, paying the rent and so on, whilst living in the sky?
K: Yes, sir.
AN: This is the question, sir.
K: I wonder – listen to this; let’s get the question clear first – we said: What is the relationship between that, the sky, we’ll call that for the moment, and the vulgar stream? That may be a wrong question altogether. What we are saying is: The stream is the me, is the ego, has its source in the self.
K: Now wait a minute. When you reject the me, the source of the river…
AN: The centre of the self.
K: The centre, from which the river flows.
AN: That’s right – is motivated.
K: When you deny that, it doesn’t mean that you go off into the mountains.
AN: Or become chaotic.
K: Chaotic. On the contrary, that brings an extraordinary sense of order.
AN: Please explain, sir. This I think is important.
K: We’ll come back. All right. Look, sir, we said now that the source of the stream is the self.
K: Now wait a minute, hold it.
AN: The stream is the self; the vulgarity is the self.
K: Is the source, from that…
AN: You said once something very beautiful, in Rome, you said: The self is a bourgeois and bourgeoisie is me.
K: Yes, quite. Now, when the mind denies that – mind being not the superficial mind; the whole…
AN: When actual conduct and behaviour denies that, when that is absent from living.
K: Yes. Then you live in the world without the me. Which means you may have a wife, a child and a house, go to a job…
AN: …pay the bills.
K: …pay the bills and all the rest of it…
AN: …go on holiday.
K: Yes, yes, do all the rest of it, but because there is no self there is absolute order in what you are doing. It is the self that creates the disorder of the stream. It’s interesting to see if the self – the self which has created the stream; the self is the disorder; the self which is divisive; the self which invents the saints, the saviours, the gurus. You follow?
AN: Palliatives to sorrow.
K: All the rest of it. When that is not, then it’s no longer bourgeois, then it’s no longer disorderly. Now, what is the relationship between that human being who has not the self, who is living in order in this world, who has no conflicts – living in this world, with wife, family, children, paying bills, holidays, (laughs) going for walks and all the rest of it…
AN: At this stage many young people are paralysed. They say, ‘If I have no self, what’s going to send me to the office? If I have no self, why am I going to look after my children?’
K: Wait, wait, wait – I’ll show you why. If you have no self, responsibility has quite a different meaning. If you have the self, the responsibility is…
K: Not only selfish; it becomes duty.
AN: It’s compulsive.
AN: It is conditioned.
K: Yes. Then it becomes contradiction and all the rest of it – if there is…
AN: Divisive – my interest against yours.
K: Now, if there is no self, there is no me, responsibility is a natural… it’s like breathing.
AN: It’s the breathing of love, with affection.
K: That’s right. If there is no me, there is love.
AN: That’s right. Which is much better than the responsibility of duty.
K: That’s all. Then I will care for the next person’s garden as much as this garden.
AN: And mean it.
K: And I really mean it then. Then how I build a house, everything becomes utterly responsible.
AN: So that then this world is no longer the stream. This same world of people, with the same people in it and the same events in it, has become utterly changed.
K: Utterly, because the self is not.
AN: That’s right.
K: And therefore the mind has completely undergone a change.
K: Now, wait, sir. At one point this is all right, this is right and true. But also to go much deeper into this: What is this state of the mind that has really no self? You follow? We said it has a sense of immense responsibility. Not responsibility of…
AN: Not the responsibility of fear or respectability or duty.
K: No – responsibility to my country, to my god, to my neighbour – all that is silly.
AN: That is all protective and divisive.
K: The responsibility of being a human.
AN: That’s right.
K: Which is no longer establishing the me. Therefore, I am very careful what is happening in India, in China – you follow? – I’m concerned.
AN: Or are you perhaps not at all concerned what is happening in India and China, because you know that wherever it is, it is always happening in the individual heart.
K: It is in the stream.
AN: Yes. And the only solution lies in…
K: No, I am not concerned with solutions. I am trying to investigate what is the quality of the mind that has no self. We said it feels total responsibility. Not the responsibility of mine and yours but total, for the world, for a human being. You follow, sir?
AN: Yes. Not legalistic – truly moral.
K: Therefore, because I feel responsible for the whole of humanity, therefore there is morality on this vast scale.
AN: Morality more than anybody ever dreamt – yes.
K: So, I’ve found this.
K: There is deep order, deep sense of morality.
AN: Because there’s no demand.
K: There’s no demand, of course. And then my action is from moment to moment, from moment to moment, without the remembrance, without imagination, without contriving.
AN: Yes. Sir, if I may please interrupt you just here. When some people hear, ‘My action is from moment to moment,’ this also can be a very dangerous juncture.
K: Of course.
AN: Because so many of these people who live on the streets, psychologically or otherwise, who live with irresponsibility, will tell you, ‘I am living from moment to moment, why should I shave, why should I wash? I am living from moment to moment. I don’t plan the future, only God will tell me what to do, therefore I lie around in disorder.’
K: Sir, that’s all too childish.
AN: Would you please explain this, sir? When you say, ‘I live from moment to moment…’
K: I’ll tell you. Which means I began…
AN: …how can this tie…
K: I began, sir…
AN: …with making plans in the future, to pay the rent, to keep my job and to plant the right flowers in the garden?
K: I’ll show you, sir. When I feel… when there is no self, there is a responsibility for humanity. That’s… you know?
AN: Of course.
K: That responsibility is based on love. And because of that, there is order, there is humility, there is action from moment to moment. Action from moment to moment implies not remembering a mechanical action and repetitive action.
AN: True action.
K: Action. That action is from moment to moment.
AN: Yes. Life is action from moment to moment.
K: I see that bush is dying; I act, and I water it, I manure it, trim it, or whatever it is, and give it a chance to live. And I see a mother beating the child, and there is an action from moment to moment, but all based on this…
K: …freedom from the self. Therefore it is true; it has a continuity which is not based on time.
K: Memory, time, contriving, imagining, and all the rest of it.
AN: And this action from moment to moment, sir, will also see next week what will be needed next week.
K: Of course, sir.
AN: The food, the rent. One will also learn a language with tremendous care…
K: Sir, that is order. Sir, that is…
AN: …remember one’s verbs. This thing can contain memory, but not live in memory.
K: Sir, that is order. That’s what I said. The moment there is freedom from the self – the self being the source of disorder and the vulgarity in the stream – when there is a freedom from that, then there is tremendous sense of human responsibility – for the whole of humanity, not my child and my wife. And therefore, from that everything flows – love. Therefore, love is from action, moment to moment. It is the lack of love that gives a continuity to action as repetitive.
AN: Because when love fails, spurious things come in – duty or compulsion or law.
K: So, you see, sir, that’s what we are trying to say, that a mind that is free from the self, that has no longer… is not giving birth to the waters of the self, then there is this extraordinary quality of humanity.
AN: That is integrity.
K: And that is compassion. You follow? Now wait a minute, wait a minute. What is that mind, what is its relationship to the something which is not in time, which is not… which is completely silent, which is…
AN: That mind is the unknown.
K: That’s what I want to find out.
AN: Because the known is of the self.
K: Wait, sir – that’s why one has to be very clear in this.
AN: And anything one says about the mind is from the known.
K: Therefore, we are saying it is a wrong question to ask: What is the relationship between the stream, the self, which is perpetuating the stream, and the unknown? Because it is a…
AN: I think you have answered that question, sir, beautifully. The relationship is non-relationship.
K: Yes, that’s right. You don’t know the relationship.
AN: That’s right. As soon as you know it, the me knowing it is the source of all mischief, because the me knowing it wants to direct.
K: Yes, sir.
AN: This is very beautiful.
K: You know, sir, there is, in the Tibetan as well as in the Indian tradition, if I understand it rightly, that there is a Maitreya, in the Tibetan tradition especially, who refuses to become the Buddha as long as the world is in misery. And therefore he is considered as the incarnation of compassion.
AN: That refusal to become the Buddha is the Buddha.
K: Wait, sir. No, no, it’s just…
AN: Because to will becoming the Buddha is…
K: No, I am just showing you. You see, there is this idea, there is this myth or fact, or what you like to call it, what they would like to call it, and the whole hierarchical outlook is based on that.
K: There are seven rays of human beings – rays in the sense, temperaments.
AN: Modalities, yes.
K: Modality. And each temperament, each tendency, each modality has its own Master. The man who is tremendous of… his nature, will, has its Master. The man who has got devotion, love, kindliness, has its Master, and so on, so on, so on.
AN: Yes, sir.
K: And over them all is another Master, Mahachohan, and over them is the Compassionate One, that is the Maitreya.
AN: That’s right.
K: You see, that is a very symmetrical, systematic, concrete…
AN: …conceptual, mathematical scheme.
K: It is too materialistic, too…
AN: Vulgar, crude.
K: …crude – that’s the word. It’s too crude altogether. But you see, this has persisted right through, in the religious tradition, right through, from Egypt, from Ancient Hindus – this has been the tradition.
K: That you must, if you are to leave the stream, you must leave it…
AN: By a particular way which is dictated by your temperament and your destiny.
K: And you must leave it gradually, evolve.
AN: Yes. This brings us to a very important question.
K: Evolve. And when you deny the stream, which is not an act of evolution…
AN: That’s right. It is instantaneous.
K: No. Which is not an act of revolution – which is very important.
AN: Which is not an act of evolution.
K: I mean… I beg your pardon.
AN: It is an act of revolution.
K: Yes. It’s an act of revolution, not of evolution.
AN: Yes, sir. When you deny the stream…
K: When you deny the stream…
AN: No evolution is…
K: You deny evolution then. You follow?
K: Is there, then, a state of mind which has no further evolution? You follow?
AN: I would like us to examine this rather systematically and clearly, sir.
K: We’ll do it. We’ll do it now.
AN: Would you…
MZ: Wait, we’ll change tapes.
K: That’s rather good, this, you know.
(Pause in recording)
K: As we were saying, sir, there is this whole tradition of hierarchical evolution, with the Masters guiding each ray…
AN: Kind of… (inaudible)
K: …kind of… layers of consciousness; ultimately Maitreya, who is the embodiment of compassion, and as we were saying, it is a process of the stream, the vulgar stream…
AN: …becoming the sky.
K: The sky – gradually, slowly.
AN: Every culture in the world has, publicly and secretly, its societies and its castes and its men who are concerned with turning the stream into the sky. This is either done very vulgarly, as in public religion, or it is done with enormous subtlety, as in certain secret societies, which are as old as history. And the question, perhaps, that you are asking, sir, is whether, from the stream, with working and thinking and willing and discipline, whether one can reach the sky. And you said that in Hindu thought there were seven streams of temperament, each one guided and guarded by a particular kind of Master, said to belong to the White Brotherhood.
K: That’s right.
AN: And that according to one’s temperament one would be led, in an evolutionary process, along a spiral, as it were, to the ultimate good.
K: Yes. And also, sir, this evolutionary theory is part of the communist concept, too.
AN: Oh, yes.
K: Thesis, antithesis and synthesis.
AN: The communists also believe in evolution.
K: Of course. And thesis, antithesis and synthesis. Again, that synthesis has its…
AN: Becomes a new thesis.
K: And so on and on and on and on. This is a deep-rooted tradition. And there is tremendous comfort in this.
AN: There’s security, there’s comfort.
K: Tremendous psychological comfort, that, ‘All right, today I’m not good but tomorrow I’ll be better, the day after tomorrow still better.’
AN: And my destiny is in the hands of those who know more than I do.
K: Not only that, but this idea of evolution, slowly going, till I become the Master. I have seen some of the leaders of these movements who say, ‘I’m going to be a Master one day, therefore I’m collecting disciples now, for the future…’
AN: What conceit. And some of them also say, ‘I’m going to be the Sun.’
K: Yes, they’ll say any kind of…
AN: What do they want? What do they mean?
K: I used to tell them, ‘You have bagged all the good places; leave some for the others.’
So you see this. Sir, that is the basic reason of its existence, that it gives human beings tremendous solace, comfort.
AN: Perhaps there’s more, sir. Perhaps there’s more, sir. Perhaps some people really have had some contact with the sky and have tried to bring other people into the sky, and perhaps they’ve wrongly devised a system, not understanding that there is no system.
K: But the basic reason for all this is human demand for comfort. You follow, sir?
AN: I wonder, sir. I think some people find themselves in this kind of society because they sincerely do want to get out of the stream, and they do sincerely understand the limitations of this…
K: I am not talking of that. I am saying this idea of evolution, gradualness, growth, growing, becoming better and better and better and better, gives me, or gives one, a great sense of hope.
AN: Yes, one sees these people who flash it around like a badge – my society and my rank and so on.
K: I mean, this is human… I can’t stop my sorrow and perhaps next year.
AN: It’s a way of capitulating.
K: Yes. Next year. It gives me hope, comfort, solace, a sense of continuity.
AN: It also totally makes me escape from the real issue.
K: So, this idea of evolutionary becoming, which tradition has established – slow growth till you reach Master, and then go on to become a future Maitreya, then future Buddha, and so on and so on – it’s a tremendously flattering, comforting idea.
AN: Now, sir, are you saying that there is no process to understanding?
AN: The understanding you talk of is the understanding of the sky, is to live in the sky instead of living in the stream.
AN: Are you saying, sir, that that is not a process, that time is not involved?
K: I am showing you, sir. I’m coming to that, sir. I am showing you something. A little patience. That is, that is our tradition.
K: That is our…
K: …belief, that’s our hope, that’s our comfort, that’s our… it gives me a sense of being, that I shall be. Which is the continuity and the refinement of the self.
AN: Oh, undoubtedly.
K: So, the refinement of the vulgar.
K: The Greek mythology, the Roman – you follow? – it has gone throughout history.
AN: Yes, there’s a book, a very popular book, which describes graphically, almost like James Bond, the quest for a Master. This man goes to the Middle East, he meets many Sufi Masters. In fact, as somebody pointed out to me, the motive emerging from all this is greed.
K: Of course.
K: Now we have to see this. There is this tradition embedded, deep down, and the mind demanding comfort, solace and all the rest of it, holds that tradition and worships the Masters, the gurus, those enlightened, those who are going to be saviours.
AN: The Mahatmas.
K: You know, the whole gamut of it. We are saying that the continuity and the refinement of the self…
AN: …is still the self.
K: …is still the same, it’s still the self. Therefore, however much you go…
AN: The more you go, in fact.
K: …the more refined it is, but it’s still the self.
AN: Because will and striving…
K: Of course, of course.
AN: …and thinking are involved – becoming.
K: So, therefore, when you deny the self you are denying evolution.
AN: Yes, therefore you deny even your own salvation.
K: Therefore, you are no longer seeking the hierarchical process of becoming.
AN: The spiral of progress.
K: So the next question is: How is a man who is in the stream to have this understanding instantly, without going through the evolutionary process?
AN: Now, are you saying that the evolutionary process leads nowhere?
K: The evolutionary process is the evolution of the self.
AN: Yes, this has been quite clear. I would like, however, sir, if I may make a small diversion here, to ask you: What happened between the time when you spoke Theosophy and the time when you speak as you speak now?
K: Oh, I think that’s fairly simple.
AN: Time was involved, historical time. There was a time when you did not have the understanding you have now, because you spoke differently.
K: Yes, I think that’s fairly…
AN: Something happened, and you now understand what you didn’t understand then. What was the element of this change?
K: I think that’s fairly simple enough.
AN: If I may say this in a personal way, sir. I’m sorry to have asked you directly.
K: No, it’s all right, sir. You see, one has to go into this much more deeply than… To answer this question, one must go into the whole question of this K and his brother as boys, why he wasn’t conditioned, why superficially he repeated these things, whether there was any time that the real thing wasn’t there – you follow? – but only like a throwing off.
AN: If you say that the real thing was always there…
K: I know the danger of it.
AN: …then everybody is going to say, ‘Well, he is of a different species, therefore his teaching has no value in the modern world because it is addressed to people different from himself and it can’t help them.’
K: I know this, sir. That’s why I said, to answer that…
AN: I’m sure this is not what you mean.
K: No, no. To answer that question one has to go much further than the question implies.
AN: Perhaps you could explain it, since it is just an interlude, perhaps you could explain what happened between the time when you didn’t speak as you do and now.
K: Sir, look…
AN: You spoke about the fountain of wisdom, you spoke about the Masters, you spoke about becoming, and so on.
K: Now, if you look at it…
AN: You were young.
K: There were these two boys. The older boy was chosen as the vehicle of that teacher.
AN: Of the sky.
K: The sky. The World Teacher who took the body of Jesus, and all that. I am not saying I believe or disbelieve, I’m just pointing out. He was born in that family of orthodoxy – Brahman orthodoxy is something tremendous at that time, at that age.
AN: Still today.
K: It’s vanishing today, slowly. And he was not conditioned by that. Then he was found, made head of various organisations, and Theosophy, he was living with those who believed in the Masters, reincarnations, hierarchy and the idea of becoming, slowly, evolving, and being in that, he repeated it. He was not – he hadn’t broken… he hadn’t opened yet.
AN: Yes, yes…
K: He was just repeating.
AN: He hadn’t opened yet. Now what happened when he opened?
K: Wait, just a moment, I’m… He was repeating. He became a priest at one time.
AN: He did puja.
K: Puja at one time, and broke that. He belonged to various things in the Theosophical Society, went away from that. So he was just moving. There was no deep penetration of these influences.
AN: Yes. He was vacant and therefore they had a certain sway over him for a time.
K: For the time being. When did this change take place? Was it the result of evolution? You follow? That is, innumerable lives and coming to that, which some believe. Others believe that he is a vehicle of…
AN: …of the sky.
K: …of the sky, of the Lord Maitreya. And so it was all in the state of belief, tradition, acceptance of a future Avatar – it was all in that level.
K: Are you asking the question: How did this happen?
AN: I think you have already answered it.
K: Yes, sir. How did this…
AN: You are saying that the stream was superficially…
AN: …was superficially imposed on this consciousness and therefore it seemed to act for a time, but that when maturity came, it was shed quite naturally, and in fact there hadn’t been any deep influence at all.
K: That’s right.
AN: Thank you, sir, you have answered that question. Now we may proceed to what you were going to say. You were asking: If it is not an evolutionary process, how does consciousness become of the sky?
K: Yes, that’s right.
AN: Since we see that the self can only produce the self, no matter how refined, you are saying, with the repudiation of evolutionary spirals, how, if that’s not the way, what is the way?
K: Quite. Sir, when you – it’s a strange fact; I must tell you this – when they found that boy the first thing they said, what impressed them most, was they saw in the aura of the boy no element of selfishness. They were very surprised by that. That has been written about. I would like to find out how did this happen.
AN: How did what happen – for them to see, or the boy to be so?
K: No, no – to be so. You follow the point? What they saw, that’s… If I see…
AN: No, that’s another question, but it’s only very superficial.
K: Very superficial.
AN: How did the boy appear without the self?
K: Or the traces of self.
AN: One might say, as you said yesterday, sir: (laughs) Is it relevant how? The fact is it was so.
K: No. It is important to find out because: Was it the result of evolution.
AN: No – he was a tiny child.
K: The ego?
AN: Oh, I see – reincarnated.
K: That’s just it.
AN: I think you dealt with that when you said that evolution doesn’t bring you to this other.
K: But how did it happen to that boy? Was he a freak? Was he like, in a garden, a sport?
AN: Please tell us, sir.
K: So, is understanding a matter of time or does it happen without any volition, when the mind is not caught in time – which is evolution?
AN: By understanding, you mean the cessation of the self.
K: Yes – understanding, seeing the sky – let’s put it that way.
AN: Yes – the cessation of the stream.
K: Of the stream.
AN: Of the self.
AN: Now you are saying: Does stepping out of the stream of the self, which you call understanding, does that come about through time or is there some other factor?
K: That’s it.
AN: This boy was already out of the stream of the self, you are saying.
K: Obviously, it is not through time.
AN: Because we’ve dealt with that.
K: That I think is a wish, a feeling that gives you comfort because you are procrastinating, you are lazy mentally, say, ‘Well, next life.’ Look at all the millions of people who believe in reincarnation.
AN: It’s a folly.
AN: Not that you are saying it is or it isn’t.
AN: But it is not the way to the sky.
K: Absolutely not. Oh, never. Can never.
AN: You are not saying there is or there isn’t reincarnation.
K: No, no – we dealt with that the other day.
AN: You are saying whether there is or not, it’s not the way to the sky.
K: No. So, if that is not the way…
AN: …out of the stream.
K: …out of the stream, which is time, evolution, because that’s only a refinement of the self…
AN: What was the element which made this boy different?
K: That, and how is it that you step out of time without effort, without time? Right?
AN: Yes, sir, that’s the question.
K: I think you do step out of it if you deny time. Deny in the sense, not physical time but the sense of becoming, of being, of achieving, of comparing – you follow? – all that.
K: If you shed all that…
AN: If you shed becoming…
K: …you are out of the stream. That shedding is not a matter of volition. Volition is time.
AN: Yes. Volition is that becoming.
K: Of course – becoming. So, if you understand this very clearly, see this very clearly: time is refinement of the self, not the freedom from self; the will to achieve is still part of…
AN: It is the self.
K: …the self, the better, polishing, polishing, polishing, is still the self. When you see that very, very, very clearly, intellectually even, and therefore cease to act in terms of time…
AN: Cease to be time.
K: …cease to be time, you are out of it.
AN: That’s right.
K: Because the ‘out of it’ is like – I was watching the other day a penguin jumping out of the water onto a high plateau, high bank. It was one movement. You follow?
K: And it is exactly like that.
AN: Yes. This is the negative action. The trouble, I think, here, sir, is that most people expect that negative action to have a particular feeling or a particular click about it, and so, with a positive action they seek some recognition of the negative action. In other words, they want to know that they’re out of time, seeing that very wish is the essence of time.
K: No, sir. The negation is the positive.
AN: Yes. The negative is the positive. (Laughs)
K: Not seeking, through negation, the positive.
AN: This is very important. People always look… they make the pursuit of the negative the very essence of becoming and effort. And this is perhaps the great trap of every single religious discipline: I will become good, I will become a Mahatma, I will improve myself.
K: When you deny that, negate all that, not verbally but negate it, through your heart, completely, there is the positive, of that penguin jumping out of the water.
AN: Yes. Is there any particular feeling in that?
K: No. You’re out. (Laughs) There’s no particular feeling, or enlightenment or state of ecstasy – you’re out. When you are out there is complete… a different ecstasy. You follow? Not the ecstasy of coming out – which gives them comfort.
AN: Satisfaction and experience.
K: And therefore belongs to the stream.
AN: Would you mind saying something, sir, about the ecstasy of non-experience? Because, again, so many people have projected this as a state of vacuous oblivion.
K: I know. Sir, the whole idea…
AN: I saw a girl sitting on the campus of Berkeley, in a state of goodness knows. What was the word you used yesterday?
K: Oh, I don’t know what…
You see, sir, there is the whole idea, again tradition. Traditionally, enlightenment is an achievement.
K: Enlightenment comes…
AN: …as a reward.
K: …as a reward, or as an experience, or when you are in a certain state. The Buddha is supposed to have achieved enlightenment under the Bodhi…
AN: After eight years of trying.
K: …under the Bodhi tree.
AN: But then they say he stopped trying. Perhaps that is so. It was the stopped trying which was the enlightenment.
K: Of course.
AN: On the other hand, it is true, sir, that you can get nothing for nothing.
AN: And you must earn – not through effort.
K: No, sir. Look, sir. No, do look. No, no. If you see the self is the source of…
K: …mischief, confusion, sorrow, the vulgar stream…
K: …if you see it, as the observer and the observed, it is the bondage.
AN: The bondage, yes.
K: It is…
AN: …it is the cage of bondage.
K: Observer is the observed in that case. If that observation takes place, you leave the stream. There is the movement, which is the leaving of the stream. Now, for us, experience brings certain ecstasy.
AN: Like the cat being stroked.
K: Experience brings certain happiness, certain ecstasy, certain sense of wellbeing, certain sense of achievement, acquiring knowledge – all that.
AN: There is the contentment of a self.
K: Which is all part of the self.
K: So, experiencing is the experiencing of the self, at a different level.
AN: Yes. Experiencing is always of the self.
K: So, when you negate the self, you are negating experience.
K: Now, sir, this is really…
AN: This is very important, sir.
K: When you are… You are negating experience, you are not seeking.
AN: Any experience at all.
K: Any experience.
AN: You’re negating all experience. It isn’t that there is some other ethereal experience, somehow different from the others.
K: Oh! That requires tremendous perception; it isn’t just…
AN: This is what you mean by dying, sir.
K: Yes, of course. When you…
AN: Now would you mind saying, sir, would you mind telling us again what is this ecstasy which is not experience?
K: Therefore, let’s…
AN: It’s freedom.
K: Yes. Let us see clearly the experience that gives ecstasy, the experience that gives pleasure, the experience that gives you knowledge, the experience that makes you feel…
K: …achieving and all the rest of it, is part of the self, is the movement of the self.
AN: It is the self.
K: It is the movement of the self. When you negate the self, you negate the total demand for experience. Which means negate total demand of ecstasy, of pleasure, of comfort, of achievement. Therefore, when you negate something unreal, the real is there. Then in that, which is not an experience, because there is nothing…
AN: Because it doesn’t depend on one’s reaction to it.
K: Not only that, because there is no…
AN: It’s not created by…
K: …by the me.
AN: It’s there whether or not I do something about it.
K: So – no, it’s much more subtle than that – do watch it. That is, when the self which is seeking experience is negated, that very negation is the positive action of a mind that says: No, I don’t want any experience; there is no experience.
K: Therefore, such a mind is a light to itself.
AN: Now what you mean by that, sir?
K: You see? See what has happened. There is no guide – it’s a…
AN: Ah, yes – it is not dependent.
K: It is like a light, the sun.
K: And that has its own ecstasy, its own movement of joy. It’s nothing to do with the stream.
So, evolutionary theory of becoming, achieving, has nothing to do with the reality of the negation of the self. This is really… I am sure the Ancients must have said this thousands of times.
AN: Of course they did, sir, of course they did. The tragedy is that what they said was turned into a system, which became the biggest cage of the self.
K: Oh, it’s muck.
K: Whether it is Vedanta muck or the Christian muck, it doesn’t matter – it is dirty.
AN: It’s dirty to get imprisoned in the pursuit of that which is not the result of pursuit.
K: So, sir, can the mind, without any motive, negate the self?
AN: Die, in fact.
K: And it can only negate the self when it sees the self – not as the observer but as the observed. It is seeing, not from outside – from within.
AN: When it understands the total action of the self.
K: I think that’s enough, don’t you? That’s enough. We’ve been at it for an hour and a half.
AN: Yes, sir.
Krishnamurti in Malibu, 26 January 1972