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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)


I would like to point out that we are not making any kind of propaganda, for any belief, for any ideal or for any organization. Together we are considering what is taking place in the world outside of us. We are looking at it not from an Indian point of view, or from a European or American, or from any particular national interest. Together we are going to observe what actually is going on in the world. We are thinking together but not as having one mind. There is a difference between having one mind and thinking together. Having one mind implies that we have come to some conclusion, that we have come to certain beliefs, certain concepts. But thinking together is quite different. Thinking together implies that you and the speaker have a responsibility to look objectively, non-personally, at what is going on. So we are thinking together. The speaker, though he is sitting on a platform for convenience, has no authority. Please, we must be very clear on this point. He is not trying to convince you of anything. He is not asking you to follow him. He is not your guru. He is not advocating a particular system, particular philosophy, but that we observe together, as two friends who have known each other for some time, who are concerned not merely about our private lives, but are together looking at this world which seems to have gone mad. The whole world is arming, spending incredible amounts of money to destroy human beings, whether they live in America, Europe, or Russia, or here. It is taking a disastrous course which cannot possibly be solved by politicians. We cannot rely on them; nor on the scientists they are helping to build up the military technology, competing each against another. Nor can we rely on the so-called religions; they have become merely verbal, repetitive, absolutely without any meaning. They have become superstitions, following mere tradition, whether of five thousand years or two thousand years. So we cannot rely on the politicians who are throughout the world seeking to maintain their position, their power, their status; nor can we rely on the scientists, who each year, or perhaps each week, are inventing new forms of destruction. Nor can we look to any religion to solve this human chaos.

What is a human being to do? Is the crisis intellectual, economic, or national, with all the poverty, confusion, anarchy, lawlessness, terrorism and always the threat of a bomb in the street? Observing all that, what is our responsibility? Are you concerned with what is happening in the world? Or are you merely concerned with your own private salvation? Please consider all this very seriously, so that you and the speaker observe objectively, what is taking place, not only outwardly, but also in our consciousness, in our thinking, in the way we live, in our actions. If you are not at all concerned with the world but only with your personal salvation, following certain beliefs and superstitions, following gurus, then I am afraid it will be impossible for you and the speaker to communicate with each other. We must be clear on this point. We are not concerned at all with private personal salvation but we are concerned, earnest- ly, seriously, with what the human mind has become, what humanity is facing. We are concerned as human beings, human beings who are not labelled with any particular nationality. We are concerned in looking at this world and what a human being living in this world has to do, what is his role?

Every morning, in the newspapers, there is some kind of murder, bomb outrage, destruction, terrorism, and kidnapping; you read it every day and you pay little attention to it. But if it happens to you personally then you are in a state of confusion, misery and asking somebody else, the government or the policeman, to save you, to protect you. And in this country, when you look, as the speaker has for the last sixty years, watching all the phenomena in this unfortunate country, you see the poverty, which never seems to be solved, the over population, the linguistic differences, one community wanting to break away from the rest, the religious differences, the gurus who are becoming enormously rich, with their private aeroplanes which you are accepting blindly you see that you are not capable of doing anything about it. This is a fact. We are not dealing with ideas, we are dealing with facts, with what is actually taking place.

And, if we are to observe together, we must be free of our nationalism. We human beings are interrelated, wherever we live. please realize this, how serious, how urgent it all is. For in this country people have become lethargic, totally indifferent to what is going on, utterly careless, only concerned about their own little salvation, little happiness.

We live by thought. What is the operation, or the process and the content of thinking? All the temples result from thought; and all that goes on inside the temples, the images, all the puja, all the ceremonies, are the result of thought. All the sacred books Upanishads, the Gita and so on are the result of thought, the expression of thought in print, to convey what somebody else has experienced or thought about. And the word is not sacred. No book in the world is sacred, simply because it is the result of man's thought. We worship the intellect. Those who are intellectual are seen as apart from you and me who are not intellectual. We respect their concepts, their intellect. Intellect, it is thought, will solve our problems, but that is not possible, it is like developing one arm out of proportion to the rest of the body. Neither the intellect, nor the emotions, nor romantic sentimentality, are going to help us. We have to face things as they are, to look at them very closely and see the urgency of doing something immediately, not leaving it to the scientist, the politician and the intellectual.

So, first of all, let us look at what the human consciousness has become; because our consciousness is what we are. What you think, what you feel, your fears, your pleasures, your anxieties and insecurity, your unhappiness, depressions, love, pain, sorrow and the ultimate fear of death are the content of your consciousness; they are what you are they are what makes you, the human being. Unless we understand that content and go beyond it if it is possible we shall not be able to act seriously, fundamentally, basically, to bring about a transformation, a mutation, in this consciousness.

To find out what right action is we must understand the content of our consciousness. If one`s consciousness is confused, uncertain, pressurized, driven from one corner to another, from one state to another, then one becomes more and more confused, uncertain, and inse- cure; from that confusion one cannot act. So one depends on somebody else which man has done for thousands of years. It is of primary importance to bring about order in ourselves; from that inward order there will be outward order. We are always seeking outward order. We want order in the world established through strong governments, or through totalitarian dictatorships. We all want to be pressurized to behave rightly; remove that pressure and we become rather what we are in the present India. So it becomes more and more urgent on the part of those who are serious, who are facing this terrible crisis, to find out for ourselves what our consciousness is and to free that consciousness of its content, so that we become truly religious people. As it is we are not religious people, we are becoming more and more materialistic.

The speaker is not going to tell you what you are, but together, you and the speaker, are going to examine what we are and find out whether it is possible to radically transform what we are. So we are going to observe first the content of our consciousness. Are you following all this? Or are you too tired at the end of the day? You are under pressure all day long, all the week long pressure at home, pressure in your job, economic and religious pressure, pressure from government and from the gurus who impose their beliefs, their idiocy, on you. But here we are not under pressure. Please realize this. We are as two friends talking over together our sorrows, our hurts, our anxieties, our uncertainty, insecurity and how to find security, how to be free of fear and whether our sorrows can ever end. We are concerned about that. Because if we do not understand that and look at it very clearly, we will bring about more confusion in the world, more destruction. perhaps all of us will be vaporized by an atom bomb. So we have to act urgently, seriously, with all our heart and mind. This is really very, very important, for we are facing a tremendous crisis.

We have not created nature, the birds, the waters, the rivers, the beautiful skies and the running streams, the tiger, the marvellous tree; we have not created them. How that has come about is not for the moment under review. And we are destroying the forests, we are destroying the wild animals; we are killing millions and millions of them every year certain species are disappearing. We have not created nature the deer, the wolf but thought has created everything else. Thought has created the marvellous cathedrals, the ancient temples and mosques and the images that are in them. Thought having created these images in the temples, the cathedrals, the churches, and the inscriptions in the mosques, then that very thought worships that which it has created.

So, is the content of our consciousness brought about by thought which has become so all-important in our lives? Why has the intellect, the capacity to invent, to write, to think, become important? Why have not affection, care, sympathy, love, become more important than thought?

So first let us examine together what thinking is. The structure of the psyche is based on thought. We have to examine what thinking is, what thought is. I may put it into words but you see it for yourself; it is not that the speaker indicates and then you see it, but in talking over together you see it for yourself. Unless we understand very carefully what thinking is we shall not be able to understand, or observe, or have an insight into the whole content of our consciousness, that which we are. If I do not understand myself, that is, my consciousness, why I think this way, why I behave that way, my fears, my hurts, my anxieties, my various attitudes and convictions, then, whatever I do will bring more confusion.

What is thinking to you? When somebody challenges you with that question, what is your response? What is thinking and why do you think? Most of us have become secondhand people; we read a great deal, go to a university and accumulate a great deal of knowledge, information derived from what other people think, from what other people have said. And we quote this knowledge which we have acquired and compare it with what is being said. There is nothing original; we only repeat, repeat, repeat. So that when one asks: what is thought? what is thinking? we are incapable of answering.

We live and behave according to our thinking. We have this government because of our thinking, we have wars because of our thinking all the guns, the aeroplanes, the shells, the bombs, all result from our thinking. Thought has created the marvels of surgery, the great technicians and experts, but we have not investigated what thinking is.

Thinking is a process born out of experience and knowledge. Listen to it quietly, see if that is not true, actual; then you discover it for yourself as though the speaker is acting as a mirror in which you see for yourself exactly what is, without distortion; then throw the mirror away or break it up. Thinking starts from experience which becomes knowledge stored up in the cells of the brain as memory; then from memory there is thought and action. Please see this for yourself, do not repeat what I say. This sequence is an actual fact: experience, knowledge, memory, thought, action. Then from that action you learn more; so there is a cycle and that is our chain.

This is the way we live. And we have never moved away from this field. You may call it action and reaction, but we never move away from this field the field of the known. That is a fact. Now the content of our consciousness is all the things which thought generates. I may think, oh, so many ugly things; I may think there is god in me; which is again the product of thought.

We must take the content of our consciousness and look at it. Most of us from childhood are hurt, wounded, not only at home but at school, college and university and later in life, we are hurt. And when you are hurt you build a wall around yourself and the consequence of that is to become more and more isolated and more and more disturbed, frightened, seeking ways not to be hurt further; your actions from that hurt are obviously neurotic. So that is one of the contents of our consciousness. Now what is it that is hurt? When you say, `I am hurt` not physically but inwardly, psychologically, in the psyche what is it that is hurt? Is it not the image you have, or the picture you have, about yourself? All of us have images about ourselves, you are a great man, or a very humble man; you are a great politician with all the pride, the vanity, the power, the position, which create that image you have of yourself. If you hold a doctorate or if you are a housewife, you have a corresponding image of yourself. Everyone has an image of himself, it is an indisputable fact. Thought has created that image and that image gets hurt. So is it possible to have no image about yourself at all?

When you have an image about yourself, you create a division between yourself and another. It is important to understand very deeply what relationship is; you are not only related to your wife, to your neighbour, to your children, but you are related to the whole human species. Is your relationship to your wife merely sensory, sexual relationship, or is it a romantic, convenient companionship? She cooks and you go the office. She bears children and you work from morning until night for fifty years, until you retire. And that is called living. So you must find out very clearly, carefully, what relationship is. If your relationship is based on hurt then you are using the other to escape from that hurt. Is your relationship based on mutual images? You have created an image about her and she has created an image about you; the relationship then is between these two images which thought has created. So, one asks; is thought love? Is desire love? Is pleasure love? You may say no, and shake your head, but actually you never find out, never investigate and go into it.

Is it possible for there to be no conflict at all in relationship? We live in conflict from morning until night. Why? Is it part of our nature, or part of our tradition, part of our religion? Each one has an image about himself: you have an image about yourself and she has an image about herself, and many other images her ambition, her desire to be something or other. And also you have your ambitions, your competitiveness. You are both running parallel, like two railway lines, never meeting, except perhaps in bed, but never meeting at any other level. What a tragedy it has become.

So it is very important to look at our relationships; not only your intimate relationships but also your relationship with the rest of the world. The world outside is interrelated, you are not separate from the rest of the world. You are the rest of the world. People are suffering, they have great anxieties, fears, they are threatened by war, as you are threatened by war. They are accumulating vast armaments to destroy each other and you never realize how interrelated we are. I may be a Muslim and you may be Hindu; my tradition says, `I am a Muslim' I have been programmed like a computer to repeat `I am a Muslim' and you repeat `I am Hindu'. You understand what thought has done? The rest of the world is like you, modified, educated differently, with different superficial manners, perhaps affluent or not, but with the same reactions, the same pains, the same anxieties, the same fears. Please give your mind, your heart, to find out what your relationship is with the world, with your neighbour and with your wife or husband. If it is based on images, pictures, remembrances, then there will inevitably be conflict with your wife, with your husband, with your neighbour, with the Muslim, with the Pakistani, with the Russian you follow? And the content of your consciousness is the hurt which you have not resolved, which has not been completely wiped away; it has left scars and from those scars you have various forms of fears which ultimately lead to isolation. Each one of us is isolated, through religious traditions, through education, through the idea that you must always succeed, succeed, succeed, become something. And also beyond our relationship with each other, intimate or otherwise, we are interrelated whether you live here or anywhere else in the world. The world is you and you are the world. You may have a different name, different form, different kind of education, different position, but inwardly we all suffer, we all go through great agonies, shed tears, are frightened of death, and have a great sense of insecurity without any love or compassion.

So how do you listen to this fact? That is, how do you listen to what is being said? The speaker is saying that you are the rest of mankind, deeply; you may be dark, you may be short, you may put on saris, but those are all superficial; but inwardly the flow, whether I am an American, a Russian or Indian, the flow is the same. The movement of all human beings is similar. So you are the world and the world is you, very profoundly. One has to realize this relationship. You understand I am using the word `realize' in the sense that you must be able to observe it and see the actual fact of it.

So from that arises the question: how do you observe? How do you look at your wife or your husband, or your Prime Minister? How do you look at a tree? The art of observation has to be learnt. How do you observe me? You are sitting there, how do you look at me? What is your reaction? Do you look at the speaker, thinking he has a reputation? What is your reaction when you see a man like me? Are you merely satisfied by the reputation he has which may be nonsensical, it generally is by how he has come to this place to address so many people, by whether he is important and what you can get out of him. He cannot give you any government jobs, he cannot give you money because he has no money. He cannot give you any honours, any status, any position, or guide you, or tell you what to do. How do you look at him? Have you looked at anybody, freely, openly, without any word, without any image? Have you looked at the beauty of a tree, at the flutter of its leaves? So can we learn together how to observe? You cannot observe, visually, optically, if your mind is occupied as most of our minds are occupied with the article you have to write next day, or with your cooking, your job, or with sex, or occupied about how to meditate, or with what other people might say. How can such a mind, being occupied from morning until night, observe anything? If I am occupied with becoming a master carpenter, then I have to know the nature of various woods, I have to know the tools and how to use them, I have to study how to put joints together without nails, and so on. So my mind is occupied. Or, if I am neurotic, my mind is occupied with sex, or with becoming a success politically or otherwise. So how can I, being occupied, observe? Is it possible not to have a mind so occupied all the time? I am occupied when I have to talk, when I have to write something or other, but the rest of the time why should my mind be occupied?

Computers can be programmed, as we human beings are programmed. They can, for instance, learn, think faster and more accurately, than man. They can play with a grand chess master. After being defeated four times, the master beats the computer four times, on the fifth or sixth time the computer beats the master. The computer can do extraordinary things. It has been programmed you understand? It can invent, create new machines, which will be capable of better programming than the previous computer, or a machine that will be ultimately `intelligent'. The machine will itself, they say, create the ultimate `intelligent' machine. What is going to happen to man when the computer takes the whole thing over? The Encyclopaedia Britannica can be put in a little chip and it contains all that knowledge. So what place will knowledge then have in human life?

Our brains are occupied, never still. To learn how to observe your wife, your neighbour, your government, the brutality of poverty, the horrors of wars, there must be freedom to observe. Yet we object to being free because we are frightened to be free, to stand alone.

You have listened to the speaker; what have you heard, what have you gathered words, ideas, which ultimately have no meaning? Have you seen the importance for yourself of never being hurt? That means never having an image about yourself. Have you seen the importance, the urgency, of understanding relationship and having a mind that is not occupied? When it is not occupied it is extraordinarily free, it sees great beauty. But the shoddy little mind, the secondhand little mind, is always occupied about knowledge, about becoming something or other, enquiring, discussing, arguing, never quiet, never a free unoccupied mind. When there is such an unoccupied mind, out of that freedom comes supreme intelligence but never out of thought.