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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)


We are going to talk over together this evening many things. One does not listen to another actually. If you do listen, there is always a defence, there is always a resistance to anything that is said, to something new. There is an immediate reaction to resist because it might be disturbing. So, there is an art of listening: to listen to what is being said, not interpret what is being said to suit your own convenience, to your own traditional language, but to listen to the word, the meaning of that word, to see that we understand each other. To listen, one has to have not only a certain quality of attention but also a sense of affection, a sense of trying to understand what the other fellow is saying. Communication is possible at depth only when both of us are concerned about the same subject, about the same ideas, or concerned about a certain thing. Then we are both in communication with each other. But if you resist, as perhaps you are going to resist a great deal of what the speaker is going to say, then communication is not possible. One has to learn the art of listening. When you listen to music which you like, there is no resistance. You go with it, you shake your head, you clap your hands, you do all kinds of things to express your appreciation, your understanding of the quality of the music, and so on. There is no form of defence, no form of resistance; you are going with it; you are flowing with it. In the same way, kindly listen, not to be instructed, not to be told what to do, but to understand what is being said.

So, please learn the art of listening, not to the speaker only, but to your wife, to your husband, to your children, to the birds, to the wind, to the breeze, so that you become extraordinarily sensitive in listening. When you listen, you catch up quickly, you don't have to have a lot of explanations, analyses and descriptions; you are flowing with each other. We are talking together as two friends sitting in a park, or in a wood, quiet, birds are singing, there's plenty of light coming through the leaves on the floor and there is a sense of appreciation of beauty. When you so listen, the miracle takes place. When you so listen, it is like sowing a seed. If the seed is vital, strong, healthy, and the ground is properly prepared, it inevitably grows. So one has to learn the art of listening. If you listen very, very carefully, you capture it so quickly, the meaning of what the other is saying. Perhaps many of you have listened to the speaker for a number of years, unfortunately; and you get used to it; you get used to his language, his gesture, how he looks and so on, and you gradually slip off. And you say, `Why haven't I, after years of listening to this man, changed?' It is because you have actually not listened with your heart, with your mind, with your whole energy. So, don't blame the speaker, but rather learn, if one may suggest most respectfully, the way of listening. There is great beauty in listening to a bird, to the wind among the leaves, and to a word that is spoken with depth, with meaning, with passion.

We were saying yesterday that the future of man is at stake, and that man has no existence in isolation - isolation as a nation, isolation as a group, isolation in religion, isolation as an individual and isolation in consciousness. For most of us thinking is individual. You think there is a difference, a division - your opinion against my opinion, my thought against your thought, or your husband's thought, or your wife's thought. But thinking is not individual. Thinking is the ordinary factor from the poorest, ignorant man to the great Nobel prize winner, the scientist. They are both thinkers. But we have the idea that your thinking is yours, whereas thinking is the nature of man. Be clear on this point. When you think, it is not your individual thinking, it is the capacity of your brain to be active and respond in words, in form, and that is the nature of man. But we have reduced thinking to my thinking as opposed to your thinking. Most of us have got strong opinions, bias, conclusions. We have experienced so much and we think it is our experience, our conclusion. When a new outlook is put before you, you refuse to look. But thinking is the nature of man.

Can we go on from that? When you observe what is going on in the world outside of you, you see that each country is isolating itself, each group is isolating itself - the Muslim, the Hindu, the Buddhist, the Tibetan, the Russian, the American, and so on, This factor of isolation is destroying the world, is separating humanity This is an actual fact that is taking place in the world. Then, inwardly, each of us think we are separate. Tradition, religion, all that has conditioned our thinking that we are separate human beings. We are separate in the sense you are a woman and I am a man, tall, short, white, black, and so on. But we are talking at depth; that is, human consciousness is general, is shared by all human beings. All human beings suffer, go through great agonies, shed tears, have the sense of loneliness, pain, anxiety, depression, uncertainty. The poorest and the most sophisticated, erudite human beings - all have this general factor. They all share this. This is so. So, our consciousness is not yours or mine. It is the consciousness of all human beings. It is very difficult for most people to see the reality of this, because we have been so conditioned. For Christianity, you are a separate soul. Here, among the Hindus, you reincarnate over and over again till you reach, god knows what. It is still the emphasis that you are a separate individual. Is that so? We are questioning. We have to find out, doubt, ask, which means you are listening without any defence, without any resistance to this truth. We are using the word correctly; it is the truth. You may, at the periphery, on the outside, have certain mannerisms, certain habits, certain tendencies, capacities, but if you move from the outer to the inner, we all share the same common issues. Unless we realize this, not verbally, not intellectually, but in our hearts, in our minds, in our blood, we are going to destroy each other.

We are capable of listening to the actual fact that our consciousness is its content; our consciousness is made up of its content. Isn't it? Look, a great many books have been written about consciousness. There are specialists about consciousness; conferences about consciousness are held all over the world. One has to enquire into the nature of one's own consciousness, observe the content, because without the content there is no consciousness. Are you following all this? Consciousness is made up of one's beliefs, one's tendencies, one's secret desires, anxieties, loneliness, and so on. There is the content which makes up consciousness. Without the content, there is no consciousness as we know it. If you observe your own consciousness, that is what you are; your consciousness is what you are. Your fears, your desires, your pleasures, your loneliness, depression, anxiety and all that, that is what you are, what you believe.

So the content makes the consciousness and that consciousness is conditioned. Since it is conditioned, it must be in conflict. Aren't you all in conflict of some kind or other, conflict being dissension between two people, conflict with oneself, what is and what should be? That is conflict. All human beings apparently are violent. The content of our consciousness is part of that violence. Conflict arises when there is duality. That is, I am violent, I should not be violent. Or I have the ideal of non-violence or of practising non-violence, but the fact is you are violent. That is a fact. The other is not a fact.

We must go into this very carefully because we are trying to understand why human beings live perpetually in conflict, why there is a contradiction - I am, I should be; I am violent, I must become non-violent. The non-violence is an idea, is a concept, is not an actuality, because I am violent. This is a fact, an actuality. The other is non-fact, but we think the pursuit of non-violence will help us to become non-violent, that we will be free from violence. Let us understand the content of that word. What does violence mean? There is physical violence. You shoot with a gun, or you hit, or you throw a bomb, you slap, you injure. That is physical violence. What is psychological violence? - the inward anger, hatred, wanting to dominate people, not only physical domination, but the domination of ideas. I know, you don't know; I will tell you, and you will obey. That is domination. The gurus are violent because they are dominating people with their ideas, with their systems of meditation and all that. Please understand this. We are not attacking gurus. I am just pointing out that psychological dependence, imitation, conformity, domination, all that is inward violence. That is a fact. Can we deal with the fact and not with the idea of the opposite? There is no opposite. Right? There is an opposite as darkness and light, woman and man, tall and short, dark and white, and so on. Inwardly, is there a duality at all? Actually we are asking, `Is there a duality or only `what is"?' There is only `what is', that is, I am violent. Now, is it possible to be free of violence, not to become non-violent? Is this clear? This country has propagated this idea of non-violence. Being violent, they are propagating something which they are not. That means I am gradually, day by day, practising to become that, not to understand violence, but become something which I have called non-violence. Do you see the difference? Hence there is conflict. When I am observing, learning, enquiring into the fact, there is no conflict in my mind. But if my mind is all the time saying, `l must achieve non-violence', then there is conflict. But if I say I am violent, what is the root of violence, what is the nature of violence? I don't condemn it, I observe it.

What is observation? Now, when you observe the full moon, do you observe it, do you see the beauty of that light, see the extraordinary quality of that light, or do you say it is a full moon and do something else? What do you mean by observing? Do you ever observe the snow clad mountain with all that grandeur, the beauty, the deep valleys full of dark shadows, the extraordinary majesty of that mountain? When you observe for a single moment, all your problems have gone, because the majesty of that mountain has driven away all your problems for a second. Have you noticed it? But your problems come back immediately. So we are going to talk over together what it means to observe.

Now, suppose I am violent. How do I observe that violence? I want to understand the nature of that violence. I want to explore, discover the extraordinary factors that contribute to violence. How do I observe? First, is violence different from me? Do you understand my question? I am asking, is that violence, which I see when I say I am violent, is that violence different from me, or I am that violence? When you are angry, you are angry. It is not that you are different from anger. You are different from anger only when you want to control it, only when you say, `I must suppress it,' but are you actually different, separate from violence? Is that so? Has the word `violence' - separated through tradition, through constantly talking about violence and so on - created a separation from observation?

The observer says, I am different from that, I am different from violence. We have to enquire who is the observer. The observer is the past, who has known what violence is. It is the past, it is knowledge, it is experience, it is all the stored-up memories. Those memories, those various forms of knowledge, and the movement of all that, is the past. Thought has divided itself as the past, the present, and the future. It has divided itself as the observer and the observed. Thought has said, `I am not violent, violence is not part of me.' But when you look at it closely, you are violent, you are angry, you are greedy, envious, competitive, depressed, you are all that. Right? The observer is not different from that which he is observing. Please understand this. This is very important because, if you really understand this with all your heart and your mind, with all your brain, conflict comes to an end; there is no duality at all. Forget all your books, the Vedanta and all the rest of it. The fact is, there is no opposite except physically. Psychologically, inwardly, there is only the fact. The fact is, one is violent and jealous, and so on.

Now, can you observe the fact without its opposite, which thought has invented? Do you see this, to observe `what is'? In that observation, the observer is the observed, the thinker is the thought the experiencer is the experienced. But we have separated it. We are saying, `I must experience enlightenment,' or whatever it is you want to experience. So the thinker is the thought. There is no thinker without thought. The observer is the observed, the analyser is that which he is analysing. I can put it in ten different ways. But that is a fact: the observer is the observed. Therefore, you eliminate altogether the sense of duality inwardly. Then there is no question of suppressing it, escaping from it, analysing it. It is there. Then what takes place? What takes place when there is actually the realization of this truth that there is only the fact, not the invented opposite, only that which is? In that there is no division as the observer or the observed. Then what takes place? Do you understand my question?

Man has lived in conflict from time immemorial. If you see the rock engravings or those caves in France and in certain parts of the world, you will see that there has always been this battle between the good and the bad, the good against the evil. This has been the history of man - conflict. We are asking if this conflict can end. If it ends, then he is a human being who is vital, creative, and he has something extraordinary. When there is this realization that you are violent, not that you are separate and violence is separate, but you are that, what takes place? You are brown, you have certain characteristics, you have troubles, you are a professor or a scientist - all that is not separate from you. So what takes place when this fact, this truth, is realized, not intellectually, not verbally, but deep down as fact, as truth? Have you not eliminated altogether the opposite? There is only this, and so live with that like a precious jewel that you have discovered; you are watching it, seeing the beauty of that jewel, the light, the many aspects of it as you are watching, which is part of yourself. Therefore, watching, observing, is extraordinarily important so that there is no division whatsoever between the watcher and that which is watched. Then you realize that nothing can be done about it. You are brown, you cannot change it. The fact is, when there is such observation, it is not the word, it is not the memory, it is something totally new. You are facing this new reaction, which you call violence, anew. That means, have you observed anything anew? Have you seen the moon, the new moon that is coming up, as though for the first time in your life? Have you looked at your wife or husband as though for the first time? Or do you just say she is my wife, he is my husband - just a mechanical observation? To observe requires great enquiry, energy, vitality, to see actually `what is'. We are now concerned with the elimination altogether of all kinds of conflict. Why do we have opinions? You have opinions, judgments, haven't you? Please enquire into this. Why do you carry opinions? It is a burden. I am a Brahmin you are not. I am a Sikh, you are not. I am a Muslim, you are not. Why do you have these opinions? It indicates a mind, a brain, that is so crowded with opinions it is becoming small, petty, narrow. It is not free to enquire, to look.

Why is the human mind, the human brain, always occupied, never free, never quiet? Enquire into all this, because we have a tremendous crisis in the world and also a crisis in our consciousness,

We should also talk over together, relationship. Why is it that in our relationship with each other, however intimate, sexual, however close, there is conflict? Why cannot two people live peacefully? Have you ever asked that question? Because this is very important. If I don't know how to live peacefully with my wife, with my husband, with my girl friend, I cannot live peacefully in the world. I may talk about peace, I may write a great deal about peace, go all over the world talking about peace, but I am quarrelling with my wife, or with my husband. So there is conflict in our relationship. Why? Do you want me to tell you or are you enquiring with the speaker? If you are really enquiring, it is a sharing, a moving together, not agreeing together, but thinking step by step, going together, like walking hand in hand on the lane where there is so much beauty, love and affection. Why is there this dissension, this division between man and man, woman and man, in our relationship? Have you noticed it? We are like two parallel lines, never meeting. We never say what we mean and stick to what we mean. We are going to find out together why in human relationship we have such desperate, ugly conflicts. I have my ambition, my desires, my problems. In my office, I am competitive, aggressive. I am pursuing my own direction and the wife is also pursuing her own ambition, and I dominate, which she resists. So we are asking why there is this conflict, because we two have to live together. We have sex, we have children, but we two are separate. Isn't it a fact? I dominate her or she dominates me, she bullies me, or I bully her. I scold her or she scolds me. I don't beat her but I am angry with her. I would like to beat her, but I am a little more controlled. You laugh; but these are all facts. But I am an individual, she is an individual. Each must have his own way - in habits, in desires. Then, how can two people live together? Which means, you have no love at all for your wife or your husband.

Do you know what it means to love another? Have you ever loved anybody? Is love dependence? Is love desire? Is love pleasure? I don't love my wife; she doesn't love me. We are two separate individuals. We may meet sexually, otherwise we carry on in our own particular way. Do you understand, sirs? Does love exist in this country? Don't ask, `Does it exist in Europe?' When the speaker is in Europe, he talks about it there. But we are talking about it here as we are in this country, in this part of the world. Is there love in this country? Do you love anybody? Can love exist with fear, when each one is becoming something? Can love exist when I am becoming a saint and she is not, or she is becoming a saint and I am not, when each one is becoming? Please understand all this. It is your life. When each one is becoming something, how can there be love? Is it possible to love another without wanting a single thing from another, either emotionally, physically, in any way, not ask my wife for anything? Psychologically, she may care for my need, for I may bring money. I am not talking about that. But inwardly, love cannot exist where there is attachment. If you are attached to your guru, there is no love in your heart. This is very, very serious. Without love, there is no right action. We talk about action. We do so many kinds of social work. But when there is love in your heart, in your eyes, in your blood, in your face, you are a different human being. Whatever you do then has beauty, has grace, is a right action. All this may be excellent words you hear. But will you have this quality? It cannot be cultivated, it cannot be practised, it cannot be bought from your guru, from anywhere. But without that, you are dead human beings. So what will you do? Please do ask this question, find out for yourself why this flame does not exist, why you have become such paupers. Unless you put your house in order, your house, which is yourselves, there will be no order in the world. You may meditate for the rest of your life; but without that, your meditation has no meaning. So, please, most respectfully we are asking, what is your response?

Audience: Well, sir, you have been talking about radical change for the last 50 years, and obviously there is not any radical change in the world. My question to you, then, is why do you talk?

Krishnamurti: The gentleman asks, you have talked about fundamental change of human consciousness and so on for the last 50 years and obviously there is no change at all. Then the question is, why do you talk? The speaker is not talking for his amusement, for his fulfilment, for his encouragement. If he didn't talk, he would not feel depressed, he would not feel lacking something. Therefore, why do I talk? Have you ever asked why the lotus blooms? Have you, sir? Have you ever asked why a flower blooms, why it has so much beauty, why it has such marvellous colour, the depth and the smell and the glory of a simple flower? Maybe the speaker has been talking about compassion.