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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)


We were discussing what it is for the brain to have no movement. When a human being has been pursuing the path of becoming, and has gone through all that, and this sense of emptiness, silence and energy, he has abandoned almost everything and come to the point, the ground. So how does this insight affect his daily life? What is his relationship to society? What is his action with regard to war, and the whole world - a world that is really living and struggling in darkness? What is his action? I would say, as we agreed the other day, that it is non-movement.

DAVID BOHM: Yes, we said before that the ground was movement without division.

K: Without division. Yes, quite.

DB: In some sense it seems inconsistent to say non-movement, while you say the ground is movement.

K: Yes, the ground is movement. Would you say an average, educated, sophisticated man, with all his unpleasant activities, is constantly in movement?

DB: Well, a certain kind of movement.

K: A movement in time.

DB: Yes.

K: A movement in becoming. But we are discussing the man who has trodden that path (if I may use that word), and come to that point. From there, what is his action? We said, for the moment, non-action, non-movement. What does that mean?

DB: It means, as you said, not taking part in this process of becoming.

K: Of course, that is obvious. If he doesn't take part in this process, what part does he play? Is it one of complete non-action? DB: It is not clear why you should call it non-action. We might think that it was action of another kind, which is not part of the process of becoming.

K: It is not becoming.

DB: But it may still be action.

K: He still has to live in the world.

DB: In one sense, whatever you do is action, but his action is not directed towards the illusory process, it is not involved in it, but would be directed towards what underlies this illusory process. It would be directed perhaps towards considering the wrong turning which is continually coming out of the ground. Right?

K: Yes, yes. You see, various religions have described a man who has been saved, who is illuminated, who has achieved something or other. They have described very clearly, especially in Hindu religious books, how he walks, how he looks, how he talks, the whole state of his being. I think that is merely a poetic description which...

DB: You think it is imagination?

K: I think a great deal of it is imagination. I have discussed this point with some, and it is not like that, not imagination. Somebody who describes it, knows exactly what it is.

DB: Well, how should he know? It is not clear.

K: So what is a man of that kind? How does he live in this world? This is a very interesting question, if you go into it deeply. There is a state of non-movement. That is, the non-movement which we have gone into.

DB: You see, it is not clear exactly what you mean by non-movement.

K: One becomes poetic but I am trying to avoid that! Although it would be right, even poetically: it is like a single tree in a field. There is no other tree, but that tree, whatever the name of that tree is, it is there.

DB: But why do you say, `non-movement'?

K: It is non-moving. DB: The tree stands of course.

K: A tree is a living, moving thing. I don't mean that.

DB: The tree in a sense is moving, but in relation to the field it stands. That is the picture we get.

K: You see, someone comes to you, because you have gone from the beginning to the end. And now you are at the end with a totally different kind of movement, which is timeless, and all that. You are in that. I come to you and ask, `What is that state of mind? What is the state of your mind, that has walked on that path and ended something, that has totally moved out of darkness?'

DB: If you say it is non-movement, are you implying that it is constant?

K: It must be... But what do you mean by constant? Continuous?

DB: No, no.

K: Do you mean that it is.?

QUESTIONER: ...static?

K: Oh, no!

DB: To stand firm, to stand together as a whole. That is really its literal meaning.

K: Is that it?

DB: That is the picture you have got of the tree as well. That is the picture which the tree in the field suggests.

K: Yes, I know. That is too romantic and poetic, and it becomes rather deceptive. It is a nice image, but let's move from it. What is that mind? The quality of that mind that has started from beginning, and pursued the becoming, and gone through all that centre of darkness which has been wiped away? That mind must be entirely different. Now what does such a mind do, or not do, in the world which is in darkness?

DB: Surely the mind does not do a thing; it does not enter into the movement of that world.

K: Agreed. DB: And in a sense we say that it is constant - not fixed, but it does not move.

K: Is it static?

DB: No, it's not static. It is constant - which in a sense is also movement. There is a constancy which is not merely static, which is also, at the same time, movement.

K: We said that movement was not the becoming movement.

DB: Yes, but the ground movement which is completely free.

K: What has happened to that mind? Let's go into it a little bit. It has no anxiety and no fear. You see the words `compassion' and `love' are beyond that. Right?

DB: But they may emerge out of this ground.

K: The mind being nothing, not a thing, and therefore empty of knowledge, would it always be acting in the light of insight?

DB: It would be pervaded, if not always, by the quality of insight.

K: Yes, that is what I mean.

DB: Well `always' brings in time, you see.

K: Remove the word.

DB: I would use `constantly'.

K: Yes, constantly; let's use the word `constant'.

DB: It is a bit better, but not good enough.

K: Yes. Let's use that word. It is acting constantly in that light, in that flash of insight. I think that is right. So what does that mean in one's daily life? How does one earn a livelihood?

DB: That, surely, would be another point. You would have to find a way to stay alive.

K: Stay alive. So that is why I am saying this: as civilization grows, begging is not allowed.

DB: Is criminal. You have to find some way to stay alive.

K: So what will he do? He has no profession, no special skill, no coin with which he can buy. DB: Well, wouldn't it be possible for this mind to earn enough to get what is needed to stay alive?

K: How?

Q: Why has he no skill to earn a livelihood?

K: Why should he have skill? Why must one have skill to earn a livelihood? You say that, and another man says, `Why should I have skill of any kind?' I am just discussing, enquiring into this.

DB: Suppose you had to take care of yourself, you would need a certain skill. If you were by yourself in a cave, you know...

K: Ah, I don't want a cave!

DB: I know. But, whoever it is, he has to live somewhere; he needs some skill to find the food which he needs. You see, if everybody were to say no skill is needed then the human race would perish.

K: I am not sure.

DB: Well, what would happen then?

K: That is what I am coming to. Skill implies, as we said, knowledge; from knowledge, comes experience, and gradually one develops a skill. And that skill gives one an opportunity to earn a livelihood, either meagre or rich. But this man says, there may be a different way of living and earning. We are used to a pattern, and he says, `Look, that may be totally wrong'.

DB: It depends what you mean by skill. For example, suppose he has to drive a car, surely that takes some skill?

K: Yes.

DB: Is he going to do without that?

K: I had better go carefully into the word `skill'.

DB: Yes. I mean skill could have a bad meaning - like being very clever at getting money.

K: So this man is not avaricious, he i; not money-minded, he is not storing up for the future, he hasn't any insurance. But he has to live. When we use the word `skill' to mean driving a car... DB: ...or being a carpenter... If all those skills were to vanish, life would be impossible.

K: The whole thing would collapse.

DB: Yes.

K: I am not sure. Do we mean that kind of skill must be denied?

DB: It couldn't mean that.

K: No. That would be too silly.

DB: But then people become very skilful at getting other people to give them money, you see!

Q: Is it that now we have made a division between living and skill, skill and working, living and earning a livelihood?

K: That's it! I need to have food, I need to have clothes, and shelter.

Q: But is the division necessary? As society is built now, we have a division between living and working.

K: We have been through all that. We are talking of a man who has been through all this, and has come back to the world, and says, `Here I am'. What is his relationship to society, and what is he to do? Has he any relationship to society?

DB: Well, not in a deep or fundamental sense, although there is a superficial relationship that he has to have.

K: All right. A superficial contact with the world.

DB: He has to obey the laws, he has to follow the traffic signals.

K: Quite. But I want to find out, what is he to do? Write? Talk? That means skill.

DB: Surely that kind of skill need not be harmful?

K: I am just asking.

DB: Like the other skills; like carpentry.

K: Yes. That kind of skill. But what is he to do? I think if we could find out the quality of a mind that has been through all that from the beginning to the end, all that we have talked of in our recent discussions; that man's mind is entirely different, yet he is in the world. How does he look upon it? You have reached and come back - these are approximate terms - and I am an ordinary man, living in this world. So what is your relationship to me? Obviously none, because I am living in a world of darkness and you are not. So your relationship can only exist when I come out of it - when darkness ends.

DB: Yes.

K: Then there is only that; there is not a relationship. But now there is division between you and me. And I look at you with my eyes, which are accustomed to darkness and to division. But you are not. And yet you have to have some contact with me. You have to have, however superficial, however slight, a certain relationship with me. Is that relationship compassion, and not something translated by me as compassion? From my darkness I cannot judge what compassion is. Right?

DB: Yes. That follows from that.

K: I don't know what your love is, what your compassion is because my only love and compassion has been this. And so, what do I do with you?

DB: Who are we talking about now? It is not clear to me whom we are discussing!

K: You or `X', have been through all that, and come back.

DB: Then why hasn't `Y' done so?

K: `Y' has not. `Y' asks, `Who are you? You seem so different. Your way of looking at life is different.' And what will `Y' do with `X'? That is the question. Not what will `X' do to `Y'. I don't know if I am making it clear.

DB: Yes, I understand. What will `Y' do with `X'?

K: Our question until now has been what will `X' do with `Y', but I think we were putting the wrong question. What will `Y' do with `X'? I think what would happen generally is that `Y' would worship, kill or neglect him. Right?

DB: Yes.

K: If `Y' worships `X' then everything is very simple. He has the goodies of the world. But that doesn't answer my question. My question is not only what will `Y' do to `X', but what will `X' do with `Y'? `X's' demand is, `Look, walk out of this darkness; there is no answer in the darkness, so walk out.' It doesn't matter, whatever phrase we use - walk out, dispel it, get rid of it, etc. And `Y' then says, `Help me, show me the way', and is back again in darkness - you follow? So what will `Y' do to `X'?

DB: I can't see that `Y' can do very much, except what you mentioned - to worship, or to do something else.

K: To kill or neglect `X'.

DB: But if compassion works in `X'...

K: Yes, `X' is that. He won't even call it compassion.

DB: No, but we call it that. Then `X' will work to find a way to penetrate the darkness.

K: Wait! So `X's job is to work on darkness?

DB: To discover how to penetrate darkness.

K: In that way he is earning a living.

DB: Well, possibly.

K: No. I am talking seriously.

DB: It depends on whether people are willing to pay him for it.

K: No joking. Seriously.

DB: It is possible.

K: Probably `X' is the teacher. `X' is out of society. `X' is unrelated to this field of darkness and saying to the people who are caught in it, `Come out'. What's wrong with that?

DB: Nothing is wrong with that.

K: That is his means of livelihood.

DB: It's perfectly all right as long as it works. Of course, if there were a lot of people like `X', there would have to be some limit.

K: No, Sir. What would happen if there were lots of people like `X'? DB: That is an interesting question. I think there would be something revolutionary.

K: That's just it.

DB: The whole thing would change.

K: Yes. If there were lots of people like that, they would not be divided. That is the whole point, right?

DB: I think that even if ten or fifteen people were undivided they would exert a force that has never been seen in our history.

K: Tremendous! That's right.

DB: Because I don't think it has ever happened, that ten people have been undivided.

K: That is `X's' job in life. He says that is the only thing. A group of those ten `X's' will bring a totally different kind of revolution. Will society stand for that?

DB: They will have this extreme intelligence, and so they will find a way to do it, you see.

K: Of course.

DB: Society will stand for it, because the `X's' will be intelligent enough not to provoke society, and society will not react before it is too late.

K: Quite right. You are saying something which is actually happening. Would you say then that the function of many `X's' is to awaken human beings to that intelligence which will dispel the darkness? And that this is `X's' means of livelihood?

DB: Yes.

K: Then there are those people who in darkness cultivate this and exploit people, but there are `X's' who don't exploit. All right. That seems very simple, but I don't think it is all that simple.

DB: Right.

K: Is that the only function of `X'?

DB: Well it is really a difficult function. K: But I want to find out something much deeper than mere function.

DB: Yes function is not enough.

K: That's it. Apart from function, what is he to do? `X' says to `Y', `Listen; And `Y' takes time, and gradually, perhaps, at some time he will wake up and move away. And is that all `X' is going to do in life?

DB: That can only be an outcome of something deeper.

K: The deeper is all that; the ground.

DB: Yes, the ground.

K: But is that all he is to do in this world? just to teach people to move out of darkness?

DB: Well, that seems to be the prime task at the moment, in the sense that, if this doesn't happen, the whole society will sooner or later collapse. We could ask whether he needs to be in some sense more deeply creative.

K: What is that?

DB: Well, it is not clear.

K: Suppose `X' is you, and you have an enormous field in which to operate, not merely teaching me but having this extraordinary movement which is not of time. That is, you have this abounding energy, and you have produced all that to teach me to come out of darkness.

DB: That can only be a part of it.

K: So what does the rest do, you follow? I don't know if I am conveying this.

DB: Well, this is what I tried to suggest by talking of some creative action, beyond this, taking place.

K: Yes, beyond this. You may write, you may preach, you may heal, you may do this and that, but all those activities are rather trivial. But you have something else. Have I reduced you, `X', to my pettiness? You can't be so reduced. My pettiness says, `You must do something. You must preach, write, heal, do something to help me to move.' Right? You comply to the very smallest degree, but you have something much more than that, something immense. You understand my question?

DB: Yes. So what happens?

K: How is that immensity operating on `Y'?

DB: Are you saying that there is some more direct action?

K: Either there is more direct action, or `X' is doing something totally different to affect the consciousness of man.

DB: What could this be?

K: Because `X' is not `satisfied' with merely preaching and talking. That immensity which he is must have an effect, must do something.

DB: Are you saying `must' in the sense of the feeling of needing to do it, or are you saying `must' in the sense of necessity?

K: It must.

DB: It must necessarily do so. But how will it affect mankind? You see, when you say this, it would suggest to people that there is some sort of extrasensory effect that spreads.

K: That is what I am trying to capture.

DB: Yes.

K: That is what I am trying to convey.

DB: Not merely through the words, through the activities or gestures.

K: Let's leave the activity alone. That is simple. It is not just that, because that immensity must...

DB: ...Necessarily act? There is a more direct action?

K: No, no. All right. That immensity necessarily has other activities.

DB: Other activities at other levels?

K: Yes, other activities. This has been translated in the Hindu teachings as various degrees of consciousness.

DB: There are different levels or degrees of acting. K: All that too is a very small affair. What do you say, Sir?

DB: Well, since the consciousness emerges from the ground, this activity is affecting all mankind from the ground.

K: Yes.

DB: You see many people will find this very difficult to understand.

K: I am not interested in many people. I want to understand you, `X' and me, `Y'. That ground, that immensity, is not limited to such a petty little affair. It couldn't be.

DB: The ground includes physically the whole universe.

K: Yes, the whole universe, and to reduce all that to...

DB: ...these little activities...

K: all so silly.

DB: I think that raises the question of what is the significance of mankind in the universe, or in the ground?

K: Yes, that's it.

DB: Because even the best of these little things that we have been doing have very little significance on that scale. Right?

K: Yes, this is just opening the chapter. I think that `X' is doing something - not doing, but by his very existence...

DB: ...he is making something possible?

K: Yes. When you read of Einstein, he has made something possible, which man hadn't discovered before.

DB: We can see that fairly easily because it works through the usual channels of society.

K: Yes, I understand that. What is `X' bringing apart from the little things? Putting it into words makes it sound wrong. `X' has that immense intelligence, that energy, that something, and he must operate at a much greater level than one can possibly conceive, which must affect the consciousness of those who are living in darkness. DB: Possibly so. The question is, will this effect show in any way? You know, manifestly.

K: Apparently not. If you hear the television or radio news, and know what is happening all over the world, apparently it is not doing so.

DB: That is what is difficult, and a matter of great concern.

K: But it must have an effect. It has to.

DB: Why do you say it has to?

K: Because light must affect darkness.

DB: perhaps `Y' might say that, living in darkness, he is not sure that there is such an effect. He might say perhaps there is, but I want to see it manifest. Not seeing anything and still being in darkness, he then asks, what shall I do?

K: I understand that. So are you saying that `X's' only activity is just writing, teaching etc?

DB: No. Merely that it may well be that the activity is much greater, but it doesn't show. If only we could see it!

K: How would it be shown? How would `Y', who wants proof of it, see it?

DB: `Y' might say something like this: many people have made a similar statement, and some of them have obviously been wrong. But one wants to say it could be true. You see, until now, I think the things we have said make sense, and they follow to a certain extent.

K: Yes, I understand all that.

DB: And now you say something which goes much further. Other people have said things like that and one feels that they were on the wrong track, that they, or at least some of these people, were fooling themselves.

K: No. `X' says, we are being very logical.

DB: Yes, but at this stage logic will not carry us any further.

K: It is very reasonable! We have been through all that. So `X's, mind is not acting in an irrational way. DB: You could say that, having seen the thing was reasonable, so far, `Y' may have some confidence that it could go further.

K: Yes, that is what I am trying to say.

DB: Of course, there is no proof.

K: No.

DB: So could we explore?

K: That is hat I am trying to do.

Q: What about the other activities of `X'? We said he has the function of teaching, but also that `X' has other activities.

K: He must have. Necessarily must.

Q: But what?

K: I don't know; we are trying to find that out.

DB: You are saying that somehow he makes possible an activity of the ground in the whole consciousness of mankind which would not have been possible without him.

K: Yes.

Q: His contact with `Y' is not only verbal. `Y' listens but there is some other quality...

K: Yes, but `X' says all that is a petty little affair. That is, of course, understood, but `X' says there is something much greater.

Q: The effect of `X' is perhaps far greater than can be put in words.

K: We are trying to find out what that greater is that must necessarily be operating.

Q: Is it something that appears in the daily life of `X'?

K: Yes. In his daily life `X' is apparently doing fairly small things - teaching, writing, book-keeping, or whatever. But is that all? It seems so silly.

DB: Are you saying that in the daily life `X' does not look so different from anybody else?

K: No, apparently not. DB: But there is something else going on which does not show. Right?

K: That's it. When `X' talks it may be different, he may say things differently but...

DB: ...That is not fundamental, because there are so many people who say things differently from others.

K: I know. But the man who has walked through all that right from the beginning! If such a man has the whole of that energy to call upon, to reduce it all to these petty little things seems ridiculous.

DB: Let me ask a question: Why does the ground require this man to operate on mankind? Why can't the ground, as it were, operate directly on mankind to clear things up?

K: Ah, just a minute, just a minute. Are you asking why the ground demands action?

DB: Why does it require a particular man to affect mankind?

K: Oh, that I can easily explain. It is part of existence, like the stars.

Q: Can the immensity act directly on mankind? Does it have to inform a man to enter the consciousness of mankind?

K: We are talking about something else. I want to find out if `X' says, I am not going to be reduced only to writing and talking; that is too small and petty. And the other question is, why does the ground need this man? It doesn't need him.

DB: But when he is here, the ground will use him.

K: That is so.

DB: Well, would it be possible that the ground could do something to clear this up?

K: That is what I want to find out. That is why I am saying, in different words, that the ground doesn't need the man, but the man has touched the ground.

DB: Yes. K: So the ground is using him, let's say employing him. He is part of that movement. Is that all? Do you follow what I mean? Am I asking the wrong questions? Why should he do anything? Except this?

DB: Well, perhaps he does nothing.

K: That very doing nothing, may be the doing.

DB: Doing nothing makes possible the action of the ground. It may be that. In doing nothing which has any specified aim...

K: That's right. No specified content which can be translated into human terms.

DB: Yes, but still he is supremely active in doing nothing.

Q: Is there an action which is beyond time, for that man?

K: He is that...

Q: Then we cannot ask for a result from that man.

K: He is not asking for results.

Q: But `Y' is asking for a result.

K: No. Perhaps `X' says, I am concerned to talk, etc., which is a very small thing. But there is a vast field which must affect the whole of mankind.

DB: There is an analogy which may not be very good but we can consider it. In chemistry, a catalyst makes possible a certain action without itself taking part, but merely by being what it is.

K: Yes, is that what is happening? Even that is a small affair.

DB: Yes.

Q: And even there `Y' would say it isn't happening, because the world is still in a mess. So is there a truth in the world for the activity of that man?

K: `X' says he is sorry, but that is no question at all I am not interested in proving anything. It isn't a mathematical or a technical problem to be shown and proved. `X' says that he has walked from the beginning of man to the very end of man, and that there is a movement which is timeless. The ground which is the universe, the cosmos, everything. And the ground doesn't need the man, but the man has come upon it. And he is still a man in the world, who says, `I write and do something or other,' not to prove the ground, not to do anything. `X' does that just out of compassion. But there is a much greater movement which necessarily plays a part in the world.

Q: Does the greater movement play a part through `X'?

K: Obviously, `X' says that there is something else operating which cannot possibly be put into words. He asks, `What am I to do?' There is nothing which a man like `Y' will understand. He will iMmediately translate it into some kind of illusory thing. But `X' says there is something else. Otherwise it is all so childish.

DB: I think the general view which people are developing now is that the universe has no meaning, that it moves any old way, things just happen, and none of them has any meaning.

K: None of them has meaning for the man who is here, but the man who is there, speaking relatively, says it is full of meaning, and not invented by thought.

All right, let's leave the vastness, and all that. `X' says, perhaps there will be ten people with this insight and that might affect society. It will not be communism, socialism, this or that political reorganization. It will be totally different, and based on intelligence and compassion.

DB: Well, if there were ten, they might find a way to spread this much more.

K: That's what I am trying to get at.

DB: What do you mean?

K: `X' brings the universe, but I translate it into something trivial.

DB: Are you saying that if the whole of mankind were to see this that would be something different?

K: Oh, yes, of course!

DB: Would it be new...

K: ...It would be paradise on earth.

DB: It would be like an organism of a new kind. K: Of course. But you see, I am not satisfied with this.

DB: Well, what is it?

K: I am not `satisfied' in leaving this immensity to be reduced to some few words. It seems so stupid, so incredible. You see man, `Y', is concerned with concepts like `show me', `prove it to me', `what benefit has it?', `will it affect my future?' You follow? He is concerned with all that. And he is looking at `X' with eyes that are accustomed to this pettiness! So, he reduces that immensity to his pettiness, and puts it in a temple and has therefore lost it completely. But `X' says, I won't even look at that; there is something so immense, please do look at it. But `Y' is always translating it by wanting demonstration, proof or reward. He is always concerned with that. `X' brings light. That's all he can do. Isn't that enough?

DB: To bring the light which would allow other people to be open to the immensity?

K: Is it like this? We only see a small part, but that very small part extends to infinity?

DB: That small part of what?

K: No. We see immensity only as a very small thing. And that immensity is the whole universe. I can't help but think that it must have some tremendous effect on `Y; on society.

DB: Certainly the perception of this must have an effect, but it seems that this is not in the consciousness of society at the moment.

K: I know.

DB: But you are saying still the effect is there?

K: Yes.

Q: Are you saying that the perception of even a small part is the infinity?

K: Of course, of course.

Q: Is it in itself the changing factor?

DB: Do you think it is possible that a thing like this could divert the course of mankind away from the dangerous path it is taking? K: Yes, that is what I think. But to divert the course of man's destruction somebody must listen. Right? Somebody - ten people - must listen!

DB: Yes.

K: Listen to that immensity calling.

DB: So the immensity may divert the course of man. The individual cannot do it.

K: Yes. The individual cannot do it, obviously. But `X' who is supposed to be an individual, has trodden this path, and says, `Listen'. But man does not listen.

DB: Well, then, is it possible to discover how to make people listen?

K: No, then we are back!

DB: What do you mean?

K: Don't act; you have nothing to do.

DB: What does it mean not to do a thing?

K: I realize, as `Y', that whatever I do - whether I sacrifice, practise, renounce - whatever I do, I am still living in that circle of darkness. So `X' says, `Don't act; you have nothing to do.' You follow? But that is translated by `Y', who does everything except wait and see what happens. We must pursue this, Sir, otherwise it is all so hopeless from the point of view of `Y'.