You are here
J Krishnamurti Bombay 4th Public Talk 17th February 1954
J Krishnamurti Bombay 4th Public Talk 17th February 1954
We have been talking, the last three times we have met here, of the importance of a religious revolution. I mean by religion, not dogma, not belief, not rituals. Nor does revolution consist of substituting one belief for another; but it is a total revolution in our thinking and this revolution is really the freedom from the known.
I would like, if I can this evening, to go into this question, because it seems to me that any activity from the known is not a change, not a radical transformation at all. It is merely a modified continuity of what has been known. Most of the political, economic, social revolutions or even the so-called scientific revolutions are always the continuity of the known. I would like if I can to commune with you. I am using that word `commune' expressly, for it seems to me that it is not a matter of mere mental exchange of ideas, of trying to persuade one to a particular point of view, of trying to lay out a blueprint for action. To commune with each other is really quite a different thing, because we must both be interested in the subject at the same time and at the same level. Communion is not possible if you are interested in something and I in something else, and we talk; then there is no communion; communion is only possible when both of us, you and I together, at the same time and at the same level, are interested not me to listen to the verbal expression but also to commune with each other at a deeper level of consciousness, over things that cannot merely be put into words. That means a great deal of insight, penetration.
There is no communion possible if you are obstructing the significance by a series of screens, objections, ideals, or prejudices. There is communion only when we both of us love, together at the same time, at the same level; and that love is not possible if we remain at the verbal expression or at the argumentative level. We have to use words to communicate. I think it is possible, if we are interested, if we love the thing we talk about, to go beyond the verbal expression and to commune with each other over things that are of vital importance; then that communion is neither yours nor mine, it is understanding; it is the perception of that which is real, true, which is not personal, of the group, of the nation, neither Western nor Eastern.
I think it is very important to know how to commune with each other, specially in matters that are of great significance and importance. There is no communion if we do not love the thing about which we are talking, if we do not give our whole mind and heart to the thing into which we are enquiring. Such love does not demand the effort of attention; it demands that state of easy, open loving, that attention which you pay when you are absorbed in something. We are now discussing a problem which, I think, is of great significance; so communion is essential. Such communion is not possible if each one obstructs the exchange, the discovery, with a series of objections, acceptances, denials, or resistances.
I would like to go into this question of freedom from the known because religion is not the continuance of the known. The known is the belief, is the discipline, is the practice, is a particular form of meditation invented by another as a means of attainment of a particular state, is the practice which one has invented for oneself, or is the practice of a particular system with the experience which that system brings and the continuance of that system as memory. The continuance of memory is the known; and it is only in the freedom from the continuity of the known that there can be communion. It seems to me that religion has always been with most of us, the practice of the known - the known being the belief, the dogma, the hope, the fulfilment of an experience of a mind that has been brought up either in religion or in a state of denial of everything. The believer and the non-believer are both the continuance of memory, conditioned by the known.
The difficulty for most of us is the freedom from the known. The continuity of an experience, of an idea, of a belief, makes for mediocrity; it makes the mind live in a state of certainty. When the mind is certain in knowledge or in experience or in belief, when it feels secure, when it has taken refuge in any experience, in any dogma or in any belief, such a mind is a mediocre mind, is a small mind. Because, through the desire to be secure, to be certain, it clings to every form of certainty invented by the mind; and such a mind can only function and live and move within the field of the known; and so the mind and the heart remain mediocre, small, petty. Our minds are conditioned by our beliefs, by our experiences, by our knowledge. With that mind, we try to find what is real, what is God, something beyond and above human invention and illusion.
As long as there is the continuity of the known, there must be a mediocre mind, not a free mind. It is very important to understand this - not merely verbally or intellectually, because there is no such thing as intellectual understanding. But this requires a great deal of penetration and understanding of the operations of one,s own mind, because our whole structure of thinking is based on the known: `I have had an experience yesterday and that experience is shaping me, is shaping my thought, my conduct and my outlook.' The experience may be not of yesterday but of a thousand years ago, which we call knowledge. So knowledge is a confusing factor in the search for Reality. For most of us, there is confusion; we are confused, not in what we do not know but with the knowledge of the things we know: it is the knowledge that creates confusion. Is it not fairly obvious that most of us are confused? In spite of all that they may assert, are not most of the political leaders, religious leaders confused? Is there not confusion on the part of the follower of any leader, political or religious? Both the leader and the follower are confused. This confusion is due to choice, because our knowledge is memory, and we shape our life and action according to that. But we are not willing to admit we are confused.
Life is a thing which is living constantly moving; we recreate according to our memory and are not capable of adjusting to the immediate demands of life. So we approach Reality which is living, which is a very complex process, with a mind that is already burdened with knowledge, with experience, with ideas. A mind is not free, which is always meeting life with memory. It seems to me that religious revolution is the freeing of action from memory. Because, after all, `the me', the Ego, the Self is the accumulation of various experiences, of knowledge, of memory; `the me', is nothing but background, the me is of time; the self, the Ego, is the result of various forms of accumulated knowledge, information; it is that bundle which we call "I". The I is the many layers of memory; though the I may be unconscious of the many layers, it is still part of the known. So when I seek, I am only seeking that which I know. That which I know is the projection from my past, and it is the freedom from the known that is the real revolution. That freedom cannot be brought about through any discipline.
I cannot be free through any discipline, through any practice, because I am a bundle of memory, experiences, knowledge; and if I practise a discipline to free my mind from the I, it is merely another continuance of memory. So there is no freedom from the me, the known, whether you are conscious or unconscious of it. That freedom can only come about when I understand, when there is theunderstanding of the whole process of the me - not to direct the process; because, in the me, when it directs, there is the director and also the thing it directs, which are both the same. There is no observer different from the observed; there is only one entity, the experiencer and the experienced. As long as there is the experiencer, which is the me, experiencing something which he wants, it is still the known. So our difficulty is, is it not?, that our mind is always moving from the known to the known. How is this movement to be stopped?
Creativity is the action of the unknown, not of the known. The unknown is Truth, God or what you like. The activity of that state, of that Reality, is creative; it is the action without memory. That is why I feel it astonishingly, immensely, important to find out not how to free the mind from the known, but to be in that state when the mind is free from the known. The being of the freedom from the known is the true religious revolution.
Our minds are so used to being told what to do. The religious books, the Gurus, the Saints, political leaders and leaders of every other kind are telling us what to do - how to be free, how to be led to be free, what you should do, how you should discipline, practise virtues, and so on. Now, if you examine, if you look at it carefully, you will see that it is the practice of the known all the time; in that, there is no creativity at all. It is merely the continuity of `the me' in a different form. That is all we know, that is our knowledge. The movement from that state to a state in there is the freedom from the known, cannot be brought about by any practice, by any discipline, by any thought process. I think that is the real thing to be understood. If one really understands it, the revolution that extraordinary thing, is there. But as long as we think in terms of getting there, in terms of practice which will help us to get there, it is the continuance of the known which is in time.
When one really grasps, understands, the process of the movement of the mind from the known, and that any movement from that known cannot be in the state of the unknown, if one really understands, has the feeling, communes with that truth that any movement of the known will never lead to the unknown, then only is there the unknown. But our mind refuses to see that fact, because our minds are so used to be told of various kinds of Yoga, the following of certain ideologies, sacrifices, the building of virtues, the development of character and so on.
You know all the movements of the known. But if you can really grasp the significance of this movement of the known and see the truth of it, then the other state of being, of the unknown, comes into being. That is why it is very important to understand the process of the mind - which is after all self-knowledge - to know, to see the mirror image of thought, of the activity of the mind, to just be aware of it without condemning it, without giving it a name. In that awareness without choice, you will see that the other comes into being. But a mind that is looking for the unknown, trying to experience the unknown, can never experience it. When the mind itself becomes the unknown, only then, there is creativity, and that which is timeless comes into being.
Sir, what is the purpose of a question? Is the purpose to find an answer to the problem, or to understand the problem? I have a problem, you have a problem; do we want to understand the problem or do we seek an answer through the problem? Do we want a solution, or to understand the intricacies, the complexities of the problem?
Most of us suffer; there is pain, anxiety; and most of us are concerned with how to get rid of it, how to do away with pain, with disturbance. So we all the time seek ways and means to overcome it, to put it away. The inward psychological suffering of `the me' is always trying to find an answer, a way out. But if we could understand the maker of the problem, `the me', that is everlastingly following, that is frustrated, that is feeling lonely, anxious, fearful, then in the very understanding of the problem And of the maker of that problem, there is the answer. But to understand the problem requires a mind that is not seeking a result, an answer. If you will observe your own mind, you will see what is happening. If you have a problem you want some one to tell you what to do; so your emphasis is on the solution and not on the understanding of the problem.
In answering this question we are concerned with the problem and not with the answer. If you go away disappointed because your question is not answered, it is your fault, because there is no answer to life. Life has no answer. Life has only one thing, one problem - which is, living. The man who lives totally, completely, every minute without choice, neither accepting nor rejecting the thing as it is, such a man is not seeking an answer, he is not asking what the purpose of life is, nor is he seeking a way out of life. But that requires great insight into oneself. Without self-knowledge, merely to seek an answer has no meaning at all, because the answer will be what is most satisfactory, what is gratifying. That is what most of us want; we want to be gratified, we want to find a safe place, a heaven where there will be no disturbance. But as long as we seek, life will be disturbed.
Question: Truth, to you, appears to have no abode. Surely Truth is one Absolute. Do you not, by making it a matter of perception in the moment, reduce and limit it so that it loses its absolute nature?
Krishnamurti: How do we know it is absolute, final, timeless? How do you know? Is it a guess, a speculation, or have you read about it in books? Is truth something of time? Is it of the known, a projection of the known? Our difficulty is, is it not?, that we want something permanent. Because we see life is transient, we want something fixed, permanent, absolute, changeless; because everything about us is changing, we project the absolute, the changeless, the permanent. When we are given the assurance of that permanency, of that absolute, we feel safe, because we want that absolute, that permanency. Is there anything permanent? The mind can invent the permanent, the idea of permanency, and take shelter in that permanency; but it is still an invention of the mind, a projection of the mind, a thing from the past, from its own knowledge of uncertainty, from the fear of its impermanency.
Is Truth something to be remembered, to be recognised? If I can recognise truth, it is already the known. Recognising implies the action of the known, does it not? Can the mind which is the product of time, the product of the past, the centre of memory, can that mind know Truth? Or does Truth come into being when there is the freedom from the process of the known, when there is the cessation of the process of recognition? Then there is the Truth which may be from moment to moment, which may have no quality, no time. But the mind experiences for a single second what is truth, then remembers and says: `I must have that again'. The desire to have it again is the projection, is the continuity of memory, which prevents the next experience of truth. Sirs, that which is Real is not to be gathered, to be held. The mind must be free from all sense of acquisitiveness. But the mind which is the only instrument we have, is gathering, takes impressions. With that mind, we create the unknown, we project into the future the things which we want.
For truth there is no path, there is no discipline; all the sacrifices of the mind are in vain - the rituals, the practices. There must be freedom, not at the end but right from the beginning freedom to enquire, to search, to find out, to discover about truth. Through discipline, there can be no freedom from fear. So our problem is not whether truth is absolute, but how to be free from the acquisitive process of the mind, free from gathering. A man who has great experiences, great knowledge, is never free because his knowledge, his experience prevents that freedom which is necessary for discovery. If one really understands this, then books, sacred or otherwise, have no significance, they are not shelters, they are no use to you as a way to Reality. They are hindrances when they become a means to knowledge, when they are a shelter, when they are a part of the acquisitive process. See how difficult it is for a mind that has an experience which it calls rich, to be free from that experience; because, it is always wanting more, more and more, and the demand for the more - with which the mind is occupied - prevents the immediate experience of the real.
So the question is really: `Will the mind ever be free from the experience of yesterday or from the immediate experience, and leave the acquisitive memory behind?' That is truth. A mind is never free so long as it is acquisitive - not the acquisitiveness of things only, but the acquisitive pursuits of the mind that demands more, asks for more experience, or looks back to an experience that it had which it calls rich. Such a mind is in constant movement of experience, constantly gathering; such a mind can never experience or be in the state of the unknown - which is obviously a thing from moment to moment, which is not in time but from moment to moment, in which there is no action from one experience, one state, to another state; each state is a new unknown thing and that state cannot possibly be understood as long as there is an experiencer experiencing, gathering.
Question: I am a businessman. I have heard you and I feel that I would like to do something for my employees. What am I to do?
Krishnamurti: Sir this is our world, is it not? It is our earth, not the businessman's earth or the poor man's earth. It is our earth. It is not a Communist world nor the Capitalist world, it is our world in which to live, to enjoy, to be happy. That is the first necessity, to have that feeling - which is not a sentiment, but an actuality in which there is love, a feeling that it is `ours'. Without that feeling, mere legislation or Union Wages or working for the State - which is another kind of boss - is of very little meaning; then we become merely employees either of the State or of a businessman. But when there is the feeling that this is `our earth', then there will be no employer and the employed, no feeling that the one is the boss and the other is the employee; but we have not that feeling of ourness; each man is out for himself; each nation, each group, each party, each religion, is out for itself. We are human beings living on this earth; it is our earth to be cherished, to be created, to be cared for. Without that feeling, we want to create a new world. So every kind of experiment is being made - sharing profits, compulsory work, union wages, legislation, compulsion every form of coercion, persuasion, is used.
It seems to me that the primary thing is to have the feeling that we are all human beings, not businessmen, not employees. That is why it is important to have a religious revolution, not an economic revolution only. The revolution must begin at the centre and not at the periphery. I know you will say that it is impossible, that it is an Utopia, that this can never be worked out and so on. But, Sir, this is the most practical thing. You say it is impractical and silly, out of focus, because you are looking at it from a particular point of view, you are not concerned with the total development of man. The businessman asks `What can I do?' If he has that feeling, he can do a hundred things; he can make the poor rich by sharing, he can make his employees share in the business, he can make the business a cooperative concern. There are so many ways. But without this extraordinary feeling that we are one humanity, that this is our earth, mere legislation and compulsion or persuasion will only lead to further destruction and further misery.
Question: Help us to understand this terrible fear of death, that pursues every man and woman?
Krishnamurti: Is fear to be got rid of through any reason through any logical conclusion, through the assertion of any beliefs? Even if you are told that, after death, you are going to live your next life, would you be free of fear? It may pacify you, quieten you for the time being; but that sense of not knowing, not being certain, still pursues. So is fear to be put aside through belief, through reason? You know that you will die - which is the lot of everyone. Logically you know everything ceases; and there is a peculiar continuity, because you continue in your son, in your daughter, in your neighbour; and you are the continuity of your father and mother. Though you know logically there is death, are you free from fear?
Logically, intellectually, verbally, inwardly, can you be free from fear? Fear exists only in relationship, is it not? You are afraid of death, death being the unknown; you are afraid of your mind ceasing to be. Though you know you are going to cease and you believe you will be resurrected or you will be reborn, will you be ever free from fear? So, how are you to be free from fear? Is there a way to be free from fear? If I tell you how to be free, will you be free? You may practise, you may say `I know everything ends, and ending may be a new beginning; and in the ending there may be a creativity; or when I cease the unknown comes into being'. You may persuade yourself, you may reason, but will fear cease?
So fear is something not to be understood or to be put aside by the mind, because the very mind is fear. It is the mind that creates fear, the idea of ceasing, the idea of coming to an end. It is the mind that says `I have lived so long, I should not come to an end I must experience more, I have not fulfilled.' It is the mind that asks `What is going to happen to me tomorrow?' The tomorrow is created by the mind. The tomorrow and the coming to an end of tomorrow are ideas which form the process of the mind. Fear therefore is created by the mind, and the mind cannot overcome fear, do what you will. If you see the truth of this - that the mind creates fear - then there is the ending of the process of thinking of the tomorrow.
Sir, as long as the mind operates as being in time or knowing this ending of time, there is fear. Fear is the process of the mind and the mind cannot free itself of its process; all that it can do is to be aware of the process that there is fear, and not try to overcome it or to do something about it, but to observe fear and not to act; for, to act is still to create fear. So only when the mind does not create tomorrow - which means, the dying of today, the ending of the thought process now - only then, is there no fear. When the mind sees this truth, then the mind is itself in a state of the unknown, and is not the accumulation of all the many yesterdays. It is only when we die, from day to day, to all the things that we have gathered, then only is there such a thing as the ending of fear.
February 17, 1954