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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)

5th Public Talk
On the Nature of Love

We'll continue, if we may, with what we were talking about last Sunday. Some of you probably were not here, so may I briefly restate what we were talking about. One would like to point out, if one may, that this is not an entertainment. Most people are used to being entertained, sustained by somebody else's words, actions and so on. This is not a lecture, as is commonly understood. Nor are we trying to direct or tell you what to do; this is not a propaganda. But we are thinking together, which is a rather difficult problem, because each one wants to think in his own particular way, from his own point of view, and so on. But here, during these last four talks, we were saying how important it is that we should think together. The capacity to think, not about something, but that comes a little later, but to think, which is to observe what is actually going on outside in the world, and also to be aware of all the difficulties, psychological travail, that one has, and to discover for oneself the relationship between the so-called individual and his activity psychologically and the world.

We were saying also, this outward society which has become so dangerous, so insecure, is the result of our own daily activities; perhaps the past generations have added to it, but we are responsible actually for all that is taking place in the world. And also we pointed out that our consciousness, that is, the consciousness of each so-called individual, what he thinks, what he believes, his feelings, his despairs, his loneliness, his fears, his pleasures, his enjoyments, his peculiar form of worship, and so on, those are the content of our consciousness. And this consciousness is common, if one may use that word common, to all mankind. Wherever you go in this marvellous earth, which you are slowly destroying, wherever one goes - even if you go as a tourist - there is this problem for all human beings; they suffer, they go through great agonies; the fear of loneliness, not being able to stand alone; their form of worship, their beliefs, their gods, and so on, just like in the West. So, as we pointed out, when you go into this question very deeply, this consciousness, which each one of us thinks that it is ours, our special property, is the common property of mankind. So consciously, deeply, we are not individuals, though all religions, all society, all families, and so on, have maintained that we are separate individuals with our own peculiar tendencies, capacities, outward forms, name and so on. We are rest of mankind; therefore we are mankind. We are the world and the world is us. This is not a peculiar, exotic theory, something as an ideal, but an actual psychological fact; whether you like it or not, this is a fact. Because you do suffer, and the Asiatics also suffer; you have your many problems and so have they. You are a nationalist, and so are they; you want security, permanency, endurance, continuity, so do they.

So the illusion that we are, in our consciousness, separate individuals, is not a fact. And when one realizes that, not as an idea, not as an idealistic concept, something that we have to strive after, but rather that this is the ground on which all human beings throughout the world stand.

And also we were pointing out that in our relationship with each other, intimate or otherwise, man or woman, there is a great deal of strife, great deal of misunderstanding, contradiction, each one psychologically going his own way, pursuing his own ambition or her fulfillment, and so on. Like two parallel lines never meeting, perhaps sexually. And also we were pointing out the nature of fear; the various forms of fear, and whether human beings who have carried this terrible burden of fear of millennia upon millennia, can ever be free of it completely. We went into it very deeply, step by step, and it is possible, not a theory, not a goal; but it is possible actually to be totally completely free of psychological fears.

And also we talked about the pursuit of pleasure. More and more in this world, outwardly, various forms of entertainment, both religious as well as the various facts of entertainment, football, and so on. And we are also pointing out how mechanical we are becoming; repeating the same thing over and over and over again, which is what the computer is doing; it may do it more rapidly, more efficiently, more widely, but our own minds, our own feelings, are repetitive.

So we are going to talk about this morning, if you will permit it, why is it that we human beings who have lived on this earth for over a million years or more, why we have become what we are, brutal, violent, contradictory, killing each other in the name of god, in the name of country, in the name of peace. There used to be a slogan, after the First World War, which said, "This War (like the next war) is to end all wars". And this repetitive process of killing each other has been going on, though we are highly educated, technologically we are extraordinarily efficient, but psychologically we are very, very primitive. And we were saying, why is it that we do not change? Why is it that there is no end to all this terrible individualistic, competitive drive, which is destroying the world?

And we are going to talk about together the nature of what we consider love. This has been a question that has existed among the ancient Egyptians, the ancient Hindus, and recently the Christian world and the Islamic concept; they have all preached, talked about loving your neighbour, and so on. This has been asserted, religiously, in all the countries, but apparently we have never come to realize what it is. We talk a great deal about it, books are written, but we have created a god, or gods, and we love that god, or gods, we don't know exactly the nature of that beauty. So we ought to - though we went into it briefly the other day - we ought to go into this question very deeply. Is it mere sensory responses, sexual pleasure? Please, as we said, this is not a talk, this is not the speaker asserting any point of view, but we are together examining - please, I'll repeat over again - together we are enquiring into the nature of what one calls love.

So one must ask oneself whether it is mere sensory, sexual responses; which more and more in the Western world, and now which is creeping into the Eastern world, has been turned into pleasure. Is love pleasure? A form of entertainment? A thing which demands some kind of sensory fulfillment? Is it desire? We went into the question of what is desire very carefully; how desire arises and the demand of its fulfillment. When there is no fulfillment, there is frustration and all the neurotic activities of unfulfilled desire. We went into that. It would be unnecessary - if you have come for the first time, one hopes that you will not mind if we will not go into it again.

So is love desire? If it is, then all the complications, frustrations, the demand for its fulfillment, with all the conflicts that arise - so is love conflict? Please, one must repeat this again, you are asking these questions, not the speaker. The speaker is merely pointing out, which you yourself are examining, not merely verbally, intellectually, as a thing passing by, but actually in daily life. Is love a movement which has continuity in pleasure and desire? You are asking the question. And why is it pleasure has become so extraordinarily important in the world? The whole entertainment industry, so-called sports, and, if you will forgive also, the religious entertainment, which is considered sacred; these are the various forms of pleasure. So one asks, is love a movement, an endless movement of pleasure? Is love attachment? Attachment to a belief, to a concept, to knowledge, to a person, or to a symbol. In attachment there is fear, with all the agony of being alone. So if one sees the consequences of attachment: one is attached to the country, to the flag, as everyone in the world is doing that, the separative, symbolic flag; the Asiatics have their own flags, to which they are terribly attached, as in this country, for which you are willing to kill each other, which is what is happening. And we say, that's a principle; a principle that a country which has become aggressive must be pushed back, and so we are willing to kill others. This has been the old repetition from the most ancient of days. And every religion, the most ancient ones and the recent ones of 2000 years, have always said love, do not kill. But our pleasure overcomes this edict.

So one must, if one is at all serious in our relationship to each other, man and woman, relationship with the rest of humanity, whether they're black, white or purple or whatever colour they be, in that relationship, why is there so much conflict? Is it that in that relationship we seek security, safety? And this search for security in relationship, and naturally, fulfillment in that relationship, is that love? So, please, enquire; let us enquire together into this question very deeply. If all that is not love; the attachments, the desire to fulfil, the urge and the fear of being alone, lonely, all that; if all that is not love, like jealousy, hate, arrogance, pride, all that is not love, can it be ended? This is really quite a serious problem; because we never end anything, come to an end; but we want, where there is ending, a replacement. If I give up this, what will I have?

The question of ending a particular problem is really quite important: the ending. Because after all, as we are going to discuss a little later, the ending of life is called death. There you cannot argue, you cannot carry over anything, there is total ending of your memories, attachments, and so on. So one should enquire most seriously if there is an ending - not finding a substitution; not demanding a guarantee that if there is an ending of this, will there be that. So we ought to enquire very deeply, as we said, can all the things which are false, like pride, arrogance, attachment, and the desires, pleasures, and so on, which obviously are not love; can all that end? Because without love in life, the perfume, the passion, the depth of life is lost. Life becomes very, very superficial; very mundane, worldly; which is what most of the world is becoming more and more. Because we have never found out for ourselves what it is to love another. Love is not a remembrance of past events and past pleasures; love is not knowledge. But yet knowledge has played an extraordinary part in our life. Because there are all the scientists and biologists and so on, saying that the ascent of man is only through knowledge. We so easily accept what the professionals say; we never enquire for ourselves. It's one of the calamities, I think - one may be wrong - that books have become so important; what other people have said and written; all the professionals, psychologists. We are talking of not the professionals in the technological world, but the psychological professionals, who have accumulated a great deal of knowledge about oneself, about other human beings; and that knowledge, will knowledge transform man? Transform totally, completely the nature of his consciousness, not partially, not here and there, little less fear, little more kindly, little more generous, less conflict; but will this knowledge that man has acquired through very many, many centuries about the psyche, about the various divisions in consciousness; will knowledge, that is, the accumulated information and accumulated experience, will that knowledge transform the whole content of man, content of his consciousness? Please, ask this question of yourself.

You have studied, you have enquired about yourself, or you have been told by other psychologists what you are, and you have accumulated knowledge about yourself; perhaps not too much, but a little. And has that knowledge - knowledge being always of the past - whether that knowledge has transformed man; or a totally different kind of energy, totally different kind of activity, or non-activity; will that bring about transformation in consciousness? Because this is again important to understand and go into.

There are those who say, man is conditioned; you cannot possibly transform that conditioning. A whole philosophy, a whole school exists believing that, asserting it, writing all about it, they are very, very clever people. And if it cannot possibly be transformed, then we'll perpetually live in conflict; live in contradiction; continue in neuroticism of various kinds. So, is knowledge of one's wife going to transform the conflict that exists between man and woman?

So one has to ask, what place has knowledge? All that you have learned in school, college, university, your own personal experiences; the accumulated reservoir of memory we store in the brain, which is the past meeting the present may modify itself and continue in that modified form, in time as the future. So we are saying, asking, has that knowledge brought about deep change in human beings so that they will not kill, so that there is no fear whatsoever psychologically; so that human beings have this extraordinary capacity to love another? And has not knowledge become a barrier to love? Please, do enquire into all this. So can there be ending to all the things that prevent that perfume? And it cannot be brought about through conflict, through struggle, through the assertion of will; for after all, will is summation of desire, the essence of desire.

We're also ought to talk over together one of the most complex and apparently endless questions: suffering; suffering, not only separative, individualistic, personal suffering, but also the suffering of mankind. There have been so many wars, practically every year throughout the world for the last 5,000 years and more. War; that means, every year killing, killing, killing, how many millions have suffered, shed tears, felt the flame of loneliness; and yet we do not apparently use our intelligence to stop this cruelty, this bestiality of violence, which we talked about too the other day. So there is suffering, both physically and non-physically. The understanding of suffering non-physically will help physical suffering.

So we must first enquire together into the nature of suffering; why human beings, psychologically, inwardly, go through agonies. This enquiry is not cynical or sadistic, but one must enquire whether suffering, psychologically, can end. Is that question self-motivated? Is that question irrelevant? Because we are inflicting, human beings are inflicting psychologically a great deal of suffering on others. We get hurt, deeply, which we talked about at the beginning of these talks - that's also suffering, and the consequences of being hurt psychologically; we went into it, the resistance, the isolation, fears, and so on. And in the Christian world suffering has been avoided in the worship of a symbol; but suffering still exists. In the Asiatic world they have all kinds of explanations for suffering, but yet they suffer. Apparently there is no end to suffering, the human sorrow, the human pain, the grief; that seems to have no end.

And we ought to enquire together - not verbally, intellectually, or romantically; find out whether there is an ending completely of sorrow. Because where there is sorrow there is no love; where there is sorrow there is no compassion; where there is sorrow there is no depth to intelligence. So one must go into this question: who is it that suffers? This is related to the question of death also. We'll go into that too, if there is time this morning. Who is it that goes through agony; tears, and utter loneliness and despair when you lose somebody whom you think you love? Who is it that suffers? What is the nature of that feeling or that state in consciousness? You are understanding all this? We are meeting each other, aren't we? Or the speaker is talking to himself? These are your problems, not that of the speaker. So please listen, enquire, find out; not leave it to somebody else; because if you leave it to somebody else to solve this problem, then you depend on others and therefore you lose your own intrinsic capacity to solve all the human problems of which you are.

So we are asking, who is it that suffers? When you, shed tears, feel utterly lost, the shock of something you have held dear is gone or lost, who is it that has this feeling of great pain? Which means, who is the 'I' that says, I suffer? Who is this entity that feels this shock and the pain and the despair of loneliness? Please, this is an important question to ask, for when we are enquiring into the nature of dying - though on a lovely morning it may be morbid, but it's not - there, too, who is it that is dying? Who is the psyche, what is the nature of the psyche, the 'me', the 'I' that suffers? You know, we have clung to the idea the 'I' is something permanent; the 'I' has a continuity; the repetition: my house, my knowledge, my experience; my conditioning, my fear, my pleasure, which is secretive; so, who is this 'I'? The various psychologists have given various interpretations to it. If we could put aside all the psychologists, what they have said, and observe for ourselves - including what the speaker is saying - observe for ourselves very clearly without any direction, without any motive, actually what we are.

The ancient Greeks and the ancient Hindus have talked about knowing yourself, not according to some professional, but know yourself. What is that self, and what is it to know about it? You understand? What is the self and to know about it, and what is the knowledge that is accumulated after knowing about it? Do you understand the question? Can I know myself through time? That is, I have learned, I have observed myself, watched all the reactions in my relationship with another, intimate or otherwise; I have accumulated a great deal of knowledge through that observation; and when I observe again other reactions, other idiosyncrasies and sensory responses, that previous knowledge interprets what is actually happening. Right? Are you following all this? So, you are actually not knowing yourself, you are perpetuating the knowledge which you have acquired through various examinations and observations which has become your knowledge and that knowledge is beginning again to interpret the present responses, the present happenings and incidents; so you are perpetuating the knowledge which you have acquired, modified and projecting into the future. This cycle is knowledge, action, learn from that action, which becomes further knowledge to keep the cycle going. I hope you are understanding. Isn't that so? We are not telling you anything that you have not observed yourself, if you have observed.

So, to know oneself really, deeply, previous remembrance, previous knowledge has no place. You have to observe each incident and each response as though for the first time. That is, to know, observe, enter into the field of this immense life which is specialized as the 'me'. Where there is the 'me', the self, there is no love. So it is very important to find out for oneself and not escape from this question. Because it's your life; it's your responsibility. If you merely avoid it and run away into various forms of entertainment, you are bringing about great disaster in the world, for which you are utterly, totally responsible.

And where there is the ending of suffering, there is compassion. Suffering, the ending of it, is to have passion. There is a vast difference between lust and passion. Lust everybody knows. But the passion, not identified with some symbol, Christian or Asiatic symbols. We have not that passion. When the missionaries, evangelists, the preachers of God and all the rest of it, they are salesmen. To have passion; passion to go, understand the brutality, the violence, the fears, the agony, to resolve them so the mind is free from all the contamination of struggle. You must have great energy for that, to go into this. But if one is merely caught in fear, pleasure - pleasure is different from delight, watching something that is beautiful. But the remembrance of it and the desire to continue in that remembrance is pleasure.

And if we have time and if you are not tired this morning, we ought to consider together this immense, complex problem of death. As pleasure, fear, attachment, hurt, the conflict in relationship, that's our daily reality; and death is also a part of our life. It's not something that comes at the end of life, after old age, disease, accident, that's part of this whole business of living. And we never consider the importance of death; the quality, the depth of that word. Most people are afraid of it; and being afraid they have invented all kinds of theories which will give them comfort. In the Asiatic world, the origin of it perhaps born in India, reincarnation; that is, the 'me', dying, will have an opportunity next life to be more happy or more greedy, and so on. In the Christian world there is this whole concept of resurrection. You hear about it all day wherever you go, in the Asiatic world and here. And which is important, what is after death, or before death? Please ask this question of yourself. Because most of us, being frightened of death, either rationalize it, say it is inevitable, like a tree grows, withers, dies, everything grows, becomes old, and ends, withers away. So we rationalize our existence if you are an intellectual; or if you had a very good time during life, popular, money, etcetera, then you'll say, I've had a jolly good life. Or, as most of us laymen, our life is shallow, insufficient, perhaps technologically we are good, money, position, status; or we are just feeble human beings, uncertain, no security psychologically, and so our life becomes rather dreary, meaningless; so shouldn't we consider first what is our life? Not what it is to die, we'll come to that.

What is our life? From the moment we are born till the moment we die, what actually goes on with our life? We know all about it, we don't have to repeat it. If you are grown up, an adult, you work in a factory, or a businessman, a lawyer, from morning till night, repeat, repeat, repeat. And if you are a housewife, you know all that business, one hasn't got to go into all the details of it. So our life is pretty shallow, whether it's a scientist, great philosophers; or generals or politicians, apart from their title and position they are just like other human beings; vain, frustrated psychologically, seeking - you know, all the rest of it. So, our daily life is a routine and an escape from that routine. Our daily life is work, work, work, without any leisure. And if there is leisure, which is called holidays, it's mere enjoyment. So our life is shoddy, tawdry - please excuse these words, they're just describing what it is - with occasional flare of great beauty and depth and happiness. The ending of all that is to die. And man - man, woman - man throughout the world is more concerned about death than living; living without conflict; living with great energy; living in clarity; living without a shadow of conflict. And that is possible only if fear ends completely, psychologically. Then there is no need for gods.

So what is it that dies? The accumulation of the knowledge about oneself? The accumulation of your properties? The accumulation of all the things to which you are attached. So is it possible to live - please understand this - to live with death all the time? That's the ending, as you live, everything, day after day; you understand? That means you are, the mind is incarnating afresh each day. That is creation, that is a mind that is creative; not inventive. There is a vast difference between inventiveness and creation. All the technological world and technicians of that world are inventive, because they are using knowledge. And from knowledge to knowledge they move, but they are never free from the knowledge, so that there is a new beginning totally. So to live with death, not commit suicide, that's too silly, to live with death, to end my hurt, end it completely; end one's attachment, and so on; so that life and living, life and death are moving together all the time. Do it!

If one applies one's mind and energy to this enquiry and its activity, then there is a totally different kind of life. And we'll talk about it tomorrow, what place such a life has in this world and is that a religious life. And the place of a religious life in meditation and so on. May I get up, sirs?

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