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Jiddhu Krishnamurti (1895 - 1986)


WE ARE GOING TO talk over together a great many things this morning, and, as we said, we're not the only speaker; you and the speaker are sharing all the issues that we are going to discuss. We are participating in them, not just listening casually. In the last two talks we've dealt with many things: fear and all the travail of man, the problems that we have, which we never seem to resolve; we went into that carefully. The problems exist because our minds are filled with problems; therefore there is no freedom to look at any problem. Also we went into the question of thought - why thought has made this life so utterly impossible. Thought has brought about a great deal of conflict, wars for two and a half million years, which means practically every year we kill each other - in the name of god, in the name of patriotism, my country against your country, our religion against your religion, and so on. And we also talked about the nature of thought, why thought divides men or brings them together to do a certain project, like going to the moon. To build that rocket, you probably had to have over 300,000 people, all of them doing their little job perfectly. Either we get together in a crisis like war which is born of hatred, or we come together on some national issue, or when there is a great calamity like an earthquake, or volcanic eruption. Apart from that, we never get together.

Now, this morning, if I may most respectfully suggest, we should all get together, as we are all sitting together, and gather energy so that we can think out very clearly the various issues we are going to raise together. That means to activate our brains which are rather sluggish, slow, monotonous, repetitive. So we are together keeping our brains alert. We have not only to keep the physical organism active because that gives energy, but to have a very clear, active brain. Not a specialized brain as a philosopher, as a scientist, as a physicist, and so on. Those specialized brains become very narrow. Philosophy, according to the dictionary, means the love of truth, the love of life, the love of wisdom - not just adding more and more theories or quoting somebody and explaining what they have quoted.

I don't know if you've ever gone into the question of learning, what it is to learn. Now we are going to find out together what it means. We generally take learning to mean memorizing. All through school, college and university you memorize. And that memory can be used to earn a livelihood, to gain power, possessions, prestige, patronage, and so on. Is there another kind of learning? We know the ordinary kind of learning - at school, college, university or learning a skill to become an excellent carpenter or a plumber or a cook. So, what is learning? Have you ever thought about it? When you're memorizing, your brain is filled with memories. That's simple. Memory multiplies, keeps you somewhat alert, you learn more and more and more. So the speaker is asking you - is there a different kind of learning altogether, which is not merely memorizing.

This is a very important question because the brain records every incident, every kind of memory. When you're hurt it is recorded, but you never enquire who is hurt; we'll come to that presently. So the brain is recording; see the importance of that. It has to record, otherwise you and I wouldn't be here. So the brain is constantly recording discarding. Now, is it necessary to record? You have an incident in a car - an accident; it is instantly recorded, because you are hurt or your car is damaged. The brain has the capacity, the energy, not only to record but also to safeguard itself. And we are asking: is it necessary to record everything? Or can we record only that which is necessary and nothing else? Have you put this question to yourself? The brain records for its own security, otherwise you and I wouldn't be sitting here. You have recorded how long it took you to come here and so on. We're asking, is it necessary to record certain things, and totally unnecessary where the psyche is involved? You understand my question, sir? Is it necessary when you are flattered or when you're insulted to record it? Is it necessary to record these things?

The recording builds up the psyche. This is a very serious question. The psyche, which is made up of various elements, characteristics, ethos, is contained in the brain, which we call consciousness. In that consciousness, memories, fears, etc., are contained. So we're asking again, is it necessary to build up the psyche? The psyche means the self, the self being all the memories, the activities of thought, imagination, fascination, fear, pleasure, sorrow, pain. It is recording that makes up the whole psyche, the `I', the persona.

So we're asking, Is it necessary to record so as to build up the self? Have you ever thought about this, looked at it or investigated it, gone into this question of recording as you would into various philosophical, religious matters? It may be necessary to record certain things and totally unnecessary to record others - see the beauty of it - so that the brain is not always conditioned in memory, so that the brain becomes extraordinarily free, but active. That is the first question.

So, learning is not to record. We have discussed this matter with psychiatrists in New York. They were fascinated with the idea of not recording, so that the brain cells themselves mutate. Our brains are built up of cells and so on - I'm not a professional - and in the brain cells are the memories. And we live on those memories - the past and all the remembrances that one has. And the older you get the more you go back, further and further, till you die. And it is important to learn to find out whether the brain needs to record everything. Forgetting, and not recording, are two entirely different matters. When you are hurt, not physically but psychologically, inwardly, you say `I am hurt.' You are all hurt, aren't you? From childhood till you grow old and die, you are being hurt all the time. You say, `I can't stand any more hurts, I've been hurt so much. I'm frightened.' I build a wall around myself, isolate myself - all these are the consequences of being hurt.

Now, who is being hurt? You say, `It's me.' Then what is `me'? You just say `me', `I', the ego, any word that comes, but you don't investigate who is the `I', who is the persona. Who are you - a name, a degree if you are fortunate or unfortunate enough, a job, a house or a flat, and a title after a name? There are the images you have built about yourself, so that when you say you are hurt, the images about yourself are hurt. But all those images are you - you're a physicist, you're a doctor, you're a philosopher, you're an MP, or an engineer. Have you ever realized how someone is always introduced by his profession? So the self, the psyche, the persona, is the image which you have built about yourself.

You have built an image about your wife, and she builds an image about you - and these images have relationship. See what is happening. The images have relationship - not the persons but the images - and you live on that. So you never know your wife or your husband or your friend. Or you don't care to know, but you have the image. So the question is: can you live without a single image? See the implications of it, the beauty of it, the freedom of it.

We ought to talk over together why we make all this effort in life. Why do we make such an immense effort to do anything? We make tremendous efforts to meditate, to live, to fight, to battle with one another - opinion against opinion, judgement against judgement, I agree with you, I disagree with him. Why all this effort? For what? - for money, for your family, for affection, to feel that you must be loved by somebody?

When you ask that question, then you must ask, what is love? Is love effort? - I must love you, therefore I am going to make an effort about it. Can there be love when there is ambition? Sir, please, this is serious; this is not for somebody who doesn't care, who just wants his own way. Is love ambition, is it greed, is it self-centredness? Is love the opposite of hate?

You know, we have always been fighting - the good fighting the bad, all through life. You see it in paintings symbolizing the good and symbolizing the devil. In Greek mythology and other mythologies it is the white bull against the black bull or good fighting evil in different shapes, symbols and so on. We still do that - the good fighting the bad. Is the good separate from the bad? Is the good born out of the bad? If the good is related to the bad, then it's not good. If the good is born of, comes from, the bad, then it's not good. That is simple, isn't it? But if the bad is totally divorced from the good, if there is no relationship between the good and the bad, then there is only the bad and the good, totally divorced from each other. Therefore they can't fight.

So then we have to enquire, what is the good? And you have to ask, can love contain hate? Or, has hate nothing to do with love - therefore there is no relationship between the two, therefore they can't fight each other? This is an important question for you to understand, go into. You always say, `I have not been good today, but I will be good tomorrow,' or, `I have been angry today, but I will not be angry tomorrow.' This is the relative relationship between the good and the bad. Love has nothing whatsoever to do with jealousy; love has nothing whatsoever to do with hate. Where there is hate, pleasure, anxiety, and so on, love cannot exist. And the speaker questions whether you love anybody at all.

What is love? How does it come about? Do you really ask that question, or am I asking it for you? Can love exist where there is sorrow? Most of us are in sorrow of some kind or other - failing in an exam, failing to be successful in business or in politics, or in your relationship with your wife, or in your relationship with somebody upstairs - which may be your guru or some other imaginative figure. So when you can't succeed you are depressed, you are sorrowful. Or you are sorrowful because you live in a small little village and you don't know how to read and write, you don't know how to drive a car, or you have no hot bath or you wear one dirty cloth. The man in a position high up on the ladder - he suffers too.

So, everyone on this earth - everyone - from the richest to the poorest, from the most powerful to the least powerful, suffers. Suffering is not yours, because everyone suffers. It's not my suffering; it's suffering. I wonder if you understand that? My son dies and I get terribly upset. I weep and I say, `My god, I've lost my son,' and that becomes a perpetual problem. I weep every time I see a little boy or a little girl. And I go through the pain of loneliness, sorrow.

If there is sorrow, there is no love. Please realize this. If I suffer, suffer, suffer, it's part of self-pity, self-concern, it's: `My sorrow is different from your sorrow', like `My guru is stronger than your guru', or `My god is different from your god'. So, is there an end to sorrow? Or must mankind go through this sorrow all its life? The speaker says it can end. Otherwise there is no love. I'm shedding tears all the time, I suffer, and you come along and tell me, `Every human being on earth suffers; it is not your suffering, we all share it.' I refuse to accept such a statement because I love my sorrow, I'm happy in my sorrow, and I want to be separate in my sorrow.

To get a feeling of this requires a great deal of enquiry, persuasion, talking over, saying, `It is not quite yours. Have a little bit of it, but it isn't quite yours'. That means no self-pity, and it means you are really sharing the burden of sorrow for all the rest of mankind. Go on, sir, think about it, look at it; you are part of humanity; you are not separate from humanity. You may have a better position, better degrees, better money, but you are part of mankind, your consciousness is part of mankind. Your consciousness contains all the things that you have thought about, imagined, feared, and so on. Your consciousness is that, and that is also the consciousness of mankind. Mankind has fear, sorrow, pain, anxiety, tears, uncertainty, confusion. Every human being on earth has all this, and you are like the rest. So you are not individuals. I know my body is different from your body - you are a woman, I'm a man. But we are in the world as one unit. When you feel that relationship, you are the rest of mankind. Then something totally different takes place, not just words, imaginings, but the feeling of it, the enormity of it.

We ought to talk about death. Sorry, on a lovely morning, sitting under the trees, quiet - no train crossing the bridge - to talk about death may seem morbid, may seem ugly. Now together, we're going to examine it, share it - not you just listening and I talking. So, what is death? Why are we so frightened of it? Why do we keep death for ten years later or twenty years later or a hundred years later? Then, you have not only to ask what is death and dying, but also what is living. What is your life? - office from nine to five, as a clerk, as a governor, a factory worker or whatever it is, for the rest of your life, except when you retire as a gaga old man. And your life is breeding children, sex, pleasure, pain, sorrow, anxiety, problem after problem - illness, doctors, caesarean operations, pain in giving birth. This is your life. Do you deny that? And you call this living. You support it, you enjoy it, you want more and more of it. Right? And you put death as many years away as possible. And in that distance of time you are building up the same pattern over and over. Your children, your grandchildren, all live in that same pattern which you call living.

So I say to myself, why not bring that which you call death into living? You can't take anything with you - not even all that your guru has said and all that you have tried to live up to, nor your furniture, your wife, your children, nor all the silver you have collected, all the money in the bank. So, as you cannot take anything with you, why not let life and death meet? You understand what I'm saying? Why not let death come today? Not suicide - I'm not talking about that. Why not be totally free of attachment now - which is death? Be totally detached - today, not tomorrow. Tomorrow is death. So, why can't I be free of my attachments now so that living and dying are together all the time? I wonder if you see the beauty of it. That gives you an immense sense of freedom. So living and dying are together, always. It's not something to be frightened about. If the brain can do that, then there is a totally different quality to the brain. It has no hooks, it has no sense of the past, the future, the present. It is living - it is really an endless way of living. That is, every day is a new day. Don't mistake what I'm talking about - the future is now.

There is no `I shall be born again next life'. That is an idea to which you're attached. It gives you great comfort, but if you believe in reincarnation, then you must act rightly now, because next life you are going to pay for it or be rewarded. It's a very comforting idea, but it is meaningless. Because, if you act rightly now, righteousness has no reward. Righteousness is righteousness, not what you are going to get out of it. That is a merchandizing attitude, a mechanical attitude.

We should talk about religion. What is religion? Sir, this is one of the important questions in life. There are temples all over India, mosques all over the world, churches all over the world and their priests beautifully decorated, beautifully garbed, all medallions and so on. This has been one of the problems from the most ancient times: the priest and the king - the priest wanted power, the king also wanted power. But the priest was stronger because he was the one who wrote, read, and the king had to obey him because he was supposed to be the wiser man. And gradually the king said, `This is not good enough,' and so there was a war between the priest and the king. This is historical; you will find it in different books.

The word `religion' had a very complicated meaning at one time, but now it has become a symbol, a ritual, a superstition. Is this religion, or is religion something entirely different, something which has nothing to do with rituals, with symbols, because all these have been invented by man? Because priests wanted power, position, they put on new hats, new clothes and grew long beards or shaved their heads - and all this is called religion. To an ordinary, thoughtful, fairly intelligent man, it is rubbish, total rubbish. If he discards all that, really discards it totally, puts away being a Hindu with all its superstitions, symbols, worship, prayer, then he is a serious man; he is not a wordmonger.

Sir, the speaker is not laying down the law. Let us talk about it, let us investigate, let us go into it together. Our brains are chattering all the time. Haven't you noticed it? - Chattering, chattering, chattering or imagining, perpetually in action. There is never a moment of silence. And silence is also repetition - `Ram, Ram' or whatever you may repeat. When you repeat something mechanically, as you repeat the word, gradually the brain, through repetition, becomes dull and quiet; and that quietness is something marvellous to you. You think you've achieved some tremendous thing and you go around repeating this to others, and the poor gullible people say, `Yes, yes'. Your meditation is a series of achievements. Can you discard all that nonsense? For the speaker it is complete nonsense, it is like going to the circus.

We have to enquire what is meditation and what is silence. Silence allows space. You can't be silent in time. We have to go into this question of meditation, space, time, and whether there is an ending to time. We are not telling you how to meditate. Don't ask how to meditate. It is like telling a carpenter how to build a beautiful cabinet. If he is a good carpenter, you don't have to tell him. Your meditation now is achievement.

The word `meditation' means `to ponder over, think, weigh, look at carefully'. It also means `to measure', from ma in Sanskrit. When you compare - `I was this today, I'll be that tomorrow' - that is measurement. Measurement has no place in meditation. Measurement is necessary in all technologies - whether you build a chair or the most complicated rocket to go to the moon.

We are saying, meditation implies total freedom from all comparison and measurement - and this is difficult. Meditation is something that is marvellous if you know what to do. The meditator is different from meditation. As long as you are the meditator, there is no meditation, because the meditator is concerned about himself - how he is progressing, what he is doing. In meditation there is no meditator at all. See for yourself the beauty, the depth, the subtlety of it. The practice of meditation is not meditation - sitting and making the mind more and more dull, and saying, `Yes, I've spent an hour.' (By the way, sir, don't touch my feet - that's most undignified, as a human being. You can hold my hand, but not the feet; it's inhuman, undignified.)

So meditation is something that cannot be practised as you practise a violin, a piano. To practise means you want to reach a certain level of perfection. But in meditation there is no level, nothing to be achieved. Therefore there is not a conscious, deliberate meditation; it is a meditation which is totally undirected, totally - if I may use the word - `unconscious'. It is not a deliberate process. Let's leave it at that. We can spend a lot of time on this - an hour, a whole day, the whole of your life to find this out.

Now let us talk about space. Because meditation is that - space. We have no space in the brain. There is space between two struggles, between two thoughts, but it is still within the sphere of thought. So, what is space? Does space contain time? Or does time include all space? We talked about time. If space contains time, then it is not space. Then it is circumscribed, limited. So, can the brain be free of time? Sir, this is such an important, immense question; you don't seem to gather it.

If life, all of life, is contained in the now, do you see what it means? All humanity is you. All humanity - because you suffer, he suffers; his consciousness is you; your consciousness, your being, is him. There is no you and me that limits space. So, is there an end to time - not to the clock which you wind and it stops, but to the whole movement of time?

Time is movement, a series of incidents. Thought is also a series of movements. So time is thought. So we are saying, if space contains time, it is not space. So, is there an end to time? Which means, is there an end to thought; which means, is there an end to knowledge; is there an end to experience? - which is total freedom. And this is meditation. Not sitting and looking - that's childish. This demands not only a great deal of the intellect, but insight. The physicist, the artist, the painter, the poet and so on have a limited insight. We are talking about a timeless insight. This is meditation, this is religion, and this is the way to live, if you want to, all the rest of your days.