तस्मिन् तज्जन् भेदाभावात् ।। There is no difference between The Lord and his Devotees. - Narada Bakthi Sutras 3.41

Documents : Essence : J Krishnamurti

Commentaries On Living : J Krishnamurti : English



Second Series
by J. Krishnamurti

A profession is only a part of life; but there are also those parts which are hidden, subtle and mysterious. To emphasize the one and to deny or neglect the rest must inevitably lead to very lop-sided and disintegrating activity. This is precisely ‘what is’ taking place in the world to-day, with ever-mounting conflict, confusion and misery. Of course there are a few exceptions, the creative, the happy, those who are in touch with something that is not man-made, who are not dependent on the things of the mind.

You and I have intrinsically the capacity to be happy, to be creative, to be in touch with something that is beyond the clutches of time. Creative happiness is not a gift reserved for the few.

It is fairly clear that the mind wants to be caught and made certain in some kind of activity, disregarding wider and deeper issues, for it is then on safer ground; so its education, its exercises, its activities are encouraged and sustained on that level, and excuses are found for not going beyond it.

Before they are contaminated by so-called education, many children are in touch with the unknown; they show this in so many ways. But environment soon begins to close around them, and after a certain age they lose that light, that beauty which is not found in any book or school.

Creative happiness is for all and not for the few alone. You may express it in one way and I in another, but it is for all. Creative happiness has no value on the market; it is not a commodity to be sold to the highest bidder, but it is the one thing that can be for all. (p.2)

Is creative happiness realizable? That, is can the mind keep in touch with that which is the source of all happiness? Can this openness be sustained in spite of knowledge and technique, in spite of education and the crowding in of life? It can be, but only when the educator is educated to this reality, only when he who teaches is himself in touch with the source of creative happiness. So our problem is not the pupil, the child, but the teacher and the parent. Education is a vicious circle only when we do not see the importance, the essential necessity above all else, of this supreme happiness. After all, to be open to the source of all happiness is the highest religion; but to realize this happiness, you must give right attention to it, as you do to business. The teacher’s profession is not a mere routine job, but the expression of beauty and joy, which cannot be measured in terms of achievement and success.

The light of reality and its bliss are destroyed when the mind, which is the seat of self, assumes control. Self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom; without self-knowledge, learning leads to ignorance, strife and sorrow. (p.3)

Just try to be aware of your conditioning. You can only know it indirectly, in relation to something else. You cannot be aware of your conditioning as an abstraction, for then it is merely verbal, without much significance. We are only aware of conflict. Conflict exists when there is no integration between challenge and response. This conflict is the result of our conditioning. Conditioning is attachment: attachment to work, to tradition, to property, to people, to ideas, and so on. If there were no attachment, would there be conditioning? Of course not. So why are we attached? I am attached to my country because through identification with it I become somebody. I identify myself with my work, and the work becomes important. I am my family, my property; I am attached to them. The object of attachment offers me the means of escape from my own emptiness. Attachment is escape, and it is escape that strengthens conditioning. If I am attached to you, it is because you have become the means of escape from myself; therefore you are very important to me and I must possess you, hold on to you. You become the conditioning factor, and escape is the conditioning. If we can be aware of our escapes, we can then perceive the factors, the influences that make for conditioning. (p.5)

There are escapes at all the levels of our being. You escape through work, another through drink, another through religious ceremonies, another through knowledge, another through God, and still another is addicted to amusement. All escapes are the same, there is no superior or inferior escape. God and drink are on the same level as long as they are escapes from what we are. When we are aware of our escapes, only then can we know of our conditioning. (p.5-6)

When one particular form of activity is not satisfactory or brings further conflict, we turn to another. To replace one activity by another without understanding escape is rather futile, is it not? It is these escapes and our attachment to them that make for conditioning. Conditioning brings problems, conflict. It is conditioning that prevents our understanding of the challenge; being conditioned, our response must inevitably create conflict.

Our attachment to a person, to work, to an ideology, is the conditioning factor; this is the thing we have to understand, and not seek a better or more intelligent escape. All escapes are unintelligent, as they inevitably bring about conflict. To cultivate detachment is another form of escape, of isolation; it is attachment to an abstraction, to an ideal called detachment. The ideal is fictious, ego-made, and becoming the ideal is an escape from ‘what is’ . There is the understanding of ‘what is’, an adequate action towards ‘what is’, only when the mind is no longer seeking an escape. The very thinking about ‘what is’ is an escape from ‘what is’. Thinking about the problem is escape from the problem; for thinking is the problem, and the only problem. The mind, unwilling to be what it is, fearful of what it is, seeks these various escapes, and the way of escape is thought. As long as there is thinking, there must be escapes, attachments, which only strengthen conditioning. (p.6-7)

Freedom from conditioning comes with the freedom from thinking. When the mind is utterly still, only then is there freedom for the real to be.

How necessary it is to die each day, to die each minute to everything, to the many yesterdays and to the moment that has just gone by! Without death there is no renewing, without death there is no creation. The burden of the past gives birth to its own continuity, and the worry of yesterday gives new life to the worry of to-day. Yesterday perpetuates to-day, and to-morrow is still yesterday. There is no release from this continuity except in death. In dying there is joy.

We carry the memory of yesterday, and it darkens our being. As long as the mind is the mechanical machine of memory, it knows no rest, no quietude, no silence; it is ever wearing itself out. That which is still can be reborn, but a thing that is in constant activity wears out and is useless. The well-spring is in ending, and death is as near as life. (p.7)

Almost everything is shallow and soon comes to an end, only to begin again with a further shallowness. The inexhaustible is not to be discovered through any activity of the mind. (p.8)

To be alone, in the highest sense, is essential; but the aloneness of withdrawal gives a sense of power, of strength, of invulnerability. Such aloneness is isolation, it is an escape, a refuge. (p.9)

The known can experience only that which is of itself, it can never experience the new, the unknown.

The unknown cannot be experiences. You may think or speculate about the unknown, or be afraid of it; but thought cannot comprehend it, for thought is the outcome of the known, of experience.

You have heard, and let that work as it will. To be still after tilling and sowing is to give birth to creation. (p.10)

Love is a strange thing; as long as thought is woven through it, it is not love. When you think of someone you love, that person becomes the symbol of pleasant sensations, memories, images; but that is not love. Thought is sensation, and sensation is not love. The very process of thinking is the denial of love. Love is the flame without the smoke of thought, of jealousy, of antagonism, of usage, which are things of the mind. As long as the heart is burdened with the things of the mind, there must be hate; for the mind is the seat of hate, of antagonism, of opposition, of conflict. Thought is reaction, and reaction is always, in one way or another, the source of enmity. Thought is opposition, hate; thought is always in competition, always seeking an end, success; its fulfilment is pleasure and its frustration is hate. Conflict is thought caught in the opposites; and the synthesis of the opposites is still hate, antagonism. (p.11)

Let us be passively watchful of hate as it unrolls itself. Don’t be shocked, don’t condemn or find excuses; just passively watch it. Hate is a form of frustration.

Fulfilment and frustration always go together. (p.12)

Jealousy is hate.

If one loves, there is no room for anything else. But we do not love; the smoke chokes our life, and the flame dies.

We move from one substitution to another, but essentially, all substitutions are the same, though verbally they may appear to be dissimilar. So you are caught in the net of your own thought.

Don’t ask, but watch the process of your own thinking. How cunning and deceptive it is! It promises release, but only produces another crisis, another antagonism. Just be passively watchful of this and let the truth of it be. (p.13)

When you are hoping for something, positively or negatively, you are projecting your own desire; you will succeed in your desire, but that is only another substitution, and so the battle is on again. This desire to gain or to avoid is still within the field of opposition, is it not? See the false as the false, then the truth is. You don’t have to look for it. What you seek you will find, but it will not be truth. It is like a suspicious man finding what he suspects, which is comparatively easy and stupid. Just be passively aware of this total thought-process, and also of the desire to be free of it. (p.14)

How we hug to ourselves the idea of progress. We like to think we shall achieve a better state, become more merciful, peaceful and virtuous. We love to cling to this illusion, and few are deeply aware that this becoming is a pretence, a satisfying myth. We love to think that someday we shall be better, but in the meantime we carry on. Progress is such a comforting word, so reassuring, a word with which we hypnotize ourselves. The thing which is cannot become something different; greed can never become non-greed, any more than violence can become non-violence. You can make pig-iron into a marvellous, complicated machine, but progress is illusion when applied to self-becoming. The idea of the ‘me’ becoming something glorious is the simple deception of the craving to be great. We worship the success of the State, of the ideology, of the self, and deceive ourselves with the comforting illusion of progress. Thought may progress, become something more, go towards a more perfect end, or make itself silent; but as long as thought is a movement of acquisitiveness or renunciation, it is always a mere reaction. Reaction ever produces conflict, and progress in conflict is further confusion, further antagonism. (p.15)

We all translate the past according to our particular conditioning and interpret it to suit our prejudices. You are as uncertain of to-morrow as the rest of us, and thank heaven it is so! But to sacrifice the present for an illusory future is obviously most illogical.

Change is modified continuity.

Integration can come into being only with the understanding of reaction. The mind is a series of reactions; and revolution based on reactions, on ideas, is no revolution at all, but only a modified continuity of what has been.

Change based on an idea is not revolution; for idea is the response of memory, which is again a reaction. Fundamental revolution is possible only when ideas are not important and so have ceased.

Ideas divide, and separation is dis-integration, it is not revolution at all. The man with an ideology is concerned with ideas, words, and not with direct action; he avoids direct action. An ideology is a hindrance to direct action. (p.16)

Revolution based an idea, however logical and in accordance with historical evidence, cannot bring about equality. The very function of idea is to separate people. Belief, religious or political, sets man against man. So-called religions have divided people, and still do. Organized belief, which is called religion, is, like any other ideology, a thing of the mind and therefore separative. (p.16-17)

In the eyes of God we are all equal, but in capacity there is variation; life is one, but social divisions are inevitable.

Actually, there is inequality at all the levels of existence. One has capacity, and another has not; one leads, and another follows; one is dull, and another is sensitive, alert , adaptable; one paints or writes, and another digs; one is a scientist, and another a sweeper. Inequality is a fact, and no revolution can do away with it. (p.17)

An idea can never bring about equality, even in its own world. If we all believed the same thing, at the same time, at the same level, there would be equality of a sort; but that is an impossibility, a mere speculation which can only lead to illusion.

To approach ‘what is’ with an idea, a conclusion, a dream, is not to understand ‘what is’. Prejudiced observation is no observation at all. The fact is, there is inequality at all the levels of consciousness, of life; and do what we may, we cannot alter that fact.

At present we know relationship only as utility; society uses the individual, just as individuals use each other, in order to benefit in various ways. The using of another is the fundamental cause of the psychological division of man against man.

We cease to use one another only when idea is not the motivating factor in relationship. With idea comes exploitation, and exploitation breeds antagonism. (p.18)

It is love, the only factor that can bring about a fundamental revolution. Love is the only true revolution. But love is not an idea; it is when thought is not. Love is not a tool of propaganda; it is not something to be cultivated and shouted about from the house tops. Only when the flag, the belief, the leader, the idea as planned action, drop away, can there be love; and love is the only creative and constant revolution. (p.18-19)

How necessary it is for the mind to purge itself of all thought, to be constantly empty, not made empty, but simply empty; to die to all thought, to all of yesterday’s memories, and to the coming hour! It is simple to die, and it is hard to continue; for continuity is effort to be or not to be. Effort is desire, and desire can die only when the mind ceases to acquire. How simple it is just to live! But it is not stagnation. There is great happiness in not wanting, in not being something, in not going somewhere. When the mind purges itself of all thought, only then is there the silence of creation. The mind is not tranquil as long as it is travelling in order to arrive. For the mind, to arrive is to succeed, and success is ever the same, whether at the beginning or at the end. There is no purgation of the mind if it is weaving the pattern of its own becoming. (p.19-20)

You have tried to gain satisfaction from everything you have come in contact with; and when you have thoroughly used it, naturally you get bored with it. Every acquisition is a form of boredom, weariness. We want a change of toys; as soon as we lose interest in one, we turn to another, and there is always a new toy to turn to. We turn to something in order to acquire; there is acquisition in pleasure, in knowledge, in fame, in power, in efficiency, in having a family, and so on. When there is nothing further to acquire in one religion, in one saviour, we lose interest and turn to another. Some go to sleep in an organization and never wake up, and those who do wake up put themselves to sleep again by joining another. This acquisitive movement is called expansion of thought, progress!

Freedom cannot be acquired. If you acquire it, you will soon be bored with it. Does not acquisition dull the mind? Acquisition, positive or negative, is a burden. As soon as you acquire, you lose interest. In trying to possess, you are alert, interested; but possession is boredom. You may want to possess more, but the pursuit of more is only a movement towards boredom. You try various forms of acquisition, and as long as there is the effort to acquire, there is interest; but there is always an end to acquisition, and so there is always boredom. (p.21-22)

Possession makes the mind weary. Acquisition, whether of knowledge, of property, of virtue, makes for insensitivity. The nature of the mind is to acquire, to absorb, is it not? Or rather, the pattern it has created for itself is one of gathering in; and in that very activity the mind is preparing its own weariness, boredom. Interest, curiosity, is the beginning of acquisition, which soon becomes boredom; and the urge to be free from boredom is another form of possession. So the mind goes from boredom to interest to boredom again, till it is utterly weary; and these successive waves of interest and weariness are regarded as existence. (p.22)

To be non-acquisitive is another form of acquisition which soon becomes wearisome. The difficulty, if one may use that word, lies, not in the verbal understanding of what has been said, but in experiencing the false as the false. To see the truth in the false is the beginning of wisdom. The difficulty is for the mind to be still; for the mind is always worried, it is always after something, acquiring or denying, searching and finding. The mind is never still, it is in continuous movement. The past, overshadowing the present, makes its own future. It is a movement in time, and there is hardly ever an interval between thoughts. One thought follows another without a pause; the mind is ever making itself sharp and so wearing itself out. If a pencil is being sharpened all the time, soon there will be nothing left of it; similarly, the mind uses itself constantly and is exhausted. The mind is always afraid of coming to an end. But, living is ending from day to day; it is the dying to all acquisition, to memories, to experiences, to the past. How can there be living if there is experience? Experience is knowledge, memory; and is memory the state of experiencing? In the state of experiencing, is there memory as the experiencer? The purgation of the mind is living, is creation. Beauty is in experiencing, not in experience; for experience is ever of the past, and the past is not the experiencing, it is not the living. The purgation of the mind is tranquillity of heart. (p.22-23)

‘What is’ overcome must be conquered again and again. Suppression is a form of overcoming, as are substitution and sublimation. To desire to conquer is to give birth to further conflict.

To find God, you try to subdue the mind. But is calmness of mind a way to God? Is calmness the coin which will open the gates of heaven? You want to buy your way to God, to truth, or what name you will. Can you buy the eternal through virtue, through renunciation, through mortification? We think that if we do certain things, practise virtue, pursue chastity, withdraw from the world, we shall be able to measure the measureless; so it’s just a bargain, isn’t it? Your ‘virtue’ is a means to an end. (p.24)

Discipline is a means to an end. But the end is the unknown. Truth is the unknown, it cannot be known; if it is known, it is not truth. If you can measure the immeasurable, then it is not. Our measurement is the word, and the word is not the real. Discipline is the means; but the means and the end are not two dissimilar things, are they? Surely, the end and the means are one; the means is the end, the only end; there is no goal apart from the means. Violence as a means to peace is only perpetuation of violence. The means is all that matters, and not the end; the end is determined by the means; the end is not separate, away from the means. (p.24-25)

You use discipline, control, as a means to gain tranquillity, do you not? Discipline implies conformity to a pattern; you control in order to be this or that. Is not discipline, in its very nature, violence? It may give you pleasure to discipline yourself, but is not that very pleasure a form of resistance which only breeds further conflict? Is not the practice of discipline the cultivation of defence? And ‘what is’ defended is always attacked. Does not discipline imply the suppression of ‘what is’ in order to achieve a desired end? Suppression, substitution and sublimation only increase effort and bring about further conflict. You may succeed in suppressing a disease, but it will continue to appear in different forms until it is eradicated. Discipline is the suppression, the overcoming of ‘what is’. Discipline is a form of violence; so, through a ‘wrong’ means we hope to gain the ‘right’ end. Through resistance, how can there be the free, the true? Freedom is at the beginning, not at the end; the goal is the first step, the means is the end. The first step must be free, and not the last. Discipline implies compulsion, subtle or brutal, outward or self-imposed; and where there is compulsion, there is fear. Fear, compulsion, is used as a means to an end, the end being love. Can there be love through fear? Love is when there is no fear at any level. (p.25)

The very activity of the mind is a barrier to its own understanding. Have you never noticed that there is understanding only when the mind, as thought, is not functioning? Understanding comes with the ending of the thought-process, in the interval between two thoughts. You say the mind must be still, and yet you desire it to function. If we can be simple in watchfulness, we shall understand; but our approach is so complex that it prevents understanding. Surely we are not concerned with discipline, control, suppression, resistance, but with the process and the ending of thought itself. What do we mean when we say that the mind wanders? Simply that thought is everlastingly enticed from one attraction to another, from one association to another, and is in constant agitation. Is it possible for thought to come to an end? (p.25-26)

Listen without prejudice, without imposing any conclusions, either your own or those of another; listen to understand and not merely to refute or accept. You ask how you can put an end to thought. Now, are you, the thinker, an entity separate from your thoughts? Are you entirely dissimilar from your thoughts? Are you not your own thoughts? Thought may place the thinker at a very high level and give a name to him, separate him from itself; yet the thinker is still within the process of thought, is he not? There is only thought, and thought creates the thinker; thought gives form to the thinker as a permanent, separate entity. Thought sees itself to be impermanent, in constant flux, so it breeds the thinker as a permanent entity apart and dissimilar from itself. Then the thinker operates on thought; the thinker says, “I must put an end to thought”. But there is only the process of thinking, there is no thinker apart from thought. The experiencing of this truth is vital, it is not a mere repetition of phrases. There are only thoughts, and not a thinker who thinks thoughts. (p.26)

(Thought arises) Through perception, contact, sensation, desire and indentification; ‘I want’, ‘I don’t want’, and so on. That is fairly simple, is it not? Our problem is, how can thought end? Any form of compulsion, conscious or unconscious, is utterly futile, for it implies a controller, one who disciplines; and such an entity, as we see, is non-existent. Discipline is a process of condemnation, comparison, or justification; and when it is clearly seen that there is no separate entity as the thinker, the one who disciplines, then there are only thoughts, the process of thinking. Thinking is the response of memory, of experience, of the past. This again must be perceived, not on the verbal level, but there must be an experiencing of it. Then only is there passive watchfulness in which the thinker is not, an awareness in which thought is entirely absent. The mind, the totality of experience, the self-consciousness which is ever in the past, is quiet only when it is not projecting itself; and this projection is the desire to become. (p.26-27)

The mind is empty only when thought is not. Thought cannot come to an end save through passive watchfulness of every thought. In this awareness there is no watcher and no censor; without the censor, there is only experiencing. In experiencing there is neither the experiencer nor the experienced. The experienced is the thought, which gives birth to the thinker. Only when the mind is experiencing is there stillness, the silence which is not made up, put together; and only in that tranquillity can the real come into being. Reality is not of time and is not measurable. (p.27)

The ‘what will be’ is the further response of what has been and is. By conflict we mean the struggle between two opposing ideas. But is opposition in any form conducive to understanding?

We know there is conflict at all the different levels of life, and it would be foolish to deny it. But is this conflict essential? We have so far assumed that it is, or have justified it with cunning reason. In nature, the significance of conflict may be quite different; among the animals, conflict as we know it may not exist at all. But to us, conflict has become a factor of enormous importance. Why has it become so significant in our lives? Competition , ambition, the effort to be or not to be, the will to achieve, and so on – all this is part of conflict. Why do we accept conflict as being essential to existence? This does not imply, on the other hand, that we should accept indolence. But why do we tolerate conflict within and without? Is conflict essential to understanding, to the resolution of a problem? Should we not investigate rather than assert or deny? Should we not attempt to find the truth of the matter rather than hold to our conclusions and opinions? (p.28)

Intellectually or verbally you can prove or disprove anything, but that cannot alter certain obvious facts.

This future is imaginary, an ideal; it is the projection of thought, and thought is always the response of memory, of conditioning. It is really a vicious circle with no way out. This conflict, this struggling within the cage of thought, is what you call progress. (p.29)

There is a radical revolution which is not a conflict, which is not based on thought with its ego-made projections, ideals, dogmas, Utopias; but as long as we think in terms of changing this into that, of becoming more or becoming less, of achieving an end, there cannot be this fundamental revolution.

Obviously, there must be a fundamental revolution in man’s relationship to man; we all know that things cannot go on as they are without increasing sorrow and disaster. But all reformers, like the so-called revolutionaries, have an end in view, a goal to be achieved, and both use man as a means to their own ends. The use of man for a purpose is the real issue, and not the attainment of a particular end. You cannot separate the end from the means, for they are a single, inseparable process. The means is the end; there can be no classless society through the means of class conflict. The results of using wrong means for a so-called right end are fairly obvious. There can be no peace through war, or through being prepared for war. All opposites are self-projected; the ideal is a reaction from ‘what is’, and the conflict to achieve the ideal is a vain and illusory struggle within the cage of thought. Through this conflict there is no release, no freedom for man. Without freedom, there can be no happiness; and freedom is not an ideal. Freedom is the only means to freedom.

As long as man is psychologically or physically used, whether in the name of God or of the State, there will be a society based on violence. Using man for a purpose is a trick employed by the politician and the priest, and it denies relationship. (p.30)

When we use man for a purpose, however noble, we want him as an instrument, a dead thing. We cannot use a living thing, so our demand is for dead things; our society is based on the use of dead things. The use of another makes that person the dead instrument of our gratification. Relationship can exist only between the living, and usage is a process of isolation. It is this isolating process that breeds conflict, antagonism between man and man.

Existence is relationship; to be is to be related. Relationship is society. The structure of our present society, being based on mutual use, brings about violence, destruction and misery.

As long as we psychologically need and use each other, there can be no relationship. Relationship is communion; and how can there be communion if there is exploitation? Exploitation implies fear, and fear inevitably leads to all kinds of illusions and misery. Conflict exists only in exploitation and not in relationship. Conflict, opposition, enmity, exists between us when there is the use of another as a means of pleasure, of achievement. This conflict obviously cannot be resolved by using it as a means to a self-projected goal; and all ideals, all Utopias are self-projected. To see this is essential, for then we shall experience the truth that conflict in any form destroys relationship, understanding. There is understanding only when the mind is quiet; and the mind is not quiet when it is held in any ideology, dogma or belief, or when it is bound to the pattern of its own experience, memories. The mind is not quiet when it is acquiring or becoming. All acquisition is conflict; all becoming is a process of isolation. The mind is not quiet when it is disciplined, controlled and checked; such a mind is a dead mind, it is isolating itself through various forms of resistance, and so it inevitably creates misery for itself and for others. (p.31-32)

The mind is quiet only when it is not caught in thought, which is the net of its own activity. When the mind is still, not made still, a true factor, love, comes into being. (p.32)

How simple it is to be innocent! Without innocence, it is impossible to be happy. The pleasure of sensations is not the happiness of innocence. Innocence is freedom from the burden of experience. It is the memory of experience that corrupts, and not the experiencing itself. Knowledge, the burden of the past, is corruption. The power to accumulate, the effort to become, destroys innocence; and without innocence, how can there be wisdom? The merely curious can never know wisdom; they will find, but what they find will not be truth. The suspicious can never know happiness, for suspicion is the anxiety of their own being, and fear breeds corruption. Fearlessness is not courage but freedom from accumulation. (p.32-33)

What we call effort is the constant process of travelling and arriving, of acquiring in different directions. We get tired of one kind of acquisition, and turn to another; and when that is gathered, we again turn to something else. Effort is a process of gathering knowledge, experience, efficiency, virtue, possessions, power, and so on; it is an endless becoming, expanding, growing. Effort towards an end, whether or unworthy, must always bring conflict; conflict is antagonism, opposition, resistance. (p.34)

To be powerful is to dominate, to overcome, to suppress, to feel superior, to be efficient, and so on. Consciously or unconsciously the ascetic as well as the worldly person feels and strives for this power. Power is one of the completest expressions of the self, whether it be the power of knowledge, the power over oneself, worldly power, or the power of abstinence. The feeling of power, of domination, is extraordinarily gratifying. You may seek gratification through power, another through drink, another through worship, another through knowledge, and still another through trying to be virtuous. Each may have its own particular sociological and psychological effect, but all acquisition is gratification. Gratification at any level is sensation, is it not? We are making effort to acquire greater or more subtle varieties of sensation, which at one time we call experience, at another knowledge, at another love, at another the search for God or truth; and there is the sensation of being righteous, or of being the efficient agent of an ideology. Effort is to acquire gratification, which is sensation. You have found gratification at one level, and now you are seeking it at another; and when you have acquired it there, you will move to another level, and so keep going. This constant desire for gratification, for more and more subtle forms of sensation, is called progress, but it is ceaseless conflict. The search after ever wider gratification is without end, and so there is no end to conflict, antagonism, and hence no happiness. (p.36)

Surely, gratification at any level is sensation. Refinement of sensation is only the refinement of word. The word, the term, the symbol, the image, plays an extraordinarily important part in our lives, does it not? We may no longer seek the touch, the satisfaction of physical contact, but the word, the image becomes very significant. At one level we gather gratification through crude means, and at another through means that are more subtle and refined; but the gathering of words is for the same purpose as the gathering of things, is it not? Why do we gather?

Our acquisitions are a means of covering up our own emptiness; our minds are like hollow drums, beaten upon by every passing hand and making a lot of noise. This is our life, the conflict of never-satisfying escapes and mounting misery. It is strange how we are never alone, never strictly alone. We are always with something, with a problem, with a book, with a person; and when we are alone, our thoughts are with us. To be alone, naked, is essential. All escapes, all gatherings, all effort to be or not to be, must cease; and then only is there the aloneness that can receive the alone, the measureless.

By seeing the truth that all escapes only lead to illusion and misery (one can stop escaping). The truth frees; you cannot do anything about it. Your very action to stop escaping is another escape. The highest state of inaction is the action of truth. (p.37)

Love is a strange thing, and how easily we lose the warm flame of it! The flame is lost, and the smoke remains. The smoke fills our hearts and minds, and our days are spent in tears and bitterness. The song is forgotten, and the words have lost their meaning; the perfume has gone, and our hands are empty. We never know how to keep the flame clear of smoke, and the smoke always smothers the flame. But love is not of the mind, it is not in the net of thought, it cannot be sought out, cultivated, cherished; it is there when the mind is silent and the heart is empty of the things of the mind. (p.38)

Is devotion love? Is it something apart from our daily existence? Is it an act of sacrifice to be devoted to an object, to knowledge, to service, or to action? Is it self-sacrifice when you are lost in your devotion? When you have completely identified yourself with the object of your devotion, is that self-abnegation? Is it selflessness to lose yourself in a book, in a chant, in an idea? Is devotion the worship of an image, of a person, of a symbol? Has reality any symbol? Can a symbol ever represent truth? Is not the symbol static, and can a static thing ever represent that which is living? Is your picture you?

Let us see what we mean by devotion. You spend several hours a day in what you call the love, the contemplation of God. Is that devotion? The man who gives his life to social betterment is devoted to his work; and the general, whose job is to plan destruction, is also devoted to his work. Is that devotion? If I may say so, you spend your time being intoxicated by the image or idea of God, and others do the same thing in a different way. Is there a fundamental distinction between the two? Is it devotion that has an object?

And the man who worships his work, his leader, his ideology, is also consumed by that with which he is occupied. You fill your heart with the word ‘God’, and another with activity; and is that devotion? You are happy with your image, your symbol, and another with his books or music; and is that devotion? Is it devotion to lose oneself in something? A man is devoted to his wife for various gratifying reasons; and is gratification devotion? To identify oneself with one’s country is very intoxicating; and is identification devotion?

Though you may not do any outward harm, is not illusion harmful at a deeper level both to you and to society? (p.39)

Is it not important to find out if that shadow (of God) has any substance behind it? To worship illusion is to cling to one’s own gratification; to yield to appetite at any level is to be lustful.

The worshipper is the worshipped. To worship another is to worship oneself; the images, the symbol, is a projection of oneself. After all, your idol, your book, your prayer, is the reflection of your background; it is your creation, though it be made by another. You choose according to your gratification; your choice is your prejudice. Your image is your intoxicant, and it is carved out of your own memory; you are worshipping yourself through the image created by your own thought. Your devotion is the love of yourself, it is the reflection of your mind. Such devotion is a form of self-deception that only leads to sorrow and to isolation, which is death.

Is search devotion? To search after something is not to search; to seek truth is not to find it. We escape from ourselves through search, which is illusion; we try in every way to take flight from what we are. In ourselves we are so petty, so essentially nothing, and the worship of something greater than ourselves is as petty and stupid as we are. Identification with the great is still a projection of the small. The more is an extension of the less. The small in search of the large will find only what it is capable of finding. The escapes are many and various, but the mind in escape is still fearful, narrow and ignorant. (p.40)

The understanding of escape is the freedom from ‘what is’. The ‘what is’ can be understood only when the mind is no longer in search of an answer. The search for an answer is an escape from ‘what is’. This search is called by various names, out of which is devotion; but to understand ‘what is’, the mind must be silent. (p.40-41)

The ‘what is’ is that which is from moment to moment. To understand the whole process of your worship, of your devotion to that which you call God, is the awareness of ‘what is’. But you do not desire to understand ‘what is’; for your escape from ‘what is’, which you call devotion, is a source of greater pleasure, and so illusion becomes of greater significance than reality. The understanding of ‘what is’ does not depend upon thought, for thought itself is an escape. To think about the problem is not to understand it. It is only when the mind is silent that the truth of ‘what is’ unfolds.

When the song is real there is neither you nor I, but only the silence of the eternal. The song is not the sound but the silence. Do not let the sound of your song fill your heart. (p.41)

We like to run away from our problems. By whatever means, and thereby we only increase them. To expose our problems may appear confusing, but the capacity to meet the problems depends on the clarity of approach. (p.42)

If the intention to find out is there, you will find out, not by constant inquiry, but by being clear and ardent in your intention. (p.44)

To be contented with something is to be discontented. To seek contentment through relationship is to be in fear. Contentment that depends on relationship is only gratification. Contentment is a state of non-dependency. Dependency always brings conflict and opposition. There must be freedom to be content . Freedom is and must always be at the beginning; it is not an end; a goal to be achieved. One can never be free in the future. Future freedom has no reality, it is only an idea. Reality is ‘what is’; and passive awareness of ‘what is’ is contentment. (p.46)

To bring about an integrated individual – if that is the ‘purpose’ of education, then we must be clear as to whether the individual exists for society, or whether society exists for the individual. If society needs and uses the individual for its own purposes, then it is not concerned with the cultivation of an integrated human being; what it wants is an efficient machine, a conforming and respectable citizen, and this requires only a very superficial integration. As long as the individual obeys and is willing to be thoroughly conditioned, society will find him useful and will spend time and money on him. But if society exists for the individual, then it must help in freeing him from its own conditioning influence. It must educate him to be an integrated human being.

Positively to state what an integrated human being is, only creates a pattern, a mould, an example which we try to imitate; and is not the imitation of a pattern, an indication of disintegration? When we try to copy an example, can there be integration? Surely, imitation is a process of disintegration; and is this not ‘what is’ happening in the world? We are all becoming very good gramaphone records; we repeat what so-called religions have taught us, or what the latest political, economic, or religious leader has said. We adhere to ideologies and attend political mass-meetings; there is mass-enjoyment of sport, mass-worship, mass-hypnosis. Is this a sign of integration? Conformity is not integration, is it? (p.47)

Fundamentally, discipline implies some kind of conformity, does it not? It is conformity to an ideal, to an authority; it is the cultivation of resistance, which of necessity breeds opposition. Resistance is opposition. Discipline is a process of isolation, whether it is isolation with a particular group, or the isolation of individual resistance. Imitation is a form of resistance, is it not?

We are trying to see what are the factors of disintegration, or what hinders integration. Is not discipline in the sense of conformity, resistance, opposition, conflict, one of the factors of disintegration? Why do we conform? Not only for physical security, but also for psychological comfort, safety. Consciously or unconsciously, the fear of being insecure makes for conformity both outwardly and inwardly. We must all have some kind of physical security; but it is the fear of being psychologically insecure that makes physical security impossible except for the few. Fear is the basis of all discipline: the fear of not being successful, of being punished, of not gaining, and so on. Discipline is imitation, suppression, resistance, and whether it is conscious or unconscious, it is the result of fear. Is not fear one of the factors of disintegration? (p.48)

Understanding the false as the false, seeing the true in the false, and seeing the true as the true, is the beginning of intelligence. It is not a question of replacement. You cannot replace fear with something else; if you do, fear is still there. You may successfully cover it up or run away from it, but fear remains. It is the elimination of fear, and not the finding of a substitute for it, that is important. Discipline in any form whatsoever can never bring freedom from fear. Fear has to be observed, studied, understood. Fear is not an abstraction; it comes into being only in relation to something, and it is this relationship that has to be understood. To understand is not to resist or oppose. Is not discipline, then, in its wider and deeper sense, a factor of disintegration? Is not fear, with its consequent imitation and suppression, a disintegrating force? (p.48-49)

Freedom from fear is another matter; fear has to be understood and not resisted, suppressed, or sublimated. (p.49)

To understand there must be a certain amount of peace. Creation can take place only in peace, in happiness, not when there is conflict, strife. Our constant struggle is between ‘what is’ and what should be, between thesis and antithesis; we have accepted this conflict as inevitable, and the inevitable has become the norm, the true – though it may be false.

The means is not separate from the end; the end is according to the means. (p.50)

There is no release from conflict until there is an understanding of ‘what is’. The ‘what is’ can never be understood through the screen of idea; it must be approached afresh. As the ‘what is’ is never static, the mind must not be bound to knowledge, to an ideology, to a belief, to a conclusion. In its very nature, conflict is separative, as all opposition is; and is not exclusion, separation, a factor of disintegration? Any form of power, whether individual or of the State, any effort to become more or to become less, is a process of disintegration. All ideas, beliefs, system of thought, are separative, exclusive. Effort, conflict, cannot under any circumstances bring understanding, and so it is a degenerating factor in the individual as well as in society.

Surely, when the false is seen as the false, the true is. When one is aware of the factors of degeneration, not merely verbally but deeply, then is there not integration? Is integration static, something to be gained and finished with? Integration cannot be arrived at; arrival is death. It is not a goal, an end, but a state of being; it is a living thing, and how can a living thing be a goal, a purpose? The desire to be integrated is not different from any other desire, and all desire is a cause of conflict. When there is no conflict, there is integration. Integration is a state of complete attention. There cannot be complete attention if there is effort, conflict, resistance, concentration. Concentration is a fixation; concentration is a process of separation, exclusion, and complete attention is not possible when there is exclusion. To exclude is to narrow down, and the narrow can never be aware of the complete. Complete, full attention is not possible when there is condemnation, justification, or identification, or when the mind is clouded by conclusions, speculations, theories. When we understand the hindrances, then only is there freedom. Freedom is an abstraction to the man in prison; but passive watchfulness uncovers the hindrances, and with freedom from these, integration comes into being. (p.51)

We want to monopolize, and things seem to acquire greater value through possession. When we say, ‘It is mine’, the picture seems to become more beautiful, more worth-while, it seems to acquire greater delicacy, greater depth and fullness. There is a strange quality of violence in possession. The moment one says, ‘It is mine’, it becomes a thing to be cared for, defended, and in this very act there is a resistance which breeds violence. Violence is ever seeking success; violence is self-fulfilment. To succeed is always to fail. Arrival is death and travelling is eternal. To gain, to be victorious in this world, is to lose life. How eagerly we pursue an end! But the end is everlasting, and so is the conflict of its pursuit. Conflict is constant overcoming, and ‘what is’ conquered has to be conquered again and again. The victor is ever in fear, and possession is his darkness. The defeated, craving victory, loses ‘what is’ gained, and so he is as the victor. To have the bowl empty is to have life that is deathless.

Love is a strange thing, and how soon it withers, how soon the smoke smothers the flame! The flame is neither yours nor mine; it is just flame, clear and sufficient; it is neither personal nor impersonal; it is not of yesterday or tomorrow. It has healing warmth, and a perfume that is never constant. It cannot be possessed, monopolized, or kept in one’s hand. If it is held, it burns and destroys, and smoke fills our being; and then there is no room for the flame. (p.53)

Does not the means matter infinitely more than the end? The end may be, but the means is. The actual, the ‘what is’, must be understood and not smothered by determinations, ideals and clever rationalizations. Sorrow is not the way of happiness. The thing called passion has to be understood and not suppressed or sublimated, and it is no good finding a substitute for it. Whatever you may do, any device that you invent, will only strengthen that which has not been loved and understood. To love what we call passion is to understand it. To love is to be in direct communion; and you cannot love something if you resent it, if you have ideas, conclusions about it. How can you love and understand passion if you have taken a vow against it? A vow is a form of resistance, and what you resist ultimately conquers you. Truth is not to be conquered; you cannot storm it; it will slip through your hands if you try to grasp it. Truth comes silently, without your knowing. What you know is not truth, it is only an idea, a symbol. The shadow is not the real.

Surely, our problem is to understand ourselves and not to destroy ourselves. To destroy is comparatively easy. You have a pattern of action which you hope will lead to truth. The pattern is always of your own making, it is according to your own conditioning, as the end also is. You make the pattern and then take a vow to carry it out. This is an ultimate escape from yourself. You are not that self-projected pattern and its process; you are what you actually are, the desire, the craving. If you really want to transcend and be free of craving, you have to understand it completely, neither condemning nor accepting it; but that is an art which comes only through watchfulness tempered with deep passivity. (p.56)

It is your life, your misery, your happiness, and dare another tell you what you should or should not do? Have not others already told you? Others are the past, the tradition, the conditioning of which you also are a part. You have listened to others, to yourself, and you are in this predicament; and do you still seek advice from others, which is from yourself? You will listen, but you will accept ‘what is’ pleasing and reject ‘what is’ painful, and both are binding. You taking a vow against passion is the beginning of misery, just as the indulgence of it is; but ‘what is’ important is to understand this whole process of the ideal, the taking of a vow, the discipline, the pain, all of which is a deep escape from inward poverty, from the ache of inward insufficiency, loneliness. This total process is yourself.

{“But what about children?”}

Again, there is no ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The search for an answer through the mind leads nowhere. We use children as pawns in the game of our conceit, and we pile up misery; we use them as another means of escape from ourselves. When children are not used as a means, they have a significance which is not the significance that you, or society, or the State may give them. Chastity is not a thing of the mind; chastity is the very nature of love. Without love, do what you will, there can be no chastity. If there is love, your question will find the true answer. (p.57)

Death is an unavoidable fact; do what you will, it is irrevocable, final and true. (p.58-59)

Death is inevitable. Continuity can be ended, or it can be nourished and maintained. That which has continuity can never renew itself, it can never be the new, it can never understand the unknown. Continuity is duration, and that which is everlasting is not the timeless. Through time, duration, the timeless is not. There must be ending for the new to be. The new is not within the continuation of thought. Thought is continuous movement in time; this movement cannot enclose within itself a state of being which is not of time. Thought is founded on the past, its very being is of time. Time is not only chronological, but it is thought as a movement of the past through the present to the future; it is the movement of memory, of the word, the picture, the symbol, the record, the repetition. Thought, memory, is continuous through word and repetition. The ending of thought is the beginning of the new; the death of thought is life eternal. There must be constant ending for the new to be. That which is new is not continuous; the new can never be within the field of time. The new is only in death from moment to moment. There must be death every day for the unknown to be. The ending is the beginning, but fear prevents the ending. (p.59)

Fear is not an abstraction, it does not exist independently, in isolation. It comes into being only relation to something. In the process of relationship, fear manifests itself; there is no fear apart from relationship. (p.59-60)

Though we have theories, speculations, and there are certain observable facts, death is still the unknown. Whatever we may know about it, death itself cannot be brought into the field of the known; we stretch out a hand to grasp it, but it is not. Association is the known, and the unknown cannot be made familiar; habit cannot capture it, so there is fear.

Can the known, the mind, ever comprehend or contain the unknown? The hand that stretches out can receive only the knowable, it cannot hold the unknowable. To desire experience is to give continuity of thought; to desire experience is to give strength to the past; to desire experience is to further the known. You want to experience death, do you not? Though living, you want to know what death is. But do you know what living is? You know life only as conflict, confusion, antagonism, passing joy and pain. But is that life? Are struggle and sorrow life? In this state which we call life we want to experience something that is not in our own field of consciousness. This pain, this struggle, the hate that is enfolded in joy, is what we call living; and we want to experience something which is the opposite of what we call living. The opposite is the continuation of ‘what is’, perhaps modified. But death is not the opposite. It is the unknown. The knowable craves to experience death, the unknown; but, do what it will, it cannot experience death, therefore it is fearful. (p.60)

Because you cannot experience death, you are afraid of it. Can the conscious experience that state which is not to be brought into being through the conscious? That which can be experienced is the projection of the conscious, the known. The known can only experience the known; experience is always within the field of the known; the known cannot experience ‘what is’ beyond its field. Experiencing is utterly different from experience. Experiencing is not within the field of the experiencer; but as experiencing fades, the experiencer and the experience come into being, and then experiencing is brought into the field of the known. The knower, the experiencer, craves for the state of experiencing, the unknown; and as the experiencer, the knower, cannot enter into the state of experiencing, he is afraid. He is fear, he is not separate from it. The experiencer of fear is not an observer of it; he is fear itself, the very instrument of fear. (p.60-61)

You say that you are the observer, and fear is the observed. But is that so? Are you an entity separate from your qualities? Are you not identical with your qualities? Are you not your thoughts, emotions, and so on? You are not separate from your qualities, thoughts. You are your thoughts. Thought creates the ‘you’, the supposedly separate entity; without thought, the thinker is not. Seeing the impermanency of itself, thought creates the thinker as the permanent, the enduring; and the thinker then becomes the experiencer, the analyser, the observer separate from the transient. We all crave some kind of permanency, and seeing impermanency about us, thought creates the thinker who is supposed to be permanent. The thinker then proceeds to build up other and higher states of permanency: the soul, the atman, the higher self, and so on. Thought is the foundation of this whole structure.(p.61)

You say you are afraid of death. Since you cannot experience it, you are afraid of it. Death is the unknown, and you are afraid of the unknown. Is that it? Now, can you be afraid of that which you do not know? If something is unknown to you, how can you be afraid of it? You are really afraid, not of the unknown, of death, but of loss of the known, because that might cause pain, or take away your pleasure, your gratification. It is the known that causes fear, not the unknown. How can the unknown cause fear? It is not measurable in terms of pleasure and pain: it is unknown. (p.61-62)

Fear cannot exist by itself, it comes in relationship to something. You are actually afraid of the known in its relation to death, are you not? Because you cling to the known, to an experience, you are frightened of what the future might be. But the ‘what might be’, the future, is merely a reaction, a speculation, the opposite of ‘what is’.

And do you know ‘what is’? Do you understand it? Have you opened the cupboard of the known and looked into it? Are you not also frightened of what you might discover there? Have you ever inquired into the known, into what you possess?

Are not most of us afraid to look at ourselves? We might discover unpleasant things, so we would rather not look, we prefer to be ignorant of ‘what is’. We are not only afraid of what might be in the future, but also what might be in the present. We are afraid to know ourselves as we are, and this avoidance of ‘what is’ is making us afraid of what might be. We approach the so-called known with fear, and also the unknown, death. The avoidance of ‘what is’ is the desire for gratification. We are seeking security, constantly demanding that there shall be no disturbance; and it is this desire not to be disturbed that makes us avoid ‘what is’ and fear what might be. Fear is the ignorance of ‘what is’, and our life is spent in a constant state of fear. (p.62)

To get rid of something you must understand it. Is there fear, or only the desire not to see? It is the desire not to see that brings on fear; and when you don’t want to understand the full significance of ‘what is’, fear acts as a preventive. You can lead a gratifying life by deliberately avoiding all inquiry into ‘what is’, and many do this; but they are not happy, nor are those who amuse themselves with a superficial study of ‘what is’. Only those who are earnest in their inquiry can be aware of happiness; to them alone is there freedom from fear. (p.62-63)

The ‘what is’ is to be seen in the mirror of relationship, relationship with all things. The ‘what is’ cannot be understood in withdrawal, in isolation; it cannot be understood if there is the interpreter, the translator who denies or accepts. The ‘what is’ can be understood only when the mind is utterly passive, when it is not operating on ‘what is’.

{“Is it not extremely difficult to be passively aware?”}

It is, as long as there is thought. {p.63}

Speculation and imagination are a hindrance to truth. The mind that speculates can never know the beauty of ‘what is’; it is caught in the net of its own images and words. However far it may wander in its image-making, it is still within the shadow of its own structure and can never see ‘what is’ beyond itself. The sensitive mind is not an imaginative mind. The faculty to create pictures limits the mind; such a mind is bound to the past, to remembrance, which makes it dull. Only the still mind is sensitive. Accumulation in any form is a burden; and how can a mind be free when it is burdened? Only the free mind is sensitive; the open is the imponderable, the implicit, the unknown. Imagination and speculation impede the open, the sensitive.

To understand, to discover, must not the mind be free at the very beginning? Can a mind that is disciplined, suppressed, ever be free? Freedom is not an ultimate goal; it must be at the very beginning, must it not? A mind that is disciplined, controlled, is free within its own pattern; but that is not freedom. The end of discipline is conformity; its path leads to the known, and the known is never the free. Discipline with its fear is the greed of achievement. (p.64)

If the means is imitation, the end must be a copy. The means makes the end, does it not? If the mind is shaped in the beginning, it must also be conditioned at the end; and how can a conditioned mind ever be free? The means is the end, they are not two separate processes. It is an illusion to think that through a wrong means the true can be achieved. When the means is suppression, the end also must be a product of fear. (p.65)

They (many years of sadhana) would have been wasted if your practices now prevented understanding, the receptivity to truth, that is, if these impediments were not wisely observed and deeply understood. We are so entrenched in our own make-believe that most of us dare not look at it or beyond it. The very urge to understand is the beginning of freedom.

Let us begin near to go far. What do you mean by search? Are you looking for truth? And can it be found by seeking? To seek truth, you must know what it is. Search implies a foreknowledge, something already felt or known, does it not? Is truth something to be known, gathered and held? Is not the intimation of it a projection of the past and so not truth at all, but a remembrance? Search implies an out-going or an inward process, does it not? And must not the mind be still for reality to be? Search is effort to gain the more or the less, it is negative or positive acquisitiveness; and as long as the mind is the concentration, the focus of effort, of conflict, can it ever be still? Can the mind be still through effort? It can be made still through compulsion; but ‘what is’ made can be unmade. (p.65-66)

Let us inquire into the truth of search. To seek, there must be the seeker, an entity separate from that which he seeks. And is there such a separate entity? Is the thinker, the experiencer, different or separate from his thoughts and experiences? Without enquiring into this whole problem, meditation has no meaning. So we must understand the mind, the process of the self. ‘What is’ the mind that seeks, that chooses, that is fearful, that denies and justifies? ‘What is’ thought?

Thought is sensation, is it not? Through perception and contact there is sensation; from this arises desire, desire for this and not for that. Desire is the beginning of identification, the ‘mine’ and the ‘not-mine’. Thought is verbalized sensation; thought is the response of memory, the word, the experience, the image. Thought is transient, changing, impermanent, and it is seeking permanency. So thought creates the thinker, who then becomes the permanent; he assumes the role of the censor, the guide, the controller, the moulder of thought. This illusory permanent entity is the product of thought, of the transient. This entity is thought; without thought he is not. The thinker is made up of qualities; his qualities cannot be separated from himself. The controller is the controlled, he is merely playing a deceptive game with himself. Till the false is seen as the false, truth is not. (p.66)

As long as the there is the experiencer remembering the experience, truth is not. Truth is not something to be remembered, stored up, recorded, and then brought out. ‘What is’ accumulated is not truth. The desire to experience creates the experiencer, who then accumulates and remembers. Desire makes for the separation of the thinker from his thoughts; the desire to become, to experience, to be more or to be less, makes for division between the experiencer and the experience. Awareness of the ways of desire is self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is the beginning of meditation. (p.66-67)

{‘How can there be a fusion of the thinker with his thoughts?”}

Not through the action of will, nor through discipline, nor through any form of effort, control or concentration, nor through any other means. The use of a means implies an agent who is acting, does it not? As long as there is an actor, there will be a division. The fusion takes place only when the mind is utterly still without trying to be still. There is this stillness, not when the thinker comes to an end, but only when thought itself has come to an end. There must be freedom from the response of conditioning, which is thought. Each problem is solved only when idea, conclusion is not; conclusion, idea, thought, is the agitation of the mind. How can there be understanding when the mind is agitated? Earnestness must be tempered with the swift play of spontaneity. You will find, if you have heard all that has been said, that truth will come in moments when you are not expecting it. If I may say so, be open, sensitive, be fully aware of ‘what is’ from moment to moment. Don’t build around yourself a wall of impregnable thought. The bliss of truth comes when the mind is not occupied with its own activities and struggles. (p.67)

Every individual and group is after power: power for oneself, for the party, or the ideology. The party and the ideology are an extension of oneself. The ascetic seeks power through abnegation, and so does the mother through her child. There is the power of efficiency with its ruthlessness, and the power of the machine in the hands of a few; there is the domination of one individual by another, the exploitation of the stupid by the clever, the power of money, the power of name and word, and the power of mind over matter. We all want some kind of power, whether over ourselves or over others. This urge to power brings a kind of happiness, a gratification that is not too transient. The power of renunciation is as the power of wealth. It is the craving for gratification, for happiness, that drives us to seek power. And how easily we are satisfied! The ease of achieving some form of satisfaction blinds us. All gratification is blinding. (p.68)

Why do we worship authority, whether of a book, of a person, of the State, or of a belief? Why is there this urge to cling to a person or to an idea? It was once the authority of the priest that held us, and now it is the authority of the expert, the specialist. Have you not noticed how you treat a man with a title, a man of position, the powerful executive? Power in some form seems to dominate our lives: the power of one over many, the using of one by another, or mutual use.

As long as the social structure is based on mutual need and use, it is bound to be violent and disruptive; as long as I use another for my personal gratification, or for the fulfilment of an ideology with which I am identified, there can only be fear, distrust and opposition.

I need the postman, but if I use him to satisfy some inner urge, then the social need becomes psychological necessity and our relationship has undergone a radical change. It is this psychological need and usage of another that makes for violence and misery. Psychological need creates the search for power, and power is used for gratification at different levels of our being. The man who is ambitious for himself or for his party, or who wants to achieve an ideal, is obviously a disintegrating factor in society. (p.69)

{“Is not ambition inevitable?”}

It is inevitable only as long as there is no fundamental transformation in the individual. Why should we accept it as inevitable? Is the cruelty of man to man inevitable? Don’t you want to put an end to it? Does not accepting it as inevitable indicate utter thoughtlessness?

To be on top is what every individual, every group, every ideology is trying to do, and so sustaining cruelty, violence. There can be creation only in peace; and how can there be peace if there is mutual usage? To talk of peace is utter nonsense as long as our relationship with the one or with the many is based on need and use. The need and use of another must inevitably lead to power and dominance. The power of an idea and the power of the sword are similar; both are destructive. Idea and belief set

man against man, just as the sword does. Idea and belief are the very antithesis of love.

Is not the pursuit of power one of the recognized and respectable escapes from ourselves, from ‘what is’? Everyone tries to escape from his own insufficiency, from his inner poverty, loneliness, isolation. The actual is unpleasant, but the escape is glamourous and inviting. Consider what would happen if you were about to be stripped of your power, your position, your hard-earned wealth. You would resist it, would you not? You consider yourself essential to the welfare of society, so you would resist with violence, or with rational and cunning argumentation. If you were able voluntarily to set aside all your many acquisition at different levels, you would be as nothing, would you not? (p.70)

So you have all the outer show without the inner substance, the incorruptible inward treasure. You want your outward show, and so does another, and from this conflict arise hate and fear, violence and decay. You with your ideology are as insufficient as the opposition, and so you are destroying each other in the name of peace, sufficiency, adequate employment, or in the name of God. As almost everyone craves to be on top, we have built a society of violence, conflict and enmity. (p.70-71)

{But how is one to eradicate all this?}

By not being ambitious, greedy for power, for name, for position; by being what you are, simple and a nobody. Negative thinking is the highest form of intelligence.

One must begin near to go far. But you really do not want to change; you want things to go on as they are, especially if you are on top, and so you say it will take infinite time to transform the world through individual transformation. The world is you; you are the problem; the problem is not separate from you; the world is the projection of yourself. The world cannot be transformed till you are. Happiness is in transformation and not in acquisition.

Only a happy man can bring about a new social order; but he is not happy who is identified with an ideology or a belief, or who is lost in any social or individual activity. Happiness is not an end in itself. It comes with the understanding of ‘what is’. Only when the mind is free from its own projections can there be happiness. Happiness that is bought is merely gratification; happiness through action, through power, is only sensation; and as sensation soon withers, there is craving for more and more. As long as the more is a means to happiness, the end is always dissatisfaction, conflict and misery. Happiness is not a remembrance; it is that state which comes into being with truth, ever new, never continuous. (p.71)

To renounce in order to find is no renunciation at all; it is only a cunning bargain, an exchange, a calculated move to gain something. You give up this in order to get that. Renunciation with an end in view is only a surrender to further gain. But can you have happiness through isolation, through dissociation? Is not life association, contact, communion? You may withdraw from one association to find happiness in another, but you cannot completely withdraw from all contact. Even in complete isolation you are in contact with your thoughts, with yourself. (p.75)

The nature of the self is to isolate itself, its very quality is exclusiveness. To be exclusive is to renounce in order to gain. The more you withdraw from association, the greater the conflict, resistance. Nothing can exist in isolation. However painful relationship may be, it has to be patiently and thoroughly understood. Conflict makes for dullness. Effort to become something only brings problems, conscious or unconscious.

Truth is something that cannot be told to another. He must be able to receive it, and none can prepare him for it.

He must come to it openly, freely and unexpectedly.

Conflict, resistance, makes for dullness. We think that through struggle we shall understand, through competition we shall be made bright. Struggle certainly makes for sharpness, but ‘what is’ sharp is soon made blunt; ‘what is’ in constant use soon wears out. We accept conflict as inevitable, and build our structure of thought and action upon this inevitability. But is conflict inevitable? Is there not a different way of living? There is if we can understand the process and significance of conflict. (p.76)

One can help another, but he alone must undertake the journey of discovery. Life is not easy; it is very complex, but we must approach it simply. We are the problem; the problem is not what we call life. We can understand the problem, which is ourselves, only if we know how to approach it. The approach is all-important, and not the problem.

You must have listened to all that has been said; if you have then you will see that truth alone brings freedom. Please don’t worry, but let the seed take root.

Silence is not to be cultivated, it is not to be deliberately brought about; it is not to be sought out, thought of, or meditated upon. The deliberate cultivation of silence is as the enjoyment of some longed-for pleasure; the desire to silence the mind is but the pursuit of sensation. Such silence is only a form of resistance, an isolation which leads to decay. Silence that is bought is a thing of the market in which there is the noise of activity. Silence comes with the absence of desire. Desire is swift, cunning and deep. Remembrance shuts off the sweep of silence, and a mind that is caught in experience cannot be silent. Time, the movement of yesterday flowing into to-day and to-morrow, is not silence. With the cessation of this movement there is silence, and only then can that which is unnamable come into being. (p.77)

Opinion is not truth; we must put aside opinions to find truth. There are innumerable opinions, but truth is not of this or of that group. For the understanding of truth, all ideas, conclusions, opinions, must drop away as the withered leaves fall from a tree. Truth is not to be found in books, in knowledge, in experience. If you are seeking opinions, you will find none here.

Is it not more important to find the truth than to squabble about what truth is? An opinion as to what truth is, is not truth.

How can we see either the true or the false if our minds are entrenched in tradition, in words and explanations? If the mind is tethered to a belief, how can it go far? To journey far, the mind must be free. Freedom is not something to be gained at the end of long endeavour, it must be at the very beginning of the journey. (p.78)

You say action is the outcome of the past. Such action is not action at all, but only a reaction, is it not? The conditioning, the background, reacts to stimuli; this reaction is the response of memory, which is not action, but karma.

Karma is the reaction which arises from certain causes and produces certain results. Karma is this chain of cause and effect. Essentially, the process of time is karma, is it not? As long as there is a past, there must be the present and the future. To-day and to-morrow are the effects of yesterday; yesterday in conjunction with to-day makes to-morrow. Karma, as generally understood, is a process of compensation. (p.79)

The mind is not a fixed state. Our thoughts are transient, constantly changing; they are the response of the background. If I have been brought up in a certain class of society, in a definite culture, I will response to challenge, to stimuli, according to my conditioning. With most of us, this conditioning is so deep-rooted that response is almost always according to the pattern. Our thoughts are the response of the background. We are the background; that conditioning is not separate or dissimilar from us. With the changing of the background our thought also change. (p.79-80)

Is not the thinker the result of his thoughts? Is he not composed of his thoughts? Is there a separate entity, a thinker apart from his thoughts? Has not thought created the thinker, given him permanence amidst the impermanency of thoughts? The thinker is the refuge of thought, and the thinker places himself at different levels of permanency.

Thought is the response of the background, of memory; memory is knowledge, the result of experience. This memory, through further experience and response, gets tougher, larger, sharper, more efficient. One form of conditioning can be substituted for another, but it is still conditioning. The response of this conditioning is karma, is it not? The response of memory is called action, but it is only reaction; this '‘action’ breeds further reaction, and so there is a chain of so-called cause and effect. But is not the cause also the effect? Neither cause nor effect is static. To-day is the result of yesterday, and to-day is the cause of to-morrow; what was the cause becomes the effect, and the effect the cause. One flows into the other. There is no moment when the cause is not also the effect. Only the specialized is fixed in its cause and so in its effect. The acorn cannot become anything but an oak tree. In specialization there is death; but man is not a specialized entity, he can be what he will. He can break through his conditioning – and he must, if he would discover the real. You must cease to be a so-called Brahmin to realize God. (p.80)

Karma is the process of time, the past moving through the present to the future; this chain is the way of thought. Thought is the result of time, and there can be that which is immeasurable, timeless, only when the process of thought has ceased. Stillness of the mind cannot be induced, it cannot be brought about through any practice or discipline. If the mind is made still, then whatever comes into it is only a self-projection, the response of memory. With the understanding of its conditioning, with the choiceless awareness of its own responses as thought and feeling, tranquillity comes to the mind. This breaking of the chain of karma is not a matter of time; for through time, the timeless is not. (p.80-81)

Karma must be understood as a total process, not merely as something of the past. The past is time, which is also the present and the future. Time is memory, the word, the idea. When the word, the name, the association, the experience, is not, then only is the mind still, not merely in the upper layers, but completely integrally. (p.81)

The individual is essentially the collective, and society is the creation of the individual. The individual and society are interrelated, are they not? They are not separate. The individual builds the structure of society, and society or environment shapes the individual. Though environment conditions the individual, he can always free himself, break away from his background. The individual is the maker of the very environment to which he becomes a slave; but he has also the power to break away from it and create an environment that will not dull his mind or spirit. The individual is important only in the sense that he has the capacity to free himself from his conditioning and understand reality. Individuality that is merely ruthless in its own conditioning builds a society whose foundations are based on violence and antagonism. The individual exists only in relationship, otherwise he is not; and it is the lack of understanding of this relationship that is breeding conflict and confusion. If the individual does not understand his relationship to people, to property, and to ideas or beliefs, merely to impose upon him a collective or any other pattern only defeats its own end. To bring about the imposition of a new pattern will require so-called mass action; but the new pattern is the invention of a few individuals, and the mass is mesmerized by the latest slogans, the promises of a new Utopia. The mass is the same as before, only now it has new rulers, new phrases, new priests, new doctrines. This mass is made up of you and me, it is composed of individuals; the mass is fictitious, it is a convenient term for the exploiter and the politician to play with. The many are pushed into action, into war, and so on, by the few; and the few represent the desires and urges of the many. It is the transformation of the individual that is of the highest importance, but not in terms of any pattern. Patterns always condition, and a conditioned entity is always in conflict within himself and so with society. It is comparatively easy to substitute a new pattern of conditioning for the old; but for the individual to free himself from all conditioning is quite another matter. (p.81-82)

Our present morality is based on the past or the future, on the traditional or the what ought to be. The what ought to be is the ideal in opposition to what has been, the future in conflict with the past. Non-violence is the ideal, the what should be; and the what has been is violence. The what has been projects the what should be; the ideal is home-made, it is projected by its own opposite, the actual. The antithesis is an extension of the thesis; the opposite contains the element of its own opposite. Being violent, the mind projects its opposite, the ideal of non-violence. It is said that the ideal helps to overcome its own opposite; but does it? Is not the ideal an avoidance, an escape from the what has been, or from ‘what is’? The conflict between the actual and the ideal is obviously a means of postponing the understanding of the actual, and this conflict only introduces another problem which helps to cover up the immediate problem. The ideal is a marvellous and respectable escape from the actual. The ideal of non-violence, like the collective Utopia, is fictitious; the ideal, the what should be, helps us to cover up and avoid ‘what is’. The pursuit of the ideal is the search for reward. You may shun the worldly rewards as being stupid and barbarous, which they are; but your pursuit of the ideal is the search for reward at a different level, which is also stupid. The ideal is a compensation, a fictitious state which the mind has conjured up. Being violent, separative, and out for itself, the mind projects the gratifying compensation, the fiction which it calls the ideal, the Utopia, the future, and vainly pursues it. That very pursuit is conflict, but it is also a pleasurable postponement of the actual. The ideal, the what should be, does not help in understanding ‘what is’; on the contrary, it prevents understanding. (p.82-83)

Truth is not opinion; truth is not dependent on any leader or teacher. The weighing of opinions only prevents the perception of truth. Either the ideal is a home-made fiction which contains its own opposite, or it is not. There are no two ways about it. This does not depend on any teacher, you must perceive the truth of it for yourself. (p.83)

The understanding of the actual is possible only when the ideal, the what should be, is erased from the mind; that is, only when the false is seen as the false. The what should be is also the what should not be. As long as the mind approaches the actual with either positive or negative compensation, there can be no understanding of the actual. To understand the actual you must be in direct communion with it; your relationship with it cannot be through the screen of the ideal, or through the screen of the past, of tradition, of experience. To be free from the wrong approach is the only problem. This means, really, the understanding of conditioning, which is the mind. The problem is the mind itself, and not the problems it breeds; the resolution of the problems bred by the mind is merely the reconciliation of effects, and that only leads to further confusion and illusion.

The way of the mind is the way of life – not the ideal life, but the actual life of sorrow and plasure, of deception and clarity, of conceit and the pose of humility. To understand the mind is to be aware of desire and fear. (p.84)

To know the mind, must you not be aware of its activities? The mind is only experience, not just the immediate but also the accumulated. The mind is the past in response to the present, which makes for the future. The total process of the mind has to be understood.

{Where an I to begin?}

From the only beginning: relationship. Relationship is life; to be is to be related. Only in the mirror of relationship is the mind to be understood, and you have to begin to see yourself in that mirror.

What may appear to be small, limited, if approached rightly, reveals the fathomless. It is like a funnel, the narrow opens into the wide. When observed with passive watchfulness, the limited reveals the limitless. After all, at its source the river is small, hardly worth noticing.

Relationship is never narrow or small. With the one or with the many, relationship is a complex process, and you can approach it pettily, or freely and openly. Again, the approach is dependent on the state of the mind. If you do not begin with yourself, where else will you begin? Even if you begin with some peripheral activity, you are in relationship with it, the mind is the centre of it. Whether you begin near or far, you are there. Without understanding yourself, whatever you do will inevitably bring about confusion and sorrow. The beginning is the ending. (p.85)

We are never alone; we are surrounded by people and by our own thoughts. Even when the people are distant, we see things through the screen of our thoughts. There is no moment, or it is very rare, when thought is not. We do not know what it is to be alone, to be free of all association, of all continuity, of all word and image. We are lonely, but we do not know what it is to be alone. The ache of loneliness fills our hearts, and the mind covers it with fear. Loneliness, that deep isolation, is the dark shadow of our life. We do everything we can to run away from it, we plunge down every avenue of escape we know, but it pursues us and we are never without it. Isolation is the way of our life; we rarely fuse with another, for in ourselves we are broken, torn and unhealed. In ourselves we are not whole, complete, and the fusion with another is possible only when there is integration within. We are afraid of solitude, for it opens the door to our insufficiency, the poverty of our own being; but it is solitude that heals the deepening wound of loneliness. To walk alone, unimpeded by thought, by the trail of our desires, is to go beyond the reaches of the mind. It is the mind that isolates, separates and cuts off communion. The mind cannot be made whole; it cannot make itself complete, for that very effort is a process of isolation, it is part of the loneliness that nothing can cover. The mind is the product of the many, and what is put together can never be alone. Aloneness is not the result of thought. Only when thought is utterly still is there the flight of the alone to the alone. (p.86-87)

We all want to dominate when we do not understand; we want to possess or be possessed when there is fear of ourselves. Uncertainty of ourselves makes for a feeling of superiority, exclusion and isolation. (p.89)

The more we defend, the more we are attacked; the more we seek security, the less of it there is; the more we want peace, the greater is our conflict; the more we ask, the less we have.

To see the truth in the false is the beginning of wisdom; to see the false as the false is the highest comprehension.

Only by understanding the false as the false is there freedom from it. Be passively watchful of your habitual responses; simply be aware of them without resistance; passively watch them as you would watch a child, without the pleasure or distance of identification. Passive watchfulness itself is freedom from defence, from closing the door. To be vulnerable is to live, and to withdraw is to die. (p.90)

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Documents : Essence : J Krishnamurti

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