A different quality of life
Time is the enemy of man
1st Public Talk, Bombay
February 04, 1984
I nearly forgot.
First of all, I would like to remind you, if I may, that this is not a lecture. A lecture is intended to inform, instruct and bring about certain data, factual or imaginative and so on. So, this is not a lecture but a conversation between you and the speaker, a conversation in which you and the speaker are sharing, walking together through the whole field of existence, not only outwardly, externally, but also inwardly. And to understand each other, we must think together, not agree or disagree, but to have the capacity to observe together, think together, explore together and share what we have explored, not from any particular point of view, either yours or that of the speaker. If this is very clear from the beginning, that we are together going to take a long journey, both externally and in the whole psychological world, which is much more complex than the external world. And to explore both the outer and the inner requires a very clear, objective, non-emotional, non-romantic observation. I hope this is clear.
Why do you come to listen? That's an important question to ask. Is it merely to have some kind of religious, emotional excitement? Or is it you want to discover for yourself a way of living which must be totally different from the way we are living now? Because at present, the world is in great trouble, great uncertainty, there is a great deal of insecurity for human beings. So, why, if one may ask most respectfully, why do you come? And why does the speaker have to make a speech? You understand? Why you come, why the speaker has to say something? Please, are you listening to what I am saying - why you come and why I speak every year here in Bombay? Are you really interested, concerned with the world as it is, and to find out, if possible, whether a few of us or all of us can bring about a way of living which is not monotonous, boring, routine, all the ugliness of modern existence. If that is why you come, because you want to find out from the speaker, who apparently has a certain reputation, and are you listening to the reputation, the image you have built about him, or are you listening to him, to what he has to say? And what has the speaker to say - you understand? The speaker has this great many things - both obvious, both logical, rational, sane. And also he has, perhaps, a way of looking at life totally different. A way of thinking, observing the whole complex process of life. And if you and the speaker meet then we can go along together. You are sure why you come, what your intention is, whether you are serious or ready to be amused, to be entertained, then you and the speaker won't meet, you will listen to a lot of words and those words will have very little meaning. But if we are together taking the journey together, then one discovers enormously, a great many things of life. Right? If this is clear that you have come not merely out of curiosity, not merely as a follower - and I hope you are not, or merely come to be entertained, amused, to be told what to do, then I am afraid you and the speaker will not be able to meet - but if you have come with the intention, with the urge, with that quality of seriousness to find out for yourself a way of living which must be rational, logical, sane in this mad world. And the speaker has certain responsibility to make what he has to say clearly, not obscurely, objectively. It has to be objective, clear, rational. Right? Do we understand each other now? I hope so.
And also it's important that you question what the speaker is saying, doubt, be sceptical. Not say, 'Well, I agree', or disagree, it is right or wrong, but scepticism, questioning, doubt, not only what the speaker is saying, what everybody is saying, so that your own brain operates at its highest quality, not just go off to sleep, because we are going to look together into a very complex life. So you are not followers, I am not your guru, because you have followed too many people already and we have made the world such a mess. So, please, we are walking together, we are concerned together, perhaps we may have affection for each other. But the affection, the rationalisation has nothing whatsoever to do with our observation, so that you see clearly, which means we see things together. Not I see and then tell you, but together - you understand the meaning of that word. We hardly ever co-operate. We don't know what co-operation is. We co-operate with a person who has authority and you follow that authority or the authority of reputation or you follow an ideal. Right? If you and I agree upon an ideal, we then co-operate to do something together about that ideal. Right? If you and I have a common purpose then we co-operate. Right? Because then it is profitable for us. But here the speaker is not offering anything. Right? He is offering you nothing. I wonder if you understand this.
Most of us absorb, we are a sponge, take everything in, including what the speaker is going to say. And when you take something in, absorb, as this country is capable of doing, when you absorb, you are nothing original in yourself - right? I wonder if you understand this. You absorb the Buddha, you absorb any kind of religious nonsense and so on, so gradually your brain, which should be extraordinarily active, becomes gradually dull. So, please, as I have said, the speaker is not offering you a thing, not how to behave, what to think and so on. But together, you and the speaker are taking a journey. It may be a slow journey or a very fast journey - express - or you might go very slowly. So please listen first. Listen. You hear with the ear, but also there is a hearing, listening is different from merely hearing. Right? You see the distinction? You can hear something that is pleasant then you will accept it or if there is something unpleasant you don't actually listen. So, there is an art in listening. What the speaker is going to say may be quite the opposite of what you think or what you feel, but since you are here, you have to listen to what he has to say, not interpret what he has to say, but listen. Have you ever listened to your wife? To your husband? Please, answer that question to yourself. Listen to find out what she or he feels, thinks, wants - sensitive enough to find out. So, in listening to the speaker one has to be very sensitive, naturally.
So there is an art to listen. There is an art to learning. Most of us learn to acquire knowledge - when you go to school, you learn about mathematics, geography, history and later on you go to university, college and so on, you absorb all kinds of knowledge. And from childhood we are trained to memorise. Right? So that our brain is always accumulating knowledge. And that is what we call learning. You want to learn a language you spend some time studying grammar and so on, so gradually your brain is conditioned by knowledge. Right? See all this, please. So your knowledge is the enemy of love. We will go into that presently. And to learn is like a river moving, renewing itself all the time, that's learning, not memorising.
And also there is an art of there is an art to observe, to look, not only with the eyes, optical observation, but to look at things without prejudice, without some kind of conclusion you have come to. To observe without the word, without the image which you have built - you understand? So, we are going to do all this together. The art of listening, the art of learning and the art of observation. It is great fun if you do this because it gives, it makes the brain extraordinarily sensitive and alive. But if you keep on repeating the same old pattern, then your brain goes dull, as most brains perhaps have gone. So, together - please, don't get bored by this, my repeating all this. It is important to repeat it so that you and the speaker understand each other. We have laid the foundation of a house we are going to build together.
Can we observe what is happening in the world? Not only the world of India, but the world - world, the global happenings that are taking place? There is a war, threatening war, nuclear war. Recently some scientists, top scientists have met and issued certain statements saying, if there is a nuclear war the whole earth - the whole earth, not just Europe or America or Russia - the whole earth will be covered with dust and smoke so thick that the sun cannot get through and the temperature will fall five degrees below zero. So, nothing will exist. That is what they are all talking about, preparing, arguing. And also there are minor wars going on. And these wars have been going on for five to six thousand years. They started with an arrow or a club now we have got the extraordinary destructive nuclear bomb. What is the cause of all this? You understand? What is the cause, why human beings are behaving like this? The intellectuals, the philosophers, the scientists and the so-called religious people who are not really religious at all - what is the cause of all this mess in the world? Don't wait for me to answer it. You are asking that question yourself. Why is it that human beings who have lived on this earth - according to genetists and biologists, forty five to fifty thousand years, we have lived on this earth as Homo sapiens and from the very beginning we have been in conflict with each other, killing each other, maiming each other, hurting each other, competing each other. Right? Conflict, struggle, pain, anxiety, loneliness, suffering. And we are so extraordinarily cleaver in the technological world, developing most extraordinary instruments in surgery, communication, computers and so on and we have not solved our human behaviour - you understand? Why? Yes sir, this is a very serious question. Why we human beings who are so capable, going to the moon, with all the extraordinary technological world that is going on, and yet we are primitive, savages, tribal gods and tribal instincts. What is wrong with us? You understand? I am not criticising, I am not blaming anybody. But it is a natural question every decent human being must ask: what is wrong with us? Right? Why are there wars? Pakistan and India, Russia and America and so on - why? What are the causes of it? If you find the cause, then it is easy to remove the effect. Right? You are following?
If I have a disease and the cause is cancer and it causes a great deal of pain, either it can be removed or I die. But where there is a cause, that cause, whose effect can be ended. Right? Is this clear? Where there is a cause the effect can be ended, because the cause can be ended. Clear? Is this clear? What is the cause of these wars, these appalling things that are going on in the world? Probably most of you don't know about it. They don't print everything in the papers.
The speaker has talked to a great many scientists and so on. And we are not told what exactly is going on - chemical warfare - all the rest of it. Now, what is the cause of all this? Is it division? National division, religious division, individual against other individuals, which is division, separation. You are following all this? Or am I talking to myself? You understand what I am saying? One family is against another family, in the family itself there is division. There is division between the Arab and the Jew, there is division between the Catholic and the Protestant, there is division between you, the Hindu and the Muslim. Right? The Christian, the Buddhist, the Zen, the whole world is fragmented, broken up. Is that the cause of all this mess? You understand my question? That where there is division between communities, between people, between countries, between various gurus, various religions, there must be conflict. Right? You understand this? Where there is division, there must be conflict. That is a law. Right? Is that the cause of these terrible wars that are going on, the conflict that exists in each one of us, the competition against each other - division - right? Economically, racially, socially, so-called culturally - everything brings about a division. Right? Now, we cannot do anything with governments. They are set, they have been unfortunately elected, you can't deal with them. The speaker has tried various met various people but there they are. So, what can we do, you and I? You understand my question? You cannot deal with the most powerful people, like the presidents and so on. You cannot deal with them. They are at that level. They have their responsibilities, they want power - you know all the rest of that.
So, we are asking, you, as a human being living on this earth, seeing all this is happening, what can you do? Please, ask this question. What is your action? Not your theories - the Indians are pretty good at theories. Right? You are very good in explanations, analysis, in finding out the cause and there you leave it, which has nothing whatsoever to do with your daily life. Right? You believe in god or you believe in some guru or you believe in some philosophy. But that belief has no actuality in life. Right? This is a fact. I am not saying something abnormal. It is a fact.
So, we are asking, what is your responsibility as a human being facing all this? What's your action? Most of us want to escape from it. Most of us feel we cannot solve it. Therefore we escape, escape into tribal gods, you know all that is happening in this country or in Europe - drugs, religious entertainments - and the entertainment industry is enormously powerful - the cinemas, the magazines, the gods, their rituals - right? Is it two gods marrying each other in this country? So, there is either escape or you face the actualities, face facts. When you face facts, what's your action? Now, together we are going to find out - right? - together, not I tell you and you listen or disagree or agree. That is too silly, it becomes childish. But if you and I observe the same thing, live the same thing daily, then it has a tremendous power - not power in the sense political power, power of doing the right thing. Right? Are we together in this so far?
We are asking, what is the cause of these wars? One of the factors of war is nationalism - right? - which is tribalism. You may not agree or, please, quietly listen. Tribalism - right? - which has become glorified nationalism with its flags and so on - the British, the French, the Hindu, the Indians - you follow? - divided, divided, divided. We are saying, one of the causes of war is nationalism. That is obvious. Other cause is economic division, each country concerned with its own economy - right? - and with its own culture. The British with their and the French and so on. And the other cause is the division in religion: the Christian, the Buddhist, the Hindu, Islam. And they all talk about god. Right? So these and perhaps others are the causes of war. And you, as a Hindu or a Christian or whatever it is, are responsible for the wars. Right? Because in yourself you are divided. Agree? Do you see this fact? As long as I am a Hindu, committed to certain tradition and following some, if you will excuse me, some silly gods, playing with toys called gods. I, as a Hindu, am responsible for creating conflict amongst human beings. Right? Is this a fact or not? It is a fact. You may not agree, you may not see the fact, but this is what is causing wars. Now, what is your responsibility? To be free of nationalism. Right? To be free, to look at the world as a whole humanity, not as Indian and American and so on, we are human beings. Right? To look at the world globally with as human beings. I will make it more complex for you.
When you travel around, when you look at people all over the world, in this country, France and Switzerland and America - the world - Japan and so on, you find that all human beings psychologically share, psychologically they all suffer. Right? They all cry, they all are lonely, they have shed tears like you have shed tears. They are uncertain, confused, unhappy and like you, they are unhappy, lonely suffering, putting up with all kinds of brutalities from your husband, from your wife and so on, the world over it is shared by all human beings. Right? That is a fact. So your consciousness is the consciousness of the entire humanity. Right? Do you see that? Do you want shall I go more into it?
We have been conditioned from childhood both religiously, socially, economically and nationally that we are separate individuals, separate souls. Right? Right? This is a fact. And we have never examined whether we are actually individuals - you are separate from - you are a man and a woman, that doesn't constitute individuality - your tendency, your idiosyncrasy, your particular character, your bank account, all that makes you think you are a separate human being. You may be tall, I may be short, I may be pink, you may be black, all that conditions the human brain to accept that we are separate individuals. Right? The speaker is questioning that. Don't accept it, doubt it, question it. Because he says, our consciousness, which is what you feel, what you think, your reactions, your beliefs, your pain, your anxiety, your loneliness, your sorrow, your lack of love, affection is shared by all human beings. Right? Right, sirs? So your consciousness is not yours, it is human consciousness. Right? If you kill another you are killing yourself - you understand this? If you hurt another, you are hurting yourself. I wonder if you realise this. If you are in sorrow, it is not only your sorrow, it's the sorrow of mankind. So, you are humanity - you understand? You are the rest of the mankind, not a little man working in a little backyard, thinking about himself, his problems, his anxieties, but when you actually realise this fact, in your guts, in your blood, not theory, then your whole outlook on life changes. Then you are different, love, compassion comes into being.
So, what is your responsibility? When you have seen this, not intellectually, but actually, with your heart, with your eyes, with your ears, with all your senses, see this. It's a global problem, not a particular individual problem. Take for example, this country has a great deal of poverty. Right? Enormous poverty. Go round the streets of Bombay, they are sleeping on pavements. Go to any village, which is too near a town, there is poverty. In the last Since independence you may have a little more, but there is still poverty. And this poverty cannot be solved by one government, because there is poverty in America, poverty in France, in England, four million people are unemployed. Do you understand all this?
So, what is your responsibility? Will you still remain as an individual fighting for yourself, fighting for your own illumination, enlightenment? Or - you understand this, you understand my next question? - or will you look at the world as a whole, not as a Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and so on. Unless we do this, we are going to destroy each other. It is so obvious that's what is going on. We want security, we must have security, otherwise you and I wouldn't be here. Security, food, clothes and all that. That is denied because each country says, 'I must solve my own problems'. Right? There is no global outlook at all. And all the problems that we have, we reduce it to communal, social - you follow? - make it very small. So, after hearing this, is your brain free from nationalism, racialism, religious nonsense so that you have a global outlook, global feeling. You understand, sir? Or you say it is marvellous, a lovely idea, make it into a lovely theory, speculate about it and kill it. Right?
So, that is the first thing. That demands a brain that is free to look. But our brains are now so conditioned with problems. Right? You have problems, haven't you? Haven't you? Please, say yes or no - yes? You have problems, which is, sexual problem, religious problems, economic problem - problems, problems, problems. Right? I can't get on with my wife, my wife bullies me and so on and on and on. What are problems? What is the etymological meaning of that word? The etymological meaning of that word is, something thrown at you, some challenge is thrown at you. Right? That is the meaning of that word 'problem'. Now, how do we meet problems? We will go into it together. I am not telling you, please, bear in mind I am not teaching you, but we are learning, observing together. The speaker may have observed it long ago and seen all this, but he is sharing this, he is walking with you, not sentimentally, not romantically, he says, face all this.
Our brains have been conditioned from childhood to solve problems. The child goes to school, learning becomes a problem, mathematics becomes a problem. Problems. Then college, more problems. University, still more problems. So his brain - please listen to this - is conditioned to solve problems. Right? You are following this? Are we following this or am I Our brain is conditioned to solve problems. So, what has happened to the brain? It is a machine now to solve problems. Right? So problems are increasing because it is mechanically dealing with problems. You follow this, sir? See what is happening. There are many political problems in this country and these politicians who are trying to solve their problem, in the solution of that problem they have increased other problems. You see this, don't you? Don't you know all this? So our brain is conditioned from childhood to solve problems. And you can only solve problems, if the brain is free - right? - to look at problems afresh, but if it has trained it acts mechanically and is always seeking solutions, not understanding the problems. Because solution lies in the problem. I wonder if you see all this. Right, sir? Can I talk to you?
So can we have is this possible to have a brain that is free so as to solve problems, not having problems then it tries to solve problems. You see the difference? Right? So, what we are talking about is - you and I - that we are the rest of the mankind psychologically, inwardly. Right? That is a fact. It is not a theory. It is not my conclusion. It is a fact because all human beings go through terrible times, and we too go through all kinds of turmoil, travail. So we are one humanity. You are the entire humanity. That is one. Second: wars exist because you have divided yourself into nationalities, racial, religions, and if you don't change that you will have no security physically because wars are coming. Third is we have many problems and to solve those problems the brain must be free to look at it. But if the brain is conditioned to solve the problem, it is not able to look at the problem. You understand? Now, can you do this? Can you, listening to what the speaker is saying, if you are listening at all, can you do this? No, don't call yourself a Hindu at any price, all the superstitions, all the rest of it. Do not belong to any religion, to any guru. Yes, sir. Or to any book. Have you ever wondered - books, religions based on books - the Bible, Christianity is based on the Bible, Koran is the bible of Islam - have you ever observed what religions based on books become? Here in this country you have dozens of books about religion, you can choose them all, one of them, play with them. Do you understand what I am saying? Don't go to sleep. That is, in India, there are several religious books - the Upanishads, the Gita and so on, so on, so on. Therefore you are able to choose one or the other and play with one or the other, you have dozens of gods, you can choose for your own amusement, for your own entertainment. But if you have only one God, according to the Koran or according to the Bible, then you're stuck. Then you become bigoted, narrow and therefore brutal. This is what is happening.
So, can you, please, I am asking, seriously, the speaker is asking, can you put away all this from you and be grown- up? No nationality, no belief in gods, because belief, faith is another form which is destroying. If you have faith and therefore no doubt - you understand? - the whole Christian world is based on faith. Right? And they never talk about doubt, scepticism, question. It is banished. And in the Islamic world too, it is banished. And the ancient Indians had this doubt, questioned, don't accept, find out. Will you do all that or slink back to your old pattern? See the danger, if you see the truth and go back to something which is not true, that very truth will poison you. You understand? I wonder if you understand this! If you see danger, you keep away from that. If you see a cobra, you keep away. But we don't see how dangerous, psychologically this division is bringing about. If you once see the danger of it, not only theoretically but actually, with all your heart, with all your senses, with your intellect, with your love, if you have love, then you will not belong to anything - no nation, no religion, which doesn't mean you are sceptical, it doesn't mean you are anti-god - you don't know what god is, you all pretend. So could you all put away all this so as to have a free mind, free brain that can look at the world and change. May I also point out something? We said presently that knowledge is the enemy of love. Does it mean anything to you? You understand my question? Knowledge, book knowledge, knowledge of experience, knowledge of your wife or your husband, the knowledge of your children, this whole tremendous accumulation of knowledge through experience, all that. The speaker is saying, all that knowledge is the enemy of love. Now, look at it closely. In one's relationship with another, wife or husband, each other know have knowledge of the other - right? - each has a knowledge of the other. Right, sir? I know how my wife behaves and so on; I know and she knows. Right? What happens, when I say, I know my wife, and the woman says, I know my husband, what is the quality of that knowing? Knowledge, obviously, which means what? The image I have built about her and the image she has built about me - right? - the picture. Right? So, knowledge is that picture. I wonder if you understand this? Right? Do you understand this? So knowledge between a man and woman, of each other, destroys love. Do you accept that? The women accept that very quickly. I see that. And the men sit there and look. You are a crazy crowd all right.
So what happens in our relationship? Relationship is the most important thing, isn't it, in life. No? Because without relationship you cannot exist, life is relationship, whether it is my wife or husband, relationship with a neighbour, relationship with governments, relationship with - relationship is a tremendously important thing in life. And are we related at all? When I have an image about you and you have an image about me, how can we be related? You understand? Images are meeting, that is not relationship. Relationship means to be whole. Right? Not broken up as a woman and a man with all the ugly problems that arise. Therefore knowledge destroys love. For god's sake understand this! Not how to get rid of knowledge - you can't. But if you understand that in relationship knowledge is an element that brings about all kinds of quarrels and all the rest of it. Knowledge is necessary, otherwise you can't get home? Right? If you have no knowledge of English you and I wouldn't understand each other. If you have no knowledge about how to drive a car - you follow? - knowledge is necessary. But psychological knowledge is dangerous. Please, understand this. And that very knowledge is destroying love.
Now, I would like to ask you a serious question. Do you love anybody? Answer in your heart, not me. Do you love anybody? Do you love your wife? Do you love your husband, do you love your children? You understand this? See the implication of that word. You can't answer, can you? And that is what is destroying the world, because you have lost all that, if you ever had it.
So, listening to all this has either meaning or no meaning. We have taken a journey together. And the speaker means actually together. I hold your hand and say, 'Let's walk together'. If you want to walk fast, let's walk fast; if you want to run, let's run; if you want to go very, very, very slowly, all right, but you must walk, not theorise. So, the speaker has put all this before you, either you share it, like you share a good meal together, share a beautiful view of a mountain together, see the beauty of a sunset together or the beauty of a single star in the sky together. But it must be together, not that you have reached there and I am following you. Together we are building a new world, not one person can't do it. Do all of you really see this? That together you can change the world. And the world needs complete change. And no group or one or two can do this, it must be done together. A baby is produced by a man and a woman. And this global outlook, this feeling that you are one, that you are humanity, do you understand what it does to you when you feel that? It will change your whole outlook on life. And separation then ends, therefore conflict ends.
We will talk about, tomorrow, the nature of conflict and see if conflict can end, not outwardly only, but first inwardly. Do you understand? Whether conflict can ever has no place, whether it is possible to live in this world, in the modern world, without a single conflict. That requires intelligence - you understand? - investigation, a mind that is active to find out. The speaker says it is possible. The speaker says there is living without conflict. You may not believe it. You must question it, doubt it. And if you doubt it, then we will go into it. But merely say, 'Yes, I would like to get that state, tell me how to get there', then that becomes too childish. So can we, please, walk together, listen together, learn together, so that you have a different quality of a brain, a different quality of life.