A different quality of mind not bound by thought
An energy that will transform the human mind
1st Public Talk, Madras
December 18, 1973
It's a nice sunset, isn't it? I'm set for the battle. I would like, if I may, to remind you that this is not an entertainment, intellectual or in any way stimulating or a religious circus. We are here because we are serious. The word 'serious' implies that one must be concerned very deeply with what is happening around the world and to what is taking place in the human mind. And those who are serious are entirely committed to this question of how to transform the human mind. And I am sure this is the concern of most people who are involved not only physiologically, sociologically but inwardly seeing how things are, not only outwardly but also inwardly, one must always be asking, it seems to me, why the human mind after thousands of years still lives in such chaos, with such brutality, with such utter self-concern, self-interest, disregarding, neglecting the whole value of existence. I mean by that word 'serious' all that, all the implications that are involved in investigating together this question: why we are living as we are in such degradation, corruption, such vanity, meaningless existence. And to investigate together, which we are going to do during these four talks and the discussion, to investigate deeply one must be free to observe, not only the picture that is painted by words but also observe our reactions to the picture, how we respond to the various challenges which we are going to meet in our investigation together.
So communication is very important. The word 'communication' implies, if one has looked into a dictionary, sharing, partaking together in the same problems. Investigating together the issues and therefore where there is communication there is sharing in responsibility. You are sharing, not merely listening to the speaker but sharing together in what he is saying. Again the word 'sharing' implies that you must be interested in it, you must be interested in the problems that we are facing, in the crisis that we are left with, with all the turmoils, all the miseries, suffering, aching, loneliness and all despair. To share it together implies that you must not only be interested, you must meet what the speaker is saying freely. Sharing implies that we meet together at the same level, at the same time, with the same intensity, otherwise we do not share. If we are sharing food together you must be hungry too. And the responsibility of sharing is yours as well as that of the speaker. So this is not merely a verbal communication in an English language but also there is a communication which is non-verbal. The non-verbal communication is much more difficult, that requires a mind that is not caught in words, in the trap of expressions and explanations but a mind that can meet directly, face 'what is' instantly, such a mind has no need for words and explanations. But unfortunately we haven't got such minds. A mind that is capable non-verbally without the observer to see what actually is taking place, communication then is instantaneous, there is not an interval between the word, the idea and the action. And such communication is not possible because as we said most of us are bound to various forms of theories, speculations, concepts, formulas, ideations, our minds are not free to observe. So we must use language, words, words that have meaning to both of us, words that have content, the same content to both of us otherwise you will translate what you hear according to your own terminology, according to your own like and dislike, therefore there is no communication even verbally.
So we are together going to look at the world as it is and see for ourselves who is responsible for this colossal mess, colossal degradation, immorality. And whether the human mind, your mind - when we use the 'human mind' we mean the human mind not your individual mind, because your individual mind is no mind at all, because a mind that is fragmented is not a mind. So we will go into all that.
So this is our problem: we need survival, we must survive and we need as human beings a totally different kind of energy. I am not talking about shortage of petrol or oil - the Arabs are blackmailing the world, I am not talking about that kind of energy. We are talking about a different kind of energy that will transform the human mind, the human psyche, the psychological inward structure of the mind. And for that you need a totally different kind of energy into which we are going to go, investigate together, therefore share together. And it is also a matter of great importance, this question of survival. I do not know if you have looked at the world, at yourself and your relationship to the world, and whether we are surviving at all, or whether we are destroying ourselves. We are destroying nature through over-population, through callousness, through industrialisation and so on and so on, with which we are all familiar. Man is destroying man, that's an obvious fact - through wars, through national divisions, through religious beliefs, sectarianism and all that. Man is destroying himself and therefore the question of survival becomes extraordinarily important.
And to survive sanely, rationally, healthily, survive as a whole entity, we need this different energy. And that energy can only be brought about by religion, by a religious mind. Now the word 'religion' has several meanings, the word not what the religious mind is involved with now. The religious mind that is now involved in rituals, in worshipping of idols, prayers, ceremonies, going to temples, mosques, churches, masses, all that is not religion. It's just the structure of a human mind that is frightened, of a human mind that cannot understand itself and therefore projects out of its ignorance entities, saviours, gods, rituals that have no meaning whatsoever - we are going into all that. We mean by religion, the word itself, a mind that is gathering all its attention, efforts in the transformation of the mind. And it means also paying heed to, having a mind that is completely attentive, not only in doing little things but attentive totally. Therefore a religious mind is not a negligent mind. In the very negation is the energy that comes. Again we will go into all this.
So let us be clear, both you and the speaker, when we use the word 'religion' we are using it in a totally different sense. It has nothing whatsoever to do with images, with so-called sacred books, the everlasting repetition of tradition, prayers, vows, renunciation, all that. What religion means is a mind that has gathered itself together to transform itself totally, a psychological revolution and therefore religion means paying attention, paying heed to. So if that is clear we can proceed.
We said that it's a matter of great urgency that man survives and that he have this new kind of creative energy. Again that word 'creative', everybody uses it. A shoddy little painter uses that word, a man who writes a poem and gets it published, he is creative, and so on. We are using the word 'creative' in the religious sense. Because without that quality of a religious mind creation becomes commercialism, without that quality of mind creation is the explosion of total goodness which can be expressed in literature, in painting, in everything.
Now let's proceed. I hope you are following all this, or rather that we are sharing this thing together. We are not asking you to believe anything the speaker is saying. The speaker has no authority, he is not your guru. Please bear in mind that he is not your guru and you are not his followers. We are together investigating the human problems and seeing if we can go beyond them. And in communication with each other we both bear the responsibility in sharing - responsibility, not merely just listening to words, agreeing or disagreeing and go off doing your old habits and your old religious circus. All right? May I go on now? Right.
How do you observe the world - the world about us, nature, marvellous sunsets, and the beautiful sky on a clear lovely morning, the woods, the trees, the seas and the rivers? And how do you look at the world that is destroying itself? How do you look at national sovereignties with their armies and divisions and wars? How do you look at sorrow, starvation, poverty, the corruption that is rampant in this country? How do you look at all that if you are at all serious and are really concerned deeply, not only verbally but inwardly with your heart, with your mind, with your total being, how do you look at all this? Do you look at it as though you were separate from that, or you are that? Man has created this society, man has put together this culture with their gods, with their superstitions, with their army and so on, this culture is the result of man's endeavour. So do you observe it as part of yourself and therefore feel tremendously about it? Or do you merely observe it as an outsider looking in? It's very important to understand this. If you are merely looking as an observer apart from this messy world, insane, brutal, all the rest of that, if you merely observe it from your traditional personal point of view then you don't see this misery, you don't relate yourself to that, you don't get involved totally with that. So it is important from now on, during these talks, how you observe; how you observe the tree, how you observe the clouds, how you observe the setting sun, how you hear the crows - is there a distance between you and the thing observed? Please, we are going together. How do you look? And who has put this world together, the present mess, the wars, the corruption, you know, all that is happening in the world, people deliberately destroying people, for political, national, various reasons - who has put this world together? The gods, the traditions, the religious divisions? Have you ever asked that question? If you have what is the answer? So we are going to find out, investigate together that question first.
What is the responsibility of thought? Because we all think in some way or another. What is the responsibility of thought with regard to the structure in which it lives? You understand my question? Have I made my question clear? Thought has created the national, religious divisions. Right? Thought has created the idea of the Hindus and the Muslims, the Catholics, the communists, Mao's and the non-Mao's, thought has put together, this miserable chaotic world and it is responsible for that. It is not only responsible for the technology, for the extraordinary things man has invented, medicine, all that, scientific knowledge, but also it is responsible for the national, secular, social, economic divisions, the 'me' and the 'not me', 'we' and 'they', thought is responsible for this. Right? Is there any doubt about that? Thought has made this world as it is, the external world, and we are trying to solve the problem which thought has created through further thinking. Right, do you understand this, are we going to together? Are we understanding each other, sir? You are a Hindu, or a Muslim or whatever you are, with all your traditions of ashes and this and that and all the circus that goes on, it is put together by thought, isn't it? No? You all seem terribly doubtful about it, don't you? Because you say, 'Thought is such a shallow business and we didn't create our gods, they exist'. Did they exist or did man invent gods? You think it out.
So thought is responsible for this chaos and misery, suffering that exists outside and inside. There is no question about it. You may speculate, you may quote a dozen books, but fundamentally thought is responsible. And we are now trying to solve our economic, social, religious, scientific problems - not scientific problems but the problems which human beings have come to when they use science in destruction. So thought is responsible for this. And we are using thought to clear the mess. Right? When you say, 'God will clear this mess', your idea of god is the structure of your thought, is your conditioning, is your tradition. Right? As the communists want to resolve the problems according to a certain philosophy, according to some concepts, those concepts, those ideas are the result of thought. So thought is responsible. And can thought solve these problems? Or you need a totally different kind of perception, which is not related to thought because thought in itself is fragmentary. Right? Thought itself breaks things up as the outer and the inner, the 'you' and the 'me', my country and your country, you are taller, more intelligent than I am, it is all fragmentation created by thought. Are we meeting each other? Do we see this together or you say, 'No, thought is not responsible for all this misery.'? If you do, then who is responsible? Human beings with their greed, envy, suspicions, pride, ambition, brutality, that ambition, brutality, envy creates the social structure, which is again thought - 'I want to be bigger than you, I want to have more money', envy and all that. So thought is fundamentally responsible for that.
And so we must find a different way, a different quality of mind that is not bound by thought. It sounds rather crazy but we are going to go into that. Thought essentially is the response of knowledge. Right? Knowledge being experience, knowledge is the past, the past being one day's tradition or ten thousand year's tradition. It is stored up in the brain as memory and memory is necessary to function; to drive a car, to ride a bicycle, to speak English, or any technological activity, knowledge is absolutely necessary. That is, the past experience accumulated as knowledge both in the scientific world, economic world, and you know all the technological world. So thought which can function only within the field of knowledge - please follow this a little bit, it is not too complicated - thought which can only function within the field of knowledge, and that knowledge is always in the past, knowledge is the past. It may project from the known to the future and modify the future but it is still within the field of the known. Right? Are we following each other? Please do respond. Don't go to sleep. And if thought is responsible, as it is, then what is the responsibility of thought in the resolution of our problems? You have understood? We have wars, Pakistan and India had a war recently. Wars have existed for thousands of years, that's knowledge. And knowledge has not solved the problem of war, on the contrary, they are inventing more and more refined and more ways to kill en masse, greater numbers.
So knowledge which is necessary in a certain direction, in a certain field, that very knowledge becomes a danger in the resolution of our human problems. Are you following all this? Am I talking to myself? Because I don't feel you are coming with me, we are not taking the journey together. Probably you have never thought about these things. You have acted in the field of knowledge mechanically, knowledge is tradition, and you have repeated for generations the tradition, the Gita, the Upanishads, or your gurus, repeat, repeat, repeat, mechanically. That is, always functioning within the field of knowledge and hoping to solve all our human problems within that field. And we have never solved them: we are still greedy, we are still frightened, we still hate each other, deceive each other, try to dominate each other, though knowledge has said, 'Don't do it'. So we must understand the function of knowledge and the freedom from knowledge. Shall I go on? Right, may I go ahead? I don't feel I am in contact with you somehow.
All right, sir. I'll go ahead.
We are saying that knowledge is essentially the past, it may modify itself through the present to the future, but it is still the past, rooted in the past. And tradition is the past, which is knowledge, whether the knowledge of great saints or whatever it is, it is still the past. That word 'tradition' also means betrayal. Now betrayal means the betrayal of the present. If you with your knowledge come to the present to understand the present you are betraying the present, you are not seeing the present. And to see the present with all its immensity there must be freedom from the known, from tradition, from knowledge. So that freedom means to observe, to observe the tree, the clouds, the birds, your wife, your husband, your ideas, without the past. Which means without the observer. The observer is the past because he is the entity that holds the past, and we are educated to look at the world through the eyes of the past. It may be a day old but it is still the past. So can you observe, without the observer, the tree? You have understood? I mustn't ask you any more. Now can we observe the world and ourselves, because we are the world and the world is me, and the world is you, can we observe this world, the map of this world without the observer, without your prejudices, without your conclusions, without your ideologies, without your traditions, without your books, without your grandmother, your education and all that, just to look?
Now to look, to so look you need energy, and you dissipate that energy when you look through the eyes of the past. Right? Because you are dealing with something actual, man is actually destroying himself. That's a fact, economically, socially, using all the materials of the earth, war, man is killing himself. And if you want to solve how to stop that killing you have to come to it with a mind that is totally fresh, and the mind cannot be fresh if you come to it with a tradition, with an opinion, with an ideology. Right?
So can you observe violence, which is part of the world, which is part of each one of us. Can you observe your violence without withdrawing from the fact to a conclusion and looking with a conclusion at the fact? Now you are violent. Please, this is important because if you can look at that violence non-ideationally, then there is total freedom from violence. Go into it, you will see. Because man apparently by nature, by education, by various incidents and accidents, by the explosion of population, man is given less and less space, space outwardly and also inwardly, and when there is no space he becomes violent. And also violence is not merely getting angry, and wanting to hurt others, hit others, but violence to distort our mind to conform and so on. So violence, can you look at that violence non-ideationally? That is, just to observe the fact and remain with that fact. I am violent, if I am, I am violent, I have been educated to be violent, I have inherited violence. The social structure makes me behave violently, everything around me encourages me to be violent. Ambition is a form of violence, conformity is a form of violence, suppression is a form of violence, control is a form of violence. So everything around me encourages, educates me to be violent. And I have not been able to solve that. One of the reasons for it not being solved is I withdraw from that fact into an idea, the non-violence, which is an abstraction which has nothing to do whatever with the fact of violence, but I have been trained to oppose violence with non-violence, which is another form of violence. You are following all this? So I have been trained. And it has become almost impossible for me to remain and to observe that fact of violence patiently. It is going to tell me lots if I look. But I begin to tell what it should do, what it should not do, according to my conditioning. So can I look at that violence without the dissipation of energy as an abstraction? That is, to remain with the word, with that feeling, completely, giving total attention to it. And you cannot give total attention to it if you wander away from it. I hope you are doing this. Then what takes place? You understand my question?
I'll repeat it once more, to make it quite clear. We are violent people, the various causes of that violence and the explanations are innumerable, but the fact is we are violent. And we are dealing not with explanations but with the fact. And from childhood we have been trained to move away from the fact, we are incapable of facing the fact. And can the mind observe violence without any dissipation of energy which is attention? Attention is energy. And can you look at yourself being violent - you may not be violent now, but you know what violence is very well - can you look at that feeling and remain completely immovable with that feeling? Any movement is the movement of thought, therefore in that movement there is the observer and the observed. The observer is then, 'I must control it, I must suppress it, it is right to be violent, my country is attacked by another country therefore I must protect myself, my sister is being raped therefore I must kill'. All those are movements away from the fact of violence, and therefore the moving away is the dividing process which is thought. So can you observe violence without a single movement of thought? And when you do what takes place? Is violence a fact? Or it is related to the word which I instantly use to recognise that feeling. Please follow this. I use the word 'violence' to denote the feeling, the feeling is new and I use the word to recognise that feeling, therefore in recognition I have brought the present into the past. Right? So I am betraying the present. So can I look at that feeling of violence without a single word, never using the word 'violence' at all? Then what takes place? You understand? When that feeling arises with which you are all familiar, even the saints I am afraid are familiar with that, when that feeling arises you use a word and by using the word you put it in the framework of the past and by recognition through the past you separate the present by the idea. Now all that is a dissipation of energy. Whereas if you can look at that feeling without the word, without wandering away into abstraction, then you have that dissipated energy collected. And when there is that dissipated energy, which is no longer dissipated, it becomes attention then that feeling completely ends. Are you doing it? As I am talking, are you really following this out and seeing whether you can do it, whether you mind can do this so that the mind is completely free of violence? And to be so free you need that total attention which is religion.
A religious man is free from violence, he has no concepts of non-violence, because a religious man is concerned with 'what is', not with 'what should be'. So can you, take anything, envy, greed, ambition, your fear - we will go into fear another day - can you observe this fact? And so can you observe what is happening around you in the world in the same way? You understand? That is, without plan, without ideals, without the repetition of 'what should be', 'what should not be', how corrupt and all the rest of it, just to observe the fact around you? Which is, can you observe your politicians? That's a good example. Can you observe your politicians? Have you looked at them? Not through newspapers, not what they are doing, but have you looked at them as politicians, which is yourself? You understand? You are a politician therefore you have elected the politicians. Do you understand what I am saying? The politician is you. Right? Seeking power, position, and holding on to that position at any cost, corrupt, and that politician is you because you want power, you want position, you want to dominate. Now can you look at that politician which is outside of you, who is really inside you, can you look at yourself and observe without moving away into an abstraction? And then will you, if you so look, will you be corrupt? Do you want power, position, prestige? Do you follow? When you give total attention, which is the act of a religious mind, then you have a different quality of energy which transcends every obstacle, every problem.
So thought is not a religious thing. In a certain culture thought means the outside. Thought has divided the world as the outer and the inner, and those people who are religious are pursuing the inner, which thought has created as the inner. Now if thought has divided the outer and the inner, and you are pursuing the inner which is the projection of thought, then what is the inner? You understand, sirs? This is really quite interesting if you go into it. I have just thought of it. I just saw something. Thought has created the outer and the inner, the inner gods, the inner feelings, the inner aspirations, the inner pursuits of divinity, enlightenment and all the rest of that business. And thought has said, the world is not the inward movement, thought has said, the inward movement is higher, and the higher is the highest form of divinity and so on, created by thought. And so there is a battle between the outer and the inner, the temptation, the desire, the pursuit of the outer and the pursuit of the inner, all within the field of knowledge which thought has created. So I ask myself, is there an inner at all which man is always pursuing? Or there is the inner which thought can never touch, because the moment thought touches it, it becomes the outer and the inner, division takes place, therefore it is a fragmentation. Pursuit of one fragment is not the whole.
So seeing all this, seeing the suffering, the tears that men and women have shed through wars, poverty in this country, the villager with one meal, you know all the horrors that go on in this country. Seeing the brutality, the violence, the inefficiency, each one concerned with himself, having a little more money, a little more job, a little extra corruption, seeing everything that is going on in the world, can you look at it, not aloof, not in abstraction, but look at it with total attention, which is not a practice. You don't have to sit down and meditate to achieve total attention, that's one of those useless exploiting things. You are sitting there and we are describing, knowing the description is not the described, you are faced with this, and don't escape, remain with it, therefore you have this energy to transform the educated, the conditioned mind. And it's only such a mind with its total attention can survive in this world. Right.
Now would you like, would you care to ask any questions?
Q: Why don’t you advocate celibacy to bring down the population?
K: Are you asking this seriously? What is celibacy, which you all advocate? What is celibacy? Your saints, your gurus, your sacred literature and all that business says, to reach god you must be celibate. I don't know why but they say so. Now what is celibacy? To abstain from sex, is that celibacy? Go on, sir, tell me. And while you are abstaining you are burning with it, and you call that celibacy. While you abstain all the pictures, imagination, the erotic movement goes on burning, burning, burning, and therefore you say, 'I mustn't look at a woman or a man'. And so you never look at a tree because that might be beautiful and that means woman, therefore shut your eyes. So you call celibacy an abstinence from sex while burning inwardly with sexual desires. Is that celibacy? And to indulge, as you do, repeat, repeat, repeat, mechanical process, and the contrary to that you consider celibacy, suppression, control. You understand all this? Suppression, control, domination, which all result in violence, neurotic thoughts, expression of bitterness, anger, all that goes on.
So is there a way, is there a way of living - please listen to this - is there a way of living in which no control whatsoever, or indulging, repeating? Because control implies a controller, and who is the controller? One of the fragments of yourself. Right? And that fragment assumes authority and says, 'I must control'. And that fragment assumes the authority in the belief that it is the higher self. The higher self is the tradition in order to achieve reality, god, enlightenment, what you like, I don't know what all that means, you have this control, the detective, the guard who says, do, and don't do - he is part of yourself. So what is celibacy? You are following all this? What is celibacy? A mind that is free from the desire of repetition, a mind that is free from all pictures, symbols, erotic feelings, it can see a woman and not be aroused, it can see the tree and see the beauty of the tree. If you destroy the woman you destroy the tree, you destroy nature, and you have done that marvellously in this country because you have denied beauty - you understand what I mean, beauty? - in yourself, not in the tree, in yourself, you have destroyed everything. Yes, sir? Wait a minute, sir, that gentleman.
Q: Suffering itself is a thought.
K: All right. So what? You suffer, don't you, and you say, 'Well, it's just a thought' and pass it by, do you? Don't you suffer? Physically, inwardly, in every way, don't you suffer? And do you say when you are suffering, 'Oh, that's just a thought'? You see such a question indicates lack of inward perception, lack of attention. You suffer, for god's sake you suffer, solve it, finish with it, don't say, 'Just a thought'. Find out if it is possible for a human mind not to suffer, which doesn't mean become indifferent. Because if you suffer you can't love, you can't have compassion. And to love and for compassion to be there must be no shadow of suffering, then you can share that thing. But you see you are all so clever, you are full of ideas, of other people's, you are second-hand human beings, you never say, 'Find out, I'll go into it'. So we go on suffering. And you say, 'It's karma, next life it will all be Solved'. And so you go round and round playing games with yourself. Yes, sir?
Q: Sir, people believe in god, what is your point of view of god?
K: People believe in god, what is your point of view about god.
Q: God is that supreme entity that we don’t know much about. It’s the thing that has created something of which we know only a little.
K: Are you asking my opinion about god, sir?
Q: Not your opinion exactly, your concept as such, you seem to make a harsh remark on god now and then, I don’t understand which way you mean to criticise god or the term god. And what’s your opinion of the term or what’s the conception of the term?
K: It's only fools that give opinions. He wants to know what I think about god. It sounds funny doesn't it - what you think about god. What do you think about god?
K: Yes, sir, yes, sir, I am going into it. What do you think about god? Do you imagine him like the images you have built? The image in the sanctum sanctorum, put garlands, jewels and all the rest of it, is that what you think god is? The symbols with ten arms, or one arm, or whatever it is, is that god? How do you know, how do you find out? If you want to find out if there is or if there is not, because many people believe, believe, there is no god as you believe there is god, both are the same, the believer and the non-believer, both are the same because they are educated, conditioned to believe or not to believe. But if you really want to find out, if you want to really discover, not what other people have said, that's not god, if god exists at all. So to find out you have to have no belief. Right? You have to negate all the gods which man has put together. Can you do that? The god of enlightenment, the god of virtue, the god of, you know, a dozen gods. Can you negate all that and stand alone, not isolated? When you negate everything that is not true - because those things are not true, they are the fabrications of the mind, of thought - when you negate that you have tremendous energy, which means mind is free to observe. And it can only observe in total attention. Then you will find out. No, you won't find out, there is nothing to find out. There is then only absolute total silence. Right, sirs.