A meditative mind is free of all control
Truth is a living thing with no place, abode or time
3rd Public Talk, Bangalore
January 14, 1973
As this is the last talk, I think we ought to talk over together what is a religious mind and also we should go into the question of meditation. But before we go into that, we must be very clear that we are not concerned with theories, speculations, ideals and conclusions. We have, the last two times that we have met here, talked about human relationship, because that's one of our basic realities. If we do not establish proper relationship between human beings, we will have inevitably a corrupt society. And no Government, no edict or laws can bring about a radical transformation in the human mind except through the understanding of relationship between human beings, which is the very nature and the structure of society. If we have not understood that or gone into it in ourselves deeply, when we talk about religion or the nature of a mind that is really religious, we will have totally missed or unaware what is implied in the quality of a mind that is religious. So, we must lay the foundation in relationship. That is, as we explained before, relationship is only possible when the image between the two has come to an end. When I do not have an image about you and you do not have an image about me - the image being a conclusion, a symbol and therefore that prevents actual, factual daily relationship, which makes up society. And if there is to be a radical transformation in society, a society as this which is so corrupt, decayed, degenerate, there must be a radical psychological revolution which can only take place when there is right relationship between man and man. We have discussed that.
And also we went into the question of a mind that can stand completely alone, not depend on books, on theories, on conclusions or a mind that's concerned with other people's ideas and conclusions.
We also, yesterday, talked about or went into verbally the question of love. You know, most of us unfortunately have not that feeling of compassion: a feeling for the trees, for nature, for animals, for human beings. We have grown callous, indifferent, because we have our own particular problems, our own worries, our own peculiar tendencies and idiosyncrasies which take most of our time and we have very little time to look at nature, to look at the way the animals are treated in this country, and how careless one has become of our neighbour. And though we may endlessly talk about our devotion to reality or to an idea that we call God, that love has no meaning whatsoever if there is no feeling at great depth, a feeling for passion, for all things. And this love not only expresses itself in generosity, in humility, in a sense of comprehensive understanding of each other, but also it goes far beyond that. Because love is not, as we said yesterday, the pursuit of pleasure. Love is not pleasure. Love doesn't suffer. It is the loneliness, self-pity, the self-concern that goes through agony, but not real affection, love.
We also talked about, yesterday, the freedom from death and that's a vast subject which cannot possibly be dealt with in a few minutes, but we more or less outlined the meaning and the freedom from that thing that we call death.
And now, this evening, we are going to enquire together seriously what is a religious mind and what is meditation. Because these two, the religious mind and meditation, are somehow the most important thing in life. And without capturing the beauty and the fullness of a religious mind and meditation, life becomes very shallow. You may be very clever, you may be a great architect, an engineer, a scientist, you may have a great deal of knowledge of what other people have said, but without this religious quality of the mind and the deep penetration into the nature of meditation, without that, life which is lived everyday, the life which is so cruel, so despairing, so brutally ugly, may be covered over with fantastic mysteries, mythology and folk lore.
So, one has to go into this question, the religious mind and meditation, very, very seriously. It is not for the children, it's not for the immature, but for those who have gone very deeply into themselves. That is, without knowing yourself, not what others have said about you, whether the analyst, the psychologist, the philosopher or the Upanishads or the Gita or the sacred books of the East or the West, but if you have not investigated the whole movement of yourself, your thought, your desires, your lack of love, your self-concern, unless there is this basic self-knowledge, knowing oneself, all the tiny movements of oneself, all the complex movement of thought and desire and will, unless the mind has understood its entirety, both the outward and the inward, the religious mind will not come into being.
So, to find out, to enquire what is a religious mind, one must see what it is not. Not only see what it is not, but also have that clarity of perception which in itself puts away the false. And in that putting away that which is false in clarity, in that there is no renunciation, no struggle, no conflict; seeing the false as the false is the truth. Do understand this. The rites, the ceremonies, the images, the temples, the churches, the mosques do not have reality. They don't contain the beauty of reality. They may be architecturally beautiful, the marvellous ceremonies of the Catholics or the mumbling of some priests here in a lovely temple, but in that there is not a shadow of reality. It is the projection, the creation of thought. To see that, not merely theorise about it, to see the falseness of it, the irresponsibility of it. We are using that word 'irresponsibly' purposely because it has created such illusion, such division, such wars, antagonism in the world. You may listen to this; next day go to the temple. I know you laugh. I think your laughter is an escape from facing the reality. You'll have your priest next day, you will listen to some chanting and you think you are terribly religious. Such a human being is not a religious man at all. So, to see objectively, logically, with reason that this thing that man has created out of his fear, out of his uncertainty, the flux of life facing death, wanting security both on the other side and this side, man has put together what he calls religion with its dogmas, beliefs, rituals and all the rest of it. To see that, as you see a dangerous animal, as clearly as that and therefore walking out of it completely, never going back, never touching it because therein lies illusion, total unreality. You can use reason to see the absurdity, the shallowness, the hysteria, the story that man has put together which he calls religion. It is the product of a thought that needs security and therefore will accept any form of neurotic action, any neurotic belief. I hope you are all listening to this very carefully.
Reason has its limitation. Reason is to observe objectively, impersonally the whole phenomenon of our religious organisations and structure with their gurus, priests and images created by the hand or by the mind. One is afraid to use reason but you do use reason: when you go to the office, when you build an engine, when you produce technologically something, you use reason, thought. But here in religious matters you are frightened to use reason. Reason is the capacity of seeing the proportion, the clarity, the inward nature of this thing that we call religion. So, seeing that which is false - and all religions, it doesn't matter what they are, are the invention of thought. You are conditioned as a Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Catholic, whatever you will, Buddhist, by the culture, the society in which you live. If you are born in a family of Muslims, you are conditioned to be a Muslim, or in a Catholic, you are. So, your minds are conditioned through propaganda of five, three, two thousand years to believe in a certain form of ideology, of a story, of a myth, of an unreality. Can you face all this? Can you, as Hindus or whatever you are sitting there, can you listen to all this? Not argue nor accept or deny, but observe it. If you are born in a communist Russia, you are conditioned not to believe. There the State becomes all important, which is also a form of God.
So, to observe what is false, to see it clearly, and to see it clearly there must be freedom to observe. And when you see that which is false as false, then the mind is free of it. And to see the truth in the false then that truth frees the mind from that which is false. So, we say the religious mind doesn't belong to any religion. It does not belong to any religion. It has no belief. It doesn't find truth through any book, through any redeemer, through any priest. It stands completely alone. There is a difference between being alone and isolation. Most of our daily activity leads to isolation because we are concerned with our own problems, with our own ambitions, with our own success and so our daily life is isolating ourselves in relationship, which is entirely different from being completely alone. In that there is no resistance, a mind is no longer conditioned by the culture in which it lives or by the society or by economic condition. Therefore, it is outside the culture in which it may have been born.
So, a religious mind is a mind that has gone very deeply into self-knowing, which is also - please, would you mind sitting quietly, some of you. This is a very serious thing we are talking about. If you want to get up and go home, please do. If you don't want to listen to this, don't, but since you are here - but since you are here please share in what is being said. To share something, you must have affection, you must have care, you must feel, not merely be distracted by something that is happening in that corner or that corner. Please, bear in mind this is a very, very serious thing that we are talking about, because it's a matter that demands your highest capacity, your highest intelligence, your greatest sensitivity. And if you cannot attend, please get up and go home and go to a cinema.
As we were saying, without knowing yourself, not according to another, not according to any edict or the assertion of others but looking at yourself in daily life, the way you act, how you treat people, whether there is kindliness, generosity, a great sense of humility, to find out all about yourself not only at the conscious level, but also at the deeper levels of the mind, because without that you have no foundation. You may have the foundation or a verbal foundation of what other people have said, which is no foundation at all. But if you have gone into yourself very, very deeply without any distortion, looking at 'what is' every minute of the day, every moment of the day, exactly as is, then self-knowing plays an important part in the understanding of a religious mind. (noise of planes) Those aeroplanes are having a lovely time! Aren't they? Because knowing oneself, understanding the whole movement of the 'me' and the self, the ego, sorrow comes to an end, and without the ending of sorrow there is no wisdom. And it is part of the religious mind that is wise, not in what other people have said, because wisdom is not to be bought or learnt or cultivated; it comes into being with the ending of suffering and the ending of suffering is only possible when there is complete uncovering of the whole movement of the 'me' in observing daily activity.
So, the religious mind - and this is not a theory, not a conclusion, not a speculative assertion - but when you have gone into it very deeply, you will find that you are totally outside of all the things man has put together in his fear, in his desire to find permanency, you are totally outside all that. And then we can proceed to find out what it means to meditate, what is meditation. You understand what I have said? That you cannot possibly ask that question or try to meditate without laying the foundation. The foundation is self-knowing. The foundation is in relationship in which there is no conflict. The foundation is order in our daily life; order is virtue, is morality and that order which becomes extraordinarily precise, like in mathematics, that order is not a pattern to be followed, a blue-print established by another or established by yourself. This order comes naturally, sweetly, uninvited when you understand disorder in which the human mind lives. The disorder is this contradiction, this fragmentation, this corruption of the mind that has divided itself into various categories of action. So, there must be order, which means no confusion, only clarity. Unless you lay this foundation of daily life of affection, consideration and that strange thing called love, meditation will mean absolutely nothing; it'll offer an escape.
So, what is meditation? What is the meditative mind that is investigating into reality? Please, as we said, we are sharing this together. We are sharing this together. Our responsibility is, when the world is in such chaos, such misery, when human beings are slaughtering each other, when we have lost all touch with nature, when we are the world and the world is us and it behoves us, as human beings, to bring about a radical transformation in ourselves and, therefore in our society, in our culture and we must find this out. Not from your guru, not from the speaker, because the speaker is not your guru; he has no authority; he has no followers. Only he is willing to share, and sharing means love, care, consideration. And we have to find out through meditation if there is a reality or not - a reality that is not invented by thought, a reality that is not projected by thought in the field of time. So, we must find out, enquire together into what is meditation. A great deal has been written, talked about, practised. Now, let us dispose of all the practices. Practice implies direction, a mechanical observation of a pattern laid down by somebody leading to a fixed point, which is called enlightenment or truth, a fixed point like a lighthouse in the dark sea on the shore, from the dark sea the lighthouse is fixed, it is not living, it's not moving. And so, those who practise and those who advocate practising systems, methods are conforming to a pattern which they hope will lead to that lighthouse which is firmly fixed. And you say there are many paths leading to that thing which is fixed, which you call truth.
First of all, using one's obvious reason, one can see that any practice daily carried out makes the mind mechanical. It is not sensitive, it is not supple. Sorry, it is not supple, it is not quick, it is not free. Please, see this. You practise a great many systems; follow a great many paths or four paths, as many paths as you can invent, always leading to a certain fixed point which you call God, reality, enlightenment, what you will. But you don't see that when you practise, you are making the mind and your heart dull, not free, uncreative. And when you do practise there is a contradiction between what you practise and what your life is. And you try to impose what you practise on your daily life and therefore increase conflict. And also is truth a fixed point, something static, dead? You can only see that anything that is dead has no movement, vitality, energy, beauty. It's only something that is dead, fixed. And truth is not fixed. It's a living thing. Truth is not over there on the other side of the bank. It is not something which the thought has invented or some philosopher or some so-called enlightened human being has put into words. It's not over there. It is here. It is here, in your daily life; and if your daily life is mechanical, then what you practise, what you do will never come upon the reality, do what you will. Please, do understand this, for your own sake, understand it. Because in India, in this country, which is ancient, which has so much tradition, there have been so many saints, so many philosophers, so many teachers and gurus, they have all said apparently, not that I have read any of them, thank God, they all apparently have said, from what I have been told, that there is this thing called truth that is permanent, real, immovable and so on and so on and so on. Truth is a living thing. A living thing has no place; no abode; it has no time. It's free of any conclusion, of any theory. And when you practise meditation, the meditator becomes all important and not the movement of meditation. I don't know if you are understanding all this. When you practise, you have direction. In practice there is will, a concentration; a concentration, will, direction indicates, does it not, that you already know or have been told where it is. And anybody who says he knows where it is and instructs you in the knowledge of where it is, then beware of such a person because when he says he knows, he does not know; what he knows is the past, that which is gone, that which is dead. He cannot possibly know the unknowable. He can know, observe the known and if he is fortunate enough or intelligent enough or serious enough can free himself from the known. But he can never say that he knows the unknown.
So, what is meditation? As we see, it's a state of mind in which the operation and exercise of will is not. It has no direction. It is not seeking any experience. It is no longer seeking at all. Therefore a meditative mind is free of all control. May I go into it?
You know, all our life, from childhood till we almost die in pain, in strife, in anxiety, in a sense of loneliness, not knowing what love is or wanting love, we are always brought up to control ourselves - control our anger, control your ambition, control your thoughts. We never enquire why we should control at all. And who is the controller? Controller is thought, is the past that says to itself 'This must not be and that must be. This must be suppressed and that must be pursued.' So, in control there is imitation, conformity, suppression and fear of not succeeding, not becoming, not achieving. And to those people who call themselves religious, control means austerity. The word 'austerity' means harsh, dry. The meaning of that word. A dry mind, a mind that has been controlled, withered, brutalised, hurt; such a mind can never know the austerity of simplicity, the austerity of love, the austerity of beauty. It will only know denial, harshness and the dry withering quality of control. I hope you are all following all this. It's your life we are talking about.
So, meditation is not the withering of the mind which comes through control, through suppression, through conformity, through pursuing a pattern. Then you would ask: how is a mind that has no control, how is it to live in this world? Perception, observation is greater than control. When you see something as false, that very perception brings about its own learning and that learning is non-control. I wonder if you are following all this. Is this all Greek to you or Chinese or Russian? Are we communicating with each other? What we are saying is: freedom has its own order which is not the order of control. Freedom has its own movement in bringing about order in which the so-called discipline is non-existent. Sir, the word 'discipline' means to learn, not to conform, not to imitate, not to suppress, but to learn; and in learning, learning itself brings order without imposing an order from outside. Do we understand? Are we communicating with each other or am I trotting away by myself? Don't ask me questions. I am going into it.
So, a mind that is meditative has no control, but is free and therefore that freedom moves in order. A meditative mind, having no concentration, has attention. Attention is entirely different from concentration. In concentration there is the entity that concentrates on something. So there is a duality. And in concentration there is a form of resistance against all intrusions of other movements. You must have noticed this. And so there is always a battle going on between wanting to concentrate on something and your thoughts wandering off; and this conflict goes on from the time you are born till you die. And you think you will be a marvellous meditator when you can control completely your thought. And thought, when controlled, withers, becomes, leads to illusion, all forms of hysteria and neurotic activity. You must see the quality of thought, understand that thought can never be new, thought can never be free because it is born out of the past, out of experience, knowledge, which is of yesterday. So, attention is entirely different. In attention, there is neither the observer nor the observed, but only the state of attention from which things can be observed. You are following all this? Sir, do it with me. Do it as you are sitting there, listening; if you are at all serious, listening to what is being said with your heart, with your mind, with your sensitivity, with your affection, with your love, with your care - listen to it. And you will see if you share it with the speaker, you will see in that attention there is the absence of any opinion, any judgement, the absence of the observer. Therefore, in that attention, time is not. There is the chronological time of yesterday, today and tomorrow, that is the movement of thought, which is time. In attention, in the quality of attention, there is only that state - oh Lord! I don't know how to describe it. But the description is not the described, thank God! - but if you are attentive, you will know what it means and that attention is not to be practised. Don't go to schools to learn attention. Don't go to your guru and say please teach me what it is to be attentive. When you ask another what it is to be attentive, then you know you are not attentive. You understand? To know that you are not attentive is attention.
From that attention comes this quality of silence, a mind that is completely quiet. And a mind that is completely quiet is free from the movement of the known. This quality of attention with its astonishing silence comes naturally when you understand, when the mind understands all that we have said. Silence is not the space between two noises. Silence is not the product of a thought that desires to be silent in order to achieve further experience. In silence there is no experience. In silence there is a totally different quality. Where there is silence there must be space.
You know, those of us who live in towns, in flats, in small ugly houses, in narrow streets with noise, with all the pollution of the air and the pollution of the earth and the rivers and the trees and nature, we have very little space physiologically, physically and when we have very little space we become violent. We become aggressive. So, when the mind has very little space it is in a constant state of revolt, constant state of ugly discontent, wanting to express itself in violence, in anger, in brutality, in various forms of aggression. And where there is silence there is space. There is no space if there is a centre. Do understand all this. Where there is a centre as the 'me', the observer, the experiencer demanding more experience or wanting to get rid of experiences, where there is a centre there must be a diameter, a circle. You may extend the circle or contract the circle, but the extension and the contraction is not space. Space exists only when the centre is not.
And in that quietness, in that sense of beauty and love there is quite a different kind of movement which is nameless, which cannot be described, which can never be communicated to another. The mind must come upon it knowing itself, knowing all the tricks and the cunningness, all the imaginations, all the trials and travails of life. Then, when it comes upon it, there it is. And that is the nature of a religious mind and meditation.
May I go? Or shall we sit together for a little while? Not talk, but this is not a collective meditation. That's one of the tricks. So, what is it you want to do? Sit quietly? In that quietness, in that mirror observe the movement of thought without any direction, control and suppression, just watch it and find out for yourself if you have love in your heart; not in your mind, but love in your heart which is to treat your friend, your neighbour with such care, consideration. (long pause) Right, sirs. Good-night, sirs.