At the end of sorrow is passion
2nd Public Talk, Washington, Washington DC
April 21, 1985
May we continue where we left off yesterday. We were talking about fear and the ending of fear. And also we were talking about the responsibility of each one of us facing what is happening in the world, the appalling, frightening mess we are in. And for that we are all responsible, individually, collectively, nationally, religiously, and all the affairs of the world we have made after millennia upon millennia, long evolution, we have still remained barbarians, hurting each other, killing each other, destroying each other. We have had freedom to do exactly what one liked and that has created havoc in the world. Freedom is not to do what one likes, but rather to be free from all the travail of life, from the problems, which we went into yesterday morning, from our anxieties, from our psychological wounds, from all the conflict that we have put up with for many, many, many millennia. And also to be free from fear. We talked about all these things yesterday afternoon.
And also we said these gatherings, this meeting is not a lecture on any particular subject, to inform, to instruct, to put it into a certain pattern. But rather it is our responsibility, together, to investigate, to explore into all the problems of our life, our daily life. Not some speculative concepts or philosophies, but to understand the daily pain, the boredom, the loneliness, the despair, the depression, and the endless conflict which man has lived with. And this morning we have to cover a great deal of ground. And also we pointed out yesterday this is not a meeting in which the speaker stimulates you intellectually, emotionally, or in any other way. We depend a great deal on stimulation. It's a form of commercialism: drugs, alcohol, and all the various means of sensation. And we want also not only sensation but excitement, stimulation. So this is not that kind of meeting. We are together to investigate our life, our daily life; that is, to understand oneself, what one is actually, not theoretically, not according to some philosopher or some psychiatrist, and so on. If we can put aside all that and look at ourselves actually, what we are, and not get depressed or elated, but to observe, which is to understand the whole psychological structure of our being, of our existence.
And we talked about it yesterday as one of the things that human beings go through all their life, is a form of fear. And we went into it very carefully: that time, thought are the root of fear. We went into that, what time and thought is. Time is not only the past, the present and the future, but in the now, in the present, all time is contained. Because what we are now we will be tomorrow unless there is a great, fundamental mutation in the very psyche itself, in the very brain cells themselves. We talked about it.
And we also should talk this morning, talk over this morning together - please, if one may point out, you and the speaker are taking a journey together, a long, complicated journey. And to take that journey one mustn't be attached to any particular form of belief. Then that journey is not possible. Or to any faith, or to some conclusion or ideology, or concepts. It's like climbing the Everest or some of the great, marvellous mountains of the world; one has to leave a great deal behind, not carry all your burdens up the steep hills, mountains. So in taking the journey together - and the speaker means together, not that he is merely talking and you agreeing or disagreeing. If we could put those two words aside completely, then we can take the journey together. Some may want to walk very rapidly or the others may lag behind, but it is a journey, all the same, together.
We ought also to talk over together why human beings have always pursued pleasure as opposed to fear. We've never investigated what is pleasure, why we want everlasting pleasure in different ways: sexual, sensory, intellectual, the pleasure of possessions, the pleasure of acquiring a great skill, the pleasure that one derives from having a great deal of information, knowledge. And the ultimate gratification is what we call god. As we said, please don't get angry or irritated or want to throw something at the speaker. (laughter) This is a violent world. If you don't agree they kill you. This is what is happening. And here we're not trying to kill each other, we're not doing any kind of propaganda or convincing you of anything.
But we are going to face the truth of things, not live in delusions. And without delusions it's very difficult to observe. If you are deluding yourself and not facing actualities, then it becomes impossible to look at oneself as one is. But we like delusions, illusions, every form of deception, because we are frightened to look at ourselves. As we said, to look at ourselves very clearly, accurately, precisely, it's only possible in a mirror of relationship; that's the only mirror that we have. When you look at yourself when you're combing your hair or shaving or doing whatever you are doing to your face - sorry. (laughter) You look at your mirror - sorry - (K laughs - more laughter) (K laughs - laughter and applause) I'm glad you approve! (laughter) - when you are shaving you look at your face or comb your hair; that mirror reflects exactly what you are, your face is, how you look.
And psychologically is there such a mirror in which you can see exactly, precisely, actually what you are? As we said, there is such a mirror which is one's relationship, however intimate it be, whether it's man, woman. In that relationship you see what you are, if you allow yourself to see what you are. You see how you get angry, your possession, all the rest of it.
So pleasure man has pursued endlessly in the name of god, in the name of peace, and in the name of ideology and the pleasure of power, having power over others, political power. Have you noticed power is an ugly thing, when one dominates another, in any form: when a wife dominates the husband or the husband dominates the woman. Power is one of the evil things in life. And pleasure is the other side of the coin of fear. When one understands deeply, profoundly, seriously the nature of fear (as we went into it yesterday we won't go into it again), then pleasure, that is delight: seeing something beautiful, seeing the sunset or the morning light, the dawn, the marvellous colours, the reflection of the sun on the waters, that's a delight. But we make that as a memory and cultivate that memory as pleasure.
And also, as we said - but just look at it, not do something about it. I don't know if you have gone into the question of action. What is action? We're all so active from morning till night, not only physically but psychologically, the brain everlastingly chattering, going from one thing to another, endlessly, during the day and during the night - the dreams - the brain is never at rest; it's perpetually in motion. I do not know if you have gone into that question of action. What is action, the doing? The very word 'doing' is the present, it's not having done or will do. Action means the doing now, correctly, accurately, completely, holistically - if I can use that word - action that is whole, complete, not partial. When action is based on some ideology, it's not action, is it? It's conformity to a certain pattern which you have established and therefore it's incomplete action or according to some memory, some conclusion. If you act according to a certain ideology, pattern or conclusion, it is still incomplete; there is a contradiction in all this. So one has to enquire into this very complex problem of action.
Is action related to disorder or to order? You understand? We live in disorder. Our life is disorderly, confused, contradictory: saying one thing, doing another; thinking one thing and quite the opposite in our action. So what is order and disorder? Perhaps you have not thought about all these matters, so let us think together about all this, and learn, please don't let me talk to myself. It's still early in the morning and you have a whole day in front of you; so let us be aware together of this question: what is order and what is disorder and what is the relationship of action to order and disorder?
We more or less explained what is action; the very word 'to act' means the present, acting: you are sitting there. And what is the relationship to disorder. What is disorder? Look at the world if you will; the world is in disorder. Terrible things are happening. Very few of us know actually what is happening in the scientific world, in the world of the art of war, and all the terrible things that are happening in Russia; and the poverty in all countries, the rich and the terribly poor; always the threat of war, one political group against another political group. So there is this tremendous disorder. That's an actuality, it's not an invention or an illusion. And we have created this disorder, because our very life, living, is disorderly. And we are trying socially to bring about order, through all the social reforms and so on, so on. Without understanding and bringing about the end of disorder, we try to find order. It's like a confused mind trying to find clarity. A confused mind is a confused mind, it can never find clarity. So can there be an end to disorder in our life, our daily life? Not order in heaven or in another place, but in our daily life can there be order? The end of disorder, and when there is the end of disorder there is naturally order. That order is living, it's not according to a certain pattern or a mould.
So we are investigating, looking at ourselves and learning about ourselves. Learning is different from acquiring knowledge. Please this is rather - if you will kindly give your attention to this a little bit - that learning is an infinite process, limitless process, whereas knowledge is always limited. And learning implies not only observing visually, optically, but also observing without any distortion, seeing things exactly as they are.
That requires that discipline - please, the word 'discipline,' as we said yesterday, means - the word comes from the word 'disciple.' 'Disciple' is one who is learning, not the terrible discipline of orthodoxy, tradition, or following certain rules, dictates, and so on, it's learning; learning through clear observation without distortion. Hearing things exactly what the other fellow is saying without any distortion. And learning is not accumulative because you're moving. You understand all this? So in learning what is disorder in ourselves, then order comes about very naturally, easily, unexpectedly. And when there is order, order is virtue. There is no other virtue except complete order - that is complete morality, not some imposed or dictated morality.
Then we ought also to talk over together this whole question of sorrow. You don't mind? Because man and woman, children, throughout the world, whether they live behind the Iron Curtain (which is most unfortunate for them), whether they live in Asia or India or Europe or here, every human being, whether they are rich or poor, intellectual or just ordinary layman like us, we all go through every form of suffering. Have you ever looked at people that have cried through centuries? Through thousands of wars? The husband, the wife, the children. There is immense sorrow in the world. Not that there is not also pleasure, joy, and so on, but in understanding, in perhaps ending sorrow we'll find something much greater.
So we must go into this complex question of sorrow. And whether it can ever end or man is doomed forever to suffer; suffer not only physically, which depends how ordinary a life one leads, whether your body is drugged: alcohol, tobacco, nicotine, alcohol, and all that, whether the body has been destroyed. And psychologically, inwardly we have suffered enormously, without perhaps not saying a word about it. Or crying your heart out. And during all this long evolution, evolution of man from the beginning of time till now, every human being on this earth has suffered. Suffering is not merely the loss of someone you think you like or love, but also the suffering of the very poor, the illiterate. If you go to India or other parts of the world, you see people walking miles and miles to go to a school, little girls and little boys. They'll never be rich, they will never ride in a car, probably they'll never have a hot bath. They have one sari or one dress, whatever they wear and that's all they have. And that is sorrow. Not for the man who goes by in a car, but the man in the car looks at this and he's in sorrow if he's at all sensitive, aware. And the sorrow of ignorance; not ignorance of writing, literature, and all the rest of it, but the sorrow of a man who doesn't know himself. There are multiple ways of sorrow.
And we are asking, can this sorrow end with each one? There is the sorrow of oneself, in oneself, and the sorrow of the world. Thousands of wars, people maimed, hurt, appalling cruelty: not a particular form of cruelty of which you are talking a great deal - a particular form and you are rebelling against that particular form, but you never ask, is there an end to cruelty. Every nation on earth has committed cruelties, appalling. And we're still perpetuating that cruelty. And cruelty brings enormous sorrow. Seeing all this - not from a book, not from a traveller, not from a tourist (tourists go abroad just to amuse themselves, see sights and having a good time, a holiday), but if you are travelling as a human being, just observe it, being aware sensitively to all this, sorrow is a terrible thing. And can that sorrow end?
Please, ask yourself that question. The speaker is not stimulating you to feel sorrow; the speaker is not telling you what sorrow is, it's right in front of us, right inside you. Nobody needs to point it out, if you keep your eyes open, if you are sensitive, aware of what is happening in this monstrous world. So please ask yourself this question: whether sorrow can ever end. Because like hatred, when there is sorrow there is no love. When you are suffering, concerned with your own suffering, how can there be love? So one must ask this question, however difficult it is to find - not the answer, but the ending of sorrow.
What is sorrow? Not only the physical pain and the enduring pain, a person who is paralysed or maimed or diseased, but also the sorrow of losing someone: death. We'll talk about death presently. Is sorrow self-pity? Please, investigate. We're not saying it is or it is not, we're asking, is sorrow brought about by self-pity, one of the factors? Sorrow brought about by loneliness? Feeling desperately alone, lonely; Not alone: the word 'alone' means 'all one.' But feeling isolated, having in that loneliness no relationship with anything.
Is sorrow merely an intellectual affair? To be rationalised, explained away? Or to live with it without any desire for comfort. You understand? To live with sorrow, not escape from it, not rationalise it, not find some illusive or exclusive comfort: religious or some illusory romantic escapes, but to live with something that has tremendous significance. Sorrow is not only a physical shock, when one loses one's son or husband, wife or girl, whatever it is, it's a tremendous biological shock. One is almost paralysed with it. Don't you know all this?
And there is also the sense of desperate loneliness. Can one look at sorrow as it is actually in us, and remain with it, hold it, and not move away from it. Sorrow is not different from the one who suffers. The person who suffers wants to run away, escape, do all kinds of things. But to look at it as you look at a child, a beautiful child, to hold it, never escape from it. Then you will see for yourself, if you really do it deeply, that there is an end to sorrow. And when there is an end to sorrow there is passion - not lust, not sensory stimulation, but passion.
Very few have this passion, because we are so consumed with our own griefs, with our own pains, with our own pity and vanity and all the rest of it. We have a great deal of energy. Look what is happening in the world - tremendous energy to invent new things, new gadgets, new ways of killing others. To go to the moon needs tremendous energy, concentration, both intellectual and actual. We've got tremendous energy, but we dissipate it by conflict, through fear, through endless chattering about nothing. And passion has tremendous energy. That passion is not stimulated, it doesn't seek stimulation, it's there, like a burning fire. It only comes when there is the end of sorrow.
And when you have this sorrow, the ending of it, it's not personal, because you are the rest of humanity, as we said yesterday afternoon. We all suffer. We all go through loneliness, every human being on this earth, rich or poor, learned or ignorant, everybody goes through tremendous anxieties, conscious or unconscious. Our consciousness is not yours, it's human consciousness. In the content of that consciousness is all your beliefs, your sorrows, your pities, your vanities, your arrogance, your search for power, position, wealth and all that. All that is your consciousness, which is shared by all human beings. Therefore it's not your particular consciousness. And when one really realises that, not verbally or intellectually or theoretically or as a concept, but as an actuality, then you'll not only not kill another, hurt another, but you'll have some other thing which is totally different, of a different dimension altogether.
We ought to talk over together too what is love. I hope all this is not boring you. (laughter) If you want to take a breather, it's all right. As the speaker said, we ought to go into this great question of what is love. We use the word 'love' so loosely, it has become merely sensuous, sexual; love is identified with pleasure. And to find that perfume one must go into the question what is not love. Through negation you come to the positive, not the other way around. Am I making myself clear? Through negation of what is not love, then you come to that which is immensely true, which is love.
So love is not hate: that's obvious. Love is not vanity, arrogance. Love is not in the hands of power. The people who are in power, wanting power, it doesn't matter if it's over a small child or wanting power over a whole group of people or a nation, that surely is not love. Love is not pleasure, love is not desire. I don't know if you have time to go into the question of desire. Perhaps we may. Love is certainly not thought. So can you put aside all that: your vanity, the sense of power - however small, however little it is, it's like a worm. And the more power you have, the more ugly - and therefore in that there is no love. When one is ambitious, aggressive, on which you are all brought up: to be aggressive, to be successful, to be famous, to be known, which is all so utterly childish - from the speaker's point of view! (laughter) How can there be love?
So love is something that cannot be invited or cultivated. It comes about naturally, easily, when the other things are not. And in learning about oneself one comes upon this: where there is love, there is compassion; and compassion has its own intelligence. That is the supreme form of intelligence, not the intelligence of thought, intelligence of cunning, deceptions and all the rest of it. It's only when there is complete love and compassion there is that excellence of intelligence which is not mechanical.
Then we ought to talk about death. Shall we? Are you interested in finding out - (laughter) - what death is? What's the meaning of that word; the dying, death, the ending. Not only the ending, what happens after death? Does one carry the memories of one's own life? The whole Asiatic world believes in reincarnation. That is, I die, I have led a miserable life, perhaps done a little good here and there, and next life I'll be better, I'll do more good. It's based on reward and punishment, like everything else in life. I will do good this life, and I will be better next life. It's based on the word 'karma,' probably you have heard of it. The word 'karma' means in Sanskrit 'action' - 'ka', I won't go into it. So there is this whole belief that when one has lived this life, next life you have a better chance, depending what kind of life you have led now: the reward and the punishment. And in Christianity there is this whole sense of resurrection and so on.
So if we can put aside for the moment all that, really put aside, not cling to one thing or the other, then what is death? What does it mean to die? Not only biologically, physically, but also psychologically: all the accumulation of memories, one's tendencies, the skills, the idiosyncrasies, the things that one has gathered, whether it be money, knowledge, friendship, whatever you will; all that you have acquired. And death comes and says, 'Sorry, you can't take anything with you.'
So what does it mean to die? Can we go into this question? Or are you frightened? So what is death? How do we enquire into it? You understand my question? I am living - I'm taking my self as an example - I'm living, I go along every day, routine, mechanical, miserable, happy, unhappy, you know the whole business of it. And death comes, through accident, through disease, through old age, senile - what is senility? Is it only for the old? Is it not senility when we're just repeating, repeating, repeating? When we act mechanically, thoughtlessly? Isn't that also a form of senility?
So death - because we are frightened of it, we never see the greatness of it, the extraordinary thing, like a child, baby being born: a new human being has come into being. That's an extraordinary event. And that child grows and becomes, whatever you have all become. And then dies. Death is also something, most extraordinary it must be. And you won't see the depth and the greatness of it if one is frightened.
So what is death? I want to find out what it means to die while I am living. I'm not senile, I've all my wits about me, I'm capable of thinking very clearly, perhaps occasionally go off the beam - (laughter) - but I'm active, clear, all the rest of it. So I'm asking myself - I'm not asking you - I'm only observing, if you will observe also, what is death. Death means surely the ending of everything: the ending of my relationship, the ending of all the things I've put together in my life; all the knowledge, all the experience, the idiotic life I've led, a meaningless life, or trying to find a meaning intellectually to life; I've lived that way (not personally, but I'm taking that example). And death comes and says, 'That's the end.' But I am frightened. It can't be the end. I've got so much, I've collected so much, not only furniture - (laughter) - or pictures. When I identify myself with the furniture or the pictures or the bank account, I am the bank account, I am the picture, I am the furniture. Right? When you identify with something so completely, you are that. Perhaps you don't like all this, but please, kindly listen. So I've established roots, I've established a great many things round me, and so death comes and makes a clean sweep of all that. So I ask myself, is it possible to live with death all the time, not at the end of 90 years or 100 years - the speaker is 90 - sorry. (laughter) Not at the end of one's life but can I, with all my energy, vitality, and all the things that go on, can I live with death all the time? Not commit suicide, I don't mean - that's too silly. But live with death, which means ending every day of every thing I've collected: the ending.
I do not know if you have gone into the question of what is continuity and what is ending. That which continues can never renew itself - reborn, clear. It can revive itself, that which is continuous - like you are doing in this country, revival of religion. As we said, the word 'revive' means something that has withered, dying and you revive it. Which is happening in this country; religious revival, they are shouting about it. And, I don't know if you have noticed, organised religions and the gurus and all the rest of them are tremendously rich people. (laughter) Great property. You can do - religious. There is a temple in the south of India: every third day they have one million dollars. You understand? God is very profitable. (laughter) This is not cynicism, this is actuality. We are facing actuality, and you can't be cynical or despairing, it is so, neither be optimistic nor pessimistic. You have to look at these things.
So can I live with death, which means every thing that I have done, collected, pain, sorrow end. Ending is more important than continuity. The ending means the beginning, something new. If you merely continue, it is the same pattern being repeated in a different mould. Have you noticed another strange thing? We have made a great deal of mess in the world - tremendous mess, and we organise to clear up that mess, politically, religiously, socially and economically. And when that organisation or institution doesn't work, we invent another organisation. And never clearing up the mess but bringing about new organisations, new institutions - and this is called progress. (laughter) I don't know if you have not noticed all this. This is what we are doing - thousands of institutions!
The other day we talked at the United Nations. War is going on, they've never stopped it, but they are reorganising it. (laughter) You are also doing exactly the same thing in this country. We never clear up the mess. And we depend on organisations to clear that up; or new leaders, new gurus, new priests, new faiths, and all that rubbish that's going on. So can I live with death - that means freedom: complete, total, holistic freedom. And therefore in that freedom there is great love and compassion, and that intelligence which has not an end, which is immense. And also we ought to talk over together what is religion. May we go on? You are not too tired? The speaker is not trying to convince you of anything, please believe me: nothing! He's not trying to force you through stimulation, through some other means. We are both looking at the world, your personal world and the world about you. You are the world, the world is not different from you. You have created this world and you are responsible for it, completely, totally, whether you are a politician or an ordinary man in the street like us.
We also ought to talk over together what is religion. Man has always sought something beyond all this pain and anxiety, sorrow. Is there something that is sacred, eternal, that's beyond all the reaches of thought. This has been one of the questions from ancient of times. What is sacred? What is that which has no time, that which is incorruptible, that which is nameless; that which has no qualities, no limitation: the timeless, the eternal? Is there such a thing? Man has asked this thousands and thousands of years ago. So he has worshipped the sun, the earth, nature, the trees, the birds; everything that's living on this earth man has worshipped since ancient times. If you have heard of the Vedas and the Upanishads and so on, they never mention god. That which is supreme, they said, is not manifested, and so on, I won't go into all that.
So are you asking that question too? Are you asking the question, is there something sacred? Is there something that is not put together by thought, as all religions are - organised - whether it's Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and so on. In Buddhism there is no god. Among the Hindus, as I said, there are about 300,000 gods. It's great fun to have so many. (laughter) You can play with them all. And there are the gods of books, the god according to the Bible, the gods according to the Koran, the Islamic world. I don't know if you have noticed when religions are based on books, like the Bible or the Koran, then you have Fundamentalists, then you have people who are bigoted, narrow, intolerant - because the book says so. Haven't you noticed all this? This country is having the Fundamentalists: go back to the book. Don't get angry please, just look at it.
So we are asking, what is religion? Not only what is religion, but the religious brain, religious mind. To enquire into that deeply, not superficially, there must be total freedom, complete freedom. Not freedom from one thing or the other, but freedom as a whole, per se. Then we have to ask also - sorry - the word 'religion' etymologically has no, they can't explain that word. It had different meanings at different times and different ages. So we are asking, when there is that freedom, is it possible, living in this ugly world, is it possible to be so free from pain, sorrow, anxiety, loneliness and all the rest of it.
Then you have to find out also what is meditation: contemplation in the Christian sense, and meditation in the Asiatic sense. Probably meditation has been brought to this country by the yogis, gurus and all those superstitious people, traditional people; and therefore they're mechanical. So we'll have to find out what is meditation. Do you want to go into it? Does it amuse you, or do you want to do it really? Is it a form of entertainment - meditation? First let me learn meditation, find out, and then I'll act properly. You understand the game one plays? Or, if there is order in one's life, real order, as we explained, then what is meditation? Is it following certain systems, methods: the Zen method, the Buddhist meditation, the Hindu meditation, and the latest guru with his meditation? They are always bearded, full of money, you don't know all the rest of that business.
So what is meditation? If it is determined, if it is following a system, a method, practising day after day, day after day, what happens to the human brain? It becomes more and more dull. Haven't you noticed this? When you repeat, repeat, repeat - it may be the wrong note, but you repeat it. Like a pianist, if he repeats by himself and he plays the wrong note, he'll keep on playing the wrong note all the time. So is meditation something entirely different? It's nothing whatsoever to do with method, system, practices; therefore it can never be mechanical. It can never be conscious meditation. You understand what I am saying? Do please understand this. It's like a man consciously wanting money and pursuing money; what's the difference between the two? Consciously you meditate, wanting to achieve peace, silence, and all that. Therefore they are both the same, the man who pursues money, success, power, and the man who pursues so-called spiritually. So is there a meditation which is not determined, practised? There is, but that requires enormous attention. That attention is a flame and that attention is not something that you come to much later, but attention now, to everything, every word, every gesture, every thought: to pay complete attention, not partial. If you are listening partially now, you are not giving complete attention. When you are so completely attentive there is no self, there is no limitation.
And - briefly, I must stop - the brain now is full of information, cluttered up, there is no space in it, and one must have space, there must be space. Space means energy; when there is no space your energy is very, very limited. And the brain - the speaker is not a specialist on the brain, though he has talked about it a great deal with other scientists and so on - not that that's a recommendation. They experiment on animals, on theories, on the accumulation of knowledge; but we are not scientists, we are laymen, ordinary people, humble, wanting to find out. There is a meditation which is not determined, practised, put into a mould - I won't go into it. So the brain, which is now so heavily laden with knowledge, with theories, with power, position, all the rest of it, everlastingly in conflict and cluttered up, it has no space. And freedom, complete freedom, is to have that limitless space. The brain is extraordinarily capable, infinite capacity, but we have made it so small and petty. So when there is that space and emptiness and therefore immense energy - energy is passion, love and compassion and intelligence - then there is that truth which is most holy, most sacred; that which man has sought from time immemorial. And that truth doesn't lie in any temple, in any mosque, in any church. And it has no path to it except through one's own understanding of oneself, enquiring, studying, learning. Then there is that which is eternal.