Bringing about peace requires great intelligence
The shared consciousness of humanity
1st Public Talk, New Delhi
November 06, 1983
It's not quite time yet, so we'll wait a few minutes.
We are going to talk over many things. This is not a lecture. A lecture is intended to instruct and inform. We are not going to do that. But what we are going to do is talk over together as two friends the very complex problem of living, daily living, not theoretical, or philosophical, or some speculative concepts and theories. So together, you and the speaker, are going to explore the very complex and confusing world in which we live. So it is your responsibility to listen, not only to what the speaker is saying but also to listen to the world, not a particular part of the world, but the whole of the world - the Americas, the Russias, the Asiatic world and the Western world. We must look at the world as a whole, not as Indians or as Europeans, or British, or French, or German, or Americans, or Russians, and the rest of the world - we must look at humanity as a whole.
So please, from the very beginning of these talks we must be very clear that this is not a lecture, this is not an instruction, tell you what to do or what to think. We are not authority. We must question all authority, the physical, the psychological, the authority of law, the authority of governments, whether it is totalitarian or so-called democratic. In investigating, in questioning, in exploring we must have a brain that is sceptical, doubting, asking questions. And if we are going to explore together, as we must if we are at all serious, explore not from any particular point of view, or belonging to certain tribes, communities, religious or non-religious, we are going to look together at the world, what it is, as it is, not what we would like the world to be. So please, if you would kindly listen and take the responsibility of observing the actual affairs of the world, as it is.
In the world there is no peace. Though governments are talking about peace, there never has been peace in the world. For the last five thousand years historically there have been wars practically every year. Man has killed man in the name of religion, in the name of ideals, in the name of certain dogmas, in the name of god, man has killed man. And it is still going on. That is a fact. And we, inhabiting this unfortunate but beautiful world, we seem to be incapable of doing anything about all that. We are tribal-minded, as Hindus, as Sikhs, as Catholics, Protestants, as nationalists, whether the Western nationalism or the Eastern nationalism, it is a tribal continuity, and that is one of the major causes of war. There are other causes, like economic, social, linguistic, religious and so on.
And to bring about peace in the world requires great intelligence, not sentimentality, not some emotional demonstrations against a particular usage of instruments of war, but to understand this very, very complex situation of the societies in which we live requires not only humility, not only objective observation, and also it requires that you as observer, put away all our tribal instincts: you are no longer a Sikh, or a Hindu, or a Muslim, or a Christian, or a Buddhist, but you are a citizen of the world. If that is very clear, we can proceed to investigate, but if you hold on to your particular tribalism, to a particular nationalism, to a particular religion, then investigation into this question whether it is possible to live in this world peacefully, intelligently, sanely, rationally - is that at all possible. Or human beings who have evolved through millions of years have reached a certain point, whether we are going to destroy ourselves, or can we create a different kind of society: a moral, ethical, non-communal, not belonging to a particular guru and all that nonsense. So please don't get angry with the speaker, because all of you belong to a certain tribe, belong to various gurus. You are either Christian, or belong to some community of religious body, and when we explore, as we must, if you are at all intelligent, aware of what is going on in the world, one must put aside completely all that. And it is your responsibility, not that of the speaker. He is not a Hindu, though he was born in this country, he doesn't belong to any community, to any society. There is no guru, no authority in spiritual matters.
So we are going to together investigate freely. So please put aside your ideals, which is very difficult to do, your conclusions, your intellectual theories, and let us together, as friends, we can talk to each other amicably without trying to influence each other. And it would not be possible to have a dialogue. A dialogue means a conversation between two people. But as that is not possible with such a large audience it must be a conversation, a conversation between two friends, not attacking each other whether you wear a turban or don't wear a turban, whether you are a Christian or not, as two friends who have lived on this earth for millennia upon millennia, as two amicable, non-persuading friends we are walking together through the paths of the world. If that is understood very clearly, that we are not instructing you, we are not informing you, we are not telling you what to do, we are not doing any kind of propaganda, it is a horror to the speaker to do any kind of propaganda, nor to convince you of anything. And I mean it.
Now let's look at the world. The world is divided into nationalities geographically, linguistically, religiously. The world is divided into the business, spiritual, religious, non-sectarian; it is broken up, fragmented. You belong to a certain guru, and another belongs to another. And in this matter there is no guru, there is no authority of any book, however ancient, or however modern. We are together exploring. There is war going on in different parts of the world. Society is corrupt, immoral. There is great corruption throughout the world. These are all facts. It is not an invention of the speaker. There is great confusion, disorder, politically, so-called religiously. And we have created this society. Each one of us is responsible for the ugliness, the brutality, the violence, the bestiality that is taking place in the world. Unless we put our house in order there will be no order in society. I hope this is clear that each one of us, at whatever level of society we live, each one of us has contributed to the confusion, to the immorality, to the insanity of the world. Unless we change, each one of us, fundamentally, psychologically, there will be no peace in the world. You may think that you will have peace, some kind of peace in your mind, but you will never have peace if you do not have order in your daily life. Right? Is that clear that we, in our investigation, have come to a point where we see the world as it is, and we see the society in which we live, corrupt, immoral, religiously nonsensical, with their superstitions, with their rituals, with their so-called meditations, we are responsible for all this. I wonder, one wonders how many of you, of us, feels this responsibility. You may listen to the talks this evening, tomorrow and the next two weekends next weekend, but how many of us take all this seriously? We are too occupied, we have no time. That is an excuse. What we have to do, if one may point out, we have to put our house in order. And we are going to investigate together what are the implications of that order.
First, what is disorder? I wonder one wonders if one realises, if one is aware that we live in confusion, each one of us, uncertain, seeking security. One must have security, physical security. Millions are starving, unemployed. In Europe unemployment is very great, so is in America, and here too. And those unemployed have no security. And is disorder - please, I am putting the question to you, and please consider it - is disorder brought about by each one of us seeking his own particular security? You understand? You want security. One must have physical security. And to have that security, lasting, abiding, you cannot have wars, you cannot have communal conflicts, you cannot possibly belong to a particular guru or a particular system because then you bring about conflict. Conflict is disorder, whether that conflict exists between you and your husband or your wife, between you and the government, between you and your guru. Right? I hope you are following all this. Don't shut your ears, l 'end me your ears. Not only hear with your ears but also hear much more deeply.
It is necessary to use words to communicate. We are now speaking English, and one has to use certain words in that language to convey certain meaning, give to those words certain significance. But the words are not important. What is important is the content of the word. When one says, 'I am a Hindu', or a Buddhist, or a Christian, the words do not matter, but the content, what lies behind the word. And words divide people, whether language conditions the brain. Probably you haven't thought about all this; it doesn't matter. And one has to see whether conflict in ourselves can end. Right? That is the first thing to understand - whether conflict, struggle, the pain, the anxiety, the jealousy, the ambition, the enormous amount of suffering human beings have borne, the struggle to become something, both psychologically as well as outwardly, there is a perpetual conflict in each one of us. That is a fact. To meditate becomes a conflict. To follow somebody becomes a conflict. In our relationship with each other, both sexually, in a family, in a community, conflict exits. And that is one of the major causes of disorder, not only in society but in ourselves. Would you agree to that? That conflict at whatever level, depth or superficial, when that conflict exists between people there must inevitably be disorder.
So is it possible to find out, if we are serious, if we want order in our lives, whether it is possible, can conflict end. Conflict ultimately is war. Conflict between two ideologies, the totalitarian ideology and the democratic ideology. You are following all this? Ideologies - the Christian ideology and the Buddhist ideology, the Hindu versus some other ideology. So, conflict must exist wherever there is ideologies, wherever the brain is entrenched in tradition. Right? You have your tradition, another has his tradition. So to end conflict there must be freedom from tradition, freedom from ideologies, theories, hypothesis, and national division, which is really glorified tribalism.
So we are asking whether this conflict can end, not in society, because that society human beings have created it. No god, no extraordinary outside agency has created this society in which we live. We have made it, with all the confusion, injustice, the brutality, the violence, the bestiality, we have brought it about, each one of us. And if you are at all serious, and we must be serious in a world that is disintegrating, in a world that is being torn apart we must be serious, if not for yourselves for your grandchildren, for your children. It is necessary to be very serious and committed and earnest, not to any theory, not to any ideology, but to find out for ourselves the cause of conflict, because where you can find a cause that cause can be ended. That's a law.
If there is pain in our body the cause for that pain can be found, and in the finding of the cause there is the remedy and therefore the cause ends. Similarly, if you are really earnest, not playing about with ideas, with speculations, with all that nonsense, if you are really serious, the cause of conflict is very clear. There are many causes, but essentially one cause: that each one of us are egocentric, in the name of god, in the name of good works, in the name of improving society, social work, joining parliaments and so on, seeking power and money. That is what most human beings want. Not only physical power but spiritual power, to be somebody in the spiritual world. Personally the speaker dislikes that word 'spiritual'. We all want to be illumined, find illumination, happiness, so we say we will ultimately achieve that. Time is the enemy of man. Yes, sir, look at it, we will go into it more deeply about the question of time.
As we said, time is the enemy of man. You have to live now, find out now and if we say, ' 'We will gradually find out', you will never find out - that is an excuse. So the cause of conflict brings about disorder. And so we must first put our house in order - our house, not the physical house but the psychological world which is very complex. You understand, when we use the word ' 'psychological' we mean the brain that holds all the content of our consciousness, what you think, what you believe, your aspirations, your fear, your jealousies, your antagonism, your pleasure, your aspirations, your faith, your sorrow, all that is the content of your being. That is the very centre of your consciousness. That is what you are, not some extraordinary spiritual entity dwelling in darkness, as some of the people believe. You are what you think, what you believe, what your faith, what you follow, your ambition, your name and so on, that is what you actually are, psychologically as well as physically.
We are not concerned for the moment the physical side because when one understands deeply the psychological nature and structure of oneself then you can deal with the physical activity, sanely and rationally. So that is what you are, that is your human condition. That is the human condition that has existed upon thousands of years. Man has always quarrelled with another man, always lived in conflict. In some of the old ancient monuments in caves and other places you will see man fighting man, or fighting animals, which is the same thing, symbolically, perpetual conflict. That is the lot of man. When we talk of man we are including the women too, so don't be don't get too feministic. We are human beings. And perhaps few have escaped from conflict, few people have gone into this question deeply, which is to understand the nature of conditioning, human condition.
There are those philosophers in the West who say human condition can never be altered; it can be modified. He must live in that prison, but that prison can be made convenient, more respectful, more suitable and so on. But the human condition, which is his anger, his jealousy, his search, his everlasting burden, he must put up with it, that is his condition. That is what some of the modern and recent philosophers have stated, man cannot be changed at all, but he can be modified in his brutality, in his violence, in his belief and so on. But we are saying, the speaker is saying, quite impersonally, emphatically, that the human condition can be radically changed. That is, if he has the intention, if he observes very clearly without any prejudice, without any direction - it is going to be difficult - without any motive, what he is.
Now we are going to together, and I mean together - you are not sitting there, I am sitting here. This platform is only for convenience. Sitting on a little platform does not give the speaker authority. But what he says may have some significance, and may have a meaning, and you have to follow the significance the meaning, the depth of it. Our condition is that. That condition has been brought about through thousands of years of experience, through various accidents, incidents, that condition has been brought about through the desire to be secure, that condition has been brought about through fear and the perpetual pursuit of pleasure and the never ending of sorrow. We are what we have been more or less for the last million years as human beings. That is our condition. We have created the society, then the society controls us. So we try to blame the environment, blame education, blame governments and so on, but we have made all this environment. So we are responsible for it. So we must understand our conditioning. Our conditioning is to be British, to be French, to be a Sikh. Right, sirs? To belong to some guru. That is our conditioning. Can you, can one observe very closely and clearly your conditioning? If you say it is not possible to be free from conditioning you have blocked yourself, you have created a barrier for yourself. Or if you say that it is possible, that possibility also creates a barrier. You understand? Both the positive and the negative become a barrier. But if you begin to investigate, look, observe, then you can discover a great deal.
So we must question what is observation, what is looking? How do you observe yourself? By becoming a monk, by withdrawing from society, by becoming a hermit? Or do you discover what you are through your reactions in your relationship with another? Don't you? That is very close and very near. Your relationship with your wife, with your husband, with your girlfriend or whatever it is. In that mirror of relationship you see yourself as you are. Right? Are you doing it, or are you just agreeing with words? Are you listening, if I may most respectfully ask, are you listening to the words, listening to your own interpretation of the word, or are you actually now, sitting there, observing in the mirror of your relationship with your wife, with your husband, with your neighbour, with your guru, whatever your relationship is? In that relationship you see your reactions, physical as well as psychological. Right? That is so simple. You start very near to go very far. But you want to go very far first, but you don't start near, at home.
So, we are saying that relationship is one of the most essential things in life. Relationship is a reality. You cannot possibly exist in solitude, alone. The word 'alone' means something else. Alone means, all one. But we are not using that word in that sense. You are solitary and you remain solitary. You think you are an individual and you treat another as an individual. You are two separate entities and trying to establish a relationship between two images. Are you following all this? Does it interest you all this? Or you are accustomed to go to lectures, be talked at, argue, and never listen?
Here we are trying to find out a way of living, really a way of living, daily living in which there is no conflict. And to understand the way of that life one must end conflict, first in ourselves, then in society and so on, to examine, to observe ourselves. So we must comprehend the meaning of that word 'to observe'. Have you ever observed anything without a motive, without word, without a direction, just to observe. Have you ever observed the ocean, the tree, the birds, the beauty of the land or the beauty of the tree, just to observe, not use the word, 'how beautiful'. Have you ever observed your wife and your children, if you have them? Or you observe them belonging to you, as a parent with all your authority? Have you ever observed the evening star, the slip of a new moon without the word? And observing you begin to discover your reactions, your physical sensory reactions first and then observe your psychological reactions. That sounds very simple, but our brains have become so complex that we hate anything simple. We want it all made complex, theoretical, then we follow. But to begin very simply, and to begin very near, which is yourself and your relationship. That is the only thing you have. For god's sake see that. Not your temples, not your beliefs, not your turbans, or your beards or whatever you wear. We are human beings. We cannot exist without relationship. It is the most important thing in life. And in that relationship which is based on image-building, you have an image about her and she has an image about you, because you both have lived together for twenty years, for ten days, or one day. You have already created an image. And those images have a relationship. And images cannot love. Please do understand this. If you have if I have an image about my wife or about my guru - thank god, I have not got any, either, but if I have a wife, I have lived with her sexually, I have nagged her, she has nagged me, I have bullied her. I possess her and she likes being possessed. And so I have created an image about her and she has created an image about me. And our relationship is based on those images. Right?
I wonder if you see this fact. And when there are images built by thought, built by various experience and incidents, translated by thought and retained as memory, how can there be love? Oh, you people don't really You may love your god, but you don't. You may love your scriptures through fear, because you want to be saved. And where there is fear there is no love. Perhaps you don't ever know, or ever use that word 'love'. So please seriously with your heart and with your brain, look at the fact. So the question arises whether you can whether it is possible not to create images. Do you understand this question? You have images, image about yourself, haven't you? - as a great man, as a powerful man, belonging to a powerful nation, ambassador, commissioner, or you are a politician belonging to a certain party, you have power, position, you have that image. And you have an image of your following some guru, that you are gradually coming to nirvana, nearer god. You have all kinds of images, all of us, most people have, but the most intimate image is between you and your wife, or between you and your husband, or your girlfriend or your - you know, the closest. There is the root of conflict. There you must put order. You can't put order. Only you can remove disorder, then there is order. If you remove confusion from your brain there is clarity.
So, in relationship conflict is brought about by thought. Right? Please go with the speaker into the question of this, which is of great importance. The speaker is saying that thought is responsible for the image that you have about yourself and you have about another, thought is responsible. Right? We will go into it. We are going to point out. It's already seven o'clock. We are going to go, think together, if it is possible, why thought throughout the world has become so important. And the world has been divided into Eastern thought and Western thought. There is no Western thought and Eastern thought. There is only thought, conditioned according to climate, food, clothes, religion and so on. But there is only thought.
You aren't tired, are you? No madame, it doesn't mean anything. Are you tired? Shall I go on? No, no, you are not encouraging me, sir, I don't want your encouragement, because we are going to go into something that requires your attention, not your tiredness, not you acquiescing to what the speaker says, but you have to think, use your brain, not your intellect. Intellect is only part of the brain. We are saying that thought is the root of conflict. Thought has brought about disorder in the world by dividing people into nationalities, into religions. Thought has divided the world as technicians who have invented the most extraordinary things in the world. And thought has clothed itself in its psyche. Thought has created the most marvellous cathedrals, most marvellous temples, the mosques, great architecture, and great means of destruction, the atom bomb. Thought has also put in the cathedrals, in the temples, in the mosques, in the places of so-called worship, all the things that are in there - thought has invented all that. Without thought you could not exist. Thought, having created the image, then worships the image. Right, sir. So we are, the speaker is saying that thought, thinking, is the root of conflict. We will go into it. Don't reject it. Don't say what shall we do without thought. You can't do without thought, you have to use thought. You use thought to come here, you use thought when you use a language, when you do your business. If you are a scientist you have to use your thought. If you are a businessman you use your thought, you may use that thought crookedly, probably you do, but thought is neither East nor West, it is thinking - whether the thinking is of the guru, of the authority, or your own, it is still thinking. So what is thought which has dominated all our existence, which has controlled, shaped our life. All the so-called sacred books are put down by thought; there is nothing sacred about those books. Your own particular book which you call sacred - the Bible, the Koran, your own literature, it is all put down by thought. You may say, it is revealed by - but it is still the activity of thought. Right?
So thought has brought about the most extraordinary things in the world - hygiene, surgery, medicine. Thought has also brought about the atom bomb, the instruments of war. Thought has also divided people as Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs - you know, all that nonsense that is going on in the world. So we have to understand, go into this question of what is thinking, what is thought. I am the speaker is not telling you. He is not describing what thought is. Together we are investigating, we are going into it, so you must share, partake in the investigation, not just say, tell me about it, I will say whether it is true or false, whether I agree with you or not. That's rather cheap. That is just an escape. But whereas if you are concerned to find out why thought has done all this, the most extraordinary things and the most diabolical things. Thought has created the image in the temple, in the mosque. Thought has created your guru, your scriptures. So there is nothing sacred which thought has created. So what is thought? Ask yourselves this question, please. I am asking you, but ask yourself what is thought, what is thinking?
Is not thinking limited? All thinking is limited. Don't agree, please, look at it. You will ask why is it limited, why thought is limited when it has created all this, created this society in which we live, created the ideals, historical ideals - you understand? - dialectical. So we are saying thought is limited. And you one asks, why is it limited? It is limited because all experience is limited - right? - all experience, whether the experience of nirvana - please listen carefully - the experience of paradise, sitting next to god, of your achieving. Experience is limited, whether it is scientific experience or physical experience or psychological experience. That is a fact, it is limited. Right? Do you see that? And because it is limited, knowledge is always limited - the scientific knowledge which is being gathered day after day, day after day. A scientist never says, 'My knowledge is complete'. It is only the guru who says, 'My knowledge is complete'. That is the idiocy of those people.
So knowledge, experience is limited. Knowledge is limited. That is clear if you observe historically the process of science, from the Galileo, from the ancient scientist to the modern scientist they have been gradually building up day after day, and based on experience. So knowledge is based on experience. So knowledge and experience are limited. And that experience is carried, that knowledge is carried in the brain as memory. Right? Memory then responds as thought. So thought is always limited, as all knowledge is always limited, either in the future or in the past or in the present, there is no complete knowledge about anything. And therefore thought is limited. And that which is limited must invariably create conflict. You understand this?
If you are living in your backyard - and you are all living in your backyards, self-centred, limited - if you are thinking about yourself all day long, which most of us do, whether you are progressing, whether you are good, whether you look beautiful, whether you are achieving, you are becoming, you know, you are self-centred. When you are thinking about yourself you are very limited, aren't you? Don't be ashamed, you are limited. It is a fact. And that limitation has been brought about by thought, because you are thinking all day long, in your business, in your science, whether you are a philosopher, whether you are - you know, you are thinking, but always from your centre. And that egotistic, egocentric activity is very limited. And therefore you are creating havoc in the world, creating great conflict in the world. So one asks - please, we will go into it - one asks is there another instrument rather than thought? You understand my question?
If you have gone into this question of thinking and looked at the whole problem, and see how limited it is, on the one hand create war, and the other seek security. You understand? The war destroys security, your nationalism destroys security, your worship of one guru, or one clan destroys security of man, for man. And thought is responsible for all this. And so thought is limited. Now when you when one really perceive that as an actuality not a theory, not as an idea, but actually, as you see actually this microphone, then you are bound to ask, if you have at all followed, serious: is there another instrument rather than thought? Right? Is there another quality in the brain? We will go into the question of the brain, perhaps tomorrow. Is there a quality which will find an instrument, discover an instrument that is not thought? You have understood my question? One can only find out if there is a difference totally untouched by thought - is there such an instrument? And to find out one must be very, very clear, the nature and the structure of thought, its responsibility, its usage, where it is limited, and recognise its limitation and move away from that limitation. Then one can begin to enquire whether there is totally a different instrument which is not contaminated by thought. Right?
We must stop here. It is quarter past seven. We will meet perhaps tomorrow at the same time, if you want to.