Can the human mind radically regenerate?
Can the mind regenerate itself?
1st Public Talk, Bombay
January 19, 1974
Almost every word that has importance in human lives have been so loaded, made corrupt, but we have to use words to communicate. And if one uses a word like 'religion', it has been so spoiled, it has been made so vulgar, made almost meaningless. But religion in the deepest sense of that word, which is gathering together all our energies, all our attention to perceive. There is only one thing in human action - to perceive, to see - that is I think the true meaning of that word religion. And when you observe what is happening in the world in the name of that word, you see how corrupt it has become, how utterly meaningless, how it has been exploited. But religion is the most important thing in one's life. Not the religion of gurus, reading Gita or the Upanishads, or following some guru and all his idiocies and idiosyncrasies, going to temples, mosques or churches - that has nothing whatsoever to do with religion, a religious life. And as we are concerned not only with the social, economic structure in which we live, and also the culture in which we have been brought up, the fundamental source of true right action springs from a religious mind. So please bear in mind when we are talking about religion we do not mean anything that is going on in this world at the present moment, when everybody is exploiting that word, when everything has been polluted - the churches, the temples and all the things that are going on in the name of religion. And as we are going to talk during these next three meetings the importance of a religious mind, because it is the source of all creation, it is the essence of all energy. And without coming upon that fountain, which doesn't belong to any group, to any sect, to any guru, to any book, unless human beings come upon that beauty, that reality, that fountain that brings a new life, unless we discover it for ourselves, not through another, we shall be facing problems that are becoming more and more insoluble.
So that is what we are going to be concerned during these talks, whether the human mind can regenerate itself - your mind - so that we can create together a new culture, a new society, a new way of living. That is what we are going to be concerned with all these talks; and these talks are not meant to be entertainment. You want to be entertained, you want to be told, you want to be guided. You refuse to be a light to yourself, and because you refuse that, you have brought about in the world, and especially in this country, a situation that is daily disintegrating, degenerating. The degeneration, the decline is shown when you refuse, as a human being, to think or yourself, when you refuse to face facts as they are, when you refuse to live a life not in abstraction but in reality. Philosophy means the love of truth, the love of truth in daily life, not an abstraction, not in ideas, speculations, suppositions. They have nothing whatsoever to do with our daily behaviour, with our daily conduct, and it is only when we face that, when we perceive it; and that perception is the religious way.
And, as we said, this is not any kind of intellectual, emotional or sentimental gathering. If you want entertainment you should go somewhere else. We are here for a very serious purpose, and if you are serious - that means committed wholly to the understanding of the world about us and the world inside - if you are serious in that sense, to discover for oneself a way of living in which behaviour, conduct in daily life, and bringing about a radical revolution psychologically, then such a mind is a religious mind, concerned with living a life of truth, every day and every minute.
And as we have to use words, we must understand each other. That is, communication is possible only when you and the speaker can share together the problems and their investigation. Therefore, it is your responsibility to share, not merely listen to a series of words, form a conclusion from those words, and abstract from what is being said into an idea, a conclusion. So communication means sharing together, thinking together. It does not mean that you agree or disagree, but thinking together, observing together, sharing what we see together. Then that sharing demands that you give your attention, that you hear and not draw a conclusion. This we must go into rather deeply.
The human mind, your mind, when he listens to a statement, draws a conclusion from that statement. The conclusion to is an abstraction, is an idea, and then according to that idea, to that conclusion, you try to live. Whereas what we are concerned with is not with conclusions, formulas, or ideals, but facing reality; the reality of our daily existence, our daily behaviour, the way we talk, the way we live. Contradiction exists in our lives when you are conforming to a pattern as an idea. So we are not dealing with patterns. Please be very clear that we understand each other, that we are not concerned with ideals. We are not concerned with abstractions - that there is god, no god, non-violence when you are utterly violence, and so on, so on. We are only concerned with the seeing 'what is', and for that you must give your energy and your attention. When you live in abstractions, as you do, then you are wasting energy, dissipating energy. When you are living in a contradiction, that is, the book says one thing and you live another way. You read the Gita or attend the classes where some person talks about it, then you are wasting energy because that has nothing whatsoever to do with your daily conduct. And that is what you have done for centuries, for generations upon generation, and that is why your minds, your heart are dead, because you live in abstractions.
I hope you realise what we are talking about, because this is very important. It demands the setting aside of any conclusion, of any ideals, setting aside what your gurus, your books, your religious teachers have said. That has nothing whatever to do, the way you behave, conduct yourself in daily life. And a man who is serious who sees what the world has become, he is concerned with that only and with nothing else, because that is the foundation.
So if that is very clear, then we can ask whether the mind, your mind, is capable of changing itself. Because when you observe the world, what is happening there outwardly, that has been brought about by thought - the division of nationalities, the Muslim and the Hindu, the Pakistani and the India, the catholic, the protestant, the follower of this guru or that guru, basing your content on greed, envy, brutality, violence, callousness - all that has been that has brought about the outward structure, what we call the society. We have made it and we are the only people on earth that can change it - not ideas, not politicians, not your gurus, not your books. Because you are the world and the world is you. Now, you hear a statement of that kind: you are the world and the world is you. How do you listen to that statement? What is your reaction to that statement? Are you listening or reacting to that statement? Are we sharing this together, are we moving together?
Look, you are the product of your culture. The culture, if there has been a culture in India at all, that culture has been put together by human beings, who are greedy, violent, envious, ambitious and so on. And that culture, which means a structure of education, of a religious way of life, all that, past generations have built it, and human minds accept it, live with it. That is a fact. Now, when you hear that statement: the world is you and you are the world, do you draw a conclusion from it or do you listen and see the fact of it? You understand what we are talking about? If you listen to that statement and draw a conclusion: how is how am I what is the reason that I am the world, and try to say, if I am the world what shall I do? - all those are abstractions, unrealities. But the reality is that you are the world and the world is you. When you call yourself a Hindu, a Buddhist, Christian, all that, that is the environment, the culture in which you have grown. So you are that. And when you listen to that statement - please pay attention to what is being said - when you listen to that statement, do you hear the words or do you directly perceive the truth of it? You understand my question?
I hear that statement, that I am the world and... I am the world. I listen. I listen with attention, and there is no attention if I move away from that statement. So I listen to it. I don't draw any conclusion. I don't deny or accept, but I merely attentively listen to that. Then I have the energy to investigate that. I don't if I listen with prejudice, with my particular idiosyncrasy, then I cannot possibly investigate. So I must listen to that statement with freedom. Now are you, if I may ask, listening to that statement? Actually listening and seeing whether that statement has a reality in itself, not what you think about it. So. And that statement is a reality. I am the product, as you are, of the culture in which you have lived. The culture includes the economic conditions, the religious conditions, the social conditions, your behaviour - all that is involved in it.
Now, do we share that together? Or are we separate, in the sense that you listen, either agree or disagree, or say, 'What am I to do?' and get frightened or and so on, so on, so on. Therefore we are not sharing together. Sharing implies partaking together this statement. And when we realise this fact, our responsibility becomes enormous. We are responsible to what is going on in the world. Either you treat that responsibility intellectually, that is verbally, or take it tremendously seriously. Now, how do you respond to that? Do you take it with immense seriousness, feeling the tremendous responsibility for it? That unless you change radically, psychologically, deeply, there can be no change in the world. Right? Since I am responsible for the misery, for the poverty, the untold sorrow of the world and of myself, the utter confusion, the brutality, the violence, the division of nationalities which bring about war, the division between religions which bring about conflict - I am responsible as a human being, and unless I radically change, fundamentally, there can be a world that will disintegrate more and more and destroy itself. I will destroy my children, and our responsibility is becomes enormous when that reality comes home. Right?
So then, we are concerned, if you are serious, if your intention is honourable, not agreeing now and going and living differently next minute, if your intention has integrity - integrity means wholeness, completeness, not fragmentation - then we can go into this question which is a fundamental question, whether the human mind, your mind, can bring about in itself a radical regeneration. Regeneration means to be reborn anew. That is the problem. You have understood the problem? Am I making myself is the speaker making himself clear?
Questioner: Very clear.
Krishnamurti: Good. Verbally or actually?
K: I am afraid to you it is verbally clear, intellectually clear, but not clear in your heart, in your mind, in your depth. Because you are going back to your old ways of deception, dishonesty, double-dealing, say one thing, do another, worship what you call god, go to the temple and be violent next minute. So we are concerned, if you are at all serious, whether your mind, which is so destructive, so corrupt, a mind that has created a world that is insane, a world that has become monstrous, where human beings, quiet, gentle, really affectionate human beings cannot possibly live, and to bring about a change in that, there must be a change in the inner world, and nobody wants to do that. You want to change the environment, the politicians, the economic conditions, or do this or that on the surface, but nobody wants to change his psychological structure. That demands tremendous care, affection, attention. And you choose the easiest way which is drift, go along with the world. You say, what can an individual do in front of all this monstrous insanity? That is a wrong question to put. If you regard yourself as an individual, contrary or different from the community, different from the State, different from the culture, then you can do nothing. Whereas if you are part of this world, part of the consciousness of this world, in changing your mind you are bringing about a change in the consciousness of the world.
So, is it possible for you to regenerate yourself? - without the guru because the guru is part of the structure, the part of your culture. You have followed thousands and thousands of gurus and where are you? In your daily life, not in the explanation of your sacred books - and there is nothing sacred about a book. You can make anything into sacred, into something sacred.
I used to know a man. One day he was walking along the beach, and upon the shore he found a piece of wood washed by waves, rubbed by sands, and it had taken a peculiar shape, and it had some beauty in that shape. He brought it home one day, and put it on the mantelpiece. It looked so nice, so beautiful, so polished. And he thought the next day he would put a flower to it, beside it. And day by day, year by year, he put various flowers, and suddenly be realised how sacred that thing was. Because he had made it sacred. A piece of stone is a piece of stone, and a book that is printed is a book, it is not sacred. And you have lived by that book. That means you have lived by a theory, by somebody else's conclusions, and the explanation of those conclusions by various swamis, gurus and all those interpreters who are really exploiters, have nothing to do with reality. Reality is in your daily life.
Now, can your mind which is shaped by the society in which you live, can that mind undergo a radical transformation? Can that mind regenerate itself? That means, can that mind be free of tradition? You know that word 'tradition' has a very deep meaning. It can be 10,000 years old or two days old. I can create a tradition of two days; according to that I live. Which means I live in the past. Therefore I am betraying the present. Tradition also means betrayal, not only something handed over, but also it means betrayal. And when you accept tradition, as you do, and when young generation revolts against that, you are puzzled, horrified, all the rest of it. But you, when you live according to tradition, you are betraying your life; your life that is being lived in the present, not in the past. So the mind first of all be free of tradition. You know what that means? How enormously complicated it is? Which is not to say or do anything which is not absolutely yours. You understand? Something that you have seen for yourself. That demands a freedom, a mind that is not afraid. So tradition is involved in regeneration of the mind.
Can the mind - please listen to this - which functions mechanically, when you follow tradition the mind has become mechanical, when you say, I believe in god, as all of you do, don't you?
K: I know, sir, I know.
Q: I don’t.
K: You don't, all right. You see, it's all such cheap stuff. You don't and he does.
K: Wait, sir, wait, sir. Do you know anything about god?
K: Sit down, sir, please. You can ask afterwards. Do you know something about god? How do you know he exists? You have been told by your parents, by your books, by your society that there is god, and if you are living in communist Russia where the tradition says, don't believe in god, there is no such thing; there you are educated not to believe and here you are educated to believe. Both are the same. That is part of your tradition; part of your tradition is the family, how important the family has become, how important India has become, which is part of your tradition. To accept the tradition of an army, navy, a separate nation, ready to fight and kill, that is part of your education and tradition. Can your mind be free of all that? When you follow your guru, your books, your politicians, then your mind has become mechanical, because in mechanical way of living there is security. You think there is security, but is there security? You have accepted the tradition that you are a Hindu, a label, and the other has accepted the tradition that he is a Muslim, again a label. And in that label you seek security. That security is denied when you are fighting each other. That is common, ordinary reason. But you go on accepting that.
So can the mind - please do pay attention to what is being said, because nobody tells you all these things. What they tell you is to puts you to sleep, and you are asleep, dead; you are functioning automatically. So please listen, because it is your life. Don't waste it. You have wasted a great deal of it. Don't waste it any more. And as we said, the word 'tradition' has a great meaning. That is, can the mind be free of mechanical way of living? I will show it to you.
Knowledge is mechanical. Knowledge means experience. Knowledge means that which has happened in the past, that has been accumulated, that has become the tradition, and when the mind lives in the past then it is a mechanical mind, a repetitive mind. But knowledge is necessary, isn't it? If you didn't know where your home was you couldn't go to it today after this meeting is over. If you didn't know how to ride a bicycle, though that is knowledge - learning mechanically how to ride a bicycle, to do this and that, or to speak a language - there knowledge is necessary. But when we reduce living to conformity to a pattern, which is according to previous knowledge, then we live mechanically. Are you
Q: Yes, yes, yes.
K: Now, again when you say yes, is it verbal or actual?
Q: It is clear.
K: Please do give your life to this. Look, sirs, your house is burning. The smoke of that burning is polluting the air. You have lost all sense of affection, care, love, and unless your mind, your mind, which is my mind, which is your neighbour's mind, which is the mind of an American, Russian, the mind, your mind, unless that mind undergoes a radical regeneration the world will destroy itself. And it is your responsibility, and being a responsible person then you must be concerned to find out for yourself a way of living which is non-mechanical. That is, sir, knowledge is necessary. Knowledge, experience and memory is the background of thought, and all our religions - please listen - all our religions, all your books, all the social, moral, intellectual world, economic and so on, is based on this principle of thought. Your planning, the political world, your religious world, your gods, your everything is based on thought. And thought is the response of the knowledge that you have acquired, therefore thought is never free, never new. Do realise this. And if you try to create a world on thought, you are back again in the prison of the past. You understand all this? So, is it possible to live, functioning fully in the field of knowledge, which means employing thought objectively, sanely, rationally, and at the same time be free of the past, therefore live totally in the present? You understand my question? So what does it mean to live in the present, which must be non-mechanical? Right?
Look, sirs, is love mechanical? You answer it. You use that word greatly, don't you: love god, love your wife or your husband. Is love mechanical?
K: Please, sir. Do observe yourself, don't answer me. I have been at this for the last 50 years. So you don't have to explain to me. Explain it to yourself. Find out for yourself how your mind works mechanically. A mind that is mechanical cannot create a new world, and we are concerned with bringing about a different world because this world as we live in now is utter chaos, insane, a world of suffering, misery, selfishness, complete concern with oneself, one's own salvation, one's own success. And we are saying, as long as that mind is mechanical, living only within the field of the known, you cannot possibly create a different world. Therefore you have to understand yourself, not according to some psychologist, not according to some religious book or guru, but to learn about oneself, whether you are living a mechanical life.
When you perform rituals, that is mechanical, isn't it? When you trot off to your temples which are pretty dirty and ugly, that is part of your routine, part of your mechanical mind. When you follow your gurus and their interpretation of what is called a sacred book, then you are merely following tradition, it's a part of mechanical. Find out for yourself where knowledge is, and the beginning of a mind that is free from the mechanical habits. And to do that you have to understand the whole movement of thought. Not as an abstraction but as a reality. What is your thinking? What is your thinking based on? What do you mean by thinking? Is thinking non-mechanical or is it always mechanical? Do investigate it. Together we are doing it now. And in that investigation share. Don't sit there and just listen and go to sleep. Share in that investigation, whether your mind is mechanical. Mechanical means like a machine that goes on and on, repeating , repeating, repeating - that there is god, no god, that there is karma, there is reincarnation, that you must have a family, that you are an Indian, that you are - god knows what else. All that is mechanical, and as long as that mechanical way of living continues, there must be degeneration of the human mind and heart, and the society in which it lives. And the religious mind is the mind that lives in the non-mechanical way of living and yet functions in the mechanical world. You have understood?
Sir, it means living in a world where perception is instant action. Instant action when you see something is non-mechanical. Look, sir, the mechanical way of living is you are violent, that is a fact. Non-violence is a abstraction from the fact. Right? Moving away from the fact, and when you live according to an abstraction, that is mechanical. That abstraction is the conclusion made by the mind, by thought. Thought is mechanical. Whereas when you see violence in yourself, perceive it and act. That is not mechanical. In that there is no ideation, no conclusion, no postponement. There is instant act when you see it. The perception is non-mechanical. Right? Are we communicating with each other?
So, a mind has to function in the field of knowledge as thought. But when that thought creates an abstraction then you live in that world mechanically. So, seeing is the doing. When you see for yourself that you are violent - when you get angry, violent, sexually, in so many ways - violence isn't merely physical action, violence implies conformity, violence implies competition, violence implies when you are ambitious - and when you see that and to act, that action is non-mechanical. Has the speaker explained it enough?
K: Explained. Now wait a minute. The description is not the described. Right? The word is not the thing. What is real is acting, and perception is always in the present. Not that I have perceived and therefore act according to that. That is mechanical. Whereas seeing, doing, therefore action has a totally different meaning. In that there is no cause-effect. No, this is too much for all of you. I drop it.
You all believe in karma don't you? God knows why, but you believe in it, don't you? That is cause-effect. You do this and you pay for it, or you do this and there is some profit and so on, so on. Now, that is mechanical, whereas seeing, which is non-motivated, which is not seeking a result; seeing is instant and there is action. In that action there is no cause and effect, it is a movement. God, how can I explain this? So there is a way of living which is mechanical, that is the exercise of thought, logically, sanely, reasonably; and perceiving, acting, which then becomes non-mechanical, and that mind can live non-mechanically in a world mechanical. You have understood something?
Please listen. Don't absorb what is being said, just listen. The world about you is created by you. You are confused, you are sorrowful, you are ambitious, anxious, violent, seeking power, position, you want all the material material, sensuous things, and therefore you have created that world. That is a fact, whether you like it or not. And a human mind, which is so sensitive, delicate and extraordinarily capable can change the world about itself and the world inwardly only when it realises where knowledge is important and where the known is not important. Knowledge is important, tremendously important - otherwise you can't go home, otherwise you wouldn't know your name, otherwise you wouldn't be able to speak, you wouldn't be able to go to your office - so knowledge is immensely important, but we misuse that knowledge when that knowledge becomes a mechanical process. And a mind that wants to that is tremendously serious, concerned with the world, its misery, its confusion, its violence, which has been brought about by thought; a way of looking which is not based on a repetition, which is perceiving, seeing and doing. Therefore one has to look into that word 'to see'. What does it mean to see, to perceive?
You are seeing the speaker. Right? He is there visually in front of you. There is a sensory process and then a cerebration takes place and then an action. That is, you see the speaker. You have made an image of the speaker. Right? Haven't you? Oh, come on. You have made an image of the speaker, because he has got a reputation, you think he is something or other, wise or enlightened or some kind of nonsense you have in your mind, and you look at him with the image you have about him, which you have created. So you are not looking at him at all. You are looking at him through the image which you have built about him. Right? So, listen to this. You have created your gods. Gods haven't created you. Right? You have created your gods according to the image you have about what you think god should be. Right? Now, can you look at the speaker or at anybody without the image which is mechanical? Can you look at a person, can you look at the speaker without the image that you have built about him? Then you will be able to listen. Then you will be able to see and act instantly what he is saying. But if you have an image about him then you are judging, saying is that image does that image conform to the other image of an enlightened man, guru, all that silly group belong to. So can you observe another without the image you have built about him? Knowing the image formation is a mechanical response and process. So can you look at the speaker without the image? Then what takes place? Then you listen totally differently. Then that very listening in the miracle, because that listening transforms entirely your being.
Now, sirs and ladies, would you like to ask questions? Just a minute, just a minute. When you ask questions, that question is as important as your own question. Right? Somebody asks a question there and you want to ask your question. Therefore you are not listening to that person's question. You are concerned with your own question. But if you listen to that question, perhaps your question will be explained. So please have the courtesy to listen to another. And when you ask a question, from whom do you expect an answer? Please find out. From the image you have built about the speaker, and you expect that image to answer, or you have no image and therefore you are asking a question in which you are sharing. When you share it is yours a well as the speaker's. When we share food together it is yours as well as the other. So when you ask a question, which you must, not only the speaker but everybody - your politician, your gurus, your books. You don't question your books, sacred books, you don't question your gurus, do you? You are frightened. So you must ask questions, doubt. When you doubt, it is proper, but also you must kept it on a leash, like a dog. You must doubt, but it must be kept under a leash - you understand? - like a dog that is kept on a leash, otherwise it destroys. So please, if you want to, ask a question and share in the answer.
Q: You said the world has become corrupt. What is the percentage of corruption? Whether the whole world has become (inaudible)
K: The gentleman wants to know what percentage of corruption in the world. A lovely question, isn't it. What is the percentage of corruption.
Q: I mean percentage of the people who are corrupt.
K: Yes, percentage of the people who are corrupt. Do you know what that word means, 'corrupt'? The word means fragmented, broken up. A mind that is fragmented is a corrupt mind. If I live a so-called religious life in one department and a business world in another department, a family life in another department, fragmented - you understand? - not inter-related, then such a mind is a corrupt mind. Now you want to know the percentage of the corrupted minds. Find out, sir, if your own mind is corrupt, not other people's minds. Find out if you live in departments. Call yourself a Hindu and worship god. Call yourself this and - you know how you all live, fragmented life, don't you? Family is one thing, nation is another, your god is another, and so on and on and on. Such a mind in a corrupt mind because it is a dishonest mind. It is a hypocritical mind. Like a mind that says, 'I am violent, I am trying to be non-violent'. 'I am a follower of non-violence', when all the time you are violent. That is a corrupt mind.
Q: Is it possible to see or perceiving continuously?
K: Is it possible to see continuously, perceive continuously. Sir, the questioner asks, is it possible to see continuously. Now, what do you mean by continuous? All the time. Time is involved when you talk about continuity. Right? Time is mechanical, obviously. Sir, look: you perceive and you act. And you are inattentive and there you live mechanically. So become aware of your inattention. You understand? Become are of your mechanical way of living. Becoming aware of that brings its own attention which is perception.
Q: You are the world and the world is you.
Q: Living non-mechanically in the mechanical world is very difficult to understand.
K: Living in a mechanical world, is it possible not to live there, and it is difficult to understand. Will you please listen? We said what is mechanical world. A mechanical mind is a mind which cannot face 'what is'. The 'what is' is, let us say, violence. Not being able to go beyond it, it draws an abstraction, which is non-violence. Right? The non-violence is a mechanical y of living. Whereas if you observe violence in yourself, observe it, see it, don't explain, don't say, 'Well, I am violent because you call me this' - don't justify it, don't rationalise it, face it, look at it. When you look at it without a conclusion, then you act. That action is freedom. You are free from violence. So, can you live in this world which is mechanical, which is brutal, which is violent, which is most destructive, which you have created, can you live in that world? Of course you can. Because you can live with people who are mechanical much more easily than those people who are non-mechanical. You understand?
K: The gentleman wants to know if I agree religion is pure, simple and love.
Q: True, pure and simple love. He says that religion is true, pure and simple love.
K: Religion is true, pure, simple love - he wants to know if I agree with that. What a lovely generation you are. You want me to agree with your definition. Do you know what love is, sirs?
Q: I know very well, sir.
K: You do? What does it mean, sir?
K: I won't dispute that. Are we agreeing on a description or on a reality? When there is reality, there is no agreement; agreement is not necessary - there it is. There is no agreement about a poisonous snake - it is there. There is agreement only if you and I agree about a description, about a series of words, agreeing about conclusions and ideas. As I said at the beginning, religion is not an idea. Religion is not a conclusion. Religion is not what you want it to be. Religion means, as I said, gathering all your energies to transform yourself, to bring about regeneration of your mind, your heart, your way of conduct, which has nothing to do with definitions. Right?