Can the mind free itself from the habit of comparison?
An energy that will transform the human mind
1st Public Discussion, Madras
December 15, 1973
Krishnamurti: I hope you will not mind if I don't make a speech or a talk, but turn this into a discussion or a dialogue. Would that be all right?
K: A conversation between us about serious things of life. And if the weather is good tomorrow evening, there will be a talk by the speaker. So, what shall we talk about?
Questioner: Choiceless awareness.
K: Choiceless awareness, the gentleman would like to talk about.
Q: (Inaudible) That is a statement that I have come across (inaudible)
K: I am afraid I don't quite understand the question, sir.
Q: No, in a tiny book called medication, I have come across the statement (inaudible)
K: He wants to know, in a book that he read, a pamphlet that he read about meditation, something about (inaudible) deeply into the water. Would we like any other thing you
I think it would be much more worthwhile and rather interesting if we could seriously go into problems that are actual not theoretical, not merely verbal or intellectual but about things that we are deeply concerned with, in our daily life - our activities, our sorrows and pleasures and pains. If we could talk about that, it seems to me much more significant than merely talk about some theories.
Q: Sir, what is the source of me?
K: What is the source of me.
Q: What happens in sleep? (Inaudible)
K What happens to the 'me', goes to sleep. What is the reality of the me? Is that it, sir?
Q: The problem of rain.
Q: Rain, rain, rain. (Laughter)
K: The problem of rain should be discussed with the weatherman. (Laughter)
Q: What is true spirituality and what is the shortest route to god-realization? (Laughter)
Q: Sir, as I begin to watch my thoughts, thoughts are disappearing; even then, I am often in the thoughtless state. Is it choiceless awareness or not?
K: Sir, do you know what is happening in the world? What is the relationship of ourselves with the world - the corruption, the brutality, the violence, the appalling conditions that are going on in this country, as well as in Europe, America - what is our relationship to all that? Are we isolated? Are we separate from all that mess and chaos? What is our relationship with human beings? Don't you want to discuss that kind of stuff?
Q: Yes, sir.
Q: I would like to say, the voice is (inaudible) lack of communication.
K: Lack of communication, the right usage of words.
Q: Personal greed.
K: Greed. All right, sir, let's talk about that, shall we? And introduce your question, sir, which was choiceless awareness, and perhaps touch upon mediation and all the rest of it. To go into this question of greed and see if the mind can ever be free of the all the contamination and the trials and the corruption of greed. How do you look at that problem? We are greedy, by nature, by the culture or the society in which we live, our education and spiritual, religious endeavour has made us very greedy. Both the world and the non-world, they have made us greedy. We all know that, obviously. Not only greedy for money, position, greedy for enlightenment, whatever that be, greed for liberation, greed for better relationship, greed for sexuality, sensation and so on, multiplication of every kind of greed, in which is involved is envy. Right? Shall we discuss that?
Q: Yes, please.
K: Do you feel that's worth it?
K: You are all rather silent about it. Do you really want to discuss it?
Q: Yes, sir.
Q: If you were talking about corruption, fear and our relationship to that, why don’t you keep talking about that?
K: Why don't you talk about our relationship with the world, which is in chaos, why don't you discuss that.
Q: Not only with that, sir, with our own family, it is also in chaos.
K: Yes, sir. That's the whole thing. Our own family, our relationship with each other, our relationship to politics, to the political leaders, our relationship to the world of literature, art, our relationship to everything that is going on - the murder, the wars, the chaotic gurus and their followers - all that is chaos in the world, and perhaps by talking about greed we might clarify some of this mess. Shall we go into it?
K: Right. Are we going to it theoretically or directly?
Q: Directly, sir. We are going into it directly, sir.
K: Good. That means you're willing, when you see the truth of it, to put aside greed. Right? Otherwise we are merely talking verbally, superficially. If we are really concerned with greed, with this envy, imitation, conformity - which we will all go into, in that word in which all this is included - then we must be prepared to see the immense danger of greed, the real danger of it, and act instantly. That is direct action. That is real freedom from greed, not merely to discuss how greed arises and explain thousand ways and means of getting rid of it, while you are holding on to our greed.
So if we could this evening go into it, not only verbally but enquire intelligently into this whole problem of envy and greed which has one of the factors that has brought about such chaos in the world, then what is greed? Why are human beings greedy? Why are you greedy? Not only for money, envious of people, envious of not having power, for oneself and so on - why does society in which we live allow this? Or why does the culture, whether the Western or the Eastern culture, permit or educate human beings to run after or fulfil in greed? Why? Why am I greedy? You - why are you greedy? Come on, sirs.
Q: Because (inaudible) What is greed?
K: Ah! I was looking for you earlier. (Laughter) No, we are old friends - we have known each other for the last 40 years probably. I was looking for you earlier, sir. He wants to know what is greed. What do you think it is?
Q: It seems to be the very nature of man.
K: He says it is the very nature of man to be greedy. The gentleman asked, sir, what is greed? What is envy? Not only the dictionary meaning of that word but also the feeling, the drive behind that feeling, the enormous energy that goes into fulfilment of that greed. What do we mean by greed? The fulfilment of a desire, is that greed? I desire a house, I desire a woman, I desire a car, I desire a position, I desire to be enlightened. Is the very nature of desire greed?
Q: The self is the nature of desire, is it not? The sense of self.
K: No, don't reduce it to the self immediately. We are trying to find out, sir, what is greed, how does it come about? I see a beautiful house, well proportioned, good architecture, and so on and so on, and my desire says, 'How nice. I must have it'. What is the drive behind it?
Q: Need for recognition.
K: Need for recognition? Need for security? Need for
Q: Possession. Possessing it.
K: Possession. Look, sirs, don't you know you are greedy? Don't let's be ashamed of it, let's be fairly honest about these matters. If we want to discuss seriously, one has to be fairly honest. We are greedy. Why? Is it a habit? Is it that education has made us greedy? To be somebody. A good house gives you prestige. A poor house doesn't. If you are a good professor with a lot of degrees, that gives you a prestige. And most of us want a prestige. What is why does human beings why do you want it, sir? Do look into it.
Q: Because we don’t feel satisfied to be as we are?
K: No, sir, we are not saying we should be attached.
K: Sir, do look, please. Why am I greedy? I am putting the question to myself. What does greed mean to you and to me? Why am I greedy? What does it mean to be greedy - the word - to possess, to acquire? Greedy involves envy, comparison, imitation, conformity - all that's implied, surely, in that word 'envy'. Right, sir? I am envious of you who are bright, intelligent, know so much. I've been educated from childhood, in school, comparing myself with somebody who is much cleverer, and I compete. Competition is a form of envy. I want to succeed as somebody else is succeeding, making a name for himself in the world. I want to fulfil in something that gives me prestige, position, power. And being dissatisfied with all that, I seek enlightenment from some shoddy guru. He tells me what to do and I want to achieve what he has achieved. All those are various forms of envy.
Now can the mind understand this thing, the danger of it, the danger in the sense where there is imitation and conformity there is no flowering of goodness. So, envy, for me at least, envy is a tremendous danger, as dangerous as seeing a cobra or treading on a cobra, as dangerous as a bus that is hurtling towards me, as dangerous as a deep precipice. Right, sir? I don't want to give a talk. This is a mutual conversation about envy. So what am I to do? I realize that I am envious, because you are taller, you are more beautiful, you are clever, you have got a bigger house, I would like to have the same house, I don't have as much money as you have - I never compared myself with the lower but always with the higher. I am always comparing myself with the guru that has got such a following. I am going to be as good as somebody else. So this constant comparison, this constant imitation which gives me the satisfaction that comes with success. I know all this; we know all this. I don't know (inaudible) I have examined it. Where there are the limits of conformity and the dangers of conformity. Where imitation is a natural thing and where imitation is most destructive.
Q: May I say something, sir? May I say something?
Q: I think this classified greed or need for material possessions along with the desire for enlightenment is not a problem.
K: Oh, it is not a problem
K: Just a minute, sir, that's enough. Comparing (inaudible) positions and acquiring enlightenment are in (inaudible) - put those two together. Isn't that right, sir?
K: Yes. How do you know what enlightenment is, that you run after it? Go on, sir, how do you know?
Q: I read about it.
K: Sir, you know - sir, just please kindly listen - you know that it means to acquire a house. There, you have to work - I have achieved, cut (inaudible), slightly corrupt, living in the modern society, and so on, so on, so on - there, you know exactly what you are doing, what you want. And do you know what enlightenment is? As you know what you want about a house? You can't answer this, that's why. Do you know what truth is? You want truth, don't you. So, sir, let's look at this problem. Being greedy, envious, for various reasons, which can be education, cultural, religious, every form of explanations why human beings are greedy, we can go on explaining but at the end of that explanation we are still greedy. Now, a human being who observes what is happening in the world can see one of the factors of this mess, of this disaster, of this tremendous crisis that is going on - is one of the factors is envy. And as a human being living in this world, what is he to do? Just go on with envy, carry on, adding more and more to the mess? Come on, sir, do discuss. So your problem then is, if one is at all serious and committed, in the sense to find out whether mind can really be free from greed, envy - committed, not just verbally discuss, indulge in explanation, but totally committed to the question of freeing the mind from the envy - whether it's possible.
Q: One must be contented with what he has. One must be contented.
K: One must be contented with what one has. Why should you be?
K: Would you tell that to the gardener, to the poor man, to the labourer? Say, 'Be satisfied with what you have'.
K: What are you people talking about, sir?
K: Sir, look, sir, either you talk seriously, or don't talk at all.
Q: Desire for desirelessness.
K: Sir, please.
Q: What is greed which affects another? What is the other one to do?
K: I am asking you, sir, if greed is one of the factors of this modern world in which we live, with all its chaos. And as a responsible human being, what will you do?
Q: Sir, observe as it is.
K: If you observe as it is, then what?
Q: Sir, if I don’t compete, there is no (inaudible) fighting for you. If I don’t enter into this competition (inaudible) I have no place in society.
K: If I free myself from envy, I have no place in society. Right? Why should I have a place in society? What is this society so marvellous that I should have a place in it?
K: Whether it is a communist society or modern society or the society of India - why should I fit into it?
Q: Sir, can we talk about the society in this room? It seems to me that the discussion is not getting off the ground.
K: I know, sir. I see our difficulty because it is not getting off the ground because we are not facing the issue at all.
Q: Well, the issue in this room, it seems to me that we are perhaps greedy for your approbation. This is why we find various formulae
K: Ah, no, sir. I am not your guru, I am not your authority - please.
Q: No, sir, I am not suggesting you are, but isn’t this happening?
K: Ah, then throw it overboard, throw it out of the wind and start.
Q: But I am suggesting we start there, sir
K: Sir, look, sir, look, sir, there is this problem of envy which man has not been able to solve. He is envious of his neighbour, he is envious of his guru, he is envious of everything, of knowledge. Sir, haven't you noticed this in your own life, observed around you? The great scientists are envious of another great scientist. The Nobel Prize winner, he's there and everybody is after - envious. The competition between gurus is envious - who has the greater following. Don't you know all this?
Now, let's trace this thing, sir. Being envious - in which is included greed - envy being comparing - I am small, you are big; I am ugly, you are beautiful; I am dull, you are intelligent; I know nothing, you know everything; you know enlightenment, I don't - this comparison is one of the factors of envy. Can you can the mind stop comparing? Do look into it, sir, this is awareness. Can the mind, your mind stop comparing, and live without comparison at all? Have you ever tried it?
Q: Sir, I am persuaded that the conditions you describe are to the human condition and that greed and envy and perhaps also total renunciation are equally pathological deviations one way or the other, and it may be what we do if we are greedy or envious that might be more important. If I am envious of a Nobel Prize winner and exert myself in research and discovery, then that is a positive result.
K: I see, I see. You are saying there are positive and negative sides to envy. Envy is a factor for most of us, pathological, as neurological, as (inaudible) and so on, so on, so on. Now, being envious, what has it resulted in the world? Oh, sir, come on.
Q: Chaos, fear.
K: Don't say it, sir, feel it in your blood! Don't talk about it so emptily. Look, sir, let me go into it.
Q: Sir, it depends (inaudible) won’t he be envious of you?
K: You are envious of me? (Laughter)
Q: (Inaudible) be envious of you.
K: Have you understood, sir, I can't hear. Sir, please take a little thing: in schools, children are compared. One boy is compared with another boy - A is better than B. B is more bright, he gets better marks, and A has to compete with you - there it begins, it begins there. It begins in society, and so on - you can see it all around you, the expression of envy, comparison. And I am asking you, can the mind live without any comparison at all? Not say yes or no - have you tried? Never comparing. You understand, sir? I see you are clever, bright, intelligent, and in comparing myself with you, I say, 'How dull I am, how stupid I am'. You understand, sir? In comparing with you, I have become dull. Please, are we going together? I am making myself dull or I think I am dull by comparing myself with you who are clever. If there was no comparison, would I be dull?
K: No, don't say no. Look at it, sir! This is your life not my life.
Q: Sir, but the minute you want to create a state where there is no comparison, you already created a state which is already envious
K: I have not stated anything, sir. I am asking you, sir, can your mind - you in your life - live without comparison?
Q: Yes, sir.
Q: Sir, as long as the ego exists in man (inaudible)
K: I know, that's the ego, the 'me', the self is a different problem, sir. Perhaps one of the factors of comparison
Q: That’s all of the ego, isn’t it?
K: Yes, sir, but I'm taking not the large content of the ego, but one of the factors, one of the fragments of the ego, which is comparison. Can you live without comparing?
Q: The world would be static, sir (inaudible)
Q: No, but
K: Wait, sir, wait sir. You see how The world, you say, will become static.
K: Sir, the 'me', the ego, the self, has one of its aspects is comparison, conformity, accepting as habit, repeating anything in this traditional nonsense. Now, one of the factors of this 'me' is conform, and I say to myself, why should I conform? Will the world become static if I don't become if I don't conform?
Q: Sir, excuse me. You said ego is a factor (inaudible) comparison. It is the most important factor (inaudible)
K: I agree, sir. I agree, sir.
Q: Do you take that (inaudible) that is part of the ego, isn’t it?
K: Do you want to discuss, sir?
Q: Yes. I mean, I do genuinely want to accept what you say.
K: I am not sir, I am not asking you to accept anything I say, or anybody says. I am asking you to look at it, to listen, to find out if what the speaker, sitting on this unfortunate platform, is saying. Listen to it. He doesn't say he wants accept. He says, one of the factors of the misery in this world is comparison, and he goes into it. He doesn't make that statement and go away. He says, look, from childhood we are trained, educated to conform. And conformity is comparison. Now, I say to myself, we are second-hand human beings because we have always lived on other people's ideas, other people's opinions, other people's judgments and so on, so on, so on. And I say, can I - can I - live without comparing? And see what happens. Will the world become non-progressive?
K: Just a minute, sir. Just a minute, sir, please. Do you know what the word 'progress', what it originally meant? It meant originally, a man who is armed, prepared, fully armed to enter into enemy's country. You understand? You understand progress? That's what it originally meant - a man who is fully armed, so that he can enter into an enemy's country, progress or go forward, fully armed. Now, would there be no progress if I as a human being didn't compare?
Q: Sir, excuse me, I don’t mean that human (inaudible), but the technological progress
K: Wait, wait. So you are dividing progress - which you think is the result of envy - technology and non-technology. Technological world, is it make progress through envy, or through investigation?
Q: By comparison too, sir.
K: Yes, sir. First investigate, then talk about it - together we investigate, go more and more and more. Comparison comes when you discover more than I do, I am envious of you.
Q: It’s a motive force, sir.
K: Is that the motive force of technology?
Q: For progress.
K: For progress? That is Now what do you mean by progress? Technological progress?
Q: Yes, sir.
K Yes, they have been to the moon, they have lived under the sea and they have done all kinds of extraordinary things, and also technologically they have killed thousands and thousands of people. So you must take all that into account - not just science - its benefits and its colossal destructive nature, which governments use - right? - all that's progress. Right. And is there any other kind of progress? Have you progressed from greed?
K: No. So, technologically we are advancing.
K: Technologically some human begins are progressing or moving forward, and as human beings we are just what we were ten thousand years ago. Full stop. That's all I am saying. So, as a human being, not as a technician, as a human being I see what envy, comparison has done in my life. I am comparing myself with your passion, I am envious of you, I want to kill you, I want to hurt you because I get angry because you are so much bigger than I am, much more rich, I become violent - all that's involved in these problems.
Q: What about natural talents?
K: Natural talent. If you have natural talent, you act, you go along with it. But the moment you use that talent in order to get more power, more position and beat somebody else, then it becomes tawdry. That's sense.
Now, sir, please, can you live without comparison? You will see, sir, if you live it, that you have tremendous more energy for something else. But you don't know that because you don't want to try anything - you're traditional, you just follow somebody, you accept everything around you and you carry on. And you call that progress. So
K: Would I explain that? Why should I?
K: No, do listen to my questions. That's not an impertinent question. Why should I explain it to you? I say, you will find out - find out what happens if you don't compare.
Q: What should we do with that energy?
K: Wait, sir, look, look, look. What should we do with that energy. Have you got that energy? (Laughter) No, don't laugh.
K: This is the curse of this country. Discuss in abstractions. You're experts in abstracting from the real. The word 'abstraction' means to withdraw, withdraw from the fact, and you have become experts at that. You cannot look at the fact. The fact is I am the mind is envious. I am envying, implies comparison. And can the mind, can your life be lived totally without comparison? - myself, the Buddha; myself with somebody else; myself with my - no comparison at all.
Q: If I don’t compare myself with any other person or any other situation, I am less miserable.
K: Is that a fact to you?
Q: Yes, sir.
K: That because you don't compare, you are less miserable?
Q: Yes, sir.
K: I have nothing more to say; he says yes.
Q: Sir, I would feel like a dead man (inaudible)
K: Now, listen to this. If I don't compare, I become a dead man. That is, by comparison you think you have progressed - right, sir? - progressed, evolved, grown, in what? What have you grown into by comparing? I am an engineer or a lawyer; I compare myself with the other lawyer who is making 5,000 more than I do. What have I gained by that?
K: Ah, we've been through that scientific aspect which is technology - don't let's mix the two constantly - technologically we have advanced. Right? Technologically, we have advanced, and now our greed, our envy, our viciousness is using that technology. Right?
K: And we are talking, the mind that is vicious, using technology, can that mind change?
K: Change. Then perhaps you'd be intelligent and use technology intelligently. Now we are using technology not only intelligently but unintelligently. Is it intelligent, sir, to spend three quarters of your country's income on armament? Every country is doing it; is that intelligent?
Q: If you don’t do that, you’ll become a slave of another country.
K: If you don't do that, you become a slave of - which country? Pakistan? Slave of another country - Pakistan? Russia? America? China?
K: Wait, sir, wait, sir. Look at it, sir. You'll become slaves to these people - you might - and therefore you say, 'I must protect myself'. Right?
Q: Maintain our own freedom.
K: Are you free?
Q: It would be worse if we were under somebody else.
K: I agree, sir. So you are saying we're more free than in Russia. Right? You see, you don't face the fact. You are going away again to abstraction. Can your mind, can your life be lived without comparison?
Q: It’s a terrible habit. It’s very hard to...
K: That's right. It is very hard to get rid of a habit, of comparing. Right?
Q: We can live without comparison, and, as you said, we get energy, but that energy again has to
K: Wait, sir. Wait, sir, wait, sir. Who said? I said, the speaker said - so don't repeat what he says. I said, you will find, if you investigate, go into it very deeply, that where the mind doesn't compare, it has got potential energy. And you will repeat that and it becomes an abstraction and has no validity at all. What has validity, depth, meaning, is only when you say, 'Well, I realize, I see the fact that comparison is very destructive and I want to find out whether my mind is comparing'. Is it a habit? Then if it is a habit, comparing myself with others or various - then how am I, how is the mind to be free of that habit? Right, sir? How is the mind to be free of that habit? Are you interested in it?
K: Will you do it?
K: I show you. Don't agree or disagree, just listen, find out. I am not your authority. I am not your guru, because you are not my followers, because that's you destroy everything when you follow somebody - except the doctors and the lawyers and all the rest of it.
Q: But how to get rid of the (inaudible)
K: I am showing you, sir.
Q: Excuse me. When one compares oneself with the progressive world or whatever, it is an outward journey and it is very it spends a lot of energy on oneself. So in order to stop comparing, I think one has to take an inward journey, which is awareness.
K: Ah, wait a minute, wait a minute, lady, please.
Q: I mean, many people can’t do that because
K: I am showing you something, please. Just observe it, sir, don't accept a thing what the speaker says. Whatever I say, don't accept it, observe it, listen. If it is a habit, whether the comparisons are outward or inward, if it is a habit, the inward habit of comparing and the outward habit of comparing, if it is a habit, how is the mind to be free of that habit?
Q: (Inaudible) something more desirable.
K: I said, sir, please, I said please listen for two minutes. You say, develop the opposite habit, which is what?
K: Listen to it, sir. The habit of comparing and the habit of not comparing; is there any difference between the two habits?
Q: You can find out by
K: Wait, please. Is there any difference between these two habits - the mind that has the habit if comparing and the mind that has the habit of not comparing - is there any difference between the two?
Q: One is a good habit. The habit of not comparing, as you said
K: Habit, sir, we are talking about habit - there is no good habit and bad habit - we are talking about habit.
Q: There’s no difference.
K: I say to myself, please, can the mind free itself from habit of comparison? - habit. Now what is habit? A thoughtless repetition of an idea, of an action, is a fear. Right? A constant repetition - that is a habit, isn't it? I am a Hindu, I am a Hindu, I am a Hindu - right? - that's a habit. I am a Muslim, I am a Muslim - that's a habit. Now I'm asking, how is the mind to be free of habit, not fall into the trap of another habit but to be free of the habit of comparison? So I must first find out why the mind forms habits. Right? Not only comparison - habit of sex, habit of calling yourself a Hindu, habit of saying, 'I am greater than you' - habit. Now why does the mind form habits? Habit being not only cultivated now, but also the habit of tradition in which you are caught. Right? You're all traditionalists, aren't you? That's your habit. Guru, enlightenment, follow what he says, sacrifice, give yourself over to some - I won't mention it - guru, and so on and so on - that's all your habit, with constant repetition, oh, read the Gita, rituals, rituals, rituals, rituals - that's all habit. I said, how can the mind is it possible for the mind to free itself from habit?
Q: By freeing itself from thoughts.
K: Oh, sir, please, don't go too far ahead. That's an abstraction. You are caught in a habit.
Q: What’s wrong with that fact?
K: What is wrong with habit - I am explaining it to you sir. I am saying the habit of comparison is destructive. We've been into that. And I'm asking, can this mind which is caught in that habit free itself? Without falling into other habits.
Q: Sir, is it possible to discuss this verbally, since
K: I am going it to you, sir. Is it possible to discuss this or converse about this verbally? Let me explain, sir. I may be mistaken, so have the goodness to listen. Habit means repetition, senseless, non without any meaning or with meaning - repeat, repeat, repeat. Why does the mind do this? Why do you think the mind does it?
K: Psychological security - that's another habit, sir. Psychological
K: Sir, please. Psychological, sexual, the acceptance of authority, the acceptance of tradition, smoking, drinking, fornicating - all that becomes a habit. Right?
Q: But it gives me a sense of security.
K: Security then becomes a habit. So I am saying, can the mind free itself from habit? And what do you mean by habit? Habit means repetition - pleasurable, non-pleasurable, avoidance of pain, it becomes another habit, as pursuit of pleasure becomes another habit. So I say, can the mind free itself from habit? Is it at all possible? And if it is possible, why does the mind form habits? Look at your own mind, sir, it's not my mind.
K: Look at your own!
I beg your pardon.
Q: Some people in this country have no other habits except trying to find something to eat and trying to get a daily wage, but we feel different because our minds are creatively different, or
K: No, all habits - we are talking all habits, every form of habit
K: Are you saying the sun rises and the sun sets? (Laughter)
Q: I feel that I am insecure because (inaudible)
K: Sir, of course. Why do you - I am tired of repeating. We don't seem to move from that. I am going to move, whether you come with me or not it's up to you. Constant repetition - why does the mind do it?
Q: Because it remembers. The mind remembers, that is why it repeats.
K: The mind remembers and that's why it repeats. I repeat a pleasure - why? When I repeat a pleasure, it no longer is a pleasure, and so on. Please, can the mind free itself from the habit of comparison? We said habit is repetition, thoughtful or not thoughtful, reasonable or unreasonable - habit. Habit is a very to live in habit is a very easy way, isn't it? Isn't it, sir? You are so frightened of saying yes or no. To live mechanically is the easiest way, isn't it?
Q: Yes, sir.
K: I put on an (inaudible), I put on - you follow? - repeat, repeat - that's the easiest way, isn't it?
Q: Yes, sir.
K: No, sir?
Q: Yes, yes.
K: You're about technology and
K: So, mind wants to find the easiest way of living. Right? What it leads to doesn't matter. What will happen the way of the easy way doesn't matter, as long as you live the easiest way possible. Right?
K: So the mind says, the easiest way is to accept the tradition. The easiest way of living amongst communists is to accept communism, and one of the vows, easiest way is to say, read the book. If you are a capitalist - easiest way. So the mind is always seeking the easiest way. Right, sir?
Q: Yes, sir
K: Wait, wait, go slowly, sir, look at your own minds. My father, generations past, ate no meat, so I didn't - I won't eat meat - but now that is changing in this country and they are eating meat, so I will eat meat. Anything to conform - the easiest way to live. That's the most secure way of living. Right? I am a Catholic living in Italy, I say, 'Jesus is my saviour'. Right? So the mind is always seeking the most satisfactory, pleasant conformity - the easy way. Right? And I see that. Why shouldn't it find the easy way? You understand my question? What is wrong to find the easiest way of living?
Q: The mind becomes dull then.
K: But, sir, you are doing it! You are doing the easiest way of living. And
K: Sir, I am asking you, sir
Q: Then we become vulnerable.
K: Don't you become vulnerable - why shouldn't you become vulnerable? Sir, look: the easiest way is to conform, and therefore that becomes the habit. I don't want to live dangerously, I don't know what it means. You know what it means to live dangerously, but I see conformity is merely the repetitive mind, it's a mechanical mind - god exists, god exists - right? - there is reincarnation, yes, reincarnation; there is Gita, perfectly right, Gita, and I follow the guru - so, easiest way, the mind becomes mechanical. Your minds are mechanical, aren't they, sir? This is really a tremendous problem, sir, which is: is the mind mechanical at all, or not mechanical? I won't please, you won't understand this question unless you have understood habit, put away habit, not theoretically speculate about habit - whether the mind is mechanical. Or is there a mind - this is a dangerous thing for traditionalists, what I'm going to say, because they will say yes, because that is part of their tradition that there is a self, higher, which is non-mechanical - you follow? - you will slip into that non-mechanical theory. So I am asking you - habits are formed as a means of living easily, and therefore mechanically - what happens to a mind that lives mechanically? Is it a mind at all? It may have theories, it may acquire knowledge, it may say, well, I am a Hindu, I put on this and I do all kind of silly stuff, but - so, what happens to a mind that's mechanical? Go on, sir, answer it, sir.
Q: Sometimes it becomes numb.
K: Sometimes we become numb.
K: Your mind never works, is that it? Is that it, sir? Don't be we're not I am not condemning you, sirs, so let's be honest, your mind never works, does it? Works if you are a lawyer, in that direction, an engineer, which is also another habit, or if you are a politician - you follow? So I am asking, what happens to a mind that is mechanical?
Q: It’s not creative; dull.
K: Sir, please, the word 'creative' - don't let's introduce that word. That's a most difficult word. Let's keep it a very simple word. The mind that is mechanical soon becomes very dull. Right? Right?
Q: Yes, sir.
K: Right, sir?
K: You become an outcast. You become an outcast if you don't conform to a habit - to blazes with being an outcast! Who cares?
K: I am asking a much more significant question, sir. Are you can outcast if your mind is not mechanical? Are you an outcast if you are not mechanical? So let's go. So, mind, our minds have become mechanical. Right? Knowledge has made us mechanical.
Q: What, sir?
K: Knowledge has made us mechanical. A mind of a lawyer, the mind of an engineer, the mind of a scientist are mechanical. No? So knowledge is mechanical. Right? So as long as the mind lives in the field of knowledge it is mechanical - knowledge being - listen, sir - knowledge being experience, memory
K: Please, sir. You're want to you are so frightened. You don't look at it, sir, without fear. You say, 'I'll become an outcast, what will happen to me? I will die'. But you don't see the fact. You come to it prepared with fear, whereas I say look at it, look at a mind, at your mind, that functions always within the field of the known, which is knowledge. Therefore, knowledge has made us mechanical - knowledge being experience, memory. So you say, can I can the mind be free from memory, from knowledge, which is, can the mind, functioning within the field of knowledge when necessary, and be free from knowledge when it is not? Then it is not mechanical. This is theory, sir - don't accept what I do it, you'll find out.
So our minds, through education, through various forms of accumulative knowledge, science, history, mathematic - mathematics is necessary, science is necessary, but the danger is that our minds are always functioning within the field of knowledge and therefore mechanical. And a mechanical mind, can it every find truth? You understand, sir? Can a mechanical mind ever come to that something which is not mechanical? You understand, sir?
Q: Must be the past dominating the present.
K: The past is dominating the present. The past is dominating the present. The past, which is your tradition - I'm going to stick to that (laughs) - the past which is your tradition as a Hindu, as a Brahman, non-Brahman, the lower - the past, memory, which is tradition. Tradition means to hand over - past generation has handed over its experience, its knowledge, its customs, its traditions, its worship, its rituals, ceremonies, all that has been handed over to you and you trot along in the same path. And you call that creative. And you call that a mind is very clever, thinking. Right, sir?
So I say to you, knowledge has become a habit, therefore mechanical. You are very good at memorizing - right? - very good. Pass excellently in exam: BAs, MAs, PhDs. And a mechanical mind, how can it be free? And yet you are seeking freedom. You understand, sir. Therefore, freedom becomes an abstraction. Right? Freedom is to understand the function of knowledge, and where it ends, and have a mind that is completely free from the mechanical process. That is mediation, sir, you don't know anything about it.
So where are we - phew! - at the end of an hour and twenty minutes?
Q: Excuse me, sir
K: Sir, sir, sir, one moment. I mean, sit down, sir.
Q: I prefer standing.
K: All right - prefer standing. Stand then. Just a minute, sir, just a minute, I am asking a question. Where are we at the end of an hour and twenty minutes? Is your mind, has it understood the danger of conformity, habit? - danger, not theoretical danger but actual danger, like nationalism here - danger, poisonous, it breeds wars. So do you realize the danger as you realize the danger of poison, snake, a precipice? Do you realize conformity and the habit of conformity is a deadly thing?
I conform - when I come to India I put on these trousers and (inaudible) Right? I conform when I drive a car, keep to the left. I conform when I have to pay taxes, unless I am against the government and don't want to pay taxes. I conform when I speak English or when I speak French or Italian, because I don't unfortunately I don't know an Indian language. I conform when I eat with a spoon and not my hand. You follow? I conform. What is wrong with that conformity? Is that wrong?
K: How you stop thinking long ago. I do not conform to the idea that I am an Indian. India is an idea, a geographical idea. It has no reality. Why should I conform to that? Come on, sirs. And conform - anger. A spiritual man must live in a certain way - that's your tradition. Right? As this is the tradition in Europe that a religious man must believe in Christ, saviour, Virgin Mary, and all that. As a religious man here, you must put on a loin cloth, you must eat one meal, you must do this and do that, puja, and pay, do a lot of circus, and that is your religion. I say that is not religion at all. It's sheer nonsense! Religion means something entirely different. A mind that is free to observe, not form a conclusion, not form an idea, to observe. That's the beginning. So, sir, to understand conformity ending and the freedom and the greatness of living a life that doesn't conform in the most profound sense of that word, means a mind that has understood the mechanical process of life, technology, the repetition of language and so on, and knowing the danger of a life that is entirely in the field of knowledge. The danger. Seeing the danger of it, as you see the danger of cobra, the mind enters totally into a field where it is non-mechanical and lives from day to day. Fresh. And to live these two together harmoniously. You understand, sir. That is living yourself. What have you gained? What has been the profit of listening to this? What have you gained, sir?
Q: (Inaudible) ideas. (Inaudible) clarifying ideas verbally (Inaudible) to see..
K: You mean to say, sir, you have listened for an hour and a half and verbally understood?
Q: I think I thought that, sir.
K: You verbally understood? The words only?
Q: (Inaudible) Unfortunately, yes.
K: And this is India.
Q: (Inaudible) We are proud to be from India.
K: What, sir?
Q: I said, this is India. I said we are proud of it.
K: So, are the Russians proud of it? The French are proud of their country, the English, the Americans, and they'll carry at, at each other's throats. It's one of your habits.
Q: Fantastic, (Inaudible) stand here. But I think raising the dead is a pain. (Inaudible)
K: What, sir?
K: I am afraid I don't understand what you are saying.
Q: (Inaudible) the evils of envy are paying us.
K: I never said evil envy, sir! I never said envy was evil.
K: I never condemned envy, sir. I never said it was bad or good. I said, just look!
Q: (Inaudible) what are the reasons for pain, envy?
K: I explained that to you, sir. We are all trying to explain the reasons for envy. But, we are not going back to the old stuff. I am sorry, so, let me explain. I am asking you sir, those of you who have listened for an hour and a half, what have you got out of it? Wait, sir. That gentleman says, you have clarified verbally certain ideas. So, he's living in a world or words and ideas, not with actuality but with ideas. You know, sir, the words idea what it means? The word, the meaning of that word, the root meaning of that word means to see, to see, to observe, not the abstraction of your observation into ideas. To observe. So, what have you got at the end of an hour and half?
K: You are perfectly right, sir.